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Summer Evening Sunshine

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Wow, it’s been a year since I registered with WordPress, and my blogging journey began. To celebrate this, I’m going to publish the first post I composed on my blog, which never made it out of the draft box until today.

Blogging has been so good for me, because it’s helped me to write so much more regularly, and to feel more confident. Writing is now easier and more fun, especially because of being connected to a great community of fellow readers and writers online. Thank you all for each word of encouragement.

I actually feel comfortable calling myself a writer now, which is new, and have even had a few short articles published in a paper. Hurrah! :) It seems the more I write, the more opportunities to write come, and I’m very happy and grateful for this. Here’s a little snippet with my name in print!

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I encourage anyone who has some crazy artistic idea they are afraid to try to give it a shot, because amazing things are possible. You’d never imagine what you’re capable of and what great opportunities may come unless you try.

So here’s that first post my then trembling fingers never hit publish on. All the best to my fellow writers, and cheers to all of my wonderful readers! I’m so glad you’re sharing this adventure with me!

Summer Evening Sunshine

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After a long day of meals and snacks and diapers and messes, stories and games and breaking up squabbles, it is the most beautiful thing to sit in the evening summer sunlight in the garden, surrounded by bees and flowers, just drinking it all in.

My big girls are jumping on the trampoline–getting along for the moment–and the baby is sleeping. One toddler is snuggling on my lap and the other is wandering about naked, eating raspberries like a chubby, curly haired garden gnome.

Moments like this, worries of the world seem far away and irrelevant, having faded in the mellow warmth and simplicity of the summer evening.

Pausing from the endless seeming cycle of distracted multitasking, I am finally quiet enough to be aware of this divine beauty that has escaped me until now, and in this moment, feel connected to eternity.

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A Small Step

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A small step
in the midst of great difficulties
can be a miracle

The heroic efforts of a bumble bee
more impressive
than a charging rhino kicking up dust
all show

It’s not perfection
but struggle that matters
not impressive credentials
but the straining of the heart
towards something truly beautiful

living a life of love
full of little sacrifices
getting up again and again

Keep trying
keep smiling
remember the ideal
that sets fire to your heart

Never let discouragement
drown the flames altogether

Blow on that ember of hope
Remember who you are

Forget trying to please others
modifying yourself to be more palatable to them

You can never please anyone
by pretending

It’s better to go down in flames
like a shooting star
completely crazy
but lighting up the world
with your own form of madness

You will inspire
or you will be despised
but at least you will be you

There are worse things
than being rejected

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Birthday Blessings

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Today is my mother-in-law Janet’s birthday. She is funny, sweet, generous and strong, and defies all stereotypes of evil in-laws. She is one of my best friends.

I remember taking the ferry to meet her the first time. I was so nervous I thought I’d throw up overboard. But from the first warm hug in the ferry terminal parking lot, I knew I had been wrong to worry.

I am amazingly blessed by my relationship with her. She knows me better than almost anyone, and can make me laugh over the phone when things are rough…for example during the pre-bedtime circus with small children or when I wake up after a rough night looking like a porcupine and ready to cry because I can’t even remember to make the coffee. She knows how to put it all in perspective, and loves me despite knowing my worst faults.

So to an amazing person, a super-grandma who is so loved, and one of the most loyal, supportive friends I’ve ever had, happy birthday, and thank you for everything.

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Bumbling Towards You

How often I need to visit you, Lord
seeking you throughout the day
as a bee seeks flowers
constantly searching for sweetness

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Again and again
I alight in little pools of beauty
drinking deeply to refresh my soul
and sustain my flight

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If I failed to do so
out of busyness
I would be as a bee
too distracted to visit flowers
and would end up a dry shell
on the parched summer pavement

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Draw me to you, Lord
with your beauteous colours
your enticing fragrance
your delicate invitation
like an open flower
waiting for a kiss

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Remind me that with you
hot summer days and hard work
turn into liquid golden honey
and in all things and every day
keep me bumbling towards you

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Deep Roots

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Here we are together
many sisters not of flesh but of heart
praying, laughing, resting and learning
gathering strength in a place apart

Be like giant trees
we are told
stretching to the sky
but humbly, firmly rooted in love

This is your strength
to rely on something greater than yourselves
to plant yourselves deeply in something bigger

Those who base everything on themselves
are like rootless trees
towering egos
unstable ‘I’s ready to topple
in the first wind

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Let the love of God be your strength
your firm root
your soul’s nourishment

For in this way
your branches will grow
stretching out to embrace the world
touching those around you
with the gentle caress of love

And in your shade
they will find shelter
and the safety to grow themselves

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First Summer Raspberries

Tonight the baby went to bed early enough that I could catch some evening sun and try the first raspberries of the summer from the garden. There is something about eating fresh berries that turns me into a little kid again, so I just stand there grinning and filling my mouth with goodness.

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My husband can tell you that any walk in the forest with me during berry season is ridiculously slow, because I’m so delighted with each huckleberry, thimbleberry or salmonberry bush. I have to pluck all the tiny red gems and pop them in my mouth. It reminds me of making huckleberry pie on graham cracker crust with my brothers growing up.

I still recall vividly a scene from an old movie— The Return To Oz—where Dorothy discovers she is back in Oz when she finds a ‘lunchbox tree.’ The tree has what looks like giant strawberries growing on it, but they are actually lunchboxes that open to reveal a sandwich, cookies and juice. I remember thinking, “What in the world could be better?”

Eating food off the bush symbolizes nature’s bounty in a special way for me, because it recalls the Edenic reality of goodness and beauty being all around us, ripe for the picking. It helps me remember that in this big universe, I’m a just little child who will be provided for, whose Father God is very good.

Many good things are waiting for all of us. Do we have the childlike vision of wonder to see them, and the simplicity to accept them with gratitude?

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Why Tell Stories Barefoot?

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We all come into this world barefoot. We are all essentially the same—the same heart beating, the same little lungs taking their first breath. And the same naked little toes on the end of adorable feet. A unique and unrepeatable person whose features are at the same time wonderfully familiar.

It’s only later that we begin to mask this sameness, to cover it with distinct trappings that say, “I’m me, and not you.” And while it’s so important express our authentic selves, we can take this costuming of ourselves too far. We can fall into thinking that beyond being unique, we are actually superior to some others…”I in my business suit or latest Prada am far too superior to speak to you in ragged jeans…I am in a class above.”

Fashion, finance, culture…so many things we can use to separate ourselves from others, and forget that we are all born into the same human family. We are all born barefoot, and whichever shoes we acquire afterwords are gifts, extras, luxuries, not meant to mask this essential sameness.

So why this meditation on bare feet? Well, it’s because one of the great things that attracted me to the children’s books I’ve just started selling, Barefoot Books, is this beautiful celebration of our world’s cultural diversity, in all its splendid colour and vibrancy. And in celebrating this through traditional children’s stories from people all around the world, Barefoot Books at the same time emphasize the commonality of the human experience.

Whatever our culture, whether we are a rich Norse Queen or a poor African mother walking for miles to buy a cup of flour, we are human; we hope, love, suffer, hunger, and rejoice. We have families, dreams, and stories, and we all need to share them. Our vision of life-—our history, poetry, art and music—all enrich the world and form a part of the splendid tapestry of humanity.

In a world so caught up in superficial differences, I think these tales of diverse cultures are refreshing and important for our children, to help them grow up with a heart that understands that all people are part of the same human family, worthy of our love and respect. So I hope you’ll kick off your shoes and go Barefoot this summer with your kids!

Barefoot Books: Colourful, Cultural Books for Creative Kids

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