Monday, September 27, 2010


A week and a half ago.
In my kitchen, unpacking the groceries I just brought home.
But when I’ve finished putting things away, I realize –
Hey! Where’s my Kool Aid?

Bought 3 packages (3 flavors, unsweetened.) Intending to use as flavorings for plain gelatine.
(Well, maybe not Jello, but not so plain by the time I add the flavors and Splenda sweetener according to my taste – and milk instead of half the watery liquid called for.)
But eventually I remember I haven’t found any Kool Aid. Hmm. The packages are small.
Did they hide at the bottom of one of the now-stashed-away bags?
I get out the flimsy plastic sacks again, prodding and feeling and looking inside. No Kool Aid.
The extra bread, still posing in a bag, will go to the freezer. But no Kool Aid is hiding there.
Cereal boxes (extra for later) and 6 oversized fat yams, still occupy their grocery bags.
I pull out enough cereal boxes to see the sack’s bottom. And finally, I shuffle the top yams.
No Kool Aid. The sales slip shows that I paid for them!
But are my little packets still slinking on the clerk’s counter?
Tomorrow, I’ll need to go and ask.

Many, many days later.

Vows for my tomorrows have a way of discombobulating.
I don’t make it back to the store to ask if lost can be found.
A number of days later, I no longer feel comfortable asking a clerk,
“Did you find my packages of Kool Aid about two weeks ago?”
While erranding at another store, I just buy three more packages
(each a different flavor) of unsweetened Kool Aid.

And now I can make my gelatine dessert. Grape, I think.
I get the gelatine and Kool Aid heated, dissolved.
Looks strong! Will be good, I’m sure.
But the milk will curdle it if I add it now to this hot liquid.
So let me pop the bowl in the refrigerator,
Cool my concoction, then add the Splenda and the milk.

Meanwhile, maybe there’s time to pick up my e-mail!

Oops. The siren song of technology!
Meanwhile, a technicality! -- the fridge keeps working.
Now the gelatine is a sort of limp Knox blox, missing half
Its intended liquid, and too congealed to add the milk and sweeetener now.
If I melt it down and start over, it won’t set by suppertime.
A taste? It’s zesty, zingy, potent – but, curiously, not inedible.
And I’ve thought of a way to still make the gelatine into a dessert.

So then it’s time to get the rest of supper. Maybe yam?
I’ve been eating my way through the 6 overly fat yams.
I see there are only 2 left. And when I pick up one –
THERE’S MY KOOL AID! Stuffed in a corner of the plastic bag.
The yams were so ponderous and bulbous I didn’t see underneath.
And so I eat my bountiful supper, and finish up. Smack, smack.
Cubes of grape gelatine and dollops of nonfat frozen yogurt dessert
(already sweetened.)

Hmmm, have I places in my life that hide as well as the Kool Aid did?
Fears, lack of courage, distractedness distancing me from Almighty God?
How thankful I am that the Lord sees all; he knows my secret cache
Of faults and damages and sour flavors tucked away.
And yet he chose me for his own, and loves me as I am.
The Creator of the Universe knows just how to make me
Into a pleasing, palatable dish flavored with his love and grace.
His Holy Spirit sweetens me.

“Moreover, because of what Christ has done, we have been made gifts of God that he delights in, for as part of the Father’s sovereign plan we were chosen from the beginning to be His, and all things happen just as he decided long ago.” (Eph. 1:11 TLB)

This is linked to L.L. Barkat's Seedlings in Stone, "On, In, and Around Mondays"

Monday, September 20, 2010


Rambunctious Surprise.


Not just any ol’ carrots –
But the longest I’ve ever seen to buy.
Way too long for my refrigerator bin!
Rambunctious carrots!
They deserve a photo shoot.
A place setting of ordinary table utensils
Will impress the carrots’ size.

Table by the Window:

A smallish table, often standing bare;
If I place anything there,
It’s only temporarily.
Because my cat firmly believes
The table by the window belongs to her!
(But of course the table stays empty
As she spends time in other “her places”.)

And, the natural daylight streams just right,
Through the corner windows.
So here, I take advantage of the light
To pursue my photography.
Ordinary objects shine,
As do rambunctious fantasies!

So I lay out my carrots on the table,
Ready to document their rambunctious size.


And then, ah, there’s a flurry of surprise!
Rambunctious cat claims her table;
Sniffs and licks and pokes my carrot layout.
Finally decides there’s room on table
For rambunctious long carrots
And rambunctious prowling cat.
So she settles down, not rambunctiously at all.
And I take pictures all the while.

(PS. Yes, I washed the carrots well, before eating them.)

Feel free to link to this post. But please, no copying of text or photos without permission.


This post is inspired by L. L. Barkat's invitational, "On, In, and Around Monday"

Thursday, September 16, 2010


This post is in response to:

Unexpected Encouragement, an invitation from Faith Barista's jam

Unexpected Encouragement: A Hard Way to Make Use of Some Old Files

Before the days of Microsoft Windows, one operating system was DOS. I wrote a multitude of documents on the word processor that came with that old computer. But when I needed a newer computer, the only way to transfer my files was to call up each document, individually, and instruct it to convert to ascii (plain text). Over time, I did manage to convert a large number of files, which then went to live on my newer Windows 95 machine with MS Word, (and years later, could thus be read in Word on an XP computer.) But I had 100 or more data files that I wanted to preserve for posterity, but they weren’t high enough priority to drop everything else and convert.

I held on to that old DOS machine and my Win 95 computer for years and years and years, just for the eventuality of converting the files. But when I finally decided to work on the files, neither the DOS machine nor the Win 95 worked. A tech friend gave me another old Win 95 computer to play around with. But his computer didn’t have the right cables for a “slave” hard drive, and couldn’t find the DOS disk at all when it was fitted in as “master”.

This week a relative of mine who makes a once-a-year tour from another state to visit various family members, stayed with me several days. He resurrected my Windows 95 machine. And tried to write a program to convert the files; but the unknown properties of that ancient word processor defeated him. Then the hard drive started playing tricks again. However, inserting the hard drive from my tech friend’s computer into my old Win 95, my relative finally produced a working computer. And he was able to install the DOS drive as a slave. In fact, he managed to copy the entire word processor and files onto the Win 95 hard drive, and then, after many attempts, as an operational sub-directory on my XP machine!!!! The computer runs in XP, but allows me to call up my old Dos files, and then save those I’ve read --in MS Word!!! (Of course, I have to strip off the lines and lines of machine-code left at the top of each file by the old word processor; but the text is intact.) (And he instructed my computer to run in a simulated Win 95 mode – yes, there really is such a command – within that directory only!) Success at last!

The one constant I observed through all his trials and failures, was his persistence, his patience at trying again and again. Of not being discouraged by failure. When confronted by repeated failures, I tend to give up. So this was a good observation for me. And I learned something more about the character strength of this relative that I only see occasionally.

If a person can be so patient and persevering, and finally get good results from a seemingly-insurmountable problem, then how much more may I look to the incredible strength of my Mighty God? I need to remember: His patience and perseverance ever guide me into wholeness-in-Him out of my own flaws and brokenness.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


This post is in response to an invite from High Calling Blogroll member Claire Burge --
to submit a zoomed photo image.

In a vacant lot, casually tossed aside, I came across an over-ripe, somewhat dried out artichoke. The leaves (or green petals)were starting to brown. But it had the most glorious purple-stranded topknot! There was no garden near the lot. But I’d seen artichokes growing in a neighbor’s garden a full block away. Perhaps an animal dragged the booty away. Or maybe some kids played with it.

I used my scanner to capture some effects of the lovely, wiggly scrolls of the topknot. But alas, I didn’t get around to taking a photo – which would have showed more effects of the cluster. For I got to wondering what might be inside such a treasure. And so I sawed it in two on my bandsaw. (I thought the object would fall away into two halves, a top and a bottom, and after I saw what it looked like inside, I could easily photograph both that, and the topknot. But I was wrong.)

The inside of the artichoke revealed a mass of white threads. The whole top half fell away into a scattering of fragments. Some dribbled to the floor, some fell in the sawdust bin collector, and a few ungainly strands rested on the sawing platform. Thus, I had nothing left of the once-clustered, squirly, swirly purple topknot. So I lost my chances for a photo.

But what I did have – the sawed bottom half – became a one-of-a-kind art object. The strange, loose inner
texture made it impossible to saw a smooth, straight line across petals that moved when the blade struck them. (It would probably be impossible to ever duplicate this particular result.)

This view reminds me just a little bit of a towheaded child’s hair against a browned face, ringed by a fringed parka. (Look with the eyes of the imagination, not those of deep scrutiny!) But how wonderfully beautiful are the whitened hairs!

And, what exactly is within me? Only my Maker, God, knows. The Scripture says “he makes all things beautiful in his time…” (It also says he even knows the number of hairs on my head.) If to me, a lowly, dying artichoke appears wonderful and surprising inside, I trust that God sees my heart and soul with the eyes of his incredibly creative imagination. It’s not my own character or righteousness that makes me beautiful to him. But he promises that he always sees me through the beauty and wonder of Christ-in-me.

And again, the Bible says, “…He [God] guarantees to bring us to himself.” (Eph 1:14] (sigh of relief!)

photo and text copyright (c) 2010 by Marilee Miller

Monday, September 6, 2010


this is in response to L. L. Barkat's invitational:
"ON, IN, and AROUND MONDAYS" for Sept 6.

A few days ago I posted about an arrangement I'd placed on my dining room table.
I'm still looking at my mini ocean beach scene. Today I'm focusing on the jug of drinking water in a ripply, molded plastic bottle.


Keen; light. Glistening.
Ripply. Pure water for drinking.
Clear water for imagining
I'm seeing water of mini ocean beach!
This sight is welcoming.

God will quench my thirsting;
I will come to Him praising.
My pretend-beach-scene's stirring
My hopes of surviving.
I’m seeking. God, toward you I reach,
In peaceful homecoming!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


Sorry, I haven't got the hang of blogger yet. Once I posted the photos, I couldn't find a way to enter the text. Please see previous post for the images.

This is an answer to L. L. Barkat's invite "On, In, or Around Monday," writings about "place", that is, my response and observations about being in a certain place or site.

The Mini-Ocean-Beach on my Dining Room Table

I have a treasure trove brought home from the beach.
(The first time in some years I was actually strong enough
To walk down the slipsy hill, through loose sand,
And get down to the ocean’s slipsy sneaky incoming wave-edges.)

Now I’m at home, at my favorite perching place,
My dining room table. The table is a constant.
But he mementos or “specials” parked on it, change.
Appear or disappear with my mood or my whimsy –
Or with the commonalities or surprises that come to hand.

To commemorate that lovely, inspiring visit
To the beach, I build a memory-garden:
The homeside mini-beach comes to live on my table.

Here, I may explore the intricacies,
Look closely at small or lovely details,
And for each new zoom in, for each new view
Where my eyes focus on pieces or particles (or the whole),
Say “Thank you, Lord, for creating such detail,
Such beauty. Thank you for encouraging my soul.”

A tray full of beach sand, with its amalgamation
Of shell-chips, gravel-plenties, and wave-smoothed rocks
(a fourth inch, half an inch, even one and a half).
Yes, even one small piece of round-edged glass!
That’s my tableside beach, a reminder to worship God.

A drinking-water jug, with crinkly clear plastic modelings,
That’s my ocean -- a faintly imperfect analogy, but
Its reflections echo the flowing He, my Maker Creator,
Sends along the shoreline in delicately thin waves of the sea.

A years-dried-out, curvaceous clustered seaweed balances
On the neck of the water jug, to aid the “beach mood effect.”
(Gathered long ago on another outing to an ocean beach).
A weaving of ragged tendrils, a magic swirl of little tubes,
And at the bottom, where once the hold-fast attached to rocks,
An array of the most incredible, knobby barnacles.
There are snarls of tendrils in me; meandering pipes;
And sharp-edged barnacles to prick, but also to gleam.
But may He remind me of my beauty in him:
For he sees me, not as a pressed amalgam of twisted lines
And peculiar quirks, but as a unique unity of beauty,
For my strangeness is covered over fully so that he beholds
In me only the righteousness of God in Christ.

Thank you, Lord, for my tableside beach
To call my heart ever nearer to you, a worship-tool
To banish my fears and cares in the contemplation
Of your intricacies, and your Holy Design for my life!

copyright (c) 2010 by Marilee Miller
Feel free to link to this post, and to make a copy for your own personal use, but please do not copy this for any public purpose.


copyright (c) 2010 by Marilee Miller
Feel free to link to this post, and one copy allowed for personal viewing pleasure only, but please do not copy images for any other purpose or public postings. Thanks.