Saturday, November 27, 2010



For the power staying on during the cold weather,
And thus, a safe warm house --
For the quiet morning and prospects of a peaceful day--
For the nourishing food that I will enjoy today, the flavors and textures
And eye-appeal (and tummy-comfort) of each food variety --
For a good time of rest, and good heart-preparations –
And a good meeting-with-You --
Oh Lord, I give thanks.
With a deep spirit of thanksgiving,
I will always praise your name unstintingly, unceasingly!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


Summer meets winter

In this fair and temperate clime
The rose of summer blooms till wintertime;
And hardy fuschia tall stalks climb
Until the first killing frost calls, “time”.
Cold is coming, I hear on the news.
I pick two small boquets past season’s prime,
But Pink Peace rose is always sublime;
And garlands of fuschias can be a pastime
When their glow washes mind with deep red rhyme.

And yes, cold came, as was told on the news!

Beauty of snow, a rarity here;
Gleaming on pink or red blooms to cheer.
That’s the end of my garden this year, I fear.
But roses and fuschias will reappear
For certain, next year!

God, create within me a temperate clime
Where my rose of summer-life blooms till wintertime;
And when cold snaps swoop over me,
May I be resurrected by Divine Energy!
Thank you for Jesus Christ’s good news.

My soul’s winter meets summer every life-year.

copyright 2010 by Marilee Miller

By all means, post a link to this site. But please, no copying for public use except by permission.

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

Friday, November 19, 2010


L. L. Barkat invited several of her online friends to share in a round-robin review of her book, “God in the Yard.” We are a far-flung group, geographically, and not necessarily having any previous contact with one another. The same book was passed along. Each person kept it a month and then mailed it on to the next reader. Each reviewer included a brief personal note to the new recipient, thus establishing a sense of “community”. Here are the photos of my “send-off” to the next reader on Laura’s list.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010



This is a review of the book “God in the Yard,” by L. L. Barkat.

Barkat had a time of feeling “pinched in this life.” Seeking rest and re-focus and renewal of heart and mind and work, Barkat committed to spending time in her yard every day for a year. Looking at the same scene over and over. But trying to see it differently each time. Drinking in the lessons that Nature could teach her about encountering God’s presence. Seeing shapes, designs, colors, patterns. Hearing swish-swishes and rustles of trees or shrubs. Sometimes, she even tasted natural objects.

She invites others to seek God in the out-of-doors, away from having chores and the obligation “to do”. She needed to just “be”, to drift, see, feel, ponder.

Perhaps not many of Barkat’s readers will actually commit to spending daily time out of doors – especially in winter, or in the midst of rain or wind -- as a spiritual quest for more of God’s presence. But if we are unable to view life from our own yard or a nearby park, we may visit Barkat’s yard through her lilting words of wind and song in the pine tree and thorn bush.

One day, alternately gazing at the maples to the
right and the pine overhead, it occurred to me that
the two grow quite differently. Maples have a Nile-
River-delta thing going on – a trunk that divides
and divides, river to stream to rivulets to sky.
White pine is wheels within wheels. The trunk is
an axle flung straight to heaven and branches
grow out from it like spokes. Each major branch
pokes stiffly outward. Then again, the minor branches
circle it like spokes. And on….

The ceiling of my makeshift temple is vast and
changeable. One morning it is pearls, strung
between the wider universe and me. Another
moment it is pink seashells on ocean foam. At night
it might be cobalt blue I could fall into, never come
…I close my eyes and feel the unexpected
“tip tip” of fine rain pricking my cheeks. Seeds in
white coats try to plant themselves on my arm.
Pine needles use my [tea] cup as a heliport.
The sky is also a sponge that sucks up offerings.
Steam from my mug rises and dissipates. …Clouds
hurry on, kiss and follow currents…

Barkat, who self-styles herself as a “dysfunctional extrovert” (though I see her as far more powerful than that), opens her heart to share how past wounds and family brokenness made her feel responsible for keeping her world running. She concludes that in many ways, her previous experiences disconnected her in-the-present from building trusting, restful relationships with people or with God. She sought, through waiting on God in her yard (and seeing, truly seeking to see him in everything), to become a more open person. Her views of pine trees and birds wheeling and pine needles slithering, led her to the surprising admission of her great grief and loss – giving her a chance to lament her wounds and ask God to open her heart to becoming more trusting, and loving life.

Readers who have experienced deep pain in their lives may find comfort from Barkat’s honesty about her own unhappy child-life-situation. And I appreciated getting to know this other side of the Laura who often presents in her blog a greater sense of being productive and “having it together.” If her story causes us to be angry at, or blame, ourselves for our own negative side or woundedness, why then, we may be sure we need to offer up our entire selves to the ONLY ONE who brings healing, the Master who values us all.

The book also offers questions to ponder for possible directions in our spiritual growth. I have to admit that I didn’t resonate well with the questions – a fact which is probably more due to my own make-up than to the questions themselves. But L, L. admits having questions may be more important than having their
answers. And also invites her audience to disregard questions that don’t apply, and to make our own.

I’m privileged to have been invited to read and review “God in the Yard.” It provided much food for thought. I pray that Laura will continue to grow in the grace of Our Lord. And that, as the time becomes appropriate, she’ll share with us. I pray also that she’ll be able to accept herself just as she is, of value in God’s kingdom because he loves her and chose and called her, and not for “what she can do for him” or her degree of success or productivity in life. And I pray the same prayer for all the rest of us.

Monday, November 1, 2010


photos (c) 2010 by Marilee Miller please link to this post, but no copying without permission

At the sink, washing the dishes again;
But the task is more than just “duty”,
When I am confronted with so much beauty –
Soap bubbles ‘aglisten like droplets of rain.
So fragile, so thin, so poppable now and then,
Yet the scientists dare to call
The sphere the strongest shape of all.
Few objects withstand pressure as well as a ball.
Shimmering rainbows, beadlets that shine,
Lift up my spirits. Oh Lord, I am thine!
Thank you for soap bubbles, my glad booty!
Strengthen me, Savior, to show glory-shine;
Yes, let me bubble forth with your Christlike beauty!
(c) 2010 by Marilee Miller

The close up lens on a camera
Does strange, unexpected things
To simple objects like bowl of soap-bubbles;
Yet when I get too near,
Oh, dear!
I’ve an imprint of bubbles
On the lens itself!
An accident, unexpected;
But it’s a delightsome tracery!

God sees me close up,
In a way I can’t view myself.
He must glimpse in me soap bubbles:
When he wipes my tears dry,
I shall know no fear.
How dear!
His power to wash away troubles
Brings cleansing to particles of soap bubbles.
Oh, may I become,
In his time and way,
An imprint of him, his lens illum’ing my life.
I’m not a mere accident, in his view,
But a delightsome tracery!
(c) 2010 by Marilee Miller

The times seem as popping-prone as mere soap bubbles;
The woes come in copy-tones, in trebles and doubles;
Sometimes I fear coping-gone, toil and troubles.
When and where will hardship end?
Will I crackle-snap into nothingness,
Or crumple under life’s duress?
Or may I, by God’s own grace, quietly bend?
I yield to you, my Maker and Friend.
(c) 2010 by Marilee Miller

“In the world you have tribulation. But be of good cheer;
I have overcome the world.” (Jesus)

By all means, link to this post; but please, no copying without permission.


This post is in response to L. L. Barkat's "Seedlings in Stone", "On, In, or Around Mondays"