Thursday, December 31, 2015


well it's finally here. in just 2 short hours, it will be 2016.

i was reading through my list of resolutions from last year, and although i'm not where i wish i was, i can see how i've at least attempted to fulfill them. i was laughing because 1 of them was to witness more, and i can say that in 2015 i gave out exactly one tract and then actually followed up on it. nothing came of it expect possibly some grey hairs, but it is at least a start. i know i've grown in some ways over this year and although it wasn't exactly eventful ( that is to say for me personally, obviously for the world as a whole there have been some pretty huge events. but i don't want to talk about them right now. another day, another post) i think it's been profitable.

so now on to next year. here are my resolutions- they can be lumped into 3 main categories because if i just started listing everything one by one it could get drawn out.

1. resolved: to grow spiritually
     to have a better prayer and devotional life, to make more practical application from the Bible(as opposed to just thinking about things:/), to witness more(maybe i'll manage 2 tracts;) and try to edge a little closer to who i need to be. to just grow closer to God. to be kinder and more willing to be vulnerable; to let go of my pride a little(or a lot).

2. resolved: to grow academically
      to work harder on school, to read more(i never, ever thought i'd see the day when i'd have to resolve this. sigh. life. sigh again.) and to stretch and improve my mind in new ways. and to accept the work it will take to achieve this. i'm not sure if this fits here, but i also want to try to be more healthy. eat better. work...out. we'll see.

3. resolved: to grow creatively.
        to purposefully make more art, music, writing- to choose to do and improve in every artistic pursuit i can. make time to practice painting and practice drawing, and i mean serious practice instead of just fun. to do more crafting and sewing. to start looking into some new options for musical training and opportunities. to sit down and write more, and to take more time on this very blog:)  (which, by the way, raises the point- if you have any content you'd ever like to see, let me know and i will at least see what i can do:)

i guess basically, this year i just want to DO more. i told my friend that i want to go off like a firework this year, because that's the best analogy i can think of. to just sail into the air and burst into every shade and color possible. i doubt - in fact i know without a doubt- that this year will be what i think it will be. but if i can look back in 12 months and see that i've grown- well, that's the most anyone should ask out of a year.

none of my resolutions are anything extraordinary- they really are more life resolutions than just year ones. but years are what makes up a lifetime. months make up years. days make up months. i want to try to start redeeming my time more. it seems like it should be easy, but planning things out for your year is much easier than doing them every day.

i hope you all have a beautiful new year. i hope you dare to dare new and exciting things. i hope most of all that you grow closer to the Timeless God, and that His plan will blossom before you as the new year unfolds.

happy new year.

Monday, December 28, 2015

// tribute //

This post is a little more personal than what I would typically share. But it's something that is indirectly relevant to my readers and also, it's about something I want you all to know about. because even though we aren't supposed to be respecters of persons, we are supposed to give honour where honour is due and so i want to give honour to someone who deserves it. And to publicly thank God for one of the biggest gifts I've always taken for granted.

Last night was my church's last night with our pastor. He's been at our church for 14 years, 11 of which my family has also been attending. Since we first found out he was leaving, about a month ago, it's been hard, more so on some than others. This is a scary time for our Church family! For me personally... I try quite hard to avoid difficult emotions because I don't handle them well. It's not too hard because my mind is usually flitting around and I don't typically choose to dwell on things like this. I would lie and say I haven't even cried but it wouldn't be true. I couldn't say anything last night at church because, well, I knew I'd start crying and that wouldn't have been good.

 So anyways, as he and his family move forward in God's will, I'd like to take this post to give a little tribute to them.

Our pastor(technically he isn't ours anymore I suppose...) is a true man of God, devoted to preaching the Word, even when it's not what he wants to say, or listeners want to hear. I've seen him grow in the years I've been aware enough to pay attention, and for the last year or so in particular I've been so blessed by his preaching. I would not be the Christian I am today, I wouldn't be the person I am today, without the lessons I've learned from he and his family.

 My thinking patterns and approach to the Bible have been shaped by his teaching, by his expositional approach and thoughtful presentation. even though there are somethings we might not agree on, I cannot express how thankful I am for his standards. as I've begun writing and working on my blog, and having my eyes opened to a broader world via social media etc., I've realized what a difference it's made.

As I'm getting older, I'm realizing how much different most Christians have it. How many people have pastors who don't give them any real meat. And I have been increasingly struck with thankfulness for the way my mind has been stretched from an early age, until without even realizing it, truth is part of its fiber. I credit a lot of that to you, Pastor. Or rather to God working through your faithfulness. As I move forward in my life, there may be ways we differ slightly. And that's ok. As you reminded us so often, the church is a body and we aren't all meant to be the same.  But the truth of the pure gospel you've shared with us all will always be my foundation.

You've shown me things I might have not seen otherwise about God and His word. You've prepared me to really think about what I believe. To attach the proper importance to truth, to really care about what the Bible says. I think that's the hardest thing for me through this change- losing that food just as I'm finally old enough to really digest and appreciate it.

 Ugh there are so many things I could say, but I don't even think I have the words. And, anyways, it would be impossible to list everything I could say thank you for. So I'll just say thank you-for everything.

And to the family- there have been ups and downs over the years. I'd be lying if I said there weren't things I wish had been different, or that I had no regrets in relationships and choices. But in the end, what matters is what we take away, and there have been so many things I would not have learned yet if it hadn't been for all we went through.

Girls, maybe we had a lot of fights over the years,but what I've been remembering over the past few days is the good in them. Even in the stupidest of arguments we had, now I can look back and laugh a little. Wouldn't it be nice if those little things were still the biggest deals in our lives? Remember the friendship we shared, not the distance that grew up between us. You guys were and always will be a huge part of my childhood and I thank you for the good memories as well as the bad.

{also, daddy long-legs ARE NOT, have never been AND NEVER WILL BE POISONOUS. end of story. }

I wish you all the very best and I know God will expand your, and our, horizons in ways none of us can dream. I can't wait to see what is in store, and to be able to someday see each other again and share it.

I guess all that's left to say is-


//God be with you till we meet again/ by his counsel guide, uphold you/with his sheep securely fold you/ God be with you till we meet again//

Thursday, December 24, 2015

// merry CHRISTmas //

// in the sky
tiny specks of light
dancing a little
some long dead, but their light still shining
some being born, waiting for their turn
just as they always have
something begins
something begins to grow
and grow
one star
the star
and whirling
until the whole sky is echoing with it's rays
and the heavens burst open
with a shower of sparks
the stars
are all

in the world
tiny flaming souls
or not
maybe laughing a little
or some wishing they were dead
others not knowing the difference
something began
something that's still growing
and growing
One Light
The Light
and washing
until the earth is humming with the news
and some of those little sparks
catch on fire
lit a blaze
and together they
a flood
flame //

merry CHRISTmas everyone. I hope you have a wonderful day and that you remember the reason for it.

{the manger was really an altar} <- random thought

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

// one thing about christmas //

// one thing about christmas
is that for this week or so of the year
you can almost imagine what it might be like
when the angels song is fulfilled
in that glorious day when there really is
'peace on earth and goodwill to men'. //

xxx ok so I'm about 2,500 words into a short story I hope to finish and post by tomorrow night or the 26th at the latest. It's another Christmas one. So stay tuned for that. 
And, if anyone reading has suggestions for some beautiful, artsy, wordsy, blogs, esp. Christian ones, that you think I'd like(or if you have such a blog yourself) please let me know in the comments because I want them. Thanks<3 xxx

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

// haiku #14 { for christmas} //

via pinterest
// evergreen our hope
shining light to all nations
adorned with pure love //

Monday, December 21, 2015

// a short work of fiction //

via pinterest

The tinny clink of the tea pot lid entered my consciousness, although I had perhaps been aware of her presence before that. I put my head over the newspaper. She was making tea, her movements slow and almost irritable.I wondered if that emphatic bang of the lid had been purposefully to annoy me. Knowing Sylvie, it was most likely. I smile and set the newspaper down.

"Good morning, mon cherie." I said, stretching a little. She smiled back, a small smile but a satisfied one.

"Good morning, Alexandre." She replied, her voice scratchy from sleep and a bit weary besides. How I wish the woman would just once explain, to me at least, what goes on inside that head of hers. We've been married two years next week and I still don't know half of what she means and none of what she thinks. For the past few days, she has been this way- even more quiet and curt than normal. I know better than to let it bother me- I always have. Still, it would be nicer if she would just explain herself. I don't know if she can though, not out loud. It's why she's a writer.
I watch her, her black pajamas clinging to her thin frame. She moves, back and forth, through the almost choreographed motions of her morning ritual. The sunlight coming in was golden new, tinged with the reflected light of the buildings across the way. The brown of her hair and the brown of the tiles on the wall merge into one shade, and she looks so very natural and home-like. It swells my heart a little to see as I sit waiting.

She carries over my tea, sweetened exactly the way I like it. One thing I do know- it is these very little things that, from her, mean quite a lot. When we met, in university,  it was the first inkling I had to knowing she liked me as much I as I(to my own perplexity at the time) liked her. She would do little things, like offer to bring back my library books, or even just sitting with me a lunch. These things would mean nothing from some other girls- from her, they mean everything, for she would not go out of her way for another man than I.

She sits next to me, craning over to look at the headlines. I move the paper over.

"Not much. The world is in the same state as always."

"It is the way of things. Every day different, every day the same. Living, dying, being born and reborn." Was her remark. I agreed even if I didn't quite understand her.

 I should note here that I am an accountant, a man of numbers and symbols, things that do as you ask if you use them wisely and require nothing more than adherence to their rules. The only way I succeeded in literature and philosophy was because Sylvie had helped me. Poetry in particular is beyond me altogether. It is surprising, I suppose, that we should have fallen in love. It is, as she would say, the way of things. She is still quietly scanning the paper. 

"There is a notice of puppies for sale." I mention, as casually as I can. She glances up, a strand of bang hanging over one eye.

"Oh Alex. No puppies, not now." She hates dogs, although she has promised that one day when we find just the right one, I can have it. She herself likes cats, which in turn I have an aversion to. One of each would be perfectly fair. In time.

"They are poodles anyways. I don't want a poodle." I said. A grin splits across her face, showing her fine teeth. 

"Why not, I could see you with a poodle. You can wear my beret."

"Very funny." I applaud, standing up and bringing my cup over to the sink. When I turn, she is watching me, her eyes unusually soft, and with a strange exhausted excitement in them.

"What?" I asked as I go to get dressed. She flushes, her cheeks shining in the morning sun.


* * *

I dress quickly, realizing that I have lingered too long over the empty words of my paper. I hurry towards the door. Sylvie is waiting by my coat, her arms tightly wrapped around her ribs, pulling her butter yellow bathrobe taut. Her fingers quiver a little. I stop under the coat rack, facing her.

"Sylvie, what is the matter?" I asked. She leans back a little to rest against the wall. Her wide hazel eyes pull me towards her and I kiss her. She laughs a little, her throaty little laugh that only comes from deep inside.

"You're going to be late, Alex." She reminds me.

"I'm not leaving until you tell me why you are acting so strange." I declare. She stares at me for a moment, that strange smile still on her lips. It makes her look girlish, something she usually avoided, and with success. Not this morning. Then she tosses her head, flicking her bang out of her glowing eyes.

"Oh, just... don't bring home lamb for dinner because I can't stomach the smell."

"Alright...?" I trail off, not in the least satisfied. She sighs, a breathy, exasperated, exhilarated little sigh and shrugs her shoulders happily,

"What is your favorite name for a baby? And do you hope it is a boy, or a girl?" 

I will be late to work. Quite late, actually.

* * *
xxx I don't even know Is the tense odd? I  probably should know exactly what tense it is but I don't. I wanted to write/post something so I picked that picture and went with it. It's not very Christmas-y, sorry:) I am planning and hoping to get one more Christmas short story done in the next few days. I just need to... start it. xxx

Saturday, December 19, 2015

// O come, O come Emmanuel //

The city was tinted in shades of grey and dingy brown, like a faded old photograph devoid of any warmth or color it may have once had. Smoke from the chimney's hung between and above the buildings like tired clouds too worn to fly any higher.  A spiteful snowflake or two would whirl down from time to time, as if to remind the world below that there would be no white Christmas tomorrow.
via pinterest
Sitting on the steps of a dingy apartment, a bleakly steaming coffee cup on one side and beaten guitar case on the other sat an equally faded man who was probably in his late twenties.

 He was clad in a dirty shearling coat that looked like it had out-staid it's welcome several years earlier, a pair of baggy jeans and a well loved knit hat. He curled his toes in his worn sneakers and thin socks. Neither were keeping his feet very warm. With a sigh, he looked down at the slip of paper in his hands. He had known it was coming and he had only himself to blame, which he also knew deep down. But it was easier(he decided as he picked himself and his guitar case and his coffee cup up and headed down the sidewalk), much much easier, to just blame it and anything else on God or Fate or karma or whatever you chose to believe in.

He shivered a little bit as the cold wind lashed out for a moment, then slumped his shoulders again as it slunk away. He crossed the street after a minute, glancing from the corner of his eye at the church he had avoided. It was decked with green wreaths and red bows which(in his opinion) looked stupid since there was not and would not be any snow. He could hear, dimly, a choir practicing inside, one last effort for the service that would surely be taking place tonight. This piqued his interest a little, but he kept on walking, heading toward the bridge where he often sat to play his guitar in hopes that someone would hand him a couple bills or even just some change. Since he'd lost his job(at a convenience store) this uncertain means had been his only income. This was why he'd just gotten notice that he needed to be out of the apartment by the end of the week.

"Merry Christmas." He muttered sarcastically as he rounded the corner. Then he stopped, his eyes widening for a moment before his brow furrowed angrily. Standing, in HIS place, beside HIS bench, was a clean cut, tall man about his own age. This intruder was clad in a long, black coat and had a violin tucked under his chin, on which he was playing Christmas songs with his eyes closed.

Our man hiked up his guitar case, stalked up to the violinist and stood glowering at him until the song was done. When the violinist opened his eyes he was met by the sight of a angry, vaguely dirty face glaring into his own. This was startling.

"This is my place, move on." Was the demand.

"Excuse me?" The violinists voice was cultured and polite.

"This is where I play, it's how i make money." The dingy man elaborated, a tinge of embarrassed fury in his voice. He glanced out at the river to avoid the violinists eyes.

"I'm sorry, I wasn't aware. I can move somewhere else if you'd prefer." He said. The dingy man hesitated, noticing for the first time the crowd of people that had gathered around for the violinist. It was far larger than any he had been able to draw, and the pile of money on the bench was larger already than he sometimes earned in a day. His eyes rested on it hungrily. The violinist noted his hesitation and his look, and with a flash divined it's cause.

"Or if you like we could perform together for a little while." He suggested. The dingy man narrowed his eyes.

"I would be willing to defer the earnings to you." He added. The dingy man contemplated for a moment.

"Fine." He banged open his guitar case, grabbed his guitar and tuned it moodily. The violinist played a scale or two and warmed his hands while he waited. Some of the people gathered around walked off, but several stayed.

 After a moment, the dingy man grumbled, "I'm ready." He shuffled himself into a more comfortable position on the bench and played a chord.

"What should we play?" The violinist asked.

"Christmas songs, I guess." The reply was delivered with a curl of the lip. The violinists' eyes lit up.

"Ah, perfect. I was hoping you'd say that. Shall we begin with... oh... do you know 'O come, all ye faithful'?

"Of course I do." His voice was tinged with an unnameable something that gave pause to the violinist for a moment.

"You begin, then." He said, raising his instrument. With a few quick, up beat chords, the dingy guitarist set the key and the two began to play, fumbling often as they adjusted to one another. Before long, though, as one carol followed another, the sound grew stronger, each leaning with satisfaction into their part like they'd been playing together for years. The dingy man was a very good guitarist,he had played since childhood and never given it up, despite everything. And the violinist- every note quivered with grace and his supple, sinewy fingers on the strings flew like a graceful dance.

 By late morning, many people had stopped to listen, and many out of these had taken time to even thank the musicians for this reminder of the season. Somehow, against what the dingy man thought were his wishes, they seemed to play more hymns than anything. Some standards too, all the oldies were in the mix. But the sacred, classic tunes seemed to sound the most natural and yet unnatural in contrast to the hurrying holiday crowds.

Finally, their fingers were too cold to play any longer. The temperature had dropped some and the snow-less clouds had thickened. The two packed up their instruments and paused.

"Would you like to go for a sandwich and coffee?" The violinist offered, motioning across the street to a hip little sandwich shop, the likes of which the dingy man had never been able to grace with his presence. Nor did he think he would be welcome now.

"I dunno..." He said. His stomach growled.

"It's very good, I can assure you. I go there often."

The dingy man was beginning to wonder quite hard about the identity of the intruder. His manner, his clothing, and most of all his amazing talent with his violin, seemed to imply something high above a street musician. He looked across at the shop again. He shrugged.

"Why not." He mumbled, following the violinist to the door. He paused when he noticed a sign on the door advertising live music. His brow furrowed in thought as they entered. The aroma inside was tantalizing, slipping into his nostrils and making his tongue tingle. A low murmur filled the room, from several people sitting at the tables conversing. The decor was a mixture of rustic and industrial, the walls rough boards while the light fixtures and furniture were a matte silver. A few prints hung on the walls.

The place was a popular haunt of artists, writers and those who fancied themselves something similar.  Most of the people sitting around were either writing or drawing, and most were drinking coffee. As he looked around at the assortment, he glanced down at what he had felt were out dated clothes. He didn't stand out as bad as he had thought! One girl with long red hair trailing in waves from under a knit beret glanced at him out of the corner of her eyes as they walked up to the counter. The man behind it looked flustered, a phone cradled by his ear as he put bread into the case.

"One minute, I'm so sorry." He said, glancing behind himself for help, but in vain. Apparently he was the only one at work. The two walked to a table and set down their instrument cases, then went back over to wait. The dingy man contemplated the man behind the counters copious beard while he finished his phone conversation. It wasn't long before he hung up, his forehead wrinkled with discouragement.

"I'm sorry about the wait, guys... the band who's supposed to be filling the stage today just called to say they can't make it because their twin vocalists are sick. I guess I'll have to just turn on the radio." He sighed. "What can I get ya?"

"That's too bad." The violinist mused, as he surveyed the selections. The dingy man honestly didn't care what he got. "You don't have anyone else you could call?"

"Not on the holiday." The man replied. He shook his head. "I feel so bad... everyone expects something special for Christmas and now I don't have it to offer."

"Hmmm... I'll take a roast beef sandwich, please. And a black tea."

"I... I guess I'll have the same."

"Coming right up." The man turned to prepare the sandwiches.

"Would you want to see if both or one of us could fill the stage for a while?" The violinist asked the dingy man. He looked startled.

"I hadn't thought of that. Sure, why not. Got nothin' else to do and people might like it."

"Great. Excuse me-" The violinist addressed the man behind the counter. "This gentleman and I have been playing Christmas Carols across the road all morning, and we've gotten into quite a groove... would you like us to play?"

The man behind the counter look relieved. "Could you? I'd be very grateful- and sandwiches are on the house."'

"It's our pleasure."The violinist replied graciously. He took his sandwich and was about to go sit down.

"What should I write for names on the sign?" The man asked. The violinist hesitated, an nervous expression crossing his face for an instant.

"Say... Len Bradley and-" He turned with a look of embarrassment. "I'm so sorry. I never asked you your name." The dingy man shrugged.

"It's no biggie. I'm David Grant."

"Thank you. Start whenever you're ready, and if you have any questions tell me." The man said as he wrote their names up on the chalkboard behind his head.

"We will." They went and sat down. Before eating, Len bent his head for a moment. David furrowed his brow, but instinctively waited until he had looked back up to begin eating.

"So," Len said. "I guess I should have introduced myself before. I didn't think of it." David cracked a grin, the food already improving his disposition.

"Yeah, I guess. I wasn't exactly welcoming pleasantries. Sorry 'bout that. It's just-" He stopped abruptly, his ears reddening. He took a gulp of tea, grimacing at the heat.

"Well, I can understand. I think it's worked out rather well though, so it's all good." Len had a funny way of mixing rather formal conversation with common expressions. David nodded.

"Yeah. Sure did bring in a better crowd than normal. Guess I've gotta credit you for that. You're not bad with that fiddle." ,

Len laughed outright, nearly choking on his sandwich. David looked surprised, then doubtfully chuckled a little himself. Len collected himself and straightened his face.

"Well, I do my best." He said, his eyes still twinkling with amusement and a trace of guilt. David cocked one eyebrow and swallowed the last bite of his sandwich. He noticed with some embarrassment that Len was only half done. Well he probably gets a chance to eat that well a lot more often than I do, he thought resentfully. He sat slurping his tea while Len finished his sandwich, as methodical as he could be. When he had finished, he swallowed the last of his tea and wiped his hands.

"Shall we?"

They walked up to the small platform on the far side of the room. It was built into the corner, just far enough away from the light to be slightly shaded. David dragged a chair up and pulled out his guitar.

A few of the diners glanced up as the two tuned their instruments and then began a soft rendition of 'O Come all ye Faithful'. After a few moments, the people listening began to smile, turning to each other with comments and appreciative smiles. They played, on and on, as people came and went. One song merged into the next until finally the sky outside was growing dim. David paused and glance at the clock.

"It' nearly 4:00." He said. "One more song?"

"Do you know 'O come, O come Emmanuel?'" Len asked, his fingers still poised over the strings.

David felt a twinge of memory shiver in his stomach.

"Yeah." He paused. "First Christmas song I learned, actually." He added, almost under his breath.

"Wonderful. Let's do it." David fingered the first, mournful E minor chord, as Len joined with a flourish. The haunting melody floated through the now nearly empty shop. David forgot he was even playing as the familiar chords fell from his fingers. Unconsciously the words drifted through his mind.

Rejoice, Rejoice! Emmanuel has come to thee, O Israel...

The violin was singing the melody so purely that you could almost hear the words in it's tone. Len's eyes were shut, a look almost of pain on his face. And yet it was happiness too. He leaned into the song with his whole body, the tune spiraling up out of the innermost depth of his heart. The few people listening sat in silence as the song ended, resolving into the last triumphant chord.

Those that were listening broke into applause, the sound echoing in the room. Len suddenly stepped forward. David glanced up at him, his brow furrowing.

"Thank you all. I hope you remember the true meaning of the season. Merry Christmas." He said, emphasizing the Christ in Christmas. His voice, though gentle, commanding the entire room and was filled with a deep earnestness. David ears grew red and he glanced down. The faces of those listening were thoughtful. David suddenly noticed the red haired girl hadn't left.

She was watching them, her face still and intense. Her lashes were dark with tears. She held a gel pen in her hand and an open notebook sat on the table in front of her. An empty coffee cup was forgotten by her elbow. David met her eyes for a second.  She didn't drop her eyes, and a question seemed to float in them. Then she did look down, as David felt his ears growing redder.

He watched her slip her book into a faded canvas bag with a lion printed on it. Len had turned to put away his violin. The girl pushed her chair back and stood up, sliding it back under the table before heading towards the stage. David felt a moment of panic. Thankfully, Len straightened just as she reached them. He smiled down at her as David made his escape by beginning to put away his guitar.

"I just wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed and appreciated your music." Her voice was clear and concise, but sweet. David strained his eyes to see if he could see her without turning. He couldn't.

"It was a wonderful blessing... I'm so thankful God sent you here today. I pray you've reminded everyone here of the true meaning tomorrow holds."

David cringed and snapped his guitar case shut. He turned around. The girl looked over at him.

"That is the best thing you could say." Len replied. His face looked like he'd just been given an unexpected gift. "I pray the same." She squinted at him.

"Wait... I feel like I've seen you somewhere be-" Her eyes widen. "Leonard Shaw?"

Len flushed guiltily. "Yes." Her face was etched with excitement.

"How did I not recognize you before? I so enjoy your music and your wonderful testimony."

David was staring at the man in shock. Now that he heard the name, of course he knew the man. He was one of the biggest young names in classical music(which David followed in spite of himself), and well known for his strong but quiet faith. Len- or Leonard- had been relaxed up until now. Even the girls words had just seemed to give him a genuine, relieved pleasure. But now he seemed to have stiffened up.

"Thank you... that's encouraging to hear." He said quietly. She smiled.

"Don't worry, I'm not going to make a huge production out of you." She promised. "You're only human and I always think I would hate that if I was a musician."

"Well it's alright sometimes. But sometimes you want a little.. break." He admitted, a real smile coming back to his face.

"Of course." She turned to David. "And you- any surprises?" She asked.

"No. Not that I know of, anyways." He replied, glancing sideways.

"You were amazing too." She said. He could feel her gaze on him, so he reluctantly looked back up.

"Thank you." He said. She looked at him for a moment, then sighed.

"Well, I should go. Thank you both again so much. And Merry Christmas." She said, turning toward the door.

"The same to you." Len called, watching her go with gratitude on his slender face. He looked down at David with a sheepish look.

" 'Not bad with that fiddle.'" David shook his head. "I should have recognized you, myself."

"I was glad you didn't." He said, as they carried their instruments down and went to take leave of the shop owner.  He thanked them several times and took their numbers to add to his list.

"We'd love to have you back anytime." He said, shaking their hands.

"Maybe we'll come back sometime. Give us a call." Len smiled as the were ushered out the door by the jingle of the bell hanging on it. For some reason, instead of going their separate ways, they walked silently to the bench on the bridge, where they had first met. When they reached it, both set down their cases and stood, watching the river for a long moment.

"Thank you for doing this." Len said at last. David didn't look up, just squinted a little at the glitter of a huge Christmas tree down by the water front.

"I enjoyed it. Anyways, it's quite the honor to play with you, even for a real musician. Let alone a deadbeat like me." He said bitterly, than regretted it. He never played for pity. What he did and was was... what it was. He knew that. And he didn't want anyone else's control over it, or pity for him now. Len didn't seem to feel pity.

"A real musician isn't measured by the school they attended, or the instrument they use. Not even by who they play for, or what they play." He mused aloud. David listened, the words ringing true in his heart.

"What is one measured by, then?" He challenged his new friend. Len was silent for a moment.

"I think only God knows that." He said at last. "He's the only one who can really make a musician after all."

"Huh." David mustered all the disdain he could. Somehow, at the end of this day, it was a little harder than normal. His notice of eviction... playing all those Christmas hymns that would never leave his fingers even if he tried to send them away... that silly red-haired girl... and now Len's quiet words. Somehow at the end of this day, what he had thought he thought seemed a little different. Len was looking over at him. He could see it out of the corner of his eyes. He finally turned and met his gaze. He read the question in Lens eyes.

"I'm not really on the best of terms with... God." He said, failing to sound as defiant as he had wanted. He sounded defeated instead. He scraped his toe along the bottom of the railing.

"I'm sorry to hear that." Len said. To Davids surprise his voice didn't carry disdain or judgement. Just true regret. In all these 5 long years he had received everything from anger, to disgust, to tearful pleading. But never just a calm assured acceptance. It deflated him like a pin in a balloon.

"Yeah." He looked back out over the river. He blinked to clear the blur that gathered in his eyes, obscuring the pointillist surface of the river as it reflected the fading gradient of the sky. He could sense that Len wasn't going to push him further and yet he suddenly needed him to, needed him to ask him more. Because he himself need to say it.

"You're a lot different than the Christians I knew." The words came. Len raised his eyebrows.

"How so?"

"You just are. You don't push people and you just do what you do and are different." That sounded intelligent. "It's like God is really real to you."

"He is." There was reverence in his voice.

"When I was growing up, I don't know, it just wasn't like that." David continued. He didn't know why he felt so comfortable talking to this man he'd known only for a few hours. But he did.

"Everyone made rules and talked about stuff but none of it seemed that important. It was like being a certain way was the important thing, not the why behind it."

"I can see why that would drive you away."

"It wasn't just that. I took guitar lessons from when I was about, oh... probably 12. And I loved it. It was like... I don't know, flying. The way you imagine a bird must feel when you see one just racing through the air. That doesn't make sense does it?"

"On the contrary I understand you perfectly."

"So I kept learning until my teacher couldn't teach me anymore. And that's when it started. I wanted to keep going, but my parents said I needed to focus on 'more important things'. I tried, I really did. I kept playing for church and stuff and my parents were sort of satisfied. Then it was time to pick a college and I just wanted to go to music school. My dad and mom wanted me to get a business degree. I didn't. I always had done what that said, but I was older now and this is my life, and so we fought. And then I left home and God and all of that behind and... tried to do my own thing. I mean it worked at first. Like, I was able to get a job at a convenience store and pay my rent and then I played guitar at clubs and stuff to make some extra. It was going great except..."


"Well, I, I... I hung around the wrong people and did some stuff I shouldn'tve."


"So now I'm fired from my job, I had to break with the group I was playing with and now I've lost my apartment 'cause I can't pay for it. I don't know what I'm going to do. But I'm not going back to my parents for help. If there is one thing I hate, its 'I told you so.'"

"Well I can't blame you there."

There was silence for a while. David felt like he shouldn't have said so much to a basic stranger. But at the same time he felt so relieved.

"David.. I don't know how much I feel I have a right to say. But i will sat this- even if you can't go back to your parents, you can always come back to God."

"I don't even know if I ever was really with Him." David said miserably. "It was all empty words."

"It doesn't have to be. Look, my church has a service tonight. You're welcome to come and I can talk to you afterwards." Len said, laying his hand of Davids shoulder. The streetlights were on now and no trace of light left in the sky.

"I'll think about it."

Len reached into his pocket for his phone, glancing at the time as he did so. "Would you like my number?"

"I don't have a phone now, actually."

"Oh, of course. Well, I go to that cafe a lot, if you ever want to come check for me. I'm so sorry but I really have to go. The service starts at 7:00, it's at Grace Baptist on Hope Street. I hope to see you there, but I'll understand if I don't." Len said, grabbing his case.

"Len-" David said as he turned. "Thanks. If God really is real, than I think He sent you."

"I like to think so too."

* * *

David sat on his bed, staring at the guitar case directly across from him, against the wall. He had always said he would never again set foot in a church. He was done with all that. And yet, now...

Len's words had really hit him. And hearing his own story, out loud had put some things into perspective, too. He didn't know what to think, but for the first time he felt that maybe the things he'd been told could really matter. A lot.

With a sudden, decisive movement, he went to his closet for the nicest shirt he owned. By nicest, he meant the least dingy. He buttoned it quickly, glancing at the clock. He'd have enough time. He stuck his shoes on, grabbed his coat and hat and went out the door, shivering at how cold the air had gotten.

The walk wasn't far, and as he covered the distance with long, winter-hurrying strides, his thoughts turned into a kind of prayer. He paused in front of the church, looking up at the steeple, feeling the light on his cheeks, hearing the all-too-familiar buzz from inside. It felt both like a strange deja-vu and a new beginning.

He walked up the steps and slipped inside, just as the service was starting.Perfect timing. He thought, for now no one would talk to him.

He sat, listening to the words, different and yet the same to what he remembered. But again the difference. To these people, looking up and listening to the old, old story with rapt faces, God was certainly real. And then Len got up, violin in hand. He looked crisp and professional in his grey jacket and black pants and tie. A pretty girl with dark hair was at the piano. Len raised his violin.

And the music started.

With a jolt, David instantly recognized the song.

 'O come, O come Emmanuel.'

 The melody filled the church with as much mystery and majesty as it had at the coffee shop.

As the chorus rang out, David knew. And in his hearts the words sang out, born on the wings of the song as it played...

O come, O come, Emmanuel.

xxx I honestly don't know if this turned out how I want it. I'm so ridiculously overtired. But here it is nonetheless. I thought it up in response to a prompt I read to write about Christmas without being cliche, and also a blog post by Alea Harper of Elvish Pens, Fantastical Writings on same topic. I don't know. It is a little cliche still. At least it didn't snow. No one kissed. And Len is NOT an angel.

 I may try to do one(non-cliche-as-possible-story) every year. Haha right. Anyways, I'd love feedback on this one because as you should be able to tell at this point, I'm not sure if I succeeded with it. Actually I'm pretty much positive I didn't. So, I want you to tell me some things to fix/change/help so I can maybe someday re-write it(now I feel guilty because I just read a poem about maybe+someday. And also didn't someone just post about the lie that is tomorrow? Ok I'm rambling now. I hope you're having a blessed Christmas season so far. Be still in the busyness if at all possible! xxx

(note: after getting feedback, I've edited this story a little. Hope you like it! Thanks so much to those who commented! I can't say enough how much it means <3)

Thursday, December 17, 2015

// tomorrow is a lie //

// there is no such thing as tomorrow.

when what you dream is tomorrow comes
it will be today.

tomorrow is a hope and sometimes a lie but never, ever a promise.

so when you say 'i'll do that tomorrow'
you're really saying 'i'll do that never.'

you can't do anything tomorrow.

you only have today. //

xxx i've been mulling on this and wishing it was something we could really wrap our minds around. i told it to my sister and she of course promptly wrote a poem... maybe she'll let me share it... anyways. i hope this sobers and reminds you the way it has me! also, more christmas stuff coming soon, never fear! //

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

// hail the sunrise //

via google search

// Hail the sunrise, Christmas morn
Darkness dies as Light is born
Tender Babe in golden straw,
Should scarce be held be palace wall.

Hail the Infant, Heaven's King,
At His birth the stars all sing
Of what now is and what will be
This day of all eternity

Hail the God Child, sleeping now
What His dreams, as cattle low?
Of darkness deep and tomb of stone
Or suffering infinite on a cross, alone?

Hail the Sunrise, Christmas morn
Deaths death-knell has just been rung
As the light touches one small face
Night meets day and justice, grace //

xxx another one of those poems I've mentioned that just sort of pops out when I wake up... it honestly sounds more like Easter than Christmas... but really how can you think of one without the other? xxx

Monday, December 14, 2015

// a painters wish by karin boye //

I would like to paint a meagre fragment
of the shabbiest everyday, so worn and grey,
but radiant with that fire that made
the whole world leap from the Creator's hand.
I would like to show how what we disdain
is holy and deep and the Spirit's attire.
I would like to paint a wooden spoon in such a way
that people had an inkling of God!
xx by Karin Boye xx


Thursday, December 10, 2015

// two poems //

by maya angelou

xxx i liked these two poems and thought i'd share them xxx

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

// i long to fly, i long to fly //

 via pinterest
// i'm an eagle with my wings clipped awry
but i long to fly, i long to fly

i'm a dove afraid to go so high
but i long to fly, i long to fly

i'm a little girl under a great big sky
but i long to fly, i long to fly //

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

// haiku # 13 //

// blankets hugging legs
sunlight kissing my forehead
I squeeze my pillow //

xxx cleaning out my drafts... i had a bunch of haikus i'd written and not published yet xxx

// haiku #12 //

// i philosophize
often while in the shower
thoughts, water, down the drain //

// haiku #11 //

 // nets of mesh or words
either catches just as well
breaks our fragile wings //

// haiku #10 //

face set into hands
sorrow heavy like white stone
lasting through ages

// haiku #9 //

via pinterest

// you drink black coffee
i sip water from plastic
yellow sunny cup //

Sunday, December 6, 2015

// by Your love (mary magdalenes praise)//

via pinterest

I stood there before You,                                                                                                                      
I was what I was,                                                                                                                                
You saw through the colors,                                          
The chains and the gauze.   
My eyes fell in shame                                                                                                                           
For I knew what You saw,                                                                                                                 
But now that is over,                                                                                                               
I'm saved by Your love.

The stain, red as crimson                                                                                                                           I ne'er could erase,                                                                                                                                 No matter how hard I tried                                                                                                                     
To win just one bit of grace.                                                                                                                      
I had no where to turn                                                                                                                             And I knew I was lost,                                                                                                                           
But now a deeper crimson                                                                                                                    
Has covered my cost

You alone cared enough,                                                                                                                    
You alone looked my way,                                                                                                                  
And saw past the sinner                                                                                                                          
To a soul to be saved. 
I give You my all now,                                                                                                                          
Its all that I own,                                                                                                                             
Though it seems a small token                                                                                                              
For the grace you have shown.

Daniel Gerhartz

I stand now before You,                                                                                                                           
I am what I am,                                                                                                                                        
A soul dressed in garments                                                                                                                     
As white as a lamb,                                                                                                                        
Because of Your mercy                                                                                                                           
I now have new birth,                                                                    
And I'll show You now,                                                                      
To the ends of the earth

I'll show You now                                                                                  
By Your Love

// false faces //

Can you imagine what we look like to God? 'Cause, you know, we see faces but He sees hearts. I'm gonna bet if we could see them too, things would look a whole lot different.

Like, that pretty covergirl with her super model strut, perfect body and shiny smile. Nice designer clothes, oh la la. But if you could pull away the painted face you see a heart crisscrossed with scars, beaten beyond recognition, dripping with tears of blood, all wrapped up with a chain and a bow.  And right in the middle one big weeping hole.

Or that pretty boy in his suit and tie, with a car so bright it could blind your eyes, good thing he's got those dark sunglasses I guess. All spruced up, but if he came unbuttoned I bet you'd see a different story. A smoky grey heart with money on the mind, better look nice cause inside ain't pretty, but no one can see it so who cares, right?

How about that old lady, she's not much use you'd think, smells like roses and is dressed in pink, help her across another road. They say when you get a little closer to heaven your heart starts showing more as your skin wears thin. I think it's true and when her skins gone her hearts gonna shine so bright and smell even sweeter, she may be slow but she ran a good race.

Two men passing on the road, you might say ones a nobody, the other a bigshot. Eight digit salary and a giant playhouse. But if you peeked pass what you've been told, you'll see the first man is richer with a heart of gold. Since, after all, that's about the most you take with you in the end.

What about me? Am I doing good? Showing my best side in a better mood? Yeah so maybe I am but that's not what God sees, even my best isn't much. He sees the brambles that grow in that cloudy swamp garden of mine, when the waters stirred up its a little more fine, but what helps flowers grow through is when His light shines...

We're all false faces and they sure won't last, though we work awful hard on our palaces of glass, if we all would just take a look in and then breathe out maybe we could touch another's heart and help it somehow.

'Cause after all we can have a whole lot and look pretty good and still have nothing if our hearts are empty.

What's in your heart?

1 Samuel 6:7

//this is different than what I normally write... all slangy. Odd rhythm. I like it though. The idea came while we were in church this evening, we were talking about the time King Nebuchadnezzar turned into an animal and it struck me that even though every one else saw a successful king God already saw a mad beast. He just chose to reveal the truth to everyone. //

Saturday, December 5, 2015

// haiku #7 //

// here's the thing, ok
i just want to show you how
light shines in the dark //

Friday, December 4, 2015

// haiku #8 //

via pinterest

// skin white as pure snow
lips red as a full-blown rose
heart steeped in black tea //

// haikus #5-6 //

via pinterest

// lean out the window
try to catch a breath, a breeze
hear it in the grass

warm languor drapes you
damp drops on chest and forehead
finally wind comes //

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

// written august 31 2015 //

{written August 31 2015}

Too tired to sleep
too energetic to accomplish
My minds playing tricks again
Life seems so dauntless

Lull me with Your presence
comfort me with Your peace
sooth my troubled mind
and help me go to sleep

In the shadow of Your love
the way ahead seems bright
When my vision gets so dark
Remind me of Your Light

Fill me with Your spirit
help me feed its fire-glow
Your wisdom in Your Word
It's all I need to know.

Too loved to be lonely
too full to be empty
And a plan that is perfect,
only my fear preventing

when illusions swirl inside
clear the mist with Your breath
if shame tries to hide
cleanse my life with Your Death

In your arms I can sleep
Accomplish all You have planned
In my strength, just dust,
With Your spirit, I stand