Tag Archives: love

Do-Overs

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Do-Overs

Ever wish someone would yell, “Cut!” and you’d get a chance to do the scene over?

Maybe you lost your temper. Maybe you felt the fool after spilling your guts. Or, maybe you tripped and fell, beginning years of pain and frustration.

There are all types of fumbles, and we all make plenty of them.

Only occasionally do we get a chance for a real do-over.

You may have noticed that much of my writing takes a positive vibe. I like to share messages that inspire goodness and mercy. I like to get into meaty matters of the heart. That’s because I’m a grateful recipient of mercy and grace—and of many opportunities for do-overs!

But I love do-overs as hobbies, too. I love to re-do furniture, do and re-do art, and re-do stuff in my house. Since I’ve spent a lot of time on projects, and haven’t been writing enough, I decided to take this blog in a little different direction. I’m going to start weaving in projects I work on with my spare time!

There’ll be a little how-to with these projects, and I’ll weave some matters of heart, inspiration and reflection along the way. How do you like the sound of that? They say we bloggers need to stick to theme, so in the past I started other blogs for other endeavors, but my gut tells me this, the “writing” blog, needs a little more pizazz. A little more of the real, every day me.

Here’s a little intro, please tell me what you think:

Repurposed Old Cabinet

Found: old cabinet for sale nearby—and less than $100! But this ole gal was bland.
And, Oh my God, what is that awful smell inside???

It reminded me of one of the bold proclamations Jesus made to the insincere religious men of his day:

“You Pharisees and teachers are in for trouble! You’re nothing but show-offs. You’re like tombs that have been whitewashed. On the outside they are beautiful, but inside they are full of bones and filth.”

Matthew 23:28, Contemporary English Version

Yes, this cabinet looked okay on the outside. It was white (ish) and neutral (meh); not really offensive. . . kinda pretty even. But inside! Not only are those shelves too short to store most things (dysfunctional!) but they were poorly painted–and what in the world is that smell?!?!!

Stink. Stank. Stunk!

So into the garage she went, to air out and undergo some much-needed cleaning and refinishing.

I removed the shelves, deep-cleaned every inch inside and out, sprayed her down with disinfectant and Febreeze, and she still. stunk. BAD. It was IN the wood, whatever it was. I placed baking soda inside the cupboard and drawer and let it set a day or two.

Hmmm. Still a little stinky. Maybe fresh paint will do the trick, I thought. So I didn’t give up.

After several coats, inside and out, I only smelled that stank when she’d been closed up overnight and then opened again.

Hmmm. Maybe she just needs a little more time to heal. Let’s give her a new purpose. Once she gets going serving a good purpose, maybe some of that old ghastly odor will dissipate.

So, I added a $5 mirror from a second-hand store (which I refurbished the frame to lighten it yet let its pretty design show through), some wine glass holders ($15 each, painted and attached to the top) and a light strip along the top inside of the cabinet. Then I added a little extra touch on the door front, feeling she deserved a little something fancy front and center. Now she has a prominent place and function in our home!

Just a little bit fancy!
Now she’s clean and pretty inside and filled with “spirit!”

Oh, sorry—apologies to those of us who must avoid alcohol due to that unwelcome “allergy” known as addiction. I have an allergy too (gluten) that means I must avoid bread. Sometimes it’s hard to even see a picture of my old friend, bread. But I still keep it in the house and serve it to my family. I truly hope that this picture doesn’t throw anyone addicted to alcohol back into drinking.

With the help of a little air freshening device inside the drawer for a month or so, I’m happy to say this gal no longer stinks. She got a do-over in life! Now she smiles and curtsies bashfully when people rave about how lovely she is. She is glad to serve a purpose—to hold and present items that we and our visitors seem to enjoy. She is hospitable, bright, and, one more little thing—she can lock up at night!

Take the key and lock her up. . . my fair lady!

I love do-overs. Maybe that’s the heart of why I’m a Christian. I love that God gives me do-overs. Yes, I realize that if I mess up there are still real-life consequences. Like, if I jump off a tall building, I’ll break my body. And if I eat bread, cereal, cookies—anything with gluten, I will suffer for it. And there’s gluten in almost everything!! But in my relationship with God through Christ, I am reminded of the good that is in me. God took my hurt, angry and lost soul and gave me new life. He cleaned out the stink. He comforts my heart with such patience and kindness that I feel renewed again–every time I need it. He imbues me with love and purpose and the power to fulfill it.

How about you? Where are you in your journey toward inner health and life purpose? Do tell! And your hobbies, do you love a good do-over too? Leave me a note and a link so we can see what you’re up to!

Happy Do-Overs to you,

Joan T. Warren

This podcast episode here

“But it’s not COVID. . . “

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“But it’s not COVID. . . “

This season, I’ve heard it again and again. I’ve heard myself say it. “It’s not COVID” has become the new catchphrase. It means relax. It means don’t worry. It means it’s okay if I’m here.

Or does it? Is it okay if I’m here?

One thing I wish we’d learned from the pandemic is TO AVOID SPREADING ILLNESS!!!!!

I’ve missed four holiday events and three weeks of visits with grandbabies, friends and family because someone went on with life as normal. ALL. BECAUSE. “IT” wasn’t COVID.

But maybe it WAS strep. Maybe it WAS RSV. Maybe it WAS a stomach virus. Maybe it WAS the flu. Maybe it was a nasty cold.

Whatever it was, it (along with all the rest of us who’ve been sick lately) resulted in countless hours of suffering, spread to countless people. It meant many missed days of work for many people. It meant many doctor visits, much expense in medical care and medicine. Weeks without hugs, kisses, shared meals. Okay, so maybe we didn’t die, but still, why spread it around?

Some people just don’t get it.

We know how to avoid spreading illness.

Symptoms = Stay away

Yes, your family loves you and wants to see you. But the truth is, they’d rather not get what you have.

So there it is. No sugar coated, emotionally supportive, poetry-laden, relational or spiritual message today. Just a little vent and some sage advice:

Keep that bug to yourself.

Make it your mission to stop that bug at you.

That’s all for today. Oh, and one more thing. I wish you and yours a Merry Christmas and a Healthy New Year. I really do. Achoo.

Joan

Serenity Prayer 2.0

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  • A little update to the old standby, this prayer spilled from my heart one day. I pulled over to jot it down. Here it is, in case you might need it too.

Lord,

Grant me the serenity to accept reality and face it head-on with you,

the courage to do what is right,
the faith to let go of what is not mine to do,
and the wisdom to see which is which. . . and when.

Grant me the power to love beyond my personal triggers,
the patience to respond supportively when others are venting and reacting,
the perspective to see when it is time to draw a line,
and the fortitude to let my yes mean yes and my no mean no.

I thank You for your everlasting kindness and the apt and ample supply of your Holy Spirit, that we may indeed have those things we ask for in faith.
Amen.

Audio version, click for my podcast link here: JOAN T WARREN PODCAST SERENITY 2.0

All is not Sweet

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All is not Sweet

Yesterday’s violence at the US Capitol saddens me. My last post was for Old Glory. That glory, has it faded, or are we jaded? Listen to one side, it sounds right. Then, the other. Activists with hearts for the downtrodden. Intellectuals with Harvard degrees. High or low, black or white–or pink or yellow, rich or poor, gay or straight, how easily we can slip into judging others as if we knew for sure.

As I reflect upon the last decade or two of political polarization, my grievous thoughts took me back to high school. It was the 1970’s. Richard Nixon shook his jowls and held up a peace sign. The word IMPEACHED splayed across the headlines. Visions of nuclear holocaust fueled my steps to school and George Orwell’s 1984 was our dreaded future. My favorite poem was by Ben Jonson. It went like this:

Still to be neat, still to be dressed,
As you were going to a feast;
Still to be powdered, still perfumed; 
Lady, it is to be presumed,
Though art’s hid causes are not found,
All is not sweet, all is not sound.

Give me a look, give me a face,
That makes simplicity a grace;
Robes loosely flowing, hair as free;
Such sweet neglect more taketh me
                       Than all th’adulteries of art. 
They strike mine eyes, but not my heart.

In all my teen and adult life, I’ve never known exactly who or what to believe. Action, inaction, which is worse? Talk? Lies? Manipulation? Who knows? So, I believe nothing but my gut, as I look in your eyes, and see your actions. Time will tell the rest.

Political lies and unrest striketh not mine eyes nor my heart, folks.

Truth is between us. Not out there.

I’ll still salute this country, its freedom values at core. I’ll still salute you, no matter how we differ. Not because I’m a blind follower, but because I stand for love. Because I value simplicity as a grace.

Embracing Diversity

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Embracing Diversity

As we approach election day in the USA, this previous post from 2017 seems especially relevant. Click on the link below and please, weigh in with your comments.

For those of us who don’t like poems, I’ve copied and pasted a paragraph of reflection from that post beneath the link.

Let’s keep our focus where it should be, on loving one another.

https://joantwarren.com/2017/02/07/diversity/

May we care for our planet, and may we care for each other: Republican and Democrat, Independent, Green, Black, Blue, Whatever. May we care for each other whether behind walls or by reaching out. May we care for each other whether we feel a need to set personal boundaries and draw lines or whether we feel we’ve been ostracized, abused or neglected by someone’s boundaries or lines. May we care for each other whether worried about losing rights for equality and choice or to bear arms. May we care for each other whether we trace our ancestral culture to Isaac or Ishmael, to Sitting Bull, Dalai Lama, Peter the Great or Henry the 8th. May we do so without having to face a common foe threatening our existence, forcing us to pull together to fight it. May we care for each other, period.

May we care, lovingly.

Joan T. Warren

Oh! I just found an ABSOLUTELY BEAUTIFUL video from Ireland that flows perfectly with the diversity poem you just read. Jump over to youtube with this link and soak it in!

Wes Grierson

Elusive Pleasures: 10 Ways to Feel Better!

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Elusive Pleasures: 10 Ways to Feel Better!

What if you could do some simple brain exercises to get more pleasure in your life? Would you be interested?

What? Exercise my brain? How in the world do I do that?

Good news! For these exercises, you don’t even need to get off the couch! You don’t need to purchase new work-out clothes or shoes. Better yet, there is no gym membership required!

Welcome to the fourth of this five-part series, “Elusive Pleasures.” In this segment, we’ll explore brain exercises to improve our pleasure responses.

As I said before, neuroscientists are our friends! The research they’ve conducted paves the way for us to change the way our brains respond to any challenge. Today we’ll review ten science-backed ways science we can start our internal workout:

1.     Develop new interests and rekindle your interest in activities you left off long ago. New neuronal connections can be super-charged by learning new things. This can be as simple as learning to play an instrument, learning a new language, or learning how to crochet. Any novel task can stimulate new neuronal connections in your brain! Choose a pleasurable, interesting activity, and strengthen the pleasure circuitry in your brain!

painting and drawing tools set
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

2.     Read a favorite book aloud with a friend. Yes, reading aloud is different for you, and the process of taking turns hearing the book in your own voice and in your friend’s voice will lay new neuronal connections that enhance the pleasure center in your brain.

couple holding books sitting on bed

Photo by Zun Zun on Pexels.com

 

3.     Add a new aroma to your favorite activities. By adding an enjoyable scent with an enjoyable activity, more areas of your brain will be stimulated with a pleasure signal. The olfactory system is highly associated with emotional responses, so this one’s an easy exercise! It’s as easy as adding a lavender bath bomb to your warm bubbly bath.

aroma basket beautiful flowers blooming

 4.     Try new foods! Yes, it’s true! Learn about new foods, recipes and seasonings. Ask others about their recipes, how they use the foods you’ve never tried, and give it a try yourself. The pleasure circuit in our brain fires wildly when we’re engaged in an activity that sustains life, and eating is high on this list!

 5.     While you’re at it, explore the nutritional benefits of foods that help release dopamine in your brain. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that is associated with pleasure. Foods and supplements that increase dopamine include those rich in L-tyrosine, such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs and dairy. Consider drinking tea, seasoning with turmeric with pepper, supplements like Ginkgo Biloba, and others you’ll find on the list on this site: Think Tyrosine.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

anise aroma art bazaar

6.     Consider probiotics. There’s so much talk these days about probiotics. Some research supports the idea that toxins in our gut from “bad bacteria,” (lipopolysaccharides) actually destroy the brain cells that produce dopamine! Probiotics can rebalance the gut’s bacteria, thus preserving our dopamine-producing brain cells so we can enjoy more pleasure.

7.     If you can, engage in a strenuous activity like running for 30 minutes or more. In some people, this releases the body’s natural opioid into the pleasure centers of the brain. This has been known as the “runner’s high.” If you’re not able to engage in strenuous activity, instead do isometric exercises. This involves tightening and relaxing different muscle groups, but not necessarily moving the joints. Hold each contraction five to ten seconds, and do this several times for each muscle group in your body. Include your facial muscles, too! The simple act of smiling (yep, a big, toothy grin) can bring the pleasure response.

woman running wearing gray shirt

Photo by Luka Siemionov on Pexels.com

 

8.     Engage senses you don’t use often, such as stereognosis. This is the ability you have to determine what an object is by its feel. For example, place a few objects in a bag. Choose common objects like a paper clip, a spoon, a few coins and a comb. Now, without looking, place your hand in the bag and identify each object by its feel. That’s stereognosis! Have a friend (or your kids) gather items for your bag, and you gather items for theirs. This simple exercise, though it may seem silly, can create and strengthen neuronal connections and increase your pleasure responses.

9.     Walk into a store, bank or library rather than doing business by machines. Interacting with other human beings rather than machines and recordings strengthens our neuronal connections and pleasure circuits. Take the time to look these people in the eye, ask how they’re doing today, and really listen. Encourage them, compliment them or express your gratitude for the job they’re doing. Your reward? Enhanced neuronal connections and pleasure responses!

 

adult baker breads city

P hoto by Tran on Pexels.com

10.  Last, but certainly not least, is for mature audiences only. If you’re over 18, you can read on:
Read the rest of this entry

Diversity

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it burst forth from rock, high in the mountains-

its journey before unseen.

now resplendent with light, with movement,

wind catching droplets,

splaying into sky

in joyful play.

then down.

down the jagged crests,

tracing o’er all crevices,

round mossy stones,

in grand descent,

trusting powers drawing its way.

to go, where least resistance begs,

unrelenting,

e’re to make its journey

as it may.

til when upon a jutting cliff,

a solid mass,

blockade,

its forces split.

“Which way?”

the stream,

it wonders,

droplets crash and turn in wild careen,

hesitating here in brief,

then to choose.

or be chosen.

diverse paths-

bifurcating,

two where once was one.

Yet on, no stopping,

naught to bring them back,

or time to pause in retrospection.

down, they travel, each its separate way.

the two,

now different,

lost to what once was.

yet

both-

still valuable with richness unsurpassed.

both-

bringing life and nourishment to all they touch.

both-

essentially the same, though drawn in diverse ways.

until at last

they reach the sea.

again

the two are one

in unity.

the world,

enfolded,

molded,

cleansed and moistened-

life

entrusted

here

so lovingly.

image

-Joan T Warren

This free-style prose flowed from my mind and fingertips tonight as thoughts I’ve been pondering for months–thoughts of sadness and turmoil over our polarization as a country, which is torn between left and right political views and personalities, thoughts of the hope for unity and love rising up, embracing diversity, thoughts of value and respect for all living things, born and unborn, bound and free, rich and poor, faithful and disdainful, wild and tame–all came together in the imagery of the water cycle, in what I perceive to be a love-gift from our maker.

May we care for our planet, and may we care for each other: Republican and Democrat, Independent, Green, Black, Blue, Whatever. May we care for each other whether behind walls or by reaching out. May we care for each other whether we feel a need to set personal boundaries and draw lines or whether we feel we’ve been ostracized, abused or neglected by someone’s boundaries or lines. May we care for each other whether worried about losing rights for equality and choice or to bear arms. May we care for each other whether we trace our ancestral culture to Isaac or Ishmael, to Sitting Bull, Dalai Lama, Peter the Great or Henry the 8th. May we do so without having to face a common foe threatening our existence, forcing us to pull together to fight it. May we care for each other, period.

May we care, lovingly.

Daily Prompt: Lovingly

In a Blink

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IMG_3751She came into this world

and they wrapped her in pink:

A present from God,

with a smile and a wink–

Read the rest of this entry

Four-Dimensional Thinking: 2014 Review, and More!

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You may have heard of three dimensional thinking; considering past, present and future. As we close out 2014, and welcome the new year, I’d like to propose we consider not just 3-D thinking, but four dimensional thinking as well.

Read the rest of this entry

Passing

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Untimely for we who stay,

Torn in sore lament–

Time and distance

Ne’er to be breached again;

Not from our doing.

Resigned unto eternity

Or waiting to be joined again Read the rest of this entry

Are you akin to kindness?

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It’s not news; as far as history traces our interactions, we humans have had troubles with one another. We get ourselves tied in knots worrying about the latest news: a new terrorist group here, a gang murder there, racist violence and religious discord– just about everywhere. So-called civilized or savage, we are humans, and we have too often let our worst sides get the best of us.

I heard once that for every negative statement we give to another, that person needs at least ten positives to recover! I don’t know how much scientific research went into that number, but I do know this:

We flourish in an atmosphere of kindness.

Kindness is more than holding your breath while you give the homeless man a quarter. It is more than holding your tongue when you want to correct your coworker’s frequent mistakes. It’s even more than a side-hug and a cheek-kiss greeting when you’d rather not be there at all.

Read the rest of this entry

Has Anybody?

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“Has anybody told you today?”

“Well, just in case, I’m telling you again: I love you.”

It was his trademark; his brand, calling card. If you saw Mickey, you could count on hearing these words. You could count on a hug and a smile. If not from him directly, from many around you, as he facilitated groups and classes to “get up, tell someone you love them, hug a neck.”

He was the Cowboy Preacher. The Drunk Preacher, some called him. He’d chuckle. I doubt he’d ever had a drop of alcohol in his life.

He sought out drunks, with a purpose, to share God’s amazing love. Read the rest of this entry

ROFLMAO

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I can’t remember the last time I actually rolled on the floor, laughing my ass off. Maybe that would explain the slight but ever so definite widening of this writer’s derriere?

This week’s DP Challenge from WordPress prompts us to remember and share the last time we had a “real, authentic, tearful, hearty belly laugh.” Perhaps the editor is in need of a good laugh. Apparently, so am I!

It’s funny you should ask, WordPress. Just yesterday, I wondered aloud (to a confidant) if I may be getting depressed, maybe need a little medication. I’ve been pushing my mind toward gratitude, happiness, enjoyment, and it keeps sliding back into the gutter where sludge hangs out. Sludge like the PLOM’s (poor little ol’ me’s), BLAHS’s (Boy Look at Her Stuff’s) and the POINTY FINGER’s (Projecting Out In Negative Thinking: Your Fault I’m Not Getting Everything Right!).  There’s been a lot of stress in life in the last year, oh, actually make that in the last fifty-six years (yes, I’ll be fifty-seven soon! Maybe that’s reason enough!). Stress, they say, can lead to depression by depleting the serotonin levels over time.

The prescription, so kindly returned, included practical things to improve my mindset, such as mentally rehearsing all I’m grateful for (check), getting enough sleep (un-check), exercising regularly (getting better, check), making time for friends (yeah, right), and, last but not least, laughing.
“Rent a comedy you’re sure will really make you laugh: belly laugh, can’t stop laughing, rolling on the floor laughter. It’s really good medicine!”
I slumped on through the day, the next morning, and then saw the WordPress challenge for the week. Maybe there’s something to this idea, twice in two days coming at me.

So, dutifully, I Googled movies that are sure to make me roll on the floor laughing.

Reading their reviews, I noticed something odd. All, without exception, had a dark side, a tragedy or relationship struggle, a cancer to battle, you know, really un-funny stuff, blended with “hilarious” antics. It made me wonder, Is it funny because we need something to be funny at that moment? Would it still be funny if you take it out of the context of contrasting misery? They say most comedians come from grossly abusive and dysfunctional families, you know. Anyway, I’m not sure that’s the sort of comedy I need right now. None the less, I selected a few that seemed lighter than most. Here’s my list:

Midnight in Paris

Greenberg

Kick-Ass

MacGruber

Seven Psychopaths

Sleepwalk with Me

This is 40

What do you think? Will any of these actually take me there? What funny movie or show do you recommend?

Hopefully at least one of these movies will get me ROFLMAO. Real. Authentic. Tearful. Hearty. Belly Laughs. Then I can tell you why it’s funny.

In the mean time, something happened to remind me that someone around me may need encouragement more than I. It only took a minute to give that person some positive feedback. Guess what? I feel better, for two days now. I think she does too.

So for now, I’ll be happy with feeling better, but I won’t turn down a hearty laugh as soon as it finds me.

Thanks, WordPress!

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=9_fjZHcs2bY

©Joan T. Warren

On the Move: Church for Introverts

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Fading fast, treasured steps and memories.
Church for introverts.

imageFor WordPress Weekly Photo challenge,On the Move

Joan T. Warren
Randy’s iphone

Reblog of my Daughter’s Amazing Post Today

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You’ve read here about my daughter a bit, and you’ve seen some of my daughter’s photography. Now, be blown away with her most recent post:

http://theopenbench.blogspot.com/2014/02/the-yellow-brick-road.html

©DenesiaChristine on Instagram, View from Yellow Brick Road

©DenesiaChristine on Instagram, View from Yellow Brick Road

She is amazing. I love her so much–I am spilling with clichés to try to tell you, but I guess you can imagine, if you read this.

© Joan T Warren

Grace Is. . .

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. . . being a poor peasant girl,

discovering the child of God born in me!

A Christmas Song

Thank you, Brian, for the mention! Let us remember to pray those who currently suffer for doing good.

http://brianmclaren.net/archives/blog/links-roundup-42.html

©Joan T. Warren

This new mini-post series, “Grace is. . .,” is an impromptu, occasional, free-style offering of random kindness. Feel free to share your thoughts on grace in the comment section below! Spread the joy. 😉

Grace Is. . .

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. . . Burying an old potato

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  and reaping a fistful of new potatoes.

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©Joan T. Warren

This new mini-post series, “Grace is. . .,” is an impromptu, occasional, free-style offering of random kindness. Feel free to share your thoughts on grace in the comment section below! Spread the joy. 😉

Grace Is. . .

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girl cries

. . .Crying all the way home from school

with a sealed note from the teacher for your parents to sign,

then finding out she reported a good thing you did that day

instead of the bad.

girl happy mom

©Joan T. Warren

This new mini-post series, “Grace is. . .,” is an impromptu, occasional, free-style offering of random kindness. Feel free to share your thoughts on grace in the comment section below! Spread the joy. 😉

Grace Is. . .

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. . . finding a long lost love whom you had hurt

and learning (s)he forgave you a long time ago.

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©Joan T. Warren

This new mini-post series, “Grace is. . .,” is an impromptu, occasional, free-style offering of random kindness. Feel free to share your thoughts on grace in the comment section below! Spread the joy. 😉

Generational Torch-Bearing

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Coming home from a precious, short visit with my daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter this weekend, there was plenty of time alone in the car to think. As I considered some of our conversations, ideas emerged, in Haiku form–a short poem for a short visit. I love Haiku’s minimalist framework, as it presses and refines immense meaning into a mustard-seed shell. Without further ado, my offerings:

Photo by Denesia Christine (the missing middle member in this generation of three)

Photo by Denesia Christine (the missing middle member in this generation of three)

Generations here

heart to heart our stories share–

legacies of love.

Photo By Denesia Christine

Photo By Denesia Christine

*******************************

Rooted, solid, old

autumnal trees, mountains, me~

glowing as we fade

©JoanTWarren