Monday, November 10, 2014


Drop a pebble into the water.  It creates a ripple.
Drop a stone .. or a boulder .. into the water.  It creates a BIGGER ripple.
Try skimming a flat rock .. the result is a scatter shot of ripples.

What is a ripple, actually?

According to Webster, "ripple" is a verb and was first used in 1755.  It means
"to move in small waves" or "to pass or spread through or over someone or something". 
Near the bottom of the entry at it says that a ripple is
"a shallow stretch of rough water in a stream."


Heartbeats are ripples.  A friend's heartbeat creates waves that wash over your life.  Waves that rush in-and-out .. like the tides.  Waves that strew trash .. and treasure .. upon your beach.  Soul plunder.  Then draws back out to the sea .. carrying away bits and pieces of each of us.

Photo by OBX Sunrise - March 2013

Stormy & turbulent at times.  Calm & serenely rhythmic at other times.  The sun rises .. and the sun sets .. to the cadence of the tides. The ripples created by the heartbeats of our friends .. touch our lives ..

Time after time after time ..
from everlasting to everlasting.

I have a friend.  I hesitate to use the term
 best friend because that somehow implies that she has outclassed all of my other friends.  All of my friends are unique and bring their own special value to my life.

This friend, though, definitely sits around the best-of-the-best table in my heart.

Over the years .. it's been almost 25 .. our individual beaches have been scourged and scarred.  Life has been hard .. brutal .. unforgiving at times.  The heartbeat ripples .. the waves of our friendship .. have cascaded on to the battlefields of our beaches .. erasing the wounds etched so deep in the sand in an attempt to somehow make them permanent ... washing away the hurts .. leaving a clean slate .. a chance for a fresh start ... every single time.

If asked, she would tell you things about the effect of my ripples on her life.  How amazing it is to have me for a friend.  It's her story .. and she's sticking to it.  She believes it so that makes it the truth to her.

The real truth, though, is how her love has refreshed and nourished my soul.

Quirky. Smart. Fun. And funny. Beautiful. Caring. Generous. Forgiving. Genuine. Afraid. Trustworthy. Honest. Loyal. Supportive. Thoughtful. The beat goes on and on and on ..

... and did I say, beautiful?!?

Yeah. Beautiful inside and out.  Her heart-light shines so bright .. it's a beacon from the beach .. during the most perfect of storms.

A safe harbor.  That's what she has always provided for me.

Ripple-reading is a rare art.  It is a God thing .. and can't be faked or mastered on one's own.  My beautiful friend ... is a world-class ripple-reader.  At least in the world of MaryJane.

Instinctively she knows when the tides have sucked the life right out of me.  Leaving my beach barren .. my soul empty. Her ripples roll in .. as the tide turns .. covering me .. replenishing me .. every single time.

She has moved me in.  She has moved me out. She has even moved in from time to time.

She has cleaned up my messy house .. my messy life .. more times than I care to count.  When the wolves have been at the door .. she has ridden in .. like the cavalry .. staring my enemies down
with a look that said "To get to her, you have to come through me first! Bring it on!
I double-dog dare ya!"

I am not sure she is truly adventuresome at heart.  Change has never come easy for her.  Yet, she has always come willingly to ride shotgun .. into the uncharted territories that
I am prone to wander.

Very few people have seen my tears.  She has held me in her arms and her heart .. whenever the flood dam has broken. She has always allowed me to be weak .. vulnerable .. even though it may have shaken her world a little to discover that I fall apart in distress.

She has provided a safe place for me to hide out .. to hurt .. and to heal.

She has carefully gathered up the broken pieces of my heart when I cast them aside as if they had no value .. later helping me to re-arrange them when I was able to breathe again.

She has often chosen to channel my tears into the barren fields of others .. irrigating fresh starts and new growth .. in unexpected places. Then laughingly claiming that somehow her gift
has come from me.

There have been good times .. laughter .. accomplishments .. milestones .. scattered in our surf.  We have rode those waves together, too.  

Driftwood. Seaweed. Shells. Beach glass. Shipwrecks. Jellyfish. Even a beach brick or two .. or a hundred.  Our beaches have been littered by the good ... and the ugly.

My beautiful friend had a birthday.  It was yesterday.  Another of her friends sent her flowers.
I missed the boat.

Our ripples in recent years have been a slow ebbing-and-flowing .. a soothing constant caress that neither disturbs or distracts from the everydayness of the present.  Background music, if you will, waiting for life's next crescendo.

To be a go-to friend .. to one who is always the go-to friend .. isn't easy.  No doubt.
My life would not be complete without her in it.  To be perfectly honest, I have no idea what my life would be today without her strength, her faith, her confidence and her love.

Her ripples have weathered my storms .. sparkled in my sunshines .. have perfectly touched my life in all of it's hidden places. Her friendship has been one of the most enduring ..
and greatest blessings God has ever bestowed on me.

I simply wanted her to know that .. today .. every day .. always and forever.
(c) November 2014

Friday, August 29, 2014

Wrong Turns

Isaiah 65:1-2 - "I've made myself available to those who haven't bothered to ask. I'm here, ready to be found by those who haven't bothered to look. I kept saying, 'I'm here, I'm right here' to a nation that ignored me. I reached out day after day to a people who turned their backs on me, People who make wrong turns, who insist on doing things their own way."

I can just see Him. 
God as  Arnold Horshack from Welcome Back Kotter. 
Waving His hand frantically, jumping up & down in His chair, and shouting, "Oh! Oh! Oh!"  

Trying to get my attention.

Of course, ole Mr. Kotter ... (that would be me ... or maybe you) ... knows that Horshack is there. Mr. Kotter just ignores Him as long as possible. Eventually His need to be heard is recognized.

"People who make wrong turns, who insist on doing things their own way..." - that's the part that really hits home with me.

I know He's talking about lost people ... people who are resistant to God ... people who have not come to know Him ... not one of His own who simply find themselves lost.

Yet the truth is ... He's talking about ME!

Sometimes I get so excited about where I am going....and all of the possibilities along the way.....that I run ahead.....of myself....and of God. 

Adventuresome as I am, there is often no one in front of me who knows where it is that I am supposed to go... so guess what ... I make wrong turns!

I have enjoyed some of those scenic routes. I've found unexpected joys in hidden places. 

... the road that leads to nowhere ...
It must be awfully amusing to God ... to see me running willy-nilly ... when He knows that where the road really leads ... is exactly where I want to go ... if I would simply stay the course.

Stubbornly ... I tend to take off on my own ... sure that I know the way.  Impatience clouding my vision.  At some point I realize that I made a wrong turn ... that I am sort of off track ... 
a little lost.

What was I thinking?!?  I have no sense of direction.

And there I am ... impatiently waiting patiently ... on God ... to show up & rescue me from the out-of-the-way places I find myself.

All the while, He's waving His hand ... trying to get my attention.
You see, God, He is patiently waiting on ME ...

Juan Epstein: [Late at night in the dark classroom] Hey, Horshack. Tell me somethin'. 
Do you ever think about what God is like?
Arnold Horshack: Oh, yeah. I think he's short. And he has a marvelous sense of humor. 

And a great laugh.  

Horshack. And God.
They snort ... when they laugh.


Thursday, August 28, 2014

Do You Want To Build A Snowman?

Do you want to build a snowman?

For days & days now ... I have been desperately seeking a bit of inspiration ... motivation ... just the tiniest spark ... of something,

I have accepted the challenge ... and started down the path of something new.  It's something that I believe in ... and am passionate about ... except that I can't seem to find the rhythm.  

Without the rhythm ... it's more like going through the motions ... and I've never been completely sold on the the "fake-it-til-you-make-it" philosophy even though I did manage to completely transform myself at 19 by doing something like that.

It's something I really want to do.  Everyone seems to think that it should come naturally to me.  This time, though, it doesn't  ... and I am not sure why.  I feel like I am on the Island of Misfit Toys.

Do you want to build a snowman? 

This morning I found myself aimlessly searching through bits and pieces of things that were intended as blog triggers ... yet somehow I never put the words together. 
Some of them made me smile.

! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! 

A man called me "MARY" four times after I told him 3 times that my name was "MARYJANE" ... another man dressed in camo offered to share his fudge striped cookies with me ... and a very young man reminded me that I WAS great.

I can hold back the tides. - God

"What a wonderful place and life I have been blessed with... You sent me the angel and I met an older couple from hot springs in the lobby... If you have time to talk I would love to tell you about it!" ~ a Facebook message from a friend

God is close.  God is not as far away as the farthest star.  He is as near as the next heartbeat.
“The Lord is near to all who call on him.” (Psalm 145:18)
God is waiting for you to ask. 

strawberries - last ones of the season ... new beginnings
squirrel came into the house ... look up squirrel symbolism ... the one with synchronicity
shake the dust off my shoes
get off the fence

“Desire is the interface between you and that which is greater than you. It is there to pull you into the next thing.” Mama Gena = founder of the School of Womanly Arts in NYC

Because your life is happening right now. The days are passing by like leaves
slowly falling off a tree in autumn. 

! ! ! ! ! ! ! 

So here I am ... with my nose pressed to the window ... observing the party that I was personally invited to ... yet not welcomed inside because somehow I don't fit in.

I've never really fit in.

Do you want to build a snowman"

Sometimes the encourager needs to be encouraged ... the motivator needs to be motivated ... 
the believer needs to be believed in...

Everyone needs ... a little hope.  Even me.

All I need is a spark. Or maybe my wick needs to be trimmed. 

Thousands of candles can be lit from a single flame.  

So many candles ... so little time.
(c) August 2014