Saturday, December 17, 2011

A Never-Ending Poem

Statue at Maria's House in St. Augustine

I started this poem many years ago, lost it, then rediscovered it a few days ago.
This morning I added to it, and I shall add to it throughout my life...a never-ending poem of gratitude.

Inspired by these words:
"Call a man ungrateful and you can call him no worse."
Matthew Henry

A Never-Ending Poem of Gratitude

Perhaps it may seem small to some,
This life I that I am living,
But God and Time have blessed me with
These reasons for thanksgiving.
And if it's just minutiae
To any eyes but mine,
I'll gather here what I hold dear,
Preserving, line by line,
Little shafts of splendor
That have lit my world a while ~
My husband's glance across a room;
My grandchild's four-toothed smile.
The soft eyes of a cocker
That reflect the bond we share;
The dance of waves upon the shore
That holds me captive there.
Old photographs of loved ones
That negate the fleeting years;
A poem that captures loveliness
Before it disappears.
A pair of humble feet adorned
With lace-like seaside foam;
Hearing Allen's truck pull in ~
God brought him safely home.
Smelling Carla's homemade bread,
Then drenching it in butter;
Knowing God will hear the prayers
A broken heart may utter.
Stars that shine above me 
On a clear and silent night;
Forgiveness from another
That sets our world aright.
New bookstores and old bookstores
With human thought aflame;
Rocking chairs that ease the cares
Of any human frame.
Having a Bible of my own,
Penned by the heart of God;
Having someone read my poems
And not think I'm so odd.
Reading a book while snuggled up
In the span of an old armchair;
Sitting alone on a weathered porch
And finding God is there.
Living to see another Spring
When all the world's abloom;
The "oldies" shared with Allen 
As we dance across the room.
The gift of a letter from a friend,
Erasing  years and miles;
A small child's open-heartedness
That charms me and beguiles.
Butterflies and lightning bugs
Darting through the air;
Knowing someone cared enough
To hold me up in prayer.

(to be continued, of course!)

Friday, December 16, 2011

The Spirit of Christmas

I was shopping the other day and all of the carts were taken.
I saw an elderly lady checking out, so I walked up to her
and asked, "Could I wait for your cart?"
She seemed to hesitate a bit, and then nodded her consent.
She was going through her wallet,
and then she asked the cashier if this was the right card
(for that store).
The cashier said yes, and then the little lady turned to me
and tried to hand me her card.
I was falling all over myself, saying
"No! No!  I wanted to wait for your c-a-r-t!!"
Bless her heart, she was willing!
And that's the Spirit of Christmas, I'd say! 

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Missing my Beach World
But I know it will be there when I return.
Always and always it has awaited my return
and welcomed me with back with open arms.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Alfred, Lord Tennyson - A Favorite

I design my favorite quotes in Photoshop
and hang them around my house.
This one is always by my bed and in my heart.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

No Time to Write

A card I made for granddaughter, Jessi, several years ago.
When life is overwhelming, as it now is,
 and there is no time to write,
I  have an endless store of precious keepsakes
and treasured quotes to sustain me.
I think that is all I'll have time to share
at this point in time.
May they uplift you, as they uplift me.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Rhyme of the Ancient Heron-er

A heron stood in silence, as a witness on the shore;
He had seen this strange scenario unfold one time before.
It happened on a sunny day, back in the month of June ~
The human male who drove the boat was laughing like a loon
As he flung his flailing sister, (an aging former lass),
Up and down the alley that the humans call Stump Pass.
She was on a yellow tube, and about to be disgraced;
He was at the helm and drove the boat as if in haste
To expose her vulnerability and her ineptitude;
To force her to acknowledge her great decrepitude.
But though he tried to throw her off, as he increased his speed,
His efforts simply came to naught, for he did not succeed.
Instead of flying off the tube, like a pancake off a griddle,
His sister simply got sucked down, right through that old tube's middle.
And now the heron wondered why she'd come back here in September;
If not her brains, her bones, it seems, would cause her to remember
What even an old heron knows, and fully understands ~
That she was putting life and limb into her brother's hands.

And so it was, the brother now revealed a manic grin
As he prepared to take her on a catastrophic spin.
The sister smirked because she'd learned some tips from brother's wife,
And this time she'd out-smart him if he tried to take her life!
And so the merriment began, in earnest, one more time;
The sister rode the tube and looked like she was in her prime!
But her brother was determined to succeed, whate'er the cost.
He drove that boat and laughed as if his mind was truly lost.
With his skill and expertise, and a will to overwhelm,
His sister was a gone-er, with her brother at the helm!
The heron heard the engine roar and saw the speeding craft;
A sinister intent was there, as the crazy brother laughed.
The boat spun left, the boat spun right, the tube was building speed
And the omen was a bad one ~ should the heron intercede?
For the tube was whipping wildly and the heron stood aghast,
Believing that the sister, this time, would breathe her last.
The brother's glee was evident, as he made his final turn;
The heron's face was ashen, as he showed his deep concern.
The rope was taut, the tube was hot, it slid into a swing
That sent the sister upside down, in an acrobatic fling.
Her head was buried in the muck, her torso convoluted;
She twisted like a pretzel, as her brother laughed and hooted.
Then all they heard was silence, and the heron felt such dread
For he thought the sister stood no chance and surely, now, was dead.
Another boat pulled up to her, before her brother claimed her,
And they were heard to say aloud that her brother's prank had maimed her!
But she emerged and stood there dazed, as her brother pulled beside her ~
The heron, though, was quite amazed that this aging, tubing, rider
Had survived her brother's antics without a broken limb;
She had risen from the water ~ and simply glared at him.
And so the sister got back in that boat and rode away,
And the heron heard their laughter, which brightened up his day.
But still, he's left to ponder in his little heron brain
Why some humans show their love
By inflicting aches and pain!

Innocent-looking Brother, Dave
with wife, Janet, who chastised him.
Poem Written 14 September 2011
by Linda Moser Winebrenner (at age sixty-three)
after surviving a Labor Day near-death experience at the hands of my brother

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Written Six Days After 9/11

It began like any Tuesday for ten thousand precious souls,
With a quick good-bye to loved ones, as they faced their daily goals.
Some boarded planes, while others rode the elevators high,
And each one had a special view of that early morning sky.
But they had no indication that this day would ever be
Much different than the others, and none of them could see
How a simple Tuesday morning could be any other way ~
For a nation rose believing it was just another day.
It wasn't that we felt immune, but our nation seemed secure;
Who among us woke believing that such evil could occur?
We'd seen the awful face of war, we knew its gravity,
But how could we prepare our hearts for such depravity?
We weren't naive, but we believed, in spite of quarrels and strife,
That every nation not at war still valued human life.
Before that terrifying day how could we realize
That hearts devoid of conscience could abominate our skies?
We learned a costly lesson on that Day of Devastation,
When evil stepped inside a plane and commandeered a nation.
We watched, aghast, in disbelief ~ could these events be real?
But we saw the fires raging, we beheld the melting steel.
We learned our nation's Capitol was vulnerable that day;
We learned our mighty Pentagon was even easy prey.
Would we safe within our land?  How could we even know,
If even military's high command was dealt this mighty blow?
The questions go unanswered as they're asked across our land ~
Perhaps it's just too soon to even hope to understand.
But, as the rain falls on Manhattan, and our nation weeps its tears,
A half-forgotten old refrain falls on our nation's ears.
It began as just a whisper, then it spread from shore to shore,
Just an old refrain, not fashionable to sing much any more.
Yet the simple words were echoed from the East Coast to the West,
Sung by simple working men and by businessmen well-dressed.
Across the oceans of the world the precious words were heard,
As our nation taught its children every line and every word.
As our nation's leaders led us while we sang that old refrain,
We cried, "God Bless America," in voices etched with pain.
And as we rise up from the ashes on an eagle's broken wings,
The world has stopped to listen as a battered nations sings.
And the world will be our witness, as they watch us from abroad,
That when terror struck this nation...we turned our hearts to God.
Linda Moser Winebrenner
17 September 2001

Written six days after 9/11, then I was honored
to have it published in the "Clay Today", our local paper

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Breakfast and Tea Prepared for me...

Just a favorite memory of mine.
Granddaughter Jessi came to visit in December of 2009
and one morning she brought a wonderful breakfast to me 
while I was still in bed.
Menu:  Strawberries, Toast, Little Smokies & 
Constant Comment Tea.
My own grandmother's lamp lit my morning;
the teapot was a Mother's Day gift 
from daughter Carla and Greg;
the tea was friend Elizabeth's special blend, shared with me.
A photo I took of Jessi and Aly is in an old frame.
The teacup was a vintage find.
All these treasures, and the love they represent,
sitting on the bedside table my husband, Allen, made for me.
To this day, I remain grateful for that sweet morning.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Reflections on Cheating myself

Sometimes I think I cheat myself out of the manifold blessings
an ordinary day can hold.
The means by which I am able to cheat myself are varied,
but might include:
  • Not seeking God's presence
  • Refusing His admonition to "pursue peace"
  • Not seeking silence and its riches
  • Not getting outside where my soul must acknowledge His power, revealed in the wind, the waves, the endless wonder
  • Having a spirit of ingratitude 
  • Not accepting others as they are, as I, myself, wish to be accepted
It helps to be aware of my proclivity for robbing myself.
It helps when I humbly ask the Creator to "teach me what I do not see." (Job 34:32)  For only then do I begin to comprehend that sometimes His blessings require my active participation, as I am asked to seek, to recognize, to acknowledge, to pursue, to pray, to accept, to receive ~ and lastly, and perhaps most importantly, to be grateful...

Thursday, August 18, 2011

A Day at the Creek in Roebuck, South Carolina on 5 August 2011

I don't quite know what it was about these temporarily abandoned Barbie dolls
that struck me and made me take a photo of them.
Aly and I were going to the creek with her Mom, Carla, 
with my Mom, "Nana", and with Joey and Megan.
Before we left the house, Aly brought out her two dolls, sans clothing, to accompany us.
I mentioned that I thought they were not properly dressed for the excursion
but, alas, she had no bathing suits for them.
I told her to find some tape and we each created stunningly designed (don't you think)
swimming attire for them.

One of many things I love about my daughter, Carla, is how she does things
with her children that I used to do as a child in the 1950's.
Simple things, family frolics, reading, playing cards and board games, playing outside.
She really makes the effort, in this technological era.

Free Serenity

Carla and Mom ~ Granddaughter & Grandmother
relaxing on the creek bank

Joey off on a "boy~thing" adventure at the creek

Sammie and Megan, off on their own adventure

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

My Fascination is Never-Ending

An Egret Checking Out His World

God's Imagination Is Endlessly Amazing

These Two Looked a Little Eccentric, However

He Was Elegant-Looking

And This One Was Stylin'

Photos Taken at Flamingo Lake - Jacksonville, Florida
and at
Sarasota Jungle Gardens - Sarasota, Florida
June and July 2011
(Oddly enough, the egret photo was taken at Flamingo Lake, but not the flamingo shots)

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Someone is Thinking of You Today

Someone is thinking of you today
and praying you will find strength and peace.

Dear You ~
I've wanted to write for days, but I've been afraid 
to trust my thoughts to paper.
What encouragement or comfort would I be able to offer?
In moments when dreams seem shattered
and relationships appear broken,
what words of mine wouldn't wound you more,
or sound like advice,
or feel like salt being rubbed in a wound?

You know I have saved quotes since I was in my twenties,
and so I choose today to send you the thoughts of others;
thoughts that encouraged me in moments when I felt broken.
If even one encourages you or gives you hope,
cling to it until you no longer need it.
That day will come.

And please, always remember 
that someone cares very deeply about you.
Actually, there are more of us 
than perhaps you can see at the moment.

"God give me strength to accept a fact
though it slay me."
Thomas Huxley

"You are tougher than you think.
All the strength you'll ever need 
to handle anything is within you now.
It was put there by your Creator, 
who knew very well what you would be
up against in this life ~ and made you equal to it."
Norman Vincent Peale

"In the midst of winter
I finally learned
that there was in me
an invincible summer."
Albert Camus

"When I am low, oh God,
feed me on small pleasures...
sunsets, a small word of praise...
for frustration can be faced when I am fed."
Richard Wong

"We are slow to believe
what hurts when believed."

"Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart,
and try to love the questions themselves,
like locked rooms, and like books that are written
in a very foreign tongue."
Ranier M. Rilke

"Acceptance is not submission;
it is acknowledgment of the facts of a situation,
then deciding what you're going to do about it."
Kathleen Theisen

"When something intolerable is in my life,
I head for the water.
It leavens me in some way.
Some middlemost part of me
is soothed and silenced by it."
Alice Koller

"Life makes tremendous silent statements
where sand and saltwater meet."
Arthur Gordon

"In all my perplexities and distresses,
the Bible never failed
to give me light and strength."
Robert E. Lee

"God's word has always been the best source of advice for me."
Tony Dungy

"The only constant thing in life
is change."

"Better is the end of a thing
than the beginning thereof."
Ecclesiastes 7:8

"But if anyone has caused grief, you ought rather to 
forgive and comfort him,
lest perhaps such a one be swallowed up 
with too much sorrow.
Therefore, I urge you to reaffirm your love to him."
II Corinthians 2:5~8

"You cannot always have happiness,
but you can always give happiness."

"The hardship I was bearing today
was only a breath away
from the pleasures I would have tomorrow,
and those pleasures would be all the richer
because of this I was enduring."
Louis L'Amour

Love, Linda

Monday, July 25, 2011

On the Lookout for Wonder

"Always be on the lookout for wonder!"
E. B. White

Wonder delighted my soul and my curiosity
Saturday on a day-trip to Gainesville, Florida.
Following E. B. White's advice was easy!
I am so grateful for my camera.
So much wonder would be lost, forgotten,
or taken for granted
 without it.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

An Alcove of Peace

Converted the dining room into an oasis this morning.
A place to motivate myself to 
answer a letter, write a poem, make a journal entry.
A place to dream, a place to pause long enough
to capture the moments and preserve the memories.
Just a few favorite books, a favorite cd to set the mood,
a favorite quote, a cup of tea, a pen and paper.
I think it will inspire me to allow more time
for quiet thoughts and gentle pursuits.
I've only written one paragraph in this alcove of peace
but already I am enriched.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Two Sources of Food

Jessi sat down in a chair by my table 
and noticed the two books lying there.
She mused out loud,
"The Bible and a Cookbook ~ that's as it should be."
Food for the soul and food for the body.
She understands that at sixteen years old.
That moment cemented a certain confidence for her
within my heart.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

An Estate Sale Lesson

My friend and I stumbled upon an estate sale Saturday
after our excursion to an Art Fair.
The home was old and lovely 
and surely reflected a life of prosperity.
As I wandered through the world 
a man and his wife had lived in,
loved in, entertained in, 
I began to feel like an intruder, a spy, a witness to lives 
that should have remained private.
And, suddenly, I felt a great and overwhelming sadness.
All the things they had bought together,
all the things they had accumulated, 
had been given, and had shared together
for fifty, maybe sixty years or so 
were left behind,
for strangers to look at and poke through.
It unsettled me.

And then, as I stood there, those words found in First Timothy 6:7 
welled up in my heart and shone with great clarity:

"For we brought nothing into this world, 
and it is certain
we can carry nothing out."

The lesson for me remains to be seen,
but I suspect it should serve to temper 
my own accumulation 
of things.


(Photo taken at the Hilltop last November)

Monday, June 6, 2011

I May Have Been Mute, But I Was Still Watching

Crape Myrtle Through the Spanish Moss

 Butterfly on my Front Porch

Fairytale House I saw in Jacksonville

Egret and Heron on the St. Johns River

This Man's Siamese Cat Followed Him Out on the Golf Course

Golf Course Cat Close-Up

Friday, May 27, 2011

Stormy Afternoon Thoughts

I thought I would write on this quiet and peaceful afternoon,
but as I retrieved my pen and paper and situated myself to
write, my weather radio started going off and distant
rumblings were transformed into a veritable tempest outside.  
And now I'm being serenaded by pounding rains and raucous reverberations.

I have always loved snuggling in on a stormy day, with pen in hand,
enjoying the contrast of the peace within and the storms without.
However, such enjoyment seems presumptuous, even arrogant,
in view of the tragedies of April and May across our nation.
These very storms are the remains of those that began 
last Saturday, spreading terror and tornadoes 
as they marched eastward.

My heart has ached this week as images of 
such terrible devastation have inundated 
the airwaves and newspapers.  
It has been almost too much to process.  
So many lives lost; so many left in shambles.
In times like these, good and evil, faith and fear, 
the rational and the irrational, all seem to collide inside me.  
My faith is strong, but my understanding 
is so limited and fallible.

Perhaps I should have picked up my pen this morning,
when my world was filled with flowers, serenity and sunshine...


How Can I Not Rhapsodize?


This Week's Treasures on the Porch