Flower Power | All That You Touch

Connie IWD 2023

As usual, I received such beautiful postcards for International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month. In fact, the cards are still rolling in (happy mail dance!). For the final days of March we will “glory” in a bit of flower power and womanly wisdom.

All that you touch
you change.
All that you change
changes you.
The only lasting truth
is change.
God
is change. –Octavia Butler, from the Parable of the Sower, 1993.

The spectacular postcard above came from my pen friend, Connie F. On the back of the postcard, she added (in a matching orange) the International Women’s Day theme and call to action:

Embrace equity.
Don’t just say it.
Think it. Be it.
Do it. Value it.
Truly embrace it.

No excuses!

Until tomorrow…

Measureless Grace

Tulips 2023

Last week was a beast. I went to work each day not feeling my best. I thought I would keep things light and push through as best I could.

Plagued by severe seasonal allergies and a shoulder that had been giving me grief since I fell two weeks ago, I was tasked with one thing after another and unable to catch a break. Then, there was even more to be done after work—writing recommendations, reviewing projects, fundraising, and completing the usual household tasks. 

At the end of the week—relieved that I could finally rest—I shut things down and sat quietly with my thoughts. I thought about my behavior throughout the week—about how each morning I groaned (inwardly) at the prospect of a full workday; about how I whined when I was too cold or too pained or too sneezy; about how I was too blunt and (at times) too exasperated. 

I repented my “sins” and realized God was in every detail of my week. In spite of it all, I accomplished much, much more than I should have considering my physical condition and certainly more than I could have on my own—even under normal circumstance. 

…But for the immeasurable grace of God.

I happened upon Psalm 55:22 early last week and wrote it in my journal. t was a promise I needed as I started the week already exhausted, in pain, and feeling cheated out of spring break because of the fall.  

Leave all your cares and anxieties at the feet of the Lord,
and measureless grace will strength will strengthen you. –Psalm 55:22 TPT

Measureless grace. That’s what God gives—even when I’m less than gracious, even when I’m pouty and easily irritated. It is what He gave to get me through a physically draining week.

Thankfully, as I place all the cares and anxieties of this week at His feet, He assures me He has more than enough grace for this week too. 

Those tulips above? More of His grace. 

Happy First Day of Spring!

Sunflowers and Kindness | National Random Acts of Kindness Week

Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world. –Desmond Tutu

It’s been a long time since we had a “Kindness Week” here on Pics and Posts, so in honor of National Random Acts of Kindness Week this week’s posts will be dedicated to kindness, compassion, and random acts of sunflowers.

Your first task is to visit the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation’s website, take a look around, download a few posters and tools, including the RAK Calendar, and get ready to do your part in “making kindness the norm.”

¡Hasta mañana!


About the Sunflowers: The sunflower photos in this post were grown and sent to me by my Wildflowers friend, Kim B. She risked being stung by bees to brighten my day. :-D. Thanks, Kimmy!

Shhh…I Have a Secret

Painted Daddy WM

The soul of the father
is steeped in joy. —Edward Guest

I have a secret. 

It’s not a good one, but it’s one I’ve held in my heart all day. I wanted to talk about it, but I thought talking about it would make me sadder and make the listeners sad too. 

Today marks one year since I last laid my eyes on my living and breathing dad. After spending nearly a week at home (in New Orleans)—with EMTs being called and hospital visits almost daily—my sister and I were about to drive back to Huntsville. Reluctantly. We visited him in the hospital and whispered our good-byes. 

My heart aches when I think about our quiet good-bye. He deserved one last, good celebration, with a lot of fuss and hoopla.

I knew his sojourn was coming to an end, but I pleaded with God to restore his health and give him just a little more time–for all the selfish but lovely reasons. 

Having been down this road twice before, I also I knew I was in denial. I prayed for the miracle, though He had already given the answer: It was time for him to rest. It was time to let him rest. 

Six days later…he took his last breath at home (thankfully) and left a nagging ache that I have been processing for almost a year now.

I am learning how to walk in the world without him, to cherish his gifts and celebrate his joy. That’s the thing I carry with me when I miss him most. His joy—a joy that delightfully danced across his spirit. 

My last gift to him–mere weeks before his death–captured that. At least, I hope it did. 

Thanks for letting me share my secret. It feels good to let it out. 

A Lesson on Rest

Silhouette-4

A Lesson on Rest
France Archange

(TO BE USED WISELY IF TIRED OR WOUNDED OR LIVING A BUSY LIFE)

When one of his mules was wounded, my grandfather would take charcoal from a fire and put it on the wound. Then he would put the mule away by itself so it could heal and not be exposed to the elements or hard work. None of his workers could use it to carry any load. After some time without carrying any load and being put away by itself, the wound would heal… it’s okay to go away for a while.


The short prose piece above was written by France Archange, one of my former students (and current writing buddy)—now a college graduate on her way to medical school. Her “Lesson on Rest” is an appropriate way to “announce” my two-week blog break. I meet all the criteria for rest: I’m tired, a little wounded, and living a busy writing life. I think this piece can be found in her book, Unraveling. You can find more of France’s work on Instagram: @theunraveledsociety. Speaking of Instagram, I’ll still be posting “musings from my younger self,” so if you miss me, you can visit me there. 😉 Otherwise, I’ll see you in two weeks!

About the Image: The pic is from Harvest Square Preserve.  It is a variation of the photo I chose for the Week 28: Silhouette prompt for 52Frames.

Deep Silence and the Conversation with Our Hearts

Rebecca R

It is possible to speak with our heart directly. Most ancient cultures know this. We can actually converse with our hearts as if it were a good friend. In modern life we have become so busy with daily affairs and thoughts that we have lost this essential art of taking time to converse with our heart.  —Jack Kornfield, A Path with Heart: A Guide Through the Perils and Promises of Spiritual Life

As I mentioned in my Sit with It post, I have been out of sorts. Not quite myself. I woke up this morning able to name some of my feelings–disoriented and flustered, like I can’t quite find my footing. These feelings remind me of the time [a little more than a decade ago] when I went silent for about three months. I still spoke with others, but I did not engage in lengthy conversation, did not engage in discussions about points-of-view on issues. I didn’t even listen to sermons. I closed my ears to all voices but God’s. I am heading in that direction again. 

Lately, I have spent too much time and energy striving, struggling, wrestling inwardly [with myself] and outwardly with other people and their struggles, strivings, and energy. There’s so much brain clutter that the only way through it is through silence. Not a literal silence, but a spiritual one—a way of tuning out the unnecessary and tuning in to what is needful and authentic. 

There is deep rest in that type of silence, in withdrawing for a dedicated time from the madness of the world and giving full attention to the stirrings and musings of our hearts. 

I like the way Jack Kornfield put it. We need this silence to “converse with our own hearts as if it were a good friend.”


About the Image: The abstract photo above features the work of my pen friend, Rebecca R, also known as Beckra. The artwork sits inside one of my planners–as a reminder to write to Rebecca. The reminder has failed. I owe you many letters, Rebecca. [Insert Face Palm Emoji]

The Storm

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I posted the poem above on my Musings Instagram page a few days ago. I marveled at how I sweetly captured my family’s intimate moment with a storm, and I was overcome with a flood of memories of stormy nights: the bunch of us (younger siblings) scared by loud claps of thunder piling into my parents bedroom; years later, my making a pallet on the floor in the hallway just outside their bedroom. 

I don’t mind rain, but I still hate stormy days and nights. 

The poem, written when I was 14, was tucked away in one of the folders in which I kept handwritten poem bits and drafts. Most of the poems were written between the ages of 12 and 15.

It’s funny that I knew long before becoming an English professor or even a writing student the importance of revision. I “preach” this to my students all the time—writing is revising is revising is revising. I’m not sure a work is ever in a final (that is, perfect) state. There are probably some New York Times bestselling authors who will pick up their books years later and see some things they wish they could change. 

I think I’ll have some fun with this poem and see where it takes me—not as a revision but as an adult take on the subject. Wait. Kate Chopin already did that! 😀 For a steamy “storm” story, see “The Storm” by Kate Chopin.

lightning by jplenio

Dark | Sit with It

Sunflower from Arizona

I am sharing a piece I wrote just a few moments ago during a writing circle session. I chose the prompt “I wish” for the group, hoping that a fanciful tale of unicorn dreams and butterfly wishes would fall from my pen. Instead, after being unable to write about my feelings for weeks, this spilled out:

I wish I could take this darkness that has settled into my being over the last few weeks and kick it straight into oblivion, into the abyss from which it sprung. It has robbed me of sleep. It has taken my calm. It has driven me to consuming way too much chocolate and to long-overcome habits of rolling my eyes and sucking my teeth and impatience with the world. It has made me so unlike me. I wish I could pull myself up to dance on clouds and sing on rooftops and never, ever apologize for being too joyful. I wish God would release me from the grips of darkness. I wish He hadn’t invited me to let it steep. To let it all rise to the surface—the grief and vile feelings, the suppressed hurt and trauma that I have stuffed too far down because I don’t have the energy or capacity to deal. I wish I didn’t have to confront the darkness. I wish I didn’t have to do the hard work of grappling with it and wrestling with it. We know Light wins. Light always wins, so why not skip the drama and just win already? Ugh! I wish I didn’t have to sit with the darkness, especially when just a flicker of His light is enough.


About the Image: My sunflower-loving, Wildflowers: Blooming in Community friend, Jamise L, sent the beautiful photo-card to me shortly after my father’s passing. Having lost her own father five years ago, she is well-acquainted with the journey. Her note offered comfort, love, and a shoulder to lean on. Thanks for the sunshine, Jamise!

Follow My Musings!

Journals2

Please forgive my unplanned three-week absence. My brain held me hostage and wouldn’t let me write posts. That’s a post for another time (maybe); for now, I am dropping in to let you know, I did a thing! 😀

I created an Instagram page just for the “Musings from My Younger Self.” I launched it earlier this month (on my birthday) and have been having a “fabulous” time going through the cringe-worthy writings of my youth. The plan is to post to Instagram as I am curating a collection or two or three!

I am slowly desensitizing myself to the “cringe-factor,” but I am finding that the hardest thing to do is not edit my younger self, to simply let her be. She was insightful, funny, and disciplined in her writing practice–I can learn a lot from younger me! 

I’ll be sure to share with you what I’m calling a few of my “country heartbreak poems” later this month. For now, please check out one of the poems of my youth in The Gumbo Collective, the online literary arts journal of Oakwood University: Purple Rose.

And if you’re on Instagram, be sure to follow my musings. Feel free to comment on the writings of the decades younger Chandra Lynn, even if you find them cringey too: Musings From My Younger Self.

I Call Her “Too Much”

Too Much

When I crafted the autumn flower above for Sheila D’s 30-Day Creative Gathering (Day 24), I sent it to a friend and told her this one might be a little “too much,” so I decided not to use it. Unwilling to leave her in the heap of “never-to-be-seen-again” photo projects, I worked on her a little more.

I tried to mute her brilliance, but no matter what I did, her radiance seeped out. After looking at all the renditions, I looked at her again, and decided…too much is actually okay. 

So…

This one is for all of you who have ever felt the need to douse your light or mute your shine to make others comfortable. 

This one is for all of you who can tell from the side-eyes, rolled eyes, wide eyes, and blank stares that people just don’t know what to make of you.

This one is for all of you who have been told at one time or another you’re too silly, too loud, too dramatic, too “extra,” too smart, too colorful, too difficult, too much this or too much that.

This one’s for you. 

In spite of all those eyes and all those voices that don’t yet appreciate the grandeur of your extraordinary—your “too much”—keep being you. 

You might as well. There’s absolutely nothing you can do to subdue your light. Besides, the rest of us love you, and for us, your “too much” is actually okay!