A New Leaf

Ponderings in Changing Seasons


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The Love Language of a Bleeding Heart

Looking over the calendar, doing some planning, finding some dates.  Dates that need to be marked:  catching up on a few dates now past, noting the events that occurred, and adding to future dates both reminders and promises.

As I am flipping the pages forward in this still new-ish year ~ my heart skips a beat!  In the not-too-far-ahead, I see several days that fall clustered and that hold high expectation, joy ~ and just a little sadness mixed in with a dose of realistic expectation.  The month is May ~ a merry month ~ when flowers pop up & out, birthed from rainy wet April.  THAT is a promise in itself fulfilled:  Flowers after rain!

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This May there will be three birthdays for those whose lives are quantified as a product of my own birthing!  My daughter, my younger daughter, turns 40.  My third GrandBoy, her son, turns 13.  My youngest of six GrandBoyz, another of her sons, turns 7.  And in that order.  ‘Twill be a merry, color-filled month, yes, even if clouded with shadows of gray. The living out of our days brings both joy and pain and often the two are so intertwined, we cannot find where one ends and the other begins.  Love does not come sugar-coated.  Love comes with a price; it calls for commitment and sacrifice ~ the decision, the choice, made over and over.

There is a favorite flower of mine that befits this Month of Love, but blooms in that merry month.  It is known as Bleeding Heart.

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It is a beautiful, delicate flower that blooms, then fades as the weather warms.  Even the plant’s foliage disappears by mid-summer.  If you go to tend it, it is difficult to even find its remnants.  But it is still there, hidden below sight, under the warmed earth, watered by the sky.  It lies dormant.  It waits for the cold earth, the April rains, and then the warming of sun for its annual resurrection.

As a perennial, The Bleeding Heart is a picture of resilience.  It proves to fainting hearts that there is growth and beauty after what seems like, what appears like death.  Valentine’s Day for some is painful, lonely, sad.  It speaks of Love All Around, but to the one jilted or the one who has never known a soul mate, to the one who has lost love by death or divorce or mere disinterest, it is a season that bespeaks perhaps shame and certainly sadness.  It is about a heart bleeding.

Yet, as we consider this sweet, obscure plant created by a Creator God whose own Heart Desire is fellowship with His created one, hope begins to rise.  Finding Him means finding that that you ARE loved after all.  Finding Him means finding that you are never truly alone.  Finding Him means that you, like this lovely flower may bleed sometimes, but always there is a Healer for your pain, a Constant Companion for your need, a Lover for your soul.

Valentine’s is a Day to celebrate LOVE.  It is a Day to celebrate that “I am loved”!  It is a Day of hearts and flowers, of candy and gifts.  Above all, it is a Day among Days to KNOW  and to SHARE LOVE with those around you by being attuned to their hearts.  Together, let’s give the Gift of Love to several others this Valentine’s, not just those within our circle.  Share a smile, a kind word, an unexpected remembrance.  Our love, like the bleeding heart, can restore hope and resilience in another.


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Shadows on the Wall

A childhood poem by Robert Louis Stevenson was oft quoted by my Mama.

“My Shadow” goes like this:

I have a little shadow that goes in and out with me                                                                                                                                                           And what can be the use of him is more than I can see.                                                                                                                                             He is very, very like me from his heels up to his head                                                                                                                                                 And I see him jump before me when I jump into my bed.

The funniest thing about him is the way he likes to grow-
Not at all like proper children, which is always very slow;
For he sometimes shoots up taller like an india-rubber ball,
And he sometimes gets so little that there’s none of him at all.

He hasn’t got a notion of how children ought to play,
And can only make a fool of me in every sort of way.
He stays so close beside me, he’s a coward, you can see;
I’d think shame to stick to Nursie as that shadow sticks to me!

One morning very early before the sun was up                                                                                                                                                                         I rose and found the shining dew on every buttercup.                                                                                                                                                But my lazy little shadow like an errant sleepyhead                                                                                                                                            Had stayed at home behind me and was fast asleep in bed.

One December morning when I arose, there were no buttercups and it was not my shadow that struck me, but the contrasted beauty of shadows and light across the snow!

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And I spied the vacant swing of summer, stirring in the cold wind, now ensconced with snow ~ saving a seat for its next occupant be it winged or footed.

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Shadows have always intrigued me.  Did anyone else grow up playing Shadow Tag late on steamy summer evenings?  In the dark with just a street light or porch light to cast the shadows, it was easy to trip on some stone or root or impediment unseen.   But the fun trumped the risk.  With great peals of laughter and joy, the tagged became the tagger and on and on the game would go.

Now, shadows are more figurative than literal in my life … shadows of days gone by, shadows of things yet to come.  I have waited in this Season when the Christ Child was incubating.  I wait on Time.  It is TIME that I crave in these long days of Winter!  Time to spend with family, time to reflect on God’s Grace and Mercy, time to rest by the fire; time to love in the doing, time to prepare for a Newness Coming, time to give and time to receive!  Even Time becomes shadowy as it moves in erratic intervals.

Shadows herald Change!  The sun may be rising or setting.  The light that creates shadow is always shifting.  Shadows grow long or short.  The direction in which a shadow lies is also fluid.

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Link your fingers together with a strong light behind and you can create your own drama of shadow:  first, a bunny, then a horse, then a looming ogre ready to devour.  Haven’t we all marveled at our own power to make cute or ugly, inviting or repelling?

We love discovering the power embedded within us to sculpt with shadow play.

But there is ONE Who has NO SHADOW!  For there is NO SHADOW of turning with Him!*  HE ~ Jehovah God, Father of Saviour Jesus ~ never changes!  HE is the SAME yesterday, today and FOREVER!**  And HIS is the Ultimate POWER!

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Regardless of the shadows that might be looming large in your life, His Light will dispel any darkness that threatens to over~shadow.***  As you reflect upon your own understanding of power, or the lack thereof, in this Season of Shadows and Light, may you experience Great Peace in knowing that you are covered by the Shadow of His Wings.****  May you know the Presence and Power of the One who is The Light!

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* James 1:17

** Hebrews 13:8

*** John 1:5

**** Psalm 91:1; 17:8