The First Snow of Christmas

A Winter Cathedral of Snow

It’s December. Right now the frost lays thickly on the still green grass and drab plowed fields I view out my window. The mountains are beige-brown and bare. There is a bit of leftover fog and mist that seem reluctant to leave with the rays of the morning sun. The school bus drives past full of sleepy students who are just waiting for Christmas vacation to begin.

During this time of year, I dream of swirling snowflakes and winds whistling around the corner of the old house. I yearn to see white fields and mountains with virgin snow gracing its folds. I envision every tree branch outlined in the white lace of winter ice.

This year, however, snow has kept its distance and a warmish Autumn has extended even into December. The scenery has been a reflection of my feelings many times. Instead of that magical cheer I often feel in December, there has often been a sense of frustration, melancholy, hopelessness and at times, even a bit of despair. This has been the most difficult year I’ve had in 10 years. My heart has been hit relentlessly and has numbed itself to the next coming trial as one can only take so much. This past November with it’s pale sunshine, dry earth and faded leaves have echoed the discouragement I have often felt.

But even as I type this, a strong gale of wind comes sweeping through the yard and dark, iron grey clouds have gathered. I stand in the grass and the former warm breeze has turned icy. I smile and a childlike excitement quickens my heart. I know the signs…a sure harbinger of snow. There is a crispness to the air and every thing seems to be a little more alive.

In a few hours, the first Christmas snow will begin and with it, the pain of this year will begin to wash away. The silence and peace of drifting snowflakes will ease my mind and a thick blanket of snow will hush my weary soul. I am at peace as the magic of this holy season once again slips softly into my heart. I am, once again, a child at Christmas.

And as if in response, a distant jingle of bells on the air whisper “Welcome home Melissa…”

Fernweh

Fernweh

(I wrote this while listening to the music below. So quiet, so relaxing…so full of Fernweh.)

I just discovered a new word…Fernweh. It’s a German word that basically means that you are homesick for a place you have never seen. It sounds silly, doesn’t it? How can one feel such a wistful desire for a place you have never been? But as a confirmed Hopeless Romantic, I can verify that Fernweh does exist. I have known it…many times.

It is difficult to describe, but when you hear a certain piece of music or see a photo or a maybe a scene in a movie, you are suddenly overwhelmed with a nostalgia and yearning that envelopes you. I have often found myself standing on an ocean beach or a windy hillside looking out over the distant scene and feeling that slightly sad and wistful yearning to go “home.” But home to where?

Ah…therein lies the secret. For in each person, our “soul home” is different for each of us and can sometimes change over the years. For me, it has been the same since I was a little girl. I listen to the music below and I yearn to stand on the faded glory of yesteryear’s castles looking at a storm sweep up a green hillside. I can see myself…in clothes of a bygone era, hair blowing freely, staring at the distant horizon waiting.

Why does my heart know this place? Almost like a memory, it is imprinted on my mind like a faded dream. When I wander the timeworn stones and pathways of a crumbling English castle, I have stepped back in time and can hear the sounds of ancestors’ voices. Was that the sound of horse’s hoofs on the cobblestoned bridge? Is that distant merry laughter from the ruins of the great hall below? I hear the melancholy notes of a Celtic flute and I’m instantly transported. I am reluctant to leave. I close my eyes and my soul trembles slightly brushed with that haunting desire.

Yes, I know and understand Fernweh, but I believe most do. For in all of us, there is a memory of a spiritual home. We may not fully acknowledge it, but we all hear that distant music. Someday we will all find our soul’s “home” and finally be able to lay aside that quiet yearning for something more.

Of course some will say “Melissa, don’t be silly, it’s all in your head.” But as Dumbledore said in Harry Potter, “Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” (― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows)

Dancing Under the Moon



It's a full moon 
I'm dancing with the fairies 
sipping honey wine from a flower cup 
made of moon dewdrops 
and silver rain

The golden haze of the Autumn light
Suspends reality 
Opening a door to the other world
of halcyon dreams
and glowing Aurelian walls

The cool, free winds
blow cobwebs away in my soul
brushing away old, dusty memories
as I find little me
leaping with the eternal stars

Tick…tock…

Tick…tock…
The rain drops hush the heat
Of an intense summer day
The night comes in gentle grey
With no sunset colors at play
All is one in unified silence

The midnight hour draws near
And the heavy burdens appear 
The ticking of the clock
Accompanies the melancholy
Of her relentless thoughts

It is in the stillness of this hour
That her inner critic begins to sour
Every ambition, every hope
With sobering truths
Of cold reality

The clicking of the endless clock
Is the wordless march
Of impervious time
Dutifully doing its mechanical part
Stilling the wishes of her romantic heart

She sighs...
Another morn will come
and with it she will smile
For that is her duty
To pretend for a while...

Photo by Rafael Barros from Pexels

Join Me in Paris

Join Me in Paris

Audrey Hepburn Eiffel TowerCome and join me in one of my favorite memories and trips of all time…Paris.  Let us wander the streets together.  The streets walked by millions of lovers, artists and hopeless romantics searching for that elusive idea of “love.”

Walk where the architecture swoons with every curve and where the Seine is graced by slow moving boats.  Stroll where a dress is a masterpiece of art and cuisine melts on the tongue.  Why do visions of Audrey Hepburn standing in front of the Eiffel Tower call forth the ultimate in femininity and class?  Why is Paris “always a good idea” as she once said?

Ah…Paris. The very name sends a little romantic thrill through my heart.  When I was 12 years old, I saw a movie that was based in Paris and ever since then, I’ve been in love with it. After wishing, hoping and dreaming for over 30 years, I finally was able to travel there for a few days.  It was both eye-opening and beautiful.

I remember being warned that it was dirty and not as romantic as many liked to think it was.  Of course I saw the dirt, the graffiti, and yes, even some vermin (both human and animal).  But I also saw everything that people love about the place.  There was a boulangerie with fresh baked croissants and bread.  Friends sitting with their coffee at charming little cafes, locals playing a game of Boules (a game that involves heavy balls), street musicians and entertainers, and beautiful locals passing on their bicycles.  And of course, there was that stunning French flair for fashion that made me a wee bit envious of the beautiful women that passed by.

There were Gothic churches that swept your eye upwards to the sky.

Paris Church

There was opulence in every corner at the Palace of Versaille.  From golden gates to painted masterpieces on the ceilings to the stunning gardens…no detail was left untouched.

Palace of Versailles

But most of all, there was the Eiffel Tower.

Eiffel tower at night

To this woman, the Eiffel Tower was the ultimate romantic dream.  It symbolized the idea of love for me.  It was as if simply by being there, that one could find the love one had always hoped for.  Throughout the years, hopeless romantic daydreams were often accompanied by the Eiffel Tower in the background.

The day I finally got to see it, I was completely surprised at my reaction.  I left the subway and walked around the corner and up to the platform above it to get the best view.  When it came into view, I was suddenly overwhelmed by my feelings.  The tears started to flow and I couldn’t keep them back.  It was one of my first long-held dreams that had come true. (Video below of me and my reaction.)

As the character Sabrina in the movie “Sabrina” said, “Only where the light is pink, does the song La Vie en Rose (Life in Rose) make sense.” Why? Because to see Paris is to see life through rose-colored glasses.

And during these days, when the world seems so full of confusion, pain and darkness, rose-colored glasses help me to find the beauty that still exists.


We loved first in our dreams...
You reached from beyond
into my unconscious mind
and found me in the realms of fantasy
Falling in love was as easy as breathing
And we did with an intensity that seemed
To brush the very tenets of my soul
Every spiritual nerve tingled
As we laughed at jokes
As you tenderly touched my face
As your arms reached around me
And we sighed in perfect contentment
It was a fullness of joy...
That still companions me
in my waking hours
You reminded me how to love...
Which I'm holding in my heart
Until we meet again.

Clarity

Clarity

Several faces cross my mind
Memories of dried up wishes
Daydream bouquets wilted
Another handful of dry petals
Blowing away as I toss them
Into the cold spring wind…

March lions hail down
Pellets of frozen ice
Winds slice through my armor
another false disguise
Pulling my coat closer feeling resigned
I turn and bump into you.

A flash of immortal fire
splits the darkening skies

Two souls find each other
through the meeting of startled eyes
And suddenly with a lightning view
I realize in all of those confusing faces…
I was searching for you.

Homesick

Homesick

Slowly strolling along the streets of various neighborhoods, I am often struck with a strange sense of yearning that is difficult to pinpoint.  I ramble by old cottages with their aging patina that seem to speak sage advice and whisper of hushed mysteries.  I see tired structures falling down and newer homes who often appear to be waiting like an impatient child to grow in memories.

Each home is unique and presents its own story.  I observe vines growing over romantic, ancient stones.  I gaze at white, wooden houses facing the sea that reflect the charm of a sleepy holiday and the weathering of time.  Sometimes I pass a modern house with clean lines and artistic daring.  On occasion, I tour a grand manor and I immediately imagine fairy tale princesses, knights and Renaissance balls.

In my many wanderings, I have been fascinated with certain homes and I stop to decorate them with my imagination.  Would I leave elegant potted plants at the door or would I grow my own vines of roses and wisteria?  Would I have a wild garden or would everything be pristine?  Would I want bricks, wood or stone?  I have spent many happy hours imagining what my future home might look like.

I’ve never owned a home and it’s still a cherished desire of my heart.  I have lived in many rented apartments and flats, but always felt as though I was “in-between.”  These days, the need for one permanent home settles itself in my heart more firmly with each passing day.  I am tired of wandering.

Then the familiar yearning becomes clear…I am homesick.  I am homesick for a place I have yet to see.  Homesick for my own piece of the world where I can unpack, build, decorate, inspire, create and love.  Homesick for a garden that grew because I planted it.  Longing for a permanent pied-à-terre where I know every inch, because I have spent the time loving each space into existence.

Yes, it’s time to plant some permanent dreams.  It’s time to go home.

Sweet September

September-harvest-moon-micro-AdobeStock_89784561-600x319

Distant shores are calling…
 I find myself in the car heading north
Ending in an evening ramble
In the Northern wild forests  
My soul soars as I leave behind
the chains of an invisible prison.

Are the distant pines on fire?
No…the fiery, orange Harvest moon rises,
blazing triumphantly over the fading landscape.
I pull my jacket a little tighter 
As the heat of the day succumbs 
to the fresh, sweet night air.

It’s 2 am now…the silence here is profound.
No cars, no crickets, no birds…
No other sounds than the distant call of an elk…
Its mournful cry a story of nature primeval.
I had forgotten how silent nature can be.
It’s just me and the moon and the wind…
and oh how bewitching it is!

A part of me remembers this…the silence
Childhood adventures climbing
Over amber-colored hill tops
Dreaming of castles in the air…
When the silence permeated my soul
Like music in the wind.

My life has come full circle
And the little me still sees
Hope on the horizon of my life…
Some dreams fulfilled, some yet to be…
As sweet September turns another page
I stand still…
This perfect moment soon to be
Another memory in the book of my life.

(Some favorite pictures of my recent road trip to Idaho and Yellowstone.)

 

In the Meantime…

In the Meantime…

Patience Melissa…patience.  The words are whispered into my heart yet again.  The reminder comes as my weary heart waits.  Waiting for the promises that have yet to bear fruit.  But in the meantime, I find purpose in lifting aching hearts and heavy hands.  Words of comfort that have lifted my own burdens find their way to my memory in time to help another.  As I battle with the everyday, struggling to achieve my long-held dreams, inspirations come and I find myself walking a very different path.

Our individual missions are unique, but each one is so important.  We are each struggling to find our destiny, but in the meantime…fulfilling it in every way.  Sometimes our journeys make little sense, but they make perfect sense to One who sees the puzzle piece we are in the bigger picture.

I did not write these lyrics nor this song below, but every word speaks to me in a way few songs do.  It is aimed at women, but it can include all of us.  We all have dreams to be so much more than we are,  but in the meantime, we are becoming exactly who we are meant to be.

Sending my love to you all.

In the Meantime – Jenny Jordan Frogley

In her heart she holds the dreams…
That she’s carried since the day she turned 13.
Of all that she would be when she was grown,
Of all that she would do when she was finally on her own.
She dreamed she’d fly…
She’s still waiting for the chance to try,
But in the meantime she’s a mother, and a daughter, and a wife…
Doing all she can to stay above the daily grind
And she wonders when she’ll ever have more meaning in her life.
She doesn’t know she’s being molded and refined…
In the meantime.
Someday she’ll go back to school
When the carpools and the soccer games are through.
Because deep inside, she’s still the girl
Who always felt the fire to make a difference in the world.
She dreams she’ll soar…
When she finally has the time to do more.
But in the meantime…
She’s a sister and a teacher and a friend.
Hours turn into days that turn to years that never end.
And she wonders when she’ll ever really find herself again…
She’s becoming one on whom God can depend… 
In the meantime.
Heaven feels the joy of every victory in her life.
And heaven hears her heart before she cries…
But somewhere in the middle of the triumphs and the trials,
she’s becoming sanctified.
But in the meantime,
She’s an answer and a blessing and a gift
To every empty, aching heart that only she can lift.

Still she wonders if she’ll ever get to see where heaven is.
If she could only see her mansion waiting there.
If she could only feel how much her Father cares…
She would know she’s being perfectly prepared…
In the meantime…

Immortal

Romantic-Couples-Black-And-White-Photography-In-Rain-12Your silent song
has stolen my heart
I see you…
those wistful, weary eyes
that sad half-smile
Hiding from the world
the burdens you carry
Soulful sighs…
Echoing across the skies
Two lonely muses seeking
For their immortal lovers…

I look to the stars for an answer
In eternal tongues the gods reply
But my heart has not yet learned
the language of Olympus…
What is the goddess’ secret
that she whispers
to the lucky few?
This old, romantic soul
listens for Aphrodite’s rhyme
that beckons the aching heart
And answers…somewhere in time.

Reflective Rain

woman looking out rainy window (2)The steady drip
of the cooling rain
Drums counting beats
in reflective refrain
What journey do I take?
What road do I run?
When the green turns amber
And the days become one?
When everything just is
And nothing becomes
When the heart deeply yearns
Yet the fields still burn
When time ticks on
And I am frozen in place
Waiting…waiting
For the break of the rain
to begin counting drumbeats
in my head yet again…

Free Little Me

20190808_114434_HDR_2(Yes, the photo is really a picture of me.)

Laughing, flying in joy along the sand
Feeling the ocean in a new fairyland
She danced in tiny bare feet
Reveling in a dream so sweet
So free…

I remember that day…was it so long ago?
When brisk winds through pixie hair
Cold sea water and salty air
spurred the sunshine adventure
of that dauntless soul…

I have caught glimpses of her since then
When the fears of heartache and pain
Ceased to bleed through my veins
She gazes at me smiling
From the mirror…

The laughing blue eyes not quite overshadowed
The slightly dimpled smile foreshadows
Once distant treasure just round the bend
A merry dance close at hand
Freeing little me…

The Light Will Come

The Light Will Come

“The message of this moment is so clear
And as certain as the rising of the sun
If your world is filled with darkness, doubt, and fear
Just hold on, hold on, the light will come…” (Song by Michael McLean)

This song (which will be posted below) was written over 20 years ago.  The first time I heard it, it lifted me up in a very difficult time.  In the past few months, I have been wading through some very painful, personal struggles.  I have been spending a great deal of time in reflection and struggling with inspirations I had that didn’t seem to make any sense.  My head was fighting with my heart and I didn’t even realize it.  I had made some decisions that seemed practical  and logical, but why then did I grow sadder and more upset and angrier with each passing day?  My cynicism and bitterness began to grow and I began not to care much about anything around me.

This just came to a head a few days ago when I felt in complete despair.  I knew in my mind that the feelings I had of hopelessness and heaviness were obviously from a dark force, but they wouldn’t go away.  Finally, during a quiet moment, I remembered a strong answer to prayer that I had received and I paused and began to think about it, remembering other promises that had been made to me by Heavenly Father.  I then laid my head on the table where I was sitting and prayed.

And then it came…light, peace and sweet joy.  I had impressions so strong that there was no doubt in my mind where they came from.  Every dark and negative feeling was literally washed away…just gone and I couldn’t even remember them.  I was given direct answers to questions that had been plaguing me and direction that I had not thought of taking, but the moment I heard it, I knew it was right.  I felt (and still feel) both excited and peaceful, as if some great burden has been lifted off my shoulders.  How and when these things will come about, I do not know, but I know this…they will come.

The light will always come.  Always.  Often you have to fight through the darkness to get those answers, but oh…when that sweet relief comes, all I want to do is get down on my knees and thank God for it.

As the song says…
“If you feel trapped inside a never-ending night
If you’ve forgotten how it feels to feel the light
If you’re half-crazy, thinking you’re the only one
Who’s afraid the light will never really come
Just hold on, hold on, the light will come…”

Hold on, my friends…that sweet joy and peace will once again become yours if you seek it. It may not come instantly, but it WILL come. That’s a promise.

Cotton Dreams

Cotton Dreams

Cotton dreams wrapped in candy kisses
Coral clouds and violet wildflowers
Tall amber wheat fields
And innocent child fantasies
Of diamond rings and floating veils

Gentle waves on white sand beaches
Sweet pink plumeria leis
Anticipation of romantic roses
Embraced by a flaming sunset
And dancing under a twilight sky

Years pass…
Lonely grey winter days
Bitter solitary tears
Empty promises and harsh words
The endless aching of broken dreams

Yet…there it is, do you see it?
It’s hiding in the shadowy ruins
Against emerald hills and lavender
Pink glitter and fairy wishes
A breath of hope stirs…

Hesitant, shy and vulnerable
Petals open slowly under the warmth
Of soft words and kept promises
Tentatively I let go and fall
Into the gentle cradle of cotton dreams

The Music Box

The Music Box

It draws me in…it almost calls to me.  In a shop crowded with cheap and tasteless novelties, its beauty stands out. I longingly touch the surface, running my hand along the carvings and staring at the romantic icon of the Eiffel Tower.  It speaks volumes without saying a word. 

I wind up the box and open it.  Its minor notes play a wistful tune.  I have heard this melody before, but not in my current memory.  Did I hear it in another place and time?  Haunting, mysterious, and tender…

I close my eyes.  Yes, I know this tune…it is both familiar and timeless.  Among the notes I hear soft whispered words from past shadows.  His voice, someone I once knew…but have not met yet.  He is still there…hiding in the shadows of my other memory.  Those whispers…what are they saying?

“I loved you once and I will love you again.  I will find you…”  My heart recognizes his voice…the deep timbre sends chills through my veins.  Trembling, I carefully close the box and hold it close to me.  He is near…

Melting the Ice

Melting the Ice

It’s summer now…
The world is in love.
The scent of freshly cut grass
still wet with morning dew
drifts through the sheer curtains
by my open window.

Nearby I hear laughter…
Children playing in the yard.
Smoky open camp fires
and s’more melted chocolate
on burnt marshmallows sweeten the air

Vibrant sunsets struggle
With hot lightning and black clouds
While cool rain evaporates
On the burning pavement
The scent of a summer storm
Rejuvenates tired, dusty leaves.

If the rose and lavender
bloom with the riches of June
then why do the snowflakes
fall in my heart?
Bitter winds blow there
as icicles begin to form
in their glacial perfection

Heliotrope auroras
shoot cutting arrows
through the few remaining soft spots
in the hidden desires of my heart.
It won’t be long before
they, too, become impenetrable.
Will the Ice Queen reigneth?
Or will she allow
the tender breath of hope
to melt the barriers of her defenses?

Moon River

moon riverTonight a light breeze plays with my curtain while a soft April rain patters lightly against my window.  It’s the gentle hour.  The music of Moon River accompanies the quiet air. The tender and yearning notes stir my memories and I’m young again.

Suddenly, I’m fishing off a dock with my grandpa or sitting at the end of Mom’s bed as she reads to me.  I’m taking a “ride” on my Dad’s foot around the living room or playing dolls with my sister.  I have tea with my unicorn and the fairies dance at sunset. I whisper my deep secrets to the Man in the moon and dream of adventures in distant lands.

Oh Moon River, you dream maker, you heart breaker…wherever you went, I went your way!  This drifter went off to see the world…(there’s still so much of the world to see).  But I’m still seeking the ‘rainbow’s end’ somewhere around the bend. Moon River, I’m still waiting to find my huckleberry friend.  Moon River…please…wait for me.

 

 

 

Inches to Fly

You surprised me. 
I was wrapped in my jacket
against the rough, cold winds,
but under a blue sky,
you fluttered by.
A bright spot of yellow.
A harbinger of spring
A symbol of hope...

Through most of your life
You crawled mere inches.
Quiet, unassuming
Just there...
Hidden...
But living and growing.  

Then under the silken struggles 
of your mental and physical cocoon
after a long, dark winter
You emerged. 
Delicate...graceful
Spreading newly-found wings...
Finding that you were
Finally ready to fly. 








Be Still My Soul

“Be still my soul”

I sat in my bed listlessly staring out at the raging storm. The winds fiercely whipped the trees, stripping off the last of the dead leaves of winter. The rain pelted the window and the house creaked and moaned from the intensity. It perfectly suited the storm in my heart.

Another night…another heartbreak…another hope buried. Another door shut. This one had cut deep. I could do nothing but lay down on my pillow and cry myself to sleep.

The next morning was church. I rose with a heavy weight on my soul. I dressed and went and sat quietly in the corner. As the speakers began, I closed my eyes and no matter how I tried, I could not keep the tears from spilling over. For a while, I didn’t even care. I just let them slip quietly down while everyone else’s attention was on the speaker.

Bitterness began to seep in and a litany of negative thoughts from past inner battles took up their refrain. “You’re not good enough.” “Who would want you?” “Give it up.” At this point, the tears threatened to choke me, so I got up and found a quiet room and shut the door and let the tears just come.

A prayer came then in whispers. “I can’t do this anymore. I’m not strong enough. Please help. I feel so…broken.” I stood there feeling very small and utterly lost.

Moments later, the help came. Somewhere, behind the tears, I heard a quiet voice say “Peace be unto thy soul. Thine afflictions shall be but a small moment…you are not alone.” A peace that did not come from me stole softly into my heart. The lump in my throat disappeared. The tears dried and I felt calm. It was my own private miracle.

As I rejoined the meeting and focused on the speaker, the same words I had heard minutes before were spoken “Peace be unto thy soul. Thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment.” I caught my breath. The Savior was speaking directly to me.

He knew.
He understood.
He loved me.
It was enough.

“Be still my soul
Thy best…thy heavenly Friend
Through thorny ways…
Leads to a joyful end.”