Monday, August 29, 2011

Sharing yesterday's post with d'Verse Poetry today.. scroll down past text below (...if you must ;) for my poem, The Dying Garden


Working for hospice, I have a unique privilege to see many lives come through our beautiful residence and pass on.  No one ever wants to go and live in a hospice home.  No one ever truly wants to visit there either. But, for those who need it, it is a beautiful home that provides loving end of life care to patients and their families. 

The other day, a large group of volunteers came to weed and clean out the gardens there.  We worked hard all day, pulling weeds, pruning, cutting back plants, and sweating.  I stood up, dirt on my hands and knees, and looked around me.  I knew there was more going on than just weeding. After all, we were standing in a living garden pulling out dead things.  Think of it. 

Right then, quietly, one of our ladies passed away and I watched her 7 children spill slowly out into the gardens to sit by the waterfall and walk the paths, absorbing the sunshine and fresh air… tears gently falling.  

Then, I noticed this bumble bee.  It was the huge kind of bumble bee that ordinarily hovers near your head and makes you duck.  But this one was not hovering… at all.  It was not gathering pollen.  It lay, barely moving, sprawled on the bed of this hydrangea, the softest bed of death.  I hoped this is how I would go… finish the work that God has for me and lay down in a beautiful place to die.  Our hospice home is the beautiful hydrangea.

There is a certain place between life and death.  I do not know if it has a name.  I have not studied it… but I have experienced it.  It’s a sacred place of passing… and I was standing in a sacred moment.  I wondered if the outside garden I was standing in, mirrored the ‘garden’ inside the hospice house.  A garden of lives, with thorns, illness, personalities, families, legacys, historys and names.  I felt sure that this earthly garden filled with beauty, weeds, death, new life and thorns was a very tiny picture of the difference between the gardens on earth and heaven.  Paradise, where there will be no more dying, disease or sorrow.  

The Dying Garden

garden of the dying
weeds of death appear
slowly, quietly accepted
welcomed even
expected as thorns and thistles
among beauty

tend the sanctuary
regrets ignored grow quickly
pulling pain and illness
harvesting what is
grieving what wasn’t
watering with cleansing tears
forgiveness rain

travel  sacred paths to find
deeply rooted legacy
perennial memories
calming hearts with lavender laughter
buds of new life
as hope blooms
 in the breeze of colors
swirling around gratitude bouquets

lay me down
on bed of bliss
tender place of passing
hold my hand and stay with me
‘til I let go
to  walk the Living Garden

Patricia Spreng

Joining today with the wonderful words of writers at Play Dates with God hosted by Laura Bogess at the Wellspring and On, In and Around Mondays hosted by LL Barkat at Seedlings in Stone

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Writer's Retreat

I herd high calling calling me to write
why  I needs to go to the  writer's retreat
to sit tight with God
and  lurn me sum things
and peeples  to meet

Im a bit ascared cuz
I don’t know sestinas, sonnets  'n such
I jus like to right out in ink from my heart
sumtimes I splatter
it don’t come out  write

and thats why I needs
the writer’s retreat

Patricia Spreng
(shamelessly looking for a discount on this Writers Retreat by  gladly promoting a fabulous place called Laity Lodge in Texas which is hosting a writers retreat for The High Calling, an equally fabulous web site filled with all kinds of great resoursces and people.  Go check it out for yerself.   =)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

As the deer longs for streams of water,
So my soul longs for you, oh God.
Psalm 42:1

I have been doubly blessed this morning.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

(or TP for short... which you know what we use that for)

Talking heads
riding roughshod
unhappy trails
up down bumpy roads
walking bed of nails

talking points
Left and Right
touch a pinched nerve
jump down turn around
flip flop swerve

pin heads
tongues wagging
waiting to unfurl
their point
and they do have one

Patricia Spreng

Heres my TEXTURE photograph of a really cool, pointy flower in Maui, HI... click on the photograph to look at those tongues waiting to unfurl.... like party favors just waiting to make a noise!

Submitting this to  d’Verse Poetics tonight where we are challenged to use  “texture” in poetry.   Come and see the wonderful words of poets at d’Verse Poets

Thursday, August 18, 2011


paper towel
absorbing sadness

quicker picker upper
pick you up
let me down
toss away

patricia spreng

connecting to d’Verse Poets Pub tonight… here we are posting for Meeting the Bar: Critique and Craft…
let ‘er rip.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Bad Samaritan

car door swung open
revealing her thin frame
abruptly crossing two lanes of traffic
with no care of being struck dead

he had already killed her spirit

abandoned on the side of the road
like a bitch in heat
oversized t-shirt
pants she never chose

watching his battered pickup truck
swerve away
from her battered self

oh God,
her face contorted in drawn gaping mouth
screaming eyes, wet chest heaving
sorrow, disbelief

the taxi mother
late for work
driving too fast on Bad Samaritan Ave.
leaving a trail of prayer and poetry
in my dust
like handing a tissue
to a drowning soul
and telling them to wipe their nose

I recognized You
the moment
I drove away

my agenda dressed in
belt of fear
shield of self protection
vest of worry
shoes of hesitation
hiding under a hat of what ifs
wielding a sword of excuses
slashing my way through
coulda shoulda woulda guilt

I could go back
and gather Your Child
in my arms to calm her
drying tears that were
never meant to be

unwilling to expose My Child
to the evils of the world
when I could have
both of them

Patricia Spreng

Matthew 25: 44-45 ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and not help you?’ “And he will answer, ‘I tell you the truth, when you refused to help the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were refusing to help me.’

Joining up with dVerse poets on their open link night.  Come and see for yourself… the wonderful words of poets.


Monday, August 15, 2011


You delight over me with singing
when I have no song
lifting my face to yours
inviting me to dance
reminding me 
that you are the music

and you have chosen me
as your bride

Breathing your life into mine
when I am breathless
renewed, I rise
gently leading me beside still waters
I am compelled to follow

Though my confession of faith
a mere pittance
widowed and poor
you rejoice in my offering
cleansing me
clothing me
in garments
reserved for a prodigal

Patricia Spreng

Joining the Warrior Poet Circle at Connecting to Impact where the poetry prompt for today is “faithfulness.”

Monarch Season

It definitely is the season for monarch butterflies.  I see them everywhere flitting around to and fro, over the highways and fields of milkweed... quietly celebrating in a dance of praise.  I rejoice just a little more on the inside each time I see one.  For I know what God showed me while I was raising them.  What I thought was a simple science project for my kids, turned out to be a personal journey of trust-formation.
Over at The High Calling  there's a book club hosted by Laura J. Burgess.  We've been reading Luci Shaw's book called Breath for the Bones .  
 You can click on the High Calling site here .

This week we read chapter 9 called Paying Attention.  Luci Shaw is someone I easily admire.  She has a quiet sense about her and a heart that is ready, willing and open to seeing God in the smallest details.  Usually, when I want to stop and revel in God's small details, I have someone behind me demanding my attention, or kind of rolling their eyeballs with a 'there she goes again' look.  So, I also find myself a little jealous of Shaw's season of life which seems to allow her an abundance of quiet space.  Although, some of my favorite God moments have been shown to me because of my children.  The first year I raised monarchs in my home, I would run and get my kids up in the morning to let them know the butterflies were about to hatch.  I was so filled with awe and wonder, that I acted more like a child than they did.  That first spring, after about the 10th hatching, my little boy who was about 8 at the time, wearily made his appearance in the kitchen and while rubbing his eyes said... "mom, I think you think I like this a whole lot more than I do."

To all four of the people who occasionally read this blog, you probably already know that I'll never apologize for my constant referral to the lovely Monarchs. =)  I simply have never had a more profound "paying attention" lesson from God and I pray I bring him glory each time I share it.  The following link is a story where I stopped to pay attention...

(Read my monarch story of Trust-formation here) or click on the Monarch tab above.

Shaw identifies the need for paying attention by quoting the following:

"Artist Thomas La Duke noted:

“Some things are so common that they disappear. They’re all around us, but they vanish.”

Missing our cues, we fail to notice the fingerprints of the Creator in the ordinary textures and phenomena of living because we are distracted by daily urgencies, by things we consider more important, which in the end may prove to be both trivial and transient.

Mary Oliver wrote:  If you notice anything it leads you to notice more and more.

And here the incarnational approach to faith kicks in for me. As a poet and a sacramentalist, I am learning to recognize pointers to transcendent realities in almost anything I see."
Shaw, Luci (2009-09-01). Breath for the Bones (Kindle Locations 1724-1732). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.

I guess my son was right, I did enjoy the monarchs more than he did.  But I pray in the midst of all the chaos of raising a family, he remembers his Mom looking for God and finding Him in the chaos... right outside our window. 

Patricia Spreng

Also sharing today with Playdates with God at The Wellspring     and at

On, In and Around Mondays with L.L. Barkat at Seedlings In Stone

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Outside the Vatican

without the heart
to photograph
her wounded soul
the prompt remains
a memory seared
crouched outside
the Vatican City
as thousands lined the street
under umbrellas for sun
for what
entrance to God?
the wizard of Oz?
pay no attention to the woman deformed
is she not art?
is she not holy?
she sat crouched
outside the Vatican

Patricia Spreng

Come join us at dVerse and find the wonderful words of poets.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Pinball Parent

Pinball parent
bouncing off bumpers
to fro back
up down over
jerked around
never saw that one coming
scoring high then
gutter balling my eyes out
flipped around
flippin’ teenagers
until I
pull the plug

Patricia Spreng

Sharing this at dVerse where you will find the wonderful words of poets.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Shell Seeking

Lately, I’ve been enjoying an online community of believers over at The High Calling.   I’ve “met” a number of interesting people; brothers and sisters in Christ who are wonderful writers and poets of all kinds, teachers and kindred spirits.  I have been inspired, challenged and encouraged there.  It has felt like home since I first visited.  A bit like finding a church that you know is a good fit… and doesn’t make you  squirm (for the wrong reasons) … a good place to grow and breathe.
I joined a book club there, hosted by a darling woman named Laura J. Burgess.  (She blogs at The Wellspring… a wonderful place where she shares her loving, honest, insightful, cute and adorable self =) 
We are reading a book by Luci Shaw entitled Breath for the Bones (the title grabbed my attention right away… since my bones have needed a breath of fresh air for some time now.)  Shaw’s book is a reflection on artistry and creativity from a deeply faith-filled, God follower’s perspective.  This week we read Chapters seven and eight.

Chapter 7 is a good overview of the importance of journaling.  In that chapter, Shaw shares one of her own journaling entries about walking the beach of Sanibel Island and collecting seashells.
As I bend and lift each one and love it with my touch and glance, I wonder if this was how God bent and lifted me, how he chose me and treasures me, how he wants me with him. I must seem singular and precious to him if he came so far to find me.  Shaw, Luci (2009-09-01). Breath for the Bones (Kindle Locations 1484-1486). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.
      As an avid shell seeker, I was drawn in by this story and thought to myself how Luci’s story here allows me a walk on the beach, through her book, so to speak… albeit not as lovely as Sanibel Island.  But as I walk through her book, I keep finding nuggets of truth that are special to me.   ‘As I bend and lift each one and love it with my touch and glance,’ I am changed by moments of reflection, awe, encouragement, and permission.  These are “Aha” affirming moments of the creative, God-given gifts in my life.

So below are just some of my favorite “shells” taken from Luci’s beach of chapters seven and eight.  I collected quite a few, but for lack of time… and fear of reposting most of her book, I will share just a few.  They have meaning and significance to me.  I do not need to expound on them.  Their beauty speaks for themselves.  As Shaw writes of her shelling experience,
In the aftermath of the storm comes its harvest. The waves and their deep turbulence have knocked loose and laid at my feet shells not seen in the earlier, calmer days of this week.
Shaw, Luci (2009-09-01). Breath for the Bones (Kindle Locations 1500-1501). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.

From chapter 7 on Journaling …

҉    You may have an idea, but it may need to hibernate for years before it’s ready to have a life of its own. I tell writers to catch and record these seminal ideas, these seeds, the minute they arrive, or they will be blown away in the wind of active living.  Shaw, Luci (2009-09-01). Breath for the Bones (Kindle Locations 1454-1456). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.

From Chapter 8 on Learning to Risk with our creativity, here are some real beauties.  These resonated deeply within me as I am very aware of being stuck in the transformational learning process of trusting vs. not trusting God, and the tides in my life that seem to move me closer, then farther away from God.
Ԅ   I can remember the actual moment. I was looking up at the small rectangular port, its glass faintly lit, and knew in my heart that though we needed to be alert and prudent, we didn’t have to be in total control, that we could trust the Father to care for us and blaze a track against the wind, across those monster waves, all the way back to safe harbor at the end of the week. It was a moment of choice, and of growth because of choice. Shaw, Luci (2009-09-01). Breath for the Bones (Kindle Locations 1587-1590). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.

   But it is in both the acceptance and use of the gift, and the giving it back that we find the rounding out of the process, the completion, the deepest fulfillment. We must give of ourselves to art, but we must accept that what we have to give is never enough, that for eternal significance any art, literature, music, drama must be Spirit-driven, Spirit-imprinted.  Shaw, Luci (2009-09-01). Breath for the Bones (Kindle Locations 1605-1608). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.
Shaw writes of her desire to continually grow and change, and the risk it inherently brings and how others may judge or react to that change.  How even the church, in placing control and restrictions upon the artist’s expressions, inhibits and misrepresents our very creative God, the very God who created art in all of its forms. Shaw writes.
    I don’t ever want to stop growing, being creative. Even death, inevitable as it is, will be just one more creative spurt into the future, one more growing edge, one more leap into the light. Remember, we don’t die into death. We die into life!  Floyd Lotito said, “Death is not extinguishing the light; it is putting out the lamp, because the dawn has come.”  Shaw, Luci (2009-09-01). Breath for the Bones (Kindle Locations 1633-1634). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.
҉   “Coloring within the lines” requires a black-and-white system of belief and behavior, but I believe that when we control and hedge in certain parts of human experience, we end up being less than truly human. And truly human is the way God created us to be.  Shaw, Luci (2009-09-01). Breath for the Bones (Kindle Locations 1664-1665). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.

So, Luci mentions that she doesn’t necessarily want to keep the shells that other people choose for her.  She wants to be faithful and disciplined within herself to listen to, watch for, trust and obey all that God would inspire her to create and be.  I appreciate those sentiments, but also want to gently remind myself that sometimes God can and does use others to point something out to me that I might otherwise miss.  Much like me choosing some of her priceless “shells” from this book that are hers but I choose to keep for myself.  Much like being within this ‘church’ of The High Calling community and being fed by thoughts, ideas, teachings, and challenges and still having my artistic expressions affirmed… sharing our shells together… and loving God for providing them for us to share in community.
Luci’s last comment in chapter 8 states,
   Perhaps the role of those involved in the arts, then, is to awaken ourselves and others to beauty—in all its risk and in all its richness.  Shaw, Luci (2009-09-01). Breath for the Bones (Kindle Locations 1669-1670). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition. 
Thank you to Luci Shaw for playing her role in God’s creative Kingdom so well.  She is being used by God to awaken me to the beauty of the art within me… with all its risk and richness.  I’m a singer by the world’s musical standards.  But within my personal, mid-life awakening of sorts, I am allowing myself to embrace and trust the Spirit who is moving me toward his artistry within me through writing, poetry, and photography.   Without the worry of meeting the world’s standards of artistry through training, education, fame, etc., it is freeing to fall into trusting him.  I am an artist by God’s approval, not mans.  He gives me thoughts, words and images and I am moved deeply by his Spirit, and will be faithful to record them however I can. 
Patricia Spreng
*my mom and I have collected shells for years... these are my photographs of some of her priceless finds.

Friday, August 5, 2011


My mother's favorite flower...
taken at her funeral by my niece,
Kristen Grinnell Photography 

It  doesn't matter
the number of tears that fall...

who can say
how many there will be?

for no one ever counts
how many rain drops fall

before flowers bloom
or rainbows come

but they do,
and you will...

bloom again.

Patricia  Spreng
Dedicated to my friend whom I love with all my heart. 

Submitted to dVerse where you will find the wonderful words of poets.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Morning Glory
wait for me ...

gently unfold
let go
and breathe ...

to see
the majesty
before you
become you
within you
Good Morning Glory

Patricia Spreng
(click on the photos to enlarge)

Remembering my mom's birthday tomorrow... she would have been 93 years old. I hate not being able to buy her a card and a gift... so I made one instead ♥  She would wake us in the morning, as she raised the window shades with a cheerful “good morning glory!”  My daughter and I planted this vine three years ago in the summer she passed away.  I love to think of her now in all of God’s glory.  My heart likes to think she still says it each morning and  I can’t wait to hear her say it again.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

pahty 'n d'swamplan

pahty in  de’swamplan
come’n danc tonight
callin  all  d’creatures
dis’be  whild  life

heard you callin’
you cand’lie
s’why  I came
so fulla flight
cool an’loof
the way you ah 
  will you dance w’me tonight?

don’be lan’in here
screwin’ up my balans
fillin me with feah
tha’ wasn’me you def girl…
i waz’n callin’you
min’in my own bi’ness
the way AH’ALL’waysdo

dis’here branch is mine now
th’aint no pahty here
go backan mess wit’ tall boy
thas’ wha’chou gon’do
been waitin’ there for’evah
he got legs for you
he danc you inda min’ight
jes’ like you wan’em too

party in d’swampland
heard  you callin’ me
lookin’ fo  th’whild life
been waitin long  fo’me?
look a’me
look a’choo
stannin’tall the way you do
 will you danc  w’me tonight?

Patricia Spreng

I got a little carried away in the swamp land with my camera the other day...what fun I had.  I just loved capturing the stance of that bird when two herons decided to land in ‘his’ tree! Sharing today at d’Verse where you will find the wonderful words of poets!