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h. renell's Hearth Posts

Anchored In Dance

This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil,
Hebrews 6:19 NKJV


In Praise of Dancing
St. Augustine

I praise the dance, for it frees people
from the heaviness of matter
and binds the isolated to community.
I praise the dance, which demands everything:
health and a clear spirit and a buoyant soul.
Dance is a transformation of space, of time, of people,
who are in constant danger of becoming all brain,
will, or feeling.
Dancing demands a whole person, one who is
firmly anchored in the center of his life, who is
not obsessed by lust for people and things
and the demon of isolation in his own ego.
Dancing demands a freed person, one who vibrates
with the balance of all his powers.
I praise the dance.
O man, learn to dance, or else the angels in heaven
will not know what to do with you.

In my younger years, I danced in ballet and tap classes, and during college, I took a modern dance class. The pictures of me in a tutu and ballet slippers lay in a box with other photographs.

I still dance while doing the dishes or only to express my joy.

This expression, this dance — my Lord of the dance has sustained me, has been my anchor during the dark days of today.

Put on your ballet slippers, tap shoes, or whatever footwear you have (modern dance uses your bare feet) and express your joy in the Lord in an upside-down world.

Poets' Pavilion

Old Loss New Beginnings

I will remove from you all who mourn over the loss of your appointed festivals, which is a burden and reproach for you.
Zephaniah 3:18 NIV


Alfred Lord Tennyson published “In Memoriam, [Ring out, wild bells]” anonymously. This section is one of many that took him from 1833 to 1850 to write. Through his writing, he processed the deep pain of losing a friend.

As I read this poem, it spoke to me the miracle of new beginnings even in a time of deep suffering like we see ourselves in today. I, too, lost one of my best friends this past year.

Poets' Pavilion

Pondering Raison d’être

For the first time that I can remember this past Christmas, I genuinely thought of the baby in the manger. I was one of the parents that never promoted Santa Claus. My mother did, and I remember how hurt I felt when I realized he was not real. (My mom was a warrior – she was a high school counselor whose students called Battle Axe. It was from her that I learned the art of non-violent spiritual warfare techniques.) But still, I gave Him the short shift every Christmas by not pondering why He came here for us.

On New Year’s Eve, I write resolutions and prayers for the coming year. But before I do, I tear open and read the sealed envelope from a year ago. Twenty twenty one’s resolutions were, well, … quite depressing. However, this year I had something brewing to write: podcasting.

Several years earlier with my son, I listened to the 2011 World Series live on the radio. It was spectacular to engage my visual imagination as I heard the crack of David Freese’s bat deliver a miracle for the St. Louis Cardinals.

I have had a surprising passing interest in podcasting for several years. I am a visual and not an aural learner. I borrowed Podcasting for Dummies from the local library and dug in. As well as Poetry for Dummies, this book gave me a clearly-written foundation to build on with further research.

Podcasting Made Simple mentioned that unlike blog posts and videos, podcasts could be listened to on the go. Also, podcasting could be recorded in solitude, which appeals to me.

The baby in the manger was born, was crucified, and rose again to give us life and our lives more abundantly. He and my purpose are now my abundantly. With the warfare over our nation and my first empty-nester Christmas, I truly thought about the baby in the manger. And I truly saw Him in a deeper than before raison d’être this Christmas.

FaithReadingWriting

Crackin’ the Poetry Books


A wise man will hear and grow in learning. A man of understanding will become able to understand a saying and a picture-story, the words of the wise and what they mean.
Proverbs 1:5-6 NLV


When I was ready to take writing poetry seriously, I went to my default setting of books. By the time I was finished with one, it was liberally highlighted with either pencil or a yellow highlighter.

Poetry for Dummies was my first. It gave me a broad overview of everything poetry. Then I read any recommendation lists or reader reviews to find others to help me along the way.

In order to learn, we must also take those first baby steps with our pens, pencils, or keyboards. The same applies to our Christian lives — at some point beyond reading the Bible, we must step out in faith.

Poets' Pavilion

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