Sunday, December 25, 2016

Judy at a reading in Goldsboro in 2015,
taken by Mary Susan Heath

Full Bloom 22  December 25, Christmas Day, 2016

Full bloom is sometimes heavy.
You can't go back. You've become
the person you wanted to be, but
not everyone likes it. You have
authority now as well as confidence,
and you're not hiding your light
under a bushel, but there are rebels,
critics, and scoffers. Even friends
can be jealous.
--- Full Bloom 4

 Over the door in Dante's Hell is written
"Abandon Hope, all ye who enter here."
Hope carries us forward when we feel
blind. It's obvious in plants. What gives
us hope? That second sight sees the
hidden yearnings, past the fear that
won't deter the seed. All we have to do
is let it rise, enjoy its blooming, dine
on its secret fruit.
---- Full Bloom 5

I might fail, but given who I am,
it's unlikely. I accomplish miracles
by moving one step at a time, one
task at a time,one day at a time,
and by trusting that fabric of 
connection I feel to all the people
around me and all the wisdom
stored in my depths.
----  Full Bloom 8

My life will be what I asked for.
I  may suffer, and I will lose strength,
wits, and power, but the Spirit of Love 
that lives  in me will live on, now and
----Full Bloom 18

Do we ever know what our life means
before it's over? I do. Not completely,
but I see where I've been and where
I'm headed. There are others also--lights
in whatever darkness falls. I'm one, but
each light-carrier, or, say, catalyst, is 
a gift the universe gave to humankind 
to guide its feet, as much as any Star
of Bethlehem. It's simple enough. We
listen. We see inside other hearts,
notice gestures of welcome, eyes that
speak of gratitude, recognize fear in
the body's stiffness, hear trust in the
whispered words "We won't go back."
We witness enemies transforming
themselves into friends; a few simple
words of welcome become a magic
wand. We are not alone though we
may be the only one within our four
walls. We are so small, one among
so many. The grand power of the Universe
accompanies us wherever we go, or 
to whomever we speak. If this is true,
you will recognize it  and be changed.

Sunday, December 18, 2016


My grandmother Grace Roys, Nanking, 1911

Full Bloom  21

This book is my tribute to my grandparents, 
a gift my maturity and sanity can give. I'll 
find the answers, and then my feet will return 
me into the light, with Grace, redeemed, beside me.
Full Bloom 10.

I did what felt impossible. I agonized:
so many computer tricks I could not do.
Yet I had a publisher. I could  not refuse. I 
must learn and seek help. I learned. Help 
came. Other women wanted to read this story 
of my grandmother Grace--gifted, lively, 
funny, and fragile. Even in doing this work 
of manuscript preparation, I proved I was
tough. I worked through my panic, gave
myself courage. I learned beyond what I
had believed myself able to learn. All the
pieces are in place but one. I long to
receive it, but someone else must provide
for this one piece, this last gift. Now come
two warm days into our winter life, with
more Arctic blasts to follow. We live
in perilous times; more storms, more
pollution, more hatred, more power
plays. It's tempting to turn away, throw 
up  our hands, say we're too busy, too old,
too scared. That way lie nightmares.
To turn those fearful ones around, we
must summon courage. It begins in terror,
inches slowly forward. We do the easy things 
first; ask help; move through one more
nightmare. People begin to follow, summon
their own strength and resilience, learn that
acting silences terror. There was once a
woman who danced on the way to the gas
chamber. We remember her. Here we may 
come to that last brave act. How many 
of us will dance? If we all dance, no one
will die. Dancing is more contagious than
submission to what we know is wrong.
Human beings know how to love. Isn't it
time we obeyed our inside law to love
our neighbors as ourselves?

Sunday, December 11, 2016

We Shall Overcome

A wise man said that we are in the midst
of a cultural revolution.  Once only white
men with property could vote. Then slaves
were freed, but there were poll taxes and many
ways their votes were suppressed. Women won
the vote nearly a hundred years ago, then those
with darker skin, then eighteen-year-olds. Some
old white men got scared When we with the
vote put a black man in the White House, they
got angry, and set out to take rights away
from all of us. So now they mimic the Nazis,
going after blacks, gays, women, even clean
air and water in a frenzy of freeing polluters
from restraint. It doesn't occur to them that 
they'll kill off their descendants. Meantime 
we are not idle. We who hold the majority of
the votes now are re-grouping, re-assessing,
teaching democracy. Remember our pledge?
"With liberty and justice for all"? We renew
our promises, take our stands, work quietly.
We are a democracy, not a Fascist state. We
form a circle, holding hands, standing firm.
We shall not be moved. Skin color shall not
separate us, nor sexual orientation. We know 
He or She has the whole world in Its hands.
We may suffer, but so have those who came
before us when they fought for freedom of
speech, freedom from having our homes
invaded, our lives discounted. We were raised
to believe in our human rights to life, liberty,
and the pursuit of happiness. Hold tight. 
Don't ever let go. We shall overcome.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

An age of miracles

Full Bloom 19  December 4,  2016

Focus on keeping your petals open 
to passing butterflies and honeybees.
Your immortality is already promised.
--- Full Bloom 4

The work on the new  book about my Grandmother Grace
has been all-consuming these months. It set off panic to
which I'm rarely subject. When I called, help came.
Now I see the end point coming. In ten days I can send
it to the publisher. Once more I stayed the course.
Anne says courage means you were vulnerable. I
learned to do what baffled me. Awake at 3 a.m.,
I wrote to re-find my courage. I even pulled the staff
of  the big New York and London publishers into
helping me. As I struggled for footing in a strange 
formatting world, and then my computer died, 
angels began to appear. Three knocked at my door. 
Doug came to set up a temporary computer so my 
book work could continue. My student Shirley,
gone a year for back surgery, stopped by, her hands 
full of egg boxes, soup, and honey. My neighbor Kevin, 
working with others next door to cut down trees and 
undergrowth, comes to show me how they cleared 
my land,too, and they want to do more, even cut 
firewood. Gratitude is inadequate to express what I feel.
I've lived within a gift-giving universe a long time, 
but now I'm in an age of miracles.