A Clematis Love Story

For ten years
I had broadcast love
To the purple clematis
Climbing the mailbox
At Ace, the bird dog’s house.

I watched for it to sprout,
To grow, to bloom.
I took pictures of its beauty.

Then I realized
That I could plant my own.

The first plant
Went in the ground
Late in the year
And was overmulched
The next spring.

The second plant
Never got put into the ground
And died in its pot
Over the winter.

And now, finally,
There is a beautiful, purple clematis
In my garden
To which I can broadcast love,
And tend and watch,
Photograph and share.

Clematis mystery,
Clematis beauty,
Clematis love.

This Tree

This tree,
My companion
In the front yard.

You are the filter
Through which I watch
The winter sky.

Sunrises, stars,
The sliver of a moon
In the pre-dawn light.

Some may call you bare.
I see the beauty of
Your shape,
Your branches, strong,
The witness that winter
Is not dead.
It brings a time of reflection,
Of seeing through other filters.

And now, with Spring,
You sprout new life.
You tell an Easter story,
That death has no power.
Resurrection changes all.

Find more of my prayers in my book Christ Beside Me, Christ Before Me: Celtic Blessings.

The Color of Memory

I wait each spring,
watching the buds grow
on Grandpa’s peony,
flown from Oklahoma to Tennessee, 
tucked in a plastic grocery bag
when I came home from his funeral.

These fuchsia petals,
these golden stamens,
these rich green leaves,
are the colors of memory.

Grandpa carrying in a bucket
of yellow sweet corn,
giant red tomatoes,
and fuzzy green okra.

Grandpa planting in black earth,
Oklahoma red clay
coaxed into fertile soil
by years of care and compost.

Grandpa in crimson on game day,
in dark suit on Sunday morning,
in carpenter khaki off to work.

Grandpa in my heart, in my mind.
Grandpa love, Grandpa wisdom.
Grandpa always present, steady
like the peony bloom
that opens every spring.

Thank you, Creator.
Thank you, memory.
Thank you, Grandpa.

Find more of my prayers in my book Christ Beside Me, Christ Before Me: Celtic Blessings.

You, O God!


Let my prayer stand before you like incense; let my uplifted hands be like the evening offering.
– Psalm 141:2 (CEB)

You, O God!
You paint the sky with our prayers.

You, O Great Gardener!
You coax forth delicate buds and blooms.

You, O Mighty One!
You bend your ear to our laments, our praises.

You, O Gentle Spirit,
You delight in creatures great and small.

Shelter us with your love.
Enliven us with your passion.
Kiss us with your peace.

You, O God! You!
Praised be your name.

Find more of my prayers in my book Christ Beside Me, Christ Before Me: Celtic Blessings.

Welcome, Spring

2014-03-19 09.12.59-2

Long nights and cold days
Fallow fields and dormant trees
A lenten journey of the inner world

I open my eyes and see
Light. Warmth breaking through

Promise of new life
Coming out of death

Welcome, beauty
Welcome, buds
Welcome, newness
Inside and all around me

You, God, source of Hope
Source of Healing
Source of Life

Welcome, welcome
Make your home in me

Photo by Beth A. Richardson. Tulip tree bloom with the windows of The Upper Room Chapel in the background.

Find more of my prayers in my book Christ Beside Me, Christ Before Me: Celtic Blessings.

Jack and Friends

JackI love Spring. I love pups. And I love taking pictures. Here are pictures from photo shoots this spring with Jack and his good buddies, Spec and Girlfriend.

It was Jack’s eyes that caught our attention when he was a tiny puppy. And when his eyebrows aren’t too long, you can still see them. Aren’t they the cutest eyes? He’s wearing his St. Patrick’s Day bandana in this photo.

Here’s Jack again in his lucky Irish bandana. I used one of The Pioneer Woman’s photoshop action to make this photo dramatic. Not that Jack needs any help with drama …Jack

In the middle of this photo shoot, some people walked by. Jack’s always alert and he jumped up to bark and growl and watch the people until they left “his” street. (See what I mean by drama?)Jack
Jack’s buddy, Spec, stays with us a couple of days a week. (He stays with us when Sandy, his human, is traveling.) Spec is 13 years old very wise. He’s also nearly deaf and doesn’t seem to mind Jack’s sonic bark. He’s a handsome guy.Spec
Spec is such a cute “little old man.” Here he is on the back porch. As I said, he can’t really hear. But he loves to be outside on the back porch, keeping watch and randomly barking. Bark! (“I’m in charge here!”) Bark! Bark! (“Is anyone out there?”) Bark! Bark! Bark! (“This is my porch!”)Spec
Girlfriend is the dog next door. Girlfriend is a miniature Schnoodle (Schnauzer and Poodle mix). She was Jack’s first friend after we brought him home. He has great fun playing with her. I took these pictures of Girlfriend one night when the light was so perfect and the grass so green.Girlfriend
Girlfriend’s got a hurt knee, so she and Jack don’t get to play together very often. Jack’s pretty sad about it. When Jack arrived, he was smaller than her. She still can’t figure out how he got so big.Girlfriend

If you are still reading after all this canine photo love, thank you — and here’s one last picture of Jack. Did I mention that I love, love, love the Spring. And pups. And taking pictures.Jack