Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas Poem ~ 2014

Ding-dong, Ding-dong
(Adapted and sung to the chorus of "Carol of the Bells").

Hark, got a text
Friend request is next
Message to send
Party to attend
Christmas is here
Bringing the fear
Gain back the ten
New goals again!
Ding-dong, Ding-dong

I am now old
So I am told
All grumbling
One “seems” to hear
Nap ev’rywhere
I won’t despair
Ding dong, Ding-dong

Knees are a pain
Hips feel the rain
Not o’er the hill
Should make a will
Telling our tale
Eating my kale
Words of good cheer
A Savior is here

Merry Merry Merry Christmas
Merry Merry Merry Christmas

On, on I’ll write
Into the night
My words of praise
Not just a phase
Ding-dong, Ding-dong

Hark, how I pray
For you today
That you do know
Peace in your soul
Christmas is here
Jesus is near
To young and old
Silver or gold
Ding-dong, Ding-dong

That is my song
With joyful ring
No grumbling
Please take some time
His love divine
From Heaven’s air
To stable bare
Angels appear
Shepherds are near
A star to stare
Follow it where
Messiah lay
Promised today

Merry Merry Merry Christmas
Merry Merry Merry Christmas

…May be “mature”
In this I’m sure
Jesus my Lord
In Him, reward
He’ll be your Light
Into the night
New or old days
Anchored in the waves
Ding-dong, Ding-dong

Merry Merry Merry Christmas
Merry Merry Merry Christmas

Coleene VanTilburg
Christmas 2014

Friday, October 24, 2014

An Extraordinary Day For My Good

A box landed on my doorstep today. I anticipated its arrival for a fundraising event I've been preparing for, for several weeks now. The event transpires this weekend. Flying quickly onto my living room couch, I opened up the plain brown wrapping, the insides filled with colorful t-shirts, bracelets, pens and clip boards, brochures and hope. 

My back faced the picture of Tim, the one transformed into eternity, the one I remember as I think of others still under wraps of this disease, cocooned in the fear of the unknown. A feeling rises up, an emotion of...not sure, and I stifle it a bit, until I turn around and see that face. 

I'm doing this again Tim. I hope you can see, ...that you're proud of me. 

I assume my normal after-work routine, retreating to my small garden in the fall afternoon. Growing, one pumpkin on an invasive vine, it increases in size every day. I check on its well being. 

And it is well.  The soul of this gourd contains a seed from last year's find--a continued legacy. 

Quiet. Peaceful, until I hear the finch; its puckered squeak, like a baby's kiss. I spy the bright yellow belly hopping from branch to branch as if he's at a buffet, gathering a variety of morsels. I stood still to watch him, wondering where his crew was, for they usually appear in number. Not this one, he gathered alone and I, a timely voyeur to his bounty. 

Are you not much more valuable than they? 

Then it comes--the answer to the inquiry I posed earlier. I hope you're proud of me. Yellow and black wings guide it over the fence and right over the top of my head. As if to check on the pumpkin, he streamlines the vine's path to the flower garden and bounces over the gate, up and over the neighbor's roof. My eyes do not leave his flight path. 

Almost November...and a swallowtail!

I grab a chair to sit, but I should have kneeled. 

He returns to fly and flutter amongst the branches of my orange tree, even landing for a few brief seconds, seconds in which I know I am loved, a second in which the Holy Spirit speaks to my heart, and an eternity of seconds that tell me Heaven is proud. 

A lifetime of my own seconds whispering that all things work together for His good.

For my good...

The pumpkin swells with gratitude that it continues, even after...
even after a natural season, or an unatural blight. It cannot be ordinary, for it thrives in a garden of flowers, herbs, and tomatoes soaking up living water and basking in the rays of redemption.

Somewhere, a butterfly tastes the nectar of nurture, sustained into the glorious heavens. Somewhere, a pumpkin opens up and the seeds of transforming salvation find their fertile soil tilled by a faithful, praying mother. 

I write so that I can share the completeness of that joy come full circle, up and over a fence and down a garden path, over a rooftop and back around, a void refilled with divine purpose. 

An extraordinary day, this day to see the butterfly. An extraordinary day to feel and know I am loved and can rest in His garden of promise.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

A Light of Surpassing Greatness

Not uncommon for me to see, hear, feel supernatural encouragement from the Holy Spirit, I believe with all my heart in the scripture that says, "If you seek Me, you will find Me when you search for Me with all your heart." (Jeremiah 29:13).  With eyes wide open, this summer I delve into the memory, the words, the sights and sounds of my story and God is along for every sentence. Writing a memoir of the grief and healing I've experienced in God's amazing grace, He continues to reveal His unrelenting Holy Spirit of comfort and affirm all He is guiding me to be as a minister in the faith. 

 About 15,000 words in, I've reached THE "chapter"--pathway where the trees breathe promise, where my mourning dawns anew, a chapter about butterfly angels on a mercy mission. 

~View to Heaven~

I am just finishing the chapter when the hard-working man comes home, ready to set himself up to view another world on a not so flat screen and sit for the evening in a worn, so worn and tired love seat. 

The blinds need adjusting; a filter to move the rays where they need to be, so we can see. He makes that move, ready to settle in. 

Are we blind to what needs to be seen? 

...And I am finishing up the chapter in the lowered light of the summer day, on the dining room table where the bread is served, where the cup is filled. 

I'm back there, back to those days of the unrelenting heaves of grief. I'm back to the worn tennis shoes, the overplayed music and the dark park with its illuminated spider webs and shadowy trees in the pre-sun, star fading mourning of mornings. 

The words finish up and I know this miracle once again, so wanting to capture the Truth of His Love, the end story that never ends. My heart is full and it feels glorious. 

The living room is quiet as the hard-working man showers off the day's labor and I stretch up to saunter into life in the evening with him. Looking up, I see into the living space, the light filtering in a perspective unseen before. 

I call out to the hard-working man, "come take a look at what is happening...hurry, before it changes."

The light is streaming in and hitting the wall across the room, the wall where a shelf holds the earthen vessel of ashes of our first born, the shelf that holds the sanctuary of his life. 

The light dances, filtered through the jasmine vines outside and the blinds. 

But I am not blind, for I see the trees, I see the butterflies, the sunflowers, the hummingbirds...

I see and know the Cross, where we can see the Light and Eternity coming together to make Perfect Sense. 

I've seen the dead, and I've seen lives arise from the dead and live with a new found purpose. 

I watch as the light shifts and paints on the canvas of my shelf-holding wall of love and I grab my cell phone. 

I capture the lit up heart, a heart-light. 

and wings of angels...

II Corinthians 3:6-7 the Apostle Paul tells us, "For God, who said, 'Light shall shine out of darkness,' is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the surpassing greatness of the power may be of God and not from ourselves."

I am moved to tears of gratitude, of worship in that very moment. 

The hard-working man comes down the stairs one painful step at a time and he sees my excitement over...light and shadows and walls,  ...and says, "cool!"

The light, still moving, turns the corner and pierces the space where my thoughts come to rest , where my head bows frequently. It spills onto the chair I sit and read His Word, basking in His inspiration and promises throughout my day, where hearts in friendship bonded for eternity. 

 The light brings Love, an affirmation, for the Holy Spirit whispers to me that God is the Light of this moment, and He is the light for all moments. 

What do we see in His light?  A revelation of His eternal love for us, as unworthy as we are, He came to be our Light and remove all of our darkness. 


I saw the Light, I accepted it into my own darkness and I know the Light is Good. 

II Corinthians 4:18 ...While we look not at things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal. 

The sun set, yet the Light in my soul, in my son's soul shines for eternity, of that I am sure without any shifting shadow of doubt. 

The hard-working man calls me the next day and wants to talk about the light,  --and the wall and the shelf, as he is thinking about it in his hard-working days upon days.  

God stirs up a heart to want more of Him and again I am warmed by a new sunrise. 

My memoir continues...and I am in awe of His goodness to me, overwhelmed by the Light. 

Psalm 27:1 The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? 

John 8:12  Again therefore Jesus spoke to them, saying, "I am the light of the world; he who follows Me shall not walk in the darkness, but shall have the light of life." 


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

For the House in the Woods on Another Coast

A best friend resides on the opposite coast, in a house in the woods.  We talk often, not often enough. Our conversations are lengthy, two, three hours. This last time I really think we set the record, over 3, possibly 4 hours.

 I hold her heart in these calls. I see through her eyes, at her surroundings, her circumstances.  Detail oriented, she is an articulate designer of everything, including her sentences. We talk about life, the hard stuff, the dreams we still have, and the hopes of tomorrow, the fears still lingering from our yesterdays. We even talk about the weather, history and nature. (They have REAL weather where she lives). We've cried and laughed and loved each other through separation.  Distance DOES make a heart grow fonder. 

Friends from high school and college, it's been a long journey together.

She lives in the country, co-habitating with the foraging creatures of the forest,  her many feathered and furry friends.

She describes the colorful birds swooping in to her suet cakes and feeders in the dusky evening.

The robin, the blue jays, the woodpeckers, the yellow-bellied finches.

The cardinal!

I’ve never seen a cardinal.

I picture this beautiful bright red bird coming into the yard to enjoy that which I prepared in a feeder, so I can catch a glimpse of him in what I offered up. 

Squirrels enjoy birdseed too, stealing all  they can and making a mess while they're at it.   Let’s devise a plan to keep the clever thieves away.

The branches get a pruning back, should shorten their launch pads.  

Barriers go up, obstacles they couldn’t possibly get around.

Let's slick things up so they can’t get a grip. 

Yet these relentless rodents, these bottomless pit, pesky perseveres, continue to sneak in, fly up and around, flinging themselves at all we’ve worked so hard to prepare.


It’s discouraging.

Yet, we come every evening for a glimpse, for the hope of a red cardinal.

We can persevere too. 

And don’t we want more than just a glimpse?  I want to know about the cardinal, its habits, its character, what I can expect, what I need to give to receive the joy and hope of relishing their presence in my life.  

I find it’s not much of a sacrifice in comparison. I acknowledge their beautiful gift to me in daylight moments of life's crimson blessings as well as  the fading moments of light spread across a strawberry sunset.  I am humbled and in awe.  I believe in their arrival more than I do the squirrel’s threat. The bread and the cup await the flight of a red winged Spirit and I light the candles of hope. 

Gratitude. I swallow the bread and drink from the cup, promised a refill for tomorrow. I seek and see the flash of red in the dark forest. 

And moments become worship.

Worship becomes a suet cake for my own soul. 

Robbers will try and steal the joy, but I know of the cardinal’s faithfulness.

Give me more than a glimpse Lord, for I need to see all of You.

And a red petal falls from my sunflowers, feather-shaped, and a mocking bird nest chirps loud with new life.  I pray for more than a glimpse, for the whole of the truth as I send prayers on wings of eagles and love in words of hope to the house in the woods on another coast.

Swoop in red cardinal, let us get a good look at you. 

 I love you and long for you my friend; a filled cup and endless seed of His continued and renewed strength, for the stealers of joy to begin an early hybernation;  for you to capture the full view of all His Glory in your lives. 

Jeremiah 29:13 "And you will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart."

Considerably yours,