Cactus Blossom

fullsizeoutput_7accThe Color White

By Elece Hollis

Spring is yellow forsythia and daffodils, red of tulips, hyacinth purple, white crocus, lilies and all shades of bright.

Summer is every color under the sky-blue, it’s every shade of green, white clover, and red roses a picket fence.

Fall has crimson apples, sunflowers, leaves of orange, yellow, and Sweetgum purple, honeysuckle, and white of frost on the windows.

Winter is brown and gray, but holds white of the first falling snow, white of moon’s shine and sparkling stars.

White is a country church’s freshly painted steeple, white flesh of a river trout, of salt, of a lamb’s wool

White of new cotton socks, white of sifted bread flour, white of butterfly wings and angel robes in Christmas plays.

White is drifting clouds, white of pages between the lines, of coconut milk,  a polar bear fur, of egret’s feathers.

White of a bride’s gown, a porcelain sink, powdered sugar, whipped cream for pumpkin pie, white of wave crests and thundering waterfalls,

I love white. White is every color, every place, every season––every rhyme.

Life is a Picnic

Life is a Picnic
 By Elece Hollis

          Feeling spooked by the sound of my own footsteps in cavernous room, with it’s vacant tables set in evenly-spaced rows, I made my way around the perimeters, raising the brown canvas shades from the tall windows. Light gradually filled the cold room’s spaces. On the far side of the room, was a door to the hallway. I went through it continuing with my investigations and light-letting.

          Our new house was large and spacious feeling with plenty of windows and high ceilings—an old house in an established neighborhood . Though closed in by smaller houses, it reigned— Queen of the street.
          As I passed back along the hall twenty minutes later, I took another look at the porch room.  I wondered why the previous owners built it so large, why they added the kitchen area against the inner wall, why they left all the tables, and what I would use it for. With a prick of surprise, I noticed a woman and three children seated at one of the tables. The mother took sandwiches from a cooler while the children sipped at straws stuck in juice boxes.
           The scene was cheerful and peaceful enough to make me stop myself at asking who they were and how they came to be enjoying their lunch on my porch. As I stood processing the situation, a hardy rap at the back door startled me. The door opened and a smiling man entered to place a brown paper sack on the counter.                 
          “Here you go, Ma’am. Here’s your supplies for the month. The boys down at the fire station will be bringing them by each month for you. We gotcha two bottles of catsup, mustard, mayo, and a couple jars of sweet relish. Need anything else, just let us know. Oh, and my name’s Sam Peters. Call me Sam.”
          “Hello, Sam, but you’ll have to excuse me. I don’t understand. See that lady with the children over there? I don’t know her. They’re having a picnic.”
           “Oh, yeah , a cute family. She brings them here a lot. This is such a great room.”
           “But, I mean,  it’s my house! They are having a picnic here and I don’t know them—never even met them!
           “Well, I see. Pretty soon you’ll know ever’body. The whole town uses this room; been using it for years. It’s like a park shelter—open to anyone. We love it!”
          “But it’s my house,” I declared flatly, “I live here now!”
          “Well sure, and we’re proud to welcome you. Don’t you worry none about things. We supply all this extry stuff folks might wanna borry,” he said,   as he pulled catsup from the brown grocery bag. “That a-way folks can help theirselves and not bother you a bit. I ‘preciate your keeping the porch open. Folks use it year round, ‘specially in bad weather. Gotta get back,” Sam said, letting the screen door bang behind him.
          I put away the supplies and watched the family at the table. The toddlers climbed up and down the benches. Their laugher and happy voices warmed the scene. The sun shone in through the high windows and across my bed to wake me from my dream.
           The porch dream mystified and amused me. I haven’t moved. I still live in my old farmhouse in the country. But, this was one of those “real” dreams, you know? Thinking about it when I woke, I remembered a little picnic basket my daughter Rachel bought at a thrift store. It was probably a Mary Engelbreit basket, with a cluster of cherries on the front along with the words: “Life is a Picnic.”
          Yep, life is a picnic and it’s at my house (and maybe at yours). The Lord tells us in I Peter 4 to show hospitality without grudging.  He says, “Open your homes to one another, without complaining.”  He asks us to open our homes, to share our food, to serve, to provide for the needs of our fellow Christians, to welcome into our homes and our hearts the traveler, the unwanted, the poor, even the stranger.
          In the dream, the house belonged to me; yet I wouldn’t refuse the town people the room. It was too wonderful. The firemen provided for my needs just as God does in my real life. Sharing my home may seem a hardship or an invasion of my privacy, but it isn’t. It is a blessing like a picnic and what picnic is not a good thing? What picnic is an intrusion?
          A friend once said to me, “You sure have a lot of company, Elece. God must be trying to teach you something!” That’s right; He is always trying to teach me something, because I am one of His and He loves me.  I don’t see the chance to show hospitality as a punishment, but as a blessing. God trusted me with plenty to share and room to share it in.
           Life is a picnic and it’s at my house. Come on in!

 What’s Good About Home© 2010 Elece Hollis 

Dream

Joy is peace dancing, and peace is joy at rest.
F.B. Meyer


Daydream a spot of 
Sunrise on a stem—twirling, waving
Like a topaz gemstone on the tip of Solomon’s scepter

In the green gush of growing,
In the fresh-washed air hung up to dry
In the warm after-rain-noon

Daydream a spot of
Syrupy sweetness on a stem—glowing, dripping
Like orange sherbet of a child’s push-up pop

Pianos and Ponies

Dear Jesus,

You certainly know how to make children happy.  A day or two ago, Brenna came riding up to the back porch  on her “borrowed” horse White-Tee. I took this picture of her docile steed and her joyful face. It reminded me of another little girl and an old piano.

You recall the piano, I’m sure. It was an old upright that had been in a little clapboard country church for decades. Its varnish was cracked and its keys were yellowed, but the tone and tune even after being moved in the back of a pickup truck were fine.

Rachel had wanted a piano since she could talk. She ached for one of her own. She asked us again and again, but at that time we really couldn’t afford to consider it. When your daughter wants something so badly it is painful to say no.  We told her that there was no way we could buy her dream for her, at least for a few years. We told her to pray and tell you  about her wish. That night she prayed for you to send her a piano.

She must have had great faith because the next afternoon the phone rang. It was Rachel’s Grandma. Her church was purchasing a new piano and had to move the old one. She wondered if Rachel still wanted one. If we would come pick it up within a week, she could have it. We did, of course, and that old piano was a thrill to Rachel. She learned to play on it. When she was teenager she was able to buy a better instrument. But that first one was her own personal miracle and her faith and talents grew.

Brenna wanted a horse to ride. This beautiful and calm horse is her personal miracle. She keeps him and rides and trains him, but for now he belongs to a neighbor. The neighbor even provided a saddle and tack and a request that she keep the horse in our pasture and ride him often.

Jesus, you are good to bless us with such things. You show us that you know our needs and our hearts’ desires and that you care, even about dreams like pianos and ponies.

Love you,
Elece

Pianos and Ponies

Dear Jesus,

You certainly know how to make children happy.  A day or two ago, Brenna came riding up to the back porch  on her “borrowed” horse White-Tee. I took this picture of her docile steed and her joyful face. It reminded me of another little girl and an old piano.

You recall the piano, I’m sure. It was an old upright that had been in a little clapboard country church for decades. Its varnish was cracked and its keys were yellowed, but the tone and tune even after being moved in the back of a pickup truck were fine.

Rachel had wanted a piano since she could talk. She ached for one of her own. She asked us again and again, but at that time we really couldn’t afford to consider it. When your daughter wants something so badly it is painful to say no.  We told her that there was no way we could buy her dream for her, at least for a few years. We told her to pray and tell you  about her wish. That night she prayed for you to send her a piano.

She must have had great faith because the next afternoon the phone rang. It was Rachel’s Grandma. Her church was purchasing a new piano and had to move the old one. She wondered if Rachel still wanted one. If we would come pick it up within a week, she could have it. We did, of course, and that old piano was a thrill to Rachel. She learned to play on it. When she was teenager she was able to buy a better instrument. But that first one was her own personal miracle and her faith and talents grew.

Brenna wanted a horse to ride. This beautiful and calm horse is her personal miracle. She keeps him and rides and trains him, but for now he belongs to a neighbor. The neighbor even provided a saddle and tack and a request that she keep the horse in our pasture and ride him often.

Jesus, you are good to bless us with such things. You show us that you know our needs and our hearts’ desires and that you care, even about dreams like pianos and ponies.

Love you,
Elece

Dear Mama,

I sure do miss you! It would be great if I could just drive over to see you sometimes. (If you lived less than twenty-one hours away.) If it didn’t take so long to drive and at such an expense , besides missing work and school. To just be able to drop by and bring you some flowers, a meal, or a book would be so nice. We could drink a cup of coffee together and talk things over.

I’ve been married to Ron now for thirty-seven years and I love him, but it has been hard having to live so far from one, if not the most, influential person in my life. I have lived far away all of those years. Yet, you have always been a guide and an encourager to me–even long distance. Thank God for telephones!
I miss you, Mama. I will dream a little visit for us, remember your face, hear the cadence of your voice, and be near you, at least in heart.
Love you, Elece

Dear Mama,

I sure do miss you! It would be great if I could just drive over to see you sometimes. (If you lived less than twenty-one hours away.) If it didn’t take so long to drive and at such an expense , besides missing work and school. To just be able to drop by and bring you some flowers, a meal, or a book would be so nice. We could drink a cup of coffee together and talk things over.

I’ve been married to Ron now for thirty-seven years and I love him, but it has been hard having to live so far from one, if not the most, influential person in my life. I have lived far away all of those years. Yet, you have always been a guide and an encourager to me–even long distance. Thank God for telephones!
I miss you, Mama. I will dream a little visit for us, remember your face, hear the cadence of your voice, and be near you, at least in heart.
Love you, Elece