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23) 7/2/2019 rhonda embs
Like a plague of locust, nightmares devour the,
would be, bountiful harvest of peaceful sleep.
22) —-Nightmares still come today—-
a post on facebook from 4 years ago
May 20, 2015 at 2:17 AM ·
What could have been restful sleep
….turns into a nightmare:
Wings of putrid leather, blooded talons and capture.
Fear rises like bile from deep within and…..
then an ancient voice hisses age-old lies and a talon is held before me, offering a familiar radiant, jewel encrusted ring of enslavement and a necklace with 3 golden bells of servitude to wear again around my neck.
“You can be free,
all can be yours,
you know you deserve more”.
“Come back, come back and serve me.”
21) 2/10/18 Thinking about music
I don’t crave chocolate, alcohol, sugar or drugs of any sort. I don’t really care about acquiring new clothes, shoes, jewelry or makeup but……….. MUSIC………now there is the craving, the pure obsession that rages through my soul.
You see I live in a musical. It plays all the time in my mind and every step I take is taken to a melody that forms, morphs and echos in and through everything I do. The music changes depending on what is happening around me and the emotions that I am feeling.
Often I find myself swaying to music that no one else can hear. Music that is brought forth by some common sound such as a fan turning in the background. I hear the woo woo woo sound and a song rises from my memory that matches the rhythm of the blades turning round and round. The song then plays in my mind wonderfully enhanced by the noise that the fan is making. The song moves through my heart and because my imagination is so vivid I easily see the notes sliding off the fans blades.
Woo Woo Woo………..sparkling notes spin and dance in the air all around me as the music plays filling the entire room.
20) 01/23/2018 2:19 am
19) 8/22/17 rhonda embs (watching my student)
Uncertainty has slipped away
and her smiles replace concern.
She now creates with genuine joy
using skills newly learned.
18) 8/26/2016 rhonda embs
Sometimes the loneliness of the night pierces through the mask that is worn through out the day exposing scars of long ago.
17) 8/18/19 rhonda embs
Nightmares rage in the silence of slumber while labored breath lingers on wings of fear and dread tangos with fright in the moonlight!
16) 7/6/16 rhonda embs
“LET ME ENTERTAIN YOU”
Silence…except for the soft hum from the overhead fan.
Stillness….except for the gentle current of air that the fan creates as the blades slowly spin
darkness….. a darkness so deep no shadow can possibly form.
Though there are no sounds,
though there is no movement,
though I lay under a heavy, thick, shroud of darkness….
it begins again………
Movement…..yes, movement, lots of movement as it keeps changing positions. Each time I think I know where it’s at it quickly moves again.
Or maybe, just maybe, there’s more than one,
shadows…..shadows that form somehow without the aid of light. A vague, illusive, swirl that grows and dances in the darkness as it, or they, yes, I’m sure it’s “they”, move around me.
I know they are there, but that’s not what frightens me. I can ignore their presence. Well, almost. I could ignore them. I could if it weren’t for one thing.
You see, they know that I know about them. They know I am aware of their movement, the scraping noises they make and their shadow play and– it pleases them. The fact that I sit or lay, night after night, very aware of them seems to somehow……..entertain them.
The thing that frightens me, the one thing that terrifies me….
what happens when they are no longer “entertained” by me just being aware of their presence.
What will they do to be entertained?
What happens then?
15) NIGHTS AFTER SUICIDE (Written shortly after my husbands suicide 6/1995)
The days are busy with work, home, children, thank you notes and phone calls. There are things to fill the hours. The days are bearable.
But the nights, they are are long and lonely. The seconds drag by like hours. If not for my Lords grace I would be swallowed up by the devouring mouth of time. The loneliness covers me like thick syrup, making every attempt at drawing another breath a monumental task. A task accomplished only because God does the breathing for me.
Through the night emotions change unexpectedly like summer storms that seemingly come from no where to pound the earth violently before they move on.
I have no control over these storms of emotions that rage through me night after night. Clouds of sadness cause a torrent of rainfall to flood my eyes. Thunder builds from deep inside and then rolls through me. Violent and angry thunder over a life cut short, a past seemingly wasted and a future thrown away. Next, suddenly and without warning, guilt strikes like lighting, knocking me down, bringing with it a short-lived numbness cause by a pain too intense to feel. All time morphs around me as my heart keeps time with the pounding of the thunder and guilt strikes over and over again blinding me to any possible future plans or dreams.
Just when I think I can endure no more, just when I think my heart cannot bare another thunderous, violent beat, just when I think another strike of guilt will surely stop my heart forever I am swaddled in a supernatural calm.
My focus turns from the loss, the guilt, from all the pain to my Lord for he has whispered peace be still to my heart, calming the storm within me and bringing tranquility to my soul. Cradled in his arms I find a little healing and a lot of rest in the sweet, sweet peace of my Saviour’s love.
As a new day approaches I, once again, am able to see a glimmer of hope in the twinkle of a distant rising sun.
——- I praise God ——-
14) May 11, 2016
Someone I know is going to Tennessee and just her mentioning it brought back a flood of memories from my childhood.
Outdoor concerts on Sunday afternoons in Centennial Park where the “stars” would play for free and no one attacked them or thought it was strange that they acted like they were just normal folks because they were.
Nights at the the Ryman Auditorium – Grand Ole Opry, (the OLD Opry house), where us kids would sit on the edge of the stage and watch the performers square dance and make wonderful music. After the show ended many would meet at the Ernest Tubb Record Shop where even more music and memories would be made. I remember standing outside in the bitter cold air (and sometimes snow flurries) listening to the singing and guitar playing. All that was going on around me, including the weather would fade away as I drank in the sounds like a person parched. Many times I would sit in the back seat of the car (a 54 Chevy) dozing off with those songs weaving in and out of my dreams as we drove home from such a day.
There was fishing on a regular basis where the bait we used were worms that were dug up from our own yards and the time that I cut a bunch of worms up in tiny pieces thinking I was protecting my grandmother from the snakes that they would grow to be. That was a mistake I never made again because she wasn’t at all happy with me wasting so much “bait”.
I remember the amazing rain storms where you could almost touch the clouds. The thunder rolled so close and loud that it seemed to shake the very ground you stood on. The lightening was so bright it would, for just a moment, light up everything around you like it was midday.
The smell of honeysuckle and the sweet taste of its nectar when we’d pluck a blossom off and suck on the middle part of the flower. The feel of the switch across my legs if I pulled too many of the blossoms off and left the vine flowerless because, as my grandmother would say, “You know better than that young lady”.
Us girls pulling clover, ( while being very careful not to anger the bumble bees) weaving it together to make crowns so we could pretend to be fairies that lived under the huge trees that were everywhere you looked .
Pulling a long thick blade of grass then holding it tightly between our thumbs so we could blow between our thumbs getting, hopefully, the loudest whistle of all to win the simple contest.
Catching lightening bugs in a mason jar in the early evening or catching June bugs so we could have a grownup or older kid tie a piece of light weight string or thread around one of it’s wings. It would fly round and round above our heads for just a little while until my grandmother would say that’s enough you don’t want to kill it do you? She’d take the sting off and away it would fly while I ran off in search to find another one.
The sound of the babies cooing and playing on the well worn, handmade quilts that were spread out in the shade and grownups talking, laughing and some even singing (in their heavy but slow talking southern drawl) as they all sat on the porch in rocking chairs drinking sweet tea.
I cherish every one of those memories. It was a wonderful, magical time that is still very much alive inside me.
I like new words, old words, kind words, intense words, passionate words, mysterious words, loud words, whispered words, and words bumping into each other. I like words that make people giggle, cry, sigh, dream, create, imagine, desire, work harder and that take a persons breath away causing them to simply sit in silence for a time. I like words that teach, encourage, comfort, and calm. I like words that rhyme, words set to music and words that hang in the air as if by magic. I like words that reach to heaven and those that dwell in the heart of others. I like words written in red, words that spread across pages, ages and stages of humanity. I like the words, “In the beginning”, the last “Amen” and all those that fall between ……………………….
12) (written 9/8/15 3:02am after not being able to sleep)
-Sleep is like a playful, teasing, wild, evasive animal. It bounces around gleefully, taunting me, giving false hope that it can be tamed and touched some time in the future. It peers at me from around corners boldly showing it’s mischievous side while beckoning me to draw nearer but never allowing me to close the distance that separates us. As sleep plays throughout the night my fatigue grows deeper and reality distorts until the light of a new day calls to me. With the break of dawn I surrender to the knowledge that sleep has, once again, escaped capture. No matter, this day will pass and tonight the hunt will begin anew.
11) writing about writing 8/26/15
With the new school year comes many thoughts and expressions from parents of children going back to school or into school for the first time. There are writings about the summer that is now past and expressed hope for the future. Sadly, most of these are being sent by text or posted on social media sites instead of being handwritten on old fashion paper with pen or pencil. Don’t get me wrong, I think digital is user friendly and convenient. I use it almost daily. It is invaluable in preserving and sharing those handwritten documents once they are penned and then scanned in, but to use those mediums exclusively is a great mishandling of history and precious memories.
Our recorded history would be extremely meager if, down through the ages, everything in the past had been sent out using email, texts and social media sites. Also, that record would be questionable, because placed in the right hands, digital writings and documents can be manipulated and changed to conform to the ideology of those doing the editing or even entirely wiped away as if they never existed.
I think of all the handwritten letters, cards and journals that have provided us with personal accounts of life during the time in which they were penned compared to today’s texts, tweets and posts. Today, condensed and abridged messages are speedily written using acronyms and abbreviations only to be deleted or forgotten while quickly moving on to the next activity. How much more informative and expressive are complete thoughts written with introspection and careful calculation when the author slows down and takes deliberate time to handwrite their ideas or emotions.
When handwritten, we get to see more than numbers, letters or cute icons on a screen. We are drawn in by the look and feel of the writing on the page providing us a better understanding of what the author is attempting to convey. Words written using darkened, deep and large strokes express more than those same words can alone express without the physical changes made to the script. Tiny words, smudged by tears that fell while being written, touch a heart quicker than those same words had the weeping not been made apparent by the smudges. When art work is added even more understanding takes place. It is as if a curtain is drawn back, allowing us to peek further into the mind of the writer.
I am reminded of the term, “Put your John Hancock here” that would never have been coined and how future generations would have missed out on the beauty of the differing signatures of the those that boldly signed the U.S. Constitution and the Declaration of Independence had the documents been electronically signed. I think of how changes can sweep across a nation because of heroic words written on paper. How people read about the courage of someone else and those words inspire them to move forward, not give up and to be all they can be. I think of a child that holds tightly to a note given to them from a loved one, now that their loved one is gone. Tangible proof that they indeed were loved and cherished, giving comfort and hope to that child. In awe, I think of Mount Sinai and the stone tablets given to Moses that were written with the finger of God.
Remember, history is being made today. Treat it as the treasure it is. Grab some paper, pick up a pen or pencil, and record even the simplest things that are happening all around you. Take special care and time to hand write a few words of love, encouragement, wisdom or gratitude to those that God has placed in your life. Those thoughts and words are a priceless account of your love and life, so share them often, openly and honestly. Forgive quickly, love deeply and write with passion.
10) I like the sound of laughter and giggles.
Leaves rustling, pages turning, rain drops hitting the window.
Words I’ve known for years and those I’ve never spoken before.
In my head I see them as wonderful 3d objects
Complete with texture, color and music.
Because of this I am driven to find ways to display them all.
My atelier opens as I selectively gather sounds and words from my memory.
With pallet now prepared, in thoughtful excitement, I create.
Never knowing , always wondering, what will come forth to display on opening night.
The showing is a union of past and present, old memories and new ideas.
All brought together out of need and for the shear pleasure of it.
This gallery, nothing to most, is a treasured thing to me because…
I like the sound of laughter and giggles
Leaves rustling, pages turning, rain drops hitting the window
Words I’ve known for years and those I’ve never spoken before.
9) (another old writing I forgot to put here)
Lord, thank you for this all absorbing desire and need to pray.
In the past I’ve called it a “burden”, (I have a burden to pray), but how can anything that blesses me so be a burden?
1. It keeps me in repentance so I feel able to approach your throne.
2. It keeps me on my knees, humbled, reminding me how small I am and how big you are.
3. It keeps my head bowed down, reminding me to never lift it above another.
4. It keeps my eyes lowered, reminding me not to look down on anyone.
5. It keeps my hands folded, reminding me to grasp the hands of others and help them in their times of need.
6. It keeps my lips busy, reminding me to speak only of what will bring you glory.
7. It keeps my thoughts focused on you and not on things of this world.
8. It reminds me of the needs of others, as I make requests for them.
9. It reminds me of my many blessings, as I give you thanks for each and every one of them.
10. It reminds me of a time to come when I will kneel before you in glory.
11. It calms and stills me, reminding me, you are in control, as the world around me rages out of control.
12. It intensifies my awareness of your presence in my life, giving me peace and comfort and joy.
Prayer………not a burden………but a true blessing!
Thank you Lord for my “blessing” to pray!
8) (a very old writing by me)
A child, while playing, stumbled upon the edge of an alluring forest. She looked into the thick, dark, growth of trees and saw a strange, obscure world. What she did not see were the many dangers that hid there. Dangers camouflaged by sweet smelling wildflowers, multicolored butterflies dancing magically in the air and brightly polished stones that tempted and teased her eyes. Being enticed by the new sights and sounds and because of her youthful curiosity, she wandered deeper and deeper into the forest. In the center of the forest, the trees towered over her. They grew thick and the branches above her intermingled and overlapped, completely blocking out the sun. At first, and for many years to come, the darkness did not seem to bother the child. She found a false security there, isolated from the world she had left behind. All was forgotten as she immersed herself in learning all she could. Among the shadows, in the dark forest, she felt special. Like royalty, the priestess of a dark kingdom.
Time moved forward and the child grew into a woman. Her days and nights, inseparable, because of the darkness that surrounded her. Days and nights that were filled with rules, planning and endless rituals that demanded to be performed. The trees stood as insidious sentinels watching her every move. Every moment had to be accounted for. Vain, repetitious steps had to be taken with exact timing. Perfection was demanded of her and any sign of error, weakness, or disobedience was quickly met with harsh and violent punishment. Her royal status melted away and became one of slavery under heartless taskmasters. Her eyes, now accustom to the darkness, could see the slimy, slithering, ravenous creatures that once fed on her innocence. Now they gorged themselves on her despair and she was able to feed them well.
With twisted evil sickness they feasted on the woman that stood captive and helpless unaware of the leaves falling softly from the branches above. Not so many at first. Just a few here and there, gently and quietly, settling to the ground. As time moved on, more and more leaves floated downward leaving branches bare and unprotected. Finally, with perfect aim and perfect timing sunlight flooded the forest with a cleansing brilliance, more powerful and awe inspiring than could ever be described with words. All the loathsome creatures scurried frantically seeking a new place of darkness where they would receive their punishment for being caught unaware. Then, licking their wounds and spewing blasphemous words from their hideous tongues and lips they would wait for another lost wanderer to feed upon.
This new brilliance that flooded the forest surrounded the woman. Her eyes now opened to the light and for the first time ever she faced what she truly was. Guilt and shame and sorrow drove her to her knees. Crying years of withheld tears, she pressed her face to the ground, humbled herself before the Son and vowed never to walk in darkness again. She knew what she deserved but she cried out for his forgiveness knowing, somehow, that only he was her salvation. As she lay face down on the floor of the forest the sunlight grew protectively warmer around her. No punishment came. No denial of her cries. Only warm rays to penetrate and heal her torn and tattered heart.
A wondrous gift…………… grace!
It flowed over and through her reaching the very depths of her soul.
It felt thick and warm, very much like being bathed in fresh spilled blood. It cleansed her and washed her whiter than new fallen snow on a winters morn. There was no repulsion in the feeling of being bathed in his blood, only joy and gratitude. Words of praise poured from her lips. Heavenly melody rose from deep within her she sang a new song. A special song for and about him and his amazing love. Joy, like a fountain, spilled forth and for the first time in her life she felt truly loved and totally accepted.
She was forgiven…..she was safe…….. ……She was saved!
I look to my left — it’s pitch black
I look to my right — it’s pitch black
I look behind me — pitch black
I look before me — pitch black
I stop struggling
There it is
Shining down on me
Gods perfect love,
I will stand still.
Images battle for prominence
Tears search for a way to escape
Prayers linger in the air
And In perfect 3/4 timing music plays on
while nightmares of the past dance their wicked waltz
daa daa daa daa daaaa………..da da ..da da
It’s 4 am and I’m up early and ready for the day. It’s so nice to be up to witness the beauty of the sunrise as the light gently over takes the darkness. It’s like a giant dimmer switch is deliberately being turned, ever so slowly, so we can gradually adjust to the light. As a blanket being laid aside from a night of rest, the darkness is removed from the sky and the world struggles to come awake.
Gentle, sweet sounds replace the silence of the night. Birds wings flutter causing branches to sway, ever so slightly. The leaves then brush against each other making an, almost, undetectable rustle as if someone is lifting their head off a pillow from a night of rest. As the light grows brighter the melody of birds all around me fills the air as they once again meet the new day with song. The cats in the yard stretch lazily, bowing their backs upward, mimicking the slow rising of sunlight and dogs bark reacting to the sounds that they are now hearing all around them. A soft cry of a baby is heard in the distance. Hungry not only for it’s morning milk, but for the comfort of it’s mothers caress that it’s been denied of in the night. Doors open and close as people pick up newspapers from their yards and car engines roar to life.
With eyes closed I inhale deeply, and for just a moment, I focus on the hymn being sung by a world awakening around me.
A new day has begun.
I am grateful for the sounds.
I am grateful for the light.
I am grateful for a Saviour that holds it all in balance.
……and I am grateful that his mercies are new every morning.
Service at Bethany Baptist Church
Like the start of a small family celebration on a warm 4th of July evening the family comes excitedly together. They first greet one another with hugs and laughter. They are all talking at once, each needing to share a bit of themselves with the others about the history that has been made since their last gathering. Finally, only because time is limited and what is to come is even better than what they leave, they each quickly find their own personal and familiar spot.
After finding my own, I settle in with anticipation and expectation of what is to come. Included, like in many gatherings or celebrations, there is music. When it begins and fills the air, it raises the excitement and brings the family closer together as each sing the same words of praise, joy or gratitude. With the help of the music the focus slowly changes from one of looking to self and each other to that of looking to heavenly things and hearing from God. As the music ends, my pastor steps forward and opens God’s word. A small flash of light erupts over head and I move to the edge of my seat not wanting to miss a thing. Then, after a few moments, another flash comes from a different area and I become lost in the words that are being spoken, no longer aware of those around me. Soon 2 flashes happen simultaneously, then 4, then 6, and before long so many are coming one after another, with great speed and such dynamic energy there is no way to count them. My mind and heart overflows like a sky that is filled with brilliant fireworks of all shape, design and color erupting on that 4th of July evening mentioned above. God’s word has miraculously exploded around me and what was, just moments before, a finite mind with a dim, simple knowledge of what was being preached, has become one illuminated just a bit brighter. I am unable to look directly into the new splendor of those old words. It’s as if the sun was pulled violently, with supernatural force from it’s slumber to shine at midnight. The darker the night started, if I knew very little of what was being preached, the brighter the sun shines at that moment. The service draws to a close and as my pastor bows his head to pray God moves across the strings of my heart. I hear a new tune and I am left breathless, grateful, and full.
3) Today I saw….
an adorable little girl filled to overflowing with enthusiasm and anticipation. Her eyes sparkled as she looked up at a vending machine that was filled with treasures in the form of peanuts, chips and candy bars. A woman, standing near, was digging in a purse searching for change that would release one of the treasures to the wiggling, giggling and trembling child. As the woman searched, she spoke quietly to the little girl, telling her that she would pick out something very special just for her. An even bigger smile stretched wide across the child’s face and her little hands clinched tight into fists as she raised them up, shoulder high. They moved in quick small jerks backward and forward as the excitement built with the thought of the soon to be delivered unknown treasure. She quickly shifted her weight from one foot to the other, dancing a dance of joy with just the mere thought of what was to come. Her mother, with change now in hand, smiled down at her child and winked.
The child looked at her mother, then back at the machine and quickened her dance steps as the coins were dropped into the slot one by one. Each coin that was released brought squeals of utter joy, each squeal louder than the one before. Finally, with all the coins dispensed, the mom pushed a couple of buttons and a coil began to rotate very slowly. I found myself watching with breath held for the “drop”, wondering how the little child would react when she finally had the purchased treasure in her hands.
Thud! The treasure now rested in the bin waiting patiently to be claimed.
Suddenly, everything was very still and quiet. The little girl bent cautiously over and peered deep into the dark bin. Next, she looked at the hand of her mother that was holding open the covering of the drop bin and then her eyes ran up the arm of her mom and finally into the face smiling down at her. “Go ahead, it’s okay.” the woman said lovingly. The tiny face looked again into the bin and then, instead of reaching in and taking possession of what was her whole desire just moments before; she threw her little arms around the legs of her mother squealing again with delight. “Tant tu, tant tu, tant tu!” she said over and over.
With treasure momentarily forgotten, all energy and joy from this tiny child was refocused, as she expressed her love and thankfulness to her mother for providing.
…As I quietly walked away, tears ran down my face. I thought of my heavenly Father and all that he has provided for me and I prayed silently…..Dear Lord, help me to be as this child. Filled with unbridled, joyful, trusting anticipation for whatever you provide for me and to place you before it all in honest, open, and genuine gratitude.
2) What is a “Journal”?
• An art gallery displaying priceless paintings of words silently hanging in the halls of time waiting to be critiqued by historians of the future.
• A bouquet made of memories. Memories frozen in time awaiting the spring thaw so they can push through the ages to bring forth a sweet smell and sight of beauty. Memories patiently waiting to be picked one at a time by those seeking to place them gently in personal vases to display a colorful array of pain, joy, despair and hope from the past.
• A dancer that, through classic moves, leaps and sways in carefully choreographed movements over the winds of time, bringing motion to the light and shadows of a life well played out. A dancer filling pages to be watched and etched in the mind and on the hearts of those wise enough to have taken a seat for the performance.
• Music. Scores of music composed and once sung as a life moved forward in time. Music of a dramatic work that filled the air and touched all those who loved or even hated the one that did the singing. Notes made up of words that now play across the pages creating harmonious and sometimes not so harmonious sounds of tragedy, laughter, seriousness or sheer joy. The sheet music of a life now spent out. One that causes those who choose to listen, an experience of a grand opera!
• A heavenly register. A written record of the abundance of God’s care, protection, guidance and nurturing as life moved forward moment by moment. A record of the perfect nourishment that Jesus Christ himself provided for a soul born yearning to know him. A testimony of the longsuffering and tender mercies of a God toward his child as she or he stumbles with arms held upward moving closer and closer to their heavenly home. Or sadly, the journey toward an eternity in hell if the person turned their back on God repeatedly, selfishly living in rebellion, until the door was closed forever.
1) GOD’S FLOWER GARDEN
So many varieties, all in different levels of growth. Some similar, but no two exactly alike. Each beautiful in their own right. Some sparkle, covered in early morning dew reminding me of diamonds reflecting new light. Some appear to slumber but only await the evening sun because they open their blossoms in the cool evening shade. Some grown straight and tall, towering over the others, giving fragrant shade and a striving point to the more meek.
There are those whose flowers appear fragile but their stems are sturdy and their roots are deeply planted. They all compliment one another so well. Their fragrances mingle and combine into one that is stronger and more alluring than any one of them could be alone.
When one is absent or replanted elsewhere it is sorely missed and leaves a bare spot of open soil until you, my Lord, graciously plant a new seedling.
When one is attacked or grows weak, the others give of themselves until it is again strong and healthy.
I can see your hand working in this garden.
You are the sunshine, the rain and the nourishment.
Because of you, Lord, the garden grows.