Island of Light

Arriving home late this evening, I considered which story to tell. I had several ideas, however, due to the lateness of the day, I chose to write those stories when I have more time to spend crafting them. Instead, the subject of my story called out to me as I approached the turn onto my street.

Shining brightly, the newly installed lamp post on my corner illuminated my way home. Tonight was the first time that I have had the joy of driving beneath that welcoming pool of light.

It might seem silly to get excited about something so utilitarian. But happy I am about this addition to my neighborhood. Even though temps were in the low 20s, I walked down to the corner, to stand within the glow from the light.

I’ve loved lamp posts since my childhood. On warm summer nights in my city neighborhood, the kids would eventually congregate beneath those posts, knowing our parents would be calling us home shortly. We watched the bats dart in to feast on the insects circling the lighted globes. We jumped in and out of the rings of light ourselves, making up games, laughing and chatting, celebrations of childhood freedoms.

Later in my life I was enchanted by the old fashioned lamp post in the Chronicles of Narnia tales by CS Lewis. That light was a beacon to the children who discovered Narnia. Its light guided them into that magical land and when they were ready, the soft glow showed them the way home.

I so loved that lamp post that I have longed to have a replica in my backyard garden. It represents to me the same things that the Narnian lamp post does…hope, adventure, beauty and the light of home.

I still don’t have a lamp post in my backyard, but now I do have one on my street corner. Standing beneath the light tonight I realized something else.

On May 22, 2011, I stood in that very spot, on that corner, facing west. There wasn’t a lamp post. I was looking up though. The clouds were behaving oddly in the ominously black sky. I couldn’t see what was coming, but I could hear it. The roar of the approaching EF-5 tornado signaled impending destruction. I ran for cover.

My entire neighborhood was devastated by that storm. For weeks and weeks there was no electricity in the area. It was startling to drive down 20th Street, and see the unrelenting blackness to the south, blocks and blocks of darkness without a single light to break up the gloom. Work began in my part of town, by mid summer, and that work has continued for almost seven years. One of the most recent improvements was the installation of these new street lights.

I love that the darkness is now dispelled. I appreciate this bright beacon on my corner. It is an island of light, an oasis, where the darkness cannot gather. It offers hope and the promise that the light will always return, the light always wins. It calls to me. The light guides me home.

Welcoming 2017

I officially completed Christmas decorating today, finishing up in my studio. I’ve realized this year that I always finish here for a reason. As I decorate in my creative space I also use that time as an opportunity to clear away stuff I no longer need. 

The energy begins to shift in the room, as I gear up for the rapidly approaching new year. Releasing things and tossing out clutter creates room for new items, new endeavors, fresh opportunities. 

New to my studio is a chair I purchased at the 2 Friends & Junk show held in Joplin recently. And above it hangs an Edison bulb light fixture, bought at the same show. This is my creativity corner, my spot to think and dream and read and draw. I love that the light of inspiration shines above me, figuratively and literally illuminating me. 

Christmas came into this room too. 

I like grouping a bunch of objects in the same color family. I found the framed ring while cleaning out Greg’s parents’ home. I wish I knew its story. 

Absolem is perfectly at home, perched on his mushroom, next to a pine tree, on my writing table. 

After I completed the studio, I lit candles and sat in my creativity chair, beneath the light of  inspiration. Christmas music played on my ipod. The space around me felt peaceful and joyful, with a tingling undercurrent of anticipation. 

The last room decorated is the first to welcome in a new year, bright with promise. I am ready. 

Surrender 118: A Story About the Red Light

Today is Tell a Story Day. What’s funny is, I didn’t know that when I woke up. And yet I arose with a story running through my head, a true story, that still amazes me when I think about it. This week I’m encountering a reoccurring theme of Light, of letting my light shine.  And this event in my life was about that very thing. I checked today’s holidays this afternoon, and when I saw it was Tell a Story Day, understanding dawned. I was being invited to share this story about Light. I surrendered. 

The Red Dot

I got lost in a church basement once. It was a windowless basement with a maze of hallways and rooms that opened off of other rooms. Night was falling outside and I was the last person in the building. I moved through the large church, making sure doors were locked and lights were turned off.

For some reason, as I trotted downstairs, I left the stairwell light turned on, and turned off lights as I moved deeper and deeper into the basement. I thought that the fixture above the stairs would cast enough light for me to be able to find my way back, and besides, I was familiar with the layout of the warren of rooms.

In the room farthest from the stairs, which opened off of a series of rooms, I gathered up books left scattered across a table top, and using my elbow, turned off the last light. I stepped through the doorway and took four or five steps into a larger room before coming to a stop. Complete darkness surrounded me. I couldn’t see a thing. The silence seemed to weigh upon me as I stood there. I grew up with a strong fear of the dark. In that moment, it didn’t matter that I was deep in the recesses of a church…an icy dread gripped my heart.

I walked forward, straining to see in the blackness, hoping that a glimmer of light would reveal the doorway into the next room and the hallway beyond. Just as my brain was telling me I had walked too far, I ran into a wall. That startled me. I turned to the right and took two steps and bumped into a row of lockers. Now panic set in. The room I was supposed to be in didn’t have lockers in it. Somehow, in the dark, I had blindly passed through a doorway and was now in another room.

I threw the books to the floor and groped for the door. I found a doorway but couldn’t locate a light switch. Confused and disoriented, I stumbled around, not knowing where I was or which way I needed to go. At last I came to a stop, my heart pounding. The darkness and silence seemed menacing now. I considered screaming and wondered if anyone outside, who happened to be walking by, would hear me. I didn’t think so. I imagined people coming to church Sunday and finding me curled in a fetal position on the floor.

As anxiety grew in me, I cried out, one word, “Help.” Immediately, a small red dot appeared, glowing faintly in the darkness. My heart beat even harder. What was that? My fear of being lost in the blackness was greater than my fear of the red dot. I crept toward it, moving through a doorway and into the basement kitchen. The glowing red light was on the stove. There was not enough light to illuminate the room, but it was enough for me to get my bearings. Feeling my way along the countertop, I found the door that led to the hallway and then to the stairs. My hands were still trembling as I locked the front door.

What was the red light that appeared on the stove in the basement? After I calmed down at home, I began to worry. I realized what I had seen was an indicator light, and that meant the oven must be on. I didn’t want the oven to remain on until Sunday. What if there was a fire? Reluctantly, I returned to the church, and the basement, turning on every light I could find as I wound my way to the kitchen below. When I checked the stove, the red indicator light was not on. Nor was the oven warm. The stove was completely cold. 

I still get a fluttery feeling in my gut when I tell that story. I have no explanation for how that tiny red light winked on precisely when I needed it to. Except, I asked for help and help was given. 

The message is clear though. As dark as that basement was, it isn’t the darkest place I’ve ever been. We’ve all had times of despair, times of feeling lost in the dark with no clue which way to turn to find our way out. I’ve been there. I never know who is standing near me, silently crying out for help, straining to see more clearly. It is so important that I allow my light to shine, for the joy I feel in doing so, and to cast out a ray of hope for someone groping in the darkness of fear or isolation. 

In truth I am a conduit for Divine light to flow through me. The little red light on the stove lit up as a result of the energy that surged through it. It didn’t create light on its own. It responded and glowed. And I saw it, gratefully, and I was drawn to it.  The red dot led me to the path I sought and I found my way. 

My desire is to draw, to walk alongside for a time, to point out the path for those who are searching, without letting myself get in the way. Just shine. Just be who I am. Just glow with the flowing Light of the Divine. 

I am a red dot. 

Journey 355: Being Light

The Winter Solstice occurred today, marking the end of autumn with the year’s shortest day and longest night. As I moved through the first winter day, I thought about what it means to be Light, and bring Light to the world. 


For me, I am being Light when I am being fully myself, the shining person I am created to be. As I completely occupy my own Cindy-shaped space, with a heart full of love and joy, I cannot help but allow the Light within me, the Light of the Divine, to spill forth. 

I don’t have to manufacture light. I don’t create it by focusing on being light. I allow Light to shine simply by enjoying who I am, quirks, gifts, scars and all. And by recognizing my connection to God, who also enjoys who I am. I focus on keeping my heart clear of negative, stagnant or low energy. I do the work necessary to free myself from fear, envy, hurt and anger. Everything else takes care of itself. An open heart allows Light and Love to flow, unimpeded. 

And then amazing things happen on my journey, as I am being. Because Light illuminates. It dispels darkness. Light attracts. It warms. Light brings clarity into my life and ignites my intuition, which raises my awareness. My path is Lighted as I journey. 
Today, as I was thinking of what it means to be Light, I emailed a client, who is also a friend, to tell him about a possible offer coming in on his property. I concluded the email with this sentence, “Perhaps a Christmas miracle is at work.” I was honestly baffled why I wrote that. It seemed a bit over the top, when sharing about an offer. Yet I felt strongly those were the right words to send. 

He immediately responded with “Well yes, I’ll take any Christmas miracle!” And proceeded to write that doctors had just discovered that his daughter has a brain tumor. Surgery is scheduled for Christmas Eve day in another city. He asked for prayers. I understood why I typed the words that I had and I’m grateful that I left them in the email. It opened communication between us, offered hope, and allows me to surround my client, his family and his daughter with prayers and Light. 

I am being Light. Or perhaps more correctly, I am allowing Light to flow through me. As I journey, I gaze inward often to keep my heart clear, and then get out of the way. I’m grateful, on this short day, that my thoughts, my attention, my heart, were drawn to the Light as well. Let there be Light…in me. 


Day 355: Winter Solstice & Look on the Bright Side Day

Look on the Bright Side Day Winter Solstice

It’s no coincidence that these two celebrations share the same date. This day marks the winter solstice in the northern hemisphere. It is not only the beginning of winter, but it is the shortest day and the longest night of the year. Look on the Bright Side Day encourages us to look for the light today, and find optimism on what could be a dark and gloomy day.

That is certainly true in Missouri today. It was very overcast, chilly and breezy. We’ve had a lot of overcast days lately, which is typical for December in the Ozarks. It sure makes me appreciate the occasional sunbeam that punches through the mass of grey. I tilt my face upwards, like a flower seeking the light, and let the warmth and brightness wash over me. Today, not even a feeble ray of sunshine made it through the heavy clouds. I decided to be aware of both events by seeking the light and holding on to optimism and this evening by lighting candles inside and outside the house.

The seasons are marked by equinoxes and solstices, which relate to the tilt of the Earth. The equinoxes herald the beginning of spring and fall and the days and nights are about equal in duration. The solstices for winter and summer mark the points at which the Earth’s poles are most tilted away from or toward the sun. During summer solstice the day is long and the night short, just the opposite of winter solstice. This year, the precise moment of the winter solstice occurred at 6:03 pm. At that moment, the north pole was tipped the farthest from the sun.

I couldn’t think of a better way to combat a gloomy afternoon than to meet my cousins, Mindy, Jeff and Harry, at the Neosho Cinema 6 to watch, what else, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies. This was another first, as I have never been to this theater before. And it was Mindy’s first viewing of the movie. I was looking forward to watching the film together.

Look on the Bright Side Day

I had a funny incident at the theater, involving the word of the day: Light. Mindy thought the movie started at 12:30 and we had planned to meet at 12:15 at the theater. I arrived in the parking lot, having driven south from Joplin, at 12:14. As I got out of the car and snapped a pic of the theater, I saw that the marquee had the time for the movie listed as 12:15. I spotted my cousin’s small blue car in the parking lot and rushed inside to purchase my ticket. The kind person behind the counter assured me that the previews had started but I had time to get to the correct auditorium before the movie started. The only problem was, the lights were already dimmed and it was very dark in the auditorium, even with the preview playing. I paused to allow my eyes to adjust but I still couldn’t see well enough to make out who was who. I quietly crept up and down the aisles, trying to scan faces in the gloom. I thought about calling out my cousin’s name but didn’t want to bother people any more than I already was! Finally I stood still, toward the front row of seats, and thought, “I need more light.” At that exact moment, a very bright scene appeared on the big screen, during a new preview, and for a moment, I could see the entire auditorium clearly. My cousins weren’t there! I had beat them to the theater. Apparently, that was NOT my cousin’s car in the parking lot. I was grateful that I had refrained from yelling out Mindy’s name. I sat on the back row and was able to see my cousins as they arrived.

This evening, darkness gathered by late afternoon. I lit eight candles on my front porch, to send beams of light into the darkness. Inside, I lit candles in every room, their tiny flames creating pockets of warmth and light. It is homey….and beautiful. Tonight, before I head to bed, I will spend some quiet time reflecting on all the Brightness in my life. It is not hard for me to find the bright side in situations, although expressing gratitude is vital. More amazing for me, is that the darkness of this long night will not bring a chill of fear into my heart. Beyond the light of overhead fixtures and lamps and lit candles, is the Light around me and within me that leaves no room for darkness or for fear. That glow shines brightly, even when the candles are snuffed out and I’ve flipped off the lights, as long as I keep my heart open and cleared of the clutter that can, unchecked, block or distort the light and invite darkness. May my light shine, a pure and brilliant radiance, on this, the shortest day and the longest night of the year. And tomorrow I celebrate, for the days are growing longer again.

Look on the Bright Side Day candles