fireproof

fireproof

I hold her face to my stomach, standing there, 
Feet going numb, 
Re-living that day when I watched it all go up in smoke
A seducing memory of heat and flames. 

I hold her face to my stomach and she 
tells me of how the fire in our lives sparked and flared.

I listen and pray 
and run my fingers through her hair. 
I think of how it took everything to ground level
and I never saw it coming. 



















Ashes, ashes, we all fall down,
We all fall down and then there's dirt and ash 
Dirt and ash and dirt and ash and 
I am made of the stuff,
It is embedded in my fingerprints and my knees, 
streaked across my face.

I am tired of the aged lemon juice sting of smoke in lung
and the gray smell of the gray ash and everyone asking
Is the fire is out yet?

Fires don't just go out. 

You pray for rain, and when it comes the 
Ash turns to mud.

Oh child, 
Wait. 
Be patient. 
Wait twice. Wait for the rain to come again. 
When it does it washes the mud away. 
It clears off the grime and the odor. 
And you stand up.






















Take a handful of ash. 
Find a blank canvas. 
You don't need green for your life to be beautiful. 
You don't need green to move forward. Find 
that white that the rain washed clean 
and make some art. 
Write some words.
Smile. 
Because 
You are brave
And you are beautiful
And you are strong
And you are loved. 
You are loved. 






















So here's what happens. 

Fires come. 
You run. 
Fires burn. 
You lose.
You fight. 
You lose again. 
You pray, 
Rain comes.
The fire goes out. 
Mud happens. 
Rain comes again. 
You pick up some mud and let the rest wash away,
and then
You prove to everyone and 
especially to the fire
that you don't need for everything to be perfect
for you to grow.

Make something beautiful about the ash of your previous life
your previous self and 
keep that on your wall
but don't ever
ever
ever
ever
ever 
think that you will be stuck in a barren land forever. 

Fires burn and hurt
but they are not the devil. 
They are a cleanser.
Nothing will be okay for awhile.
But listen:

fires don't cause anything
you can't recover from. 

You can get through this. 
Let it burn. 
When the fires are gone and the rain has come
Make your ash worthwhile;
make it beautiful and tell the fire
to run away home. Run
away and burn its own home
because yours is 

f i r e p r o o f

You have already made it through the flames. 

- sami 


The One for the Hard Days

The One for the Hard Days


     This one's for the hard days, the Mondays, the can't-face-it days. Life tumbles around and throws the unexpected, and we collapse in our weaknesses.

     For we are weak. All of us. We can't conquer these days on our own, and we'll fail miserably if we try.

     And yet.

     And yet we have a hope. A hope that transcends the darkest of days, the most pressing of cares. There is hope in the name of Jesus that can carry us through.

     Who else gives us strength when we are sapped? Who else carries us gently with a whisper of "rest now, little one"? Who else lifts us up as life tries to drag us down?

     He holds your right hand. Just trust Him through thick and thin, for that trust leads to the greatest peace ever known to mankind. It's a peace that transcends all understanding. Surely we could use that now!

"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not be afraid."
~John 14:27

     The world may give us its cares and worries, its pains and struggles. But Christ does not give to us as the world gives. He gives us freedom and peace.

     Don't let your heart be troubled. Entrust it to the One who knows exactly what you are going through when no one else does.

     Don't be afraid. He is mightier than any sorrow and more caring than any loved one. He will carry you through. He will fight for you.

     And, most importantly, He will never let you go.

     Rest now, little one.

     This one's for the hard days. And the hard days are nearly over.

~Madeline

Fully Alive, Fully You

Fully Alive, Fully You


     "You do you" is my common whisper to myself. Be you bravely. Be the best, truest version of yourself. Be who God is creating in you.

     You may not have "friends" to hang out with. You may not be "cool" like your sibling. You may be a "work-in-progress." But you are you, and none of those quotation marks matter. You are loved deeply by the Creator of the World, and you are in a good place, even if it feels like a lonely place.

     Your soul health is dependent on quiet & crazy, balanced to perfection. You know you need both, but one always seems preferable to the other.

     You are beautiful. You are seen, known, and loved. You are mature & maturing. You are unlocking more and more of the beautiful deep places that have always been there within you.

     The temporal is passing away in all its glitter. The eternal is steady in all its glory. You go deep fast, but you know that not everyone can be trusted.

     Tears are not your way, nor the cold, hard facts. You bring balance and harmony to the world by delivering the truth gently. If one of those is missing - truth or gentleness - you'll notice. Truth can be brutal. Gentleness can be fake. The combination is a delicate, beautiful heart place.

     Stay in your heart place, dear one. Keep your brain in your head and your heart in your chest. Your perspective on the world is perfectly you and perfectly valued.

~Madeline {an excerpt from journal no. 3}

how rare and beautiful

how rare and beautiful



this is for the ones with light in their veins
all that's gold don't glitter

sometimes you are a 
dark
damp
ache
and i'm here too

but look at the stars

some of them shine across millions of light years
and fit in a teaspoon


but that breath in your lungs can do 
so much

it's ready


sometimes you feel tired and small
b u t 
my friend

you are courage

you just took another breath
and another
you allowed that war in your mind to become
a memory
and not a revised definition of
y o u

breath
in your lungs

do you feel it?

that
right there

is courage


how rare
and beautiful
it is


love,
abbiee

p.s. read the whole thing. then read the left. then read the right. then read the center. or in whatever order you like. remember how rare and beautiful you are.

gold underneath

gold underneath




you are the quiet after the rain

you are the sea,
the still fragments reflecting the moonlight,

but sometimes you are the storm.
the wild, howling wind

we don't know where you come from,
or where you are going.

you are the sleep that comes with the dawn,
but other times you are the aches,
the anxiety that comes with the starless dark

sometimes you are the prodigal returning,
but other times you are the prodigal making a run for it.

sometimes the earth is full and bursting
and other times we are full and bursting with the fear
that whirls down from the ceiling fan above our beds.

but there's life life
in those bones bones

they are made of gold
underneath

they are not
hollow

your eyes are dripping with all the light
that wants to break out from underneath your skin

you are made of
bravery





of a life that wouldn't be held back
by a gravestone

if even death couldn't hold you back,
if all the darkness of the tomb couldn't keep you down,

how much less can your own mind keep you locked away?
it only will if you give it the keys, child.

there's more than that darkness,
there's more than that tomb.

there's life rattling that rib cage,
and there's glory scratching at that holy skin

these more than bones underneath.
there's gold.
life
a comeback
a resurrection




lOVE,
kATE


take off your grave clothes

take off your grave clothes























Everywhere you look are dead men walking. The grave nips at the heels of every person you pass by. You'd see it if you gave them a second glance. Why else would the human race look so much like a rat race?
People pace, eyes downcast, pushing, shoving. Hands out, clawing their way up the system, standing on, crushing others just to get a scrap of love.
Of success.
Of acceptance.
Of peace.
Anything for a breath of life.
There are corpses on these streets, friend. Walking, talking, smiling on the outside, but there's a mummified spirit underneath.
The question of,
“How are you?”
Is quickly put to rest with,
“I'm fine,”
Because to admit to being anything less than fine is to admit that we are less than.
Less than perfect.
Less than okay.
Less than...
...alive?
You laugh at the foolishness of hope. Scowl at it, curl your lip, shove it away. There is no room for life in the land of the dead. You're knee deep in the mire of failure and forgotten dreams. You hold tight to those grave clothes, you don't want to think about what might lie underneath.
Did it ever occur to you that those dead dreams, that broken spirit...might only be asleep?
See, I know a couple who prayed fervently for a child. Ten years passed and still...nothing seemed to be happening. Meanwhile, they took in every foster kid that came their way. Nurtured them with all the love in their hearts, whether it was for six months or just one day. But they never stopped hoping for a miracle of their own. She's four now, always clinging to her mother's side. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.
See, I know a woman who spent eighteen years locked up in a cell for the things she had done. But those last seven years of time served, her heart had never been freer. All because she met Jesus in the back of a patrol car. It didn't matter that she was in handcuffs because every chain had just been busted off her soul. After her release, working in a little coffee shop, the daughter she had been cut off from twenty years prior sent her a message on Facebook. Broken relationships don't last when you belong to the One who will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten.
See, I know a man from Nazareth. A place from where “nothing good could come”. He walked dusty roads, healing the sick and doing good to all people. The religious establishment saw Him as a threat. Ridiculed Him, tortured Him, hung Him on a cross. When He gave His final breath, the hearts of His followers were broken. All hope was lost. Three days later, He rose from the grave, bringing with Him all power and authority in heaven and on earth.
He is alive and He is in the business of resurrection, my friend. He has the final say over all things, even that which you have long since buried. Take off your grave clothes. Leave them right where you stand. Walk out of the tomb. The Resurrection and the Life is calling your name.

-ashlyn

scriptures: luke 1:45, joel 2:25, matthew 28:18

The Lady With My Blue Pen

The Lady With My Blue Pen




I gave my blue pen to a lady in a wheelchair.
Her lips retreated back into her face.
Her legs didn't work.
She couldn't quite talk.
And she knew it.

I gave my blue pen to the lady in a wheelchair.
She had a pink box full of poems,
Of dreams and wedding invitations.
It was full of her life,
And she knew it.

I gave my blue pen to the lady in a wheelchair
As she whispered to me,
"It all falls in place, doesn't it?"
I don't know what "it" was.
But she knew it.

I gave my blue pen to the lady in a wheelchair
Because she wanted to write a poem.
I could see the words
Bubbling beneath her skin.
And she knew it.

I gave my blue pen to the lady in a wheelchair.
She possessed poetry in her veins,
A power of words in her soul
As she showed me her work.
And she knew it.

I gave my blue pen to the lady in a wheelchair.
She held it with an idea,
A purpose was forming
As she wrote in the air.
And she knew it.

I gave my blue pen to the lady in a wheelchair
She pointed it to her grandchildrens' picture
"I just want them to..."
She couldn't finish.
But I knew it.

I gave my blue pen to the lady in a wheelchair.
She wrote a poem in the air,
And it landed in my heart.
This is that poem.
And she knows it.


The Lady With My Blue Pen showed me, without many words, that dreams never die, even if we face death. The Lady With My Blue Pen reminds me that God uses our gifts even when the world tell us that we are done. The Lady With My Blue Pen showed me what true poetry is, and she knows it.

Princess Hannah

The Gift of Life

The Gift of Life


     Sometimes it feels like we have nothing left to give.

     Our hearts are checked out for the day, and our minds are wandering down the lane.

     When there is nothing left in us, simple words come. Simple, beautiful truths that we can pass along to others. We didn't think there was any gift left within us, and yet, the words come.

     "You have such a kind heart," we tell the friend who stops in.

     And to the mom wrangling four kids at the store: "You're doing an amazing job. Hang in there!"

     If you think about the last encouraging words someone said to you, it's easy to see why words are so vital to our well-being. When we receive words, we store them up and ponder them in our hearts.

     We say these things to others because the words stick. They stay with us and hold onto us.

     So we say "Thank you so much!" to the elderly cashier.

     And bid the mail carrier "good day!"

     A text to a friend reminds them that they are held by Someone greater than their problems.

     These little gifts of words, sprinkled around, don't seem like much, yet the impact they leave could be lasting. 

     Though we have no money and our energy is spent, words of the "you-can-do-it-I-believe-in-you" variety to a friend can go a long way.

     Because although we may not realize it in the moment, the gift of words is the gift of life.

~Madeline

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