Full Potential

Who hasn’t asked themselves deep questions? Why am I here? What am I supposed to do with my life?

I found an answer in a most unusual object. One of my friends is really into orchids, and I have been trying out my green thumb with their supervision. It is the most amazing, beautiful joy to watch these flowers start to bloom. And that got me thinking about children. They are like these orchids, full of potential, ready to bloom with the right encouragement. We all are!

OrchidsOrchid Bloom
by Sara Marie Allen

Purple baubles on a necklace
line the stem like dew
with so much promise.
Light and water coax
each fragile box to open.
One by one, the jewels unfurl,
delicate beauty’s blossom,
until its moment arrives,
suspended in mid-air,
realizing the full potential.

May we be the encouraging light and water to each other as we realize our full potential!

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Messy Room

Our Moving Truck Mess

I know it’s shocking, but my kids have perpetually messy rooms. Oh, they “clean” them, sure. And it will look clean–on the surface. But if I open drawers or the closet, peek under the bed or in the “dirty” clothes bin… If I pull out all that stuff? It’s messier than it was before!

Now, when I’ve got my “good mom” hat on (and the time), I sit down in the room with them and help sort, instructing them what goes where (even though they already know!).

But it’s WAY easier to try to hide the mess than to actually clean it up. And that’s when it hit me:

I do that with my SIN!!!

Instead of dealing with it head-on, I stuff it under my bed or hide it the waaaaay back of the closet to clean up another day. And if you opened the door to my room, it looks pretty clean.

But the mess is still there.

Sometimes, in those moments when I’m listening really well, the Lord is with me, gently pulling out the mess from the nooks. And makes a big pile. Overwhelming.

But one thing at a time, He is helping me clean up my room.

Someday, a really long time from now, my room will be clean. Really clean.

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A Found Poem

This “found poem” isn’t a real “found poem” (those are poems you make from words already written), but I literally found this poem tucked away in a drawer this week while I was sorting and cleaning. I thought it was worth sharing because I loved the imagery, especially at the end:

Through a Child’s Eyes
by Sara Marie Allen

A child’s face reveals the horror of the cross,
of violent crown,
terrible mocking,
heaviness of wood and exhaustion,
sadness of nails piercing flesh,
of blood and water flowing,
grief of burdens and sin separating.

Once numb to the gruesome cost of forgiveness,
Now tears
roll down my cheeks,
and stone is flesh again–
Moving aside to reveal
resurrection of the heart.

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My ____th Birthday…

I just had a birthday. And felt a little older. Okay, maybe a LOT older. For some reason, some numbers bother me more than others! Isn’t it odd how birthdays switch from being these wonderful celebrations of the passing of years (up to a certain age) to marks on a calendar marching toward the end? (I know I’m in the middle, but still–it switched) Again, I wrote a poem like I always do when I’m feeling… older… Enjoy! (I think there may be a poetry chapbook in the making with all these poems–we’ll see how many more I write!)

Sara's 10th bday

My 10th birthday–back when birthdays were celebrations! BTW, my dad in the background was YOUNGER than I am now… Weird!

“__” (my age)
By Sara Marie Allen

Don’t say it’s just a number,
That, for my age, I’m cute.
Don’t tell me I’m still young inside
My wrinkled birthday suit.
Just light up all those candles,
On my favorite dessert,
And hand over the presents,
To help take away the hurt.
Another year is finished,
With one fewer left to go.
And birthdays, once a fun affair,
Have now become my foe.

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Photo Friday #6 Good Friday and the Lamb

The Lamb

“Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain,
to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength
and honor and glory and praise!” (Revelation 5:12)

On the calendar we call today “Good Friday.” But it is only good in retrospect.

Today Christians remember the death that Jesus Christ suffered on the cross and the way he paid for our sins that we can have eternal life in heaven. He could do it because he was perfect, innocent, completely sinless. The Bible sometimes refers to Jesus as “The Lamb” because in ancient Judaism, God had told his people to sacrifice animals, perfect ones, to cover their sins. In Romans 6:10 it says, “The death [Jesus] died, he died to sin once for all…”

And it is also Good Friday because he’s alive. He didn’t stay dead. Romans 6:23 says “The wages of sin is death…” Jesus couldn’t stay dead because he hadn’t sinned. Acts 2 puts it this way:This man was handed over to you by God’s deliberate plan and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him.”

And now, we travel closer to Sunday, the day when the stone was rolled away from his tomb, and he rose from the dead… Continuing with Romans 6: “In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.” So we, too can go from death to life–eternal life–if we believe in Jesus’ sacrificial death on our behalf on the cross and his resurrection.

We can say again, “Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!”

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Coupons (I’m sure many of you can relate!)

IMG_6454I have friends who “save” HUNDREDS of dollars a month clipping coupons. But despite my best efforts, I’ve never been able to get the hang of using them. For those like ME, and not my coupon-clipping pals: this poem’s for you!

“Coupons” by Sara Marie Allen

I’m not a coupon diva or a clipping queen,
But I aspire to save myself a little bit of green.
When the Sunday news arrives, intimidated by this sport,
I scan each page quite carefully, and clip and coupon sort.
I try to get all organized and start to make a plan,
And hope I don’t leave them at home on my desk again.
With fistfuls of “free money,” I’m determined not to fail,
But often lose them as I go, like Gretel’s paper trail.
And when I find the item I have the coupon for,
The brand that’s still far cheaper is the one sold by the store.
By then, I do not want it, and sigh in pure frustration.
I dumbly stuff them in my purse, with mounting consternation.
The worst is when, at check out, I forget to hand them in,
And the sticker shock of purchase voids the deals I’ll never win.
This coupon queen’s retired, with my cancelled news subscription–
And stress-free, deal-free shopping is my hopeful acquisition.

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Photo Friday (well, Saturday) #5–Perishable No More

IMG_4510The verse I selected to go with this photo sounds sort of depressing at first glance: 1 Peter 1:24-25 says,  “All people are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord endures forever.”

A real downer, right? Grass doesn’t last—let’s face it. Flowers bloom and die. And people are like grass and flowers?!? Ouch!

This verse is a quotation from Isaiah 40.  And I don’t know about you, but I feel like I’m more than the grass and the flowers.

But if we look at how Peter uses this verse in context (always important to do!), we see something pretty cool. Peter is talking about the living hope we have because we are in Christ—and that we should live holy lives. In verse 23, it says, “For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.” So we, as human blades of grass that are set to just wither up quickly, have been BORN AGAIN, but not with the regular seed that doesn’t last, but with an IMPERISHABLE seed, through the word of the Lord, which “endures forever.”

IMPERISHABLE. Is there anything on this earth that is IMPERISHABLE? I can’t think of anything. I mean, building materials, which last longer than our lifetimes, like stone and steel will not last forever. Even the pyramids will someday crumble. But WE are now reborn of an IMPERISHABLE seed? Wow.

How can this be true? People die every day. Obviously, we do wither and our flowers fall. So how could we be “born again… of imperishable”? If we look at all of 1 Peter chapter one, he says through Christ, we can be born again, and we can be with God in Heaven. And that’s forever. Imperishable.

Amazing.

Peter has an encouragement for us on the tail of this revelation: “Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.” (1 Peter 2:1-3)

So all of us who have accepted Christ’s sacrifice for the forgiveness of our sins, let us rejoice and give thanks that we have moved from the perishable to the imperishable. And then, let us live holy lives, as Peter encouraged us to. And maybe we can let our “light shine before others, that they may see [our] good deeds and glorify [our] Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16)

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Home

Home. We have a lot of homes in our lives: actual physical structures, places or people  when we feel safe and happy, and even a heavenly home, which we (hopefully) all long to see… Here’s my poem “Home” based on the love of nature I acquired in my childhood home, far removed from the world.Road Home

Home
By Sara Marie Allen

I feel shockwaves of repulsion
at urban houses,
close and small,
neat spaces,
and green oases
in concrete encasements.

My heart pounds
the rhythm of trees swaying.
My lungs fill
with the expanse of growing fields.
My veins swell, coursing with earth,
and my back breaks for hard labor
while my mind flies
to the wild refuge of natural things,
alighting on a stone wall fence
down a winding, dirt road
toward home.

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Blog Tag Q and A

ManuscriptTag! You’re it! (That’s me!) I was tagged by fellow blogger, Michael Gunter, in what is hopefully a fun and personal blog-version of an ultra-cool chain letter.

What is the working title of your next book?
To the Far Side of the Sea. My first title was New Life.

Where did the idea come from for the book?
The morning of 9/11, I thought this would be a good day to disappear in all the chaos. Many ideas later, I had most of my story for Tamara. The reader travels with her as she gets away from her abusive husband and starts her new life, with all new problems. The other half of my book God gave me in a dream, which changed the tone and trajectory of the book: Dominic, Tamara’s abusive, alcoholic husband is the main character of a second parallel plotline. And to tell you the truth, I love his character more than Tamara’s!

What genre does your book fall under?
My book is Contemporary Inspirational Fiction with elements of suspense.

What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
What a fun question! I actually wrote my book to read like a movie script with short scenes and lots of action.

To play Tamara? Think young, like Selena Gomez or Demi Lovato.

Dominic? Maybe Michael B. Jordan, of the show Parenthood… or Jamil Walker Smith…

And Daniel? Does anyone know a young John Schneider look alike???

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
On the morning of 9/11, Tamara decides to let her abusive, NYPD husband, Dominic, believe she died in the North Tower and starts a new life in the wilds of Alaska—but she and Dominic can’t outrun God’s redemptive love.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
I am seeking an agent/publisher. If that fails to work out or takes too long, I will  self-publish.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

A year and a half of Saturdays, with two good writing months of hard work.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
It’s like Sleeping with the Enemy had a baby with New Year’s Eve that was a cousin to One Tuesday Morning. Honestly, I don’t know any books like mine that are contemporary and inspirational with parallel plot structure and two opposing main characters you end up rooting for…

Who or what inspired you to write this book?
I’ve always wanted to write a novel—I even plotted out a terrible one when I was about 14… But three people come to mind:

  1. My mother in law, Linda. I first pitched the story to her many years ago, and she said I should write it.
  2. Michael Gunter. He was my first writer friend, and I thought, well, if he can figure out how to do this, maybe I can, too.
  3. Julie Valerie. My writing BFF who was like a writing doula, helping coax characters and scenes from my brain to the page.

What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?
It has elements of suspense, travel, Alaska, NYC, police, addiction/recovery, and 9/11 events… Does any of that sound interesting? Also, there are some unforgettable characters you’ll get to meet along the way…

Thanks to Michael Gunter for tagging me.

These are the authors I tagged:

Julie Valerie

Mary Beth Dahl

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