Saturday, September 28, 2013

No Middle Way

... choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve...Joshua 24:15

C. S. Lewis said this in a 1939 essay, “Learning in War-Time.” Here’s how he explained it:
[Religion] must occupy the whole of life. There is no question of a compromise between the claims of God and the claims of culture, or politics, or anything else. God’s claim is infinite and inexorable. You can refuse it: or you can begin to try to grant it. There is no middle way.
Yet in spite of this it is clear that Christianity does not exclude any of the ordinary human activities. St. Paul tells people to get on with their jobs

Excerpt found here 

As we don the duties
Of another new day
We press toward Heaven,
There is no middle way

On the path of Living
We go, side by side
But at Gates of Heaven
This road will divide

Faith is the substance
Of hope and belief
Life is the highway
To its last relief

We labor together
But choose deep within
The God we will worship
Jehovah or sin

We cannot escape it
Try though we may
When we get to Heaven
There is no middle way...

Janet Martin

Wishing you each a blessed week-end!



I could not bear
Life’s weight of care
But for the fellowship
Of prayer

I could not face
Life’s grueling race
But for the mercy
Of God’s grace

I could not hope
For Heaven above
But for the goodness
Of God’s love

© Janet Martin

Friday, September 27, 2013

Sacred Sieve

Dark solitude of midnight fills the space
Where dawn has slipped to join all yesterdays
Another day of labor, love and grace
Becomes a picture in thought’s tender gaze

The unknowns of the morn have been unveiled
As hours of daylight flare to fade again
The willingness of Time pours from Love’s grail
In colors mixed according to God’s plan

Heartache and hope in half-breaths synchronize
Faith yearns to touch a Hand we cannot see
But from earth-altars Heaven hears our cries
And comforts those who seek Him earnestly

…and soon the dawn will sweep the dark awry
Another cup of unknowns in Time’s glass
We need not fear; the Painter of the sky
Cradles the sieve through which all colors pass

© Janet Martin

I'm so thankful we cannot see the day's 'colors' in advance...

Of Shorelines...

Here we are once more, once more
Our faces pointed to a shore
We cannot see until That Day
We put mortality away

Life is not futile squandering
Or little bitty wandering
To fall away like petal bloom
And die forever in a tomb

Here a twenty-four hour span
Is called a day in jars of man
But when we pass that Final Shore
No hours chart forevermore

…for then will be eternity
This thought should stir us soberly
How sad to wake beyond that shore
Somehow to have missed Heaven’s door…

© Janet Martin

 Come, let us worship and bow down, Let us kneel before the LORD our Maker. For He is our God, And we are the people of His pasture and the sheep of His hand. Today, if you would hear His voice,Do not harden your hearts...Ps. 57:6-8

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Of Found Treasure

I found it there beneath the air
All sweet and summer-autumn-tossed
I didn’t think that I could spare
This thing that I thought I had lost

The innocence of sun-beam dance
First lured me to its hiding place
And I was sure midst circumstance
It disappeared without a trace

But out beneath the sighing tree
I found it there and I am glad
Life showed me unexpectedly
The Time I didn’t think I had

© Janet Martin

I have not really stopped to enjoy the out-of-doors lately. I dash through it and try to snatch beauty-glimpses on my way, but sometimes we need to STOP and find the beauty! Today felt busy, but when the hydro went out I took  time to stop, feel, listen... When I returned to the house I found myself thinking ‘I need to make up for lost time’ and suddenly I realized I felt so nourished, not by the time I lost, but by the time I found!

 “The future is something which everyone reaches at the rate of sixty minutes an hour, whatever he does, whoever he is.”
C.S. Lewis

 “How did it get so late so soon? It's night before it's afternoon. December is here before it's June. My goodness how the time has flewn. How did it get so late so soon?”
Dr. Seuss

 “There's never enough time to do all the nothing you want.”
Bill Watterson

Best Room in the 'House'

Its dome is blue, the carpet green
Or bronze or frosted silver sheen
There are no walls to fence us in
No dusting and no vacuuming

A theater where, from front-row
We marvel at each season-show
Sunrise, sunset, the view is free
From doorways vaulting to the sea

No ‘don’t touch this and don’t sit there’
No sticky fingerprinted air
Its welcome mat rolls to the sky
Beneath soft vesper-lullaby

Here, with our tea we linger long
And listen to Time’s perfect song
Intoned by zephyr, bird and bloom
In nature’s grandiose living-room

© Janet Martin

Guilt-free Indulgence

It is not wrong to pause a-while
And leave undone the menial task
To drink gold sun from blue-sky flask
And bask in summer’s waning smile

It is not vain to snub the clock
To lie beneath the sprawling tree
And study its anatomy
Of green to gold to scarlet frock

…and it is not slothful or sin
To indulge in a mid-day stroll
To touch the skin of nature’s soul
And feel the hand of God therein

© Janet Martin

Our brief and sudden power-outage was a blessing in disguise... I was in the middle of canning tomatoes among a few other 'electricity chores', so I stopped everything and headed outdoors. It is a perfect day and my to-do list is endless right now:)...I'll work double-quick now to make up for 'found time':)

Sweet Hour

Sweet hour of dawn, how swift you spawn
The noon-day growing dim
A melody of reverie
Anoints the twilight hymn

Sweet hour of youth, how swift the truth
Of summer slips afar
The madrigal, keen, autumnal
Gleams in the evening star

Sweet hour of life, how swift its strife
Is sealed beneath the sod
As mortal trust returns to dust
The soul returns to God

© Janet Martin

Last night we had a 50th wedding anniversary celebration for my parents. The parents of all my cousins attended. I say that because I don’t see them very often but I remember them when they were younger than I am now, as we went to their houses to play with beloved cousins!
They are all long past their ‘summers’ of life. But so very dear in my childhood memories!

I caught a picture of the sunrise a few hours ago and already the sun is high over golden soy-bean fields…

Of Replenishments

The sky is replenished with whispers of dawn
Soft from the heavens in coral embrace
God breathes the darkness from hill, street and lawn
Filling the morning with mercy and grace

Hearts are replenished with hope to press on
We cannot see what His will may appoint
As new casts of Unknown tremble in the dawn
Yet, there are no unknowns from God’s vantage-point

Thus faith is replenished; in weariness faint
But oh, the glad morning awakes a new song
Of replenished fervor to seal our complaint
Trusting the Hand that replenishes dawn

© Janet Martin

 O my strength, I will sing praises to You; For God is my stronghold, the God who shows me loving-kindness. Ps. 56:17

Above All

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Of Flip-sides...


To dream is a beautiful thing
But sweeter is the view
When looking back, to realize
How many dreams came true

To hope is pure thought-gold
By it we plant and toil
But, what a lovely thing to see
It’s bloom among life’s spoil

To love; ah, this is God
Its grief, life’s utter best
For nothing can compare in life
To love that stood time’s test

© Janet Martin

Of Glimpses and God

When I see dawn dissolve night’s shore
Rolling glad light across earth’s slope
Filling the morning with new hope
I think there must be something more

The awe of God as we look deep
Into the wonder of a flow’r
Assures me of a Higher Pow’r
Above this thorn and thistle sweep

The perfect course of sun and moon
The galaxies beyond our reach
The creatures that no man can teach
And yet they know just what to do

…or as I see earth’s season yield
To its successor year on year
And flowers fall to reappear
From seed to fill ten-thousand fields…

Then I perceive a Higher Love
It leaves imagination mute
Controlling laws none can dispute
And we see merely glimpses of…

© Janet Martin

 And these are but the outer fringe of his works; how faint the whisper we hear of him! Who then can understand the thunder of his power?" Job 26:14

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Beautiful Bride-to-be

Today I’m a bit of a wreck (an excited wreck but a wreck none-the-less;) Emily and I spent the morning fine-tuning/‘walking’ over every detail of the wedding day to get a feel for what still needs to be done. She chuckled when I stopped suddenly in the middle of a sentence to clear my throat and steady my voice as she talked about where I would be while she waits with dad to walk down the aisle. I’m gonna miss her!

Beautiful Bride-to-be

Her skin and the hours imprison her dreams
Restless, the sparkle of youth in its prime
Dances on syllables imbibed, it seems
With nothing but carefree impatience of time
As she counts the hours until the Big Day
Wishing these moments would hurry away

Mother smiles softly; how, how can it be?
The baby that stunned her with innocent charms…
…the cheek she kissed fondly and so tenderly
As brand-new-from-heaven-child trusted her arms
How can it be that this thing they call ‘years’
Feels more like a flicker of laughter and tears?

Beautiful bride-to-be, woman-child-girl
You are a bud just beginning to bloom
Try on your wedding gown dear, twirl and swirl
Let your excitement fill every room
Soon, you’ll be a wife, but forever you’ll be
My daughter; and no one can take that from me

Never will your dreams be sweeter, my dear
Never will you feel quite like this again
Beautiful bride-to-be; I’ll shed my tear
For joy can be such a sweet-tormenting pain
And I pray that you will be a happy wife
Here on the threshold of ‘the rest your life’

© Love, mom aka, Janet

A Beautiful Thing...50th Wedding Anniversary Poem

Somewhere between morning and night
And toil and sleep, shadow and sun
Between the give and take of life
A thing of beauty is begun

Love’s vows, pledged in the green of life
Are spoken on a dreamer’s strength
Til death do us part; husband and wife
Only God knows its breadth or length

Somewhere between laughter and song
The trial and tear, the calm, the storm
Somewhere, as year folds over year
A thing of beauty starts to form

Between midnight, breakfast toast crumbs
And suppertime and evening prayers
Love’s vows spoken, untried and young
Are being tempered by life’s cares

As bud slowly exposes bloom
A miracle above man’s power
Ah, so is love; the bride and groom
Must wait to see its fullest flower

But oh, as green gives way to gold
And gold to silver-haloed truth
As vows are more than words extolled
In fanciful day-dreams of youth…

…then we begin to see first-hand
This thing that faithfulness imparts
Of beauty unsurpassed, rare, grand
Not of the flesh, but of the heart

Somewhere within life’s highs and lows
Where two are one in God above
Youth’s bud reveals a perfect rose
The proven beauty of true love

© Janet Martin

Tomorrow my parents celebrate 50 years of marriage. Thank-you Mom and Dad and may God bless you with many more wonderful years!

Gone, Gone...

Gone, gone; the gold of summer’s morn
The green in half-grown fields of corn
Summer bows to Time’s common cost
Like brittle corn-stalk kissed by frost

Gone, gone; the hazy, lazy noon
Of cricket-song and locust croon
Ah, none can hide from the discourse
Of smooth and subtle moment-force

Gone, gone; the longer light of day
Before the dark tucks it away
The autumn wick gleams, short and sweet
In scattered sheaves beneath our feet

Gone, gone; sanguine sea-melodies
Where children weave dear memories
And mothers linger at the door
To hear it echoing once more

Gone, gone; the warm and winsome hour
No one usurps mute moment-pow’r
Soundless, autumn leaf-song is spilt
Where summer folds its floral quilt

© Janet Martin

Heavy frost this morning!


Lord, take this moment in my hand
Shape it to Your will
And when I do not understand
Yet whisper, peace, be still

Lord, take away my doubt and fear
And fix my thought on You
In spite of what I cannot see
Lord, gently walk me through

Help me to seek, not man's applause
But with humility
To give You glory; you are God
Immortal Deity 

Success; Lord, let it ever be
Not by the things I own
But by surrendering my all
To You and You alone

You ARE; Lord, there is none like You
Forgive my stubbornness
Teach me to meekly bow my will
Beneath Your holiness

© Janet Martin

Only Trust Him

I'm reading through Acts right now and these words struck me immensely...
 Immediately an angel of the Lord smote him, because he did not give God the glory; and he was eaten by worms and died. Acts 12:23

Monday, September 23, 2013

Autumn is Here

Autumn is here; its leaf-song tear
Will soon adorn the meadowland
As Time employs double-edge joys
Of seasons scattered on the sand

Autumn is here; earth’s belvedere
Unveils rare canvasses of sod
As we behold, fold over fold
The awesome handiwork of God

Autumn is here; its hemisphere
A scarlet, bronze and umber tent
On frosted morn; the heart is torn
Twixt pleasure and farewell’s lament

Autumn is here; how swift a year
Is caught up in Time's tender rush
We turn our gaze to nature’s blaze
And praise the One who holds the brush

© Janet Martin

Of Midnight Tiptoes...

It struck me as I heard Emily tiptoe in last night, that in three weeks I will never hear that sound again...those sounds I have never given a second thought; 
and her belongings won't be draped on railings etc... ;)

Sometimes you come to me
Soft like a whisper
Hovering between hello and good-bye
Sometimes you clench the air
Raw and rebellious
Shaping the anguish that nurtures a sigh

Sometimes you comfort,
My thought like a pillow
Easing the void twixt what is and has been
But sometimes you torment
In debut renditions
The bittersweet sorrows of ‘never again’

Sometimes a tear holds
An ocean of longing
Though love has poured out its fathoms ten-fold
Darling, perhaps
This is simply life’s fortune
Of having and holding and growing old…

© Janet Martin


Sometimes we forget
That He who lights the day
Beholds each footstep that we take

Sometimes we forget
Before Time tuned earth’s sod
God WAS, IS and will ever be

Sometimes we forget
As doubt's vile demons roar
That God forgives our sin and then

Sometimes we forget
That disobedience
In spite of Love’s forgiveness yields

Sometimes we forget
That this is not the end
And soon this life will disappear

Sometimes we forget
That God is God alone
And though the flesh is doomed to die

© Janet Martin

 Remember him—before the silver cord is severed,
    and the golden bowl is broken;
before the pitcher is shattered at the spring
 and the wheel broken at the well, 
 and the dust returns to the ground it came from,
    and the spirit returns to God who gave it. Eccles. 12: 6-7

Without God

I could not face the day
Its sunshine or the rain
Without God’s love to lead the way
And bring me home again

I could not face the night
The darkness or its deep
Without God’s peace to whisper, child
I’ll keep thee while you sleep

I could not face this life
Its mountain or its sea
Without God’s grace to fill my want  
And gently comfort me

I could not face death's vale
But when that hour comes
I know that God will walk me through
And kindly lead me home

© Janet Martin

 “The Lord bless you and keep you; 
 The Lord make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you; 
 The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.”’ Num. 6:24-26

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Of Cleansed Cups

The wind gathers mute moments spent
And it is foolish to lament
A season that has passed away
Or pine again for yesterday
Look! Look! Upon night’s waning main
God paints His patience once again
The cup that claimed our innocence
And cradles action’s recompense
Would be our loathsome fear, but then
Because of grace does not condemn
The Hand that holds the universe
Cleanses this cup of Satan’s curse

Beyond this journey, moment-cast
The Prize we seek bids us hold fast
Though yesterdays accumulate
And pinnacles evaporate
Hope fills this chalice with fresh grains
The timeless grace of God remains

The winds gather mute moments spent
And we would drown in time’s lament
But for the grace of Calvary
And Faith in what we cannot see
Look! Look! God’s heaven fills with dawn
And kindly bids us journey on

© Janet Martin

"I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more. Isa. 43:25

Saturday, September 21, 2013


The countdown to wedding is now three weeks! Busy today making treats for their stag and doe tonight...

We touch life’s moments often without thought
Elusive countdown from unknown to known
This Intangible by which Time is wrought
Trickles to earth from Love’s merciful throne
Ethereal portions of grief and delight
Waking and sleeping they slip out of sight

Cosmic inception, its miniscule glance
Grazes our skin and dissolves in a sigh
Measureless moment, how blithely you dance
From fantasy to eternity’s sky
Flesh and blood fortune we never can see
Giving and taking in soft symmetry

Comfort and sorrow, how close they align
The course of moments cannot be reversed
By the same measure of laughter’s design
Blows the ill-wind oft lamented and cursed
Countdown of obscure velocity
Over Time’s landscape to eternity

© Janet Martin

The ‘hour-glass’ reminds me with each sparkle and lilt
How softly and gently a lifetime is spilt


Of Things I'd Like to Keep...

Love, I should never want to lose
The strength to hold, but then let go
Or never feel the breathless rush
Of awe for One who loves me so

And I would hate to realize
There is no pleasure ‘neath your touch
Or laughter in a paradise
Of home, where once we laughed so much

Oh darling, may I never lose
The wonder in a bud uncurled
Or plunder without second thought
The shadow-Edens of this world

I want to keep the war-like hurt
Of anguish as I see a child
Hungry, unloved and clothed in dirt
While others drool with wealth and pride

Love, may I never lose the sense
Of things eternal as years pass
And may I never lose the awe
Of moments trickling through Time’s glass

© Janet Martin

Friday, September 20, 2013


It is too much to paint in word
This death of gentian, larkspur, rose
As summer’s azure shutters close
Above earth’s mesa, tangled, blurred

Spring’s garden of dirt-dreams renewed
And bare feet dancing on its path
 Boasts a bedraggled aftermath
Of fantasies tarnished, subdued

Soon, soon this faithful soil will sleep
Pitied by Mother Nature, she
Blankets its girth, soft, lavishly
With leaf-song drifting to its deep

Ah, we have gleaned her moments bare
Fine mingling of despair and hope
Flings thought-endearments to the air

It is too much for scripted rhyme
Remembrance wields a two-edged blade
As all these precious hours are laid
Beneath the cloud-shadows of Time

© Janet Martin

Of Imminent Interlacing

My love, the imminence of Past aches mutely on the air
The eloquence of word cannot appease its certainty
And though joy wings its flight it interlocks with sorrow where
Love’s labyrinth of living folds Time’s moments tenderly

Planting, tending and gathering; sweet hours coalesce
In retrospect we cannot rearrange its aftermath
How is it there appears a tear amidst this happiness?
As childhood’s fleeting heaven soon is strewn on living’s path

My love, the blush of morning fills the dark and stricken deep
And only by God’s grace can we embrace its mystic must
The fulcrum of existence joins Past’s everlasting sleep
Yet Hope attunes the heart in passages from dust to dust

My love, we cannot linger long to trace Time’s filigree
The imminence of Past makes precious every gifted breath
For soon a choir of echoes claims this present melody
In its fair, finest interlace of birth and life and death

© Janet Martin 

The other evening at my daughter's bridal shower we all agreed that our own showers did not seem so very distantly past and twenty-some years can disappear exceedingly fast!

Time is Precious

Because we know life’s moments flow too swiftly to a sea
And all that will be left of them are bits of memory
Because we know we cannot keep their ethereal appeal
Or clasp too tightly everything we touch and taste and feel
Time is precious

Because we know that seasons blow like chaff upon a breeze
And what is left of highs and lows are simply memories
Tonight the dark of cricket-song and autumn imminence
Presses against the markers of moment-deliverance
…and Time is precious

Because we know that all we hold must be released at last
And every drop of moment-gold will soon be memory-cast
How subtly the Painter paints; His masterpiece reveals
A quiet truth that even youth feels nipping at their heels
Time is precious

Because we know we cannot go to retrieve once again
The hour that has vanished like a whisper on the wind
We touch with reverence the gifted moment in our grip
Because we know how soft and silently they seem to slip
…so Time is precious  

© Janet Martin

The country-side swells with summer's end. 

As I use the word country-side I'm thinking of a lady at a customer-service desk where, as she checked my I.D. she smiled at my address and commented wistfully that 'oh, you live in the country-side' and I replied, 'yes, we do!' It must be so beautiful, she added and I said , yes, it is; and the frustration I was dealing with lost its edge because after we were finished I could go the country-side!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Of Moment-gold

Sunflower song
Wee baby’s cry
Sweet summer morn

Flicker of youth
Care-free daydream
Dew-diamond dawn
Midnight requiem

Sink full of suds
Line full of love
Heart full of hope
Through God above

Day full of toil
Night full of sleep
Cup full of promise
Where new moments steep

Sunset, sun-rise
Too soon we are old
This is life’s path
Of moment-gold

© Janet Martin