1. Glass Beads (make me feel wealthy)
2. Too Much Stuff (thoughts about a messy room)
3. God Sees Glory in Rusty Wire (junk lying in the street is
   beautiful, even useful)
4. My Friends (companionship, of sorts)
5. Conversation with Lily (hints from soap bubbles)
6. Reflected/Refracted Light (nothing commonplace about these
       lights -- but where do the reflections come from?)
7. Of Purest Marble (even vegetables have a beauty-side)



I am not very wealthy in things of this world:
Not if one describes success as the human reads it,
Not in fancy houses, or a status-seeking career;
I have little money in the bank, but --
Oh, I am so incredibly, wonderfully rich!
For I have a mini-cabinet with ten tiny bins:
All filled with vials of glittery glass beads,
Little seed beads, and "e" beads, which man has made
To shine in imitation of God's glory love.
Red rocailles, and blue, and purple, too,
And yellow, white, or orange pottery-look-cast,
And radiant lavender or greeny silver-lined beads.
A slender corked tube for each color or size!

And on a dreary day when life looks bleak,
I get out my beads. I press them into clay,
To ornament handcrafted thimbles,
Or tumble them onto a gluey mat to make a frame.
I string them on a thread. Or, simply lift
The vials, one by one, up to the window light
To see a horde of beauty richly glittering.

Wealthy beyond measure, so rich am I:
To have the wonder of a precious heavenly Father
Who lets me revel in these bits of glory glass,
While waiting out this life until it's time
To enter into His place of permanent glory Son-shine!


"Your room's a "mess," they say.
"You've too much stuff.
Why don't you throw something away?"
"Junk," they call the rusted wire
Rescued from abandonment on side street;
"Foolishness": oddments of fallen bark from tree.
"And why bring inside a silly branch,
When there are dozens to look at outside?
But all such little forgotten things
Are treasures, to me.

Does God see me as beautiful,
Even when I see all the flaws on my outside?
I dare to trust him to create the perfect me,
And not to look at the "messy room" of myself.
For am I not the Holy Spirit temple of the Lord?


A tangle of rusty wire, lying in the street,
Where cars have flattened out the lines,
And rain has turned the wire an orange tone.
And I, in bliss, spy the webbing in its abandonment,
And tote it home -- stars shining in my eyes.

The wire has a careless, woven, "arty" look;
What shall I do with aged wire, to rescue junk from despair?

Glue it against a rustic board; tuck small clay flowers
Here and there. Into spread-small-patches of clear glue,
Sprinkle about a kazillion beads (a hundred or a few).
Thus will I change garbage stuff into a plaque,
An art object of shiny attention and delight.

May God do the same with me, seeing the beauty
That is all but buried deep in me, transforming
My roughness and useless-sense by his inspiration --
Emblazoning even my rusty, tangled places with his shine,
Till I emerge a glory-work to honor his own blessed name.


Two friends perched on my closet shelf,
A'winking there at me,
A little wistful bunny-dear
With great sloe-eyed black pools for eyes,
And ears laid back against his head,
Not in timidity, but content.
And then there was the playful, singing
Cow with mouth opened gladly-wide
To rejoice at God's good promises;
And a sort of winking eye, beside.
They're not alive, but have been great friends
For several months or more,
A'smiling down from closet shelf
To cheer me when I looked.

And I've thought so often, oh I mustn't
Move the things upon my shelf,
Or I will lose my animal friends
So fragile gifts of imagination!

But the other day when much in a hurry,
I flung a box and scraps,
And never thought till later
What I'd done to friendly barnyard life.
My bunny-dear and friendly cow
Were only plastic bags,
A'stuffed with loose things that could shift.
The singing mouth and wistful eyes were but
Slits in the bag handles.
Without my glasses, and across the room away,
The bags became playful animals
To comfort me with friendship.

I didn't plan to create some pets,
The bags simply "came out" that way.
Only later, when my imagination came to play,
Did I realize I had watching friends.
And then in a rash, unthinking move
I squashed the shapes, and now
They are simply bags upon a shelf:
My playmates have gone to hide.

But God is still true faithful Friend,
Who can't be squashed or changed;
May he send all his friendship
And let me remember him indeed.
And may he send whatever else I need,
To brighten my days with cheer,
So that my heart won't be alone
Though the watching animals have gone.


     It's been a long time since my childhood. But I still love to blow soap bubbles.

     I described to Lily, a teenage girl, my pleasure in going out to the yard to blow bubbles. How beautifully those bubbles shone in the light. Some were all pink and blue. Others were green and yellow or purple. It all depended on which way the wind blew them, and the angle of the reflection of light.

     As I watched the fragile soap bubbles ascending, I would just cry out, "Glory, glory!" Soap bubble time is, for me, a way of worshipping the Lord. And the bubbles represent my prayers.

     "This one's for Lily, and this one for ____."  I sent up my prayers of blessing as the soap bubbles went up into the air and descended, all colored and glowing.

     Lily replied, "You're the neatest person I know, if you can see all of that in something as simple as soap bubbles."
     But it isn't my clever ability to think of new ways to pray. It's God's gift of Everpresence to me. (He's there whether I "feel" his presence or not. He's there even when I forget his existence.)

     How thankful I am, that he not only shows himself in big, mighty things such as the power of the ocean or the glowing rainbow in the sky, but can also speak to me, if I choose to let him, through simple things -- yes even
through the carefree blowing of soap bubbles, out in my back yard.


     During the daytime, my bed often becomes a table on which to lay things temporarily.
     At certain times of day, when I lay my bifocals on my bed, the window light shines through the lenses. Reflected light shows up on the white bed sheet. But it's a mysterious, unearthly glow! For the window glass is
clear. My glasses are tinted with a slightly pink cast. But the light that is reflected/refracted) onto the bed is a delicate, otherworldly bluish flare.

   Another miracle of light occurs, sometimes, in the mornings, as I lay out my pills and medications for the day. I'll put each batch in a cup: one for breakfast, one for lunch, one for supper. But for now, there they lie
huddled, bunched, on the bedsheet. The other pills are still "themselves", though window light casts strange mountains of shadow beside the pills. But the Beta Carotene capsule, which is red in color, but must be cased in gelatin rather than a solid-opaque coating, absolutely glows. And there on the sheet beside it, more brilliant than the pill-shadows can contain, is a pink-red luminescent flame. It's a trick of the window's back-lighting, for the pill is simply red at other times, and not an embered fire.

    Let me enjoy such simple glories to the fullest. They are the miracles that light up a humdrum day. I may not be rich in worldly goods. But for a few moments on a few days, I am rich beyond all telling, counting and rejoicing in my little riches: flaming jewels of reflected/refracted light.



     In September, our zucchini patch gave forth with more produce than our family could consume. Dad came to me, one day, and asked: "Is it all right to freeze zucchini?"

     "Yes," I replied. "It has to be blanched (par-cooked) first, and sometimes it's kind of limp when it is thawed.  But it's edible."

     My dad, not being the cook of the house, heard my "yes, zucchini can be frozen". But he didn't have the same images come to mind: of extensive preparation. If I wondered why he didn't bring in the extra zucchini for mom or I to prepare for the freezer, I soon forgot the episode.

     Later in the month, however, my sister came to visit. Sent to the freezer to get something to thaw for our dinner, she came back asking: "What are those two huge zucchini doing in the freezer?" Dad had stuck the whole zucchinis in the freezer without any preparations (or wrappings).

     The inclination is to just toss out the frozen zucchini; the flesh will be worthless, soggy, when thawed. But food is food. If par-cooked zucchini can be salvaged, spiked up with enough other items to hide the limp texture and blah taste, why not the same for a fresh-frozen product?

    So the two green rigidities continue to inhabit their frosty home, waiting to be put into a concoction for some meal.

     In November, one day when mom and dad aren't at home to observe a possible failure, I experiment. Shush, whisk. The workshop band saw cuts the fat end off the frozen squash as if it were -- well, not butter, but immaterial matter. Shoosh, whish again. The butt is now two vertical halves. Back into the freezer with the rest of the frozen stock. Wipe up the soggy, wet mess on band saw table. Saw a couple of sticks of wood to clean the ooze
off the blade. (I hadn't counted on a frozen squash liquefying so instantly and completely where it connected with the snicker-sawing blade.)

     I carry my two parts triumphantly from the shop to the kitchen.  Wooshing, washing tap water rinses off the sawdust and wetted blackish grime left by the bandsaw adventure. And hey-presto! I have the loveliest slabs of purest translucent marble. Glossy and glassy and shining white. What a delight to the eye. Any stone sculptor would be thrilled to be presented with such marble perfection! (Except that this kind must be quickly
enjoyed, for it isn't destined to last and last!)

     The peeling of the tough, leathery skin isn't easy. In fact, I almost give up and throw the whole rubbery mass away. But no, I am more determined than that. How long does one cook deep freezed zucchini? On my first try, I don't leave it in the steamer long enough. The flesh is flabby, but the underlying stringiness is too chewy. But the second try is the charm. I mix in canned tomatoes, a little Mexican salsa. And we have a dish of vegetables worthy of going on the table, after all.

     Before there was food for the body, there was food to fill up the chinks of my soul. For the part I will remember is not the success of what could have been a forlorn vegetable -- but the look of those precious slabs of purest, glassine, polished marble! How beautiful to the artist's eye!


copyright 1996-2004 by Marilee Miller
copying is limited to personal enjoyment