Archive for the ‘IRIS DIARIES’ Category

I had a dream that I was standing in the grass behind a great Victorian style mansion with a woman who healed animals.  It was a gusty and cloudy day. The sky was full of birds soaring through a web of branches and wind, and she could just reach out her hand and catch a bird.

She held them and turned them over lovingly, inspecting their stomachs and legs and wings for wounds or diseases.  As she touched their infirmities with her beautiful graceful hands, they were instantly healed.  Then she opened her hands and released them.

She also attended to a small sick kitten, feeding it green grapes as part of its healing.  I knew something spiritual was happening, because a predator was eating fruit.

Isaiah the prophet wrote of how “there would be no hurt or harm” in the Holy Mountain, and I can’t help but notice there seem to be more animals than humans there, and more children than adults:

The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together; and a little child shall lead them. The cow and the bear shall graze; their young shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. The nursing child shall play over the hole of the cobra, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the adder’s den. They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea. (Isaiah 11:6-9)

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(From the Iris Diaries)

The woman who loves the wind is always dreaming of a road.  Though it is tiresome and lonely at times, she senses that the path is ascending gently under her soft little feet.  It rolls out like a divine scroll before her, with new words and new mercies each day.

She knows that the end of the path holds great rewards and secrets that her natural eyes are too dim to see.  She has spiritual eyes that have beheld a few shadows of glory beyond the veil.  She told a close friend about one of her most memorable spiritual dreams:

In one of my dreams, I was the innkeeper of an old rustic lodge by the side of a lonely road, and I provided hospitality to many travelers.  I worked hard to make people as comfortable as possible when they came. I always stayed very busy preparing food and cleaning out rooms and decorating with flowers and candles and art.

There was a certain man who visited the inn on several occasions. He was kind and gracious, and I always felt awkward in his presence. Each time he came, I felt more of a bond of friendship with him, but I often felt as though my services were inadequate.  He was always grateful, but I was always looking for ways to improve.  Each time the man returned to the inn, I felt great joy about his coming.

During one particular visit by the man, I felt that something was about to happen and our interaction was different, because my heart began to flutter unexpectedly and I sensed that he had come for a special purpose.  He was especially warm and gentle in his demeanor and it made me even more nervous and concerned than before. 

I was bustling around anxiously, when suddenly he stopped me and ordered me to sit down.  He asked me how I was doing and how I felt.  I replied that I was fine, and he startled me by sitting on the floor in front of my chair and massaging my feet!  His eyes were searching my face with concern.  I was astonished and confused.

Then the man got up and said, “Wait here.  I have something to show you.”  As he went outside I rose and stood in the doorway to watch, and I saw him returning.  I realized his hands were full of huge diamonds glowing in the sunlight! The light was pouring out of them like rivers as he strode up to the doorstep. I have never seen such large and brilliant stones. One gigantic diamond was set in a ring he wore upon his hand and light was flowing out of it in colorful strands. 

The man stepped inside and spread the gems out on the table, and spoke these words:  “I am a stone-cutter and I only work with the purest diamonds because I want to bring out the brightest light from inside of them.”  As he talked, he picked out particular ones from the table and held them up to show me. 

Then he removed the fiery diamond ring off of his own hand and held it up before my eyes, and said  “You see, I would never dream of giving anything but the most perfect stone to my daughter, or to my…” I woke up before he could say the last word.  But the word “bride” hung in the air like a moment that is never forgotten. Tears sparkled like diamonds in my eyes- tears of holy and eternal love.

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(The Iris Diaries)

“And I will betroth you to me forever. I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love and in mercy.” Hosea 2:19

A lady with silver hair dropped her lilac-colored slippers beside her bed, and crawled under the lavender chenille bedspread.  She dreamed that she was traveling on a familiar path with a group of hikers.  There was a deep sense of peace as they all walked together and talked with soft voices.  The grass and trees were lush and green, and they came to a brook with pebbles and rocks in it.

The lady was slower than the other hikers and afraid that her feet might slip.  The guide stopped everyone and came back to where she was struggling along.  She recognized him from another dream!  He held out his hand and walked with her through the water to the other side, and she felt the strength of his arms as he held her up.

She asked him, “Are we still headed north?”  “Yes”, he said, “sometimes it may not look like it, because the road winds around at times, but you can rest assured that we are still headed the right way.”

Then the leader addressed the group, “Some people are going to be passing us in a moment.  Just ignore them.  Don’t listen to anything they tell you.”

Just then, a strange crowd drifted by.  They were flat and fluttered in the breeze as if they were cut out of paper.  Their faces were very odd and evil in appearance.  They were headed the opposite direction, and laughed as they passed the hikers, saying, “What’s wrong with you guys?  You’re heading the wrong direction.  Can’t you see that?  How stupid can you be?”  They kept laughing wickedly, and the lady was glad when they had passed by. Everyone trusted the guide and whatever he said, and there was a beautiful sense of love and unity among the travelers.

The lady woke up with a familiar feeling of peace around her.  She had often visited this world of warmth and brightness in her dreams, and felt that she belonged in these idyllic forests and meadows with soft pastel skies and dew sparkling on the flowers.

Sometimes a beautiful fox would appear, and she would run like a child laughing out loud as she chased it. In her recurring dreams she was young and strong, and her heart would ring with joy as she ran.

One night, she dreamed that she was at a beautiful wedding banquet and she recognized a man that she knew.  He had on exquisitely lovely garments when she saw him, made of unearthly looking fabrics in rich hues.

She also dreamed once that the stones in her rings were all being removed and replaced with new stones.  She saw the most incredible gems she had ever seen, and she was told that she could pick anything that she wanted.

Once she dreamed she had been serving the familiar man, when he suddenly made her sit down and he massaged her feet, and asked her how she was doing.  She was astonished by this act of humility, because she only wanted to serve him. He gave her a diamond ring that had been glowing on his own right hand, and light was streaming from the stone in golden threads.  He said that he would only give the most beautiful gems to his daughter or his bride.

The lady woke up shivering with joy and peace, and tears sparkled in her eyes.  She loved this man more than life itself.  In a previous dream, she had asked him the way to the gates of the city, and he had handed her a key without giving directions, as if she already knew how to get there.

Now she possesses two priceless gifts- a key and a ring.

“Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.”  John 14:1-4

~♥~

Photo came from Simply Orthodox ☦

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(The Iris Diaries)

“The Lord God has given me the tongue of those who are taught, that I may know how to sustain with a word the one who is weary.”(Isaiah 50:4)

I met a young woman named Amber Fox at McDonald’s one morning.  She wore a beautiful plum tie-dyed Woodstock sweatshirt that drew my attention.  Her thick auburn hair was cut over her ears and above the neckline of her shirt, and she was very shapely and slim with dark blue jeans and sporty nylon sandals.  Her eyes were large and green, and freckles dotted her cheeks.  Her voice was strong with some sort of New England accent.

For some reason, we began almost immediately to talk about God and Amber said she had a hard time with churches, because she always felt so dirty compared to everyone else, and she would end up just going for food. “I don’t think people in church are damaged enough for me” she said, stroking her hair nervously with her fingers.  “They seem so perfect and they treat me like I’m possessed or something.”

“I’ve been damaged a lot too,” I said. “But thankfully, Christ doesn’t look upon us in the way that many church people do.  Just think about the kinds of people he hung around with.I was reading yesterday about the woman who had been bleeding for years, until she touched the robe of Jesus as He walked by.  Jesus felt power go out of Him, and stopped in His tracks, and asked who had touched Him.  When I first read it, I thought Jesus was angry with the woman for touching Him without permission.  But then it came clear to me that He knew how damaged she was, how she had been a reject from the temple for many years, and He didn’t want her to disappear into the crowd without talking with her.  He just wanted to take time and minister to all of her needs before she left.”

Amber’s eyes began to fill with tears and I touched her arm. She suddenly blurted out that she had lost count of how many abortions she had had, but she remembered at least seven. Her hands were shaking from deep anguish and the doorway of her soul flung wide open. After all of the condescension she had experienced from religious people, I marveled that she was willing to make herself so open and vulnerable.  She somehow knew that I would not judge her.

“Amber, God loves brokenness in people, and the scriptures say that He never turns away a humble spirit.  When someone is broken, God can get inside and start repairing the issues of the heart.  I love mosaics, and think they are especially beautiful because they are made of broken pieces.”   As Amber wiped away tears with her hands, she said, “This is so weird, because I have been making mosaics lately.”

I read from John 14, where Jesus says to let not our hearts be troubled, because He is going to prepare a place for us, so that we can be with Him.  I talked with her about the Holy Ghost that teaches us concerning all things, and Amber asked with surprise, “You mean that you can have a direct connection?”  “Yes,” I replied, and Amber was amazed by this.

We prayed together, and I encouraged her to keep on seeking a closer walk with God and His Spirit until she finds her peace, and that it would be as clear as a cloudless day. Amber was only passing through town that day, so I knew that I would never see her again.  But I often wonder about her and how she is doing.

(Name was changed for this woman’s privacy)

~♥~

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(The Iris Diaries)

Say to your brothers, “You are my people,” and to your sisters, “You have received mercy.”(Hosea 2:1)

There is a house nearby that seems to draw strange renters.  Once we had “The Shadow” lurking there for a few months. For a long time, he was never seen except as a silhouette through the curtains or a dark figure on his patio with no face.

Then one day a police car pulled up and handcuffed him and took him to jail.  About two months later, he returned.  No one knows how his bills had been paid while he was away.  But he stepped out of a friend’s car in a jailbird outfit.  He ran into the house hurriedly and about thirty minutes later, he came out to the front yard with a cell phone. He seemed to be calling everyone he knew, saying things like, “Yeah, man, I just have to try to stay out of trouble now.”

Soon, lovely silk-haired blonde women in expensive cars began to show up regularly, and one of them finally moved in.  Then one day my son heard the woman calling the police excitedly on her cell phone.  The cops came and took the man away again.  While he was gone, the woman brought huge metal storage devices and packed them full of stuff, and a giant u-haul showed up and she disappeared.  The guy got out again from jail, and soon he moved out and we never saw him again.

Then we got some new neighbors.  The parents were deaf and the children were three wild teenage guys.  We could always hear them yelling, and they roamed around the neighborhood in packs like jackals.  Everyone could see their underwear because their shorts were too large.  One of them had a worn out dirty blonde Mohawk which hung limply around the shaved part of his head and a small indecipherable tattoo was on his scalp. It was apparent that he was the ringleader and his loud mouth frothed constantly with cruel sarcasm and vulgarity.  I learned later that he was the eldest son.

A gang of young people partied in the house constantly and the police were there almost every night.  The cops seemed to know all of their names, but nobody ever was arrested.  We would find dead birds lying around their front yard because they would go out and shoot them down with their BB guns. The police were called to investigate but no one could put a stop to it.

You could see people in clusters gossiping in the neighborhood, more than usual during this time.  It was endless entertainment for them.  I was troubled in my spirit because I always think of people’s souls hidden beneath their outward appearance.

One day the youngest of the boys came to my door in a hurry, needing to borrow the phone.  I could see that he was tense and very aware of his family’s notoriety in the neighborhood.  He expected to see cold cruel eyes looking back at him, but instead he saw the gentle expression of a silver-haired lady wearing a lavender dress and silver sandals.

“Can I borrow your phone just for a second?” he asked nervously.

“Yes, have a seat there at the counter.  Would you like a can of Sprite?” He was startled, and seemed unnerved.

“Well yeah, thanks” he replied, and placed his phone call.

Then he popped open the soda can and lingered for awhile at the counter and began to talk about a lot of things.  “My name is Freddie, I guess it goes without saying that my family has a lot of problems.  My three brothers are always in and out of jail and juvenile detention, but I’ve never been there.  My parents act like they expect me to be the same way, but that’s not what I want.  I want to be different, and have a better life than this.  Sometimes I get really mad at my parents because they don’t believe me, and they don’t give me a chance to prove it. I want to graduate from high school and go to college.”

“Well, you just have to be strong and believe in yourself, and things will work out in time,” I said. “I know your situation has to be very hard for you. If there is anything that I can do to help, let me know.  And come by to visit my sons sometime, okay?  My youngest is about your age.”

I had been hearing Freddie’s deaf mother crying and wailing out loud in the middle of the night, and I wished I could comfort her somehow.  I didn’t know who was upsetting her, or if she was aware of how loud she was. Once when I went to my car in the morning, I saw her in the front yard, and her face appeared like someone who had never seen a happy day in her life.  It was worn and lined and full of pain. I prayed that night for her, and wrote a message for her inside a pretty card.

I went to my neighbor’s house the next day, and Freddie came to the door.  I asked him to use sign language to tell his mother that I just wanted to give her a letter.  The woman looked suspiciously at me and squinted as if coming out of dark cave and trying to see clearly.  I could sense that she thought she was in some kind of trouble, or that her sons had done something bad. She seemed awkward and confused, as Freddie read the card and made hand signs to his mother.  The note simply said:  “I am your neighbor and I want to be your friend.  If you ever are in need of anything, please let me know.” The woman nodded hesitantly, and Freddie thanked me.  I returned home.

After that, I never heard the woman crying at night again. What did it mean? I didn’t know, but I was glad.  I thought that maybe whoever was mistreating her had heard that someone was concerned.

A few days later, I needed some yard work done, and I inquired about Freddie and his brothers.  They all came to my yard, and I showed them what to do and brought out some lemonade.  They spent all afternoon in the heat moving rocks out of the front yard and raking.  I stood in my kitchen window and heard one of the brothers say, “This is the best day ever.  We’re making some money, and having a good time too.”  I laughed quietly.

One of my neighbors approached me the next day and asked me why I would let those crazy boys work in my yard.  I said I thought they needed something constructive to do with their time.

Soon after that, I needed my lawn mowed, and I noticed Freddie’s deaf father in his yard mowing. He had a bald shiny head and a clean white shirt that showed off his muscular chest and arms.  He reminded me of Mister Clean. I approached him with hand signals to find out if I could pay him to do my yard after his.  He took paper and a pencil from his jeans pocket and we jotted notes to each other, and agreed to a price for my lawn to be mowed.

After that, the man always did my lawn whenever he did his own.  The mother stopped crying.  Freddie always greeted me, and his brothers acted like wild animals, but I knew that everything good takes time and patience. I had been wilder than any of them once, and people had put up with me.

One day, I was getting out of my car with a paper bag of groceries, and the deaf man was on my step motioning for me to come to his house. With squeals, he started towards his door.  I set the bag down on my steps and followed the man. The whole family was sitting together inside the shady screened porch.

Freddie told me that they had all been evicted, and that they wanted to thank me.  I asked where they would go, and Freddie said they didn’t have a place, so they would be in a hotel room for awhile.  They had not been given sufficient time to make better plans, but the neighbors had complained so much that they had to go.

Their faces were pitiful and sad.  My heart was filled with pain for their family, and the next morning they were all gone.  I continue to pray that their lives will become happier someday and that Freddie will have a chance at success.

OLIVE TWIST ©2012

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(The Iris Diaries)

“Visit the orphans and widows in their affliction…” (James 1:27)

A cute little woman sat in her wheelchair with a little pink crocheted cap covering her thin silver hair.  Her wrinkles branched out across her face in delicate designs, and her blue eyes were bleak and icy like her native country of Finland.  “Hello Linda”, I said.  Linda was a bit shy at first and neither of us knew what to say.  Linda’s English was a bit broken, but very clear, and she began to point out some of the Scandinavian art on her walls, and the photo of her deceased husband, and the beautiful grandfather clock on the wall, which was wound up with an old brass key.  Our first visit was a bit awkward, but we agreed to spend time together more often, and I asked if I could address her as “Grandma”.  The old woman agreed with a shy smile.

I had wanted to adopt a grandma so I visited the care home across the street and spoke with the volunteer coordinator.  There were cages with tropical birds in the sunny room with huge windows that day, and a Jamaican woman named Vida came to see me.  She told me that she knew of a woman named Linda from Finland who was very lonely.  After we talked awhile, I signed some volunteer papers.

Grandma missed her home and gardens.  When her family members took her from her home, they told her it was only for a short time but it had been years now.  She did not know what became of her home, and she said she was very old and tired of living.  Many mornings, she said she was sorry that she had survived through the night.

She read many magazines and books and sometimes children’s books with pictures she could look at.  She watched TV shows about world news and church programs.  She seemed very intelligent. But she often forgot how old she was.  One day she was ninety and the next day she was ninety-five.

My sons went with me sometimes and Linda loved it when we called her “Grandma”.  My youngest son was Grandma’s favorite, and he made origami birds and flowers and other artistic things for her to decorate her room with.  She would always say, “He is so clever”.

Sometimes I would bring her little tea cookies and ginger thins and chocolate.  Grandma said the doctors could never get over how she could eat so much and never get fat and how she seemed to have no real health problems aside from arthritis and getting more forgetful and childish as time went on.

One day I arrived and the old woman was flustered, and asked for help in finding her address book which she had lost.  She seemed very upset so I began to open drawers and cupboards looking for it, and found an old address book with a floral design on the cover.  Grandma practically grabbed it with joy when she saw it and began to look through it with a reflective expression.  She was looking for the name of someone in particular, and she asked me to look it up for her. I can’t recall who it was, but I saw that all of the names had been crossed out. I realized that Grandma had put an “X” through the addresses of all her friends and loved ones as they died. The address book was full of dead people.

Grandma deeply missed Finland where she had lived as a child.  Tears would well up in her eyes when she talked of it.  She complained about the Florida heat, and missing the wintery climate where she came from.

She loved to say things in Finnish, and to try to teach me a few phrases. My mother had a friend named Eeva Blauuw who was Finnish, and I asked my mother if the lady might be willing to write to Grandma.  The old woman was so delighted when she started receiving letters in Finnish.

One Christmas, I gave Grandma a beautiful red sweater with pine trees and pine cones and winter motifs on it.  She was very proud of it and wouldn’t take it off for a long time.  The nurses told me they were trying to get her to wear something else, but she just wouldn’t take it off.

Once I gave her a big white teddy bear made out of an old chenille bedspread.  When I offered it to her, Grandma cried with wide eyes, “Oh, I couldn’t!” Her hands were making anxious grasping motions as she said it, contradicting her words. Suddenly her hands shot out and grabbed the bear then she quickly placed it on her lap and rested her chin on its head contentedly.  As we talked Grandma began to stroke the bear and cuddle it, and laid it on her bed and covered it up.  Then she uncovered it and set it in the chair across from her wheelchair, and it seemed that she could not take her eyes off of it.  I asked her what she would name it and she said shyly that she didn’t know.

“What about ‘Snow Bear’?” I asked.

“Oh I don’t know…” said Grandma thoughtfully. “I think I’ll call him ‘Boyfriend.’”  I realized that the bear had become a companion in the old woman’s mind, and that it would soften her loneliness.

One day I came into the room to visit, and found Grandma sitting on one end of her bed with Boyfriend on the other end, and she had little Scandinavian tea cookies spread out on the bed with little napkins as if they were having a party.  When she saw me coming, she looked down at her hands with embarrassment and she said, “I am like a child in many ways.  You know that.”  I smiled and said, “Yes, I know, and that’s fine.”

As I continued to visit Grandma, the old woman seemed to talk more and more in Finnish and less and less in English. “Bilingual aphasia” can cause elderly people to completely forget one language that they have known and revert back to their native tongue.  At first, I would correct her when she switched to Finnish, but after awhile I stopped correcting her and just nodded my head as though I understood when I really didn’t.  It wasn’t important that I understood everything.  It was more important for the old woman to be able to relax and talk because she was so lonely.

Due to a new job, I found that I did not have the time to visit her as often.  When I did come, she kept forgetting me and spoke mostly in Finnish, so then I stopped visiting for awhile.  After a few weeks had passed, I received a letter in the mail.  It was from Grandma, and the handwriting was messy and in Finnish, but it made me sorry that I had not been visiting.

I was deeply touched that Grandma had taken the time with her arthritic hands to try to write to me. I knew then that I had underestimated Grandma’s mental ability to remember me, and that I had meant more than I realized.  I decided to go and visit her again.

Sadly, Grandma had died when I returned to visit her, and I worried that I might have caused her more distress and loneliness.  I was apprehensive to have Grandma’s last letter translated, because it might increase my sadness to know what the old woman was saying.  I’ll bet “Boyfriend” knew all of her innermost thoughts and feelings.  If only I could have talked to him.

OLIVE TWIST ©2012

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(The Iris Diaries)

The wind began sending messengers to Iris when she was very young.  Wandering artisans always surrounded her, giving her poems and art and stories. One day as she sat in a café filled with smoke and laughter, a man with faded denim pants and a worn plaid shirt approached her.  He had a familiar mystical flame about his brow, and his reddish hair was curly and matted.

Iris had been inking a picture of a snake climbing up a tree in her sketchbook when he approached her, pointed at her drawing, and said, “Get rid of that snake.”  Then he handed her a piece of dirty folded up paper and went out into the street, as the wind blew open the door.  She unfolded the paper and found these words written in blue ballpoint pen:

So long on this road back to the wall,

I’d pray I’d die before I’d fall;

Death wish in a land of hell,

Don’t want to cry, search for the well

That gives to me the truth of truth;

In it’s sweet light (don’t need no proof).

Walking middle ground

I found my song in a silent sound

Where eyes don’t hide behind

Masks that make you laugh when you should have cried,

That let you live when you should have died.

So long on this road but I hear the call,

I see the truth and with it walk tall.

It aint the stand I’m afraid to make,

It’s the illusion the world wants me to take

That sees the light and clouds the truth

With its lack of faith and search for proof.[1]

She could feel soft flowing air and a rustle of wings.  There was something comforting and kind about the man.

A mysterious long-haired lady with wintery eyes handed her a poem scribbled on aged brown parchment:

The one who weaves the wind

Stood grey before me.

The woods were dawn-grey

Dripping, soft, and so quiet.

The wind-weaver

Was catching shadows and mist

For her loom…[2]

A young man wearing a purple tie-dyed shirt gave her a little poem as he passed her one day, and she sensed that protective spirit again:

Love is the vine

Given mankind

To help him find

His home divine.[3]

One breezy morning while she sat upon a squeaky porch in the ghetto, a man with soft green eyes and glasses approached her and offered her a poem:

The flowers open

At thy feet

Beads of

Dew

Wonderful and new

O

Angel of light

How many dawns

Have I drunk from your cup?[4]

The affection that the Iris evoked from strangers was disconcerting. Why did poets pop up like flowers wherever she went? She felt that someone was calling for her and wanted to be her friend.

A young man handed her this poem on a small piece of white paper with only his name “Sunrise” on the bottom:

The princess in purple

Carrying her guitar…

She shares her music

With all who’ll listen

Her gentle ways could be an inspiration to all

If only they would take time.

Even her ring is purple.

I’ve seen her on the streets

I’ve seen her in the parks

Always ready to share her music

And her heart…[5]

Iris knew that people were drawn to her, but she wondered why all of the writings were spiritual in some way.  Did people see something that she could not see at the time?

Now she can see how the wind loved her long before she knew him. He had been loyal to her in a sorrowful land, and had filled her life with meaning.

One morning she talked to a man in the donut shop where she worked.  He wore glasses and had curly blonde hair and a beard. She told him of her dream of meeting Christ in an elevator.  A few days later he visited and as she was cleaning the counter, she found a story written which he tucked under his napkin:

Immediately and noisily the doors opened, a mild shock far exceeded by the presence of a man, dressed in a loose white robe, staring directly at her out of the elevator—so directly as to imply he knew in advance where she would be standing…And so it was, and the surrounding city with it, corners dissolving into a blizzardy whiteness, glowing brilliant for a moment and then fading, edgeless as the voice of this prophet, into gray, into black, into liquid- no light, no sound, no scent, no feel, no taste- only absence, vacancy, and peace:  only the consciousness of a smile, the smile of God.[6]


[1] “Back to the Wall” by Jude

[2] “The Weaver of the Wind” by Margaret

[3] By Kelly

[4] From Michael

[5] By Sunrise

[6] By Al

OLIVE TWIST ©2012

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