Shoring Up Foundation


When Bedelia didn’t answer her phone the day before her birthday, Finn was immediately concerned (she could be ill, or injured from a fall) and was poised to go check on her; James counseled against panic, speaking faith-based assurances that all was well, and Finn respectfully disagreed…it didn’t fit with Bedelia’s agoraphobic reclusiveness that she’d ‘go for a stroll’…he waited forty-five minutes, grabbed his keys and headed out.

He knocked several times before her door opened a crack…she clutched a kitchen towel against her mouth, and her eyes were puffy—Finn told her he’d been worried, asked to come in; turning aside to allow him entrance, she said nothing as she went to the kitchen, poured him a cup of tea, and gestured to the dining chair he usually occupied.

Finn’s eyes slid discreetly to the birdcage, thinking Mr. Van Gogh had possibly met his Maker…causing her grief-laden disarray; the budgie sat mutely observing, as though waiting for the curtain to rise on “Les Misérables”.

Equally silent, Bedelia sat across from Finn, folding and refolding the towel she’d used to conceal her face when he arrived (uninjured, she mumbled that she was ‘just a mess’); “Look at me, Bedelia”, he said in his quiet Atticus Finch voice, “I am your friend…please tell me what’s distressing you”; he’d hoped they had established a trusting foundation…but she cowered, a trapped animal.

Dry-eyed, yet nearly breathless, her words tumbled like rockslides on a Pacific Northwest highway; she hated her birthdays (since childhood), and was suffering recurrent noxious nightmares which featured estranged family members, and her ex-husband, in all their cruel roles; waking didn’t whisk away memories…humiliating verbal assaults replayed on looping cassettes stored in her mind: “‘Don’t go away mad, just go away’, they taunted, laughing; eventually I left them all—nobody’s ever going to hurt me again!” she vowed.

Finn longed to protect her from enemies real and imagined, past-present-future; his late wife was supremely self-confident, independent, fearless—and frankly, hadn’t needed him for anything before cancer moved in; while Bedelia had studied self-reliance, and locked herself in denial that she might need someone someday; Finn was clueless he was falling in love…until he uttered his next words: “Beedee,”…he stroked the back of her clenched hand, “life can be much better than it’s been…the past won’t change, but I’ll wager we can write new, wonderful pages together”; through a trickle of tears she giggled, “‘Beedee'”.

Z & Z Poetry, 2020 ~ All rights reserved.

Locked In Vault

No one’s opened it for decades

Chains and latches rusted

Must be seepage…

During final madness she

Tried to capture, contain

Keep an ocean within

Heart-shaped vault

Waves’ myriad treasures

Locked up, her very own

Sea of floating gold bullion

Hunger-crazed greed lived

Amid ash-laden secrets…

But if you can’t love, you

Probably can’t swim either

Z & Z Poetry, 2020 ~ All rights reserved.


In consideration of


I’m rarely nervous

More often curious…

Will I take my leave

‘Mid heart’s fire vigorous

Or by route less strenuous

Calm activity with structured

Order…scribbling last poem

Muse uncapped

Maybe reading Jeremiah

Weighty in lap…

Unlike many folks, it’s

Not Death I fear

Heaven’s reservation secure…

It is “mode”, “process”

Which make anxious

Unseemly languishing

Ill appeals…if unable

To wear season graciously

But Death, as Life, is

Mysterious, strange

I might merely topple

Over Edge of Days

Grateful grin upon old face

Joy, relief, going Home…

No longer thought “odd”

In my ordinary ways

Z & Z Poetry, 2020 ~ All rights reserved.

Gray Turns to Blue

Guarded Heart Tapestry

All that your love and

Mighty pow’r have accomplished

Since Your Spirit breathed

Whole world into existence…

My mind spins with amazement


Every detailed touch

You’ve given to everything

I’m wowed, deeply awed…

Nothing short of miracles

What You’ve done just in my life


I’ll say it simply

Each day Your Grace-Presence is

Blessing ~ Even when

Storms within sometimes scuff skies

You speak, Lord: gray turns to blue

{“You thrill me, LORD, with all you have done for me!”

 Psalm 92:4, New Living Translation}

©Jael Stevens & Guarded Heart Tapestry, 2020 ~ All rights reserved.

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Guarded Heart Tapestry

Heart, Jesus is my habitude, home

Almighty God, refuge, there’s none

But my Lord, Him alone

In His shadow I shelter

Trusting Him, I’m covered

Under His wings, rescued from

Dread, protected by His angels

Embraced each day by unfailing love

Psalm 90:1, 91:14 ~ a prayer of Moses, the man of God (New Living Translation)

Lord, through all the generations you have been our home!

The LORD says, “I will rescue those who love me. I will protect those who trust in my name.”

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First-Line Friday…

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First-line Friday: 

“If winter is death, surely,

red-slashed autumn is the wound

that brought it.”

I couldn’t have said

It more plainly, painfully

November murder

Took town by head-snapping shock

Innocent girl, my friend, gone

One more haunted tale

Added to wardrobe I yet

Wear, dim tilting nights

Red slash in her throat

Crimson pool spreading ’round her

Only imagined

From poorly concealed horror

Scotch tape sealing her young neck

Yes, winter was death

Death that never stops dying

She remained fourteen

Retained delightful laughter

While I have aged sore lifetime

Z & Z Poetry, 2020 ~ All rights reserved.

NaNoWriMo, Year 2

Hi all!  I want to give a shout out to Sammi——who has encouraged me yet again to sign up for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). 

Last year was my maiden voyage and it was a great, though grueling, experience.  I met the 50,000+ word goal several days early, and after that I set aside the unfinished novel…no thoughts either way about joining the crowd in 2020. 

But when Sammi posted that she’ll be working on one of her ‘works in process’…I thought, “we can do that??”  I’m so rule-bound, I figured we had to do a new novel each year, sheesh😉

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So…I’ve just signed in on the official website…for better or worse, it’s a done deal!  Thank you, Sammi😊

For my regular readers, this announcement means that my participation on the blogs—posting, and reading/commenting on your posts—will be ‘slim-pickins’ next month. 

I hardly remember last November…it’s a blur (I hardly slept or ate…no, I didn’t lose any weight) but bits are coming back to me now:  it was October 31st before I even made the decision to participate, and all I had was the title—NO idea about plot or characters, whatsoever!  I was flying by the seat of my pants, fueled by not only Sammi’s encouragement but a number of loyal bloggers’—and lots of prayer. 

I think I said to myself, “what have you got to lose?”—which isn’t a bad way to start an adventure that doesn’t require cash or traveling beyond hearth and head!

And you know, ‘me ‘n God’ are partners…so last year I’d asked Him if He supported the idea…His ‘still small voice’ clearly said, “GO FOR IT!”  Well, yesterday I wasn’t sure I’d saved anything necessary to re-up this year…username, password…but to my amazement (my organization style: post-it notes), I didn’t have to ransack the apartment, looking—it was ALL there, immediately at my fingertips.  That was Heavenly confirmation once again! 

I didn’t sleep last night…I’m speed-rambling like a 6-year-old hyped on sugar.  Just wanted to let you know ‘what’s the hap’.  Oh…for anyone concerned, Bedelia will still meet you on Thursdays, that’s a must-do! 

Thanks for ‘listening’—have a blessed weekend😊

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart;

do not depend on your own understanding.

Seek his will in all you do,

and he will show you which path to take.” Proverbs 3:5-6, New Living Translation

“Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.” Matthew 6:33, NLT

“A man’s heart plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps.” Proverbs 16:9, Berean Study Bible

“You can make many plans, but the LORD’s purpose will prevail.” Proverbs 19:21, New Living Translation

Z & Z Poetry, 2020 ~ All rights reserved.


Impending storm creeps

Slowly upon horizon

Stirs gray sea beneath

Underwater gloomy graves

Shift ghostly, soft keen begins

Will ride currents’ chill

My father’s bones jitter deep

As though he hears still

Cajun music of his life

Dance of love that took him down

Left us only mysteries…

First rumble, thunder

Blurred evil lust of mem’ries

Warning: ‘don’t go there’

Pewter sky patters rain’s spill

Z & Z Poetry, 2020 ~ All rights reserved.