Thursday with a Flourish

This is the last Spiritual First Thursday of 2018.  Please check out more of our One Little Word posts at Irene Latham's blog, Live Your Poem,
This year's OLW for me is "Flourish".  I'd found it on a Starbuck's ornament and bought it to remind myself to go through the year and each day adding a bit of a flourish to it...or perhaps just to flourish in the new year.

Well, it seemed to be a good word.  But then the year began to have some major upheavals.  Family started to fall apart.  One at a time.  Then the times overlapped.  On-going events just continued to build and piggy-back one upon the other - events life-threatening, near death, unsettling, unnerving, disappointing, ulcer-inducing, nervous breakdown fodder...
One in a year would have been enough to be wrenching.  Two in a year really wretched...5 or so (only because I'm counting fast and might be actually - yay!- forgetting one or two) just unacceptable for a human being to be coping with.

In spite of the turmoil, I've tried to add a touch of "flourish" to my days - to show that I'm still okay, and to show that I am trying despite all, to "flourish" in the muck and mire.  I've tried to think "Let's change that mire to manure and see what grows"... like that...
Let's shovel some muck and find that pony!

My husband would tell you that there honestly were days when I grumbled and crumbled, and I wasn't holding up my end of my faith bargain.  I was trying to hand my worries off to God, but then taking them back again in the middle of the night, like that was helpful...
I was weak from crying out.  I was tired from lack of sleep.  I was sick from lack of peace.

But regardless of my constant falling and failing at faith, I kept grabbing at it again, and asking for forgiveness for my lack of faith.  And I asked for more faith.

Yipes!  That's like asking for patience.  In order to build patience, you are going to have to have something to be patient about!  I just realized that I was asking God to give me trials, so I could build my faith.  Oh, He did that.  And with a Flourish!  When I started counting blessings and giving thanks and doing for others, my faith was so much easier to come by.  I still faltered.  I still had some meltdowns.  But they seemed shorter, and easier to come out of.

I am looking for a less stressful word for this coming year.
It is the end of the year.  We will be in a new house (to be told tomorrow) - finally.  And I think I am going to be looking for new opportunities to be the best person I can be.  I want to reach out and be kinder, be more aware, more loving, more...
Oh, shoot...yeah, it IS at least 5 events...I'm forgetting the cabinet maker for the house in Friendship...he owes us over 10K in cabinets he didn't produce and money he didn't return... yeah, it's more like 10 events that were over-stressing...Don't worry, I found some cabinets someone was getting rid of, so we will have a kitchen despite the theft.
Okay, where was I?
..more loving, more forgiving, less of a flourish necessary, no worries necessary... more thankful, and better at remembering to express it.

One more thought.  I've never counted my miseries before.  I've always counted my blessings.  But I guess it's like swimming in the ocean.  Most of the time one wave hits and dissipates before the next.  So I have time to regroup and take a breath, look at the good around me and then proceed with the next overpowering wave.  This year they just kept coming before my head could get above water.  I began to drown and could not see the life preservers I was probably always being thrown.  In retrospect, I can see the good in many of the events.  Some I'm still working at the details to figure the good part out... but I'm sure it's there.
I'm on it.  Can I do a poem?


you gave me more than I could chew
and waited - would I look at you?
   Nope, not yet!
   You served me more.
   No "Uncle" yet?
   There's more in store!

Ok, ok!  I know you're there!
I'll trust you now with every hair,
   and every breath
   I take today,
   that you will guide
   me in your way.

I will not in proud vanity
decide to do what's right for me;
   I'll give you all
   my guilty weight
   to be the Master
   of my fate.

I'll trust the strength of sheltering wings
to keep me safe from harmful things.
   You give me more
   than I can chew
   but now I know -
   "Lord, help me through."

by Donna JT Smith, 12/5/2018

Yes.  I guess I had one.  It wasn't Flourish though, but maybe we can consider it a "flourish" to the post, and a description of "how to flourish" with faith.   I think it works okay.

Just as a note, I felt compelled to write this today, but I want you to know I am not comfortable writing it.  I don't usually list the bad stuff that happens.  It seems so trivial and whiny to do that.  I much prefer to focus on what has gone on right.  And it works better for me.

I'm afraid that the string of "unfortunate events" overtook me after a while, and for a while.  Fester seemed to be the OLW instead of flourish!  And you can really get bogged down in a hurry when you live in the negative.  I tried not to let that happen, but sometimes it means internalizing everything and letting it build up.  Not a good plan.  I had to remind myself daily to take my worries to God...and then scream at myself NOT TO TAKE THEM BACK AGAIN!!

There are still a few things left on my plate.  But I have been successful in using my trust and faith again and getting back on an even keel, despite the lingering issues.  God's got them.

Prov 3:5-6
Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

You know, a good Bible verse or two can really help you flourish...
and when one sticks with you, as you are reading, it is like glorious flourish sent straight from God to give you peace.


  1. Dear Donna - it takes courage to share the not-great things... you and I have that in common -- an optimism and a joy -- but sometimes the thing we need most, and what brings the most peace, is acceptance. And that means looking at things with a clear eye. YOU, my dear, ARE a flourish! And you are flourishing amidst this turmoil, and writing beautiful poems to boot! Thank you for sharing. Know you are loved, and you are not alone. xo

  2. You have had your share of troubled waters this year. I appreciate your honesty. I feel we sometimes hide this side but it's important to share the frustration and the loss of faith. Keep your head up. I hope your waters will smooth out soon.

  3. May God continue to bless your life. May He keep guiding you through troubled times, remind you of the good things that still remain, and help you grow in faith and trust. Thank you for sharing from your heart. I hope our heart feels a bit lighter because of your honesty and openness. Your words, as always, have blessed me.

  4. Wow, it sounds like a very challenging year. I'm sorry you've gone through so much! I'm with you: choose a less stressful word for the new year! Like "calm" or even "boring." :-) Seriously, though, these are the years that bring the most growth, often. It sounds as though ultimately, you flourished!

  5. Wow! I'm glad you shared honestly. It's so real; the way life is. And I know you will come out refined gold. I love your poem too. This post reminds me of a stubborn dandelion, insisting it will grow in the sidewalk crack--and flourish too.

  6. Donna, you know that I am with you in prayer and friendship. Flourish has been with you. Think of this year as your time to shovel up the muck and still flourish in the midst of challenge. Your new house and lifestyle are a witness that you made it through the muddle. The road from your old world to your new world may not be the easy route but think of the possibilities that await. I always find it difficult to uncover the gold when the mud is knee high. Your poem is lovely and I think it could be an evening prayer.

  7. Donna, the last unknown is me-Carol Varsalona. My emails are getting mixed up. I posted for SP1stT early this morning:


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