Honey, Tea, and Rose: Little Reflections of Divinity

The tiny queens and kings they are, the reflections of God his children are.
I have three of them myself, I’ll call them Honey, Tea, and Rose.

These ones for now I call my own.

Images of the Father in their crystal baby blues,
little babies reflect his beauty in their eyes.
I will try to wonder poetically in awe of these gifts.
To you my children, from your mother, I love you:

Honey; for my little son Daniel,
with his brightly sweet smile and luminescent head,
crowned in a platinum glory of hair.
He is joy-filled with wonder as beloved prince and prophet.
Simply good-natured,
dreams of visions will be his to interpret.

Tea; for my mulata-looks baby Edith Clare,
washed with her sweet brown-ness of skin.
Her crystal eyes are not embedded in the porcelain
of both her brother and sister. She is
the night of solitude, bringing on peaceful rest
as she sleeps like a doll, not complaining of the day.
The beauties of hope she gives to desperate earth.

Rose; for Alice’s sweetest apples of her cheeks,
setting on top she sees through big almond-shaped diamonds,
the dimples in her face complimenting her mischievous grin.
Down the hole to Wonderland, she is the phenomenon of conversations.
Canticles of the sun are hers to sing.   

Together these little cherubs make up a meadow of yellows, pinks, and blues. I see it through
the looking glass of my growing prolific garden. The soil is fertile, growing delightful seeds of
the symbols of souls created in love. In this artwork the Divine Creator
entreats the gazes of anyone and makes them
mystical at the sight.

Natural, yet spiritual, children of light portray a living image of the living God.
Deepest interior, oh how I cannot express their loveliness plainly.
The words of Messiah tell stories of heaven’s goodness;
he says them in parables of poetry about me and about you,
to veil his precious creations.
Therefore, I utter the mysteries of beauty, for you:

My Honey, My Tea, My Rose.

O Margaret, O Pearl

You are a lovely fire and burning wine.
I give my broken heart to thee.
You, praising Me; in a makeshift chapel
of heavenly fire, wind, and glory.
In the center of our home music plays from Pandora’s box.
With the key to your heart surrendered,
I get through the lock.

Light glowing from the amber woods candle;
I sing and say: Dona Nobis Pacem.
“My Lord, grant me your peace.
Take my fears and failures.
You may take my hopes and dreams.”

My Lord answers:

My peace I grant you.
I give it to you in the form of My tortured heart.
Joys into the bread,
Sorrow into wine.
You worship It – you worship Me
and My broken heart.

This pleases Me.
Talitha koum.

Come out from hiding child;
into My arms, surrender.
For faith greater than many high priests
has saved you.
Today in your loneliness I visit.
I see you in all your beauty.
O Margaret, O Pearl.

I love you.
Your passion envisions My sacredness
and Mine alone.
Transcend the earth with Me
into heavenly realms.
In spiritual poverty I call you
once again “Poverella,”
“My little poor one,”

and Mine alone.
O Margaret, O Pearl.

You dare fathom the wounds caused
by those darkest of sins?
They are thoughts mingled
with the pride of those most evil
of angelic beings. You have never known
its temptation to the edge,
yet you enter its pain for the sake
of others. For the sake of Me.
Will you suffer the consequences
of creation’s social catastrophes?
Why dare such stakes?
Why? You are already lovely as is;
no need to dare any further.
There is already one marred this far:
The woman of sorrows, My Maria, My mother.
Why dare such stakes?

Yet you choose such pains, pieta.
For My sake you take up these stakes.
But I say to you now: you are already lovely as is
to Me.
No need to dare any further.
You have allowed enough grains of time
to transform you from poverty into
My little pearl
of great price.

Pray for those in darkest places,
My bride of night woods.

O Margaret, O Pearl.
How I love you.

The Bedroom

It’s a serene place that I like to retreat to;
There are no loud little minions roaming about.
There is a comfy bed that I like to plop onto.
The temperature is just right. 

I look around at the adornments on the walls, and transport to those places.
A school of Athens.
A bouquet of pink roses.
A Japanese geisha.
And of course, pictures of a most beloved wedding day.

I reminisce about these dreams.
As I ponder, I reflect on these places.
These people.
These things.

They’re all inviting me to swim from one to another,
Jumping from travel to adventured travel,
Amidst the muted and matte lovely green walls.
I dip and dive and let my mind wander.

My husband works quietly at his desk in the corner.
His lookout is a window to the street,
Staring at trees and neighboring houses 
and letting the sunlight shine in.

“The clouds are sexy today,” my love says, smiling at me. 
And like an inside joke, he reminds me of a quote 
All so familiar from an Asian philosopher
That once again makes nature too, familiar.

“Indeed,” I respond, smiling back.

Then, as I’m staring at a golden Christ on a brown wooden crucifix,
I hear cries of the baby and screams of the toddler in the next room over.

I come out of my dreams.

And at last I’m back to reality.
Because although the walls are a muted green color,
This bedroom does all but mute the sounds
Of the nearby reality of my duty to go and love the children.

Attention Daydreams Disorder

“God, I have a castle in there,” I thought as I roamed the corridors of my interior heart. 

If anyone ever asked me what I liked to do in my free time, I would say “Oh you know, exploring.” They would nod in agreement, encouragingly, and in their assumption ask “Where do you like to go? I know of quite a few local travels in the area that are great for a hike.” I would look at them, lovingly, and with somewhat of a mystified stare in my eyes respond “Oh no, I don’t usually go outdoors for that.” 

With a furrow in their brows and a perplexed look on their face they would wonder, intently, what I was talking about. Then I would continue and reveal to them that my secret location for adventuring was not only usually done indoors, but also and actually within.

It may seem to an onlooker that when I go exploring, that I am really going “internal.” Indeed, I am. I am going internal to a grand mansion at the center of my mind. It has been under construction for years; there are even some structures that seem to have been artistically designed and erected.

Other places look as if they are in shambles, but those ruins are some of the best habits of exploration. Only knights and dragons are the kind who dare pursue these paths, perhaps in hope of finding some dear maiden. 

There are yet other lands among the terrain, in need of cultivation still. Forests that need more trees planted, meadows that will grow more wild flowers. Beyond the castle wall looks like a dark abyss, but any astronaut would know otherwise. Space travels into the starry heavens are another way to get lost for hours on end.

Fellow travelers unite for this common cause of adventure and space exploration, yet unless they have their attention on daydreams, they will not understand the map of disorder. Otherwise, no one else knows where I go when I go to escape, for hours upon hours on end.

A Rose in Marriage

One of God’s greatest mercies of all, I learned, is his timing. Seeds that are planted will eventually grow. The blossom of new life will eventually bloom. Some seeds grow better than others, becoming the greatest of trees. With lots of nurturing, much toil, and plenty of love from life’s Master of Gardening, time grows the story of love.

Like St. Thérèse herself, some of the little shrubs that grew especially well in this garden of the Lord’s started out as seemingly the smallest seeds. For me, through planting hope-filled (and often dreaded) attempts at searching for a holy, Catholic spouse online; watering with multiple novenas said to the saints for their intercession; exposing to sunlight the prolonged vocation discernment to the married or religious life — these seeds eventually came to their fruition. This all took time. But in retrospect, it doesn’t matter whether time took two years to create the story of a man and woman’s journey into the garden, or over a lifetime, because all of the bittersweet tilling among the thorns produced the sweetest fruit, and ours is that of a lovely little rose.

Red, green and gold were the colors that embellished the scheme of our wedding day — a date which landed after Christmas, before Epiphany, and, last but not least, on Lance’s birthday. A date which, in keeping with its surrounding feasts, was also much anticipated. To my unsuspecting delight, my groom-to-be had chosen this date with the priest a few months before. With our past behind us, the future before us, and a present from God among us, the feat of our wedding day was sure to be a witness to the gift from our Father.

I never knew in years previous that the Christmas season would become the theme of our wedding day. Equally enchanting was how well God would surprise me with the gift of this very special point in my life. Everything on this day was all but what I could have previously imagined or heard. From the grand, festive, and reverent Catholic ceremony, to the tall, dark, and handsome Christ-featured groom who awaited me before the altar of God, all was as I had been waiting for, imagining, and more.

There was definite and infinite beauty in this culminating celebratory event. However, in spite of all these glorious things in our celebration, just know that this day was not prepared without struggles, without thorns, and without the cross. Without perseverance, and without ultimate trust in Jesus, our story would not have come to the fullness that it did. In its time, our story has served as a testament to many of God’s great mercies.

And it started with a seed.

Day of the Flaming Heart

Sunday is a day when I especially feel like feasting; I often enjoy partaking in the banquet of life. Because a meal of simple bread and wine becomes divine, this day always looks promising. And Oh!–How the day is even more glorious on the radiant feast of Pentecost. It ignites a burner under my heart! The Spirit’s sweet food and drink transforms my simple being. 

On this particular Sunday red flames consume me; I am on fire with the body and blood of Christ. His soul and divinity starts a passion of love that arises within the deepest recess of my soul. The singing of The Gloria even sounds more glorious than usual. I promise God my day’s praises. In this day, he grants me glory. 

My newly flaming heart’s flames grow higher as the feasting continues. Our family receives an abundant harvest of chicken wings and beer as we dine at a local restaurant. The celebration must go on, after all. My husband and I enjoy the restaurant’s bar-like atmosphere in holiness as we reminisce over our encounters with religious devotees and the homeless. We agree that the poor beggar is in fact the rich one–that is, if you consider his spirit.

The cheerful weather seems to be especially designated to us this Sunday, a kind of “unspoken rule of nature” found most pleasing to my soul. Along with the feast of the Holy Spirit comes the radiant sun. This day is a simple and satisfying one. The celebration imbued with a powerful love, making this typical time of rest and recuperation also adventurous and eventful in many subtle ways.

For me, there have been other Sundays both personal and unprecedented in memory. These are only ever surpassed by grander and more glorious occasions of another weekend, ripe with a holy mass, being with family, and continuously celebrating the crossing paths of our extended family–the other members of the human race.

Sundays are my favorite days because they push the reset button on my worn and wearied path once again. My heart loves and longs for these days of blissful excitement and simplicity. It sings about seeing and hearing the sights and sounds of beautiful creation in a city of culture and nature. We are out of our typical surroundings. 

Perhaps the glorious amount of sunshine is responsible for my sheer joy in these moments. It is true that the rays give a boost of warmth and brightness to relax my body from a previous week. Or, can it be that my gladness comes from the kind of rays that are made of love–all from God’s heart, to my family, to me?

On a summer day whose flaming heat matches my flaming heart, I think so.

Imagine the Home

Imagine a home where one day we might roam the big grassy yard, its trees providing random canopies of shade. The German Shepherd free to run to and fro, from air condition to the natural air, with his fur still falling everywhere. 

A place where wooden Montessori toys abound for a little girl just learning to toddle about them. Maybe in a designated room with colorful foam puzzle pieces, interlocking on the floor. The shelves will be little and lined with activity after activity: all practical, sensorial, and fun.

The room next door will be a working place of another sort, lined with bookshelves containing everything from literature and philosophy to poetry and theology. History of the Saints will also have its special place. An old wooden desk, perhaps vintage and found at a thrift shop or antique store, will be the platform where hubby burns the daylight and sometimes the midnight oil on law studies and the like. 

Perhaps there will be a red door too.

In Chinese culture a red door means “the house is payed off”. And I like thinking our house is payed off.

There may be stairs in this house to climb; or it could be that I will never have to traverse, up and down, up and down for seven days a week again– like I do now with our second floor apartment. Dennis, the German Shepherd also likes that he may never have to ascend decrepitly to a square in the air for the rest of his life. The old man in his dog years says “woof!”–he would like that for the rest of his days. 

Oh design and decoration! Let’s not forget those, a homemaker’s paradise. Because let’s be honest, it’s not the dishes and the laundry that the wife-mother fantasizes about. It’s in the details and little unspoken delights that accent the walls, the windows, and the floors. 

Speaking of fantasies, did I mention the bedroom? And by bedroom I mean where the master sleeps. There’s a big lush bed for two to four, depending on who comes to the door crying in the middle of the night. Maybe more than four depending on how well the bed works…

Imagine the home, a place where love is fostered and memories are made. This is the place I’ll spend most of my days until a new job for my husband, a new adventure for our family, or simply a need for another space, tells us it’s time to move. 

Well I could go on and on, but I’ll end here by saying it again:

Imagine the home.

Everything the Light Touches

“Did you see that light?”

The way my husband described the aura surrounding our daughter the moment she was born sounded like something otherworldly.

“I didn’t see it, but I could feel it. Something in the atmosphere changed the minute her body left my body,” I mused. Though I wasn’t quite sure what kind of change it was.

“Yeah,” my husband continued. “The air hit her pure and pinkish flesh and it was like something different had set in. Her skin tone changed– transformed almost. Like a mystery veiled, but still vulnerable to seeing eyes…” His voice trailed off.

 “What do you think that was all about?” I asked. 

It was my first time giving birth, my first time being around birth, really. I pondered whether this was an unusual occurrence or not.

“Maybe it’s a divine law of nature when a baby leaves the womb or something.”

“Yes maybe so,” I responded. “I heard a woman speaking at a Marian retreat say that at conception, one is given a divine mission, the mission for their life. Like, it’s imprinted on their soul, and their path has been laid out before them. Everything that individual has been destined to become–the life they were chosen for–can be seen by all in the invisible realms at that exact moment.”

I then also recalled the last women’s Bible study I went to. It was the last one I went to before Alice was born and there were only two other women, my friends, in attendance that night. They had asked if they could pray over me and although I hesitantly responded yes, simultaneously, I welcomed the prayers. I knew I had an intense journey ahead of me with labor and delivery coming up soon and needed many blessings.

My husband saw me daydreaming.

“What are you thinking about?” he asked.

“You know it’s interesting that you mentioned seeing a light around Alice when she was born. One of my friends at Bible study said she got an image of light surrounding the baby in my womb after praying for me.” 

I was a little embarrassed to tell him that I had let the women at a Catholic Bible study pray over me somewhat “charismatically”. Nonetheless, I felt compelled to share what happened.

My husband smiled. “Makes perfect sense to me, Elizabeth.”

Alice, Twilight

In the reflection of the sun, her mother is the moon;
in the shadow of the moon, she, is twilight

I wake up every morning about eight o’clock to the sounds of a little Biddle-Bop coo-ing and goo-ing. She has a cherish-able delightfulness about her that gets my day started on the right foot, even if I do wake up on the wrong side of the bed. A feeling of warmth bubbles deep down inside of me, and this lovely volcano assures me that it will be spewing over very soon. Today will be another good day, I am reminded.

A little twilight-colored darling, dressed in fairytale-green clothing, Alice is and will be anything but ordinary. I never thought I would see this day, not even in a thousand years. Let alone did I think to make such a great idea as this–to bring a little mystery of grace and light into this world, a world that is so often dark and cold.

She’s like me; like me but … glorified. If I could return back to those freshly innocent beginnings, I would look similar. I would look promising. Perhaps even as promising as the beauty of the cherub herself. My glow pales in comparison to the light that colors the sky just before the dusk. Her smile glorifies the creator, and her maker relishes in the delight of his craftsmanship in this one.

Did I mention Alice’s charming nature? Well it’s beyond all telling, of course. That twinkle in her eye would have any star put to meekness. Though that playful look in her big blues seems to be foreshadowing a future of mischief! I’ll have to remind myself that the glasses I wear must never become a rosy-colored hue.

Ahh… rose, like the color of the undertones in my little darling’s cheeks. To match her little petaled-pout, which only needs a stem to become the most glorious of flowers. Now mind you, as her mother, I am determined to help this little rose grow into the holiest of plants. For “beauty is fleeting and charm is deceptive…” and, well, you know the rest.

But fear not! For her father has promised her to be a shield maiden, a woman of valiant honor, worthy of utmost respect and praise. Men of all statures, from near and far will sing her these praises. With the confidence of the mother whose children “rise up and call her blessed”, Alice will shine on consecrated. At last, she will be a mystical rose, like her mother the moon. A little, TWILIGHT. Alice, my little twilight.

Elizabeth Gracy is a mother, wife & writer. Her interests include developing as a Montessori educator, growing in Carmelite spirituality, and caring for her children. She has a degree in Speech Pathology and attended Texas A&M’s Master of Public Health program.