Posted in poetry, Tekoa Manning, TM, Uncategorized

Off the Grid

grid

I want to go off the grid.

My mouth and fingers away from the eyes of a button marked click like, love, unlike.

A thumbs up.

An emoji that cannot equate the feelings in the heart created by Our King.

I want to go off the grid.

Away from the scrolls and scowls of the minds of men.

A million eyes stare back at me–

And I at them . . .

Go to a place—a space–

Where I am more than the Clichés and quotes, I post or link.

A place where I am me.

Free.

Learning.

Leaping.

Where my words are not shuffled and played like an accordion.

Where I am not judging selfies or scholars, or blue collars.

Where politics cease to exist.

Where religion is mute.

And the horns of the greatest are no more than a toot compared to HaShem and His shofar rebuke.

I want to hideaway.

Go off the grid.

We are all just broken men.

I must go off the grid.

Where a paintbrush sings in my hand.

Not to be applauded by man but by Him who gave me the gift.

Where I learn from the bread, I don’t eat.

The water I don’t drink.

To lower my camel and water the sheep.

To rise up as Gimel and still be small.

Like a dish with a chip–

Like soap dried suds–

Like waves of grain and sands of shores.

Like Dalet to an open door.

I must leave the grid and hold up my arms.

Like Moshe and rocks’

Oh, send me friends like Aharon and Chur.

Friends that bend an ear and whisper a prayer from a heart filled with doves.

I must fling–

Off of the screen!

When the cup overflows, and it’s not due to holes.

A sieve in a heart.

A snuff of dark or gilded thread to uncover the dead.

Casting a pole into the water.

Catching fish without dollars–

or signs,

or a title,

or a tale.

The sound of the birds and the trees that clap their hands.

The rocks cry out, and the mountains sing,

but I can’t even hear the buzz of a bee while sitting here looking at you from the face of a button–

A television.

A computer screen.

I need to go off the grid and write for my soul.

Touch the grass barefoot- the freshly fallen snow.

Drink the honey and eat the comb.

Samson leaves a Lion dead on the side of the road, and the old prophet requests to dine—stay and eat, he says, but I think I’ll pass.

On the side of the road lies the dead next to a donkeys ass

And a lion guards the way.

No, I’ll not eat with you today.

I must go off the grid.

“He went and found his body thrown on the road with the donkey and the lion standing beside the body; the lion had not eaten the body nor torn the donkey. So the prophet took up the body of the man of God and laid it on the donkey and brought it back, and he came to the city of the old prophet to mourn and to bury him. He laid his body in his own grave, and they mourned over him, saying, “Alas, my brother!” After he had buried him, he spoke to his sons, saying, “When I die, bury me in the grave in which the man of God is buried; lay my bones beside his bones. “For the thing shall surely come to pass which he cried by the word of the LORD against the altar in Bethel and against all the houses of the high places which are in the cities of Samaria.” 1st Kings 13:28-32 NASB.

Photo by me 🙂

Posted in devotional, Inspirational, Tekoa Manning, TM

Follow me? Meme’s and Me Me

­­

 

facebook
481343_397466070291061_1665175639_n

A few months ago, I took the first steps. Like a crack addict or alcoholic breathing in a bag, I admitted I was addicted to Facebook. A couple of days ago, I hit delete and let the DT’s begin.
I started realizing that I was carrying my phone with me like a 3-month-old baby and not getting much accomplished with my writing.
I’d scroll through Facebook while I drank my coffee in the morning. I’d scroll while my husband drove me to my doctor’s appointment. No need to look out the window. That’s too boring, right? If the conversation at dinner or even an outing were too dull, I’d see what the latest update was.
I read blogs, researched doctrines, studied history and news. I learned about racial tension, global warming, corrupt politicians, digestion tips, natural medicine, and church decline in America. I had a wealth of information at my fingertips, and yes, my brain was rapidly eating and absorbing, but what about my spirit, man?
So the other day, while I was fed-up with yet another political rant and even more so with my addictive behavior, I disconnected my Facebook. It felt so liberating that I swiftly went to work, removing over 500 people from my Twitter account. My husband shook his head. “Why would you do that honey, aren’t you supposed to be getting people to follow you, by following them? Don’t you want to sell books? ”
But you see, I don’t care anymore if they follow me or I follow them. What does “follow” mean? It’s when one has a body of supporters or admirers. If the whole world admires me and yet, the Lord Adonai does not know me, what have I gained?
If I follow HIM, the One who created it all, He will lead me and guide me where I am supposed to be. He created men and gave them gifts like the following thirteen-year-old.
“See, I have called by name Bezalel, the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah. “I have filled him with the Spirit of God in wisdom, in understanding, in knowledge, and in all kinds of craftsmanship, to make artistic designs for work in gold, in silver, and in bronze, and in the cutting of stones for settings, and in the carving of wood, that he may work in all kinds of craftsmanship” (Exodus 31:3-5).
These men did not have to get a few thousand Twitter followers or Facebook friends to do what they were born to do. No. All they had to do was wait for their gift to make room for them.
Why would over fifty people in one day take the time to copy and send me a letter they’ve drawn up and ask me to “Please follow them on Twitter?” Like them on Facebook, follow their blog, follow their podcast, and follow their book, film, movie, brand, product, politician, and ministry? Why? Because we are obsessed with becoming known, famous, liked, wealthy, understood, validated, and so forth. Yeshua healed a man who didn’t even know His Name or who He was.
“But the man who was healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had slipped away while there was a crowd in that place” (John 5:13).

I want to slip away and work on my spirit, man, not my flesh, man. My spirit man needs meditation, drinking in the earth, and the beauty of the Creators artwork. My Spirit needs to help make things better without advertising who I helped or how I helped, or what I did. My Spirit needs to take the time to connect with my sons, my family, and my community instead of a Meme, an empty text stating my political or religious belief. My spirit needs to talk to my Maker and LISTEN and wait for Him to speak back. My soul needs rain and humbleness and joy. Becoming the next famous author could be the biggest curse to ever fall on me or my seed, but it does excite me in all honesty.
The things and people we spend our time on tell us a lot about who we are and who we want to impress. Yes, your gift may be your voice, your words, the creative shark brand you’re selling, but could it transpire behind the scenes?
I once had a dream that someone significant was coming to one of my book events. The dream was so real I told my husband about it. I even asked him if he thought the dream was prophetic. I pondered the possibility that there would be an agent there, a publisher, or even my all-time dream of meeting a producer who wanted to make my novel into a movie! I remember waiting and watching the people who showed up. I secretly told a friend about my dream, as she and her husband have a similar desire to see their novel on the big screen.
I had surgery a week or so before the book signing. During the event, I was in my motorized scooter, weak, exhausted, and feeling like death. That evening at the restaurant /lounge area, I met a broken soul who was ready and prepared to take his life the next day. The only thing was, I had no idea. I was able to listen to him and his stories, pray with him, and share a laugh or two. I was able to learn from him, and he was able to learn from me. We both cried tears. We prayed aloud at a bar table. I held his hand, and he held mine, my husband’s hands placed over the top of ours. The next day I was sent a long email about the plans he had for the day–plans to take his own life.
He said he felt better now. He felt ready to tackle some things, change some things, and move forward. He said he felt something as we prayed that he couldn’t describe with words.
I cried reading his letter because it gave me hope. My physical body was broken, but my spirit met his spirit, and we made a connection, and The Father’s Holy Breath blew through the room. His Spirit. I shared the experience with the same friend I mentioned above. She said, “But you knew someone important was coming!” YES, Someone important had shown up at my event, and it was humbling to realize it had nothing to do with my dreams of getting discovered.
These divine appointments are what matters. It’s not how many likes we get or how many times a week we sit on a church pew or whether we know the difference between Easter and Ishtar, Tammuz, and First Fruits. Yes, it helps to be taught right truths, but it helps more to be a person who does Torah, not just knows what it is.

James said, “But prove yourselves doers of the word and not merely hearers who delude themselves” (1:22). Our self-importance can delude us into thinking we are important, intelligent, right, biblically sound, politically correct, and need to help people who are not quite as smart as us by posting our memes, our views, and our truths. Our self-importance can delude us into thinking that our relationship with Him is just fine.
Sunlight, human touch, nature, ministering unto the Father, and balance all make for a good recipe. Yeshua told Martha that she was busy doing many things, but that Mary had chosen something better. What was that? She was sitting at His feet, drinking in His wisdom and restoring her soul. Good Shepherds lead their sheep to water and feed them good food. Follow Him and His Voice, for it will surely drown out the silence and bring more joy than any meme ever could. Because meme is sort of like “I” phone, it’s about “me” “Me”…Yes, and we can still have an online presence and be in His presence: balance, my friends, balance.

Posted in Author of the Month/Artist of the Month, Inspirational, Kentuckiana Authors, Tekoa Manning, TM

Author of the Month

OI1487378209_Wheelockphoto

There have been many talented writers on my mother’s side of the family. I have several cousins who are very creative with a pen, and aunts and uncles alike who have written beautiful songs, poems, and stories. I’ve often heard that the Loy’s were excellent storytellers, and I guess it’s true because I always did love listening to my uncles spin a tale or two. However, one aunt influenced me more than others to love words, her name was Sophia Alberta, and I wanted to dedicate my Author of November to her.

Most every year during the summer, my Aunt Sophia and Uncle Warren would come to spend a few days in Kentucky with my family, and it was always a treat. My aunt would always bring me books, but even better than that, she would sneak me off to a bedroom, and we would sprawl across the bed, me wide-eyed and excited and her making a more significant impact on my young life than she probably ever realized. Sophia brought tantalizing titles I’d never heard of before, like Where the Sidewalk Ends, Where the Wild Thing Are, Puff the Magic Dragon,’ and The Cat and the Hat. She read poetry and stories that kept my imagination soaring, and I loved it. I loved her. For a moment, every summer, I felt very special. I guess it’s no mistake that she was a member of the Friends of the Library Committee that worked to build a new Ypsilanti District library. Books continued to be her passion.

Sophia had a love of education. Once her children were grown, she entered Washtenaw Community College and went on to Eastern Michigan University, where she earned a B.A. in Political Science in 1988 at the age of 54. Sophia was a published poet and wrote a column for The Saline Reporter.

I wanted to share a couple of her poems from a book she wrote called The Remembering Quilt. While reading through the book, it was hard to narrow it down to just a couple of poems because they are so well written and full of wisdom. I hope you will enjoy the pieces I have selected.

 

Beauty

Beauty is never fast.

It grows

Tall, slim, and white

In aspens and birches.

Pointing its green-tipped fingers

Toward the vast blue sky,

It stretches its strong, white arms

Silently, slowly beautifying.

 

Beauty is never dull.

It shows

Red, purple, and gold

In tulips, asters, and chrysanthemums.

Soaking up warmth from the sun,

It miraculously colorizes.

 

Beauty is never shy.

It frolics

In autumn trees,

Splashing each leaf with a gay hue,

Spilling red, orange, and gold

From its bushel of loveliness.

 

Beauty is never gone.

It stays

In white, silvery snow

Painting lake, land, and roof,

Catching golden shimmers from the sun,

Forever beautifying.

 

Lady Poverty

 In the dim light, I see her flabby mouth.

It sneers at one corner

Revealing her few decayed teeth,

A string of gray dirty hair

Hangs across her dull eyes,

Her colorless face is creased with wrinkles.

On her bent head sits an old hat

With a hole in the top.

Each time she fills my bowl

She wipes her bony, dirty hands

On her ragged stained apron,

I taste the thin soup;

A sickness rises in my throat.

Just as her sharp cold fingers clutch my arm,

I awaken to the pounding of my heart

And the shadows of the night.

 

 

Subdivision Sunset

 A subdivision sunset

Spills its splendor

Against a lot of square

Subdivision houses

Where inside a lot of fathers

Read black and white newspapers

And a lot of mothers fix

Bloody hamburgers,

While a lot of children

Watch square t.v.’s

In square rooms,

Not ever seeing

The round beauty of a

Subdivision sunset

Turning its color channel

Then hanging out the stars.

 

 

What is This?

 Songs of praise jumping off the stained glass windows,

Spirituality activated by walls.

Is this heaven?

 

Passive people slumping for inspiration,

Another Sunday dialogue.

Is this guidance?

 

Hymns such as, “Onward Christian Soldiers,”

Inspire the good people of this Nuclear Age.

Is this peace?

 

A few crumbs offered to the starving children

Out of the horn of plenty.

Is this compassion?

Judge not, said the peace-loving Christ,

But as long as Americans proclaim the Godhead

And buy the warheads,

There will be few swords beaten into plowshares.

 

Sophia Alberta (Loy) Wheelock

Born: Sat., Jul. 7, 1934

Died: Sun., Feb. 9, 2014

Posted in fiction, Tekoa Manning, TM, Walter the Homeless Man

Walter, Chapter #1

Walter Cover Final­­

Walter

Chapter 1

     Walter Kendal lay beside the tree stump, his head resting behind his arms in a heap of fall leaves. The air was crisp and cool with a freshness that beckoned the sun to come up. The tall evergreens trees stretched their arms towards the horizon. The woods were faintly dark with slivers of light just beginning to peek through. It was very still, except for the occasional rustling of foliage falling to the earth and the soft cooing sound coming from the metal cage that held Walter’s only companion.   

     From the wooded area where Walter lay, he could easily watch the small middle-class neighborhood come to life.  Flickering pools of light brought a warming glow to a scattering of homes. In the distance, just a crow’s caw away, he heard the sound of engines warming up to begin the day, doors slamming and voices calling out to greet neighbors. The familiar sights and sounds reminded Walter of a life he once knew.  

     He had been waiting patiently for the dark blue mini-van to pull out of the driveway on Wildwood Court.  He walked the path he’d worn to the opening past the prickly pine trees with their scabby bark and squatted down a bit, veiled almost completely by their fury needles. The house he had his eye on belonged to Desiree Levite. Through the French double doors of her kitchen, he watched her prepare breakfast for her two small children and knew it wouldn’t be long now.

     Desiree left each morning at around six thirty. He assumed this gave her plenty of time to cart her children to the sitter, hit the freeway, and begin her shift at Bailsman, Friedman, and Stiltz Law Firm. Walter knew Desiree was a file clerk and full-time student on her way to becoming a paralegal.  He thought her ultimate goal was to become an attorney.  He occasionally read a term paper left lying about and sometimes sifted through her mail.

     Walter was thankful that the ground had not become cold and hard yet and that arthritis in his joints didn’t ache as much as usual.  He buttoned his trench coat and watched the lights of the minivan disappear from sight.  Then he counted under his breath slowly from one to fifty seconds, making sure Desiree hadn’t forgotten her briefcase, diaper bag, or her oldest son’s backpack.  Walter had been caught off guard more than once by the forgetful disarray of the drowsy mother.  Making his way up the path, he walked briskly to the back porch of the modest three bedroom brick ranch.  Then Walter raised the rock that was next to the welcome mat, retrieved the key and let himself in.  Walter had felt nervous the first few times he had entered, peeking through the blinds at the sounds of each passing motorist.  The unexpected clank of the brass mail slot had once left Walter frozen with fear, but after a few weeks, he had settled into a routine.  He had no excuse for entering.  He knew it was wrong, and eventually he would have to stop or fate would rear its ugly head and he’d be a criminal. 

     “Maybe I have succumbed to this sort of lifestyle after all?”  He wished it were all a bad dream, but as he turned on the faucet that belonged to a stranger and raised the ribbed glass to his parched lips, he knew it was far too real.

     It had happened by chance the first time, Walter stumbling upon the key.  He had merely wanted some fresh drinking water.  Walter was headed out of the woods, on his way to a nearby gas station to fill his empty jug in the men’s room.  The Chevron had bath stalls in the back of the service station, and Walter didn’t have to enter the store to get washed up or refill his empty container.  Sometimes they locked them after midnight, he assumed to keep people like himself out. While he was cutting through the neighborhood, he noticed the green garden hose.  While reaching for the hose, he accidently knocked over a decorative rock with the name Levite painted in black.  Its only function was to show ownership of the property Walter stood on and to hide a key.  The power to enter lay within Walter’s reach.  It made his heart pound. He could picture the food and imagine the sound of the thermostat clicking on and blowing warm heat.  He longed for a shower and the company of television.  It had been over a year since Walter had felt the comforts of a real home.  He had a home three hundred miles away, just before the rich green hills of Kentucky turned into the mountains of Tennessee, a home full of memories too painful for Walter to face. 

      Safely inside, he slowly exhaled and made his way to the refrigerator for his morning juice.  He never took enough for anyone to notice, but instead consumed just one egg, one small bowl of cornflakes, or one piece of toast.  Then carefully the sixty-seven-year-old washed, dried, and returned his plate, saucer, and cup, putting everything back in its original place.

     Occasionally the phone rang and startled him.  Although he used to sit behind a large desk answering calls, he had now become accustomed to sleeping under overpasses, across park benches, and in wooded areas.  The days of phone calls had been years ago, before his retirement, and now they were a distant memory.  

     After breakfast, Walter took a shower, leaving not a speck of water to be found.  The soft green, slightly damp towel was folded neatly back on the rack to dry, his toothbrush was placed into the frayed pocket of his tan London Fog coat.  He wanted to shave but stopped himself for fear that his gray facial hairs would be noticed.  He settled for a dollop of hair gel.  Walter ran his fingers through his graying hair, relishing the fact that he still had some. Although he had lost some on top, all and all he still had plenty.  Leaving the bath, he walked down the hall. According to his watch, it was seven thirty a.m.  He had, at least, seven hours before her return. 

     The small house was tidy and clean, except for an occasional toy left lying about and the many books that lay in heaps.  There were educational books on common law, child psychology, and the Constitution.  There were also hardbound classics, poetry, and children’s books.  Shuffled amongst the collection was a New King James Bible, and from the looks of the worn leather, he figured
it had been opened quite often. Walter had never experienced so many books, and at times, he found himself skimming through the volumes to pass the day.  He had wondered at first if the books were for show, but now believed Desiree had read the majority of her collection. 

     It seemed strange to Walter that after entering her home for only a few weeks, he already felt as if he knew her.  There were photographs of her children on the mantle, scented candles, and the usual displays of potted plants.  The one thing that had confused Walter was a recent portrait of Desiree with a dark haired man who appeared to be her husband.  He worried at first that the man in the portrait might be a traveling salesman who could abruptly show up and end Walter’s only refuge.  Then he found the sympathy cards full of kind remarks about the loss of Desiree’s husband, John.

     Walter didn’t know what the future held for him.  He was never one to take handouts, and he knew he had to repay this young mother for what she was unknowingly giving to him.  Sometimes he did small repair jobs, like fixing the younger child’s rocking chair.  The leg had been broken at some point.  Walter simply glued it back into place.  He had also unclogged the kitchen sink when Desiree carved pumpkins for Halloween.  On this cool November morning, he didn’t see anything needing his handy work.  So, after resting a bit on the tweed recliner, he drifted off to sleep.   

Amazon Link: HERE