Weekly Photo Challenge: Street Life

March 28, 2014



The path to new life    .  . .



Weekly Photo Challenge: Habit

November 8, 2013

This weekly photo challenge on habit resulted in a quick inner voice speaking of a habit of mine which literally has saved me.  The cross!  No, my faith is more than a habit, but the challenges and hurts in life cause me to sometimes lose focus for a time so I have crosses everywhere both on display or in a pocket.  My habit is to have one where I can grab hold of it at any time.  This reminder returns my thoughts to Him and His love and nearness in great and dreadful times and comforts me in the knowledge that for all eternity, there is nothing He and I can’t handle TOGETHER.

My habit?  To the cross I cling!

Weekly Photo Challenge: From Lines to Patterns

September 20, 2013

© 1995-2013 Martha L Shaw  – all rights reserved

Join the challenge!

Weekly Writing Challenge: 1,000 Words

August 19, 2013


I Want To Dance, Too!


Dance, little one!  Dance to the music in your soul as though nobody else is looking!  Dance to the tune in your heart!  Rest a minute if you must, but not too long!  Soon the drum beat will sound, the notes will fill the air with a melody so sweet!  Join the circle and shine like the sun! 

When I was small, I knew only possibilities!  Every sound was music, every word was poetry, every creature was my friend!  I awakened each morning eager to begin . . . then I grew a little older and the world around me began to look different.  I felt different.  Different . . . once a word which defined new discoveries, new opportunities, adventures, new friends, suddenly felt like something else.  Like the little green creature with the pointed nose, it seemed everything around me pointed at me and the words I heard were not poetry anymore.  Now, they warned me that I wasn’t like other people.  The music which before had beckoned me to join the rest and dance to a happy tune had become a neon sign which said  “keep out.”  Suddenly, all the world seemed to point me toward a mirror of my faults and instead of approaching the circle to join in and dance to the happy tune, I huddled in a corner and watched.  The hands seemed eager to link together and close the gap in a desire to leave me out, and I allowed them to do so.  It hurt, but I denied this telling myself I didn’t care, but still when the music played, my in secret heart I wanted to dance, too.

Dance, little one!  Dance to the music in your soul as though nobody else is looking!  Dance to the tune in your heart!  Rest a minute if you must, but not too long!  Soon the drum beat will sound, the notes will fill the air with a melody so sweet!  Join the circle and shine like the sun! 

The others seemed to be having so much fun.  It seemed as though everyone belonged and it suddenly seemed everyone “had it all.”  Everyone but me.  The words which used to sound like poetry now seemed to tease and then to taunt me with their labels . . . the image in the mirror seemed to reflect a misfit.  It never used to do that.  When did I change?  What did I do?  How did this happen?  Something was missing, but where did it go and how do I get it back?  Was it my hair? Could it be my clothes?  Oh, perhaps the shape of my nose?  There and then I would hear the music begin again and my toes would begin to ever so gently and discretely tap to its beat until I realized this and stopped.  They might see.  Oh, what would they say?  But still, in my secret heart I wanted to dance, too.

Dance, little one!  Dance to the music in your soul as though nobody else is looking!  Dance to the tune in your heart!  Rest a minute if you must, but not too long!  Soon the drum beat will sound, the notes will fill the air with a melody so sweet!  Join the circle and shine like the sun! 

As the circle floated about in its merry way, suddenly it seemed a pointed effort to escape away from me.  The circle of life had for me begun to be one of coldness where once had been such warmth and opportunity.  Sleep came still, in the night, yet dreams of cotton candy were replaced with something far less sweet and the gentle and inviting melodies sounded more like fingers crashing on the piano keys!  Crash . . . crash . . . crash!   Awakening with a start, I would find another day had begun but would this be a new beginning or a sorrowful reminder of yesterday and the day before.  Surely mirrors don’t lie?  Morning’s melody in those earliest moments of the day still had brief reminders of a happy tune from long ago and I wanted to dance, too.

Dance, little one!  Dance to the music in your soul as though nobody else is looking!  Dance to the tune in your heart!  Rest a minute if you must, but not too long!  Soon the drum beat will sound, the notes will fill the air with a melody so sweet!  Join the circle and shine like the sun! 

What would happen if I left my spot in the corner of the world?  What would happen if I approached the circle?  From my hiding place, I could see the happy smiles.  Would there be one for me?  Let me dance with you!   But inwardly I heard the shush as voices seemed to whisper, “look who’s coming!”  The circle seemed to spin faster and faster and I couldn’t seem to reach it and join in.  But I wanted to dance, too!

Dance, little one!  Dance to the music in your soul as though nobody else is looking!  Dance to the tune in your heart!  Rest a minute if you must, but not too long!  Soon the drum beat will sound, the notes will fill the air with a melody so sweet!  Join the circle and shine like the sun! 

Then, one day I noticed something new.  Clouds in the sky of my soul seemed to dissipate and as the circle danced around and around the faces and brightly colored costumes began to blend together in such a special way.  It seemed that what so clearly stood out before the music played had, once the dancing stated,  blended together in such a pretty way!  Forgetting myself, I rose up and danced just beside the rest.  Something new happened that day . . . the music suddenly paused a moment and one gentle hand reached out to mine and then another!  Different became unique.  Unique became special.  The music started up again and this time, I was part of the circle and I danced, too!

Daily Prompt: Stranger in a Strange Land

July 17, 2013


What’s your favorite part about visiting a new place — the food? The architecture? The people watching?


What a thought-provoking topic!  My immediate reaction was, quite likely, not what most would expect.    You see, my life, my lifestyle, my home, my finances, my vocation, my faith, and ultimately my heart has changed greatly in the fairly recent past.  Change is good.  Change is growth.  Change can be scary, especially when one no longer fits the mold of familiarity that friends and family have grown accustomed to.  Suddenly, this land I’ve been in for so long has become a strange land.  Suddenly, I am a stranger to myself . . . or expressed more clearly, I have become my true self.  What do I like best?  Well, the food . . . I’m eating a mostly vegetarian diet and that’s good.  People watching is fun but sometimes frustrating.  People expect me to be the easily molded one I allowed myself to be in the past .  . . architecture!  That might be it!  My favorite, that is!

hammerWhat is architecture?  When I think of that word, I envision two things.  First, I see a framework from which a structure grows, and secondly I see changes made to change a weak structure into a strong one. Yes!  In this strange land, I find the study of architecture the most profoundly interesting.  The nucleus of what is Martha Shaw is unchanged yet fear, conformity, and being downright and entirely too sensible has led to so much external remodeling and redecorating that what I was originally meant to be . . . my purpose and the plan for my life which was set in place long before I was born . . . was not visible until fairly recently.  The Great Architect is still doing a good work in me and the project is far from finished.  It might take an eternity!  That’s fine with me!

See also:

  1. Daily Prompt: Stranger in a Strange Land | flow of my soul
  2. Daily Prompt: Strange in a Strange Land « Mama Bear Musings
  3. Kashmir Art and Crafts | njoy every moment
  4. A Stranger in a strange land… | The Rider
  5. A Texan’s Safari in Ukraine. | luvsiesous
  6. Daily Prompt Wednesday July 17 2013 | it writes itself
  7. I like to take a seat and let it all sink in. | thoughtsofrkh
  8. It Can’t Fit the Frame: Romans 11:33 | The Photo Faith Challenge
  9. Stranger in a stranger land: living in America. | thewordpressghost
  10. Fish Guts (short fiction) | The Jittery Goat
  11. Stranger in a Strange Land | Geek Ergo Sum
  12. Stranger in a strange land | Nanuschka’s Blog
  13. Daily Prompt: Stranger in a Strange Land | Retired2Travel
  14. Daily Prompt: Stranger In A Strange Land | suzie81’s Blog
  15. Stranger in a Strange Land | Beats of Pieces
  16. Daily Prompt: Stranger in a Strange Land | A Stormy Girl
  17. I’d Like to be the Foreigner | Daily Prompt: Stranger in a Strange Land | likereadingontrains
  18. Daily Prompt: Stranger in a Strange Land | Being a Huntress
  19. Local Cuisine | My [redacted] Journey
  20. Exploration and Life Stories | downtownnokomis
  21. Daily Prompt: Stranger in a Strange Land | Chronicles of an Anglo Swiss
  22. Daily Prompt: Stranger in a Strange Land | That Chick Piggy
  23. Stranger in a Strange Land | bheehappy
  24. A New Beginning | Books, Music and Movies : my best friends
  25. Leveling Up [Daily Prompt: Stranger in a Strange Land] | unknowinglee
  26. THE SHOCK OF THE NEW | Standing Ovation, Seated
  27. Daily Prompt: Stranger in a Strange Land? | Under the Monkey Tree
  28. Getting to know you | I’m alive and that’s a lot
  29. Being a stranger | Books, Music and Movies : my best friends
  30. Pequeño – Daily Prompt: Stranger in a Strange Land | Babsje Heron
  31. A Day in the Life
  32. Seeking sanctuary. | My thoughts on a page.
  33. Specifically | Spunky Wayfarer
  34. Daily Prompt: Stranger in a Strange Land | The corner of my imagination
  35. Strangers on a Plane | A Day in the Life
  36. As a Newcomer | clarior e tenebris
  37. Stranger In A Strange Land | Tony’s Texts
  38. Departing, Arriving and in between | A beetle with earrings
  39. Stranger in a strange land: people watching | pencil pilot
  40. Traveling to Become Somebody Other Than Me | Iam Who Iam
  42. Strangers in a Strange Land | 20somethingsabroad

Daily Prompt: Freaky Friday

April 20, 2013

The challenge:

If you could be someone else for a day, who would you be, and why? If that seems too easy, try this one: who would you like to have spend a day as you and what do you hope they’d learn from the experience?

My response:

Wow, what an opportunity it would be to be able to spend an entire day as someone else.  What to do?  Whom to choose?

  • The President?
  • A Genie?
  • A beautiful actress?
  • A best-selling author?

Ah, but alas for me it shall be none of these.  Whom would I choose to be?  Why?  First things first.  I choose Jesus Christ.  No, not on the day of His birth in a smelly stable with animal dung, even if someone did bring me fancy perfume to help cover up the smell.

No, not at age 33 for as it is still the Easter season in the Christian church year, we know what happened then.  I think perhaps at age 32 or so.

Why, you ask? Well, no I do not wish to turn water into wine.  No, I think perhaps training up the 12 (soon to be 11) wouldn’t be my first choice for how to spend my last days . . . oh, that’s right.  It took 3 years.  No, my reason is more simple.  You see, I find it hard sometimes to love as He loves, to forgive as He does, to see as He did and does, and to know our hearts – our real and authentic selves – even when they are wrapped in layers and layers of human weakness and flaws.  If I could be Him for one day, surely it would make it a bit easier to reflect Him on others, even the ones I unfairly judge sometimes . . . yes, them too, if only I could really experience Him that deeply.

If I could be Him for just one day, perhaps it would be easier to walk in fear or even to let go of fear completely?  Perhaps, if I could be Him for just one day, it would become simpler to say “yes, Lord” when He speaks and not hesitate so often?  Perhaps it would be easier, if I could be Him for just one day, to walk where He walks even if I am sure I’m going to get lost . . . or to know, instead, that with Him I can never be lost?

If I could be Jesus for just one day, maybe it would be easier to be the real me that I was truly created to be!  You see, if I could be someone else for just one day, I cannot imagine wanting to be any other than the one I love most, to be one with Him.   Seamless.  United.  Consumed. All Consuming. Never to be apart.   Even for just one day.

Hey, you know?  With Jesus, I can be all that.  I don’t have to pretend.  It’s real.  He’s real.  He lives in me.  I can do this!  Wow!  Join me?  

Daily Prompt: Bedtime Stories

March 23, 2013

The Challenge:  What was your favorite book as a child? Did it influence the person you are now?

Oh, I am a bit late seeing this DP Challenge but I simply must answer it for there is a definite and immediate name, book, and direct influence on my life!

There is a book, which I still have, and loved from before I knew how to read.  I looked at it at bedtime and every other chance I got.  The pages are worn not from age but from the frequency they’ve been flipped through.  The book and author not only influenced the woman I am now but helped set a path for my life, my outlook on the world around me, and my writing to this very day.  His work also helped to form the means by which I express myself spiritually and through which the Lord uses me to share Himself with others i encounter on my path.

The book:  A Child’s Garden of Verses

The author:  Robert Louis Stevenson

I have been in love with poetry and with nature from the first time I heard his words about birdies, swings, the sea, and more.  Oh, the adventures, the glorious sunshine streaming through his words and more.  I saw a world I didn’t know and it had music, it was full of color, and it was one I hungered to see and interpret artistically myself.  What I didn’t know was that the author of these words which so touched me came from the pen of a man who was always quite physically ill . . . indeed from the time he was young.  Amazing. Stevenson was born in 1850 and Scottish – I as well have Scottish ancestry.  His writing and poetry have touched so many generations!  His death in 1894 has not changed this as new generations still discover the magic from his pen, just like I did.  I cannot imagine my own writing becoming the legacy that his did, but I cannot look at a bird, a swing, a cow, or an ocean wave without knowing they are beautiful, magical, and possess a power and unique purpose . . . just as every one of us do.  To learn more of this man and his legacy, click here.  Want to change a child’s life forever?  Teach them to love reading!  Buy them a book!  Read to them!

child reading

Daily Prompt: Stranded

March 23, 2013

The Challenge: You’re stranded in a foreign city for a day with no money and no friends. Where do you go; what do you do?

Wow.  Here I am . . . the girl who craves intimacy of those she loves . . . here in a fabulous foreign city . . . but broke and with no friends.  Sure, we have all been broke from time to time, or thought we were.  Who among us has not, at some point, felt abandoned . . . but this time it’s the real thing, for a day anyway.  What to do?

  1. Run to the library?  Can’t read the language.
  2. Hang out at the mall?  Alone in a crowd and no money – worse.
  3. Walk around and admire the city?  The loneliness is like a chill in the air.

What to do?  Where to go?  

Hmmmm . . . the churches, cathedrals, shrines . . . amazing sacred spaces representing the presence of the divine to so many faithful over so many hundreds of years . . . I could never be alone there.  Oh, the buildings might be empty to the eyes, those orbs of the body, but not to the soul . . . not this soul anyway.  Armed with my backpack, plenty of pens and a fresh notebook, and the remains of peanuts from the plane trip here and my last bottle of water, I set off.  How can I describe my day?  The day I dreaded wasn’t long enough for all the blessings before me . . . and I can’t wait to go back again!


Daily Prompt: Seven Days

March 8, 2013


You wake up tomorrow morning to find all your plans have been cancelled for the next seven days and $10,000 on your dresser. Tell us about your week.


Wow. that’s a whole lot of money in my world just now just as it is in the lives of many folks I know.  The first thing I’d do is deposit this into the bank and get out the checkbook.  On the way home from the bank I just happen to pass by my church, so the first check written would be one for ten percent which I’d donate to my church.

The second check would pay off unsecured debt.  The rest of the week?  I’d go on a retreat and pray to discern the Lord’s plan for the remainder, His plan for the next steps in my spiritual journey, and for certain in thanksgiving for the miracle of provision provided.

There is a beautiful place to go for said retreat and quiet time . . .

Mepkin 2007 015

It is a place I’ve gone to for day trips and have hungered to spend more time there . . .

Mepkin 2007 003

I’d sit beneath the tree and pray . . .


I’d enjoy the presence of the Lord without distraction of earthly things . . . .


I’d gaze at flowers, listen to birds, bask in sunrise and sunset and see Him in every single one . . .


I’d light a candle and read His word . . .

holding hands

and talk to Him some more, being certain to take the time to listen.


I’d be the pen in His hand, writing as He enables me . . .

closeup of trees 2

and my week would be filled with Him day and night


As my week comes to a close, I’d fall into step with Him certain of His love.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Forward

February 22, 2013


I stepped forward into those welcoming arms and my life was never the same again.  My Jesus . . . yet not mine alone!  Do you know Him?  He’s waiting to be invited into your heart and has so much love for you.  May I introduce you?


Care to participate in the Weekly Photo Challenge?  

Click here and learn more!

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