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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Remembering the Seasons of My Soul

Old year passes,

Becoming yet another ghost,

Withered as leaves,

Crumbled, and carried aloft

By winter winds,

Too soon scattered

By the breezes of Time?


Is it truly spent,

Dead and long forgotten,

Living but in memory?

May not reflection

Call it from the grave,

Uncover the gain

Hold it fast

To live again?


How has its many waters

Blessed thee and me,

As sacred signs?

Will it, as muse, retain a power

For its having been,

And then no more?


What saints and angels

Sent my way,

Colored its day?

In sorrow,

Who came to hold my hand?

In joy,

Who shared my hearth?

Were there hugs, and smiles,

And laughter to tilt the scale of grief.


Can kisses and embraces be resurrected,

That fires of love be stoked

To warm and blaze anew?

Has my thanksgivings

Been recorded in the pyre,

Written in the embers now glowing

As tiger eyes flashing from the ash.


Years come, doomed , too soon to go,

But let them not hurry

To a crypt without a wake.

Drink the happy wine of memory,

Sip, as the seasons turn.

Contemplate and savor

The seasons of your soul.    


©2011  Joann Nelander

Friday, December 30, 2011


Today the Church sings, “Come, let us worship Christ, the Son of God, who was obedient to Mary and Joseph.”

My heart is singing , too, for as these words entered my soul, up sprang joy. Here within me was the path Jesus walked as He began life on Earth as the God Man. How can I not follow Him, as I prepare for a brand new year. The Way shows me, in my infancy, His Way. He turns my heart to Mary and Joseph, giving me the gift of loving parents to watch over me, to protect me, and to be all supplication on my behalf.

My happy resolve is to fix my eyes upon them and listen for their voices reverberating within me. My joyful way throughout the New Year will be to obey in imitation of my Christ and King. “Come, let us worship Christ, the Son of God, who was obedient to Mary and Joseph.”

Forget Not

As I walk in Your house,
May I never forget You are Master,
Lord of this domain.

May my thoughts
Spring as fruit upon the vine.
Sustain me, O my Beloved,
With the Bread of angels.

Hallowed Ground of my New Birth,
Give me Your heavenly Water,
That I may never thirst again.
Let it rise within me,
As an eternal spring,
And let it fall from heaven,
Like those “torrents
In the southern desert,”

Sheltered in Your arms,
Covered by the corner of Your mantle,
Fed by the Manna of Your Heavenly Body,
Who can forget to sing You songs of Love.

Copyright 2011 Joann Nelander

Saturday, December 24, 2011


Long now,

Time unending,

Enduring immediacy,

Poorly perceived.


©2011 Joann Nelander

Friday, December 23, 2011

By Love Delivered

Magdalene, O Magdalene,

Together, we rejoice.

As sisters, embracing.

Sinister evil flees His Presence

In our souls.

Jesus, Son of God,

Son of Man,

Emmanuel, God with us.


©2011 Joann Nelander

Kalamazoo Wonderland

Christmas Decorations.... from PapaJohn on Vimeo.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Advent – Prayer in Waiting

Advent is upon my soul.
Divine gift of season,
I listen for the cry of a First Born Son,
Begotten before Time begun,
And enfleshed in the Virgin’s womb.

I come to her,
Who is the Ark,
Your Mercy Seat.
Kneeling beside her,
In these pregnant moments,
I lay my head upon her lap.

Her wonderment, and awe,
In steadfast contemplation,
Inspire angels’ songs.

I hear their reverent voices
In my night.
Their chorus bids me come.
Come to the stable of simplicity.

Leave the noisy city for a deserted place,
The Wilderness, whose hidden way
Leads to the waiting manger,
Now, in expectant readiness,
For the Food, that will feed
The hungry world.

My Advent prayer,
Come, O Holy Infant!
Come to my straw


©2010 Joann Nelander

Listening to Love

What are you saying, dear Lord?

You Who speak with Your poor creature.

Give voice to Your desire.

Place Your lips to my ear.


How do You speak?

Will I hear a voice?

See a vision?

Feel Your stirrings in my soul?

Will there be thunder as on Sinai

Or the breeze of Carmel?


Can I see in my blindness?

Hear, despite ears that have inclined to foreign gods?

Barnacles of perversion weigh on me.

Encrustations of sin hamper my ascent.


Give me feathers,

And wings of desire,

That I might rise, weightless and free,

Drawn by Your Love for me,

As music on the Wind of Your Spirit.


©2011 Joann Nelander

Babe of All Perfection

O happy Babe!

Babe of All Perfection,

Your little heart, so full of love,

Your face radiant,

Reflected in Your mother’s gaze.

Your soul, ablaze!

Hearth of longing and compassion,

The Family of Nations comes to adore You

©2011 Joann Nelander

Blossom in the Desert

Sad the plight of Man,

Mourning the lose of Paradise.

Captive to cowardice,

Hiding from his God.

Cast out, betraying,

And accusing one another,

Empty of grace, forlorn.

One garden of hope remains.

One paradise,

Ready for the Spring.

One immaculate heaven on earth.

O Virgin, say but the Word,

And your “Fiat”

Will blossom forth in Faith,

Rarity of your virginal ground.

Immaculate fecundity,

Queen Mother, Desert Willow,

New Eve, bearer of New Adam,

With new creation, rejoicing.

Voicing all thanksgiving,

A Eucharist for the son and daughters of God.


© 2011 Joann Nelander

Friday, December 16, 2011


Yesterday I was a child
My world stopped at the garden gate.
You were presence, comfort,
And promise of tomorrow.
© 2011 Joann Nelander

Well of Sorrows

You behold my inner groaning.
You grieve within me.
Low pitched moanings
Stir my depths,
Awaiting  promised vindication.
No eye, but Yours,
Beholds the river of unspent tears,
Hidden from the world of Men.
Prayer without ceasing
Issues forth
For Your ears only.
Words without sound
Shape my inner being
Fashioning a future full of bliss.
Hope of hallowed blessing,
Worthy of a king,
Yet Reserved for but a slave.
O hidden well of sorrow
Dare always hope.
Here comes in triumph and thanksgiving,
The dawn of Day Spring
And Morning Star.
Not yet,
But always present.
In Faith, believing.
The Time of the Bridegroom
Coming to claim His Bride,
Robed now in wedding garments,
Washed resplendent
By crystalline waters.
Purified eyes of soul's desire,
Embrace the eternal Son as His Beloved.
Well of sorrow,
House of Clay,
Delight now appearing
Open unto Eternity
The door of unending Joy
Hearts beating now as One.
Thy Kingdom come.

© 2011  Joann Nelander

New Day Dawning

O Lord,  I have no doubt
Of Faith's fulfillment.
I no longer ask "when,"
For passing days,
But flavor and add splendor,
To my Sabbath Rest,
My dream of Love unending.
If weary of this wasteland
Spring returns with leaf and bud.
Birds' refrain and cricket chirp
Pull back the curtain,
Time and Sin descended,
To light on promise
Dawning of New Day.

Copyright  2011 Joann Nelander

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Be Ready for the Infant King

The Holy Night by Carlo Maratta
Who will come to the stable
On Christmas Day?
And what will they take away?
Wise men, steadfast and earnest, came,
Instead of palace music,
They heard the donkey brae.
A lowly sound and sight,
Yet their wonder unallayed.
Many come rejoicing,
To behold the Newborn King,
Bowing low,
While angels sing.
Christ comes for all
But not all come.
Some come, behold, then fall away,
Being rootless, they merrily go their way.
Father God prepared a voice
To announce His Only Word,
A messenger, born before, to go before.
Another child, spared Ramah’s plight
To live and pierce Sin’s long night
John, O, John, still cries, “Repent!”
Prepare if you would follow.
At Jerusalem’s Gate,
Many cried, “Messiah,”
Who would soon cry, “Crucify.”
Whose will will you do,
When the music fades in life?
Pride prides itself on ‘my way,’
Confounds with will and strife.
Without a ready, willing heart,
Nothing changes Christmas Day.
Corrupt hearts go on corrupting,
All the while the kingly Infant cries,
As throughout His life,
“I am the Way.”
Whose heart will live in yours
As angelic songs fade away.
Will you simply leave the stable
To follow your own way?
Come, O come, rejoicing!
Praying for a change.
Receive the Babe within your Heart.
Beg Him forever stay.

©2010 Joann Nelander

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Walking in the Fire

“They walked about in the flames singing to God.”

My will is to sing to You,

To walk in Your fire.

Your love is a mighty flame,

Alive with its purifying blaze.

Help me be as You are,

Pleasing in Your obedience.


© 2011 Joann Nelander

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Thanksgiving Kiss

O, Mary, thank you for Your Child.

See my empty arms.

See my open heart.

Place your Treasure

In my embrace.


He smiles at me,

As I push aside  His swaddling,

To gaze in awe

On the Babe of my redemption.


Mystery of mysteries,

Mercy of God,

You've come to me.

You've come for me

I dare a kiss on Your sweet brow,

My Emmanuel.


© 2011 Joann Nelander

The Consolation of Eve

Crayon and pencil by Sr. Grace Remington, OCSO Copyright 2005, Sisters of the Mississippi Abbey

Mother Eve, waiting long,
Your bones resting in the earth,
At Adam's side,
From which you were taken,
Waiting, waiting for the Woman.

Sustained in weary life by a Promise.
Enduring the grave,
Counting the centuries,
Waiting for Good News.
The Virgin is with Child. Rejoice!

©2011 Joann Nelander All rights reserved

Monday, December 12, 2011

Virgin Mary Consoles Eve

This painting is so consoling, I just have to share it again since Advent brings us closer and closer to the precious moment of our Savior’s birth.  He comes to save Fallen Man, and with such a gentle hand.

"Virgin Mary Consoles Eve"
Crayon and pencil by Sr. Grace Remington, OCSO
Copyright 2005, Sisters of the Mississippi Abbey

Sunday, December 11, 2011


Give me God
This glad rejoicing.
I am like a beggar at the gate.
My rags declare my need.
My knock trumpets my desire.
Your courts are full
Of plentiful redemption.
Wine and the merriment
Of the forgiven,
Invite my humble footsteps.
Although I bring myself
To Your threshold,
I cannot enter in,
For Sin is an effrontery,
An open assault on Your Majesty.
All awaits Your mercy.
Heaven is silent before You.
Tears are now my only arraignment
The voice of Your messenger
The only hope in my wilderness.
The King, Himself,
Rises from His throne.
Crowns are cast down at His feet.
As the sun shines from His Being,
Mercy rays meet my eyes,
And melt my heart.
He draws near.
His hand is at the Gate
To let in the beggar and the multitude,
For I am not alone.
The nations,
In long suffering and sorrow,
Kneel with me.
He approaches.
He is near.
Wedding garments in place of our polluted rags,
Rings and sandals for prodigal feet.
He comes,
He comes mid glad rejoicing.
We need wait but a moment.
The Virgin is with Child,
And He has left His throne
To succor the poor of all the earth.
By Joann Nelander

Friday, December 9, 2011

Change for a Dollar–Hope on the Street

Heart changing video, so take a break from routine for another shot at really living.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Carry Me

You have carried me on your shoulder.

I am that wound that pained you greatly.

Carry me into my future.

As you carried Your Cross.

I know I hurt;

I can feel it myself.

Now in heaven, You are free from pain,

Except for that, which You suffer,

In the mystery of Your Church on earth,

Except for that, which You suffer in me,

For love of me, for love of Your Cross.

I am the cross You lovingly still bear.

© 2011 Joann Nelander

All rights reserved

Here I Am

Here I am, beneath your heart,
My heart beating in happy harmony,
As my frame perceives
The gentle throbbing within your breast,

I began in secret and in darkness,
A mystery, even to myself.
Day by day, nature shapes my clay,
As you await the blessed dawn of my birth day.

What I know, I know by existence.
I am now all trust,
Simply growing,
Simply becoming who I am.

Comfort, you give comfort.
Love, you are all I know of love.
As you wait for me, my mother,
The eyes of my soul are wide open.
I behold you, smiling upon me.

Expectant, vigilant and gleeful,
Mother of my moments,
You cradle me.
You are my home of sweet delight.

© 2011  Joann Nelander

Friday, December 2, 2011

You Come to Me


Lord, You come to me.

I hold You within me,

Closer to me, than I am to myself,

Though hidden in a place inaccessible

Except for You bidding me enter.


I am all busyness, all talk, and all noise.

Make me all hope, all faith, and all love.

You come to me to woo me.

Bid your bride, “Come!”

Let me hide in You,

O Bridegroom of my soul.


©2011 Joann Nelander