An Abstraction on the Frost

When I call something concrete, I’m calling it something tangible, something that catches light, with texture, temperature, weight. Today some lovely writers join me in using the concrete to speak of the abstract. How else can we show you the invisible things?

This morning the sky is charcoal black, and like theatre curtains they scroll back edged in navy to a new scene, soft sea gray. And there in the limbo, in the navy, is the moon, light trimming the sphere with a slivered crescent like a side-tilted centerpiece bowl. Straight above, Venus radiates, bounces up there like she might dance away.

Yesterday morning was warm, and then the rains woke us up during Sunday nap, thought it was the roof coming off but really it was the temperature crashing. Now the shroud is gone, and it is winter cold, not a cloud. The trees are all silhouetted in white. The frost makes a different kind of quiet, rattles roots and bones.

Up close, frost like snow crystallizes the yard in a million unique formations. I could spend forever looking too closely at the world. I shouldn’t, but I’ve been weighing my Titus every day to see if he’s gained. I chop down the hours on a sheet of paper to take advantage of an illogical schedule. I moan about the dog hair in the carpet. Recently a girlfriend mentioned a memory so full of God’s Grandeur that it shot her up 10,000 miles above current circumstance.

From inside through the window, my breath turns fog. There is more to all these struggles. There is Venus shining in the frost. My yard a sheet of diamonds.

‘); // ]]>

As I consider a writer’s voice, I wonder how it is for you. If we all have one, I wonder about other things, other things that most of us have. Like the frost in your yard, for example. If voice is cadence and music and space, how you write out the matter in your life and the meaning it gives, what about the frost? It’s certainly different than in my yard. So how is it for you?  —  On Mondays I write out spirit by practicing a little with the concrete things in my life and maybe in a fictional life. If you want to mess around with these little prompts, send your readers this way, and link up below at any point this week. Practice writing, the craft; share it with us. The next topic is The Ornament, but we’ll take a break and wait until December 3rd for that link up. Make sure to use #concretewords on twitter. Thank you always for coming here and walking with me.

There’s a freedom I hear about that I just don’t always recognize in my life. I long to be free so much that maybe I’ve built a habit of feigning it. Would like to join me in exploring this path to true freedom? Follow along on Facebook or subscribe to these posts by email or in a reader.  Are you ready to shirk your chains? 

original image
About me


What’s Up: New Year and a New Plan
January 13, 2017
An Uncooked Story
January 10, 2016
Celebrating Wild in the Hollow
August 04, 2015
Do it.
January 21, 2014
Revolution: A Blessing Over My Own Book
October 23, 2013
Begotten: Notes from The Creed
October 15, 2013
The Woo
September 25, 2013
On the Establishment
March 22, 2013
When Your Writing Doesn’t Fit: Kingdom Come
February 27, 2013


Reply November 12, 2012

I think that I am speechless, but then I find myself here in the comments so....I am still speechless, at the beauty.

Tanya Marlow
Reply November 12, 2012

Your writing, as ever, leaves me breathless in admiration.
Praying for you as to yield your schedule to His hands. Much love x

    Reply November 13, 2012

    That is exactly the prayer I need, Tanya!

Valerie {all mussed up}
Reply November 12, 2012

I love that you managed a Gerard Manley Hopkins shout-out here, because it is so very apt -- this beauty flaming out like the shining from shook foil. My wide eyes are a few degrees wider, now...thank you.

    Reply November 13, 2012

    Oh girl, I had this memorized at one point.

    God's Grandeur

    The world is charged with the grandeur of God.
    It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
    It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
    Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?
    Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;
    And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
    And wears man's smudge and shares man's smell: the soil
    Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.

    And for all this, nature is never spent;
    There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
    And though the last lights off the black West went
    Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs —
    Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
    World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.

      Reply November 13, 2012

      I just read this out loud to Titus and had church.

Shelly Miller
Reply November 12, 2012

Honestly, I think you could write about anything and make me want to read more. You have a gift Amber. Your frost is pure beauty.

the Blah Blah Blahger
Reply November 12, 2012

sheet of diamonds...yes, that's just perfect!

Reply November 12, 2012

so beautiful--love this!

Reply November 12, 2012

Oh my goodness Amber. I want to write about Frost, but now I just don't know. These words are so lovely I think I might just soak in them. Wow.
Thank you for these prompts too. I've had so much fun joining in. Sometimes a girl needs a prompt to get the writers block out of the way. At least temporarily.

Reply November 12, 2012

Hi Amber
First, a BIG thank you for the privilege to join up with the girls. I truly loooove doing this! Your description of a million unique formations truly humbles me. I don't think we are able to truly understand the magnitude of our Pappa's creative powers. I am a South African and for the past two days we have been experiencing thunderstorms, ours from the humidity in the summer air, nevertheless a spectacular show of power and unbelievable beauty.
Much love to you

    Reply November 13, 2012

    Mia, thank you so much for joining us. I love how you see the world.

Ashley @ Draw Near
Reply November 12, 2012

Oh my goodness, Amber. I've read this over and again. I am amazed at your ability to breathe such life into the inanimate. What a gift this has been for me -- to meet with you and the others in this place. And that examining of life details too closely...oh, my heart panged hard with the truth of that one in my life, too. Thank you always for your faithful, careful and yet free telling. (And happy anniversary to you and Seth! 'Tis good!)

    Reply November 13, 2012

    Ashley, you are so good to me. Thank you.

Lynn Morrissey
Reply November 12, 2012

Amber, your words shimmer and shine with dazzling originality. You takes us to that which is bigger than we, and it makes our problems pale by comparison. God, Frost-Father-Creator, has it all under control. Keep shining your light on Him. I stand in awe of who He is and how He has gifted you and how He is using you!
PS I'm sure you must be familiar with "God's Grandeur" by Gerard Manley Hopkins. If so, it's well worth re-reading; if not, you will stand amazed.

Reply November 12, 2012


    Reply November 13, 2012


    If you haven't read Hopkins in a while, do it, friend!

Annie Barnett
Reply November 13, 2012

Comments are hard to follow so much beauty. Thank you for letting us see this gift through your words.

Reply November 13, 2012

FYI, my link-up above is broken. Thanks again, Amber, for the gift of this series. Here's a new one for my post:

Kelly @ Love Well
Reply November 13, 2012

There is more.

I like to believe God gives us these concrete things to paint a picture of His own abstract glory.

(Praying for you, covering you, shining light on those diamonds so you can see.)

Lee Hoover
Reply December 23, 2012

Serendipity and a typo brought me here: I googled wintered jam and ended up on your Wintered Soul entry. I have been fighting dreary about pending Christmas and my aloneness, trying to shake this funk by making Winter Jam. Then these words: "Life, Life, set afire before the color fades! Take the torch so it smolders under dormant days." Hard to fit back in the funk of these dormant days after reading that...

So I follow you here. "Recently a girlfriend mentioned a memory so full of God’s Grandeur that it shot her up 10,000 miles above current circumstance." Well now... As I sit near the afternoon sun spot in this chilly apartment, in my minds-eye I am standing on the beach watching the waves and surfers on a recent windy cold sunny afternoon in Ocean City, MD. I am particularly thinking of the little girl surfer who waited a half hour for the good wave to practice her shakey stand.

Hey, I can do this. I can make this Winter Jam and share some sunshine with my friends and family.

I know it's not always going to be like this even though this is taking Way. Too. Long. Yes, I have known for some time now that good things are coming to me in my life and in my work. I will go to sleep tonight dreaming of gardens.

But for now, I'll be in making a wreck of the kitchen, making little jars of jeweled jam.

Blessings to you


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