Thursday, 31 December 2015

A New Year

The new year comes to us,
ready yet or not.
While we may prefer to burrow deep
into the old.

The new year comes,
with untold stories to unfold.
And dreams that might bear fruit,
if we’re bold.

To open the door
to infinite possibility.
To recall
what a blank canvas can reveal.

What a pen, that meets an empty page,
can unveil.
What a life fully assured of its future,
can rightly claim.

Like the sun rising, the new year comes.
Reminding us,
that life renews itself, like all things.

The old is gone,
until there is no ground upon which to hide.
And we burrow out like cicadas into the light.

And sing with newly opened eyes.

Ana Lisa de Jong
Living Tree Poetry
1 January 2016

Friday, 18 December 2015


Loved I am.
By a man.
Who knows me.
From inside out,
not outside in.
Who understands.

And never alone.
Though I may believe I am.
Until in the stillness
I recall, my heart’s
held in his hands.

I could not be alone,
if I tried.
If I had wanted to live
independently of Him;
He would draw me yet
to respond to Him

With a lover’s relentless
Loved and cherished
beyond measure.
above all comparison.

And what could I do to be unworthy,
of such love?
Safety, security.
In the knowledge of
His tender presence within.

Yes loved, I am.
By a man.
Who knows me.
From inside out,
not outside in.
Who fills me as others cannot.

And whose every touch
is kind.

Ana Lisa de Jong
Living Tree Poetry
December 2015

"God's touch in our lives is kind ... Romans 2:4 says that it's God's KINDNESS — not his power or justice — that leads us to repentance. ... And because of this kindness, we want to be closer to him." — Amy Nappa

East Coast Bays, Auckland, New Zealand (Rangitoto Island in distance)

Monday, 30 November 2015

As with Love


moves on, while we wish
we could hold it still.
Expand it to retrieve each precious morsel.

But nothing still holds its worth.
Its value in the passing,
and the measuring of its gift.

Held in freeze frame,
it would only stagnate and shrink.
A still pool reflecting little light.

Its lack of breadth,
closing in on itself,
until its eventual demise.

So instead… 

We let it pass.

Yet, if we look carefully
beyond our apparent loss,
we may see we’re richer

for the moments invested.
The memories enlarging us,
to contain more to take with us.

Yes time moves on,
and we wish, how we wish,
we could halt it.

But time like love
has one true common denominator.
It endures beyond us.

And as with love,
which we only keep by offering up;
so with time, we draw treasure from what we relinquish.

Ana Lisa de Jong
Living Tree Poetry
November 2015

Bethells Beach, Auckland, New Zealand

Tuesday, 10 November 2015


I believe, it is

the wounded things that are
the most beautiful.

And that we break open to the light,
because nothing is meant to remain inside.

Sorrow is but a well of understanding.
Chaos but a path to new revelation.
Pain a pearl that shows us where it hurts,

so that the light may trace
the ache to its source.

I believe, it is

that the weak receive
the strength they truly need.

As dependence brings us
to a full and deep surrender.

Shame is but a robe we must discard.
Guilt, another’s pain breaking our hearts.
Remorse, a path to redeem our tortured selves.

And as weakness girds our prayers with heavenly power,
the light reveals the darkness as a fraud.

And so I believe it is,
when love breaks in.

Ana Lisa de Jong
Living Tree Poetry
November 2015

Bethells Beach, Auckland, New Zealand

Tuesday, 3 November 2015


How would it be if we all hung out our washing together
on the line?
What if we were brave enough to show the faded sheets
with the holes at the end;
the socks that still need darning,
the trousers with frayed hems.

What if we chose right now, to no longer pretend;
to the world, the neighbours, our friends.
If we could shout out, “I’m not good enough,
I’m hardly even close.
Its all pretense, and God only knows -
the truth?”

What if we exchanged our truest selves,
like linen table coverings hanging in the sun.
Plain and laid bare,
with a spot here and there;
that we might normally cover,
with the table runner.

What if we chose not to disguise the flaws,
but let them hang out in the sun.
Whipping in the breeze, free and light.
No longer burdensome,
but at ease in the peace,
of lessened expectations.

What if we were kind? 
Not just to others, but to ourselves?
What if we turned that smile inwards;
and the grace that we have learned to impart,
to other’s failings,
we generously gave ourselves.

What if we were to say, “I’m not good. I’m far from.
But I am trying, as hard as anyone, and that’s enough”.
For saying that out loud, we might just find,
has a magic to absolve us
from the shame,
of all the things we keep inside.

Like washing in the light,
of the sun.

Ana Lisa de Jong
Living Tree Poetry
October 2015

"Most of us need to be reminded that we are good, that we are lovable, that we belong.  If we knew just how powerfully our thoughts, words, and actions affected the hearts of those around us, we'd reach out and join hands again and again."  Tara Brach, 'True Refuge'

Bucklands Beach, Auckland, New Zealand

Tuesday, 22 September 2015


Go back.
Not to stay there.
But to find, what you left behind.
What remained undone, and follows now at your heels,
waiting your return.
What goodbyes were not said, or griefs unexpressed;
on those back steps, or the long ago, hospital bed.
What was left?

What has you now,
going round in circles?
Looking, longing, looking, longing,
for you know not what.
And what bandage have you applied,
to distance yourself from past regret?
What mask do you hold so tight, in the fear it will slip?
What wounds, with a knock, tend to split?

Go back.
The words that were never said.
The hopes dashed, and expectations unmet.
Be brave enough to acknowledge the needs,
that still remain.
From what you couldn’t help;
or could have helped maybe,
but believe yourself
to have failed.

Write away the pain.
Find a friend and speak of the ache.
Speak until the words finally dissipate.
Speak to those who faces are long gone.
For their presence lingers, till you do;
in every pattern you repeat,
and stronghold which has you bound.

I’m going back.
Not to stay there.
But to re-track my journey up to now.
Until its clear where it broke,
and cracked.
And where I made the replacement;
thinking I had mended
the ache of loss.

Oh how wrong I was.
I’m coming back.

Ana Lisa de Jong
Living Tree Poetry

September 2015

"....turn back and live"
Ezekiel 18:32
Whangamata, Coromandel, New Zealand

Monday, 31 August 2015

The Silver Lining

There’s a silver lining
waiting to be seen,
by the eye that can perceive

purpose; and if not purpose, meaning.
And if not meaning,
then at least,

a gift.

That might look just
a little different,
to what we were wanting.

Hard to recognise,
and to become accustomed;
but always, always

what we need.

It’s just we never know
what we need,
until it comes to us,

in forms we didn’t expect.
But if we look, if we look
we find what it was that we needed

by what we get.

Perhaps silver linings are
treasure, greater than the
fulfilment of our small intents.

Their value lies in their
sneaking up, and
catching us unawares.

Leading us to reassess,
the true purpose here.

Ana Lisa de Jong
Living Tree Poetry
August 2015

Upper Harbour, Whenuapai, Auckland, New Zealand

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Fooling Ourselves

We fool ourselves.
Believe ourselves to be attached fast
to the leaf.
But shaking in the wind,
as blossoms on the branch;
buffeted enough,
we find ourselves,

We fool ourselves.
That it won’t be our turn.
Comforting others,
measuring out
our careful wisdom.
We forget there will be a day,
we will need,
our own medicine.

But we all have our days,
in the sun,
when we blossom, and bloom.
While the days in the wind,
we resist and turn from;
though they come
to everyone.

So I fool myself.
Believe myself secure,
and steadfast.
Living tree, roots deep in the ground.
And I am: deeply rooted,
and aware of my source.
Yet the wind, with a life of its own, 
still abounds.

 But what if I said ‘come’?
Come wind, what may.
Lift my blossoms, torn off my limbs,
give them breath, and uplift.
Show them the view
from up high.
Show them there’s more ahead,
than what I can see, right now.

And that my security,
my security lies not,
in holding on, till my petals are damp,
and torn.
But in letting go,
in finding freedom in the uncertainty,
trusting in the life source
of all things.
Ana Lisa de Jong
Living Tree Poetry
August 2015

‘In this life you must find something to live for,
or when the darkness comes crawling you’ll go back to where you were before.
Because this life is as fragile as a dream
and nothing is ever really as it seems.’
Lily Kershaw, ‘As it Seems’

Monday, 3 August 2015

Poetry is

Poetry is

Flying without wings
Uplift without a breath of wind
Dancing on the air
While still firmly on our feet.

Yes Poetry is

The gift to put to music,
the images that come.
Weaving words to give them life
and movement of their own.

Oh Poetry is

Insight and observation.
A longing to crystallise,
into permanence,
rhyme and reason for it all.

Except Poetry is

The ability to see things afresh,
to understand the nuances
and on the shifting carpet

So Poetry is 

Conflict at the core.
As joys and sorrows surge
we rise and we fall.
At the mercy of time’s passage,

while in the current standing still.

Ana Lisa de Jong
Living Tree Poetry
August 2015

Taupo, New Zealand

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Joy is the Jewel

Joy is ours now.

After the rain has passed,

joy is the jewel

holding fast to the leaf,

moist as new born life,

shining in the light.

Joy is here now.

Knocking at your door,

joy is the friend's

embrace, claiming your right

to smile in return,

as you're reminded of your worth.

Joy is yours now.

Spread across the sky,

joy is the rainbow

that could not have formed,

but for the interplay

of light and dark, from passing storms.

Joy is right now.

Not forsaken, but found,

joy is the reminder

that we are never thirsty

for long, as surely as the earth

circles the sun, we drink from joy again.

Ana Lisa de Jong
Living Tree Poetry

June 2015

We choose love by taking small steps of love every time there is an opportunity. A smile, a handshake, a word of encouragement, an embrace, a kind greeting, a gesture of support, a moment of attention, a helping hand... these are little steps toward love. Each step is like a candle burning in the night. It does not take the darkness away, but it guides us through the darkness. When we look back after many small steps of love, we will discover that we have made a long and beautiful journey.
Henri Nouwen

Hauraki Gulf, Auckland, New Zealand

Friday, 5 June 2015

Where there is Injury

'Where there is injury, pardon',
St Francis said.

Did he know how hard it is, to truly forgive?
Is it from experience that he spoke to us these words?
Or is it an ideal, too high for us to fully achieve?

And is it possible, I ask myself,
when the ones we must forgive, continue in their ways?

'Where there is hatred, love'.
Love from where?

When the well is empty,
when rebuffs make a sham of our best intents,
when we've spent ourselves on ungrateful hearts...

How do we find resources to give again,
without recompense?

'Where there is despair, hope.'

Perhaps there is nothing that,

we can do to change the lens they look through,
and ultimately how we too are viewed.
But we can choose, to see ourselves in the light of grace,

and let hope remind us of the truth,
that in His view, we are good enough.

'Where there is darkness, light.'
Perhaps the hardest to perceive.

For what if the darkness we see,
that wells up and floods our minds,
is not actually in others, but in us all the time?

Perhaps the gift of the dark,
is to have light shine upon, the areas we've been blind.

'Where there is sadness, joy.'
Perhaps that's the trick to our salvation?

The injuries we need pardoned; the love we need to cover over all our sins;
the hope to show us the way forward, into the light,
that darkness, our old friend, keeps hidden...

Is to give ourselves (though we may crucify ourselves),
permission, to be our own consolation.

Ana Lisa de Jong
June 2015

Long Bay Regional Park, Auckland, New Zealand

Thursday, 4 June 2015


A chain of many links,
that strengthens.
And with each gesture
and gift of self,
to become a chain of trust.
Not easily bought, or sold.
But made over long seasons
of developing, enduring love.

The result of
an exchange.
Disclosure met with acceptance,
a soft place to lay our heads,
and burdens down.
A warm room out of the rain.
A place to forget;
and to remember again,
what's truly important.

A mirror for
our best selves;
and gentle absolution
for our sins.
Reflecting our possibilities,
not focusing on our failings.
Showing us our light,
glowing with potential,
that we might shine it into being.

A starting place,
a finishing place;
and wayside in between.
A reminder, an encourager,
a place to rebuild
ourselves again.
An honest voice, and smile:
affirming, and restorative
as medicine.

A gift to give, and receive.
Mutual need, and mutual gain.

Ana Lisa de Jong
June 2015

Auckland, New Zealand

Tuesday, 2 June 2015


Waiting for inspiration
Is like waiting for love...

You know that its out there.
You know that its there, waiting to roll in
as a wave in a storm.
To take your pen, like love takes your heart,
and in its power, carry you on.

Waiting for inspiration,
is to lay yourself bare.
For the touch of a song,
for the touch of something,
with a life of its own.

Love and inspiration,
are one and same.
They take you so you're lost,
to a place far within, to a you you've never known,
yet known all along.

Waiting for inspiration
is like waiting for love.
Empty before it,
empty when its gone.
But enriched, altered, blessed, reborn.

Ana Lisa de Jong
Image:  Lulu Lovering

Friday, 29 May 2015

Let the Night Fall

Let the night fall.

Let it come and rest,
soft as a blanket
over the mistakes of our day.
With its absolving hand,
let it wipe away -
the missteps,
the regrets,
the disappointments.
The offences we've received,
and in our weakness, made.
But which in their injustice
and relentlessly shake,
our tender frames.

Let the night fall.

Let it come
and restore
all we failed to retain,
all we couldn't hold
in grasping, clinging hands.
Let it bring its deep relief
to broken hearts
and tired limbs,
bruised and sore
though resilient still.
Standing firm,
though buffeted by winds.
Standing steady,
though unexpressed grief threatens.

Let the night fall.

Though so dark,
see the gift it brings.
rehabilitation, mercy,
restorative as the spring.
Spreading life anew
across our barren hearts;
planting seeds
of hope
and redemption.
While we thought
we were all done in,
night comes softly, reminding us
what 'sufficient for the day' means...

Joy comes in the morning.

Ana Lisa de Jong
May 2015

Waiheke Island, Auckland, New Zealand

Friday, 22 May 2015

Light and Dark

Black and white
Light and dark
Pain and pleasure
Night and day

What is one without the other?

Passion requires the boundaries of sanity.
Reality needs the possibilities of imagination.
Feelings need thoughts to give them shape.
Thoughts need feelings to give them depth.

Joy and sorrow
Young and old
Sun and moon
Lost and found

What is life but a dance,
from one foot to another, balancing.
Like the seasons, life needs its ebb and flow.
The solemn reflection after pleasure fleeting,
and the joy that rises continually.

Near and far

Empty and full
Sweet and bitter
Hot and cold

What is light without the dark?

What is depth without height's comparison?
After intimacy comes the necessary withdraw.
From ecstasy's heights we must always fall.
And yet as night draws in we can anticipate the dawn.

Life and death

Heaven and earth
Future and past
Faith and disbelief

Where-ever we are, close or far,

to where we want to be, we know we won't remain there.
Though shifting shadows move to block out the sun,
by its very nature light will keep shining.
And whether we believe it or not,
life, after winter's apparent death, emerges again.

Ana Lisa de Jong
May 2015

Coromandel Peninsula, New Zealand

Tuesday, 19 May 2015


What does moving on mean?
What do we take with us?
And what do we leave behind?

Is it seeing clearer,
from what has brought us joy and pain?
As the sky is washed clean, by the departing rain.

Do we break the shackles,
that hold us fast in place?
And how do we do that, while cherishing what's been?

How do we move on,
not knowing what lies ahead?
What is the assurance it's better, that it will replace our treasure here?

So we stand pulled in two directions.
Knowing that time, like gravity,
is a law we may begrudge, but cannot escape.

And that what we carry with us
will determine the weight of our load.
So how, how on earth do we give up, what will weigh us down?

We must find a way,
to use the lessons of the past.
To allow the memories to enrich us, as the blood in our veins.

To discard shame for our wrongs,
and welcome forgiveness in.
Knowing that acceptance is the key to moving on.

That while we rail against reality,
we stand with two feet apart.
Hanging in limbo between the future and past.

That the present is all we ever have.
The present and its forward momentum,
takes with us all of our treasure, what we've turned to gain.

So how do we move on?
By recognising the past is necessary.
Colouring the blank canvas ahead, its a backdrop to all that will be.

We don't have to extricate ourselves.
Everything that's been said, and done, right or wrong;
can, if held lightly, give us wings.

Ana Lisa de Jong, May 2015

RNZAF Base Auckland, Whenuapai, New Zealand

Sunday, 10 May 2015

A Mother's Heart

To be a mother
is to sing, to cry, to laugh,
to live
the full breadth
of human emotion.
As arms wide open
and hearts exposed,
our children pull
and dance
on every string.

To be a mother
is to give, to give in,
and to lose.
To deny ourselves
that we might win.
As each gift of self,
each sacrifice given,
inspires the same
in the lives
we're building.

To be a mother
is to remember, to believe,
to not forget,
the dream that birthed in our hearts
at conception.
To remember what we
without doubt,
they could be,
even before we met them.

To be a mother
is to trust, to not let go,
to not give up.
To allow God's heart
to continue to be reflected in us.
To encourage, to enable,
and above all love.
To love when its easy,
and especially
when its hard.

To love as though all
depended on it.
For it does.
As in God's grand plan
he purposely designed us.
So never underestimate
the importance of the role,
and what we uniquely give.
In the end God knows,
and would remind us:

A mother's love
grows a child.

Ana Lisa de Jong
May 2015

Thursday, 23 April 2015


I see you.
I see me.
Cracks running through our fragile hearts.
Sore places too tender to touch.
Walls too well defended to breach.
Hurts too well hidden to reach.

I see you.
I see me.
Cracks that will exist until they're accepted in us.
Sore places that will resist but the gentlest touch.
Walls that might melt if we're patient enough.
Hurts that may heal if given time, and love.

I see you.
I see me.
And the only way through, what defeats us,
is to love what is hardest to love.
To see with sympathy the unlovely parts.
To understand what is unconditional commitment.

That in the end it is the mortar and glue,
to our cracks, which with each hurt, expand and contract.
And might tear us apart, if not for love;
which in its magic unconditional touch,
loves in us,
what is ugliest.

Ana Lisa de Jong
April 2015

Mangawhai Heads, Northland, New Zealand

Saturday, 4 April 2015

What Love is This?

What love is this?
That would choose me,
that I might be His?
No indiscrimate,
'you will do'
made by Him;
but rather
a personal,

What love is this,
that would give,
up so much?
Fall so low,
as to take upon
all our sin.
That would plan
to lose,
plan to give
up all,
so that we
by His humble offering,
might win.

What love is this?
And what is our response?
To a love that
didn't hesitate,
but rather knew
all along
the cost.
What is our response
to Him,
who laid it all out.
His heart of love
for us,
in death
upon the cross.

What love is this?
Who died not only 'for' me,
but 'because' of me?
Because He wanted me,
longed for me,
sought me out
and fought for me.
Love that,
for all of us,
He would have done
what He did for us;
even if,
there were only
one of us.

What love is this?
A love we cannot
cannot dismiss,
cannot fail to,
A love we must not
from embracing,
and celebrating.
Our gift to Him,
of the true cost,
of our salvation.

Ana Lisa de Jong
April 2015

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

The Heart is a Wilderness

The heart is a wilderness
and the mind a map.
The heart would lose itself,
until the mind brings it back.

The heart is pure feeling,
and knows not time, or fact.
On a wave it will take you,
and won’t let you forget.

The heart lives in a moment.
The mind looks forward and back.
The heart not knowing caution,
is, in its own emotions enrapt.

But the heart is a barometer.
The key to our innermost selves.
We know from what hurts, and what delights;
where our pain, and treasures lie.

The heart is a wild bird singing.
The mind its keeper and cage.
While the heart is passion aflame,
the mind is its necessary restraint.

Yes, the heart is a wilderness
and the mind a map.
The heart would lose itself,
until the mind brings it back.

Ana Lisa de Jong
March 2015

Hauraki Gulf, Auckland, New Zealand


It’s the only way we can live with life.
It’s the only cover for the chill of the night.
It’s the only light to ward off the dark.
It’s the only way to hold close, that which without,

thankfulness and gratitude
might dissipate.

It’s the only way we can find salvation.
It’s the only way we keep from drowning.
It’s the lifeline we need to keep us upright.
It’s the only way that we can obtain,

faith and assurance
of our hopes not failing.

It’s our only key to peace in suffering.
It’s our only comfort when losses bear down.
It’s our only joy, when joy’s hard to find.
It’s the only way to still ourselves enough,

to see, there is still treasure left
in an open palm.

Ana Lisa de Jong
March 2015

Whenuapai, Auckland, New Zealand (home)

Tuesday, 17 February 2015


I like to live inside myself.
I make it beautiful there.
I take the dirty washing and make it clean.
I take the shambles and the stumbles
and I put them into order;
learn how to walk purposefully again.

I like to live inside myself,
where I talk to myself in words;
and in pictures.
Remembering beauty is always present,
and love is running through,
our lives like a river runs, constant and true.

I like to live inside myself.
I find there’s always someone there.
I find my truest, clearest self,
who answers back to me,
with words that take me by surprise,
with their sense and clarity.

I like to live inside myself.
It’s a wondrous place to be.
So great in capacity as to contain,
all the beauty of this earth;
all my loves, and my discoveries,
held in memory…

for perpetuity.

Ana Lisa de Jong
February 2015

Waiheke Island, Auckland, New Zealand

Tuesday, 10 February 2015


‘God puts the lonely in families’.
To me I understood it to be read, as;
‘He finds a family for the lonely,
(if He wills it)’,
but perhaps on reflection,
that’s not all,
that was meant.

Perhaps as I sit here alone,
longing for a comforting arm,
aching for understanding;
maybe I’ve got it wrong?
Maybe loneliness is a given,
even in the midst of a family’s bonds.

Maybe loneliness should be understood more,
as the catalyst for communion?
For if we are content in our family,
we wouldn’t strive for union,
we wouldn’t desire connection,
with the only One who can contain our longings.

And maybe loneliness is necessary,
to experience and appreciate,
another’s human presence?
Maybe it’s the dance of humanity,
to draw close and depart,
and maybe in the departure, we truly value the other’s heart.

So it’s okay to be lonely in my family,
because God has put me here.
And I know as close as I may feel tomorrow,
the next I’ll feel far away.
But then I’ll know my need for God,
and invite Him in to stay.

And though I may feel lonely in my family,
my family may feel so too.
And with a renewed appreciation of each other’s worth,
we may build a bridge closer still.
Which although it may not hold with permanence,
we will daily rebuild.

Ana Lisa de Jong
February 2015

Mercury Bay, Coromandel, New Zealand

To Lose

Why are we so afraid to lose?
To surrender back to Him what has always been His.
Is it because we think we will not care in this certain way again?

Or is it that we’re afraid there will be a day, 
that we don’t remember them?
And it will then be clear, that it was only for a season.

And why are we so desperate to hold on to a season?
As though Summer won’t write words of love once more on our skin.
As though Winter won’t bring us its silent offerings, as treasures in the darkness.

As though joy won’t cause our heart to skip a beat
as Spring breaks us open, 
and we respond and soften as a child, with pure expectation.

Why are we afraid to lose?
When we must lose to gain.
While each season’s gifts are spent, and running out like rain, through our hands….

a new day’s waiting in the wings.

Ana Lisa de Jong

February 2015

Whangamata, Cormandel Peninsula, New Zealand

Sunday, 18 January 2015


There is nothing better than Your paths.
Though we’ll stray and divert our ways,
from Yours.
Carry burdens not made for us,
stumble on alone and not recall,
the comforts of a companion for the road.

Nowhere is more perfect than your paths.
And because of Your love and grace,
You’ll wait for us at a thousand crossroads.
Until we slow down our pace,
until we see the light of heaven shining upon Your road;
and foresee a different way. 

And when we walk with You,
our burdens lessen at each step.
Your light yoke settles on our shoulders,
when we falter we feel Your hand support,
and at our feet we discover,

And when we walk with You,
in Your light we see a view,
a view that astounds.
A path that stretches forward to heaven,
a beckoning bright horizon.
And we realise apart from You,
we stumble on in darkness.

There is nothing other than Your paths,
to give a firm foundation,
to give a reason for continuing,
a light for our very lives.
And nothing better than Your presence,
comforting and constant,
to be our way and guide.

So, as Your Good Word instructs,
I must,
‘stand at the crossroads and look,
ask for the ancient paths,
ask where the good way is,
and walk in it,
and find rest for my soul’.

Ana Lisa de Jong
January 2015

Cathedral Cove Walk, Hahei, Coromandel