My “Almost” Romantic Comedy

It was Monday morning. I sat people watching waiting for the professor to start the class. I noticed a handsome young man reading a book by Maya Angelou. He was really cute so I knew what to do. I left class and went immediately to the library. Wednesday morning came. I sat there dressed in my favorite outfit, wearing red lipstick and passionately reading Angelou’s poems. The handsome man smiled and sat down next to me.

“Hey, I was just reading that book yesterday,” he said.

“What a coincidence! Maybe we have more things in common.”

“You’re right. We could. Let’s find out.”

Handsome classmate then invited me to read poetry with him underneath the tree in front of the library. It was enough to make this bookworm’s heart glow with love. The first poem we read was Caged Bird by Maya Angelou.  The whole experience was cute, sweet and just like the movies. I wish I could tell you the story ended like the movies. Sorry, no wedding bells. We did become friends though. He introduced me to poets, authors and musicians that I still love today.

And that dear readers is the power of poetry.

My Easter Message

A few weeks ago, I hurt my left knee. It’s taking longer than I think it should take to get better. It’s been an uncomfortable time of bandages, physical therapy and ups and down as my knee progresses toward full healing. There is light at the end of the knee tunnel, and it hurt really bad yesterday. Work is good and it has also been very difficult this year. Last night, I felt sorry for myself. I have a tradition to pray before I sleep. I didn’t feel like praying though. My knee hurt. I was tired. I felt some anxiety about work. The students are starting their standardized tests this week. Testing always adds additional stress to a teacher’s life. I honestly couldn’t think of anything useful to say to God and I didn’t feel like praying. After a long time of debating the merits of prayer, I decided just to tell Father how I really felt. My short prayer basically consisted of telling the God of the universe that I didn’t want to pray to Him because of how miserable I felt. I wish I could tell you I had some powerful, spiritual experience the moment I said Amen on my little prayer. I wish I could tell you that I instantly fell into a peaceful sleep and jumped out of bed this morning with a completely healed knee. Nope. That didn’t happen. I still felt miserable after my prayer. It took another hour (and some ibuprofen) to finally get comfortable enough to fall asleep. My knee is still injured today. I have to do the patience thing while my body heals. This patience thing is hard.

Today is Easter. You might wonder what my prayer experience has to do with the Easter message of a risen Lord. Sometimes life is hard. Sometimes your knee hurts. Sometimes the only prayer you can muster is the one telling God you don’t really feel like praying. And the message of Easter is that God understands. That’s why he sent his Son to Earth. And Glory be to God forever for that gift.

Happy Easter, Everyone.

“Know therefore that the Lord thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations”(Deuteronomy 7: 9).

the middle (a poem for the inbetween seasons of your life)

The middle, the part where you’re growing, healing, reaching for the sun

as the little plant pushes the scorched Earth to kiss the sky.

The time when you realize something’s wrong, you want to change but you’re not

quite strong enough to break free and start over.

The walk, the long, lonesome path to the finish line so everybody can cheer

and dangle a medal around your deserving neck.

The middle, the desert wasteland of little water and nothingness that lasts

forever until it ends.

The middle, space between blessing and curse, the pockets of joy that

 surround all life and gives you a headache at night.

It’s the middle.

Christmas Poem

In my house are many mansions

said the Father of us all.

Wrapped in swaddling, lowly manager

shepherds heard angelic call.

Precious child, dear Redeemer,

prophets told throughout the years.

Son of God, Grace descending

on this earth of pain and fear.

Go before us, dear Jehovah,

guide our feet along the way.

We can find our path

through darkness.

There is hope on Christmas day.

Wrapped in kindness, clothed in mercy,

Saints unite and hear this plea.

We don’t have to wait for heaven

to experience majesty.

Bind the wounded

Help the weary

 Fill the cup that has gone dry.

Transform the Earth to be God’s kingdom

Willing hands reach up to sky.

The Christmas Poem that didn’t happen

I write a Christmas poem every year. I’ve been trying for two weeks to write my annual poem. I’ve got pages and pages of really bad poetry. Nothing is coming. The monster called 2020 has eaten all good poetry and I’m left with stale gingerbread cookies. In the middle of being frustrated, I had an idea to make a profile for an online dating website. I may not have a nice Christmas poem, but hopefully at least one person can get a good laugh with my attempt at online dating.

Open the dating website. Get scared. Close the window.

Imagine getting a really good kiss. Open the dating website.

Wonder how many people get murdered every year from folks they met online.

Close the window. Call your friend. The one who met her husband online.

Be brave. Open the dating website. Again.

Read the terms and conditions.

What? There’s a cost.

Close the window. Call your friend. The one who met her husband at church.

Do you know any single men?

Merry Christmas!

2021 will be better. It’s going to be the best year for me and the best year for you.

Gratitude Challenge Days# 16-30

My annual gratitude challenge is over. I can now be selfish for the rest of the year. Just kidding. I won’t be writing thankful notes every day, but I will keep trying to be thankful in my heart.

Day 16: I’m thankful I can cry. Life would be harder if there wasn’t a way to release sadness.

Day 17: Second chances. I’m thankful for the second chances we get in life.

Day #18: My car is running. Huge blessing!

Day #19: Bowling. I love my bowling family.

Day #20: I’m thankful for my parents. They have taught me so much.

Day #21: I’m thankful you don’t always have to be thankful. I normally do a gratitude challenge every November so I’m 100% behind being thankful. And I’ve experienced the sorrowful wilderness of feeling alone. It’s okay to be where you are and to feel what you feel. I’m so grateful for that knowledge.

Day #22: I am thankful for the beautiful Earth. I feel refreshed when I spend time outside. I feel closer to the Creator.

Day #23: I’m thankful for my sister. I always wanted a sister. I was so happy when she showed up after my 3 awesome brothers. (This adventure was last year. We dressed up to see Downton Abbey. Movies are 100% better when you wear costumes.)

Day #24: I’m thankful for clean water. I take it for granted that I have access to water.

Day #25: I forgot to write down my gratitude note for the day. I was too busy eating. It’s a good thing I believe in second chances.

Day #26: I’m thankful for inventors. There are so many things I use every day that someone had to invent.

Day #27: I’m thankful for books. Books have been a great blessing in my life.

Days #28 I’m thankful for parks and the people who maintain them. It’s so nice to have a safe and beautiful place to walk.

Day #29: I forgot to be thankful again. I may have been thinking about all of the work that would be greeting me after the Thanksgiving break.

Day #30: I’m thankful for music.

Sure Love Ya

My Mom’s family has a traditional goodbye saying. Sure Love Ya. It means goodbye, see you soon and you might drive me crazy sometimes but we’re still family.  I have no idea how many times I’ve said that expression in my life. It’s probably been at least a million times. There is another tradition.  Before ending a family gathering, we all huddle in a circle like a sports team and shout the saying. “Sure love ya.” The circle keeps getting bigger as more and more people join the family. 

It’s confession time.  The teenage me thought it was an embarrassing tradition. I hated it!  I only did it because my mother said I had to do it.  I was confident that we were the only family in the entire universe that would do something like that. 

My Grandma died this year. She was my last remaining grandparent Earth-side. We couldn’t meet with Grandma as a large family group to celebrate her birthday like we’ve done in the past. This year we meet on Zoom. It was fun to see various relatives as little Zoom boxes on the screen. We ended our short party with “Sure Love Ya”.  It was both sad and beautiful at the same time. 

I think I finally understand why Grandma liked us to huddle up and express love. I think she was trying to ensure that we still loved each other even after she left us. 

That is what I will remember most about my grandmother Marjorie Hill Smith. She loved. 

I loved my Grandma very much. I will miss her. I know I’m not the only person on Earth who has lost someone they loved this year. There are many souls who are grieving right now. 2020. It’s been a crazy year. I haven’t really liked this year. It’s been hard. REALLY HARD! I’m ready for 2020 to be over and just a chapter in a history textbook.

I have learned something this year though. I’ve learned that love is one of the few constants in our crazy, ever-changing world.

Sure Love Ya to all my dear family and friends.

(My Grandma and I enjoyed baking bread together. )

Gratitude Challenge Days #8-14

Day #8: I’m thankful for my sister-in-laws. They are all incredible, intelligent, strong woman. Love you Kim, Sonya, Melissa and Amber.

Day #9: I’m thankful for a working car.

Day #10: Butterflies.

Day #11: I’m thankful for veterans and their families.

Day #12: Shoes.

Day #13: I’m thankful for the beautiful Earth. It’s lovely this time of year in AZ.

Day #14: I’m thankful that Christmas came early this year. Yes, I am one those people who watch fireplace videos on YouTube. It really was fun to listen to Christmas music and watch my fake fireplace last night.

Day #15: I’m thankful I could continue the holiday celebrations by putting on my Thanksgiving socks. They are so cute!

Gratitude Challenge Days 1-4

I have a tradition. I think of one thing I’m thankful for every day in November. It’s a good tradition and it makes the month special for me. I usually post those thankful notes on social media as a way to encourage others to pause and remember the good. I went back and forth this year about it. Do I post or just keep my thankfulness to myself? I’ve mostly been staying off of social media in order to preserve my sanity from this election. After a ton of debate, I decided to do it. I will be writing my gratitutes every day but only posting them once a week. It’s a good compromise between encouraging others and recognizing my own boundary of needing space from the crazy. I may have been singing that Tradition song from Fiddler on the Roof after making the decision.

November 1 I’m thankful for my family and friends.

November 2 I’m so glad we have music. Music speaks what words can’t express.

November 3 I’m thankful for God.

November 4 I love those wonderful green turn signal arrows at busy intersections. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve shouted ‘thank you’ to the person who invented green turn signals.

Election Day poem

I haven’t written on this blog for a while. Work has been very demanding this school year. Teaching has always been an intense job, but this year has been different. I’ve worked in schools for 20 years. I thought I had seen it all. I WAS WRONG. Teacher college does not prepare you for pandemics. The students are worn out. The parents are worn out. The teachers are worn out. It is like the entire system is worn out. It’s a grand experiment and no one quite knows the end result yet.

I did manage to carve out some time to write a little poem about the upcoming election. It captures my thoughts, hopes and prayers for the future.

i voted today

and i think i need a hug

can one of you reach across the aisle

to remember our common humanity

it might just be the only thing

that saves us all

i wait

i wait

no one comes

that other side is so unreasonable

can’t they see me here

the divide grows deeper

i voted today

and i still need that hug

i stare at you

you stare at me

we both know somehow

that nothing will change until we move our feet

maybe we all need that hug

it might just be the only thing

that saves us all

i’m scared but i force my feet to move

you force your feet to move

we meet in the middle where the miracles live

the hug is given

the future

our future