Sunday, February 27, 2011


The sun is shining, glistening, beaming.
White rays of light shimmer down.
When I awoke this morning there was nothing but dimness.
A fresh coat of snow lined the great Oak’s branches.
Now the warmth of the sun splashes across my face.
It covers my shoulders.
I can feel its heat.
Great Oak begins to shed tears.
Tears of joy that is.
DRIP drop, DRIP drop
A mixture of snow and slush forms below.
Ice crystals are transformed.
Days are getting warmer and longer.
Spring is not far off.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Turned Over

One class cancelled, an assembly for them.
One on one time chance for a writing conference with another great kid.

A different one soaring.
She's a most absorbent sponge.
She's zipped through one grade's reading level and mastered all Dolch words in less than five months.

Mailboxes cleaned out.
Student papers organized.
The big kids are relieved their poster is done.
The little ones excited.

Some touched a real octopus, dead, but preserved.
Some picked out books.
Some simply shared their own stories of immigrating to America.
They've come from many distant far off lands.

Things have taken a twist.
They're already looking up.
Next week my littlest ones perform.
They'll dress up and practice-The Little Red Hen.

Tuesday was bad, but now over and done.
Far better still are yesterday and today.
My how things have turned over and started to look up.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

My Party With Alexander

It was one of those days
At the end I declared, "I'm having a party with Alexander!"
Alexander, a rather grouchy and discombobulated young man.
You know the story.
Alexander's Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day
by Judith Viorst

Today it became my own.
Won't you now join me and commiserate just a little?

It started with my silver hoop earring getting caught in my brush.
Somehow it slipped out.
I was brushing my hair of course.
What else?
It hit the floor.
Then clunk.
I searched with all my might on both hands and knees.
Five minutes later, I resigned myself.
Time to choose something different.
I would resume my search later.
Later after work.
I resumed to no avail.
My earring had vanished.
Simply vanished into thin air.

By nine o'clock the first class entered.
Chattering and rambunctious as ever.
Coughing and sniffling.
All while elaborating on every detail of their current condition.
They did not finish their work.
They were to come in for recess.
Two never showed up.
More work for them to do later.

On break,the copier was most temperamental.
It wanted nothing to print.
Nothing at all.
It must not have liked my anxious fingertips.
I typed in the code.
Anything EXCEPT what I pushed seemed to light up.
"Aagh! What's the problem?" I vented.
Of course the Konica was silent.
I felt like yelling and punching.
Thank goodness for our friendly librarian.
Most kind and gracious, she was happy to help me.

By afternoon, the kids were wild and zany.
I'm so glad there were no chandeliers or vines for them.
They'd be swinging like monkeys.
Boys bursting with energy and loud as elephants.
Most wanted to play puppets.
I wondered who or what had their strings so wound up.

By evening it was time to commence the day with a meal.
Mmmm, chili I thought.
Warm, comforting and most appealing.
One slight complication.
Only crushed tomatoes with Italian herbs to mix with the meat.
Upon its completion, I set it down way too abruptly.
Before I knew it my Italian herbed chili splattered all over my pant leg.

Exhausted and depressed.
Fed up if you will.
It was one of those days when I just couldn't win.
So a declaration I made as I called a dear friend.
"Today, I'm partying with Alexander," I informed her.
She's a teacher, too.
She knows how it is.
She laughed and then listened.

By the end of our talk I felt so much better.
And then I remembered.
I thought about my miserable friend, Alexander.

His mommy pointed out, "Some days are like that even in Australia."

Yes, indeed.
Some days are like that.
No matter where we are.
Life can be that way.
Tiresome and irritating as ever.
Thank God, it never lasts!

It comes.
It passes.
Then it moves on.

I appreciate that.
We all can.
I'm sure.
Like sweet chocolate kisses wrapped in shiny tin foil.

So, rejoice and be glad.
Open up your hard heart.
Say so long to the pity.
So long, Alexander.
So long to the mishaps.
Put it behind you.
That horrible, rotten, no good, stinky day is now done.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Mission in Burma

Black and white photos
children, both big and small
smooth black hair and almond shaped eyes
round, white circles smeared on their cheeks
I don't know them and they don't know me

hundreds, if not thousands orphaned
sitting in rows on a gray cement floor
no concept of family other than the camp they compose
they are children from Burma, both older and younger
Tiny buds unopened, delicate and fragile

striving heavenward amongst dry terrain
filled with life
they frolic and smile
strong survivors
children of beauty and grace

One questions, "How is that possible?
Will those buds ever bloom?"
Another dismisses them declaring, "There's no hope for them. Don't even bother. They won't survive long."

I see brilliance, purity, innocence and the future
Like a treasure of great price hidden in the darkest of caverns
pressurized and split into many facets
so are the orphans of Burma and elsewhere

they are children, big and small
living together
striving heavenward
dreaming and frolicking
Mine, yours, the world's and ours

most precious of jewels contained
hidden in deep,dark caverns

Can't you hear them?
HUSH and Listen!
The future is calling.
a black and white slideshow starring unknown faces
accented with white, round circles smeared on their cheeks

Friday, February 18, 2011

Oh, Baby!

Tiny toes and humble hands
smooth, pink skin wrinkled a bit
a round,button nose and bluish gray eyes
a veil of brownish strands to cover her head
she is swaddled in a white blanket with two turquoise stripes
snug as a bug
all seven pounds and only two days old
she is pure and perfect, Elena Rose

a luminous little light
she entered our world on Valentine's Day
loved and adored
nurtured and nursed
cradled and rocked
A gift from above sent down here to us

as a new member in her family
she adds, enriches, complements and shines
Who she will grow into and what she will be has yet to evolve
although we do not know to where or
whence all the places she'll go
her name says it all

daughter of Nicholas and Natalie
victory of the people and Christ's birthday
Elena Rose
pure and perfect with her tiny toes and little feet
a light and flower for all to see

Monday, February 14, 2011

How Can It Be?

A newborn baby born today
while someone else may have passed away
I look at you and you look at me
Different lifestyles, different eyes with which to see
Perhaps you wonder much like I-
how is it your not married after all this time?

Most friends have done so
Some in their teens while others well on into their 20’s
I’m still here in this awkward place looking in from the outside
For those who celebrate such wedded bliss
they can’t really understand or relate

They’ve walked with that one true love for so many years
A testimony of perseverance, true love and grace
While me, I’ve watched and only hoped,
but all for nothing it seems and to no avail
Independence has become a must;
There has been no other option for me, my friend

Yet I’ve watched so many come together and become one
The iron has sharpened iron and they are now solidified
Or at least on their way towards becoming such

Perhaps they question-
Doesn’t she like children?
Doesn’t she want a partner?
Why would she choose this?
How can it be and what is it like?
They really just don’t have a clue why or why not

And still there are others who envy me
They see the freedom and little responsibility
No strings attached
Why oh why must it be?
They can’t fathom being alone becoming a drag or getting old
They’ve become self focused on all the drawbacks
When they find out I am childless, they say, “You are lucky.” Or “Smart lady!”

Lucky? Smart? How can that be?
Elizabeth and Sarah, both barren, felt nothing but disgrace
My how our times have changed
And I still wonder, “How can it be?”

God was finally gracious to them and said,”OK, Sarah.
OK, Elizabeth. I will bless you.
I will take away your disgrace and you shall honor me.”
After so long, Zechariah and others inquired, “How can it be?”
Yet God promised and God delivered and so I continue to ponder,
”How come them and still not me?”

Divorced, remarried, single, loved, barren, fruitful, soon to be wed, widowed
Or even somewhere else in between
In passing, any or all may contemplate,“How come? What’s it like for her or for them? What does it mean?”

Me? I still don’t know what to think
You look at me and I look at you
I look at all those amongst my surroundings from the outside in
Some are happy, some are not
And I still ask, “What can one do and how can it be?”

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Luv Those Ladybugs!

Ladybug, ladybug, where have you been?

I've been to the garden now and then

Ladybug, ladybug, what did you see?

Fat little aphids waiting for me

Ladybug, ladybug, what did you there?

I gobbled them up, protecting the flair.

Ladybug, ladybug where to next?

perhaps a plant near someone's deck

But ladybug, ladybug, wait for me!

We can't we're too busy spotting new opportunities

Ladybug, ladybug, for what do you wish?

More precious ones to flutter round and beautify things

Ladybug, ladybug how long will you live?

Not long at all, but my offspring will continue on and keep multiplying

Ladybug, ladybug, to where will they go?

Colonies of aphids in the gardens that is

And ladybug, ladybug what will they there?

Feast upon them of course and protect the flair

Ladybug, ladybug, how precious you are!

Long live your multitudes, ladybug, both near and far

What Can I Say? What Can I do?

Tea time with Keith and Kate has been postponed. My friend was rushed to the ER this past week after his dear wife, Kate discovered he was choking on his saliva. Today I returned home from visiting with them in CCU at the nearby hospital.

"What can I do?," I inquired. Keith's eyes motioned me towards his spell boards. I reached for one, held it up and he nodded. His eyes focused on one section of the board and then I pointed. When I guessed the correct letter, he would nod. I had pointed towards the letter "p". I inferred based on the most recent events, he wanted me to pray. I held up a different board and he would move his eyes towards the side the letter was on. Sure enough, it was the letter "r". "Pray?" I asked. Keith nodded.

How do I pray? What do I pray? What does anyone say? His wife Kate asked if I would pray over them right there. I answered, "Sure." Then came the hard part,doing it. I didn't say much. It wasn't a long prayer. I simply requested God to bless and comfort them, give them wisdom and that they would feel His presence. After closing, I opened my eyes and sheepishly admitted, "I don't know what else to say." It was not long before the tears spilled over onto my cheeks and I began to share about my own grandmother who had ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease many years ago. I didn't understand it then, nor any of it today.

Yet I was reminded of the verse in Matthew 25:40, "The king will reply,'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'"

I had an opportunity to show kindness to the king today while he was laying in a hospital bed with pierced skin and surgical tape applied to hold IV needles and tubes in place while he was connected to a ventilator and propped with a soft fitting, black cushion around his neck.

His wife, Kate joked with me and the respiratory nurse on staff how she heard that some of the medications caution that a possible side effect may include sleep walking at night. "We'd all like to see that. Sure bring it on," she kidded. No doubt all of us would whole heartedly love to see that for Keith. I'm sure he wouldn't shrug it off either, but welcome it with open arms. It's not impossible with God, but it doesn't seem to be the way He is taking them at this point in time.

So what can I say? What can I do? Although trapped in a body that is increasingly debilitating, my friend, Keith is still Keith and he's not giving up anytime soon.

I am thankful to know he and his wife, Kate.

I am inspired and challenged by them.

I feel compelled to pray for them and to show kindness.

I am impressed to share with others

- Life is fragile!

Pray hard!

Play hard!

Work like the devil and

take time to smell the roses.

Never cease to show kindness

for neither royalty nor valiancy is dead, but shining in some

of the most hidden and unexpected places.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

A Woman

What is a woman these days and to whom does she embody those qualities?

If you look in the Bible you will read she was a help meet for Adam, the one who was deceived, bears children and through whom salvation comes

If you look to the media, you’ll get all kinds of mixed messages-
A sex symbol, gossiper, crusader, victim and one who makes history

To a man she may be a warm conversation and a trustworthy companion or a source of temporary pleasure and an object to enjoy

To a child she may be a nurse, teacher, their inspiration
or someone to be feared and intimidated by

To a mother she is their daughter grown up
One carrying forth their legacy and message
Good or bad, she is the fruit of their womb

To a father she may be their most prized possession
One to guard, protect and love always
or simply a commodity to sell for whatever money he can gain

To a sibling she may be their trusted friend and confidante or someone to envy

To someone in need, she may be their only friend, their world and so much more than we'll ever know

To me a woman is myself
a person with deep feeling, lost hopes and broken dreams
a person growing older and hopefully wiser
a person who lives, shouts, laughs, cries, dreams, likes, loves and still has more to give
She is an individual unlike any other and yet so much the same

To me a woman, is simply me

Friday, February 4, 2011

The Welcoming

Lined with multitudes along the narrow street
Clapping, cheering, waving
Welcoming me home

Living beams of strength and courage
So tall and stout with their long arms branching forward
Those who were planted before me
Those who’ve survived those arduous winters,
Long decades and all kinds of weather

They line our blacktopped routes along with those of gold
Both the visible and not
Witnesses who’ve celebrated so many changes
Flash their brilliantly colored leaves in fall
While sharing their dainty bouquets of pleasant aroma
Fragranced only in the spring
In summer, they reflect our times of growth and prosperity
Warm, gentle breezes blowing
While simultaneously, waving their emerald shades of green
In winter, they remain stark and dignified
All of life quiets and rests while hibernation begins
Yet elegantly dressed they are
In icy glass beads and snow covered crystals

Oh, the infinitely endless nights, sunrises and sunsets
They’ve either rejoiced or dreaded
No one knows except Him

But they welcome
They beckon me
Onward and upward
To persevere around all sorts of curves, bends and mountainous terrain
While holding signs and cheering,
“Hooray! Hoorah! Yippee I Ay!
You can do it!
You did it!”
And finally once home, “You made it!”

These glorious towers of strength
Existing long before I ever did
They chant, they strengthen, they encourage
They know and they believe

My friends, my family, my heavenly witnesses
Like a great forest and variety of young and old species alike
Perhaps next I will see them dancing
And then, one day, I shall finally join them
The great cloud of witnesses
Strong,tall,vibrant and as real as these trees that line 9G waving me home