Challenging Times

Planning like
Never before
Worried about safety
Worried about health
For our students
And ourselves
So much at stake
Far beyond academics
Far beyond testing
The emotional health
Of our children
Of our families
Of all of us
So many needs
To be met
Too many needs
To be met
By only a few
But we are not a few
We are many
We are educators
Waiting patiently
For difficult answers
To impossible questions
And no matter what
Others may say
We will shine-Our
Students will shine
With kindness, passion
And innovation as we
Face our fears during
These challenging times

A Social Distance Duet

I love playing the piano. And playing the piano in collaboration with another musician is even better. It requires a whole new level of concentration. But it also provides a whole new level of enjoyment.

Not only am I reading and listening to my part, but I am also doing the same for the other instrument. One section on its own does not make sense. But when played at the same time, harmony in motion. Almost like two characters telling the same story from their own perspective.

Even though collaborative playing is one of my favorite ways to experience music, it has not been part of my life in more recent times. Right now, my professional life is more focused on teaching. Playing is mostly for my own enjoyment.

That is ok. I am not complaining, just setting the scene.

Here we are, many months of living during a worldwide pandemic. The school year ended strangely. So many plans put on hold. And just when it seemed things were improving, our numbers are on the rise again.

There are so many questions about the future. How long will this last? What will school look like? It is easy to feel anxious.

What better way to calm anxious thoughts than some musical collaboration?

My friend, Lisa, came over and brought her oboe. Lisa and I teach music in the same district. She is also a professional musician. We have talked many times about getting together and playing music.

What better time than during the middle of a pandemic?

My music room has glass doors that open up to the main entrance. So, we opened the doors and sat a chair and music stand in the entryway. That way, we could still maintain a social distance but also have a sightline.

We played music for almost two hours! The time flew by. My fingers got a workout, but my brain was at peace. The music was beautiful! And we had the perfect audience, my miniature dachshund, Poppy.

Poppy’s bed was placed between the piano and the oboe. She was perfectly still, relaxed in her bed the entire time. I think she approved.

Playing music did not erase our questions or concerns. But it did provide some moments of contentment. Music is powerful, therapeutic. And the therapy is even sweeter when it’s a social distance duet with a friend.


The Winter’s Passed by Wayne Barlow
Lisa Wagner, Oboe
Kelley Morris, Piano

It’s That Time Again

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

Please fill out this paperwork.

Date of the last mammogram?
Ultrasound?
MRI?
Personal Cancer history? No
Mom breast cancer? Yes
Aunt breast cancer? Yes

Same questions-every year-sometimes every 6 months. And this time, in the middle of a pandemic.

Here I sit-blue hospital mask. Waiting to hear my name.

Kelley? Dressing room 4. Put on your cape. She’ll come to get you in a minute.

Here I sit-blue hospital mask and floral cape. Waiting again.

So glad I wore my blue earrings today. They’re my favorite!

Seems silly, but somehow, they make me feel a little less nervous.

I’ve done this a million times. And I know it can be lifesaving. There is no other option.

I can’t help but think about the brave women I know who have fought breast cancer. Many won their fight, some did not.

And yet, at some point on each of their journeys, they sat where I’m sitting. Being proactive, preventative. But also wondering, what if there’s something there this time. The thought can’t be helped.

That’s why I sit here, waiting. Wearing my blue hospital mask, floral cape, and favorite blue earrings.

My turn.

Don’t breathe. It is a 4-second test. Breathe. Repeat x 4.

Wait again. Possible ultrasound. Usually, what happens to me. This time, I mentally prepared for that one. Who am I kidding?

It is worth all the waiting and anxiety of this moment. Because it will either provide peace of mind or the need for a plan of action.

Kelley? Bring your things. Follow me.

Ultrasound. Press and click what seems like x 50…

Everything looks stable. See what your doctor says. Otherwise, see you next year.

Walking out into the fresh air, I want to shout to the skies.
Get your mammogram! Do not wait!

Where to Begin

Strife all around
No peace in sight
Questions with no
Clear answers
Hateful speech
Drowning out reason
Yet, the search
For truth continues
A refusal to remain
Mired in past mistakes
A willingness to
Admit failures
A willingness to
Seek forgiveness
Necessary steps for
A new beginning
Meaningful change
In each heart
That will grow
Exponentially-
If only we will
Begin with love

“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” I Peter 4:8


The Bond of Love by Otis Skillings
Let us sing now everyone
Let us feel His love begun
Let us join our hands
That the world may know
We are one in the bond of love

Grandpa

Grandpa worked hard
His entire life
Married young
Raised nine kids
In the country
Strong and stubborn
But loved to laugh
Mellowed over time
Without a doubt
Dealt with struggles
That I never knew
I see him in overalls
After a long day-
Promising to dance
At my wedding-
Liked to argue
Loved his family
Was always ready to
Welcome them home
Looking forward to
Family gathering later
That very day-
But early in the morning
While everyone slept
After waking early
Making the coffee
He sat in his favorite chair
At the young age of 67
Grandpa died on
The Fourth of July

Freedom in Forgiveness

Forgiveness may seem a surprising subject for the Fourth of July. But somehow, this year, it seems more appropriate than ever before.

Yesterday, I watched the film version of the musical Hamilton. My daughter and I saw the traveling production last year in Tulsa. I was overwhelmed by its brilliance. Not only in the music creativity but also the messages it so powerfully portrayed.

It tells the story of Alexander Hamilton, one of America’s founding fathers. A life filled with tragedy I cannot begin to imagine. A past he worked to overcome. A desire to leave behind a world better than the one in which he lived.

The film version was no less powerful. I was barely able to contain my emotions through the entire production. And just as with the live show, my thoughts quickly turned to another musical, Les Miserables.

Though many similarities may be drawn between Hamilton and Les Miserables, one speaks above the rest-forgiveness. These moments in each story provide a beautiful reminder of how great the need for each of us.

There is much more to be discovered in this story-in both of these stories. But on this July 4, 2020, forgiveness seems to be the place to start. For both receiving it and giving it bring freedom.

If you have not yet seen Hamilton, it would be a perfect way to celebrate!

It's Quiet Uptown

Written by
Lin-Manuel Miranda

Alexander by Eliza’s side
She takes his hand
It’s quiet uptown
Forgiveness.
Can you imagine?

“And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.” Matthew 6:12

Making Lists

There are many reasons for making lists. Dreams, goals, to-dos, groceries…that last one is the only list I write consistently. For me, going to the store without one is a mistake. The trip turns into one long, rambling adventure with little to show.

But what about life lists? The ones that show accomplishment when I scratch off an item. I rarely make those lists. When it comes to making lists, my brain seems to work in reverse. What do I mean by that? Here is an example.

Right now, most days are spent at home. I meander through the hours, often with no set plan-only vague ideas of what I might do or what needs to be done. At the end of the day, there’s a little pang of guilt. A question-what did you do all day? In my head, I answer by making a list.

  1. I managed to clean the kitchen.
  2. I sorted the laundry.
  3. I did one load of laundry.
  4. I washed my hair.
  5. I spent time writing.
  6. I took a nap.

You get the picture. In society’s eyes, this might not be considered a productive day. For me, it leads to a list of questions.  

  1. Did I actually dry and put away the laundry? 
  2. Unload the dishwasher?
  3. Talking to a friend count?
  4. Playing piano for fifteen minutes? 
  5. What about sitting outside and watching the birds? 
  6. And really-a nap?

My conversation with myself will not likely change what I do with tomorrow. But it might change where I place value. Or I might just add those other, less finite activities, to my after-the-fact list. 

Those are the things I cling to right now. Those things keep me steady and ease feelings of anxiety. Those things remind me there is beauty in the middle of the storm.

I suppose an argument could be made for making a list ahead of time. But the truth is, that’s just not me. Maybe I should quit making lists altogether. Except for those grocery ones, of course. 😉

Pieces —

Excited to have another poem shared on The Drabble today!

By Kelley Morris Broken bodies Broken glass Broken hearts So many pieces to pick up Although they may not be my own They clearly lay in front of me Scattered across the landscape Of my city Of my state Of my country Yet, love has not disappeared It continues to weave In and out of […]

Pieces —

Out of Reach

Some days the
Weight of worry
Presses me down
And I am left crawling
Among the shadows
Hands and knees
Scraping the ground
Head low, feeling
Afraid and alone
Standing up
On my own
Is impossible-Yet,
A flicker of hope
Reminds me that
I am not alone
Like a child reaching
For their parent
I glance up as
His hands reach down
Lifting me out
Of the shadows
Gently placing me
Among the light
Of the stars
A time to rest
Preparation for
The day when
I will once again
Be found crawling
Among the shadows-
This is the journey
To be traveled with
One lasting truth-
Wherever the road leads
I will never be
Out of reach

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”

James 1:17 NIV