Thank-You’s

Tightness in

My chest

Air is coming in

Air is going out

So why does it feel

Like I can’t breathe?

Eyes closed

Thoughts of kindness

Reminders of all

Those who care-

Are they aware

That their kindness

Is helping me breathe?

Eyes opened

Remaining in

This moment

Breathing out

Thank-you’s-

The pressure

Begins to ease…

…thank you…

The Best Medicine

There are few sounds sweeter than pure, honest laughter. The kind that, once started, is hard to stop. I heard this precious echo twice in my classroom today and welcomed it with open arms.

The first experience was with fourth-grade boys. Our lesson today was about the Brass family of instruments. After a brief discussion of the word family and its relationship to musical instruments, we watched a short video showing the trumpet, trombone, French horn, and tuba.

Students saw both teens and professional musicians playing each of these instruments. Plus, some shenanigans about unwinding the tubing of the instruments. Here’s where the laughter started. In this video, the tuba was referred to as the “Big Daddy” of the Brass section.

At first, there were just a few giggles. The next thing I knew, one friend could not contain his laughter. It was that innocent kind of laughter, uncontrolled and contagious. We all had a good laugh.

The next incident was in second grade. We were singing a song about lunchboxes. There was a measure of rest where students were supposed to say what they hoped their mom would put in their lunch box.

I decided to go around the room and have them each name their item. There were apples, cookies, milk, grapes, bananas. And then someone smiled and said Chick-fil-A! I responded, “Oh my goodness! Now I am going to be thinking about Chick-fil-A all day! Thank you very much!”

I went on and on…and the laughter began. Guess what the next lunch box suggestion was? Starbucks! I’m thinking they had devised a plan. 😉

Reflecting on the day, I did not realize how desperately I needed to hear, feel, and experience laughter. I’m grateful for those sweet voices able to let it freely flow. It is the best medicine, after all.

The Sidewalk

Anxiously waiting for
Family to arrive
Coming from what,
In my young heart
Seemed like a
Faraway place-
Used to be a short walk
Down the hill
A knock on the door
Hello! Come out and play?
Now visits were
Few, but precious
Filled with late nights
Laughter, memories
Never enough time
Never ready to say
Goodbye…
I see myself standing at
The end of the sidewalk
Unable to contain my tears
Waving until their faces
Drove out of sight-
Already anticipating
Our next visit

No Matter the Detours

Lately my thoughts
Seem to wander
Backward
Focusing more on
Where I came from
Less on where I’m going
Hopes for things to come
New adventures in this
Wild, unpredictable life
Hang in the back of my mind
But those thoughts
Are not for today
Today is for remembering-
Seeing me as I once was
Embracing the path
That lead me to this
One singular moment
Embracing the faces
That loved me
No matter the detours
Showing gratitude as
I wander backward
And forwards

Exciting News!

I don’t know where to begin. Yes, I am aware that sounds cliché, but it is the truth. Maybe I should write it out in its simplest form…

A collection of my poems is set to be released this summer! If I Were Made of Glass.  

The contract has been signed. I have seen a sneak peek of the cover idea, done some proof-reading, exchanged ideas-but it continues to feel surreal. 

I am grateful to River Dixon of Potter’s Grove Press and www.thestoriesinbetween.com for this opportunity. His creativity and insightfulness are a gift. I am honored to work with him. 

This truly is a dream come true. I cannot wait to share more details. Stay tuned! ❤

Granddaughter

Attended school until
The eighth grade
Not uncommon
For one born in 1923
Help was often
Necessary at home
Especially having
Elderly parents
Who needed care-
Married young
Babies came quickly
A full house of her own
But she was not
Uneducated as
Circumstances
Might suggest-
An avid reader,
Always a book in hand-
A thirst for knowledge
And meaningful conversations-
Needed to know the meaning
Or correct spelling
Of a word? The one to call-
I suppose you could say
She was self-taught-
If only I could
Call her right now
And tell her
How proud I am
To be called
Her granddaughter

Snow Surprise

Living in Arkansas and Oklahoma, snowfalls are uncommon. Several years might pass between weather events. They bring a sense of wonder, fuel for the imagination.

Around five inches of snow fell last night in our corner of Oklahoma. Another four to six inches may fall tomorrow night. Of course, wind chills are negative. So, we are enjoying the view from inside our warm home.

As I sat down to write this morning, I wasn’t planning to write about the snow. I planned to follow a familiar writing prompt pattern, which did not include snow. It is funny how one thought leads to another and another. Often with an unexpected result.

Writing out my list of words from the prompt, one stood out-sheep. Sheep turned to lamb turned to white turned to snow. And the progression of thoughts became a poem. While writing, an image kept coming to mind. It was a stuffed animal lamb. When you turn its silver key, music plays.

This particular lamb rests happily on a shelf at my parents’ house. It was mine when I was a baby. A quick text to my mom, and I had several photos of my cherished lamb. As you can see, this lamb was well-loved and is no longer white like the snow. But I am glad its sweet face appeared in my memory today.

Tranquility

Ground covered
In fluffy white
Like an innocent lamb
Precious and new
Quiet cries quickly
Comforted by mother
Pink belly once again
Rising and falling
In perfect sleep
No fear of today
No worry about
Tomorrow
Only tranquility in
The fluffy white-
Tranquility in
A blanket of snow

Heartbeats

Broken hearts, happy hearts
Both a part of this life
When we feel lost
Waiting to be found
When we are found
Hoping never
To be lost again
The heart measures
Time differently
It never forgets
Filling, breaking, mending
Then filling again
It never forgets
Growing, loving, beating
In sync with another
Following the tick-tock
Of the clock even though
An inaccurate gauge-
Where hearts
Are concerned
Time is fluid
Holding the possibilities
Of the universe
Within the rhythm
Of each heartbeat

Separately Together

Two people separated by
Doors, walls, a long hallway
One entered
The other remained
Not allowed to cross
This particular threshold
Leading to necessary discomfort
A small room where muscles
Are pinched and prodded
Where skin is broken
Then held together
Only one entered
The other remained
Both feeling discomfort
One physical
One emotional
Both holding tight
That is love
Connection that cannot
Be separated by
Doors, walls, or a long hallway

My husband, Gart, does not like for me to brag about him. Wednesday morning, he sat in not one but two different waiting rooms while I had a biopsy followed by a CT scan.

I knew no matter what happened, he would be there when I walked back out. Ready to listen and encourage. “Let’s not worry until we have something to worry about,” he would say.

That evening, I participated in my weekly poetry circle. This poem came from that time. Writing and listening with a group I have grown to love and trust.

I am thankful to report the biopsy showed no cancer! I will follow-up with my doctor next week. And I know if I need him to, he will wait once again in another waiting room. ❤

Time After Time

Blue Mixed with Gray

We are experiencing unusual winter weather in Oklahoma this week. Frigid temperatures and freezing rain made for a slow drive this morning. I had an early morning appointment at the hospital.

When looking directly out of the front windshield, all seemed gray. Bare trees were covered in ice. Brown and white were mixed on the road from the sand. A layer of white covered the grass. The sky was filled with gray clouds.

Sounds like a dreary scene. And parts of it could be described that way. But there were also bits of wonder. The icy tree limbs brought thoughts of a winter wonderland. Evergreens with white tips provided a lovely visual, making the green stand out.

I looked up and around, giving more attention to the sky, and noticed something. There were tiny hints of blue mixed with the gray. I had to squint to see it, but it was there. The sky was not completely gray, after all.

Funny how life is sometimes that way…squinting to see the blue skies.

Our hospital trip today was for a biopsy/CT scan. A necessary though unwanted addendum to my recent MRI day. MRI Day

As I’ve said before, I’m grateful for good health care. But honestly, I was nervous about these tests.

That blue mixed in with the gray this morning was a perfect reminder of the realities of this life. Beautiful, sad, joyful, difficult…all of it meshed together. That is life.

As I began to feel the strength from those offering prayers on my behalf, I also realized my own prayers for peace had been answered. That answer came through those swaths of blue sky mixed in with the gray.