Surrender

Tonight, I will
Lie down
Not as if
Holding a
White flag
In surrender
Instead, a
Sign of victory
Reflecting a day
Well-lived
Energy expended
Through actions
Through love
Now in need of
Replenishing
Tonight, I will
Lie down
And rest
Breathing in
The hope of
Tomorrow
Surrendering
To sweet sleep

STANDING

To stand free
Arms stretched
Wide, bare
Not afraid to
Reveal scars
Admit failings
Like the leafless
Tree-branches
Waving in the
Autumn breeze
Its colors displayed
Only yesterday
Now a quaint
Carpet covering
The cold earth
Trusting the sun
To supply light
And warm its
Exposed form
Confident knowing
Beautiful green
Foliage returns
In the Spring
For truth says
Time is brief
And honestly
Standing sets free

Mask Up!

I do not like to wear a coat. Oh, I’m thankful for the warmth it provides, especially considering the weather here a couple of weeks ago. For several days, the morning temps hovered around freezing.

If I’d only had to walk from my car to the building, that coat might not have been necessary. However, I have morning car duty-about twenty-five minutes outside. So, not only was I bundled up, but I also wore rain boots and carried my umbrella.

Although thankful while outside, I felt restricted while driving to school. That zipped up coat felt like it was holding me back. Constricting my movements instead of protecting me.

Sometimes that is how it goes, even with the things we need. Rules, routines, laws intended to help, protect, keep us safe. And yet, we struggle against them. Somehow afraid they will do the opposite-take our freedom.

Think about speed limits and other traffic laws. We push the boundaries by wanting to drive a little faster or speed through that yellow light. What about our work schedules and expectations? Designed to help us be our best, yet we complain and find small ways to buck the system.

In our current state of a world-wide pandemic, mask mandates come to mind. I wear one to work every day, as do my colleagues and students. No, it is not fun. However, it is necessary. And we wear them to show our respect and to protect each other.

And yet, depending on which business I happen to enter in which town or city, I may or may not be able to count on that same consideration. It is disheartening, to say the least. Something so simple met with such resistance.

As with most things in life, balance is needed. No one wants to feel like they are wrapped up in a cocoon. Yet, we need the wisdom to recognize the times when necessity says mask up and face the facts. You might just save someone else’s life.

GARDEN

Seeds planted
In my soul
By my own
Hands or the
Hands of others
Sources of hope
Sources of bitterness
Sowing promises
Of strength
And purpose
Or choking out
Beauty with
Fear and doubt
I must choose
Which to tend
Which to feed
Which to water
And carefully
Place in the sun
Because those will
Sprout their way
Out of my heart
Thru my expressions
Thru my words
Thru my actions
Determining what
Kind of garden
Others see in me

Like Flying a Kite

It has been years since I have flown a kite. I remember many experiences as a kid, a parent, and even a teacher. Each one brought a different level of wonder. Running and watching with excitement as my kite took flight. Watching the excitement on the face of a child having the same experience.

Just picture it! See the kite itself, whipping in the wind, freely flying, having the time of its life. See the person standing firmly on the ground, holding the handle, making it all possible.

The person holds the handle tightly, releasing string at just the right amount at just the right time. Working hard while also enjoying the freedom displayed by the kite.

One time my cousin, Jimmy, and I were flying a kite. It was the perfect day. We held that handle so tight, guiding the kite as it traveled up to the clouds. Such a fun memory!

Until…the kite string, not tied to the handle, ran out. Our kite went on quite a journey! We watched until it flew out of sight, never to be seen again.

I suppose parenting is a bit like flying that kite. I held the kite string firm as my children grew and pulled away. My job was to guide, gradually giving more and more freedom. I was really just preparing to let them go all along.

There is one big difference. The kids often circle back and wave hello. Exactly how it should be. ❤

These ideas have been floating around in my head for a while. Since my youngest son, Ryan, turns twenty tomorrow, it seemed like an appropriate time to share. Happy Birthday, Ryan! 🙂 We love you!

Talking to Myself

I do not like conflict. At least not when it requires difficult conversations. My emotions tend to get in the way of reason. Not that my feelings are negative. They just sometimes cloud what I really want to say.

I think that is one reason writing is so helpful. I often refer to it as therapy. The process allows me to put thoughts as well as emotions on paper. Words give my feelings a voice while helping me understand them.

When I wrote the following poem, it was not intended to be serious. I was imagining a funny conversation with myself. But the more I considered the words, a different message emerged.

Maybe if I took the time to talk to myself before I talk to someone else, conversations would not be so difficult after all. Seeing my reflection in the mirror, making sure my frame of mind is right. And then approaching another from the perspective of kindness and respect.

Not necessarily stress-free, but most likely more productive.

I think I will keep right on talking to myself. Maybe you should give it a try! 😉

I’m Listening

Please come in
I say to myself
Have a seat in
Your favorite chair

Coffee? Thank you.
That would be nice
We have much
To talk about

Yes, I know you
Prefer to listen
But not today-It’s
Your turn to talk

My head is full
Of thoughts you
Know-Time to
Say them out loud

Nervous? Well, yes
A little, I suppose
But you are right
I will give it a try

Don’t be afraid
I say to myself
Just start talking
I’m listening

Younger Eyes

Past fading
Future unclear
Only today matters
Where to look
What to think
How to act
Opinions are
Shared that
Cloud the way
The choice must
Be made to put
Away doubts
View the path
Ahead through
Younger eyes
Untarnished by
Hatred and greed
Younger eyes
Full of life, love
And generosity
Younger eyes
Holding the
Power to light
Up the world
With their smiles
Offering hope
For tomorrow

Picture Reel

Frames play
In the back
Of my mind
Blurry, like a movie
Of faded memories…
Familiar, yet,
Not my own-
A young mom
Children at her feet
Gathered around
A black and white
Screen watching
The World Series
An avid baseball
Fan passing along
Her love of the game-
I have seen these
Children before
Though not as
They appear
And the mom?
This version
Is unfamiliar-
We will meet
But she will not
Share her love of
Baseball with me
One of her children
Will splice their own
Childhood images
Permanently into
My life’s reel-
Mother
To daughter
To granddaughter

Beautiful Mix

This afternoon the sun was shining! It has rained steadily for the last four days. My mood instantly changed as soon as I walked outside after school.

On my drive home, I decided to listen to one of the “created for you” playlists on iTunes. No surprise, the very first song was by James Taylor-Angels of Fenway. As you might guess, it is a song about baseball, life, family, never giving up. The melody is happy, the music energetic.  

How is it then that two simple phrases from this song instantly caused me to choke back tears? Again, the song is about baseball! Yet, here I was, driving down the highway, about to cry.

What were those phrases?

Grandma watched from her hospital bed.

It doesn’t feel like a long time ago.

Now, I don’t recall ever discussing baseball with my Grandma Mahar. But I did spend a lot of time with her growing up. She and my Grandpa lived next door.  

Grandma did not have much formal education. She took care of her parents. She also married young and raised nine children. But Grandma loved to read! It seemed like she could discuss anything. Her set of Encyclopedia Britannica was the Google of my childhood. And the bookshelves in her laundry room were always full.

Today, when I heard that first line, an image popped into my head. 

It was my Grandma sitting up in her own hospital bed. She had suffered a stroke. But on this occasion, her bed had been rolled out into a waiting area. And she was surrounded by her kids, grandkids, and great-grandkids.

It’s funny how some details are forgotten. I’m not exactly sure what occasion we were celebrating. But I know we were celebrating Grandma. ❤

The second line gave me a different thought. So many years have passed. Oh, how I would love to have one more visit. So many questions I would ask. So many things I would write down.  

My heart is grateful for the memories of my Grandma. And thankful for the beautiful mix of words and music that brought them to the forefront of my mind today while driving home in the warm sunshine.

Walking in Wyoming

I went for a walk in Wyoming
My eyes could not decide
Which way to look-
Up at the sky
What is that shade of blue?
To the right
Snow-topped mountains
To the left
Fields of purple hues
In between
A lake so crystal clear
I could barely tell where
The mountain stopped
And its reflection began
A few more steps forward
Stop and breathe
Take a seat on a rock
Feel the cool breeze on my face
Hold the hand of the one I love
Try to take it all in-

A Wyoming walk
Leaves a permanent imprint
On my heart and soul