A New Start

As the new year approaches, this is my prayer-embrace 2022 with strength, love, and compassion. Noticing the things that may seem insignificant at first. For quite often, those are the things that teach me the most. Happy New Year, Friends! ❤️🕊

Sharing Stories

What a seat
You’ve held
All these years
A quiet observer
As children
Skipped
Up and down
The road
With little
Thought
To their age
Or yours
You watched
As birds
Flittered by
Chuckled
When squirrels
Hopped on
And off
That inviting
Green carpet
Squirmed as
Lizards scurried
Underneath
Then out again
What adventures
You’ve had-
As I walked by
This morning
You caught
My eye
Made me smile-
Thanks for
Sharing
Your stories,
Old mossy rock

No Way to Travel

Painted lines
Mark the middle
Of the road
Move too fast
And the marks
Merge into one-
One long line
Moving me
Faster and faster
Down the road
Leaving
No time
For a pause
No time
For a breath
That is no way to travel!
The goal merely
Getting from
Beginning
To end
As quickly
As possible
Giving no mind
To the trees
Waving hello
To the birds
Singing their song
To another traveler
Holding out their hand
Waiting
To see if I will reach back

Kick Off Your Shoes

We used to live in a two-story house. It was great for growing kids. All their bedrooms were upstairs, making it quiet for mom and dad downstairs.

Whenever they would get home from school, shoes were kicked off at the bottom of the stairs. This was not an expectation or house rule. It is just what they did. At some point, we placed a small storage bench at the bottom of the stairs. A place just for shoes.

I can picture them now. Shoes off, heading up the stairs. It was time to relax after homework and a snack, of course.

Hi, Mom!
Hi! How was school? Homework?

Kids are all grown up. We no longer have stairs. Nor the same number of shoes.

Today, I decided to clean the laundry room. Ours is attached to the garage. And often becomes the drop zone for lots of non-laundry stuff. It is small, but there is a counter for folding.

Once the counter was cleaned off, I knew it needed a little something. Maybe a cute laundry sign. Something small, simple. Just enough to encourage us to keep it clean.

My daughter, Rachel, and I went shopping this afternoon. Looking at Christmas decorations and possible décor for the laundry room. I had just about given up when we saw the perfect sign.

Not at all what I had pictured, yet, perfect!

I know only close friends and family will likely enter our home through the garage. But I hope those that do take the message to heart. Like the kids when they were little, kick off those shoes and let go of their worries. If they’re lucky, there might even be snacks!

A New Day

Bright
Sunshine
Ushers in
A new day
Along with it
A new perspective
Yesterday
The sky was
Sleepy
Gray
Still
Do you think
Like us, it also
Needed rest?
Thinking
Quiet
Still
Appreciating
Each moment
Given
Accepting
Each goodbye
Spoken
Certain
The sweetest
Symbol
For love
Rooted deep
In our hearts
Is a smile
Accompanied
By tears

We will be driving home today. And though I am confident in my dad’s medical care and progress, it was hard to say goodbye.

This morning, the sun shone brightly on Pinnacle Mountain. A landmark that was crucial in my growing up years. Whether viewing it from a distance or standing on its peak, always enamored with its beauty.

When trying to explain where I grew up. Have you heard of Pinnacle Mountain? I grew up out in the country, about three miles from there.

I was thankful for its beautiful colors this morning to guide us out.

I will be back soon! ❤️

Questions and Answers

Opening doors
Requires
Asking questions
Whether seeking
Knowledge
Creativity
Relationships-
Some we ask
Almost every day
How are you?
What’s wrong?
What do you think?
How does that work?

Listening
For answers
Is the key
I pride myself
On being
A good listener
Discovering that
Some questions
No matter
How many times
I ask them

Have no answers-
My youngest son
Turns twenty-one
Tomorrow-
Where has the time gone?

Happy Birthday, Ryan! ❤️

Run Away

Bath towel
Pillowcase
Bedsheet
Any material will do
A giant eagle
Flying free
Surveying
The yard
Before perching
On the porch
Superman
Wearing
His cape
Ready
To swoop in
And save the day
Or maybe
A friendly ghost
Playing
A game of
Hide-n-seek
Shaking with
Silly giggles
Any material will do
When paired with
The wild imagination
Each child holds
Once they feel free
To let it run away

Why is it our imaginations seem to shrink as we get older? As a child, I could always see objects in the clouds. It still happens sometimes, but I often second-guess myself.

Dress-up clothes, imaginary friends, playing pretend. Crucial elements of childhood. Sadly, it is not so simple these days. I was reminded of this while talking to a crying student this morning.

Oh, to be able to help them feel safe. Safe enough to let imaginations run wild!

My Moon

Big, bright
Beautiful
Moon
Lighting up
The morning sky
Wish I could
Follow you
See where you
Would lead
Instead of
Turning away
Leaving you
Behind me
If my Dad were here
He would smile and say
Look! There’s Kelley’s moon!
As if I was still
That little girl
Claiming you
As my own
And not a
Grown woman
Driving herself
To work
On this early
Morning-
You know
Maybe I will
Claim you
As my own
…just for today

Writing Circle

Sharing two poems I wrote in a recent poetry circle facilitated by Ali Grimshaw https://flashlightbatteries.blog/. I continued to be amazed at the beautiful connections made across many miles over computer screens. ❤️

At Seven

It is difficult
To remember
The me who
Once was seven
Do you find
The same
To be true?

Oh, there are
Glimpses
Flashes of
Childhood
Aided by
Photographs
The reciting
Of stories at
Family gatherings
I believe at seven
Happy outweighed sad
And freedom came
When swinging
To the sky
Then bravely
Jumping out
It is difficult
To remember
The me who
Once was seven
But I am grateful
For her spirit
Continuing
To reside in me
Even when
I’m afraid
To jump out
Of the swing

Tiny Boxes

Hours spent
Together
Make me want
To remember
Not just the present
But every visit past-
Each block of time
Long or short
Places another box
Inside my heart
Tiny boxes
Full of surprises
To open when
Days are long
Mind-wandering
Tiny boxes
Fighting battles
Threatening
To take away
Focus, purpose, joy
Tiny boxes
Filled with
Memories
Of loving and
Being loved

Hide-n-Seek

Dewdrops
Twinkle
Like stars
Resting
Among
Green
Pine needles
Playing tricks
On my eyes
Now you
See us
Now you
Don’t

A simple game
Of hide-n-seek
The same way
Children
Play outside
‘Til the sun
Disappears
And the wind
Carries them
Home to rest
Dreaming of
Their next visit
To the Loblollies

Sitting outside one morning after a rain, I noticed little bright spots in the trees. One would shine and then disappear just as another came into view.

My eyes went back and forth between the trees for several minutes. Each glimmer made me smile.

Joy in the simple things. And how much fun is it to say Loblolly? 😉

Eyes in the Sky

I spied
Two eyes
In the sky
Today
Against a
Backdrop
Fluffy white
Strikingly
Tinted
Bluish gray
Two eyes
Looking
My way
Feeling
Inquisitive
I returned
Their look
Wondering
What they
Might say
A smile
A sparkle
Followed
By a wink
Before they
Looked away

Macaroni and Cheese

I like macaroni and cheese. In high school, that and baking a cake were the extent of my cooking. My mom even entered a recipe on my behalf for a church cookbook one year. Not a cake. Oh no, it was the instructions from the back of the Kraft macaroni and cheese box.

My kids also like mac-n-cheese. It was a staple in our house. Of course, I always tried to pair it with broccoli or green beans. Balanced meals, you know.

Some stories need to be remembered. Told over and over. Handed down from one generation to the next. And not just the ones considered to be pleasant. Also, the challenging ones. Those are the ones that show resilience, teaching valuable lessons.

This is one of those stories. And, of course, it involves macaroni and cheese.

My parents have always been hard workers. But like many others, hard work did not always keep hard times at bay. Some years were more difficult than others. And when I was little, money was tight.

My dad was a carpenter and was working on a house about an hour away from our home. One day, mom and I went along for the ride. Well, sort of. You see, he had not yet gotten paid for his work.

Macaroni and cheese…they had one box left. So, we went with him, taking the box along with us. While dad was working, mom cooked the mac-n-cheese on the job site in an electric popcorn popper. That way, all three of us would have something to eat for lunch.

That same day, the woman that owned the property retrieved a frozen chicken from her kitchen. And though my dad was a little uncertain about that chicken, it went home with us that afternoon, along with his paycheck. It was available that day after work.

Perhaps some would think of this as a sad story. Not me. I see the resilience of two people, able to keep going, making the best out of a difficult situation.

Anytime we talk about this time in our lives, Mom always reassures me. “No matter how hard things got, we always made sure you did not go without. You always had what you needed.” Without a doubt. ❤️

Truth is, not only did we survive as a family, but we also thrived! And though my cooking skills have improved a little, I still like macaroni and cheese.