The Order of Things

Mercury…Venus…Earth...
Reciting names
Of the planets
Sparked curiosity
Field trips to 
The planetarium
Came next in
The order of things
Sitting quietly 
In the dark space
Stars on the ceiling
Mars…Jupiter...
Even better, clear nights
Lying on the driveway
Watching and waiting 
Hoping to spot just one
Star shooting across the sky
I saw one the night my grandma died
Another step in
The order of things
Saturn…Uranus...
A late-night walk-
Kids in tow-
In the middle of
A familiar field
To a wooden platform
Moons of Jupiter
Rings of Saturn
Visible thru the lens
Of my Uncle's telescope-
Ever seen a star cluster? No
Look through the telescope.
See that hazy-looking area? Yes
Stare at it-stare through it-
Millions of stars
Instantly in view
Bound to each other by gravity
Neptune…Pluto...
Reciting names
Of the planets
Culminated in staring
At the night sky
Our family
Held together by
The gravity of stars


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

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

Homesick

The mountain comes into view,
As I drive across the river bridge.
A drive I’d love to take today.
To me, a majestic outline, though
Small in comparison to other mountains
Barely high enough to garner the name

Hiking to its peak as a child was
Like standing on top of the world
Peering out over tops of trees
Roads, cars, and houses below
Appearing as toys in a tiny
Land of make-believe

Was home really as small as it appeared?

Time for exploring always
Ended too quickly-never enough
Time to stand on the edge.
But laughter followed as we
Made our way down the steep trail
Into the green valley below

The world again at eye-level
My head forever in the clouds

Pinnacle Mountain State Park
Never too old to feel homesick. ❤

Rock-a-Bye-Baby

My parents rocked me when I was a baby. They sang lullabies, read stories. Made sure I was cared for. I grew up around babies-younger cousins and my brother. I rocked, fed, sang, and played with them. The example had been set for me. When I had my own children, I knew what to do, or at least, where to begin.

Not everyone has that experience. And some that do become so bombarded with the struggles of this life, they forget what is vital. When this happens, the next generation suffers.

Little brains and bodies don’t develop as they should. Gaps are created in connecting, learning, functioning. I see the results of these holes in growth every day. Improvement is possible, but it takes time and focused intention.

And then there are those days…brief moments of light shine through.  A smile, a hug, a lightbulb turning on.  The reason may not always be clear, but the result is cherished.  I wrote the following poem after one of those days. 

Holding on to the hope for more like it in the future. ❤

TOOTHY GRIN

The first time
I saw you
My only thought-
Do you ever smile?
Not even a hint
In your distant
Young eyes
And then one day
A toothy grin
Shone through
Your tough shell
Brief and unsure
But sweetly present
Reminding me
That you are
A child in need of
Reasons to smile
Hoping another
Reason will find
You again soon
Turning that
Toothy grin into
A beaming smile-
Lasting and confident

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!

Coming & Going

This Labor Day weekend, I am looking forward to an extra day of rest following the two first weeks of school. I need to relax and take care of myself. Part of that care includes time with family.

That is one of my first thoughts when it comes to holidays-who is coming and who is going.

This time, Gart and I are staying put. Though not always the case, a welcomed choice this weekend. Even after our recent extended time here, we need to be home. Sleep in our own bed, sit outside in our own backyard…welcoming the ones who are coming.

On this Saturday morning, the house is quiet. Our youngest, the last one at home, is at a friend’s. Our daughter, who recently moved out, is traveling. Our oldest and his wife will be here this afternoon.

Witnessing my kids at this age causes me to reflect on my own younger days. Days when I was the one always coming and going. Days when my Mom and Dad were the ones staying put.

It’s a funny thing, seeing myself through my parents’ eyes. Waiting patiently to hear about a friend, that recent trip, or to actually be together in person.

These are the moments that remind of the beauty of life-moments of growth and understanding. Realizing what a privilege it is to be the one staying put. To be the one watching and waiting, experiencing all the comings and goings from my front door.

…always

The wind blows
A sturdy tree
Leaves dance
Branches wave
As if to say,
Come with me!
Like a mom
Calling to her child
Run to me!
I will catch you
The wind will
Carry us away


Where will it take us?
I do not know
But we will go together
Our very own adventure
How long will we be gone?
I do not know
Only time will tell
Minutes, hours, days
One thing is certain
Each journey will
Stay with us
For a lifetime

As the steadfast tree
Continues to call
Waving branches
And dancing leaves
Waiting to embrace
And carry me away
I also stand
With open arms
Ready to embrace you
To share another journey
Wherever the wind
Carries us…always

For Robert & Erin, Rachel, and Ryan~The reasons I love being a mom. ❤

For My Dad

My dad loves classic country music. Growing up, we would always listen to The Grand Ole Opry on AM radio, static and all. Sometimes, it would drive me crazy but thinking about it now makes me smile.

He also had quite a collection of 8 track tapes, all country, that we would listen to in his truck. Charlie Pride, Charlie Rich, Loretta Lynn, and Conway Twitty were some of his favorites. And though I don’t currently listen much to country music, I loved listening to it back then.

That love stemmed from two things. First, it was, and still is, great music. But more importantly, it was my dad’s music. And for that reason, it will continue to influence my life.

Music has so much variety, so many genres. Each new style influenced by the previous. Whether I like them all or not, I can appreciate them for their place in music history.

I have recently shared some recordings of myself playing favorites on the piano. They’ve included some Classical Scarlatti, Romantic Brahms, hymns and James Taylor. Honestly, no country songs crossed my mind…until now.

My mom called after listening to my latest recording. We chatted for a few minutes. As we were about to say goodbye, I could hear my dad in the background. My mom chuckled and said, “Dad says you need to record his favorite song.”

So, what is his favorite song? It is a piano solo recorded by country musician Floyd Cramer in 1960. If my dad ever has a music request for me, it is that song. I learned to play it years ago.

Why had I not thought to record this song already? I do not know.

Here ya go, Dad! ❤

Last Date

Before I Forget

Remembering
Simpler times
Long days
When a bike ride
Meant singing
In full voice
Unaware of
Quiet melodies
From birds
Hiding in tall
Shade trees that
Lined the path
A time when
Playing outside
Included music
Blaring from a
Spirit of ’76
Transistor radio
The perfect
Soundtrack for my
Nine-year-old life
Remembering
Simpler times
Long days
Memories that
Surely fade
As years pass-Now,
Written down to
Bring a smile
Before I forget