One footprint Great or small Shallow or deep Creating a pause Within each step Each space Left behind Able to catch Raindrops From a cloud Following Overhead Or teardrops From a friend Following Close behind And within This catching Of rain and tears Lives freedom To release A drop of grace With every step A drop of grace To meet each Follower Cloud or friend With this message- I know you are there I won’t leave you behind
Once again, sharing poems from the writing circle. I continue to be grateful for this experience. Can’t believe it’s been three years! Thank you, Ali, http://flashlightbatteries.blog for creating this beautiful space. ❤️
Can you imagine? Camping in the woods Red-orange glow Of the campfire Smell of smoke Sleeping in a tent So serene…until Seven little girls Bathing in a Small tin tub On top of a Wooden picnic table Enter the picture- Warm water carefully Poured over each Little head The night air Filled with giggles As they dry off In front of the fire- Maybe not so serene Except for the Sweet dreams Of sleepy headed Children after A busy day Exploring The wonders Of the wild woods
A Little Longer
I seem to be Spending More time Inside my heart These days Blocking out The noisy world Ignoring my own Thoughts So as not To neglect A single memory of you- I know some Will fade With time But for now It is my heart That holds Each image Your quiet strength Your gentle smile Your sky-blue eyes It is a sacred job This holding So, I think I will remain Inside my heart Just a little longer
Felt like a stranger Looking in A window Confused by The actions Witnessed Tones detected Perceiving A cycle Of frustration Embarrassment Tears and Exhaustion Asking questions Inside my head What is wrong? Why so upset?
Felt like a stranger Looking in A window But I was not A stranger And I was not Looking in A window It was a mirror My reflection In the panes- A realization That left me Wondering Whether to take A step back Or lean in closer
Admitting feelings of anxiety and depression is not always easy. And even harder to explain. This poem is an attempt to describe that feeling of being outside myself. Knowing my actions and feelings don’t make sense, but having difficulty controlling them.
I share because someone reading may need to know they are not alone. And simply put, it helps me accept my reflection with a bit more grace and understanding. ❤️
Taking responsibility for our actions is not always easy. A lesson that often needs repeating. A reminder from someone else’s example, perhaps.
The week before Christmas break at school is challenging. Emotions flowing between teachers, staff, and students cover the whole spectrum. No matter how many times we experience this phenomenon, it manages to sneak upon us.
Such was my experience with kindergarten this week…
My classroom management skills are good. But this day, the combination of tired, grumpy, and excited (me and the students 😉) took over. Class ended on a frustrating note.
The next day, one of my little friends saw me at lunch.
Mrs. Morris, I made you something. It’s in my classroom. Something to make you happy!
That afternoon, I received five apology notes. ❤️
May we all remember to say those three little words whenever necessary. And may we receive them with grace and understanding whenever offered.
Today is day one of year fifty-three! How is that possible? And my oldest son, who was born on my birthday, turns 26!
Teaching school on your birthday means lots of kids asking, “How old are you?” I always make the older ones do the math. But if youngers ask, I just tell them.
Their reactions are precious! And good for my self-esteem. At least one will say, “Oh, you look a lot younger than that!” 😉 Of course today, one also mentioned that 53 was almost 100!
Birthdays are a time for celebrating and reflecting. And I have definitely felt celebrated! I suppose this poem is my reflection. ❤
Some days I am Tempted to dig Holes deep in The ground Deep enough To bury regrets Yet, experience Teaches that will Only leave behind A landscape marred By mounds of guilt- Perhaps planting Would be a better Choice than burying- Sowing seeds Of encouragement Instead of judgment Acceptance instead Of comparisons Recognizing that Each of us has Holes we could dig Regrets we could bury But we also have The power to help Fill ones scooped Out by others Tending a landscape Covered by the beauty of Love and understanding
Last week a piano technician came and tuned my new piano. Even though it is a beautiful new instrument, there are several reasons it needed tuning. Being moved to a new location. Sitting in a different space, with different temperatures, on a different type of floor. All factors that affect the way it sounds.
I listened as the technician worked. She listened to such tiny details. The way she would tune one note to its octave counterpart. When I played those notes together in a chord, I didn’t notice that they were out of tune. But hearing her pick them all apart, it was obvious.
The mechanics of a piano are fascinating. My explanation to students is usually simplified. Your finger presses down the key, which causes a hammer inside the piano to strike a string producing the sound.
Watching my piano being taken apart, actually viewing the insides, gave me a new perspective. Each piece has its place and must be perfectly aligned to produce a high-quality sound. Even a new piano needs time to adjust and sometimes requires a little assistance.
One thing stood out above the rest, voicing. I asked the technician about adjusting the voicing, making it a little less bright. Basically, taking the edge off of the sound. She explained that part of that process involves the felt material on the hammers.
A needle is used to soften the felt. When done correctly, it does not damage the material. It just slightly changes the way the hammers strike the strings.
Once the piano was put back together, I sat down to play. Wow! What a difference. Not only was it in tune, but it also had a much warmer tone. The sharp edge had been softened.
This experience made me think about my life. What if I’m in a new place, with new surroundings, expectations, and people? What if my reaction is one of fear or frustration? My words may sound edgy, sharp, or out of tune.
Like the felt on those hammers, something inside me needs to be softened. An adjustment might come in the form of an honest word from a trusted friend. Yes, stings for a moment. But the sting will not last if accepted with grace. The knowledge that someone loves me that much, however, is lasting.
Hopefully, as I continue playing my piano, I will be reminded to check my own tone. And will gracefully accept any needed adjustments to keep me in-tune with my husband and children, family and friends, the world around me.
“As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.” Proverbs 27:17
Our current circumstances are filled with many unknowns.
There is a new virus spreading quickly. How long will it spread? I don’t know.
As a teacher, I will be planning for distance learning. What exactly will that look like? I don’t know.
I must stay at home. When will I be able to hug my extended family and friends again? I don’t know.
Upcoming travel plans have been canceled. When will they be rescheduled? I don’t know.
I don’t know about you, but I am getting tired of that phrase. 😉
I may be oversimplifying, but somehow admitting that I don’t know helps a little. It forces me to take a step back and breathe. To realize these circumstances are new to all of us.
Earlier today, I found myself feeling frustrated over some of these unknowns. The voice inside my head kept saying, “Just breathe.” Then I remembered an exercise I often have students do when it is time to regroup and focus.
Breathe in through your nose. 1, 2, 3, 4.
Breathe out through your mouth. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8.
Repeat as often as needed.
I just did the exercise twice. Yes, I know it is simple. But right now, simplicity is what we need. At least, it is what I need.
So, what else is on my simple list? Coffee, music, texts, and phone calls are near the top. Zoom and FaceTime are also on the list. But grace and love are at the very top.
As I breathe out my frustrations, I breathe in the need to show grace. And showing grace is an expression of love. And I don’t know about you-sorry, there it is again-I need all the love and grace I can get right now. Especially during this time of unknowns.
“Anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up.” Proverbs 12:25
“But I will sing of your strength, in the morning I will sing of your love; for you are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble.” Psalm 59:16
“When darkness seems to hide His face, I rest on His unchanging grace. In every high and stormy gale, my anchor holds within the veil.”
Words from a hymn I’ve known since childhood. Words I’ve heard twice this week in a newer version of the song. The rhythms and melodies were new, but the words remained the same. A combination that evoked a much-needed sense of peace and rest.
The first hearing brought back memories. The second hearing brought the realization of just how much I needed to remember.
Yesterday, I received my second steroid spinal injection. I’m happy to report no fainting this time. Whew! However, it left me feeling anxious and restless. And though extremely tired, unable to sleep.
My evening became a cycle of panic, no sleep, and tears. The thought of my 5:30 A.M. alarm loomed. Followed closely by the thought of teaching school after only three-four hours of sleep. All I could think was, extra coffee!
My morning classes were surprisingly successful! Time with students and teacher friends seemed to help my energy increase. Even my fifth-grade class after lunch was acceptable. 😉
But then, my energy began to fade. I could feel myself hitting a wall. How in the world would I make it through physical therapy after school? For a few seconds, I considered canceling. After all, I just had that injection yesterday. Surely they would understand.
But when I got in my car, there was that hymn again. I smiled and began to sing along. On this second hearing, a new phrase stood out; “Weak made strong, in the Savior’s love.”
So I headed to physical therapy, my energy starting to return. A bottle of water and a protein snack pack may have helped a little. It helped my body anyway. But it was the music that lifted my spirit.
Therapy left me with a feeling of restored purpose. And though I walked away tired, it was a good tired. A tired that reminded me of the importance of taking care of my physical body.
All of this from the simple words of a new/old hymn. A hymn I heard twice in one week. Reminders of love, strength, and grace. Old words combined with new music to provide just what I needed.
Have you ever felt stuck? You take a step, suddenly realizing it was the wrong step to take. I remember having that literal experience once as a kid. My cousins and I were playing kickball, a common activity when we were together. Someone kicked the ball into a ditch, and I went to get it. The minute my foot sank into the mud, I knew I was stuck.
For a brief moment, I felt a sense of panic. It seems a bit ridiculous looking back now. What could possibly have happened? Maybe I’d seen too many television portrayals of people sinking into quicksand. You know the ones. A bystander yelling at the would-be victim to be calm and still, yet panic sets in and they proceed to sink until their hand finally disappears.
All I needed to do was stand still and call for help. And of course, help came. With a group of cousins around, I certainly was not alone. One of them assisted with pulling my foot out of the mud. The only casualty that day was my tennis shoe.
Many steps taken in this life are much less literal, yet come with much more significant consequences. So what happens when a step is misguided or poorly chosen? Certain decisions in my teen and young adult years left me feeling trapped, afraid my life was messed up permanently. Regret and guilt crept in, causing me to feel like I was sinking further down in the mud.
Thankfully I eventually discovered ways to counter those fears. Simply choosing to be still, although difficult, was a start. If I could just wait instead of panic, maybe another bad decision would be avoided. Next, it was time to call for help. That help came in different forms. A prayer, a simple phone call to a friend or family member-often both.
“Casting the whole of your care (all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all) on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully.” I Peter 5:7
“…but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” Proverbs 18:24
A friendly listening ear often guided me toward a fresh perspective. There was not always an easy or instant answer, and that was sometimes hard to accept. Yet in spite of unavoidable consequences, with some guidance and faith, I was able to take a step in a new direction, no longer feeling stuck in the mud.