Precious Boy

Nothing compares with the contagious laughter of a child. The kind that brings tears because it can’t be stopped. One of my first-grade friends recently demonstrated this phenomenon.

He is always smiling. When I see him in the hallway, in the music room, getting in the car with his mom to go home. Such a sweet boy.

Those with an honest laugh also have a sincere cry…

Today in music class, students sang a song about Thanksgiving. I then asked, What are you thankful for? Such sweet answers. My family, friends, brother, sister, grandma, and on and on. Almost all of them mentioned a family member.

This friend was no exception. He said he was thankful for his mom. I immediately pictured him running to his car every afternoon. Always wearing that big smile.

We ended class by watching and listening to a song about Thanksgiving. I wouldn’t say it is a sad song, but sweet. When the song ended, I teased the class.

You guys haven’t asked me what I’m thankful for!

What are you thankful for, Mrs. Morris?

You guys!

I followed this with a comment about their sweet smiles. And then I mentioned my one friend’s contagious smile and laugh. It was time to line up. I noticed he had a funny look on his face, eyes downcast. So, I asked what was wrong.

Tears began to flow. While the others lined up, I knelt to talk with him.

My sister died. When she was little.

Oh, honey, I am so sorry.

I told him how special it was that he remembered her in his heart.

Precious boy. I will not soon forget his laughter or his tears. ❤️

Disclosure

Yesterday
My steps
Were heavy
Even the ones
Taking me
Where
I wanted
To go
Precious feet
Walked beside
In the sunlight
Of a clear
Fall day
Splashes
Of color
Painting
Our paths
Until the light
Slipped away
And heaviness
Completely
Draped
Demanding
To be named
Before sleep
Could come-
Now morning,
Fragments
Remain-
But I smile
At the beautiful
Pink sunrise

I have not written about depression lately. But honesty is my goal. And sometimes, admitting how I feel is the first step to feeling better. I love the fall colors and cooler temps. But when sunsets come earlier and cloudy days are multiplied, struggle sets in.

I am thankful for friends and family who understand and remind me it is ok.

The photo was actually taken a year ago. Matched today perfectly.

Tug of War

Parading around
In costumes
Recognizable
Masks
Distracting me
From the struggle
Taking root
In my soul
Feelings
Can be sneaky
That way

Tricksters thriving
On energy
Expended in a
Tug of War
That leaves
Me trying
To pull the rope
From both ends
There will never
Be a winner
Only the need
To let go
Of the rope
Even if
It means
Falling
In the mud

I often talk about poetry being therapeutic. This poem is a perfect example. It did not provide answers to the questions on my mind. However, writing the words down provided some tension relief. It also reminded me I don’t have to have all the answers right at this moment. Maybe you can relate. ☺️

More

Both familiar
And strange
How can this be?
Blonde hair
Streaks of gray
Blue eyes
Edged with lines
Same smile
Pretty much
My reflection
Is not all
I wish it was
Certain changes
Cause that
Familiar smile
To shrink
Until I look
Intently
Beyond
Temporary
Revealing
What resides
Within
Beauty
And ashes
Alike
Evidence
Of life’s
Experiences
Accumulated-
You are
More than
The reflection
Staring back at you

Two instances led to this reflection. The first one, a photograph. One in which I did not like the way I looked. At least, certain parts of me. The second, a comment from a student. I answered the question, What year were you born? 1967. The response-Then how in the world are you still alive?

That made me laugh. And then it made me smile. There is so much more to this life than how I look on any given day. And though I need to take better care of myself, the unseen will always be more important than the seen. So, in case you have any doubts-You are more! ❤️

Clipping Stitches

A simple
Solitary
Seed
Of doubt
Sewing stitches
Choking roots
Once confident
Threatening
Downward
Spiral
Second-guessing
Simplest decisions
Sense of dread
Starting
In the brain
Slowly shifts
Stomach
Tied in knots
Realization
Anxiety has
Once again
Crept in
Recognizing
Is step one
Clipping stitches
Step two
Freeing roots
To stretch
And grow
Crushing
The doubt
Regaining
Confidence

Whether the tiniest reason or no reason at all, anxiety just shows up some days. Sharing helps. You never know who may be able to relate. Be encouraged. ❤️

Good Company

Everything a chore
Getting dressed
Dishes, laundry
Talking, smiling
Each takes an
Effort beyond
The necessary
Every day is
Not this way
But today…
It is my reality
Trusting that
Giving voice
To the internal
Though difficult
Will bring relief
And if not for me
Possibly another
Not yet able to
Express their struggle-
Finding strength
In good company

This poem was an attempt to give words to a recent low period.
And though I am feeling better, I accept that it will not be my last. Such is this life. I share because it is so important to know we are not alone-even at our lowest. ❤

In Tune

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

Schumann Arabesque Opus 18. One of my favorite piano pieces. Only the beginning theme and the conclusion. ❤

Friendly Reminders

Now that school is out for summer, I look forward to many conversations over coffee with friends. I love the connections which begin and grow from this practice. They bring renewal in ways which often surprise me.

Sometimes they also bring friendly reminders. Here are a few much-needed ones I recently received.

  1. Perfection should never be my goal.
  2. Honesty in friendship is a necessity.
  3. Daily prayer provides daily renewal.

The first reminder concerned perfection, an ideal we are bombarded with on all fronts. You can be the perfect wife, mom, friend, teacher. Fill in the blank. That goal always leads to disappointment. Why? We are not flawless creatures. We do not live in a picture-perfect world.

Admitting our imperfections and hearing someone else say, “Me, too” is powerful. That one simple phrase takes away a small piece of the loneliness which often accompanies my inward thoughts. It provides a beginning, a binding with another heart.

The second friendly reminder was honesty. Truth, even spoken by a friend, is not always easy to receive. Just this week, a friend said to me, “I have to talk to you about something.” She went on to share observations about certain attitudes and my need for an adjustment. 😉

Although her words were difficult to hear, they brought a sense of relief. They took me back to the beginning realization-I am not perfect. And that is ok! I can, however, seek to be better.

Another friend reminded me of the importance of daily prayer. It holds the power to renew my mind, even when I don’t know what to pray. It also reminds me that God loves me in spite of my faults. And affirms my purpose at this moment, on this day.

As summer begins, my heart wants to soak in these beautiful reminders. I’m quite certain more reminders will be needed in the coming days. But for today, I am thankful for honest words from caring friends. And I will end this day with a prayer for rest and renewal.

“Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.” Psalm 139:23

Tomorrow is a new day! Grab a friend and a cup of coffee! ❤ ☕️