Measuring Life

We try and try to
Measure our lives
Days, weeks, months, years
The number of seasons
We travel can never
Accurately measure
Our existence
What matters most
Is often invisible
Harder to quantify-
The full impact realized,
After physical days
Have long passed
If only our hearts
Could be weighed
An appraisal revealing
The constant flow
Of life-giving air
Transformed into
Actions of love-
Actions of love
Breathing
Life-giving air-
Leaving the heart full
But never heavy
Always overflowing
Impossible to measure

I suppose there is something about being in quarantine that makes me think more about time. Particularly being quarantined as a new year begins. But it is ok. As my Mom recently said, “Looking forward to better days!” 🙂 ❤

Time in a Bottle ~ Kelley Morris, piano

Deciding

Rain fell all night long.
Very little ebb and flow
A steady downpour
Almost angry at times
Or maybe that was me.
Awakened once again
From restless sleep
Thinking how the rain
Must be trying to
Wash away the year
Ridding the landscape
Of any remaining
Seeds of hatred
Before they can
Take root in the soil.
Or perhaps the rain is
Offering to carry away
The sorrows of the year
At least for a moment
A comforting thought
As I finally decide to
Give up on sleep
And listen closely
Its anger seems to
Have disappeared
Mine as well
Ready to welcome
The new year
With an open heart

Rainy with a Chance of Hope

Rain poured all night long. Thunderstorms make for sound sleep, but not this kind of rain. Sounded more like a flood.

I woke up several times during the night. Yep, it’s still raining. Made me feel restless.

When I finally decided to crawl out of bed and get my coffee, the sky was dark and gray. Still raining.

No lazing around. My husband and I had appointments for COVID tests this morning. Not exactly how I would have chosen to start the day, but necessary. (Feeling fine. 🙂 I will update later.)

About the time I was dressed, he said, “Look outside. It’s snowing!” Heavy white flakes were beginning to mix with the pouring rain. By the time we reached our test site, the precipitation had changed. No more rain. Just beautiful fluffy snowflakes!

I watched in awe of this lovely gift! I could feel a change in my spirit as the rain changed to snow- a perfect picture of this year that is about to end.

Yes, there has been much heartache. But there is still hope. And today, it comes in the form of countless snowflakes, each an original, falling from the sky to blanket the world outside.

Part of the Harmony

I have not spent enough time at my piano in recent weeks. So this week, I decided to remedy that. With it being Christmas time, what to play was an easy choice.

As I played through several old Christmas hymns, the word balance kept coming to mind. No matter the context, there are always notes, voices, instruments, rhythms that need to be heard above the rest. And quite often, that spotlight is shared, giving others a chance to be heard.

Even though one voice might not be the momentary focus, it remains essential to the music. Where would that melody be without harmony? Or that jazz riff without the brushes of the drum floating behind it?

When I sat down to play this morning, I began by playing the hymns as written. Though tempting, I did not add any embellishments. My goal was to play so that the melody rang out clearly, while the harmony provided support.

After reading the music as written, I went back and added new rhythms, patterns, harmonies while keeping the melody clear. Both versions required the same thing-balance.

I have said this before, but the only time my brain is calm is while I am playing the piano. Somehow, it provides an inner balance. There is that word again. Outside voices are quieted. Worries of the day temporarily disappear.

Music reminds me that I do not need to raise my voice above the crowds. Although I may have something important to say, unless it is balanced with love for those in hearing range, I should probably remain part of the harmony.

Harmony-that is my prayer for this Christmas. For there to be less shouting and more listening. That we may experience joy amid our sadness. And hope that outweighs our fears. Merry Christmas!

Please enjoy a few Christmas carols! ❤ Kelley Morris, piano

What Child is This?
I Heard the Bells on Christmas Dat
Come Thou Long Expected Jesus
Hark the Herald Angels Sing

Thanksgiving Prayer

My heart is seeking
A place of safety
Not to hide
But to sing
At first, quietly
To myself
Until joy that
Runs deep
Becomes
Overflowing
Gladness, and
I can sing
Out loud
With confidence
Hearing my voice
As it mingles
With others
Looking not to
Stir up conflict
Instead, pursuing
Lasting peace…
My heart left full…
Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving will look very different for most of us this year. Mine will be nothing like those of my childhood. At least forty people gathered in my Grandparents’ small house. Everyone would fill their plate and look for a place to sit. It really didn’t matter if it was a chair or a spot on the floor. Even outside on the porch if the weather was nice. All that mattered was being together.

Although those times are long past, the memories are forever inscribed on my heart. I always look back with a smile, grateful for my growing up years.

But there is no denying the difficulties this year brings.
It is my hope we can find ways to express thanks while also acknowledging those difficulties-joy mixed with our sorrow.

Sincerely wishing you all a Happy Thanksgiving! ❤

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

Dreams

Yellowstone National Park
Midway Geyser Basin Trail

Disappointment
Has the power
To freeze
Each fiber of
Imagination

Once faced
And released
Fears melt away
Leaving behind
A clean slate,
A catalyst
For growth

Taking a step
Back-viewing
The world with
Fresh eyes
Brings a new
Appreciation

Creativity
Awakens
Stirring
Both mind
And soul
Reigniting
Dreams

Missing Pieces

At the beginning of quarantine, we worked a couple of jigsaw puzzles at our house. A way to pass the time while keeping the brain working. It is always interesting to me to watch how tiny pieces fit together to create one big picture.

The pieces all have different colors and shapes. Each one with its own place. Only fitting together with those directly surrounding. The togetherness grows exponentially. However, if there is just one missing piece, the picture is incomplete. So frustrating.

Each of us is born into a picture. With a family that will love us and helps us grow. Sadly, that is not always the case. And the missing pieces often leave big holes.

Children especially have a difficult time finding their place when these pieces are missing. They do not understand. Whether withdrawing or acting out, they are seeking control. This is sometimes hard to remember as a teacher.

Yesterday, I reacted to certain behaviors with little thought to what was behind them. They were frustrated. I was frustrated. I kept thinking, “If only these friends would listen and follow directions like everyone else!”

This morning, I woke up thinking about those friends. I wanted to find a way to improve the situation. Find a way to encourage appropriate behavior and participation. After all, music class is supposed to be fun!

But how? One word came to mind-connections. I know that is the key. Sometimes I just need a reminder.

Today, I worked on those connections. In the process, I discovered some of the missing pieces. The death of a parent, negative influences from older siblings, family instability. These little ones are dealing with big emotions and don’t know why or how to express them.

Our time together was brief. Leaving me with more questions than answers. However, there was also a glimmer of hope. Little faces, often angry, smiling just a bit. Showing a desire to do the right thing. Even if only able for a limited amount of time.

There is no way for me to fill in those missing pieces. They are irreplaceable. All I can do is recognize and acknowledge. But maybe the edges can be blurred, and a new picture of belonging will emerge. Causing the frustrations of the missing pieces to fade.

The Way I Saw It

The past few mornings have been rainy. It’s difficult to wake up and get moving when the sky is so gray. But yesterday morning, though rain still fell, had a different appearance.

Looking outside, I noticed the sky looked strange. The view out the back door was still mostly gray, but with an odd hint of pink. Looking out the front window showed the sun trying to shine through the rain. My first thought-I bet there is a rainbow.

So, I walked outside, and sure enough, there it was, a beautiful rainbow, the full arch, from one corner of the sky to the next. Little drops of rain fell on me as I took in its beauty. And then, of course, I had to snap a few pictures.

My eyes saw each color of the rainbow. Clear and bright. But when I looked at my photo, something was wrong. Still beautiful, but the colors seemed muted. Not what my mind remembered from just a few moments earlier.

I immediately began to edit my photo. Don’t you love those filters? But this took a lot of adjustments. I played with light, contrast, shadow, etc. Finally, I had a picture that represented what I had witnessed.

Why was it so important for me to change the original picture?
Seeing that rainbow brought a moment of beauty and peace during difficult days. And by sharing my photo, I hoped to share that experience. Maybe someone else needed that same kind of moment.

Which photo best represents what I actually saw? In my mind, it is the second. But logically, I know it is probably something in between the two. Maybe the second one is more representative of how I felt. Either way, that’s the way I saw it. And I think there’s a lesson in there somewhere… 🙂

Temporary Gray

The earth still spins
As the rain falls
On this new day

Looking only at me
Leads to apprehension
For today’s troubles
A clouded perspective
Heavy and gray
Veiled like the sun

It is difficult to
See the potential
For good…for love

But looking upward first
And then outward
Taking my eyes off of me
Allows powerful light
To brighten this
Gloomiest of days

Assurance of hope
Shining even in
The temporary gray

Oh it’s so hard to see

When my eyes are on me

-Keith Green “Make My Life a Prayer to You”

“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” John 1:5