Raising Your Hand-A letter to my former student

I will never forget the first time I saw you, my new student. You hobbled sideways down the hall. Balance so bad, I was sure you would fall. Yet, you had learned the quickest way to get around or getaway!

One of your arms had to be amputated when you were a baby. Your vision and hearing were impaired. I cried at the thought of being your teacher.

I am not proud of my initial reaction. But I had no idea where to begin, how to connect. And no idea how you or I would manage with the other students in my classroom. As is so often the case, you became the teacher.

Oh, it was far from easy. Working to discover what you understood, what you wanted or needed. Sometimes it was trial and error, but you would not allow anyone to give up. And though you were often frustrated, your happy moments were life-changing.

One, in particular, is forever etched on my heart.

Our class was fortunate to have a college student volunteer in our room weekly. He was tall and quiet, and the students loved him. He would push them high in the swings on the playground.

One day, as the students were lining up to come in from recess, something interesting happened. Our young college friend was picking each student up so they could touch the ceiling where they stood. Each one excitedly waited for their turn. Each one reached up as if they were reaching the sky. It was a precious sight.

And then I saw you, my new friend. You were hobbling sideways up the grassy slope as fast as you possibly could move. Making your way up the sidewalk, fully aware of what was happening in that line.

You jumped up and down in front of our college friend, raising your one hand high in the air. There may not have been any words, but you were clearly saying, “My turn! Pick me up now. I want to touch that ceiling.” So, he did. And I have never heard such sounds of pure joy in my life.

I often wonder what happened to you. Even then, I worried about what your future would hold. I hope you are safe and well. You taught me so much in the short time I knew you.

Simply Sunday

The Adventure

“Well, we made it! I have no idea how you got me here, but here we are.” I laughed at my mother-in-law’s comment as I dropped her off at the airport. “I’m not sure either.”

I have driven to the airport many times. However, this was my first time since we moved. The route was completely different from the one I had known for the previous fifteen years.

I do not have a strong innate sense of direction. Nor have I spent time improving my directional skills. I am a visual learner and tend to find landmarks helpful. But if you tell me to turn north, south, east, or west, I will almost certainly get lost. Or at the least, a little confused.

When going someplace new, the maps program on my phone is a reliable friend. Enter the address, tap Go, start driving. (Exactly how we got to the airport.) 😉 Not only is there a visual guide, but audio instructions are also available.

Am I on a journey? Yes! Is there an eventual destination? Definitely! But if I focus only on the directions and stopping point, I just might miss the adventure!

Peaceful Resolution

My mind
Can hardly
Separate
The words
From melody
Notes rising
And falling…one
After the other
In seasons of distress and grief
Can you hear it?
I silently sing
The phrase
As I write-
Many times
It has entered
My thoughts
Unannounced…
Waiting for
A phone call
Sitting in a
Hospital room
Driving to
A funeral…
The music repeats
Easing tension
On the last note
The last word
Of the new phrase
My soul has often found relief
Listen closely
A peaceful
Resolution
Sweet hour of prayer

Sweet Hour of Prayer Kelley Morris, piano

Growing Up

My husband likes to tell people I was raised in a commune. I was not. I suppose, however, that a simple description could be misinterpreted. Let’s see.

Picture a two-lane country highway winding through small towns. Between two of those towns, turn onto a narrow paved road with thick trees lining both sides. Drive about a quarter of a mile until you see a clearing. My house was the first on the left.

Here is the unusual part. My grandparents’ house was in the center. And at any time over the last fifty-plus years, between four and six of their nine children lived nearby. Not a typical neighborhood with straight streets and cull de sacs. More like a valley. When standing in the middle, you could see almost everyone’s home.

Of course, we were free to come and go as we pleased. 😉 And though I left at the wise-old age of seventeen, there is no other place I would have wished to grow up.

Growing up there meant family. It meant security. And no, it was not a peaceful utopia. There were disagreements. But none that could not be solved over a cup of coffee or a few days of staying home.

My mom also grew up there, though, during her childhood, there were more forests for exploring. And with nine children, they needed the space to roam. The original house was small, with only two bedrooms and an outhouse.

I have heard stories of sleeping sideways on the bed, lots of giggling and being scared to go outside at night. Mom remembers as a small child when men came to dig a hole for their first electricity pole.

As you can imagine, they were hard workers. Whether planting in the field or washing clothes on a scrub board, there were always chores to be done. But there was also always fun to be had.

Some days, her dad would come home with a pocket full of penny candy. Enough for everyone. On Fridays, they would have chili dogs and ice cream. Can you imagine dividing a carton of ice cream for nine children? They would open the entire carton and cut it into equal squares.

My mom is now in her seventies. Four of the siblings (including my mom and dad), some grandkids, and great-grandkids live in the clearing today. Only one of her siblings, her oldest sister, Pearl, is no longer living.

Mom recently shared some thoughts that touched me. She described being overcome with emotion thinking of how hard her mom worked to make sure the kids had fun times. She was so young herself; it could not have been easy. Mom said the older she gets, the greater her appreciation for her mom grows. I think I am beginning to understand…

From the Birds

I watch the birds
Flitting around
In my backyard
Each one hatched
From its own egg
With no choice
In the hue of
Its feathers
Or location
Of its nest
Each flying free
Singing a melody
Taking a turn
At the feeders
Happily sharing
Tree branches-
Perhaps there is
A lesson in
Their song
Their flight
Their feathers
A brilliant
Display of beauty
Found in diversity-
I think they are wise,
Those birds-
Not a single one
More important
Than the other

Blackbird by Paul McCartney and John Lennon Kelley Morris, piano

Raindrops and Sunshine

I love those
Rare moments
Where sun
And rain
Merge
Droplets
Twinkling
In sunlight
Dreamlike
Moments
Happening
Before you
Realize what’s
Happening
Moments
Easy to miss
If only focused
On stormy
Gray clouds
Moments
Lasting only for
A short time
And also for
A lifetime-
Raindrops
Cooling
My skin
Sunshine
Warming
My face

Spaces

Certain spaces
In this life
Feel empty
Certain spaces
In this life
Look dark
Even though
They are not-
Not completely-
Each of us
Fills the moments
Of our days
Each of us
Fills the span
Of our years
No matter
The length
Of said spaces
Even when
We are alone
Light remains-
Your light
May seem faint
For a time…wait
Allow me
To see it
And together
Our days
Will be brighter
Our years
Fulfilled

Yesterday was the last day of school. The last day of school for a tough year. Teaching and attending during a pandemic created challenges we continue to process.

Certain times of the year felt dark, frustrating. But as time went on, stresses seemed to lift a little at a time. We accepted our new normal and continued to do what we do.

As school ended yesterday, I was not prepared for the tears from students. Uncontrollable crying over the idea of leaving their current teachers.

Teacher friends, don’t ever doubt the influence of your light in the classroom. Even while dealing with our own concerns and fears, students saw lighthouses in the storm.

Now it is time to rest. Time to reflect. Time to stoke the remaining embers and prepare to see those faces smiling back at us in August!

Happy Summer! ❤

Each Single Spark

Wood neatly stacked
Chilly night air
The lighting
Of the fire
Perfection
First warms
My hands
Then turns
Into a game
Stand with
My backside
As close
As possible
To the flames
As long
As possible
Before running
Back to my seat
Feel the warmth
Spreading thru
My entire body
As I quickly
Sit down-
Content
Gazing
At the flames
A single spark
Catches my eye
I watch until
It disappears
Into the night sky
When sleep comes
I think about
The brevity
Of this life-
Each single spark
Glowing until
It disappears

Mingling

Gentle breeze
Across my face
Carries hope
For a new day
Some days
My mind is stormy
Unable to focus
Thoughts
Jumping
From one
To the other
Lightning bolts
On the horizon
And yet, the storms
Pass with your
Witty words
Our laughter
Mingling with
The breeze
Kissing away
My fears

Twenty-eight years. Sounds like a long time. As far as anniversaries go, I am hoping for twenty-eight more. Through moves, job changes, raising children, illness, even deaths, there has always been laughter mingled with it all. Hardly a day goes by without it. I’m not sure if that’s our secret, but I don’t ever want to take it for granted.

I always say you rescued me. I suppose it worked both ways. All I know is that I’m glad you didn’t let my putting a hand in your face deter you from trying again. 😘

Happy Anniversary! ❤

Book Release!

I am excited to share the release date for my first published poetry collection!

The eBook is available now for pre-order. http://mybook.to/madeofglass

It has been a pleasure working with River Dixon of https://thestoriesinbetween.com/ and https://pottersgrovepress.com/.

River is professional and easy to work with, but also creative, insightful, and encouraging.

I am grateful for all of his assistance in making this dream a reality.

Whatever your goal in writing, don’t give up. Keep working and searching for outlets to share your words. Anything is possible! ❤