Brushstrokes

Skillfully painted
Across the sky
Filling time
And space
One after another
Some clearly
Defined
Like the bright
Blue of a happy
Childhood day
Others, fuzzy
Around the edges
Like the moody purple
Of teenage angst
With every color
And shade
In between
Defined or blurred
Each opens a door
To recollections
Of the past
Or dreams
For the future
Joy and sorrow
Love and loss
Life and death
Each painting
Their own part
In the big picture

Transformations

I’ve never given deep thought to the life cycle of a butterfly. Besides children’s books and craft projects, that is. A tiny egg, a growing caterpillar, and a beautiful butterfly. It sounds simple, especially when mapped out with cotton balls, popsicle sticks, and coffee filters.

But none of those descriptions mention the chrysalis or what happens inside. The transformation is anything but simple. It is hard and sometimes painful. Near-perfect conditions are required for the butterfly to be released.

This week, saying goodbye to my dad, I was reminded of the shell left behind. It held so much life. Protected the spirit and soul of its occupant. And when the time came, allowed its release.

Death is part of life. I know that. And my dad lived his to the fullest, good times and bad. Health conditions over the past few years caused him to slow down. Challenging for someone who spent their life building things.

Instead of swinging a hammer, he would cook dinner for kids at church. Instead of traveling on mission trips, he would encourage friends thru phone calls. He did not complain. And most of all, he enjoyed his life with my mom. Picnics by the lake, coffee, cookies in the evenings, doctor appointments…life.

His sweet soul is no longer with us. It has been released. My faith tells me he is with God. And though that brings comfort, I selfishly wish he was still with us. The missing is hard. I suppose it is a part of my transformation…

A Perfect Day

Clean haircut
Refreshing
Especially after
More than a week
Of laying in
A hospital bed
Pleasant drive
Past the lake
And back
Sweetheart
By his side
Drive-thru
Grilled
Chicken
Salad
Unsweet tea
Sweetly
Predictable
Quiet evening
At home
Thankful
To be there
Watching
Grand Ole Opry
On the T.V.
One of his
Favorites
Stayed awake
Past ten o’clock
Sweetly
Unusual
A perfect
Last day
This side
Of heaven
For a quiet
Man of faith
Who could not
Possibly know
The far reaches
Of his influence

I thought I heard his voice yesterday. Keep waiting for him to walk down the hallway or see him standing in the kitchen. Wishing he was sitting in his chair instead of me. I know he’s no longer here, but my heart won’t let me stop looking.

My dad worked hard his whole life. His rough hands offered proof. Health issues these past few years forced him to slow down. No more hammers, nails, lumber, or ladders. I know it was hard for him at times. But he rarely complained. Even when reminded to use his cane for balance, to wear his hearing aids, or asked where his glasses were.

There is so much to remember. So much to share. But today, I am thinking about the last day. It was a good one. ❤️

Simply Sunday

Let Me Out

Plan in place
Appointment
Scheduled
Released
Set free
Headed
Home
Freedom
Sleep
In your
Own bed
Happy
Relieved
Thankful
One day
At a time

After more than a week in the hospital, my sweet dad was released this afternoon. They let me out! He called me from the car. Told me exactly what road they were on. Said they would be home after a quick stop at the pharmacy.

His case is complicated. So many factors. But today, we are grateful for a plan that allowed him to go home. I hope to visit very soon. ❤️

Chances Are

You have heard
Thought not
Often enough

That what you
Do every day
Matters
Teaching little minds
Touching little hearts
Guiding little souls
Influencing the next
Generation for
The better-
But today
I want to say
It is you who matters
Your mind
Your heart
Your soul
Whether shouted
From the rooftops
Or whispered
On the breeze
My hope is that
On this day
This truth
Covers your
Every fear
Every hope
And renews
Your heart

Yesterday was my last day at school. My heart is overflowing. So many sweet notes and hugs. There remains much to reflect on after teaching these many years. Time…

I wrote this as a goodbye and an encouragement for my school friends and colleagues. Maybe someone else needs to hear the same message. ❤️

Little Things

Tomorrow is my last day at school. My desk is covered with sweet notes and drawings. So many emotions…thoughts feel muddled before I even write them down. But I’m going to give it a try!

Yesterday, two fourth-grade boys brought me handmade Freddie and Eli puppets to take home.

This morning, a third-grade girl gave me a tiny handmade envelope. Open it! A miniature note was tucked inside. ❤️

Several friends in one class came prepared, each with carefully folded Kleenex. 😢

This afternoon, I noticed one of my first-grade students reaching for me and motioned her to come over. She gave me a hug. I told her I was going to miss her.

This student is so quiet. It occurred to me that I had never heard her speak. I would love to hear your sweet voice.

She looked up with her big brown eyes-I miss you. Talk about melting my heart. 🥰

It really is the little things.

Simply Sunday

Choosing Thankful

So many things I take for granted.
Today, I am embracing the simple.
Thankful that the sun is shining.
Thankful that the breeze is crisp.
Thankful for the ability to talk on the phone.
Hearing my dad, You will always be my little girl.
Hearing my mom, I am ok. We will trust God to take care of us.
Dad is in the hospital in Arkansas.
Mom is there with him.
I am at home in Oklahoma.
Such is this life. And that is ok.

Rollercoasters

Standing in line
Waiting for
The imminent
Rollercoaster
Of emotions
I can feel
A low rumble
As my seat
Approaches
Slowing down
Just enough
For me to jump in-
Change is like that
Even when good
Even when needed
Tears will flow
Goodbyes
Will be said
But connections
Are stronger
Than goodbyes
And tears
A result of
The connections

Next week is my last week at school. I have already told my students. There were some tears but also excitement for their new teacher. She will be with us all next week to create a smooth transition.

I received some sweet notes. Also, a journal and some chocolate. 😊 I know there will be more tears…myself included. But we will play, sing, and hug, lots of hugs.

There is a book I plan to read to my classes. The Invisible String by Patrice Karst. It is a beautiful reminder of the power of love and how it connects all of us. Then I will start my new adventure as they continue theirs. And even though I do not like rollercoasters, I am trusting it will be a good week. ❤️

Do You Remember?

Thinking in terms
Of my life story
At this moment
Feels a bit
Daunting
Contemplating
What I know
And wish I knew
About my own
Grandmothers
Naturally shifts
My perspective
So much more
They could have
Would have said
Given more time
Asked more questions-
Motivation to
Open the book
Begin writing
One word
One sentence
One memory
One song
At a time

Row Your Boat, arrangement The Piano Guys, Kelley Morris, piano
All Good, The Piano Guys, Kelley Morris, piano

Christmas Gifts

Another year
To celebrate
Family
Friends
Goodwill
And cheer
Mercy
Grace
Forgiveness
And hope
A precious gift
Tiny baby born
Lying in a manger
Sleeping among
The animals
Listening to
The Lullaby
Of angels

When I consider Christmas past, some gifts stand out. The jewelry box from mom and dad that was also a music box! Dolls of the World from my Aunt Sharon. A voice print of my kids saying Mama from Gart. How my Granny Mahar always had a gift for each of her twenty-six grandchildren. ❤️

Great or small, each gift was given in love. And each giver holds a place in my heart.

I’ve been called sentimental more than once. There’s no denying it. But the older I get, the more my sentiments rest on people, not on things. Each memory is a gift held in the heart. Tied together by an unending ribbon of affection, six-inch curls in between. 😉

Silent Night, arranged by Phillip Everen Kelley Morris, piano

Christmas Time is Here by Vince Guaraldi Kelley Morris, piano

Merry Christmas!