Morning News

I sit quietly
In my house
This morning
Drinking hot tea
Watching the morning news
Never having experienced the kind of fear
That would cause me to flee my home
Searching for a place of safety
A shelter under the ground
Where explosions above
That will destroy my home
And those of my friends and family
Cannot reach my children
I don’t know that kind of fear
Not fear of natural disasters
Unavoidable depending on location
But fear of weapons
Created by man
Neighbor against neighbor
Strong overtaking weak
Seeking what?
Power and greed
Seem the most common answers-
I sit quietly
In my house
This morning
Unable to erase the image
Of a precious little girl
On the morning news
Her big eyes filled with tears
Hiding underground
Unable to block
The sounds of bombs
Exploding on the surface
Perhaps I should not try
To erase her image
Instead, let it sear into my memory
Reminding me to pray for light
To find her in that dark place

A New Start

As the new year approaches, this is my prayer-embrace 2022 with strength, love, and compassion. Noticing the things that may seem insignificant at first. For quite often, those are the things that teach me the most. Happy New Year, Friends! ❤️🕊

Sharing Stories

What a seat
You’ve held
All these years
A quiet observer
As children
Skipped
Up and down
The road
With little
Thought
To their age
Or yours
You watched
As birds
Flittered by
Chuckled
When squirrels
Hopped on
And off
That inviting
Green carpet
Squirmed as
Lizards scurried
Underneath
Then out again
What adventures
You’ve had-
As I walked by
This morning
You caught
My eye
Made me smile-
Thanks for
Sharing
Your stories,
Old mossy rock

No Way to Travel

Painted lines
Mark the middle
Of the road
Move too fast
And the marks
Merge into one-
One long line
Moving me
Faster and faster
Down the road
Leaving
No time
For a pause
No time
For a breath
That is no way to travel!
The goal merely
Getting from
Beginning
To end
As quickly
As possible
Giving no mind
To the trees
Waving hello
To the birds
Singing their song
To another traveler
Holding out their hand
Waiting
To see if I will reach back

Gone Fishing

I have not thought about going fishing in a long time. As a child, I used to go all the time with my Dad. He still calls me his fishing buddy.

Today, all I could think about is the chance to go fishing again with my Dad.

He is currently in the hospital. A test this morning revealed an artery blockage and heart valve problem. So, he will be having open-heart surgery on Friday morning.

I am thankful for a job where I was able to just pick up and go. I needed to be with my parents. And when I called to tell Mom we were on our way, what do you think my Dad mentioned? Oh, yes-his fishing buddy.

I saw him this afternoon. He looks good. We talked about what was happening and how much better he will feel after recovery. And I told him, maybe this summer we would have to go fishing.

Simply Powerful

Power is often
Found in the simple
Expressions of love
In very few words
Because those are
The only words
Necessary-
Praying for peace
Held in love
Thinking this morning
Filled with courage-
Words from the
Hearts of others
Allowing themselves
To be givers
Of the calm
Their kindness
Pulling away
Anxiousness
Lifting me up
Carrying me
Reminding me how much
I am loved and cared for
Leaving a smile
On my face
A melody
In my heart

These past few weeks have been challenging. An MRI led to a biopsy which led to surgery. Yesterday, I had an excisional biopsy. The surgery went well. I am having very little pain and will spend a few days resting. Once again, we are waiting for the results.

I was very anxious the few days leading up to surgery, until the day before and the morning-of when messages began to pop up on my phone. Each one lifted another piece of the struggle. Each one reminded me that someone else cared.

Yesterday morning, I was overwhelmed with feelings of peace and calm. As I thought about it this morning, I realized many contributed to those feelings. They are still present today. And I know they will carry me through the waiting. ❤

Blue Mixed with Gray

We are experiencing unusual winter weather in Oklahoma this week. Frigid temperatures and freezing rain made for a slow drive this morning. I had an early morning appointment at the hospital.

When looking directly out of the front windshield, all seemed gray. Bare trees were covered in ice. Brown and white were mixed on the road from the sand. A layer of white covered the grass. The sky was filled with gray clouds.

Sounds like a dreary scene. And parts of it could be described that way. But there were also bits of wonder. The icy tree limbs brought thoughts of a winter wonderland. Evergreens with white tips provided a lovely visual, making the green stand out.

I looked up and around, giving more attention to the sky, and noticed something. There were tiny hints of blue mixed with the gray. I had to squint to see it, but it was there. The sky was not completely gray, after all.

Funny how life is sometimes that way…squinting to see the blue skies.

Our hospital trip today was for a biopsy/CT scan. A necessary though unwanted addendum to my recent MRI day. MRI Day

As I’ve said before, I’m grateful for good health care. But honestly, I was nervous about these tests.

That blue mixed in with the gray this morning was a perfect reminder of the realities of this life. Beautiful, sad, joyful, difficult…all of it meshed together. That is life.

As I began to feel the strength from those offering prayers on my behalf, I also realized my own prayers for peace had been answered. That answer came through those swaths of blue sky mixed in with the gray.

Storms

I am currently re-reading an old favorite, “Hinds’ Feet on High Places” by Hannah Hurnard. I love this allegory, especially the main character, Much-Afraid. This book was first introduced to me by my precious friend, Shannon.

Read her story here. ❤  Instant Friends

A specific passage caught my eye as I read this morning.

“…while the storm still furiously raged outside, there they were, sitting around a crackling fire, warming themselves and drying their sopping garments while they drank comforting hot cocoa and satisfied their hunger. Though the uproar of the tempest without was almost deafening and the hut shuddered and shook in every blast, yet inside was nothing but peace and thanksgiving and cheerful contentment.”

What a goal. To experience that kind of inner peace, no matter the storm outside.

I once heard someone say the following regarding life and storms. At any given time…

  • A storm is approaching
  • A storm is raging
  • A storm has passed

For me, it seems finding peace is most difficult when the storm is approaching. The clouds are far off in the distance, but it’s only a matter of time before it arrives. The “calm” can be thick with tension. Questions are constant. What if, what if, what if…

The time before the storm is when my anxiety builds. And then when the storm finally arrives, it fades. I just have to push through. That is when I realize I never really had any control anyway.

Although storms cause us to question, they seldom provide answers. They are sometimes accompanied by sorrow and suffering. But I must believe that the possibility of peace exists. Even when it is hard to find.

Each of us has to find our way through the storms. But we do not have to face them alone.

“Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me, for in you my soul takes refuge; in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge, till the storms of destruction pass by.” Psalm 57:1

Faces

Dear Friends,

This past week was our Spring Break from school. One whole week to relax and do whatever I wanted. Except, it really wasn’t. Yes, I was able to relax and spend time with family. But no coffee with friends, spring clothes shopping, last-minute trips out of town, etc.

I tried not to worry about establishing a new routine or what would happen in the weeks to come. But now it’s Saturday, and a new week is almost here. It is time to think ahead just a little.

This morning it hit me what I’m going to miss the most when Monday comes-faces. I see so many faces each day. Faces help us know how a person is feeling. We can see happiness, disappointment, struggle, or excitement with one single glance.

We can also receive what we need from the face of another. If I am the one showing sadness or struggling, a smile from another person is powerful. It shows that someone else sees me and recognizes how I’m feeling.

So, although I won’t see all those faces on Monday, I will be thinking about them. Those colleagues who greet me each day. The students I greet each morning as they enter the building. Those few ornery boys who still call me grandma every time they see me. My friend who sits across the table with a cup of coffee.

As I think of those faces, I will also pray. For that is one thing I can do no matter where I am or what the circumstances. These are unsettling times with many unanswered questions. But I have faith that I will see all those faces again soon-live and in person.

Until then, I remain thankful for technology and social media. And with that thought, I will share a picture of my face from this morning. Hopefully, you will see joy and contentment amid uncertainty. And be reminded that I love you.

Take care of yourselves, sweet friends.

Kelley

“I hope to see you soon, and we will talk face to face.” 3 John 1:14

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! ❤ ☕️

A Stormy Week

It has been quite a week here in Oklahoma. Day after day brought flooding rains, damaging winds, and tornadoes. I’ve lost track of the number of times we heard the tornado sirens. Not to mention the flood sirens…

The Arkansas River flows through our part of the country. Due to the excessive rainfall, the river is rising at record levels. The amount of water being released through the lock and dam systems increases daily. Many towns have already experienced devastating floods, and it is far from over.

The most concerning moment for our family occurred two nights ago. Emergency phone alerts woke us up around midnight. We turned on the local news. Another tornado warning. This time we were right in the storm’s path.

By 12:45 A.M. I was sitting in the closet with Ryan, Rachel, and our dog, Poppy. Gart remained close by, listening to the weatherman and watching outside conditions. When he entered the closet, closing the door behind him, we knew the situation was serious.

Strong winds and popping sounds were heard overhead. The lights flashed off and on a couple of times. And just like that, the storm was over. The damage was minimal, only a few branches in our yard. Other areas were devastated. Less than a mile away, power lines blocked the road.

There is no rhyme or reason to explain the paths of such storms. They rise and fall with no respect to the ones affected or the destruction left behind. There are no automatic exemptions.

The truth is, there will always be another storm. This is beyond my control. So how do I respond?

As the storm approaches, I watch and pray.
As the storm rages, I hope and pray.
As the storm passes, I trust and pray.
Once it has passed, there is work to be done.

His thunder announces the coming storm…

Job 36:33

I would hurry to my place of shelter, far from the tempest and storm.

Psalm 55:8

He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed.

Psalm 107:29

Baby Number Three

When Gart and I moved to Guthrie, Oklahoma in 1997, we were a family of four. Our son, Robert, was 2 ½ and our daughter, Rachel, was only a month old. Although I do not recommend moving with a one-month-old, we were excited about this new adventure.

The house we purchased was built in 1924 and only had around 900 square feet. The outside was red brick with an arched front porch. Inside, there were wood floors, lots of character and only two bedrooms. Though it was small, it was perfect for our little family.

At that time, I was a stay-at-home-mom. Our one boy and one girl was the perfect combination. Friends and family assumed we would not have any more children, and we pretty much thought the same thing. That is until around the time Rachel started walking…

Suddenly, I wanted to have another baby. I just knew our family was not complete. When I mentioned it to Gart he asked, “Where in the world would we put another baby?” His argument was logical. We did not have room, nor could we afford to have another baby.

Despite his logic, I could not shake this feeling. It did not help that my closest friends were pregnant. Everywhere I turned, it seemed as if there were more babies. I would often cry, but discussions with Gart were not successful. We would only end up arguing.

I soon realized that this was not the right time for discussions and began to pray. My prayer was simple, “Take this desire for another baby away from me or give Gart the same desire.” Sometimes I felt silly praying the same thing over and over, yet I continued.

Almost a year passed. Although the desire was not completely gone, at least I was not crying all the time. My restlessness was easing. I was about ready to accept that the answer must have been no, and I must have missed it. Though a little sad, I knew it would be ok.

About a week after my revelation, the most amazing thing happened. Out of the blue, Gart said to me, “You know, I think you were right. We should have another baby.” What a surprise! And Ryan Lee Morris was born in November of 2000.

Now we were a family of five, still living in a 900 square foot house. We remained in that house for two more years until a job change took us on another adventure. What a sweet two years. I still miss the times we had in that tiny cottage home.

Well, baby number three graduates from high school tomorrow. He is 6’3 and handsome. A kind, sensitive and funny soul. He is also an artist. I am so proud of the young man he has become and can’t wait to see what the future holds. Our family would not be the same without him.

We love you, Ryan! ❤