Category Archives: Family

Perchance to Dance

Oh, to dance a
romantic happenstance with love
on a June evening
perchance a preordained meeting
an answer to prayer
believe if you dare

What shall I wear
this evening to dance
to meet my love
catch his first glance
by grace from above

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I’m finally getting around to writing to the Monday prompt at dVerse Poets Pub where Bjorn challenged us to write a Quadrille, a poem of exactly 44 words. The poem must include the word “dance” as an intransitive verb. I decided to write 11 lines of 4 words each with some internal and end rhymes throughout. The subject is the night I met my husband over 30 years ago.

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Lazy Alucard

There’s a black cat
on my lap
He’s handsome and crazy
Oh so lazy
He’d love to go out in the yard
Alucard
But he’s too stupid, you see
He’ll get stuck high in a tree
On my lap, O so lazy, Alucard

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Impatience with God’s Timing

Do you ever just want to say “I don’t care”? Not an “I don’t care” that’s apathetic, but an “I don’t care” laced with anger and frustration.

The serenity prayer starts “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change.” I don’t want serenity and acceptance; I want change. I want God to step up to the plate and fix the things I can’t.

(So I’m typing this on my phone and autocorrect changed God to Food in that last sentence, which is ironic because I tend to use food to avoid the pain, too, and that is something He has given me the power to change.)

My response to my desire for God to fix everything NOW is to impatiently say “I don’t care” in an attempt to mask the pain.

I feel a bit like the Psalmist who often asked “How long, O Lord?” I guess I’m in good company in my impatience with God’s timing. Even the saints under the altar in Revelation 6 cried out to God, wanting to know “How long?” They were told to wait; I am told to wait. In the process of waiting, I’m learning God’s timing is perfect even if I don’t understand it.

Some things never change, or so it seems from my limited point of view. I believe God has a plan, is working in His timing, and will answer my prayers for change. And so like the father of the possessed boy in Mark ch. 9, I exclaim “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” Mark 9:24 (NIV).

The waiting, I think, is most challenging when you see a glimmer of hope, a sliver of change when a crisis brings someone to the end of their rope. But then the crisis is diverted and you see the change wasn’t all that you thought it was. Or at least it doesn’t seem so on the outside. That’s when I have to remember that God sees the heart; I’m looking only at external factors.

So the next time you hear me say,  “I don’t care,” don’t believe it. I care much too deeply and am simply feeling impatient. Perhaps you could remind me that means it’s time to pray and trust.

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Alive and Well

A puff wafts from the doorway of the old building
I scrunch up my nose at the scent, shake my head in disgust
or anger perhaps is a more accurate description of my feeling

I don’t smell it often in these days of indoor smoking bans
Mostly when walking downtown, passed old buildings
on my way somewhere that will be smoke free

Today that scent reminds me of them, but it’s not the good memories
It’s the memory of what killed them, their obsession with Old Gold
bare-butt cigarettes, in the house, the car, the trailer out camping

I prefer the scent of eucalyptus and fresh garden dill
that remind me of better days when they were alive and well
at least as well as two chain-smokers could be

That foul scent also reminds me of embarrassment
at being accused of smoking myself by a 7th grade P.E. teacher
because the stench of their smoke was inescapable for me

I glance into the doorway at the young woman smoking
I want to scream at her, tell her how stupid she is
I want to ask her if she wants to die before her grandkids are born

But I don’t, I simply move on, away from the smell
and consciously shift my focus to memories of better days
when they were still alive and well

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The first prompt of the year at dVerse Poets Pub is to write about a scent or scents that evoke memories. This is the first thing that came to mind yesterday. I tried to come up with something else because I didn’t want my first post of the year to be such a downer. But alas, sometimes we simply must write down what’s already written in the mind.

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Stars from Haleakala

Having watched the sun sink into the sea
amidst the valley of clouds
we waited there, my family and I
to view the starlit Hawaiian sky

On top of Haleakala the stars lit one by one
amidst a sea of blackened sky
as a chill descended upon the mountaintop
the Heavens shone bright

The sight was truly glorious from 10,000 feet
amidst the small cluster of visitors
who dared to brave the cold to see
God’s handiwork from on high

____________________________

I was inspired by Viv Blake’s star poem to write another for dVerse’s Poetics prompt.

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An Unexplainable Feeling

The current prompt at dVerse Poets Pub is to write poetry as a vehicle for emotion, which is pretty much what most poetry is anyway. When I read the prompt, I immediately knew the emotion I wanted to write about, but wasn’t sure how I wanted to write about it. And I’ve spent most of the last two days making cookies and deviled eggs, avoiding the emotion I’m struggling with. Then, with 3 hours left to post, I realized what I wanted to write. So here is my haibun for the prompt.

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Our vet says it’s for the best and will make him feel much better. And the veterinary ophthalmologist didn’t say it was the only option, but she did suggest it was the best for him. I try to tell myself it’s no big deal. As I said to both vets and several other people I’ve talked to about it, it’s not like I’ve never had a one-eyed dog before. Bette lost an eye when she was only 7 weeks old, and she lived to be the best 18-year-old Cocker Spaniel there ever was. So why do I have this sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach now that we’ve made the appointment? Why am I second guessing whether maybe, just maybe, having to have drops in his eye several times a day for the rest of his life might be better than having that eye removed? He can’t see out of it anyway; hasn’t for years with that cataract.

Perhaps it’s the regret that we didn’t have the cataract removed years ago, which might have prevented glaucoma now. But as my cousin Noryce says, you can’t go back to Tuesday, or when Roman was only 3 and first showed signs of the cataract. You can’t go back, you can only move forward, even if that means doing something you’d rather not do when you know it’s in the best interest of someone, or some dog, else. But still I’m sad—that’s not really the right word, I don’t even know what the right word is—I’m angry that I can’t go back and do it all again, avoid this inevitable, remaining option. I love my little dog, and I’ll love him just as much, if not more, when he only has one eye. Maybe that’s the crux of what I’m feeling—love and empathy. I’ll hold onto that and to the faith that God loves him, too. He is, after all, named after one of the books of God’s Holy Word.

Turning a blind eye
to the pain and suffering
is not an option

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Daddy Isn’t Here

Daddy isn’t here anymore
He left this world before my son was born
Yet I see him each day in the heart of my son
The length of his arms and the smile I adore

We didn’t follow Daddy to the church
When he was gone no one read God’s Word
We didn’t sing his favorite hymn
Or even lay him in the ground

The Coast Guard poured him into the sea
There’s no grave to visit for you and me
Just memories of his loving ways
Stories to tell that keep him alive in our hearts

The mad money he sent to my college mailbox
The times he rescued his four daughters from car troubles
The smile on his face when he saw me baptized
Memories of when we sometimes didn’t agree

Daddy isn’t here anymore
He’ll never come again and knock on my door
But one day we’ll see him again, waiting at God’s door
Until that day we’ll miss him, you and I

* * * * *

The Poetics prompt at dVerse Poets Pub yesterday was to write about someone or something we miss. I immediately thought of my dad. I’ve been missing him especially lately as I’ve been listening to (and went to the concert of) Chris Stapleton who sings a song called “Daddy Doesn’t Pray Anymore.” I can’t hear that song without crying and missing my dad. Parts of this poem are inspired by that song as well as conversations I had with my oldest sister this past week.

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Sixty Years

Celebrating newfound love
Your vows were never to betray
Blessed together by God above
Sixty years ago today

Many years of abiding grace
Have followed that blessed day
A life begun in love’s embrace
Sixty years ago today

As we honor husband and wife
Years unending so we pray
Bound together in eternal life
Sixty years ago today

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Blessings of Boldness

Being bold and courageous is hard and sometimes risky, but it’s always worth the risk. Last week when I posted my 6th Anniversary post, I mentioned that I was going to share on Monday about the blessings of being bold. But one of the two things I planned to share didn’t go as I had planned and so I didn’t write that post. After God added another blessing to the mix, I’m now ready to share.

Several weeks ago I wrote a post about my personal experience with Planned Parenthood. I was terrified to post it, but I did, on a Wednesday evening thinking no one would see it. That one little post ended up getting more views and shares in three days than I’ve ever had for any post. Some of my posts have been viewed more over the long haul, but never in such a short period of time.

Then, about a week later, I got a comment from Randy Alcorn (okay, it was from his media relations specialist) asking if he could re-blog that post. Of course I said yes, because being re-blogged by an author with his credentials is a great blessing for a relatively unknown author like me. Plus, it meant my story now has the potential to touch even more lives and be a blessing to others. His post including my re-blogged post went live on Monday here.

The next blessing came when I was bold and courageous to share my story in church this past Sunday. We are doing a sermon series on how God changes lives, and He has definitely changed mine. It was hard and risky to share my story, but it was well worth the risk. Afterwards I got lots of hugs, plus a few people who said they had been through something similar and that what I shared helped them. I also received some follow-up notes from some members of our church, including a handwritten note that came in the mail (those are my favorite kind).

I was all set to share the link to the audio of my testimony in my post on Monday, but it turned out that the recording got messed up and you couldn’t really hear it. There was a lot of static and my voice was so quiet that even when the static stopped for a second or two, you couldn’t hear me. I was so upset, because I knew there were people who had asked me to send them the link because they wanted to listen but weren’t able to come to our church that morning.

So, because I didn’t have the audio to share in this post, I had decided not to write it. Then I mentioned to my awesome husband that the audio had been messed up on my testimony and he replied, “I recorded it. It’s on my phone.” I was so happy and felt so blessed that he cared so much to have recorded it. I was able to upload it to SoundCloud and create the recording below.

And the triple blessing in all of this is that I discovered how easy it is to use SoundCloud and embed a SoundCloud clip into my blog, so now I can add audio readings of some of my poetry, too.

Anyway, the lesson for me this week is that God is good and often works to bless us even when we think He’s forgotten us or doesn’t care. That is the story of my life, but it’s also the story of the recording of my story. I was disappointed that He didn’t make sure the church recording of my testimony worked out, but He had a plan for me to see how much my husband loves me. And how much He loves me.

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My Blogging Anniversary: Pondering Deep Water Faith

Today is the 6th anniversary of the day I started this blog. I decided to see what I had posted that day. I’d forgotten how excited I’d been to start blogging; I posted 4 articles in that one day!

I thought I’d share one of those posts today and how things have changed since I posted it. The title of that post was “Deep Water Faith in the Shallow End,” and it said this:

I posted this awhile back in my notes on Facebook, so if you’ve read my notes you’ve seen this. But I’m having so much fun with how easy it is to blog, I thought I’d post this here, too. I can’t believe how  easy this is.

“Deep water faith in the shallow end” is a line in a song by Casting Crowns called “Somewhere in the Middle.” I’ve been listening to that CD in my car lately, and this line has really stuck in my head. As I hear it, I realize it applies to me. I have deep water faith. I trust that God can do anything and that with Him so can I. I trust that His plans for me are far greater than I can imagine, and that I will never be alone or lost as long as I follow Him.

And yet, here I stand in the shallow end of life. I don’t act on that deep water faith very often (though when I do I am amazed at the results). I wonder why I don’t just plunge into the deep end and grab hold of what God has in store.

The line of the song before this one is “reckless abandon wrapped in common sense.” Maybe that’s it. I listen too much to the common sense the world has taught me. I hear about what can’t be done and I think it to be true. I need to remember and believe that “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Now that’s deep water faith.

So what’s changed since I wrote this? Well, God has literally taken me into deeper water than I ever thought I’d go when I went snorkeling in 2014, and when I snorkeled again in 2015 in even deeper waters. He did that by calling me to trust in Him, to have deep water faith. He used that literal deep water experience to teach me something about Himself and His faithfulness.

As a result, I have begun to venture into figurative deep water in other areas of my life, especially what I’ve been writing on my blog. I’ve written more about my story of suffering and pain, and how it led me to healing and redemption in Christ. God has given me the courage to share so much that I once felt I had to keep secret.

The results have been amazing blessings and a closer relationship with God. I’ll be posting about one such blessing of stepping out in faith and writing about my experience with abortion on Monday, but you’ll have to come back to see what it is.

But I still don’t think I’ve ventured into the truly deep water yet. I’m not in the shallow end anymore, but there’s still more I could write, that I know I need to write.

Last night I attended the Faith & Culture Writers Connection with guest speaker Romal Tune. One of the things he said resonated with me. He said that we are afraid to write what we fear we’ll be judged for, but that we have to remember that “there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1). I realized that although there are certain things I’ve been willing to share, there are other things—I’ll call them the in between things—that I’ve wanted to leave out.

Then this morning I had an early morning dream—between being awakened by my husband’s alarm and finally having to get up for mine—in which I was going snorkeling, and someone I was with wanted to go out deeper. I refused, choosing to stay closer to shore in the reef area, because I was certain there were sharks in the deeper water.

And there probably are sharks in the deeper water of honesty and openness. There are those who will judge, but they don’t matter, because God has forgiven me by the blood of Christ. I will triumph “by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of [my] testimony.” Revelation 12:11.

And so, I’m going to venture into the deep water over the next year. I may not jump off the boat mid-ocean, but little by little, as the Holy Spirit leads, I will go into the deep water God has called me to.

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