Category Archives: Family

I Am a Reluctant Watchman

The Poetics prompt at dVerse Poets Pub today is offered by guest bartender Lynn. She is asking us to write about what the watchman sees. I decided to take my first line from the Isaiah verse she quoted, with a slight modification. This prompt was actually perfect for me this week as I’ve been writing more (in prose/essay form) about my personal experience with abortion. I’ve felt a little like the watchman, though a reluctant one.

I Am a Reluctant Watchman

Go set a watchman; let her announce what she’s seen
Declares the Lord our God
It’s not about me, knows the watchman, but where I’ve been

I don’t want to play watchman in our world today
I tell the Lord my God
It’s not about you, He replies, you must go this way

And so I speak the atrocities I’ve both seen and done
Trusting the Lord my God
Then I share the compassion of Jesus the Son

Murder I see and murder I’ve perpetrated
Grieving the Lord our God
For our own convenience children are daily terminated

Lies I was told and deception reigns supreme
Angering the Lord our God
I wish I could say this is only a horrible dream

But He’s set me a watchman to announce what I’ve seen
Glorifying the Lord my God
With the truth I learned when I was just seventeen

Choices made out of fear can never be undone
Whispers the Lord my God
But they can be forgiven by the grace Christ has won

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It’s Not about Women’s Health

I’ve been avoiding writing this blog post for about two weeks now, but I can’t avoid it any more. If this is truly going to be another fearless year, then I have to write fearlessly, even if that means getting into a difficult discussion with someone over a blog post.

The thing that finally pushed me to write this today was this article I read on the Eternal Perspective Ministries (EPM) website while I was eating my lunch. It is about the Planned Parenthood (PP) protest this past weekend in Portland, Oregon. There were 300 such peaceful protests across the nation, but this one happened to be where I live and where the headquarters of EPM is located.

I loved one of the pictures in this article because in addition to people holding a sign that says “Planned Parenthood Kills Babies” there were others holding a sign that says “Planned Parenthood Deceives Women.” As I’ve written before, although I am saddened by the culture of death and the many murdered children at the hands of PP, my heart is with the many women who have had abortions and lived to regret that decision. Many of those women, like me, were deceived by PP and are also victims.

The pro-choice voice claims that the right of a woman to have an abortion is a women’s health issue and that PP is about women’s health. These claims couldn’t be further from the truth. Pregnancy is not a disease that needs to be treated or cured. It is not healthy for a woman to have an abortion. In fact, having an abortion increases a woman’s risk of major depression and suicidal tendencies by 30% to 40%, it increased the risk of breast cancer by 30%, and it increases the risk of future miscarriage.

But it was my experience that PP didn’t disclose any of those risks. I didn’t find out about them until after I’d suffered with seven years of major clinical depression (following many years of low-grade depression), been suicidal, and had a miscarriage. So far I haven’t also gotten breast cancer, but with my family history of this disease, I certainly did not need to increase my risk.

The “health care providers” at PP were not concerned with my health; they were concerned only with getting my money. They weren’t concerned with who the father was or the fact that he had been an older man who raped a teenage girl; they didn’t even ask. They didn’t provide any pre- or post-abortion counseling, they didn’t advise me of the health risks of having an abortion, and they didn’t even schedule a follow-up visit. What doctor doesn’t schedule a follow-up visit after an invasive medical procedure?

I left the PP clinic that day, headed off to a Future Business Leaders of America camp, and bled so much that I thought I was going to die. (In fact, when I bled that much after my miscarriage years later, the emergency room rushed me back to an exam room without even checking in first—that’s how serious that kind of bleeding can be.) But PP didn’t warn me about this possibility or tell me what to do if it did happen. I was a scared 17-year-old with no one looking out for my health—PP certainly wasn’t.

Tell me you think a woman has a right to choose to kill her own baby—if you think that’s a defensible position—but don’t tell me that right is a women’s health issue. It quite simply is not.

If you want to champion women’s health, then help women find the spiritual and emotional health to deal honestly with a pregnancy they don’t want. Help them understand that whatever the circumstances that led to their pregnancy, God loves them and their child. There are options, including adoption, which are far healthier for them—and definitely healthier for their baby. What finally got me healthy after the trauma of being raped and having an abortion was the love of Jesus. I only wish someone had helped me find that love before it was too late for my child.

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Bette, My Sweet Pea

Today is National Dog Day and so I decided to write a poem about a dog I once had. I could have written a poem about my current dog, but I’ve already written several about him, such has this one and this one. But I don’t think I’ve ever written about Bette, the cocker spaniel I had for 18 years.

Bette, My Sweet Pea

Bette was the cutest little sweet pea
a friendly and curious puppy
but life started out a little rough for her
when she lost an eye due to curiosity

Being a one-eye dog didn’t slow her down
though it did cause her to run into the bottom step
if she was running at a good clip
to get into the house ahead of Bogart

She wasn’t much for fetch, would never bring the ball back
but she did love a good game of tug-o-war
and hiding the tennis ball from Bo
and swimming in the lake or wading in a stream

She lived eighteen long years
that were far too short as far as I’m concerned
and I miss her reddish blond mug and floppy ears,
I miss her cute wagging stub of a tail each and every day

I remember the day I knew without a doubt
she couldn’t go one more step, one more day
She’d been missing Bo for quite some time
and that stupid new kitten Tom made her life a struggle

The pain in her face, in her whine
was more than I could take that day
so I did what had to be done
impossible though it was to imagine life without her

The vet was so understanding and gentle
and the change in her countenance from agony
to complete peace and rest
made the impossible almost tolerable

Afterwards I asked God why
Why didn’t He just take her in her sleep
so I wouldn’t have to make the decision to let her go
“Because then she would have been alone,” He said to my aching heart

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Camping

Listen closely and you will hear
Conversations about anything
Family and friends who are dear
In the circle of chairs camping

Never a dearth of food to eat
“We brought skillet; what did you bring?”
Chips and hot dogs, salad and sweets
To the circle of chairs camping

Smoke is wafting, upwind I sit
Blazing hot in the fire ring
Crackling logs perfectly split
In the circle of chairs camping

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Not Just a Statistic

The prompt at dVerse Poets Pub today is to write a poem in common meter, but to use some of the tricks that Emily Dickenson used to make common meter a little more interesting. I love an opportunity to sort of break the rules of form, but only a little.

The topic of this poem is one that I’ve been thinking about for a while, and I decided this challenge was the time to trot it out.

Not Just a Statistic

Statistics are eye-opening
But overwhelming—sad
Three thousand babies killed each day
Yet women’s rights can’t cede

Statistics belie tragedy
Each single data point
A mother—and a single child
Ever a mournful plaint

Behind each dreaded statistic
Individual lives
Each one suffering painfully
Waiting to know God loves

Let’s look beyond the statistics
Open our eye as well
To all the hurt souls who need us
Provide hope as they wail

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The Philosophy of Choice

The prompt at dVerse Poets Pub yesterday was offered by Brian Miller, back from a 5-month break from the pub. During his absence, he took a philosophy class and so is calling us to write about philosophy, with the requirement that our poem be titled “The Philosophy of ______” or “A Philosophy of ______.”

When I first read the prompt, I thought of writing something lighthearted and funny. The title “The Philosophy of Dogs” came to mind, but that’s as far as I got with that idea. I remembered that Bjorn once commented on one of my poems that my writing is better when I write from the heart. Although I do love dogs, and mine in particular, what is really on my heart these days is something much more serious. And so this poem was conceived.

The Philosophy of Choice

The philosophy of choice says
that the convenience of one life
is equally as important as
the continued existence of another

I once bought into this philosophy
and  I chose convenience
I had my whole life ahead of me
my college plans, my career, my life

And so I chose my convenience
and her death

I thought I was justified because
the conception was not my choice
It was forced upon me and so
I shouldn’t have to be inconvenienced
by this life I didn’t want

It was supposed to be so simple, so easy
but no one told me about the regret
the shame and the anguish that would come
that would inconveniently lead to depression
stealing seven years of my life
coloring every day thereafter

The tears I’ve cried over that one choice
would drown a small army of giants
Perhaps I had to cry every tear
she never got the chance to cry

The time for choosing is long past
But if I had it to do over again
I would choose my inconvenience
and her life

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A Little about Me

Over at dVerse Poets Pub we’re celebrating the 4-year anniversary of the pub with Marina’s prompt that calls us to get to know each other a little better. Each poet is to pick six words—three that describe us and three that describe things or people we are grateful for. Then we are to write a poem of no more than twelve lines using those six words.

My words are: beloved, fearless, writer, grace, encouragement, beauty

A Little about Me

I know deep in my heart that I am beloved
for my God has told me so
His Word is my evidence
His grace is my proof

Once known as the fearful one
now I stand strong and fearless
Confident of my purpose, sure of my salvation
Thankful for the encouragement
of friends, family, and my God

I am a writer, not because I write, but simply because
I was created with a passion to share the beauty
of my Creator and His creation

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Vacation in the Sun

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Weeks of planning precede a visit to paradise, to Maui, the Valley Isle. So much to see and so in so small an area of land nestled in the middle of the vast Pacific Ocean. Snorkeling is at the top of the activities list—the options seem endless: Molikini, Lana’i, Honolua Bay, Turtle Bay, and more; take a boat trip or drive to the beach and park. We picked boat trip to Lana’i—resulted in very little snorkeling due to high south swell. Who knew? At least there was a beautiful white sand beach.

Lāhainā—the cruel sun—beats down relentlessly, burning, charring tender skin exposed to its deceptively pleasant rays. Beautiful white sand beach entices the unwary traveler to bask in the warmth, float on the buoyant, gentle salt waves. Relaxation gives way to a little nap—a dangerous nap that steals away vacation days with lobster-red, swollen feet, unbending burnt knees—pain one should never experience on holiday. yet Lāhainā shows no remorse for its cruelty.

White sand, crashing waves
Ocean as far as the eye
can see, sun too hot

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Monsoon of Mercy

At dVerse Poets Pub today, Abhra tells a tale of the monsoon season in India. The “prompt” for the day is fairly vague, so I drew from Abhra’s story about how the hot, dry summer is followed by the monsoon. And I tapped into the discussion in the comments to Anthony’s post Pub Talk: Poetry and Making a Difference. I’ve written this as a Kyrielle because I’m finding a like this form a lot. It has just enough repetition to suit me.

Monsoon of Mercy

Sin and shame deeply scorch my soul
Freedom from consequence my goal
But my choice left me dry, not whole
Healed by Your monsoon of mercy

She was the victim of my choice
Never will I hear her small voice
Yet in His arms she can rejoice
Healed by His monsoon of mercy

Now there is no condemnation
Only grace for Your creation
Regret remains a grave fixation
Healed by Your monsoon of mercy

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Slips Away

I’ve been thinking a lot about my sister Peggy lately, perhaps because her death is the subject of the first chapter of the book I’m working on. Yesterday the refrain for this Kyrielle came to me and then I finished the poem this morning.

8/20/15 update: Shared today for dVerse Poets Pub Open Link Night #153. Head over and check out some other great poetry.

Slips Away

Quiet descends on deep darkness
My soul housed in this jar of clay
Groans bitterly in God’s winepress
Her soul slips silently away

Regrets of wasted time oppress
Why did I wait another day
I am here now nevertheless
Her soul slips silently away

Over memories I obsess
Jesus come save her soul I pray
His peace descends on me to bless
Her soul slips silently away

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