Train of Thought

Shortness of breath
reminds me of
the stench of Old Golds
wafting to upper bunk
as ash spills from glowing red tip
into ash tray beside their bed
reminds me of
camping at Oak Grove Campground
hiking the loops with Cinder
short of breath

————-

I decided to write another Quadrille for dVerse Poets Pub, or more accurately it decided to be written while I was trying to fall asleep last night. For those who might wonder, Cinder was the dog we had when I was little.

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Triggers, Triggers Everywhere

Tears spilled from my eyes
Gushed, really
quite uncontrollably
Anger the apparent trigger
He wouldn’t listen
Then I realize the real trigger
This series of events:
Writing of Dad’s death
Hearing of Aunt Dot’s passing
Trying to save a few bucks
on airline tickets

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De is running the bar at dVerse Poets Pub today and calling for us to write a 44-word Quadrille using the word “spill.” Come on over and join the fun!

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If I Had a Gun

The latest mass shooting (I won’t mention which one, because there will likely be another, and this post will apply then) has brought out the gun control and how do we legislate a way to prevent the next one folks. We just need more laws and this violence wouldn’t happen, they say. They forget that Cain killed his brother Abel with a rock when the only laws on the books were to love God and love others.

But no one wants to look into their own heart and see that the possibility for such violence lies therein as well. It’s easier to point at others, at the evil “out there,” and ask how do we stop them.

I am reminded of a time, many years ago, when I was struggling with major clinical depression. My heart was shrouded in darkness and anger. I had been hurt and having never considered forgiveness as a solution, I simply wanted to hurt back.

I remember clearly one day pulling up to a stop light at the end of Hwy 217 in Lake Oswego. I glanced to my left at the man driving the pick-up in the lane next to me. The thought crossed my mind, “If I had a gun I’d shoot him.” That same thought recurred with every man I saw for the next few weeks. I found it incredibly disturbing, but I couldn’t seem to stop it. Although I had no gun and didn’t shoot anyone, I did take my anger out on others during this time, especially my poor long-suffering husband.

Now some might say my story is the perfect example to support the cause of gun control. But that’s not why I share it. I share it because it illustrates the darkness that lurks in the hearts of us all. People who have been hurt—and there are a lot of us—hurt other people if we cling to our anger and don’t forgive. And the only way to truly forgive is through the love and forgiveness of Jesus.

More laws are not the answer to the world’s violence problem. We cannot legislate love and forgiveness. We cannot legislate Jesus.

Paul wrote in Romans 8:3-4: “For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh [or sinful nature], God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering.  And so he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.”

What we can do is teach our children to love and forgive by the power and grace of Jesus. And we can examine our own hearts and ask God to shine His light into any darkness therein. If every person on the planet did that, there would be no more violence and hatred. Yet you and I can’t control what others do, not even with laws. We can only control our own response to the hurts we experience in this world.

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All Good Vacations Must End

It’s Haibun Monday at dVerse Poets Pub and Toni is calling for a haibun about everyday things with a true haiku at the end. I did my best. We’ll see what she thinks. This haibun is looking forward to later in the summer when I’ll get to enjoy the labors of this past vacation week.

__________________________

Vacations can’t last forever. This one has been wonderful, spent planting flowers, including 14 Lantana. But eventually the daily routine returns. Preparations for the work day, each important for different reasons. Start with coffee, my daily devotional, and treats and a game of fetch with the dog. Crazy cat gets in on the action, too. Then shower and teeth brushing makes one presentable to the world. Must select just the right outfit to be warm enough in an air-conditioned office but not too hot to sit outside in the summer sun for lunch. Most importantly, I must pause for prayer—a chat with God about the day ahead—preparation for whatever might come my way. Oh, and can’t forget to pack that lunch. What good leftovers are in the fridge? No leftovers, but mmmm, there’s hummus, crackers, fresh snap peas from the farmers’ market, crisp jicama slices, and of course a cold sparkling water. All packed to go, give the dog his leaving bone and the cat a few treats. Finally, it’s out the front door to the car with just a moment to enjoy the potted flowers on the front step.

Varied Lantana
Lovely summer dalliance
They’ve grown large since June

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Choices

Life is a series of choices

Some seem insignificant
but have life-changing impact

Others we agonize over
but are insignificant
in the grand scheme of things

Some choices
appear to be the only option
We can’t see the consequences to come
or alternatives before us

I’ve spent many long hours
pondering the” what ifs” of choices
that turned out bad.
If only I hadn’t…
then maybe everything would be better.

But ultimately
there is but one choice that truly matters
It is a choice we all face

Do I trust God or do I go it alone?

All is not rainbows and roses
if one chooses to trust
Hardship and regret don’t instantly
melt away

Life is still a series of choices
including the choice
to trust God with my mistakes

Including the choice
to share my story
my series of choices
with the world
in the hopes of encouraging another

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Ode to Lantana

image

I adore lovely lantana
Growing in my garden bright
Yellow, pink, orange, and red
with accents of lobelia

The summer sun beats down hot
From a sky blue like Montana
But lantana stands strong and tall
sparkling like the galleria

If only I had my own cabana
steps from a cooling pool
with delicacies delivered like manna
By a waiter named Arnold or Ted

Don’t think me a naive pollyanna
I’m content on my deck instead

• This poem is a bref double.

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I’m a Finalist!

I’m so excited! One of my poems is one of three finalists in the Published Poetry category of the Cascade Writing Contest put on by Oregon Christian Writers. I entered three poems as individual entries. I look forward to receiving the feedback on all three, but am also looking forward to the Oregon Christian Writers Conference in August when I will find out if I win.

The poem that is a finalist was published on this blog and is titled The Philosophy of Choice. The other two that I entered were more overtly “Christian” but this is the one that made it through to the final round. This supports what I’ve been learning lately about my writing—when I write honestly from the heart about hard subjects, people respond.

And a special thanks to Brian Miller, whose prompt led to the writing of this poem.

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The Wrong Ticket

I bought the wrong ticket
But how was I to know
The darkness of depression
had dulled my senses
hampering my ability to hear
the urgency in his voice
“Come see me,” he said
I didn’t know he meant
“Come right away; I’m dying”
Two weeks was too long
and has become a lifetime
of regret
———–
The prompt at dVerse Poets Pub for Tuesday was to write about a mistake.
Not seeing my dad before he died is one mistake I can never forget or undo.

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Whispers of Love

I heard a whisper
on the breeze
What did it say?
I couldn’t make it out
There it is again
I love you
and I always will
Peace upon the breeze
sweetly wafting from above
Truth to cling to
when breeze becomes a storm

———
The prompt today at dVerse Poets Pub is to write a Quadrille using the word breeze. I wrote this Quadrille on my Bamboo Spark — all handwritten then converted to digital seemingly by magic.

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Envious

I’m green with envy
Hearing you complain
About having to care for
Your aging father
It’s such a burden you say

What I wouldn’t give
To be planning my daddy’s
95th birthday party today

But there’s no party
No celebration
Only wishing him near

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The prompt today at dVerse Poets Pub today is to write a Quadrille (44 words exactly) using the word “green.” The prompt isn’t live yet in my time zone, but I peeked at some other poets who have their poems up already to find out what the required word is.

My dad would have been 95, but he died 23 years ago so this is as close as I’ll get to celebrating his birthday.

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