Tag Archives: Life

My Thoughts on the Seasons

Over at dVerse Poets Pub Meeting the Bar, Bjorn is calling for poetry that uses modifiers—adjectives and adverbs. I’ve been seeing a lot of posts on Facebook lately by people who love fall and can’t wait for it to come. Personally, I could skip fall and winter altogether. I’ve even joked before that I need to live in Australia for six months of the year, the six when it is spring and summer there, then I’d never have to see another fall or winter. So here is my well-modified poem on the subject.

My Thoughts on the Seasons

Some tout the incredible beauty of fall
Striking oranges and vibrant reds
But I don’t want to hear it at all
I’d rather it stay summer instead

I know fall is pretty when the leaves turn
And pears and apples are ripe on the tree
I know we could use rain as arid lands burn
But frigid winter follows fall, don’t you see

And I truly hate bitter winter cold
Even here in the mild Pacific Northwest
In my fight against winter I will be quite bold
Ardently proclaiming spring to be best

Why this strong hatred of winter you ask
What’s wrong with changing seasons and snow
It’s not just that in the warm sun I need bask
But dark memories the cold brings that cause woe

If I never saw fall colors again in my life
That would be simply and sweetly divine
Then I could live with peace and not strife
Living where the bright sun always shines

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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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It Was Never the Same

At dVerse Poets Pub today Gabriella is asking for poems about the first day of school. I was going to write about one of my son’s first days of school, though we are now really out of the “first day of school” mode as he’d attending art school year around. But since I’m feeling a little melancholy today with some challenging posts to write swirling in my head, I decided to write about a pivotal first day of school for me. I tried to write in the Trimeric form that I learned about at Mary’s blog.

It Was Never the Same

New state, new town, new school, in the 8th grade
I’d been perfectly contented in the old school
Welcomed by the girls in the back of the room
Life was never the same after that first day

I’d been perfectly contented in the old school
It’s where my best friends, my church friends went
And we had our whole wonderful, joyful lives ahead of us

Welcomed by the girls in the back of the room
They became best friends, but not church friends
More like party friends, what-trouble-can-we-find friends

Life was never the same after that first day
It might have looked like a wonderful life on the outside
But it was a long time before I found wonder and joy again

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Stop Throwing Stones

If you spend any time on social media and have conservative Christian friends or follow conservative Christian feeds, then no doubt you have seen numerous posts lately decrying the murder of innocent babies. Especially with the anniversary of Roe v. Wade and the release of undercover videos of meetings with Planned Parenthood officials, it’s impossible to avoid these posts. I will admit that I’ve shared or liked a few myself, though I am always careful that the right message is coming across in the post when I do.

I see a huge problem with the way the pro-life position is presented in social media. If not done carefully and gracefully, it amounts to throwing stones at hundreds of thousands of women who have had abortions and lived to regret that choice. We know what we did was wrong and have lived with the shame of our choice—some of us for decades. We can’t undo what we did and your insensitive posting of “Abortion is murder” messages only causes us more shame and guilt, delaying the healing for many. Even those of us who know God has forgiven and redeemed us can be hurt by these posts.

Now don’t get me wrong. I am a conservative Christian myself, in the sense that I believe the Bible to be the Word of God and that it contains the whole truth about God and how His people should live. I am also pro-life, though I was not always. But on the abortion issue my heart is more concerned with the women who were lied to or were in a situation where having an abortion seemed like the only possible choice, and are now suffering from depression, suicidal tendencies, or PTSD, or who are just living a life of fear that someone might learn their secret.

One social media post I saw recently that illustrates the type of insensitivity I’m talking about is this cartoon:

birthday

Frankly, I don’t believe this is the scene in Heaven. Why would a baby in Heaven wish to be on earth? Why would a baby in Heaven “wish” anything? Wishing is for those without faith. People who know God pray, not wish. And these babies know God—they rest in His tender care.

I believe all of the babies who died as the result of an abortion are instead kneeling before the throne of Christ interceding for their mothers. I believe they are asking God to have mercy and praying that the Church would show them grace. I believe they are asking God to remind the Church of His words: “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” (John 8:7). I believe our children want those of us who killed them—either because we didn’t know what we were doing or because we were between a rock and a hard place and couldn’t see any other option—to hear Jesus say: “Then neither do I condemn you. . . Go now and leave your life of sin.” (John 8:11).

The Church—meaning the people of God and each individual one of us—has to stop throwing stones at women who have had an abortion. We have to choose instead to show them grace and mercy, to help them heal in Christ. I say this as one who needs that grace and mercy every single day just to survive.

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Echoes of Grace

The prompt at dVerse Poets Pub Meeting the Bar yesterday was to write Echo Verse. Most of the examples of the traditional form included the word “echo” before the echoing second line of each stanza, but an option without the word “echo” was offered and I like it better. So here’s my offering for the day.

Echoes of Grace

I desire to pen words that are right

Write

But that won’t lead to my disgrace

Grace

I don’t want to write of You what is untrue

True

I long to feel Your loving embrace

Race

Running, praying, ’til I get to You

You

Learning how to offer Your sweet grace

Grace

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Poetry Is . . .

I have to give credit for the first line of each stanza of this short poem to a friend I was talking to at a conference I’m attending this week. We were talking about poetry and other funny things—like the fact that mushrooms aren’t vegetables and neither are tomatoes—and his two statements got me thinking about what poetry is. I told him I was going to write a whole poem, post it on my blog, then link to his website (which has nothing to do with poetry, vegetables, or turkey). So here’s his site: Net for Lawyers. (He’s the one with the beard in the picture on the home page.)

Poetry Is . . .

Poetry is a vegetable
Essential for a balanced literary diet
But something many people avoid like the plague
It should make up at least a third of the reading plate
Yet we’d rather just take a bite or two, if that

Poetry is turkey
A healthy and delicious source of literary protein
But we relegate it to Thanksgiving and Christmas
Indulge instead on Internet news sites or trashy fiction
When we should be eating it more often instead

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Dying for Love

This poem was inspired by the July 31 poetry prompt in The Daily Poet: Day-by-Day Prompts for Your Writing Practice by Kelli Russell Agodon and Martha Silano. I have handy book on my Kindle and while I don’t look at it every day, every once in a while I decide to see what the prompt for the day is. Today’s prompt was titled “Gritty, Gutsy, and Groveling.” It called for writing in the style of Kim Addonizio, who I’ve never read, but is described as a poet who writes about “regrets and resignation, pleasure and pain.” The poem was to include at least 6 of the following 11 words: stilettos, hangover, whiskey, cigarette, dying, love, begging, naked, jail, dog, and hotel. I’ve italicized the ones I used in this biographical work written from the perspective of an old friend.

8/6/15 update: Shared for http://dversepoets.com/2015/08/06/openlinknight-153/. Head over and check out some other great poetry.

Dying for Love

She never wore stilettos—they weren’t her style
But I remember her red crop top and hip-hugger jeans

And that radiant smile that masked her tears
the pain and loneliness she never shared

All she wanted was love—but as cliché as it sounds
she looked for it in all the wrong places

Parties filled with cigarette smoke—a kegger up on Fuller Hill
At the bottom of a whiskey bottle shared with a mutual friend

If you could have seen her naked soul
You would have known she was dying, or at least not living

I caught up with her on Facebook the other day
Her profile pic still had that radiant smile

But the tears behind it were different now
Tears of peace and joy because she’d found

Forgiveness and real Love at last

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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 Allure of Alliteration

Driving to Seattle yesterday to go to a play with my sister, niece, and cousins, this poem started playing in my head, but I only came up with the first line and a few other words and concepts. The allure of alliteration led me to finish it up this afternoon.

Savior

Savior so sweet
suffering sacrifice
so steadfast seeker
shall savor salvation

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