Saturday, December 15, 2012

Blessings and Evil, Now More Than Ever

I'm having trouble reconciling the warm, soft, sweet life our family has been blessed with against the horrendous pain the families in Connecticut have been handed.

This morning I woke inside the softest cocoon wrapped in my husband's arms. Our fluffy cat purred and curled up in mine. My children slept safe and warm, lit by their Christmas trees in the corner of their rooms.

Even without knowing the evil that goes off in an uncontrolled rampage, I would be grateful. But, seeing mental illness/evil displayed in such an innocent place makes me sob with immeasurable sorrow even with our immeasurable blessings.

I grew up in the shadow of the Vietnam War, which was fought another world away. Still, it was a dark era.. Never, did it seem that the heart of darkness would be in our own, American world. But, here it moved: Columbine, New York City, Hurricane’s Katrina and Sandy, Movie Theater’s, shopping malls, post offices, and city streets. I've missed so many tragedies just in this short list.

Now, more than ever, treasuring the lives we have been blessed with, may be our only hope to continue on. And possibly the only hope to be able to recognize and stop the nature of evil among us. And maybe not.

The goodness that will rise out of this will also be immeasurable. Now, more than ever, I hope to hear every good, kind act and to find a way myself to somehow soften the blow of someone else's horrendous pain.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012


I love Facebook. I love the immediate response from "friends" I forgot were alive and from those whose minds work in such creative, observant one sentence blasts (Jenny). People, in general, are so clever and inspiring. Facebook makes me love the human race. I also love being able to see what my children and their friends are up to.

There is such humor and pathos readily available, without the added responsibility of actually having to speak to another human being -  in person. The irony of Facebook. Contact without connection. When I was assigned to write a poem about pop culture I had trouble choosing between Lady Gaga (who I also love!) and Facebook. Facebook was just...more in my face. :)

I Won’t Call Her Because I Know She’s Planting Foxgloves

What a wonderful world.

Katie and John smile from a wave runner in the sparkling sun-lit blue water of Cabo.

Lindsey and Bruce wave from the deck of a Princess cruise ship sailing toward the sunset.

Madison made two varsity sports her freshman year.

It’s Suicide Awareness Day

and never too late,

or too early,

to be whoever you want to be.

Denise is planting foxgloves with little to no hope of ever seeing their bells blow in the wind.

Kerby likes

And Disneyland.

Laurie is afraid of the dark.

The towers that “we will never forget”

Of faces that were lost this day, 11 years ago in September

Sharing the smoky images might keep this horror from ever happening again.

The faces in Facebook

knowing everything about a distant face with no time spent face to face.

And my life makes less sense with every highlight reel I sit in the dark to watch,

Feeling less like a star and more like a burnt-out light.

But, my status looks good, so maybe I live in a wonderful world. Too.

Friday, September 7, 2012

A photograph

I'm taking a creative writing class and I had to write a poem for Tuesday. This is the final draft.

Still Shot

The mesmerizing stillness of a smiling photograph.

A bronzed, rugged cowboy atop his barely tamed horse paused on the edge of a cliff.
Turned back to smile for the camera.
A perfect shot.

A shot in the dark.

And he leaves just the haunting of his smile
atop his closed, lovingly polished, coffin.

But the smile I want to resurrect
is before he turned his back.
Before the laughter slid into silence.
Before his merciless demons chained
him to only one hope of escape.

This man of wild epiphany’s and chaos, encased in a perfect fa├žade,
Who saved me from here, the home I had known so far,
and then left
demanding my life be worthy of more than he was becoming.

I could not hold his horse away from the edge.

Fleeting moments and choices made sear the beginning and end together
And only fragments in-between remain.
And nothing can ever change the time that was.

Choices cannot be re-made.
Memory cannot be trusted.
We can never go back to before.

His smile will remain unchained in the merciful coffin of his inevitable choice.

I will remain
looking on from here.

Living the life he gave me by living at all,
and leaving.


This isn't really a post for mothers. It's a post because I was a woman before I became a mother and something happened that reminded me that maybe I'm still a woman. Just not the woman I was. Thank God.

Not everyone marries their high school sweetheart. I didn't. Thank God. Some of us came close to marrying dozens of handsome (and not-so-handsome, but funny) men. I did not marry my high school sweetheart. I came close to marrying several other girls’ high school sweethearts though. And I thoroughly relished the process. I am a very good flirt. Something my husband reminded me of on Saturday night...I have never considered that I actually flirt - I just like to have fun. Men are a little more fun than women.

While my husband is the bravest, funniest, cutest, best one of them all, there was one who held my heart deeply in his embrace for 10 years before my brave, funny, cute, best one showed up and he was the best flirt of all time. He was the most charming person on earth when he was in an upswing. He was devastating to know when he wasn't. A bi-polar man trying not to combust his entire life. He was only biding his time here until he could get to heaven. My mother pointed out "He held on as long as could." He was in his sixties when he gave up waiting for heaven 2 years ago and took a short cut.

He and his family were the first people who showed me I was lovable and it changed the way I viewed the world for the rest of my life. I'm grateful to remember the woman I was and relieved I'm the woman I've become.Very.

It's haunting how you don't think of someone for years and then early one morning you get a phone call that says their gone and immediately you remember the flirt they first.

Monday, June 25, 2012

You Can Lead

Hannah holding Fred. "Doobers." She's 14 in this photo, 16 now. Unbelieveably good, too. A miracle.

Maybe she was switched at birth. At least that was my dear friend, Terry's, suggestion.

At four, she believed the world was her friend. This terrified me.

Even then, she did not judge, hit back, or retaliate very much when other four year olds threw tantrums and hit first. She laughed, played, danced, forgave, forgot and moved on.

She was a little, living example of grace.

She has remained strong and able  - to laugh, play, dance, forgive, and forget.

It seems her heart is forever able rise above tantrums and selfishness and dance instead.

I hope she always dances with me, and forgives and forgets - but mostly, if we do get to dance - she should lead.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Hamilton High Parking Lot Instructions

7:22 A.M. finds the Hamilton High Parking Lot swarming with hormonal, panicked and nearly late teenage drivers and/or a parent of some kind. Monday through Friday between 7:12 and 7:22 I drop off my two, panicked, nearly late, hormonal teenage daughters.

Instructions/thoughts/prayers/fervent hopes I have derived at 7:24 in order to survive the parking lot and where it leads:

Look both ways before you are in the middle of the traffic.

Please find more clothes that cover more of you. You aren’t prepared for the kind of attention you’re asking for.

Please don’t kiss anyone today. At least not someone I don’t know. Or like.

Stand up to Mrs. *&*!@%$%^*!

Do your best at something today.

Get an idea of who you want to be.

Be grateful you get to go to school. At some point in your four years, realize this is a privilege.

Please survive the day.

Please don’t be tempted beyond your values.

Come home when school is over and tell me something - out loud.

Please let me hug you the moment I see you…or at least before you go to bed - at midnight.

Note to self: I will, with super-human power, resist reacting to your ever changing attitude, so we will both live to see you graduate.

Please don’t let this be the next Columbine.

Pay attention to the very heavy moving vehicles in the parking lot! They are all driven by teenagers checking out the other “beautiful” teenagers walking blithely in front of them, or by parents devising instructions to save you from yourself and the rest of the world. On a side note: We can't afford the emergency room.

Please make it safely to the curb.

Be brave and step off the curb confidently. But look first.

I will miss this parking lot in three and a half years.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

How to Accept a Gift

He handed me a tiny blue bag. Every girl who has, well, been alive, recognizes this exact shade of Tiffany Blue.

My first ever…AND there was a tiny little

Tiffany Blue

box inside!! A little box!!! Little boxes contain the best things.
I didn’t want to open it. It was wrong. I didn’t want a gift. To receive a gift of any kind is always humbling, but in this instance, I really did not feel right about accepting a present. And I love presents. Especially presents that might be contained in a

Tiffany Blue


He said “Santa left something under the tree for you.”

Oh, it was from Santa.

“How to accept a gift?” I managed somehow to say out loud.

“Really? You’re asking me this?” he replied as he clasped his hands to his head as if to press down any further emotion from potentially escaping.

I did nothing to deserve this. I only came along for the ride.

It’s the same with grace; doing nothing, coming along for the ride and then loveliness appearing almost out of nowhere to be taken just because it was offered.

Only grace doesn’t come all neatly wrapped in a trademark box. It’s harder to spot.

To accept seems to imply worthiness. I have pretty much spent my entire life trying to prove that I am unworthy. I’m very good at it. I have almost perfect proof that this is true and I’m not alone in this skill.

Has anyone ever felt they deserved to be forgiven?

Or that there was enough grace to cover a million mistakes?

Or to be healed?

Did the witnesses at Jesus crucifixion feel worthy to be saved?

Jesus whole point was that we are all worth dying for, even those of us humbled at the foot of the cross, in doubt. Yet Jesus opened up his hands for the nails - as if anyone was someone worth dying for. Even those of us trying to prove otherwise.

How to accept a gift like that? I don’t fully know. But, I did. I do. Accept it.

I opened the

Tiffany Blue

box because if I didn’t, I would hurt the giver. Oh, what I do every day that hurts the giver, just by stopping short of unwrapping all that is offered.

Inside the box was an Elsa Perretti necklace significantly called “The Origin of Life.” That’s the name of the necklace, “The Origin of Life” and it was given to me by the friend who accepted my husband’s kidney. This friend must have wondered at some point if he was worth dying for. But he heard “Yes, you are” and he had to accept that. His gift was wrapped up in a


Interesting wrapping. Almost as recognizable as

Tiffany Blue.

The necklace has what appears to be a kidney bean on a thin silver chain. It looks a little bit like a jelly bean. I haven’t taken it off. Daily it reminds me to open up what is offered, even if I don’t recognize the color of the box right off the bat.