Miscellany

Back up!

After a brief hiatus to spend some time in quiet reflection, I’ve decided to reopen things here.  I can’t predict how much I’ll post, only that the waters are beginning to clear and the writer in me is longing to push it’s way out again.

I continue to marvel at the contacts I make online, and look forward to continuing to connect with others through sharing here.

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Miscellany

Ordinary Holy

i’ve been nostalgic for my babies lately.  no, i don’t want another, just remember the sleepless years with a bit of fondness since i finally have some distance.  

this is for all the young mothers, buried under a pile of onesies, tantrums, and spitup, wondering what the hell happened to their voice  and hoping they’ll someday find it again.

somewhere deep down

i am

a poet

but right now,

i’m doing the laundry.

.

how did this happen,

this daily, mundane takeover?

dishes, diapers, dust –

these are not the things

of which a poet speaks.

but they are the things

of my today.

.

how do I meld these two words –

Ordinary.

Holy.

without either Continue reading “Ordinary Holy”

Miscellany

First breath of home

Image

I caught my first breath of home this weekend.

Driving down route 66, our aging mini-van echoed with laughter as my son entertained us with his car-seat-dancing-antics.  The giggles rolling, we rounded a curve toward the mountains, and my soul breathed a sigh of belonging. Three-months in, this new place felt like home for the first time.  The road, the mountains, the palm trees, even (dare I say) all those pesky inappropriate billboards we have to keep explaining to our kids (for the record, “AdultCon” is just a meeting for adults, and the couple humping each other on the back of the motorcycle were just cuddling, ok?) felt familiar and part of life.

Out the window, a (gratefully appropriate) billboard summed up the moment:  Vive hoy.

Live today.

I smiled.

That’s what our giggling, ice-cream filled souls were doing.

We were living.

In our home.

Mountains watching our every move. Pollution coating my outdoor laundry room. Decadent signs of wealth. Desperate murmurs of the unemployed. Spanish, everywhere! More cultures than I can count. Horchata stands at the grocery store. Stoplight buttons. Freeway mazes. Trader Joe’s ten minutes from my house. Indian grocery stores that sell carom boards and cricket bats. Traffic jams and road closures.  Fender benders that make me go argh. Seas of new faces. An endless supply of Asian food.

So many moments are forming snapshots of our new life in this place. And today, it feels oh-so-good.

Vive hoy.

We ended the day listening to a university choir sing a concert of praise in an atrium framed by the California sunset.  The power of their voices proclaimed the depth of a simple truth I have long known.

All to Jesus, I surrender

All to him I freely give.

I will ever love and trust him,

in his presence daily live.

And their melody reminded me that for all the loss and hard moments that come with transition, the surrender of my life to the One I love and trust can be as breath-taking as these quiet mountains that are slowly starting to feel like home.

Belief, Miscellany

Change of plans

(Mark 14:37-38)

At the moment,
‘watch-and-pray’
feels more like
‘peek-around-the-corner-and-hope-I-make-it-out-alive.’
.
It must have been far easier for
James, Peter, John
to fall into a numb sleep
in the dark of that Garden
than to stare down
the paradox of
crushing loss creating
unimaginable gain.
.
The unknown
in beholding the Cross
whispers
what-if’s, what-for’s
how-to’s, dare-i-even-dream’s
as the spirits willing
war with the flesh failing.
Miscellany, Restoration & Reconciliation

Unsure

Transitions make me quite reflective, which is why I think I’m processing leaving our current home in poetry…  While I will certainly leave this place with some fond memories, there are also hard memories that will accompany us as well.  (It doesn’t help that we received a racist and threatening prank call at 2 am the other morning either).  *sigh*   here is an honest thought in that vain…


How do you leave a place,
limping,
feeling as though you
made every effort to live
but aren’t sure if you ever
really got there?
.
Except for the time
you gasped
at the tree in the fog in the field
or hiked
with your daughter through the woods
or cried out
for healing on the lonely streets of an empty town.
.
Perhaps
limping
is simply
another step forward
along the path
of living.
.
Miscellany, Spiritual Formation

On nearing the end of this road

I’m big on seeking closure in transitions, and have been pondering for a few months how to start this process for our upcoming move to the other end of the country.  We’ve lived in our current town for 8 years, so we have much to say good-bye to…  Living between worlds requires good-byes, a fact with which we are well acquainted. So, as the mood strikes, I plan to do my own little series of ‘closure poetry’, and will post some of it here, to share with the rest of you who also know good-byes well.

On nearing the end of this road
 
Been waiting for this moment
for what seems like an eternity.
And now that it’s pressing close,
I wanna bottle up the moments
        of happy dandelions and fresh fields
        of bright-starred skies and lonely trees
        of quiet streets and nosy neighbors
and take them along
as a reminder of the beauty
in the days here.
These things do not await us
where we go. 
All will be new there –
crowds and cars,
action and noise.
 
Funny
how a difficult journey
morphs
into a sweet memory
one slow step at a time.
Miscellany

Dreams, unexpected.

“I’m not moving to California,” was my firm response nearly a year ago when my husband told me he’d spoken to some people about a job there.  At this point in my life, I should know better than to respond to anything with this level of certainty.  To cut to the quick, he accepted the job last week.

So, um, yeah…

We’re moving to California.

Even though Indiana wasn’t ever quite on my radar, I must admit, neither was California…  It’s far from both of our families, and we were hoping to head back east.

But, sometimes life surprises us with quite unexpected realities.  Very slowly, my definitive “I’m not moving to California” response softened:

On applying for the job: “You know I don’t want to live in California, but I won’t stand in your way if you feel like it’s something you should pursue.”

On accepting an interview: “Let’s just walk through open doors.”

On accepting an in-person interview: “Best not to shut a door that’s not open yet.”

On arriving in California in January: “This weather is AWESOME!”[1]

And then much to my surprise, all the doors were wide open, and it was clear that we would be missing great things to not walk through them.

So, good-bye, cultural isolation.  Hello, California!  The slate is clean.  Much awaits us on the next leg of our journey.


[1] I should clarify that weather was not the only detail that opened the door.  As much as I hate winter, even the sun isn’t enough to be the sole reason to uproot our lives.  (Good Asian food and access to Trader Joe’s come close though!)

Families, Children & Marriage, Miscellany, Women

Back to work…

and so it is that the slow summer days have come to an end, when we all return to the much faster pace of the school year. my summer was full and rich – swimming pools, lazy days, lots of books, long conversations and short to-do lists.

Returning to school involves a whole different energy level. Though I do get tired, I find that the emotional energy it takes to shift back into our respective worlds is the heaviest.  Kate Daniels sums up my conflicted feelings about the whole transition in her poem below – loving work, quietness, contemplation, yet pulled by those precious little ones toward a much noisier existence.

In My Office at Bennington
 
Mornings, I sit by the open window
in the red barn, reading poems
and quietly thinking.  Coffee idles
in a cracked blue mug, and bees burst
in and out of the unscreened window.  At last, a poem seems possible
again – brain knitting a scarf
of thought, purling it into words.
 
Metaphors emerge after long seclusion –
a green crocus, crusted with dirt, thrusts
through the rotten fabric of an ailing lawn
late in February.  The season is almost
over, or it’s not, in fact, begun. 
 
But then I hear the voices of my children
returning from a meal, hiking up the hill
from camp.  Or the plastic wheels of Janey’s
carriage clattering in gravel.
The cheerful firstborn’s off-key whistle,
airy through the gap in new front teeth
 
and I’m paper torn in half,
 
the poem that didn’t work,
the wrong words, sour sounds,
ruptured rhythms, the confusion
as to what was meant, what I actually
desired besides those three small faces
raised to my open window, calling
my name over and over, Mama?

 

Daniels, K. (2001).  In my office at Bennington.  In M. K. DeShazer (Ed.), The Longman anthology of women’s literature (pp. 872-873). New York: Longman.

Miscellany

Adventures in a cornfield?

And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time. 
– T.S. Eliott
 

This is an oldie favorite quote of mine because it cuts so close to my heart and experience.  There were going to be so many dreams, ideas, adventures, and then we ended up here.  So I moaned and groaned about the loss of adventure (still do some days!), and then I read this:

The Baab sisters of the Ebenezer orphanage were ready and willing to [raise the baby well], but time has a way of leading a person along a crooked path.  Sometimes the path is hard to hold to and people fall off along the way. They curse the road for its steep grades and muddy ruts and settle themselves in hinterlands of thorn and sorrow, never knowing or dreaming that the road meant all along to lead them home.  Some call that road a tragedy and lose themselves along it.  Others, those that see it home, call it an adventure.” – A.S. Peterson, The Fiddler’s Gun

Perhaps these cornfields are really an adventure after all?

Are there adventures you intended to have and instead, find yourself elsewhere?  How do you see the road you’re on?