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This Phoenix Speaks

Seven years in the making, my first published book, This Phoenix Speaks , is now a reality. The tireless and tiring work invested to ma...

I Shall Write

I was going to write something wonderful,
but then the notion flew out of my head
faster than flight should—even on wings of a bird.
Words float into my mind and onto my lips,
but they seem to not desire to be written quickly
nor ever, though I can write is what I've heard.

Can write, will write, should write, able to write:
All are possibilities of situation,
yet I am inclined to say—due to the fact
that my heart and pen seem disconnected—
I shall not write.

I shall not write the words that are trapped inside
this loving, wanting, wishing heart.
I cannot write words to describe its delicate, wistful wishfulness.
'Twould only sink more darts.

I will not write words that mark more hurt,
branding forever in words this time of love's dearth.
I should not write, for it only proves I'm weak.
Weakness of the heart—I allowed love to reach a peak.

Even with all this said, I still believe I'm not able to write.
I am utterly unable to write what has been written upon this soul of mine.
Words can be written, yet will not suffice.
Words should be placed upon the page, but are they able to express
more than what everyone else has ever said?

Writing has always been my answer.
To convey meaning with poignancy and power.
My spirit will not be broken.
These hands will take up pen and paper.
I shall write although words might fail
because to not write would be my jail.

the non-existent nap

The children were all made content and busy with snacks and crayons and coloring pages. Time for a rest was ticking away--nearly slipping through her fingers. So sleepy that she could barely keep her eyes open, the mother hurriedly crawled onto her bed. She felt the tiredness turn into sweet slumber--until the youngest one abruptly stated: Mom! I had the best day at field day today! Not knowing if she said wonderful out loud or not, she believes she opened her eyes and said it and gave a smile. Then off to sleepy land she floated, resting in the soft quiet peace called her bedroom, dreaming of a song and field day and popsicles and--Mom! My favorite game was the Ninja game! I was the BEST at it!!... Sleep would not leave her foggy mind, but she could sense this was important so she sat up as far as Fatigue would allow and asked the little ninja if he would like to go color or come cuddle with mommy. Hundreds of exuberant words flew from his mouth (none of which were of the lullaby sort), but he paused for a moment to hug his mother, telling her she is the best mom ever, making sleep no longer so vital.

For Uncle Bill and G.I. Joe

I have a long line of military servicemen in my family, but I would like to dedicate this Memorial Day especially to two of them:

To begin, I pay tribute to my Uncle Bill. I was able to attain a copy of his service records thanks to the help of his only surviving sibling, my dear Aunt Mona. I learned so much. He was in the Navy and served in the Vietnam and Korean Wars. Along the way, he did many admirable things to serve and teach others while in the service of this great nation that I call home.  He received medals of honor and bravery. What his military record could not show was what happened in between the times that paperwork was entered. It did not show his family's sacrifices and struggles when he was away. It did not show record of the cancer he developed that was rumored to have been caused by his exposure to Agent Orange while in the jungles of Vietnam. It did not show his family left behind to keep on going after he was gone.

He died when I was just twelve years old and so I do not remember much about him; I did not realize how precious each memory would become. I remember that I could walk to his house a few blocks over from ours--until he retired and moved away. His chickens used to scare me to death, but I loved making mud pies with my cousin Melinda in that back yard. I loved the smell of Aunt Pat's kitchen, even though I don't know why. I remember the millions of stars he pointed out to us city kids when we went to visit them after they got settled in the new house. And I remember visiting one more time, but never seeing him. The last time I saw Uncle Bill was after he went to a doctor visit. He was in town for it and wanted to stop by. I hardly knew him and it grieved me to see him so eaten up from the cancer. I saw him as a tower of invincibility until that day. My Uncle Bill had been a real life Popeye--over six feet tall with a large Navy anchor tattooed on his huge, muscular forearm (until he got it removed), and always seemed to be in charge. The next time I saw him it was at his funeral and I could not bear to walk over to the casket. One thing I will never forget about that day was the military salute given him at the grave side service. It was an honor to be there. I am proud of my Uncle Bill and I look forward to the day when we can all be together again. (related link: My Hope For Eternity) Uncle Bill, I salute you now and forever.

I realize the purpose of Memorial Day is to remember those who have given their life through death in service of our country but I want to honor my brother, Joseph, this day. While he may not have died while in the service of this country, he has sacrificed more than most non-military people do to maintain our freedoms. I mean to pay tribute while he is still here and can know of my love and admiration.

He has spent a good portion of the past 8 years of his life in Iraq or Afghanistan. Although he did not lose his life over there, the price still has been high. After grieving the loss of mother and father in less than two years time, he was sent out and then sent again and again with not much time to recuperate in between. Not enough time to reconnect with the world. I see his service as a great sacrifice and terrible necessity for which he continues to pay a personal price. While he does not talk about what he has seen or done, I believe it has been harder than anyone would want to admit. I am proud to say I have a brother who has served in the United States Army.

Thank you, Joseph, for doing what you've done. You have given so much. Sometimes I think it has been too much. Always and forever, I hope you know that you are more than enough of a brother and friend. I love you. Go! Go! G.I. Joe!

Sidenote: When we were kids, G.I. Joe action figures were the hot ticket item. So, naturally, Joe was nicknamed G.I. Joe and mercilessly teased about it. I think I knocked a few of those kids around for it, too. (And yes, I was that rough and tumble of a little girl.)  

Your Assistance is Kindly Requested

Not sure if I've mentioned this before but, in case I haven't, I am in the midst of an introductory linguistics class. I have to conduct a bit of research for my course project and need YOUR help. I want to measure the prevalence of usage between  Can I...? and May I...? and am curious to know any reasoning you might have behind why you say what you do.

Instructions for being a very helpful and lovely sort of person:
  1. Go to the top right-hand column to find the poll. (The poll will run through June 8, 2012 at 7 p.m. PDT) 
  2. Take the poll and please be sure to put *YOUR* answer and not one you think might be more correct. I am not looking for grammar correctness. I want to know common usage statistics. For example-- if you were taught one way but do it differently, put what you actually say most of the time. (It is one question so it should take approximately 10-15 seconds.)
  3. If you want to help make my research project really awesome and multifaceted: Please share your answer and any thoughts you have about why in the comments section of this post. (Anonymous comments are enabled on my blog. Therefore, if you do not want your identity known but want to share some insights with everyone, be sure to access this page prior to signing in on anything that would catch you on the radar.)
  4. If you want to help make my research project really fabulous and the opposite of lame-due-to-lack-of-enough-participants: PLEASE SHARE THIS LINK WITH OTHERS. (There is no such thing as too many people taking the poll or leaving comments. I am an over-achiever, hence my expectations are probably too high, and my dream number for how many people will participate is astronomical.)
I have share buttons at the end of the post for direct emailing, StumbleUpon, Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. So take the poll, comment and/or SHARE.

I thank you in advance for supporting my effort to do something interesting and worthwhile. I appreciate it very much.

Please Note: The poll ends June 8th!!!

TwitterVerse: Vol. III

severing our ties ~ I'm beckoned into darkness ~ gripping suffering

sizzling fire within ~ scorching my heart forever ~ poignant memories

mothers provide life ~ from beginning to the end ~ breath, strength, support, love

love and grace adorned ~ offers sacrifice divine ~ stunning loveliness

creating boldly ~ giving love generously ~ surrendering self

Vegas was my home ~ It's been a lifetime ago ~ Parents left behind

Standing in a row ~ anticipation rising ~ all ready for school

I have been given ~ unimaginable gifts ~ some wanted some not


Hearts are tricky things ~ beat for one for forever ~ then stop yet can't stop
Life moves on daily ~ moving away so subtly ~ erasing pieces
Holding tight many ~ terribly incredible ~ melancholy mix

destroyer of hearts ~ havoc you've wreaked upon me ~ for much, much too long
permission granted ~ embraced, even encouraged ~ sorely regretted
no longer wanted ~ nothing left of me to give ~ get thee hence, I plead


His light reaches farther/ touching my soul/ once empty/ now full

the light of day might see these tired eyes/in wonder they behold the beauty of the wise/striving to stand strong against lost love's guise

To make daggers fly/ all he need do is write or speak/ double-dipped in lies/ piercing my wounded heart so deep/ Why couldn't I see?

for all the love and loss we feel/ let us pause to recognize/ all the friends who help us heal

Of all the things to squabble about/ let us not give too much credence/ to something so trivial/ the time 'twas not well spent

every day we had/ marked a hole in every day we don't/ now and always

heart on her sleeve/ moving about life/ too much to believe/ fantastical levels of strife


unwavering faith and devotion is essential #sixwords

Whoever said a smile isn't talking? #sixwords

Respectful actions prove love to me #SixWords

Everyone is capable of passionate desires #sixwords Who is capable of faithful action? #sixmorewords

Continuously releasing hope/ hoping for ties that bind/ which hold our hearts and hopes/ always looking ahead/ continuing on

love has been the thread/ binding my wounds/ through every waking moment/ that I have tread.

wake I must/ poetry bringing my dreams into the open/ through ink and air/ they float

living dreaming waking screaming/ tied with ribbons lovely and strangling/ life filled with dreams worthy of crying

robed in velvet aubergine/to warm against the cold of night/word-filled tears spilt upon the page/granting strength to fight

Related links:

TwitterVerse: Vol. I 

TwitterVerse: Vol. II

More Thoughts On Cookies

I think it is Cookie Monster's fault. Seriously. Munching through  an entire plate full of cookies within seconds would never have been thought possible if I hadn't seen it happen--on numerous occasions--with my very own eyes. Mind you, it was on Sesame Street, but I was still an eye witness to cookie gobbling.

Cookies are the perfect treat. Plain and simple. They usually taste good; you can take them along with you on outings as easily as a sandwich. And when smooshed around ice cream, there never was a better version of a sandwich I have ever eaten. 

related link:

Ode to a Cookie 

a short musing on meeting new people

As I sit eating dinner and talking with new friends, I am struck by the juxtaposition of sheer happiness and awkwardness surrounding me. Both sensations push upon me, appearing to be contradictory in nature. Although how I am seeing things, the end result could go any which way.

We always have a choice to give into the awkward discomfort of meeting new people by running away (mentally or physically). Or we can seek to embrace the exhilaration that comes when new friendship is forged. Yet, the choice is clear for me. I believe the exhilaration of friendship's beginning would not come without that ingredient of newness present and the suffering of awkwardness is part of the bargain.

Even though I enjoy making new friends, I must admit I experience that I-feel-almost-nauseous-so-maybe-I-should-leave nervousness like other people. I like to ignore it. What I do, instead of running away, is start talking. And then it's all over from there.

People either love me.
Grow to love me.
Or seriously hate my guts.

I think I am an acquired taste (see Uniquely Amazing for more commentary).

seeing is loving

Lots of us see lots of things the same. While sometimes, two people see the same thing so differently that they cannot see eye to eye on anything. That can be how it is in a relationship.

A couple of points, here and there, can cause a divide so wide between the couple that they are no longer in hearing distance, let alone seeing. And seeing is imperative for love to continue to grow. We must see what is special and loveable about each other. We must see why we want to stay.

Seeing is loving. I believe this can be achieved even when we don't see things the same way, so long as we keep each other in focus. 

If I had super powers...

Being the Purple Whisperer is another one of my specialties.

Well, I have often said that I do have super powers. I don't mean the ones no one can ever really have, but the ones that count--

I can find almost anything.
Lose a shoe, sock, pretty much anything that needs both parts of a pair to be useable, and I can find it.

Need some strange, random item for a school project?
If I don't have it, I have the improvisational skills of a magician.

I also get these intuitive prompts to make or buy just the right dinner or treat-- making all the difference in a hectic, stressful or sad day.

If you don't believe that these are super powers, all you need do is ask my children because they call me Supermom. all the time.

The Best Mostaccioli Recipe Yet Written

My mother was renowned for her delectable baked goods, but not so much for her cooking of every day meals.

Personally, I truly loved almost all the casseroles and such that she used to make in order to keep a large family fed. There were a few from time to time (containing unidentifiable green things) which were less to my liking, of course. The one undeniable exception to that rule and all the love I hold dear for my mother's food creations is the Sloppy Joes she used to put together. I do not blame her though--she just opened up a can of Manwich sauce and threw it on top of browned ground beef. I do blame her for buying the stuff though, but that is an entirely different story...

So anyways.

To break up the spaghetti/tortilla casserole/hamburgers/Hawaiian haystack/macaroni casserole/taco salad/steak dinner dinner routine, my mom would make a dish called Mostaccioli. It isn't fancy, but it's quick, easy, and something any child will eat who loves cheese and pasta. And truth be told, my brothers and I love it still. For her 60th Birthday Anniversary party, I made her famous bread and Mostaccioli. The triple-batch was gone in no time.

Ok. and one more thing. If you want to be uber authentic about how you do my mom's Mostaccioli, you cannot say it properly like an Italian would say it.

There are a few different ways to say it:


The second link is the closest to how my mom would say it, except she put high emphasis on different syllables making it sound fabulous to me.

I will write out precisely how my mom said mostaccioli
using the IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet):  mo stɑ t͡ʃi o li

as well as in messed-up-let-me-try-to-write-it-how-she-said-it-English, for those of you who are unfamiliar with IPA: moh - stah - chee - oh - lee

I am not certain how well that will translate with font issues, etc.  but I promise you she pronounced each syllable and would even add in a hint of dramatic Italian accent when she would let us know what was for dinner (when asked for the tenth time Mom, what's for dinner?)

And so you know, I cannot force myself to say it any other way than how my mom would say it. I don't care what Shakespeare wrote, it just wouldn't be the same dish if called by any other name.

And now for the Recipe of All Recipes for Mohstahcheeolee:

1 lb. browned ground beef
1 jar of Prego spaghetti sauce*
1 lb. box of mostaccioli** pasta, cooked al dente. Drained and rinsed.
1/2 Velveeta loaf, cut into thick slices (approximately 1/4 - 1/2 inch)

13X9 glass baking dish

Preheat oven to 350F

Mix sauce into ground beef once beef is finished browning.
Once pasta is cooked-- drain, rinse, and pour back into pot.
Then, pour beef/sauce mixture onto pasta and stir well.
Next, scoop pasta mixture in three separate layers, placing Velveeta slices on top of each layer of pasta. 

Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30-40 minutes at 350F

* I make my own sauce, but if you want to be uber authentic, remember Prego is the brand to trust.

** Penne may be substituted if necessary.

*** At the height of my mother's food production days, she would double the recipe, bake it in a large roasting pan (like you use for roasting a turkey), and leave it in the oven for 45 minutes to an hour. If you like the pasta a bit on the over-baked side, leave it in for an hour. I think that only happened when she got distracted by our shenanigans and forgot about it. The over-baked edges grew on me and I like it best that way now.


Related Links:

The Best White Bread Recipe Yet Written

The Best Pumpkin Cookie Recipe Yet Written

I wrote you a letter

Dear Whoever Might Be Listening,

I feel like a mess right now. I wish I had happier things to write about. I wish I could see myself making it out of this sad place, but I don't.

I've been thinking about things, marriage things, and I am wondering something. Are there men out there who actually want to and will do the work to be a team player with equity and care? Will he be attractive to me? Will I be attractive to him? Will the person who is willing to be on my team also desire to live a covenant-keeping lifestyle?

There are innumerable jokes about how selfish and insensitive guys are and how men and women don't understand one another; however, there are innumerable love stories to partake of in which people figure it out. They take care of each other. They sacrifice willingly to give what the other needs. They live godly lives with love and respect and fidelity. Love stories are found in movies and books as well as real life ones.

The only problem with all of my thought process is that I am a third-party observer with a failed marriage. Are my expectations too high? I don't think they are and can't imagine lowering them again, but will that mean I never have someone who really wants to do what it takes to be together for the long haul of eternity?

I believe I could drive myself into the ground worrying on these issues.

What I know for certain is I have so many more questions, so many more words I want to say, but it is not socially acceptable to talk to everyone about everything. I realize this is just a whole lot of self pity and ragging and whining, but this is my purple niche, and I guess I will mar it with this black sadness once again.

I can hardly stand writing these words, although this deeply solitary feeling urges me to keep on reaching out. 

Most sincerely,


Hopeful Rest

In the midst of this dark storm,
we found ourselves an island.
Unattainable quiet
has silenced life's harsh demands.
Focusing on happiness
has been a delight unplanned.
Laughter has been my gift,
touched by its infectious hand.
If only we could stay more
upon this island of rest.
We have been given something
I never thought of or guessed.
A whisper of peace alights,
calming the inner tempests
showing me hope has been here
waiting to make its conquest.


hysterical me
wishing and wanting love to be
more than my self
more than your self
but a coalescent eternity

beginning right now
striving and stretching us to see
more than the past
more than today
but interminable possibilities

The Dangers of Riding in Elevators

I walked unsuspectingly inside the elevator. Three smiling men were talking and obvious friends. Another woman and I figured out whether the floor we needed was lit up on the number pad, then the doors closed. Right away, one man turned to us and said, You two are ladies, then turned to his friends and said, I bet they'd know.

I thought to myself, What could these perfect strangers need to know from me?

These guys then proceeded to explain how they had been arguing over grammar--more specifically whether or not it is proper to say Me and Steve went somewhere or if it is better to say Steve and I... My next thought was Do I have some grammar sticker across my forehead or what??? And my very next thought was Wow, I never knew men talked about grammar outside of school? What I said out loud (once the other woman said she believed the second choice was correct) was that Steve and I is the absolute correct way to say it. Then the questions started flying. The one who was right appeared quite satisfied but had more questions, and the other two actually attempted to continue arguing after my definitive reply. I most decidedly shut them down. I mentioned my English Teaching major status and how I just know. They piped down, asking hows and whys, so I gave a short elevator version of usage differences in subjects and predicates, as well as a mini {elevator} lesson on the difference between Grammar A and Grammar B. Then, as the elevator door opened I summed things up, leaving them open-mouthed and stunned by my mad grammar skills.

Mind you--this occurred in the space of three minutes or less. I can hardly fathom how fast I must have been speaking. It was probably some world record or something. Insanity.

My deepest gratitude goes out to my mother for ingraining the basics into me from a young and tender age as well as to my Grammar Teaching instructor, Dr. Deborah Dean, who taught me all I know about how to teach grammar to others. Without their lessons, mad skills would have been mediocre guessing.


Sense it.
Glance it.
See it.
Fear it.
Yearn it.
Feel it.
Touch it.
Taste it.
Bite it.
Grab it.
Crush it.
Love it.
Devour it whole!

*This piece of writing was taken from a tweet by an anonymous friend and polished, with permission.

Ode to a Cookie

Red Velvet Cookie with Cream Cheese Frosting

Exultant delight I experience with you
Savoring each flavor and texture as I chew
Sugar-dusted red, topped with cream cheese loveliness
Creating a splendorous memory morsel
So temporary, yet granting such happiness
Although I adore you, this sad news I must tell--
We should part ways. Please know it is harder for me,
My delicious and sweet, delectable cookie

TwitterVerse: Vol. II


where ever you are ~ darling, sweet wish of a love ~ my heart has gone there

the sun, it sets on ~ days filled with less than there was ~ marking your absence

screaming and crying ~ desiring closure. wishing ~ all inside my head

she looks like a girl ~ a controlled, trapped animal ~ pretending freedom

pacing the track ~ worn into the old carpet ~ nervous and needy

loyalty 'twas feigned/ consciously/ unwittingly/ never just for me

looking past fake smiles ~ frightened by your promises ~ motivating dread

Dear Antipodes ~ you fade into the distance ~ as each sun rises 

friendship orchestra ~ plucking away my heart strings ~ symphony of grief

sense of friendlessness ~ pervasive and poisonous ~ forces me to flee

I am now undone ~ torn heart leaping from my chest ~ drowning silent tears

hiding wildfire tears ~ separated by station ~ same yet different


working through sadness in your absence

a little obsession never hurt anyone

Your brand of sunshine, I miss.

Romantic love can be suffocatingly enchanting

her rare beauty only lacked elusiveness

Poetry is the pathway into my heart

#Collaborative my responses to others' writing

Imagination can be a great deceiver ~ weaving truth, beauty, and wishes into one. Reality's ambitions are hard won.

his voice: symphony of my sheet music

Like a violent summer storm/ along life's path/ You leave me devastated  

finding that someone/ who writes these words on their list/ wants to check it off  

Not knowing how, when or who
Torments not made by her / create seas of tears / washing away love
The flames burned out the light / both creations of love / and the cradle she gave willingly for that heart


tus palabras añadir a mi mundo

Vivo a dos realidades: hermosos e insoportable/ Quiero una realidad: lleno de paz y un marido amable


writing messages/ into the air/ hoping you might find them/ wishing you were there

Write me a sonnet/ and I'll give you a kiss/ Give me your heart/ and I'll be your bliss

Disconnecting from pain and reality/ in vain attempt to connect with you/ exemplifies one of life's many incongruities

a symphony of the most visible sort/ in the form of a smile/ you are the conductor/ a captivated audience/ I cannot keep myself from it

memoirs of a tricycle

The years go by so quickly. A shiny red tricycle is now rusted and worn, but has had many a rider since it found a home. Everyone is almost too grown up to ride it, but I keep it to remember. I remember why it was purchased. This particular tricycle was the largest tricycle we could find at the time, plus the most durable. I remember tying her feet to the pedals to help them stay on. I had hoped so hard that my big little girl would learn how to do something normal before overgrowing her birthday gift. When I look at our tricycle now, I remember she never learned how to ride it. I remember the tears I shed mourning how she could not learn--not even how to do something fun. Then, little brother wanted to learn how to ride. He was afraid to even try, but I would push from behind always reminding to keep his feet on those pedals. I remember the joy on his face when he learned how to pedal without me beside him. Then, little sister rode it a few times, but mostly sat on the back steps like a seat while big brother and friends drove her around like the diva she has always been. When I look at our tricycle now, I remember how her tiny legs could not reach the pedals and once they could she wanted to ride big bikes instead--and did it. I remember her wanting to ride it once she was too big and doing it so she could say she used to ride it all the time too. Baby brother can ride it now, but rarely does. He likes to walk or run instead of working that hard to get into motion. I remember sharing it with friends and neighbors when they would come to visit, decorating it for a bike parade around our street, and now using it to decorate our porch. It has been there through all the stages of childhood and is a part of the family. I will always remember the joys and defeats it has seen and how it has always been there with my children and me.