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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...

no more pretending

With every word you speak
I am reminded
Of the love you said you had
Yet there is no proof
In anything you say

With every thing you do
I am reminded
Of the care you swore you gave
Yet there is no proof
In actions past or present

You loved and served
Your self
And nothing more
The proof is found
In all the things that you hold dear

Stop pretending
That somehow you might
Get me to believe you
Like I did once
A very long time ago. 


All day long, the people told their sides of the story. All day long, hearts were breaking. All day long prayers were said and felt and heard.

The battle finally came to a head and is over; after too many years, yes, it is unbelievably over, but the verdict is not in. As I ponder on the situation, I think of how life's battle is never over until the end--that there will be other challenges to come my way. Yet, I know to give credit to the experience I have gained throughout these past several years. Tears have taught me a great deal. Learning to forgive and how to better cherish time with my children have been two lessons, but the biggest and I think most helpful to me for personal growth has been patience.

The waiting hasn't even stopped yet, and maybe it won't ever really. However, I do know that I can wait and wait it out well, so I am content. 

One thing I'm not quite sure of is how to translate what I've gone through into making patience a virtue, but you know what they say...

every single one


I never thought I'd be able to say this and mean it, but I really don't have a favorite scripture because I have learned to love so many of them. For this precise reason I decided to explore the idea of my Seeking to Become series.

Tell my 20 year-old self that I'd be writing something like this and I would probably have laughed in your face. My heart is humbled at the question, and I give thanks to God for the mighty change of heart I've had over the past several years.

The scriptures--every single one I have ever read--are my favorite. And I'm serious.


I have learned to embrace silence.
When people are on the hunt for blame and ridicule,
I withdraw
from the madness and lean into self reflection.
I embrace silence.

Searching, wanting, willing someone to be wrong,
Almost like a hunter looking for his prey,
Some people take their victims
With shutting out of conversations,
Twisting words, and demonizing.

No longer human
No longer worth their time
I withdraw
from the madness and lean into inherent worth.
I embrace silence. 

Hoping you might learn to love me
For who I am,
I stand aside
waiting in the silence.
Embracing it.

*Dedicated to every one who has ever stonewalled me.

I thank you for helping me to understand what love is not and to learn how to recognize my worth even in the most difficult of situations.

a slice of language barrier

The phrase "language barrier" wasn't imagined from nothing. Language is a type of gate. If we have full use of the language in our culture, we feel successful; we make friends; we can communicate our needs to others--our teachers, for one. When a student comes into the classroom, teachers need to help open the gate by taking the time to see if they are trapped behind a language barrier.

I am reminded of when I was a tutor at the community college from which I received my Associates degree. One of the students I was helping struggled terribly in her English writing course. In order to get to know why this seemingly bright individual might be having trouble, I decided to ask her about herself. I discovered that she was a refugee from Afghanistan and had the equivalent of a doctorate degree in her homeland, but due to the language barrier, she could not access her knowledge effectively in her new environment. 

The significance of her plight touched a chord that continues to reverberate through my heart. The ability to communicate opens doors—and a lack thereof can close and even lock them. 

Teachers have the opportunity to help students get the tools they need to access what they know, enabling students to experience encouragement and inclusion instead of failure or ostracism because they happen to be on the other side of the gate at the moment. 

bring it on!


The biggest life lesson that I have found to be true is that my mom knew best. She didn't always know what to do, and she certainly didn't always do the best. But--when dealing with comparative wisdom, she consistently had a lot better judgment than I did at any point in time when we were at a crossroads of severe juxtaposition.

As I mother my own children now, I am able to see that I know best in comparison due to the wisdom I have gained/earned over the years. There is something empowering about realizing how it comes about. It's almost as if we should welcome the challenges of life with a big fat Bring It On! banner, welcoming the understanding and wisdom that comes with making it through the storms of life.

Not wishing hard times on my children but knowing that they do and will come, I hope that some day my children will learn this life lesson too because they have come to know what's best as well, and, in turn, teach their children to the best of their ability.

Seeking to Become -- January 2013

Psalm 82:3 reads:

Defend the poor and fatherless: do justice to the afflicted and needy.

Today, right now, there are many people who fall into the aforementioned categories. I ponder on what I can do with my limited means and reach, knowing there is more that I can and must do if I want to truly keep seeking to become more like Christ.

The words here are not entreating, neither is there any question as to what is being asked of us. The Lord uses the command form in order to give us a directive, not a suggestion. Sometimes that seems harsh, yet it is effective. We know very clearly through this short verse how we are to treat the poor, fatherless, afflicted, and needy.

For the next month, I want to search out things I can change in order to become more sensitive to whether or not I defend the poor and fatherless and work to know what I might do to help the afflicted and needy to have access to the justice they deserve.

Join me if you will.

My Deficient Heart

With a sick little monkey and school and more kids to corral and impending court stuff breaking down the door, I can hardly think straight right now. I feel as if my brain is no longer capable of independent thought on anything important.

I've had a bit of news though. My heart needs help. (And, no, I'm not talking about any romantic woes although I am suffering pretty badly in that area as well.)  I am deficient in quite a few vitamins that my heart requires in order to be healthy. In the process of doing all the blood work, the doctor also discovered that I have a rare genetic defect where my body doesn't create a certain chemical it needs to better sleep, concentrate, remember, and not have cardiovascular events.

With all the negative stress over the past several years running me down and my body deciding to defect on me, I no longer wonder why I've been feeling like my heart is coming out of my chest and so raggedy from not being able to sleep very well. It's nice to have some answers to a few of my whys instead of always wondering when everything will stop falling apart.

I went to the store straight away, purchased the supplements and prescriptions the doctor ordered, and now, I just need to remember to take the stupid things.

seven years overdue

Anticipation. Fear. Excitement. Dread. Already exhausted. Ready for forever.

And then, I entered the hospital doors.

Paperwork overtook the emotionality of the situation, and then the pricking of needles into skin did the rest. All that was left was worry over the pain that would soon overwhelm my body. 

I don't do well with pain of any sort, but physical pain pushes me to the brink of my ability to cope. Knowing this about myself, I asked for an epidural as I lay down on the labor and delivery bed. The nurse thought she could instruct me, but I knew what going natural meant--it meant going near unconscious (I went through it with Little {D}) during delivery. I explained my traumatic experience. They put me on the anesthesiologist's list.

Then, the waiting.

And waiting.

And waiting.

After much waiting, the anesthesiologist came in, administered the epidural, and my first big contraction began. I felt no pain. It was a miracle.

Then, I got really cold, so they piled warmed white blankets on me. It was so relaxing that I thought I might melt into the bed and never wake up. I was so peaceful and happy--

The next thing I know, the nurses and doctor forced me to sit up and they began to rub my arms and legs vigorously. I don't recall anything else other than being so upset that I couldn't just stay asleep. I was told later that my heart rate was dropping rapidly and that was why they did what they did. 

Then, some more waiting...

Until it was time, and my sweet little guy was born.

I didn't know it at the time, but this boy has taught me how to let things roll off my back a little better and how to be calm amidst craziness. He looks like my side of the family more so than any of my other children which means I finally get to know what it feels like to have someone I created walking around reminding me of what my brothers and I looked like as children. It's strange, yet so beautiful to behold.

In memory of seven years ago, I write this slice of my sweet guy's beginning of life.

life lessons

What might you do differently if you could live your life again?

Without a doubt in my mind, I would change nothing if I could live my life again. I am the person I am today because of all the mistakes and heartaches. I am who I am as a result of all of the good times too.

I wish I hadn't got myself into so many fist fights in junior high. The neighborhood would have been a lot happier if they still had the flags for their mailboxes. And I am more than certain I could have become a lot more accomplished in much happier ways had I not been so entirely boy crazy in and after high school. However, all those things put me on the path on which I find myself at this moment in time. They have taught me what I know now.

Respect for a person's self and the property of others, recognizing the inestimable worth of every friend, and a sense of true connection with everyone I have ever loved and will love are a few of the products of my journey, and I would not trade these lessons I've learned for anything.

To learn more about this year-long project go to:

52 Gems of Reflection

cutting you loose

like the edge of a trench knife
my mind gets sharpened
with every barbed remark
my hard won breath is quickened
around every choreographed lie
my war torn heart strings rip


from all the control
my words flee, take flight
against all the memories
my bright future shall fight on
while putting to peaceful rest
my near-forgotten dreams  


Writing of the #PurpleSerial Series

If you haven't noticed, I love to write. I write silly things, weird things, romantic things, and even quite serious things. But somehow I haven't figured out how to write when I am under pressure. It feels impossible. My goal is to blog meaningful words that might cheer and bless those who read them, yet I keep falling silent from time to time. The woman who can talk 'til everyone else drops loses her words—a supremely oxymoronic situation, to say the least.

However, I have other places wherein I write that provide me with a different sense of my audience. The most conducive venue for opening up for me is Twitter. I feel as if we are in a small room spending friend time together and stories, cherished or irritating or funny memories, start spilling out.

At first, I didn't have a hashtag for these stories of mine, but then I would choose one that made sense or made the content feel funnier. Finally one day, I decided to use the same one each time so I can search it easier, my following can find the stories quickly, and it's just really super awesome. So yeah. That's how #purpleserial serials came about and will continue on.

I love telling stories. Thanks for coming back for more in whichever venue you do.  It fuels my fire to no end.

passing time

Walking from one class to the next (and being on-time to the next class) in crowded high school halls used to seem like quite the feat. I remember having to run the last stretch to some classes in order to beat the end of the tardy bell's reverberation and losing the battle on occasion. That occasion typically had something to do with a boy. It makes me blush to think about how much kissing I did in the hallways of my public high school. Quite shameful.

Fortunately for me (or unfortunately depending on what day it is), I don't have boy-crazy tendencies because, if I did, I'd never be on time to my college classes.   Two days a week there are a measly ten minutes between two of my classes where I have to go outside and pass four large buildings in order to go down a flight of stairs to a basement classroom.

Tell my high school self that I'd be doing that to get to class and I might never have enrolled in college. Seriously.

52 gems of reflection

This jar might not look like much, but, believe it or not, it's reclaimed treasure. It was my mother's. Typed onto each tiny slip of paper is a journaling prompt. When I heard that it was found, I about started to cry, but then my wheels got turning when my sister-in-law thought it would be great for blogging. We brainstormed for a long while; she took photos; I edited photos; and, this is what we came up with: 52 Gems of Reflection.

For 2013, Mondays on here will be centered around a random prompt from one of those slips of paper. I hope you might join in by commenting or using the prompt for your own blog. If you use the prompt, you can get the challenge photograph (as shown above) and weekly photograph prompts via a Pinterest pin that I will post each Monday under Blogs and Other Writing Adventures. Please put a link to your blog in the comments so everyone can enjoy your perspective on it throughout the week.

So without further ado, I give you Week 1 of 52 Gems of Reflection:

Thinking back, was there a teacher(s) or class that had a great influence on you?
The teachers who had the most impact on me just happened to be friends with my mom. I didn't quite realize what a benefit it was to be taught by educators who cared all that much more because they cared about my mom, too. But now, as I reflect on it, I see what a blessing these two women were in my adolescent life, key players in the village that raised me.

My inspiration for becoming an English teacher comes from Mrs. Martin. She was my teacher for the Honors British and American Literature classes that I took the last two years of high school. Mrs. Martin had this way of expecting what she knew you had in you. I won't ever forget the time I wrote a mess of a paper the night before with no thought whatsoever, turning it in late by three days already and expecting a decent grade. She marked off the points for each day late, then knocked off another ten because, as she put it, You know you can do better than this. I was in personal turmoil at that time, and so it didn't change my attitude toward the class. However, it taught me a life-long lesson about knowing what my best is and doing it.

Dr. Jensen, the choir director at my high school, influenced me to recognize my love for music in new and lasting ways. There is just something about singing The Hallelujah Chorus in a 1000-voice choir at the Candlelight Ceremony at Disneyland that pretty much takes your breath away and lights a unique fire, and that's just one example. She worked tirelessly to provide us with opportunities to showcase the talent and dedication of the students with whom she had influence. I am not technically trained whatsoever in directing choirs, but her enthusiasm for music, coupled with the example set in my home by my mom, rubbed off on me and I am enchanted by music in all its forms.

On a side note: I didn't realize what a friend my mom had in Dr. Jensen until she volunteered to play the organ at my mom's funeral. It touched me deeply to know that my teacher, her friend, remembered me and wanted to add more to the gift of music she already gave me many years before.

These two teachers' influence changed me for the better, and I feel their positive influence on my life even still. My heart is full of gratitude for them and every teacher who has helped me along my way.

a purple musing late at night

I don't really know what it is about purple, but I know that my kids know me. My sweet guy firstie made this for me as a Christmas gift. While it's not elaborate or ornate, it is quite the treasure.

Thoughtfulness and care from someone so young gives me hope that I can have a happy, peaceful life. It gives me confidence in myself as a mother. Maybe all that I'm trying to teach my children is actually sinking in! This small offering provided much more than just another fun purplicious thing, but the purple part sure sweetens the deal.

Word of the Year 2012: Healed

Throughout this year, I have reflected on whether I am keeping to the path toward healing. A positive attitude in the face of great trial and negativity has been difficult, but, when successful, highly rewarding. Lost confidence in myself has been regained as well as a sense of independent well-being. I have always been who I am, yet I didn't recognize myself anymore--until lately. The thoughtful, fun-loving, stands up for herself self is coming back, and it feels so great.

My healing process has included a lot of letting go of busy-ness and reaching toward more spirituality. Including God in my daily life even more has changed my life although I certainly have a long way to go in this area.

For 2013, I want to focus on the word joyful--being a source of joy for others, setting a more joyful tone in my home, doing things that create joy in my life, and allowing myself to feel joy. The healing goal proved successful, and adding joyfulness is just the next logical step. It will seal the deal, so to speak.

There will always be trials and stresses. How I choose to face them is up to me.

highlights of the healing process

A small slice of why I chose this photo:

If you know anything about me, you'll know that I am an emotional eater and Hostess Snoballs have been a medication of choice for me since I was a young girl.  I am very sorry for the loss of income for the workers and their families due to the bankruptcy of Hostess, but not having Snoballs on the shelves has helped me get closer to my goal of being healed of emotional eating--a babystep closer, but a step nonetheless.