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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...

Something to think about

It is amazing how one little quote can push you to see the world more closely--push you to reflect. As I read the words "Let the beauty you love be what you do.", I think about how we often set a double standard for ourselves and others. I am guilty of it, too.  Do I act in ugly or beautiful ways?

This also causes me to think about all the beautiful examples I have surrounding me: my Aunt Marilyn who loves me so much, filling a few of the holes in my heart every time I see her; my daughter who is so giving and thoughtful; my best friend who sees a Christ allegory in almost everything; my dear neighbor friend whose meekness I strive to copy. There is beauty all around and I am reminded that we ought not just sit back and observe, but do something with our gifts.

So any which way you take this quote to mean, I hope it also caused you to reflect on what you do with the beauty that you love.

movies, pirates, and singing


Movies have a large influence on my life--probably a much larger influence than they should. My parents started it. I grew up going to opening weekend showings, and we had one of the very first home movie players: a Betamax. That just sounds important, right?

I don't really have just one favorite movie because there are so many that are so very good, but I will share with you my very first favorite movie.

I remember going to the hole in the wall video store with my mom to purchase our first movie. It was The Pirates of Penzance, and I must tell you that between my mom and my brothers and me, we wore that Betamax tape out! To this day, we all have a love for that particular comic opera that just hasn't faded.  At the end of 2011, I took my youngest brother to see a live performance of The Pirates of Penzance for his birthday, and we loved it so much that he turned around and bought us tickets to see it another night just so we could compare casts and enjoy it once more before it finished its run.

Some of my favorite parts of the movie include when Kevin Kline is being a buffoon during the Pirate King opening song, Rex Smith is wooing the maidens with Oh, Is There Not One Maiden Breast, and when the Sergeant and police do their big dance number before going after the pirates. The entire film is enchanting, but those are my top three favorite parts.

I admit to crushing on Rex Smith like crazy. There's just something about a man being able to sing and do it with animation and feeling (those leather thigh-high boots help a bit, too). It gets me every time.

A few YouTube clips for your viewing enjoyment:

Laura and Oscar: Week 4


Electric Night
I was sent off to spend the Summer with my nieces who were close to my age, making our relationship more like cousins than anything else. I remember receiving letters from Laura almost daily, in purple stationery, adorned with hearts she drew with an ink pen. I must say I didn’t appreciate those little touches and I wish I had kept all those love letters.

Most of the summer was pretty uneventful. I spent my days watching TV, bickering with my nieces, and waiting for the summer to end so I could see Laura. I also promised her I wouldn’t cut my hair since she thought I’d “look tasty with long hair”. It drove me crazy and I started to look like a middle-aged woman’s hairdo rather than a 14-year-old boy. 

So there I was wasting my summer days. My sister surprised me with a visit to Disneyland. We arrived early in the morning and I couldn’t wait to get in and away from my nieces and my sister. I got along with them okay, but it was starting to get old seeing them everyday.

...to be continued next week. 

flip side of the coin

A wannabe dancer with no partner; fitting in everywhere and nowhere
Catcher of glimpses of possibility which no one else will see
Doer of the impossible but only when reality allows
Queen of a purple kingdom that does not exist
Wisher of wishes that can not ever happen
Thinker of thoughts that make no sense
Singer who can't actually sing
Leader with no direction
Taker of perfect risks
Anchor adrift


Lead me slowly by the hand to water
with words immaculate and beautiful.
Take our memories as a foundation
for building new versions of wonderful.
Whisper—between the lines—of love and faith
without giving away your intentions.
Keep yourself safe. I understand too well
since my past created apprehension.
Wrap yourself around my heart, but only
if you intend to give love a fair chance.
Come to me, when ready, in word and deed
by moving to the rhythm of our dance.

Promise your love, loyalty to me, and
we shall unpack our bags in harmony.

fish are friends

photo by C.
I'd like to introduce all y'all to the newest additions to our family. The fish to the left is Tiger Stripe (Tiger for short); Juicy Licious (Juicy) is the orange and white one; And the snail up in the top right corner is Flash Gordon (Flash). 

If you couldn't tell, I am the one responsible for giving them proper last names.

These little guys were not expensive, nor are they extravagant sorts of creatures; however, the measure of joy they have brought into our home has been priceless. We all just needed something fun and different, and this mom [pats back] saw our old fish bowl in the craft room and decided to fill it with friends. When I told the children about my idea, you would have thought I offered them a vacation to Disneyland or something. The trip to the pet store was Giddy Excitement personified. Coming up with their names was an afternoon of fun, and ever since, feeding, watching, and talking about our new aquatic friends has been one of the happiest distractions we've had in months. 

Now, let's all hope they don't die... 

ten very important things

What are the most important things your parents taught you?

My parents taught me a lot of things by how they lived their lives.

1. Family is more important than your friends.
2. If your friends don't like your family, they aren't your friends.
3. Work hard; save money.
4. Love God. 
5. Help others, even to the point of sharing your home, food, and other resources.
6. Go to church. Every Sunday.
7. Be prepared for the worst. It might just happen, and it will probably involve extended family.
8. Music is the breath of life.
9. Texas is a superior state.
10. Being a Las Vegas native is something to be proud of.  

Laura and Oscar: Week 3

Adventures in falling

I mapped out which way to walk to my classes in order to “run into” this guy I was crushing on so badly. I didn’t necessarily run into him as much as I would end up walking behind him so I could watch him walking. There were a couple of times I remember having to run to my next class because the route I’d taken to get a glimpse of his behind and back of his head was so out of the way I had near walked around the entire school. We had outdoor passing most days so it wasn’t too awkward, but still. I had to run for crying out loud. You’d think I would have been embarrassed about it, but whatever. 

He was so cute and I’d never ever liked anyone like this before. His smile was infectious and he seemed so sweet. 

His laugh. Now that’s something. He would just blurt out this amazingly loud laughter that sent a zing through me and I was in love.

...to be continued next week.

Previous weeks:

Week 1 

Week 2 

The Queen of Purple Hearts

I have always loved Valentine's Day. Hearts and flowers and sweet treats are enchantingly delicious to me as well as the thought of love expressions coming my way.Yet, as I reflect on my situation in life right now and all that has transpired recently, I don't feel even potentially romantically loved--at all. People might say it is natural to feel like this after going through a divorce, but I have been getting divorced for nearly two years and really can't see the day when I might meet someone who will actually care about me.

Who would have guessed I would still be singing the same sad song two years later? I hope no one. Because if they did, they're not my friend. But anyways...

As with everything, purple comes to mind when sorting out my thoughts. Purple is made up of reds and blues. Red represents all the love I hold within my heart and beyond its scope. I might be in a romantic love drought, but my cup runneth over with platonic love. To count all the friends I have would take too long and would drive me nuts. And as for the necessary blue--if you don't have a valentine as I do not, you pretty much have the blues. It just makes sense.

Therefore, today, I declare myself to be The Queen of Purple Hearts.

Happy Valentine's Day to everyone!

related links:

Valentine's Day 2012

Valentine's Day Fail

Lunch Is Never Just Lunch

I went to eat lunch at the school with my youngest, and here is how it went:

I thought to myself as I walked past the paramedics vehicle in front of the school I will definitely survive--they already called for back up; proceeded to the office to get checked into school land; walked past two teachers quarreling in the hall; stood watching my son lolloping toward me completely oblivious to my presence; said BOO! loudly and got a really cute smile out of him; upon reading the menu, announced that I hate fish sticks, but that a chicken patty sandwich sounds fabulous; received informal poll results from several children on how they hate both options; conducted a mini-lecture on how there are starving children in the world and we need to be grateful for fresh food (boy, did I feel like a jerk for saying I didn't like a type of food); proceeded to vocalize high praise for all the fresh, hot food as we went through the cafeteria line; sat with my little monkey boy and his friends, one of which announced that he only had a roll and milk since he forgot lunch money too many days in a row, so, of course, I had to give the kid half of all he would take of my lunch (believe it or not, he passed on the curly fries offer); witnessed a kid getting bullied by two bigger kids at a table next to ours; proceeded to tell the bullies to knock it off; ate more lunch with my monkey and his friends (oh yeah, and one of my friend's daughters came over and sat on the other side of me--I feel special); witnessed the bullied kid going under the table to get stuff the bullies were messing with; pretty much commanded said bullies to Leave the boy alone right now! and Get busy eating your food right now! and I mean it! Now!; finished eating; gave a hug to my sweetie guy and got one in return bigger than I gave; proceeded to the garbage area to witness a disgusting amount of food wasting as I threw away my trash; gave another big hug goodbye; got roped into using every cent of spare change I had on a slew of candy grams to surprise my children and one of my friends who works at the school (she is newly divorced and so I don't think she'll get many valentines other than from students this year); checked out; survived.

colorful flooring


When I was very young, our home was an olive green which was quite fabulous during the 1970's, but after a home renovation project, my parents got it painted bright white with a turquoise-like blue trim. My parent's entire house was painted in pretty much the same shade of eggshell white on the inside; however, the modge podge of flooring made up for the lack of creativity in paint colors. 

Every single room in the house had a different floor. Our entry was ceramic tile with tans and creams with a delicate floral design on the corners. The music room was carpeted in a mauve shag. A sandy (light-colored dirt) berber was found in the front room and down the hallway to the main bedrooms. The front bathroom had linoleum, but the master bath had a nice caramel-like ceramic floor and tiled shower. Every bedroom was different as well. My childhood bedroom, the one that ended up becoming my mother's sewing room, had the original carpet from when the house was built in the 1940s or '50s. Talk about gross. But anyways. The family room had a brown shag when I was really young, and then when we got the pool table, my parents picked out a flat blue carpet that did not in anyway match the blaring turquoise felt on the table. I think it was their way of compromising. Dad got the pool table. Mom got the pretty shade of blue carpet for the floor. Lastly, the kitchen was tiled with shiny (quite slick when wet) grayish white with blue flowers ceramic and blue grout. My mom did the tile work in our house, so although nothing really matched, it was so cool that mom had done it all by herself.

Seeking to Become - February 2013

For I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee.  Isaiah 41:13

Fear has found place within my heart once again, and I know it is my own doing. I allowed it to enter. My life isn't going in any direction I ever wanted to imagine for myself and my family. It is also taking a very long time to go in said uncharted direction. I like to relate how it feels to a sort of five-year taffy pulling adventure, except we're dealing with hearts and lives and futures.

So as I pondered on what I need to work on spiritually, I recognized that this fear of the unknown, my future, must get rooted out of my heart. Fear shows lack of faith, yet I want to be faithful. I read through many, many scriptures about not being fearful, but I liked this one the most because the command comes with a promise of help. Our Father in Heaven loves us. He wants to help us. He will help me. I need to shut out the fear and open my heart to the help he promises to give.

For how Seeking to Become got started, go to: The First Seeking to Become

Laura and Oscar: Week 2

A beautiful beginning continues... 

It was the start of my 8th grade year and Johnny Depp and Cindy Lauper were still reigning supreme in the hearts and minds of American adolescents. For my part, I spent a considerable amount of my morning perfectly rolling the pant cuff of my Levis 501 button-ups, then add applying copious amounts of Depp hair gel while listening to the music stylings of Huey Lewis and the News (my first LP Album “four” purchased at K-Mart with my birthday money). All this done, I was ready for whatever school would bring.

I headed into the band room chewing bubble-gum flavored SEX-WAX, which is a product made for surfboard and apparently chewing for no logical reason other than any other activities tweens and teens spend in some vain attempt to be something that is anything but average which simply produces a neurotic subculture of insane teens obsessed with themselves. I take my seat in the third row. In case you're unfamiliar, a typical band setup is flutes first row, woodwinds second row, and the saxophones in the third row. I never really paid much attention to what was behind me, but I knew the percussion section was there--you could feel it.  Saxophones are technically a woodwind since it produces its initial sound by passing air or the focused breath of a player quickly between a fixed reed which resonates through the horn which what just about any woodwind or brass instrument is broadly referred to with the exception of those pesky flute players--of which, a frizzy long-haired 7th grade flute player bouncing into the room wearing a red skirt and white blouse has currently captured my undivided attention. However, the sax is a rather late invention compared to other woodwinds and its true and only purpose is jazz. It’s simply mixed in with all these other instruments as practical matter of school district administration, which is a cheat to the player, to the horn, and to the jazz. But back to “frizzy red skirt”...

She was short and petite but had curves and a gentle swagger that would make a grown man blush (as I am now, describing this childhood experience). Laura did not walk so much as purposefully place one foot in front of the other as if she was walking along an imaginary balance beam which gave her an eloquent grace even for a 13-year-old junior high flute player.  

Her hair.  Well, her hair...let's pause for a second…okay I’m back. Her hair was…is long enough to rest between her shoulder blades in a collection of tightly woven ringlets that shimmer, reflected light in every direction as she unknowingly glows around. It’s soft and the ends seem to reach out and touch you when you stand too close to her, gently caressing your skin inviting you closer to breathe in her sweet redolent youth. You see, at this time in the 1980’s, girls at this age were literally spending hours  propping their hair up into a sort of fan of hair fixed in place by Aqua-Net Hair spray that resembles a lion's mane standing on end. 

So, needless to say, Laura was different, very different and the hair, that glorious hair, was just the beginning.

...to be continued next week. 

If you missed last week, here you go:
Laura and Oscar: a purple serial -- Week 1 


a different future

Yes, my sweet child, your future will be
Different than it could have been.
I think of all that might have been,
And my heart breaks for you, for me
For all of us.
But what you don't know,
What you cannot see right now, is that
Your future will be brighter than
Anything we could have foreseen
Because you will have a mother
Who is no longer defeated,
You will have a mother
Who can be her whole self,
Full of love and vibrancy
Which before was
Stifled and
Trampled and
Thought to be a bother.

Our futures must be different
Than what was hoped,
Yet, as you grow older, you will learn
That is how all futures go.
The future is not written entirely.
However, your future will be good
Because you are good--
You are an angel of love and tenderness
Of heart and soul, an embodiment of joy
Growing in understanding.
Through this life
Of suffering and pain,
Peace shall come to you,
My sweet child. 

While I do not know the details of the story, 
I see your future ahead of me,
And it is a beautiful sight to behold.
You will have a path to walk upon
Because I will have blazed a trail
With all my tears and heartache
That you may know
That God watches over us.
He walks all along the way
When we ask him to come near.

Therefore, we shall take change in stride
Because we are strong.
We will stand unafraid  
Because we are women divine.

For little D.

sleep: my enemy, my friend

flower afhan made by my mom
As I type this, I find that all I wish I were doing was sleeping.  

Bodies and brains need this stuff to carry on, or, trust me on this one, they shut down.  It doesn't matter what homework assignment you shoulda coulda woulda been doing if sleep comes calling your name. It just demands payment. 

Stressful times tend to demand even more sleep, too. I don't know about you, but it doesn't seem very convenient or helpful to be nodding off in classes or needing to steal a nap almost every day just to survive being awake. Yet, somehow I think that succumbing to sleep might be what is getting me through--that one little thing that makes a big difference.

Now, how about that nap?

aunts and uncles


Bobbie: A great story teller, always smiling
Mona: A heart so big and full of love, and my genealogy buddy
Becky: Amazing Soprano voice; I wanted to sing like her when I was little
Marilyn: A beloved example of true charity; fills one of the holes left by my mother passing away
Laura: A zany aunt who is always the most fun; I aspire to be this kind of aunt actually
Tina: Peaceful, loving, and everlastingly kind to others
Carol: A great hugger
Effie: Reminds me the most of my grandmother--her mother--who I have only seen in photos
Jenni: Accepting of others and very sweet

Ben: Stern, but caring and a hard worker; an excellent baker
Howard: Musical and a party starter
Sam: All around fun; sings, creative, Star Wars fan, builds stuff, phenomenal cake decorator
David: Highly talented chef, thoughtful, and kind

Tex: Tall, kind, and generous in heart
Bill: A real life Popeye with the anchor tattoo and everything; a good man
Honorable mentions

Great Aunt Laura: A beautiful example of love for one's family, great memory, and so loving

Great Aunt Jean: Friend to my father and a skilled maker of quilts

Related links:

52 Gems of Reflection 

 Life Lessons

Bring It On! 

Every Single One  

Laura and Oscar: A Purple Serial -- Week 1


I reconnected with my very first boyfriend this past year and discovered that he is a writer, too. We had spent some time talking about things we love now, so obviously I told him about my blog and poetry and my aspirations to write a book of some sort, and this opened the door for him to send me some short stories he had written. We discussed writing our story of how we met and some memory bursts. Of course, I seized the day and opened up a Google doc for us to get writing, and what I share with you now is a series created from our joint writing project. I hope you are as captivated and enchanted as I was while Oscar and I wrote a love story of innocence and coming of age.

Who Said You Can’t Find Love in Junior High?

Every once in awhile, you run across a love story so beautiful it makes you pause and wonder whether it could really be true. You think to yourself Has this ever happened to me and maybe, just maybe, I wasn’t awake enough to my world to recognize it? I dare you to allow yourself to fall in love with this story--I know I did.

A beautiful beginning

It was seventh grade and I was in the school band. I sat in the front row because I played flute, but since I wasn’t quite sure of my ability to play said flute just yet it varied from time to time whether I was on the far right, middle, or to the left of the band teacher, Mr. What’s His Name. What was his name? I know it started with a B... But anyways, I had to move seats quite a lot from what I remember and so I had different people within my view while suffering through the painful existence of a seventh grade girl who wasn’t exactly sure if the flute should be part of her life. When seated to the right of Mr. B, I distinctly remember being  able to see the saxophone section. Either that or I just liked looking at the saxophone section. a lot. The first row isn’t very conducive to having a good view of the third row; therefore, I spent a great deal of class time half-breaking my neck to keep my eye on it.
You might ask why that particular instrument held my favor. Why not the trombone or even the rocking out, sexy percussion guys, right? My favorite part about the saxophone is that he played it. This guy. I know, I know. Every single girl at that age is boy crazy and I was quite the textbook character in junior high and I am fine with that (now), especially since that drive to connect with the opposite sex drew me to him-- a seemingly awkward, yet gorgeous and real guy named Oscar. His name alone was romantic to my unpracticed sensibilities, so you can imagine my giddy silliness at roll call every single time.  

I remember wishing for Oscar to look my way, then repenting the thought whenever he actually did. With each verifiable glance, I began to really dream. He was an eighth grader and to just be noticed by an older boy gave me confidence layered upon confidence. I wanted for him to get to know me and hold my hand and be mine. I got so infatuated with him that he was all I could think about. I’d write his name over and over with hearts and flowers. 

That was when I should have known I was a goner.

...to be continued next week.