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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...


Two uncles, my great-grandmother, paternal grandmother, a dear friend and co-worker, a cousin, a neighbor who has moved away since but a twice-survivor, my next door neighbor, a sister-in-law's mother, a special someone's father and his friend, maybe now a student of mine. 

I can't take anymore. I can take it, I guess, but I don't want to take it. I don't want to be surrounded by all this suffering. I don't want to feel like I'm being prepared to handle this hitting even closer to home. The tears are bitter enough as it is loving people so much and wondering what it all has to teach me and those around me. These tears have hardly stopped today. I can't seem to turn them off. 

But here's a tough thing—knowing that we are brought to know more about ourselves and life and love and God through suffering and comforting and loving people instead of closing ourselves off. 

That's why I'll have to take more. I'd rather cry bitter tears of worry and mourning than cut myself off from loving others as much as I do. Love makes it all worth it. Love and faith get me through when hope is challenged. Hope never really goes away with me, for it reminds me that heaven isn't so far away. Maybe I just needed to write all this out to remind myself of how much comfort I am able to give and receive daily. Possibly I only needed to remember that if I can have this much love, God has even more, and everything will be okay. 

Heaven is here within the hope, faith, and charity I hold onto despite being surrounded by this thing we call cancer. 

the perfect time

unfiltered perfect dusk with lines upon the sky

Slipped in between the morning and the night,
A whisper on the wind came into sight.
Taking its time and with wet upon our cheeks,
Time ran short even though days turned into weeks.
Lingering light and happy times rest upon all hearts,
As your eyes tell us things we need before you depart.
Just the right amount of time—pure perfection,
Teaching in the final moments—giving direction.
This sliver of a moment slipped out between morning and night,
A life remembered for friendship's sake, memory's delight.
Then when the moon shone full, your whisper fell silent in the night.

For C.T. Duncan, in memory of his friend 


what I need today

Sleep, with every sense of comfort available. 
Love, with all the stops pulled out. 
Care, from a full and generous heart. 
You, from afar to be brought near. 

That is what I need today. 

Word of the Year 2016: Accommodate

Word of the Year 2016

Making room for more of what I want and who I want in my life, cleaning up the mess, cleaning out the mess, becoming who I want to be… all of these thoughts have been easing their way into my thoughts over the past couple of months as 2015 began closing down shop and 2016 begged me for a word on which to focus.

I could not find my word even with all of these thoughts though since they are all phrases I couldn't seem to find a way to narrow down. There is really one situation that put me on the direct path to finding this word.

I had been beside myself upset about how things have been going for me personally; I was standing in my bedroom intermittently pacing and crying and talking to myself (sounds sorta nuts when I type it all out like this—don't mind me) and praying aloud to God, wondering and pondering and hurting, thinking about the love I have in me and feeling like I'll never get what I need. And then I felt the answer come to me and almost heard the words: you aren't ready to receive what you want. My tears immediately stopped because I knew it was true. I am not ready. I wish I were, but I'm not. After that realization, I began looking around me, literally. I looked at my bed and dresser and the piled up after-Christmas stuff that was in the middle of my floor, and I knew I didn't have room enough to receive the gift I want most.

That is when all of my thoughts about making room for more came into focus, but I still hadn't found a single word to tie it all in with. And then, I went to my trusty Merriam-Webster Dictionary online and did some searching and found this:

What a perfect word accommodate is for all that I have been pondering. It is an active, strong word that does something valuable. I have been in great need of accommodation for quite a few years in all facets of my life, and people have provided it. Some of those people I don't even know. But this year, I hope to find ways myself to provide room for what I need. That does not mean that I will get all prideful and stop appreciating or even needing others for support. What I do mean though is I want to make a concerted effort to see where there is no room for what I know will offer happiness and joy and do something about it. I want to have room to receive someone and something more.

Joyful was the Word of the Year for 2015, and I have to say that finding this year's word truly put 2015 into sharp focus. I did have a joyful year. Planning things, going places, getting myself out of my sad corner every time my children were gone. Life changed in many wonderful ways. However joyful it was, that does not mean I had a year devoid of sadness. My summer was depressing, and I could hardly snap out of it. I don't believe I truly came out of it until November when vacation plans rolled around. Even still, the pure joy of family, friends, and reaching goals could not be overshadowed by anything. The sun seemed to warm me extra to keep me from getting lost on those terrible days. I truly never lost my focus on becoming more joyful.

I found joy in my children, music, shopping, writing, talking, cultivating friendship, making financial goals, sleeping, making life happen in good ways, and more. So much more. I looked for joy in everything and everyone. And I found it and loved it, captured it, and savored every second that I had it in my grasp.

With the ability to see the joy that permeates my life, I know I will be able to accommodate space for what I need in my life throughout this year. It will be done purposefully and joyfully.

Highlights of becoming more joyful this past year:

Lucky Stuff



Joy Now

My Glad Garden

I Feel Joy

The Big Prize

Last Year: Joyful


Forget-me-nots in eternal spring
Await budding until we breathe shared air
With a summer no longer so near
Pulling at this knot in my throat
And I am taught about exquisite love

Naught but patience as on a monument
Will get us through the path ahead
As we take time to gently untie our knotted hearts
Unraveling the threads of time and space
To knit them together into one
And hang on as we tie a knot in the end for strength
With not anything akin to an end for us

Together soon
To be together for now in all ways

happy exhaustion

Nothing can prepare you for your first First Day Back from Christmas Break—not all the funny memes in the world—not all the warnings from seasoned teachers—nothing. I was even naïve enough to be giddy with excitement to see my students before school. Giddy, I tell you. I even wore purple heels to show my excitement for this first first day back, the first day of the second semester at my school. Heels. On the first day back. 

And then I went to school. I was happy and fun and energetic. I was high on lesson planning during my prep period. I accomplished so much! My students were glad to see me. Some even said they missed class and me. Talk about sweet appreciation. It was magnificent. 

And then I was asked to edit some school documents really quickly after school. And then I walked out to my car. And during this process is when the exhaustion began settling in. I don't think I have felt that tired in like forever or maybe the first day of school (same difference). As I type this out, I'm wondering how I will fare tomorrow and the next day. I'm a tad afraid, actually. 

All this talk about how I might fall asleep typing and I'm truly thankful we were given a gift card to a nice dinner spot that we used tonight has me all concerned. I am crazy tired. It's bad. What will tomorrow be like?! There are no memes to warn you about the second day after the Christmas break. 

One last thing before I nod off: Being a teacher gives me happiness unmeasured. 

Seeking to Become - January 2016

Waiting. That's something that many of us struggle with. From when we are first able to move and speak on our own volition, we learn how well (or how terribly) we tolerate waiting. I haven't been too impatient of a person in my lifetime thus far, yet I know that I stand to improve much in this area.

There seems to be one thing after another for more years than I can count that keeps me striving for more patience. I realize how much I lack during trying times, and I realize why. Patience is a virtue, you know. I want to be virtuous yet seem to miss the mark so often, making this is a vital trait to develop. 

During church today, one of my friends was up at the podium sharing about how many times the scriptures remind us to wait, be patient, and trust in the Lord. I needed to hear these words today. With the new year upon us, I have been reflecting on all the goals I've achieved throughout the past few years, and I have my heart set on this year being another year filled with wondrous improvement and striven for yet miraculous change. 

With this wish of my heart, I realize that I am not in charge of every aspect that needs to come into play, which means I will need to wait; I will need patience. I should say that I will need further patience because this heart of mine has had this wish (albeit in remission for a time) since I was a young girl. Like all true wishes, I will not tell you what it is or it might not come true, but I want to share my hope and faith that I will get my wish because it is a righteous desire. I just need to embrace the journey of attaining that requires waiting with true patience. Loving, grateful, joyful, understanding and wise patience. 

This month, I invite you to join me in cultivating gladness in waiting and remembering that through Christ we can become our best and true selves. 

Included are several scriptures for this month in order to remind and encourage us in waiting on the Lord: 

  • Psalms 27:14

    14 Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.
    Psalms 40:1

    • 1 I waited patiently for the Lord; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry.
      Psalms 62:5
      5 My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him.
      Psalms 69:3
      3 I am weary of my crying: my throat is dried: mine eyes fail while I wait for my God.
      Psalms 130:5
      5 I wait for the Lord, my soul doth wait, and in his word do I hope.
      Isaiah 25:9
      9 And it shall be said in that day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us: this is the Lord; we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation.
      Micah 7:7
      7 Therefore I will look unto the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation: my God will hear me.

Poetry Top Ten 2015

To write the poetry within my heart is a pleasure I hope I never lose sight of. Each poem holds morsels of my joy and pain, love and loss, hope and sorrow. As the new year begins, I have great anticipation for both the adventures to come and the things that will be written because of them. 

Thank you for reading my work and sharing it. Thank you for being part of my dream coming true. 

All Things Purple: Poetry Top Ten 2015

2. This Race 

8. Not Ready 

9. Missing 

10. Sanctuary

Honorable Mention: How I See Heaven 

Previous Years: 

Readers' Choice Top Ten 2015

Each year, it seems like there is always some obstacle I can't see how to overcome, yet I always do. This year was no different. Many challenges came my way—some aren't even resolved yet—and I still can appreciate how the process of overcoming always finds a way to win. 

I'm excited for the year to be over, but I don't want to leave 2015 behind without expressing my deep appreciation for every lesson learned over its course. Each of the selections that you, my readership, have loved holds a piece of my lessons learned, a part of my journey of becoming who I can be. As you read over them, I hope the things I have gained offer you insight, hope, and comfort. I know that your time spent reading, commenting, and sharing my writing has offered me those three things throughout this year. I appreciate each of you.

All Things Purple: Readers' Choice Top Ten 2015

5. My Sad Summer

Years Past Top Ten Lists: