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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...

need more sleep

As I write this, I have heartburn that could ruin an entire national forest if I unleashed it, and I feel like there's a ton of bricks on my eyelids wanting me to sleep for days. I have a heavy heart that I've allowed to continue, and I just don't know what to do about all the things that are pushing on my time right now. 

Learning a new job while wrapping up the old one is a feat all its own without having someone around to help out. Plus, there are about ten other things going on that cannot be delayed. And I am realizing how no task is a simple task when you have the aforementioned circumstances. For instance, I decided to take my study and transform it into an office, which means getting the old desks out and rearranging things to suit only my needs. Before, it was designed for homework doing with kids, and I didn't have a focus on what I needed other than that. My resources I had in shelves nearby were for homework, not my post-graduation life. The whole place needed a nice little overhaul. 

So wanting and actually needing a more inspiring workspace has been overdue, and it is taking so much time. So very much. 

One good thing about this black hole I've fallen into is how I'm realizing how things will be alright. It might sound strange, but my purse collection actually reminded me to keep looking on the bright side. As I picked up an old purse off the hooks I'm repurposing, I got the idea to actually use the purse for my repurposing plan, and it is turning out to be truly functional and fun all at once. I have rediscovered some of my resources that I had only seen as good for school, and I found a few treasures that were tucked in little baskets and such from my old system. I found an unmailed letter from two years ago too that I thank heaven I found and not my children after I die. If for nothing else, I'm glad I am redoing this room, so I don't have to deal with a posthumous shaming. I am such an emotional writer sometimes. Good grief. 

I don't even know if this slice of life makes any sense. I'm still ablaze with heartburn and I feel horribly exhausted. But maybe, just maybe, you can see how I might complain but I love my life and creating systems to be effective. What a dorky nerd weirdo I am. Seriously. 

Have a good week, everyone! 

to be so free

To drive with all the windows down
And smile with wind flying at your face
To be yourself without complaint

To love someone
For them to love you too
To love and be beloved with equity

To have a trusted hand outstretched
Without another waiting in the wings
To be together without people as strings

To taste the freedom of a dream
Becoming part of all that's real
To live authentically—sans duplicity

To haul off the destructive walls
To soften edges yet never take away
To expose the layers to the warming light

To gladly give and humbly take
With each refreshing breath and life-giving beat
To gratefully receive and graciously be received

cardboard signs

Driving home from grocery shopping this past weekend, I saw a well-dressed woman standing on a curb with a cardboard sign, begging for help.

It threw me off. All of it. Her clothes. Her well-kept appearance. The cardboard sign.

When we see a beggar on the street, they are typically dirty and in raggedy clothing. Maybe they reek of alcohol or tobacco or are high. You can tell they need help—much more than what is written on the sign. But without the cardboard sign, I would never have imagined this woman needed help. She seemed alright in this quick moment.

After taking that in, I immediately thought of myself—my five years ago self—struggling to make ends meet and needing every single kindness that came our way. We needed so much help. So much compassion was shown to my family and me individually.

My long-time friend, who is more like the sister I never had, and her husband got me a cell phone and subsidized it for quite a long while to help me function until I could "get on my feet." I can't tell you how many times I felt embarrassed for having such a nice phone when we were struggling so much.

Friends with children my children's ages would drop off hand-me-downs and fun random things to spruce up the house and vary our existence. Two of my friends, who are married, from before the divorce came to visit a few times to help paint, repair things, and show support. Family members have reached out to send treats on Valentine's Day and Mother's Day knowing how things go for single moms sometimes. One friend began paying for all of our movie and lunch outings. There have been numerous anonymous grocery drop-offs onto my front porch with every fun food item kids could want. Christmases have never been sparse since things went bad. Not one. And something I don't want to overlook mentioning are my scholarships through the university and how somehow they were always more than enough to meet my educational needs. It was as if I were getting paid to go to school.

It makes me cry just thinking about all of it. How timely it all was and has been. To be so thought of, so completely seen when you feel invisible. God watching over my children and me through the loving hands of friends, family, and strangers wanting to make life nice for us.

I have to also make mention of all of you—you who read and share this blog. You, too, have made life nice for us. You gave and continue to give me confidence to keep going. Confidence cheers and heals a broken heart. I keep writing on this crazy space of mine and feel so free and beloved here because of you. If I didn't have an audience by this point, I would have given up with all that I've been through. I'd believe that I don't have anything to say that anyone wants to hear. But we all know that's not true. You are somebody. Each of you. And I am grateful for every single one of you who appreciates my time and talent that I put forth to write my story in whatever form it takes here.

So, no, we never were starving. We never had to go without anything we truly needed. And we never were even close to homelessness. I have always had a running vehicle to get where I need to go to keep on keeping on. There has always been enough and to spare because of all the love and generosity of spirit that has touched our lives. It has felt almost and actually embarrassing at times to have so much when the numbers just didn't add up to having even half as much. In comparison, we have so much now that I hardly know what to do with it, well, except for all the bills that roll in, but still. You know what I mean.

I never had to put on a brave face and write on a cardboard sign. I never had to stand on the curb. And I owe every single person who ever helped us for that.

Thank you.

simple addition

earnest hope
hope in earnest
hope in reality
real hope

trusting care
care to trust
care to love
loving care

beautiful friendship
friendship with beauty
friendship with imperfection
imperfect friendship

lasting gift
gift for lasting
a gift for always
always a gift

natural affection
affection by nature
affection in futurity
future affection

clearly true
true and clear
true and wonderful
wonderfully true

more change

Right when I begin to truly love what I do and feel like I am capable, something changes. I shouldn't be surprised; really, I should have expected it with all my talk about expecting to be surprised.

So anyway. I'll get to the point. I have been teaching for a year and a half at a private school, and was recently offered a social media director position with the school, which means I won't be teaching English for the foreseeable future. And the movie quote depicted above was the first thing that came to mind when I was making the decision to take the opportunity.

And yet the situation sort of hit me like a bomb at first, so if you are all astonished too, I wouldn't blame you.

Being a social media director is pretty much one of my dream jobs, so if we look at things in the accurate way, that means I will have had two of my dream jobs all within less than two years of graduation. That feels like record time if you ask me.

All of that said, the thing that keeps pinching at me is the rate of active change that has been affecting my life. I can hardly catch my breath from the pace. Some has been negative, but most of what comes my way has been very positive change.

Regardless of the positive or negative nature of the changes, it is still tough to be adjusting all the time. I am in a constant state of flux with no way to plan for the future. My children won't stop growing up too. Just dealing with that aspect of life is a garbage load of change every time I turn around. And there's this thing where I am single. That sort of clinches the deal on not knowing whatsoever what life will bring me. I'm a planner type. Or at least I used to be! That part of myself had to mostly die awhile back.

Well, I guess I could work on planning to be surprised like I went on about with my students a couple of weeks ago after I got this news. This fantastic, amazing, terrifyingly wonderful news.

I'd like to end with telling you how thankful I am to be valued enough to be offered such an excellent opportunity. Even if it means more change.

hope's wake

I hope for so many things. It's almost like a disease—how I hope continually.

There are truly bad days, for sure, but once my heart sees even a glint of daylight, it just keeps on scanning for what to hope for next.

Like this slice of life. I figured, if I begin writing, I hope I can come up with something of value for my readers to read. Not sure if that's happening though.

Maybe because I am being honest about my hope problem people will realize how much I need to be told that hope needs to be squashed, to stop seeing it in every good thing that happens to other people, to forget about what I want and just crawl under a rock. Maybe I'll stop holding onto hope and release it like a Kraken on the world to go forth and overtake my love and I'll be free because then hope will be relentlessly brightening that someone's day and I'll see that hope shine back on me like an eternal reflection of joy and gladness that can break down the worst of days and that hope will grant the courage to leap, the courage for change to unchain us from our corners, the courage to embrace the happiness that is here if we will hold on.

But that would all require hope. For now, today, I have an endless supply, so maybe I'll just get myself together and let hope do its work on me and everyone in my wake.

an open letter for single moms

Dear Single Mom Self (and other single moms),

You cannot do it all. No matter what anybody says, you are not simply making excuses. The things you can actually accomplish are a far cry from the mom who has a supportive husband. Life looks different for you. And that's okay. 

There will be times when people might point out how this famous person or that had a single mom and all it took was determination, drive, blah blah blah to make it big and find success, but I would like to just say be quiet, leave me alone, stop guilt tripping my already jacked overachiever self. No one can know how long it has taken to let go of so many things you used to do or wish for but had to release in order to stay sane. No one can do it all. 

Statistics on how many people have their crap together hardcore after going through what we have would help me out too. 

And another thing. It's okay to want more. Just don't ever get down on yourself or think that somehow you could have done more when the facts are you are doing your best. 

You shine. You make things happen. You are lovable and needed. Just because no one wants to stay does not mean you aren't worth staying for. Someday, someone will show you that you're worth it, but until then, remember that each family has its struggles and successes, and your family is lucky to have such a beautifully dedicated mother to teach, lead, and guide them. Your children are wonderful, and there's no better honor than to be the mother of such caring, helpful, and thoughtful children.

You are amazing! Buy yourself flowers and chocolate.

Happy Mother's Day! 


watching the horizon

April 2015

Soft, sweetheart.
Light upon my soul.
The breeze caught me by surprise.
Whispering your name. 
Warm hues take me back to summertime—
With you. 

more sunshine to write about

I don't believe many people (other than myself) who love writing and reading poetry would admit to this, but this year, I am thankful for National Poetry Month being over.

I'm pretty sure I nearly ran out of words and feelings and inspiration. My heart needs refueling. It's just the facts. Writing sad poetry is pitiful crap if you ask me even if it drips with profundity or evokes the tears of everyone within a 1000-mile radius. The catharsis of it all proves it does something to help lift burdens and lighten moods, yet I caught myself wishing so much that I had more sunshine in my heart to write about.

That is not to say I only wrote crappy sappy please-put-me-out-of-my-misery poems all the month long—no. My everlasting hopefulness flaw (quality) made sure that I was able to grab hold of a few glints of golden sun. But wow, holy cow, did I write some sad sad bad give-me-a-tissue-or-please-knock-me-out-now poetry. Going through the month's writings to prepare the Reader's Choice top ten, I read most of them again. Just wow. What the heck.

There were a few days when I cried as I wrote; other days, I prayed as I wrote; and even still, there were many days when my heart was just barely there in it all because of the lack of rest and physical and emotional touch that I need.

I could rag on and on, I think. I could probably even write an epic poem on how badly I am tired of kissing people I don't love and how much I want to be able to take a little rest from my worries. I am off kilter with wanting for affection and rest. I don't know what to do except keep going out and dating, but it's all such a wreck of a situation. So for now, I'll keep praying that this heart of mine will be sustained, and I'll find more words before next year rolls around.

Some of those poems I'm complaining about: Poetry Month 2016

Poetry Month 2016 Top Ten

For a few years now, I take time to write poetry throughout the month of April for National Poetry Month, and every year, I astonish myself with how I can actually write thirty poems thirty days in a row. Even still, this go 'round the potential to fail seemed higher than usual. There were days when I had no words for most of the day. There were days when the only thing I could feel was an ache for things I lack, and I simply do not enjoy writing that type of poetry. It gets written at times, but only because poetry is the purest form of catharsis for me right now.

What offers me joy in the whole process of writing and sharing my poetry with you is seeing what poems are the most read. Because of your reading, commenting, and sharing, they get seen by more people, and it shows me that what I write is appreciated. I feel so appreciated as a poet as I prepare the list from this most recent poetry binge. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you!

If you'd like, let me know which ones you have enjoyed most by leaving a comment.

And now, enjoy the best read (by you!) poems for April:

1.  Pain

2.  Always Golden

3.  Negative

4.  Find the Time

5.  You

6.  Building on Each Other

7.  Is It Wrong?

8.  Choose

9.  Ours

10. To Dream with Me

The Poet's Picks: 

A sonnet: Our Mess of Bricks

A favorite: A Home for You and Me

Poetry Month 2015

Poetry Month 2014

Poetry Month 2013

Seeking to Become - May 2016

I spent all of April writing poems like I get paid to do it, so I didn't want to overburden you, my readership, with a double post on one of the days. However, I did not forget about this monthly spiritual challenge. I actually kept it on my mind daily, and that's not always the case each month. I am glad for the extra time to reflect on what I want to strive toward. 

I studied and pondered daily a set of eight scriptures that I had discovered awhile back, but somehow they became new to me as this month progressed; they are found in Luke 18:1-8:
And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;
 Saying, There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man:
 And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary.
 And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man;
 Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.
 And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge saith.
 And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them?
 I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?
 The first seven verses are what have caught my eye for most of the time. I have quite a few situations/requests/challenges that I have wearied the Lord with, yet I know he is not wearied. I have seen how my tears have been wiped away numerous times. I have had many prayers answered.

With that said, you might be wondering why I would have these scriptures as a focus then. Well, in verse eight, the question "Shall he find faith on the earth?" stopped me in my tracks. I was feeling like I have such a strong testimony of how God watches over me and how I believe in Christ and his atonement. And then with that last bit, I realized that if I have so much faith, if I can be counted as a believer, why then do I allow myself to despair?

It doesn't happen often, and it's even rare for how much adversity I face daily, yet I do let despair in and affect me. I cry bitter tears at times when, if I had more faith, I would be better able to have patience and even more able to partake of the joy that surrounds me.

Heading into May, I want to continue seeking to become more faithful, stripping away my tendency to become despondent when problems pile up. I hope you will join me in studying out how these scriptures can help in this effort.