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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...

finding our way

The naïve me believed I would be the one
To bring the ashen rubble and walls of stone
For our downtrodden feet to roam,
Collateral damage to avoid.

A train wreck.
No survivors.
Or so I thought.

I lived to breathe fresh air once more
And see the morning dew kiss
The sun so glorious and fair,
To touch happiness in spring.

The horizon held hope uncovered
With new perspective, laughter, smiles.
New faces and traces of a future gilded
Blinded in the collision;

Therefore, foreign in her own skin,
Separated from her own mind,
The heart and head were one,
And yet, Truth be hanged.

Never the same, forever changed
Hope buried amid wreckage,
Hearts bleeding, barely beating,
Yet she knows . . .

She'll live to breathe fresh air again,
See morning dew again,
Kiss the sun, glorious and fair.
Happiness will touch her someday.

Collateral damage.
Only detoured.
Never derailed.

I was and always have been a first responder too:
My friend who I never knew
Before had come to my rescue
And I to him mid winter's unrelenting strain.

Riding along on the same train,
We knew each other's pointed pain,
Stopping mid the freezing rain
To help and bless and gain

More than memories,
More than words can say.
Surrounded by ashen walls,
We tiptoe amongst the stones.

We roam the rubble and comb the walls, detoured,
Like an old-fashioned garden maze gone wrong
Bringing us together to recall the way home,
Travailing what we know, hoping for something more.

Related Links:
View from a Train Wreck
Ode to the Early Responders


"I don't believe in magic."
I dared to say it,
And I'll ever regret it
For as long as I live
Because from that day onward
He dared to prove
How very real
Magic could be
In every word
Of every line
In nervous hands
And feet dancing
In every future plan
To come true
And make new
In every picture
Every time
I cried
And he was there
Every time
I smiled
He was there
Behind it

Until he wasn't.

Until magic got too real.

And then
He turned the clock back
Without permission
One tiny tock tick
At a time
Because he was afraid
But it never went unnoticed

No more cards
And extra kindness
No more little gestures
Of affection
No more of what I love
The most
The little thoughtful
Bits of real life
Magic that set me free
To love again
And hope for more
Than magic—
Reality that makes me happy
Because I believed
You were happy too

Maybe, I don't believe in magic
Maybe, I simply believe in you.

Hope and wishing
Lit anew within me
The day I walked upon the floor
In my mind I was dancing
Through time
To when magic
Real magic
Work and love and care
Would bring your loving heart
To know that you belong
With someone who can see
How infinite you are
And believe in magic
Just to prove
Love can come true
Even for me and you

Magic is what you make it.
Magic can be made new.
If you choose.

riding a bike

My little boy still struggles with riding a bike. I didn't realize it because I haven't prioritized buying him a bike for at my house since he has one at his dad's, and I don't like to steal thunder. I just assumed he knew how. But tonight, some friends gave him a bike, so he wanted to practice, and I didn't realize I was going to feel so brokenhearted.

I didn't realize my sweet little guy didn't have the confidence to just get on the bike and ride it home. I didn't realize he needed me out there to watch him to feel safe and confident while he practiced wobbling along the sidewalk. He was so cute as he voiced feeling grateful that he has grass to land on just in case. I'm glad I was able to see him overcome his hesitant outlook and be able to make the turns "without stopping at all."

It got me thinking about my experience when learning to ride a bike. It was so different. I don't recall where I got the bike from, but I do remember it was a yellow banana seat bike with those crazy handle bars that remind me of Harleys. I also remember getting on that bike and not stopping until I could ride that bike. I got skinned up knees because I was riding my new bike in a dress of all things. Not so good for when you fall on blacktop. But quite fancy, I guess. So anyway. I stayed out there trying and trying and trying until I could do it. It happened at dusk when there was barely enough light to snap a photo, but I have one. My mom had got out the camera and caught me smiling and riding my bike. She caught my determination on film. It has been a long time since I saw that photo, so I'm not sure where that photo is, but when I do find it, I'll add it here.

My bicycle story is so different from my son's. But my entire childhood is very different as well. I don't want to get into the fine details, but I'll just say that I'm thankful for my dad who loved my mom and worked hard and did what it took to stay. I'll add that I'm thankful for my mom who loved my dad and worked hard and did what it took to stay. They each had their faults and opinions that could drive someone away, but they loved each other enough to do what it takes to make things work. So much sacrifice and loving care. So much meeting in the middle and going to the other side at times. So much sharing the load. Even with all the abuse I suffered, I had confidence because of them. I just know it.

a phoenix with no wings

No dignity for me
As I descend from the top
Of stairs so fair
Burnt to a crisp
I jumped in head first
So a mess is all I get
I spoke before I should
And now I'm taking
My foot out of my mouth
My heart out of my throat
And my head out of the clouds

There is nowhere for me
No love
Or safe harbor

There is only hurt
Pain and crying
Into the night
With no one here to hear

There is nothing but
Empty wishes
Broken hope
With nothing shared

I look upon what
Led me to such height
And my body trembles
At the misguided thoughts

Like a phoenix but with no wings
I can make it on my own
I've tread for years through fire
And made it out alive
Even still there's nothing wrong
With wanting a companion
To walk alongside
To guard me from the coals

But that is not for me
I do not get to have
What I wish
My heart's desire
It is not permitted
For people like me
Who don't know when to stop
Before they start
Something that
No one else wants

leave a light on

Denver Capitol Building

I don't want to get quiet.
There's something about it
That kills me inside
When I don't let anyone in
To see and feel with me
The light whether barely
Or brightly beamed.

The only problem is
That no one wants in,
So is it better for me
And everyone else
That I shut this mouth of mine,
That I close my heart and
Stop making a fool of myself,
That I quit allowing myself
To think I belong anywhere
With anyone—
That I could be loved
Enough to belong,
To find a home,
To be in someone's heart
Long enough to know
That I belong and
Never question again
Whether I am loved?

I want to shout
How I am worth it.
I want to cry on
Comfort's shoulder.
I want you to
Embrace me.
I want to know
I am not just a safe place
You seek
When no one else is around.

But neither shouting nor keeping quiet
Are what will set things right.
Somewhere in the middle
There is a voice whispering
Inside of you—not me—
That needs to be acknowledged.
Things wouldn't hurt so much
If you'd listen to the love
That wells up inside of you,
If you'd stop shutting out
Your heart's voice
And let it take wing.

It is not for me to find
A way to the joy
You have left behind.
Find it—
And you will see me.
Only then can possibility
Become reality.
Only then can we
See our destiny
In the full light of day
Without fear
Of hurting
Our love,

Until then,
I'll leave a light on
Dimly lit,
Burning through
The dark of night,
Through any trouble,
Time and space.
I'll keep it here
Within this heart
And mind
That won't forget
The happiness
And heart that
You alone have brought to life.

erasing feelings

Words have been erased. I write so much, but then I throw them away because I feel thrown away. I don't want all the pain of today to stick. I want to write but not be reminded of how I have felt. Having a space to write and be reminded here has taught me that I am most certainly reminded. I have laced each poem and memoir bite with a pretty poison to either hurt or delight. I have a stack of journals from over the years that hold pain and tears and happy times intermingled. I have sheets and sheets of email letters. I know about being reminded by what I choose to write—and keep. 

Maybe if I could write my words in the wet sand at the beach, carving out my heart, then letting the tide wash it all away. Maybe that would work. Maybe. But I don't live near the ocean, and I can't get there soon enough to try this experiment while I need release. I'd love to set my heart on a month-long sabbatical to the seaside, but that's an option for people who aren't me. So I must be contented with writing letters that go in the garbage and writing poems that hide until I feel brave enough to cut my heart out with my own words. I must be content with erasure. 

Seeking to Become - September 2016

Last month as I commemorated five years of doing this thing, I began contemplating the idea of adding more to my monthly scripture focus. Up until now, I have solely shared scriptures from the Old and New Testaments from the King James Version of the Holy Bible. For five years, I have left out a big part of my spiritual life and the scriptures I believe to be true and helpful in seeking to become like our Savior. I'm speaking of The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ

Beginning this month, I will reference scriptures from The Book of Mormon, so that will be assumed in my citations.

So to commence this new chapter of my challenge, I have pondered what scripture would be best. What would help me to focus on and what would help someone who happens to read this and want to join me in this seeking that I speak of—this seeking to become more like Jesus—to follow his example and guidance. In Mosiah 4:9-10, I have found a great treasure of guidance:

 Believe in God; believe that he is, and that he created all things, both in heaven and in earth; believe that he has all wisdom, and all power, both in heaven and in earth; believe that man doth not comprehend all the things which the Lord can comprehend.
 10 And again, believe that ye must repent of your sins and forsake them, and humble yourselves before God; and ask in sincerity of heart that he would forgive you; and now, if you believe all these things see that ye do them.

I have been feeling pretty low as of late. I've been feeling so abandoned and unwanted. Amidst my sore feelings, I have realized how I should leave more room for comfort from the spirit, how I need to believe and trust and know better. Yes, I am unwanted, but I don't have to let myself feel it every day with such poignancy. Acknowledging our reality is important, but it doesn't have to steal our joy nor edge out chances for happiness that are before us. I need to remember I am loved by God, that he understands me and knows how to help me because he created me and this world. I need to strive to be more humble and forsake the sorrow that I hold onto. I need to work on being more kind and worthy of forgiveness. I want to do these things that I might show God my belief in Him, show my trust and faith.

As we spend the rest of this month and into the next, I hope you will walk with me in becoming more believing and doing as we seek to become more like the Savior.


no angel

I am not an angel, and yet I weep.
Through my endless tears I see things
Keeping me from smiling on the inside.
I stretch toward the sunlight
To warm my shrinking heart,
To keep myself from hiding at night
From the fears that have never been hushed
By reality's soft and quiet hand.

I am no angel.
I make things bad.
But not all the time.
Sometimes I deserve more.
I do.
I need more.
I deserve to be seen
Long enough and deeply enough
To be given what I need.
A hand outstretched
Just for me.
A heart to care for
Just for me.
A love to try
And stay
Just for me.

I need no angel.
I need real.
I need a best friend
Who will never leave
Who wants to stay with me
Never to be abandoned
To the elements ever again.
And still I weep

For all that could be
Until my love comes to me.


my hope
my tears
my love

never shared
never cared
never fair
child's play

a trail of tears and hopes
fears and ropes
tying us down
never fair
only the hope
for equity
and a tender
merciful touch
of one's heart
to another
to share a love
imperfect yet essential
delightful yet painful
precious yet piercing

my love
that I may set aside
my tears
and wrap you in
my hope

to be shared
as we care
with affection
so fair

more like water

Standing beneath the overhang of Weeping Rock looking across the canyon

“Water does not resist. Water flows. When you plunge your hand into it, all you feel is a caress. Water is not a solid wall, it will not stop you. But water always goes where it wants to go, and nothing in the end can stand against it. Water is patient. Dripping water wears away a stone. Remember that, my child. Remember you are half water. If you can’t go through an obstacle, go around it. Water does.”  — Margaret Atwood

One of my friends shared this quote recently, and it got me thinking about how I am like water and how I am not. Negativity seems to be surrounding me lately, so, in an effort to go around it, I want to focus on how I try to be like water.

While I resist quite a few things that come at me, I have learned to make great effort to go with the flow so to speak. There is something to be said for knowing when to let go of something that isn't working or helping you. Oftentimes, I have to cut my losses and do something differently, so my children and I can keep making progress. It doesn't seem like stopping progress on something is progress, but if it isn't working, stopping actually helps everyone.

For example, I used to do chore charts. They worked well for us. I rotated jobs between the children, and it was pretty great. Well, then our lives changed, and I work now. There is no overseer to guide and help half of the time, so I decided to throw out the chore chart, and I do verbal assignments when I am able to follow through with rewards and consequences at least somewhat. When we work at things now, we see the fruit of our labors much faster and with less frustration.

While that example is pretty basic, it shows how failure can bring about positive change. I've learned that acknowledging failure is a strength when you learn what you need to work around to get where you want to be.

There is also something to be said for meting out your time and talents carefully so as to not become overburdened. That reminds me of the dripping water wearing away a stone analogy. If I use everything I have in me too quickly, I'm more like a popped water balloon than anything else—unable to do anything for myself or others once that initial burst is over.

I want to be more like the water that drips off the rock ceiling of Weeping Rock in Zion National Park. It slowly drip, drip, drips every day, even when there hasn't been rain in a long while. It keeps the surrounding area moist for ferns and other plants to grow and provides a place for people and animals to find cool refreshment from the heat in summer. For me to give enough of myself to last through all that is required of me, I need to give in consistent drip, drip, drips that conserve my mental and emotional energies while still making a difference and helping myself.

I find it interesting that I identify with Weeping Rock as I think about patient water. I don't recall the scientific facts about how long it takes for the water to make it from the top and find it's way out as drips of condensation, but I do know it takes some time. Each droplet carries with it minerals that also feed the floor upon which it eventually falls, thus nourishing while watering. It is a process to weep the way that it does.

Likewise, tears can be nourishing. They can be healing. Tears can teach if we watch for how patience guides us. It is not good to cry all the time, but allowing ourselves to feel our way through life helps us be more like water. We can tell where we need to flow through or around to make our way. We choose our path instead of feeling tossed to and fro by the storms we call obstacles. And I will go where I want to go. I will succeed. I will reach my dreams. I will be more like water.

no anchor

unseen needs
for acceptance
kind attention

or possibly
she asks for
too much
of everyone

no one wants
to take
her on

she should
into nothingness

letting the world
pass by
it already does

with no anchor
to hold it all down
her hopes and dreams
run aground

for a moment
she let herself
anything could happen

for a moment
she thought
life might change
she might be safe

with someone
who calms
the other storms
but no

lost in the fog
this heart
has no

I can't.

Can't. I'm sorry.
I love you.
No expectations
Until your soul spoke to mine,
Yet no expectation but
What anyone else could have
If they weren't me.

Can't. I don't want to.
Letting go is not an option
My heart can handle
Anything but losing us
To the world of drama and betrayal.
The chance that could be had
Lies in your hands.

Can't. Or won't.
Not to be or not to be.
That is not the question.
We know what we are.
We know what could be.
But which is it?
Can't or won't.

Can't. Too busy.
Choking down my pride,
Watching you choose
To not see me like I thought you would,
Realizing I'm not chosen yet again.
To stop the tears is impossible.
I just can't.


A confession of sorts at the close of this summer. More like, I just really want to unload for a minute.

It has been a challenge for me to write since last summer. I have continued onward, yet I know what I have carried with me for over a year, with another unexpected load of harsh reality just recently. It has all been heavy to bear. It has been something I didn't think I deserved. I have wondered why I am where I am.

Alas, it is reality. I allowed myself to have this setback. Disappointment has settled in for a good long stay despite Hope prodding it to leave, reminding me of my humanity. It is not easy to carry on with no one beside you. It gets messy in different ways. There is no one but yourself to rely upon in a pinch, and you make mistakes. Lots of them some days. And sometimes for innumerable days in a row. And it's okay to admit that.

Nevertheless, I have continued to write—not as consistently as I would like, not as broad in topics as I would prefer—but I did not quit. I have not yet quit. I am determined to never quit. And that is something to hold onto while I find home or home finds me.

Because as much as we might wish it, wanting a home and having a home are decidedly two different things. For now, I'm at the train depot looking at the empty seats trying to find a perspective to keep me warm until my final destination is in sight.


Wistful and wishing for
One forever taste of you
As another summer nears its end
And autumn pulls me in

Leaves falling into the past
With hope tied to each
Against the difficult winter
As we brace ourselves within ourselves

Together at the heart of things
Time gives us more to cling to
He gives us more to hold
We give our hearts respite from the cold

Layers unfolded gently as the fall
Of leaves upon green grass
Open our eyes to more
Layers of understanding us

Seeking you seeking me
Trying new things
Reaching out in harmony
Everything we lack but need

I don't want you to be mine
I don't want me to be yours
I want us to be ours
In one forever with you