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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...

down river

I heard about a mother, a bystander, and the mother's toddler being drowned in a horrible river incident yesterday, and I just haven't been myself since.

These individuals are strangers to me, and yet I have felt so much heartache for their loved ones and even the mother as she saw her little girl get swept away. I thought about how I'd have jumped straight into the raging water too no matter the odds. I can't imagine not jumping in after my child.

Maybe that's romanticizing it, but that's what I think I'd do in a split second decision.

That said, I was doing a search to learn more about it, and I realized that there was another river drowning with a little boy not too long ago, and the mother didn't even have the chance to make that choice. She just saw the river and knew she'd never see her son again.

As I ponder these two scenarios, I realize that we are given what we are given, and we just do what we can with what we've got. Sometimes giving our life is giving our all. And sometimes—our heart goes down river never to be seen again.

We just keep going until we can't anymore and find the joy in life. We give our whole hearts in all we do.

But even still—life can be such a heart wrenching affair, can't it? 

natural affection

I hear your song, darling. 
It came across the fields of corn and grass
As the sun shone brightly above.
It found its way into my heart
Without a second thought.

My adoration comes as second nature
As my nature is to love you—
Yet you cannot find your way to me
As we dance in tune without music playing
Because you were afraid.

I won't stop listening; 
I can't let go.
You are what fills me;
You are the hole that won't be filled.
Let your natural affection open up.

a tiny rant about singleness

sunflower fields

This week is graduation for my senior and a handful of my Digital Journalism students, and I am waxing emotional.

There are so many words and feelings welling up that I don't know which ones to tell you. I have my heart so full right now of anxiousness for my son to finish up his coursework on time. I have a heart full of pride that he is finally getting through this chapter of his life—it has been challenging. And this heart is overflowing with wanting things to slow down, so we can savor the success for awhile. 

My students. Oh there are some of them who have really taught me so much, and a few of them who I would be privileged to become their friends. There are memories of learning from and with my students that make it difficult to think about them not being in my class next year. It gets me a little teary actually. And I keep thinking about how I wish time could slow down a little with these seniors as well, so we can savor these final moments. 

As I contemplate the future for my son and students, I recall driving to the Dallas/Fort Worth airport in the backseat of my brother's car being amazed by the nearly endless fields of mammoth sunflowers. It was stunning. Such a radiant and glorious sight to see. I think what made it so memorable as well was how there were so many fields of them too. Not only were there so many flowers that they seemed to stretch on forever in a field, but more and more fields of sunflowers would come as we drove. It was cheerful and surprising. 

The radiance of the graduates is like those sunflowers. They are shining now, but the opportunities they will have to shine further will continue to pop up as they go along their paths. They will surprise us, and we will continually want to see how far they go with things. We will want to remember every success now and moving forward, so much so that we will eagerly watch the horizon until we can't. 

I will be watching for wonderful surprises from all of them. 

wrapping things up

It's almost the end of the school year, and I am astounded by the rate at which time flew. There have been some very long days and weeks; however, it all seemed to slip right through my fingers.

I'm feeling pretty nostalgic actually. This week will wrap up the last class for the Digital Journalism elective that I teach, so my teaching and grading is coming to a close faster than my social media directing, which never ends pretty much ever. But seriously, teaching this Digital Journalism course has been so good for me. I am good at it. Most of my students are glad to be in my class. The curriculum is student-driven to an extent. And we have a wonderful time learning.

When a class is really effective, the teacher learns more than the students, and I have certainly learned a great deal. I have seen in myself a good teacher, someone who cares, knows what they're doing (most of the time), and teaches by example. This year has helped me grow in confidence, and it is due to the caliber of students that I have in my class. Such good people. Such kind and ready to learn people. I couldn't be happier with how the year went.

And we just won't even get me started on how gorgeous the yearbook turned out. Seriously, that thing is so clean, so fresh, and so wonderfully perfect. My students gave of their talents and worked so hard. And then I went in and proofed it to perfection. What a fulfilling experience!

Next week, when the last day of school happens and we have our end of year party, I will be sure to tell my students about what they gave me. What a gift I've unwrapped.

National Poetry Month 2017 Top Ten

All thirty of my poems for this most recent National Poetry Month were hard won in the writing of them. I cried and laughed and let myself hope. I wrote as real as I could without exposing myself to more hurt. So here are the top ten reader's choice and a few poet's picks to honor my hard work of growing as a writer and person because of it: 

it's a good thing

closed windows

I must admit that I am glad National Poetry Month is over. I love it generally speaking, yet I hated it this year.

To write poetry—true poetry from my heart—when I wasn't feeling ready was truly the challenge. It wasn't the every day for thirty days part; it was the write about things you hope and wish for and don't like and don't want. Writing so much truth takes a lot of pondering and choosing, and it was so hard for me.

As I was thinking about what to even slice about today, I wanted to stop myself. I have cried so much in this space. I don't want that anymore, but you know, it just keeps on flowing. People talk about how it matters which garden you tend—gratitude or ingratitude—joy or sadness—that determines what you see around you. And I believe it. However, I do know that dandelions and Russian thistle like to take over no matter what you do. So I can tend my joy garden every day with all my heart, might, mind, and strength, but it won't keep away the invasion of the weeds on rainy days/weeks. That's just the facts. But I don't give up, and I guess that's the true positive in all this and maybe a small miracle.

Another thing, every time I talk about stopping writing the truth, I get an absolute tidal wave of support. And I thought about that too as I was pondering what to slice about today. It encouraged me actually. It made me want to write something happier than how I see things today. That's why I wanted to tell you about my gratitude, even if it's about being grateful for poetry writing being over for awhile.

I hadn't written anything substantial as far as poetry goes for a few months or so, as I explained before this past month's writing challenge began, making it a real feat. I'm truly amazed that I didn't give up because there were a couple of days in there (actually like three or four) when I almost didn't write anything. The sense of abandonment and isolation that I have pricking at my heels all the time kept demanding to be heard. It kept spilling onto the page. And I just hate that. It's all normal feelings. So many justifications for all of it, so I know I'm not some insane person or something. But it just feels bad.

All of this said, I think it's like a miracle to not be writing poetry today. It feels like a breath of less toxic air. I am not sure if/when I will write more poetry. My heart just hurts, and I don't know if I can write about it like that anymore. I guess we shall see. Right?