glasses raised to toast new starts
to friends who've come and gone

smiles shared in trust now earned
through redundant pain released

ball reads, "Definitely"
at the question of removing

deadly demons hidden deep
from this year past contained

lonely weeks she can't relive
but won't forget too soon

fingers laced between her own
lending reassurance gained

seasons wait in promised change
new and different but the same

vows to keep before her God
in purity and freedom given

hearts unite in covenant love
to make their new year


Prompt from A Writer's Book of Days: In anticipation of the night.



I don't have a clue what it means
it's like living in a foreign country
with people I don't know
and signs I can't read

I've driven around this circle
so many times that I've forgotten
which exit I intended to take
or where I'd planned to go

In fact I'm no longer even certain
that the exit's even there
or if I'll ever escape this driving
on the wrong side of the road

I know they're out there cursing
trying to push me back in line
but their words are only nonsense
in my misconceiving ear

Water Color

Hues of grey,
and black and blue
and sepia tainted purples
colored like water
on empty canvas
with evocative presence
as if something below
might somehow escape
and follow through
on symphonies
long ago felt:
a random light
causing shadows
to break in the night


From "A Writer's Book of Days": "a random light"


These are the delicacies of a ruined evening...

Her lips were soft,
alluring, inviting
and beckoned
with every word

She tittered on musically
Barbie curves suggesting
her creamy skin might taste
as beautiful as it seemed

Perfectly polished nails
casually combed
through gold-spun tresses
reminiscent of a goddess

She caught his stray glance
as his focus faltered
and made her eyes flash
settling his gaze on mine


From "A Writer's Book of Days": "These are the delicacies of a ruined evening."


The Sanctity of Business

Be still and know
of the struggle toward holiness
of the being and doing
of the prayer of eternity
of the work of the faith
of the trembling knowledge
of the over-worked saint
of the remaining in stillness
of the solitary communion
of the wrestling for peace
of the working 'til He comes
in multifarious multitask

Prompt from "A Writer's Book of Days": Write about something sacred.


Making Our Fortune

we ate Chinese
as we giggled and teased
clueless to where this would lead
as we both should have known
it didn’t agree
but some things are best forgotten
he pushed his plate back
as he stared and he grinned
I self-consciously brushed it away
the lone noodle stuck to my chin
I knew it was dumb
but he knew we were done
and my rumbling stomach agreed
I’d had more than my fill
now regretfully ill
as he tossed me his cookie
and I finally cracked.
“You’ll find here what you least expect.”
I dropped it in shock as I ran for the door.
I can’t eat Chinese anymore.

Prompt: "We ate Chinese." from The Writer's Book of Days


The Prayer of the Magi

One thing I seek:
this star of hope
for tiny miracles
born of light

in the darkness
casting out
all shadow of doubt

One thing I seek:
this wisdom of old
a journey to love
as a worthy pursuit

with casualties
littered with tests
unsung in the quest

One thing I seek:
this simplicity of faith
in the tiniest truth
laid in simple honesty

Hidden in despair
in the dead of night
in a barn damp and bleak
for all who seek

Read Matthew 2:1-2. Write a prayer of the magi as they (you) search for the Messiah foretold by the stars and prophets.



God with us
in these fleeting moments,
sliding from this one to the next~
like cars on ice;
To live in this moment~
the now that was~
in staggering redundant change.

God with us
in the here and the now
embraced in us
in this moment
before it slides away
To something else
where (S)He holds us still
in divinity dazzling
revealing this sign
the glory born
in this one small moment

God with us
inside our flesh
in this spectacle residing
within this gaze
no longer hidden
by the fear in this moment
which changes our future
into love in the now

God with us



When last year January came around
Displaying enchantment in effortless charm
She smiled and flirted, promising more
So I held onto her tightly when offered her arm

She swore she’d be better
More caring and sweet
Than that awful December
Forced into retreat

She vowed to live fully
Open, honest, and true
She promised love happily
To give hope for what’s new

But she’s a cold-hearted liar
And I won’t chase her again
With a heart lost and broken
Forgotten, condemned


The Great Hunter

When I consider your heavens,
the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
which you have set in place,
what is man that you are mindful of him,
the son of man that you care for him?
(Psalm 8:3~4)


In the most crucial moments of my life, he's always there. Long before my birth and long after I am finished walking this earth, he will continue to hover over the clouds scanning the earth and seeing beyond the these finite moments in time.

My father first introduced me when I was very young. The great outdoors was my place of worship and even then I was drawn to things above. "You'll always recognize him by the three; notice that together they form the center?" I was barely old enough to understand the significance of this ~ nor even to understand love itself. But that moment began a lifelong love affair.

I was always aware of his presence as I grew older. He spent every night outside my window, not just a hunter, but a guardian of sorts. He chaperoned my first kiss and picked up the pieces of my first broken heart. He sat up all night with me, pleading with friends determined to court death before their time.

He went with me to college, my first time "on my own". He promised me constancy in my changing world. He called me to walk with him after the sun went down, wooing me to relax and enjoy the beauty of the world around me in the midst of the business of papers and exams and maintaining more intense relationships than I'd ever had before.

Even when I ran to the other side of the country, leaving nearly everything I knew behind, he found me. I looked up in one of my saddest moments, lost and alone, thinking I might have lost my faith. Even then, I smiled to see him beaming more brightly than ever at me.

I walked the streets of London hand in hand with the man I loved, feeling the contrasting pain of friendship fading. There, he whispered truths of love, promises of hope, and reminders of the history of his presence.

We spoke many nights while I paced the floor, soothing small cries back to dreams. He, a confidant with guaranteed trust, was someone with whom I could be honest about things I couldn't admit to anyone else.

Like me, Orion is on an eternal quest ~ both of us on this never~ending journey to find that which keeps us alive ~ those things we need to sustain our existence. To reveal that which hides in the darkness of night.


from A Writer's Book of Days: "Write about winter constellations."



I've come to need
this ebb and flow
this ever~changing tide

I'd gotten used
to the relentless drip
and the steadily falling stream
trickling slowly over my skin
and washing everything clean

I've felt the drive
and the desperate rush
of devastating torrential storms

I've captured the draw
of being towed
back under and into the sea
or the whirling twist of inevitable drain
as this pool becomes empty and free

I've sung to the tapping
on these rhythmic panes
from the joy squeezed out of these clouds

But all that's left now
is broken and parched
cracking and itching, it bleeds
dying of thirst in the wake of this dust
and gasping and struggling to breathe


It Falls






Heart Rending


After the Rain

it rushes through violently
pooling on branches in drains
in the wake of this passion
washed up debris
caught in gutters of rage
silent phrases trickle lonely
in the storm cluttered grates
to drown in the stagnant
rainbows below
grown from greased run-off
from things that once mattered

in this path of destruction
a blue sky belies
a clarity of purpose
the brightness of day hiding this fight
as the warmth of this moment
casts shards in the light

it's the yielded resurgence
in the aftermath of despair
in the breaking open of this bottle
of undrinkable repair


“For everything you have missed,
you have gained something else,
and for everything you gain,
you lose something else.”
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson



why do we let these moments define us?
to subtly affect how we see ourselves?
as if no one else messes up
and everyone is stronger than we

so if i peel back the layers
and reveal to you mine,
will you show me yours?

they may be vastly different
but see, they're both beautiful
pictures of mercy
images of grace
a doorway to open
forgiveness and love

it's never that easy
inside our minds
where humanity invades,


the reality that waits
is the simplicity of this:
that we pick ourselves up,
dust ourselves off,
embrace the gift in our failure,
and allow room to change.

we all make our choices
in moments of need
in stupidity or greed,
but this reflection is not
the depths of our character
or ourselves viewed in truth
this failed commentary
is not who we are

if we've fallen in this
the responsibility is ours
to help one another stand
confident and tall
and hand~in~hand walk
in this unashamed grace

it's not an excuse
it's not who you are
but you name your mistake
as the weakness it is
and don't give it the power
to define who you are.



"I know the plans that I have for you, declares the LORD.
They are plans for peace and not disaster,
plans to give you a future filled with hope."


The journey is long
and I've barely begun
but the time and place
is everything

From where I began
to where I will end
my destiny is
this path uphill

To hold dragon's fire
in the weight of injustice
shining as gold in the spring
of a warm and glowing earth

This road will not end
as I get to this place
of acceptance
discerning the pain

I'll live in these questions
knowing the stars
and their cards
hold answers unseen

And the end of it all
is unwritten as yet
but is held within
Fate's gentle hands



it's been so long now
since you've been here

hauling boxes
from dusty spaces
scratching heads
to match colors faded

This goes here...
or maybe there...
no, I think maybe
you were right before...

cookies crumble
as the tree takes shape
and we spread a sheet
in Linus hues
to hide the sorry state

sipping nog
we remember
giggling of the year before
of emergency trips
as we discover

things aren't the way
they were last year
something's missing
or maybe broken

shattered pieces
under things unused

perhaps this year
without you here
we'll dream in color
through the eyes of 6 and 2

but there's a part inside
that will always remember
and can't help wishing for blue



Pieces of history
merge to present
a larger image of now

As pictures condense
to expand our view
of identity now becoming

Surprising us now
with places and people
Long dead or just forgotten

Where are they now?
They've been missing so long
but remaining a part of ourselves

As the image refocuses
We smile and remember
and await the future reflection


Seasoned Soup for the Soul

It's gingerbread
cooling in warm lemon sauce
and frothy hot chocolate
fending off frost

It's cranberry relish
and pumpkin pie
and turkey stuffed
with seasons applied

It's the nutmeg in eggnog
with spirit suggested
and warm painted cookies
in sugared perfection

It's all that's good
and all that's right
Spilled like wine
deep into the night

In these sacred moments
all meant to be savored
we celebrate love
with these time-honored flavors


Insane Ramblings

"Keep the big door open,
everyone will come around.
Why are you different;
why you that way?
If you don't get in line
we'll lock you away..."

"Typical Situation" by DMB

I guess I'm sitting here today crazy and pondering. My "unhealthy" mind is whirling with ideas and questions ~ wondering just who defined sanity in the first place and how I became part of the "insanity."

There are so many things in life that we just blindly accept, like the fact that the sun is out at day and the moon comes out... well whenever she wants to, frankly. We take for granted that up is up, and down is down, and that people will always find something to disagree on ~ even stupid things ~ like which direction is the best. We teach our children that there is a big world out there and that it's important to "play nice" with others and we take for granted that they learn this. Unfortunately for us, a lot of our children are watching us, so they don't.

And this fact leads me to wonder what else we take for granted without even realizing it should be questioned. (Anyone who knows me has come to expect this sort of questioning from me ~ it's the rebel that I've learned to embrace within.) How do we know that society's (and that's any society in which you are a part: geographically, philosophically, chronologically, etc.) views on any given topic are the correct ones?

Now, I'm gonna let me finish here, but I just wanna say (thank you, Kanye) that before you all start spouting religious morality and scriptural references ~ or textbook answers based on psychological "research" ~ as to the validity of particular views or values, realize that your arguments no longer mean anything to me. That's the entire point I'm trying to make here. What human decided that their particular interpretation of the events and observations of the world around them (or of scripture for that matter) was the one that we all needed to use as the standard?

Being a creative person, I know a lot of creative people. We tend to find one another. We're drawn to one another. Why? Because, regardless of what anyone wants to say or believe, we've been cast out from society. Creative types see the world very differently than everyone else. We see the world as it could or should be, rather than what is. We're idealists, and visionaries. This is not to say we're the only ones; I know a lot of idealists and visionaries who don't think of themselves as artists. And that's okay, but I'm talking about artists for one reason: Show me one of them that isn't "depressed" or diagnosed (or struggling along undiagnosed) with another psychological "disorder."


Is this because there is something inherently wrong with our minds and how we think? Is there something in the creative mind that is just plain unhealthy? If so, are we created by God (or however you believe you came to be) this way? And why? I don't think that God (who is LOVE according to my beliefs based on, not only scripture, but observation and experience in my life) would sentence anyone to that type of broken existence ~ not when (S)He is the Ultimate Creator.

No, I honestly believe that the reason we're depressed, or however else you want to label us, has more to do with us struggling to fit into a society that wants to put everything in boxes. We're only accepted as "right" when we do that. But we artists don't like boxes ~ unless we're making something new and different out of them. So, when we step outside of them, we're labelled "crazy," or "psychotic," or "manic" even (particularly if we start really passionately following what we believe with conviction). Possibly even "ADD," or at the very least, "inconsistent," if our beliefs and our passions are ever~expanding, as creative types are prone to do. We're ever~seeking the next great thing. It's how we're wired. Is that wrong? And by whose standard is this determined?

We break, not because our minds are wrong, but because we try so hard to fit into the categories and regulations created by the world we live in. Because we aren't generally organized enough to make our thoughts known in a logical fashion. So we express our views with artistic words or images, and our thoughts and ideas are rarely understood by logical minds and often misinterpreted.

The tortured artist isn't just a stereotype; it's the world that I and most of my friends live in.

But then, what do I know? I'm crazy.


Tired of being stuck
in stupid flesh and bone box
needing a way to release

So many wounded hopes
for broken lives
with shattered dreams

all because of love

it's not love itself
that powerful force
that keeps us spinning in place

it's the attempts to contain
that which is freely given
and freely received

it's the desire to own
something far bigger
than mere mortal minds can

it's our shifting through time
in a linear manner
thinking all that exists is now

it's the thinking that one truth
renders others as lies
and there's no way to make them relate

it's feeling like it matters
to manufacture some order
to this wild and dangerous force

it's defining this thing
in one act or one face
this something we cannot explain

when we take off the chains
of this terrifying thing
will finally seek joy in Love freed?



What does one do when one's feelings lack worth
When one screams at silent moon blackened earth
When one falls quiet here in the forest's deep heart
When one's confidence lies underneath failing stars

What does one do when one just needs to be hidden
When one finds oneself stripping away the forbidden
When one understands nothing but sees every pain
When one's needs simply fade out under the strain

What does one cling to when one's faith walks away
When one cannot find Jesus in a hope that betrays
When one confuses the answer the cards have drawn
When one's religion and values are suddenly gone



i saw you today.
i looked into your heart.
i saw there was more than pain there.
i knew that you were gone.
i wanted just to hold you.
i wanted you to be okay.
i tried to take the blame myself.
i held the mirror to see.
i shattered inside.
i couldn't look away.
i thought about the accident.
i saw the place you landed.
i watched in horror unmoving.
i knew i didn't matter anymore.
i turned and walked away.

from A Writer's Book of Days: "Write of something done in a small moment."



Someday I'll learn.
I thought perhaps I had ~ only
maybe it isn't for me to know.

I'm frustrated beyond
words and I don't
understand why ~ it is how it is

anymore and it feels like
I should care, and maybe I
do, but today it just feels like I don't.

When will this haunting
stop chasing me down ~ below
the things I desire and think I own

only to find them lost to the night
floating as wraiths from my grasp
and taunting me under their spells?


Baring Arms

"To Write Love..." ~ The Sequel

It's lighter now
being closer to gone
this harsh darkness of reality faded

I wonder sometimes
if it was ever as bright
as my memory wants to believe that it was

It's so much like the scars
I guess that it's meant
to cover or somehow represent

But then everything changes
in the fresh light of day
and the things my arm holds go away

I don't want to forget
but this pain never stops
when it's something this intensely mine


To Write Love...

Today is TWLOHA (To Write Love On Her Arms) Day.

The Mission of TWLOHA (taken directly from their website) is:
"To Write Love on Her Arms is a non-profit movement dedicated to presenting hope and finding help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury and suicide. TWLOHA exists to encourage, inform, inspire and also to invest directly into treatment and recovery."
You can read more about how this movement got started and how it's grown over the past few years from a small band of people wanting to help a friend into a national movement backed by many bands and organizations across the country. It's an amazing story, and it's all on their site, so check it out.

There are all kinds of sponsored events throughout the year, but today is the day that started it all: TWLOHA Day, where you write "LOVE" on your arm(s) to promote awareness for the devastating effects that depression, mood disorders, self-harm, and suicide can have on us individually and as a society.

For me, TWLOHA is something I relate to intimately, and it's more than just an exercise in raising social awareness:
  • It's about keeping the name of the people who matter to me (past, present, & future) on my arm as a reminder of their precious presence in my life.
  • It's for every conversation I've had late into the night, trying to remind someone whom I love deeply that there is life beyond what they hold in their hands at this moment.
  • It's for every person who's tired of feeling nothing and has decided to do something about it (positively or negatively).
  • It's for all the "drop~everything~now~and~forget~the~to~do~list~this~is~FAR~more~important" emergency runs, just to share something simple ~ like a cookie, or a hug, or a cup of coffee ~ just to remind someone that they're not alone.
  • It's for every person I met in therapy, who knows and understands the pain that each of us carries in our hearts.
  • It's for every broken dream, shattered relationship, and strained emotion.
  • It's for hope for tomorrow, the knowledge that life is beautiful, and the realization that this world is not enough for any of us, but it's where we are for now ~ so we make the most of it.
  • It's an attempt to understand my own worth as a beautiful and beloved woman, created in the image and likeness of God.
  • It's for the people I cannot live without ~ those who light my path, through the dark and scary world that my broken mind has created for me to live in.
Whether you are someone who struggles with these issues, you know someone who does (and I guarantee you do), or you qualify in both categories like I do, please write LOVE on your arm(s) today and help spread the word.

And... don't forget to let the people you love know that they matter to you, because that's what it's REALLY all about.


Standing in the Delta

What God has joined
in Her infinite wisdom
of the who and the what
we all need

Let no man think
he's smart enough
or arrogant enough
or capable enough
to try to pull apart.

As the drops of east
dilute with west
two rivers truly are one

As one body is made
of thousands of parts
this river is filled from streams.

Where this water joins
to become part of the whole
and flows to fill that which was
it becomes one with all
that have flowed here before
keeping some of what
others have lost

And here we will fail
if we try to remove it

For good or bad~
polluted or not~
this stream is now part
of our river

And all little streams
moving off on their own
become tributaries of that which was

For these new streams we've made
are nothing like the old ~
forever changed
into something new

They can never be
anything less
than the sum of it's parts
taking pieces of me
leaving pieces of you
to forever be drowned
in this place where we've joined

from A Writer's Book of Days: "Write about where rivers join."


Gazing in the Fire

Crackled logs sparkle shyly
as heated consumption follows
into the hearts of those who see

Misty wraith ascends to linger
unwrapping conscious thoughts
to awaken newer dreams

Nestled under darkened silence
amid rhythms swiftly beating
as stillness slowly falters



I could speak to you of longing,
but it's nothing I'd convey
in simplicity of language
or in feeble words confessed.

What is it that I long for?
What calls my soul to breathe?

The deepest, darkest moments
of my inner life's lament
become the truest lies untelling
of the useless time I've spent.

There are things beyond this moment ~
things seen with more than eyes

This comes from understanding
that there is more to me than this
and the things I find surround me
aren't intended to be missed

But they beg to be examined
for the proof of what's inside

But I'll wait confused and broken
hoping trust and faith resolve,
taking images of Eden
to make postcards of my home


Writing prompt from A Writer's Book of Days: "Write about yearning."



If you doubt yourself,
it shows.
If you doubt yourself,
why shouldn't everyone else?

If you love yourself,
others will notice
If you love yourself,
others have no choice but to fall
into that elegant magnetism.

It's not about how much time
you spend in front of the mirror;
it's about being comfortable
in your own skin.

That's confidence.

That's attraction.

That's the person
everyone wants to know
everyone wants to love
everyone wants to be.

When you're confident,
self~consciousness becomes overshadowed
by consciousness of others.

When you're confident,
focus shifts from inward to outward.

In the comfort of confidence
you can calm tension in others
as you reach beyond yourself
and infect others to love life as you do.
You see the world as a better place,
and you invite others to live with you there.
You see the "best" in life
and live as if it's already here,
regardless of anyone else's opinion.

It doesn't happen overnight.
It takes work to struggle with who you are
and finally come to terms with your true self,
your strengths and your weaknesses.
To know that this is who you are
and who you are supposed to be.

It brings openness and honesty,
It confronts you
with identity
with emotion
with desire.
And no one will have to guess
who or where you are
and what it is you want.

When you are confident about how you feel about yourself,
you can own about how you feel about others
and accept how they feel about you.

You can find solace in relationship
and live in comfort of the the knowing
how to be trusting and trust~worthy.

And it won't matter
if you've just rolled out of bed,
and your hair is a mess,
and you have dried drool on your chin,
and you're wearing the same pjs you've worn all week,
and you stink because you haven't showered yet...

None of that will matter...

if you love yourself,
you've learned what love is
you've accepted who you are
you've found freedom in yourself.

You will understand
that you are already worthy of that love.

You will understand
that you are beautiful ~
even in that state of disarray.

You will understand
There's not one pair of strappy heels,
not one curling iron,
not one perfect shade of lipstick,
not one cute little black dress
that will make you any more beautiful than you already are.
That all those things are fine,
but they're nothing more than tools to add
accent to your beauty
and a light to someone's eyes.
But you won't NEED them,
to be more than who you are
You'll be the one you love, regardless.

If you lack confidence,
ponytails will make you look like a silly child,
rather than a mature woman who adores life.

If you lack confidence,
flirting will be shallow and phony,
instead of a chance to hint
at mysterious depths unknown
and whimsical flights of adventure.

If you lack confidence,
the sexiest or most elegant dress
will never hang right
or make you look fat
or will always be completely out of place.

If you can't walk with your head held high,
you won't be able to balance in high heels,
so you'll feel tiny, or stupid,
or blend into the crowd.

And when you finally own this,
it's not to impress someone else
or make them happy,
but it's for yourself and your joy.
You won't need to try too hard.
You won't have to feel desperate for love
or starve for company.
The company of yourself will be enough.
You can adapt to what life throws your way
and love every minute
of the challenge and the journey.

You'll be noticed and loved of course,
but it won't matter that you are
(or aren't),
because your worth is not based on someone else's opinion.
All that will matter is how you feel about yourself,
how you walk, how you talk, who you are...
and how you present yourself boldly to the world.

It's about accepting both
compliments and criticism with grace,
learning from both,
and throwing out what doesn't apply or matter.

It's about learning to live with yourself,
and allowing others to live with you too.


"Beauty is being in harmony with what you are." ~Peter Nivio Zarlenga
(Thanks, Ami, for sharing this quote!)



for my best friends whom I trust with my life

It's knowing the truth waits
to hold you with its wisdom
even when it hurts the most

It's knowing you won't stay down
lying alone in the gutter
even when you know you're wrong

It's knowing that no separation
can ever be enough to triumph
even when it pulls you apart

It's knowing the reflection
of the inner secrets of your soul
even in the eyes of another

It's believing in the the future
and the possibilities that wait
even when all you see is pain



the photo's faded
and not like we remember
the picture never did really
look the same

colors run
together inside
the darkened walls
of forgetful minds

it looks like time
is out of order
these fragments of memories
in clarity attest

the images are jaded
here on the page
and nothing like
the reality we've known


No Hablo Español...

Ok... so, I have this friend... A fairly new friend actually. One of those friend-of-a-friend deals. So, I don't know this guy REALLY well, but I think I'd like to keep him and his wife as friends. They're fun people, they live nearby, and we share common friends and interests.

There's a fine line that one walks when they're new to any relationship, the one that so many people can't even see when they're first dating or developing a new friendship with someone. You want to get to know each other. You want to like each other. You want to do whatever you need to so that you don't upset the fragile balance between you. At the same time, you both know there's no such thing as real relationship without honesty and authenticity so you can't just go along with everything the other says... especially when it goes against what you believe.

So... he starts ranting today about a the subject of non-English speakers (a.k.a. non-natives). One of his customers was mad at him because he doesn't speak Spanish. This is not the first time that this has happened to him in his job and I understand that's really frustrating to him. His response, however, was, "you are in america we speak in english, learn it" and "I find that to be pure lazyness on there part when they to the usa. the gov needs to be more strict about that."

Now, I'm not picking on him (well, maybe just a little, but I swear it's all in fun). I've encountered this sentiment repeatedly in varying degrees, and I'm using him as an illustration because he's the most recent example, and because I'm fairly sure he can handle me poking a bit of fun in his direction.

So, here's my view: I feel like all cultures and ethnicities should be appreciated and valued and, yes, even celebrated. However, I also feel that it is important to learn to relate to the culture in which are living. So while I feel it's important to maintain a sense of individual heritage and even language (which is, for a lot of people, a huge part of their identity and self-worth), it's also a necessity for people to learn the primary language of the country in which they live.

To further clarify, I think that it just makes sense, if you're looking to be a part of any culture, to become a part of that culture. One should NOT expect the world to bend to them. I would not travel overseas and expect every person I meet to speak English. But the main difference is, I'd probably find someone who speaks English in any other country much more quickly than I would find someone to speak Spanish (or any other language) here in America (particularly in rural PA).

We in America are incredibly insensitive to those who do not speak English as their primary language. As another friend countered in this debate, "I suppose the next step is that we need to get rid of thick accents, right?" Now, her point was delivered with all the politeness she could muster, but I know that she takes this subject very seriously. And, I don't think that Friend A was expressing this depth of "animosity" toward non-English speakers, but I honestly don't know as I don't know him all that well. But, I've heard that sentiment as well, usually in association with annoyance of a generally racist nature ("I hate calling Customer Service lines and hearing that 'Muslim' accent.")

I do think (with all apologies aimed toward Friend A) that it is rather hypocritical for someone to complain about non-English speakers with improper spelling and grammar, but then, I realize that not everyone is as linguistically minded as I am. I just find, in my own personal experience, that since most of the world is bilingual, we merely display our ignorance when we act and assume superiority on these types of issues. Just sayin', it wouldn't hurt us to learn some other languages.

Some days, comments like that from friends would really annoy me. Some days, they'd roll off my back, barely noticed. Today, however, is apparently a day when I come back with snarkiness and a blog rant.

On The Edge

They tell me to relax
to let go of it all
while I teeter out here
by myself

As if that's all it would take
to call me
into the center

As if it's really that easy
just one small step

As if there isn't this wall here
obstructing my view
hindering my path

As if I even belong there
and not banished outside
wandering alone

So, I'll let down my guard
and try to relax
allowing myself to let go

And when I inevitably succumb
to gravity's embrace
I'll fall in sweet bliss

Knowing I'm finally where I belong

What The Darkness Proposes

The lights went out
and the power went down
but the energy only increased

As long~dormant dreamers
in mystical madness
became children of nighttime released

In silent seduction
they cast off the confines
of whatever they'd been told to do

Filled with the thrall
and the wonder that waits
living fantasies somehow more true

As starlight collides
in the frenzy of freedom
that sleeps in the deadness of dawn

The pointless pursuits
Wasted drowning in day
Forgotten as Nox rights all wrongs


Today's creative writing prompt from A Writer's Book of Days is: "Write what the darkness proposes."



Razor-sharp splinters sink into the mud
embedding themselves in permanence

These pieces of Eden left from the fall
fracturing light-scattered shadows

Drawing blood from over-scarred wounds
in the semblance of healing power

The colors of passion, of hope and trust
when ignited with joy become beauty

Alone these pieces are nothing but pain
but together they make something more



I danced in the rain
on my wedding day
on the thirteenth day of June

I've boiled the milk
and cried when it spilled
because I somehow lost the salt

I've slept east to west
on the bed facing north
and messed up the sheets on Friday

And I've dropped my umbrella
on the hard wood floor
as I sneezed in the chill of the draft

So I'll lurk under ladders
but I'm done hiding in shadows ~
a black cat ready to pounce

And I won't wait seven years
before I gather up the pieces
of this shattered and dying reflection



twirling in circles
'til we all fall down
in a panic of frolic
and endlessly spinning
captured in trails
like dogs in a frenzy
defending themselves
from personal attack

bead~covered glass
shields the elements
from all that's inside
as a drop breaks away
in inertia's grasp
slowly sinking at 45
degrees of freedom

not long thereafter
another bead breaks
falling more quickly
at a much lesser angle
trying to follow
but landing alone

caught in unyielding distance
of altered perceptions
and geometric dissonance
over time's senile space



the questions
this shadow
rising around her
threaten to strangle
what doesn't succumb

in this room
no one sees
the stuff of life and proof
and the echoing silence
from shattered remains

so she waits
barely moving
seeing glimmering time
trapped in her mind
sole dysfunction of haste

its darkness creeps
into corners of light
causing the answers to turn
chasing truth under rugs
as she grasps at the strings



Now I lay me down
to sleep upon the ground
as icy fingers creep
slowly through my bones
numbed to everything left
inside this empty heart

the agonizing pain
which makes me insane
is knowing I can't fly
without falling on my ass

so I'll curl into a ball
safe inside these walls
and find the only relief
left here in this dark place
like feathers on my face
the beauty of this comfort
in the midst of all the pain


Today's creative writing prompt from A Writer's Book of Days: "Write about a pillow."


Channeling the Ancient

'When I [Mitch Albom] asked the rabbi, “How do you account for all these different faiths? How can they all be right? Isn’t just one right, and the rest wrong by default?” He gave this example of trees. He said, “Do you believe that God made trees?” And I said, “Yes.” And he said, “So why didn’t he make just one tree? Why did he have to make a bunch of different kinds of trees? He’s God, and if he’s going to call this a tree, why wouldn’t they all look like this? But he made oaks and pines. Why? Because they’re all varieties of God’s creation. Why can’t you look at faith that way?”'

I am discovering that I'm a mystic, a contemplative. I think that I've always known this actually, but the reawakened poet in me is resonating with this form of spirituality more now than ever. My faith and my spiritual journey have become far more real to me and I'm finding this silent contemplation and the quest for deep spiritual connection to be the only things that truly fill my soul or fulfill me as spiritual being.

But apparently this is the stuff that scares a lot of Christians.

In my experience, something about the possibility of being wrong, or the possibility that God is more than a series of rituals, rules, or religion terrifies those who've been raised in the "Christian" church. Because to most people, admitting that we've missed the point (by having assumed that organized, mainstream "Christianity" is the only true path to God) means that we've somehow wasted our lives. But the thing is, nothing is a waste if it's leading us to a deeper and more meaningful relationship with the Lover of our souls.

I think the problem is that at the very core, all of humanity is filled with the same "collective consciousness" ~ an awareness of the supernatural ~ because we're all created by the same Supreme Being, regardless of what we call Him/Her or how we express that awareness. There's the deep yearning for something more, the need to search and sort through the great questions of life, and an innate desire to connect on a spiritual level.

And it predates Christianity. It predates religion in general. It goes back to the very beginning to the "God created..." where it was simple ~ a relationship. There was simply a man and his God, until the relationship shattered, and the distance was created. And as time moves along, that distance widens and deepens and humanity struggles to find that path back to God.

And we do what we can to find it. All things lie within our hearts; placed there by God. I think a true desire to find God will lead one to the appropriate path.

Jesus declared Himself to be the ultimate example: the way, the truth, the life. He lived a life of servitude, a life of humility, a life of love, and a life of contemplation. And He is the embodiment of this way to God. Those who KNOW Jesus will find God.

But what of those who never had the chance? How about those who spend their lives seeking God and never hear the name Jesus? What if we've entirely missed Jesus' point? What if those people know Jesus better than all of us who fill the chairs in our sanctuaries every week, sing our songs, and pray our prayers?

I'm not offering answers here. I truly don't have them, but what I do know is that it's ok that I don't. If I did, I wouldn't need God. I would assume that I've "made it" and I would be no better than Lucifer who decided that he was "like God" (leading to his expulsion from heaven).

I will walk the path to God without apology and without fear.

I will continue to seek and use any tool from any religion that is available to me to do so. I'm not afraid to admit that God is bigger than Mere Christianity. I'm not afraid to walk a labyrinth, or light a candle in memory of someone I love, or see God's fingerprints in the sky and hear the voice of Love in the wind. I'm not afraid to challenge the status quo of Christianity, to throw off the rules and regulations set up by those who have bought into "Christianity" being the only answer. I am not afraid to allow my spirit and my soul to explore concepts of communion with God and others through "non~traditional" means. I'm not afraid of the "new~age" movement which is, for the most part, little more than a reawakening of ancient spiritual practices on the road to understanding God. What goes around, comes around and the wheel of time keeps turning.

For those of you who've read this far and are now praying for my soul, I will reassure you that I do believe in the the basics of the Christian faith. I may not interpret everything exactly the same as all of my Christian friends and family, but in what matters I can agree.

I just know there's more to this "abundant life in Christ" and my God created me to be this way for a reason. I intend to find it... or die trying.


Carving the Moon

I don't want to talk
about crossing the lines
or standing in corners
or traveling through time

I want to dance
in the circle
of pale moon light
and know that it's here:
this water
real life

We build all our boxes
to keep us inside
on this spherical planet
in "linear time"

Creation repeats
through living
through death
and the planets evolve
over seasons
endless in years

Why shouldn't I feel
that there's more here than this?
That hell is a myth
and heaven doesn't exist?

What was will be over
again and again
co~existing in echoes
of what we've reflected
in the moon
in our souls

I don't want the answers;
I'll live with the mystery
of time overlapping
disregarding our history



it's in the air

this weighting


each one
drenched and drowning

in permanent change
and uncertain instability ~
dangling in danger

struck again
merely waiting
finality of judgment
as the jury deliberates

who will make the final cut


The Wish

Close your eyes
and hold on tight
to moments

missed and misremembered

Take a breath
and picture

what you want to be

Another year older
decades wiser
but eons more unsure

of where this path will lead

Exhale slowly
and then let go

of all you think you know



There’s a girl inside
shoved so deep down
I don’t know that I remember

She’d come out sometimes
to play and dance
in sweetened haze descended
from liquid fire consumed
before such freedoms ended

She’d like to have friends
and not need to hide
under layers of lifetimes
insignificant confines

She huddles under labels
like blankets people gave her

crazy and insane
unstable and careless
heathen and faithless

Disregarded again
as nothing more interesting
than silly
… immature

but her view is something different
buried beneath pain

so she swallows one more pill
and follows prescribed methods
living up to outer expectations
to function on the inside

But even now
as she submits, she wonders
if she’ll ever fly again

her heart is somewhere outside
this grand façade of sane
Not big enough to hide the pain
Not hard enough to protect her
from the one she longs to be



I feel
so tired as the wind
moves in. Like
the back
of someone's hand. Struggling
to move even one step

Mostly the colorful aroma flirts
with my senses, teasing
me with it's psychokinetic
instability. Forcing me
to notice the exquisite
agony as the charm ascends
and insight spreads.

This pristine production
on a backdrop of pretense ~
a generous remedy confirming
a malfunctioning creed.

in the imagination of one's
erased, the end
results in hyperbolic
in the dangerous safety of
rejection's lovely


Endless Tears

pages of destiny
in faded brown on cream
blindly falter forward as

colors of death
fall red, orange, and yellow
before the bitter brown

remnants of the dream
catch in twilight, midnight, rose
lost in the glare of dawn's

streaks of desire
dripping grey, dark, and deep
slammed against the glassy

chill of despair
riding icy, pale, and blue
as hope escapes in flight on

ashes of destruction
popping black and orange to white
chilled by setting day's

masks of delirium
that hide hollow, soulless, shadowed
brightness fading into night's

pages of destiny...


I Am...

Who am I and why am I here?

It seems like right now, my purpose is nothing more than waiting. I'm spending a lot of time just "being" these days.

I've been through the "doing" phase and have come to realize that I have defined myself in terms of my productivity (or lack thereof) for most of my life.

In the past year or two, I've come to define myself in the "feeling" phase. What I feel is who I am, which means I've been ruled by my emotions (and ~ as a result ~ my inability to control them).

So here I am in a new phase. Trying to redefine myself by who I am, and that means a lot of waiting. It's a lot of deferring to people around me out of respect for their opinions and feelings, and not feeling the need to analyze reactions, but to just hear and see and be there for them. That's what I've learned that waiting is really all about. It's always dependent on someone else, isn't it?

I have failed a lot and will continue to do so as I am human, but this waiting is the growing. Because, just like waiting on the people around me, this means waiting on God, knowing that there's a plan, and just waiting to emerge into the beautiful, strong, and capable creation that (S)He intends for me to be.

But, I'm not there yet. And the path is long.. and rough... and often very lonely.

So, here I am. For as long as it takes. With whatever this brings. I'm here.

I am waiting.



What can be said here that hasn't already been
as words flow like sickness over soul~weary men?

There's little more left here than anyone cares
ensconced within solitude of lateral stares

In moments solicitous we carve this facade
from remnants of people our intentions forgot

And we feign that it matters in eternity's end
so attempts of feebleness can make some amends

Checking the Score

Today's score is:
  • Universe/Fate: 10
  • Nean: 0
Let's break that down, shall we?
  1. Didn't finish my coffee this morning (ruined it by adding too much syrup which made it disgustingly sweet AND curdled the creamer).
  2. Little Man is home with pinkeye (and doesn't feel sick enough to stay in bed, but isn't well enough to DO anything).
  3. Baby Girl is incredibly whiny and doesn't know what she wants or needs (and is fighting a cold so I'm sure she doesn't feel well).
  4. Have no desire to eat today, but get scolded when I don't.
  5. Computer overheats when I try to work on projects.
  6. Gmail/Gtalk is down.
  7. Called by doctor's office to reschedule a highly unnecessary and LONG appointment (for tomorrow) for the third time.
  8. Headachey.
  9. Tired.
  10. Irritated.
Hmmm... Wonder who's winning.

My sneak attack to retaliate? Hot chocolate, a nap, and/or a creative outlet... OH... and friends and family who understand and love me anyway.


Sleep Tight

About a month ago, my cousin and I, who frequently encourage one another to write, decided to experiment with co~writing a story. She wrote from one character's perspective and I wrote from the other. The following is the never before published prologue to the story published for Gloaming Gap, Sleep Tight.



Dr. Frederick von Bedstein hid under his girl's bed, a silent tear running down his cheek. His girl knew he was real, but no one else believed in him. Her parents had long since killed their bed monsters and even her friends were skeptical. Bed monsters life spans were getting shorter and shorter. He sensed he would outlive many of her friends bed monsters, but it was hard to hear himself describe as “nothing.” Eventually he would be called nothing enough times that he would become nothing, but not as long as his girl still believed in him. He gave a gentle loving tug to her blanket. The blanket jerked back out of his hand, telling him his girl was still awake.

Emmi giggled nervously and jerked the blanket back. "Mumbly-Boo!" she whispered fiercely. This was the name she'd given to this creature when he first arrived. She was barely able to talk then, but she'd been fascinated by the chartreuse tail that he never quite seemed to pull out of sight in time. It had been like he actually wanted her to know he was there. She'd been mildly afraid of him in the early days, but her fascination and the fact that he never hurt her had earned a wary trust from her that gave way to familiarity. He was her oldest friend, even if he terrified her sometimes.

He could show her parents he was real... Frederick silently cursed himself for considering breaking the oath he took. The greatest law of all was to never harm your child and he was actually considering leaving a mark on her... It would be better to turn to nothing. He again cursed himself for the stray thought he'd allowed to penetrate his mind, and comforted himself in knowing she still believed in him. After all she was the only one that really counted.

Emmi's blonde pigtails brushed lightly on the floor as her head poked under the edge of the floor. All she could see in the dark was two glowing red eyes which could be mistaken fairly easily for her brothers evil cat if she didn't know better. "Hello, Mumbly... Whatcha doin'?" She tried to speak as softly as possible so that she wouldn't alert the rest of the household that she was awake. At 7 and a half, no one believed she could be "sociable" (whatever that meant) if she didn't go to sleep "at a decent hour." Seriously, sometimes grownups said the silliest things. At least Mumbly made sense.

Frederick smiled at his girl's nick name for him. He didn't know where the silly name had come from, but at least she didn't call him Boogie Man. His friends all thought it must suck to get a kid that talks to you and won't just go to sleep so you can leave and have some fun, but he loved his girl and wouldn't trade her for anyone. He flicked his tail out from under her bed and watched her eyes get big. When he was new to the job he wasn't always quick enough to hide his tail, but now that he was quicker he sometimes flicked it out just because he knew she liked it when he showed her his tail.

Emmi squealed delightedly at the sight of the familiar tail, and then quickly covered her mouth to stifle the sound from traveling outside her room. She tried uselessly to catch it before it disappeared but, as always, Mumbly was too fast for her. She pouted playfully and threw her head dejectedly back on her pillow. She sighed dramatically to begin the next part of the nightly ritual, "Come out Mumbly!" She tried to sound as whiny as she could without raising her volume, "Wanna see the rest of you!" She knew it was pointless, but she'd almost gotten to the point that she couldn't sleep without this. he never came out, but she'd never stop asking him to.

Frederick snorted at her request, and tried to sing the lullaby he'd heard her mother sing so many times. The words came out in a low grumble, but it didn't matter. He knew what he was telling her, and he could tell by the way her breath got slow and quiet that she recognized the tune.


Read Sleep Tight at Gloaming Gap.
Follow Gloaming Gap on Twitter for line~by~line stories every month.

Coffee Girl

She stirs
A little coffee
Into her cream and sugar
Intense effort hiding
The salted drops
That percolate

When she thinks that no one sees

She shrugs
As slowly testing
With mug raised to her lips
The unnaturally sweet
She chokes back
Feeling wrong

When she knows no one will hear

She drowns
Guilty waste poured
Like syrup down the drain
Traded for frigid cubes
Treading bitter black
Stinging her


On the Dangers of our Library System

There's something that's really been bugging me recently. I'd say for at least 3~4 years now (minutes actually, but who's counting?). It's this library thing.

Does no one see that the entire library system is nothing more than a back~door entry into the socialism that is slowly creeping over our nation, infecting the minds and hearts of America's innocent children?

First off, let me just point out how early this indoctrination begins. Turn on PBS and note that in between any of the kids shows, you will see advertisements encouraging you to READ to your children, to instill a LOVE for this reading thing, and to TAKE YOUR CHILD TO A LIBRARY. There are entire shows dedicated to enforcing this idea. And it's insidious. You see the "top~down" agenda here, right?

I give you "Between the Lions," which you might assume to be fairly blatant, but most parents see it as nothing more than a cute family of lions who just happen to live in a library, and tells cute little stories. Surely there is no hidden agenda there, right?

Even beyond this, however, are shows like "Reading Rainbow" (no longer on the air, of course, because someone, somewhere, must have seen it for what it truly was), a show that makes books so enticing to our children that they NEED to run out to their public library and get them. And of course, there is Sesame Street, just one of the many "literacy" programs available to children. I quote "literacy" here to emphasize its use as merely a euphemistic term for shows created to cover up the library system's hidden agenda.

And what is this "hidden agenda?" Why, it's fairly obvious that our nation's librarians must be stopped in their plot to make the educated tax~payers purchase books and learning resources for the lazy slackers who can't even get their own.

If people want to read, they should be prepared to pay for their own books. They are cheating the publishers, the authors and illustrators, and those of us who spend our hard~earned cash to purchase said books. Why should I have to be the one to support the reading practices of an entire community of people just because I am a literary minded individual who believes in the value of books in learning? Why should my tax money have to go to pay for their unwillingness (or inability) to buy their own books.

The "flaming liberals" who actually donate their time, money, and even used books to the library system make me sick. Seriously, the concept of people VOLUNTARILY donating books to the library system implies that they feel there's some merit in participation in this socialist structure. These are not the free~market thinkers we want to model ourselves after.

And this leads me to my next point. Just think of how this will hit bookstore sales, and places like! How many millions of people will be out of jobs when we truly understand that libraries are making book sellers into an antiquated and expensive method of obtaining one's books? I mean, seriously, who's gonna buy books, if they can just read them for free?

But really, everyone knows that if you can't afford to buy your own books, then you obviously have no right to read them, right? Because, if they REALLY wanted them, they'd find a way to pay for them. They'd get jobs! They'd work harder! They don't need a "government~run" system to have the privilege to read for free. Why should we make them publicly available when the rest of us have to actually PAY for ours.

Don't EVEN get me started on what will happen if illegal aliens in our country get their hands on the books that I help pay for. I can't even THINK about that.



Yeah, I've hit another one of those weeks. The ones where I feel like a monumental failure. Granted, I seem to have these more often than most people, but I've been doing a lot better lately. At least, I thought I was. I just finished up a treatment of intensive therapy sessions to deal with some major depression, anxiety, and bipolar swings ~ all of which have been affecting my relationships in increasingly negative ways lately.

So, I went from feeling incredibly loved by a lot of people around me a few months ago, back to feeling completely abandoned and alone not long after that. And you know what I've discovered? It's all me. Someday, I'll learn how to be grateful for what I have, instead of pushing people away just to test the boundaries and the "trust" in the relationships. It's interesting how this testing becomes a self~fulfilling prophecy of sorts ~ something I had to learn the hard way.

I push to see if you're gonna go. And when you do, I blame you for not loving me enough to stay. Huh? Can we say dysfunction?

At any rate, to those of you still tuned in, thanks for staying with me through all this. I would love to let you know how much I truly do appreciate you and thank God that you are an integral part of my life, but I confess to being horribly inadequate in this area. So I'll just say thanks, and hope and pray you'll know I mean it.



stretching beside you
not yet even aware
of anything but this sweetness
in this place of escape
where confusion's erased

it's been long~since forgotten
where i was
who i am
the taste of your body
dipped in new wine
just solemnity matters
in my lover, my friend

in this rush to remember
in this need to explain
what i know
what i feel
just one still finger
pressed soft on my lips
stilling my babbling
with the tenderest of kiss

wrapped safe in your arms
encircled in words
far more than sweet somethings
"my darling, my bride,
you're beautiful, dear"
my protests yet silenced
by the light in your eyes

"ssshh, listen, my love,
you're the beating of my heart."


Equal & Opposite

Tiny spark flickers to raging fire
controlled disaster lingers
lurking behind feigned nonchalance
as if nothing burning matters

in place of carnage wrung like ragnarok
over reticent chaos mystery
leaving only the irregularity
of a disquieting serenity
bequeathed behind the shadows
of scattered remembrance recycled

Typescript's Wednesday Writing Challenge: Word Play 2.0


Flight Lessons

constantly fighting
beating and diving
never getting far

relaxed in non~effort
with whispered support
high above the world

bumbling errors
eliciting terror
effectually leaving scars

sole purpose of grace
symbolic of change
and solemn mystery unfurled

Photo courtesy of Becky Woodhouse


Beneath the Reflection

when one truly sees
beyond what lies
moments melt into this
clarity of face
acknowledgement of grace
overcomes waste
when eyes dive inside
deep as truth only is
somewhere beneath

layers of time overgrown

the mused nymph speaks
drowning senses in pools
of the untainted forbidden
on moon-misted moss
delving into the depths
where the self is known

Saint John's Cross

Dark is the night
where stars blink and fade
and the moon turns its face

Tranquility fights
with shadows that invade
and I'm lost in this place

without burden of light
for slipping souls saved
from love's lonely embrace



In the event of emergency
keep your thoughts to yourself
no one wants to see you panic

instructions will be given
which you'll be expected to follow
regardless of your will

you may not be a drone
but your opinion only matters
if emergency events are avoided

Writing Prompt: "In the event of an emergency..."



into the air and out the window
that's the last it was seen
it seems to always be in the last place
you expect it to be and you never think
to look

it's tired when you're awake
it's hungry when you're full
and it's angry when you're at peace

but never expect the flip to be okay

it's not you know because you have to strike
while the iron is hot or you just have to live
a life of regret for the lost thoughts or dreams
and forgotten ideas

remembering yourself
forgetting the rest
knowing it doesn't end
the way you expect


Statement of Faith

Because it bears repeating, and because this is an incredibly important piece of who I am and want to keep this in a safe place where I can refer to it, here is my explanation (as posted on the great Facebook debates of 2009) as to why I no longer call myself a "Christian":

I believe God is love. I love God. I believe that the greatest motivation in ALL we do should be this LOVE.

I believe in Jesus Christ and the fact that He is the Son of God and gave the ultimate sacrifice of His life to redeem mine and that He is alive today to walk with me on this journey of life.

God is worthy of all my love, affection, and worship. God (LOVE) is the ONLY thing worth dying for. And this is based on years of research and study, life experience, and observation of humanity.

God's spirit breathes life into me everyday and makes all things new.

As a human I fail frequently. I don't have anything figured out and I'm okay with that. God is my guide and my love and my life.

But no, I've seen Christianity, and it looks like division and derision, and I'm just not interested. Things are never as simple as we wish they were.

Black & White ultimately fade to Gray.

Socially Aware

I am yet again, in the midst of a political debate on my FB wall. I LOVE social media. I tend to be the type of person that will say something just to make people think; I exaggerate to the extent that there are always those who call into question my faith. And while I'll admit to sometimes going overboard or going about things in the wrong way, it's truly in the interest of intellectual discourse. I find the best way to get people to tap into their passions is to push them with something they have no choice but to think about and form an opinion of their own on.

There are a lot of issues to address in this current debate (so look for further posts here), but it will take me a while to sort it all out and respond, because I do believe in responding with intelligence and thought (aside from the exaggerated statements I use to get the conversation started).

The particular issue I'd like to address here is some personal attacks against my family regarding whether we are capable of essentially putting our money where our mouth is. We've been accused of "spouting political rhetoric" about the "idealism of socialistic economy" while not actually doing anything practical to assist in solving the problems. See above note about tapping into passions, because any accusation of this magnitude will do this for me.

I'm gonna say this, anyone who knows me will attest to the fact that what I have is yours. You have a genuine need, I'm gonna supply to the best of my ability. I'll bend over backwards to make sure my friends have what they need and my hubby and I work VERY hard to make sure we're instilling this value into our children. My door is always open and I may not cook gourmet meals, but as long as there is food in my house, I'll feed you if you're hungry. I will sacrifice my comfort and luxury to help you pay your bills if that's what you need. How many of my friends have found random checks in the mail just when they need it the most?

My family frequently donates both our money and our time to local (and some national) charities/ministries. Most times we don't really discuss this or broadcast that we're doing so. We're not trying to brag, or prove how "wonderful" or "spiritual" we are. We do it for the sheer joy of helping and giving, and because we strive to follow Christ's example.

However, we have been challenged by several people recently, who would like to know what we're doing (aside from attempting to encourage the world around us to get involved), so here is a list of just SOME of charities and/or ministries that we've directly supported in one way or another recently:
Unfortunately, in the past year or so, we have had less extra time and money to donate due to various circumstances that have limited us. We're not rich, so we work hard and we do what we can. What we have belongs to God, plain and simple.

I shop at discount stores and use generic brands as much as possible to stretch what we have, so we can have more to give. We buy clothes at re-use-it shops when we can, at places where proceeds benefit various social causes (like prison ministries, community outreach, etc.) and clean out closets and donate back as we can. We've even re-evaluated our holiday gift giving practices to reflect the values we want to teach our children in this area.

Perhaps the biggest sacrifice of our time and money is the hugest reward for us as well. And here is where the passion for this topic becomes so intense that I have to answer this challenge. Our daughter, who is now almost 2-years-old, is adopted. She is part of our family, and I don't like to "use her" as an example of our "social awareness" because God brought her into our family and she's as much a part of it as our son who was born into it. However, we have taken a severe hit to our financial stability as a result of a desire to adopt her, sacrificing things like vacation trips and a "nicer home" in order to pay the adoption costs.

We chose to work with Bethany Christian Services for our adoption specifically because of their stance on providing for the needs of the birth-families of the children they place in care. This means, when we agreed to care for our daughter, we also agreed to care (however indirectly it becomes as time goes on) for her birth-mother as well, because part of our fees for the adoption cover her costs for medical care and counseling through her difficult decision to place her child in an adoptive home.

We believe that adoption is a socially responsible way of expanding one's family, as well as an intimately practical way of helping with society's overpopulation problems (which lead to increased poverty and crime as well as a decrease in parental involvement in the lives of children). Sure it's only one child, but if we could afford more, emotionally and practically, you know we'd be first in line.

So, my apologies for "spouting" about all this. I'm not patting myself on the back for what I do. Honestly, I'm well aware that there's so much more to be done, and I wish I was able to contribute more to that. But I do what I can, and encourage others to do what they can.

So... my (incredibly non-judgmental) challenge to you: What are you doing to make this world a better place?


Something of Value


Waiting for the treasure
Dormant underneath


Noticing to Remember

There are a few bible stories that really stand out as favorites from when I was a child in Sunday School. Some of them I don't even think about much anymore... until my husband is reading one of them to my son at bedtime, and all the memories come rushing back, and I remember it all over again, in the same way that I heard it when I was a kid.

Tonight's story was, of course, one of them. It was about Peter being miraculously released from prison by the angels. Now I've always liked Peter and been fascinated by him. As an adult, I think there is something about his brashness and his incredible "guilt complex" that reminds me of ... well ... someone I know. I'm thinking bipolar depression wasn't really a "thing" back then, but if it had been, I'm pretty sure Peter would have been the poster~child.

But I digress... because it wasn't actually Peter who caught my attention in this story. Not as a child. It was the little girl. Rhoda. No one ever remembers her name, but I do. Maybe because I had an aunt named Rhoda and I thought it was cool that her name was in the bible. But I think it's far more likely that I remembered her name for the very same reason that I am drawn to her story.

Rhoda starts with three strikes against her: 1) she's a child, 2) she's a girl, and 3) she's a servant ~ worth little more than a doorstop in this story. But, here's the beautiful mystery: Much like Mary in the garden on that first Easter morning, Rhoda was the first witness to a miracle. And not just any miracle, but the very miracle that all the important people in the house were praying for, waiting for, even fasting for. And, of course, the important people didn't even want to believe her.

Now, somewhere in my 4 or 5 year old mind when I first heard this story, I connected to this little girl. Something about feeling small and unimportant, perhaps, but I believe it's far more than that. This little girl had something very important to share with the world, something that no one... all of the important people gathered in the house for the sole purpose of waiting for (and supposedly expecting) THIS specific event to occur... none of those people would believe her when she told them what she knew.

Because, she wasn't supposed to be the one to know.

She wasn't supposed to have information that they didn't have.

She was only supposed to answer the door and do what she was told.

And she did.

And she saw.

And she knew.

And, as usual, in situations like this, no one believed her. Not until they saw for themselves.

And even then, after seeing for themselves and finally believing the truth of her message, I'm not convinced that any of them really even noticed Rhoda then. But I'm glad that at least one person somewhere in history noticed her enough to remember her name and tell her story... even if just in a couple sentences.


Liberation Sails

Before yesterday
the flowers understood
and only songbirds saw
the glass audience
pointing to your dignity

The signs say she chose
but I was mistaken
because the open sky blinked
and given the flames
everybody knew that
a breathing statue was born
as the others started walking
and the lost multiplied

For Typescript's Wednesday Writing Challenge: Word Play IV



days turn shimmering
gold to putrid brown
air, crisped
fruit, crisped
leaves underfoot
As over~ripe
romance falls
dead from old
episodes aired
as premiere
Something less
nonchalant or
On cooler wind
stirring darkening sky
Where soot~
stained comfort
warms wooden hearts
to their freedom
are driven to learn
these hours just
falling for you


To Us

(for Susan)

To memories saved
connections craved
and hearts unscathed

For freedom
the right to rebel

To beautiful surroundings
and echos resounding
amid the confounding

For loyalty
and universal trust

To life in the now
and not knowing how
to accept what's allowed

For transience
and deep recognition

To hopes yet undreamt
future moments unspent
without the smallest regret
or bitter resent


Last Days of Summer

the final chance
to truly relax

with windows open
or a walk down the tracks

a final picnic
dinner in the park

or a laugh in the sprinkler
running in the yard

one final book
on the swing in the shade

one more ice cream
cone at parades

a final trip in
the community pool

gathering bed sheets
before stormy cool

the final goodbye
to our partners in crime

one final fine
for speeding through time



There's a road in the mountains
overgrown in back hills
in places where pavement
comes dangerously close
to being smooth

This road winds to
childhood to this secret
hideout suspended in time

We wave here at strangers
who are life-long friends ~ children
of parents who grew up together
danced at prom together
and hid from their parents together
at the general store no longer there

We fill our hearts
with the comfort
of family saving room
for homemade ice cream
dripping from the porch swing

As we inspect cracked
panelling and peeling paint
and that which strains
to contain the detailed
imperfection trapped
beneath chipped and warped
shingle-covered walls

Concealing the snake
which lurks just out
of reach of skittish cats



She met him at the bar
for an extra-dirty martini
drowning in

He looked in her eyes~
outwardly normal;
internally fatal~
while stirring whiskey in his coffee

She glanced aside
and then ignored
his permanent state
of denial

His words dripped slowly
with the honey consistency
of sweetened condensed milk:
"You serious about this?"

She considered
the moment
before nodding consent

to his inevitable
tearing reply:
babies are so...
is all."

The silence screamed
things she wouldn't say

and since nothing
was drying anyway
she downed her martini
and mutely walked away.

Thanks to my collaborators for providing random phrases for this poem (whether they knew it or not). I'm nothing without my friends! (Jeff, Ami, Jason, Glennda, Jessie, Kirsten, Melanie, Eric, & Cat)