Category Archives: Family

Welcome Back

Sitting at dinner tonight,
A bashful spark of light
Poured joy into my life.

You laughed politely,
Smiling and joking,
Not seeing the sparks in man-child eyes.

With innocence and wonder,
I saw my little girl,
And I saw the woman.

I felt pride, and  I felt fear.
The future filled the present.
Hope and faith stood firm.

Personal Update, Spring 2016

I have been truly blessed as a mother that my twins are going to graduate with a real diploma. They have had numerous struggles from being born too early to wrestling for simple communication to dealing with teasing and bullying. BUT God gave them the grace to persevere.

As a result, I’ve planned special trips for both of them. One has recently completed. It was actually one of the most restful and productive times I’ve had as a writer. I am hoping to convince the other to go to stay at the same place with different activities because it felt so right for me.

Since life is so chaotic over the next few weeks, I’m going to dump all the pieces I’ve been working on. However, I’ll be kind and schedule them out over the same time frame. I also found some gems from others in my travels that I’ll share as well.

Mother’s Day 2016

This is one of those days where typically we think about our mothers. We review their achievements in our lives and consider what impact their presence or absence has on who we are as humans. If living, they may get the blessing of a gift or meal or some other token of appreciation.

Not me. I’ve often commented how I’m unique.

Me… I’m looking at the measuring stick in Proverbs 31 and critiquing my own parenting skills. As usual, I never quite make the grade.

Why? Let’s see it in a few versions…

She speaks wisely, teaching with gracious love.
(International Standard)

She opens her mouth with wisdom. Faithful instruction is on her tongue.
(World English Bible)

When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness.
(New Living Translation)

She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
(New Revised Standard Catholic Version)

When she opens her mouth, she speaks wisely; on her tongue is loving instruction.
(Complete Jewish)

She speaks wise words. And she teaches others to be kind. (International Children’s)

Okay, so they all pretty much agree on the first criterion: everything I say has to be wise. I’ve been falling short there lately, unless you count sarcasm.

  • Please tell me again how dumping five scoops is really good for the fish. And don’t give me any lines about the nitrogen cycle and growing soy… soy?
  • You can’t have such an unwise thought as putting the dog in the basket with socks is better for his joints. Especially clean socks… when you didn’t bathe him for three weeks…
  • Did you seriously think I wouldn’t notice you didn’t have vegetables in that casserole?!? I might be exhausted, but I’m not blind and I didn’t lose my tongue. And I don’t believe the oven gnome cast a spell to send them to visit another dimension.
  • Wait… let me guess. A good fairy is going to come and finish that assignment for you and upload to GoogleDocs. And then your grades will all be perfect.
  • Yes, please keep laughing at all the wrong times. *note this is the fifth correction at a non-faith-based public gathering* You will win so many friends and influence so many people to help you.

With just a week’s worth of failures of the first part, do I even need to go into the second part? Why, yes, yes, I do. I’m not feeling like a big enough failure.

The second part is about teaching or instructing. While I make numerous attempts, it doesn’t mean the attempts get noticed.

And then there’s the what am I to teach or give instruction about? Kindness, faithfulness, gracious love… The first set of bullets shows that I don’t live kindness or gracious love. The repetitive nature of my efforts could be argued to be faithfulness in action, or it could be unwise nagging (my kids will vote for nagging).

The problem is the standard society sets for me and the standard I set for myself. Society pretty much expects me to earn the paycheck, do the house, and make sure all my kids are model citizens. And then in a warped part of my mind, I have the words of Christ in Matthew 5:48 to remind me of my goal: So you must be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect. (ICB)

The reality is I can’t, and I will break myself if I try. We all sin. We all fall far short of the goal. In those moments when my failures scream at me the loudest, when I am most anxious about my job performance as a mother, I must remember the words of Isaiah 26:3: You, Lord, give true peace. You give peace to those who depend on you. You give peace to those who trust you. (ICB)

Jesus, help me depend on You as my children depend on me. Let me find trust for You in this dependence. As I trust You, give me peace, true peace. 

A Garden Waltz

It’s fuzzy…
But memory floods back…

I’m sitting on the hardwood floor…
Hands clapping over chubby, dirty knees.
The old TV is on,
The one built into a cabinet
Tall and high with light colored wood.
The funny old man on TV
Waves his white stick.
The music starts.
“In the Garden” of notes
I hear them but I also hear your love
Through the bars of my crib,
And then I see your love
“In the Garden” of music.
He with bright blue eyes
And really good-looking clothes
Takes you by the hand
And waltzes you around
In a plantless living room.
You’re both so happy
And so young…

Then memory fades,
And I’m “In the Garden” of repose.
It’s lifeless with no flowers or plants.
You can’t dance.
The dead earth rectangles
Speak of separation
Through time and space.

I pray some day
To see you waltzing again
“In the Garden” of eternity.

Zippy Takeover, #11

Fake Treats

I love treats. All kinds–big ones, short ones, round ones, long ones, bone ones, even the bizarre dry and chewy sweet ones.

However, my mom does something very mean to me. I don’t understand why. Every now and then, without any warning, she goes to the cupboard and gets me two treats. She acts all excited like I’ve done something really good. I take them, and then I’m done.

They taste so bad. They are worse than cat poop. I don’t know what they really are, but there is no way they could be treats.

Lately, she’s putting on them that brown stuff that makes my tongue stick in the top of my mouth. It’s so good, but then I can’t push those fake treats out for anything.

Indoor Showers, Again

My mom’s whelps need to learn to listen to me. I don’t like the indoor rain room. I hate the indoor rain room. They take me there too much, and then I don’t smell like I should. I smell too human and clean; every cat around makes fun of me.

Then, that one whelp that looks like the other whelp wraps me in a cloth. She takes away all the water so I can’t give those whelps an indoor shower of my own.

A New Game… with Special Bones

I really hate these special bones my mom and ‘On have. They hold those bones and point those bones and sometimes put those bones over their weird ears; they won’t put those bones down to hold me and touch me and point my face at them.

So, I’ve found a new game, but again my family doesn’t like it. I hide their special bones. It is so funny when the sun is just starting to shine. I scoot those special bones under my body before they come out of their rooms for their sleeping couches. Then they get their artificial fur changed–sometimes it would be better if they kept the old fur because the new fur doesn’t smell right–and start to gather their books and bags.

They look through their bags and a funny look crosses their face. They start to smell… well, not happy… and they run all over looking for something. By my tail I believe if they had tails they’d chase them.

After many wags of my tail, they get a different look and start to show their teeth and smile. They come over and they scratch me and move me and find their special bones. They get all happy and move my face around and pay attention to me.

Good humans. Lesson learned.

Memento Morte

Author’s Note: This is the second poem for the anniversary of my grandmother’s death. I decided to try to do it ninefold style without linking back to Ninefold Dragon’s blog.

The grass is brown over your coffin.
Many springs have gone, still no flowers.
Your green thumb is trapped with you down there.

Arid and dry, my heart aches for you.
Your wisdom no longer calms my brain.
Emptiness overwhelms solitude.

Sing me a lullaby to save me.
Faith so freely given continues.
Your love for me outlasts your body.

Burial Memories

Author’s Note: I’ve been physically limited this week, and I’ve finally figured out why. This is the third (or maybe second or maybe fourth) year since my maternal grandmother’s death. Even if she hadn’t been my blood kin, she would have been and was an awesome friend. The stories she could tell filled me with pictures and thoughts and ideas. So this poem and another are to toast her memory.

Has it been two years, three years?
I don’t know.

The valley in my heart
Seems like it’s been there forever.
Its light used to shine
Now dimmed, covered, smothered
By the black holes you used to fill.

A vapor of smoke
Mingled with the coffee steam–
Both gone.

The lilacs pruned too much–
Not enough purple incense
To carry your wisdom to the sky.

I couldn’t touch your casket.
I couldn’t lay the rose there;
It was cut, wilting;
Its sunshine wouldn’t have made it
To greet you on resurrection day.