"It is never too late to be what you might have been."

~ George Eliot

Comments - and even criticisms - are welcome. It encourages me to know if my words touched a place in your heart; and criticisms show me how to improve. Thanks and have a wonderful day!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Raindrops and Nursery Rhymes

photo from http://mickey-spectrum.deviantart.com/art/Rain-Rain-Go-Away-295110167

Raindrops and Nursery Rhymes

Black mud seizes firmly to my feet, clinging
like a swimmer sinking to a line clasping,
until it succeeds in suctioning off my shoe
and I’m left wobbling on one leg, not two.
Like the little teapot, short and stout,
I tip me over and…pull my shoe out.

As yet again raindrops splatter the ground. 
I close my eyes and simply sigh with the sound.
Thunder grumbles its displeasure over my head,
as he too complains about the rain I dread.
And though I sing, “rain, rain go away…”
the rascal refuses and chooses to stay.

I dash inside, sliding through the screen door,
squishing and squeaking, tracking mud ‘cross the floor.
I shiver with disgust, now I’m soaked to the skin.
It’s hard to believe that it’s storming again.
I call out, “It’s raining. It’s pouring!!!”
Only to find that old man once again snoring.

In weather like this, I might as well join him.

Rain, rain go away...I imagine I am not the only one sick of mud and yard that are now lakes. 

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

A Conversation Worth Continuing

A Conversation Worth Continuing

I am going to take a minute to fuss.
I can’t stand to hear someone cuss.
When with every other breath you swear,
in my opinion, you pollute our air.
Maybe you think you seem smarter.
Well, you need to think a little harder.
With every f-bomb that you drop,
your IQ points appear to plop.
With thousands of intelligent words
you simply repeat the slang you've heard?

You don’t care who you offend,
yet I’m expected to pretend
the verbal filth you spread is alright
even if there’s a child in sight?
With movies filled with cursing rants
(which I don’t enjoy, I simply can’t)
it’s not your fault the world’s amiss.
Still don’t you know you’re better than this?
Your character is reflected in the words you speak,
Choose! Words of wisdom or words that reek?

You must speak something worth hearing
to have a conversation worth continuing.

I recently heard a man who was critiquing a movie say that he thought the actress would have been sexier if she dropped an f-bomb every now and then. Really? Sexier? Has this world gone insane or simply him? Since when is it considered SEXY to cuss?

The conversations surrounding us are saturated with cursing. We can’t escape it. Whether we are in the work place, shopping in a store, attending a show or flipping through the songs on the radio; obscenities scorch our ears. Even some commercials on daytime TV are insinuating the words in a failed attempt to appear clever. Is it any wonder that even out of the mouths of babes come the occasional (or not so seldom) cuss word? And if the parents cuss, guess what? We teach by example, so the children are pretty much guaranteed to cuss as well. Is that what they really want to teach their kids? I guess if it doesn’t bother them to voice vulgarity around children, then it probably doesn’t matter to them if the little ones repeat their crude behavior.

Don’t get me wrong. The words out of my own mouth are far from perfect - from negativity and complaining, gossiping at times, to the occasional dirty word. Yes, I am ashamed to say that even I at times let out a word that I should have held back. I’m not proud of it. From experience I have learned, the more we are around people who cuss the more the likely that profanity will pop into our own minds and pop out of our mouths before we can catch it; all the more reason to be careful who we hang around with. As a preacher once told our congregation: “If you hold a clean paper plate in one hand and a paper plate covered in mud in the other, when you rub the two together, the clean is not going to rub off on the dirty. But, the mud will smear all over the clean every time.”

Because I know we all fall short, someone who occasionally lets one slip does not offend me so much (though there are certain words among swear words that I cannot stand at all). I am also aware that some honestly see no problem with it because they have been around that vocabulary all of their lives. Still, this doesn’t excuse them from not showing self-control around others.
My main complaint is with those who refuse to show any restraint and who don’t care who is around them while they let the obscenities fly. The person whose mouth is so filled with filth that they can’t speak two sentences without swearing truly needs to learn some control and courtesy. Truly, I want to say, “You kiss your babies with that mouth?” or “Do you talk that way when your grandmother visits?” If the answer is no, then don’t talk that way in public!

Now, I have been chastised and told that words are just sounds that come out of our mouth that man gave meaning to and that I shouldn’t let them bother me so much. Well, it is the truth that man did give these sounds meaning, but some of the definitions of those “sounds” are rude, hateful, obscene and downright vulgar. I for one would rather not hear them and I have that right! I am aware that we live in the United States of America where (for the moment) we have freedom of speech. Yet to some of us living in this land of freedoms, we prefer a land free from having to hear lewd, crude and X-rated language. I know it will never happen this side of heaven, but that’s my rant and now I’m done.

“But shun profane & vain babblings; for they will increase unto more ungodliness.” 2 Timothy 2:16

Thursday, May 14, 2015

My Mother's Love

My Mother's Love

My first memories are wrapped in you.
Your softly read stories soothed me to sleep.
Many hurts have been healed wrapped in your hugs.
Often and always, I’ve forever felt loved.      
They say no one is perfect and that may be so,
However, your love, Mom, must be close.
Endless and forgiving just like our Lord’s,
 I Realize that your love has taught me the most.  
 ‘So many prayers you’ve prayed for me.
Life lessons you’ve patiently guided me through,
 (Over and over again a time or two.)
Vast are the values you’ve passed along.
Every moment’s a blessing when shared with you, Mom.

Last year, I almost lost her. This past year, we've become much more aware of how each moment together is a treasure to thankful for and should never be taken for granted. I know, that’s an obvious fact; but it is one that all lose sight of in the daily rush of things.

With each illness, with each aged year that passes, with every death of a loved one; God sends us a reminder that those we hold dear won’t be with us forever. Cherish them while we can, spend time with them, listen to their stories (even if you've heard them before); give them the greatest part of you – your time and heartfelt attention.

By the grace and love of God, I still have my mom. He knew I still had lessons to learn from her. Of course, He is perfectly right. She (and my Dad) taught me what true love is. Now she is teaching me true strength of character and how to graciously face the advanced years. There will always be a new lesson to be learned - another lesson she has taught me, by example.

My mother’s love quenches like rain after a drought. It is soaked into the soul, danced in with childlike joy and savored with every drop of the tongue. In my lifetime, may I succeed in being at least half the woman she is in my eyes.

Thank you, Lord, for letting me have Mom on earth a little while longer. May I never take the extra time together for granted and may I be as much of a blessing to her as she is to me. ~ Amen

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The Sunny Day

The Sunny Day

The day is warm and light and lively.
Clouds drift, and the sun shines brightly.
The rose still climbs to the highest trellis;
With every breeze, fragrance flows boundless,
And the day is light and lively.

My life is warm and light and lively.
Clouds drift, and the sun shines brightly.              
My dreams still climb to the highest crest.
Time’s lessons teach I’m boundlessly blessed.  
And my life is light and lively.

Dance on glad heart and continue praising.
The blessings God sends remain amazing.
Our fate is fixed to our attitude.
Greet each day then with gratitude.
Most days will be light and lively. 
Looking for a creative idea to strike for a new poem, I decided to write about the rain - since we've had so much of it lately. But the storming session wasn't going so well. Having been told once (or maybe I read it somewhere) that to write good poetry, you had to read good poetry; I searched out some other rain rhymes. It didn't take long to run across "The Rainy Day" bu Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, one of my all-time favorite poets. What an awesome of written art! I love the poem and I get all the nuances; but at the time it made me feel depressed. "My life is cold and dark and dreary..." I am having enough of a battle trying to pull myself out of fatigue and downheartedness without being pulled further down due to being able to relate to his every word. I didn't want to write something gloomy, even if the last verse gives hope. I wanted to write something upbeat and happy! That's when the inspiration finally hit. I would write a contrasting spin-off of Longfellow's poem! I would claim joy in life! He wrote the masterpiece, "The Rainy Day." I give you my humble, juxtaposed poem, "The Sunny Day." I hope you enjoy it!
Thank you, Lord, for the sunny days and the rain. Thank You for the blessings You pour down upon us and the love You send shining down to us. May we learn to rejoice in each moment. ~ Amen 

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Freed ~ A Poem for Barbara

A poem for Barbara

Hidden in a dim lit corner,
away from the world, I write.
Searching for the words to mourn her,
my lovely friend who died last night.

She would say it was just her time,
knowing I can’t argue this.
God has His reasons, I ask the rhyme
to shed my grief…I speak her bliss.

Imagine the triumph heaven sings
to one who escaped cancer’s harms.
We’re here, still under His wings.
Our sister's embraced in His arms!

Our loss on earth has been her gain;
wrapped in Christ’s love and light.
No more chemo. No more pain.
Home with her Savior – her Delight!

Writing to honor my fallen friend,
I hear my Lord reprimand…
“Hear my words and take heed.
She has not fallen, she’s been freed!”
Barbara was a wonderful friend and yet so MUCH more. Though miles separated us, our friendship never had problems bridging the distance. We meet through my neighbor/her aunt, Frances Ellis, and became fast friends. I looked forward to her visits as much as Frances did. With her outgoing personality and bubbly smile, who couldn’t love Barbara?

Though I wasn’t always so certain, Barbara believed God had given me a talent in my writing and agreed with me that it should be used for His glory. She was my cheerleader, my encourager! When doubts or low self-esteem weighed me down, she always had the right words to say to lift me up. This dear lady even helped me to attend my first (and only so far) writers’ conference many years ago – an event that still brings goose bumps. 

To my surprise and delight, she would often ask to share certain poems with a friend she thought needed to read it, or sometimes even made copies to pass on to her Emmaus group. I always felt honored and would tell her, “Please do. As long as what I write touches one person’s life and points them to God, I’m happy!” Perhaps, through her efforts, one of my poems or devotionals actually did sow seed in someone’s heart to grow in God’s garden someday – all because Barbara passed it on. I pray so. She always believed in me (or God’s working through me), more than I can, even now, see or comprehend. 

A woman of great faith, this woman was a Prayer Warrior! Whenever I asked for prayer in a matter, there was never a doubt that she lifted it to the Lord daily. It was as if I could feel her prayers and God’s arms wrapped around me like a warm blanket on a cold night. Barbara would share scripture with me to strengthen my soul and devotionals to lift my spirits. She was more than a close friend, she was an example of the God-fearing, Christ-trusting woman I strive to be.

Now she is gone and our world is shaken. Knowing, I can no longer reach out to her and hear her voice or see her bright smile. No more Barbara hugs. No more devotionals or her words of wisdom coming across my email with uncanny (God-guided) perfect timing. No more, “Hey, I’m driving to New Boston! How about I stop in Paris and we go eat at La Familia?” How she loved Mexican food! J

So, in my grief, I do what I always do….I write!

I had to include “Under His Wings,” because that has been how Barbara has ended her last several emails to me. But, my sorrow was too much for words and I was at a loss as what to write. I always pray for God to help me with my poems. So, all day, I prayed. “Please help me find the words to write a poem for Barbara. I think she would like that, God.” Still, I struggled and my prayer requests continued, “God, help me find the words to honor my fallen friend.” Immediately, I was corrected. “She’s not fallen. She’s freed!” And so, I was given a part of Barbara’s poem…
Thank you, Lord. Shalom, Barbara. I will see you soon, sweet friend.

Father in Heaven, Thank you!! Thank you for blessing our lives by allowing us to know this beautiful, faithful woman, Barbara Armstrong. She allowed herself to be Your servant, Lord. She was willing to say to You, “Use me!” and You did. So many people this woman loved; so many loved her in return. She was a jewel more precious than rubies, Lord. If ever someone today fit the role of the Proverbs 31 woman, I imagine Barbara was it. I know the angels sang with joy to welcome her home. Please Father, give her a hug from me, until I can get there to hug her myself. With joy at her homecoming, I pray in Christ’s name. ~ Amen 

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Someday is Never Seen

Someday is Never Seen

Someday is an illusion,
a fear-of- failure delusion.
We plant our dreams in this myth
only to be cut down by Someday’s scythe;
for Someday is never seen.

One Day our dreams will come true
is an unclaimed fantasy too.
For our dreams to be derived,
finally One Day must have arrived
yet One Day is never known.

Our derailed dreams may follow
fast on the heels of Tomorrow.
Like Time from our grasp they’ll flee,      
yet that’s not the how it has to be.
Today! Strive for your dreams Today,

for Someday is never seen.

It is a true blessing to have someone in your life that not only believes in your dreams, but actually wants to share in them and help you achieve them. . .

In this world many things can steal our dreams from us:
Simple procrastination because that is just the way some people are,
Time constraints,
Lack of confidence or money,
Negative Nellie’s with their jealous, dream crushing attitudes, or maybe even someone we want to share a certain dream with that simply doesn't share that same desire...the list could go on, but I won’t.

I thank God above for the encouragers of dreams! Lord knows, for every one encourager we have, there tends to be ten ready to tear our dreams away. Don’t let them! I recommend that each and EVERY day you do AT LEAST one thing that pushes your dream forward, just one thing. For me, it is sometimes only one line or a quick reread and edit of something I wrote before. Whatever your dream, set small, daily goals and get after them. You can do it! One plus one plus one more…they add up to an achieved dream. Never give up!

I also strongly suggest that you surround yourself with the positive - positive people, positive mantras and positive memories even. Not easy to accomplish, I know. I have a memory box that I keep uplifting items in. It might be a birthday card or a thank you note with a touching comment scrolled inside, perhaps it is a printout of someone’s comment on my blog about a poem. Whatever it is, you can be sure it is something that brings a smile and lifts my faltering spirit. When discouraged or hurt by someone’s hateful words or actions, I go to that folder to refocus on the affirmative. Sometimes, just to know that one person believes in you, is enough.

I have been blessed to have many encouragers in my life. I owe each of them more than thanks, because they steel me when my own faith wavers. The fact that I haven’t accomplished “more” with the talent God has given me sometimes makes me feel like I have let them (and God) down. Yet, they still believe in me and bring me joy and support during those times when I am prone to beating myself down.

My son is just one of the people on my “lifts me up” list. His belief in my writing ability lifts my soul as well as spirit. I still have the wind chimes he gave me many years ago. The note describing their musical melodies stated they were meant to bring inspiration to the listener – and he made sure I read it. He wanted me to be inspired. When an English teacher asked what experience the students had with poetry, his answer was, “My mom’s a poet.” My heart swelled near bursting when he told me of the incident, not with pride in myself, but with joy that he thought of me in those terms. Now, as he pursues his own dreams of being a personal trainer, I pray I can encourage & help him as he has always supported me. 

Tell me, what hidden dream do you have that can I back you in? Who is on your “lifts me up” list? I would love to be added to it! Whatever your aspiration, I believe in you and I promise God does too.
Giver of Dreams and One Who Helps Them Come True, I thank You for all the supporters of dreams that have been placed in my life. Please help me to uplift and support others as they follow their own paths and pursue their own dreams. May I never discourage others, but offer words of hope and kindness. ~ Amen

Friday, November 21, 2014

She's a Christian

2 Corinthians 12:20 (NIV)
“20 For I am afraid that when I come I may not find you as I want you to be, and you may not find me as you want me to be. I fear that there may be discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, slander, gossip, arrogance and disorder.” 

She’s a Christian 

She’s a Christian? How can that be? 
Not with the long list of sins I see!
Why just the other day she swore
and did you see that low-cut blouse she wore?

He’s a Christian? I don’t agree.
Did you see the look he gave to me?
He rarely talks or cracks a smile
when I meet him in the grocery aisle.

She’s a Christian? Yeah right, I say.
You should have seen her the other day.
I saw her in the Walmart store
fussing with kids you’re supposed to adore.

He’s a Christian? That can’t be true,
‘cause I know the things he used to do,
a rebel rouser out all night.
A leopard doesn’t change its spots - right?

She’s a Christian? Don’t make me grin.
Don’t you know her life is steeped in sin?
And if you have some time to chat
I can tell you all about that.

‘Cause you know,
we Christians,
we don’t act like that.
Guess what? Can you guess? I AM A SINNER! I screw up ALL the time. I am impatient. I am bossy. I get depressed (and Christians aren’t supposed to get depressed, you know.) I say things I shouldn’t, especially when I am mad. Yes, I get mad. And with the crazy “time of life” age I am, sometimes I can even go into a rage that I see and hear but cannot stop. Sometimes a cuss word or two even escapes my mouth, something I am not proud of and never used to do. I don’t pray as much as I should. Try as I might, I don’t “study to show myself worthy” by reading the Bible every day – though I truly try. I haven’t stepped into a church service in quite some time and other aspects of my life are not what they should be. So, how can I call myself a Christian, a child of God?

In answer let me ask, when your little boy throws a wall-eyed tantrum in the store when he can’t have the latest toy, is he still your son even though you don’t approve of his behavior? When you tell your teenage daughter that she can’t go out dressed looking like she’s going to be working a street corner and she screams, “I hate you!” as she slams her bedroom door; is she still your daughter? Do you still love them and would you still do just about anything for them? God, our Father in heaven, feels the same way about His children on earth; so much so that He gave HIS only Son for us. You have your answer.

Yes, I am a Christian. I have my weak moments. I pray for guidance and still somehow choose the wrong path. I grow weary from the constant war. I stumble and at times (Lord, please forgive me) I am even someone else’s stumbling block. THAT hurts me most! To know that someone else is watching my actions and judging what a Christian is by what I do. When I fail, someone will always gloat: “Yeah, right. SHE’S a CHRISTIAN. She’s a hypocrite! If that is what a Christian is, I don’t care to be one.”

God convicted me of my sins. I repented and asked Jesus to come into my heart - my life - many years ago. He forgave me and washed me clean of my sins. Believe me, God CAN change a leopard’s spots! That didn’t mean that I would be flawless from that day forward. I am by no means perfect, nowhere close! No one can be. If we could accomplish that, then Jesus would never have needed to give His life for us.

I try to follow the rules and guidelines God has set down for us in the Bible and for that I have been called self-righteous. I HATE THAT! And I just don’t get it. I am the first to say that I make HUGE mistakes. I am a sinner – in the past, in the present and yes, I am positive I will be in the future. How do I know? Because no man, woman or child can ever, never mess up. Period! Do I attempt to follow Christ’s example? Yes. I try. In some areas I succeed and in others I fail miserably. 

As much as it baffles me when non-believers seem to expect Christians to be perfect or have no problems; it breaks my heart a thousand times more to hear fellow Christian’s gossip and tear other people down…even people they don’t truly, honestly know. At one time or another, most of us have been guilty of tearing down instead of building up. I know it must break God’s heart for His own children to be the cause of discord and strife…Yes! Among my list of sins, you can add that I have many times been drawn into gossiping as well, even when I tell myself I will walk away instead next time. We all fall down…the key is to let the Lord help you back up and try again. I Am a Sinner - Saved by the Grace of God!

How about a challenge? For 24 hours, try to be pleasing in God’s sight in all that you say and do, “perfect” in every aspect of your life. Too long? Okay, try just 8 working hours. Good luck and as always, be blessed!
Father in Heaven, Jehovah Roi, God who truly sees me (who sees all), for the many times I have failed You, I humbly pray your forgiveness. For the ones who have watched me and I have fallen short of the example I should have been, I ask that You send other, bolder Christians into their life to help lead them into Your light. Draw them to You. Open their eyes and help them see that it is not to me, or any man or woman, they should look to for perfection, but to Your Son, my Savior, Jesus Christ instead. May they still come to know Your love and accept salvation’s plan despite my shortcomings and sins. ~ Amen