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Sunday, August 21, 2011

small places

Is your place a small place?
Tend it with care!-
He set you there.

Is your place a large place?
Guard it with care!
He set you there.

Whate’er your place, it is
Not yours alone, but His.
He set you there.

mothers watch at windows...

Mothers watch at windows...
watch as the hours pass by,
stopping occasionally to check
the supper in the oven,
straighten a little in the house,
then back to the window,
wondering, hoping, praying...
listening for the phone,
turning the neck to see
both sides of the street,
straining eyes to see inside taxis,
waiting for the heart to explode
when the loved one appears...

mothers watch at windows...
light lamps, arrange flowers,
reach out into the universe
to draw the loved one home...
hearts watching, waiting endlessly,
patient and persistent...
mothers watch at windows...

Mothers wave goodbye...
and hold the unshed tears
till they're alone.
We watch our children
stride away
with straight brave backs,
not looking behind.
We kiss little faces
thinking “is this the last time?”
for life is uncertain...
and we smile.

Mothers act an incredible act
of excitement and joy-
“be brave! Isn't this an adventure?!”
when we tremble and quake
in our hearts...
not knowing, we give knowledge.
Fearing, we give courage.
Fainting, we give strength.
No one- hardly anyone,
except perhaps another mother-
sees us cry
the diamond drops of anguish.
Mothers wave goodbye.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

a poem a day

is it possible?

would the muse speak so easily?

could words flow every 24 hours that would satisfy my critical ear and eye?

is it worth it to even try?

let's find out...

for today, here is the mind-offering of the moment, on the spur of the moment...

piano notes flicking lightly in the lamplight
i listen to the clarity
and my fingers twitch
the hours of practice at the old brown upright
the notes blurring in front of my young eyes
as i drilled for a performance
it was never easy then
and i couldn't listen
to piano music
but i can now
the ivory bells echo off the brown walls of my room
reaching each corner with tone and phrasing and control
my fingers twitch


needs a little work...but not bad...

Friday, August 19, 2011

never alone

i'm alone, and little girl is sick, and too much traffic and driving and teaching have exhausted me.

unbidden, from my lips springs a song as i start supper on tired ankles in the kitchen...

"no, never alone, no never alone,
He promised never to leave me,
never to leave me alone..."

my mother's clear high soprano echoes in the room and i hear her in my voice,
and startled, stop singing.

then the notes swell again in my heart and i begin to sing again, my head aching and my heart worried about so many things...

"no, never alone..."

the husband-empty days and nights have piled up with decisions and bills and fatigue and just plain missing him...

i sing another line in my mom's voice (i sing in her voice, unconsciously, she gave it to me- such a gift)

"He promised never to leave me..."

Lord, you are here, in this kitchen with my sore feet and my frown and my dehydrated body and aching eyes and head....

I lean on Him hard just now...Lord, baby girl is sick, won't You please please touch her...

The night is long and dark, but

"He promised never to leave me, never to leave me alone..."

tears well up

my heart flies back to those early days of hearing my mother sing that mantra over and over and over as her own heart broke and she languished alone all through the dark winters of my childhood and cared for the 8 of us alone...but she knew she wasn't alone.

He promised.

He promised.

softly i sing it, over and over and over.

never alone.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

lessons of the garden...

i have two beautiful little neem trees that i transplanted from pots into the garden about 3 months ago.

they were doing well, or so i thought...until i noticed they were leaning from the wind and i staked them up.

last week i checked on them to see how they were doing, straight-wise. when i untied the string and let them loose from the stakes, they totally flopped over and hung almost to the ground. my mouth dropped open- their trunks- or stems rather- had gotten thin and spindly because they had been tied up.

hmmmm. what to do?

i noticed on one tree that a cluster of little neem branches were beginning at the lower end of the weak trunk. "AHA! i shall chop off the tall spindly upper part and let it grow from the ground up," i decide.

the other one has no such luck, and i have no idea what to do with it. trees somehow look really weird when their tops are hanging on the ground.

moral of the story: TOO MUCH SUPPORT makes a weak tree. i should have let the wind blow and the tree figure it out. i loved it too much. now i have to chop it.

God is a gardener.

i'm learning a lot.

now......what to do with my eucalyptus tree which has the same problem but is staked to a pole that is 14 ft high???


thoughts from the garden.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

 they mowed the grass today
the roar of the terror filled the morning
cutting hacking crashing slicing
the fields were in agony under noonday sun
the birds swept frantically to and fro
mourning their lost nests
searching for the little ones
my ears ached with the screams of the living wounded things
after the anguish and the dying and the weeping
came a calm
and then
a fragrance rose from the stricken fields
a sweet sigh of pure beautiful pain
even though it was only meadow grass
the sweetness was there
and the merciful sky
wept a soft rain
onto the rows of fallen flowers
and the perfume swelled and  hung
in the gentle air
and my heart wondered at the awful beauty of mowing

Monday, August 8, 2011

time flies...

when you're having fun!

the past two and a half weeks have been glorious.

children and grandchildren...3 typhoons...some sunshine...lots of good food and family times and occasions and swimming and gardening and hanging out....nothing grand or "vacationy" but just day after day spent together. hours and hours of visiting and watching and listening and just 'being'.

so grateful for the days they've been here.

so thankful to a loving Father who brings families together, against all odds.

and storing up memories to last another year...

a colossal game of dominoes, played by our rules...heeheehee

Malachi, with his first efforts at writing his name!

my daughter Melody Joy and her squishy little Isaac!

little girls in pajamas watching cartoons or something while playing with stuffies...madison and emma...

towels permanently ensconced on the railing...

Malachi's wonder at a tiny gecko in mommy's hand- she re-living her childhood and enjoying showing him how to catch and handle such a delicate living thing...

glen toasting marshmallows on our high=tech grill, using forks...:)

nini reading, reading, reading, to hungry little minds and hearts...every bedtime...

madison, emma, and melody...
tita rose with isaac, who loved her so much...

papa outside showing emma and malachi how to clean mold off a leather belt with shoe polish...

almost giving the world "the bird"- not quite...

Monday, August 1, 2011


every day of this special summer we are making memories with our family.

sundays all together, big dinners, kids swimming, babies toddling and cooing and fussing, adults laughing and teasing...


that's what family is for.

every moment special and unique and fleeting.

the years fly so fast.

before we know it these little ones are catching up to the angst-ridden teens and the adults in various stages of life.

we who are the older ones- the parents, the grandparents- must stop and watch each thing, lest we miss the beauty.

each smile- each giggle- each glimpse of love and laughter and yes, angst and quarreling...just precious moments to remember.

building a foundation of memories for them to repeat to their grandchildren some day.

i pick up spilled hamburger from the pan and tell my granddaughter, "my grandma could pick up hot coals from the fire with her fingers..."

someday this little girl will tell her little girls, "my grandmother could pick up hot meat from the stove when it fell out of the pan..."

i bring out great-grandma's special dishes and we have a teaparty, and they will each get a cup and saucer when i'm gone and they will have a teaparty with their own little girls and they will remember...remember...

we walk in the tender rain- arms entwined under umbrellas, and they ask, and so i tell them about their births...

"you were born in the bathtub..".

"you were born so fast and i said, "oh, it's a little girl!"

"you were so long when you were born, and you were so healthy, and you were so quiet..."

memories of who they are, carried in their hearts...

the boys will remember the papa and the uncles and daddies tossing them, dunking them in the pool, building towers on shoulders, teasing them, instilling the maleness and building healthy testosterone levels...the quiet talks in corners with moms and aunts and grandma...

the girls will remember not just the softness and wisdom of the moms and aunties and grandmas, but the strength and closeness of the daddies, uncles, brothers, grandpas too.

the motorcycle rides...the baking...the movies played...craziness of adventures...the Holy Book every meal- made exciting and fun...

raising children.

making memories.

moments to capture in the heart forever.