Seconds – Poetry Day 4

Unimportant as it may seem, a split second can change our lives in ways we can never imagine. So today, write about the basic unit of time, seconds. Reflect on those few seconds when a loved one was in a life-and-death situation. …

So the assignment today was pretty tough for me. I knew immediately which second to write about. A second from my existence that rocked my world on impact and will continue skewing my reality forever. But writing about it wasn’t easy. And my poetry is particularly weak on it. I think in time I can make it strong, but I don’t have the time or mental capacity to deal with it more today. So consider it a draft. I want to get a better flow and rhythm in the future, but would rather post the draft then ignore the assignment.


Twenty years and two days ago my world changed forever
Thanks to a decision
Made in a second.

You were failing. You didn’t kick,
And there were moments left
In the stress test.

I told the nurse to turn me. That always made you move.
You kicked. I grinned. We passed!
Micro-seconds to spare.

I didn’t realize that my split-second choice
Was the harbinger of

Since you passed the test they wouldn’t induce
Though it was a week past your due time.
Rest in peace, beloved son of mine.

How I wish I could turn back time.

Not my fault. I know. Still, I’ll always regret
The decision that I made in the final
Second of that test.

  • This post is part of the Poetry 101 course from the WordPress Blogging University. 



Reflections – Poetry Day 2

Clear or distorted, in your poem today tell us something about the reflections you see — in the world or in yourself.

IMG_20151203_085306829Last Thursday, our son (who looks like me and thinks like me)
Walked out our door. Onto a plane. Into the real world.
He was ready.
Believe it or not, so were we.

I tried to be sad
As my friends sniffled and asked
How I was doing with it all
But I couldn’t dredge up sadness

All I could do was remember.

Back in the day — we were free
As he is now.
Friends join him, cheerfully decorating
The holiday tree for their first home.

His Facetime calls are simply
A reflection —
of how life used to be.

This post is part of the Poetry 101 course from the WordPress Blogging University.

My Friend Laurie

LaurieIt was never her gentle voice wafting in the breeze that let me know my friend was around. Instead, it was her often-cantankerous bellow, reminding someone in her care of what they ought to be doing, that drew me out of the cabin for a yak.

You had to get up close to notice that the shaking head and snorts of disgust were mock-armor that shielded eyes filled with love and laughter. Laurie was the definition of strength, good character and humanity, which made her easy to talk with.

strengthWalking the worn path wasn’t really her schtick. Although she never married, Laurie added two little ones to her family (the same ages as two of our boys — a fact we are all grateful for). And she did this while holding down a regular out-of-the-house job. Her main passion was her girls. Nobody who spent more than 20 seconds with her could doubt that. Beyond that, she was passionate about music and led the kids choir at camp.

And she loved dance. Just last year she gave me some belly dancing VHS tapes to watch so I could learn to belly dance, too, and the two of us would dance a routine at the next camp talent show. Fortunately for everyone in the camp vicinity, I don’t have a VCR anymore. Whew!

Laurie2Laurie always talked of Scotland, too. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if the strength she had originated in the Highlands. She beat breast cancer a bit ago. She was so proud of that. After we jumped into the icy pond at camp this year, she posed and asked for her pic to be taken, showing that she had beaten cancer.

In early September, I invited her to what has become our annual day at a local beach with some friends, but she didn’t come because she was tired and achy. I missed her that day. She always came covered head to toe, covering herself with a parasol while chasing the shade of a tree. Not a fan of the sun, but she loved the water and seeing her girls with friends and having a good chat.

Little did we know those aches were the beginning of the end. Bone cancer took over her body, but she still fought. Then she found the strength to let go.

Laurie represented so many qualities I admire:

  • First and foremost in her life was her faith. There was no question regarding how she felt about God, and I know I will see her again someday.
  • She was a dedicated mom who truly loved her girls. When she found out that cancer struck again, she messaged me saying, “This is so unfair: (the girls) shouldn’t have to go through this again.” She didn’t even think of herself on that one. Just the girls.
  • Always learning, Laurie had a thirst for knowledge. Even though she was retired, she was talking about returning to school to learn some more.
  • Menial tasks were not beneath her. She and her girls kept the women’s restroom and showers at camp very clean. Laurie also did the flower arrangements in church.
  • Blunt almost to a fault, Laurie didn’t back away from anything she felt strongly about.

Here is a beautiful quote she put on her wall a bit ago. I encourage you to click on the date link and read it in its entirety:

I have seen the valley beyond the mountains, the quiet land, where water flows clear and light bathes the meadows, where…

Posted by Red Moon Publications on Saturday, October 10, 2015

RIP, my friend. Until we meet again…

We Helped Make History

Wide Awake Club Library

There are many things I love about this rural area I have come to call my home. One of our greatest treasures is our library. Run almost entirely by volunteers, it’s the one in which we hold our WordPress meetups. Yesterday it moved. Not by itself, of course.  And not the building, really. To be more precise – the contents of the library were moved by community members on Nov 17, 2015.

CJ, Hudi and I showed up at the requested noon hour to find a room filled with adult volunteers. We were given a game plan regarding how we would help move approximately 46,000 items from the old library to the new building.

Then the real heroes showed up. As I glanced up the street on the blessedly warm, sunny day (a true gift because it could have been snowing and/or raining at this time of year) I saw a stream of kids heading toward the library. That’s right. Kids. About 120 middle school students walked down the hill from the school, along with their teachers, ready to help.

Muscles, energy and cheerful attitudes melded together to create super moving machines as we worked as a unit to schlep the books from one building to another. That’s .17 miles each way.

Kids entered the library one-by-one and were told where to go by an adult volunteer. When they were sent to nonfiction, they made their way to me, and I piled books in their arms, being careful not to overload them.

Now I don’t want to ever hear anyone tell me that kids are lazy and don’t know the value of work. Kid after kid came to me, requesting that I add more books to their pile, echoing a line I became familiar with as the hour progressed: “Load me up. I help haul firewood at home. I’m used to this.”

And that was not a mis-type. I meant hour. Maybe an hour and a half, but certainly not two hours. Those amazing kids and adult volunteers moved all the items. All 46,000-ish items. Just wow.

It was inspirational.

My favorite parts of the day?

  • Seeing all the volunteers who showed up during a busy work day.
  • Watching the crossing guard and two police (who were there to make sure the kids crossed the street safely) interact with the kids who were begging to see their tasers 🙂
  • Listening to a student aide who was sitting in a quiet corner with a special needs child, reassuring him and saying that she was really proud of him for the two trips he took.
  • Checking out the titles of the books I was passing off. Making lists of new ones to read and falling in love again with books I have read and appreciated. Then getting to tell the kids about them.
  • Seeing how the process opened the kids’ eyes to the treasure of the library as they learned about all the library had to offer. I heard an adult volunteer explain what sci-fi (science fiction) was, and I heard kids comment on special moments they had in areas in the library in the past. “Will they have nice little nooks in the new library?” was one of the best questions I was asked during the day.

There was one girl who summed up the day as I thanked her while she was walking out with her 7th or 8th stack of books. She shrugged and said, “Hey, we’re Fillmore. We do whatever it takes.”

Well said.

After donuts and cider, the kiddos headed back to an assembly at school, excited over the prospect of seeing their principal get slimed.

Who knew being part of history could be so inspiring and so much fun?

Zeb's Last Year as a Teen

Yeah, he was cute as a little guy (says this totally un-biased mamma). But he’s even more awesome now! How do kids do that? They just keep getting better and better… Anyway, I digress. Today is our Zebulon’s 19th birthday. And we are so thankful for him.

Zeb’s sense of adventure and eagerness to live life to its fullest is so inspiring.

I especially love when he shares this love of life with the next gen:

Life with Zeb is never dull.

We love you so much Z-Bob. Happy Birthday!!!!

Zeb’s Last Year as a Teen

Yeah, he was cute as a little guy (says this totally un-biased mamma). But he’s even more awesome now! How do kids do that? They just keep getting better and better… Anyway, I digress. Today is our Zebulon’s 19th birthday. And we are so thankful for him.


Zeb’s sense of adventure and eagerness to live life to its fullest is so inspiring.


I especially love when he shares this love of life with the next gen:

Life with Zeb is never dull.

We love you so much Z-Bob. Happy Birthday!!!!

A Perfect Weekend

This past weekend was a prime example of how wondrous home life is. It was filled with laughter, love, creativity and fun work. Often it’s the simple things that tip the scale to completely marvelous.

It all began Friday morning when I joined one of my best friends in attending the middle school play. Her daughter rocked the donkey role in Shrek while the son of another close friend nailed the title role.

The vibe in the auditorium was so fun, and I was sad when the play ended. The kids did a really great job. Here’s a short video of the fun we had:

That evening Chris and I were hiking our dog with other close friends, and they reminded us of a fish fry fundraiser at a local fire department. I love these events because you are assigned seats at long tables based on availability. This means I get seated with people I have never met before, and I get to know more people in my area. This time we sat with some farmers who had interesting thoughts on haylage, silage and the best places to fish for Halibut. We also learned a bit about the impact of the Great Depression on local farmers.


While I worked on Saturday I got to hear the laughter and conversations of the teens and their friends as they played games and discussed future plans for life. What a great bunch of kids young adults!

Zeb came home for the weekend, and we celebrated his birthday (a few days early) with the Indian Chicken dinner he requested. And I showed the kids how my phone made a gif 🙂


We topped the night off by watching Inside Out. It was a good way to end the day.

Sunday morning was a treat. Since I’ve been traveling a bunch, I haven’t been to my home church in a while so it was a delight to get to go to church AND Sunday School. I missed my friends there so it was great to catch up and learn some new things. I love how church inspires me to think, challenge my own beliefs and study more.

After that, I went home and listened to another church service online, along with some co-workers. Very cool.

Work Sunday was similar to Saturday. My background music was the sound of happy teens and twenty-somethings hanging out together. We had a brief photo session for the Christmas letter before Zeb left for school, and we wrapped up the day with Dr. Who episodes.

Simple? Yes

Perfect? Totally