Tuesday, August 30, 2005

me as mother

i wonder, sometimes, if i am doing right by my child exposing her to all the musical influences i have so loved over my years. as we drove to the library today and iron man played, i was banging my head to styx before that, come sail away--my arms flailing and my hair flying about. and then i wondered if there was anything i'm missing, the really important musicians of the past.

but she doesn't always like what i like and i'm glad for that. i'm not fashioning zombie or conducting an educational frontal lobotomy, i am trying to expose the child to the great and glorious variety of life.

she made me laugh this morning and i will have to tell you why in another post on another day. but as we arrived at the library to check out some respectable materials (and the car pulled in beside us while iron man played and the little boy looked at me through the windows kind of confused, and i smiled back) i realized, i left the house today without my purse, without my wallet, without much of anything really. (talk about missing the really important things.)

i do that sometimes, forget the very obvious but i did remember to bring along richard foster, celebration of discipline, so i can read him in the inbetween times. oh me.

the child is fine. she is able to play music on the piano by memory (because i won't copy the music for her, she has to commit entire scores to memory--we are just starting so the scores are not very long, but i think this good practice for a child who enjoys tv as much as i). she reads too, so you don't think i'm a terriblehorriblenogoodverybad mother. but then again, do i really listen to what others think? i try. i'm in a rare phase of my life where i am listening. so opine if you care to, i may take it to heart. then again....

Monday, August 29, 2005

a new day

i couldn't or didn't want to get up this morning. a malaise that stikes me now and again. i didn't even go out of doors this am and wouldn't have if nature hadn't mandated it.

my daughter, who was riding her bike excitedly exclaimed,
the black swallowtails!

so i scrambled outside to find this...

life. new beginnings. the glory of the Lord.

she is still nectaring in my garden as we speak (or as i write) but he took flight as soon as he could and another black swallowtail joined him as they wafted away on the breeze.

life pulses on even when we grow weary and that gives me hope.

Saturday, August 27, 2005


typically when i clean my house, i hear from God. He speaks, i listen. sometimes i get poetry. today's was black. and i hesitate to even share it. i probably won't except for my dearest friends until i get some space between it and me.

there is something to be said for putting it out there, purging. it lightens the mental load. it quiets the clamour. and i can be silent without so much fury.

but that is saying too much for the christian, isn't it? we don't have dark days, or if we do, we don't speak of them. they are things of the past (moments ago, but past, leave them there).

rebuke it

my mom would say. and she's probably right.

but not today, i wrote about it. i let the lines come and wrote them across the page where they sit, and i wonder if anyone in the world feels this way, has these days.

sometimes i feel so broken, unmended and unmade.

then i go to the piano and play amazing grace. and let the words run over my soul, the melody drive away the things that frighten me, that i could lose the unloseable. that i could quench the unquenchable, that i could doubt the Father of Truth.

it all comes down to that. do i believe He gives without revocation? do i trust He will be with me even in the midst of utter darkness? do i remember how to get back or is there no need when i am lost, will He find me again? and again, and again.

i'd like to say i have this happy christian story of triumph. of wholeness. of certainty. but i just don't. it's never been that way. and these days of darkness are farther apart, but they are there.

there is one poem i wrote that i'll share, it is for those friends of mine who truly are friends indeed. who have stayed through my darkness and not been afraid. i do not have words to thank them. only a few poems. for whatever that's worth.

gentle me

there are those
who see beyond
and hear
between the lines
who can see
beyond the
of words
and understand

those who talk
me down
from the
twelfth floor
where i sway
_____and swagger
in the swirl
_____of confusion

there are those
_____whose gentle
presence persists
when i bid
_____them go away

those who
when i attempt
_____to disqualify
from the Promise

those who
speak truth
_____and gentle me
when i abraham
_____hold the knife
over my breast

there are those
who know
the darkness
i have fought
all my life

and those whose
can be seen in
_____their eyes

Wednesday, August 24, 2005


i'm having pangs of inferiority. i don't read many blogs anymore, but happened to have some time and scrolled through one to see what was up and this little gem stuck in my jaw: so and so has his MFA in creative writing giving him definable skill in this area.

as i have struggled to finish my degrees, and been thwarted over and over again. i have spent much time agonizing and praying over this. i don't begrudge anyone recognition for their hard work. praise God for their ability to achieve something so noteworthy.

i used to feel like i got sidetracked. when i was attending orientation at UCLA, i never thought i would never set foot on the campus again, but i didn't. i got married.

when i attended first day of classes at ASU, i never thought i would never set foot on the campus again (i was admitted as an honor student and raring to go), but i didn't. we relocated to texas.

after buying a house, and discovering the ad velorum waiver, i enrolled at a local community college to bide my time (the requisite two years to establish residency). i won a scholarship, got As a couple Bs, and prepared for UTD. then i got pregnant.

what joys. what immesurable joy having a child. but i always wanted to finish my degrees. so i became an accredited la leche league leader. no not a noteworthy endeavor from the intellectual standpoint, but very helpful to moms and babies.

a move back to texas when my child was two, and i enrolled at Texas A&M U, Commerce. Went to transfer orientation. i had no idea that i would never set foot on that campus again, but i had to take the dreaded TASP. i had avoided it before because i was at a miserable community college. but when i had to take it, i went back to the miserable community college (a place dear to my heart) and did some more undergrad prep work there, based on those dreaded math scores.

having done that, i went to UTD and registered, began the whole process yet again, for the last time i had hoped. and we lost our job, the telecom industry literally dried up and blew away. for the next four years it was not even an option to think about college.

yes, i've been steadiily trying for that elusive degree. and i keep reaching but it has become like the door that descends down the hall faster than i can run. it has become my white whale.

someday i may finish it. but along the way i keep the mental parts oiled with much contemplation and study, albeit unrecorded, unrecognized, undocumented study, but study none-the-less.

and i've got a beautiful girl and a wonderful husband. i hardly call that sidetracked. somehow i think it is my main track. schooling, degress, all that is my side track. and i am all right with that.

i would prefer it if there wasn't such a stigma of ignorance when one doesn't have their degrees. or is not employed in some "meaningful" way. i'm just fashioning a person for life. that is no small endeavor. i don't claim to be the best at it, but i am grateful a degree is not required.

Monday, August 22, 2005

on details and mindnumbing tedium

perhaps the reason why i post so much unedited stuff, is because i spend so much time attending to the details of others' writing that i haven't the stomache to mess with mine.

i spent hours this past week, all told, about 20, here and there, some successive, but many hours tweaking a newsletter i edit for our homeschool group. the deadline is the 15 and i'm still getting, "can you fit this in?" emails.

uh, no, i can't.

formatting is a feat of momentous proportions at times. making something pleasing to the eye is more than just cut and paste, it is lining stuff up, balancing pages, and placing pleasing neutral spaces (which people complain about as being a "waste" of space).

when i see newsletters jammed from cover to cover with stuff. crazy with fonts, like some hyde came in late and changed them all, it overwhelms me. i am for three fonts, maybe four (i like vivaldi for offsetting quotes. when i do a newsletter i try to put inspirational quotes in, when told this is another "waste of space" i reply, inspiration is cheap. many times i've read this newsletter and gotten nothing out of it. if there were something to inspire me, then that is something after all).

i guess all this playing with lines and hyphens, abbreviations and symmetry makes me do strange things to my own works. i like to see poetry left justified, or if centered upon the page, done so without center justification. but i think this is a distinction most don't even contemplate. there is no reason to annihilate formatting of a poem just to center it upon the page. center justification alters the poem. center aligning a poem resets the poem in the center of the page without disrupting layout.

when i am editing for friends, when i am reading a book--currently i have a poetry book and i notice the apostrophes are different although baskerville old face (a favorite font of mine) was employed, there is not a follow through of curly apostrophes. the straight quotes or apostrophes are called "dumb," just like the one's used here on blogger. but the curly ones, those lovely little whisps off-setting words and phrases with their delicate curls, now those are the ones you want dotting your prose.

and while i'm on the subject, your free editing lesson of the day is:
hyphens are for line breaks, word-mating and the like.
M-dashes (shortcut: Ctrl+Alt+Num-) are for interjections, interruptions, there are no spaces preceding or following M-dashes provided they are not interrupting lines of type like: "quick beforeM-dash"
N-dashes (shortcut: Ctrl+Num-) are for the conjunctions between verses of scripture (i.e. john 1:2N-dash5 <--i am limited here and can't show you).

these tedious little things no one sees or notices pop out at me when i am reading a book. i can't read poorly edited books without approaching them as an editing project. i seem to have the compulsion these days to comment on the works friends' give me.

yet my work limps and swaggers like a drunk in the gutter. go figure.

Monday, August 08, 2005


honesty has never been easy. it has often been the hardest thing for me to embrace for it, like a thorny crown, imbeds itself into me and my juices flow.

i remember a writing shirt from long ago that read,
writing is easy, just open a vein and pour it out.
something to that effect. and yes, it hurts that much at times.

why do it then? because it hurts more not to. just as it hurts more not to be honest, with myself, with my friends. with many things.

we don't get around hurt whichever path we choose, but truth has always been to me, bittersweet.

one night at a home group, i sat down and told the leader,
the truth ain't done much for me lately.

it gets me into trouble. it causes me grief. it causes my friends to grieve. which grieves me doubly. and i wonder, is this the way it will always be?

when i write, i tremble. i pour out my truth and leave it there to live or die at the reader's hands. when i reread the fruit of my labors, i cannot deny the words for they are still my truth. seeing them there does not make them less true, in fact, it makes me really understand that this is in fact what i believe. and i tremble.

i've done more trembling of late than ever. more wondering if what i say and do is right with God (men's opinions come and go, rightness with them never amounts to much).

and trembling i sit here now, laying out these fragile words hoping they convey something of meaning to you. my truth, take it for what it's worth.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005


an elderly neighbor died recently. i had failed to make my planned visits to assuage her loneliness. i was struggling through my own stuff then, at least that is how i justify it now. but it was a great failure of mine i cannot forget.

at her estate sale, she was a gardener, so i knew i could get a few things i needed and lo and behold the weedpopper i had just broken the handle off of, was there waiting for me.

walking through someone's house and seeing the contents of their cupboards laid bare is quite a shocking experience. to see how much was unwanted by her family gave me the creeps. i learned a lot about what was important to her if these unwanted trifles were what was for sale.

an entire room full of crochet paraphanelia. but i have what i need. i am trying to learn how to knit and the old gal blessed me with a whole collection of knitting needles for about six bucks. what a blessing.

her daughters were there and when they learned i knew how to crochet, they asked if i could do something for them. they wanted to commission me to finish an afghan she had begun.

i know grief. i could not feast upon the spoils of their agony. so i said yes.

the old gal, i don't even remember her name, had crocheted a whole box full of colorful circles from which she intended to fashion a twin afghan. the daughters asked if i could make two instead of one. i agreed.

when the circles sat in my livingroom, i decided to divide them and did so quickly, without unifying colors. i figured i'd do that later. i was just going to assemble them randomly, i'm not into patterns.

but i did have a small section she had begun. and she was into patterns.

so i could not violate her pattern. i had to at least try to repeat her pattern. and it got me thinking: who will pick up my pages and lines and pens when i'm gone to finish what i've begun?

surely i failed this woman in life, but i hope to bring her daughters some small comfort. i'm nearly done with the first. but as i hold the crocheted circles she labored to create it makes me delight in her creativity. something i missed out on because i couldn't walk two doors down.

she was a fibre-artist. and i attempt to complete what she began, an apprenticeship of sorts. i just don't know that i'm able to replicate what she had begun, but i'm trying.