Skip a beat

Tucked in an old book
There it was
A poem from you
My crush from 28 years ago
I remember so little about you
We worked together
a year or was it two
You intrigued me with
Hometown tales of the Gulf
a traumatic childhood
and California dreaming
that brought you west to heal
We sometimes talked for hours
I always felt we were on the verge of a big time romance
No wonder I felt that way
re-reading your poem
All mystery and promise
All that long ago emotion pulsing through me once again
with the craft of your words
Causing my heart to skip a beat
Feeling things I still can’t put in a category
You drifted to another job
and eventually back to your Florida home
in the wake of broken dreams
like mine of you
intense sentiment
kindled by such a slim archive of one poem


The waiting area is big
drenched in sunlight and windows
On approaching from outside
one can visually assess
who’s pausing inside in expectation of service
and quickly adjust the arrival path
if necessary
Entering the vet’s office can be tricky
This day the waiting room is empty
so I check in my small dog for her routine exam and shots
then sit with her curled in my lap
others come join me
others depart
pet families
I do not see the woman until the door is flung open
She is, like me, pushing the boundaries of middle age,
Tall and extra, extra, extra large
with no pet in tow
Walking is obviously painful
A cane helps inch her forward
She looks like she has given up
Her clothes are stretched paper thin and actually bag around her form
Her hair is oily, barely combed
Sullen in demeanor
My heart goes out to her
This is what I seem to understand
That in every fiber of her being
she wants nothing more than to disappear from view
by the nature of her physical presence
the opposite effect is what almost always happens
Slowly and with tremendous effort
she reaches the front desk
leans into it
announces grouchily she is here to pick up her pet’s medications
she is accommodated there
which is not the customary place for these transactions
as a small kindness, I think
My heart is saddened
as I witness what I see as her heroic act
to face what I sense is often a hostile world
that often harshly judges and rejects her
to provide love and care for her pet
She looks straight ahead
willing isolation
until her transaction is complete
She turns to repeat the aching, plodding journey back to her car
Desperately I want to speak some kind words of encouragement to her
None form
BUT as she turns, ignoring all humans
her eyes fix on my small dog
She smiles and there is a hint of joy
Thought she doesn’t notice I smile, too
Thinking perhaps my small dog has accomplished something I could not



I hear Ruth calling me on Saturdays to come and celebrate. My friend, Ruth whose book, life and words about celebrating are etching deep into my being. My whole concept of what that means, to celebrate, is being reconstructed and redefined. Check her website to see what others are discovering.


in the aisles of early morning grocery shopping
As one toddlers babbles happily
and loudly
I hear him
first at the blueberries,
I get a glimpse of him
in the frozen food,
giggling into a cell phone
where someone who delights him
whispers back
He carries on
as I grab condiments
But his talk
as I approach the dairy case
winding around to the yogurt
I hear more
but to my surprise
heading my way
is a different basket bound young fellow
engaged in equally cheerful chatter
Just fun
in the aisles of early morning grocery shopping



Two Sundays ago
I decide to drive my knock around town car
from an around town errand
over the hill
13 miles away
to a more distant Starbucks
because it was such a lovely day
and I was nostalgic for my childhood days of Sunday drives

I arrive at my Starbucks destination drive through and get a refreshing iced coffee

As I leave the line I heard clunk, clunk, clunky clunk

I was still in the parking lot and could pull over to a parking spot to investigate and am not stuck on the freeway

I left my cell phone at home

It is just a flat tire and there is a Walmart nearby
I decide to walk there and get a can of inflate a tire

When I insert the hose from the inflate a tire can into the flat tire toxic smelling green foamy stuff spews all over

A helpful man approaches me from afar and asks if I need help

We both get toxic smelling green foamy stuff over us before we discover the tire stem is broken and he asks if I have Triple A roadside assistance

I have Triple A roadside assistance

I have no way to call them and the helpful man does not have a cell phone on him either

The helpful man says he can get a cell phone and promises to return

While he is gone I remember I have not renewed my Triple A roadside assistance membership yet and checking my card find it has elapsed 3 days earlier

After a bit of a delay the helpful man returns with a cell phone, explaining he was getting the toxic smelling green foamy stuff off his hands, and waits somewhat patiently as I do extended business with Triple A roadside assistance because in addition to trying to explain my exact location I have to renew my membership
Finally I bid him a heartfelt thankful adieu as he rather rapidly departs on his merry way

It is afternoon summer HOT while I wait

My original around town errand was to the library and I have many interesting books to look through plus the refreshing ice coffee to sip while I wait
The Triple A roadside assistance authorized tow truck arrives within the promised time frame

My spare tire is not able to be used so I will have to be towed home

Even though it is the last day of my summer vacation I have no pressing plans and I send up a prayer of thankfulness to God for providing the help I need
I am in a good mood

After the car is loaded on to the tow truck the tow truck driver discovers he does not have a form that even in this electronic age he does not dare move without filling out so we have to wait an extra half an hour until the form is delivered by another driver

I find humor in this and have plenty of opportunity to practice good cheer and patience while waiting
Finally I arrive back home really none the worse for wear and the car is deposited safely in my driveway to be dealt with later

I have another car to drive to school the next morning
It is a teacher work day
I am excited to be starting another school year

My family man neighbor runs into me a week later as we are both leaving our houses
We have a friendly wave kind of relationship but haven’t really chatted much

He saw my car as it was being towed and inquired about it
I explained it was just a flat tire

He is a handy man
He is a kind man
He is another helpful man

He has tools
He has a friend who runs a tire shop
He offers to fix my tire for no charge

I have connected with my neighbor
whose thoughtfulness has touched my heart

embracing this somewhat troublesome event brought unexpected blessings
Which I am grateful to celebrate today

She Used to be His Darling


When seeing the world with my writer’s eyes, I go grocery shopping and leave with food and a poem!

There he was
In the produce department
Backside perched precariously by
the seedless mini watermelons
(sale priced)
on his furrowed brow
Cell phone
tugged unceremoniously from his pocket
This middle aging man
must have spotted her
at that exact moment
(by the bananas)
because he
snapped his fingers
dismissively in that direction
as the florescent light
danced off his wedding ring
as if to declare
(unlike now)
there used to be a time
when he
cherished her
as his darling



of that conversation
we were engaged
light hearted
skimming the surface
chit chat
when something I said
an explosion
in your depths
torpedoed towards me
Oh woe
I believe
(I must)
this experience
battened down the hatches
to prepare
for the possibility

Value added

It is Saturday, time to celebrate with Ruth and friends!


Two weeks ago I closed the door on the 2014/2015 school year, tucked the memories of that unique group of first graders into my heart, and in some ways was able to set aside the many struggles in all aspects of my life that year brought. The year where hope in God’s provision never faded but where often it took great effort to persevere and just take the next step. It was hard work.

In the short time since my days have been filled with so much JOY and so much to celebrate. I wish I could slip you a recording so you could watch and appreciate the contrast. It is a study, lessons on the value of continuing because eventually things can change and become better.

These past days connection has been the key to celebration. It is through the act of opening up and sharing our stories that we learn to appreciate those who listen. This particular adventure started many days ago with this, typing some words here on my ipad in California and pushing publish. Then reading and writing, writing and reading started linking some of us together. Our words matter and it revealed that we matter, too.

Warsaw, Indiana seems an unlikely place to me for what has become a yearly milestone event. The AllWrite conference is fabulous. It is not that big but it attracts the professional people we admire, whose books we read and whose words nurture us as teachers. It is personal and accessible. I get ideas that refresh me and spur me to better teaching. That alone would make it worthy of a trip. It is the reunion, sometimes with people I had not previously met in person, that make it significant.

My trip started in Missouri, meeting up with elsie. Some of you may know her through her writing, some may have had the pleasure of her company in person but I get the delight of spending many hours of quality time with her. She is generous in so many ways. She puts up with me for starters!

She practices another form of creativity with her bead work. This year she crafted these tree of life necklaces and bestowed them to her blogger friends. Each one is unique and she gave me first choice!

I want to give you small glimpses into her many acts of friendship. She picked me up at the Saint Louis airport BEFORE 6am when I arrived on the red eye. She and I have fun, fun, fun on our road trip to and from Warsaw. She shares her history. She makes me many meals and plans special treats. She opens her home. Her husband, Mike graciously accepts my invasion for a few days. They make me feel like family.

Here elsie(with Mike) notices and captures a picture. It was great to see her in action! This is how many of her stories start.


Here are the friends, along with elsie, that I got to spend the most time with at the AllWrite conference.

Ruth, our Ruth Ayres, this captures her. She encourages us to write and to celebrate even when life is messy. I am truly blessed to know her and to have met her family.

Christy is so full of fun and depth. Who else would actually encourage elsie and I to send her selfies? Her unexpected presentation at AllWrite spoke to my teacher’s soul. Knowing she is in the world brightens any day.

Mary Helen is laughter and stories well told.

I like this unguarded moment with Ramona, Lori and Linda. We all like the way our electronic devices have joined us together.

Becca takes everything in and her quiet presence enriches our gatherings. She writes a bit and she is amazing at it. I look forward to the day her stories gently persuade her to tell them!

These few days are like diving into a treasure chest and grabbing handfuls of riches. Each precious, valuable and sustaining. I feel overwhelmed by the generosity of these gifts so lavishly given.

Value is added to the quality of my life because of knowing them!