Thursday, February 11, 2021

I

 ✍💓 🖥





Hi my name is Andrea.


I am excited to share my writing portfolio with you.


I have always enjoyed writing but I didn’t realize I had a talent for writing until I started taking a few courses through Udemy online.  Through these courses, I have been able to stretch my imagination and become more creative.  


In addition to Personal Non-Fiction, and fictional stories, Poetry has always been in interest of mine.  I enjoy reading all forms of poetry but writing the various forms can be a challenge at times.  After all, quite often you are baring your soul and suddenly remember, “other people are going to read this.”  Its not always easy to open up about things in writing but like any other craft, it gets easier with time and practice.

What follows is a series of various poetry forms, vignettes, and personal musings that I wrote.  


The Satire poem was the easiest poem for me to write, aside from the haiku and Tanka poems.  I love writing comedic poetry and I have a lot of experience trying to write on very little sleep, as a matter of fact, I have a lot of experience doing anything with very little sleep.  So a lot of those  scenarios in that poem were very familiar to me. The Narrative poem was the most difficult, as there was so much detail and I didn’t want to make it boring.  


The Shakesperean Sonnet was the most challenging but I learned a lot about sonnet’s through this lesson.  In some ways, it is easier to write with certain restrictions in mind so that one does not go off on a tangent.


Writing about my experiences in this life and hopefully connecting with others who have similar experiences is the goal of my writing. Sometimes all it takes to turn your day around is to read something funny or a moment that we can relate to. Above all, God is in control and all we need to do is go along for the ride.


Anyway, I hope you enjoy my poems as much as I enjoyed writing them!


😏😔😜😞😟😮😳


All About Me


I am from TV dinners, from Dippitydoo and Herbal Essence.

I am from the concrete sidewalks, bullies and cool ocean breezes.

I am from the weeping willows and the dandelions when dead, are blown across the field.

I am from the rosary beads, the laughter, from Irish freckles.

I am from comfort and kindness.

I am from nervousness, and musical talent.

I am from church services, faith and love of God.

I am from the city, but with ocean surrounding me.  I am from tea with lots of milk and sugar and candy.

I am from my father, who danced and sang with us, the man who cared for my sister with disabilities, the mother who had ears to listen and eyes for understanding.  

I am from an antique world where pictures are stored in the stair we and in our minds, who’s members are slipping away but who’s ancestors keep them alive.

💓💓💓💓

Love

(Abstract Noun Poem)


Love:  A feeling, emotion; they understand you.  They touch your heart and accept you


It is deep, wakes up your soul, stirs compassion within you.


It is comforting, like an old shoe, blankets you like a bed of roses.  It’s cozy.


Love is overwhelming; like a beautiful sunset or sunrise.  You can’t reach out and touch it but you glory in its splendidness.


Love is God.  He is everywhere.  He sends his angels to take care of us.  He sends people into our lives to give us love.


Love is life.  Life is love.  Love’s a gift.  Let’s cherish it.



Another’s Voice

Yesterday



He looks at me and sees

The youthful one I was

I stare straight ahead

Knowing he watches.

He remembers when we first met,

A long time ago.

Staring, caring, daring him to know me better.

As he stares at my hands, he remembers the ring he placed with a shaky hand.

My heart fluttering like a bird soaring in the air.

He looks at me and he sees my eyes now.  He looks through me, like a window into my sound and he can feel the love as if it were the first time we met.

So long ago, but it feels like yesterday.

💒💒

Narrative Poem

Wedding Day



Rain, Rain go away.

It wasn’t listening to me.  

It poured down on my windshield on my wedding day.  The happiest day of my life.

Driving to my sister in law’s to change into my wedding dress.

Is this really happening?   Am I really marrying the love of my life.

Entering Pam’s house, there was a bustle of activity; lifting my sleepiness and my dull spirits.

Make up lady, my sister, Sheila; her children.

Sheila helping me into my dress, flashing cameras, air of excitement!

All that we needed was the sun.

Another bustle of activity as I left the bedroom, encased in my wedding dress.  Cameras flashing, Pam dressed in a slim fitting sleeveless dress with long gloves and high heels, blond hair up in a bun. Sheila in the floral, a-shaped dress that she sewed from the pattern I chose.  Brown, curly hair down, looking youthful with Sean and Annie, adorable in their wedding attire.  

Scurrying to the Church, those few blocks, holding up my large, sequined white dress, people honking, whistling, congratulating.  Suddenly a burst of sunshine came through the clouds.  God’s answer to my prayers on this most blessed day.

As we entered the Church, a flurry of activity ensued.  

My father, looking handsome in his tux, red hair now white, ruddy Irish complexion.  Smiled his approval.  My mother, hair while as snow, dressed in a blue two piece ensemble smiled and nodded in her quiet way.

Anita, my friend, scurried about putting  flowers in our hair.

The music started, my father took my arm.  We walked slowly down the aisle.  I am beaming from ear to ear, nodding at those familiar faces smiling at me. 

And there was my beloved,  standing next to his brother,  looking young and handsome as ever.  Blue eyes staring straight at me.  

Afterwards, more cameras snapping, we fly down the aisle together.  Our lives begin.




Satire Poem

No Sleep


Walking by the stream, I see a blue heron.  It floats up in the air like a um, what is that word?  Ughh.  So tired, no sleep.


Ok, let me start over.  I’m walking down the street and I see a oh damm! What  is that word!  Chipmunk? No, cat, no, grrrr.


One more time.  I'm walking in the woods, no by the stream, no down the street.  Agh! Where am I?


Yumm.  That hot chocolate tastes so good.  I think I’ll have a cookie.


Oh no, look at all of these dishes.  


What was I doing?  Oh yeah.  Writing my poem.  


I was walking by the stream and saw a ...what was it I saw?


My hand hurts, my eyes hurt.  I’m so tired.  Did I doze off?


I’m walking down the street..No!  I’m walking in the woods, I mean in the stream, no, by the stream.  Oh God, where am I? What was that noise? Sounds like a bird.  Is there a bird in my house?


Wasn’t I writing about a bird?  


What is happening to me?


Focus, Focus.


I’m walking by a stream and I see a blue heron floating up in the air like a 


Airplane?  No.  Feather?  No.

What was it like?


I’m hungry.  Maybe if I eat.  When was the last time I ate?


How long have I been writing?


I think it’s time to take a nap.


One more attempt.


I was walking by a stream and I saw a blue heron floating up…


Zzzzz.


🏡




Ode to A Home


What is a home?

Is it just French doors open while the wind blows through the living room and we sit gazing out at the garden?

Is it a place for prayer as we  contemplate the statues in our prayer corner as we thank God for our precious life?

Or our kitchen where we create works of art and visit with our friends and neighbors as they drop by to say hello?

Or our dining room, where we entertain and keep mementos of our loved ones never to be forgotten?

The bedroom, where we slept, cuddled and comforted each other?  Where we feel the toasty-ness of the woodstove in the winter and smelled the fresh air and felt the breeze from the fan in summer?

Or our back porch where we held parties that lasted well into the night.  Our backyard where we viewed fireworks on the 4th of July?  

The tenants upstairs that came and went, some good, some bad.  The creaking of the floorboards, the footfalls, and the occasional mumbles that can be heard.

Our front porch, where we proudly display our flag every year and where we sit to escape the world but watch the world go by.

Although it breaks my heart, the thought of leaving this little corner of the world, and all the memories 16 years can bring; can a house really wrap itself around you when you cry, comfort you when you are lonely and calm you when you are stressed?

Maybe not.  But we get attached to things that hold memories and memories never fade.


🐦

Haiku


The leaves have fallen

There’s a chill in the air.

Ready for winter.


A flock of geese fly.

Floating near the clouds up high

Heading to their home.


The sun is setting.

Shadows fall across he Road

Time to go inside.


I drink my coffee.

I feel the buzz waking me.

The caffeine hits my bloodstream.

🐁

Tanka


The mouse scampers fast.

He scampers across the floor.

The cat follows him.

The mouse outsmarts the cat when

The mouse runs into a hole.


🐕
Shadow

My dog runs at me

Like a wave chasing me down

Legs scrambling

Hits the ground like a racehorse

Bounding towards the goal line.

Shakespearean Sonnet

🌳🎕❆🌞

Seasons


Snow swirls around the trees

And creates a most chilly breeze.


As dark clouds move in around us

The people move about  without a fuss.


Its as if we are used to the change

And yet winter we never miss.


When warmth returns and summer is near,

We barely remember the cold’s frozen kiss.


When tulips pop and grass does appear

Visions of summer show up in our dreams.


A few more frozen nights to go,

The days get longer and wide it seems.


As each season passes we look for the best 

In what God  has given until we rest.


In Conclusion

😉

Well, I hope you enjoyed my poetry.  


These were all written by hand with different colored pens.  One of the instructors on Udemy suggested using various colors to write stories and poems to make it fun and interesting and new.  


I hope I was able to present something new and fresh.  I enjoy writing about nature and as I indicated in the introduction, I love writing satire.  I would have to say that is my favorite form aside from writing about nature.  


Haiku and Tanka were fun.  I love the simple-ness of this form of poetry and of course, I am able to intertwine nature in this form of poetry.  


When I first started writing poetry, and short stories, I struggled with keeping it succinct.  Writing an outline helps.  Thinking about a theme is the most important.  I try to pick a theme that I feel passionate about or that I think will make for an interesting or humorous subject such as feeling sleepy or my “Raining Cheese” poem.  


Although writing an outline is very helpful for the longer, narrative poetry, Sometimes I just write and see where it leads me.  I find that type of writing to be the most enjoyable and productive.  When I write without  stopping to check on what I write, my creativity flows more easily.  


Thank you for allowing me to share my poetry with you.  This has been an enjoyable and educational experience and I hope to continue sharing my poetry with you in the future.


What follows is a few Vignettes and some blog entries which range from articles I have submitted to magazines and thoughts for the day or Journal Entries from my UDEMY class. Happy Reading and please feel free to leave comments at the end.

                                                                            💌

Painful Encounter



It was one of those days.  Dreary, cold.  Typical Vermont day.  I needed to get out of the house anyway so I may as well go grocery shopping.  I decided to go late in the day so that I could take our dog for a walk first, rather than dragging myself home from shopping and then trudging through the snow, shivering and wishing it would be over.


I hopped into the car, turned on my favorite talk radio program and headed to Jericho.  “Oh darn! I needed gas.  Well, I could get it after I shop? Nah.  Nothing worse than shopping and then schlepping over to the gas station afterwards.  May as well get it done now.”  


I pulled into the gas station, feeling impatient even before I put my card in.  “Stupid thing!”  The gas pump was beeping at me.  I needed to leave my card in.  Sometimes you need to leave your card in, other times you have to take it out right away, depending on the gas station.  I never knew and ultimately, I ended up doing the wrong thing.”  I tried a few more times to put the card in but it was rejected.  “Oh, forget that.” I exclaimed as “see cashier” flashed on the screen.  I jumped back in my car, feeling even more annoyed now, and proceeded to the pump on the other side.  The woman in front of me was pumping gas and stared at me as I pulled in behind her.  “Did she hear the frustration in my voice?”  I hopped out and started the process over.  Bundling up against the cold, I started the pump. Success!  It worked.  Gas was pumping.  I refused my receipt and hopped in the car again.  Luckily there wasn’t too much traffic at 3 in the afternoon.


As I pulled into the compact parking lot of the Village Market, I realized that this was probably where all of the cars were.  Many of the slots for parking were on the left, the right was taken up by handicapped signs or “stop and pick up” signs.  


“Ah Ha!”  I found a spot on the left.

“Drat!” There was a shopping cart, right where I wanted to park.  


“Maybe if I pulled more to the right.. There!”  I was in. Plenty of room.


I whispered to myself,  “Why would someone leave a shopping cart in the middle of a parking space?  Well,”  I thought to myself, “At least I can use it.”


I grabbed  my mask, cloth bag and purse and keys and jumped out of the car, closing the door as I reached for the cart. 


“OWWW!!”  Suddenly, I felt the most atrocious pain sear through my finger, which I quickly yanked from the car door. I grabbed my hand, cradled my finger and keeled over. “Ow, Ow, Ow”  I didn’t think the pain would ever go away.  I needed to get back in the car.  I couldn’t tell if anyone was watching but clearly no one saw as no one came to my aide.  I carefully moved my bag and my purse, trying desperately not to touch my finger or nail to the objects.  However, that was impossible and everytime I touched anything, the pain would shoot up through my finger.  I looked at the finger, the one next to the index finger on my right hand.  It was bleeding a little but even reaching for the tissues was risky and painful.  I had a hard time getting the tissue out but managed to do just that and wrap it around my finger.  “Is it broken? “ I wondered?  I should go home and put some ice on it.  I don’t think the clerks in the grocery store would be to happy if I started bleeding all over everything.  I 


I carefully backed out of the tightly packed parking lot and pulled out into the street.  My finger still hurt like hell but at least I was headed home.  About 2 miles down the road, my hand started to feel warm.  The blood must be rushing to the finger and I could at least move it a little without severe pain.  


“You know what?”  I thought to myself.  I really need some chocolate.  I’m going back.  What the heck.  I’m not bleeding, my finger is at least moving.  I can do this.  I headed back to the grocery store to pick up desert and a few things for dinner.  The store was even more crowded than when I left but I treated myself to a york peppermint patty on the way home.  Man was that good.


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Friday the 13th


The oncologist didn’t even knock before she burst into the room.  The quiet, still, sterile room, that provided a haven for me and Michael after the surgeon left.

“You are healing nicely.  The next round of chemo should be more tolerable for  you.”  The surgeon’s soft, slow voice eased my tension that built up before the appointment.  Mike and I let out a breath and giggled after the pent up nervous energy we had. 

 That was, until the oncologist burst into the room and proclaimed the most awful, devastating news in a hard, cold way.  Michael and I sank into the hard, stiff, cold chairs.  The room seemed to grow darker as the oncologist continued.  Maybe the Oncologist was sitting closer to us than normal but the room seemed to be getting smaller.

Mike and I stared, transfixed at the Doctor.  I could not bring myself to look at Michael.  I was frozen.  Numb.  “This can’t be happening, it’s surreal,” I thought.  Both of us realized we were thinking the same thing when we finally spoke later.

The oncologist continued to rattle on about treatment and offered a hug (which I refused).  I actually recoiled at the thought.  I wanted to stand up, push this cold, unfazed person across the room and run out of the room.  “There must be some mistake!,” I thought.  “I can’t have metastatic breast cancer. “Liar!,  I wanted to yell. 

 Mike asked a question. The oncologist rolled her chair, over to Mike until her face seemed inches from his face, as if challenging him.  Expressionless, she continued, “Most people who have metastatic breast cancer die of their metastatic breast cancer.” 

 I saw Mike’s eyes get red and start to tear up.  My rage grew. 

“I’ll leave you two to chat if you need more time.” 

 Once she left, Mike turned to me and said, “What is going on with you, dear?” I suddenly wished I could change this.  I wished it was a drug habit, or a mental health disorder, anything but this. 

 After a few minutes, we left the room. I don’t even remember going to the car.  We drove off into the early evening to face our new lives, which changed in an instant.

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March 11, 2021

What is Happiness?

What is happiness?  Why are we always looking for the next best thing?  Why can't we be happy with what we have?

When we were very young,  we were happy to play and sleep.  Although Even then, we wanted something more.  We wanted our mom, our dad, food, or something on the shelf we couldn't reach.  It seemed, even back then, things were just out of our reach and we desperately wanted it.  Why?  I don't think we knew.  

As we grew a little older we had more freedom. We could reach the shelf but we knew better than to just grab what we wanted when we wanted it.  Even at a very young age, eight, nine or ten, we understood what we wanted and what jealousy meant.  The reason for our feelings of envy may have changed through the years.  In elementary school, we wanted what our friends had.  A nicer house, a bigger family, a dog, a cat.  It often seemed that other people always had something better but it was just out of reach for us.

In our teen years, clothes, looks, the art of being cool were important to us.  The pure, unmitigated embarrassment of performing an act such as speaking too loud in public, tripping in a hallway full of other teens, would set us back for days.  You see it wasn't so much the things or objects other people owned (although that was also a big part of or envy) but also how people acted.  As teens we became like the communist governments we fear.  We all had to act a certain way, run with certain crowds, say the right words, wear the right clothes, in order to be accepted and "happy."  A lot of us lost our true identity back then.  Our individual rights we gave up in order to achieve popularity and avoid criticism. The most important thing to many teens.

As we grew into adulthood, our identity returned.  Getting into the right college, finding the right job that would pay us enough to live in the right apartment took over our thinking.  However, once this happened, we still weren't happy.  We needed the right spouse, friends, more money so we could afford the right house.  

When does it stop?  When do we become happy?

Let's look at this phenomenon from a different angle.  Maybe it has to do with our fears as human beings.  The fear of something happening to us if we don't do the right thing.  We weren't born with this fear.  It was instilled in us from when we were young.  If you touch that hot stove, you will burn your hand.  If you stick your finger in an electric socket, you'll get a shock or worse.  If you go outside without a hat, you'll catch a cold.  There are a lot of fears flying around in our heads.  For instance, we learned that if we didn't get the right job that payed enough for us to live in a decent apartment, we could end up living on the streets or worse, in our parents basement, with no social life but lots of cats (not that I minded living with my parents or being around cats).  Yes, things like that could happen but maybe not.  What if...  What if we took a chance and found a career we loved that didn't pay a lot.  At least part of our life would be happy.  And isn't happiness contagious?  Don't we attract other happy, well adjusted people if we are happy?  Maybe.  Maybe not.  Maybe we are meant to help others struggling with unhappiness achieve that happiness.

Which brings me to the whole point of this phenomenon.  God.   Perhaps if we relied more on God than on our own beliefs about life, we would be happier.  More content.  God will always guide us.  Sometimes at the very last second, just when we think things couldn't get worse or couldn't get better, God steps in and rescues us.  He leads us in the right direction.  It may not be the direction we had dreamed or fantasized about but in the end, it is the one that will make us the happiest.

Just spending time with God each day, praying about our situation and letting God take the reigns from there, will lift a big load off of our shoulders.  Because not only do we need to pray about our situation but we need to let go.  We can't bargain with God.  "God if you give me this, I will do this.."  It doesn't work that way.  God wants us to rely entirely on him.  Letting go of our own plans and giving them to God is not an easy thing but in the end, we will see that his plans are so much better than ours.  He will bless us over and over with dreams we couldn't even imagine.

So relax.  Life is short.  Give your fears and your dreams to God.  He will lead you in ways you never imagined.  And most of all.  Be happy.  God would want it that way.


*************************************************************************

4/8/21


The Calm Before the Storm


There is a calm before every storm.  A silence that precludes the noise, the business of each day.  I know the storm is coming but I relish the quiet.  I try not to focus on the battle ahead.  The days that are coming will not be easy.  But God has my back.


What do I do to prepare for the inevitable stress;  The demands of the days ahead? A small voice in my mind says pray.  “Pray without ceasing” (Thessalonians 5:16-18, ESV).  Don’t let up, even when the storm has passed.  He will hold our hands, even when we face the giants.  “Don’t be afraid of anything” (Genesis 21:17, NRSV) and he will direct our path.






********************************************************************

February 25, 2021


Sally: The Light of our Life


There she was.  Bright, beautiful green eyes.  Friendly, sweet disposition.  Black body and black and white face.  She loves cats.  That was the only thing we knew about her.  We fell in love right away.  


It was the Fall of 2009.  A few months before I took over the care of my mother and my sister who lived upstairs in the apartment we were renting out.  


She fit right in and literally became the sunshine of our lives.  (the song that was playing when we picked her up at Petsmart was “Walking on Sunshine.”)  She was by my side on days when I took care of my mother and sister.  When my mother’s dementia became worse and my moods would match her moods, Sally was there to cheer me up. My mother’s cat, Rocky, and Sally played like old friends.  Sally was a little older than Rocky.  (Sally was  three and Rocky was two) but she still allowed Rocky to pin her to the floor without putting up a fuss.  


We also learned that she loved to go out at night and stay out all night.  At first we were worried as we never let our cats out at night but Sally always returned and never seemed to be any worse for the wear.   


Sally was there when I received the devastating diagnosis of stage four metastatic breast cancer.  She was there when I took my pills, always maintaining a cheerful presence in the kitchen.  Yes, she loved to eat.  When her health fluctuated and she needed pills or needed us to take her temperature, she tolerated it with dignity and understanding.  When fever hit her and she needed cold clothes to make her feel cooler, she seemed to understand that we were there to help.


She would occasionally pee outside of the box and in the strangest places.  Our Vet diagnosed this as a behavioral trait rather than a medical issue.  She may have been stressed, anxious or nervous.  He prescribed a calming pill. Sally and I would dutifully take our pills together in the kitchen.  Again, she understood that this was for the best.  The peeing stopped for a while, usually a year, then rear it’s smelly head again a few years later, after we brought her home from two months of being lost.  More comfort pills.  Second litter box upstairs.  Problem solved.


During Sally’s absence, one of our cats, Peaches, died of kidney failure.  She slipped quietly away one morning before we left for work.  She left a big void in our lives and in Frisky (our other cat’s) life.  When we finally found Sally, one month later, skinny and scared, under a porch right across the parking lot from our Veterinarian's office (where she escaped from), she ran around the house looking for her pals.  Frisky was still with us but Peaches was gone.  We tried to explain this to her (she was also very smart), I hoped she understood.


Six and a half years and two more cats and a Dog added to our household, Sally had weathered the storm of grief, fear, and medical issues.  A week before she died, I brought her in to our Veterinarians office. She had been suffering from diarrhea, which was also an on and off episode.  The Vet gave her a shot of (Cortizone ) to ease the possible inflammation.  Sally took it well.  The Vet called her a medical anomaly because of her ability to bounce back after treatment.  He felt her kidneys and noted that they were the size of lima beans.  Right away my radar went up.  I knew she had slowed down considerably in the last month.  She no longer wanted to go out, peed a lot outside the litter box but would bravely try to make the trip downstairs.  She was also drinking a lot and occasionally would hide in the closet or in a box I had made for her with a blanket inside. I was familiar with these signs as I I had experienced them before with our other cats who were sick.  I knew it was just a matter of time.  


One week later, it was clear that Sally was leaving us.  The Light of our Life was fading.  She no longer wanted to go outside; where she spent the happiest times of her life.  I spent the last evening with her on my lap.  The next morning, she left this world like she lived her life;  stubborn, strong, and loved; with Mike, myself, and Rory by her side.  When she passed away, Rory jumped off the couch.  He understood what had happened.  


The next day, Rory was itching to go outside.  Unusual as he stopped going out in the winter.  It was slightly warmer so maybe that was the reason.  A little while later, I was looking out the back window as I was getting the coffee ready.  Rory was sitting over near the spot where Mike buried Sally.  The area was over the bank from the yard, where our barn used to be.  He was sitting at the edge of the bank gazing out at the spot where Sally lay.  Yeah.  I knew why he changed his mind about going out that day.  He missed her as much as we did.


Mike and I thought about Sally a lot in the coming days and weeks.  I would spot her favorite toy, her bed, a place on the floor where she liked to lay and I would tear up.  I remembered her as I entered the kitchen to get a snack or make dinner.  She was always present and cheerful, meowing for food when myself or Mike were near that room.  I looked over the mound in the yard where she was buried and I would think of her now, up in heaven.  She is probably running around in the sumptuous green grass, playing with other cats, eating elaborate meals and finally feeling at peace.  She is probably looking down at us now, saying, “Don’t be sad.  Be happy for me.  I am where I am supposed to be.  Keep your memories of the good times we had.  Remember me as I was; happy, strong, and loved.”


“I’m walking on Sunshine….”




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April 15, 2021







The Quiet

The quiet stillness refreshes my soul.  No people, no work, no chores.  God gives me these days to re group and to rest.  Without these quiet days, I would melt like a big glob of plastic in the hot sun.  Stretching out on the couch, I’m feeling lazy but not bored as I can write about these days so as to remember what it was like when I get busy again.  


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4/20/21





Spring is Here!


Well Spring is crawling in, slowly but surely. God's beauty is starting to pop out all over with the grass turning green, the buds bursting out of the branches, and the white puffy clouds in the sky. Oh, and let's not forget the weather, which is getting warmer. No need for boots, heavy coats and hats (except for yesterday and probably the next two days. We are in Vermont after all).


The Notch opened last week, then closed as the weather turned snowy again. Maybe by next week it will open permanently. We can only hope...and pray. As I watch the traffic wiz by out on our street, once again I see trucks pulling campers, motorcycles and tour busses. Yes, Summer is just around the corner.


I have come out of my winter shell and started writing again, after a short hiatus due to a death in our family (my cat), a medical procedure (nothing serious but nerve-wracking non the less) and placing our house on the market (I'll explain later). I am working on a short story that I will probably submit to one of the Christian Magazines or Publishers. I won't go into too much detail except to say that the name of the piece (so far) is "The Encounter" and has to do with a woman who thinks she knows what she wants out of life but "encounters" someone who may turn that around. I am also working on a story about an interesting train ride and another type of encounter. Do you see a pattern here? Stay tuned. Hopefully one or both of these stories will appear in a magazine near you.


Anyway, back to the sale of our house. Yes, Michael and I took the plunge. We decided that it was time to finally get serious and also take advantage of the great housing market. We hope that we will get an offer soon, after many showings and endless cleaning, moving of furniture and dog walks during the showings. I could really use your prayers as well.


During these times of uncertainty, I realize how important it is to pray without ceasing. Even when I am discouraged and secretly don't want to get my hopes us, I need to pray, to ask others to pray, and most of all....to trust. God is with us always. He hears our prayers. We just need to be patient. Above all, I think I could use the most help with that God.






🎕🌷



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12/9/20

You’ve Got This


(This is a reflective piece I wrote for an entry in my Writer’s Journal for my online writing class way back in December of 2020. The name “Linda” is not the actual name of the person in my dream but I change the name for the sake of confidentiality).


“I’ll meet you all in the kitchen!” called Linda. She paused and turned to me before she left.


“Can I talk to you for a minute?”


In my dream, I was packing up my things..boxes, pictures, clothes, with other employees in my workplace.  I wasn’t sure where I was working but it was in a big old house with lots of rooms.  I must have been on the second or third floor. Obviously it was the end of something.  We were all packing up and getting ready to leave.


“Sure.”  I wondered why Linda wanted to talk to me when she just said she was going to meet us downstairs? She headed down the back staircase to the kitchen door, rather than using the front door.  But this was a dream and sometimes you just need to go along with what happens in a dream, whether it makes sense or not.


Linda and I never actually worked together at a job; although we did work together in many musicals.  We keep in touch on facebook.  Linda was a social media guru.  She always kept an eye on the beat of all things entertainment.  She also never missed a post by any of her friends.  She is empathetic when we are grieving and laughs with us, sometimes throwing out snarky remarks, when she notices any slight misstep or mistype in our words.  We have all grown to love Linda.


When I finally made my way down the narrow, tight staircase to the kitchen, Linda came over to me and embraced me.  At the same time, she pressed something into my hand.  It felt very warm and comforting.  Simultaneously, she whispered in my ear, “you’ve got this girl.”  


I looked down at my hand surprised by her words.  In my hand sat a small doll with a fancy dress and sneakers. The doll reminded me of a princess with her yellow curly hair and deep blue eyes.  In her hand was a football.  She held it in her arm like she was running.


When I woke, I thought about the dream.  First of all, this was so Linda.  She loved to hug people (pre-covid).  She was empathetic and loved superheroes. I do remember that this doll that looked like a princess was the type of doll that Linda would post on her facebook page as a meme.  


My second thought was that about a week earlier, November 30, 2020, was the deadline for submitting the rest of my hours in for licensure.  I had exactly two years from the time I started working for the Mental Health Agency, to submit the rest of my 1500 hours.  I let it slide.  November 30, 2020, came and went and the 800 hours that I never accumulated were erased, along with my 1500 hours.  If I wanted to continue submitting hours, I would need to start all over again and probably need to submit 5,000, as the number of hours for becoming a licensed therapist had changed over the years.  I had been grandfathered in previously as I graduated before the rules changed.  


I cried as I walked my dog down our favorite walking path that day.  I had worked towards that goal for years and now the dream had died. It took me years to land a job in my field and I had compromised my health, and spent many late evenings at work attempting to finish paperwork that had impossible deadlines while getting very little pay.


But I know I made the right decision by walking away from my career two years ago.  At the time I didn’t realize I was actually walking away.  I always figured I would return to work as a non-licensed therapist until I could get licensed.  I imagined that my cancer would go into remission and I would have the energy to return to work.  Unfortunately, things did not happen that way.  At the end of 2020, when Covid hit and I started writing to fill my time, I realized I had crossed a bridge to a new tomorrow.  I found out that even though working in the Mental Health field was stimulating and educational, writing was my real love.  I didn’t love working in the therapeutic field.  I love writing.  


My metastatic breast cancer took some things away but replaced them with others, more fulfilling, endearing, and enticing. And yes, my cancer did go into a type of remission even though my treatments continue. But it wasn’t the metastatic breast cancer that told me to step aside from my dream job and replace it with something better.   It was God.  My experience reminds me of a song written by Amy Grant, “So Glad.” (Grant, 1980). Here is an excerpt:


I had laid some mighty plans,

Thought I held them in my hands.

Then my world began to crumble all away.

I tried to build it back again;

I couldn't bear to see it end,

How it hurt to know You wanted it that way.

And I'm so glad,

Glad to find the reason,

That I'm happy-sad

That You've torn it all away,

And I'm so glad,

Though it hurts to know I'm leaving

Everything I ever thought that I would be.


Yes, Linda.  It was the right choice.


I’ve got this!


********************************************************************************************************


4/22/21


Thoughts on this Snow-Filled Day


Ah, another snowy day.  Yesterday it snowed all day and the winds were brutal.  Today there is a fresh layer of snow (much more than the weatherman predicted), and everything looks fresh and new again.  God has given us a new day full of new possibilities.  We need to take advantage of those possibilities by embracing the changes.

We have another house showing today.  The housing market is so hot right now, we assumed that if we just cleaned up our house, packed up some things and staged it a little, people would be beating a path to our door and competing with each other.  Who knows?  Potential buyers may even give us more than what we are asking!

Well, the reality is, we really need to work harder to sell this house.  After glancing through a book my sister sent us, "Dress Your House for Success" (Webb, 1997), I decided to take some of their advise and make a few changes.  The book is dated, I know but what harm could it do to change up some things. Obviously what we had been doing was not selling the house.  We shall see.

Anyway, I guess my point in all of this is that we can pray and wait for God's answer.  We can sit back and say, "alright God, you have the driver's seat.  I'm just going to sit back and let you drive."  Yeah, that could work.  But maybe sometimes God wants us to do SOMETHING to help the situation.  Or perhaps he put this book in my sister's thoughts and my sister, in turn was moved to send it to us.  

All we can do is trust and take life one step at a time.  There will be disappointments, no doubt but we can't give up.  I know we will sell the house...someday.  We may not sell it in my time frame, or our time frame but God has a plan.  "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope" (ESV 29:11).

Isn't having Hope what it is all about?


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👼

April 24, 2021


Do you Believe in Angels?


Hi there.  I took the day off from my Blog yesterday because I had a terrible headache..  A migraine to be exact.  I've suffered from migraines all my life so I always know the difference between that type of headache and a regular tension headache.  Anyway.  I'm back and I feel much better.  The grass is green, the snow has disappeared and it's supposed to be in the 50's today.  Yay God!

My topic for today is Angels.  Do you believe in Angels?  I think I do.  I've never encountered an actual angel dressed in white with a halo but I think I've met people who lead me to the right path.  I consider these people angels or at least angels in disguise.  You know the type.   People who rescue you when you need to be rescued.  People who call you at just the right time.  I consider these people angels.  Angels are sent by God.  So even if you do not have an obvious supernatural experience via an angel, you may be the recipient of a human being who was moved by God to tell you something profound or to give you advise you really needed.  

Do any of you have stories of angels, either through dreams, real life or supernatural?  Leave these experiences in the comment section.  I would love to hear about them.

Have a blessed "angelic" day.  


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April 25, 2021


Good morning!  Sunday morning and it actually isn't raining.  What a gift.  Thank you God!

For the next couple of days, I am going to type some pieces from my Writer's Journal.  These are a pieces I wrote last year while I was taking my writing class.  I hope you enjoy them.

💖😀

Grateful

I am grateful for hope.

Hope is what gets us through when we feel there is nothing left.

If we don't have hope, we have nothing.

I am grateful for the new snow in the days before winter.  

The first rose in Spring.  The dandelions in Summer.

The beautiful colors of the leaves in the Fall.

It's as if God were painting all of the pictures for us.

I am grateful for my husband who stands by me no matte what.

Who understands my ups and downs and who comforts me when I need comforting.


What are you grateful for this Sunday?


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4/26/21

🏃⚘

Why is Life so Hard?

"Indeed I consider everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Jesus Christ my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ." (Philippians 3:8, ESV).

Why is life so hard?  Why do I have to fight for everything?

These are a few of the questions I've heard people ask and questions I have also pondered.  Doesn't it seem sometimes that life is just one hurdle after another?  Why can't life just be easier?

Did anyone say that life is easy?  

Well, easy is a relative response.  What some people consider easy may be difficult for other people.  For example, getting up early, going to work, going shopping.  This could be hard or easy, depending on your condition or financial well-being.  For someone with physical difficulties, getting up in the morning, getting dressed, going to work, may be very difficult but they do these things because they need to support themselves or their family.  Depending on the circumstance, just being able to get up is a gift.  But maybe they do wish that it was a little easier.  

Personally, for me, getting up early is very difficult.  I am just not a morning person.  When I was working full time, I didn't have a choice.  I drove long distances, through the snow and ice just to get to work.  There were many times I felt like giving up.  Life to me was hard and demanding.  Stressful.  But I continued working because I had to.  Even after I received my cancer diagnosis.  

But putting jobs aside, what about the other stuff that goes on.  The bills, the creditors, the people in your life that give you a difficult time.  Aren't we taught in Kindergarten  how to deal with people?  How to share, be kind? What happens when we grow up that makes this so difficult?  People disappoint us.  People judge us.  Basically, people don't live up to our expectations.  Yes.  Life is just not easy sometimes.

Now to get back to the bible verse at the beginning of this piece.  The word "suffer" takes on a whole new meaning when we suffer for Christ.  Is all our suffering for nothing.  Certainly not.  L.B. Cowen (Cowen, 1997) tells us that, "The Glory of tomorrow is rooted in the drudgery of today."  In other words, our suffering not only makes us stronger but brings us closer to Christ.  We can't become holy if we don't ever change.  Suffering brings about change.  Cowen uses the example of a flower.  First there are buds and buds need water and sun to grow.  A flower can't go from a seed to a blooming, colorful rose overnight.  You can't become a marathon runner without some practice and pain at times. There needs to be some work involved.

So yes, life is hard but our suffering an bring us to a better place if we continue to pray through the suffering and keep our eyes on Christ.  We will come out better on the other end.


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4/27/21

⛅🌧🌨🌥

Imagination




I watched the dark clouds move swiftly across the sky.  Patches of blue behind them.

So much goes on up there while we are busy with our lives.  We don't take the time to look up at the sky.

There is a whole other world up there, free from the business of life.

Have you ever looked at the shape of the clouds while you were sitting on your porch, gazing upwards? Have you noticed the shapes that look like animals, babies, old men?  I could swear I've seen bunny rabbits, dogs, newborns floating past as I concentrate on the white patches.

Could this be part of heaven?  Or are these creatures angels that are visiting from heaven to watch over us?

And it changes according the season.  Light, fluffy clouds against a blue sky in the summer and dark, grey clouds moving swiftly in cold weather.  As if the clouds are in a hurry to get somewhere warm.  

What if, just what if, one day when you least expect it, a cloud reached down and swept us up in the air.  We could ride along the clouds, slapping high fives at the shapes.   

Clouds shaped like dogs, cats, clowns, magicians...anything our imaginations can conjure up.  

We could fly through cold winds, rain and snow.  

Looking down at the land below, people would look like ants, scurrying here and there.  Cars would look like toys, buildings like dollhouses.

Finally, when he had our fill of adventures for the day, we would slow down and just sit on the cloud, basking in the glorious sunshine.  

Curiously, as quickly as we were swept up into the cloud, we would be gently carried down to the grass again.

And we would be happy to be given that time and that experience to imagine.


                                                                         

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4/28/21

Hi Everyone.  I hope you enjoyed my "old pieces" from last year.  I do have more and will type them later.  

Today was another busy day.  No offer on our house yet but hopefully soon. I will be auditioning for the Musical, Annie, at our local Opera House in Hyde Park on Sunday afternoon.  I am excited, not only for the audition but because I will be re connecting with a friend from the musical,  "All Shook Up. "   My friend, Helen and I performed in and co-produced  this show back in 2018.  I haven't seen Federica since then (she was one of the stars of the show).  I look forward to chatting with her again and singing with her at the audition. 

So, I have decided to write another Haiku poem as it is one of my favorite types of poems and I haven't written one in a while.  Thanks again for reading my blog.  Again, please comment if you get a chance.

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4/28/21

Rain

Pitter, patter noise
Against my windshield sounds
Like dancing feet now.


☔🌧🌈

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4/30/21

Blessings

Last day of the month.  Yes, it's raining but everything is bursting with green out there.  God has blessed us with another beautiful May; he always comes through.

Today I'm concentrating on the many blessings God has bestowed on us.  The gift of life, health, and love.  

The gift is Life is precious.  I try to give thanks to God even during these seemingly dreary days where there is no sun.  He woke us up in the morning, allowed us to breathe in the beauty of his many blessings, and allowed us to take in another day.  Everyday can be a new opportunity for us to be grateful, to help others who may be struggling, to show kindness to someone who may have never known kindness and to receive kindness from others.

Yesterday I received wonderful news about my latest Cat Scan.  My liver continues to regenerate and shrink back to the normal size.  The tumors are shrinking a lot as well. I always pray before and during my scan and my husband, friends and family always pray. A few years back, the thought of getting cured of this disease was far from my mind.  I was always told by my Oncologists that meds will work for a while and then I would have to switch to something else.  I was always led to understand this disease is treatable but not cure-able Well, my hope has been restored and once again (as I did the first year I was diagnosed), I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.  All the prayers that have burst through to the heavens are working.  God is good.

Well, that takes care of Life and Health.  My final thanksgiving to God is Love.  The love of my husband, family and friends have brought me through these difficult times, assisted me with decisions, talked me through the anxiety and depression I have felt and most important, prayed for me.  

(1 Corinthians 13:13) And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love; but the greatest of these is love. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.

Have a blessed day.

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5/4/21

Kindness



Today I decided to write about Kindness.  This is a word that is used a lot but do people understand what it really means?  Usually we think about kindness in terms of grand gestures that people make.  For example a child creating gifts or cards for Veterans or a person in your community raising money for a poor or disabled person.  All wonderful acts of kindness.  I love reading heart-warming stories of one neighbor helping another neighbor in need.  These types of stories restore faith in our otherwise troubled world.  We can acknowledge that despite what we see on the news, the looting, the violence and the disappointment we see in our fellow mankind, there is hope out there.  There are kind people who would come to our need in a nanosecond.


However, kind acts do not need to be large gestures, big projects and group activities that are advertised in the paper, on Facebook or on the news.  Kindness can be so small that only you and the person you touched with that act of kindness know about it.   Acts as simple as a gentle touch when someone is feeling upset.  The kind touch of another human being will help that person to feel a connection.  

Another kind gestures may be a friendly voice on the phone.  How often do we call a customer service number, only to be greeted by a curt, angry, impatient voice on the other end?  I know I feel much better when that person on the other end of the phone takes the time to listen to what I am saying and greets me with a calm, friendly voice.  My experience with that company ends up being much more positive.  

How about holding the door for someone who may be struggling with groceries?  Or someone in a wheelchair, a mom with her children.  Sometimes I hold the door for a while, even if the person is going slowly, because, after all, what is a few minutes in life if it can change how that person views his or her day?  Perhaps someone cut them off in traffic right before they entered the building where you took the extra minute to hold the door.  If that gesture was the last thing you did for them, that is what they will remember, most likely.

God expresses Kindness simply: Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. (Ephesians 4:32).

Let's try to show some kindness today.


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5/11/21



Sometimes God...


Sometimes God surprises us.

Sometimes God delights us.

Sometimes God makes us think.

Sometimes God comforts us.

Sometimes God sends us angels.

Sometimes God gives us words to say.

And Sometimes God just listens.


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May 13, 2021


Daily Thoughts


Well, the week is flying by.  Pretty soon, Sunday, my first "Annie" rehearsal will be here.  Yes, I landed a part in the Musical.  I will be playing the part of the "Upstairs Maid."  Apparently there is also a Downstairs Maid as well.  I don't have a name.  I am just part of the Staff of the "Mansion."  The schedule is light, which suits me fine this Summer as we are STILL trying to sell our house.  More prayers please!

I am enjoying the freedom of these Spring days before Summer arrives and the Musical gets into full swing.  The peacefulness of sitting on the front porch without being exhausted from rehearsal the night before.  Enjoying my view of the buds popping out on the trees, our flowers and the dandelions that keep popping up, even after they are mowed.

Today I visited the Fairfax Bike/walking path with Shadow, our dog.  I hadn't been there in a while for one reason or the other.  The last time I was there with Michael and Shadow, it was still chilly and brown looking.  The grass still looked tired and old and there wasn't anything pretty about it.  Today it was bursting with color.  The smell of spring was in the air.  The beautiful, rich looking green grass was freshly mowed.  The water was sparkling and the birds were all singing like they were in Church and praising the Lord.

As we entered the path, we could hear a class singing a folk song I remembered from camp years ago.  It just seemed like everyone was happy that Spring has finally arrived.


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May 18, 2021

Nothing Lasts Forever


Nothing lasts forever, new Springs do come.

Like the dew on the grass each morning, it always gives way to the sun.

Nothing lasts forever, children grow older and leave.

Parents go gray and bodies ache, minds go blank, as we start to grieve,

the passing of yesterday, which seems alive

to what we remember as those days when we thrived.

Nothing lasts forever but God's love for us. 

Forever and always we trust.

*****************************************************************************

June 4, 2021

Wow!  I just noticed that I haven't done a blog entry since May 18th!

Life has been busy.  We sold the house! Well, we got an offer and we have signed the contracts. Now the other half of the work begins.  Finding a house, packing up, tying up loose ends like address changes, shutting off electricity, etc.  All while rehearsing for the Musical.  Somehow we will get through this but only through the grace of God.

I took a break today and walked with my neighbor, Deb and Shadow.  We took a stroll through the Fairfax Bike Path.  I was bragging to Deb that it is such a quiet, peaceful place and as usual, when I brag about things being a certain way (like when I say Shadow is so good on a walk and then suddenly becomes a circus clown), the situation is totally different. 

The Park was packed!  As we entered the bike path, we noticed a sign that said, "Ninja Warriors."  There were streamers and hoops and paraphenalia set up for, what I could only imagine was a child's fair.  To young men were setting these up and putting the finishing touches on the games.  

As we continued down the path (with Shadow on the leash due to an unfortunate encounter with a woman who yelled at us for having him off the leash), we marvelled at the green, lushness of the fields and the beautiful, purple flowers that popped up along the way.  Around the corner came about 24 children, led by young teachers, presumibly on their way to the fair.  I knew Shadow would be find but I held him a little tighter.  Behind the group was an older man with two medium sized black dogs.  One dog was on a leash and one dog was off the leash.  I tried to distract Shadow as he becomes like Cujo when he is on a leash and other dogs are around.  But unfortunately, he spotted the dogs and went nuts.  After tying to calm him down by making him sit and cajoling him to look at me while I petted him, the dogs passed by without incident and we walked on.  

Spotting another dog, Shadow ran away from us and sniffed noses with the older yellow lab.  This bike path was starting to grow crowded!  I put him on the leash, then let him off when I determined that we were safely away from the dog.  

All of a sudden, I spotted a deer in the bushes by the river!  In the middle of the day?  I thought they only appeared at dusk and jump out at us as we try to avoid them with our car.  I rarely saw a deer in the middle of the afternoon.  He stared at us, just as surprised.  I turned to tell Deb what I was seeing and when I turned around again, he was gone.

We ventured on.  As we walked beside the river, we noticed the beautiful flowers that had sprung up along the edge of the bank.  Gorgeous purple and white.  To me, it seems like every season brings a new type of flower (except for winter) in which to marvel.  

Finally as we rounded the hill toward the parking lot, we discovered who the young men (who we saw at the beginning of our walk) were preparing for.  60 first? second-graders? were just finishing the games that the young men had walked them through.  The Teachers were lining them up in very straight rows and directing them to walk back to the School across the street. We waited patiently (even Shadow, wish his tongue hanging out because of the heat) while row by row, they filed into the parking lot.

What an interesting walk!  I don't think I had ever seen the Path so crowded.  I mentioned this to Deb but added how nice it was that the Path was being used for such positive events.

So that was our day.  A lovely walk for on a Friday morning.

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6/5/21

Endings and Beginnings

Funny how June is the same every year.  It's not just the beautiful weather, the lush green fields and the lilacs that appear, brightening the bushes and letting off a perfumed scent to the air. It is what happens to us and our families in June.  

June represents the end.  The end of the Elementary, Middle and High School year.  Graduations occur, friends say goodbye to Teachers and other friends. And suddenly the world grows quiet.  There is a hush that fills the land.  We are able to, for the first time in the middle of our busy lives, to relish the sounds, sights and smells of summer and all of God's creation.  

No more homework, no more Teaching, no more setting alarms and making breakfasts. No more rushing to events after School or work.  No more stressing about projects, deadlines, or checking our watches and clocks.  

This is the time to sleep in with our windows open, letting the light, summer breeze fly through the window and think about how little we have to do.  June represents the end of the School year for students and Teachers but the beginning of Summer.

Summer trips to the beach, long, leisurely walks, family time, shorts, summer dresses, sandles; even barefeet.  Summer camp for some, reading, potlucks, weddings, baby showers, outdoor events and concerts.  

Yes, we have to say goodbye for a while but most will return in the Fall.  Those who don't will head off to College for another new adventure and a new beginning.

***********************************************************************************

6/7/21

Hold on

Hold on, says the sparrow to her newly hatched chicks.

Mommy will be back soon to feed you.

Hold on says the hero while saving the victim. Take my hand and don’t give up

please, hold on.

Hold on says the man running after the bus

Wait for me, don’t leave me here alone.

Hold on for tomorrow God says to us always.

Don’t doubt, things will turn out ok.

Be patient and wait.

Your prayers will be answered if you wait another day and Hold on.

**********************************************************************************


7/22/21

SHADOWS

Shadows near me as I drive home through the dark night

Lit only by rays from the moon.

Shadows reach out to me, masquerading as a bear? monster? mailbox?

Shadows surround me, dancing in the air.

Keeping me company on my long ride.

Shadows in back of me as I come into the light

of street lamps, headlights, and stores.

Memories of shadows as I drive away, bidding farewell.

knowing that

I will see Shadows again.

**************************************************************************

8/3/21


Well, I'm back.  We sold our house and moved into my mother-in-law's temporarily.  We also bought a house in Derby Line, Vermont (no, not New Hampshire as we had hoped but maybe someday).  In just under two weeks, we will move into our new home.  It will be all ours.  No tenants, no borders, all ours.  I am delighted that there are not only 3 bedrooms but 2 baths!  I have wanted two bathrooms for so long.  We can't wait to move in. 

Meanwhile, the Musical is over.  Annie was a hit with the small audience that attended.  We could only have 50 people in the Opera House at one time because of initial fears of Covid (which seem to be ongoing, even after most people in Vermont were vaccinated..but I digress).  The experience was exhausting, particularly because it was happening simultaneously with the move and the house search but it was totally worth it.  The songs are still running through my head.  The show was taped and will be live streamed August 25-29th.  Tickets can be purchased through LCPlayers.com.  

So today I took a day off and drove to the Waterbury Reservoir.  What a great feeling to have no place to go and to just lay back and enjoy the sunshine.  I need to do that more often as does Michael.

I have more positive news about a procedure I will be undergoing and will share that later.

For now, I am just happy to be living in the moment and loving life, my husband, and my pets.  God is so good.  Amen.


1 comment:

  1. Thank you for sharing your poems. Keep them coming! I can really identify with "No Sleep" and scattered thoughts before being overcome by sleep. Thank you for sharing your blog.

    ReplyDelete

  1 🌇💓💔🏫🏫🏫 You Can’t Go Back By Andrea Peden I remember when I was a student at a Private Catholic College in Vermont in 1982. My ...