“It seemed so unfair: that time should render both sadness and happiness into a source of pain” – from A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry

Today’s PAD challenge was to write a poem about family

 

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Can’t Separate

Can’t separate me from the past
my grandfather’s desertion
my grandmother’s tenacity
the stories told and retold
by the aunts who remember

Can’t separate me from my childhood
Dad’s bellowing and invented words
Mom’s steadfastness and silly jokes
brothers by my side, happy or not
supper in the kitchen every night

Can’t separate me from those cousins
who made paper dolls for me
we swam and skated and pretended
and whispered into the night
those first and forever friends

Can’t separate me from my husband
who made a new family with me
who grew and stumbled by my side
the one who really knows me
and loves me anyway

Can’t separate me from my offspring
flesh of my flesh who look like their dad
my babies grown up too soon
across state lines and time zones
in joy and sorrow, mine

Can’t separate me from this next generation
the little ones who let me love on them
these two with bits of me inside
this hope for the future
this family of mine

So…

Today’s PAD prompt was  to write a “So” poem.

 

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So, then what?

I arrived by train in the late afternoon
I made it to your side, sending Mom to bed
in just a few hours it was time
she was all curled up in that great big bed
and I had to wake her up
she took your hand, said it was okay to go
I held her
and you were gone

So, then what?

I will tell your stories to my children
and grandchildren
I’ll be the artisan of silly names
and funny expressions
I will keep your memory alive

 

Today in my Facebook Memories, I found my poem for PAD Day 9, 2013.

Instructions

Are there only ten instructions?

I can do that

I believe in God

You know, GOD

No way!

I don’t have any statues in my house

Football trophies don’t count, right?

OMG- that’s not really saying it, right?

Yes, I call myself a Christian

I go to the early service

(Doesn’t interfere with the game)

Yes, sir/No sir

That’s so old fashioned

Murder in my heart? My thoughts count?

Honestly, I only buy it for the articles

It’s not plagiarism if I change a couple words

Little white lies don’t hurt anyone

Who in the world are Ananias and Sapphira? A rock band?

No, I don’t want my neighbor’s truck

I want my own

What? I thought you said ten

There are only really two?

Why didn’t you say so?

With ALL my heart, soul, and mind?

That’s a tough one

I like my neighbors – I always wave

I even put money in that kettle every December

Love them as much as I love me?

I’ll get back to you

God’s Love

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Railroad Park – Bham

 

Today’s PAD prompt is ______ love. So simple. And yet…

 

God’s Love

My love

is not like God’s love

mine is on a sliding scale

of emotions

I think I’m constant

but I waver

like a playground seesaw

I am glad

God’s love

is not like my love

His love

is immutable

 

I also stumbled on a  PAD Day 3 post from 2013. 

midday

Wait for the Midday

Early morning sun

flickers through the trees

like an irregular heartbeat

light and shadows start the day

in my eyes and in my soul

makes me squint

makes me wonder

do I stay or do I go?

wait, my soul

wait for the midday

wait for the warmth

illumination will come

just wait

to see, to know

wait for the midday

 

 

Simple Bounty

m&m

 

Bounty is good things that are given or provided freely and in large amounts, according to Merriam-Webster. When I think of the word bounty, I think of bountiful, a word often heard around Thanksgiving. Sometimes I think we forget what a bountiful amount of possessions we have. And what an abundance of blessings.

I don’t want to go all Green Acres or anything, but I really have felt the need for simplicity lately. Kim John Payne , author of Simplicity Parenting, describes the four pillars of excess as having too much stuff, too many choices, too much information and too much speed.

I experience at least three of the four pillars of excess on a weekly basis. Just one trip to Target puts me face-to-face with too much stuff and too many choices.

I can’t seem to totally transform my closet into a model of a capsule wardrobe, so I still battle with too many choices there, also. I love the idea of narrowing down my apparel to a selection of 37 fabulous pieces. But there are problems. Like, when you plan to wear the white top but your only clean undergarment is dark blue. Then there are all your sleeveless dresses that require a little sweater – for protection when the indoors feels like winter and to hide your flapping upper arms. I know it’s doable, it just takes time to get simplified.

Too much information is a sneaky excess. It assaults me every time I open my laptop. Ten Ways to….How to Do Whatever in Six Easy Steps… The Best…Wait Until You See What They Look Like Now… If I google a word, I will get a definition, the book, the movie, and the urban slang option.

One pillar of excess that I don’t really have to deal with is speed, except when I’m running really late. I do not jog. I love my slow cooker. I slowly savor my peanut M & Ms.

What I think I’m learning is that to really appreciate the bounty of blessings, I need to sort through the abundance of excesses in my life. The busyness of life can be like blinders, keeping us from seeing what is really around us. It may sound like a paradox, but paring down can actually increase the bounty of your life.

deer

“Every time you feel in God’s creatures something pleasing and attractive, do not let your attention be arrested by them alone, but, passing them by, transfer your thought to God and say: ‘O my God, if thy creations are so full of beauty, delight and joy, how infinitely more full of beauty, delight and joy art Thou Thyself, Creator of all!” – Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain

I came across this quote in Ann Voskamp’s book, One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are.

There isn’t much I can add to this. I love going out with my camera and trying to capture “something pleasing and attractive”. I am grateful to God for allowing me this simple pleasure.

Prayer

 

Dear Father… You are patient and gracious far beyond our deserving. Let us hope for your forgiveness when we can find no way to forgive ourselves. You bless our lives even when we have shown ourselves to be utterly ungrateful and unworthy. May we be strengthened and renewed, to make us less unworthy of blessing, through these your gifts of sustenance, of friendship and family.” – prayed by Jack in Home by Marilynne Robinson

You would have to read the book to understand how beautiful and sad this prayer is.  Jack, the “black sheep” of the family prays here and it nearly broke my heart. This is the prayer I need to pray. Every. Single. Day. I identify with the ‘no way to forgive ourselves’ sentiment. And the being blessed even while ungrateful and unworthy.

Prayer doesn’t change things, but prayer lays hold of God who changes things and Who, in prayer, changes you. And sometimes in the midst of it all He gives you the assurance that your plea has been granted. – from The Way of the Righteous in the Muck of Life by Dale Ralph Davis

I like that part about how God changes us in prayer. And gives us assurance.