Sunday, November 29, 2015

Mary and Me: an Advent poem

She said 'Yes
though alternative responses 
born of competing emotions
must have demanded their say - 
even, fear.

But, for some, 
Gods presence and love 
active in their lives 
cannot be denied 

and 'yes' raced to the finish line 
and slipped from her lips first.

And then she waited, 

in a human 
and very pregnant 

and waited 

for Gods plan and new reality 
to become manifest.

 Waited during

Waited in 
and certain knowledge 
that she was 
beloved by God, 

 This advent season 
as cells divide in my body as well,
leading not to a newborn infant 
but death 
and a new form of life 
in You,

May I too 
wait in the pause 

and certain knowledge 
that I am beloved by God,

and despite all the competing emotions, 
jostling for position in my mouth, 
be my daily response.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Timing ...

it's everything.
I ordered this book
several weeks ago;
it was back ordered
and just arrived in my mailbox 

From a raw statistics point of view,
this might be less of an issue 
than I'd once believed it would be.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015


My children have always known I’ve had feet of clay; 
I've never pretended to be perfect.

They were protected however 
from knowing exactly how close to the edge 
those feet of clay got 
on any given day,
or how precarious the ground was 
under my feet.

For those of you who haven’t parented solo,
there’s a lot we single moms protect our kids from knowing.

I tried to convey I was in control,
that I could handle 
whatever they - or the world -
threw at me.

I may also have given them the message 
that I’d always be there
to help them deal with 
whatever came their way as well.

Hard conversations this weekend reminded us all 
that when the ground shifts beneath your feet 
is generally beyond your control;
that some things your parent presents as truth 
is actually wishful thinking 
 - spoiler alert - 
 all feet, 
whether clay or flesh 
are attached to mortal beings 
and therefore 
subject to crumbling.

Conversations not for the faint of heart,
although we will deal with whatever comes next -

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Cancer Lesson #1

Never tell your hairstylist 
of 25 years 
that you have cancer
while she has sharp scissors in her hand,
posed over your hair.
Or a 'trim' will turn into
the shortest hair you've had in years!

What can I say,
she's easily distracted.

At least if I lose it all from chemo,
I'm halfway there already!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

A new chapter begins

It's a lesson I thought I had already learned;
apparently the Universe thought
I needed another tutorial.

The power of a single word 
to change the trajectory of my life.


as in
"Will you marry me?"
from the love of my young life
"Will you quit your job and trust me?"
from God
"Will you come back to work 
and be a voice for wounded children again
in a new way?"
from a beloved colleague

as in
"I want a _______."
Suddenly the future I'd envisioned
for myself and my children 
went up in smoke
and I watched in stunned silence
as it vanished,
 though I couldn't see clearly 
through all my tears.

as in,
"I'm so sorry to tell you, 
but you have ______."

Suddenly all the seemingly disparate symptoms
that have plagued for months,
(years, actually)
made sense
and the feeling of foreboding
I've lived with for weeks
wasn't merely paranoia 
but precognition;

my true self 
giving advance warning,
laying the ground work
to enable the hearing

Saturday, November 21, 2015


God comes to us not where we should have been 
if we had made all the right choices in life;

 not where we could have been 
if we had taken every opportunity that God has offered us;

 not where we wish we were 
if we didn’t have to be in the place where we find ourselves; 

not where we think we are
because our minds are out of sync with our hearts; 

not where other people think we are
 or think we ought to be 
when they are attending to their own agendas. 

God meets us where we really are.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Aboriginal wisdom

We look up and see the stars shining above
and say, 
"They are bright suns 
and around them are planets, 
possibly with people we will never see."

However when my Aboriginal people looked up at the night sky, 
they didn't see the stars -

they never saw stars.

They only saw the campfires of their ancestors on their journey.

The bright stars were the ancestors who were not long gone; 
the dimmer stars were the ancestors further along on the journey.

Eddie Kneebone
Aboriginal elder

I can't tell you how much I love this interpretation ...
I'll never see the night sky in the same way again.

Saturday, November 14, 2015


Might be time to go and blow some new life
on the ember
of my madness!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Veterans Day

From my great great grandfather
during the Spanish American War,
to my father
in WW2,
and my son
there is a tradition of the men in our family
 serving our country 
in the military.

As most of you know,
this is not something
I wanted my son to do.
I can't imagine that ANY mother ever wanted 
her child to be in harms way,
in ANY generation.

Yet I acknowledge that we owe all who have served
a tremendous debt of gratitude.

remember the men who served -
and all the family members with a myriad of feelings as they did.

I suspect they loved and worried about them
every day they were in uniform.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

A Tale of Two Journeys

There are parts of the pain that feel familiar;
the pain,
and terror 
experienced by children
as the adults in their lives careen out of control;

a pain and emptiness that settles in the pit of your stomach,
from which you can't escape
without numbing,
fleeing to rage and lashing out,
or using
whatever substance you prefer 
as a drug of choice.

It's familiar because I've been here before 
in my career.
There are parts of the pain that feel familiar 
because the pain currently in front of me 
echoes from the rooms of my own childhood;
a past which,
 though throughly explored,
 now offers up 
unexpected land-mines 
new shrapnel to the heart.

It's familiar because I've been here before 
in my life.
And it hurts.
The crying on the drive to work
on Monday mornings 
crying on the way home from work most nights
kind of hurt.

Which, not surprisingly, 
led me to think about the last time 
pain was such a constant reality of my day to day life ...

walking the Camino.
I had lunch this weekend 
with a new friend who was inspired by my journey in Spain
to undertake her own;
a journey she successfully completed
and from which she's just returned.

As we shared stories and experiences of our pilgrimages,
it became crystal clear to me that
 my work with children in foster care is
another Camino.

A journey I feel compelled to undertake;
called by God,
for reasons I don't know
and don't begin to understand
but know to be true nonetheless;
leading me to exclaim like the character in 
Shakespeare in Love 

"It's a mystery."

And it is.

And like the Camino,
it's changing me forever;
demanding an intentional commitment from me
every damn day.

Knowing I could quit at any time,
yet trusting that the pain of growing
and doing deeper healing
is a price worth paying.

We don't get our days back.
Contrary to what some of us might like,
there are no do-overs.

The people we meet,
what we feel,
what we do
will never present
in exactly the same way again.

And just because there's pain,
it doesn't negate the moments
of beauty and joy.

Being alive is no small gift.
It's a mystery.
I've had a rough few days
not able to see the forest for the trees
but I'm beginning to find my way out
to the other side.

IF, as my Spiritual Director insists,
crying is a form of prayer,
then I've been praying

Apparently our Caminos,
no matter the form they take,
are never over.

Does the road wind uphill all the way?
Yes, to the very end.

Will the day's journey take the whole long day?
From morn to night, my friend.

 Christina Georgina Rossetti

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

It suits;

it feels right
to have a day
wrapped in uncertainty,
in not knowing.

It feels right to move more slowly,
 scanning the environs
for things I can't clearly see coming .
I have no reason why it feels right.
I only know it does.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

All Saints

All the ancestors who have carried us to this day 
are now gathering - 

to carry us through tomorrow,
into eternity.

They are blessing us with stories of their lives. 

They are blessing us with their legacy. 

They are - 
and always have been - 
blessing us with an outpouring of their spirit 
which brought us to this day 
and will carry us beyond.

Although these words were written
by someone else
in a different context

I can't imagine a better description of All Saints Day.

It's not just a day of mourning
and remembering
all the ancestors who have gone before;

it's a celebration of all we've inherited

from people we clearly recognize as saints

and, more frequently,
from those we do not.

It's about claiming OUR place
 in the never ending procession.