• My Poems,  Poetry

    Gilt Gift {a #poem}

    Sometimes I guilt myself right out of joy. Like the surprise of an iridescent butterfly from an unsightly cocoon, who would expect this shimmering show in morning sunlight? Eyes are trained on Northwest firs framed in blue, frosted feeders, feathered presents hidden among the trees. I’ve held my breath, wondering. Did my mother ever ponder stilling herself, take a moment with the birds in her California garden? Gaze restful at morning fog carried in on marine air? Was she ever at ease in her troubled life, as she parented us alone? I will never know. I cannot ring her up to ask, there is no email to send, no letter…

  • Life in General

    Naming our Losses {#lifeinthetimeofcorona}

    When Washington State brought the country’s first case of novel Coronavirus to the US, we had no idea what had begun. While the sudden deaths of loved and aged family members was a shock, the nursing home tragedy was still an hour and a half away from where I live. Things moved quickly, tho’. Suddenly the virus was way too close to home and there were deaths of a different kind, no less significant. Travel plans were curtailed and questioned everywhere. A writer’s retreat I’d been looking forward to for a year was prayerfully and tearfully cancelled. I would grieve for weeks. Folks were elbow tapping each other the last…

  • Life in General

    What Forgiveness Tastes Like

    I wanted to title this “The Night We Ate Tacos & Nobody Got Hurt.” Read on to find out why. Family gatherings around life events are often joyous, emotional occasions; wedding preparations definitely take the cake when it comes to lots of Big Feelings. Mix the mother of the groom, the father of the bride, siblings, relatives—shirt-tail or otherwise—and there is sure to be no shortage of rough edges on the Big Day. Everyone involved has an investment in the couples’ happiness. Or at least an opinion, (“They paid HOW much for the honeymoon?!”) Pressure for the event to be Pinterest ®perfect is not helped by the fact that those…

  • Life in General

    To Be 94 {a #poem}

    I’d sure like a cup of coffee. The grounds go in the top, but where? And here is the glass pitcher 6 cups full of water but I don’t remember where to pour it. My mind is like a leaky bucket, a sad sieve that saves  less and less these days, an empty, worn-out basket. If I could stop up the holes, plug the places where my mind has slipped out perhaps I could remember  where to pour the water. I DO remember this– I’d sure like a cup of coffee. ~~~~~~~~ Caring for my mother in law who is at home with us… Changes are coming faster than we…

  • Made Things

    Songs/Life

    My brothers are strumming their guitars in my sister’s living room and I’m thinking of the miracle of it all, how our mother loved to sing and each of these men taught themselves to play beautiful music because of that gift and their love for words and song. The miracle is I’m here to witness it, when I think of our collective pasts, the five of us siblings bereft of parents at an early age, fatherless as teenagers, motherless soon after.  We ultimately raised ourselves, me as the big sister and chief Bossy Person and always in charge. My mother worked, we were left alone a lot. Our father gambled,…

  • Made Things

    The Gift

    My mother Helen and I with my son Aaron Christmas 1977 Well, it happened;  I wasn’t sure when the tears would come, but sure as it’s the Christmas season that feeling of happy sadness touched my heart. I blame it on James Taylor singing this song. (Sappy. Cheesy. But true.) Out running errands, turning left into the rainless sunshine cracking through the clouds, there were the familiar lines in a familiar voice, reminding me of long ago.  My heart cracked a little, too.  How my mother loved to sing. Any time, anywhere. Although my mother’s been gone over 30 years I can vividly remember her joining in on a Johnny Mathis tune, her throaty…

  • Made Things

    Voice Messages

    “Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls; all your waves and breakers have swept over me. By day the LORD directs His love, at night his song is with me– a prayer to the God of my life.”  Psalm 42:7&8, NIV Before my husband and I got our new smartphones (which alas, have not made us any smarter) I had several voice messages saved on my OLD cel phone. Our precious married girl, “Hey mom, this is your daughter…” My married, father-of-5, living-far-away son, “Hey, mom…” And his delightful children, “Hi Nana…” My sisters in California, my closest friend in New Orleans, my bosom friend in Florida. Recorded treasures…