Poems, Personal Stories, and Observations

Capture the Summer

Capture the summer,
The long, slow days
When dreams are hatched
And you can catch
A dragonfly.

Capture the summer,
The sizzling grass,
All brown and dry,
The sun baking it golden
As the days go by.

Can you put it in a bottle?
Intoxicating morning air,
Smelling of flowers
That have mated
And done their share.

Can you hold on to time?
And live again these moments
When the world seems sublime?
Capture the summer,
And save it for all time.

Home

A place where you can hang your hat,
And say “Good morning” to your cat,
To drink your coffee in pajamas,
Or raise a herd of lovely llamas.

A place where you can be a king,
Or queen, if that’s your hankering.
A place where you can be a fool,
Or spend some time beside the pool.

A place where you can get some rest,
A place to be your very best.
A place where you’re so much encouraged,
A place where you can freely flourish.

A place of many smells and voices,
A place where you have made some choices.
A place where people tend to greet you,
And say that they are glad to see you.

Or maybe you can be your worst;
Growl at the dog, and sadly, curse.
You wake up grumpy; you’re a bear,
But still the people love you there.

You say, it’s not at all like that?
Your home, does it these senses lack?
No domicile is truly perfect;
In fact, at home, you feel a reject.

Our real home’s in heaven above,
A place of everlasting love.
And there, you’ll meet with all your dreams,
You’ll live by living, flowing streams.

God has for you a mansion great,
With rooms that for your soul await.
And good or bad, your home on earth?
For that new home, to wait it’s worth.

Thank you, God,
For the quiet of early August.
The quiet streets,
The quiet mornings;
School’s not yet started.

The quiet neighborhoods —
People gone to their cabins at Tahoe,
Or on road trips, or plane trips:
Gone to weddings (or funerals) —
Gone to see relatives.

Thank you for the cool morning air,
All the better with the silence.
But birds do sing and twitter;
I hear airplanes in the sky,
And a mother’s lullaby.

Sometimes the earth has peace,
You can drink up the silence,
You can remember childhood days
Of endless summer,
And let today be your gratitude.

Speak No Evil

The Abuse Expose' with Secret Angel

Speak no evil…
is what we need to stress today…
avoiding all negativity…
and trying to be positive in every way.
And as schools start again…
with kids coming together this year…
let’s put a stop to bullying…

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The Creator of the universe,
the one who made quarks and galaxies,
amoebas and humans,
can live in you!

Ask Him today to make Himself real to you!

Underneath His Sway

God comes to me in my grumbling
(Though surely I do not deserve),
Comes to offer His faithful love,
And for His love I have no words.

Nothing I do (or do not do)
Has bearing on His gracious love.
I’m helpless, hopeless, to be sure;
Still He pours down grace from above.

How can I learn to just let go,
And let the Lord God have His way?
Learn how to love, from what He does,
And be underneath His sway?

When will I learn that He controls,
No matter what things may portend?
Then I can be a little child —
Trust, peace, and His joy be my end.

Tempted to wallow in bitterness,
Tempted to sink in self-pity.
Conflicts threaten to do me in;
Inner thoughts sometimes are not pretty.

Trying to live in reality;
Having to face what is painful.
Need to refocus, see God’s in control;
Refocus and keep being grateful.

Maybe I choose to be miserable —
Keep looking for all that is bad.
Neglecting to know that God’s in control:
Forgetting that God wants me glad.

Trust is the way to go forward;
Accept what I cannot control.
Let others be what they’re destined to be,
And live in my God-given role.

Psychobabble

My ancestors had PTSD —
Wow, how unfortunate for me.
My problems could be epigenetic —
Is that why I am so frenetic?

Or is it all familial sin?
Destroying all the peace within?
It could go back to Adam and Eve,
When fruit was eaten from the tree.

The human race has many trials,
But also things that make us smile.
A laugh, a hug, and grateful words
Mitigate what seems absurd.

By grace of God we can have healing;
Eternal life is so appealing.
Consider suff’ring temporary
And keep your eyes on coming glory.

Complaints versus criticisms. Example:

COMPLAINT: “I was so worried when you didn’t call that I stayed awake all night.”
CRITICISM: “You should have called. You made me stay up all night worrying about you. Talk about inconsiderate. [or, You’re a jerk!]”

COMPLAINT addresses actions that cause upset. CRITICISM attacks the other person, or their character.

Which do you think the recipient will be more likely to respond to?

Some people might not see a difference here; however I think some would be more hurt by criticism, whereas complaint will feel more reasonable and they’d be less defensive.

Adapted from “The Relationship Cure,” by John Gottman and Joan DeClaire, Three Rivers Press, 2001, pp. 71-73

“… most marital arguments cannot be resolved.”
How about that for a startling statement?  Read on …

Now that my husband is retired, we have more “opportunities” to learn about each other’s perspectives.

Many years ago, I did learn that certain of my husband’s behaviors were not deliberate attempts to hurt me, though they often felt like it.  Now I am learning that we truly do see things differently, which is why we often have (usually settled amicably) conflicts.

Take the case of the blueberries.

One day we were beginning our breakfast routine, and Tom said he was going to put some frozen blueberries in his bowl.  I said, rather harshly, “Please eat the fresh blueberries first.”  A little while later, he asked me, “Why was it so important that I eat the fresh blueberries?  I like the frozen ones, because then the milk (or half and half) I pour on them freezes a little and it reminds me of ice cream.”

So I had to explain that I hate for food to be wasted, and I wanted the fresh berries used up before they became rotten.  Why didn’t I explain that, instead of being harsh with him?  Maybe I assumed he would have the same perspective I have, namely, the need to not be wasteful.  But he was seeing blueberries in a whole different way.

Then there’s the case of the junk pile, or piles.

I came home and noticed that my husband had kindly put out the trash bins on the street in anticipation of the following day’s trash collection.  When we went for a walk the next morning, he mentioned that he had started breaking up some items in the side yard, to “clear up more junk,” and had put them in the trash collection.  I said, “What exactly did you you put in?”  He named some items, and I said, “Wait a minute, I was going to give those to Goodwill or freecycle.org.”  “But I’m trying to clear up junk like we agreed to, and it was in the junk pile.”  “But,” I said, “the junk pile is in [area A], not the area you were clearing.”  He replied, “I thought the junk area was the whole side yard, and those items have been there for months.”

Well, besides us never having explicitly defined the actual junk pile area, and me leaving items out for a long time (because I needed to clean them before giving them away and I had procrastinated on that task), I realized that we needed to have a lot more communication.  “Why,” I asked, if he wasn’t sure about throwing something out, “did you not ask me?” “Because you weren’t home and I wanted to get the task done.”  Anyway, I thanked him for his effort and rushed home, but the trash collector had already come.  [By the way, afterwards I did clean up some remaining items and most have been given away successfully.]

So my point is that many disagreements have to do with misunderstandings and assumptions.  They aren’t necessarily examples of people being mean to each other.  Perhaps my husband and I have not talked enough about our perspectives, priorities, and what values are important to us (in this case, my value of frugality or not being wasteful).

In the book “The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work”, by John M. Gottman and Nan Silver (Harmony Books – 2015), on page 28 the authors state, “… most marital arguments cannot be resolved.  Couples spend year after year trying to change each other’s mind — but it can’t be done.  This is because most of their disagreements are rooted in fundamental differences of lifestyle, personality, or values.  By fighting over these differences, all they succeed in doing is wasting their time and harming their marriage.”

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