Wednesday, November 2, 2016

The Road

Those on the road
rush home each evening
to waste their time,
either sitting mesmerized in front of their TV,
 or flitting from post to post,
caught like moths in their computer's glow.

Each morning they arise and begin another day
stuffed with fast food, rush hours, throbbing music,
appointments, lessons,  work, and shopping
till their closets bulge with unneeded things,
their heads spin and their eyes glaze.

Some, looking beyond the mark,
seek a fantasy life complete with fantasy partners.

Living through pasteboard Soap Opera stars,
silly women waste away.

Some, donning a new persona,
 form "relationships"
with other's fantasy selves.

Men, and some women,
longing for a titillating rush,
take the  degrading road
into the pornography dump.

Others read romance novels,
ever longing for their fantasy prince,
while ignoring the real "flawed" men
who desperately need their support.

On this road of instant gratification and entitlement,
children are seen as mere burdens,
women as mere voluptuous toys,
and men as mere cardboard princes.

Real people with real needs,
who get sick and old,
who are neither witty or thin,
but who need your love,
pale before the garish Hollywood images.

But those who pause long enough
to look behind the image,
discover it is hollow
and the road they were rushing on,
leads no where.

The Island

The couple stands on an ever dwindling island,
having removed their protecting wall of love and service,
they allow the constant waves of
selfishness, greed, and superficiality
to slowly erode their marriage.


Giving Up Mirrors

Caught by the world's
distorted mirror,
I despaired
over my aging body
and quiet, intellectual ways.

Like the morning light
the darkness fled
as I turned away from
my self-absorbed comparing,
finally remembering that
I am a daughter of God.

So giving up mirrors,
I now open windows instead.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

My Lamp

Enjoying being me,
I soar into the world of ideas.
Gathering truths,
I happily fill my lamp,
then returning to earth,
I set my lamp in the window
sharing its glowing rays
of hope and love

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Cutting Apron Strings

Oh! The pain!
Doesn't she love me anymore?
How can he just ignore me?
Why doesn't she even call?

We were so close.
Have I done something wrong?
He passes by me as if I wasn't even there,
and spends his time with others.

She replies, "I'm ok", when I ask how she is doing.
That's it. Nothing more.
My queries are met with, "I said, I'm fine."
Why is she shutting me out of her life?

I love them so much!
I just want to council and guide them
through these perilous times
and land them safely on the shore of adulthood.

But, in time, I realize that this is a voyage
that must be charted by the ship's captain,
not by his mother.

She needs me to always love her.
He needs me to have confidence in him.
They need me to cheer them on,
and to be there in emergencies.

But the time has come to give up
my active involvement in their lives.
It is time to step back.
Though, sooner than I was ready,
the time has come
to cut the apron strings.



Monday, October 17, 2016

Of Ants and Grasshoppers


I am an Ant.
I work

I am a Grasshopper.
I play

I am an Ant.
I am responsible.
I make things.

I am a Grasshopper.
I am imaginative.
I create ideas.

I am the Ant.
I do things
with precision.
I am the engineer.

I am the Grasshopper.
I do things
with flair!
I am the scientist.

I am the Ant
The world needs me
to build it’s bridges,
to bake it’s bread,
to heal it’s sick.

I am the Grasshopper.
The world needs me
to paint it’s pictures,
sing it’s songs,
and write it’s stories

I am the Ant.
I make the world
run.

I am the Grasshopper.
I make the world
hum.

Friday, October 14, 2016

For Us

by Cheryl Merrick

He shops, cleans, does laundry,
and pays bills "for us".
Allowing me the quiet time
I need to study and think,
 so I can write "for us".

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

A Writer's Life

I thought I'd write in my spare time,
perhaps late at night
when everyone is in bed
and all my "work" is done.

So dutifully I pushed though the day,
doing all the little things which "must be done",
until I found myself too exhausted to write
when evening finally came.

At last, I came to understand
that writing is not something
to check off,
but a way of life.

It requires constant thought,
hours of research,
and spiritual nourishment.

It requires a life uncluttered
by materialistic concerns,
and constant busyness.

It is nurtured by quiet hours
spent in meditation
and walking in nature.

It requires the love
to vulnerably share your talent
and a dedication to make a better world.

It involves a deep sense of responsibility
and keen awareness
that what you say,
and what you withhold,
may influence lives.

Not writing leads to a life unfulfilled,
shadowed by the knowledge that
I will be held accountable
for those I could have helped,
but did not.

Writing is a way of life,
a gift from God
to be shared with the world.
Writing is an expression who I am.
Writing is the life I live.



Life Fulfilled

Simple food
Simple home
Few things, much time
Few commitments, much love
Quiet and peace
Sunshine and beauty
My spirit nourished
A thought shared
A person inspired
My daily work done
I rest calm and still
My life Fulfilled


Monday, September 19, 2016

The Perfectionist Wife

Filled with anxious concerns
each day I queried,
"Have you read the scriptures?
"Did you pray today?"
My husband's terse, annoyed reply of, "No",
Escalated my fears.
"Would we be a forever family?"
My attempts at subtle encouragement
failing miserably,
I anguished over my husbands "failings".
Sure that our children would be corrupted
by their father's deficient example,
I despaired.

Praying that the Lord would help him"shape up",
I was shocked when I was firmly reminded
that my long list of what he "should" do
had obliterated my own need
to develop the love and patience
he already had.

I had not seen that it was
not his actions, but mine
that was destroying our relationship.
He needed to be responsible for his own life
-- not me.
My pharisaical judging of his behavior,
my lack of appreciation for his good qualities,
and my constant focusing on what
I felt he "should" do was undermining
his self confidence.
Finally, I saw that
He was well aware that
I was disappointed in him
-- that I lacked faith in him.


So quietly and humbly,
I stepped back,
allowing him to live his own life;
to grow in his own way and at his own pace.
Giving up my perfectionistic list of expectations,
I determined to follow the spirit of love,
not of self righteous judgement,
and finally give up being a Perfectionist Wife.


Monday, August 15, 2016

Granddaughter at 6 Months

by Cheryl Merrick
Smiles of recognition
Thoughtful glances
Shared giggles


Proudly sitting up by herself
Rolling over is mastered
Holding on tightly, she stands
Her few steps hinting of future independence


Fascinated by life
She explores her world
Carefully considering sounds and tastes
Watching children play
Grabbing and shaking all within her reach
Chewing and sampling all that will go into her mouth


Til finally, snuggling into the arms of those who love her,
Her excitement gives way
To exhausted sleep

Monday, April 11, 2016

Serving Differently

Church leaders suggested we ask the Lord,
“Who should I help?”

Thoughts filled my mind of writing on my
And of making a new blog to help people
use the LDS.org website.

Then shaking my head sadly, I thought,
“ But that’s not service.”


Suddenly, these new words were
Impressed in my consciousness,

“I have given you different gifts.
 You will serve differently."

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Comment on recent Posts

I have just put in all of my old poems. Many I wrote twenty or thirty years ago. I smile now as I see how I struggled with accepting who I am, with being me. It has been challenging having been given a different personality and gifts, but now I stand happily with my head firmly in the clouds - writing, pondering the meaning of life, doing research, and teaching. Finally, I no longer feel I must be a busy homemaker, or bustling professional woman. I appreciate others gifts and no longer expect them to understand or appreciate mine. I am now content watching the clouds moving across the sky, and being who I am. 

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Fable of the Chickens

a fable by Cheryl Anne Merrick
(Love, friendship, sharing)
written about 1978

Once there was a small chicken. This chicken had lived alone in the field all her life.
One day she saw a whole flock of chickens near a building. Though she was scared, she flew over near them. She was so happy! Now she wouldn’t be lonely ever again! All the other chickens would be her friends, and they would have so much fun together, or so she thought.
But by evening the small hen was not a joyful bird. In a lone corner of the barnyard she sat, a small huddle of dejected feathers. “What went wrong?” she asked herself over and over again. She remembered how she had raced down among the other chickens. How excited she had been about all the seeds to eat. Oh! how she had raced around dashing and grabbing seeds. What fun it had been to beat the big older chickens, and baby chicks to each grain of wheat! When the pan was filled with water she pushed and shoved and was the first to drink. How proud she was of herself! All the chickens must be impressed with her. She was so strong and fast! Much, much faster than all those older hens and little chicks.
When it just started to get dark, she raced to the nests. She looked at each one of them, then picked out the very best for herself, settling herself down for a good nights sleep. What a wonderful day this had been! She had just dozed off into contented dreams when she heard a piercing screech, saw a flutter of feathers, then felt pain. A large hen was upon her, pecking and clawing. In just one bolt the small chicken was out of the nest and across the barnyard. There she huddled, confused and hurt. The few pecks hardly hurt at all compared to the loneliness and sadness she felt inside. It was getting colder and dark.
She had just decided to return to the field when she heard a noise behind her. There stood a very large hen. “Don’t be afraid. I’ve watched you today and come to give you some advice.” And this is what the wise old hen said:

“Think of others first, then you will be happy.”

Who Am I?

Am I only this weak wimp
standing with refrigerator door open,
feet growing cold,
as the questions
Who am I?
Why am I here?
Where am I going?
take on new meaning?

Am I the dull witted soul
who can’t think, plan, or remember?

Am I really a submissive sweetly
who can’t make decisions
and therefore docilely follows others.

Am I more than a blob
who sits and stares unblinkingly,
occasionally shuffling into another room
only to sit and stare again?

Am I so incompetent
that I must be taken care of
as you would a young child?

Who Am I Really?

(later I found out I was suffering from adrenal exhaustion)

What Do I Really Need?

How can I maintain my quiet life
when I am out in the world again?
Will I be able to say “No”
to the many pleas for help?
Can I meet everyone’s needs?
Can I nurture them
without hurting me?
Am I trying to do for others
what they should be doing for themselves?
Am I hindering their growth
by solving their problems for them?
What limits must I set?

Wells

From a well filled
     by hours of thought and study,
     inspiration and prayer,
I draw creative solutions.

Some think a spring of wisdom
     bubbles effortlessly within,
Endlessly nourishing others.

Unseen are the countless hours
     spent in quiet reflection,
as drop by drop,
     each day,
the well must be refilled.

Weeds


Like aggressive weeds,
burly and pushy,
details invade my garden
greedily crowding out
my more delicate
introspective plants

Warden


Appearing a sanctioned warden,
      holding his legitimate credential,
he enters the aviary
not to tame, as expected,
but to allow a few moments of freedom-
the freedom to strengthen
     unused wings
     and build their confidence
     that they are truly beings
of the sky.

Walking Through a Crowd

Feeling your distress
     I cringe in pain.
You are hurting
     and I can not help.

You try to hide it
     behind a strained smile,
     benumb it with activity,
     or an insulate it with fat,
but you do not feel loved.

You dress to please & impress;
     slinking in your high heals & short shorts,
     or strutting in you bodacious beard & chains,
but love will not be bought.

As I see you trying to grasp happiness
     in a multitude of ineffectual ways,
my heart aches.

Waiting

Waiting in faith,
at last I see my dreams
becoming possible.

Will they be?
Am I to be accepted?
Are my talents to be shared?

Confronting fears,
I try my best and wait.

Gone is the secure life of merely
teaching writing and assisting
the teacher in her third grade class.

Grateful I will always be for her
friendship and for her giving
me the opportunity to teach
when I could do little else.

After seven years,
that door has closed
and can not be reopened.

Though I miss our special relationship,
and the children,
I know the new path
I have been prompted to follow is right.

But, does it lead where I think it does,
or to another place?

Overcome with longing
for my own class,
I console myself
with reminders that
if it is right,
it will be.

One moment I’m hopeful,
the next fearful.
Can I really do this?
Did I say the right things in the interviews?
Am I sure I really want to teach?

12/7/08


What will I do if I don’t get a winter teaching position?
Will I substitute, or volunteer
at another school?

I desire to do something meaningful
to help children;
to have a place where I belong.

No longer is shopping, caring for our home,
visiting, writing, and doing family history
enough.

The thought of being alone all day
fills me with dread.
I want to spend my day with people.
I desire challenge
and a class of my own.

Confident the Lord loves me
and has been guiding me,
I still anxiously wonder
“Where am I headed?”

















Turning Around


Filling my time with
study, writing, and contemplation,
I happily enjoy my day,

Occasionally taking a break
from the world of thought,
to accomplish some task,
then returning again
to my element.

But the question remains;
Is my life upside down
or finally
Right side up!

Trying on Hats

My first was a princess crown,
glittering in the glow of indulgent parents,
shining new as I was the first child and grandchild.

I felt I could have been happy with my crown forever,
but one day my crown disappeared.
In its place was a modest dutiful daughter bonnet,
complete with two lists of detailed expectations;
  one from mom and the other from dad.
This hat became increasingly tight and restrictive,
and eventually fell apart due to stress.

I happily wore a mortarboard for many years.
I love to study new things,
but grew anxious to apply my learning.

Finally, I had the opportunity to wear a fragile, long, white veil
as I began my life as a wife.
It didn’t take long to realize that a veil, though romantic,
wasn’t tough enough for a construction site job,
so I traded it in for a practical hard hat,
in pink of course!

Though it was heavy and unwieldy,
I proudly wore my Little Miss Homemaker chapeau.
It was designed for the ever busy woman;
it converted to a sun hat for weeding, a scarf or cleaning,
a chiefs hat for cooking. and a chafers cap.

At the same time I wore my Wondermom diadem.
It’s large gold star flashed brightly,
lighting the way for my children to follow.
I wore it constantly for thirty years; on trips to the library,
picnics, teaching, caring for sick kids, and to programs.

Finally, it came time to put away
my large gold star of full-time mom
and wear a lighter more casual hat,
small but pretty,
of friend to grown children,
and grandmother to their children.

Now who was I?
I tried the fedora of newspaper editor.
The Red Cross cap of refugee sponsor,
The church worker circlet of tiny stars,
The beret of an artist,
The no-nonsense, one size fits all professional teacher
pencil behind the left ear as precisely instructed
(teachers aren’t allowed to wear hats),
The bowler of a business woman,
The family history detective hat,
The inspirer of youth helmet with attached guiding light,
The dark cape and hood of recluse
and the sparkling social hat.

Comfortable in a purple tuban I decorated,
I composed poetry secure behind veils
of Victorian lace and roses.

I donned a serious visor to become Super Secretary
and dripped roses in my large picture hat
as I lovingly sent out notes and cards.

I think I’m tired of trying on hats.
I’d rather feel the sunlight on my face
and feel the breeze in my hair.



Too Many and Not Enough


Too many changes
Too many questions
Too many new ideas
Too many problems to solve
and not enough time for him
to recharge

Not enough time to study
Not enough time to write
Not enough time to ponder
Not enough time to relax
Too many details consuming her
time and energy

Crossing the Threshold

Here I stand,
hesitating on the threshold,
Wanting to enter,
but afraid to leave
the security I have found.

Can I hold my boundaries?
Can I say, “No”.
Do I really need to do everything
everyone would like?
Can I stick to my principles?
Can I maintain reasonable limits
on all the going and doing?
Can I keep details to a minimum?
Can I defend my quiet life,
recognizing its value,
or become diverted
by mere temporal pursuits?
Will I keep an eternal perspective,
or fall away ashamed that
I am not following the world?
Do I have the strength
to follow the Lord?
Only with His help can I safely
Cross this threshold.

The Phoenix


Like a Phoenix rising
     from the ashes,
My dreams, returning,
     soar into a brilliant sky.

The Idealist


When will I ever learn?
Ever  assuming
that everyone is as I am,
driven by a longing for perfection,
I try to improve a world
that contentedly insists
on remaining unchanged,
til disillusioned,
I collapse in exhaustion;



The Carousel

The Carousel whirls around
ever faster and faster
to a mad hatter refrain of,
“You’re late! You’re Late!
There is so much to do!
Hurry! Hurry!
You’ll never get it all done!”

Endlessly spinning
Endless details
Up and down
Endless routine

Weary. I am so weary!
I long for a world
where there is time to
write poems and teach children,
time to study and ponder,
time to visit, and
time to enjoy a sunset.

In a moment of desperate determination,
I leave this world of “shoulds”
and step off into another world,
Where, untrampled,
thoughts have time to flower.

A world where sunlight sparkles
on new leaves
and where children’s silent
needs can be heard.

In this place of nurturing peace,
I am home at last.

Talents

Some can decorate a wedding cake,
grow a beautiful garden,
give an exciting party,
fix gourmet dinners,
build a cabinet,
program a computer,
reconcile an account,
or do back flips,
while I,
packaging them in poems,
create ideas.

Taking Charge

Taking responsibility
for my own needs
I monitor my medication,
responding to stress levels,
providing frequent, balanced nutrition,
gentle activity, stretches, and rest.
I carefully nourish my spirit
with daily scripture study and prayer
And develop my talents
as I spend time in writing and study.

Strengthened and Prepared,
I reach out to serve:
Listening, Counseling, Sharing, Teaching
To Family, friends, school children,
visiting teaching sisters, and BYU students.

I seek to provide Temple opportunities
for my ancestors
and assistance to those who write
in on LDS.org
I work daily to make a home for our family
and strengthen relationships.

Focusing on eternal goals,
Accepting responsibility for my life,
Reaching out to help others,
I take charge of my life.

Swan

Clumsily pattering around the barnyard,
Never fitting in,
Different, but ever longing for acceptance,
time passes.

Til one glistening spring day
a strong, snow white swan
stretches out its wings,
and rises into the deep blue sky.

Suppressed Feelings


I thought I’d miss them
but I just felt relieved that I didn’t have to deal with them
I’m tired of being insulted and ignored
I thought we were friends
but it has been over a year and there has been no response to my overtures
I’m tired of stressful relationships
I’m tired of trying to please unpleaseable people

I’m tired of our talents and resources being used
 to achieve other people’s goals
I’m tired of seeing our retirement money being consumed by a business
which has never given us any return
I’m tired of my husband working to support other’s comfortable lifestyle
I’m tired of living frugally so others can enjoy luxuries we can’t
I’m tired of giving all our extra time, energies, and resources to people who just use us
I’m tired of exhausting myself to provide unappreciated
and unneeded help to others
I’m tired of supporting people who need to stand on their own feet
I want to step back and allow our grown children
to solve their own problems
I’m tired of waiting for a turn which never comes.

I want to have time to write and study
I want to rest when I am tired
I want to spend time with my husband and do enjoyable things together
I want to achieve our business goals
I want my home to be clean
I want the dirt, mold, termites, ant, spiders and mouse nests out of downstairs
I want things that give me pleasure now instead of having to wait years for them to air out
I want to feel better
I’m tired of taking risks with my health because someone wants something
then being ill for months of even years

I want to enjoy just being me
I want my home to reflect who I am
I want lavender walls and white floor tiles in my basement
instead of depressing old dark paneling and a dirty green painted floor
I want exhaust fans downstair so I can have people visit me
without having to suffer days of illness afterward
I’m tired of waiting weeks, months, and years for some small repair
to be done

I’m tired of waiting and waiting and coming last
I’m tired of suppressing who I really am and allowing others to use me
I’m tired of putting other’s selfish wishes before my basic needs
I’m tired of being tired, of not achieving my goals, of not nurturing myself, of not developing my talents, of being stressed, ill
and of suppressing my feelings




Sun and Candles


I tried to fit
into the system,
or maybe I just
tried to fit it to me.

I wanted to help
children grow–
and I did.

I want to continue
helping children–
and I will.

But I can not
follow the blind.

I cannot push children
into cramped boxes,
or adhere to
prescribed patterns,
blaming failure
on some defect in
the child’s brain.

Walking in the sun,
how can I be
content with a
dim candle?

Sucess


Tired of glazed-over looks
and being ignored,
I vowed
never again
to offer my ideas
to THEM.

Prompted by a loving Father
to again share my talents,
I applied my ability
to see the whole picture
to designing a plan
which would meet the women’s needs.

This time instead of suddenly blurting out
a half thought out idea in a meeting,
I was guided to present my plan,
in an organized, detailed, written form
at the beginning planning stage
where my ideas could serve as a guide
before the course was set.

To my amazement
My ideas were actually implemented ,
giving me the satisfaction of knowing
that I had contributed to making
a beautiful, relaxing Christmas dinner
for the women in my ward.

Understanding now how to better
communicate my ideas,
I look forward
to sharing my gifts in the future.




ward is a group of members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; it is usually around 400 people who near each other
12/16/07


Structured World


Tired past tired,
All has been given.
It is time to rest.
The class has begun.

Smothered by mountains
     of colored worksheets,
Constricted by ponderous schedules,
I struggle to free myself
     from this oppressively, complex world.

A world where questioning is
taught in 32 complicated, labeled steps.

A world where worth is measured
by the ability to grasp verbal details
and quickly insert them on the proper line.

A world where obedience,
      and conformity are required
and passive stillness is rewarded.

A world where thinking,
     like a dangerous beast,
is safety tamed into prescribed patterns.

A world where I don’t belong.

Starfish

Happily I live on my rock,
secure in a sea of thought.

From there I enthusiastically,
and lovingly,
share ideas,
applaud accomplishments,
empathize with disappointments,
and offer encouragement.

How can I explain
my need to leave errands
and projects to others?
How can I express
how tiring it is for me
to be out in the world?
How can they understand
that I must,
like a starfish,
soon return to be refreshed
in the sea?

Soaring Free


Liberated from time and routine
I embrace the soft silence
and borne upon the wings of inspiration
soar into the
realm of possibilities.

So Small

Concerned over a late
     spelling test,
She asks how I can
     remain so calm.

How can I explain
     how small it seems
when I am only a pill
     away from stepping
     through the veil.

How can I explain
     how small it seems
after dealing with
    unsupportive family,
    children with autism,
    learning disabilities,
    and severe health problems.

How can I explain
     how small it seems
after feeling the pain of
     waywardness,
     abuse,
     and parents dying.

After experiencing
     teenagers,
     weddings,
     and the birth of a grandchild,
a few moments late
    for a routine test
does indeed seem
     So small.

Shut Out


Threatened by my strengths–
they ignore them.

Uncomfortable with my accomplishments–
they discount them.

Challenged by my ideals–
they pretend I never expressed them.

Overwhelmed by their fear of change–
they reject me.

And so, striving to maintain
the security of their static world–
they shut me out.

Sharing


Mine to share are gifts
that cannot be touched or held,
the glimmering, ethereal gifts
of the mind and heart.

Through intense empathy,
I’m able to sense potential
mentoring it into fruit.

From hours spent
in study and thought,
I draw out solutions to problems

From prayer and meditation
I discover principles
to light our way.

And so, in loving concern,
I share my faith
and hope for the future.

Secure


Chilled by the cool night air as we travel,
a lone car,
across the Nevada desert.

Surrounded by the comforting bulk
and lulled by the vibration
of our 1950 Pontiac,
we speed toward my grandparent’s home
in Pocatello, Idaho.

I awake, roused by the discomfort of sleeping
on hard, lumpy suitcases tucked in our foot space,
to see Dad driving and my mother and brother sleeping.

Peacefully secure,
I raise my five year old eyes heavenward,
and embraced by quietness,
gaze in wonder into a sky filled
with sparkling stars.









11/15/07

Rose in a Vegetable Garden


I feel a little strange
     out here among
     the cabbages and squash,
then I remember
     that The Gardener
     who planted them
     also planted me.

Removing Rocks


Like carrying rocks,
my back bends
beneath the heavy
load of details

Til, staggering,
I can barely move,
and my mind whirls
in a haze of exhaustion,

Unable to go on,
I empty out my bulging pack.
What must I return?

Care for self, family, and home
can not be omitted.
but my husband has mercifully
stepped up to help carry part of the load.

There are relationship, visiting teaching,
missionary, ward, and family history
details I desire to do,
but only the most precious can be returned.

Examining the remaining pile,
and knowing my load is already full,
I accept that this is a time for
Removing rocks.



Recluse


Finding superficial
conversations tiring,
I minimize them.

Determining the running of errands
to be inefficient,
I shop from home.

Wounded by glazed looks
and uncomprehending stares
when sharing an idea,
I rarely present one.

To the unappreciative,
I no longer proffer
my poems.

Tiring of their
tedious soliloquies,
I avoid such interactions.

Exhausted by their
emotional dumping,
I make few calls.

Being expected
simply to listen
and provide them with excuses,
I shun visiting.

Frustrated by their
unwillingness to change,
I offer few solutions.

Chafing in this narrow
social niche allotted me
of soothing their
troubled consciences,

I choose, instead, to turn,
as many idealists before me,
to an inner world
of written thoughts,
where illuminated by ideals,
kindred spirts dwell.

Quiet Life


More and more, I am content
to be in the company
of my thoughts.

Feeling the serene stillness
of a quiescent forest,
I think, write, and study.

Occasionally venturing out
to share an idea, counsel, or teach,
then to return.

Will I?

Will I go back to my old ways,
merely responding,
losing my balance once again
my priority center life
fading into a dim memory?

Or will I lovingly lead and help him to
soften his critical replies,
relating to people with support and love?

Will I grow tired of the relentless
focus on accomplishing details,
and, once more falling into depression,
sit withdrawn in my corner,
allowing him to manage our lives?

Will I have the strength to hold
to my convictions,
or will I try to simply
take the course of least resistance,
attempting to minimize friction
by being like him?

Will I be myself,
or becoming caught up in his world,
spend my time
trying to avoid correction
by being meticulously neat?

Will I be open and laugh, dance,
and write poems,
or will I be tense and ill,
ever striving to please?

Will we allow our relationship to grow,
experiencing warmth and joy together
by seeking the Lord’s help
to change our weaknesses into strengths?

Personality

Potentials
Progression

Perceptive
Penetrating

Personal
Persuasive

Poetry
Prose

Principles
Priorities

Philosophical
Peaceful

Passionate
Persistent

Partner
Pedagogue

Peaceful Days


Peaceful days begin
with mornings
spent in studying scriptures
and writing meditative poems

Moving between nurturing notes,
writing,
household tasks,
visiting,
family history,
and studying,
I gracefully glide
through my day.

Dancing to the music within,
My flowing steps lead,
over time,
to desired goals,
and peaceful days.

Painting a Day


Applying a little paint
here and a little paint there,
my creation slowly takes shape

Against a soft blue sky
of quiet thoughts
I add the gentle rays
of sun filled days

Now, a brush of cool blue;
studying the Book of Mormon
A little earthy brown;
a load of laundry started
and beans cooked

A sweep of green
as I draft an article
or delve into research
And some warm orange:
talking with a friend
sending encouraging notes
helping a child learn to write
a smile, a hug

I muse as soft blotches of purple
form into ideas
as poems stir to life
Accentuated by vivid dots of yellow
as papers are filed
counters wiped
and our bed made

Highlights of gold and silver
complete my painting
as I kneel to pray
and ponder the words of God

Opening a Window


Seeking my own answers
I quickly become frustrated.
There seems to be no way
it can be done.
I’ve hit a blank wall
and there is no way out.
Praying for the Lord’s guidance,
new options suddenly appear.
The solution was always there,
but I just hadn’t seen it.
Yes, some details do not deserve
my limited time and energies.
Others should be delegated to my husband,
and I need to let them go.
Some things can be done more simply,
and routine can make some details easier.
But many others can still be done
if I just do them in my own way ----
Puttering a few minutes at a time/
As I allow myself to be guided by inspiration
and listen to my own inner priorities,
I can feel at peace knowing that
All that is important will be accomplished
A Window has been Opened.

Only a Volunteer

I know myself to be a:
Certified Teacher
     with a current credential and
     who is District Trained
Experienced Tutor
     who has helped children
     no other teacher could
Capable Educator
     who has managed large classes
     and ably planned lessons
Published Author & Editor
     with articles printed
     in the Ensign magazine and newspapers
Sensitive Poet
     who writes daily
     and models the writing process
Successful Writing Coach
     proving that I can get all children
     to write clearly and enjoy writing
Applier of Learning Styles
     helping each child to learn
     in their own way
Emphatic Mentor
     who is able to custom design
     programs to fit each child
Enthusiastic Learner
     who studies how to improve
     and applies what I learn
Capable Organizer
     of areas, time, resources, and ideas
Concerned Adviser
     based on extensive study
     and emphatic understanding
Creative Problem Solver
     who uses correct principles
     and flexible solutions
Supportive Wife
     who helps her husband to
     grow and be his best
Caring Mother
     who has raised four children
     with various challenges
Efficient Homemaker
     who uses prioritizing and delegation
     to run a simple, peaceful home
Devoted Friend
      who listens from the heart
      and shows concern

And most of all,
A Steadfast Idealist
     who holds to what
     I know to be right


But I am seen merely as:
     Someone with no
     ability, experience,
     or training;

Who has been judged
     as inferior and incompetent
     because I do not spell or
     remember details well.
.
Who’s seeming success is based
      not on talent,
but on simply spending
      individual time with children.

And so, dismissing my strengths,
     they give me the demeaning
     title of being
  “Only A Volunteer”

Monday, April 4, 2016

Once Again


A long ago moment–
captured,
and held carefully
like a jewel in a cupped hand.

Smiles and joys
once again shared
as we watch those no longer here,
as toddlers and boys
play on a beach long sense deserted,
and see women,
once again full of youth and beauty,
gaze embarrassingly
into the camera’s lens.

Once again
the grandchildren
are doted upon
by my grandparents
who are the age I am now.

I watch my father,
now a bouncy, blond boy,
as he steals into the scenes
with his grown brother and sisters.

Tree chopping, cabin building;
the moments are rekindled,
the family reunited,
Once again.




my reaction to seeing my grandfather's old movies
11/28/07

Nurturing Enviroment


Not out in the bustling highway
among gregarious crowds
Do my talents grow,
instead they blossom
in the still reflection
of a quiet pond.

Nurturer of Spirits

With inspiring thoughts
and encouraging words
I nourish spirits.

New Image

Given approval for being
     “sweet and caring”
I filled my life with affectionate expressions,
     while closely hiding my
     “undesirable” traits.

As the years pass,
      I come to see myself as
     weak and incompetent,
til, finally,
     worn from repeated failures
     of trying to be this “loving person”,
I relinquish this dream.

Grasping reality,
     I discover
     my true self,
     warm and caring,
but also a strong leader,
     a capable organizer,
     an adept problem solver,
     a natural teacher,
and a poet.

My Turf


Energized by hours
of studying
doing research
writing my life history
making plans
publishing poems
teaching children
counseling family & friends
and pondering principles
I thrive on
My Turf





3/23/08

My Pond


Finding other ponds
     unsatisfying and stressful,
I return to my own pond,
   where I swim happily all day
   in a fluid world of thought.

My Own World


In creating my own world
I find myself.
In this place
Where there is
Time to listen and inspire,
Time to study and ponder,
I find peace.
In this world of simplicity,
and principles
I find ideas.
Here as I nurture others
I find joy.

Moot Point

Yes, it is a good thing to do.
If I did it,
someone’s life would be a little easier,
and it might encourage them,
but my life would be crushingly more difficult,
leaving me discouraged.

Yes, I could continue to do good.
Doing small good things
which have minor impact on other’s lives,
til I finally collapse unable to do anything at all,
or I could use my limited strength,
and abilities more wisely
living a joyful life of constant influence.

Should I continue trying to run faster
than I have strength.
pushing myself constantly to do
the things which exhaust me

Knowing I will soon collapse
unless I rest and relax,
the choice has become
A Moot Point

Melody and Refrain

Like old forgotten refrains
Memories of a past life
Softly touch my mind

Memories of a young woman
Who laughed, danced, and played,
Who weekly invited people over for dinner,
And took two toddlers to the zoo
On a snowy New Years Day

This woman had become forgotten
In the ensewing years of pain and constant illness
Now I marvel at meeting her again
A bit older, more confident, and wiser
An old refrain with a new melody

Masked

Masked by pain
    and long years of illness
I proceed through life,
    patronized, dismissed, ignored,
my talents hidden,
my capacities unused,
my strength underestimated.

Loved At Last

You say you love me
as I am,
but you urge me to do
what I cannot.

Desiring to be loved,
I push beyond my endurance,
and failing to meet your expectations,
I despair.

Frustrated in my efforts to earn love,
I become resentful,
plummeting into depression.
as my strength fails.

Finally, healing comes,
both to my body,
and to my heart.
With acceptance of I who am,
I feel
Loved, at last.

Kindred Spirits


I thought I was alone
in my beliefs,
a creative, inquiring spirit,
lost in a troop of practical souls,
then I met you,
my ancestors.

You fled to this new land
to live your principles.

You knew the old ways
needed changing
and looked to the Lord
to restore His truths.

When He did,
you embraced them.

Warmed by the strength of your convictions,
I feel a new sense of family support
from you,
my kindred spirits.




11/25/07

Just Being Me


With a heart softened and prepared,
I lead by sharing my experiences
and encouraging others.

No longer dependant
on other people to
define who I am,
or give me a chance,
I simply share my talents.

Following the still quiet voice,
opportunities appear.
Finally, I am filled with joy in
Just Being Me.



It Worked!


Details in order
by the time my husband left,
I began my day with
prayer, writing a poem, & thinking,
followed by half an hour
of scripture study
as I exercised on the treadmill.

Next, I sent some special notes to friends,
spent time studying personality type,
checked my adrenal blog and found
        over 500 people have visited it since February!
set up a more personal journal type blog
          for Mormon.org
typed up (in beautiful colors, of course!)
 my ideas on introversion and extroversion of personality traits
and spent forty minutes on family history

Content with a full, satisfying day,
I shared my accomplishments with my husband,
then spent the evening answering emails,
finished the laundry,
watching part of an old movie together,
and ended with soaking in a hot tub
while I read a conference talk, health information
and a fun story before going to bed.

Though the details came last,
they still got done,
but most importantly,
I finally got things
I valued done.
It Worked!

Inner Balance


Making sure I never become tired,
while maintaining circulation and strength,
I carefully move between activity and rest.

Preserving a fine balance
between necessary care and spiritual nurturing,
I swing between housekeep tasks and scripture study,
between serving others and replenishing my stores,
between creativity and implementation .

Finally, with confidence and assurance
I have learned to follow
My Inner Balance.



Impressing


Who am I trying to impress
when I recklessly declare
“I can do it!”,
or proudly tout my accomplishes
at the end of the day.

Just wanting me to be happy,
My husband isn’t impressed.
In fact he is disappointed
to once again come home to
a wife who is tired, stressed, and grouchy
after a day of pushing herself.

Longing for a more joyful life,
I try to accept that the Lord
can love me as I am
and that He has given me unique talents
and mission to fulfill.

Invigorated by the thrill
of working on a dozen projects
at once, I thrive.

Simplifying my life
space is made for thoughts,
and the creative sharing
of my talents.

Praying for the strength
to finally be myself,
I, at last, feel peace.

Ideal Life


Time to enjoy swinging
under my pecan tree

Time to listen to the birds sing
and enjoy the sunlight

Time to spend unrushed
moments with husband,
family and friends

Time to study scriptures,
Gospel manuals and magazines

Time to ponder what is right
and how to implement it

Time to relax throughout the day
and soak in a hot tub
with a good book

Time to keep my home in order
and make it beautiful

Time to do family history
and attend the temple

Time to nurture the women in our ward
and children at school

Time to enjoy plays, exhibits,
and family socials

Time to assist my husband
in all his endeavors

Time to write articles, blogs,
memories and poems

Time to dance, laugh and nap
Time to focus on principles
with few distracting details

Time to seek the eternal
unpressured by excessive demands

Time to be still
and know God



I Choose

To come to the earth
To listen to intuitive thoughts
To relate personally, in depth
To be a member of the Church
To have faith in the purpose of life

To be married
To be a mother
To be a homemaker
To have a clean, orderly home
To manage & decorate our home
To live in Utah

To care for myself
To eat organic foods
To eat low glycemic foods
To rotate foods
To take medicines
To remain inside
To stay in my home
To rest when I need

To nurture others
    family, friends,
    extended family,
    and neighbors
To tutor & counsel
To do family history
And to nurture people
    instead of things

To write my life’s history
To write, study, & think
To be me

Humility


Seeking acceptance and
Needing assurance of my worth,
I wanted others to acknowledge my wisdom
and allow me to teach them.

Finally, as I began to listen
to His promptings,
I found myself lead instead
to share my struggles and
reach out to others in need.

Now, feeling no assurance of acceptance,
I pray for the courage
to offer my love.

As I move forward in faith,
my prideful pressurings
are being softened into
tender humility.

Hoops


Accepting their
self-proclaimed
declaration
of requisites
to my future happiness,
I reluctantly jumped
through
their hoops.

Now aware of
who I am,
my talents,
and what I want
to accomplish,
I confidently walk
my own path
and simply
step around
the hoops.


Good Day


A few notes to family and friends
A visit with someone I’m close to
Hours spent in research
and Gospel study
Watching over visiting teaching
A meditative poem
Moments spent in prayer
A little cleaning
Some cooking and laundry
Dancing and music
Managing my home
A touch of simplifying
and a dash of decorating
Time spent writing and
Enjoying the birds and sunshine
Monitoring my health
Spending time with Garrett
Savoring a soak in a hot tub
with a good book
Add these make a good day.

Good and Better Questions

The question isn’t whether it is good --
It is,
but is it the best use of my time, energies, and abilities?

How can I feel a sense of purpose in my life
while not becoming stressed with excessive details?
Though I sincerely want to help others,
is all this help of equal value?

Am I seeking approval and acceptance
by trying to do more than I’m able?

How do I set bounds so that I  keep to my goals
and not get pulled off course by others wishes?

What must I do and not do
to lessen the stress I feel each day
and improve my health?

I pray for answers
for these
Good and Better Questions

Gifts

Blessed with the ability
to focus clearly on eternal goals
to feel with others
to blaze new paths
to create solutions to problems
to see and hear beauty
to teach and counsel
     and to perceive,
    through obscuring details,
the true principles,
I rejoice in my gifts,
desiring the wisdom
to use them well.

Gifts from the Mind and Heart

The ability to understand hearts
     perceiving needs and potential
To give counsel and encouragement
To share insights and solve problems
To see the path and show the way ahead
Gifts from the mind and heart
To share

Filling

Drop by drop,
my bucket fills
with scripture study and prayer,
meditation and study,
writing and reading,
dance and decorating,
caring for us,
and nurturing others.

Explaining

They express their admiration and amazement
at my “positive attitude”.
They try and console me
and sympathize with how difficult it must be to be
to spend all day alone in my home.
Concerned that I am lonely, unhappy, and at risk of losing my testimony,
they try and involve me.

How can I explain my life to them?
How can I express the joy I feel in having the solitude
to think and write.
Though being alone is draining and depressing to them,
it is replenishing to me and an opportunity to create.

They are energized by physical activity and interacting with people.
Though I enjoy visiting with others and getting out some,
it takes a great deal of energy and tires me.

It is the quiet moments of reflection that fill my soul.
It is not days filled busily running around and chatting that I need,
but hours spent in meaningful activity–
serving as a Church service missionary, family history work,
writing for the Church, calling family and friends,
sending supportive emails to a couple hundred people a month,
keeping up three blogs, being my husband’s business partner,
studying the scriptures, seminary manuals, and Church magazines,
reading, learning, writing, and caring for our home and myself.

How can I explain that my life is not one of lonely emptiness,
but full to the brim with meaningful activity.



5/7/14

Expectations


Their activity is “work”
while mine is merely “play”

They accomplish much,
but I “do nothing” all day

Their work has value
Mine has none

Defining “work” as mere movement
they see themselves as “busy”
while I am “lazy”

By their definition,
They are “hard working”,
but I’m just a “day dreamer”

Valuing only what can be seen
my creation of ideas isn’t noticed

Announcing that I should “get busy”
since I do “nothing” all day,
I am assigned “real work” to do.

Discounting all the long hours of support
I devote to helping them be successful, by creating ideas,
planning, designing, analyzing, writing, and researching,
Now they also expect me
to even implement the details for them

Driving


Fearfully, I take my position
    with both hands gripping the wheel
   and both feet hovering over the pedals.
Hesitantly I turn the key.

Jerkily, I proceed
    constantly gazing into my mirrors,
    ever anxious to please,
    ever seeking conformation from others
that I’m heading the right direction.

Nervously, I stomp on pedals:
Brake - I’m upsetting Mom
Gas - I’m pleasing Dad
Brake - a wife should
Gas - a mother should
Brake - a homemaker should
Gas - a “good Mormon” should
Brake - a teacher should
Go - a loving person should

Often, in an attempt to please
    several voices,
I press both brake and gas pedals at once.
Til in an exhausted shudder and shake,
   my car simply rolls to
    a complete stop,
leaving me alone,
     my face veiled in quiet tears.

I’m not where I want to be.
The things I’ve wanted to do are not done.
All I do is never enough.
No one is happy with me, my course, or my progress ;
   least of all me.

With nothing to lose,
I daringly decide to drive
   by looking out
   the front window.
Trusting in the abilities I’ve been blessed with,
    and following
    the Lord’s guidance,
I confidently more forward.

At last, taking responsibility for my own direction,
I feel the satisfaction of knowing  I’m on the right road, for me.
Assured that I am fulfilling  my mission here,
I enjoy the peace of knowing
    I will eventually arrive at
    my  eternal destination.

Drifting


Losing sight of my goal,
Slowly I begin to drift
off course.

Becoming mired
in to do lists,
I struggle to make headway
only to find
my destination
waning more distant

Tired, but determined
not to rest
til each detail
is crossed off,
I continue
drifting

Directives


I’m not to go the BYU ward,
     but to our home ward.
I’m to build relationships with
     family, friends, and ward sisters.
I’m only to go to school
     one afternoon a week.
I am to do the Visiting Teaching report
     minimally.
My exercise is to be moderate
     and my medication sufficient.
I’m not to worry about gardening.
I’m to manage a simple home
     making it a sanctuary of beauty.
I’m to live my sort of life with relaxed days
     spent in writing and study.
I am to spend hours each day
     on spiritual study and thought.
Will I be able to travel?
     I don’t know.
But I do know that rushing and pushing
     is over.
Struggling to meet others’ goals
     is to cease.
And as I  follow the soft, still voice
     it will lead me to peace.

Details and I


After a week of going through my wardrobe
and rearranging my home,
I had more energy and was even laughing!
Why did I feel so much better?
I couldn’t just keep redoing my home.
I prayed for understanding
and realized that it wasn’t the activity,
but what I wasn’t doing –Details!
I had hardly touched the computer or stove all week.
Instead I’d spent the week in a world of color, space,
ideas, and with my grandson.

Observing myself,
I sense my tension increase
when I spend very long with
sequencing data and following through.
My jaw, shoulders, and head aches,
my stomach is nauseous,
I hurt all over and feel shaky,
and I feel so tired that I don’t even want to move!

Assured that I must change,
but knowing I can’t eliminate all details,
I’m limiting these things to just an hour
first thing in the morning
and will eliminate all I can

Dancing


I really tried to march,
     Though some claim
     I should have tried harder,
but my feet,
quickly boring of the monotonous cadence,
kept adding skips and hops,
and I kept leaping out of ranks
     to see an ant hill with a child,
     study some book,
     or comfort a friend.

Finally, as a flunked recruit,
I decided to get rid of all
the “required” guides and paraphernalia.
At last, in a world of simplicity,
I found room to dance.

Crusader


I see confusion and fear in their eyes,
but knowing the way,
I issue the challenge
to follow principles and resolve problems.

Holding the banner high
I lead the way
shouting encouragement.

Soon I look behind,
only to see the rallied ranks
quietly slipping away
with their excuses, like cloaks,
wrapped protectively around them.

Course Correction


Pressured, just responding
to others demands,
I struggled through each day
trying to carve out a place
 for myself in society
as a respected teacher and
responsible church leader

 Living a half life,
     foggy, tired, and confused,
I finally collapsed.
Blessed with time
to obtain an understanding
of how to use my medications.
I gained the ability  to
more fully live my life

Finding stillness in
the quiet solitude
of being restricted to my home,
I learned to listen to His voice.

Slowly opportunities
 to share my talents unfolded,
Giving me new peace and fulfillment
as I learned to serve
through writing,



Counting Starfish

Like the man
picking starfish up
from the beach
and throwing them back
into the ocean,
I must not focus
at all that yet needs
to be done,
but instead at
all that has been done,
content in counting
those I have helped



Circus


Following the expected norm,
I ineptly attempt to juggle a few balls.
Lowering my head in shame,
I begrudgingly accept their sympathy.
Their assurances that I can do it
if I just keep trying,
ring hollowly in our ears.

Though tired and discouraged,
one day I look up
into the high reaches of the tent.
Fascinated by the lone figure
serenely walking the wire,
my balls slip from my hands
as I gracefully follow
His lead.

Choosing My Day


When I choose to do the “normal” things,
the leaden hours crawl
filled with accomplishing endless details,
Til stumbling through the gray fog,
head and body aching,
I at last welcome the oblivion of sleep.

Choosing instead to listen to inspiration,
I eagerly begin my day with writing and study.
Later, I help people who write into LDS.org ,
send email support to others,
and do family history work.
A little exercise, house work,
and visiting round out the day.
Having accomplished what matters most to me,
when the day comes to a close,
I contentedly slip into the world of dreams.






Choice


Accepting both my talents and my needs,
I turn from the dizzying rushing blur,
and retreat back into my quiet world;
A world where there is time to watch
snowflakes fall, leaves turn, and sunsets.

Depleted by schedules and rules,
my energy is refreshed in waterfalls of ideas.
Numbed by the cacophony of strangers’ demands,
I recover in the warmth of friends’ love.

Healing, I choose to remain
in my world of beauty and thought.
Nourished, I reach out
to share, teach, and love.

Chimes


Far from the blaring brass band,
I hear,
Like the tinkling of soft chimes
     on a quiet summer evening,
the whisperings
of an individual soul,
and resonating to its tones,
answer.

Changing Rules


I never thought
I changed rules;
I just solved problems.

Armed with principles,
I design solutions
and simply don’t allow
“shoulds” to stop me.

Using others
past experience
to expand
instead of limiting my options,

I determinedly reach upward,
Seeking eternal growth,
Proceeding with faith,
Exploring possibilities,
til the goal is reached.











12/16/07

Carrots and Daisies

Desiring peace and beauty,
I plant a garden of daisies.

Why then am I surprised
to find no carrots?

Careers

A  little unconventional
but tailored to my talents and needs
I’ve had my careers

My life has been filled
with teaching experiences,
I began teaching as a child
when I gathered neighbor children
to “play school”,
At ten I taught five-year-olds
in Sunday School,
In high school I took children with hearing problems on field trips,
In college I student taught in
a 2nd and 4th grade classroom for five months.
I gained my Elementary Teaching Certificate and re-certified twice,
I taught Spanish adults English
and sponsored Cambodian refugees,
I taught in Primary and Sunday School for forty years–
classes from nursery to adults,
and for eight years I taught adults how to teach.
I’ve tutored children with “Learning Disabilities” and “Autism”,
and lots of creative right-brained students
in reading, math, and writing;
determining their needs
and designing activities to help them learn.
Sometimes I tutored in my home
and was paid
and other times I volunteered my services to the school.
I’ve taught children reading for in our local Recourse Centers.
I directed a parent support group  for parents of children
with learning disabilities.

I was a panel member on learning disabilities on the TV show “Talk About”
in Salt Lake City.
I ran my own preschool for eight years.
I taught the writing process to children
as part of the library Summer program.
I designed and taught a four week courses
for Community School Program
on Personality Type and Supporting Your Struggling Student.
I’ve taught everything from keyboarding, math, science, literature, reading,
writing, art, dance, physical education, history, spelling,
and set up and monitored classroom management.
I’ve been involved in career and personal counseling.
For ten years I assisted in a 3rd grade classroom where I had the opportunity
to substitute for extended periods,
and where I enjoyed advising and teaching creative writing.

Have I had a teaching career?
Yes, One just right for me


Beginning as a child,
I started to write poems and keep a journal.
In high school I received  the Expository Essay Writing Award.
Over the years I continued to write in my journal, letters,
and family history stories.
Late one night, I felt I must use my talents,
or lose them.
Frustrated at not knowing
what my talent was,
I began to write.
Glancing down,
I was surprised to find
I’d written a poem!
I began writing my thoughts in poems
and writing articles for the Ensign magazine.
Five articles were published
and two others made the final cut.
The Springville newspaper published
a series of articles I wrote on learning styles.
For ten years I was editor for several ward newsletters.
For five years I was Assistant Editor for the North Star ,
our 26 page Stake newspaper. (Church member in our town)
I also was the editor of our town's Newsletter for five years.
Now I’m involved in new writing experiences
I write letters to the missionaries, messages of encouragement to
the visiting teachers in our ward,
and, as a Church Service Missionary,
I write responses to feedback on LDS.org.
I also support my husband's businesses
by writing business letters and with advertising writing.

Have I had a writing career?
Yes, one which has allowed me
to develop and share my talents.

Though I have enjoyed my careers
as a teacher and a writer,
I have found my most challenging career
and most eternally fulfilling
as a wife, homemaker, and mother.