Poetry Assignment…..

I am writing this poem for a class – and since this is generally my public forum for writing things I have to share with other people (or want to), I thought I’d share – I also think it’d be fun if anyone else wants to share their own “I am from” poem…..there a bit excruciating (in the best sense) to write and I feel like mine will be under almost constant revision, but fun nonetheless……here goes nothing:

 

I am from

Slow harmonized hymns and soul wrenching prayers

Kids tables and Easter dresses

Silly faces in over-sized mirrors

Spaghetti stuck to the ceiling

 

Dark, clear nights lit by millions of bright stars

Redwood trees and mountain misery

Roll down the windows – turn that radio up.

 

I am from

Long hours, sore muscles

Dirt under your nails, dusty knees

Overwhelming dedication and pride.

 

Stubborn as an – ox

Strong as a – mule

Or some variation of unrelenting good intentions

 

I am from

Sweet melodies and china trees

Shimmering above the wind-blown, wheat-strewn hillside

Crawdads and cows.

 

Freezing rivers and granite rocks

islands found and made

Freedom and curfews.

 

I am from

“How many phone numbers can you memorize?”

and “who knows your locker combo?”

Houses and cars that never lock

Friends who each have a key

 

Friday nights under the lights

Long bus rides home

“Yay Cheerleaders” – “Yay Band”

 

I am from

Love even when you can’t stand each other

Doors off the hinges

Sisters are forever

 

Beautiful and Broken

Here and coming

Run through this life but leave a trail

Find Love

 

…but if you really knew me

You’d laugh every time I start to cry

Forgive me for being sarcastic and afraid

and know what I really mean is thank you.

 

Where are you from friends?

empathy and me

No longer do I recognize a person’s sadness and just sit there with them in that sadness attempting to be a stronghold for them to lean upon. Now the sad, joyous, excited and frustrated reach right down into the very depths of my soul and I become that feeling. Claws of empathy that reach and reach and extend into this place I never knew I had. I read a poem from the point of view of the child writing, the mother reading and the teacher wanting to correct. I read from the standpoint of love and kindness, kindred adoration and an overwhelming need to take away the pain. My old self reads with a cynicism, and at the heartlessness which that may infer, only shows my practiced ability to shut out the feelings which imbibe and overflow from  my every thought and action – and still, there I am. The more I live, the more I relate to a world I never thought I’d understand – the more I so wish I could wipe tears and pain and hold them steady – ecstatically celebrate and lift up – sing melancholy melodies that pour out souls and pour in understanding – pray and begin again.

Wednesday Poem on a Thursday:

Notice the strange lack of posts?  me too!  You know what that means?  School is back in session.  It also means I miss you friends and hope you’re all well.

 

When I’m overwhelmed, i scribble in notebooks.   This scribbling is compliments of my last 3 hour classroom management class – I swear I took notes as well.  :)

 

Wednesday Poem on a Thursday:

Completely submerged;

Movement restricted.

So. Much. Noise.

Muffled voices and unintelligible sound

I break the surface and

The clarity is too much.

The air is cold – sharp

shards of broken reflections filling my lungs.

Binding bright, midday sun-

beam frozen heat and I blink.

Silence surrounds

Lifetimes of calm seas-

And summer breezes:

A constantly unobtainable expectation.

Leaning in toward Grace

sunset

Boxes piled in corners – in walkways, in rooms. Attempting to fill these new spaces with our known belongings and finding that it’s difficult to unpack. The starting of a new journey feels weighed down by possessions which have been boxed for weeks.

Life is like that too.

In the grand scheme of moving forward – living into the broken beautiful-ness and the kingdom here and coming – attempting to bring all of our expectations and learned ways into a journey that doesn’t require them. We find ourselves struggling along, attempting to match our own notions into true understandings and the puzzle pieces keep sticking around the edges – corners need to be cut off for these pieces to fit.

This constant struggle to fit ourselves and our own baggage into the journey means we miss the beautiful views and the little – almost unnoticeable – everyday miracles that make up this crazy life.

I am attempting this week to live into the spaces – boxes be damned – to play with the kids and enjoy the sunsets (and sunrises too at this rate).  School starts for me in just a week, and even in the barely muffled stress which tells me I am walking into this year without the slightest clue of what to expect besides busy, running-around, trying to keep up days – I know I have to let go – no expectations will fit this year – no amount of pre-planning or precisely scheduled calendar reminders will guarantee that this will go smoothly.  All I can do is keep moving forward – holding hands and hearts with my family as we go, and each of us needing a leg up this year as we keep climbing on – further up and further in people – everyday.

 

Mornings

Cool and calm and so very bright.

Summer mornings are full of wonderful smells and sounds that fill my soul so completely.
The chickens create such noise in the backyard that the morning cannot be describe as still and silent as it might be in the cold, dark winter. These chicken rustlings and sounds that mark the waking up of the world create a stillness in my soul that allows the day to begin beautifully. Mornings, where I sit in solitude, sipping hot coffee and shivering slightly in the coolness of a California sunrise, are my very favorite. These mornings allow me to let go of the worries that I know will surround the rest of the day, to relax and ignore the knowledge that questions will descend the stairs along with my children, but at least I have this chance to sit in the unknowing – answer-less, myself silent and still.

We are moving in 2 days.

Yesterday, I received one phone call and two very exuberant texts congratulating us on the purchase of our very own house. Congratulations marked with humor and with relief – this is a crazy process, the buying of a house.  Stressful and scary and not intuitive in the very least.  It’s been a rough month of paperwork and phone calls and more paperwork and So. Many. Signatures.  Scott and I have been trying to make this process run smoothly so as not to stress out the kids – we’ve acknowledged to them that this is a stressful process that requires patience and that requires all of us to work together – but I think in the end, I at least have been attempting to mask all the nervous stress, with excitement – and packing, lots of packing.

After reading the 8th chapter of the 6th Harry Potter book to my kids last night before bed, Katarina, rather than adopting her normal resignation toward bedtime – during which she claims that she never actually does sleep and should just be allowed to stay up, because sleep is useless – the girl broke into tears. This girl has been so excited about moving, about the newness of having her own room for the first time ever, about new places and the possibilities of new friends – this girl. She cried because she is worried about next school year (they’re going to the same school they always have), and how she knows she won’t make friends and no one will want to play with her. She’s worried about a new house and the distance it places between her and said friends. She’s worried about the newness – the unknown – and she’s just a little scared. Oh my Katie.
Why do we bottle things up so long? I know I do it too. Mask the fear and the nerves with excitement and fearless ambition. What is it within us that says -” don’t show fear”,”don’t worry”.
I sat and talked to her about how exciting it is to have her own room, how many of her friends will live just down the street, and how during summertime, our whole lives feel unstable because each day comes with a bit of unknown – our friends are on vacation, at odd times, we do not have a daily schedule.  I also told her that being scared and nervous and worried, is completely normal and that many of the questions she has can’t be answered in this moment – we have to live the answers – find them as we go.  There’s more than that really.  This morning I sit and because it has been a practice since I was 18, I think about Jeremiah 29:11 – and to me, knowing that the plans for my life are known, that they’re meant to prosper and not to harm, gives me comfort in this moment – but I know too, that there have been times when those same words inspire guilt.  Guilt because even if I believe these words, I’m scared.  It is so difficult to sit in the unknown and know that all will be well – and while I, in my 31 years have found the ability to embrace the unknown and the trust I seek, How do I help my kids to trust, without the guilt I’ve often felt?  Again, parenting is hard, but lovely and beautiful too.

So friends – here’s to new things.  The answers we want, and those we don’t especially want will come with the experience of living the questions and trusting that tomorrow is a new day.

Enjoy your morning!

Being a Parent is Hard

Sitting in the cool silence this morning, I find myself already attempting to plan out the day ahead of me.  Attempting to think of ideas that might motivate the kids to play and love and learn.  Being a parent takes so much effort.  It takes constant self-checking, planning, and the recognition that all of this is for the greater good of raising children who will one day be confident and capable adults.  Being a parent is exhausting, often discouraging, and even more often frustrating.katiesand (pictures by cousin Kendra)

Trying to keep the kids active and to somehow encourage their energy in the direction of some sort of creativity and/or imaginative play is much more difficult when I’m focused on packing.  Realistically, the only thing in the world they seem to want this summer is to have the complete freedom to watch TV and play on their computers without silly time boundaries.  I recognize that it would make my own situation so much easier- to just give into these electronically hypnotizing whims and let them sit for hours, but there’s this part of me that absolutely hates all things media driven – Games – computer and console – and especially television programs which seem to just instill in my children the exact ideas about growing up that I had hoped to avoid.

annajump

It seems that in order to counteract these false narratives about gender and growing up, I would need to sit with them while they watch, pause the show constantly and say things like: “No, girls don’t have to wear makeup and glitter and heels, yes, boys can like pink and not be chastised, don’t be prissy – as much as the shows make it out to be, it’s not cute.  Boys do not have to play sports or be “tough” to fit in or prove their masculinity.”  Sitting and constant commentary does not sound at all appealing or productive, so I often choose the harder fight – the fight where I say “no” to computers an T.V. and then they look at me with big doe eyes and whine about the injustice of it all.  I tell them to read a book and sometimes this works – or to go outside and play – or by all means, pack their rooms (this is the lesser chosen option)onthewaves!.

I took a class this past semester in which we discussed the difficulty of gender stereotyping and how the gender stereotypes have so pervaded our culture that they are taken as truth without questioning – even unconsciously – by most of our society.  I sat in that class – Saturdays for 8 hours at a time – recognizing stereotypes which have already begun to work on my children – I sat wondering how in the world to change the influence that stereotypes might have on my kids, while still raising capable, confident children who could stand up for themselves  and their friends, and still fit in.

 

There is no instruction manual for how to do this well.  There is also the constant push back from peers and media and society in general that will teach them that stereotypes are so much easier to just embrace – but I want them to be different.

 

I want them to believe that anything is possible and then to take steps to achieving those possibilities.  Most of all though, I want them to believe in themselves as people perfectly made for the purpose God had in mind for them. Perfect in their imperfections and Beloved beyond all understanding.

 

Monday Musings

This pacing and packing and continued procrastination is not especially productive in the grand scheme of entirely moving our earthly belongings from one address to another, but we’re slowly making progress. As I’m packing, creating this new daily rhythm of “What can I pack today that won’t need to be unpacked in the next couple of weeks?” I think about why it is we keep all of these things. If I can pack something away and not need it for the next two weeks – do I need it at all? It’s an arguable answer – yes, because while I may not need it every day, I may need it a couple of days a year and therefore should keep this thing because I’d rather have it on a shelf than need to find it on the shelf of a store. And then, No – no I don’t need any of it.

Things I’ve learned in the past few days:
– It is cathartic to throw away empty CD cases – they make a lovely sound and free up so much wasted space.

-We have so many books. And really as much as I try, I cannot get rid of them in any substantial way – I think I found new homes for about 20 books, and then filled 7 boxes……I cannot let go of my childhood belief that I would one day have a library in my house – even if I can realistically see that that is not feasible in this new one, anymore than it has been in the last 7 I’ve lived in….Guess I need to keep collecting until I do find that room.

- Kids do not recognize the need to pack, or to rid themselves of anything substantial. When asked to please go through their toys and decide what not to take with them, 3 broken polly pockets and a couple of pokemon cards was not especially what i had in mind.

As I’m packing and trying to plan for the things ahead, this song seems to be running continuously through my head.  I think it’s appropriately hopeful,

So I’m sharing it here:

 

 

 

Have a lovely Monday friends, I’d love to hear your musings too – they would greatly assist my ability to continue to procrastinate.