Monthly Archives: April 2016

April shorts – 19


i resisted for a long time
and then
my reluctance just didn’t make sense anymore

i gave in…
i admitted i needed help

i’m not sure which i was resisting more:
listening to and responding to advice
or the vulnerability of needing it

April shorts – 18

some people like to talk
I spent the better part of today with one of them
sometimes I just had to find a way to leave the room
sometimes I just found a way to occupy my mind and pretend to listen
mumbling “mm” and looking up at appropriate intervals

some people like quiet
I am one of them

writing is quiet

thank goodness

April shorts – 17

Perhaps you remember these ads that came out awhile ago: Ejector ad

Well that’s my denomination.  Today I attended the last day of a 3-day, cross country event installing the Reverend John Dorhauer as the new general president of the United  Church of Christ.

Just the fact that he chose to come to a church in Seattle is pretty cool but this is what made the day incredible:

  1. I attended with 6 youth from our church and they were all given specific roles to do in this event.
  2. One of the “vision” speakers during the ceremony was a Muslim woman from a local mosque who spoke in appreciation of Dorhauer’s recent call to all the UCC churches across the country to support and protect Muslims in their communities against acts of hate.  She shared historical examples of Christians and Muslims working throughout history to support each other.
  3. This was a common message among all the speakers today that we celebrate diversity and work together to promote good and justice in the world.


April shorts – 16

Tonight I decided to walk to my church – took me 50 minutes – to attend a soup dinner and talent show.  The talents ranged from the bell choir, to some poetry reading, a dance by a family with their 3 year old, an 8th grader playing guitar and singing, joke telling and drumming – all over the course of a couple of hours.  This Saturday night had me reflecting……

I’m learning a new way of telling time.
It has nothing to do with big hands and little hands,
quarters, halves, wholes
tick or tock.

It has to do with fullness.

You hear that phrase sometimes:
“the fullness of time.”
I’m beginning to get it.

Just like when I eat slowly,
and my stomach fills up and I don’t need to finish what’s on my plate.
When I just sit quietly,
or walk instead of ride,
what happens in those moments piles up like sparkling snowflakes,
magical and memorable,
more substantial than anything I could’ve scheduled
or made an appointment for
in time.



April shorts – 15

Another lesson from my pirate

It was a rough day for my pirate on Thursday.  Not really sure what was in the wind but he was up the mast most of the day, taunting every passing ship seeking to engage in a battle of wits or worse.

And finally worse happened and he was taken aboard the ship of the school principal – and had to sit in the hold for awhile.

By the time he was brought back to his own ship, it was time for some story writing.  As master of the deck log, I was wondering what our lead pirate would have to record for this particular day.

“What do you want to write about today?” I asked.
“About my new chick.”
“What about your chick? Zero? isn’t that his name?”
“We keep the chicks in our shed.  I have to be calm or Mom says his little heart could jump too fast and he could die.””Whoa!  So how do you calm down?”
“Like this..” and he took a big breath.

Thank you mom of my little pirate, you are a genius. bird

April shorts – 14

chance and circumstance adds up to reality

she could live in town, closer to her job at Walmart
but the rent is higher

she finally got her driver’s license
because even though she saved on gas and insurance
the bus only ran 3 times a day to this part of the county

she was in school once, training to be a medical assistant –
seems like years ago
and then she got pregnant with a man almost twice her age
she just had her 24th birthday

well now he is gone, 7 months ago
he went back to abusing drugs, and she had to get a restraining order in place
her sons don’t understand
and keep asking about daddy

when he left her brother moved up and into the household
he helps care for her two boys during the day
while she sleeps because she works the night shift

after a year, she’s finally working a 40 hour week
she’s thinking about a day shift –
it would be better for the kids,
but her pay would be a dollar an hour less
always there are trade offs….

yes, she’s lucky she has her brother to help
and he’s pretty good with the kids
she knows the tv is on more than it should be
he gives them marshmallows for treats
and the dishes stack up while she sleeps

but he wants to get a job too, he is an artist, draws cartoons
take a look at her 4 year old sitting at the table
drawing with his uncle and signing his pictures with a “J”

if they can just hang on
maybe they’ll make it
taking one step and one day at a time

April shorts – 13

I’ve been a preschool teacher for a long time and as long as I’ve been teaching there has always been the “gun” thing happening in my classroom. Preschool boys, not all, but most, like to build – and create – and pretend to shoot – guns. Often.

Of course I say the mantra “there are no guns at school,” but you know what! that is a ridiculous thing to say, because these kids just built them and are playing with them so – enough already! there are guns at school!

What I have found to be more effective – well, lets say more relative – is to talk with my students about their designs, asking how they work and what they are thinking about when they play out their scenarios. Because, after all, these are toys, folks.  Just because a kid creates and plays with guns doesn’t mean he is thinking about shooting people. I’m sorry to say some of my students are allowed to play video games where they shoot at people but most of my students aren’t doing that at home, yet they still like to build guns and pretend to shoot and obliterate an enemy.

My students have created amazing Lego tanks and other types of armored vehicles and yet none of my Legos have any components that are meant to be guns or cannons.  They have created block tanks and playdough fire arms. They have found many ways to configure all sorts of things into weapons that look like they would hurl projectiles. So I have to celebrate the visioning, engineering, and resourceful capabilities of these young designers.

My only caveat is that I request more “creation” than “destruction.”

April shorts – 12

I have about 20 photos hanging from little clips on the wall in front of me.  I created this space 2 years ago and intended to change the photos out every so often.  But I haven’t.  I’ve put a few new ones on top of old ones but just can’t seem to totally retire any of them.

Taking photos has become a new way of journaling for me.  The nice thing about posting photos is that I do actually look at them again and again and remember the place and the time and the effort to compose or capture the shot. When I look at them, I reconnect to what I felt at the time too.

My writing journal sits beside me as well.  But I don’t visit the pages over and over again remembering.  Every so often maybe, but not like these photos.


April shorts – 11

I’m not talking about the “bummer my team lost” kind of disappointment,
because the team is still practicing, looking forward to next year.

I’m talking about the caterpillar-never-becoming-a-butterfly kind of loss,
hope totally hijacked.

It doesn’t mean there won’t be more butterflies,
just not this one,
this time.

How do you rebound from disappointment like that?

With time,
with friends,
with knowing that because you birthed hope in the past,
it is possible again.

With love,
helping you see the caterpillars all around you.

April shorts – 10

Dear Parents of FCCB youth attending confirmation class,

You all have such amazing children.  I am so grateful to be sharing these few precious hours with them, listening to them, watching them with each other, laughing at some of the silly things they say and being touched to the core by the depth of their personal reflection.

Being with them has me remembering my own kids and wishing I could go back in time again to these awkward middle school years and just be with them again as a fully present parent.

I thank you for letting me experience this time with your kids instead and I want you to know I think you are amazing parents too.