lost girls


somewhere in a darkened room

probably on the floor

or worse a hard bed

two hundred and


schoolgirls are waiting

to die

to live

to be rescued

somewhere they are crying and praying

and two hundred and

eighty-four mothers

sleep every night

if they can

with lost voices in their heads

some time they may never see again


and somewhere in the Midwest

a third-grade girl is lying dark

in a hospital bed


glass shards from a drive-by

and waiting

to see

to heal

somewhere in her head is a cry

and we pray

somewhere her mother

sleeps every night

if she can

with the picture in her head

of a girl with two eyes

some time she may never see again


and somewhere there is another girl

and another

victims of bullying




and where do the next mothers come from

if we can’t

bring back our girls?

some we may never see again



The Light Gatherer

Carol Ann Duffy

When you were small, your cupped palms
each held a candlesworth under the skin,
enough light to begin,

                                              and as you grew
light gathered in you, two clear raindrops
in your eyes,

                              warm pearls, shy,
in the lobes of your ears, even always
in the light of a smile after your tears.

Your kissed feet glowed in my one hand,
or I’d enter a room to see the corner you played in
lit like a stage set,

                                       the crown of your bowed head spotlit.
When language came, it glittered like a river,
silver, clever with fish,

                                                and you slept
with the whole moon held in your arms for a night light
where I knelt watching.

                                                  Light gatherer. You fell from a star
into my lap, the soft lamp at the bedside
mirrored in you,

                                  and now you shine like a snowgirl,
a buttercup under a chin, the wide blue yonder
you squeal at and fly in,
like a jeweled cave,
turquoise and diamond and gold, opening out
at the end of a tunnel of years.


to my mom and mother-in-law, and all the other women in my life who’ve been such an influence for good — thank you for encouraging me to shine


Somehow when there is serious illness


possibly debilitating

or just something to halt you in your tracks

drop you where you stand


all the little things we do

don’t matter

so that game on my phone?

that new library book?

that dress i needed?

that restaurant i wanted to try?

all slip quietly aside to make way for the real


hospital patient

Something for today

Something for today

I needed this today, with my husband in the hospital…

2014-04-27 12.39.51

Sitting here getting ready to do lesson plans for the week before I go play for a funeral.  It’s pouring rain and intermittently thundering, so I’ve unplugged my computer.  I woke up feeling like a truck ran over me — about how I’ve felt every morning for the last two weeks.  I am very tired of being sick.

I laid in bed listening to the rain (I didn’t have to play for church this morning, fortunately) and trying to go back to sleep.  I finally got up and proceeded to bite my husband’s head off when he asked what time the funeral was today.  I apologized soon after, but I’m still feeling sad about it — maybe more guilty because of what he did later.

I apologized while we were eating breakfast and got a hug and a kiss.  After I showered I was feeling more human (don’t you just wish you could stay in the shower when you’re sick?) and I was sitting at my computer trying to start my lesson plans (no, not done yet) and felt a blanket settle around my shoulders. My husband set a lighted candle on my desk and kept pottering around at his desk.  I asked him why he was being nice to me since I’d snapped at him.

He said, “Because I know you’re trying to be good but you don’t feel good.”

Another hug and a kiss on my unhappy head, and he kept doing his thing.  I went to make tea and saw my new cup I got yesterday at the (in)RLMN meetup.

2014-04-27 12.50.47

“Created to be lovely”.

I initially picked that cup because I usually feel anything but lovely.  Except when my husband tells me so.  And then I realized I’d been anything but lovely to him.  He’s got his own set of stress and isn’t feeling top-notch either, but I’d been whining around about how bad I felt and biting him (metaphorically), and hadn’t even asked how he was feeling this morning.

So I’m drinking tea out of this cup and hoping I can ingest a little loveliness of spirit along with the jasmine white…

meet inRL on the bench

Prayer and Cookies

BmK7APgCUAEpgGw I just got back from a Christian women’s meetup in Edina, sponsored by (in)courage .  It’s called #inRL and it’s meant to help women connect in community, both on- and off-line.  To create a network of support and mutual growth. Most of all, to remind us we’re not alone in this mess called life, dealing with all our “stuff” in a vacuum.

So we met, with snacks and a craft, music and videos and stories of how people just like us are walking through life with their hands in each other’s, and in God’s hands.


We shared tears and stories of our own, finding out that we’re not so very different after all, and that each of us has a story to tell.  They’re not all finished, neatly tied up and pretty, but just the fact of sharing our stories ties us together and helps something beautiful grow.

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One of…

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pre-Lent disciplines


I’ve let myself slip over the last six months.  I fell down the stairs at work the first weekend of September, and as soon as I was just feeling like I could get back to my exercise, I had a car accident (mid-October, not my fault) and the subsequent back issues didn’t begin to clear up till Christmas break.  I got a new job (finally!) teaching fourth grade at an inner-city Catholic school — this started two weeks before Christmas break, so with everything, I’m just getting to where I’m feeling caught up with everything there and able to spend some extra time catching up at home.  This includes (unfortunately) diet, exercise, house cleaning, and personal devotions.  Yes, I’ve gained weight since October 6, when I had actually dipped below the 140 mark.😦

Grades were due for midterms yesterday, so I’m not only caught up on classroom organization, but my grading is not a large pile glaring at me. Just this last week’s worth and a couple tests I had to wait for students to finish.  Plenty, yes, but I should be able to spend time tomorrow doing something else other than either grading or stalling getting started.🙂

I decided, since the grading is done and Ash Wednesday is this week, I’d start my Lent discipline early — today.  My church doesn’t celebrate Lent, but for the past few years I have used it as a time to discipline myself either with my diet or in my spiritual life.  I’m feeling flabby, both physically and spiritually, so I’m going to try to do both this time.

Starting today, I will:

  • Track my food
  • Exercise at least to 10K steps daily — try to do more on the days I can get to the gym
  • Have personal devotions
  • Keep up with my grading!

I’d like to blog a few times a week too, but I know how that goes, and exercising and planning meals takes a lot of time!  So I will try, but no promises.

In looking for images for Lent, I came across one that pretty well sums up what I think it’s for:

lentmmcIt reminds me of the verse in Psalm 1 about the righteous person — “a tree planted by streams of water…whatever [he] does prospers.”

Prayerfully, I hope what I am trying to do in these next weeks prospers as well.


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