Thursday, July 11, 2024

SJT and Poetry Friday: Help for Our "I Don't Know" Moments

Ruth at There is no such thing as a God-forsaken town offered us the theme of "I don't know" for our Spiritual Journey post in July.

I had a moment of "I don't know" what just happened as I left the grocery store today. I was pushing my cart across the parking lot to my car when suddenly the cart quit moving. I was sure that I had just hit a low space or picked up something that jammed the wheel in the parking lot. No, that wasn't it. 

Another driver rolled down her window and told me that the wheels had locked because I was taking it out of the grocery store lot. I had parked across from a nearby restaurant because it was closer to the store than the back of the store lot. The problem was real, the locked wheels did not allow me to move forward or backward. I was stuck in the middle of a lane of oncoming traffic. 

Another customer came over and offered to help get the cart back to the store. I grabbed my groceries, thanked him for getting me out of this pickle, and continued to my car.

I was grateful for both of the individuals who advised me in my "I don't know" how to proceed, "I'm stuck" moment. I like to think that there will be friends and loved ones and angels and Jesus who may come to our rescue in our "I don't know" moments. They won't always have answers, but we can feel their comforting presence and perhaps receive useful guidance.

When my aunt died, my mother talked about the absolute recognition on her sister's face that there were other beings present. I wasn't there, but loved hearing my mom tell of this experience.  When my mother died, I wanted to be there, to feel, to have a knowing experience that would stand for me as a reality of life beyond this one. 

I was privileged to be there, but we did not have an experience like my mother had with her sister. Instead, we quietly sang hymns, encircling Mom in our love, gently massaging her face as her breathing slowed, and she left this life, and entered another. It wasn't the strong recognition of my mother's experience, but instead it was a comforting feeling that I was on holy ground and that I had participated in a sacred experience. 

I recently read these lines from Hannah Fries poem, "Let the Last Thing Be Song," which reminded me of this experience of singing to my mother as she left this life and entered another:

". . 


When I die, I want to be sung across the threshold.
Don’t you? Doesn’t the universe,
with its loosening warp
and weft, still
unspool its symphony?

Sing to me — please —
and I will sing for you as all unravels,
as time continues past the final beat
of the stutter inside your chest.

. . . "

You can listen to the entire poem read by the poet with her young son improvising on the piano at the marginalian.

Robyn Hood Black is hosting Poetry Friday at Life on the Deckle Edge. Come join the fun!

Friday, June 21, 2024

Poetry Friday: An Illustrated Haiku

I am slowly building up my walking stamina by adding a few more steps each day. This week, I reached the bridge and crossed the lake.


 lake mirrors June blue

 white blossoms reflect beauty

morning walk speaks peace

-Ramona Behnke 

Tabatha at The Opposite of Indifference is hosting our Roundup this week. 

Come join the fun!

Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Slice of Life: A Surprising Sight

We were driving home from daughter's house on Monday when I asked my husband to wait at the stop sign so I could take a picture. In the field opposite us, two individuals were harnessing a white horse to a hearse with gold curtains.

There wasn't a casket in the hearse yet. It turns out there was a funeral at the church just down from the stop sign and just a short drive down from the church is a cemetery. 

I took a walk when I returned home, keeping an eye on developments down the road. When I saw the familiar black hearse turn into the cemetery, I worried that the horse drawn hearse didn't work out. But as I watched from a discreet distance, other vehicles parked and individuals walked into the cemetery. And then finally, the horse-drawn hearse arrived.

I've never seen a horse-drawn hearse before except in movies. Here's what I found online about this tradition: "A horse-drawn hearse represents a bridge between the past and the present, bringing a sense of historical continuity and respect for tradition.The image of majestic horses leading a solemn procession evokes a bygone era, adding a layer of profound symbolism to the ceremony."

Or as my neighbor commented when I showed her the picture, "What a way to go!"

Friday, June 14, 2024

Poetry Friday: New Discovery on the New Books Table

Although I miss my King County Library in Washington (no Lucky Day books on the shelves or Choice Reads to browse in North Carolina), the children's section of my local library has a feature that I love, a new books table. Last week I found this book by Joseph Coelho, the UK Children's Laureate for 2022-2024.

Poetry Prompts: All sorts of ways to start a poem is filled with 42 poetry prompts that are sure to delight your inner poet and any child in your life who wants poetry adventures. Each prompt has an example poem from the poet, followed by an invitation to create, and a Poetry Power-Up for an additional challenge. The book's captivating illustrations and large size make this a must-have for any teacher who loves poetry. If your local or school library doesn't have a copy, nudge them to buy one. It's a treasure trove!


Denise at Dare to Care is hosting this week's Poetry Friday Roundup. Come join the fun!

Friday, June 7, 2024

Poetry Friday: Four Things Friday!

1.  I open my phone to see a new podcast link from NPR"S Book of the Day featuring US Poet Laureate Ada Limon. Come back to listen for a weekend treat!

2. I click on and find this serendipitous quote by Ada Limon on the home page:

"Poetry offers us that silence—that quiet space."

—Ada Limón, United States Poet Laureate

3. I locate poems by Limon on Check out one of my favorites, "The Raincoat."

4. I invite you to my Friday Festivities in honor of post 1,400! Cue the confetti!


Tracey has this week’s Poetry Friday roundup at Tangles & Tales.

Thursday, June 6, 2024

Spiritual Journey Thursday: Comforted by Scripture

My father died forty-four years ago today on my parent's 39th wedding anniversary  I had just completed my second year of teaching and we were visiting my sister in Tennessee when my father became ill and had to be hospitalized. After emergency surgery and more than a week in the hospital with no progress toward recovery, we gradually came to understand that he wasn't going to get better. We had spent hours in the hospital's tiny chapel pleading for the Savior's healing power. This time our prayers weren't answered in the way we wished.
As a young child, I remember my mother's prayers often included the words: "Not my will, but thine be done." This was a difficult time for us because my father had seemed in good health when we embarked on our trip and was only sixty-seven years old. During this time of grief and sorrow, I turned to the words of scripture for solace. I turned to them when my mother died eleven years later at the age of sixty-nine and I was just thirty-six years old. My birthday is sandwiched between the deaths of my parents and it has taken years for me to feel something other than sadness at this time of the year. When I celebrate my next birthday, I will have outlived both of my parents. 

The words of scripture continue to bring solace and peace to my heart during difficult times. I jotted down the scriptures that I shared with my children in 2001 when we had our own candlelit ceremony after 9/11 on our deck. As we faced a worldwide pandemic that brought  sorrow and grief to so many, I turned to the promises and comfort found in scripture. When two siblings died in 2020, I turned once again to the words of scripture for comfort. As I consider those affected by war in our world, I pray for them to feel the Lord's peace. And now I seem to be surrounded by friends, young and old, battling difficult health situations and cancer. When I send cards, I often include the words of scripture, hoping that my friends will feel comforted as I am by the words.

Here are just a few of my favorites:
"...when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I."  (Psalm 61:2)

"My soul melteth for heaviness: strengthen thou me according to thy word. (Psalm 118:28

"I called upon the Lord in distress: the Lord answered me..." (Psalm 118:5)

"The Lord is my strength and song, and is become my salvation." (Psalm 118:14)

"Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. (Psalm119:105)

"Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." (John 14:27)
"Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need." (Hebrews 4:16) 

"Fear thou not, for I am with thee: be not dismayed: for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee, yea, I will help thee: yea I will uphold thee with with the right hand of my righteousness.(Isaiah 41:10)

I look forward to reading your post and learning of the things that have shaped or inspired your spiritual practice.

It's Spiritual Journey Thursday, an open gathering for bloggers 
who write monthly about our spiritual journeys. Karen Eastlund is our June host and invited us to look into the past for something that has shaped or inspired our current spiritual practice or outlook. You can read her post and find links from fellow travelers at Karen's Got a Blog.

Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Slice of Life: This Moment

I've been struggling with writing each week ever since the end of March's Slice of Life. Sometime during this past week, I remembered a padlet where I have saved mentor slices. So I visited it and chose Elisabeth's This Moment slice as today's mentor text. Go read hers, it's exceptional!

Son-in-law ladles leftover Chicken Tikka Masala into turquoise freezer cubes, scraping every last bit of delicious sauce from the red pot on the stove. Drawers open and close with a gentle swish as he pads about the kitchen in sock feet. Final dinner pots are washed and set on the drainer cloth to air dry.

Daughter's voice reading aloud to Jack and Robby floats down the hallway from the boys' bedroom followed by her voice singing one of four songs the boys request at bedtime.

The Book That Kibo Wrote sits on the kitchen table, evidence of Ollie's earlier read aloud with Grandma and Grandpa.

Daughter and son-in-law escape for a quick game of pickle ball. I finish my slice and reach for my phone to continue listening to next week's book club selection, currently at 29% finished with 9 hours, 59 minutes, and 03 seconds remaining.