Saturday, December 21, 2013

Got hope?

How can my days be so incredibly encouraging and discouraging at the same time? I just looked up the word hope as I have a rock that sits on my desk with that word carved into it. I often overuse the word by saying "I hope...." and something that may be trivial like "I hope you have a nice day." But what really is it to hope? There were all kinds of definitions of the word but the one that stops me short is "to desire with expectation of obtainment".

Isn't it human to desire and sometime know you have your back to the wall or up against impossible odds and yet still have a huge hope you can beat the odds? You desire obtainment, but is it really the expectation? Do I expect to always obtain? I feel greedy praying with expectation of obtainment like I'm demanding my way or the highway, but I feel false and faltering of faith to not expect what I'm asking be granted.

Ask and it shall be given unto you…” What isn’t said clearly is that it isn’t a one to one exchange. We can ask, but the answer isn’t always the one we imagined was the answer to the question. That takes us back to expectations. Is the answer sometimes asking us to change what we expect to happen? Is the point in asking to change the person that is asking? Change me to see beyond my expectations to what? That is where the picture gets murky for me. How can I change the questions when I can only see one answer?

Often I'm desperate for a change in a predicted outcome like when both my brother's lives hung in the balance. My expectations weren't met, but I understood that was a possibility. My hopes weren't met. I miss them and they died way too early. I had hoped that wouldn't be the case.

I had hope when I auditioned for way too many grad schools and got in to the one I thought impossible to be accepted into and I graduated from there too. Surviving it at times seemed a bit hopeless at the time, but my hopes carried me through. However my hope was met not in the way I expected at all.  

When my son was born and I wasn’t supposed to be able to have a child at all, but I was granted one. Soon after the diagnosis of autism came and things changed for us as a family again. Yes, not what we expected or hoped, but he is still a gift and quite amazing. He is what makes me stop and ponder such things as the nature of hope. He makes me change my expectations and in many ways gives me hope and stretches my definition of hope. I wait and hope for a good future, but my hopes change daily in each moment.

My son is brilliant and an incredible human being who teaches me how to hang on to hope. He is a tenacious boy filled with hopes and dreams of all kinds. His dreams are often my dreams for him also. He wants so much. I want it for him or with him to encourage him, but I’m discouraged by his fears and the hidden things that seem to overwhelm that hope, those dreams, and our moments of connectedness. I stumble around trying to help and I’m so afraid I’m hurting what we hope for.

It puts a new spin on that phrase in O Little Town of Bethlehem“....the hope and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight." This Christmas, I think about what is that hope I have in Christ? What does it mean to set aside my fear and hope for something better? Or is that what the song is talking about? The hope and fear of all the years….my years….your years are met in Emanuel, God with us. He is with us and for us despite our stumbles. May your hope be renewed or revived or resuscitated as you turn your face towards the Christ child tonight.

*Photos: painting of "Magdalene" by Titian above, my son at a Christmas light festival, and a nativity ornament at that same festival "The Lights of Christmas" in Stanwood, WA.

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Shoring Up Grace

This poem is about a lot of things right now I’ve been going through and yet about my past also. Things I’m always learning. Written 11/5/2013 after a tough rehearsal night with a new script.

I am so aware of what is hers and what I’ve created around it
The shaky form that held within its promise
I was drawn to it, barely knowing what it was
All I knew is that I wanted back in
I wanted to return to doing
To being a part of a family
That I’d dropped out
Become a distant visiting soul
Dancing on the fringes
Of a group of people
I admired
So I waited to come
To hold again a map
Returning me down that road
With bumps and winding
Meanders past deep lakes
That I dive into with eyes
That cannot see past
My own nose
In I plunge
This time over my head
Drowning in words, limits, and love
Struggling in the undertow of dramatic construct
Deconstructing what is there to layer over top
A canvas to make this boat to sail
Fast across that lake
Not weighted down to sink
On the bottom
To skim slick across the top
To get somewhere
I get out at the other shore
Walk down an unknown path
To a golden sun
Burning hot against those hills
Rising emerald green gems
To turn dark blue with cold
As the sun downs behind them
Leaving me alone
Look up, you say
She is gone
Above you are the points far off
That say you are not alone
That guides the boat
Who brought you to the path?
Gave wind to fill the sail
Warmed by the sun and marked it
Going out behind what seemed so green
And then silent black blue
And you were frightened in that silence
Until you turned your eyes away from the depths
Or the storm
Or the path
Above you is an expanse
That goes on and on and on
There is no limit
To the gift of grace given in this moment

You are not ever alone

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Frustration Poems

I haven't posted anything of late and I have always been a frustrated poet. Here is today's quick entry on that note.

Perpetual Pea Soup Ponderings
The daily fog outside
Matches me inside these days
And nights reaching for something
That runs far in the distance
An outline of something
I can’t quite make out
Seeing it there in shadow
Through a white translucent curtain 
floating, yet thick enough
Not to know where to go
I nearly run into it
Looming before me
It was there all along
Not what I wanted to find
When will this fog lift?
So I can see things clearly

I wonder and wander alone

And this poem I wrote a couple of
years ago. I know the picture isn't Tiger Lillies, but just imagine. (See the fog behind the flowers and you will get my state these days).

Tiger Lilly Turmoil     
I buy myself flowers now,
You used to bring them to me,
You never question the occasional bright bouquet
I pick up while running errands
To provide some sort of comfort or inspiration into my ordinary existence
Not a secret lover’s flaunt you surmise
You glance and say nothing
They greet us standing soldier silent on the kitchen table
Exotic, fragrant, and bright
How I used to seem
They remind me of what I’ve lost for you
I must to you look like the wilted bunch that lingers at the end of the week
Too good to throw out, but not fresh enough to celebrate
Is there room for new growth?
Not in dry bunches stuck in water that greys with time
I’d rather dig a hole and dive into the ground
Overwintering the frozen storms
Until spring awakens me once more
To emerge reaching skyward  forever bright
returning each spring to bloom once more.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

GFCF Lemon Blackberry-Strawberry Coffee Cake

By popular demand I'm posting this. I have grown up baking and cooking. GFCF baking though took a bit of a learning curve this past year to really get any good at it. I tend to not measure, but eyeball a lot of things when I cook and (gasp) bake. Some bakers would swear you can't eyeball anything, but my mother always did and so do I. I make my own jam which went into this cake too, but you can use whatever you like. I hope you make it and enjoy it! I do tend to lean even heavier on the spices, but toned it a little bit down for you all. It was going to be raspberries, but my bush just stopped producing them and the blackberry bush was full plus I had some late summer strawberries in the fridge. You can use whatever berries are on hand and in season!

GFCF Lemon Blackberry-Strawberry Coffee Cake
Dry Ingredients
1 ½ C. Pamela’s GFCF Baking Mix
1 ½ C. GF All Purpose Flour
½ C. Either Garbanzo Bean or Almond Flour
½ Tsp. Salt
2 Tsp. Baking powder
1 Tsp. Baking soda
1 Tsp. Ginger
1 ½ Tsp. Cinnamon
2 Tsp. Cardamom
¼ C. Sugar
Wet Ingredients
½ C. Vanilla Coconut Yogurt (if not vanilla add in 1 Tsp. of vanilla extract)
1 C. Light or regular canned Coconut Milk
1 Lemons (zest and juice)
¾ C. Honey
3 Eggs
Filling and topping
1 TBS Strawberry or Blackberry Preserves (heaping)
1 Lemon (zest and juice)
1 ½  TBS. Brown Sugar
1 Tsp. Cinnamon
½ Tsp. Nutmeg
½ TBS. GF Flour
1 ½ TBS of non-dairy GF margarine melted
Powdered Sugar
½ to ¾ C. Nuts of your choice: Walnuts or pecans are great! (Optional)
If you like a little more lemon, I did end up adding in a little lemon extract too to punch it up a bit. Do that to taste.
Preheat oven at 375. Combine Dry ingratiates. Combine wet ingredients. Combine dry and wet together to make batter. Spray bunt pan and add in ½ the batter. Spoon preserves on top of batter putting as many berries as you wish in this filling. I wouldn’t overfill the middle with berries or it will get super mushy. I probably did ¼ C. of each kind. Spoon in the rest of the batter on top of this.
Prepare topping (or bottoming in this case!):
Combine brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, and lemon zest. Combine with melted margarine or if you are like me and forget the margarine I put the topping on and then go, “Oh the margarine!” and then drizzle it on top of the topping so it will combine. Either way works. It can be easier to forget as the dry stuff goes on easier and covers better that way. Place on top of batter (it will end up being on the bottom when you flip it out of pan). I suppose you could start with this as the first layer if you wanted it on top of the bunt. Bake at 375 for 25 minutes and check to see if done (everyone’s oven is different).

After it has come out and cooled for about 10 minutes. Flip out of bunt pan onto serving plate. Combine a little more preserves with lemon juice and a little powdered sugar to drizzle on top of cake. A light dusting of powdered sugar if you want to make it even prettier. Place berries on top. Eat and enjoy!

Thursday, August 01, 2013

Another poem....

My son is into keeping all the windows open at the moment. Even when the nights are dipping down into the low 50s. I have been writing poetry still since April, when I wrote so many, but here is one I wrote this morning that seems blog worthy.

Summer’s Opportunity
You’re opening windows
Insisting that they be not shut
Such an effort to open them
You climb up on a chair to reach
Stretching to your full height
Pulling on stiff levers that secure them
You push them free
Swinging out
Nearly falling yourself
You rock back on your heels
Standing in the silhouette of the sky
Breathing in summer’s sweet release

Hemmed in no more

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Science Lecture Captured #1
My son is 8 years old and happens to be autistic. He is gaining more and more interest and knowledge about science. He’s always been fascinated by the weather, but in the last several months plate tectonics has captured his attention. Plus, he is trying to figure out what God does and the view of the Bible. We try to help him figure out all the pieces and theories vs. fact vs. not knowing.
 It is all overflowing with these long rambling lectures as he calls them that he has to “get out”. We interrupted him the other night when he was in the midst of one and tried to put him to bed. He fought us tooth and nail scratching and screaming upset to the maximum until we all got calmer after a while and I figured out it was because we’d interrupted him on his lecture walk. He wanders through the yard outside usually, lecturing to me, the bushes, and the air, but it is a driven moment that he has to do. Plus he has to sleep out on our balcony even though the temperature have been dropping into the low fifties at night (quite cold for summer).
This morning, he lectured me and engaged me some. He spoke loudly, not the whispered lectures of the evening, oh no, this was a proclamation about the morning sun. I finally grabbed a piece of paper getting some of it down verbatim. Some of it I remembered. Here it is in entirety as best I could put it back together. I’m so sorry I missed part of it because he had me laughing at his clever turn of phrase too.
"If I was born was born where the space was born....If I were born when the universe started, we must travel back in time. I'd be born in space in a space suit so I could breathe. I'd come down into the atmosphere onto the planet Earth. As we travel back in time, we'll watch what happens when I'm space born.
First, I’d descend into the ocean. No land. Hurricanes blow up and spit me out. Oh, it is rough. Lots of rain pelting my body. It is somewhat confusing. I go up into the air where there is oxygen and hydrogen and the sun warms me some.
 I plunge into the water. Splash! Thousands of feet below the waves it would be dark. There are underwater chimneys spewing hot liquid. These chimneys would create my first life. Single cell organisms. I think we call it single cell bacteria.
Millions of years and then the stromatolites turn sunlight into food and they make the atmosphere not so toxic. My location is on my island, but then the next two billion years the oxygen level will begin to rise and I’ll be so old. But I sleep every night until each dawn. But I can be reminded I can only sleep outside on the ground. Whatever my body feels like. No blankets.
Five million years ago, I still don’t see more complex life. No plants, dinosaurs, and I can’t see any humans. My Earth looks like a beautiful blue ball and there are volcanic activity in my location. It looks like I push and pull the plates around the globe carrying the islands around the globe.
I will still be in my location and in two billion years there will be a super continent: Rodinia. I see in my location is a desert. My planet has been slow. Eighteen hours, but then my planet looks more like Mars than Earth because of the desert in my location.
750 million years ago in my location, state of Washington, something is happening. A great big super continent is splitting into two continents. A new super continent Pennotia. In just a few thousand years the temperature will plummet in my location thousands of degrees. The cold comes. My body freezes and my body will shake. Thousands of ice sheets will meet and form plates and then meet at the equator.  I will look at the sun to see what the ice is doing. Not even the sun can rescue the planet now.
Millions of years the volcanos start emptying. They erupt in my location too. It creates thick shoots and weak spots and oxygen levels rise. Then it will create more carbon dioxide and push up the temperature in my location. About 600 million years ago the temperature will be warmer acting like a summer’s day.
What about something along the oceans? A slug takes up residence it’s called Olaxia (I think he’s trying to say “atlantics”---I looked it up---a kind of ancient sea slug). There are planets. There are worm sponges and lobsters. Mesonychoteuthis(I had to write this out phonetically and then look it up to figure out what he was talking about. An ancient type of real Kraken type creature just discovered recently that roamed the seas and was quite aggressive), Mesonychoteuthis is 20 feet long, razor sharp eyes and grasping limbs. And it’s a monster. All it has to do with its razor sharp teeth is take its pick. Rodinia and Pennotia are starting to break apart. The end for now. That’s all.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Poem #30 for April National Poetry Month.
I made it! 30 poems in 30 days! It has been actually more than 30 poems. What a ride! I’ve never tried to intentionally write that much poetry at once. It has been good discipline.
Susan Lori-Parks wrote a play a day for a year. Now, being who she is her year of plays gets produced. It was a grand experiment like this.
I know I need to edit and re-work a lot of these, but there are beginnings of some gems. What would a year produce, I wonder? Could I stand it? Keep it going? Or have enough vocabulary? I tend to repeat my favorite words. I am aware of all of this. What do you think? Yea or nay? Let me know.
Tonight you get two poems for the price of one. The first written this afternoon and the other after seeing myself tonight on film at a big movie theatre in the local indie film The Pony Man.

Pondering Polaroid
A quiet cascade through my memory
A silence so loud it hurts
How easy let go
It doesn’t flow
Here in my mind
The pictures painted bright
There is so much I have forgotten
I reach for the photos
I have misplaced
Shuffling through the same stack
Getting lost in story
The sound of the train whistle
 Out back of my home
Between the garden and the airport
On the edge of that farming sleepy town
The train sliced through
Clickity-clack high pitched announcement
That marked the day into sections
So sweet like an orange peeled
Juicy and ready to cut those hazy
Summer days playing on railroad tracks
Smelling the sticky tar
Bubbling up from treated wood slats
Hopping from one to one to one
Walking for hours trying to outrun the distance
Lying on my back in a dark field
The cold grass against my shoulders
A bit nippy in September’s late kiss goodbye
 to August’s free form passion
Looking for stars or something familiar
Singing to the Heavens
Waiting for them to whisper back
Tasting blood trickling down
The side of my head banged against
The steering wheel
Lost staggering alone on an Iowa dirt road
Stunned seeing the ditched pitch
Of a car curled up like a yellow bean bug
Waiting to devour the whole plant
When a dust cloud pulls up
Out steps a flannel clad knight
Asking if I’m ok
He takes me back to town
In a rattle-trap sea sludge green truck
on a sienna brown road
Pulling us towards town
out of the wild lonely flat lands
These small unspecific adventures
trapping solace and sculptures of a place
A marker between pages of adventure
stretching out my probability
To capture that perfect sunset
photographed on my cortex
in a distinct distant melody
I sing to remember
Humming snatches
Grabbing notes
Floating euphoric in snapshots of home

First Screening
Surreal seeing myself on the silver screen
I was there and then gone
Uttering a few lines
A pained look with joy
Is that what I look like?
I look at her
And I do like what I see
Heavy, but pretty
Country and city
Finding something in this itty bitty part
My life mimics the art
It’s a start
Performing a tiny role
Written for me
That I thought,”Why not?”
I get to be on the spot
In the light
Big emotions in a miniscule moment
A pause of dialogue in the montage
That’s me full and free

Monday, April 29, 2013

Poem #29 of National Poetry Month. This evening I went and returned a sleeping bag and camping pad that I borrowed nearly three years ago from a very generous and patient friend. It made me in mind of that great quote from Polonius in Hamlet Act 1 scene iii. This is for you Syrinda, thank you!

Deferred Taxes
Never a borrower or lender be
When you borrow you can pay great fees
And lending can lead you round the bend
Especially, if that person is a friend
They take the thing they needed most
And keep it with no regard to the host
You are wondering if that thing is now toast?
Or been lent out to some unknown source?
But of course, you try to have trust
In those that you love the most
When you need a thing
And put out a general cry
It is amazing the replies
Those are closest often
Do not respond
And those you know
A bit, see fit
To lend you their most precious
Or treasured thing
Not box or bag,
But a ring
Or antique going back generations
From the fathers of this nation
We borrow and lend
To friends and friends of friends
Now where are we?
On an apparent spending spree
That we cannot borrow more
And those lending days are through
This is the main issue
If not to be one who needs or charges fees
Then who shall we be?
The future is murky
Look at countries like Turkey
Greece and Ireland
Who have tried to be better men
Yet are like Rabbit trying
with all his relatives and relations
to unblock that door
Pooh Bear had to lose weight
Before he could get out of that scrape
I wonder what will happen to our state
Traveling at this rapid rate
Digging our own inevitable fate
I really cannot relate
To what the government does or purposes
As I haven’t chosen
To get on this ride with them
They are men who
Defend a system that is broken
And so few have spoken
About the justice of money
The future of this land
How can we expand our thinking?
We are sinking
This is stinking
More and more
They cannot ignore
The people who struggle
I wish they knew
How much we need
A common man
To take a stand
And understand making a solid plan
Lending less and borrowing less
To get us out of this mess!
That is what seems best
To quote a great mind
To be kind
To thy own self be true
But to borrow nothing
And lend nothing
I think could be quite shrewd

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Poem #28 of National Poetry Month and Autism Awareness too, which I write quite a bit of poetry about my autistic son.  Some nights I am so grateful for a quick prayer said and answered by the kindness of strangers. I needed help and it came from strangers and my husband. The boy might be not feeling well as part of this too, but I didn’t know until the storm hit. This poem I write for Peter and Austin that stopped to help us out tonight. You were the angels sent to aid us. Thanks!

Flash Flood Storm Boy
Downward spiral you slide so fast
I am caught in your wind wake
Not seeing all that is at stake
It is a seamless night
With a clear sky
Like a desert downpour
Out of no where
Sudden onslaught of sleepiness
Drives the clouds to grow
Larger, more full, and the deepest threatening hue
I had no clue this was brewing
Until I am drenched in misfired questions
Misdirection and so many missed connections
As I scurry to find the map to lead us out of it
Tonight a couple of strangers
 held an umbrella over our heads
I was shocked they stopped
And really heard your cries for help
They weren’t afraid
They sat down and stayed
Looking like they would have
Remained for as long as it takes
To see the storm abated
This new lightening rod
Attracted all your energy
You were repelled by them
I was attracted to their kindness
It was enough inertia to blow the storm
Down the block and into the car
Where we had to go
As home was so far
The rage settled to a trickle
Until the tickle of the driveway
You were so dismayed as the Heavens opened
 again to flood the floor to ceiling
I thought we would drown this time
Trapped in the car
Gotten this far
Then my partner storm chaser
Stepped out of the house
To see the tornado up close
He shouted to be heard
Stepping into the funnel undeterred
Into the house you blew
Full hurricane on the horizon
Unless we could shoot the eye
Coming around the bend
We stuffed your high pressure front
Into your footed pajamas
Getting many kisses from Mama
We brushed teeth
Despite the rain still constant
We tucked you in
Giving you a concert
Of sweet rest
Songs stilling the storm
Eyes closing
Rain down to a hiccupping mist
The fresh smell of sleep
Curling away the clouds
In comforted consolation
Our sweet boy once more

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Poems #27 My thoughts racing all over the map tonight. I wrote this first one and nearly didn’t publish it, but decided it would be good to do so. Here I am with 2 more for today’s entries.

Solo Story Project
Blank stare at the page
Matches my empty-headedness
As too many thoughts
Ride by the window
Much too swift and slick
To hold onto
Snatches of my father
Eighty-eight this year
Turning over that nine
He has almost run out of time
He sits alone and likes it
Yet he holds onto his stories
I’ve begged him to tell us
Before he goes
And turns up his toes
He hears me not
My sisters are someones
How I’ve wished to know
What dishes they have
Inside they keep
Their stories, not a peep
I overflow and they know
Most of what I know
I am a constant show
Wanting them to be my audience
Holding that front row seat
But like for Guffman
I wait and wait

Faith Story
Faith takes a fullness of being
To know what it is that makes us leap
We repeat the same patterns
The echo of past mistakes
And something says purchase that new item
Way over there that you know nothing about
That shouts“pick me!”
In the sea of other worn grooves
More than mere mood molds
That jump to a find
When we are lost
Cannot be found
We hear the sound
Of simple symphonic greatness
In one single note
We stroke that lamp
Hoping for smoke
Knowing there will be a genie
Kind or evil is not
The supreme thought
In this small action
This tiny tenacious turn
To hold onto the one thing we know
Leaping for what we don’t, can’t,
but must, must, must!