"We're all just walking each other home." - - Ram Dass

Monday, January 30, 2012

Pulling Tight the Cloak of Comfort

source: Pinterest

The moon reflects up off the snow and onto your restlessly sleeping face.
You brows still knit tight together,
your dimpled fist clutching that tissue like a life line.

I prepare to stay beside you through this night,
with soothing words, cool hands,
and the reassurance that lies for every child in the presence of mother.

For even in the discomfort that has befallen you,
and the sleepless night in store for us both;
I find myself opening wide and welcoming these moments.

Because when your child needs,
a mother you become.

Tonight I slip on the cloak of comfort, the wisdom of sages
when you ask so reverently if you'll ever breath again.
I nod only once, praying that the half shadow of the princess nightlight
hides the smile dancing on my face.

Some days motherhood is a title that is hard fought.
Full of self-doubt, faultered steps, worry.
Not tonight, little bird.

Tonight, I pull tight into my title.
Rejoice that I smell just so.
I push back the falling strands of hair from your forehead.
Momentarily erasing signs of pain with a kiss.

And sink us slowly into the night
singing low sweet words sung by the ages
rocking us to the beat, the rhythm of our shared hearts.

Counting with Ann a thousand gifts:

31. Finding pleasant smiling faces, even from the car in front of me.

32. Baby girl, who has been going with brother since she was 2 weeks old to the bounce-house play area, can now officially do all the slides and fun all on her own.  And boy, does she ever.

33.  Date night with grandma, Owen, Ava {and her two closest dolly friends} to Beauty and the Beast 3-D. There will always be a place in my heart for singing plates, dancing knives, and debonair candlesticks.

34. Submitting my homework a day early.  This never happens… I mean, never.

35. Saturday afternoon unexpected naps on the couch while your husband and kids have an epic Super Mario galaxy session raging on.

36.  Owen learning to beat-box from his little friend from kindergarten.  Proudly showing us his skills… in his underwear. Word.

37. Finally taking down the Christmas decorations.  I think we officially get the holiday cheermeister award for two full months of being decked and jolly.

38.  For husbands who ASK for you to wait to watch Downton Abbey until he’s home from work.  And when you have to pause the show to take care of your sick daughter, unable to return, you find him watching the rest of the episode on his IPad. #lovemanlymenwhowanttoknowMatthewsfateasmuchasyou

39. Children excited by responsibility charts.

40. Clean socks. Finally doing laundry. Ask my family…it’s been awhile.

{linking with Jen  and Just Write today too}

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Five Minute Friday: Love Spoken in Action

This week's word: Tender

I watch the sun kiss the crowns of their three bent heads.  Elbows deep in sand.  Minds deep in concentration. Hearts deep in the actions of love.

It's not often I get to see my children's daddy interact with his own, but when I do ~ oh, my heart aches for the tender.

For these Pohlkotte men love in ways long since forgotten by this modern world. They love with their actions.  They love in diligence.  They love with their hands.

And this baby girl?  She gets to grow in the shade of their tree of strength.  When she is lost stranded on the shore, these men will pave her a path across, brick by brick.

I will speak softly in her ear so she doesn't miss those love moments that go by in a whisper.  Tenderness spoken in strength. Love spoken in action.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Practicing the Art of Being Still

I just got back from my soul quenching vacation.  It was exactly what I was looking for in a week away.

As is the case when you have a spare moment to catch your breath, I noticed some things about myself as well.

The beauty of this trip wasn't just the landscape {although this right here? this didn't hurt}

It was that even though we had some wonderful things planned, we also had many hours to fill with whatever we desired.

Oh sure, I had a mental list that would squeeze sap from a number 2 pencil, of all the things that if I wanted to make the most of my time I would do:  I was going to fill my time writing pages upon pages in my journal...character studies...self exploration... I brought my running shoes like I was going to run anywhere but back in line for more ice cream...and oh, I would have deep conversations with Jason that would bridge the gap that managing a household and parenting on separate shifts creates.

I boarded that plane with more good intentions than clean underwear and fastened my expectations tighter across my lap than I did my seatbelt. This trip would restore...I'd make sure of that. 

Instead, I smiled once in Jason's direction and fell dead asleep. Full out, mouth gaping, head hanging - sleep. I woke in a panic and said to Jason "woah, I don't know what just happened." And he looked at me and said, "You were forced to sit still for a minute, and your body took what it needed."

I had to fight the urge to feel as though I had wasted time.  And as we boarded the boat and lost all cell coverage, e-mail reception, blog updates, school reminders...I had to loosen my belt of expectations a bit and realize that these things that I 'do'? They don't define me.

See, as Emily so wonderfully puts it, I'm a barely recovering Good Girl. {In fact, I'm thinking I need to instate a AA inspired chip system that rewards days that I don't try to earn my value.  Only, my chips will be the chocolate kind...}

But this trip, oh, it wrapped me in its arms and told me to let go.

 Don't write one word that doesn't burn to be written. Instead rest in the words of, not the soul shattering kind.  The Hunger Game Trilogy kind, tucked under a comforter or under the setting sun.

Don't speak one word that doesn't need to be said.  Don't poke at barely healing wounds simply because we have time to change the dressings.  Instead fall delightfully back into laughing, or saying really nothing just like we used to.  Like we did before we had to speak of carseat logistics and 401k growth. Finding more closeness over a shared look in an elevator than from hours of heavy handed comments.

Don't self analyse to "Alice-down-the-rabbit-hole" proportions. Embrace my own forward movement to want to love, live, and learn more, yes...but instead also allow for my thoughts to remain where they are.  Allow my brain to power down and rest.

I lost my chip last night. {and this girl hates to lose out of chocolate}. I caught myself stirring spaghetti sauce, google reader scrolling, Itunes singing, responding to an e-mail on my phone all at once.  When my daughter came in to ask if she could help me, I looked up from my haze, needing to come down because I had been "using" again.  Where I used to say multi-tasking, I am now calling multi-missing.

I nearly missed the freckle of sauce that landed on her nose as she tugged and prodded, directing my sleeve to stir the pan.

I nearly missed the look of pride as she gleefully threw a noodle against the wall, declaring dinner ready.

So, I am committing myself.  Rehabilitation to the art of being still.  I will not count my worth in tasks achieved.

Counting instead the eyelashes that catch falling snow.

Counting instead how the truths of Martin Luther King Jr's "I have a Dream" shine when spoken with the fervor only five year olds possess.

Counting instead the grays growing at the temples because I've been by his side for each one.

Counting instead a life worth lived by the moments that leave me full and still.

{Linking with Emily and Jennifer}

Monday, January 23, 2012

Strands of Life {dripping sweet and full of joy}

Today I celebrate your life,
hand in hand we wander through the day.
soft. quiet. 
Just the way your heart works,
and how it heals the swirl of my own.

eleven birthdays I have spent by your side.
The first to welcome in your seventeenth year.
I still see him here, that growing man,
wise beyond his years, with the glimmer of life yet yearned for 
lightning in your eyes.

Now, the appearance of a few gray strands 
dance just above your ears blown by the oceans wind.
I smile as I tuck a stray one down.

You have earned these, my love.
Earned them through the responsibilities you eagerly accepted at a young age.
You have earned them by scraping through the valleys and hills 
of love. of fatherhood.

My chest swells with the wonder and honor of being made your partner.
That I know the heartache, joy, the journey in each of those strands.
Those emerging signs of the story we are building together.

today I celebrate every year we have faced together
every year that brought you to me
every year that keep coming at such a rapid rate.

I vow to keep counting those years through
the lines that etch your face
the browns that turn to gray.

For each is for us to remember,
to create,
years to fill with love.

These are the days when the moments drip heavy with joy:

17.  One glorious night in New Orleans: Beignets, rice and beans, and the soul moving music of the Preservation Hall Band.

18.  Leaving the world behind: no cell phones, e-mail, access to our responsibilities- boarding a boat, just he and I, to rest. renew. rejoice.

19.  Sandy toes, drinking in the Mexican Sun, Letting the wind erase worry.

20.  Climbing Ruins. Greeting Monkeys. Digesting the country of Belize.

21.  Reading 3+ books, watching no less than 8 movies.  Not moving until I wanted to.

22.  Napping and ice cream. Every afternoon.

23.  The hills of Honduras, hauntingly beautiful.  Finding rest beside the water ~ forgetting time and thoughts.

24.  Being free of agendas, time, and responsibilities.

25.  Laughing over shared looks in groups of people.

26.  Feeling insignificant before the massiveness of the ocean.

27.  Watching the sunset above the clouds. holding hands. Savoring these last moments.

28.  Scooping up warm sleeping bodies, tucking them into their beds. The house clicking with heat, popping to expand to the life returning.  Family together under one roof.

29.  Early morning reunions. Beaming faces who delight in the trinkets given and telling you they "missed your smell".

30.  Finding out the fantastic, fully deserved news, {this sister is bursting with pride} that my brother and dear friend Adriel Harris are confirmed musical guests for The Late Night with David Letterman {June 4th!!!}

On this last note, here is a video {shot by my friend John, you know the one with the amazing pictures}   of Cory and Ade rehearsing and performing with The Preservation Hall Band at the NewPort Folk Festival.  Such talent. All of them.  

(linking with Annon, in, and around MondaysLauraJen, and Rebecca)

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Five Minute Friday: When you Awake

This week's word: awake

For my son,

When you awake dear child
I'll be here
there will still be clouds and there will still be tears. 

When you awake dear child
I'm afraid I'll find
your hand slipping a little from this grip of mine.

  When you awake dear child,
I pray you do
find each one of life's doors and go running through.

 When you awake dear child
I'm proud to say, 
you'll walk with intention into each new day.

When you awake dear child
and find me gone
know that I'm deep inside you


{shameless friends plug: Aren't sweet friends who take amazing pictures such a gift?!? check out my perma-links to the right for some amazing photography, and cutest stationary made by my friends who share these images that capture my children's spirits}

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Memory Weaver

I can get discouraged easily, looking around my life at all of the things I fall short on ~ actual mounds of laundry, dishes of processed foods in the sink...I don't do crafts with the kids like I should, bake like I should, or go on as many nature walks as I should...all of these "shoulds" swirl around me and I worry about what my littles will remember about their time growing up...what they will remember about me.

It's hard work being the magic maker.

Then I read two great posts this week about a mother's memory, Lisa-Jo so touchingly portrays how much we miss about our mothers as children; and how much we learn about the moments they treasured of us, by being mothers ourselves.  And Stephanie wrote breathtaking words about how we moms worry about forgetting these moments, lost because we can't possibly soak them all up.

Both made me sit and remember how I viewed my mother, not now, but as I did then.  What her presence meant to me in those small swell of years I had lived.  Funny, how certain clothes or events are instilled upon me, but not in the way I'd expect.

The torn-at-the-elbows teal bathrobe she wore wasn't perhaps, in hindsight, the most fashionable,
but to me: it was the definition of warmth, and softness... and if anything it was tattered by love and too many hugs.

I thought that before and after school kisses always tasted like a hint of peanut butter, or the whisper of junior mints, and a lot like heaven.

I thought that slumber was brought on by slow rocking in the dark, raven hair against your cheek...Jesus loved me, this I knew, not just because the Bible, but because my mama told me so.

Never once were my thoughts of my mother in childhood based on clean laundry, or Martha Stewart craft afternoons.  They were of her warmth, her smell that meant home, her presence. She meant life.

Of course life will teach my children my imperfections, perhaps their teen aged years will be spent meticulously charting just what planet I must be from...but their childhood self will know me in ways I hope they never forget.

They will learn that my laugh comes out low, deep, and a little too loud.
But they will know how I delighted in them, head tipped back, eyes disappearing in a bed of crows feet.

They will learn as they show me highschool math that my intelligence can be surpassed quickly, 
But they will know that I am smart on the matters of heart. A touch of my hand can make fake bravado drop. I respond to their needs before they are aware of any wanting.

They will learn that I don't try to keep up with the latest fashion, or keep a teenaged size frame,
But they will know that I smile and feel at peace at how my body changed to meet them, and I welcome that with grace.

They will learn to panic when a 90's dance song plays over a speaker...that I can't keep from shaking these mom hips, spinning my bad self around wildly.
But they will know how I stop where I am, throw myself wide and delight in the moment we have been given.

They will learn that I can be sharp, unrelenting in my expectations.
But they will know through the words I whisper that I think they are brave. beautiful. smart. loved.

Forever they will carry their womb knowledge of me with them.
The encircling strength, maternal warmth, the pulsing of joined matter, and of ultimate worth...the life cord that binds us.

So I will lay down my "shoulds", my trying to earn being known by the smoke and mirrors of the external.

And rely on the truth that they won't lose this knowledge of me that they keep.

For in reality, I'm not the magic maker...oh, no.

I am the memory weaver.

{Sharing with Tracy's  and Laura's communities today}

Monday, January 9, 2012

Outside our Door

Oh, those winds blow hard outside our door tonight my love…
I lie awake watching your chest rise and fall.

When did each day become common place;
when these days were the very dreams we shared
inside each of our teenaged kiss?

My eyes flash
Your teeth gnash
We stand hard on these worn disagreements
In words long felt but not spoken
You tell me I’ve changed
My heart sobs as I tell you I wish you’d do the same.

And in the silence of those pregnant moments,
I find us grappling hard for the love that brought us together.
No longer are we fresh twenty, holding hands before our wedding alter.
We are now in those very days our vows committed to one another.

Yet, as I watch the sleeping rhythms of your breath,
I realize they are but a mirror of my own.
We are connected by our essence,
alike in ways our conscious thought rarely understands.

Together, we emerged decidedly one
made so not only by fate, but by faith, and by fight.

For those winds, they’ve come to shake us,
wake our babies from their beds.

Let us pull up all around us the blankets of redemption,
Rest our weary heads in the lap of forgiveness
And brave this night, hand in hand.

Linking up with Ann, counting a thousand new gifts in 2012:

1. Winter walks that wake the spirit and stir the soul.

2. Small quarters, smelling of garlic, cornbread, ham, and a lot like love.

3. Late night movies in bed, a mound of blankets, laptops and contentment.

4. Books that leave me drinking in my own heart, written by another’s hand.

5. My daughter’s hair in the morning. All frenzy, fire, fabulous hot mess.

6. Friendship that transcends distance and defines understanding and grace.

7. Finding wisdom in my mother body 

8. Growing boy legs draped over the edge of the couch.

9. Open suitcases, packing warm clothes and a week’s rest.

10. Excitement pulsing in our veins for this time committed to one another, this new day that is ours.

11. The book Sky Sisters~ learning the objibwe word for little sister, one ava and I both responded to: Nishiime.

12. Downton Abbey premiere. ~Feeling so very posh and sophisticated while in reality wearing sweats and snacking in my living room.

13. Sibling whispers in the dark, laying together under a mechanic solar system…brother taking serious his responsibility to teach, sister reverent in her adoration.

14. Squeals of 5 year old boy laughter over a subject I find a baffling example of “men are from mars”

15. Ava overcoming the fear of being alone by whispering the mantra I have taught her:

“I’m brave. I’m beautiful. I’m smart. I’m loved.”

Those words and the clicking of her trusty four legged  sidekick’s nails echoing up to the ceiling as she conquers the quest upstairs alone.

16. Perfect afternoon of sledding.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Five Minute Friday: The Roar of Silence

This week's word: Roar


A full, deep, prolonged cry

It's the silence
that's the most deafening
out here in the woods.

A raven cry sounds as mighty as a lion.
one twig breaks
and I am frozen by the sound.

standing on the bridge
over looking frozen water
one spot left flowing river

its strength, its movement
its mighty current surges
under a thin sheet of ice

the roar of its vitality
its perseverance
is ringing in my ears

I stand beneath those tall pines
bent with snow
that have seen nearly 100 years

the sharp wind at my face
a challenge
to live. to be better. to stand strong.

I stare up into the stone grey sky

What is this I feel inside me?
its building deep
drawing strength from each footstep

I am waiting:
with purpose
with anticipation

I am ready:
to set loose upon a calling
to bring a voice that is all my own

to let out a full, deep, prolonged cry.

I am ready to roar.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

the wisdom found in my mother body

I find myself a week out of Christmas, just two days out of our New Years celebration standing in front of a a swim suit... looking like the Ghost of Christmas past (a past filled with one too many cookies, thank you), nervous that I will soon grace the decks of a cruise ship looking less than my best.

Then, as I lay with my son, tucking him in for the night, he tells me "you are the perfect kind of soft.", and as I laugh away his remark telling him that perhaps mama shouldn't be so very soft, he looks up at me startled and says, "don't lose all your mama"; I realize there's truth here too...

The awkward full of my height that was reached at age twelve;
somehow does not look as precariously far from the ground on me as it did then.

Those once gangly, string bean arms, that flailed about in excitement;
wrap perfectly around car seats to serve a juice box, find a lost toy or retrieve a fallen blanket.

A belly, then scooped half moon in, waiting for the full of my life to begin;
now has seen the swell of life harbor inside me twice,
soft now from the remembrance.

Oh, those dancer legs that went from here straight to the sky, the gate of steady determination;
have now carried the weight of sleeping babies,
paced slow miles into the rugs around their beds
weary, tired, but they've never failed me.

photo credit: John Christian Adams

Hipbones that were hard, angular, decisive;
now have been worn smooth by
lessons that sharp and strong should never be chosen over gentleness and love,
releasing control to allow life to softly guide you

That youthful voice, so sure, loud with proclamations,
ready for battle cries to move mountains;
lives now within the power of hushed tones,
traded in soapboxes for lullabies,
knowing I change the world through the truth I whisper in their ears.

photo credit: John Christian Adams

Hands that used to grasp for self-purpose, ambitious dreams;
now are extended to steady first steps, calm fears,
wipe away the physical traces of sadness,
clap wildly with pride.

This heart of mine wasn't used as openly then.
I kept it apart from others, cautious of it becoming worn,
storing it away for when I was sure I needed it;
It bleeds and beats freely now, sometimes too quickly,
but has learned one will never run out
when you don't try to limit love.

I store this wisdom in my very bones
lessons housed beneath my very skin.
this, my mother body.

Thank you, buddy friend, for reminding me.

photo credit: John Christian Adams

{all picture credits are for the fabulous John Christian Adams, please do not reproduce images without permission, instead, if interested, go check out all his great work, permalink on the right of my blog}

I chose this post, not because it's the best thing I've ever written...but because it speaks to where I am at this point in my life.  A place I'm grateful for. Happy blogoversary!!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

One Year; One Word: Communion

I love the idea that instead of having lofty resolutions which are forgotten, or I am riddled with guilt for not living up to; choosing one word to guide me through my year - taking in the variety of forms the word may manifest into with the changing seasons.

As I thought about what I wanted for this year, I struggled to come up with just one word that encompassed all I hope for this year.  I want to remain open. Open to life, and learning, and people.  I want to love deeply and well.  I want to be in the business of people.

With that, I choose for 2012: Communion

I base my meaning of this word in the Biblical sense, but perhaps not in the connotation that the word has taken today.

I have often wondered what it was of this breaking of bread and wine at a table with other other men that caused it to became the very symbol of Christ himself.

Eating meals like that of the Last Supper was common place for the disciples.  They shared countless meals in the same fashion.  Coming together for food, conversation, life. 

But more than this,  Jesus's words, are the basis of communion:

"This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me."
1 Corinthians 11:24

This is my body, which is for you: Jesus, limited his infinite self into flesh form. Mortal-pain bearing, capable of love, anger, pain, strife, joy. Why would he do this?  "I do this for you."  He breaks his flesh, sent  blood flowing in order to come along side to experience life with these men.

Do this in remembrance of me: more than a ritualistic act of bread and wine to remember a Jesus, I believe this line infers a desire for others to do as he did, gave of his very self, to and for others.  In this way he calls to be remembered. 

Not by symbols. 
Not in self-righteous piety.
Not pretending to be strong when we are weak.
Not pretending to be weak when we feel our strength.
Not trying to do this life alone. 

Do this in remembrance of me:
The ugly cry in front of others when your heart is breaking, shedding redemptive drops that travel the length of your face, your sorrow, onto the outstretched hand of those who love you.

Dancing with sure delight when the moment comes. Not hesitating for a moment to encircle those around us in our arms and twirling as wildly and as quickly as we can.

Taking in the truth of the moment. Learning of ourselves through the lives of others. Expansion  of thought and respect of worlds that are not our own. Finding our common thread that joins our life with theirs.

For I believe in this, there is communion.
There is life.