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

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Broken Eves

My heart is heavy for the mamas
who will lay down to sleep in the stark silence of night
instead of to the rhythm of rocket dreams expelled in tiny whispered breaths.

My arms ache tender for the mamas
who stripped of their loved ones,
no longer feel the holy weight of heaven turned flesh against their breast.

My words...
they are undone
for these weeping mothers.

We stand united
our bodies, the concave of sanctuary make
 for our weary kind.

We bend our heads in shared grief
pouring love onto the battered,
grasping hands to bear the weight of it all.

Rest your head against me, 
sister eve
let me crouch low to cup your face.

No eve,
we will not forsake you.
For we are all one.  We are all broken.


{Joining my whisper to the incredible, talented Emily, who bears witness to the loss of one young life. For when one hurts, we all hurt.}


Monday, February 27, 2012

When Love Sparkles

"boys sweat and girls sparkle"
declares Ava, not yet 4 years wise.

This, her new proclamation stage.
Finding her identity in all things feminine, reveling in the exclusivity of her "kind".

I sit a floor below their chatter, warming my hands around my coffee mug,
a smile creeping wide when Ava's other catch phrase
"girls rule and boys drool."

and pealing laughter float down the stairs
 as her daddy, feigned indignant,
scoops her up in his arms so she will stink just like him.

I whisper to myself in the rising sun,

"cover her good husband. Let your smell linger, seeping into her deep.
Let this daughter of ours know how it is to smell completely of her father's love."


It's later now, my own father coming to pick Owen up
for his first college hockey game experience.
After drying wet mittens, finding hats, and wiping basketball mud prints from his coat,
I kiss his cheek as he happily dashes out the door.
 Both sets of leaving boy eyes twinkling with excitement.

The boys out of the way, my mama and I turn to Ava
asking how she would like to spend the time just us girls?

"Makeovers!" She cries

14 different kinds of lip gloss,
4 hair brushes,
5 varieties of nail polish,
and a necklace and ring of your choosing later

Finds two grown woman
packed tight on the tiny bathroom floor
"criss-cross-apple-sauce" to get us all in
but happy to be under the capable
hair stylings of 3 foot moxie.

We order in,
and over the smell of steam dumplings and rice
we ponder what to do next with these precious moments.

Finally decided

We sit,
three generations of women to one coloring sheet,
each contributing something of themselves.

We talk,
our stories and our voices
filling in these shapes as much as the crayons we hold in hand.

It is in the whisper of these moments that will fill in the framework of her womanhood.

Moments of life that smell of waxen paper, faintly of soy sauce, and a lot like love.

For this life, this womanhood... it sparkles.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Five Minute Friday: Born of Grit and Grace

candid of ava during a children's wild west parade 

We were born of other generations, fighter women who knew their name.  
We were born inside covered wagons, and far off places that no one yet called home.
     We were born of tall swinging grass, that sway to protect their seeds. 
     We were born of women's suffrage, of equality, and expansion of rights. 
We were born of rocky hillsides, our place in birthing rooms, and graveyards. 
    We were born along the seaside, our busts planking the starboard side.
We were born in hours spent scrubbing kitchen floors, over pots at rolling boils.
     We are born of divine strength and fire. Cultivating generations to come.
We are born of mighty bloodlines. Of wanderers, and the Appalachia's too. 
     We are born brave anointed daughters, called to a love that's bold and free. 
We are born our moxie showing, our jaws set, and hearts steady, true.
We women;  born of grit and grace.

This week's word: Grit


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Dear Me,

To the "Me" of 5 years ago, and oh...say, 5 minutes ago,

You've really got to stop over analyzing- if your words make sense...if you should have said "no" to that friend...if you could have been more present whilst sipping on pretend tea, three deep in half dressed barbies, watching your son and Mario take over a galaxy. 

Stop reworking things already submitted, wondering if your voice has value in a world where everyone is trying to be heard, or whether your life will make an impact at all.

Oh sure, you can stop and ponder these things, there's value and discernment in doing so; but when those voices, those questions stop you from doing what you love, or "being" without hesitation? You know you've gone a hair too far.

See, I'm here in the future.  In this moment called the "now".  It's messy here, and not that large, and it's true, nothing does look exactly like we've planned. 

But it's got all the things to sustain you, and that smallness of grandeur leaves you the right kind of full. - you've got laughter over shuffling cards, "I love you" over top the heads of the lives you've created, moments written down, and a passion for mankind felt deep.  In one sweet hug that hits you across your knees and in one "My Mom is cool" sentence scratched, you will feel the wonderful weight of it all. 

                                         Your life. Your meaning. Your abundance.

So just sit back a little, enjoy your time. For who by worrying can add a single minute to their life? No, your worry will only waste them away.

You've got this.

Why? Because you're not left to make it matter alone.  So stop being so damn dramatic and all encompassing.  Allow others to come along side you. To love you. To carry you through. You'll do the same for them someday, you'll see.  We'll do life together.

And when you get here to the present? Oh, you'll be amazed.  You've come a long, long way in tiny life changing steps.  Best part? You ain't close to being done.

What's that?  Will you fail? Oh, bet.  And some of it will hurt like hell.  But that's the great thing about time. It always propels you forward. Through it. Past those hurts and into new dreams. New hope.

So just relax.

Pick up that baby, or that book, and always that pen.  Sink into your chair and into these moments.  Because these moments?  Those are the one thing you don't get back.

                                                                                  the present day me

PS - oh- if you happen to run into the me of 5 years from now, or for that matter, 5 minutes from now?  You may need to make sure she gets this letter, too.  xoxo

(linking with Tracy'sLife Unmasked, and the Painting Prose communities)

Monday, February 20, 2012

Moments Warmed by the Sun

She awakes.
Sitting up, back lit by the sun seeping through the blinds.
Her hair, giving hints of the hard night spent,
dried wavy. wild. nymph affect
from the fever damp and cold compresses applied .

The only thing brighter than this morning's glow
is her smile greeting me.
The shadow of her emerging chin
dances across the bare slope of her shoulder

She's clothed now only in sheer delight.

Awhile later, we are tucked tight under the softest fleece on the couch.
The whispers of the past night's worry make her presence next to me
all the warmer and more affectionate.

The sun now creates a stage upon the cushions
for her spooky spider shadow puppet
to creep, on the hunt for its next victim.

Her hands,
slowly losing the dimples housed at each knuckle,
hands stretching out to contain all of her almost 4 years.

Her wrist bone
now peeks through the toddler,
just as the girl she will become glimmers next to me
in the winter's bright.

How many more days will we pass like this, she and I?

Her fitting perfectly at my side ~ natural, fluid.

How many more days will her spirit feel free to the open stream of imagination bubbling forth unconsciously?

How much longer will she need only my presence to feel safe and secure?

How many more moments I wonder, will feel this whole. This holy.

On In Around buttonMiscellany Monday @
lowercase letters

Friday, February 17, 2012

Five Minute Friday: The sky lit by delight

This week's word: Delight

Dusk falls upon the expectant crowd

photo credit: John Christian Adams

Sticky anticipation clings to us in the summer air.

photo credit: John Christian Adams

With heads tipped back, we stand ready....

photo credit: John Christian Adams

photo credit: John Christian Adams

Even those

who were


took cover

in the form

of their mother's


Then that sky opened up, ripping open its bag of bright jewels -

She clutched me tight, delighting in the colors.

photo credit: John Christian Adams

slowly, so slowly the tight grips began to give way.

And there we sat,
he and I as when we were little,
faces upturned delighting in wonder.

Yet now, our hands were full
of that bloodline continued.

She, with my strong mind.
He, with his strong heart.

A moment lit up by the twinkling sky, sheer delight...
captured forever on my full heart. 

photo credit: John Christian Adams

Monday, February 13, 2012

Because Love Lives Slowly

I am contributing the fact that I am writing about love for two weeks straight to the sheer amounts of pom-poms, pipecleaners, and foam hearts I applied to Owen's valentines box yesterday.  It's got even this non-valentine'er in the spirit...or, it could be that The Run aMuck love letter series (this week's on patience) inspires thought...

Oh, the subject of patience...not always our strong suit is it?  I am not often prone to patience, with my mind running down "what if" roads 30 years from now.  Always examining the present for what it will mean in the future.  You'd think I'd let that go by now, because for all my crystal-balling, we still have to walk through the day, each one.

And you, so hard-wired for efficiency.  You who can look at a car driving down our lazy street and point out a tire not properly rotated, or a clock gear making it move a second too slowly.  This desire to make things run as they should, well, leaves me I'm sure, lacking in your mind's eye some days.

We both have high standards for the present moment, wanting to get things right the first time around.  So, we can sometimes get caught in the frustration of seeing each other more clearly than the person living it... a real-life bewilderment at the girl in the horror movie - choosing to run upstairs, where there's no hope of escape, with us pleading for her to open her eyes to the danger, to turn around and face it head on.

Yet when we look at what love is, patience is the first distinguishable mark that makes it love, and a subset of all the other of love's characteristics.

"Love is patient, love is kind.  It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  Love never fails."

It is patience that allows us to keep hoping, to keep protecting and to trust.  Patience that tells us that in the end we together will be the people we dreamed we would become.  And that last piece?  "and love perseveres"?  This, this is the fruit, the child of patience, that it endures all the elements along the way, keeping the seed of our future selves, and carries it to a time when we can be firmly planted and watched bloom.

For I see in you now the man you will become.  The one who will allow life and relationships to come in slowly and change you and with you as the seasons turn.  I know these things because they are here now inside you, just starting to unfold.  So I will wait here beside you, patient and still. Watching us grow. 

Because love lives slowly, through the always.

{sharing with the Just Write, Jen , Tracy and Jennifer's communities}


Saturday, February 11, 2012

Wise Words Remix

So floating around the internet is this really cute project of a teacher asking her first grade class to finish famous phrases.  I decided to play with Owen....

1. Don't change horses  food.
2. Strike while the  dogs run.
3. It's always darkest before morning.
4. Never underestimate the power of doom.
5. You can lead a horse to water but can't see the dog.
6. Don't bite the hand that moves.
7. No news is just boring.
8. A miss is as good as garbage.
9. You can't teach an old dog new karate.
10. If you lie down with dogs, you'll smell.
11. Love all, trust people.
12. The pen is mightier than the pencil.
13. An idle mind is trouble.
14. Where there's smoke there's mom cooking {!!!}
15. Happy the bride who marries me.
16. A penny saved is just a coin.
17. Two's company, three's definitely different.
18. Don't put off till tomorrow what beeps loudly.
19.  Laugh and the whole word laughs with you, cry and whine alone in your bed.
20. There are none so blind as mice.
21. Children should be seen and not lost.
22. If at first you don't succeed you'll probably cry.
23. You get out of something what you like most.
24. When the blind leads the blind laugh.
25. A bird in the hand might poop.
26. Better late than a dinosaur. 

~ ~ ~
Adding to these pearls of wisdom my list of thanks with Ann, which thanks to above said child, is long and large:

41.  children who see the world just a bit different than I do. They grow me and this world I live in.

42.  Friday afternoon dilly bars, while there is a snow storm brewing outside.

43. sanity in the voice of family from miles away.  A little of yourself returning home each time you hear their voice.

44. starbucks giftcards, and the wonder that is the skinny carmel macchiato.

45. new journal day. This day sends me into nervous fits that I am selecting the right one, my children staring blankly at all the choices tentatively speaking to me "mom? I don't get it.  What's different. Wouldn't writing in each one be the same?" And seeing the look on my face he says, "I see, it's got to be just right for your thoughts." I've trained you well obi-one.  {I found it by the way.}

46. expandable-just-add-water animals. Who are now delightfully in serving bowls on my kitchen table for the next three days.  We have high hopes for the sting-ray and octopus. 

47. spending the afternoon with bits of pipe cleaners, foam hearts, and pom-poms glued to me and every surface known to man.  As a self-proclaimed nonvalentine-er, these activities bring joy to this day.  And that green lantern valentine that he snuck off to make me, writing his own name and my own? something I will treasure for always.

48. At being present to watch these people walk through life- when our beloved reward night for two weeks of great behavior had to be rescheduled due to unforeseen issues while we were putting coats on to go.  The amazing way the kids said they understood and that it will be great whenever we can celebrate. ah. this mama heart is proud.

49. A Saturday morning. Nestled into the couch, fleece blanket, coffee, journal and book, sun streaming behind me.  Peace settled in my lap.

50.  Opening my son's door to get ready to start the night's "get-ready-for-bed-rally" to find both children and dog curled around your husband, three stories deep into a magic place.  Finding my spot beside them, their bodies bending to enclose me in limbs, laughter, and love.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Five Minute Friday: How will I know?

This week's word: Trust

My hands tremble as I dial, sinking into her presence on the line. "Mama, how will I know when it's time?" And she chuckled low and deep in the way only knowing women can, and tells me "You'll know, baby girl, trust in yourself. your body will tell you."

And it did.  I fell into the pattern told only by my body.  Bringing me to the brink of this new journey.  And when my story unfolded sooner than was expected, I trusted my own sense of self to say, "It's time."

And in a blur of mere minutes, you were here. In my arms.

I was entrusted to your care.  You, of zero days behind you, and me with only 22 years on my back.  My hands shook once more as I clipped you into your seat.  No one seemed to see the desperation in my eyes - I've never done this before.  These nurses. These doctors. Even my own family, trusted you to my keeping.  One deep breath in, I told myself I would do the same.

~~ And yet again, this fall ~~

With the leaves curling brown behind us, I fix the straps of your backpack, smiling at all we have learned together, my first born love and I.

 Now, we were to enter a new phase.

Still unsure.  Still uncertain.

But I am learning to trust this love that guides me.

But mostly, I trust in your ability to flourish even when I falter.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

This River of Life

There is a marriage prompt every Monday at The RunaMuck's, and this week was about being opposites.  This spoke to me. to my marriage.

Dear Jason,

They say that opposites attract. I hate it when I have to admit that cliches are true. These differences between us have grown us hard this season.  But, I see us now, stronger than we were.  We forced each other open to life a little bit more.  See, you will stare blankly at my love spoken in written form.  It will make you uncomfortable, and you will retreat and go build something.  But darling, I see your love written all over my life. I think maybe we aren't so much as opposites, as different parts of the same force.

Daddy got it right all those years ago when he described us as the babbling brook and the forged dam.  

My current is constantly flowing.  I am fluid with thoughts and actions.  I wear myself weary with the swirl of thoughts and emotions...that is, until I come and rest up along side you.

You remain steady {yes, sometimes stuck}, keeping your presence and self strong and dependable.  You aren't worried about reinventing yourself or others, you are happy with your place in the order of things.  

Some days my babbling drives you nuts, some days I want to break through your structure so you flow.

But both are needed, aren't they love?  One provides a sense of self, security, structure, the capability of carrying the weight of all that pressure on your back.  The other provides forward movement, carrying us along into the future, washing away the sins of the past.

Together we make this river of life sustain us, we submerge and are washed clean.

Come what may,

{linking too with the Just WriteTracy'sand Jennifer's communities also? new community for those of us that couldn't let Imperfect Prose go...}


Monday, February 6, 2012

Team Pohlkotte on three...

I have a confession to make...when Owen came home with his kindergarten report card the other day, I felt just as nervous and anxious {insert heart pounding and quickening of breath} around opening it as I did opening my own back in the day ~ and when there were a few minor things for us to work on with him, my perfectionistic heart just froze. 

There he was, staring up at me with his saucer sized brown eyes saying "what does it say, mama?" And see...this first born of mine? oh, all of my perfectionism seeped right into him.  So I knew that the news that he wasn't perfect was going to be a shock to his system as well. 

I forced a stiff smile told him I was still looking it over {won't lie, sent a frantic text to my brother, knowing I was losing some mom award} and then took a deep breath out reminding myself he's five, he's amazing, and I'm a bit crazy...

So when I saw this call to round up parenting advice, I chuckled to myself pretty sure I had little to add to the greater good on the subject of not being a zealot mother.  But then, I heard in my house this weekend my kids banding together to clean their rooms because they were Team Pohlkotte... I remembered I had written a previous post on the subject of what works for us....and what a great reminder to me to settle right on down.

~~ ~
With almost six years in with this mothering thing, I am still just barely scratching the surface of proper ways to discipline. Here’s one lesson I am very confident I have learned…children respond to “play” much better than rules. Or for that matter, anger.

I hate to not feel understood.

So, as you can imagine, as I repeat myself for like the 100th time to do simple tasks…I get downright miffed.

And, as my temperature rises, along with my voice, I see no change in behavior with my kids. Well, maybe Owen, but that’s out of fear…and that is not a way I wish to parent.

Yet somehow…when you make it into a funny phrase, or somehow point out the way in which their behavior is missing the mark…along with giggles, you get – results! I try to employ this approach in regards to our family unit.

We, are Team Pohlkotte.

We huddle up. (I do this for big and small things I really want them to listen too), and the glimmer of expectant excitement with our heads crouched together allows me to get a direct connection to their brains which I don’t get by yelling. It's simple. It's fun. It's kinda a lot amazing.

We bench. Some people call these “warnings”… gives them a second out of the activity they are involved in to get their wits about them before they are thrown back into the “game”. Um, also?  This includes mom. 

We assign nick-names and codes. Owen knows he doesn’t want to become “that guy”…you know, the one no one thinks is cool and just feels a little sad for. We warn “don’t be that guy...” and he gets it. Ava, well thanks to the world of SpongeBob, she has become “Crabby Patty”. When we feel her gearing up for a fit we cry “crabby patty, order up! Ding!” This diffuses some of the tension of a tantrum instead of heightening it with your own sharp words. {believe me, she does sharp words just fine on her own.}

We pinch hit and make some wicked assists. Let's face it. While we love our children equally, there's going to be stuff that one is better at than the other.  I can never get Ava to bring something upstairs. ever. But, that girl kills it on trash we assign her with her strengths.  When one of my kids is done with making their bed or cleaning their room, you better believe they are expected to go and help a brother {or sister} out. 

We do visuals of plays and discuss after the game. Right now this is in the form of responsibility charts.  Before bed we look over what went right in the day, what needs to be tweeked and new ways to achieve what it is we are looking for.

We fire people. We all have “jobs” that get assigned us on our team. You are expected to follow through, and if you don’t…you’re sacked. I don't know why the kids find this a funny as they do, but it works.

We cheer. When our players do good work, we are all right there to celebrate the victory. We celebrate success as a family unit. And let me just say, we've got a MEAN victory dance.  You will see this family shakin' what their mama gave them.  Dish in the sink? Do a little spin... got that homework done with flying marks? Lace up them dancin' shoes-  it's gunna get funky.

And while this approach is not for every situation, it is just as big of a reminder for me to not take myself too seriously as it is a way to use play to shape good behavior and a spirit of thinking of others, and connecting us together. 
I can't wait to hear other ways to keep this motherhood thing fresh... 

Friday, February 3, 2012

Five Minute Friday: Sunday Sisters

This week's word: Real

 "...Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse. "It's a thing that happens to you.  When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY love you, then you become Real."

"Does it hurt?" asked the Rabbit.

"Sometimes," said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. "When you are Real you don't mind being hurt."

"Does it happen all at once, like being wound up," he asked, "or bit by bit?"

"It doesn't happen all at once," said the Skin Horse. "You become. It takes a long time.  That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept.

 Generally by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby.  But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand."

~ The Velveteen Rabbit

And there's the truth of it.  Spoken in words for children, spoken slowly so that grownups will understand. 

Every woman needs friends like this, ones that pick up the phone whatever the time, and listen as you sob.

Friends that you call in a moments notice, who open their homes, their lives to watch your children so that you can rest easy while you are away.  

These are the girls that you don't shower for, shave for, or pretend you didn't sleep in the clothes you're still wearing today.

These girls push your hair back, tilt your chin up, wipe your mascara away and remind you that you are fierce.  They stand beside you, and together you make some wicked karaoke magic.

These are the woman who walk miles with you literally and figuratively.  Making adventures in the mundane, and always stop for ice cream...always.

These are the friends who you write to every week because distance divides you.  You whisper your heart in word form, you are the Sunday Sisters.

These are your partners who come along beside you, assist where you are weak, making ship sails, cause this mama don't bake; dressing up in sweltering heat cause the birthday boy wants a pirate's loot.... celebrating your children's lives and triumphs as if they were their own. And they are theirs too, because you do life together.

Loving each other for the long, long time through it all.

No, this can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand...

It's Real.