ETC: A Memorial Day Tribute


Memorial Day Weekend 2011

Image from

We don’t know much about sacrifice these days
Because we are the centers of our universe
Making sure we have the latest this or that
To do what we will, when we want and with whomever we desire.

But there are others…
who know the life of “chosen burden”….
who work longer hours  than we can imagine…
train to know what what don’t have to know…
who say “hello” and “goodbye” regularly to their friends and family
through the tears born of commitment that most of us will never understand.

Yet they do this here, in states far from our own
and in countries where daily deliberate violence is the “norm” of the day.
They move their families across the country
or into other countries to be close to them if it’s possible
and they and those loved ones “deal with it” when it’s not possible.

Maybe I won’t have to wait
until I grow up to at least appreciate and reflect
on this uncanny, quiet, strong sacrifice
lived each day in the lives of some I know
and many I don’t.

Thank you seems pretty inadequate but it’s a start.


Fun: Day 30: An After I Leave Here Poem


Day 30: For today’s prompt, write an “after leaving here” poem. This poem could be about leaving an actual place, a relationship, or even this challenge. We leave many places and things every day without much ado, including rooms, vehicles, people (both those we know and complete strangers), etc. And to make this poem even more interesting is that there is presumably something that will be done after the leaving, whether that’s something fun, sad, hopeful, or whatever. (source:

 After Leaving Here

I’ll start the month of May
Celebrate my husband’s birthday
Marvel that another year of marriage has passed
Hug my mommy
Attend my youngest son’s last band concert
And then his high school graduation
I’ll see him move on with life in confidence
And head to college

Then I’ll hug my daddy
And start school fulltime so the State will say
“You are a professionally certificated teacher”
And my oldest son will turn 20 the day before fireworks

And who knows what else after that?
Maybe a nap

Fun: Day 29: An Ode – at least an attempt


Day 29:  For today’s prompt, write an ode. I’m thinking of odes in the more contemporary sense of being a praise poem, though if people want to get all old school with it, then that’s fine too. If I had more energy, I’d try to write a fitting ode to everyone of you participating in the challenge. (source:

An Ode to Paper

Paper, oh, paper
You are trustworthy to hold my words
That spill from my brain
You capture the captions I write beneath pictures in scrapbooks
You serve as a foundation or decoration

Paper, oh, paper
In your glittered form you dazzle – especially when on sale
As I make cards to deliver smiles
To those who receive them

Paper, oh, paper
As you adorn gifts I think
Of how much fun it should be
To have your job to obscure what’s within

Paper, oh, paper
You grant me authority to permit students
From my classroom into the hall
And I document their return time – just in case there’s a question as to whereabouts.

Paper, oh, paper
You slide through my printer
Without fanfare but doing your job
Unless you get mad – and jam.

Paper, oh, paper
Your temporarily sticky edged forms
Are adored by teachers
Especially if you’re in colorful shapes and sizes

Paper, oh, paper
The holy words you hold
Have changed me forever
And captured me – even through listings of Levitcal laws and geneaologies

Paper, oh, paper
The thought of life without you
Means I’d never be able to write.
Thank you for existing.

Fun: Day 28: The World without Something Else Poem


Day 28: For today’s prompt, write a “the world without something else” poem. If you remember on Day 3, I had everyone write a “the world without me” poem. This prompt imagines the world without something else, whether a person, place, thing, etc. (source:

The World without Calories

Would make my food logs easier to complete
Would make my efforts to get to a healthy weight unnecessary
Would provide room for more advertising on food labels
And I wouldn’t have to read them!

Fun: Day 27: In the (blank) of (blank) Poem


Day 27: For today’s prompt, take the phrase “In the (blank) of (blank),” replace the blanks with a word or phrase, make the new phrase the title of your poem, and then, write your poem. Some possible titles might include: “In the Heat of the Night,” “In the Heat of the Moment,” “In the Middle of a Heated Argument,” etc. Of course, you don’t have to use the word “heat” in your poem title. (source:

 In the Time of Karen

In the Time of Karen
She called me “sissy” because it was shorter than sister.
And more fun and less formal
And she listened more than any sibling should ever have to listen

In the Time of Karen
She heard of my dreams
And my struggles
And about my need to write

In the Time of Karen
There was garlic salted popcorn
Way too many pictures for scrapbooks
A laugh that shook me back to reality so I could join

In the Time of Karen
There were children being born close in time to mine
And living down the street from one another
And picnics with our babies so they could “play together”

In the Time of Karen
There were moves far away to minister
And Bailey Family Vacations
A tradition of memories and tshirts to commemorate them

In the Time of Karen
Sickness attacked
Stole her dignity
And she kept teaching us lessons about choosing faith over fear.

In the Time of Karen
She maintained her sense of humor
And rolled her eyes when mine met hers
As an unspoken “sister language” said what we really thought.

In the Time of Karen
I recalled us playing Candyland as girls
And as grownups Dominoes and Yahtzee replaced Monopoly
because it disrupted peace in the family universe.

In the Time of Karen
I hopped onto her hospital bed
Watched nothing on the TV
And knew the moments still mattered.

In the Time of Karen
People she didn’t even know donated 46 pints of blood in her honor
I knew that others lovingly kept from visiting
So we could talk, and pray and sit

In the Time of Karen
She told us to go home
She was tired of saying goodbye
She wanted silence and her lifelong love

In the Time of Karen
Her twin, mom and I simply vanished into a waiting room
As her children went home to be tucked in by friends
And her time began

In a home called Heaven
In a place I can’t see
But in one I know exists
Because God said He is The Way, The Truth, The Life

In the Time of Karen
I became who I am today
I hope she’s happy with the result.

Fun: Day 26: A Follower Poem


Day 26: Write a leader poem or a follower poem. I’ll leave it up to you to decide what a leader or follower poem might be. You can either lead the way in figuring that out, or follow the lead of another. (source:


I follow the invisible God
Whose laugh is sunshine
Whose tears are raindrops
Whose heart breaks each time
We’re alone or hurt or wondering why.

I follow the invisible God
Who is big enough to handle our questions
Who is loving enough to handle our anger
Whose heart breaks each time
We’re frustrated or confused or wondering why.

I follow the invisible God
Who makes Himself known in hugs from friends
Who makes Himself stand back so we have free will
Whose heart breaks each time
We’re at the end of our energy and wondering why.

I follow the invisible God
Who understands humanity
Who is Deity
Whose heart breaks each time
We look to someone or something else to be His place in our lives.