A Call for Certainty

Melba Christie at Poemattic

“All my life, my heart has yearned for a thing I cannot name.”
“What’s in a name?”
A name possesses a soul of its own
A soul does not leave the body until it garners enough love
For eternity to judge its worth

My heart hankers for peace if that is what it is called
Because sometimes it seems what we have entitled it
does not truly claim or maintain it,
“Peace is not a season but a way of life.”

“All my life, my heart has yearned for a thing I cannot name.”
Am I to blame for such uncertainty?
A longing for something so elusive,
So exclusive
That not even my brain can perceive
Or receive
“What is in a name, I asked my muse.”
“All my life, my heart has longed for a thing I could not name.”

Will my desire be the refrain?

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On Father’s Day

I was thinking about my dad today most especially. I know many reading this blog have commented and written something about Father’s Day or  their respective fathers. I think about my father all the time. But today I wondered what he would say about all the stuff that is happening in our world. I know he was an environmentalist because he loved the earth and taught me to listen to the sounds of nature. He conserved and recycled. He lived through the Great Depression so I think that influenced his habits early on.

He bought American made cars which he said were the best. I wonder how he would react to self parking cars or hybrids. He was a great communicator and taught us to love books, poetry, art, and the theater. I wonder if he would like Twitter, texting, Facebook or even blogging. He wrote letters and had beautiful handwriting (actually used calligraphy). I was always so proud of his signature on my report cards.

Conversation was an art and people actually talked at the dinner table. He was open to new ideas but always demanded respect for the opinions of others. He read the newspapers and listened to the radio. I wonder what he would say about “fake news”, or “alternative facts” (a George Orwell phrase that my dad would have known because he had read the book). I wonder what he would say about selfies. He loved self-portraits of the great masters in art. He kept pictures of us in his wallet. I remember he kept one in particular of me. I was about four years old. But he would show that one to people anyway. They were always surprised when they met me and realized I was way beyond four years of age.

What I would give to have a conversation with my dad about these and many other things. Father’s Day is bitter-sweet. I have a husband, and a son and a father-in-law who are all great dads. But for me, my dad will always be the best dad ever. Happy Father’s Day.

What Shapes Us

“The same law that shapes the earth-star shapes the snow-star. As surely as the petals of a flower are fixed, each of these countless snow-stars comes whirling to earth…these glorious spangles, the sweeping of heaven’s floor.”                       
                                                                                                 – Thoreau
What Shapes Us
This law I believe applies to all things live.
Can we all be glorious spangles?
Perhaps not. Perhaps yes.
I hope yes!
Are we capable of seeing the connection?
Can we try harder?
Can we open our eyes a little wider?
I hope yes.
The same law shaped our hearts.
When tragedy hits, we feel the hurt of others.
What shapes us is not a mystery;
It is divine.
It is intentional.
You, me,
all of us
shaped in the same way.
Can you dig it?

The Bugle Call

The Bugle Call

 

It is a melancholy,

yet a comforting sound,

a sobering Call

that announces the fall

of a gentle warrior:

a brave soul,

perhaps too young,

to know how finite,

the summons will be.

 

I hear that song again

repeating an inquisitive lyric

“War, what is good for?”

My response is always the same.

“Who knows?”

 

I wonder about him

all the time

that Unknown soldier

and the one I knew well too

who chose to be remembered

the next to last day in May,

waiting to be lifted

alone,

thinking,

hoping,

his last wish comes true.

In Memory of my nephew Ivan.

 

 

 

 

My Mother Made Lists

I came across quite a few workbooks at the book store that suggest that we keep lists of some sort or another. One book caught my attention Listful Thinking: Using Lists to be More Productive, Highly Successful and Less Stressed. It made me think of my mother who was a list maker. She made lists to remind her about things. She made a to do list every day. Sometimes the list would remind her to tell me about something she had heard on the radio or an ad she had seen on TV. Most times she suggested that I buy a certain supplement or warn me about a recall that only affected people living in Montana or somewhere else miles away. But her theory was that they may have missed listing our town or state.

There is an art connected to this idea of making lists and it is called listography. One can decide to make list of or about almost any topic. When you go to the book store you will find all kinds of journals that are organized into different types of lists. An example of one journal is bullet journaling. “It has grown in popularity over the last year, with almost 200,000 hashtagged speed journals on Instagram and hundreds of customized templates and helpful tutorials on Pinterest.”

There are websites and YouTube videos that teach you how to organize your journal bullets and or mindful thinking. My mom would be thrilled to have had one of these. Her lists and notes were written on pieces of paper. She recycled everything she could possibly recycle. She told she lived through the Depression and that she learned to reuse many things. So her journals were the backs of used envelopes, all kinds of scrap paper, even napkins.

The notes I found after her passing taught me a little bit more about what motivated her and what she cared about. She loved to learn new words since English was not her first language. She would write the words phonetically and then ask me what the word meant. I found out that my definitions did not satisfy her sometimes. She would eventually write down the dictionary meaning in a notebook she had divided into different sections and listed all the new words into categories.

She made lists of things she stored away in boxes. I found at least ten gift boxes with brand new nightgowns see had never used. Inside each box was a note about who had gifted her and for what occasion and then she would note why she was saving it.  I even found a sort of black list of people she did not like and her explanation as to why. I never let anyone see that list. She made lists of new characters in her favorite soap operas and explained why she liked or disliked them.

When she became very ill she made a few different lists of instructions for us to follow when she passed. One list told me the things that had made her the happiest. Her children were at the top of the list. She also made a list of all the money she had spent during her illness. She made of list of the people who had borrowed money from her in the past and check marks were made after the names of the people who paid her back. She double checked the people who still owed her but whose debts she would forgive. I never knew she had that much money to lend out.

I only recently found out about listography.  My mom was on to something. She had done this for years. All I know is that my mom’s lists revealed so many things about her. I learned so much about her dreams and hopes.

I have started making lists myself. Here are some starter lists that I believe my children will find amusing when I am gone. Happy Mother’s Day.

  1. List of things I know make people happy.
  2. List of my friends when I was in elementary school.
  3. List of questions I always wanted to ask but was afraid to ask.
  4. List of questions I will have when I meet with God.
  5. List of favorite things.
  6. List of places I wish I had visited.
  7. List of the things that most frightened me when I first became a mom.
  8. List of special moments.
  9. List of things I said that I regret.
  10. List knock knock jokes

 

Additional Resources:

http://www.amazon.in/My-Future-Listography-Hope-Lists/dp/0811878368

http://questionslisting.tumblr.com/

http://www.booktopia.com.au/stationery/do-one-thing-every-day-that-inspires-you-robie-rogge/prod9780553447880.html

http://listography.com/euphoricdreams/activities/listography_ideas

A Philosophy on Life By Sam Berns

This young man is amazing. Right now I have nothing to complain about. Yesterday I was asking myself the why questions. Being a worry wart, questioning is what I do. But this video (that by the way I happened to stumble upon accidentally) made me realize (as I ultimately always do) that I am so blessed. As a mother, this was a little difficult to watch. As an educator, I feel that everyone can benefit from the lesson Sam Berns delivers in his TEDx presentation. As a poet, I believe that this is an example of when life is poetry. Progeria is a very rare disease which affect only about “350 or so children in the world”. His philosophy is inspirational to say the least. I invite you all to watch and share this with your family and friends.
And paradoxically again I ask: Are you thinking what I’m thinking? I bet you do. God bless my children, grandchildren and all my family and friends. Thank you God for Sam Berns. May he rest in peace.

 

 

 

Are you thinking what I am thinking?

Are you thinking what I am thinking?
 
Today has been very perplexing.
Are you thinking what I am thinking?
I do not understand what is happening!
Are you thinking what I am thinking?
Someone requested that I not worry. Hah!
Are you thinking what I am thinking?
Yes often our minds are our worst enemy!
Are you thinking what I am thinking?
I am thinking that a lot of us are not thinking.
Are you thinking what I am thinking?
Well, you are right. I am thinking we need to get our thoughts
together and act for the good of us all.
Melba Christie
 
“You are today where your thoughts have brought you;
you will be tomorrow where your thoughts take you.”
                                                                – James Allen

Coming to America

I re-blogged this poem in honor of my mother. I can’t imagine what she would say about all that is happening right now. I hope she is not too worried.

Melba Christie at Poemattic

PHOTOS FOR KEEPS 465

Coming to America

She was only 18 years old

Her heart raced in her chest

like galloping stallions on the finca

they left on the island of emerald-green.

Soon their ship would pass by Lady Liberty;

All decks were packed with passengers

Some would salute proudly,

others knelt thankfully

as if at church,

but she simply held her breath

like when you get ready to

blow-up a balloon at a birthday party.

Her dreams danced in her head

like her favorite dancers Fred Astaire

and Ginger Rodgers.

She envisioned herself looking out

her bay window framed with lace curtains

as her two young girls jumped rope.

She imagined her Cape Cod home

surrounded by a three-foot white picket fence,

daffodils and daisies leaning comfortably against it.

That was her American Dream.

Yellow and red flowers growing along a white picket fence in traditional garden Stock Photo - 13865383

She knew there was hard work ahead

No one said it would be easy

her heart reminded her everyday

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