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Archive for the ‘Gratitude’ Category

Thank you to Two Writing Teachers for creating an amazing community of writers and a safe, welcoming space to write and share.

Two months ago today, I took my mother to see my father in the hospital for the last time. He was not responsive. She held his head and kissed it over and over saying, “I love you.” He died the next morning.

I never heard my parents say “I love you” to each other. My father told me he believed that if you said it often, it would lose its meaning. Ten years ago, after he had colon surgery, I vowed to tell them both I love you every time I talked to them on the phone. Mom would respond, “hmm hmm.” Dad would say something like, “me, too.” Over Covid isolation, they finally said an audible “I love you.”

But this doesn’t mean they didn’t love us or each other.

Yesterday in the dining hall of the retirement home, a resident said she’d never seen such a loving family. She said we cradled my mother. I said, “I wish I could cradle her every day.”

Alzheimer’s is trying to take my mother away from us. She knows Dad died. She knows we planted a tree in his memory. She visits it every day. However, when we took her across the hall to look at a one bedroom apartment for her to move into, she said, “Is Dad moving, too?” I hugged her and said, “No, he’s gone. But he’s in your heart.”

My brother said, “Taking up less space.” We laughed. That’s something Dad would say. He loved irony.

Then Mom said, “You suppose I could find another man?” More laughter.

Mom at the Columbarium visiting Dad on Father’s Day.

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Poetry Friday is hosted this week by Michelle Kogan

Honestly, I’m not sure 
if I’ll be home soon. 
I’m glad you were able to see me.
I love how you hear a different story from my eyes,

how we find honesty under the moon– 
a strawberry moon
rising–
like a beacon through the trees. 

You read me with an elder’s wisdom.
Tears well up when you hold my heart with your eyes,
how they flow with knowing.
Your own tears leaking onto your cheek. 

You never even met my father,
but he was speaking through you,
his presence nowhere and everywhere. 

Honestly, the well of deep compassion 
grows when watered with our tears. 

Margaret Simon, for Carolyn

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Welcome back to This Photo Wants to be a Poem. I am finally in full summer mode and able to dedicate time each day to my writing. Whew!

Today’s photo appeared in my Facebook feed from Molly Hogan. I keep telling her I want photography lessons, but she just tells me it’s luck. Luck or persistence? Molly has a steady hand and an eye for beauty.

Dandelion Seed, by Molly Hogan

Hope is the thing

with seeds to blow
beyond our thoughts
and what we know.

Hope drifts on waves of air.

Margaret Simon, draft

You are invited to respond to this photo with a small poem. Write encouraging comments to others. I feel such a sense of peaceful joy to be back here with you.

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This week was the first week of Simon Summer Camp with the visit of Thomas, better known as Tuffy. We have had a wealth of experiences each day. How do you build memories for a 2.9 year old? Why, you sing about it, of course. Tuffy and I have been singing along to the brilliant and everlasting Raffi. (If you’re a grandmother, you must download his songs.)

I haven’t had much time to spend alone writing poetry, but that’s as it should be. I missed posting yesterday on actual Friday. His mother is back from her “trip.” The song we sang together to tell her about his camp week is sung to the tune of “If You’re Happy and You Know it.” When I sang it to him last night at bed time, he cuddled up on my shoulder, and I looked at my daughter and whispered, “I think I’m going to cry.” He popped his head right up and said, “Don’t cry, Mamère!” Then we all laughed and laughed. Pure Joy!

Uncle Ric fixed your tires, so you could stroll.
Svitlana gave you vegetables to grow.
CeCe watered flowers and plants in her yard,
And Mr. Al waved good-bye.

KiKi showed you sculptures you could touch.
She told you all about them, oh so much.
Sophie made quesadilla out of play dough,
And Rylee chased water rainbows.

Mamère and Tuffy, Summer Camp Song 2022

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Ramona has the Round up today at Pleasures from the Page.

Life has been a challenge for many these days. I’ve adopted the mantra “We Can Do Hard Things” from Glennon Doyle. Because we can, and we do. But today, Ramona suggests we reflect on celebrations. I have a list that includes celebrations big and small.

  1. A family wedding! It’s always joyful to spend time with family. Our family (including all my children and grands) gathered in Seattle, Washington a few weeks ago for the wedding of my niece. The setting was on the Puget Sound facing the Olympic Mountains at sunset. Six days later my sister-in-law brought me to a beach nearby the wedding location as I recovered from Covid. I celebrate beauty, beach, fresh air, and family love!

2. Flowers are blooming! My friend and former student Jennifer and her husband grow fields of sunflowers and hold “You Pick” days. (Petite Anse Farm) I took my grandson Thomas “Tuffy” on Sunday morning (This was our church service) and picked a bucket of sunflowers. Thomas enjoyed having his own pair of scissors and feeding the chickens with Farmer Andy. I celebrate summer, flowers, and farmers who adore curious toddlers.

3. I was absent the last week of school. My colleague next door, Erica, packed up all the books on my shelves (I have a lot of books!) to prepare for summer cleaning. I went to check on things on Monday and was met with this amazing surprise. Also my principal’s daughter, who is 10 going on 11, was there to help with “Tuffy” while I did a few more things. I celebrate the kindness and consideration of colleagues and teaching in a school with this welcoming environment.

4. My friend and unofficial spiritual director Ellen sends me daily quotes. I am amazed how many times the quote she sends hits the exact right spot. Last week when I was recovering she sent me this list. Just what I needed. I celebrate the spiritual guidance of others who give us strength when we need it.

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Today’s Spiritual Thursday Round-up is with Susan Koehler.

You have to accept whatever comes and the only important thing is that you meet it with courage and with the best you have to give.

–Eleanor Roosevelt

This month’s spiritual journey topic is from Susan Koehler, abundance. At this time in my grief, I’m aware of the abundance of people who care about me. I have received cards and flowers, texts and messages of love and support. These expressions are good, well-meaning, thoughtful yet sometimes difficult to accept. I’m much more comfortable on the giving end rather than receiving.

Susan offers a poem on her post today, one that can be used as a mentor text. This kind of exercise often helps me say what I mean to say without having to decide on the form. Last week during #verselove on Ethical ELA, Jessica Wiley offered a mentor text by Eloise Greenfield titled By Myself.

I worked through this prompt a few times and would like to share this draft today.

By Myself
after Eloise Greenfield

When I’m by myself
and I close my eyes,
I’m a running river
everchanging, yet steady in its way to go.
I’m a scent of yellow.
I’m a half-filled cup of tea.
I like to sit alone with me.
I grip myself in
I’m a string of violin,
time unfolding, worth gentle holding.
I’m a space for filling up again.
I open my eyes,
and find myself in me.

Margaret Simon, draft
Sunrise walk, by Margaret Simon

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A flower blossoms for its own joy.

Oscar Wilde

My Joy, a photo poem

My joy blossoms in white bridal wreath
greeting my on my driveway.

My joy blossoms in a pottery cup
steaming with a latte.

My joy blossoms with Stella’s sweet voice
saying “E-O!”

Leo and Stella, photo by Maggie Simon LeBlanc

My joy blossoms with windchimes echoing
bird songs, Ta-tweet-ting, Ta-tweet-ting.

My joy blossoms on a blank notebook page
writing alongside my students.

My joy blossoms when you smile.

National Poetry Month Kidlit Progressive Poem is with Donna today at Mainely Write.

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Thank you to Two Writing Teachers for creating an amazing community of writers and a safe, welcoming space to write and share.

Three Things I’m Thankful for This Thursday:

Clutch of Wood Duck Eggs

We have a wood duck house near the bayou in our backyard. This is the third year we have watched this amazing process. On the roof of the nesting box my husband built, he placed a Ring doorbell camera. It is activated by motion. He cleaned out the house and prepared for a new season in late January. It didn’t take long for a wood duck couple to find it and start laying eggs. Counting the number in this clutch (close to 20), it seems there may have been two hens laying the eggs. The hen started sitting on the eggs on March 1st. Every day I get multiple alerts “There is motion at your wood duck house.” She leaves twice a day to feed. She preens her feathers incessantly and turns the eggs. We are hopeful the recent freeze did not affect this clutch. They are due to hatch around March 28, so stay tuned.

Sky

One of my favorite things, a close second to seeing a rainbow, is a bright sun burst through a cloud. And with the bare branches of winter trees, this image fills me with hope.

Full Moon

Last night I attended church with a soup supper and good discussion. We prayed for Ukraine which feels like so little in such a horrible situation. When we were leaving, the full moon was high. I am grateful for my church family, for good food, and for peace in my community.

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Thank you to Two Writing Teachers for creating an amazing community of writers and a safe, welcoming space to write and share.

I considered not writing today, taking a sick day because I am sick. I’ve had a cold and cough (Covid negative) for a week. This morning I decided to go to Urgent Care, and they have fixed me up with a steroid, cough medicine, and antibiotic. Excuse me while I cough.

I hate being sick. Does anyone really like feeling bad? No. But I can still be grateful.

For a cup of tea,
and my dog next to me.

A soft place to lay,
a comfortable place to stay.

Gratitude still owns my heart
when all else seems to fall apart.

How does gratitude influence you today?

Photo by Vlada Karpovich on Pexels.com


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Every first Thursday I join a group of bloggers writing around a spiritual topic. Today, Ruth is the host, and she chose ashes as the topic. Yesterday was Ash Wednesday. I am Episcopalian and attend an old historical church that was built by slaves in the mid 1800’s. I’ve attended this church for close to 40 years. In the last year, my friend Annie has taken the position of priest in charge. She is the first female priest in the history of our parish. Annie’s compassion and her ability to be present in the moment comforts me, even when she was marking my forehead with a smudge of ash and saying, “Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return.”

Impermanence. We are not here forever. It’s not the most joyful thing to embrace. But in understanding and accepting my impermanence, I can be present in the moment. I can feel the soot on my forehead and touch the bread of life and know that I am loved.

The sign of the cross in ashes is the same gesture the priest makes with oil at baptism, saying “You are marked as Christ’s own forever.” No one can take away my belonging to God. Some days, especially during Lent, I need to sit with this belonging and be okay with who I am. I am enough.

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