Mound View Cemetery – my happy place

Mound View Cemetery

Long have I walked among the stones

They taught me how to read

I rode my bike along the roads

With Daddy guiding me

 

He took me up to “Dirt Bomb Hill”

We played with clods of soil

He led us to the old oak tree

Where squirrels often toil

 

Some days rounding the last bend

Un-pocket chosen stones

Racing, kicking them along

While beneath lay silent bones

 

The yard was always peace to me

Until sweet Caroline

Baptized in holy water

Drank communion wine

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A Body of Cement

I’ve never seen cement poured and spread before today. I found it fascinating.

I stood by in my color splashed, zebra stripe rain boots ready for action. Men from my church laughed at me and joked around pretending to shovel the wet gravel into my boots.

Then they put me to work.

I wielded a mini sledgehammer to tap the air pockets out of the wood rimed driveway, I hosed off the tools, and then I sank my boots into the grey quicksand spreading and pulling the cement to the edges.

As the last truck with red and white stripes left, we stood admiring the filled driveway – just as the rain started.

Before today, the thought had never crossed my mind that the Body of Christ is kind of like cement. We are messy, we come from different places, and we have to be pushed into place. Individually one piece of gravel doesn’t do much, but by sticking together with others of different shapes and sizes we can accomplish quite a job.

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(Photo taken by my brother Ben Haws.)

Cricket by the Bay

{Dedicated to Daddy. Happy birthday.}

In 1950,

Way back when,

Fall began

And a life began.

Down by the bay

Where the tall grass grows,

The crabs come alive,

And the tides

Ebb and flow.

Silver sides,

And flounder too

Excite at the end

Of a line.

A sun baked spine,

Tanning lines,

And bare feet

Sunk in sand

Mark the Cricket.

Loud and small,

Heard over them all,

Young Cricket bobs

Up and down.

Ev, Herb, Marge,

May, Nel, Roy,

And Bob – what a crew.

The Cricket grew

Older and wiser

With bricks,

Bikes, and

Dog bites.

Riptides and

Curling waves

Bashed the boat

On race day.

He passed the test

Of time and tide

Sitting in the stand

With whistle in hand.

Salt water still flows

In his blood,

Though the bay

Is hours away.

Every sandpiper trail

And bright colored sail

Brings me back to

The Cricket by the bay.

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What is Strength?

“Tell me, what is strength?

For I long to know the bane.

Is it fighting young, eating well,

or walking in the rain?”

“No,” you say, “I’ll show you strength

farther than eye can see.

Emerald grass, clear paned glass

of humming wing of bee

reflect and grow in wind and snow

the beautiful strength I know.”

“But wars,” I say, “What have they

to do with green and wing?”

“That strength,” you say, “Is taught

by those who fought and sing.

My quiet strength runs deep and true.

Somewhere deep inside of you,

this silent strength holds your heart too.”

“I only wish,” I say in sigh,

“This elusive strength would cease to hide

then I would take it – spread it wide.”

“My dear,” you say with smile soft,

“Alas this dream is not far off,

for strength in nature planted here

points us to a country ever near.”

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Starting Point

Every flame has a spark.

Every journey has a start.

Every love has to meet.

Every heart has a beat.

Every life has a starting point. Sometime, somewhere, somehow your life began. There’s no question about that. If you are reading this, you are alive! (At least I hope so.)

Starting Point is a place all about new beginnings. They are dedicated. They are passionate. They are open. Most of all, they meet you right where you are, which is how we all should be, right?

That is why I stand with Starting Point. For years now, (since back when they were called “Care Net”) I participated in their annual fundraiser the Walk For Life. This year I am doing the same. And for all the years ahead that I can stand with them, I will.

The Sounds of Children’s Theatre

In a three-door garage, among the hum of fans, kids and adults alike mumble with purpose or confusion. Hushes, louder than the offending whispers, quiet the kids and call for attention.

Some kids have the gift of projection and powerful lungs. Others, with shyness or inexperience, speak their lines with soft expression.

Our director begins the sacred speech of projection. Some time during every show it always comes along.

Some of these kids I’ve heard in play, and I know what those little lungs can do. Why is it that some clam up yet others glory at the thought of an audience and a spotlight?

As for myself, I was the glorying type and sopped up the attention like a sponge. I could articulate enough for the oldest ear without a microphone. Now that I’m older, and hopefully a little wiser, I resist the urge to gloat in glory. The spotlight fades, and after all it is just a big light bulb.

I love the theatre, and watching these kids get the same start I had warms my heart to no end.

If you can, come out and see our little show:
Bedbugs – October 16th and 17th at the Mount Vernon Developmental Center Great Room Theatre. (More details coming soon.)

Silenced

As you know, I have started college classes.  In one class, I had to write about a time when my voice was taken away.
This prompt could have been taken literally (which is how I took it) but also in other ways.

     Last January my voice was quite literally taken away. After an ordeal concerning my front teeth, which is a story for another day, I believe I caught a nasty cold from the dentist’s office. For the next few weeks, I continued my life and attended my J-term class unable to speak. Looking back on that whole ordeal, I can see how I communicated with others, how others communicated with me, and how that time is still impacting me today.

When I had no voice, I had to learn how to communicate in ways other than speaking with the people around me. I used sign language and writing as my main tools of communication. I now wish that everyone knew as much American Sign Language as they do English. That would have made the few weeks I had no voice much easier! I only knew a little sign language from my Mom and from a friend of mine who taught me motions to Christian songs, but I used the little that I did know. In church it felt awkward just mouthing the words, until one song came on that I knew the motions to, so I sang with my hands! Afterwards a man told me, “I saw you singing over there,” and he winked at me.

At class I would type what I wanted to say and my friend would read it out loud. I don’t know why it never occurred to me to carry a pencil and paper with me wherever I went. That would have saved me some exasperation. When I physically couldn’t speak I realized how much I normally banter. I make fast quips and slide in my “two cents” without even thinking much about it, but without my voice I could only do that in my mind. Being silent forced me to consider what was really important to say and what was unnecessary or potentially hurtful. Through utilizing sign language and writing I was able to communicate fairly well with others around me. How they chose to communicate with me, I found interesting.

I found that the people who communicated with me the best were my Mom, brother, and my friend in class. I love my Dad, don’t get me wrong, but when I couldn’t talk he would mouth things and make big motions I couldn’t understand. He acted as if I couldn’t hear, but since I couldn’t talk I couldn’t easily tell him just to stop and talk normally to me! If you knew my Dad you would understand this better, I think. It makes me laugh to remember how he’d point to himself and the door mouthing, “I’m going to get gas.” Mom, my brother, and my friend on the other hand did a better job of guessing what I had to say. They also tried asking “yes” or “no” questions to help me out. Sometimes it felt like a game when they’d look into my eyes or stare at my soundless lips guessing my unvoiced thoughts. How I communicated back and forth with others back in January still has an impact on me.

That trip to the dentist is still impacting me today, in more ways than just that voice episode, but that’s another story. When I found the need to express myself in church by using sign language, it made me more confident to sign and sing beside my friends and family. I would like to learn more sign language for church but also for future encounters with those who are deaf. Drinking lots of water became a habit back in January, and I try to remember to lubricate my throat many times throughout the day. I would like to think that now I’m more careful and think before anything comes out of my mouth, but I know I’m not quite that saintly yet. I still quip and cut snide remarks when they come to mind, but maybe now I’ll start noticing more and guard myself. What was it you said? “A habit is only a habit until you are conscious of it. Then it becomes a choice.” Thinking back on last January has reminded me how important words are.

Loosing my voice posed challenges to my communication skills. I learned how to communicate effectively with others and also observed how others communicated with me. Today I’m still being affected by that time in January, and now that it’s been brought to my attention again, I’d like to consider my words more carefully as I communicate with those around me every day.

Have you ever had your voice taken away?
Tell me about it!