Sunlight (A poem)

This is my final poetry installment for this series. I will definitely have more to come in the future! Also, a third poem entitled “Chiseled” has been published in In Parentheses Magazine, which can bought here https://www.magcloud.com/browse/issue/1812064

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SUNLIGHT

Sunburst stretches over the mountain tops

To enliven the sleepy land.

Sunflowers pop open to greet the clouds

And to tower over the field.

Sunbathers nourish the body 

With vitamins and fresh air.

Sunbaked earth cracks open

To receive the rain that is promised to arrive.

Sunset cools over to give permission

That all may rest.

Footprints (A poem)

My poem entitled, “Frame” appears in this anthology by Bards Against Hunger. Proceeds got to local food banks! This week I have another horror poem for you to enjoy. https://www.bardsagainsthunger.com/bards-against-hunger-nc-preorders1.html?fbclid=IwAR16MDOHNzaaMefihJEojbeYcMplVblW8-6pmJcnOMTF2lmEYP-6Ma0Q7Y8

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FOOTPRINTS

Early this morning after a troubled sleep,

Through my blurry eyes

I thought I saw footprints coming down my driveway

And stopping at the porch.

I rubbed away the gunk,

Clearing up my vision,

And the footprints were gone.

Even earlier this morning 

I got out of bed

Giving up on trying to get anymore sleep,

And I opened the door

To the sunrise revealing footprints

Leading up my porch

And stopping at the front door.

When I stepped out to examine them

They faded away. 

Early this morning,

While it was still dark

And the birds were yet to awaken and sing,

I thought I heard footsteps 

Just outside of my room.

I sat bolt upright, 

Slid silently out of bed,

And got down on all fours to peek 

Under the crack of my door.

Footprints.

I yanked open the door,

And they had vanished.

Early this morning

In the wee hours,

After no sleep at all,

I heard slow creaking footsteps inside my room.

I slowly turned my head across my pillow

To see the moonlight illuminate

The footprints that stopped 

Directly beside my head.

These footprints were not disappearing.

Navigating (A Poem)

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NAVIGATING

Are you trying to find your way?

Me too.

Here’s what I’ve learned.

Listen for the secrets 

Whispered through the trees,

For they lead to paths of life;

But do not listen to the secrets of spiders

Because they are full of venom

And deception.

Crows squawk exaggerated tales,

But don’t dismiss them,

Because nuggets of truth are buried inside.

You might find a clue 

Under the moss-slick rocks.

Overturn a few, 

But there are no guarantees

So don’t waste too much time with them.

Finally, the frogs will sing for you

Just when you are about to give up.

Follow their tune home.

I’ll see you there.

Hanging Painting (A poem)

I write a wide variety of poetry. I have written love poetry and haikus, but those are rare. Often I work out my painful experiences through poetry, or confusing and frustrating thoughts. Nature is a big inspiration for me. But then there are my favorites: I love fantasy, and I love horror. This poem is a horror-inspired piece.

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HANGING PAINTING

Don’t look now,

But that painting is staring right at you.

I know what you’re thinking,

Isn’t that what paintings do,

Stare?

In one fixed direction, yes.

But that menacing glare has tracked 

Every footstep you’ve taken

Around this room.

That enraged face

With bared teeth 

And deeply etched brow

Has only intensified 

From the moment you’ve walked in.

No, don’t look!

That’s what he wants.

If you give him your attention

You’ll be giving him life,

And then who knows what he is capable of.

Wait, who locked the door?

I didn’t.

Did you?

Ours (A Poem)

Great news! I have proofed my poems for the NC Bards anthology and the Bards Against Hunger chapbook, and they will be available soon. I will be sure to post links here if you’re interested in purchasing them. There is a lot of great work from other poets in these collections, so you would be getting diverse poetry from numerous talents. Also, the proceeds from Bards Against Hunger go to local food banks in North Carolina.

I don’t usually do “love poems” because very few people can pull them off without being sappy. But it’s mine and my husband’s 7th wedding anniversary today, so I’m giving it a go.

Here is this week’s poem:

OURS

Your sacred soul

And my holy heart

Breathe defiant life

In this bitter, brittle tundra.

Our hands interweave to hold

A warmth that shames

The ice that creeps away

To hidden corners.

Nothing dare touch us

In our infinite divine.

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Weekly Poems

I have been writing poetry since I was a little girl. I won prizes for my poetry and did public readings of them. I didn’t write as much in college and in grad school. But last year I started writing poetry again, and this year I started submitting poems to be published.

I want to get my poems out there to be read, and I have two poems being published soon! Both by NC Bards, one in an anthology and one in a chapbook. When those are available I will post links to them.

As I gain experience in my poetry publishing, I want to share some on my blog too. So I have decided to write poems to share on here each week. I mean, who is going to read my poetry unless I go ahead and share my art with everyone?

Here’s the first one for you to enjoy:

Eve Out of Eden: A Haiku

Yes, I ate the fruit.

But who are you to judge me?

This was not your choice.

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What I am Doing with My Year

I know people go back and forth with resolutions for the new year. Some years I do, some I don’t. This year I am really focusing on the person I want to be after a year of deconstruction. In many ways, this is very exciting. I can really shape who I am, and that will tell me more about where I am going. At first, I was bitter about feeling like I had to start over with so much of my life after working so hard, but I have accepted that this is where I am in my life. I am excited to rediscover parts of myself and reinvent who I am. So here are my goals and resolutions for 2020.

  1. Read more fiction and poetry: Most of my reading for the past… 6? 7? 8? years has been theology and Christian nonfiction. From academic reading to more mainstream authors like Nadia Bolz-Weber and Anne Lamott, I have imbibed literature that centers on my faith and ministry career. I am very tired of the jargon, buzzwords, and church-talk. Eventually, it gets stale and repetitive even with the “new” and “progressive” ideas. So I am going back to fiction and poetry, my first loves, to stimulate my imagination and reframe my view of the world. Speaking of poetry…
  2. 2020 is the year of poetry: I have been writing poetry since I was a child, and now I am going to get serious about it. I am writing poetry and submitting it to literary magazines. I am also collecting some for a book to publish (maybe before the end of the year? Before I turn 30?) I am proud of publishing a book of sermons and 2 articles in 2019, but creative, poetic writing is my heart. I am returning to my heart.
  3. A new career direction: I don’t know where I am headed in ministry. I am not going to try to force anything to happen. I am going to let things unfold the way they need to. I felt pushed and pulled throughout my entire ministry career. I have never had time to just think, heal, discern, and just be. I want my faith to have space to breathe for a minute. This means I cannot wait around for ministry to be my full-time income. I have loans to pay. I want to travel. Ministry may be on hold, or floating, or slowly unfolding, or whatever, but my life must keep moving forward. So I am going to be getting a certification from the University of South Carolina in grant writing. I want to use my research and writing skills with my experience in nonprofit work to take my career in a new direction. This is worthy work and something I will be thrilled to spend my days doing, proposing grants for nonprofits and other organizations that need funding to help others.

So much can change in a year. I am a completely different person now than I was in January 2019. I can’t wait to see who I become at the end of the year as we enter a new decade (and I will be entering a new decade in November!) I wish you well as you embark on a new year full of changes.

Disappointment, Better Headspace

I was going to post an Advent blog series, but my heart is not in it this year. Instead, I am working hard to prepare my heart and mind for healing and a new year. I will have some “New Year” insights on a later date, but for now, I feel myself moving into a better place so I think it’s better to reflect on that.

I have been shocked by how quickly my support from those who checked in on me at the beginning of the year has dried up. When I needed tangible help in spreading the word about Tales of Glory, few people even responded to my cry for help. I also have been getting lots of rejection letters from publishers. I’ve wondered if my ambition has been a dead end. I’ve thought my talents have fizzled out. I’ve contemplated giving up on the dreams that I have worked years and years for. I’ve watched others succeed and cheered them on but wondered if I will ever see the success that they have.

My hope had evaporated.

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I posted in an earlier blog about how I have been singing with One Voice Choir. We worked so hard to memorize our music. I had 2 colds, a sinus infection, and laryngitis, but I worked through them all for the concert. I focused on the music. In the meantime, I kept my head down and did very little socializing. My heart has just been closed for business. I just wanted to sing and survive the day.

I went on autopilot to get through the day. I felt like my dreams were dying, so life stopped flowing in me the way it was supposed to.

This weekend our concert finally arrived. I was terrified that I wouldn’t have a voice, but my vocal cords healed in time. Throughout the week I was with the choir several times and I finally began conversing with other people. I didn’t hide in my phone. I was feeling open. I realized how kind the people around me were, and how others had also been hesitant to socialize until now as well. And then we performed our concert three times to audiences who loved our music. Getting to perform again was magical. I had truly missed choir in my life.

Getting to be a part of the Charlotte arts community has done some healing work. I have hope again. I feel like life has started flowing again.

I am disappointed in the way things have been going for me. I have no idea if my hard work will help me truly fulfill my ambitions. But after this weekend I feel like some healing has finally happened and that I am moving into a better headspace. I can get off of autopilot and realign my vision for the future.

Titles

“What do you do?”

Ugh.

I’m hating this question these days.

If we are only going based on what I officially do for payment, then I am an after-school teacher. But I know that I have trained for other careers, which bring other titles. I’m an ordained minister, but not pastoring. I want to write and publish more, so am I a writer? I have a degree in theatre and I’m trying very hard to pursue a career in biblical storytelling. Can I call myself an actress? An entrepreneur?

What do I do? What do I call myself? Am I allowed to use a title that I am not being paid for?

We, as a society, are really not comfortable with living in a transitional state. We have to have a title, or a position, or some category to make us “official” in our jobs and careers. When I say that I do theatre, people ask me which theatre and what show I’m working on. When I say that I do ministry, people ask me what church I work at. Then it gets weird and complicated to explain what type of acting and ministry I do…and how tough it is to get something new off the ground. Instead of encouragement and understanding, the other person quickly changes the subject. It’s as if it’s not real if I’m not getting paid yet.

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But I am out here doing the work. I’m hustling hard. I am living my titles.

Is a farmer not a farmer while they are tilling the ground, sowing the seeds, fertilizing the field, and watering the earth? Or can they only be called a farmer when the wheat, fruits, and vegetables are grown, harvested, and sold?

This is a tough season. I have spent almost a full calendar year in transition. I thought things would be a bit more tangible by now. But I keep at it. Every time I want to give up, I take a break. Then I do one good thing for my ministry. Even if it’s just a social media post or an email sent out. I wake up and do the work of a minister and an actress. I am both of those things. Those titles belong to me. I am a writer. I am a practical theologian.

So why is this important? I think we deserve the recognition and the credit for what we do. Titles serve the practical purpose of identifying our professional role, but the reality is that we live in a world where professional doesn’t always equate the paid work we do 40+ hours a week. We get to have these titles to validate our work, even when our work isn’t properly compensated or celebrated.

My work is valid. I must remind myself of this every day. I hope you remind yourself that your work is valid too. You deserve your title.