Day 8 – Thirty Days of Thanks

Time for another look at five more things I’m thankful for – summer is so full of these! (So are spring, fall, and winter, but summer is when I have time to contemplate them, I suppose.) So here we go –

thankful2
5 Things I’m Thankful for Today:

  1. Fresh rhubarb pie – Who was the first person who decided to eat the thick stem of this tangy fruit/vegetable? And who discovered that the leaves were toxic? Fun dinner conversation.
  1. Baked pasta dishes – Either lasagna, baked spaghetti, ziti, or something totally different, cheesy and saucy recipes bring a smile to my face. And make my tummy happy.
  1. McDonald’s restrooms – Okay, this may sound silly, but I am thankful that when we’re traveling, I can always count on McDonald’s restaurants to have a clean, safe restroom I can stop in when I need. And I don’t feel guilty if we don’t purchase something every time we go, as our family has given the golden arches lots of business over the past decade plus.
  1. Coupons we remember to save – I love it when I remember to save a coupon, and have it with me when we need to use it!
  1. Things like Twitter that teach me to choose words carefully – and letters. Can I share a coherent thought in under 140 characters? I can try.

A few thoughts for World MS Day

Today, May 25, is World MS Day. In late February, I began a writing course, and much of my writing time has been devoted there. This blog shall begin regular posts by late June – I just feel that  I must draw attention to this particular day! (Side note – I “celebrated” March as MS Awareness month by experiencing the most difficult MS month I’ve faced in 18+ years. That story will come later, as I really must finish my homework. But I assure you that I was very aware, as was my family.)

Those facing MS are asked to share their stories on this day, so I will do so in the form of a poem. It’s one I’ve shared before, but I refined it a bit. So in honor of World MS Day, here’s my story:

Scars

MS
Multiple Sclerosis.
Many Scars.
a Misbehaving System is what I call it.
You can call it what you wish.

Cells that should kill germs harm others instead, and what do they leave behind?
Scars.
What do they take away?
Energy. Control. Ability. Freedom.

“It’s all in your head,” you say.
And I agree.
With scars in my head,
I sometimes wonder what’s left.
Besides scars.

But then I hear an inner voice, one of assurance:
“Scars are not alone. When you look, you’ll find unexpected gifts:
The gift of Empathy to offer an ear to hear of invisible pain, filled with frustration and hard to see with the outer eye.
The gift of Peace beyond understanding, easier to feel when busy-ness is forced aside and stillness found.
The gift of Love you’ll feel as dear ones see through and beyond your scars, and the truest love, shown through one whose scars bring new life.”

MS
Multiple Sclerosis
More than Scars.
That’s what I call it.
You can call it what you wish.

a poem of peace

As National Poetry Month nears its end, I can’t help but look to the world at large… one thing we long for, we strive for, is peace. Facing personal struggles, family issues, troubles on the larger scale that we read of in the papers or see splashed across the news, I found rest today as a happened upon a poem I wrote a year ago. It is a narrative from the perspective of the apostle Matthew. I can only imagine how it must have felt to be a follower of Christ, one who had worked with government and numbers and likely deception at times, but who left that to follow Jesus. And who was on a boat on the Sea of Galilee when they faced a storm unlike any other.

be still and know

(Matthew 4:26, Psalm 46:10)

Quiet!
Be still!
The wind obeys
The waves listen
I reach the shore
and step from the boat
And
The wars move on
The storms rage
But
I saw His hand
Heard His voice
And I know…
No storm
No war
No plague
No hurt
None is stronger than His peace.
“Be still and know that I am GOD.”
I’ll try, Lord. I will.

Psalm 46

Come and see what the Lord has done,
    the desolations he has brought on the earth.
He makes wars cease
    to the ends of the earth.
He breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
    he burns the shields[d] with fire.
10 He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
    I will be exalted among the nations,
    I will be exalted in the earth.”

 

Matthew 8

23 Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him. 24 Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. 25 The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!”

26 He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.

27 The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!”

Poetry winner – second place!

This National Poetry Month, for the fourth year in a row, I entered a poem in the Barton Reese Pogue Poetry and Arts Festival original poetry competition. The past three years, I was not an award winner, but I was quite thrilled when this year, I placed second. Fun! The past three years, I’ve entered poems that were lyrical or free verse, but this year, I decided to be more “traditionally poetic.” I thought I’d follow the style of a favorite poet of mine, Emily Dickinson and use rhyme and a sing-song type of lyrical feel.

The theme for this year’s competition was “The Great Outdoors.” I decided to take a different stint on this theme, telling a story of the effect a step outside had on a newborn in our home… I’ll let the poem tell the story. Before I share the poem below, I will share that I owe my husband and daughters huge kudos for helping me to physically be there and be a part of this competition today. Ideally, I wish I didn’t have to slowly make my way to a front podium using a walker, but we made it work. And though winning would be lovely, I knew how tough it would have been for me to make it up to the stage to recite it at the front… the winning piece was absolutely lovely, and I was thrilled for her! I was shocked that after three years of nothing, I actually placed, and that was more than I certainly expected. But without further ado, here we go:

The Magic Door
by Angie Knight ( a true story – April-June 1999)

The time was close – six weeks to go,
spring was on its way.
Mommy waited patiently and
treasured every day.
Her favorite season brought new life
to tired, faded trees,
while she and Daddy took a walk
to feel the April breeze.
Soon they would come, two little ones
who waited now to see
the lovely world that would be home
for Babies A and B.

But then the doctor put the brakes
on time for work and play,
“Lay and rest, this will be best,
and soon will come their day.”
Six long weeks, they plodded by,
with Mommy longing for
a moment to just take a step
out through the wooden door.
She’d missed the daffodils, the scents
when spring was in the air,
the Great Outdoors were calling,
but she couldn’t visit there.

The day, it came, the babies joined
the world, first A then B.
They stretched and cried and lay in beds
for everyone to see.
Two days later, home they came
and all could hear them cry.
Eating helped and swings were nice,
but everything they’d try
to calm the smaller baby failed –
not song, not bounce or whirl.
The tired mom was wondering,
so holding Baby Girl,

she opened up that wooden door
and let the infant see
the outside world –
then something seemed to happen magic-ly.
Her eyes were new, but what she saw
brought silence to the place.
The spell she felt, the Great Outdoors,
the fresh, green quiet space.
In days to come, the parents found
the “magic door” still reigned:
quiet overtook the child
and peacefulness remained
each time they took a step outside
to venture out and see
“The Great Outdoors,” a view of life
that helped her to feel free.


p.s. I’ll share a poem next week that I think those with “invisible issues” will enjoy. It is a fun description of walking without falling… stay tuned!

MS poem, “Scars”

As MS Awareness Month comes to a close, April will welcome a month I have come to appreciate, National Poetry Month.  After April, I will keep looking at the “Invisible Issues” faced by many of us. Today, though, I’ll transition from the month about MS to the month that celebrates poetry. So here I will share a free verse poem I wrote two years ago:

Scars

M.S.
Multiple Sclerosis.
Many Scars.
a Misbehaving System is what I call it.
You can call it what you wish.

Cells that should kill germs harm others instead, and what do they leave behind?
Scars.
What do they take away?
Energy. Control. Ability. Freedom.

“It’s all in your head,” you say.
And I agree.
With scars in my head,
I sometimes wonder what’s left.
Besides scars.

But then I hear an inner voice, one of assurance:
“Scars are not alone. When you look, you’ll find unexpected gifts:
The gift of empathy to offer an ear to hear of invisible pain, filled with frustration and hard to see with the outer eye.
The gift of peace beyond understanding, easier to feel when busy-ness is forced aside and stillness found.
The gift of love you’ll feel as dear ones see through and beyond your scars, and the truest love, shown through one whose scars bring new life.”

M.S.
More than Scars.
That’s what I call it.
You can call it what you wish.