Farewell ’15: Write a Poem of Remembrance


It is nearly the new year. 2016. Wow, it feels weird to write that!

However, before we plow ahead into goals, resolutions, and plans, the end of the year is a good time to remember and maybe catch just one more moment of 2015 before the year is gone.


The following is a poem that came to me while recovering from a Christmas asthma attack. I had been laying around reading and thinking, wondering why I push myself so hard every Christmas.

I read a blog post (I thought I had saved it so I could link it–but alas…) that reflected on the same topic. The conclusion moved me deeply. After reflecting on all the busy-ness of the season, the author gave permission to pull out all the stops and create a wonderful Christmas celebration because, Christmas is all about love–God’s incredible, wonderful, miraculous love–and if the celebration you are planning stems from your love, for God, your family, the whole crazy world, your friends, then plan a wonder-full celebration.


December 26, 2015

God did it again,
My Christmas miracle.
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday,
A flurry of activity,
Crafting a happy Christmas
For those I love.
So busy,
Yet unstressed,
Even while on a deadline!
A Christmas of fellowship,
And deep joy,
Fueled by love,
Deep love,
His and mine.
And today?
Thank you, God!


Your poem doesn’t have to rhyme or have a beat. However, if you love rhyme schemes and meter–play away! Lately, I’ve been finding fluency in free verse.

Just think of a moment–this week, this month, maybe this season–that you’d like to hang onto. Consider:

  • Why do you want to capture it?
  • What is its significance?

I didn’t model using a lot of sensory imagery, but maybe you will want to. Maybe the sights, smells, sounds, tastes or feelings of the moment are what made it of such value.

  • What did you see?
  • What did you smell?
  • What did you hear?
  • What did you taste?
  • What did you feel?

Put it together in a poem. Just let it pour out.

Then go back and edit for sound and imagery. Use internal rhyme and alliteration. Use line breaks to emphasize what you want your reader to perceive. Then put it away and look at it tomorrow and play with it a little more.


May your 2016 be full of moments worthy of memorializing, may you live each day richly and fully, and may you find some quiet time to capture the memories.


An Open Letter to My Mom: a Christmas Gift of Gratitude


Candles In Terracotta PotsDear Mom,

Today I made Christmas cookies all by myself for the first time in my life. Em is sick, so I could not get together with Gen and the girls to do it. I was worried it would make me sad. But instead, I was so blessed.

First I put on Christmas music. I heard some of the Perry Como songs you used to play when I was a child, John Denver’s Christmas songs from my young adult years, a song from Alabama’s Christmas album from the year my life almost fell apart, and Celine Dion’s “The Prayer” from the year I met David, the year I prayed and prayed the song could be for us, that God would bring us together and guide our lives. And He did!

It was like a soundtrack to all my Christmases. And there I was baking the cookies you baked with Troy and I as kids, the cookies I baked with my kids, and my granddaughters, and I just felt this string of connection, by engaging in that simple activity, running through all the years of my life. And I wasn’t lonely at all, just incredibly grateful.

God has been so good to me—starting with you and Dad, and all our family, in the gift of my wonderful and beloved children, in blessing me with David—a man who loves me, looks out for my safety and well-being, and shares my faith!

Thank you so much for your loving commitment to Troy, Elesa, and I, and for giving us roots and traditions. Genny and I held our craft party Saturday and made ornaments with the girls, just like you and Marie did for us kids. I look at my Christmas tree with its abundance of lights, beads, and homemade and specially selected ornaments, just like the trees I knew as a child, and I feel blessed. I listen to the songs of Christmas, and my heart overflows with gratitude.

I pray you and Jim have a wonderful Christmas. I love you very much!


Is your advent season crazy? Are you overwhelmed with things to do? Does the idea of setting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) feel like a selfish indulgence? Are you still struggling to find that perfect gift for someone you love?

Take a deep breath. Take a few seconds to just be in the moment you are in. Then free the words that are inside you. Capture your life. Capture your blessings. And maybe craft that gift that no one else can give using simply words on paper.

God bless you this Christmas and all through the new year!

*Image: Deposit Photos_11466436_original

My Much Belated November Reading List

Byzantium by Giles MorganDue to a bad case of “The Descent into Darkness” when daylight saving’s time ended, the only reading I really did in November was finish the books I started to reading in October. They are:

    • Byzantium: Capital of an Ancient Empire by Giles Morgan–an interesting overview of the Byzantine Empire. I read this as research for a new novel idea
  • The Ends of the Earth by T. Davis Bunn–a novel of romance and adventure, and the early Byzantine Empire. This was a novel I started, but through no fault of the author, I could not read until nearly the end of the month. (Did I mention “The Descent into Darkness”? Yeah. Sometimes it blots out my desire to read. What do I do instead? Work, sleep, stare, and add to my boards on Pinterest until, eventually I get hungry for books again.
  • The Wizard Heir by Cinda Williams Chima–book 2 in The The Wizard Heir by Cinda Williams ChimaHeir series, just as gripping as the first. This is the book I read at school–in the morning and in the afternoon for our sustained silent reading time at the beginning of each session. Fifteen minutes were never enough. I had to bring it home to finish over Thanksgiving break.

And for this month? I’ve moved on the third book in Chima’s series, The Dragon Heir, and am enjoying some sweet little Christmas novels at home.

How about you? What does your December reading look like?