Late Summer Evening

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Thanks to Vincent van Zalinge @vincentvanzalinge for making this photo available freely on Unsplash 🎁 https://unsplash.com/photos/CchPqypO8nE

The backyard has been a minefield of mud for the entire spring and summer months. The contractor we hired the end of April has used very excuse you can imagine as to why the work wasn’t complete.

As a teacher, I have heard many an excuse in my day as to why work wasn’t finished, why books weren’t brought to class, and why one child needed to insult another child. Often I have reminded students to simply stand tall and own their truth, even if they think they might “get in trouble” for it.

In my own life I have found that honest self reflection leads to growth.

Unfortunately, this contractor wasn’t interested in self reflection or growth. He was a poor communicator and gave excuses instead of owning his truth. Nearly four months later, he finally poured our patio. All the roots still aren’t trimmed around the edges of the patio, and the attention to finish details simply aren’t anywhere to be seen there, but we have a poured patio.

For now this is enough.

After the concrete patio was set, we hired these young men (with better communication skills, respect, and follow through than the older contractor) to build the gazebo kit we bought. They communicated clearly the dates they were available (all within the week’s time) and showed up right on time. When they finished there wasn’t so much as a scrap of paper lying about the yard. The job was finished above and beyond our expectations.
The work ethic and follow through of these young men restored my hope in builders.

Tonight Trace, Ev, and I sat out on the patio with our dear friend Jen, listening to the thrum of cicadas and watching the dragonflies dance in the evening sky.

Peaceful rest is what Jen called it, and I quite agree.

In those moments, I rediscovered my muse; it was the magic of the late summer garden at sunset.

Late Summer

Swarming dragonflies,
honking geese heading south—
they left me wondering how
the summer waned into fall
without word or warning.
All I did was blink.

—Carla Jeanne Picklo Jordan

It’s Ok To Not Be Ok

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Little E

Well, life has certainly been full of surprises these past two weeks.

Lizi had a successful appendectomy late last night and was still hospitalized until this evening because she had trapped gas in her abdomen.

So at this point, it’s still a waiting game—for healing, for recovery, and for a semblance of normalcy to return.

The biggest stakeholder in this waiting game is sweet Little E. He is adjusting marvelously to life at Nana’s—learning how life works in our rehab center. I had to mud wrestle him to convince him that a nap is really what he wanted, but Nana won out in the end.

I always do, kid. You might as well get used to it.

Life is always ha-rd. There is no such thing as “harder”. We all struggle, we all deal with hard, and it’s ok to not be ok.

Little by little my sweet little mama bear is healing. Her little darling missed her terribly, but he accepted us as a (poor) substitute.

Now they are finally reunited and the look on his face when he saw his mama was priceless! The two are happily recovering with Uncle E helping out wherever needed.

Trace is overcoming obstacle after obstacle in this recovery. I am amazed at how far she’s progressed since Day One when she was struggling with simply getting on top of pain management.

Resilient.

All of us.

You, too.

It’s ok to not be ok. (https://youtu.be/RH6G_fWfBPs ) You can sit in that hard place, in that pain (physical or emotional), and you can move through it, survive, and even thrive on the other side of it.

June Nights

Venus danced and dazzled,
leading the way for sister stars
to join in the chorus.

As mosquitoes buzzed by,
we toasted to the sultry night
and the twinkling heavens.

—Carla Jeanne Picklo Jordan

The Best Is Yet to Come

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Photo Credit: my beautiful children and grandchildren

And so it was and so it is that the best is yet to come.

The best is always yet to come.

Motherhood is always mingled with darkness and light. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.

My children have seen me at my mountain top best and my rock bottom worst. I have muddled my way through motherhood, making mistakes, overreacting, under-reacting, discovering the many sides of myself. But no matter the mistakes I made, my children beckoned me into their lives and loved me unconditionally.

For me, loving my children unconditionally was as involuntary as breathing. I adore them all, but beyond that I like them. And I feel the same about their chosen partners.

The interplay between them is amicable and hilarious, a little bit jabbing, and a lot bit loving. They know one another’s weaknesses and strengths. They play on them and lean into them as well.

The particular intensity of motherhood has not been lost on me. And now I get to enjoy the fruits of all those years as I watch my beautiful children begin to raise their own families. Grandparenting is the best of all worlds.

So you see? The best is always yet to come! I can’t wait to see what comes next!

First Time

Walking in to Walmart
that hot summer day
I wondered if everyone knew
I wondered if everyone saw
the marks of motherhood
on my body.

I am a mom.
A mom.


Surreal and hyper real.

Like no sleep in days
dripping faucet breasts real.

Like can’t sit down without a pillow real.

Like worried sick I’ll do the wrong thing real.

Like a tiny human now totally dependent on me for survival real.

I wondered
in that moment
what our life
would be like—
I wondered who
that tiny human
would become.

Today I look down at my body
forever changed,
forever marked by motherhood

I look at my grown children
and their beautiful lives
and their beautiful loves

I look at my Little Wonder
growing up too quickly
wise beyond his years

and I know
the answer:

the best was yet to come.

—A Draft by Carla Jeanne Picklo Jordan

Happy Mother’s Day to you and your mothers. Even if you aren’t a mother, you made someone a mother so YAY YOU!

NaPoWrMo 2021 Day 24

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Little Wonder Himself –
Twelve never looked so good!

Today’s prompt was a fun one. I had to find a factual article about an animal. I needed to go through the article and replace the name of the animal with something else and then rearrange and edit into a poem.

I chose an article in National Geography on sandhill cranes and replaced “sandhill crane”with “middle schooler”.

Middle School and More

The sound that signals spring
more than any other sound
is the rattling, staccato calls
of gangly middle schoolers

winging their way into class.
Sitting shivering amid
the chickweed, dandelion greens,
and residual remains

of sedge grasses, I find them
listening intently to gossip
as only pre-teens can do.
I notice how they call

to each other with a kind of
guttural growling texture
like a spoon raking rhythmically
over a metal washboard.

Spring brings all varieties
to the yard—the trumpeters,
the secretive, the seasoned
by siblings, the happy-go-lucky.

But the true spring showstopper
is the middle schooler who jogs
across the schoolyard, wraps his arms
around me and says, “Love you, mom.”

—A Draft Poem for my own Little Wonder with love from Mama

Let me know what you think in the comments below. 🤗

NaPoWriMo 2021 Day 20

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The prompt for the day was to write a sijo. This is a traditional Korean poetic form. Like the haiku, it has three lines, but the lines are much longer. Typically, they are 14-16 syllables, and optimally each line will consist of two parts – like two sentences, or a sentence of two clauses divided by a comma.

In terms of overall structure, a sijo functions like an abbreviated sonnet, in that the first line sets up an inquiry or discussion, the second line continues the discussion, and the third line resolves it with a “twist” or surprise.

For more on the sijo, check out the primer here and a long list of examples in English, here.

Loss

The startling blue sky woke me from my slumber; I begged for sleep.
The old dreams returned at dawn, stifling the sun with their darkness.
Eyes open, the daylight blinds me with reality; you are gone.

-a draft poem by Carla Jeanne Picklo Jordan

Let me know what you think in the comments below.

Wearing Brave NaPoWriMo 2016

This morning, Evan read my poem “Wearing Brave” over my shoulder. Then he told me he had an idea for poem and asked me to write it down. He even titled it all by himself. Of course, I happily assisted. 😊 Below you will find both my poem and the Ev inspired one. Love that Little Wonder and the way he thinks. I think his poem would make a great children’s book.

wearing brave

if bravery were a color
it would be red i suppose,
for all the souls who bled to live
a truth which nobody knows.
it would be the red fire of courage
burning for causes without names,
for lives that hang in the balance,
for truth spoken without shame.
it would be the way that love rejoices
as darkness resurrects into light,
as undaunted, courageous voices
echo on to continue the fight.
if bravery were a color
it would be red i suppose,
for all the souls who bled to live
a truth which nobody knows.

Blue Dogs All The Way
(inspired by the story of Little Wonder)

If blue were a color, and I was blue,
What would I do?
What would I do?
I’d bark like a dog and wag like one, too;
I’d be a best friend, a wagging true blue.
If I were a dog, and I was blue,
What would I do?
What would I do?
I’d dig a big hole and hide my bone well
Under the bushes where no one could tell.
If I were a bone hiding dog who was blue,
What would I do?
What would I do?
The day after hiding my bone I would run
Happy and healthy out under the sun.
If I were a slap happy dog who was blue,
What would I do?
What would I do?
I’d dig up my bone from under the trees
and chew all day with the birds and the bees.
If blue were a color and I was blue,
What would I do?
What would I do?
I would love the world full of rainbow hues
and wonder all day with thoughts that amuse.

  

NaPoWriMo 2016 Day Twenty

 Today’s prompt was to think of a single thing or person (a house, your grandmother, etc), and then write a poem that consists of kenning-like descriptions of that thing or person. For example, you might call a cat a mouse-stalker, quiet-walker, bird-warner, purr-former, etc. I decided to write about my beautiful children. 🙂
a mother-song

in this i sing a truth-song to myself–
of baby-bearing
and nurture-days consumed
by little people and big wonders.

first came the truth-seeker,
my great-protector(still)
a gallant wise-heart.

the side-kick entered
with light-bearing joy,
an angel-boy.

then the fairest-of-them-all,
a God-gift of pink delight within
the package of a generous-heart.

these three and this earth-dweller
thought her soul complete.

but dare i utter my life-journey
of joyous blessing,
and forget to tell
of hardship unspeakable?
my care-wretched life lie
dashed and defeated, until

heaven sent little-wonder,
a joy-bucket of life-zest.
my little warrior-prince.

the truth song of my heart
finds melody in these four
and also in the three heaven-dwellers
who passed over earth and shot
straight to the arms of God.

when my mind and soul are sea-weary,
the melodies of the hearts-of-my-heart
carry me home.

NaPoWriMo 2016 Day Eight

Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent. –Victor Hugo

NaPoWriMo (National Poetry Writing Month), my nemesis, my old friend, has whisked me away to places and spaces unknown yet again. The prompt was supposedly a “simple” one: write a poem about a flower. Having spent yesterday afternoon at the gorgeous Oklahoma City Botanical Gardens, this should have been an easy task. Lucky enough to have my sidekick photographer with me, I had stunning photos for inspiration. My friend Agi graciously printed my favorite, and I asked Little Wonder to paint it for me as I wrote my poem. I thought I would simply throw down a lil red flower ditty as the boy painted.

When the singing began from the back terrace, I was at once both enthralled and enchanted. His joy for living emanates from the core of his being. In that moment, listening to him sing as he painted his red flower, I felt honored to be in the presence of such pure joy.

Thus my simple little red flower poem became an ode to my wise and wonderful Little Wonder. I wouldn’t trade a minute with him for he is slowly teaching me the art of living.  the red flower

a little painter
squints in the sunlight
scrunching up his brow
in concentration
intentionally
choosing brilliant gold,
vibrant red and green–
a kaleidoscope
of tapestried hues.
a lone red flower
rising stark but strong
centers everything.
how does he know the
vibrant story of
red hot life stands strong
as the universe
whirls wildly by?
a tiny prince of
infinite wisdom:
my darling sings and
peace settles.
 (Photo Credit: Tracy Kaye Photography)

NaPoWriMo 2016 Day Two

#NaPoWriMo 2016 Day Two
 (Photo credit: Tracy Kaye Photography. Paintings by Syrian refugee children)

Through a God guided set of circumstances and connections, Tracy and I are privileged to be able to interview four Syrian families tomorrow for a video we are putting together. In our discussions about the project, Evan has asked many questions. Always, I try to answer as honestly as I can without going into unnecessary detail. In his own astute way, Little Wonder has absorbed the innuendo and essence of the refugee crisis.

I know this because during our evening prayers tonight, tears came to his eyes and he looked at me with a sense of urgency and earnestness: “I want to pray the best prayer ever, Mama,” he cried.

Then, with tears streaming down his cheeks he began, “Dear God, I just pray for the Syrians tonight for the families who have had people die and even children die, and God please please please help the good team win over the bad teams who have hurt and killed people. And keep the Syrians safe God. And help them be able to fight back against the bad teams. Amen.”

Up until Evan’s prayer, I had struggled with the writing prompt for NaPoWriMo today. I was supposed to write a poem that takes the form of a family portrait, and I was searching for what angle and voice to give to the poem. I think in the process of writing, I started and stopped it at least ten times.

After Evan’s prayer I realized why. Evan is so tender hearted and fully embracing of all people. He doesn’t see lines of division. Instead, he sees us as all connected. He sees us as one big family.

The poem wrote itself after that realization. Here it is…

family portait

we are family.

affiliation by consanguinity is only one definition of family.

family is an affinity by kinship however people choose to form that unit.

and seeing family love in action alwaysalwaysalways changes the face of the world for the better.

so often, we look at other families and perceive the differences even as we distance ourselves because of those differences.

when we get close–really, really close–the lines of difference become blurred, and we no longer see eye color and skin color and race and religion.

instead we weep with those in pain and rejoice with those in celebration.

we are family after all.

we are connected to one another in ways large and small, by blood, yes, but even more so by the kindred spirit of God who flows through our veins.

we are family.

like all families, we hunger for love, we long for acceptance, we desire respect, and we wish our stories to be told to future generations.

we are family.

all we need to do is open our hearts and listen to our common, beating heart.

Day #22

Today’s prompt challenged me to write a poem for children. I was inspired by Ev who grew grass from seed in his preschool class and lovingly placed an earthworm he name Mr. Smarty Pants in it. We had this conversation on the way home from school.

Ev: Worms like to eat dirt, Mama. Did you know that? I don’t particularly like to eat dirt, it tastes nasty. But worms like it.

Mr. Smarty Pants

Worms like to eat dirt.
I can’t imagine why.
My tummy might hurt
if I gave that a try.

The taste must be ghastly;
I’m certain I would hate it.
But worms don’t think it’s nasty.
They like their food with grit.

So little wormy,
leave your grassy home.
I love how you are squirmy
when you leave the dirt to roam.

Come give my hand a tickle
as you crawl out from the grass.
Then I can feel you wriggle
when you eat your dirt repast.

Mm-mm-good!