Poetry in Notion

Apple Blossoms

SPACED OUT

Give me space!
I have no place
in life’s maddening race,
where I exist, by God’s grace,
yet hunger to see a familiar face
as distancing makes its case,
to be masked with haste!
To ward away the virus’ pace,
advancing, advancing! Lives laid waste…


FOLLOW THE LIGHT

One candle, one light
sputtering and stuttering.
Winds of change cannot,
will not smother its glow.
The light of truth
grows brighter
moment-by-moment,
overshadowing the darkness of lies.


 

A NEW WORLD

How will what I do in this moment
give hope and help to someone else,
so they know the hellish world of today
will not always be this way?

For something more, my heart yearns.

Make this New World, when it begins,
one full of kindness and comfort,
love, one for another, rippling, flowing
as toward the future we are going.

We ask for ‘normal’ to return.

For something more my heart yearns,
a New World where words of care
are backed up by action taken,
the status quo shaken, shaken.


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Easter Prayer

Stock Photography - Easter Lily Close Up

There can be no safer place to be
than in the certainty of God’s love.
Every bumpy, curvy road
can be made straight
by this assurance:
God’s love and protection
are always present.
Problems don’t disappear;
our ability to manage them
is strengthened in the light of his promise
to be with us always.

Christ lived that we might live.
Christ died that we would be saved.
Christ arose that we might have hope.

God knows our need;
God gives us tools
to be wise and courageous
in the most difficult of times.
He does not forget us
when we are less than faithful.
He waits for us to return to the rock of his refuge.

Thank you, God, for your presence.
In times of uncertainty,
relieve our anxiety,
give us strength and courage day-by-day.

– Amen

Be my rock of refuge, to which I can always go. Psalm 71:3


 

Hope

Hope

Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker. Psalm 95:6

We are blessed. We are loved. We are protected. God with us isn’t a sometimes thing; it is an all the time thing. As people of faith, we can trust in the Lord, which is all the more reason to have faith in tough times. This, too, shall pass, isn’t a sugar pill; it is hope, which sustains us in difficult times. Yes, bad things do happen; that is the way of the world. We are stronger together than we are apart, whether that distance is six feet in public settings or staying home. Connect with others in the ways you can; it will keep you moving forward when it feels like the world has come to a screeching halt.

Life may be more complicated for a while, but it will go on. The Las Vegas-San Miguel Chamber of Commerce has links to important information about COVID-19 and local restaurants serving take out. Call to order your favorite meal from your favorite eatery.

My prayer in the days ahead is for friends, family and neighbors to be strong and healthy and for our business community to survive and thrive. Be safe.


 

 

Good neighbors

So, encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing. 1 Thessalonians 5:11

Helping HandsCOVID-19 has everything topsy turvy. Encouraging each other is a must. There is much misinformation, scamming, and discouragement, but that is not who we are; that is not who God made us to be. What can each of us do to make life better for someone else? All that toilet paper you bought? Take some of it to a homeless shelter or other distribution center where it can be given to people who can’t even buy ONE roll of toilet paper, much less a case. Contribute to food pantries. Buy gift cards from your favorite restaurants so cash flow isn’t too hard-hit in this time of craziness. If you eat out frequently but hesitate to go out now, call and find out if you can get take out or if the restaurant will deliver. If you can provide child care for working moms and dads so they don’t miss work, offer your services. Volunteer to be a personal shopper for people who can’t get out. This is a very short list of all the opportunities out there. What can you do?


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Fear Not

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you. Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10

Day by day

In Genesis 37, we read the story of family treachery. The coat of many colors was tainted with blood. Jacob was convinced it was the blood of his beloved son, Joseph.

Though much loved by his father, Joseph was resented by his brothers. Relationships sink or swim on as little as this. None of them could predict what God could and would do with this act of betrayal. It is a reminder of how important it is to be absolutely certain that God’s plan is greater – and more intricately connected to end results – than anything we can do. Trust in the Lord. Be strong under fire. Make the most of who you are. God has promised to be with you, even when those around you sell you out, life hands you bitter gall instead of ambrosia, health fails, and trouble bubbles. You are stronger than you think, not because of who you are, but because of who God is.


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She said…

Thomas L. FriedmanSo, you think life is moving too fast?

Guess what? It is. I just started reading Thomas L. Friedman’s 2016 book, Thank You for Being Late: An Optimist’s Guide to Thriving in the Age of Acceleration. I’m hardly prepared to comment on the entirety of the book, because I’m just in the second chapter, but Friedman grabbed my attention early on, with this statement:

“It’s no surprise so many people feel fearful or unmoored these days. … I will argue that we are living through one of the greatest inflection points in history—perhaps unequaled since Johannes Gensfleisch zur Laden zum Gutenberg, a German blacksmith and printer, launched the printing revolution in Europe, paving the way for the Reformation. The three largest forces on the planet—technology, globalization, and climate change—are all accelerating at once. As a result, so many aspects of our societies, workplaces, and geopolitics are being reshaped and need to be reimagined.”

Does that make the world and its chaos a little more understandable, if not manageable?

Think about the life you are living today with instant access to just about everything, thanks to technology. What about globalization and its impact on national and international policy, the economy and social interaction? Climate change incites heated debate, less about how to deal with it, but whether it exists at all. And it’s all happening at the same time at an ever-increasing pace.

Is political chaos, violence, terrorist threats – domestic and global – economic uncertainty, fear, and general unrest attributable to these rapidly accelerating factors? I haven’t done the research, but just by observation, I would respond with a resounding, yes!

The most influential of these three factors (for good or ill) is perhaps technology and our easy access to information. We have hardly absorbed one change when we are bombarded with information about not one but multiples of change in areas over which we have little or no influence. We are barely able to take in reports of one horror or disaster, before we see on our phones yet another. We can’t catch our breath between one new bit of flashy tech and the next. Do we even know the lasting impact of globalization? Climate change isn’t just a political debate; it is an earth-changing behemoth.

This is not seeming to me to be a book that leads to optimism, yet I get it that we must not ignore what is going on around us. We need to learn more and understand more if we are to survive, much less thrive, as a species.

Change, it would seem, no longer comes as a process; it’s more of a bulldozer. If you can’t adapt, you get run over. The reality check for most of us is that we are looking the other way, trying to pretend we can go back to “a simpler time.” We can’t go backward, but I believe we can go forward with deliberation and intention.

The acceleration of technology, globalization, and climate change is already reshaping society – the world, if you will. At one time, big change happened in a bit of a vacuum, rippling into mainstream society over time. Years, even decades could pass before the general population knew about a major innovation, like the aforementioned printing press. Can humankind reimagine and thrive amid supersonic changes? I have about 400 more pages to learn what Friedman thinks, but this is what I think: We can’t control the world; we can control how we live in the world. I guess that makes me an optimist.

–Sharon Vander Meer

For more about Thank You for Being Late: An Optimist’s Guide to Thriving in the Age of Acceleration, by Thomas L. Friedman, go to www.thomaslfriedman.com.


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HONESTLY – A POEM FOR 2020

pexels-photo-3036525.jpeg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I thought hard about the poem I’d write
as 2020 barrels toward me
and decided it didn’t matter
because life in the next 365 days
is something over which I have zero control.

I pray to be healthy and for my husband
and other loved ones to be healthy, too.
But that goes without saying,
does it not?
What do I want 2020 to look like,
in a perfect world, one where everything
– and I do mean EVERYTHING –
goes my way?

Family relationships will be reformed and strengthened.
The work I labor at
will go viral (in a good way) and I will become
the it author of the next decade.
So my personal aspirations are smallish.

On the world stage I would hope for
peace and well being for all,
a world where respect and civility
overcomes hate and violence,
a world in which war is a thing of the past,
and kindness determines the course of human affairs.

In my perfect 2020, I would
– listen more and talk less,
write more and talk less,
do more and talk less,
volunteer more and talk less,
be kind more and talk less,
laugh more and talk less.

I’m not about making resolutions;
I never keep them.
I can’t give sage advice;
my life is its own kind of mess,
so I’m in no position to tell you how to live yours.
Sanctimonious pontificating is a drug I don’t want to get hooked on.

What do I want 2020 to hold?
With anticipation I pray it will be one happy surprise after another,
and when there is sadness thrown into the mix,
I pray for the faith and strength to get through it;
– whatever it may be.
And as co-members of this thing we call the human family –
I pray the same for you.

Happy New Year – 2020


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Tears are not enough

Sad situation

I’m working on an article for the Las Vegas Optic about animals – mostly dogs – in the most recent incident of a woman accused of animal hoarding. All I can say is, it’s heartbreaking. We do not have an animal in our home. The last dog we shared our house with was killed when he wandered out of our yard – despite our best efforts to keep him confined – and got run over. It was horrible. That was more than two decades ago. Our youngest son was in high school. It broke his heart, and ours. I vowed to never have a pet again. It was like losing part of the family.

The photo above is an aerial shot of the compound where 60 animals were sheltered, if that’s what you want to call it.

It is sad that anyone would knowingly create a situation in which animals were underfed (starved), medically neglected and caged in poor excuses for shelter. More troubling is the snail-pace judicial system that has resulted in a lengthy road to justice. The first incident occurred in January of this year. A second incident just a week ago, involved the same person. More than 60 animals were added to the 32 already under the care of the local animal shelter, a community resource that is stretched past its limits. Look for the Optic article, which will appear in the next week or so, which will talk about how you can help. In the mean time, if you are a Facebook user, you can find out more here. Looke for the DONATE button and conveniently give online.

Please help. Donate money or food. This is a serious situation. I commend the Animal Welfare Coalition and all it does to protect the animals who share this planet with us, but they can’t do it alone. They need our help.

Note: Photo of Rowe property from AWC Facebook page.


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A musing on aging gratefully

Yesterday I turned 75. Turned 75. That’s like referring to oneself as if you’re a tuna casserole that’s gone off.

I don’t feel a day over 75 – oh, right, I am a day over 75. I don’t think of myself as being old-ish. Okay, okay! Old! Even in middle age – 45 or so – I thought anything over 50 was ancient. The older I get, of course, the older young becomes.

Once, when told she didn’t look 40, Gloria Steinem reportedly said, “This is what 40 looks like.” This is what 75 looks like, wrinkled, a touch pudgy, and grey-haired.

I prefer to think of my hair as snowy, shot through with silver, but what do I know? I’ve never been one to gloss over reality, but I did go through the coloring my hair phase to take a few years off my appearance. Why? God knows. It was a pain in the butt and dried out my already-thin hair unmercifully. Plus – get real – my skin still looked papery and wrinkled.

I like being a grey goddess, a woman of a certain age who isn’t taken with the idea of forever young. I know, I can hear you laughing. A goddess I have never been. Wrinkles and grey hair don’t bother me. Not having something worthwhile to do bothers me. I want to be productive. I want to interact with others, not just my generation, but every generation. I still have lots to learn, and I even have a few things to teach.

Life is about the things you can do; it is not about the things you can’t. I will never be the great American novelist. I have neither the discipline for the talent. That doesn’t keep me from writing. It doesn’t keep me from sending in freelance articles for publication in hopes of being paid. It doesn’t stop the flow of words that demand to be put into a story.

Age does not stop us from wanting approval and feeling sad and rejected when we don’t get it. It must never stop us from loving what we do enough to get it out there and do it. Einstein didn’t stop because he got old; he stopped because he died.

Studies show that people who stay active doing the things they enjoy, live longer and are healthier than those who sit on the sidelines waiting for the next thing to happen, and expecting whatever it is, to be bad.

Life does get harder for many of us as we age, no doubt. Overcoming that isn’t easy, but making the effort is the difference between a life well-lived and one of despondency and loneliness. You don’t have to be the life of the party, just show up and participate. You have something to contribute. We all do. Getting old is not a card any of us should play to get out of living our best life now. Stephen Hawking didn’t and neither should we.

I am grateful for every day I’ve lived, even the ones that brought me to my knees, where I learned to lean on the Great Comforter and on my friends. I count every day a blessing, a gift, something to be opened with joy and anticipation. Seventy-five and counting! Thank you, Lord.


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The weird genius habits

I am a genius. No, really, I am. According to Reader’s Digest I have seven and a half of the weird traits that secretly indicate I am smarter than the average bear. Well, they didn’t say bear, but to say what they said would be like, well, gee whiz, bragging!

First, I don’t believe for a second I’m a genius. There are way too many instances where my life would prove quite the contrary. But it’s fun to think about.

Let’s begin with the habits I don’t have. Cold showers. Really? Who wants to take cold showers? I guess the one good thing about that would be waking up really fast in the morning.

Swearing. This is sort of a half-and-half thing. I do swear, but only now and then, and when it by-damn is called for!

Habits I admit to, but see nothing weird about.Busy, busy, busy

Having a messy desk. See photo. ‘Nuff said.

Stay up late. I would stay up later, but my husband worries I’m not getting enough rest. My best and most productive writing time is in the middle of the night. No distraction. Complete silence. I can board a train of thought and ride it to the end of the line.

Talk to myself. More than I wish to admit. Dialog on the page comes alive or falls flat when spoken aloud, but it’s more than that. When I’m in the middle of a mess (writing mess) I mutter and mumble through it. “If this happens, how does it impact that? Did Joe have green eyes in chapter two and now they’re blue? What if Joe doesn’t go down that road, but takes this one instead?” I know I’ve gone from mutter and mumble to speaking voice when I hear from the living room, “Did you say something?”

“No,” I say, and return to mutter and mumble.

The sound of chewing is annoying. It can be, especially if I’m the one chewing. A sort of meditative experience for me is chewing ice, which is annoying to nearly everyone who can hear it. But the sound of chip-chewing and other crunchy foods sort of gets on my nerves as well. Again, it’s the noise in my head caused by me chewing, not other people. So this one may not apply. Maybe my genius habits only add up to seven.

Doodling. Really? This is weird? EVERYONE DOODLES!

Being self-critical. Well, I must say, this one hits the nail on the head. I won’t go into detail here, but suffice it to say I know the song and dance of all the things that are wrong with me and my work. It takes a certain amount of courage to get past personal doubt and continue to write and publish.

This is my favorite. Daydreaming. That’s the source of everything writers write. You kinda go beyond what you know, into a world where anything is possible.

In conclusion, these random weird habits hardly make me – or anyone else who has them – a genius. What it amounts to is that we are all a little flawed, which may very well contribute to creativity, and that’s okay with me.

So, from one genius to another, have a weird and wonderful day.

From the pen (keyboard) of Sharon Vander Meer


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