Thankful Thursday #22

This week I’m thankful for…

  • turning off my alarm clock for the week
  • Good Friday service
  • Easter Sunday when the rain stopped and the clouds parted in time for church outside
  • the hymn In Christ Alone because it brings me to tears every time I hear it
  • riding my bike with girlfriends Easter afternoon
  • hearing the 5:30am train echoing up from the valley and realizing I can go back to sleep for as long as I want
  • reading in bed in the morning

Letter #9: Whisper To Me

Dear Gramma,

You’ve been gone over a year now.  In some ways it feels like you were here just yesterday.  Other days it feels like eternity has spread out in between us.  I’m starting to forget what your voice sounded like.  My heart breaks even typing those words because I need your voice in my life.  This week I needed your warm Texas lilt to whisper in my ear.

I needed your voice when cancer took my friend’s mother.  I needed your words when cancer crept back into the brain of another friend’s mother.  In their sadness, my grief for you welled up in my heart and broke it all over again.  My words of comfort were such a meager offering in the face of staggering loss, in the face of fear come to life.  And yet, I feel like you would have said just the right thing.  Once again I find myself wishing I was more like you.

Last night I prayed that you would come talk to me in my dreams.  I long for you to sit down next to me, pat my leg and tell me everything will be okay.  I dream every night.  Most mornings I wake up recalling a fistful of dreams.  But not last night.  Last night was void of dreams.  You were silent and I woke up alone in bed, missing you more than ever.

It’s almost Easter and my memories of last Easter are snapshots flickering in the forefront of my mind.  I remember singing in your church Easter morning, painfully aware that you weren’t there next to me.  I cried through worship, both for the beauty of Easter and for the agony of loss.  I remember riding my bike up through your mountains, my heart bobbing in my throat.

Cancer is such a cunning thief.  A year later, I still feel hollowed out.  And maybe that’s why I don’t have the right words to say to my beloved friends.  Maybe there aren’t words to fill the cavern of loss.

Gramma, words never seemed to fail you.  You could strike up a conversation with anyone and build a friendship in mere minutes.  As for me, my words choke up behind my tongue and come out all wrong.

But this I know for sure, when my words fail my actions speak for me.

So when it comes to cancer, I’m letting my legs do the talking.  With every spin of the cranks, I say no to cancer.  When I stand and pedal up hills, I’m standing with my friends.  And maybe one of these days when I’m riding through the plains and the wind is whipping through the wildflowers, just maybe it’s your warm Texas lilt I’ll hear on the breeze.

I love you so much.  Come talk to me soon.


Thankful Thursday #21

This week I’m thankful for…

  • my grade level partners who always have my back
  • parents of current and former students who intrinsically seem to know when I need to hear that I’m doing a good job
  • our school librarian for saying I’m the perfect teacher for my most challenging student
  • my husband for encouraging me to always listen to my heart when it comes to doing what is best for children
  • my sixth grade student TA who looked at our dragonfly nymphs and said “Isn’t it amazing that something so ugly turns into something so beautiful?”  Exactly.
  • pedicures
  • dates with my mom
  • The Sound of Music, which always makes me tear up at least a little, especially at the lyric “I go to the hills when my heart is lonely.”
  • reading solely for the pleasure of it
  • lazy Saturdays when I read nap and Terry watches baseball naps, too
  • warm rain that compels Terry to usher me outside to smell it
  • the small window each week wherein all the laundry is washed and put away and the laundry hamper is empty
  • walking home from church under a sky of thunderheads that held off the rain long enough for me to make it home
  • the little boy who brought his skateboard in as his “Mostest special thing, ever, in the world.  Ever.”
  • my darling former student who brought her bunny by after school so I could “finally meet him”.  Henry the Bunny is now my favorite bunny.  Although chocolate bunnies are a close second.
  • this clip from


You didn’t used to snore.  You used to sleep in silent stillness, so much so that I’d hold my hand in front of your mouth to make sure you were breathing.  You used to joke that you slept like you were dead.

And then came the time when you stopped sleeping, the year when you wrestled demons and wished you were dead.  You wrestled in the harsh light of day and every dark, lonely night.  Life was hard and there was no rest for you, no sleep to ease your mind.  My sleep was punctuated with nightmares, nightmares that continued into my waking hours.

Those were dark days when we clawed our way out of the pit, only to fall back in and try again the next day.  And the next day.  And the next.  We fought hard for our life together, fought hard to hang onto love.  And light.  And hope.  My prayers were fervent, urgent pleas for life over death.  We clung to God.  We clung to each other.  We clung for dear life.

After months of this exhausting struggle, my prayers were answered and you began to sleep again.  I remember the first night you finally slept.  You began to snore.  At first the snoring scared me, startling me from sleep, reminding me of all that had changed.  Even at night I couldn’t escape that fact that for better or worse, we were different.

Most days it feels like that was a long time ago and for that I’m grateful.  Our life is happy.  We are whole.  Changed, yes, but when we put together the pieces of our fractured life, you were still you and I was still me.

Now at night when I wake to your snoring, I press into you, safe in the knowledge that you are here in this life with me.  I remember the days when you couldn’t sleep.  I listen to your snoring and say a prayer of thanks that you have found rest, that we have found respite together.

I’ve come to love the sound of your snores.  In the quiet of night, your snoring is the sound I listen for.  In fact, it’s my favorite sound, the one I want to hear all the days of my life.

I heard you snoring last night and I felt safe.  I rolled over and slipped into a dream.  And when I woke, I woke to our life together.

It is the sweetest dream of all.

Poetry From Little Lips

Children have such a way with words, pairing combinations that just pulse off the page.  Their little lips seem to spill poetry.  I’m lucky enough to be a fly on the wall when they mish mash those beautiful combinations.

Poet Naomi Shihab Nye collected some of the things her son said and reads his words here in her poem “One Boy Told Me”.

You are, no doubt, scrambling for a piece of paper this very second to write down the wonders that have slipped through the lips of your son, daughter, niece, nephew, granddaughter, grandson, the kid next door, or even that funny kid in front of you in line at the post office.  Do it, grab a pencil and write it down.  Quick, before your grown-up brain forgets and instead fills up with mundane things like the grocery list.  And then share your lines or a link to them in the comments section please.  It’s National Poetry Month and we all deserve a little more poetry in our lives.