Friday, February 12, 2016

CHD Awareness Week

This week has been Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week.  My daughter's son is our little heart warrior, meaning he was born with a CHD. Did you know that CHD is the number one cause of death in childhood today? Yes, one in every 110 children born has a congenital heart defect. It is not a disease, it is a genetic defect.
(The poems on this blog were written during the time when our little heart warrior was recovering from his surgery, at 4 months of age.)

      Open Heart

The child appears whole,
doing the things that life requires
as he did before it happened,
before the sleep and the knife.

But in the depths of his heart
he is raw and healing,
even as he breathes
and smiles 
and sleeps.

Do not let pain or fear
rule the day, 
little man.
Keep breathing,
one breath and then the next,
hearts heal, given time.
Keep breathing,
please.... please.

If you will,
I will. 

Here is an excerpt from Audra's blog.

"The thing about heart warriors is they do not remember the beginning of their journey. They have no memory of the long wait for the cardiologist to come back to the room and crush our dreams. They don't remember the hours when their hearts did not beat, while a surgeon held them in their hands. They are warriors because they survived so much, while being so little very little. They are warriors because they bear battle scars for all to see. And they are warriors because the thing about a CHD diagnosis is that it is a life long battle. Holes can be patched, valves can be replaced, and all sorts of other miracles can happen to the human heart, but for the rest of their lives their heart history will follow them. Zane can never get life insurance and until recently health insurance was not guaranteed to adults with a pre-exisiting condition. All congenital heart defects are pre-exisiting, they existed before they were born. The battle to keep this right to insurance is sure to continue in the political world for years to come. This just one example of another battle our warriors will have to fight. They are warriors because the battles continue forever. They keep conquering, keep beating the odds, keep being brave, and keep fighting a fight for which they never volunteered." 

If you are interested in donating to help fund ongoing research for CHD, here are three of her favorite sites for donation. 
Mended Little Hearts. This is who I do the Roar-N-Race with during CHD awareness week. They are a wonderful resource for heart families and deliver bravery bags to heart families who are in the hospital. The one that I donate to where most of the money goes to research into ways to treat CHD is The Children's Heart Foundation. And lastly, we donate to Samaritan's Purse which is a world medical mission that helps people in other countries have access to life-saving open heart surgery for their little heart warriors." 

A Mother's Love

A mother's love is fierce and all consuming,
knowing neither fear nor boundaries.
It is powerful beyond imagining
 and faces fire
 and fate without flinching.

I tell my daughter that her child needs her
to be powerful and courageous;
that the child feeds on the courage of the mother.
I look into her eyes and tell her this
because she is my child, 
as he is hers,
this darling whose
heart is fighting to beat.

Love is not emotion, it is conviction,
it is strength of purpose and will,
it is the threads of life woven tightly together
and dyed in the colors of life,
 bright and dark together,
an unbreakable weave.

All the love that we have discovered,
flows from the source of life itself,
that roar of holiness 
which cannotbe named.

Put on the necessary armor, 
stand resolved in love,
 and walk bravely into the loom,
holding in your heart
the spirit of your child.
All who have ever loved,
 walk with you.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Tuesday Evening Update

     Oh gosh, where to begin.  Those of you who have been following this blog might be asking yourselves: What has happened to this woman? She is off the rails and very inconsistent these days. I know, first no posts and then only weird angsty poems and then nothing. Here is the story.
      Last week was the week for Abbey to be gone to D.C. This is not a new thing. She does that four or five weeks out of the year. On Monday, I met a friend in OKC and we spent the middle part of the day in the library of the Oklahoma History Museum, leafing through books, doing genealogy research. I also worked at the shop for a tiny bit and shared supper with Audie and hers.
     Tuesday I watched kids some more, flew back down the road to Enid and the Widow's Group supper.  It was a good get together. This has been a tough month for several of the women. Winter is difficult....well, even more difficult than the sunny months.
    Wednesday I had to myself. I rested and continued my self-prescribed regimen of two or three chapters of the book, Hamilton, every day. I feel like I've been reading forever and am only halfway through. This is not a fluff book. Onward and upward. Thursday was my day pick the little kids up after school, watch them until their parents came home and fix supper.
    Apparently it was also my day to fall off the edge of sanity into a pit of self-pity and despair about....who knows. Thank you, Christal, for being there and willing to throw me a rope of good words. I didn't see it coming. It happens.
    Friday was another pick up the kids day. We came to Abbey's after school and played some serious Harry Potter plus a quick game of Kid's Apples to Apples (a board game).  Supper of Mac'n Cheese, Oranges and Sausage, a quick game of broom and lighted ball Quidich and weeping and wailing on the part of Zaney boy when it was time to leave.
    Saturday I was supposed to pick up my sister at the airport at noon. Her flight was canceled, so I drove home to deliver some spices to Martha, read my book, fed the cats, vacuumed the floor, fell in bed. Oh, also, a friend came out to get a particular book and we had a wonderful chat on the porch swing while I soaked up some much-needed sunshine. Next morning it was back to the City to work at the shop all day and pick Ann up at 6:15 at the airport. We headed northwest while I introduced her to the sound track from the musical Hamilton (to which I am addicted).
I missed the turn off to El Reno and home because I was belting "I am not throwing away my shot!"and feeling very patriotic. Oh well.
Luckily for us, there was another place to turn back north. I we had kept driving west, we would have ended up in Amarillo.
       We drove on, turned north and drove through the dark toward Watonga, Hitchcock and Okeene, America. At one point we stopped the car and stood out under the blazing stars, soaking in their beauty. The stars have been amazingly clear lately in these cold nights.  Dad was tickled to see us and Scott was there as well. It was his birthday so we sang the song. We caught the final ten minutes of the Super Bowl, which was the good part. Hooray for the Broncos!
    I have been there, at Dad's, for the past two days. We visit and cook, look through old pictures, shell pecans, watch movies and read the WSJ and the New Yorker. The pace is slow and we enjoy each other's company. Dad and I drink a lot of green tea. We also enjoyed the antics of the small birds fighting for the Thistle seed in Dad's hanging feeder outside the kitchen window. There is no internet access at Dad's, so I have been unplugged.
     The only other development is that I walked into Barnes and Noble the other day and had a visit with the Nook guy.  Samsung has purchased the Nook side of the bookstore and I can trade my old Nook in for a brand new Samsung tablet/reader and get $50 dollars for the old one....that won't hold a charge anymore. Hooray!
     Tomorrow morning early, I go in for allergy testing. We'll see what we discover. I haven't been able to take any analgesics for a week, in preparation for these test. I hurt all over, all day long. Can't wait until I can get some Aleve back into my system.
   That's the news. I'm off to beddy-bye.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Poem: A Letter

This is a letter to the creatures,
all of you who share this space:
Robins and Wrens,
   cattle and cats,
coyotes singing in the night.

I know you know more than I know
about the rhythms of the earth.
I am paying attention now,
trying to listen, to understand.
I appreciate your taking the time.

Sing me into wakefulness,
white-striped Mockingbird.
Teach me to sing that oldest of songs
with the voices which surround,
and let the singing be enough.

Let the singing be enough.

Poem: Here We Go

Ring around the wide stone,
pockets full of rice,
four and twenty bluebirds,
sweetness by the slice.

Little girls in twirly skirts
skipping round the room,
ribbons from a shooting star,
wrapped around the moon.

Set me ten fine ganders
with gaiters on their legs,
two to toss and two to scribe
and seven speckled eggs.

Three young boys to tap and sing,
one black stallion prancing,
seven candlesticks ablaze,
thee and me a'dancing.

Friday, February 5, 2016


     Sometimes a random word will pop into my head in the midst of some completely unrelated activity.
The word speaks itself in my mind and I usually immediately say it out loud, or I do the thing it suggests. I call these "nudges" and it is to my detriment if I ignore them.
      Yesternight I was reading aloud to M and her brothers; a book about a princess and magic unicorns. Yes, it was Maggie's choice, because #1) Brendan didn't want to hear any of the Beatrix Potter stories, or Winnie the Pooh and the Heffalump, and #2) we couldn't read Harry Potter because I can't do the voices as well as their dad. (True)  I began to insert little teaching moments here and there (like I do) and let B give one of his own about the unicorns in the Harry Potter books.  It's important to get the mythology nailed down so you can discuss it with authority, if the occasion should ever arise. (I'm sure you know that if you have unicorn blood and the sorcerer's stone you can be immortal, or at least that is what Brendan said) and if you don't know, now you know...
     When I was reading aloud, I was apparently taking shallow breaths and therefore, before long, I began to yawn, and yawn and yawn.  Brendan had to take a turn now and then so I could take a few deep breaths before going on.  (I'm coming back to the nudges)....Suddenly the word Waffle came into my head.  I said it out loud, Waffles, and kept reading.  The kids shot each other the "what just happened to grandma?" looks, but didn't say anything.  I said it again. Waffles. I asked them if they thought the house smelled like waffles. Uh.... no?
   We continued with the book. In this book, on a Royal's eighth birthday they have an aura and are paired with a unicorn who is their companion for the rest of their lives.  This, of course, led to a discussion of auras, art, halos as representations of auras, icons versus statues and other such stuff.  Waffles. We passed bed time and kept reading.  Waffles...I've gotta have some waffles! Needless to say, by the time we had finished the chapter, we were all dying for waffles.
     So...we dug out the waffle iron, stirred up some batter (eyeballing it). Maggie told me several times where the measuring spoons and cups were. Not necessary, my dear. We were doing this the old-fashioned way.  Brendan suggested we throw in some chocolate chips and said, " Half a cup?" I gave him a sideways glance and he threw in a couple of handfuls. That's my boy. We found some butter and some maple syrup, cooked the waffles up, nice and brown and...wait for it....ate them with our fingers, butter and syrup drip, dripping onto the plates. YES! They were the most delicious waffles in the history of mankind.
      We cleaned up all the stickiness, brushed our teeth AGAIN (they had never heard of brushing your teeth twice in one night OR eating after you had already brushed your teeth the first time). I think they need more three on one time with their grandma.
        Yes, Grandma is a treasure-trove of bad habits and a terrific example of living within the wonderous light of SPONTANEITY.  Why not? I mean really, life is short. Eat waffles now and then. Dance in the rain. Spontaneously dance with a stranger, when a beautiful song comes over the sound system. Go skinny-dippin'.

Poem: The Gift

A winter's storm, night,
Crouched in the open plain,
wind howling around me, sleet-stung,
every limb aching from effort given,
the goal so far out of sight
as to be in doubt;
I cried out to you,
'please, a word.

Tell me again why
I should stand and walk on,
why again I should seek the child
in this blinding storm,
surely she is already lost.'

Upon the silent earth I
lay, weary....empty, invisible,
retreating into the depths.
I waited in the wailing,
pale blue with despair.

Please, a word.

Finally, there came the
warmth of encircling arms,
a familiar heartbeat; respite,
breath, comfort and courage,
bringing me once more to
the mortal task.

She yet lives, you whispered,
Find her and see her to safety.
Though there be many walking,
your specific gifts are required.