Category Archives : Writing Examples

Where do you belong? 3

Yesterday our journal topic in Advanced Comp. was “where do you belong?”
A very simple question with not so simple answers. Several of the kids had a hard time getting started, and many were afraid to share their words with the class after squeezing a few lines onto their paper.
Why is it so difficult to put a finger on where we belong?
I was inspired by some of their answers. One said, “I know where I feel right and accepted…but don’t know if that is where I should belong.”
Another student’s piece inspired the question,”Is where you belong where you already are, or where you want to be?”
I tried writing with them and my mind went blank. All I could hear in my head were the lyrics to “Creep” by Radiohead:
“But I’m a creep
I’m a weirdo
What the hell am I doin’ here?
I don’t belong here.
After an unsettling department meeting before class, the last lines repeated over and over.
I don’t belong here.

I know I belong here in my little town.
I know I belong here with my little family.
I just don’t know if I belong HERE.
In this place I inhabit every week day for about 8 hours.
The question haunts me on a daily basis.
It doesn’t make it any easier when this girl screams and reaches for the babysitter when I pick her up in the afternoons.
 Can you imagine seeing this face CRY when you reach to pick her up?
I know people say that it’s normal and I shouldn’t get upset. But it hurts…bad. I know it would probably hurt worse if she cried every time we dropped her off, knowing she hated going to the baby sitter. I know we are blessed beyond measure to have such a nurturing, loving, beautiful environment for her to be in for those 8 hours a day, five days a week. But it still hurts…bad.
So the same question still haunts me. You know the drill. I’ve written about it countless times.
Until it’s fixed, it is all I know how to do.

This morning I tried again. 

Where do I belong?

I belong

in the sun
in the breeze
wrapped in a song
one hand in hers
one hand in yours
feet feeling grass
I belong
on cobblestone streets
one hand in hers
one hand in yours
out of my comfort zone
in a farmhouse
in a small town
in love
with family
I belong
in the sun
in the breeze
wrapped in a song
one hand in hers
one hand in yours
I think it’s important to answer this question, as hard as it may be. I know my response will continue to evolve as life changes. I guess all we can hope for is that where we belong is where we end up. 

Or is where we end up, where we really belong?


Dear Henry… 3

How can you resist that face?

It may sound obvious, but inspiration is infectious.

Get inspired one time, and I tell you, it won’t stop hitting you in the face every which way you turn.
(And you know what that means…lots and lots of blog posts!)
Today I was inspired by one of my favorite Mamalode columns, Mama Digs, by Nici Holt Cline from Dig this Chick. She recently wrote about her dog, Alice, and how she has guilt over putting her on the back burner since the birth of her two daughters.
She said, “When I was pregnant…I wondered if I could love (my baby) as much as I love my dog. That seems like a crazy comparison now but I worried about having enough unconditional heart for another creature in my life. When I said this out loud, the frequent response was something like, ‘Oh you just wait. Your dog will take a permanent seat on the back burner the instant your kid arrives.’ The thought made me tense and I just knew my canine bff would never be burning back there.”
She finishes with, “I’ve felt so much guilt about my relationship with Alice. Writing this is like a giant exhale, a confession. I first admitted my guilt and to my good friend, Caroline, who is an inspiring animal lover and mom. And she smiled and told me I am so close. That, in no time it will all be better than ever because my kids will deepen their interaction with and love of Alice and that, at that same time, I’ll have more time and energy to give her. She told me dogs know love.

So Alice may be peripheral at the moment but she’s steady in my sights. And my devoted dog knows nothing but uninhibited love. There’s stuff cooking on all four burners, Alice, but I see you back there and I am coming.”

As I read this, the tears came alongside the guilt I feel for putting Henry on the back burner ever since AJH’s birth. I thought the best way to handle this would be to write him a letter (yes, a letter). Writing dialogue (through a letter or any other way you see fit) is actually a very therapeutic journaling technique that I used after our first dog, Shiner, passed away. I even wrote a letter back to myself from Shiner (yes, that’s where it gets crazy), but it was actually very good for me. I felt some closure after hearing his response, even if it did come from my sub-conscious.

(Maybe I’ll get brave and post those if you all promise not to judge me for being crazy- writing-letters-to-her-dog lady.)

But for now, it is Henry’s turn. I owe him one.
Dear Henry,
I miss you. I love you. I want to be your mom again. Your “real mom,” not someone that shufles past and pushes you away when you try to lick kiss me. Since the baby came, I have ignored you, as hard as it is to admit. I have pushed you aside because once again I have felt “overwhelmed” and overcome by life.

At first it really did feel like my heart couldn’t fit you both. I know that is not what a mother is supposed to say, but I think it was more like I was afraid to let it fit. Don’t get me wrong, I have never stopped loving you, but I have been avoiding you, numbing myself to you, because I feel like I can only concentrate (or love) one thing at a time, though I know that isn’t fair. I let myself love my baby, while still loving my husband, my family, my friends…so why can’t I do the same for you?

(I think I might know why. I ‘m afraid I will fail. I will fail at loving you, so instead I just push you aside, ignore you, make myself numb to you, just so I don’t have to feel the feeling of failing to love you. If I pretend you’re not there, then I won’t feel sad when I neglect to show you the attention you deserve. I think I might do that with a lot of things in my life…)

Some days the only two words I muster up for you are “Hey, buddy” as I’m leaving in the morning or coming home in the evening.

But still you sit, patiently, waiting for me to really show my love for you again. You are such a good boy.

Sometimes when I feel guilty I give you a bone or a treat and hope you feel the love.

(Don’t I know by now that the ones we love don’t want toys, or treats, or things? They want us. Plain and simple.)

But no matter how much I ignore you, you still come back. You never cease to love me. You will be there with a tail thump, or a wet kiss, or a paw whenever I need you.

And you have no idea how comforting that is.

I promise to make a better effort to show you my love, like I used to.

I want to be more conscious of all the things worth loving in my life.

Sometimes I feel like I can’t find the greatest balance between motherhood, marriage, working and a social life, but if I think of it differently, maybe I can.

Instead of trying to balance being a mom, a wife, a teacher, and a friend…

…I am trying to balance LOVE.

Plain and simple.

And I should never keep myself from loving again for fear of failing.

I know my heart can handle it.

Thank you, Henry, for reminding me that yes, I can let myself love you.

And just like my family, my baby, my husband, my God–even if I mess up, you will still be there.

You are worth loving.


(stay tuned for a reply)

My Praise Song in November 1

I wrote this poem a few Thanksgivings ago after reading “Praise Song” by Barbara Crooker.

“…praise our crazy/fallen world; it’s all we have, and it’s never enough.”

-Barbara Crooker
Praise the husband who is my home

Who says I’m amazing, when I think I’m awful
Who is my best friend, my sanity, my safe haven
Who is meant to complete me

He is enough

Praise the sister whose compassionate heart longs to help someone, despite her own pain
Who makes me want more
Whose innocence burns into us
Whose soul is magnetic

She is enough

Praise the brother whose presence carries us unknowingly
Who calms the thunder around him
Who is quiet yet reverent
Whose blood is my blood

He is enough

Praise the little girl who uncovered beauty and hope in our lives
Who amazes us with her youth, her grace
Whose pureness overflows and ties a knot in our hearts
Who has wings that we do not see

She is enough

Praise the father who has offered everything to be our backbone
Who gives us his word when he can’t give us the world
Who protects his family, encircling them with his heavy hold
Whose childlike spirit can’t be hidden by rough hands or tired eyes

He is enough

Praise the mother who calls her children “her one and only masterpiece”
Who bears my burden
Whose talent will be known
Whose strength is still needed

She is enough

Praise the moment that we realize
This is all that we have and
It is all enough.