My Thoughts · poetry

Hyphenated Me

Lin and I enjoying our lives together!

Two last names
            One since birth
            One since 2011
 
Horner-Miller
            Is it a dash?
            Is it a hyphen?
            A space between me
                       
That woman
            Who needed
            Who wanted
                        BOTH!
 
I may be small
in stature
but I need a big name
          to contain me.


Every time I write my name
          I embrace its length
                      And celebrate.
 
I live in that space between
          A spectrum
          Or
          A continuum
 
Horner is my heritage.
          Rancher stock
Adventurers
          Who chose the plains
                      Of Colorado and New Mexico
                                  To heal their
                                              Son’s tuberculosis
          Who chose something
                      Different than            
                                  Tulsa, Oklahoma
                                              And family close
          Who chose the ranching life
                      A radical difference
                                  Than their
                                              Oklahoma life
 
 
Miller is my choice.
          My dear husband
                      Whose name covers me
                                  With his love and shelter
                      Whose name aligns my
                                  Scattered parts together
                      Whose name sounds
                                  Like life to my aching heart
 
A marriage at 59 years old
          The one to my soulmate
                      Friends before the vows
 
Today I live between
          Horner
                      And     
                                  Miller.
 
A large name for
          A large life
 
I didn’t plan
          When I hyphenated!
Three other marriages
          Taught me to hold
                      Onto me!
I just knew it was right
 
The space between
          The link between
                      Two worlds
Horner
          Ranch
                      Country Girl
Miller
          New Mexican
                      Writer
 
I’m complete!
          Hyphenated!
 
 
 
 


Copyright©2019 Larada Horner-Miller – www.laradasbooks.com
family · Grief · Life Lessons · Memoirs · Mom · My Thoughts · poetry

Does Your Heart Break on Mother’s Day?

Here it is six years after my Mom’s death and Mother’s Day smacks me in the face with fresh grief—I miss buying Mom a card and flowers and calling her up. I miss her infectious laughter and her practical jokes. The pain never goes away.

Many people face grief on this celebratory day—the graphic above shows those affected most. For many years before Mom died, I dreaded this day. Why? Because I am not a mother, and that hole in my heart pulsated to an overwhelming size on this annual day of remembrance.

I remember going to church one Mother’s Day many years ago (not to my present church for sure), and they had all the mothers present stand and gave them a flower. Again, I stifled tears being reminded of my lack.

Today my church gave every woman present a chrysanthemum and said a prayer for “Mothers, Potential Mothers, and Women Who ‘Mother’ in Any Way.” Today I stood, satisfied for sure.

Yes, I have mothered many people’s children. I was a middle school teacher for twenty years. My brother and his wife knew my deep longing for a child—I had a miscarriage about the time they got pregnant with the first of their three children. They share their children with me in a deep meaningful way, and I am close to them and their children.

After the miscarriage, my first husband and I sought help from a fertility specialist in Denver, Colorado—the famous Dr. Bradley who pioneered a natural child method. We started with fertility tests with my husband and went no further because he had aspermia, a disease of weak sperm.

So we thought about artificial insemination. The thought thrilled me because finally I could get pregnant, but my husband didn’t agree. So we planned to adopt a child and were within six months of getting our baby. I had knitted booties, baby blankets and put together a nursery. We went through Lutheran Social Services in Denver, Colorado, and they did the work-up on the couple a few months before placement instead of at the beginning. They felt if a couple lasted the four year wait; they were a sure bet. We had waited our four years to get our baby, but as the great day drew near, the tension in our marriage increased and he walked out. I later found out he had unsavory skeletons in his closet, and I was heartbroken in my double losses!

My mother especially grieved with me over the loss of a child—I had been raised to get married, live happily ever after and have 2.4 children. The Horner’s celebrated children and grandchildren. After my divorce, Mom talked about artificial insemination—she even offered to help me pay the hefty price of $10,000 for it! (Remember, this was in the early 1980s.)

The battle raged inside me—I could finally have the baby I always wanted, but I labored over the fact of being a single Mom. In the end, I chose not to do it which looking back; I realized was a wise decision for me.

The next few years I drank away, numbing my broken heart and acting out! God’s mercy won in the choice I made. I would have injured a child with my crazy lifestyle at that time.

The years have healed that profound ache, and I am satisfied with my childless life today, but I will always be indebted to my Mom and her undying support of the need she knew I had!

Here are two poems I wrote in 1996 and 2005 while I was still lamenting the lack of a child in my life:

Childless – 1996

The pain of being without a child!  Eternally alone!
No child has burst forth from my womb
nor sucked at my breast.
Barren cavity deep inside waiting to be filled with life.
Waiting, waiting, waiting!

I have no child to pass my stories on to, my history, our history,
how Grandad created our ranch,
how special Branson Christmas trees are
because we cut them down from our ranch, our land,
how to do the Jessie polka and waltz,
how I was almost named Jessie.

My name, Larada, that should pass on to my granddaughter,
like my grandmother passed it on to me, 
every other generation for 7 generations.

Cheated, robbed, failed!

Not woman, not mom, nothing!  Does a child define woman? 
Does the lack of them define me?

Names and faces dance in circles in my mind
Lael Marie
Patrick Lawrence
Curly blond hair, blue inquisitive eyes.
Bright red hair, changeable hazel eyes.
A mixture of him and me.

I have no daughter that has my smile nor a son with my Dad’s red hair.
No one to call me, “Mommy.”

The empty cavity waiting to be filled has grown larger
no longer just my womb,
but now my whole being,
my every thought,
ME!

Aching, lonely, pulsating to the beat of life
missing what never was!

****************

Childless at 51 – 2005

I am childless
51
single!
Reality hit yesterday as life in
My 50’s sheds light on my life’s fact.

Who will carry on the stories I have –
A lifetime full of
Traditions?

Who will recall that
Grandma Horner demanded
I have a set of sheets
With yellow roses?
Her mark of innocence for me, her namesake.

Who will name their child Larada?
Will that meaningful name
Die with me?

Who will remember that Dad
Called me Shorty?
Who will share my travel escapades?
My love for the Mayas!

Who will know the story behind
Each Christmas decoration
Hanging on my tree?

Who will understand the
Spiritual voyage I took
By looking through my
Personal library of life?
Will you be able to stitch together
The words that formed the
Frame that I draped
My life over?

That gave me closure to
The search through
The pages, the beliefs,
The heart-wrenching self
That examined herself
Through various beliefs
and concepts.

Who will look at all
My belongings
And be able to define
The complex mystery
Of Larada?
No one, but me!


Are you sad this Mother’s Day? If so, tell me your pain so I can share it and lessen your burden.


Check out my web site at https://www.laradasbooks.com

MOTHER’S DAY SPECIAL UNTIL MAY 14, 2019: 25% off of A Time to Grow Up: A Daughter’s Grief Memoir—digital & paper copies. Visit my Etsy Shop, Larada‘s Reading Loft, to purchase my books.

Would you like to join the Marshall Flippo Fan Club Facebook page? Interesting posts about Flippo’s life. https://www.facebook.com/groups/328325644382769/

Do you want to pre-order the Marshall Flippo biography? Go here to order the version you want. Monthly SWAG Giveaways! https://goo.gl/forms/4D4hwbHdme1fvJc42

Holidays · My Thoughts · poetry

How Can You Make This Valentine’s Day Special?

For years when I was single, Valentine’s Day was the worst day of the year, magnifying the fact I had no one to share this romantic holiday with—I felt ugly, lonely and alone. I avoided any semblance of celebration of the day, but my Mom always sent me a card and tried to make it special.

Who was Saint Valentine’s anyway? Why all the hoopla?

Officially recognized by the Roman Catholic Church, St. Valentine is known to be a real person who died around A.D. 270. However, his true identity was questioned as early as A.D. 496 by Pope Gelasius I, who referred to the martyr and his acts as “being known only to God.” One account from the 1400s describes Valentine as a temple priest who was beheaded near Rome by the emperor Claudius II for helping Christian couples wed. A different account claims Valentine was the Bishop of Terni, also martyred by Claudius II on the outskirts of Rome. Because of the similarities of these accounts, it’s thought they may refer to the same person. Enough confusion surrounds the true identity of St. Valentine that the Catholic Church discontinued liturgical veneration of him in 1969, though his name remains on its list of officially recognized saints.


https://www.history.com/news/6-surprising-facts-about-st-valentine

Who helped create this popular holiday?

The medieval English poet Geoffrey Chaucer often took liberties with history, placing his poetic characters into fictitious historical contexts that he represented as real. No record exists of romantic celebrations on Valentine’s Day prior to a poem Chaucer wrote around 1375. In his work “Parliament of Foules,” he links a tradition of courtly love with the celebration of St. Valentine’s feast day–an association that didn’t exist until after his poem received widespread attention. The poem refers to February 14 as the day birds (and humans) come together to find a mate. When Chaucer wrote, “For this was sent on Seynt Valentyne’s day / Whan every foul cometh ther to choose his mate,” he may have invented the holiday we know today.


https://www.history.com/news/6-surprising-facts-about-st-valentine

Since I have been married to Lin, we have had some fantastic Valentine’s. Tonight, I wrote him a poem, and I did it because I heard Jenna Bush Hager on the Today show this week talk about writing a love letter to your spouse this Valentine’s Day.

Here’s her story about the love letter she wrote to her husband this year. https://www.today.com/news/jenna-bush-hager-shares-touching-love-letter-husband-henry-t148549

I know it’s late—I was traveling today and have been thinking about this for a couple days. You can still do it! So, do it later tonight or tomorrow—write a letter, a poem, a song. Take a chance and in writing, share your heart with your someone special. There’s no better gift in the world than word from the heart.

Let me know what you think about this: have you ever written a poem for your spouse or significant other? If so, how did it go?

Check out my web site at https://www.laradasbooks.com

50% Discount of A Time to Grow Up: A Daughter’s Grief Memoir–both paperback and e-book versions–at my Etsy Shop, Larada’s Reading Loft.

family · Grief · My Thoughts · poetry

How Do You Mourn the Loss of A Loved One?

Program

Grief is a topic that many people turn their backs on–I challenge you to answer the question because I will!

My Aunt Willie Urbanoski died on Friday, October 12, 2018, and because of family circumstances, we didn’t have her memorial service until yesterday, November 10. We did have a private family burial on Thursday, October 18, 2018.

Yesterday, the service was full of stories, pictures, laughter and tears–a real celebration of a woman who lived to be 98 years old–almost 99 because her birthday was Wednesday, November 7.

A second cousin stationed in England couldn’t attend to service, so her sisters did a live feed to her, so she and her husband could attend virtually–a 21st century way to handle loss.

How do YOU mourn the dead? For family? For friends? We all do it differently. My Mom’s sage advice: do it your way. I have a strong need to attend the memorial, view the body and get closure to the relationship. My best friend, Candy, died in 2012, and I was sick and couldn’t attend her service, and I have regretted it for years–no closure for me.

I wrote my aunt a poem for Christmas, 2012, and a week after my Mom died in March, 2013, Aunt Willie asked me if I would read that poem at her funeral. I said I would, but I’d cry all the way through it. She said she didn’t care because she wouldn’t be there!

So yesterday, I mustered my strength and read it–I got almost to the end before the tears came. Here’s the poem–I hope you enjoy it!

La's Poem & John
Presenting My Poem–Some Humor for Sure

My Aunt Wee Wee

By: Larada Horner-Miller

December 25, 2012

Revised: November 9, 2018

You will always be Aunt Wee Wee!

As a child, Bub couldn’t pronounce “Aunt Willie,” so it came out

“Aunt Wee Wee,” and it stuck.

As I look back through my life,

You have always been there,

Aunt Wee Wee!

When I became an Aunt,

I followed your lead!

I wanted to touch my

nieces and nephews’ lives

the way you touched mine!

I have valued all the wonderful times

we spent together over the years.

You grace so many

of my memories!

As a toddler

I can remember

when I looked into your eyes, I saw a playful sparkle

saying,

“Yeah, Larada,

I love you!”

In my childhood,

at Branson dances,

I remember watching

you and Uncle Hughie dance,

and the fun you had.

I remember 4th of July picnics and fireworks

Bub and I couldn’t wait until you arrived with Black Cats!

You came all the way from Albuquerque!

As a family, we went to Albuquerque.

You shared your beautifully decorated cakes.

We went on shopping sprees to the mall.

Delicious Thanksgiving dinners shared!

Our fishing trips

Our time together at Springer lake

You sat religiously by the lake, pole in hand.

While Uncle Hughie and I set up our poles

and roamed!

My week stay with you in Albuquerque-

A visit to Old Town

The Tram and dinner on the top! I felt like a princess!

As a young adult

You attended all of my major life events:

My 8th grade graduation

Princess at the TSJC tournament

My high school graduation

My TSJC graduation

We’ve continued that

precious relationship into my adulthood.

My weddings

You attended my first 2 weddings.

No one attended the third.

Lin and I knew you were with us in spirit at ours.

As our second anniversary approached, Aunt Willie repeated often,

WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO?

Yes, Lin and I celebrated our second anniversary

with you in Pueblo— pictures, cake, laughter and love abounded.

I had several special visits while you

were in Logan, UT and now in Pueblo.

Some people I’ve known for a short time

and they only know me one dimensionally.

You have known me forever, and you know the many

sides of me.

You smile, and

you make me smile.

You know all about me,

and you make me feel good

about being me.

You love to laugh and enjoy life.

Often you catch me by surprise

with your witty humor, and we share a belly laugh.

In that laughter

I am no longer 59; You are no longer 93.

We are young again, frolicking on the floor.

My Aunt Wee Wee!

That’s the power you have always had–to make me smile

To make me laugh and

To make me feel good about myself!

What a gift!

I haven’t called you

“Aunt Wee Wee” for years,

but you always will be — my Aunt Wee Wee!

Copyright © 2018 Larada Horner-Miller


How do you mourn the loss of a family member? A friend? I’d love to see your comments. Remember–there’s no right or wrong way to do it!

Visit my web site:  https://www.laradasbooks.com

Visit my Etsy Shop for holiday specials: Larada’s Reading Loft

My Thoughts · poetry

Why We Square Dance–Why I Dance!

Here’s my poem explaining why I dance – hope you enjoy it!

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It’s a Friday night

Or

A Saturday night

A dance night!

The week lasted for eons

grueling

I had my work face on for five days

and I kept going.

I finished this week

Exhausted!

My family needs drained me

I am welted

and

am ready to dissolve into bed!

But it’s my dance night.

I breathe deeply,

and I know!

I select my square dance outfit.

What do I feel like tonight?

Red or turquoise

Southwest design or frilly lace?

The familiarity of my weekly routine

takes over

Systematically I put on my outfit

and

as each layer goes on,

my perspective and energy level changes!

First my hose

With a deep breath, I release part of my stress

Then my pettipants

Oh my, it’s going—another deep breath

Then my top and skirt

My goodness—a glimmer of hope

Then my belt

A smile slowly crosses my lips

Next my matching petticoat and shoes

Yes, I sigh with relief

Finally, my club badge

To identify who I am—

A square dancer!

A spray to finish my hair

a touch of lipgloss

A final look in the mirror

A pirouette and a spin

crinoline flowing

I am complete!

My exhaustion replaced with anticipation!

The drive to the dance hall

becomes a time tunnel

a vacuum

a timeless space

void of the demands of this world

stress free

relaxing

Either soft music in the background

Or

a compatible silence

Or

a casual conversation

A bridge between the world out there

With its demands

And the dance world

With its pleasures!

Friends greet me as I enter the dance hall—my dance family

The music starts

I step onto the dance floor

and I am free!

The carefree child within me

spins round and around

claps her hands

and

Shouts for joy!

I am free!

The tip starts,

and I am safe

to spend two hours

In sheer joy and ecstasy!

I drop the world’s cares and concerns,

at the door,

kicking them out of view!

So if you have problems in your world, join me

and

leave them at the door!

If you are angry or sad

The magic begins

when you show up

and

dress up!

The music starts

and

I step onto the dance floor!

And then the real magic takes over!

Cares melt down my shoulders

and flitter away on a breath

giving a lightness to my step

Sorrows cluster together

and ride away on an angel’s wings.

Music playing

surrounded by dear friends

I step onto the dance floor

It is a safe place

And

I am free!

That’s why I dance!

Slogo red 75


Do you need a release from the stress and strain of the week? Have you ever tried square dancing? It’s available across the USA and the world! Try square dancing!

Duke City Singles and Doubles Square Dance Club – Lessons start Thursday, September 20, 2018.

Check out Larada’s web site

50% off on Labor Day Sales at Larada’s Etsy Shop: Larada’s Reading Loft

My Thoughts · poetry

Can You Be More Than a Poet?

I love writing poetry–it’s the expression of my heart and soul, but I write prose also. So can you be more than a poet? A writer? A wordsmith? An Author?

I’m all of those and more! Are you?

Here’s my most recent poem–enjoy!


art artistic blank page book
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

The View Down and The View Up

Larada Horner-Miller

The view down is different today!

At exercise class
sitting on my mat cross-legged, I looked down at my belly.

Recently, I lost fifteen pounds;
the bulge of my tummy has shrunk!
I love the loss!
My tummy doesn’t stick out like before.
The shrinkage is good!

Having just turned sixty-five.
I see my body changing,
delightful yet sad!

Arthritis cripples several fingers
and my thumbs.
Once I had straight lovely fingers,
hands I loved to view.
Now I see my mom’s and grandma’s hands
crooked and achy,
where mine used to be.
I still wear beautiful turquoise rings;
pain screams through the beauty.

My right knee hints of hurting today.
I have a brace I keep handy
just in case.
Arthritis too!

As I age,
the worst part so far–
I pee my pants
when I cough
when I sneeze
when I laugh too hard.
Thankfully, pads ended years ago
when my period stopped.
I celebrated.
Now I have returned to pads
for protection
for safety
for security.
I fear an inexplicable puddle.
Will Depends be in my future?

Dance
exercise
Zumba
movement
massage
keep my body nimble, limber and moving.

Writing
reading
meaty conversations
laughter
friends
responsibilities
keep my mind nimble, flexible and alive.

Facing this next phase of life,
I wonder?

I want to meet and greet
the elderly Larada.
I want to accept her limits,
to challenge her mindset,
to embrace her idiosyncrasies.

I don’t see me as a feeble ole lady
wearing nylons rolled up to my knees
wobbling unsure.
I will continue to wear hot pink and leggings
wobbling with style and grace.

I want to redefine being
a Senior Citizen.
I have “Hot Tamale” red spiked hair
instead of gray.
I saw the gray and white coming
and opted to hold onto my youth.
And besides,
I’m a red head at heart,
because of my red headed father.IMG_2678

I’m young at heart.
I’m trim today
because I have to be.
Echoes of family genetics
keep me steadfast.
My maternal grandmother and her sisters
overweight German stock.

I have a life partner
that shares my attitudes.
We travel and enjoy life.
We laugh. We talk. We dance.
We start many days with a rousing Cribbage game.
He’s older than me
and
I watch his wise ways
of handling these changes.

I have dear friends and family who encourage me
to be the authentic Larada God created me to be.

The future is bright.
The day is calm.
Serenity overflows.

I like all of me
the helpless baby I was
the energetic five-year-old
the obnoxious thirteen-year-old
the sixty-five-year-old crone
I honor each one and their influence on me today.

Yes, years bring wisdom
patience
acceptance
a strong knowing

I’m ready
for God’s next phase
a new uncharted adventure

The view up at this glorious world graces my day.
A verdant green forest of pinon pine
A luscious purple mesa lit up at sunset
Cholla cactus in full fuchsia bloom
My fifteen-year-old Siamese cat who struggles
with feline diabetes yet meows his love to me

IMG_6083
Summer newness exploding in our garden
with anticipation
and joy


The view down
into my soul
I like what I see!
The view up
out of my world
reaches to the clouds and back.

I’m ready!


I would love to hear your thoughts about aging–is 65 the new 45?

For more of my writing, visit my web site: https://www.laradasbooks.com

Or go to my Etsy Shop for End of Summer Specials: Larada’s Reading Loft

Grief · poetry

New Book Coming Out This Year

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I Grew Up To Be The Woman I Always Wanted to Be is my grief memoir, a collection of poetry and prose, about the loss of my Dad 21 years ago and my Mom 4 years ago. The majority of the book deals with Mom’s death and my process afterwards.

Here’s the poem the book is named after.

i-grew-up-to-be-the-woman-poem

Have you lost both parents? Do you feel like an adult orphan? Fill out the poll below and we will see the results–also leave me a comment about this topic.