Baby boomer · Memories · My Thoughts · poetry

Why Write Poetry? It’s How I Relate!

Why write poetry?

Why write poetry? During the pandemic, I wrote lots of poetry and included many in my latest book, Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better? about how I processed the pandemic. But during that time, I wrote other poetry on other topics. That’s how I relate to life. Here’s a couple poems spanning a screen door and do you really know me:

Screen door

The Slam of a Screen Door

July 16, 2020

Slam

            A screen door

                        Not today’s version

                                    But a relic from the 50s and 60s.

It bounced a couple times

            When shut

                        No latch to hold it

                                    Tight

                        Pesky mosquitoes, flies and other

                                    Bothersome pests

                                                Escaped inside.

Sharp, resonating sound!

Not as protective

            As the 21st century!

But the slam

            The sound

                        Echoes through

                                    My childhood!

Running outdoors

            Giggling

                        Afire with life

                                    My brother chasing me

                                                With a water gun

Summer’s sound

            Of freedom

Slam!

            Close with a bang!

Mom’s repeated shout,

            “Don’t slam the door!”

            Never heeded!

We didn’t do it in anger

            Only in haste

                        In urgency

                                    To get outside

                                    To start the adventure

Slam

            Too active

                        And driven

                                    To catch it!

Focused

            On other priorities

                        Other possibilities     

                                    Outside.

A hike to Brown Springs

            To discovery

A bicycle ride

            To freedom

A secluded time in our treehouse

            To dream.

Slam

            Close noisily

A new day

            A new adventure

A door opened to the world

            And

                        Possibility!

Let’s Go!


Why write poetry?

You May Think You Know Me, But . . .

August 9, 2020

As I ponder a topic

            Old yet new

I marvel at the thought:

            Daily Honesty!

Honesty

            Truthfulness

            Sincerity

            Frankness

            Freedom from deceit or fraud

To be honest

            Is to be vulnerable

                        To risk exposure

                                    To lay bare my insides to you.

Are you safe?

            Can I trust you?

At this moment,

            I feel compelled

                        To do so.

I’m a country girl

            You know.

I grew up embarrassed

            And ashamed!

Not sophisticated,

            Like the ladies on TV

            Like the ladies in town.

I’m religious

            A Christian to the core

                        But unorthodox!

I’ve dabbled in

            Native American

                        Savored the peaceful sweat lodge ceremony

            Buddhist beliefs

                        Became a silent observer

                                    Valuing the art of listening

            Jewish wisdom

                        Honored the roots of Christianity.

I’ve divorced three times.

            One heartbroken

                        But necessary for my sanity

            One victorious

                        Because I stood up

            One heartbroken

                        But a major turning point.

I’m a political

            Independent for years

                        Raised Republican

                                    But moved on,

                                                Caused by disillusionment

                                                            With both parties.

I hate arguing politics.

            Remember many hurtful conversations

                        With my dad.

                                    We didn’t change each other

                                                In the process

Just bitter memories!

Saying that,

            I’m a liberal!

That’s not a dirty word.

                        Dictionary says, “tolerant, unprejudiced, unbigoted, broad-minded, open-minded, enlightened; permissive, free, free and easy, easygoing.”

                        I can live with those!

I yearn for equality

                        For all!

I’m a talker

            Love sharing my thoughts

            Love heart-to-heart conversations

                        On spiritually real topics,

                                    Not head stuff.

I hate gossip,

            Yet I get sucked in!

I love people

            All colors

                        Shapes

                                    And sizes!

            Young and old

So much to learn!

My heart has been broken!

            I’ve faced despair

                        Depression

                        Suicidal thoughts

                        Alcoholism

                        Promiscuity

                        Incest,

                                    Yet survived.

Recovery gave me my life back!

I was an English major

            I have book shelves lined with

                        Shakespeare’s plays and sonnets

                        Hemingway’s short stories

                        T. S. Eliot’s poetry

                        Hillerman’s southwest novels.

I’m a poet

            At heart.

                        Words inspire me to life

                        Words create images

                        Poetry gathers words and motion

                                    And creates life.

I’m a writer

            The voice of the plains

                                    Of my heart

                                                And

                                                            Marshall Flippo.

I’m a dancer

            When the music starts

                        It sets me free!

                                    The movement

                                    The rhythm

                                    The connection to the universe!

I’m a computer geek!

            The magic of technology

                        Captivates me

                                    And I want to create!

I’m fragile

            Sensitive

I’m strong

            Resilient

I’m the baby of five.

            My daddy’s little girl

            My mom’s “baby girl!”

Adored by my parents!

I’ve feared obesity

            My whole life

I watched my mom struggle

            And her mom

                        And many of the women

                                    On that side of the family.

I make friends

            I keep friends!

I’m a paradox.

            So, my honesty jumps

                        From here to

                                    There.

I’m an expansive spirit

            Today a soul on fire

                        A God-driven energy

                                    And

                                                A sleeping cat,

                                                            All rolled up into one!

That’s me!


Finally,

why do I write poetry? I love expressing what I feel in words, lines and imagery! A slamming screen door, honesty and looking at me. Poetry opens the door to all possibilities—I can write about whatever! That’s delicious!

What do you think of poetry? Do you write poetry? If so do you share it? Let me know!


~If you missed my post from the two weeks with an Easter flair:

~Celebrate spring with 20% off select book bundles at my Etsy Shop, Larada’s Reading Loft until April 30!

~NEW PODCAST to be released Thursday, March 17, 2022, discussing my new book, Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better? : Live on Purpose Podcast at https://liveonpurposeradio.com/category/podcast/

~MY FIRST AUDIOBOOK IS AVAILABLE: Go to Audible to buy my first audiobook, Let Me Tell You a Story

~Do you listen to podcasts? Here are three podcasts with interviews about my new book & some Flippo stories:

Just Another Square Dance Caller: Authorized Biography of Marshall Flippo

~Buy a copy of Flippo’s biography on my website: https://www.laradasbooks.com or at Amazon.

~Here’s a variety of Christmas greetings from Flippo & Neeca, featuring his song, “When It’s Christmas Time in Texas”: https://youtu.be/mpJCUGffU3A

Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better? mem

~Are you on a spiritual path? Do you want to heal from the horrible effects of the pandemic of 2020? Visit my website to find out about my new book, Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better? and my other five books and three cookbooks: https://laradasbooks.com

My Thoughts · poetry · Ukrainian War

Two Bags: That’s All She Took!

Immigration: two bags

Two bags of belongings are all a 68-year-old Ukrainian woman refugee took with her. I can’t imagine compressing all my earthly possessions into two bags. She is 68; so am I! I sobbed when I heard her interviewed. I’ve looked for this story on different new sources, but because of the explosion of Ukrainian immigrant stories, I couldn’t find it.

I have mused over this story for a week and ached for this woman. In her translation, she said, “It’s not about things. I’m 68 years old and this is all I have.”

You know me! So, this compelled me to write a poem which is all conjecture:

Two Bags—How Can I Choose?

Woman - Two Bags

For months, I’ve worried

A war

            A rumor of a war,

                        Then it happened.

The bombing

            In the distant east

                        Louder

                                    And

                                                Louder

What do I do?

I have lived a simple life

            For 68 years

                        Near Kovel, in a small Ukrainian village,

                                    Near the Polish border.

I have no family left here,

            Am childless.

My husband died two years ago.

My neighbors have taken care of me, a widow—

            Loving people,

                        Who bought our farm.

Yesterday, they came by with

            A heartfelt, life-changing offer.

                        Join us.

                        Let’s leave

                                    To Lublin, Poland.

As they spoke, I wept.

            My sister lives in Lublin.

                        Safety

                                    Security

                                                Shelter from what’s coming!

            My neighbors have relatives

                        There too!

A 169 kilometers car trip,

            2 hours and 40 minutes to escape.

The plan seems extreme—

            Leave by 2:00 AM

                        In the dark

                        Quietly

                                    Pushing the car down the lane

                                                Out of town

                                                            Not to wake anyone.  

We wonder about the possibility of

Russian sympathizers in the village,

            Caution for sure!

But I’m Ukrainian!

            Lived here my whole life.

Deep in my heart, I know I have to go,

As I look around our lovely home,

            Full of memories

                        Treasures

                        My husband

                                    And our life together.

Two bags

            That’s all I can take.

My neighbors have a car

            With limited space.

First, I packed bag number one.

 I grab the essentials

  • Toothbrush & paste
  • Deodorant
  • Hair brush
  • Soap

Next, my clothes

  • Underwear
  • Bras
  • Socks—five changes of each
  • Pants
  • Sweaters
  • Extra shoes

I cram extras into my clothes bag

  • Those minor items I have to have

Second, I packed my bag number two,

  • Jewelry
  • Cash
  • Financial papers
  • Passport
  • Bible
  • A small lap afghan I knitted

Third, in the space left in my second bag

My heart things

                        Our framed wedding picture

                        Mom’s secret pen

                                    From World War II

                                                When she was displaced like me.

As I look at her pen,

            I sob uncontrollably.

Why again?

            Why this horror?

I’m a simple woman

            Hurt no one

            Lived a simple Christian life

            Close to the land

            Helped my husband daily

            Good life

As I look around my home,

            One last time

I want to capture it all

            In my mind

                        Bring it all with me.

Will I be back—ever?

            Can this little house stand the bombing?

                        My heart breaks open at that thought.

To be prepared,

            I dress

                        In layers to protect myself

                                    Against the cold—

                                                Normally doesn’t get much above freezing

                                                            During the day,

                                                Then night time dives to down to 20 degrees.

            I must dress warm

                        Because I have no idea

                                    What’s ahead.

                        So layers,

                                    As many as I can handle.

Watching the clock fully dressed,

            Solemnly, I eat a hearty meal at midnight.

                        When will I eat again?

                                    I sneak some snacks

                                                In both bags

                                                            Just in case.

At 1:00 AM precisely, the soft knock on the door

            Tells me it is time.

As I grab my two bags,

            I shift the weight

                        To disperse the weight of my bags over my achy shoulders.

After one last glance,

            I shut the door and lock it,

                        Placing the key inside my purse

                                    As always.

With a set jaw, I walk towards the car

            Overflowing with my neighbor

                        And his family.

Walking with my back to my home, I choke back a sob.

            Such loving people.

To silently leave the village,

            It takes all of us

                        Pushing

                                    Shouldering

                                               Bearing down on

                                                            The car.

Safely out of town,

            My neighbor starts the car.

                        We jump in

                                    And head west

                                                Towards Lublin—

                                                            Safety,

                                                            And the unknown.

And me,

            Here I am with two bags!


Two Bags—What Would I Choose?

As I write this, I looked around my house at 68 years old. How would I choose? I’ve pondered this blog post all week and thought about what I would take if I had the two bag limit. Obviously, Lin would be with me!

This is what I decided on:

  • Jesse
    • Food
    • Insulin
  • Bible
  • Laptop
  • iPad
  • iPhone
  • Cables for technology
  • Mom’s genealogy notebook
  • Cash
  • Credit Cards
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Deodorant
  • Soap
  • Hair brush & comb
  • Clothes
    • Underwear
    • Bras
    • Socks
    • Extra pair of shoes
    • Changes of clothes
  • Priceless jewelry

How would I carry Jesse? I’m seeing my two bags have just grown.

As I scanned even just one room, what else? I’d sift through my belongings and despair like my Ukrainian counterpart over what I had to leave. What about Dad’s saddle and chaps? All of my beautiful square dance outfits?

How heart-wrenching! Millions of immigrants have left Ukraine, flooding Poland especially and all the other border countries. Displaced describes what has happened to them—forced to leave their homes!

Finally,

I get it that this is happening thousands of miles away from me, but when I heard that 68-year-old woman interviewed, I sobbed! Two bags—how do you fit 68 years of life in two bags?

What would you take if you faced the situation of having to compress your worldly good to two bags?

Pray for Ukraine - two bags

~NEW PODCAST to be released Thursday, March 17, 2022, discussing my new book, Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better? : Live on Purpose Podcast at https://liveonpurposeradio.com/category/podcast/

~MY FIRST AUDIOBOOK IS AVAILABLE: Go to Audible to buy my first audiobook, Let Me Tell You a Story

~Do you listen to podcasts? Here are three podcasts with interviews about my new book & some Flippo stories:

~Buy a copy of Flippo’s biography on my website: https://www.laradasbooks.com or at Amazon.

~Here’s a variety of Christmas greetings from Flippo & Neeca, featuring his song, “When It’s Christmas Time in Texas”: https://youtu.be/mpJCUGffU3A

Coronarvirus Reflections: Bitter or Better? meme

~Are you on a spiritual path? Do you want to heal from the horrible effects of the pandemic of 2020? Visit my website to find out about my new book, Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better? and my other five books and three cookbooks: https://laradasbooks.com

Age · My Thoughts · poetry

What Crept Up on Me?

Age crept up on me!

Baby boomer with a purpose: my new motto! So, each month I will feature something to do with being a baby boomer. Let’s look at how age crept up on me during the pandemic.

So who are the baby boomers?

Baby boomers (often shortened to boomers) are the demographic cohort following the Silent Generation and preceding Generation X. The generation is often defined as people born from 1946 to 1964, during the post–World War II baby boom.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baby_boomers

So, where do you fit in the generations? Here’s a chart with the age of the person as of 2022:

As a younger adult, I thought by the time I was sixty+ I would have figured it all out. I also felt life move at a nice cadence for most of my adult life; however, the adage, “Time speeds up the older you got,” has become a reality! Did the pandemic and its hyper focus on the tragedy we experienced speed time up?

During the height of the coronavirus pandemic, I wrote this poem, and I didn’t include it in my new book, Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better?

Age Crept Up on Me!

Age Crept Up on Me

August 12, 2020

Only yesterday, I was 16

            It seems

You may laugh

            My age shows

                        In wrinkles

                        Years lived

                        Dyed red hair to hide the grey

                                    With white

                                                Escaping near my eyes.

Something happened!

            An acceleration

                        Of time

                                    minutes

                                                years

                                                            Recently!

Is it a side effect of the coronavirus?

            Too much time on my hands?

                        Pondering my existence

                                    In uncertain times?

I remember 18

            High school graduation

                        Four in my graduating class

                                    Started kindergarten together

            Trinidad State Junior College

                        Fifty miles from home

            Anxious about my future

                        And how my dreams

                                    Would play out.

I remember 20

            Newly married

                        With life and dreams

                                    Spread out before me.

                                                Hopeful and positive

I remember 30

            Divorced and devastated

            At the university        

                        And

                                    Starting over

                                                With dreams of being a teacher.

I remember 40

            In sexual trauma treatment

                        For incest

                                    Uncovering and recovering from

                                                Childhood pain

                                                            And dashed dreams.

I remember 50

            Celebrated at

                        The National Square Dance Convention

                                    In Oklahoma City

            Serenaded at our After Party by

                        Jerry Junck

                                    Mike Hogan

                                                Lanny Weaklend

            Still dreaming

                        About possibilities.

I remember 60

            Mom had just died

                        A feeble celebration in Branson

                                    With Bub, Lin and Jackie.

            My dreams diminished by the pain

                                                            The loss.

Yes, you see

            I’m not 16

                        But 67!

I look in the mirror

            And recently

                        Somehow

                                    Age crept up on me.

In that mirror

            I see years

                        Life

                                    Experiences.

I received no warning,

            No alarm.

                        I see an older woman,

                                    A matured lady,

                                                A seasoned Larada.

Where did the years go?

            Fast living

                        A rich life

                                    A multitude of adventures

Yes, age crept up!

            Quickly

                        Relentlessly

                                    Quietly

                                                Without warning.

So be aware

            It can and may

                        Happen to you!

Finally,

Will it happen to you? As you walk through your wondrous life, slow down and note those beautiful serendipities God showers on each of us. Another special adage, “Slow down and smell the flowers” could become our new motto as we travel through this day, this month, this year! Make 2022 a marked special year!

What are your thoughts about aging? Where do you fit in the generations—which group? Can you chronicle the highlights of each decade of your life and glory in the wonders of it?

Be sure and leave your comments below so we can talk about this idea.


~MY FIRST AUDIOBOOK IS AVAILABLE: Go to Audible to buy my first audiobook, Let Me Tell You a Story

~Do you listen to podcasts? Here are three podcasts with my interviews about my new book & some Flippo stories:

~Buy a copy of Flippo’s biography on my website: https://www.laradasbooks.com or at Amazon.

~Here’s Christmas greetings from Flippo & Neeca, featuring his song, “When Its Christmas Time in Texas”: https://youtu.be/mpJCUGffU3A

Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better? meme

~Visit my website to find out about my new book, Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better? and my other five books and three cookbooks: https://laradasbooks.com

Blogging · Goals · Gratitude · My Books · My Thoughts · poetry

A Challenge for Thirty Days! Whew!

Man in rapids in a kayak - challenge

The Ultimate Blog Challenge, Day 30, is today and I have mixed feelings about its ending. I finished the challenge of writing a blog post every day in November, missing only one day—the first day because I didn’t know about it. A friend in my writing practice group told me about it long, long ago on November 2. So, I started that day and continued successfully until I had network issues one day and had to publish two blog posts the next day. The challenge also asked us to post links on our Facebook and Twitter pages, adding the hashtag #blogboost on Twitter. The next step: post on The Ultimate Blog Challenge Facebook page. Finally, read, comment and post on Twitter 1 – 2 other blogs in the Challenge.

What did I learn in this challenge?

I truly enjoyed writing a blog post every day. Because I had returned to Natalie Goldberg’s writing practice every day in March 2021, it came easier. I outlined topic themes for the four weeks at the beginning:

  1. Writing help—SWAG, doing successful interviews, how I select my blog topics and the value of writing groups
  2. Back Stories for each of my six books and three cookbooks—there’s always a story behind the story
  3. My poetry—I found a sketchbook/journal with several poems I had forgotten about and shared them
  4. Gratitude list & things I was grateful for—I shared about my recovery, key people from my life and my dear pets
  5. I chose two suggested prompts from the Ultimate Blog Challenge & then wrote about my newest adventure: audiobooks

Being organized at the beginning with this outline made the writing every day easy. I didn’t have to search for topics. Being new to this, I didn’t realize topics were provided every day. Also, I created a blog post page with the social media icons in it for each day to make life easier. Normally in my weekly blog posts, I love to add a couple pictures, but I found a wonderful plugin that reduces the size of the picture tremendously and that helps because I have a horribly slow network, and it made my life much easier.

My big take-away: I relearned how much I love to write and share my voice with the world.

What did I enjoy?

I thoroughly enjoyed my topics, especially my gratitude week. Coincidentally or not, the day I planned to write about my dear friend Kathi Raver Miller was the anniversary of her death. I savored each word.

Also, I took pleasure in reading the wonderful posts by the other participants. I learned so much and saw how others handled the challenge. Every blog post I read entertained, educated or consoled me! You can’t beat that!

What was a hassle?

I do my blog in wordpress.com, and it has so many helpful hints which have made me a better writer. But every day I went through the list of suggestions to tailor that post to have both green light (good) in SEO (Search engine optimization) and Readability. In the past, frequently, I have had problems with the Readability score because I write complex sentences. It suggests writing shorter sentences, so I worked hard this month and ended up with a lot of green lights for Readability—yahooo!

Also, my brother visited us for Thanksgiving, so I worked super hard Wednesday night and did two—for Wednesday and Thanksgiving. So, I all I had to do on the holiday after gorging on our delicious meal and watching nonstop football was clean it up and publish it and then do the required assignments!

Would I do it again?

Again, I have mixed feelings about it. It took a lot of work to do it, but the regularity of writing significant pieces every day rewarded me deeply. Yes, I think I would.

Finally,

do + dooubt - challenge

I never once doubted I would finish the challenge. I’m just that type of person. I love a wonderful challenge and couple that with one of my passions and it’s a win-win situation for sure!

What did you think? Did you like it? What was your favorite blog post of mine?


Visit my website to find out about my new book, Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better? and my other five books and three cookbooks: https://laradasbooks.com

STILL AVAILABLE! Cyber Week Specials at my Etsy Shop, Larada’s Reading Loft, on select books! If you liked my blog posts, you’ll love my books! 40% off of select Individual books, 40% off of select bundles and 50% off of digital copies! These books make the perfect gift for your friends and family.

Age · My Thoughts · poetry

A More Recent Belly Poem

Exercise - belly

My belly seems to be my theme for the last couple of days, but today’s poem reaches beyond my belly to the entire process of aging. I’m 68 today and enjoy my thoughts on life and my belly! Apparently, my belly is a favorite topic of mine!

The View Down and The View Up

July 2018

The view down startles me today!

In 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!

Arthritic hands - belly

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!

Oops! Belly

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,

                        and 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, meaningful 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 woman in me.

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 on to my youth.

And besides,

            I’m a redhead at heart,

                        because of my red-headed father.

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 woman 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

Looking up - belly

The view up at this glorious world graces my day.

            A verdant green forest of piñon 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

Summer newness exploding in our garden

                                                                                                with anticipation

                                                                                                            and joy

The view down

            into my body and soul—

                        I like what I see!

The view up

            out of my world

                        reaches to the clouds and back

to my God.

I’m ready!


Finally,

Three years ago, I wrote this poem. Obviously, the coronavirus pandemic has changed our dance and travel joys, but physically, not much has changed. I celebrate the idea of being a Baby Boomer with a purpose, and I found that here in the Ultimate Blog Challenge. Thank you! And I continue to wonder about this time of my life!

How has your body changed with aging? What are you doing to combat the changes? What are you doing to accept the changes? Share your thoughts below.

Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better? meme

Visit my website to find out about my new book, Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better? and my other five books and three cookbooks: https://laradasbooks.com

family · My Thoughts · poetry

How I View Myself: Another Poem

Woman looking at herself in a mirror -  view myself

How I view myself has always been shaky. Our society deems a beautiful woman to be slender. I really mean skinny! And I have never been skinny. In fact, as a middle school student, one friend called me “Fat Girl” as a nickname! So, you can imagine I was a little chunky then.

Another factor that has affected my view of myself my whole life—all the woman on my mom’s side of the family had weight issues. And as a young woman, I vowed I would never look that way.

Sadly, during one part of my life, I experience anorexic—I had to cut up food into bite-size pieces to get them into my mouth. What a horrible reaction to what had happened in my life! I’m glad to say that ended with professional help.

So, in July 2011, Lin and I spent a month with another couple in Pagosa Springs, Colorado, a beautiful resort town with hot springs. Taking a chance, I bought a two-piece bathing suit for the first time in years. At the same time, I read the book, Women, Food and God, by Geneen Roth.

So, this poem was the result. Enjoy!

Belly with a flower in belt - view oneself

Love My Belly—Are You Crazy?

The book titled, Women, Food, and God, told me

            “Love your belly!”

So, I did!

            I thought!

            Off-and-on for a few months

                        randomly,

But what does that really mean?

            I pondered that thought often

In passing a mirror,

            it still bothered me!

I’m 58.  I’m short!  I’m 5′ 3″.

When I gain 2 pounds,

            it shows up first on my belly!

All of my life,

            I struggle; I diet.

            I lose; I gain.

And the solution is

            to love my belly?

Walking through Walmart

            before the 4th of July,

I saw a two-piece bathing suit.

            Red, white and blue

            stripes and stars!

            Outlandish for a 58-year-old!

I remembered

            a cute young gal,

                        slim and trim

                        at Cuchara, Colorado

                                    last 4th of July

            donned in cut-offs and that bathing suit top!

Could I do it?

            Could I wear it?

            Dare I at 58?

I looked back in time

            trying to remember —

                        squeezing the facts out of the past.

When was my last, I wore a

            Two-piece suit?

Ten years ago, and

            husband #2?

Twenty years ago, and

            husband #1?

Guatemala with Lynn,

            my long-time traveling buddy?

Probably twenty years ago!

So,

            I bought it!

It sat in the Walmart bag

            for a couple of weeks.

No time to wear it!

            cautious, timid, but willing!

Then, on another Walmart excursion, I found

            matching red, white and blue trunks for Lin.

I bought them and

            knew

            my Independence Day was coming!

I gave him his gift

            on my arrival

            to Pagosa Springs, Colorado.

            IMMEDIATELY,

                        before I unpacked,

                        before I chickened out.

I showed him mine —

            a matching set

            outlandish!

His response was positive!

            but I still wasn’t sure!

In a couple of days,

            we were off to the spa.

He put his on

            which surprised me.

I couldn’t back out now!

I put mine on —

            Astonished!

I looked fine!

            I looked OK!

            I felt great!

That two-piece suit

            somehow encouraged me

                        to do

            what I had struggled for months

                        to do.

We’re on vacation;

            I’ve gained a few pounds

I know that—

            I will lose them when I get home!

That’s what makes this

Two-piece bathing suit experience

            that much sweeter!

I’m not at my ideal weight.

I love my belly

            exactly as it is today!

Looking at myself naked,

            in the mirror in the spa dressing room,

I thought,

            “I’m not skinny!

            I’m not fat!

            I love my belly!”

Here I am at 58.

            I have realized a deep core lie!

                        I have uncovered a massive

                                    self-delusion!

            All these twenty years,

                        I have looked in the mirror

                                    and

                                                saw

                        too fat, too big,

                                    too old!

And I believed it!

            I believed the lie

                        I had told myself!

That makes me wonder —

            what other lies

                        limitations

                                    have I told myself and believed?

I’m not sure,

            but I’m going hunting

                        to the depth of my soul,

                                    to the mesa rim

                                                of my heart,

                        to the mountain top

                                                of my spirit.

Remembering my red, white and blue two-piece bathing suit,

            I will unearth the truth

                        about me!

It truly is Independence Day!

            I love my belly!


Finally,

Maybe age helped in how I viewed myself! I had realized no one watched me like I thought in my younger days. How I view myself had changed. I no longer worried about what you thought of me. I enjoyed my truly unique personality! What a celebration this day was! Yes, I loved my belly!

Have you had self-image issues—how you view yourself? If so, how did you handle them? If not, do you know someone who does?

Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better? meme

Visit my website to find out about my new book, Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better? and my other five books and three cookbooks: https://laradasbooks.com

family · Grief · My Thoughts · poetry

Surprised by My Words: More Poems

Surprirsed

Surprised by wandering through my old sketch book/journal, I found a couple more poems to share. I captured my life in poetry in all its nuances—the sentimental and the grieving heart.

Surprised by a sentimental heart

Vinyl record

Now, I’m That Generation

April 17, 2002

I’m that generation now,

The Oldies Station

I hear “Crystal Blue Persuasion”

And am transported back

            30 years or more!

Could it be—30 years!

An innocent teenager’s heart

Touched by this song,

Then and now

 I wandered down life’s path,

            Lost for so many years,

            Then recently re-found

 And the song has the same power.

            My heart softens

                        I cave in and wish

                                    For all that wasn’t!

I used to watch for all that could be!

 A song evokes that for me,

            Transportation back to the moment.


Surprised by my grieving heart

Ever since Dad died, I thought I hadn’t written a poem about him and his death, but I found this one, a treasure for sure! The memory I describe surprised me—yet I can feel the security I felt in his arms every night as he put me to bed.

Broken heart

I Knew Back Then

August 24, 2002

Every night as a child,

I clasped your neck,

Not wanting you to leave,

Desperate, frantic.

 The lump that’s in my throat tonight

            Has sat their deep in my throat

For nearly 50 years—

            Blocking my air, my thought, my life!

 I didn’t want you to go!

 I knew back then

            You’d leave.

 Your slipping through my bedroom door

Would eventually be slipping out of my life.

I didn’t want you to go.

 I knew back then

            I’d be left.

 The door that slam shut

            The hollow slam of the door

with me inside and you gone.

I knew back then

I’d lose you.

That I’d grow up—

You’d grow old.

Then you’d be gone.

 I didn’t want you to go.

But wanting didn’t stop it!

I lost you six years ago—

Death and cigarettes took you away,

Too early,

                                    Too quickly!

I wanted to share today

with you,

The laughter with mom

                        My place I’ve created

DAR 2003 (Dance-A-Rama, 2003, square dance festival I chaired)

                        This story that is me

And you.

 I didn’t want you to die.

            I wanted to clasp your neck

                        And beg you to sleep

with me,

To protect me and

                                    Hold me tight.

But you died,

And I have no one

to protect me

today—

                                    but me!


Finally

These two poems surprised me today. Just by chance, I grabbed my old sketchbook/journal and thumbed through. Do you have any surprises lurking in forgotten notebooks? Do you dare be surprised? Let me know what you find, if you dare!

Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better? meme

Visit my website to find out about my new book, Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better? and my other five books and three cookbooks: https://laradasbooks.com

Blogging · My Thoughts · poetry · Ranching

How I Record Life? Poetry

Man record life in a journal

How do you record life? Today I wandered through a journal dated August 1, 1999 to August 29, 2004 and found some poetry gems. It’s a large sketch book I dragged around with me those five years, writing poetry, taking notes and wondering about my life. I haven’t revisited it in years, but as I prepared for this blog post, something deep inside nudged me, “Look, browse! Be surprised!”

So, I did, and I am!

As I look at this chronicling of my life, I see a twenty-year time lapse. Yet, I recorded what was going on it the time, what I thought important! I have a stack of journals I’ve filled out over the years. I thought I had typed up all the poetry that had meaning, but my spirit knew treasures awaited me in this journal. That makes me wonder about those others on the shelf.

A Sampling of My Early Poetry

These three poems address attitudes of life and a specific life experience—branding.

Experience Life Totally

July 24, 2000

Anticipate the joy
	Toes on the edge
		Lingering ever so slightly 
Life in its fullest
	Step up to bat
	Step into the swimming pool
		No dive in head long!
	Step out of the crowd
	Step into the crowd

I must participate
	I can’t watch
		Wasn’t made to watch,
			To be a spectator

I want my hands dirty
	My neck sweaty
		My feet wet

I want to experience life totally!
		


The Sound of Her Voice

August 24, 2002

The sound of her voice
	Saying my name,
Reverberates back to
	The very first time.

The time she held me in her arms
	For that first time
	And said my name.

No fruit tastes sweeter,
	No bell rings clearer.
Nothing soothes my soul
	Like hearing my mother
		Saying, “Larada.”


That Smell I Will Never Forget

August 29, 2004

Burnt hair
	Burnt skin
A tradition
	A part of our work.

Branding day on a ranch
	Is a day of celebration of ownership.

These are my cattle
	My property
	My destiny
	My life!

The smell stays with me
	Many years later
		The stench
			The smoke
				The bawl from the calf
					The wrestle to get free!

It was painful
	But necessary!

One day, I slept by the campfire
	Three or four years old
I couldn’t miss today,
	But I was sick!
		Diarrhea
Mom put me in a diaper
	And let me go
		To our special day.

I slept and smelled 
	The campfire
		The branding.

My approach to life stays the same today. I look at life and capture it in poetry to record the feelings, the nuances. These three topics still resonate in my heart.

How do you record life? Do you write poetry? If so, what do you do with it? Leave a comment below.

Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better? meme

Visit my website to find out about my new book, Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better? and my other five books and three cookbooks: https://laradasbooks.com

My Books · My Thoughts · poetry · Writing

Future Possibilities & Poetry

what's possible? possibilities

Possibilities? As I face the future as a writer, I wonder about posts I read online, about authors needing inspiration. I don’t have that problem. I have five or six books lined up in the future. Three or four of them are poetry books! These pieces whisper to me often in the dark of night, begging me to breathe life into them.

I also have a couple of short stories I’ve played with, and I have a delightful collection of Christmas memories.

As a self-published author, I do all the work, so I have kept busy promoting my books, especially my last two. I’ve concentrated on my book business the last couple months, wanting to expand possibilities. I recently realized I need to focus on my e-book sales online and boost that in all the different formats.

So, along that line, I just finished training to create audiobooks, so that’s my next venture. The training is Audiobooks Made Easy by Derek I bought the training last December then got busy finishing up my new book. I started the training immediately last year. I bought all the supplies suggested: specialized mike for audiobooks, sheet music stand, recording microphone stand, ear phones and pop filter. Sadly, they have gathered dust in my walk-in closet (where I plan to record) until now, but I plan to start recording this week.

My plan is to start with my shortest book, Let Me Tell You a Story, to learn the process. Then I plan to record my current book, Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better?. Then I plan to continue with This Tumbleweed Landed and When Will Papa Get Home? Right now, I doubt if I will record my two longer books: A Time to Grow Up and Just Another Square Dance Caller.

Future possibilites

Future Possibilities—My Line-up of Books:

  • Three or four poetry books
    • Watch a Poet Grow: Where It All Began #1—my early poetry
    • Watch a Poet Grow: Look at Life Look #2—my later poetry
    • Watch A Poet Grow: Haikuin’ Life #3—haikus about my daily life
    • Watch a Poet Grow: The Death of a Marriage #4—poetry record of my third divorce
  • I Said, “Yes!”—how to write a biography or memoir
  • Eye Witness to Life—a fiction I wrote in 2016 during NaNoWriMo
  • This Tumbleweed Landed #2—continuation of my first poetry book

How about some Cinquains?

“The cinquain, also known as a quintain or quintet, is a poem or stanza composed of five lines.”

https://poets.org/glossary/cinquain

In 2002, I took a poetry class from the University of New Mexico’s Continuing Education, and I wrote the following cinquains. They are cinquains loosely-defined but have no rhyming pattern.

Sunshine

light playing on

my skin, a reminder

that life will go on no matter!

I shine!

Cooking

fresh food ready

green cut aroma fills

the room and the space in my heart.

Refresh!

Land where?                                           

A tumbleweed

bounces against barbed

wire fence, gets caught for a moment!

Now gone!

My words 

my life caught in

a box, limited yet

real! I want to communicate.

Let’s talk!

Music

touches the deep.

I move to the beat. My

soul reacts to the sound and moves!

How come?

Playful

childlike laughter,

like bells ringing in the

chapel — angels swinging their wings

out loud.

Life force

Sensual light

burns deeply in my heart,

ignites with any willing soul

Alive!

Of what 

are my dreams made?

Fluff, a sprig of cedar,

Flesh and bone and sawdust sprinkled!

Gone soon!


As you can see, I’m not done! As I referenced yesterday, I’m a Baby Boomer with a purpose! I love having future possibilities to look forward to—that’s the only way I can live!

Finally

This week, look for poetry—a variety of it, ranging from my early poetry to some of my recent haikus. Recently, after my walks, I have recorded a couple of haikus that came to me as I enjoyed being out in nature. I believe in possibilities, and I see them everyday all around me.

What are your future projects? Do you plan ahead? Share your thoughts below!

Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better? meme - possibilities

Visit my website to find out about my new book, Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better? and my other five books and three cookbooks: https://laradasbooks.com

My Thoughts · poetry

Coyote Encounter in My Poetry

Coyote

Coyote in Native American folklore is a trickster, and I had my experience with this illusive scoundrel and recorded in a poem. My ex-husband and I lived near a Native American burial ground where we walked.

Coyote is a major mythological figure for most Native American tribes, especially those west of the Mississippi. Like real coyotes, mythological coyotes are usually notable for their crafty intelligence, stealth, and voracious appetite. However, American Indian coyote characters vary widely from tribe to tribe. In some Native American coyote myths, Coyote is a revered culture hero who creates, teaches, and helps humans; in others, he is a sort of antihero who demonstrates the dangers of negative behaviors like greed, recklessness, and arrogance; in still others, he is a comic trickster character, whose lack of wisdom gets him into trouble while his cleverness gets him back out. In some Native coyote stories, he is even some sort of combination of all three at once.

http://www.native-languages.org/legends-coyote.htm

This poem came after my personal sighting of a coyote one morning.

Spirit Coyote

Larada Horner

September 20, 2000

One velvety quiet dawn

I see you and my heart knows.

We know each other deeply,        

beyond time and space.

                        Where did we first meet?

On the prairies in southeastern Colorado?

Your eyes haunt me

            following my every step.

Your home, a sacred Indian burial ground,

separated from the world by a chain link fence.

Ancient ones honored!

I walk by daily on the outside—

you and them today on the inside.

Are you coyote?  Are you spirit?  I can’t be sure!

            This is Albuquerque,

                        The city

                                    People everywhere.

I question as you mesmerize me.

            You turn away from me, and        

                        I recognize your lean frame.

You are coyote!

Death has captured them

            and you, too.

Are you captured?

Are you free?

You follow my action,

            you sneak towards me.

I gulp worried you will charge,

            but your movement stops towards me.

Now you progress with me, alongside me.

I feel comfortable in your presence–

            no fear,

            a companion that knows my heart.

You rise up on a small mound

            then you’re gone—gone forever!

A chain link fence separates us.

            You locked in with the dead

                        me alive outside,

                        walking free,

            yet skirting you and death everyday.

At times, I hear the chains in the fence rattle in the breeze,

            yet I know it’s not the breeze–

                        the sound is too severe.

            I know it’s spirits, like you caught in that place,

                        that place between the unknown,

                                    a place I know so well!

We are one; I see it!

Death, spirit coyote and me

            roaming through this life!

Those ancient ones inside me clamor to be

            free, to be put to rest!

Your spirit sought me out

            with a message.

Some Natives see you as the trickster,

            the predator by ranchers.

Others see you as the tourist symbol of the Southwest

            and place a red bandana around your neck.

What a shame!

Your spirit is larger, filling the arroyo

            and canyon of my heart.

You roam free—

            So, take me along!

I yearn to roam free with you,

            to howl at the moon,

                           at my loneliness,

                           at my aloneness,

                           at the other spirits walking my same path.

This surreal experience happened twenty-one years ago, and magic realism took over my poem—wondering about mysterious disappearance of that coyote. So what do you think? Where did it go? (Scroll below & make a comment about this mystery!

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