Treasured words from 2 y.o. Lena — I love you, you’re like Oma; question from 3 y.o. Felicity — Are you Mary Poppins; advice from 75 y.o. widow at the pool — I’ll soon be out and your fearless leader can join you, enjoy him while you can; Facebook post from 32 y.o. Jean — Goin to Hawaii and we’re gonna get ma-ar-ied; from 12 y.o. Judah — I love my life and my family; farewell from 68 y.o. friend Mary VanderHart — See you Marj; Barbara Simon’s Rite of Passage Library Story I portrayed in Transition Theater’s Greenbelt Voices; and the Mullstream question— How Can I Keep from Writing.
Stayed sane writing then revising Psalm poems. Savored serene moments in each season: solitude one Ashland Autumn Morning, Jean, Michael and Judah gone overnight; solace one Greenbelt Winter Afternoon opening boxes of Mulled Words, my first book; tearshine in Spring Prayers—indoors, out, alone, at home, away, with Jim, Mom and others; Summer Shalom with Judah in six states, then holding and rocking baby Seren.
“So teach us to count our days that we may gain a wise heart” 152 days featured time with 3 to 4 year old Lily Ung-Weaver. Grandma Gifter, thanks for 53 days with 10 year old Judah. All-Loving One, how You grew my love with Mom here 25 nights total, Joyce 28; on trips with family 17, with Jim 24 nights! All-Wise One, what did I learn in 88 Bible Studies, book discussions or Sunday School classes that year of three all-too-soon funerals, of Clara and Stephen’s wonderful wedding and of Jim’s and my tenth anniversary?
There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under the heavens: A time to hire, revive church community in worship, music, Bible study and visits; my time to retire, give more volunteer time, let the Senior Center Rest In Peace. Tearful times in our kids’ absence, smiles when Dave’s job brought him back monthly to Maryland, more smiles on spring break in Oregon and another great summer parenting Judah. In writing, times to search for words, themes, stories, then to give up searching; times to keep revising and submitting, also some times to discard, abandon, delete. Times to speak, to embrace after walks, swims, Penn State Intervarsity Reunion, the cabin at Martinek; times to be silent, refrain from embracing, still communing with God and each other.
Please conceive a poem in me I prayed to You, Eternal Love. Cinquains came, then Your Fire inspired free verse like votive candles here and there with family in Greenbelt, Blacksburg, Broken Arrow, Texarkana, Boulder, Denver, Grand Rapids and Lansing. Love Light, how You shone in celebrations for the lives of Johnie Wilson, Bill Ribbens, Annie Mae Ballou and Myrtle Pippin! Peace Beacon, how You gleamed in daycare kids’ senior center visits, on women’s nights out with church friends, at homes, churches, lakes, trails, pools, museums, so many places making memories with Judah!
Highlights of the Months October— Jacksonville weekend with Jim November— Senior Sunday with Dante & Jackie Venegas December— Dayspring Advent Ember Day January— Church van trip with ten seniors February— Ash Wednesday supper and service March— Bright Beginnings Day Care Easter Program April— Walk on Coolidge track with seven seniors May— Being still in eye of poemstorm June— Mom & Dad’s 60th anniversary celebration July— Good times with Judah in MD, DC and NH August— Boulder week with Jean and Judah September— Chincoteague weekend with Jim
Slept as well twelve October nights in the little house on the Big Island as back home in Greenbelt. Thank You always thank You Creator Sustainer. Wrote prayers and poems for that Hawaii trip celebrating Judah’s birthday with his Kona Pacific School friends; for times with pastor friend Paula, Michigan relatives, and authors at the Festival of Faith and Writing; for Blacksburg trips, especially in August with Judah and all the days between, at Dayspring or at home. Praise You always praise You Truth Spirit. Walked joyfully with church friends in DC Walkathon; with senior center friends at Sligo Creek now that I was back as activity director; around the lake alone, with Jim, with Judah then Jean who came for a summer visit. Love You always love You Brother Jesus.
It was a good Greenbelt year— Jean and Judah here three weeks, game night at Beckert’s, tutoring at Shrom Hills, Poetry Plus at the library, Writers Group at the community center, proofreading for Greenbelt News Review and doing the birds-i-view article, picnics, visits, talks with family and friends, walks or jogs by the lake, swims at the fitness center, driving the Prius in the Labor Day Parade. At church Jim’s deacon term ended, mine began. I still drove Dayshare passengers sometimes plus frequent pro bono drives and did poetry/ sensory stimulation classes with the SAGE program at Collington. Jim and I were grateful for safe travels— December family reunion in the Poconos, May weekend in Chesapeake VA with Jim’s Aunt Ida and famous musical family, The Hunts, June weekend in Delaware doing a 10k Volksmarch and August Adirondack, Champlain Valley trip.
We flew to Hawaii for the October birthdays— ten dear days in Kauai with Jean and Judah. I did childcare with a Silver Spring family then eldercare closer to home with Visiting Angels. Son David joined us for Thanksgiving in Blacksburg and December Ribbens Reunion in West Virginia. Joyo appeared at church community night, played charades at family beach reunion and marched in Greenbelt Labor Day Parade. ESL tutoring continued, now with Jaime Ramos. We were back in Blacksburg for Mother’s Day, to Jersey, NYC and New England around Memorial Day, Oklahoma for brother-in-law’s funeral in June, Thurmont, Hagerstown and Blacksburg again in August. Home with Jim in Greenbelt and at WCRC I followed my writing dream to the nth degree in Bible survey and poetry including word wreaths.
I journaled my way through that year on a nine-day Spirit-fruit cycle. In marriage,(grand)parenting and teaching, on each Dayshare trip,
during each talk Love grew, boosting its eight hardy hybrids. Joy ripened as Judah whispered You’re my best friend! God’s Peace filled Dayspring, DCCRC, SSCRC and the CRCs we visited in five other states. Patience flourished, nourished by Jim and our kids. Kindness multiplied in thoughtful gifts and services from ESL students, Karen and Sung. Goodness and Mercy! Good times, good friends, new and old, good talks over good books at Earl and Terry Kepler’s. Faith bore fruit in Jim’s service as deacon and treasurer; Mom inspired me to faithful correspondence with prisoners via Crossroad Bible Institute. We celebrated the lives of Gentle Souls— John Kocisko, Richard O’Connor, Jim Bosma, Ismay Cruikshank; on 9-11 a Greenbelt church sign offered the gentle reminder We weep with those who weep. What better place than Greenbelt to foster Self Control? Walking, swimming, ping pong and tennis; gardening; picnics in our yard with family and friends; tutoring Sergey and Vitaly with Greenbelt Cares.