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.
We got by with a little help from our kids and they soared with a little help from us. David got us online with email; Jean revved up our health and nutrition; Rhonda’s book signings inspired my writing; she and Duff rooted us in family and church. Our joint memory bank deposits grew on visits with family in Washington NH, Bethlehem PA, Hayesville NC, Blacksburg VA and Newfane NY; golden times with just the two of us included Chincoteague and Thousand Islands; we visited CRCs in four states plus our home church where I was a greeter, Jim was in my Sunday School class and we each took a turn leading Friendship Bible Study. In dawn love letters to Jesus I wrote: “Thanks for being all things to all people; teach me my limits but stretch me out of my comfort zone too; guide us in this huge and wonderful responsibility to care for Judah.”
Infinite Love, You grew our love for each other and so many others. Home for good in Greenbelt we welcomed transient family and overnight guests, celebrated Judah’s first birthday at Greenbelt National Park.
Home with Jim usually at 4E Crescent but also in Bethlehem PA, Blacksburg VA, at Penn State and Calvin, we read the Couple’s Devotional Bible from Grandma Evelyn and bedtime storybooks together. With all the kids in our living room at Christmas we wrote and gave one another notes of appreciation. Home at DCCRC where Jean still worked and Duff was a deacon again we welcomed Norm and Barb Steen. Daughter-in-Christ Jamima and her husband Suman loaned us their clothes on our Ohio visit. Son David and other family joined us in Chincoteague on days following our first anniversary.
Dear One who makes all things new, what joy to review that year full of newness! Praying daily with Jim on phone or in person Welcoming grandson Judah to heart and home Meeting each other’s families and friends Attending each other’s churches Jean working as secretary at DCCRC Jamima and Roseline free of oppressive live-in jobs Valentine Day engagement L’Arche Story Theater at Potter’s House Renewed devotion to Love Alive in Covenant Discipleship Group in barbershop trips with Dick O’Connor even in my left breast leakage medically unexplained sign of my bonding with baby Judah What wonder to discover Greenbelt! Finding 4E Crescent, moving there alone first Our marriage at DCCRC and Chincoteague honeymoon crowned the year
Fifty dawned in lonesome mystery: if Jesus was my shepherd why did I still want? How could I shepherd others without following the good shepherd? Jubilee clues unfolded sometimes in Shalem prayer movement classes and walks, in journal prayers with Nouwen’s book, Inner Voice of Love, in noon prayer circle and monthly vigil at Festival Center. But presence was lost in fog of impulse identifying with or judging family, friends, clients, everyone. Voice was drowned in multiple, ever-new scripts: Daylines newsletter mailings, family letters; Arts for Aging depictions of Grandma Moses, Eleanor Roosevelt, Harriet Tubman, Katherine Hepburn; Shakespeare acting class; Call to Commitment dramatic reading, spiritual autobiography, poems, prayers, even two sermons preached at Potter’s House. Pregnant Jean did Calvin’s Oregon Extension; Rhonda found a coauthor for In Their Own Voices; Duff moved in with me for six months. I sketched a word-a-week book for Mom’s 75th Birthday.
Sensing a new call, I started classes at Wesley Seminary. Disappointed with “Spiritual Singles” events and people I tried Single Adult Fellowship at McLean Presbyterian where Jim Gray caught my attention by showing up for the time of praying for our children before Bible Study.