Archive for May, 2015

blood and waterSweet call of death

As gravity, as tyranny

Of chiseled nose, perfect cups

And hair that sets

Like sea adrift with breeze

Does beauty know

life outside her cell


Responding to the siren

Of silence, oblivion

Does she dare,

heartened by a break in the chain-link fence

Dive in

To the Capricorn sea


Timid posture

Steps past the pier

And for an instant, defies

But collides


Immersed in memories

Ice cream trucks and lollipops

Sidewalk chalk, hopscotch

When love was soft

And smiled in its mystery


Submerged by life and death

and wonder

She supposed

If life had flirted

Just once

A passing glance

or kiss

Would she not be


By sea

By this, salt and grief and oil spills

Far, far beneath

the surface break

the swollen sky


Deeper drifts as pressure mounts

Against ears and mind and heart

The heart

so long refused to break, but shattered in the classrooms,

in the halls


Now light

That filters

Light that breaks

Parting like drops of iron

like tears

Sweet incense saved

In vials, in a heart that burst

When blood and water flowed


Potent mixture

pours on saltwater tears and sea

She mingles in its copper-tinge flow, revived


Where end is the beginning


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A misty forest path

I’m graduating this evening, from Fresno City College. Or at least, this evening is the commencement ceremony, when I get to don a black robe that’s too big and a mortarboard hat that’s too small, and sit with a multitude of other MIB (and women too) to be presented as the graduating class of 2015.

And I feel absolutely silly.

I tried to get out of it. Told my husband that going to the commencement is a waste of time. He as much as said, “You will sit there, and you will like it.” Actually, he told me I deserve the ceremony after all the hard work I’ve done to get to this place. My dad and mom as much as said the same thing. Only my youngest son, Aiden, echoed my feelings when he asked me yesterday, “Can I stay home instead? Sitting there for two hours sounds really boring.”

It’s not the boring part that I’m hesitating at. It’s the part about getting an Associates Degree at 32 years old. I could have had it at 16. Half my life ago. After all, I graduated from high school at 14. If I had gone on right then and there to a full schedule at Fresno City, I would have been wearing this robe and hat a long time ago.

And my life would be completely different.

I did take one class at Fresno City College when I was 14. It was the summer of 1997, and I took American Sign Language. I started a second ASL class, but then the opportunity arose for me to spend the rest of the summer at a mission/ministry training center in Southern California. I dropped the class and packed my bags.

I moved to India at 16, got married there at 21, started a family at 22, and was involved in ministries ranging from work with the Deaf to youth counseling.

Our family of five moved back to California in 2010, when I was 28. The following year I started college again. After 12 years of a lifestyle of faith, service, and ministry, I had no idea what direction to go. I remained “undeclared” for the first year and a half. Dots began connecting (although that’s a completely different story) and I chose to pursue an English degree. Dots are still connecting, so I don’t know exactly where this degree will take me.

To more classes, that’s for sure. I’ll be attending Fresno State this fall, heading toward the next educational platform of a Bachelor’s Degree. What will I do with the degree?

Writer? Teacher? Editor? Instructor?

I’m already doing all of the above, and hope to continue each of them, to some degree, for as long as God allows. For as long as it’s part of His plan.

When I was 14 and finished high school, I asked my mom if she thought I should go to Southern California for a little while and then come back to finish my education. “Once you head in that direction,” my mom said, “you’ll never look back.”

And she’s right. I never looked back. My life might have come full circle. And who knows how many times it will cycle around again? All I know is, life is something you take one day at a time. Too often, I try to figure it all out and waste priceless moments worrying and fuming about the road ahead. An often-shared quote states, “Writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can see only as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.”

Life is much the same. Which is why, even when it takes us full circle, we can be assured we’re not driving in circles. We’re being guided by the pen of the Author, Who urges us to live life looking forward in confidence, reaching toward the prize of His high calling, whatever that is for us.

And even when we don’t exactly know what that high calling is, He’s holding our hands and will never let go. No need to look back. Only forward.

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