20 Lines A Day

A Community of Writers and Photographers


Where Green Meets Blue

2014-07-13 10.14.43

There is no such thing as too much time by the sea
for she’s my closest friend
sometimes enrapturing me with laughter
sometimes pounding discontent
sometimes kissing my feet with salty tears

Long spaces of time may transpire between visits
but we start again right where we left off
marvel at the changes in each other
laugh together at the shorebirds
gobbling tiny morsels of gossip

We sit together, my sea-friend and I
pick up pink-striped shells, broken slivers of sand dollars
and throw them back into the welcoming waves

She cannot resist one more caress on the shore
and I, one more glance across the horizon
where green meets blue in perfect union

It may be true that I could share this love
with any other shore
nourish the same quiet friendship
but there is a secret here in the crystal sands
there is a solitude that spreads like religion
no matter how many people circle ‘round
there is healing like a baptism
in every splash upon the shore

SpiritLed 2014


14 Words

Today’s my birthday.
I think about the gift
of what friends mean to me.

Each snowflake,
softly falling here in Michigan,
returns to me again your gentle voice.

I watch the hour hand crawl slowly,
silently around
while I wait for you.

Come simply, unencumbered,
nothing fancy,
and we will make lace,
sewing our souls together.

I cannot get along without sweet words.
Let’s exchange them.
Here, I offer mine.

A little message of love
this Valentines Day
to you, friend I haven’t met.

May this tiny spark
of friendship light your heart
with love on Valentines Day.

Walk with head held high.
You are one indeed,
like no other, beautiful,

I see your face in candlelight
even when we’re not together,
and I remember.

You are, like a book,
full of surprises,
and I love turning the pages.

Shh…listen to the sounds of earth
whispering their songs to us.
Such music!

In my jewelry box I found
the old ticket to prom.
Remember those days?

My guest room has fresh yellow flowers,
crisp linens.
Dinner’s cooking.
Come on in.

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14 Words

My mother,
bringer of love,
taught me the important lessons.
O Mom, thank you.

Let me be a conduit
of love,
wiring the light to overcome black midnight.

I seek containers
into which to pour
gallons of love.
Hold out your cup.

Have you thought
that love is math?
Your heart, my heart–
the right answer.

I see grace in your eyes,
confidence in your step.
Come be my friend.

I prepare the coffee,
set out square plates,
bring cloth napkins
just for us.

Turn the lights low,
turn the world off.
Let us hear our own music.

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Get out the picture, blow off the dust

Take off the frame, it’s starting to rust

Remember the times that we had together

What happened to being best friends forever?


You don’t seem to notice, you don’t seem to care

You promise me something, and then you aren’t even there

You tell people my secrets; tell me your lies…

Who wants a friend… that makes you want to cry?


Life takes your dreams and turns them upside down

Friends talk about you when you’re not around

People make promises they just can’t keep

I’ve come to realize… talk is cheap


Some people don’t catch on, they rather just pretend.

While things are going smooth, they smile and call you ‘friend’.

Funny how you never know who cares until it hurts, and when it’s over,

Does it matter who blew off whom first?


I’ll never find another friend to take the place of you.

No one will ever touch my world exactly like you do.

No one who’s quite so thoughtful, no one I cherish so.

No one will mean so much to me I just wanted you to know.




Meeting Maggie

[Author’s note:  I started this post Saturday night, then had to put it down for a few days til I could come back to it.  If tenses are skewed or the timing seems funny, well, now I am in the final edit and it’s late and my eyes are crossed but I will try my best.]

Saturday was a very special day for me, community, and I want to share it with you.  Saturday, I got to meet Maggie.

It’s true!  Our very own Maggie of 20 Lines and Brainstormswho is just as sweet and warm and lovely in person as she is here.

This is how it came to pass:

As it turns out, Maggie has a brother who lives not too far away from me here in North Carolina.  Back in the fall during one of our telephone conversations, Maggie shared with me that she might be coming down this way for Christmas.  We talked about meeting for lunch and wouldn’t that be fun!

And as Christmas neared, Maggie and her husband came down with that chest crud that is going around this winter.  Plans were delayed.  On hold.  Changing.  Dates were shifting.  Flights were changed, then changed again.

But it turned out that the events fell into place and she and her husband soon had their plans solidified.  She was coming!  We set a time and date to meet, which was Saturday the 5th for lunch.

Earlier, when her plans to visit fell the week after Christmas, we’d agreed to meet at Southern Roots in Jamestown, not too far from me.  I’d called the restaurant to make sure they were open.  They were.

When the plans changed to today, I didn’t even bother to call the restaurant.  The holidays were over.  Everyone’s back to regular schedules again, right?

It turns out their regular schedule doesn’t include lunches on Saturdays.  (Wha??)  So I got the call when I was minutes from the restaurant:  “They’re not open!  But there’s a place right down the street.  Meet us here anyway.”

I pull in and immediately I am recognized by who later turns out to be Maggie’s husband.  I follow him and he is following her around the front of the place, where she is looking around the neighborhood for somewhere closeby to eat.

By the way, Maggie’s husband is as sweet as he can be and made sure her coat was buttoned up because she’d been sick and truly looked after her.  Her brother brought her to meet me and they all ran errands and had their own lunch while we had a lunch to ourselves.  Precious.  Precious, precious.

And she swings around and we are smiling at each other and then I finally got to hug her neck.  I’m not sure she knows this but the moment she hugged me tears sprang into my eyes.  I was suddenly so aware of the fact that two worlds had met.

Maggie is just as warm and friendly and gracious as you imagine her, no, as you know her to be through her work.

And by now, you know we settled on a sweet little place called Fresh Manna, in Jamestown, NC.


Over lunch, we talked and talked and talked and realized there was not going to be enough time to cover everything we wanted to share.

By the way, it was Maggie that engaged the waitress to the point that she wanted to hear our story of how we came to meet, and listened, rapt, as we described how we met, and 20 Lines and all of  you – about our community here in this space.  (And they decided that Maggie had flown all the way to North Carolina to eat at Fresh Manna.  And who were we to argue?)

I am here to tell you that meeting Maggie was one of the most special things that has happened to me in a long time.

Maggie – you are dear.  Friendly, sweet, funny, loving, kind, generous, and very charming yourself.  Your family is beautiful and I now know what I always suspected: that you are surrounded by love and you yourself radiate that love to everyone lucky enough to be around you.

… I will keep that day, and you, in my heart.

Here’s to friendship.



An Open Letter to 20 Lines Readers

“Let us be grateful for those who make us happy. They are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.” (Marcel Proust)

I had the distinct pleasure of meeting such a charming gardener this past Sat. and I want to share the meeting with all of you, first because it was such a special time for me, and second because it affects all of you.

I met Melissa, our Melissa who has begun and who maintains 20 Lines. We went south to visit my brother and his family for a week following Christmas, and it turned out that Melissa lives only about an hour or so from him. So we made plans to meet about halfway in-between for lunch. She did some research and found a restaurant called Southern Roots. My brother, his wife, their grandson who lives with them, along with my husband all drove me there.

We arrived first, and when we did I discovered that the place was closed on Saturdays. Very loud music led me through the back door to an empty restaurant with chairs upside down on tables, and two guys cleaning. Friendly as could be, they apologized that they were closed (yes, even though the back door was open), and directed me to another place down the block and across the street.

I called Melissa and told her the predicament. She arrived a few minutes later. I was sitting on a park bench in front, watching up and down the street for her when my husband came around and said, “She’s here. Come on, hurry. She’s here.”

And there she was. Tall, slender, lovely, she walked toward me on the sidewalk at the side of the building. As if we’d known each other for a hundred years, we hugged like old friends happy to be together again. And then…chatter, chatter, chatter. I don’t think anyone could have stopped us!

I walked her over to my brother’s car and introduced her to him and his family. And then…we were off, walking to this other little restaurant. It was a little treasure of a place, called Fresh Manna, tiny, with one booth and three high top tables for two. Tucked away behind a place that sold garden items, ironwork, and interesting artistic outdoor pieces, Fresh Manna offered a menu of soups, salads, and sandwiches. Over tomato basil soup, Greek salad, and chicken salad, we talked as if we didn’t have enough time. She showed me pictures of her adorable children, and I was proud to show her pictures of my children and grandchildren.

We talked poetry, 20 Lines, families, life experience, and mostly just enjoyed the fact that there we were, two people who only knew each other from online and now we were really meeting. It was quite an amazing thing. I know, in this techno-age, people meet all the time, but for me it seemed almost unbelievable.

I am grateful to my brother for taking the time to drive me to the place where Melissa and I met, for taking his wife, grandson and my husband to drive around and explore the town and eat lunch while she and I had our own lunch and time to come to know one another.

I know I felt that time was rushing by too quickly. We left the restaurant and sat outside on the patio for awhile, taking pictures of ourselves for all posterity. We snapped pictures of Fresh Manna and the various art pieces, the sign over the door, the steps that led up and around to the street again, the place.

Yes, the place where we made our mark. The restaurant was a tiny hole in the wall with good food and friendly people, and it became imbued on Saturday with the freshness of a friendship newly-discovered and forever-bound. We agreed that we would each write in our own way about Saturday on 20 Lines, so you will also be reading hers here soon.

You know Melissa from the way she writes on 20 Lines, whether it’s her meaningful poetry or how she describes the community she has established. I have had the privilege and delight of meeting her, and I’m here to tell you that you would love her too.

We are fortunate to have become a writers’ and photographers’ community led by someone so deeply-committed to fostering a place where we can express ourselves through our art and develop further in our pursuits.

Thank you, Melissa, for making time for me on Saturday, and for all you do to make 20 Lines the place to be online.

Saturday will remain for me a day of a new friendship beginning. You know, kind of like those seeds we plant in the garden in springtime. They blossom, bloom, and bring beauty.

Thank you, Melissa, for being such a charming gardener.


I dedicate my words and song to Vicky and Tersia, who live in South Africa. Below is a link to Tersia’s blog:




Copyright 2010 by Judy Unger


You gave me your hand; you’d always understand

No one else could see all the change you’d seen in me

You gave me so much; within a single touch

I searched for a smile; you brought mine back for a while

I just can’t find the words to say

How it felt when you went away

All my life, I hoped you would stay

And when you left, I let you go

But I still love you, more than you know

 I still love you


You brought me sunshine; I thought that you were mine

How can I believe? When the warmth of you did leave

You gave me everything that made me want to sing

How could I have guessed that our time would be my best?

I just can’t find the words to say

How it felt when you went away

All my life, I hoped you would stay

And when you left, I let you go

But I still love you, more than you know

 I still love you

Dearest Tersia,

I am always thinking of you at a time where you are putting one foot in front of the other. There is probably no word in the dictionary to express your exhaustion. Yet, you always find time to respond to every person’s comment with grace and kindness.

I loved your last post about tears. How beautiful that you could appreciate tears of joy, and not only of suffering at a time like this.

I have been deeply touched that you’ve shared my songs and words on your blog. It is unbelievable to me how in the short time I’ve know you, you’ve allowed me to help. I certainly hoped and wished I could. My own life has been enriched knowing that I was able to be there for you and Vic. The lovely comments by people who read your blog have also brought me to tears.

Since you have been Vic’s caregiver, you already know her absence will leave you with a deep abyss. It is so hard to have that devotion stop suddenly, because you will be going from plodding in exhaustion into nothingness. It is shocking because for so long, keeping Vic going has been your major purpose in life.

more than you know

There are many levels to this song similarly to “Set You Free.” The main theme is of letting go. My song was written about friendship, but I revised it after my son Jason died. The lines that I find most applicable to losing my child was:

“I just can’t find the words to say how it felt when you went away”

With that line I am saying that nothing can possibly express the anguish of grief.

“I thought that you were mine.”

I believed that my child belonged to me. He was my purpose and I took care of him until he died. I could not accept his death for a very long time. That was why letting go was so hard.

Your own eloquent words acknowledge acceptance of Vic’s death. You are preparing yourself to let her go.

But there is no way to do that adequately.

I share with you my lyrics and song now. Since you have shared my messages, I want to provide a link here to my story about Jason. It helps to explain my songs and why I want to give you hope as you enter the darkness of grief. Your love for Vic will never end, nor her love for you.

Please know that you (or anyone grieving) can write to me any time. I am sensitive to grief in all forms, but because I am also a bereaved parent, I am especially sad when a child dies.

Link to Jason’s Story – myjourneysinsight.com

Here is a link to more about my latest song and to hear it:


Jason so happy
Jason at Hanukah

 Her Garden

Jason's grave overgrown

© 2012 by Judy Unger, http://www.myjourneysinsight.com and 20 Lines A Day. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Judy Unger with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. 


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