20 Lines A Day

A Community of Writers and Photographers


How to Make a Difference

She is 86 years young. I grew up to this amazing person, my aunt, youngest sister of my mother.

Since I was a toddler, I would walk up the hill to her house, plant flowers with her, watch her can vegetables, help her work in the garden, and help decorate for Christmas.

When I was a young adult, trying to survive a disastrous marriage, be a single mom, work and go to school, she made sure my kids and I had clothes, food, toys. Even today at her last siblings funeral, she smiled at me and said, “Maybe someday I can make up to you all that you have done for me.”

I smiled and quietly whispered, “If I were to live a thousand years I could not begin to make u for all you have done for me.”
I think often of what the world would be like if it were full of people like my aunt. She listens, she cares, she is generous, considerate, loving beyond all reason. I envy her thoughtfulness, honesty, willingness to help, or even to be kind when she disagrees.

If ever there has been a person who is “my precious. Is is my aunt, who is like a “sister”and friend as well. I have shared my joys and sorrows with her, helped her with her ailing elders, and enjoyed visits to her house several times a week, if not more. When I thin of the word, “beautiful”, her face comes to mind. She is the kind of person that makes life worth living on my worst day, a true treasure.

Thanks for being ‘my precious’, Aunt Phib!


18 Comments

fawn

whatever you fear, whatever you hide,
whatever you carry deep inside
there’s something more than this
October Project

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on that late lit afternoon amidst the blaring horns sirens rolling steel and rubber of every constant rush hour this city only knows, he saw her now sitting folded into the corner of a familiar doorway the burgundy shroud resting deep into her knees that impossible smallness an almost prayer like silent plea her meditation wishing this world would disappear from view. and as he always did walking his young golden retriever Scout a dog so serene he’d never heard him make a single sound, the closer to this little person in a doorway by itself the bustling street echos ending another ambivalent big city day, and his concern alarm now heightened wondering why this any child was left so alone, his scan for parents but found none.

closer now and details unfold black ballet slippers to black anklet socks delicately edged tiny white lace frill slim cranberry pants, then that ankle bracelet! …. it’s chain spun so finely crafted not by our any human hands sun speaking to each tiny charm glistening. …and hesitant now not ever wanting to intrude, Scout answered his questions a gentle nose nudging her knee as all good dogs will,

‘oh im so sorry, he has to say hello to everyone’,

and the slowest of motions the shroud lifted its head as if in a slumber waking finally eyes to eyes nose to Scout’s nose her hands instinctively moving involuntarily they found his golden jowls, standing motionless accepting her slow fingers moving a golden fur caress, the shroud so deep he could not yet see her face. and in a ‘time will forever stand still moment’ forever be etched in his memory, the burgundy shroud slowly lifted falling back revealing her pale skin colored paler by the blazing embers of the extinguishing afternoon sun this deliberate ray reaching her darkened corner of the doorway,

his concern its own slow fade seeing her narrow face she was no child after all, and in human years twenty something but as in the swift glint of brown in her so grateful eyes raising to meet the sun… a whiteness then the infinity white of everything all knowing and all our kindness in every universe that ever lived, hers a timeless and slow smile reply,

‘yes…he does.’

he stood there letting this moment live as long as she wanted Scout turned to leave he followed and as so many of us his slow walk away was followed in doubt, a disbelief that this was not just a dream awake so double quickstepping around the block with Scout trailing. maybe to relive a moment that should not require repeating …….maybe to speak another word that didn’t need speaking, arriving as the sun had already fallen behind every building in its way the doorway now darkened and she was gone.

whatever you love, whatever you give,
whatever you think you need to live
there’s something more than this
.
.
.


1 Comment

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.


8 Comments

Special Things

There are special things we cherish

Hold fondly, and hold dear

We wouldn’t think of keeping them

Anywhere but near

~~~

They hold the memories so sweet

Of moments on the way

Along the journey we have walked

Toward where we are today

~~~

These special things we cherish

Though tarnished, they may be

We hold them ever close to us

We treat them carefully

~~~

We polish them and place them safely

Somewhere they won’t fall

We show them to all visitors

Who on us, sometimes call

But often we don’t treat our loved ones

With the same great care

When worry lines, perhaps appear

Or salt and pepper hair

~~~

Or maybe they are chipped and cracked

Or tarnished in some way

And we can’t stand to look at them

Or have them in our way

~~~

If we would only cherish people

Like those things we do

And handle them with care, you see

Speak fondly of them, too

~~~

What a kinder world I think

That maybe this would be

I do not know what you will do

But I can start with me


9 Comments

Tiny Kindnesses

There are people who have touched my life, though only passing through

Perhaps just for a moment, to exchange a smile or two

There was a light inside their eyes, that somehow drew me in

As they quickly walked into my life, then right back out again.

~~~

I recall sometimes those faces, even ones from long ago

Faces of dear people who I didn’t even know

Perhaps my heart was hurting from some deep and painful trial

When life was feeling cold and cruel, and I had lost my smile

~~~

I thank God for those people,  maybe angels here on earth

Who just with tiny kindnesses, gave hope in me new birth

If you wonder why I smile sometimes, though hurting deep within

Or why I’m often singing, as I don a silly grin

~~~

I want to be remembered, like those people I recall

Not because I’m special or my life is great at all

But because the mem’ries of those smiles don’t go away

They’re like the sun, illuminating clouds, so dark and grey

~~~

I’d rather be thought foolish for a smile upon my face

That maybe some would permanently wish they could erase

Because I know that someone, somewhere, many years from now

May pass that smile along to someone else, somewhere, somehow.


13 Comments

A Comedy Tonight

A tragedy it is, when drama’s left to rule my life

And all about the tears I cry, the worries and the strife

What fun that it can be to take the drama all around

And turn it into comedy and laughter, I have found

~~~

I know that it’s not easy implementing this ideal

The drama that I sometimes have, is sorrowful and real

I know I must allow myself sometimes to frown and cry

To cry out to my God above and ask, Lord when?  Lord why?

~~~

But wallowing is not an option I’ll allow myself

I’ve been there and I’ve done that, now I’ve put it on the shelf

It’s much more fun to smile and laugh, e’en in the midst of pain

And in the end, the difference ‘tween insanity and sane.

~~~

So laugh at me, I won’t protest, when I am feeling blue

But don’t forget that I will do the same regarding you

I do not speak of making fun of pain that’s raw, and real

I have a heart that feels for you, it is not made of steel

~~~

Above all, may I not forget that kindness matters much

Cold shoulders often harden hearts, not so a gentle touch

This is the day the Lord has made…that’s what I’m talking ’bout

I will rejoice, and glad I’ll be, and of His love I’ll shout!


7 Comments

Thank God for You

Just in case you may have thought

That I got busy and forgot

The kindness that you showed to me

That’s something that will never be

 

You gave your time, and awesome skill

Discouraged, I had been so ill

Directly answered prayers I spoke

Twas God who sent you, tears I choke

 

But tears of happiness are they

And gratefulness I cannot say

No words could ever be enough

Still here I try, though it is tough

 

How can I thank Him, sending you

For something so big, that you’d do?

It was so long, I’d lost my smile

I tell you, it had been awhile

 

But now that smile is big and bright

And you, I pray for every night

And never will there come a day

When those dear prayers, I won’t say


How Important Is Sin When You Love Someone?

Bird:

Thoughts on sin…

Originally posted on Everyone Has A Story...:

In order to clearly show my heart on the matter of homosexuality, I would like to write this post specifically to pinkagendist, Daniel Postlewaite, and John the Aussie. It is my hope that you will see that I don’t rank any sins that people grapple with above others…sin is sin, yet that isn’t what God is interested in. Yes, sin is evil. But He could have rid the world of all sin by just destroying all of it, and us with it. It is God’s love for us that is important, and was the reason He sent His son to die. To restore us back to our God, and to free us from the chains that sin places us in.

When my kids were in high school, my stepdaughter Brenda (not her real name) showed up in the middle of the

View original 982 more words


We’re All In One Club or Another, Whether We Like It Or Not

It has been mentioned a few times in comments (always kindly), and many times by me in my articles, that I tend to be kind of simplistic in my approach to pretty much everything in my life. While I am able to embrace this little characteristic of mine now, that wasn’t always the case. I waged war on being child-like for a really, really long time. To me, being

We all ride the short bus in some aspect of our lives. :-)

child-like and simple equated to being mildly retarded and plain stupid. And I blame that feeling directly on the handful of kids I went to school with at the Christian school, who all seemed genetically blessed with intelligence of Einstein proportions.

One thing that I can say for public schools — most of humanity usually falls comfortably smack in the middle in some crowd or another. Unofficial clubs, if you will. There are so many kids with so many issues with so many things to overcome, you can pretty much find a “club” to belong to that you rank in the acceptable middle of. For instance, I played sports. I wasn’t the All-Star Volleyball player of the team, but I didn’t warm the bench every game either. Happy Middle of the Club. I got fantastic grades in English, but Chemistry kicked my butt — twice. In my self-analysis, they balanced each other out. I could successfully hide in the Average Section of humanity there, and be alright with the fact that while I wasn’t going to be the President of the United States one day, I probably wasn’t going to be homeless, either. I was okay with that.

But, I kept ending up back at The Christian School, and just to give you some perspective of just how much I wasn’t in the middle of this club, let me give you a list of what those miserable overachievers do now for a living: (all but Audra’s names have been initialized to protect the innocent).

For an introduction to Audra, my best friend, you can go here:

I Have A Stonking Best Friend

and also, here:

My Best Friend Cheats At Board Games

The Elite Club Membership at The Christian School:

J. – Successful Musician and published Poet Author

J.D. – Seriously Successful Heart Surgeon

Audra – College Graduate of a really prestigious, exclusive, hoity-toity University with a Communications Degree

A.C. – Successful career in the Military; fought in several of our wars.

R.N. – Owner of his own successful business

S.D – A Military Linguist — And not just for one language — More like 5 of them, and all of them the really hard ones that sound like made-up Star Trek languages

D.N. – Not only did this girl score a perfect score on her SAT’s, but she now holds several Master degrees from Texas A&M

And Me: Bookkeeper

Albert Einstein Français : portrait d'Albert E...

Albert Einstein Français : portrait d'Albert Einstein (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

And because I know just how wonderful and kind all of you are, you are probably thinking to yourselves, “Now, that isn’t so bad…”. Yeah. It is. You can be honest. Only one in this class was riding the Short Bus, and it was me.

Now, please don’t get the impression that these kids rubbed my face in their higher-evolved-brains. They didn’t. We were just teenagers, and by the nature of the structure of this kind of private school, none of us were privy to what the other student was working on. We used PACES, which were workbooks that we completed at our own pace (hence the name). There was no classroom teaching with a teacher at the front chalk board, or open discussions, or any lectures. We were essentially sitting at enclosed little cubicles learning at our own speed. So, quite frankly, you could hide from the brainiacs that you were stuck on Geometry while they were coasting smoothly along through Calculus and Trigonometry.

I worked really, really hard at hiding from this accomplished group of students my true short-comings. And during middle-school years, I was fairly successful, I think, about fooling them into thinking I belonged in their Awesome Brain club. But when high school hit, I finally had to admit to myself that the jig was pretty much up. I mean, they weren’t stupid after all. Oh sad day when I looked myself in the mirror as I was getting ready for school and told myself: Yes. I am the dumbest one going to school today. And they all know it now.

And then Jesus stepped down from Heaven, showed up in the classroom and made the announcement that He was blessing me with a new, even-more evolved brain than theirs because He loved me so much. Not.

Instead, He was a bit more subtle, and He gave me something else…perspective.

There were some key people growing up that probably have no idea how much a kind word from them helped this struggling girl come to grips with who she was. I think God used them to patch up bleeding wounds in my soul, and actually guided me to a real path of healing and acceptance of who I really was.

The first one, hands down was a lady named Kay, and she was Audra’s mom. Kay was the kind of person that one experiences. I could write for a year every single day about some of what Kay has said and done to and around me, and I still wouldn’t run out of Kay stories. From the day I showed up for a visit in that household, the woman treated me like one of her own kids. Kay made me do the dishes the first time I’d ever spent the night at Audra’s house. And she checked them afterward to make sure they were really clean. She has complimented me, and yelled at me. She never bothered to try to be impersonally polite — oh, no. If she was telling me something about myself, I guarantee, it was what she really thought. Just the effort she put into me personally was enough for me to feel better about myself…she isn’t the kind of woman to bother if she just isn’t feeling it.

The next one was a lady named Joyce, who was actually the mother of one of the over-achievers. I don’t even remember the incident that sparked the statement, but she told me that I always was the courageous one in the group, always standing up for what I believed in. I remember my little heart almost beating out of my chest with pride — maybe I wasn’t brilliant, but I was brave! And it was coming from a person who I really admired because she never seemed to be holy, just real. Holy people have always made me nervous, but I’d heard her say a bad word, and I loved her all the more for it.

Another positive perspective actually came from my school supervisor. While muddling through my paces, I came upon an assignment where I had to write an alternate ending to a book. When I turned it in, I awaited for the constructive criticism that always accompanied my completions. Much to my surprise, he seemed genuinely impressed. And believe you me, the man didn’t impress easily! He said in kind of an off-hand way that I should focus on being a writer. That I had a talent for it. Sweet! That had been the only easy part for me in the whole stupid workbook. And being a writer was something I could enjoy doing… I was elated that I seemed to have at least one talent that could compete with the Elite Ones.

I was the regular babysitter for that same teacher and his wife. They would take me camping with them to help out with their girls. Once, on one of those camping visits, Virginia told me that they just weren’t comfortable leaving their daughters with any one but me. That they trusted me with what was the most important things in the world to them. I was trustworthy!

Those were the adults that really off-handedly helped put myself into some kind of realistic focus. It is a lot of hard work to try to fool people around you that you are want you are not. And it isn’t something you can keep up for any really extended amount of time either. Eventually, the person you really are will introduce yourself to the world. My advice for those fellow Bottom-of-the-List club members would be that we can’t possibly be on the bottom of every list in the world. Find the positive things in yourself and nourish those characteristics. Always aim to be a better you, without losing sight of just who YOU really are.

And try to be kind to those who feel like they are ranking the lowest in their own sets of clubs at the moment. Who knows just how much of a difference you’ll make to that person later on. :-)

– Bird

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