Christmas Poem 2012

Christmas comes and Christmas goes,

Long and dark winter’s wind blows.

Snow builds up,

fires alight,

all while children’s eyes glow bright.

Traditions to keep

leave little time for sleep,

with presents to buy,

seeing Santa–no time to be shy.

Trees sparkle and shimmer,

packages glisten and glimmer,

children can’t help,

pondering and staring.

Cakes and pies baking,

cookie decorating,

children behaving,

parents’ nerves fraying.

Country ham baking,

sugar glaze basting,

biscuits and cornbread,

On the table hasten.

Children sit still,

appetites fleeting,

toward tree lights and packages,

eyes continually peeking.

Excitement they can’t quell

called Christmas’s magic spell.

Hurry, hurry, hurry up and wait,

children to bed earlier than late.

Sleep eventually wins out,

dreams whisk away

the impatience of the day.

While parents scurry

to wrap in a flurry

stashes hidden before.

Before the sun rises,

cherubs at their door,

pleading for permission,

to let the mayhem begin.



Journaling is a passion of mine that fluctuates between traditional and digital. Traditionally I use a quadrille lined composition book, extra fine ink pens or pencils, lots of rubber cement and magazine clipping with splashes of color from color pencils or markers. Why magazine clippings? Because I can’t draw a stick person straight with a ruler.

I long to be an artist and remember vividly a Nordic art teacher trying in vain to teach me how to draw the negative space in order to create the oak tree my brain could see and my imagination could describe to him but my hands failed to produce.

The need to feel the writing utensil and the paper as I struggle to find the word and piecemeal the sentence into paragraphs or stanzas will never leave me. I have journals from as far back as the age of eleven and my how my heart poured forth. I am enjoying revisiting many of them as I venture into the digital realm of electronic journaling.

Blogging is new to me and morphing daily as I see its options and avenues for where I want to go and what I want to do. SoCl allows me to illustrate what I write now and I am thrilled to no end that SoCl was introduced to me. Beyond the minor cyber-kidnapping of my draft from time to time I see myself venturing more and more into this digital realm of writing. The main difference between the two is the ability to hide in my comp books versus the flamboyant out-there-ness of the internet and attaching my name to what I write.

Whatever mode you prefer know there are advantages to both but the most important is that what you have to say gets said!

Birth of a Writer

Approaching the end of the year, all of us tend to take inventory. This new man in my life has kept me so busy jumping through the zeroes and ones of cyber-productivity that I am at a loss for how I had hoped to get anything done before I was blessed with his presence. I have been blessed by the presence of multiple people in my life that support my writing quest but he is the newest and by far the best. 

For an outsider to look at my life on paper they would not be impressed or even want to switch places. It is not pretty. It is better than some and worse than others but it is mine. In spite of what has been, I continue to move forward. And one of the most vital driving forces is writing. 

As a writer I came by it naturally. The love of words instilled in me from an early age of lap sitting and story tellers. Arms enveloped around me, snuggled in just the right spots, while someone read or told a story with all the voices and dramatic flair the story required. Leading me into learning to hold the pencil just so and form my letters all pretty. Combining those letters into words at Tuesday school where my Aunt Ora taught me how to write and read before I turned four. It was then that I knew I would be a teacher. Aunt Ora told me I had the handwriting of a teacher.  

As I progressed through school, all of my language arts/English teachers were always my favorites. They all fostered the love of reading and writing. They all challenged my thinking, broadened my reading horizons, questioned the phrasing of my poetry and journaling. 

As a secondary English education major at the University of South Florida I was fortunate enough to fall under the tutelage of Dr. Joan Kaywell. Not only was she totally immersed in her craft she expected no less from you as well –no matter what your level of learning was at the time. She was involved in the upper echelons of the National Council of Teachers of English and the Florida Council of Teachers of English. She expected her students to join their professional organizations as students to take advantage of the opportunities available. Kaywell also got me involved in the Florida Council Teachers of English where I served as Executive Secretary for six years. In those six years I had the joy of hearing many authors present at state and national conferences and feed my need to write and pass that desire on to my students. She was my advisor and we became quick allies in the English education field. I was an older student having returned to college as a single parent after a failed marriage. I was commuting from Fort Myers to Tampa to take classes, working full time, and raising—with the help of my parents—a two year old. She began a pilot program for secondary education majors so we could have a full year multi-stage internship similar to that of elementary teachers. I was in the first round of the pilot program and was placed in my alma mater with a supervising teacher that was another blessing in my life.  

Ruth Rigby was a National Writing Project Fellow from the Florida State University Summer Invitational Institute. She was an American Literature teacher at Fort Myers High School and my supervising teacher for the full year internship. Her ability to get students so far into the writing process with their thinking that they had no option but to finish the writing to see what they had to say, mesmerized me as I watched her the first few weeks of my internship. Students did not balk at doing a journal. Students didn’t groan at the mention of an essay assignment because they never heard the phrase until after most of the essay was crafted through other creative avenues without their being aware. Students didn’t avoid the reading assignments because they wanted to experience another writer’s craft. This is how a NWP teacher operates; stealth mode instilling a love of writing as a writer not as a result of mandate or discipline.  

As a result of having Rigby as my supervising teacher, I was invited to attend the Summer Invitational Institute at Florida State University during the summer of 1989. I was the youngest attendee and had the shortest teaching career at zero years. Five glorious weeks immersed in writing with other teacher- writers, reading about writing, experiencing a true writer’s workshop with our personal writing filled the days and nights of those five weeks. But let’s not forget the ultimate assignment: to pull together the latest in theory and practice and present a best practice complete with student exemplars and presenting to them to the other 20+ much more seasoned teachers certainly was baptism by fire. But what a way to go! For those lucky enough to have attended a National Writing Project Summer Invitational Institute they know just how life changing it can be and what metamorphosis takes place in the depth of your whole being.  

The transformation drove me to stay involved in NWP in various ways. I became a presenter for the district staff development department, for the Lee Council Teachers of English, for beginning of year or mid-year in-service. I worked with district level administrators twice to write a grant to secure our own National Writing Project site and finally succeeded with the approval of the NWP @ Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Myers, Florida. I served as the Co-Director for the FGCU site for the first three years and helped compile the anthology. Having worked with Dr. Patricia Waccholz and Dr. Lois Christenson was an awesome experience in how to establish a site that will follow and foster the established precedent that NWP set forth in 1974, all while maintaining the love of writing and forging forward. 

And now there is the blessing of Kevin. I have gone from a four year old with pretty writing through wonderful fostering teachers to zero years of teaching to the zeroes of cyberspace and this wonderful man who is guiding me now through all the technological ways of getting my writing out to wherever the ones and zeroes land. He is helping me build an audience to hear my thoughts that hopefully won’t result in the nothingness of zero but the somethingness of ones—one reader at a time. I am so blessed!

Why Doesn’t Reside Here

grits867 8 days ago 

Sandy Hook Photo Prompt # 5 12.14.12

unfolds over time.
Branching in eternal directions.
A gunman; his family, lover, friends.
A school; a family extension unto its own.
Educators; dream launchers opening eyes.
Innocent children; lives unfolding naïve,
with parents too young to bury their own.
is reported again and again
until speculations
are facts we take hold.
No solace they bring
as we cling for each word.
Sinking in slow and deep
as only reality can.
December 14, 2012
The question should never be asked.
For the answer will never be known.
Reason doesn’t apply.
Reason here doesn’t reside.
is futile as well.
Precautions brazenly dodged.
Planned ahead and in secrecy too
Cowardice chillingly complicit
has many levels.
Sandy Hook today.
But where before
did this nightmare start
in this gunman’s mind.
will it end?
Today for those too early taken,
ongoing for those peripheral.
For those survivors today
this will never go away.

My Ten Reasons The World Will Not End on 12/21/12



10. Ed McMahon hasn’t delivered my Publisher’s Clearinghouse Check.

9. Hell hasn’t even caught a chill.

8. Looking for ‘em; not seeing ‘em; flying pigs.

7. Still hoping for more than double digit twitter followers

6. Started multiple “next great American” novels but none are finished

5. The handbasket carting me off to hell has yet to be delivered.

4. Sheldon has yet to bazinga Amy Farrah Fowler

3. My GPS can’t locate the fiscal cliff and I have Boehner hogtied in the back of the truck.

2. My sex bucket list is woefully incomplete.

1. Salivating the Surface and not got one yet.

What are yours? We got plenty of time to share!

Photo Prompt # 8 Reason for the Season? 12.20.12


It is inescapable.  Swivel your eyes to the left and you are bombarded with Christmas trees.  Squint to the right and you are inundated with wrapping paper, lights, gift bags, and tinsel.  While your eyes take in the scenery, your ears signal to you that you are humming along with the Muzak playing religious or holiday songs.  And if you are lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time you may be jostled, by like-mesmerized-shoppers, right off your path only to discover you are in front of a shop filled with the wonderful fragrance of gingerbread or peppermint.

Thinking about Christmas this year what struck me was this: why do some people celebrate Christmas if they are non-believers in God?  What purpose do they have for purchasing or exchanging gifts?  Why do they go through the hustle and bustle of the holiday?

As a believer I know that with each token I bestow on someone else I am honoring God and the gift He gave us in the gift of Jesus.  While my tokens certainly don’t measure up, it’s the thought that counts right?  Although my public practices have been stifled by man’s offensive bastardization of what my innocent childhood relied on to be true, I continue to foster my faith by holding true traditions instilled in me from an early age.


Not a season goes by that I don’t watch all movie versions of “Yes, Virginia, There Is A Santa Clause”, the only version of “It’s A Wonderful Life”, and of course “Prancer”.  I try not to miss televised offerings of “Frosty”, “Charlie Brown’s Christmas”, and the original “Grinch Who Stole Christmas”. I always hope to catch the Norelco commercial with Santa sledding through the snow.norelco-santa


These shows are certainly not religious in nature but they infuse, in my heart at least, the basic kindness that propels humanity toward being compassionate,   kind, and supportive of one another as we journey through our life here on earth just as Jesus portrayed during his journey.  It is the least he expects of us and most days we fall short of the least of his expectations.

I read the story of Jesus’ birth while playing the religious holiday songs that are my favorite.  I contemplate that goal of reading the whole Bible and again have the internal argument about being cheated out of the books someone before me felt didn’t need to be included and what I am missing by not getting to read everything.

So someone tell me what I am missing now.  If you don’t believe in God, what are you celebrating on December 25th?