For All The Brenda’s: A Letter of Encouragement and Gratitude

Follow along for the month of November as I express my gratitude in the form of “the poetry of letter writing.” I will never say all my thank you’s in just a few short weeks. I won’t even come close to honoring everyone that inspires me with their gracious spirit, deep well of kindness, or ability to bless me and others with the overflow of their heart.

But I can start. So this is just  a way to begin

One poem of gratitude, one thank you note at a time. (Thank you, as always for reading and journeying with me).

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Dear Brenda,

In an effort to be more of who I am, I want to be more like you.
It is a paradox that I am chipping away at daily.
Not the part about being like you. But of focusing on simple acts.
Engaging in the simple act of singlemindedness.
(I think I was made to focus on small things)
I think grand and great are left for others.
This is a revelation. With a small r.
But that would be presumptuous of me.
I do not imply that your work  (did you know I call it the “fluff and fold”) is not a big thing
Did you know, I long to love like you. Love simply and gently with your service and your smile.
I walk in hungry for kindness (don’t we all). And you give, so generously.
You take my soiled clothes in your hands, dutifully. Every. Single. Time.
I give you dirt and you you give me joy.
I give you a job and you give me your best.
I leave and you remain. You spend hours serving among the spinning machines.
Watching dirt wash away. Witness to transformation. Giving the world cleanliness and fresh starts.
You are throughly immersed in your work, thoughtful and diligent.
I want to write and love and live and serve with the devotion you give, to the laundromat.
The world needs more Brenda’s.
Secretly I know that you carry your private world around with you, concern for those you love, as you feed the coins into the machines.
But the grace and gentleness are all I see. You are all business. No hints of your personal life.
Oh lovely Brenda. Knowing you is a gift.
Until we meet again at the Fluff and Fold
with love and admiration,

e

thank you peach

Joining Laura today. She makes Monday’s so extra lovely

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How To Say Goodbye – Don’t

This is Day 31

Thank you for joining me during the month of October for #write31days. Now that we are ending the series, I am just getting started with this rodeo. Was this a practice drill? Is tomorrow really November 1? More about that later.

To read the series in its entirety, click the page tab at the top of the home page. Spoiler alert, there are not 31 posts. Right, I know, I fell short of the goal. But I don’t really see it that way. More about that later.

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I do not like goodbye’s. Unless I am leaving the DMV or the dentist. But even then I have usually tried to connect with someone in the place and have done some sort of bonding, making it difficult to leave. So goodbye’s, I am not a fan. When I say bonding, I mean I hope I have gotten past how are you’s and how is the weather’s. I am a digger. Though I try to be gentle. If we were having coffee I would be gently going deeper in conversation rather than keeping it superficial.

If you are a regular reader here, it is rare to hear me speak. Usually its a lot of poetry. And I like it that way, but today is a horse of a different color and I am feeling a bit chatty, sentimental and having a difficult time saying goodbye to this series.

Perhaps it is because I am struggling to say goodbye to my beloved old English Lab who is hanging around this thin veil of living and leaving. It is painful and yet there are moments laced with such tender beauty. I am clinging to the moments and praying for a miracle. I am seeing signs of love and life and glory tinged on the edges of her illness. The tail wags, a barometer of life. She rolls on her back and lets me rub her sweet spot, an indicator of emotion. And the food? If she can still eat her beloved peanut butter treats, she’s not going anywhere anytime soon (she says hopefully and expectantly).

So perhaps saying goodbye is best when we focus on the hellos, the gratitude, the blessings of the life and life experiences rather than the void. I do not know how to say goodbye’s well. So do not listen to me. But as I map out the end of this series I want to focus on gratitude.

My best goodbye is a big hello, thank you, blessings on your head.

If you have read here for a season, you have come across my words on aging and dementia. This is a theme of sorts  in my life as I walk through this confusing disease with my mother. It is a journey of discovery. Of pain and joy. Of surprise and disappointment. I do not want to say goodbye to who she was before dementia, I choose to say hello to who she is becoming every day within the new paradigm of her life, aging with dementia. Hello, thank you, blessings.

I want to choose to embrace the moment, savor the moment and declare the gratitude in the moment.

I guess the best goodbye is a hello till later.

Maybe that’s the best I can do on this Day 31. I hope this is hello. I hope this is see you in November. And I hope you will be around for the book. Because the book is coming, I  trust the timing. And no, I do not know the details, I just know my heart’s desire on the matter. And I hope you will help me explore the newsletter and join me if it is birthed and takes off.

So this is my postcard from me for today. Hello, thank you, bless you, warmly, e.

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If I have met you through this series, thank you. If you have subscribed to the blog to follow my writing during October, thank you.

I hope to see you in November and all the months ahead.

I am dreaming of a weekly newsletter which contains writing that would not be found on my blog. If you think this sounds interesting, intriguing or has any merit at all, drop a comment in the comment box and say, “I MIGHT be interested in that”. And if you are subscribing, you will hear me announce here a place to sign up if I go forward with it. I think a newsletter may be fun for all of us. (Rather than a second blog.) Yes, I did mention that as an option earlier this week.

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Things That Never Were

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Things That Never Were

If all the words that never were
written down
never were allowed to
leave
the fingertips
and all the souls that were called
to come
never came and sat a bit
lingering on the warm sweet breathes
never hearing the sound
of every silent word
that never left
a heaving heavy laden chest
swollen, wrapped in anxiousness

never stopped to stay awhile
nor sit
and tell the stories of the simple things
in a wooden chair
creaking, slow
while rocking back and forth
side by side out on the wide and open
porch

and all the joy that was due
a pregnant waiting
never giving birth
never delivering

you or you

and all the colors that were mixed and meant
to
stamp out dreary shades of
white and black
melancholy of a two-toned world
never were

and you had never come to me
never with a kiss upon your lips
nor flowers, mixed bouquet
picked from the garden
that was never planted on our land
and  I had never come to you
what a love-less nothing
life would be
untold stories of un-lived lives
that never were

left out of all the dreams
and even out of our imaginings

void

the never were’s

of you and me

amazing grace has written
instead
stories too beautiful to tell
or so it nearly seems

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joining Laura at The Wellspring for Playdates With God

The Healing Fragrance of Thanks

Dear Friends,

I picked the smallest trio of gardenia blossoms from my bush, placed them in a silver vase and sat them on my desk.

Beauty permeated my home. Fragrant beauty.

If you know this flower you know the potency of its fragrance, the unmistakeable trademark of its sweet, sweet smell. They say that our memory of smells stays with us the longest. Perhaps while others fade, slowly for some, quickly for others, the memory of Noxzema, fresh cut grass and Confederate Jasmine linger the longest. Find a place to embed or root deep down in our souls.

But I say, the memory of a generous act may rival the glorious fragrance of my beloved gardenia.

And so it is was when I  planted the seed of a dream. And  the winds of friendship picked it up, carried it off and watered it gingerly. Carefully. Diligently.

Friends who are strangers. Making the sweetness even more delectable.

Thank you. Saying it feels right and proper yes, but healing. In a come-full-circle way, the sending back of gratitude when a kind and generous gift has been received feels like closure. Gathering up the seeds of generosity and sending them back out to land on fertile soil, elsewhere. Out there. In the world.

Thank you friends at Tweetspeak Poetry and TSPoetry Press. Thank you L.L. Barkat and Tania Runyan. Thank you friends, known and unknown. Thank you for gathering the momentum, funds, and steam behind the gift of 180 copies of  “How To Read A Poem,” published by TSPoetry Press and written by Tania Runyan.

When I think of my gardenia which bloom every summer I will always remember your friendship and generosity.

I know we have given a gift which has and will touch the hearts and souls and minds of the class of 2014 of one school in one little zip code town.

There is mystery in the giving. There is trust in the release.

Poetry has a job to do, perhaps. Poetry has an opportunity to release its fragrant offering into the lives of one graduating class.

The gift of poetry and the gift of faith, joined together in this one beautiful act of friendship and generosity.

May you smell the sweet fragrance of my thanks. May my gratitude be known and remembered by each participant in this act of generosity.

Imagine with me the possibilities. Dream with me of the places poetry will go.

wishing you poetry, always,

elizabeth

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