Musings from My Younger Self | Troubled

Altered Rose-1Warning: Today’s poem is not so bright and cheerful, but I’m sharing it because it demonstrates the range of topics of the poetry of my youth.

Troubled
Chandra Lynn (Age: 15)

Troubled,
the man killed himself–
not physically.
He stopped living.
He fell out of love with himself.
He fell out of love with life.
No one understood him.
No one cared.

He lived in seclusion,
a place of total isolation
and that is where he died.

No one knows the world he lives in
or how to bring him back.
Those who know him–
They know not what to do.
All they want to do is see him,
hear him,
touch him,
love him.

This poem is a little scary for me. I had planned to post it some time ago, but put it on hold because it felt so dark. But, now it feels “prophetic.” Even though I wrote it many, many, many moons ago, I have a beloved mentor who is in a similar situation. He abruptly and inexplicably cut himself off from all who know and love him. All attempts to draw him out have failed. Considering the “life of the party” he usually is–both socially and intellectually–it is painful to imagine him in this state. Prayers, please.

Musings from My Younger Self | Composed in My Bedroom

Altered Daisies-1

I wrote several collections of poetry in my younger years. The poem I posted yesterday, “Gentle Rage,” comes from a collection entitled On a Sleepless Night. Today’s poem, “Composed in My Bedroom on a Saturday Night, comes from a collection entitled, Looking for the Strength. Denise, one of my high school besties, did the research and found the information to help me get my collections copyrighted through the Library of Congress. (I’ve always had such wonderful, encouraging friends).

Composed in My Bedroom on a Saturday Night
Chandra Lynn (Age: 18)

The walls of concentration
are my prison tonight.
I cannot hear the muffled sounds of the TV
or my daddy’s snoring from the next room.
I’m deep in thought,
lost in a world of my own.

I like the music played softly
in the background:
the peace of mind
that comes with joy
that comes with knowing and accepting myself.

I cherish the memories that crowd my thoughts,
as laughter and tears flood my soul,
happy to be free.

My world is more intriguing and beneficial
than the world going on around me–
So many just hold on to life
while I reach toward a dream.

I confront the loneliness that I’d know
if I were unhappy about being alone.
Loneliness and aloneness
are two different states of mind.
I delight in being alone,
but loneliness will not arrive
unless I desert myself.


Unlike yesterday’s poem, I remember the details of writing this poem. This was written a few months after I graduated from high school, a few days after my 18th birthday. Most of my friends were in college, but going to college didn’t feel right for me at the time. I couldn’t decide whether I wanted to major in music, English, journalism, or psychology, so I took a gap year (and, because it was still all so overwhelming, another). That’s a story for another time, but with everyone gone or busy, I often spent my Saturday nights at home in my room. I wrote this poem in my bedroom one such evening, enjoying the quiet and the time alone. I was typically content with being alone–as long as I had my books, music, journals, stickers, and pens. I don’t think much has changed. 🙂

Musings from My Younger Self | Silent Battle

Altered Sunflowes-1

Gentle Rage
Chandra Lynn (Age: 15)

There’s a peaceful war
a silent battle,
a gentle raging
taking place;
involved are my mind
and my heart.
I can do nothing to put it to an end.
If it ends, it ends.
Victory will be the conclusion.
Defeat will be the outcome.


This week on the blog, I will be sharing “musings from my younger self,” poetry (and maybe prose) I wrote during my teen years. Sometimes, I will comment, but if today is an indicator of the week ahead, I’ll probably just share the poem. I wrote the poem above when I was 15. If only my memory would allow me to tap into the context of the poem!

Sunny Blossoms | You Are a Gift

I am just hopping off the road from a trip to New Orleans, so I am too exhausted for the words I’d planned for this evening’s blog post. Rather than “skimp” on the pen friend who sent me a very thoughtful sunflower and letter, I’m sharing one of my own sunflower doodles paired with “poetic wisdom” from Cleo Wade’s Heart Talk.

img_0801

May these words stir you to appreciate the gift you are…

Sunny Blossoms | Sunflowers at Her Grave

“Shine Brightly.” PhotoArt by Diane W.

Some time ago I shared a short sunflower poem written by rupi kaur on the blog. I think of this poem often—whenever I think of my sisters, my friend Julie’s oldest daughter (who was also my student), my pen friend Eileen V’s daughter, and others who passed far too soon.

As I was noting the darkness in my office one stormy morning this week, I mentioned to Julie that I need to transfer my sunflower wall back to my office at work, and she began telling me her special sunflower story.

She planted sunflowers at her daughter’s gravesite. For some time, she tended that garden, a necessary act as she worked through those first shocking moments of grief. The garden grew and grew, as gardens do. Eventually but unsurprisingly, she was told it had to be scaled back (out of respect for other decedents and their families). She was able to chuckle a little when she shared that part, as there has been by this time enough distance between the shattering pain of losing a daughter so young and the present moment.

The image of a gravesite bedecked in sunflowers reminded me of the statement my blogging friend, writer Ellen H, made in a comment on one of my recent posts about grief—

Beauty is both stunning and sad. —Ellen Hawley

There is a cost to beauty, so while I marvel over the amazing grace God showers on mothers who lose their daughters, I am keenly aware that the loss leaves a wound that never heals. As Julie says, “it’s a club to which no mother wants to belong.”

Even so, I thank God for Karlette, Lori, Témar, and Alanna. Though there is sadness, I am in awe of the stunning gifts of their brief but brilliant lives.

despite knowing
they won’t be here for long

they still choose to live

their brightest lives

rupi kaur, “sunflowers,” from the sun and her flowers


About the Image: The sunflower art in this evening’s post comes from a photo-art journal crafted by my swap-bot pal, Diane W (aka midteacher). I shared most of the beautiful journal on the blog a few years ago, with a promise to come back and share four of the images in individual posts. I’ll get to the other three…eventually.

Sunny Blossoms | Miles and Miles of Golden Green

sunflower field from deb t

Miles and miles of golden green
where the sunflowers blow
in a solid glow. –Robert Browning
(from “A Lover’s Quarrel”)

The panorama postcard above was sent to me a couple of years ago (?) by Debbie T, one of my Wildflower friends. It was included in a package of gorgeous floral postcards featuring the work of artist Christopher Arndt, who developed a unique style of photo painting. From the postcard back:

The field of sunflowers blooms on a traditional small family farm in northern Wisconsin with a red barn in the background.

The card is part of his Door County, Wisconsin series. Another postcard from that series is featured in an earlier post. You can find and purchase his art by clicking the link above.

I thought I’d slip in this evening and write something beautiful to match Arndt’s gorgeous field of sunflowers. But, I gave this week all I had to give. I survived and gained a new appreciation for the phrase “Thank God it’s Friday (TGIF). Now, I just want to sit quietly with my thoughts until I succumb to sleep.

Until tomorrow…

#ThursdayTreeLove | “Talking Trees” [No Blossoms Today]

Thur Tree Love 08-11-22 wm

Some humans say trees are not sentient beings,
But they do not understand poetry—

Nor can they hear the singing of trees when they are fed by
Wind, or water music—
Or hear their cries of anguish when they are broken and bereft—

Now I am a woman longing to be a tree, planted in a moist, dark earth
Between sunrise and sunset […]

I  have heard trees talking, long after the sun has gone down —Joy Harjo, from “Speaking Tree”

The sunflower postcards I’ve shared thus far were providing sunlight and cheer, but not the therapy I needed for this rather strange week (I have stories…whew!). Thankfully, today is the day we express our love for trees, soooo…to save my sanity, we interrupt our week of sunny blossoms with a wee bit of tree therapy. 

I haven’t had a chance for much tree love lately. It has been too hot to spend time outdoors. [Me daily: “Oh my gosh! Can we get to autumn already?!”]  I did take a very short walk to the dining hall earlier today and enjoyed some tree love as I walked. I was struck by the two trees (pictured above), leaning toward each other in full conversation right in the middle of campus. The perfect capture for #ThursdayTreeLove!

Did you know trees communicate with each other? You can read all about it here: Do Trees Talk to Each Other?


I am joining Parul Thakur for #ThursdayTreeLove every second and fourth Thursday of the month. If you would like to play along, post a picture of a tree on your blog and link it back to her latest #treelove post.

Sunny Blossoms | The Ultimate Kindness

“Kindness” by Martha S.

Today’s Kindness blossom came from my pen friend, Martha S. She painted the sunflower [with a nod to the Ukraine] for International Women’s Day/Women’s History Month. It was refreshing to see a card that simply reminded us of kindness. 

If we think about it, it all comes down to that. Doesn’t it? If we were more compassionate and thought as highly of others as we think of ourselves, women’s rights wouldn’t need to be a thing!

I know that sounds simplistic. Social structures/constructions are complex, and for some reason, humans have an almost innate suspicion of those who are not like them; furthermore, in many cultures, men have been conditioned to see women as inferior to them. These attitudes seem to be at the root of all unkindness—even in our “smaller” interpersonal interactions.

I wish I could pinpoint the moment where [some] men decided that women were inferior to men. Some point to Eve’s disobedience in the Garden of Eden or Scripture in general, but the argument is not supported in Scripture. What Scripture does uphold is that we are created in God’s image (Genesis 1:27); we are part of a royal priesthood (1 Peter 2:9); and God desires an abundant life for all of us (John 10:10b). And, the best part–His mercy, grace, and salvation are available to all!

That is the ultimate kindness. 

Sunny Blossoms | Glow, Baby, Glow

Christine Brooks Sunflower Alcohol Ink

Sunflower by Christine B.

There was little sun in Northern Alabama today, so this alcohol ink sunflower from my friend Christine B brought the brilliance for us—reminding us to shine, glow, and live life to the fullest!

Stop dimming your
light and shine. If you’re
too bright for them, they’ll
find some shade. Shine,
glow and embody your
life to the fullest. –Sylvester McNutt

Shine on!

Sunny Blossoms | Take What You Need

Lori-Anne Courage Sunflower

“Take Courage,” Sunflower Art by Lori-Anne C

If you’ve ever seen my sunflower wall, you know that my friends keep me well-supplied with sunshine. I can’t tell you the number of times my wall of sunny blossoms cheered me and ushered me from a sour mood to an elevated one. As far as I’m concerned, the world can always use a little more sunshine, so I’m sharing the blossoms from my friends with you all week. [And yes, this is part of my effort to blog every day until my blogiversary]. Here’s the good news: If you live in one of the more sunny climes (read: red hot summer), you can enjoy these daily bits of sunshine without the additional heat. 

I am sharing one of the beautiful sunflower creations crafted by my Love Notes/Wildflowers friend, Lori-Anne C. She sent this bit of gorgeousness for International Women’s Day along with the equally gorgeous address book I shared in another post. 

Lori-Anne also included a “take what you need card” with tear outs of some of our most critical needs: courage, appreciation, confidence, patience, inspiration, and flowers.

Take What You Need

When I received Lori’s mail, I was dealing with a lot–grieving over the loss of my father, worrying about my mother, stressing out over my son’s well-being, and navigating a lot of rocky territory. It took courage to face each day and not hide under the cozy comforters on my bed. It took courage to expose my wounds and fight for the healing which seemed a long way off. It felt right seeing that seven-letter word affixed to the card. Courage, more than anything else, is just what I needed.  

What do you need this week?