#WednesdayWisdom | Some Days and Sunflowers

January Sunnies1

I hope by tomorrow I can unscramble the load of words bumping against each other in my brain. For now, please enjoy the words of Ullie-Kaye. Her poem manages to capture my “some days,” which have been going on for a week or two. Thankfully, though, there were sunflowers.

some days
ullie-kaye

some days are hard. and when they are,
i allow myself to feel whatever it is
that my body asks me to feel and i respect
the time it needs to fumble and flounder
and fall a little. some days i am swallowed whole
by things too big for me to hold.
and so i set them down. i rest, knowing
that even when i cannot slay the beast,
i can lay aside my sword for a moment and
work on protecting my spirit instead.
some days my heart beats like thunder
inside of my chest. it is heavy. and loud.
and relentless. it does not listen to the
part of me that wants to silence the storm.
and so i take my eyes off of the noise and
fix them on quieter places. on music. and art.
and heaven. and trees. and i show myself
grace in the dark. even if i am shaking my
way through it. because some days i still
haven’t caught my breath from yesterday yet.


Note: You can find more of Ullie-Kaye’s work on Facebook or Instagram [click links]. You can also purchase her poems–which always seem to resonate–as 5×7 cards here: Ullie-Kaye Poetry.

Musings from My Younger Self | Three Country Heartbreak Poems

52Frames Week 10 Low Key

“Wilting Sunflower.” My submission for 52Frames Week 10: Low Key

Tonight I’m dropping in to make good on a promise I made last month—to share some of the “country heartbreak” poems of my youth.  I really have no idea what I was exposed to that made me write them. They might be based on songs I listened to, soap operas I watched, or even books I read. I repeat: I.have.no.idea.  By today’s standards, I lived a pretty sheltered life, so even though the subject matter of the poems is not comical, my knowing I had little to no first- (or even second-) hand experience makes these poems pretty funny to me. 

I wrote all three poems the same day, about a month after I turned 15. There was a note at the top of “Guilty” that “all grammatical errors were done on purpose.” 

Guilty! 
Chandra Lynn (Age: 15)

I turned my back
and you’re headed on another road.
Well, I’m glad you’re gone
‘cause I don’t want you no mo’.

Comin’ home late ev’ry night
wit’ whiskey on your breath;
I’m telling you now,
nothin’s happened, not jus’ yet.

‘Cause when I git started,
I’m gonna go rough,
‘cause it’s no-good punks like you
who make a woman’s life tough.

So when you’re found guilty,
don’t act like you’re surprised.
Your pathetic life
is gonna flash before your eyes.

Promises! Promises! Promises!
Chandra Lynn (Age: 15)

You promised you’d come back;
you said you’d be back quick.
You promised we’d get married;
you put me in a fix.

Well, now you are back,
only two years late;
now, you’re married,
and I’m not your mate.

You said you love me,
but how could you?
You’ve hurt my feelings
and double-crossed me too.

Now, here I am,
a heart as cold as ice;
I am so heartbroken
that I cry all night.

You made too many promises,
promises you didn’t keep.
You told me you love me,
but the love you had wasn’t deep.

Our Illegitimate Child
Chandra Lynn (Age: 15)

Life has no meaning now—
You have gone away.
I gaze out my window,
praying you’d come back some day.

Nothing seems to happen;
I guess, that’s how it’s meant to be—
I take two steps forward,
and you turn around and leave me.

Nothing or no one can replace you
or your smile,
only this one reminder—
our illegitimate child.

Yes. I know the poems are problematic and flawed, but as I told an Instagrammer who offered unsolicited tips on improving one of my “youthful poems,” adult me is going to let teenage me be who she was as a writer. If you’re not already following my Musings Instagram, click here to follow: Musings from My Younger Self.

Literary Wisdom: Sunflowers and Light

You Are One of the Lights

I am thinking about participating in National Blog Posting Month (NaBloPoMo) this year. I participated from 2016-2019, but I missed the last couple of years because the thought of blogging daily during the height of the pandemic was overwhelming. Now, I feel like I might need the daily distraction of Pics and Posts to help me stay sane. I’ll spend the next couple of days figuring out a strategy (and topics), and we’ll see how life goes. I already missed Day 1, so if I decide to post every day, I will end on December 1 instead of November 30. 

For today, I’m sharing a postcard from my Wildflowers literary sister, Gina B. Her postcard carrying sunflowers and light arrived just when it should have. In this quote from Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1897), Dr. Van Helsing enthuses over the work of Mina Murray who transcribes the diaries of Lucy Westenra, Dracula’s first victim. 

Here’s an interesting tidbit: I could not read Dracula. One of my graduate professors suggested the book for my master’s thesis, but I only read a little more than half the book before deciding against including it in my work. I was having very vivid nightmares associated with the characters and plot and simply could not allow myself to be tortured any longer. Despite the nightmares, there’s no denying the postcard Gina B sent presents a beautiful bit of literary wisdom!

There are darknesses in life and there are lights, and you are one of the lights, the light of all lights.

Dark | Sit with It

Sunflower from Arizona

I am sharing a piece I wrote just a few moments ago during a writing circle session. I chose the prompt “I wish” for the group, hoping that a fanciful tale of unicorn dreams and butterfly wishes would fall from my pen. Instead, after being unable to write about my feelings for weeks, this spilled out:

I wish I could take this darkness that has settled into my being over the last few weeks and kick it straight into oblivion, into the abyss from which it sprung. It has robbed me of sleep. It has taken my calm. It has driven me to consuming way too much chocolate and to long-overcome habits of rolling my eyes and sucking my teeth and impatience with the world. It has made me so unlike me. I wish I could pull myself up to dance on clouds and sing on rooftops and never, ever apologize for being too joyful. I wish God would release me from the grips of darkness. I wish He hadn’t invited me to let it steep. To let it all rise to the surface—the grief and vile feelings, the suppressed hurt and trauma that I have stuffed too far down because I don’t have the energy or capacity to deal. I wish I didn’t have to confront the darkness. I wish I didn’t have to do the hard work of grappling with it and wrestling with it. We know Light wins. Light always wins, so why not skip the drama and just win already? Ugh! I wish I didn’t have to sit with the darkness, especially when just a flicker of His light is enough.


About the Image: My sunflower-loving, Wildflowers: Blooming in Community friend, Jamise L, sent the beautiful photo-card to me shortly after my father’s passing. Having lost her own father five years ago, she is well-acquainted with the journey. Her note offered comfort, love, and a shoulder to lean on. Thanks for the sunshine, Jamise!

My Golden Reminder to #facethesun

Golden Hour 1-B

Today is the fourth anniversary of my sister Lori’s passing, so, predictably, I woke up in the grips of sadness. I wanted to spend the day in quiet contemplation, perhaps, dreaming in purple, but Monday means necessary work. I was not exactly looking forward to a long “working meeting” day and wondered how in the world I would get through, but God reminded me that work is sacred and that as long as I continued “working for Him,” He would do His part in helping me feel safe, focused, and strong enough to get through. 

After a gloomy weekend, the sun is shining brightly, an invitation for me to glow in the moment. I am thankful for this moment. Though grieving the loss, I am grateful for Lori’s beautiful life.

I crafted the sunflower in today’s post for the Week 36: Golden Hour prompt for 52Frames. Unable to find a good “golden hour” to shoot in, I spent a figurative golden hour with this sunflower. It is just the image I need to have in my mind–a sunny reminder to change my focus or #facethesun [the Son of God] when I encounter the unpleasant moments of life.

Musings from My Younger Self | I’m the Boss of Me!

Sunflower PaintAfter “Troubled,” yesterday’s dark poem, I thought you might need a little bit of teenage sass. According to the folk who have to put up with me, I still have a bit too much sass from time to time. 

I’m the Boss
Chandra Lynn (Age: 15)

Just because you aren’t here
doesn’t mean I must be lonely;
I admit that I see others,
but in my heart, you’re my one and only.

I received your letter last week
and I didn’t like the tone of your voice;
it seemed as though you were saying
that I must make a choice.

A choice, you say?
Either you or my friends?
That’s not much of a choice;
any mind can comprehend.

Who do you think you are
to tell me what to do?
I know how to live my life
and I need no help from you.

I don’t mean to sound harsh;
I’m just trying to get my point across.
I need to let you know
that when it comes to me, I’m the boss!

This poem was written long before the concept of the “mic drop,” but this certainly feels like one of those moments. 🙂 And oh! It rhymes. I rarely wrote rhyming poems!

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.