One Little Word


One Little Word 2022

It’s that visionary time of year to choose lenses of intentionality for the coming year – for focusing on OLW (one little word) throughout the days, weeks, and months ahead. It’s hard to choose just one word to last the year when words are flying in a way they’ve never flown before. Sometimes people choose words, but occasionally words choose people, as the blog post by Fran Haley shows (you can read it at the end). Here is a list I’m keeping as I ponder my word. There are resources at the bottom of this post – more about the project, the way to use your word, ways to order stackable bracelets or coffee mugs to start the day remembering the word. I’ve even included a few blog links with yearly OLW reflections. What will your word be? Here are a few I’ve heard or am considering: 
































What’s the big idea?

Blog posts:–blog/sol21-olw-wrap-up


He’s Got This


He’s Got This 

Unwrapping my way

through the plastic 

storage tub layered

with Christmas treasures 

cushioned in old towels-

 carnival glass 

     milk glass 

          mirrored jewel chest

              being passed down to me,

Dad winced.

“Careful,” he reminded,

eyes squinted in fear

of breakage,

“these are rare pieces.”

Surely my recent stolen

jewelry prompted concerns  

about whether I’m a

suitable steward 

of precious things. 

All these thoughts 

of safes




to safeguard

  to protect

    to defend

      to harbor 

… fail 

I wonder about

   my children….

Have I cared for their

  fragile feelings, 

   handled them as carefully?

Spoken as frequently of 

     their value, 

         their worth 

            their rarity

               their uniqueness

as much as these iridescent sheens

  on this proud 


                  peacock plate 

    displayed on its

     wooden stand? 

I am certain  

   my priorities 

     need polishing

Two mothers asked me


    of my daughter in rehab:

“how do you find the courage

   to talk about this?

     to be so strong?

       to not be worried?”

and I told them the truth 

I firmly believe

  about parenthood 

    about guardianship 


Instead of worrying,

    there is a better way.  


I imagine a set of marbled stairs 

   as I stand at the bottom

      carrying my child 

At the top of these stairs 

   there is a throne

     where Jesus sits 

       beckoning me 

I ascend those stairs 

   and lovingly place this 

     fragile soul into the lap

       of her one true father-

         – – the one who’ll never walk out – –

       watch as he embraces

     her, comforts her, 

   steadies me, assures me

He’s got this. 

He’s got this. 

It’s not my defeat, 

       not my victory. 

My place is in ceaseless prayer 

    as God does His work.

He’s got this. 

I leave her there 

  in His arms –

    wherever she is:

      on the streets, 

        in jail,

          in rehab, 

             on a date,

               playing with her dollhouse,

                    at work, 

                       at school, 

                        dancing in The Nutcracker…

My place is in fervent prayer warrioring-

   beseeching, listening, following….

He’s got this. 

My courage comes from God. 

My strength is in Him. 

My prayers don’t cease-

   I pray driving to work 

     in the coffee shop

       in the restroom stall 

        in the frozen foods

         in line at the bank 

I pray without ceasing, 


He’s got this. 

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18







six years have passed now

since she left us for Heaven

how we miss her so! 

Can’t Sleep


Can’t Sleep

One fifty seven ay-em hot flash

ever on time, unwelcome fiend

meddling with my wellness sleep 

wee hour wringing night sweats

melatonin’s foe

slumber-proof plague


Don’t come


It’s 2:35 a.m as I post today, having written a Nonet (nine lines, each line in sequential syllable order beginning with 9) at the top of the morning, smelling like a high school basketball locker room after a hard loss…..

FDR Decima

On December 23, my father and I visited Roosevelt’s Little White House in Warm Springs, Georgia and the geothermal springs pool that is currently awaiting restoration donations to allow springs-seeking sufferers to come soak in the healing waters and find comfort – as FDR himself found on his 41 visits. Here is a Decima, written about a photograph of an accordionist as FDR’s body passed by on its way back to Washington, D.C.

FDR Decima

Our nation mourned a President

whose portrait remains unfinished,

human spirit undiminished 

grief-stricken faces evident

humanity’s fair precedents

once serious – not doublespeak

accordionist’s tear-streaked cheeks

symbolized America’s grief

inspired in us, though his legs weak

to seek the mighty, never meek 

A Decima is a 10-line poem with 8 syllables per line, having rhyme scheme ABBAACCDCC

Some Higher Plan


Some Higher Plan 

That liquor cabinet 

above the refrigerator 

was what I chained and locked- 

the place for those nights 

when someone can’t sleep,

when there’s a toothache to endure 

a celebration to cheer 

a cough to suppress –

because I thought it might be 

too tempting for some

That jewelry chest 

here in the rural Georgia countryside 

-where we don’t always 

even lock our doors-

was never on the chain and lock list 

That safe under the stairs 

contains only emergency cash

 (enough to drive to maybe Canada)



That family jewel theft 

was not on the radar, 

even by the yet unknown 

disease that drove it 

Who among us could 

trust and love 

live life to the fullest 

being that suspicious 

of our own?

I suppose it’s always easier 

looking back,

after the fact,

asking through tears 

about the loss of precious things

what might have been done

to protect them

The friend who lost a son

several years ago 

and all her belongings 

in a house fire this year 

tells others, 

“They say those vaults are fireproof. 

They’re not.”

Remaining photos of a son 

gone too soon

    charred images

      smoldering in “safe” walls~

and through it all, she keeps 

unwavering faith in God 

to take, 

       to give, 

           to work through her.

I strive for that same peace.

As tornadoes 

ravaged Kentucky 

a week before Christmas 

a Facebook friend 

posted pictures 

shared of the loss of

her generational family farm-

the barns, 

      the cattle, 

           the equipment, 

                the fences.

“We will be relying 

on the wisdom 

and strength 

of our Savior 

as we get through this,” she 

wrote through tears, 

not knowing where to 

even begin. 

Human hands. 







Precious gifts, gone forever.

Only the memories remain,

now gemstones, 

catastrophic carats

the color 

    and cut 

       and clarity of heartache.

…..And then, 

out of nowhere,

in the dark night of the soul

the bishop 

arrives on the scene

where Jean Valjean is 

under arrest for stealing silver, 

holds open a bag, 


“but my friend, 

you left so early

surely something slipped your mind…

you forgot I gave these, also

would you leave the best behind?”

And then, 

    dismissing the police…

       turns to Valjean,

           lowers his voice, 

                and sets the stage: 

“But remember this, my brother,

see in this some higher plan

you must use this precious silver

to become an honest man.

By the witness of the martyrs,

   by the passion and the blood,

God has raised you out of darkness

I have saved your soul for God.”

In a world where chains are broken, 

locks are picked, 

fire and rust consume,

water and wind ravage, 

what matters most is merciful love 

     in the human heart, 

          over-salved with 

                 the love of Christ 

who has forgiven all of us….

through prayer and the word,

through meditation and tears

that break down self 

so His love bursts through 

    hardened walls 

in truth and righteousness, 



and mercy 

and grace 

in a communion cup of blood

bigger than any Kool Aid man

   bursting through sheetrock

     offering the world

        a different-way-to-think-drink 

My son asked me,

“what would Miriam say?” 

and therein was the model

of forgiveness- 

    unconditional love, 

       at a time when 

        the tears of hurt 


             the windshield 

                of wisdom. 

My mother –

a grandmother 

who locked everything 


would tell me to unchain 

my heart, 

take care of my daughter – 

a pearl in an oyster shell– 

because her heart in eternity 

matters more 

than the gold and diamonds 

that were not locked tightly in a “safe.”

Have faith in this some higher plan….” 

is how I forgave a theft and rejoice in the promise 

The Bible tells us to be thankful in all things. I gave thanks when a daughter came asking for help and confessing her addiction and theft – because as a mother who prays daily for the health and safety of my children and grandchildren, I can only rejoice when God hears and blesses me with answered prayer. He also revealed a path for her to enter a six month faith-based rehab and transition home in another state where we were able to Zoom with her on Christmas and see a smile again, emerging from the rubble. He used her sister in mighty ways to do His work. He remains at work, using her life for His purposes as we continue to pray for her as she goes through recovery. Please join us as we pray. Thanks be to God! The manger in our Nativity is a powerful reminder that the most important gifts of Christmas are not found under any tree. 

Chambered Nautilus


Chambered Nautilus

Chambered nautilus

Box-inlaid cross-sectioned slice

mother’s mirrored chest 

Christmas gift from Dad

with two of her necklaces

Freshwater pearls, jade 

“Do you know how to 

tell real jade?” he asks. I don’t.

“Real jade beads feel cold.”

I touch them to see~

and realize they are the

real deal – as she was! 

Grateful for pieces

worn by my mother – daughters

love these gifts the most.

Christmas Day Play by Play


Christmas Day Play by Play 

Awake early (6:00), take dogs out

I think Dad has pneumonia ~ he’s

hacking up chunks of lung 

Breathing treatment for Dad – albuterol through the nebulizer 

and a pot of perked coffee

bowls of cereal for breakfast – Special K fruit and yogurt, Blueberry shredded wheat 

Dog play, 

brother ambles downstairs

girlfriend follows

A successful hunt: ginger for Ginger for nausea – Dramamine naturals and crystallized peppermint ginger, ginger ale 

Slice a Georgia Fruitcake gift for snacks 

Bully sticks and dog treat puzzle fun

Gift exchange – picnic blanket for us, trip starter fund and carnival glass,

Eisenhower coins, half and whole dollars, poetry book and pictures 

For Dad: coffee and The Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles, stocking with candy and coal

For Ginger: Inis, Seeing Beautiful Again by Lysa Terkeurst, stocking with candy and coal

For Ken: The Lincoln Highway, binoculars, stocking with candy and coal 

For them: Orange Spice Potpourri 

Girls FaceTime from


Open gifts – 

For Mallory: money, fragrance, bracelets, Ancestry DNA

For Ansley: money, books, Bible, bracelets 

Aidan calls: his Santa gift four wheeler tour with emphasis on the Razor helmet 

Another breathing treatment for Dad 

Pack pimento cheese sandwiches, chips, drinks, cookies, and fudge for the road and hug goodbyes 

Oops! Two

Shirts, hairspray, a jacket forgotten –

  • run outside to return to a leaving car 

Family leaves, Dad gets lost

     then found

that happens to all of us sometimes 

Everyone gets back on track 

Strip upstairs sheets, wash towels and linens 

Shower, get dressed and put on makeup 

Visit with Jack – Mythbusters shows – a trebuchet, steel tanker implosion, boat out of the water explosion 

Gift exchange – for us, money 

For Jack – the beautiful fiber optic four foot Christmas Tree on the coffee table, a Cobra keychain and Cobra Parking sign 

Noticing things – 

Papers lined up on the counter in sequential to do order,

plants from Pat’s funeral, needing water to perk up a bit 

“Pat’s Kitchen” towel hanging on the double oven door – she’s still a little here 

Return a nebulizer to Kyle and Beth

Call from Dad, then Ken – they’re home. 

shrimp and ham dinner,

cornbread and unsweet tea with Jack and Andrew 

Call from

Marshall: Merry Christmas and Santa was good, 

Plan to get together this week 

When Will One Day Come?


When Will One Day Come?

I cry for justice ~

have a fight-filled grief that rolls 

a hurtpath of suffering, spilling down

dream in slo-mo, like

that trickle of rushing waters –

one from whose wellsprings night and 

day spew forth righteousness 

Fighting Monsters


Fighting Monsters

Apple Crown Royal

a teaspoon of lemon juice 

one squeeze of honey 

tackling a bad cough 

nighttime monsters rear their heads

we beat them back down