“When your life appears to be the most stable and calm, unexpected changes will occur.”
~ quote from the book, “Understanding and Sharing” chapter 7, page 141

I’ve just begun to sort through the boxes that hold the remnants from my childhood bedroom. It was February of 1994 when I packed up my basement bedroom at 21 Jones Place. I remember the date because that’s when my parents moved to their dream house, a new construction built just for them. Today I removed a slim spiral bound notebook from one of the boxes. It’s an odd size, 7 3/4” x 5”. On the cardboard cover I’d written, “Ceramics” and my maiden name, “Janean Thompson.” On page one, opposite from the quote shared above, the upper right hand corner of my notes declare, “1-30-90.” That’d be from second semester of my freshman year in college. Eons ago. Light years. More than two decades in calendar reality, not based on dramatic storytelling time. Of course I found this quote today, “6-16-13.” One of many notes I’ve uncovered this morning that I left for my future self. That’d be me. The woman I am now. The mother of two boys, ages 13 and so close to 10, who sees photographs of that teenage girl with the mane of long brown hair and smile so bright, and wonders, “Who was she? Where did she go? What were her dreams?” My soul whispers in reply, “I’m still here. Look inside.” I’m trying to. My sister’s wise advice is, “Just be you.”

June 16, 2013

my heart longs to make art
it’s the soul balm
I am needing
layered alongside that though
is family business paperwork
waiting for me To Do
trying to balance my time
weighing heart cry vs. duty

I called the 1-800 number
the one atop this bill
seemed wise to double check
‘cause I thought I’d maybe paid it
handwritten check register read:
#9988 2/27/13 $389.90
the total due matched right up
answered the automated questions
by typing on the phone
was given a second number
for “facilities business office”
a person answered right away
gave ‘em the account number
they replied with a human voice:
“Zero Balance”
“Paid In Full”

what beautiful words those are
just like Jesus on the cross
who forgives us
over and over
BIG TIME
sinners saved by grace
a gift freely given
all we are To Do is ask

“Amazing Grace”
was played across radio waves
this very morning too
I sang along and cried
I almost always do

March 13, 2013

dog walk thoughts

I walked Blue through the park this morning early, our favorite route, while a cold rain fell. As my peacock adorned rain boots hit the wet sidewalk, after we made it through and were headed on toward home, these words rang in my head in a steady rhythm:
“Grit, Steel, Grace and Love
that’s what Janean Baird is made of.”

Of course it should read, “Janean Marie Thompson Baird” but that’s too long and ruins the word flow.

I’m going to wake up the boys next and plan on unplugging as best I can to make art today, for that is the soothing balm my aching and weary soul needs most.

March 11, 2013

dazzle night

enjoy the dazzle of Oscar night
lots of stars and starlets
sashaying upon the red carpet
far away in fantasy land
where dreams are made
or so they say
not here though
not tonight anyway
I turned the television on
to view the red carpet parade
just not in me to ooo and ahhh
at Hollywood’s glittering facade
instead the big dog woofed
several times to make sure I heard
pup took me on a sidewalk stroll
Blue knew I needed moonlight
full moon kind
extra bright
fresh air and quiet calm
as the real stars sparkled
and glistened overhead
brisk air was a balm
good for my soul
real stars
real life
my favorite kind o’dazzle
tonight

February 24, 2013

I awoke

I awoke with a smile
I nearly always do
sleep refreshes
body, mind and soul

I awoke with a smile
and lollygagged in bed
purring cat sat atop me
‘til sunlight was shining in

I awoke with a smile
even as I heard
a muffled woof
that’d be Blue dog
testing the airways
from the main floor
to see if I was up

I awoke with a smile
and tonight shall fall asleep
with one too
a quiet curving of lips
upturned
speaking of joy
and contentment
within

February 24, 2013

he’ll be 13 in April

My oldest son has so many good life skills at age 12 3/4. My mom has said, “he’s an old soul,” since he was an infant. I continue to marvel at him, and wonder what God’s plan is for my oldest boy. He is so articulate, knowledgeable about so many topics, and good with people of all ages. He has such compassion and empathy in him, balanced by an in depth knowledge of warfare throughout history and weaponry. Lots of scripture and Bible teaching are buried in his great big heart too. I just keep loving him and encouraging him in all things. Nudging now and then. Downplaying and not gushing to keep his head from swelling. He’s a builder, a dreamer, a planner, a thinker and I hope a doer too. I miss him, his little brother, that great big Blue dog and striped cat too.

Initially written as a text reply, on January 23, 2013, while sitting at my husband’s bedside at Loyola hospital near Chicago. My friend, whose oldest son is the same age (well, 14 days older), was praising my oldest son’s conversation skills. Saying that he speaks intelligently and clearly, and comes across as very knowledgeable and thoughtful. Of course my Mother’s Heart swelled with a bit o’pride. He is mine. Forever and always my baby he’ll be, even now when he towers head and shoulders over me. Not ‘cause he’s a GIANT, though he’s built broad for football, just ‘cause his mama isn’t tall…sayin’ I’m under 5’ is close enough.

my thirsty soul

novicepen:

You offer overflowing love
to everyone else and
leave nothing for yourself

You hope to save
a lost soul
but you don’t even
know how to save
your own

You give too much
water to the thirsty
and forget about
the thirst in your throat

Now look in the mirror
and see what you’ve become
Remember that the
things you offer to people
you can offer yourself too

novicepen,
THANK YOU MUCH, for this beautiful reminder to feed our own soul. My mother’s advice is, “Put yourself on The List”. Several friends advised, “Boundaries”, when they noticed my thirsty soul, and then encouraged me to pursue the things that water it. Making and teaching art, and writing poetry and prose, is The Best Thirst Quencher In The World, for me. Art and Writing are My Oasis In The Desert.
~ Janean