Childhood

brown wooden armchair on brown wooden floor
Photo by Marcelo Jaboo on Pexels.com

 

CHILDHOOD

Chair in the corner of the dining room,

and Daddy sitting in it, and only the orange glow from the ashes,

and gray puffs of smoke,

gave any signal of human presence.

Otherwise it was just the darkness and a chair in the corner,

otherwise it was just daddy in the dark and all alone.

I watched the firelight from the cigarette, as a child,

and wondered why the night was so black,

and why Daddy was so alone, and why voices rang out in the night.

I thought of Mama in the next room sleeping,

and I wondered why I was so small, and why Mama and Daddy never laughed.

And I felt like the night, cold,

and like Daddy,

and like Mama.

so all alone.

Copyright 2019, Jenny W. Andrews

 

My poetry book “Life at the End of the Rainbow” is currently available at Amazon/Kindle. I would love to hear any feedback about my poetry. Thanks.

-Jenny

 

Aunt Mary: Remembering

This is a photo of my aunt Mary. July always reminds me of the family that I lost after a series of unfortunate events. Funny how, although we slip on the mask of normalcy and plaster on a smile, deep down those wounds are still raw and they seep through when triggered.

Summer heat, families laughing together, little kids cradling their hands in the palms of their aunts or mothers remind me of when I was little and Aunt Mary would give me her hot oatmeal cookies. I remember those large dark eyes like onyx mirrors studying me as if I puzzled her. She’d tilt her chin and bless me with that smile of hers. I still can smell the sweet scent of raisins and cinnamon as she placed a cookie in the palm of my hand and folded her hand over mine.

Yes, summer takes me back to sweet watermelon sliced open by my daddy, the pink juice dripping onto the table cloth. Aunt Mary, Aunt Myrtle, Aunt Eltrum, Aunt Gladys, and Aunt Sally all gathered around along with my uncles Bill, Carlton, and Bo, around the picnic table outside in the yard. That blistering Georgia sun never stopped us; we didn’t have an air conditioner, so we didn’t really care. The heat, the sense of belonging, the sweetness of watermelon and oatmeal raisin cookies are memories that return to me in the middle of summer. It has been nearly fifty years since it all ended with trauma that left an indelible wound deep inside my soul.

Over the decades I have managed the loss by reminding myself that one day I will be reunited with my aunts and my uncles, my parents and my siblings in that eternal paradise where there will be no sorrow, where death will be defeated.

Yes, summer reminds me of that wound I carefully cover beneath a mask of normalcy. Truthfully, I hurt from the magnitude of the loss.

I get through this pain by reminding myself that there is a paradise in which God will give me rest and where I will be reunited with those whom I loved more than life itself.

Jenny W. Andrews copyright 2022

Monday Blessings

Okay, Monday can either be interpreted as good or bad.

Well, I think it is all in our decision to either be happy or not; to either look up at the brilliant sunshine or cool rain, or to look down at the sticks and brambles that hurt our feet.

This is a photo of a little donkey I saw in the countryside of The Republic of Ireland back in October 2008. It makes me smile; it reminds me of that absolutely breathtaking landscape of mountains and lakes and stone bridges, and that tiny ancient whisper of my great-grandmother Mary Ellen’s people who had to abandon those magical green fields for the unknown land way across the ocean.

I walked those cobblestone paths in Dublin, County Cork, Kilkenny and thought of those footsteps that had preceded me. And, I smile.

On this Monday in late June, I smile at the beauty of memory; I smile at how decisions can change history, for either good or bad. It always depends on who is telling the tale. And, truly, only the passing of time can really determine whether those decisions were either good or bad.

Great-grandmother Mary Ellen’s people settled in the blazing heat of Georgia, farmed the land, toiled there, raised a family, and through their decisions, I am here on this Monday thanking God for the blessings of my life.

I am thankful for this beautiful Monday; I decide to spend this day after work writing on my new poetry book.

I plan to spend this beautiful Monday in happiness and thankfulness.

And remembering those beautiful moments I spent in The Republic of Ireland patting a silly donkey behind the ears.

Jenny W. Andrews copyright 2022

Beauty to Begin the Week

Well, here we are at the end of another month. It’s hard to believe that we are half way finished with 2022. Time truly flies and doesn’t wait for any of us to make up our minds how we plan to spend the hours that we are given.

Pictured here is a duck that used to hang around the lake near my house. I took this photo nearly ten years ago; but, it feels like just yesterday.

As we all near this last week in June 2022 let’s consider how we plan to spend the following months of 2022.

Is there a goal that you have wanted to complete, but you keep procrastinating? Ask yourself why you keep procrastinating? What’s holding you back? Is fear of failure holding you back?

Consider this: Tomorrow comes no matter whether we are afraid are not. Tomorrow comes whether we waste away our precious minutes scrolling through a computer screen or whether we set aside the time to learn a new skill. Or, whether we call an old friend to just chat rather than send an impersonal message via social media or text message. Tomorrow comes whether we sit in front of the television and mindlessly eat chips and watch Seinfeld reruns (I love Seinfeld so trust me I am not disparaging Seinfeld), or whether we set aside thirty minutes to exercise.

Or, whether we set aside an hour to begin that novel we have in our head.

My point is is that time pays us no attention. It is this incredible gift that most of us squander. We bank on tomorrow. Well, I will get started tomorrow. . .we say.

While, yes, tomorrow does always come, truth is that unfortunately our tomorrows are not promised to any of us. So, those that we are blessed with should be used as productively as possible.

So, as we all turn our sights toward tomorrow, let’s consider what we can do to learn and to grow, to move toward a new skill, to explore a new place, to not let our precious and time-limited existence in this beautiful world be wasted.

Indeed, this life is beautiful. Of course, there are challenges. Life is complex. However, we have control over how we are going to spend our time.

So, make no excuses or time will make the decision for you.

Get going.

Start actively to set aside time to do what your heart yearns to do.

Pursue your passion. Don’t let fear stop you. Be fearless; most of all, trust completely in God and he will provide.

But, you have to get moving.

Blessings!

Jenny W. Andrews copyright 2022

Strength Comes from Faith in God

“The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” Psalm 27:1

As you begin this new week, consider keeping this psalm close to your heart. It promises us that God is our light, salvation, and strength. What an incredible promise! He is with us and will protect us and give us strength as we go about our daily lives.

Please do not dwell on the bad news that is constantly in front of us on social media, television, et cetera. Take a break from all of that and simply breath in the beauty that is this life. Most importantly, trust completely in God and rest in his light. He will give you all the strength that you need to get through whatever may come in your life.

Of whom shall you be afraid?

Nobody.

God is king. And, he will always be king. He will strengthen you and protect you.

Trust completely in his light, in his love, and in the truth that you are never alone. God is with you.

Have a blessed week.

Jenny W. Andrews copyright 2022

Letting it Go: Positive Quotes

“Holding on is believing that there’s only a past; letting go is knowing there is a future.”- Daphne Rose Kingma (Keepinspiring.me/letting-go-quotes)

“Once you realize you deserve a bright future, letting go of your dark past is the best choice you will ever make.”- Roy T. Bennett (Keepinspiring.me/letting-go-quotes)

Summers are a trigger for me; it brings back memories dating back over decades that are unpleasant to say the least. Of course, there are some good memories as well; there always is because our lives are filled with ups and downs. Life is like a rollercoaster that circles around and takes our breaths away with its highs and lows. We just have to learn to adjust accordingly.

Adjustment is what can be problematic. Over the course of our lives, we have to ask whether something is serving us well. Is the relationship, the career, et cetera, healthy for our spiritual, physical, and emotional growth?

When exactly should we let go of toxicity? I say when the initial signs crop up in which we feel clenched up inside our hearts, when we have to don a false smile to hide the hurt that we feel, and when we have to silence our own voices in order to constantly bow to another person’s demands. Relationships and all our daily interactions should make us whole; we should never feel diminished especially in the company of someone who tells us that we are loved by them.

This brings me to the above quotes. Key is the words future, and bright future. And, the word deserve. As God’s children, we should feel genuinely loved because each of us is worth it; we are all deserving of love, of respect, and a place of honor in this world.

But, sometimes, we become accustomed to the pain because it is so familiar and we don’t know how to deal with the possible shift to another possibility.

Truth is, you can’t get anywhere if you don’t move forward. It isn’t always easy, but sometimes the best action is that momentum that takes us forward.

And, as much as it might hurt, don’t look back. Looking back into the dark spaces will only make you stumble.

Forward focusing no matter how difficult it might be is the only way to let go of all the hurt; of course, the hurt will always be dwelling somewhere under the surface. It is a scar, but learn to let it pass. Don’t focus on the darkness; focus on the light just ahead. There is always light just ahead.

Do not give into despair; do not give into those triggers that remind you of past hurts.

Let go. Remind yourself that you are not past mistakes and past trauma. You are a new person everyday that the sun rises; God has given you another chance to get it right, another chance to find joy in the blessings that this life has to offer.

You deserve it.

But, first you have to let go.

Let go and focus forward.

Let go.

Jenny W. Andrews copyright 2022

Afternoon in Summer

Summer afternoon, misty cool rain washes away sadness, residual pain.

Approaching promised moon, like a pearl balloon, floats above cloudy lanes drenched in rain.

Earth beneath forever sky, shimmers, shines with endless life.

Blueness blends in a thousand shades of sky, birds, flowers, rocks, rivers.

Earth aches under its own weight.

Power, beauty, prisms of light sparkle in rain puddles, and drench the parched earth.

Jenny W. Andrews copyright 2022

Summer Reminds Me. . .

Just yesterday evening, I went to the new garden center that has recently been built not far from my house. If there is a garden center somewhere, be assured that I will go to it, and often.

Well, as I was browsing the plants, flowers, trees, planters, and seed packets, a packet with bright orange zinnias caught my attention. At that moment, I was transported back to a childhood memory of me and my daddy scattering zinnia seeds all over our front yard. The sunlight sparkled through the dense cedar trees at the edge of our yard, the stone path that circled around our front yard looked cool and ancient.

For a brief moment yesterday, my memory took me back to the mid-1960s when I was a child and all the world was safe and the summers burst forth in a kaleidoscope of brightly colored flowers, among them zinnias. Daddy still smiles at me down the passages of time, through the decades that have come and gone, and took him from me. He still is rooted deeply in my memory like a warrior spirit, always strong, always my protector. He exists forever, his hand cupping mine, pouring zinnia seeds into my waiting child-size palms. Those summer memories of my little finger digging into the deep, dark Georgia soil and dropping a zinnia seed into it has sustained me through the passing years.

Zinnias bursting forth in a colorful carpet across my yard remind me of love, of the absolute impact a father’s support and guidance has on a child. No matter what has ever happened in my life, the memory of my daddy encouraging me to plant those seeds in any way I wanted to, to think for myself, to decide what I should do, has sustained me. In planting those zinnias, he planted the seeds of confidence and self-worth inside his daughter’s soul. He told me to never let anyone tell me how to think, or what to think. He told me I am the decider; I am in control of my decisions. His words, like flowers, have taken root inside my heart and soul.

Yesterday, I planted my zinnias. Yesterday, I was reminded of the absolute importance of a strong, supportive father. Of course, he was not perfect; nobody is perfect. We all have flaws. But, in that memory from so very long ago, I remember him as perfect and that day as perfect.

Because at the moment in time, he was perfect.

And, that day was perfect. . .

Jenny W. Andrews copyright 2022

Morning Commute: Prayer

This morning as I got in my car for my usual drive to work I decided to do something different. Usually, I turn on the radio only to get bombarded with a barrage of horrible news of apocalyptical proportions. It appears that the sky is going to fall on us all and. . .well. . .this and that is just terrifying. . .

As I turned my key to back out of my driveway I caught a glimpse of the sunlight filtering through the tree branches; I heard birds singing as they winged across the pale blue sky. The soft hint of jasmine caught on the cool morning breeze. Indeed, at least in my little corner of the world, there is beauty and peace. Why would I want to disrupt my joy by listening to the litany of bad news that some people have made a career on? Let’s face it, newscaster and politicians make a ton of money keeping us all at each other’s throats and keeping us afraid of living.

Truth is the world is a good place; there are good people. But, if you listen to the news (it doesn’t matter which station or which political party that is supporting it) you would think that all there is is death, evil, and destruction.

When in fact this is God’s world; he alone is in control.

So, instead of tuning into the usual fearmongering, I tuned into the Holy Spirit and I asked the Holy Spirit to accompany me in my day and to protect those whom I love and to grant me peace and freedom from anxiety, and to protect me and those whom I love from evil.

In my commute to work, I prayed to the Holy Spirit for all these things that make my life peaceful. I prayed for those who do evil, that their hearts would be changed and that they come to know the truth of God’s love, and peace.

On this morning commute, I felt at peace.

Right now, I feel at peace.

We have to be intentional in our life with what will move us forward.

Faith in God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit will move us forward because we know that we are loved, that we are protected no matter what this world might throw at us.

Tomorrow morning, and from now on, I plan to spend my morning commute praying to the Holy Spirit.

I encourage you to turn off your radio, or I-phone, or whatever device you might use, and simply listen to the world around you, and to pray, and spend time with God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit.

Put away your social media; unplug for a few hours a day. Go outside.

God’s world is truly beautiful.

You will miss the beauty if you continue staring at a computer screen!

Jenny W. Andrews copyright 2022

Intentionally Happy

I know it might sound a bit strange to say “be intentionally happy” because we often think that happiness is something that happens spontaneously. And, it does from time to time, like a wonderful surprise. This is wonderful when happiness happens like that.

But, there are times when our moods and circumstances can sabotage us; there are times when outside distractions can rob us of our joy.

On this Monday, I have decided to be intentional with happiness; I have decided to push aside negative thoughts, anxieties, and concerns that drain me of my joy. I have decided to pencil in on my calendar this afternoon a nice leisurely stroll on the nature trail near my home. I have decided to pencil in on my calendar at minimum a two hour block to write my second novel “To Dust We Shall Return.” I have decided to pencil in time to sit back and enjoy this beautiful blessing called my life.

I heard someone say that we are all limited editions, that no one in the history of the world has ever been just like we are. In other words, no one in the past, present, or future will ever be exactly like you are. We are all unique spirits; this day is unique; it will never, ever come again.

We all have the same amount of time in a day. Prioritize your goals; mark them on a calendar and stick to it.

On this beautiful Monday, ask yourself these questions:

What do I want my day to mean? What is the purpose of the hours I have spent? What can I do to create beauty, happiness, compassion?

Go ahead and mark your calendar with purpose.

Be intentionally happy. Don’t wait for the feeling to come over you.

Just do it.

Be intentional with your happiness.

Go ahead, you can do it!

Jenny W. Andrews copyright 2022

Calmness of Ducks

This life can get hectic; there always is something to worry about.

Bad news is limitless; gray clouds loom in the distance.

We hurt ourselves by allowing others to disrespect us in a variety of different ways; at times, we disrespect others by not acknowledging their basic humanity, whether intentional or not. Truth is as humans we are fallible; we are broken.

We are in need of rest; we are in need of peace and calm.

This need brings me to ducks on a pond.

The featured photo here is from about ten years ago. I had been walking on a nature trail around a pond with a heavy burden in my heart.

But, when I decided to sit on the grass and watch these ducks I got to thinking about how absolutely peaceful they are.

Truly, I wanted to morph into a duck (a mallard or whatever it is); I’m not necessarily an expert on bird names. All I know is that I wanted to imitate that calm.

I sat there and just enjoyed the day. I felt much more calmer when I allowed myself to just rest and let go of my worries.

As we approach this upcoming week, take some time to just rest, to find a moment of calm in your hectic day.

Jenny W. Andrews copyright 2022