To Clean or not to Clean

A messy person spends countless hours swearing, searching for her keys, glasses, important papers, etc.cleaningswearing-294391__480
A clean person puts things in the same place every time. Therefore, she always knows where things are and has more free time to color code her sock drawer.
A messy person wears whatever crawls up to her bed in the morning.
A clean person’s clothes are always freshly laundered, pressed, and laid out neatly the night before. A wrinkle or stain can cause psychosis.
A messy person eats fruit over the sink, cold pizza straight from the fridge, and TV dinners in front of the tube.cleaningelegant-tableware-1431790__480
A clean person will only eat at the table with a full place setting, decorative table linens, and music to aid digestion.
A messy person lounges in the living room eating and drinking. Her couch has the equivalent of a bag of chips and three day’s bus fare under the cushions.
A clean person covers her couch with a tasteful throw and no one, and I mean NO ONE, is allowed to sit on it.
A messy person hacks and coughs, as she writes love notes and funny sayings in the dust on her furniture.
A clean person polishes her furniture until it shines and she can stare at her perfectly coiffed reflection from across the room.
A messy person’s bed looks exactly the way it did when she rolled out of it.cleaningunmadebed3330870850_39bd7af674_z
A clean person’s bed looks like a catalogue advertisement
A messy person moves her piles around to accommodate guests.
A clean person has a guestroom complete with scented candles, designer bedding, and travel-sized toiletries, all the comforts of Martha Stewart’s home.
A messy person looks out the window and notices the sunshine, the blue sky, and the birds flitting from tree to tree. She winds up wondering why everything looks so blurry.
A clean person never gets past the smudges and streaks on the window. After conducting IMG_7444_Fotora thorough cleaning, she steps back to survey her handiwork and notices the drapes need to be vacuumed.
A messy person’s pad smells like Parmesan cheese, dirty socks, and flatulence.
A clean person’s living quarter’s smells like fresh lemons, ocean breezes, or country meadows, depending on her mood and chemical preference that day.
A messy person is spontaneous, carefree, and relaxed. She makes the world more fun.
A clean person is organized, careful, and accomplished. She makes the world more beautiful.
Which one are you?
The world needs us both. 🙂

Posts come out every Monday morning, a poem every third Monday. Scroll down to the bottom of the page to receive notifications of my posts via email. Follow me on Instagram username: pollyeloquent. Thanks for reading. 🙂

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In Your Face

Your story needs to be told and you’re the only one capable. Speak up!

Adolescence was a predominantly unhappy time for me. I existed a number of years in a fog of depression which I was convinced could be remedied by ingesting copious crookedteeth-3348516_12802amounts of chocolate. I was pudgy, Pudgy Polly. My ability to smile and laugh without self-consciousness was hampered by my protruding front teeth. I had a number of peers ask me why I always looked like I was preparing to blow a bubble. I couldn’t help it. It wasn’t easy for me to close my mouth. I had to stretch my lips down over those sandwich boards.  I spent my teenage years hiding behind my hands. (See pictures of me as a teenager here.) On top of all this, my family moved regularly. I was often the new kid. Being teased became a way of life and I was bullied a couple of times. I usually had one friend, but I was a serious loner.

I loved to ride my bike. I rode around for hours at a time. It was my way of feeling good. One particular day, my bike gave out and I was forced to ride an old bike we had oldbike-52069_12802decomposing in our garage. It looked like it came out of the 50’s. It had a bell, when bells weren’t cool. I had very little pride and an intense desire to peddle, so I took that vintage princess for a spin.

I was nearing my home and could see a group of kids sitting on the lawn up ahead. They were in bunches on either side of the walkway and I would soon pass through their midst. In different circumstances, I might have stopped and retreated, but I had gotten that rickety relic up to a good clip and turning around would have been too obvious. These weren’t just any kids. They were the tough kids—the ones who wore jean jackets with the collars turned up. They lipped off teachers, had drinking parties on the weekends, and smoked cigarettes behind the portables. It was rumored that some of them were already “doing it”.

I prepared for the customary onslaught of verbal abuse and propelled myself forward, hoping my speed would cut the unpleasantness short. However, before the jeering bikebell-927846_12802erupted, I did something that was out of character for me. I rang the bell. Their reaction was expected, but this time I had intentionally caused it. They were laughing at me and I didn’t care. I skimmed the surface of the road. At a time when my self-esteem was flat lining, I felt light and happy. All the chocolate in the universe could not have duplicated that feeling. Never be afraid to ring your bell.

Complete the experience. Listen to Sara Bareilles’s Brave.

Posts come out every Monday morning, a poem every third Monday. Scroll down to the bottom of the page to receive notifications of my posts via email. Follow me on Instagram username: pollyeloquent. Thanks for reading. 🙂

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Mushy, Gushy Spider

I don’t like spiders. I don’t care that they eat mosquitoes. I can kill my own mosquitoes. spider-452489_1280It’s their appearance that makes me half close an eye and shudder. I can’t even look at pictures without convulsing. They’re hideous from afar. Their supreme ugliness is comparable to the most beautiful flower. I don’t discriminate either; the hairy, hand-like Tarantula, the gawky Daddy Long Legs, the infamous, poisonous, big-bellied Black Widow, the nameless house spider with the chunky body and appendages that looks like it does steroids, the little one that jumps at you when you go in for the kill, I hate them all.

Now, I’ll allow that they’re interesting in an “eww, gross” sort of way. Think about it. They’re predators equipped with the means to make their own traps. Thank God they work alone or I’m sure my husband would wake up some morning to an over-sized cocoon. As I stated in my last post, this is why I live in Alberta. It’s too cold for bugs most of the time. My husband says he lives here because there aren’t any sharks. We all have our hang ups, don’t we?spider-web-with-water-beads-921039_1280

One of my first memories of spiders takes place when I was in elementary school. We were at a campground in Michigan. Someone had uncovered a large, speckled brown, Wolf spider. The sight of it so frightened me that I immediately flipped to flight mode. I ran like Forrest Gump, as fast as I could go, not knowing where to, not sure when it was safe to stop, without a thought that this repulsive, albeit unassuming, creature whose slumber in that warm bed of sand, we had disturbed, wasn’t chasing me.

If they would just stay outside, I wouldn’t mind them as much. It’s when they creep up in my space that I get wiggy. Just the other day, I was eating lunch at work in a room I frequent and noticed three spiders, all of them distinctly different from each other, spider-166159_1280minding there own business around me. Clearly, they had staked their claim and I would need to find another place to drop my crumbs! That room wasn’t big enough for a grown woman and three bitty spiders! I know how irrational this is. I’m a giant by comparison and mostly these homely invaders are harmless, but their size, for me, doesn’t diminish their scariness and killing them is a better alternative to trying to keep track of where they are in a room in relation to myself.

Oh, I can kill them, but it takes a very large wad of paper towel. When the culprit is smothered safely inside (I’m only concerned about my safety here), I smush that ball with all my might. That fragile bit of black, spindly goo has to be way dead, pretty much pulverized, before I deposit the remains. I don’t put it on the ground and stomp on it, because that would be excessive. However, in the instant that one of these innocent creatures attaches itself to my personage, I get fruit loopy. My husband once killed a spider in a room I was cleaning. (Yes, when I was younger, I did clean things. I’ve now realized the error of my ways.) Later, that scoundrel returned when I was vacuuming and ran a broom up my leg. Why a person doesn’t calmly identify the location of the tiny trespasser and then flick it off, I don’t know, but my husband took great pleasure in watching me instantly morph into a deranged, twitchy spaz while wailing that oldie but goodie, “Get it Off”.

I recall, and not so fondly, one set of spiders I encountered when camping in California. My sister and her two small girls and I went to use the showers. There was a huge spider, and spider-1293803_12802this is no exaggeration, stationed at the entrance, which should have deterred me from going in. There were two shower stalls. Both had ceilings dappled with friends of the creepy she-devil outside. My sister proceeded to force her young into one of the stalls; they were screaming and crying like adults who’ve misplaced there cell phones. I, at a fair distance, surveyed the remaining stall, and despite the horror show happening in the corner, walked calmly over to the mirrors to assess the situation. I did a quick pit sniff. Yeah, I thought, looking at my greasy, stringy reflection, I could go another day. I vowed right there, if I ever had children and encountered a similar scene, we would all be dirty, but spider-free.

 

Posts come out every Monday morning, a poem every third Monday. Scroll down to the bottom of the page to receive notifications of my posts via email. Follow me on Instagram username: pollyeloquent. Thanks for reading. 🙂

Standing in the Storm

When most people think of Canada, they think of cold, ice, and snow. We specialize in winter up here. The province of British Columbia has milder temperatures the further south you go, but Canada is largely a chilly place for a substantial part of the year. I’mblizzard-91898_12802 from Alberta and winter can last close to six months with dumps of snow recorded even in the summertime.

I continue to live here, even though I hate the cold. I often tell people it’s because I don’t like bugs and those little uglies don’t stand a chance against the long, cold blast of winter. I lived in Edmonton, the Gateway to the North, for 26 years where you’d open the door and clouds of icy, frigid air would billow into your home. I once walked to work in -40°C looking like an overdressed snowman, I had so many layers on, and when I arrived my eyelashes were iced over. Where’s a mini scraper when you need one?

A couple of weeks ago, I had a wintery first. I’ve never been keen on winter driving, but, as some of you know, I now work in a small town a half an hour away taking care of disabled people. It’s highway driving and it’s on the way to Calgary, a city of over a million people, so the road itself is mostly kept clear, but there are blustery winter storms that roll in from time to time. The other night, I was heading to work to do a night shift. The morning commute had been treacherous, so I made sure I left while it was still light out with over an hour before my shift started. 20 minutes into my trip, I came upon a lineup of trucks at what looked like the scene of an accident. There was nothingIMG_3126 (2) moving on either side of the highway. A vehicle was resting on its side against an askew power line. Through the blur of blowing snow, I watched the emergency vehicles arrive and the workers with their safety vests scuttling about.

After about 10 minutes of sitting, I parked my car. I contacted my workplace, my husband, and called my daughter long distance to chat, as the clock ticked by and it was evident I wouldn’t be making it to work on time. I had thrown a blanket into the car at the last minute and was glad for it after an hour and a half of waiting. I was one of the last cars to be told to turn around, that I’d have to find another way to proceed, that the road was closed. Now, the old cliché “the middle of nowhere” is apt in this case. I’ve lived most of my life in the city. I failed to bring my GPS and the sky filled with blowing snow was now black, as well. I had no idea where I was in relation to anywhere else. The RCMP mumbled some hurried directions and I slowly, awkwardly turned my car around trying not to back into the trucks that were hemming me in.

I drove tentatively down the shoulder of the road, back the way I came, through the swirling blizzard. I felt electrified with fear. If you’ve been reading my posts, you know that my sense of direction is non-existent. I get lost easily, even when I can see where I’m going. My husband once gave me a compass as a stocking stuffer and I promptly misplaced it. I’d make a great contestant for one of those survival shows if you wanted to watch someone fumbling through a forest, becoming more exhausted, giddy, and delirious with every trip on a twig, and finally rolling up in ball on the damp earth and freezing/starving/crying myself to death. I thought about calling in, but I also thought about my clients waiting for me and how hard it would be on the rest of the staff if they were one person short.

I did arrive at the road I was directed to and had to work hard to follow the signs in the flurry. Sometimes I wasn’t sure if I was driving in the lane or on the shoulder. Thankfully, there was no one else on the road. All the smart people were at home in their pajamas eating chips and watching TV. I called out to Jesus repeatedly, pretty muchwindow-1768850__4802 chanted his name, and wouldn’t you know it, ended up behind a snow plow. As long as I stayed far enough away from him so as not to get sucked into the snow globe he was producing, I was fine. Even though the entire trip took me three and a half hours, it was a good feeling to have successfully gone through it, to walk in the door of my workplace and even have one of my coworkers run toward me and embrace me, going on about how she was worried about me.

Recently, I read Jesus parable about the wise and foolish builder, Matthew 7:24-27, and was impressed anew. I’m a baptist pastor’s daughter, born again at the age of 5, literally raised in the church, and I’ve read that parable many times, but wasn’t ever at the right place to see the truth in it. Jesus was saying that if we give ourselves to him in loving obedience, we will stand in the storm. Stand! What a promise! He doesn’t say we won’t have to brace ourselves. We might get knocked over, even pinned down, but he promises we’ll stand, that we’ll remain intact, that we’ll not be destroyed.

At the hospital setting where I work, there are five pods where the clients live and in between these pods there are courtyards where various shrubs are planted. One day, after a particularly heavy snowfall, I walked by a window and noticed a large shrub snowy-trees-1517246543RZx2bowed low, weighed down with thick, wet mounds of snow. It stopped me. I had to stare at it. The change in the shape of that shrub was so extreme. It normally waved its fronds high and proud in our breezy climate. Seeing it so burdened that it kissed the frozen ground—well, I had to grieve a little. I had the thought that it might be unable to recover. As is the case where I live, the warm Chinook winds blew in and in a little while the icicles, those gleaming daggers adorning our building, began to run like tiny waterfalls. The snow completely disappeared. I walked by my friend the shrub again and it had sprung back into place like a fresh rubber band, even managing to look chipper after its ordeal.

Yes, there are times when the storm overtakes us. Maybe you’re watching the ominous clouds roll in with just enough time to run for cover. Maybe you’re cowering in a blinding, body-battering, heart-quaking hurricane. Some of you may be in a position not unlike my shrub friend. You’ve got dirt up your nose, you’ve been so forcibly intimate with the cold, unforgiving earth. You may feel so overwhelmed with grief, depression, stress, anxiety, or chronic ill health, that you’re laid flat, exhausted, despairing, wondering if you can go on. Maybe you’re agonizing over a broken relationship, or struggling with a difficult work environment, or barely paying your bills at month end.

I wish I could tell you how to fix things in 5 easy steps. I wish I could tell you that if you just trust God and have enough faith, all will be righted from your health to your relationships to your finances. What I can tell you is that I’ve been there and so have others. Your experience may be unique as far as the details, but your suffering is common to us all. I’ve struggled through many bouts of depression since I was a teenager. I’ve had moments where I didn’t know if I was going to make it. I used to wonder where God’s strength was in those moments. One day, in a season of health, I had the realization that I was alive, that God’s strength had been with me all along.self-care-2904778__4802

Whatever you do, take gentle, patient care of yourself and seek help whether from a family member or trusted friend, a pastor or your small group at church, a doctor, counselor, or social worker. Let go of going it alone. God made us to be in community. Jesus modeled it by choosing a band of disciples. We were meant to live, grow, and thrive together and yes, struggle, sweat, and cry together.

Be nourished by God’s word and call on Him regularly, fervently, and ask others to pray, too. I’m a firm believer in the power of prayer and lots of it. In 2 Chronicles 20, when Jehosaphat, King of Judah, heard that there were three separate people groups set to make war against him at the same time, he called on his subjects for a public time of prayer and fasting. On the morning of the battle, he even put together a worship team to march out before the rest of the soldiers, praising God and this bears repeating. They worshiped God as they hands-220163_12802marched into war. It seems counter-intuitive to sing love songs to God while moving intentionally toward your possible doom, but this is what they did and the Lord delivered them from the hand of their enemies. Remarkably, not one of them lost their lives. They arrived to find the battle field strewn with the dead, the three armies having turned on each other. The men of Judah did a little cardio, sang their hearts out in worship, and returned home with the spoils of war, because they were brave enough to trust God and move forward in praise. I encourage you to lift your voice above the din, the pain, and watch for God to move on your behalf.

Now, King Jehosaphat did have a word from the Lord, that God would fight the battle for them, before sending his men into war. That assurance must have bolstered their courage enabling them to stand, but how often does this happen for us today? For the clan of Judah, there was the ominous possibility of suffering, but for Paul in 2 Corinthians 12, the suffering was already present and chronic. Paul speaks of a thorn in his flesh, something that was causing him enough pain that he begged for relief, but he admits that relief never came, only the words, “My grace is sufficient for you”. Paul wanted his well-being, his comfort restored and God said, in effect, I know what you want, but you need me. I’m enough for you right now and always. I remember being in a particularly difficult situation where everyday the first prayer on my lips would be that IMG_68222God would dump a truckload of grace on me. I actually imagined one of those humongous trucks backing up and dumping it’s load on me, burying me in the soothing, sustaining grace of my Lord. I’ve been experiencing unprecedented health in the last six years and I believe, without a doubt, that I’m standing tall today by the grace of God.

You may not be standing now and I’m not even sure what standing looks like in your situation. Don’t let the swirling circumstances or the crushing pressure rob you of the ability to trust His love for you and rest in it. Seek help, feed on His word, pray to Him and praise Him, and you’ll spring back up, physically or otherwise. Isaiah 40:31 says “but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Soaring on eagle’s wings. How’s that for standing?! It’s His will for you to stand in the storm. Take Him at his word.

Complete the experience. Listen to Lauren Daigle’s Trust in You and Casting Crown’s Praise You in this Storm.

Posts come out every Monday morning, a poem every third Monday. Scroll down to the bottom of the page to receive notifications of my posts via email. Follow me on Instagram username: pollyeloquent. Thanks for reading. 🙂

 

The Gift of a Giggle

Salty patient without a filter, grabbing my flab, as I leaned over her to adjust her pillow: “I see you’ve got your winter tires on.”

Me: “They’re all season.” 😀

 

Author’s Note: This was written when I worked as a health care aide on the geriatric wing of the local hospital.

The other day, my daughter and I made pizza together. I bought some pizza dough in a tube which, as I’m writing this, sounds gross, but what are you going to do, if you’re not a domestic goddess? We started well in advance of when we needed to be done. We read the directions, popped the tube, and Rose went to work rolling out the dough. Only, it didn’t roll out. While I grated cheese, I watched her grapple with it, her frustration increasing with every pound of her delicate fists. I figured it needed a little more muscle. anniversary2I put the big guns to work. I kneaded, pressed, and patted it. I massaged it with all the pizza love I had in me and, if you’ve seen my wedding cake, you know I have some formidable pizza love. It remained on the cutting board, a cold, unyielding lump the color of death. Even the rolling pin hardly put a dent in it. Meanwhile, the time was fast approaching when my big husband would bound through the door, growling like a hungry bear. I began to get desperate and a bit silly with exhaustion. Why not? I thought to myself. Nothing else I’ve tried has worked. I whipped that inflexible blob into the air, tossing it just like I’d seen elderly, Italian gentlemen with moustachios do it. I whooped and hooted and tossed, delirious, insane, no longer caring about the time or that what I was doing was making no difference in the dough at all. The difference it made was in me. It released the tension I was feeling. It melted away the frustration.
Continue reading “The Gift of a Giggle”

Burn Away the Dross

Sometimes I wish I could pack up my feelings

Especially the ugly, hurtful ones

That scour my soul and leave me winded, raw, and wounded

I’d thrust them into the deepest trunkchest

And grunt and sweat to force their bulk

Into a forgotten place

I’d bury them under every meaningless piece of trash

I can’t bring myself to get rid of

 

headache-2058476_1280Sometimes I wish I could pinpoint those moments

The person, the voice, the scent that lingers

The triggers that slap my face and send me reeling

Pummeling me with those awful feelings

Those ugly, hurtful, persistent feelings

That scour my soul and leave me winded, raw, and wounded

I’d stay run away, move away, stay away if I had to

 

Sometimes I wish I could close up my being

And throw up a wall around my heart

To block the triggers, those stupid signals

That bring up the pain of those ugly, hurtful, persistent feelingsheart-1463424_1280

That scour my soul and leave me winded, raw, and wounded

But I simply cannot do it

Cannot lay down in the bitter cold

Cannot close up and get hard and old inside

So I writhe

In the flames

Alive and open

Complete the experience. Listen to for King & Country’s It’s not Over Yet.

Posts come out every Monday morning, a poem every third Monday. Scroll down to the bottom of the page to receive notifications of my posts via email. Follow me on Instagram username: pollyeloquent. Thanks for reading. 🙂

Here’s to the Great Sorter in the Sky

Take control of me, Jesus. The current management is woefully incompetent.

 

My son, like many other boys his age, loved to play with Lego. His imagination soared as he created all manner of scenes, structures, and creatures. One Mother’s Day, I even received a clever, Lego cake!legocake_Fotor

At one point, he began the daunting task of sorting his Lego. He made this decision, because it took too long to locate the particular piece he needed. Having obtained a load of it at a garage sale, I watched him patiently sorting through it for days.

One afternoon, I was helping him, while his younger sister looked on.

“Why are you helping him sort his Lego, Mummy?” she asked.

Without hesitation, I replied, “Because I love him”.

In the silence that followed, I had a moment of gratitude for the love of God
and His willingness to help me sort out so much more than just my Lego.

 

Complete the experience. Listen to Audrey Assad’s “Good to Me”. 

Posts come out every Monday morning, a poem every third Monday. Scroll down to the bottom of the page to receive notifications of my posts via email. Follow me on Instagram username: pollyeloquent. Thanks for reading. 🙂

Nobody Cares

Be bold enough to do more than just leave the house.

I’m remembering a visit to the dermatologist. I had a nasty mole that kept burrowing up through the skin on the tip of my nose, a place, in my estimation, a mole should never be moleallowed to surface. I had it removed previously, but it’s stubborn and wants to be seen. What I didn’t realize until I sat down in the examination room was that the fee for removal had doubled. Unfortunately, at that moment, I had more mole than money and I sat there agonizing over whether or not I should go through with the procedure. When the Doctor came in, I shared my misgivings with him. What he told me has never left me. He basically said, “Nobody cares”. He went on to explain that people are so focused on themselves and their moles that my mole would have to be the size of the Eiffel Tower for anyone to take notice. He graciously allowed me and my mole to leave the office, free of charge, relieved and a little less self-conscious.

Continue reading “Nobody Cares”

Got Junk?

Does freaking out all the time make one a freak?

Self-awareness can be a scary venture. We all try to bury or look away from those things we don’t like about ourselves. Yet, if we want to grow in goodness and grace, we must take the time to examine who we have become. If it’s something we put off, because wagon-524514_19202we’re busy and reflection takes time and stillness, or because we’re afraid of what we might find, we will pay for it in our relationships. Too often, I’ve taken the train to destination unknown, all the while failing to note the scenery and I’ve ended up in Sorryville. It’s about being in the moment and it’s a matter of self-care. It’s something I struggle with on a daily basis.
Continue reading “Got Junk?”

Pieces

I’m starting to piece my past together

                And at this point

I’m wondering

If my past should have been left in pieces

                                                   When I open up the wounds of my past

I suffer again

Having gained an understanding of why I suffered

It’s painful

But worth the pain

I think

    Understanding leads to forgiveness and healing

Healing is about wholeness

                                                                                      It’s about picking up the pieces

And putting them back together

One shard at a time

Fashioning something new

                     That glitters

When the light hits the jagged edges

 

Complete the experience. Listen to Gungor’s You Make Beautiful Things.

Posts come out every Monday morning, a poem every third Monday. Scroll down to the bottom of the page to receive notifications of my posts via email. Follow me on Instagram username: pollyeloquent. Thanks for reading. 🙂