pulled to bleeding extremes

The feet of a tightrope walker.

The feet of a tightrope walker. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

pulled away from one’s dream

how close we travel to beyond

how horrible one’s life is pawned


tightrope walking on the sill

there is no magical, happy pill

held ransom by love so misunderstood

shaped and tangled driftwood


when will it end, who will bend

how many awful moments will you  spend

wandering lost, no release

when will the fighting ever cease


the remedy is not simple

ripple effects leave a horrid dimple

what you say or what you don’t

consequences say I won’t


on the outside viewing in

you say stand tall, stick out your chin

you are not the one who will receive the blows

you have not wandered where the shadow shows


the fear is deep, the joy replete

there is no hope, only defeat

do what I say or you are on your own

so this is the  path that I must own

the Quiet of Silence

English: Christmas star Deutsch: Weihnachtsstern

English: Christmas star Deutsch: Weihnachtsstern (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

T’was the night before Christmas

When all through the house

Not a cell phone could be found

Not even a charger or mouse!


My computer was useless

As was my phone

I am sure all my friends

thought no one was home!


My doorbell was silent

The Christmas lights on

There I was in the room

Not a technology drawn


No Gmail to read

No Facebook to screen

Left all alone

Just me and my dream


I sat in the silence

I sat there alone

I sat in the silence

And felt so at home


For deep within myself

I did travel

In the Quiet of the silence

I began to marvel


I heard what each of us

Desperately needs

The assurance of love

To help us be freed


Love is all

that We seek from the other

Love is compassion

For sister and brother


The essence of heart

Is found in the LOVE

The essence of heart

Assures me of God above


Naysayers abound

This is so true

But in the end

I see Beauty in view


Where does LOVE Come from

and where is it found?

Each thing has an origin…

God is the LOVE in the silent sound

Christmas Eve, 2013

Timeline Photos

Timeline Photos

anticipation at its height

gifts and presents in the children’s sight

their happiness is our delight

as we struggle to keep the LIGHT

is this the moment we have waited for

one more chance for God at our door

one more time we bend to the floor

one more time we plead for more

how many times have we weathered the storm

we know we need the LIGHT reborn

deep within the fire does warm

please let this be the day we are transformed

sadness abounds, we know it everywhere

death and sorrow, stirs in the air

thrown out for not having the fare

thrown out, wallowing deep in despair

a child unfed, a woman is beat

the man on the street without a sheet

we seek the LIGHT, it is this we beg to meet

we will not give up, not go down in defeat

no rice grain is found in the old woman’s bowl

no water to drink for the newborn foal

hatred and greed have taken their toll

we ask for the LIGHT to make us whole

we plead and we cry as we do weep

we ask for the LIGHT to be within us deep

so many tears, so many fears we do keep

release them all and in YOUR PEACE sleep

christmas lights

christmas lights (Photo credit: sciondriver)

News from Lara, my daughter who is in Togo, West Africa, as a Peace Corps Worker


au revoir kpalime

August 20, 2013

It is difficult to articulate this experience. It is like being born all over again. When I came to Togo I knew very little French and not another person. In two months, I have three families: my Tsevie family, my Kpalime family, and my Peace Corps family.  I went from feeling completely vulnerable and alone to being surrounded by love, encouragement, and friendship from seemingly complete strangers. I didn’t know how to do or say anything and was away from everything I understood, but found a sense of belonging. It’s impossible to avoid being overly sentimental about such an experience. To be only eleven weeks away from feeling completely isolated, to this, is strange, confusing, and wonderful.

To say the least, it has all been unexpected. When I first committed to the Peace Corps I thought of it as an individual journey; in reality, it is anything but. I was thinking more about what I would do than who I would meet.

Tonight my Kpalime family told me that this is my home. So although I am leaving in two days, I am welcome here always and am a part of their family.

I talked to my sister who studies in Accra about how we both want to travel and experience the world. We both understood the difference of hearing about the rest of the world and actually seeing it.

We also shared how in the end it is important to be with family. We shared the difficulty of wanting to go on an adventure but the need and desire to one day return. We talked about how our mom will miss us when she returns to university and I go to post, but it is something we have to do. It all comes back to family. I thought about my own family and how I need to explore my curiousities about the world but part of me deeply wants to be with them. How eventually  I will after I see this and that. It’s funny how my sister here and I are so alike when at first glance the differences were all I could see.
The day after tomorrow I move to my post. I found out I won’t have internet connection unless I travel to another village; thus, my blogging and what have you will be infrequent. I am excited, nervous, hopeful, worried, and everything else all at once.

The good news is, is that I know if I work hard everything will be alright. I just have to keep on moving forward because eventually wonderful and unexpected things happen. The key is to keep moving. It’s not always easy – sometimes it is insanely hot, people laugh at my attempts to speak local or French, and I walk to chants of ‘yovo.’ Other times, in class students won’t understand my accent or way of explaining things; or I will be missing the conveniance of just about everything back home: running water, a refridgerator, McDonalds – you name it. But with all that is bad there is good.

My post is a perfect fit. There is a lot of work to do and I have a lot of great counterparts to work with. The major goals are to improve English literacy, teaching strategies, and community attitudes towards gender. However, the last volunteer left me an awesome guide to numerous community and regional projects – so my hands will be full.  I am excited.

After teaching in Kpalime for the past three weeks I can’t wait to be in a classroom again. It’s the best feeling in the world to see kids excited about learning and to feed their curiousities. I am really looking forward to getting to know my students and serve as a mentor. We have a saying here for teaching “It’s better to be a guide on the side, than a sage on the stage.” And I really do feel it’s not only better but something I really want to be. Sometimes all people need to do great things is encouragement and direction.

To close, I am in love with Togo. It’s not just how beautiful the mountains and palm trees are; or the warm weather or pate rouge; it’s the hospitality to strangers, the way they say hello to everyone they pass on the street, and the way a silly American can find home here in a few short weeks (it’s eleven to be exact, 95 more to go).

The only frustration is my inability to express myself here. I want to say more than merci beaucoup or akpe kaka, but as of now, I cannot. One day soon.

Conversation about Oscar by Ayden and Nadia

Русский: Такса стандартная гладкошерстная

Русский: Такса стандартная гладкошерстная (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Oh, I really miss Oscar, ” teary eyed Ayden, now six years, sighed, “Why did he have to leave us?”

“Well, Ayden, he was for old people,” soothingly remarked Nadia, Ayden’s four year old sister.

“But I miss him so much!” cried Ayden.

“Maybe Aunt Kathy can take us to see him some day, Ayden, ” replied Nadia, “He lives with those old people by the lake, but  I think IF we  show him the photograph of you and him, Ayden,  he will remember you!”


mystical you…a Christmas poem for Elaine

Anaïs Nin

“We do not grow absolutely, chronologically. We grow sometimes in one dimension, and not in another; unevenly. We grow partially. We are relative. We are mature in one realm, childish in another. The past, present, and future mingle and pull us backward, forward, or fix us in the present. We are made up of layers, cells, constellations.”
Anaïs Nin
christmas 2007

christmas 2007 (Photo credit: paparutzi)

you sit quietly with your tea

smiling in your thoughts

you sit quietly with your tea

gently…only you…holding the  key

the deep in your eyes

carries you to a place beyond

the deep in your eyes

carries your inner song

playfully you smile

designing beauty within

playfully you smile

as your ideas spin

love permeates your being

as you dance and whirl

in a seamless dream

creating a lovely pearl

Effervescent You…dedicated to Judy Mayer

Flower Photo by Judy Mayer

who is this woman

you may ask

she is one

who has made giving her task


see her scurrying to the door

of a neighbor in her apartment block

carrying a birthday card

or some uniquely styled pair of socks


she has been blessed

it is true

but her blessings she shares

with me and you


Her adventures carry her far

students in distant schools

benefit from paper and pens

and her giving too


she travels the world but forgets you not

as Russia or the Panama Canal

finds it ways to the dining room wall

showing slides of the people’s locale


the nursing home residents

share in her joyous song

as their eyes feast on the view

and the ethnic food that belongs


Judy doesn’t stop there

but continues her giving

driving the Madison Zoo train

cheering all in thanksgiving


uniquely free

and so giving it is true

thinking of delightful ways

to bring a smile or two


she may be volunteering

at Olbrich Botanical Garden

engineering the tram

or referring to the tropical banyan


then on to Monday

another day of living

at the Habitat for Humanity

she is giving


Perhaps some Wednesday evening

You will hear her respond

as she works the phones

for the charity telethons


accepting donations

late into the night

always there helping

comforting those in plight


it may be a free vacation

to a mother of three

or helping with car payments

for forty years we see


an angel she is

and freely she gives

an example for all

and how we might live


a balance of living and giving

brings joy to many and herself

a balance of living and giving

is an open shelf


a quiet, joyful soul

with a twinkle in her eye

her presence in your life

will leave you with a delightful sigh



walking the rope so tight

desperately seeking the light

hit this way and that

having the inner chatSunset 1984

your are lost among the waves

undulating reasons do evade

lost and never found

doubt increases and does abound

stretching yourself as far as you can go

suddenly you snap back and are brought low

balance is needed you do concede

so return again to that inner seed

seek the peace and calm within

go to LOVE and let it win