Monday, April 30, 2012

Monday Motivation

This song is probably overdone, but its message isn't. And the unique violin version below is the most evocative I've heard. Simply stirring, and I hope you'll take time to listen to it this Monday morning. (Thanks, Mom, for sending it.)

"My Way" is a song popularized by Frank Sinatra. Its lyrics were written by Paul Anka and set to music based on the French song "Comme d'habitude" composed in 1967 by Claude François and Jacques Revaux.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Come Home to Texas, Wichita!

Jenny's off gallivanting, but she left her Saturday Centus gang a prompt to match her destination. You'll find it below, in red, with less than 100 words from me to round it out. (I hope you've read her post today, or the poem below isn't going to make a whole lotta sense to you!)


Come Home to Texas, Wichita!
by little ol' me

There's a yellow rose in Texas.
Jenny Matlock is her name.
Her blog, "Off On My Tangent" 
has brought her no small fame.

It fits her, too, as proven by
the tangent she's on now.
She's seeking Wichita in Texas.
(Don't ask why or how.)

She hails from Arizona, and
as you can plainly see.
She's not the one to query
about state geography.

But that gal writes like no one else.
Her faithful fans are many.
So let's all give a shout-out to
the best of bloggers: Jenny!


Friday, April 27, 2012

The Magic of Coconut Oil

A couple of years ago, I wrote about the joys and benefits of cooking with coconut oil. Today I want to take my enthusiasm for coconut oil a step further and confess that this wonderful substance has also become my favorite face and body lotion. It moisturizes and conditions like a charm, leaving my skin a little less like crepe paper every day. Sure, it's a bit like getting oiled up for the spit at first (greased pig, anyone?), but ere long the slippery residue absorbs and you are sitting pretty. Honestly, I am loving the difference––and I love the price, too (relatively inexpensive, and it goes a long way).

Yesterday, I even used the stuff as a hair treatment. Yep, I just rubbed it through my hair until it hung in oily snakes glistened around my face, then popped on a shower cap and let it marinate for a couple of hours. What I like about this hair salad is that it actually takes away the dryness while leaving your locks with some body. In fact, it adds to the body...and I kinda need that, these days.

So there you are, friends. My very best beauty secret is yours to keep. Can't promise you that it will work miracles, but it does work like a charm!


PS. This is also a great massage oil, with antibiotic and anti-fungal properties. And as I've said before, the extra virgin, cold-pressed, organic brand (Nutiva) is even great to cook with because coconut oil includes high amounts of lauric acid, which is good for cholesterol and aids in weight loss. Some people even swear by it to prevent tooth decay. (The Mia Flora brand is not for ingestion, though.)

Thursday, April 26, 2012

In Defense of Weeds

©1993 by Susan Noyes Anderson
I’d like to say a word for weeds,
brave victims of mad plowers.
Why must their sturdy lives give way

to frail, elitist flowers?
click above for more W posts

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

A Gift of Hope

Yesterday was a horribly sad day for a family I love very much...which means it was a horribly sad day for me, too. It had been a perfect morning, the sunny but crisp kind that makes me believe anything is possible, and I was filled with warm thoughts of my mother (whose 85th birthday it was) and how fortunate I am to have her still living and loving me as I prepare to turn 60 next month. Her goal, set several years ago, is to be sitting in the audience when our son Todd graduates from medical school...and the way she's going I won't be a bit surprised if she makes it to that red-letter day and beyond.

For this and many other reasons, I was feeling happy and blessed when the phone call came that would replace serenity with sorrow. The daughter of two of our dearest friends woke to find that her 7-month-old baby had slipped away in the early morning hours, a crib death, and it felt as if the very heavens were weeping. Born prematurely, this valiant little soul had fought his way through numerous struggles, one after another. To the joy of family and friends, he had emerged from those early battles victorious, only to go to sleep perfectly healthy and stop breathing before the break of dawn. It was and is unthinkable, and the large community of people who love and support this family are joined in grief and sadness.

We are also joined in hope, because we know God lives. We know that He loves His children. We know that He has a plan for our eternal salvation and happiness, a plan that included the sacrifice of His only begotten Son, who would take upon Him all the sin and sorrow of a world created by His hand. Because of Him––His willingness, selflessness, holiness––the dead will rise again, and the grave has no victory. No matter what we pass through in this life, no matter the pain, no matter the devastation, His love is and will continue to be sufficient for our needs. He is our Shepherd, our Redeemer, the Lord of Lords, the King of Kings, the Savior of all the World. He is Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last, Beloved Son of the Almighty God. He is our Elder Brother and Friend. 

How grateful I am that this young mother and father know Him. They have faith in His power to heal and bless them, and their hearts are open to receive the peace and comfort only He can offer.
"Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid" (John 14:27).
Today we are all mourning, and that's as it should be. The family is bereft, and so are the many people who love and support them. Their little one...loved gone for a season, and he will be sorely missed. His sweet smile and spirit will move from conscious mind to memory, and empty arms will ache to hold him close. But Mom and Dad, Grandma and Grandpa, Aunt, Uncle, and siblings will be upheld and renewed by the knowledge that their son, grandson, nephew, and brother lives on...and their reunion with him will be the sweetest joy imaginable.

In the meantime, they are in my prayers today. And I hope, perhaps, they will be in yours, too.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Song for my Mother, Reprise

My mom is the one in the center, right where she belongs!

Today is my mother's 85th birthday. She probably won't appreciate my mentioning her age, but I do it for the right reasons, because I think she looks so much younger. Right? She is surrounded by my siblings and yours truly, which accounts for the big smile on her face. Mom likes nothing better than to have her children around her. And if her grands and great-grands are there, too, so much the better!

I wish we could all be around her today, but we will have to wait until next month to celebrate in person. Meanwhile, I will remind her of how special she is to me and the entire family by reposting a poem I wrote a couple of years ago that she particularly loves. By the way, the music that accompanies it is one she used to play on her violin as a performance piece...which makes it particularly appropriate.

What song shall I sing for my mother? What key?

Which chords own the notes that will set her joy free?

Was psalm ever born that could raise her hopes high

as the million bright stars she has hung in my sky?

Might one interval be so deep and so wide

that the dreams of her heart could rest safely inside?

Which chorus would ring through her soul like a bell,

proclaiming in cadence what words cannot tell...

that she is a mother of infinite worth,

whose opus has played since the day of my birth?

What song shall I sing for my mother? What key?

Which chords own the notes that will set her joy free?

One melody answers, in strains weak and strong.

Its verses are mine, every line, right or wrong.

I sing for my mother...I've sung all along.

My life is the song.

Happy Birthday, Mom!
May the lives of your children be the sweetest songs of your heart.

We love you!


Sunday, April 22, 2012

Son to Mother

I love responding to the picture prompts at The Mag, where talented poets and story-tellers abound. Tess definitely has an eye for unique art that stretches the imagination.

Alex Stoddard

Son to Mother
©2012 Susan Noyes Anderson

Plant me in the mountains
at the foot of towering trees,
and I will not drown
in tears of my own making.

Box me up in my own juices;
bury me above ground,
and I’ll wrap my arms
around emerging me.

See that I’m well-watered.
Leave me with a lid, but
leave me. I am growing
into my escape plan. Please.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Settling the Debt

Jenny's Saturday Centus idea really sent me down a strange path today. As usual, she's allowing us to add 100 of our own words to the prompt (in red, below).


Settling the Debt

©2012 Susan Noyes Anderson

She set the stage carefully, from soft lights and Kenny G to sweet-smelling candles and lemon water. Everything was in place; there would be no reprieve. Serena sighed, breathed through the feelings…relaxed her body, shrinking but resigned. Girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do, she reminded herself, sliding into position. Debts must be paid, no matter the cost.

Still she flinched...recoiled and then surrendered. Her chair was cold, her desk a booby trap of unpaid bills. Did other teachers hate to write checks, too? Of course, she decided, snorting unequal parts hostility and amusement. Most months, she wondered why she taught at all. The answer never changed:

“Not for profit. For comfort…” Everyone else’s.


My sister's birthday was yesterday, and she is a wonderful teacher. When I called last night to wish her everything she deserves, more came to mind (and discussion) than gifts or birthday cake. I couldn't help wishing she (and all who make sacrifices to teach our children) would get everything they deserve, in salary, for the work they do day after day. When she isn't staying after school to help kids out, she's staying at home grading papers. It's a travesty that a woman with a master's degree and countless years of experience must struggle to make ends meet. And she is not alone.

People jump through a lot of hoops to become a teacher, and then they jump through a whole lot more to stay one. Maybe, just maybe, they should get paid for their efforts.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The View

©2003 by Susan Noyes Anderson

At times, we look out on the world

and gain a clearer view,

but often we must fall to earth

to witness what is true.


for more V posts, click below

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Got Water?

I like this, because it takes looking on the bright side a step further. In fact, reframing is one of my favorite coping mechanisms, and a lot of the time I can really turn my attitude around. How we package and present life to ourselves makes all the difference in whether we manage to enjoy the ups and downs that will always mark the journey. Maybe we can't and ought not turn the downs to ups (nor would we even want to turn the ups to downs), but we certainly can explore the upside of down and latch onto it as best we can. Hey, if you can't move the mountain, own the climb!

Things are never as bad as they seem.
Every nightmare is also a dream.
When the monsters loom large,
paint their toenails. Take charge.
Laugh or cry; it's your call. Stage that scene!
©2012 Susan Noyes Anderson

Better to drink it up than drown in it.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

From Lightning to Aloha

A modern-day version of striking gold in San Francisco.

On Friday the 13th, 8 lightning bolts hit the Golden Gate Bridge.

We had a big thunderstorm in our area, too, even though we're more than a few miles south of the city. Our son, Ryan (who turns 32 today), happened to be spending last Thursday night with us because we had taken him out to dinner for an early birthday celebration. It was quite late when he decided to go for his nightly run, despite the fact that it was pitch dark and raining slightly. In the middle of his route, the skies erupted with a thunder and lightning spectacular that included buckets of the wet stuff pouring down on him. Yep, those raindrops kept falling on his head, but that didn't mean his eyes would soon be turning red (or that he would be hurrying home to bed, either). Instead, he finished his run while his crazy mom went out looking for him in my Pilot, worried that he might get struck by lightning himself! Of course, his father insisted it wasn't necessary, and both of them laughed at me when I came in from the cold, some time after Ryan had already arrived.

The birthday boy did look like a drowned rat, so I guess I had the last laugh...


We struck gold the day you were born.

(Shouldn't every birthday be celebrated in the Aloha state?


Monday, April 16, 2012

The Suitor


The Suitor
©2012 Susan Noyes Anderson

Never think he failed
to bring
anything (that mattered)
to the table.
He braved stone walls.

Flowers in hand and
feminine side intact
(albeit upside-down and
naked to her eyes),
he held his horses.
Proud steeds that
could not hold her––fast
mounts, yes, but
withered by her gaze.
Made small by she
who freely
scorned the ground.

He watched her go,
unmanned (and now
unwomanned), save for
just that aching part
still his to claim.
Stripped down,
exposed, hung
supine from the ledge.

She stepped out, and
the roofs shone red
as bloodlust––burned so
hot his soul was seared.

Redeemed or ruined, he
deemed the wound
skin deep. (His skin.)
Three layers only.
Each one gladly giv'n––
by love consumed.

The soft voice whispered,
Who needs layers at all?

She floated backward, held
him with dark eyes.
Her fruit drooped, ripe
and heavy...oozed so sweet.
He tasted fear as she
suffused his senses––
sated him.
He gorged on hope
long after hope was gone.

the woman in the moon
took notes (not notice).
And the world went on.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Why Oh Why Oh

At first I asked myself why oh why Ms. Matlock had to give us the words why oh why oh why for a prompt, but I've since come to grips with it. Below you will find 100 words plus the prompt (in red, as always).


Why Oh Why Oh
(Me Oh My Oh)

©2012 Susan Noyes Anderson

Why oh why oh why oh why
must age make bodies go awry?

Me oh my oh me oh my.
The cure’s extreme: Ya gotta die.

Don’t wanna go there; so I’ll vent.
These are the things I most lament:

My waist is thick; my hair is thin.
The desert’s moister than my skin.
My eyelids droop; my lips are gone.
My wrinkles wrinkle on and on.
My joints get sore; my muscles ache.
Too many pills I have to take.
My memory is fading fast,
forgetting things from first to last.

Why must this body go amiss?
(Wait! Didn’t I just ask you this??)


I still have a full deck; I just shuffle a little slower now.
(And sometimes, I drop the cards.)

By the time you're my age, you've learned everything.
You just can't remember it!


Friday, April 13, 2012

Help Wanted: Discerning Readers

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I'm looking into publishing a few story poems written for my grandchildren. Now I'm wondering if you might help me.

I need to choose one Easter story out of the two I like best. Anyone willing to read both of them and comment with their preference would be doing me a great service, as I can't seem to decide. Well, actually, I do have a favorite, but thought I'd see if others agree before making the final selection.

The first one you may have read last week, while the second was posted last year. I'd love to hear which appeals to you most.



Thursday, April 12, 2012

Undercutting Unhappiness

Do you climb the same old hill day after day,
but it just isn't working for you?

Remind yourself that it is more than okay
to try something else...Something new!

Don't think only one path can lead to your dreams.
There is more than one way to arrive.

No journey is ever as hard as it seems.
Don't get stuck. Get creative, and thrive.

If you waste time judging the place where you are,
bemoaning the places you've been...

You'll run out of time to reach up for that star
and grab hold of the good life again.

So look for the best, and the best will find you.
Be unsinkable, like Molly Brown.

Move forward. Press on. Make some changes. Break through.
You can take that unhappiness down!

(knockout punch)

for more U posts, click below

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Dissing My Religion

I rarely get political here, and that's not my intention today either. I suspect my readership is about evenly comprised of liberals and conservatives, Republicans and Democrats...with a mix of Independents and Libertarians thrown in for good measure. And I like it that way.

For the record, my views no longer fit neatly into any one party platform. Liberal and conservative, depending upon the issue, I now choose candidates based on character and integrity as much or more than party affiliations or positions. I also respect every person's right to support whatever candidate(s) he or she feels inclined to support, and I have no problem agreeing to disagree on issues and policies. I enjoy and appreciate the give and take of respectful political discussion.

Sadly, respectful political discussion is increasingly hard to come by, and personal attacks have become part and parcel of every race. Recent words from Lawrence O'Donnell of MSNBC have left me fuming, because in an attempt to discredit Mitt Romney, this unscrupulous commentator has launched an attack on my religion. The hostile tone of O'Donnell's remarks, along with their departure from anything even approaching the truth, disturbs and offends me on every level. Even more disturbing and offensive is the complete lack of response from MSNBC, a news organization that should hold Mr. O'Donnell (and itself) responsible for dispensing vitriol and failing to vet material.

How is it that Lawrence O'Donnell has called the LDS faith, practiced by 14 million people worldwide and 5 1/2 million citizens of this country, "demented, fraudulent, and ridiculous" without repercussions to his career? And where is the justification for his latest spew on MSNBC, excerpted as follows:

"Mormonism was created by a guy in upstate New York in 1830 when he got caught having sex with the maid and explained to his wife that God told him to do it..." (It gets worse, but I don't want to give his verbal garbage additional play on my blog.)

Surely there can be no excuse for this kind of disrespect in the public arena. Not only is it patently untrue, but it's completely inappropriate in every way imaginable. I am dumbfounded that any of this nonsense would make it past the cutting room floor, and I am troubled by what I sincerely hope will not become a trend.

We, the members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, deserve better. And so does our national discourse.