Friday, February 28, 2014

An Empty Nest: A Gift of Power Part II

An empty nest often results in an empty room. A room once filled with toys, clothes, books, papers, and just stuff can become a desolate terrain of a few scattered thingamajigs and whatchamacallits.  

When my daughter moved out on her own, I renamed her room The Peace Garden. Her room had previously been the setting for hundreds of school projects, rehearsals, and attitudes—the slam-the-door, stomp-your-feet, and yell-as-loud-as-you-can kind. I re-purposed her room, and it is now my office and sewing room. When I am working, I often think of the little girl who lived in this room. Her mind's eye had created a world befitting the princess she deemed herself. She wrote poetry, prayers, stories, and songs. She created masterpieces from glue and beads and ribbons and cloth. And she dreamed dreams of the purpose she is living out today.

A few years ago, I zoomed in on one of the wall hangings I now have in the room, and I described it in a poem.

The Tapestry
Regal and elegance suspended above.
Tasseled and fringed, bedecked in jewels.
Sparkles misting hither and there
On hues of muting shades
Of light’s phenomenon.
Gold, aged—earned by time.
Seed pearls glossing
With the penumbra of beads.
Threads burrowed and woven line upon line
In a spectacular array lulled and stilled
. . . And then a hand—
God’s hand piercing through.
The atmosphere’s answer is fire—
A flaming fanfare
Yielding crowns of glory on heads of man.
The Day of Pentecost whispered on tapestry
There on the wall in my quiet place
There on the wall of my Garden of Peace.
There on the wall of once my daughter’s room.

The line The Day of Pentecost whispered on tapestry came from how I felt when I made the wall hanging. It was the first time I had made a wall hanging from textiles, and I was a little uneasy about how it would turn out. So, I used the term whispered. Originally, I had written the last line as There on the wall of my daughter’s room, but after I read it aloud, I thought it needed something. I wanted to make it different—more poetic, so I added once in front of my.

I published the poem on printable fabric and sewed it on a shirt I now call my poetry shirt.

Putting your thoughts in poetry is quite easy. Follow these steps:
  •  Focus on a favorite object
  •  Examine the colors, textures, and images
  • Think about its purpose
  • Think about how it makes you feel
  • List your ideas about the object—anything goes
  • Add descriptive words
  • Experiment with putting phrases together
  • Use a thesaurus to find interesting words
  • Read the phrases aloud, reposition some, and delete others until you have a poem that is aesthetically pleasing to the ear

How do you feel about a special object? This is the story in you. Share it.


#emptynest   # emptynextsyndrome   #peacegarden    #TheDayofPentecost     #sewing      #poetry  #thesaurus    #daughter   #yourstory   #adultchildren   #adultchildrenmovingoutofthehouse     #repurposearoom   #decorating

Thursday, February 27, 2014

An Empty Nest: A Gift of Power Part I

Many parents experience the empty nest syndrome as their children grow from babies to adults. As my son prepares to move into his own apartment, I am bombarded with memories of the various transitions he has made from birth to adulthood.

Before Ricky was born, I prepared the “nest” by determining which hand-me-downs he would inherit from his sister. Then I decorated his first bedroom with dark brown wood furniture and turquoise accents. A turquoise comforter embraced his baby bed while a fuzzy brown bear wall hanging with a turquoise bow gazed over his bed.

As Ricky approached two, I entered his room to find him straddling the side of his baby bed. It was time for his first “big” bed. And because he had identified green as his favorite color, I bought him a green bedspread scattered with pictures of baseball and football players.

A few years later, Ricky begged for bunk beds, so when we moved into a larger house, my husband and I bought him bunk beds. Ricky loved those bunk beds so much that he declared, “Mom, I am never leaving. When I get married, my wife will have the top bunk bed, and I will have the bottom bunk bed.” I was touched, but I knew I could never hold him to it.

When our family relocated to another state, Ricky wanted another “regular” bed, and his theme transitioned from University of Michigan football to jazz after he learned to play the saxophone and joined his school band.

Clothes and bags now adorn the floor of Ricky's room as he determines what he will take and what he will leave behind. Instead of feeling sad, I am thankful for this natural progression in life. David McNally and Mac Anderson’s heart-warming video based on their book The Push: Unleashing the Power of Encouragement  (2011) inspires me by reminding me how important it is for parents to let go and to push. 

I recognize that Ricky has a purpose in life, and he is ready to begin his life’s mission. I need only look at one of the many gifts he gave me to know he is strong enough to soar like an eagle. 

The gift was a heart--

  —a heart of steel he fashioned from his Steel Tec set when he was 8 years old.

What memories do you have of growing up and leaving the nest? This is the story in you. Share it.


#emptynest   # emptynextsyndrome   #UniversityofMichiganFootball    #eagles     #push      #SteelTec   #yourstory   #heartofsteel   #sons   #childrengivinggifts   #handmedowns   #adultchildrenleavinghome   #decorating   #childrensbedrooms
McNally, D & Anderson, M. (2011). The push: Unleashing the Power of Encouragement. Simple Truths

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Improving Sleep Part III

Improving your sleep can be as simple as placing your worries in a box—literally.

You will need the following items near your bed:
  • a medium sized box
  • a pad of paper
  • a pen or pencil

     Think about your day. What are you anxious about? What unresolved business did you have? What relationship do you need to repair?

Take a few moments to freewrite about your worries by designating 3 minutes to write whatever is on your mind—nonstop. When you’re finished, either ball up the paper or fold the paper and place it in your worry box. It is an outward expression of releasing your worries so you can enjoy a peaceful sleep.

What worries can you place in your worry box? This is the story in you. Share it.

The Memory Keepers’ Daughter,


#insomnia   #improvesleep   #difficultysleeping   #sleepAids   #freewriting   #expressivewriting   #journalwriting   #peacefulsleep   #sweetdreams   #emotionallyhurt   #bitterness   #forgiveness
#unforgiveness   #bedbugs    #worrybox   #yourstory

Friday, February 21, 2014

Improving Sleep, Part II

My expressive writing focused on an incident that happened to me in elementary school. Although the memory of this incident did not dominate my thoughts, after over 40 years, I thought about it from time-to-time. Through expressive writing, I emptied my mind of how I felt about the incident and even what I would have told the other person involved. I now feel relieved. These thoughts no longer need to occupy space in my mind.

When I thought of my elementary school days, I thought of my childhood bedtime rituals. As my three siblings and I reluctantly climbed into our beds, Mama would say, “Night night. Sleep tight. Don’t let the bedbugs bite.” (We never gave bed bugs a second thought. I believed they were some mystical bug that only existed in a fairy tale, but they are real and have invaded the United States.)

My siblings and I would say our prayers (a traditional prayer found in the New England Primer):
"Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep.
If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take. . . “

Years later, I taught the prayer to my children, and after many months, I noticed that my son changed the words,
“Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep.
If Mommy should die before I wake, I pray the Lord her soul to take. . .”
I guess my son thought about the words and realized he did not plan to die overnight. Well, I didn’t want to die overnight either, so I found another prayer.

           "I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, Lord, only makest me dwell in safety." Psalms 4:8

Before you lie down at night, do some expressive writing to rid yourself of needless thoughts, and find a prayer that promotes peace and tranquility.

What memories do you have of your childhood bedtime? This is the story in you. Share it.


#insomnia   #improvesleep   #difficultysleeping   #sleepaids   #freewriting   #expressivewriting   #journalwriting   #peacefulsleep   #sweetdreams   #emotionallyhurt   #bitterness   #forgiveness
#unforgiveness   #bedbugs    #NewEnglandPrimer   #NowIlaymedowntosleep   #IwillbothlaymedowninpeaceandsleepforthouLordonlymakestmedwellinsafety   #Psalms4:8   #Psalms  #prayers   #yourstory