A Tale of Two Churches

I go to two Masses every Sunday. At the first Mass I am only a visitor. I take my father there every week. He is ninety-two years old and I am his only child.

Church One

Today I go to Mass with the hope of being buoyed up, sustained with words that could help heal a broken heart. This is the Sunday following the horrific murders in Newtown, Connecticut.

There is solace to be found in a church, in a Mass, surrounded by others who are also in pain. I am also from Aurora, Colorado where a young man from this very congregation and celebrating his first wedding anniversary was murdered this past summer in a shooting at a movie theatre.

I was hoping for a bit of peace. These are the ideas that the Roman Catholic priest offered to me to help ease my pain.

I need to be aware that there are more than three thousand children aborted and killed everyday and no one offers them tears on the television. He wondered why politicians shallowly mourn for twenty-two when thousands are murdered each day in this country. He said the politicians are just furthering their own agenda.

This priest offered the observation that the President, to whom he only referred to as Obama, has made it his mission to disassemble the sacrament of marriage. Thus creating more dysfunctional families and children. Which will lead to more heinous acts.

He called us morons, those of us who believe that guns are a major part of the problem. He actually used the word moron in his sermon. He implored us to bring Jesus to the people. Then, he promised, these awful things won’t happen.


This is the Roman Catholic Church that I grew up in. The church in which I gave fifty-six years of my life hoping there would be change. There was some hope after Vatican II. But the pendulum swung back and the door locked. I am on the other side of that door.

I am no longer a Roman Catholic. I can no longer stand by and search for excuses to support the pain and alienation this church causes, the blindness that it maintains, and the avaricious wealth it hoards.


Church Two

All are welcome in this church. My new church is a member of the Ecumenical Catholic Communion.

This morning before Mass a woman and her wife settled next to me in the sanctuary. A priest and his wife were celebrating his anniversary of ordination. A Christmas cookie exchange was set up in the lobby of my storefront church. A hayride was being planned by one of the families with everyone from the parish invited. A Jesse tree stood in the lobby almost empty of ornaments waiting for the gifts to be returned and then given away to those in need.

Hugs and kisses fly around the room in abundance. This is a wealth we are all endowed with and can share freely. Everyone is welcome to the Eucharistic table.

The children, at times, run amuck with joy and laughter. We are blessed to hear those sounds when others have lost this precious gift.

When it came time during the mass for the children to leave for religious instruction, our pastor gathered them in front of the altar. They range in age from about three to around twelve years of age.

Our pastor asked them how they were feeling or if something was bothering them. He is good at wait time. Wait time is something teachers develop after many years in the classroom. It is a vital skill that allows for a pause in questioning giving time for sharing by those who may be a bit reluctant.

No one said anything.

He then asked if they wanted to share anything or talk about anything. Again, he waited.

We waited not knowing what would come out of those innocent mouths or how he would handle it. But we have faith in him. He is remarkable and inspirational. He is a true gentle soul with a fierce love of God and high expectations of his congregation. He strives to open our eyes letting us know we are loved and must love with the same passion.

After another long pause, out of the silence came the tiniest voice with talk about Santa. A few sweet comments were shared in the circle and our pastor asked the children to turn around and face us. We knew what he wanted from us.

He wanted us to see how much we are blessed. He wanted us to be thankful for the bright faces and smiles. He wanted the children to see our love for them in our eyes. He told them that all of the adults love them. He reminded us that we must continue to care for the children in everyway possible.

Our pastor then gathered the children close to him and only they were privy to his wisdom as we sang. This happens each week. The children then retreated to their own space to learn more about the love God has for them.

Finally, it was our turn. One of the laity, a woman, gave the homily. In this church, women have a voice and are taken seriously.

We were all given a prayer card with a suggestion of a simple daily exercise to do for the next thirty days. If we follow through, she promises a change. This change will be the repentance, the turning around, that John the Baptist challenged people with thousands of years ago and one that we are still in need of today.

We were given hope today. Solace in knowing that we can make ourselves better and stronger, and therefore, make the world a better place.


It is in our hands to make the change. But we are not alone.

We are loved and loving beings who can do this. If we each take that little step to turn around, away from what hurts us, we will not only change ourselves, but others, too.

But it starts with us, the us that God made. It starts by being inclusive, accepting each other no matter how we appear, because He made us.

God is the good inside of each one of us. All of us. We need to remember He is there, a perpetual light that will never go out. We just need to find it within ourselves and fuel it. Then remember to find it in others, because it is in everyone. Even in the tortured soul of a young man with a gun, the light of God is there. We need to help each other find it.


Advent changes plans. I am not writing of the Advent of the Christmas season, but of the flu season.

Due to the beginning of this nasty season, one of coughing and sore throats and running noses, our poetry project barely got off the ground just as I hit the ground.

It was a good idea. One we may revisit some day.

Until then, here are the meager fruits of my labor, with the hope that my Advent of the Christmas season will yield a more rewarding crop.

Re-cap: I began December with the hope of writing a poem a day with my writing companion, my husband. We were to choose one image per week and write seven poems. One poem would be a haiku and another would be rhymed and metered. The other five could take any form of choice. Below is the photo for the first, and now only, week. It is by Cade Martin. My rhymed/metered poem is the first one and my first stab at a ghazal. The last poem is my haiku.


Photograph by Cade Martin



He stands at attention, awaits the arriving
Of crinoline skirts too soon to be arriving.

The dawn alights on the far eastern shore
while morning birds fawn on sun’s arriving.

Mist cloaks the mind and fog shadows thoughts,
numbness follows to find pain soon arriving.

The ivied boat at rest, aground with gaping
wounds addressed by a carpenter late arriving.

Only visage appears reflected on water’s skin,
but cracking ribs eject the soul’s arriving.

Unfurled in haste, slipping to the ground,
a handkerchief to wipe tears never arriving.

I stand ashore my feet firmly on clay
from which He made me complete before arriving.



Mr. McCafferty

Mr. McCafferty bought a strange little boat
with three lovely sails that stood straight out.

Proud as he was of his herbaceous find
He couldn’t convince not a pal of his to ride.

He searched and he searched with his fine little scope
Peering east and to west to the ends of the globe.

But alas he was lost not to waves uncontrolled,
but the snowstorm he ignored as the weathermen foretold.

For you see Mr. McCafferty’s boat never floated,
He paid no attention to the gardener who gloated.

Slyly he took McCafferty’s money not pointing out
that the green grounded boat could never sail about.

And Mr. McCafferty’s widow just smiled and sighed
when she learned how her husband had finally died.

For she and the gardener were quite fond of each other
and Mr. McCafferty had always loved just his mother.



Aphid Mist

the fog crawled in
spewing muddled thoughts
filling the bottom of the boat

a path indiscernible
within the aphid mist
fogging Odin’s gaze
through his solitary glass

longing for her breath
mixing with the day
the water’s stillness
brought little comfort

he will not move
cannot move from his pinnace
verdant herb
wrapping itself around the bow

sprouting ivy climbing the mast
covering the sails
until snow burns tangerine leaves
leaving but the skeleton of summer

she will sail away upon the aphid mist
away from his treasured glass
and curious gaze
towards a burgeoning infant green



Dipping fingers in
the green basin, tree limbs join
reflection to soul.



A Man In an Ivy Covered Boat

NaNoWriMo came to a successful end for my husband and myself. We each accomplished writing 50,000 words of a novel which now must be re-written and edited. This was the second year for both of us. Much to my surprise it was far easier for me to meet my daily goal this year than last. I don’t know why.

This year I had much less planned going into the first day. No character sketches. No basic outline.  Just a spark of an idea from a writing prompt I used with my 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade writing club students. I am thrilled to have completed what I feel is a quite successful story arc.

But now to the part I am less familiar with. The re-write. I will let it sit until January and then return. Actually, I’m having a hard time leaving my characters alone. But they must wait and keep themselves busy without me for a while.

We are feeling a bit lost, my husband and I.  We don’t want to lose the NaNoWriMo writing momentum we built over the past month. We also don’t want to leave any room for that nasty inner editor to return. We want another project to keep us writing everyday. So we developed a challenge for ourselves.

We each chose some art work – photographs, paintings, sculpture – from the Internet. We wheedled them down to five. We will randomly choose one of those works of art to inspire our writing each week. Every day for a week we will write a poem using that one image. One poem must be a haiku and one must be rhymed and/or metered. The other five can take any form we choose. We will have a date night at the end of each week and read our poems to one another.

If you would like to join us in writing, the first week’s photo is below with a link to where it was found and the artist. The artist is Cade Martin. He is a tremendous photographer and tells a brilliant story with each piece he delivers.

I will be posting all of my poems next week in one post. Come back and see what whimsy has transpired.


Photograph by Cade Martin.

Hobgoblin Nocturnes

upside down
hobgoblin nocturnes gambol219832025532853249_05DdQ9Cn_b
until the dream is righted

turning it over and over
in hand over again
rough edges are hewn to softness

but not without sacrifice

courage runs its delicate finger
across the crimson stain
vestige of the promise



100 Sweet Bloggers at Tweatspeak Poetry and WordCandy.me

Finding inspiration for a poem can happen in the most interesting places. This poem’s inspiration came from the above WordCandy photo and quote.

Featured Blogger GreyI am one of the featured Sweet Bloggers at Tweetspeak Poetry. You can make your own inspiration at WordCandy.me and even send some to a friend. If you would like to see some ready made Word Candy, visit Every Day Poems on Pinterest.