Thursday, September 30, 2010

Who's perfect anyway?

I came across a wonderful blog this morning, Ordinary Courage.   Not only is it aesthetically appealing, but its message is strong: nobody's perfect- embrace who you are and stop striving for perfection

To me, perfection was always this unreachable enigma for other people to attain, partly because I associated success with perfection.  I knew it was an impossible feat, so why even try?  This illusion made for a lackadaisical attitude for many years.  Even if I was successful, I felt unworthy of the recognition.  For instance, I was a very well-respected teacher in several top-notch school districts.  I even held a title for which I was the sole representative in the entire district; but I still felt like I was not good enough.

Now I know this lack of courage was a by-product of low self-esteem and self-flagellation (harsh criticism).  Only until I was able to recognize that there is only one entity in this entire universe that is perfect, and that one is God, was I able to let go and just be myself.  Today I can try my best and leave the results to God, but the point is I TRY

I do not have to be the best writer, nor do I have to be the perfect writer; I simply need to try.  I also do not have to let those rejections eat away at my innermost being and make me feel like a good-for-nothing-loser.  I simply have to put on my big girl pants and try somewhere else.  It is in God's hands anyway, and will be accepted in His time. (Plus, I need to focus on the acceptances I have received, rather that the rejections).

I am so grateful I am no longer a slave to FEAR.  Fear was the roadblock that prevented me from trying, because if I couldn't be the best, why even bother?  Today I have HUMILITY and I know I am not the best, but I can still succeed.

The Serenity Prayer:
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
the courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

9-1-1 Prayers
by Laurie Kolp

Hurry up
I need help
I can’t do this alone
This emotional tsunami
Has left me treading water
Drowning in a sea of resentment
At times I peddle ahead and stay afloat
I know not from where my buoyancy comes
This time the waves pull me under
Strength diminished, I am weak
Worn out and exhausted
I can’t do this alone
I need help
Hurry up

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Be good to your mama!

 At Mom's house in August 2010
My mom turned 72 this week.  I am so proud of her because she is a 15 year breast cancer survivor...15 wonderful years, I might add.  But in the beginning, when we first got the news, her future seemed bleak.  Of course, none of us can predict when God will call us home; but when the C-Word is mentioned?  Well most of us think of it as a death sentence. 

I remember getting the call very clearly (or as clearly as I can remember from back then).  Mom was to have a lumpectomy right away.  It was nearing the end of the school year, so I did what any radical overreacting person would do if they found out their mom had cancer; I quit my job teaching second grade in The Woodlands, and prepared to move back home.  Of course, I waited until school was out, and until I had another job waiting in the wings, but I just wanted to be there for my mom.  She had been there for me through so much.  I needed to be a part of her recovery.  It was God's plan for me anyway.  Great things happened to me when I moved.  I met Pete!

Mom ended up having to have several lymph nodes removed as well as the lumpectomy, so she was very sore for quite a while.  But she was adamant about not feeling needy and remained strong through it all.  Luckily, she only had to have radiation and take Tamoxafin for five years.  She just had her annual check-up with the oncologist and is good to go for another year (thank you Jesus).

Which is why I am angry about something that happened in church a few Sundays ago (yeah church, of all places).  Mom has been having allergy problems and recurring sinus infections, so when a lady sat behind us hacking, sneezing and wheezing, Mom chose not to shake her hand during the peace offering. Mom did turn around and look at her, and Mom has been known for her "looks," but this woman really overreacted. 

After church, she went up to my mom and chewed her out for not shaking her hand!  Can you believe that?  She went on and on about how she coughed in her sleeve and wasn't contageous.  This lady was a raving lunatic, but my poor mom just stood there real strong and took it.  She did not say one word back.

If only that woman knew where my mom was coming from, she might have acted differently... who knows?  I do know one thing.  I would never want to shake the hand of someone so ugly (acting).  The sad thing is that I know her.  She probably did not see me further down in the pew, but I saw her (couldn't have missed her actually).  And I watched her huff and puff out into the parking lot to face the battle of rude cars honking, cutting and hurrying to get home.

Moral of the story:  Enjoy each day as if it's your last and don't sweat the small stuff, but most important- LOVE ONE ANOTHER!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Childlike Sue
by Laurie Kolp

Sue walks through the house when she talks on the phone
pacing back and forth, picking up here and there.
This day was like no other, going along as planned
until Sue spotted on the white rug a blade of green
slither by and disappear under a big orange chair;
the scream was a fog horn in her poor friend’s ear.

We all need sunshine, time to play outside.

Sue stood like a statue as if stoned by Medusa,
she was not accustomed to snakes in the house
(although Sue once encountered a small mouse
and found it so adorable she made it her pet).
Some thought Sue eccentric, a wee bit whimsy;
bold colors and feathers she wore in her hair
and her home an alluring fairy tale cottage
but a snake inside she found horrific and vile.

We all need sunshine, time to play outside.

Sue called for her neighbor, dialed 9-1-1
the whole time her eyes glued to the chair.
Her stilettos would make perfect weapons
thought Sue as she blew bubbles and waited.
When the young, hot fireman entered her house,
the little green lizard made its way home.

We all need sunshine, time to play outside.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Reach for the stars

Getting work published is every writer's goal, especially this one.  I spend a good part of my day researching and studying viable candidates for submittance of my poems and short stories (and eventually novels).  I spend a greater amount of time fine tuning my work before I send it in.  Then I wait.  And wait and wait.  I work on more projects while I wait, or I mow the yard, pull weeds, clean and tend to the laundry, etc...all of this why the kids are in school. 

Many times I get those loathsome, much feared rejections which I used to take very personally.  I have now acquired a thicker layer of skin to handle the blow- something every writer must have, but which was difficult for someone as sensitive as me to acquire.  In fact, it nearly took an act of Congress before I would share my work with friends because writing is so personal.  So I guess I have made a little progress because I want to share my work with you.  I have taken the plunge; I am sending in work regularly.  

My love for writing is stronger and more powerful than any temporary hurt feelings (when rejected) that wave through my body like a stadium of fans at a ballgame.  Here are my latest publications, both out this week- my bright stars within a pile of rejections.  Just click on the links to get there.  Please leave a comment and tell me what you think.  Thank you!

Poem/STONE -a handful of stones

Short story "A Walk in the Woods," The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature

The Latest

Please click on the following links to read my latest publications:

a handful of stones 

The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Walking through school halls

Katie is attending the same junior high that I went to all those years ago.  Much has changed, but some things are still the same.  For instance, students now wear uniforms (which I think is fantastic for this age).  The school building has gotten older, yet better in many ways.  There is a bigger and better wing for the 8th graders; a new gym and science building; new floors and paint; and, of course, new and wonderful teachers with an amazing administration.  The school was the first middle school in the district to achieve "Exemplary" status last year on TAKS. 

Many things are the same, too.  Katie got gum stuck on the side of her brand new shoes last week from the school's bleachers.  The other day after school I saw a boy running out of the building as if he were escaping from prison.  He had a hollow pen in his mouth and little rolled up pieces of paper ready to defend himself from authority should they capture him.  Some of the girls are starting to show their true colors with a new interest in make-up and boys, and they are sporting bows of all sizes and colors in their big hair.

Last night was open house and I must admit I had a strange sense of deja vu.  We had a nice assembly to start things off with all the bells and whistles: cheerleaders, speeches, video, and repeated kudos for the exemplary status.  Goals were discussed, teachers introduced, and then the parents were dismissed to begin the mock schedules of their children.  I felt as if I were back in junior high sitting in the crowded bleachers at an assembly.

I found it surreal to be walking through crowded halls and passing former friends, who are now parents.  We passed each other and said "hello" as we struggled to make it to class on time.  Some of us hung out in front after the open house ended like we used to everyday after lunch.  We quickly dispersed after the principal walked by on her way to the parking lot.  Some things never change with change.

It was a fun evening for both Katie and me.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Happy Anniversary

Twelve years ago, Pete and I were married.  It was a beautiful day, and we celebrated our union with close family and friends.  Everything was absolutely perfect.  Here are a few photos from our wedding day.
We have been blessed with three wonderful children.  I love the life I share with Pete.  Happy Anniversary!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

by Laure Kolp

I awake to a beautiful day
smell fresh coffee and bacon
stretch my cracking body
roll out of bed slowly
on this one day I sleep in.

I call “Good Morning,”
as I grab my Starbucks mug
and pour four cups inside,
but there is no answer
only Spongebob and Patrick
resonating from the TV.

Then the door slams
and in walk the kids.
“We’re having a garage sale,
come see,” they say.
“So much for a lazy Saturday,”
and I follow them outside.

Letting go...of junk

One person's trash is another person's treasure...unless the person is not willing to admit their treasures are trash...or maybe they are emotionally attached to their stuff... 

We had a garage sale this morning.  Our idea of a garage sale is that we wake up and decide to have one.  Since we live on a fairly busy street, we do not have to worry about advertising in the newspaper or putting signs all over town.  We simply pull all the junk that has been accumulating in our garage out into the driveway and put a sign up in our yard.  Then the people come.

It is so interesting how our typical garage sales go.  The kids always start gung-ho about helping because if they help, they get paid.  But this only lasts for a while and then they get bored and go inside.  I try to go outside and help but usually get kicked back inside.  This conversation will tell you why:

Woman walks up with three things in hand and asks "How much?"

Katie says, "Fifty cents each."

At the same time, I say, "Five dollars for all three," and then quietly tell Katie not to price anything.

The lady sets the items down and walks away.

"M-oh-mm!" Katie says.

It happens a few more times and then I go back inside and frantically search for more things to put in the sale.  We have to make a little money, after all.

This is why Pete, my sweet husband, is the one who usually endures the heat (or cold) and runs our garage sales.  According to him, it's fun to let someone pay you to take away your junk.  But what about all those tools that are still in the garage?  Hmmm...

Friday, September 17, 2010

Watch Your Steps
by Laurie Kolp

She plays many roles
in her pompous life
moods that perpetuate
lost feelings of strife.

Panic, anxiety, fear,
to name just a few,
creep in unannounced
and skew her blind view.

From daylight to dark
her patterns may vary,
so watch your steps,
tiptoe and don’t tarry!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Reflections of You: Annabelle Angelle
by Laurie Kolp

Annabelle, how I miss you!
My dearly adopted grandmother
Independent and stubborn like few
At ninety-four, there was no other

My dearly adopted grandmother
Cajun-born, spunky and wise
At ninety-four, there was no other
Your big glasses, your owl-like eyes

Cajun-born, spunky and wise
Joyfully you met each day ahead
Your big glasses, your owl-like eyes
Humbly requesting banana bread

Joyfully you met each day ahead
Our time together I cherish
Humbly requesting banana bread
Sweet aroma never will perish

Our time together I cherish
We sat and talked over coffee
Sweet aroma never will perish
Embedded in pain, eternally happy

We sat and talked over coffee
Lifelong stories one of a kind
Embedded in pain, eternally happy
Speaking freely your coon-ass mind

Lifelong stories one of a kind
Reflections of days that flew
Speaking freely your coon-ass mind
Annabelle, how I miss you!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Stuck in a dog kennel

I have a funny story to share with you from several years ago when the kids were much younger.  We were having a birthday party at the house.  Our good friends had lent us their huge water slide to use for party entertainment as long as we could fix it.  Pete worked diligently mending the hole, getting the squirter to work and setting up the slide.  We had so much fun the night before the party "testing it out." 

The next day was beautiful and sunny until thirty minutes before the party when it began to rain.  We kept our hopes up that the showers would pass while playing inside.  The kids had fun running all through the house and dragging every single forgotten toy out from some inconspicuous spot that must have been very conspicuous to kids.  Parents and siblings hung out and chatted with one another as we munched on pizza and drank Capri Sun.  I was glued to The Weather Channel praying for sunshine.

Suddenly I noticed a ruckus over by Jake's small puppy kennel.  I walked over to see what was going on and discovered a toddler in the dog kennel!  He was the cutest boy, too; he had a mop of curly red hair and deep blue eyes, and was about two.  The father was calling his son to come out of the kennel, but the little boy wouldn't move.  Well, we soon found out he couldn't move.  Pete had to take the kennel apart so the poor thing could get out.  The toddler did not seem to mind, though.  I think he felt pretty safe in there from the crazy big kids running amok.

After that everyone decided to tackle the rain and play on the water slide.  It was only sprinkling by then so the children were able to spend the remainder of the party outside, which I was very happy about.  Everyone had a good time and we filed it away as a happy childhood memory.

The reason I am telling you this story is because of something that happened today.  We were coming out of the library tonight when we noticed a father with two kids going inside. 

Pete recognized them and said, "Last time I saw you, you were stuck in our dog kennel."

Guess what?  Wrong family.  We do know the family, but from somewhere else.  I laughed all the way home.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

by Laurie Kolp

Tears rain down my somber face,
rushing forth with endless grief.
Will they quell the fires inside,
flood pain with aqueous relief?

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Dance, but don't dance barefooted

Katie is now dancing on the competition team.  This requires extensive practice and dance classes as well as competing in various conventions and programs throughout the year.  Well, last Thursday she had to go to practice from 5:15 to 8:00.  Apparently the dancing was done barefooted.  The picture shows what has happened to Katie's poor feet since that night.

Moral of story:  Don't dance without shoes unless the floor is powdered!
The Companion of Loneliness
by Laurie Kolp

The companion of loneliness appears in disguise
The lies and manipulation reflect in blind eyes

The companion of loneliness captures the weak
Persuades them to isolate, to feel incomplete

The companion of loneliness controls everything
Mollycoddles the victims with harness and ring

The companion of loneliness reigns terror within
Scaring reeds broken into deepening sin

Saturday, September 11, 2010

TALL Tales

Nicholas has such an imagination.  Ever since he was a toddler, he would make up elaborate stories about things.  It started with trucks.  We used to drive around town so he could see all of the trucks (cranes, tractors, etc.)  Then he would tell me fascinating tales about them.  Once we were parked on the side of a street looking at some trucks on a construction site when I heard a rap on my window.  It was a friend's husband driving home for lunch.  He wanted to make sure we were okay.  I had to tell him we were just looking at the trucks!

Recently, Nicholas has been rambling on about his "night job."  According to him, he wakes up in the middle of the night and goes to work in his basement.  Here is an example of a recent conversation I had with him.  (Jeannette McCurdy is a co-star on the TV comedy ICarly!).

Nicholas:  Did you know that Jeannette McCurdy is serious in real life?

Me:  How do you know?

Nicholas:  I could tell when I talked to her on the phone.

Me:  Really?

Nicholas:  I fixed her studio when it was struck by lightning.

Me:  Was that one of your night jobs?

Nicholas:  Yeah.  I have to ditch school sometimes, too, for my work.  But my teacher doesn't care...she lets me because I tell her what I have to do.

And then there's the time Nicholas told me his teacher ordered lunch (and picked it up) from Luby's for the class everyday, but that's another story.

Hmmm...maybe Nicholas will be a writer someday.

Friday, September 10, 2010

A message to my children

Dream the impossible
Reach for the stars
Anything is possible
Wherever you are

Believe in yourself
Don't be a slave to fear
Have faith in your God
Your future is here
A New Age Family, Part 2
by Laurie Kolp

This is our future, the here and now
the demise of the American family,
falling prey to technology bliss.
What will become of this madness,
no one knows,
but what happened to this family
I shall share.

Instead of the family they were meant to be,
these four people became a generic Unit,
spent their days in cold isolation,
away from human contact and interaction-

This Unit had no friends, no real love,
they knew not what love really was-
the affectionate kind, the physical kind
one gets from hugs and kisses,
no faith God nor trust in Him did they possess-
all trust was invested in computers
and the man-made world.

Mom and Dad, Sister, Brother
were stagnant, in poor health,
as one might expect from staying inside all day, everyday,
without fresh air, sunshine, exercise.

The Unit ordered everything online,
did everything online,
and became everything online.

Robotically they existed in lives mundane,
growing further and further apart
until The Day, D-Day,
everything changed:
because of a glitch in the system,
the world as they knew it exploded.

not global warming,
not nuclear warfare,
not terrorism,
but technology-
computers destroyed the Unit's future,
the day the family died.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Moments captured

A hummingbird stands at attention
Now that summer is officially over, I am waiting for some cooler temperatures to make their way to Southeast Texas.  Last week, we did have a two day reprieve where the temperatures stayed below 90, but that was only a tease.  I find myself still having to wipe my fogged-up sunglasses each time I step out into the humid sauna-like climate.

But even though the temperatures are still high, I can tell the seasons are changing.  The sun is positioned differently now as the days grow shorter.  The fall allergy season is upon us.  Even God's little creatures are acting differently.

Here are a few interesting pictures that capture nature at its best.  The hummingbird pictured above was one of many who swamped the bird feeder all day.  For me to capture a hummingbird like that is quite amazing.  The frog pictured below stayed stuck to Katie's window for quite a while.  Perhaps he was enjoying watching her dance around her room.  Who knows?

Mr. Frog peeking into Katie's room...
...the outside view.
A New Age Family, Part 1
by Laurie Kolp

One child sits alone in his Space room
diagramming compound sentences
and conjugating verbs on his laptop
for his online school homework
knowing if a problem should arise
his teacher is just a Skype away.

Sister sits alone in her generic room
reading Chaucer from a Nook
while listening to her iPod
and quietly mouthing along
to Not-So-Nice lyrics she hopes
Mom and Dad can’t hear.

Mom sits alone in the cold kitchen
testing her new Credit Card sized phone
as she chats with virtual friends
and waits impatiently for the delivery
of groceries she ordered online.

Dad sits alone in his office/study
working diligently on his computer,
typing away at the technology proposal
he hopes will move him up the ladder
so he can make ends meet for his family.

Part 2 - Next time!

Monday, September 6, 2010

by Laurie Kolp

Free as a bird
The wind
Sometimes cool, sometimes warm
Slaps my face
Tickling my nose with every breath
Opening my sleepy eyes

Free as a bird
My blonde hair
Sometimes long, sometimes short
Sails through the air like a kite
Sticking to my sweaty cheeks
Wrestling with my lips

Free as a bird
Inert muscles
Sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly
Awaken with the motion
Bending and straightening my knees
Pumping back and forth like a piston

Free as a bird
A whirlybird
Sometimes dizzy, sometimes not
Spinning like a top
I twist myself up and let go
Invigorating my heart and soul

Sunday, September 5, 2010

My bone to pick about some song lyrics

Remind me not to get on a soapbox today.  I mean, I know it's Sunday and all, but I have neither the qualifications nor the desire to preach from the pulpit.  But I do have something I need to get off my chest and would like to know how you feel about this poser.

My question is:  Has anyone noticed how distasteful and trashy today's top music has gotten?

I mean, I am still as young as I think I am, so I still listen to the hits.  The radio is on in my car at all times and you are likely to see me walking with my iPod attached somewhere.  I love music.  I always have and always will.  Music awakens my senses and eases my mind.  I can sit and listen to music for hours~ not the beat, but the words.  In fact, when I am enrapt in songs, I can do nothing else.  I guess it's the poet in me who loves to analyze and decipher the lyrics.  Pete, on the other hand, listens to music to drown out the tinnitus in his ears.  He works while he listens and pays no attention to the words.

So when I asked him what he thought about the singer who has a first name like my daughter (spelled differently though) and a last name that rhymes with scary, this is what he said.

"Who's that?"

"You don't know who she is?  Her trashy album cover is all over and her songs are played every time you turn around.  Have you listened to the words of her, um, music?"

"No.  I don't know what she sings."

"Well you need to.  I can't believe she drones on about going all the way tonight and she even talks about wearing out the sheets... AND THE KIDS ARE BEING EXPOSED TO THIS TRASH! Not to mention her sex on the beach crap.  Drink or not, I don't care.  She's sending the wrong message to vulnerable ears."

Big breath.  I feel a little better now.

"I don't listen to words, remember?"

"Well, you better because I want the station changed when you hear it if the kids are in the car."

"I'll just turn off the radio, okay?" Pete said.

I'm stepping down now.

Saturday, September 4, 2010


Fiona Robyn's a handful of stones publishes one stone everyday.  I am so proud to announce that mine is posted as today's, September 5, 2010, choice.  It is a true recap of the time my husband sailed the flooded waters of our street after tropical storm Allison.  (I must come up with another one depicting the time he navigated his model sailboat down the street after a hurricane).

Please click HERE, a stone's throw to my words.

Directly from the website: a small stone is a polished moment of paying proper attention. A shiny new stone will be published here every day.

I will have another stone appear on September 22, 2010.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Ms. Aunt Gel (aka Ms. Angelle)

I've been thinking about Ms. Angelle lately.  I really miss her.  Today I went to a luncheon at the Women's Club with Mom.  On our way, we passed by the cardiologist's office that I used to take Ms. Angelle to.  I remembered how she always had people engaged in some sort of conversation about her Cajun dialect.  I chuckled as I recalled the time she took her shirt off in front of the doctor to show him something and she had nothing on underneath.  The look on that young doctor's face was priceless!  

Mom and I had time to spare (she picked me up more than thirty minutes before the luncheon started), so we drove by Ms. Angelle's house.  Two vehicles were parked in her driveway and a lawn chair was on the porch.  I guess her daughter finally decided to move into the house.

Then, when Mom and I arrived at the Woman's Club (which is housed in an old historical mansion much like Ms. Angelle's), we discovered they would be recognizing a lady's birthday during the luncheon.  She was turning 100 years old!  She was as spry and agile as Ms. Angelle was, only this lady had trouble hearing.  I thought how much Ms. Angelle would have liked the Woman's Club, as they have different groups to suit a wide variety of hobbies: music, books, sewing, cooking, gardening, etc.  Gardening would definitely have been her choice of groups.

Later on, I was driving Nicholas to the store and he started talking about death.  He was sad and got teary-eyed as he asked me if I would still be his mom after I died (I got teary-eyed, too). 

I told him, "Of course, I will always be your mom.  Forever and ever."

"Do you think we'll see each other in Heaven?  Will we see Miss Aunt Gel (Ms. Angelle)?  And your friend Mary?  And everyone else who has died by then that we know?  How do we know when we're going to die anyway?"

"Of course we'll see our loved ones!  And nobody knows when their time will come.  But you know what?"

"What?" Nicholas asked.

"We can't waste our precious time worrying about when that will happen.  Instead, we need to enjoy each moment we have together.  Okay?"

"Okay," ...and then back to the normal Nicholas... "well, in my next life, I'm going to be a superhero."

I looked toward the sky and wondered if anyone up there was listening.

When I sat down at my computer later, there was a cute cardinal figurine sitting above the screen.  Amazing.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

A playground mishap

I got the dreaded call today.

"Hello?  This is the nurse from BlankBlankA-Blankell..."

Oh dear.  Who threw up?

"...and I have Nicholas here with me."

Maybe he is just congested.

"He took a fall on the playground."

FLASHBACK.  Six years ago.  Preschool.  Same words, different child.  Andrew's nose is broken on rickety bridge.  Oh dear!

"Is he okay?  What happened?"  I blurt out.

"Well, he took a tumble onto the woodchips while he was playing on a piece of equipment.  He scratched the left side of his face from his eye down to his cheek."

Heart thumping.  Palms sweaty.  My poor baby.  I must go get him and snatch him up into my arms.

"He's okay, Mom.  I just wanted you to know."

Did you read my mind?

"Are you sure?"

"Yes.  He's being Nicholas- happy and chatting away."

"Well...give him a hug for me."

Letting go is so hard.

War Cries
by Laurie Kolp

I’m going to set the world on fire
I’m going to laugh as they perspire
I’m going to make each one expire
Satan’s choir, Satan’s choir

I’m going to fill the world with peace
I’m going to smile at this release
I’m going to end selfish caprice
Yahweh’s police, Yahweh’s police