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All material on this website is © Donna JT Smith unless otherwise noted.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Adoption

It is Poetry Friday, so it's time to get a good, healthy dose of poetry.  The poets and poems are being hosted at Live Your Poem with Irene Latham.

Some good friends of ours, (well, they are good friends of my daughter, but I have come to know them as our own personal friends also) some time ago, decided to adopt.  They have three children, and decided they would adopt their fourth child.  They wanted a boy, which would mean they would have two girls and two boys then.  It would be most likely an infant, and from the USA.  They would name this baby boy, John.

But that is not exactly how it turned out.  To read their story, Mom has started a blog.  She has never blogged before, so it is a work in progress.  Please, go here to learn more about the incredible journey to bring John home: His Name is John: Our Story.

I wrote them a poem for John, when they found him.  We could all see him, read about him, pray for him, etc. but he could not know yet that there was a family - real people somewhere desperately trying to find a way to make his dream of a family come true, wanting to make him a part of their family.  When I too saw his pictures and video, it struck me how much we already knew about him, how much was being put in place to have this happen...and yet, he knew nothing of it.  His world had not changed, but for others it was changing already.


You Don't Know

We know your name
We’ve seen your face.
In a faraway place.

You don’t know,
but
We know you;

The time is coming;
to be a brother,
To have a mother.

You don’t know,
but
We know your laugh,

And wistful wishes;
We’ve seen the gleam,
We know your dream.

You don’t know,
but
We hold your picture,

As we speak your name
In our prayers, too,
Asking blessings for you,

You don’t know,
but
At your new home

Your family awaits
Holding your space
In the family embrace.

You don’t know,
but
You will know
soon.

©Donna JT Smith, all rights reserved


A portion of Abbey's Blog Post starts here:

Here is our story about God leading us to adopt John (Zhen Zhen).  I hope you are blessed by seeing God's Hand as we have been!

These are just some of the things I wrote down about John's story and ours coming together.  Many of you have read this in an email I sent at the beginning of all of this, but I thought it was the best way to get the story on the blog (finally!)

In the fall of 2013 Ethan and I had a light-hearted yet real conversation like this:

Ethan: “We need another boy.  Sam needs a brother.”
Me: “Let’s adopt one.”
Ethan: “Okay.”
Me: “Really?”
Ethan: “Yeah.”
Me: “Let’s pray, then.  If God wants us to adopt a boy, He will make it happen.  It’s not hard for Him…  Dear God, if you want us to adopt a boy, we will.  Please make it happen if you want us to.”

That must have been November 21, 2013, because two weeks later I wrote in my prayer journal the date 40 weeks from that night.  I didn’t know “why” but along the lines of, “Hey- maybe our baby is being created right now and we can pray for him from the start of his life until birth.” The date I wrote: August 28.

Two weeks later, Ethan and I watched a documentary about adoption called, “Stuck.”  We had been praying and thinking about adoption, but that night we literally shook hands—agreeing that we would start taking steps toward adoption and only stop if God told us otherwise along the way.  I also wrote down the date 40 weeks from that day.  In my prayer journal it says:
“John” (Aug. 28, Sept. 11?)

Sometime in the fall (soon after we decided and felt led to start taking steps) I was reading my Bible and praying.  I wrote down, “The work of this adoption will be done in prayer.”

I wrote each of our kids’ names and the theme of their name, story, birth, etc.  It looks like this:
  • Child #1's Name: Ask Your Heavenly Father for what you want.
  • Child #2's Name: Let our children exist for God’s Glory.
  • Child #3's Name: Please, ask specifics! 
  • (John) Child we don’t know yet: salvation, adoption, protection, funding, matching.  PRAY IN FAITH!  John 1:6-13; Luke 1:63-80
I recently reread those Scriptures and am reminded of the message I heard from the Lord that morning about our future son.  Name him John.  He will be like John the Baptist in that he will lead people out of darkness into the Light—sharing salvation and the forgiveness of sins.  Just like the themes and beautiful messages God gave us with our biological children, those passages, I believe, mean something significant about John and God’s plans for his life.

Since that day I have been praying for our hopeful adopted son by the name of John.

JJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJ

Thank you for reading.  But there is more to his story... for more of the story and to keep updated on the adoption process please go to her blog:
The adoption agency does not want images of him online yet.  Sorry. When it is permissible, I will put his picture online.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Tornado Dog

On Laura Purdy Salas' 15 Words or Less today I wrote to the picture of her dog, Jack, shaking after a bath. I posted this on the Comments there, but it wouldn't hold its format. SO, I'm posting it here, too! I really wanted it to come out in the right shape!

Tornado Dog

Show us again, Toto! How
     did it go, when your
  house spun
  in the
Tor
     na
  d
o
   ?

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Measured in Feet - Poetry Jam

Poetry Jam today...write a new poem with the topic of Feet or Shoes....
Here's my take:

Metric Foot

With accents and syllables to determine it’s tone
A metrical foot can stand on its own -
Dancing to dactyl or swinging spondee,
Kicking up iamb or toe tapping trochee;
Anapestic rhythm can’t be left alone
Unless your poor sole has, alas, turned to stone.

©Donna JT Smith

Friday, January 9, 2015

Winter Poetry Swap

It's Poetry Friday...one of my favorite days of the week!  It is being hosted by Tabatha Yeatts: The Opposite of Indifference.  So many links to poetry, so little time...you'd better get there fast then, to get started!

And speaking of Tabatha, few weeks ago Tabatha Yeatts organized a Winter Poetry Swap.  And through that swap I received a wonderful poem by Matt Forrest Esenwine that I would like to share with you today.  Because he too is from the Northeast, his poem about birches and snow brought up images in my mind...and remembrances of heavy snow with birches bent low to touch the ground.  We had some birches doing just that before Thanksgiving, but I couldn't find my pictures.  I did finally locate some from last year though.
Matt also included a beautiful milkweed ornament, that arrived just in time to be added to our small "motel Christmas" tree we've used ever since our Thanksgiving weekend house fire in 2007.
Matt's had one bad spate of luck lately, mixed in with some pretty good stuff lined up to happen this year.   Perhaps 2015 will hold easier, funner things!  Hope so!  It's definitely his time to shine!

Here's our beloved little tree with Matt's gift ornament - and after that is the poem he sent to me:
It's a little tree in a big room, but it's very special to us.


Courtship

White birch branches
kissed by snow
bend down softly,
arching low.

Their touch is tender,
time is slow - 
til sprintime comes
and they let go.

©2014, Matt Forrest Esenwine

Thank you, Matt, for both the poem and the ornament!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Facetime


We missed our Christmas visit this year with our daughter and her family, as everyone was taking sick time during vacation time.  So, last night my daughter called and we chatted via Facetime - she had my 8 month old granddaughter on her lap and my 3 year old grandson beside her (that would of course also be her daughter and her son...but this is my story).

When GD got fussy, I pushed the button one of her favorite toys for her and put it in camera view.  She stopped to look at it.  Then GS asked to hear his favorite truck noises, so more buttons were pushed and the iPhone camera shifted over to the red truck that I keep here for him.

I watched him do forward rolls, and he showed me his new truck with the big wheels.  I listened to him read a book.  I could see baby sister craning her neck to peek in to watch the screen, too.  He called out the names of the months after me...it's a thing we do - I say a month in a sing-song voice and he mimics me...February came out something like "Never-airy" this time!

He watched the puppy and dog playing and rough-housing on the livingroom floor.  When he giggled the puppy stopped to look at him on the iPhone screen and then attempted to lick him.  Suddenly we were muted.  Did you know that the iPhone is also responsive to puppy tongues?  So if your hands are full sometime, you might want to try using your tongue to text with...kind of a new way of using your tongue to talk...Still, don't tongue-text and drive.

What with the toys and the puppy excitement, GS decided he wanted to come to my house right then and there.  It was so easy.  "Drive in the car to Nannie's house."

So he left the room to get prepared.  When he returned, I could hear him in the background, "Socks!...check!"  and  "Shoes!...Check!"  He got his socks on all by himself, albeit heels up.

I had to show him the cluttery laundry room where he camps out in a sleeping bag and with a lantern night-light hanging on a branch (ok, a cabinet knob overhead), so he'd see that it just wasn't ready for sleeping yet.  Besides, it was suppertime in Pennsylvania and a long drive to Maine.

I think he was okay with waiting a bit, though I heard him "Skidoo" a couple of times - as in Blue's Clues - pretending to hop into the iPad and into my house!

This morning, my daughter sent me a picture of his bedroom - empty bed.  Guess where he slept last night...when she checked on him before coming to bed, she saw that his bed was empty and he was sleeping on the floor with his blanket and pillow.  Hmm.  I wonder if he was pretending he was at Nannie's house sleeping on the floor in his sleeping bag?

Pretend tickles and blowing kisses...all doable through Facetime, but I can hardly wait for our face-to-face, real touch-time - when the puppy can REALLY lick his face!

Friday, January 2, 2015

An Easy Peasy Post

I began writing a poem for today, then remembered I had been planning on posting one from Matt Forrest Esenwine that he sent me.  I realized I hadn't told him it would be this week, so have now postponed it until next Friday.  Then Michelle H. Barnes emailed me to say she was going to post my poem I wrote for her for the Winter Poetry Swap organized by Tabatha Yeatts.
So now, my post is going to merely refer you to Michelle's site: Today's Little Ditty.  There.  Post done for Poetry Friday.  Easy-peasy.  (Now there's a poem that rhymes...)
Go see Michelle now.  She's there with her new word for the new year.
Then go visit many other wonderful poetry links at The Miss Rumphius Effect where Poetry Friday is being hosted by Tricia Stohr-Hunt.

Ok.  Nevermind.  I just finished the poem anyway...inspired by Gingersnap...
If I Were a Dog...and I think that I am...

If I were a dog
though I'm glad that I'm not
I’d do what I’m told
And learn what I’m taught
When you said to sit
I’d stay in that spot
If you threw a ball
that ball would get caught
I’d play with my toys
just ones that you brought
I wouldn’t chew chairs
or other such spots
I’d need to go out
yet not whine a lot
Then late in the night
I’d curl like a dot
And lay by the fire
till I got too hot
Though I'm not a dog
and glad that I'm not
I think that in time
I'll give it a shot.

Would that be a puppy shot?  Oooh, that's today.  My 9 week puppy shots are today.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Ears

There is nothing quite like puppy ears.
So soft.  So supple.  So warm.  So floppy.
Ginger sits by the door now, staring at it, when she wants to go out.  You don't have a lot of time to change from slippers to shoes and grab a coat and leash, but she has given you fair warning.  It is time to go out.  She has things to attend to.  Now. She's nine weeks old - how much can you expect?  Every second to her is like a minute or more to us.
And when I carry her down the stairs and plunk her on the ground, she has a "spot" that she races to, ears flapping up and down and back, as if she were trying to fly.  And then she settles in once, twice, to take care of her business.  A couple of "good girl"s from me, and we are flying back to the house.  It's cold out.  There's a nice warm spot in front of the woodstove with our names on it.
I am happy that I finally got my coat on the "get the puppy outside quick" circuit.
And fortunately, finding and returning to the diet of puppy food she started out on has decreased her need to go out every hour and a half around the clock...
I slept from 11 to 4:30 on Tuesday night and 11 to 5:30 last night - ok, I missed the Happy New Year's cheers... but totally enjoyed and cheered for the Happy New Ears that slept clean and dry through the night!
Ginger and Aunt Pippi by the glowing woodstove

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Pip and Pup, and I'm Still Up


Pippi and Ginger
Here's Tim's Merry Christmas Pup, Gingersnap - aka "Ginger"!  PIcked her up in Boston at Logan Airport this past week as a surprise on our trip back from Rhode Island.  She's a Yellow Lab from Arkansas...one of a litter that my nephew's dog, Peanut had.  When we went to Arkansas in September for my niece's wedding, I laid claim to one of the Christmas pups from Thistle's Labradors, and I kept it a secret from my husband right up until a few hours before we had to pick her up at the airport.

Ginger has met, but not yet been appreciated by our cat, Noah (which you can read more about on "I, Noah Cat" blog - to the right =>).
Pippi, our aging Golden Retriever, however, is accepting Foster Mom duties very well - letting Ginger cozy up and sleep, and correcting her with low growls and bared teeth when she gets a bit too rambunctious!  Many years back she was the puppy being mothered by our old Golden, Nutmeg, aka "Meg", so it's payback time!

I am tired.  I have not had a puppy for a LONG time.  I'd forgotten it's like having a baby that can already walk and run, puts everything in its pin-filled mouth, and poops and pees at will  without benefit of a diaper.

I haven't had a full night's sleep since she arrived as she whines to go out every few hours.  I've memorized the path from bedroom to leash to crate to front door without opening my eyes.  I've become accustomed to standing outside in pj's in freezing temps because I don't have time to grab my coat (I have not yet put it on my memorized route for some reason).  So far I've always had shoes on.  However, I have stepped in more doggie-droppings in the past 4 nights than I have in my whole life...it's hard to see in the dark with wet brown leaves on the ground...well, and trying to stay asleep through the process.

But all in all, it's worth it for the puppy kisses, and the warm, fuzzy, limp and happy puppy body curled up asleep in a lap.  Babies and puppies...God made them cute, so you'd keep them and love them in spite of all the bother!!

Merry Christmas to all!


Friday, December 19, 2014

A Repost for Poetry Friday AND Deja Vu Blogfest

It's finally Deja Vu again.  I thought I'd never see this day again!  So here's my post that needed reposting - one that had not been vu-ed deja so much.
It was a Saturday... November 8, 2014... to be specific.  Not much traffic that day as I cruised the interspace highway.
If you go to DL Hammons or to the links at the bottom of this page, you will find more little known but treasured links.
It is also Poetry Friday, hosted by Buffy Silverman - so head on over to Buffy's Blog for more poetry offerings!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"An Exercise"

On Friday, for Poetry Friday, Margaret Simon explained how she used her students as "guinea pigs" (so to speak), offering them a writing technique/prompt she had seen done by their state poet laureate, Ava Leavell Haymon, at the Book Festival Wordshop.
Her explanation and results are on her page  Reflections on the Teche here.
I decided to try the exercise, since I had a pen and the back of a large envelope right here handy beside me.



Here's the final, short 6 line poem that I came up with out of some of the words jotted down:

Oh, the luscious feeling
Of sweet love
I hum
So softly enveloped
In the arms of serenity
Blessed I am.

And this - with only a couple of very quick edits, is my "free writing" in 7 minutes.  It was supposed to be free writing - not a poem (complete with rhyming), but this just came out.  It is always a wonder-ing feeling when this happens.  I can never explain why sometimes words are easy and others they are labored over.
Was it the exercise of the writing of the words, the disregarding of the internal negatives thoughts, was it knowing I was going to write something not planned out, that I'd spontaneously would put on paper - and that I didn't have to share it if I didn't care to - like if it was stupid and terrible as the voices had said it would be before I disregarded them?
7 minutes - With the rest of the exercise, it was probably 15 minutes total for prep and both pieces.  I may try it again next week.  It seemed to free up the brain.
Thanks for the exercise, Margaret and Ava!

My Wonder

Days are long in summers lost;
Evening comes at precious cost -
Quick the sun’s last rays are cast,
Now the time is going fast.
As the stars come out to play,
When the moon peeks out a ray,
I alone am left to wonder
At their glory, at God’s thunder.
All around me dark of night
Blankets me and holds me tight
Till my breath it will not come
And my heartbeat slows to dumb;
Then I hear the breath of night
Breathing songs into the white
Of stars and moon, oh, they too sing
And I have heard no grander thing
Than dark and light in chorus lift
Their voices smooth and soft and swift
Drifting to my ears on earth
Offering me a chance for birth
I can only hear them when
My hand is still, and God wields pen.

Donna JT Smith
Nov. 8, 2014
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Quiet

My only thought this morning was of winter quiet, though yesterday's winter weather was anything but quiet. It icy-rained alllllll day. Here's hoping that in the light of day, ice hasn't encapsulated the car that wouldn't fit in the garage. That aside, I love the quiet snow gives the world. You could almost picture snow being warm to wrap up in... but it gets pretty hard to think of it that way the more you know snow...
So here's a short poem for today. I have lots to do and little time to write.
Look at the date! Do you see how close we are to Christmas? Well, I am not ready for it.

cold
quiet snow 
lending
night shroud
quietly
elegantly
mending
the loud

Okay, this was supposed to be a short poem, and it ended up being one.  However, I wrote in Pages, then copied and pasted it here. I wasn't happy with it.  So it got longer.  Then I edited and revised in this space.  I cut most of it.  This wasn't even in the original originally.  It was a last minute addition and the only part I kept.  I just say that because I find it strange how poems happen sometimes.  And because I'm proud of myself.  Not for the poem itself, but for the fact that I am getting better at just cutting through garbage.  Just because I wrote it, doesn't mean I have to own it.  That is a hard concept sometimes - a "Yes, but I had more stuff - how can you tell me it isn't worth the cyberspace it was printed on?" mentality that I love challenging.  I love winning that debate with myself!