Category Archives: Poetry

Samaritan

Outstretched fingers beg for what I can spare.

Hurting eyes beg for someone to sit and listen for a while.

Stranded feet beg for assistance on their journey.

A neglected child’s heart begs for attention.

The tired widow’s back begs for support.

Lost souls beg for the truth that would set them free.

 

But…

What if I someday need what I spare?

What if I lack the time to finish my tasks?

What if I feel like a fool?

What if I get used?

Get irritated?

Get embarrassed?

Get lost?

Get rejected?

Get hurt?

What will happen to me if my hand reaches out?

 

Oh, selfish wretch that I am.

My questions – so distorted, so wicked.

“What will happen to me?”

This pondering – so trivial.

The full weight of the decision – fully unbalanced.

My heart needs a shift – a major realignment,

to see the true issue at hand.

 

The crux of the matter is not,

What will happen to me if I do?

But

What will happen to them if I don’t?

‘Twas the night before Christmas

ornament1

‘Twas the night before Christmas
and all through the house,
not a creature was stirring,
except for one mouse.

The stockings were hungLiv rm drawing
by the chimney with care,
in hopes that in the morning,
lots of toys would be there.

We children weren’t nestled,
all snug in our beds,
we were downstairs awaiting,
for that big man in red.

And I in my p.j.’s,
and Steph in Mom’s lap,
had just settled down
for a long winter’s nap.

When out on the lawn,
there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the couch,
to see what was the matter.

Away to the window,
I flew like a flash,
tore open the curtains,
and threw up the sash.

The street light out on the breast
of the new-fallen snow,
gave a luster of mid day
to objects below.trees and field2

When what to my wondering eyes should appear,
but some family and friends,
come to visit this year.

With a clunk and a honk,
they pulled up the drive,
and I knew our company
had arrived.

With packages and gifts,
and goodies they came,
and I waved to them,
not remembering all names.

Hello uncle, hi aunt,
hey cousin, and friend,
hi neighbor, hello,
hey Grammie, come in!

To the top of the porch,
and into the hall,
“Hello everybody!,
nice to see you all!”

As eskimos out in the
cold and white snow,
they gathered ’round the fireplace,
to warm up their toe.

We sat there and talked,
as their bodies warmed,
and around that hot fire,
those people did swarm.

And through all the laughing,
I still could hear,
the crackling of the fire,
that I was sitting near.

leslie ornaments fire

As I twisted my head,
and was turning around,
I saw my dad standing there,
not making a sound.

He was dressed in his robe,
from his neck to his knees,
and below his old robe,
you could see his footsies.

A bundle of presents
he had in a sack.
He gave one to all of us,
and received some back.

He eyes – how they twinkled!
His dimples – how merry!
His cheeks were like roses,
his nose like a cherry!

His mouth was spread out,
in a great big smile,
and he laughed, and laughed,
all the while.

A partial cigarette,
he held tight in his hand,
and the smoke, it encircled
his head like a band.

He had a broad face,
and a small round belly,
that shook when he laughed,
like a bowl fully of jelly.

He was funny and tall,
a right jolly old elf,
and I laughed when I saw him,
in spite of myself.

A stretch of his arms,
and a yawn from his head,
soon gave me to know
he was ready for bed.

He sat down on the couch, though,
and joined in on the talk,
and we sat there until
one or two o’clock.

And then it was time
for folks to go home,
so out the door,
they all did roam.

Into their cars,
they all took a seat,
and pulled out of the drive,
and into the street.

But I heard them exclaim,
as they drove out of sight,
“Merry Christmas, y’all,
and to you a good night!”

 

Kerry Nenn (Jones)
December 1989

table cloth

‘Twas the night before Christmas

ornament1

‘Twas the night before Christmas
and all through the house,
not a creature was stirring,
except for one mouse.

The stockings were hungLiv rm drawing
by the chimney with care,
in hopes that in the morning,
lots of toys would be there.

We children weren’t nestled,
all snug in our beds,
we were downstairs awaiting,
for that big man in red.

And I in my p.j.’s,
and Steph in Mom’s lap,
had just settled down
for a long winter’s nap.

When out on the lawn,
there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the couch,
to see what was the matter.

Away to the window,
I flew like a flash,
tore open the curtains,
and threw up the sash.

The street light out on the breast
of the new-fallen snow,
gave a luster of mid day
to objects below.trees and field2

When what to my wondering eyes should appear,
but some family and friends,
come to visit this year.

With a clunk and a honk,
they pulled up the drive,
and I knew our company
had arrived.

With packages and gifts,
and goodies they came,
and I waved to them,
not remembering all names.

Hello uncle, hi aunt,
hey cousin, and friend,
hi neighbor, hello,
hey Grammie, come in!

To the top of the porch,
and into the hall,
“Hello everybody!,
nice to see you all!”

As eskimos out in the
cold and white snow,
they gathered ’round the fireplace,
to warm up their toe.

We sat there and talked,
as their bodies warmed,
and around that hot fire,
those people did swarm.

And through all the laughing,
I still could hear,
the crackling of the fire,
that I was sitting near.

leslie ornaments fire

As I twisted my head,
and was turning around,
I saw my dad standing there,
not making a sound.

He was dressed in his robe,
from his neck to his knees,
and below his old robe,
you could see his footsies.

A bundle of presents
he had in a sack.
He gave one to all of us,
and received some back.

He eyes – how they twinkled!
His dimples – how merry!
His cheeks were like roses,
his nose like a cherry!

His mouth was spread out,
in a great big smile,
and he laughed, and laughed,
all the while.

A partial cigarette,
he held tight in his hand,
and the smoke, it encircled
his head like a band.

He had a broad face,
and a small round belly,
that shook when he laughed,
like a bowl fully of jelly.

He was funny and tall,
a right jolly old elf,
and I laughed when I saw him,
in spite of myself.

A stretch of his arms,
and a yawn from his head,
soon gave me to know
he was ready for bed.

He sat down on the couch, though,
and joined in on the talk,
and we sat there until
one or two o’clock.

And then it was time
for folks to go home,
so out the door,
they all did roam.

Into their cars,
they all took a seat,
and pulled out of the drive,
and into the street.

But I heard them exclaim,
as they drove out of sight,
“Merry Christmas, y’all,
and to you a good night!”

 

Kerry Nenn (Jones)
December 1989

table cloth

Eternal Spring

Didn’t make it to the well today.
Too much to do.
Busy, busy. Later, yes, later.
Didn’t make it to the well today.
Feeling thirsty,
but don’t have the time.
Didn’t make it to the well today.
Supplies running low.
Maybe tomorrow. Yes, tomorrow.
Didn’t make it to the well today.
Don’t think I need to.
Probably I don’t need to.
Didn’t make it to the well today.
Throat is dry, but I’m ok.
Don’t want to make the time.
Didn’t make it to the well today.
But I’m well supplied
With other things.
Didn’t make it to the well today.
Unsatisfied, feeling dry.
Dehydration taking hold.
Did you make it to the well today?
Loved ones start to ask.
No. Not needed. I am fine.
Didn’t make it to the well today.
Now I’m wondering why.
Body aching with longing.
Didn’t make it to the well today.
Feeling parched and empty.
Oh but for a sip, but no.
Didn’t make it to the well today.
The drought in me goes on.
My heart a desert land.
Didn’t make it to the well today.
I am afraid I’ll never go.
Do I remember the way?
Didn’t make it to the well today.
But how I long for just a drink.
Brittle bones, cracked skin.
Didn’t make it to the well today.
Not sure I could make the journey.
Too far. I’m too far.
Didn’t make it to the well today.
Is there hope left for me?
So dried out and weak.
Didn’t make it to the well today.
But I now know I must go
To satisfy this thirst.
Trying to make it to the well today.
But, too feeble. Too frail.
Faint,
fragile,
falling.
Can’t make it to the well today.
Through cracked, parched lips, I cry
Lord, have mercy on this dry and weary soul!
And it begins to rain.

 Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again,
but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst.
Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water
welling up to eternal life.”
John 4:13-14

Thirst

To see your light so bright that it outshines everything else

To hear your voice so loud it drowns out all my other thoughts

To feel your love so immensely that it erases every black emotion

To have your glory flood over my soul so fully that it washes away all else

That your presence would rain down on everything in me, drenching every inch

That no part of me could escape your loving embrace

That no shadow on my heart could exist in the amazing radiance of your grace

That I see you, all of you, so clearly, that my gaze strays nowhere else

Holly or Holy?

This season, will I…

be surrounded by presents
or be surrounded by His presence?

have childlike wonder at the magic of Christmas
or wonder at the child – the meaning of Christmas?

watch a Christmas movie
or watch Christmas move me?

see snow fall
or His kingdom reign?

take my wishes to Father Christmas
or my prayers to the Heavenly Father?

sit by the crackling fire
or have a Holy Fire within me?

shop ’til I drop
or drop everything for Him?

enjoy a sleigh ride
or remember Jesus slain?

sing Christmas carols at people
or actually be caring for people?

have a piece of pie, good desserts
or know peace on earth, good will to men?

sit in awe of the Christmas tree
or stand in awe of Calvary’s tree?

wish all a Merry Christmas
or think of Mary’s Christmas?

hang beautiful lights,
or see the light of the world?

manage my time
or spend time at the manger?

attach a bow
or bow my knee?

Such an amazing gift,
this season, this reason.

This Christmas, Lord,
may I be wrapped up in you.

Fractured

It broke.
Again.
Shattered in a million pieces on the floor.
Seems like I had just put it back together.
I stood over it, weeping.
I wasn’t sure I had the energy for another repair.
It was so hard to get all those pieces to fit together.
Was it even worth it?
I wasn’t sure.
I stood there,
overwhelmed,
crying.
I was so tired,
and scared.
Trying to fix it again seemed like too much.
I wrung my hands.
I wept.
I wished someone else would do this for me.
Just then a man approached.
He stood next to me.
He looked from the broken pieces to my tear-stained face.
“Do you want me to fix it?” was all he asked.
“Yes.” I managed to choke out,
surrendering to the offer.
He picked up the pieces,
cutting himself in the process,
but he did not complain.
With gentle yet sturdy hands, and much care,
he began restoring it.
The white adhesive I had used in the past
always left an ugly residue.
I noticed his red one dried clean.
After a few minutes,
he held out his completed work to me.
I realized there was a hole in it.
I wondered how he could have missed it.
He seemed so thorough and capable.
I asked about the missing piece.
“You don’t need that part any more,” was his reply.
My response was not that of the reassured.
“What do you mean? There’s a big gap –
right there in the middle,” I argued,
“an emptiness.”
“Do you want me to fill it?” he asked.
I glanced around.
What about the other piece?
How was he sure I didn’t need it?
Could I trust him with this repair?
My searching eyes fell on his face.
His eyes provided the answer as he asked again, softly,
“Do you want me to fill it?”
“Yes…please.”
He reached out and,
covering the hole with a hand,
he filled it with his own peace.
The transformation was miraculous.
Not only was it repaired,
it no longer showed cracks from previous breaks.
In fact, it looked completely new.
I was amazed.
But then I noticed
something else.
The shape did not seem
quite right.
There were bumps where I thought it should be smooth.
A curve here and there did not arc as I expected.
With confusion,
near dismay,
I asked why this was.
It had seemed to be remade,
but I still saw imperfections.
“Yes,” he explained.
“This new creation is now as it should be…
not perfect, but whole.”

Hands of a Father

Remembering my dad on his birthday today. I wrote this over a decade ago as a gift for him.

Hands of a Father

The hands of a father,
forever extended, reaching.
Always ready to give comfort,
always loving, always teaching.

 Continuously outstretched,
for the child to take hold.
Ready to help her grow,
to help shape and mold.

Never ceasing to provide,
for the needs of the child’s heart.
For in each of laughter, love,
and understanding,
these hands play a part.

Always there to lift her up,
their caring touch will intervene,
in any situation that may arise,
their influence at times unseen.

For from times of gladness, joy, and pride,
to illness, pain, and doubt,
these hands are always helping,
forever reaching out.

Their touch so influential,
helping guide her way.
Hands so selfless in all they do,
show their love day by day.

The greatly needed hug,
the wiping away of tears,
the extra helping hand,
so much care over many years.

And so as the daughter looks back,
she sees again and again,
the loving hands of her father,
always reaching in.

Those hands, so strong, yet gentle, too,
with such a loving touch,
asking for nothing in return,
while always giving so much.

They remind her of The Father’s hands,
which reach from far above,
and her heart fills with gratitude and joy,
that she was given
two fathers,
both so full of love.

My Path

A firefighter, a ballerina, or a ditch digger. As a small child, these were my career goals. I don’t think much has changed. I’m still all over the place when it comes to “what I want to be when I grow up.” In fact, I’ve come to detest that question. It’s absurd. Not that I’m against dreams and goals, but, seriously, can most people answer that at 8, or even 18?

I remember being terrified as a college student. I have to choose something right now, based on what little I know, to do for the rest of my life. No pressure!

I knew I wanted to help people in some way. I enjoyed my high school psychology class. Ok, psych major it is. Declared. A year and a half later, I switched to social work, as it seemed to be more hands on and practical service for those I would be helping.

Then there was the question of what area of social work. Knowing first hand what families can go through when someone is ill, medical social work seemed like a good idea. But wait, it looks like one really needs a master’s degree for a lot of social work jobs. What now? More schooling for a career I’m not even sure of?

By the time I graduated with a bachelor’s degree, I was so burnt out on social work and school I just could not take any more. I had been working part-time in retail during college, and went up the ladder to full-time assistant manager after graduation. One year of that was enough. I demoted myself and got my life back. A couple more years of retail and I was done.

God brought me next to real estate. I worked for 6.5 years as assistant to one of the area’s top agents. I learned a lot. I enjoyed a lot of it. I was ready to be done with it when the real estate market popped and I was laid off.

What now, God? I thought. I still have no clue what job would be a good fit. Nothing sounded too appealing.

Turns out, God led me to my current job, which I love, as a school photographer for Color Portraits. Praise the Lord for guiding me to it. It’s a great match for my skills, interests, and personality. (Skills including photography and finding my way around Chicagoland, which just so happened to be what I developed in my real estate job.)

I had been praying for a new job during my last few months with the realtor. I just didn’t realize how God would answer that prayer. The photography job is a position I would not have taken if I had not already been laid off, due to the drastic decrease in pay it would mean.

The job has been a huge blessing. I love the work, plus I now enjoy summers off with my teacher husband.

This was not without sacrifice, though. As I mentioned, this job would not be paying what I was used to making. In fact, taking it would mean downsizing our home. What would that involve?

Moving out of the extremely charming 75-year-old home we had purchased four years before and had spent the past four years pouring blood, sweat, tears, and a lot of dough into fixing up just how we wanted. The home that seemed perfect for the entertaining we like to do. The home I was in love with. Also, the older home, with a high-maintenance yard, that required lots of upkeep both inside and out, that was using up a lot of our resources in both time and money.

In other considerations, this was not a good time to be selling a house. My job lay-off was evidence of that.

So, what happened? We took a little step of faith and God showed up. Our house sold after just two weeks on the market. We got more than we bought it for (which was becoming a rarity in the market by then.) We found a townhome just our size for cost, upkeep, and living space. Yes, we did let go of some furniture and my beloved ping pong table, but we now have a lot less to clean and care for, including NO yard work. We now live farther away from some friends, but closer to others. Entertaining can be a bit of a squeeze, but we manage.

My husband is now seven minutes from his school. I often enjoy our (much smaller) patio overlooking a nice pond, complete with geese and a weeping willow. My extra time off has allowed me to pursue what I have since come to realize is my answer to “the question.” No, not 42.

While I still don’t feel tied to one dock for career choice, I have circled back to what I have wanted to be since old enough to wield a pen. A writer. In the past three years, I have been blessed with opportunities to write for my church, this blog, and, recently, have even started getting paid to write for websites! Pursuing this passion has been a huge blessing.

All in all, God clearly worked all this out for us. Praise the Lord!

Where will these opportunities lead? What about three more years from now? Who knows but God. I’m just excited to be where I am and look forward to what God will do next.

I guess the point of all these ramblings (other than to get the tumbling thoughts out of my skull and onto the page) is to reassure you, reader, that there is no need to panic. If you don’t know what you want to be when you grow up, maybe that’s ok. If the future seems uncertain, that’s ok too. God directs our paths anyway.

The path you lay before me, Lord
I do not see the end.
I know not what may lie ahead,
or what’s around each bend.

You set me on this road,
in your wisdom, for your glory.
I must walk a trail, paved not by men,
for you, Lord, write my story.

Each step will lead me on in faith,
that you know where I go.
I’ll walk on toward what you have for me,
though what lies ahead, I do not know.

It may be a darkened wood,
or sunny ocean’s shore.
I know only that you’ve said start here,
t
rust Me, and no more.

I can’t guess what may come next,
but you will be my light,
guiding as the path takes turns unseen,
as I walk by faith, not by sight.

And as I take the first step down that path,
hoping your will to obey,
I hear you whisper “Fear not, my child.
Just take my hand. I’ll lead the way.”

In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.
Proverbs 3:6

Legacy

Remembering my dad today.

Edward Lee Jones, 11/14/43 – 5/19/10

You taught me to pray when I was sick.

You taught me to always have an open door.

You taught me that I am loveable.

You taught me how to make do with what I have.

You taught me how to hug.

You taught me to love my family.

You taught me how to enjoy simple things.

You taught me how to have a good laugh.

You taught me to not give up.

 You taught me that Jesus loves me SO much.

You taught me to improvise.

You taught me to enjoy late nights.

You taught me how to drive.

 You taught me to have a sweet tooth.

You taught me to enjoy the outdoors.

You taught me to be creative.

You taught me so much.

You taught me from my birth

to your death

and, in your passing,

you taught me about loss.

My Father takes over from here,

continuing the lessons he began through you,

and teaching me new ones

as I grow through the pain.

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