Fruitlessly Forcing a Farce
of a Fallen Dream
Fruitlessly Forcing a Farce
of a Fallen Dream
One of my favorite forms of poetry is the haiku, a 3 line Japanese poetic form with a total of seventeen syllables, (follows a 5-7-5 syllable pattern). I write Haikus when I’m feeling stressed and need to pour out an intense emotion using metaphorical nature imagery.
Haikus By Leah
Monday Mornings rise
up to reluctant commutes
to a dull duty
A stagnant seedling
sits unwatered, neglected.
Time for a new soil
One part I appreciate about living in New York City is the libraries. NYPL hosts diverse programming for dozens of interests. Today I attended a poetry workshop hosted by a poet and editor from Argentina. The facilitator introduced the attendees to two poets; Marosa di Giorgio and Susana Thenon. The poem I came up with is based on the theme of remembrance which id Giorgio heavily incorporates into her poems.
Title: 14 Years Later
I remember when you told me I was your best friend but you could never love me,
I remember your heated voice scalding
my ears for hours because another “she”
rejected your declarations of love misplaced
on a pretty face and empty intimacy
I remember the time I spent twenty dollars at Hot Topic for your Christmas present
It was a T-shirt with your favorite band AC/DC
I remember your half smile when you opened your gift and your eyes
expressing gratitude that you reserved
I remember you in the words, ink and x-ed out declarations of admiration
between the lines of the diaries of my teen years that
I knew I’d never share out loud but baby
these long ago words managed to leap off the pages and sneak into your
half closed consciousness
So now here we sit at adjacent tables at a coffee shop
Fourteen years later
and you ask me “If I remember”
I always remembered
Good evening readers! Hmm, it’s dusty up in this blog! Please forgive me if I’m rusty(did ya catch that in rhyme? ). Happy National Poetry Month! I originally committed to writing and posting a poem every day in April, but of course procrastinated until the last week of April. For this week, I’ll be posting 1-2 poems a day to celebrate a writing form that fascinates and frustrates me as a writer. Most of the poems will be free form with a sprinkles of haikus, cinquains, villanelles and a Sestina (no sonnets, iambic pentameter and I are not friends). I hope you enjoy!
Title: “Where Are You Sis?”
“Where are you sis?”
In the crevices of half-hearted hugs and obligatory smiles
The “HI SIS!’s” that hang hollow off the so called sisterhood
“Where are you sis?”
Standing aside as I watch a family I barely know and I am not sure that’s meant for me
embrace , bellow and belly laugh
Because they’re fully braided within the bushel of coils, never questioning
If their strand belongs
“Where are you sis?”
Back and forth, scouting for empty seats for visitors and “family”
Desperately trying to be a steadfast servant, reporting for my duty
Diligently serving in God’s Kingdom and
Just maybe prove that I fit into an
Infinitely impossible standard of prime faithfulness
“Where are you sis?”
On the 1 train, eyes closed , lulled by the rock a’ by
Of the train. I can finally fling off the mask thats been a suffocating
Compliance and end expectation for the last four hours of this show.
Free from claustrophobia of fruitless “amens”.
“Where are you sis”?
This time last year, I wasn’t looking forward to my birthday. The “birthday blues” were at an all-time high and I wanted the day to be over as fast as the day come.
This year, I spent half my birthday locked up in my apartment; I almost went to work, but the thought of interacting with 95-plus hyperactive 9th graders wasn’t appealing (and Mondays are professional development which extends the day to an excruciating hour and a half).
32 came like a blur. I was in the middle of an intense spiritual battle, desperately trying to hear God’s voice to my numerous questions: Which church congregation should I move on to? Should I resign from my job? Did I make a mistake in leaving my current church? Should I go back? Should I stay? God, what do I do?
Turns out 33 yields similar questions. I am grateful that God has gently persuaded me to “be still and know that I am God” as far as the church situation goes. Too often I let my own insecurities and doubts creep into my relationship with God instead of trusting His process and plan. Right now He’s refining me in ways that I never fathomed.
32 was the year I lost my grandmother. At 93, she saw 5 generations and was ready to transition. I foolishly thought she’d live forever; when someone is a part of your life for so long, their inevitable passing is jarring in surreal. There are moments I still expect to see her number pop up on my phone; when the family traveled to Florida after she passed, I still expected her to be fluttering around in the kitchen or sitting on her bed while the news blared in the background. I miss her.
32 was the year I went to 3 different countries. Grenada, Canada, and France. I learned that travel can be both invigorating and frustrating, magical and disappointing. There was a zest I experienced scurrying around my apartment looking for travel-sized toiletries, checking my phone for flight updates, and zipping/unzipping my backpack a dozen times to make sure I had my passport.
32 was the year I inched closer to the realization that I desire to be a storyteller. That God gifted me with a fire to share words of encouragement and wonder. Unfortunately, the aforementioned doubt is a present enemy, ready to snuff out the flame of creativity and faith that God writes through me.
32 was the year that my resilience and faith were tested. In these last few weeks, I’m facing seemingly insurmountable decisions. Decisions that I have to count the cost of the choices being made. Yet I know that my current position is triggering unprecedented anxiety and weariness. I spend most of my days dreading the next; waiting with restrained tension for the day to be over and I can breathe easy.
33 is the year I need to let go. Let go of the hesitation when sharing about the Lord. Letting go of a career that sparks adulations from family and strangers, but drains all facets of my being. Letting go of the stories, both fictional and factual, that I bound because I didn’t think I had anything of value to say. Letting go of the fear of starting over and taking unseen steps toward a future where I wake each day eager to see what God has in store.
33 is the year I embrace the words said in Luke 1:37 “With God nothing is Impossible”.
33. The year of Impossible.
I think I like the sound of that.
God is able to do far more than we could ever ask for or imagine. He does everything by his power that is working in us. Ephesians 3:20-21.
A Prayer for Year 6 of Teaching
“ Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, 21 equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. -Hebrews 13:21
I begin my 6th year of teaching in less than 4 hours
In between these hours, I wonder if I should have left teaching along with the 300,000 teachers who have left the profession since May 2020*.
Between these hours nagging, insidious thoughts creep into my mind “You’re not ready”. “You should have resigned in June”. “Five years in and you still don’t know what you’re doing.
To be blunt, I’m terrified. Terrified of my alarm going off. Terrified of stepping outside onto a city bus and entering the school building. Terrified of those pounding steps up the stairwell and waiting with bated breath for the arrival of the class of 2026.
What was I thinking? These last two days before students arrive leave me wondering what am I going to do. I may have been overly ambitious in overhauling the curriculum I’ve used for the past three years. The yearn to try something new, but the procrastination of planning this “new” has cost me peace of mind.
I’m afraid of looking unprepared or underqualified in front of my new co-teachers. Both possess a vivaciousness and preparedness that I am nowhere near matching. They ask questions about strategy, classroom expectations, norms, and class routines that cause my mind to draw a blank.
How do I admit that I have no idea how I’m going to get through this school year?
The same way I preserved through the past 5 years. Through God’s grace. With the Mind of Christ. With the Armor of God. With faith that He has equipped me to do good works. Trust in the plans that He has for me. Humbly asking for Him to order my steps. Understanding the work of teaching is not about me, but glorifying Him.
A Prayer for Year 6 (and all teachers and students)
Dear Heavenly Father. Praise be to you the Great teacher. Thank you for the Word of the Lord which is breathed out by You. Thank you for your word which teaches, corrects, reproofs and trains us in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Thank you for calling me to be a teacher to today’s youth. May your light shine Lord. May I work as if I work for You and you alone. I thank you Lord that you use me to show Your love to my students. May I be used to encourage the 9th graders to do their best, to teach them the reading and writing skills they need to be successful citizens. I come against any spirits of discouragement, learning disability, emotional trauma, and behavorial issues. May I imitate your grace and love so that my students are in an environment where they feel safe to express their ideas, struggles and goals.
Lord I lift up my colleagues. I pray for a positive start to the school year for our school community. Whatever burdens they are carrying outside of their classroom, I pray they are comforted, supported and at peace. Thank you Lord for open and honest communication between co-teachers, teachers and administrators, teachers and students, and teachers and parents. I thank you for a spirit of unity between all stakeholders in our students education.
Finally Lord, thank you for trusting me with this task of teaching. Forgive me for my sinful attitudes, laziness, apathy, and lack of effort in the past. Forgive for not doing my best work and neglecting responsibilities. Create in me a strong work ethic, a sound mind and a loving heart. Thank you for your heart Lord.
In Jesus name I pray. Amen.
Scripture comes from the following sources
2 Timothy 3: 16-17 English Standard Version: https://www.openbible.info/topics/teaching
Hebrews 13:21: New International Verson. Bible Gateway. https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Hebrews+13&version=NIV
Statistic come from: Grider, W. (2022, June 20). School’s Out for summer and many teachers are calling it quits. The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved September 8, 2022, from https://www.wsj.com/articles/schools-out-for-summer-and-many-teachers-are-calling-it-quits-11655732689
“The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps”-Proverbs 16:9
Take 5 Travel: Paris
Greetings fellow travelers. As I do my best to bask in the last days of summer, God granted me a unique idea for a mini-blog series called “Take 5 Travel”. Over the next 4 days, I will highlight 3 vacation spots from my summer travels. Each post will contain my top 5 excursions and experiences from each destination, along with travel tips, do’s, and don’ts.
Overview of Paris
Bonjour! I’m not sure I’ll be able to do City of lights justice in one blog post (I may have to write a series of blogs about Paris!). The city is like stepping into a 1950s Hollywood movie set. From cobblestone streets to metro lines with cast iron gate entrances to quaint cafes decorated with flower pots; Paris is a living breathing art museum. I shared Paris with my mother and we both agreed that we wanted to go back to Paris in the future (and my mom is not easily impressed!). We were treated to an up-close view of the famous Iron lady herself, the Eiffel Tower, on a cab ride from the Charles De Gaulle airport. As soon as we stepped out of the cab, I declared “Ok, I’m moving here”. Here’s my Take 5 of why I am probably moving to Paris for at least a year.
On our second night in Paris I scheduled a dinner cruise along the Seine River. We were blessed with a hotel right next to the Eiffel Tower and 5 minutes walk to the Seine (huge shoutout to the Pullman Eiffel Tower!). I booked our cruise with Bateaux Parisiens and although the reviews about the company were mixed, mom and I thoroughly enjoyed our experience. We were seated in the middle section of the boat and almost every seat was taken. The ride along the Seine is fluid and relaxing; highlights included the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, Musee D’Orsay, and the ornate bridges which we passed under. We feasted on wine, cheese, Duck confit, flounder, and chocolate cake. There’s entertainment in the form of a jazz singer with a sultry voice (with whom I shared a dance!). Our server was incredibly patient and kind in answering our questions about the menu. The highlight was engaging in a conversation with two lovely young women from England who gave us great advice about what to see in Paris.
“You know, I like this museum a lot better than the Lourve” my mom commented as we made our way to the 2nd floor of the “Musee D’Orsay”. I can see why she held that sentiment. Even though the Lourve is a must-see in Paris, the museum is OVERWHELMING AND OVERWHELMINGLY CROWDED. Musee D’Orsay by contrast is housed in a converted train station. The layout is much more accessible and the art is just as fascinating. Each level is organized by the artist. We saw Monets, Cezzanes, Van Goughs, Cabanals, and other Impressionist art. Plus the giant gold clock is pretty impressive and gives off Grand Central vibes.
If you lived in New York City without at least one train delay per day, I would have to give you some serious side-eye. In contrast, the metro as its called in France is highly efficient. The ticket machines allow you to choose from several different languages, English included, in order to complete your transaction. During the weekday the trains run every 4 minutes on the dot. Mom and I didn’t experience any delays. The buses not only have designated seating areas for the elderly, pregnant and differently-abled, there’s also a section without seats designated for parents with strollers. New York City transit can definitely take some pointers from Paris Metro.
Paris is renowned for its fashion culture. Christian Dior. Louis Vuitton. Coco Chanel. With these major names in fashion comes a heavy price tag. Mom and I tried shopping at the “Galeries Lafayette” and found that ninety percent of the clothing and accessories were out of our price range. Rue Di Rivoli in contrast offers chic boutiques without extravagant price tags. Mom and I were able to buy authentic Parisien souvenirs along with a trip to Angelina’s known for their rich and creamy hot chocolate. A short walk away is the Jardin des Champs-Élysées where you can stroll in and take in incredible sculptures along with an excellent view of the Arch De Triomphe.
On our 3rd day in Paris, Mom and I went on a food tour of Paris. Although the type of food was more like samplings of tiny chocolates and macarons, the highlight was exploring the hilly streets of the neighborhood Montmartre. Partly known as Paris’s “Red light district” (avoid the area near the Moulin Rogue, sex shops, and strip clubs galore), the neighborhood has a local feel. You’ll encounter quaint shops for cheese, wine, meats, pastries and produce. Mom and I ate at a restaurant Moulin de la Galette where I ate the famous Beef bourguignon. We also took a picture in front of the “I love you” wall and walked to the highest point in Paris. Though parts of Montmartre are raunchy, seeing locals go about their day-to-day was a refreshing change from the touristy area of the Eiffel Tower.
I left Paris with the feeling of unfinished business. There’s so much I didn’t get to see and neighborhoods I want to see. Am I going back to Paris? Oui!
July 10th, 2022
How could I be so stupid?
I stared, dumbfounded, at my phone. A hacker locked me out of my Instagram account and was currently spamming my friend’s inbox messages. With my password changed, I lost access to my Instagram account.
All because I fell for a silly scam.
I’ve been doing a lot of silly things lately.
Initially, I thought I was talking to a relative about a Bitcoin investment they were supposedly involved with (turns out their Instagram account was hacked as well). They asked me to make a video to support their business and I was happy to help. The part where I messed up is where I allowed them access to my Instagram account. Suddenly I was receiving a flurry of phone calls, Facebook messages, and texts from friends telling me I had been hacked. Turns out the hacker used my video that was supposed to support my cousin to trick friends into investing in Bitcoin.
Praise God I was at least wise enough to give out any debit card or banking information. After imploring my friends to report, unfollow and block my account, I kept thinking “How could I be so stupid? So gullible? Why didn’t I question if this was really my relative? What happened to being wise and discerning? How could I have fallen for this?
Embarrassed, I spent this weekend mulling over my lost Instagram account. An account which was gaining traction and being used to encourage followers with the Word of God.
Turns out a pesky little devil wanted to stop that traction and derail the goal of my Instagram page. Further, I was so discouraged by what happened and the large part I played in this situation, I didn’t complete my writing goal for this weekend. The desire, thrill, and invigoration for my writing projects dissipated in a cloud of condemnation. Praise God that He pulled me to write this blog post!
When we make a mistake or fall into a scam, it’s easy to fall into self-pity and shame. Our enemy does whatever he can to put the brakes on our goals, especially when we are trying to spread the Gospel of Jesus. Around every corner, he lurks, with his foot stuck out to trip us and guffaws as we face plant on the concrete of life’s challenges, setbacks, and humiliating moments.
And if we stay face planted in our shame, we can never rise up, dust off our pants, and let God tend to our wounds.
The Bible always is the antidote to shame. Scriptures I’m going to hold on to for this week are Proverbs 24:16, “The godly may trip seven times, but they will get up again. But one disaster is enough to overthrow the wicked” . Another is Romans 8:1, “So there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus”.
The Instagram Incident reminds me of a time I made another mistake, this one back in March. A friend and their daughter were staying with me due to a sensitive situation. I happily jumped at the opportunity to serve a friend in need. I enjoyed their company and saw this as a chance to bond with someone from the church. Things were going well for three weeks. Then, on a particularly stressful day at work, I came home exhausted and emotionally spent. Fresh off the grief of losing my grandmother, student needs at an all-time high, and general insomnia, I plopped down on my bed and closed my eyes for what I thought was for fifteen minutes.
When I woke up, groggy and bleary-eyed, I saw a bunch (15 if I remember correctly) of missed calls and a text that read I’m really worried, I am calling the police. I shot up out of the sleepy stupor. Police?? Was someone trying to break into the apartment?? After scrolling through the text, I realized that it was close to 10: 30 PM. Turns out I accidentally locked my friend and their daughter out of the house and they tried to get in contact with me. I immediately called them back only for another woman from the church to answer. She explained that my friend and her daughter were now at her place. She asked me how did this happen, had I been on medication?
I felt the condemnation creep up. The following day, when I was about to text my friend to apologize profusely for what happened, they read my mind. They ended up leaving that morning, saying that the incident from the previous night was the reason they couldn’t stay with me anymore.
Those memories flashbacked this weekend. How similar thoughts of “How could I be so careless? Why didn’t I set the alarm?? What would the other members think if my friend told them about the incident?
We each have our weaknesses; shame is a huge one for me. And that’s where the devil strikes.
I have to remember I am human. I make mistakes. Some small. Some large. What I do after is what matters. Paul in Philippians 3:13 to forget what’s in the past and try to reach the goals in front of us . Similarly in Isaiah 43:18 “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past”. That means “if I just” or “This wouldn’t ofs”.
Going forward, I now know to be more discerning when presented with an offer too good to be true. To ask questions. To investigate.
We learn when we make mistakes. We become smarter and wiser. We can help others avoid the same mistakes we made.
Speaking of helping others avoid being scammed.
1. If ANYONE messages you with an offer for Bitcoin or other too good to be true opportunities. Ask a ton of questions. Hackers will start to become agitated and pressure you for an immediate answer to their “offer”. Reply “No thank you” and block on whichever social media site they messaged you through.
2. If a relative or friend messages you, call them immediately to ask if they really sent the message. If not, their social media account has been compromised, and let them know right away.
3. Common sites where hackers try their scams: Instagram, Facebook, and Whatsapp.
4. Sometimes you’ll get a message on Whatsapp from someone claiming they meant to message someone else. They’ll try and sweet talk you into forming a relationship (this also happened to me. I tell ya, I’m going through some surreal situations). Do not respond and again, block that account.
God uses our experiences so that we can be a support to others.
Maybe Silly isn’t so bad after all. Lesson Learned.
Helpful Youtube Video about Social Media Scams
Scammers Impersonate Instagram Users in Crytpo Scheme
Hello, my name is Leah and I am Pro-Life.
“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them” Psalms 139: 13-16 (ESV)
There are moments that seem so surreal that you’re not really sure if you’re living within time and space. One of these moments was on June 24th, 2022. I was browsing my Facebook feed and saw a particular post that read “Great Job Supreme Court”. I immediately opened up a second tab, typed in CNN.com and saw “Breaking News: SUPREME COURT OVERTURNS ROE V WADE”.
I should have been elated.
Then why did I have such a sinking in the pit of my stomach.
I thought a lot about what I wanted this post to be about. Would I passionately defend my pro-life position? Would I go on a tirade about how sinful abortion was in the eyes of God?
Truth is, I have little idea how to address my feelings about what has transpired this past week.
All I know is my conviction. That I believe life begins at conception. How I hope that some unborn lives will be saved. How my prayers include pleas for God to change the hearts of people so they can see the humanity and value of human life.
How I’m terrified to express my satisfaction at the court ruling. If I said my piece, my point of view, the backlash I might face from colleagues, friends and even some family members.
Yet, I must stand in the truth of the Scripture. Jesus already prepped us to face opposition to our beliefs. Through Him, we can stand firm in our convictions despite what others say about us.
I recall the story of many disciples deserting Jesus in John 6:66. Much of Jesus’s teachings required His followers to deny themselves, walk on a narrow path and preach the gospel which had many detractors.
Jesus gives us the courage to stand up for our beliefs. A scripture that helps me is Romans 1:16 “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes”.
Well, I believe in life. A right to make your mark on this world. That life matters no matter what life form.
Links to pro life organizations:
Human Life International: https://www.hli.org/