Monday, May 16, 2016

Love is our cross to bear...

When I was 18 , I lived with my sister Danielle for a month. She was in her last year of college at BYU- Provo and I was getting ready for my first quarter at Utah State in Logan, Being the baby of the family, I had spent the last 6 years at home as a kind of only child battling out the terms and conditions  of my teenage existence with two exhausted but stubborn parents.  I am, and always have been, an introvert while Danielle was a sparkling  social butterfly with a no nonsense form of honesty  that meant you either loved her or thought she was hiding her broomstick somewhere rather uncomfortable.She  had a passion for trying new things and  possessed the confidence to meet strangers and become friends. We were as dissimilar as sisters can be.... except when we laughed.

Danielle and I were drastically different and yet we could,and often did, crack ourselves up laughing over the most ridiculous things. We got that from our mom, I think,  The month I slept on Danielle's couch we  did  a lot of laughing. I remember she would come home from class and I would have been working on a story I was writing at the time and she would make me read her what I had  written that day. She was my cheerleader. I never thought my writing had any real potential other than for my own satisfaction until my big sister  showed me with her love and support that what I had to say was interesting, sometimes even entertaining. While  she saw me as  the smart little sister who had a hard time finishing anything,  I knew she was the    brave one  determined to overcome her learning challenges and make a difference in other people's lives and I knew she had the brains to succeed.
Having  someone  like Danielle in your life was a blessing. Like all blessings it came with a myriad of challenges and frustrations and made you a better person for  loving  and being loved by her.
There is a hauntingly poignant song by John Gorka that  talks about love being a cross to bear.  I didn't fully comprehend what that meant until my sister died. While  the lyrics may be for some lost love I never fail to think of  my big sis Danielle when I listen to these words:

And so it is until we meet again
And I throw my arms around you
You can count the gray hairs in my head
I'll still be thankful that I found you

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Claron "Monk" Bailey Obituary

 On June 18, 2015 Claron Everett “Monk” Bailey passed away in his home in Queen Creek AZ after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in March. Monk was born on April 22, 1938 in Los Angeles CA.  He grew up in Moab Utah and graduated from Grand High School where he was a four sport letterman.  He attended and played football (FB/DB) for the University of Utah from 1956-1960 and was an All-Conference selection in 1959.  After college Monk played with the St. Louis Cardinals (1963-1965).  He also played one year (1966) with the Toronto Argonauts (CFL).   After moving to Long Island NY, Monk played for several semi-pro football teams including the Long Island Bulls, Bridgeport Jets, and the Jersey Jays.  After retiring from football, Monk sold medical supplies and later started his own auto top business.  He continued to coach football part-time and was the head football coach at Floral Park HS and Plainview JFK HS in New York.  He was an assistant football coach at Bloomsburg University (PA), Bucknell University, Hofstra University, the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, New Haven University, C.W. Post University, Maritime SUNY, Southern Virginia University, Weber State University, and Dixie State College.  After moving to Queen Creek AZ he was an assistant football coach at San Tan Valley HS.

After joining the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1966, Monk was an active member until his death.  He had a zeal for missionary work and loved sharing the gospel by befriending and serving others.  He served in several callings in the Church but his favorite was as the Branch President of the Young Single Adult Ward in Plainview NY (1999-2005).  Monk was a kid at heart and loved working with the young adults.  He loved people, his family and the gospel of Jesus Christ.  He is survived by his wife Kristine Soltau and his children, Michell Shane (Mark) of Cody WY, Everett (Robin) of Mesa AZ,  Noel Houghton (Tim) of Aurora IL, Jenielle of Aurora IL, and also by his 12 grandchildren and 3 great-grandchildren.  He was preceded in death by daughter Danielle Gomez, sister Sandra Robinson, and parents Claron and Sue Bailey. 

Friday, April 4, 2014

Someone else's words explain it all....

Final Notations
Adrienne Rich
it will not be simple, it will not be long
 it will take little time, it will take all your thought
it will take all your heart, it will take all your breath 
it will be short, it will not be simple
it will touch through your ribs, it will take all your heart
 it will not be long, it will occupy your thought
 as a city is occupied, as a bed is occupied 
it will take all your flesh, it will not be simple
You are coming into us who cannot withstand you
 you are coming into us who never wanted to withstand you
 you are taking parts of us into places never planned
 you are going far away with pieces of our lives

it will be short, it will take all your breath 
it will not be simple, it will become your will

Reading poetry has always been a pleasure for me and has become a profound source of comfort during a time of great distress. It has taught me something of the universal nature of sorrow and grief. I know God lives and loves me ; I find great strength in my faith but life is hard and difficult things happen that will break your heart and reshape it into a wholly different organ. While I work on my relationship to my Father and my Savior, who always watch over us, and whose presence I feel in my life, my soul acknowledges and responds to the depth of human emotions found in studying the artistic expressions birthed from the struggle of another on life's journey.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

“Those who cannot conceive of Friendship as a substantive love but only as a disguise or elaboration of Eros betray the fact that they have never had a Friend.” ― C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves

Henri J Nouwen wrote: When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives means the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand.
I have been blessed to spend time  over the past few months with  some of those whom God has bestowed  upon me   as friends. It has been the best gift a loving Father could give for it has offered me love,laughter, and a reminder that it is necessary to make happy memories when we can and that kindness and generosity are not unique to one system of belief

They have sacrificed time and money to be with me and catch up on the good ol' days and reminded me of how over the course of my life God has surrounded me with the people who would help me  be a better person.

They remind me of my roots and why I miss NY so dearly, but when I get homesick for them they also help me focus on my goals. And most importantly they love and accept me for who I am and where I am at and I know that because I have such wonderful people in my life that I am supported and lifted up during life's roughest moments.
I Love being "just friends" with so many loving, caring, generous, open-hearted, and , frankly ,darn funny people.  And although I don't have photos of all the friends who have saved my life in so many ways you are all  embedded in my  life.
Thanks friends!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Happy Loser's Day, Sis.....

Jason Shinder

And now I know what most deeply
     connects us
after that summer so many years ago,
and it isn't poetry, although it is poetry,

and it isn't illness, although we have that in common,

and it isn't gratitude for every moment, 
even the terrifying ones, even the physical 
though we are grateful, and it isn't even death,

though we are halfway through
it, or even the way you describe the magnificence

of being alive, catching a glimpse,
in the store window, of your blowing hair
     and chapped lips,
though it is beautiful, it is; but it is

that you're my friend out here on the far reaches

of what humans can find out about each other

Today I celebrate my family: my parents who have devoted their lives to taking care of us and have the crucible like task of helping their daughter die, my brother who is there for every crisis and keeping us all connected, my sisters who are  not likely to be all together again in this life, and especially my sister Danielle who has taught me how precious life is and that love is what matters most. Happy VD sis!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Doubt not, but be believing: a poetic introduction to a series of posts on faith and becoming...

The Doubter's Prayer 

by Anne Bronte

Eternal Power, of earth and air!
Unseen, yet seen in all around,
Remote, but dwelling everywhere,
Though silent, heard in every sound.
If e'er thine ear in mercy bent,
When wretched mortals cried to Thee,
And if, indeed, Thy Son was sent,
To save lost sinners such as me:

Then hear me now, while, kneeling here,
I lift to thee my heart and eye,
And all my soul ascends in prayer,
Oh, give me -­ give me Faith! I cry.

Without some glimmering in my heart,
I could not raise this fervent prayer;
But, oh! a stronger light impart,
And in Thy mercy fix it there.

While Faith is with me, I am blest;
It turns my darkest night to day;
But while I clasp it to my breast,
I often feel it slide away.

Then, cold and dark, my spirit sinks,
To see my light of life depart;
And every fiend of Hell, methinks,
Enjoys the anguish of my heart.

What shall I do, if all my love,
My hopes, my toil, are cast away,
And if there be no God above,
To hear and bless me when I pray?

If this be vain delusion all,
If death be an eternal sleep,
And none can hear my secret call,
Or see the silent tears I weep!

Oh, help me, God! For thou alone
Canst my distracted soul relieve;
Forsake it not: it is thine own,
Though weak, yet longing to believe.

Oh, drive these cruel doubts away;
And make me know, that Thou art God!
A faith, that shines by night and day,
Will lighten every earthly load.

If I believe that Jesus died,
And, waking, rose to reign above;
Then surely Sorrow, Sin, and Pride,
Must yield to Peace, and Hope, and Love.

And all the blessed words He said
Will strength and holy joy impart:
A shield of safety o'er my head,
A spring of comfort in my heart

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Last night I had this dream and it went something like this....

COME live with me and be my Love,
And we will all the pleasures prove
That hills and valleys, dale and field,
And all the craggy mountains yield.
There will we sit upon the rocks         5
And see the shepherds feed their flocks,
By shallow rivers, to whose falls
Melodious birds sing madrigals.
There will I make thee beds of roses
And a thousand fragrant posies,  10
A cap of flowers, and a kirtle
Embroider'd all with leaves of myrtle.
A gown made of the finest wool
Which from our pretty lambs we pull,
Fair linèd slippers for the cold,  15
With buckles of the purest gold.
A belt of straw and ivy buds
With coral clasps and amber studs:
And if these pleasures may thee move,
Come live with me and be my Love.  20
Thy silver dishes for thy meat
As precious as the gods do eat,
Shall on an ivory table be
Prepared each day for thee and me.
The shepherd swains shall dance and sing  25
For thy delight each May-morning:
If these delights thy mind may move,
Then live with me and be my Love.

There is something  alluring about the imagery provoked by Kit Marlowe in this verdant verse, a bucolic sweetness touching on a deeply felt passion. The gift of poetry lies in its capacity to extract from our innermost chambers  those things which we most long to protect from the eyes of the world. For many years I have believed myself to be too sensible for passion and romance, that a keen mind and fine sense of humor are all that matter, but beautiful poetry has convinced my hard head that I have been hiding that which is most sensitive, protecting it from the mockery of the world because that is so often what the world has offered when I have worn my heart on my sleeve. But the truth I guard so indefatigably  is nothing to be ashamed of, despite what my more practical sarcastic self tries to tell me, I am a romantic.