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Poem

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Poem

My friend James framed this for me. Thank you so much, James L Lanham Jr.  It is from the following haiku I wrote some years ago:

 

We spill happiness,

watch it like a waterfall,

and clog new worries.

The Front Porch

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This is an excerpt from my next devotional:

The Front Porch

By Shawn R. Jones

“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’

Matthew 25:21

     A three-story abandoned brownstone sat in the middle of our block.  It seemed as if the only things holding it up were the two houses it was positioned between.  The same maroon chipped paint that framed the boarded up windows and doors also trimmed the small rickety porch. From a child’s perspective, I am sure the house looked “haunted.”  I was quite nervous walking by it myself, and I certainly never walked by it at night. Too me, it seemed to serve no purpose at all, except for the many insects and rodents it housed, until I rode by it early one morning.

On that morning, there was a tan mound on that rickety porch.  At first I couldn’t tell what it was, so I stopped my car and stared out the driver’s side window.  There was someone sleeping under a tan coat.  My heart shuddered and my throat tightened.  She twisted, rolled over, and stood up.  I put my foot on the gas and proceeded to parallel park.  After I parked, I got out of my car and looked down the block before I put my key in my front door. I was so shocked by what I saw next.  The lady was using the coat to sweep the porch, her porch, her home.

Compared to that homeless woman, I have so much, and yet I still complain. Her coat was her blanket, her pillow, and her broom.  That was over fifteen years ago. I don’t know where she is now, but I can still see her sweeping.  It was also during this time that my elderly neighbor used to complain that I didn’t clean off my own porch well enough.  I gave her the poorest excuse I could think of, “I don’t clean it because it never stays clean.” There was a bird’s nest above my front door and the birds left raindrops of poop across the gray painted wood. It was an unpleasant sight that I seldom swept.  My neighbor would fuss, “Girl, you need to get some bleach and clean that porch off!”  I was thinking, Is she serious?! The inside of my house is enough to clean.  I don’t have time to worry about a porch. I am sure I would have felt differently if the porch was all I had.

We acquire so much that each one of our possessions becomes less and less significant to us.   What did a porch mean to me when I had a beautiful two-story brownstone behind it loaded with tons of things?  Now, if a storm or fire destroyed the gray wooden posts that held the porch up, the porch would suddenly become a priority.  Isn’t this how we sometimes treat many of our possessions?  Isn’t that also how we also treat some of the people in our lives?

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     Take an inventory of everything you own.  You can do this mentally, but it would be best if you could write it down on paper.  And because you are so blessed, this could take you hours, so I suggest you plan on writing this list over a period of a few days, or a few weeks, or a few months. Once you are well into this exercise, you are going to realize that I have asked you to do an impossible task because you have so much you cannot write it all down. What you might want to do instead is give away some of that stuff that you never get a chance to use.  Once you have done that, maybe you will take better care of the things you actually need.

Speaking of needs, let’s move on to the people in our lives.  I know it’s sometimes difficult to accept that we need people.  I guess that’s why it’s difficult for us to thank them sometimes. But there are people we should take a moment to thank.  They are worth the time.  They are also worth the small gesture. Who has God placed in your life to be a blessing to you? I can think of a few people in my life I should thank with a small bouquet of flowers, lunch, or at the least, a phone call.  Some people just need to hear the sincerity of your voice.  They need to hear you say, “I love you.  I appreciate you.  Thank you for being there for me.”  You know, thanking people sometimes makes us feel awkward, but imagine how you would feel if they were no longer there.  How would you feel if the porch suddenly collapsed?

     Dear Lord, I have learned so much from watching that homeless woman sweep the porch of an abandoned house with her coat.  I don’t even know if she is still homeless or alive today, but my prayer is that you bless her wherever she is.  She has indeed blessed me. Let her know that her life is significant and full of meaning and purpose.  Shelter her, wherever she may be. Amen.

 

Sonnet for Mother (Revised)

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Sonnet for Mother
By Shawn R. Jones

Her arms are walnut brown and warm like June.
Veins wind like vines around an oak tree branch.
Her love for me still makes my aged heart dance
Like cardinals bathing in sunlight of noon
Full of red pride more pregnant than full moons.
Thus, midnight voices do not have a chance
to rain more doubts on my blue circumstance.
Past lullabies still hush me in my room…

And now that I have children of my own,
Mom’s fairy-tales are just a fantasy
In golden age of young simplicity.
Yet, I adore her more now that I’m grown.
And even though we sometimes disagree,
Only my God can love me more than she.

Sonnet for Mother

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Sonnet for Mother

By Shawn R. Jones

Her arms are walnut brown and warm like June.

Veins wind like vines around an oak tree branch.

My adversaries do not stand a chance

against her heart that holds sunlight at noon

with pride in me that’s fuller than full moons

and love for me that makes my child heart dance.

Though doubts rain more doubts on my circumstance,

Past lullabies still hush me in my room.

And now that I have children of my own,

Mom’s fairy tales are just a memory

with golden eggs of young simplicity,

yet I adore her more now that I’m grown.

And even though we sometimes disagree,

only God could love me more than she.

Natural Hair Continued…

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Today I have to admit that I continue to touch my hair and ask myself, “Why didn’t I make this transition decades ago?  I love the tight spongy curls, pillow soft and sweet.  I say “sweet” because my hair designer uses so many colors at once that it sometimes looks like skittles and if you had to guess how it felt before touching it, you would probably say,”I bet her hair feels just like cotton candy.”

So, I guess I have made it clear that my hair texture is natural, but my color is not. I am a colorful person, so I cannot really imagine myself with brown hair with a few strands of gray.  I guess that is why some folks wear weaves and wigs.  For variety or individuality.  I have one custom wig myself and it is fun to wear, but it gets a lot of attention, so… I don’t wear it everywhere, like when I have a speaking engagement for my devotional book. At that time, I really don’t want folks focusing on my hair.  Our conversations are often intimate and private.  There is a time and place for everything.  Now if I am reading at a poetry reading or attending a dance concert, the wig comes out the closet and I even throw on a bit of make-up with it.  But most days, I look like this:

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Yes…my hair really is that thick.  And although I have not had a touch up of color and glaze in awhile, I can still kind of see the skittles thing going on.  By the way, I should definitely mention that my hair designer’s name is Kondor Rodnok and I have been begging him to start a blog to show off his amazing artistry.  I am tempted to steal a few photos from his fb page so you can see how bad he is!  And I really hope he forgives me for posting these pictures because I have not seen him in about 3 weeks now, so I have been doing my own thing with my hair.  However, I promise when I go to him this week, I will post a couple photos, so you can admire his work.  For the past few weeks I have been doing my hair with Miss Jessie’s products.  Well, this is going to have to be continued again because it is well past my bedtime.  Until next time, take care!

The Stay Focused Magazine Writers Retreat

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The first weekend in May was the 1st Annual Writers’ Retreat hosted by Stay Focused Magazine.  We were blessed by one workshop after the next.  Besides being well-informed about the craft and business of writing, we had an amazing time.  We talked and laughed like we had been friends for decades, and many of us had just met for the first time.

Our keynote speaker was National Bestselling Author,Vanessa Davis Griggs. We laughed and took notes during her speech, and by the time she was finished, some of us were wiping tears.  I am thrilled to have a couple signed copies of her books.  If you would like more information on her, please visit her website: http://www.vanessadavisgriggs.com/.

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Vanessa Davis Griggs

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Deanna Davis, CEO and Editor of Stay Focused Magazine

http://focusedplans.net/web/index.html

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Teaching my workshop, Poetry & Prose Electric

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Workshop Facilitators: Terrence Clark, CEO and Founder at Glory Cloud Publications (http://www.theglorycloudpublications.org/), Shawn R. Jones(http://shawnrjones.com), Vanessa Davis Griggs (http://www.vanessadavisgriggs.com/),  Deanna Davis (http://focusedplans.net/web/index.html), Deborah Wilson Smart (https://www.facebook.com/OneSmartLadyProductions), Poet Rachel Marrianno (https://www.facebook.com/rachel.marianno?fref=ts), and Not photographed, Rhonda Ferbee-Hammond (http://www.isimplyloveher.com/).

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Thank you so much to everyone who attended the retreat!  Remember, no more cliches ; )

Fro more photos, visit:  https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.484319014968023.1073741828.220861371313790&type=1