All my life I’ve loved to draw…the many people and things in front of me.

The only problem is the things I draw…don’t always look like what I see.


It seems it should be easy which is why I do not understand

how the beauty I see before me gets distorted by my hands


I can draw the sun, a house, and occasionally…a cloud

but all my other drawings would only make Picasso’s mother proud.


My drawings might be simple, they might be incoherent and raw

but that does not deter me…for I still love to draw.


All my life I’ve loved to dance…the moment I feel the beat

but it’s hard to find the right rhythm when I was born with two left feet.


When people see me dancing (trust me it’s not a pretty sight)

they usually call for a doctor and ask if I’m all right.


My movements might be simple…might make some think I’m in a trance

but that does not deter me…for I still love to dance.


All my life I’ve loved to sing…how I envy all the birds….

for they like me are happy singing when they don’t know all the words.


I think of myself as a nightingale whose voice is beautiful once let loose…

but from what I’ve been told by others…I sound more like a goose.


My voice may sound more like a bird who has a broken wing….

but that does not deter me…for I still love to sing.


I was lucky that a long time ago I came to understand

I don’t need to be an artist, a professional dancer or a singer in a band.


For despite my little drawbacks I am as happy as a clam

Happy drawing and dancing and singing…just the way I am.



I walk the same route every morning…from this path I do not stray

because I have so many friends to greet whom I’ve met along the way.


There are the trees that tower to the sky…many, I’m sure, older than me

There’s the crickets and the owls and a host of other animals I hear but do not see.


There are the shifting clouds that are always moving 

from right to left or left to right

There are the flowers waiting for me…the ones that only bloom at night.


There are the toads and the rabbits who dart in and out of the shadows of the moon

Who either stand in one place hiding…or hop away too soon.


There are the churches with their marquis lit

with messages for the mind

There are the oranges painted by a friend

he graciously has left behind.


There are the old folks who live on the corner

the early morning enclave

who, as I round the corner

always smile and wave


There’s the homeless lady who never speaks

but will occasionally smirk

There are the silent streets of a city asleep

there’s the bookstore where I work.


There are the stars that guide me on this walk,

the moon with her occasional grin

There are the silent messages I send to my family

and release upon the wind.


I love this path I’ve chosen

love the friends I greet as on this path I roam

and I love the way this same path

always leads me home.

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I once dreamed of being a carpenter…but I don’t want to be a carpenter anymore…

Who knew there is only one right way that you can hang a door!


I dreamed of being an electrician but from that career I would quickly tire….

Who knew if you simply get your wires crossed it can easily cause a fire!


I dreamed of being a plumber but plumbing is much harder than you think

Who knew you had to be a contortionist to fit under a sink!


So I became a teacher and  I taught ’til I was old and grey.

In teaching there are no absolutes…if something doesn’t work…

you find another way.


If my students were having difficulty learning…it wasn’t an option to adjourn.

It was up to me to help them find another way…another way to learn.


If they continued having trouble…if what I was doing still didn’t reach them.

It was up to me to find another way…another way to teach them.


It’s ironic when you think about it…for me as a teacher at the end of every day

It was my students who would teach me…to find another way.


Another way of thinking…another way of viewing life

Another way of overcoming obstacles, 

overcoming heartaches, pain and strife.


Which is why I still have hope our country will survive this latest crisis…

even though things look bad today….

I have hope that people can put aside their hatred…

and find another way.


Another way of thinking

Another way to make their anger and enmity cease…

Another way to live together…

Another way to harmony and peace.


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I have this exercise I do…it’s an exercise in my mind…

I do it whenever I feel I’m losing may ability to be kind.


I simply look around me from the ground to the sky above

and I begin to list in my life…all the things there are to love.


I love my wife, my children, my grandchildren…

looking at old photographs.

I love watching people holding hands and anytime a baby laughs.


I love the moon, the stars, the clouds, the sun that hover in the sky

I love ice cream, cake and cookies…

I love peach cobbler, and apple pie.


I love animals that fly, run, swim, slither, crawl or hop around

I love animals that are loud…and those that never make a sound.


I love insects…ladybugs and moths…butterflies and bees.

I love all the different flowers and any kind of tree.


I love a hot summer day and a snow white winter freeze

I love the oceans and the mountains…the rivers and the seas.


I love drinking water, root beer and an occasional sweet iced tea.

I love watching cooking shows, British mysteries and reruns on TV.


I love to laugh sometimes so hard I shake from my shoulders to my belly.

I love picnics…eating sandwiches made with peanut butter and jelly.


I never get to finish my list because by this time in my mind…

I’ve already forgotten what it was that made me feel unkind..


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I took a moment visit my God today…

I don’t usually do this…but I got down on my knees to pray.


I wanted to ask him…or her…

(I use both, I believe, correctly

because in all my visits with my God…

he or she has never answered me directly).


At any rate, I had things I wanted…things I’d like to see..

wishes I thought important…

I hoped my God would grant for me.


As I was about to open my mouth…

about to give my God my speech

my mind was filled with memories 

of the students I used to teach.


There before me...swimming in my mind, 

my students were everywhere..

Autistic students, blind ones, ones with seizures…

and students in wheel chairs.


And swimming right behind my students…

this was really quite a feat

were children and people I did not know…

who had no homes, or food to eat.


I saw many people in pain, crying,

I know not the reasons why

but they seem to have more troubles than me 

as I watched them floating by.


Suddenly my mind went blank 

and I forgot what I had started praying for

as the troubles that I thought I had…

didn’t seem as troublesome anymore.


And so still on my knees with my head bowed 

as I visited my God today

it was for all these other people 

that I began to pray.


And I hope my God is happy 

as my prayers up to her or him soar…

smiling and proudly nodding his or her approval…

knowing that’s what prayers are for?

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When I was teaching my autistic students 

with, what I thought, was enthusiasm and verve

the parents of the students I taught would oftentimes observe.


And though it’s been many years since I retired

since I left that life behind

two parents in particular…stick out in my mind.


One parent thought I could do no wrong…she thought I was a saint

The other thought everything I did was wrong…a saint, she thought…he ain’t!


I’ill admit when it came to the first parent my ego needed to practice little restraint…

I mean I was doing the best I could but please…really….me…a saint!


And when it came to the second parent my ego needed a little boost..

Again…I was doing the best I could but was I as bad as she deduced?


When my clearer head prevailed after their praise and criticism were dispersed…

I know I wasn’t the best teacher in the world…nor was I the worst.


I did do some things well and so I felt some of the first parent’s praise I earned

while the second parent reminded me…I still had a lot to learn.


These parents taught me how praise could put me on cloud nine

while criticism could cut me like a knife…

in my jobs

my friendships

my marriage

in my parenting…my life


It was probably one of the greatest lessons that I have ever had…

Teaching me to improve on any good I do while learning from the bad.


Even now, when that first parent’s doubt enter my mind…

when I find my confidence is faint…

I smile remembering there’s at least one person out there

who thinks I am a saint.


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If we’re lucky we have many blessings that throughout our life arise.

and sometimes the most wonderful of these are the blessings in disguise.


A time when things seemed to be falling apart at an extremely rapid pace

when…what we actually found…was they were falling into place.


A time when despite a misfortune…we kept going…we grew…we succeeded!

A time we did not get what we wanted…which was exactly what we needed.


A mistake that taught us a lesson, perhaps two…or even three.

A misfortune or a failure that turned into opportunity.


A defeat that didn’t stop us…because we persevered through our strife…

and learned a valuable lesson…how defeats are part of life.


How we can be resilient…how we can take a hit…

How a defeat can only define us…if and when we choose to quit.


A time we closed our eyes and wondered if we’d ever again experience life’s highs…

and when we opened them…to our amazement…we found a blessing in disguise.


Isn’t it amazing in life…that behind some of our misfortunes, 

some of our adversities…

our scares

If we look hard enough we can find a blessing hiding there.


Waiting patiently to help us overcome our darkness

when we have, in sadness, lost our sight.

Standing quietly in the background to lead us to the light.


And so today…in the midst of all our turmoil…

with every grief and misery that arise… 

as we search through the ruins left behind

may we find that blessing in disguise.



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Black…white…straight…gay…all those other letters too…

Christian…Muslim…Catholic…Atheist…and Jew.


Labels can be beneficial when we use them to help guild us

but they can also be a danger when we use them to divide us.


However there is one thing we all share no label can ever take away…

We were all created…all of us…to breathe in the same way.


Basically, from our first breath…from the moment of our birth

we become a part of the rhythm…of the heartbeat of the Earth.


And we keep right on breathing as one…with no need to classify

until the day our breathing stops…until the day we die.


In between our first and last breath…we keep breathing

It matters not if we’re  black, white, straight or gay…

if we are Christians, Muslims or Catholics…

we all breathe…about 20,000 times a day.


And the reason we continue breathing in and out…the lesson I believe

is to teach us life only works its wonders when we give as much as we receive.


Perhaps instead of looking to divide ourselves…

we’d do better to throw all those labels away…

and remember how the simple act of breathing

unites us everyday.


There is a harmony in how we breathe together

Black, white, straight, Gay…Catholic, Muslim or Jew….

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if there was that same harmony

In the way we lived together too?



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When the world is moving too fast and it’s hard for me to see

I find some peace and comfort as I sit under a tree.


In the coolness of the shade on the ground as low as I can go…

I give thanks to whoever planted this tree so many years ago.


As I lay upon the ground and watch leaves waving in the breeze 

I begin to wonder to myself how important are the trees.


Without us they’re still beautiful….thet’ll still grow up tall and thrive

but without them we, as humans, would be unable to survive.


Under a tree we ponder the value of our life…our meaning and our worth

Under a tree, if we listen, we can hear the heartbeat of the Earth.


Under a tree is where some poets have been inspired to do their rhyming.

It’s where as children looking up we began to think of climbing.


Under a tree is where couples…looking through the leaves to the stars above

have held hands for the first time…it’s where they fell in love.


As I see the branches of the tree…lifting up…and watch them sway

I wonder if it was under a tree where people first began to pray. 


The more and more you contemplate life sitting under a tree

the more the world begins to slow down and the easier it is to see.







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