Carpe Diem Y’all by Michele Bernard

Writer, Texan, Semi-interested Sports Fan

The Really Big Fat Stinky Elephant in the Middle of the Room

donanobispacem01.jpg“I was once asked why I don’t participate in anti-war demonstrations. I said that I will never do that, but as soon as you have a pro-peace rally, I’ll be there.”  Mother Teresa

The really big fat stinky elephant in the middle of the room 

Is blocking my view. 

What did I chant when I was a child?

“Can’t go under it. 

Can’t go over it. 

Can’t go through it.”

What did I learn as an adult? 

Guess I need to eat it. 

“How do you eat an elephant?”

“One bite at a time.” 

My elephant has a name:  SonInIraq.

No matter what I do,

Where I go,

How fast I peddle,

SonInIraq is still there. 

And will be there for the next year.

In the meantime:

I work, I pray, I go about my day. 

I write letters

And email

And shop for items

To brighten his day.

My military family grows.

I write and email and shop for items for

Two young men I do not know.

They serve with SonInIraq.

Their mothers do the same.

I don’t watch the news (good advise received from a mom who’s been here, done this). 

I join with families in our Family Readiness Group and “Walk to Iraq and Back”

With phone in hand.  Always. 

Sometimes I dance to Iraq and back. 

It counts.

Moving is good.

I note the time, then add nine hours. 

That’s what time it is for SonInIraq.

February 26, 2008 Posted by | Army Mom, Blogroll, Family, Michele's Musings, Motherhood, Parenting, Peace, Winter | 6 Comments

Dad – Mom’s Hogging the Microphone

rock_band_cover.jpg“We weren’t too ambitious when we started out. We just wanted to be the biggest thing that ever walked the planet.” Steven Tyler of Aerosmith

I was over video games when controllers went from two buttons to something resembling a ten-key punch.

Then, last night, my 15 year old opened his birthday present .

Life may never be the same.

(And yes, son, I will pay for your therapy.) 

In the meantime: Rock on party people. 

Game Spot Score 9.0 Editor’s Choice:  Rock Band does a superb job of bringing out the wannabe rock star in all of us, and creates one of the best party-game experiences of all time.  – gamespot.com

Carpe Rockem Y’all, Michele

January 26, 2008 Posted by | Best Lines, Blogroll, Carpe Diem Quotes, Dance, Family, Heart, Her Royal Nerdiness, Humor, Humor Writers, Just Wow, Michele's Musings, Motherhood, Music, Parenting, Winter | 4 Comments

Happy Birthday to You/Happy Anniversary to Me

birthday_candles_215.gif There are two ways to live: you can live as if nothing is a miracle; you can live as if everything is a miracle. Albert Einstein

On this day in 1993, I had a baby. 

The thing is, I didn’t know I was sick.  I was pregnant.  Way pregnant.  And what way pregnant woman do you know that doesn’t have swollen ankles and difficulty breathing?

It’s a miracle I lived through that day. 

This morning as I look across the Happy Birthday breakfast table at my fifteen year old son, I get a little teary.  I’m so thankful for the miracle that he is, for the joy he brings to the table, not to mention the miracle that allows me to be here to bear witness to this remarkable young man’s life. 

The words of the birthday prayers found in the back of the Episcopal Church’s Book of Common Prayer come to me as I watch my son scarf down french toast as only a teenaged boy can do.  For him I thought of this prayer:

“Watch over thy child, O Lord, as his days increase; bless and guide him wherever he may be. Strengthen him when he stands; comfort him when discouraged or sorrowful; raise him up if he fall; and in his heart may thy peace which passeth understanding abide all the days of his life; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”

And for the 15th Anniversary of the Day I Survived, I thought of this one:

“O God, our times are in your hand: Look with favor, we pray, on your servant as she begins another year. Grant that she may grow in wisdom and grace, and strengthen her trust in your goodness all the days of her life; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. ”   

Carpe Diem Y’all, Michele

January 25, 2008 Posted by | Best Lines, Blogroll, Carpe Diem Quotes, Episcopalians, Family, Heart, Inspiration, Inspirational, Just Wow, Michele's Musings, Motherhood, Parenting, Peace, PPCM, Winter | 2 Comments

Get it Together Get it Togeter Get it Together

  • 370711782.jpgBegin at the beginning,” the King said gravely, “and go till you come to the end; then stop.”–Lewis Carroll (Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland)
  • It’s a gift really. I’m talking about my ability to focus on many things as once.  It’s as if I was otherwise occupied when they passed out the filtering system that tells me that this piece of stimuli is more important than that bit of stimuli.  Most likely I was researching a story idea, that reminded me of another subject I wanted to learn more about, that made me think of this guy I went to school with, that looks alot like the postman, that makes me remember to check the mail, pay the bills, make the grocery list, clean out the junk drawer, return library books, de-clutter the office, not to mention the hall closets, get receipts together for the accountant, work book edit, contact business profile clients, do billing, and oh, and yeah, catch up on blogging. 

    January in Texas equals spring cleaning at my house/home office.  It’s my month to make order out of the chaos that was last year and yesterday.  When do you, and how do you get it together?  Or do you?  Carpe Diem Y’all, Michele

    January 17, 2008 Posted by | Blogroll, Carpe Diem Quotes, Family, Freelance Writing, Her Royal Nerdiness, Michele's Musings, Winter, Writerly Stuff, Writers, Writing | 3 Comments

    Best Lines: The Holiday Edition

    425640808_a904b23226_o.jpgPeople are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within. – Elizabeth Kubler Ross 

    December 13, 2007 Posted by | Advent, Another F-ing Thought for the Day, Best Lines, Blogroll, Christmas, Heart, I Read, Inspiration, Michele's Musings, Peace, Winter | 2 Comments

    Best Lines: The Holiday Edition

    donanobispacem0.jpg “A noted poet was once asked in an interview if he could explain one of his poems ‘in ordinary terms.’ He replied with some feeling, ‘If I could say what I meant in ordinary terms I would not have had to write the poem.’ – Dr. Brian Linard, A Way to the Heart of Christmas

    The Advent Season- A time to wait.  And while we wait, we’re asked to remember and anticipate.  At the same time.  Which pretty much sums up my own season of waiting, remembering and anticipating that I’m sure all military families with loved ones deployed far from home experience. 

    I find myself drawn to poetry these days.  And songs.  And art.  They comfort me.  The words and the music and the objects of art give me something tangible to hang my thoughts and feelings on as I wait, remember and anticipate.  I’m grateful for the poets, the lyricists and the artists who sum up with their work what I’m thinking and feeling.  They do so way better than I can.  

    (And even though I make it a point to keep this blog as positive and as uplifting as possible, I have to say, if I hear the song, I’ll Be Home for Christmas one more freaking time, I might shove the radio into the radiator while punching out.)

    Today, I read Longfellow’s poem, Christmas Bells.  It’s a classic, I’ve read many times before.  I’ve even sung the words.  The tune hums in my head as I write.  But today, the poem touched my heart.  Carpe Diem Y’all, Michele

    I heard the bells on Christmas Day
    Their old familiar carols play,
    And wild and sweet
    The words repeat
    Of peace on earth, good will to men!

    And thought how, as the day had come
    The belfries of all Christendom
    Had rolled along
    The unbroken song
    Of peace on earth, good will to men!

    Till, ringing, singing on its way,
    The world revolved from night to day,
    A voice, a chime,
    A chant sublime
    Of peace on earth, good will to men!
     

    Then from each black, accursed mouth
    The cannon thundered in the South,
    And with the sound
    The carols drowned
    Of peace on earth, good will to men!

    It was as if an earthquake rent
    The hearth-stones of a continent,
    And made forlorn
    The households born
    Of peace on earth, good will to men!

    And in despair I bowed my head;
    “There is no peace on earth,” I said;
    “For hate is strong
    And mocks the song
    Of peace on earth, good will to men.”

    Then pealed the bells more loud and deep.
    “God is not dead, nor doth he sleep!
    The wrong shall fail,
    The right prevail,
    With peace on earth, good will to men!”

    December 13, 2007 Posted by | Advent, Army Mom, Best Lines, Blogroll, Christmas, Family, Heart, I Read, Inspiration, Just Wow, Michele's Musings, Motherhood, Parenting, Peace, Winter, Writerly Stuff, Writers | 4 Comments

    Thoughts on Pre-Deployment Leave

    donanobispacem0.jpgLord, bid war’s trumpet cease; Fold the whole earth in peace.~Oliver Wendell Holmes

    My son leaves for Iraq.  But before that, he leaves me.  I take him to the airport tomorrow.  It will be the last time I touch my son, umblemished by war.  He will return forever changed.  I know this.  Regardless of his physical state of being on the day he returns, he will be forever changed.  As will I be.  I am not a Spartan mom.  I say lay down your shield and stay here with me.  Safe.  Whole.  I keep this to myself.  But he knows.    

    I think of poetry I wrote back in the day.  A whole series likening tears to rain.  What did I know back then? Actually alot.  But my boy was too young to go to war.  I still had control and he was not allowed to play with guns.  What did I know of tears back then?   

    November 18, 2007 Posted by | Another F-ing Thought for the Day, Army Mom, Blogroll, Family, Heart, Michele's Musings, Motherhood, Parenting | 7 Comments

    NaNo NaNo

    1968303028.jpgThere’s nothing to writing.  All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein.  ~Walter Wellesley “Red” Smith

    I neglect my blog I know.  I apologize.  But I am within spitting distance of another finish line.  The YA novel is almost complete. 

    With the end in sight, I work each day with a new energy.  I experience the writer’s version of a runner’s high.   It doesn’t hurt anymore to think.  I sit back, I type,  the characters tell their story. I’ve heard of this phenom from others who’ve gone before me.  I nod as I realize this truth. 

    November is National Novel Writing Month.  As I type, I smile.  Writers across the land do the same.

    Carpe Diem Y’all, Michele     

    November 12, 2007 Posted by | Autumn, Best Lines, Blogroll, Freelance Writing, Michele's Musings, Novel Writing, Novelists, Writerly Stuff, Writers, Writing | 3 Comments

    How to Hug a Porcupine and Other Thoughts on Being Family

    3909368537.jpgWhen our relatives are at home, we have to think of all their good points or it would be impossible to endure them.  ~George Bernard Shaw

    Leading up to the holiday season, we observe the following family tradition:  we sugar coat everything, even and especially each other.  There are bigger turkeys to roast.  No time to blow out another’s candle trying to make ours shine brighter.  (I’d so like to take credit for that last sentence, but truth be told, credit goes to a little neighborhood church that specializes in posting catchy-make-you-go-hmmm-sayings on their marquee.) 

    We have pies to bake, menus to plan, tables to decorate.  Children to hug, mothers to consult, cousins to gossip with, sisters to help. We engage in preparation and we engage with each other.  We side-step, we over-look, we take deep breaths and we think sugar.  

    Sugar helps.  Alot.  When we get cross with the kids we find a little sugar on the cheek or the top of the head does the trick.  Same goes for siblings and parents.  For that one and only special someone though, we go straight for the lips.  This is how to we porcupines hug in our family.  Carpe Diem Y’all, Michele 

    © Michele Bernard 2007

    November 6, 2007 Posted by | Army Mom, Best Lines, Blogroll, Family, Food and Wine, Michele's Musings, Motherhood, Parenting | 2 Comments

    Carpe Beatlemanium

    poster_across-the-universe1.jpgIt’s enough to make a Beatles fan both cringe and grin, sometimes at the same time……I’ll go ahead and say it: I’m embarrassed by how much I liked this movie. – Jeffrey Chen Windows to the Movies 

    “What do you remember about the sixties?” my son asks.

    “I was just kid,” I reply, “I remember I prayed alot.  Mostly for the war in Vietnam to end so Uncle Butch could come home.  And, oh, for God to get Donny Osmond to marry me.  Actually, that was probably the seventies.”  I lose myself in thought. 

    My son loses interest.  The Uncle Butch he knows is a grandfather.  So is Donny Osmond.  I realize I don’t paint the portrait I try to paint for him.  I’m at a loss as to how to answer his question.  The answer is too big and my attention span is too short.  I too lose interest and move on to other thoughts.

    Then I go see the movie musical, Across the Universe.  And there it is:  the answer to my son’s question, a cinematic CliffsNotes on the sixties (or was it the seventies?), a social/cultural documentary told through the words and music of the Beatles detailing the background noise of my childhood.  

    I’m not sure the movie is for everyone, but I for one love it.  The love story:  sweet, the issues: real, picking out the obvious and not-so-obvious symbols strewn throughout the film: as fun as solving a Where’s Waldo puzzle.  At times I feel I need a notepad to keep up. 

    And the music, oh my goodness, the music.  It’s as if hearing these songs for the first time.  I am amazed at how with a slower tempo, a  different voice, or use of a song in an unexpected context can trick my ears into thinking I’ve never heard these words before.  I purchase the two-cd soundtrack within twenty-four hours of watching the movie. 

    The arrangement of Let it Be is the most moving rendition I’ve ever heard.  And Joe Cocker singing Come Together ?  Of course!  Joe Cocker singing Come Together.  He has the perfect rasp to pull it off, and the percussion makes it, dare I say, better than the original version? On a similar note, I truly believe Bono IS the walrus.  All featured artists are fabulous and breathe new life into the words and the music my generation teethed on back in the day.

    I pick my son up at baseball practice, stereo thumping.

    “Gah Mom!  Can you turn that down?”

    “No,” I say, handing him the cd liner notes.

    “What’s this?” 

    “The answer to your question.”

    Coo-Coo-Ca-Choo.

    Carpe Diem Y’all, Michele

    November 1, 2007 Posted by | Beatles, Best Lines, Blogroll, Donny, Family, Her Royal Nerdiness, Just Wow, Michele's Musings, Movies, Music, Parenting, Theater | | Leave a comment