Love poetry challenge ~ 10 lines, 4 words per line with LOVE in each one

Darla over at New World Mom nominated me for a little poetry challenge, which originated on Brickhouse Chicks Blog. You can read Darla’s beautiful response to this fun challenge here

Initially, I thought it sounded like a fairly simple undertaking, but as I sat to write, it proved a bit harder than I’d anticipated! More than a few attempts were quickly tossed aside, especially after I took the time to read some of the other poems that had been written following the same guidelines.

I kept the three I hated the least :)

The rules are simple

•Write about love using only 10 lines.

•Use the word love in every line.

•Each line can only be four words long.

•Nominate others who are up for the challenge.

•Let them know about the challenge.

•Title the post: Love in Ten Lines

•Include a quote about love (this can be your own).

•You may write in any language.


Mi amor, mi amor,

baneful love, unsheathed weapon,

mortiferous love, piercing armor.

Love fails, love falls,

battlefield casualty, mi amor.

Your love, or mine,

one love must endure.

Mi amore lives on.

I’m sorry, my love,

mi amore lives on.

“Love is a battlefield” Pat Benetar


Sweetest love – unblemished, innocent,

untainted and virtuous love.

Love bestowed without expectation.

Love requited, without reservation,

without trepidation – pure love.

Intertwining hearts, palpable love.

New love, unparalleled enchantment.

First love, irreplaceable communion.

Such is the love

that teaches us love

“Love is a many splendored thing” William Waterway


You are my love

my true, forever love.

Our love sustains me,

our love contains me.

Your love is precious,

your love is sure.

Your love strengthens me,

your love surrounds me.

My love is yours,

my love is yours . . .

“My heart is, and will always be, yours” Jane Austin – Sense and Sensibility

UPDATE – I forgot the noms! Letsee . . . I nominate, umm . . . Hmm. Letsee, oh! I know! I nominate YOU! All ya’all. Do it, it’s fun :)

22 days, approx. 6000 pages, & shimmering stars

22 days ago I found myself in a rather anxious state. I was fraught with slivers of sadness and fretful with fits of frustration. I realized I was overwhelmed and so, so tired. Unable to disencumber myself from these loathsome sensitivities, I made a hasty retreat into the safety and security of my little bubble and tried to shield myself from however much of the world I could. It was my intent to settle into a soul soothing solace for a few days, but my melancholy managed itself into a moroseness I found difficult to soothe. Before long, I was floating through each day upon a virtual ocean of apathy.

Reading was my only comfort, so I read page after page, book after book (15 of them), sequestering myself from just about everything – the computer, the phone, the kids, the husband, the laundry . . . I drank coffee and devoured words until one afternoon I finally felt the sun on my skin, heard the birds singing, and sensed a flutter of emotion stir in my heart.

I’m not entirely certain what precipitated the gloomy shadow that tried to swallow me, nothing particularly unpleasant or dreadful occurred, there wasn’t some fantastical event that sent me spiraling downward into the depths of despair. I suppose it was simply life and the living of it. Sometimes we just need a break for a few days, or 22 as the case may be.

The first 18 days were spent doing little else aside from thinking, reading, and avoiding human contact. I interacted as little as possible with everyone. I avoided any and all responsibilities I could possibly avoid. I just wanted to be alone. With my books. I sat on the porch with them from morning till night and then sat with them some more in my room until sleep would come.

Somewhere in the middle of my madness, I received a blessing so lovely I saw stars, literally. I almost ignored the stack of mail the postman delivered, but I noticed the corner of an envelope peeking out between the bills I’d eventually have to deal with and it practically called out to me. I slipped it from the pile and was surprised to find it was hand addressed . . . to me.

When I saw the postmark I couldn’t help but smile. It said Royal Mail and it had traveled a long way to bring me a smile. I opened the envelope carefully, I knew there would be more than lovely words inside, and when I opened the card, the sun twinkled off of the glittering stars that awaited me.

11081130_10204934342771860_7648003811937018469_nIt was the first real smile I’d smiled in a while. Before I could read the letter they adorned, I picked up the other prize that envelope held for me, a hand drawn ampersand. That was when the first tear fell. It was beautiful. One of the most precious gifts I’ve ever received. I stared at it with a mix of awe and thankfulness. I have an affinity for ampersands and my faraway friend took the time to create something so personal for me, I was overcome by the thoughtfulness of it.

More tears fell as I read the words she took the time to sit and write to me. We’ve shared conversations online and in emails, but this was so much more . . . it was real and personal and I could hold it in my hands. There is something so magical about that. So intimate. So real.

The letter from my sweet blog-sister Lizzi was the catalyst that sparked my resolve to pull myself up and find it within myself to take back the control I’d relinquished. I don’t even know how to say thank you for that.

The shadow dissipated on the 19th day and I slowly began to integrate myself back into my family. They welcomed me with open arms, several loads of laundry and a lengthy grocery list. I was tempted to lose myself in another book, but, you can only hide from reality for so long and since they had to fend for themselves for what they seem to think was an eternity, I relented to resuming my duties as wife and mother, caretaker to all.

I did a lot of thinking these past few weeks, I thought of things I was afraid of, things I was thankful for, things that made me sad, and things that made me happy. I thought of the many challenges and hardships in my life and I thought about the many blessings I’ve been bestowed.

I thought quite a bit about my failures, real and perceived, but I also thought about my successes and decided maybe I should give myself credit for them. I’ve been focused on the parts of me that feel weak instead of magnifying the strengths I know, without a doubt, I possess.

I have a lot more thinking to do and many more books to read, but I think I can manage to do those things without shutting myself off from everyone around me . . . I’m keeping my bubble close by though, just in case.

~ My Therapeutic Companions ~


Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children -Ransom Riggs

Hollow Children – Ransom Riggs

A Brave New World – Aldous Huxley

The Ocean at the End of the Lane – Neil Gaiman

The Essential Neruda, Selected Poems – Pablo Neruda

Room – Emma Donoghue

Farewell Dorothy Parker – Ellen Meister

Let’s Pretend This Never Happened – Jenny Lawson (The Bloggess)

The Night Circus – Erin Morgenstern

The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath

Son of a Witch – Gregory Maguire

A Lion Among Men – Gregory Maguire

Out of Oz – Gregory Maguire

Neverwhere – Neil Gaiman

Under the Dome – Stephen King

My Daily Grind – A day in the life

~ My Daily Grind ~

imageI often find myself wishing I’d written more as my children were growing up. I remember so many times thinking I was too busy to stop and jot something down, always assuring myself I would remember it later. The sad truth is, you don’t always remember it later. Things you think you could never forget are forgotten as the years pass you by. When they say cherish every moment you should listen, they really do go by too quickly.

When I found this particular writing in my shoebox of memories, I was able to recall this day so clearly as I read the faded words; until I pulled the crinkled, yellow legal pad it was written on out of the shoebox though, I had not. In my heart, it was only yesterday, but in reality, this day, and many more like it, happened many, many years ago.

When my kids were little, it seemed like they would be that way forever. Forever turned out to go by far, far too fast.


It’s 4:30 a.m. when I awake and attempt to open my sleepy eyes. I can’t see anything, darkness surrounds me and though I try, I can’t seem to move. I’m paralyzed from my shoulders up. Intense  panic begins to set in. I feel trapped and suffocated. Just before pure terror consumes me, I take the sleeping baby off of my head and tell myself to stop being so dramatic.

imageI gingerly slide out of bed in slower than slow motion, partly because I am too stiff to move, and partly not to awaken the youngest of my blessed offspring. As I stumble my way into the bathroom I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror. I wonder if those are dark circles under my eyes or if they are the result of the mega battle Batman had with Godzilla yesterday.

Batman can fly you know. Yep, that caped freak plowed me right between the eyes as I was innocently kneeling to gather laundry. I made one of those mommy rules when my vision returned. From that moment on, super heroes, their sidekicks and their enemies were no longer allowed to fly in the house or they would be sent to prison for an undetermined amount of time. The kids knew what that meant. Those plastic parasites would go into the garage and probably never be seen again.

Feeling quite certain it wouldn’t make much of a difference in my overall appearance anyway, I decided not to worry about it and made my way back to bed. I snuggled in knowing I was free to snooze the morning away. There was no school and that meant I didn’t have to wake up until I was good and ready to. My moment of rest lasted exactly a moment. I’d forgotten kids have some sort of biological clock somewhere within them set to go off at the crack of dawn on weekends and holidays. This time it was set for 5:00 a.m.


I slid out of bed again and told them to play quietly so mommy could sleep for a little while. I knew before I said it I was deluding myself, but it was worth a shot. It’s 6:30 a.m. when I again regain consciousness. It’s the mind-numbing, blaring of the television stealing my slumber this time. I yell for the children to turn the blasted thing down and they yell back “Why?” I so very much dislike that word. “Because you’re gonna wake up the baby!”

It occurs to me as I watch a soggy little diaper running from the room I should have kept my big mouth shut. The television is soon quieted and I begrudgingly arise to prepare breakfast. I notice the absence of one hungry little mouth, I knew she would sleep late, I heard the pound puppies making a jailbreak around midnight.

After the corn flakes had been poured and the toast had been served, our first fight of the day erupted. Apparently, even though the bowls and cups are a matching set, they can tell the difference and began to duke it out over whose bowl was whose. The whole issue is dropped when the youngest of this trio of trolls throws his cup across the table sending corn flakes and milk all over the place. We almost make it to lunch without too much incident, just the usual stuff. “He’s touching me.”, “He’s breathing again Mommy.”, “He say’s I’m an alien.” So on and so forth.

Around 11:30 a.m. the girl child awakes. This haggard little creature stumbles into the kitchen and asks for breakfast. I explain to her it’s almost time for lunch and she can wait a few more minutes. This of course makes me the meanest and most unfair person in the whole world. In the most pathetic voice she could muster she says, “Even Cinderella got to eat breakfast.” I gently reminded her that Cinderella got up before the sun and made her own dang breakfast.

It always amazes me how acute a child’s sense of hearing becomes when the mention of food is so much as even whispered. Within seconds of the first lunch plate touching the table, all four of them were seated. Five minutes into the meal war breaks out over something and everyone is sent away from the table for a time out.

Everyone except the innocent littlest brother who unbeknownst to me, helps himself to his favorite items from each of their unattended meals and devours the stolen goodies before they return. They come back to find half empty plates and begin accusing each other of grand theft Cheetos. I make a mental note never to feed them all at the same time again and I replenish their food supply.

With full tummies, they retreat to other parts of the house to play and I begin to clean up and do the usual household chores. Next thing I know, gut wrenching screams echo throughout our home. I run to the bedroom as fast as I can to find a sobbing little girl curled up in a ball on the floor.

I just knew the boys had done something dreadful to her. They of course denied any wrong doing so I turned my interrogation to the injured party. “Did they hit you?” She shakes her head no. “Did you get kicked, pushed pinched? What happened? TELL ME!”

Through her tears she says, “He said the Beast doesn’t turn into a prince and marry Belle, he said he just stays a beast and eats her for dinner.” I tried to be sympathetic, I really did, but something came over me and as I rocked her in the comfort and safety of my arms I said, “Well honey, he probably did.” I am still to this day making up for that error in judgment. I can now recite every word of Beauty and the beast with amazing accuracy.

imageI realize as I begin to search for dinner items we need to make a trip to the grocery store. I tell the kids to get out of their jammies and get ready to go. Hey, it’s a holiday, if they stay in their jammies all day that means less laundry for me. I load them into the minivan and head for the store.

Now, I have a conspiracy theory about supermarkets. I think they have little devices in the sensors of those automatic doors that scramble the brain waves of young children. You know what I’m talking about, it makes their voices louder, it makes them become argumentative and it causes drastic mood swings.

I enter the store as quickly as possible to avoid prolonged exposure to the mood altering rays and begin my shopping enjoyment. My youngest son spots the bananas first thing and begins his usual repetitive request, ba-na, ba-na, ba-na. The sweet little tones of his baby voice soon dissipate into the torturous screams of a hungry troll. Screams, by the way, nobody else in the store want invading the empty space between their ears. Dirty looks, vicious glances and irritated stares ensue. Do they think I am enjoying this? I bag up a bunch of ba-nas and put them in the cart. This seems to anger the troll even more so I give him one.

Ahh . . . Peace and quiet. Does my silencing of the beast appease the angry masses? NO! Now the lady with the screaming kid is stealing a banana! I soon lock eyes with the most annoyed of my judgmental, mental being the key word here, grocery store patrons and it’s on. The starter pistol has been fired. Ready, set, GO!

I follow her wondering if she knows what a grave mistake she has made. I keep pace with her throughout the store, down aisles I have no need to stroll through. I forced her to endure the antics of my brain scrambled children for at least thirty minutes. By the time we reached the checkout line she looked haggard and seemed to have aged a few years. She knew she’d been beaten and took her place in line behind me.

Once we were home and the groceries were put away, I engaged in a heated debate with one of the boys about why it is not polite to belch your ABCs in public. He had some good arguments, he gave it his best shot but I was victorious. I always win with the good old, because I said so, rule.

imageI changed the third diaper of the day, figured my checkbook, did a load of laundry, I even paired up the socks.  I watered the plants just to see if they could be resurrected, mended a boo-boo, refereed three fights, read a story, issued four time outs and put Mr. Freeze in prison. I didn’t even know he could fly. I made a joke that made me the coolest mommy in the world, don’t ask, I can’t remember what it was. Finally, after about a half a dozen other things I sat down . . . for about ten seconds.

Screams of pure terror were coming from the back yard. Racing for the door I imagine countless heart wrenching reasons for these horrible screams, none of which I encountered when I rounded the corner. What I did find, was an insanely frightened two-year old with an ant crawling on his shoe. No blood. No missing limbs. Just an ant. Relieved, I flicked the ant off his shoe and held my trembling son. Poor thing, his little heart was pounding. I did a very good job keeping my laughter at bay until he recovered.

At around 4:30 p.m., the daddy-o walked through the door. I was still smiling when he came into the kitchen. “You look happy.” he says in a thankfully relieved tone. “What’d you guys do today?” I told him of the ant encounter and my victory at the supermarket. He laughed about the ant but thought I was a little mean for torturing the lady at the store.

I start dinner and the whole house is unusually quiet. The baby-man was watching Pooh Bear for the gazillianth time and the other three were in the back yard creating an insect village. My dear husband disappeared into the garage and I enjoyed the serenity and harmony of my world. It lasted long enough for the water to boil.

imageMy now not so dear husband storms in ranting about some missing tool which he soon finds right where he left it The children begin to fight over the custody of a rolly polly bug and the baby’s diaper explodes. Calmly, I tell every member of my loving family if anyone wants to eat dinner they had better take care of whatever problems they had and leave me alone or I was going on strike.

The kitchen cleared out and I continued on with my duties. My darling spouse unwillingly changed the diaper, I heard the usual ewws and ughs along with comments like, “What the heck do you feed this kid?” and my favorite, “When was the last time you even changed him?” The rolly polly escaped in the heat of battle and the kids where once again hunting for new pets.

Shortly after 5:00 p.m. the children sit down and quietly consume the nutritious, balanced meal I’d lovingly prepared for them. They rinsed their dishes and skipped off to brush their teeth. Their father made sure they were bathed and ready for bed. He read them a story while I relaxed and unwound in the shower. Once again refreshed and revived, I snuck in to say prayers with them, I snuggled close and kissed them goodnight and they fall fast asleep.

You didn’t buy into a word of that did you? In all honesty, they did eat dinner quietly. Hot dogs, mac & cheese, corn niblets and milk make for a nutritious meal, right? It really was lovingly prepared. The dishes actually sat on the table until about 10:00 p.m. and I think at least two of them brushed their teeth.

Daddy wiped them down with a washcloth while I rinsed some unknown substance off my hand. Then we said prayers and gave hugs and kisses. Then there where drinks and bathroom trips and more hugs and monster under the bed checks and more kisses. All in all, it took the Sandman a little over an hour to find our house and guide them off to sleepyville.

At 10:52 p.m., my husband gently kisses me goodnight and my eyes slam shut. I am rudely awakened not long after by the deafening sounds coming from my snoring soul mate. My perfect husband, the love of my life, I pinch his nose shut until he grunts and rolls over. I say a prayer and thank God for getting me through another day and then finally, I sleep.


It is 4:30 a.m. again. I awaken and all is dark. I can’t see. I can’t move. I feel as if I am being suffocated. Trapped and helpless, terror begins to take over.

In a desperate attempt to save myself, I take the sleeping baby off of my head and gently place him atop my husband’s precious face to muffle the snoring and I drift back to sleep . . .

Crystal R. Cook



Happy World Book Day!


Books! Sweet Books!
Such magical things,
filled with ideas,
and thoughts and dreams.

Page after page
of marvelous words
big ones and little ones,
they want to be heard!

Long ones and short ones
and ones in between,
new ones and old ones,
there’s so much to read!

Open a book
and a journey begins,
then open another
when that one ends.

You’re never alone
with a book in hand
they are portable friends
that make life so grand.

Okay, so the poem is a little cheesy – I wrote it when my kids were little and just beginning to discover the joys of reading on their own. They grew up surrounded by books, I read to them from the moment I brought each of those little bundles of joy home from the hospital. Books are important to me, I wanted them to be important to them as well.

These days, it seems even more important for parents to teach their children the value of reading, to help them find the magic books contain. I wasn’t competing with the volume of video games, cell phones, and internet when my kids were still kids; we read and we made up stories and we sat on the floor and played together, sometimes we still do.

My children have friends who have never picked up a book for the sheer pleasure of losing themselves in it, the only books they’ve read were assigned to them at school . . . I must admit, it makes me feel a little sad for them. I know not everyone enjoys literature as much as I do, but I just can’t imagine a life without it.

I have a lot of books, a lot. I kind of hoard them to be honest. I have more books than I will ever have time enough to read, but that doesn’t stop me from getting more each chance I get. This morning I was practically giddy when my imageBarnes & Noble coupons arrived in the mail, perfect timing, don’t ya think? It is World Book Day after all.

I don’t have the shelf space I need, not that it matters, I just stack them here and there and everywhere. I think it might drive my husband a little nuts, he isn’t much of a reader, I don’t know how I missed that when I decided to marry him. He likes to hear me read though, when we find something he has even the slightest interest in, I’ll offer to read it to him and he almost always takes me up on the offer. He likes to listen to the things I like to read too, at least he lets me think he does.

He keeps promising to build me more shelves, he’ll have to if he wants the book towers to disappear. One day he says he’ll build a room just for me and my beloved books and I really think he will. The next kid that leaves home is having their room turned into a sanctuary for my books until he does . . .

~ Happy World Book Day ~



#1000Speak is talking about bullying this month – Changing the world with words

Last month was, for lack of a better word, inspiring. The outpouring of compassion was simply amazing. 1000 Voices Speak For Compassion is still growing, and this month, we are coming together on March 20th to stand up and speak up about bullying.

If you haven’t yet heard about this beautiful movement that’s been sweeping the internet, check out the 1000 Voices Speak For Compassion Facebook page here and visit the blog here. You can find us on Twitter as well, at #1000Speak. Click the linky button below to read all of last months posts, there are so many blessings to be found here! This link is closed for submissions, but a new one will be open on March 20th for the next round of #1000Speak posts.

You might want to check out, rather, you should, check out what’s going on over at Hastywordswere a lot is being said on the topic of bullying. Click here to read Hasty’s post, Village Heroes.


Crystal R. Cook

What kind of grammar nerd are you? Take the quiz and find out!

Grammarly Grammar Nerd Quiz Feature Image


My result – The Pedant’s Grammarian

You may drive your friends and family nuts, but you would make Strunk and White proud. You love enforcing rules just about as much as you love the rules themselves. For you, grammar truly is one of life’s greatest joys.