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An Empty House Echoes Loudest

January 8, 2023 - Reading time: ~1 minute

Sadness creeps the halls in one of my more melancholic sonnets.

An empty house so large and sad,
Where echoes linger long and bad.
No soul to hear the sombre sound
Of nothingness that circles round.

The hollow walls no longer warm,
Yet still the silence can transform.
It's like a ghost inside this place;
A voice within an empty space.

As shadows flitter 'cross the room,
My heart is filled with eerie gloom.
Those hungry echoes never cease--
Infecting me with deep unease.

And yet I find myself drawn in...
The lonely mourner of my kin.
Life here may be but fleeting breath--
But I'm content to share its death.

I wrote this sonnet not long after my youngest moved away to college. There was a saddness in my home that I think is hard to describe in normal words. The sonnet allowed me to express what I was feeling in a creative way and reduce the slight depression I was feeling at the time. It is one of my favorites and its haunting rytheme sometimes still accompanies my footsteps through the halls.


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Beyond the Blackness, Splendor Glows

December 29, 2022 - Reading time: 2 minutes

This sonnet celebrates a rare and enchanting phenomenon: a rainbow in the night. It's about holding on to optimism and beauty despite adverse conditions. The poem is a celebration of the beauty to be found even in the darkest of times and a gentle reminder that life is full of wonderful surprises, even in the worst of times.

A rainbow in the dark? What wondrous sight,
That brings a glimmer of sublime delight.
It seems so unreal - too good to be real -
But yet I'm sure that's what my eyes alight!

The air is heavy but not with despair;
A spectrum of hues reflects up there.
It warms my heart, for though night may seem far,
This rare vision shows me hope still lingers near!

My gaze is held and I can't turn it away;
Colors dancing across this starless sky.
As if a beacon in an ocean of gray,
It fills my spirit with pure ecstasy!

Oh what majestic beauty I behold-
A reminder of life and all its wonders unfold.

The first stanza of the sonnet is awestruck by an unexpected sight: a rainbow in the darkness. It's about finding happiness and pleasure in the midst of adversity, as if this view were too good to be true.

This rainbow is a symbol of hope and new beginnings, the second verse says, even if there is still darkness to come there is hope to be hand. The third continues by elaborating on the profound emotional impact of witnessing such a sublime scene.

In the fourth stanza, I contemplate the awe-inspiring grandeur of this scene, which can lift the spirit to new heights. Last but not least, the final verse stresses the importance of always celebrating life's wonders despite the fact that it has its share of difficulties.


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30 Years Aren't Enough – Celebrating Our Wedding Anniversary

December 21, 2022 - Reading time: 10 minutes

It really does feel like yesterday, but then when I look at all that we have achieved these last thirty years, it really is humbling. We have started a family, raised a family, and welcomed grandchildren into the world. Now we are getting ready to mark our thirtieth wedding anniversary and we felt like celebrating with our family and friends. This took me through the process of researching what one can do for the celebration. We haven't really went big before. On our tenth anniversary my parents took us out to eat but it was a subdued event.

Celebrating the love and commitment that marriage entails is best done on an a daily basis, an anniversary, which is a special occasion is when you celebrate with the family and friends that have been their for your throughout the years. That got us thinking, especially since we don't do anything really special, at least not really big. Even though there are a lot of tried-and-true methods for organizing an anniversary celebration, it may be just as meaningful to make something that is original and personal. That left us scratching our heads. The following are some suggestions I found interesting when I was working on coming up with an idea or two for the festivities. Because in the end it really just comes down to making your wedding anniversary a special event while retaining its individual character.

Here is the list of ideas we came up with:

  1. Relive the Moment

    • Take a trip back in time by visiting the place where you first met or where you got engaged. This will allow you to relive the moment and bring it back to life. Reminisce about the joyful times that brought you closer together over the course of your relationship.
  2. Create a Scrapbook

    • Create a scrapbook that includes photos, quotes, and anecdotes from your relationship. It is certain to bring about happy memories for both of you and put a smile on both of your faces!
  3. Recreate Your First Date

    • If it is at all possible, you should try to recreate the first date that the two of you went on together, the one that started your love story. You could go to the same restaurant, or you could take a trip down memory lane at the bar or coffee shop where you both spent a lot of time when you were dating.
  4. Cook a Special Meal Together

    • To celebrate your anniversary, what could be a more perfect way than to prepare a meal together? We have been doing this since the kids moved out more and more so it really isn't that special but it was definitely something that we were thinking about before we decided to go for a full out celebration. Choose dinner recipes inspired by the places you've been together or by the meals that bring back fond memories of the good times you've shared in your life as a couple, and you'll have an unforgettable meal on your hands.
  5. Exchange Gifts with Meaning

    • Celebrate each other with gifts that have sentimental value behind them rather than buying generic items from stores. This will make the gift exchange more meaningful. Pick something that holds a special place in your heart, like a photo album, or something that can be personalized, like a keychain or a piece of jewelry with your initials engraved on it.
  6. Compose Letters to Each Other

    • Have fun composing letters to each other in which you articulate, in your own words, what it is about the other person that makes them so unique. When you read these private reflections out loud, it is almost inevitable that you will well up with tears as you recall the reason why it all began in the first place.
  7. Plan an Unforgettable Getaway for Two Somewhere Neither of You Have Been Before

    • Organize an unforgettable getaway for the both of you someplace that neither of you have been before! This could involve anything from driving across the country to flying to an exotic location overseas; the important thing is to go somewhere romantic and completely new.

Here is the invitation we choose in the end. I like it, the colors are pretty and the decorative aspect is more subdued than some of the other options.

The one we chose

In the end it really doesn't matter what you choose as long as you are happy with your plans.

We decided to go bigger, a little more formal, and all around fun. My husband suggested invitations, which well, I never thought that I would be buying anything like that again. But it felt right so we we set out looking into that too.

The celebration felt like a great chance to throw a memorable party. And as you know, the invitations set the tone for any celebration. To make sure our guests are as excited about our event as we are, we wanted to choose an invitation that perfectly reflected our relationship and celebrate our decades of love.

There are many types of anniversary invitations unfortunately, and it became more of a chore to find the right one. My husband stepped back when our daughter-in-law offered to help. She felt like the large selection was a good thing (as evident there), she was certain that we should be able to find one that fit our liking.

Here are some good choices that I feel help narrow the search down:

  • Traditional Invitations – Classic fonts, colors, and symbols like hearts and doves make traditional wedding anniversary invitations more formal than modern ones. Lace or embossing details make them timeless and elegant.

  • Modern Invitations – Modern anniversary invitations are a more modern option. Bold colors, minimalistic fonts, and interesting shapes or patterns characterize these designs. Laser-cut or metallic accents are also trendy.

  • Custom Photo Invitations – Couples can personalize invitations with their own photos, making them popular for all occasions. This type of card usually includes fun photos from the past or pictures of shared hobbies or interests.

  • Funny Invitations – If you want to lighten the mood on your party, funny wedding anniversary invitations may be perfect! If you want your guests to laugh all night, these cards have witty sayings or puns and cute illustrations.

No matter how big or how small, the planning of an anniversary should come from the heart, and it should always reflect how much effort was put into making it memorable for both partners involved in the relationship. We hope that you will be inspired to come up with something special and personal to commemorate your wedding anniversary by the following ideas.

The achievement of one's 30th anniversary is a significant landmark that many married couples aspire to reach. When we got married I didn't think about the first one let alone one, thirty years down the road. But I have learned that it is evidence of the resilience, dedication, and love that the couple has shared over the course of their three decades of marriage. As a result, it is an occasion for you to spend extra time together and think about everything you have conquered and accomplished as a couple.

As I learned many married couples choose to commemorate their wedding anniversary in all sorts of ways. Some sweet, others fun, a couple were a little strange. I am not intending on taking up sky diving anytime soon for example. But in it really can be anything from a small dinner or a lavish party attended by their immediate and extended families. They take this opportunity to reflect on the journey they've been on together, including the good times and the difficult times, and share stories about how much they've grown as a unit over the course of their time together. It is traditional to raise a glass of champagne or another specialty beverage in a toast to the newlyweds, who are being honored for their resilience in the face of adversity as well as the accomplishments they have accomplished together as a couple.

When a couple has been married for thirty years like we have, they often take the opportunity to reflect on how much they have grown, their achievements and lives together as a whole. It's possible that the couple will find it enjoyable to reflect on how different their lives were when they first got married and how much has changed since then, such as jobs, children, and home ownership, among other things. In addition, this is a wonderful occasion for couples to make a commitment to one another to maintain and deepen their connection for the many decades to come.

Even though there are times when marriage can be difficult, those who make it through thirty years can take great pride in the fact that they have accomplished something truly remarkable: the fulfillment that comes from loving another person deeply and wholly over the course of time. This remarkable accomplishment requires an enormous amount of dedication, patience, and understanding; all of these qualities are essential components that are necessary for any successful marriage.

Celebrating our 30th anniversary together as husband and wife is an opportunity for us to rejoice in what makes us strong, both as individuals but better still when united — hopefulness for the future mixed with appreciation for where they've been; joyful moments spent with loved ones combined with solemn reflections given only between spouses; enduring faithfulness towards each other despite trying obstacles overcome along the road less traveled ye. As we embark on their thirtieth year together, celebrating an anniversary is an opportunity to rejoice in our lives together.


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Feminism Throughout the Ages

December 20, 2022 - Reading time: 3 minutes

Feminism isnt't new. In fact, feminism is a centuries-old concept based on the concept of female empowerment that has existed in various forms since ancient civilizations. Modern feminism did not emerge as a movement until the late nineteenth century, when activists, intellectuals, and social reformers sought to challenge patriarchal norms and oppressive systems.

The first wave of modern feminism, which began in the late 1800s and lasted until the early 1900s, was primarily concerned with achieving legal rights for women such as property ownership, voting rights, and access to birth control. In the United States, notable figures such as Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton were instrumental in passing legislation granting these rights during this period of feminist activism. At the same time, women's suffrage movements spread throughout Europe and Latin America, providing additional momentum to global gender equality efforts.

The focus of the second wave of feminism (1960s-1980s) shifted to challenging cultural expectations about gender roles and advocating for greater economic opportunities for women. During this time, feminists all over the world organized rallies, protests, and other forms of protest against workplace discrimination, domestic violence, and gender stereotypes. In several countries, women's liberation organizations such as NOW (National Organization for Women) were formed to fight for reproductive rights and to combat sexual harassment in public places. Along with advancing civil rights legislation at home, many second-wave feminists began collaborating with international organizations such as the United Nations in order to broaden their advocacy efforts globally across all levels of society.

While still fighting against gender inequality on multiple fronts, the third wave of feminism (1990s-present) acknowledges intersectionality - recognizing that people may be disadvantaged due to their race or sexuality as well as their gender identity - implying that multiple forms of oppression must be addressed concurrently. Third-wave feminists have become especially vocal about body autonomy issues, such as calling out Slut shaming culture, challenging beauty standards imposed on women, promoting sex education, advocating for abortion access, speaking out about transgender issues, confronting racism within the movement, and many other intersectional issues related to gender equality today.

To summarize, feminism has been working towards structural change from both a political and cultural standpoint for many decades now, with three distinct waves identified thus far - each emphasizing different goals but always striving for advancement of female empowerment on all fronts: politically, economically, and culturally around the world as we see it today.

Sources:

1) “A Brief History Of Feminism” by Kaitlyn Wylde (2020). The Odyssey Online https://www.theodysseyonline.com/history-of-feminism

2) “Feminism Across Time And Place” edited by Alexandra Hui (2020). ThoughtCo https://www.thoughtco.com/a-brief-introduction-to-feminism-3529259

3) "What Is Intersectionality?" By Tessa Wetherington (2019). VeryWell Health https://www.verywellhealth.com/what-is-intersectionality-4687476


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Winter's Lament

December 17, 2022 - Reading time: ~1 minute
As winter winds do blow, the snowflakes fall and whirl,
Covering all in white, a peaceful sight to hurl;
The wolves awake from slumber and gather round a tree,
Their song begins as silver stars light up the sea.

The singing of their chorus travels on the wind,
A haunting melody that's hard for us to find;
Their howling fills the night, an eerie harmony;
It echoes through the forest and out across the lea.

O'er distant hills they wail until the crack of morn,
And every note they utter warns of winter's scorn;
Our hearts weep with them as we embrace this change,
For snow crowns winter's reign and brings a howl so strange.

It snows, and the wolves howl in this sonnet. I originally titled the sonnet: "A Haunting Harmony in the Night," though changed it some time later to "Winter's Lamet" as I felt it better embodied the emotion I wanted to create here.

The howling of wolves serves as a foreboding reminder of the coming winter, and the song reflects the eerie beauty of that season. In the poem, the speaker is encouraged to welcome the coming of change because of the strange harmony it brings. There's awe and gratitude for nature's influence in this poem.


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Rallying for Justice

December 8, 2022 - Reading time: 3 minutes

I wrote this sonnet for my daughter-in-law who has been an active participant in pro-choice movement since her freshman year in college. Her bravery and determination to the cause is an inspiration to me and I wanted to take the chance to put into words what has passed before my eyes. For me, verse is the easiest method to do that so one rainy afternoon I sat down and began writing. The sonnet that you will soon read is the result of that effort. Nobody has the right to make a pregnancy mandatory. The attempt to control a woman's body by actively denying her the right to choose is a reprehensible and violent act and we have to stand our ground if we are going to maintain the right to choose. I hope that you are inspired by it like I am inspired by her.

I used to cower like a mouse, in meek submission I did bow,
For justice seemed so far away and the truth seemed far too slow.
But now I stand up tall, with courage not just talk,
To shout out loud for what's right—my sorrows no longer doth balk.

My voice rings strong and clear above a deafening roar,
A chorus of hope rallying others to join our cause.
The righteous shall never give in—we'll fight 'til we're sore!
And stand up for those who can't demand their rights anymore.

No more empty promises that fade away like smoke;
Our words shall become true action against all kinds of yoke.
We won't sit idly by as inequality continues to choke;
Instead we march ahead for justice in the fairest of strokes.

It's time to be brave and boldly challenge what is wrong;
To speak up against oppression and an unjust status quo.
Justice must prevail if we are ever to truly belong,
So raise your fists with courage—our voices will ring loudly and strong!

This sonnet is an anthem for freedom of expression and a call to arms for those who believe in justice and equality for all.

The narrator relates how they went from passively accepting things as they were to actively mobilizing others to bring about meaningful change. The poem uses strong language to convey the message that one must have courage and strength to stand up for what is right and to demand the rights of those who cannot do so for themselves. In the end, it's an encouraging reminder that we should always keep fighting for justice and that our voices can be powerful tools.

The sonnet's structure—four quatrains followed by a couplet—allows the speaker to emphasize various points in their message. In the first quatrain, the speaker considers how they once acquiesced to wrongdoing out of cowardice, but have since found the strength to fight for what's right. The group unites behind their cause in the face of opposition and holds firm in the second quatrain. Third quatrain insists on taking real steps to combat inequality rather than resting on empty promises; fourth goes further, encouraging people to courageously raise their fists.

The final two lines of the poem restate the importance of making one's voice heard when seeking redress.