Sunday, January 1, 2012

Memories Mommie Left Me

Mommie left me memories
Tucked inside my heart
Memories for each season,
Every day, every night
They flicker in my eyes like little bits of light

Memories of First Days of School
Special clothes, new shoes,
Folded money in a white envelope for PTA Dues.

Memories of Halloween
Bags and bowls filled with treats
A costume made from Mommie’s closet
With party shoes like pedestals
On the soles of my feet.

Memories of Mondays at her Mommy’s house
Nana up all day cooking and smoking
Aching back, hair a mess
Dancing around in her favorite house dress.

Mommie sketched me memories
On a piece of faded notebook paper
She scribbled over the list for Santa
Made cookies and poured his glass of milk
Added flocking to the Christmas tree
Above the rotating blue light
shining like silk.

Mommie stashed a memory
Within folds of my warm fleece sheets
Always soothed my soul at night by
Rocking me into the most peaceful sleep.

Mommie awakened memories
in the dawn of each new day
of Saturday morning waffles and crunchy bacon
to summer sandwiches seasoned with

Mommie imprinted memories
On childhood healing
Bayer aspirin’s peach-colored tablets
Rubbing me down and asking me how I’m feeling

Memories linger in Lemon Heads and Pixie Stix
Malt Balls and Tootsie Rolls,
Sour Dill Pickles, Sardines and Saltines
But especially in a box of her favorite Cheez-Its

Mommie sang a memory in Aretha Franklin’s
“Natural Woman”
In her grandson’s songs from high school musicals
And in a summer symphony of waves crashing

Mommie trickled tear-stained memories
Of how to fight like the queen of humility
How to be victorious in the face of hostility
How to struggle with dignity
How to laugh through insanity
How to never use profanity
How to embrace Christianity
Through lessons taught to all humanity
Memories Mommie Left Me
Are memories never left

In loving memory of my beautiful mother, Gloria Lee Cooper
(June 21, 1934 December 28, 2010)

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Holiday Smoliday

Hustle and bustle, shopping and spending, running around and stressing in crowds.  Not my plan at all.  This holiday season will be the first in my life without my parents to celebrate with me.  I decided a few months ago that I would focus on blessings, memories, and not get caught up in Holiday Smoliday.

What is Holiday Smoliday?  To me, it's when everyone else's plans, wants, and needs become priority.  My priority has to be the wellness of my mind and spirit.  My priority has to be the happiness of my own family.  My priority has to be appreciating what I already have.  I am expecting nothing other than peace this holiday season.

I pray that Holiday Smoliday doesn't come my way.  I just want to rejoice in all that God has given me. I don't need Thanksgiving or turkeys, dressing, pies, or icky mashed potatoes to feel that kind of joy!  That joy lives inside of me, and for that I am eternally thankful!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Swamped and Surrounded in Love

I can't believe it's been a month since my previous blog entry.  That's because of school starting and life going back to the regular routines of "busy-ness."  I have to say that I am overwhelmed with gratitude and thus I must share.

When the school year began on Sept. 7th, I felt rejuvenated and literally reborn.  I knew that this year would be so much easier and more pleasant than the last.  Why??  Simply because I have no sick parents, no hospitals to trek to daily, no medicines to administer, no pain to pray away, and no sleepless nights.  2010-2011 brought many unexpected life changing experiences with the loss of both my mother and father.  Now, I can reflect, write, continue to heal, and move forward with their blessings and unconditional love flowing through me.

I have begun a new venture through the U.C.L.A. Teacher Ed Program as a Faculty Adviser and an instructor for the LEAD Teacher Certification program.  It's amazing how God has given me new opportunities, the tools to make them rewarding and the people to help me along the way!  He is an amazing God and such a wonderful Father.

I know that Mommie is proud and watching it all from her special spot in heaven.  I feel her presence and her love like never before, and for that, I am truly blessed.  I can say with a smile now, "My Mommie is with me all the time!"

I knew this day would come, but I just didn't know when.

Peace and Blessings!!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Lake Tahoe Time

I am in Lake Tahoe with my sister and husband.  It is absolutely beautiful!  Unfortunately, we are here because of my father's sickness and ultimately his passing.  A few months ago, he offered his week-long vacation (fully paid) to us because he realized he would be too sick to travel, especially if he were still undergoing chemotherapy.  We really appreciated the offer and obviously accepted it without much thought.  We have only been here 2 full days and already I am wondering how I can make the most of the remaining 5 days.

Why is it that when I am given an opportunity to relax, refresh, rejuvenate, my mind spins on things that will destroy this relaxation and rejuvenation?  School resumes in less than 3 weeks, and my thoughts continue to drift to what I should be doing to be better prepared for the opening of the school year.  This is insane and ridiculous.  Do I need therapy?  Do I need someone to tell me "give it a break and just relax!"  What do I need?  Maybe I need someone to say, "Hey, I do that too!"  Misery loves company, but I don't want to be miserable!

I look out at the picturesque and breathtaking views from this perfect resort, and I see possibilities, strange curiosities, and really ridiculous insanities.  It's possible that people really do have fun on vacations even when they have full knowledge that in a matter of days their bliss will come tumbling down and they will be back to the daily grind of work.  It's possible that some people go on vacations once in their lifetimes and therefore what I see them doing is appreciating the blessing.  It's possible that a few people, like me, appreciate the time away but don't know what to do when their minds won't just stop spinning new thoughts.

I am curious to know why there are so few opportunities like these that have come to me.  Why is it that I had never been here before and wonder if I will ever have the chance to visit again, possibly in the winter, to witness what so many other people around the world have witnessed.  Snow-capped forests and mountains are seen from the freeway by my house, but very rarely are they seen up close.

I am driving myself insane with wondering what, why, how, when, who, and where.  I don't really want to think about any of it anymore. I just want to enjoy this blessing and see the people, places, and experiences as once-in-a-lifetime moments that I get to re-live for 7 days.

I have a few minutes left before I need to figure out dinner.  I decided that I won't think about that...I will take a nap instead!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Cool With Being Me

I don’t go camping
I have never skied
Oldies but Goodies don’t make me wanna dance
And I don’t need Cocoa Butter for dark spots on my knees
I am a black girl, African-American woman, simply cool with being me

Don’t put me in the One-Size-Fits-All box
I don’t have a big juicy booty
I don’t have rolls that make my man happy (take that literally)
And I really could care less if water makes my hair nappy
I am a black girl, African-American woman, simply cool with being me

I will never be seen in pajamas outside
I don’t wear my husband’s shirt to go to breakfast with the dog
I never read the newspaper, but I spell better than most
And I have been known to lie in the sun along the coast
I am a black girl, African-American woman, simply cool with being me

Please don’t ask me to make you some soul food
I don’t eat that shit
Please don’t ask me to play Bid Whist
I don’t play that shit
Please don’t ask me to do the Cupid Shuffle
That’s some stupid ghetto shit
Ask me to dance one-on-one
And I’d love to do that shit
I am a black girl, African-American woman, simply cool with being me

I overachieve in whatever I believe
Because that’s what I’m supposed to do
I appear sweet and thoughtful
But I will kick your ass if I have to
My face may say what my mouth won’t
But I will cuss you out if I need to
I am a black girl, African-American woman, simply cool with being me

I don’t wear size 16
I don’t use double negatives or misconjugate my verbs
I never put Vaseline on my lips
And I won’t change a nation with my hips and curves

But I will teach you to love when you’d rather hate
And I will show you why it’s wrong to be colored-people’s late
I will give you my very last dime
And I will write you a poem that doesn’t have to rhyme
I am a black girl, African-American woman, simply cool with being me

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Silent Dialogue
Stacey Joy

In the beginning,
Almost anything can happen.
This is when you first hear the news
When light becomes dark
Days blend into nights
And whispers are noisy
Like everyone knows the secret
Except you
You have the “C” word
The word that’s harder to say when it’s personal
You have cancer
This is the very beginning.
The doctor is not yet someone you admire or trust
more the bearer of news you’d rather never hear
White and powder blue lab coats don’t know your name
Your face is not yet recognizable

This is the opening scene, Act 1
Cancer creeps on stage
Cloaked in mystery
Your solo is now a duet.

Act 2, the middle
Everything normal fades
Medications and doctor’s appointments
Scans, needles, questions
Probing and searching
The second scene, Act 2, takes place in the sky
The first-time skydiver’s descent
Praying through the fall
Not to hit the bottom
Before deploying the automatic activation device
Backsliding through MRI’s, PET Scans, and ultrasounds,
Crabbing from hospital to home
The parachute opens
as your duet falls freely to the ground
Only to realize you will jump
Many more times through Acts 2 and 3
But you always rise again in Act 2
Until the duet
Becomes more complicated
Cancer’s silent dialogue
Competes with your spoken monologue
The fall begins to feel more like the end

Intermission awaiting remission
But Act 3 opens
You and cancer take center stage
                Who has more lines
                Who has more pain
                Who has more strength
                Who has more life to live
                Who can change the blocking for this scene
You need a wardrobe change
Gowns grace everyday fashions
Hair and Make-up artists can’t fix
Broken skin
skin with remnants of vitality
Water, cancer water, fills you
Cotton pricks your skin
that burns fragile, transparent, bruised

Act 3, The Grand Finale
This is the last straw
The last row
The last one chosen
But this time you didn’t want the part
The lab coats, needles, and scans
The last round of chemo
The last chance for poison to protect
The last prayer to SAVE a solo
The last stench of the putrid bile
The last “morphinic” stare
The last cry
The last blink
The last kiss
The last hug
The last breath.
No Curtain Call
Everyone leaves
Cancer now a solo act 
Without an audience.

Sunday, June 19, 2011


The conclusion of the 2010-2011 school year comes at the end of this week, and I am truly thankful.  I am not sad, I am overjoyed.  I know that it has been one of the toughest years in my 25 year career, but I also know that I have given it all I possibly could give.  I have only done what I have always done, and that is work within my calling.  I am a servant of God.  He chose me to teach, that is one of my gifts, and I teach with 100% determination, perseverance, and purpose.  If my students faltered in any way, there is peace in knowing that I did all that I could do, each and every day.

I had a discussion with my principal recently.  I expressed concern that educators today are not equipped or trained to deal with the changing generations we are teaching.  Somewhere along the way, children became technologically responsive, but personally disconnected.  Somewhere along the way, children were given what they wanted, but never had to work hard to earn anything.  Somewhere along the way, parents allowed their children to disrespect their teachers because these children were imitating their parents.  Somewhere along the way, teachers were expected to continue to reach, teach, love, guide, nurture, plan, facilitate, and educate regardless of the types of children they were given.  This is what I have done, and for that reason, I am overjoyed to see the conclusion of this school year ahead of me.  Although I am not trained to deal with the changing generations, I am highly trained and effective at doing what God gave me to do.

I know that in a matter of weeks, the fire will be reignited.  The fire that calls me to the classroom in the Fall with new ideas, fresh materials, and a rekindling of desire will burn on high to make a changing generation believe the unchanging dedicated teacher!