Saturday, March 3, 2018

A Silent Retreat in Winter

This was recently published in the March 2018 issue of Your Country Neighbor,
a rural Nebraska newspaper that I enjoy reading. Check it out online!

Peaceful reading room at St. Benedict Retreat Center in Schuyler, NE

A Silent Retreat in Winter 
by Janet Sobczyk, 2018

“An oasis of silence”
pamphlets proclaim 
nestled into a Nebraska plain 
quiet beckons 
I answer the call 
to a weekend of introspection.

Brick walls secure amid 
brown native grasses 
whispering secrets into the wind 
tell of burdens unloaded 
by troubled humans seeking 
rest, and answers.

Martin houses stand empty 
trees shiver naked 
evergreens form an honor guard 
flagpole ropes clap a rhythm 
an azure sky longs for 
the return of birds.

Inside, silence reigns 
voices turn to lowest volume 
carpeting hushes footsteps 
windows encourage day dreaming 
artwork begs a long look 
chapel awaits with magnetic pull.

At meals, utensils clink 
self-consciously against plates 
conversation in the kitchen 
intrudes through opening door 
ears perk at the sudden sound 
napkins dab satisfied mouths.

People arise 
smiling their goodbyes 
walk wordlessly to solitary nooks 
or meander pathways 
around a half-frozen pond 
created for reflection.

Time tells me to leave 
but heart wants to stay 
reading, writing, praying, listening 
heals the stress 
clears the head 
sends me on my way.

I wrote this while attending the January 2018 women’s silent guided retreat at St. Benedictine Retreat Center in Schuyler, Nebraska.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Pops of Red

During January and February, I yearn for spring, which seems so far away. The flower show at the Cathedral remedied my blues this weekend. I especially enjoyed the accents of red florals and berries, placed in stark contrast to the white lily and hydrangeas in this photo.

Gradually other pops of red entered my thoughts, and a list of couplets resulted. Some are commonplace and others fanciful.  My mind’s eye revels in the reds!

Can you think of more?

Pops of Red

By Janet Sobczyk, 2018©

Like a magnet, my eye is drawn to a pop of red,
regardless of emotion, that’s where it’s led. 

A male cardinal
on a snow-blanketed branch

A Flexible Flyer sled
at the crest of a hill

A first-to-show tulip
in a spring flowerbed

A poppy umbrella
on a gray rainy day

A freshly-painted barn
in acres of green

A cluster of bright balloons
in an azure sky

A spray of fragrant roses
on a polished casket

A potted geranium
on a wooden porch

A maroon door
on a white house

A meandering ladybug
on an open window sill

A cherished Valentine
on a crowded nightstand

A queen of hearts
in a handful of spades

A splash of burgundy
on a lace tablecloth

A Jonathan apple
in a basket of bananas

A red M&M
in a bowl of peanuts

A long-stemmed cherry
on a hot fudge sundae

A wedge of watermelon
on a flimsy paper plate

A garnish of berries
on sliced angel food

A splotch of ketchup
on a satin blouse

A set of manicured nails
around a steaming mug

A deep coral lipstick
on winter-paled skin.

A crimson wool coat
in a crowded church

An auburn ponytail
in a group of blondes

A single red carnation
on a black lapel

A ruby pendant
on a strand of pearls

A pair of scarlet stilettos
below a skinny black dress

A candy apple Corvette
in a row of silver sedans

Saturday, January 6, 2018

"Natural Order" a poem in five parts


This NE Writers Guild anthology was released in late December. I feel honored to have been included in it.

The  four-page poem, "Natural Order," is about my five children. 
Birth order and it's impact on personalities is the basis for the subtitles of the five parts. The "natural" part of it refers to things found in nature (a dandelion, a fawn, a cheetah, a dolphin, and a caterpillar) that are metaphors for each of my unique children. 

Sunday, December 31, 2017

"A Writer's Nightmare"

Product Details

I was surprised and pleased to hear another poem of mine has been published in Fine Lines. This time it's in the Winter 2017 issue.  

This poem is literally a bad dream I had, then woke up, and wrote it into a poem. It's about losing the words to express oneself. 

See this book on Amazon

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Christmas Present

Tanner on left and Lacey on right.

We re-enacted our 2014 Christmas couple photo. 
The obvious change is two different black and tan dogs, Tanner and Lacey, who joined our family a year ago. Our house has become a retirement home for senior dogs it seems. 
Other changes, I had forgotten until comparing the two photos: 
different couches, artwork, and TV. 
But we haven't changed a bit. Haha!  

For a peek at our 2014 photo "Christmas Past":

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Christmas Past

Sophie on left and Lulu on right.

This is our first Christmas without Lulu, the cockapoo.
Sophie, a schnauzer-terrier mix, has been gone several years.
I love this photo of them sitting with us in their furry winter coats.
 These two certainly left paw prints on our hearts!

Look ahead to "Christmas Present" at:

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

A Hot Chocolate Memory

A mug of cocoa for a squirrel-y mom.

Today is the perfect fall day to warm up with a mug of hot chocolate. I even splurged with a messy glop of whipped cream. Not quite coffee-shop quality, but satisfying. It’s in my favorite mug, too. The one with the squirrel on one side, and a loving sentiment on the other: “Nuts About You.” It makes me grin to think of my son, Peter, who gave it to this squirrel-loving mom.

Smiling at this mug reminds me of a mug from my youth. At my best friend’s house, I was often treated to the home-made cocoa mix made by Helen’s mother. I vividly remember the taste and the surprise of my first mug of it.

Helen and her siblings and I were gathered around the kitchen table, laughing and talking after school one day. Her mom passed steaming mugs to each of us, and the conversation died as we focused on the treat.  Mmm, smooth and sweet. Not too hot, not too cold. It went down easy, warmed me up, then gave me a surprise!

With mug tipped to my mouth, I spotted something emerging from the brown liquid like a swamp monster. I almost spilled it in shock! The expectant faces around the table burst out laughing. The mug had a ceramic green frog affixed to its interior bottom!

I obviously wasn’t the first guest to be given this special treatment. And I wasn’t the last. That mug never seemed to lose its power to create a laugh. As a frequent guest at their house, I got used to sipping from the frog mug. I looked forward to spotting its bulgy eyes peeking from the cocoa.

Hmm, I wonder where that mug is now? I’m guessing it’s still in their cupboard, ready to play tricks on the grandkids.

I'm nuts about you, too, Pete!