If Up Is Up

If up is up and down is down,

And we are standing on the ground;

And Heaven is somewhere up above,

Then what are we here for but to love?

We stray to the left and wander to the right,

The sun rises at morning and the moon at night.

We say things we shouldn’t and promise things we can’t;

We’re sometimes moody and complain and whine and rant.

If Heaven is the place we want to go,

And if Satan is our fiercest foe,

Then why do we say such hurtful things-

Hold too tightly to the frail, damaging their wings?

Up will always be there and down will too;

And nothing under the sun will ever be new.

We strive to do the best we can,

But God is the One who holds the plan.

He tells us to love, be patient and kind;

But He has given us feelings, a will, and a mind.

Over these things, He gives us charge;

But a powerful foe looms over us large.

So what do we do as we stand on the ground,

But wait and listen for that still, small sound?

Wait and listen, and love all along

Knowing it is God who makes us strong.

Published in: on June 10, 2011 at 12:29 pm  Leave a Comment  

My Friend Peace

I chased Peace out through the wilderness,
Through briar and bramble and thorn.
She, fleet of foot and agile;
While I lumbered tired and worn.

It was not always this way –
For Peace and for me;
Ever constant companions
Our days were lovely and carefree.

We would swim and float in the river
And lie on the sun-warmed sand,
Peace, the ever gentle friend,
Would reach and take my hand.

Her friendship knew no bounds;
Her faithfulness, strong and sure.
Her goodness never-failing;
Her kindness, gentle and pure.

We would play among the heather
And run laughing through the trees.
We would skip along the pathway
And watch the honeybees.

But Peace grew restless after a while,
As my days grew more busy.
She came to visit me less and less,
As I fretted, lost and dizzy.

I would call to her from my doorway
And wish for her to come.
I would wait and wait for hours,
But, alas, my soul grew numb.

But then one day in desperation,
I called out for my friend.
“Peace!” I cried both day and night.
“Please let this torment end!”

I opened my eyes and caught a glimpse
Of my old friend in the door.
I ran to her and grabbed her up.
We spun wildly and fell to the floor.

We laughed and hugged and laughed some more;
We cried joy-filled tears.
I had missed my good friend Peace so much.
I had worried moments into years.

I begged her never to leave again;
And she said that she would stay,
As long as I quit fretting
And wishing my life away.

July 6, 2010

Published in: on July 8, 2010 at 4:09 pm  Comments (1)  
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To My Daughter, Whom I Do Not Know

To my daughter whom I do not know. . .

How my heart yearns for you so.

We talk about you every day

And pray for you as we lay.

I know you’ve had a difficult life,

Filled with hurt and filled with strife.

Though you are young in wisdom and years,

God knows your pain and sees your tears.

We would like to share our family with you-

We want to help you start anew.

But we must wait for our time to meet-

Save the hugs and the words to greet.

You are special we’ve been told,

And much we must learn before you join our fold.

We’re making for you your very own space,

And at our table we’re saving a place.

You’ve clutched our hearts and captured our minds,

And we number you one of our dearest finds.

Our lives are filled to overflowing,

But even still our family is growing.

My time is spent on 3 children and a home,

Cooking and sewing and a town to roam.

But God has planted in us a desire

That doesn’t make sense, but His ways are higher.

We trust and obey and anticipate our blessing,

But for a time we are kept guessing.

Long hair or short, blue eyes or brown;

Are you quiet and shy or more like a clown?

Do you like pizza and macaroni and cheese?

Or maybe Crepes Suzette if you please.

Do you prefer water or something with bubbles?

Will you share with us your joy and your troubles?

Until we meet on that special day,

I feel as if I need to say,

“You already have a special part

Of my life and my heart.”

Tina James, 2006

*Do not copy without author’s permission.

Published in: on November 20, 2009 at 1:58 am  Leave a Comment  
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Jesus Loves Me

Jesus loves me, this I know,

Even when I’m feeling low.

I want to stay in bed, you see,

With the covers piled on top of me.

Keep the light from shining in.

Just let me stay here where I’ve been.

I’m way too tired to climb out of bed,

I’ll just lie here for a while instead.

What’s the use anyway?

There’s nothing important to do today.

I was supposed to call a teacher,

And have a meeting with the preacher.

But that can all wait – I’ll make excuses later.

My need for rest right now is greater.

The laundry and dishes will have to wait.

I’ve just got too much on my plate.

Why is it that I feel so sad today?

I’d really just like to go away.

I don’t want to eat; I don’t want to drink.

I don’t want to talk; I don’t want to think.

I don’t want to shower; I don’t want to dress.

I’d have to get up and look at the mess.

My heart is numb; my brain is too.

I really don’t know what to do.

I remember when I used to smile.

I haven’t done that in a while.

I remember loving to sing.

And my heart used to leap when the phone would ring.

But now there is only despair and dread,

Spider webs and darkness fill my head.

I desperately hold to what is true and right,

Jesus loves me always – in my day and night.

I may not feel His love or care,

But in the Bible it says right there:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart-

Even when I don’t feel like it; it’s a place to start.

My head knows that He won’t let me fall,

So maybe- just maybe- I’ll try getting up after all.

Tina James, 2006

*Do not copy without author’s permission.

Published in: on November 20, 2009 at 1:54 am  Leave a Comment  
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Christopher the Mighty Warrior

Christopher, the mighty warrior,

Picks up his rusty sword.

He runs at the beast with the fiery breath,

But the beast growls, “I am lord!”

Christopher grabs his tarnished shield

And holds it up against the heat.

He stands firm before the hideous beast

And plans out his glorious treat.

“Aha!” shouts he.  “I shall prevail!

For I am mighty indeed.

I’m the greatest warrior in the land

And there’s no one’s help I need!

“The king will reward my bravery

With jewels and silver and gold.

And I shall be a famous hero.

Near and far my tale will be told.”

As Christopher dreamed of his great glory

The horrid beast was slinking near.

“I’ll ride my steed into the streets

Where the people will clap and cheer.”

Christopher felt his back grow warm

And sniffed an awful stench.

He turned to see that hairy beast

Hovering close enough to pinch.

Christopher took a step to the rear

And then he took another.

“Yes!” roared the beast to Christopher,

“Go running to your mother!”

Christopher leapt behind a wall to think

And to formulate a plan.

He had to think of something fast.

Was he a mouse or man?

Try as he might, he could not think

Of a way out of this mess.

How he could defeat the beast

He couldn’t even guess.

Then the young, hopeless knight

Thought of something he could try.

He knelt down on his knees

And looked helplessly to the sky.

“Help me, oh Lord!”

Christopher shouted out loud,

“I’m in a terrible fix, I fear,

Because I‘ve been so proud.”

“Forgive me, my God,

And help me to change

My priorities are disordered

And I need to rearrange.”

I promise You’ll be first

In my heart forever more.

My desire is treasures in heaven

That only You can help me store.”

Then the beast snarled once more

And blew forth a ball of fire.

Christopher had stopped believing in himself

And placed his trust up higher.

An army of heavenly hosts

Descended from the sky.

Each held out a shining sword

While the King of Kings stood by.

A great peace fell over Christopher

And he knew down deep inside

That he was not fighting alone-

The Holy Spirit would be his guide.

The army of angels charged the beast.

The ugly beast tried to turn and run.

But standing in his path

Was God’s Only Begotten Son.

“Evil Beast ,” said the Son,

“You’ll never win this fight.

You know the outcome’s already set.

No one will help your plight.”

“Flee,” said the Son,

As He held up His mighty hand.

“Flee into the dark of night

For My light you’ll not withstand.”

Then before the beast turned to go

He did an amazing thing.

He lowered himself and bowed his head

In deference to the King.

Christopher, the young bewildered knight,

Stood in shock and dismay.

He had not expected this thing to happen

When all he did was pray.

“You mean,” said he to the King of Kings.

That’s all I had to do?

Admit my defeat and helplessness

To no one else but You?”

“Your broken spirit cried out to Me

And confessed overwhelming fear

You admitted that you needed Me-

That was all I needed to hear.”

And then the King said to the knight,

In a voice that was filled with love,

“You’ll never fight alone, my child,

Not as long as I am above.”

“Thank you,” said Christopher to his Lord.

“Thank you, oh so much.

I’ll not boast of my own abilities

Now that I’ve felt Your touch.”

“I know now that I can trust in You.

I guess I’ve known it all along.

I wanted to prove my own bravery.

I now know that that was wrong.”

“Forgive me for my prideful ways

And make my heart all new.

Help me to always remember

That true strength comes from You.”

Tina James, 2006

*Do not copy without author’s permission.

Published in: on November 20, 2009 at 1:52 am  Leave a Comment  
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Spring Has Sprung

Spring has sprung – sprung is Spring.

The day is so glorious; I think I’ll sing.

What song shall I sing; I can’t decide.

Perhaps one about the creek and the rock beside.

Oh, no.  That will never do.

I should sing of the fluffy clouds and the sky so blue.

But wait, now I’ve got it.

I shall compose a lovely sonnet

About a far off hill with a budding tree

And swaying grass that looks as waves upon the sea.

Or perhaps an ode to a mother bird

Who sits patiently tending to her young herd.

Alas, no.  That doesn’t seem quite right.

I must think of something to say about the sun shining so bright.

Oh, glorious day, you are too much to behold –

Too much beauty if truth be told.

Too much for my eyes to see,

I’m simply overcome by joyous glee.

The sweet smell of the blooms may cause me to faint.

I’ve got an idea!  I shall paint

The most glorious masterpiece of all

Of a blossom-covered meadow or the tiniest bloom so small.

Oh, I can’t decide whether a landscape or perhaps

A lovely still life: an old fence – lacy blooms peek through its gaps.

Oh, happy day!  That is what I shall do.

I’ll need a paintbrush – maybe one or two.

And I shall need a canvas on which to

Create the blossoms in a lovely lilac hue.

Oh, woe is me – alas, I cannot paint

For I have no canvas in my cottage so quaint.

Oh me, oh my.  How accursed is this day.

I have cause to only feel regret and dismay.

Yet I know a song is deep within me

My heart is so taken by my love for thee.

The leaves of green and blossoms light,

The dogwood stands regal covered with white.

The hawthorne too is adorned with flowers,

The orchids stand tall like bloom-covered towers.

Oh, how I long to pay tribute from my lily pad

The beauty overwhelming; my poor heart so sad.

The loveliness is intoxicating;

Yet, alas, I sit here waiting,

For any talent escapes me.

I’m as horrid as a flea

And I sit here like a bloke,

For all I can muster is a croak.

Tina James, 2009

*Do not copy without author’s permission.

Published in: on November 20, 2009 at 1:47 am  Leave a Comment  
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The Wedding of the Prince

Once upon a time there was a very handsome prince in the land of Glorios.  Indeed, He was the handsomest prince who ever walked on land or sea.  His people loved Him.  He was kind and gentle and good to everyone. 

One day the King summoned the Prince to his throneroom.  The King said, “It is time for you to marry, my son.  The royal messengers have delivered a message to your bride telling her to make preparations for this greatest of occasions.”

The Prince’s marriage had been arranged many years before, and there was never any question about whom he would marry.  The King had chosen a bride for his son even before she was born.  She was the Princess of the land of  Reath.

The Princess couldn’t remember a time that she didn’t love the Prince.  She had always loved him.  When she received the message from the King of Glorios, she and everyone in the land of Reath began bustling to and fro to make preparations for the wondrous wedding. 

As everyone bustled about, the Princess thought to herself about every detail of the wedding day.  She so wanted everything to be perfect for the Prince.  She wanted to wear the perfect dress, have the perfect flowers, and serve the perfect food.  After all, the Prince was so good and kind – he deserved a perfect bride and a perfect wedding.

The princess’s lady-in-waiting brought the Princess the most beautiful dress.  It was covered in shiny jewels that glistened when the sunlight touched them.  The Princess loved the dress.  It was the most beautiful she had ever seen. 

“But what of the shoes?” asked the Princess.

“What, my Lady, the shoes?”  questioned the lady-in-waiting, for she could not be sure that she had heard the Princess correctly.

“Yes, the shoes,” repeated the Princess.  “I must also have the perfect shoes to wear with my beautiful dress.”

“Yes, of course,” answered the lady-in-waiting.  “Of course you must have the perfect shoes.  I will send for them at once.”

While the Princess awaited the arrival of her wedding shoes, she decided to try some of the cakes that had been brought for her to sample.  They were all so lovely, but she wanted to be sure that the tastiest cake was served at her wedding.  After the Princess had nibbled on 3 or 4 of the cakes, the lady-in-waiting appeared with a pair of shoes.  She held them out for the Princess to see.

After looking the shoes over for a moment or two, the Princess declared, “No.  These will never do.  My wedding shoes should sparkle in the sun just like my beautiful dress does.  Quickly, I need to get a message to the Prince that the wedding cannot go on, for I do not have the perfect shoes.”  With that, the messenger rushed from the Princess’s castle to deliver the message to the Prince.

When the Prince heard of the Princess’s dilemma, he told the messenger to deliver a message to the Princess saying, “Do not despair.  It does not matter what shoes you wear, for that is not important to me.  You will be the most beautiful bride any eye has ever beheld.”  And off went the messenger to deliver the Prince’s message.

Upon hearing what the Prince had to say, the Princess stopped nibbling on the cakes, took one more look at the shoes, and declared them the perfect pair of wedding shoes.

“Oh, my,” shouted the Princess, who had gone back to her task of sampling the cakes. 

The lady-in-waiting ran to the Princess’s side, afraid that she had become ill.  “What is it, my lady?” asked the lady-in-waiting.

“Where will the wedding take place?” asked the Princess.  “Should we wed in the cool, lush garden full of the most fragrant blossoms and lovely vines?  Or should we wed in the beautiful golden temple?  Oh, I can’t decide.”  The Princess fell into despair once again.

“Quick,” said the Princess, “send a message to the Prince that we cannot wed, for I cannot decide which is the most perfect place – the beautiful garden or the golden temple.”

The messenger once again raced from the Princess’s castle to deliver the message to the Prince.  When the Prince heard of the Princess’s predicament, He said, “Go back to the Princess and tell her that she must not fret over where we are to wed.  It is not important to me.”  And the messenger returned to the Princess to deliver the Prince’s message.

“Oh, never mind the place.  I must choose the perfect cake, but every one that I have sampled has been so tastey.  I cannot decide,” declared the Princess. 

“Maybe you should take a break from tasting cakes, my lady,” suggested the lady-in-waiting.  “Why don’t you try on your dress?”

“Splendid idea,” affirmed the Princess, “I shall do just that.”  The lady-in-waiting helped the Princess into her dress and buttoned it halfway up the back.

“Oh, my lady,” said the lady-in-waiting, “I’m afraid I cannot button one more button.  It seems that the dress has shrunk.”  Blaming the dress instead of  the Princess who had been tasting cakes the whole day long seemed to be the best way to handle the situation.

“Oh dear,” cried the Princess.  “Quick, deliver a message to the Prince saying that we cannot marry.  I cannot decide on the perfect cake, nor can I fit into my beautiful wedding dress.”

Off went the Princess’s messenger once again to deliver the message to the Prince.  Upon hearing the message, he smiled and said, “Deliver this message to my dear, beloved bride:  ‘Do not trouble yourself so.  I will make all of the arrangements and everything will be perfect.  I promise.’” 

The messenger returned to the Princess and recited the message from the Prince.  The Princess sighed and smiled.  “Isn’t he the most wonderful of all?  He is my very own Prince of peace.  He is my comfort and help whenever I need.” 

With that, the Princess sat down and waited until the appointed time for the Prince’s arrival. 

The Prince did arrive before too long riding on the back of a white horse.  Trumpets sounded and the choir sang.  Everyone trembled with excitement.  “I am here for my bride,” the Prince bellowed.

And with that, the Princess came forth.  She was the most beautiful bride.  She glowed with happiness.  No one even noticed her dress or shoes or anything else besides her beautiful face, for it was aglow and gleaming like the brighest star in the heavens.  The Prince beamed with pride at the sight of his lovely bride – perfect in every way, just as he had promised her.  No one thought about the cake or flowers or any other detail, because their hearts were so overfilled with joy.

The Prince and Princess were married that day and they went to live in their very own kingdom of  Neaveh, which was a wedding gift from the King of Glorios – the Prince’s father.  All of the kingdom of Neaveh loved their new King and Queen.  And they all lived forever, perfectly blessed and perfectly happy.

Tina James, 2009

*Do not copy without author’s permission.

Published in: on November 20, 2009 at 1:42 am  Leave a Comment  
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Sweet Baby Jesus

Sweet baby Jesus, asleep on the hay,
What did you dream of as you lay?
Did visions of sugarplums dance in your head?
Or beautiful Christmas lights in green and red?

Were you anticipating a visit from St. Nick –
That jolly old elf so lively and quick?
Or perhaps you were considering a Christmas tree –
A pine or a fir – and how big it would be.

Maybe you were dreaming of a Christmas feast
With round fluffy rolls smelling of yeast.
Did Rudolph and his friends come to call
To wish you a merry Christmas and peace to all?

Did it snow that first day you came to earth?
Did you get lots of toys after your birth?
Did Mary hang a stocking by the fire?
Did you listen to Christmas carols sung by a choir?

Did you visit with Grandma that first Christmas day?
Did your aunts and uncles all come for a stay?
Were you dressed in red from head to toe?
Did you get the biggest present with the most beautiful bow?

What gift did you give to your parents that year?
Maybe a smile or a coo that brought them near.
And even though they spent Christmas in a stall,
Do you think they knew You were the best gift of all?

Tina James, 2008

*Do not copy without author’s permission.

Published in: on November 20, 2009 at 1:38 am  Leave a Comment  

My Father’s Cup

I am thankful for the skies so gray
On a windy, cold and rainy day.
They keep me inside, all bundled up
Seeking warmth from my Father’s cup.
No shops to visit, nor friends to meet
Just the sweet bread my Father gives me to eat.
No calls of children to be heard
Only blissfully feasting on my Father’s Word.
The stories and wisdom the Old Man imparts
Warms and melts my most inner parts.
The birth of babes, the death of kings,
The weddings, the horrid and beautiful things.
The gallant, the weak, brave and broken,
The wise, the foolish, the blessings unspoken.
The wee babe in a manger
The visit from a stranger;
The angelic form,
The calm of the storm;
The battle so fierce,
The sword that will pierce;
The beautiful, the lame,
The wild and the tame. ..
I am thankful for the words that impart
Wisdom and truth to my worldly heart.
As I sink lower into my guilt and shame,
His words lift me up and call me by name.
My soul is made to soar high and free,
Because the truth in His Word says
He loves me.

By Tina James
2005 Winner, General Federation of Women’s Clubs National Poetry Contest

Published in: on November 6, 2009 at 1:13 pm  Leave a Comment  
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An Ode to the Homeschooling Mom

Now I sit me down to school, attempting to obey our number one rule-

Work then play, read then rest; then prop my feet up after giving a test.

I call all the children to sit on the couch. That’s not really easy as many can vouch.

After getting the kids all attentive and quiet, what do you know, out breaks a riot.

“Ouch! He pinched me!” yells the little one in tears.  “Well, she started it,” shouts another of my dears.

“I’ll tell you what happened,” from the one trying to help.  “That’s where he pinched her,” as he points to the whelp.

“Well, she broke my favorite CD last week, and she told all my friends that I look like a geek.”

As I called everyone’s attention back to our book, I was greeted by a collective blank look.

“Now where were we?” I ask looking down at the page.  “Mr. Popper and his Penguins are out on the stage.”

“Brriing, brriing,” I hear from the next room – another telemarketer, I presume.

The child who loves to answer the phone, jumps up right away as the others sit and moan.

“Mom, it’s the pastor and he asked to speak to you!”  I get up reluctantly, shushing the crew.

The pastor reminds me of a meeting and asks if I mind bringing something for eating.

I head back to the couch after hanging up the phone to find the two oldest went off on their own.

“Oh, well.  I’ll just read with the youngest,” I think, when I notice in my vicinity something starting to stink.

I follow my nose to the source of the stench and find a rotten banana peel that makes me flinch.

After tending to the mess and returning to the couch, I notice the little one digging around in a pouch.

“Mommy, should I put on eye shadow or blush?  For lip gloss I have iced pink or orange crush.”

I sit down and discuss how natural beauty is best, and how with blue eyes and curls she has been blessed.

At that point, the others come running back in, each of them wearing a mischievous grin.

I make an attempt to get back to our reading, when one of them notices another’s leg is bleeding.

The smallest one dashes off for first aid, and I realize my morning’s beginning to fade.

After the surgery on the boo-boo is complete, one child whines, “I need something to eat.”

“Me too,” says another.  “And me,” says the last.  “Okay. Get a snack, but make it fast.”

The dryer buzzes, meaning the clothes are dry.  I pull myself up as I heave a sigh.

I shout to the kids, “Meet me back on the couch,” when I realize I’m beginning to feel like a grouch.

Twenty minutes later, we’re back to our book.  I come to a picture, and they all need to look.

We get through two chapters, and then it’s time for lunch – peanut butter and jelly and bright red fruit punch.

I gaze at the faces stained with red, covered with jelly and crumbs from the bread.

And I think to myself I would never trade my life.  My joy comes from being a mother and a wife.



Tina James, 2006

*Do not copy or reprint without author’s permission.

Published in: on November 6, 2009 at 12:50 pm  Leave a Comment  
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