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Sunday, May 20, 2012

Acrostic Poem: A Letter About Me

A writing assignment my students have enjoyed each year is the creation of an acrostic poem about themselves. The format I ask them to follow is this:

  • Use the letters of your first and last name down the left-hand side of your paper.
  • Use each letter to begin a short phrase to describe yourself.
  • Use descriptive adjectives and action verbs.
To assist my students, I provide an example of an acrostic poem, such as the following:

Kindness is an attribute of her character.
Adores the Lord Jesus with all of her heart and soul and mind.
Thankful for the gifts God has given to her, including travel opportunities.
Happy to be married to Wayne Graumann.
Yearns to have a fulfilling, productive, meaningful retirement.

Grandmothering is a joy for her.
Reaches to accomplish laudable goals.
Active member at Salem Lutheran Church of Rosehill in Tomball, Texas.
Ultimately will receive the crown of life through faith in Jesus Christ, her Lord and Savior.
Music ministers to her soul and spirit.
Admires landscaped flower gardens and herbs.
Needs quiet time to write in order to maintain emotional equilibrium.
Nurturing others cultivates joy and contentment within her.

Friday, May 18, 2012

When My Parent Ages

When My Parent Ages

 Bible Verse:

Proverbs 23:22 (ESV) – Listen to your father who gave you life, and do not despise your mother when she is old.

Additional Bible Reading:

Exodus 20:12 (ESV) – Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.


The doctor’s assessment read, “Global dementia, likely vascular dementia, cannot rule out concomitant Alzheimer’s type dementia.” The medical report confirmed our haunting suspicion as my siblings and I had begun to witness the gradual loss of cognitive function of our intelligent mother, who had earned a doctorate degree in education. The troublesome diagnosis thrust us on a formidable journey with a growing group as “the number of Americans living in the United States as caregivers to someone with Alzheimer’s or a different type of dementia is fifteen million,” according to Maria Carrillo, Ph.D., with the Alzheimer’s Association. God is allowing my siblings and me to assume new responsibilities in the care of our mother, and he will not forsake us.
When Mom’s capacities diminish,

Wisdom and love are put to the test;

Choices available haunt our thoughts

As we seek to choose only what’s best.

Researching options consumes our days,

As we pray for peace and discernment,

Seeking to provide for all Mom’s needs

And, above all, that she be content.

It is difficult for the children

To assume responsibility

For the provision of loving care,

While escaping Mom’s hostility.

Father, we kneel before You in prayer;

You know the condition of our hearts,

The desire for what is best for Mom;

Reveal to us choices that are smart.

Cover us with grace as we proceed;

Remove our mother’s troubled spirit,

Cleanse her inner wounds; help her forgive;

Restore pleasure, gentleness, and wit.


Dear Father, I ask for your wisdom to make decisions for my parents that honor them and glorify you. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.


Examine choices for your aging parent. Consult with professionals and Christian friends who can walk the difficult journey with you.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

I Know a Hospital Room

One of the creative exercises I have encouraged my students to practice is the development of a "Noticing Poem" utilizing the refrain, "I Know." The poem is designed to recognize sights, sounds, smells, touch, and words. The topic is to be about something they have done or experienced.

Since I have recently experienced the death of a dear friend, I chose to write about the experience of participating in a service of commendation at the hospital bedside of my friend as she was commended into the everlasting arms of Jesus.

I Know a Hospital Room (sights)
  • The soft, puddled, loving eyes of a devoted husband that appear to tenderly caress his wife as she lies sleeping
  • Children and grandchildren hovered round her bed
  • Tears spilling from the eyes of loved ones
  • Wide-eyed somber-faced, serious countenances upon the faces of family and close friends
  • Instruments and IV's hooked up to my friend's body
  • Hands folded and heads bowed in prayer
  • Supportive tender embraces
  • The pastor making the sign of the cross on the patient's forehead and on her heart
I Know a Hospital Room (sounds)
  • Muffled sobs of loved ones
  • Machines beeping, monitors ticking
  • Harmonious melodic praise as the hymn, "Beautiful Savior," is sung
  • Strong voices of conviction united in speaking "The Apostles' Creed" and "The Lord's Prayer"
  • The quiet whisper, "I love you, Mildred"
I Know a Hospital Room (smells)
  • The pungent, sterile smell of hand sanitizer permeating the nostrils
  • The vacant, sanitized odor of a room in the Intensive Care Unit
I Know a Hospital Room (touch)
  • Warm, soft, motionless, unresponsive hands of the patient as they are being massaged
  • Soft, cool lips that linger on the patient's forehead as a gentle kiss is placed there
I Know a Hospital Room (words)
  • The Invocation: "In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen."
  • The Apostles' Creed: "I believe..."
  • Reflections by the pastor on Romans 8:31-39
  • The singing of the hymn, "Beautiful Savior"
  • Psalm 23 spoken by the pastor, "The Lord is my Shepherd..."
  • The endearing prayer of a pastor who loves the patient, his friend and parishoner
  • The Benediction that concludes the service of commendation
I Know a Hospital Room

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

To One Who Has Strayed

Bible Verse:
1 John 1:9 (ESV) – If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Additional Bible Reading:

Psalm 38:18 (ESV) – I confess my iniquity; I am sorry for my sin.
Proverbs 28:13 (ESV) – Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.

To one who has strayed, God loves you.

There is nothing you have done that is so bad
that God would love you less.
There is nothing you could do that would be so great
that God would love you more.
God's love for you is unconditional and changeless.

We all have made choices we regret.
God will forgive everything
for which we repent genuinely.
He will work with us
to redeem those past choices.

The road to redemption may be fraught with enormous obstacles,
but God's Spirit will enable you to overcome:
He will free you from slavery to the world and your flesh.

Lay your burden down before the Lord.
Ask God to cleanse you and shape you
to become the person He created you to be.
By God's grace, He will bless you
when you choose repentance
and embrace chastisement
as a tool for growth, maturity, and service.

God's Holy Spirit will enable you to achieve
all that He has planned for you to do.

Dear Father, I lay my burden down before you in full repentance. Cleanse me from my sin. Mold me to become the person you created me to be. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
Name your sins and repent of them. Ask forgiveness from those you have wronged. Make amends.