Plastic Grows

Connection, as plastic cubes press together.

Click

A sound that speaks of acceptance, success, and lifts a smile across determined cheeks.

More clicks trumpet growth as the tower of color grows.

“One, two, three, four, five.”

Hesitation. What color next? Repeat the pattern? Mix it up? A finger taps lips in thought as eyes shine.

“Blue!”

It’s just right and belongs above yellow.
Plastic screams as hands stir the bin of blocks. It’s a symphony of possibility that makes an adult’s ears bleed, as a child listens to undertones and knows plastic grows.

©2021 Mary Grace van der Kroef


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Lava Worm

Was it a shriek of delight or fear? She didn’t know as it forced its way from her chest to the cavity of her mouth. A little heart pounded the rhythm of it as it bubbled into an audible note.

“Stay back. You can’t catch me.”

The floor moved. The carpet rippling right before her eyes. Its colours swimming and shifted, a living thing.

“Hurry!” the others yelled at her as they bounced up and down in excitement. “Its rising!”

She stood on her pillow, feet sinking into its marshmallow softness.
She danced like a cat.

“Now, May!”

Her body moved before her mind, responding to the call. The marshmallow softness was her downfall. Toes slid, the truth of its betrayal apparent in a second that stretched to an hour in a single heartbeat.

“No.”

White sock stained brown on the bottom touched carpet. Hands held before her broke the fall, and she giggled with gleeful horror as the waves of colour splashed.

“She’s done for.” The pain in Carter’s voice rocked her back to reality. His terror was exaggerated, but real.

Another scream bubbled out as her ankles were grabbed and the friction of carpet on prone stomach threatened a burn.

“I’ve EATEN you May!”

The blanket muffled the voice, rainbow patterns shifting with movement.

“You have to join me.”
“I know, I know.”

Her breathless reply held only a mite of disapproval. Her chest still rose and fell with heavy adrenaline induced gasps. She grasped the offered corner of his blanket, eyes sparking.

“The worm GROWS!”

They yell the words together. The trumpet of doom.

“RUN!”

©2021 Mary Grace van der Kroef

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Cherishing People While Creating

It’s thrilling, letting yourself get swept away in the moment of creation… Then someone interrupts you. A child tugs on your sleeve, or the phone rings. A spouse calls from down the hall, “Are you done yet?”

Do you shake off that tug on your arm, mute the phone, and ignore the calling? Can you? Should you?

Creativity is precious, we should cultivate and protect it. Having a space for this is ideal, having a time when distractions and interruptions are at a minimum is important. But there are people in our lives that can’t, and shouldn’t be ignored. It’s a balancing act.

The people in our lives are important. They support our creativity in ways we often take for granted. We shouldn’t ignore them. Not only shouldn’t we ignore them, but they are a pivotal part of our creation process.

In many cases they are directly, or indirectly, our inspiration. We get many of our ideas from watching them, talking with them, living with them, and all the ups and downs that go with that.

As a mother and wife, I sacrifice my creative life to care for and nurture my family. I have obligations, expectations and jobs I can NOT ignore. Families need attention, children need nurturing. But is it ever okay to say, “No, not right now, I need this time?”

Yes. Sometimes it’s healthy, and even important, to set boundaries around our creative endeavors. They are a part of us. When humans walk in their creative abilities, positivity flows out into the world. Finding the right place and time for that pulling away is the hard part, and the key to a thriving creative life amid people.

When I first became a mother, my kids became my entire world. But I let go of something that I never should have lost. My creativity. I stopped drawing, except doodles for the kids to color. I stopped learning and pushing myself artistically. I even stop writing, only picking it up once or twice a year when a fleeting spark touched my life. Because I let this part of me go, my soul suffered.

I didn’t know how to balance my creativity around the people important to me. But now that I have found my creative spark again, it’s a learning process. Like learning to juggle. But it’s one of the most important lessons of my life.

Do not lessen your light in this world by letting God given trats or abilities die. Instead, seek to learn how to incorporate new people, places, and responsibilities into your creativity.

Who are the people in your daily life that inspire you? Who are the ones that test you? Who adds flavor to your hours?

Cherish them, friends, family, and prickly people alike. I look forward to seeing them represented in your creative works.

©2021 Mary Grace van der Kroef

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When the Kids Are Home

  1. Plush rug of red hues
    Toes settle in to fibers
    Food crumbs giggle felt
  2. Satisfying thunk
    As toys tossed in to trunk
    Sound of spill down hall
  3. Peanut butter smile
    Handprints left on window, wall
    Kiss smells of childhood

©2021 Mary Grace van der Kroef

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Mary’s Redbubble Shop

Hosanna Joy

Her lips were purple,
her face a powder white.
I knew my baby sister wasn’t right.

“She’s now in heaven,”
said a mother torn in grief.
“For the first time she knows relief.”

An unfinished pine box,
made by my father’s hands.
Everyone in a daze of funeral plans.

“Goodbye baby sister,
there are few as strong as you.
We won’t forget battles you fought through.”

Holding tight the ribbon,
my balloon dark maroon.
Let it go. Watch the crowd disperse too soon.

Just a memory
in a five-year-old’s mind.
Deepened with my seasons and outlined.

©2021 Mary Grace van der Kroef

Photo of Hosanna Joy and Mary Grace.

Christmas Orange Collection

1
Sent permeates air
citrus juices flow and squirt
orange is happiness

2
Skin is pealed off
the tearing releases sun
morning just began

3
Lingering perfume
clings to fingertips soaked
glow without a light

©Mary Grace van der Kroef 2020

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Oneness All Our Own

Warmth of oneness all our own,
a wealth neither has ever known.

Together in a permanent
state under the firmament.

A oneness more than touch alone.
A choice made as love we hone.

Cultivate sustainable,
believing it attainable.

Our oneness growing, building, on,
as closer, we are being drawn.

Uniquely us, yet made to fit
together as our lives are knit.

As with knots, it’s never straight.
Oneness is our guarding gate.

No other two could ever be
quite like this oneness of you and me.

©Mary Grace van der Kroef 2020

Remembering Grandpa

Original painting by Mary Grace van der Kroef

Remembering the smell of you
Sawdust, rich and fine

Remembering the touch of you
Prickly whisker hugs at night

Remembering the sight of you
Hands dipped in earth

Remembering the sound of you
Low, gentle, holding mirth

The card games played,
the things you made,
the books you read to us.

Did you know you
left these things?
Treasures, truth, trust

Remembering the things you taught
Gods generosity

Remembering is all I’ve got
Remembering you, loving me

©Mary Grace van der Kroef 2020

Searching

Infinite scroll
while you’re searching.
To fill the black hole
you’re searching.
She gave you a like
in friends, there’s a spike.
You’re searching.

“Time to have lunch?”
“No, I’m searching.”
“In a time crunch?”
“Ya, I’m searching.”
Not sure how to stop,
on comments eavesdrop,
while you’re searching.

Are you numb to the loss
while you’re searching?
It comes with a cost,
all this searching.
The people out there
could never compare
to the ones who still wait,
while you’re searching…

©Mary Grace van der Kroef 2020

Mud River Monster

I have been finding it difficult to write this week. So I will share a blast from the past with you this morning. I wrote Mud River Monster in either 2009 or 2010, my notes are sketchy on the date I finished. It’s the first piece of any length I completed. Though I have been writing since I was fourteen, I have always had dreams of finishing large projects that never quite work. It was a blessing to be able to look back and see how much I have grown in the last 2 years since taking my writing more seriously. I hope you enjoy the fun read. (I grew up in a family with 8 children and my early inspiration is pulled from those memories.)

Mud River Monster

Jay was Lord.
Nea was Queen.
Over the bank of
Mud River they leaned.


Nea had her staff
Jay had his bow
but little May cried,
“I don’t want to go!”


She sat in the grass
jeans stained green
thinking her brother
and sister QUITE mean.


“But we can not beat him here!”
They said again, and again,
Then through the sparse leaves
HE began to descend.


A grey gunny sack was
thrown over his large head,
and eyes darted wildly as
he passed the flowerbed.


As he stepped off the deck
May jumped up with a shriek,
and cleared the Mud River
in one quick, desperate leap.


Jay and Nea now
hot on her tail
splashed through the water
their faces ghostly pale.


Then he began howling as
he raced through the garden,
and the children knew he
would give them no pardon.


They reached the tree line
on the opposite shore,
but he gained ground while through
some piled leaves he tore.

As he charged the mud river
Jay turned to ready his bow,
Eyes shining brightly as he
prepared to meet his foe.


Nea stood behind Jay
her staff held so tight.
May hid behind a tree
overcome by the sight.


Jay loosed an arrow;
it flew straight through the air
to land in the muck,
missing by a hair!


While the monster’s great boots
splashed onto the shore
Jay and Nea hurried
to retreat once more.


They grabbed little May’s hand
as they passed by her tree,
but in one step she tripped
and grazed her tender knee.

Her small tears sounded
so loud through the air,
while up puffed the monster;
OH it was so…SO unfair!


Nea knelt down, took
May in her arms,
then turned her back
to shield her from harm.


But as Jay fumbled
to reload his bow
the monster’s advance
had begun to slow.


He huffed a great sigh,
and sat with a loud thump,
on the cool moist dirt
before the tree clump.


“I’m tired and hungry.
Is it dinner time yet?
Oh little May I would
never hurt you, don’t fret.”


At the sound of his voice
Jay’s bow just vanished,
Nea’s staff became a stick
May’s tears were banished.


The grey gunny sack he
now pulled off his head,
and in that moment, Jay’s
cheeks turned a bright red.


“The game can’t be over
until the monster’s dead!”
Jay exclaimed as
reality spread.


The monster shrunk
right before their eyes,
to their own brother Jo,
no longer in disguise.


His pants were muddy,
his hair stuck on end,
with a runny nose
to sum up the trend.


“My boots are full of water,
my socks go squish when I walk.
I think it’s about time
we started a peace talk.”


Jo looked up at Jay
Jay then looked to Nae;
they weren’t quite sure
now what they should say.


“I guess the monster
doesn’t have to die.
We could always say he
turned in to an ally.


Oh, he was just chasing us
to warn of an Evil King…
Who wants Nea for,
his brand new queen!”


“Then we better run home.”
Nea jumped to her feet.
“I KNOW I won’t marry HIM.”
And she led the retreat.


Back down to Mud River
just a ditch and a stream,
and up through the garden.
They made quite a good team.


For on the way home they
had to battle a bear
that once soundly defeated
turned into a lawn chair.


Little May sighed as
they reached the front door.
“I DO like Jo better this way,
always running is such a bore.”


So the four went inside
where was spread.
They ate like Kings,
and that’s all to be said.

©Mary Grace van der Kroef 2020