Home for the Holidays

My children mock me because it’s October and I already have the holiday music station already playing. But I say the season is too short. I’ve been reflecting on the why. I think it’s about that sense of home.

And then I was cleaning out my phone and came across this note (written as part of the Writing 101 challenge which included a profusion of poems that never made it here but are scattered across random mediums):

I know a place where “can’t” is profane,
Where small steps become journeys,
And possibilities are endless.

That’s what keeps me training and what brings me back here, time and again, even after long absences.



Martial Arts Meets the Grinch

I am writing – just not here.  Always striving to find balance.

Below is a poem I altered slightly for our academy to perform at the annual holiday party! With apologies and thanks to Dr. Seuss. (Note: Pilsung is a Korean word roughly translated to ‘I can do it’ or ‘Certain victory.’ We use it at our school as a salutation, farewell, and all through out class as a reminder.)

Every student
In the dojang
Liked Tae Kwon Do a lot …

But the one
Who lived just North of the school
Did NOT!

Oh he hated the school, the whole on going season.
Please don’t ask why, no one quite knows the reason.
It could be that his head wasn’t screwed on just right.
It could be, perhaps, that his shoes were too tight.
Maybe deep down his spirits were low.
But I think that most likely, he just didn’t KNOW.

Whatever the reason,
His spirit or shoes,
He glared out the window, hating the school.

“Just look at those cars, picking up, dropping off.
They can’t really be happy.” The angry one scoffed.
“There’s going to be fighting, head kicks and swift punches.
Then they’ll follow it all with some push ups and crunches!”

They’d do something he liked least of all!
Every student in class, the tall and the small
Would breathe deeply in, to fill up their lungs
Saying hi and goodbye with a hearty PILSUNG!

“‘I can do it they say’. Well, I think they cannot!
Those belts that they wear are just something that’s bought.”
He paced back and forth, deciding to go.
“I’m going to demand that they stop the whole show!

And over he marched, slamming their door,
His angry words falling all over the floor.
The students unsure whether truth or a test,
Said, “We’re sorry. Did we do something to make you upset?”
He suddenly stopped, surprised by concern,
Wondering now what they really did learn.

When out to the front, from the back of the line
Stepped young Abby Smith, who was just turning nine.
“It may look like fighting, but you know what we find,
That our best self-defense is always being kind.
It’s for good that we practice and hope that we teach,
Being our best is not out of reach.
For we can change the world, bit by bit, one by one.
Come try it with us, I think you’ll have fun!

And what happened then?
Well in the dojang they tell,
That the spirit within him started to swell.
With each class his strength and serenity grew.
He honored his practice every week through.
And now when old or new students come call,
His PILSUNG rings out as the loudest of all!

Leave Your Lights Up!

By the time I left the dojang last night, it was not merely cold, but cold and dark. It was not the ‘oh, it’s winter’ type cold but a brittle bitter biting chill that makes you feel as if with every movement you might shatter.  And the darkness was black – no moon, no stars, no discernible light emanating from anywhere until I started up the car.

My mood went from okay to dismal.  The streets were empty.  Houses closed. All the songs on the radio were sad. But as I rounded a corner, up ahead I saw some lights.

I thought to myself “Wow, they still have their holiday lights up.” And I scoffed at first.  The holidays are over.  Time to return to reality.  But as I drove closer, I felt the brightness and the sparkle and the joy.

So thank you, and please don’t rush to turn off or take down your decorations.

They’re keeping me warm.