Friday, August 31, 2007

Last night we drove over to beautiful Bear Lake for a picnic. We arrived just ahead of a storm, and as luck would have it, I happened to have my camera with me. The resulting photos reminded me of a poem I had written several years ago. Then, as now, there had been a series of challenging trials, inner storms that inspired new growth. May I remember the lessons of that time.

Withstanding the Elements

The storm gathers
Helpless to stop it
We can only endure its wrath
Gathering courage and comfort
From those around us
Who are veterans
Of the clouds.

Cheri J. Crane

Monday, August 27, 2007

Ode to the Splendor of the Grain Field

As I mentioned in my last blog, numerous friends and family members are currently enduring the Refiner's Fire. Because of this, I waxed a bit on the serious side. This go around, I'm going to post something with a bit of humor, since as we all know, laughter is indeed the best medicine.

Fall is in the air. Harvest time is around the corner, and in this neck of the woods, that means the pipe-moving days are at an end. Here's a little something I wrote in 1993 regarding the joys of moving sprinkler pipe. My 3 young sons & I had been assigned pipe-moving detail on my mother-in-law's 80 acre field. Good times as I recall. Enjoy:

Ode to the Splendor of the Grain Field
Next Summer I Ain't Movin' Nobody's Sprinkler Pipe

It started out as summers do, except for the frosty temps,
But by and large last summer was filled with dreams we all had dreamt.
A little bit of camping, fishing, and the like,
We even took time out for a nifty summer hike.
Then one day it ended, our blissful season cut too short,
"Sprinkler Movin' Time" was announced & I was not a sport.

"I don't do sprinkler pipe, it's really not my thing,
"If I'd wanted to play farmer, I would've accepted a farmer's ring!"
My husband smiled and assured me, there was no need to fear,
"I would never make you lift a pipe, so settle down, my dear,"
"But it is time, our boys have grown, they need this summer chore,
"It will be good for them to earn their school clothes from the store."

And so with pained misgivings, I grudingly gave in,
Sensing I was outnumbered concerning our children's discipline.
My husband had but one request---we take turns with this new delight,
To see that no one would be hurt, and make sure the pipe looked right.
"The night shift will be hardest---I'll handle it," my husband volunteered.
Giving him a suspicious look, I questioned what I'd heard.

"Surely morning would be the worst, with ice and cold and such?"
He told me I was mistaken, to relax, I worried too much.
Reluctant and still not convinced, I decided to give it a fair try,
My sons were too excited, and it was their manhood I would deny.
Agreeing to the deal, I vowed to do my best,
To help my sons succeed in this wondrous, newfound quest.

My first dilemma concerned the truck, my husband's pride and joy,
In my humble opinion, it existed to irritate and annoy.
It loved to kill and sputter when I was behind the wheel,
Causing me to utter vicious things when it refused to be mobile.
And so I'd call it appropriate names for being cantakerous,
Naturally it always started for my husband without a fuss.

The first morning of our adventure dawned chilly, frost hanging in the air
Even with thermals on, we all froze our derriere.
True to form, the truck wouldn't start until I'd threatened its very life,
I was tempted to tell my husband I didn't want to be his wife.
But on we went to persevere in the piece of junk called truck,
Driving through what most would call, disgusting farmyard muck.

Pulling alongside the fence, my sons alighted to the ground,
Excited for this chance to prove their muscles were quite sound.
Our first mistake was assuming this excitement would last long,
They were ready to give up when things went very wrong.
They couldn't turn the valve on, though they obviously strained,
And so I moved to assist, my expression extremely pained.

It wouldn't budge even with my help until I gave it a final tug,
And was hit in the face with a geyser and a device they call a plug.
Now that I was wounded and thoroughly soaked to my poor skin,
I decided to help the boys along and grabbed a grey pipe to begin.
It's good thing women have hidden muscles, items men don't know we possess,
It took every ounce of strength I had to pull us through this mess.

My boys groaned their combined misery as pipe was hoisted into the air,
This pain-filled endeavor nearly inspired me to cave in to despair.
But the pioneer blood within my veins refused to be denied,
We would survive this torture, it was now a thing of pride.
No longer cold, we were glistening from the effort that was needed,
To make sure the pipe was moved to water what was seeded.

Finally the last pipe hooked; I sent one son to turn the valve full blast,
Too late we saw one pipe hadn't sealed, the disaster was unsurpassed.
Water flowing into the air, not through the pipe we'd moved,
I called it names I reserved for the truck for each pipe had to be removed.
Starting over with expressions grim, we retraced every step,
Until at last the water flowed without an intercept.

Rejoicing in a job well-done, we marched through mud up to our knees,
Reaching the truck in record time, my hand gripped the needed keys.
I approached the truck with a manly stride, one both true and sure,
Swaggering up to open its rusted metal door.
Inserting the keys with gusto, I defied it to throw a fit,
And when I turned the ignition on, the truck sensed that I meant it!

It fired up the first time, the gears shifting beneath my hand,
It had learned I was the boss, even though I was not a man.
We headed home much later than we'd intended or designed,
But to our roles as sprinkler movers, we were now resigned.
Breakfast tasted wonderful, though it was closer to afternoon,
And when my husband returned from work, I made sure he sang a different tune.

But after the tongue-lashing, much deserved I must admit,
I assured him I would tough it out, much as I hated it.
I was breaking new ground within, I was tougher than I thought,
And I loved seeing my husband grovel, now that he'd been caught.
He'd known all along the challenge this task would be,
And he spent the remainder of the summer, making it up to me.

Cheri J. Crane

Monday, August 20, 2007

Are The Stars Still There?

This past week has been filled with numerous adventures. Several friends and family members are dealing with tremendous challenges. I suspect it's part of the joy of the latter days. With that in mind, the other night, I went outside to see a meteor shower that was taking place. It reminded me of another time when I had slipped outside to watch the stars. Here is a snippet of a journal entry that describes what took place:

. . . I had been feeling quite discouraged. I think we all experience times like that in our lives, moments when we wonder why life has to be so challenging . . . One night when everyone else in my family had gone to bed, I wandered outside. Sometimes listening to the night sounds brings comfort and so I sat on the porch and listened for a bit. I remember silently praying to understand why I was feeling so down.

A thought came to mind: "There is still beauty in the world." I agreed, but wanted to know why things seemed so bleak. I had been having some challenging health problems and there were several trials taking place with some of my extended family members. As I wondered why everything had to be so difficult, I stood and glanced up at the sky. It was one of those star-filled nights—pinpoints of brilliant light dotting the sky. Again the thought came to mind, "There is still beauty in the world."

As I continued to gaze at the stars, I noticed that clouds were moving in. This is something that has probably occurred millions of times, but for once, I was watching as it happened. Within minutes, every star was covered. I was amazed by how quickly the clouds had shrouded the sky. Another thought came to mind, "Are the stars still there?" With that thought came the peace I had been seeking. Other thoughts came, "Does your Heavenly Father love you? Did your Elder Brother lay His life down for you? Are all of these things true despite the discouragement, despite the challenges, the heartaches, the pains of life? Are the stars still there?"

The lesson I was taught that night has been such a comfort. Every time I start feeling a little down, it comes to mind: "Are the stars still there?"

To make a long story short, a friend thought I should write a song based on that theme—so I did. Here are the lyrics:

Are The Stars Still There?

1st: Dark were my thoughts--all around were storms of heartache and strife
All those tests that sometimes just go with life
Mountains that seemed too steep to climb.
I walked outside--to clear my head and ask my Father, "Why?"
My inner peace had dissolved for a time
Where was the faith that was mine?

Staring at the star-filled sky--my heart revealed its inner cry
"Father, if You're listening help me know the reason why."
A thousand tiny twinkling lights were covered, hidden from
my sight
Grey clouds veiling light that once had shone so bright.
Darkness seemed to fill the night as every star was veiled
from sight
Yet peace crept in my heart and comfort eased the black despair
As the question came, "My child, my child--Are the stars still there?"

Now when dark thoughts come and some nights seem too long
I remember the words of this song
When everything seems to go wrong
The answer to my prayer--the night I struggled with despair
The night my Father heard my silent prayer
And reminded me the stars are always there.

Our Father's love is always there--through layers of grief and care
Hope is shining brightly through the clouds of dark despair
A thousand tiny twinkling lights--though covered, hidden from our sight
Grey clouds veiling light that once had shone so bright.
Though darkness seems to fill the night--And every star is veiled from sight
Peace and love seep through to ease the black despair--
Remember the question--"My child, are the stars still

Cheri J. Crane

Monday, August 13, 2007


All righty then . . . I was going to post a silly poem this morning, then I stumbled onto one I had written a long time ago that is more along the lines of seriousness. (I warned that the mood of these items would vary)

This is a poem I wrote after being told I was through blessing the world with posterity. I'm a Type 1 diabetic, and a few complications had set in with the arrival of son # 3. Let's just say that we were both quite fortunate to survive that adventure. I knew it was a miracle that we had both pulled through, but it still stung, knowing that part of my life was over. I thoroughly enjoyed being a mom, and I had always wanted a large family. Being told I would have to settle for 3 was disappointing. This event occurred about the same time I was called to serve in the YW organization years ago. (Yep, I'm LDS---more commonly known as a Mormon.) Wading through the emotions of that time, I tried to look on the bright side: I was blessed with 3 wonderful sons, and I inherited numerous daughters through an inspired calling.

There are moments in all of our lives, when we have to shift gears and head in a different direction---this was one of those life-changing occasions.

A door had closed firmly, the time had passed
An era laid to rest
But as I glanced down the darkened hall,
Another door beckoned, another test.
Fearing the challenge, yet embracing the chance,
I'm drawn toward this new light--
A portal I would have missed before,
Blinded while the other remained in sight.
Cheri J. Crane

Saturday, August 11, 2007

A bit of poetry

Hi out there in blogdom. This is my first attempt at putting together my own blog site. My brother has helped me with a website for years. You can find it at when it's up and functioning. At the moment we're experiencing technical difficulties that my brother is hoping to resolve in the near future. So it if doesn't pull up, try again later.

Since I started out writing poetry, I thought I would begin by sharing a short one of those. I tend to write all kinds of poetry---differing styles---moods, etc. This one is entitled: The Quandary. As I recall, my inspiration was hitting a cement post at the local bank with a car door, inflicting a bit of damage. Certain my husband would not be amused, I drew up my last will and testament and attached it to the wounded car. It worked---my husband laughed instead of erupting.

The Quandary
The day was long, the hour grim---
Fate had decided to enjoy a whim.
It was my choice how to react---
Throw myself, or remain intact.
Let temper rule, or use control---
What would be my chosen role?
Tears longed to come, and yet it seemed,
A hidden mirth within me beamed.
To laugh or cry, which would it be,
As disaster loomed, surrounding me?
With a defiant twinkle in my eye,
I laughed out loud, then began to cry.
Cheri J. Crane