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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

POETRY ZONE (July 23-29, 2014)

This week I jumped back into the month-long poetry camp. 

This first poem was inspired by a 3-legged race, where each stanza began with the end of the previous stanza. I named it "A La Tolkien." Tell me if you can guess why.

On a hill faraway
He was nailed to our cross
Please forgive, his prayer
In His death, our sin lost
One King will rule us all

Rule us all? I think not
I refuse to bow down
Your wide nets cast for naught
Till in sin’s sea I drown
Long He sings to find us

Find us? While He waits
Ripened fields I will reap
Prayers for souls carry weight
Sowing seeds I will weep
Unseen wings bring us all
To His home eternal

The next poem was written for "At Your Service," when the campers visited a nursing home. I wrote about the differences I have noticed between adults and children who come to visit.


Don’t go, our personal advice
The children will pull back, afraid
The nature place is much more nice
Preserve the beauty of the glade
They need us, Pastor Bob’s word swayed
Two lines from cabins one to four
Marched northward to the rest home’s door

One step inside our fears confirmed
The smell! The noise! The wheelchair bound
We hid behind the kids and squirmed
The mobile patients gathered round
The childish voices siren’s sound
A pat, a hug, a kiss or two
The young and old together grew

Their hearts saw past the li-ned flesh
Into a person, same as them
The games of childhood both thought best
Their laughs and smiles, no one condemned
Examples we should craft as gems
Our heads hung, the blow our shame
A lesson learned, our fears so lame

This last poem is not for the "camp," but a form called bokkektto.  It's a syllable-based poem, written about what I saw straight ahead of me.


Side by side, TVs divide
Our room in half, hers and mine
Hers the latch hook, mine the books
Two beds, two clocks
Twelve pictures between

Complaints in common—the food
Laugh together, ads and aides

Monday, July 28, 2014


Next Sunday is my birthday. I will celebrate, with so much has happened and that I hope to happen.

For this week, I will look back.

On my birthday, I said:

There is a sign in the nursing home that reads, "A hundred years from now, it won't matter what kind of car I drove or where I lived, but the difference I made in other peoples' lives." Mentally I add to the list, "how many books I wrote." 

This year I read a quote that helped me put my short time, and whatever success I have in my remaining years, in focus. It said something to the effect of, "Don't worry about the hundred people who read your books today, or even the ten people who will read them in ten years. Write for the one person who will read them a 100 years from now."

I have never expected someone to read my books in a hundred year. My goal has never been to write the great American novel, that will become required reading in classrooms. But. . .they are lasting. My first book came out nine years ago; it was repacked with the two follow up books this summer,
Colorado Melodies. Romanian Rhapsody came from my heart and while now somewhat outdated, it touches all who read it.

I also said:
My birthday greetings from relative strangers called me dear, sweet, precious, beautiful. 
This week, I posted a picture, asking people to describe me in one word. People said:
  • Overcomer
  • special
  • diligent
  • awesome
  • writer
  • steadfast
  • hard working
  • tolerant
  • perseverant
  • talented
  • friend
  • talented
  • saved
Each of those are qualities that I treasure.
I ended my thinking with:
But this one thing I know: God has me here, at this time and in this place, for a reason. If that reason includes daily pain and sleeplessness--so it does. He will comfort and speak to me in the pain, and He will use it to help others as well.
Daily pain? Pretty much, but not bad (except for bad knee pain this week, but that will pass). Sleeplessness, praise God, is pretty much a thing of the past.
And God has used me to touch others, close friends with a resident many consider irritating, an older sister to a troubled resident, a listening ear to someone who shuts herself away from most people. I have been here, for a reason.
Next week I will look more at the future--what it looks like at this point in time. 

Friday, July 25, 2014

READING AND WRITING (July 18-24, 2014)

Christmas Traditions Series
Progress at last!  I have reached the 20% mark on my Christmas novella, An Apple for Christmas; and I am almost at the halfway point (49%) for Runaway Love. Woo hoo!

The picture above is the entire collection including my book. See my single cover here:

I am busy reading The Fires of Alexandria by Thomas Carpenter. So far, it's a fascinating story of a woman passing a man to pursue the craft of a sculptor, an educated "Barbarian," and the mystery of the fire which destroyed the great library of Alexandria.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

POETRY ZONE (July 16-22, 2014)

Of the poems I wrote for the Camp challenge this week, I'm sharing the two that tell a story about me.

One of the lakes mentioned in the poem below is the place where our best friends from church lived, and where I was baptized.


The town of Winthrop, Maine boasts many things
Activities for all the whole year through
Of long, hot days at lakes upon a string
Cobboseecontee, Carlton, naming two
But most of all, their cooks compete to wring
The last, sweet taste of fish fixed in a stew
The lakes take part, but poor Maranacook
Must always lose to Annabessacook.

When we were challenged to write about camp food, I thought about the times Mom packed up the grill--and my growing admiration for all she did for me.


My mom would pack up grill and coals
And take us a site untold
At campgrounds at both streams and lakes
She lit the fires that made my days
For flames to flare and sizzling meat
Add icy pop, s’mores that can’t be beat
~I never bought a grill or coals~
One camping trip with Dad and kids
Made future tries ones I forbid
Marshmallows brown on gas stove top
Hot dogs burn black in the right pot.
I don’t cook out—inside’s my thing
But where indoors can children swing?

Monday, July 21, 2014


This week, like several times before in this place, God has reminded me of the importance of taking time with the people who cross my path.

My dinner table, where I had finally become comfortable with my assorted companions, has changed. By the time I arrive, it is normally full. I miss my companions. Miss W. often sleeps and rarely talks; but she is given to a hearty laugh and speaks with clear understanding when she does speak. Miss P. repeats the same questions every day, several times each day, and is the most difficult to communicate with; but she loves company. Miss V. has become a close friend. Her abrasive manner and unpleasant voice drive many people away, and repeats her life story many times. Over the months. we have gotten past the surface to the pain we have shared--and the love God has for both of us.

A couple of days ago, Miss V. demanded a hug the next time we saw each other. So, yesterday, I hugged her. Miss P. asked why I didn't hug her. So I hugged her as well. Then Miss V. wanted another hug, because I had given Miss P. a better hug. . .shades of "mother, do you love me best?"

But as I've said, lately I've had to take a seat elsewhere. If I can, I choose to sit with people who enjoy a conversation.  Miss P. (different than the one I mentioned above) lady sits alone at a back table. Sometimes, when I have tried to sit there, she has growled at me. Other times, we've had a pleasant conversation. So recently I told her I try to guess if she wants company or not before I join her.

She seemed so surprised--and very open to me joining her. "You can sit with me any time you want." Shades of Miss V., desperate for friendship while her armor shouts "don't come near me."

Today I sat with Miss D. While not suffering from Downs Syndrome, she has the same affect of someone who is lacking in intelligence but who says "I love you" to almost total strangers. But I will comment on her new dresses, or the stuffed animals and dolls she carries with her, or ask after her health. Today she told me a little of her sad story. (Several of us here come from very painful childhoods.) When I left, she said, "please don't tell this to anyone else. You're like my big sister." Tears glistening in her eyes.

The other day I tried to come down to my room after lunch. Two people stopped me on the way. I don't remember the question the first one had. The second was man, almost a century old, wanting to know where room 5 was. We found it, but I pointed out it wasn't his room. So I took him to his room--14--and he said, "four and one make five."  I had to laugh at his logic.

My point is, the people here have become my family.  I have made a difference in a small pond. If I leave--as seems more and more likely--I know myself. I have a tendency to hide away from people. I have always hoarded my time, and God prods me to give more generously of myself. I am gifted with people (I think) but I fight it.

Kind of like writing. Huh. Never thought of it that way.

So pray that I will remain and increase in openness to people in need of a friend.

Friday, July 18, 2014


The good news: I started again on Runaway Love. The bad news: I seem to have lost 5-6K words somewhere, which I've had to recover. Oh, well, I have time!

More good news!  I received copies of my two new books this week. Saving Felicity is book #7 set in Maple Notch, Vermont, a contemporary romance between the owner of a failing B&B and the TV personality who comes to save her business. Colorado Melodies includes three contemporary romances with ties to Colorado (and common characters), including my first-ever book, Romanian Rhapsody.


As far as reading goes--I've started two books (about 50 pages), Anvil of the Craftsman and Yesterday's Road. Both were okay--but I've decided to set them aside. I've got over 80 books in the queue (mostly free), so why waste weeks on mediocre books? Shows the importance of a good start to a book.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014


I'm still involved in the poem-a-day challenge, but I'll share a couple of favorites from the week.


Worried and broke, unable to provide
My needs are met by my Lord, the Shepherd
I camp by cool waters, soft grass my bed
I follow His map, my Lord, the Shepherd
My natural cravings destroy my life
He remakes my heart, my Lord, the Shepherd
I walk through life’s darkest hours
While He holds my hand, my Lord, the Shepherd
Enemies attack and friends fall away
I wine and dine with my Lord, the Shepherd
Today and always, we walk hand in hand
My home’s in His land, my Lord, the Shepherd
Step by step and day by day He leads me
He’s Yahweh Shamah, my Lord, the Shepherd
Trail map left out leafy, barky log
Taking us through mossy, scary bog

Monday, July 14, 2014


My son just left with his wife and the two little ones. With Isaiah competing for my attention along with Jordan, my heart is delighted (they are borrowing two of my bears until their next visit) but the best part was climbing into the van and taking off to Braums!

So a short but happy post for the day. . .my heart is singing at the thought of leaving this place.

Thursday, July 10, 2014


Yes, Priceless Pearl is written, edited, and submitted!  Hurrah!

I have even added 1K on Runaway Love.  When I read through what I've written, relief, it's pretty good. I hope. So . . .

I'm even working on a possible Christmas novella. An Apple for Christmas

As for reading:

A Distant Melody by Sarah Sundin. Christian historical romance during WWII. A great book, one that I greatly enjoyed and heartily endorse. It even managed to give the nitty gritty of bombing raids without boring me to tears (I'm not big into battle scenes in general)

The Beam by Johnny B. Truant. Some kind of sci-fi/fantasy which I didn't enjoy at all. Unlike Gameland, the Zombie book which drew me in and made me want to read more.

Infinite Sacrifice by L.E. Waters features reincarnation. I don't believe in reincarnation, but I did enjoy the ongoing stories, through ancient Sparta, Vikings in Denmark, and plague-ridden London. But instead of wrapping up the character's journey at the end, the "guide" says how all religions lead to the same God and how her journey is continuing on to the next life. . .a decent story ruined by an unsatisfactory ending.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014


NEWS FLASH! For the first time, I have a poem published in a journal. Find "Confusion" at page 18 at

At the moment I'm working on a Poem-a-Day challenge for July--which I won't share with you just now. Any non-PAD poems will come here. :)


The heart of any marriage is true love
But divorce attests the lie of true love.

A single dry rose is all that remains
When summer heat drains her dreams of true love.

Wedding rings symbolize promises made
Lest any threat trade the fake for true love.

If a man search for meaning all his days, 
His quest is sure to fail short of true love.

Darlene my darling, God’s lullaby,
Calls me the apple of His eye, true love.


Memories fade, unless she glides through dreams
A wisp of smoke, no warmer than a dream.

Grief sets its own timetable, yesteryear
Joins with today in the sphere of my dreams.

A stranger’s profile, a grandchild’s smile, both
Direct me through the aisles that store my dreams.

A meal with lemon pie and crisp hash browns
Sits me down at the table of my dreams

In heaven, to dance and play, forever
Alive, never glum, a realized dream.

The sight, the sound, the smell of you only
Tease me with the spree that awaits, no dream.

Dearest Jolene, both too close and too far
At the bar with the mirror of my dreams.

Beauty crowds me till I die
Sucking my breath with
Pollen-swollen floss
Sloughing off my skin in
Pursuit of summer sun
Cacophony of judgment
Stills the voice of my drum
Until a single word cracks
The dam, releasing fear
The pursuit of beauty squashes me,
Flattening, crushing, draining me
Till I die inside, leaving
Only a brittle outer shell       
Darlene Franklin ©2014


Never a box a cat
Does not love, nor a
Bag left unexplored
Whiskers quivering
Measure for green light         
Head first, paws on springs
Legs hugging body    
As snug as bird’s wings

Dangling tail swishes
Warning to leave alone
Or face his claws in war
Backing out, his wish
demands more comfort
Legs first, not too squished    
around him, tail swings
In box, cat is king


Hand-painted box fort
Felled by driving rain
Do-it-yourself Dad
Questions the standard
PVC pipe and
Camouflage replace
Thinks outside the box
Creates something new                                                                                                              

The Man Upstairs and
The Good Book both speak
Casual truth, facts
Made from cardboard, pricked
And torn, thrown around
Easy to replace
Throw out inept box
Nothing contains God


Sunday, July 6, 2014


I posted this in facebook a few days ago:

Don't worry about who reads your books today. Write for the one person who reads it a hundred years from now.--I heard that quote recently

Today God banged me over the head twice about trusting Him with my dreams. So--for reasons that have nothing to do with my skill or faith, but because of our awesome God--I am praying for God to expand my ministry through time and space in ways I cannot imagine.

It sparked a lot of comment so I thought I would expand on the subject.

The first mention was quoted in my prayer journal: Father God, please help me to accomplish Your dreams for my life.

About half an hour later, this appeared on the ACFW email loop: We live in a country where we are blessed to be able to pursue our dreams - and pursue them to the glory of God! Let us know how we can help. We are here for you!  from Betsy St. Amant and Georgiana Daniels

So what are my dreams?

I asked myself that last year, starting down my 60th birthday (four weeks from yesterday,  if you/re interested), and already living in a nursing home.

I felt more at peace--I thought perhaps God would open the door to writing about/for/advocating residents in centers such as this.

Not much has happened on that front. Instead, I got suckered into writing poetry. In February, I took a week off from writing fiction and got hooked. I've been encouraged to write more by having my poems chosen as "best of the week" four times already and also have a poem published in a literary journal for the first time.

So one dream is to write a "chapbook" of poetry with Jolene's poems and mine. . .

And my novels? I don't know. I'm still aiming for a 50-book mark, and hoping to self-publish more. I want to put together a devotional book to sell as an e-book. But no new, big dreams.

Another dream which I could never have envisioned a year ago--but which my physical therapist is aiming for--is living independently. Some form of assisted living, but in a private dwelling/apartment/however they work.

I basically laughed when she told me that. . .so many things I still can't do. . .but the reminder about dreams made me realize I have to believe it's possible. The day may come. . . not next month. . .but by next July? I may be out of here.

If anyone reads this. . .I would love to hear your dreams.