Me In The Middle Of Stretching To New Heights

Stretch to New Heights #2

Image by Mary Lou Q


This sketch was done as part of the Inktober 2018 Challenge using the prompt ‘Stretch’.  It got me thinking about this poem I wrote back in the 70’s when I was in my mid-30’s and striving to find ways grow more, see more and be more.  Now I’m in my mid-70’s and thinking to myself “Wouldn’t it be great to publish a children’s book using my poem and sketches of this little giraffe!  🙂  You’re never too old to set goals and dream dreams!  “I wish you JOY, giraffe!”


~ Stretching to New Heights ~

What is it about each of us
 that we are always exploring?
Stretching to new heights?
A hunger to be set above
 the rest ~ to be special.

It amuses me that even
 the tall, lanky giraffe
(head towering above most trees)
still seeks the new juicy leaves
 on treetops high out of reach.

You’d think she would be proud
~ this long-necked gal!
Content with the height
 she was given!
But No!

Just like each of us,
 she wants to grow MORE!
See more! Be more!
Experience all
 that this life can offer!

And my thoughts for her are;
“I wish you JOY, giraffe!”

by Mary Lou Q




(This is just a fun post with a poem I wrote back in 1979 when I returned back to school to take some college courses and begin to move forward to improve my life in positive ways.)  ❤

Me in the Middle ~ 9/11 Poem



I discovered a poem I wrote on September 22, 2001 so I thought I’d share it:



If we see life a bit clearer and appreciate its beauty
and glory alongside its horror and sorrow ~
They have not died in vain.

If we’ve reached out to those we love and
opened our hearts a bit more in trust ~
They have not died in vain.

If we’ve learned beyond a doubt that politics and religion
can be dividers of people as well as reconcilers of people ~
They have not died in vain

If we now know that God’s grace and love resides in the
hearts of individuals regardless of race, creed or country ~
They have not died in vain.

Freedom or fear; Love or fear; Courage or fear ~
Everyday battles fought in everyday lives.

If we can believe that the way we live our lives;
The way we treat each other;
And the way we respond to hatred and evil
will bring about change in this world ~
Then they have not died in vain.

~ Mary Lou ~

(Dedicated to the Victims and Families of September 11, 2001)


Photo by Thomas E. Franklin, The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Me In The Middle Of Feeling Christmas Spirit

Christmas Roses #2 (2)

(c) mlq


~ The Christmas Rose ~

She stood beside the doorway softly weeping,
without the slightest gift for the newly born
who lay within a manger, peaceful, sleeping.

Three travelers, all richly dressed, but worn,
brought royal treasures for him in their keeping ~
the shepherd maiden wept unseen, forlorn.
In the chill of winter, she had found no rose
nor blossom; ‘midst the rocky hills none grows.

An angel saw her sorrow; understanding
at once the reason, swept away the snow,
revealing there some Christmas Roses. Handing
these white and waxen flowers to her, “Go –
an offering so pure is right,” commanding
with gentleness that only angels know.
The gift was made – beneath the angel’s wink,
the petals blushed from white to palest pink.

© Margaret I. Gibson


Some of the best memories I have of past Christmas holidays were when I let go of expectations and just let it happen.

 Ever since I was a little girl I’ve felt that Christmas was meant for all people of good will.  It never dawned on me that Christmas would belong to just one religion.  I knew it was the birth of Jesus ~ the tiny infant who was born in a humble stable ~ who came to love the world and the message he brought to us was to love one another.

My early memories of Christmas were more of the feeling of togetherness, belonging and acceptance.  There was a feeling of magic in the air.  There weren’t many gifts under the tree ~ yet it was my favorite time of the year.  There was something infectious about the outpouring of Good Will as you went about the day meeting people along the way.

When my children were growing up it was fun taking on the passing along of this tradition.  Seeing their eyes brighten with anticipation as the day grew nearer, and gathering them around the Nativity Scene to impress upon them that it was this humble birth we were celebrating.

Then there were the times when I was weary and burdened with worries and stresses.  When I didn’t have enough money to get them gifts or a tree.  When I watched the hustle and bustle of every one caught up in the season and felt isolated from it.  I thought it was all going to pass us by.  Surprisingly, these were the times I remember the most because it’s at times like these that even the smallest gift and the smallest gestures of kindness and love mean the most.  It was at times like these that I experienced what the real meaning of Grace is.  It was at times like these that I learned that Christmas happens every day when we’re open to it.  

That humble birth of that one small child speaks to all of us about the simplicity of Love ~ A Gift that shouts out at a World that desperately needs it.  It’s not a gift that belongs to any specific religion.  It’s a gift that belongs to all of us!  


“Fear not, for behold I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all people” (Luke 2:10).

Me in the Middle of Letting Go 2016>Welcome 2017 (#FlashBack)

It’s FlashBack Friday ~ A time of the month where you can republish an old post of yours that maybe didn’t get enough attention, or that you’re really proud of, or you think is still relevant etc.  This Blog-Go-Round is hosted by Jemima Pett and originally introduced by Michael D’Agostino from A LIFE EXAMINED.  That’s where you’ll find the rest of the participants or to join up yourself.

The post I’ve chosen for this month first appeared on ME IN THE MIDDLE on September 12, 2015.  To see the original comments to that post you can click on the title  ~ Poems and Sketches ~ below to be taken to the original post. 

I chose this post because I’m letting go of the old year 2016 and welcoming the new year 2017.  The poems were written by a friend who came into my life at just the right time and inspired me to let go of the past and make room for new and better things in my life.  My sketches were inspired by his poems and, joined together, they represented an opening up in my life to a new sense of joy and promise.  What better reminder for me as I close the door on 2016 and step through into the promise and hope of the New Year?  “Letting go can be your best friend.”


 Hope Beyond All Hope

Lovers of the world, unite
Bound to Creator’s vision bright
That even these our darkest nights
Become the light, become the light

Fashion all you can create
That delights the one who incarnates
And links himself to the same fate
As we sleepers who must rise to wake

Alana Levandoski



Poems and Sketches


Letting Go

(c) Mary Lou Q

 Letting Go

Letting go – Is a place;
Is a time; Is a space.
Letting go – Sometimes a pain;
Sometimes numbness; Sometimes gain.

Letting go –
of the memories that are bad;
Of the arguments we had; Of times that were sad.
I let go of those things; Of those times; Of the zings.

Instead, I choose not to ever lose;
And I will retain those things where we gain.
Smiles and laughter; Creation and elation;
Security and maturity; With these make a nation.

Letting go isn’t easy;
And, yet, we know It’s the path to take
– From the learning we grow.

So – let go . . . Of what fails thee;
Focus on what enthralls thee.
There is a beginning to each end;
Letting go can be your best friend.

Arthur Rashap


Seasons Sketch #3 Cropped

(c) Mary Lou Q

Season’s Song

When I leave this body, My aura, more spoor
May I be like Autumn’s leaves: Multi hued, flaming.
Set in clear contrast to that awesome blue sky
On a cloudless day in Fall,
Attracting and reflecting the sun,
Low in the heavens as it rises and sets.

  When I “die”, remember me as the one on a Quixotic Quest,
Searching for meaning. Feeling alone and apart,
Swimming in the context of Love’s eternal soup.
The seasons of the year, like the seasons of life,
Have been given to us as paper and paint
To create our picture of time’s journey.

And, what is time but some made-up measure
So we can box experiences. Storing them on the Shelf of Life.
Ah! Autumn, when we can harvest the fruits of lifelong learning;
Of lifelong yearning.
When all the “this’s” and all the “that’s” line up,
Coming together.

And, all the colors of thought and deed
Do come together to flash as Rainbow
No longer whispering,
But making a bald, bold statement:
Live, harvest, expire
Be, be in each moment.

Winter: The bare, still, colorless cold.
Time: Is this a season for passing?
Or rather, a season for resting?
The pause in the cycle of creation;
The contemplation, the stock-taking
Before ONE’s re-borning?

Winter: Season for preparing; For recycling
The re-coiling. Springing forth.
Ah! Listen! Regard!
The seasons sing; Life’s stages harmonize.
We, in the end, are ONE
And Love is the answer.

Arthur Rashap



We sit in a circle,
Breathing in the smoke of elderhood
As we watch the flame reflect life’s turnings.

At first, there was the time Spring:
The time for springing forth,
full of energy, dreams, desires;
Tilling, planting, cultivating
Wide-eyed and impressionable
As we now see it In life’s rear-view mirror.
Greening turned to
 the full colors
and active buzzing of our Summers.
Life was like the circus performer
running back and forth,
Spinning so many plates
on sticks overhead;

Did it matter that some fell and shattered?
What was growing then, so important, bursting forth:
Bearing all kinds of fruit,
Now changes as viewed
through the glory of Autumn’s colors.

  Let us luxuriate, making new tracks in the colors of Autumn,
 Celebrating the days past; The work done.
Time to share the harvest.
  Our seeds now drop, Some to take root
Even as Winter stills the cycle,
 Covering the fields that once were plowed and yielding.
There is fresh space, Time is stretched,
Memories bring smiles And “Ah Ha’s!”
We sit in a circle
 around the fire,
Fashioning solutions from the smoke of memory
And the joyous living that was/is our lives.


Arthur Rashap


Nature and Soul NYC #2

(c) Mary Lou Q

NYC Weekend

The most exciting thing in New York City
Is the robin building her nest outside the kitchen window
where I am staying.

One can bring nature and soul
Into any nest – Anywhere.
Pile in the shining leaves –
Create a hiding spot underneath.
Weave pieces of string into a nest that is “home.”

The most exciting thing in New York City
Is the robin affirming life by building her nest
Outside the kitchen window.
Noises, graces, shops, cafes, taxis, get-aways;
Couples sparking; Unimaginable diversity:
Museums, universities, slums and alums
If you can’t find it here it ain’t anywhere.

The most exciting thing in New York City
Was the feeling that the robin gave me:
A feeling of being safe and secure,
In the tree outside the kitchen window.
Two weeks’ salary to park your cars;
Anything you could want ain’t very far
Except perhaps Nature’s balm,
Babbling brook’s sound,
Senses becalmed.

People, faces, noises, graces, shops, cafes, taxis,
Sirens, barking, sirens, hawking;
Shopping, charging, pushing, bargaining;
Humanity spilling out everywhere;
Their hearts, their souls, their cares.
If you can’t find it here, it ain’t anywhere.

The most memorable thing in New York City this weekend
Is to know that a robin is building her nest
Outside the kitchen window.

Arthur Rashap


Mariposa #4

(c) Mary Lou Q


 Winged friend: Mariposa;
You flew circles
while I waited for love to arrive.
You incarnated in each place
Cupid-playing while bathing in the vibes
Of love’s unfolding.

Winged friend: Mariposa; You were there,
Trailing twinkles and love dust
Wherever we looked.

Dear Mariposa,
Winged friend. Love’s messenger.
Come fly on the bosom of enchantment.
You have earned a place in our hearts.

Arthur Rashap


 Watercolor Sketches ~ © Mary Lou Q

*Special acknowledgement and thanks to Arthur Rashap for his support in my putting together this website.*