November 26, 2014

Word to Word by Marnie Pohlmann

Nana’s Journal 
                             - Marnie Pohlmann

She gathered her feelings
With soft word ribbon,
Laced to pages with cursive bows
And teardrops.
Bouquets of pain and hope,
Intertwined with faith,
Pressed into her journal
In ink,
So generations to follow
Could meet her, 
Know her thoughts,
Feel her love,
Untie their hearts,
And worship her Lord.

My Mom, Olive, was also known as Nana.  We always knew Mom loved playing with words, but it was not until her death that we found how she had been using her talent. She had put a few thoughts into a small journal - thoughts on parenting, insights to Scripture, and opinions about her life circumstances. She wrote in prose, poetry, and prayer. I copied the journal for each of  my siblings, as a legacy to pass on to their children.
Mom and Me

 Chasing after her own nine children as well as a myriad of foster children with a variety of physical, mental, or emotional needs, I did not often see Mom reading, yet I know she enjoyed an assortment of books. I did see Mom do the Scramble puzzle in the newspaper every day, as well as the Cryptogram puzzle, and sometimes the Crossword puzzle, though she did not like the newspaper crosswords as much because they often focused on Hollywood stars, and she did not watch much television.

Mom taught us to play with words, too, especially while traveling or if we ever said we were bored. For example, take the word “conflagration” and see how many words you can make using the letters from this word. What is the largest word you can form? How many three-letter words can you list? At the end of her life, Dad said he found papers on which Mom had been playing this game using the names of her chemotherapy medicines.

Mom used words, both in games and in her journal, to make sense of life. She passed on this method of maintaining sanity to me, so while I may not often write to share with others, I cannot help but write through my emotions and circumstances.

Yes, Mom passed to her kids a love of playing with words, from Scrabble to creative writing. More than playing with words, though, Mom passed on a love of The Word.

As a child sitting through the sermons at church, I loved to lean into Mom and share her Bible. She had notes written in her well-worn King James translation with its cracked black leather cover.  I found some of the treasures she underlined. I loved to read Colossians 1:9-13, which she had noted as her prayer for each of her children.

Mom showed me that God is personal. He spoke through His Word specifically to her, and to her life circumstances, so I knew God would also speak to me as I read His Word. Amid life struggles, Mom showed me I could walk in peace, with God.

I Am Finding
                                   - Olive Shaver Freeman

When one is in a state of complete devastation
God is there!
When one is in great confusion
God is there!
When one feels intense betrayal
God is there!
When one is lost in a feeling of very little or no self-worth
God is there!
When one is searching desperately for the will to go on coping
God is there!
Yes Yes Yes
I am finding
Who long ago found me,
Who is with me right where I am
And where God is
There is peace!

The example of my Mom and the words she left are a legacy that leads to God.
May my life and my words also lead to God.


  1. Beautiful story about your Mom and words, Marnie. I have to say, though, that when I read this statement: "Mom had been playing this game using the names of her chemotherapy medicines." I was thrown for a loop. Talk about pathos!

    And I do remember playing that game too, as kids. I'd forgotten it!

  2. I loved this post, Marnie. What a wonderful post your mom, Nana as I am, has left for her children and her children's children. I appreciated her prayer for her children being Colossians 1: 9-13. I would like to adopt this prayer too.


  3. First off, the poem you wrote at the beginning is SUBLIME. It is masterful and beautiful and many MANY other adjectives. Like Bobbi, I was struck by the line, "At the end of her life, Dad said he found papers on which Mom had been playing this game using the names of her chemotherapy medicines.:" Oh my!!!

    Thank you for this wonderful post. I look forward to many more from you, my friend!

  4. Marnie,

    This is such a moving tribute to your beautiful Mom. What a legacy she has left you and your family.

    Beautiful writing.


  5. "Mom showed me I could walk in peace with God." That is a wonderful gift from a parent to a child. Sounds like you a had a beautiful mom.

  6. I feel as if I know your mother just from reading your post and what a great mother she was. She left you treasured memories and love for the Lord and for words. A person's life is richer when you love words.

  7. Thank you so much, everyone, for the wonderful comments and encouragement. What a blessing you all are!


Thank you for taking the time to join in the conversation. Our writers appreciate receiving your feedback on posts you have found helpful or meaningful in some way.