Today, I’ll think of you as I do every dayBut this time, I will smile instead of cry.

Today, I will not focus on memories that make me .

Instead, I’ll think of times we laughed until we cried.

Today, I won’t remember all the things you’ve missed this year.

Instead, I will think of all the things you have experienced in your new life eternal.

I won’t stop and look at pictures the same sorrowful way anymore.

I will just picture you at peace.
Today, I will not look at my yellow rose bush

with the same emptiness I did a year ago.

I will only focus on its beauty and the friendship it stands for.

Part of me doesn’t want to give up my sorrow;

it feels as though I’m giving you up.

But today I realize that ,while I will always miss you,

I cannot always grieve.
Today, I am determined to remember you the way you would want me to—

as a great friend, a wonderful wife,

loving mother and grandmother.
I’ll remember the good times–picnics by the ice cold creek with our children on a hot summer’s day,

Spring breaks, and that you would always have

some sort of baby animal for Jessica to play with.
I’ll enjoy the memory of your spontaneity, your love of life and God.

I’ll smile at the way you could just finger comb your hair on the way out the door,

applying mascara at the first stoplight.
I’ll refuse to think of our last conversation

when I failed to talk you out of your trip to California.
I’ll just remember our last visit when I cleaned out

your kitchen cabinets the way I’d always wanted to.

I’ll remember the crackers and laughing cow cheese,

eaten while talking about our future as grandmas.

I’ll promise to stop mourning so much, to start cherishing more,

to find blessings in all that was our friendship.
Today, I let you go from the tight grip of my heart.

Today, I will find peace in the knowledge that you are safe, happy and whole.

Today will be different.

Today, I will start over, one today at a time.


“The Face of Addiction” by Quita Feeley

The face of addiction is disturbing
Lurking in the secret parts of society, in the dark and musky corners of big cities
On the street corners with torn cardboard signs proclaiming the desire to work
all along hiding the true agenda…..old withered undernourished facades
of what was once some mother’s child….
someone’s brother, sister ,
someone’s sweetheart or best friend.

Not daring to look on such a frightening semblance,
I looked the other way,and whispered up a prayer….
until one day unable to pass by anymore in my world of pretty things,
I was forced to look into the face of an addict.

It was an extremely close angle and I looked into the eyes
for much longer than I thought my heart could bear.
My eyes stung with tears I desperately tried to control but to no avail.
So many moments I was determined to look another way
to not allow this obscure outline of a human trapped inside an addict’s body to burn into my reality.
I could not ….
I would not continue to pretend I didn’t see.
I would look deep into the eyes though hollow and frightened ,
as harrowing as it was, I would look and really SEE.

I was not prepared for this moment, not in the slightest.
A fear consumed me trying to wrap its all too familiar hands around my throat…
Struggling to breathe or even swallow, I tried to take the image in…….
I wasn’t downtown in a dark and dingy corner full of odd sights and sounds…
it wasn’t by a deserted bus station, or on skid row……
not like the creepy people I had seen who looked like they hadn’t had anything but alcohol for days.
The odor I was expecting was not there.

Slowly becoming brave enough to open my eyes
with heart pounding, I faced the face of addiction…
There I was with tears uncontrollable
heart completely broken staring at my beautiful son as I put my arms around him,
completely helpless to free him from the monster’s grip.

As I embraced him, the shell of what was once my son,
I felt the warm and loving hands of God encompass both of us.
telling me that I needed to let go.
Some things even the love of a mom can’t resolve or repair.
I could love him, but I had to let go in faith.
that in doing so, he will return whole.


Burdens are Meant to be Shared by Quita Feeley

Burdens are meant to be Shared By Quita Feeley

Everyone has burdens to carry —
some in small neatly packed bundles,
others that seem to arrive in dump trucks.
Some seem only moderately heavy at first,
but often pick up poundage along the way;
Others make it too unmanageable to even lift our heads.

At times, our burdens are invisible to onlookers
but at other times, a flashing neon light for all to see.
We try and tuck them away, trying to bear them alone
although many around us would gladly help to shoulder the load.

We struggle, fumble,fall…..trying to balance the weight.
At times, our load shifts just enough to get through the day
but then there are those times, when no one but God knows
how our back is breaking under the strain.

We give it to God for a stretch here and there, for moments, days, even weeks
But this phase is often interrupted with doubts and fears looming about,
So we make the mistake of gathering our burdens out of his hands
Each facet of fear ,each detail of pain,
through tears we begin to carry them once again.

Often smiles hide our sorrows and grief.
At some stages, we function normally,
the burden of agony we harbor invisible.
In other seasons, we are ready to throw in the towel.
However, there are those moments of tiny victories,
when Hope swoops in to lighten our cargo of cares.

Everyone struggles; no one is immune,
Some more than others it seems.
Burdens come in waves, one thing after another,
Then there are intervals of peace.

Pray for the hurting, the burdened, the broken.
Reach out with kindness to all.
Take time to listen , to hear, to care.
Offer to help lift someone’s bundle of sorrow.

Don’t assume, judge, belittle or underestimate
the significance of our grief, the denseness of our despair.
Just hold out a hand of compassion, arms of strength and solace.
Weep with us, laugh with us, mourn with us,be silent with us.
It’s in sharing the weight of each other’s burdens
that our loads get lighter, that Hope seems much brighter.

Take a moment—
a few heartfelt minutes to focus on the weighted cares of others,
putting aside all that we face to give them our full attention
even if only to strangers we meet,or our closest of friends.
It’s through compassion we heal,
through understanding, that we become understood.

In giving, we receive.
In sharing hope, we find faith.
In listening, we are heard.
Through loving others, our broken hearts are healed.


“Love Redesigned” By Quita Feeley

Love is a chance we take, a gift with no guarantees.
It requires a bit of vulnerability and a lot of trust.
Love often comes easily, freely given when we are young, innocent and unscathed by life.
Yet for those who’ve ever lost in love, it comes at a greater price.
When the hammer of betrayal has smashed your heart, your confidence,
your very perception of who you are into a million tiny pieces …
it takes time to even find the shattered, fragmented remains.
Like anything delicate that’s broken, some slivers may just never quite fit back the same.
Little tiny gaps, sometimes too small to detect, can only be repaired by God’s loving hand.
Love is so simple, yet with hurt and disappointment, it turns into something extremely disconcerting
Love is an emotion capable of providing comfort and security, yet on the other hand causes heartache.
To be loved is a gift, to be cherished— a bonus.
I’m here to tell you that Love is WORTH the risk.
It’s what brings color to life. At some point, you need to be brave.
Love is more about the present than the past; it’s the future that awaits you
It’s security that will encompass you, the warmth that will overtake, easing your heart’s burden.
Love brings a smile, making the heart sing a song not heard by human ears,
brightening the path ahead, welcoming with warm embraces and tender kisses.
Love fills an empty heart once hollow and dark, renewing hope, easing fear gently, without force,
bringing its own joyful new plans.
Love is worth waiting for, priceless when freely bestowed.
No matter the twist and turns of life, the times of giving up, of complications and disappointments,
….love still remains a treasure to be sought after, a dream to dream.
Eventually, you will realize that doubt has ceased–no more second guessing , no more waiting for the reversal. Instead, slowly in the quiet of your heart, in a way only time can provide….there once again appears a belief in true love. Slowly love’s light shines through all of the apprehension.
First a shimmer, a glimmer, then bold strong rays that warm, that heal.
Someday, the pain that love has brought will be washed away by your tears replaced by a rainbow promise of a love you deserve….and once again you will love and be loved.
You will once more believe in true love and embrace it.
Love will finally belong to you.

“Wisdom a Friend of Time” By Quita Feeley

The older I get, the less I know–
Ever feel that way?
Where have all the answers gone–
I had them the other day?!

Where did all this gray come from–
I liked it black and white.
Somehow in the span of time,
My answers aren’t as bright.

At one time, I had solutions
for most anything I faced.
I was never in a quandary,
but lately a bit off base.

When did questions get so deep
and full of complications?
Instead of finding ways,
I’m drowning in frustrations.

I guess with age comes wisdom
Or at least that was the plan,
but often I lack clarity
and that’s lingered for a span.
But wisdom isn’t answers
or quick fixes that we need;
Wisdom isn’t knowing all
or having everyone agree.

It’s a gift from God for each of us.
To be used, we must slow down
for wisdom isn’t present
when craziness abounds.

We don’t need all the answers
to keep ourselves afloat.
We don’t have to understand the “whys”
to help us learn to cope.

We just need to lean on truth;
Let life’s busy-ness subside.
Lose ourselves in simple things;
complications lay aside.

Wisdom only comes with trust
and trust only with faith,
pursuing all that’s good in life,
walking in His grace.

So when there’s more inquiries
Than responses that are clear,
When your head is spinning
and some pending things bring fear,
Turn to God and fully bask
in His endless love and grace.
Give Him all your questions,
let confusion be erased.

He’s always there for you,
never leaves you in a bind.
He offers you His wisdom
and in His wisdom, the answers find!


“Thoughts from a Mom” by Quita Feeley

20140510-140332.jpg20140323-225743.jpg20140313-095122.jpg20140308-155147.jpgI’m far from perfect; I’ve often failed.
I’ve been known to change my mind,
But I would walk the hard roads in life for you if I could…

I’m capable of being tough, but frequently I’m weak.
When it comes to you, I often cry…
For YOU though, not for me.

At times, I still see you as a little child, the way you used to be,
But reality shows up reminding me you’re all grownup.
Then I smile, or sometimes weep…

Often, I think of things I’d change or do another way.
At other times, I wouldn’t alter one single thing.
I’m fearless and brave. I’m daunted; I’m afraid…

I’m often on the sidelines as you go about your life.
But if you only knew how many times I’ve thought of you each day,
you’d be amazed…

I sometimes act as though I can fix anything for you.
At moments,even convinced myself that is true.
I have all the answers, but I haven’t got a clue…

When bumps occur on life’s winding road, I desire to smooth your path.
I’ve wished a million times that I could travel on your behalf…

If I could dry your every tear and replace each one with smiles–
If I could banish times you feel you’ve lost—
If I could only climb life’s mountains and have you meet me at the top,
I would at a moments notice…
I’m your mom.

But moms who really know what’s best,
will let their children go–
cautiously watching, learning to trust,
concerned without control.

Knowing when to step in and when to step away,
Not always there to intervene or interfere.
Letting you live your life as yours
to find your own way.

As your mom, I want to save you from mistakes that I’ve made,
But that would only hold you back, paralyze your future and the person you should be,
so I watch with greatest pride as you walk this road called life.

I won’t always have the answers, most often I’ll be wrong.
But never doubt my love for you or the depth of my compassion.
I could not love you any more;
I could not love you any less.
My love knows no limits.

I’m your mom.



Live, Love, Dream By Quita Feeley

When life screams give up,
Don’t give in.
When circumstances are not the best,
Don’t give up.
When dreams are crushed and hopes have failed,
Don’t lose hope.
When your heart takes a blow you didn’t expect,
Don’t choose hate.
When people close to you let you down,
Don’t lose trust.
When you have more questions than answers,
don’t think too much.
When it seems hopeless,
Don’t fail to try.
When God seems far away,
When prayers go unanswered,
When nothing makes sense,
Don’t forfeit life.
Don’t stop praying.
Don’t hide your light.

A Few Thoughts On Motherhood By Quita feeley

A tiny little flutter
turned into little kicks
A feeling oh-so-special.
Until then, I never knew.

Plans,dreams, weight gain,
Painting of the room,
So very many details.
Until then, I never knew

Then came that special birthday
Long awaited, overdue
I would realize just how tough I was.
Until then, I never knew

Hours later, you were there.
Just like that,the pain was gone,
Replaced by overwhelming joy
Unlike I’d ever known.

I held you close and marveled
At the intricate details
A baby oh-so-perfect.
Until then, I never knew.

Of course, the sleepless nights would rear their ugly heads.
Rocking, walking, riding in the car,
All the tricks I tried,
The positions I learned to sleep in,
That I never knew I could.

Your tiny little fingers turned to toddler hands
And before I knew it, you were playing in the sand.
So quickly each day passed by, I didn’t have a clue
How fast babies grow.
Until you, I never knew.

With each and every passing phase,
I grew to love you more.
This perfect little person who called me mom
Was changing right before my eyes so quickly.
I never knew.

The years have passed; time has flown.
But some things stay the same.
I’ll always be your momma
And my baby you’ll remain.

Many things I didn’t know
until I took this journey called motherhood
So much I have learned that I owe to you.
The greatest thing I’ve ever done, the one I’d never change,
has held the greatest of rewards and given me a new name.
They call me mom, all four of them.
Each time I hear it said, I’m reminded
of how blessed I am,
and this I truly know.





Cozy Starr

I wanted to write a tribute-of-sorts to someone lost way too soon, 6 years ago this Saturday, the day before Easter. Few people have had such an important role in my life, and she’s the only one I’ve ever lost to tragedy.

Grief is a strange thing that can affect us in many different ways, for many different reasons. I had been sad over other deaths of distant relatives before that day, had watched others grieve and hurt, but this was not like anything I had ever faced. There was no time to prepare for it. In a single moment of time, on what seemed to be a normal average Spring day, my best friend slipped into eternity, most likely not even having a chance to realize what was about to happen.

Some days are just molded into your mind forever, for whatever reason, and this was one of those days. There aren’t enough words out there to describe my friend Cozy Starr. Words alone cannot do her justice, but her name is a good start and it says a lot about her right there. Cozy was a unique, bright shining star in many lives. She was cozy, comfortable, unpretentious, and lived every day as though it were her last.

A mom to three sons, it was when her oldest son Josh, and my oldest son Charley were one-year-olds that we would meet. How many people could say they met their best friend in Walmart? Well I can 🙂

We were instant friends, very different in many ways but similar in spirit.
Cozy was much more laid back than I, always willing to forget chores, willing to head out for something spontaneous and fun. Not a worrier, Cozy never dwelled on wrongs that may have been committed against her. If Cozy felt she had inadvertently made an enemy, there would be no rest until she had done everything possible to restore it. When I asked why, she would always say, “I just like to keep the air clear, that’s why!”

During the first years of our friendship, I lived only 10 minutes away, and most every day of the week, we talked on the phone while I stood over a sink washing my dishes. At least once a week or more, we had lunch at one of our houses and it was always something we had added up calories on first. Cozy always struggled with weight, affectionately referring to me as the diet police because I kept her accountable in that area.

Cozy was a wonderful cook, who could pull food out of that big “deep freeze” on the patio like Mary Poppins digging goodies out of her bag. No matter what time guests stopped by, she had something homemade to offer. I always teased her about making so many different dishes for one meal or why she would have spaghetti with pork chops on the side. Bottom line, she wanted everyone to have something they liked to eat at dinner and however many dishes it took to make that happen, well, that’s how many she would cook.

Cozy loved sales, so sitting at her kitchen table meant clearing off a spot, moving the grocery sale page of the paper out of the way, and possibly the spiral notepad that she jotted everything down in, from grocery list to things to tell certain people, such as funny stories or things she heard. Although she wasn’t the tidiest person you could ever meet, hers was the house everyone wanted to visit, kick off their shoes and have a cup of coffee. Somehow she knew what was important.

Each morning, at 4:30 am without fail, she was in the kitchen sitting across the table from her husband Sam, a logger, drinking coffee and talking before he left to go to the “woods” as she referred to it. Devoted to him and her marriage, she stayed –whether it was in good times or in bad. Cozy wasn’t a quitter!

She always had time to visit the sick, take food to a grieving family, sing and play at funerals of local people when there was no one else who could or would. Cozy was caring and concerned with those whom the cards seemed stacked against, and she loved to hear of anyone beating the odds.

Cozy loved to drive Cadillacs, go shopping at garage sales, and always had a gigantic cup in her car or in her hand with something to drink,usually Diet Pepsi. She could also pull things out of the trunk of her car like magic ….if you needed an extra jacket or blanket or well…..whatever you might need, she most likely could pull it out of there 🙂

Cozy had a great sense of humor and loved to retell funny stories that she had experienced first hand. When telling really good ones, she would laugh to the point she couldn’t finish talking without taking a break to get over her hysterical laughing. Her laughter and joy were contagious. Cozy was bold, honest and not soft spoken, yet she was one of the most gentle kind caring people I’ve known.

In her 40’s, Cozy took classes to become a real estate agent, and was rather good at it. I can still hear her talking about people not saying real estate but rather “real-a-state” and how it was her pet peeve. Ha! The sky was her limit. Only when the skies opened up to welcome her that March 22, did she stop progressing and moving forward. A wonderful daughter, she was taking her dad on a trip to California to see family, like she did most every year …..but this would be her final trip. Actually it would be her dad’s, and her sister’s last trip as well! Unfortunately, they would only get as far as Needles, California.

I’ll always remember the restaurant, and table where I received the call that would change everything. It was almost like someone had pushed a giant invisible pause button for several minutes as my mind tried to wrap itself around the words from the other end of the phone. I stared across at my husband, children, and daughter-in-law who were sitting at the table with me. Silence flowed from one end of our table to the other, as they saw the look on my face . Then, as though the pause button was pressed to play again, reality hit when I ended the call to face my concerned family.

Even as I said the words “Cozy has been killed in a car accident,” I felt like I was telling some big lie that was all going to be straightened out. Mike put his arms around me and Charley (our oldest son) said “well let’s just stop and pray.” So we joined hands as Charley led us in a somber heartfelt prayer. Cozy would have been so touched by it…..and maybe she was , somehow…..from her new home in heaven.

The rest of the week was and still is a blur. Memories flood my thoughts, like flipping through a photo album inside my head. I’ve always heard it said “new friends are silver…..but old friends are gold.” That day I lost a beautiful golden medallion, meticulously sculpted with years of friendship, glistening with all the laughter it represented, radiant with memories, smiles,plans, and dreams. Our friendship was one of a kind; she was indeed a “golden” friend. But you see Cozy had a way of making everyone feel like they were her closest friend; she wanted everyone to feel special. Yet I’m almost positive she never had a clue how special she was to so many. I can still see the baby blue Cadillacs that carried Cozy, her dad Rev. Whilhite, and her sister Janice Dunkin, to the peaceful little cemetery not far away.

Six years and an ocean of tears later, I’m sitting here writing this tribute. My eyes are filled to the brim with teardrops waiting to fall, but instead I will smile, thinking of the days that happened long before March 22, 2008. That day changed me, but not all for the bad…..I regret not taking more pictures (there were only 2 or 3 of us together). I wish I had made time to return her last call, perhaps tried a little harder to talk her out of taking that trip to California.

I last saw Cozy at her house two weeks before her death. It was the first visit that we did absolutely nothing but sit and talk. For the first time, I made her sit at the kitchen table while I cleaned out all of her cabinets and organized them for her, something I wanted to do so many times but just never did. Our goodbye before I headed back to Oklahoma was uneventful. I never dreamed that would be the last visit , but it was a gift from God— last memories made with my best friend that I would hold close to my heart for a lifetime.

So much has happened since Cozy went away… went on without her here, even though I’m still not sure how that was possible. I will always miss her, but I will focus on cherishing the years of friendship, and keep her memory alive in my heart. That Spring, I planted a beautiful yellow rose bush in her memory. It blooms early and lasts long after others have lost their blooms. That plant is the perfect reminder of my sweet friend Cozy who, without even trying, bloomed much bigger than life. Always a step ahead and the last one to leave…..with the exception of that Spring morning in March when she left way too soon !

March 22, 2008
Four people were killed Saturday in a traffic collision involving a wrong-way driver on Interstate 40 near Needles, according to the San Bernardino County Coroner’s office.

The accident occurred about 4:30 a.m. just west of Water Road after a wrong-way driver was spotted heading east in the westbound lanes.

A white Chevrolet Camaro driven by Adam James Misiura, 21, of Tehachapi, and a red Cadillac carrying three occupants — Janace Dunkin, 63, Lowell T.C. Wilhite, 84, and Cozy Starr, 45, all from Norman, Ark., — collided head-on.

All were pronounced dead at the scene.


Paths that Cross By Quita feeley

This morning I found out that a young woman/mom just a couple miles away from where I live, took her life and that of her little three year old. My heart just broke and so I sat down and wrote this…

Paths that cross

If only I had known you, perhaps I could have helped–
A listening ear, taken your hand and said a prayer.
It could have made a difference, maybe changed your plan
But I had no idea, because our paths had never crossed.

As I planned my morning, coffee in hand
You were only a mile or so away, making your own plan–
one that heartbreak and pain had brought you to, but I couldn’t have known.
Our paths had never crossed.
While I busied myself with what to wear, what calls to make
you must have felt that there were no calls you could make,
or surely you would have made one….to someone.
A call that could have changed your mind. Of course you didn’t have my number.
Our paths had never crossed.
Last week at the grocery store, as I quickly walked the aisles, short on time
and in a crunch, it could have been you that I passed, maybe even twice.
I’m not sure I even smiled.
Our paths crossed.
Perhaps it was you at the red light, when I glanced inside your car
seeing your little children as you took them to school.
I most likely assumed you were a mom busy with life.
You seemed happy to me.
Our paths crossed.
Were you the one behind me in line to buy some things at the local discount store?
You only had an item or two and I a basket full.
I had a deadline though, so chose to continue, not making eye contact
not inviting you to go before me.
Our paths crossed.
You could have been the person who seemed hateful,
Someone I didn’t want to get to know.
Did I honk at you in traffic because you cut me off?
Or maybe you were the one I didn’t thank as you took my order at the drive through.
Our paths crossed.
Of course, if I had known the way your life would end,
If I had known you would be the headline to make me cry,
I would have done things differently if I ever had the chance
but I thought our paths had never crossed.
This morning I heard the sirens as they made their way down a street not far away.
I hardly noticed, didn’t give it a second thought, just pulled over to let them through.
I had no idea they were going for you.
One last time, our paths had crossed.

Everyday we cross the paths of hurting souls, often people to whom we don’t want to give the time of day.
They don’t meet us with a smile or compliment, don’t encourage us with their actions to reach out.
Sometimes, they intimidate us with their anger, and we feel defensive
And pull away, sometimes even thinking they’re not worth the time of day.
But YOU can be the difference, because people don’t accidentally cross our paths–
they are placed into our paths, so we can make a difference.