Hodgepodge of Poetry

This book is a collection of all the poems I have written. At least those I still have copies of.

I haven’t written much poetry. Most of what you’ll find was done in waves – I wrote for a few months or year or two then didn’t write any more for years or decades more. I think it’s because I have a hard time connecting with my emotions, and poetry is all about expressing your emotions.

Some of my poems were written from the logical side of my brain. I enjoy expressing thoughts and trying to come up with rhymes. Many of my poems were written at times in my life where my emotions were so strong they seeped out in spite of myself. I wish I could connect with my emotions on that level more often, but that ability has mostly eluded me. I keep thinking that some day I will get there. Years creep by without success.

At the beginning of each poem I documented the date and reason I wrote the poem the best I could remember.

I have put these together for one reason – I wanted to make them available for my children – Sydney and Blake. I think the poems will provide insight into who am I. Oh, I don’t expect them to read the poems for many years. Probably not until long after I’m gone. That’s okay – the poems are accessible when they are ready for them.

For anyone else who chooses to read them:  I have a little of everything. Serious, funny, insightful, goofy. I’ve never claimed to be a poet. Never will. I do enjoy rhyming words on occasion to express a thought or feeling. Well, mostly a thought.

I don’t expect anyone to enjoy all of these. Honestly, I don’t enjoy them all. But I wrote them all and they each tell a little bit about me. So don’t expect to find more than a handful you like and want to read a second time.

Now that I have you hooked 🙂 – enjoy!


Hodgepodge of Poetry may be purchased here:

Print or Digital

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I Wish I Was Happy

I wish I was happy.

In truth I don’t have a good reason to be unhappy.

I have two wonderful children who have done nothing but make me proud. I have a job that provides me financial security. I am in good health, have a hobby I am passionate about, and live in a wonderful community.

And yet, I am genuinely unhappy.

I wouldn’t define it simply as sadness. It’s more of a sense of anxiety.

I feel like I’m going through life surrounded by a large wall.

Admittedly, today is a day that ranks on the bottom of the happy scale. I have waves of emotion like this on occasion, sometimes lasting a day or a few weeks. The only time I have felt worse is when experiencing tragedy like my mom’s death or my divorce.

But even on good days I wouldn’t say that I feel happy.

I trudge through each day accomplishing what I’ve determined to get done, pushing myself through the burdensome emotions to chase my dreams – dreams which even in their fantastical images in my mind don’t make me happy, but drive me forward toward a sense of accomplishment and success, but never to satisfaction or pleasure.

I have good moments. Not ever day, but I occasionally have moments of laughter. A funny show will tickle me. My goofy son with his incredible sense of humor often says something to make me laugh. Going for a run helps remove the dark cloud and provides hope. Watching my son and daughter interact fills me with joy. Attending church or watching a sermon online inspires me.

But these wonderful feelings are temporary, scurrying away the first chance they get.

Maybe that’s the way life is supposed to be. I kind of think so.

Don’t worry – I’m not suicidal. Never have been.

I live life in my head and not my heart. Maybe that’s why I’ve never given serious thought to suicide. Maybe it’s also my happiness problem.

I have large, specific, long-term goals for my life. My goals drive me, focus me, and guide me. I don’t know if the urgency to accomplish my goals stems from a longing to be happy or a deep-seeded sense of purpose I hope to capture through success. Either way, chasing my goals means sacrificing personal time and pleasure. I gladly do it in pursuit of a perceived larger prize at the end.

I know, I’m daily sabotaging opportunities to be happy to chase after the allusive happiness I’ll never catch up to. Catch twenty-two. Fair point.

I’ll tell you, though, I’ve lived long enough to know chasing happiness is a futile, and at best temporary, pursuit. I’d rather invest my life than chase happiness for happiness’ sake.

I may have life all backwards.

Or I may understand what few are willing to accept – happiness is not the end goal.


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Aunt Kathy

My aunt is dying of cancer.

The doctors gave her one to two weeks. She’s losing strength and will die any day.

I saw her a month ago, in the hospital. Her spirit and fight remained strong.

At the time it was just another ICU stint for her, like all the other times she had spent a few days in the hospital.

Four years ago Kathy was diagnosed with stage four cancer. She was fifty-five years old. She fought it into remission enough to resume her teaching position. Unfortunately, the cancer continued to persist and her weakened body forced her to retire from a job she loved; from her life’s calling.

She’s been in and out of the hospital for various ailments, all cancer or cancer treatment related. Each time we feared it was the end, but each time Kathy rose to conquer her enemy. She did one final time a month ago.

That was her last, short-lived victory. She returned to the hospital a week ago, where the doctors pronounced the nearing end. She was moved to her son’s house yesterday, to live out what few days remained with her family.

She has accepted her fate and is ready for the end of this life. Her hope isn’t in a miraculous recovery but in meeting her Savior. And her sister. My mom passed away eight years ago. They will be reunited soon.

Kathy is only nine years older than me. We took family vacations together and I’ve spent thousands of miles in a car with her.

She lived with my mom, sister, and I for three years when I was a teenager and she was at her first teaching job. I helped her grade papers, watched her and her husband court before she got married and moved out.

The only high school activity of mine Mom ever missed was to be with Kathy when she gave birth to her firstborn. That was also the only birthday of mine she ever missed.

One of my fondest memories is of Kathy, my mom, and their sister Rhonda (there are eight siblings in all). They would sit on the living room floor, eat popcorn, peanut M&Ms, and drink Pepsi while writing stories together. They called themselves the Roth Writers (Roth was their maiden name) and mailed their stories to publishers and television scripts to the Osmonds. I don’t think I’ve ever seen three people have as much fun as they did.

This may be morbid, but her impending death makes me feel close to Mom. Any day now Kathy will be with her, which Makes Mom seem like she’s almost within reach. I suppose I am even a little jealous of Kathy. I long for the connection to my mom broken eight years ago. With Kathy, I’m so, so close.

I fought the urge today to drive to Kansas City to ask my aunt to tell Mom I said ‘hi’. I chose to let her children have these last days with her in peace without me barging in to demand Kathy be my personal messenger. I don’t know that it’s possible to send messages in that manner, but it might be. What I do know is that Kathy will give Mom a full report on her grandkids. That will make Mom smile. And that’s enough for me.

Although she’s dying much too young, my Aunt Kathy got a rare gift. She realized a year ago her time was short and she lived her final her year to it’s fullest and without regret. Seeing her fight against cancer and her approaching death I have recognized my Aunt Kathy is the strongest person I’ve ever known.

I hope one day my death touches someone’s life the way Kathy’s has touched mine.

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Book Locations

I’ve had numerous inquiries as to where my books can be purchased. I’ll try to keep this list current.

Tortoise Gallery
MB Studio

Newton – Faith and Life Bookstore

McPherson – The Bookshelf


Read for Free
Halstead Public Library
Newton Public Library

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Our Drive Home from Colorado

It was fifty-four degrees and mostly sunny when Sydney and I arrived in Limon, Colorado on Sunday, April 30, returning to Kansas from a writer’s conference in Colorado Springs. I had just passed the convenient store (even though I strongly needed a pit stop) because Sydney had just laid her head to the side and closed her eyes.

I was confused when I saw the flashing sign that said I-70 was closed. As I pulled onto the shoulder of the off-ramp with a dozen other cars I woke Sydney because I needed a map and my flip phone wasn’t up to the task.

Assuming I-70 was closed due to the high winds we found another east/west road and proceeded south.

By the time we stopped at Eads, Colorado to eat we had learned that western Kansas had received up to eighteen inches of snow. Although we didn’t have any reason to doubt our source, it was hard to believe there were traveling issues when we continued to drive with mostly clear skies and an occasional snow drift.

During our stop we heard highway ninety-six was reopened. Um, okay, maybe there is more going on than we realize. Further south, highway fifty remained closed. It was time to turn east.

Yes, it had snowed in Colorado Springs the previous day. But the roads were fine and there was barely any snow remaining. So at this point we still didn’t grasp the severity of the snow that blanketed western Kansas and stood between us and home.

As the sun set behind us and we entered Kansas (yes, it was almost that dramatic at the state border) reality began to take shape. It seemed like we passed across an invisible barrier that kept the cold and snow inside the Wheat state’s borders.

At one point the temperature dropped ten degrees almost instantly. Our speed was slowed to a crawl and we saw cars and semis stranded in deep snow drifts in the ditches. We wondered what we had gotten ourselves into.

Flashing lights and ten-foot high snow banks were the only indication we had entered a town. We learned from the officer that the electricity of Leoti had been off for over ten hours, the motel was full, and he thought one of the churches was opening up to provide shelter for stranded travelers. Oh, and they were stopping vehicles because the road ahead was down to one lane. As we tried to get across the highway to the motel parking lot to wait the Camry got stuck. Five guys and a tow freed us. In spite of the officer’s warning, several vehicles that had been stuck behind us drove ahead toward Scott City. We decided the roads couldn’t get much worse than they were in Leoti so we followed.

We continued to see cars in the ditch as we slipped and slid and watched the car in front of us do the same. We called ahead and found out that both Scott City and Dighton had motels that were full and churches opening up for those in need.

At the convenient store in Scott City we asked other travelers (including the ones who had been sliding in front of us) if they knew how the road were ahead. The consensus was that the road east was improved over what lay behind so we gassed up and continued on.

The roads improved between Dighton and Ness City but a light drizzle began to hit the windshield. It was well past midnight so we decided to stop.

The motel wasn’t anything to write home about. Well, okay, maybe it was, but not in a good way. An empty pool in the middle of the lobby without barriers, a bathroom door that took both Sydney and I to open, and a room that had seen better days are certainly stories that can be shared.

After a few hours of sleep we loaded up (neither of us brave enough to shower) and finished our journey with clear skies and a dry road.
I dropped Sydney off at Sterling College by eleven and I arrived home by noon – a mere twelve hours and one long adventure later than expected.

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April Storytime Bloghop

Storytime Blog Hop January 25th, 2017

Welcome to another chapter in Storytime Blog Hop. We have new short speculative fiction tales from authors around the world.  My contribution below.  Follow the links to all the other stories and participating authors in the blog hop.  Leave us comments.  We love hearing from you!

Flipper’s Pick-Up Lines

“Are you sure about this?”

Flipper had used one of his best pick-up lines yesterday on his crush, Neva. He believed it went well – she had giggled and touched his arm – but Neva still liked Josh. Since Josh didn’t feel the same way about Neva, Allison talked him into telling Neva so she could stop thinking about him, which might give Flipper a chance. At first Josh didn’t want to talk to Neva, but Allison was persistent and he relented, mostly because Flipper was his best friend. She went with Josh for that conversation and now she was going with Flipper to help him talk to Neva.

“I know it went well last time but I’m still scared.” Flipper shook his arms nervously.

“Just be yourself,” Allison said.

“What if I don’t know what to say?” Flipper asked a little panicky.

“If you’re stuck just ask her a question. Everyone likes to talk about themselves. Here she comes.”

Neva smiled. “Hi Allison. Hi Flipper.”

“Hi Neva!” Allison elbowed Flipper when he didn’t respond.

“Um, um, did it hurt?”

“What?” Neva asked, confused.

“When you fell out of heaven?”

Neva giggled.

Allison elbowed Flipper again. What was he thinking? When neither of them said anything for several seconds, Allison asked, “Are you going to the game tomorrow night?”

Neva nodded. “I want to if my dad will let me.”

“Is your dad an alien?” Flipper chimed in.

There were a few moments of awkward silence.

Neva hesitantly said, “No. Why?”

Flipper quietly answered, “Because there’s nothing else like you on Earth.”

Neva giggled again and Allison swore she was blushing.

Flipper seemed to be gaining confidence. “Are you a magician?”

Neva smiled. She was hanging on Flipper’s every word. “No, why?”

“Because every time I look at you everyone else disappears.”

There was no doubt now, Neva’s cheeks were red. Her giggles turned into laughter.

“Were your parents thieves?”

Neva shook her head.

“They must be because someone stole the stars from the sky and put them in your eyes. Do you have a map?”

Neva was laughing too hard to answer, which didn’t slow Flipper down at all.

“I need one because I keep getting lost in your eyes.”

Allison couldn’t stand to watch any more. She loudly cleared her throat. “Flipper can I see you a minute.” She pulled on his arm and they walked several feet away from the hysterical Neva.

Allison whispered, “What are you doing?”

Flipper shrugged his shoulders. “You told me if I didn’t know what to say to ask her questions.”

“I meant ask her questions about her and what she’s interested in. I didn’t mean bombard her with lousy pick-up lines.”

“Hey!” Flipper protested. “These are some of my best lines.”

Allison sighed. “That’s all you’ve said to her.”

“I can’t help it. I open my mouth to ask a question and the only thing that comes out are pick-up lines.” Flipper grinned. “Well, she’s getting to know the real me.”


“I tell you what,” Allison continued to whisper so Neva couldn’t hear. “I’ll start the topics and you follow my lead.”

Flipper agreed.

They rejoined Neva.

Allison apologized. “Sorry about that. We were just talking about how we were looking forward to fall and the cooler weather.”

That was his cue. Flipper searched for what to say. “Yeah, it’s hot, Neva. You’re hot. I mean, you’re hotter than the bottom of my laptop.”

Neva giggled so Flipper continued. “Did the sun come out or did you just smile at me?”

Neva melted. “Ahh!”

Allison shook her head in disbelief. She tried to change the subject again. “Do you go to church?”

Neva nodded. “I go with my parents to Grace Community Church.”

Allison looked at him in anticipation. Flipper met her eyes. His eyes were watering. He realized he was holding his breath and exhaled deeply. Allison adamantly shook her head. She was going to kill him but he couldn’t resist. “Somebody better call God because he’s missing an angel.”

He slowly walked around Neva without taking his eyes off of her. When he completed the circle he said, “Where do you hide your wings?”

He was positive she snorted when she laughed. He could feel Allison’s ire, but he couldn’t stop. He didn’t know what else to say and his mouth just seemed to have taken over.

“What time do you have to be back to heaven?

Neva laughed even harder.

“When God made you he was showing off.”

Neva was laughing so hard her face was red and she wasn’t breathing. She removed her glasses and wiped her eyes.

“Your eyes are blue like the ocean. And baby, I’m lost at sea!”

“Oh, good grief,” he heard Allison mumble before she walked off.


After dinner that evening Flipper met Allison at Josh’s house to talk about his encounter with Neva.

“How did it go?” Josh eagerly asked.

“It was horrible to watch.”

“I tried to act normal, I really did! But every time I opened my mouth one of my pick-up lines came out. It seemed like once I started I couldn’t stop. That’s all I could remember.”

“It was that bad, huh?” Josh asked.

“Actually, she really thought it was cute,” Flipper said. “In fact, she was flattered that I liked her.”

“I hear a but coming,” Josh interjected.

“We agreed just to be friends.”

“I’m sorry,” Allison consoled. “Are you okay?”

Flipper smiled. “Actually, I’m relieved. It was a lot of pressure trying to impress Neva.”

Josh shook his head. “Gosh, you worked so hard to memorize all of those pick-up lines. I thought surely one of them would work.”

“Actually, one of them did.”

Josh scrunched his head and Allison wore a puzzled look. “What do you mean?” she asked.

“Before we agreed to be just friends,” Flipper explained. “She responded positively to my final pick-up line.”

“Which one was that?” Josh asked.

Flipper’s cheeks turned red. “Your lips look so lonely…Would they like to meet mine?”


Thank you for taking the time to read my story. I hope you enjoyed!

If you enjoyed Flipper’s Pick-up Lines check out my newest books, Vetrix and Before Vetrix, for more adventures with Flipper, Allison, and Josh.

Read more stories by selecting the links below. These are fellow writers and friends of mine.


The Scorpius Gate by Sandra Fikes
V is for Vortex by Elizabeth McCleary
Deep Dive by Juneta Key
Bugs by Gina Fabio
Secret by J. Q. Rose
Journal of Anah by J Lenni Dorner
The Vineyard at Mar Mozambique by Karen Lynn
Stealing Space by Barbara Lund
The Day I was Clever by Katharina Gerlach
Never kid a kidder by Angela Wooldridge
The Color Of… by Chris Makowski
Nightmare by Erica Damon

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Upcoming Appearances

Here are my coming speaking engagements:

Thursday, April 27, 7:50-8:20 a.m. – Halstead Middle School assembly, grades 4-6

Saturday, May 6, 6-8 p.m. – Book signing with Bob Lutz, Sips Coffee, 225 Main St, Halstead, Ks

Saturday, May 27, all day, Yates Center Days – Will have a booth set up with books for sale by Blake and Bill Bush and by Phyllis Roth Lewis. Courthouse lawn, Yates Center, Ks

Monday, June 19, 7-8 P.M – Book signing with N. Jade Gray at Newton Public Library, 720 N Oak, Newton, Ks

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Front Page of the Newton Kansan!

My son Blake and I made the front page of the Newton Kansan in anticipation of our first book signing.

Thanks go to Patricia Middleton for writing a wonderful story!

Read the Story here


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Vetrix (Flipper Book 1) by [Bush, Bill, Bush, Blake]

Two alien species. One threat to Earth.
But who is the real threat and who can be trusted?

Twelve-year-old Flipper didn’t believe in aliens – until he was kidnapped by one.

When he wakes up one morning on the planet Vetrix he is trapped in the midst of an inter-planetary war. As Flipper struggles to survive and find a way back to Earth he discovers he may be a descendent of one of the warring species and that his intervening in the war may be his destiny, if destiny is decided by a computer program.

On Earth, Allison begins having dreams that turn out to be real experiences. When she watches a purple man disappear with her cousin, Flipper, no one believes her. Allison’s best friend Josh agrees to help and together the two sixth-graders begin their own investigation that leads them to the truth behind the Roswell Incident of 1947 and current alien activity on Earth.

As they try to gure out how to expose the secret colony of aliens and their plans to destroy the human race, Allison attempts to use her dreams to locate and rescue Flipper.


Vetrix may be purchased here:

Print or Electronic

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Before Vetrix

Before Vetrix (Flipper, Allison, and Josh) by [Bush, Bill, Bush, Blake]


Three friends-eleven adventures-one good time.

Before Flipper is kidnapped in front of Allison and
Josh (details in the book Vetrix), the three best friends had a relatively normal life, though these short stories show that even ordinary kids doing everyday activities experience extraordinary moments.What kind of fun lies inside these pages?

– Josh and Allison get kicked out of a field trip

– They each share their most embarrassing moment

– Flipper uses his best pick-up lines on a girl he has a crush on

– The kids play a prank on Christmas night

– Allison and Flipper help Josh deal with a bully

– An indoor activity sends one of them to the emergency room

– Flipper and Allison battle against a tarantula that is stalking them

– Flipper fights a goat

– Allison becomes a sleuth

… and more

Experience the trio’s friendship as they have a good time together, no matter the circumstances.

Copies of Before Vetrix can be found here:
Printed Version
Printed and Electronic


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