This Easter, I had the opportunity to compose another spoken word poem for Salem Alliance Church. The piece would be performed by an intelligent young man by the name of Ray White, recorded by SAC’s extremely talented tech guy, Chris Hahn, and directed by myself and Jeff Brown, the church’s Worship Pastor.
I continue to be humbled and blessed by beautiful collaborations such as these…they fall into my lap without my asking, and I’ve learned to say “yes” to the things that terrify me. Growth happens when you’re able to work through your fears, making them work for you, and replacing uncertainty with absolute trust. It’s so very hard. But so very liberating. And that is exactly what happened this Easter weekend. I never seem to be able to articulate these experiences very well…and I suppose that is alright. The best things in life need no explanation.
The livestream video is available to view by clicking here. For those who do not wish to watch the full video, the spoken word piece begins at the 24:45 time stamp. If you happen to meet Ray or Chris or Jeff, thank them. And I do hope you’ll take the time to watch the service in its entirety. We are surrounded by passionate and talented individuals who have such a heart for Christ and for others. Let’s celebrate Him, and each other, and remember that we live because He lives.
‘Twas the eve before Christmas and all through downtown, not a single soul resting—no time to slow down! With twinkle lights hung (precarious in the rain) in hopes that next year this won’t happen again. The wish lists were gripped, e’en taken to beds, while visions of bright price tags danced in their heads. Our customs, traditions—how stressors do climb! This season merely asks: “Spend less money; more time.” – Written by J.M. Murdoch (c)2015 –
[This imperfect poem is a nod to “The Night Before Christmas,” first published anonymously on December 23rd, 1823 in the Troy Sentinel newspaper in upstate New York.]
My most recent article published to the Salem Weekly focuses on slowing down this holiday season. Spend more time with your loved ones, and spend less money. The best things in life do not have a price tag, but if you are in need of gifts for friends and family, I encourage you to shop local, wherever you live. By buying from your local (private, non-corporate) businesses, you are helping those shop owners support their own families and dreams this Christmas, and year-round. Help make Salem and its surrounding areas a strong and vibrant community. You can read the full article on the Salem Weekly website by clicking HERE, or by picking up the Salem Weekly newspaper at one of over 700+ locations in the local area.
The article also includes numerous unique and authentic “things to do” for the holidays, which won’t break the bank, but encourages spending quality time with others in order to make priceless, memorable experiences this winter. Merry Christmas to you and yours!
“Salem” is an original poem written by Jessica Murdoch, published in the Salem Weekly newspaper on September 3rd, 2015. As requested by #PopUpPoetry customer, Christine, the poem is a sonnet (specifically a Shakespearean-style sonnet) written in iambic pentameter, with the rhyme scheme ABAB CDCD EFEFGG.
On Wednesday, October 28th, John Stumbo, the Alliance Board of Directors, and Salem Alliance Church hosted the The Alliance’s fourth Livestream Praise and Prayer event based on “Is Anyone Thirsty?” Isaiah 55:1 (NLT). Area churches were welcomed to attend in Salem, Oregon, while the entire Alliance family around the world was invited to participate online. The livestream video can be viewed here. (Poem performed at the 11:30 time-stamp.)
The following original spoken word poem was written and performed by Jessica Murdoch for the aforementioned event.
This post includes links to my articles published in the Salem Weekly newspaper. (For those of you who are able to snatch a physical copy from one of our 700+ drop sites in the Willamette Valley, awesome. For those who are sadly out of the area, online will have to do. However, if any of you really like one of the articles online–mine or not mine–I would be more than happy to mail you a physical copy of the newspaper. We have extras at the office.) Thanks for reading!
Articles are listed in reverse chronological order:
“Poetry Has a New Name” (An interview with local poet, Henry Hughes, and a pseudo-review of his newest poetry book, Bunch of Animals; 03/17/2016)
(No article 03/03/2016 — the Salem Weekly only prints twice a month; this was a “skip week”)
(For the 11/12/2015 issue, I wrote an article to preview Thanksgiving weekend, “A Wine Country Thanksgiving,” but it was rejected by the editors of the Salem Weekly. I type this without shame or regret because this is proof that every writer has their good days and bad. And that rejection is normal, and gives me a chance to learn and grow. I may or may not rework it and post it to the blog.)
Note: This blog post includes a lot of biological/sexual/medical descriptions that may be considered graphic for some readers…this is a post about my lady-anatomy, after all. I do not spare any details; read with caution if you’re prone to discomfort when reading such content.
Monday, August 3rd, 2015 – 8:30 pm
Irony has a funny way of jumping in to my life to yell, “Surprise!” while my pants are still down.
Steve and I just had a lovely round of marital relations and were looking forward to a nice relaxing evening, probably involving a movie and going to bed early. (Don’t squirm–intercourse is kind of a thing that happens in marriage, people. And I include this snippet because it single-handedly initiated the following story.)
I stood upright to go to the bathroom and was greeted by severe cramping in my lower abdomen. Curious, as I have never, ever experienced cramping before (lucky me, I know…sympathies to my not-so-lucky fellow females out there). True, I was due to start my cycle any day now, but this was something quite different than the usual pangs of discomfort.
Cramping was soon accompanied by extreme bloating in my upper abdomen, and the pain only continued to increase as an hour passed by. I lay in bed with a heat pad on my stomach in hopes the cramping would pass. But I found myself sitting on the throne of my misery, cramping at a full roar with my abdomen refusing any form of calm as nausea and fatigue and light-headedness took over.
I couldn’t even call out to Steve, barely getting out, “Babe…something’s wrong…”
He called an advice nurse through our insurance company, who asked me a laundry list of questions and concluded with, “You need to be seen at the ER. Immediately.”
Steve was a superhero—dashing around the house to pack a small bag of necessities for the hospital as I attempted to confidently leave the bathroom behind without concern of needing it again soon.
This was bad. Let me be clear—I have a high pain tolerance. Like, stupidly high. I know when my body is just dealing with something minor, which is most of the time. But this was unlike anything I’d ever felt, and everything in my body and brain screamed wrong wrong wrong. The pain was so bad I seriously considered telling Steve to drive me to Salem Hospital (which is a desperate move…everyone knows how bad the local hospital is when it comes to ER care…or any care for that matter). The proximity was that tempting. Steve reasoned me out of my insanity, though, reminding me that I would be seen and likely diagnosed at Silverton Hospital in the same amount of time it would take Salem Hospital to simply call me into triage.
Better late than never! I wanted to give you guys another peek into my event this last weekend during our glorious 70-degree sunny weather. 🙂 I set out to perform Pop Up Poetry at two locations on Saturday: first at Broadway Coffeehouse in the late morning/early afternoon, then to Archive Coffee & Bar in the evening. My first time performing a Daily Double, I am merely thrilled that I managed to survive! It was incredibly fun, as always, and I got to meet some wonderful people who were so kind to share their stories with me. Thanks to each of you for giving me a priceless gift time and time again! Hope to see you again soon!
Some Pop Up poems below in order of creation…Hope you enjoy!