Special Olympics Wisconsin

As I was waiting in a store yesterday, I sat near a gentleman with a developmental disability.  Today I am reflecting upon my career in special education.  After I left teaching, and experienced recovery from surgery and illness, I experienced disability of a different sort.  Then, as a caregiver, with legal and practical responsibilities, I experienced  yet another side of being a human being.   I sat in a meeting one day at a nursing home, and I thought, “I’ve been the professional, the patient, and now the daughter.”

I’ve been needed too much, and I’ve also been invisible in our world.  Many of you know exactly what I am saying!

It took me many years to tell my story.  Blogging gave me the confidence, in large measure.

One thing I know: everyone has a story.

I know that the poems that touch the hearts of others are the ones that are born in these deep places.

Always more to learn about art, about craft, but for me the heart is most important.

My great-aunt, Marie Schwanke, was a pioneer in education for people with hearing challenges.  There were children in my neighborhood with special needs.  I remember the passing of a child too at a young age.  In a group, I tended to notice the person who was “different,” who was not learning in the same way, at the same pace.  I always knew my calling…until I was 40.  Then a new journey began, which I also cherish and thank God for every day.

So today, I looked up the website for Special Olympics Wisconsin.


The Special Olympic Athlete Oath is:

“Let me win.  But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”

Rain Falls In The Night

rain falls in the night
I rise to sit and listen
a cup of coffee
with the windows open

many of the best things
in my life arose from
the losses and hardest years
rain falls in the night

new writing flows
from many pages
shredded and feels right
rain falls in the night

how I love to learn
and try to understand
God gave us our minds
and our hearts too

now I know

rain falls in the night …


Deep calleth unto deep … *

filling my heart with hope

greater than my mind

* from Psalm 42: 7 (KJV)

“Sunshower” image courtesy of wpclipart.com.

prayers and poems

Praying the Psalms, for many years now, is my spiritual practice; deeper than writing.  When I cannot possibly find the right words to say, when I am personally overwhelmed, I trust the Psalms.  Someone somewhere is always praying, always sending another positive blog post to the world.  For all who are suffering in Colorado and other places, I add my voice to the voices of countless others, with a few poems others have found to be helpful for a moment.  Blessings, Ellen

* * *


(quotes from Psalm 121 KJV)

sun rises
above clouds across the sky
“I will lift up mine eyes…”
shines into my soul
“My help cometh from the LORD…”

* * *

losses in life
low setting sun
through branches of trees
now rises again
as birds quietly sing

* * *


leaves of bleeding hearts
now gold
so do broken hearts mend
so does grief heal
Autumn grace

* * *

“Autumn Grace” was published in
Bell’s Letters Poet.

The image is courtesy of antiqueclipart.com.

Acrostic for LIBRARY

L  ove of literature

I  nspires countless

B  eautiful hours of

R  eading many

A  uthors, and sometimes

R  ereading beloved books

Y  early

Thanks to all who work in libraries and do so much to serve our communities.

The image is a free sample from Dover Publications.
From Art Nouveau.

Update: my LIBRARY acrostic poem was published by WestWard Quarterly, Fall 2018.

Ellen Grace Olinger

Salvaging Hope by Charles A. Waugaman

Salvaging Hope

Like truth out of living
I salvage blueberries, one by one,
From the tangled mat of the meadow.
Small as they are,
The grasses fight for them,
Vetch maneuvers in camouflage,
And wild rose claws at my wrists.
Birds spy from the hedgerow
And sing indifferent melodies
Hoping to lure me away
From their succulent repast.
Why this surprising demand?
Blueberries are wealth:
They are something of sun
And something of soil;
They are sky and wildness;
Beauty and wine,
Winnowed from weedy worthlessness,
Blueberries glow in my palm
As welcome … as hope.

By Charles A. Waugaman

All Rights Reserved


Welcoming Hope: Poems for those in need
Lora Homan Zill and Ellen G. Olinger, Editors
Charles A. Waugaman, Art Editor, Illustrator

Elin Grace Publishing, 2007
Oostburg, Wisconsin
ISBN 978-0-9729848-4-3

This is a book with TIME OF SINGING (TOS).  Please see their Books Page for ordering information, or simply more info in general.  All proceeds benefit TOS.

This lovely poem by Charles was published first in 1974:  Jean’s Journal Anthology, These Are My Jewels.  

Post updated on August 15, 2015