Open Space at The Zoo Fence

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Verlie Rider
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Some of these selections appear in Verlie’s new book, The Four “R”s, a collection of encouraging and inspiring introspective poetry and other writings. For still another, please click here. To obtain a copy of her book, please write Verlie at

The book’s back cover describes the author thusly: “Verlie Rider lives and works on a fruit farm in Hart, Michigan. Currently, she fills her days writing, being a bookkeeper, picking and selling fruit at a local farmers market, and enjoying what is laughingly called retirement. She is married to Bob Rider, a life-long farmer in the area.”



A kiss on the back of the neck,
A snuggle up to me in our bed,
Arms around me in soft abandon,
Heaven resides in our home.

The rich aroma of coffee in the morning,
The quiet of a home filled only with love,
The prayers that I know are being answered,
The assurance of the Presence of the Beloved,
Heaven resides in our home.

I sit and I listen to the sounds of the morning,
In closing my eyes, they all fade away,
I am alone, I am safe with the wonderful Presence of God,
Heaven is truly residing in our home.

I rise and I bring my Self back to this world,
Secure in the knowledge of Grace,
I remember that wherever my loved one goes,
He is cradled in the Hands of God

Heaven resides in my heart.




Once I wrote about “When Life Hurts“,

Now I write about a joyous life.

Once I wrote of the things I couldn’t bear,

Now I write of the love that enfolds me.

Once I wrote of the dreams of fear and despair raging through me,

Now I write of the revival of my joyous Self.

Once I wrote of the agonizing thoughts that bombarded my mind,

Now I write of the peace that envelopes my life.

What has happened? What has changed?

ME - I have remembered who I am.

I have remembered that I am as God created me.

I have remembered that I am here, right now, and I am held in the palm of God’s Hand.




In the middle of the night
All of the little thoughts I have avoided all day
Come creeping into my head.
The nagging doubts, the “if only”s,
The “I could have done that differently”, the “how comes”,
The embarrassing things I did or the unselfish things I didn’t do.
The smile I didn’t give, or the impatience that I did,
The phone call or visit I was too busy to make,
Or everything that I wish I could change,
Comes creeping into my head in the middle of the night.

Tomorrow, tomorrow, I say,
Tomorrow I’ll make it right.
Tomorrow I’ll write the letter, send the card, make the call.
Surely tomorrow I will do better than I did yesterday.
And I am caught in the middle of all of my good intentions
The Zoo Fenceto do better, to love more, to hurry less, to stop and remember,
The Zoo Fenceto trust easily, to avoid beating myself up,

In the middle of the night.




All day long, in the back of my mind, I kept waiting.

I did the dishes, swept the floors, made a pie, and

Thought about you.

I checked my e-mail, paid some bills, went to the store,

And I thought about you.

Were you doing dishes, sweeping floors, paying bills, driving your car, and did you think about me?

Were you doing all the things you wanted to do, seeing what you wanted to see, and living the life you wanted to live?

Did you pass by the phone and think, “I really should call – maybe tomorrow I’ll have time”.

Once I thought I too would have more time to call tomorrow, and now there is no one left to call.

Once I said “I’ll do it tomorrow”, and now I am filled with sadness for all of the tomorrows that vanished while I too kept so busy, did the errands, and walked on by the silent telephone.

I look through the faded photo albums and remember, sometimes there isn’t any tomorrow for some of us.

Where did the months and years go while I ran and pushed and shoved myself to get all the important things done, and the telephone just sat there, waiting?

Will my telephone ever ring in time?




When life hurts, remember, it is only a dream!
Whatever is in my mind is something I put there.

If I could put it there, I can change it, or erase it.
I can replace the thoughts that hurt or destroy my peace.

I can fill my mind with God, who is the Divine Love,
Flowing in and through me at all times.

I can stop and remember that wherever I am, God, the Eternal love,
Joy, and peace of my life, always is. I have no need to fear
Being alone, because that is impossible.

There is no need to beat myself up over things that no longer exist,
Either in my mind or this world.

I can relax and live in this moment, neither looking forward or
Backward, knowing that all is well in my world right now,
No matter how it looks to others.

I am the fortunate one, because I know that all is One, and
I am loved and protected no matter what. I am surrounded
By friends and angels wherever I go.

Thank you, God!




You already knew that I was here.
I do not need to tell you, God.
Why do I feel the need to inform you?
Have I forgotten that wherever I am, God is?
Or is my ego in the way again, saying,
I must remind Him, lest He forget me,
Or is too busy, or doesn’t realize how important it is!
Or am I really reminding myself of that which already is?
Wherever I am, God is!
Thank you, God!



Why Do I Write, God?

Is it to put my thoughts on paper so I can get a clearer look at them?

Is it to impress my friends and relatives that I am “a writer”, a deep thinker, more thoughtful than they are?

Is it just to pass the time of day?

Is it because I can’t remember as well as when I can see it written down?

Is it because I want to express my feelings more clearly, and I feel I can do it better this way?

Is it my urge to see my name in print, inferring that someone besides me thinks my writing is worthwhile?

Is it just the urge to share with others the ideas I have been practicing?

Is it because I feel like I am the most in the flow with my Inner Voice when I allow the words to pour forth on paper?

Is it because I can’t help my Self, I just have to Do It?

Probably, all of the above!

Thank you, God!



What Does God Mean To Me?

Peace, understanding, reverence, awe.
I am safe.
Wherever I am, God is.
Power, Presence, Love,
Above all, Love.

When I stop and remember that God is right here,
What happens?

I relinquish my fears.
I know I am safe.
Other people’s opinions about me no longer matter.
I am filled with gratitude.
I know I can do what needs to be done.
I can look upon others with compassion.
I know that all that matters is right NOW, where I AM.

I ask myself, am I treating others as I would like to be treated?
If not, why not?

I can let go of all the old guilt and sadness for
The things I could have done better.

While the mystery that is God is always a wonder to me,
I see Him in every smiling face,
And I know that I am never alone!

Thank you, God!



Today I Forgot

Today I forgot to remember the Presence of God in my life!

The television was blaring out unimportant messages.
I had to think about what was expected of me.
Brightly lit stores filled with intriguing packages beckoned me.
The phone kept on ringing with an urgent voice.
The children needed my referring skills.
At work the computer broke down and I didn’t know how to fix it.
I was reminded that I had promised to attend
an unimportant meeting after dinner.
I just got tired! Too much going on in my mind.

How do I break the cycle, God?
Where do I draw the line?
What can I do the next time, when I realize the impossible has happened?
I have put God at the end of the things to remember.
My mind is filled with everything BUT the
acknowledgement of the Presence of God!

My Remedy

Be still and remember that I am.
I am as God created me.
The most important thing in my life is the Presence of God.
Wherever I am, God is.
I remember to relax and turn back,
Because God never left!



The whole world is new when …

I decide to love, rather than to be loved.
I decide to appreciate, rather than criticize.
I decide to go with the flow, rather than push.
I decide to listen to my inner voice, rather than avoid hearing it.
I decide to ask what my children want, rather than tell them.
I decide that I am in control of my emotions, rather than erupting without thought.
I decide that I can look for what is right in my world, rather than what is wrong.
I decide to praise all of my blessings, rather than condemn my shortfalls.
I decide to be thankful for all God has given me, rather than a complainer.
I decide to be kind, rather than right.
I decide to enjoy what I have right now, rather than look for what I want next.
I decide that all is well in my world, no matter what.
Yes, the secret is,



Filled with Happiness

Sitting here in my chair
Counting my many blessings
Knowing that I am never alone
Knowing that I am enfolded in love
Knowing that my thoughts are
Winging their way to you,
I am filled with happiness.



I Am At Peace

When I can quiet my mind
When I feel the love of my friends and family around me
When I know that God is with me
When I pay attention to my own still, small voice
When I can say, I did the best I knew how at the time
When I can get up in the morning and say “What a gorgeous day!”
When I can smile genuinely at all of the people I meet wherever I am
When I can say, “Today is a new day, full of opportunity!”
When I know that I have a purpose in life and I am fulfilling it
When I can look upon new situations as a challenge
When I can say, “Thank you, thank you, God, for my life!”
When I count my blessings and I don’t have enough fingers
or toes for all of them!
When I feel the warmth of the sun, the coolness of the rain, and know that
all is working in God’s plan for growth and abundance
When I can look upon your Face, feel your Warmth, and say, “I love You!”