Sunday, May 31, 2009

Sunday Secrets: May 31 2009

PostSecret is an ongoing community art project where people mail in their secrets anonymously on one side of a homemade postcard. I find it to be an insightful sociological experiment.

These two secrets caught my attention for the same reason. They have a similar theme. Each writer gives an example of trying to reach out someone important to them, but feeling completely unimportant and unheard.

The 'duh' factor.
Like receiving a re-gifted present
with the original card still in the box.
Could you be any more unobservant?

It can sometimes bug me, too.
But then, I realize I'm writing more for what I need to say
than for what those who love me need to hear.

Mommy, Tell Me a Story

Kim's words give me courage.
And validation.

Kim told her story in a couple memoirs. The first,
In the Wilderness: Coming of Age in Unknown Country and her second, Hungry for the World tell her story of growing up in the Idaho wilderness in the midst of a Pentecostal family and how she grew through that experience to come of age. These books are well worth the read. One of them was nominated for a Pulitzer. She nearly won.

Kim and I went to college together. She was the student that most kept me on my toes. Smart. Funny. Beautiful. Talented. Much more mature than I for a gal in her mid twenties.

She went on to get her master's degree in creative writing and became a professor at a state university. She married one of our college professors and is raising two children.

I went on to a year as a full-time volunteer campus minister. Then I married, had a couple kids, went through divorce, deaths, blah blah blah. My post-educational dreams did not materialize.

In our years since being students together, I've kept an eye on Kim, read her books and tracked down some of her magazine articles. Her writing is like liquid gold. It blows me away.

Standing in line for her autograph after her book reading last Fall, my heart was racing. I've been in awe of her abilities all these years. Would she even recognize me?

But she did. And we hugged. I told her how much I enjoy her writing, how brave she was to be able to tell the story of her life. She said she wasn't brave. She had to do it. She's a writer. She writes. This was her way of putting some perspective on her growing-up years.

I introduced Kim to my daughter. Looking right in my daughter's eyes, she said, "Your mother is brilliant!" I was flabbergasted at that praise.

She signed my book for me, and moved on to the next person in line.

The words she inscribed are in the quotation above. "Remember that your story is sacred."

My life is not the one I wrote for myself as an undergraduate, but it is the life I have. It came part by chance, but a whole lot by choice. This life is my own ... and the stories that took me from college graduate to a colorful woman of 50+ years are as worthy as the next guy's. This is my life. My story is sacred.

I feel the truth of that in my bones.
How do I find the courage to use it?

Saturday, May 30, 2009

We Should Be Great

I'm full of it ... am I great?

OK ... a flip response to a pretty darn nice quotation.

I am full of stories (my own life experiences).
I am full of music (I can drop into song snippets at the slightest suggestion)
I do radiate (when in a good mood, when I've had enough sleep, when my energy tanks are full).

Whoo-hoo! I can aspire to greatness!
[ in my own mind ]

Friday, May 29, 2009

Sparkle and Shine

I'm letting the candles flicker inside me today.
I feel full of color and peace.
For a very nice change,
I feel proud of myself,
so I'm glowing.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Awkward Family Photos

A friend of mine introduced me to this site today. Too funny! Folks send in an awkward family photo and add a quip about the image. Here's a favorite ... since I'm a mom of three daughters.

Caption: When you’re a father of five girls,
it’s the small victories that count.

Here's another good one ...
Awkward Solo Photo: Summer Squash

Caption: Just another photo of a woman holding
a jumbo pink banana squash in one arm
and a miniature schnauzer in the other.

If you go to the site, be sure to read some of the comments. They are priceless!

For more family fun, visit their website.

The Day is Done

Last night, just before heading off to bed, I heard myself say, "What a total waste of a day."

Then I stopped, and realized that, no, it really wasn't.

Sure, I'd planned some activities, and they got tossed on their head, so it felt a bit like I didn't do what I'd set out to do. But some things still did get done.

I did have my say on Facebook with a persnickety classmate, then put the issue to rest.

I did go to Quilters and work on four different quilts.

I had a bit of face time with my sweet husband and my teenager.

I drank my 8 glasses of water.

My teen's boyfriend spent some time in our home and we had a pleasant exchange -- a rarity!

I learned to grill fresh tuna.

I took a 2 mile walk.

I cleaned out a kitchen drawer.

I did a load of laundry.

Maybe some other stuff. I forget. But even with what I remember, that's not nothin'! It was NOT a total waste of a day.

And when the day was done, I needed to be done with it. I'd done what I could.

Today, I plan to once again do what I can, and be gentle with myself with what I'm unable to accomplish. It's time to heed ol' Papa Emerson's wise advice.

Monday, May 25, 2009

A Musing ... from me

What good is it to inspire others if you don't know that what you do has an effect?

If you are inspired by someone, let them know! It will make their day and help them know they're fulfilling their purpose in life.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Sunday Secrets: May 24, 2009

PostSecret is an ongoing community art project where people mail in their secrets anonymously on one side of a homemade postcard. I find it to be an insightful sociological experiment.

These two secrets caught my attention this week. Three other secrets also caught my eye. My secret? I saved them on my computer, but I'd be too embarrassed to actually post them on my blog!

I still have the photos and the cassette tape that recorded the vows from my first wedding. I don't know if my two oldest daughters will want them or not. I have a hard time letting stuff go.

Wow. Just ... wow.

Music's Effect

One of my favorite things to do is to sit in a room while a musician plays music, live, in front of me. When a musician in in 'the zone,' the music doesn't just come through their fingers or through the instrument on the wind of breath, but it beats within the hearts of all present.

To be infiltrated by music in this way, to be in the presence of the rent heart, to encompass the desolation, is when that beautiful ache consumes me. As the music ends, the air is heavy with the presence of soul energy. One must be quiet, respectful of the spirit, allow it to pass through, dissipate. Rest.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

From a Different Angle


Perhaps that's what I enjoy about good poetry. Skill in using language. Subtlety in manipulating subject matter. Accomplished with a delicate hand, a well-constructed pattern. Fine poetry is mindful, has purpose. Words executed in a concise manner. Verbs and articles optional, or when used, carry weight, meaning.


Exquisite poetry is like a home with balanced chi. Energy flows through the poem, circulates, comes around again. Each object, each word chosen with discrimination, placed with precision, retained only if it adds to the whole. It's clutter-free. Ideas, concepts in concentrated form.


The consummate poem pulls emotion from you, is evocative. Calls forth memories, feeling. Leaves a vivid image, an emotional impression. Elicits, manipulates, provokes a physical response.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Come to the Edge

Have a suggestion made ...
and show fear.

Be encouraged ...
and show doubt.

Become startled at a command ...
and then amazed at what you are capable of achieving.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Poetry is ...

I've recently been enjoying podcasts of The Writer's Almanac. Hosted by Garrison Keillor, these 5-minute daily segments start with a chronicle of writers who share that birthday and a brief statement about the writer. Keillor also notes anniversaries of important events that changed the world. Then he'll give a slightly longer bibliographic note about one writer in particular. The podcast ends with the reading of a poem.

Earlier this month, a poet who was one of my college writing instructors was the featured poet of the day. His poem is about a hummingbird at his feeder. You can read Bob's poem, Mammoth, on the podcast website.

After listening to several of these broadcasts in a row, I found myself clicking away at my keyboard, finding out more about the poets. That, in turn, led to dinging around poetry websites and running into quotations about poetry ... what it is, what it aspires to be, why writers choose this form, etc.

So for the next few days, I plan to share some of these ideas about poetry, and perhaps a verse or two.

I lived and breathed literature as a college undergraduate. I forget, sometimes, just how much I love the poetic form. When I get a taste of it, the memories and love of words flood back through me. I jump back in fully clothed and immerse myself in the language gel of image and idea.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Echoes of Kindness

I've been very good to myself today!

This morning, I took a 2-mile walk in a brisk wind. I was only going to take a one-mile walk so that I wouldn't be late for an appointment, but it felt so good to have inspirational tunes in my ears and the wind in my face, that I literally "went the extra mile."

The appointment? An herbal wrap and massage. This was Part II of the gift certificate I received for my birthday last November. Oh, my! So good for me.

The thing about deep massages, though? They call forth all kinds of intense emotional issues. When I get very, very quiet and in tune with my breathing and the rise and fall of my muscles, a lot of deep feelings arise.

Note to self: Get quiet more often!

Once at home, I felt like clicking things off my To Do List. This was a good one:

Over the last couple years I've begun really listening to the things people say to me. Usually, it's easy to remember the cruddy things people say ... and relive them over and over, beat myself up with those words.

To counteract those icky things, I've been paying attention and writing down the nice things people tell me. I tend to write them on scraps of paper and collect them in piles.

Today, I took those scraps and incorporated them into a document I call
The Words I Long to Hear

I put down the quotation (you all know how I adore quotations!) and the name of the person who said it to me. If I have my act together, I note the date and the happenstance, too.

Do you have any idea how wonderful it is to read six pages of personal compliments? As I read them, I think about each person that spoke the words to me. Most are sweet things people I know said or wrote to me. But sometimes I get the kindest notes in e-mail from strangers that find help on my stitching website or here on this blog.

After saving and printing the document, I put the pages in sheet protectors and added them to a notebook I keep by my bed. On nights when I wake up troubled and can't get back to sleep, or on nights when I go to bed in tears, I can pick up my notebook and remember all the goodness in my life, and the wonderful folks that add a sprinkling of joy through the words they share.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Sunday Secrets: May 17, 2009

PostSecret is an ongoing community art project where people mail in their secrets anonymously on one side of a homemade postcard. I find it to be an insightful sociological experiment.

These two secrets caught my attention this week.

This secret reminds me of the story about the note left on my desk in 8th grade.

Each time I change my e-mail address and have to re-create my address book, I add in the friends who refuse to contact me now, but that I hope will change their minds down the road.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Sunday Secrets: May 10, 2009

PostSecret is an ongoing community art project where people mail in their secrets anonymously on one side of a homemade postcard. I find it to be an insightful sociological experiment.

This week's secrets were all about mothers ... because of Mother's Day. I'm a few days late posting because my sweet husband and I took a day trip to Canada on Sunday.

Now and again I find myself doing things
that are just like things my mom would do.

I love it.

Dear Julie,
You're welcome!

My youngest is about to get her license.
Now I'll have to find excuses to have time alone with her in a car.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Macro Monday - Narcissus

Macro Monday is easy to play,
snap a macro (or close-up) photo,
post it on your blog
then go to Lisa's Chaos
and sign Mr Linky.


Spring is very late in reaching north Idaho this year. The flowers in my yard are stuggling in the shady spots. This one narcissus managed to bloom in the small dirt patch between the garage and the front door.

So glad I captured this image before the flower faded.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Blooms n' Branches

The ornamental trees all over the neighborhood
are in full bloom. So pretty!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Flutter, Flutter, Flutter ... THUNK

Last night's frustration turned into this morning's motivation.

While Dale got ready for work, and Jodie got ready for school, I donned my sweats, my shoes and my Zune, then headed out the door for a quick one-mile walk around the park. One mile is not a lot, but it's a start.

It's 100% more than nothing.

I hit my stride just as I reached Circle Park (it's a green wooded area inside something akin to a block-long traffic circle). There's no sidewalk there, so I was enjoying NPR's Story of the Day while walking alongside the curb.

Then a small movement caught my eye. A feather floated down right in front of me.

Odd, I thought.

When I looked up from the pavement, another feather.

Then another, and some downy tufts. It reminded me of standing beneath a flowering cherry tree when a breeze picks up the blossoms, and petals float all around. Magical.

But raining feathers? This didn't make any sense.

I switched my attention from the story in my ears to the story in front of my eyes. Looking up into a pine, I could detect some frenzied movement. More feathers flew. As I stepped onto the curb, the tree limb bounced with one jerky motion, and a huge crow bounded into the sky.

The feathers were still floating down.

Then, all at once.
:: THUNK ::

I stepped over to the lump in the grass. It was the crow's quarry. It sort of looked like a robin, but I didn't see much of a red breast. What I did see was grizzly.

It was beheaded. Just the body. No head.

Thank goodness it was not twitching.

So I picked up this single feather and brought it home so as to tell the tale and write this eulogy.

The voice of Spring now has some dread
The burly crow chomped off his head

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Patience, My Dear, Patience

It's the end of another day. I had reasonable goals today, and met all but one. I did a good job. I ought to be proud of my accomplishments.

Yet once again I'm getting ready to crawl into bed and feel a sense of disappointment. I didn't get exercise in -- again. It was rainy and blustery and there was even thunder and lightening. So I didn't go out for my walk.

I'm trying to get past being hard on myself. But I see all the weight I lost last year come back. I threw out the 'fat clothes,' so now my clothes don't fit. I know my blood sugars and triglycerides are out of whack again. I know the key is exercise.

The weight is only one thing that is unsolved in my heart. I'm trying to be patient and gentle about dealing with it.

So I remember that last year I did make huge progress. I can do it again.

And I remember that other issues, unsolved at this time last year, have found resolution.

I'll keep putting one foot in front of the other. My heart will wait.

Monday, May 4, 2009


In straightening up my bedroom this morning, I came across this fortune cookie message that I'd saved from several weeks ago.

Ooh! I like!

I choose to believe.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Happy Dance: Bear Square [2]

[click for larger image]
Here's the second bear square I completed for my favorite charity group.

Once again, I grabbed this chart from my stash ... another freebie I snatched up off the web. It's from a website in the Netherlands.

Like Bear Square [1], this is a small chart about 34 x 30 stitches. So I added another border of hearts to help fill out the square.

I seem to have a 'thing' for hearts.

The border that I used to frame is from the book Better Homes & Gardens 2001 cross stitch designs. I like the variety of small motifs and border charts stuffed in its pages.

I simply picked some nice colors for the hearts that complemented the pattern.

I've got one more of these blocks in the works. I hope to get these sent off by the end of the month.

Sunday Secrets: May 03, 2009

PostSecret is an ongoing community art project where people mail in their secrets anonymously on one side of a homemade postcard. I find it to be an insightful sociological experiment. This first secret is from today's blog posting. The second is an archive post card.

After growing up with 7 brothers and 3 sisters, I admit that it was awfully nice to have a bathroom to myself when I went away to college. Little did I know that 'alone' privileges in a bathroom end when you have babies and toddlers. I still dream [nightmares] about not having the bathroom to myself when I desperately need it.

Concerning extended family ... no comment.