Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Something to Do

Perhaps this is why I've been remiss
about posting daily of late.
I've been too busy doing other things with my life.

Like raking the back yard and cleaning out the garage.
Offering goodies on Freecycle.
Reconnecting to classmates on Facebook.
Watching Raise the Red Lantern. [ Disturbing! ]
I've even stitched a bit.
And did I mention ...
My chia is a Neo-millionaire 16 times over on Neopets?

Still ... I miss blogging.
And photographing.
I want to get back to it regularly.
Think it might be writer's block?

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Macro Monday - Home on the Range

[A day late and a dollar short -- again.]
[Ah, well. My intentions are good.]

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.


I had lunch with my husband in Liberty Lake, WA.
Then drove home on the country road
on the south side of the Spokane River.

Look what I found!
So I jumped out of the car,
the wind blowing like crazy.
Hobbled across the gravel in my heels ...

and got up close and personal.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Sunday Secrets: April 26, 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.

Today, I found only one secret that I could have written. It's from the PostSecret Germany website:

My sweet husband says he's VERY glad that
he doesn't live inside my head.

WAY too complicated in there. I agree.

This one secret is just the tip of the iceberg for my interaction with PostSecret this week.

Last Tuesday, Frank Warren did a guest lecture at the University of Idaho in Moscow, where my daughter Julie goes to school. She was able to get some extra tickets, so Dale and Jodie and I drove south to attend.

It was GREAT!

Even though I had already read the story of PostSecret, and had seen Frank many times in televised interviews, I was pleasantly surprised by this unassuming and gentle man. He had an easy presence on stage, and in telling stories of this ongoing project.

The lecture began with Frank explaining how the project came into being. He then projected some postcards onto a screen. These were secrets that were not able to be published in the first post secret book, primarily due to copyright issues about the artwork.

Frank then shared one of his own secrets with the group about a painful incident that happened when he was a kid. Even though that particular secret has been published in one of the PostSecret books and he's shared it in many, many lectures around the country, he choked up a bit when reading it. He said, "Every time I say this secret out loud, I can leave more of it behind me."

Finally, he opened the floor to anyone in attendance that might want to share a secret or ask a question. One by one, brave souls went to the microphones to reveal their own secrets. That portion of the lecture was surprising and funny and powerful.

The aspect that came across most clearly during the lecture was the great respect Frank has as the keeper of secrets for an entire nation. His intent is to "protect the integrity of the secrets." He knows that much time and effort goes into the making and sending of the post cards.

But more, he knows though experience just how difficult it can be to divulge a secret, to have enough trust to tell someone else a hidden truth. He obviously feels the weight of that trust, and holds his position with humility.

When asked if he's ever received a 'made up' secret, Frank took the question more philosophically than literally. He said that there are some post cards with messages that he highly questions are factual. But he thinks of the PostSecret project as a work of art or literature. The intrinsic truths revealed in the secrets are about our common humanity. These truths outlast the truth or falseness of the details on any one card.

There were two things Frank said that most stuck with me. The first was, "The world needs to hear your voice." The second? "Courage is contagious."

It takes courage to reveal hidden aspects of one's life. But if you have the courage to share a bit of yourself with others, that example is contagious. Those you dare to share with, may then dare to share with another. Frank also said, "Every time there is someone that needs to tell their secret, there are two that need to hear it."

Sharing secrets helps us feel that we are connected to others in the human condition.

In part, this is why I write my blog. To share my inner journey ... no matter how much it makes me look like I need that straight jacket! And to inspire others by philosophizing about what I see, do and learn along the way.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Unshackle the Past

Another quotation on the same theme of releasing the past from old papa Emerson.

I like this part: "that shall explain and overlook the old."

Seems that one of my main questions was, "Why did that thing have to happen to ME?" and books like

When Bad Things Happen to Good People
only partially explained it.

Papa Emerson seems to say, "Go forward with gusto. Once you do, the new experiences will build on the past. Over time, the past will make sense."

That's an excellent notion, in my book.

What I'm finding is that my many life experiences, my many stories, help me to be empathetic to others. I tend to sense pain, and am not too afraid to ask the questions that other people avoid or gloss over. I can ask and listen, because my own experiences mirror theirs.

The lessons I've learned, I can pass on. Even if that passing on simply means asking the questions, and listening. Being present to another person's pain can help them not feel so alone. It can help them see that there is hope for a way through the tough time.

Monday, April 20, 2009

The Here & Now

I'm a person who tends to dwell on the past, on memories. I'm married to a person who is a visionary. Even in his job, his duties include strategic planning for the future of the business five and ten years down the line.

It's one of the many ways my sweet husband and I are polar opposites. But it's his ability to see into the future that is one of his most attractive qualities.

I've mentioned before that I spent some time in counseling over the last few years. One of the reasons was to work through post traumatic stress disorder. The process was really interesting, though difficult and scary. It involved being aware that I am safe now while revisiting the traumatic event in my past. My counselor would have me relate part of the story, and as I began to flood with the old feelings and fears, she'd pull be back into the present moment so that I'd know I was safe now.

That was the key. To realize that then was then with all it's fears and pain and insecurities. But now is now! I'm safe. I'm loved. All my basic needs are fulfilled along with quite a lot of just plain wants and desires.

The change in me didn't happen all at once. It happened over time, with my persistence in wanting to change, wanting to stop being a victim, and doing the hard work to make that happen. The hard work became easier when it was broken down step by step. Baby steps.

So now, when I catch myself looking back, I can stop, recognize what I'm doing, realize that those things that caused pain in my past are not here in the present. Those things may not even be resolved! But they no longer have to affect my daily living.

I continue to move away from the way I lived in the past. I continue to be aware of and grateful for the gifts right in front of me today. I move with my sweet husband toward that future that he sees so much more clearly than I.

And I'm happy to report, the my focus on our future together is becoming more clear.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Sunday Secrets: April 19, 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 three secrets seem to follow a theme! "Who Are You?" Two postcards are from Frank's blog today; one is an older secret I liked but never posted before.

OMG! I'm starting to do this, too. Funny, the influence Facebook is having on me these days.

The old Popeye saying, "I yam who I yam!"

Maybe it's already interesting. I'm just so used to it, it seems normal. I'd love to hear the spin David could put on it! I'd love to see if my story resonated with other people.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Old Friends

I'm feeling a tiny bit sorry for myself tonight.

This afternoon, a small group of my classmates from high school got together for lunch in a southern California restaurant. I didn't get to join them -- except in spirit.

The event was planned through Facebook. As soon as the lunch was over, pictures were posted. It looked like so much fun. And I am happy to have the vicarious experience.

I simply yearn to have that face-to-face contact.

:: sigh ::

Mostly, though, I'm glad I have so many ways to connect with folks from my 'past life.' Not only do I have the consistent fun of Facebook, I also connected with another friend yesterday via e-mail. She's in military service and I found out she's being reassigned from the US eastern seaboard to a base in Great Britain. My best friend from college days and I keep in touch through phone calls.

Much better, I imagine, than pony express.

I suppose I'm feeling nostalgic, but pragmatic tonight. Because as much as I miss the streets and the friends of the town I grew up in, I remember that I did move away from there on purpose. I moved to Idaho to build this new life here, gather new friends and neighbors. I've no regrets about that decision.

It's the continuity I miss.

So I'll keep in touch the best I can with old friends and encourage others to do the same.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Here Comes the Sun

I plan to carry a lot of sunshine into the lives of others.

:: wry smile ::

Carol, the gal that works the counter at my local pharmacy, always greets me the same way ... whether I'm picking up a prescription or she sees me shopping while she's on her break:
"Hello, Sunshine!"

I asked her why she does that. She told me that every time she sees me, I have a smile on my face. It's infectious.

I think it might also be because I give the entire pharmacy staff Hershey's kisses on Valentine's Day. Or because I laugh at her jokes.

I love the greeting, though. I love being a carrier of light. I bring it into a room with me, and try to have some of it rest there when I leave. It's a bit like walking around with a trail of fairy dust shimmering in my wake.

Even if that's not completely true, it's an excellent image. I'd like to challenge all my readers to soak that image in today:
Pretend you are covered in fairy dust. As you enter rooms, your presence helps increase the light and life and energy in the room. You do your thing. And as you leave, a breeze lifts the fairy dust around you and allows it to float in the air for a while. You get to be the bearer of light, leaving the hearts of those around you uplifted.
If you could do this, knowing that you've gently and wonderfully affected those around you for a short while, imagine how much your own heart would soar!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

What a Wonderful World

I like to listen to this song on my mp3 player in the morning. It reminds me to look throughout the day for the little things that make life wonderful.

This shadowgraphy rendition of the song is one of my favorites.

I had a taste of this wonderful world today. I took a "Starburst Day." It's a lot like what some people call a "Mental Health Day," only I use it as a day away from my regular duties in which I can focus on inspirational and creative pursuits. What did I do?
  • Listened to 40 episodes of The Writer's Almanac
  • Played "beauty shop"
  • Sent a gift to a friend
  • Bantered with the young man at the post office
  • Dabbled in some html on my website
  • Took a walk
  • Started planning my daughter's graduation party
  • Took a ride in the convertible with my sweet husband after work
With the air blowing through our hair, the sun out, the expanse of the Rathdrum prairie stretching around us, the snow on the mountains in the distance, the haze of evening beginning to roll in ...


It's a Wonderful World!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


This is an inspired perspective.

I am the beholder of beauty.
I can find beauty within myself.

Surely this is a lesson Susan Boyle already knows.

If you haven't see this video yet, be sure to watch.
Such an incredibly beautiful voice.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Macro Monday - Our Marriage Comes of Age

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.

Anniversary Bouquet

Today my sweet husband and I celebrate our 18th wedding anniversary.

Howdy-doody, our marriage has reached the adult level!

Our daughters Julie and Jodie gifted us with a bouquet of 18 of our favorite flowers ... pink and coral roses for Mom, daisies for Dad. The mixed bouquet is really pretty ... and the flowers work well together, just like Mom and Dad do.

My oldest daughter who lives at a distance, gave us a call. Her husband will be in the area tomorrow for his best friend's wedding, but hopes to make time to stop by.

I love how our children know us so well, to know what we enjoy and how to please us. Thank you, girls!

Happy Anniversary to Us

I am changed from the woman I was 18 years ago. I have grown, opened, flowered. My sweet husband gives me the time and space and encouragement and tools I need to create and recreate myself. Thank you, Honey! I hope I do the same for you.

Happy Anniversary

Too Much Fun!


Sunday, April 12, 2009

Sunday Secrets: April 12, 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. The following three secrets fit my frame of mind today:

This isn't totally true. I have been a hero to myself in some ways. But there are still important areas of my life where I haven't yet been able to step up. Usually, heroes show themselves in a crisis. Do I have to wait for a crisis before the hero in me will arise?

How many times does one attempt this heroic act? I've bitten the bullet over and over without a good response. It's not my turn to try again. The silence is too deadly to my spirit.

Indeed. Thank you, sweetheart.
The next best decision was loving you back, and trusting you.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Sounds Canadian, Eh?

Puget Sound at US / Canada Border

Over Spring Break, Dale and Jodie and Jodie's friend Michelle and I went over the Cascades and up to Bellingham. We got to know the town one day. The next day we took a day trip into Vancouver.

We stopped at the Peace Arch park on the US side of the Canadian border and paused to look out over Puget Sound.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Proof of Spring

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.

April Crocus

It's official!

Spring has come to north Idaho. The first crocus blubs have come to bloom by the front porch.

Book Review: Loose Girl

One of the treats I gave myself while on Spring Break last week was to go to the library, choose a book off the New Books rack, and actually read it from cover to cover.

I don't do that often enough any more. It seems like most of the books that capture my attention these days are in the self help genre. So this time I chose something from another favorite genre, memoir/biography.

Loose Girl: a memoir of promiscuity is written wonderfully by Kerry Cohen. It's her coming of age story, I suppose. At eleven years old, Kerry's family goes through the divorce process. Her mother is an artist turned medical student. Her father is a well-off designer ... and drug user.

Kerry is not emotionally close to her mother or sister. When her mom leaves the country for medical school, Kerry goes to live with her dad. There are not many boundaries in that household. Kerry gets into trouble, changes schools, ends up with preppy kids who have money and connections. She parties in New York City, spending lots of time in bars that don't look too closely at age restrictions. She gets into the drug scene. She buys friends.

But mostly, she is lonely and seeking attention and closeness. She gets it the way she knows best, through the use of her body. Kerry has a plethora of sexual encounters, always seeking someone to love her, settling for someone to be close to her physically, and ending up more emotionally distant and damaged each time.

The story is explicit and riveting. I found it very compelling and my heart went out to this young woman who was trying hard to figure out what real love feels like. She learns, the hard way, that love is much more of a decision than a feeling. She learns that until she can love and appreciate her own gifts, it will be hard for any man to love and appreciate her in the way she craves it.

I think I was most taken by the very last scene. She is happy, married, with children. And she's out at a bar with friends. She catches a boy's eye across the room, and all the old habits kick into gear: the looks, the flirtations, the body movements. But she resists and goes home to her husband:

I climb into bed, and half-asleep he rolls toward me. He slips an arm around my middle and nuzzles his face into my neck. I close my eyes and listen to him breathing. How lovely that sound is. Maybe, I think, I don't have to be great at this; maybe I just have to be good enough.

That is a sentiment that resonates strongly in my own life. I have been blessed with many talents and abilities and have earned awards to 'prove' my worth. But at some things, like emotional balance, I don't excel. So maybe I can simply be good enough.

Happy Dance: Bear Square [1]

[click for larger image]
I finally got around to starting some stitching for my favorite charity group. One of the themes for this year is teddy bears. I pulled this chart from my stash.

I found the freebie bear many, many moons ago on an internet site. I think the pattern is in Dutch or German ... I'm really not sure.

He's just a little guy, about 36 x 34 stitches. So I had to
s-t-r-e-t-c-h him a bit to help him fill up a 9x9 quilt square.

The bear originally wore ice skates — as though he'd just taken a tumble in the rink. But I took the skates off his feet and added a blue rug for him to sit on.

Then I found a border that I used to frame him. The border is from the book Better Homes & Gardens 2001 cross stitch designs. It's a great book for small motif and border charts.

Originally, the border pattern called for three colors of blocks and three colors of hearts. I changed that up a bit using five colors for blocks, but making all the hearts pink.

I'm rather pleased with the overall effect. So I started another teddy bear block last night and will give it a similar treatment. I made some good progress on the bear's head this morning.


I'm struggling with this question today.

It's a gorgeous day in north Idaho. The sun is out with temperatures in the 60s. The skies are clear and as blue as this graphic. The long, long, long winter is really over. There's only a hint of one last pile of snow in our backyard. We lovingly call it "the glacier."

Yesterday, my sweet husband and I took our first ride of the season in the convertible with the top down. We drove along the country road on the south side of the Spokane River. It couldn't have been nicer. Fresh air running through my hair, my love at my side, easy conversation.

So what's with me? When so much is going right in my life, why do I feel I've lost my passion?

I haven't been doing much of the things I usually love:
  • stitching
  • charity work
  • reading
  • photography
  • baking
  • crafts
  • other forms of needlework and sewing
Or blogging.

Just as the world is waking up, I feel like I've lost my mojo.

I know that, in part, it's because I am releasing a toxic relationship. Someone that meant a great deal to me in the past currently causes me anxiety with each new bit of correspondence. So it's time to loosen my grip and let this person slide away. At least for a while. Quite a long while.

It's hard, because this sweet friend used to 'juice me up.' Get me thinking in new ways. Open ideas to me. Give me a different perspective on life. All with great humor and insight.

I miss that.

But I don't think that's the only part of my life that lost its umph.

So today, I'm asking the question:
What WILL I do with this one wild and precious life?

To start, I'm blogging again. I have a few posts planned ... a finished quilt square I stitched for charity, a flower photo, a book review.

Maybe I'll work on revamping my website this afternoon. That work brings me joy.

Maybe I'll take my camera for a walk and we'll find some connection again.

And some quiet stitching will bring me back to my center.

If I happen to stumble on some passion along the way, I'll be sure to share it here.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

She's Baaaack ...

I've been on Spring Break with my husband and daughter this week. It seems so odd to go a full seven days without posting! I hope to be back in the swing of writing this week. I even have some cool photos ... one shows the first spring bulbs blooming in my yard!

The l-o-n-g winter is over.

Sunday Secrets: April 05, 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. The following three secrets found a home with me today:

So, OK ... I never received one of these "you're not accepted into college" letters. But I have had nasty e-mails that caused this same reaction. And I once had a supervisor that said she would not give me a letter of recommendation for another job (I wouldn't have asked HER anyway!) And though those judgments stung, they did not define me.

I do too! This is my favorite: It's a New Day
That day gave so much hope!

Thank you, honey, for helping me heal.
Thank you for building a charmed life with me!