Thank you notes at lap 56……

I’m headed into my next lap around the sun
this week and I’m 56 years grateful.
  Here’s a little celebration of thank you notes,
tossed random like confetti from my heart:

~ Thank you,  Mom,  for carrying me up against your bones and breath and heart.
For loving hard and caring big
and every drop of delight you’ve ever taken in me or mine.
You,  too,  Dad….thanks for your humor and hard-working heart.

~ Thank you,  music and music-makers,  for making me feel so alive.
Every. single. day.

~ Thank you,  sweet potatoes,  for replacing pasta in most every dish I felt homesick for
when my gutt began a standoff with grain.
And to all of you potatoes – thank you for being a friend.

~ Thank you,  John,  for the honest journey you’ve made me take.
For inspiring me to stop and look and re-think and re-learn and dump my hurried assumptions.
For teaching me what it means to be a human.
And for being such a kind one:)

~ Thank you,  Candace,  for being a big sister when and how I needed it most.
For your belly laughs and beauty and bounty shared generous and wise.
Your friendship healed something deep in me
and I’m cheering always wildly always in your corner.

~ Thank you,  mamas,  for being a safe place for me to learn to be a human in the church.
For letting me dart away and come back,  get spooked and mad and howl in pain
and loving me safe just the same.
For fighting with me for friendship in my hardest place.
We’ll be laughing together for ages to come:)

~ Thank you,  people who pick up trash.
You are heros.

~ Thank you,  Janet,  for being my Janet.
You alone know the words I can’t write,  the tears I pray in the night,
and the way I can’t even make the words to say how much it is to me that you are in this world.
You’re the peanut butter to my jelly:)

~ Thank you,  flowers,  for being.
Every single petal and blossom.
I just love you.

~ Thank you,  helpers,  for showing up with your open hands
and willing hearts when a being is in need.
For every act of kindness offered ever.
You make me glad to live on this planet.

~ Thank you,  Peter,  for teaching me what it is to be spirit.
For challenging my fears and leading the way and showing me how our essence
is not broken by our breaking.
For showing me how deep love goes.
And for making me brave:)

~  Thank you,  rivers,  for going where you go
in your river-ly way.
You remind me not to g0 stale.

~ Thank you,  car people,  for knowing what to do.
For fixing things that break and getting me back on the road.

Thank you,  Hannah,  for teaching me to be a mother.
For being an amazing companion as in many ways we grew up together.
I was young,  sweetie,  and you broke so much ground.
For breaking ground still wherever you go
and for being earth and fire to my wind and water
and challenging me toward change that is beautiful.

~ Thank you,  techy people,  for having a clue.
And for making it so that I don’t have to get one
and can instead go plant or paint something.
You mean the world to me.

~  Thank you,  neighborly neighbors.
For being just that.

~  Thank you,  people who transport snail mail and packages to our boxes and doors.
I don’t want to live in a world without you.

~ Thank you,  story-tellers and art-makers,  for painting the fabric of our lives.
Or something like that.
Or maybe it’s that you nudge us to really see.

~ Thank you,  Bryan,  for being my traveling companion these 35 years.
For all of the loving,  learning,  fighting,  flailing and forward-falling.
You’re still my one and only;
thanks for letting me take the long way home.

~ Thank you,  Queen City Church,  for being a harbor of truth and beauty
where my damaged stuff could mend.
Because you let creativity flow free,  my soul didn’t break always out in hives
and I could stay and let the healing happen slow.
Again and again you inspire me.

~ Thank you,  Sacred Mountain Oil,  for smelling
like the breath of God.
I diffuse you forever:)

~ Thank you, tragedy,  for the way that we think we’re strong until a ringing phone
jars us awake in the middle of the night.
For reminding us how fragile this life.  How sweet this moment.
How worthy of our finest attention
is this present joy.

~ Thank you,  uncertainty,  for being the way forward.
Go figure.

~ Thank you,  forgiveness,  for being the life-blood of my peace.
For how you heal and restore.
And that nothing is beyond you.

~ Thank you,  laughter,  for being medicine.
The very best.

~ Thank you,  Amanda, for teaching me the piercing power of a heartbeat
and how far spirit stretches.
And for living your beautiful life to the brave rhythm of your own unique song.
Thanks for singing true.

~ Thank you,  God,  for writing a stream of love songs on my palm
with every tender stroke of your love.

~ Thank you,   control,  for being an illusion.
I enjoy learning to lose you.

Thank you, waterfalls,  for showing me how to fling my heart over every
rock hard place
and let the music that happens
be what it is.

~ Thank you,  listeners.
For listening.
It’s the main thing.

~ Thank you,  honest tears,  for cleansing away the clutter
of ugly baggage left behind.
You clear the way for fresh starts.

~ Thank you,  birds,  for the way you keep on singing.
For showing us how.

~ Thank you,  dead-ends and time-sucks,  for teaching me
who I am not.

Thank you,  Manie,  for being mother to my mister
and loving our family so sweet.  Your big heart is golden.

~ Thank you,  12 steps,  for being a thing.
You are hope in hellish places.

~  Thank you,  morning dew,  for showing up every single day.
And for every other “insignificance” that mostly goes unsung.
You make all the difference.

~ Thank you,  small businesses,  for taking risks
and braving waters.
So much of what I love comes right from you.

~ Thank you,  sugar,  for being so sweet.
So dazzlingly delicious.
I still believe in you:)

~ Thank you,  Mandy Bird,  for your compassion and counsel.
For not being afraid of my grief.
You truly are a warrior poet.

~ Thank you,  Janis,  for your warm welcomes at the gate.
Your hugs have felt like home.

Thank you,  lunchtime,  for happening almost every single day
and for making this sacred space for me to hang out with friends.
You know who you are.
And I’ve loved every single stop-and-sit with you.
Going out to lunch is my favorite:)

~  Thank you,  Rivergreen,  for connecting us with so many amazing people.
For showing us the value of each piece of land and the lives lived out there.
You’ve taught me more than I may process in a lifetime.

~ Thank you,  dogs.  Elephants.  Cows.
Just for being.
And all the other animals,  too.
You make us better humans and I wouldn’t want to be one
without you.

~ Thank you,  people who give loving care
to people and animals and water and land and sky.
You are my personal favorites.

~ Thank you,  leaders,  for sticking your neck out
and offering to serve.
Hand-to-my-heart for you,  like a prayer.

~ Thank you,  my big extended family,
for being roots and connection and context and history.
I love you all so.

~ Thank you,  people who built the backroads I love to travel.
Your handiwork makes my heart soar.

Thank you,  Danielle and Lance and David.
Your love for and friendship with my children make you feel like a part of my brood
and I love what you bring to the table.
You make us a better “we” and I’m richer for each of you.

~Thank you,  crafters of good iced tea.
I mean really,  really good tea.
With lemons sliced generous and the faintest blush of sweet.
I get up most days because of you.

~ Thank you,  wood smoke,  for making cold air smell so fine.

~ Thank you,  headphones and ear buds,  for making sense out of certain places.
You save me sometimes.  You really do.

~ Thank you,  blogger friends and your blogs.
Even though we’ve never hung out in person,
you know my heart in some pretty fierce ways.
We’ve shared a lot together,  you and I.
You are mostly my favorite reads and my windows are so much wider because of you.

~ Thank you,  cell phones,  for making my brain go stretchier,
my everyday seem safer,  and my loved ones feel closer,
and my world shine brighter.
And for doing it all in color.

~ Thank you,  gratitude,  for being the one practice I can go to
anywhere at any time
for a swift perspective tweak and energy boost.
For helping me feel the abundance that surrounds me always.



“Imagine!  Imagine!
The long and wondrous journeys still to be ours.”
–   Mary Oliver

Thanks for wading through this long read,  friend.
(and thank you,  Jimmy Fallon,  for the sweet inspire)
Love to you.  Love to you always.

suddenly soaring instead….

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I’m grateful for the chance
to create and carve and choose
and hurl my voice into the loving and living I still get to do,
and even when I blunder and bumble and bruise
there is beauty in the falling forward
and so I help myself to seconds of grace
and get back up and go again

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This life is short and seems to be gaining speed
with each trek around the sun
so I’ll cry my tears and grin sillier still and throw my arms wider
and grateful more for
~my plenty enough of a little camera still
swinging from my arm in the apple green case
(nope,  didn’t get a big girl camera yet),
~pretty scarves to wear in my hair while the sun beats down
and the wild winds blow
(another busy season is underway and I smell again of ben gay),

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~trees in bloom and small sour pickles and everywhere robins
and finding fresh ways and red beans and rice and most excellent tea,
~ a new pair of reading glasses waiting unscratched on the table
and a whole journal full of blank pages just waiting for me there,
~and daffodils and snowbells and primrose and fuzzy pussy willow joy
and baby steps forward,  even when they’re slow,

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and how it’s relief when you’re driving and you see a lump
flapping helpless in the road up ahead
and it turns out to be only a plastic bag
and I wonder sometimes if it’s mostly plastic bags I’m running from,
just spastic fear mind-painting old despair.
I want to press the pedal brave and go face down the things I dread
….I may find myself suddenly soaring instead.

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I’ve been noticing the early daffodils braving the cold
blooming bright,  outspoken,  and bold
in spite of the pounding they take in the harsh cold winds
-they spitshine my courage just watching them.
Just look at those faces.

“If we never experience the chill of a dark winter,
it is very unlikely we will ever cherish the warmth
of a bright summer’s  day.”
-Anthon St. Marteen

 

52 candles….

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It’s my birthday this week and I’m plunking
52 fresh candles in my lemon blueberry cheesecake,
deep down ridiculously glad to be alive in 52 (new)
glad and grateful ways:

~for fresh skies and new trails to hike,
~the soul sweetness of being with safe people,
~the resistance that enables us to fly,
~the grace to listen slow,
~wiggle room….the beauty of spaciousness,
~creating art for the simple joy of it,  and
~clean libraries,

~for our fascinating weaknesses and imperfections
~good coaches and coaching,
~for healthy intimacy….the real stuff that isn’t illusion,
~audio books when my hands are happily covered in paint,
~golden moments in the sun,  warm and wrapped in light.
~the large,  friendly quiet of the early morning,
~the sleepy sighs of dogs plopped and snuggled
at my feet,
~the hoo hoo hoooo of an owl in the woods,

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~when sometimes into life’s overwhelm come soft days,
thickset with grace,
~sea kayaks and coppertone air and  summertime dreaming,
~those times when you feel like a bird with a big song,
~the first flutters and tenderlings of Spring,
~the shepherd psalm,

~song lyrics and movie lines that make your heart leap,
~thank you’s….all the creative ways that appreciation
gets expressed,
~the beauty and honor of Native American culture
and each baby step toward restoration of these noble people,
~how “the Lord lives among pots and pans”  (Teresa of Avila)
~Melody Beattie and Brene Brown and their brilliance shared,
~ poetry and prayer,

~for the cool breeze of friends who are shade in the swelter
and help to stir my dreams vivid and shining,
~the simple beauty of spending less than I make,
~the poignant power of well chosen words,
~every laugh that shakes my children’s bellies,
~that we are not our pain,  not our problems,
and there are exciting,  interesting things in store for us
and  we get to  cooperate with the universe by taking good,
tender loving care with ourselves,

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~the big heart-massage and brain de-clutter of morning pages,
~hot steamy baths,
~the whoosh of satisfaction when all the gardens tucked in for a long winter’s nap,
~cutting into a really juicy  lime,
~the beauty of timely support,
~the gorgeousness of vulnerability,
~the way the pain and loss of tragedy reminds me to love out loud,
to say it,  write it,  grow it,  guard it,  live it,  show it
and dance all over the fear that I’ll be rejected or look a fool
….I’d rather put my love out there than hide it away unexpressed,

~for the freedom to get hopping mad,
~the gift of solution,
~the joy of just turtling along,  free to mosey,
and also the thrill of zooming
and that we mostly get to choose,
~the sweetness of new season,  new rhythm,  new dance
with the same partner,
~the deliciousness of coming uncaged,
~for the gnarly,  stretchy stuff….that life without tension
goes shallow,

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~people who are generous with a smile,
~learning to forgive ourselves for what we didn’t know
before we learned it,
~for how much easier life gets when we accept the apologies
that we never got,
~sunny stone walls to lean against warm
when icy winds blow,
~after-storm clarity
~and the deep breath of relief when we let love come near
our unloved places
and get some healing done.

~for naps and sweet, sweet sleep when it comes
~and for another year to sing into the wind
that life is precious,  love is treasure,  time is currency
and it is pure gift
to be here now.

There they are…..the 52 new candles flickering in my heart this year.
I’m so grateful to be able to serve up a slice to you,  friend.
Love and thanks for coming around to help me celebrate.
You make my life richer than I can say.

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“I decided that the most subversive,  revolutionary thing I could do
was to show up for my life
and not be ashamed.”
-Anne Lamott

51 candles….

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I’m deep down ridiculously glad and grateful for:

~warm winter sunshine pouring through clean windows,
~the free and airy feeling  of  stretching  your legs
after being scrunched up cramped in a seat for too long,
~ taking a mug of steaming hot goodness into cold hands,
~the peaceful feeling of watching a river flow,
~chocolate melting slowly in your mouth,
~whenever someone brings you flowers,

~the smell of freshly bathed dog,
~kind,  balmy words that feel like a shot of courage,
~the simple  joy of making lists,
~soft,  clean ice that “poufs” when you crunch it,
~a pillow that fits your neck just right,
~the relief of a faraway flashlight signaling
“we found them!”

~winter-shy feet sinking warm into sandy beach,
~days when you can go turtling along….just mosey,
~tattoos,  even when they’re only on your heart,
~the smell of good hamburgers cooking on a grill,
~the smell of sunshine in towels and clothes
fresh from a clothesline,
~throwing out books that used to tie your heart in knots,

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~an open window,  even in the wintertime,
~those times when you can feel it,  that God is sweet on you,
~cornfields and rolling hills
~when a song just seems to drop right from heaven
deep into your secret heart,
~that “it’s alright now,  I’ve learned my lesson well
…you see you can’t please everyone so you’ve got to please yourself”

~all the next steps,  fresh adventures,  and divine connections
still waiting around new bends,
~the feeling of getting lost in the flow of something satisfying,
~all the ways that poetry happens,
~dancing while you work,
~un-scratchy,  comfy clothes that feel like childhood,

~friends that love you even when you don’t always answer the phone
and sometimes let texts lapse,
~when sleep is sweet and finds you easy,
~shoes that are good to your feet,
~the pain that presses hard things into words so they tumble into the light
and let the bad air out,

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~ the little triumphant thrill that happens
when you re-purpose or recycle something and it just works,
~when you  remember to look up and gaze at the stars,
~the feeling that you know you couldn’t earn it but you
get a golden ticket anyway,
~the feeling of looking  fear in the face
and it backs down,

~favorite movie lines….ones you’ll remember and quote,
~the way stress puddles at your feet like sawdust
when you give yourself over to creating,
~for night sounds that comfort and soothe,
~when your heart feels peace where questions rattled around before,
~the willowy way you feel after working out,
~the sound of moving water,
~ full circle moments,

~reading glasses and ringtones,
~the feeling when someone just lets you be,
~the way it feels when someone says your name fondly,
~the nourishment of wild places,
~when people pull together to help in a crisis,
~the strength of gentleness,
~and bubbles in your drink.

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~and YOU,  of course,  my blogging friend
…I  love sharing this journey with you .
(and wish you could help nibble my cake,  too)

Two years ago I wrote down 49 reasons
I love this wonderful messy business of living.
This year I challenged myself to dig up 51 completely new reasons to celebrate this delicious life of mine.
I thought it’d be hard because I already counted the
really good stuff.
Turns out there are plenty of pickins’ still left in the field!

“I’ll have no trumpets,  triumphs,  trails of glory.
It seems the woman I’ve turned out to be
is not the heroine of some grand story.
But I have learned to find the poetry
in what my hands can touch,
what my eyes can see.”
-Judith Viorst

I’m sharing this over at Vision and Verb today,  too
….I love this creative bunch of writers.

~