Rippling waters and many moons …..

Maybe it’s just the noisy crowd of this big wide earth –
this thought takes hold of me as I barrel into having a website built.
My first blog.  I stumble eager onto the web so that she can find me if she wants.
Maybe she feels the imposition of  eyes at the agency as deeply as I do;
I’m gonna stand up,  wave a sign,  and make some noise.
Clueless,  inspired,  and boistered by the strong winds that are often mistaken for courage,  I dive.

I have no camera and no agenda;  not sure what to do but I want to be real.
I’d been earlier asked by a gardening client if I would make some notecards to sell,
like the little bites of art that I sent out with each invoice.
Making and sending them out on the waves of my days has poufed fresh breath back into some
places grown thin and now an idea bubbles up like a song:
I’ll write a little something and show a picture of what I make
– I think it’s the most childlike thing I’ve ever done:)

I walked into this room looking for her and found you.
And my voice.  And my own way home.
This is pure gift and I know it.
I was jumping up and down so maybe she could see,
but in the way of serendipity,  God was dancing me back to me.

terminally hopeful

In the years to come I send her bites of art that I  feature in the images on my blog
with a tiny “Ripplespeak” sneaked in here and there,  like a secret code that will lead her to me
if she wants.
It’s why I don’t use my name.
I laugh at this now,  so deliciously silly and unnecessary,
but it empowered the joy that buoyed me.
She can find me if she’s looking and I take comfort in this as the years pass.
Five of them,  busy and full.
Always challenging,  often joyful,  but deeply painful,  too.
I reach and let go,  grieve and hold on,  riding the waves with my arms stretched mostly wide.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
March is always crazy-hard and it’s March again,  2014.
Edith calls just before her birthday and I hear sorrowful news in her voice.
“I’ve heard from Allison; she’s asked me to let you know that her mother has died.”
Her mother.   One of the most influential women in my life.
She has been this mythical tower of intimidating virtue to my 16 year old parts,
the one who bested me,
and I’m 35 years grateful and jealous and altogether curious of this woman.
Now she’s gone,  her memories and stories with her.
Years earlier I’d asked Edith if I could write her;  would she please forward a letter?
No,  I’d been told.
I respect.

Now she has died and I’m so sad for my girl.
For this family that I’ve long loved and longed to know,.
It is a strange and dizzying pain to long to comfort the child you bore
because she has lost her mother.

Keep writing,  Edith counsels;  it’s lifegiving, Allison says,
and I’ve only ever wanted to give her life and so I do,
careful to only offer,  invite,  welcome and accept –
resisting hard the urge at times to push or press or plead,
and this feeds my life,  too,  in a way I can’t even understand.
But I feel it like a cold wind blowing,
my place in the storm,
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Grief is a casserole best served warm and in good company.
Cold and unnamed,  it’s ugly business to swallow.


“Was she strong enough to allow both of them to be themselves?
Bahama had instilled in her an honoring of promises,
but she could not keep her promises unless she was willing to allow Nik to be Nik,
not a projection of someone who could fill her empty spaces,
heal all her wounds.”
– Madeline L’Engle

Thanks for sharing this Summer series with me;  it’s a tall glass of water to have you along.
I needed to take a smaller bite this week;  my heart is wrestling this out as best I can.
I appreciate your patience.


  1. Julia on July 16, 2016 at 8:26 am

    Dear Jennifer, I’ve been following your blog for quite a while now and I never cease to be amazed at how you can write your pain and grief so vividly but always so full of hope. I like how you put it, “Grief is a casserole best served warm and with good company. Cold and unnamed, it’s ugly business to swallow.” No mother should be made to give up her child under any circumstances. It’s just not natural. How appropriate that you’re in the gardening business. I’m looking forward to your next wave.

    • jennifer on July 17, 2016 at 5:41 pm

      I hear your heart; it’s such a complexity of layers, this.
      So many doors. This is no fairy tale. Not an idealized version, either. It’s not
      what I wish but what is. There is restoration
      in the nooks and crannies; I hope it’s seen, too.
      I appreciate your fierce heart for me; it feels like comfort and I breathe:)

  2. Elephant's Child on July 16, 2016 at 3:23 pm

    Oh. I read. I ache. I yearn to reach out to you.
    That cold casserole turns my stomach.
    And your huge empathy, your heart, your courage (even if you don’t acknowledge it) warm the coldest and darkst corners of my heart. And set rainbows dancing.
    Heartfelt hugs and oceans of caring.

    • jennifer on July 17, 2016 at 5:34 pm

      I feel that ocean and the waves make me smile:)
      I hope you feel the joy and the journeying, as well.
      It’s a good, good life;)
      Thanks for your kind support, Sue. Just SO much!

  3. gotham girl on July 17, 2016 at 5:51 am

    That last image…and your words…

    • jennifer on July 17, 2016 at 5:32 pm

      Yeah, I’m wrestling to get the tough parts shared as honestly as the tender.
      There is more beauty in truth, I think, and I want to keep it real. The dark clouds,
      yes, but amazing waves to ride, too. I hope i’m communicating it true.
      Doing the best I can; having to give myself a whole heap of grace in this process:)
      Thanks for popping by; I so appreciate,

  4. Linda on July 17, 2016 at 10:28 am

    I really appreciate your talent for expressing yourself! A very beautiful and touching post. The images are gorgeous, too. You have a lovely blog. Thank you so much for sharing, and warm greetings from Montreal, Canada.

    • jennifer on July 17, 2016 at 5:13 pm

      Hi Linda! Thanks for the kind comment; I’m doing a summer series right now and in the thick of it
      so it’s likely bewildering showing up for a visit:) Big joy to you in Montreal and thanks for dropping by:)

  5. LISA MORELAND on July 18, 2016 at 9:55 am

    The concept of trying to be known through writing, I recognize this. Blog writing is simultaneously anonymous and public. When directed at a specific, welcoming readership the response can be affirming. I’m following your beautifully written story with feet that know this road and a heart that is familiar with your hope.

    • jennifer on July 18, 2016 at 1:41 pm

      I thank God for your feet and your heart:)
      And for your words, which are balm, I thank you.
      My blogging has been for me; my blog site was built for her.
      It’s such a strange road to walk, friend.
      I appreciate your understanding nod,

  6. Amanda Fall on July 20, 2016 at 7:49 pm

    Oh Jennifer. The realization that you began here to find your way to her… And in the process you found your way back into yourself… Wow. I am sending so much love to you. Thank you, thank you for spilling your heart.

    • jennifer on July 22, 2016 at 7:23 am

      Thanks for being such a gentle place to spill:) You mean more to me than you can possibly know:)
      Big joy and love to you; cheering you on,

  7. Mimi and Tilly on July 21, 2016 at 3:27 am

    Your latest blog posts and their raw vulnerability and truth have deeply touched my heart, Jennifer. I am ever-more aware of the grace involved in being human. The daily steps we take to heal our hearts and move forward, knowing and feeling our full fragility while being supremely strong in keeping on. There is such beauty in that.

    • jennifer on July 22, 2016 at 7:22 am

      Being human – it reminds me of that song lyric that I love – “we all need a little tenderness, how can love survive
      in such a graceless age.” Right? No one knows what another heart feels or another person’s whys until they hear it from
      their own two ears. Even then, it can wobble and be scrambled. That’s why I hate politics. Such an ugly business.
      Thanks for coming around and sharing the campfire with me, friend:)

  8. Susan on July 21, 2016 at 2:59 pm

    I love knowing this part that I didn’t, the why of how you started blogging. I remember my first post, the giddiness and wonder of it and the feeling a bit sick to my stomach, so I can just imagine all that was going on in your heart. I’m so glad you were brave because it brought you to this world that I have loved so much and continue to be amazed at all the fine women I meet. This has been like getting all caught up in a special summertime novel. And right up above my comment here I spot the words ” being supremely strong in keeping on” oh, yes to that.

    • jennifer on July 22, 2016 at 7:20 am

      It’s been the gift of a lifetime finding this community – such a safe place to stretch out and share
      and practice and experiment… mean girls here:) I love it and am grateful to the bottom of my being.
      I appreciate the embrace we get to feel and offer. Who would have ever thunk:) Healing waters, these.
      Thanks for sitting around the campfire with me, Susan; I so appreciate,

  9. Kimber Britner on July 23, 2016 at 11:00 am

    Such a great summertime balm of beauty.

    • jennifer on July 25, 2016 at 6:25 pm

      Thanks, Kimber:)
      I appreciate!

  10. Barbara on July 24, 2016 at 2:19 pm

    I’m behind on the story and want to take it in order, so traveled here first. What a strange place that must have felt like, comforting your daughter for the loss of her mother. Kudos to you for your selflessness and servant’s heart. I love how you described the effect blogging had on you… like God was dancing you back to yourself. I totally agree! Blessings to you for sharing your story and all of your beautiful words and art, Jennifer!

  11. Connie Smiley on July 26, 2016 at 8:33 pm

    Interesting, all our lives you’ve touched while you were reaching for her. Thanks for all this open beauty.

    • jennifer on July 27, 2016 at 4:03 pm

      Thanks, Connie:) I so appreciate your reach; grateful that our paths crossed
      and for all the goodness we get to share. Much thanks.

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