Hand in my pocket and heart on my sleeve….

The biggest,  warmest hello to your much loved eyes
and even mucher loved hearts.
I’ve missed you…..missed  sending out my words to you and feeling them embraced and safeheld.
I’ve missed reading the words you say in such uniquely your expressions,
missed our front porch visits and the texture you bring to my journey
with the stories of your own.
I feel as if I’m back from a long travel to somewhere scary
where I had to leave my broken jeep beside the midnight river
and hike out barefoot and without reception.
I feel footsore and rattled and slowed down hard.

I’ve had so much to say that I couldn’t say anything at all.
But I’m gonna let the words trip out in bumps and starts now,
because it feels like time and if I wait until I can talk pretty
I may get stuck in the silence.

My hand hurts.  Always.  In the most noisy and sometimes searing kind of way.
My making hand – the one I’ve used for being me.
My writing,  arting,  planting,  pruning,  driving, doing hand.
And I’ve done the things medical and alternative
but it still feels like potholes in my ride each day
and there’s this fear that rides along -Who are you now like this?
And what are you going to do?

And I answer “still be me” and keep on walking
but the night sounds howl a little louder and the shadows make my jumpy heart race.
Because my loss of hand is not the storming down,
it’s just the how I know to ride the waves.
When life is hurting hard,  my doing-hand is what I use to shoo the sting away
enough to work it through,  to process,  to find a way to stay
when my feet want to run and help me hide.

And so into the chaos,  the ugly question creeps:
what if there isn’t enough to me without what I can do or show or make?
what if I don’t get a seat at the table
without what my hands can bring.
And it comes thumping around in my soul’s basement
that dark-corner question:  “who will love me now?”

Life has a way of making us look at the things
we fear may grab us from beneath
in the places where we’re leaning into rest.

(And aren’t we all learning how to rest in unrest?
We may have different tangles to navigate,  but perhaps we all show up to our stories
feeling capsized at times.)

So, yeah,  the waves feel high, I’m calling it adventure,
and ready to say my things. 
I’ll be here following the river;  come ramble awhile with me.

“Creativity comes from accepting that you’re not safe,
from being absolutely aware,  and from letting go of control.
It’s a matter of seeing everything – even when you want to shut your eyes.”
– Madeleine L’Engle

“When the night is holding on to me
God is holding on.”
– John Mark and Sarah McMillan



  1. Julia on August 1, 2018 at 5:55 pm

    First, I want to tell you that you’ve been missed. So glad you are back…
    Oh dear, this sounds like a real bumpy ride with that hand of yours. That hand that keeps busy with all the must do. I hope you receive my healing thoughts and that you’ll be as good as new very soon.
    Talking about hand, I hurt my right hand one fine morning last week when I was about to check to see that the blueberries were ready to pick in my neighbor’s yard. She has moved and the place is deserted but the blueberry bushes were waiting to be picked. I stepped into a gopher hole and came crashing down and hurt my right hand. It’s still swollen and painful but my right-hand likes to keep busy and it has so much to do. If hands could limp, mine is limping badly but I’m truly grateful that I didn’t break my old leg. There is still so much weeding to do in these parched gardens.

    Wishing you a speedy recovery dear Jennifer.
    Hugs, Julia

    • jennifer on August 1, 2018 at 6:39 pm

      Julia I’m so glad to be back. I’ve missed you all more than I can say!
      Yes, bumpy indeed. You understand how hard a gimpy hand can be.
      Oh your own poor hand! Gosh I feel for you – sending love and light plenty
      to every molecule of you and prayers for a quick mend. I wish you many weeders to help!
      Take good care of every bit of you,

      • M JULIA BOURQUE on August 1, 2018 at 7:35 pm

        Thanks, Jennifer. You are so eloquent in your well wishes, so I wish you the same healing for your hand dear friend. Things don’t always work out the way we plan. I was planning on retiring this past spring but there are no buyers for our dairy herd so I’m still working 7 days a week but some day, it will happen.
        Sending love and hope.
        Hugs, Julia

        • jennifer on August 2, 2018 at 12:02 pm

          Big hope for just the right buyers,
          the ones who have your spirit and love for the land.
          The best is still to be….i just believe it for you, Julia:)

  2. judy Hartman on August 1, 2018 at 11:02 pm

    Oh boy, Jennifer, that is one of my big fears – losing the use of my hands. I truly understand how frightening that must be and the accompanying questions about who we are without being able to make and do. An old friend of mine has a beautiful alto voice and could always play piano by ear. She entertained at all kinds of venues and was passionate about it. Well, she developed severe arthritis in her hands and cannot play any longer. At first she truly mourned her loss but, being a very spiritual person, she asked God to lead her to another passion, and that turned out to be working with children.
    As for you, I hope your pain will diminish and that you can get back to your artwork and planting and doing, but I hope you will always continue to write. There is so much out there in the world of technology, there must be ways to use your voice to write and have it transcribed electronically.
    Meanwhile, I hope your condition isn’t permanent and that you’ll heal and return to normal before too long. So good to read your eloquent words once again.
    Sending love…

    • jennifer on August 2, 2018 at 12:01 pm

      Thanks, dear Judy:) I know you understand. Always before I could rest the pain away and it would
      bounce back and let me go hard again as the tool I use most. Never had a notion that it would simply
      sit down and buckle. Severe arthritis and bone spurs and other weepy things:/ But, as you so beautifully
      write, we mourn our loss and ask God another way. The maker of ways:) It stirs my creativity just to
      get curious about it and begin to look and listen……
      Thanks for your kindness and I send back to you much love,

  3. Lady Fi on August 2, 2018 at 12:01 am

    So glad to see you back here – even more lyrical than usual! But so so sorry to hear about your hand. Hugs.

    • jennifer on August 2, 2018 at 11:34 am

      Thanks dear water and sky-loving friend and much joy to you also.
      Your encouragement is a gift and I appreciate:)

  4. Elephants Child on August 2, 2018 at 2:43 am

    Heatfelt hugs and oceans of acring.
    You have been missed. Not your hands, but the innate damaged, brave, WONDERFUL person that is you.

    • jennifer on August 2, 2018 at 11:33 am

      Gaaaah, your words always grab me right where I need a little shake.
      THANK you, Sue. Innate, brave, damaged, wonderful. Gosh what a beautiful picture.
      I love this so much. Large hugs back and so much thanks,

  5. jeanie on August 2, 2018 at 7:48 am

    Oh Jennifer, it’s so nice to see you back and hear your heart speak so eloquently about the pain — physical and emotional — that is challenging you right now. I understand deeply how a change in the body — especially a piece of that body that is in constant use and that provides escape from the world as well as an outlet to the creative soul — makes a difference in our whole emotional make-up. We try to find new ways to be yet still be who we are. Like you, my dominant hand has recently started acting up more aggressively. (Not, I think, anywhere near the degree you are experiencing). Still, it reminds me that things may change as they are for you and it’s not a pretty head trip. I put my faith in your spirit to continue to be the “who” that you are. And meanwhile, send light and love and healing wishes.

    • jennifer on August 2, 2018 at 11:31 am

      Thanks dear Jeanie:) Yes, exactly as you write.
      I appreciate and draw courage from your words and receive the good juju
      you send with an open, grinning heart:) And send back all the love I know.

  6. Kathy on August 2, 2018 at 8:20 am

    Hello Jennifer! I’ve been thinking of you. So sorry to hear that your hand is troubling you so much. I hope August brings you rest, healing and joy. Love, Kathy

    • jennifer on August 2, 2018 at 11:28 am

      Thanks, dear Kathy:) All the same to you and your patch of paper pumpkins growing
      ripe in the sun:) So often your pages inspire me back to center:)

  7. Lisa Moreland on August 2, 2018 at 8:52 am

    The long absence was noticed. Beautiful Instagram photos assured your presence though I’ve missed the unique prose of your blog essays. May healing and transition be tended by sacred presence.

    • jennifer on August 2, 2018 at 11:27 am

      Oh what balm in your words. Thank you Lisa. Thank you large.
      Healing and transition…..yes, exactly. Sacred presence is my heart’s desire
      and I appreciate those words especially today. A whoosh of grace to you as well:)

  8. Robin aka on August 3, 2018 at 10:57 am

    Like so many others, I’ve missed your postings. I honestly don’t think I’ve had someone write that captivates me as much as yours. Every single sentence I can visualize and set the scene. That’s a powerful gift you have. Like someone mentioned, possibly there’s software etc. that you could look into to help with your loss. You have so much to offer all of us. So welcome home!

    • jennifer on August 5, 2018 at 7:43 am

      Robin your words encourage my heart so deeply…..THANK you.
      It’s no small thing to give your words to another….I appreciate it huge.
      The biggest of hugs,

  9. elk on August 5, 2018 at 8:32 am

    thankful for your gift of words wrapped in honesty and pain tied with a bow of strength and love…our healthy hands are such miracles when you think of all they do …praying for God to grant you comfort as you move forward …

    • jennifer on August 13, 2018 at 10:40 am

      Sooooo much love and thanks for your kind words. Yes, the healthy bits are miracles always
      and so to be celebrated and cherished. Thanks for the reminder.
      – Jennifer

  10. Louise Gallagher on August 5, 2018 at 9:44 am

    Dearest Jennifer of the lyrical heart and aching hands.

    I too write it out to find my way and when life, or nature, or pain give me cause to pause, I find myself in out of the way places. Those spaces where no map charts the way, and no way is easy.

    And then, some other happenstance happens along and I find myself in another river, different flow, still me. still my life.

    Like coming here to find you this morning, lyrical heart flowing, words stirring my heart, changing its beat, creating a new rhythm to play along with, to sing out loud, to dance fearlessly to.

    Your hands may hurt but what never changes is the beauty and wonder your heart sees and your words and images express in every way you are, wherever you are.

    Gentle journey my friend. Go lightly into your day, hold your hands open so others may lovingly carry the burdens for you.

    Lovely to see you hear again.

    • jennifer on August 13, 2018 at 10:39 am

      Your words make me smile so deep:) Thank you, Louise:)
      Still me, still my life – yes:) Thank you for stirring me to more fearlessly dance:)

  11. Linda Kay on August 5, 2018 at 9:45 am

    I’ve missed you, your words and beautiful photos too! I’m glad you are back, in whatever ways you can be. Life is funny, it comes to us in ways we never imagined. We just need to be open to it’s adventures, even when they try us to our limits. It’s so good to be seeing you again! 💖

    • jennifer on August 13, 2018 at 10:38 am

      Thanks so much, Linda; yes, you’ve modeled so well moving forward with hope and yes to the next.
      Thank you for that and for your kind words here,

  12. Cindy Long on August 5, 2018 at 11:05 am

    Dear Jen…I’ve missed your heart song of whimsied words and the shimmers of life’s real telling your story! You’re a jewel to us all…and I’m glad you’re here again! 💕💗💕

    • jennifer on August 13, 2018 at 10:37 am

      Gosh I love your words, Cindy:) So much thank you for them:)
      Big hugs,

  13. Susan on August 6, 2018 at 5:23 pm

    My friend, I believe only you can make so much beauty out of capsized, hurt parts and dark, scary corners. Most of us have been there, dealing with the fear of who are we without our making hand and all of us are stronger for it. I loved reading all the comments for you, it reminded me of how quickly women band together for each other … as Louise said, hold your hands open and always accept the help and love and continue on whatever journey unfolds at this time and embrace the adventures. I’m so happy you are jumping back in to share your beauty, wisdom and humor.

    • jennifer on August 13, 2018 at 10:37 am

      Hey friend:) Thanks for your kind and loving words and, yes, I’m humbled and held by the sisterhood here
      and it moves me to breathing deeper and more grateful. Thanks for your always encouraging words and share.

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