Thank you notes at lap 59…..

59
Grinning thanks for all the bright candles burning sweet heat
as I head into the last lap of my fifties.
59 thank you notes:

Thank you,  nuance,   for being sanity in unsafe times.

Thank you,  Bryan,  for fighting through with me for us.
For being the yang to my yin,  the still water to my rippling waves,
and the well-grilled steak to my sweet potato fries
(with a buttery herby drizzle).

Thank you, Singing River Studios,  for being a studio without walls.
For finding space in the forest and in my heart to get born this year.

Thank you,  Jess of Bohoink, for my incredibly beautiful logo.
For seeing my heart and using your inks and paints to give it shape
in the real world.

Thank you to my tools!
For how my heart does a happy jig when we get to create together.
My gardening tools,  paints,  pens,  words,  camera,  journals, and practices.
I love doing life with you.

Thank you,  laughing rivers, empty fields, tall trees and big skies,
for singing my heart open so I can listen as Spirit speaks.
I need you like air.

Thank you, Honey and Salt,  for your greenhouse skillet.
You make breakfast a celebration
and inspire me in an Irregardless kind of way.

Thank you,  Anderson,  for helping me make my book this year.
For sharing your mad design skills and lending your considerable talents.
You helped bring the calm when tech challenges overwhelmed
and helped me chase down my nerve
so often when I lost it.
I appreciate you so.

Thank you,  Hope, for sending us home from the market when the risk got too high.
Your heart to keep us safe surpassed your need for help
and I feel your generous heart for us all.

Thank you to all the voices who were salt and light
and challenge to my biases and belief systems this year.
With loving creativity you brought truth into some dusty folds of my thinking
and helped me navigate this season
with some peace and purpose.

And thank you particularly, Ashley Abercrombie,  for being wisdom and fire
in the crazy;   you felt like an online big sister
during a year when I really needed a sharp and honest voice like yours.

Thank you,  Cherokee people, for remaining.
Your presence here and in your scattered nation is a gift and I appreciate you.
I acknowledge you as the host people of the home where I get to dwell
And thank you for your stewardship of this land.
And for receiving me.

Thank you,  Mom,  for your continued prayers.
I feel them all the stronger
more and still…..

Thank you,  Mark Charles,  for being unflappable in your sharing
of the history and perspective and wisdom on which I’m chewing….
I hold a hefty hope that this country will be ready for your leadership soon.

Thank you,  rocky places in the sky where I get to roam and jeep and pray,
for being a place where I can feel the jagged light of heaven
kiss the broken ground…..

Thank you to the brave voices who bless instead of curse
during these polarizing times.
Who listen instead of assume.
And who protect and affirm the humanity
of even those with whom they disagree.
Heroic,  every time.

Thank you,  Anne,  for project managing my book
– for finding me a great printer and being a friend
of life-long proportions:)

Thank you, God,  for the grace
that can’t be wiped out by the firestorms and fault-lines of my fears.
For the rest that comes when my heart feels safe
and the friendship that blossoms when I believe in rest.

Thank you,  Soul-keeper, for more layers in the healing of my hurry.

Thank you, white people, who make room for willingness
to examine the myth of American exceptionalism.
For those willing to look at the doctrine of discovery (just look),
who defy the fear of shame  and listen deeply beyond excuse and defenses.
For those not afraid to drop to their white knees and rethink.

In fact,  the biggest warmest thank you to everyone who got a little bit better
at listening this year.
Such a vital art.  We’re all the richer for your wrestle.

For the soundness of mind that comes only from cooperating with reality,
and for how it heals the bones and breath of me
when I shelter in this place.

For how the heart of God comforts
instead of condemns
when we sit in the trauma of our history
and feel the weight of our individual and collective wrongs.

For the birth pains getting stronger on this wild spinning ball,
how we’re getting to the roots of our collective trauma.
A healing crisis.

For the gentleness of God
when I judge him/her as unkind,  unjust,  indifferent or impotent.

For the way Covid didn’t steal my breath away.
And the prayers that supported my wings.

And thank you,  taste buds,  for being so dependable for most all of my days!
I have missed the taste of food so hard
and I’ll never take you for granted again.
You help make living fun.

Thank you,  sharers of your stories.
Because your heart beats out this beautiful unique-to-you song.
Thanks for allowing us a glimpse so that we can cherish the gem that is you.

Thank you,  humans,  for every time you refused to demonize another one of us.
For that inspired act of love.   For trusting that there is an un-truth
in every demonizing story.   And for admitting you may not know the whole of it.
You are my biggest heroes this year.  Love and honor.

Thank you to all the creative tension that flickers and sparks between suffering and solution,
and to humans who are willing to get messy there.

Thank you to the disruptors.  Because love disrupts.  And so does story.

Thank you,  Meg and Joanna,   for helping me with tech issues.
For tugging me up to speed with all the things.
My brain hurts, but thanks for scraping me up off the floor and propping me up anyway.
You were a path through the fog.  And so awfully kind about it.

Thank you,  2020, for being the scene where I learned in a big way that panic,
not the task,  is the enemy.
You forced me so far outside of my comfort zone that I couldn’t find my way back
and had to just build a new home in the wild of the crazy unknown.
For requiring me to focus on the present.  There’s a gift in there somewhere.

Thank you to each big deep breath of focus. Fooooooo-cus.  Helped me get some stuff done.

Thank you,  Vivian Howard, for the little green dress recipe that lives always in my fridge.
Really does make things taste good.

Thank you,  Schitt’s Creek,  for making me laugh tears.  For your superb writing.
For “Be very careful, John, lest you suffer vertigo from the dizzying heights of your moral ground.” (Moira)
Quote of 2020 in my book.

Thank you, Justice,  for being the big chunk of the heart of God I fell in love with this year.
Not the hopeless justice with no mercy,  but the gospel-of-Luke mad love
for the oppressed and excluded that Jesus modeled.
I saw it fresh how tight he remains with the voiceless.

Thank you also, 2020,  for the space and noise that inspired a deeper dive into the love of God
who is no slave to politics or religion or the systems devised by those
very man-made things.
For the confusion that drove me deeper into the light.

Thank you, sweet stirring Breeze that warmed and cuddled seeds
until they broke through hard shells and lived anyway.
I love that way that you do:)

Thank you to all those who made brave pivots,  set new paces,
took wild generous strokes into unmarked territory
in all of the loss and bewilderment of this turbulent year.
And for those who kept shooting up flares to help us orient and find footing in the fray.

Thank you,  simple pleasures,  for being a drizzle of raspberry jam on an ordinary thing.
For botanical prints on plain paper,  cloud patterns on sky,
painted pages drying on the clothesline,  white foam on waves,
good songs on the radio, tan on legs,  loved ones on Zoom,
moon on dark nights,  rain on too dry ground,  and time on my hands.

Thank you,  art and hope and gratitude,  for being subversive joy
and defiance against the dark.

Thank you,  poetry,  for distilling it all so powerfully.
My crush on you only deepens.

Thank you,  truth-telling,  for being this powerful and humble harbor.
For how you never try to manipulate and control.

Oh and also,  Truth, for being a place where we can rest.  That you require no plate-spinning,
juggling or shape-shifting.
Nothing tricksy to manage with you.  Sanctuary.

Thank you to the peacemakers this year.  Holy.  Your work was,  just,  holy.
I could go full-on dramatic about this but I’ll just leave it here simple.
Thanks,  ya’ll.  You’re heroes every one.

Thank you, life,  for permission to feel it all and still not lose hope.
This year made having thin, sensitive skin a long raw scrape on dirty gravel.

Thank you,  grieving ones,  for doing the grieving.
Please don’t turn it down or off to satisfy one of our insipid ideas
about getting over it to make the rest of us more comfy.
We all need the brave work you’re doing.
Keep the faith.

Thank you to the mountains where I get to make my home.
For lifting always up my eyes.   Sharpening my senses.   Unwinding what gets tangled in me.
And for how you rain down sorrow long held within your rock,
the tears of a people driven from their home by pride and greed.
You saw and hold their footsteps like a heartbeat.
Thanks for whispering their story.
For remembering.

Thank you,  Janet and David,  for your passionate hunt for houses this year.
For following the impossibly steep and winding trail
until you treed the sister houses across the valley.  For having big, wild vision and
sharing the spoils with us.
Can you believe we get to be neighbors in these mountains – what crazy-sweet,
scary and worthwhile dream are we living?!?

Thank you,  local farmers,  for planting fields of flowers
and especially dahlias
just because they’re beautiful.
Because beauty.  You also are my heroes.

Thank you,  dear infusion center nurse, for your emphatic, “today the world sure isn’t as it should be.”
Because I heard them bubble up from my belly these words,
“No,  but it’s getting a little closer.”
Snapshot in time,  that one – I’ll store and keep it long.

Thank you,  shifting seasons,  for helping me not get lost in my love for yesterday.
For reminding me that nostalgia isn’t my God.
For the nudge that in this hurricane of change,
hope and disappointment can sit together all day long
without lying to each other.

Thank you,  change that shakes my shaky things,
for stirring my stuck places into rock and shudder,
Getting unstuck is worth the pain.

 

Thank you,  wildflowers and perennials and all the bloomers that bloomed.
Went right on and bloomed anyway during this hardscrabble year.
You were hope and resilience on bold dewy stalks and fostered joy by the fist-fulls.

Thank you to those who messaged me criticisms this year.
For your instructions on how I should show up in this world.
You stirred some bristle and wrestle  about what I stand for and where my lines actually are.
I appreciate the clarity your words forced me to cultivate.
(and with respect,  do write your own lyrics if you don’t like what I pen;
I’m busy writing mine.)

Thank you to all the helpers and healers who surrounded my Dad when he was struggling this year.
And for all of the healthcare heroes who have worked tirelessly and endured unspeakable stress
while so many were safe at home.   Hand to my heart for you.
(And heartfelt prayers in the stress you still navigate in the battle we still wage).

Thank you to every human willing to listen beyond their cultural biases and ego’s defenses
as things previously hidden to them began to be revealed.
To those who refused to dismiss the painful light.
The art of listening was a triumph this year.   Cheers to the listeners who listened.
*I realize I listed listeners twice.  Keeping it.  Because listening*

Thank you to the ones who pre-ordered my book!
You fueled so much.  And to all who purchase still -it’s joy to send them to good homes.

Thank you,  generous ones,  for holding space for people to be where they are
until they shift.
For trusting that mercy and grace are far better building materials
than accusation and contempt.
For letting Love lead and doing the work of grief when your hearts break
but refusing to make camp in hate
because you trust that hate won’t hold us high enough to see forward.
For doing the badass business of forgiveness
and making welcome without judgement
when people change their minds.
For being generous when perspectives evolve
And inclusive.
For trusting that revenge is cheap and shortsighted and not ours to take.
For believing, instead, in the Love that never fails.

Thank you to my grown children.
You are beloved.   My biggest reasons.
There isn’t a morning I wake or day that grows dark when my heart doesn’t reach across the miles
with prayer and thanks and hope and celebration and love for who you are.
I am so thankful to share this planet with each of you.

For one more year!
So many didn’t get another.
My neck is sunkissed wrinkles and I’ve noticed a droop in my jowls,
and you may even spot some chin hairs that without glasses I can’t even see to pluck,
but to get to head into the last lap of my fifties is pure gift,
this I know.
Gimpy and flawed and still figuring it out, I’m all in:)

“You,  too,  will find your strength
We who must live in this time
cannot imagine how strong you will become –
how strange,  how surprising,
yet familiar as yesterday.

We will sense you like a fragrance from a nearby garden
and watch you move through our days
like a shaft of sunlight in a sickroom.

We will not be herded into churches
for you are not made by the crowd,
you who meet us in our solitude.

We are cradled close in your hands –
and lavishly flung forth.”
– Ranier Maria Rilke

Thank you for reading this impossibly long post:)
I’ve recovered from Covid mostly and am now deep up to my elbows in the restoration
of an old house that will be my new home.
The one across the valley with the red roof:)
I’ll be back soon with more to share
Much love to you this new year!

Comments

  1. A very, very Happy Birthday dear friend – with many more packed with love, laughter and learning to come.

  2. Jane Brocious says

    Happy, happy birthday, Young One! And many happy returns!🎂🥳🎉🎊✨🌟✨🎊🎉🥳🎂🎂🎂

    • Sooooooo much thanks and love, Jane:)
      And can’t tell you how much your surprise gift meant to our family that shaky week last month.
      It was such a timely gift and much appreciated!
      Love and thanks,
      Jennifer

  3. Not impossibly long. Impossibly perfect. However you do that, I don’t know, but I am glad you do. I am energized by your words.

    Happiest of birthdays to you, dear Jennifer, and may it be the first day of a remarkable, memorable and beautiful year. I’m excited about your home, all the more grateful that you and your most precious, breath-of-life lungs survived Covid. I hope your recovery is long and lasting. Your book is exquisite — a note is in the mail to you and maybe even has arrived by now. Long overdue, but I wanted to savor it before I wrote. Thank you for choosing me, thank you for the words that stir our souls. They certainly stirred mine.

    • You know, when I first got sick and tested positive, I had a moment when I cried tears of fear bc of my lung situation.
      BUT they were so wildly protected. I coughed no more than usual and congestion was almost all in my
      sinuses. The worst of it for me was GI issues and pain in back and solar plexis and the ridiculous weakness and fatigue.
      And the parting shot was hives:/ Crazy virus. But my lungs are good. I’ve heard this from many. Such a dramatically different
      experience for everyone. My heart continues to cry out for those who are sick. Healing and help!
      THanks for your kind words about my book. It’s joy to share.
      Love and big hugs,
      Jennifer

  4. So sorry that you got hit by Covid-19 and wish you a complete recovery with all your usual strength and return to normal. Wishing you a Happy Birthday and a good time renovating your new house.
    Hugs, Julia

    • Still gimpy at times and in ways and not an easy ride but so much grace and i’m wildly grateful!
      Thank you – it’s exactly what i’m doing my birthday week. The renovation is satisfying work.
      Thanks and love,
      Jennifer

  5. Cathy Davis says

    Jenny, What beautiful words and pictures as always! Hope this new year will be a happy, healthy one for you. Enjoy renovating your new, old home!
    Love to you always,
    Cathy

    • jennifer says

      Hey there Cathy – sorry for not responding sooner.
      Lots falling off my plate the last few months.
      Hopefully back with a stronger balance:)
      We are enjoying it much – especially outside!
      Thanks and hugs,
      Jennifer

  6. Lovely! Wishing you a very Happy Birthday (this one, and many many in the future) <3

    • jennifer says

      Hey Mike! Thanks for the birthday wishes – forgive me for being such a clod
      and not responding. I’ve been out to lunch for a bit.
      Big hug,
      Jennifer

  7. Beautiful! Thank YOU.

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