Just a little offering
because I want to show up
even thought my shaky places need to wait this week out
so that I have headspace enough for this stormy season with my Dad
who has been in and out of emergency rooms and surgery
in a heavy-hit city,
back and forth in his own crisis during these strange weeks and
I’ve felt vulnerable and exposed and scared to tears at times,
especially as we pick him up from hospital and lean in to support him at home.
So, no, I’m not eyes-wide-shut to the pain and stress happening
in hospitals and homes.
I have thoughts and will cobble together what’s stirring in my spirit
when I can sit slower in the light.
Just this. Still this: I believe in beauty more – in the powerful, life-giving
brave and badass glory of a bigger and heftier Hope.
That’s where my heart makes camp,
even when I feel fragile and fried.
I’ll be back next week with a bouquet of better words:)
“Hold tight the hand that reaches for yours in the storm.”
– I don’t know who originally wrote this.
I penned it in an old journal without quotation marks or name – maybe it’s mine?
My apologies to the author if it isn’t me:)
I’ll be sending a new handmade art journal and some handwritten love
and goodies to Candace Flanagan this week (i added comments from fb to the drawing).
She is dear to me and I’m excited to draw my friend’s name.
Gonna take a little break from the giveaway this week
until I feel less frazzled in the fray.
Love and sweet grace to you all.
Sharing some of the fresh doors dancing open
during a time when fear and grief rattle the windows.
Some pickings from my gratitude garden:
~ For the sweet taste of clean in the city air.
~ That it feels as if my life has stopped hemorrhaging busyness
and if Springtime has ever been this deeply beautiful before
I sure was zipping past some of the aroma.
~ For the re-think of every little thing I think I need from the store.
The resourceful stretch of that pause.
And also the thrill of need met – the absolute joy
of chives from the garden and that bar of soap from my camping bag.
~ The slow-down and re-center of
don’t lose yourself in the news,
be concerned but not consumed.
and listen deep for Truth instead of blindly buying what they’re selling.
~ Painted pages drying like prayer flags on the clothesline.
~ The sweetness of moms and dads in the forest
with their kids kicking rocks and stacking stones
and laughing with the river as she sings them her wild songs.
It does my heart good to see un-busy kids
soaking up their lessons.
And dear memories stirred of the childhood I gave my own.
(way imperfect but with stones and stories and moss and breezes – lots)
~ the re-visit to unpack and wield some of the tools
I gained while learning how to grieve well –
the holding of paradox with one wing stretched wide with the pain
and one wing stretched wide with celebration of the beauty,
the beauty that always pulses in every sorrow.
The fresh inspire to stretch wider those wings.
~ The fresh ache of love when we can’t be there to hold and help
my Dad in hospital,
the fresh courage mustered to pick him up and take him home,
again and again,
to settle and see to his care while all of us so exposed,
feeling so vulnerable to the dragon that breathes fire
and how sharp the aliveness becomes
when uncertainty looms so large.
~ For good-smelling things like cinnamon and cilantro and hamburgers on the grill.
(I shall hate the smell of Lysol until I die)
~ The bigger, slower chunks of time to build something new,
to brave new paths,
find fresh ways,
and see with clearer eyes.
To defy. To shatter. To dare in a new direction.
“I don’t want to get to the end of my life
and find that I lived just the length of it.
I want to have lived the width of it as well.”
– Diane Ackerman
Congratulations to Jeanie of Marmalade Gypsy – we drew your name for the giveaway this week!
I’ll be sending your package along post haste.
With well washed hands.
Offering up another giveaway this week – this time a cute little purse or backpack sized art journal;
these have become my favorites -so eclectic and inspiring
Leave a comment and I’ll plunk your name in the hat to draw next Wed for a little love bomb.
Be well and brave, friends.
When I get into a place where I’m rattling around
inside of my head, lost in my anxious thoughts,
and long to flow from my heartspace instead,
my go-to thing
to slip loose from the noose
I show up to make a list,
and this feels somehow like a trust-fall back into the flow.
There’s just something about the muse and motion of list-making
So a here’s a process share, for especially when life can feel
like a slide into the upside down,
and showing up to gratitude feels thin
– maybe riff on some different questions instead. Like:
~ list what times have I felt the safest; what sounds and smells do I remember from then?
~ list what made me come alive as a kid; what made me feel brave?
~ Think of the someones that you love; imagine money is unlimited
and you have one moving van and can pack it like a freight train to send them.
List what goes in; pack it tight.
~ Just by writing it down, you can gift meals to people
for a few weeks.
Hand-delivered with love.
Imagine the menu; what’s on the list?
~ What do you really want to leave behind after you’re gone;
list your legacy dreams.
~ list what makes your breath go all sweet and easy.
~ who are the people you want to forgive,
(even if you don’t want )
the ones for whom anger feels heavy.
How would it feel if the pain were swept away;
list the ways life may feel different.
~ What do you want to be like at 80.
List the things.
~ What are your dreams/hopes/prayers for someone you love.
~ list every wild, brave, fear-defying adventure you’d still like to take.
~ list every time you’ve felt stuck, even trainwrecked, and something shifted.
Hope happened. Wind filled your sails again.
Remember and celebrate.
So list-making is my weird little life hack.
Makes my belly grin peace again
to help my creativity wriggle free.
It’s how I get my groove back
when I’ve gone listless:)
“Astonishing material and revelation appear in our lives all the time.
Let it be. Unto us, so much is given.
We just have to be open for business.”
– Anne Lammot
(Congratulations to artist and blogger Suzanne McRae – I drew your name for the giveaway.
I’m sending some love in the mail.
Offering up another giveaway of a handmade art journal
and some note cards and handwritten love.
This post is more tutorial – a little leap for me. Strange times nudge new ways.
Thanks for reading along; leave a comment and I’ll plunk your name in the hat
with a whole heap of love.
When it hurts really bad, this life
and I’m walking, sometimes crawling through,
my hands can get to shuddering in the wrestle to lay down the white-knuckled way
I take on when I feel scared,
to get my fingerprints off where I want to wrangle some control,
to fix or defend or self-protect
but the wind whispers first accept
and don’t forget to love it –
Love it good,
this imperfect, raw, hysterical,
complex, intricate, beautiful life.
This life so vulnerable is yours, Spirit whispers,
for every single hour that you’re given,
yours for all the days that you’re alive…
this gift – be most excellent to it.
Let go the ideal, the longing for certain and sure.
Let go the push, the demand, the rush to get back to what was.
And then love it here and now the way you love on something precious;
don’t leave your one ember of a life untended
like a dog coldly turned out on a lonesome road.
Love it because it’s yours to notice and steward and wrestle and thrill,
and even when it burns and bruises
and gets stalled in overwhelm,
don’t toss stuff and shallow comfort at it,
running away or numbing it down.
(Don’t hunker down inside the news or hunker down away from it.)
Don’t wait this thing out so that you can get back to your life.
Life needs your presence now,
just more of you stretched out on the ground with your face to the sky.
Step back inside your skin and engage,
and life will love you back.
Somehow in the crazy places we can step all over it
like something underfoot.
When you catch yourself un-living,
start breathing again, breathing all the way down
– breathing to the bottom of your being.
Breathe into your life
and be generous about it.
In all that you’ve lost or left behind
your heart still thumps curious to live these moments,
your soul still here for the tending,
body still hungry to move and yours to feed
and your creativity still wilding to discover and play and please-go-and-see.
And even when anxiety sits stubborn on your chest
and bears down heaviness,
and choose it again,
in every wink of light
– choose life.
“Every great loss demands that you choose life again.”
– Rachel Naomi Remen
Big love to Susan of Windrock Studio whose name we drew for last week’s giveaway.
I’m doing another this week – another homemade art journal (getting better with each go, these).
Lots of pages I’ve started for you to explore and riff off of and lots of empty ones for you to fill.
And some handmade cards and bites of art and handwritten love.
Just leave a comment and you’re in the drawing – back next Wed.
With love and big hope.
(I’ll have more art journals for sale up in my etsy this week – baby steps, baby:))
Even when the night dances so dark on your mind
that your peace splinters tears,
when life feels over-budget and over-drawn
in the ache and stall and prickle
and the fear that can sit so heavy on a belly
that you freeze clear through to your spine,
even then it is there,
In what could quickly become despair
even there a bud burns still inside to open,
to sizzle and surge and batter through rock
and shriek life back into all that has died.
In the stabbing glare of all you may have wished or wasted
or wandered off from,
there’s an epilogue unwritten still
but swirling always fierce with hope
that won’t let go even when you must
It rumbles new beginnings, new pages, new leaves and buds and seasons,
that what was lost may still be found,
that what was buried may yet live.
That in all of the loss and leaving,
in the dreams that died in the shell,
your heart is safe to lean in to what’s coming
into the quiet thunder that’s humming
it is well.
“What’s lost is nothing to what’s found,
and all the death that ever was,
set next to life,
would scarcely fill a cup.”
– Frederick Buechner
I’m doing a give-away this week over here (image below)
A little love bomb from Singing River – some handwritten encouragement,
a smattering of blank note cards and envelopes,
and my first homemade art journal. It’s imperfect but lovely
and just long enough for this strange season we’re in.
All made and sent to you with love and well-washed hands:)
I’ll draw a name from the comments Tuesday night 4/7.
And be back here with another post next Wed.
Sending love and huge hope for you and yours.
I’ve been tending garden in my own life for awhile, a soul spa of sorts,
and I’m in love with the rivery way of this process and how it tunes my heartstrings
to playing real – I love the wind and the listen.
For years I’ve been working out some ways to share it with others,
to create experience that facilitates their own deep dives
as I come alongside like a playful river guide.
I want to share this space I’ve learned to cultivate
until solution bubbles up and my heart takes on peace
and love heals some things as the ripples speak.
So I’m offering it up,
this invite to come to my town to play, and while you’re here,
meet me in one of the studios
i borrow from the forest where the singing rivers flow.
Or on my porch alongside the flowers and dark mountain ridges
that dance their blues across the sky.
I’ll supply the goods and we’ll go deep diving together
messing about with pens, paper and paints and see what Spirit wants to whisper,
And I’ll make us some yummy things to munch and sip along the way.
I’ve been sharpening my tools and I’m as ready as I know how to be
to put my sun-kissed skin into the game and get creating with the someones
that feel inspired to come my way.
To give you a couple of tender hours in my garden away from the bustle
where you can linger with a listening someone
who is eager to share her process and toys:)
Just some easy encouraging rivertime for the real of you.
What would you get?
~A new art journal and a fresh dance with some old tools to do your own unique mining for treasure
(art journaling looks different on each of us – I’ll share my own sweet spot )
~some photos of your forest time and
~a little package of bits of art for collage and
~some handwritten love I make just for you as I lean in to listen and hear with and for you,
~ a little hike, a little wade in the water, a little picking and pressing of wild things, a little time away
to soak in nature and some space to breathe deep and relax. A reset to rest.
A custom experience for uniquely you.
I’ve taught workshops when my living allowed but I’m making a big sweep across my busy table,
putting some things aside to make a spacious place in my days
to do more of this thing that makes my heart feel so deeply alive.
So I’m for hire! Not online but in skin. In the Pisgah Forest that I love. You can find me by the river
with a table spread for two (or several). I’ll pack in the supplies
and you come ready to play like an otter in the deep.
With someone who loves to swim alongside.
I’m doing a soft launch this month and
I’ll be throwing open doors to my forest time in March once the weather warms a little more.
Thanks for letting me share this thing bursting loose in me – I’ve been carrying
it inside for a long, long time:)
“I believe art is utterly important. It is one of the things that could save us.”
– Mary Oliver
Delivering up some thank you notes as I trot into lap 58….
Thank you, life, for showing me that clear is kind,
for swatting me hard sometimes when I’m not direct and nudging me
to ask better questions instead of parking myself in comfortable assumption.
Thank you, Brene’ Brown, for “paint done” –
and Candace for “keep talking – don’t quit talking yet”…
and that I’m learning, learning to do relationship better.
For how beautiful is understanding
Thank you, local honey, for being the sweetest medicine I know.
Thank you, big gold house on the hill, for holding us all safe through the storms
and keeping a roof over my grateful head.
Thank you, last golden minutes before the sun slips down behind the mountain,
for bathing me in glisten and glow enough to last the whole night through.
Thank you, pain and exhaustion, for teaching me that if I say “yes”
when my heart means “no” that I’m doing a terrible thing to myself
and to people I don’t want to hurt.
For growing a stronger “no” in me.
Thank you, all my messy art journals, for showing me how to make investment
in my own heart – that it’s the streambed of my tomorrows.
For being peace and purpose and play to me.
Thank you, Truth, for letting my questions tumble out – my ugly, raw and angry stuff –
to rest unanswered in your light until they lose the power to throttle me.
Thank you, Anderson, for your gentle, merry way.
For your kindness even when I’m unhinged; I appreciate every minute.
Thank you, Autumn, for being warm compassion and healing balm.
Your presence and words this year were pure gift
and my heart is stronger for it.
Thank you, Katie, for feeling like home away from home
and for stirring my aliveness with your strength and smile.
And for reminding me to rest.
Thank you, Hope for inspiring dreams to bubble up life again,
for calling to the beauty-maker in me
and tugging me to find new ways. I’m forever grateful for you.
Thank you, hard conversations, for teaching me courage. For letting me practice my baby steps
into braver waters.
Thank you, Tom and Beth, for being friendship and fried chicken in the lonesome.
Thank you, trust, for coming on slow but sure where I’ve felt jilted.
For finding a place in my heart even where I’ve locked down afraid of being gullible again.
For helping me be open and also shrewd…..for teaching me to hold the line taught between the two.
Thank you, truth-tellers, for being healing drops to my eyes – for helping me to see
that I don’t always see so well.
Thank you, God, for being only mercy when I feel hurt and hard.
For wooing me back to my head on your chest every time I spin out.
Thank you, Candace, Libby, Gay, Patty, Risa, Marcia, Katherine, Pam, Claire, Karen, Barbara, Eva, Jennifer, Mary Beth, Elizabeth, Lorraine…..gosh, ya’ll. You blew me away!
I don’t even know what I would have done without your kind gift last August.
It was a suffocating time and you threw open a window for some fresh air.
I could breathe again and I don’t know enough thank you words.
Thank you, people who offer “do you want to have a pray?”
It’s a gift of rare beauty to join hands and invite God.
I love this as much as I loved knocking on doors with alongside a friend when I was young,
maybe to sell girl scout cookies or ask someone to come out and play.
Standing together knocking is a sweet spot in my soul and I’ll always appreciate each ask.
Thank you, Jason, for your kind, encouraging way.
Thank you, Audible, for good reads while the miles passed long beneath me.
Thank you, old green jeep, for going and going and going still.
You take me there. And sometimes make me stay.
And I like our relationship:)
Thank you to some of the sensitive heroic nurses who patiently helped my Mom make her way home.
You are unsung angels and I couldn’t begin to walk a mile in your shoes.
Thank you, dear body of mine, for going weak all over and feeling awful when I lie. You say it strong to make
me honest. Especially to myself. Thanks for helping check my thoughts when I’m sleepy to what I’m doing.
Thank you, brave ones who strip off the label of “victim” and own powerful their stories instead. You
challenge my self pity and excuses; I’m grateful for your candles burning potent in the dark. d
You shift things more than you know.
Thank you, Mom, for teaching me some things about living and dying. About being strong – maybe even too strong. For the way your presence sometimes lands still like a gift and for praying from a clear and peaceful place.
I look forward to togethering with you again someday.
Thank you, Dad, for lifelong learning. For making yourself oatmeal and frying eggs and finding new ways.
For your weakness and your wonder – I’m richer because you’re you.
Thank you to the different ones – the atypical and off-center.
For being both brave and weak in the ways we sometimes punish. We are all the greater for you
and I wouldn’t want to live in a world where you don’t lead us.
Thank you, Langston, for making me wrestle. For challenging my perceptions and making waves
where I wanted an oversimplified calm.
For reminding me that people are worth the pain.
Thank you to my dearests – Bryan, Hannah, Peter, John, Amanda, Lance, Danielle. For stirring me always to be curious, vulnerable, unsettled, fluid, and half-crazy until I do better. For making me a more humane human and this world a friendlier place.
Thank you, little table in the woods, for sharing your space by the river while I play with pens and paints
and write out what I hear the wild wind saying. You help me let the river flow through me and make all the work worthwhile.
Thank you, you beautiful noble people of Snowbird and Birdtown,
for letting me be a small part of your lives
You have my heart.
Thank you, pressure and struggle, for not leaving me the way that I was.
That I don’t have to fear my failings and fumblings
Thank you, Singing River, for growing inside me until I’m bursting with the soul spa I’m carrying
to full term. I can’t wait to discover your name and offer you up to serve and be seen.
You feel like the best part of me; thanks for hanging on.
Thank you, new courage, that sometimes finds me being transparent in the middle of a shamestorm.
For the growing grace to just stand there naked until my fear gets tired of fearing and love gets to find me like that and heal some of my unloved places.
Thank you, lungs, for filling up with air every day fresh and fueling my comings and goings.
I’m your biggest fan and so appreciate your flexibility.
Thank you, dear soul of mine, for becoming more discriminating about the stories you make up about why things happen. I appreciate your growing patience before you rush to craft a narrative that may hurt on my body and mind. Thanks for recognizing when you might not be seeing it true. This feels like becoming free.
Thank you, drivers who respect instead of rage. You make all of our lives more livable. And every minute you take to be kind is a sweet rain of goodness on dry places.
Thank you to the helpers – the ones who come alongside when trouble happens. You are the salt of the earth;
we’d all be in a world of hurt if not for your heart to show up and risk. You make it do-able to be human.
Thank you, real apologies, for being said from hearts that know how to kneel down and serve love.
You heal and re-set us. And give us grace to go again, restoring relationships and building the bridges that move us
forward over busted up places. You are bottomless brilliance and may just save us.
Thank you, Lisa, Sandy, Donna, Jennifer and Karen, for being forever-friends who hear my things
and let me wail and show me grace even when I’m frantic as life is burning down my fear.
For being a finger away on the chat when I need to tag someone in.
For showing up in the hard stuff. You’re a gift to me, I know it.
Thank you, Janet, for being my sister-friend who loves me always. I think I’m most myself with you and it’s scary sometimes to be that real and test again the waters “am I still okay? Still loved?” With you I’m always safe and this is no small thing in this great big wide. You and David are pure gold and harbor.
Thank you, midnight hours, for being quiet and draped in moonlight. For the stars you offer so gentle and the whisper to put things right. For the way you strip away the clutter
and offer up the living room to roll out my thoughts and prayers like paint chips on the floor.
I forgive you the intrusion and welcome your tap tap tap on my window.
Thank you to the physical therapists who worked me so good. My back thanks you so hard!
It’s joy and relief to know what to do to keep my parts all playing nice with each other.
Thank you, soap and showers and all the bathtubs I have loved.
And Epsom salts, I heart you forever.
Thank you, Thistle Farms in Nashville, for inspiring me wildly. For showing that crafting and social justice and healing can team up successful to do big good. For Love Heals.
Thank you, Pisgah Forest, for being a living picture of restoration.
For sparking my vision for bigger things.
Thank you, boots that keep my socks dry, gloves that keep my hands warm,
and all the hats that have shielded me from the sun this year.
You give my skin a fighting chance.
Thank you, problem-solvers, for solutions and finding better ways.
Thank you, cider-makers, for turning humble fruits into tart bubbles
that sing welcome end-of-day songs.
Thank you, laughter that shakes my belly – you’re better than pie
and a staple in my life.
thank you, Bryan, for working to find your footing on this steep and slippery slope
and knowing sometimes the passwords and prices, and for holding my hand
warm as we pray in the night.
Thank you, life, for being both beautiful and hard. And exquisitely painful.
And worth living for all the moments and days. I will believe that you are precious,
that people are priceless, and that the turn of the decade has ushered in our finest and most fruitful days.
Thank you, dear ones who read the words I write down,
for the gift of your listen. This is no small thing in this loud and busy world
and I’m honored that you take the time.
I used to think that when I reached almost 60 I’d be old and wise,
yet somehow I feel as if I’m still just on the cusp of getting a clue:)
My bag is, however, heavy with fresh new thank you notes.
Thanks for letting me dump them out and share.
It’s a new decade
and my one little word surprised me quick:
When I was a girl, there was one warm little word that could smooth back the hair
from my upset and calm the afraid-and-alone of me,
sometimes offered by my mother and also my grandma Creasy
when I was particularly deserving.
“You dear little thing”
As I grew too big and clunky, the word became reserved for babies
and petite girls who minded their manners and kept their thick shiny hair tucked
neatly back off their faces.
For puppies and lambs and darling things.
It meant worthy of notice, of affection, of protection, of love.
The remarkable thing about being dear was that
it seemed to come without a single bit of effort on the part of the beloved.
It was as if the essence of the dear one squeezed sunshine and smile and safety
like orange juice from another soul.
It was delicious to be dear,
a soul-soothing energy that made it okay to be seen.
It was potent pain to lose your dearness.
To become un-see-able or worse, unacceptable, by love,
As I’ve journeyed through the years I’ve learned and un-learned to hustle for my dearness
the way you do when you’re still figuring it out,
and I hurt on hearts, mine and others, the way you do
when you’re not sure that it’s settled already – your unique value –
in the grand design.
This past year was gift in that it stirred the deep of this primal pain
as I lost the body of work I’d created over the past decade to a hard drive crash
while my mother slowly died
and layers of my shell peeled away,
begging the scary questions we toss like covers in the night.
Several months before she passed, I began to make old photos into cards and write my love
and memories in bundles for Mom to draw from when she needed a lift.
In this way she let me say how dear,
let me lay my heart on the foot of her bed
and feel a home once more in that place.
As I listened and longed for some words in return
I felt it keen the hunger to feel dear again to her,
the little girl of me reaching for her smile.
She was unable to give it,
and so one of the gifts in her passing is a sharp sense of purpose
standing up strong inside where it once felt like a dream being dreamed
a torch to say the things – to say how dear – into our motherless places.
Those holes left behind by the imperfect lives of our mothers and by our own
imperfect capacity to receive what she had to give.
We wound our kids without meaning – even in wanting only ever to love.
This year I’ll tend the memorial garden in my heart, in part,
by making space to say the things out louder,
to cluck soft and hum tender over our dearness.
To honor my mother and the mother in us all.
Because we’re here for just a few short seasons, like a wisp,
and I don’t want to leave any of my love ungiven.
So here it is, dear – my one little word.
And here’s to our dearness.
“You have to find a mother inside yourself. We all do.
Even if we have a mother, we still have to find this part of ourselves inside.”
– Sue Monk Kidd
I need to dance with a barefoot heart,
to twirl in the darkness of the wee hours
and wriggle free,
unloading heavy things
into hands so warm and available and open
that they tug the sun up through the woods
while the birds prattle joy
and the candle burns slow,
flickering sandalwood and spruce
and I take it in hungry
and peer into the face of light.
so there is somewhere for the torment
to tumble out and go,
all this anger over unjust things
that hurt the ones I love
while my stomach screams hard for help and change
and my small hands burn to take hold of everything cruel
and make it stop,
to make this big world well
until it goes kind and peaceable and just.
I want to rest deep and also live awake.
So when I need to lay my mind down
on something soft and tender-strong,
and remember deep the shepherd psalm,
and take in the love that speaks truth into storm
so that the fog and the cold doesn’t take me,
I can dance on it,
can paint and sing and write and move and shout and love out loud
in stuff that speaks like prayer
until my vision climbs up higher
and my heart holds firm to peace
and I breathe into hope that is defiant
against the dark.
This is a little re-write I shared a few years back
and it moves me that it’s stirring fresh again inside
and I share with a fresh sprig of new-grown herb
and serve it up with love:)
“The belief is that enough hope and tenderness will lead to world peace,
one mind at a time. All nations will come together in kindness and justice,
swords will be beaten into plowshares, spears into pruning hooks.
This is a little hard to buy with a world stage occupied by so many madmen,
and so much suffering. But setting aside one’s tiny tendency toward cynicism,
in the meantime – in Advent – we wait; and hope appears if we truly desire to see it.”
– Anne Lamott