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 rippling waves,
and the well-grilled steak to my sweet potato fries
(with a rich 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.

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, 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 all who sent me critical messages this year.  For feeling free to tell me how to show up in this world, instructing me as to whom I should champion and whom to denounce.
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 love 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,
but to get to head into the last lap of my fifties is pure gift,
this I know.
Gimpy and imperfect, 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!

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 sincerely sweet.
For keeping it real.
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.