Thank you notes at lap 57…..

To celebrate as I begin another jaunt around the sun;  57 brand new thank you notes:
(in no particular order)

Thank you,  Everett Road,  for being a slow leisurely ride for bicycles pretty much all day every day.
You make me slow down and think about how much value lives
inside each package of skin.

Thank you,  big butter-colored house with the crazy-steep driveway
where I get to lay my head down safe nights to sleep warm against the mountain.
For being loving shelter and home base.
For sharing your waterfall music and and for standing strong in all the storms.

Thank you,  Janet and David,  for sharing your lives and the big buttery house high above Everett Road.
For renting us the sweet apartment on the hillside and letting me plant my flowers there.
For being Lucy and Ricky to our Ethel and Fred:)
For being the best neighbors ever and friends beyond compare.

Thank you,  Yoga with Adriene,
for walking me through some moves on the mat
that help un-do the gnarly stuff that life sometimes does.
For being there anytime and with humor.

Thank you, 57 year old knees,  for how you keep bending me down low
so I can coax things to grow.
And for mostly cooperating with my shenanigans along the way.

Thank you,  US mail,  for trekking my words far and fast
for the simple price of a postage stamp.

Thank you,  Blue Ridge Vineyard,  for being a haven for my heart right now.
And to you,  Tom and Beth,  for feeling like home in a faraway place.

Thank you,  Mom and Dad,  for growing in love still and always,
and for pulling for my kids as if they were your own.

Thank you,  New Leaf Garden Market,  for affirming the work of my hands
and giving me a place to learn and contribute and dream.
Thanks for letting me be on your team and also be my ragamuffin self.
This is gold to me.

Thank you,  Bambi and people who do medical massage
and all of the other healers who use their hands to put things right.
Doing a year without your skills has grown my appreciation
and I don’t want to live in a world without your art form.

Thank you,  Hope,  for inspiring me to remember my buried stories and sagging poetry
while I work with dirty hands and dig up parts of myself that I’d forgotten how to miss.
I love the beautiful way you that are.

Thank you,  January,  for beginnings and my birthday.
For stirring me to celebrate my wishes and let them be.
The ones that make sense and the ones that don’t,  the long shots,  the ridiculous.
For reminding me to let my heart go off-leash and brave about them all.

Thank you, failures and flaws, for learning me not to care so hard what other people think:)
I don’t want to live chained to it’s power to starve me,
but to love for the rest of my days like a wild thing free.

Thank you,  cherry Noble cider,  for warming my belly
with your not-too-sweet bubbles.

Thank you,  people who give their animals good lives,
for living out a heroic kindness.
You make the world better.

Thank you,  Patsy and Jim,  for sharing your beautiful cottage by the sea.
For the gift of your sweet spirits and Topsail time – oh we are rich:)

Thank you, truth-tellers,  for reminding me that despair is delusional.

Thank you,  Audible,  for helping me listen to good books while I go along the highways
and back roads.   For letting me drive and have my books,  too.

Thank you,  good listeners.  for letting the hard things be hard
and the confusing things confusing.  For making it safe to say.

Thank you,  resentment,  for being such heavy poison.
You remind me to forgive as fast as I feel you
and to fight to keep your claws from hooking me long.

Thank you,  Theracane,  for working out my torqued places while I watch TV.

Thank you,  menfolk who refuse to objectify women.
You are healers and heros.   Strength and honor.

Thank you,  pain, for being a good professor.
Sorry for treating you often like a hot potato instead.
And for sometimes skipping class.

Thank you,  Youtube,  for being this freakish crazy magic.
I dreamed of you as a child – this place where anyone
could sing or say or show with the click of a button.
You’re a hot mess because we’re so human, but,  wow –
well done being the thing that you are.

Thank you,  my amazing grown kids,  for reminding me to offer my words easy
and just let them be.
For teaching me to say instead of sell.
You’re some of my best teachers and I love and appreciate you so.

Thank you,  takers of personal responsibility.
You who refuse to live from a victim narrative, even when you’ve been truly victimized.
You teach us what mercy looks like and are our strength as a people.
Thank you for showing the way to the future.

Thank you,  Marie Kondo,  for teaching me how to fold my t-shirts and keep my home
a joyful space.

Thank you,  current political environment,  for shaking and sifting us so.
For shining a broad beam on our hearts so that we can see our narrow places
and hone in on what and how we want to be instead.
For making us confront the uncomfortable
and build civility during unrest.
Our finest hour is coming.

Thank you Way-Maker
for always being exactly who you are.
Your love is my life-long discovery
and your tender faithfulness slays me in such a healing way.

Thank you,  awkward interludes,  for helping me sometimes to surrender
to the silence.

Thank you,  all of the waves that I’ve known,  for bobbing and crashing
and tumbling and rolling and surging and sweeping me off of my feet
until I find myself a child again inside your churning wonder.

Thank you,  Adam Fadel,  for teaching us that conflicts are not about content,
and helping us to heal our marriage and find the most honest, loving way.

Thank you,  Anderson,  for your kindness,
and for helping me find my footing at New Leaf.

Thank you,  scary circumstances,  for inspiring me to risk
deep into the wild of God.

Thank you,  Bee,  basset of Brevard,
for being a soulful squirmy slinky-dog of a hound
who makes me laugh hard from my belly every single day:)
You light up my life.  And remind me to close my closet doors.

Thank you,  kale,  for being awesome mixed with sweet oranges
and also tossed with olive oil and salt to make warm wintery chips.
For being beyond amazing sprinkled with goat cheese.
And thank you,  Spinning Spider,  for making your goats so happy.

Thank you,  local farmers,  for being fierce
in spite of punishing weather.  For soldiering on undaunted
while growing some of the most gorgeous flowers and veg I ever dreamed to know.

Thank you,  Pisgah Forest,  for being playground and prayer closet to me.
For being the place where I run to
and for winding me swiftly up high to the parkway where i can walk in the sky.
And for changing your clothes so dramatic each day.

Thank you,  Blue Ridge parkway,  for being the sea that I need.
For your billowing waves of moody blues and greens and grays
and endless sky sweeping vast in every flicker and twinkle and shade.
And for inviting always the wind.

Thank you,  mountain night stars,  for coming closer than any I’ve known before.
I can almost hear your starshine.

Thank you,  words,  for being a little elusive this year.
You’re still my favorite art supply but you seem more expensive now
-like I have to woo you harder, pay better attention.
And this is gift;  I may have started to take you for granted;
our relationship is healthier for this rift.

Thank you,  lonely times in a new place.
You helped me become a better friend to myself.

Thank you,  charming small town with sidewalks lit up like Stars Hollow.
You draw me out after dark to walk and feel safe while you twinkle all around.

Thank you,  black bear with the quizzical eyes,  for visiting our garage and being so loud with the garbage,
and for the long stare we shared before you lumbered away..   You and the mama bear with three cubs in tow
– you’ve all heightened my imagination in the sharpest of ways.
I think of you often after dark,  when leaves rustle and twigs crack.
You are always on my mind.

Thank you,  Candace,  for gifting me with words that make my heart sit up and hope clear.
For encouraging me with chicken salad and kindness.
For having my back.

Thank you,  those who nudged open my little etsy store again;
you made my flickering lamp sit up and smile all Summer long.

Thank you,  micron pens,  for making my hands happy to write things down.
And sturdy coarse paper – I love you forever.

Thank you, indoor lemon trees,  for being a thing.
I seriously love you.

Thank you,  Epsom salts,  for turning my plastic portable blue bathtub
into a spa soak almost every night.
With the help of some gratitude and my tired bones.

Thank you,  life,  for letting me feel sometimes the sting of want and need.
Things taste much better with a primed appetite.

Thank you,  new mattress,  for lifting all of my parts at the same time.
Miraculous how you support me.

Thank you,  blank note cards,  for giving me a quiet generous place to pour out my thoughts
and say the things.  I don’t want to leave this earth with any of my love left un-given.

Thank you,   music,  for holding it all so good.
For being the fireside where our stories go to be shared
and in such a vivid, moving language.

Thank you,   broken down and falling apart things,
for reminding me that this one life isn’t a dress rehearsal.
That this thing I’m living is real and that there’s help and plenty
but it won’t be forced on me;  that I get to choose to ask and knock.
Your perspective is helpful.

Thank you,  vehicles rigged with kayaks,  canoes and mountain bikes.
Your muddy tires and carefree ways remind me that traffic can also be a road to adventure.
Thanks for being brave – you stir me to play more

Thank you,  religious politics,
for helping me fall in love all over again with grace.
Your harsh self-righteous way makes me all the more giddy over grace.

Thank you,  Charlotte clients,  for letting me go far into the mountains to make my home
and do the drive down on early mornings to still show up and be your gardener.
For paying me still to do what I love and trusting me with places
we’ve cultivated together over the years.
This has been gift and I’ve loved every sunrise and sunset along the way
You’ve helped make some dreams real
and I’ll always remember this.

Finally,  thank you Bryan.
For being for me.
For fighting through hard places alongside of me.
And for mostly loving me – even when the one I’m fighting is you.
We’re a good team and getting better
and you can still make my heart do a shivery flutter:)
Always and forever I love you.

And you…..you who come around and read the words that I write down.
Mountains of thanks – you encourage the wind and fire of me.
(and my next post will be shorter – i promise:))

“Let’s go in search of hidden gems close to home.
Let’s sleep under skies and wake with campfire smoke lingering in our eyes.
Let’s grab the keys and feel the road spill out in front of us,
disappearing into the rear view mirror all we have endured.
Such magic is waiting.  Such splendor.
Find it with me now.  Now.”
– Tyler Knott Gregson

Compost, joy and gumption…..

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My heart hurts.
Bad.
And I don’t want to run from the pain or hide out in false places,
but I’m not going to sink down into the ache and go dull to the salt and sizzle of living,  either,
so I’m hurling clods scraped raw from the clay that I am
like bottle rockets exploding thanks,   setting fire to the night,
because there’s fierce medicine in the kind of joy that won’t sit down
and with perspective comes a healing tide.

And for the record,  I’m not gonna lie that I’m grateful for this heart-rip,
either,  ’cause I’m not.  Nope.  Not one bit.
But I’ll say this true,  from the bottom of my bruises,
that I’m grateful,  yes I am,  for this pile of shit dumped fresh
because I believe in compost
and I won’t waste this.

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So let these punctures dig and poke and pull out plugs of my hard ground
until I’m soft and open and full up with air and sky and yes and fruit
and fresh and ripe and dreams growing thick on the vine.
Go ahead and fertilize me.
I’ll love life more for it.

And so,  dear life,   I’m gonna lean into the grace to square my shoulders,
hold still like a rock star,
and dare to let you love me back,
with a crazy kind of hope that won’t leave the dance floor.
And I won’t busy this pain on down but I’ll taste and listen
and let my lens be dipped in truth until I’m seeing clear
and knowing deep the Love that covers and keeps me here
because when I don’t trust your goodness
I don’t even see the light when it’s burning through my fear.

I’ll surrender everything but this joy.
That’s not ever gonna be on the table.

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“But trading joy for less vulnerability is a deal with the devil.
And the devil never pays up.”
– Brene’ Brown

~

Learning to love the lion of things…..

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I will be grateful for the fires of winter
burning into the deep,  hard,  steely cold,
for the crackling sounds of earth giving up her strength
until ashes and coal
re-heated the heart and bones of me

and my soul sings thanks over old,  dirty snow,
over the slick of ice that skidded and slowed
what wanted to go faster,
wanted to outrun the gray skies closed in harsh
and find pretty things that pull my eyes
to softer places easier to see

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  and I’ll call them good,  the little luminaries
in the bitter slow-going,
the bright little beings flocked close around the birdfeeder
and life calling me sometimes out
onto streets I didn’t want to travel,
for the ways it made me braver
and tugged me farther into the wilds of my soul
where seeds waited long for me to sing warm breath
over their hard little shells
until they,  too,  went green and glowing
.

and how odd that maybe it’s a rich thing ,
how slowly winterness melts and thins,
and draws it out long,   this waiting
for the stuff of fruit and herb and light and loam and bloom
and I’m grateful more than weary
for the lion of even tiresome things

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I’m learning to love both the lamb and the lion of this thing called living:)

“….gone are the dark clouds that had me down,
it’s gonna be a bright,  bright
sunshiny day.”
-Jimmy Cliff

I’m gonna give away a copy of the March issue of my bright little zine,  Ripplesongs,
to the name I draw from the comments left on this post
……..jump on in,  if you like!
I’ll post the winner next Sunday:)

The swooning season….

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Hello November,
you great big beautiful blustery season
of harvest and homefires and holiday.
I love your generous,  engaging way
and your early lamplit evenings,
the deeper sleeps beneath the blankets
and your uncanny gift for drawing chairs up closer around the table.

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I love what you do to my heart,
stoking gratitude burning bright and sending me tumbling again
head over heels in love with the ones I love already
but focused in rich and stronger somehow.
You churn up celebration
in the hard business of living
and I appreciate the way you set me to swooning
over the stuff I sometimes forget to see and count and savor.

Here you come again,
the gathering season.
Welcome,  you,  with all my heart:)

(yeah,  I’m an appreciator,  so this month is strength and sweetness to my soul;
 I’d love to give away two copies of my November zine….the gratitude issue…..to the someone
whose name I draw next week.  Leave a comment and I’ll send you one to keep and one to give away.
With much,  much love)

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“I want my everyday to make God belly laugh,  glad that He gave life to someone who loves the gift.”
-Shauna Neiquist

 

anyway and everything….

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It’s groaning with gratitude,  my anyway jar,
filling up with goodness glinting like unpolished gold
in these hardscrabble times
and my heart grins brighter with each plunk of plenty
and I remember laughing how I thought I’d fill one quicker
with “stuff that sucks”

and I think that maybe,  in time,  I’d have had to dump
the “holy crap,  this bites” pile into the
“thanks for this brilliance” jar and see it all true
and call it all good,  the whole lump of it,

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because it’s all being worked together that way,
crafted into something I wouldn’t have wanted to miss
or control
or sleep through dull

and now  I’m thinking thanks for it all,
the bits that are beautiful and blistering and balmy and broken;
I’ll take it all grateful
because loving genius is weaving the parts
into story large and strong
and I can trust this resourceful heart
with my everything.

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Just doing a little heartcheck as the year unfolds
and the one little word I chose
*anyway*
still challenging me.
Do you have a word that’s speaking to you?

If you are kind,  people may accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.  Be kind anyway.
If you are successful,  you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies.
Be successful anyway.
What you spend years creating,  others could destroy overnight.  Create anyway.
If you find serenity and happiness,  some may be jealous.  Be happy anyway.
In the final analysis,  it is between you and God.
It was never between you and them,
anyway.”

– attributed to Mother Teresa