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!

Like sea glass on the sand…..thank you notes

Heart thumping grateful for the light bouncing potent off of these shards of beauty
like hard-buffed sea glass on the sand:
As the storm storms on….

~  Thank you farmers and makers and artists and shakers
for collaborating with God to keep us nourished body and soul.

~ Thank you,  creation,   for being beautiful in complexity and paradox.
You can be gorgeous beyond belief and also mean and merciless
and still
the realer reality
of strong Compassion
sweeps over you a healing tide
and restoration can happen like the morning

~ Thank you for “I wonder where the storm will take us.”
For those who can sit with the unknown.
I appreciate more than ever you who will hold space for uncertainty.

~For the stars and moon so talkative some nights that it’s hard to sleep
and for brand new days for our tired old ways,

~ For heart-claps and joy that gives mad strength,
joy that isn’t pissed away by “what about this.”
Joy that trusts defiant,
that prays brave and surrenders it fierce,
whatever can’t be fixed or found.

~For the just right blend of beauty and bounty and broken and wisdom and whiskey and weird
for my cup of tea.

~ Thank you,  those who release life-giving prayers into the heavens,
how those prayers rise the way the wind kisses dunes with salty breath,
or like the birds who seem to be born out of mist
and fly into the burning sun.

~ Thank you,  pain and pressure and perplexities.
For how “we never know the wine we are becoming while being crushed like grapes.”
(thanks,  Henri Nouwen)

~ Thank you paypal and Vinmo and all of the things;
you do make the clockwork run a little smoother.

~Thank you flowers and Spring bloomers for how ya’ll keep talking up a hopeful storm,
making music like the birds who just keep singing.

~ Thank you,  steep and slippery technical learning curves,  for being just barely do-able.
Eventually.  Like climbing a greased pole.  Or a violently swinging rope.
You’ve brought my jagged edges to the surface for some needed polishing.
And brought me to Pepcid AC.  And an entire box of cherry blow pops.    Thank and #@*~ you.
But mostly thank you.  Really.

~ Thank you, fluff on TV,  for not satisfying.
For leaving me feeling “meh” and hungry for the pure raw presence of realer things.

~ Thank you,  Amazon,  for bringing the supplies,
for helping makers make the things we’re making.
I’m thinking you were born for such a time as this.

~Thank you,  biased journalism,  for playing so openly the political blame game;
you’ve goaded us to deep-dive for wisdom and discernment
because sanity can’t thrive in the confusion you’re selling;
thanks for overplaying your hand.

~ thank you also to the orchestrators of conspiracy theories
for making the media’s agenda look,  well,  less crazy than the one you’re hocking.
For oversimplifying the complex by trying to sell us a house made of tinker toys
when we need to build safe shelter.

(You both make me appreciate the beauty in the gray – the strength of both wings spread strong)

~ Thank you to the builders to the ones who know they see only in part.
Who know that their knowledge is incomplete.
Thanks to you,  humble ones,  who get that their perspective may be off,
who listen deep and long and well.
Cheers to the listeners – I celebrate you.
You are bright beings in dark places
and we need you big.

~ And thanks to all the servant-leaders doing awesome jobs
in homes and communities,  taking initiative in beautiful and creative ways
– for listening and leading in Love,
for being stability
in this thing we’re all doing for the first. time. ever.
( whoever and wherever you are…in whatever capacity,
your influence is light).
To you,  gracious ones,
Thanks for the space you’re holding for our differing levels of fear and uncertainty,
for not being terrified into verbal violence.
Like one of my favorite hearts wrote,
“Moral outrage is the opposite of God.”
(Gregory Boyle)

Thank you for not demonizing human beings.
You help keep our sails mended so that when the wind rises
we all rise and meet the waves together.
You are our ticket for safe passage.
Healing balm for broken hearts.
And you make it safe to step into the arena
where solution gets born.

~ Thank you,  dear Comforter,  for drawing near to anyone who asks,
that your response to tragedy and loss is always to share the pain,
to offer deep friendship.
Tearful thanks for your sweet presence;
that we are held.

“What good is a half-lit life?
You can burn me to ashes as long as I know
we lived a life alight.”
– Tyler Knott Gregson

Thanks for reading my thank you notes – it’s been a soothing way to process the
weight of the weeks.  And to draw out the bits I want to save forever
up against the warm thump of my heart.
Another giveaway again this week!
One of the art journals from my etsy shop on sidebar.
Whoever wins the drawing can choose:)
Next Thursday,  May22.  Leave a comment and you’re in the hat!

Fresh new thank you notes at lap 58

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.

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

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.