Of decades and dearness….

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.
“Dear”
“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

Badlands and bounty and loving it all……

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I took a week away unplanned because I was spent from tugging some story into words
and then I lost my faithful little sidekick,  Lucy,  and I needed to hold some quiet
around me soft while my heart sat with it all for awhile.
In all of my remembering,  I met again the word that found me at the new year.
I’d danced with several.
The one that wanted to come home with me was so bold and sure of itself
that I could only smile and take it’s hand
and go.

All

And so began a year of leaning in to be brave enough
to learn to live from the all of me.
With all of my heart.
Even when I feel the hiss that I’m too loud,  too expressive,  too ebullient,
too much.
Be the all of me,  anyway.
For all of my life.
Give it my all.

barn beauty

Always.
All day long.
Leave it all on the table.

Lucy lived this little word in a big way
and we loved her for it.
And so I welcome again the gifts in the grieving,
both the side that hurts hard
and the side that celebrates the beauty and wonder
and laughter that she gives us still
where we hold her in our stories.

Life is a bounty
and I want to live it all.

I’ll be back next week with a fresh batch of words
strung together just for you.
Wishing you all the joy your heart can possibly hold,  friend.
And a couple of measures more.
A cup-runneth-over type situation:)

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“Hope knows that pain does not get the last word.”
– I’m not sure who said this
but I like it.  A lot.

I’m giving away a package that I’ve added to my quiet little etsy store
– a soul spa,  of sorts.  It’s given me such joy to make and write and send these out
that i want to offer them up to anyone who wants.
I’m plumping them up and letting them sing a little louder now:)
Leave a comment and I’ll draw a name next weekend.
With much love.

These days…….to live them all.

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I’ve been writing gifts (sorry for disappearing for a while).
Writing and wrapping like the busy elf I sometimes am.
All the while,  waiting and watching for the word that might find me,
my own little gift to tuck inside my heart and carry with me into the new.
I’ve danced with several.
The one that wants to come home with me is so bold and sure of itself
that I can only smile and shrug at the others,
take it’s hand
and go.

All.

All of me.
With all of my heart.
Even when I feel the hiss that that I’m too loud,  too expressive,  too ebullient,
too much.
Be the all of me,  anyway.
For all of my life.
Give it my all.

frozen

Always.
All day long.
Stand beneath the great wide and feel the small of me in it,
surrounded by it all,
and then feel the all that I carry inside
and embrace it.
Acknowledge it.
And release it generous
with love and hope for us all.

(holding close to heart those good tidings of great joy which shall be to all people)

I wish you all the joy your heart can possibly hold.
And then a couple of measures more.
A cup-runneth-over type of situation:)
For all of your todays.

fresh tracks

“I have no need for half of anything,
no half time,  no half a man’s attention.
Give me all the earth and sky.
And at the same time add a new dimension.

Half the truth is of no use,
give it all,  give it all to me
I can stand it.
I am strong that way.”
– Carly Simon

Shine and soar, anyway

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“Bells”
  there was so much juice on that word
as I traveled around the sun these past twelve months
and opened up to fresh skies and some new ways
and began carving a bright new groove,
even if it was slow going
and isn’t half done.

But there was this enormous grace in the carving
and even as Fall turned into Winter
and circumstances seemed to mock my hope,
and this tender heart of mine got broken up pretty badly
I found that,  still,   my banged up joy is stronger than despair
and the bells keep playing anyway.

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And I’ve been listening for a new word to ring clear
and quiet in the heartache
it snuggled near
like a big wet kiss
from my lab’s warm nose
and it feels like a firm guiding hand on my back,
this little word,
as I head into the nexts
because I want so much to squeeze more juice from my pens,
my camera,  my choices,  my days.

My little word for the year:  anyway.

(Brave, beautiful beginnings to you,  too,  friend,
with plump shiny hope that whatever your deepest heart is longing to do,
you go and do it,  anyway)

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“I sing,
I dream,
I love,
anyway.”
-Martina McBride

doodling dresses….


When I was a little girl I spent hours doodling dresses.
I imagined their whispery feel,
soft and sweeping
in buttery cotton and linen,
lightly brushing  skin,
easy,
easy,
stepping  light and roomy,
bare legs and breath free
to flow and float and flutter,
in crisp simple lines of glad color
with me inside,
uncluttered.

Now I’m a woman grown and turning fifty
and I’m tired of trudging in trousers,
burden bearing down heavy on this frame
I once dreamed draped in dresses.

I want my heart to wear dresses again,
to feel the tug and twirl of breeze
swing me round light
with billowy lift  and swirl.

Oh sure,  I want to kneel down and dig,
to climb high and sculpt,
to plant and build and heft the load
….I love the feel of work when it matters,
but not until my knees groan hard with gristle and ache,
my heart pounds heavy from airless effort,
and graceless strain
….wasted,
like  apples left to rot in the yard.

I don’t want my heart to wear pants
to feel binding rigid heaviness
pressing tight on skin.
I want to remember,
please ,  my soul,  remember
the way of soft cotton dresses
and go there,
beat and breathe from that place
again.

My word for the year…..a picture  for my heart:  dresses


Sending love and bright hope for beautiful beginnings
to each of you!