Sunday, December 24, 2017

Hard to Tuna

Wil came bounding down the stairs yesterday morning, entering the room where I was snuggled with Flicka, drinking coffee, and attempting to store up on enough quiet to last throughout the day. "It's Christmas Eve Eve. It's double eve."

His goal this year, is to drive poor Santa to ruin. He emailed him early in the season, requesting a billion dollar iTunes gift card, and a vending machine filled with Tropicana fruit punch. Since then, he's added such items as a Mariner Moose and a Clapper.

"We're making cinnamon rolls for Santa tomorrow, and hot chocolate. Coffee isn't really a night drink. He gets enough cookies."

With Christmas Eve being on a Sunday, he's got even more masses to attend than his usual four-a-week. The excitement is almost more than he, or we, can bear.

When the kids were little, STM used to tell them what his father had told him when he was all wound up, "Simmer down now." Wil heard it as, "Simmer tuna," and we've since shortened the whole expression to simply, "Tuna."

STM and I were discussing the second place winner of "Survivor," and her self-proclaimed Type A personality. "She needs to learn to be more Type T, tuna," he said.

There will be no tuna-ing for any of us today, as we are swept up into the absolute joy of a pure heart, a believing soul, the epitome of the Christmas spirit. If I could bottle his and share it with each of you, I would.

Just a drop would do ya.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

A Sample

Took Wil and Timmy Christmas shopping at the mall, yesterday. Mind you, not the one closest to our house, but the one furthest. First stop: Babies R Us to buy Baby Magic hair and body wash - the purple kind. The other stores we've tried on the latest wild goose chase, did not carry purple. Purple is a must. Purple is the preferred color of all things these days.

Timmy found a rubber duck he needed, we found the purple Baby Magic, and on we went to the next leg of our quest. After getting the boys fed and going to the first store all together to help navigate, we found a meeting spot with comfy chairs, right outside a candy store. I sat there with my book while they took off in search of gifts for others. There were two rules to the plan: stick together, and don't buy anything for yourselves.

A text from Timmy arrived moments later, with a photo. "For Mom?" I won't tell you what it was, because Kim is reading this, and we want her to be v surprised on Christmas morning. But, I was proud of Timmy for finding something for his mom, first thing. I texted back that I thought she'd love it, and didn't hear from them for another half hour.

Deciding they were good for a little bit, I roved around the mall just browsing. Didn't know if I had two minutes or two hours before they'd be ready to go, so didn't want to get too invested in what I was doing. Having the mind set of window shopping was surprisingly peaceful, I wasn't there to buy, or find, or accomplish anything, I was just there to observe.

Got back to the comfy chair, and the candy store clerk didn't have any customers, apparently. She was outside the doors with a tray of samples. Her white apron, pulled-back hair and gloved hands made her look very official. "Hi! Would you like to try a sample?" she asked each person or couple walking by. "Would you like to try a sample?" "Hi, would you like to try a sample?" Over and over again she asked, with very few takers. She got a few no-thank-yous, but mostly she got hurried people passing by, totally ignoring her.

The mall was busy. Her question, constant. Impossible to read my book and I didn't want to move spots, so I closed the book, and just watched the whole thing. About every 20th time she asked, she got a taker. Sometimes, someone would even cross over the path of shoppers to seek her out, and she seemed thrilled to offer them a cherry-flavored gummy bear. Never once when I was watching, did her sample turn into a sale. Nobody entered the store. She was, by many accounts, unsuccessful in getting business.

Sometimes trying to get what we want, or think we want, feels futile. We turn over rocks. We make attempts, tweak our approach, try again. Nothing. Sometimes we get a taker, someone that throws us a bone to let us know that Universe hears us, our efforts are not all for naught. Sometimes we even get those that go out of their way to cross our path and make our dreams come true.

The boys bounded back and interrupted my reverie. Timmy had the gift for his mom and one for himself. He had, however, resisted buying several more things for himself that he really, really wanted. Wil had bought Kim a present, also. And four for Jer, his two-and-a-half-year-old "son," the bear. "You know he's stuffed," he responds when people ask if Jer is real.

But Jer is real, and Jer is going to have a great Christmas this year. So is Kim. I hope the lady at the candy store does, too.

Friday, November 17, 2017


It first happened on Wednesday, when I ran into the store to buy a few items, and swung by the pharmacy to see if Sally was there. The last time I'd been in to get a prescription, she told me she was retiring. "Two weeks. Bring the big guy in to say goodbye."

"We came to give you a hug," we said, as she finished up with her customer.

"I'll take it!" she said.

"When's your last day?"


"We're going to miss you, Sally," I said.

"I'm going to miss you guys, too. You're two of my favorites."

It happened again yesterday, I had an email exchange, and she ended it with, "I'm not supposed to say this, but you guys are two of my favorites."

My ego was loving it, to be chosen, singled out, favored. All the poor schmucks that had not made the list of favorites - what a shame. But then I started thinking about the two women that made the comments - they treat everyone as though they are their favorites. They are kind, caring, compassionate, engaged, and present to everyone they're with.

No wonder they are two of my favorites.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Gaining and Losing

The little tiny one-hour time change, is really throwing me off. As I looked at the clock last night, 10:45, 12:11, 2:33, and finally giving into morning at 3:30, I thought how often it's harder to gain, than to lose.

I used to look forward to that extra hour of sleep, it felt so luxurious, so indulgent, so necessary.

My friend told me that she is often too tired to put her clean sheets back on the bed all the way, before climbing into bed, exhausted.

I had years of that type of exhaustion, where the days were just one long, brutal moment after another.


When did the years turn the corner?

When did I?

When did gaining time become a "problem?"

I'm re-listening to Eckhart Tolle's Stillness Speaks. If you're looking for wisdom from a modern-day enlightened being, you need look no further.

The extra time is for stillness. It is for "nothing," it is a gift, handed with an open hand, to be used carefully, and with gentle awareness.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

We Got You

I'm making my way through Caroline Myss' audio version of Entering the Castle, again. Nine disks of Caroline kicking my ass. I can only take it for short bursts of time. Caroline don't mess. She is direct, blunt, bossy, often downright nasty. Think: Judge Judy.

Entering the Castle is the exploration of Teresa of Avila's work, 500 years ago.

The more things change, the more things stay the same.

Teresa was a mystic. She was a promoter of reform and prayer. She outlined the deep interior of the soul the "castles," and the experiences within.

Our priest is speaking more on the topic of prayer these days, and has initiated "Name Tag Sundays" once-a-month. Everyone gets a name tag when they enter church, and at the end of Mass, you are to switch with someone you don't know (tough for Wil, he knows everyone), and pray for that person for the next month.

While switching name tags, asking someone to pray for you can be awkward and uncomfortable, it is so powerful. And such an honor.

I've got the Marys going for Maggie this month. Maggie has me.

We have each other.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Tribal Love

Some of my nearest and dearest got together yesterday, to celebrate our beloved Nancy's birthday. Together we laugh. We cry. We share. We vent. We rejoice. We hold one another's confidences, fears, triumphs, joys and struggles. We prayerfully support each other, and those forms of prayer are as varied as we are.

When three hours feels like three minutes, that is one of life's greatest pleasures.

When the world seems to be falling down around us, and it's easy to despair, we need each other more than ever. To break bread together, raise a glass and share in deep love and respect, is healing and holy.

Here's to turning another year wiser.

Here's to turning towards one another in our homes, communities and greater world.

Here's to turning up the love.

Thursday, September 14, 2017


"The dog is outside," my husband informs me, as he walks through the kitchen one last time, before going to work, and happens to see the poor dog on the back porch.

"Please let her in," I reply.

"How long has she been out there?" he asks.

"I don't know - 15 minutes?"

Getting defensive I say, "It's nothing short of a miracle that I'm only as crazy as I am, and not any crazier. I can't hold a thought in my head, and it doesn't help that try as I might, I'm constantly interrupted with absolute minutiae."

We laugh.

"Blog that," he says.

And it's true. I should be a lot crazier. 

Poor Flicka Link comes in, after waiting way too long at the door, patient and obedient as ever. 

I see Flicka aging almost by the day, now. I saw that with my mother-in-law, too, each time I saw her that last year of life, she was noticeably older. It's like that first dramatic year of life, in reverse. 

We have non-slip rug pads on all the stairs - inside and out. She sometimes needs help getting up and down them, and we keep that to a bare minimum of times each day. Next step will be moving a twin mattress to the floor of the living room, and sleeping in there with her. She needs to sleep next to me, and I need to fulfill that need. 

Flicka has had a long life of faithful service, some we know the details about, and some we don't. She can hardly see due to cataracts, and has trouble hearing. I think there may be some dementia going on - she seems confused. She is full of large, benign tumors, and her legs give out on her. She could, ironically, use a guide dog right about now. 

I will be her guide.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

We are Them

Been in close communication with my friend and yours, Ilonka Michelle O'Neil. Ilonka lives in Florida, and I've been worried sick about how Irma is going to affect her. Her husband and kids are locked down at the hospital, where her husband works. She is home alone with the dogs, being the warrior and brave soul that she is. 

She posted on Facebook this morning, assuring us she was okay, providing an update, and ending with: 

"Sometime today turn off The Weather Channel/news. Take a break from it. Instead maybe sit quietly and think about our beautiful earth and what she is trying to tell us? Fire. Wind. Water. Smoke. Earthquakes. 

Let's ask her what she needs. Let's finally listen."

Wrote an email to Suzanne Finnamore, who suggested I post the email to my blog. Here is our exchange:

Sat with Mary this morning in my closet, and drew a card. Drew Our Lady of Sacred Sisterhood from the deck Mother Mary Oracle Cards The question in my heart was: How do we respond to what our Mother Earth is trying to tell us? The fires. The hurricanes. The earthquakes. It feels like since the eclipse, all hell has broken loose. I feel like Trump is accelerating the going-to-hell process, but we were headed there anyway. It’s so easy to despair, to retreat, to rage against “them.”

But what can we do? I’ve been listening to more of Charles Eisenstein, he seems to me to be one of the smartest and wisest thought leaders of our times. 

I feel that the “second coming” I heard about all throughout my childhood, is here. Now, I believe that to be our call to awaken. It’s the Christ in us, that is “coming,” the best of us, our true selves at the soul level, that must arise. It’s going to be the feminine energy that overcomes all the destructive male energy that’s gotten us where we are today, in my opinion.

Have you been spending time with the oracle cards? What does Mary say to you these days?

Her reply: 

You know what Mary says?

We are them.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Line of Totality

Got our glasses.

Got our outdoor chairs all wiped off and in formation.

Got the makings of mimosas, lattes, and sweet treats.

We are ready to gather and watch the solar eclipse, this morning. We are not along the line of totality, but we are close enough. Close enough that we couldn't possibly be bothered to drive, camp, be with the throngs a few hours away, that will be. Over a million tourists are expected in Oregon today. No, thanks, we will be in our backyard, quite happy with near totality.

I have a cousin getting married. She's actually more like a niece. She wants us to provide her with advice for marriage and relationships. When we come to her bridal shower, we will bring a favorite recipe, and this advice.

I am nearly obsessed these days with the concept of long-term marriage, and a book lies within me on the subject. I am fascinated, intrigued, confused, inspired, in awe, in solidarity, in a state of wonder that anyone gets married, and stays married for 30, 40, 50 or more years.

A miracle? Were they lucky? Tenacious? Blessed? Stubborn? Afraid? Brave? All of the above?

These are the questions that run through my mind.

I've been taking notes and gathering them into one place so I can compose just what it is I want to say to my cousin/niece. I asked my husband of 25 years, "What advice do you have for a couple just getting married?"

"Don't be a dick. Don't be a pussy" he said, the words sliding off his tongue as though he'd been preparing for my question.

Could it be as simple as that?

He is an over-simplifier, a black-and-white thinker, a put-it-in-this-box-or-that-one-but-never-a-third type of guy.

Grey might be my favorite color.

I strive to find and walk the middle path. When I get in my car and it's either too hot or too cold, I get it cooler or warmer, find the place I'm comfortable, and then dial it up or down - gradually. My husband turns it to full-blast hot or cold and then off.

Marriage lies along the line of totality. Through the course of a long-term marriage, we eclipse each other, block out the other's light, move into darkness, lightness, sometimes letting the other shine, sometimes making it impossible. That movement, that dance, that back-and-forth between light and dark is where the lessons lie, and ultimately, the love.

Thursday, August 3, 2017


My son has held a huge fascination for the ice cream truck, for as long as I can remember. Seven years? Ten? Longer? “Do Your Ears Hang Low?” “The Entertainer,” “Little Brown Jug,” “Turkey in the Straw,” get hummed, sung, pulled up over and over on YouTube, and played on the piano. Right hand plays the tune perfectly; left hand bangs the bass clef keys sometimes making a harmonious combination, mostly not. Right foot planted on the right pedal, the sustain pedal, also known as the damper, or the loud pedal. The sustain pedal lets all the notes on the piano resonate after you lift your fingers from the keys, forcing the notes to echo and overlap.

Much of our summer days are spent in anticipation of the ice cream truck, When might it show up? What will my son choose? Do I want one, too? Which one? If I hear the truck before he does, I throw on shoes and run wildly into the street to find it, wave it down, and beg the driver to come to our house. If he hears it before me, it’s too late: there isn’t enough time for him to come find me, tell me, and have me track it down before it takes a different, torturous alternative route. As whichever song plays in the distance, he asks me the impossible: Will it come back to our house? When? Where is it now?

I would love to have the answers to these, and other of life’s big questions. I don’t. I can only guess. What I have come to understand is that guessing doesn’t help ease the anxiety around the questions - it may for a second, until the guess proves inaccurate. It appeases only temporarily, and then the unease of uncertainty, bobs right back up to the surface.

Trying to answer the unanswerable, is to keep your foot on the sustain pedal, it forces the notes of anxiety to echo and overlap.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Heat Wave

The instrument in my car reads the outdoor temperature as 73. It read it when it was 53. It read it when it was 93. It will probably read it when it hits 103. It has been dead-on reliable for the three years I've had the car, but now, during our current heat wave, it's off.

No accidents?

Could it be the Universe telling me, Who cares?

Or how about, It's only as hot as you think it is.

Or maybe this, Pretend it's 73.

I don't do well in the heat. Never have, never will, and am all done apologizing for that. There is a physical response to heat that is undeniable. I can take the cold all day long and twice on Sundays. I actually thrive in it. My husband says it's my Scandinavian heritage.

Who cares?

It's only as hot or as cold as I think it is.

Pretend, pretend, pretend.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017


I hate my basement, and everything about my basement. First of all, it's a basement. I don't like them. Never have, never will. They are so basementy. They are below. They tend to be dark, dank, spooky, even.

Secondly, my husband had the great idea of painting the concrete floor, red. I am not fond of red, as a rule, and the paint is chipped, dirty, uneven, and very, very red. You just can't forget for a minute that you are in a room with a red floor, and that alone is enough to make me scarcely venture in.

Ours is too hot in the summer, and too cold in the winter. At Christmastime I use ours to store, organize and wrap gifts. I have to use a space heater and wear a coat. In the summer it's sweltering. Fans are required, then they blow stuff around and that just makes me mad.

On top of the red floor, we have two hideous orange metal shelf thingies. They belonged to my dad. I didn't like them then, and my feelings haven't changed. Not sure what I was thinking when I arranged to haul them up from Eugene 21 years ago - probably in the midst of postpartum and who-knows-what-else. may have thought they were practical. Always fall for that one. Surely, I could forget they were orange. I could forget they used to hold all kinds of things I didn't want to be reminded of that they once held: dozens of used coffee cups, someone else's weird dental work, every cover/binder to every paper his students had ever turned in. I could forget he was a hoarder and those orange shelving units proved it.

But I haven't forgotten.

I think I have that hoarding tendency, but the neat freak in me wins out in the end. I hang onto things for sentimental reasons, and as though there will be a test someday, and I need to prove I was "there."

I haven't taught a day (strictly speaking) in 18 years. I gave away a ton of my teaching materials long ago, but held onto my faves. As all teachers know, you put a billion extra hours into creating meaningful lessons and activities for your kids, and to just dump them, ain't right. None-the-less, a lot has changed in education in the last 18 years, and my stuff - even the faves - are out-of-date. I pawned off what I could to a friend that still teaches, and the rest I've been going through. Can't just grab it all and throw it in the recycling bin, too many paper clips, overhead projector sheets, brads and clasps, things of the past.

My faves have amounted to two giant recycling bins worth of paper. One went out last week, one will go out this. I gave away three totes full of books at the neighborhood garage sales, and what wasn't taken, went into the various Free Little Libraries in my neighborhood. Those were just my young adult books that I could part with. Don't worry, I have more.

I've been stabbing at the orange shelving unit which held the teaching materials, all summer long. I'm done. The one next to it which houses way too many poorly organized photo albums, is mid-way through being dealt with.

In the basement is a ping-pong table wannabe. It's no good for playing ping-pong, but it's excellent for storing crap under, and sorting things on top of. We had a toilet flood in February, and in June we smelled something funny in the pantry... mold. The ping-pong table has held all the pantry items while the pantry got sledge hammered and re-built, after treating the mold.

As I put away the last of the pantry items and switched the table over to teaching material sorting, today, I thought how like our lives is that table. We all need a place to sort things out, spread them around, put them into piles and see what's what. The table can only really work best, when one mess is on it at a time. No room for both the pantry items and the teaching materials. No room for both the photo albums and the books.

For some of us, that "place" is meditation. For some, yoga. For some, time with a soulmate. For some, a combination or none of the above. Maybe it's solitude, or a long drive. We all have a "basement" and we all need to sort it out from time-to-time.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Complimentary Colors

I took art in high school and college. I am no artist, but I appreciate it, and have a strong need to be surrounded by it. I admire the artistic and creative mind - I have neither. It's no coincidence that I write memoir, and not fiction. Fantasy? Forget about it.

One thing that has stuck with me from an early art lesson, is the way colors work with one another. Freshman year in high school we had to create a color wheel, and we learned all about primary, secondary, tertiary and complementary colors. The traditional red and green of Christmas are complimentary. The preppie pink and green are complimentary. My favorite combination these days, is blue and orange. On my denim-covered furniture, rest orange accent pillows. I have orange shoes, belt, and could use a jacket.

I've been thinking a lot about long-term marriage. I look around at the couples I know that have been married 20, 25, even 30 or more years, and wonder sometimes, If I knew each of these people, separately, would I ever have put them together? Opposites seem to attract in many cases.

I do know couples that seem to be cut from the same cloth, totally simpatico, sharing the same interests, priorities, styles and ways of being. They seem to be the exception to the rule. And, let's just be honest, tend to be second marriages.

I think what's important to remember when butting up against your opposite, is that while their approach/method/response is not like yours, it can serve as a compliment.

When we re-paint our kitchen, I am thinking of going with white. White walls, trim, cupboards, countertop. Monochromatic. It will make a nice backdrop to our lives and personalities, that are rich with colors that compliment.

Friday, July 14, 2017


Twenty-one years ago today, I started the day looking like that, and ended the day looking like this:

What would I say to my younger self?

I recently watched a "Super Soul Sunday" in which Oprah took clips from several interviews, and you heard guest after guest answer that very question. Elizabeth Gilbert said, "There's nothing I would have said to my younger self, because she wouldn't have listened."

Would I have listened?

If I'd have told her to buckle up, it's going to get bumpy. Pace yourself. Let the small things go. Just about everything is a small thing, would she have listened?

If I'd have told her her whole life is about to profoundly change, and there will be no going back. There will only be Then and After Then, would she have listened?

If I'd have told her she's stronger than she thinks, can endure more, has more patience and sheer tenacity than she ever thought possible, would she have listened?

If I'd told her she can love more powerfully, wholly, profoundly than ever before, would she have listened?

If I'd told her she is not alone, that while her situation would be isolating, never was she alone, would she have listened?

If I'd told her that the one that cried and cried and cried some more, to the point she thought he'd never stop, would make her belly laugh every day for years and years, would she have listened?

Is there really any point in this exercise?

We can't go back, we can't tell our old selves anything. What we can do, is try now to listen to our future selves. What is she trying to tell me from her vantage point? What do I know in my heart of heart, believe in my soul, feel in my bones?

We can listen to that.

We must.

Saturday, July 8, 2017


Not a single rubber tip remains on any of the door stops. Surreptitiously, one-at-a-time, they have all been removed and discarded.

I don't know why.

I occasionally find one, shoved under a bed, or tucked at the back of a drawer. I replace it. I wait. I watch. And again, it disappears.

There will be no peace until each of the door stops are without tips.

I hear a lot about Tropicana fruit punch and orange cream-flavored foods these days. Many hours are spent in the pursuit of them: time on the Internet, MapQuest consulted to find the stores that carry the items-of-the-month. Driving time, shopping, more discussion, then eventually, me finding good homes for the items we went in full search of, but were never intended to actually be consumed.

I've been thinking a lot about the subject of intelligence. We live in a culture that throws around words like "stupid," "dumb," "idiot," "foolish," with much smugness and little awareness.

The message is strong, it is loud, it is constant, and it is offensive to me. High intelligence is good, low intelligence is bad.

There is nothing "smart" about making others feel "dumb."

There is nothing "intelligent" about letting everyone know just how "intelligent" you are.

I'm grateful to those that consider intelligence in a multitude of ways: emotionally, socially, spiritually, relationally.

I'm grateful to those that comprehend the Beatitudes.

I'm grateful that rubber tips and fruit punch have taught me more than anything.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Leaving the Sandlot

I'm going to a writing retreat in August, led by an author I've not known a whole lot about until recently. It's one of those stories where everything came together quickly and easily, and I just knew it was meant to be.

I've been on other writing retreats, with mixed results. I guess all of that is coming up now in my sub-conscious, because last night I dreamed I was at my future retreat, but a former teacher was hovering nearby. I came to understand she was using my writing for her students to workshop. All kinds of boundaries were crossed and I felt there was little to nothing I could do about it.

Then, I spotted on an end table, a book I'd apparently written, Leaving the Sandlot. I could see the white jacket, the blue lettering, my name on the spine.

I woke up and repeated the title in my head a few times, so I wouldn't forget. Such a weird title. A sandlot? My only familiarity with that word is with some kids' movie, made before I was even a parent, and taking place before I was even born.

Maybe the message is in the word "leaving."

Maybe the message is in the definition of sandlot: a piece of unoccupied land used by children for games.

Maybe the message is in the combo, moving away from that which is unoccupied.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Ode to a Father

I'm writing this on the 21st anniversary of my own father's death. That death was both the end and a beginning, as is always the case. An end to the struggles my father had, created, and all the ways those struggles rippled. His death brought forth the opportunity to put a period at the end of that story, and begin the process of healing, re-evaluation, and ultimately, compassion and forgiveness.

I knew what kind of father I would choose for my own children. Not only would my ultimate husband and father to my kids be addiction-free, he would be funny. He would be kind. He would be a good provider. He would be intentional in his parenting. He would co-parent. He would be heavily invested and involved in the emotional, physical, and spiritual well-being of our kids.

I didn't know that between our two children we would face autism spectrum disorder, eczema, flat feet, scoliosis, pectus excavatum ("funnel chest"), secondary anorexia, amblyopia, depression, anxiety, OCD, allergies, ADHD, and those are just the ones that are share-able and on the tip of my tongue.

I didn't know there were that many kinds of therapists.

I didn't know that no matter how much we earned and saved, our kids' needs would surpass whatever we had.

I didn't know that my ability to earn would be cut short, and my husband's ability would have to magically increase.

I didn't know that smoke, mirrors, and pulling rabbits out of hats, was required.

I didn't know that instead of throwing a ball in the backyard, my husband would be down on his knees doing Floortime.

I didn't know that instead of coaching one of his own kids in the sport he loved, excelled in and lived for for many years, he would coach other people's kids, and I would stay home with ours.

I didn't know that instead of taking trips, recreating, having adventures, like he had hoped and dreamed, he would make candles in the basement, watch endless reels of Elmo singing, "Yo, Five," and listen for the ice cream truck.

I didn't know that instead of going, having, seeing and doing, he would stay, go without, miss and skip.

I didn't know that a refusal to quit, perseverance, fortitude, stamina and sheer grit (all the same things that made him a successful athlete) would be the biggest job requirements.

I didn't know that humor wasn't a bonus, it was essential.

What I know now, is there is nothing like having both your kids working in the fields they love, and thriving. To see them earn their own money, and generously share it with others, is one of life's greatest joys. To witness them being kind, funny, helpful, thoughtful and good, is the truest reward.

What I know is I got the father for my children I wanted, and they needed, and we are blessed.

Thursday, June 15, 2017


“Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand.”
—George Orwell

Was looking for a quotation that said something along the lines of editors are those who know a lot about writing, but aren't cursed with the need to write. Couldn't find it. Found this one, instead. Love it, and everything about it.

Chicken or egg? Does writing drive you mad, or do you have to start off mad to write?

I have come to understand that when you're in the active writing stage, you're writing when you're dreaming. You're writing when you're reading. You're writing when you're walking the dog, pulling the weeds, running the errands. You're always "writing." It's there. This "being" is a necessary and burdensome presence you just can't shake.

I have lists on my phone, in my car, by the bed, taped to the computer. Everything is material, or possible material. Snippets of overheard conversations, memories, thoughts, wishes, lies and dreams.

I'm with you, George, one would never undertake such a thing unless driven - there is no resisting nor understanding, there is only surrender.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017


Wil turns 21 a month from tomorrow. Plans are underway for a big backyard party (if you'd like to come, consider yourself invited). As was the case when he was turning 18, I felt the need to celebrate, to usher in the milestone with hoopla and fanfare, and rejoice.

Slim to no chance he will partake in alcohol, on his birthday or otherwise. I'll get back to you whether or not he begins taking the wine at communion. This birthday has nothing to do with his legal right to buy or consume alcohol.

"I'm in my early 20's," he said to me, yesterday. At first I thought that came out of nowhere, but then realized we'd been previously discussing how old the others were in his music class. His friend, Timmy, had said, "I think the average age is 30."

Wil, Timmy and I have a standing Monday date. We pick up Timmy around 9:30, give or take, and go to a convenience store of Wil's choosing. Then, there is usually another random store picked out for a random reason, then we go to lunch at... a random restaurant. Then, we go to their class, and while they are otherwise engaged for one hour, I sip on an iced decaf latte and read a good book. I drink deeply from the latte, the literature, and the quiet, because then it's back in the car with two boys that both want to tell me different things at the same time, and I carry on two parallel conversations and my mind nearly explodes in a matter of minutes.

Yesterday, the random store was Target. We all know I'm a big fan of Target, and couldn't help but feel that Wil was throwing me a bone. They shopped for the things that matter to them: Wil, snacks, Timmy, Legos. I shopped for the things that "matter" to me: compostable garbage bags, an inkjet, and throw pillows. The rule is they have to stick together, and keep their phones on. We text each other with updates, and select a time to meet at the check stands.

When I got to the check stands, Timmy had already checked out. Wil was standing there, looking a bit lost and confused. He'd checked out, but hadn't paid. He got all the way through before realizing he had no money on him. He explained that his mom was in the store and would be there in a minute to pay, and I was, and I did.

But. How did he not get that you have to both have money and enough? I'd stopped having him carry a wallet when he lost it for the millionth time. Instead, I send him out into the world with a Ziploc with just enough to get what he "needs," but not enough to devastate him when and if he loses it. Because we were together and that wasn't the plan for them to check out without me, I hadn't done that. He had not processed that, and I was startled to realize the utter lack of awareness around that.

Later, when I went to get the mail, he'd received something from the circuit courts. I opened it after Timmy left, and saw that he'd been summoned for jury duty, on his 21st birthday. I read through the list of justifiable excuses, and no where was an option for disability. Instead, there was information about accommodations made for those with disabilities, specifically, mobility, vision or hearing.

No amount of accommodations were going to make Wil jury material. I fired off a letter, attached my Letters of Guardianship, and there's no doubt he will be excused.

I struggle to find that sweet spot between what he can do and what he should do. Too often, I make life easy for him, because it makes it easier for me.

Too many excuses.

Monday, June 12, 2017

You're Bald

I'm hearing the soft call of the muse, again, and I'm loving it. It's hard to sense the muse when you're v busy watching bad TV, and otherwise distracted.

Had my cards read, and the woman said, "You're allowing distractions to keep you from doing what you want and need to be doing in the world."

Told my friends, Terry and Greg about that, Greg responded, "Hope you didn't pay too much for that reading."

Sometimes we have to pay too much for a reading, to have someone point out the obvious.

How is it we don't see the obvious, in ourselves, but if you're like me, you're super good at observing it in others?

We have a long-time joke around our house, where we place our hands on either sides of our mouth, and shout at another, "YOU'RE BALD!" when they don't seem to get the obvious. Comes from "Seinfeld," of course, the episode where George won't date a bald woman, and Elaine has to point out to George the irony.

Had lunch yesterday with two very dear and long-time friends (almost 30 years). We have had that trusted, sacred circle of friendship surrounding us and allowing us to truly share. One had the nerve to up and move three hours away, so now, when she comes to town, we gather. Although, in reality, we probably aren't getting together that much less frequently, it feels different. Just knowing she's not in town feels weird, and having her back in town feels like a reunion.

Seeing her bask in her new life of retirement and relocation, was glorious. Came home on such a high from our time together, and from seeing her so visibly happy, after years and years of struggle, in one way(s) or another.

When I got home, I returned to two men who had not had good days. Neither were happy.

They may not have had good days had I stayed home, either. They were upset for different reasons, having nothing to do with me, but yet that feeling that had I been there, they would both have been happier, remained.

How do we beckon the muse, fill up our tanks, and keep everyone else in their boats sailing on smooth seas? Must one be sacrificed for another? Is it our job to build their boats, place them on them and control the moon that controls the sea?

Impossible, yet I will probably need some help reminding me I'm bald.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Losing Nemo

We went to a new eye doctor for Wil, today. He has been seen by the same pediatric ophthalmologist since he was in preschool, and has worn glasses since he was five. Love her as we do, I could not drag my 6' 2" almost-21-year-old in there, one more time.

Going to the eye doctor is not one of Wil's favorite things to do. He hates the drops. The drops freak him out. They sting his eyes, and he has had to be pinned down to get them in, and just thinking about those drops gives us both a jolt of PTSD.

I wanted to both warn him he had an appointment coming up, and not give him too much notice. Fine line. "I'm looking for a new eye doctor for you," I told him in the car a few months ago. "You are ready for one that treats adults."

"I know who I want!" he quipped.

"Oh, yea? Who?" I asked.

"Get one that looks like Steve Martin," he said.

Someone that treats his particular eye condition, that is within a few miles of our house, with a kind demeanor, were my requirements, not a Steve Martin look-alike.

Told him on Monday, "BT dubs, you have an eye appointment on Wednesday."

He started right in with the concern about the drops, and asked that I cancel the appointment. "CANCEL!" was his exact word.

When I convinced him I was not going to cancel it, he had me swear that next time he had an appointment, I would cancel it. Hoping in two years he'd forget our promise, but knowing he wouldn't, I agreed.

I'm happy to report that he did well, and the eye doctor, although looking nothing like Steve Martin, was a good fit for him. Pretty arrogant and self-satisfied, he was none-the-less just quirky enough to get on board the Wil train, and at one point asked, "What are we doing here, free-association? Okay, I'm in."

"Where's the movie?" Wil asked the medical assistant, "Finding Nemo?" I don't think he realized that not every eye doctor in the world shows "Finding Nemo" for years-on-end, to their patients and long-suffering parents. I have yet to see the movie in its entirety, but I've seen 10-20 minute segments, since it was released on video in the early 2000's.

This time, the medical assistant had a special technique for installing the drops, and he didn't cry. He didn't kick and scream. No one had to pin him down. He didn't love it, but he did great, and was very pleased with himself for getting through the ordeal with a minimum of drama.

"You're doing well, you don't have to come back for two more years," the doctor said.

"I'll come back in two years and one month," Wil said, getting in the last word, per usual.

"See you then," the doctor said.

"See you then," Wil responded.

See you later, Nemo.

Thursday, May 25, 2017


I've been conflicted over something for awhile now. I've been processing it in my prayer time. I've been processing it with my inner circle. I've been been processing it in my psyche. I have not come to a clear "answer."

In the most general of ways, I asked Wil about it, while driving. "What do you think I should do?" I said.

"You should cross two streets," he said from the backseat, where he prefers to ride.

I looked in my rear-view mirror to see his face. Was he teasing? Serious? Saying something random? Revealing a deep, inner wisdom?

I have no idea. It does no good to press him on such things, he doesn't like to be questioned, and all attempts to further the conversation, gets you nowhere.

I've come back to his statement, however, and have turned it over and over and decided he's right, whether or not he meant to be helpful, he was. We cannot get anywhere by looping in our minds, spinning and circling, chasing our tails. Eventually, we have to "cross a street." We have to see where things look from that angle, from the "other side."

Crossing two, even better.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

No More Making Do

We have a front-facing attic window, that for several months out of the year has no need for a covering, but for several others, it does. The afternoon sun pours through the window, into the storage closet, out into the adjacent room, and the heat spreads throughout the upstairs.

Wil and I spend a disproportionate amount of our time year-round, on heat management. He closes vents. I open them. He closes shades. I open them. He shuts doors. I open them.

I need the light. I like things to move, to breathe, to flow.

He likes a dungeon. A dark, still, closed off space in which to have his being.

Today, I went up to the storage room at the top of the stairs, and it was hot and still. I looked at the old pillowcase, hung by two small nails - right through the fabric, and I saw myself nearly 14-years-ago when we first moved into this house, "making do." For all these years, when winter has turned to spring, I have hung that same old pillowcase, on those same hastily hammered nails, and walked away for months. Never giving it, them, the system, another thought.

I'm all over the Internet today, I need a proper curtain and rod for that window. I move as though my life depends on getting that handled. Today. Right. Now. I can't stand it another day. How have I looked up at my house each year, and seen that forlorn-looking thing hanging there, and been alright with it?

Didn't see it.

Didn't notice.

Didn't care.

Now, I do. I see it. I have noticed. I care.

And so it is, right? We can only change that which we put our attention towards. That to which we bring gentle awareness. That which we look at with new eyes, and see what can be done to change it.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

To Every Thing

Yesterday, I woke at 3:30 and was wide awake. I got up, made coffee, and sat in sacred silence. I wrote the following blog post, but didn't post it. It wasn't time. It was time for me to write it, but not to share it. I listened to Chris Brunelle's comforting voice, for hours.

I felt my mother-in-law's spirit in a way I'd never felt before. It was "right here," and I prayed in thanksgiving that her sister, best friend, parents, and husband of 60-years, surround her in her final days, and offer her peace and their outstretched hands, to help her cross over.

We knew she was failing.

We knew she didn't have months left, probably not even weeks, but we thought we had days, at least, still with her.

After leaving my prayer space, walking Flicka and getting just a few houses away, I got a call that she had just passed.

These last few years, and especially weeks, have enough material for a book, and maybe that's what they will become. For right now, I sit in gratitude for that which we cannot see or prove, but can See and Prove. We exist on different spheres and fields of energy, all at the same time.

There are no accidents.



The song comes to me, perhaps I've heard it at church and it just got stuck. Perhaps it has come as a message. Perhaps it's "just" a song. I don't think so.

"To every thing, there is season, a time to be born, and a time to die..."

Over and over again those words play in my head, a melodious backdrop to the crisis we are in, a constant reminder, a chant.

The words, the repetition, the truth, they comfort me as we do what you do in a crisis. You block out everything else. You attend to only that which is right before you. You gain focus, clarity, presence. The gifts of crisis.

Maybe crisis isn't the right word for it, not when you're talking about 89 years of a life well-lived. Transition. Transition is a better word. The reverse of transitional labor in the birth process, the pain and nearness of what is about to happen: death.

May the angels come to greet you.

May He wipe every tear from your eyes.

May you know sorrow no more.

May you find peace and joy in paradise.


Ecclesiastes 3:1-8King James Version (KJV)

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Reusable Cup

I have a thing for long-burning candles with the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe on them. I generally get them at the grocery store, and they come in a tall glass container and will cost you about $1.99. They burn for days (seven straight, is how they were designed). I burn two during prayer time, and they last for months. Few things in my life give me a greater bang for my buck.

Found a new design at Fred Meyer, recently. Different shaped glass, and I impulsively bought four. I gave three to my fellow Mary-loving friends, and kept one. I quickly understood that I was going to need more than that for myself, and so promised myself the next time I was at Fred Meyer, I would get more.

Wil helps with an after-school program on Tuesdays and Thursdays for 90-minutes, and I have that time to kill. I often run errands. Sometimes I take my book and find a place to go sit and read until it's time to get him. I recently had a list of things to buy for my mother-in-law's birthday, and Fred Meyer seemed the place to go for one-stop shopping. With the exception of the three inexpensive candles I bought myself, everything else on the list was for another.

Took the receipt home, and was about to recycle it, but glanced at it before doing so. The receipt listed each candle as a "Reusable Cup."

Like any normal person, I've spent several days reflecting on that word, "reusable." Re-usable. Able to use again. Differently, perhaps.

It makes total sense to me, that Mary would lead me to understand ways I can be be of use again, differently, perhaps.

While it's very likely my lists: To Do, To Buy, To Go, To etc... are going to remain other-centered, when all is said and done, how do I remain reusable? How can I be of use differently?

Thursday, March 23, 2017


All this hurrying soon will be over. Only when we tarry do we touch the holy.
The New Oxford American Dictionary defines tarry as a verb meaning to stay longer than intended; delay leaving a place.

The Synonym Finder lists such words as: remain, stay, abide, dwell, reside, live, settle, anchor, plant oneself, be established.

The word abide has long fascinated me. Wordy people will get this, others maybe not so much. Some words are just really evocative and "fun" to mediate on.

I recently hosted an evening in which a card reader came to do just that: read cards. She had with her Tarot, and two other alternative decks. I chose one called Ask Your Guides Oracle Cards. She did a 7-card spread: that which is passing away, that which is bridging, and that which is coming. 

That which is passing away, is, fortunately, exhaustion.

The Divine Helpers are here - step back and let them do their thing. It's not all up to me. "Overdoing is fear in disguise." She said I had an overdeveloped sense of responsibility. She also emphasized that I've been using distraction to keep me from focusing on what I really want.

As my friends, Greg and Terry, said, "I hope you didn't pay too much for that reading." Sometimes we do have to pay to have pointed out for us, what's right in plain sight.

Seven seasons of "Sister Wives" can't watch themselves, and that's why I'm here. While I know TV is a distraction, it is also a way of resting, a way of healing the exhaustion, a way of getting water to the roots that have been thirsty for a long, long time.

Time spent with Kody, Meri, Janelle, Christine and Robyn (and their 18 kids) while fascinating, is not helping me to to touch the holy. It's been helpful, and I would't call it a waste of time, for it did just what it needed to do, but now it is to move from being idle, to tarrying.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Good Question

Over the years, I've created a private sanctuary in my closet. When we remodeled the house many years ago, there was some weird space left over, only accessible through the bathroom. Because of the sloped ceiling, large window, and odd-shaped space, there was really only room for one rung, so although it's a walk-in closet, literally, it's not all that usable as a closet for clothes (although, that's where all my clothes are).

It has become my prayer room. I have a soft place to rest, a shoe-rack-turned-bookcase, an altar for candles and holy items, and the most brilliant part of all, a mini-fridge and coffee maker. Flicka and I are able to get up before everyone else, come into the sacred space and start our day with prayer and cuddles.

The best part about it is, there isn't a reason in the world why anyone else would ever go in there. It's not on the way to anything, it's, in fact, hard to get to. It's inconvenience is its genius.

Wil used to come bounding in and disturb the peace, the minute his eyes popped open. I've re-trained him not to do that until 6:30. He's on his own until then, and so, the earlier I get up, the longer I have in the prayer room. Today, Flicka and I were in here before 5:00, the dark and quiet of the morning, the low-vibration of the Earth, the feeling of Sunday, palpable and calming.

I remember the "Seinfeld" episode where Jerry, Kramer and George are in the back of a taxi, and are talking about the different ways days-of-the-week feel. Kramer can "feel Tuesday" and George and Jerry think he's odd for doing so. I can feel each day-of-the-week, week-of-the-month, and month-of-the-year. Through the window, I see the turning of the seasons, the ebb and flow of sunrise, the differences in light and dark. There is a pattern, a rhythm, and tempo to the days, months and years.

This morning, I was in prayer and "heard" the question, "Do you have a cross inside?" I first was confused as to whose voice it was I was hearing. Was it external? Was it my sub-conscious? Was it Mary's? Being the very literal person that I am, I first thought of the crosses I have on the inside of my house. A moment later, I moved to the question of where and what my internal crosses may be. Of course, there are many. Enough to reflect on that question throughout Lent. 

Yesterday, I saw my best friend from junior high. We were only active friends for two years, before I moved away. But, those seventh and eighth grade years were biggies, and much of my personal work has come from the effects of those years. Some years of our lives are more concentrated than others, more full of upheaval, change and transition. We move through understanding in stages, and the "crosses inside" must be peeled back, layer by careful layer.

I'm grateful for the both the literal and figurative time and space in which to examine, and re-examine,  the cross(es) inside. 

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Happy Birthday, Like, Like, Like

"Ultimately, we have just one moral duty: to reclaim large areas of peace in ourselves, more and more peace, and to reflect it towards others. And the more peace there is in us, the more peace there will also be in our troubled world."
Etty Hillesum

I decided months ago what I would give up for Lent this year. If anything, it's more of a gift I am giving myself, than a sacrifice. What will be hard is breaking the habit. What will be hard is resisting the urge. What will be hard is the FOMO.

I'm reading the story of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu's week-long communion in Dharamsala, THE BOOK OF JOY. It's an antidote to all the fear and hate that abounds. It restores hope. It is not complicated, we just make it so. Peace begins with us. There is suffering, the First Noble Truth. What we do in response to that suffering, is our choice. If we were to be pierced by an arrow, we would feel pain. To remove the arrow and keep stabbing ourselves with it, would be ridiculous, but mentally, that's what we do.

I'm teaching a little class at church for school-aged kids that are going to be baptized at Easter. We are talking about Lent - a dedicated period of time in which we increase prayer, giving and fasting. Over the years I've fasted from coffee, alcohol, one year I even fasted from Target. This year, I'm going to fast from social media, and with the time I would ordinarily spend on that, attempt to spend that same time in prayer.

With all that's going on in the world, in this country, and even in my own neighborhood, I am aware just how much I'm taking those "arrows" and stabbing myself over and over and over again with them. I am clear that this isn't working, and that if all this turmoil doesn't call me to action, it's wasted turmoil. I know I can't solve all the ills of the world. I know that I can't react and respond to every cause. How and what I do in response, needs greater contemplation. Greater clarity. Greater peace within myself.

For all of you having a birthday, happy birthday. For all of you posting cute pictures of your kids, pets, vacations and loved ones, know that I "like" them. For all of you posting what's on your mind, the outrage, the opportunities for action, the galvanizing of forces, know that I support and appreciate those efforts.

I am Peace, surrounded by Peace, secure in Peace
Peace protects me
Peace is in me
Peace is mine - All is well.
Peace to all beings
Peace among all beings
I am steeped in Peace
Absorbed in Peace
In the streets, at our work, having peaceful thoughts,
Peaceful words, peaceful acts.
                                                         Buddhist meditation

Friday, February 10, 2017

Dishing Up the Dirt

OK, all you foodies, you will want to be first in line for this amazing cookbook! My "niece," Andrea, is one kick-ass organic farmer, creative, healthy cook, and over-all wonderful person. There's not at thing not to love about her, not a thing.
Andrea has been posting daily recipes on her blog for years, yet, somehow, she created all new recipes for this special, season-by-season, farm-to-table cookbook. Her ability to put yummy ingredients together in ever-new ways, astounds me. 
Andrea's mom, the liz (whom I've often written about), drove out to Parkdale, yesterday, to be with Andrea as she opened her advanced copy. Only Andrea would bake something to give the UPS man:

You can pre-order your copy of the book right now! Her local bookstore is happily taking orders of the book which will be signed by Andrea and can be shipped worldwide. Follow this link for that.
You can pre-order on Amazon right here.
Pre-order from Barnes & Noble right here.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Wishing a Life Away

I remember a brief conversation I had with a co-worker, over 25-years-ago. "I can't wait for the weekend," was how it started. Then, she went on to say, "then I'll say that again next week, and then how I can't wait for summer, then how I can't wait for retirement. I guess I'm wishing my life away."

You know how sometimes it's the "accidental" exchanges like that, that stick with you?

Personally, I struggle with holding the paradoxes of time. I don't want my birthday to roll around again. I don't want the school year to end. I don't want my 13-year-old, beloved Flicka Link to get any older. I don't want the parts of my life that are working, to stop working.

I can't wait for the era we're in, politically, to end. I want the hazards and inconveniences of winter to be over. I want it to hurry up and be bedtime. I want the humming to stop, the thumping, the steady beat that permeates the house. I want some of my seemingly endless responsibilities, to lessen.

I sit with the conflicting feelings, the want of endless peace and quiet, for instance, while knowing that for that to be the case, I would have to lose everyone I hold dear.

I fully believe everything is on a continuum. Everything. And what I really am needing to do, is just move the needle a few ticks, back into the "normal" zone - out of the red zone, to feel "better." I don't need endless quiet, that would drive me mad. I need more quiet.

I don't need bedtime, weekends, retirement, etc. to "come." I don't need days, seasons, phases to end. I need to sit with it all, hold it all, be with it all and let it all co-exist in the messy, chaotic, growth-producing, ass-kicking way that life does.

We incarnated into our particular lives for particular purposes, I believe. Original soul reasons. To try and shortcut through them doesn't serve our highest good.

The mess is where the learning is.

The chaos is where the clarity lies.

The noise is where we find our quiet.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Extra Love

Like many of you, I am trying to make sense of the times we live in, and am not quite sure there is any sense to be made. Too much thinking. Too much reacting. Too much fear. Too little prayer/contemplation/stillness.

I am making my way (slowly) through Richard Rohr's book, The Divine Dance. After several attempts to sit and read, I finally understood it would be most helpful for me to take tiny sips, over a long period of time, rather than one, long gulp. There was a lesson for me in that realization, that applied to so many other areas of my life. The whole idea of forward momentum. The idea of chipping away at something, even if for 5-10 minutes, rather than waiting until I "have more time." Sitting in quiet for three minutes, is better than zero. Reading five pages, consistently, day after day, will put me in the same place - at the end of the book, but probably not at a place of "completion."

Last night, I dreamed I was driving, and the steering wheel completely came off. I saw that the screw had fallen on the floor by my feet. I put the car in park, set the emergency brake, and asked the passenger, to please hand me the Leatherman from the glove compartment.

A Ph.D in psychology is not necessary, to understand that at least one meaning of the dream, is to take my hands off the steering wheel, and to ask for help from the "passenger."

Yesterday, I had spent six hours with Wil and his buddy, and they were delightful. They were also very chatty. And they spoke to me, concurrently, on (at least) two different topics at all times, while I (not the best driver in the world) was attempting to drive them all over town. The combination of multi-input stimuli, over a large amount of time, about blew all my fuses.

When the day was over, I put on comfy clothes and was going to go downstairs and pour a glass of wine. Wil was in the room at the top of the stairs. "What are you getting?" he asked. "Is it easy? Does it need cooking?"

When I answered him that yes, it was easy, and no, it did not require cooking, he said, "I'm all ears." I told him I was going to get myself a glass of wine.

"I'll get it," he said, and ran downstairs, returning with a glass and the bottle. "I'll pour it, " he said. He filled the glass beyond where I showed him with my finger, then added a splash more, "for extra love," he said.

Richard Rohr calls Mary, the model of contemplation. She allowed. She wasn't steering. She used her tools to keep herself on the road/path, while never "knowing" just where it would lead. When she got stressed and over-whelmed, she turned to her Son for some extra love.


Sunday, January 22, 2017

Remember Me

I am lucky and proud to call artist Candace Primack, a close friend. Her oldest daughter was in Wil's small afternoon kindergarten class, 15 years ago, and a friendship was born that has grown through the years into something I cherish, deeply.

I have been buying her art for many years, and with each additional piece, my home looks and feels "better." I see new objects and images with time, I develop a relationship with each piece that grounds, comforts, inspires and delights me.

A few months ago, Candace had an open studio event, where people were going from studio to studio to meet local artists and purchase their art. I walked into the studio and saw, probably not for the first time, but for the first time, "Remember Me." It hung high on the wall amidst many others, it was big, beautiful, and spoke loudly, to me. What drew my eye first, was the "happy cup," the red "cup" with the "handle" and the "happiness" coming from it. Few things make me happier than my daily ritual of perfect coffee in the perfect mug.

I made the impulse decision to buy the painting, and Candace and I worked out the arrangements. It wasn't until we took it off the wall and put it into my car, several days later, that she told me the name of the piece, written on the back. "Remember Me." I knew without further explanation, that the "me" was me and not anyone else. I knew it in a way that dropped deep, yet was quickly forgotten in the life so many of us have: taking care of others. Between the duties and responsibilities, the day-to-day minutiae that can easily consume our best hours, it is easy to forget, and hard to remember, me.

I was with Candace the night before the Inauguration. We met with two other soul sisters and spent a couple hours in prayer and soulful discussion, about what WE can do, and what we can do. About hate. About love. About fear. About hope. About change. About resistance to change. About challenges. About acceptance. About division. About unity.

The subject of Candace's art came up, and she reminded me, again, of the name of my new piece. "Remember ME," she emphasized, pointing to me, "not Remember Me," pointing to herself.

I can easily look around and see those that have forgotten everyone but themselves. Those that have no problem remembering to look out for themselves and their self-interests. Can I, though, figure out how to remember myself? To discern what it most important to me, and to concentrate my time, attention and efforts into that, and not spread myself so thinly over everyone and everything that asks me to, that what I most value gets short-changed?

It's easy to remember all the others that clamor for our attention, "Remember me! Remember me! Remember me!" is a silent chant that thrums through our beings. The partners, the spouses, the kids, the pets, the elderly parents, the friends, those in our communities in need of help, our larger communities, our country, our world. All are in need of our love and attention, in a big, big way. That's just a fact and it's never going to change. There is no end to the needs and demands of others. There is no end to the number of people and worthy causes to whom and which we feel called to serve.

Fortunately, there is no end to our capacity to love.


Driving a car without brakes--stopping the card Fred Flintstone style, new year at college with new roommates, a house so filled-to-over-flo...