Showing posts from 2013

Time Ticks On...

I'm in a strange place as the new year approaches. This year has been filled with disappointments and accomplishments, deception and revelation, gains and losses, but then again what year isn't? I've seen a lot of people bemoaning 2013 and wishing for 2014 to get here as if that will magically reset the clock and make all the bad stuff disappear... Wouldn't that be nice?

But would it really? I'm not so sure. I've come to realize the bad stuff is just as important to a full life as the good stuff. Without the struggles, how would we grow? Without the disappointments, how would we discover what we don't want? Without the losses, how would appreciate the gains?
I love my life. I am happy not because my life is perfect, but because I know this is my journey and I get to travel it until the moment I don't. And, frankly, at least for now, I'd rather be travelling it than not. Even when my heart breaks, I know it's temporary. I may never love without …

Moments of Merriment (a poem)

I wish for you
Moments of merriment every day
A soft place to land when life feels hard
The happiness of love
The love of family
The understanding of friendship
The compassion of strangers
The unity of cultivating peace
May every day
Hold within it the potential
To share 
Moments of merriment
With all those we love

May today's merriment become a staple in your life...
Happy Holidays!

Closure Sails in on a Musical Flow

Recently, while I running errands, Orinoco Flowfrom Enya's Watermark album played on my playlist. I normally don't like to listen to Enya while driving because it relaxes me too much. Her music takes my imagination on journeys that aren't necessarily conducive to driving. As I listened this time though, my heart felt lighter. I couldn't force myself to change the song.

I felt a sudden appreciation for the first time I heard the song. I awakened in a room I didn't recognize with the song playing in the background. I realized it was the first full night of sleep I'd had in a long time. I was alone. While it was morning, it was too early to get up so I went back to sleep. My life was in a bad place at the time, and I struggled to make sense of everything around me. Somehow the simplicity of the song, the message of "sailing away" soothed my chaotic mind and heart.

I often equate the song with the beginning of a relationship, loosely speaking, that wasn&#…

Dona Nobis Pacem

Dona Nobis Pacem translated to English is Grant Us Peace. I love the idea. If only it were so easy... Peace isn't a gift another can bestow upon us; however, peace is a gift we can join in bestowing upon the world.

As I think about what peace means to me, I find my heart racing and my breath becoming ragged. Peace isn't as much as about avoiding war and violence as it is about finding connections to one another. Peace comes when we learn to celebrate our differences rather than use them as excuses to hate. Peace breathes when we learn to acknowledge what we have in common with the person we consider the "other" in this world. Peace happens when we reach out helping hands to not only those we love but to those we deem as enemies. Peace spreads when we learn there is no such thing as an "other" because we all inhabit this Earth together.

Peace requires we take action. We can look for ways to resolve our problems without needing to exert our power. We can acc…

Transition or Rupture: Which Empowers?

Yesterday as I read Mama Gena's blog post Immobilized and Falling Apart, I felt uncomfortable when she referred to what she described as "rupturing" because of bad things happening in life in order to come back together stronger. It's not that I haven't experienced traumatic experiences or dealt with heartache, betrayal, and loss. It was that, while at some point in my life, I may have identified with the idea of it being a rupture, I've come to a different place. I now think of these "ruptures" as transitions. They show me the bits of me that remain in my core regardless of what happens while showing me what I need to release. I am connected to the trauma and I feel it deeply, I don't believe it destroys, or somehow defines, me. I  acknowledge it, feel it, search it for possible lessons it holds, but I put my focus on what in my life I can actually heal or change or control.

I don't fall apart, at least not in the screaming, ranting, ravin…

Hopscotch Through Life

I loved hopscotch when I was a little girl. My favorite hopscotch didn't follow the usual pattern. It had a

block in the middle with triangles so small they required us to tiptoe even as small children.

I loved it. Throw or roll the stone to the right block and then hop according to the lay of the stone, one square at a time starting at one and going to ten. If time permitted, we returned from ten back down to one. 
We sometimes switched the game up and did a "random roll" where we had to skip whichever square we landed on instead of rolling to the squares in order. Sometimes we played a random roll version where we didn't pick our stones on the return and we had to skip every square with a stone. Or we had to hop the number of times of each square. One hop on square one, two hops on square two, three on three, nine on the four/five combo (or we took these individually and did the number on the square) and so on.

I never bored of hopscotch even when I pretended like…

I Am... Am Not

Remember that childhood argument that always started with an insult and quickly degraded into the exchange "Am not...Are too... Am not...Are too" continuing endlessly and growing louder with each "Am not... Are too..." accompanied by the sticking out of the tongue and other not so kind gestures?

As adults we sometimes have this argument with ourselves. Or at least I know I do. We argue with ourselves about who we are as we look in the mirror. It becomes increasingly clear I'm not alone as I communicate with friends who struggle with the dichotomy of who they are. We argue with the person we think we are, the person we want to be, the person others think we are, and the person others expect us to be.

Far too often we stare in the mirror and the image staring back says something we don't recognize. I've been there a few times in my life. We feel strong, but we see weakness. We feel vulnerable, but we see protective. We feel exhilarated, but we see exhaus…

Breaking Out of the Writing Box

As  a writer, I'm well aware some people will like it and some people won't. There's a part of me that wants everyone to like everything I write no matter how unreasonable I know that desire to be... I work hard to write words that will speak to my readers and enrich their lives in some way, however large or small.

I often reign in my writing so as to not break some rule or the other, but particularly the "rule" that the prose in fiction shouldn't be noticeable. Without even realizing it, I've let this "rule" stifle my writing progress for far too long trying to fit the idea of writing commercially. I have an unfinished novel, a finished but unedited novel, a nonfiction book about gratitude, and a collection of short stories that are all suffering because I have let this notion that writer's prose shouldn't be noticeable when the reader reads control me. I fear that if I write the way my heart and soul tell me to write, people will accus…

Guest Appearance on Potluck with Judy

Visit Potluck with Judy to check out my recipe for TLC’s Frozen Chocolate Banana Almond Cream, a dessert I threw together when I had a major chocolate craving and lacked the ingredients to make my usual chocolate desserts. It felt a little like playing "Chopped" in my own kitchen and with my only judge as my husband, who had to like try my concoction regardless. Hope you enjoy!

Thanks, Judy, for inviting me to guest on Potluck with Judy!

Start From Where You Are...

Start from where you are... Such a simple phrase. Such a simple concept. Such a simple action. Or so it sounds. Yet putting it into practice is nearly impossible; however, when we start from where we are, it is so easy to accomplish our goals.
I recently have been bombarded with lessons in the concept of starting from where I am. My life is in major transition mode leaving me with a lot of unknowns. In the past, unknowns would have left me feeling very insecure and even a bit unsafe yet I feel rather excited right now. I have moments of insecurity, but they are fleeting. I know that wherever I'm headed, I will end up in the right place for me. After all, I'll be there...
Everything I hold dear is currently transitioning to a new phase in my life, and there are moments when I cling to yesterday and other moments when I'm trapped in the outcome that hasn't happened yet. In those moments, I forget to be where I'm at in this journey. The problem with starting either fr…

Love Releases Love

Several years back I made a conscious decision to live my life from a place of love. At the time, I struggled with this concept because like many I equated the concept of love with the kind of intimacy that creates romantic relationships. I knew, even then, that love is so much more than that, but I also know saying the words "I love you" can be loaded for many people. All kinds of expectations seem to accompany those words.

I've been thinking about the concept of love again lately because I'm in the middle of one of life's little transitions. I am reminded how much love changes as we transition through life. It sometimes morphs into something we barely recognize based on what we thought we knew. Even then it holds a comfortable familiarity that allows us to embrace hope.

My decision to live from a place of love transformed my life. I let go of tremendous anger and confusion and hurt meaning I freed myself from living in constant drama. I saw my relationships in …

Dead Doesn't Heal

Ever since the news hit the airwaves of George Zimmerman killing Trayvon Martin, the same questions have reverberated through my mind. A lot of speculation has been bandied about as fact though little of it has been proven. I can attribute any words I want to either one of them and without a recording or a written record no one will know if they're true. Even eye witnesses hear things differently. Hell, two people in an argument hear things differently. Recordings prove unreliable. Writing can be forged.  I can scour the Internet for photos and assign them to those involved. I can play games to manipulate the public sentiment. And all this has been done repeatedly and without shame, mostly to malign a teenage boy being a teenager.

Trayvon's actions earlier that day or the week before or the month before or the year before have no bearing on this event or how we should view it because Zimmerman didn't know any of that when he shot Trayvon. Based on the events of the evenin…

It So Is About the Nail...

Given the number of women who have posted the You Tube video, "It's Not About the Nail", to Facebook, I'm fairly certain my reaction to it will be in the minority.

I found the video ludicrous. I understand that's it's a metaphor, but it's like comparing horses to fish.

I will concede the point that there are many times when people, women in particular, just want to be heard and don't want someone else to solve the problem for them; however, let's be realistic, any woman with any sense whatsoever isn't going to want to talk about how having a nail in her head makes her feel.

As I watched it, I remembered an incident in my house a few days prior. Meme, my gray cat, jumped off my lap when my husband made a loud noise. As she jumped she scratched my thigh deeply enough it bled and bruised. My husband asked me in a very caring way how I felt about her scratching me. I replied "Like I need a band-aid." as I left the room to find one. Seriou…

Lean In to Strength

When I started reading Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg, I was preparing my book, Strength in Silhouette: Poems , for publication. As I read my poems juxtaposed to Lean In, my heart ached and my soul cried out for the women who have struggled as I have to embrace being in relationships without sacrificing themselves and their goals. I felt a new sense of purpose for my work to share the idea that women don't have to give up femininity to be strong or sacrifice marriage to be successful or deny our place in the world because it makes someone else uncomfortable.

Lean In begged me to examine my life. I took quite a long time to read the book, probably twice as long as it normally would have. I read a few pages, took some time to think about what I read, read some more, and sometimes went back and re-read passages. As I read through the poems under consideration for Strength in Silhouette, my thoughts repeatedly drifted back to Sandberg's words.

The e…

Strength in Silhouette: Poems is Now Available!

When I started tapping into my inner strength to deal with some challenges in my life, it reawakened a need in me to not only be strong but to empower others to embrace their inner strength. I blogged about strength quite often during this time period, but I found my struggle with inner strength pouring into my poems. Poems filled page after page. Pretty soon I realized I had written enough about inner strength, empowerment, and women's innate struggle to be strong without losing their femininity to fill a book. That book is not now complete and available for purchase in both trade paperback and Kindle!

If Girls Must... What Must Boys?

Recently, a friend posted a link to Just Yell Fire, an organization that purports to address the widespread violence against women in our world by teaching girls to stand up for themselves...

At first I felt intrigued. As I read, I realized there it was... That same pervasive idea that girls are responsible for the actions of others. Girls must change their lives to stay safe. Girls must act differently to not be assaulted. Girls must limit themselves to not be targeted. Girls must...

Here we go again...

When do we begin to teach boys to not rape? To not abuse? To not commit violence against women? To take no for an answer? To respect girls’ right to say no? To listen for an explicit yes? To respect boundaries? When do we say boys must be responsible for doing the right thing?
It is all good and well to teach girls to stand up for themselves, to empower themselves, to be safe, to create boundaries, etc., but it only goes so far.
Until we move the message to the whole of society and be…

Respect for Boundaries

My boundaries tend to stretch and bend and break and disappear far too often. I make an exception here and an allowance there. I give in when I should stand firm and I stand too firm when I should be flexible. Still they are my boundaries to set. They are my boundaries to break or bend or erase. No one else has the right to interfere with my boundaries... No one...

Right now a lot of attention highlights what appears to be a worldwide epidemic of rape. As I think about it, I wonder if perhaps it's more of the world coming out of a deep slumber that blinded us to the truth of the pervasiveness of violence against women.

I hear a lot of excuses for rapists and a lot of blame cast on the victims  aka survivors. Talk has turned to prevention with the usual camp of people telling us how women can avoid getting raped and very little discussion about teaching boys/men not to rape...

And, yet, I find myself pondering the idea that perhaps the real problem lies someplace deeper and more in…

Exploring Inner Strength

As I look through my poetry, I'm amazed at how often the theme of strength threads through my poems. I'm constantly reminded that I am, in fact, stronger than I realize. In the course of my life, I've faced my weaknesses and hid from my weaknesses. I've faced my strengths and hid from my strengths
I've been blind to both my strengths and my weaknesses. I've allowed others to commandeer my strength and take advantage of my weaknesses. I've willingly given up my strength because I thought it better for others. I've hidden my strength in the depths of my mind and the recesses of my heart.

I've been conquered and I've conquered. I've been victim and victor. I've been weak and strong.
As I read my poems, I often discover things I've forgotten or denied about myself.

It wasn't until I decided to embrace my own strength and stop looking for strength from outside sources that I discovered true strength.

I don't need to be saved fro…

Reading During Poets at the Playhouse

I recently read four of my poems during Poets at the Playhouse Hosted by Ariel at Brush Creek Playhouse in  Silverton, Oregon. You can watch me read any or all four poems, The Bird Judges Not, Bleeds, Music in My Heart, and Our Game.

Take To the Dance Floor on Dear Teen Me

Some time ago I read a letter on Dear Teen Me posted by an author friend. Then I read some of the other letters on the page. I loved the idea of Dear Teen Me, and I wanted to participate; however, I had no idea what to say. I asked myself repeatedly what I would say to my teenage self if given the chance. Nothing felt quite right, so I kept procrastinating contacting Dear Teen Me to participate. I wrote a poem to my nieces, but it didn't fit the vibe I felt at Dear Teen Me. Finally, in March, I wrote a poem called "To My Teenage Self" and decided maybe writing a letter just wasn't the way to go for me. Perhaps the letter needed to be in form of a poem. I contacted Dear Teen Me, and they offered me a slot for today. I wasn't happy with "To My Teenage Self" but one line in it stood out to me. I used that line to write a new poem based on an actual experience. That poem appears on Dear Teen Me today, April 22, 2013.
So please check out Take To the Dance F…

Trashing Other Authors

There's a reason I don't trash other authors' work. Actually, there are many reasons, but they build out of the one. The only point I can see to trashing another author's work is to make one seem superior whether to one's self or others or both.

Today I witnessed an exchange that bothered me immensely. A published author trashed another author's work on Facebook. Now, the "trasher" didn't name names or give a title, but he used an excerpt from the book. Here's the problem with that. I could go through just about any book I've ever read and carefully select a few passages to make the author sound like a dolt, a hack, or someone trying too hard. It really isn't that hard to do. Conversely, I could go just about any book and hand pick a few passages to the make the author sound like a genius. That's the nature of writing. People have different styles. That doesn't make one style better than another.

The conversation took the inevi…

Me to Tell Me

Comment: "What I like matters, too."
Question "Did you really need me to tell you that?"
Reply "Nope, I needed me to tell me that."
The words rolled off my tongue easily, but I felt strange saying them. I'd prepared myself to declare the importance of what I like, but I hadn't anticipated the response or my response to the response. And, I realized it was true.

As the words left my mouth and lingered in the air - and were answered with silence, I stood and reflected on them for a minute. As a matter of fact, they stayed with me the rest of the night. I ended up writing the following poem.

“I needed me to tell me” The words surprised me When I heard them come from my mouth The truth of them Stopped me mid-step Threw me off-balance Left me speechless For a second I stood still in my thoughts Realized I announced aloud That I refuse to need permission From anyone but me For my likes For my wants For my needs For my desires For my loves For my likes For my life In that m…

Reading Poetry on Thunderous Thursday!!

I recently read my poetry on Thunderous Thursdays with DJ Maureen. I had a great time! You can listen to the reading and interview here:

Reading Poetry on Thunderous Thursdays

Asking for Help Equals Vulnerability

"Asking makes you vulnerable." This statement grabbed my attention and shook me until my teeth rattled when Amanda Palmer said it in her TED Talk. I whispered it to myself. I said it aloud in the room. I went back and listened to the talk again days later to think about this one statement again.

Vulnerability and I have never been best friends. We've always had a bit of a love/hate relationship. Friends have complained "You never ask for help." and I don't know what they're talking about. I think I ask for help. I have an overwhelming fear of being overly needy and pushing people away with my neediness. But I really do think I ask for help; however, I don't like feeling vulnerable. I've written about my struggle with vulnerability a few times before. Most recently in Finding Strength in Vulnerability, but perhaps more on target in Self-destruction Masquerades as Strength.

I like to think I'm strong, and I learned early in life that asking fo…

High Horses

Recently in the course of a conversation with a friend, we were discussing anger and I mentioned how much easier I find facing life's challenges since I've let go of anger. I went on to explain that it felt like letting go of anger invited opportunities to anger me into my life. In illustrating how I recently faced a moment of anger that lead to a moment of hate that inspired my blog post, Humbled by a Moment of Hate, I mentioned, in a very cliched moment, that the moment of hate "knocked me off my high horse" to which my friend interrupted with something along the lines of "So you know you get on your high horse." much to my surprise. But perhaps I shouldn't have been surprised. All I could think in the moment, though, was that we all have moments when we climb on our high horses...

Still, over the next week or so, my thoughts went back to the comment multiple times. To the point, I Googled the phrase just to verify it meant what I thought it meant. I…