Sunday, December 23, 2012


I'm thinking back to that day a few weeks ago when we decorated our Christmas tree.  Carefully packed boxes of sparkling things came in from the cold garage and began to emerge from their long sleep.  Every year we say we will count the ornaments as they go on.  And every year, when all five of us are hanging and decorating we get so involved that we begin to lose track.  We get up to fifty or so and nobody notices that we have lost count until it's too late.

We tried again this year.  Even though years of experience told me how the story would end.  We began to count anyway and just like every time before, we got to the end and we realized we were having so much fun that we forgot to count the ornaments.  We stepped back and look at the finished tree and remarked about how full it is.  How beautiful.  How each year we get so many new ornaments and somehow we find room for them on a tree that is already so full.  So.  Full.

Somehow we make room.

I wish this for you.  In your life.  That as you amass your blessings, you honor the simple act of trying to count, but get so busy enjoying each one that you lose track.  That you notice how each year you get so many new blessings and somehow you find room for them in a life that is already so full.

And act accordingly.

***A note from Susan, the photographer.
I was thinking a lot about what an ornament is the past week and something occurred to me.  An ornament takes something ordinary, like an evergreen tree or a plain package, and makes it beautiful.  Sometimes you don't realize the potential beauty of an object until you adorn it with something special.  I have walked past this statue several times a day, every day for almost a year now and never realized how beautiful it was until there was a dusting of snow on it.  Snow was its ornament and it looked so lovely that it made me stop and photograph something that had always been ordinary.  Until now.

Thursday, December 20, 2012


I have been waiting for a sign.  With just hours left in what according to the Mayan calendar will be my last day, I tried hard to see more clearly today.  To be more aware. 

My favorite song came on the radio this morning and just as it ended and I switched the station, and it played again on the new station!  Score!  Must be a sign.

I dropped the lid to the peanut butter jar today...and it landed messy side up.  Rock!  Must be a sign.

I picked up my cell phone to check the time and a person who I have been trying to get in touch with called me just as I grasped it.  Coincidence?  Sign.

However, I also got a mouthful of yuck when the string broke on my tea bag and it broke open into my toasty beverage, slipped on the ice when I went out to get the mail and had some yellow snow blow back into my face as I was shoveling the front walkway this afternoon.  Fail.  Maybe those were signs too.

I think it has to do with what you see and how you see it.  A wise man I know...not one of the 2,000 year old ones, although this will be a big birthday year for him...says, "We all see things with our own eyes."  Very, very true.

I don't really have any concern for the fate of our planet tomorrow, but prophesy of the end of days does cause people to do strange things.  So in honor of the apocalypse, I will conduct myself accordingly and do something I do not ordinarily do.

Quote scripture.  Have I got your attention now?

Proverbs 31:6 directs us to "give strong drink to him who is perishing, and wine to those in bitter distress."

This is our plan for tomorrow.  We are going to gather some of our favorite people, dress all in red...because for some reason my mother thinks red is what the Bible says you're to wear to an apocalypse...sit tight, and wait to see what happens.  Strong drink will most certainly numb the pain of a planetary collapse and if we all survive, we'll have just the provisions to toast our good fortune.

What does this all mean? 

I think there are two lessons to be learned here;

1.  End of days or not, don't stop looking for signs because it helps you to see everything more clearly. 

2.  Close your mouth when you shovel yellow snow into the wind.


There is a spectacular 9 foot Christmas tree in my living room.  It can be seen from more than two blocks away, glowing and festive through our big front window.  True story...nearly 8 years ago when we were shopping for a house, I fell in love with the one we now own because the first thing I imagined when we came up the stairs with the realtor, was a tree, in that window.

Multiple times over the course of the holiday season, people will come into our home and walk right up to it and remark, "Wow!  It's gorgeous.  Is it real?"  And I always respond, "Yes, it is real.  It's a real tree, with lights and ornaments and a bit of dust because it is also artificial.  It is a real artificial tree."

And I love it.

I love that it is 9 feet tall and that it is exactly wide enough to fill the space we have, creating just enough Christmas coziness and no Christmas crowded-ness.  I love that it comes apart in 4 easy pieces and stores away safely in my garage.  I love that from every angle it holds tiny baubles of Christmas memories; vacations, people we love, special events, favorite things.  And I love that it came, preloaded with nearly 1,300 energy saving white lights that save me hours every year by not requiring that I put them on myself and take them off again in January.

But here's the thing about those lights.  Some of them have gone out.  This magnificent tree is on it's 4th Christmas and there are hundreds of bulbs that no longer light.  Some got broken and a few burned out here and there.  On the back of the tree there are 4 large branches that no longer light at all...the whole branch.  Dark.  There's also this one branch on the left that blinks on and off occasionally.  The nutty professor has spent lots of time scraping corroded sockets and moving bulbs around and even he cannot determine why sometimes it blinks on and other times it stays off.

But the dark branches are on the back where nobody will notice them and that crazy on again off again branch...the funny thing is I only notice it when it changes.  All of a sudden it will come on I will laugh because I hadn't noticed before that something wasn't working as it should.  We found the tiny bag of replacement bulbs and tried to fill some of the holes, but the new bulbs stuck out like sore thumbs because they were so much brighter than the old ones that had been dimmed by 4 years of Christmas twinkling.   Those empty sockets are sprinkled here and there all over the tree and it really doesn't seem to matter.

There is a spectacular 9 foot Christmas tree in my living room.  It can be seen from more than two blocks away through our big front window.  It gives off the most perfect glow when the rest of the house is dark.  There are hundreds of bulbs on this tree that no longer light...but it doesn't matter.

The tiny details don't always change the big picture.

This is how I'm living.

Monday, December 17, 2012


 When all that's left is the shell of what once was, where is the joy?  
When all you hear is the clamoring and the bickering, who speaks of joy?  
When everywhere you look there is damage, how can you find joy?  

This is the truth of where we find ourselves.
Surrounded by wreckage. 
...after a December Friday with so much loss.  The wreckage is sacred ground.  
And someday the rebuilding will have to begin.  
Love and joy are the foundation blocks.

My own child asked me, "Will they have Christmas in Connecticut this year?"  
I started to respond with a complicated, adult type of answer.  An answer wrapped up with all of my grown up baggage about motherhood and love, mental illness and being safe at school, holidays and how hard it is to struggle with loss.  
And then I stopped.

Answer the question you have been asked.

"Yes, Love.  They will have Christmas in Connecticut this year."

Love and joy are the foundation blocks.

A father in Newtown was asked, "Can your town recover from this?"

He replied, "We're going to have to.  We have so many children left."

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


Yes is not maybe.
Yes is not I'll try.
Yes is not I might.

Yes is not probably.
Yes is not possibly.
Yes is not perhaps.

Yes is not it could be.
Yes is not there's pretty good chance.
Yes is not it's likely.

So many other words to choose from...
don't say yes unless you mean it.

Yes is I will.
Yes is I am.
Yes is I do.

Yes is yes.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


It's a tragic story really...

A troubled teen wildly overreacts to the empty threats of an elderly neighbor and runs away from home.  No mention is ever made of her parents contacting the local authorities or making any attempt to locate their missing child so we are left to assume she was unwanted to begin with.  She encounters some catastrophic weather and loses conciousness for an unknown period of time when she hits her head during the storm.  Upon waking, she discovers that she has unknowkingly committed a homicide during her blackout.

She is pursued by the grieving relative of the deceased and receives a tip from a local charlatan about a man that can help her get out of town quickly.  Walking the dizzying streets of this unfamiliar city, she is serenaded by some suckers singing about a world made of doughnut holes, attacked in the woods and ultimately duped into joining a gang of hoodlums who it turns out are victims of organ trafficking and psychological warfare.  They too are directed towards this local ring leader who might know how to procure them some replacement organs.

After several encounters with dangerous wildlife and an opium trip that lasts for an undetermined amount of time, the teen and her gang locate the residence of the man they seek.  The plan to flee the city undetected nearly fails when he is exposed as an imposter and turns out to be a completely incompetent imbecile that tries to distract the teen from his deception by suggesting she ruin a perfectly good pair of shoes by bashing the heels together and destroying the red glitter.

Then she wakes up and it turns out it was all a dream.  Or a bad trip.  The truth is perfectly unclear.

Things are not always what they seem.  Are they Dorothy?

Wicked right?

Monday, November 26, 2012


There's something amazing about letting go of the outcome and learning how to be better at the Now.  The Here.  The During.

Falling takes you from one place to another place.

Whether it was an accident or a planned departure, a leap of faith or a calculated exit, a jump in with both feet or a heel slip over the edge.  Falling takes you somewhere.

Falling makes me feel isolated.  I'm all alone in this.  How did I get here?  When will it be over?  I don't always know what to look for when I'm trying to stop falling.  I  see people standing next to me in line, or sitting across the table from me and they look so still.  So grounded.  They don't even realize, that on the inside, I'm crashing right in front of them.

I tend to hold it all in.  I think I'm trying to protect people.  To preserve their joy.  And I absolutely am not helped by the, "It will all work out.  You'll be fine.  You'll get through this." comments.  I don't want people to feel bad for me.  That.  Does.  Not.  Help. 

I have started to write about falling.  That seems easier.  For me.  It's still isolated because I get to roll it all out at my own pace and it's less messy.  It took awhile for me to be ready to write about struggling because I was afraid of the half-hearted commentary again.  I shouldn't have been afraid.

The posts that I've written that have received the most comments are the ones about falls and struggles.  But readers didn't say, "You're strong, you'll be fine.  This will pass.  It will all work out."  They didn't say that.  They said, "Thank you for sharing.  I've been there.  I'm there now." 

And it helps.  But not for the reasons I expected.  It's quite amazing really. 

Sometimes, it seems to me, the help you find at the end of your own arm isn't there because you cried out for someone to save you.  More often the hand is there because that person was falling right along beside you.  They know how it feels.  They are there too and they simply extended their hand.  I'm down.  You're down.  But we're not out yet.  It's not over yet.

There's something amazing about letting go of the outcome and learning how to be better at the Now.

Friday, November 16, 2012


I lead...lots of things actually, but specifically, I lead a meeting every week.  A meeting that I used to attend, but now I lead it.  I stand up in front of them and say, "Come along.  This is the way."

A big part of the way I lead is to try and meet people where they are, before inviting them to come along.  You can't give good directions from way out in front.  You've got to get close to people.  It's quite frightening actually.  For me.  Close means honest.  Close means truth.  Close means real.  And close, in a small town, means no hiding.

Sometimes they ask me, "How do you do it?  How have you been successful?"

I don't always know how to answer.  Should I start with the big picture or the small picture?  The main idea or the details?

Leading someone somewhere is different from giving them a set of directions to follow.  When you're leading you've got to go along with them.  Out ahead of them, but not too far, or they'll lose sight of you and get lost.  Out ahead of them falling in the holes and tripping over the bumps but then having the knowledge to call back and say, "Watch out!  Don't do what I just did."

Leading someone somewhere means you get there first.  Sometimes just by an instant, but still first.

For me.  For this journey...I have arrived.  And now I lead others toward this place where they want to be.  It's hard and sometimes they quit.  But the honest thing I tell them when they ask me those hard questions is,

People don't quit because it's hard, they quit because they don't realize it's worth it.

Monday, October 15, 2012


"Things have been a bit rocky lately."  

That's what we say when times are tough.  

It's been harder to get through the day.  Like a path that's difficult to walk on. 

Simply recognizing that the road is rocky means you've seen smoother times.

Rocky.  A rough road.  But not impassable.

Harder to walk through.  But possible to walk through.

Not something you'd want to have to do all the time.  But doable.

A road always leads somewhere.


Sunday, October 14, 2012


To focus.  This was the job for this week.  To get caught up on the late posts, think about the current post and plan for the coming weeks.  To focus.  Good plan.

But then it was Saturday and college football was on and I was lured away from the computer by the blow of a referee's whistle.  I got distracted.  But when I went to the TV and tried to focus on the game, I was distracted again.  By the fact that one team was outfitted entirely in pink sneakers.  And the other team was sporting pink gloves.  And the refs were all wearing pink hats.  And the coaching staffs, of both teams had on pink visors.  And I could no longer focus on the game.  Or the blog posting.  I was distracted.  Again.

The pink hose down of October brings up an annual rant for me, and for this I do not apologize.  This year, instead of my classic rant about month 10 of every year being coated in pink, I am going to pick a new fight.

Ahhh Facebook.  Either you love it or you hate it, but if you are a user, then be ready...the suggestions to post a status are coming.  I guarantee it.  It's October and the world seems to think we need a particular focus this month.  The posting suggestions will come in the form of a silly game asking you to reveal your bra color in your status or to look up your birth month and your favorite candy bar or to disclose where you hang your purse when you walk in the door.  All in the name of shocking people or making them laugh to raise breast cancer awareness.

Pay attention.  Bring to the forefront.  Heighten awareness.

Have you played these games in the past?  Because that's what they cancer is not a game.  If you feel the sting of my words just a bit...that's just fine with me...I meant that.

Here's my question...

If you played the game, how exactly was your awareness of breast cancer raised?  Did you post about your favorite candy craving and then go donate a dollar to your favorite breast cancer charity?  Did you wink wink about getting dirty in the foyer and then call your gynecologist to schedule a mammogram?  Did the color of your bra make you more aware?  Did it focus your attention?  At all?

A stop sign raises awareness too.  It proclaims boldly, in red, that you'd better pay attention Sweetie.  There's something coming at you from any given direction that can kill you if you don't stop here and focus a bit on your situation.

You wouldn't blow through a stop sign with a smug nod and a joke about a fake pregnancy.  You don't creep into a busy intersection displaying your bra color or talking about hooking your bag on the banister.  You stop.  You focus.

Do you realize how ineffective it is for me to tell you about my brassiere?  Does the fact that its blue today make you stop in your tracks and look in every direction because there is this thing called breast cancer and it may very well be coming at you from any direction and it can kill you so you should stop and focus.  Be aware.  My brassiere doesn't make you aware.

Well here's the stop sign ladies.

Go ahead and play the game.

But make sure you focus on the point.

Once you see what is possible, what could happen, even if only for an instant, you can't not see it anymore.  Ever.  It is sharply in focus.  It doesn't have to stay your focus.  But you can never not know.  My acidity with regard to this subject is not necessarily shared by my sister and co-contributor of this blog.  But that's what last week's post was about.

Sunday, October 7, 2012


My sister always takes tilted pictures.  Frankly, I don't know if she even can take a straight on shot.  No, I'm sure she can, but I'm also sure she is very conscious of it when it's happening.  Almost as if she is forcing herself to view something in a way that is not natural.

How much do I love the tilt?  More than a lot.  Is this a behavior that needs to be fixed?  No.  Please.

She has a clear pattern of tilt.  She is consistent.  She photographs someone else's ordinary, on a slant, and it comes out looking extraordinary because of the way she sees it.  She has embraced the tilt.  She is sure footed and very stable in her perspective.  Even when what she sees is different from what I see.

Go ahead,  Look back at these Words Between Us.  Her part has a definite slant to it.

But then does mine.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012


Behind every race is a story.   But I'm not going to fill up this space today with the whole story of my race.  I'm going to give you the short version.

The short version of the story is Yes.

Yes I will sign up.
Yes I will show up.
Yes I will line up.
Yes I will start.
Yes I will keep going, even when it feels like I can't go anymore.
Yes I will cross the finish line.
Yes I will not let that be the end.

Yes is the short version of my race story.

Yes is the short version of many great stories.

It's not about winning.  It's about finishing.  There were 237 women who crossed the finish line before I did.  There were more than a thousand women who followed me across the finish line.  There are countless women who never said Yes.

Monday, October 1, 2012


My middle child, Mona, as we affectionately call her, went to half day kindergarten all but two days last year.  Long story short, that's over 175 days of public education...and she never once used the bathroom at school.  Not once.  She was scared to death of the flusher.  Some careful strategy on her part and a school day that lasted just over 3 hours allowed her to come home everyday and use her own potty before lunch. 

She headed off to first grade 4 weeks ago with a big backpack and a big problem.  From the time she headed out to the bus each morning to the time she returned home she would be gone for nearly 8 hours.  And she was bound to have to use the loo.  For several days, we asked about it and she avoided the question.  End of discussion.  I wrote a note to the teacher to have her make sure Mona knew where the bathroom was.  She did.  I suggested to the big sister that she escort the middle bit to the bathroom when they got off the bus first thing in the morning.  Refused.  So we waited.  And didn't make a big deal out of it, because that is the best way to push this kid over the edge.  But I secretly packed a pair of extra leggings in the bottom of her very big backpack...just in case.

Then at the end of the second week of school, she came in the door looking rather smug.  Something was up.  She unpacked her bag, brought me her folder and casually tossed out the comment, "By the way Mom, I used the bathroom at school today.  Just so you know."

Everyone stopped in their tracks.  She beamed.  This was a very big deal.   

When you rise to the IS an occasion.  And in this house, that gets you candles.  In your after school snack.  And a strange wonderful family that sings together, "Happy Bathroom to You!  Happy Bathroom to You!"

It is what it is?

Actually, if you know my mind at all, you know I don't believe that.  You know I believe things are what you make them, not what their name or date or circumstance says they're supposed to be.  And when, after nearly 200 days at school, you finally work up the courage to use the bathroom, that's a special occasion.

We all need more tiny candles and silly songs to mark the occasion.  Go buy yourself a wee pack and just see how you'll start looking for a reason to light one.  To mark an occasion.  Start seeing things for what you make them.

Sunday, September 30, 2012


We've got a village.
It makes me happy.
We grew it from nothing.  Nurtured it with proximity and time.  Cultivated it with experiences.
We let what is take over what we were wishing for.
We pray and recharge each other's mojo.  
We root and console.  
We shut up and just listen. 
We tell the real story not the sanitized version.
We are learning to give in a way that is truly helpful, not in a way that is easy or that comes naturally or is what we like to do anyway, but in a way that is hard...sometimes very hard.
We are learning to receive in a way that is simple. Grateful and simple.  With no score being kept or tally of "I owe you one".
We are more than we are.  We are the varied things we have to offer and we are built up by our willingness to demonstrate just how much we cannot do alone.

It's not about where you live.  You can't move into a have to grow one.  Cultivate one.  Build one.  It's about what you have to offer.  And that you're willing to ask.

Community spills out of us if we let it.  We have to let it.  We are all givers but a village is born when we learn to receive what others have to give.  Just as they give it.

The Village, not those village people...MY village people...I am so grateful for you.

The woodcutter and the nutty professor
Mother Grey Goose and the cabinet maker
The maestro and the blogger
The teacher and the rock star
The foodie and the huntsman
The ice maker and the lifesaver

We've got a village.  
It makes me happy.

Friday, September 21, 2012

No. 2

The right tool for the job.  It's kind of totally a hang-up of mine. 

I have been known to halt the progress of a recipe and go on a kitchen wide search for a specific red spatula that often results in finding it dirty, in the dishwasher wherein I take the time to wash it before I use it instead of just grabbing the inferior blue spatula that was clean in the drawer.  The red one works better.  I'll leave that blue one for some other sucker, or scraper as the case may be. 

Ditto for pencils.  We have a jar of sharpened pencils on our counter that are easy to reach at homework time.  An eclectic collection of free ones from Halloweens past, small town parades and birthday party goody bags.  My daughters love them.  They remember with bizarre accuracy where each one came from and I'm happy for them.  These pencils all suck.  For me, the Dixon Ticonderoga No. 2 is the only pencil.  Period.  The right tool for the job; any writing job that might require revision or lengthy contemplation.  I keep a secret stash of them in my desk drawer in the basement.  I will, occasionally on rare occasion grab one of those inferior implements from the jar.  They do, in fact, make a mark on a grocery list or a smiley face on a sheet of math facts.  But when I do reach for the wrong tool, the whole time I'm using it, I am preoccupied by the fact that I know there is a better tool for the job.

It's kind of sick.

I come by it naturally.  My father would rather put off doing a job than to attempt to complete it with the wrong tool.  I inherited this trait handicap from him.  Thanks Dad.  Sorry Dad. 

Not doing a project because you don't have the right tool?  That's silly you say.  For me, it actually gets worse.

I stop cooking to search for spatulas.  I run extra flights of stairs to select pencils.  And I selectively remove myself from participating in all sorts of fun stuff because I am paralyzed by my fear that I won't have what it takes to participate.  That I won't have the right tools for the job.

Damn that was hard to write.

I opt out of sports with a lie about preferring to be on the sidelines because I am afraid I won't have a good enough throw, or a spot on swing or a nice hard hit or be able to catch that thing you threw at me.  Those are the tools of sport.  Right? 

I can't?  Or I won't?  I think I won't is closer to the truth.

How did I get here from a word about pencils?  It all comes back to having the right tool for the job.  Or not, as the case may be.  This essay feels more personal than most of the ones you'll find here on this little blog, but oh well.  There's big stuff coming for this little me.  And my anxiety level is off the charts.  I'm planning to tell you all about it...once it's over.  I have assembled many of the tools that are right for the job that's to be done; running shoes, road bike, helmet, gloves, water bottle.  There are other tools that will be required; motivation, endurance, courage.  Have I got the right tools for the job?

I am not sure.

I am sure of these two things:

There is value in knowing the right tool for the job.

There is also value in going ahead and attempting the job anyway. 

*Yes.  We are aware that technically "No. 2" is not a single word.  We decided to make a teeny exception because it was a reader submission AND because certainly No. 2 describes a single thought when referring to the lead of a pencil. Have you got a word you'd like to see us tackle?  Send it our way in a comment or post it to our Facebook page.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


Storms don't appear out of nowhere.  Some kind of sign usually announces their impending arrival.  Swirling weather patterns like clouds and low pressure.  Stirred up messes like PET scans and suspicious lumps.  Dark days with eyes that won't meet your gaze and blame getting placed.  Weak systems like zero balance checking accounts and piled up bills.

There is usually some kind of sign.  The storm is coming.

How can you possibly be ready?  What if you miss the signs?  Or weren't looking for them in the first place?

Once you're in the thick of's too late.  Or is it?

There is one thing that stands confidently and watches the approaching storm.  One thing that gathers the necessary supplies and prepares for the onslaught.  One thing that leans into the wind, and bends but does not break.  One thing you can see even when the visibility is zero.  One thing that spreads over you when the debris of your life is falling down around you.  One thing that does not need to to be built back up when the storm has passed because it was never knocked down in the first place.

There is one thing.

Monday, September 10, 2012


Where did I come from?  My parents?  My parents’ parents?  Their parents?   Was it a place?  Was it always that place?  Or maybe a time?  Or the time before that time?  Who is my family?  What’s their story?  Is it a name?  Was it always that name?  What was the name before that name?  Before that?

How far back in my lineage do I have to go before nobody knows?  I’ve been pretty far down that list of names and dates.  We’ve got people in our family who know all of it.  I’ve gone far enough back to realize I don’t care how far back someone knows something about somebody.  Far enough back to realize that’s only part of the story? 

No matter how long the story is, no matter how much of it is known…it’s only the first part.

What brought me here and where am I going?  I’m learning painfully scraping along the journey of releasing, without forgetting, where I came from.  And all of a sudden there are new things I can do.  Things that I didn’t think I was supposed to be able to do.  Because of where I came from.  Things I didn’t know I wanted to do.  Because of where I came from.  

There’s the family I came from, and the family I made.  The man I chose and those precious children?  We made them.  They are of us.  We are of them.  These things we made are making us into who we are. 

That’s the next part of the story. 

I left one family.  And made another.  That’s just simply the way it’s done. 

As if any family ever gets made any other way.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


What fun is breaking the rules when there aren’t any rules?

How can you enjoy a change in routine, when you have no routine?

Can there be unstructured moments in a life that has no structure?

I say, “No” a lot.  It’s a terrible drag.  Terrible.  I’m the Mom.  That’s a big part of my job.  But sometimes…I get to say, “Yes.”  And they are thrilled.  It’s elicit.  An incredible stroke of good fortune.  And they love it.  Because they know it’s not normal.  We are fiercely protective of our rules and our structure around here, because it gives us order.  That order also provides us wonderfully safe opportunities for chaos.  The fun kind of chaos.

I love summer.  I love the chaos of summer.  I love the YES of summer.
I love children that smell like chlorine and have terribly dirty feet.  I love bedtimes that get breezed right by in favor of late nights with the neighborhood running, screaming through the darkness with flashlights and firefly jars.  I love popsicles in the middle of the afternoon.  A shower in the yard?  Sure.  With soap?  Why not.  And no clothes?  Absolutely!

I love the YES of summer. 

Saturday, August 18, 2012


Last Friday was the first Friday of August.
My Love and I showed up way early so we could be the first ones in line.
I took my first daughter to a rock concert.
Her first rock concert.
To see the first band I have ever been crazy about.
And we stood in the first row.
And they played her very favorite song.  First.

I was so over whelmed with stupid joy that I stood there and cried.  
Thank goodness for dark sunglasses. 

It was quite simply one of those moments I was talking about last week.  
One of those extraordinary moments on an ordinary day 
that is worth stopping to celebrate.  Woot! 

There will be lots more Fridays.  And long lines to stand in.  
She will fall in love with other bands and go to many concerts.

But there will never be another first rock concert.
For the rest of her life, people will ask her which was her first one.  
And she'll tell them about standing with me.  In the first row.

How much do I love this?  

More than alot.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012


All I've got is questions this week.  Who do I celebrate?  What do I celebrate?  When is it time?  Who decides?

There is so much to celebrate.  So.  Much.

Little stuff though.  It's not always banners and parades.  Sometimes its a birthday candle in a granola bar.  It's the birdseed that fell in just the right place to grow the most spectacular sunflowers in the middle of the too green lawn.  It's the fact that my autocorrect now recognizes 'woot' as a word because I use it so often.  In celebration.

You could thank God for them.  I celebrate them.  I'm mindful of them.  That celebrates them in the simplest way.  Either way...I think it works.

What if the only things you woke up with tomorrow were the things you celebrated today?

Would it change what you were grateful for?  Probably not, but it might make you change the way you acted towards them.  In response to them.

How about we start celebrating without warning.  Stop planning it.  See the magic in everyday and Woot, Woot, Woot about it!

No pomp.  Just circumstance.

Friday, July 27, 2012


Have you ever had the pleasure of watching a baby learn to walk?  Those tentative first steps?  The moment they let go and step out.  Hands free.  What are the parents doing?  Are they modeling the walking?  "One foot in front of the other Junior.  That's it.  You pick up your foot like this and then move it forward and put it down."

No.  Probably not.

How about when a baby learns to talk?  The babbles.  The sputtering.  What was mom doing?  Was she bent over him, "Move your jaw Junior.  Lift your tongue now.  Put your lips together and push out some air." 

No.  Probably not.

There's a whole bunch of stuff out there that gets learned just because it gets learned.  They learn it because we live it.  We are not teaching it.  We are doing it.  Are they following our lead or just doing what comes naturally?

Who knows?  It doesn't matter.  It gets done.

The tiny acorn lands where it lands and simply does what it's made to do.  The mighty oak does not stand over it and instruct.  The mighty oak rises in what can only be imagined as a living example of what's supposed to happen.

The things that acorn does not learn from its parent tree are in fact the mightiest of all.  How to grow.  How to root itself firmly as a foundation.  How to spread its branches and look for the sunlight.  How to grow leaves, and house creatures and drop acorns.

What the tiny acorns knows, without having to be told, is how to grow a tree.  And a well tended tree grows.

How to grow a tree is how to grow a life.

Thursday, July 19, 2012


So they set out to build a road.  A road to pave the way.  To pave the way to places that had never been explored.  They packed everything they could think of to help them on their journey.  It was going to be epic.

They had no idea what was out there.  So much ground to cover.  So many challenges to encounter.  Deserts that threatened to lay them bare. Jungles that nearly swallowed them up.  Trees to step around. Animals to run from.  Wide open spaces where it seemed like nothing could possibly grow.  Thick tangled messes where it seemed like nothing could possibly pass.

And there were amazing treasures to behold.  Unobstructed sunsets unlike anything they had ever seen.  Glittering rivers that held more bounty than they could believe.  Amazing scenes that they could never forget.

So they made their way.  To pave the way.  The lot of them with their baggage.  They hauled their equipment for making the way.  Day after day.  And left a ribbon of road stretching out behind them.  That others could follow.

Until one day they came to a huge mountain.  It loomed over them. An immovable obstacle.  And the Captain of the group said, "This is unlike anything we have seen before, but we must pave the way.  We must go forward.  We must go over."

So the men strapped their equipment to their backs.  They loaded their heavy baggage and headed up the mountain to pave the way.  But they could not move ahead.  They lightened their load.  But they still made no progress.  It was one step forward and two steps back.  One of the crew said, "Captain, we are not equipped to climb this mountain.  We do not have the right tools.  We do not have the right experience."

And the Captain proclaimed, "We cannot go over.  But we cannot go back.  We must go around.  Let us find a way around.”

So the group traveled east for days and days.  And the mountains got taller and taller.  And there did not seem to be a way around.  One of the men said to the Captain, "This cannot be the way.  We must go back to where we started and try the other way."

So they retraced their steps to the place where they had first met the obstacle and they tried the western route.  More mountains.  And endless chain of the same overwhelming obstacles met them at each step.  They had traveled for many days and nights when one of the men said, “Captain we have gone so far and we have not made any progress.  We have gone from east to west and side to side.  We have walked for days and days but we have not gone forward.  We have not paved the way.

The Captain was defeated.  He said, “This mountain cannot be conquered.  Maybe this is the end of our journey.  Maybe this is the place we are supposed to be.”

And there was a tiny voice from the back of the group that said, “Captain, there is another way.

“What is this way?  There does not seem to be another way.”

And a young man came forward with a box that read TNT.

“Captain.  This box contains something amazing that will let us go through the mountain.” said the young man.
And the company laughed.
“Boy, you have no experience!” 
“Ha!  What do you know?”
“You have been nowhere.  Done nothing!  This cannot possibly be true.”

“Nobody goes through a mountain.”

And the young man said, “I assure you Captain.  The contents of this box will allow us to go through the mountain.  It will take down parts of this mountain.  It will be destructive and I cannot imagine the perils that await us on the inside, but if we are careful, and we learn as we go, we can make our way through to the other side.”

The Captain said, “Boy!  We have had this box all long and you said nothing?”

“Yessir.   We did not need this box the cross the river.  We did not need this box to cross the desert. The contents of this box would not have made the sunsets more beautiful or helped us to gather the treasures along the way.  We have not needed it yet.  But we have had it all along.  Yes.  And we need it now.”

So they began to go through the mountain.  It was slow.  And it was treacherous.  The men were terrified and the way was dark.  But it was forward.  And that felt good, because they had not been moving forward for a long time.

Before they knew it the first cracks of light began to show.  And the cracks became beams of sun and the beams became spaces to gaze through.  When they finally emerged from the other side of the mountain they looked back on the immovable obstacle that had stalled their progress for so long.  
The Captain proclaimed, “That is one huge mountain.”

And the young man said, “No sir, actually, now it has become just one more thing we had to get through.

What is your mountain?
What have you carried with you all this way 
that will make that mountain 
just one more thing you’ve got to get through?