Saturday, January 21, 2012


while we didn't get the snow students prayed for, we did get rain. while i am working so very hard at appreciating january, my oh-so-very-smart friend quizzed me over dinner fresh from their elementary science class lesson. "do you know how much of the world is fresh water?" she asked. my guess was 60% salt, 30% ice and 10% freshwater. "one percent." she said, "that's it. the earth contains only 1% fresh water." that's a whole new way to look at rain. and, when we got out of the car at my house, the fresh water was running. bubbling up through gravel, singing; trickling down the driveway, creating it's own path south towards the springs. timing with reading i swear is everything--every book and phrase, sentence and word seems to have it's moment. so i laughed out loud at this psalm reading which happened to be for today, the torrents continuing to hail their symphony of wet. "You visit the earth and cause it to overflow; the stream of God is full of water; You water its furrows abundantly, you settle its ridges, you soften it with showers, you bless its growth...the hills meadows and valleys they shout for joy, yes, they sing." i've kept my windows open today and gone outside deliberately to listen to this singing. it makes me appreciate the 1%.


i love this word: attention. from the Latin meaning to give heed or to stretch toward, like to stretch your mind toward something. "the word is used that way in Chaucer, as i remember from a class i had about a thousand years ago. ah, enough, says my friend, i have to stretch my mind toward work, go away now." (the grail, p. 55) this and other pith and wit c/o brian doyle who has a lovely rambling writing style that makes run-on sentences seem somehow poetic and holy. page 51 is another such run-on that i particularly resonated with, "...and not for the first time and not for the last i think to myself that one of the cooler things in life is meeting people who like what they do and are good at what they do and are doing exactly the thing that they should be doing at that particular time; a rare and delightful symmetry and synchronicity in a world so often mostly shatter and rattle and shiver and smash." listen well. attend. may we all have such symmetry!

Monday, January 16, 2012

for love of sketch

for when a picture speaks more than words...

advent art

going back in art time a bit, here is the stained glass art that i did for advent! (mary holding christ, collage & mixed media on antique window)


the word of the day is "erudite", of or having to do with learning! erudition, erudites...learning is something i want to do not only this year but for a lifetime. also, i can remember a few things well. so i'm reviewing the year and looking forward to more learning in the spirit of 1) simplicity 2) creativity 3) beauty and 4) service. simplicity: outwardly, i gutted my attic. wearing a headlamp and everything, i rid myself of 75% of the contents which felt like a great weight lifted off. inwardly, i'm trying to be simple and focus on one thing at a time. inwardly, i want to discipline myself to be simple as well. for a busy and creative mind, this is harder than it sounds. creativity: i want to remember how much i love sketching. i just took some photos and uploaded them to share with you. 3) noticing beauty even in the stark winter months is a delightful discipline. you truly do find what you are looking for. and service: as much as depends on me, i am trying to use my season in life and resources to serve my community. what are your word(s) for the year and how might those play out?

Friday, January 6, 2012

positively single

i read this quote while in the lobby waiting for a massage. it was targeted to single people, but i really think it applies to everyone: "it's about loving your life, being exactly who you are. you can't anticipate the day when true love will come, but until then have a life that's full. and remember, you are fabulous." true love, if we're talking about Agape, can come in other times and ways too i think. before, after/or regardless of marriage, diversification and interesting adventures are always in vogue. here's to the best selves we can all be...

what i love about january

hospice workers know that if someone is close to heaven, they will likely go in january. life experience has proved this true both in the past (as i remember memorial dates for loved ones) and as current friends and family struggle with health problems. i typically have braced myself against this month, watching the ball drop with confliction: happy anticipation of freshness mixed with sheer dread. negativity, however, is just not my style. i really do believe there is a positive way to frame everything and try to use this in my teaching style as well (thank you so much, sophie, for not rolling over evan on the floor, sticking your tongue out and screaming at the top of your lungs, i really appreciate that i know you can join us for this art project, thank you so much!) so this year, i am making a similar attempt at reframing: a list of things i love about january.

in january grape roots grow an inch a day
it's the anniversary of my book club (58 books in 2011!)
i like the sound a windmill makes in winter wind
the springs bubble up and sing a lot with the extra rain
new fuzzy socks
imagining myself curled up like a polar bear in hibernation
white christmas lights are still up
i can keep my snowshoes out for another few months
days are starting to get longer again

i will think upon these things

magic, simply

i thought the instructions on my box of paperwhites (which are just in the beginning stages) were a good metaphor for 2012: "sit back and relax, as they are fun and easy to grow. many variables determine exact flowering time. allow it to work its magic." well said.

the grail

in helping a friend throw her beautiful white linen sit-down meal for the new year, i accompanied her on errands, one of which necessitated darkening the doors of a liquor store. since i had never been in one before and i'm 37, i looked around naively wide-eyed like a kindergartener might on their first field trip. the young man behind the register was clean-cut and friendly. he said that december 31st was one of the busiest days ever and was just working extra hours to make money while he was in grad school. having no idea what subject, i joked, "well, i suppose you're in grad school for counseling, you could do a lot of that here." and i was right! we had a good laugh and left, but really i wasn't kidding, as holidays seem to bring out, thank you charles dickens, "the best of times and the worst of times." i do appreciate viticulture, however. living in dundee, i can't help wanting to learn more about the local wineries. for several years, i helped bring in a local grape harvest. waiting until the sugar level is perfect is like a first time father in the delivery room. you are on call while the winery owner gives you up-to-the second acidity updates, warning you with complete seriousness not to leave the country any time soon much less your cell phone. it was a muddy and, i don't mind admitting, bloody affair; 3 inches of wet jory caked on my boots and a nearly severed thumb from using the vine knife instead of clippers (oh, humble moment). so i also appreciate the book a friend just shared with me entitled "the grail" by brian doyle about the grapes in my very own backyard. the first pinot grapes were planted here in 1966 by david lett, making tastes that would rival the likewise adult beverages of france. the word "pinot" means pine-cone, from the shape of the clusters. i can see rows of them just by walking up the driveway to get the mail. so i raise a toast to david lett, counselors everywhere and the new year, "may you find the grail you seek".