Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Sunday, October 28, 2018

life well-lived

i read such a beautiful book last week, "confessions of a funeral director:  how the business of death saved my life" by caleb wilde. 

it may sound morbid at first, i know, but far from it...the book is all about living.  it's funny and insightful, confirming my thoughts as to how much more comfortable other cultures around the world seem to be with loss.  i also learned how i might press in to be more present with people in my culture; less afraid of our own mortality. 

his writing even impressed on me to want to talk more about people that we've shared time on the planet with who have gone on before us.  and of all the trillions + possibilities of connections in history, we get to be alive with the people we know right now,  i find this a phenomenal gift.

taking notes on his chapters, here are ten key points i'd like to absorb into my life (we can also include sickness/loss in place of or in addition to 'death'):

1) enlarge your narrative of death to allow it to show you goodness, a story where beauty is found

2) let death break you open (instead of apart)

3) allow it to help you pause, reflect, meditate and take inventory of your own life

4) instead of focusing solely on the afterlife as you understand it, allow death to show you what is good about your life in the here and now and appreciate it more deeply in tandem with heavenly thoughts without using them as an escape hatch

5) the voice of death is silence; embrace silence instead of needlessly filling it

6) we are inherently mortal; let death invite you to be more patient with others and yourself as we all learn, grow, and overcome

7)  lean into the community that can create heaven on earth in times of shared loss and appreciate these relationships

8) let death teach you to love those you may dislike

9)  let loss lead you to active remembering and keeping people that you loved in your life and memory, tell stories about them and emulate what you most admired and respected about them

10)  embracing death is a key ingredient to embracing a life well-lived

finally, caleb wrote about the jewish phrase, tikkun olam, "the healing of the world".  it is a collective task involving everyone who ever has, is, or will be alive.  it focuses on being here now and says, "i'm here with you and i love you." 

if there is one thing he has learned in his years as a third generation funeral director, it is "presence and proximity before performance."  you don't have to do huge things to change the world.  how well we listen, comfort, and invest right now with the people we've been given is how the world is healed, one person at a time.



Friday, October 19, 2018

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Thursday, October 11, 2018

fall book pile

time to cozy up with a pile of new books!

in my stack right now:  "a hero's guide to saving your kingdom" by christopher healy (young adult fiction, recommended to me by awesome 5th graders--this book is hilarious!)

"the magnolia story" by chip & joanna gaines (i love this magazine of theirs and also their shared hardy elegance and the way they serve others--truly beautiful and sustainable.  they are funny, too!)

two books of poetry, one by nancy thomas "close to the ground" and "harvesting fog" by luci shaw

"swim:  why we love the water" by lynn sher (which has inspired me to begin lap swimming again)

i also have french cook books by richard olney on hold.  stay tuned for simple culinary goodness...

Monday, October 8, 2018

lemon love

last week a friend asked if i would like a plant?  being a gardener, of course i said yes.  i knew it was a meyer lemon tree, how hard could it be?

let's just say that on a scale of 1-10 (one being ignore it and ten alot of attention) lemon trees indoors for oregon winters are a 20+.  the all reigning high maintenance princess of citrus horticulture.

lulu (what my friend named her) now resides in my room at school.  lots of kids have class pets and i decided that it would be much more fun for my mindlab problem-solving class to help me care for the tree and learn together along the way. so now we have a class plant.

more than an hour and seventy dollars at the garden center later, lulu has everything she needs and more:  special 2-1-1 organic fertilizer, NEEM leaf spray, porous well-draining soil of slightly acidic cactus/succulent blend & peat moss, a 9-gallon pot with drainage holes, a tray filled with rocks and a spray bottle for extra humidity, a sunny spot by a window, a special blue-light plant bulb, bottled water, a fan by the open window for circulating air, and a happy temperature range of 55-70.

"can i have the first lemon?!" is a popular question, to which i answer, "let's help her flourish first and then we can make lemonade for everyone to share."  a student pipes up and says, "it's liking having a baby or something!" to which another responds wittily, "yeah, except raising kids is easier!"

we have a good laugh and talk to lulu, sometimes playing classical music for the three lemons she already has, awaiting the day we must self-pollinate her with a fine-hair paintbrush (really, we don't have anything else to do!?) and wait.

when life hands you a lemon tree, enroll in a master gardening class. or, just wing it with the kids and me.  we'll keep you posted!

artful feasting



it's harvest time and that means feasting!  there is nothing like a paella party for all the senses to welcome in the autumn weather.  this had the most amazing saffron flavor and was perfect for soaking up with bread.  plus, the presentation was gorgeous, an art in and of itself.  more, please.

Friday, October 5, 2018

love of words

"i fell in love with the sound of an early typewriter and i have been stuck with it ever since." -- e.b. white

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

all the diamonds (beautiful poem-song!)

all the diamonds, circa 1974

all the diamonds in this world
that mean anything to me
are conjured up by wind and sunlight
sparkling on the sea

i ran aground in a harbour town
lost the taste for being free
thank God he sent some gull-chased ship
to carry me to sea

two-thousand years and half a world away
dying trees still grow greener when you pray

silver scales flash bright and fade
in reeds along the shore
like a pearl in a sea of liquid jade
His ship comes shining

like a crystal swan in a sky of suns
His ship comes shining

--bruce cockburn