Monday, April 29, 2013

a certain tree

some trees speak.
silently speaking when i'm still enough.
when i pause,
look and listen
and as i approach,
crouching now under her umbrella boughs
enveloped, protected
safe inside,
utter delight
with this
my very own grown-up fairy house,
whispered, unspoken words
of wisdom and strength,
quiet peace,
and elegant grace:
"come to me and stay."
she seems to say.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

good things weekend

:: sending off an "i love you" package to her. knowing how happy she'll be.

:: pink tulips in a jug inside. pink tulips standing so proud outside.

:: chopin in the mornings.

:: blossom heaven. glorious.

:: her with a braid.

:: the fresh, green smell that comes with the first lawn mowing of the year.

:: making their own little pizzas.

:: star wars saturday afternoon marathons for little boys and big boys. and their friends.

:: her art displayed, her own little show for all to see. a semester project culmination. so proud.
(i'll share tomorrow.)

:: taking saturday morning slow. breakfast pudding gathering us to the table. so so good. (another thing i want to share. soon.)

:: poems that feed my soul. that resonate true.

:: the tired, yet satisfied exhale that comes after a month of so much doing. so very much.

:: the excitement, the enthusiasm, the devouring by these little 8 year olds all because i thought to bring in a platter of veggies and hummus, sliced apples to primary class (the 8 year old "sunday school" class keith and i teach every sunday at church). this lesson on keeping our bodies healthy really sinking in, i think.

:: sharing vegan chocolate-chip cookies i made last night (the best recipe yet. a keeper, for sure) with these vegan roommates of hers that came by this afternoon for a visit. making my day. that they like me as much as they do. that we are friends on facebook as well as friends in real life. so sweet.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

a warm welcome: a tour of my massage and bodywork home office

This is a continuation of my last post.

Where I gave you little glimpses.
Where I shared with you an idea.
the potentialities,
the realization,
the capabilities,
the enabling power, 
and the joys 
all can and will come
to full fruition
when you believe in the beauty of your dreams.

Having a vision was crucial.
I'm so glad I did that.
Every creative process first starts
in your mind.
In your heart.
Something I've known all along,
but now seem to understand more clearly.

It's what you see and dream,
that keeps you going
when the work part,
the actual doing part
gets hard.

This room was transformed.
A homeschool room.
A learning place.
A creative place.

And when I stood there overwhelmed with such a task
physically as well as emotionally
all this stuff to sort and go through
having to paint over
penciled growth mark scribbles
that sacred spot
on the closet wall
noting, acknowledging
how tall each one was
over the years
tears in my eyes at and with it all,
saying goodbye to those years,
all that stuff,
the role I played.

Eliza's simple statement
as she stood there
in that room and by my side:
"Mom, it's time to move on."
Rocking me to the core.

Transformation indeed.

So now I'm seeing that,
I can still play the role of nurturer
This room can and will,
be a place
of learning,
of creativity,
of growth.

And it will be a place
of beauty
of serenity,
of quiet,
of peace,
of awareness,
of hope,
of giving,
of receiving,
of compassion,
of healing.

And as I cross the threshold
of this room
in a literal as well as figurative sense,

I pause,
and with a smile
I say:


Thursday, April 25, 2013


"The future belongs to those who believe
 in the beauty of their dreams."
~ Eleanor Roosevelt

Friday, April 19, 2013

evening drive

I'm tired and it's nice to sit down after a long day.  A long week.
I ran this morning.
I gave a massage.
I registered for Heather's workshop.
I picked up kids from school and work.
I listened to the radio while going to and fro,
thinking about those scared and suffering.
I painted my massage room/office/studio.
Tomorrow, I'll give it a second coat and next week do the trim.
After picking up Isaac this evening after his play date, I dropped him off at home and said I'd be back in a little while to fix dinner.
The light was just right and my soul needed filling.
So glad I gave this little gift of time to myself.

Have a peace and joy-filled weekend, my friend, and thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

sometimes i surprise myself

i can do this work.
i even like this work.

putting together bookshelves. putting together a desk.
dismantling bookshelves. dismantling a bed.
painting shelving. painting a room.

times past, i would have waited
would have depended on him to take on these tasks.

times, they are a changin'.

Friday, April 12, 2013

at week's end

I volunteer a lot this week. Giving a couple of hours of seated chair massage at the university. Feeling so fulfilled and happy to be able to provide a little bit of stress relief and healthy, healing touch to these hardworking students. For these smiling, and very grateful young people.

I read a beginner fiction book to a very sweet fifth grade boy. Who seeks me out every Wednesday to sit beside him, work on a puzzle with him, walk and talk with him back to class. (I think we're friends.)

I re-shelve school library books.

I write long, detailed late-night emails. Joy comes in the morning when I read their own.

I wash sinkfuls of dishes. Sweep floors, tidy, and put away piles and piles of everybody's stuff.

I run for fun. In the morning sun.

I run kids here and there and everywhere.

I practice CPR and Russian sports massage.

I am constantly seeking beauty everywhere I go. In every place. In every thing.

I fill up my shopping cart full with colorful, abundant food. I stock the pantry. I clean out the refrigerator. And I make meal after meal after meal with all that food.

I find great purpose and great joy in giving ongoing massage to a neighbor in her recent surgery recovery, and especially for this sweet little angel boy who faces life-long and daily challenges with cerebral palsy and his own recent surgery. A reaffirmation that, yes, this is why I'm doing this.

I out-loud vocalize and decide once and for all that I am an introvert. Probably always have been. More and more so as I age. I'm okay with me.

I notice, with slight irritation, that these birds habitual and strategical perching on tree branches directly above my driveway parked car is definitely not a good thing.

I meet a cherished friend from my old neighborhood for lunch. It's so nice when you have the type of friendship where you can, at any time, just pick up where you left off and the feelings and connection never really changes.

I wish there was more time to clean my bathroom. To get outside and get things spruced up and ready to plant.

I notice that it's the little things-- life's simple daily-ness-- that brings some of my deepest joys... Spying a new bird's nest with Isaac as we walk through the library parking lot... Tight goodbye or "just because" squeezes... A stranger's kind smile or friendly wave... Just the right book to once again lose myself in... Music, at the ready, to match my mood... Opening up the mailbox and smiling wide at a hand written letter, note, or card... The beauty, the delights, the welcomed change and that comes with a new season.


I went out on an April morning
All alone, for my heart was high,
I was a child of the shining meadow,
I was a sister of the sky.

There in the windy flood of morning
Longing lifted its weight from me,
Lost as a sob in the midst of cheering,
Swept as a sea-bird out to sea.

Friday, April 5, 2013

all is well

Today is Sam's birthday. Seventeen years since I pushed all 10+ pounds of that adorable, little bundle of joy out, late on a Friday night similar to this one. It seems like yesterday, but in so many ways, if feels like ages.

When I asked him what he'd like for his breakfast, he was very specific. His answer surprised me, as sweet cereal has been the favored breakfast request by most of the kids for a few years now. (It's a rare treat around these parts.) He said he wanted bacon and white flour pancakes. I said okay. 

I'll tell you that I haven't cooked bacon in years. Years. I couldn't believe how thoughts of campfire and camping and my own childhood came flooding back when I stood at the stove this morning and fried it up. When you don't smell something for a long time, and then you do, it's interesting how vivid and powerful long ago memories and associations can be brought to the surface. Along those lines, we all gathered tonight at the local meaty barbecue joint and later he blew out the candles on top of a store-bought cheesecake (more requests of his) to celebrate and mark the special day.
What this mother-heart will do in the name of love...

I think I'm in blossom heaven. You probably can tell.

Every time I think of Jane... her separation from me... my heart hurts. I think I've eaten 10 pounds of leftover cookies and Cadbury Easter eggs since Sunday. Self control gone right out the window. That Wednesday night I dragged myself to school. In that night's anatomy lecture, my instructor mentioned something about french fries in an analogy to something related to the nervous system. (Don't ask. I have no idea what that was all about.) I tried to focus on the rest of the lecture, but I couldn't get my mind off the idea of some hot, salty, comforting french fries. So during the next fifteen minute break, I hightailed it over to the restaurant next door and ordered myself a side. I plopped myself down, alone in a corner booth, drowning my sorrows with that pile of fries and ketchup glob. It's been months and months since I've had a real, fast food french fry, people. (Sweet potato fries are a different story altogether...)

Oh, and that sorry Wednesday afternoon, just when I thought I had it all together, I look out the window and see the UPS truck pull up and the brown  uniformed woman walk across the lawn and drop two long boxes on the front porch. More heaving sobs spilling as I read those sweet words on the cards, took out the two vases of beautiful flowers, and saw the red ribboned boxes of chocolates. How did I ever deserve such a thoughtful friend?

 You should have seen the smile on my face when this little email popped up on the screen Thursday morning:

I don't have a lot of time. This is just an email we can write today to give you an update on how we are doing. I am doing very well. I had the best day yesterday, seeing so many people I know in the MTC. I met my companion who's name is Sister Wray... She is a very sweet, happy girl. I am so happy, so full of energy...  I feel a great sense of the spirit... I will write more later.
I love you.
Zhao Jie Mie
All is well.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

a missionary

After months and months-- even years and years of anticipation-- this day that we've been waiting for and preparing for, has finally come.
It's been so long ago, way back in October when this whole process started and her departure date seemed so far away.But this day of April 3rd has finally, finally come, and now she's gone. Just like that.
And we're left sober, tender, and teary.
Not a word spoken in the car all the way home from any of us after dropping her off at the curb of the Missionary Training Center (20 minutes away from our home.) where she will be residing for nine weeks "learning to teach the gospel of Jesus Christ effectively, and developing excellent communication skills. When missionaries are called to serve in foreign lands, their training also includes learning a new language." (In her case, more study of Mandarin Chinese.) A little more about this training center here when I wrote about Gary's missionary departure a year ago last April.

So today, as you can probably imagine, this mother-heart of mine is aching. A real, tangible, physical pain in my chest. A warm, heavy lump in my throat that won't go away. Tears on the verge of spilling over.
Yes, sending a twenty year old daughter across the globe to a very foreign country for eighteen months (without seeing her once during all this time) is a difficult thing to do.
 I must admit that I'm forcing myself, sitting here. Looking at these photographs and trying to express so many feelings that can't possibly be expressed. But it must be done. And I know writing and capturing the day is something that I need to do and desire to do.

 The last few days have been a whirlwind of activity just as it was the last go around with Gary. Since her big send-off and all the preparation that was involved on Easter Sunday, the days have been filled with packing and organizing all her supplies-- including the recommended 18 month supply of deodorant (!!!)-- medicines, first aid and essential oil kits, toiletries, office supplies, clothing, etc. Frantically remembering last minute errands to run and other essential items that needed to be checked off the list.

It made me so happy seeing her take so much time this week and last, writing thank you notes to so many friends, family, and neighbors who were so generous in their support, as well as contributing to her mission fund. Writing long letters to the people she loves, letting them know how much they mean to her.

Last night I told her I'd fix anything she wanted for her last meal at home. I gladly granted her request of a chickpea and spinach curry with a special fruit and chocolate frozen dessert. We were so happy that her beloved roommates came and joined us at the dinner table, and then we all (along with some of our extended family) headed off to the church where hands were layed upon her head to lovingly "set her apart" to ordain or devote the next year and a half of her life to full-time, voluntary missionary service.
Again, more tender expressions and tears were shed at that sacred occasion.
This morning I came down to her sitting on the couch with Isaac reading poems to him and laughing together. That was so sweet of her to take this special time with him, to make a memory they'll both cherish.

Then the time approached to load up the car.
To pull away from the blue house.
For last goodbyes.
For long, lingering hugs.
For softly escaping sobbings.
For red, puffy, tear-stained eyes and cheeks.
For last I love yous.

How I will miss you, dear Jane.

Those times when you lay your head on my lap and I stroke your long hair, your arm outstretched for me to rub.

Missing the beautiful music you make on your beloved violin.

For your thoughtful and considerate offering to make dinner on the nights when I just need a break.

Not being able to pick up the phone and hear the sound of your voice. The daily sharing of your world, your feelings, your fears, your hopes, your joys, your victories.

For those drives in the car, to and from your apartment or the university talking, listening to the music turned up loud, or the silence that just is.

For the times when we'd snuggle under the covers of my bed, mid-day, and watch movies together.

Missing the times when I lend you my running shoes on a weekend visit home.

For the joy and camaraderie in having someone in this house who eats the same way I do.

Missing our shopping outings and lunch dates.

For not having you be there to give me tips on style, fashion, and music tastes.

For the closeness, the trust and confiding, and the sweetest friendship I have with you.

May God bless and keep you, my dear. You will always, always be in my heart. In all of our hearts. In our prayers, too. I am so happy for you. For this grand adventure you will now embark on. For the growth and understanding you will achieve. For the life-lessons of love, service, hard work, sacrifice, diligence, and understanding. For this gift and opportunity to know you what faith, hope, and charity truly mean. I'm so proud of your commitment, your decision, your enthusiasm, your light. Your willingness and determination to do what you feel is right. Your love of God and His Son.

Until I hold you again in my arms...