Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Simple Woman's Daybook




FOR TODAY . . . July 31, 2012

Outside my window . . . it is clear and 79 degrees. My cherry tree has dropped some yellow leaves. I am not sure if this is a precursor to autumn or just a reaction to the drought we had earlier in the summer.


I am thinking . . . that life shouldn't be so difficult. I am blessed beyond all reason and I am truly grateful for my blessings, but sometimes the struggles I do have seem so incredibly overwhelming. Then I feel guilty because I know so many other people have it so much more difficult than I do. Anybody else struggle with this?


I am thankful . . . for all the blessings in my life.


In the kitchen . . . Sunday night was pork roast, mashed potatoes, and green beans. Monday night was scrambled eggs and french toast. I think tonight will be tomato, basil, and feta salad with grilled fish, but that could always change.


I am wearing . . . an over-sized white t-shirt and cotton pj pants from Old Navy.


I am creating . . . still the stripey afghan and those commissioned afghans. I recently got some washi tape that I want to play with soon.


I am going . . . to swim today instead of yoga. I didn't get my swim in yesterday as I went with ds to the doctor to get his college immunizations. Someone had told him he might pass out from them. NOT!


I am wondering . . . why I have such a hard time dealing with recurring issues in my family.

I am reading . . . The Alienist by Caleb Carr. I'm really glad to be re-reading this, as I think I read it so quickly last time that I missed a lot of the nuances of the story.

I am looking forward to . . . the return of some kind of routine. We've been sleeping in and muddling along with little or no schedule of late, and I think it's taking a toll on my mood.

I am hearing . . . the hum of electronics and the whirring of the ceiling fan. My tea is steeping and the dogs are doing their morning perusal of the house.

Around the house . . . I want to make some visual changes, but I'm not sure how extreme I want to go.


I am pondering . . . shifting relationships and honesty.


One of my favorite things . . . is getting a pedicure. It is the ultimate in relaxation for me. I'd have them done at least once a month if I weren't too cheap to pay for them.


A few plans for the rest of the week . . . lunch with my bestie tomorrow! Woo-hoo! Haven't seen her in a couple of weeks and I need me some free therapy.


Here is a picture for thought I am sharing . . . 
freshly painted toes to match my 
new car!

for more visit The Simple Woman's Daybook

Monday, July 30, 2012

July Joy Dare #4


"Enter the password: 'Thank you!" . . . Thank Him. Worship Him!
--Psalm 100:4
July 24th -- 3 gifts of sand
1. like sand in an hourglass --
time alone with my son
2. feeling "sand" in my eyes I'm so tired
3. looking forward to a sandy beach

July 25th -- 3 gifts of endings
1. this last summer before they're both in college
2. my two weeks of extreme busyness
3. sleep deprivation

July 26th -- 3 gifts fresh
1. an unexpected fresh (new) car
2. a fresh start on time with the hubs
3. a new feeling of tranquility

July 27th -- a gift on vacation, at home, in relaxation
1. scuba diving at the rock quarry
2. alone time in the house with the hubs
3. milkshakes in the new convertible

July 28th -- 3 gifts of beginnings
1. the beginning of the last month before college starts
2. recognizing myself as a writer -- not just a would-be writer
3. watching the summer Olympics

July 29th -- 3 gifts together
1. pulling together to straighten the home
2. lunch with the kids
3. helping the neighbors

July 30th -- 3 gifts heard
1. birds chirping as my alarm clock this morning
2. my son playing guitar just for me
3. Olympic commentary --
all of these athletes are inspiring

Tuscan Squash and Beans on Rice

Last Sunday for lunch I made this recipe from a Leanne Ely cookbook. It timed out pretty quick and easy for an after church lunch. I put some brown rice on to cook in chicken stock, and then began chopping my veggies. By the time I finished chopping and sauteing, I had just enough time to grill the sausages before the rice was finished.
Quite a tasty summer lunch, and a great way to use whatever selections of garden bounty you have on hand.
You don't really need the sausages, but the boys in my house need a little meat most days, even though dear daughter prefers vegetarian.
sauteing veggies

Mahatma brown rice in chicken stock

aidells Chicken & Apple sausage
 3 T. olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
3 large tomatoes, chopped 
3 cups zucchini, chopped (I used crook neck squash and zucchini)
1/2 t. dried oregano
1/2 t. thyme
3 cloves garlic, pressed
salt and pepper to taste
1 15-oz. can cannellini beans, drained
1 cup brown rice, cooked (I did mine in chicken stock)


In soup pot over medium heat, heat olive oil. Stir in onion and bell pepper and cook until tender. Mix in tomatoes and zucchini and season with spices and garlic. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in beans and continue cooking for 5 minutes. Serve over the cooked rice.


I served mine with the sausage on the side, but it could be sliced and stirred into the veggies.


Happy eating!


linking to Skip to My Lou


Sunday, July 29, 2012

With Thanks to Ann Voskamp



7 Keys to Creativity
1. Quit trying to fit. Why try to squeeze all your extraordinary into ordinary?
2. God made woman to be a maker, to open her empty places and let life be knit from within her.
3. Creativity, it’s good theology; it’s what God did in the beginning.
4. When we stop fearing failure, we start being artists.
5. Don’t let the sun set till you’ve done one thing that sort of scares you.The only trees that ever grow tall keep relentlessly stretching into unknown territory.
6. Art, it’s the second person present indicative of the verb to be. Art is a way of being and when you make your life art — thou art.
7. You have to bury your fear in faith. Otherwise you bury your talents.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Friday, July 27, 2012

Beyond


Beyond.
Beyond the fear.
Beyond the recognition.
Beyond the pain.
Beyond the terror, flashbacks, and panic.
Beyond is what I hoped for.

Would there be any me left when I got beyond?
If so, what would that me look like?

I couldn't see the beyond when I was trapped in the beginning.
Trapped in the middle.
Will there a be an end?

I can see beyond now.
I'm not sure it's getting closer, but at least I can see it.
I see light and happiness and peace and joy.
It's not trouble free, but it's real and it's honest.

Maybe beyond isn't a destination.
Maybe it's a road map.


linking up at Five Minute Friday

Longhand


I have to write this letter. I feel as if I have tried to say these things over and over again, so what is the point in trying once more? I usually write on the computer, not trusting my hand to handle the stress of writing these kinds of words. But I’m sitting in the cafĂ© and my computer is at home on my desk.

I pull out a spiral notebook and my new pen. Writing in longhand is so personal. It puts me in touch physically with the words in a way that the computer keyboard does not. My hand must form each letter, each word. I have to slow down my thoughts to so my hand can keep up. I am forced to think through each word in a more elemental way. This is good and bad.

I start out calmly enough. I am numbering my points as I try to explain (again) the rift and what the exact cause is. I am respectful and thoughtful as I write these words, trying to spare their feelings while still getting the point across. But as my hand moves along the page, it becomes harder and harder to keep the letters well-formed and evenly spaced.

I stop and breathe. I do not want the writing to look like the ravings of a lunatic, but I cannot hide the emotion. It comes pouring out through the tip of the pen.

I arrive at the fourth point, and I cannot control the pen well at all. The letters are jagged and jerky. I am neither weak nor fragile. I am strong. What you perceive as fragility is self-preservation, healing, and honoring myself and my needs. If only my handwriting showed how deeply I believe this.

The words become more and more definitive and deliberate. I will not be in a relationship with people who continue to hurt me whether intentionally or not. I am offended that you consider me so shallow and saddened that you view me in this way. I am appalled that you have treated my husband so thoughtlessly.

I can’t go on any longer. If I were typing this, I might go on and on for pages. But the decline of my handwriting forces me to see the depth of my pain and anger. I cannot continue. My whole body is enveloped in the emotion. The simple act of writing these words has opened a fissure in my calm veneer. I am in a public place and if I continue allowing my hand to express these feelings, I may not be able to keep up the calm visual persona I desire.

I cap the pen. I close the notebook. I breathe.


linking up at Write on Edge and imperfect prose

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Change One Thing?




I’d like to lose some weight. Not just a pound or two, but serious, double digit numbers. But then again, I’d like to get rid of the grey in my hair. Permanently. Not just by coloring it every 4-6 weeks. I’d like to be an inch or two taller – just enough to reach things in the kitchen without the step ladder or calling for my son. I’d like to know how to put outfits together that make me look younger, thinner, and taller. 

The truth is what I’d really like is an attitude, self-esteem makeover. I’d like to find a way to consistently feel comfortable in my own skin whether or not I’ve got weight to lose or grey hairs to hide (or embrace?) or I'm not tall enough. I’ve found out over the past 50 years that I can lose weight (albeit, it’s tough), exercise, color my hair, buy new clothes, and even put on heels, and yet none of it really matters if I can’t embrace who I truly am.

I grew up a chameleon. I took on whatever persona was required of me at any given moment. Abuse will do that to you. It’s an act of self preservation. Try to figure out what it is the abuser wants and be that person, and maybe, just maybe he won’t hit me, yell at me, humiliate me, or sexually assault me. That’s a lot riding on a momentary choice/decision. Not to mention the mind reading aspect.

I saw this quote the other day:

Life isn’t about finding yourself; it’s about discovering who God created you to be. 

I don’t disagree with this, but at the same time I can’t help but remember the confusion I felt all those years ago. I really believed I was being who God wanted me to be, the problem was my picture of God and His wants was so skewed from being abused by “good Christian people” that I was in a state of constant disorientation, anxiety, and denial.

The makeover I’m looking for goes more like this: be who I am – who God created me to be. Recognize that health -- physical, emotional, and spiritual -- is what really matters. Take care of me as well as I would take care of my children and husband. And trust that those people in my life now don’t want anything from me but that.

Sure the exterior impacts the interior. I want people to think I look nice. And sure a good hair day can make everything else better, but to be dependent on the exterior for how I feel about my value as a person? Well that just can't end well, because what happens when the hairdresser has a bad day and ruins my hair? Am I going to hate myself for the next 4-6 weeks? No. I’m going to choose to value myself for what I believe, say,
 and do. 

I’d just like to be cute while doing it.


linking up at Writer's Workshop


(originally posted 4/20/12)

Thankful Thursday #28


Thankfulness.
There is always something to be thankful for.
Sometimes it's hard to put my finger on it.
For me, a list helps me regain focus when things are tough.
It's been busy around my house to say the least for the past couple of weeks.
So here's my Thankful Thursday list:
:: so grateful to have the colonoscopy over with. All went well, but it was stressful for me, not to mention the physical drain of the testing.
:: I really enjoyed getting to have 2 days with Sam as we went to his university student orientation on Monday and Tuesday.
:: I am thankful for being home with no pressing plans for this Thursday. I need a day to play catch up!
:: finally, I will be thankful to get back into my routine over the next few days.

One requests, Sam is traveling home from Atlanta on Friday. May I ask for your prayers for traveling mercies for him? Thank you for being part of my Thankful Thursday.

Blessings!


linking up with Laurie at Women Taking a Stand

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Simple Woman's Daybook



FOR TODAY . . . July 24, 2012

Outside my window . . . is Tennessee Technological University's campus. I'm here helping ds get registered for fall classes! 


I am thinking . . . that I am excited for him as he starts out on this new adventure in his life.


I am thankful . . . that he has chosen a good university and that he is still close enough to come home on the weekends.


In the kitchen . . . I made these homemade granola bars on Sunday night. I substituted white chocolate chips and craisins for the mini chocolate chips. Yum!
I am wearing . . . blue jeans and checked shirt, as I am writing this on Monday night, since ds and I have an early start to our day in the morning.


I am creating . . . the stripey blanket came on this trip, although I haven't had a chance to work on it yet.


I am going . . . to be in meetings all day tomorrow, mostly sitting and listening, so maybe there'll be some hooky magic then!


I am wondering . . . why it didn't occur to me to check the university website instructions before we came. They provided beds, pillows, sheets, and towels, but no soap or blankets! Hmmm . . . a trip to Walmart may be in my future.

I am reading . . . The Alienist by Caleb Carr. I read this years ago, but recently picked up a copy at my local used book store for 15 cents! A good re-read.

I am looking forward to . . . heading back home tomorrow afternoon. I'm ready to get back into a normal routine after the past two weeks.


I am hearing . . . nothing but silence, which is lovely, and fairly remarkable given I am in a dormitory on a university campus.

Around the house . . . who knows!?! Dh and dd are holding down the fort while ds and I are away.


I am pondering . . . the benefits of taking a stand. I tend to give into what others' want fairly easily. Recently I have dug in my heels and stood my ground. Not only do I feel proud for standing up for myself, I think it's possible there may be some movement on the other side.


One of my favorite things . . . is talking with ds. The best part of this trip has been time to just chat with ds with no interruptions. It's simply lovely!


A few plans for the rest of the week . . . getting home and back into routine. Dh and I may do some scuba diving at a local rock quarry over the weekend.


Here is a picture for thought I am sharing . . . 
my snazzy digs for the night!

Monday, July 23, 2012

July Joy Dare #3


"Enter the password: 'Thank you!" . . . Thank Him. Worship Him!
--Psalm 100:4
July 17th -- 3 gifts learned
1. forgiveness listening to my husband
ask for it from our children for being 
angry sometimes
2. patience as I deal with my own issues
and my daughter's
3. that no one's life is perfect
as watch so many others
struggle around me

July 18th -- 3 gifts musical
1. the joy of live music from
the James Taylor concert
last week
2. my iPod summer playlist
3. the soundtrack from
"City of Ember"

July 19th -- 3 gifts baked
1. apricot oat bran muffins
2. the frozen pizza my son made for lunch
that I can't eat because I'm getting ready for 
a colonoscopy!
3. 

July 20th -- a gift in light, dark, shadow
1. sunrise
2. sleep through the procedure
3. relieved exhaustion

July 21st -- 3 gifts of story
1. finishing a good book
2. watching a fun movie with my husband
3. writing about my experience

July 22nd -- 3 gifts understated
1. God's grace
2. My husband's love
3. afternoon naps

July 23rd -- 3 gifts high, low, far away
1. exciting plans
2. bittersweet plans
3. taking my son to register for college

Layered Chicken Nachos

I love a quick and easy dinner, and it doesn't get much quicker and easier than this. I adapted it from an Leanne Ely recipe. I adapted it because I'm lazy and I like using what I have on hand.
Obviously I didn't get to it before they did!
1 10-oz. bag tortilla chips
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 12-oz. can white chicken breast, shredded
2 cups Mexican blend cheese
16-oz jar salsa
light sour cream

Spray a 9 x 13 pan with Pam. Make a layer of tortilla chips. Spread the black beans over chips. Top with chicken and 1 cup cheese. Make another layer of chips. Spoon half the salsa evenly over the chips and top with remaining cheese. Bake at 425 degrees for 10-15 minutes. Serve with sour cream and additional salsa. Serves 6.

Happy eating!

linking with Skip to My Lou

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Post Procedure Comments

I am happy to report that it is Saturday and I have survived my first colonoscopy. Woo-hoo!
I realize that, ultimately, everyone will have at least one of these done in their lifetime. I also realize that no one looks forward to it. That being said, I'm pretty proud of myself for getting through it and living to tell the tale. I think I deserve an "atta boy" for this one.
I've talked before about the effects of abuse on medical care. Any medical procedure raises triggers for me. There are trust issues. I am allowing strangers to do things to my body, sometimes while I'm asleep. There are failure issues. What if I do something wrong? Will I be at fault if the procedure doesn't go well; finds something bad; or I have a hard time?
This time around I prepared myself well for the possible problems.
At the initial consultation, I volunteered the information that I suffer from PTSD and anxiety from childhood sexual abuse (CSA). I'm never sure what my motivation is for volunteering this information. I believe I offer this information to help my physicians help me. I asked my therapist if I had done the right thing, and she agreed that I had. The nurse practitioner was very kind, asking appropriate questions regarding physical damage and whether or not I'd be more comfortable with a female physician. More importantly for me, she expressed outrage at what had been done to me and offered additional medication to help me relax if necessary. She also told me she would be personally available if I needed help, had questions, or wasn't treat well.
I talked about my fears and concerns with my therapist, husband, and close friends. I allowed myself to think through my fears without judging myself for being frightened. I didn't negate my feelings when others couldn't understand, nor did I feel it necessary to go into graphic detail on how the abuse was triggered by this particular procedure.
I told my family that I would be out of commission for a minimum of 3 days -- prep day, procedure day, and the day after. I gave myself that much time to recoup physically and emotionally.
I said, "The hell with what anyone in the medical profession thinks. I'm doing what I need to do."
I took Yolie to the surgery center with me and never explained her presence to anyone. I asked for medication to calm me as soon as I began to feel stressed and tense (although the nurse didn't give me anything!). I allowed my husband to take care of me while we waited for the procedure to begin.
After the procedure (which I have absolutely no memory of!) I was awakened in recovery by a different nurse. I panicked upon waking, a fairly normal response for me. I told the nurse I was panicking and she asked what I needed I told her to just give me a few minutes and began breathing exercises. She asked if I'd like my husband and I said yes. Alan came in and helped me through a panic attack (he's had a lot of experience). I took my time and was able to express appreciation to the staff as we left.
I did apologize too much to my husband for struggling, but he was kind, as always, and took me to Sonic for a diet cherry limeade.
I spent the rest of the evening on the sofa letting others take care of me and admitting when I began to have some unexpected pain. We called the number provided and they offered reasonable advice. 
I rested well and am beginning to feel a bit more like myself this morning. I still plan on taking it easy today.
So there you have it. I did it. I survived. I took care of myself and only one person made me feel a little badly about it. I realized that was her problem not mine.
Atta girl!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Enough

"enough is as good as a feast" -- that's how the saying goes, right?
somewhere along the way I've lost track of this idea.
is it fair to say america has lost track of this idea, too?
having what I need for the day, the moment, is enough.
"give us this day our daily bread" -- that's the prayer, right?
so why am I not satisfied unless I know what we'll be eating for the next week?
why does my son look in the pantry several times a week asking when I'm going back to the grocery?
"enough: occurring in such quantity, quality, or scope as to fully meet demands, needs, or expectations" -- needs yes, but demands?expectations?
demands are not the same as needs.
expectations can get twisted.
I have enough.
help me recognize enough.


linking up at 5 minute friday 

Surface People


The Secret Sits 
We dance round in a ring and suppose,
But the Secret sits in the middle and knows. 
-- Robert Frost 

Surface people. Some call them shallow. They follow whoever leads, regardless of where they are led. Round and round – with no concern that their path is taking them nowhere.

I followed, confused that I seemed to be getting nowhere. I felt out of step somehow. I followed and followed and followed, but it never felt comfortable, accurate. What was wrong with me? Why didn’t I enjoy this dance? Why couldn’t I find the rhythm?

I couldn’t survive in that vacuum. What happens when one person steps out of the circle? When one person moves towards the Secret?

I did. I moved out of the circle and went toward the Secret because I wanted to know, even if no one else did. I wanted to know why we talked of insignificant things. Why we talked about other people. Why we never discussed ideas and concepts. Why did we not question?

What I found when I moved toward instead of around, was so much more –- pain, sorrow, and angst, but joy, laughter, and peace, as well.

Surface people. They don’t dig. Don’t they want to know what’s underneath? What’s holding them up or pulling them down?

I didn’t just scratch the surface. I dug in like a mole. I didn’t just dig, I excavated. Pushing through rubble and dust and debris and bones. I crawled through sewers. Miles and miles of sewers. All by myself. Until I thought I might never see the light of day again. And yet, when I did come through, it was like Dorothy opening the door into Oz – the light, the color. Amazing, dazzling, inspiring.

I turned back to bring them with me.

Surface people. But they wouldn’t come. They stayed on the surface, and thought I was crazy for excavating. They tried to humor me. They tried to lure me back to the surface. They couldn’t understand why I couldn’t, wouldn’t come back to their black and white world.

They turned on me. I was the traitor. The one who abandoned them. They weren’t able to stretch from their rutted circle. One little step, but they couldn’t, wouldn’t.

Where is their longing for depth? Can it possibly be enough to just keep dancing in a ring your whole life long?

I want depth, authenticity, reality. I want to know the Secret.



linking up at Write on Edge

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Thankful Thursday #27


It's Thankful Thursday, and it's also Colonoscopy Prep Day! Woo-hoo! 
Okay, maybe I'm not that excited, but I am thankful to have good health insurance that allows me to get a check-up and preventative testing like this done. 
I will be drinking disgusting stuff all day and part of tomorrow. Around lunch time tomorrow (while I'm still not eating!) my dear husband will be taking me to the medical center where I will sleep, blissfully unaware, while the doctors and nurses do the procedure. When it's all done and I'm coherent enough, dh will take me home, feed me, and probably laugh at how loopy I am.
All joking aside, I know one young mother who is dying of colon cancer and I have another friend (48) who had surgery earlier this week for Stage 3 colon cancer. He got good news from his pathology reports -- it's only Stage 1.
So today I'm thankful for the opportunity to have this testing done, but I think I'll be more thankful on Saturday.

Blessings!


linking up with Laurie at Women Taking a Stand

Heart Knowledge @ (7/27/2010)

(warning: adult content)


July has been an intense month. I have been working through my childhood abuse for years. I've been told repeatedly (ad nauseum) the abuse was not my fault. No child is ever responsible for sexual abuse. I know this in my head. I forget it and have to remind myself, thus making me feel stupid and selfish.


For the past several weeks, I have been focusing on a rape that took place when I was 5 years old. It's been gut wrenching, and has brought on depression, sadness, lethargy, pain, and questioning my value. Today was the first day in a long while that I've seen some hope at the end of the tunnel.


I realize that he didn't rape me because I reminded him by asking what he wanted to show me. He had a plan from the beginning, and I had no power to change the outcome. She is just as bad. Doing nothing, when she knew full well what the plan was, may make her even more culpable.


One of the worst things people have said to me over the years is, "He/she must have been abused to have done that to you." I don't care what happened to the offenders. This is about me -- the child, the victim, the innocent. While I recognize in the big picture of life, offenders have their own set of traumas to deal with, that is not my concern now, and will most likely never be my focus. All of us have free will and we all have the same choices between good and evil. Circumstances are different -- socio-economic standing; family; support systems -- they are all factors. Ultimately a decision has to be made to continue the abuse; to continue to see people as objects; to continue to put others in harm's way. I chose to stop the pattern of abuse by not harming another.


So now I will continue to focus on healing, and hoping that my healing will help others address their own traumas. I can't make the abuse not have happened. All I can do is try to make something good come out of it. 


linking up at Mama's losin' it

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Simple Woman's Daybook




FOR TODAY . . . July 17, 2012

Outside my window . . . the sky is blue. The sun is shining. It's 81* and the humidity is supposed to drop today. All in all not a bad start for a mid-July morning.


I am thinking . . . about writing and how it cleanses the soul. I've had trouble finding quiet for writing this summer. I keep reminding myself that there will be quiet in the fall when both kids are gone to college.


I am thankful . . . for my precious husband. He constantly surprises me and at the same time is a rock of consistency.


In the kitchen . . . baked tilapia with VG Mediterranean Seasoning, tossed salad with blueberries and craisins, and pinto beans.


I am wearing . . . a shortie nightgown with a big blue and white striped men's shirt over it. My version of a summer robe while my usual one is in the wash.


I am creating . . . not very much. I've got several crochet projects in process, but it's hard to crochet when it's so hot.


I am going . . . to the grocery store. I've put it off as long as ds thinks I can this time. In truth he has no idea how much longer we could actually go!


I am wondering . . . about colon cancer. I realize that may sound odd, but I know a lady in her mid-30's who is dying from it. Another friend (only 48) had most of his colon removed yesterday because of it, and I'm having my first colonoscopy on Friday. 

I am reading . . . The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey (The Mysterious Benedict Society #2) by Trenton Lee Stewart. I am so very close to finishing this one! If I can get 30 minutes to myself (and stop playing sudoku!) it will be done today. This is a lovely series. I am really happy that I bought them all when Amazon had them on sale.

I am looking forward to . . . some yoga today.


I am hearing . . . nothing but little dogs settling in for their morning nap.

Around the house . . . ds has been cleaning the house lately. He started Sunday afternoon and has been a whirlwind ever since. I'm trying to enjoy it and not take it as a judgment on my own skills (which admittedly have been lacking this summer!) 


I am pondering . . . relationships and how they change. I used to believe that I had failed if I lost contact with someone who had previously been close to me. Now I'm beginning to believe there is a natural ebb and flow to the way people come to and go from our lives at just the right moment.


One of my favorite things . . . calm. I'm not getting a lot of that this summer, so I'm storing up my desire for it to remember in the fall when  (hopefully) things will calm down a bit.


A few plans for the rest of the week . . . some yoga this morning, the grocery store later, laundry, and cleaning out the fridge.


Here is a picture for thought I am sharing . . . 
new fins!

Monday, July 16, 2012

July Joy Dare #2


"Enter the password: 'Thank you!" . . . Thank Him. Worship Him!
--Psalm 100:4
July 10th -- 3 gifts in weakness
1. sleeping late because of bad dreams
2. too much chocolate
3. recognition that eating right/exercising
DOES make a difference

July 11th -- 3 gifts in jars
1. demerara sugar for my tea
3. mayonnaise for my tomato and cheese
sandwich on rosemary/olive oil bread

July 12th -- a gift of life, growth, decline
1. a lovely steady rain
2. plants returning to the land of the living
3. exhaustion after a 1 mile swim

July 13th -- 3 gifts curled
1. my fingers around my morning
mug of tea
2. the vacuum cleaner cord as
my daughter completes the cleaning
3. my legs as I curl up on the sofa
chatting with old friends

July 14th -- 3 gifts yellow
1. the sunflowers at Whole Foods
2. one of the colors in my new
3. the circles in my tie dyed shirt

July 15th -- 3 gifts of stone
1. my Jizo statue
2. a zebra stone inadvertently broken
3. stepping stones made years
ago by my children

July 16th -- 3 gifts hanging down
1. my curly hair
2. wind chimes on my front patio
3. a ribbon on my magic wand

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Stirring the Writer

I read emily's post yesterday and it made me think about my own list. What books have impacted me the most in my life and writing? It's a risk putting it out there. A friend of mine just had his list of life affirming songs maligned by a reader, so I recognize the danger in this. 

For good or ill, my 10 would look like this (today): 

In This House of Brede by Rumer Godden
:: first published in 1975, Godden tells the story of a business woman who gives it all up for the cloistered life. It gave me a picture of religious life from the outside looking in, and made me appreciate a concept that had been scorned in my childhood.

The Poison Wood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
:: although not a missionary's child, I found my family in this book. My father is a minister and interestingly my older sister and I both read this book at different times, and both told our father he had to read it. 

Anna's Book by Ruth Rendell
:: I love a good mystery and this one is so wonderfully convoluted and filled with familial angst and passion that I've read it numerous times.

John Chancellor Makes Me Cry by Anne Rivers Siddon
:: Siddon is a Southern novelist, but this collection of essays made me realize how much I like the genre. Her collection of memoirs from her life made me realize how the ordinary is extraordinary.

The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams
:: I don't recall reading this as a child. I read it for a college class on children's literature and was found in the line "When [someone] loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real."

Keeping House by Margaret Peterson
:: spirituality and housekeeping -- a blending I had been looking for my entire life.

Leaving Church by Barbara Brown Taylor
:: the struggle we all have in blending corporate religion and our own personal relationship with God. It was a revelation to find I was not only not alone, but rather part of a large contingency of Christians.

Life of Pi by Yann Martel
:: fiction that I had to read with a pen in hand. So much underlined and starred! I was so intrigued and caught up in the story, that I never saw the truth until it was forced upon me.

Trauma and Recovery by Judith Herman
:: the first (and maybe only) book to help me make sense of my PTSD/abuse issues. Perhaps it is the incredibly readable yet totally intellectual writing that pulled me in and gave me comfort.

The Feast by Joshua Graves
:: "To imagine what it would be like for things on earth to be as they are in heaven". Maybe it's radical Christianity, maybe it's just Christianity, but it was such a relief to see it in writing and allow myself to be challenged.

For good or ill, there they are -- with the realization that the list could be altered tomorrow. These are the books that have stirred my longing to write.

How about you?