Thursday, November 29, 2007

This Week's Little Prayer

All the Good I Can

Dear God, guide me to
Do all the good I can
By all means I can
In all ways I can
In all places I can
To all people I can
As long as I can.

from The 12 Step Prayer Book Volume 2 by Bill P. and Lisa D.

photo ©h3images

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Poetry Party

Come join Abbey of the Arts poetry party here.

full moon speaks her truth
bold & brilliant
shining for all to see

illuminating darkness

floating in the sky
moving & shifting
glistening & hiding

illuminating darkness

mother moon
shines her iridescent self
for all the world to see

illuminating darkness

children of the womb
stand in awe &
adore full mother moon

illuminating darkness

photo courtesy of abbey of the arts

Monday, November 26, 2007


This morning I awoke thinking of the energy of the earth…of God…of humanity. Are we really all connected as one? Like a beautiful mosaic? I am surrounded by a community of seekers. Why and how do we find each other? Is it by accident? By choice? By a power greater than we can even imagine?

Surrounded by seekers of God…of creativity…of wholeness. Are they not one in the same?

Consider the following thoughts:

“As individual stones, we can do little with them
except compare them and judge their beauty and value. When, however, all these little stones are brought together in one big mosaic portraying the face of Christ, who would ever question the importance of any one of them? That’s community, a fellowship of little people who together make God visible in the world.”
--Henri Nouwen

“For as the body is only as healthy as its individual cells, the world is only as healthy as its individual souls.” --Mark Nepo

“The search for contentment is, therefore, not merely a self-preserving and self-benefiting act, but also a generous gift to the world.” –Elizabeth Gilbert

My creativity heals myself and others. There is a divine plan of goodness for my work. –lucy

And, last but not least…a repeat from yesterday’s post:

"Compassionate toward yourself, you reconcile all beings in the world" Lao-Tzu

"Across the centuries, we have this timeless medicine: Live directly, wait, and care for your soul as if it were the whole world." Mark Nepo

I am blessed to be a part of this community of seekers. Today, may you care for your own soul as gently as if it were that of another.

'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'
--Jesus - Luke 10:27

photo by bill ©

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Pondering: Hope. Faith. Love. Forgiveness.

"And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love." --1 Corinthians 13:13

Yesterday was a glorious day in Seattle--cool, clear, crisp. I took my stiff from car-riding, turkey-eating, Thanksgiving holiday self out for a nice brisk walk followed by raking of leaves that continue to fall in my yard. While doing these activities, I listened to a podcast from Speaking of Faith on theologian, Reinhold Niebuhr. Having not read any of Niebuhr's works, I was intrigued to learn he was a lover of paradox and considered to be "a listener at heart" who could speak well into the issues of the world around him. The podcast was so rich with food for thought considering issues of war, evil and, in my opinion, simply living in the world. Today, I would like to share one of the quotes from his book The Irony of American History.

He wrote,
"Nothing that is worth doing can be achieved in our lifetime; therefore, we must be saved by hope. Nothing which is true or beautiful or good makes complete sense in any immediate context of history; therefore, we must be saved by faith. Nothing we do, however virtuous, could be accomplished alone; therefore, we must be saved by love. No virtuous act is quite as virtuous from the standpoint of our friend or foe as it is from our own standpoint; therefore, we must be saved by the final form of love, which is forgiveness."

One could look at this as a "hopeless" viewpoint such as written in Ecclesiastes 2:1, "Meaningless! Meaningless!"
says the Teacher.
"Utterly meaningless!
Everything is meaningless." However, I saw it as filled with hope and guidance for us to live fully and intentionally today. That although we may not see the results in our lifetime, we can begin the process. That even though it may not currently make sense, the results will be there at some point in the future. We cannot do things alone, therefore we need community and God. And, forgiveness is the greatest gift both for ourselves and others.

It is at this point that Niebuhr's words (serendipitously perhaps) coincided with the message of Mark Nepo's daily reading. Starting with Lao-Tzu's words, "Compassionate toward yourself, you reconcile all beings in the world," Nepo says, "Across the centuries, we have this timeless medicine: Live directly, wait, and care for your soul as if it were the whole world." Live directly -- Faith. Wait -- Hope. Care for your soul--Love. Be reconciled with the World -- Forgiveness.

Niebuhr & Nepo. Christian & Taoist. You & Me. Simple & Complex. "Across the centuries, we have this timeless medicine." Faith. Hope. Love. Forgiveness.

Hmmm....That's a lot for me to ponder on this glorious Sunday morning. How about you? I'd love to know your thoughts.

photo by bill

Saturday, November 24, 2007


The little dog wiggled his way into their hearts with ears of bright pink and hair the color of an old woman’s or a young punk star—silvery with darkened roots & undertones. Teeth like Dracula’s fangs—more inclined to nuzzle rather than bite. Still, he is ready to pounce at the nearest squirrel or unassuming bird—standing stock still with 4-inch tail on point. He stole their books (found shredded & even buried in the garden), their draperies (heaped near the patio door, the casualty of a squirrel hunt gone bad) and their hearts (forever changed by his presence).

Typically, one thinks of the dog as offering love unbounded. While this may also be true for Riley, his rascalian ways seem to have brought a new kind of unconditional love into their lives. “Love me. Love my dog.”

Oh, that the world could look at the mistakes and misdoings of others and laugh with delight the way Riley's family does with him.

"riley" photo by lucy

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


"Grace rarely makes sense to those looking in from the outside" --The Shack
(quote found @ Discombobula)

The beauty of grace
is that you receive blessings
for no reason.
As above, so below.
PRACTICE random acts of grace.
Give to others for no reason.
Offer kindness to those who are undeserving,
love those who no one else loves.
Practice grace.
Daniel Levin, Zen Cards
(quote found @ Sacred Ruminations)

Be generous. You don't know what you get back until you give. --Bill Clapp

("morning sky" photo by lucy)

a hard one to post...

I need something lovely to write and to say. I want a beautiful picture to post. Things are all locked up…the words...the photos. Much as I don’t want to admit it, I think I hate the holiday season. All anyone can talk about is how busy they are. How much there is to do. "Are you ready for the holidays???" Why the hubbub? What’s the big deal? So, you cook an extra meal or two and stand around at a couple of holiday parties where you are bored to death. What’s the big deal? Aaaaarrrrrggggggghhhh. Maybe I do hate the holidays...or at least what they seem to have become. I think it makes me sad.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Writers' "Affirmation" Block???

What I am actually saying is that we need to be willing to let our intuition guide us, and then be willing to follow that guidance directly and fearlessly. --Shakti Gawain

Hmmmm. Very curious. As I mentioned yesterday, the post entitled, Blurts, received one of the highest number of reader comments ever on this blog. As of this writing, there have only been two responses (wonderful lists, i must add!) to the challenge to turn those negative statements into positive affirmations. Now, I could easily assume that people in the U.S. are too busy to read, because of the approaching Thanksgiving holiday, however, my reader log shows that yesterday had the highest number of readers ever!!! So, what's the deal? Is it really true that we are amazingly successful at conveying the negatives and find it impossible to pen anything positive about ourselves?

For a little added inspiration, here is one of my favorite little videos on writing. Enjoy!...and I will patiently await those affirmations ☺.

Monday, November 19, 2007


Who would have thought that a blog entry called Blurts would be one of my most responded to posts? Could it be that we are most comfortably interconnected through the inner critic of our minds? That voice that tells us we are not really writers, painters, artists? In the aforementioned post, I shared with you a walk down memory lane and posted my "blurts" (negative self-talk/beliefs) of four years ago. I wish I could say that they no longer exist, but alas that ugly critic still pops up more often than I like. However, thanks to the topic of this post, Affirmations, I have at least moved forward a tiny bit.

Julia Cameron author of The Artist's Way says "if we can become one-tenth as good at positive self-talk as we are at negative self-talk, we will notice an enormous change." Enormous? Maybe. Four years ago I could barely write for myself and now have the courage to share with others on a regular basis. Maybe I have taken bigger steps than I realized. But, I digress.

The challenge for today is to make peace with our blurts and turn them into positive affirmations. So take a look at the previous post and see what happens when we listen to that kinder, gentler voice who wants us to succeed.

Here are my responses:

1) I am only 47 (half my lifetime) and I can already eat, walk, read & write!
2) I am smart. I can learn to write. I can write!
3) Follow God. He will give me the time.
4) Lame excuse. I am willing to learn to let myself create.
5) My creativity heals myself and others. There is a divine plan of goodness for my work.
6) As I listen to the creator within, I am led.
7) Through use of my creativity, I serve God. God will show me what is 'productive.'
8) Artists are brilliant. They can experience and share things in a way no one else can.

Wow. A little older, maybe a little wiser, but the affirmations feel so much truer than those silly old blurts. I feel stronger already. So, lovely readers, here's your chance, bring on those positive affirmations! I can't wait to read!!!

photo by janey

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Seven Random Things

Storyteller @ Small Reflections has tagged me to participate in writing "7 Random Things about Me." Here are the "rules."

* Link to the blog of the person who tagged you.
* Post these rules on your blog.
* List seven random and/or weird facts about yourself.
* Tag seven random [?] people at the end of your post and include links to their blogs.
* Let each person know that they have been tagged by posting a comment on their blog.

After many years of diligently following "the rules," I am choosing to deviate here and while I will follow numbers 1-3, I am not "tagging" more fellow bloggers, but instead invite you to participate at your leisure. I would LOVE to hear your random thoughts!!

Okay...enough of formalities and onto the randomness. It is always curious for me to see where my own mind goes with this sort of thing and this morning's results popped out in the surprising format of my first seven grades of school. There are actually 8 items on the list, because I can never decide if Kindergarten really "counts". (Hmmm...the psychotherapist in me could really spend some time analyzing this list, but I will leave that for another day.) So, here goes:

1)Kindergarten - I joyfully skipped around the block to Mrs. Peck's kindergarten where I road her miniature-sized roller coaster, shared ice cream with a puppy and loved waking my fellow 4-year olds up with the magic wand at the end of nap time.

2) First grade - I started to lose my nerve and become really aware of what other people thought. I was afraid to ask to go to the bathroom and ended up with a puddle underneath my desk hoping no one would notice. Guess what? They noticed.

3) Second grade - One of my favorite memories is of gleefully skipping across the playground hand in hand with my new friend, Linda. She didn't stay at our school for long and I wondered why. It was not until years later that I realized Linda was a lone black face in a very white community. Is that why she left?

4) Third grade - My first realization of social injustice as my teacher belittled a boy in my class for being "slow and stupid." My little soul was horrified. His name was Ricky and we later learned he had a hearing impairment. I hope Mrs. Johnson (the teacher) was ashamed of herself!

5) Fourth grade - I came in 2nd place (i.e. lost) in the big reading contest to a girl, Kim G., who admitted to me at our 10 year high school reunion that she had cheated.

6) Fifth grade - My first kiss (very chaste but still memorable)! John Humphries was his name.

7) Sixth grade - I was declared "pretty" by my best friend, Jan R. I really wanted to be "cute" instead with her freckles and round cheeks.

8) Seventh grade - Started Junior High with a ringworm on my arm from petting a stray kitten. There were threats that if it spread to my head, they would have to shave off my hair. Yikes!!

Whew...that's enough memory lane for today. I hope you will decide to play, too. Otherwise, I am really going to feel geeky here like a bald thirteen year old girl!!!

btw--did you know that it is impossible to skip and be angry at the same time?!?!?

"angel in my garden" by lucy 10.31.07

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Do you know God?

It is when people are not aware of God's presence everywhere

That they must seek God by special methods
and special practices.
Such people have not attained God.

To all outward appearances
persons who continue properly in their pious practices
are holy.
Inwardly, however,
they are asses.
For they know about God
but do not know God.

--Meister Eckhart

photo @ Soltura by lucy 11.07

Friday, November 16, 2007

Thanksgiving Past

"If winter is slumber and spring is birth, and summer is life, then autumn rounds out to be reflection. It's a time of year when the leaves are down and the harvest is in and the perennials are gone. Mother Earth just closed up the drapes on another year and it's time to reflect on what's come before."

--Mitchell Burgess, Northern Exposure, Thanksgiving, 1992

I miss the Thanks-
givings of my past. I didn’t know how much I enjoyed them until they slowly disap-
peared. As a child lots of aunts, uncles, and cousins would gather at the appointed house for the holiday festivities of food and football. For years I was the youngest one in the family until my older cousins and siblings started having kids of their own. I was closest in age to my cousin, Vicki. We would sneak past the tables before they were officially open and place black olives on each of our fingers and delight in eating them one by one. (I am befuddled to this day that neither of my children even like black olives. Can they possibly be my offspring?) The lingering memories are festive and warm even though I resented always sitting at “the kid’s table” and my mother was usually totally stressed out during the time surrounding the day. I can still, however, smell the pumpkin pies that were always baking when I came home from school on the Wednesday before and that smell is still pure comfort to me.

Those times are long since gone. In between were Thanksgiving celebrations with the family of my first husband, often including my mother since my brother and sister no longer traveled the long distance home and my father had died soon after I started college. The next memories I recall were as Bill (my husband of 20+ years) and I shared Thanksgiving in Tulsa with his sisters who also lived there. One of the defining moments of my life came as I prepared my first turkey in my own home at the ripe old age of 28. It dawned on me that somehow I had become “the” adult.

When we moved to Seattle in 1989, we found ourselves in the midst of a motley assortment of Thanksgiving guests including random cousins, Bill’s parents and friends we met as new residents to the city. For years we created our own family and it was my house filled with the smell of pumpkin pies, roasting turkey and young children’s laughter. Somewhere in time, things started to slip away. Cousin’s graduated from school and moved away. Parents decided the drive was too risky through the mountain pass. Friends drifted toward other places and cities. Children grew up.

So today, I find myself one week away from the holiday with no plans. (We were originally invited to be with friends, but life circumstances have removed that option.) My kids keep asking the question, “What are we doing for Thanksgiving?” I don’t know. And while I realize that I have so much for which to be thankful and my gratitude is immense, I still long for a house full of family and for my stressed out mother who has long since passed away. I want someone else to be “the adult.” I realize this may sound a little selfish or at least self-centered, because I know there are millions of people with no home, no family, no food & no warm memories. Please understand, my caring heart does not diminish their sufferings. And still…

I miss the Thanksgivings of my past and today (in the present), I wonder what the future will hold. What does this holiday season evoke in you?

"pumpkin pie" from wikipedia

Thursday, November 15, 2007


Do you ever find yourself caught between the premises of living in the present moment and planning for the future? It is a constant balancing act for me. Today I am trying to put some order to the creative projects that are percolating in my brain. Yesterday I started reading a book which will help me with a couples workshop on which I am collaborating. I realized that if I do a chapter a day, I will be finished in 10 days which seems quite manageable.

The bigger theme(s) that are stirring around is my desire to write something more tangible (whatever that means) than daily ponderings like those you read here. So, this morning I decided to start traveling through my journals that I began nearly four years ago when I was introduced to The Artist's Way. I can see this is going to be a long process, because I only got four pages into it before I found something I wanted to share here.

One of the early exercises is to write the "blurts" that come into your head when you think about being creative. So, to kick off my venture backwards into not-so-distant time, here are my blurts:

1) I'm too old to start something new.
2) I don't know anything about writing.
3) People will think I'm crazy.
4) Where will I find the time?
5) I don't have the right computer to write on or the right place to write.
6) No one will want to hear what I have to say.
7) I don't know how to get started.
8) This may be a waste of time. I should do something more productive.
9) Smart girls aren't artistic/creative & artistic girls are definitely airheads.

Those are my blurts. What are yours today?

photo by janey

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Sand dollars

Sand dollars. Whole. Broken. Covered with bugs and barnacles. Green hats of seaweed finery. Perfect on the outside. What is on the inside? Decorated. Plain. Upside down. Right side up. Holes all the way through. Broken in half. Waiting to be taken back to sea or taken home by a passerby.

Last week I walked the beach at Soltura for one last bit of leisurely solitude before the new workshop participants arrived. Little did I know that the words above (penned during those moments) would become the metaphor my mind returned to when asked to share my recent experience.

Words seem so inadequate & insufficient. Even powerful words like glorious, magical, terrifying, magnificent, pure & true. Learning. Growing. Changing. The Light. The words are everywhere if only we open our eyes to look and to see the miracles before us.

"Whole" with finery and beauty keeping others at bay. Broken wide open yet still hidden behind tears and confusion (bugs and barnacles). Boldness that says, ‘Get away!’ The caretaker, the mother, the protector—looking out for others while slowly letting their “control” cover them over like tiny bugs invading the shells. Holes in the middle. Others broken in two. Torn between two sides with a gaping space filled with nothing. The nearly invisible one—buried deep in the sand on the edge slightly away from the others. Will you notice that one?

We see each other in each other. Together we gently pick up the shells. They cannot return to their original form. They will never be the same and yet they will be whole. The beauty is that we get to re-define what wholeness looks like. Maybe it looks like glorious, magical, flawed & broken, pure & true sand dollars on the beach.

Sand dollars and people—are they really so different?

Monday, November 12, 2007

The Cry of the Heart

the cry of the heart. anguish and joy. yin and yang. contrast. paradox.

recent strangers shed tears to say good-bye while nuclear families barely say hello. eagles—soaring, chasing, playing. their majesty & beauty both horrible and incredible all at the same time. paradox.

coming home while leaving home. it sounds cliché, but home is where the heart is. home is with me. how can I be true to myself no matter where I am? in a room full of strangers, students, friends, colleagues, family or alone. how can I be me? the heart of me?

the cry of my heart is to see and be seen. to be me. my beautiful heart. lovely, kind, free. full of joy while always threatened on the edges by my hatred and humanity.

I need both—anguish and joy. for one would not be the same without the other. the swing of the pendulum. feeling sorrow. despair. weakness and pain. letting go. returning home. listening to the cry of the heart.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Let There Be Light

Last week Hearth Talks wrote a post called It's all about the Light. The word 'light' has been dancing and playing in and out of my life more and more, so for some reason I saved my response to Sister Kathryn and wanted to share it here today.

I will be gone for the next several days, hopefully spreading light with others and more importantly helping them find their own light as I help facilitate a workshop for Soltura. If you are a praying person, please consider keeping the women who will be journeying together in this soul searching work in your prayers. Good thoughts are also welcome.☺

Now, here is my comment in response to It's all about the Light:

"ah, yes, the image that daily becomes closer to my heart and soul. it is a reawakening to something that has been present all my life, but was "hidden under a bushel" of shame and silence. a couple of years ago, a friend gave me the gift of "lucy". originally, it was as a reminder to me of the times when i get quite prickly and appear not so kind. it was a gift because it was to remind me that my true essence is one of kindness and joy not bitchiness, etc.

only last december...december 12 to be exact (the feast day of st. lucia) did i learn that lucy means light.

yes, the light is dear to my heart. it is a gift that keeps on giving. thank you for this beautiful reminder!"

Wishing you Light in the coming days!

sunset at shilshole bay by bill

Monday, November 05, 2007

Poetry Party

Come join Christine's Invitation to Poetry here.

two doors stood before me
one of joy
one of sorrow
i choose joy

Worth Pondering...

"It's just a tempest in a teacup," someone says to the Warrior of the Light.

But he never exaggerates his difficulties and always tries to remain calm.

And he never judges someone else's suffering.

A small detail--which does not affect him in the least--could serve to ignite the storm brewing in his brother's soul. The Warrior respects the suffering of others and does not try to compare it with his own.

The cup of suffering is not the same size for everyone.

Paulo Coelho - Warrior of the Light

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Refusal of Silence

“Being a Silent Woman is not about being quiet and reticent, it’s about stifling our truth. Our real truth.” --Sue Monk Kidd, Dance of the Dissident Daughter.

A few days ago I wrote a post called “Simmering.” Many interpreted it, including myself, as a poem about anger—my anger. And, yes, of course that is true and yet it is not. For as I wrote those words I could envision a specific time and place, I could see the room, feel the tension in my young body, and witness the face of the one who was simmering. The words were about that face and that time and place AND the words were bigger than that with a parade of other faces, times and events being added along the way. They were not simply “simmering” faces. They were faces that attempted to "silence."

Ah, but the beauty is. This woman; that little girl; refuses to be silenced.

Last weekend I was drawn to create a collage using my own picture as the base. When I started, I envisioned layers of color ranging from dark to light with an emphasis more on the darkness that I felt had been surrounding me for several days. But as I worked, the darkness began to recede and colors of life and light arose. A lioness emerged with her power and courage. Jewels began to cover the page. The process was amazing, because even as I had selected dark rows of background, I found myself covering them with flowers and diamonds and kisses; with sweetness and bubbles and butterflies. Something very real emerged. Even in the midst of darkness, my true essence would not be silenced or stifled.

"Even in the midst of darkness, my true essence would not be silenced or stifled." I believe that is something truly worth pondering. How about you?

Friday, November 02, 2007


"An open mind, like an open window, should be screened to keep the bugs out." Virginia Hutchinson

This morning was a great example of why I should never open my e-mail before doing my quiet time and journaling. I spent half of the night (or at least it felt like it) pondering my post of yesterday along with a book i just finished reading. There was a seriously fabulous post rattling around in my brain. For some ridiculous reason, however, I chose to open my mail before journaling and now my head is filled with other stuff.

I received two chuckles from friends...a prayer request from a sister in e-mail from a disgruntled co-worker...the new download of Grey's Anatomy...a great morning reading about "choice" and an update from a friend who is sheepishly leaving today for a Mediterranean cruise. Throw into the mix that my son is having minor surgery this a.m. and papers to grade for Monday and guess what...the 'fabulous post' must wait until later.

Hopefully I will find a little time today to put the 'screen back on my window' so not quite so many 'bugs' fly through!

photo by permission from j.d. stevens

Thursday, November 01, 2007


The mind is so complicated. A memory returns in a flash and you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that in that remembered moment your heart was pierced deeply and the wound is still healing decades later. Sometimes the healing does hurt more than the original wound.

anger simmers like a pot on the stove; threatening to explode while silent and steaming.

turn up the heat just a bit and you will be burned, so steer clear and gently tilt the lid letting the pot release some pressure.

still the anger simmers; ready to bubble over and make a mess. so, you inch away but not before inhaling the aroma of contempt and blame.

you believe you have made the mess. if the pot explodes it will be your fault; and so, you control the temperature as best you can with your tiny hands.

hands thrust inside too big oven mitts that swallow them like boxing gloves. as time goes by your hands will grow into them, but they will always feel clumsy.

never allowed to take a healthy swing, you punch the air like windmills spinning in the wind.

the circle continues on. the steam releases ever so slightly, but still the anger simmers like a pot on the stove.

photo from here