Friday, February 27, 2009

lucy's personal empowerment day

It is starting to appear that February 27 is some kind of great empowerment day for me. Last year on this date, I was winging my way across the Atlantic for my grand Paris adventure. Today...I conquered the incessantly running toilet in our bathroom. Not quite the same, you might say. Well, I don't know. There is something pretty magical about saving a $100 plus charge for a plumber house call, purchasing a part for $2.70 and completing the whole process solo! I am pretty dang proud of myself.

The rest of the day held its own kind of magic too. I had early morning correspondence with some of my favorite people then went for a long overdue hair appointment. In fact, it may have been the new coif that convinced the hardware store salesman to walk me through the plumbing repair free of charge. The sun was gloriously shining here, too, which was a welcome relief after the blowing rain and snow we have experienced the rest of the week.

So, with new bouncy hair and no dastardly roots showing, I conquered my plumbing dilemma and then promptly paid myself with a new piece of art that Sunrise Sister tempted me with. I completed a few more items on my to do list and decided to walk down to our little town center to the bank and post office. After completing those tasks, I strolled by the movie theater and noticed that "The Reader" had opened today and the next showing was in 20 minutes. What's an empowered girl to do? You guessed it! Go to the movies! I was not disappointed and was only confirmed that Kate Winslet is the one to perform my memoir.

Now, I'm home with dinner in the oven and a beautiful salad awaiting my dear husband's arrival. My repair work today was in his bathroom, so he is going to be least I hope he is. Like I said, it may not be Paris...but life is pretty darn good on this side of the ocean too!

Yes, I am easily amused. How about you? What little pleasures brighten up your day? Where do you find empowerment? Enjoyment? Contentment?

top photo: from rodin museum - paris

Thursday, February 26, 2009

making sense of glorious chaos...

The season of Lent is upon us. I gather snippets here and there. I hunger for them like crumbs sprinkled on an orphanage floor. I read words written by others. I pause and listen to the birds calling as they scratch for food and seek their own crumbs beneath the surprising snow that covers the morning ground. I am in awe of all the beauty that surrounds me. Jan Richardson says, "Ash Wednesday beckons us to cross over the threshold into a season that's all about working through the chaos to discover what is essential." I feel caught in the midst of a glorious chaos - standing at a crossroads of what to allow into my life and what to sift out.

I was touched by Sunrise Sister's poem about Ash Wednesday and also her post regarding her personal experience of the day. Here is the response I wrote to her: "i experienced my first marking with ashes last night. it was a ceremony of mixed emotions. i did not hear the words "from dust you were born, to dust you will return," but more words of repentance...i wrestle with what repentance means to me and what the old voices tell me it "should" mean. it would have been easier to hear "from dust to dust." ah, but this journey is not about the easy way is it?"

This morning continued my beautiful wrestling to find meaning in the chaos. Learning how to marry my old traditional ways (that have felt narrow in recent years) with the broader and bigger God that I am discovering. Abbey of the Arts shares her poetic and thoughtful vision of what her Lenten practice will and will not include. I have yet to name for myself what it means, but the words God is getting bigger keep weaving their way through my musings. I guess that is a start. It feels like this season is one of making space for a God who wants more presence in my life and more distinction. Distinction is an interesting word to me, because on the one hand it can feel limiting, but in this case it feels expansive and lovely.

Traditionally Lent is considered a time of fasting and repentance. Maybe I shall fast from the old ways of doing things. Perhaps I will repent of not being true to myself and how I desire my relationship with God to be. Hmmm...I think I'll ponder this a little more.

And you? Have you made plans for Lent? Will you experience it as a time of turning inward or one of expansion? Maybe the two are not so very different...

photos taken this morning on my walk

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


The following photo was found at Abbey at the Arts and is part of the prompt for Invitation to Poetry. Pop on over to read the wonderful poems submitted by others and join in the fun yourself!

the spring wind blows across my face,
while rustling the remnants of fall leaves that remain upon the ground.
the leaf is given a moment of reprieve before it sinks into the earth.

does it merely rot and die, or
will it gloriously continue the circle of life,
leaving its legacy for generations to come?

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

love this...

God Calling says, "Love this busy life." Not 'enjoy.' Not endure.' Not 'get through or survive'. But, LOVE. "It is a joy filled life."

new post coming soon...promise!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Voice Moderations

“Contemplation is the response to a call: a call from Him Who has no voice, and yet who speaks in everything that is, and Who most of all, speaks in the depths of our own being: for we ourselves are words of His.” --Thomas Merton

The last couple of days have contained a really interesting focus around finding my voice. Finding it AND losing it. The cool, amazing and terrifying thing about encouraging others to grow and become more authentic is that I am called to do the same thing for myself. Over and over again. Growth is a really great thing and sometimes I am stunned by how much there still is for me to do. It can be disheartening, but mostly it is exciting. As long as I am growing and changing then I am alive. Once I know everything – game over!

Working with my supervisor on Tuesday, I asked her how she thought I was doing. She responded with pretty quick accolades which are great to hear, but not necessarily helpful. Then she paused and said, “Do you really want to know what I see?” Yes, I responded. No! I thought. “Well there is this thing you do when you have something really great to say. You start out strong and then you let your voice slow down and kind of trail off so that you end up losing the impact of what you are offering.” Damn! I had heard this before but not quite as concisely as this.

We continued the conversation and she said, “You’re like a little kid who is passionate about something…” And then it hit me, Oh shit! That’s exactly it. I am a child stopped by a withering stare or a “hush, not now” in my head or both. My voice not welcomed. My excitement – my passion – squelched. My voice trails off – gets quieter – until I speak no more. While I am familiar with this and have spent lots of time in therapy and contemplation, it still makes me sad to know how the effects of childhood linger into my womanhood. AND…that’s the great thing about awareness. Now, I can do something about it while I learn to catch myself before I let my voice fade away.

Yesterday morning after doing some journaling on this topic, the above quote from Merton was waiting for me. And, throughout the day I had ample chance to consider standing strong in my voice. The Universe even offered up some withering stares and a presence very reminiscent of my past with which to practice. Fun, huh? I was very grateful for my morning yoga class and my daily intention of kindness for myself and others!

So, where do you get stuck in old patterns? What do you think about the thought “Once I know everything – game over”? As always, I’d love to hear your voice!! Namaste.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

what type writer...

You Should Be A Poet

You craft words well, in creative and unexpected ways.

And you have a great talent for evoking beautiful imagery...

Or describing the most intense heartbreak ever.

You're already naturally a poet, even if you've never written a poem.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

interview continued

A few days ago, I participated in an online interview. In the comment section, Christine from Abbey of the Arts posed the following question. So, here is my response for all the world to see...

If you could snap your fingers and have the life you dream of, what would be its elements and how does it differ from how you live now? What are the roadblocks? I know you live very authentically, but am wondering what some of those deeper desires being kindled are.

You know, Christine, there has been something inside of me since I was a very little girl – before the hurt of life entered in – before I started to doubt and limit myself – before I started to live the life that I thought others expected of me – when I knew and believed that I would be a star. A big brilliant shining gleaming capital S – Star! Sometimes the star looked like Miss America receiving her banner and crown. Other times, the star was Cinderella being whisked away by Prince Charming. (The older me envisions myself chatting with Oprah.) Even deeper, however, was this knowledge that I had something really big to offer the world. I believed that the world needed and wanted to hear what I have to say.

Those desires got buried beneath the façade of a shy little girl. They went further underground as I bought into other people’s ideas of what success means. Success is getting married, so I went down that road at 19 (not so successfully). Success is having a career where you can get a well-paying job – I became an accountant (definitely not my passion, but the pay was good and steady.). Success is living the American dream with the two-story traditional house, a couple of kids, the mini-van and the golden retriever. I have had them all and they wonderfully fit into my personal description of success, because they are deeply a part of me. However…somewhere deep inside is still that desire and knowledge that I have something important to offer the world in a really big way.

So, what are the roadblocks? Time, maybe. Opportunity, possibly. Me, most likely. The problem is that I don’t really know what this offering might look like exactly. It feels like by living more authentically, I am doing just what I need to do…and it is right & true. More and more it feels like writing may be one avenue to my bigger voice. I also feel drawn, however, to personal connection with people and I have visions of being in front of large groups of people sharing what I have to say which happens to be exactly what they need to hear.

This all may sound a little crazy, especially for a woman who has crossed the half century mark of her life. This is the year of FIRE, however, so who knows what the little pieces of kindling are that I am laying on the altar of life. All I have to say is when they take hold and light up, Watch out World!!

Thanks for asking, C.

How about the rest of you? What deeper desires are being kindled in your heart?

Thursday, February 12, 2009


Do you see the 'brilliance' and the 'rest' in this collage? Do you wonder where I have been? Have you considered what might have been keeping me away from responding to comments and offering new posts lately? Well...I am here to celebrate and announce a big secret to the whole world! I have been studying..studying...well, mostly I have been thinking about studying. studying ended. I found my place of rest and brilliance. Today, I passed the big exam for my career path. Today, I passed my licensure exam for mental health counseling.

I am over the top and more than a little bit excited. I chose not to tell many people I was even attempting this feat, because what if I (gasp) failed? Today, the woman of rest and the child of wisdom & play united to guide me through the exam. It was an amazing day. I hope you will celebrate with me!!!

Sunday, February 08, 2009

interview of me with beth p

Here is one of the coolest little meme's I have seen in quite a long time. I found it over at Abbey of the Arts and traced it back to Beth P. at the Virtual Teahouse. I had not met Beth before so I thought it would be fun to see what kinds of questions she came up with.

Here's how it works. I read Beth's blog about this exercise. I asked to be interviewed. Beth sent me the following five questions, which will be answered in this post.'s your turn. If you want to play, either on the comment section to this post, or in an email to me, just let me know you would like to be interviewed. I will then dream up some questions with whatever info about you I can gain from your blog or other sources that you give me. Hopefully you'll have fun exploring the questions on your blog. If you don't have a blog, I will post your answers here on Diamonds in the Sky with Lucy. So, here are the questions Beth posed to me and my answers:

# 1. What do you do in the obviously 2 measly hours per day that you’re not blogging or doing art or sleeping?

My hope is that I am living my life to the fullest (something that took me a really long time to even recognize.) Living fully can look like many different things. Some days it includes my paying gig where I get to help train graduate students who are studying to become counselors, pastors and compassionate listeners (my word.) Other days, I stay curled up in bed in my pj’s for as long as I can - writing, reading, studying and watching how all the connections of the world come into play with each other. Play is huge for me. I love to ride my Vespa, walk around the neighborhood with or without camera, go to yoga, lunch with friends, watch movies, sip on a glass of wine and laugh, laugh, laugh!!

I recently enrolled in a memoir writing class and started taking drumming lessons on the djembe drum I bought myself for Christmas. My professional life is expanding too (although I find it nearly impossible to separate “work” from pleasure!) I am developing a new retreat called, “Returning Home to Yourself” and am co-leading a group for compassionate listeners with the lovely Christine. My passion is learning to listen to myself and teaching others how to do the same. In the process, I learn immensely from the many teachers of the world which leads me back to living life to the fullest. It’s really one big amazing circle!

# 2. Who are your ‘intimates’--family—of blood and bone, or by choice, close friends. Include pets, too, please!

The ‘intimates’ in my family include my greatest teachers. My husband, Bill, who has taught me to see life through the lens of a camera without needing a camera. He finds beauty in the most amazing places and has taught me to do the same. My son, Jonathon, is nearing 20 and can be attributed with breaking me out of the complacency that threatened to take over my life. He is living a hero’s journey and sharing that with me in the most incredible and unexpected ways. My daughter, Maryjane, is sixteen and we are learning what it means to be mother and daughter healthily. She keeps me on my toes. Somewhere along the line, I decided I wanted to raise independent children. It’s kind of hard and kind of great to see that I have succeeded ☺.

My circle of friends is diverse and incredible. In the words of the great Bette Midler, “Ya Gotta Have Friends!!” I am privileged to include my ‘blood and bone’ sister as one of my best friends in the world. I also have many girl friends that I would choose to call sister (and a few guys that are definitely my bro’s!)

Sadly, I am without pets at this time in my life. I lost my faithful companion, Curry, in September of 2008. He was a golden retriever and lived with us for more than 13 years. He taught me what it means to love unconditionally. I still miss him deeply and am not sure if or when we will add another pet into our lives.

# 3. What part of you is ‘a small piece of the beginning’?

Oh, I love this question AND it confuses me a little. I considered asking for clarification, but decided to plunge ahead on my own. FIRE. My answer is fire. I believe there is a spark deep inside of me that is a piece of the eternal beginning. It cannot be squelched. It cannot die. It was here in the beginning and shall live forever. When I am living from the place in my soul that is whole and true, the small piece shows and grows. It is like the spark that turns into flame. It is the place where I come alive and when I share it with others and they are willing to receive, they, too, come a little more alive. (Like I said earlier, it’s all one amazing circle!”)

# 4. If you wrote a play about your life and it was performed who would you want to play the leading lady?

Now, this one made me laugh out loud. Seriously, this is the third time in as many weeks that I have been asked that question. I am assuming that it could be a screenplay and not necessarily performed on stage. My original answer was Jennifer Garner. (I did one of those online quizzes for who you look like and she popped up. I also love her quirky, sweet sense of humor as well as her kick-ass independence.) Someone else suggested Diane Lane who I adore – very sexy and she has a great voice. But then two totally unique individuals from different venues of my life mentioned Kate Winslet. Woohoo! I am going for Kate especially with her recent win of two Golden Globes and a really hot cover on InStyle magazine ☺.

#5. Some say that poetry and art can be as much defenses against intimacy as they can be doorways into it. What say you about that?

Yes! Absolutely! Sometimes! ...and that's what I have to say about that...for now. ☺

So, there's my interview with Beth P. Let me know if you're up for an interview with lucy and I'll send you five questions of your own to ponder. Or, let me know if you still have questions for me...I'll be sure to answer. Yes! Absolutely! Maybe!

Friday, February 06, 2009

blossoms speak

This seems to be the little combo that wanted to be posted today. Who am I to argue?

"Help the world by leaving a trail of who you are."
-- Mark Nepo

"blossoms" collage by lucy 1.31.09

Thursday, February 05, 2009

epiphany of god

“The epiphany of God in time can come to us at any moment, anywhere, whether we are praying or not. It can come at work, on the road, in any situation, because it is a deep and secret movement of the divine spirit within our own, the felt sense of God’s own self-discovery in us.” from Thomas Merton – A Book of Hours

Some days are just like that. God everywhere. Yesterday was one of those days beginning with a brilliant pink sky outside my window and the words of Thomas Merton greeting me in the morning.

Invited to visit a friend at a new yoga class, I opted to hop on my scooter (the first time in many many months) and ride the mile and a half to class. The teacher was welcoming and the space housed in an old school building was both charming and holy at the same time. She led us through gentle yet challenging moves as we focused on our intention of the day.

Back home for a quick bite to eat – the rest of my meal from the night before was the perfect light lunch for this day. Then on my scooter again for the trip downtown to Mars Hill. (My little Vespa makes me very happy and I giggled most of the ride!) While I was fully present to the air touching my skin and the traffic around me, I nearly missed my turn because I was so enjoying the beauty of Puget Sound and the glistening Olympic mountains. Awe!

My time spent with students was the perfect mixture of challenging, rewarding, comfortable and fun. I was glad to see their individual faces after so many weeks away for the mid-winter holiday.

The ride home was chilly and exhilarating. Pooped and ready to chill for a while, my teenage daughter invited me ( ☺ ) to help her begin painting her new bedroom. This move of hers will be a bonus for both of us since it will give us all more privacy and I will have my very own space to do writing and art! (I’ll keep you posted on that transition. I am very excited!) And so, we worked side by side watching steel gray walls transform into a lovely shade of very girly pink. It is wonderful to see her using light colors instead of transforming her space into a dungeon or bordello as often is the style for this age.

Somewhere in there I managed to pull together a dinner of chili and salad for the family and, finally, exhausted and fulfilled, I crawled back into bed, read the Merton words once again and thanked the Universe that “the epiphany of God in time can come to us at any moment”. Yesterday was a day filled with those moments! Gratitude all around.

Wishing you your own special moments with God no matter where you are or what you are doing!!

lucy's photo from hood canal 12.08

Sunday, February 01, 2009

theme worthy?

As you may have picked up on (or not), I am enrolled in a memoir writing program that started in early January. Just this morning it dawned on me that as a by-product of that, I am not just enrolled in a class, I am indeed writing a memoir ☺. Brilliant, huh?

The problem when you announce this is people immediately want to know what your theme is (other than the obvious, “It is about me.”) The great thing about the process of this class is that we are not required (yet) to know our theme. We are simply encouraged to write and write and write about what comes to mind and weave this in with other exercises and somewhere along the way, our theme is going to pop out like magic. The odd thing is that I actually believe this. So, I am just going to keep writing and doing my exercises.

Now, it’s really not quite as random as all that especially since I have been free-writing for nearly five years and there are definitely themes that show up again and again and again. So, I decided I would share where I am today (knowing full well that it could change by this afternoon). Here is a poem I ran across this morning. It popped out of the book, jumped up and down, and waved her words yelling, “ME, ME, ME, Look at Me! I could be your theme!!”

The Uses of Sorrow
Mary Oliver

Someone I loved once gave me
a box full of darkness.

It took me years to understand
that this, too, was a gift.

Theme worthy? What do you think?