Category: remaining calm

seashore prayer

seashore prayer

| November 20, 2017 | 2 Replies

Who are you? How is it you live within me and I within you, and still I am flummoxed by you? My heart’s cry is to enjoy you, yet that’s not always a straightforward task in this world. I tend to be hard on myself for either not accomplishing enough or being overly focused on […]

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changing light

changing light

| October 23, 2017 | 2 Replies

The light changes in the corner. A bright rectangle is cast from the window on the other side of the room. Morning air is cool in the kitchen: three seasons of the year it’s cool enough to chill my hands. I sit under my blanket, with my lit candle, space heater at my feet. Sunday […]

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those ain’t my shirts

those ain’t my shirts

| October 12, 2017 | 6 Replies

I dream that the art teacher is unexpectedly leaving the school where we’ve taught. I’m not teaching there any longer, but I’m there when she is gathering her things to go. She tells me that the students were working on tie-dying t-shirts. She asks me to find the bins of shirts and make sure the […]

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hands off

hands off

| September 20, 2017 | 2 Replies

When I was a child, I got into a bicycle accident: jaw broken in three places. A couple years later, when I tried riding again, I got into another accident, and I swore off bicycles. At age 28 I finally got back on a bike. Riding became about so much more than getting somewhere: it […]

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clouds and wind

clouds and wind

| May 1, 2016 | 3 Replies

Today the sky is an apt metaphor. There is plenty of light to see, but clouds have covered over the blue. I look up and I give thanks, but my heart cries out for the color I love. On Friday I stood at my old beloved beach, Independence Park in Beverly. The sun was bright […]

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Monday morning prayer

Monday morning prayer

| April 4, 2016 | 6 Replies

Gracious God, please tell me again that I do not have to be Great. Tell me that breathing my way through the day is a triumph, that kindness is sufficient, that honesty is beauty. Good Lord, holy Mother/Father/Sister/Brother, please dwell in my overzealous shoulders and my weighty belly; please settle into my raw heart; please […]

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wrapped 

wrapped 

| March 28, 2016 | 3 Replies

Each moment is a gift. Sometimes it’s a broad-daylight, tromping-through-the-woods, birds-singing, dog-cavorting, husband’s-hand-in-mine sort of gift. Other times the moment doesn’t look like a gift at all. Sometimes it’s the ache of watching a friend suffer. Sometimes it’s an unexpected death or a life-changing diagnosis. Lately I’m learning that these moments are the most important […]

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divine appointments & a tire rotation

divine appointments & a tire rotation

| January 17, 2016 | 2 Replies

Usually David takes Kenneth (our beloved little Prius-C) in for tune-ups, but on December 19th I made the drive to Peabody. Perhaps hearts open a little wider during the year’s darkest days. Even before I opened the car door I saw a light in the eyes of the man at the intake desk. “If you can figure out how to pair […]

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the marvelous mundane – part one

the marvelous mundane – part one

| December 9, 2015 | 2 Replies

Every day the counters are dirtied. Every night the bed is unmade. In dark seasons I can’t keep up, and I become Sisyphus, pushing the boulder up the hill only to watch it roll down again. No matter the season, I take comfort in doing the laundry. The hum of the washer; the warmth of […]

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candle or no candle

candle or no candle

| November 27, 2015 | Reply

I woke very early and eased my body out of bed.  The attic floorboards creaked beneath my careful feet. David slept soundly in the imperfect silence. The darkness of morning usually comforts me, but today uncertainty lay at the surface of my heart like scum on a lake. In several hours we’d be on a plane, headed toward our beloved family in crisis. We […]

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sublime chess game

sublime chess game

| October 12, 2015 | 1 Reply

For the third morning I wake very early. The silence of Rowley is thick and soft as a blanket. Today I do not even try to go back to sleep. I pull on my fleecy purple socks, tiptoe down the dark stairs, and light a candle in the kitchen. I boil water and scratch Thomas […]

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the willow and me

the willow and me

| October 4, 2015 | 1 Reply

I woke with a dozen tasks on my radar: curtains to hang, the office to organize, photo enlargements to order. We host our family next weekend, and I’d love to welcome them into a space that feels homey and cared-for. I’d also like to take a run today, go to the farmers’ market, and get our […]

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new home

new home

| September 13, 2015 | 10 Replies

Moving into David’s parents’ house was a no-brainer. We’d save on rent, have an easy commute to River Valley (where we’re both happily teaching now), and do Mark and Cheryl the favor of care-taking the homestead while they’re in Dallas. Okay, confession time: I’ve never wanted to live in a big house. I love rambling old New England farmhouses, but […]

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the kindness of Kim

the kindness of Kim

| March 8, 2015 | 6 Replies

The day I heard of Kim’s passing, I rode my bike to the beach and let the wind chill the tears on my cheeks. The pain came over me in waves all week long. I know her children far better than I knew Kim herself, and my heart ached to think of Sage, Lila, and Toby motherless. […]

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window

window

| February 3, 2015 | 10 Replies

The blue jay spread wide his wings and restored me to myself. The spare room is too cold for yoga, and the cat had spent the night scattering litter as far as he could across the floor, but one flash of blue in the small window could hallow the entire day. That’s how I want to live, […]

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repotted and it feels so good

repotted and it feels so good

| January 3, 2015 | 6 Replies

On the last day of 2014, I repotted our peace lily. Its leaves had been turning brown, one by one, despite my careful placement (indirect sunlight, the websites said) and watering (not too much). I finally decided that the plant was too big for its pot. Indeed, the roots seemed to sigh with relief as I shook them […]

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back-to-transformation

back-to-transformation

| September 26, 2014 | 9 Replies

September turns my heart to school. Not just the school where I teach now, but all the schools I’ve taught in and all the schools I’ve attended. In August, sales circulars paint a perennial picture of rosy cheeks, pigtails, and shiny lunchboxes. I appreciate pretty folders and fresh pens as much as the next person […]

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first year

first year

| July 5, 2014 | 6 Replies

One year ago, on a warm July morning, I woke up incredibly early to walk the beach. A few hours later I arrived in Rowley, Massachusetts, where a houseful of beloved women bustled. My mom and aunt Lisa sat on the couch finishing my sash while the rest of us put on make-up and jewelry. Soon I […]

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the inconvenient day

the inconvenient day

| June 7, 2014 | 1 Reply

Inconvenience is an invitation into the present moment. Some days I need to be invited repeatedly. The first time I took the laundry into the elevator on Thursday, I’d forgotten the bag of quarters. The second time, I found the washer in the 6th floor laundry room occupied, so I headed to the basement. In the basement I realized I […]

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another (brief) lesson in surrender

another (brief) lesson in surrender

| May 29, 2014 | 2 Replies

I have an hour till David comes home with our niece and nephew. An hour to clean up from lunch and water the plants and type the emails and make the phone call and maybe – just maybe – write the overdue blog entry. I love the way Ally and Jack take over our lives when we’re together. […]

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fruition

fruition

| May 17, 2014 | Reply

  Sometimes events you’ve been waiting for happen all at once. Thursday, May 15th was a day of great fruition. Early in the morning I began thinking of Suzanne, whose heart is so vast that sometimes I feel her love emanating from Massachusetts all the way out here in Kansas. The 15th was Suzanne’s 30th […]

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my hands are dying

my hands are dying

| April 28, 2014 | 2 Replies

The luminous Catherine Hawkins was one of my husband David’s childhood friends. Catherine and I became close in the spring of 2012, when I sweet-talked her into a lead role in Hot Mikado. We’re guest blogging for each other this week. After you read her beautiful essay below, check out her blog! **** And for […]

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the meditation assignment

the meditation assignment

| April 17, 2014 | 5 Replies

Okay already. I’m going to write about meditation. The subject gobbles up a lot of my head-space lately, but I haven’t blogged about it for three reasons: 1. Meditating takes time. How does a person teach, meditate, eat, sleep, practice guitar, exercise, cook, revel in her husband and cat, and write blog entries? Whenever I commit to […]

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on mothers, hungers, and toast

on mothers, hungers, and toast

| April 1, 2014 | 8 Replies

When I get home from the airport, I’m hungry. I make a piece of toast and slather it with coconut oil, the way Mama does nowadays. I put it on the blue plate she left on the kitchen counter and sit in her spot on the couch. It’s my spot again. For days I’ve cooked […]

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wedding dresses and windows

wedding dresses and windows

| March 14, 2014 | 2 Replies

When you find your wedding dress, you want to feel beautiful. You want Yes to bubble up from the depths of your being. You want to hear trumpet fanfare as you meet your own eyes in the mirror. Alas, I was in too much pain to conjure fanfare that March morning in 2013. My body had […]

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meditations on a dented sedan

meditations on a dented sedan

| February 25, 2014 | 3 Replies

I cracked the car’s bumper last week. I was pulling out of an unusual spot in our parking garage and hit a railing. The unappetizing crunch left a sizable smudge of red paint. Two reactions emerged in such swift succession that it’s hard to say which came first. One was How could I? The other, Good […]

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in the game

in the game

| February 18, 2014 | Reply

We play dozens of games when we get together with Joy and the kids. We play Mario in our jammies; we pull out cribbage once Ally and Jack go to bed. If we’re lucky enough to have extra grown-ups on hand we play banana rummy and up & down the river. Splat is one of […]

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conditions for joy

conditions for joy

| January 30, 2014 | 12 Replies

High time I fess up: my plan for the year failed. I came here with the dream of investing time in my writing: submitting essays, getting published. I knew that getting published is hard, but I didn’t fret: I can be persistent as a jackhammer. What I didn’t foresee was how disheartening the process would […]

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from bulb to blossom

from bulb to blossom

| January 21, 2014 | 3 Replies

The paperwhites are in full bloom the morning I learn that Grandma has died. Before I turn on my phone and see the message, I happen to write in my journal about a conversation we had last month. She said to keep the bulbs after they bloom and use them again next year. Grandma has […]

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temporary sojourner

temporary sojourner

| December 19, 2013 | 5 Replies

This morning I swung by Walgreens to pick up some photos I ordered. Once they’re in their frames and wrapped, our Christmas gifts will officially be ready for our trip to Omaha. Can I tell you how psyched I am to be done? Well, the woman at Walgreens wouldn’t give me my order. Apparently a […]

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life, death, and faulty brake calipers

life, death, and faulty brake calipers

| December 11, 2013 | 5 Replies

The roads were icy Sunday morning. The car fishtailed a few times on the drive to church, so I developed a gentle rhythm. First gear for turns, early braking for red lights. But on the way home the brakes failed. I could feel it well before the intersection. I pressed my foot down harder. I […]

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Thanksgiving morning

Thanksgiving morning

| November 28, 2013 | 1 Reply

Thanksgiving morning. We wake to a text from Mom, who misses me. Next comes toast in the hotel lobby with David and his dad Mark. They head off to a flag football game and I add hot water to my tea cup. Blue skies and a mountain view from the hotel room.   I iron […]

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the winds of homecoming

the winds of homecoming

| November 22, 2013 | 3 Replies

Ah, not to be cut off, not through the slightest partition shut out from the law of the stars. The inner — what is it? if not intensified sky, hurled through with birds and deep with the winds of homecoming. (Rainer Maria Rilke) I fly above the broad waistline of the country on my way […]

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tree roots and laundry

tree roots and laundry

| November 13, 2013 | 1 Reply

My friend Ralph Eckhardt sent this picture the other day. He wrote, “I had just been thinking about your latest Breathe Deep and praying for you when I saw it, and it was a picture to me of how complicated life is that produces the wonder of who we are.” My mind keeps wandering back to […]

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Wichitastic

Wichitastic

| November 6, 2013 | 9 Replies

It’s a rainy morning in Wichita. Most of the colored leaves in the courtyard below our apartment still cling to their branches. The flags whip whirling music against the flagpoles. The cat sleeps, the light is soft, and a new month has begun. For several years I spent the month of November writing daily thank […]

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groundlessness and tea

groundlessness and tea

| October 31, 2013 | 5 Replies

Waking up in the morning feels like the hardest thing I’ve ever done; maybe the hardest thing anybody has ever done. I might always feel this way in autumn, as darkness presses in from both sides. Our mornings spill over with common kindnesses. My husband lets me sleep twenty minutes more while he takes a […]

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while waiting

while waiting

| October 15, 2013 | 3 Replies

It started July 26th at 11:30 p.m. on I-40, 3.1 miles from our exit in Brownsville, Tennessee. We were planning what we’d do when we arrived at the motel. I’d check in at the front desk; David would coax Gus into his cage and gather what we needed for the night. We’d driven 15 hours, […]

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Hafiz, hula, and surrender

Hafiz, hula, and surrender

| September 18, 2013 | 14 Replies

So I’ve been teaching this yoga class. My beloved friend Jennie bequeathed it to me shortly after I met her, which was shortly after we moved to Wichita. (I showed up at her yoga studio, two hours later she came over for tea, I gave her granola, we went for a swim in the pool, […]

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just so

just so

| September 13, 2013 | 4 Replies

Ben, Joy, Ally and Jack will be here in less than three hours, but I’m sitting down in my untidy bedroom to write a blog entry. Uncompleted tasks sun themselves on the desk. In the living room the fan hums loudly, drying the last of the laundry. I’ve barely begun the paper crane mobile. How […]

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skinned knees, fresh cantaloupe, Basic Principles

skinned knees, fresh cantaloupe, Basic Principles

| August 19, 2013 | 5 Replies

I haven’t skinned my knee in years, so when I stumbled over the extra-high curb at Mark and Cheryl’s three weeks ago, I knew it meant something. It’s a Basic Principle of mine: Everything Means Something. (Not all Basic Principles utilize italics, but this one likes to have them.) Well, it was a Basic Principle until a […]

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dear Quentin

dear Quentin

| August 12, 2013 | 21 Replies

Dear Quentin, Happy August! I miss your songs and stories. Remember how we used to find luminous, common things on the playground at recess? I will always remember that. You are one of the best people I know at finding luminous, common things. I’m happy that you and your mom e-mailed me. You asked, “What […]

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Wow! A secret message from your teeth!

Wow! A secret message from your teeth!

| August 2, 2013 | 4 Replies

A thousand years ago*, in the month of June, Mom came up for my bridal shower. The night she arrived, we sat on my bed with take-out sushi and wine. Afterward, we opened our fortune cookies. Hers said something vaguely apropos and thoroughly unremarkable. This is what we expect of fortune cookies, if we expect […]

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the Sun and the shower

the Sun and the shower

| June 10, 2013 | 5 Replies

I woke early Sunday morning, wearied by the ludicrous night visions only a bride-to-be must endure. A shower rinsed off the outermost layer of fretfulness. Mom was still sleeping, so I took myself to the beach, aching for the cleansing only salt water can afford. A year ago I was at Rowe Conference Center, soaking […]

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in praise of all things sweet

in praise of all things sweet

| April 5, 2013 | 2 Replies

Blessed be the first bite of birthday cake. Hallowed be that moment, long before the gears of memory began to turn, when I learned that Sweet could eclipse mashed pears and mother’s milk. Did I learn the way Lydia did, encircled by family, smearing frosting on my flawless face? No matter. Blessed be that day. […]

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the momentous in-between

the momentous in-between

| March 24, 2013 | 7 Replies

On my walk to the beach I snap pictures of other people’s yards.   Winter and spring coexist right now, and for all my talk of warmer weather, I’ll be sorry if I miss this. The momentous in-between. The earth softens underfoot. New-minted green peeps out from the latest snow. My life coincides with this […]

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short trip to the compost bucket

short trip to the compost bucket

| March 21, 2013 | 4 Replies

After the show, bouquets took over the apartment, preening above my life’s neglected minutia. Delphinium trumpeted above the half-written birthday cards and half-read letters; gerbera daisies flounced atop books and script pages and the city census. I would love to love fancy floral arrangements. Indeed, I welcome them into my home with the cordiality I’d […]

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how do you solve a problem like yourself?

how do you solve a problem like yourself?

| February 23, 2013 | 2 Replies

When I signed on to play Maria in The Sound of Music, the decision was a no-brainer. The iconic musical has been dear to my heart since age eleven, when my dad played Captain von Trapp and I played Louisa at the Aloha Theatre in Kainaliu, Hawaii. Six years ago I teamed up with my friend […]

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books were never the point

books were never the point

| February 16, 2013 | 4 Replies

Driving to Suzanne’s for Book Club took forty-five minutes longer than it should have. I suppose rush hour is as good a time as any to close down roads for snow removal. Silly Somerville. As we inched our way along the detour, a middle-aged man in a Eurovan kept bleating his horn. Oh, how we […]

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turning toward the light

turning toward the light

| January 26, 2013 | 2 Replies

I’ve never felt happier to sweep the floor. I’ve put it off for weeks and weeks. Shiny hardwood keeps secrets better than most surfaces, and what gracious guest would ever complain? Still, my eyes were drawn to the places where the dust bunnies congregate. Corners can be ugly, honest places. There are seasons in all […]

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the definition of darkness

the definition of darkness

| January 12, 2013 | 5 Replies

My hips slide out of place for the second week in a row. “It’s been very mild both these times,” says my chiropractor after I explain that I’ve been doing the physical therapy exercises each day. “You’re doing what you need to do. Just give it time.” She is encouraging. Perky, even. I slip the […]

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