Category Archives: A Human Thing

An Open Love Letter to Judy Clement Wall

This is my adorable and amazing friend Judy Clement Wall. I have never met her in person, face-to-face, but I get to enjoy her writing, her art, her big heart, loving and kind, from a not so far afar. In both moments of celebration and grief, Judy has offered her encouragement, inspiration, and support. I am so lucky, so grateful.

I can’t remember how I first encountered Judy’s work, but I do know the first community project I took part in was her collaborative project with Julia Fehrenbacher, 41 6-word Days. I don’t know anymore which of their blogs I encountered first, but remember seeing Judy’s “Choose Love” icon and feeling compelled to click on it. I immediately adored her gentle, kind, brave and funny spirit, and her ability to connect people.

Everything she writes, (she has two blogs, A Human Thing and Zebra Sounds, because one is not enough to contain her, as well as various other essays and books), invites readers into a conversation, into connection, to community. It might be her superpower, that and love, which is also her religion.

Judy always challenges me to open up a little more, to contemplate, to feel and to think. We have a lot in common: writing, dogs, hiking, and yoga. We also both apparently tend to be a little Lucille Ball-ish, slightly clumsy and adorably goofy from time to time. We both are in love with love. I think it’s the answer to every question, and she wrote a manifesto about it.

a doodle by judy

I admire Judy for many reasons. She’s a mom, (dogs and kids), a wife, a yogini, a warrior of love. She’s a shared project instigator, a master doodler, a practitioner of hiking, a seer of beauty. But most of all, I admire and aspire to her writing success. She’s both self and other published, (I’ve heard a rumor she’s working on a novel, among other things), committed to her work, to engaging with the world and her experience, and sharing that with her readers, inviting them to do the same.

I will be tender with other people’s hearts.
I will be fearless with my own.
~Judy Clement Wall

I wrote and am mailing her a long, loopy love letter today. You should check her out, keep an eye on her, connect with her amazingness, and if you feel so moved, write your own love letter to someone in your life, formalize and verbalize, embody the love you feel for them. You can never go wrong with a thank you, with a love letter.

P.S. Further proof that Judy has the biggest heart, that love is one of her superpowers: Just hours after I hit “publish,” she’s already thanked me in three different ways for this one, single post.

Something Good

no matter what the weather, the sky is always blue

1. More by Erica Staab, one of my favorite bloggers. Probably because she says things like this “One of the gifts of grief (be it from a death, a loss of a dream, a loss of the life you thought you wanted etc.) is that when your heart is broken open it naturally creates more space for love if you let it.”

2. The Daily Post at WordPress.com. This seems like a good site to keep in your back pocket if you are a blogger who ever feels stuck about what to write. Scroll down to the bottom of the page and you’ll also see a list of daily writing prompts, or check out the “Inspiration” section.

3. John F. Ptak Relief Fund. Read Patti’s post, “Community is a Verb,” or visit the Team Brilliant Facebook page. If I or anyone I love finds themselves in this situation, I can only hope to be helped by so many kind, generous people, which is the best reason to help: at some point, we are all going to need it, so it’s good to give it when we can.

4. What the world needs from you by Marianne Elliot. Such a good list.

5. This quote: It doesn’t have to be pretty or smart, just honest and true. ~Mark Nepo

6. This quote: Death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss is what
dies inside us while we live. ~Norman Cousins

7. We think we move through the world unseen, a heartbreakingly beautiful post by Andrea Scher. Have I told you lately how much I adore her?

8. You just call out my name on A Human Thing by Judy Clement Wall, another writer, woman, badass that I completely adore. This post is good for all kinds of reasons, but specifically because she says something I’d been trying to verbalize, in reference to the loss of the amazing writer David Rakoff,

Critics, when they review Rakoff’s essay collections, often focus on his pessimism and his razor sharp, sarcastic wit, but underneath that
is the thing that drew me to his work: a defiant sort of sweetness, an underlying hope.

9. Because he was so sweet, his loss so sad, and because you may not know who he is and need to see for yourself, and because cancer sucks, takes from us the most beautiful of things:

When I watched this video, knowing that he was gone, the dance at the end broke my heart, but at the same time was one of the most beautiful things I’d ever seen.

10. Two more things about David Rakoff: Our Friend David Rakoff by Ira Glass and On Already Missing The Angry, Passionate Writing Of David Rakoff.

11. 50 amazing gifts from living in the now and Overcoming perfectionism in a culture that promotes it on Tiny Buddha.

12. This quote: Perfectionism is a form of self-aggression. ~Me

13. This online radio station: Lush on SomaFM.

14. 50 People, One Question. What’s your secret?

15. Uncharted Waters on Sas’ Magical Mystery Tour. I loved this post, and I want to go to there. She makes me believe it’s possible.

16. My message from The Daily Flame, which just so happened to be the exact thing I needed to hear.

Dearest Jill Salahub,
It’s all okay.
I promise.
It may not look the way you anticipated it would look, but I swear to
you, it’s all going right according to plan. Soon you will see the method to The Universe’s madness.
You will find the gifts in the uncertainty and disappointment. You will understand why it’s taking so long to get where you’re trying to get.
Be patient, love. All this – and more – is coming your way.
Speaking the truth,
Your Inner Pilot Light

17. Confessions of a control freak (dentists and book launches) on Writing Our Way Home, another message I needed to hear, especially this part:

For me, faith doesn’t mean an assurance that all will be well. Things often don’t go well. Instead it means being able to relax back into the dentist’s chair, and trusting that whatever happens, whatever discomfort I’m in, it will pass.

And a deeper holding, too. Something harder to put into words. Something about it being okay even when it’s not okay.

It will pass, and I’ll find myself on the other side.

18. Write Yourself Into Motion with Alex Franzen at 27 Powers. This would be, will be, so awesome.

19. Mamahood + Business: Dr. Brene Brown, an interview with Kelly Rae Roberts. My favorite is when Brene’ says this, “A long time ago someone told me that a good marriage is not 50-50. A good marriage is having a partner who’s willing to show up with 80% when you only have 20% and who can count on you to do the same.” Poor Eric has had to be 95% in the past few days, so I know this is true. I also love Brene’s list of what she wants for her kids–I want that for myself!

20. Linus, the sweetest accidental adoption story.

21. Posie Gets Cozy. The pictures on this blog are dreamy.

22. This quote: Wherever we are there are voices saying: “Go here, go there, buy this, buy that, get to know him, get to know her, don’t miss this, don’t miss that,” and so on and on. These voices keep pulling us away from that soft gentle voice that speaks in the center of our being: “You are my beloved, on you my favor rests.” Prayer is the discipline of listening to that voice of love. ~Henri Nouwen

23. This quote: When we drop the idea that we’re supposed to be having a certain kind of experience and open ourselves to the experience we are having, then we avoid nothing, and we fear nothing, because we are right here with ourselves. ~Cheri Huber

24. Liv Lane’s favorite blogs. We like a lot of the same things, so I imagine I will get lost for a while in these lists.