Category Archives: friendship

Gratitude Friday

This post started as a mashup of The Little Bliss List and Joy Jam, and as such is meant to celebrate: the little things that brought me hope and happiness this week, the sweet stuff of life, those small gifts that brought me joy this week. By sharing them, I not only make public my gratitude, but maybe also help you notice your own good stuff and send some positive energy out into the world.

1. A friend’s healthy new baby. The story of her labor and his delivery–a baby too big to get out on his own–makes me think about how many mothers and babies have died in childbirth, how if this friend had lived in a different time or place, she might have been one of those women, he might have been one of those babies. It makes me grateful for the help and care she received.

2. Physical therapy for Dexter. Talk about luck–we live in a culture where our pets get better healthcare than many people in the world, people who either can’t afford it or simply don’t have access. I am so grateful I can provide that for him, want the same for all of us, people and animals. He’s getting much better, was cleared this week to go on a few short hikes.

3. Avocados. Yes, I am still obsessed with them. I might have a problem. I am finding that I like them so much better than cheese on a sandwich. My current favorite sandwich is organic multigrain bread, Nayonaise, honey mustard, organic turkey breast, avocado and spinach, with a few organic potato chips for a little bit of crunch.

4. Spring. It really is coming, (here?). I hadn’t realized how much I missed the sun, the warmth, the song of the birds, the green and the blossom.

5. The chance to do good work, paid and otherwise. Yesterday at my paid work, I sent an inquiry to Brene’ Brown’s management to get some numbers so we can write a proposal, attempt to get the funding to have her invited to give a talk at CSU. I signed it, “I look forward to hearing from you.” What I meant was “OMG, I am so excited, squeeeeee, *please please please let this work*.” And this week I sent out a submission for publication, my first in a long time.

Bonus Joy: Another week with Dexter. He teaches me to let go, to surrender and be here now, to open up to the joy and beauty in this moment.

Gratitude Friday

This post started as a mashup of The Little Bliss List and Joy Jam, and as such is meant to celebrate: the little things that brought me hope and happiness this week, the sweet stuff of life, those small gifts that brought me joy this week. By sharing them, I not only make public my gratitude, but maybe also help you notice your own good stuff and send some positive energy out into the world.

1. Books. I just finished The One and Only Ivan and A Kiss Before You Go. I am still reading Living Beautifully with Uncertainty and Change, Help Thanks Wow, and Radical Acceptance, and plan to start The Wishing Year later today. And, I just bought Crazy Sexy Diet and preordered Natalie Goldberg’s new book, The True Secret of Writing. I love reading.

2. 27 Days: Writing Prompts to Grow Your Powers!. I don’t really have time to do this right now, but I miss Laurie, miss being in a class with her, miss her constant and vibrant voice and support, and a few other friends signed up, so even though I might be collecting these and doing them on a much slower schedule, I’m in. love Laurie and writing.

3. New GirlThis show makes me laugh, and if you can make me laugh, I love you instantly and madly. I love Zooey Deschanel.

How could anyone resist her?

4. Signs of Spring. It was sunny and so warm yesterday, and tomorrow it’s supposed to snow at least six inches. I love spring in Colorado.

5. The Red Table, and the sweetest friend to sit there with.love Yay Turkey and Chloe’.

Bonus Joy: Another week with Dexter. Even at almost ten years old, with cancer and a knee injury, he’s still living a good life and happy to be here. I love Dexter.

dextercloseup

Gratitude Friday

This post started as a mashup of The Little Bliss List and Joy Jam, and as such is meant to celebrate: the little things that brought me hope and happiness this week, the sweet stuff of life, those small gifts that brought me joy this week. By sharing them, I not only make public my gratitude, but maybe also help you notice your own good stuff and send some positive energy out into the world.

1. Dexter and Sam curled up next to me in bed. All of us together, safe, warm, sleeping (well, except for me who is awake to notice the moment).

2. Food, satisfying and good. Grapefruit juice and avocados. Meatloaf with lots of ketchup. Biscuits and strawberry rhubarb jam from Lucile’s. Roasted brussel sprouts.

3. Small kindnesses, moments of beauty. The way the light hit the snow and made it sparkle, seeing someone’s glove fall out of their pocket and being able to return it to them, Dexter feeling enough better that he wants to play again, Sam pressing his head against mine and sighing his warm breath into my neck, friends sending me silly videos or posting cute pictures on my Facebook wall, love notes from Eric, kind comments and gratitude.

4. Things that could have been worse, but weren’t. I am especially grateful this week for talented and compassionate veterinary staff.

5. A supportive spouse, who helps me remove the cactus spines from Sam’s leg, gives Dexter the shot he needs twice a week, who convinces me to go to my paid work office for just a little bit so I can get out of the house and on my own even though I don’t really feel up to it, who feeds me so well and lets me rest, who tries his best to understand when I seem to be (am?) losing my mind.

Bonus Joy: Another week with Dexter, even though it was an especially rough one. I took him to see his regular vet this week, because when Dexter was diagnosed in August, he was given the standard prognosis of 95 days–that was six months ago. She took a good look at Dexter and conceded that considering how well he’s been doing, and the absence of any sort of facial deformity or other changes, there’s a good chance that his tumor is slow growing, and some dogs with those tumors live anywhere from 6-24 months beyond their initial diagnosis, even without treatment, (although, she did caution that some of the dogs that make it to 24 months are in really bad shape and should have been let go sooner). Maybe I’ll get to have a ten year old dog after all.

Friday Gratitude (on Saturday)

This post is a mashup of The Little Bliss List and Joy Jam, and as such is meant to celebrate: the little things that brought me hope and happiness this week, the sweet stuff of life, those small gifts that brought me joy this week. By sharing them, I not only make public my gratitude, but maybe also help you notice your own good stuff and send some positive energy out into the world.

the sky over our front porch this morning

1. Dexter is home! After yesterday’s big scare and a night spent at the emergency vets, and lots of panic and anxiety with very little sleeping or eating for the people, the boy is back home where he belongs. I had no idea how much I really missed him until he bounded out, as happy to see us as we were him, sneezing bloody snot all over Eric’s white tshirt.

Seeing us and coming home and seeing Sam are about as excited as he’ll get, and his nose only bled a few drops, but that was it, and he ate some food and drank some, and basically seems himself, so I think for now, we are going to be okay. The thing I was the most worried about was that the happy, mostly healthy dog I took in to the vet yesterday would be a dog I’d never get to see again, but there he was, here he is.

We are to keep him on the sedative for the next three days, keep him quiet and calm, and hopefully the biopsy site will heal up–just in time for us to get the biopsy results. No matter what, I’m really okay with it (as much as you can be okay with losing someone you love with your whole heart)–I will be super sad and hate to see my dogs suffer, but I know he’s had a happy life, is so loved, and I am lucky to have this time with him. Seriously, just having him home, I feel better than I have in the past 48 hours. I might even be able to eat lunch today.

2. In related news: The love, good wishes, and support of friends. I was in a blind panic taking Dexter to the vet and with the complications that came after. I put together a mass email on facebook, frantically picking friends that I knew either loved dogs or had big, powerful hearts, and even though I normally don’t ask for help, I begged that they send love and support to us–and they did, so much that I was completely humbled, overwhelmed by it, and so helped. Getting Dexter in the car, driving to the vet’s office, walking in the front door, waiting in the exam room, leaving Dexter there, driving home, the horrible long wait after, and the bad news later in the day, the long, long night: I knew I was not alone.

3. Loving, kind, skilled vets, nurses, and vet techs. I am so grateful that they were there to take care of Dexter, that they took every question, every desperate phone call with grace and kindness. Again, I knew we were not alone.

4. A hummingbird feeding on my Rocky Mountain Bee Plants. It was too fast to get a picture, and I know there are only so many in town because the fires have driven them lower than they’d normally go, but it made my heart lift to see it.

5. The way Sam barks when he wants you to play with him. I really must get a video of it sometime. It’s hysterical.

6. Long walks with Eric and the dogs. Over the summer, we get to do more of these, and they are my favorite. I cherish them even more lately, the four of us all together. I am especially loving the cooler weather these past few mornings, the turn from summer to fall.

7. Eric. I am so lucky to have him, to have that direct love and support, to have his help, to not have to do this alone.

Bonus Joy: How good Dexter is at the vet. He’s just so sweet and calm.

my favorite toe is the one with the black spot

Gratitude Friday

our rocky mountain bee plants are gi-normous!

This post is a mashup of The Little Bliss List and Joy Jam, and as such is meant to celebrate: the little things that brought me hope and happiness this week, the sweet stuff of life, those small gifts that brought me joy this week. By sharing them, I not only make public my gratitude, but maybe also help you notice your own good stuff and send some positive energy out into the world.

1. Being home again. My garden, which is going crazy (see the above picture for proof), and my little house, and my backyard, and the park. I am especially in love with my bed right now. I forgot how perfectly comfortable it is.

2. Girlfriends. I am so grateful to have open-hearted, creative, funny, wise, loving, generous friends. I am especially enjoying catching up with a few of them this week after a month apart, and looking forward to connecting with a few I just met. I am also missing a few I haven’t seen or won’t see for a while. They are all precious.

3. Letting go of stuff. I am grateful to have such an abundance of things that it’s necessary to purge, happy that I’m able to let go, to allow those things to possibly help someone else who doesn’t have so much, and thankful for the newly cleared space and clarity that letting go allows.

4. Yoga and training. It’s good to move, to stretch, to get stronger, and to do so in the company of such funny, kind people.

5. Cucumbers and tomatoes from my own garden. Yum.

6. A safe trip home. There were hiccups–like spending an hour packing the car only to have the latch on the back hatch break right before we loaded up the dogs and left, so having to repack the whole thing so they could ride in the back seat, and Dexter panting the entire time in the car, two long twelve hour days, because that poor pup has decided at nine years old he does not like long car trips–but we made it home safe, happy and tired.

Bonus Joy: There was a fat raccoon in our neighbor’s tree right by our back fence this morning, (most likely rabid, hanging upside down some of the time and moving way too slow, so that part’s not so cute) and Dexter stood in the yard most of the morning guarding us from it. Not barking or making a big fuss, just staring and waiting, ready to fight it if he had to. He is one tough little dude and I love him like crazy.

Instructions for Living a Life

Instructions for living a life:
Pay attention.
Be astonished.
Tell about it.
~Mary Oliver

This morning, walking the dogs with Eric, I saw: a huge tree that’s been dead for a long time finally fell down (and it was big enough that it certainly went “boom” when it did), a dead beaver carcass, two white tailed deer, one whose tail wasn’t quite working so it might be hurt, one massive turtle still looking for a spot to lay her eggs walking like a tiny dinosaur through the grass by the creek between Wood Duck Pond and the McMurray Ponds (same exact date we saw her last year, so May 31st is now officially Turtle Day), two mini Herons, one of which looked more like a Penguin as he stood on a log fishing (turns out they are actually called a Black Crowned Night Heron), one large Blue Heron in flight over the river that later was heard squawking and flying in the other direction, and finally, a bicycle parade.

I paid attention and was astonished, and I wanted to tell you about it.

Black Crowned Night Heron

I received gifts: access to workshops with amazing women at the World Domination Summit in July (yoga with Marianne Elliott, Writing with Susannah Conway, Book Content Mapping with Cynthia Morris, and Identifying Superpowers with Andrea Scher…holy wow, such amazing women that I so adore, my head/heart might explode), my Kickstarter reward from Danielle Ate the Sandwich arrived, along with her new album, which is every bit as good as I knew it would be, and I found a heart-shaped rock on our walk.

I paid attention and was astonished, and I wanted to tell you about it.

I gave gifts: some were shared words of wisdom and kindness, others were scholarships for Susan Piver’s Open Heart Project Practitioner level, and finally there was my heART exchange project, which I finally finished and mailed to Australia today. I plan to write a post about the process (I didn’t just make something, I learned stuff) once my swap partner receives it.

I paid attention and was astonished, and I wanted to tell you about it.

heART exchange project sneak peek

Tribe: it’s Tribe week in my Unravelling ecourse with Susannah Conway, so I’ve been thinking a lot about that, how we can be a tribe of one even. I spent a little bit of time being a tribe of one, writing and eating lunch while waiting for a friend to arrive so we could be a tribe of two and have a long talk about perfection, art, boundaries, dogs and trust. Then, I spent part of the afternoon having another long talk with another good friend, drinking mango lemonade and eating a blue flower cookie as big as my head. I have amazing women in my life, in my tribe.

I paid attention and was astonished, and I wanted to tell you about it.

Yay Turkey, Split Pea Soup, Root Beer, and a notebook at Red Table.

I’ve had moments of being wholehearted, with myself and others in my tribe. These two quotes from Anne Lamott remind me how wonderful and difficult that is: “The love and good and the wild and the peace and creation that are you will reveal themselves, but it is harder when they have to catch up to you in roadrunner mode” and “We begin to find and become ourselves when we notice how we are already found, already truly, entirely, wildly, messily, marvelously who we were born to be.” I am reminded to slow down, stop doing so much and be.

I paid attention and was astonished, and I wanted to tell you about it.

What I Learned from My Mom

No gift to your mother can ever equal her gift to you – life. ~Anonymous

In many ways, I am my father’s daughter. Stubborn, strong, creative, sensitive, intelligent, introverted, pensive, easily irritated and hurt, critical, and funny, (what some might call a “smart ass”). I offer you these two pictures as some measure of proof.

Both of us are lucky enough to have my mom, to love us, to take care of us, and to forgive us when we need it.

I have been thinking about those without a mother, whether their mother has died or is simply absent or ineffective, and about what a sad thing that is, to have to become your own mother. For my entire life, I’ve had a mother who loves me, who wanted me, who took care of me and still does, when I let her. She has been and is a constant, loving presence in my life. I am so lucky.

What I’ve learned from my mom:

  1. Kindness. This is my mom’s most fundamental quality. She is kind to everyone she meets, even the ones that don’t necessarily deserve it. I learned from her that you lose nothing by being kind, gentle, friendly, nice, and more importantly, that by doing so you might ease someone else’s suffering.
  2. Generosity. My mom is giving and compassionate, to every one, especially those who need it most or have the least. She taught me the importance of service, charity, helping, pitching in, sharing the load, and that “many hands make light work.”
  3. Love of books, music, and film. My mom read to me, encouraged me to read, showed me the wonder of stories and books, gifted me that constant and abiding joy, so central to my life. There was always music in our house, and singing, another pleasure that infuses my life, so much so it feels as essential as eating or breathing or sleep. Some of my favorite memories are of snuggling up on the couch and watching movies like “Funny Girl” together. Even now, one of our favorite things to do together is to rent three or four movies and spend the whole day watching.
  4. How to make a home. She taught me to sew, to mend, to garden, to cook, to bake, to clean, to do laundry, to make a bed, to mow a lawn, to throw a party. She showed me the value of hard work and handmade, the ways to make peace. She taught me to take care of myself, to be independent, but also to nurture others, to create a home filled with love and comfort.

    Mom with my cousin Brian, who was asking her “these weeds?”

  5. Joy and Gratitude. These are so closely linked, I don’t know how to write about them separately. For my mom, the moment there is joy, the gratitude for whatever conditions enabled that joy will immediately follow. “I’m so happy” and “I’m so thankful” are almost the same thought. My mom shares her joy, is funny, and not in the mean, snide way I can sometimes be funny, but in the sweetest, silliest way. She makes me laugh, but also reminds me to notice how beautiful the world around us is, how lucky we are. She’ll say, “oh look!” and point out something I would have walked right past. In the worst of moments, she puts her heart and effort into cheering up, raising spirits, hoping for and looking towards that better day she is certain will come.
  6. Humility. My mom has a modest view of her own importance, her own worth. She won’t take full credit for the work she does, the impact she makes, but would rather share the wealth. She doesn’t do to be known or praised, but rather because the doing needs done, and she has love to give.
  7. Hard work. My mom is not a big woman, but I have seen her do backbreaking, hard labor. She grew up on a farm, the second oldest of 12 children, and she knows how to work, and never shies away from it. She rolls up her sleeves and gets to it. I dare you to invite her to dinner and try to keep her from helping to clean up, from doing the dishes–better men than you have tried and failed.
  8. Patience. She’s not going to let you get to her. She has the capacity to accept, to tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset, to remain cool, calm, steady–she’ll simply try another approach, another way, even if that means ignoring or denying the trouble altogether. She hardly ever gets irritated, (it happens, but it’s rare), flustered maybe, but she’s almost never angry.

    my brother Chris, me, and Mom at Disneyland

  9. Faith. We no longer share the exact same faith or set of practices, but my mom taught me the value of trusting, believing in something sacred. She taught me that there is love, that we are loved, and that we can be love, that love is worth practicing, devoutly. Also, that it doesn’t matter who or what we pray to, there is power in prayer.
  10. Not to worry.This is the only thing on this list where she taught me something by doing it in a way I don’t want to model, by being a bad example. She worries too much, can’t seem to help herself, especially when it comes to her family. If something hurts us, is hard for us, it hurts her too, and when she can’t directly fix it or make it better, she worries. It makes me sad to see it, how sad and upset she makes herself, and helps remind me that worrying doesn’t help.

    Mom with her first granddaughter, baby Jessamy

  11. Family and friends. This is what is most important to my mom, always has been. If she is your friend, you are so lucky. If she’s your mom, well…even better.
  12. Love + forgiveness + hard work = marriage.My parents have been married for 45+ years. What they’ve taught me is that sometimes it’s hard, you fight, drive each other crazy, but sometimes it’s really good, you laugh until your face and stomach hurt, you help each other make it through the tough stuff, and through all of it you love each other, are a family, and all the other stuff, you find a way to forgive. It’s no mystery why I got out of a bad first marriage and have such a successful second one–I know what I want and how to make it work (so far, knock on wood, fingers crossed).

    my 8th grade graduation

  13. Education. My mom valued our education, and did what she could to help us with it. She went on almost every field trip, volunteered in our classrooms and at school events, and was even the chairman of our school board for awhile. When I was 13, she started a career as an office manager at a middle school. All the kids and staff and parents loved her. Even after she retired, she volunteered at my old grade school for a few years, helping kids with their reading. She taught me that the path to everything I wanted, to success and being able to take care of myself, was through my education. She believed in school as a safe place for all kids but especially the ones who didn’t have that at home, a way kids could gain confidence and power. She knew an education would enable them to help themselves and to then maybe, hopefully go on to help others, and she did what she could to assist them.
  14. The joy of walking, of talking. I have a lot of pictures of my mom on the phone, partly because she’d never let my dad take her picture otherwise, but also because she actually spent time talking to people, (she still writes letters too). And she loves a good walk, first thing in the morning, or before or after dinner. I have walked many miles next to her, talking about nothing and everything, and hope to walk many more.
  15. How to be a good mom. More than likely, at this point I won’t literally be anyone’s mom, other than my dogs, but if I were to be, I know I’d be awesome at it, because I had such a good role model.

Oddly enough, this post has been kind of hard to write. You’d think that it would make me happy, that I’d feel nothing but good doing it. But to think in depth about all the things I love so much about my mom makes me profoundly sad. We live 1200 miles away from each other, and only get to spend physical time together once a year, and I miss her.

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom. I love and miss you, and I’ll see you soon!