Friday, October 31, 2008

Tiny pieces of a huge mosaic

We are living through days of big issues.
Big problems. Big failures. Big consequences.
Big spending. Big decisions. A big election.

At a time when there are big promises are made and big lies are told,
when big debts are accumulated and big fears are expanded,
I need to be reminded that it is in the small things,
the small acts of kindness from strangers,
the flowers and butterflies at the Botanical Garden,
the revelations of God's creativity and love,
the quiet walks with the children,
the cups of tea sipped and the chunks of birthday cake eaten the day after the great celebration,
the quiet and tearful prayers we say for our Nicaraguan friends who are suffering through the worst rain storms in years,
the hugs and snuggles as we read together,
the cards we make and give to Regina, the woman at my mother-in-law's assisted living facility, for the scarves and afghans she made for us,
the laughter we share over the crazy words Daniel puts on the Scrabble board every day...

these are the tiny pieces of joy that make up the mosaic of our lives.
And we give thanks to God daily for those tiny signs of love.

At a time in the world, when the stories we hear are so big and internationally important, we aren't hearing much about the little things.
The ways in which the sacred shows up in the tiny moments of life.
The meals given to the hungry and desperate.
The hot coffee served on cold mornings to the homeless.
The clothing drives for those whose needs are great.
Toy collections for Samaritan's Purse boxes.
Visiting the sick and house-bound.
Praying with the fearful and lonely.
Emails, phone calls, and snail mail cards to friends.
Lighting a candle and saying a prayer for a distant loved one.
The men and women who walked miles and miles in the memory of cancer victims, in honor of cancer survivors, and for a cure to cancer this past weekend.
Smiling at a woman sitting across the coffee shop;
sometimes it is so good to be alone.
These are the little things that matter.
The little things that make life matter.
In some cases, these tiny acts determine whether one hungry, scared, sick, lonely person lives or dies.

In his book, Messy Spirituality, Mike Yaconelli wrote:
"Spiritual people are about tiny things, which is the fruit of their spirituality. The spiritual life is not a life of success; it is a life of faithfulness, and it's not easy. God does "big" things once in a while, but there is no question that the primary work of God in the world is salt-and-light tiny. God knew we would naturally be dazzled by big; that's why Jesus told the parables of the lost sheep, the lost coin, the lost son, the mustard seed. Jesus was trying to tell us something: the spiritual life is a tiny life, filled with little decisions, tiny steps toward God, tiny glimpses of his presence, little changes and small movings, tiny successes and imperceptible stirrings...Every tiny contribution we make to His kingdom is noticed and remembered, and one day we will understand just how beautiful our thin sacrifices are.

"Our tiny choices and tiny moves toward God may not seem like much. But someday you and I will stand together in the great cathedral of heaven, and up front, by Jesus, will hang the most magnificent mosaic we could ever imagine, made up of thousands and thousands of our tiny responses to God's love in our lives."

A long time ago, Jesus told a crowd of people a story about how our lives will be reviewed and judged once all the big and little stories of our lives come to an end. He said that some people will hear this response: 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat. I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink. I was a stranger and you invited me in. I needed clothes and you clothed me. I was sick and you looked after me. I was in prison and you came to visit me.'

Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'

The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these, you did for me.'"

For the least of these.
For the tiniest pieces of the human mosaic.

I'm off to do something tiny for somebody small.
What about you? What small thing have you done lately?
Has anyone done something small for you?
All the photos in this post were taken today at the Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens. A glorious day to capture images of the glory of creation.
Breathtaking beauty at every turn.
Yes, that was a living butterfly aflutter in the orchid house.

PS. Thanks, Laura, Andrew, and Caroline, for inspiring us to take this trip.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

On This Day Fifteen Years Ago...

My daughter was born. She almost wasn't born - because she simply refused to come out into the world without external prompting. She was born 15, yes, fifteen, days late. When she finally made her exit from my body and entrance into the world, the OB-GYN said that, based on her physical maturity and the pruning of her skin, we had not miscalculated the due date. Kristiana simply didn't didn't want to leave the womb, literally!

These days, Kristiana baffles my mind with her physical maturity, her emotional strength, her unshakable faith, her love of animals and nature, and her unfathomable love and forgiveness for those who hurt her, including her oft thoughtless mother.

One friend of mine, the mother of four daughters, tells them on a regular basis, "I am so glad that when God looked around at all the babies in heaven, He chose you to send to our family." When I ponder the two children that grace my home, I am grateful that God chose me to be their mother; I do not deserve either one of these truly amazing people.

This photo of Kristiana was taken at Misty Meadows, the horse farm where she takes weekly riding lessons and also volunteers to work with children with physical and mental challenges. On this day, I made a mistake on the time of her lesson, and we arrived an hour earlier than we were supposed to. Eager to show us one of the trails on which she sometimes takes the horses, Kristiana led us on a tour. That girl loves that farm, and she spoke of nearly every turn in the path with the same tenderness I might use for a favorite passage in a cherished book.

Just a few paces beyond where the previous photos was taken, I snapped this one.

The road ahead through the remaining teen years may prove uneven, sometimes treacherous, perhaps dangerous. But together we will walk its every twist. Exploring. Wandering. Telling and writing and photographing the stories of our lives. We will weep and laugh, question and respond. We will live the questions and question our living. We will run into things and into each other.

And every day that I am given the chance to love this beautiful girl, I will.
Every day that I am given to teach her, to learn from her, I will.
Every day that she opens her soul to me, I will open mine to her.

On this day fifteen years ago, the trajectory of my life was altered.
Thanks be to God for this daughter of mine, this indescribable gift of Kristiana.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Am I the Only One?

Looking in the mirror of my car at a monster-truck wannabe.
I feel like much of my time these days is spent wondering when another attack ad/email/video is gonna come up behind me and threaten to crush
my sin-sick, worldly, obviously deceived soul...
Am I the only one sick of it all?

Am I the only one who is sick and tired of every doom and gloom-predicting political ad? "If you elect that other guy or that other woman, then you will lose your job and your savings account and your small business and your future, and your children will be doomed to a substandard education. He/She has no idea what to do if elected, but I have years of experience. OR He/She has decades of experience and what has all that experience given us but more headaches? Do you want to trust your future to that guy/gal? Elect me and all your problems will disappear magically within a few short weeks."

Am I the only one who is weary of every news broadcast starting with a story about how many people in my city have been raped, murdered, and robbed at gunpoint? Doesn't anyone anywhere ever do anything good, anything positive that is worth reporting to the public? Has anyone saved a life, reported the discovery of a lost wallet or earring, taught illiterate adults to read, rescued women from domestic violence or slavery or eating disorders or racial discrimination or anything like that?

Am I the only one who is disgusted with the refusal of our political leaders and pundits to look into the television cameras and tell us that we, the American people, have done this to ourselves? That we have brought our own nation to its financial knees? That we are the ones who never learned contentment, never learned that if we couldn't pay our bills on time in full at the end of every month, then we have spent too much money? We did this. I did this.

The blame for the current state of our nation cannot be laid at the feet of terrorists or illegal immigrants or women who have had abortions or homosexuals - and let the rest of us off the hook. The blame for the current state of our nation cannot be laid at the feet of Chinese-Korean-Nicaraguan-Mexican-Nigerian workers who earn less than we do or corporate executives or welfare recipients - and let the rest of us off the hook. The blame for the current state of our nation cannot be compared to the state of other nations - and let us off the hook because they have it worse than we do.

We have seen the enemy; it is us!
We are the ones with credit card debt.
The mortgage we cannot afford to pay.
The storage units for the stuff that we bought that won't fit into our overstuffed houses.
The distended bellies and thighs and bottoms due to the fattening and overprocessed foods and sedentary lifestyles that are killing us slowly.
We are the ones who import and export fear and hatred and intolerance.
We are the ones who refuse to forgive, to turn the other cheek, to be reconciled with each other.
We did this. I did this.

It seems to me that the sooner we face up to our individual and collective responsibility for the current state of our nation, the current state of our broken families, the current state of our dysfunctional unions, the sooner we have any chance of resolving any of this crap.

Am I the only one who wants to run away from all this and relocate in the Italian countryside?
Or perhaps hide away in a large Spanish city?
Am I the only one who wants to pull back into my shell and hide?

Perhaps, instead of all this complaining, I should go shopping.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

On Not Being Good...

Last week, I read three or four magazine pages, blog posts, and other seemingly unrelated pieces that suggested that I read some poetry. Mary Oliver has been spoken of highly in some of the circles in which I travel, so I decided to look her up online. I clicked on the first interesting-looking link that showed up in my search results. I read the first poem, and here is what the first lines read.

Wild Geese

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.

What? Me? I don't have to be good?
What else do I not have to be or do?

I do not have to clean up every mess every time.
I do not have to smile.
I do not have to be calm and patient.
I do not have to believe what you say.
I do not have to always have the answer.
I do not have to agree with you or him or her or them.
I do not have to pretend that all is well when it is not.
I do not have to deny what I feel.
I do not have to fake something I no longer feel.
I do not have to go anyplace just because someone told me I should.
I do not have to stay home just because someone told me I should.
I do not have to put up with being disrespected and taken for granted.
I do not have to ask for permission to feel this way, whatever way this feels.
I do not have to be right.
I do not have to be good.

And I get to love whatever and whomever I want to love?

The coffee and toasted, buttered bagels.
The tea and shortbread cookies.
The Ghirardelli chocolate squares with carmelized almonds.
The Vosges deep milk chocolate Barcelona bar with almonds and sea salt.
The toasted bagels with butter.
The salad with bell peppers and flax seed, dressed only with sushi vinegar.
The cedar plank salmon and key lime pie at the restaurant I sneak off to.

I get to love the wild-eyed people who howl at the moon
and yearn to break all the rules.
The calm ones who break the rules without much fanfare.
The ones that travel and the ones that stay at home.
The ones who read and the ones who paint.
The ones who write poems and the ones who explain them to me.
The ones who tell the truth and the ones who live it.
The ones that dare to challenge the old ways and question the old assumptions. Especially the ones who look at me perplexed and ask,
"What assumptions? Whose assumptions?
And why do you care what they think?"

I get to love them too???
Who me?

Addendum: for more thoughts and commentary on this poem, check this out.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Just over the next hill...

"Some stories don't have a clear beginning, middle, and end.
Life is about not knowing, having to change,
taking the moment and making the best of it,
without knowing what's going to happen next.
Delicious ambiguity."

Gilda Radner

Friday, October 17, 2008

I wish you...

Celebrating Kristiana's 12th birthday.
Our awe was at how well Steve had decorated the cake!
Nope, he had never done anything like it before.
I don't think he has ever since either...

Kristiana's 15th birthday is coming up in a couple of weeks.
Daniel's 12th recently passed.
I will turn 43 in December.
Steve has to wait until March to blow out candles.

But today is a day worthy of celebration anyway.
Today is somebody's birthday.
And the day on which someone's soul will be reborn.
I hope it is mine.

On my 40th birthday, nearly three years ago now!

Below is a much-loved poem by Ruth Forman: On This Day.

this is a day without chairs
a day where all the rooms melt together
and there are only corners/corners and humming
wishes and slight breeze
brushing you like palms
this is a day of prayers
a day of painful breaking/a day of peace beneath
a day of arms
of hands
eyes and quiet windows

i wish you love from your mother backwards

i wish you deep tunnels without fear
i wish you children's laughter
i wish you cactus flowers
i wish you moonlight
i wish you real eyes
i wish you a hand across your back/soft like when you were a child
i wish you tears
i wish you clean
i wish you angels in conference around your bed holding you
so there is no space for me even to touch you/just watch

i wish your mother watching

i wish you abalone dreams
i wish you peace
i wish you doves in your kitchen
moonlight in your bathroom
candles when your eyes close and dawn when they open
i wish you so many arms across your shoulders
so many lips kissing your ears that you smile from the inconvenience
i wish you all your babies' love attacking the center of your heart
just so you know they are there

i wish you banisters, railings, and arms around your waist
i wish you training wheels, i wish you strong shoes
i wish you water o i wish you water
through your feet flowing like a stream
and i wish you hammocks
and melon on your eyes
strawberries in your mouth
and fingers in your hand
fingers in your hand all day
through this house
on this day with no rooms
only corners
and an uncommon breeze

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

In Quietness and Trust...

I continue to be awed by the writing of my online soul sisters.
Jena Strong is the one who has touched me most deeply today with her thoughts on Yom Kippur, atonement, missing the mark, awe, and celebrating the simplest things in life.

Thank you, Jena, for this reminder.
To pull back and walk away from the chaos and busyness of life.
To embrace those who are in our inner faith and life circle.
To sit quietly and ponder the beauty and beautiful people around us.
To blow the shofar, the trumpet, to sound the call to return, to ponder, to pray, and to be made whole again.
To listen to the reverberations across the waters of our lives.
To forego the predictable answers to the ancient questions and dig deeper.
To sometimes deny ourselves physical food in order to feed our famished souls.
To sometimes unplug from the world in order to reconnect with myself, my loved ones, and, most importantly, The Spirit.

Isaiah 30:15 tells us:
"In repentance and rest is your salvation,
in quietness and trust is your strength."

I think I will retreat to my study, stare at and hold in my hands some of the many reminders of peaceful, rejuvenating moments gone by,
quiet my anxious heart,
sit for a few moments of quiet prayer,
and rest.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Wishing it was...

One friend advised that I take myself away or go inside myself, whichever is needed, in order to "sip, sigh, redeem, and re-center" my weary soul.

Another reminded me that, when the fear comes and I am unable to move deeper into trust and peace, then hope is a brave place to start.

I'd love to return to the spot captured in this photo and spread out a blanket with a journal, several markers, my camera, and dive into a soul-stirring, compass-resetting conversation.

Until then...

I'm off to sip tea, nibble on a muffin, sigh a few times, redeem what remains of this afternoon, and re-center myself in terms of who and what matters most.

Peace out.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

A Long Slow Journey into the soul

I am reading The Interior Castle, a volume written in the 1500's by a Spanish nun, Santa Teresa of Avila. It is an excellent book about the discovery and intricacies of one's soul. The seven dwellings within the castle of the soul. Mirabai Starr translated Santa Teresa's words from Spanish to English. In the introduction to her translation, Starr writes the following.

Listen. Softly, the One you love is calling. Listen. At first, you will only hear traces of his voice. Love letters he drops for you in hiding places. In the sound of your baby laughing, in your boyfriend telling you a dream, in a book about loving-kindness, in the sun dipping down below the horizon and a peacock's tail of purple and orange clouds unfolding behind it, in the nameless sorrow that fills your heart when you wake in the night and remember that the world has gone to war and you are powerless to break up the fight. Let the idle chatter between friends drop down to what matters. Listen. Later his voice will come closer. A whisper you're almost sure is meant for you fading in and out of the cacophany of thoughts, clearer in the silent space between them. Listen. His call is flute music, far away. Coming closer.

Be brave and walk through the country of your own wild heart. Be gentle and know that you know nothing. Be mindful and remember that every moment can be a prayer. Melting butter, scrambling eggs, lifting fork to mouth, praising God. Typing your daughter's first short story, praising God. Losing your temper and your dignity with someone you love, praising God. Balancing ecstasy with clear thinking, self-control with self-abandon. Be still. Listen. Keep walking.

What a spectacular kingdom you have entered! Befriending the guards and taming the lions at the gates. Sliding through a crack in the doorway on your prayer rug. Crossing the moat between this world and that, walking on water if you have to, because this is your rightful place. That is your Beloved reclining in the innermost chamber, waiting for you, offering wine from a bottle with your crest on the label. Explore. Rest if you have to, but don't go to sleep. Head straight for his arms.

When you have grown still on purpose while everything around you is asking for your chaos, you will find the doors open between every room of this interior castle thrown open, the path home to your true love unobstructed after all.

On Sunday after the morning service at church, Steve and Daniel went to a Panthers' football game. Kristiana and I opted not to drive the minivan to church so that we could walk home. On our way, we saw the turtle in the photos crossing the road. Kristiana has loved turtles all her life, so we had to go investigate. Later that evening, she had a youth group activity, and I sat in the church parking lot in the minivan reading, watching the sun set, and observing a flock of geese making its way across the lot. There was one goose with only one foot. Moving at a far slower pace than the others.

Such powerful and appropriate metaphors for my life.
A solo journey across vast open spaces. Carrying my life, my protection, my home on my back.
Feeling like parts of me are missing. Incredulous at being able to continue anyway.
Being unwilling to stop moving. Even if I move at a turtle's pace.
Picked up and gazed upon by unknowing strangers.
Judged and criticized, insulted and belittled.
But undaunted, unfazed, determined, diligent.

I hear the voice of The Beloved, calling to me to come away, come apart. To leave behind some of the attachments that keep me anchored to stuff and programs and unrealistic expectations that have nothing to do with me and everything to do with other people's fears and doubts and confusion. I see so many connections between the books I read, the movies I see, the music I hear, and I smile because I know that it is all perfectly timed and divinely inspired. I wake up in the middle of the night and cry about international and internal conflicts that I feel powerless to end. I read the words of fellow travelers struggling with life's messiness with sadness, but I rejoice with each of them as they, as we refuse to settle for less than what is best.

Between the sound of the approach of fighter planes, the popping of gunfire, the exploding of bombs,
between the predictions of the end of the world as we know it if ______ happens,
between the honking of horns, the yelling of epithets, the banging of enraged fists on steering wheels,
between the cacophony of fear and panic and chaos and terror,
there is silence, there is peace, there is hope, there is love,
there is the wonder of travel, of movement, of discovery on this long slow journey into soul.

I find myself returning often to the words of the Only One whose utterances make sense so much of the time.
"Then because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, Jesus said, "Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest." So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place."

I think I'll go have some tea, toast, and solitude.
Well, until homeschooling starts in half an hour...

Monday, October 06, 2008

What I Miss

I find myself inspired by so many other blogs these days.
Videos. Poems. Songs. Movies. Stories. Books. Quotations.
They make me smile and laugh and groan and weep.
I am taking more photos. I spend more time outside.
I pour my heart out in overwrought emails and then wonder if I overwrote what I was thinking and feeling.
I am writing in my journal so much that my carpal tunnel syndrome flaired up last week.

I am being inspired to inhale.
And think about the things and the people, the places and the events I remember and miss terribly. There are so many.
Here is a partial list of who and what I miss.*
In no particular order.

1. Spain, especially Madrid.

2. Italy, especially Roma.
3. Standing at caffe bars in Rome, sipping espressos served in tiny cups and spiked with too much sugar.
4. Walking up Broadway in Manhattan during the summer of 1985, on my way to meet up with the dancer from Portugal.
5. Walking on Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn with Evelyn, each of us eating our own pints of ice cream from Baskin Robbins.
6. Being a student at Poly Prep.
7. Being the field announcer for varsity football games at Williams College.
8. Crouching into the blocks before running the 100 and 220 yard dashes in high school and college.
9. Running from the finish line to the throwers' circle for the shot put and discus throw.
10. Walking through the Prado museum for the first time in 1986 and weeping at its overwhelming beauty.
11. That first taste of homemade paella.
12. Waking up one morning and realizing I had dreamt in Spanish.
13. Jorge.
14. Limon granizado.
15. The smell of Ducados, Spanish cigarettes, in bars and restaurants.
16. Being a student: elementary school, middle school, high school, college, and grad school. I miss being in school. Book bags. New pencils and notebooks. The lunch room. But not gym class - I don't miss gym.
17. Deciding if I would walk to or from the public library in Brooklyn; my parents would give me only one token for my round trip adventures during the summer. Sometimes I sold the token for cash, bought candy, and walked both ways.
18. Not having to worry about allowing a teenage girl to walk alone in a big city.

19. Rainy days
20. Driving back and forth to Wesleyan University. Taking graduate classes while my children were babies. How quiet and solitary was that 75 minute drive!
21. Standing in a tiny village and an open field in Nicaragua surrounded by children, wishing I could hug each one, hear every story, bind every wound, and dry every tear.
22. Sunrise in Rio, drinking coffee out on deck.
23. Standing at the end of the world, Finisterre, with Antonio.

24. BlogHer - and all the love we shared there.
25. Giving birth to my dear children, holding them that first time, nursing them. Sitting with them in my arms for hours every day. Reading my grad school books with each of them propped up on a beanbag nearby.
26. Seeing the leaves change in Connecticut and Massachusetts.
27. Amy Kelly and her amazing family.
28. Wagamama noodle shops in London.
29. Sitting on the other side of the car while riding on the other side of the road in England and Ireland.
30. Deciphering train schedules between Le Croisic and Paris, North Hamptonshire and London, Paris and Madrid. Backpacking alone during the summer of 1986. I was too naive to be afraid.
31. The rainforest that backed up to the beach in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica.
32. Sitting in airports awaiting flights. Journaling. Imagining what I would see, eat, and experience at the other end of my journey.

33. The writing group in Connecticut
34. Sleeping late.

And last, but certainly not least...

35. I miss when I knew nothing about things like the stock market, mortgage rates, partisan politics, presidents and presidential candidates and what they stand for, credit card debt, global economics, multinational corporations and their policies around the world, theories of just and unjust war, genocide in Africa and elsewhere, the UN, carbon footprints, green living, global warming, abortion, homosexuality, same sex marriage, teenage pregnancy, racial and socio-economic disparity and prejudice, socialized medicine, HMOs, Hummers and hybrid cars, organic fruits and vegetables, eating meat, drinking alcohol, Oprah, FOX News, Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, the role of women in church, the moral majority, the role of women in the home and in marriage, the tension over and between homeschooling and traditional schooling, just to name a few. I miss when I had no idea that people's perceptions about me as a citizen of this country, as a follower of Christ, as a woman making my way through life on this tilting planet would be shaped by how I feel about those topics. And I miss when I didn't judge other people based on how they felt about those topics.

Deep sigh.

I think I'll go make a cup of non-organic tea on my electric stove and drink it out of a ceramic cup that I am sure is laced with toxic chemicals that will certainly kill me. That is if the agave syrup I add to sweeten the tea doesn't do me in first. Then I will turn on the electro-static producing television set in our bedroom and watch the morally reprehensible, supremely violent, suicide-honoring film version of Romeo and Juliet with my two impressionable, and obviously misguided children (after all, they have to listen to me rant and rave about my predetermined views on everything in number 35).

Again, a deep sigh.

In all seriousness, my life is blessed. I am blessed.
All is well. All is well. All manner of thing shall be well.
So be it.

* Apologies to all who undoubtedly have been offended at having been left off this list. This list has already taken me too long to pull together.
I do have to get back to homeschooling...

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Remember the Sabbath...

to keep it holy.
To keep it wholly.

Tomorrow I will attempt to keep the Sabbath.
To disconnect from the world.
To reconnect with my soul and with my God.
To rest and be renewed.

Peace, rest, and traveling mercies to you all.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Question: "What do you make?"

Answer: "This is what I make."

Check out this awesome video.

And this one too.
I like the way this guy thinks and expresses himself.
A lot.

A Week in Pictures

Prompted by the enormously talented Ali Edwards, I have spent this week taking photos of my life. Where do I go? What do I see when I am there? What catches my eye? I realize that I probably won't produce a scrapbook like many of her other readers and proteges, but I can use the photos in other ways and places. Like here on my blog. So here it is, folks: my week in pictures.

Monday, September 29

These are are my latest toys, early Christmas presents chosen by my husband: front loading washer and dryer. Less water, less electricity, less detergent, fewer loads, and cleaner clothes. They match the wallpaper too. What more could a gal want in a handy-dandy, super efficient laundry duo?

When not washing clothes, I am often found driving one of the children to one of their many activities. On Mondays, Daniel has tennis, and Kristiana has horseback riding. This week, I took my computer and sat at the picnic table above the outdoor ring. This was the view when I looked up from the screen. Magnificent.

Tuesday, September 30

This has been a week of being outside. Walking. Flowers in bloom. The greenest grass I have seen in many an autumn. My two children leading the way - in many areas, not just out on the streets as we stroll.

Sometimes I feel like it is a mile from my head to the ground beneath me. I often doubt that those feet at the bottom of my legs are under the control of my brain; they lead me to the cookie aisle and the chocolate counter far more often than my brain thinks is reasonable. This photo confirms that distance, and I hereby declare my sugar addiction the fault of my independently owned and operated lower appendages.

Wednesday, October 1

Kristiana and I reflected in the window at the library during our morning walk. Notice the school bus in the background. I like to think that all of our walks and activities, all of our conversations and discoveries occur in the shadow of one institution of learning or another. In other words, teaching happens anywhere and everywhere. As does learning.

Turning for home. This is the view as we passed the halfway mark of our morning walk.
A tunnel of trees. Light at the end of the tunnel.
Light at the end of the tunnel of our week as well.

Thursday, October 2

Yesterday Jen Lemen challenged her readers to figure out ways to love themselves. How did I love myself? I took myself out to dinner. Alone. Delicious. Quiet. No one asked me to get up and get them something, to find their favorite salad dressing, to replace their napkin, or to take the kettle off the stove and pour hot water for their tea. Just me, my journal, several pens, an excellent book, and a fantastic meal that I neither prepared nor cleaned up after.

Sitting at my desk last night. Journal open. Computer on. Mind whirring. Once again, alone. Blissfully alone with my thoughts, my dreams, my insecurities, my hopes, my questions, my anger, and my joy.

Friday, October 3

One of my favorite places to exercise. Especially in the morning when no one else is around to see these long, unruly legs heading in the opposite direction of my son's well-placed shots.

My favorite tennis player walking back to the car after this morning's tennis session.

Mine is a good life. I am grateful.