My hope is to offer encouragement to writers as well as those who simply love to read. You will find eclectic snippets here—news of projects I’m working on, comments regarding books I enjoy, favorite authors, quotes, and reflections regarding my own experiences. I especially like to write about my dreams—those parables in the night seasons. Symbols and metaphors delight and intrigue me. You will find them here.
Wait passionately for God, don't leave the path.~Psalm 37:34 (The Message)
Earlier this week I had a conversation with a person I'm able to be real with. I said, "I'm trying to stay on the path. I know there is a lit place, a location where there's light, no shadows. Yet I'm struggling to choose that locale." She answered, "I know. I sometimes I face this same challenge. It can feel easier to stay in the shadows, the melancholy." I answered, "Yes, I find this to be true for me as well." She asked, "What do you do when you find yourself in the shadows? How do you move toward the light-filled place?"
I said, "I think first I recognize that I'm my own worst accuser of how I'm failing at life. "You've eaten so badly today. Too much chocolate, too much white bread. How do you think this is going to help you stay healthy?" Or, "You really should be more productive with writing, with exercise, with loving others, with learning Italian. You have time now that you're retired. Get off your tush and get some things done." As soon as I confessed this, I realized how dark it was. How dumb. How destructive. Then I said, "Really, the best way I know to stay in the light is to review my promises from God. When my soul is in the dumps, I rehearse everything I know of you. (Psalm 42:6,The Message).
Perfectionism is fear in a fancy dress.~Julia Cameron From The Listening Path, The Creative Art of Attention
We hear the word constantly. It is ubiquitous in our culture...the perfect holiday, the perfect pet; the perfect home; the perfect body; the perfect car; the perfect smile; the perfect job; the perfect bathroom; the perfect friend; the perfect lawn; the perfect life. Perfect. Perfect. Perfect. Perfection is a dangerous concept, because it is impossible to achieve. I lose sight of this truth over and over again.
A few weeks ago, I found myself making excuses about sitting down at the computer to work on my novel. "I just don't have the next scene down in my mind," I said to myself. "It has got to be perfect. This is the part where my character tells someone for the first time what she feels so ashamed about. This scene is pivotal; I have to do it justice. I have to be true to my character. I can't mess this up." The narrative in my mind drove me away from writing. I didn't write for two weeks. Usually I try to write several scenes a week. Perfectionism had cast its ugly spell.
Julia Cameron writes in her latest book, The Listening Path, The Creative Art of Attention: "We can do a great deal more than our fears would have us believe. We are afraid of looking foolish, and so we hang back, telling ourselves we are being sensible. The truth is, there is nothing sensible about hanging back. We deprive ourselves of the joy of creation. We deny our human need to create. Our dreams and desires are intended to be fulfilled. Hanging back, we thwart our true nature. We are intended to be creative, attend to the whisper that says, 'You can, just try.'"
She said the music made her wonder; does it alter us more to be heard or to hear?~Madeleine Thien
I didn't think I missed it. The salt marsh I walked to almost daily for over ten years. Yesterday I had to drive over to the old neighborhood to check the PO Box, then found myself driving down to the creek at the end of the road where I used to live. Sadness washed over me. I realized I'd missed the creek's presence, its silence. The solitude. Sitting in my car there by the water, I felt an "after" grief, a dawning of losing something.
I don't believe I'd faced the loss until then. Maybe couldn't face it was more honest.
Giovanni and I threw ourselves so thoroughly into moving after my retirement that I was consumed with the process. Until now. We have settled. It is quiet, and I have craved this silence, this solitude for many years. Perhaps that's what the tidal marsh did for me--created a tangible metaphor for that which I hungered.
Now I have what I've desired--space, margin and an unhurried pace. Yet I'm not sure what to do with it.
She was possessed by the most piteous yearning for a friend who esteemed her. Who could help her find herself again. She was a woman who had lost herself.~From Ecstasy by Mary Sharratt
In recognition of Women's History Month, I salute some of the women who have helped me to find myself again. The women are listed in alphabetical order and initials are used to protect identities.
AG~A. is bi-lingual. When I travel to Italy, she speaks English so that I don't feel so confused. She bravely raises two lovely daughters in a troubled world. She tells me that often when she reads my blog posts, she senses that I "get her." She "gets me," and this is such comfort.
AM~A. is tri-lingual. She lived in the US for many years, acclimating to southern culture with all its unique foods and thick accents. I know some of the strength it takes to do this. On each side of the ocean, she has helped me to find my way.
BJ~B.works tirelessly and creatively to minister to children. She also keeps writing songs and singing and will produce an album this summer of music she's written. Her willingness and enthusiasm to pursue her passions are encouragement when I feel like throwing in the towel with writing.
CR~C. approached me one night at a creativity conference. She said she wanted to introduce herself to other creative folk. We formed a bond. She models such courage. She chose love and moved to another state and made a new life. She has not looked back. Her story helps me to keep pursuing love.
DB~D. also approached me decades ago and boldly stated she wanted to be my friend. How did she know that an introvert like me would need an invitation to friendship? We have never parted ways, even though we do not live close geographically. Her perseverance to raise five children and now to care for her mother with such faith and determination is mind-boggling to me. I don't know how she does it. She would say, "living one day at a time by faith." How I need her wisdom in my life.
FE~F. is like a cheerleader to me. Her vivacity and creativity are like "sparklers" on a dark night. Her practical feedback and honest appraisal of my writing has helped me to keep moving forward. I not only respect her "creative eye," but also admire her commitment as a mother to raise children inside a home filled with beauty and faith.
Jehovah is no stubborn host like the Pharisee; He provides for the joys as well as the necessities of life; His guests shall be of a cheerful countenance and a gladsome heart.~From The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges
The day started out happily, my husband and I enjoying a day in our new location, the boxes unpacked. I commented that, in my opinion, there were too many empty spaces, and I began to speak of my desire to purchase a few other pieces of furniture to fill the blank spots. My husband mightily disagreed. From his perspective, we had just decluttered during the move. "Let's not bring in more stuff," he exclaimed. Hell broke loose at that point. Each of us defensive. Both of us stubborn. Intense. We ate lunch in silence. I isolated from him until the next morning. I rose at 5, my head still pounding from a headache that I could not shake. I prayed. "What do I do with this emotional dysregulation, God? The anger I feel toward my husband?"