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Monthly Archives: December 2011


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It’s sunny and the forecast says temps will be in the mid-50s on this last day of 2011, so you can bet I’ll be heading outside to take advantage of this wonderful weather. Tonight I’ll be with friends to usher out this year that has brought so much change and welcome the New Year in.

I won’t be making any resolutions in the traditional sense, but I do have a list of aspirations for 2012 which I’ll post tomorrow.

Until then, I’ll keep on doing what is working, continue sorting through what doesn’t, and keep fumbling my way toward sass. Thanks to all of you who’ve been coming along with me, and for the thoughtful comments you’ve made. I appreciate it.

You all know, if you’ve been here for a while, that I believe in the power of journaling. I’ve found it to be a powerful tool  but I have to admit to being hit-and-miss with it lately, because as good as something can be for you, it gets a little stale once in a while.

That’s why I was excited to stumble on a site that offers guided journaling pages, for free. Free! Woo! One of my favorite words! Simply designed, with fun and easy to fill in journaling prompts, you can find your own printable prompts at Grace is Overrated. There are a month’s worth and then some available, and don’t let the simple nature of them fool you–sometimes all you need is a little nudge before you’re off and running. You may well be surprised by what comes out of the tip of your pen, so give it a shot, why doncha? You have nothing to lose and possibly a lot to gain by it.

If you want more, check out the free 2012 planner at Positively Present. It might just help you realize some of your resolutions or aspirations in the new year.

Also on the subject of free, fun, and sort of great, I found a customizable, free (free!) calendar you might want to check out if you like owls. I do, and I’ll be enjoying my owlish companions for the next few months. Get your own at My Owl Barn.

Make it a good day and go make something good!

Freeplay Friday

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As you get ready to bring in the new year, don’t forget to stop by the store for some essential supplies. Happy New Year!


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Just a quickie here–I’m off shortly to have lunch with my mom and my two nieces. My girls are pretty amazing–the youngest just turned 14 and my big girl will soon be 21. How that happened is beyond me, but watching them grow up and become the smart, funny, wise, responsible, talented, gorgeous girls that they are has been one of the greatest privileges of my life. It’s good to be an auntie!

The sun is out, too, and I’m so looking forward to my walk this afternoon. These days have just been golden lately and I want to savor them. Cold days must surely be ahead but for now, warmish and sunny rules and how I love it!

Make it a good day, all!


Lyrical Wednesday

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I’m up early to go on a little excursion with one of my knitting groups, 25 miles or so down the road to the biggest little town around. There will be food and giggles and maybe some S.E.X.–knitterly lingo for a Stash Enhancing eXpedition. While I don’t plan on buying anything, I’m not above petting yarn in strange places.

It’s been quite a while since I was voluntarily up before the sunrise, which should be happening anytime now. I’m more of a sunset kind of girl, but it’s kind of nice to enjoy a few moments of peace early in the day. The coffee is strong, my shower was hot, and my little cat is close by, contentedly curled up on her special blanket. It’s going to be a good day.

This work by Mary Oliver seems to be the perfect poem for my early morning. The sky is just now turning crimson, gray, blue, and soon the sun will be peeping over the horizon. Wishing you a lovely day.

Morning Poem

by Mary Oliver

Every morning
the world
is created.
Under the orange

sticks of the sun
the heaped
ashes of the night
turn into leaves again

and fasten themselves to the high branches —
and the ponds appear
like black cloth
on which are painted islands

of summer lilies.
If it is your nature
to be happy
you will swim away along the soft trails

for hours, your imagination
alighting everywhere.
And if your spirit
carries within it

the thorn
that is heavier than lead —
if it’s all you can do
to keep on trudging —

there is still
somewhere deep within you
a beast shouting that the earth
is exactly what it wanted —

each pond with its blazing lilies
is a prayer heard and answered
every morning,

whether or not
you have ever dared to be happy,
whether or not
you have ever dared to pray.


Dream Work

Copyright ©:

Atlantic Monthly Press & Mary Oliver

The day after the day after

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Just a shortie post today. I ended up with a pretty nasty migraine yesterday, totally unrelated to my food detox, but totally related to the sugar overdose I had on Christmas day. I hope I remember how bad I felt the next time I’m tempted by lovely bits of sugary stuff. Life is sometimes about choosing what’s worth some pain and what isn’t and those sugar bombs weren’t worth the headache yesterday. Mostly not worth it, anyway.That fudge was awfully good.

I did manage a walk in the afternoon and the fresh air did me some good until it didn’t. There was a brisk wind on the way back to my car blowing full in my face, and oh the pain. I spent the rest of the day in bed.

Ah well. It’s a new day, the sun is shining, and while I’m tired to the bone, I’m more or less free of pain, and that’s a good thing.

Wishing you a good day, all. Thanks for reading.

The day after

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It’s the day after and I need to work but I’m so bleary-eyed I can barely see the screen. I didn’t partake of a drop, but there was food in quantity and sweets–sweets stretching into infinity. It was like Charlie and his chocolate factory, without the creepy Johnny Depp portrayal. Nice as a fantasy but not so great in reality.

A while back someone not so kindly pointed out to me that I go a little crazy when I’m on the sugar and as much as I hate to admit it, he was right. These days, it’s not so much that I go nuts, it’s that I feel hungover the next day and that’s about as bad as the going crazy. Of the leftovers from yesterday, it’s mostly what’s not good for me and I wonder if I will have the will to resist, knowing and feeling what I know and feel right now.

The post-holiday food detox begins today. Bye-bye, sweets. I’ll miss you, but it’s best that we say so long.

Wish me luck?


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Peace on earth.



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We all need a safe place, one of ease and comfort, where there’s no pressure, no deadlines, no one pulling at your sleeve and stealing you away from a moment of peace.

Despite my deliberate attempts to live as simple and peaceful a life as possible, there are still moments when the outside world gets to me. Sometimes it’s the inside world that irks me. Often, I’ll go outside to restore my sanity–there’s not a whole lot that a good brisk walk won’t cure. Hot showers work, too, or a belly laugh or two. Sometimes, though, what I need is the presence of someone calm and wise and gentle, and I’m fortunate to have people like that in my life. I’m equally fortunate to have found people like that online, who open their hearts and lives and simple, wonderful, boundless creativity to others.

Early in my blog-hopping days, I stumbled across one such place, where I had very little in common with the writer, but whose world nonetheless drew me in. I’ve been a regular visitor since. Part photo diary, part how-to, part knitter’s record, part downhome decorator, I love going here. Maybe you will, too. Visitors are always welcome at  Soule Mama.


Freeplay Friday

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Here’s my Christmas list in song. It’s not too much, is it?



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My dear friend Lynne e-mailed me yesterday to say that her mom had suffered a stroke and was in hospice care, waiting the end of her long journey through life. I went last night to sit with them and instead of being a depressing event, I found it oddly affirming.

My own experience with death has been varied, beginning with my grandad’s when I was seven or eight. It wasn’t a good experience at all and that experience has colored my perceptions of what death is all about and how we, in the US, approach it. When my own dad died 21 years ago, I got a better glimpse into what death is, and perhaps a better way to deal with it than the sudden shuffling off of the body, out of sight and mind until reappearing days later in a vastly altered state.

The thing with my dad was this: moments–seconds, really–after he was pronounced deceased, I went into his hospital room to say my goodbyes to him, and while I knew he was gone, there remained in that anonymous room my dad’s spirit. He was there. I know he was there. Those few minutes I spent with him, alone, saying what I needed to say to him, were sacred, and I will be grateful for all of my days that I had that time with him. I’m grateful, too, that in the days leading up to his death, my brothers and I were able to be with him and mom, and they were good days. We all knew the end could come at any time and that dad was not fearful in any way. He was very much himself, fully aware of what was going on and, I think, aware that his time was short. His faith made his passage an easy one, and for me, knowing that he had no fear, it was easier for me as well. It was a good death.

I avoided going to the funeral home to “view the body”–and what a grim thing that is–until I could avoid it no longer. That’s a carryover from my grandad’s funeral, and as I suspected, it was not a good experience. The person before me resembled my dad, but there was nothing remaining of what made dad dad. His spirit was gone.

Seeing Lynne with her mom last night brought back those good memories of those short last days with my dad. Lynne’s tenderness with her mother, the kindness of the nurse who came in to check on Juanita, and even the humor Lynne and I shared will, I hope, ease both Lynne and her mother into this inevitable transition. There will be tears and heartache, of course, but the good memories remain and bring comfort. It is good not to be alone.

To Lynne, I can only say thank you for honoring me by including me in this time in your life. I love you, dear, dear friend, and I will be here for you throughout this time, and in the days to come.