March 31, 2018


Today I will inhale the blue Carolina sky and remember walking to the lake with Maggie.

Today I will hoard memories of bluets and newborn babes.

Today I will savor the imperfections that challenge me.

Today I will trust in family.

Because I have experienced loss.

Because I am not yet complete.

Because bluets may be my favorite flower and nothing compares with newbornness.

Because tomorrow I leave these loved ones to return home.


Dear SOLC Friends,

Thank you for your kindness in supporting me as a writer, teacher, and grandmother. I could not ever ask for more. So many of you have lifted me by your example of quality in both writing and living as aware, thoughtful human beings. Your stories, poems, and reflections are nourishment and creative calories for this hungry soul. I wish each of you the best in your lives.


March 30, 2018

I don’t understand the ache in my heart.
I don’t understand the grief in the joy.

It was a day for welcoming baby Johnny home.
Maggie dressed up in her best lilac dress.

Together we held him on the brown leather couch.
My arms surrounded the new brother and big sister.

“I love him, Grandma,” Maggie said.

Now, hours later, I weep.

March 29, 2018

My day with Maggie was mostly delightful. We took a walk, played with bubbles, made cookies, and read stories. While I was folding laundry, she put on her “Ariel” dress and happily ran through the house. On each lap around the living room, dining room, and kitchen, she detoured to the bedroom to crash into the bed; thus knocking over the piles of folded clothes. She thought this was hilarious. I was patient longer than I might have been with my own children 35 years ago. However, on the 6th or 10th time around, she dove on the bed and all the piles toppled.

“Maggie, it’s not nice to mess up someone’s work. Please don’t jump up here again. I’m almost finished.”

Lengthy pause. No eye contact.

In her most patient voice, “Grandma, I know it’s hard to understand.”

I had to struggle to keep a straight face on that one!



March 28, 2018

11 Things to be Grateful For Today

  • All family members are safe, healthy, and accounted for.
  • Baby Johnny arrived today. Eight pounds of wonderfulness.
  • I got to spend an hour with my daughter and her newborn son.
  • Maggie (3) and I played outside. She gathered “fruit” (aka leaves) for the “villagers.” She added rocks and sticks so that everyone would have enough to eat. I love this girl.
  • Smartphone technology allowed Maggie to see her new brother in real time, hear his little newborn noises, and see the funny faces he makes.
  • The spring peepers sang to the full moon. That sound means spring is really here.
  • A bright green lizard surprised us on the deck. That’s not something that happens at home!
  • Rapid-fire text messages between the 12 adults in the family celebrated the 11th little cousin. Such a blessing when we are spread across the country.
  • A new Instant Pot recipe for Pulled Pork turned out great. Yum!
  • Charlie, the 57-pound labradoodle (still puppy?), didn’t go too crazy missing Mark and Jill.
  • AND, a time and place to think, write, and count my blessings.

Image result for count your blessings

March 27, 2018

Currently, I am:

distracted. A grandbaby is coming!

tired. Spring Break is a job-shift to Grandma to a 3-year old.

peaceful. The dishes are done. Everyone is fed and asleep.

nostalgic. New babies remind me of my babies now grown.

amazed. It’s a really hard, but really wonderful life.



March 25, 2018

Today I’m encouraged about writing after reading these words in Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World by Adam Grant:

Ultimately, the people who choose to champion originality are the ones who propel us forward. After spending years studying them and interacting with them, I am struck that their inner experiences are not any different from our own. They feel the same fear, the same doubt, as the rest of us. What sets them apart is that they take action anyway. They know in their hearts that failing would yield less regret than failing to try. (p. 28)

And these:

Simonton finds that on average, creative geniuses weren’t qualitatively better than their peers. They simply produced a greater volume of work, which gave them more variation and a higher chance of originality. (p. 35)

I’m no genius. I may never have a truly original idea. But if I keep showing up, keep trying, keep adding to the volume of my work, I might find the variation of words that will be the thing that I have to say. Adam Grant says that quantity is the most predictable path to quality. Lucy Calkins often reminds us that volume matters.

Volume of words?
Volume of ideas?
Volume of forms?
Volume of wordplay?

Just as volume is determined by the size and shape of the container, I’m wondering if I put limits on the size of the container of my words.

Maybe I need to turn up the volume.

And remember that so many little things can speak volumes. Even silence.


March 24, 2018

Today I have renewed appreciation for simply being able to move. I am thinking that if writing relieves the memory, then movement sustains it. While moving, a memory flashed through my mind that brought with it a moment of joy.

At my yoga class today, we did a seated posture with a mudra that is meant to support alignment. (I’m sorry I don’t know its name.) It looks like this:

Image result for thumbs up mudra

You make the mudra with both hands.While kneeling and sitting up on blocks you put the bottom of the fists near the hip creases. We sat that way for a few minutes practicing ujjayi breathing (the ocean breath) and sending the breath up and down the spine.

Later, we did a simple chair pose. While in the pose, I remembered the time about 22 years ago when I still had five children at home and I really needed something for ME. I don’t even remember how I got the idea, but I signed up for a T’ai Chi class at the local community center. Lucky for me, the instructor was a young man from Taiwan who had studied with a T’ai Chi Master. He moved with strength and grace I had never seen before. Such smooth, controlled, elegant motions.I felt so good after the first class that I continued to attend classes for a year. Then sadly, he moved on to become a graphic artist. The teacher who came to replace him tried to teach us from a manual. NOT THE SAME!

I remember the inner giggle I felt as I moved and visualized “parting the wild horse’s mane” or “wave arms like clouds.” It takes tremendous practice and concentration to consider the form, the story, and the breath. I did not master it, by any means, but I did grow in my awareness of my body and the happiness of moving it.

One day on my way home from my T’ai Chi class, I stopped in to say hello to my parents. They were in their 70s with accompanying health issues. For mom, it was severe arthritis, and for dad, it was heart disease. I breezed in, still on what my kids later called “mom’s T’ai Chi high.”

“Dad! Did you know that you can lengthen your spine?”

Mama stayed in her chair, but my sweet dad got up and said, “Show me.” I coached him in what I had just learned. While standing, bend the knees as if to sit. Send the tailbone down toward the earth while imagining a marionette string pulling up the head. (That’s how the teacher described it.) My dad and I did this together.

He smiled at me with a twinkle in his eye. I can still the yellow shirt he wore. Something about the movement together was very much like children at play.  We laughed.

“By cracky!” he said.

Oh, I miss him.

March 23, 2018

Friday night, 9:07 p.m., Wife asks husband:

“What should I write about?”

“Write about NCAA basketball.”

“I don’t know enough.”

“. . . . . . .” (something I couldn’t hear clearly)

“What did you say?”

“I said, ‘You know what I mean?”

“No, back up to what you said before that.”

“Uh, I don’t know what the (bleep) I said before that.”

“Oh dear. We’re a mess.”

Getting older. We should probably get our hearing checked.


March 22, 2018

A person very dear to me sits next to me with her laptop. We are both writing, but for very different purposes. I’m writing out of the need to leave some worry on the page. Writing here has been working well for me in that regard during this SOL Challenge. I’m so grateful for the supportive writers and readers in this community.

This person next to me is writing an official complaint of harassment against a coworker who has bullied her for 5 years by belittling her, undermining her professionally, and making her the target of endless jokes about her religion, appearance, and relationships. His behavior has recently escalated to include sexual harassment and physical threats, including scaring her with reckless driving in the parking garage where they work. She has finally had enough. I hope HR supports her complaint.

This is a strong person who sits next to me. She has experienced tremendous loss in the last 10 years. Yet she has shown resilience and done the work to heal and grow. How sad is it that another person is determined to bring more hurt and possibly harm? I can’t even comprehend such hate and rage.

In the Bible it says, “Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.” That is a hard task for even the strongest among us to stand up and stare down such darkness. If anyone can, she can.