February 8th, 2017 § § permalink
Following an emotionally exhausting political season, the month of love has finally arrived. Let’s welcome, with open arms, the sweet exchange of molten chocolate lava cakes and mysterious handwritten notes. But, amidst it all, let’s not forget to regroup. Perhaps you, during these past few months, have been through a cumulative trauma that has left you feeling a bit rattled. Below are steps to take any time it seems difficult to ignore the injustices all around. Keep the list close by to use anytime you’re feeling glum. It will make you and those around you have a little more hope and faith in humanity.
- Be Nice to Yourself
Take care. Embrace drinking chamomile tea or chocolate muffin milkshakes, but also eat real food—food that is good for you. Watch inspirational episodes of Wonder Woman or Batman. Leave affirming messages on your own phone. Write sappy slogans to yourself and hide them inside cabinet doors. Better yet, post them proudly on your fridge—“I really am amazing!”
Take a break. Go outside. Reconnect with the natural world. Walk to a nearby playground, or head deep into the woods. Search for animal tracks, skip stones on an icy pond, go cloud watching, or start a winter journal. Learn to meditate. Sit still. Breathe.
- Connect with Others
Seek support. Reach out and strengthen connections with your family and community. Join forces. Surround yourself with inspiring people. Hug and be hugged.
- Do Something Helpful and Good
Be nice to someone else. Engage in small acts of kindness. No kind act is too small or too big—give a free ukulele lesson, hand over the best slice of pie, leave a big tip, write an apology letter. Simple, everyday gifts can provide silent strength to all parties. Be thoughtful and purposeful with your giving.
- Create a Vision
Darkness can provide a great backdrop for keen insight. Think constructively, and your brain will soon fill with electrifying ideas. Keep a positive tone and listen to your inner voice. Set short, obtainable goals to pick yourself up and make a personal plan for a day, a month, or a year. Visualize where you’re heading. Get excited about the future.
- Take Action
Roll up your sleeves, step out of your comfort zone, and do something good. Improve your world with your own actions. Just a tiny input from you is enough to get things rolling. Find your voice and use it. Pick a cause and get involved. Call or write a letter to someone important. (HERE is a helpful link.). Make your voice heard. Create something new and useful. Now is the time. Do what you can and do it with gusto.
- Be Patient
Allow yourself to heal. Remember to start simple. Remember that life is a journey.
Train your mind to be grateful. Appreciate your talents, your uniqueness, and your brilliance. Acknowledge the strengths and weaknesses of your surroundings and the people around you. And love it all, with all its imperfections.
February 14th, 2012 § § permalink
Forget the fancy flowers. We are the dreamers of dreams. Give me a thought.
We made a valentine banner. Constructed out of felted wool sweater and cotton fabric scraps and remnant bias tape, it’s printed with thoughtful notes to each other. Simple to make.
Printing on fabric requires an ink jet printer, thin cotton fabric (I just use remnant drapery liner) and freezer paper.
Here are the steps:
- Trim the fabric slightly larger than 8 ½ x 11 inches.
- Place the fabric onto an ironing board (or thick towel).
- Place the shiny side of the freezer paper onto the fabric.
- Iron. Two will become one.
- Trim the fabricky paper to 8 ½ x 11.
- Treat it like a normal piece of paper and place it into your printer with the proper sides up and down. Print your image.
To make a banner like ours, cut the printed material into the desired shape, peel off the freezer paper and sew to a sturdy material (like wool or felt). Cut two small openings in the back of the material and carefully slip bias tape through using a safety pin as a guide.
A simple haiku can get you through the winter and then some.
February 13th, 2012 § § permalink
I’m heading out for milk
But instead find myself
Standing in this place where I
Look at you
All over you
Once, with wild hair
You carved our names into a school desk
Now you collect my secrets
Rumpled and unwound
There are at least 50 colors
In your eyes alone.
December 4th, 2011 § § permalink
It started a few Tuesdays ago, and I was totally unprepared. I was sneaking SweetTarts from the kitchen Halloween basket, vulnerable and enveloped by the threat of exposure, when an unforeseen soulful sound swept in from the next room. And….
WHAM! it hit me. Holiday music. It is time.
It’s time to give something. Something special. Of course, there is much temptation to acquire this year’s hottest trends—Snuggie, self-stirring cocoa mug, fiber optic holiday sweater, night vision goggles, nose flute, giant inflatable emperor penguin—but, I would like to suggest a few cheery alternatives, or additions.
I’ll be the first to admit that my ubercraftiness has disentangled me from many a gift-giving snarl—the cookie-recipe kit, the DIY family cookbook, handmade soap-on-a-rope, the gigantic satchel of homemade granola—but, like most, our holiday budget is currently stretched, and I cannot hide the unfortunate truth that sometimes these gifts are not really so cost-effective. As well, sadly these gifts are often not as treasured as store-bought astronaut ice cream might be. And sometimes they are just not enough.
Now, parents are certainly not perfect, and like watchmakers, disk jockeys, fortune cookie writers, professional whistlers, and (unfortunately) beekeepers, parents can sometimes make mistakes. So, in the spirit of the holiday season, I offer you this simple gift guide below as a resource. Something to keep up your sleeve and keep you on track.
It’s time to give something of yourself. To your kids. For free. A handwritten note, a compliment, an apology, a good bedtime story, a haircut, a juggling lesson, the best slice of pie, a visit with a small friend. It’s time to be a hero to them—to stand up for what is right, to speak up but carefully listen, to laugh at yourself, to quit biting your nails, to stop arguing, to know your faults and ask for forgiveness, to acknowledge your love, to live each day with gratitude, and to inspire your kids and get to know them and accept them for who they are.
Because this is what it’s all about.
May 6th, 2011 § § permalink
I am grown now. And I am strong. Yet sometimes I trip. And I am helped up. Mostly by you. When I have a bad dream, I tell you. And you listen. When I am alone, mostly you are far, yet you are with me every day. When I am feeling less than strong, I remember your steadfastness. At the end of the day, when I am completely stuck with a dinner idea, I am reminded of your innovative baked concoctions of leftover spaghetti, ham, meatloaf and wild rice. Or your trendsetting salad soup. And I am saved. When I’m worn out and overwhelmed by piles of waterlogged laundry sitting on a flooded basement floor, it is your small practical voice that says to run an underground downspout drain away from the house. It is that very same voice that reminds me to reuse my teabag. Save twisty ties. Put on a patch. To walk there. Don’t take too much you can always go back for seconds. And don’t worry about the mold. You can just cut it off. You are the one who taught me to play the harmonica, tie a good knot, and watch out for poison ivy. You are the one who taught me to remain happily married through a particularly long ragweed pollen season. And to love my girls and dress up with them often in superhero costumes. You are the one who taught me to watch the telltales and head up when the wind picks up. To make it past that point.
Mom, it is you. You are the one. Happy Mother’s Day.
I love you and your amazingness.
April 8th, 2011 § § permalink
I was 19 when I found him. The boy. The sculptor. The poet. The stargazer. The fixer. The dreamer. I followed him, then he followed me, and then I followed him. And everyone else and everything else wandered and vanished. Except us. Now he is a man. This week he had a cold. And a birthday.
He made a wish.
We ate banana bread.
I am so thankful I have him.
I just love him so.
February 28th, 2011 § § permalink
Sometimes a house is more than just a house. Sometimes it’s a home. Right when you walk in. No matter what it looks like, how big it is or how meticulously it’s maintained, it’s a home.
What makes a house a home? Did it become a home the moment a newborn is carried over its threshold, or the smoke alarm is first set off, or the beloved hamster is buried in its back garden, or a wobbly toddler’s height is marked on its kitchen wall, or the sapling planted begins to shade it, or friends’ laughter begins to fill it?
Our house is a home because it’s where stories are made. It’s a home because we live here. And because we are not perfect. And because we are loved.
When does a house become a home? An acquaintance become a friend? A job become a cause? A flicker become a flame?
What makes your house a home?
February 14th, 2011 § § permalink
My sweet girls,
It is all for you. When I have dreams, they always have you— your piercing squeals bounding across the hills, your wild saucer eyes contemplating a cloud, your hushed whispers breaking a museum silence, your wild hair dancing across a field, your warm toasty bodies nestled in for pleeeease! Just one more chapter!
When I pursue clarity within myself, it is meant for you—to unveil something to you—to enlighten you. But, time and again your pure wonder and excitement is what changes me—envelops me and reminds me. You are the reason why.
Lets wander together, tranquil and whole, across the hills and to the bend from which you will soar—high above and beyond, but always, always within my heart.
I hope that in the end, and I am to you but a memory, that I will exist within you both as love.
Happy Valentine’s Day,