Traveling Through

Reverb10 – Traveling through the defining moments of 2010

Hours away from popping the cork of a new year, I find myself quite grateful and relieved to have made it through this waning one. The days of 2010 have offered me more challenges and tests than I knew possible, but I'm still here. I sit here a bit dazed and sore from my travels through its tangles. That said, I'm very thankful to be able to leave it behind and carry the lessons it offered forward.

Just 365 days ago, my love and I were surrounded by boxes and the detritus of a move. We put down the box cutter and stopped to celebrate just as the city began a fireworks display to welcome us to our new home and a new year. Standing at the cold glass of our living room windows, we looked out and vowed to do things differently this year. 2010 heard us. It took that promise seriously and held us to our words.

The curve balls were thrown our way quickly and in rapid succession. Trouble at work, sick family members, spiteful cat urination, bacterial infections, a disappointing baseball season, increasing debt, 3rd degree burns, life flighted friends, too many funerals, the evils of dementia. Tears were shed, words were shouted, friends were lost and scars have formed. Still, we are here and have much to celebrate.

Looking back at the days of this year, I've found great joy in the glimpses of beauty that were previously hidden in these dark moments. Memories of a broken hearted man singing softly into the ear of my aunt amid the florescent, dehumanizing ugliness of a hospital's psych ward. Children playing basketball outside their home, while just inside the patio doors their parents cried. Missing the light that a dear friend brought to the world, I cherish fact that she died inside the church she loved discussing costumes she was designing for an upcoming play. In the grace and strength of these moments, I've learned so much about the person I want to be and the life that I want to live.

Tonight as gaudily lit globes drop from the sky all over the east coast, we will stand together at the same window and watch the fireworks fly above our city's skyline. We will raise our glasses to toast each other and these wonderfully imperfect lives we have.

I wish you a year filled with joy and all of the things you are searching for. I am deeply grateful that you are joining me here in this journey. Happy new year!

Written in response to the following prompts:

December 29 – Defining Moment 
Describe a defining moment or series of events that has affected your life this year. 
(Author: Kathryn Fitzmaurice)

December 22 – Travel
How did you travel in 2010?
How and/or where would you like to travel next year? (Author: Tara Hunt)



Reverb10 – December 28 – Achieve

Prompt: What’s the thing you most want to achieve next year? 
How do you imagine you’ll feel when you get it? 
Brainstorm 10 things you can do in order to experience that feeling.



stand up 
take a step
carry my camera
pick up a brush/pencil/pen
go to a show
join a show
say yes, when my heart wants to
do the uncomfortable
bend more
question my fears



Reverb10 – Try

I want to try: 

Stretching. Healing.
Breathing more deeply.
Being my body's ally. 
Convincing my knee to bend again.
Laughing at my learning curve.

I've wanted to begin a yoga practice for longer than I can remember. I've bought videos and DVDs aplenty, but the only class I've actually attended was an aqua yoga disaster.  This will be the year toss out that passive connection and begin an active practice.

Photo Credit: LocalFitness.com.au
Written in response to the prompt: What do you want to try next year? Is there something you wanted to try in 2010? What happened when you did / didn’t go for it? (Author: Kaileen Elise)

Ordinary Joy

Reverb10– December 27 – Ordinary Joy

Prompt: "Our most profound joy is often experienced during ordinary moments..."

joy reached out to me this year.
arms wrapped around me,
hugs from strangers who fast became friends. 
phone calls from new friends
just as old ones faded away.
a network of support 
that arose when I needed it most.
unexpectedly, i also found
joy in some dark places.
hospital rooms, psychiatric units 
and emergency rescues-
my year was filled with these.
in them, i discovered i could step up 
to meet the needs of those around me.
often bringing a smile to others nearby.

joy also found me in other moments.
in the middle of forests,
holding paint brushes, 
cheering at my niece's game,
laughing with toddlers, 
cooking in my kitchen,
cuddling with kittens,
singing with Michael Franti.

it is the magic of these ordinary moments
that brings such richness to my daily life.
i am grateful for these sparks of joy!



Reverb10 – December 25 – Photo  

Prompt: Sift through all the photos of you from the past year. Choose one that best captures you; either who you are, or who you strive to be. Find the shot of you that is worth a thousand words. Share the image, who shot it, where, and what it best reveals about you.(Author: Tracey Clark)

Ergh. No amount of sifting will help here. I am simply always behind the camera. When I look through the pictures of my year, I remember how the scenes looked through the lens and have a chance to relive them. I found photos of my friends, my cat, my hands, my shadow. Images of things I discovered, paintings I created, people I loved and places I explored- each of these reminded me of their own stories. Pictures of me were scarce. I don't let go of my camera often, it is a security blanket and a curtain of anonymity. I like it that way.

This picture was taken during a date at the Atlanta Botanical Garden. My love and I spent the day there wandering among the blooms. We had a wonderful time and I see the happiness I felt shining through in my smile. The frog was kind enough to share his book with me for a moment. I suppose this picture shows that I am at peace when I am with the woman I love and enjoying an afternoon outdoors.

Soul Food

Reverb10 -- December 26 -- Soul Food

Prompt: What did you eat this year that you will never forget? 
What went into your mouth & touched your soul?

Reading this prompt, I shuddered. I'm really not comfortable talking about food. Somewhere along the way, I overdosed on these discussions. See, in my family people talked about the number of Weight Watchers points piled on their styrofoam plates even as they headed back to the kitchen for seconds. During carefully crafted light lunches of chicken salad and celery hearts, discussions centered around cravings for the night's dinner which often ended up being a medley of favorite items from various fastfood restaurants. Weekly weigh-ins were a regular feature and trophies for reaching certain goal weights adorned the shelves belonging to the adults with whom I lived. These trophies collected dust next to the Richard Simmons "Deal A Meal" game pieces and Diabetes Association cookbooks. I've a long and twisted relationship with food. I know I need to work through it, but it is the last thing I'd choose to volunteer information about.

And so, as it often does, fate gets the last laugh. As a person living with a gluten intolerance, food now has to be a topic of daily conversation. I must investigate the ingredients and preparation techniques at every restaurant and friend's house. Even with strings of endless questions and the help of some very caring servers and chefs, I find myself sick more often than not when dining outside of my home. Absolutely frustrated by the pattern of walking out of restaurants and feeling my stomach already voicing its displeasure, I knew things had to change.

This year I chose to stay home more often and found myself quickly bored with my household's usual menu options. I set about learning to make the foods I once loved to eat at restaurants and the meals I'd not had since saying good riddance to gluten. Fortunately, my wonderful partner has been an energetic and adventurous co-chef during these trials. There's no one bite that comes to mind when I think about the year, there are instead hundreds.

Each week we headed to the farmers' market unsure what new things the farmers would have at their booths. Nearly every Saturday morning we came home with something we'd not tried before- often it was something we'd not even seen. Turning to our cookbooks and favorite food bloggers, we researched tips and techniques before heading into our kitchen with these new foods. Dandelion greens, chanterelles and shallots, kohlrabi, fresh oyster mushrooms, christmas lima beans, ground cherries, and broccoli greens are just a few of these flavorful finds. We came home with bags stuffed with these riches and more. Our favorite farmers' market closed for the season over a week ago, and I'm already in withdrawal. I'm so grateful for the farmers that kept our plates filled with colorful and naturally grown produce for much of this year. When the market reopens in April, I'll be there with arms filled with bags, skipping from booth to booth wearing a giant smile.

Our table wasn't just decorated with these beautiful vegetables and fruits this year. The experiments branched out beyond these healthier options. I baked loaves of fresh bread and experienced the joy of eating homemade bread for the first time in years. There were muffins, cornbreads, cakes - and they were vegan, gluten free and delicious. I tasted a fresh mozzarella that melted in my mouth and left me in awe. We made pizzas and relished the joy of topping them as we chose. There were dishes of macaroni and "cheese," butternut squash harvest casseroles and soups that we'd be proud to serve to any guest. My pride and joy was a pumpkin pie, handmade for the first time without store bought crust.

Looking back, I understand that we invited joy into our kitchen this year. Much to my delight, it came right in, rolled up its sleeves and made itself at home. Sometimes I feel it as I'm slowly chopping an onion into perfectly sized tiny bites. Other moments it is holding our shoulders as we sample the first steaming bite of a new dish or dance in front of the stove. And yes, joy is still there chuckling in the corner when I shatter a Pyrex measuring cup on the stone tiled floor. Perhaps with joy in the kitchen and at our table, I'll find more comfort talking about food. I now see that it is much more than something to simply be counted and portioned, it is something to be celebrated and shared.


Everything's OK

Reverb 10  – December 24  – Everything’s OK 

 Dark moments
fresh wounds
old scars opened
 ugly places
times of loss
and suffering
there is still
Hope lives.

This picture was taken during an urban walk I took with an 18 month old pal yesterday. I spotted this lizard sunning on top of a black plastic rat trap. We stopped to watch the lizard and the lizard began to watch us. For many minutes we quietly stood and then sat there. My young friend was in awe, the kind of awe that brightens your eyes and drops your jaw. Unaware of the ugliness that the lizard was on top of, he simply beamed at this new discovery. I was almost able to narrow my focus too, then the wind shifted and the smell made it hard to forget the full picture.

Written in response to the following prompt. "What was the best moment that could serve as proof that everything is going to be alright? And how will you incorporate that discovery into the year ahead?"(Author: Kate Inglis)


Time Travel

Reverb10 – December 21 – Future Self
Dear me,

What are you doing there lying in a snow bank? Get up. We need to talk.

You're wasting your time trying to pretend like you fit in. You don't have extra money to spend, the academics are no longer easy for you and you don't yet have a clue how to be a good friend. Admit your struggles and let the people around you help you (except the friends who have nicknamed their RA 'cunt face' - steer clear of that crew).

Figure out what you want from your days. Did you bust your ass and earn a ticket out just so you could spend your evenings searching for the party with the best keg? Do you really want to spend your time trying to find the right person- or let's be real, any person- to hook up with? When you catch up to me, those are not the quests you'll care about. You will laugh at the stories, shake your head and sometimes pull them out at parties. I know, I do this all the time. Instead, you will wish you'd listened to your alarm clock when it buzzed, asked for help when you needed it, handed over the car keys when your friends asked for them.

Reach out more. Don't settle for the friends you found during the first two weeks. Even when it seems impossible, your social circles can expand and change. Those people repairing the torn pride flags have a lot to offer you, don't be afraid of them. Talk to some of the people you pass on the street- you'll have some of the greatest conversations of your life. 

Stop eating bread. There's this thing called "gluten," look it up! Please.

Write your family more. They deserve it. Many of their hopes and dreams are traveling with you. 

Watch out for the tow truck drivers and telemarketers in your future.

Talk to Billy the Kid while you pump his gas. You'll still be wondering about his story 10 years from now!

your slightly wiser self


Many of the things that I'd love to open my younger eyes to, are the same ones I'll be embracing next year.  Authentic connection. Open mindedness. Action.  Days without regrets. Living fully.

Written in response to the prompt: "Imagine yourself five years from now. What advice would you give your current self for the year ahead? (Bonus: Write a note to yourself 10 years ago.  What would you tell your younger self?)" (Author: Jenny Blake)



Reverb10 -- December 19

 Healing that I found tucked inside the days of this year:

 Music. Art. Pictures. Dreams.
Sunlight. Snowflakes. Wind gusts. Trees.
Tickle Monster. Dogs. Paws. Purrs.
Laughter. Tears. Stretching. Pain.
Driving. Children. Caring. Hugging.
Writing. Sitting. Listening. Walking.
Sunrise. Rainbows. Thunder. Sunsets.
Cooking. Painting. Ridding. Breathing.


Too Much

Reverb10 -- Lesson Learned
Prompt: What was the best thing you learned about yourself this past year? 
And how will you apply that lesson going forward?

Too much. I have run into these two words repeatedly during this beautiful and bumpy year. They are there when I look at the things crowding my shelves and mounting in piles on tables and countertops. They creep in as I over fill my to-do lists.  Without fail, the end of the day arrives and I'm shaking my head disappointed by my failure to cross all of the items off. The two words pop up again when I ponder the expectations I place on the people around me and in how I let it affect me when those expectations crash around my feet. Confession: I'm still hurt by the friend who couldn't drive me to the doctor because she had a trip to Ikea planned- in September.  Driving home from the farmers' market on this grey, rainy morning, I passed people who were carrying everything they owned on their backs and in their shopping carts. Sitting in my warm grocery filled car, my eyes opened widely. It is time to admit that I have collided with those two words over and over. I hold on to too much! Too many grudges, old wounds, pounds, clothes, cravings, half finished projects, books, expectations, self involved thoughts and commitments. Enough!

It is time for me to let go of this mindset of excess. When I look back on my days, I don't want to see clutter, disappointment, anger or exhaustion. I want to see colors, smiles, and memories of great moments lived. During this coming year, I am putting those two words and all that they represent out of my life. Excess is a burden I know longer wish to carry.

In another life, I had friends who lived as part of a community called The Simple Way. I see bumper stickers now that remind me of their work "Live simply that others may simply live." These words speak to me. I'm not moving into a commune and don't worry, I won't try to convince you to. (Unless it calls to you, of course, and then I know people.) Plain and simple, I miss the version of me that fought for equal rights. I miss chanting about the evils of poverty, fighting for everyone's right to housing, and feeling my feet and hands acting out my beliefs. I like my comfy apartment and my many gadgets, but I don't like living selfishly and feeling my actions and my beliefs belong to different parts of me. This year, as I put down my excess, I will lace up my marching shoes again.


5 minutes

 Reverb10 -- December 15 -- 5 minutes
Prompt: Imagine you will completely lose your memory of 2010 in five minutes. 
Set an alarm for five minutes and capture the things
you most want to remember about 2010.
(Author: Patti Digh)

During my 5 minutes, these were the scenes that flashed into my mind:
  • the sight of children diving to catch falling leaves
  • the first bite of my made from scratch pumpkin pie
  • reading a book so beautiful that it brought tears to my eyes
  • being warmed by the breath of the small child sleeping on my shoulder
  • laughing until tears poured down my cheeks
  • holding hands with my love during the night
  • dipping a brush into paint and then dragging it across canvas for the first time
  • going for walks with children and seeing their discoveries
  • the heart stressing thrill of a Falcon's 4th quarter game winning drive
  • watching the last moment's of Bobby Cox's managerial career
  • playing with water colors
  • my niece's 8th grade graduation
  • getting to know new friends
  • kisses from my hungry cat in the early hours of the morning
  • sips of warm coffee on icy mornings
  • the vibrant colors of the sunrises and sunsets
  • the flavors of lemongrass, cilantro and coconut
  • the look on my vegan love's face when she realized she was drinking not coconut milk but condensed milk~ our kind server had a beautifully thick accent



Reverb10 -- December 14 -- Appreciate

Prompt: What's the one thing you have come to appreciate most in the past year?
How do you express gratitude for it?

The Passage of Time

i have passed minutes watching clocks
hearing each dull echoing tick
counting down the time
until i would be freed.
i had more money then
though never much.
i lost more sleep 
lived a lot of 
and seen
many suffer
during this year.
i can no longer deny that
 our time is not guaranteed.
i am grateful for each breath
that enters my lungs. now days pass
and i'm too busy to mark them. i smile 
  lost in thoughts and wandering new roads.

Thanks to ToniVC for the beautiful picture. See more of this artist's amazing work here.



Reverb10 – December 13 – Action

Prompt: When it comes to aspirations, it’s not about ideas.
It’s about making ideas happen.
What’s your next step? 

My next step? Moving. Getting up and walking. Walking towards the things that I talk about, dream about, and crave in my life.

I will move towards:
sunrises and sunsets
playing in the woods
morning walks with sound tracks of bird songs
knowing where more of my food comes from
a stronger body
music and free myself to dance
quiet time with myself
time with other writers
the woman that I love
a stronger mind
things that scare me
judging less and opening more
buying less and loving it more
letter writing
creating things
filling blank pages
laughing with friends
hosting dinner parties
a kinder self
the childhood version of me
sharing my joy

What will you be walking towards? Perhaps we are walking some of these paths together.



 Reverb10 -- December 12 -- Body Integration 

Prompt: This year, when did you feel the most integrated with your body?
Did you have a moment where there wasn’t mind and body, 
but simply a cohesive YOU, alive and present? 
(Author: Patrick Reynolds)


on icy cold vinyl
sharp sheets slipping off
metal rails building a cage
the needle pushed into my arm
liquid and pain pouring in
a fire storm beginning
banshees screaming in my head
 playing role of a good patient
i lay silently pressing the call button
hot tears flowing down my cheeks
alone, terrified
and alive

Thanks to vistavision for the photo.


11 Things

Reverb10 – December 11 – 11 Things
Prompt: What are 11 things your life doesn’t need in 2011? How will you go about eliminating them? How will getting rid of these 11 things change your life?

I could write for hours about this topic. I'm grateful that it has given me so much to think about, but I'll spare you most of my mind's raw meanderings. I have a Santa-sized list of things I plan to purge during the coming year. Those extra things that fill my shelves, drawers and closets are easy to box up and carry away. It is the other things I drag around with me that will take daily intentionality to put down.  Each of these distracts from the moments that I inhabit:

Pain, Doubt, Regret

Procrastination, Clutter

Anger, Worry, Complaints

Masks, Blocks


One of the most important and painful lessons I've learned this year is the uncertainty of life. I have decided to make the most of my minutes. I want to fill my life and, whenever possible, the lives of others with:

Joy, Action, Adventure

Change, Color

Art, Service, Learning

Hugs, Laughter


These are the things I want to see when I look back at my days, my year, my life. The others will have to join my old books and ill-fitting clothing in the boxes because they are no longer welcomed here.


In Search of Wisdom

Reverb10 – December 10 – Wisdom. 
Prompt: What was the wisest decision you made this year, and how did it play out?

I haven't a clue. It is the ridiculous things I’ve done that jump right to the front of my mind.  For example, tweeting that my constant view of exposed thong during the workday was making me rethink my fondness for Sisqo’s "Thong Song." How was I supposed to know that my non-tweeting, thong wearing boss was following my account anonymously? Lesson learned.

My wise decisions are harder to dial up. Perhaps this is because, as some Reverbers have already written, I am less accustomed to speaking of myself in complimentary tones. I’m happy to dial up dumb things I’ve done to make you laugh or to distract from an uncomfortable moment. I don’t think of my cranky twenty-nine year old self as wise. This question left me in front of the computer rubbing my temples for a while.

There have been times this year where I know without a doubt that I made the right decision. I walked out of that school for the last time. Dropping everything, I went to be with a friend when one of her nephews was life-flighted out of town. I waited to thank performers after concerts, writers after readings, and players after their games. I accepted a twitter pal’s invitation to dinner and began a new friendship. I walked out of the room when someone else’s child threw a Slinky at my head. I went into an art supply store and let myself buy some things that excited me. 

I will continue to rub my temples and ponder this prompt. At the end of 2011, I hope my list of sage decisions and lively parties will both flow more freely.


Beautifully Different

We are sitting on the floor of a family room with a pile of character playing card decks in front of us.  My almost 4 year old friend has spread these options out across the carpet and is still trying to decide. We are going to play a memory game- but the debate is which deck to use. This choice is clearly weighing heavily on his small shoulders. Not being a fan of Handy Manny, Dora, Mickey or Minnie Mouse myself, I don’t really care and am leaving this to him.

The boxes are being shuffled, stacked and rearranged. His hands are busy and he is chewing on his bottom lip. I am interested and now paying more attention to his movements. His hands linger longer on the pink Dora box than the others. Finally, he exhales with what sounds like resignation, and moves the boxes of Dora and Minnie cards away. “We can play these when my sister gets home,” he says.
Surprised, I ask, “Why do we need to wait for her?”
He looks up and replies slowly, “Well, because they are for girls.”
“What? I don’t think so. I’d like to play with whatever cards you choose!” I answer stubbornly.
He peeks up at me and I see his blue eyes brighten a little more. Cocking his head to the right he squints them at me and asks, “Are you a girl? You are, right?”
Okay, I don’t wear make up. I always wear pants. My long hair is tied back and tucked away. I know more about sports than most of the dads I babysit for. His question doesn’t offend me. I understand that in his growing mind I am a challenge. He is starting to see where the lines are and cannot tell where I belong. Or where he belongs. These are the very things he is grappling with in this choice of playing cards.
“Yes, I am. But...” I trail off a bit. I want to offer him a piece of wisdom that might loosen his definition of gender from the blue vs. pink of it all. I ask my coffee deprived afternoon brain to give me the words. Lost in my thoughts, I hear his voice again.
“But you’re really a girl AND a boy,” he says nodding with certainty.  He reaches back, picks up the Dora playing cards and opens the box with a smile. His little hands arrange the cards in the shape of a sunshine for our game.

We played our sun shaped game of Dora the Explorer memory yesterday. These moments always make me think back to a debate during a junior year English class when my peers were arguing about whether a particular character was good or bad. The class quickly chose their sides and the argument flowed passionately. The teacher watched and listened to our discussion. Then, from her seat at the side of the room, she quietly asked, “Why must he be one or the other? Can’t he be both?” Silence fell over us for a moment. That was the day I learned that when we polarize things we limit them and our understanding of them.
I may fall outside of societal “norms” and expectations. I'm glad I do, I'm not a person who enjoys labels. When I grow up, I want to be a renaissance woman. For now, during my daily life, I delight in showing the many sides of myself to children. I get to see their faces glow with surprise. I hope that when others surprise them in the future they will offer these same glowing smiles.
These children feel pressure to conform at such an early age. My young friend who yesterday would not allow himself to pick his favorite playing cards without a justification is just one example.  I once had a student who was ecstatic when she managed to wear her brother’s underwear to school beneath her cargo pants. She tried to share this excitement with her friends. She liked these so much better than princess panties and thought they might too. I found her later that day behind a large pine tree, on the playground, crying. Four years old and already being told that what brought her joy was wrong and made her bad.
I am different! I think differently. I dress differently. I care about very different things than many of the people I spend my time with. For these children that I love and the others that I may never meet, I live my differences loudly. I want my young friends to see adults celebrating their own uniqueness. I want them to have a chance at living without hiding pieces of themselves.

While you are here, may I suggest that you read this post?



Reverb 10 - December 7 - Community

I finally admitted during this year that I have failed as a family member.  I've become a neglectful daughter and a distant, if not completely invisible, part of my original family. Some days I question the choices that have contributed to my shortfalls and self preserving betrayals.  On others, I know that I am doing the best I can and allow myself to continue plodding along.  Still, I carry with me the knowledge that many people are being hurt by these choices. I know there are those who love me who don't understand why I'm not there with them. I hope that one day I'll find the words to explain this to them and to myself.

Walking away from much of the world that I've known since birth, left me feeling alone and a little lost. Unhappy at work, I knew I was preparing to leave that safety net and step into the unknown. Afraid the walls of my self imposed isolation were closing in too tightly around me, I reached outside of them.  Turning to various social media outlets, I jumped in offering strangers a mostly uncensored view of my world.

I began tweeting much more regularly. I stumbled my way into this mysterious world of 140 characters, retweets, and mini links.  I quickly fell in love. There were people like me out there and they were responding to my messages in a bottle. I met others who have Celiac Disease and live gluten free; bonded with Braves fans during another roller coaster season; learned about art from friends across many borders; and shared words with writers who amaze me. They quickly became my friends. In the beginning, the phrase "tweet up" made me laugh. I've since met dozens of my Twitter friends in real life and have grown increasingly thankful for this community.

You are the people that have saved me this year.  Pulled me out of dark moments when I was questioning everything about who I was and what I had to give this world. You sent messages that  brought me laughs during long waits in doctor's offices.  Your words bridged my connection to other people that I needed to have in my life. I could easily write a love letter to each of you.  There are many things I treasure about you and what you bring to this world that we share.

Next year, I will continue on this new road of learning how to be a friend.  I will open further and share more work with this incredibly supportive community that has so warmly embraced me. The part of me that used to serve the world has been idle and is yearning to get involved again. I will also find a community for it to join in the months that lie before me.



Reverb 10 - December 6 – Make.
What was the last thing you made? What materials did you use? Is there something you want to make, but you need to clear some time for it?
(Author: Gretchen Rubin)

a piece of art I made for Patti Digh's Creative is a Verb

As an accomplished creator of frenzy, I'd like to share my special recipe.

Use a 24 hour vessel.
Mix a cup of shoulda.
Add a dash of can't.
Pour in 2 coffee mugs too many.
Stir rapidly until a tornado forms at the center. 
Transfer into a container that is too small.
Pour leftover mixture down the drain.
Put it in the oven and walk away.
Serve or discard- it doesn't really matter.

As my own scheduler, I can make mayhem of my days. Despite all of my recent reflections, I've been getting through them much like I'd guess a rat navigates a maze- head down, occasionally bumping into walls, drawn toward the promise of freedom at the end. I must focus my attention during each moment of my day and avoid simply working to return home. There is a little magic in every moment, but I'll never see it if I'm stuck in the frenzy.


I let go

Red Monkey Bars

   I spent the months of April and May fighting something. Dealing with daily stomach aches, clenching my jaw so tightly that headaches became an accessory. Grinding my teeth so actively through the night, I’m certain they are a tad shorter now. Needing extra coffee to generate movement in the morning and craving a margarita to smooth my edges each night.  I began to think that my allergies extended beyond gluten to include happiness itself. I see now that my body was simply fighting the way I spent my days.

    I always had smiles to share with the children around me- the day I don’t, please pull me aside and tell me that I am flat out done. It is safe to say that my ability to show joy stopped there. I wore a look of resignation, revealing the excessive resolve I needed to simply get through the work day. All of this was displayed on my overly expressive face.

    Collapsing on my couch after work escalated into falling to the floor of my living room at day’s end.  I was able to make it through the work day, but nothing more. Bad days began to carry into my nightmares. My time away from work quickly became filled with reliving the events of the workday.

    Somewhere in the middle of all this, I remembered hearing Johnny Depp’s biggest fan say “Let go of the monkey bar.” Yes! I had become that child dangling on the first bar, paralyzed with uncertainty about reaching for the next bar. And I let go. Of the job that I’d fallen out of love with, of its handy financial accoutrements, and of the key that had become increasingly heavy in my pocket. In the same breath that I welcomed my freedom I was walloped by uncertainty. Where was the next bar? What would I do? I’d followed my heart, but had no idea where it was leading me.

    I’m still not sure. I do know I am making space for joy in my life. Having cut loose a safety net that was becoming my straitjacket, I am rewriting my story. I play with children, create art, drive singing along with the music and smile the way through my days. I like these days much better.

Thanks to Bob.Fornal for the picture.



Reverb10 - December 4 - Cultivating wonder

Prompt: Wonder. How did you cultivate a sense of wonder in your life this year?

By taking time behind the lens of my camera, I saw so much more.
I don't have the words today, 
I hope these pictures will deliver them for me.

 (go full screen and show info for a greater understanding)



Reverb 10- December 3 - Moment

dappled sun on food smudged faces
chains of children linked by hands
racing to the bottom of the hill
spiderman crawling to its top

scavenger hunts for leaves of all color
hands rubbing rough bark
lips kissing smooth skinned trees
crowds gathered by the beetle's lair

lying on the ground watching leaves dance
leaping to catch them before they land
burying feet beneath the earth
digging the damp soil with tiny fingers

glistening, red faced, metallic scented wee ones
standing together eager to tell their stories
pockets filled with rocks, bark, wings
souls warmed by the sunshine

We become better at anything when we surround ourselves with those who have mastered the art we strive to understand. To learn to live fully, we need only watch the children who dance around us daily. Their eyes glow with eagerness and curiosity. They don't mute their wows, silence their questions, censor their words or withhold their hugs. I am grateful that my life includes so many wonderful moments with these little souls. Each of these moments opens my eyes and heart more widely.



 Reverb10 - December 2 - Writing
"What do you do each day that doesn't contribute to your writing 
and can you eliminate it?'

I cringed when I read this question. I saw myself lounging on the couch watching SportsCenter; sitting at the computer, for hours, link leaping my way from one site to the next; and sitting in front of a blank page only to create a to do list. I spiraled into a memory cinema where the images flying past on the screen were my daily detours. I wondered how I could make that long list of digressions interesting and pondered how honest I could allow myself to be in such a confession.

These thoughts were flying around in my mind as I drove to an appointment this morning. Looking at the clock I realized I was going to be 15 minutes early. Sighing, I decided to drive around until I was expected to arrive. Splitting my attention between my thoughts and the road, I drove around the neighborhood. Suddenly, I realized I was driving in circles and paying no attention to the world I was moving through. When I did look, I saw lawn ornaments made of rusted iron looking back at me, houses painted more colors than I dare to wear, trees holding their last leaves, glowing in a brilliant light-- everywhere I looked, beauty was there to meet my eyes.

I was too busy thinking about the obstacles that block my art to see the inspiration that surrounded me. As I turned the car around and drove back to the site of my appointment, I understood. I was not in the moment. I am creating my own obstacles by splitting my intentions.

Driving and waging an internal debate, cooking dinner and planning a tutoring session, signing a birthday card and discussing the how superior the Falcons are to the Buccaneers, writing this post with Tweetdeck popping up in the corner... Each of these tasks has much to offer me as a writer. They shape my moments. They offer colors, feelings, scents, tastes, smells, challenges, conflicts and other nuances that I am missing when I multitask my way through the day.

I commit to being more present in my days. Looking up from screens, parking the car and using those extra minutes to explore. When I cook, I will immerse myself in the sensory symphony that plays in the kitchen. My hands will be reaching for a pen to pour these details on to paper. When they do, I will ask them to put down whatever else they are holding and give them time to write.

{the picture: I was standing with a 6 year old friend on a playground. He looked up, pointed into the branches above us, and said "It's a rabbit!"}


One Word

Reverb10 - December 1 One Word.

185/365 From a little spark bursts a mighty flame


This year has been a series of unexpected gifts. I've resisted many of them. I've wasted days and dragged my feet through some of the weeks. Now having turned my calendar to its final page, I feel a sense of gratitude for this year washing over me. Sitting with this sensation, I realize that things are changing within me. I am on the verge. On the verge of better understanding my mind, my body and my purpose. Of believing in myself as an artist, a friend and someone with things to offer this world.

Many things have sparked within me. 

I finally parted ways with some toxic people and found wonderful, inspiring new friends.
I left a job I loved only pieces of to follow my passions along new and winding paths.

Moving into a smaller home, I am unearthing joy in simplifying the spaces around me.
Picking up paint brushes, pens and cameras often, I invited my artist to return.

The laughter of children brought me great happiness and I'm learning to trust this.

Next year, I will make these sparks

Picture by: Mykl Roventine