Oh the riches….

I have been quiet lately. I am actually bursting with posts but am unable to spend the time writing right now. For the first time ever, I am traveling. I’m in Greece today. Two days ago, home was Italy. From Rome to Delphi, I am seeing ruins of the most gorgeous kind and art I have previously only seen in books. I have so much to say but still so much to see. For now, please accept my apology and explanation and, if you wish, leave a suggestion as to where I should visit next.


I love Capital City Toastmasters!

Normally, on Wednesdays from twelve to two, I go to Capital City Toastmasters and then to lunch with some of the members.  That’s been my routine for about four years now.  But for the last month, that simply hasn’t happened.  There was too much going on – too many deadlines and schedules and demands – and my attendance plummeted.  Today, though the deadlines and schedules and demands remained, I made myself walk away from my desk and attend the meeting.  And I’m so glad I did.

Had I not gone, I would have missed my friend Jennifer give a funny and thoughtful speech about the naming of genes.  I would have missed Katie’s icebreaker that was delivered in the form of a letter  – an idea that I so wish I had come up with myself.  I would have missed Thao give her icebreaker on her photography and how she found her thing by being herself and doing what she loved.  I would have missed Vince as a first time Toastmaster declare Shane as our favorite former pastor, despite Stuart, another former pastor, being in attendance.  I would have missed Shane’s puppet tribute to Amy and Heather during the general evaluation.  I would have missed Walter’s joke about being “borderline white trash” and Keith’s quick comeback about Walter not being “borderline.”  I would have missed Stuart’s incredible humor with both the superhero intro and Winnie the Pooh closing.  I would have missed so much.

I love my club and the people in it.  I love them every time I go.

I can’t recreate the entire meeting, but I can leave you with this.

What do John the Baptist and Winnie the Pooh have in common? [think think think]  They have the same middle name.  Padum pum.

A list…because I need one.

It’s been a hectic and hard twenty-four hours.  Since writing is my therapy and lists make me happy, here is my list therapy for the day.

Ten great things about today:

  1. I slept in until eight this morning and still managed to get a run in before work.
  2. This morning, I remembered to set my new DVR to record General Hospital, so I will be able to catch up on that show after a week of missing it.
  3. I saw my friend Debbie, who does my eyebrows, and got to see her wedding photo for the first time.
  4. I bumped into my friend Stuart on Congress Avenue today, and he made me laugh about our dueling in Words With Friends.  (My user name is mrsethanhawke, if anyone would like to play!)
  5. At lunch, I discovered the joys of a peanut butter, brie and apple sandwich.
  6. My boss Jim took a few moments out of his day to check in with me about me. 
  7. This afternoon I got an email confirming a breakfast on Thursday with my Education for Ministry group of the last five years. 
  8. My friend Kerry called today to confirm our run for the morning.
  9. Bread and Butter will be happy to see me when I get home.
  10. I think I’ll get to make it to Capital City Toastmasters tomorrow after a month away.

I feel so much better!

Packed full of goodness.

This year, September 11 was a good day.

It started with a solo run down Creek Road in the early morning hours.  The temperature was a cool mid-70s, and each step felt easy and light.  I ran thinking about 9/11 and the solemnity associated with the anniversary of those hateful attacks.  I ran grateful for the cool, clean air and the peace of the morning.

After my run, I met my friend, Nancy, for breakfast.  Nancy is a friend from Lake Hills Church and the triathlon world.  I got to talking to her in 2003 or 2004 at St. Stephen’s pool during a triathlon training program after recognizing her as a familiar face from church. Since then, she’s inspired me.  She’s a few years older than I am and in amazing shape, despite surgeries and seasons of not being able to do much.  She’s adventurous and loves the outdoors, and, each day, I aspire to be as healthy, strong and lean as she is.  This morning, we caught up on one another, and I remembered all over again why I like her so much.  She is as strong as she is tender, and she challenges me with each conversation.

After breakfast, Nancy and I met our friend Joslin for church.  Today, we visited Riverpoint Church.  Joslin and the pastor, Chris Larsen, used to work together at Lake Hills Church, and Chris taught adult classes, which I sometimes attended.  From what I’ve seen, he is a teacher at heart, so I welcomed the opportunity to hear him teach again.  Today, he taught on Mark 12:30, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and all your strength.”  After a strained week, it was a message I needed to hear. What I heard was, “Put all that stuff down, and just love God.”

After I said goodbye to Nancy and Joslin, I spent some time with my friend, Cindy.  She is another Lake Hills Church connection, though I also know her through legal circles.  I think it’s been a year or so since I last saw Cindy, which baffles me.  How could so much time pass between visits when we live in the same town and care for each other so much?  I loved catching up with her and hearing about the opportunities that have come her way since she changed professions a few years back.  She is another strong woman I admire.

After hanging out with Cindy, I went to an improvisational songwriting workshop taught by a woman named Susan Dias.  I met Susan at an Austin Bat Cave event.  At that event, we got to talking about writing, and she gave me article ideas and started to teach me about songwriting on the spot, so I was thrilled to get an invitation from her to an actual workshop. I’m considering signing up for a longer term class with her because I don’t believe I can sing and she’s convinced I can.  I like people who believe I can do great things! That and I enjoyed her energy the night I met her. She’s a “can do” person.

After the workshop, I came home and did laundry and did some writing for a couple of different clients, which, of course, I enjoyed. I also paid bills and organized my house a bit. I love doing these things. I love going from unorganized to organized. It feels good.

That was my September 11.  Fun, social, productive, rewarding.  It was actually a lovely way to start my week.

In addition to writing and having started my own business, these days I’m doing contract work for a law firm.  It occurred to me this evening that I’m back in the office where I was when 9/11 happened.  I’m back with my old boss and my old managing partner in the halls I know so well.  I remember standing in the conference room in that office surrounded by my co-workers – people I consider to be family given our many years together – watching the news and experiencing the shock of witnessing those towers fall.  I remember wondering if my friends Rod and Julie, who lived in New York at the time, were okay. They were. I remember trying to focus on the brief I had due that day.  Somehow it all got done.

I can’t believe that was ten years ago.  I remember it so clearly.  How could a decade have passed since that day?

I’m aware that today is a hard day for many.  One of my favorite people from my youth lost a cousin in 9/11, so I know today, even more so than usual, is a day of contemplation and mourning for her.  While I was folding laundry, I turned on the television to some of the 9/11 tributes and stories about firefighters who survived that day but died more recently.  Each person interviewed said something much like the one before – that life is short, and we are lucky to have it.

Life is short.  And I do feel incredibly fortunate for the life I have.  On this anniversary of 9/11, I think about the opportunities that I have and the people I get to love and be loved by and the worries and hurts of the week evaporate.

Ten years later, I’m left with gratitude.  Tons and tons of gratitude.

It’s never too late.

I’m writing again. It’s a promise I made to myself this year – and last year and the year before that – but this year, I’m really doing it. I just finished up another article for the Exeter Bulletin, and I had a great conversation today with an ex about a script he and I are going to work on together. He wrote the beginnings of the script back in the 1990s and stopped writing mid-sentence in the third act.  When I suggested we work on something together, he pulled this draft out, and sent it to me. Two things about that give me much hope. First, that he and I can work together today means a great deal to me. We dated back in law school, and it didn’t work out for us, but we remain friends.  I appreciate that our friendship survived our relationship. Second, I’m encouraged that an effort of fifteen plus years ago can be revived. It’s a good script. He’s a creative guy. I love that his work of so long ago has another chance to be something great. That gives me hope that it’s never too late…for anything really.