A Good Year.

Three days into the new year, and I’m seeing the holiday season coming to a close. No more holiday lights on our fence. No more long weekends and short work weeks. No more stretches of time for puzzles and Scrabble. It’s time to return to the regular work schedule and all that comes with that. Going to bed early. Meetings throughout the day. Deadlines. As is often the case this time of year, I’m trying to figure out how to carry the calm of this season into regular life.

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This Small Space.

Dishes. Laundry. Vacuuming. Yard work. Coffees. Walks. These are the things that have filled my days in ways that bring me joy. These rituals – the cleaning and folding, the emptying and putting away, the slow catching up – they help keep me focused on what I can manage. There is so much in the world right now that I cannot manage. So I am searching for what is simple and true.

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A Bright Light.

It’s been a strange month. Strange and sad and sweet and beautiful all at once. We lost Dave’s mom this month. Before she died, we were able to spend sweet time with her and some of her extended family. And since then, we celebrated her in a couple of gatherings that had her fingerprints all over them. And now, Dave’s immediate family is in Austin, having surprised us by flying in on Christmas night. We being old people were asleep when they arrived, so we didn’t experience the surprise until the day after Christmas, but their presence here has been sweet. It’s fun to be with them, particularly as we celebrate Dave’s birthday. I’m so grateful. Continue reading

Taking Care of Myself (and Others).

So much of my effort this year has been about taking care of myself. I hope it hasn’t been selfish. I don’t think it has. I just feel like there is so much aggression out in the world that I have to be extra diligent about both preparing myself for it and shielding myself from it. For me, that’s meant really looking at what improves my life and what doesn’t. Continue reading

A Gathering of Women.

Almost six years ago, I traveled to Whidbey Island for the first time to participate in a writing circle of strangers. That week, I made some dear friends who picked me up when I was hurting and helped me to work through some of the pain. Last week, three of those women – Bridget, Janis and Lynn –  traveled to Texas to spend nearly six days in the hill country with me. For five nights, we stayed in an old rock house on property owned by my parents and previously occupied only by cows. They opted not to leave the house except on Sunday, when we ventured to the LBJ Ranch. Mostly, we wrote and talked. Continue reading