When Life Hands You Lemons, Make Lemon Bars

whenlifehandsyoulemonsThis holiday season, we were singing the “Twelve Days of Sickness” instead of the “Twelve Days of Christmas.”  What started in mid-December with puke buckets and snot rags continued all season long and made us wonder if Christmas would happen for us at all. I hardly had a moment to ponder the sacredness of the season, or the sickness, as I had in times past. The attack happened in waves, two or three different viruses descending on our home and knocking the kids down like dominoes. Every night one or another or all of them would wake with a hacking cough or vomit-covered sheets. Our bathtubs and washing machine seemed to exist for the sole purpose of clearing away bio-hazard.

A writing deadline hung over my head, but when I sat down to the computer, the sinus pressure was worse than the pressure to churn out the words. So, I’d take a three-hour nap instead…and still feel like mush. Probably the thing that pained me most was that I wanted to be there for other people who were in pain and I just couldn’t make it happen. Continue reading

Contemplation, Creativity, and Companions by the Sea

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The first time I opened Gift from the Sea, I was pedaling barefoot on the exercise bike in the basement. It’s the story of this stage of my life, I’m circling my legs around in full stride only to realize I’m a hamster in a wheel. I stopped pedaling as Anne Morrow Lindbergh described my frenzied days in pointed poetic lines written half a century earlier. Continue reading

We Are Poetry

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Over the last few weeks, I’ve been reading several works-in-progress, offering little bits of free-time for writing proposals, editing prologues line-by-line, and helping writers dream in the right direction.

The novelist with her first draft, the photographer and her poignant captions, the memoirist with her hard days on paper, the children’s writer/illustrator with a fresh idea. As I sift through their work, an old verse comes to mind, the one that talks about how each of them is God’s poeima. But when I go to look up the verse, I barely get into the sentence before I’m held in place by the smallest word. If only I had the flourescent yellow highlighter from my college days, that one word would be glowing…we. Continue reading

Be More than a Comment at the Bottom of a Post

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Photo by Nate Embrey

It was like I was peeking through a slat in the fence, watching these would-be friends with boards and nails and hammers in the yard, their words building up a space for women to belong.

I read their stories on the (in)courage site and whispered my comments down below, like a little knock at the gate. I clicked over to each of the writers’ personal blogs linked from the site and took it all in, a stockpile of exquisite material uncovered. But there was something biting at me like little mosquitos hovering over summer grass. Continue reading

The Cabin Connection {A Less Digital Life…Day 5}

IMG_2062This summer, I was ready to swear off all social media. The net just wasn’t working for me. It seemed like every time I’d step into the avenues that were supposed to be connecting people, I’d instead find people putting themselves on pedestals, sacrificing family values to get followers and turning sacred things into marketplace currency, like the moneychangers in the Temple. So, when some friends said their cabin was available for the weekend AND that the cell reception was unreliable, we opened our hands for the key. Continue reading