Friday, December 10, 2010

Library closed...

I'm really excited about heading off to work today. Wait...I'm pretty much excited about that EVERY day - but,'s different. Today our director is conducting a staff institute day. A day set aside for training, updating, etc. And quite frankly it's pretty much my favorite work day of the year.

You see, I work with the best group of people. Honestly, the staff at my library are some of the most interesting people I know. They're people I really like to be with. Sound weird, uncommon, when one's referring to their co-workers? Maybe so, but for me this is just one more blessing in my life.

My husband was telling me last night that the company he works for is concerned about the rapid rate of employee "turn around." People come, people go - and quickly. Not so where I work. People come, people stay. And for a LONG time. One of my co-workers was telling me yesterday that with the stress in her life at home she couldn't imagine not having the library to go to each day. Can you imagine?

What's the secret? People. People coming together in a place where they have common interests - books, music, films, information, knowledge. Libraries are the coolest places around. And we're so lucky - in our library we even have a place for everyone. Teens, adults, kids - goodness, our children's department is the most kid friendly place ever. My kids are grown and on their own now but when they were little, even though we lived in the district of another "award winning" library down the street, I ALWAYS brought my kids to Wauconda Library. It's the best.

When it comes to people, I also mean the people who walk through the doors each day - our patrons. Neat people, honestly. We're lucky too that our little community totally embraces and really USES the library. The place is like Grand Central Station pretty much most of the time. A local organization recently did a survey in our community; neighbors were asked to name the spot where they go for recreation and fun. Guess what everyone's favorite was? You got it - the LIBRARY!! Imagine that, a building that holds books, and SO much more.

The schedule for today is a visit to the new Fox Lake Library. We'll meet their staff, have a tour, and scour their collection. It's so good to have an opportunity to do this - travel outside our own front door and see how someone else does it. Compare and contrast, so to speak. I'm pretty excited to see this new library and happy too for the citizens of Fox Lake. They were long overdue for an updated library.

After the library visit we're having a staff lunch. And can I tell you how fun it is to sit and dish with the people I work with? We're a family, that's the way I see it. The afternoon will be spent at our own library, and it's always weird to be there sans patrons. Strange, really. We'll be doing staff training, listening to speakers, etc. The day will end with a "state of the library" address by our director. I always look forward to this too. He'll speak on where we've been, where we're going, and how we can better serve our community.

Do I sound like a dork, being so happy and excited for this day of bibliotecha bliss? Probably. I've been a library geek my whole life long and it's served me well. Books, books and more books. Another form of heaven entirely.

Books do a brain good.
Try a book today:)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Heaven is a place...

When the cold chill pain of losing my dad sets in, I immediately work to re-route my thoughts. Sometimes it's easy, sometimes not. There are times when only tears will do to wash away the sadness of his last days. At least this was how I had been thinking until it dawned on me today (as I sat working away my desk, Pandora radio plugged in to classic Christmas music) that I should be happy. Celebrating actually, for my Dad. This is his first Christmas in Heaven!

All along, while he was so sick and slipping away from us day by day, I leaned on my faith. I spent hours praying over my dad - for God to take him home. With dad, as his witness as he yet again recommitted his heart to Jesus. I know beyond the farthest shadow of a doubt that my Dad's in heaven.

In the grips of losing someone we love, it's easy to rest on the mere "notion" of Heaven. It gives us comfort to think, imagine a better place where our loved ones will be welcomed home and be set free from suffering and illness. But in reality, do we really "believe" in heaven? Why only rest on Heaven's promise at the most crucial moments?

In mourning my Dad, missing him and feeling bad that he's not here with me, I'm going to focus on where he is IS - Heaven. How could I possibly be sad for him when I know (as a child of God) the promise of Heaven and eternal life?

He's there, my Dad's there - in Heaven, at the most precious time of the calendar year. The most celebrated time in Heaven. Christ's birth. He's there for the party! And that's what this daughter is going to focus on in the days to come - my Dad, truly in heaven. Gosh, can you imagine?? Yay Dad! Yay God, for His mercy. His grace. For the promise of the cross. And for to all who believe. And my Dad did. I was his witness. That was his final gift to me, and the best one he ever gave.

Celebrate today, but don't forget to plan for tomorrow.



Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Color me a bad blogger. I say that because I recently read on another blog that “a good blogger blogs everyday.” So I guess that makes me a bad blogger. That also makes me guilty of wanting to do so many things, far more than I have time for in a day. And I’m sure that also places me in good company.

The company of you, the company of us. Sisters with a full plate. The alarm clock in the morning sounding off like a pop gun at the starting line of a race. If we listen closely we can imagine a voice from a make-believe press booth yelling out over a crackly PA system, “Annnnddddd she’s off!!” And we are, off and running. Our day a race, the finish line too far in the distance to be visible.

Breakfasts, lunches, work, exercise, jobs, dinners, dishes, laundry, home care, childcare (though not for me, I’m past that but I am happily committed to helping with my Grand Beans whenever I can). Our to-do list agendas for one day could easily fill two or more! Where to find time to be creative? To write, stitch, photograph, scrap, paint, daydream, sing, dance...?

In the little moments, the times in between. We just have to seek, find, and sometimes create that time. It’s so important, vital to who we are and who we’ve yet to become. Time to read. To sit and crochet. To make bread (yep, I’m a crazy bread maker. I cringe when I have to resort to buying it – all this thanks to that “Artisan Bread in 5 minutes a Day" book I’ve been telling you about).

Not only do we have to create time for ourselves, but also we need to make it a priority. Because all work and no play can leave us feeling flat. Uninspired. I hate feeling that way.

I’ve taken to traveling with my crochet bag, wherever I might go. I make no apology for crocheting at family gatherings or in groups of people. When I’m sitting among people I take out my hook and yarn and stitch away, delighting (and participating too) in the conversation around me. I find the act of working with my hands while being stimulated by the talk of kindred spirits which surroudn me to be blessedly gratifying, heaven almost. I can’t think of a better way to totally relax and be at peace.

I seek time for lots of little hobbies – jewelry making, creating art journals (with decoupage – it’s really fun!), crocheting, creative writing, doing a little stitching here and there. And my number one hobby – cooking. I usually have time for that one as one must eat, you know? But I seek to make time for the other things too. I want to be better about that. It’s my play time. I need it. You do too.

Whew...long winded on this delightfully gray (contradiction I know, but I love rainy days) Wednesday afternoon . But it was fun, using my “break time” for “write time.” Ah...onward toward the finish line. Only 6 more hours to go before the day’s race is through. And there I’ll be happy, tired, and thankful for the legs which carried me through my day.


photo: shot in the forest preserve on a recent frost morning. Often, when asked "How are you" my father in law will reply, "Fine as a frog on a frosty morning." I love that.

Monday, November 8, 2010

it's written in the stars...

My horoscope for November 8, 2010:

The time has now come for you to undertake more difficult tasks.
Indeed, the stars incite you to use the day to your
advantage, Terri. You are full of life, and you should use this
energy to show the world what you are capable of!
Today, you will not be afraid of any work to be done,
and you will also have the capacity to recover your strength afterwards.

The stars are spot on for me this morning as I've lots to do
at work this week. Winter programming text to write, two
book discussions to prepare for in addition to three other
programs scheduled for the week - a diabetes program for
seniors, a fun jewelry class and a concert scheduled for
Sunday - a program honoring the music of 'ole blue eyes,
Frank Sinatra.

In between the responsibilities of the work day, my BFF's
in town, so I'm hoping to squeeze in a wine date with her
(in addition to the martini date we had yesterday, which
I hope to blog about tomorrow). Add to that a visit later today
with another dear friend and her new little baby girl, a shopping
expedition with my sissy on Wednesday evening and a fish fry
dinner date with the huz and yet another tre' dear friend and her huz too
for Friday and a WAY TOO FUN "author party" on Saturday
night - a first for me and also for my sweet friend who has
planned the fun evening and I've got another full week ahead of me!

Work, home, friends, family...that's the way it's been for me lately. A
constant stream, busy but completely in balance. Well...maybe
the "home" part's been a bit neglected lately, but "home" is undergoing
a bit of pre-turkey day renovation and things are a bit upside down
for the time being. But no worries. About the time things slow down
a bit (am taking Thanksgiving week off - YAY!) I'm planning to slow
down a little bit too. For a few days anyway; long enough to get the
house squared away for holiday entertaining. Come turkey day though
hoopla returns. I can't wait - Thanksgiving's my fave holiday, hands down.

Whew...long winded this morning. Didn't mean to be! I've got work to
do and time's a wasting! And just so you know, it feels so good to be
back to blogging again. I really missed it! There's so much I want
to share with you in the days ahead.

Hi ho, hi ho, it's off to work I go...

Happy Monday!

Photo: Pisces constellation over desert skies. How cool is that?

Saturday, November 6, 2010

carpe diem...

seize the day
for whatever the day brings you.
it's saturday
a day to get things done.
or not.
whatever it is that's on your to-do list to-day,
do it with love.
because its on YOUR list
and that's important.
cleaning the house today?
consider it showing the love
giving care to your surroundings.
heading to the market?
buy yourself something special -
a little pint of ice cream, some chocolate...
you deserve it.
spending the afternoon on the soccer field with your kids?
drink it in -
whistles blowing, parents cheering,
the wide blue sky above you
shining down upon you...
its all yours. today.
or maybe spend the afternoon curled up on the sofa
reading a good book or watching a movie.
why not? and if you're looking for a good book,
check out the list on the right.
i've some wonderful suggestions for you!
i've got my list today too -
a trip up to the farm for the last of our chickens.
free range, organic - i've never tasted chicken such as this!
this year i ordered a turkey from the farm too - a big guy -
we're picking him up too along with our hog from the farm.
a whole year's worth of food for the freezer - what a blessing.
this afternoon i'll be attending my niece's 5th birthday celebration;
a day of family, food and fun.
as i write my little grandson is snoozing away upstairs,
an impromptu sleepover - the best kind!
my little guy will wake up to the scent of fresh bread baking in the oven -
no, i'm not a diva - the recipe is so, so easy and it comes
from one of my VERY favorite cookbooks:
"artisan bread in 5 minutes a day"
by jeff hertzberg and zoe francois
(while you're out today stop by your local library
and see if they have it - you'll love it!)
life is good, and what makes it so are the things on our lists.
the little to-do's that comprise our daily lives.
i'm happy for mine and i hope you are too.

happy saturday dear reader...
photo - my grandbeans, tyler and ella
who are ALWAYS at the top of my list:)

Thursday, November 4, 2010

a kick in the pants from mom...

You need to get back on your blog.
You inspire a lot people.
I hope you get back to it soon.
We all miss you.

This was the first email I read when I opened my inbox this morning. Okay, I don't know about the inspiration part - if that's the case then I'm uber humbled. But what I DO know is that I totally miss spending time here. Writing. Reading other blogs I enjoy.

I don't know how it happened. How I managed to let ALL of October go by with nary a word or whisper from me. One of my favorite months of the year simply breezed past me, probably you too. Funny thing is, I think about blogging every day. Many times a day, as a matter of fact. Ideas for blog posts multiply in my mind, but time gets the best of me and those ideas fade, never making it to the page.

Gosh I hate how time flies! That thought was running through my head as I drove to the library this morning. October, November, very favorite time of year. And once those months are over we seem to be in a rush to have it be summer again. I wondered, what to do to make a day feel longer? How to put the brake pedal on our clock of days?

Awareness. I believe that's where the answer lies. In being aware, as best we can, of every living moment of our day. Looking in the mirror at our sleepy selves in the early morning and saying outloud"hello world, what do you have in store for me today?" (note: sounds crazy, but I do it. everyday.) And then paying attention all day long, 'til night time falls upon us once more. Then taking out that gratitude journal and listing our blessings, thinking back on what the day delivered.

Minute by minute, all the hours of the day. Just being aware of how time flies. Forcing ourselves to savor the moment...

Whew...thanks Mom! Thanks for the wake up call! And thank you, for meeting me here. Please know that I do not take that for granted. And if it's okay with you, I'd love to share November with you. Right here in blogosphere:)


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Beads of faith...

Pinch me, pinch me I say to myself this beautiful Tuesday. Am I simply dreaming this perfect day into existence? Though it didn't start out that way for me. This morning's pre-awake sweet dream was interrupted by the whisper of my inner voice saying, "it's time girl, get at it."

I've been working at keeping my thoughts regarding today's to-do list on the "sunny side up." Today was the day meant for routine maintainence health testing - all that girly crap. A day I dutifully mark on my calendar, dreading it but at the same time thanking my lucky stars that I have good doctors and insurance to match.

Grumbly though, that' s what I was at the sound of the NPR announcer's voice - my wake up alarm. And I shouldn't of been grumbly, especially considering my 21 day pledge to remain "complaint free." (See my current reading) The minutes following multiplied into an hour and before too long I was out the door, audio book in tow for the ride to and from (again, see current reading list - The 19th Wife - shocking!!).

As I sat in wait from test to test, three to be exact, crocheting away my complaint, I was taken by a woman sitting close by. A few minutes before she sat waiting with her daughter, who appeared to be close to my own age, 50-ish. Her daughter at this time was undergoing her test. As I sat stitching my eyes lifted toward the woman's mother, singular now as she awaited the return of her daughter. I couldn't help but be taken at the movement of her lips, silently mouthing prayers being counted off on the rosary wrapped around her fingers.

The woman's face held no worry. Her expression was one of will, of faith. Prayerful, obviously. And I couldn't help but feel blessed myself, sitting so close to one so deep in prayer. With everything going on around us, we were two people alone in faith - her for her daughter and the power of prayer, and me in gratitude for being right there, right then. Again, I was reminded of the importance of being in the moment. If I hadn't been, then I would have missed it.

After my test battery I headed home to prepare for the rest of my day. A one to nine shift at the library. Writers' group tonight. A two hour stint at the reference desk during the "witching hours," from three to five - the harried two hours between "school's out" and dinner time. All the while, once more I find myself enmeshed in the thick of what's going on around me.

Life in a library at the busiest time of day. Life in a library at any time of day. In my book (pun intended) the library's pretty much the best place to be. Everything happens at library, just open a book! And I once more I was filled with gratitude...for my job. That I get to spend my day in a library. Be with library people - patrons and staff. If I could have said it out loud I would have, "Thank you God for letting me work here, in my hometown library, right here, right now, with all of these people all around me."

A simple day in the life...but so damn rich. What joy I found today in my surroundings. Sharing a laugh with the lab techs (it's laugh or cry and I always choose to laugh). The woman with the rosary. Oh how I pray her prayers are answered. And tonight after work I'm heading to my daughter's. She'll have popcorn and a bottle of wine ready. For the second week in a row we're having a "tv night." We're both hooked on the new Showtime program The Big C. If you haven't seen it, you should. There's a mighty message inside this smart little "dramedy." Live for the moment. Look around you. Grab your joy, don't let anyone or anything steal it away from you. And for me the greatest joy is in the world around me, as it happens moment by moment.

All in all, a very good Tuesday.
Hope yours was too.


Monday, September 13, 2010

"you alone are enough to face the sunrise..."

experience is the greatest, how i know the truth in that statement. i think of the ebb and flow of this summer, of the past year of my life. all i've been through and who i've become as a result. had i not experienced the pain, frustration, uncertainty and doubts which have landed at my feet over these past 12 months of my life, i wouldn't be who i am today. and i like who i am today. i like the stronger, more certain me that i've become. i like the heights i'm reaching for and knowing that they're attainable, reminding myself that i'm stronger at carving out new paths because of the uncharted ones i've traveled these past months of my life.

years ago i worked diligently on a cross stitch sampler. worked on the project for a year. stitched into the design were the words, "each dawn is a new beginning." i framed the finished sampler and gave it to my parents for christmas that year. that piece has come to mean so much. to them. to me. the sampler sits in my basement now, awaiting a spot on the wall of my mom's new apartment. i happened by it as we were moving her in last weekend.

"each dawn is a new beginning." the words reminding me that change is inevitable. that dark nights bring bright dawns ~ sunrise and the promise of a new day. a fresh start. and like making it through an unsettling dream on a stormy night, we gain strength and clarity with the light of a new day.

the dawns of the last 365 days of my life have, with each 24 hour period, made me stronger and more sure of who i am and the decisions i've made. i don't doubt them. and i don't doubt me. i no longer doubt my strength or my ability to make it through tough times. those times are going to come again, that much i know is true. but i also know what's to be gained by muddling through adversity. with a wing and a prayer we make it through. into the light of a better day.

wishing you the sunrise,
all the day through...

Monday, August 23, 2010

hello again...

girl. it's so good to see you again, coming out from under that wide umbrella which has sheltered you from your stormy summer. looking into your eyes i can see that you've changed a bit. your curves have softened. your eyes see deeper. and listening, do i detect a stronger beat to your heart?
strong girl...stronger than you'd ever imagined you could be. happy girl, hungry to grab hold of your days once more. reaching girl, knowing that that road behind you has prepared you well for the uncertain journey ahead. running girl, not running from but running to...the life that is yours.

arms flung wide open you run under the sun with the wind as your partner. strains of music long gone unheard fill your heart and soul with joy. at the finish line which is also a starting line your bittersweet tears welcome you home. back to you. fresh from the journey with new stories which tenderly reveal themselves in the way you now see the world.

hello again friend.
you. me.
i've missed you.


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

a daughter's tribute...

It's been a time since I've posted. Circumstances surrounding the illness and passing of my dad have kept my mind tangled and time for writing simply non-existent. What follows is the remembrance I wrote and read at my Dad's memorial service. I've had many requests to share this piece, and so I am...sharing it with you. I also hope, now that my life is a bit more steady, to be here more. Writing and sharing life with you...

To the world you may be one person, but to one person you may be the world. These words were stenciled on the wall behind the sign up desk at the hospice home where my dad spent the last two weeks of his life. To the world you may be one person, but to one person you may be the world.

Words read daily, by my mom, my sister, my niece, me…all our family who came and spent time with dad during those last precious days. Those words danced around my mind as I sat in contemplation, pouring over the life that was my dad’s in preparation for this moment. Because that’s what my dad was, the world, to my mom, my sister and I, to our family. It’s with great pride as Larry’s daughter to share the world that was my dad’s life with you today.

My dad’s life was a testament to the power of the spirit to withstand and conquer challenges. Many of you may not know that my dad spent the better part of his childhood living in an orphanage in the city. Dad was placed, along with his brother Bob, in the orphanage when he was three years old and remained there until the age of nine. I can’t help but think that the courage he showed later in life fighting his many medical battles was forged during the formative years of his childhood. Learning to survive, believe, endure and carry hope for a better day.

After Gram and Gramp were married they moved to Grayslake, my dad and Bob in tow. Two more brothers would follow – Rick and Randy. His teen years, at least, found him finally at home, living life as should be promised to any child – with his mom and dad and his brothers by his side.

My dad graduated from Grayslake HS in 1956. Shortly thereafter Dad and his HS buddy Jack Kordt stuck out their thumbs and hitchhiked their way to Southern California via the original route 66. They left with little more than $40 between the two of them and a nose for adventure. After a month in California they made their way back to Grayslake, again, courtesy of their thumbs, broke except for their memories of a wild and wonderful time which I know for sure was one of the best times of my dad’s life. He cherished those memories and the memories of good times and great friends his whole life long. Such good friends he had, ones who remained close to him even up to the final days of his life.

A short time later my dad met his dream girl, my mom, while working at Abbotts. Not only did she catch his eye, she caught his heart as well. The good looking guy with the classic 50’s flat top and his model bride tied the knot in June of 1959 and celebrated over 50 years as partners in marriage. Ups, downs, all-arounds – two young kids with barely a nickel to their name, my parents made a beautiful life together, working their hardest to provide my sister and I with the things that they never had.

In his younger days my Dad held many jobs in an effort to earn a few nickels to rub together. Gas station attendant, MdDonald’s fry cook, you name it, he did it. His
passion though was the printing industry and my Dad made a life long trade of it. For many years he worked as a pressman. I’ll never forget the times I visited my dad at Munder’s in Zion when my dad worked on that monstrous four color press – all by himself running this thing which was a little bigger than a single car garage. Even now occasionally when I crack open a catalog from the mailbox I breathe in that smell – ink, paper, press – and it takes me back. One of the many scents I associate with my hero, my dad.

He held many positions in an industry which changed so drastically throughout his career. From pressman, to litho stripper and on to production and management, my dad was the hardest working man I knew, often times working two jobs to support the needs of his family. Not just my mom, my sister and I, but often helping out his parents, my mom’s folks, and their brothers and sisters. If a soul was in need, my dad would do his darndest to lend a hand or a few dollars to help out, always teaching, always showing by example to his daughters, and to our entire family, how to live a live of purpose.

One point which bears mention is that my sister and I were lucky in that we lived with parents that never said no to a pet. My dad gave a nervous nod to our pleading eyes when the question “can I keep him?” came up. Gold fish, tropical fish, one darn cat, many dogs, gerbils, hamsters, and even a goofy growling, laughing mynah bird who’s favorite phrase was “oh blank, I lost my cigarettes again”…we had it all. And it was fun. After flying the coop, my sister and I were replaced with generations of shi tzu’s – and boy did my dad love them. Not only did my parents keep this silly little loveable breed as pets, they showed them too, on the national level, going so far as to raise two grand champions. These days they’re down to one, but for many years you’d be greeted by as many as a half a dozen little shi tzu faces when you walked in their door.

Throughout the years my dad enjoyed so many different hobbies. As a child I can remember when he and my mom would spend endless hours as the archery range down in Waukegan. He loved that sport. I used to love to just sit and watch him line up that sight, steady his aim and eye his target. I can still hear the arrow snap free from the bow and remember how proud I was that this was my dad. From archery, bowling, fishing, coin collecting and downhill skiing, to stained glass work and even crocheting (yes Caity, pop pop was hooked for a time too) my dad was a pretty passionate guy. And don’t even get me started on how he loved his computer!

My dad’s biggest hobby though, was cooking. Dad was the cook in our family and we were all the luckier for it. For my bridal shower years and years ago it was my dad who put together the entire menu – a classic ladies luncheon from appetizers to homemade desserts. I’ll never forget it. And when my dad made a cake, it was an out of the ordinary, soaked in brandy, homemade fruit filling, travel to a few different stores for ingredients kind of cake. He approached all his culinary endeavors in just such a way. In turn, my sister and I delighted in cooking for my dad. The final test of our efforts came with a taste from my dad. He’d take a bite and we’d look at him and say “well??” There
were only two answers to that questions – it’s okay, or very good. Each and every time Cyndi and I reached for the “very good” response, knowing for sure that if it was “okay” then something was missing. Very good was an A, it’s okay was a C.

My dad’s greatest passion though, was his family, my mom, my sister and I, and the families we’ve created. How he loved his grandchildren, his great-grandchildren. Back in healthier easier times, my dad didn’t miss a beat with his grandkids. He took such pride in watching my son play years of football and I know those are memories that Nick will carry for the rest of his life. How I wish he could have seen Nick play lacrosse, watch Michael on the baseball field, see Caity cheer her way to state championships. Health complications may have prevented him from physically being there, but the kids always knew for sure that their pop pop was with them in spirit.

I want you to understand what an honor I consider it to be, to speak about such a loving, patient, kind, gracious man, my dad. And how my sister and I take such pride in being Milanich’s, carrying our dad’s name in a whisper beside our now married names. Just how much it means to me to stand before you and share the life that was my dad. All my life my dad has taught me, guided me, even to his final days, teaching me things about myself, about courage and about faith. In all my life as his daughter I can honestly say that the time I cherish most are the last few weeks I had with him. Holding his hand, telling him how much I loved him and how proud I was to be his daughter. Even witnessing to him and sharing our faith. Praying over him, with him, knowing that in my life I have been truly blessed in having him for a father. Realizing that everyone who knew him was blessed in a way just by calling him son, husband, brother, pop pop, uncle, brother in law, friend…

Years and years ago my dad, my sister and I used to sing a silly little song over and over. The song started out with the words “you remind me of a man, what man?” Cyndi knows what I’m talking about. To you dad, I just want to say it one more time…you remind me of a man…what man? The man with the power…the power to touch lives, to live with courage, to fight the brave fight. And now you live in victory dad…in our hearts and with God’s promise that at the end of the battle he comes to take us to a better place. Home. Where our heart is free.

realizing that i think might just have lived
one of the most memorable summers of my life,
and that i am all the better for having lived it.

loving life,

-t. is of my dad on the beach in North Carolina.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

tuesday, and all is well...

a morning cup of coffee
the buzz of cicadas whirring through
the screen above my kitchen sink
wrapping sandwiches
securing my lunch time salad
with a snap inside a container
fresh local blueberries on top of my yogurt
the delicious scent of my husband
as i kiss him out the door and into his day
sunshine reflecting in water drops
resting on the leaves of my freshly watered garden
rainbows reflecting in water spray
as i allow myself a few
childlike moments to play with the hose
tucked into my colorful cube at the library
i bury myself all the day long
ordering books, books and more books
lists left long unattended
while i muddled through the murky waters
of the past 6 weeks of my life
a call from the doctor
today is a fairly good day for dad, he reports
i'll take it - if only for a moment
for those "good times" are so rare
as i sip my tea the afternoon through
the little yogi tea tag reminds me to
"be happy so long as breath is within you"
and i am, happy
for this blissfully, so far perfect
absolutely normal day
my very favorite kind of day

i happened upon this pretty little prayer
and though to share it with you...

"normal day,
let me be aware of the treasure that you are.
let me learn from you, love you, bless you before you depart.
let me not pass you by in the quest of some rare and perfect tomorrow.
let me hold you while i may,
for it may not always be so."

wishing you the profound peace
tucked quietly inside
of a perfectly perfect normal day...


photo - sharing more "tea tag wisdom" with you:)

Friday, July 23, 2010

"it is a great thing to know the season for speech and the season for silence..."

i find myself upon a crossroad
to the left are words unsaid
unnecessary, futile
seemingly important only to me,
a voice that longs to speak,
express, to be understood
to the right is silence
quiet, peaceful, calm,
a voice which begs to be still
and rest in knowing
that a thousand words can be spoken
in a moment of quiescence
in the wind a gentle voice whispers
"stay to the right"
and i follow
understanding that
for every time there is a season
and this is my time
to be still

listening, learning, and leaning on faith...

quote: Seneca (5BC - 65AD)
Roman dramatist, philosopher and politician
who also said,
"difficulties strengthen the mind as labor does the body"

Thursday, July 22, 2010

unpredictable currents...

Right now I'm at a time in my personal life which bears recording. Experiences, conversations, feelings that at a distant point in the future I just know I'll want to remember. Curiously though, I find words allude me. In attempting to record these last days of my fathers life - my emotions, my scattered thoughts - my pen falls silent. Paralyzed actually. It's said often, "words cannot express," and for me right now this is true.

Words just cannot express what the mind and the heart go through when you're in the process of losing a parent. My Dad. My rock, my whole life long. His pride in me is something that I've never taken for granted. Oh how much it meant to me, each time he said "I'm so proud of you. You've done a good job." For the rest of my life I'll know that, and that will be enough. To know that I led a life that made my father proud.

These days I'm learning so much about myself. Things I'd never of known if not for this experience. I like to think that my Dad is still teaching me, as he has done all my life. And that even when he goes from me, the lessons will continue. Thus far, the most important lesson I've learned is that I'm far stronger than I'd ever figured I'd be when it came to this. To losing him. To letting go. And it's not only my earthly father who has blessed me with this strength, but my heavenly father. My heavenly father, who takes over now as he calls my Dad home.

A few days ago a friend reminded me that "God doesn't give us more than we can handle." When I considered what I've been through with my daughter last month, and now this with my Dad, I thought to myself that God's sure showing a lot of confidence in me. My prayer is that I won't let him down. I can handle it. I am strong.

More wise cousin reminded me that in troubled times you have to "let go of the shore and float with the stream." That the river knows where it's going. That if I clung to the shore I'd get hit with debris. Lessons...lessons this proud daughter is learning by simply living the life I have right now and accepting the course of the river.

I can't think of any other time that I've felt this close to God, where the "thin space" seems to be at its thinnest yet. And I can't think of any other time that I've been filled with such a unique sense of gratitude. Though times have been tough, I wouldn't have traded a minute of it, reminding myself that that which doesn't break us makes us stronger than before. I believe this as its proven true for me time and time again.

This moment, this time,
and everything within it,
for this, I am even now being blessed.


Tuesday, June 29, 2010

"For in the dew of little things, the heart finds its morning and is refreshed..."

What a gorgeous morning. Birds singing me through the yard as I wander from garden to garden. Giving the raised veggie beds, flower pots and squash plots along the front walk a hearty drench. Even the skeeters left me alone this morning. Well, sort of. Let's say I managed to get through my watering routine with a little less hassle than what's been the norm most mornings so far.
My heart's a bit lighter this morning too. All the worry over my daughter's health is ebbing now, blessedly. She's on the mend which has my whole family breathing a bit easier these days. With the relief which washes over me I can't help but think of how grateful I am that her condition was something that could be fixed. Not cancer, not a life sentence, but a heart defect which with the aid of a surgeon's gifted hands was fixed in a matter of an hour. Whew...what a blessing! Of course there's recuperation time involved here, but not much more than that.

And oh, how incredibly grateful my family is for the outpouring of support from friends. Since this whole episode began four weeks ago tomorrow my daughter's family has been well fed thanks to the love and support of friends. Her friends, my friends; amazing women who stepped right in when the going was tough. And the meals are still coming as she grows stronger each day. Just as Stephanie and a friend were saying goodbye after a visit near dinner time last night a car pulled up in front of her house. The driver rolled down her window and yelled, "Are you Stephanie? I've got dinner for you tonight!" It was my friend Jan. Steph gave a little laugh and said to her friend, "This happens a lot around here lately."

So today I'm happy to have my life back to near normal. This morning I welcomed waking up slowly while catching a whiff of coffee brewing down in the kitchen. Putting together breakfast and lunch for my husband, my son and I. Classical music pouring through my kitchen along with the sounds of the birds coming in through the window. Pouring another hot mug of coffee and heading out to the garden, stealing some time in my backyard paradise before I head to work.

And being back at work, a job I love so much. Thanking my lucky stars that I get paid to spend my days in a library. "If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need." Cicero said it a gazillion years ago. I quite agree, and am feeling so utterly grateful for having that and oh so much more. The normal everyday stuff which makes my life complete.

Wishing you a perfectly wonderful Tuesday.


Thursday, June 17, 2010

momentous occasions...

28 years ago today i gave birth to a beautiful child. i call her my "long, brown child." my daughter, lindsey dyan. the huz and i just returned from celebrating with her. she's playing in a pick up, fun volleyball league at a local place where they have some pretty sweet outdoor sand courts, complete with those cheezy light up fake palm trees.

her friends were there. high school friends. this was the child that hung around with the notorious "wrong kind." funny it turns out these kids have made mighty fine lives for themselves, our amazing daughter included. and they all stick together. are there for each other, no matter the what or why.

wonderful too is the way these kids embrace my husband and i. parents who stayed together, stuck it out. provided a firm foundation during the turbulent times our daughter weathered. we love these kids, and i'm pretty darn sure they love us too. i can tell.

on the way home my husband and i, as we usually do, count our blessings for how close we are to our children and how close they are to us. we recognized too how our maker knew exactly what he was doing when he brought us together. we're parents, don and i. that's what we were made for, what we're cut out to do. we know that about each other just as much as we know it about ourselves. i know beyond a shadow of a doubt that one day it just so happened that HE said "you, my child, are a mother" and so it was.

and so it is. because it's a work night, we left before our son arrived to celebrate with his sister. we left, along with our daughter stephanie and our son-in-law matt. headed home for a before 10 lights out. or as close as we could make it. (and it's funny...a little earlier, my son in law matt-steph's huz- made sure to order a wine for me and when the waitress asked "and who is this for?" he answered "my mom." frickin million dollar words, no?)

and now i know that right about now our son nick is arriving there to celebrate his sister's birthday, after working about a 14 hour day, no lie. the kid's a workhorse, just like his dad. and he's with lindsey, along with her friends, and her wonderful husband who we love, along with our other matt (as this one's a matt too, both matthew patricks - isn't that a hoot?).

a very close family. a family that has withstood the test of time. a marriage, the huz and i, that has weathered the most severe of storms. and we celebrate because through it all we have rested on the deep and true abiding love we have for each other. a true marriage. a family. in the purest, most honest sense of the word.

i don't care about much else in the world except this, my family. my husband, our children and the families that they've created. life's pure riches. tonight, on the ride home with my husband, the wind blowing wild my hair through the windows of our pickup, i gazed upon the fire flies glowing in the fields. like candles lit in church. only not seeking answers to prayers, but lit in gratitude for abundant blessings. before walking in the house i gazed up at the sky, the beautiful perfect moonlit sky, took a deep breath and exhaled a deep sense of gratitude. i know i write about that a lot, gratitude. but i am. grateful. for my life. for all the challenges we currently face. and knowing that with the love that surrounds me, i can make it through. with the love of my children and the wonderful man i share my life with. sometimes it's just all so big, you know?

summer night's air blowing through the window
touching my face in velvet whispers
and me, feeling mighty fine.
p.s. nans, i miss you like hell. miss my best friend, dammit!

Friday, June 11, 2010

quoting john keats...

"i scarcely remember counting upon happiness -
i look not for it if it be not in the present hour -
nothing startles me beyond the moment.
the setting sun will always set me to rights -
or if a sparrow come before my window
i will take part in its existence..."

feeling mighty passionate about life, the upside down and right side up of it. and blessed. looking forward to a really good weekend. tomorrow morning i'll meet with my new earth book club gals - truly the most amazing women i know - all of them. the afternoon brings celebration - my niece caity's high school gradutation and all the excitement of her impending college plans.

gathered together with supportive and god's honest true friends. a felicitous family celebration. good food. simply the best conversations, all around. quality time, quantified. perfect recipe for a satisfying weekend. a fine break from life's nine to five.

living in the now
and in the knowing
that now is the best place to be...

wishing you your favorite kind of weekend.
p.s. photo...sunset on the sonoran dessert in arizona on my last evening there
trying to keep hold of that sedona state of mind:)
its a good place to be

Thursday, June 10, 2010

jeepers...six days since i've checked in.
so many "blog thoughts" running through my mind;
reasons to write, to reflect.
running on empty but trying not to pay attention.
scared but trying not to let it show.
juggling everything in life as best i can,
and knowing that although it may look good from the outside
one false move or unexpected quick turn
and my house of cards will tumble into a heap.
but trusting, leaning on faith.
"pray" being my answer to those asking how they can help.
believing that this strange and kind of scary story
will have a happy ending.
and i do believe that.
in the sound of my daughter's laughter,
her unique sense of humor through all of this,
watching her kiss her children,
seeing how she holds them...
i just know it will all be okay.
that's what faith does
revealing rays of sunshine on the far side of a cloudy sky
in the warm hug of a friend
the sweet child scents as i kiss my grandbabies on their heads
the feeling in my heart that god is in control.
so much in life is beyond our control,
that's the hardest part i think.
but what i can control,
how i react,
that power rests inside me.
i choose peace. i choose to trust.
i'm so happy, thankful and feeling very blessed
for how everything is at this very moment.
and knowing my family rests surely
in the palm of his hand.
blessings abound...

Friday, June 4, 2010

brave girl? indeed...

each day i receive "daily truth" messages from the brave girls' club. messages to uplife, inspire, motivate...all that. call it coincidence, kismet, whatever, but these messages always seem to contain just the right words at just the right time.

today too, at just the right time. i stood in the shower this morning, water pouring over me, hot, hotter, hotter even yet, trying to file away the stress i've been carrying over these past few weeks. as i stood there in steamy meditation i contemplated the worries fogging up my mind. i thought about how people my age are often described as being the "sandwich generation." right now i feel less like the filling of a sandwich and more an object caught in the grip of a vice.

i wrapped my arms around my head, cradling my addled mind and let the hot water pour over me. reminding myself once more, "you'll get through this. keep it in perspective. you are strong and things will be okay." recognized as well that i too have a breaking point and that it's important to set boundaries for myself. boundaries that keep me healthy and sane.

eventually i had to shut the water off and leave the sanctity of my shower stall. face the day and everything that comes with it. move forward with faith that everything will be okay. remind myself to "let go and let god." when i popped open my work email the following message was waiting for me. again, perfect words at just the right time. so perfect that i wanted to share them with you...

Dear Sunshiny Girl,

You are so much stronger than you think you are. You are so much smarter than you think you are. You are SO MUCH more beautiful than you think you are. You are absolutely, positively more courageous than you ever could have dreamed you are.And...even when you don't feel like you can go one more step.....something miraculous always happens to make sure that you do....making you even more incredible than you knew you were. And...every day, you learn more, you love more, you find more reasons to be grateful...

Don't let those little doubts hold you back any longer...and please don't even LISTEN to the big doubts. Move forward with peace, happiness and assurance....everything really IS on your side as soon as you decide to hold hands with it.xo

good words for me this morning. perhaps for you too. i'm going to plan on having a darn good weekend. tomorrow morning the grandbabies have soccer and flag football games. there's lots of fun to be had in that - watching three year olds play soccer and five year olds play football. then we'll attend a welcome home party for our friends' son who has just returned from a second tour of duty in iraq. life is really good. hot showers, wise words, good friends and the sound of children playing.

happy friday, happy weekend

p.s. to learn more about the brave girls club visit
attending a brave girls camp is definitely in my future plans
my friend melissa found brave girls first and shared it with me
p.s.s. go chicago blackhawks - beat those flyers!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

comfort squared...

don’t groan, but i really like making dinner after working all day. my kitchen is my refuge. my safe harbor and solace. my ridiculously happy place. granted i like my job fine enough, but when i walk out the door at quitting time, breathing in freedom along with the sticky hot fresh air wafting up from the parking lot, i’m home free. seven minutes, door to door, and i’m back in my element.

after a quick switch from work clothes to play clothes, i fasten on an apron (i really do. i love ‘em!) and settle into my kitchen to create. after splashing a little red wine into a glass, i plug in the latest audio book i fancy and get to work. good work. fun work. if i could, i’d do this for a living. but alas, i cook for my huz, who is always mucho appreciative of my creations. perish the thought of marrying a fuss budget fella who’d screw up his face in distaste at trying new things. not my guy – he’s always game for whatever i make. lucky me, for a million and one reasons, but that’s a big one.

last night i made a dish out of one of my new favorite cookbooks. yes, i still buy them, despite the fact that i have a virtual cookbook with a simple google. i thought for a moment about fancying up leftovers in an attempt to clear out the fridge. but no, not tonight. i had looked forward to making and eating this dish all day. had talked about it, as a matter of fact, with my co-workers before leaving the library.

the dish? baked cheesy farro out of “giada at home,” a new cookbook by that diva giada de laurentiis. yum. oh wow, yum. comfort food at it’s comfiest. who cares that it was hot and humid outside? comfort food defies all seasons, as far as i’m concerned. and while i chopped, sauteed and stirred, i listened to the final cd in the audio version of the latest book by sandra dallas, “prayers for sale.”

what a sweet story. lots of stories, in fact, and good stories too – all wrapped up in a first rate novel. the story tells of unlikely friendships, loyalty, hardships, forgiveness and redemption, along with a fair dose of humor. it’s stories like this that just keep me reaching for another recipe, thinking what else can i make?

stories do that to me. and mixed with the art of working with my hands in my kitchen, well...that pretty much sums up heaven to me. pour a good glass of wine, push “play,” roll up the sleeves and dig right in. and the tasting? yum. seriously, that recipe goes on my list of favorites. it was bliss.

my strength isn’t photography, so i don’t have any fancy pictures of the fruits of my labor. but rest assured, it was pretty...pretty delicious. i highly recommend combining audio books with kitchen work. for those of you who aren't as enamored with cooking as i am, it might just make the work just that much more enjoyable for you.

i’m on to a new story now – “the forgotten garden” by kate morten. it’s a good one too. along with a new chicken recipe for dinner (another giada) i’ll also be whipping up some gingersnaps. that recipe comes from another one of my new favorites which i’ll fill you in on another time.

to good food and stories
and the simple things in life...


Tuesday, June 1, 2010

"things do not change; we change..."

i'm taking advantage of a rare opportunity today. my mind wanders to "the blog" frequently throughout the day and i think to myself, yeah...i need to write about that. or, wow...that would make a good subject for a post. random thoughts and bright ideas that most often never find their way here.

but today i'm in sort of a melancholy frame of mind. achy (and i don't know why), moody (probably 'cuz i'm achy), too lazy for the gym (which is most likely the culprit for the aches and moody disposition). gazing out over my garden this morning, and while swatting swarms of relentless mosquitoes out for an early bite, i was moved by my feelings and thought wow! good idea for a post! and i have the benefit of another hour before i have to get ready for work.

what's heavy on my mind this morning is a disappointment. disappointment in myself that i always seem to be "starting over." starting fresh. the old "today is a new day and i'm going to keep my promises i made to myself" mantra. i asked myself, how many more times in your life are you going to start over? how many more times are you going to make promises to yourself, only to break them and suffer disappointment in yourself? aren't you stronger than that? if you can't keep promises to yourself, then what? if i can't be true to me, then can i really be true to anyone?

heavy stuff, i know. and i also know we all go through this, times like these. i'm tired though, tired of wanting to live my life better, healthier, more authentic to who i truly am, only to end up back at the starting line after a good stretch - a few days, weeks, maybe a month or two. i so long to be true to my words - words which are promises i make to myself. words spoken to my mind from my heart about who i am and how to honor that.

seems to me that today is a good place to start, once again. it's june the first. the sun's coming up. the air smells, summery, heavy with a mixed scent of dew and yesterday's rain. everything i'll ever need to make the changes in my life that i so long for is already right inside me. i don't want to keep repeating the same promises. i'm dog-tired of wishing for a life which i know for sure lies completely within my reach.

if only i believe in myself. believe enough to trust that i can do and be everything that my heart longs for me to be. to trust that i'm strong enough to overcome and surpass whatever might block my path. the path that leads to who i really am. deep inside i know...i'm far stronger than anything which might keep me from becoming that which my heart desires.

there now...the day feels better already. because i wrote. because i recognized promises i've made to myself which i haven't kept. because i shared that disappointment here. i know you've felt the same way many times too. i say let's make this real, today. take the first step in being all that you are meant to be. the you that is dictated by your heart, not by what's expected of you.

happy tuesday...
make it yours.

quotation - henry david thoreau
photo taken on an "artist's date"
i did that a few times last summer
just me and the camera
one more thing to add to the list:)

Sunday, May 30, 2010

looking at life from upside down...

at least that's the way it seems. lesson learned and confirmed over the past 5 days is that life can change at a moments notice. does, in fact. we 'gotta face up to this, realize that it happens to all of us. the when and why of it remains a mystery, the timing left to destiny's whim.

i won't go into it at length, but this happened to me this week. or more correctly, it happened to my daughter. my daughter i wrote of in my last post. tuesday night my 31 year old beauty hops into bed after tucking the babies in. wednesday morning she wakes up and her life is drastically changed.

after pokes and probs and tests and wringing of the hands, it has been determined that my daughter has suffered three small strokes. again, she's only 31. the culprit? a little hole in her heart. one like her mama has, only mine knows how to behave. thankfully she's profound damage or side effects from her little brain twist. after a little physical therapy her body should right itself.

surgery is called for now, and as soon as possible. a procedure will be done which will place two tiny "umbrella like" pieces on the inside and outside of the little hole in her heart. push the button, umbrellas open and hole is plugged. that's the simple version. and prognosis beyond that is excellent. she'll be back to keeping her crazy schedule in no time flat.

thank god. thank god it wasn't worse, for it certainly could have been. thank god we're close, both personally and geographically. we're 4 minutes apart, door to door. thank god for my family. we're already mighty tight but stuff like this just strengthens the bond. thank god for my grandbabies, tyler and ella. they kept me sane. being with them kept the worries at bay. thank god for my faith. most of all for my faith. i rest in the assurance that god will take safe care of my precious girl. and thank god for friends. i didn't even need to ask...they're already taking care, providing meals, love and a shoulder to lean on.

don't let the media fool you into thinking it's all gloom and doom
look around you, at the faces of the people you love
and at the faces of people who love you.
we live in a wonderful world
just like the song says.
happy memorial day weekend
i'm taking it easy,
but not resting fully until the umbrella's up.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

footsteps to the year 2022...

panting, sweaty, and tired but refreshed after a good long run in the forest preserve this morning, i plopped my keys and my ipod down on the counter and grabbed for the phone. i needed to call my daughter, quick. quick before she headed out the door with my grandson tyler for the walk to the bus. the bus that would take him to school where he would spend his last day as a kindergartner.

before the bus carried tyler off i wanted to talk to him. to tell him that i love him, that i'm proud of him for how far he's come these past nine months. i wanted to wish him a good day at school, this last day as a kindergartner, because in just a few hours he'd be an official "first grader." i just wanted to hear his funny, scratchy precious little voice, how it sounds today. that voice will change in a few hours. the only ones capable of detecting that hint of change will be his mother and me. we'll hear it. we'll recognize it. and we know the changes that first grade will have (full days spent away in school) on that voice.

tyler's little boy days are becoming a commodity. priceless days worth their weight in gold. far be it for me to even consider squandering a second, a minute, an hour. and i wanted to make sure that he knew how precious he, in his little boy self, is to me.

unfortunately he was in a bit of a snit at the time i called. just prior to the ring of the telephone tyler and his little sister ella had a disagreement. apparently ella had said something which hurt tyler's feelings, so at my call he was all broody and wouldn't come to the phone. no worries, i said on speaker phone (for he WAS going to hear what i had to say) and proceeded to wish him well and give him my love. then as i was speaking with my daughter i could hear tyler and ella in the background continuing their squabble.

after a sigh and a "hold on a minute mom" i listened to my daughter douse the fire. not with punishing words, but with words that build. words that teach understanding and respect. and with the sound of her voice i was overcome with admiration and pride in this beautiful girl of mine. this strong, fierce, wise and loving mother, my daughter. i thought of the times that i said some of the same words to her, words that i was now hearing her impart on babies of her own. more words too, far wiser, most likely reaching further than those i used so many years ago. continue to use actually, as i still have a college son at home, though he seems to be doing a fine job in making his own way in life.

the morning's conversation with my daughter and my grandson (who remained silent, but i knew he heard every word i said) was such a blessing. one more which comprises my life. a life that is my family. it's what i do, why i am. they're all i'll ever need. i am rich beyond measure because of what we share together. i'm glad i get that - realizing what's real. recognizing true riches, the only ones that matter.

wishing you blessings,
you and your family...
sure to recognize them for the treasure they are
and never discount the treasure that is you.


photo is of tyler (my little bubba-lou) early last summer
i'm very proud to say that he has my eyes:)

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

can i just say something?

i'm stumped and just a tad miffed. or maybe i'm simply naive and lack a clear understanding of why people blog, what their purposeful intent truly is. sometimes i even wonder why i do this. but when i don't blog (write. for me it's about the writing) i miss it. i feel bad when i let my blog go unattended. i do that often, irritatingly often. i always mean to do better but life gets in the way.

i blog for a creative outlet. i blog to share my humble words. and i'll admit, it really is a wonderful feeling to have a reader say "WOW" occasionally. but that's not what i'm looking for. that's not why i'm here. i'm here because, when i have time, i love to play with words and share them. i also love to read other blogs and be inspired by the creativity i find - so much of it really. i'm frequently in awe of the minion of talented people just throwing themselves into blogland, all for the reading pleasure.

my purpose of this rant is to try to gain some understanding of why people post comments only for the purpose of advertising their blogs. i really don't like that. sometimes i get a little nervous when i see a posted comment, worrying that if i, or someone who follows my blog clicks on the comment link, they might infect their computer with a virus or something else that follows along those awful lines. is no place sacred? can't people just rest on their own creative merits, casting stones on their own imaginative waters. dare i use the word "opportunists?"

i have my favorite blogs i read, my very most favorite being those created by my friends - brooke, melissa and amy. i do not, and neither do they, use each other's spaces as a method of gaining readers. i post their blogs on my list of faves. if readers have the urge to explore, they're more than welcome to. encouraged even, as i'm positive they're going to like what they find. there are others there too, on my faves list, that are fun, inventive and oh so creative.

i guess i could end this by saying that we're all creative. we all (despite what we tell ourselves) have the ability to create and should do so merely for the purpose of pleasing ourselves. if others respond, the blessing expands. but don't use my space, or anyone elses, to pander your site, or the goods you sell, or your political or religious beliefs. this is a fun and pretty space. i don't want it sullied by erroneous and unwelcome visitors seeking ways to purport themselves on others.

whew...there. i'm done.
happy, peaceful wednesday.
wherever you are, be the best you can be
simply for the purpose of your own delight.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

i've been in a bit of a slump lately
feeling yucky, physically
not taking care of myself the way i should be
funny how, when you eat clean and exercise
and then step off the wagon
for more than a day or two
your body and mind react
in not such a good way
the good thing is
each dawn is a new beginning
each day a new opportunity
to start fresh
make your healthy self happen
i'm two dawns in now
taking time to prepare
food that heals and nurtures
two days in a row of quality gym time
yesterday weight training and a bike ride
today an hour of cardio
walking, climbing, running, pedaling
my way back
to a healthier, happier me

feeling healthy and good about ourselves
is not a luxury
but a necessity

live well..


Friday, May 7, 2010

this year i finally did it!

these photos are a bit out of order, but that's okay. they tell the story just fine. each year about this time i brouse over local farms in my area that offer shares in community supported agriculture. what that means is that farmers offer folks the opportunity to become "shareholders" of the season's harvest. by becoming a shareholder you purchase your "share" of the seasons bounty with an upfront payment which allows the farmers to purchase seeds, supplies and equipment in order to sustain the growing season. the result of your investment is a weekly share - boxes bursting with in-season and fresh from the farm produce. it doesn't get any fresher than this. or healthier. or better for the environment. or better for our local farmers!
this year i did more than just browse, once again putting it off with "maybe next year." i bought a full CSA share from Earth Harvest Farm located just over the illinois/wisconsin border. not only will i receive my weekly share boxes, but i can also visit the farm, work it when time allows and take the grandbabies for visits so that they can see (for real) where our food is coming from. i'm seriously psyched about it - can't wait for my first share on june 14!

in addition to buying a produce share (all organic, free of the scary stuff) my daughter and i went in on a quarter steer, a half a hog and a few dozen chickens, raised simply and naturally in the purity of native prairie (all purchased through my CSA farm). no antibiotics or growth hormones. grass and organically fed. i'm pretty stoked about that too - locally grown organic foods free of pesticides and chemicals! we've been purchasing organic eggs fresh from a local farm for months now. one of my husband's coworkers supplies us with the efforts of her hens. eggs fresh from the farm are so different in taste, texture, size...once you have them fresh it's hard to resort back to the sickly eggs (even the ones proclaimed to be laid by "happy chickens!) offered at the store.

the price wasn't too bad either, pretty reasonable, in fact, when i consider what i spend at wholefoods. don't get me wrong, i enjoy shopping at my local wholefoods market, but you can pay some pretty steep prices for organic produce there. but it sure makes me happy to know that my food isn't traveling hundreds of miles to get to my table. and that i'm helping to support a family less than an hour north of where i live. the farm also partners with organic growers in michigan. this summer i'll have the opportunity to add fresh, chemical free michigan peaches, cherries, blueberries and apples to my share. my love of cooking is taking a whole new, fresh turn. i'm planning on learning canning and preserving techniques so that next winter i'll still be able to enjoy the "fruits" of my CSA share.
sloppy writing this morning - didn't take much time to wax poetic. i was just really excited to share this information. it's not too late if you're interested or want more information on purchasing CSA shares or finding farms in your area that offer natural and organic produce, dairy and meats. visit to find a farm in your area. the site is also an excellent source for farmer's market listings, which are fun too. you can visit "my farm" at
happy friday - wishing you a peaceful, easy weekend!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

hey there faithful readers, for if you're reading this then you are INDEED faithful. sorry for the absence and with that also i offer thanks that you've stayed with me. the past few weeks have been particularly busy for me. lots going on at work, with a vacation tucked along in between. visited the most beautiful place on earth last week - sedona, arizona. what a place.

corny as it may sound, i find myself changed by the experience. the powerful vortex sights. the magic and spirituality of it's sacred places. all of it combined brought out feelings and emotions which, i'll admit, caught me by surprise. and in the end left me with an overwhelming sense of peace and clarity (the latter of which i'd hope for more than ever). i'll share more of my trip and the discoveries i made, about myself and about the place, in the days to come.

meantime, i'm happily back at work. i feel immense gratitude at having a job that i love so well. the work space was in dire need of a new look so i traded the gustav klimt for a new and earthy southwest look, complete with cactus, a friendly little lizard and an authentic navajo mug rug. the walls of my cube display stunning photos of arizona in all it's splendor and color. what a happy place i've created!

what's that line? bloom where you are planted? i'm planted here, firmly it seems, but boy is it ever fun to travel outside the familiarity of the garden once in a while:) what a way to grow!

wishing you a sweet and peaceful day
and thanking you for visiting me here
and also hoping that you'll continue to do so!

p.s. hey katie - thanks for the nudge:)

Friday, April 9, 2010

this morning i am sadly moved by the headline weary story of phoebe prince. for those of you who have been fortunate enough to dodge the nightly news, phoebe is the girl who, after living months of torment and hell inflicted on her by her "peers," couldn't bare the pain any longer and chose to end her life.

i'd seen headlines for this story plastered all over the internet news sources, but until today i hadn't chanced to read of such a heartrendering account. this morning though, as i sipped my coffee and perused the top stories on cnn (and yes, it makes me sick to see the attention being wasted on tiger woods - a sorry character indeed) i clicked and read phoebe's sad story.

as i read, my mother's heart felt a stab of pain much as if my own child had felt her pain. who are these people, these heartless teenagers, that could take such pleasure, such satisfaction in hurting someone so? how were they raised that they could be capable of such behaviour? where are their parents? where were the teachers who might have been able to reach out to this girl?

numerous students from phoebe's school admitted that "everyone knew" of the hateful actions and harassment exacted upon her. it was obvious what was happening, yet no one stepped in to defend her. being a teenager is painful in and of itself, let alone being the object of cruel and malicious torture. for all accounts, it appears that the root cause of phoebe's torment was a boy. two boys. all of this over a guy. i shake my head at the waste of it all.

her tormentors were, are monsters. anyone who would turn a blind eye such cruelty also shares the blame. and as parents we're to blame too when we turn our heads on our responsibility in teaching our children the "do unto others" rule, exemplifying in our own actions to love thy neighbor as thyself. who are they to learn from, if not us, the meaning of humility? do we even understand that word - humility? does anyone anymore?

i pray for the soul of this troubled young girl. i pray for her parents. i pray for the sad and sorry hearts of her persecutors - where do they go from here? what hope do they have if, at this early stage of their lives, they are capable of such cruel and despicable actions? and i pray for us, as a people, that we may see the beauty of humanness in the eyes of everyone we meet and that we might realize that as creations of a loving god, there's a part of us in every other living soul. when we're cruel to others, in reality we're only hurting ourselves. noun
1. the quality or state of being humble
2. respectful; feeling or showing
respect or deference
toward other people

in the grand scheme of things, you and me make we.
may we always know that, practice it, and

photo - a flower for phoebe from my collection
taken at the chicago botanic garden in last february

Thursday, April 8, 2010

i have been...

feeling an incredible sense of peace with my life recently. contentment being not simply a word, but more a bonafide feeling. i like that, this sense that i am exactly where i am meant to be, doing precisely what i'm supposed to be doing. right now, today. i'm not reaching, trying to grab the higher spot on the monkey bars. the view is mighty fine from my perch on life's jungle gym. i have what i need. i want for nothing.

i'm getting lots of exercise, fresh air and clean food. i have the company of a good man to share my life. my children are healthy, fully functioning adults who for all practical appearances seriously seem to have their shit together. and they like each other. a lot. me too, and the huz. and those babies - my little grandbeans. having them leaves me feeling sorry for those without. grandchildren, that is. my little family's pretty tightly knit, a blessing i hold in high regard. i have good, good friends and i realize how lucky i am to be held in their countenance.

above all else though, i have peace. one can only understand how vital inner peace is when one is without it. it's painful. i don't ever want to experience life without it again. i'll do whatever it takes to maintain and secure peace in my life. with peace there is freedom. freedom to trust, live honestly, and feel safe.

and i'm writing. not here so much lately (though i miss it, think of it each day, and really want to do better about posting more regularly) but on my own, in the morning, at night, whenever i get the chance. i've taken to carrying a notebook around with me, not leaving home without it. i'm collecting pictures, jotting phrases, making note of new words, unique names, anything of interest that sparks my imagination. these days i think in stories and in doing so i feel as if i come home after an overly long absence. my stories never end, but go on day and night, switching directions like the springtime winds blowing color and life onto the page.

deep post. what did you expect after my having been gone so long? oh, and i have you. reading along whenever i post. for one who so loves to write, there is no greater blessing than to know that someone is reading.

wishing you peace and love on an unseasonably cold morning
a morning to stay tucked in reading
a morning to stay tucked in writing...

~this, my dear nans, is what i've been up to~

i have been...

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Hi there, missed you. Sorry I've been absent. I'm keeping this short but wanted to let you know that everyday I think of you, and more so, everyday I think more and more about writing. Daydreaming actually. Story lines, plots, characters and scenes fight for time during my workday. Now so they're even waking me up at night, revealing themselves to me layer by layer.

I'm going to try to keep up here a bit better and on a more casual basis. Checking in. Saying hello and sharing what I've been up to. I'll also be sharing my the titles of current books in which my nose is buried. Speaking of which, I just finished listening to the BBC production of Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert. Loved it, though SO sad - perfect example of a poor soul incapable of being happy all the while missing true love as it stares her in the face. That said though, sad as it is, I loved it.

I have a few audios lying in wait...who will it be next? Jane Austen? James Joyce? Over the past few months I've taken a swift dive into the classics all the while discovering a new found joy in the listening. As for hard copy, a coworker of mine suggested I might like The School of Essential Ingredients by Erica Bauermeister and she was right. Loving that too, reminiscent of another one of my all time favorites - Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel.

Am loving the sounds and scents of these glorious spring days, despite the fact that while the sun shines I'm tucked inside the library. That's okay though. At night by the cast of the moon's glow, the window is open blowing in the promise of spring. And as I lie awake, blessed by the caress of the night time air, I conjure and create, spinning stories in my mind.

"Every spring is the only spring. A perpetual astonishment"
quotation - ellis peters