Category Archives: Soul Feeding

Loving the Light

Winter Storm – 22 December 2022 – taken from INSIDE my warm house

If you’ve read many of these posts, you know I love color and light. I absolutely savor Christmas lights during the darkest part of the year. And this year, we also had some less-traditional colorful fun with lights during the holidays. I had asked everyone to bring something black to wear, which they did, not knowing what I had in mind. Then between Christmas and New Year’s Eve, we had a dollar-store glow-stick dance party. In case you want to try this yourself some dark evening, word to the wise: the little clips that come with the “costume kit” are annoying and next to useless. The girls made loops and headbands and bracelets instead, so we managed to laugh and dance and had a great time. How many activities do you know that entertain three generations, including teens, for under ten bucks? Just saying.

Of course, by now everyone has gone home, and the Christmas lights have been put away, so I love that the days are getting longer. Okay, not by much and not quickly, but I did leave Chelsea and Brian’s one evening recently a mere half hour early and drove home in semi-daylight, even if it was fading fast. In fact, it was bright enough that I noticed my next door neighbor, as I was about to pull into my driveway, motioning for me to stop. She was holding a bottle of wine and told me some women from the neighborhood had started a monthly happy hour for the women in the neighborhood, and I should drop off my stuff and join them. Just say oui, as I’ve already learned. What a lovely way to fight the isolation that tends to threaten so many of us, especially in winter.

So as the dark is so very present these days, both in the season and in the news, I pray for you love, good friends, warmth and light as we wait and hope for the sun to break through and stick around a while.

Folly Beach, South Carolina – January 2015

Compassion for Christmas

Brooks – Christmas 2022

The month of December has flown by, and not everything about it has been a bundle of joy. After holding and comforting a very sick Brooks the entire week after Thanksgiving, by Friday afternoon the 2nd, I had the same thing. I’d imagined my immunities much stronger by now than they apparently are. Experiencing what he was going through definitely increased my empathy for the little guy, although I hope I have always been a compassionate caregiver.

Then he had a few truly scary allergic reactions, ending up in the ER twice in eight days. Here he is the second time, after treatment had reduced his reaction to just an adorable Rudolph nose.

Brooks in the ER –  visit #2 – Photo by Chelsea

He now has to have an EpiPen handy at all times and is confirmed allergic to casein, so ALL milk products; maybe eggs, to be confirmed or disproved soon; and weirdly, blueberries, which he had eaten with no issues for weeks, if not months. As someone who cannot imagine life without butter or cheese or old-school ice cream, I’m hoping he grows out of these allergies, but he’s his usual cheerful self, especially when he’s not tormented by hives and eczema and other random rashes.

I’d like to think it would be the rare person who would not be touched by the suffering of a little one, but I’m being stretched to think of many others these days, as well. Tomorrow David will have been gone five years, and I have not forgotten the agony of those early days without him.

David DONE smiling for the camera – October 2016

I have three close friends spending their first Christmas without their beloved and one family without their beloved adult son/brother. A few others without one of their parents this Christmas for the first time. Others facing scary, challenging medical diagnoses. And this is just within my circle of acquaintance.

I watched a movie recently, The Swimmers, chosen because I love stories of underdogs succeeding against all odds, but I had no idea what it would do to me. This depiction of the plight of immigrants wrecked me. I know the numbers are overwhelming and the solutions are complex, but I had allowed that to numb me into mostly putting it out of my mind. I no longer can.

I’m increasingly convinced this month that the gift God is trying to give me this Christmas is compassion on a whole new level. I’m certainly feeling a lot of empathy. My heart has been breaking this month more than usual–in a good way, if that makes sense. But compassion requires action, not just feelings. So here’s hoping I (and all of us) can put hands and feet to work for the good of others. To continue to feel and express gratitude for beauty, like this Christmas sunrise. . .

Christmas Morning 2022

. . . while also living in such a way as to teach our little ones . . .

Beckett – 30 November 2022

. . . to be mindful of others, to both feel empathy and live compassion.

Grace and peace to you!

Once Upon a Time…

I’m not sure I’ve ever written anything beginning with those words, but there’s something about them that sparks the imagination, quickens the pulse. Some images do this for me, too, . . .

Rochefort-en-Terre, Bretagne, France – May 2019
Rochefort-en-Terre, Bretagne, France – May 2019
In or near Saratoga Springs, New York, August 2014

. . . especially those of gates, doors, alleys, but also moments captured that seem to resonate beyond the present. David and I stopped by this place in August 2014 before heading back to France. Look closely at the bottom left.  I remember seeing these children . . .

In or near Saratoga Springs, New York, August 2014

. . . walking in front of this gorgeous old place, all dressed in grown-up formal wear, and feeling for a second as if I had been transported into a Jane Austen novel or maybe one of Edith Nesbit’s. And although I can no longer remember the name of this place, I’ve never forgotten that moment.

And what about this . . .

Giverny, France – July 2019

Something about it makes me wonder who may have sat here. Monet and friends? And what were they eating, drinking, talking about?

I’m thinking about writing and imagination a lot these days, because I’m  in a new poetry class where we’re being challenged to access the imagination in various fascinating and productive ways. But also because I’ve finally finished the first draft of the memoir of my life with my beloved David.

David and Sunny – Île d’Aix – June 2014

All but the epilogue, that is. I want to read through the whole thing (editing madly, of course) before I decide how I’d like it to end.

It occurs to me that I may never have mentioned that I did have two poems accepted for publication in the Northern Colorado Writers 2021 anthology Chiaroscuro. If you are interested in getting a copy of that anthology, try here  or on Amazon here.

I also have one poem in All the Lives We Ever Lived: A Lighthouse Writers Workshop Community Anthology, Volume 1 published in 2019. You can find that one here.

And I recently attended a workshop about putting together a chapbook, which is a short collection of poetry (sometimes super-short), and I may manage to pull that off before too much longer, almost certainly before the memoir.

I mention all this because there’s a dear woman I encounter at various poetry events and in my classes who seems concerned that I still write sometimes about grief and loss. I promise I am still very much engaged in life.

Once upon a time there was a little girl who dreamed of writing a real published book. I haven’t given up yet!

Here’s wishing you the very best as you chase your dreams!

Waiting

I know I’m not the only one waiting right now. Maybe if you can look at clocks this beautiful, even if only in photos, it won’t be so bad.

Musée d’Orsay – Paris

I imagine we’re all waiting for something — for the days to get longer, the weather to improve, for something long-backordered to finally arrive, for the news to be less depressing, for the pandemic to loosen its grip on our lives. I hope you are also awaiting even better things than those, as I am — new classes to start, a new baby to arrive.

Here’s Beckett then and now. He’s awaiting a baby brother, expected VERY soon. I’ll keep you posted!

Christmas was also a bit of a waiting game. I went over to Chelsea and Brian’s on Christmas morning, which was relaxed and lovely, even though Beckett was not feeling fabulous. We had to delay our full family Christmas until the 31st, to accommodate  scheduling with other parts of everyone’s extended family. It was worth the wait. We ended up with a lovely white “Christmas” and the broken oven mentioned in the poem in last month’s post experienced a Christmas miracle and came back to life just long enough for us to bake Courtney’s delicious cinnamon rolls and later roast the beef tenderloin. Lots of games, lots of laughs, lots of love.

The long-awaited delivery of the new oven was postponed to January 3rd. Ugh. But it’s here now and even provides a little slide show of gorgeous nature photos behind the clock numbers. Not something I ever thought I needed, but it is beautiful, and is about all the nature I’m getting these days. I’m waiting for spring!

Jonquil, La Rochelle, France

If you’d like a bit more spring while you wait, click here and here and here.

Brittany got tired of waiting for her post-chemo hair growth to catch up with the remnants, and had most of it cut off. She now has a sassy new short cut, with healthy, thick, thriving hair, and best of all, her smile is back.

Brittany’s New Do – January 2022

She and I went to a cheese-making class this past Saturday. Super-fun and interesting. We came away with a small waxed cheese, about the size of a hockey puck, which we were ideally to store at 50 to 55  degrees to age for several months. Yes, more waiting. My wine fridge has an adjustable temperature setting, so I  increased it to 53 degrees, a choice the fridge apparently doesn’t like. Occasionally I hear an eerie, moan rising from below, as if something had taken to haunting the place. A bit creepy until I tracked down the source of the sound, not gonna lie! But still, I will wait.

So here’s wishing you patience and all good things in this new year. While you and I wait for . . . well . . .  whatever is to come, here’s a tiny, adorable video created by (granddaughter) Felicity. Thanks, Felicity!