Category Archives: Soul Feeding

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! 

 

 

Advent Peace

Things got away from me at the end of November, when I would ordinarily have posted something, and even the beginning of December was packed. There were fun things, like a quick road trip to Minnesota. We saw this again on the way:

Carhenge, Alliance, Nebraska

We had no Sharpie, but Brittany managed to sign the one designated “signature” car:

We were headed to Shakopee to surprise Courtney (Jay’s idea) with an early 40th birthday celebration, although the big day is not until the 20th.

Courtney and Brittany – 4 December 2021

Chelsea didn’t have as much time off, but of course, she wouldn’t miss it, so flew in to join in the fun:

Chelsea and Courtney – 4 December 2021

So we were all together. Jay pulled it off. Courtney was completely surprised and nearly in tears when she saw us. Worth every mile to see her smile!

Then, both Brittany and Courtney had surgery on the 8th, but I’m happy to report both are recovering nicely, although it takes time.

Meanwhile at my house, all kinds of things were going wrong and needing attention or time or money or all three. Yikes. Here’s a poem I wrote around the time things were going haywire at an alarming pace: 

I’ll Admit I Have a Thing for Snow Globes

And yes, I did just willingly fork
over forty bucks for the privilege
of watching silver glitter flash
and swirl around a cockeyed
scene in ceramic—
a tiny steepled church,
leaning left, as I do,
dwarfed by three tall spruces,
green-painted branches tipped in white.

And yes, the oven needs replacing,
and the HOA is demanding
funds for a road,
and a window was broken
by landscapers who are not
happy to pay, no matter what they say,
and a blind won’t obey
when the button is pushed,
and the heat just kept heating
and blowing and burning,

pulling me from sleep,
waking to summer’s heat
on that cold winter night,
the night of the day where I paid
with funds needed elsewhere, I paid
to smile and stare
and pretend myself there,
in a sparkling, pristine,
beautifully serene,
miniature world.
My new snow globe

Of course, a snow globe can only do so much on the inner peace front, but things are getting done. The landscaper turned out only to be busy, not reluctant, and has paid me. Yay! Several other issues resolved with little or no expense, and suddenly here we are in Advent and it’s nearly Christmas.

Apparently I’m not the only one occasionally feeling a bit frazzled these days. I heard an ad the other day recommending Legos to adults as a source of peace, but if you’ve ever stepped on one barefoot, I doubt peace was the immediate result. 

Which brings us finally to the reason for the title: “Advent Peace.” (I know you were wondering.) I’ve been thinking about the four themes of Advent especially this year, because I was asked to write and present something for one of the four weeks, which include Hope, Faith, Joy, and Peace. If you know me at all, you know I’m a pro  worrier, so it may surprise you to hear I chose to write about peace.  Weirdly, wonderfully, supernaturally, I do often feel the peace of God, even in the midst of whatever is going on, even if it’s going wrong. He meets me where I am, if only I pay attention.

I’ll be presenting what I wrote (and lighting the candle–yes, they’re trusting me with fire) this Sunday, the 19th.  But if you won’t be there or watching online, here’s the shorter version–it’s already short:  The very best gift you could receive this Christmas is the transcendent peace of God, which he gives freely to anyone who asks. I hope you will. 

Wishing you a wonderful Christmas and a glorious New Year!

Peace

Color Therapy

October for me is always about color.

La Grosse Horloge, La Rochelle
Japanese Garden, Portland, Oregon
Le Marais Poitevin – May 2014
Sunset on St. Pete Beach – March 2015
Key West Sunset Cruise — February 2015

Fall foliage, especially, always feeds my soul somehow. As Brian Doyle used to say, “Nice work, there, God! Now you’re just showing off.”

Lake Sunapee, New Hampshire 2013

 I’ve also been enjoying color in a few of the classes I mentioned last month.  My first photography class with Eli Vega has started, and I’m loving it. He absolutely knows what to do with color. Check out his website here. Now I’m scrambling to get my technical skills up a bit to be able to even attempt some of the things he’s demonstrating. But until that happens, you can revisit a few of our more colorful adventures, like the Outer Banks and colorful Key West and the post about the maddening butterflies.

I’ve also started the “Loose Watercolor” class with Steve Griggs, another who knows his way around the color wheel. Check out his website here. One of the great things about that class is that it’s on Zoom, so NO ONE can see what I’m painting, or rather the mess I’m making, so it’s 100% stress-free. Super fun. 

The “Food and Culture” class with Chef Larry Canepa was only three weeks, so that one’s finished. Here’s his website, including recipes. Yay! His visual aids were a feast of color, especially yesterday, when he talked about herbs and spices. Reminded me of a great little restaurant we enjoyed in La Rochelle in 2017 with Tom and Lexi. I’m afraid his spice photos were way cooler than anything I have on hand, so you’ll have to use your imagination (or maybe stay tuned, if the photography class goes well). 

My life is very much about reading and writing, so literally black and white much of the time. I have to lift my eyes from the page to notice and appreciate all the color around me, but it’s worth it every time I do. 

Beckett appreciates his fall leaves in a slightly different manner.

Beckett enjoying the leaves – October 2021 – Photo credit: Jennifer Mosley (his nanny) 

What a great gift color is. I’ve tried to give you about as much of it as I can fit into one post, but I hope you get out and savor the real thing in nature, even if you, like Beckett, prefer rolling on the ground to unleash the full joy of the moment. Enjoy!