Blackbird Take Your Broken Wings and Fly

blackbird song

  Listen to Blackbird

Click and Close your eyes.

Let Miss Farris hug you with hope.

What If Wednesday

What if change insisted on a
different road?

A Different Road

Finding Grace in the 5-a-day challenge

5 a day
I am finding grace in vegetables and fruits. Let me explain…Part of the wellness program here at “the” hospital involves 30-day challenges; last month was water. We had to drink a swimming pool of it.

This month it is 5 fruits and veggies per day. This is getting a little burdensome for me as I rarely eat 5 servings of anything that doesn’t end in “ocolate”. There is a swirling whirlpool of things for me to remember and adding 5 fruits and vegetables every day for everyday has almost maxed-out my capacity for obsession.

The burden was especially poignant last night at 11:30, when I bolted straight up out of a ColinFirth dream and screamed,

“I only got 4!”

I slid, baggy sox and baggy-eyed across a newly waxed kitchen floor to the ice box, grabbed and devoured, a cup of carrots like a dog attacking a can of Alpo.

 {Closed-caption for the decade-impaired: 11:30pm is late night for those of us who work for a living. Ice box is another name for the appliance that holds the tofu, leftover Chinese, and also, in my case, cans of tennis balls.}

I approached this consumption problem with the trial-and-error of a scientist in a Mel Brooks’ movie. The answer: Smoothies!!! These two little smoothies are making it easier for me, 

Kale Apple Smoothie: Kale, of course being the latest IT vegetable.


Carrot-Pineapple Smoothie: a little taste of the islands when I add a tiny paper umbrella

Looking at the ingredients, I think I can get credit for two each, because if I ate everything separately, it would count for two.

Both were easy to make and I thought they tasted swell. But I also taught in a public high school for 17 years so my threshold of comfort may be a little suspect.

To gain perspective, I enlisted the help of two friends.

My friend, Clarice visited from California via Skype. She “loved/loved/loved” both smoothies but she is a turbo~vegetarian of the “don’t eat anything with a mother” tribe so, admittedly, she is a little partial to rooted things.

My other friend who came over in person for the taste test wants to be Anonymous, because perhaps she may also be a hospital employee.

Anonymous took one sip, wrinkled her nose, went to the freezer, retrieved then proceeded to put a scoop of Haagen-Daas vanilla-bean ice cream in each glass. She took a judicious gulp, and pronounced both drinks a success. Anonymous is a carnivore but gets queasy during NCIS, just so you have full disclosure.

And Anonymous is going to count them for 3. Each. Challenges like these bring out the crazy accounting side of us all.

So today, she is strutting around like a banty-rooster because she tallied 6 total for today. There was a tiny piece of kale in her tooth. Think I’ll wait just a bit to tell her. After I finish my apple.



I Come to Pray but Sit in Silence

Is there an i in Escape?

Another personal icon in my life fell this week in a crushing torrent of rage. A surprise to my ego since this icon, This Voice,  did damage so close to the bone of my identity. So close to the identity I thought defined me, since I had inherited parts of it.  So surprising the suddenness of the quake of it.

And all I wanted to do was escape. Run. Leave.

And keep going. Keep walking. Away.

I retreated as far as the job listings in a familiar place. And there was one. There always is. And a friend there too. And an invitation.

To escape. But escape is a gilded temptation. Because when I escape, I take myself. And my problems. And my fears.

“Only leave when the crisis has passed and things are calm,” the mentor once said.

I remember those wise words now. And that is the wonder of it.So, what? So, what now?

From my memory, something familiar develops, fuzzy at first before Polaroid-clarity.  

Return to the basics. “Watch the ball,” the good coach would say. “See it meet the strings of your racket. See it until your focus slows it down. Breathe through your shot. Good. Do it again. And again. 100 forehands. 100 backhands. 100 overheads. 100 volleys-each side. 100 serves. 100 lobs.
Always end with the lobs, because they take the most patience.”

And fast forward to today~~Return to the Basics: Stay Present. Breathe Deeply. Return to Water: drink it, submerge in it, splash in it, soak in it, let the tears remain from it. Return to what God says about me. Remember my identity in Him.

He will carry the lambs in his arms, holding them close to his heart. Isaiah 40:11

and the paradox
Ann Voskamp

Return to Gratitude and the wonder and truth that you and I are here because of grace .
And the escape comes in what The Father is making new.

This song is a gift for the escapee in me: Click to listen: Solid Ground by Shelly Moore Band


To read Ann Voskamp’s entire post, with her quote included, please gently click here.

A Word From My Sponsor

Titus 3 7

Saturday Hike

wendell berry poem

Poem I by Wendell Berry, layout by helen

Day 1~ Joy~Serenity Triggers: the Dance of Smiles

things that bring me joy

created by me :)

Just so happens that yesterday was the day for my speech-ette to our local Women’s Club. My topic was “Laughter is the Best Vitamin.” Because of Grace, yesterday was also the day that my teacher, Amanda from the “Be Gentle, Be Love” ecourse at KindOverMatter suggested that we pay attention to smiling. (I agreed since one look at my budget could testify that “attention” was about the only thing I could pay.) Ba-dum-dum.

The reason “Laughter is the Best Vitamin” instead of the best “medicine” is that Vitamins Enrich. Vitamins Strengthen. Vitamins help us Prevail. So does laughter and laughter’s warm-up act: the smile. :) Babies smile and laugh long before they speak. It ALL begins with a smile. :)

bree Here is Bree. Bree is the granddaughter of my friend, Sissy. Please
use your keen interpersonal skills and your powers of intuition and
guess Bree’s mood. {gentle poke in your ribs}

Amanda writes, “The sincerest of smiles is a smile that swims up into your eyes because it is involuntary. Think of the smiling eyes of a child, the way they look up at you, their eyes like two yellow suns in the morning.”

We respond immediately and rampantly to the smiles of a baby, any baby. We see, and more infectiously, feel, a baby’s smile. We mirror the smile back to the receiving baby.

And the dance of smiles triggers joy and serenity.

Sometimes joy is not permenant. It can be a struggle to maintain.
Returning to Paul Coelho’s words, “Joy is sometimes a blessing, but often it is a conquest.”

What do you see in the eyes of a smiling child? Can you see yourself mirrored there?


Read more about Joy from another wise woman named Amanda at Persistent Green

Be Gentle Be Love Invitation


ruby and iris

Ruby and Iris last spring, 2010

Lately, I find myself gazing at the iris reeds, waiting for them to blossom and wanting to blossom right along with them. It has been a season of winter decay for awhile now.
I reason, if time, our clocks, and the iris get to spring forward, I would like to as well. In this spirit, the spirit of “vintage dog learns new tricks,” I am taking my first ever e-course on art and ideas and expression. I am pretty sure that I will be the oldest learner; but I am ready to blossom just as the iris.

be gentle be love

Perhaps you also are ready to blossom too. If so, please join me~~~the course is called “Be Gentle, Be Love: 30 Days to Cultivating Your Virtues with Creativity” ~~~isn’t that an inviting title? There is also this wish from the course facilitator, Amanda: Learn the craft of knowing how to open your heart & to turn on your creativity. There’s a light inside of you.

Daily ecourse resources will include:
  • one virtue to concentrate on focus virtues
  • one of Amanda’s original photographs
  • an inspirational quote
  • a little about the virtue
  • exercises to help you muse on & strengthen the virtue
  • 5-10 art, photography & writing prompts that are bound to ignite your creativity, which in turn, will gear you toward being more prolific in your craft – be it art, photography or your blog content
  • bonus links to outside sources that you can read, watch, download or craft
What I love is that it is gently structured, but go-at-your-own-pace. There is also a private Facebook and group. And something also about “tweeting”
To investigate further, visit the Kind Over Matter blog or use the direct link to the course here:

If You Are Going Through Hurdles Right Now…

Sometimes encouragement arrives with a wink and a smile…I opened my email and here was a wish from my friend of 30 years, Vicente:

Wednesday Wonder…

I Wonder:

Is “synchronicity” the antiseptic word we use when we do not want to embrace the intimacy of grace?

A Rich Tapestry

diversity makes a rich tapestry


Engage the Truth, Become an Adventurer

Become Willing

Carefully Think of Solutions

Carefully think of solutions to the problems you face.

Once in a small village, there was a farmer who owed a large sum of money to a very ugly, old man. The farmer had a very pretty daughter that the old lender was sweet on, so the lender proposed a deal. He said he would erase the debt if he could marry the man’s daughter. 

Both the farmer and his daughter were horrified about this proposition. So the lender suggested that chance should determine the outcome of his proposition. 

He told them he would put two pebbles, one black and one white, in an empty money bag. The daughter would pick, without looking, one of the two pebbles. The old lender was excited about the possibilities:

1.)    If she picks a black pebble, she must marry me; and her father’s debt is eliminated…
2.)    If she picks the white pebble, she doesn’t hae to marry me and the debt is also eliminated…
3.)    If she refuses to pick a pebble, her father will go to jail. 

This discussion was taking place on the roar in front of the farmer’s house and the raod was paved with pebbles. While speaking, the old lender leaned forward and picked up two pebbles. As he was picking them up, the daughter noticed that he had picked up two black pebbles and put them in the money bag. But, she said nothing.

The old lender asked the daughter to pick a pebble out of the bag. The daughter had three choices:

  1. Refuse to pick a pebble and her father goes to jail
  2. Pick out both pebbles and reveal that the old lender cheated
  3. Pick a black pebble and sacrifice herself by marrying the old man and save her father from imprisonment.

What would you suggest she do? 
Continue reading

Feed Your Healing

Feed even the dimmest inkling of healing with lavish praise and support.
~Carol Orsborn, The Art of resilience

A Word From My Sponsor

Psalm 62:5

Saturday Digest-March 19…Because of Grace

I shall rest while amidst the busyness… and …cut the strings of rush and dash. To read the rest of this poem, 
gently click here   

 Stop waiting for your big chance to arrive. To read the rest of this post, gently click here  

Such a gifted writer, Jen Lee,  writes as if she can see into my life. She writes about finding “gifts in surprising places and help from unexpected sources, to hibernate, to create, to say a hundred words and behold a hundred silences”  and this gem “To feel grace falling on my cheeks like that pretty kind of snow”
To read more, gently click here 

Beautiful necklaces with essential reminders:

My “unanswered questions cause me to seek God more”…To read the rest of this poem, gently click here 

Healing Music Video

Take a break and absorb the words and music in this video.

VÉRTICE – Oceans from the Rain – Seventh day Slumber from Vertice Let’s do it on Vimeo.

The Moment True Healing Begins

The very moment you begin making choices with integrity is the moment that true healing begins. From that instant on, although external outcomes may continue to unfold as the consequences of what has been set in motion, inner failures are somehow mitigated. Responding to the need deep in your soul, every step forward will be an occasion to rejoice. ~Carol Orsborn, the Art of resilience

Favorite Irish Proverb

People live in each other’s shelter

Imagine my surprise at the message of this video that echoes my favorite Irish proverb.

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