• On Writing

    How the Things we Keep, Keep Us

    May 12, 1974 “Dearest Jody, I’m writing you today to say, “I’m glad I’m your mom.” I am now, and always have been, so proud of you, Jo. Can’t remember a single moments’ “trouble” that you’ve ever been in or any periods of anxiety that you have caused. Sure there were minutes of panic…like the time Colleen hit you with the baseball bat. But so far as the really important things like your character and independence and industriousness are concerned, you’ve never caused me any doubts. With much love, Mom” ~~~~~~~~~~ As a newly retired teacher—first Fall without students—woohoo!—I can FINALLY get to some gargantuan projects that I’ve wanted to…

  • On Writing

    How to Hear God’s Voice (& maybe your own)

    The weekend of October 16-18, 2016, was a Heaven-come-to-earth occasion at ‘Dwell’, an intimate (5 of us) Writer’s Retreat co-led with my friend Kimberlee Ireton. We ‘Glory Writers’ camped in Psalm 37 for the weekend, particularly verses 3-7, and meditated on all those verbs–‘Trust’ ‘Delight’ ‘Commit’ ‘Rest’ and the tough-to-do ‘Fret not.’ “Dwell” means to stay where you are so you can hear what you need. Here’s what I heard when I returned home. Pushing the patio chair into place undercover, I scan the deck for my little table. I want to sit a while and take advantage of the peace and quiet to listen. Not read my Bible, read a…

  • On Writing

    "Vanna, I Have no Vowels" & why we need Words with Friends

    My four siblings and I were raised by a scrappy, resourceful mom who loved words. Dad was around, too; he was into crossword puzzles–the Sunday New York Times. In ink–and taught us to play Scrabble. When my mom wanted to keep the five of us out of her hair, she’d grab 5 small slips of paper, write a jumble of letters on each one and hand it to us with a, “Go figure out this word!” to give her a few moments of peace. My siblings and I have been playing word games ever since. Words with Friends is the online/phone app of choice now that we’re separated by many…

  • On Writing

    That September Day

       The soft and subtle glow of the sun sits right side of my shoulder. Bumper by bumper, we move at a close and constant pace while I relish the music washing over me. Grateful to not be harried and hurrying homeward,  I turn up the volume and conduct the air while I make the most of the slow wheels, asphalt-wise. The twang of guitar, the soft snare and notes weave together, while a piano taps out a tune as if played by a nimble kitten.  A single voice enters the song, sending me back to a time when my mother sang these very same words. That was a long…

  • On Writing

    That Still, Small Voice

    One of the best things about teaching Elementary School as a substitute teacher is hanging out with second graders (my favorite grade–innocent, love their teachers, AND they can usually tie their shoes). The other thing about Second Grade is that every February pretty much every teacher talks about penguins.  Were it not for this exposure to the subject, I would not be aware of the fact there are 17 different species of penguins in the world. Seventeen. Each one is a remarkable display of God’s creativity–from fin size to breeding habits to habitat.  Penguins are amazing creatures. Because of the documentary ‘March of the Penguins’, a life cycle depiction of…

  • On Writing

    Discovering Dreams {on #Writing}

    It’s only March and my rhubarb is unfurling. In the frozen, snow-covered parts of the country, Spring is only a word on a page somewhere near March 21st, but it has hit full force (early) here in the Pacific Northwest. The rhubarb is pretty lonely. I had grand plans to get some spinach seeds in the ground last month but well, here it is March….  I have been pining over seedlings and seed catalogs since early December. Nothing got ordered. No trips to the neighborhood nursery for the newest and best.  So many good ideas. So much work.  The stray sweet pea seeds have already started twirling in the soil,…

  • My Poems,  On Writing

    Bird Seed–Twitter Poems

    Tweetspeak Poetry, the fullsome webspace curated by the gifted LL Barkat, was borne out of Twitter poems, concise lines of poetry confined to 140 characters. Note: these were written in 2014; Twitter now allows a whole 280 characters! Many of these lines are responses to photo prompts (‘Starry Night’ and so on), others just me trying to wrap words around my life. I was surprised at the freedom afforded by having the constraints of only 140 characters. Form forces function, maybe? ~~~~~~ Apr 29 Jump rope skipping wide door open fragrance wafting blue sky calling children laughing Spring kinda day.   Apr 21 (After Easter) The day is empty tomb…