Monday, March 23, 2009


Jude and I went back to the garden center this weekend to get seed starting medium and to visit the fairy garden again.  Okay, the real reason was to visit the fairy garden.  They have a pond in the center of the greenhouse and people have been throwing coins in for wishes.  I tried to explain to Jude the concept of a wish.  I said, "It is something you really, really want to happen."  I gave him a coin and I asked him, "so what do you really, really want?" He thought for a moment or so and got a big smile but said nothing.  So I asked again, "what do you really, really want?"  In his sweet little boy voice he said, "to throw it."

"When you love someone, all your saved-up wishes start coming out." ~Elizabeth Bowen

Friday, March 20, 2009

purse obsession and alter egos

Two nights ago I woke up at 2:00am and could not get a purse out of mind that I had seen earlier in the day surfing the blogs.  I lay in bed thinking of coordinating fabrics that might work.  It’s a general rule for me that if I get out of bed I will most likely not fall back to sleep.  But I couldn’t resist.  I had an incredible thirst and decided that I had to go downstairs to get a drink.  I felt like Jude who always needs to pee or get a drink right after I’ve finally gotten him in the bed.   

I slipped downstairs and started ripping through my fabric stash.  Several minutes later, I was satisfied enough to head back upstairs.   I actually had to wait two days before I could get started on sewing the purse.  But today was the perfect day to sew.  I didn’t have anything I needed to do today, and it was cool again. 

I used this free pattern for the purse, and surprisingly for me didn’t do much to alter it.  Rae, the pattern maker, was kind enough to return my email when I had a question regarding the use of interfacing.  I did decide to use interfacing because I used a rather light weight cotton.  I didn’t include an interior pocket because I didn’t have enough of the fabric I wanted to use for it.  The pattern and directions were easy to follow.  Let me know what you think.

I used Japanese prints for the main body of the purse and for the top and strap.

I used another Japanese print sort of a retro floral for the interior.

While I was happily sewing away, Jude cut out paper shirts and pants.  That was until boredom overcame him.  At that point he adopted an alter ego, who took the form of a puppy puppet, aka Clifford the big brown dog.  Puppy pretty much destroyed my house, upsetting boxes of blocks and clearing bookshelves of the books.  Puppy got a time out (i.e., was put up on the topshelf of the bookcase).  After a while, Jude said, “Puppy is listening now.”  And thankfully the purse was done.

"May your bobbin always be full!" 

Monday, March 16, 2009

we're doing it again!

Even though by calendar spring does not officially start for another week, I think I witnessed the first contractions of spring yesterday. I was spending a lazy day nursing a chocolate induced headache by relaxing outside by the creek and soaking in the glorious sun. Everywhere I looked there were signs that spring was definitely on the way. Small flies were stretching their wings along the creek bank. They looked like tiny snowflakes only they were moving in the wrong direction.

When I finally got recharged enough to move…I ventured out to garden to discover these…

Earlier these crocuses were enticing honey bees

And these…

Baby bee balm

What you can't see in this picture is the lovely sounds of water rushing over rocks and birds singing their sunny song...

My favorite view of the creek 

I feel like the whole world is saying, “We’re doing it again!” which is very close to the way a friend of mine recently announced her pregnancy. It feels like nature is pregnant right now and just about ready to burst. We are all anxiously awaiting the arrival!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

unexpected generosity

Saturday afternoon, Jude and I went into town to do some shopping. Our first stop was the garden center to look at their amazing spring exhibit in the greenhouse…a fairy garden complete with a waterfall and pond. I love fairy gardens and have a plan for my own one day (more on that once it actually manifests). Jude was enamored with the little fairies and miniature scenes of the garden. But he was completely captivated by the webkinz animals inside the store. I told him I didn’t have the money for an animal (which was the truth) and reminded him of the mountains of stuffed animals we had at home, but he was not satisfied. He left the garden center crying.

Our next stop was the discount grocery store. I only had a few items to get and we were back out in the parking lot in no time. I was trying my best to keep Jude from falling out of the cart and unload our groceries into our car, when the people who parked next to us approached. The passenger, an older woman, stood watching us. I thought that she was waiting to get by the cart which was parked between the two cars. Even though my thought was “how much room do you need?” I managed a smile and scooted the cart over as far as I could. She approached Jude and slipped $5 into his coat pocket and said “you buy a treat”. I looked up and shamefully said, “thank you.” And she said “I love to spoil children.”

I put Jude in his car seat and pulled the money out of his pocket. I showed it to him (because I don’t really think he understood what happened). I told him that the woman had given him this money and he could do whatever he wanted with it. At this point, I was prepared to drive back to the garden center because after all fate was obviously on Jude’s side this day. So I asked him, “What do you want to do with this money?” Maybe it was the way I worded the question, but I was surprised by the answer.

In his tiniest little boy voice with the biggest grin on his face, he said, “Give it to daddy.” I asked him if he was sure. He continued to talk about it on the way home. He said, “When we get home we need to go over to Daddy’s shop so I can give him this money.” And he fell asleep holding the money in his hand.

When he woke up, he cried out, “Daddy! Daddy! Daddy!”

"Money is like manure; it's not worth a thing unless it's spread around encouraging young things to grow." ~ Thorton Wilder

Sunday, March 8, 2009

lovin this...

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

late winter tanka

white patches march
up north face of mountain
transform into clouds
escaping terrestrial grasp
to join snow geese in flight

Monday, March 2, 2009

tackling wisdom

I was running Friday morning up on the mountain near my house. It was foggy and cool. The ground was sloshy with brown mud and I had to dodge islands of slushy ice, but I was really loving it all and so was my dog Sophie. She is a great excuse to go up on the mountain. We both thrive up there.

The mountain is a sacred place. I am lighter when I run there. I have clarity that I do not have anywhere else in my day to day life. I find the deeper meaning to little things that happen in my life. Layers of craziness fade softly. Issues seem to get resolved effortlessly. Buried emotions bubble up and escape. I dream, sing songs, and fly. Sophie just runs in loops that intersect the road I am running on but spends most of her time in the forest that flanks each side of the road.

As I have been wrestling with the thought of a new direction for my life, I have been praying for Wisdom. The Bible says you have to go after Wisdom. You have to seek Her out. Sophie is named after Sophia, which is Greek for Wisdom. Wisdom is the feminine aspect of God. I have been seeking out Wisdom for many, many years. At times more so than others, but always seeking out Wisdom for my life as a lot of people do I suppose. And this day was no different. My time running on the mountain is a physical prayer. For some reason, my connection to God is most direct when I am moving through space and time in a physical way. I guess my motor has to be running for my heart to listen.

On this particular morning, my heart was filled with angst over the subbing job that was looming in the ever near future. With a clarity that I really can’t explain in words, I realized that I was facing the same choice that I made 6 years ago when I went back to work after my son Bennett was born. I always regretted that I chose fear over finances over my son. Yet, here I was again making the same choice. Only there were a few differences. Our financial situation is much, much worse than it was 6 years ago. Jude is older than Bennett. This position is temporary.

Nevertheless, I realized there was no way that I could take this job. Mainly because it was fear that was driving my choice. How could one be passionate about subbing in a high school for 8 weeks? Well, maybe if I had no experience teaching I might be itching for my chance to run the show. But that is not my situation at all. I am completely impassionate about teaching in a public school right now.

The only reason I even considered it was for the money. When I first started teaching, I didn’t care at all about the money. Genesis 41 even made me more focused on that fear, and ultimately (I can be a little slow) I realized the reason I was to read it was to illuminate that piece of the picture for me. And then I thought that God made it so easy because there was some reason for me to be there. Well, I’m sure there was because God will use you where ever you are willing to be used. But God doesn’t need me to do anything that needs to be done. It was all ego.

Passion should drive your choices. I have learned this so many different times and so many different ways. Without passion you might as well be dead. And that morning I had already written in my journal “I’m choosing the world over heaven, and I am slowly dying this way.”

What I am passionate about is writing and creating. And those would be shoved to the back burner of my uncle’s stove (who lives in Oregon) if I were to suddenly be away from home for 50 hours while expounding my vast knowledge of natural selection and ecological principals like old forest succession to teenagers who could care less when the sun is shining and they need to get a tan for the prom.

I was finally jerked out of this quagmire of my mind at about the halfway point of my planned run, when we ran into a friend of my husband’s, Steve. Steve is the quintessential outdoorsman. The bumper sticker on the back of his truck reads “Guns are dangerous. The only thing more dangerous is not having them.” And he had his in a green carrying case on his left arm over his camouflage coat. He had his two Springer Spaniels with him. One was on a leash and the other was loose. Sophie went up to the leashed dog and got all bristled up. I went to grab her and she slipped away. About that time, the other dog charged out of the woods and barked and growled at Sophie. Sophie grabbed her face in her jaws. And instinctively, I grabbed Sophie’s snout and pulled her away. I straddled her, and she actually bucked me like a steer. I was thrown a couple of times, before I realized I was going to get killed that way. So I tackled her and pinned her to the ground.

Steve just stood there watching me, and asked “Do you want a leash?” He tossed me a leash and took his dogs down the road. I laid there on top of Sophie for a long while. The ground was wet and our hearts were racing. Breath after breath I tried to regain some control and peace. Finally, I felt it was safe to get up and continue with the run in the opposite direction from Steve, the way I intended to go in the first place.

I asked for some understanding of why the altercation occurred. I realized that I acted very brave in the situation. I was strong. I wasn’t afraid. I was alive. I tackled Wisdom. And She showed me not to fear the narrow path. Don’t overthink. Just be. Trust. Love. Simple messages that are difficult to hear over incessant clattering of an overactive mind.

I felt so good the rest of the run. Even though the mist turned to steady light rain and my clothes were soaked and covered with mud, I felt good. Why did this feel so good? Every cell in my body felt alive again, and I was free.

I continued running tethered to Sophie via the borrowed leash. Thinking about the new found clarity with my job situation, I kept Sophie in check by dangling the end of the leash in front of her. I started to think about the things that I could do if I didn’t take the job in April. I was flooded with relief that I could still choose not to take the job. That freedom felt so good. And finally a thought occurred to me, “what the hell let her off the leash.”

Wisdom is radiant and unfading,
She is easily discerned by those who love Her,
She is found by those who seek Her.
She hastens to make Herself known to those who desire Her.
One who rises early to seek Her will have no difficulty,
She will be found sitting at the gate.
To fix one’s thoughts on Her is perfect understanding,
and one who is vigilant on Her account will soon be free from care,
She goes about seeking those worthy of Her,
She graciously appears to them in their paths,
She meets them in every thought.

~From this Liturgy of Wisdom