Thursday, February 27, 2014

A John Denver Frame of Mind

I woke up today in a John Denver frame of mind.  As I showered, I had to sing “Take Me Home Country Roads,” a song I love and that I had heard this past week at my friend Barb’s funeral memorial.  Then I tried to sing my favorite song of John’s, “Back Home Again.” Only I couldn’t.  I could only remember the tune and just a few of the words.
This wasn’t good enough.  I was in the John Denver mood, and I had to hear the song.  I found my phone, pulled up YouTube and soon I was singing along to “Back Home Again.” All the words came flooding back.  “A fire is softly burning, supper’s on the stove.” “It’s the light in your eyes that keeps me warm.”  “Oh, the times that I could lay this tired old body down, and feel your fingers, feather soft upon me.”  “The happiness that livin’ with you brings me.”
I love all these lines.  They make me feel happy, wistful and sad all at the same time.
They remind me of times past, times that may not have existed and times that truly did.  Just like seeing Barb’s smiling face in the pictures at her memorial reminded me of the times that we had laughed together, gone dancing, wrote, ate wonderful meals, dreamed and cried together. Where have those times gone?
People used to bash John Denver and his songs.  They called him sappy, sentimental, na├»ve.  Dorky. They said he’d smoked too much of that wacky weed.  They may still say the same things; I don’t know.
I do know that when I listen to his songs, I hear a celebration of everyday life.  The simple life. Supper on the stove. Lying in bed with arms around your loved one.  Thinking of home and longing to be there. Sitting around a campfire with friends and loved ones.
I remember my Grandma Fields who always had supper cooking on the stove. Of Mom and Dad and my sister.  Of cousins, aunts and uncles, all of whom are gone now.
I remember those days when my daughters were little and I was the one with supper on the stove.
And aren’t those times and that life what most people really want? Even the cynics? They may not believe that it is possible—and still they have that longing inside. That longing to be taken home, to that place where we belong.
So today I sing John Denver, thinking what a loss his death brought, and remembering the life that he sang about—life, abundant life, with our senses alive and filled up and bursting with the joy of it all. It’s good to be reminded that we should enjoy it while we can. And to let the tears flow when they need to.
Lately I have been living under a dark cloud—feeling sad and despairing for no reason--and it has been compounded by the cold, snow, and cloudy days, by the deaths of people who entered my life while we were young.
But today, I woke up to sunshine and daylight earlier than it has been. And John Denver reminded me of the bittersweet joy of living life.  Of the sunshine, green grass, family and friends that still fill my life and the lives of my living family and friends.

He reminds me that one thing I can wish for those people is an ordinary day, a day just like today.  Filled with our ordinary lives, lives that we may take for granted, yet, when we really look at those lives, they are amazing.  They can fill up our senses and lift our spirits.
So that is what I wish for all of you.  A John Denver kind of day, a day just like today, a day with sunshine on your shoulders and the light in someone’s eyes to keep you warm.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Thankful Thursday--a few days late!

Note: I wrote the following entry on Thursday, then Blogger wouldn't let me post anything.  It kept saying "Error on page."  I had made some changes to my layout, so I thought that I had done something wrong.  Finally, tonight (Sunday), I thought to try loading this through FireFox rather than my usual Internet Explorer.  And it seems to be working!
So, even thought it is now Sunday evening, I am still thankful for all these things and more! Here is my original entry:
So far my plans to post more frequently haven’t developed.  Life just seems to be so hectic right now—I remember the title of that movie/song/book? “Stop the World, I Want To Get Off!”  That’s sort of the way things are right now.
So what am I thankful for in the middle of the hustle-bustle?
·        We bought a used car last week, so we are now officially a two-car family again!  After several years of trying to make our car be in two places at once, we can now drive independently.
·        I spent a lovely afternoon with my sister-friend, my nephew and his family this week—lots of fun and reminiscing.
·        Seeing our five-month-old grandson smile when I babble to him.
·        Pinterest
·        Libraries
·        Books of all kinds!
·        Writing in a group—I find our group writing practice/journaling group to be healing and rejuvenating.
·        Ice cream on a hot day!
How about you—what are you thankful for?

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Thankful Thursday

Thankful Thursday seems like a good day to jump back in to blogging. I’ve continued to read other blogs, and be disappointed when other people quit blogging—yet I haven’t taken the next step and written anything for my own blog.

Enough procrastinating!

Here are some things I’m thankful for today.

• Today is the first day of my week-long vacation.

• The weather outside has been perfect for two days now—sunshine, a slight breeze, low humidity and temps in the high 70s. My ideal day!

• My blood pressure seems to be under control, and my energy is coming back.

• I have so many wonderful blogs to read.

• I was able to spend time in the library today.

• And it has been an all-around good day!

Hopefully, more entries will follow soon!

Until next time,


Wednesday, August 3, 2011

What’s Your Story?

What's Your Story?

This is a question that Patti Digh asked us during a recent day long writing workshop. What is your story? How do you become aware of your story, and then how do you change it if you need to or want to?

We all tell ourselves stories. Everyone does. All the time. We don't think of them as stories; we think of them as the truth, the way things are. We assume that everyone would say the same thing about the facts, the circumstances, the life. Yet we all choose what to say, how to say it, what voice to say it in, what to include and what to omit. Because we believe it, we tell it. And sometimes, because we tell it, we believe it. It works both ways.

To illustrate what beliefs might be driving us, Patti had us tell the story of our writing life in different voices. Pairing with a partner, one person was the speaker and one was the listener. We told our writing story as ourselves, as a five-year old, as a CEO, and as a successful, New York Times Bestseller author.

I heard how the story changed according to the speaker. I heard my five-year old talk about slights that I thought were laid aside years ago and how she doesn't like to be made fun of. My CEO surprised me the most—she delegates her writing life and lets other people write the blogs—she reads them and says, "That says it exactly!" My bestselling author talked more about hanging out with other authors than she did about writing.

Well, well, well. That is interesting!

Try the exercise. You may be surprised at what you discover. For myself, I'm going to stop delegating my writing so much, and sit down and give voice, my own voice, to what I want to say. I'm going to keep asking myself what story I'm telling in other areas of my life—not just the writing stories, but the weight stories, the housekeeping stories, the love stories, the relationship stories, etc.

How about you? What's your story?

Friday, March 18, 2011

What I Am Reading

This post is actually pretty much a comment that I left on Gigi Thibodeau's new writing blog, The Magpie's Pen. After I commented, I decided it was long enough to be a blog post on it's own, with a few more details added! Be sure to check out both of Gigi's blogs, The Magpie's Fancy and The Magpie's Pen—they are both beautiful, well written, interesting blogs.

Right now I'm reading The Distant Hours by Kate Morton. It's a British novel, reminiscent of the Gothic novels I read as a younger person, and the heroines are also writers—I'm enjoying it. I should finish it tonight—the scariest part is coming up, I think!

I'm also reading a book called The Art of Attention by Donald Revell. This one is deep—I read a bit and then have to ponder. I love the book—it's about paying attention to the world as a way of finding poetry and the Divine. Excellent book.

I also have more in the series about writing called The Art of…; I think I have The Art of Syntax, by Ellen Bryant Voigt and The Art of Description, by Mark Doty, in my stack, thanks to Interlibrary Loan. I love Interlibrary Loan—it allows me to read almost any book that my heart desires, if I am willing to wait a bit. And since there are many more books in The Art of series, I have a lot to look forward to.

I 'm also reading One Thousand Gifts, by Ann Voskamp . Yes, I read multiple books at a time—something for every mood! Voskamp writes about being thankful for everything as a way of finding and loving God. The book is prose, but she is definitely a poet. Her writing is breathtaking—as a matter of fact, thinking about her way of writing led me to thinking about syntax, and then the book The Art of Syntax came into my attention—synchronicity!

And these aren't including the other books stacked around the house—from the library, from friends, or my own books. Books I've dipped into enough to know I want to finish reading them, yet I haven't started yet.

It was a sobering realization when one day I realized that no matter how much I read I would never be able to read everything in the world—or even everything in my own house—let alone all the new books that are being written every day! Oh, that is so sad to think! Still, I am going to give it my best shot! I read every spare moment that I get. How about you?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Are you wearing green today? I am. This is the day I claim my Irish ancestry, even though I don't know for sure that I have any. My sister and I decided we had to be Irish though, with a redheaded dad and with our own dark hair and white white skin. We used to joke that we never tanned—we just went outside to take the blue out of our skin!

I love all things Irish and would love to visit there someday. I have a collection of books by Niall Williams and Christine Breen about moving to Ireland. They wrote O Come Ye Back to Ireland, The Luck of the Irish, When Summer's in the Meadow, and The Pipes Are Calling—I think I have them all! All these books chronicle their lives in Ireland. Williams is a writer and Breen paints. They left their jobs and lives in New York City to move to County Clare in western Ireland with the romantic notion that they could pursue their writing and painting full time. Once they arrive, the reality of living in a situation that requires effort and energy just to provide survival sustenance changes their plans somewhat. The books tell their stories of learning how to live and thrive.

If you get a chance, read the books. Or, even better—let's go to Ireland! Until then, here's the top-o-the-morning to ya! Have a wonderful day!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Happy Birthday, Shirley!

Today is my cousin Shirley's birthday. I haven't seen her in a long time. We used to play together all the time. We played paper dolls, dolls, house, tag, and hide and seek. When we got a little older, we danced. We would turn the stereo up as loud as it would go; it vibrated the house. We would dance to "South Street" and any and all variations of the Twist. Sometimes the boys from her neighborhood would watch us through the window; we always pretended that we didn't see them. Until we wanted to talk to them, then Shirley would screech, "Go away!" and we would run to the front door. Then the boys came to the door to talk with us. We thought we were so sophisticated!

Sometimes we would play hairdresser. I always wanted to do this, and yet I had absolutely no talent for it. Shirley would do my hair; it looked great. I would do her hair, and it was always a disaster! She finally quit playing this game with me!

March is the month for family birthdays. My sister, my older daughter, my husband, my cousin, my sister-in-law, one of my brothers-in-law—I'm sure there are more if I pull up my memory or my birthday list. It's a good month for a birthday—the beginning of spring, blossoming flowers, the greening grass. So, Happy Birthday, Shirley! May your new year be filled with goodness, fun and someone to share good times!