Thursday, July 9, 2015

tip of the hat




I miss polite society.  
I wish men still wore hats.  
And not baseball caps turned backwards or sideways.  
I wish men wore hats that they would tip at you and say 
"Good Morning, Ma'am."

Ma'am.
Hats tipping.
Gentlemen.

Oh goodness.
Tell me where they have gone.



Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Just Now :: 7.8.15





in my belly:  granola cereal (girls aren't home, mama is not making dinners)
out the window: hydrangeas in bloom
in my ears:  Heartbeats by Jose Gonzalez, never tire of this song
by my bedside: Amity & Sorrow by Peggy Riley
watching: Enough Said, love movies with realistic characters, made me laugh out loud
wishing: for a getaway, but that's a bit far off
feeling: lost without my girls
learning: to strike up a daily writing regimen
loving: my little foster kittens, and hoping they find furrever homes soon


the love list:
this recipe, so easy, and perfect for summer
this list of books
this photo, because gosh i love the royals
this is still one of my favorite kittencam moments ever
really, really want to see this movie
if it's summer, why am i thinking about christmas


Tuesday, July 7, 2015

writing awakened




Here she was.

It was supposed to be a writing prompt.

A flash fiction to get the juices flowing.

From the photo I found above.

Then I remembered an idea I had scribbled before.

Then I heard this song.

I posted these words from the song on the wall.

  My actual wall above my desk.


And I've been up for two nights clipping other photos and hanging.
Inspiration. Guides.
And writing....actually writing.
Not developing characters.
Not fighting with an outline.
Just writing.


Mix one part nature.
One part solitude.
One part soul searching.
and finish with a love story.


I feel like I have been reawakened.




Monday, July 6, 2015

silent house





I'm not used to no one being here.  I always think I will revel in the quiet until it is just too quiet.  My girls have been gone five days, another seven days until they return.  I am a little lost without them. The house feels frighteningly big.  I try to remember those days I would hold my head and wish for solitude.  Solitude, your tricky thing you.  I make the most of it, knowing it's a tiny glimpse of what is to come.


Monday, June 8, 2015

Just Now :: June 8, 2015




current time: frantic morning
in my belly: scrambled eggs, eaten in a rush this morning, between feeding all the animals.
out the window: gray skies, hopefully clearing
in my ears:  morning prayers on the way to work from here.
by my bedside: The Apothecary by Maile Meloy, a recommendation from my daughter
watching: still trying to finish the last episode of Call The Midwife
wishing: for four day weekends, two for work, two for play
feeling: like things in my life are falling into place
learning: how to foster five scampy kittens, brought our first litter of four-week old kittens home Saturday to prepare for adoption.
good things:  tanned daughters that smell like sunscreen, fresh strawberries that fall right off the stem into your mouth, tiny kittens full of floof and purrs, freshly washed sheets, good friends who are always there to help out.


the love list:
book recommendations from parnassus
this blog i found via pinterest
these fried honey bananas
the story of this priest
never stop loving raffi
young girls and puppies learning together



Friday, May 22, 2015

the neglected house




I've neglected this space again.  The hazy windows are cracked and the ivy is climbing through. A layer of dust has collected over everything, cobwebs trail from the corners. If you step through the creaking door, there is a scuffling of something small in the corner, perhaps looking for a lost crumb that has been left behind.

That's how I see my blog right now.  Empty. Vacant. Forgotten. Forlorn.

The truth is I'm not sure what to make of this space right now.  It doesn't know what it wants to be and I hate to keep reinventing over and over as it makes me feel even more like the scatterbrain that I already know I am.

I'm tired of trying on personas that don't quite fit.
I'm tired of trying to think of ways to market to make something of myself.
I'm tired of giving up before I even get started.
And I'm terrified of making wrong decisions.
Hence the fits of starts and stops.

I'm discerning this year.
So many calls.
Which one is the right one?
Start. Stop. Start.

I know the end.  I can picture it in my mind.
But how to get there?
Especially since it is a road less traveled,
a road that thins out the closer I draw near
to the photo in my mind of pure happiness.

Perhaps that is the key.

Perhaps this place, this blog of mine
needs to be that picture in my mind.
Perhaps I need to see This Quiet House
as I have described it here.

Except to sweep out the dust and the cobwebs.
To open the windows, chase out the birds
that are living in the shadows
and let life breathe into it again.




Monday, April 27, 2015

out of balance




This is the same old story I have posted many times.

Out of balance.

Usually I feel it most on Monday mornings.

I wonder if I will ever remedy it.  No matter my intentions for a simple, quiet life there is always this feeling of imbalance and guilt.

Children, work, home, yard, animal care, personal care, spirituality.

I left my 14 year old home sick two days last week while I went to work and stayed home from work one day.  (guilt on both ends, guilt for leaving her on the days I went to work and guilt for not being at work the day I stayed home).  I work my rear off getting the house in order and then watch it be destroyed while my focus is elsewhere.  I'm managing my times with the girls and realized I've neglected the dog all day and haven't seen my Grandparents in two.  Last night we ate frozen pizza and box pasta salad standing up in the kitchen.  I can't tell you the last time I actually wrote anything, something I once felt passionate about.

And all the while smiling.

But behind that smile sometimes.

I am blessed.  I know there are single mothers working three jobs to make ends meet.  I am working one.  I know that sometimes there are no choices.  What is, simply is.

I don't have a terminal illness, or an abusive husband.  I know where our next meal is coming from and I don't worry about losing the roof over our heads.

But I am tired.  Oh so tired and sometimes feel like this was not the way it was intended.

But it is. Regardless.

A beautiful life.

No matter how out of balance it may feel.

I  keep trying to remind myself that and I try to push back that monster called guilt that constantly wants to whisper in my ear.  Everyone is safe.  Everyone is sleeping.  Everyone is fed.  Everyone feels loved,   A mantra for a life out of balance.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

twelve times two




We've reached twelve again.  Oh mothers complaining of the terrible two's wait until you get to twelve.  There is something about this age where the push really begins. And while I have weathered twelve once already, it doesn't take  the burn out of going through it again.  The one thing I learned from the first time is that it passes.  Now at fourteen my oldest is getting better, even actually closer though we still have our moments.  Now with the youngest at twelve we are back to the eye rolls, the "I know"s, the "I don't care"s and "This is stupid"s, and the disappearing into the bedroom for long periods of time.  I know what this is.  I know this is burgeoning womanhood.  I know this is hormones and testing boundaries and thinking for yourself.  I know, I've read the books.  I watched my oldest go through it.  It doesn't make it easier though when they turn against you.  When they hate you.  When you are "the meanest mother in the world".  But my dear friends whose girls are grown say that it passes.  The next day, you get them back even for just a little bit (whew) and by the time they walk out the door for good, you will miss them.  

Here's to the almost teenage girl.  May we love them through their hormones, their drama, their crazy skin and hair, their fluctuating moods, their obsessions, their vicious independence and their intense hatred.

And may we borrow their sparkly shoes to feed the birds after they leave for school.



Thursday, April 16, 2015

starting over again




that feeling when you find yourself all over again, right where you left yourself, but somehow better. after a period of quiet reflection, your true self emerges and all the voices go away except for that still one that was always right there waiting.





Monday, March 23, 2015

welcome spring!




Winter, she did not let go without one last dance, and what a beautiful one it was. Just enough to dot the sky with magic and cover the ground one last time in a blanket of white, but not enough to make driving treacherous for anyone, the roads remained clear.  

This morning, all is in thaw.  There is the steady crashing of clumps of heavy, wet snow from the holly tree branches as the birds come in and take off in their business.  It reminds me of the scene in Narnia where winter breaks and the world is new again.

I have to say I did enjoy this winter more than in years past.  Even so I did reach my breaking point a couple of weeks ago.  I was starting to daydream of green grass, and warm sunshine and breezes through open windows as I hunkered down, my shoulders stiffened from being pulled up around my ears for so long.

I have often said what a gift it is to live in a place that has seasons.  A place where just when you feel you cannot take the scorching heat or the winter chill any longer, Spring and Autumn arrive to save the day.

There is such a renewal to Spring.  To the warming of the earth, the greening of the landscape, the birth of new life and the miracle of new growth erupting from it's long winter's rest,

Spring is here and with it my heart feels just a bit lighter.





Tuesday, March 17, 2015

not so graceful, with not much sense






I don't think my girls would ever believe that I was a dancer.  Imagine their surprise that their mother was not only a ballerina en pointe, but also Highland danced around swords and once did a back flip on a balance beam.  For real, no lie.  Okay, the swords weren't real.

Most days here I am walking into the kitchen island, almost falling down the stairs, tripping over my own feet and dropping just about everything in sight.  Call it getting older, call it multi-tasking, call and try to find out where my gracefulness went.

Last night I tucked both girls into bed (K is now residing full time in her new loft bed in her room, a fact I am both celebrating and mourning).  I dressed for bed, and decided to swish a bit of coconut oil as I normally do to try to keep my gums healthy while I avoid the dentist.  Usually I do this in the morning, but time hasn't been working with me and normally I swish for about twenty minutes just enough time to read some of my book in bed (aren't you glad I am telling this story)?  Wait, it gets better.

Just as I am about to climb into bed, my mouth full of swishing coconut oil, I spy a gigantic beetle bug on the top of my wall.  I knew this particuliar wee creature had crawled out of a file cabinet I moved over the weekend and couldn't find.  Now I had him.  Almost.....he was up really high.

Now we don't kill insects in this house.  We are a pacifist house.  An all creatures are created equal house.  We do kill fruit flies and ticks and mosquitos, but everything else gets shooed out the door. So I needed a chair to grab the beetle bug in a cup to gently guide out of the house.  So I went down the stairs to grab the kitchen chair.  K being her normal "I must know everything that is going on" self, yelled from her loft bed nest, "What are you doing"? To which I replied, mouth full of oil "I'mgoingtogetachairthereisabigbuginmyroom".

All well and good, had I not knocked over the entire stack of miscellaneous "stuff" we had piled in the hallway when we cleaned out our rooms this past weekend.  Bang, bam, bam, tumble, tumble, crash.  A multitude of discarded items plunging down the stairs in the dark as I made my way past with the chair.

K again, "What is happening"?  Dear one, please don't get out of your loft bed to check on me.

So I yelled with my mouth closed, because you know, God forbid I should spit out the oil. "IKNOCKEDTHESTUFFINTHEHALLWAYDOWNTHESTAIRSWITHTHECHAIR".  To which she replied, "WHAT?"

I made my way to the bedroom, knocked the beetle bug in the cup.  Carried it downstairs, tossed it out the door, cleaned up all the miscellany on the stairs, went into K's room and (ask me why I still have all this goop in my mouth) opened my mouth halfway and said "BUG.  MY ROOM.  CHAIR.  STAIRS" before managing to have all the coconut oil fly out of my mouth and into my hands.

Off I go to the bathroom, dump the oil in the trash, wash my face and hands.  Come out to find Em now in the hallway wondering what's going on and make my way to K's room and tell her as calmly as I'm not feeling what happened.

So here are a few questions:

A.  Why didn't I just wait until I was done swishing to remove the bug?
B.  Why didn't I just spit the oil out in the first place instead of holding it in that whole time?
C.  Why did I feel the need to explain myself to my daughter who was obviously just being nosy and not at all helpful?
D.  Where in the heck did my grace and my common sense go?

Needless to say, I was ready for bed and didn't even bother with my book.




Friday, March 13, 2015

discerning-the cloister walk



I've put down everything to read this book and honestly I cannot believe I haven't read it before.  I think that it has been buried in my Amazon wish list waiting for the time to be right.  In this year of discernment for me, of course, it is exactly the right time.

I've pretty much fallen in love with every spiritual group and their words I have read so far.  It doesn't seem to matter which rule of life they follow.  When they are following their hearts and that still quiet voice what comes forth is magic.  Having read countless books by Quaker authors, recently my reading has turned to the Catholics through reading the stories of the Saints and the works of Jesuit Father James Martin.  

Kathleen Norris was not Catholic during her stay at Saint John's Abbey, but goodness her poetic musings have me falling in love with the Benedictines as well.  I feel myself drawn more and more to spending some time in retreat this year among a contemplative group.  There is something about the simplicity and the schedule that appeals to me.  Perhaps more than anything it's the appeal of a time of silence away from the distractions of current life that I am yearning for.

I've never been able to pinpoint exactly what faith road to follow.  I've always been able to find some offense in doctrine somewhere, but I have been drawn more and more to these contemplative communities.  People scoff at my love and aspirations of being a nun, and truly I don't feel that is my course, but there is something to being a woman religious, an oblate, or simply a spiritual woman of service.   No matter what calling I end up following, I do know that when I picture my future, I see a quiet simple life full of prayer, contemplation and the giving of much kindness.  I don't think it gets any simpler than that.

I am still discerning.  The beautiful words of Brother Lawrence, James Martin and now Kathleen Norris have been a welcome addition on my journey this year.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

bird watching





I've been obsessively watching the robins.  Not the ones in my front yard.  The ones that are thankful today that most of the snow has melted.  No, I've been watching the robin family that Wildlife Gadgetman is live streaming from Suffolk.  I watched the egg laying, watched the egg sitting, watched the egg hatching, and am now watching these tiny little things grow feathers and appetites.

Ah, the wonders of technology.

I'm watching the birds in my own yard as well.  Over these last few brutal winter weeks, we have spent about a third of our grocery bill on birdseed.  I've discovered that tossing some seed  under the Spirea bush gives the smaller birds a quiet place to feed when the red-wings stop by gobbling.  My chickadee is there in the trees in the morning calling.  I never see it, but I hear it's calls. I know it and it makes me smile first thing on grumpy mornings.

I am still waiting to see if we will see any nesting going on in our houses here.  I hope so.  It's hard because we have those outside cats wandering around.  Sometimes it's hard to love both cats and birds.

I'm amazed watching these birds nest though.  The natural process, knowing exactly what to do, focusing all their energy on those young ones. Those mama birds aren't avoiding their kids with cell phones, Facebook and television.  They are sitting and feeding, sitting and feeding.  Then their littles will fly away.  In basically no time at all.

I keep trying to keep my eyes open for the amazing in the everyday.  I would have to say the birds provide a daily dose.




Monday, March 9, 2015

waking to darkness




Today was our first Monday after the time change, a process I can't stand because it throws us all off schedule.  More than that I hate waking in darkness.  Many morning people are okay with this, but to me it doesn't feel right to rise before the sun, it is hard enough to pry myself from my warm cocoon on a cold winter morning.

We have survived though, greeting the moon as we stepped out the door, the girls to school and I to walk the dog and tend the birds.  By now, the sun has risen and it is time to get about my day.  Time marches on no matter how we measure it.

I took an unanticipated break from the blog for a little while.  It wasn't feeling right.  Probably because I was using a business model rather than a journal model.  I found myself thinking of things to write throughout the day that didn't fit my model, so I am scrapping it.  I've also turned off comments, because I don't want anyone to feel the obligation to comment or want to feel the obligation to return the comment.  If you feel you want to communicate about something I have written you may always email me at underthebigbluesky@gmail.com, or comment on the Facebook page where I will be linking both my blog and Instagram posts.




Monday, February 9, 2015

at the mall



We went to the mall yesterday.  To the mall....

Don't get me started.  As I said yesterday the mall is the one place you can see everything that is wrong with the world in one place.  I don't know what was worse the girls standing in clumps together but all separately listening to ipods or looking down at phones, the woman who walked past a display and knocked down about six necklaces with her bags and when her daughter said "Mom" the mother replied, "Just leave it" and walked on, or the shopkeepers who walked around products strewn all over the floor,  the Starbucks cup left in the middle of a shelf display of children's clothes in Target or the lady in Forever XXI who when the lady behind the counter called her over asked her to throw away her two drink cups.  The saving grace was the book store which we saved until last.  Ahhh, the peace of a room full of books.  The girls were annoyed by a bunch of boys their age who were getting a kick out of raucously riding up and down the escalators, but I managed to lose myself in the religion and poetry sections while the girls browsed their own section.  The bookstore was our biggest prize, with my getting a book I had been wanting and this adorable copy of Little Women, the girls talked me into buying for myself (you never get anything for you).  Em came out with a collection of Sherlock Holmes and K brought home three books she had loved.  Normally we get our books at the library and save buying books for the ones we really want to hold onto, so we did allow ourselves a little indulgence.

In the end, we didn't spend too much.  Em got a few buttons for her knapsack, a red hair bow, some brush markers and the Sherlock Holmes book.  K got some hairbands, earrings and her books and I got a couple of books and a birthday card and gift for my sister.

It was nice to get out.  We've had too many days sheltered inside from the cold.  The temperature climbed up to 58 degrees and so brightened our spirits past the annoyances of the "mall people".  

The girls are spending their own money which means that I don't get annoyed at the things they buy and they get to decide what is really worth spending their hard earned money on.

We survived.  The best part was that my girls were annoyed by all these uncaring and disrespectful people as well, so at least I know I am training them up right.



 

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

the morning hour




Morning.  My time.  The girls are on their way to school.  So grateful that as they have grown older I have been gifted this hour between when they and I leave.  So much happens in this hour.  I breathe for one.  Getting two girls out of bed, dressed, breakfast in them and out the door can be irritating on the best days like World War III on the worst.

But here sits this hour.  I can browse online, wash dishes, throw in a load of laundry, brew a batch of tea, listen to some classical music and write this.  This is a gift this hour to someone like me who works best in small batches.  I remember learning about "transition" time for wee ones when my girls were young.  How you give them that little warning/window before you move onto something else.  I find as an adult I need that even more.

So here is to those little bits of time we find.  The ones that mean the most.  Small blessings.

The blessing of clean dishes in the sink.


Friday, January 30, 2015

january five lines




January 2nd

the old year goes out like
the flame of the candle 
lit with discernment
the new year comes in
breaking light over warm covers


January 9th

cat dog book
christmas lights
classical music
a whispered prayer
friday night comfort


January 16th

i feel like
this winter
uncertain
and 
uncommitted.


January 23rd  

my twitter feed
is a tangle of
nuns and haiku writers
imagine for a day
they all met


January 30th

2:00 am
drive for medicine
she says i wouldn't do that
i tell her just wait
until you are a mother


About Five Lines:  I discovered five-line poems on Twitter last year. This year I am determined to post a five-line poem on my Facebook and Twitter pages each Friday so that at the end of the year I will have a nice collection.  Five Line poems are pretty quick to write, but don't think they don't go through editing.   I will often sit and change a few words or split the lines in different ways to better  set the tone or the rhythm of the poem.  Some I am sure will get further edits even after I post them.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

january kindness challenge




This post is late.  It was supposed to be posted on Wednesday according to my self-directed guidelines.  Life.  I had a meeting after work last night and then we had to buy ring pops for Em's PSA announcement she is working on about same-sex marriage.    Then dinner and homework.  Tears and frustration.  Bed.  Life happens.

So I am posting today.  A day late.  And that's okay.  We have to let ourselves off the hook.  It's been hectic.  More mentally than anything else as we ponder changes, lots of mental clutter.  So this month's challenge is inspired by my morning.

Let it go.

This morning I woke and took the dog outside.  It was 6:00 am, still dark. The world was quiet, still sleeping.  No cars, no voices, no far off sounds of neighbors.  Perfect stillness.  A chill in the air, but not the biting wind of yesterday.  Just enough to feel it envelope you and make you feel like it was shaking the dust off.  Crisp through the nostrils and into the lungs.  The stars still hung above.  The far off blinking of a plane passing over.  Stillness across the field.  Perfect quiet.  The thoughts melted away into just this one moment.  Breathing.  Standing.  Being.  Five glorious minutes.

So my kindness challenge this month is to do this for yourself.

Let everything go.

Find at least that five minutes of perfect quiet and just be.

Leave everything else behind.

The dishes that aren't done.
The piles of mail stacked on the counter.
That decision you've been putting off.
The demands of your children.
The guilt you keep close.

Let it all go just for a time.

Let yourself breathe.

Give yourself that one little gift of quiet space to just be.



Sunday, January 25, 2015

what is missing (and a winner)





We had no plans this weekend.  The girls spent the night Saturday with their father's family and I spent the majority of the weekend cleaning up the remnants of the clean out and redo of my youngest's room.  That is her in the photo above several years ago.

I like this pace.  I like when I have the time to clean and organize the house.  I love folding towels and baking cookies and making traditional Sunday dinners (meatloaf and scalloped potatoes tonight).

I realized this weekend that I'm missing my girls being small.  I miss playgrounds, the giant roll of paper across the floor to paint on.  Do you know what I miss most?  Reading books together.  All those preschool/elementary age books with the gorgeous illustrations.  I miss that.  I miss Woo, and Bittle and The Old Woman Who Named Things.   Goodnight Moon every night.  We went through two copies of that one.  Sometimes we read now.  We read the Wildwood series together, but somehow it's not the same.  It's not the same as going back to those favorite books, over and over and over again.

But more then anything I miss being with them.  There was a period of time when my girls were five and seven; when we moved here after their father and I separated.  I had not yet started a new job and we spent our days together. We ate lunches together outside and made homemade playdough and I taught them how to cook and bake. We took long walks and had tea parties and K read Elsa Beskow books to her dolls and stuffed animals.

I wouldn't change the wonder of who they are becoming and the independence they are finding, but I miss the time together most of all.  I am tired after work and they are frustrated after a day of school. The pace of our lives has changed and my focus and my role has changed.

And that's what it is, but oh how I miss those days.

--------------------

13542909

P.S.   January's contest winner for The Introvert's Way was Lynn!!  Lynn email your full name and address to underthebigbluesky@gmail.com and I will send it on it's way.

So many responses to how you are finding quiet this year.  Here is hers:

I'm learning to leave the noise turned off for a while when I get home in the evening. It's a small step in some ways and a very large step in others. 

Everyone had some great ideas as noted below:

Jennifer said: I've taken to leaving the radio off when I take long drives.

Rebecca said:  I'm finding quiet in my life this year by waking up a half hour early each day to take a walk.

Beth saidFor the past few months I've been spending at least 30 minutes a day writing. I shut everyone else out and spend that time with my characters and the words-- nothing else.

Karen said: Each morning I sit with coffee and write in my journal, then do prayers I love that time of the day and I love how I've carved some intentions with that hour when I am all alone.




Thursday, January 22, 2015

trust




In April of last year we found Miss Calico.  A stray living and eating in the woods next to my Grandparent's house.  My Grandfather already has four wild ones he has trapped, fixed and feeds outside. Calico came, but didn't really fit in with that crowd.  My Aunt and K were the first to notice her eye.  I'll never forget K running into the house saying, "That cat's eye is gone!"  In fact, it was melting.  A condition of melting cornea, the vet said because of a scratch and infection the eye was basically dissolving itself.  We treated her and every night and morning, I wrapped her up papoose style on my bathroom floor and with a syringe put the healing drops made from her own blood drawn into her eye.  Then some cream.  She didn't like this.  She growled and hissed and tried to bite while I held her, claws trapped in the papoose blanket.  She didn't seem to hold it against me though once she was free.

For awhile she hung out with me and slowly my hopes of finding a home for her faded.  She was older, about ten by the vet's guess.  She wasn't a lap cat, far from it.  She was likely to give you a swat if you got too close.  I had quite a few scratches on my arms from invading her space.  So in the end we kept her.  She lives in my bedroom and bathroom.  The carrier I used to bring her from outside still has a towel bed and she goes in there often to be alone.  Over these months though she has warmed up to me.  Most nights when I go to bed, she climbs up next to me while I read.  If I'm careful and don't head around her blind eye she has let me pet her.

So imagine my surprise when last night after a bath, reading on the bed, wrapped in a towel, Miss Calico jumped upon the bed, crawled onto my stomach, settled down and stayed.  I was shocked. Moving very slowly, putting my book down, I laid there and watched her.  It took her a few minutes but then she put her head down on her paws,  closed her eyes and started purring.  I didn't even try to pet her, I just stayed there and let her be.  I had things to do downstairs.  I hadn't checked in with the girls.  I let things ride.  We laid there together for about fifteen or twenty minutes.  Then she hopped up and strode back into the bathroom.

I got up and couldn't wait to go down and tell the girls.

Just a reminder with patience and time, things come around.

I love that cat.



Monday, January 19, 2015

this moment :: a January stocklist






Making : cranberry oatmeal cookies
Drinking : a last caffeine tea, going to give it up again
Cooking: a quick dinner after an evening farm visit
Reading: An Irish Country Doctor by Patrick Taylor
Wanting: more time at home
Looking: at an empty field across from me which makes me sad
Playing: with alpacas, a visit to a nearby farm at feeding time
Deciding: what to do next
Enjoying: a mild winter
Waiting: for Spring's green
Liking: myself a lot more
Loving: a three-day weekend
Pondering: faith and it's many forms
Considering: homeschool options for my youngest
Watching: Grantchester, tonight, so enjoyable
Hoping: an answer comes to me
Marvelling: at how quickly time flies and children age
Needing: more time
Smelling: the fur on the neck of my little black cat
Wearing: these shoes around the house which I love
Following: my heart
Noticing: the way the sun silhouettes the stark naked trees in the evening
Knowing: there is something better than this chaos
Thinking: about a change in lifestyle
Admiring: my grandparents and the way they cope with their late 80's
Sorting: clothes, why is there always so much laundry
Buying: a new dishwasher when the tax check comes in
Getting: tired of waiting to make decisions
Bookmarking: old blogs to visit again
Disliking: the way change tightens my chest
Opening: my heart to change
Giggling: at the silly things we do that no one else would understand
Feeling: warm and cozy after a hot shower
Snacking: on homemade chocolate chip cookies
Helping: my daughter make an important decision
Hearing: the sound of rain outside
Wishing: everyone a blessed week

P.S.  Don't forget to enter January's contest if you haven't already!

: :

Friday, January 16, 2015

days of joy




Some days are more joyous than others.  There seems to be no rhyme or reason why.  Some days it seems no matter what goes wrong the joy and good humor shines through.  Other days one simple hangup can seem to ruin the day.

Today was a good day.  With no reason except that I experienced pure joy.  Pure simple everyday joy.

Here is to more of those days.


Tuesday, January 13, 2015

cracks in the darkness




this space
silent
not even the humming
furnace
or the ticking
clock

this place
empty
dark
blank
nothing-
ness

this space
so rare
once common
this space
of not
anything

here with the
emptiness
the silence
see in the space
this moment
hold onto it

befriend
this space
it's darkness
it's silence
welcome it
tenderly

for it
never remains
the darkness
sitting here
slowly
the light comes

filters through
the cracks left
in the spaces between
what is
what was
what will be

the light comes
here in the darkness
in the silence
as you wait
though you must wait
and listen to the
silence of
this space








Monday, January 12, 2015

january contest: introverts unite!




Welcome to my first giveaway here at This Quiet House!

It is a part of my nature to want to give, to share and I wouldn't say it won't help drum up a few more newcomers to this community.

I had debated on giveaway ideas and decided this past week I am going to stick strictly to books. What more could you ask for in a Quiet House than a good book to read!

Fittingly, I chose this book for the first giveaway.  Read more about the book here.  I want to say that I am not getting any type of compensation for these book giveaways and will not receive any kickbacks if you go purchase it.   I am simply sharing some of the books I've read and found meaningful.

I enjoyed this little book that is small enough to fit in my bag yet chock full of the type of goodness that had me lying in bed at night, nodding along that yes, this is me.  Yes, I agree.  Yes, I know exactly what you are saying.

"You’re not shy; rather, you appreciate the joys of quiet. You’re not antisocial; instead, you enjoy recharging through time alone. You’re not unfriendly, but you do find more meaning in one-on-one connections than large gatherings".

People are sometimes surprised when I identify as an introvert. I do presentations for work to groups of people I don't know, but put me in a social setting with a group of people I don't know and Yow!  One of the things that I liked in this book was the emphasis that it's not that all introverts can't be in social situations it's just that it's not our favorite thing to do, and we prefer a much quieter audience.

If you find yourself like me, wanting a little justification for needing alone time, quiet time and are waiting for someone to tell you "Hey, you know what, that's ok!", then you might want to enter to get a copy for yourself.


Now to the logistics....let's get this little quiet party started!

To enter leave a comment and let me know the following:

What is one way you are bringing a bit of quiet into your life this year?

Every comment here will be given one entry for this month's book.  You can also leave a comment on the Facebook Page or Tweet your reply to @thisquiethouse where the contest will be announced as well! 

In addition, get an additional entry by sharing the contest with others through your Facebook, blog or Twitter pages!  Let's grow this little community.  As well as spreading the word, it will also allow me to come visit you at your home!

I will pick a winner at random and announce on Friday, January 23rd!!  The winner will have three days to send me their name and address.



Friday, January 9, 2015

slow snow day




It came beautifully.  It was one of those slow swirling magical hung in the air snowfalls, followed by the sideways fulls slant, magical floating and then back to the slant kind of days.  It was a quiet snow. The kind where there is silence all around except for the whisper of icy flakes falling on top of one another.  The roads empty; everything is still.

The girls and I were all home.  I sat by the window sporadically watching it fall.  Shadow sat by the window and watched it, then running out the door skidded to a full stop when his paws felt the cold wetness.  Abby, our aging lab/husky, hobbled on her arthritic legs through it always happy to see the white ground.

We played board games around the table, binge watched television shows on Netflix, drank lots and lots of cups of tea (the girls have picked up on this family trait as they have grown older).  A slow snow day.  Oh how I wish there could be more of them.

Winter has come late this season.  This being our first snowfall, and first dip down into low temperatures. I was thinking it wasn't coming, but I should have known. I am not a big fan of winter, of the cold, but I do love a good snow day.  If only all of them could be snow days until Spring.

Monday, January 5, 2015

word for the year : 2015



"God's Creatures" by Eugene de Blaas


discernment :: perception in the absence of judgement with a view to obtaining spiritual direction and understanding.


Every year I choose a word for myself, to be my guide.  Sometimes it is hard to settle on just one word. Sometimes the words seems just out of reach. But this year, the word came easily to me.

The word actually came to me in my study of nuns.  I love nuns.  I don't keep that a secret.  Most people though don't take me seriously.  I often say I wish to be a nun and people chuckle.  My sister though gives me nun references all the time.  She said she was recently next to one at the craft store but it was crowded and she couldn't get a photo.  Given my current circumstances it is not likely I will become a Sister, but I've decided that I won't let that stand in my way of living a Sisterly life.  I'll probably write about that more later (I have a year of discernment ahead of me as I say).

Since I came to this decision late last year, there has been such a feeling of peace.  A certain restlessness has calmed.  I no longer fret over not having found a companion in life.  I have found that being a force of love in the lives of many people can sometimes be comparable if not better than being with a single person.  I truthfully feel I am on a journey right now and my way is being lit by truth.  I think this space, This Quiet House, is a part of that.

The best part of discerning is that decisions don't happen overnight and are not supposed to happen overnight.  It takes years to discern what we are truly meant to do and many times we stumble and take wrong turns along the way.  When you choose to become a Sister, you go through years of prayer, service and contemplation.  For me I think the same is true.   I am studying with the Sisters, through their blogs, podcasts and Facebook pages.  And while my decision at the end of this year will not find me in taking vows, I hope that it will find me in a place of peace.

What am I discerning?  What am I looking for?

My calling in life.  It is time for a new vocation.  I have just fallen into jobs along the way out of necessity.  I never felt called to be a credit card manager, a human resource recruiter or a credit union teller.  Actually, given my view on money, I am surprised I even fell into this field, but it paid the bills when my husband was out of work and over these years as a single mother.

A simpler home life.  This year I hope to find a more organized and gentle home.  It's time to finally determine what is necessary and what is just "stuff".  The stuff part seems more geared to my daughters as I don't have a wealth of material possessions.  But, I want to learn to make my meals, my wardrobe, my schedule as simple as possible.

Spiritual growth.  I've studied just about every religion, including not having religion.  But it's not a "religion" I am after.  What I want to do is listen more to the quiet space inside myself where God resides and let it lead the way.  I will continue to follow the Sisters and want to make one, if not two possible, retreats for myself to really listen and study.  I want to read about the lives of the saints, the spiritual mystics and those who have devoted themselves to a calling.

So that is my word this year.  In past years I have chosen, simplicity, acceptance and kindness as my guiding words.  Do you have one?  Have you ever chosen one?  If you have, please share what your word is and what it means to you.  If you haven't, why don't you give it a try.




Thursday, January 1, 2015

welcome


{this is not my house, but a fitting photo i took during a routine visit in the meadow at the botanical gardens}

Welcome to This Quiet House.  In September of 2008 I started blogging about my new life as a single mother with two growing girls.  I had not yet seen 40, my children were five and seven years old. We had come from a place of darkness into the light of a new life.  My blog was called Under The Big Blue Sky, because that was how our life felt.  Open, carefree and light.  Exploring and growing under the watchful eye of that beautiful blue.

But things move on.  I have known for awhile that it was time for a change.  It is six years later.  My girls are moving into their teenage years and I am at midlife.  It is a different kind of exploring and growing that we are doing.  It feels like we are growing more internally than in the exterior world.

And in order to grow internally we need quiet.  We need a calm, safe place to sit and reflect on what our lives mean and who we want to grow to be.  For growing never stops whether we are twelve or seventy-three.

The world outside is full of noise, of horror stories, of conflicting messages about what we should do and who we should be.  Sometimes in the chaos of life we need someplace to go to sort out all those messages, calm all that noise and be reminded of the peace we can find when we are left alone with ourselves.

This is the new space I have chosen.  I hope those that followed me Under The Big Blue Sky will join me here.  I hope that new weary visitors will grace these pages as well.  But more than anything I wish for This Quiet House to be a community where we can share our memories, our thoughts our journeys.  In the space below I have outlined my plans for this blog as well as it's companion Facebook and Twitter accounts.

In 2013 I wrote this post about what I wanted This Quiet House to be.  Here is a clipping from it.

"I will write for you....and for me...those thoughts we are thinking, one day I hope to share those words with you, one day I hope to open a space where we can gather together, where we can feel safe enough to sit and share ourselves or simply sit and share a space.

One day I will give you a space.   A quiet space where you can go to feel whole, to relish the quiet, to surround yourself with the beauty of handmade quilts and favorite books, and  never-ending supplies of tea and baked goods.  One day I will provide you with a place to find your quiet, and if you wish to join me and gather our quiet together we could teach each other beautiful things"

This was the sweet beginning of my thoughts for this space and what it would become.  My wish is that even if only for the few minutes a day you are here you find peace.

Please join me in this journey.

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The Passing of Days at This Quiet House

Posting on the Facebook and Twitter feeds will be daily.

Blog posts will appear about three times a week.

Once a month I will post a contest and call for community thoughts or stories.  The winner will be selected at random and selected comments and stories will be shared on the blog.

Every Friday on the Facebook and Twitter pages will be Five Line Friday.  I will post my own five-line poem from the week and encourage you to share your own.  I will post select five-line poems on the last Friday of the month, here on the blog.

Once a month I will post a Kindness challenge, only because the world needs more kindness :-)

The rest of the time will be my own reflections, cups of comfort and quiet inspiration.

My future plans (remember we are always growing) are to add a podcast, a possible annual quiet weekend, and to hopefully one day create a real Quiet House.

Please share this space with your friends, so that our community can grow together and I always welcome your comments, feedback and thoughts.