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

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.



P.S.   January's contest winner for The Introvert's Way was Lynn!!  Lynn email your full name and address to 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


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
not even the humming
or the ticking

this place

this space
so rare
once common
this space
of not

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

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

for it
never remains
the darkness
sitting here
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


{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.