"We're all just walking each other home." - - Ram Dass

Monday, May 21, 2012

Smoky Mountain Air

The air was thick coming down the Smoky Mountains; hanging heavy on Audrey’s shoulders as she leaned her long body across the drug store counter.

Absentmindedly she used her order pad to fan her face, having been given a moments reprieve now that the after school crowd was satisfied with the cool sodas she had poured.

The bell above the shop door jingled and Audrey’s bright red lips parted into a smile when her longtime friend Kit Carson entered.

Behind him, was another figure, head bent as he removed his sailor’s cap before entering. This small act of proper manners, often missing from the mountain boys she knew, caused Audrey to pull straight to the full of her six foot one frame.

Catching the movement behind the counter, the sailor looked up, and they met each other’s frank gaze.

He took in this tall, dark beauty. Remarking to himself that they didn’t make women like her in Minnesota where he was from.

She in turn was completely caught off guard by the seeming depths of pure Norwegian waters that stared back at her. 

Audrey was used to the looks tossed her way since she had left girlhood. What she wasn’t used to was this feeling now growing tight across her chest; that expanded slowly with the smile that crept the length his face, until it finally fell laughing in a heap of creases framing those dancing blue eyes.

“I see this introduction will be easy.” Chuckled Kit. “Audrey, I’d like you to meet Swede. He’s got some time before his ship leaves again, so he thought he’d come visit me and the family for a while.”

When neither of the newly introduced parties turned to look at him, Kit let out another laugh.

“Well now. I don’t think he’ll be regretting this visit to the mountains any time soon.”

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

{this is the first installment of trying my hand at loosely telling my grandparents story~ How a Southern-bell from the foot of the Smoky Mountains followed a Norwegian sailor all the way to the heart of the Northwoods.}

{link with Soli deo gloria party, Just Write, Imperfect Prose}

read to be read at

Monday, May 14, 2012

on plates, my village, and hula hoops.

It was one of those weeks.

You know, the ones where everything that could possibly pile on top of each other – does,
and gleefully snickers as you try to scramble to keep those plates spinning.

2 months ago when my academic advisor asked if I would like to go from a part-time student to full-time because my GPA looked as though I could handle it, I said “bring it”. What I didn’t fully realize that I would be “bringing” finals on top of my ridiculously awesome daughter’s birthday.

Guys. You only turn 4 once. And she decided she wanted to do it fierce.fabulous.and fancy.

When on that grand day of fierce-fourness you try to get your fresh faced daughter to sleep so you can slip out the door to join your brother who is working on a project and needs a warm body to fill some frames. With visions of zoo animals dancing in head,  birthday-miss decides she’s not quite done with the day… So, at 10pm your husband handles the assist, while you sneak out. heels in hand, returning home in the still of the night, so in four hours you can do it all again.

This is the day that you had to send your mom to your son’s school for “Muffins for Mom” morning because you can’t bear the thought of his wide eyes taking in all those mamas and not have a hand pressed hard in his. But you just.could that morning. When your heart was crumbling like that dry baked good and your remorse tastes as bitter as the instant coffee you wished you were drinking, instead of being in a windowless conference room with a firm from the UK negotiating fees {and if that seems broad and a little over your head, you know EXACTLY how I felt Friday Morning}.

Later that afternoon, thanking the sweet baby Jesus for Netflix and the Wii my son knows how to operate on his own as I am on a conference call regarding invoice issues in front of my bathroom mirror. Talking as I am shimmying into my yoga pants, with my button down work shirt and pearls a skew. Catching my reflection and wanting to laugh and say, “yes. This exactly. Split. One part mama. One part working-girl. All parts frazzled and a little untucked.”

But we made it to Owen’s first ever Cub Scout meeting and in that park pavilion, with the pot-luck styrofoam plates swirling around us, lifted by an unexpected breeze. I catch my husband’s eye over top of Owen’s head. And the arguments of that morning fade with hearing the earnest vows of our son to “on his honor to do his best” with all the passion and conviction those knobby knees and hands held high could muster.

Ava’s party came the next day and after the cake was made and the house cleaned, we brought in her birthday with a zeal that is in the very least, legendary. The party included make-overs, with her 6’2 bearded rock-star uncle in the chair…stretching out my junior year homecoming dress because he loves her and can’t bear to say “no” to such sweetly pleaded requests.

She exploits this power over him with awe inspiring clarity.

After the dishes were washed, party streamers torn down; I received the e-mail that my writing I had submitted some months past has been accepted to be a part of a published book project, Finding Church, sharing how I have stepped out of the four boxed walls of organized church to find the world my sanctuary. To feel the spirit alive in the breeze and hymns sung by birds in the alcove of pines.

 I will be able to press into ink the words of my heart. 
Hold them in my hands, the binding touching my palms. Fingers caressing the covers.

And yesterday, letting my arms rest from holding up my world. I sank right down into the holy ordinary. Finding love and bounty at every turn. On lady bug stickered index cards three deep with sparkle glue, in races to the fence and back, leaf patterns on skin through the slats of the tree fort. Mid-day dozing. Front door marker masterpieces and corn on the cob. 

Holding on my lap the personalized words of a woman I admire, given to me by one who knows exactly how to encourage my dreams.

Last night I slept the sleep of an abundant life. Weary from opportunities. 
Of days of labor bringing forth new birth.

Some days it takes a village to keep my plates spinning. And for every person who comes along side to assist, I am grateful. My village backs me in a bar basement through a fog machine induced haze. Switching between validating my mama heart and debating bang length and laser hair removal. My village says simply "I’m sorry" when I’m hurting. They don't try to fix it with words. Just hearts. They drive to stand beside me as I celebrate. They allow me to lay out, white wine in hand, while they get this round of pretend zoo keeper. They are the ones I call late at night to share my excitement. The ones that believe in my abilities and have seen me through every one of my fears.

They are ones that for supporting me smell like giraffes and goats for a good long while.

To life, I say I’ll see your spinning plates - and raise you a hula hoop. 
Because I’m not done adding to this one wild and crazy life I’ve been given. 
And, I have a sassy hip swirl that will bring destiny to its knees.

{linking with Just Write,  SDG girls}
read to be read at

Monday, May 7, 2012

Birthing Warrioress

From the moment we arrived at the hospital,
she gave me cause to worry.

Her heart dipping low with every attempt of my body to bring her forth.
Flesh-on-flesh resistance to being told what to do, and how to do it.

She forced my body to work against itself.
To lie perfectly still, restricted to my side
while all of me knew I needed to find my mother rhythm
walking the floor. rocking with the flow of blood and muscles contracting. the quickening.

She made me draw deep inside myself.
I had to shed what my nature wanted me to do, and in focus what she was telling me to do.

"Come on little bird" is all I could whisper. "Hold tight to my love and let go."

My heart ached. I could not lose her that my soul knew long before my fingers ever stroked the outline of her face.
Or traced the life lines tucked deep inside each tiny palm.

And in her own time, she came.

As dawn settled over the land - My womb yawned wide. Stretching with the rising sun.

She, emerged.

Bearing a flesh necklace wrapped not once, not twice, but four times around her.
A necklace made of the strands that had joined her to me.
This nymph soul, almost strangled by my own bodies attempt to nourish and sustain her.

As she was placed beside me, pain hit my very core.
My previous birthing had left me feeling a warrioress, adrenaline charged and fierce.
She made me ashen, broken, amazed not of my own strength, but of her own.

There was room for only one warrioress now.
I laid myself down, weary. and
called her chosen.

And warrioress she was
with black hair that stood up at every angle.
seven pounds of sheer soul that demanded to be heard. to be attended to.

Baffling even the nurses around me as I asked, crying, what I was doing wrong.

Finally the second lonely night, a nurse ran her cool hand against my forehead,

she told me that some babies just needed to cry. to get out what had been storing up for months.

Not to be discouraged, we would find our way to each other.

And, we have.

In many ways, not only have we found each other, but she has lead me back to myself.

She has been brought into my life to stretch my boundaries. To remind me of all I do not know.
She holds tight to me in ways I've never desired from another human. Seeking my core self.
She lights a fire within me to not just dwell on this earth, but to gather it to me.
To trample down a path so she can run far past me.

She forces me to choose to love well, not just to love in the easy.
She still needs to just cry.
She lives within the heart sewn on her sleeve.

She is the holy reverence of natives dancing with their shadows around open flames.
The way a storm both terrifies and takes your breath away with its strength and beauty.
My little bird, who flies above this place. Touching land only when the spirit moves her.

My burning bush.  My gypsy child.

Oh, how my heart needed you.

Happy Birthday, Warrioress.

You've taken four trips now around the sun, and each time you make that old star burn brighter.

{linking with Soli Deo Gloria Party, Just Write, Imperfect Prose}

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Intertwined ~ Guest Posting at IP

I am honored to be guest host/posting for the Imperfect Prose team. 

Follow this link to come read the words of the beautiful community over there, and should you write?

please. join us.    Imperfect Prose

 ~ ~ ~
"mama, why do we have these?" my son asks lifting his shirt and running a finger over his belly button.

i explained that through it mama was able to keep him fed, keep him growing, sustained life deep within.

"but why do we have to keep them? aren't we done with them now?"

and in an instant, those eyes, wise beyond his five years and all of mine combined, got me to see something i had missed all this time -

artwork by my dear one: janae

our very bodies bear the mark of our interdependence.

permanently pressed into our skin is the sign that we belong to one another,

that without clinging to another for substance, we would have never tasted the way the air is sweet from the fresh pines and bitter with rich dirt after a spring rain.

that while we were still being woven, we were being brought into the very belly
of humanity.

that life can only come from the dark shadows formed in mystery and grace.
we were made to bend, to carry, to hold one another.

we were not made alone, nor, of our own strength.

we were made to feed and to eat
to nourish and to grow
to sustain and to receive

and to this cycle we keep repeating. we are folded back into each other. into our making.

through it we are able to tap into the majesty of our spiritual selves,
and feel the pain of being but dust in our depravity.

we, in our most broken and most holy of ways, are all one. intertwined.

so rest back into the womb that holds us all. feel our tie to the deep.

 draw life through our shared cord of love and strength.

{also, hanging out on the yeah write hangout grid}