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

Monday, March 18, 2013


Out of the corner of my eye I see you in front of the full-length mirror.

Hands down at your sides, head at the slightest of tilts - weighed by the process of taking in your less than 4-foot frame.

I am frozen by this fearless examination of self.  This candor that radiates from your skin.  I see in your eyes neither criticism or adoration, just curiosity to know yourself by the features that make you.

In my heart, I know that this will not be the only time you stand like this.  Not the only time you take to the mirror to tell you who you are.  So I enter the frame beside you, grab your hand and tell you what I see.

I start with your jawline,
the angled and slowly defining set of it
where you carry your grandmothers strength of will.

Show you that the chocolate color of your eyes
means that your daddy's always with you,
helping you take in this world.

Your rose red lips
are the gates of honesty and truth
wrapped in the slightest of smiles.

That your ears
have been shaped by beautiful music
in stories told, and the sound of your true voice.

That the fluid slope of your shoulders
shimmer with the Norwegian fjords that were braved before you,
and lead to capable hands that worked the land the day your mama was born.

I trace the thin, blue line of vein
just below your skin and tell you
that your blood pumps in iron-ore.

Have you close your eyes as I work up the length of your spine
whispering that it is the birch tree inside you,
slender but so strong.

Brush your hair behind your ear as
I tell you that you carry within you
the seeds of Eden.

That Eve whispered
the Life secret into your womb
while you were still being knit in mine.

Tell you that your laugh...
oh, your beautiful laugh belongs to the fairies.
That it is the song that wakes up spring, stirs the flowers from their slumber.

That your growing legs carry the cool strength
of the drug store counter your great-grandmother worked behind,
kicking up the dust of the Smoky Mountains.

Your feet stand of the foundation of 65 years of marriage
of love that withstood wars, cultures, and burying their own child -
dedication to love through all of life's changes.

I open your palms
and trace the lines
of all of your life yet before you.

Reminding you
of all that is to come ahead
and how you've been written in the stars above.

We lock eyes as I ask you
never to forget to see in your growing and changing frame
all that lies inside you.

You are more than societies latest standard of beauty:
waist size,
eyebrow proportions,
or skin type.

No daughter,
you wear the bones of your ancestors
under your developing skin.

You will walk your family to new places,
expand our history to include your present,
and will face your future with all of us tucked deep within.

{linking with JenHeatherEmily}

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Listen To Your Mother

"Story is a search for community. 
As we tell each other who we really are, we find the people with whom we really belong.
Story brings us home."
~Christina Baldwin~

I believe in the power of stories.
The power of connection stories brings us.
The ability to know ourselves, our neighbors, and strangers better through shared expression.

Within the last year I've allowed myself to
bleed this truth out pen to page.
Typescript to screen.

But today?  Oh, darlin's....

I am unbelievably proud.
down right giddy.
to announce my intentions to SPEAK this truth too.

I will be joining the 2013 Milwaukee cast of Listen To Your Mother.

The purpose of the show is to give Motherhood a microphone, heck a megaphone. And when mama speaks? Her community listens. What started as an one city, one night event to celebrate Mother's Day as a community {the beginnings told wonderfully HERE} in Madison Wisconsin, has evolved into a celebrated event being hosted in 24 cities across the country - including, for the first time, Milwaukee.

Just a little over a week ago my mama drove 8 hours
to hold my hand, and to tip my chin high
as I went and auditioned.

I cannot begin to express here the significance of having my mama by my side,
except to say that it was one of the top 4 experiences we've shared together in 29 years,
2 of the 4 being the days I introduced her for the first time to her grandchildren.

I kept quiet about the audition
as I felt a peaceful hush within me
that needed to be honored.

No matter what the outcome,
just having my mother outside the door as I spoke my mother truth -
out strangers...
empowered me in ways that still glimmer and are growing inside me.

Afterwards, walking in the door to children
who looked at me expectantly and {perhaps a little too familiar with American Idol}
asked if I had "won."

The joy I felt about the ability to say
 I won
long before I knew if I had been chosen

because I'm still doing things that are scary,
that may not end up the way I want,
that take me places I didn't plan.

you know, the very things I encourage them to see through...

they see that their mama is 
in this big, beautiful mess
of discovery, too.

This joy,
it's not about "making it", no.
that's not what this event is about.

I truly and passionately
believe in the power of every person's story
on stage or off.

This joy,
is about belonging to this movement
being apart of its
gaining voices,
lilts, and

About women and men showing up to speak and listen.

It's about finding your story and hearing it connect to the greater story being told all around us.

....It's about finding yourself, home.

check out the Listen To Your Mother YouTube Channel full of amazing, breathtaking, honest stories that have been told in years prior. Careful, watching is more addictive than Pinterest. 

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The Day I Knew My Calling

I grew under the shade of other people’s callings – my daddy’s to be a preacher, my brother’s to be a musician. The church around me bestowed gifts on its members, a topic of casual conversation and deep conviction. And still, I remained to myself almost 30 years, without calling; afraid of getting my calling wrong, of limiting myself, but mainly of failure.

An introvert in an extrovert world, I seemed to lack the outward hot passion in those that surrounded me. Withdrawing into my stories, I devoured words and penned my own. I stood on the hills of Tara beside Scarlett, hands and back aching with labor in the fields, the smell of the fire that consumed Atlanta seeped deep in my skin. I felt the soft fur brush upon my cheek, heard the snow crunch as I stepped from the wardrobe into Narnia, and lamented with Anne Shirley the fate of flame-red hair.

These characters, these stories became a part of how I viewed the world. They shaped my understanding that behind the headlines, history lessons, and artifacts of time were a host of real lives, personal stories that painted a picture fuller and deeper than what we were taught by just looking at statistics.

Until a year ago, I kept these lessons inside, exploring instead all the ways I thought I should be gifted. It has taken a year to unfurl what has always been a part of me: the need to be engrossed in the telling of humanity, the need to mark the world with my words, until I found myself fully claimed.
Join me over at Emily's for the rest of the story for Imperfect Prose?  Join us HERE.