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

Monday, August 26, 2013

Dear Girl... {A letter to a Younger Me}

Hello dear girl,

Oh, how your honeymoon glows on you.  You are aware that by some peoples standards you are too young for the vows that you've made.  But you aren't worried about their standards.  Not really.  You have steep enough ideals of your own.

Not many 19 year olds have laid on an operating table, wide awake, feeling the sharp stabbing pain of your own blood running wildly within you. Of watching the crash cart being rolled into your surgery theatre, and feeling your mind slowly hum, until you feel the release, of it all turn to peace.  They haven't had to hear the words, "There's a chance you might not make it through this operation."  And when you did?  You realized life was not yours to waste.

So you said 'yes' to that quiet boy, alone, on a mountain top.  You said yes, and you meant it.  A year and a half later, you got married with your bare feet in the soil that belonged to your grandfather.  As night settled in, you turned to take in the barn full of people who loved you as the fireflies twinkled their goodbyes down that long dirt road.  And you set off to the self-proclaimed, Happiest Place on Earth, to start your life together.

Nine years later, I have come back to find you still smiling by that castle.

We've grown, you and I.  And I do good to come back to the girl I was, because sometimes I've just simply forgotten.

I've forgotten the thrill of sliding between crisp white sheets next to this man.  The awkward awakening of it all.  How I couldn't sleep that first week from the newness of a sleeping rhythm competing with my own.  Every touch, a whisper of wonder, a newness opening before me.  It's hard for me to fall asleep not beside him now.  So stark the silence when he's not there.  Those touches, long since new, remind me that I am known.  That ever since his discovery of the bend of my neck, he still calls that place home.

I've forgotten the way my heart leaped in my chest when I turned the corner and heard him explain to a passerby, "I'm just waiting for my wife."  My wife... that title that you have reminded me with your wide grin, is an honor.  I will remember to once more wear his name with pride.

I remember stealing sidelong glances at the sparkle of my diamond ring as he held my hand ride after ride.  The band showing no nicks, or scratches of life.  Held together with the platinum band of promise and tomorrows.  We've come back here nine years later, neither of us are wearing our wedding rings.  Still finding each other's hands in the dark. I no longer need the outward signs of my commitment.  I wear these vows beneath my skin.  My hips have widened from carrying his very blood within my own, our commitment bound together into souls whispered into this world carrying your eyes and his smile.  And no, baby girl, it doesn't bother me in the slightest that he doesn't wear his.  You'll learn this as you watch his hands grip your own as you bring forth these babies, as he installs hardwood floors into your home, building into you board by board.  You will have watched these hands tense into tight fists as you've thrown acquisitions and fought hard, you both, to keep those vows together.  And when you watch those thick hands brush baby-fine strands of your daughter's hair out of her sleeping face, you will learn that your hands daily belong to one another.  No band can mark commitment - Your lives do.

I've expanded our heart. So much so, that sometimes I can't breath for the pain of our chest expanding, breaking open rib by rib to let this world in. I've let life wreck us good.  No, I see in your slightest of squint that you can hardly recognize the now me within you.  I've changed.  I've expanded, deepened, and carry nine years worth of worry, responsibility and a whole lot more love within me now.  I'm making some of our dreams come true, darling.  Dreams when I was first standing here as you, I was too afraid to dream.  It's ok to release your grip on control, to believe in yourself a little more wildly.  These years will teach you how, you'll see.

Thank you for meeting me here beside this castle once more, sweet one.  Of reminding me of all the tender newness I still hold within me.  How important it is to return.  No matter how the years run, I promise always to honor the girl within me.

I can tell you that he still takes us to the Happiest Place on Earth.  And that we're still learning how to hold on to promises and tomorrows, he and I.  I have long since grown tired of trying to predict the future, so for now, we're content with holding hands.  Taking snapshots of happiness as we find it together.  And while my lopsided smile carries the heaviness of a little more of life, and takes a little longer to unfurl... It's still there. Returning your youthful beam.  I will always carry you deep within.

{Linked with HeatherEmily 

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Joining the WorldHelp Team

Summer is winding down.
I know this because I have served 1,545 sandwiches
answered my children's call for 1,000,000 cups of water.

I love them,
but as August burns hot across all of us,
I feel myself slowing to these requests.

There is a part of me that is tired of hearing these requests for more food, more water.

Part of me that has started to resent dinner, for having the audacity to come every.single.night.

Then, I remember this video below,
and I am asked if I could take up the voices of people
who are too burdened with hardship, labor, or an ocean swallows up their words.

And my heart,
oh, my heart feels so heavy
for the lightness of their malnourished frames.

And I cannot express how I feel for those mamas,
who have to listen to their babies cry for more food,
and how their whole souls must ache with not having the food and cleaning drinking water to sustain them.

Suddenly, I know that I cannot be tired of hearing these requests for more food, more water.

I know that I need to lend my voice
so that these needs, these people
can be heard over the full bellies of our entitlement.

World Help is a faith-based humanitarian organization that exists to serve the physical and spiritual needs of people in impoverished communities around the world.

An organization, that I feel is doing things the right way.
Supporting over 100 National Partnerships such as the baby rescue above,
and they are looking for more voices to help. 

I have signed on to the Blogging Team,
meaning that once a month or so I will be bringing you some awesome things happening,
and yes, perhaps some hard to swallow statistics.

But I promise you,
I will never share, and WorldHelp never aims
to exploit. To sensationalize. 

Just, to speak towards needs
and most importantly point towards hope. 
We belong to each other.

If you would be interested in joining us, in whatever capacity that is,
please let me know, via e-mail, comment below - anything. 
and certainly visit to learn more.

THIS post specifically, if you are a blogger who would like to learn more.

As for today, I will be reminded that every sticky jam sandwich I serve, every cup filled with water from my sink, I am doing not only for my children. But for the mamas' that don't have the luxury. 

And I will lend my voice so that one more mama, can smile when dinnertime comes tonight.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Listen {A Mile of Music Tribute}

This weekend I was asked read a piece to open my brother Cory Chisel and dear friend Adriel Denae's set at Lawrence Chapel in Appleton Wisconsin as a part of the first annual Mile of Music Fest that my brother dreamed up and helped to put on. 

The whole weekend was amazing. Our hometown came out and supported while all of the bands delivered. 

A couple people asked for the poem that I read to start the set, so here it is, written a few hours before the show, specifically for the location, and the whole Mile of Music occasion. 

photo by Graham Images and Photography


Listen to our heartbeats breathing. 
To this collective movement bringing us here, to this moment.


Listen as life's joy, misery, pain - all grand illusions take to the stage
wearing the masks of guitars, tambourines, or ivory keys.


Listen to the sound of the sun, who squeezed in these stained glass windows -
fighting with the Saints for one last look before retreating.


Listen as the moon, not to be outdone by her golden sister,
ushers this night in with her pale, hello.                                    

photo by Graham Images and Photography


Listen to the sound of music. To the way notes and chords fill places within yourself left hollow by just words.
To the way your body remembers the dance of it all, long after you've forgotten.

photo by Graham Images and Photography


Listen to this sinner's choir.
This congregation of old believers, atheists, or the never achievers.

For we were all written out in the scriptures of the stars.


Come - Rest awhile.

Come - Feel alive....


photo by Graham Images and Photography


Thursday, August 8, 2013

Putting By

She stood at the sink, back facing me. Not yet aware of my presence, I saw the weight of the years she carried on her rounding shoulders.
I watched as she sensed me enter, her shoulders straitening, before she turned with a half smile that broke whole when she took me in –

A tangle of a girl, hair cut short, dress pulled waist high to cradle the rubies I had pulled from the earth, the imprints of them pressing, bleeding red, through my thin cotton and onto the skin below. Arms, raw from the brambles, knees, scabbed, still holding the soil to my skin. My young soul, wild and free, filled the kitchen with the smell of Minnesota summer, reminiscent of the birch sapling, when it is ready to burst forth its first leaves.

A breeze blew in, picking up the corner of the lace curtain beside me, tickling my elbow, while the faint trace of my grandmother’s perfume welcomed me. The old stove fan hummed the steady benediction of those quiet moments.

...  Follow me to Anchor and Plume Press for the rest of the story? ...