"Whatever you think you can do, or believe you can do, begin it, because action has magic, grace, and power in it." Goethe

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Friday’s Five

Re-establishing this weekly practice of listing…

Five good things from the past few days:

Watching my granddaughters delight in throwing rocks into our creek.

Bundling my grandmother’s heirloom roses onto silk scarves to see if I’ll get a print or dye.

Laughing as a child I tutor tries on my glasses.

Copying a poem a day into my little altered art book.

Opening the mailbox to find packages and letters from loved ones near and far.

Simple things that bring happiness. Truly, if we cannot be happy in our own self we cannot bring it to anyone else.

What makes you happy? I’d love to know…


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Open Your Eyes: A Lenten Journey: 3/13/17 ( Monday)

Hope you all had a great Sunday. Mine was kind of a lazy one. Here in the United States, it is Daylight Savings Time. So setting the clocks forward meant a little extra sleep-in time yesterday. I read books, made some art, pretty much kept things simple. And when I went to bed, I went to sleep with no guilt. 

It’s ok to have “sit down days” now and again. Every day doesn’t have to be lived in a hurry.

Today started with letter writing. It’s a Lenten  practice I’ve adopted this season. I’m keeping a list of people who might need some encouragement, some gratitude, some news.  I miss the days I used to correspond with more people. So far, as soon as my list gets small I find it comforting  that more names come to mind. There are plenty of people to write. 

If you’re looking for a way to make this season special, consider writing an old fashioned card or letter to someone. 

Open your eyes  to ways that can brighten someone’s day this Lent.

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Open Your  Eyes: A Lenten Journey 3/9/2017 (Thursday)

Today I received a postcard from a place I’ll likely never visit. I stood, card in hand, reading the familiar script and smiling at how moments can be transferred to us through a simple piece of paper. 

I touch the stamp, the postmark, appreciating the beauty of both.

I read the words, laugh at the conversation my daughter retells, imagine an Iceland adventure. 

The card is made by an artist and luckily the info is included: Patra Tawatpol

Just imagine seeing the Northern Lights and creating them again for us to enjoy.

The beauty of the world comes to us through words and old school mail and art we can hold in our hands. 

I’ve started a “Lenten letters” list recently. I jot down a list  of people I’d like to reach out to for whatever reason. Send them a little snail mail. Add to the list as the days go by. When we think in these terms, there really are many reasons to send someone a hello.

Open your eyes  to the joy you might bring by sending a simple piece of mail.

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Friday’s Five

Happy New Year! I am going to try to get back on track with this blog in 2016. Here’s to a year of art and travel and words. I am not usually a maker  of resolutions, but I like these. More. A year of abundance of good things. May we all have that. Amen.


Light more candles.

Draw more pictures.

Pick more flowers.

Write more letters.

Read more books.


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Friday’s Five

Five of the many good things from this past week:

My daughter’s message that she’s coming home to visit. This time next week, she’ll be here…

Letters my students wrote to Kimberly Willis Holt…and her offer to Skype with those writers soon…

The clerk named Bill in Hobby Lobby who talked to me about crazy quilt patterns and wrote down a multiplication story for my students…

Jodie’s gift of framed poetry and stories remembered…

Last Saturday’s mail delivery of fibers and bright yarns…

There’s always room for more good. Dear readers, if you’d like to list your own blessings, feel free.


Weekly Writing Challenge: A Favorite Thing

I have attachments to many things– for good or bad, it is the truth. I know we leave this world with nothing, but it is comforting to have certain objects around  to remind me of people, places, and moments of my life.

Today I think of a letter that I keep in the bottom drawer of an old chest in my bedroom. My mom wrote it to me twenty-nine years ago. I had just started teaching and was feeling so overwhelmed. I was a nervous wreck. She was out of town visiting my sister. She could hear the panic in my voice when I called her to relate all that was on my mind during those days, I guess, because she sat down and wrote me a real letter, not just some words on a card, but a real honest to goodness letter that I still go back and read to this day when I need a pick me up or a good sense of direction.

The letter is written on 5×7 scratch pad paper, and it is yellowed now from age, making it all the more precious to me. It is not something I keep on display because it is a private, special piece of my mom’s heart, pouring itself out to me on the page. I know where it is, and I do not keep it put away to hide it, but to keep it safe.

Written in simple cursive handwriting that she often lamented because “shorthand ruined it” according to her, I see how carefully she wrote this message to me. It begins with “Hi doll,” — a nickname that only she has ever called me. She had several nicknames for me because she knew I disliked my first name for so long. Reading this greeting again, knowing she is gone now, is even sweeter to me. I can hear her voice.

She reminds me to “save something for another day” and while she was always reminding me to save money, she wasn’t talking about that then. She was telling me to do what I could and remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day. She reminds me to say Jesus help me and see how good that makes me feel. She was right as usual. She cautions against pleasing people, worrying too much, and working too hard. She knew me well. She reminds me to have fun, to buy something nice for myself. She talks about plans of things for us to look forward to when she comes home.

I read that letter today and know that her advice is as timely as ever. It is actually some of the same advice I give to new student teacher interns each year. It is advice I’ve given to my own children and friends.

Words on a page. That is my favorite thing today.


Real Mail in the Mailbox


One of my favorite things in the world is to receive real mail in my mailbox. Not invitations, although those are nice. No, real honest to goodness mail: a postcard, a letter, a card written in the sender’s handwriting expressly for me.

My daughter is finishing up a study abroad summer, but she still managed to send mail home. She knows her messages mean so much. While Skype, text messages, Facebook and email are fine (and the good old-fashioned telephone call is, too!), there is something lasting and tangible and well, just special about holding a piece of mail in your hand that was written somewhere else and sent to you.

A good friend’s children and I have taken up an informal correspondence with each other as well. I received cards and letters from them while they were on vacation. I send congratulatory cards and letters to them because they are always getting awards or going to camp or just plain like to get mail, too. Like me.

Maybe the  best reason of all to send mail is when there is no good reason.

I send out quite a bit of real mail. The clerks at the post office know me well, and happily open their binders of stamps for me to look through. Real mail deserves really cool stamps.

It seems there is always a friend I want to thank or someone who might need encouragement. When my son and daughter return to college, they can count on there being mail in their mailbox from me. I also have a pen pal, and we have corresponded for 35+ years. Although we became Facebook friends a few years ago, we still make sure to write the longhand letter a couple of times a year. We realize there is just something dear about it.

As one thing seems to always lead to another, I have decided to send out more real mail to my friends and family this year. I have recently started making my own cards, little 4×6 watercolor postcards that seem perfect for short messages. I always feel happy putting them  in the mailbox, as if I am sending something positive out into the world. We need more of that.