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


Sunday’s Song: Renewal

Today is the five year anniversary of this blog. I  just spent a few minutes looking back at previous July posts. I found my former self in the space of those days: the eager exhilaration of beginning something new, the devastation of learning my husband’s cancer diagnosis, the paralyzation of grief filled days, the determined plodding ahead.  

And this brings me to the fifth space. This year. This walk. How do I describe it? How have I changed? What is around the corner? 

Who am I today that I was not five years ago? Well, I am a widow. A grandmother. A theology student. A world traveler. A retiree. A small business owner. An activist. Those titles come fairly quickly. 

Who am I still? A mom. A writer. An artist. An independent woman. 

Who am I yet to be? Time will tell.

I feel a longing, a tugging toward something more. Something that involves writing, art, spirituality, helping a larger group. We will see. 

I know not to discount the power in putting one foot in front of another. I know presence has deep meaning. I know that for all the people who tell you that you cannot do something or be something, you are the one who ultimately decides.

A lot of good has come my way in recent years. I have had three different pieces of art accepted into nationally juried shows. Still, someone laughingly commented: Oh, it’s so nice to say I know a real artist. Truly, I have been an artist for decades now. It was only when my work was accepted by someone other than me that this person accepted this part of me. This saddens me. We limit people. We put barriers up with too many requirements. We don’t make the next move because we allow ourselves to be defined by someone else’s limited view. 

Don’t allow that to happen to you. 

Days pass quickly. I can still remember riding to Louisiana with my family for a summer outing five summers ago. I found a book on blogging that day. It was like a sign. And I began. 

The journey took detours, and I am sure more detours lie ahead. In the meantime, though, I re-affirm my decision to write. To create. To think independently. To live in this world as the person I am. And to witness to those who cross my path. To celebrate all they are and all they hope to be. 

We have power. We must use it. Our day will come. ūüíę


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Blog Anniversary #3

Funny how dates have a way of imprinting themselves into our minds.

I recall this day three years ago very well. I remember a decision to start blogging. A trip to Shreveport with my family where we ended up at a bookstore and a book on blogging found me almost immediately. I remember the decision to blog daily for a year.

I could not have known what the future years would bring and if this intermittent writing would matter at all three years out. But, it does matter because I am still here and still writing. A lot has changed in three years. I promised myself not to read back over the previous July 23 blog entries until I finished writing this one. I wanted to record where I am and where I hope to go in the next year without looking back at what I hoped for then.

I am widowed now, and I certainly did not see that coming three years ago. My daily blogging almost got sidelined during the heart wrenching news of a cancer diagnosis and fight. Somehow, though, I kept writing. I think I knew that of all times that the words mattered, it was then. I have not reread a lot of what I wrote during those days, but someday I will. it gives me a sense of peace to know that those days were recorded, however haphazardly. There is evidence on many journal pages, notepads, calendar squares, blog entries, and random pieces of paper that those days mattered enough to make marks on a page. Some of the marks were desperate. Some were incoherent. Some were detailed and poignant. All of them matter.

Our words and our place here in this time are part of something much bigger.

After I met my self imposed requirement to blog daily for a year, I moved to weekly blogging–mainly listing a group of gratitude entries on Fridays–five reasons I was grateful. I am glad I did that. Gratitude is a powerful feeling and it leads to more good.

Then, along the way, I was aware that I was not blogging as much. I was still writing though. I don’t think I have missed many days at all in the last three years. I am not centered when I am not writing. It is a gift I give myself every single day, sometimes many times a day.

Writing is the emptying of my mind. It gives my thoughts and words a place to go, outside of my mind. I can leave those marks on a page and know I don’t have to remember the newest thoughts unless I choose to–they are safely recorded and can be retrieved at any time.

Nowadays, I follow a fairly strict routine in the mornings. Coffee in hand, I begin my day with a journal and a prayer book. I begin by emptying my mind onto the page. Sometimes that means dreams are documented. Sometimes it means listing all the events of the previous day, or plans for the current one. Often, I find myself writing two different things–my entry, plus the random day-to-day tasks that constantly compete for my attention. I call this “double journaling” and almost every time I sit to write, it happens. I embace that as part of my process.

I still do not reread much of what I write, but lately, I am drawn to do just that. I feel a book is in the making, a piece that is beginning to take a more definite shape as time goes on. Maybe by this time next year, I will have the draft complete.

Reading is a central part of my days, and I am thankful to have a book club group as well as family and friends who also like to discuss and read books.

Poetry is more important than ever, and I keep discovering new poets and continue to be delighted by the combination of words that are possible. So much joy in the art of poetry…

What will the next year bring? Well, three years ago I couldn’t know I’d be redefining my life in so many ways. I am now on my own, a retiree who still works part time, an artist (who just had her first piece accepted to a juried show!), a writer, a tutor, an English professor and a field supervisor for student teachers, an etsy shop owner. AND a grandma to be. That blessing will join us in mid to late August, and our lives will change yet again.

Art is an important part of my day, too, and I find that my writing and art are beginning to merge in new and interesting ways. I hope to follow where they lead in the coming year and answer the call to create.

There are many goals I hope to meet in the coming year. I am starting a spiritual direction program next month, and I hope that through the reading and writing I do for those classes, I will become more centered on what matters. Us. All of us. We matter.

We have a responsibility to create an environment for ourselves where we can flourish. That means something different to everyone. For me, it means slowing down, practicing tried and true routines, taking walks, cooking, playing with dogs, making art, surrounding myself with “people on the way” and recognizing that we are all in each other’s lives for a reason we may not ever get to know. But I do know it is not coincidence. There is a bigger reason and here we are, part of it.

I know blogging will remain an important part of my journey because it is a place I meet myself on the page and try to figure out what it is I am doing and where I hope to go. I know I want to make a difference for others. I am not sure exactly what that means yet, but I know I will discover the answer through the gifts God gave me. I am determined to use those gifts for His glory in the years ahead.

Thank you for being part of my journey. I am not sure where it will lead, but I am looking forward to finding out.