Holiday Cheer

untitled-design-2

Here’s to more inspiration, friendship, unconditional kindness, and laughter than seems reasonable this season. Also, a healthy dose of wanderlust. And while you’re doling out the holiday cheer– don’t forget a health dose of gentle-loving-tenderness for yourself, okay?

Care & Feeding In Albuquerque

14362458_10206968718591795_4222932718778928196_o

At the end of September, I retreated. I spent four magical days in Albuquerque, New Mexico surrounded by other authors, learning and editing and talking and listening and laughing and writing and just being… still. Which is something I’ve talked a lot about14457348_10211129525020922_5240464678755916991_n here lately– this idea of rest and stillness, and the fact that it seems simultaneously necessary and a bit out of reach.

Leading up to the trip, I was very aware of what hadn’t happened since I attended last year. Most specifically that I hadn’t finished a book. I felt a little queasy about admitting I was still working on it. That it had been a slow year. That I still wasn’t quite sure where the whole thing was 14354956_10211120518395762_4196198396467923707_ngoing. And then suddenly I was in the Atlanta airport and there were familiar faces. People that I had become accustomed to seeing only as tiny square profile pictures were right there, in person. Giving hugs. And I knew instantly that this was going to be everything I needed.

Post retreat, Jessica Topper, wrote a lovely reflection in which she described the experience as “the care and feeding of writers.” I keep coming back to that phrase. About how really when I talk about rest and stillness, I think I’m talking about being kind to myself and seeking experiences that nourish instead of tearing down. I didn’t sleep all that much more than usual in Albuquerque, but I was heard, understood and encouraged. And I have rested. Now to finish that book …

14500512_10202309992468964_255157312903668027_o

Huge thanks to Women’s Fiction Writers Association for creating this fabulous tribe (and especially to Orly Konig and the conference committee) and to Barbara Claypole White, Jessica Topper, and Mindy Miller for the photos in this post (because we all know I’m terrible at documenting my travels, or mostly anything except food & beer).

Seemingly Simple, Deceptively Complex

I saw the movie, The Intern, this past weekend. It was the best (happy sigh). I love a presumably simple story that turns conventional wisdom on its head just enough to make some really, really big points.

The simple story: young women who is head of start-up that has exploded, agrees to work with an intern in the company’s new program, as a goodwill gesture– to set the tone for her employees. She has no intent of actually working with said intern. The conventional wisdom turned on its head: the intern is not your traditional college intern- instead he’s a 70-year-old retired VP. It’s a new kind of senior internship program. The story basically chronicles the growth of their friendship.

So what where the big points? There are probably lots, because like any really good story, I think you’ll take from this one what you need. Here’s what I got: Continue reading

To the Gentleman at the Brewery

IMG_1959

Dear Sir,

You had a lot to drink last Saturday evening. So did your friends. I know this because, while my husband and I enjoyed our flight of delicious IPAs, one of you spilled a beer. It wasn’t the spilling in and of itself that gave you away, it was the fact that your cell phone sat right there on the table in a puddle of beer for far, far longer than I imagine you realized. (So if it hasn’t been working quite right, well there you go). Continue reading

I’ll Take My Coffee Sweet & Light, Please

IMG_0427

There wasn’t a lot of good news in the world last week. There’s the mess in Ferguson (and yes, mess is a huge understatement, but I’m not sure that one word exists that would capture it.) We lost Lauren Bacall and Robin Williams. The later whose death stirred up discussions about depression — some for the better, some with less than correct information.

It was easy to feel the weight of it. The lack of light in it all.

Continue reading

A Letter to My Goddaughter

J Invite smaller

This past Sunday I became a godmother (Of the non-fairy variety, to the best of my knowledge.  If I suddenly sprout wings, you’ll be the first to know).  My husband and I were thrilled to “attend” the christening of our goddaughter in Birmingham, England via telephone.  We feel so honored to be included in her life in this way. I’ve been reflecting a lot on my hopes for her.  Here are just a few of them: Continue reading

Just Add Author

book and wine

 

A couple of months ago a friend of mine mentioned that she would like to host a book club style gathering for my book. (I phrase it that way, because it wasn’t part of a book club that met regularly, but just a one night party for a book).  Over the last couple months a plan was hatched for just such an evening and last Thursday I sat down with five amazing women to talk about my book. Continue reading

Stranger Love

book note

I’ve got a confession to make.  I’m a voyeur.  Of kindness.  A kindness voyeur.  I’ve been a huge fan of the work featured over on Patience Salgado’s blog for some time now.  I’ve read all about kindness missions and guerilla goodness. I’ve probably even re-tweeted some of the awesome-ness, but I’ve always just looked, until now . . . Continue reading

How to Feel Bah Humbug & Not Bring Everyone Else Down

IMG_0500

There’s a lot of pressure to be full of holiday cheer this time of year.  So what should you do if you’re just . . . not?

Nothing.  Absolutely nothing.

All those things that are supposed to make the holiday season warm and cozy and wonderful are the exact same things that can make it feel cold and difficult. Continue reading

Carry You Home

Carry – to hold or support while moving.  Hold. Support. Move forward.  We all need a little of this sometimes, right?  To be carried.   Not some huge grand gesture, but instead small sign of support when we most need it.  The  kind words genuinely spoken.  A few minutes taken out of  the day to listen.  The reassuring words when they exist and gentle honesty when they don’t.  We can use someone hoping a little harder or having just a little more faith than us in that very moment.

Sometimes we carry each other in face-to-face tangible ways.  Maybe by baking a favorite dessert or listening over coffee (or beer, or wine).  Taking a moment to send a note or an e-mail.  Sometimes it’s as simple as a smile and a hug; a hand held.  Other times we may simply carry someone close to our heart; thinking of them first and last each day.

Near or far; known or unknown – doesn’t matter.  What matters is that we keep carrying each other.

Oh, my brother
Won’t you stand here beside me
We shall carry each other
And should your soul grow weary
And the strength leave your bones
Oh my brother
I will carry you home

*The beautiful words above belong to Robbie Schaefer.  The song is Oh My Brother performed by Eddie from Ohio.  It’s proved elusive online,  but if you have a way to look it up and listen I promise it will be time well spent.