May 1, 2013
I just learned that it is a federal offense to send a false “Mayday” distress call three times in a row without cause.
(A little like calling for “Beetlejuice,” I suppose…).
Anyway, I’m not risking it. Not today.
I wanted to wake up this morning feeling like this:
But instead, I feel like this:
Proof positive once again that I was born into the wrong century as I am clearly the girl in the foreground with the ”what the ____?” look on her face wanting to slam a tetherball around that blasted pole.
And as I type these words the Positive Thinking app on my iPhone has chimed the same quote it has been stuck on for over a week now:
“Happy thoughts attract happy people into your life.”
(Last two photos courtesy of Wikimedia Commons – click photos for direct link)
April 22, 2013
March 22, 2013
Two years ago, just before Thanksgiving, I felt a strong urging to write the word “water” on a chalkboard in my kitchen.
I’ve never erased it.
One of my closest friends asked me about the word last week. And I did a super lousy job of explaining it to her.
You see, we were having a dinner party that night. I had fussed for an entire week over clean bathrooms and food menus and table settings and other incredibly important details like that. I was very busy.
In fact, I’m pretty sure at the precise moment she asked me about the word, I had just filled ten tall glasses to the very brim with ice cubes and fresh, clean water right from the filtered dispenser in the front of my refrigerator.
Thirst quenching, body nourishing, life sustaining water right from my very own refrigerator in my kitchen in my house in my neighborhood in my country of America.
What I wish I had said to her was that I leave that word there so that I will see it every time I pour a drink or make a pot of coffee or boil a pot on the stove or wash dishes in my kitchen using water. What I meant to say is that I promise I will never again take water for granted. What I wanted to say is that I will always remember that having access to this clean drinking water means the very difference between life and death for me and for my family.
What I need to confess right now – to you – is that I still often forget that I have this completely undeserved blessing in my life and that I have needed to be reminded for the past two and a half years of this fact by reading the same single word written in my own chalky handwriting on a little blackboard in my kitchen about my personal responsibility to conserve it
every single day.
Today is the 20th anniversary of World Water Day.
The U.N. estimates that more than one in six people worldwide do not have access to 20-50 liters (5-13 gallons) of safe freshwater a day to ensure their basic needs for drinking, cooking and cleaning.
Tonight, I will remember. Tonight, I will give thanks. Tonight, I will think of all the “others” who do not have safe water.
And I pray that I will match tonight’s compassion with much more responsible action tomorrow…
March 13, 2013
A “Lucky” Irish Toast
May the luck of the Irish
Lead to happiest heights
And the highway you travel
Be lined with green lights.
(Check out Island Ireland for more fun facts and quotes).
We’re celebrating St. Patrick’s Day all week long here in the Green Treehouse! Send us your favorite Irish sayings…
January 5, 2013
The danger of loving my work is that sometimes the lens I aim on the rest of my life can get a little stuck and out of focus.
Yesterday, I took myself outside the Green Treehouse for a much-needed New Year’s walkabout. I get so accustomed to the cozy view from my writing desk looking out my two little windows - both the “real” one and the virtual one – that I can occasionally forget to take an honest look around the world.
Hours of riding beside my husband as we drove to our families’ homes to celebrate Christmas provided me with plenty of WiFi-free windows of time. As we journeyed farther north, I watched the scenery transform into snapshots of my childhood. Looking at the well-known landmarks, it suddenly all felt unexpectedly transient and intangible. Not the trees or the mountains or the sky, but the buildings and the billboards and the exits to the towns I knew so well. This troubled me.
A question slowly surfaced. I began to wonder,
“What is Real?”
The only answer that came to me with any clarity was what Real was not:
Real is not anything man-made. Real is not houses or highways. Real is not cars or careers. Real is not old family photos or even the memories of the times when those cherished photos were taken. Real is not favorite foods shared or even joyful holidays and traditions. Real is not rooted in gift-giving, although I do rather suspect it can be found somewhere in gratitude – the non-reciprocal receiving of the loving gifts of others.
(I’m still turning this idea over in my understanding, so I will let you know).
Nor do I believe that “real” can be harnessed in the focused and intentional planning and striving for our dreams. For although our dreams are most certainly real (if they are in fact our dreams and not those that well-meaning others have kindly dreamed for us), all the endless and exhausting “striving for” such dreams is unreal.
It all comes down to our personal lens. How healthy and effectively we relate to our work, our world and our wonder is directly connected to our present sense of how we see ourselves.
We can love what we do, but what we do cannot define us. Because work is not Real either. It is just work and is also made by us. Our work can be important and rewarding and most certainly for the greater good of all, but it is still simply something that we do rather than who we are.
Along those same lines, we can love our loved ones – our relatives – but our loving them does not make them any more or less “real” either in terms of who they are to us or to themselves.
But Love – love in its purest, most unaltered and natural sense – is most certainly, most undeniable
Blessings to each of you in the year ahead,
December 11, 2012
BY GERARD MANLEY HOPKINS 1844–1889
Source: Gerard Manley Hopkins: Poems and Prose (Penguin Classics, 1985)
With special thanks to The Poetry Foundation for their listing of this great poem.
In looking for something special to post tonight on the eve of a quite notable date, 12/12/12, I turned to dear uncle Google and read about the symbolism of the number twelve with great interest, yet without much emotional connection. After that, I returned to the poets for my Truth.
I was led once again to a remarkable Victorian voice which I heard first at the dedication of a labyrinth I helped to build a three years ago in my hometown of Louisville, Kentucky. The Gerard Manley Hopkins poem shared on that crisp fall morning before we began our work was God’s Grandeur. I was captivated by its final three words:
“ah! bright wings.”
Last spring on a Utah ski lift I felt a unique kinship with the aspens. It seemed as if every dark, snow-dusted nodule was like an eye staring into the very depths of my soul. I was fully exposed to their stares in the thin air and the blinding sun. I couldn’t have escaped even if I had wanted to do so. I felt a question from each tree first whispered and then shouted. Each time it was the same -
“What will you? What will you do to be our Voice? We are watching you.”
I did not recall the profound phrase I took away from that experience until this very moment when I found the poem above (which I had never read). My wisdom phrase that day was “The Aspens Have Eyes.”
Tonight, I shall spend time reflecting again on this question, for it is mine alone to answer. And though I know with all my being that it is why I am a writer, I still can’t for the life of me figure out the next step I am to take.
Yet, even still, I will trust that the aspens will somehow help me to see…
October 20, 2012
The past couple of months have been extra fun for me as I’ve helped one of my favorite clients promote their fantastic charity event via social media:
It’s been a blast sharing all the details of their event via Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare and hearing how business sponsorship and ticket sales have climbed. Tonight, everyone in attendance has been invited to blog, tweet and post their photos and comments LIVE from the event in a specially designated area:
Watching so many local restaurants, caterers, beverage distributors and businesses come together via social media to help parents and kids in our community has been an incredible experience for me. The Crab Cake Cook-Off Committee at Community Partnership Group has done the most amazing job planning the event which will begins tonight at 6:30 pm.
Tickets will be available for purchase at the gate so there is still time to #BeCrabby if you HURRY!
This entire experience has demonstrated for me (once again) how the power of the web can be used to do great things in the world…