a parent’s love

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LOVE

They sit quietly.
They are calm, or so it appears.
They hold each other’s hands,
channeling their strength to each other.
They steal glances and kisses,
grounding themselves in the love that bonds them together.
They smile,
They speak softly, kindly.
They focus on being supportive.
They are here to give.
They continue to give.
It’s never-ending, a parent’s love.

Their precious baby girl.
A grown woman now.
A challenge along her journey.
They want to remove the obstacles for her.
Yet, they know, as they always have, this is her path.
She’s strong.
She’s spirited.
She can do this.
In her own unique way with grace.
And, how do they know?
The same way they knew she’d climb all the mountains before:
LOVE.
Their love.
It gives.
It continues to give.
It’s never-ending, a parent’s love.

My parents visited last month for about 10 days. I love that they can come in their RV and be our neighbors for awhile! It is way too long between visits, and always super special to be with them and to feel their love close up.

Last week was my 7-year anniversary of my mastectomy – I almost forgot! Amazing how it’s possible to integrate experiences into your life in a way that they are not something negative to dwell on, but rather a source of strength and possibility.

These two events inspired today’s post about my parents, which I wrote upon reflection of them sitting in the hospital waiting room prior to my surgeries.

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* The opening photos were taken a couple of weeks ago when my parents were visiting and we had lunch together in Iowa City. The closing photos are from my parent’s website – out dancing with friends in Texas.

* I first published this poem on my Mostly My Heart Sings blog.

 

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Trusting

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Trusting

Let’s stand at the shore
naked and trembling in our vulnerability
together side-by-side.

Let’s reach our arms out wide
and open to the vast sea of experience ready to flow through us
allowing the light of the sun to warm our hearts.

Let’s invite our truth to speak honestly to us
as we take one small, strong, and ever-so-soft step forward
to live completely the life that unfolds before us.

I wrote this poem yesterday for a dear friend.

She shared with me that she had an abnormal mammogram and needs to have a biopsy. As I held her in my heart, we moved through the uncertainty and fear and touched the possibility that might flow from such experience. We spoke of the opportunity to create space for something we can’t see and don’t understand, to allow life to move through us, and to trust life and the unpredictable way that it often unfolds.

Unfolding is a related post that speaks to me today.

* I took this photo in Sagres, Portugal

Little morsels of joy

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In Memory of Kitty Hogan, 12/10/24 – 10/5/16

I’ve been away, travelling in the southeast USA visiting family and friends. The beautiful clan in the above photo (taken 9/8/18) includes me and my husband Jim (far left) along with his siblings and their spouses, along with a niece and her two girls. We were together to celebrate the life of their mother (and grandmother/great-grandmother) in Gulf Shores, Alabama, one of her favorite places.

 It is beautiful, isn’t it?!

I was inspired to write a poem for the occasion.  It is dedicated to my mother-in-law Kitty’s joyful spirit.

Little morsels of joy

Little morsels of joy
Pleasure in simple things:

Rabbits, birds, and precious pups
Pretty pink azaleas, and impatiens, too
Silver goblets and pressed pastel linen blouses

Chocolate chip cookies
Hershey’s chocolate miniatures
Angel food cake

Savage’s salt rising bread
Oyster and shrimp po-boys
John’s cornsticks and Demitri’s BBQ

Public radio from the fridge-top
A comfy sofa with a dose of TV
An endless supply of books

Pleasure in simple things
Little morsels of joy.

I wanted to draw a picture of her through a short list of things that brought her joy, at least in my experience of her. My hope is that by focusing light on small indulgences – those treats that brought her pleasure – we all might experience a moment of joy, in her honor.

I’ll close with a couple photos of this amazing woman – her coloring with her eldest great grand-daughter and one where she’s nibbling an elephant ear cookie in one of those lovely pastel linen blouses she loved (and which become her).

Rest In Peace, dear one.

abundant joy

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she teaches

in her simple way

to see how accessible it is

and to grab it

when it nibbles:

abundant joy

 

I spent 5 days last week at my friend Blair’s lake cabin in Minnesota, what’s become a delicious summertime tradition. Lola is Blair’s English Springer Spaniel and she joined us for this year’s adventure. Lola helps me tap into the special lessons that only a dog can teach.

She loves to swim and play in the lake. She can literally swim for hours. It’s mesmerizing to watch her gliding through the water. Something soothing about the repetition in her movement. An invitation to simply lean into a piece of joy and savor it.

 

Other related posts you might enjoy:

 

* The above photo is of Lola hoping it’s time to go down to the dock, anticipating more swimming joy. And because one photo is just not enough of this sweet girl, here are a few more! Lola ‘swimmin’ the life”!

 

A new chapter opens

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A New Chapter Opens

The air is filled with the richness of possibility
A special kind of freedom stretches before you

May you be filled with hope about the experiences ahead
May you embrace the opportunities that walk into your path
May you move with grace as you dance with the unfamiliar
May you step confidently as you engage in new adventures
May you find wisdom in even the most unexpected places

Be awake and curious, open and unattached
Listen to your heart as it whispers your dreams

Know that you are enough, just as you are
Trust everything to unfold beautifully

Step boldly into a future that is uniquely yours
Intentionally create the memories which will write the story of your life

 

I wrote this poem for my husband when he retired in January. Today the words seemed so fitting when I replaced the “you”‘s with “I”‘s and “me”‘s. While I wrote these words for a special occasion, it seems like a little prayer that can be used any day – because we always have a chance to start anew – this moment, this day, this week, this month, this year – not just this milestone, to be intentional about what we want to create and about the choices we make and actions we take.

 

* I took this photo in Sicily, somewhere on our drive around Piazza Armerina. I picked it because it’s one of Jim’s favorite landscape shots from the trip.

What’s waiting

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Invited to open

To what’s waiting

There under the old

 

Have you ever had a sense that something significant is happening in your life, although there’s really nothing noteworthy you can point to that reveals what’s actually unfolding? I have this sense that something special is emerging from what has come before. There’s a part of me that wants to move into action, to find answers, to be doing something, anything, to nail things down. And, there’s a part of me that knows the path lies in going slow, embracing life’s flow, in listening, and in simply being with what is, open and accepting. I’m doing my best to listen to the latter.

 

* I took this photo of a morning glory late one morning in Lugano Switzerland, walking down from Chiesa Santa Maria del Sasso toward toward Lake Maggiore. I’ve included a couple of other photos featuring that walk (a boat on the lake, the church).

 

the wind moves through it

Lake Maggiore Italy

The Wind Moves Through It

The wind moves through it
a soft heart song, the gentle rustle.
The light shines upon it,
a glittering mosaic, the fluttering movement.
Grace blesses the tree
as she stands rooted and strong –
and open and vulnerable
to the touch of her friends.

Like last week’s post, I rediscovered this poem while cleaning out some files. I had originally posted it on my Mostly My Heart Sings blog and forgotten about it. It was inspired by something I read by Mark Nepo in his book The Book if Awakening:

“Everywhere we are given examples of how the life giving elements move through us and bring us to life…Consider how the tree has not control over the movement of the wind…like the tree, we as human beings have not control over the movement of grace.”

This lovely meditation by Mark Nepo accompanies the reading:

  • Watch the wind move through a familiar tree.
  • Watch until the wind has left, and notice how even when still the branches sway slightly.
  • Notice how even what seems like a still air is just a subtle wind.
  • Meditate on how similar the life of spirit is as it moves through us.
  • Feel the force of life like a subtle wind move through you as you breathe.

 

* I took this photo during my 2018 summer vacation to Italy from the shores of Isola Superiore on Lago Maggiore. I like the unexpectedness of finding these 3 pines standing with their feet in the water, like beautiful children enjoying the shore.

do you ever need?

Lake Maggiore Italy

Do you ever need?

Do you ever need
to be propped up,
your confidence built up
so you can move forward with some semblance of grace?

Do you ever need
someone to support you,
to remind you that you are ALIVE
and that if you tune into the energy inside you, you’ll find your way?

Do you ever need
a reminder that WHO YOU ARE MATTERS
and that you are FREE
and at CHOICE
to show up
fully YOU?

I was cleaning out some files the other day and came across a print out of a blog I’d posted that featured this poem back in August of 2015. I had forgotten about writing it. It speaks to moments of self-doubt when I’ve lost my way. I don’t remember this specific instance well, although there are plenty of other such moments where my light was flickering, about to go out – moments when those I love and dear friends are there  reminding me of who I am and why my being here matters.

I dedicate this post to my dear friends Jana Mitzoda, who helps me surf life with ease and grace and my queen of a friend Maureen Monte, who always encourages me to move toward my greatest, strongest self.

 

* I took this photo on Lake Maggiore Italy during my summer vacation this past June. For more photos of my day of island hopping on the lake go HERE.

To Notice

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To Notice

What do you see
when you close your eyes
and open a dream?
What do you hear
when you silence the noise
and tune in to what’s inside?
What do you feel
when you take away the old story
and open to your experience now?
What do you say
when you are all alone
and only your heart is listening?

That’s what I am exploring right now.

* I took this photo in Cefalu, Sicily, Italy. I spotted it growing on a fence during a waterside walk to dinner. I don’t know what kind of flower it is but it fascinated me. I chose it because it called me to notice. For more photos of my vacation time in Cefalu, go HERE.

A related post you might enjoy: Noticing

Born

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Born

Let the fire burn
Let the flames devour the debris
Let the heat enable seeds to open
Let the ash make fertile soil for growth

This little poem was inspired by a story I read about sequoia trees, the oldest known trees, probably 3500 years old. I read that a key to their longevity is fire because it clears the space so the existing trees can thrive, and its heat opens and releases seeds for the next generation to grow.

I thought about how this kind of transformation happens in the workplace. When those with years of experience move on, space is created for their own and young professionals’ growth.

* I took this photo of a fire burning in our backyard fire pit in the spring.