~Cultivating Life~

Sunday, September 1, 2013

~I am, We are~

Most mornings I wake up and have to remind myself.
Like when Court-Court passed away.
Too soon,
it was unjust.
it was not fair.

I open my eyes to the sun sliding between the shades,
before so warm and welcome,
its beams are too bright,
too much.

THIS is too much.

I am a new bride,
I love my husband with my whole heart.
This is my honeymoon phase...
should be.
could be.

Most mornings I have to remind myself,
He loves me. chose me. Pursued me. Promised me.
And, this is my honeymoon phase....
should be,
could be.

*This is not my angry epithet,
Consider it my WHAT THE *EFF IS that??

I am here. I have not moved.
Truth, grace, goodness, and love.
Thrive still.

and they water hope, here in my heart.
growing a garden.
that should be,
could be

I am a new bride.
I love my husband with my whole heart.
I exist.
I am real.


Friday, August 23, 2013

~Sweet Potato, Serenade~

She cooks you sweet potato, you don't like aubergine
She knows to boil the kettle when you hum bars from Grease
She senses you are lonely but still she can't be sure
And so she stands and waits, stands anticipating your thoughts

How can she become the psychic
That she longs to be to understand you
How can she become the psychic
That she longs to be to understand you

He brushes thoroughly
He know she likes fresh breath
He rushes to the station
He waits atop the steps
He's brought with him a Mars bar
She will not buy Nestle
And later he'll perform
A love lorn serenade, a trade

How can he become the psychic
That he longs to be to understand you
How can he become the psychic
That he longs to be to understand you

So give her information to help her fill the holes
Give an ounce of power so he does not feel controlled

Help her to acknowledge the pain that you are in

Give to him a glimpse of that beneath your skin~

Friday, August 9, 2013

~Let THEM Eat Cake~

I've been hearing alot of things, from alot of people these days of late. Words of encouragement and pithy platitudes offered with good intentions, of course, among other not so lovely, lingering lyrics of a tune that tempts my soul to shrivel up and die. (Thanksssssss). Words wasted on a wandering gypsy soul seeking only goodness, love and LIFE.
Anyway, I was told today that marriage (and monogamy for that matter), for most men, is like the best slice of chocolate cake. At first sample, it is sweet and satisfying and the best thing you have ever tasted. But then, after having it every day, it becomes too sweet. Too boring with no variety of flavor. Your tastebuds tame, accustomed to the offering. Bleh. So you want different dessert...a new cake...hell, maybe a cookie, or in my case, he went for the HO-HOS (plural)....
But the way I see it, marriage (and hell yes, monogamy), is like a whole helluva heapin' helping of oats. Steady. Steel Cut. Stick-to-your-ribs. OATS. In the morning, they are there to get you started with whole-grain goodness.....greeting you....warming you....sustaining and steeling you for the start of the day, for the moment when you make your exit out into the world, solo. And at night, they are there, they can take whatever form they need to to meet you...muffins, wholegrain bread, a kind, nurturing dessert that doesn't drag you down.
And just when you think maybe you could get tired of them, oats can reinvent themselves. Add to them, bake, cook or stew them a different way, they can adapt...with you, for you...inside of you. Oats.
Steady. Steel Cut. Stick-to-your-ribs. Oats.

Friday, June 28, 2013

~Soundtrack of Self~


Sometimes I wish life had its own soundtrack. Maybe not "life" as an entire entity in itself, but on a single, smaller, microscopic scale--where each individual has one very specific, constantly flowing music score to match their ever changing mood and mindset. THAT. WOULD. BE. AMAZING. (or in my case.....just a maze...(*zing*))~
Go with me on this one...my favorite movie in the world, Amelie, has this similar bend to it. The movie as a whole definitely gives you a window into her mind, with great music and sound effects as the reel rolls. But Amelie seems more to be hearing the soundtrack of the world, as it plays itself to her, ....I am specifically thinking more along the lines of each person's soundtrack of themselves--descriptive rather than prescriptive. Ever shifting and shuffling, like a foot-stompin', resounding remix, where at any given time the DJ of your dharma would stop that record----SCRREEECH....aaaaand *wickety wickety wickety*....BAM (Or in some of our cases, WHACK?)...new sound, different vibe, and the beat goes on. No segway necessary...no pregnant pause or interlude...there is no time! Small wonders and snippets of emotion and sensory samplings wait for no man! And slip away from our reach as fast as a fairy flies...only a glimmer memory with a glitter trail of topsy-turvy, tinkling cheer remains.

Yes, a selfie soundtrack. Indeed. I think I'll write off for a patent presently....but before I go, allow me to press *play*...for your listening pleasure:
Eyes open as the alarm wheezes a whiny and utterly annoying (BEEP BEEP BEEP!) A (BOP BAM BOOM) as my tiny fist obliterates the button...I see this as my pint-size protest (and slight temper tantrum) regarding the shortening of my sweet slumber.  Radio clicks on as U2 beckons me to a better mood, reminding me it really is a (Beautiful Day). A smile sneaks to my cheeks as I roll to the right...(RECORD SCRATCH!)...as I ricochet across the covers, the unwilling recipient of my husband's dread-full (and unaware) headbutt. (SHISH SHISH SHISH) as I rub my forehead and make my way to the mirror, perusing the glass panel for any signs of gore or goose egg that are guaranteed to be there after such a knock to the noggin'. WHEEEEEEEEY...I rub the smudge of bathroom brine as the one blurry blotch of sink splash stares back at me from the smooth surface. There. All clean.
I call out to my husband from the hallway asking if he wants coffee...(CRICKETS)...followed by the PITTER PATTER of my feet padding down the hallway. Round the corner to JACKHAMM-AAAAH--TADADADDADADADADADAD!....no, not a snore...a symphony of snorts and sniffles----one unapologetic, earth-shattering, shake me and quake-me-to-the-core cacophony of syncopated chaos. (POW!) A drool-by shooting! Autopsy report reads: Nerves D.O.A.
And that's just before I even get my teeth brushed. *Coffee's on, ya'll*....

Tuesday, May 28, 2013



The music begins. Slow and delicate, the notes nudge one another from limb to limb--barely touching long enough to bow and turn to the next, edging along the lines...lilting lyrics to follow.
Lyrics. Words. Wisdom written in rhythm. Poetry painstakingly penned, flowing from the fount of forged passion, the experiential emotion only earned through firsthand, earth-shattering sojourns. 
Shards of spectral light spin out, sequentially the spectrum explodes in empathy....a flag of hard-fought freedom unfurling.
Scales. Melodies meandering. Across keys---fingers wildly sliding from fret to fret-not.....to fear not.
Dance. From cautious curls of the toes, to carefree cuttings of carpets, the style will submit to the substance. What is this foundation made of? Of what material is it made? This song--these steps, our musical matrimony.
Truth. Joy. Honesty and Respect. Let us build brick by brick, together...a symphony~

And Cue the music.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

~The Juxtaposition of Joy~


 I went on my favorite hike this morning. It's a killer, but I love that about it. The climb to the top, full out, and at a steady, fast clip takes me a good hour, and the trail run down is fast and exhilarating. Simply put: this hike makes me happy~

I got married three weeks ago, almost to the day. He is the love of my life, and the person who I believe deep down that I was created for. He is gone right now. Having left for a two week trip one day after we arrived home from our wedding, my husband went to a far away place, to surf and video and explore, without me....and it hurt deeply.  "Hurt" was soon renamed for what I later uncovered it to really be....fear. Fear that already, as a wife, I was not enough...somehow inadequate to keep my husband happy and fulfilled at home...tears followed, and as internet connection where he's at is very limited, I was left with silence. Deafening silence, and crumbs of communication. Tiny morsel-moments when maybe that day I get a small sliver or snapshot that serves to shrink the space between for even a nanosecond. For these tidbits of time I am truly grateful, yet there still gnaws at me an edge of hunger...for the certainty and security of his strong, affirming, tangible touch.

My hike begins. I waste no time in warming up...I never do. I want to dive in, to charge, to go, go, go....higher. I push myself, and for a solid 45 minutes I climb. I never take breaks...I thrive on the momentum. I use it to spur me forward...launching ahead....up, up, up...focusing on what I know to be waiting for me at the summit...a view unmatched by any other, and a well-earned moment of rest and reprieve---a-high-above-the-clouds communion with my Creator.
At the 45-minute mark, the trail tops off momentarily and plateaus, flattening out along a lovely ridge before dipping down into a forested valley. I remember the first time I went on the hike I thought I had taken a wrong turn, messed up when looking at my map, somehow gotten the directions backwards and was getting further away from what I was seeking......the summit.
This couldn't be right...the hike showed a straight climb upwards...I knew to make it to the top I had so much ground to cover...this couldn't be the best way. Yet I kept going that first time...and that has made all the difference. If I had turned back I never would have known the value of the view that awaited. I had had no other solid signs showing me anywhere else I should be going...so I decided I had to just move forward and trust the trail that so many had traveled before me, that so many had assured me was a good and beautiful trail. A trail well worth every bit of effort it took to tread.
I made it to the summit that day, despite my distrust of the signs, and the momentary fear of the forest valley. And the view, the view that greeted me was healing... I saw the whole island...every part stretched out before me...I could even see way down to the place where I started....it seemed so small to me from such great heights.

As I hiked today, I prayed alot....I always do. I talked to God and just walked with my thoughts....I processed. I praised. I petitioned. (I always do). The climb up is steady, slower, and milder. It allows me to get lost in the sweet silence of the scenery, to create a cyclical rhythm to unwind within--to loosen what during the interim has been tightened or twisted. There is safety in this sure, steady climb. I take a bit more time to enjoy looking around...a moment to marvel at every minute detail of the delicate dwelling place I call home. It is this critical climb that sustains and satisfies that hunger that spurred me towards this trail. I feel steady. I feel sure. I feel calm. I know peace.
Arriving at the top, I almost always am alone. No one ever comes much to this height, and here...here is my earthly Heaven. I say my thanks here. I sing here. I stay here, as long as I need...and I breathe.
As I make my way back down the trail, I run. No, I *catapult* down the mountain. Crashing through the forest, tripping over branches, slipping and sliding on tiny pebbles and making my best attempt at navigating the mud-wracked and moss covered clearings....I fly. Giggling, I let my arms and legs go wherever they may, imagining the flailing, fairy spectacle I am sure to be making should anyone see. But I don't mind....It is exciting. It is exhilarating. I feel free. I know joy.

I thought today, as I was removing my muddy sneakers, how much I feel I learn from the mountains, every time we meet....

I see now, only because I quieted my heart enough to hear...My husband did not abandon me, nor did I drive him away by not being "enough." I love him "enough" to try to see, to seek to understand....that on our journey, he needs it all...WE need it all...and we can have it all---the steady, certainty that comes with routine...the bookending days that bring such comfort and tangible connection. The puzzle parts of the daily that slide together to form that perfect pattern for peace....and the exhilarating open-ended adventure, the freedom to find the passions that prick our hearts and stir us within---the whimsical wonderful bits that beg and bellow for fear of being buried or hidden away...here, here...that juxtaposition of joy.
My husband comes home tomorrow, and I have longed for that moment these whole two weeks. Simply put: these halves can be happy.......can be One. And there is joy, and there is peace~

Monday, April 15, 2013

~It's Official~

“One day, in your search for happiness, you discover a partner by your side, and you realize that your happiness has come to help you search"~

Byron James and Andy Beth Yeager:  We go~

Tuesday, March 5, 2013



When I was a little girl I had green eyes.
The color of jade-d complacency....
Envious was eye.
Jealous because I did not see

Eye, did not see you.
So fixated was eye on the dream, the desire, the demand
to be daddy's little girl.
the center of your world.
To sit upon your knee.
Have you gaze adoringly upon me.

Daddy, am I pretty? I inaudibly ask.
Begging and pushing as I twirl and try.
Attempting to gain your outward affections.
Hug me! Sit me on your knee! Tell me I make you happy!
Let me know I am pretty....that you love me.
Like Natalie's daddy. Or Sarah's Poppy...

So fixated was I on the daddy I thought you should be.
I spent my days angry,
Blind to the beauty...the blessing.
My visions obscured by an emerald-hued haze.

I have grown now...
The mirror reveals a warrior, blue-eyed and brave,
The golden ringlets and dimpled cheeks,
now straightened and thinned....broken along this road
adapting to the environment.
Earning a beauty all their own,
No longer the pretty little princess looking for the perfect daddy,
Eye now see,
All along, you were right in front of me.

Your road was not easy.
Childhood was not kind.
Affection, not often offered,
never came easily.
Yet in so many other ways,
you showed me.

Ours has been a long and winding road.
I have misunderstood.
Put words in your mouth that you never uttered.
Missed communication.

Now, wisdom and age helps me to change the outcome:

Daddy, do you know I love you? I audibly ask.
Blessing and praying as I reach out and no longer deny,
The importance to me of your outward affections.
May I hug you? Will you sit with me awhile? Are YOU happy?
You are beautiful to me....and I see you love me...deeply...imperfectly.
Like MY daddy~

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Come Fly the (Not So) Friendly Skies....


This year, in a huge last minute miracle, I was able to fly home to where I grew up for the first time in several years. To say that I was looking forward to this journey would be a gross understatement. The night before I was packing...and unpacking....and repacking until my eyelids were as heavy as the carry on I was attempting to jam full of items, determined as I was to not be paying the check-in fee. *Yes dad, I did you proud...Navy rolling and ridding the loot of all "frou frou" girly items....weeding out the wants and only keeping the necessary bare bone basics...I succeeded in squeezing all supplies for the holiday season into one *snug* suitcase. Bam!
1) Packing: check.
Now came the goodbyes....to my new neighbors, my uncles and aunties, my friends and roommate....and nary a fast forward  button in sight. Powering through the emotional gauntlet that is coming and going, leaving behind and heading towards....transition and change in routine (shudder)...I bravely bent my face towards the eastern shores....only slight sniffles sneaking slyly to the surface...at least until the car door was closed and the calmness my melodic Joni Mitchell joined me in my muffled "girl moment." *Sigh*...I'm gonna miss this place...
2) Ripping off the band-aid of bye-byes: check.
Getting to the airport was yet another feat. From frazzled future in-laws, to not so neighborly neighbors, one by one the list of possible chauffeurs was exhausted. The bus began to look like the only option....and enter Orr....crazy, brother Orr. Sardined into the benchseat of his rat-a-tat-truck (that I do love oh so well!), we rolled down the road and headed towards Honolulu...complete with a splendid soundtrack that only Orr and Ari could provide.
3) Arrivin' in Style (or at least with some Swaggah): check.
Flight one to Phoenix....no drama to discuss....a shame to be sure....oh how I love the drama, mama~ Smooth skies and shoulder to shoulder with some sunflower munchin' hippies who were going to be happy no matter what life threw at them that day, I'd say that was a scha-weeet seating assignment for leg one.
4) Fairy to Phoenix: Check.
Now this is where the excitement begins. Arriving to the terminal where I am to change flight towards Charlotte--and then straight into the sugar-spun, sparkly sweetness that is my Southern mama---I head directly to my gate with just a few seconds to spare. Bounding for the boarding tunnel I flash my fair(i)est smile at the stewardess, reach into my pocket and pull out my pass for paradise...HOME...yes, that's right....I am heading home...to....PHILADELPHIA???  Hmmm...the words read Philly but this lil missy means Mecklenburg...as in the county...you know, with CHARLOTTE as its queen? Deep breath...digging in the heels....and making a break for it, I became the ridiculous rendition of every cheesy classic Hollywood movie made...you know, the one with the mad dash for the last minute monumental making of the flight? *Complete with dramatic hand gestures and a few choice words, which honestly may or may not have consisted of a mere four letters, of course.
5) Final Flight Found: Check.
Aboard the aircraft, gratitude didn't begin to describe my giddy heart and spirit. Just three more hours and I am soooooo there. Sweet Southern Simplicity....and such hugs and kisses and love abounding...yes please! I settle into my seat and wait for the wheels to lift off and whisk me away...and wait...and wait....and...what the heck? One hour later--thrilling times chilling on the tarmac....I am still waiting. Most days this would be mildly annoying and slightly frustrating as I am so excited and ready to be home. But today, my seat buddy beside me just so happened to be the most unhappy, woe-is-me-woman I have ever met.
Aaaaaaand...cue the:
*All too audible sighs.
*Exasperated emotional outcries.
*Temper tantrum only tolerable in toddlers (if then!)
wait for it.....
*Alligator Tears (yes...you heard me).

I was actually waiting for the broken pottery chards and self-extracting of hair by the root....I mean, this was some stressful stuff--this departure delay. And on Christmas Day too. *SIGH!!!* *Head shake* *Shoulder Slump* *Fist to the sky in fury and (self) righteous indignation!!!!**
I know woe-is-me-woman...you have made it clear! This is unacceptable! You are displeased! The inner wounded-woman-child has been angered...or at least spanked silly.
As I take in the show....Oscar worthy I assure you...all I can think of is how very much I simultaneously want to run as far the hell away from this broad as I can....and yet also, inexplicably, at the very same time....desire to wrap my arms around her in the biggest bear hug...because DAYUUUUM....her flight is being delayed....but not by the airline....

Saturday, December 8, 2012

~A Real Wheelbarrow~


As I sat down this Saturday morning to begin my new writing assignment, I kept gravitating back to BOOKED. Now don't go sending me emails fretting, I very much have ample time to meet my deadline....so just this once, just for today, I revisited and allowed myself some time to ruminate on the words, all over~

One of the passages I kept coming back to related a present that ma mere's husband had given to her one Christmas, and her explanation of why it remains to this date as one of her favorite and best gifts ever received: it was a wheelbarrow.
Yes. A wheelbarrow.
My first thought was one of surprise when I read this...yet when she explains the why behind her love of this present, it makes sense....and brings everything home. Dr. Prior shares that:
"What I loved so much about the wheelbarrow (besides its sheer utility) is that it was something that required a certain amount of knowing me, knowing my daily life and needs, knowing the pleasure that I take in caring for the horses and chickens each day, in order to see its fittingness.....The wheelbarrow was a gift because it was perfect for me."
As I read that, my mind transports back in time to when I lived on her farm with her and that husband she is speaking so warmly of. It is nighttime, and I am inside reading for my class. All is quiet out here in the country, save for the crickets chirping. And then I catch it....a slight, snippet of sound. It is laughter. No, it is....a giggle....escaping from the lips of my brilliant, no-bones-about-it, top-notch Professor. Pretty as you please, peeking its way across the night sky from the back porch, the audible presence of joy joined me at my desk. The source of that simple, small delight was ma mere...rocking on the back porch with her husband (a porch that this husband had built with his own hands, mind you). I realized then and there that THIS is what I wanted...even though I wasn't quite sure what I meant, or didn't yet (maybe still don't) have the exact words to capture what I was having the blessing of witnessing unaware.  
Perhaps Dr Prior can say it best in her own words:
"We had been married many years by this morning. I had come to see that lasting love is less like a dinner with candlelight and red roses and more like a wheelbarrow given on Christmas morning."
This holiday season, as I think of giving gifts....I want the people I love and cherish to feel it. To know that the investment in getting to know them....the time it took...was worth it.  That they are worth everything~

Saturday, December 1, 2012

It's Gettin' Real...


Today I finished reading ma mere's book. It is good. Good. Goodness~
I took my time going through it....leafing through the pages slowly, savoring every word...willing it to saturate my heart and mind like a soothing stream of truth. Ma mere does not mince words. She never has. *This is what is simultaneously so amazing and awful (at least to my pride) about our relationship. A relationship I have learned to embrace and encourage...even when it hurts.
Chapter by chapter, her book titled Booked delves into the depths of Literature, and how God's gifting of it gave her insight into, or even moreso, actually formed her self and identity---even her awareness and understanding of a Divine Creator. It is a concept I have never come across from this exact angle--and it is keenly acute in its accuracy. Truth lives and breathes within the bindings of this book, and I am blessed to have been witness to such a work.
As I read I had my highlighter waiting to whisk across the words, coating the ivory with color--an iridescent roadmap there to remind me of what resonated within my heart, so that I can return back to the wisdom again and again. For one specific chapter, the section surrounding Gustav Flaubert's Madame Bovary, I chose green. Little did I know at the time that a more apropos choice could not have been. For Emma, the heroine of the book is plagued throughout the piece by an attitude of awful discontent---dramatic in its dire needs and wants, and a spirit stolen of satisfaction by the criminal clutches of romanticism.
Green goes with the envy that is Emma's as she glances around her world, riddled with routine and mundane daily duties when all she desires is the excitement and glamour she imagines awaits just around the bend out of her reach and belonging only to others. Yes, those others. Even an emerald-hued haze hovers around her kind and loving husband--whom, in comparison to the outer world and the men she makes idols from afar, she now finds disdainfully dull. 
Dr Prior (author of Booked, and ma mere) describes Emma's dilemma (yes, that was a painfully unavoidable rhyme you just witnessed....): 

"She keeps 'waiting in her heart for something to happen,' something of excitement to fulfill her longing, her unbearable heaviness of being." 

As I ruminated over these words, Emma's unmet longings, I saw a mirror of myself. Waiting....looking from afar in awe, at others. Wanting. Aching. Longing. Failing to see what is right before me.  Unable to sit in the stillness and see....how blessed, is  (or can be) my reality~

Tuesday, November 13, 2012



I have two mothers. Susan Miller, my birth mother, is amazing. Her kindness...softness....pure heart...and strong spirit was a safe haven for my self growing up in that small, Southern town that I sometimes felt strangled within. She is and will always be my mother, birthing me, raising me, teaching me right from wrong, loving her "Angel Beth" with open arms and intense optimism about my destiny....despite all the (ah, adventures) I've put her through over the years.
And then there is ma mere. Dr. Karen Swallow Prior. Ma Mere means "my mother" in French, and this name, it is..well,... "C'est Vrais."  Ma Mere, no more special than my own mother, yet unique and profoundly precious to me....because she chose me...and I chose her. Ma mere was my Freshman English professor in college. She reached out....all the way to the very, very...very back of her crowded classroom...and saw me.  Not the tiny, timid woman-child tucked away, trying desperately to melt into the floor...no. She saw Me. And she chose me. Her jeune fille. And from that moment on, my life changed.
Ma mere has written a book. A BOOK. Damn, I am proud of her. This book is beautiful, and shares truth. She sent me a copy in the mail...and I have curled up with it, keeping it close, hiding its words away in my heart, and simply soaking every inch of it in that I can. She is there, dancing on every page...a joyful jig, a saucy samba, a fiery and unafraid foxtrot.....a waltz, willing me to wonder---to walk--and to run  (and work) towards what I want. A resurrection rumba....calling me back with a whisper of welcome.
Welcome, home.
These days I have been surrounded by the concept of home and family...can't seem to get it out of my head in fact. I am learning that there are numerous facets to the onion-layered ideal that is "Family". Most see this as those who share blood relations, with the same roof over their heads. Yes. I agree with this as a concrete definition. Here in Hawaii, we have "Ohana," which (I looked it up) extends past mere genetics:
Part of Hawaiian culture, ohana means family in an extended sense of the term, including blood-related, adoptive or intentional. It emphasizes that families are bound together and members must cooperate and remember one another.

To be chosen...embraced...and wanted. These are priceless things.
I think of ma mere...and how she chose me, among thousands of students that have passed through her halls.  I am her only jeune fille...and my heart swells in the privilege, honor and beauty of that priceless gift.
I think of my God...and how He chose me, seeing everything. And yet still calls me His delight.
To be chosen, to be loved.
This is home.
This is family.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

~The Butterflies and the Bees~


  When I came upon Tori Amos musing about marriage I had to take pause. I never even knew she was married. I have to admit this blew me away at first...I guess I had just always considered her name, her music, her writings, herself as being profoundly and fervently feminist (to the core). So, as I continued reading, much to my surprise (and inner joy) I found her insights on this particular union to be beautiful...REAL-ly beautiful.
Amos regards her marriage to her soulmate, saying "I really feel like my husband is my boyfriend. I am having an affair with my husband, and sometimes plates fly. There's no question. This is someone who is tenacious and has his own way of looking at things. I mean, he wanted to get married, but only if we lived in England. To be his wife required serious change for me. And there are serious boundaries. It is about monogamy with him. That's just it. I think marriage takes more perseverance sometimes than any other endeavor. But this suits my skirt just fine, primarily because I've always been reticent about the concept of "Happily Ever After." The garden will have weeds and pests that may damage crops; it may even have pestilence to contend with once in awhile. But with the right combination of elements, including bees and butterflies, the garden will pollinate and become a garden--not an emotional wasteland but a place of sensuality and balance. So it may need a good beekeeper; all complex gardens do."
*I've too long been sidetracked by the pests and the weeds....so please now....Bring on the butterflies and the bees....
And may I ever be an excellent beekeeper~

Saturday, October 27, 2012

~Piece by Piece~


Lately I've been reading biographies. One that has struck a chord with me is Tori Amos's Piece by Piece. Although I definitely do not agree with all she believes necessarily, I do value the bold honesty and unabashed authenticity with which she approaches both her art and herself.
A self-professed free spirit and spitfire in her own rite, Amos's music has surrounded me, ever since the days of when I would follow my older sister Meredith around like a puppy and simply joy in soaking in every smidgeon of shared time she would deem me worthy of (which, compared to most sisters was an insanely generous amount I might add) #my-sister-is-the-bomb.
I can still remember the feeling (I still can't quite grasp the exact word for it---it eludes me like a wisp o' the wind) I got when a Tori Amos song would roll like thunder over the radio waves. The sweet syncopations of sound----those pulsating patterns, haunting intonations and wild runs mark my memories like a vivid, tangible television into my childhood. Mmmm, yes....I was raised on Tori Amos, alongside the 10,000 Maniacs, Carole King and James Taylor...and it was good~
Growing up I always admired her hutztpah and passion for her music; it remains unlike any other genre I have known. So, naturally, as I passed her biography on the shelf of my local library, it wasn't even a question---I was drawn to it like a moth to a flame....focused on finding what it is within her that ticks, and trills.
I am only halfway in, and already her ideas and opinions on religion, femininity, sexuality and so much else have been enough to keep my mind whirring (and cheeks blushing) for ages. Having similar upbringings I have found it fascinating to see her viewpoint on conservatism and "God" and all that is black and white (or in this case grey).  I disagree with much, yet honor and respect her voice and the sheer passion and stubborn will she shows in ceaselessly seeking. And aren't we all....just seeking. Truth. Goodness. Love. Beauty. Peace. Grace.
TRUTH (yes, I said that one twice).
There have been times in my reading where I have stopped to catch my breath after something I have read....Amos writes raw. It is uncomfortable. I disagree. I'm scared I concur. I wonder what if. I question. I refute. I own my truth. I see and hear her heart. I search my own.
Yet I continue reading.....because I know that the truth will always win...and I learn only by living....and dialoguing....allowing even sometimes contradictory views to act as catalysts for constant change---graduated growth. Here is where there will be a forum found, wide open and inviting me in....challenging my own thoughts and ideas...formulating them upon a foundation...building stronger...and always, all ways, ceaselessly seeking.
*I will keep you posted~

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

~Nana Bean~

I'm gonna miss you, Nana---
 miss calling you up for conversation
 miss your words of wisdom, those priceless tidbits,
 life lessons-- tinged with your sweet, Southern twang.

Who else is going to offer me my "Eye-talian" dressing with my salad?
Or ask for my fiancee "Beeeah-Jaaaay" to speak with on the tele?
Who will be there to applaud my greatest triumphs?
And pray with me--
stay with me--
in my deepest defeats?

I will miss your hands the most
I can still see them if I close my eyes--
capable, warm, open always--
offering love and kindness--
and readily accepting all that life had to bestow--
good and bad--
with a grateful heart and faith forged in the fire of daily doing, and breathing, and being

I love you Nana Bean.
You are the light, the love and the laughter that laid my foundation...that breathed love and grace and peace over my life.
You will be missed. 
You are loved~

Saturday, September 8, 2012

~Fabric of A Family~


Once silk,
soft upon my skin,
the color purple,
like royalty

A cohesive quilt,
With deft fingers,
spun in skill,
The fabric of my family.

Extended to their limits,
reaching for the remnants
curled around this olive branch
holding onto hope
holding out for healing.

This schism
Now the sun smiles,
its shadows cast.
don't say it sweetly,
rather speak plainly.
salt in the wound doesn't scare me.

Like Thomas,
I would touch and see
to believe.

That what is said exists.

We are.
He is.
I am.

Or Can be.

For words are wondrous beings
chameleons changing color
blending as best they can
for survival they shift

they are scared.

And even now,
I refuse to be the fig,
I will not wither on this vine,
And though the desert is dry,
There are still streams of water to be found~

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

~Shining Ruby~

I recently had the privilege to watch the film Ruby Sparks.
I won't say much about the film plot itself, or even what I felt I learned through watching it (I like to leave everyone to take what they will of their own accord from all books and movies rather than my subjective version of it).
The entire film took me on a journey...one far better than a round-the-world-traipsing-through-endless field-of-sunflowers-and-lilies-kind of a trip. But rather, a slow, steady climb through an (unexpected) cloud-filled, shadowy skyscape.
Hey! I thought, at first, as the plot trudged on....this isn't what I thought it would be. Yet (yes, one of my favorite hopeful little words) YET, as the film progressed....or perhaps what some would say--spiraled into a darker place than your run-of-the-mill Hollywood RomCom---I saw the cloud clusters riddling that sky begin to take shape....
Shapes I recognized....swirly and curly---of Dr Seuss dimensions....I KNEW these figures like the back of my hand. I willingly walked and climbed along the cloud-filled corridors of this script. Watching would seem like a trainwreck of two people---recklessly running down the tracks towards a tunnel with who knows what on the other side---somehow didn't scare me as I let it all sink in.
And the scene...THE SCENE...the culmination of all of my unspoken words and prayers and cries in the dark of night (of every soul's at one point in time I would imagine)....splayed its shattered glasshouse dialogue across the screen.

Repetitive...rising...building...manic madness---an audiovisual mirror--it unraveled...revealing the underbelly of consciousness.  And, as "You're a Genius!" "You're a Genius!" "You're a Genius!" arced and swelled---shrieking across the screen--its shrill siren scream silenced my soul...stilling every breath and thought as I waited.

It was real.
It was raw.
It was unable to be boxed in...the unruly, untidy awareness.
Questions swirl--

about identity...

about love...

about what that loaded, four-letter word truly means.
In a world where that particular four-letter word is flung wildly about--a penny to a wishing well--I beg of God, of myself, that I would be a Ruby that shines~

Monday, August 20, 2012



Can it be?
That's what they all tell me.
The professionals, I mean.
Yes, there it is....right in front of me.
I see the signs...positive.
All the instructions I have read.
No error would there be.
It must be so.
There is no denying you.
You are here.
Inside me.

How I love you already....my tiny bird.
Greens and roughage from my garden will I feed you.
Songs of joy will I sing...resonating in my womb,
Lullaby lyrics.
whose banner over you is love.

I wonder what you will look like.
Will you have my spirit and heart? My tiny feet set to constant motion?
Maybe your Daddy's truth and wisdom? His hands so capable and sure?
I wonder if you could possibly be as good as they say you will be.
Enough to change my life in an instant...

Will you recognize me?
May I truly call you mine? All mine?

I long for it,
the day you will arrive
fully formed
and well.
I see me in you.
You are beautiful.
are perfect.

I shall name you promise.


Sunday, August 19, 2012

Affirmations Afforded...May I Be a Good Wife~

I want to frame you
and hang you on a wall--a sense of permanence.
I'm staying in this place.
I'm unpacking my bags.
I want to adorn you
with affirmations and kisses,
with time and all my attention.
To dress you
every morning in red and purple joy,
emblems of love and badges of adoration.
To send you on your way
to work, lunch packed, with contentment and
A feast of happy thoughts in the middle of your day.
I want to tuck you in
wrapped in blankets of warmth and reassurance.
Rest your head on the peace of finding what you've
always sought.
I want to fold you
like my favorite skirt, carefully, slowly, delicately,
so the wrinkles and creases of pain are all pressed out.
I want to put you on
like my makeup, wear you all day, shimmering,
bright colors that make you happy, feel beautiful, and self-confident.
Unwrap you,
like a surprise on no day in particular, out of the blue,
rip you apart to view what I'm seeing
for the first time, but always wanted.
I want to hold you,
like a kitten, rescued from the side of a busy road,
ignored when he was crying out, but held, finally, by
a host of loving arms--my soul.
I want to brew you
like my coffee, warm, strong, how I start my day
jolting my senses, waking me up,
hot in my mouth, lasting in my breath.
I wan to read you,
like a memoir, my favorite genre.
I can't put you down.
I highlight you, dog ear you, scuff-up the cover with love,
taking you everywhere I go.
I want to sing you.
My favorite song, always in my mind and on my lips
summoned up without hesitation, memorized, played
loudly and danced to often.
I want to pray you.
A petition, a promise, fervent and faithful,
whispered under my breath, but heard by the only
ears needed to be heard by.
I want to create you,
like the eighth day: "then there was you"--
out of thin air, or maybe evolved, a mystery, but
complete--and tangible.
I want you as you were.
I want you as you are.
I want you as you will be.