“A mother is your first friend, your best friend, your forever friend.” — Amit Kalantri, Wealth of Words
“A warrior believes in an end she can’t see and fights for it. A warrior never gives up. A warrior fights for those weaker than herself. It sounds like motherhood to me.” — Kristin Hannah, The Nightingale
For women who love unconditionally, who may not be Moms for whatever reason
Those with us and those who have gone on ahead to wait for us, who remain in our hearts
Tough, resilient, soft, tender, unselfish, fierce, bold
Models of unconditional love, grace and light
To all of the women in our life who walk beside us on our journey
To all mothers who nurture, hold, seek peace but will fight when necessary, anchored in love and protection
Who teach us “Yes!” to life and love
Honored and revered today and each day
Happy Mother’s Day!
“It’s in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
the palm of my hand,
The need for my care.
’Cause I’m a woman
That’s me.” – Maya Angelou
The podcast I listened to yesterday and on the way to the funeral home for Mom’s wake was someone I quote here often author Kate Bowler. The topic this week is called Number Our Days with Reverend Tom Long about funerals. God’s timing is not ours but is perfect and always on time. It was the right thing at the right time followed by hours of family and friends sharing stories, long hugs, laughter, tears and celebrating Mom’s life and preparing for the final earthly good-bye today.
Tom Long shared many insightful thoughts including “there’s a great passage in the Gospel of John when Jesus says to his disciples, “Are you going to leave me like everybody else?” And Peter says, “Where would we go? You have the words of life.” And I think pastors find performing funerals, presiding at funerals, richly satisfying because they recognize that people are responding to the word of life that they bring. Pastors are the last one standing. The physicians have all fled. The lawyers haven’t arrived yet. And there we are. And somebody has to say something that has power and promise and comfort and meaning in this momentous occasion. And that’s what we get to do.”…”I think that’s why we break into song. That’s why the apostolic constitution, an ancient liturgical document, says in the death of the saints, accompany them with singing, not with explanations, but with but with singing, thanksgiving, Praise, lament.
Mom is reunited with Dad, her parents and brothers, all of the relatives and friends who went before, especially her Mom who she hasn’t seen in 76 years and my Aunt Marion who was her best friend.
Mom would always say “bye now.” So, Mom, bye now and bye for now. I’ll see you after today in people, places, daily activities, sacred spaces woven in each ordinary day, in my actions, words, in habits, in my family and mostly in my heart where Dad has been for 7 years since his homegoing. Thanks Mom and Dad for being my parents but perhaps most importantly, my best friends, the ones who saw me before I saw me.
“Surrender to the beauty of revealing yourself to yourself, and to the ones who saw you before you saw you.”― Carolyn Brown, Hummingbird Lane
The journey of Lent has an even deeper meaning this year. We don’t walk nor carry our crosses alone. The only road to the third day of resurrection is right through the middle of day one and two. We love you Mom. I love you Mom. Rest in peace, grace and light. May those who remain, number our days well.
“I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die.” – John 11:25-26
“A mother is the truest friend we have, when trials heavy and sudden fall upon us; when adversity takes the place of prosperity; when friends desert us; when trouble thickens around us, still will she cling to us, and endeavor by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace to return to our hearts.”― Washington Irving
“This is my wish for you: Comfort on difficult days, smiles when sadness intrudes, rainbows to follow the clouds, laughter to kiss your lips, sunsets to warm your heart, hugs when spirits sag, beauty for your eyes to see, friendships to brighten your being, faith so that you can believe, confidence for when you doubt, courage to know yourself, patience to accept the truth, Love to complete your life.”― Ralph Waldo Emerson
My Mom joined Dad in heaven this week.
We walk her home for ourselves next week.
86 years old.
Tough and soft, tender steel.
From farm roots.
East side of Saint Paul, those who lived there know what that means.
Neighbors, friends, loyalty, family, community, laughter, hard work, hard play.
Love completed her life and remains for us to complete our own journey.
Grief and gratitude.
Joy and laughter.
Memories across a lifetime, not just a snapshot in time.
A good story.
May each of us complete our own story with comfort, smiles, rainbows, laughter, sunsets, hugs, beauty, friendships, faith, confidence, courage, patience and overflowing love. And the gift of God’s peace that passes all understanding.
“The most difficult times for many of us are the ones we give ourselves.”― Pema Chodron, When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice For Difficult Times
“The thankful receiver bears a plentiful harvest.” – William Blake
“You do not have to choose
one or the other: a dream or a dreamer, the
bird or the birder. You may be a woman of
commotion and quiet. Magic and brain.
You can be a mother and a poet. A wife and
a lover. You can dance on the graves you dug
on Tuesday, pulling out the bones of yourself
you began to miss.”― Kate Baer, What Kind of Woman
You can be a mix, a mess, brilliant and beautiful.
You are all of that and so much more.
Paradox, complexity, simplicity, shallow, deep.
Surround yourself with friends and family, loving their flaws and all their quirkiness, your own too.
We are more than what we do, our mistakes, our errors, beyond perfection to real and true.
Love saves us all.
“Follow the flawed, the real, the messy. Follow the women who say it like it is, no filter, no glossing, no bull. Follow those people who accept themselves, and you, as you are. And leave the rest to edit their lives to perfection,”― Donna Ashworth, I Wish I Knew: Poems to Soothe Your Soul & Strengthen Your Spirit
“In the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter, and sharing of pleasures. For in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed.” – Khalil Gibran
“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” – Einstein
We fall into patterns and mindsets that don’t serve us well. Sundays before Mondays are heavy as we contemplate the “to do” list for the week. Fridays we sigh with relief that we made it through four grueling days. We find joy in three days and forego the other four.
Enough. Take each and every day back! Be as excited on Monday as you are on Friday by changing your expectations, trying new things and not falling for false narratives.
Each day is a gift ready to be seen and opened. Pay attention and tune out the noise. Be willing to accept joy in ordinary moments and create memories on a weekday rather than on vacation and long weekends.
As we come off a few weeks of holidays and respite from the grind, commit and build time into each day for self-care, delight and celebration of ordinary moments. Life is meant for the grand not the grind. Dare to be light and carefree, even and especially on a Monday. Repeat on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Get into the grind of joy!
A few hours with Jeanne and the girls proved to be, yet again, good medicine for the soul.
Yeah!!! It’s Monday. May we each have the wisdom to say this daily prayer, “God, I am blessed and I know it in my bones. Thank you and Amen!”
“Miracles come in moments. Be ready and willing.” – Wayne Dyer
“On your journey, don’t forget to smell the flowers. Take time out to notice that you’re alive. You can only live in one day.” – Ray Fearon
“The true secret of happiness lies in taking a genuine interest in all the details of daily life.” – William Morris
Last week, I took Abby and Sasha for the first time to a dog park in Hastings when meeting a friend to pick up a Christmas gift that she painted. When we first arrived and I took them off leash, they were perplexed. Surely I made a mistake, they were in open space with other dogs and new territory to explore. Once they acclimated, they absolutely loved it.
Abby chased tennis balls with her usual vigor and delight. Sasha was the social director, introducing herself and making friends with other dogs inviting them to chase her and she would reciprocate. I was so pleasantly surprised and wondered why I hadn’t done this sooner.
There’s a dog park just blocks from my house that I’ve passed for years and never stopped. This week, we went there every day. Each time, they were excited as the first time, meeting new friends and dancing through leaves to hunt balls.
So often, we have places, people and blessings in plain sight, right in our own “backyard.” We miss them going on to the next thing, to the “better” yard, the “other person’s” yard. We pass them each day, not noticing, taking them for granted, as if invisible. In the middle of our ordinary days are extraordinary gifts.
Start noticing and exploring your own “backyard” with gratitude, awe and joy. It’s a beautiful view right outside your window.
“God is in the details.” – Ludwig Mies van der Rohe
“The creation of something new is not accomplished by the intellect but by the play instinct acting from inner necessity. The creative mind plays with the objects it loves.” – Carl Jung
“The debt we owe to the play of imagination is incalculable.” – Carl Jung
Every time I let others get to me, not in a good way. Every time, I get off the positivity path and wander into a cloud of negativity. Every time, I choose dark over light. I soon wake up and rediscover blessings and gifts that are already present and available when I look with new eyes. My wake up call comes in a text from a friend, a dog with a toy, the brilliance of a flower or a child in their natural state before we make them “grow up.”
We must never surrender our power and responsibility to be joyful, playful, grateful and in awe. Especially right now when the world is upside down.
Don’t let others get you down. Do your part to lift up, look up and never, ever give up. I am deeply grateful for my tribe who inspire, listen and love unconditionally, moving me rapidly through moments of scarcity and comparison into abundance and purpose. Get out and play and invite others to join you.
“The mind cannot long play the heart’s role.” – Francois de La Rochefoucauld
“The language of friendship is not words but meanings.” – Henry David Thoreau
“My friends are my estate.” – Emily Dickinson
Tonight, the running group gathered as usual to saunter, walk and run. In addition, we also celebrated a good friend’s 82nd birthday. Terry is a rare breed, filled with humor, great stories and light. He came back for the summer. We haven’t seen him since October when he went to California for the winter. The cool thing about this group of humans is that we come from all walks of life and welcome all who want to join and care deeply about each other. Friends who are family.
When he left last fall, we had no idea that 2020 would bring a pandemic. Tonight was a celebration and sign of opening back up, of reuniting, of valuing the deep human connection that in hindsight we took for granted.
“Rejoicing in our joy, not suffering over our suffering, makes someone a friend.” – Friedrich Nietzsche
It was a gift of normal. What we remember, forget and focus on frames our life. Choose well, live well. Never forget. Embrace moments. Love without condition.
“We all have life storms, and when we get the rough times and we recover from them, we should celebrate that we got through it. No matter how bad it may seem, there’s always something beautiful that you can find.” – Mattie Stepanek
“Let there be no purpose in friendship save the deepening of the spirit.” – Khalil Gibran
“Animals praise a good day, a good hunt. They praise rain if they’re thirsty. That’s prayer. They don’t live an unconscious life, they simply have no language to talk about these things. But they are grateful for the good things that come along.” – Mary Oliver
“Every day should be a good day. People fool themselves that they’ll be here forever.” – Stephen A. Schwarzman
A walk with friends by the river with the girls. House chores to prepare for new floors on Monday. The plumber. Comcast for a new cable box. A long ride with Mom and the girls. Sasha chasing geese in the field. A drop by my sister’s house as she gazed into the eyes of her grandson with pure joy. A stop to pick up dinner. A few more chores. Sit down and watch a movie.
No meetings. No zooming. No tech. Flat as hell hair and it isn’t going to get prettier with the state locks down stay at home until May 18th and a perm reschedule, yet again, for Memorial Day weekend. A simple day, a good day.
Don’t miss good days. Create them and accept nothing less. Not defined by accomplishment or to dos but by presence and ease. Deep gratitude for the extraordinary in the ordinary. Good days – create them.
“Every day should be a good day. People fool themselves that they’ll be here forever.” – Stephen A. Schwarzman
Yep, I put the quote in twice because we forget. We will not be here forever.
“Each day holds a surprise. But only if we expect it can we see, hear, or feel it when it comes to us. Let’s not be afraid to receive each day’s surprise, whether it comes to us as sorrow or as joy It will open a new place in our hearts, a place where we can welcome new friends and celebrate more fully our shared humanity.” – Henri Nouwen
“Patience doesn’t mean making a pact with the devil of denial, ignoring our emotions and aspirations. It means being wholeheartedly engaged in the process that’s unfolding, rather than ripping open a budding flower or demanding a caterpillar hurry up and get that chrysalis stage over with.” – Sharon Salzberg
Let’s be honest and real. There are not a lot of good surprises right now. Optimism and delight are not natural choices and we can easily forebode joy so as not to be more disappointed than we are right now in this rare and unclear time (again, not using uncertain and unprecedented, see previous posts).
We are being conditioned to prepare for the worst, to hunker down and to operate in survival mode. Not a great way to live a rich whole life. There’s fear, consternation, overwhelm and it’s palpable. I have chosen to not steep in hours of news and to look at our circumstances in an optimistic light, even though I don’t feel it all the time. I also realize that each one of us is in a different place and empathy calls us to both celebrate and mourn in the same breath. To feel joy and to understand that not everyone does so to be present for them to hold their hand through it.
I’ve been a bit weary from the nonstop meetings as many equate activity with innovation, busyness with strategy. Amidst a lot of egos and positioning, I had two wonderful surprises today that provided hope for a more authentic, relevant and real future, not the BS that’s spinning around.
A friend called me to tell me she was checking in on me and that she was planning on doing this daily with her friends. We had a wonderful connection and talked about how we could creatively get through to the other side and thrive. A refreshing, restorative and energizing conversation.
A few minutes later, I heard a knock at the front door and there were flowers on my front steps. A beautiful bouquet with a card thanking me for leading during social quarantine and that I was doing an amazing job. What a kind and thoughtful gift. It was anonymous but I guessed who it was and called to thank her for her generosity and kindness. She is an amazing, talented and brilliant person so a note and flowers from her mean a lot to me. I am grateful for all that she does and should be sending her flowers daily.
So rather than succumbing to the noise, arrogance and predictions of the crowd, choose to create space for surprise. Be deeply grateful for those bright lights in your life who take the time to be authentic, vulnerable and kind. And pass it on.