Monday, November 16, 2009


This year we were:

Poison Ivy


Sumo Wrestler

Noelle seemed entranced by all the Halloween activity. We kept asking if she was tired, but all she would say is "More". In fact, she preferred that term to "Trick or Treat".

There were so many kids out since much of Weatherford comes to the historic district. The houses are in a friendly competition to see who can have the spookiest house. We saw a man flying back and forth in a spider web, a live scarecrow who came down from his hay bale against an old oak tree to grab at screeching goblins and witches.

The neighborhood really had this wonderful Halloween ambience -- old homes lit up orange and purple and green in the dark night. Yet against this foreboding background were open doors, lit with warm lights and smiles as people we knew and others we had never met took a moment to say hello and offer a treat.

Monday, October 26, 2009

The Wilderness

Many spiritual leaders have spoken of going into the wilderness for greater awareness of reality. Many people today seek this same experience to bring forth their true selves.

I believe for women, and for the very involved men as well, the wilderness is being a parent to a small child.

The innocence that is a child is such a gift, untouched by culture and expectations, they show us the reality of who we are, before we are molded and shaped to this life. And in showing us this, they free us from our self constructed prisons. The truth shall set you free, they say. I see truth every day I look in Noelle's eyes.

And there is nothing more motivating to vanquish the parts of ourselves that are small and judgemental than protecting that innocence.

The leaders talk of the demons that visit them each day in the wilderness. I am faced with them each day as well as I watch the fears, shame, or guilt that I took to be a normal part of being human pass through me to my daughter. They are brought to my awareness in those moments, and I have a choice then, to accept them and then change them, or to ignore them. My dearest hope is that I choose the former more often than the latter.

No, for me, the spiritual pathway does not lie somewhere in the far off woods.

I walk the path daily as a mother trying to be all that my little girl deserves, and, as I am learning, I deserve.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

A Moment

You run toward me

Draped in color

Swirling round

Your bare skin

The breeze blows

Delicately moving

your curls

and the silk

over you.

Blue crystals shine

in your eyes

As you smile

A smile I have seen a hundred times

And yet, it is always new

Sometimes in these moments
I can only think

one thought

Life is so magical

And I hold my breath

So that I may hold onto

the seconds

Time slows

But then I must exhale

And with my breath

The moment fades

Reminding me

That in every second

Life must leave behind the past

And move forward.

Welcome, Fall!

Just a little bit of Fallsy goodness since we are all so happy it is here...

My little Elton in her sweater and glasses. Kids are so snuggly in sweaters and pants.

Some little pumpkins I am working on to make a pumpkin patch. My hope is eventually all my Fall decorations will be handmade. A handmade home...something to aspire to!

No pictures, but over here we have made pumpkin bread and pumpkin soup. I'm hoping to add some more pumpkiney goodness to that list!

I have begun searching for Christmas carol music since the holiday season is around the corner.

Yup, the most wonderful time of the year has come back and brought with it inspiration and energy!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Summer Recap

Summer has come and gone and Fall, like an old friend, has faithfully returned. And like an old friend, we easily fall into routine with him again. Cooking, walking, lighting candles, good music all have returned to us as if they had never been gone.

Looking back on the summer, it was difficult in many ways for us because of the heat, but it was also so extraordinary. Stephen and I got to watch our first baby grow into a child, into a person, a person we are both just so enchanted with. I have often felt

"What do I have to offer this little person who is already so many of the things I wish my children to grow to be? "

All I can do is be here.

And so that is what I do.

I am here to witness all her moments of doing and saying new things.
I am here to laugh with her when something is funny.

I am here to laugh at her when she is playing the clown.

I am here to share her wonder at something beautiful.

I am here to hold her when she is hurt.

I am here to be her steeping stool when she wants to reach for the stars.

I am here to be who I am so she can see what it is like to be an adult in this world.

And amazingly, being here has been enough. Letting go of the expectation that I have to do, to teach, to mold or lead in some overt way has opened up a relationship with Noelle that I am grateful for every day I wake up and every night I go to bed.

I have heard the phrase "Children should come with instruction manuals."
I think they do. It is them.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Making Music

"I know now why they say

The eyes are the window to the soul.

I look in yours and see the whole universe

And all its galaxies

Contained within.

I stare deeply, intensely

Do you hear that music?
It is your heart

Singing to my soul.

In harmony we rise and fall

In an ocean

of Love and Peace

Until a Mother

Who can no longer

Contain her words


'I love you.' "
--- Written to Noelle at 4 months old

I have had the luxury and pleasure of taking up the piano again. A lost friend, it has been a wonderful reunion.

And as I have begun the journey of making music once again, this time as a mother and woman, I have been able to learn something I didn't quite see before.

Music is, in its essence, an art of nuances.

You learn a song, its notes and its rhythms. You practice day after day until your hands and mind have learned it fully and completely.

And then you practice more, because there are still subtle movements your fingers haven't learned that you don't even realize exist.

Then, all of a sudden, you find your mind and your body no longer require your energy, and in that moment, you are fully present in the music, able to feel exactly how soft, how fast, how delicate to make this moment.

This is is when the piano sings.

This is when you make music.

And as this moment comes to me, and moves me so powerfully, I realize too, that is is how the rest of my life works. As I become more skilled at living, my mind and body are able to move out of the way so that I can be fully present and able to respond creatively to just this moment in time,

not based on rules or laws I have learned,

not based on past experiences,

but just based on my soul coming into this moment to express itself.

I see glimpses of this as a parent with Noelle. Glimpses when I am fully here with her, just loving her, rejoicing in the fact she is here and is who she is.

And when I do that, my heart sings.

Then together, Noelle and I make our own music

Monday, June 22, 2009

Lazy Days

We are in the lazy days of summer.

My body feels lazy,

my mind feels lazy,

even time seems lazy.

It creeps by with no real outward sign that anything has happened. The days stretch, so that night and day no longer balance each other, and we go to bed with the waning light, and wake up to the waxing light.

It is so hot, no one wants anything more than fruit and sandwiches to eat, and so there are no real meals to break up our day.

It seems like one long heat-filled summer day, interspersed with vignettes of children splashing in water, trips to the store for more fruit, and the little games we find to pass the time during the hottest parts of the day.

It tastes like strawberries and smells of chlorine and bug spray, and feels like...well, we all know what it feels like.

The solstice has passed though, and the days will begin to shorten again, bringing with them the coolness of the dark.

And soon, time will begin again.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Standing People

I found a book at the library about an ancient indigenous religious tradition of Japan called Shinto. I know nothing of it, so I decided to read a little.

One of the foundation principles of the tradition is the importance of the natural world. Shinto leaders have been at the forefront of the movement to stop deforestation in Japan, and then, to reforest. Because of this, Japan ranks as the third most successful reforested nation. The land around Shinto shrines is covered in trees, a symbol of the importance the Shinto tradition places on them.

But what caught my attention was not just that Shintoism teaches the importance of a healthy ecosystem, but that it is believed that you can actually contact Kami, what we would probably refer to as the energy of God, through trees. I read the sentence over and over because I finally had found in words what I have felt for so long.

Is this why when I see an old, thick trunk, I am drawn to place my hand on it, almost as if I can absorb the wisdom this tree must have gained over hundreds of years?

Why I can almost feel the consciousness of the tree? Why it hurts in my chest when an old tree is cut down or dies from disease?

The Native Americans also had this reverence for trees. In many Native American dialects the word for tree can be translated as "standing person". I find this to be so fitting.

Because when the wind blows, and the branches creak above me, and the leaves rustle, I do feel as if I am listening to an ancient, sacred conversation between energies I cannot even begin to truly understand.

Because of this, at least one tribe that I know of would not use a living part of a tree. They harvested the dead parts for their wooden items.

And so I have to think that if two different indigenous peoples across the world, whose cultures were saturated with spiritual practices, have come to the same conclusion, that trees are have some sort of consciousness and sacredness unique to them within the natural world, that perhaps they are right.

But mostly I think this because I have felt it in the depths of my own being, felt beyond words that our spiritual selves can be known more fully in the presence of those which have known the elements, breathed the air and drank the water of this earth for centuries, perhaps even millenia.
The Standing People.

Sunday, June 14, 2009


Hail Mary, full of Grace

I was discussing theology with a friend today who was raised in a Protestant tradition and she asked me the question I have heard many Protestants ask:

"Why do you pray to Mary?"

I gave an answer that involved the idea of praying to a feminine energy, and that Catholics often pray to different saints, etc, etc, but it didn't seem to fully express why still, even though I do not consider myself Catholic, I love to gaze upon statues of Mary, and I still find comfort in uttering the most sacred words of the Hail Mary.

The Lord is with you...

To me, Mary is a Mother. The ultimate symbol of a Mother, and there is something about the love a mother has for her child, the bond between them, that feels so holy. And yet, in many religious traditions, this is not really mentioned or seen. For whatever reason that I cannot figure out, the religions of the world are patriarchal, and have done their fair share in aiding in the oppression of women.

Blessed are you among women...

And yet, here is this one aspect of a major world tradition that doesn't just recognize the importance of a mother, but basically worships it. Because this is something I struggled with becoming a mother -- that as a woman, you can't really be out in the world like a man, affecting things in the same way. And yet, by raising the next generation, you are influencing things immensely. There would have been no Ghandi without his mother, and no Ghandi Jr's without his wife raising his 4 children while he gave himself to India.

And blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus...

There would have been no Buddha, or Mohammed, or Moses,

Or Jesus. Mary brought him into this world physically, and then raised him, guiding him on his path to his destiny. Her life is intimately woven with his, just as every mother's is intimately woven with her child's life forever.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners

So, speaking only for me, I guess what I find so comforting about gazing upon a statue of Mary is that I can see there the spiritual truth of what it means to be a Mother, the transformation that occurs in our very souls when we hold these divine beings in our arms for the first time.

Arms outstretched as if to invite anyone suffering into them, with serene eyes and a compassionate face, beautiful in its simple smooth features, I feel my soul being reflected back to me. And just as Mary's arms are forever frozen this way, I know too my arms and my heart will never close to my own children.

Now and at the hour of our death

I have known no other love so devoted, so overwhelming, so pure as I have experienced loving Noelle. And if Jesus taught that a sign of spiritual enlightenment is unfettered love, then for me, becoming a Mother is where it starts. And as I open my heart more and more to this love, I feel my heart opening to others that are not my children, a growing compassion for suffering. All I have to do is imagine that they are someone's child.

Mary symbolizes this to me.

There just has to be a place for that.


Friday, June 12, 2009

Chasing Magic

Noelle and Cousin Emma

I have not written for awhile. We found out we are expecting, and after the initial high of that realization wore off, in came all the physical feelings of sickness, but also alot of emotions to deal with.

I knew I always wanted a sibling or siblings for Noelle. This was my dream. And yet, after the elation came fear and sadness, feelings of loss. Would Noelle be ready? Would she be okay? Would I become completely engrossed with the new baby and leave her feeling lost? Or am I so strongly bonded to Noelle that I will neglect the new baby and fail to bond properly?

Did I make the right decision?

It has been recently that I have found a beautiful, overarching feeling of peace and calm. The feeling that everything is as it should be returned, and I have been able to see again all the wonderful things a sibling will bring our little family.


Right now Noelle has two parents with alot of love and alot of time. She is, quite honestly, overindulged. I think this is okay right now, but I do think eventually there would need to be some balance, the ability to see that there are other people in the universe with other needs that at times may come before hers. She will learn selflessness and compassion, and I think we will be able to better establish boundaries with two or more to look out for.

A Routine.

There is just so much time right now. I have tried to establish a routine (more than meals and bedtime) several times, but there is just alot of time to work with. I think having a second will allow us to follow a better routine, to keep the family in a nice, discernible rhythm.

A Constant Companion.

Sometimes I watch Noelle playing with her little toys, talking and cooing to them, but now I see something different. In my mind's eye, I see a little baby sitting beside her, smiling and clapping its hands, as she shows them all the things her little toy can do. And I see the sparkle in her eye from the excitement of having someone to share it all with.

And most importantly, Friendship.

I watch Noelle with other children and I am always so amazed at how differently she plays with them than with us. There is such a vibrant energy between them, and a subtle communication that almost seems like they are dancing. One leads for a moment, and then the other, and they never break rhythm. It is magical to watch, but it always left a little bit of a lump in my throat before because I knew I could never play with her like that, that we lose some of the magic when we grow up.

Now when I see it, I feel a deep satisfaction, because I know sooner than later she will have someone she can play with day or night. And she will have somebody that can understand her like I never will. Someone whom she can go to after Stephen or I or both have come down on her for something, and she is feeling alone and upset, until she finds her brother or sister and they smile at her and declare,

"Let's go play!"

And she will run side by side with them, leaving all her cares streaming behind her as she once again races to find the magic.

Friday, May 8, 2009

The Irony

That my child will not, will not, sit in a stroller for a walk. No, she must push it, and then become frustrated that she can't wield a contraption made for an adult.

And yet, she will ride in this, a doll carriage, for close to an hour.

Just watching the scene go by.

Stopping to talk to the neighbors out getting their mail or watering their lawns.

And of course, having her mama and daddy grab her some dandelions.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Special Delivery

A few days ago, the sun was out for the first time in several days, and we celebrated this by, of course, spending it in the gardens.

I brought my camera because I knew there would be some new blooms out, but I ended up catching something much more special.

Flats of new blooms were delivered, and Noelle was delighted to toddle in and out among the rows of flowers. After the initial excitement, she set to examining the flowers and found that she could lift the individual plants out.

She began methodically, and with much joy, taking each plant out to place ever so carefully in a line. If one fell over, she gently set it back upright.

Once she had finished with her arrangement of impatiens and periwinkles, she set to bringing her Mama some of these lovely flowers, and then nudged my head toward them to smell.

Taking a break to smell the flowers

The neighborhood horticulturist up at Chandor, Steve, commented that he believes she is destined to become some sort of naturalist.

In case she does, and is reading this several decades from now...

Noelle, your love for flowers began before you knew the word "flower",

Your respect for the natural world came before you knew trees give us our oxygen and shade,

And before you could understand the importance of our connection with nature, you were madly and completely in love with all its wonders.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Respite in OK

Last week, we went on our first real vacation with Noelle (not counting Arkansas when she was in my belly) to Lake Murray, Oklahoma.

We were pleasantly surprised. We had an uneventful two hour drive there and back, and Noelle seemed as excited as we were to be there. She ran around outside and inside, like a puppy in new territory. We pulled the mattress from the bedroom to the living room floor, and we all slept wonderfully there.

We went on trails, we ate on the picnic table in the cool evening, we went into Ardmore to see the historic district. Basically, we did alot of what Stephen and I would have done before, except now we had our little one to show this big, beautiful world.

I really love traveling, even just a couple hours away. It is just so refreshing for me. I took notice of myself actually skipping everywhere. And then when we come home, it is like our little place is somewhere very familiar from long ago. So that I am thinking things like "I remember this street" or "I remember these flowers", or "I remember these books". Only two nights away and it feels as if we have been away for many months. We even wonder what the neighbors have been up to since we have been gone sooo long.

To describe Oklahoma, the word I keep coming back to is Wild. There are animals everywhere, and the forests are clean and quiet. There were few people there when we were, so it truly felt that sometimes we were in the wilderness. Geese clamored overhead as we hiked in the mornings. Deer bounded out of sight. A bright green snake slithered down a tree to get a closer look.

A deer track.

The dirt was the color of flame.

The sky was open and blue.

You could almost imagine the Kickapoo warriors stealing silently through the forest to see what the Whiteskins were up to.

It was lovely.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Wall

One morning there were two women standing on either side of a wall. They yelled to each other what a wall looked like.

"Mine is bright red and tall."

"Mine is bright green."

Each was confused over this. Wasn't a wall always red? Or always green?

And what was better? Red or green?

Then one yelled to the other:

"Let us climb over our walls, so that we may see each other true, not separated such as this."

And so they climbed. And met each other face to face at the top of the very same wall, painted red on one side, and green on the other.

My sister and I had an argument this morning. I won't say which side was which, but basically there were two arguments, and we were banging our heads trying to understand the other and have the other understand us. It went something along the lines of this:

"Everyone loves their child as much as the other, and this love is perfect. We all do our best that we know at the time and we cannot ask of ourselves any more than this."

The other side: 'There are different qualities of love, and it is in being able to see when we are not loving our children the best that we can then move ourselves to love more and better and grow spiritually. We can always love better."

And as I look at these two arguments, I realize they are two sides of one whole truth: Love is perfect, but we often love imperfectly. We always do our best, which is all we can ask of ourselves, but we can always do better. This is the nature of our human existence.

And so I climb that wall to meet my sister face to face, to realize we were standing on two sides of the same wall.

My Niece and Nephew

I have a very special niece and nephew.

They are kind and funny, and so much fun to be around.

I watch them with Noelle, their tenderness, their genuine love of playing with her.

I catch Cole making faces at her and she is doubled over with smiles and laughter.

I catch Kaylee gently brushing her hair away from her face, and Noelle doing the same to her in return.

How could these things not bring joy to this mother's heart?

I love that Noelle loves them, but I love being with them too, just us. I love hearing their stories and seeing them smile.

I love seeing them growing into individual people with different interests and talents.

Kaylee always pulling up stool to climb at the top of and declare

"Hello everyone, I'm Kaylee. We're going to have a show today."

Will one day, decades from now, this same scene unfold for me as I sit gray-haired, watching my niece at her new job?

Or Cole, who brings pictures of people praying for answers and Indian spirits plummeting out of the sky to bring them those answers. He wears his soul on his sleeve.

Will one day, decades from now, I sit at a table with him, drinking coffee, discussing his latest idea inspired by a certain poet he is reading?

I only know that right now I am so enjoying watching these two little souls walk their path and am so grateful to be walking parts of it with them.