Sunday, February 28, 2010

Life can be unfair

Comfy chair, pink fuzzy blanket, sunshine, and a cup of tea. I have cold. Since I am a busy mother, as a general rule I just don't get sick. I don't have the time. Yet somehow this nasty cold snuck up on me and settled in for some serious down time. So despite the beautiful weather today, I am bundled up inside instead of out working in my berry patch, or helping Craig prune apple trees. Life can be unfair.

I've spent the last week madly preparing for a huge dinner party for Craig's parents's 75th Birthday. We hosted the entire family (about 24 people) at our house. Seating that many people is no joke and even though we have an enormous 9' dining room table for our 'regulars', this was a bit of a challenge. But extra tables and chairs were rented, linens purchased at hugely discounted prices at Ross, and everything turned out beautifully. It did not help, however, that the day before the party this nasty cold came to visit. Life can be unfair.

Hosting duties are endless, so Craig and I really worked our tails off yesterday. I, of course, spent the entire party jockeying between strategically placed boxes of kleenex to blow my nose, and then wash my hands. Life can be unfair.

I am wonderfully blessed to have Craig to take care of me, bring me fresh boxes of kleenex and cough drops, and generally shower me with TLC. And while I soak it up, at the same time I am itching to be well. Inactivity is completely alien to me. So this afternoon, I will head outside for some sunshine and a short walk around the property to get some fresh air into my lungs. Just a short 15 minutes to show this ill-timed and utterly unwelcome cold who's boss. It may be planning on setting up shop for a week or so, but I just don't have the time. Sorry Mr. Cold. Life can be unfair.

Thursday, February 18, 2010


This morning I woke to the trills of sweet birdsong early - just after 6:00 am. The perfect start to the day. My two youngest are away at playschool for the morning and the rest of the brood are at school. I am alone. So with a steaming cup of coffee and a few precious moments to myself, I shrug into my favorite 'old man's' sweater and crack open the window to let in the early spring air - Air that reminds me of biting into a tart granny smith apple fresh off the tree. Crisp, brisk, and alive.

In the cosseting quiet I gather my thoughts and slip into writer's mode. The ideas are always there, waiting for me to capture and develop them. I say hello to the main character in my book - To resume telling her story is always pure pleasure, and I savor each part of the creative process. I am drawn back into her world and easily become entrenched in the plotline.

Every day I'm surrounded by amazing women. I watch them take on whatever comes their way and handle it beautifully. I drop off kids at playschool and big kid's school, and I see the other mothers when they busily head off to do I know not what. I wonder where they are off to. Some are going to the gym (as evidenced by their workout gear), and some, no doubt, are off to work. Some are headed home to catch up on cleaning, etc. In my case, there are a myriad things I could be doing right now. There's laundry to be folded, toys to be shunted back to their proper places, bills to be paid, dinner to plan, etc. Instead, I am writing because that's my dream.

To stop pursuing our dreams leaves life two dimensional. So many people I've talked to have left the dreams of their younger selves behind in the name of 'maturing' or 'growing up'. For me a life without my dreams is valueless. I've lately realized that embracing our dreams and pushing the edges of our lives to make room for them is an integral part of 'Living'. Life's responsibilities are ever present and important in their own right, but they will still be there to attend to at the end of the day. It's funny - I often tell my children they can do anything they set their minds to and that their dreams are so very important. Wonderful, encouraging words. Why should our adult dreams be any different? With a stolen moment here and there, and some diligent, hard work, dreams can become reality.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


Just so, the passage of Time is swift
As in a furious headlong rush
The tocking creeps and barrels along
While in a moment stolen from bliss
An Age will pass between you and I
A corner turned - A glimpse of this
By twists and turns a glorious ride

An easy silence approaches
Snapshots of Autumn's glow
Once remembered afternoon idles
On whose irreverent heels
Follow evenings consumed by stillness
Now this Age joyously steals
A note from 'Te Deum's' stride

Softly Time quiets and slows
As Life awaits the closing bow
For now, a poignant memory
Lingers in each ticking's passage
Cloaked by a heavy Winter snow
And Life will turn the final page
Hushed by Time's dampening glide.


Monday, February 8, 2010

Berries, Bondfires, and Babies

While writing has always been a dream of mine, I have a strong tie to the earth too. I come from good pioneer stock - My grandmother's childhood in Minnesota was so close to the Laura Ingall's books it's amazing. You might think writing my first novel would satisfy my need to explore that part of myself that is not tied to my roll as a Mother of five children and two step-children. The part of me that is not defined by how many soiled diapers I changed today or what fabulously interesting things I can do with half a pound of hamburger, a random assortement of veggies, and leftover broccoli salad. (Creative in the kitchen I am not!) Still, there is more to my dream than being a novelist.

As long as I can remember I've always wanted to farm. I grew up on an informal farm - we had a pig, chickens, a pony and a dairy farm on the back five acres. As an adult, I worked in the horticulture industry for several years, happy to be working with plants and dirt. Last year we moved to five acres and inherited, with the property, an overgrown berry patch with several kinds of berries, a bedraggled apple orchard (I couldn't even begin to guess when the trees were last pruned), and some really prolific cherry trees. So of course I thought, "Hey, why not start an organic berry / veggie farm?" This would be a great way for me to get my hands back in the dirt, and a farm is a great place for kids to learn responsibility and teamwork. With children and step-children coming and going all the time, we are continually looking for ways to introduce positive elements into the family dynamic. Farming has it all: Goals,values, hard work, rewards, and some tasty produce in the end.

So yesterday found me outside with the whole family in and around the mess of a berry patch. We sorted out about half of the berry canes, pulling the dead ones away and tying up the new growth. Craig strung new wire to train them on, and we got them standing up tall and tidy. The older kids watched out for the toddlers, while we adults risked life and limb (read: scratches and more scratches!) to get the job done.

Nothing better on a crisp February day than a bonfire we all agreed. On the heap went the dead canes along with some windfall branches we'd gathered up, the dried up Christmas tree followed, and a roaring bondfire ensued. Watching the children's faces as they stood around the fire and poked their sticks into the flames was wonderful. The warmth from the blaze made for some very rosy cheeks, and the magic that is a bondfire was felt by all. Eventually, with dusk falling, we all trickled inside to clean up and start the Sunday evening ritual of dinner, baths, and stories before bed. What a weekend! When they were all finally asleep, I settled onto the couch with Craig and let my mind wander back over a perfect Sunday. My 10 year old step-daughter Amira's comment as we both basked in the fire's warmth came back to me. "This was a great weekend!". A simple, five word sentence lets me hope that as parents, we just may be doing something right.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

A place to write

Feb 8, 2010

I have always wanted to write a novel. At any given time, I have a ton of book ideas running through my head. As I fold laundry, or mow the lawn, bathe babies, or cook dinner, I develop complex plotlines and robust characters. A couple weeks ago a serendipitous meeting with a life coach landed me with the opportunity to have a space of my own to come write. So now every Sunday I leave my wonderful partner Craig with the kids and head out to make my dream a reality. On the way, I stop and get a mocha (a real treat since we don't usually spend money on those anymore) and head to this quiet, peaceful space to write. I have written this book so many times in my head that it is just flowing out of me.

Initially I just started writing the first chapter, but today I decided I should get an outline blocked out so I can get a better feel for the whole book. As the plot and characters and descriptive language flow, I am quite literally in heaven. I love this writing thing. With thoughts of publishing and serials set aside for the future, I am alive in this creative moment. Streaming my main character's thoughts as if they were my own, and sharing her journey with eager anticipation, I am writing.