Sometimes I feel like I will never stop
Just go on forever
I’m gonna reach up and grab me a handfulla stars
Swing out my long lean leg
And whip three hot strikes burnin’ down the heavens
and look over at God and say,
How about that!
Joe DiMaggio called Satchel Paige “the best and fastest pitcher I’ve ever faced”. His pitching was amazing and his showboating was legendary. His career highlights span five decades. Pronounced the greatest pitcher in the history of the Negro Leagues, Paige compiled such feats as 64 consecutive scoreless innings.
This is the kid who didn’t want to pitch this season. First year in AAA/kid pitch division of Little League. This is the kid who who got seven strikeouts in 2 innings in one of his games, six in another and more games just like that. This is the kid who showed me how he can fight his way back from walking three batters and hitting the next, only to strike out the next three.
This kid, with that look in his eye. Alone on the mound, pitch after pitch, the game resting in his glove, his elbow, his brain. His eyes. His confidence.
Yes, I am proud. Of course I am proud, I am his mother, so pride is a given. But it dawned on me, it goes so much deeper than that. I get it now, what my own mother said to me so many times growing up, ‘find your thing’.
Proud, yes, of course. Absolutely.
But it is knowing, by that look in his eye, and watching him fight back after a few bad throws and seeing him focus; knowing that he knows what my own mama knew. I don’t have to tell him. He’s got it.
Me: So, what do you think about when you are on the mound, ready to throw?
Me: No, really, what do you think about out there on the mound?
Him: Just getting the ball into the glove.
This is the kid who said he didn’t want to pitch this season.
I never rush myself. See, they can’t start the game without me. – Satchel Paige
Here’s to all the moms…
May your day be filled with jewel beads, clean counters and tidy rooms.
And if not, perhaps a lovely mess filled with love and laughter!
To the Mom’s – what has been one of your favorite, or most ‘memorable’ gifts over the years?
And to the rest of us ‘kids’, is there a gift you remember being so excited or proud to give to your mom?
Happy Mother’s Day!
I can remember a conversation I had, that unbeknown to me at the time, would one day shape my entire attitude towards life and make some of the most painful and challenging and testing experiences that were yet to happen, bearable. And not just bearable, but valuable.
It was only 8 words in response to a question I posed to my mother, but I knew even at the time by the way the words struck me dumb that I had heard something that was significant and somehow, would shape me.
In approximately 46 days, I will turn, well, 46. There it’s out. That means you all have 46 days to get my mailing address and send a gift! Oh, wait, did I say that out loud?
Oops, that’s not what I meant!
What I meant to tell you is that I read something last week that made an impression on me. From a blog I follow, called Kind Over Matter and whose tagline reads: ‘touching the world with kindness, inspiration, gentleness and love” authored by a variety of writers, came an email with the subject line ”how giving gave my birthday meaning”. Knowing that I am just mere days away from turning a new number, it caught my attention. I am not one to shy away from birthdays for fear of more wrinkles, aches and creaks; I believe that age is a state of mind. But I do approach a birthday with an appreciation for and an interest in looking at what my life means, to me and to others. Cake [lava cake to be specific] and presents are always welcome, but not required. Wine, on the other hand; is most definitely required. I’ve heard that anti-oxidants are good for anti-aging…
When Random Acts of Kindness was a novel idea, I was an early adopter, intrigued by the whimsical and yet positive impact of reaching out to others in unexpected and unnecessary but delightful ways. I may have actually paid someone’s toll booth fee on at least one occasion. It also reminded me of a memorable experience from college, when all my friends and I were broke and had had our fill of Top Ramen and mac-n-cheese. A lasting impression was made on me when one of our friends invited a large group of us out to a nice restaurant – and paid - for a fantastic meal for everyone. He shared that in his culture, it’s the custom to give to others in your life on your birthday, to return the gifts of friendship and love. So, the more I considered this notion of a giving birthday, the more captivated I became. The blog post illustrated how one woman completed 35 acts of giving to celebrate her 35th birthday, and because this is me we are talking about, I have to take this literally – naturally - as much as I appreciate the random nature of things – and have 46. Right? Right.
I have been quietly pondering this possibility, considering the different sides of ‘signing myself up for this’ and on some days, I am fascinated, and on others, intimidated. I have a lot in front of me at the moment; this is my busy season at work, a big presentation to prepare for later this spring, and so on. And then I remind myself: we are all busy, everyone has too much to do. And each time I gave myself permission to let it go [after-all, who would know?], I found myself coming back to this idea. In my mind, the challenge has been presented, and frankly, I think it’s probably necessary, something I may even need.
So, here we go, we are doing this. Yes, you heard me correctly. We.
I was tempted to go about this quietly, not say anything, in part because that makes sense to me and in part because it’s often just how I do things. It’s counter-intuitive to me to make it my mission to share and then tell everyone about it. But then I realized: I would not have learned about this possibility if someone else hadn’t talked about it. I would not have been inspired if someone hadn’t taken the opportunity to be an inspiration. So, I convinced myself that sharing this is OK and again, because it’s me, put my own twist on it, and ask you for help.
Remember the WE that I mentioned earlier?
This is where you come in and where YOU and I become WE. I want to let myself be nudged, and turn the turning a new number into one of giving, and I’d like your help. My goal is to somehow give in 46 ways to mark 46 years and I need your ideas for how to give, what to give, and to whom.
Let your brains fly – WWYD – What would You Do? Think of ideas – from simple, sentimental, and silly, to as fun, crazy and ridiculous as you want. Some can cost money, and some shouldn’t.
I will make a list of our ideas…a combination of yours and mine..and over time, as I complete them, share how it goes with you. We are in this together after all.
And for those who might be wondering, my word for 2013 is…
And yes, I am intimidated. And fascinated.
“We make a living by what we get.
We make a life by what we give.”
A few days ago, when I logged into Facebook, front and center was a blessing that a friend shared, as it had been shared with her. It resonated with me, deeply, and I have been going back to it almost daily in the time since. Each time I go back for a re-read, I get something new from it, a new layer of comfort and understanding.
I often say I am late the party, and why break tradition at this point? Though the holidays have finally been wrapped up, and a new year has fluttered in with a new calendar page, it’s never too late to stop and reflect on what it is that nourishes our souls, and seek more of that not only for ourselves, but so that we are filled with something to share with others, as we begin anew.
On the day when
the weight deadens
on your shoulders
and you stumble,
may the clay dance
to balance you.
And when your eyes
the grey window
and the ghost of loss
gets in to you,
may a flock of colors,
indigo, red, green,
and azure blue
come to awaken in you
a meadow of delight.
When the canvas frays
in the currach of thought
and a stain of ocean
blackens beneath you,
may there come across the waters
a path of yellow moonlight
to bring you safely home.
May the nourishment of the earth be yours,
may the clarity of light be yours,
may the fluency of the ocean be yours,
may the protection of the ancestors be yours.
And so may a slow
wind work these words
of love around you,
an invisible cloak
to mind your life.
Happy New Year to each and every one of you!
It is said that the only things in life that are constant, a given, for sure are death, taxes and change. Change is all around us; at the moment we get to bask in the glory of prismatic color all around as one season merges into another [forgive my West Coast life - our fall colors arrive much later than the rest of the world]. Our skin changes with the season, our eyesight changes with age; wine and cheese change for the better with time. Our pant sizes change by the month for some of us; styles change yearly; and if done right, life is a series of one change after another.
When my son was an infant, and learning to scooch, the kind of scooching that was more akin to a military move: elbows grabbing traction and full belly to the floor. The only difference being a floppy head that frequently came precariously close to smacking the floor. I worried that the hardwood floors in my house would prove problematic for both he and I; his forehead, my backside. I ordered an area rug to soften the blow and create some padding, for both of us. There was a snafu with the order and it took nearly a month for the rug to arrive in the warehouse, and then I had to arrange to pick it up with an infant. When I finally got to the store, I looked at the rug and realized that I didn’t like it; in fact, I hated it. But as luck would have it, there were no returns on custom orders so I had no choice and I brought it home, rolled it out, and appreciated it simply for it’s function, despite what it lacked in form.
No sooner had I plopped the kiddo down on the carpet, with that contented sigh of solving a dilemma, did I realize that the week prior he had fully mastered scooching and was now in full-crawling mode. He had no intention of staying within the bounds of the rug’s edge, he had serious exploring to do. The area rug was obsolete before I even rolled it out; my son had changed. He had grown, outgrown the rug and was ready to move on. Just as he should. I, however, was stuck with the ugliest rug for a few years until enough wear and tear was underfoot to justify a change in my home decor.
“When people are ready to, they change. They never do it before then, and sometimes they die before they get around to it. You can’t make them change if they don’t want to, just like when they do want to, you can’t stop them.”
Change, if done well, and for the right reasons, does not scare me. The tasks necessary to usher in whatever is new, or just different, are always laced with some element of adventure along with the knowledge that the change is part of the larger picture and the knowing that this turn will pave the way for, and lead to more change at some unexpected point in time. I like seeing what’s next around the corner, figuring things out as I go.
Change, if done poorly and for the wrong reasons just annoys me; knowing that the unnecessary work required to accommodate the transition will be tiresome, drama will ensue, and will likely only serve to fix a temporary issue, that is possibly (probably) not even the real issue to begin with.
Change is on my immediate horizon; change that I have called forth, beckoned. Change that I need. I feel a bit like my infant son, pushing past the bounds of the rug’s edge. It is change for the right reasons, and will unquestionably bring work, surely some drama and it will be up to me to do it well, and with grace if possible, to ensure a positive outcome that simply lays a new foundation for what is to come. Not to mention, the changes that I am certain will appear, at the presently uncertain, but certainly inevitable unforeseen corners of my life.
“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”
- Buckminster Fuller
I realize that not everyone likes change, embraces it’s adventure or seeks it out. It’s not always pretty, definitely not always easy, and rocks the boat. What is your relationship to change? Do love it? Or avoid it at all costs, even when the option of remaining the same seems equally impossible?
“It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.”
- Charles Darwin
the little things that go wrong, are what connect us…make us real to each other.
I am remembering a day, in my late teens: I had invited some friends over and had told them I would make strawberry shortcake, to just come on over to the house, and hang out. It didn’t seem that difficult, I had seen my mom do it and the recipe looked so easy. I tossed the fresh strawberries with some sugar and got busy mixing and baking the shortcake. I put it all together and the moment came to assemble dessert; I handed out dishes and forks, anticipating nothing but delight, mmmm’s, lipsmacking.
Instead, what I heard were strange sounds, coughs, throats clearing, and eventually the giggles.
It, the shortcake, was awful! I had taken a bite by this time and sure enough, it was horrible and resembled something more akin to sawdust cakes than anything.
I was embarrassed, but these people, my friends were so close, so safe, that it was o.k. to be the epicenter of their laughter and teasing. I figured out what I had done wrong, but much too late; so instead we ditched the cake and dove into the strawberries and whip cream and immersed ourselves in conversation. And, yes they kept laughing at me.
The best part of the shortcake however, is that it lives on [and given its consistency, it probably could], to this day; nearly 30 years later. I don’t see those friends often enough, we of course all live in a variety of places – physically, mentally, stages of life, etc. But it takes only the mere mention of the strawberry shortcake in an email, phone conversation, or in the event we get to visit in person, a conversation, that sends us directly to nothing less than a fit of giggles. And a knowing.
If the shortcake had turned out perfectly, we would have never noticed, we would have mmm-ed and hmmm-ed, and smiled and licked our forks and plates and enjoyed the moment. But it would have been just that, only a moment, eclipsed by something else that might have seemed funny, but would likely – and quickly – fade in passing. Instead, because of my mistake, ineptitude, forgetfulness, or whatever, we got instead a memory that stays with us, and in a way, connects us always, with just one word.
With one of my friends I have known since childhood, all I have to do is, in a mocking tone, say ‘shut up I can’t see‘ in a text, email, or message and we are goners, laughing until we pee or cry, or both. It was a day of misdirection and tardy arrivals, and while being silly in the backseat, laughing loudly at my friend’s inability to navigate the directions, my friend yelled at me, and the others, to shut up so he could see where he was going. The backseat drivers thought it was the dumbest thing we had heard, and it set us on a jag of that crazy, uncontrollable, practically crying, belly-aching, gasping laughter. You know the kind, it swells up, consumes you, recedes and then returns in its full force, over and over again.
If he had known his way, been more calm, or if we had been a little more, ahem, mature, we would not have that moment to cherish as part of our story, to have to be able to return to periodically, and reach out to hold a moment of our youth, our history, something that makes us, well, an us. It places us somewhere.
When my son was about to turn three, he fell down on his face a few days before his birthday and bumped himself up pretty good; resulting in a big giant fat lip, which of course ballooned just in time for his birthday, when the camera comes out in full force. My husband was irritated by the poor timing, lamenting how this would look, and I remember just putting a hand on his arm and saying, ‘but these are the moments we remember. this will be ‘the year of the fat lip’ .“
If things were perfect, I would not have the photos I love from that day, my little boy with the big lip. That is what I remember from that birthday, not the fun but temporary cake, nor the toys or the party favors, but the face with the puffy lip and the reality that my little one was getting used to his own body and all that his growing pains brought.
When we allow ourselves to enter into these moments of awkwardness, apparent failure, stumbling, falling down, they can be, if we allow them, sources of what binds us to one another. These moments, if seen as a window to the truth of another, can help us realize that we are in fact all the same; imperfect. On the outside we might look different, but on the inside is it too much to imagine that we all might have some degree of self-doubt, perhaps a level of questioning around our worth, or possibly even our own worthiness; that maybe we all wonder how much we should expose to another and how soon? And when we see that in another, in a perfect, open moment where we know that we are not the only one who stumbles, falls down, or screws up the shortcake, is when we know we are not alone, when we realize it’s safe to pull back another corner of our quirky selves.
It is something to consider, the extent to which we go, to present perfect selves to the world around us, to our friends, our neighbors, with the intent of impressing, not burdening, or out doing. It’s the mess of it all where we truly see each other.
When I see someone and their eyes do not crinkle with a little bit of life’s twinkle around the edges, I feel that I must suck it in, both literally and figuratively – for how can I relax and show my true shortcake self to this person? When we see someone express a little doubt, reveal that they are scared, that their life is not all picket fences, we can exhale and know that we are truly ok.
And at the end of the day, is it not something we all strive for, and seek? A place where we know we have a spot with our names etched, where we know we are loved, even when the shortcake tastes likes sawdust, and perhaps loved even a little bit more?
I was reading something the other day, from a book whose title I am not going to reveal, for fear you might all find me to be somewhat of a nut (or more of one!). But no matter our individual bents or philosophies on life, perhaps this is something worth thinking about…
‘Thoughts are things…and may create crimes or miracles.’
‘There is no such thing as an idle thought, for so called idle thoughts are the building blocks of more complex patterns of thinking…thought patterns grow with feeding, and as thought patterns grow, they gather momentum…’
Whoa. I like this; thinking about thinking.
In reading this, I realized it not only resonated with me now but that it connects with something I heard while attending a national professional development conference a couple of years ago. It was a session I almost skipped, because something in the session write up – the one in the program book everyone carries around, their informational GPS device for the duration of the conference – seemed, well, a little touchy-feely to me. Which generally is fine in my book, make no mistake, but this was a conference with more than a thousand people in attendance and not a lot of hi-how-ya-doing interpersonal interaction.
At the start of the session, the presenter brought out a guitar and in what I can only describe as a very campfire song-like style, began singing – and asking us to sing along. What? I silently cursed myself for not heeding my own internal first thoughts – as by now, you surely know that I am not that kind of angel. Singing and I unfortunately do not peacefully co-exist (in my dreams yes, in my car yes, in reality, no.). But, I played along, well, to be honest, I lip-synced, so as to appear that I was playing along, and spare the other attendees sitting oh so near to me.
Within moments though, I realized I had made a good choice; it ended up being one of the best sessions I attended that week, with relevant, pertinent information I could bring home and actually use in my job. Life is funny this way, yes?
I scribbled notes on the hotel notepad I had grabbed from by the phone in my room, and apparently tucked away those two little pieces of paper in the time since, finding them again only recently (realizing I had failed to make note of the presenter’s name…). When I pulled them out, at first all I saw were the words Stop, Keep, and Start, and I wasn’t sure why I had kept them. Then it slowly came back to me.
The presenter focused this portion of the session on how our brains think in patterns, seek out patterns really. And that in the context of creating more good in our lives, cultivating more success, achieving our goals, and to help develop a more positive outlook, get us further down our own paths towards wholeness, growth, understanding, mindfulness, peace, etc.; that we should perhaps consider these three questions:
– What should I stop doing? –
– What should I keep doing? –
– What should I start doing? –
I can think of a zillion scenarios in my own life in which I could, should, implement this: running more, eating less, eating better, communicating more clearly, improving my time management, becoming a better writer, trusting my own instincts, second guessing myself less, being a better parent, being a better friend.
If I allowed myself, my list would be longer than Santa’s list of good boys and girls.
While reading my you-might-think-I’m-a-nut book, I connected one dot with another. It made it more clear, for me, this connection that our brains do want to find patterns, and that we can actively feed our thoughts in ways that help them gather momentum; a momentum that hopefully causes an avalanche of positive, innovative, constructive, affirming thoughts that move us closer to what we want, or want more of in our lives.
So, you know what I’m thinking? I wonder what you think about all this thinking.
Friendship is one of the most beautiful relationships because its bond is based on unconditional love for another human being. We, humans, expand our world in social situations. Even the most timid of us must admit that the addition of another human being to share, to communicate, to bond with is priceless in this life. We typically forget the greatness of meeting a stranger and making a new friend.
I think this is a beautiful, fabulous concept. I would sit in the pit...would you? What conversation had the most impact on you? - Bonnie
It was an almost ordinary Friday night, save for the full moon, 70 degrees at 8pm, the new Mumford & Sons cd playing and my kiddo and his dog in the backseat. We had just finished up getting dinner and doggie treats and on the way home, it came over me to just drive, get away from the city lights with the music loud, sunroof open, windows down, and 2 of my favorites with me. I just wanted to go.
Mom: ”Wanna go for a ride”?
Kid: “What? Huh?
Mom: “Do you want to go for a drive, you know like that night we drove home through the mountains from seeing Uncle Hank?”
Kid: “Sure, can we drive to Oregon?”
Mom: ”What? Huh?”
Kid: “Sure, where are we going?”
Mom: “I’ll find a spot…”
We drove out of the city, on the freeway, and I was feeling that spontaneous, free, expansive, wide-awake feeling where thoughts seemed clearer than clear, and yet rushing in from all directions. I was thinking about things I had read that day, the simplicity of dinner with my boy and his dog on a warm-summer-is-over-but-it-doesn’t-feel-like-it evening, the music and lyrics and how they filtered in and out and attached to passing thoughts, formed new ones and helped make some thoughts just make more sense. Music has its way with us, yes?
Feeling the undertow of all this, we sped down the center lane of the 3 lane highway, when a car on my left raced past me, cutting me off as it darted at a diagonal to make the off-ramp on my right. It was alarmingly close and in the split second it took, I realized how fast things can change sometimes; in just an instant. The car sped off down the off-ramp, my heart raced, and I second-guessed whether I had tempted fate by taking this detour from our normal routine. I curbed my enthusiasm to use some four letter words, remembering I am already in debt to my kiddo for ‘indiscretions’ already made…
I found my country road and the darkness I was seeking so that the moon could cast its glow upon the faces of my companions, cuddled up in the back seat. We took turns standing up through the sunroof, moon bathing of sorts. As much as I liked this solitary location, in equal amounts I felt uneasy about being out in the dark countryside sitting by the side of the road.
So, off we drove, onto a road with gently rolling hills, undulations you might say.
I would speed up, and then coast down the descent, each time feeling in our bellies that swoosh you get with each downturn on a swing. My grin matching his giggle, I heard the words, “this is awesome”. We turned around, and rode the hills, heading for home. But, I realized I wasn’t done yet.
Mom: “Do you want to do that again?”
Kid: “Only if you do”
Mom: “No, it’s for you, do you want to?”
Kid: “If you do”
Mom: “No honey, if you want to then let’s, if not we can head home”
Kid: “Mom, if you want to, then let’s do it”
Mom: “Nah, that’s ok, I thought you’d want to”
I am headed towards the freeway entrance when I hear:
“Actually, I do kinda want to do that again…”
Just in time, and with a grin as big as my face, I turned the car around, found the rolling hills, all lit up by the full moon and we laughed our way up and down, up and down.
It was an almost ordinary Friday night.
Come along for the ride…windows down, volume up loud [go full screen if you can]…