Posts Tagged ‘wisdom’

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Quotes!

June 29, 2016

 

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Barn with Art Installation at Djerassi

If you have that unconquerable urge to write, nothing will stop you from writing. –Theodore Dreiser

You can’t crush ideas by suppressing them. You can only crush them by ignoring them. – Ursula K. Le Guin

Writing is physical work. It’s sweaty work. You just can’t will yourself to become a good writer. You really have to work at it. –Will Haygood

Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fail. –Confucius

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Grandma’s Ring

April 12, 2016

On Easter Sunday, I lost the diamond in my Grandma’s wedding ring. My mom gave me the ring after my grandma died, more than ten years ago. I never took it off—until the diamond disappeared.

Because the ring fit best on my wedding ring finger, I wore it there and shifted my own wedding ring to my right hand. The two fit together, like mated hummingbirds. My own ring is simple, and I wear no band. My grandma’s ring was old but also simple and also worn with no band.

When I discovered the diamond was missing, my entire family helped me search. It happened during a play and probably went down the drain while I washed my hands during intermission. But it doesn’t much matter; it’s gone. What does matter is what the ring represented.IMG_8384

For me, wearing my grandma’s ring was more about remembering her than it was about the bling. My grandma was a fascinating woman; one I wish I’d gotten to know better, as an adult. Back in the day, my grandma was a flapper and nicknamed Dizzy Izzy, probably for more reasons than I was told. Grandma liked gin and tonics and travel and lemon bars. Sadly, she suffered from manic depression and piloted shock treatments during the 1950s and 60s. She helped people. She and her mother were suffragettes, and when I was young, she made me watch a movie with her about the feminist movement in London. During the part where women were being forced food through their noses, I almost threw up. When the movie was over, she turned to me and said, “It’s not a pretty history so don’t take voting for granted. Ever.” Go Grandma.

I wonder what my grandma would say about so many people being so very disgusted with the current political election. What would she say to my daughters who would rather not vote if Bernie’s not elected? What would she say to my son and the millions of individuals who want to vote Republican but not for a misogynist, authoritarian clown? I know what she’d say. She’d say vote anyway—it’s a privilege.

And she’s right.

But this isn’t a political column, at least not today. It’s an ode to my grandma and her lost ring. Call me voodoo, but I believe possessions find a way of leaving their caretakers when they’re no longer needed or when they know the person is ready to move on. It’s no coincidence I lost the diamond on Easter Sunday. Among other things, Easter is a time of renewal. Of letting go. Of rebirth. The day before Easter, I’d returned from a writing workshop, full of possibilities and fresh perspective, ready to embrace a new project and complete another. On the home front, 2016 marks a pivotal turning point for my family. My oldest will move away, begin college, and launch her next adventure. In a hop, skip and a jump (as Grandma would say), the other two kids will be following her out the door as quickly as the eye blinks (Grandma liked her clichés).

Clearly, I’m in a phase of letting go and embracing new patterns and opportunities. It’s not easy. In fact, I struggle with change. But maybe that’s why I lost the ring, as a reminder that life is ever changing. Grieve and forge ahead. And just like that, even without the ring, Grandma’s spirit teaches on.

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Winter Writing Quotes

February 1, 2016

Need some midwinter inspiration? I hope these help.

Write you story as it needs to be written. Write it honestly, and tell it as best you can. I’m not sure that there are any other rules. Not ones that matter. –Neil Gaiman

Forget all the rules. Forget about being published. Write for yourself and celebrate writing. –Melinda Haynes

When you go in search of honey, you must expect to be stung by bees. -Kenneth Kaunda

If we have listening ears, God speaks to us in our own language, whatever that language is.-Mahatma Gandhi

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Dad’s Tips

November 20, 2013

Today would have been my dad’s 84th birthday. There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t miss him. Dad died three and a half-years-ago and left a legacy of lessons. He suffered a massive brain aneurism while delivering Meals on Wheels with my mom, offering an example about the importance of community service even in his final moments.

If I wrote about all the lessons Dad taught me, I’d fill a book not a blog. For this piece, I’ll focus on what he taught me about writing.

Dad graduated from the University of Michigan with an MA  in business, not English. However, he earned the honor and job as Editor in Chief of the Michigan Daily. It was through journalism and editing that he became a gifted writer in his own right.

Here are a few of his choice nuggets slightly edited with my own thoughts:

  • Write simply
  • Offer details, but not overdone adjectives
  • Be direct
  • Provide an opening for the reader to question
  • Convince the reader of your point like you would in a debate
  • Offer examples and back up your viewpoint
  • Never lie
  • Always check your sources
  • Edit your work
  • Controversy can be good
  • Write like you mean it
  • Words matter, especially your own

Not bad. Thanks, Dad.

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Passion or bust

November 14, 2009

“Great dancers aren’t great because of their technique; they

are great because of their passion.”


I’m not sure who said this, but God love ‘em.

In my family, I’m known as the Ohio skier. Translation—bad. But my response is always the same, “who cares? I love it more.” Given my eldest would give up junk food for the rest of her life in order to ski, I’m not sure this is true. However, I stand by the passion plug. Love what you do.

Today, we skied for the first time as a family. Ellie, the daughter who’d sell her teenage soul for a powder day, has been out with her race team a bunch. But the rest of us have only just begun.

Honestly, I wasn’t’ sure I was ready to ski. After all, the Halloween witch just packed up her broomstick. Getting up before the sun on a Saturday wasn’t a thrill either. But, gliding down that hill? Not much can compare. Fresh air, steep slopes, and Texan skiers whooping it up? Well, now that’s skiing. Okay, maybe we could delete the Texans, but the rest of it? Pure passion. Do what you love.

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Awareness in the Air

June 27, 2009

Expect this to be a day of Healing, Awareness, Harmony, and Gentle Order.

-Naomi Rose

Not this day. Where’s the Healing? Awareness? Harmony? Ha! Definitely no Gentle Order on this travel day.

It began with no running water and yes, I had to fly. On an airplane. Although believe me, I would have preferred to fly on the wings of some magical dragon.

Travel days start early in the great white north. Two things are necessary at 4:30 a.m., a shower and a cup of coffee. I got neither.

Instead, I put a baseball cap on my fine looking hair, piled three kids into the car, and drove. Not so far. Within fifteen miles, my youngest threw-up. We arrived at the airport, changed clothes, and found coffee. Until someone ran into me and spilled it all over my jacket. At least coffee smells better than throw-up. Maybe that was my healing harmony.

Maybe not. My husband said good-bye at security check, and my two-year-old performed a stellar tantrum. She cried so hard that snot slid down her nose and onto my shoulder. It didn’t help that I had to send her doll through an x-ray machine. Ever try to remove a screaming toddler’s shoes in front of a hundred strangers ready to call you a bad mom if you raise your voice? So okay, maybe my day did have some awareness.

By now, we were late, so we ran. I hauled three kids, two pink backpacks, and a suitcase of my own down the corridor as fast as I could. You know that feeling you get when you wonder, gee, will I see someone I know travelling? I prayed NOT to have that happen. Apparently, it was not a day for prayers. A voice from aisle ten said, “Hi Carrie”. It was hard to find a good response with coffee, vomit, and sweat settling on my skin. I bit my tongue and said hi with as much gentle order as I could muster.

I won’t bore you with the details on the plane. If you have kids, you know what flying’s like and if you don’t, you’ve probably had to sit near kids. You know too. Fun, fun.

We arrived in Detroit, and no one at baggage claim came with a cart and a hand out. Too bad. I would have paid big bucks for help. How do moms travel with strollers, car seats, suitcases and exhausted kids? I don’t remember.

After waiting in a long line with whiney kids, we smashed into a compact rental car and headed for McDonalds. Nothing like a McShake to improve the day, until of course, a truck swerves into another truck. Brakes slammed, and I skidded off the road. Safely, thankfully. However, the backpacks behind my kids’ heads slid onto their heads and caused them to spill all the milkshakes and food down their fronts. More tears.

We arrived an hour later at our friend’s house. We did not give them hugs. Instead, I asked for a bar of soap, four towels, and marched us directly into the shower. Fortunately, there was running water at their house.

And, there it was. I finally found healing, awareness, harmony, and gentle order. In the shower. Thank the good Lord my kids are older. I don’t think I need to find any more awareness in the air.

Happy summer travels!

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Don’t Blame Erica Jong

June 12, 2009

You take your life in your own hands, and what happens? A terrible thing: no one to blame. –Erica Jong

Could someone please explain this to my children? Seriously, what would they do without Mom to blame?

At our house, you can hear someone ask, “Where’s my blue shirt with the butterfly on it?” “Who moved my homework?” “Where are my ski gloves?” or “Who took my snack?” at any given time on any given day.

My answer, of course is Poltergeist. The Borrowers. Mysterious fairies live in our house and eat my kids’ homework. But do my kids think so? No sirreee. Mom did it.

Just exactly when do we grow up and learn not to blame? Can we, as adults, embrace personal responsibility and stop blaming the driver in front of us? The weather? The teacher? Okay, so maybe I won’t stop blaming the parent who screams at kids on the soccer field, but he’s an idiot.

Waking up to the realization that we are in control of our actions and reactions to life is not an easy task. We can’t control snow in the spring, but we can fix a pina colada and crank the heat and pretend. In fact, I’m headed to the bar right now.

When we blame others, or the weather, or circumstance we find discontent. Once we own up to what is, we can begin to truly let go and live.

First, I have to go find my car keys. My husband stole them.