31 October 2008

taking a risk this all hallow's eve...

a few days ago in a very benign conversation with an acquaintance, one who has only ever been sweet & kind in my presence & who has a marvelous reputation in my circle, i heard something that has been weaving in & out of my thoughts ever since. my mind just will not let go of what i heard; it even invades my consciousness when i am very busy with other completely unrelated things. in the course of our discussing something that did not involve me & only mildly involved her, she wondered aloud if, because of what we were discussing, i would still want to have anything to do with her. i was so taken aback by her comment that i simply passed it over in the moment.in hindsight, i am hoping that my gut reaction was correct because the feelings that i suspect are behind her words are troubling. what would make a person think that she is so disposable to others? that something so benign would be grounds for tossing a relationship? my heart is hurting for her & anyone else who feels that way. why do we turn our backs on others so easily? granted, sometimes it is an issue of well-being & safety. sometimes it is not a conscious rejection but more like the busy-ness of life getting "in the way." but more often than not, if i am honest with myself i find that i am nursing an old wound~ the source of which i may not even remember. we are called to love those in our lives, all of them...even our so-called enemies. this woman's reaction really opened up the other side of this for me & filled me with an overwhelming sense of compassion.i just cannot stand the thought of someone feeling unlovable. sure we may feel wronged by another's words or actions...maybe it truly was personal or maybe we were just in the way of someone's bad day. but no matter...take that risk to love someone who has wronged you. reach out to them. they may reach back. or maybe not...but *you* can still love them. & we all need that.today we have prepared our enchanted forest (really just our front garden, but in the dark it's a mystical place) for the children of our neighborhood for tonight's hallowe'ening. i am strategically located in the center of the forest, handing out goodies to all the brave trick or treaters. as they enter the path, i see hesitation on their parts (hallowe'en is a bit scary afterall!). this is not just another doorbell to ring; this looks a bit more risky~ dark & full of unknown. when they reach me, it is a delight to see a sense of triumph on their faces, knowing they have overcome their fears & come to a place of familiar, one with a treat! taking a risk doesn't always fix everything & not every treat at the end is as tangible as a piece of chocolate, but in the end, love is always worth it.

29 October 2008

boyworld on the move...

in planes, trains...& automobiles...plus a bus or 2 for good measure...after a whirlwind of adventure we are home from chicago with some good memories in the stash! we spent time in high places...low places...places that rock...places for learning...silly places...places that are rollin' in the dough...(no, they were not able to relieve the federal reserve of that suitcase filled with 1 million USD!) & even a place of beauty (though boyworld did protest a bit about this one!)...chicago welcomed us with open arms & a joy that was quite contagious.it is truly one of the friendliest places i have visited & though i am not a city-dweller by nature, i would return for another visit in a heartbeat.

& the food...don't get me started! chicago deep-dish pizza after a day spent in airports & on planes (where there is not one bite of food to be found domestically) is pure heaven.but my true love found in chicago was this~~ intelligentsia coffee. please have mercy, that stuff is amazing! boyworld did not quite understand my swooning...they were busily munching on a dunkin donut when i found this new way to satisfy my addiction. oh well, there is still hope for their immature palates! & thank God for the internet...i can have a bit o' my chicago heaven delivered right to my home...sigh. home again, but the wanderlust continues...in pursuit of good coffee, gelato & adventure all over the world...

19 October 2008

Bee~ing there!

road trip!!& at the end of the road...a warm welcome to the table with old friends...take a walk with me in my favorite US city...charleston SC...every turn of corner is a thing of beauty...behind every wall is a secret garden...& the art!...the french quarter is a feast for the eyes...especially at my favorite gallery~~ robert lange studiosrobert is usually found at the easle with a smile & kind word for every visitor, eager to share his joy in the creative process.charleston isn't without some italian influence...yes, that's my ride (i wish...)& they even have gelato at modica (it's not quite san crispino but it's good!)as you stroll along, don't forget to look up...& even wander a bit out of town...maybe you'll find yourself 'up the creek'...shem creek, that is!here comes tonight's dinner on a shem creek shrimp boat...but enough of that...it's time to take a peek at the 'secret'...the premiere of 'the secret life of bees'!!!tickets in hand...a red carpet stroll...the movie was fabulous, very true to the book & extremely well casted. even Little Man, who did not read the book, thoroughly enjoyed it. we were excited to see what they did with the parts we had seen in production, particularly the ones which were filmed in D.'s hospital. the after-movie reception gave us the wonderful opportunity to chat with sue monk kidd...& to enjoy the music of mark bryan from hootie & the blowfish...a gracious 'thank you' to W & W, our dear friends who hosted us this week for a time of true southern hospitality!! all too soon we found ourselves back on the road to home, but not without a little help...next on the horizon...racking up more air miles & a jaunt in the windy city with boyworld!

14 October 2008

on the horizon...

first...a little shout-out from the home team for Baby Girl...thanks for the awesome 'guest post' & buona fortuna with your mid-term exams!! (or should i say 'in bocca al lupo'!? cherrye can explain...)(Baby Girl made these very cool 'solidarity' bracelets for us to wear while she was away...whatta sweetheart she is!)

do y'all remember this little 'secret' from january?? well, stay tuned for a bit of an update soon! my quiet 6 week hiatus from travel is coming to an end & you know what?...i'm excited & ready to go! i have enjoyed this stretch of down time so much but my backpack is beckoning me & the jets' contrails over our home seem like love notes written in my sky...plus, my struggling italian is just begging to be put to good use! lucky boyworld, too...because they homeschool, they are able to join me at least some of the time.
beginning this week my blogging & blog visits may be a bit sporadic for awhile, but i carry you all in my heart wherever i go...& who knows?...sometimes i am even graced with the good fortune to meet some of you!

12 October 2008


your mind whispers...
the night is dark & i am far from home...
even though you are hiding under the quilt
in your own bed.sometimes
you mistake the pouring rain
for your own tears
while you are safely sheltered
in your own abode.sometimes
a succession of small nothings
begins to look like a pile of something
even though you are certain
each one was handled
with the utmost careand then...
a word arrives
in a still, small voice or in black & white
from one who cares
& you know
that you are not alone.life is indeed a mad mission
but it is not a journey
i long to take
without love.
here's to all of us who are in this thing called life together!

11 October 2008

what is this saying about me...

my boys to me:

"if you're going to go out of the box, at least give the rest of us some directions."duly noted!

09 October 2008

i sure hope so....

Your Inner European is Italian!
Passionate and colorful.
You show the world what culture really is.

thanks, cherrye, for the heads-up on this one!

08 October 2008


...they don't seem to come along as often in life as we would like, but when they do, their impacts have far-reaching effects. often times they are quiet folks living their ordinary lives, but underneath the seeming ordinariness, there is something else. we may not recognize it immediately, but when we do, the gift of their presence is beyond compare.when i was in high school, nearing graduation (a scary time to be sure), i dated a guy who was nice, but it was his parents i preferred to visit, particularly his dad, mr. C. mr. C. was a former math teacher who took a better job in a different sector, but his heart was forever with students. what a blessing that was to my insecure self! sitting around their kitchen table, debating, discussing, laughing, sometimes crying, i crossed a gentle bridge into adulthood.mr. C.'s letters & phone calls throughout my adult life always seemed to arrive at the right moment...how did he know? his words were always just right...you can do this, you are not alone. at one of my very lowest moments, he & his wife reminded me that if the bottom fell out of my world, i would always have a place in their home to get back on my feet. wow. in the grand scheme of things, he did nothing profound...he simply listened to quiet urgings (write to this person now) & said simple words of encouragement...but oh, what a difference it made.sometimes heroes come in very unexpected places too. a number of years ago our children had just enrolled in a taekwondo program & their instructor decided (against my better judgment!) that i should enroll too. no amount of the word "no" would do for him & i soon found myself training...much to my surprise & delight. the classes were so much more than something physical or a road to a black belt...they were full of heroes & dear, dear friends for a lifetime.in the course of my training i harboured much self-doubt, but one black belt student seemed tuned into this part of me. chad would come to me during break-out trainings, see just what was wrong with my technique & say just the right thing to help me change. he was forever providing me with 'a-ha' moments & insights into myself that made all the difference. did he need to do this?...no, he was not an instructor; he was 'just' another student, but one who cared.as we were in our last cycle of training to test for our black belts, chad seemed so much more helpful. in the last board-breaking clinic, he took me aside & told me that i was ready. my heart soared! but he also told me one little thing about my breaking technique that he thought would make all the difference between a clean break (& passing the test for my black belt) & no break at all (ie., not passing & no black belt). at that moment i was so intense in my focus with the goal in sight & my attitude was a 'yeah, yeah, ok' dismissal of his concern. then came testing...doing my form (pattern for my belt rank) & sparring other black belts (the judges forgot to take me out of the line-up periodically & i ended up sparring the entire time...whew!!). all went so very well & i was pleased without a sense of concern for the last part~~ board-breaking.chad was not testing for a new rank in that cycle so as a black belt, he was helping the judges & the board holders, but i did not see him when i set up for my first break. it went well on the first attempt & i had one more break to do before my testing was over. i set up my board for what i thought would be an easy break & the end of a phenomenal day...but i didn't break the board! that was my first glitch in the day, however my attitude was still an upbeat, 'oh, well, try again.' no big deal. except...i did not break on the second attempt either. now it was a big deal. i looked around & realized that everyone with whom i had been training was finished & all of them (including my own family) had successfully broken their boards & were (theoretically) now black belts...except me! all my confidence drained away. i turned to my board holders (green belt students who were as scared as i) for my final attempt. in a flash, chad was there, standing behind them. all the din of the room drained away & he looked me square in the eyes...telling me, 'remember what i told you that you must do.' well, i did remember...& i put my foot through that board, out the door & into the parking lot (not really, but i did break that board)!! i still hear his voice when i am faced with seemingly impossible things...ironically both mr. C. & chad died within months of one another, both quite unexpectedly. oh how i miss them, my heroes of ordinary life.but they are not the only ones...last weekend we attended a going-away party for a wonderful friend. the joy of knowing this lovely woman is beyond words. she is an example to my children, one of the best for which i could hope, & someone i consider to be a true hero. she is giving up her cushy life as most of us know it to help those who live in conditions few of us have ever encountered. melissa, our hearts go with you on this journey (& next year, our hands too)...may you be blessed every step of the way!!& what about you...who are your heroes??