simply tuesday at the lazy w

Hello friends! How are you? And how amazing that anyone is still here, after so many long bouts of radio silence, haha.

I have landed happily on a Tuesday with nowhere to go and exactly two important deadlines remaining, not a slew of errands facing me nor seven deadlines looming as has been the case lately. That means that for all the delicious foreseeable hours, I get to be at the farm. Luxuriate in home-bodiness. Write and drink coffee. Do yoga when I can’t think of the words. Rub lemon oil on wood furniture, rearrange tablecloths and decorative pillows, and light candles named “tomato blossom” (you cannot believe how good they smell). For today at least, I get to putter around in the flower beds, crawl into the caged veggie beds, and try to avoid frogs. Today I’ll do more than snap photos of all the lush growth outdoors; today I will tend things too. Later, Klaus and I will be in the Apartment sorting through attic contents and clearing the shelves so that we can fluff up that guest bed just in case.

color snapshot may 2016

The farm is a feast for the eyes right now, either just because it is or because I am so in love with it all over again. Handsome and I have been nibbling at projects here and there, getting things more the way we want them, more aligned with how we actually live here week to week, and it’s been deeply satisfying. The funny thing about this kind of progress, though, is that is causes me to want to leave home even less than before. My home-bodiness is getting serious, okay, and more than ever I feel like the days are too short, although really they are lengthening as we speak.

Bring on the summer. But slowly. Let her creep up on us, spread her gossamer veil over us, and linger a long time. Somebody steal her car keys so she has to stay until next year. Let’s get up early for strong coffee and a four mile run. Let’s do cartwheels, write stories, and play in the garden. Let’s swim and eat too much watermelon, watch movies outdoors even if there is an Old Testament amount of frogs here. Let’s count stars and blessings and weave dream catchers out of hula hoops. It’s time for chick-hatching and burger-grilling. Time for convincing husbands to go to the office early so they can come home early and watch technicolor sunsets with us. It’s time for cilantro and basil and honeybee meditation. Cucumbers and horse snuffles and friends and family.

Last night, rather unexpectedly, I enjoyed the deepest, most delicious boost of faith. It was very much like the proverbial well water, just quenching and refreshing in every way. To say that I feel overwhelming gratitude right now is such an understatement. I also feel overwhelming hope, mostly for our children. Our oldest is living so well in Colorado, so happily, that my mama heart is as full for her as the day she was born. And our youngest, against all evidence, is quite near to us. She is held so firmly in our thoughts and prayers that no physical absence can move her. Funny, isn’t it, how faith can change hands and lend from one blessing to another pain… just the right amount of strength.

Faith that moves mountains. Faith has been moving mountains in our world for years.

In my Facebook memories this morning I saw this quote from a few years ago about our tornadoes that year. Some far-flung person had said of our beautiful state:

I know why Oklahoma is so flat. Your faith has already moved all the mountains.

Amen.

Okay, let’s go enjoy all the fresh herbs and rainy skies. Let’s do hard work and read great books. Cook food that nourishes both body and soul. Cuddle pups and romance boys.

Happiest of Tuesdays, friends.

“Slow down, you move too fast.
You gotta make the morning last…”
~Simon & Garfunkel
XOXOXO

(Thanks to Emily Freeman for her encouragement on small-moment living in a fast-moving world.)

 

Freedom by Jonathan Franzen (book review)

Friends, I have a book recommendation for you. Freedom by Johnathan Franzen is touted as a modern classic, “A masterpiece of American fiction,” according to The New York Times, and I wholeheartedly agree. I devoured it, read several passages a few times, and found myself laying in the sun just kind of swirling in the language and story patterns. My sister Gen has read it too, so sitting for hours to discuss it with her is now on my short list of wishes. Have you read it? Will you read it so we can talk? Okay. Cool, thanks.

freedom

Some stories are complex because of action, plot, or science; Freedom is complex because of its perfectly believable (and fascinating) human characters. I found myself loving, resenting, and being curious about the same core personalities over and over again. Just like in real life. I laughed at them, felt aching sadness on their behalf, and worried for their poor decisions. It was wonderful.

Some stories are told from one perspective; Freedom is told from mostly a few, but eventually all, which is deeply satisfying. Do you ever hear a person’s life story and wonder what biases are at work, what filters are keeping you from the full truth, or maybe… What is hidden even from this person? Freedom chips away at intersecting stories by telling the same one from many perspectives. The reader is fed a feast in courses, and each one is delicious and stimulating toward the next.

Some stories are set in a single time and space, or laid out in a linear way; Freedom spans a few decades and is told in a layered, non-chronological way, but with perfect rhythm. It’s all really wonderful. And it all sneaks up on the reader rather gently. And the fact that this collection of life stories spans a few decades means that the reader gets at least some fruition, at least a measure of oh that’s how that works out. But not so much that all mystery is lost. Just enough to really marvel at the insight and fantasy.

And finally, some stories are told with either stark, utilitarian language or over-flowering, unnecessarily decorative prose; Freedom possesses its own clean, seductive, informative, charming style. Franzen writes with long sentences that are the perfect length, like he’s indulging himself a little but with good manners. He mixes action and insight better than any writer I remember ever reading. (Absolutely my goal as a wannabe.)

Okay. That’s my writer-reader’s praise for the book. Let’s see if I can tempt you. Hopefully none of these sentences are spoilers:

Young female athlete falls for the wrong guy, mostly resists him, has a female friend who is unhealthily obsessed with her, and bucks against her family which might no be everything she thinks but is still totally normal, though it takes her a long while to realize that normal is a relative term. A great, stable, normal guy falls hard for her. She takes him for granted. She suffers a life changing injury. Roads trips are taken, college ends. All precursors to mid-life crises for all.

Married woman has a truly steamy but also pathetic affair with her husband’s best friend, but we see the inner workings of their flirtation and seduction, not just the sex. We also see the husband’s response. His inner workings, not just his base reaction.

Kids are born, life patterns are established and followed with terrifying accuracy, careers are forged in new political scenery, music is explored. Sex. Plenty of it. Also drugs. And nature conservancy. And basketball and neighborhood associations. And domestic cats versus native songbirds.

The autobiographer now thinks that compliments were like a beverage she was unconsciously smart enough to deny herself even one drop, because her thirst for them was infinite.

Okay, friends, if I continue here I will risk retelling the whole gorgeous thing to you. Instead, promise me you will read Freedom then call me for a coffee date so we can talk for hours, possibly in L.A. so Gen can join us. (Then we will go watch her her skate some Derby magic!) This modern classic offers a wealth of instruction on humanity and American society. A feast in every way. I really loved it and, maybe more importantly, had a great fun time reading it.

Over and out. Happy Saturday to you.

“A universe that permits her to do this, at this relatively late point in her life,
in spite of her not having been the best person, cannot be a wholly cruel one.”
~Jonathan Franzen, Freedom
XOXOXOXO

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

how we enrich each other’s motherhood

If it’s true that it takes a village to raise a child, then surely that truth carries throughout life. Surely good mothers can rally around each other, impart their best qualities, and thereby nourish more women to help more children live fuller, healthier, happier lives. A cross-pollination of sorts, you know?

I am so grateful for my own Mom, for my Mother in Law, for other women in my big beautiful family, and for the dazzling array of female friends in my life who collectively have nourished my mind and heart. They each and all have helped me see the world in new ways. They have helped to refine me, inspire my dreams, and put muscle behind my efforts. I am sure you would say the same about the women in your life. We all are products of our communities. We all help each other evolve and grow, and it’s beautiful.

The woman I was yesterday introduced me to the woman I am today; which makes me very excited about meeting the woman I will become tomorrow.

From my own sweet Mom, among many other passions, I inherited a love of gardening. She taught me slowly, by osmosis even, a host of growing lessons without ever calling them lessons. She passed along a love of recycling found objects and furnishing a home on a shoestring. She taught me that cooking at home, in my own kitchen, is better than eating at any restaurant (except maybe really good Tex Mex) and that leftovers can be delicious and fun. Because of her I crave healthy food and love to be outside. Imagination, I learned first from my Mom, is vital to our well being, and boredom is not an option for any thinking person.

From Judy, Handsome’s Mom, I learned to pray. I learned to cover my children in prayer and anoint them. She taught me to trust God with my babies, with our home, with everything. Judy taught me how to seek after miracles and lay my hands on them.

My sister Angela is younger than me but has taught me plenty. She proves the incomparable power of unconditional love. Her children are her glow and life force.

My little brother’s amazing wife Halee is one of my most favorite people on this planet. As a mother she exudes peace and calm. Over the years she and I have had deep discussions about the power of positivity, and really her life is proof of it. She as incredible inner strength and lends it to me regularly. (PS: They are expecting their second baby, yay!!)

Marci, my very best girlfriend, personifies the importance of education and hard work. She sets a high bar for her children and supports them firmly every step of the way. She is also one of the most fiercely protective mothers you will ever meet, so much so that it even makes me feel safe, haha!

My friend Meredith reminds me to celebrate the uniqueness of each of my children. She aims her gaze away from herself, toward whatever her children are looking at, and I love that. I am now in a chapter with Jocelyn that allows me to do that more than ever, and it is quite a gift. I’m thankful for Meredith’s example.

Brittany celebrates wildness. She prizes a little feral beauty in her young kittens, and she clearly sees them as dangerous, powerful individuals. She whispers a thrilling kind of freedom into the world, and I would be so sad without her voice.

Deb is a woman I have known since she was a teenager and I was little girl. She was my Mom’s midwife when my little sister Genny was born, and over the years Deb has been a strong, happy role model to me. She promotes whole-person wellness, good music on repeat, granola, chamomile tea, and playing outside. She spread her wings early in life and has encouraged her children to do the same. We are reconnected now as my own daughter is spreading her wings, and that has been so comforting.

Heather is my Canadian blogging friend. She and I became acquainted during a dark valley in my motherhood journey, and she helped me see the light. She helped me keep alive that spark of hope for good adult relationships with my daughters, hope for the truth to come out slowly and safely. Now she helps me celebrate good news over and over, and I appreciate her so much! All of that, plus she is just one of the most industrious and creative women ever to walk the earth.

Christy is a friend I would have been lucky to make about twenty years earlier, except I understand now that timing in life is perfect. Just leave it alone. She is an avid champion for positive body image, healthy habits, and joy. Unbridled joy!! But if I write much more about this woman she might block me on Facebook.

Tracy is a book club girlfriend who is devoted to her family. Her style is to be active with them and be silly and play. Play play play. She is a serious soul with a very un-serious side that I adore. She reminds me to play, and I love that.

My drop dead gorgeous cousin (she’s actually my second cousin but so what) Jen is a whole other kind of playful. She is the kind of mom who worries privately but somehow transmits only confidence and zen. She absorbs the darkness for her people and does some kind of magic that makes it possible for her to only emit light. She is dry witted, fun, sexy, smart, and very go-with-the-flow, and it’s all so magnetic.

I met Trisha through Marci and am so glad we are friends. She is a first-time mom with great old-time values. She is deliberate in filling her toddler Avery’s time with valuable stuff, lessons and face time, but no screen time. She wants her daughter to grow up unencumbered by technology addiction, and what a great reminder to us all. This is only a snapshot of what she offers the world, but to me it’s vital. It’s all about carpe diem, right? Yes.

My Aunt Marion has imparted to me a wealth of wisdom and good habits. More than I can encapsulate here. What stands out as I write this is her attention to nesting and home keeping. She allowed me to house sit for her when I was about 19 years old, during a time her house was on the market to be sold. She left clear instructions to keep every bed made, every bathroom tidy and clean, and the kitchen shining. I was not to leave the house with so much as one glass in the sink, she said happily, because a realtor might bring a prospective buyer to view the house at any time. The thing is, her house has always been clean and beautiful. This was nothing special for her. But that short week of keeping her home up to her standards made a deep impression on me. It’s probably why I find it physically impossible to go to bed now with so much as a glass in the kitchen sink, and I never leave the farm with unmade beds or messy bathrooms.

I was thrilled to be in touch with both of my beautiful girls today! Klaus was happy to be cuddle up for a Mother's Day photo though, haha! xoxo
I was thrilled to be in touch with both of my beautiful girls today! So very happy. But my sweet Klaussen volunteered to cuddle up for the Mother’s Day photo, haha! xoxo

I could write for days about dozens of other women, and just as many men, who challenge and inspire me to be better. These are the women who came to my heart today. I was laying outside, just kind of luxuriating after a long, happy lunch with local family, and the warmest feeling of gratitude washed up over me. Warm, vibrating gratitude for the influence these women have been. For the contributions they continue to make to my life. I hope they each know they are appreciated.

Who has enriched your motherhood? What qualities are you thankful to see growing in your life because someone else planted a seed?

Happy late Mother’s Day to all of my friends. My wish is that you feel more hope than pain. That you are standing in more light than dark. And that you trust deep in your bones the trans-formative power of Love and imagination.

Now excuse me while I have dessert for dinner.

“Empowered women empower women.”
XOXOXOXO

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

literary saturday: late april reading

Books:

Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace. Status: AAAGGGHHHH!! I have this purchased on my iPad, so I use it to put myself to sleep during especially difficult bouts with insomnia. It’s that interesting. Sorry, I know this is purported to be a genius undertaking, and I can see how the tiny threads of different far-flung stories are or will eventually be somehow connected, but the inner dialogue is just so dense. Like, quite dense. And I generally enjoy inner dialogue! Laboriously crafted characters, too. And I groove complex people! Maybe I should try reading this in broad daylight, filled with energy, on actual paper with ink. Maybe that would help. For now, this is firmly on my “difficult reads” shelf. The marathon of book attempts.

Freedom by Johnathan Franzen. Status: Completed. This book was beautiful. Absolutely orchestral in its telling and weaving of generational patterns, love stories, and self actualization. I need to talk about it. Gen? Available?

freedom

Sweet Surfing:

Ever since spending that luscious week with Jocelyn in Colorado, watching her transform her adorable cabin kitchen, I have had small spaces on my brain. Hers is so pretty, so perfect for a single young woman finding herself and exploring her world. I read Joy the Baker’s memories on her many tiny kitchen spaces and loved every conjured image. All the Kitchens We’ve Lived In.

joc kitchen

Do you ever read Live Your Legend? Oh man. It’s worth keeping on your list of  weekly haunts. Go back far enough and read forward and you will have quite a feast for mind and soul. Recently the website posted 10 Ways to Do Your Own Impossible Daily and I adore it. “Beliefs are not facts.”

Dee over at Red Dirt Ramblings adds new material often, which is wonderful for her readers! This article is several weeks old, but it bears mentioning again this weekend because now most of us are getting serious about summer garden planning. “Beautiful Foliage Carries the Summer Garden” is perfect for anyone in Oklahoma who craves consistent lushness despite the heat and wind and humidity and bugs and, well, Oklahoma-ness. Thank you Dee!

Dorothy Beal writes Miles Post, a running blog that reaches deep into my happy guts. The author writes directly, without pulling punches, about topics ranging from body image to food, family, and travel. In An Uncomplicated Guide to Running and Life she just nails it. Easy peasy.

With few exceptions, Handsome and I greatly prefer eating at home. This piece by Fit-Fluential gives us lots of reasons to feel even better about that habit. We have yet to jump on the fresh-ingredient-delivery bandwagon, as this article suggests, but some of our friends swear by it. Also? This piece says wear your apron. Amen.

Did you know I sell handmade apron sets? Drop me a line. I would love to set you up with something cute. xoxo
Did you know I sell handmade apron sets? Drop me a line. I would love to set you up with something cute. xoxo

Okay my next link is not for reading; it’s a TED talk. I hope you’ll give it a listen. Handsome and I heard it together while driving somewhere west, and we agreed it is lovely. “The Surprising Habits of Original Thinkers by Adam Grant actually does have some surprising research to offer. My favorite line has to be, “Doubt the default.” Yes!! Yes, please. Friends, every time you sense a default setting in your life, care enough about yourself (about everyone around you) to re-examine it. Make sure periodically that the habits you have established continue to serve you and the people you love.

I would be so happy to get a glimpse of what you’re reading, too.

Now… I am off to do some average farm stuff then prepare for our pup’s first birthday party. Watch for photos! Then a girls’-night-out. Then some romance with Handsome. Very excited for every bit of that!

Happy Weekend to you!

Doubt the Default
XOXOXOXO

 

marathon monday: gratitude trumps regret

Friends, to those of you who ran any of the amazing events yesterday at our City’s beloved Memorial Marathon, congratulations!! I hope you had the most wonderful time! I hope you were safe and felt happy, energized, and appreciated. Weather conditions Sunday morning were challenging, with high humidity and strong winds, but that just makes your accomplishment so much sweeter, right? Close to twenty people I know or sort of know were among the almost twenty-five thousand runners. Wow! Watching your updates made me super happy. This is, after all, much more than any road race; this is an act of remembrance and a declaraion that love overcomes hate. That communities can heal.

This chainlink fence stands all year long and is constantly adorned with flowers, wreaths, letters, and stuffed animals to remember those lost in the 1995 Murrah Building bombing. Runners in the different Memorial Marathon races also pin their paper race bibs here.

I am disappointed to not have participated this year. No doubt. My enthusiasm was so high going into training, and I had been learning so much about myself (mind and body) this past year, that I really believed this April would be a big deal. I harbored pretty fantastic ideas about how things might go down, around Lake Hefner and along Classen especially. But that ankle injury changed everything. Thankfully it is pretty well healed now, just not in time to build up the stamina needed for long distance. And that’s all I want to do, really.

 denial run

I was tthhiiiisss close to registering anyway, last minute, without even warning my husband. It was Friday night and I was clicking on links left and right looking for options. Maybe the half?

But then I scrolled through the hundreds of photos on my phone. Having spent the previous week with Jocelyn in Colorado, I was overcome with gratitude and in many ways still felt like I was there with her. We had such an amazing eight days together! I visited her fit and healthy enough to really enjoy exploring her version of paradise. Hiking up snowy mountains with this beautiful young woman is a pleasure I could never have predicted. It is beyond a dream come true. So… deep gratitude for health and love and life in general quickly overwhelmed that nagging race regret.

My ankle and stamina were not lacking; they were exactly where they needed to be.

joc me hike

I halted all plans and mind games about desperate registration and actively gave thanks for the time spent with her, for being healed and strong enough to really enjoy Colorado with her a second time and makes some irreplaceable memories.

false peak

Isn’t life amazing? How wonderful that gratitude is so consistently powerful, too.

Once again, friends, my warmest hugs and congratulations if you ran any of those events on Sunday!! It’s quite a feat. Also congratulations if you trained for something and had to bow out for any reason. I now understand how frustrating that is. Take care of yourself and look to the future with me, okay?

More importantly, let’s look at the present moment and count our abundant blessings hard. Let’s invite gratitude to fully overwhelm all our stabbing little regrets. It feels so nice.

 

 

It’s As It Should Be.
XOXOXOXO