Life has been moving fast, and it seems
I rarely come up for air to simply chat anymore.
So today it’s just me and you on the rocks
catching up, friend to friend.
I wish I could say life has been all skittles and beer…
there’s the occasional Corona sighting, but also
pain, BRCA, traveling, parenting, disappointment,
awe, joy, studying and deep peace.
But let’s start with embarrassing secrets and superficial crap.
photos by Melissa James Studio
My clothes don’t fit: I have been living with
chronic migraine with auras since October,
and recently, my doctors divorced me from prescriptions,
pain relievers, and artificial sweeteners (Diet Coke).
Is it a secret I am gay for Diet Coke?
I don’t know.
I have maybe compensated for the loss by eating
watching a menopausal inner tube impossibly inflate
my waist…and with no energy to work out or
walk off evil pastries from the new donut belly,
I do not recognize this unwaify body…good thing I am
far too spiritually evolved for vanity. Wait, wut?
my photo – Eric Kayser in Paris
Speaking of Spiritual Schoolgirls:
In addition to consuming quantities
of baked goods, I have been a student this year
in a cohort for a spiritual formation certificate program.
It has been life changing work involving daily studies
and four retreats at a restful seminary sanctuary shown here.
The teachers and folks in my cohort are now treasured friends,
and the whole challenging experience is a Godsend.
So much beautiful scenery this year.
Arizona Escapes: In April,
I experienced a visit of a lifetime in Arizona
with family. My mom has been struggling
with intense pain, and we sisters gathered to
help her explore holistic options and bring
peace (lots of singing and dancing this visit).
I am always knocked out by how God/Love/Divine Mystery/
the universe/use whatever love language you like here
does not waste a single bit of pain; in fact,
nothing is ever wasted; it all gets recycled into
I went to help my mom?
Ha! Her pain continues to be a teacher for her
AND her daughter.
my parents’ backyard
read about the surprise brunch for my mom
As you may have surmised from so many hints
dropped lately, my husband and I bought a little
place near my mom’s in the desert to fix up and are
furnishing it on a shoestring (hello, craigslist!).
YES. We have been far too busy this year!
Hello Lovely Desert Fixer Upper!
So a part of this Arizona trip involved my parents
helping me feather our new getaway.
With a view of a butte and mountains,
who knows? Maybe I will host small lovely retreats
for souls who crave peace, sunshine, and spiritual
renewal. (We have yet to sleep one night there,
and I can’t wait to return for more prettying and DIY.)
my desert backyard at the getaway
in my backyard!
New York Adventures:
In May, we traveled to the Hudson River Valley
for a writing workshop taught by bestselling author
(seen the Drew Barrymore film
“Riding in Cars With Boys?” That’s Bev’s memoir.)
Donofrio is a brilliant instructor, and I will let you know about
future retreats/workshops you can attend.
In the mean time, you must must read her latest book
Astonished and also Looking for Mary and certainly
the bestseller Riding in Cars with Boys.
(I’ll earn a few pennies of commission at no extra cost
to you if you click through these affiliate links! yay me!)
So the writing retreat was at Holy Cross monastery which is
directly across the river from the Vanderbilt Mansion, and
our room was a cozy one on the third floor…
a typical former Monk’s cell, now a guestroom
While in New York, we visited the grave of
Teilhard de Chardin
(I am a fan).
The cemetery is actually on the grounds of the
Culinary Institute of America.
Overlooking the graves are these magnificent figures
While in Hyde Park, we visited FDR’s home
and the Vanderbilt mansion with its beautiful
The home of Franklin D. Roosevelt
In the Roosevelts backyard…their view.
The Vanderbilt Mansion
We had the gardens to ourselves…just magic.
The pool area
The fragrance from the roses in bloom was out of this world.
Holy Cross Monastery…my husband and I hiked down to the river and were treated to this.
I have been tweaking/toying with
ideas for professionalizing, monetizing, and
expanding, and what I know is:
I don’t want to plaster the blog
with ads, I don’t want posts to
feel like ads, and I don’t want to lose
my renegade flavor after a history of
blogging what I want about what I want,
when I want…afterall, I have attended just one
official event for professional bloggers (ummmmmm,
I didn’t KNOW it was THAT kind of gathering…
I naively thought it was for bloggers to meet, eat, and laugh!)
and at that shindig I realized I am the posterchild for amateur.
I was not doing a single blogging thing “properly” (no blog income, no affiliates, no pinterest or FB account, etc).
If you have opinions about these matters, spill…
Back at home, I have been experimenting with making rose petal clay.
Sometimes I turn fading roses inside out…just look at the velvet goodness!
After drying the rose petals and crumbling them, I cook them for hours.
With the clay, I form beads, and the drying out takes weeks and weeks.
Still a writer:
My education/parenting articles are published in print magazines every month, but no time to write new pieces!
I am working on a book I will keep you posted about…
I’ll tell you this, the book either has
nothing to do with new life being breathed
into an old run down structure OR everything.
Every weekend, find me on the back of my husband’s vintage motorcycle.
We’re still renovating…oh, yeah, we are still working
on the house and getting closer, though it appears impossible
to nail down a landscaper to begin transforming the outside
to look like the Vanderbilt (or whatev).
Gardens at the Vanderbilt Mansion
Tomorrow, I will travel to another monastery
for Wisdom School…
to continue the work of placing the mind in the heart.
(Does this make no sense to you? More later.)
So that is what life has looked like around here…
studying every day, bizarre cravings, cancer, rose petal clay,
books, bible, hammers and dust flying, tight jeans,
flights to the desert, mansions, motorcycles and monk cells,
sex, drugs, rock ‘n’ roll, and the kind of love that keeps
inspiring new courage and fresh leaps of faith.
i relate to these creatures in interesting ways.
If you are still reading…wow, I am humbled.
Thanks for joining me on the rocks,
and peace to you right where you are.