Tag Archive - Life

The Peace of Wild Things…

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds…

…I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water…

…And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

~Wendell Berry

Every now and again I run away from home. Not because I am angry. Not because I am tired of my family. But because I know my soul is in need of washing. Of silence. Of wild, lonely places that can make me new.

Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in where nature may heal, and give strength to body and soul.
~John Muir

Most recently, I ran away to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It is my great good fortune to have grown up in their shadow, and to still live near enough to visit this oasis of loveliness from time to time. The very grandeur of these majestic mountains does a great deal to restore perspective. But it is also rubbing up against the heart piercing beauty of a tangle of wildflowers, or the surprise of water striders skating on sky, or whimsical growths clinging to the sides of trees, that help me become more human. “Solider” as C.S. Lewis might say.

I pray. The sweet prayer that does not require words. As though God and I are simply walking along together. Seeing the world. Enjoying the silent presence, each of the other. Like how my grandparents used to sit companionably on the porch. In a knowing so deep that words become superfluous. I would walk like this always, but the noise of every day makes it more challenging. So it is good to be here. To practice. So that when I return to the chaos, I remember. And little by little I learn to bring the silent knowing with me to my noisy world.

Nature is mythical and mystical always, and spends her whole genius on the least work.
~Henry David Thoreau

Supernatural grandeur expands our soul and helps us throughout the day to live not in glass-breaking tension but in tiptoe perspective. It’s the place where, in our “upward leap of the heart,” we see beyond the fray to the Father who does all things well.  ~Patsy Clairmont

In truth, this sabbatical was not without its challenges. My Jeep spent nearly the whole of it in hospital. This wreaked havoc on my itinerary.  But even this was not without blessing, once I was willing to see it. I suppose a great deal of life is lived just here. In what we choose to see. Or not see. This intersection with the wild does wonders for my vision; my perception.

Earth’s crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God:
But only he who sees, takes off his shoes…
~Elizabeth Barrett Browning

I wish you peace, my friends. I wish you bucket-loads of wonder. I wish you long afternoons of dilly dallying in the woods. And may you ever have eyes to see the magic that is happening around you. This very minute…

Our life is a faint tracing on the surface of mystery.
~Annie Dillard

empty: an update

Be careful what you ask for.

In January I chose one word to give shape to my year. Innocently. Naively. Not suspecting the can of worms I was opening. If I had only known…

empty

This I said I wanted.

This I asked for.

And it has been delivered.

In spades.

It doesn’t look like I thought it would.

Here is what I said I wanted….

To stand silent and empty before God. Without demand, without pretense, without excuse, without words. To be still. To be with. It is harder than it should be. For me. But I am learning. A little.

To empty myself of arrogance and self-sufficiency. To walk humbly with others. Most especially with my family. And close friends.

To empty my life of clutter. Frivolous pursuits (ie: the black hole of the internet, mostly), Items I no longer use (which could benefit another, and occupy space in my home), Things I might like to buy (or that might be a really good deal) but I don’t need, etc…

To stand silent and empty before God.

In her book, The Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron speaks of the serendipity that aggregates around us once we step into a given path. Each of the two groups of women I gather with on a weekly basis have gravitated at some point this year, without my intervention (mostly), toward a book that cultivates stillness.

At the inaugural Luminous conference this spring, I exulted in the teaching of Ian Cron, and the experiences of silence that he led us through. It is a rare gift to be able to lead others into silence. To create a safe place for surrender. To go there together, yet alone. It was a gift of deep refreshment.

Finally, guess what the theme of our upcoming women’s retreat is? Living Prayer!! On becoming prayer. Being silent and still before God. Wow!

To empty my life of clutter.

Yes, I realize I am going out of order. There is method in this.

When I dream of silence, stillness, emptiness, this is mostly what I see. And though I am willing to surrender some of the clutter I initiate in my life, I also want others to refrain from cluttering my life. I MOSTLY want others to refrain from cluttering my life. It’s not noble or attractive, but true.

I am discovering that I am extraordinarily selfish.

Imagine my delight. :/

Which brings me to number two…

To empty myself of arrogance and self-sufficiency.

(To walk humbly with others. Most especially my family.)

Herein lies the rub.

I had imagined my life looking different at this point in my life. Children mostly grown. Lots of time to pursue interests I tabled while raising my wee ones. These interests, these activities, would give me identity. Would tell me who I am.

Instead, I am starting all over again.. I care for my granddaughter at least four days each week. Sometimes more. All this while getting one son ready to move away to college and hauling my other teenage son to voice lessons, theater rehearsals, tutorial classes. Oh, and did I mention, he is homeschooling again this year? Somewhere in the midst of that I scrub toilets, pull weeds, cook meals, and wash laundry (which will be dirty again this time next week). Sometimes it seems so futile. So temporary.

And I wonder…

Who Am I??????!!!!!!

All these jobs. With no salary. No dignity. Do these define me?

God has allowed me to know an emptiness I never asked for.

Well……maybe I did.

In my naivete I asked for something I need, but do not want. And I am struggling with the “gift” of emptiness visited upon me.

What if I never do anything remarkable? What if I never write a book? What if, when I die, only my closest friends know my name? Is this a life worth living? These are the questions I find myself asking just now.

They are worthy questions, I believe. And answers are coming from the most unexpected quarters.

I had coffee recently with one of my favorite people. A  young woman who is a nanny. A woman who is changing the world one encouraging word at a time. Her words are truly life. To me, and to scores of others. She is struggling with the knowledge that God called her to ministry when she was very young. And what she is doing is clearly not “ministry”. She is a nanny. But I look at her words. At the life they carry. And I tell her that she could not be more wrong. She is not famous. She is not employed by a church. But every day she is speaking life. What better ministry is there than that?

I asked her, “What if, at the end of your life, you had never worked for a church…you had never written a worship song that was on everyone’s lips…but every person who encountered you walked away different for having spent time with you? Would that be enough?”

On the drive home, I heard a question in my own mind.

“Is it enough?”

If you do not shatter and empty your ego, how will you make room for God? ~Mother Gavrilia

The emptying continues…..

 

Turn the Page…

Some few weeks ago, I gave birth to a darling baby boy. A little towheaded, blue eyed, bundle of joy.

Tomorrow I am carting him off to college.

I do not know how this happened.

Jake was born hungry. Ravenous from the get go. From that moment til this, he has drunk life in great gulps. Seeing deeper than most. Savoring…tastes, sounds, moments, friendships, life.

He is fiercely loyal. It is, perhaps, the hardest part of this growing. This leaving. For him. To be away from the friends who have inscribed their names into the very sinews of his heart. Away from a certain “she” who has the softest, tenderest place. And away from family…we who sometimes rub wrong, who prickle or misunderstand…AND…we who know all the stories, who have shared the houses, the farm, the dogs, the gypsy wanderings…we who have read the books and seen the quirky movies…we who have cried the deep cries and dreamed audacious dreams. We who are the always. And yet…not with. Not now.

I ask myself what I have not said to him. What I wish I had done differently. It is crazy talk, this. I adore the young man he has become. In spite of me, as much as because of me. A work of grace. Very like his Father. So very like. Whatever I might have given him could not be more important than this: He loves well. He is a passionate follower of Christ. He is curious and courageous, generous and good.

We have had a long growing toward this. All of us. This leaving. It has hovered over our heads all this summer. And we have seized and savored moments together. Precious beads to be strung along a rope called memory.

Still, my heart is sore.

I tell him he was supposed to become obnoxious so that I would be glad to see him go. He has not obliged me in this. There will be a palpable absence in our home. A marked reduction in hugs, and long happy sighs over dinner, and stories, and dreams.

We are learning to walk in the new. Our identity as a family is shifting. Again. And once again we must find our place. This is ever the shape of life.

Over the years I have recruited scripture, prayers of the saints, and words of poets in conversation with with my artist, philosopher son. And in conversations about Jake with his Father. On this auspicious threshold, I offer him a few words from that great poet philosopher, Bob Dylan. A blessing. A prayer.

May God bless and keep you always
May your wishes all come true
May you always do for others
And let others do for you
May you build a ladder to the stars
And climb on every rung
May you stay forever young

May you grow up to be righteous
May you grow up to be true
May you always know the truth
And see the lights surrounding you
May you always be courageous
Stand upright and be strong
May you stay forever young

May your hands always be busy
May your feet always be swift
May you have a strong foundation
When the winds of changes shift
May your heart always be joyful
And may your song always be sung
May you stay forever young

I could not find a recording of the classic Dylan rendering. (The one that has left me in tears this summer more times than I care to admit.) But I was happy to find this from one of our shared favorites, the lovely Ms. Norah Jones.

For you, Jake. Godspeed, beloved!!!

Curious. Expectant. Surprised.

The evening is soft and sultry. Unexpectedly hot for May. We sit on calico covered hay bales in the long twilight shadows, while the two of them make promises. Love and cherish. Til death. I have never seen her more radiant.

Every detail says something about who they are. Individually. And as one. Bow ties and suspenders. Antique colored glasses spilling blossoms. Lanterns, paper pinwheels, and signature cocktails served up in mason jars.

He leads her to the dance floor. His touch tender, her eyes filled with love. And their deep joy becomes the music, becomes the dance, becomes the night sky and stars and fireflies and air. I can’t take my eyes off them.

They have been dancing into one another for months. A bit at a time. Here is the extraordinary thing, as they have moved toward oneness, I have seen her becoming more and more herself. As though he is liberating something inside her, and she is liberating him. A sweet, selfless love that is curious and generous, that discovers and makes brave.

I have thought of it often since that night.

 The greatest good you can do for another is not just to share your riches, but to reveal to him his own. ~Benjamin Disraeli

He is an internationally renowned jazz pianist who has played with the likes of Art Blakey and Wynton and Branford Marsalis. There is a photo on the wall of him with Dave Brubeck. He talks about these things humbly. Like gift.

Then he begins to tell us about some of his students. Students who have played with Miles Davis and Sting. Students who have become headliners in their own right. He talks about the joy of helping someone find in himself something he didn’t know was there. And I am very glad to be entrusting my son to him for the next four years.

It is gift…

…this ability to see inside someone and draw out what is there. But it is gift that can be cultivated. By listening deeply. By loving generously, without agenda. By wanting the good of the other as much as I want the good of myself. By being willing to surrender preconceived notions and allow the other to grow beyond anything I could have imagined for him.

I want to love like this.

I want to live among others like this.

Curious.

Expectant.

Surprised.

Don’t you?

*The enchanting couple above are Shawn and Madeline Lemon. It is a delight to know them. Positively beautiful, inside and out. Photograph by Brandon Chesbro.

**Jake’s instructor is to be the inimitable Donald Brown. I include the following by way of introduction. Treat yourself to a summer evening in Vienna, and jazz on a Bösendorfer. (That is perhaps only ironic to piano snobs. ;)) The piano solo is about 5 minutes in. Don’t miss it.

Cottontail Conundrum

I gave my babies Beatrix Potter with their milk. Peter Rabbit, little Benjamin Bunny, these were our friends. When they were older, we read Rabbit Hill, a compelling story of wild creatures who hope the new owners of the farm will be generous cultivators instead of mean spirited slackers who let the garden grow up in weeds and set wicked animal traps. And we hoped with them.

Baby girl and I have watched the beautiful brown wonders as they bound through our yard. Comfortable with us. Our friends. It has seamed natural, this kinship with these beautiful creatures of God. And good.

The lettuces were the first to go. A fine stand of Arugula and Paris Market Mix Mesclun. One morning I walked out to the garden to find nubs where the tender leafy greens had been. Next was the Red Russian Kale. Not a single stem left standing. Yet I kept my sense of humor, thinking of the crusty Mr. McGregor; realizing with some measure of satisfaction that as the bunnies spoke of me in their cozy burrows at night, I was a hero. A friend.

Until they started on the tomatoes…

Black Krim is one of several heirloom varieties I am growing this year. The first fruit set on only a couple of weeks after I planted, despite an unexpected spell of cool weather. I watched with fascination as it swelled to 4 inches or so across and as the first blush of purply red began to spread over its skin. Then, one evening about dusk, I found this…

I wanted to throw up. Then, I began to wonder if there was a recipe on-line anywhere for that pie Mrs. McGregor put Peter’s father in. Because, after all, if I was going to be deprived of the vegetables I was working so hard to cultivate, I would need something to feed to my family.

I am not a violent person. As a rule.

Last night, while I was erecting a fence to save my tomatoes (and the lives of the furry little bandits), I made an interesting discovery. Four baby rabbits huddled in the oregano. Just outside their burrow, as it turns out. You can see two of them above.

I don’t mind telling you that my “peaceful by nature”, “lover of all things beautiful and wild” self is at war with my practical, farm girl self. Pray for me. And for the adorable little marauders. That we might find a way to live together.

The Soft Seduction of Silence…

Silence is an urgent necessity for us. ~Martin Laird

We all experience it, even if we do not know how to name it. The restless frenzy. The onerous availability…to everyone…all the time. The constant barrage…of NOIZE.

And inside it

our souls crave

stillness

silence

space

Perhaps we are aware. Many of us are not. But the need is there nonetheless. Unheeded, it drives us to medicate, to escape, to make horrible, selfish, destructive choices. And still, we hunger, our insides a jumble of confused nausea.

Today I offer you a deep breath. An invitation. To be still. To breathe slow. To listen. From voices more capable than mine. A poem, a proposition, and a portal. Do with them as you like.

Poem

The Moor

It was like a church to me.
I entered it on soft foot,
Breath held like a cap in the hand.
It was quiet.
What God was there made himself felt,
Not listened to, in clean colours
That brought a moistening of the eye,
In movement of the wind over grass.

There were no prayers said. But stillness
Of the heart’s passions — that was praise
Enough; and the mind’s cession
Of its kingdom. I walked on,
Simple and poor, while the air crumbled
And broke on me generously as bread.

~R. S. Thomas

Proposition

In the New York Times, of all places. An article from some months back. Pico Iyer, The Joy of Quiet. Compelling.

Portal

I am in my second reading of Martin Laird’s Into the Silent Land (Thanks, Ian). This time I am reading it with friends. And we sit around the table and groan as our hearts resonate with his words, and with those of the saints and mystics who populate the work.

He tells us we cannot manufacture interior silence and communion with God any more than a gardener can make plants grow. But, like a gardener creates receptivity to growth by tilling the soil, providing fertilizer and water, removing weeds and guarding against marauders, we can cultivate practices that welcome this silent communion. It is one of the most inviting and instructive books I have ever read on the subject. I commend it to your attention. Laird is a worthy guide.

Praying that stillness and silence find you (and me) today.

Shalom.

It’s the Journey…

It is good to have an end to journey towards, but it is the journey that matters in the end.
~Ursula Le Guin

It is good to have an end…

“Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.” ~Goethe

I could just run. Without the races. I know people who do. Well, not many. But the race gives shape. It makes demands. It looms out there like a great Leviathan that wants slaying. And I rouse myself, and find that I am capable of things I never imagined I could do. Or not. Either way, I am stretched and made deeper and more real.

This year the end is the Mount Desert Island Marathon in Bar Harbor Maine, one of the most beautiful marathons in the United States, on the outskirts of the stunning Acadia National Park. It will be my 6th 26.2, and my 8th state (if you lump in an ultra, and a half-marathon to the top of Pikes Peak).

It is the journey that matters…

“When I have been truly searching for my treasure, I’ve discovered things along the way that I never would have seen had I not had the courage to try things that seemed impossible…” ~Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

Training for an endurance event always brings understandings that I do not anticipate. Revelations. Amidst the fatigue and frustration, the astonishing beauty, the miracle of putting one foot in front of another over and over and over, a deep knowing grows. I want always to be fully present and available for this.

On a somewhat less mystical level, there are disciplines in training that make me a better runner (and a better human being, for that matter). More capable. Healthier. Stronger. More resilient. These I constantly re-examine.

This year, I am revamping my approach somewhat to honor my aging body and protect my sometimes finicky joints. I am studying the Chi running method; very harmonious with all I am learning and practicing in yoga. I will also incorporate Qigong, an ancient form of “moving meditation” that centers the body and invigorates the immune system. I am ramping up my core and upper body work. In fact, I have focused almost exclusively on this during the off season. I will run only 3 times/week. The other days will be spent cross-training ( a combination of yoga, core, weights, swimming, biking, hiking, etc…) I also plan to do as many of my long runs as possible on trails to minimize joint fatigue (and maximize oos and ahhs 🙂 ).

Nutrition always plays an important role in training. As part of my joint protection strategy, I am focusing on anti-inflammatory foods and drinking lots of green tea (and water). I am also participating in a local CSA, and have expanded our vegetable garden to insure a steady supply of clean, organic produce. I eagerly anticipate Scott Jurek’s book, Eat and Run, (available 5 June). Jurek is a superstar ultra-runner, and a remarkable human being, who fuels his running and his life on a strict vegan diet. (Kenzie is crazy about his chocolate adzuki bars.)

Running, with it’s seasons of building and recovery, creates a wonderful sense of ebb and flow in our lives. A skeleton to hang other things on and around. It is difficult to imagine life without it.

Just for fun…

Mike and I keep a list of dream events for the future. Here are a few of the “ends” we hope to lay out there in the not too distant future:

Marathon du Medoc 26.2 kilometers through the beautiful French wine region of Medoc. Wine tastings and samples of culinary indulgences all along the way. Ironically, given the timing and proximity, we have thought of pairing it with…

The Camino de Santiago de Compostela The way of St. James. A pilgrimage. Not a running event, but an endurance endeavor to be sure. And a spiritual quest. Dreaming about fall of 2015…

Big Sur International Marathon California redwoods, Stunning views of the Pacific Ocean, and a breathtaking run across the Bixby Bridge are just a few reasons why this one sells out almost immediately every year.

The Chattanooga Mountains Stage Race A total of 60 miles over three days of running on gorgeous trails in the mountains of my native East Tennessee. If this goes well, then there is this little stage race in Tibet…. 🙂

A rim to rim to rim hike across the Grand Canyon South to North in one day. We would probably give ourselves two days for the return, spending the night at the Phantom Ranch.

The Inca Trail to Machu Pichu

Of what ends do you find yourself dreaming? What might pursuing that end make possible?

Dear Joshua,

We almost missed you, you know. For a while, dad and I thought maybe two kids were enough. We even started selling some of the baby gear. But then this feeling started growing in my heart. That someone was missing. Not everyone was here, yet. The decision was never about having a third child. It was about having you. The moment I held you in my arms, I knew our family was complete.

Just think of all we would have missed, if we had missed you, my love…..

Curiosity

All of life is one great explore for you. When we travel, it takes you only a few minutes to scope out the hotel room and find out where all the drawers are and what is in them. When we hike, you run on ahead. Or shinny up rocks and trees so you can take in the view. You take things apart. You experiment. You play. And our world is bigger because of you.

Celebration

I sometimes wish you could have had one of those mommies who make every occasion grand. That would be so fun for you. Instead, you are the one who transforms our porch for Halloween. You are the one who insists we put out all the nativity sets, and Santas, and angels…. You are the one who wraps our staircase in lights and garland. I thought I was crazy about Christmas til I met you. You have me beat. 🙂 Thank you for making life a party. For knowing that memories are a lacing together of one extraordinary moment after another.

Creativity

The most modest of meals becomes a feast when you put your hand to it. From the candles and flowers to the artful plating, you understand that a meal should delight ALL the senses. You bring this same creativity to your acting, your singing and your writing. I love watching you when an idea is forming itself in your head. I love how words tumble over one another as it bubbles out of you. Most recently, I have seen this creativity in your songwriting. Deep, poignant lyrics that pierce my heart. I look forward to watching you cultivate this gift in years to come. Thank you for a life sprinkled–yay verily, doused–with beauty.

Courage

I hardly think anyone can miss how much you have grown this year. Six or seven inches of vertical gain are difficult to overlook. And a man face now houses the eyes that used to belong to my little boy. But I think the most significant growth has been less obvious. Because it has happened inside.

Time after time this year you have put yourself out there, stepping into new situations–new school, new sport, new friendships, etc…. You acknowledge your fear, then plunge right into it. I can not tell you how proud I am of you. When you record your original songs and put them out there for your friends (and total strangers, for that matter) to see, I wonder what happened to that little boy with the practiced “shy look” who did not want to be noticed. When you dream audacious dreams, the mom in me wants to protect you and bid you set your sights a little more humbly. But you are teaching me with your courage. You make me want to be as brave as you.

Charity

Your kindness, your generosity, your intuition, your uninhibited displays of affection; these are gifts to everyone who knows you. They have been gift to me. I have loved watching you with your little niece this year. She adores you. I’m not surprised. 😉 I know you would give her the world if you could. Instead, you give her stuffed animals, dolls, clothes, books, toys… More importantly, you give her yourself. Your time. Your undivided attention. Your joy. This she loves about you. This I love about you. I know so much more about what it means to give myself away because of you. Thank you for that.

Dear son of mine, when I looked into your precious face for the first time fifteen years ago, I could not imagine how much richer, how much bigger, how much more fun my world was about to become. Thank you for being you. And thank you for letting me be your mommy.

Happy Birthday, Joshua!!

I love you!

God grant you many, many years!

*Photo at the top of the post: Josh with his cousins Anna and Ethan. (Thanks, Uncle Monty!)
**Photo at the bottom: Josh with his beautiful (inside and out) friends Gatlin and Jessie (Thank you, ladies!)

Two Tickets to Paradise

I’m leaving on a jet plane. Don’t know when I’ll be back again….

Just how many song lyrics do you think I can steal for this post? 🙂

Tomorrow, Mike and I will celebrate 25 years of marriage. Against all odds. Despite all we both did to wreck it. It is nothing short of a miracle. So we are off to celebrate. Tonight we will sleep at the extraordinary Peace Lodge pictured above. It sits in the midst of the beautiful La Paz Waterfall Gardens.

Over the next few days we will zip-line over the top of the rain forest, sit in volcano heated hot springs while watching Arenal spew hot lava and steam, ride white water through gorges and past waterfalls, take night-time walks through the jungle, watch the sun sink into the Pacific Ocean, all while surrounded by remarkable wildlife.

There will be a little anniversary post tomorrow. Then, over the next few days, a couple of posts from the archives with something to say about marriage and loving long. I will also be tweeting the occasional photo as I have access to internet. But do not hate me if I do not respond to comments for now. I am otherwise occupied. 😉

To all of you who are making the choice to love…every day…hang in there! It is more important than you know! Do not lose heart.

Versatile Blogger

Here’s something fun. One of my favorite real-life poet friends, Karissa, nominated me for a Versatile Blogger award. Here’s how it works: When you are nominated for this award, you thank the person who nominated you, write 7 things about yourself, and nominate 10 more bloggers.

Karissa and I worship together as part of the faith family of St. Ignatius Orthodox Church. We also enjoy talking about all things literary. She has given me some great book recommendations, like The Saffron Kitchen and The Wild Iris.  You will definitely enjoy reading her blog, The Iris Chronicles.

Thank you, Karissa, for thinking of me.

For the benefit of those of you who read my blog regularly and already know more about me than you want, I thought it might be fun to make my 7 random things excessively random. Just for fun. 🙂

1. I can only sleep on a cold pillow. If I wake up during the night, I have to turn my pillow over to the cold side before I can go back to sleep. I also have to have my feet outside the covers.

2. Though I am prone to break out in spontaneous worship at any time, in any place, I have had the opportunity to worship corporately in some pretty varied settings: tent revivals with sawdust on the ground, brush arbors (I am from Appalachia after all), Medieval European cathedrals, a school in Spanish Harlem and a schoolyard in Malawi, campgrounds, storefronts, amusement parks, tiny country churches with windows open and flies buzzing (and, in one instance, a snake)…

3. There are certain shades of purple that affect me viscerally; an ecstatic, delicious, piercing, heart thumping, breathless something that lies entirely outside the realm of words.

4. When I was a senior in high school, we had a fall that was so wet we couldn’t get a mechanical corn picker into the cornfield. My family and I spent every weekend from early October to the week before Christmas (including Thanksgiving Day) in that field harvesting the winter sustenance for our animals. By hand. My brothers and I whined and complained and made up ridiculous songs of lament. And laughed. And ate hot soup for lunch. And, in the end, harvested something far more significant and lasting than a few ears of corn.

5. I think it is inevitable that I will live in Europe for a while at some point before I die. Probably France. But maybe Italy. Or Ireland…

6. I am learning to play the mandolin. It’s harder than it looks. But fun. It seems to be more suited to my voice than the piano, if that makes sense. And considerably more portable.

7. I am an Enneagram 4 with a 5 wing. And an ENFP. If anyone is keeping score.

Here are a few folks I would love for you to know. Some of them do not post all that often (most have small people underfoot), but it is very worthwhile when they do. My nominees for Versatile Blogger:

1. Jennifer Lynn King

2. Joel J. Miller

3. William Guice

4. Jennifer Gillett

5. Meg H. Miller

6. Gail Hyatt

7. Kari Slusser

8. Jen Jarnagin

9. Anna Mccullum

10. Rhonda Kemp

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