faith, grace, love ...

Saturday, November 30, 2013

from today's early morning snowy walk, blue & orange, & golden and my love, LOVE Miss Winnie - she loves this weather ;-)

It's incredibly touching when someone who seems so hopeless finds a few inches of light to stand in and makes everything work as well as possible. All of us lurch and fall, sit in the dirt, are helped to our feet, keep moving, feel like idiots, lose our balance, gain it, help others get back on their feet, and keep going.

Anne Lamott - from Grace Eventually: Thoughts on Faith

Honestly I mentioned fumbling the other day, have I mentioned also falling, slipping, bumbling, tripping, bumping into walls (almost as if I was blindfolded), getting back up dusting myself off and confidently (kind of) trudging off in a new direction only to trip, fall and smack into another wall - it's been that kind of year, especially the last few months. omg ! talk about your trial by fire ! 

I  also mentioned recently that I was kinda crushin' on Rob Bell, crushing on him I think because he makes Christianity almost make sense to me … and that felt miraculous & shocking and a kind of HUGE gigantic relief to me, especially at this point in my life, a blanket, a comfort. "you mean Christianity doesn't have to be or mean  that crazy, cruel Right Wing, Tea Party, Fox news,  judgemental, evil, homophobic, hypocritical thing that it's seemed to me to be. Hmmmmm. Wow!" well now  … that's is indeed an opening, that's a new door, another option, another hope, a comfort and let's face it - Rob Bell himself is slick , young at heart,  handsome & tres convincing plus everything he does (books, website, etc) is absolutely gorgeously designed (sadly & perhaps shallowly that counts for lots in my books). He's hip & he's happenin'.

But … I realize now, when I mentioned I was crushin on Rob Bell that that feeling of crushing on him doesn't hold a candle to how I feel about Anne Lamott (I know, I know late, late, late to the Anne L game) but Thanks Wow !! - I'm madly in love with her, her words, her voice & her perspective on life. I could listen/read her words & thoughts all day long, every day, over & over again. She soothes me like drugs do. Just introducing me to the idea that I could choose Faith (in whatever form Faith chooses me or I choose  it) instead of my usual attempted maniacal control. Bonjour Faith … I think I like you way better than attempted crazed control. Faith, grace, love … failure, Faith, grace, love … failure. I think I'm getting the hang of this.

Faith instead of fumbling, flailing, falling, bumbling. Thanks ! Wow ! Phew !

love to all ! & happy holiday weekend to my USA friends

I do not understand the mystery of grace -
only that it meets us where we are and does not leave us where it found us.

Anne Lamott

New to Anne Lamott  ? start here with this lovely, fantastic interview with writer Ann Patchett


Friday, November 29, 2013

this morning's golden hour - the ice has arrived, a big salt ship came in this morning, Betty loves to zoom & I ♡ Winnie D.

In the comments Sybil recently asked the question ?

Susan, you don't read all those books do you ?

No I don't Sybil. I am a compulsive, obsessive book, audio book, movie & TV series orderer (from my county library website). You're allowed 50 holds on items and I most often cruise around the 35-40 holds number but have on a occasion been told by the site that I can't have any more because I'm at 50. You never know how many other people have holds, if it's a new hot book or movie it make takes weeks, even months before it actually gets to you. It's a very rare Thursday (book delivery day in this little village) that there isn't a giant stack of stuff for me and I always prefer to bring them home, fondle them, skim through them, read the recipes in the cookbooks and then choose 1 or 2 from my most recent haul to actually read. I only read at bedtime and I might get 30 pages read before I'm lulled to sleep so … if the book is say 771 pages (as is my new great book The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt) I'm lucky if I managed to get that 1 book read in my 3 week library loan period, if it's a hot, new book I can't renew it because someone else has a hold on it. I keep a list of books that arrive but I don't have time to read so that I can re-order/put holds on them in the future - so many great books, way too little reading time.

How is Winnie Dixon ? who turns 15 Jan 10th

She's been taking Metacam (every other day) and she's doing really well, I go down and upstairs with her, helping her with her arthritic little legs. She really loves this cooler weather & I really LOVE her.

Happy Weekend !

books, books + cats

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

cats x 4 + library books x way too many = happiness & love ;-)

You need to move on. I understand, believe me, how this stuff gets to you, that there's nothing more important than finding that hidden door which will lead to the underground bunker where the truth is sitting there behind bars. But sometimes the truth just isn't there. Even if you can smell it and hear it. Or there just isn't a way in anymore. It's grown over. Rocks have shifted. Shafts caved in. There's no human way to get to it, not even with all the dynamite in the world. So you leave it at that. And you move on. The dark side of life has a way of finding us all anyway, so stop chasing it.

a favourite paragraph from my most recent bedtime (escape) book Night Film by Marisha Pessl. I loved it especially the last 100 pages of the 599 pages - it pulls you through at a page turning clip + it has a fantastic ending (one that had me getting my atlas out and then downloading google earth) ! The huge pile above (aver les chats) is my most recent Thursday library haul (book delivery day). After perusing this tall stack I've decided & dived into another brand new, also much hyped novel - The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. I'm reading Anne Lamott's little gem Help, Thanks, Wow-The Three Essential Prayers a 2nd time because it's wonderful, comforting & funny + I'm also reading, finally, Susan Cain's book about introverts Quiet.

I use my county library's fantastic website to order books, audio books, DVD movies & TV series and also to peruse the lists of brand new titles in all those same categories and often find more fantastic things I wouldn't have known about otherwise.

It's fantastic & it's free !! support your local library so we don't ever lose them.


Monday, November 25, 2013

today 3pm - the afternoon light in my studio/office here at CEHQ* is spectacular + somebody's gotta new screensaver ;-)

There's freedom in hitting bottom, in seeing that you won't be able to save 
or rescue your daughter, her spouse, his parents, or your career, relief in admitting you've reached the place of great unknowing. This is where restoration can begin, because when you're still in the state of trying to fix the unfixable, everything bad is engaged: the chatter of your mind, the tension of your physiology, all the trunks and wheel-ons you carry from your past. It's exhausting, crazy making.

Help. Help us walk through this. Help us come through.

Help. It is the first great prayer.

Anne Lamott - Help Thanks Wow / The Three Essential Prayers

& I say a big ol' Amen to that and also to Anne Lamott watch/listen to her here Thanks Wow for her ! It's a tiny book Help Thanks Wow, it's a gobble with pleasure in one sitting book, it's a read over and over & over again book, it's funny, it's comforting … it's about learning to have faith. It's about learning to live faithfully … even when, or especially when you're fumbling & bouncing back up from the latest bottom.

In one of her books or in one of her many youtube book chats she mentions a favourite Samuel Beckett quote, also so very fitting for this current fumbling, bouncing feeling of mine.

Try again. Fail again. Fail better.

Samuel Beckett

*CEHQ - Creative Empire HeadQuarters

k & k

Sunday, November 24, 2013

foggy morning on Black Street & a fantastic quote brought to me by The Daily Love

Let's get this straight I am not a Kanye West fan, nor am I a Kim K fan at least not in the true, straight up sense of being a fan or a follower - I do confess to Keeping up with the K's in that trashy, guilty pleasure, gossipy, People magazine kinda fan sense & big time. I don't really like this Bound 2 video and I don't think I like the song (although it may be growing on me) but I LOVE the intro/chorus up until the 35 second mark (and then interspersed throughout). I cannot get these (slightly corny I admit) images, oh my those white horses - sighing, vistas, words & melody out of my mind - LOVE

be longing

Friday, November 22, 2013

itty bitty Betty / berries / crows in fog / that gorgeous apricot-ish Walmart mini rose now planted snug & cozy in the ground / uh… Mr. task master in early this morning / burning bush berries / my girl she loves to rub & roll in frosty grass / miniature worlds curb side / the golden hour aster seed heads

from a favourite blogger Denise Andrade-Kroon @, she took the words right our of my mouth & my heart. Well actually she took the thoughts and spoke them much more eloquently than I could've imagined doing - merci sweet one !
A sense of un-belonging.  
I'm just not sure I belong.  Anywhere.  With any type of community:  Social. Religious. Spiritual. Heartical.  Soul-ful.  My soul is hungry to learn and experience, to understand and seek what speaks to me deeply, what feels like home to the rhythm of my heart but throughout my life I have found that not one way or place or group has ever really felt like a place where I fit in.
I wondered about it tonight.  If its okay to not belong.  If its possible to be at ease with yourself if you never feel you quite fit in anywhere.  Then I looked at the word "belong" and I saw two words "be" and "longing".  
Be-long.  Be-longing.
To be longing.
I realize this is a play on words, but hmmmm.
I always considered to belong was to settle and claim, to be accepted and part of, to be one with and to identify with but perhaps my be-longing is my seeking and my journey, not necessarily my destination.  My be-longing is my search for truth and light and LOVE.  Its a longing so very unique to me and needn't be part of anything.
So perhaps I do belong.  Denise Andrade-Kroon

The thing about my own sense of un-belonging, and I've had it as long as I can remember, I don't really care anymore so much that I don't belong - I care more about the idea that I think I should care that I don't belong. Anne Lamott (new fav person) talks a lot about that feeling of not fitting, of feeling since she was a child of 7 or 8, that surely Martians had dropped her off here on earth, with no users manual and then forgot to come back and pick her up - that same sense of intense un-belonging. I'm not ever sure where I belong though thankfully I am, and always will be - be longing ;-)

Thank you Anne L. & thank you Denise A-K.

les boundary setting

Thursday, November 21, 2013

more photography favourites from the lands & loves of 29 Black Street 

from Brené Brown les boundary setting script - yahoo !

here's what I need 
here's how I'm feeling 
here's what's not okay 
you don't have to like it 
you don't have to agree with it 
but if we are going to be in a relationship 
you have to respect it. 

let's all get this printed on a business size card, laminate it and carry it on our person at all times.

sweet salvation(s)

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

from less archives - Oliver (in his office attire) + library books + my journal … hot face clothes & other sweet salvations & Anne Lamott who I am currently madly in love with

I have a lot of faith. But I am also afraid a lot, and have no real certainty about anything. I remembered something Father Tom had told me--that the opposite of faith is not doubt, but certainty. Certainty is missing the point entirely. Faith includes noticing the mess, the emptiness and discomfort, and letting it be there until some light returns.

Anne Lamott

comfort cat  & supreme office mate

thoughts on grief

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

seed heads x 5 clematis Nelly Moser taken Sunday afternoon during a wee outside sunshiny break from the madness

grief is the end of normal
Brené Brown

an exact & near perfect definition.

Winnie's had a good morning a slow, deliberate, short saunter down into the park + she ate her breakfast (with dose of Metacam anti-inflammatory) we senior dog lovers know that an appetite is always a good thing, now she's snoozing contentedly in her cozy bed under my desk, and I love her.

She has been my everyday normal for nearly 14 years (adopted at just 1). She is so much my normal, she is with me absolutely every minute of every day unless I'm away & I've made the decision to not go away, anywhere again until …

she misses me too much, she's a special needs dog that's why she found me. If I leave my desk, no matter how sound her sleep she attempts to follow me. I love her with all of my heart and I am Grateful (big ol' capital G) that she has shared my life for nearly 14 years, Jan 10 2014 will be our anniversary, Grateful, grate-full that she has lived to be a very old dog & Grateful for our many adventures together, most of them documented here in my great big gratitude journal blog.

Grief, as I read somewhere once, is a lazy Susan. 
One day it is heavy and underwater, and the next it spins and stops at loud and rageful, and the next day wounded keening, and the next day numbness, silence.
Anne Lamott

I'm hoping to be finished with this big, expansive, wonderful & tres challenging project by the end of this week (fingers, toes & all paws crossed here at CEHQ*). Listening to Anne Lamott (youtube) on heavy repeat is saving me this week, buoying me up, keeping me afloat until that glorious time arrives each and every day - bedtime ;-)

+my absolute favourite Royal Wood song

*CEHQ - Creative Empire Head Quarters


Monday, November 18, 2013

8 more favourites from the iPhoto archives - can you spy itty bitty betty among the pea blossoms No.1

Our capacity for wholeheartedness can never be greater than our willingness to be broken hearted.

Brené Brown

I'd also add - can never be greater than our willingness to be open hearted, which maybe is the same thing as broken hearted. I feel lately like my chest is wide open and my heart laid bare & exposed, everything makes me cry

All the usual suspects of course - the mostly self imposed motley crew - sadness, frustration, anger, hurt, pain, suffering, stress, insecurity. But most of all it's been watching daily, sometimes hourly, with bated breath my dear girl Winnie's slow but sure decline. We're getting close I fear to that eventual big goodbye and it feels like I will not survive that sadness … but of course I will survive, I know I will. I just won't want to be surviving for a time.

I also cry at beauty, love, nature, insects (especially the teeny, tiny, pin head sized  spiders  that live among my house plants), I cry at the wilted dried flower petals, the mounds of musty fall leaves, the ocean waves, the ocean's stillness, the moss, the giant flocks of geese flying overhead and honking joyously to each other all the way, lichen, the large elm across the street from us, the books beside my bed, the comfort of my pets, my home, the flannel sheets, the feelings of safety & security I have every minute of every day, the fire Doug makes each chilly evening … my life.

Tears are really about appreciation & gratitude I'm realizing with great relief. Tears are much maligned, they certainly have been in my life. Tears were always frowned upon. tears were meant to be put away. My tears sometimes  are about wonder & wondering. Wondering can I do this ? Can I bare the weight of all this love, this beauty, this ache … this life.

You will lose someone you can’t live without,and your heart will be badly broken, and the bad news is that you never completely get over the loss of your beloved. But this is also the good news. They live forever in your broken heart that doesn’t seal back up. And you come through. It’s like having a broken leg that never heals perfectly—that still hurts when the weather gets cold, but you learn to dance with the limp.

Anne Lamott

Since watching the Super Soul Sunday interview with Oprah & Anne Lamott* (mostly about her recent book which I'm currently reading - Help, Thanks, Wow: The Three Essential Prayers) - I have been soaking up & soaking in every bit of her online audio wisdom (youtube talks) with Anne - when the student is ready the teacher will appear. I'll listen to the same talks again today and the next day … and likely the day after that because she gives me such great comfort.

* I know, I know I am so very late to the Anne Lamott game, she's been on my radar for years & years, many books of hers recommended to me, especially Bird by Bird (which I've ordered from the library) but it's her conversations around faith, grace & prayer that are helping me, connecting with me now. So grateful to have found her exactly when I need her - Madam Universe (god) is at it again ;-)