Wednesday, December 28

Bring Me Safely to Shore

The ancient lover in me
will forever cry out
for the ancient lover in you

I can no more silence it
than hungry rocks
silence the foghorn

Let my lament be the mariner's
guiding star
in the dark of night

Oh ancient lover,
bring me safely to shore
for it is cold and I am trembling

Monday, December 26

In A Simple Brown Box

purple gloves made of soft suede
a squeaky toy for Mocha
an electric blanket to keep me warm on cold winter nights
a bag of Hershey Kisses wrapped in red, green and silver foil
2 tins of date bars
and a glittery card, hand picked and signed by my parents containing funds for the purchase of a new digital camera

As I pulled gift after gift from the box, I began to cry, overwhelmed by their generosity and by what each present represented....warmth, play, nostalgia and a confession found in the words of a greeting card....

A daughter is the person
who is most like yourself
and at the same time
can be someone you hardly recognize

So much has changed in my life over the past few years, there are times when I hardly recognize myself. Change has happened and is continuing in this place called Penuel Ridge.

What Good Is It Otherwise?

This quote came across my desk one other time and it's as salient today as it was then:

What power has love but forgiveness?

In other words by its intervention what has been done can be undone. What good is it otherwise?

William Carlos Williams, "Pictures from Brueghel", 1962

Saturday, December 24

Fröhliches Weihnachten meine Liebe

Wenn Sie nur gewusst haben, wie viel, das ich Sie verpassen.

Friday, December 23

A Force Felt Throughout

Our morning hike usually includes a walk around the lake. It is metaphorically the womb of Penuel Ridge. Mocha knows the trail well and usually runs ahead of me, stopping occasionally to look back to make sure I'm still there.

This morning, as I stepped off of the trail and walked across the dam, I noticed her at the water's edge, looking quite puzzled. As my eyes took in the scene, I realized her dilemma...the entire surface of the lake had frozen over during the night.

We stood for a long time, gazing out over the blanket holding the lake captive, studying the ice patterns and marveling at how a leaf could somehow fall and freeze in place vertically as it touched the if someone had hit Mother Nature's pause button.

A profound silence permeated the if the ice magnified the quiet stillness of a spring fed lake in bondage. I tapped the toe of my boot on the ice and the entire lake made a sound...a splintering, grinding, groaning noise that made me jump!

It's supposed to warm up today, so I imagine by tomorrow morning, the lake will again be unbound. It's no matter...for now I understand that even the soft beating of a dragonfly's wings in summer is a force felt throughout.

Thursday, December 22

Santa's Lap

I look forward to the 4th Thursday of every month...that's when we open the Retreat Center to homeless men and women to spend the day at Penuel Ridge. There are some organized activities, but they have free reign to do whatever they want. Some curl up under warm blankets and sleep all day, some walk the trails, some sit in the Dayspring room drinking coffee and sitting by the fire. We cook a sumptuous meal (which they devour) served around a common table. Conversation is loud and funny and tragic...all at once.

Being a Southern woman, I love to hug people and I love to be hugged, so they get extra servings from me because, well...when was the last time you stopped and hugged a homeless person? They must all be in the Christmas spirit because in addition to hugs, today I kept getting invitations to sit on their laps. If I thought any of these guys had the power to grant my Christmas wish, I'd hop on in a second, but I have my doubts.

Wednesday, December 21


Rather than blah, blah, blah about the things I'm non-plussed about, here's a list. Some of them may be on your list too:

1. blue nailbeds
2. vanishing boobs
3. boobs who won't vanish (W, Dick, Karl, know who you are)
4. writer's block
5. dependence on medication
6. car maintenance
7. no transporter (of the Star Trek variety)
8. winter intruding on stargazing
9. mean people
10. memories burned in my brain
11. Happy Holidays/Merry Christmas debate

That's enough for now.

Tuesday, December 20

Not Bo Derek

It was 10 degrees when I woke up this morning! 10 degrees...are you kidding me? I peak out my bedroom window at the thermometer in disbelief...walk over to the nightstand to retrieve my glasses...look out again and it's still 10 degrees.

You will find me parked by the fireplace today...knit cap on my cup clasped between trembling fingers. This Texas girl is not equipped...not equipped at all.

Sunday, December 18

Falling Leaves

More looking up

and asking why

it has to be

that surrendering

is viewed by man as


when nature shows us

how to do it with grace

every season.

Friday, December 16

Too Close to Nashville

Living this close to Nashville there's a country western song gestating inside me. I tried to fight it, but it's just got to see the light of day. It's not finished yet, but it goes something like this:

There's not enough beer
to drink your memory away
Not enough time
for your touch to fade

There are too many stars
speakin' your name
Too many songs
sayin' what we couldn't say

I'm thinking George Strait needs to sing this one. It needs a lot of drawl and twang to make it work. Stay tuned, I have two beers in the refrigerator and the rest of it might get written tonight.

Happy Holidays from Hockley

This is my Uncle Arthur Roy's (a.k.a. "Butch") family...hey, do I get one of those matching sweaters?

Wednesday, December 14

More Words

Some phrases that have caught my attention recently:

"You have a freak just don't fly it."

"What would you do for love this Christmas?"

"Hold yourself as gently as you would a fine piece of crystal."


from the 1972 album There was Love (The Divorce Songs), music & lyrics by Harry Nillson (can also be sung in the past tense quite effectively)

You're breakin' my heart,
You're tearin' it apart
so fuck you...

Tuesday, December 13

Dangerous Liaison

You may have washed away the top soil
but you will not erode my foundation.
Exposed roots say, "Look at me." "LOOK at me." "LOOK AT ME!"
Do you see a single trace of your swordplay?
(I didn't think so)
My taproot, anchored deep in the Mother's womb,
sings a song of jubilation
as it rises...rises...rises like Spindletop.
You may have washed away the top soil
but you will not erode my foundation.
(Nice try though)

Monday, December 12

Truth #1

I lost sight of my personal achieve grace on a daily basis.

Topsy-Turvy World

My hope was to capture the spider in the act of paralyzing his/her prey but realize now that it's a study in which way is up. See if you can figure it out. I'll give you a was an overcast day.

Saturday, December 10

Mystic in a Brown Dog Suit

My constant companion along life's journey, I am in awe of her gifts of unconditional love, humor, innate sense of what's right and wrong, knowing what she wants and asking for it, her patient watchfulness.

Thank you Mocha for showing me the way up the steep hill and cheering me on as I put one foot in front of the other.

Blue Lines Banished!

Fiddling around the computer, I found a piece of photo software that can successfuully remove the blue lines from my digital photos. HOW COOL IS THAT? It takes time and a steady hand, but soon my photos will be unmarred. Technology is a wonderful thing.

Friday, December 9

Thursday, December 8

Where is Fido?

Blue house for Blue Dog?

Takes My Breath Away

Resting under a pine tree after a long hike, the shrill call of a hawk beckoned my gaze skyward. Brilliant blue sky butting against fall foliage, butting against deep evergreen, butting against straw colored grasses, anchored to the ground by shadows...

Wednesday, December 7

Frosty Feet

A light frost clung to the railing on this early fall morning. As I sat drinking coffee from a safe distance, all variety of birds were anxiously awaiting their turn at the feeders. These footprints were left by a morning dove.

Fall Photo

This is one of the last photos I took before my HP Digital Camera gave up the ghost permanently. Enjoy...I only wish it could capture the entire spectrum of color my eyes saw on the morning hike in early November.

Tuesday, December 6

Lassen Sie sie gehen

If you butt your head against a stone wall long enough

at some point you realize the wall is stone
and your head is flesh and blood
Lassen Sie sie gehen

Monday, December 5

"Tis the Season

I spent all day Saturday in retreat, immersed in the life and words of Emily Dickinson. The leader did an amazing job of taking us through what is known of her life, how she claimed her pain, transformed it into poetry and ultimately claimed herself.

Sitting in the lap of my own pain, I questioned the wisdom (or lack thereof) of the day spent. The emotional hangover the next day matched the weather...gray, bitter and seizing. I crawled into the sanctuary of my bed, the escape of an afternoon nap. Sleep was interrupted as I woke to the voice of my inner lecturer, scolding my self-indulgence.

I rose and went to the closet, pulled out two boxes and began the annual ritual of decorating for Christmas. Somehow, the reveal of each ornament unwrapped, the warmth of each candle lit, the viewing of my favorite Christmas movies ("Holiday Inn" and "the Snowman") brought me out of my stupor and back to the center of myself.

Friday, December 2


I drink a lot of ice water. The best part is the ice. I'm one of those annoying people who crunches their ice...eats every cube and then drinks the water. This goes on all day long...since I'm alone most of the time, it isn't annoying to me, so there's no problem.

Now winter is here and did I mention it's cold? I'm cold all of the time...can't get warm. The heat is set at a reasonable temperature, which means the unit runs most of the time, which means the air is very dry, which means I'm thirsty all the time. Drinking ice water is no longer an option for two reasons....I'm trying to kick the ice-chewing habit and it makes me even colder. So now what do I do? I don't want to drink coffee, hot tea or sodas all day, tap water is yucky and juice...well, too much natural sugar. So what's a girl to do?

I know...martinis!

p.s. Does the spelling of dilemma look wrong to anyone else? I always thought is was mn, not mm, but Merriam Webster say no, no, it's mm. Hmmmmm

Thursday, December 1

Slipped a Cog

Watching the news tonight, I realized that although my inner calendar says it's Wednesday, it is actually Thursday. Somehow, I've lost a day this week. How did this happen? I've been productive, there's evidence of this in the office. Has the cold weather frozen my brain, my sense of time, have I finally slipped a cog?

World AIDS Day

Every day is World AIDS day to me.
Every day I wear a red ribbon.
Every day, I'm mindful of the men and women in my life who struggle with a cunning disease.
Every day, I think of how large my family, my circle of friends, my community would be if so many had not already died of complications from AIDS.
Every day, I think of those who choose between quality of life and quantity of life.
Every day, I remember what it is like to have to fight for funding, medications, compassion and dignity for People Living with HIV/AIDS.
Every day, I am grateful to have worked and volunteered side-by-side with monumental people of spirit and grace at Omega House.
Every day, I envision a cure, a vaccine, a day when we can erase HIV/AIDS from our consciousness.
Every day is World AIDS Day to me.