present and accounted for

I don’t think much about it until relatives come from out of town.  All the little and big things about living in proximity to family become very apparent when compared to the experiences of “visiting” relatives.  (Now please, sisters, I love that you are far away because I get to live vicariously through your distance.  I’m just noting what becomes evident to me when you come to visit and I see the difference between our experiences.)

Yes, I see mom and dad weekly – more so during vacation times.  Mom loves to go out to lunch on Saturdays but she will take any excuse to leave the house and eat out.  We both don’t like to cook and having lunch together usually kills two meals out of the day; neither of us want dinner after going out and any leftovers can be reheated for our spouses.

But, the conversations are pretty similar from week to week.  I rehash my week of teaching and mom shares what “the ladies” are talking about at her quilt group on Wednesday. During the summer, I get the results of the Tuesday sailing races.  Sometimes mom can talk dad into going out too, if there aren’t going to be any extra errands afterwards. Our conversation is greatly enriched if there has been a visit from the “little girls” – who are actually getting quite tall.  If there is news from my siblings, that gets added to the mix, but that doesn’t happen much.  (Hint, hint)

Mom feels guilty because calls to Bill are answered with “what can I do for you mom?” She is often just checking in and doesn’t need anything.  But both Bill and I know “we’re on tap” if needed and anticipate those phone calls where we are needed and we are glad to be close by.  Now that Bill is moving to the island, he won’t be as accessible but I know both he and I would drop everything to help if the need arises.

So yes, we get the benefits of seeing mom and dad more often but we also have a heightened awareness of their aging and that we are the closest ones to respond.  A few weeks ago I called in the evening and got the answering machine.  That was unusual but I waited awhile and called back.  When I got the machine again, I called Bill to see if perchance mom and dad had been invited to their place for dinner. When the answer was no, both he and I were a bit worried.  So since I live a little closer and am a whole lot less encumbered by family, I drove over to see if they were all right – which of course, they were.  The phone was just not working.  That was easy.  I’m sure it will get trickier in time.

Besides mom and dad, there are other family members in my midst. I have quite a few in-laws in the area and my own children live close by.  Yes it gets complicated and relations get strained but I still feel very lucky.  When I hear my daughter speak about how much she likes being close to most of her family members I know she’s come to realize a value we passed on without even trying – family is important, proximity is a gift, stay in touch no matter what.

my heart is in the honey jar

honey can last forever
if you take care of it right

in the past week
i have spent time
or talked to
many of my most precious friends

time with them is golden
drips with sweetness

can last forever
if you take care of it
just right


The prompt for today is ambition.

I’ve been ambitiously trying to practice humility.  When I Googled “humble” and “ambition” together, I found this article.  I think this is what I’m trying to have:  “humbition.”

Here are some paragraphs from the article:

“Today’s most successful careerists see every relationship they have as a source of new information and expertise. They consciously seek out relationships that can teach them more and are very open-minded about who might fall into that category. Because they’re savvy at tapping the knowledge of an entire network, they’re the ones who move steadily, confidently forward as the world spins through ever-faster cycles of change. On a recent Social Capitalist call, Bill Taylor, author of Practically Radical and co-founder of Fast Company, gave exactly this quality a great name: Humbitious. The term originated in an IBM study that sought to identify the traits of their most high-impact employees. Turns out that ambition alone is mediocre; ambition plus intellectual humility is the winning combination. Here’s what Bill had to say. It’s about continuous learning, but it’s also about leadership:”

“”IBM did a study a few years ago trying to address the simple question of what distinguishes the technologists, engineers, and leaders at IBM who have had a really huge impact on the company from other engineers and technologists, who, while excelling, haven’t had that same kind of impact. They were looking for that type of mindset, work ethic, and approach to life that distinguished those who are really successful and have an impact from those who are less so. The word they tumbled to was humbition. Now what the heck is humbition? Humbition is made up partly of ambition: being really fired up, energized, and evaluating yourself highly in terms of the impact you might be able to have on your team, in your organization, on the world around you. And then, humbition is also having a genuine sense of intellectual humility. For me this is the big mindset. They understood that if you want to have an impact today, your job is no longer to be the smartest person in the room, and your job is not to solve every problem and identify every opportunity. Your job is to ask yourself, What does it mean to be a leader? What does it mean to be an entrepreneur? What does it mean to be an impact player in a world where nobody alone is as smart as everybody together?….””


I’m glad I checked out Write Alm’s prompt for today – it is appropriate that the prompt is prayer because my mind has been filled with prayerful thoughts today.Why today more than other days?  Because my disabled son is moving out – has finally – moved out of our house.

Corbin will be 26 in August, he has spina bifida, uses a manual wheelchair, has had both legs amputated, has occasional bowel issues and is – well – typical of a lot of young men – not very attentive to household cleanliness.  So I have a lot to pray about in this venture of moving out on his own.

I am grateful he is living with other people including one good friend.  I am grateful the house has a large living room and kitchen as a wheelchair takes up a lot of space.  I am grateful his landlord is making a few accommodations to help with his mobility in and out of his room.  I am grateful the house is on the bus line.  I am grateful his good friend knows how to cook and both of them plan on combining their EBT cards to shop for food.  I am grateful he has a good friend near us and will continue to stop by when he is visiting.  I am grateful his housemates are divvying up some of the chores in a way that supports Corbin doing the things he can do like dishes and helping him in things he can’t do like vacuuming.

But I’ve also got my list of worries.  Will he remember his hands are filthy from his wheelchair and wash before he touches doors, walls, railings, anything in the refrigerator?  Will he have help when his bowels fail him as they do on occasion especially when he’s had a beer or two or three?  Will he clean up after his beard trimmings more efficiently than he did in our house?  Will he remember not to ball up wet clothing and towels and let them sit in a laundry basket too long?  Will he keep at least one month’s rent in his savings account – or better yet – 2 months rent?  Will he remember not to tuck his phone under his wheelchair seat when he goes out with friends? (His phone is his life and he can’t afford to lose or break another one.)

And then, of course, I have the regular old mother-concerns…..He needs to finish school.  He needs a new wheelchair.  He needs to exercise just enough to keep him happy but not stress his neck and back too much.  He needs a job or consistent  volunteer work to get him out of himself.

So I pray for him and I pray for me.  May he feel and be successful in this transition and others to come.  May I stop worrying about whether he “can” do this and just celebrate that he “is.”



Pondering a Way to Go Home

poem #2 from my trip to Kalaloch, sometimes real events are great little metaphors for life, you know….


Pondering A Way to Go HomeIMG_8568

There is another way to go home,
another way to return, we know,
yet still we walk along the stream
pondering the way to cross.

We know it’s deeper than it seems;
we look for a log or other means -
to keep our feet dry and go on our way
to home on the other side.

We talk again about turning back
to the path, and the bridge, and the road,
but still we walk along the stream
pondering a way to cross.

It will be deeper than it looks,
this babbling, rippling little brook.
It will be cold on our bare feet;
the rocks will be slick underneath.

But now that path to the bridge and road
is the less inviting way to go home.
We’ve wandered a ways down this stream,
pondering a way to cross.

Finally the water widens a bit,
off come our shoes and we brace for the dip.
We roll up our pants and take a few steps,
then splash to the other side.

Yes it was deeper than it looked,
this babbling, rippling little brook.
But we both agree it was the way to go
rather than the path, and the bridge, and the road.

Brushing the sand from between our toes,
we put on our socks and shoes once more,
and walking away from the side of the stream,
we resume our short journey home.



kalaloch arun

five days on the west coast of Washington, no wifi, no internet, and absolutely amazing weather for June….
I was inspired to try the “arun” poetry form created by Girl Griot (5 lines growing from 1 syllable to 5) kind-of have to know that before you try to read it…..and it grew beyond 15 lines….

these were the images that inspired the poem:









cliff trail
to windblown
beach where driftwood
stacked like carcass bones
steps to stones
worn and warm smooth
they cascade on to
crossed by
rippling gently
to the seas churning edge
crescents of
foam sweep the tide
across sloping beach
waves flood
the base of
ancient rock stacks
sentinels facing
to mist rolling in
the sea
purly green
waves curl and churn
daylight fades to dusk



I told countless stories to my preschool students about my dog, Sasha.  They had such a hard time saying her name, though, and always referred to her as “Shasha.”  Well I will still tell stories about Sasha and she will live on as a forever-dog in my classroom but Friday was her last day with us.

So, to the dog who  wouldn’t fetch a ball or frisbees but would run for rocks and find them every time, I say “rock on, sweet pup.”



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