36 by 36...

  1. deliver a healthy baby
  2. dance with david
  3. start painting again
  4. swim in the ocean
  5. pass the LCSW exam
  6. take a writing workshop
  7. revisit the houston museums
  8. stop cursing
  9. dye my hair red
  10. praise my body
  11. buy fruit from a roadside stand
  12. speak in public
  13. plant a tree for baby
  14. run a 5K
  15. submit an article for publication
  16. attend a play or musical
  17. complete my conversion to judaism
  18. go to a waterfall
  19. finish my audio course on writing
  20. gather stories from my grandmothers
  21. dream bigger
  22. take an encaustic class
  23. bake an apple pie
  24. read 12 books
  25. wear flowers in my hair
  26. have a picnic
  27. complete random acts of kindness
  28. eat a passionfruit
  29. marry my husband
  30. blow bubbles
  31. plant a garden
  32. color outside the lines
  33. write 3 chapters of book
  34. go fishing
  35. ride a waterslide
  36. read something inspirational every day

today i am 35

Here is last year's 35 by 35 list...let's see how I fared:
  1. go to blanco tx - antiques
  2. participate in ARToberFEST
  3. make s'mores at the beach  {it was actually at a bonfire, not on the beach}
  4. take salsa lessons again with d
  5. go to the drive-in in ennis
  6. write 5 chapters of my memoir
  7. finish my death/dying course
  8. bake x-mas cookies with mom/geg
  9. read one book a month {minimum}
  10. do a triathlon with my sister
  11. fly a kite
  12. go to dewberry farm
  13. make tamales with my mother-in-law
  14. spend the weekend in wimberley
  15. go to schlitterbahn
  16. celebrate my 3rd anniversary of being smoke-free
  17. get my bike fixed
  18. submit an article for publication
  19. find a local Nia class
  20. make my {famous} tiramisu
  21. attend a book reading
  22. create a lovely outdoor space
  23. sustain my writers group
  24. watch my dreads start to grow again
  25. catch a fish on my father-in-law's boat
  26. learn everything i can about hospice social work {this is neverending}
  27. go to the rainforest at moody gardens
  28. buy a new lens for my camera
  29. create a CEU presentation
  30. go to an outdoor concert  {this is happening next month!}
  31. take a romantic getaway with d
  32. recycle more
  33. get a pedicure
  34. go to new mexico in the RV
  35. be brave.  {if getting pregnant isn't brave, i don't know what is...}



this book is intoxicating. it is everything i have been, i am, and long to be. it is as if i can smell the watermelon as they slurp the juices in the backyard. can feel the warmth of the july night where the fireflies skitter across the sky. i want to sit cross-legged on the carpet with my own sweet child in my lap, annoyed at her clinginess, and then roar like lions the following morning. i want to hold my own book in my hands--live the writer's life--hire a babysitter to allow me precious hours to create. i want back to my own writing, the ability to pick at random an entry into my heart--to see who i was then, to feel her pain and triumph. we pour ourselves into the pages, onto the screen, we open our hearts for others to see the blood pulsing through arteries. it is messy, visceral, it is this primitive urge to feel ourselves in another, to join this tribe: of women, of authors, of mothers, of humankind.

i am lonely in my creative abyss. i feel isolated from my words, the ink, the flattened pinkie after an hour of hungry scribbles. i want to be she of kripalu, in the flowing green dress, she who writes before she thinks. she who is brave in print, whose tears stain the pages and allow new life to slowly fill the receding pool. my belly now swells with new life--different now, not light and love needed to save me, but a different breed. this light radiates outward, it is the pride of the momma lion, the radiance of the queen bee. it is knowing i am creating something beyond art, beyond my own hand. this is fueled by a power deeper than that which i am blessed. the love bubbles up, i feel it as a flash--a knowing wink, a passionate glance--it is shy, but unmistakable.

and in that moment: i am alive.

this post was written after an hour {or more} of devouring the book "Great With Child" by Beth Ann Fennelly. it is soul food for my fragile soul.


still grateful...after all these years

i started a gratitude journal about 7 years ago, while attending the murder trial for my little sister and brother-in-law. i was trapped in a hotel room in macon, georgia for over 3 weeks and somehow ~ miraculously ~ i was able to find 5 things to be thankful for.  on days i struggle to find even one...i force myself to continue this exercise. the entries are all captured in the same little notebook i started in 2005, each year seems to increase in number of entries. on a day that started out in the yucks, i'd like to share a few things i've shown gratitude for:

  • compassionate strangers
  • finishing a book
  • walking in the sand
  • laughter
  • creative outlets
  • my family
  • good hair days
  • the back porch
  • my legs {to run}
  • hummus
  • clean laundry
  • talking to mom
  • learning
  • falling in love
  • the opportunity to grow
  • mechanical pencils
  • fresh air
  • forehead kisses
  • a full belly
  • evening strolls
  • teamwork
  • meatloaf
  • hope


dreadlock update

i haven't written about my dreadlocks in a looooong time, so here's the latest. i just celebrated my one-year dreadversary and as a gift to myself i went to the loc doctor in austin, tx for some much-needed maintenance. the above photo was taken just after my appointment {see me smiling?}  if you'd like a full timeline over the course of the year, you can check out my post on Dreadlock Truth or all of my youtube videos here. believe me, it wasn't all gumdrops and cotton candy.

i have learned so much about myself, about commitment to a dream, perseverance, and the glory of a good scarf. i can hardly believe how many strangers have reached out to me as a result of my hair, and all of the new friends i've made in my various online communities. as silly as it may seem, this year of compassion toward myself and the courage to keep going, despite looking like a fraggle half the year, has been transformational. i have challenged traditional beauty norms and redefined my own definition as a result.


the trailer hood

it was too nice to stay inside tonight, so i took a little stroll around my neighborhood.
enjoy your tour of the sweetest little RV park in texas!



i think of ballet slippers, watermelon, my collection of pigs…all memories from my childhood. i associate pink with little girls, not grown-up independent women—and certainly not the one i've become. i never associated myself with pink dresses or tutus, these things reserved for my sister jamie or newborn babies brought home from the hospital. PINK IS FOR GIRLS.  and i am a proud tomboy. my color would more likely be green for the hills i'd roll down, into the dirt of the baseball diamond at hines school. or the brown of the tree trunks i'd shinny in 3rd grade.

sure, there were ballet slippers and tutus for a time—but these are not the antiques i pull from the old trunk of my memory. these are someone else's childhood. mine is blue, the aqua of the pool where i spent mornings perfecting my 25 yard butterfly, the sky which cradled my kite as i dodged to avoid the trees overhead. denim overalls and blueberry muffins taken on road trips to nearby towns for yet another swim meet.

i think now of babies—of the little girl we see in our dreams. i think of feminism and gender roles and tiny pink booties sure to arrive gift-wrapped with bows. will she be pink, like the aunt jamie she will know only from photographs? or will she be fire-engine red like her mother's wedding shoes, the flaming orange of her daddy's artwork adorning the walls? how will she find her own color—and avoid being bound by that which society assigns her?

i come back to the image of watermelon, huge slices hacked off and handed to small fingers. to be eaten barefoot in the grass, juice streaming down elbows, seeds spit into flower beds. these are the pinks of my memories, of childhoods spent outside where children are meant to play. all of these thoughts converge as we spend afternoons contemplating the future of this life not yet created. how my childhood will influence hers, how i want for her the safety and love and energy of my own. and i wonder...can this place exist in the world i now inhabit?


make a wish


awaken the artist

i forget the sheer pleasure of viewing the world through my photographer's eyes ~ how every splash of color ignites excitement, how juxtapositions of shape and design bring my surroundings into the realm of art. the ability to transform what i see in nature into the crisp reflection on the screen days later. and how an image can rejuvenate my tired soul ~ bring me back to the path: the warm breeze, the sound of children laughing and puppies barking hello across the park. the power of an image to awaken my writing after months of hibernation; how so much emotion can erupt from one click of the shutter.

i am still in awe of my love for the camera ~ the ability to capture a moment in time, preserved as if trapped inside a bubble, floating freely into the universe. as with any piece of art, each will see something new inside the bubble ~ the emotions which arise as individual as the eyes which view it. and it is my hope, that with each small creative step i take, others will be inspired to view their surroundings with an artist's eye. to find beauty in the mundane: that ray of light escaping the cloud becomes cause for delight, to celebrate the vibrancy of every day.



i see this image and think of the ways we leave an imprint on those around us. how those we have loved leave a mark on our hearts, how we in turn snuggle our way into theirs. i have been thinking a lot lately about the impact i have on my patients and the families with whom i may only meet once or twice. and i reflect on the indelible marks they have left on my soul. 

i have been missing my jamie-girl lately and dedicate this post to her…to the innumerable ways she impacted my life, in the 24 years she was a part of mine.