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Abounding Grace & The ‘F’ Word

angrywomanFor months, maybe even years I wrote about how I had observed the incredible life-affirming beauty of grace in action.

I wrote about people overcoming heart-shattering loss, adversity, and hardship with incredible grace; without fists to the sky, without making the lives of those around them miserable, without despair.

I wanted to be able to handle shit that way. I think we all do. What I have discovered is that we don’t necessarily want the practice that it takes to be graceful. In other words, it takes hardship to to learn how to navigate the rough rapids of change with some savvy and style; Without using the ‘F’ word, without letting the shit show shadow all of the other other elements of our lives that we have to be thankful for.

As I have been chronicling in my mid-life-move blog, Andsheshines, (Be sure to subscribe!!!)

I believe I’ve finally leveled up when it comes to coping. You can read about some of my experiences in the great adventure of preparing to empty-nest,  moving in with a man for the first time in two decades, and everything else that goes bump-in-the-night while those stages of life march onward. Time waits for no woman, and I’m going to ride my time like the wild woman that I am.

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Planning Ahead & Being Prepared

camp coffeeWe plan for everything. Generally speaking we plan ahead for everything that could go wrong.

You know, health insurance, emergency phone numbers programmed into our phones, an extra bottle of bourbon on the back shelf just in case.

Fortunately or unfortunately, I’ve had a life of planning ahead; planning for this, that or the other thing. Sure I’ve planned for holidays, lunches with the ladies or romantic evenings of carnal bliss, but I’ve never had the luxury of planning for something wonderful.

Until now.

And it’s a strange feeling darlings. Strange as in; Yowsa! Holy smokers! I’m so happy I could cry…

When your 40 years of living have taught you that the most wise fallback is a door that only you have the key to, and suddenly you realize that’s changed, well darlings, it can throw even the most guarded of ladies off-balance.

I’m not sure whether to issue the command to fetch mamma her bourbon or break open the champagne from the art deco chaise lounge where my psyche rests in my wee, but very ornate girl-brain.

It’s a man darlings. Yes, it’s a mere flesh and blood man who has me peeking inside a life that has suddenly cracked open, exposing all of the precious treasures of sentiment that have been so well hidden away for so very long.

I do not use the term man lightly my juicy little plums. You see, boys and guys and nicknamed personas have pranced through my life like a summer holiday parade; all dazzling spectacle and curiosity. They’re the kind of people you bring a lawn chair for, and pack up and leave when the band stops playing. no anxiety

Men don’t require you to do that. Men swing wide the doors of a woman’s heart and set up camp.  No worries, no drama, no grand, sweeping gestures. It just happens and it’s good. Just. Like. That.

So here I am with the life that I’ve always hoped for. Job – check. Kiddo responsible and ready to launch – check. Lifetime friendships – check. Man who has set up camp and has the coffee pot on while I get lost in my hair-brained writer’s mind – check.

You can plan all you want for the what-if’s, but I don’t think you can plan when it comes to matters of the heart, and that’s a good thing. A very good thing.

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Please Mr. Postman

pinterestpostmanThere are few things more precious to me than receiving a handwritten letter. It’s rare now, but the beauty of ‘slow’ is underappreciated.

I’m not talking about the notes you scrawl on sticky pads to remind your colleagues of something or other. I’m talking about real-live letters in the post.

Two of my dearest friends still bother to send letters and packages, and when they come, I set aside time to open their letters, and read them when the house is quiet and I’m finished with all of the ‘musts’ of the day.

Life is busy. I make my personal calls while I’m commuting. Tonight Siri dialed the Amazing C, and she told me that today she mailed a package to me.I now, have something to look forward to on Monday when it arrives. What better way to end a 14 hour work day than with a promise of a little hand-written happiness?

I have letters that were written to me over three decades ago; from family, friends, and pen-pals whom I’ve never met. I have every letter my ex-husband ever wrote to me.

This weekend, I had a long-lost love on my mind, and decided I’d pull out the letters he had written to me once-upon-a-time. For years I kept them in the same place, in the post-office package that he first sent to me, including the four printed photographs he’d carefully chosen.

Much like a journal, old letters can shed light on who you are, where you’ve come from, and maybe, in my case where you’ve gone wrong or right.

Love letters. Something I believe you should never throw away. Unless they’re from morons, and then by all means, have some strange burning ceremony and include their gochies if you have any hanging around your boudoir. Highly therapeutic darlings.

So this weekend I searched until I found these darn letters, and reread everyone. The question that was burning in my mind was; Did he ever say it? You know what I’m talking about, “I love you”.  I was looking for it because lately I’ve been asking myself some pretty tough questions about relationships.  I know, I know, it’s enough to ruin a girls’ complexion, but there you have it, I’ve been prancing around with much on my mind.

Now let me tell you, just the day before I had been speaking with a friend and telling them how rare it was for me to cry any  more.

Life has battered me about ruthlessly; body, soul and heart. I’ve seen humanity at it’s best and worst, and tears just don’t come anymore, and if they do, it’s often it’s in the dead of night upon waking from some breathtaking nightmare. Clearly I need more booze, followed by a lifetime membership at Psychoanalyst’s Plus.

Life lessonsSo, as it happened, I was about a page into these love letters from a tall, dark, handsome hunk of juicy mansteak, stretched out on my white duvet with the sun shining in my window  when I saw them. Those three words written in his all-capitals-block-letter-handwriting unlocked the classified secret code to my tears.

As I sobbed, and I do mean sob and sniffled and bawled, I read the rest of the letters.

The written word is so powerful, especially now when techno-language has bastardized the beauty and art of precisely chosen words.

Re-reading those letters from so many years ago was like putting on new prescription lenses. The world made more sense, was reflected more clearly, and I was aware of just how much I had let myself miss out on because of my past.

Time really does speed up as you age. Reviewing the past via written letters, can inspire longing nostalgia as well as hold a glowing torch, illuminating the future. Handwritten notes have the energy of spiritual alchemy that is missing in instant messaging and even the spoken word.

When life has been sour, it is very refreshing to read the sweet words of love and friendship.

Sweeter still is when reflection helps you understand something about your own self that you’ve been trying to figure out for a very, very, long time.

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I Believe: Christmas Miracles

"Believe in love. Believe in magic. Hell, believe in Santa Claus. Believe in others. Believe in yourself. Believe in your dreams. If you don't, who will?" ~Jon Bon Jovi~
“Believe in love. Believe in magic. Hell, believe in Santa Claus. Believe in others. Believe in yourself. Believe in your dreams. If you don’t, who will?”
~Jon Bon Jovi~

For weeks I have been waking up, and saying a little prayer to the universe before I step out of bed; Please give me the strength to get through this day and the grace to find beauty in it.

This morning I had a phone call from a friend whom I’ve lost touch with. We had a difficult conversation earlier this year which ended, badly?

I’m not sure if it ended badly, or just ended where it needed to end, so I left it alone and thought that time, like it always had, would lend some clarity

…but let there be spaces in your togetherness and let the winds of the heavens dance between you…

~Kalil Gibran~

After reaching out with a Christmas card (yes, I still send them), I had a phone call from my friend. Maybe that was a Christmas miracle? I can’t help but think so. He left a beautiful message and caught me up on the important things including his health, book, and new love in his life. I was overjoyed that perhaps the rickety bridge to our friendship was still in tact.

I’ve had a few of those calls this year, from people who have drifted from my life just due to the demands of daily life with family and career. I’m so thankful for this time of year when something more powerful than the rat-race pulls us together again.

The past two years have been difficult. This one has been difficult in a good way. Busy in a good way, and at the same time exhausting and an emotional marathon of isolation.   I’m tired of worrying about how we’ll survive the next day, and the one after that. I’m tired of being tired.

So after a day of spoiling myself and hoping that my visit to the Alex Colville exhibit,my favourite  shop, Wonderworks, and our favourite bakery, Forno Cultura, I went to bed in full surrender. My only request was that whatever happened next, ‘be gentle with me’.

This morning I woke up in the quiet of my room. I could tell that the day was going to be another grey, drizzly day, and already I was thinking ahead to the demands of the week and worrying about how I would make it all happen. “Magic,” I thought to myself and snickered a bit.

But that’s what this season is about isn’t it? Magic.  We’re almost smack-dab in the middle of the darkest days of the year. All of the seeds we have planted are working furiously to take root and get ready to blossom, making beauty appear like magic from the fallow darkness.

Mystery. Magic. The magic of Christmas. A Christmas miracle. Hmmm?

So my daily prayer to the universe changed this morning; Please give me the strength to get through the day and the grace to find beauty in it. Please send me a Christmas miracle…

…and then for good measure I added, “…that I can recognize and am not afraid to accept.”

I rolled out from under my fluffy white duvet and let my feet hit the floor.

Any time now universe, any time…



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I’ll Procrastinate Tomorrow

~ 5 Minute Read~

procrastinationOnce upon a time, in a magazine article far, far, away, I read about the benefits of procrastination.

If I recall correctly, the gist of the article was about procrastination being a psychological defense mechanism mothering us to accept inevitable change.


That’s what makes procrastination so easy to do. Procrastination slows down time so that we can adjust to what will change when we finally take action.

The thing is, I’ve never been much of a procrastinator. Nope. I jump right into things with two feet, head first, and with great abandon. My attitude is that you don’t know if you don’t try.

As I’ve aged I’ve been able to balance an all-or-nothing attitude with a wait-and-see-attitude. Sometimes I find balance, and sometimes I revert back to my habitual patterns; all in, or nothing at all.

Currently  I’m procrastinating about tidying up some editing of my novel. I’m not avoiding the writing, because I know how good it will feel to sweep the changes together and get on with my other book.

The reason I’m avoiding the emails and edits is because my editor died very suddenly last month.  I’m avoiding reading the last of his insight and encouraging words. I’m putting off the last words.  I’m putting off wondering if he said something I wished I would have asked one, last question about.

I’m putting off the reality of not being able to sit with him in the gallery lounge, sun streaming through the antique, glass windows that distort the world outside. I’m putting off getting on in a world missing a great, creative, soul whom I idealized as living a truly authentic life.

When I want to do something, whether it’s sending a text, picking up the phone, or, in this case, opening a series of emails I should have opened months ago, I know I need to ask myself why.  I know I need to give myself the respect to be honest with myself about the answer.

I wish  you the courage to be still and silent in your moments of procrastination so that you can hear that tiny whisper of your soul telling you the truth about what you need to do.

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I Wanna Be There

iwannabethere“I wanna be there….”, a phrase that always causes me to hum Tin Cup Chalice by Jimmy Buffett.

When I saw this picture, that’s what came into my mind. “I wanna be there…”

My mumster once said something about our spirits being out there and our bodies waiting to catch up. I’ve felt that way in work, and in relationships, and every time I feel that way, I know it’s time to move on.

I’m feeling that way right now about home.

Maybe it’s just this time of year, maybe it’s recently having had someone deeply disappoint me, maybe it’s simply time to move.

I wanna be there, at the foot of the dock, with nothing and no one around. I want my heart to have silence when it whispers its deepest desires to me. I want to hear what it says and let the echo of it reverberate in my bones.

After that, I want a plan!  A doable, achievable goal, with my eye on a future that I craft for myself.

Often it’s in the midst of the fast pace of life that we most need to slow down, assess where we’ve come from and where we really want to go, who we want to take along with us, and who we need to leave behind.

The wonderful thing about being single is that there are no romantic heart-strings to untie, and those we love and who care for us will ‘be there’ wherever we go. I wanna be there, but wherever it is, I just don’t know… yet.