More Poetry

Though I am no longer writing a poem a day, now that Lent is over, I am still writing them at least weekly. I have been reading a lot of poetry, too. Some of the poets I have recently discovered are Amanda Lovelace, Melody Godfred, Tania Runyan, Caroline Kaufman, and Lightsey Darst. I find poetry inspiring, and beautiful, and an important part of my spirituality.


“Peace be with you,”

Jesus says, when

He appears to his disciples

after the Resurrection.

Different than the angels’

“do not fear,”

yet the same message.

Jesus also says more

in that simple phrase.

It is a blessing,

a hope as he sends them

to continue the ministry

of love,  forgiveness, and acceptance

in a world with little peace. 


The hopeful buds pop,

feeling the sun’s warmth.

Don’t! I tell them;

I want to protect them

from the returning chill.

Don’t be so fast! Wait!

I need to listen

to my own advice.


I want to propel forward,

in my time and my way.

Don’t be so fast! Wait!



A caterpillar

becoming a

Beautiful butterfly

means it has

to stop being

a caterpillar.

It gives up

all it knows,

the way it lives,

without knowing

what it will be like

to transform.

Does the chrysalis

feel like death?

Does the fat

stored make it

feel so very


Does it know it will be

Reborn in beauty?

Or is it just so

tired it needs

to create a cocoon in which

to hide and rest?

What happens inside the chrysalis?

Is the caterpillar

aware or

blissfully asleep?

What must it feel like before it emerges?


Like it has outgrown

its pod?

Does it desire

to break out

or is it afraid?

Is shedding the cocoon painful?

I have given

up my old ways

built a safe cocoon

for transformation.

How long do I need

to stay in this phase?

How do I know when

and how to emerge?

What will I be?

So far the growth process has been

painful, helpful,



Possibility also brings anxiety.

Have I let go of

all I must?

Am I ready to

embrace the



is a process.



I am ready for spring

but winter hangs on.

The trees are budding

but the north wind howls.

I am ready for spring,

but winter hangs on.

I am ready to see

the new emerge.

I am anxious to find

out what is next.

But that shoot is not ready to break

through the cold, hard ground.

I think I am ready for spring

but I still need winter’s hidden growth.

In winter, trees look

bare and dead, but

so much is happening

to prepare for spring.

I am ready for Spring

but winter hangs on.



Back and forth

Forth and back

Should I?

Shouldn’t I?

If I do A…

If I do B…

What do I want?

I can’t make

everyone happy

so I should

do what I want.

Back and forth

Forth and back


is exhausting. 



The wind lifts the kite

and it soars in the blue sky

while being tethered

to the ground.

I want to soar,

but I also need

to feel grounded.

Too much freedom

is scary.

Knowing I have

a place to return

is reassuring.


To my body:

To love and cherish

To have and to hold

In sickness and in health

I will take care of you.


Bumblebees buzz

From flower to flower

Gathering nectar nourishment

Pollinating plants.


This year my daily Lenten discipline was writing a poem. Some days they came easily. Other times, I struggled. I tried to be open to the Spirit, rather than forcing a topic.

In college, I minored in English, and most of my classes were in creative writing. I wrote a lot of poetry and short stories. Since then, I have neglected writing both. I am still editing, but I thought I would share a few of them with you.

I hope you had a Happy Easter! And I hope the joy of Easter remains in your hearts.



Gray                                    to the right

Snow swirls                        spins around

Dances                                piles on piles

To the left                          drifts on drifts

To the right                        then

Spins around                     it stops.

Lands                                   Clouds roll on.

Wind gusts                         Sun shines

Snow blows                       Snow glitters


To the left


You like my false self     

The mask of sanity,

perfection, professionalism;

the idealized self

I want to be but am not.

I am a blob of anxiety,

Self- doubt and self-hatred,

Pile of broken shards,

Bits of me fragmented

by pain of pretending.

When I show you me –

the real mess –

You recoil;

refuse to believe,


You insist on

speaking to the false self,

as if

the curtain hadn’t



The Inner Critic                    

She is  cruel, vigilant,

careful, ready,

fearful, frightened,

Protective, controlling.                                              

She will hurt me                                             

before you ever could.                                 


What are you afraid of?

What is deep down within

That you don’t want to face?

What is right in front of you

That you ignore?

What are you afraid of?

What truth longs to be set free?

What chain needs unlocked?

What are you afraid of?

The you inside that is

Choking, desperate for air

Can you let that you

Come to the surface and breathe?

What are you afraid of?


My relationship

With church



Worship fills my soul;

People hurt my spirit.

I miss it,

I don’t miss it.

It is where

I feel most

loved, judged




My relationship

With God




Do you want to know a secret?

I have lots of thoughts and feelings

that I don’t share.

My interior life is full, but,

I’m too busy taking care of you.

Few notice that I have lots to say

that I keep inside.

Listening is my greatest skill

but sometimes I forget to speak.


Anxiety is energy

Restless, spinning

I feel like I could

Run a marathon

If I weren’t stuck.

Depression is exhaustion

body feels heavy

even lifting a finger

requires too much energy

so I don’t. 


Sometimes I forget

To breathe.

I don’t notice that I’m

Holding my breath

Depriving my body

Of fresh air

That’s necessary, not optional.

Other times  I take

Long, deep breaths


And calm myself

Shallow, deep

Air is required.


Jesus says

“Do not let your hearts be troubled.”

But my heart is troubled.

Was there another meaning

In Aramaic

That we lost?

Because it seems like often

Jesus wants to trouble our hearts.


I am learning

Who I am

What I like

What I can’t stand.

I am learning

To say no

Check in with my body

And pause and go slow.

I am learning

 That these shifts

Make me different

And they are gifts.

I am learning

 I don’t have to be

What you want

Instead of me.

I am learning

To be still and rest

Instead of so busy

That I can’t be my best.

I am learning

To love me too

It Is hard work

So much b.s. to undo. 


Performing for fun



Performing for life



Both are roles, but one you take off.


Too much adulting








Life After Cancer

Every twinge, ache

pain, symptom

makes me wonder

is it back?

Same or different?

Appointments, tests,



Until next time,

Rinse and repeat



I want to be profound

State a truth

In a way that you feel it.

But today I feel shallow.


Holy Week

Palms and parades

Holy Week begins

On a high note –

Hosanna in the Highest!

Blessed is the One

Who comes in the name of the Lord!

As the week progresses,

Mood shifts

Disloyalty, disobedience, denials.

Pain, torture, humiliation

Strength, bravery, endurance.

Some skip from the palms to the lilies.

They are missing out.


A Haiku for Holy Saturday

Holy Saturday

Take a moment to just be.

Sorrow and Stillness.

2022 in Books

Inspired by my high school friend, I decided to look at the books I read this year, and thought I would share some highlights. I highly recommend her blog too, but here is her post about her books She shares recommendations on books, beauty, and a host of Memphis pride. I have added some of her books to my reading list for 2023.

According to my Goodreads, I read 44 books this year. That is more than last year, and I definitely listened to some of them. I will put the “must reads” at the top and the ones I didn’t love as much at the bottom of each category. I’ll share a tiny bit about each, and I will let you know if I listened to them instead of reading.


Midnight Library by Matt Haig. Best book I read this year, hands down. I am still thinking about it, months later, and want to reread it.

The Arc of a Scythe series by Neil Shusterman. I listened to The Scythe, The Thunderhead, and The Toll, read by Greg Tremblay. I have just downloaded Gleanings on Audible. Science fiction isn’t always my jam, but these young adult novels take place in the future, where humans no longer die of natural causes. Instead, scythes must end lives. We learn how scythes are chosen and taught. Fascinating ethical questions are raised by this series.

I listened to several books by Elizabeth Strout: Olive Again, My Name is Lucy Barton, Anything is Possible, and Oh William! The last 3 are in the same series. All of them are narrated by Kimberly Farr, and I enjoyed her voice.

I have been a fan of PJ Tracy’s Monkeewrench series, and I read Ice Cold Heart, the 10th in the series. They are a mother-daughter duo, but now the mother has passed away. I also read Return of the Magi. This was a short book -only 170 pages. I was intrigued by this short novel of a different genre. It was a great December read.

The Wings of Fire series by Tui T. Sutherland. My youngest daughter got me addicted to these middle grade fantasy books. I have finished the entire series now, and they were fun and a hit among her friends. I know boys and girls who have enjoyed this series!

The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie. This is the first of her Hercule Poirot novels, and also her first published novel. I felt that I had been missing out by never reading her. It was a quick read, and fun.

The Hypnotist’s Love Story and What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarity. I will read anything she writes!

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman. Eleanor is eccentric, but it is a beautiful story about the need for human connection.

Big Summer by Jennifer Weiner. Fun summer chick lit. I like Weiner and have read several of her books.

The Excellent Lombards by Jane Hamilton Told from a child’s perspective, the story of an apple orchard, family dynamics, and changes that they endure together.

The Supermodel’s Best Friend by Gretchen Galway. Fun chick lit, took no brain power, predictable, but sometimes that is a nice escape.

All Things Bright and Beautiful by Amber Belldene. This is the 2nd in the Reverend Alma Lee mysteries. I enjoy reading about a clergywoman written by a clergywoman.

Angry Housewives Eating BonBons by Lorna Landvik. Landvik is a Minnesota author whose books I have enjoyed. This one is about a group of housewives who are neighbors. It chronicles their friendship over time, beginning in the 1950s. Their book club picks are listed at the beginning of the chapter. I enjoyed a historical look at life in Minneapolis.

The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski. This book had been on my “to read” list for awhile. Though it is long, and a lot about training dogs, it kept me interested. I did enjoy the fact that it took place in northwest WI.

Virgil Wander by Leif Enger. Leif is a Minnesota author. I didn’t love this book as much as Peace Like a River, but it had interesting characters.

Burying the Lede by Joseph LeValley. I read this because the author’s daughter is co-host of one my favorite podcasts, Dieowa. This mystery also takes place in Iowa, and is the first in the series about journalist Tony Harrington. I will definitely read more.

Louder than Words by Kathy Kacer. This is another middle grade story about a Jewish family in a small Ukrainian town during WWII. I felt that if my young reader was going to read about a challenging topic, I should read it, in case she wanted to discuss it. This is the 3rd in a series, which we didn’t realize.


Set Boundaries, Find Peace: A Guide to Reclaiming Yourself by Nedra Glover Tawwab I commend this book to you! And if you are on Instagram, I recommend you follow her. Her no nonsense plain explanations make boundaries feel doable. She has a new book, Drama Free, that is on my list.

Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer. I listened to this, and it was beautiful. She uses her training as a botanist with her indigenous learning. It made me think about plants differently.

The Highly Sensitive Person: How to Thrive When the World Overwhelms You by Elaine N. Aron. My therapist had me read this book, and I was not surprised to learn that some of my quirks come from being a HSP. A friend loaned me the one about children, but I am still in chapter one. You can see if this book applies to you at After that, I read The Gifted Highly Sensitive Introvert: Widsom for Emotional Healing and Expressing Your Radiant Authentic Self by Benita A Esposito. It was interesting to hear her story, but it was more memoir than self-help.

The Way of Integrity: Finding the Path to Your True Self and Finding Your Own North Star: Claiming the Life You Were Meant to Live by Martha Beck. Both of these books had exercises that I found helpful as I try to discern what is next for me.

Discovering the Inner Mother by Bethany Webster. I also follow her on IG. I liked how she discusses mothering ourselves not only personally, but also some of the cultural implications of the patriarchy that cause a mother wound. This is a book about claiming self-love rather than blaming. “Revealing how women are affected by the Mother Wound, even if they don’t personally identify as survivors, Discovering the Inner Mother revolutionizes how we view mother-daughter relationships and gives us the inspiration and guidance we need to improve our lives and ultimately create a more equitable society for all.”

The New Codependency: Help and Guidance for Today’s Generation by Melody Beattie. I knew I needed to revisit codependency, but I didn’t want to read Codependent No More for like the tenth time. I appreciated how she shares some of her personal story in this book, the stories of others, assessments, and the analysis of certain codependent behaviors.

Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art by James Nestor. The author narrates this book, and I have listened to several of the parts multiple times. My primary care physician pointed out to me that I hold my breath often, unconsciously. This was a fascinating study in breath, and how essential breath work is.

The Places that Scare You: A Guide to Fearlessness in Difficult Times by Pema Chodron. One of my friends recommended Pema Chodron, and then we both ended up reading this book at the same time. Helpful. Pema is an American Buddhist nun.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot. This is an involved study of how one woman’s cells changed our medical history. Sadly, it is also about her family and how little they knew of what was happening.

H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald. Clearly I did not read the description before buying, because I thought it was fiction. I did not love all the description of falconry, but the story of grief came at a good time for me.

Furiously Happy: A Funny Book about Horrible Things by Jenny Lawson. This is one I listened to, and it is read by the author. I thought the beginning was funny, but then it kind of got annoying.

Thanks for reading! What books do you recommend I add to my list for 2023?

Where Are You Christmas?

In 2000, there was a live action remake of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.” Honestly, I prefer the original cartoon or the remake in 2018. The best part of that 2000 film, in my opinion, was the hit “Where Are You Christmas?” You can read about the origin of the song at The video below plays the whole song, and I am only including a few lyrics.

Where are you Christmas
Why can’t I find you
Why have you gone away
Where is the laughter
You used to bring me
Why can’t I hear music play

My world is changing
I’m rearranging
Does that mean Christmas changes too

I have been in a season of growing and changing. Hopefully, we are all growing and learning all the time and not staying stagnant. However, with change comes some grief and challenges. While I am thankful I am not the same as I was a year ago, there is also a releasing that is necessary. For example, I am no longer saying “yes” to everything. In fact, I am trying to be more intentional about saying “no.” No, I don’t want to leave my house past sundown. No, I don’t want to shop. No, I don’t feel good about giving gifts to all those on my list who truthfully have too much, when there are so many in need of basics. No, I don’t want to participate in Christmas/seasonal activities that we have in years past. No, I am not planning to go to church on Christmas Day. No, I will not work during Advent/Christmas this year. Saying no feels good and is right, but it means I am having to give up on all those things I used to say yes to doing during the holidays.

My girls are older. Their Christmas expectations have changed. They had trouble coming up with anything for Christmas lists. While I am thankful their wish lists are short, I am also aware that they are very spoiled and have more than they need. I am too. What I need can’t be purchased.

I find myself asking Where are you Christmas? Where is my joyful spirit? Where is the fun in finding gifts that I used to have? When did it become a chore? (Full disclosure: Gift giving has never been my gift.) Why didn’t I want to decorate this year? Why did I choose to keep some ornaments in their boxes? Why does my teen have to lecture me on why watching all my favorite Christmas specials annually is “excessive?” Where is the desire to make plans? Where is my desire to attend worship?

Christmas is here
Everywhere, oh
Christmas is here
If you care, oh

If there is love in your heart and your mind
You will feel like Christmas all the time

Maybe I have been too busy searching for all the external parts of Christmas. Maybe the transformation I have made has changed Christmas, and maybe that is not a bad thing. Maybe we celebrate Christmas differently this year, and that is ok. We have certainly had one-off Christmases in the past. Every year has not been a duplicate, based on if we have any family here or not. Then there was the chemo Christmas, where I made it through Christmas morning before the steroids wore off, and I had to go back to bed. That’s not a Christmas I prefer to repeat! Nor was the Christmas I had the flu.

While I may not feel the joy of Christmas yet, I will focus instead on the love. I love everyone on my Christmas list, and giving gifts is one way to show that love. I loved watching my youngest decorating the tree, because it is one of her favorite parts of Christmas. I love how my oldest manages the daily countdown to Christmas. I love looking at the ornaments and remembering the origin of each one. I love opening Christmas cards, and I even love designing ours, and the assembly line the girls and I have for preparing to mail them.

I am going to keep saying yes to those things that fill my introverted, homebody self happy. I will try to keep saying no to all those obligations that don’t feel right this year. Every day on the calendar does not have to be full of Christmas activities. It is ok if this year all our memories are at home. I hope the joy of Christmas eventually comes, but if it does not, that is ok too. I will focus on the love.

Advent Sermon

One of my favorite sermons was written for Advent in 2008, while I was expecting our first baby. It was later published by the Young Clergy Women International in their online Fidelia magazine in 2012. You can read it here or I have included it below.

That was such a magical Advent for us: waiting for the baby Jesus and awaiting the birth of our own baby in April. It felt so meaningful and special, and I am so grateful to have been encouraged by my superior to use my physical body as a part of my telling the story. I had never done anything like that before, and would have never thought it could be so helpful.

This year, I am not much in the Christmas spirit. I went looking for this sermon to remember that happy time. Maybe it will help someone else to read it too.

Hopeful Signs: An Advent Sermon on John 1:6-28

We expect some of the same things around Christmas: the same message, the same songs, the familiar traditions of it all.  We still have to work to prepare the way of the Lord.  For my family, this Christmas is different.  Advent is different.  Pregnancy has made it so, and I have come to understand that Advent is very much like pregnancy.  Let me explain.

First, Advent is pregnant with hope.  I am a visual representation.  A baby is full of potential and possibilities. There is so much hope for the future, as we dream about what this child will be like and realizing that she may be nothing like what we are thinking she will be. What are you hoping for this Christmas?  If you’re hoping for presents under the tree, it might not be the same as last year?  Hoping for perfection, probably be disappointed?  Hoping for something different?  A Christmas miracle of healing?  Meaning?

Even as we are full of hope this Advent, we have to manage our expectations to know what is realistic so that we are not disappointed.  It did not take too long after we learned about this baby for me to learn that pregnancy is not all fun and games.  It is a painful, annoying, stressful, fun, exciting, awesome, amazing experience.  Some pregnancies are happier than others…too many involve sickness, complications, relationship issues, etc.  People have been overwhelmingly joyful at our news.  Strangers come up and talk to me.  It monopolizes many everyday conversations.  It is a common experience that binds us together.  Pregnancy is a long time, for others not long enough.  It provides a range of emotions:  fear, joy, excitement, nervousness, illness, and tiredness.  Advent offers a range of emotions too.  There’s the joy, excitement, and nervousness about how it will all come together, and tiredness from doing it all.  I think Advent can be summed up by that line in the Christmas carol, “the hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight” from O Little Town of Bethlehem.  The waiting gives us time to experience all the hopes and fears of both pregnancy and Advent.

Secondly, Advent, like pregnancy, is not all about you.  This pregnancy seems to be all about me right now.  I have never been asked how I’m feeling so often.  Never have so many strangers been interested in me, and in touching my belly, and sharing their good and bad pregnancy and delivery stories.  But it is not all about me; it is much more about this baby.  Even before we learned our good news, I had started taking folic acid to prevent birth defects and scaled back on caffeine.   Once we found out, I really worked on my diet and eating healthier and started taking prenatal vitamins.  It didn’t take very long for me to realize that I was no longer in charge of my body.  This little baby has a lot to say about when I sleep or not, when I eat, and how much energy I have.  My life, my daily routine, has changed dramatically because it’s no longer all about me. With Advent, it is also easy to think it is all about us.  We have so much to do.  We have so many gifts left to buy and wrap.  We have to write our Christmas cards.  We focus on OUR waiting/preparations rather than on Christ’s coming.  We focus on our hopes rather than on the hope of Christ.

John the Baptist knew that it was not all about him.  He was clear on his identity, who he was and who he wasn’t.  In the Gospel reading, we hear that  John the Baptist did not give the answers that the leaders were hoping for.  They wanted him to be all these things, (Elijah, the Messiah) but all he would admit to being was a voice in the wilderness.  He came to testify to the light, but he was not the light himself.  In other Gospels we can read more about John’s own miraculous birth, what he wore and ate, and more about his ministry.  But here, the main point is John’s identity.   “I AM NOT” the Messiah….what he isn’t.  In Advent, we have to take care to not get a Messiah complex: so busy trying to be all things to all people.  Scurrying in Advent instead of waiting is dangerous.

John the Baptist came to testify to the light: Christmas is not about the tree and presents, but those are just a way to point to the gift of Jesus.  Or, maybe they become distractions so we don’t have to see the homeless, the hurting, the hungry.  We have to remember our identity as Christians, the reason for the season, to restore justice, and release the oppressed this Advent. This season is all about Jesus, and celebrating Jesus’ birthday.  We should be giving Jesus gifts by giving meaning to all his children by sharing the Good News of Christ.

Finally, Advent, like pregnancy, should not be rushed because it happens too quickly anyway.  We can’t skip ahead to Christmas, or we are missing out.  Similarly, those expecting have to enjoy the adventure and not wish it away.  As much as I want to meet this little girl, I also want enjoy the adventure of being pregnant.  It is a miracle, and an awesome experience to think that there is a baby in my tummy.  What a gift from God!  I receive a daily email from a site that gives me an update on the baby’s size, explaining what is going on with my body, and other hints and tips.  I love that email, each day and it reminds me of opening a little window in an Advent calendar.  It’s just another peek into what is coming, a hint at the whole picture.  Every day you get a little closer.

My prayer for all of us this Advent is that we experience it as a joyful journey. May we all keep our eyes open to hopeful signs this Advent season.   In the name of the one whose coming is worth waiting for, Amen.


As part of my treatment plan for breast cancer, my oncologist prescribed me Tamoxifen for ten years. Tamoxifen is an “old” drug, meaning that it has been well-studied, and it’s cheap! It is an estrogen suppressant. You can read a study about how being on it five years has fifteen year benefits here. I have been taking it since I finished radiation in 2016. I have completed 72 months, and I’ll continue for 48 more.

For someone with estrogen-positive (ER+) breast cancer like me, Tamoxifen is the “usual” treatment post-chemotherapy and surgery. Because I’m post-menopausal, I could switch to a different hormone therapy, but the side effects are basically the same. Now that I’ve adjusted to it, and I’ve read many of the studies, it seems like Tamoxifen remains the best option for me.

There are many side effects that I experience. Hot flashes, night sweats, fluid retention, itchiness (I often scratch myself until I bleed while sleeping), fatigue, downy facial hair, and joint pain are the ones that affect me most. It can interact with certain other medications, so I am limited sometimes in what I can take. Even grapefruit can interact! I have to be careful with supplements as well.

The scariest side effect for me is the thickening of the lining of the womb, which can lead to cancer. My Grandmother had uterine cancer, so I discussed this particular risk with my oncologist at length before I began taking it. Recently, I had some symptoms that sent me to my internist. She ordered a pelvic ultrasound, which noted some thickening of the endometrium (the uterine lining). The radiologist’s remark was that it was consistent with how long I had been taking Tamoxifen, so I no longer worried. Still, my internist wanted me to follow-up with my gynecologist. When that appointment (finally) arrived, I was expecting a discussion and potentially a physical exam. However, she believed I needed a biopsy, mostly out of an abundance of caution. I did not realize that the biopsy would take place right then and there. One good thing was then I had no time to worry about it. However, it was uncomfortable, and I almost passed out after it was over, which is apparently normal. Luckily, I did not have to wait too long before receiving my results. No cancer. Thank you, God.

This was yet another example of how my journey continues. This time I didn’t even want to share about the biopsy. I mostly just stayed internally focused and waited. I realized that I wasn’t scared to have cancer again, but I did not want to put my family through another cancer. As someone who has both been the patient and the family member, it was easier for me to be the patient, because then I felt like I had some agency and control.

I apologize to those of you who are finding out in this blog, rather than directly from me. It was not my intention to hurt you or keep things from you. In the moment, it felt like I needed to focus on me. When I learned it wasn’t cancer, it was easy to dismiss and pretend it wasn’t a big deal. Now that I have some distance, I realize that me minimizing it does me no good. I don’t write this for sympathy, (I’m fine!), but just as one more piece to the story. I am grateful for a vigilant medical team, even though tests cause me anxiety. Gratitude doesn’t even begin to describe the relief I felt when I learned I was ok.

As I take my Tamoxifen each morning, I am thankful for the many studies that have been done on it. I appreciate that taking it makes me feel like I am actively doing something to prevent breast cancer from returning. Finishing another bottle and counting down feels like triumph.

I may complain about my side effects and worry about a possible recurrence, but my underlying feeling is gratitude.

Garage Sale

This month I have been consumed with a garage sale.  The prep took 3 weeks of sorting, making decisions, and letting go.  The actual sale was 3 days of sorting, making decisions, and letting go. It was all worth it, and now I am exhausted.

My girls don’t really play with toys anymore.  When K was B’s age, she still did, but now B doesn’t, probably because she would have to play alone.  It was sad to see some of the toys go, and others, like Monopoly Jr., I was ready to part with.  The purge was big, the amount of trash and recycling was big too, and I am sure there is more to do.

I had a harder time letting go of picture books than the girls did.  For me, many had so many memories of bedtime snuggles, giggles, and bonding.  Some I had to keep. More I could finally add to the pile to give away.

Besides the need to rid our house of all the excess stuff, I was motivated for the sale because of my goal for this year.  On my birthday, I kept hearing the song “Come and Find the Quiet Center” in my head. It is #2128 in The Faith We Sing, if you have that hymnal.  You can listen to it here.  Specifically, the lines from the first verse:

            Clear the chaos and the clutter

            Clear our eyes that we may see

            All the things that really matter

            Be at peace and simply be.

This is my intention for this trip around the sun.  The garage sale was a step in clearing the clutter.  It was shocking some of the things we found: an infant sled and swing in the attic! Things we thought we had already passed on to others.  Broken toys that needed to be tossed.  Puzzles that are way too easy for my teen and tween. 

The chaos is going to be more challenging work.  I want my mind to be less chaotic and more at peace.  I have been in therapy off and on for twenty years.  I highly recommend it!!!  Therapy is my favorite, even when the sessions are tough.  I am always learning.  My current therapist and I have been working together for four years.  While I can see my growth, some goals haven’t changed.  I am certainly more at peace today than I was four years ago, but now I crave even more peace.

Two years ago I left my last ministry position.  It was a necessary change for me personally and for my family, but it was tough.  In many ways, I still grieve that choice, even though I know it was the right decision.  The time has passed quickly.  I am not ready to take on another position yet, nor do I have an idea of what my next employment will look like. This in-between unknowing creates chaos in my type one brain that wants to know everything yesterday.

I know I write a lot about grief, but there is a lot we are all grieving.  Covid-life caused all of us much grief.  Returning to “normal” has caused some of us grief, because it is a new normal, not a return to the ways things used to be, because we have changed and the world has changed.  I’m even grieving toys and picture books, despite having not touched either in several years.  It is the sign of a new stage.  I love where we are, and yet I miss those little girls too.  I miss the silly and the imaginations.  I already miss summer, even though we have a few days left before school starts.  I don’t miss the items we sold, and yet the process of the garage sale still caused grief.

The last two days I have been physically exhausted. It seems like I am more tired than should be normal.  Of course I judge myself whenever I need that much rest, and then I worry I’m getting sick.  In reality, I think I am recovering from the physical and social work of the sale, as well as all that grief.  The joy of being rid of everything is certainly there too, but it was a lot of work to prep.  I am not sure if I recommend it, only because of the amount of work.  When I go downstairs now, I feel peaceful.  We have cleared the clutter.  The excess toys and furniture are gone and the room is open and feels bigger.  I no longer feel stressed on my way to the laundry room.  It was all worth it.

Do you have clutter you need to clear?  In your house or your mind?  What about chaos?  I may be writing more about this as I continue to work on this goal.  In the meantime, I’ll be humming and repeating “be at peace and simply be.”


This last year or so I have focused inward, and my outward focus is mostly limited to those with whom I live. I feel like I am about to emerge from that time, but I’m not completely ready yet. This time has been a gift, and it has also been odd. Covid-time came at a great time to me personally. It gave me a great excuse to withdraw and focus inward.  Last fall I discovered the book Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times by Katherine May.

This winter I listened to the book twice, and read it once.  The book interested me because of the Soul Leaders Retreat I attended a few years ago that focused on each one of the seasons.  I knew I was in the season of winter, and I knew I had found the right book when I read May’s definition of wintering.  She writes, “Wintering is a fallow period in life when you’re cut off from the world, feeling rejected, sidelined, blocked from progress, or cast into the role of an outsider.”  It describes well the transition period I have been in for the last 20 months.  Further she asserts, “Winter is a time of withdrawing from the world, maximizing scant resources, carrying out acts of brutal efficiency and vanishing from sight; but that’s where the transformation occurs.  Winter is not the death of the life cycle, but it’s crucible.” 

While one of my goals has been healing and grieving, another primary goal is figuring out what is next for me. I soon realized that the answer was not going to come quickly. The work I have been doing is necessary for the answer to come. As May claims, “Transformation is the business of winter.” She says that “you’ll find wisdom in your winter, and once it’s over, it’s your responsibility to pass it on.” I hope to do just that. My winter is not quite over, but I do think the light is lengthening and spring is coming.

I recently read Finding Your Own North Star: Claiming the Life You Were Meant to Live by Martha Beck.  In her map of the change cycle, I am very much in Square One: Death and Rebirth.  I was able to complete the book’s exercises up until and including that part. And then I just had to take notes and return it to the library. However, thinking through the exercises like: If I were sure I’d succeed, I would… or If I could be certain it was the right choice, I would… did give me some insights.

I celebrated Easter with Joy, and I believe in Resurrection and new life.  However, I am also comfortable with the fact that my transformation is still in process. I am still cocooned, no longer a caterpillar, but not ready to break out with my new butterfly wings. Stay tuned. 



Avisha Rasminda

Hi, I'm Avisha Rasminda Twenty-Two years old, Introduce Myself As A Author , Painter , A Poet.

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