sister talk

Yesterday, I was talking to my sister about the opportunity for some new work.  I had been waiting to hear what would unfold this week and I was feeling the tension of waiting.  I told her that I was sensing there was something else stirring…something besides just the waiting.  I told her it felt as if a very personal question was inside of me, one that sounded something like “and what is it YOU really, really want?”

Just then, my little sister stopped me in my tracks.  She asked, “can you learn anything about the answer from your word of the year?”  Brilliant.

I sat with it.

You might remember that my 2010 word is restoring.  My first response to her question was very literal; I spoke of how the opportunity would restore our finances in new ways, it would revive my work in new directions.  I spoke of how I hoped my self-caring could stay strong and solid even in the midst of long hours and lots of extra traveling. 

And then, I found the center, the core of this very personal question rising up in me.  My heart was/is yearning to restore my vision for my work.  The vision that it’s possible to do change-making, care-giving work…and still have a life that is flourishing and sustaining.  I believe with all my being that this is possible.  It has to be.  There is too much work to be done, too many injustices to face, too many shelters to keep open and meals to offer and fundraising to do.  The work and the world need us, as caregivers and advocates and counselors to continue showing up.  Surely we can figure out life-sustaining ways to do this work so that our lives as providers are healthy and vibrant, big and wide.  It doesn’t mean that they will be perfect or that we’ll ever be millionaires.  It doesn’t mean we’ll never have doubts, compassion fatigue, or sabbaticals.  It will still be messy.  But isn’t it possible to be sustaining?

I think even though I believe this is possible, my truth lately has been that I sometimes am not always sure of the ways of doing it.

And then I got teary.

And I knew I had come to the core of the tension.  It wasn’t about waiting to hear about the opportunity.  It was about connecting with my own question. 

And it has everything to do with my word of the year.  My word can guide me forward in this, whether with this particular work or other projects.  It’s time to restore my vision.  To go back to the foundation, the belief, the practices big and small, the testing and experimenting, the discussing and evaluating. 

Little sisters can be brilliant, can’t they?


ten words right now

What ten words describe living right now for me?  Amanda Soule shares her snippets and invites us to do the same.  These are the words that renewed me this weekend…





crafting (homemade placemats!)

family (pillow piles and Colts games)





What about you?  What words describe your right now?

at least

“I want to get up early one more morning,

before sunrise.  Before the birds, even.

I want to throw cold water on my face

and be at my work table

when the sky lightens and smoke

begins to rise from the chimneys

of the other houses.

I want to see the waves break

on this rocky beach, not just hear them

break as I did all night in my sleep.

I want to see again the ships

that pass through the Strait from every

seafaring country in the world…

I want to spend the day watching this happen

and reach my own conclusions.

I hate to seem greedy–I have so much

to be thankful for already.

But I want to get up early one more morning, at least.

And go to my place with some coffee and wait.

Just wait, to see what’s going to happen.”

~Raymond Carver, from All of Us

coaching for haiti


Like many of you, I’ve been wondering how I can somehow contribute to the relief efforts in Haiti.  And I came across this challenge from Kelly Diels.  

Count me in.

I will donate my full fee ($100) for one 40  minute coaching session by phone for the next 10 folks who book and pay this week.  $100 X 10 people = $1000 to the Red Cross.  By Friday. 

Now is the time to make a difference.  Help me help Haiti.  You can email me at

If you are a blogger and want to participate in the challenge, sign up with Kelly here

mother’s love

This might just be one of the most challenging posts for me to write this year. 

This is a post about my mom.  And all that I love about her.

She turns 60 today.  Sixty years of living, loving, teaching, believing.  And I’m not sure I can put into words all that she brings to this world…and to me. 

What I love about my mom is this: she is the most kindhearted person that I know.  She is giving and compassionate–and her life has expressed these values.  I love that she chose to be an elementary school learning disabilities teacher.  For at least 20 years.  And then she became a principal and an administrator.  While I’m positive that she was a gifted teacher during her years in the classrooms, I know that she also was a fierce advocate for her students and their families.  And, she was the Sunday School teacher, the choir director, and occasional pianist at the local church.  Not to mention the countless other community organizations of which she was a part.  This is most certainly one of the roots of my own advocacy as I watched and listened to her with her own work and service.  

And oh what a mother she was and still is.  She has always been a constant loving source in my life.  And if it’s possible for that love to be unconditional, she embodies that.  She is the safest person I know, the person I’d come to, scared in the middle of the night, the person I’d share my questions with, the person to whom I’d express my pain.  She has taught me how to be a loving and patient mother.  And also how to care for both my family and the work I’m passionate about.  I’m still amazed to think of her teaching all week, caring for us and the home, finishing graduate school homework during early mornings and still having a turkey and potatoes dinner ready for Sunday lunch after church.  What energy that takes! 

What else do I love about my mom?  I love how she adores my son and how she will play with him for hours on end.  Hours!  I love that she is always at my call when I need support.  I love how she knows how to find the most thoughtful gifts for everyone in her life.  And how she gets so excited to have all of us visit.  I love that she drove all the way to Oklahoma the first time I presented at a national conference.  I love that she’d drive my sister and I to Florida on spring breaks to visit her parents and the beach.  I love that she’d wake us up nearly every morning rubbing our backs in the dark.  And years later she did the same to her 91 year old mother when she came to live with my parents for her last few years.  I love watching how she is so, so in love with life. 

She is faithful.  She is compassionate.  She is love.     

I celebrate you today Mom and all the many loving imprints you make in this world.  You mean the world to me…I love you so. 


my word: restore

taken on retreat, October 2009

I’ve finally chosen the word.  For 2010.  It’s restore.

I know it’s not sexy.  It’s not jazzy.  It’s not sparkly.

But ever since I had a session with Hiro last August, restore has been waiting for me.  During our conversation, Hiro expressed to me that my mission is to offer programs for healing, the “restoration of wholeness through creativity,” is what she said.  We were talking about my work and how I want to expand with it.  And she told me through her wise ways that this is what I am here to offer.

She also told me that if I align myself with my own wholeness then I’ll be giving out of wholeness.  I’ll be aligned with the wholeness of everything. 

And so, this year will be about restoring. 

Rachel Snyder writes in Words of Wisdom for Women,

Restore.  Put something back together so it’s stronger and more beautiful than it was before.  Put that rosy glow back into your cheeks.  Rub and polish the front hall floor until it’s as grand as it once was.  Take apart a chair, a coat, a carburetor, and bring it back just the way it was, only different this time.  Only better.  Do the same with your health, your attitude about others, or those pottery shards that were once a pitcher.  Reconstruct that which you want to hold fast; deconstruct that which you want to see crumble to pieces.  If your home or your neighborhood has become a battlefield, try to restore peace and order wherever you can.  Restore your faith in humanity, and restore your faith in yourself.”

 It begins.  With restoring my office.  With moving furniture around our home and hanging new pictures.  With beginning a detox cleanse this week to restore my health.

And, I’m looking forward to more chats with Hiro this year.

all the merry-making

Oh how full the last two weeks have been.

There was the cookie baking.  The matinee date with my boy.  The season’s first snowman at Grammy’s house.  The many days of being in our pajamas as long as we could muster. 

There was the two week break from work that was good for my soul.   Being with my family.  Making merry.  And practicing what I preach of filling up again. 

There was the card making and secrets to keep.  There were the family gatherings.  There were endless games of Connect Four, Operation, Catch Phrase, and euchre.    

There was the tea date for the ladies at Tulip Noire.  There was dinner at St. Elmo’s to celebrate my love’s MBA graduation.  There was sledding with the cousins after the Pletcher Christmas party.


There were moments and moments of love.

And now the pulse of the new year is here.  We rearranged furniture to finally make my home office.  After two years and three moves, I finally am creating permanent space again. 

I’m in the beginnings of making it mine.


Like so many other lovelies (Susannah, Kelly Rae, and Danielle, to name a few) claiming a word for their year’s theme, I too have been percolating on what my theme will be for 2010.  I’ve been collecting the whispers, including connect, love, becoming, anew, and flourish.  And, I’m sitting with them.  To see which word wants to rise up and lead me (or is it teach?) this year.  Thank you Christine Kane for my first introduction to this practice!

What about you?