Delightful Unexpected Flow…

My goodness, it has felt like one of the most flowing precious weeks here in this Little House in the Big Woods.

Last Sunday I wrote a blog about Unexpected Inspiration and started a daily practice of intending and paying attention to the unexpected things that happen in life.  (Life had become a little ho-hum and uninspired after this long winter.)  I started a little journal to record daily unexpected happenings and–

Immediately it felt like Life flowed again.  At times last week the energy felt downright joyous and delightful.  It felt wonderful!

At the same time, I paid attention to any underlying patterns which might derail the flowing.  Looked closely at fear (with its henchmen of distraction, boredom, anxiety, judgment, pressure, comparison) in the post “I’m scared,” said Goldilocks to the Three Bears which struck me as a completely strange and unexpected title.  I was so excited after writing this, you cannot imagine. It took two hours to calm down and breathe normally.

My gosh, what a rich and zinging week filled with lots of unexpected enthusiasm and serendipity.

May I share just a few?


Eating lunch outside under a tree

One fun unexpected activity I did–twice–this week involved bringing lunch outside.  Sat under a spruce or oak tree and munched while sitting on the earth, feeling the icy breeze (darn north wind!) whip through the woods.  The thoughts said the kitchen table would be more pleasant.  I ignored those thoughts because they beg for the expected way too often.

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Posted in May 2016, Unexpected | Tagged , , , , , , | 52 Comments

“I’m scared,” said Goldilocks to the Three Little Bears


Unexpected sunrise today

On Sunday I wrote about cultivating the unexpected, about Elizabeth Gilbert’s book BIG MAGIC and about courting a life that refuses to stay in ho-hum ruts.

Inspiration begged me to start a daily journal recording Unexpected Happenings during each day.  When inspiration strikes me (I don’t know about you) it feels like a fire burning deep inside.  It feels like you’re suffused with joy, paddling in the flow of life, deeply in love with the creativity of the spanking brand-new moment of possibility.

However, if you’re anything like me, inspiration has a way of snuffing out.  The flame of delight too often dies.  You often can’t create a roaring bonfire with one match of inspiration.  Somehow you need to keep kindling the baby fire with sticks of dry kindling, coaxing it into a sustaining fire, one that gives light and warmth and toasty marshmallows.

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Posted in April, 2016, Unexpected | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 45 Comments

Unexpected inspiration


Wet glasses on a log

OK, dear blog readers, inspiration hath struck like lightning in the rain.  I am tingling with the sense of new possibilities, new directions, new visions.

Would you like to tingle, too?  For those who haven’t already–pick up a copy of Elizabeth Gilbert’s book BIG MAGIC.  (Don’t react all ho-hum like I did and think, yeah, right, just another inspiring book that will rock your socks for five minutes before you shelve it and continue on to your usual predictable behavior and responses for the rest of your life.)

I am not going to provide a book review about this marvelous creation because that would be, well, expected.  Instead I am going to tell you what is exciting me.

First, let’s set the stage.  Here is something that happened last night, after a magic day of reading BIG MAGIC.  Barry and I visited the Vertin Gallery in Calumet with friends Deb and Chuck (after a short hike at the Paavola Wetlands and before dinner at the Michigan House).

The Vertin Gallery sells all sorts of eclectic items like ancient strollers, modern art and everything imaginable.  It’s a consignment shop where folks attempt to lure other folks into purchasing items, with sellers hoping an unknown visitor will fall head-over-heels in love with, say, rickety old theater seats.  (These things do happen, reader.)

We strolled through the shop and I noted big books of artists like Gauguin, marveling that such artists existed.  Thinking how little I know of art and artists.  Thinking–wouldn’t it be nice to buy that clunky coffee-table book and simply leaf through it because, well, just because it’s new and different and unexpected and you might learn something?

But what do we often do when these thoughts visit us?  Our minds come up with reasons why this simply won’t DO.  My mind said:  Oh, no, too expensive.  (Even though the books were 1/2 price.)  Oh, no, you don’t even LIKE art that much.  (What do you mean?)  Oh, no, I’m a minimalist, I hate to buy THINGS.  (Boring, boring, boring, you’re so darn predictable!)

So we continued on to dinner, sans Gauguin.

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Posted in Unexpected | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 73 Comments

32 years and out (as a politician)!

Standing by the Mouth of the Huron River

Yet another township treasurer

I know you blog readers may think I’m totally flaky at times–one minute writing a blog a day, the next minute quitting for almost a year.  One time posting quiet meditative nature photos and the next time babbling on about politics or Smart Phones.  (Oh, wait a minute, I haven’t written that one yet.)

One friend (using that kind of behavior as evidence) once accused me of never sticking with anything.

She was only looking at one aspect of this personality, tut tut.  Some things I have stuck with for half a lifetime.  For example.  Married (just a second!, must pull out the calculator of Life for accurate reporting) for almost 38 years.  Lived in this Little House in the Big Woods for 33 years.  Worked at our little K-6 school in one of the farthest remote corners of the U.P. since 1988.

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Posted in April, 2016 | Tagged , , , , , | 54 Comments

Whoooo you votin’ for?


Selecting a U.S. Presidential Candidate, 2016

I am doing something totally inadvisable.

Writing about politics.

There is no way you can win when you support your candidate.  Two fifths of the populace will arise in support: Yay, man, you are so right!

Two fifths of the population will hang you to crucify along with Jesus.

Another fifth will tell you why you’re nuts, inadvisable, or downright stupid, or they’ll yawn and deplore politics as something Neanderthal, something unworthy of debate.

You end up feeling less than whole, no matter who you support.

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Posted in April, 2016 | Tagged , , , , , , , | 53 Comments

Quiet spring meditation in the woods


It sometimes takes a long time–a truly long time–maybe even years, or decades, or a lifetime–for one to learn how to truly become quiet in the woods.

So quiet, so still, that there is no difference between you and the landscape, between you and nature.

Until you realize fully that you are nature itself in your stillness, in your activity, in your very essence.

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Posted in April, 2016 | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 58 Comments

Passenger pigeons, Show & Tell and my dad

As some of you may know my dad died on January 11th.  Exactly three months ago today. He was diagnosed with prostate cancer that had invaded his bones and I wrote this love-letter blog back in 2013 after learning his prognosis.  I did not share his news with blog readers–he would not have wanted that–but it was Father’s Day, after all.  It was good to be able to shower love on him publicly, telling him what he meant to me while he was still alive to hear it.

I read most of this blog at his funeral in January.  The funeral proved a sad and wonderful tribute to his life, with several of us telling stories and crying and laughing and sharing so much.

Nineteen of us had gathered in downstate Michigan on Christmas Eve with him and my mom.  Even though he was weak and unable to walk on his own anymore–it was a very challenging time of little sleep, pain, and the decision to place him in the hospital and nursing home–Christmas Eve shined as an amazing “Grand Finale”.  Dad told jokes from his chair at the center of the action, keeping us in stitches as we celebrated life.

Less than three weeks later he was gone.  We miss him awfully, but no one would have wanted him to continue in such rough shape.

Today I would like to share one of my husband Barry’s columns from the March 2nd L’Anse Sentinel newspaper with you.  Please read on to learn about Passenger pigeons, Show & Tell and my beloved dad.  (Passenger pigeons? you ask with raised eyebrows.  Keep reading:  it will all make sense soon!)

I hope you enjoy Barry’s column and learn a little about an amazing bird that once thrived in our country.


sheldon family

Our wonderful Christmas Eve “Grand Finale”. Please note passenger pigeon photo hanging over fireplace to the left.

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Posted in April, 2016 | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 42 Comments