Hello, dear reader, you with your stories, with hands that create breakfast, lunch and dinner along with many mysteries.
I am finally returning from the Giving Motherhood a Voice tour through our fair Upper Peninsula. The waves of Lake Michigan and Lake Superior pulsed in the background as we read stories from An Anthology of Babes: 36 Women Give Motherhood a Voice, edited by Suzi Banks Baum. We traveled to Escanaba, Marquette and Ishpeming. Yesterday, we settled in a cabin nestled in pines and spruce near the foggy lake in Big Bay and created collages and painted rocks and wrote soulful words whispered to us by stones and seagulls and lighthouses at Suzi’s Slow Time Salon.
We’ve celebrated women’s voices this past week. We’ve touted women’s stories. We’ve honored our mothers, our grandmothers, our children, our partners. Especially we’ve sung the songs of our hearts, the creations of our hands, the way our spirits need tending in the same way our children’s clothes need mending.
I have LOVED spending hours and days with these women, let me tell you. Monica Devine, a children’s author from Alaska who writes and photographs at Between Two Rivers, took a piece of my heart back to Eagle River. She’s a magnificent writer whose words stun with their clarity and beauty. Terri Bocklund, singer and songwriter extraordinaire, lover of Lake Superior, makes music accompanied by a wolf painted on her guitar and her voice sounds like the silver birch flashing next to the cubs by the shore.
And, oh, Suzi Banks Baum, of Laundry Line Divine, how can we thank you for the visions you create? With dancing eyes and nimble fingers she acts, she creates collages and cards, she paints, she sings, she writes magic words, and she loves chickens, oh how she loves chickens.
She guided us around the Upper Peninsula and we read to dozens of men and women. She engaged us and the audience, inviting us to think about our lives. What makes you shine? Suzi asked.
Sometimes, when you’re on the spot, you share an old answer. You tell what made you shine last week or month or year. I mumbled something about spirituality making me shine.
Ever since that question I’ve been thinking of a more authentic answer, a response from the heart of today. I am going to be pondering this more deeply in the days to come.
For this week, however, the answer comes clear: spending hours with these women, participating in this fabulous book tour–that made me shine.
What makes you shine, dear reader? I would so like to know.
Here is a poem written this rainy morning before I return to work:
Don’t silence us.
Ask us our stories.
What makes us shine, what lights up our faces with joy?
We women, hands deep in sudsy dishwater, changing diapers,
nurturing our kin, singing our dusting songs,
crocheting doilies, writing secret poems, drawing on scrap paper,
knitting scarves the color of sunsets,
performing stand-up comedy for our families,
please, please, ask us our stories,
help us to keep our voices alive,
the connection to our souls simmering
like the hearty soup on the stove,
nourishing bodies and hearts.
You are certainly shining here Kathy!! Your voice is heard loud and clear through this blog and stories you wrote and shared with the others in the book. Amazing opportunity for creating a brighter shining light for the people around you!
Apparently I shone with my latest blog, which was a month in the making but published two days ago! ((Hint Hint))
As you ask the question I recalled just last week, for the first time in ages I went to an outdoor music concert. I had no idea who was playing at the time. Yet once members of the band stood on the stage and the lights were on, So was I. My camera and I circled that stage, clicking away, capturing the magic as best one can. There is just liveliness to a performance. I was in my zone, I acted like I belonged there and knew what I was doing. The Shine was on!!
I am proud of you Kathy, I think it is awesome that you had this experience!
I am Love, Jeff
Ah, I love the shining produced from your book tour; I’m sure those who participated and attended are still shining now. I shine when I read heartfelt, warm, loving blogs like yours. I shine when I write, allowing my inner being to reveal itself. I shine when I’m with those I love, and who love me. If you notice, we can view the shining in photographs of ourselves. See when we’re most happy, when we shine the most? Yes, when we’re with loving friends and family.
What an interesting question, if you don’t mind a will borrow it and ponder for a bit.
I have been thinking since the last email about how much I want to share, and even more if I have chosen one thing over waiting for another to have or to express their own ‘shares’–and how do I reconcile the stamp of my foot when things are unbearable, but then others have to do what I have been doing, so that I can have a turn. I do not know how this is or can be a win win. I might not always really want to notice or to care that others have to stop to hear me. I JUST WANT IT!!! That is both cute and SOOOOOOOO not cute, sigh. It is interesting though that for me, instead of just feeling thwarted, that even in the midst of it now I can see that others have it to, when they take time for me. I dislike being interrupted in my joy by these thoughts, though the wise one just nods in a
smirksmile of knowing that the first step might not be in fixing and in expressing but in seeing that others are the same.
lol and….thinking of CB handles from your trip…Book Tour Mama One to Book Tour Mama Two hehehehe (some persons might not know what a CB handle IS, we will ignore that and not mention it)
I think you’re hitting on an important point here Kathy. What makes most of us shine is when we support and are supported by others to follow our hearts. Glad you had such a great time with these amazing women.
And how you are shining in this blog, your aura just glistens! You go, girl, spread your shine and bask in it.
Living in my house of testosterone 🙂 I am so grateful and appreciative for my time with my women friends, truly that time nourishes the soul in a way that only time with girlfriends can (and not bashing men by saying this — it’s a simply fact!). What a wonderful time you had — great time to spark creative thoughts and energies! I can feel that shine bursting through your words in this post!
I know that I shine when I am aware
Of connection….when I connect
And I know it.
I can see and feel the life this experience has given you.
I like Fountainpen’s answer … special connections make me shine. (connection with my students, my best friend, nature, my camera, etc …). Not the everyday connection .. those times that are deeper than that when good things happen because of it. (a meaningful conversation, seeing that I actually helped a struggling student, etc…)
So nice to get a good report, Kathy! I thought of you often…not so far away. I have been to Ishpeming! My family was here, but left Saturday. I thought of taking the weekend off work, of getting on the morning ferry boat with them, of convincing sisters to take a little road trip with me…to meet you in person, and listen to you and all of these wonderful women present…I KNOW that is what my heart needs, and that it would’ve made me shine right through this haze of worry and obligations that seem to be weighing me down. I just couldn’t pull it all together. I’m so glad it did your heart good! Thanks, Kathy!
That question is easy for me, my family makes me shine! My children, my grandchildren, my wife, my ancestors … many who come from the Bohemian Forest. I think those ancestors are the source of my love of the UP. I’ve got to tell you, I get warm fuzzies from your shine with this tour. You are so in your element!
Words inviting deep thought. What makes me shine….hmmmmm. I think it is seeing the smile on the face of a little one, the hug of thanks for caring, the thought of friends who I hold dear and my girls….. & my creations maybe? It sound as though you had a wonderful time and I think I will check out the other gals.
You are a shining star in my life and I treasure your friendship. Your stories about life in the northwoods bring smiles to my face and delight to my heart. ❤
I don't shine anymore because my lifelong dreams are gone now. All the things I love are leaving my life. I am taking baby steps toward a new direction for my life so maybe this new journey will bring sunshine to my life again.
Thank you for sharing your joy during this adventure with dear friends and a new book ❤
What a fantastic experience, for you and for everyone involved. A very interesting question, especially for those (most mothers?) whose focus is so strongly on others rather than themselves.
Wow, you truly are shining! Your words sing forth in this post, and make me smile.
I shine brightest when I’m creating. Whether it’s a well-executed meal, something made with my hands, or my photography, making things makes me shine.
Thanks for asking!
I love love love your poem–you put all the important things in it and remind me that how I spent much of my life was not for naught–I want your book–how do I get it?
Your poem certainly gives motherhood a voice. 🙂
I shine as a reflection.
I shone reading your recount of the wonderful tour and all that came with it. I am SO glad you experienced this unique honor and that your voice is such a key element in encouraging and inspiring so many. How blessed are we! Shine on, sweet friend.
I see you shine through words and photos every time I visit, Kathy. This morning in early light, I looked from the kitchen window to the garden and caught my breath. My bright poppies are blooming. I felt a surge of joy – as if I was blooming, too.
Being engaged with people and projects and things bigger than just me!
What a wonderful sounding experience…sailing away from that safe harbor, an adventure for sure. What makes me shine? I think I’d have to say acknowledgement; I shine from knowing that someone appreciates something I’ve done.
Kathy – In my experience, you’ve always been incandescent. Whether it’s in a public-type venue (like you’ve beautifully described in this post), or a more private type setting (this blog, the old Gaia, email), you radiate a spirit that’s clearly plugged-in to source energy!
LOVE you poem !! What a happy and soul nourishing time it sounds as though you’ve had. Such a blessing. I am so happy for you and enjoyed reading your story here. In response to what makes you shine ? – today, I say this – “When I see ‘natural magic’ expressing all around me, I shine !!”; and thankfully, lately, I’ve been seeing a lot of that; and so I’ve been shining rather brightly.
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I love your poem. Your words shine, Kathy. 🙂
Oh my, I had goosebumps and tears in my eyes reading this blogpost, dear Kathy. How lovely to be surrounded by so many beautiful and talented and creative and bursting-with-stories women. You’re all amazing… and inspire respect and awe and delight… Hugs from distant shores!
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Reblogged this on It's Time To Listen.
To life. To death. To shine.