If I should die before I wake

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When I was a little girl, my mom sat on the edge of my bed and taught me this prayer:

Now I lay me down to sleep

I pray the Lord my soul to keep

If I should die before I wake

I pray the Lord my soul to take.

My mama leaned down, kissed my cheek, tucked in the covers real good up to my neck, and whispered, “Good night, Kathy, sleep tight,” and off she went back into the adult world, gently shutting the door behind her.

This particular prayer comes from the 18th century, so they say, and hundreds of thousands of children over the centuries have folded their sweet chubby hands and fervently added this addendum:  Oh dear Lord, Oh dear Lord, please do not let me die before I wake.

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Posted in May 2016 | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 72 Comments

Oh the flow…

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Oh that birch bark flow

I recently returned home to the Upper Peninsula after a week-long visit with my mom in the Thumb of Michigan.  It’s a 550 mile drive from the western U.P. through the sands of the eastern U.P. through breaking-into-spring greens in the upper Lower Peninsula to the hummingbirds and cardinals near Lake Huron.

I drove alone, all those clickety-clacking miles with the tires strumming their traveling song.  Although it’s always a different kind of pleasure to trek with Barry or the kids or a friend, it’s especially lovely to take the trip alone, steering the car left or right at whim, surrendering to the flow of life.

It usually takes two days on these solo adventures because, hey, who wants to travel 550 miles in one day?  Only someone who wants to get there fast, right?  But I’m of the opinion that the journey is equally important to the destination, so stops and side-trips sometimes abound.

You see, what traveling solo blooms for me is this–entering and realizing the flow.

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Posted in May 2016 | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 76 Comments

Sucker on Mother’s Day

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Mother’s Day morning on the mighty Sturgeon River

Each spring, when the rivers warm up, fish swim upstream to spawn, to lay glistening baby-fish eggs in their own childhood birth grounds.

Each spring the fishermen wait for spawning season to cast their crawlers and hook and line into the rushing river and anticipate the bite of sucker fish.

Sucker is, as so many Upper Peninsula fishermen know, the prime bait utilized during those sweet summer mornings when bobbing for lake trout in the depths of Lake Superior.

So guess, my dear reader, how your blogger spent Mother’s Day morning?

You got it.  It was a sucker-on-Mother’s-Day adventure.

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Posted in May 2016 | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 43 Comments

Spring miracle

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Red maple buds

I can’t wait another second to tell you the news. (Besides, you asked for an update.)

Some of you may remember last month’s blog about the little tame chipmunk from last summer.  He had a crack in his ear, and ran up our legs in August and September to munch sunflower seeds off our palms. He disappeared last October and we haven’t seen him since.  Some of us feared him dead.

In the past two days, another chippy presented himself and licked seeds out of my hand, filling his fat cheeks with sunflower nuggets before bounding off into the woods.  It wasn’t our guy, but an adventerous newcomer.

Today, this afternoon, not a half hour ago–a chippy ran toward me again.  I thought, oh yes, the little beggar from this morning.  But, oh no, what a delightful surprise!–it was our long-lost little fella from last year.  His tell-tale split ear revealed him to be the same creature, returned at last to our Little House in the Big Woods.

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Posted in May 2016 | Tagged , , , , , , | 28 Comments

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 , , , , , , | 59 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 , , , , , , , , | 76 Comments