Category: beauty

dancing with myself

dancing with myself

| April 8, 2019 | Reply

I didn’t really want to go anywhere that Friday night. I wanted to put on my pajamas and curl up on the couch with David and Birdie and Thomas. I wanted to eat something containing unnecessary amounts of cheese and melt into a movie-watching puddle. Still, I’d had the event on my calendar for six […]

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touch the holy

touch the holy

| March 21, 2019 | 2 Replies

A reflection on Rainer Maria Rilke’s poem: This press of time We set the pace. But this press of time — take it as a little thing next to what endures. All this hurrying soon will be over. Only when we tarry do we touch the holy. Young ones, don’t waste your courage racing so […]

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secret dream

secret dream

| February 27, 2019 | 10 Replies

Let me confess, and please don’t laugh. I thought I’d be famous by now. In second grade Ms. Sylvia Bent told me that she’d read my books someday. I took Ms. Bent quite seriously, and I’ve expected to write books – acclaimed books – ever since. I took the stage for the first time at […]

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throwing rocks

throwing rocks

| December 8, 2018 | 4 Replies

A week ago I lay flat on the floor. My back had gone out and my chiropractor appointment was several hours away. What did I have to do but think about the past year? It hasn’t gone the way I’d imagined it would. In January I felt gusto for my new Resonance Coaching practice. I […]

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autumn anxiety

autumn anxiety

| October 31, 2018 | 6 Replies

I walk through the dizzying array of autumn splendor and I feel a lump in my throat. It’s a small fist of anxiety, stubbornly wedged in. The feeling isn’t based in anything much. I’m not fixating on a problem. My life is pretty low on problems right now, which might actually be the problem. When […]

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the stories I tell

the stories I tell

| October 11, 2018 | 6 Replies

Today I looked back over the past five years, and I wrote down two versions of each year. For example, this is what I was telling people in the fall of 2013: My new husband David and I have moved to Wichita, Kansas, so that he can spearhead a middle school theater program. I’m pursuing […]

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flashes of color

flashes of color

| September 10, 2018 | 7 Replies

The time of the Queen Anne’s lace is over. Summer is ending fast. Riding my bike, I watch the leaves begin to change. A single yellow flash here. A radiant smattering of red there. A few trees are already trumpeting autumn. I take in the beauty, and I feel a familiar ache in my heart. […]

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black butterfly

black butterfly

| June 11, 2018 | 2 Replies

I spent the weekend at beautiful Rowe Camp & Conference Center for a workshop. All weekend I saw swallowtail butterflies, yellow like embodied sunlight. Butterflies bolster my heart; they remind me that transformation is an underlying principle of reality. I’ve been especially appreciating butterflies this season. I need to be reminded again and again that […]

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shift

shift

| May 14, 2018 | 2 Replies

I sit in the sun and wait for the shift to happen. The lilacs are nearly blooming. Their heart-shaped leaves flutter nonchalantly in the breeze, like they’ve been there forever rather than just a couple weeks. The pine is tall and sturdy as ever, a backdrop to the lilacs, backdrop to the yard and the […]

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to church or not to church

to church or not to church

| March 17, 2018 | 8 Replies

Every time I sit in a church service, I feel the occasional wave of uneasiness. What is it I’m doing here? Do I wish I were doing it more? Church and I have a complicated relationship. When I was young, I was the queen of church (or at least an up-and-coming princess). I showed up […]

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coming out of the closet

coming out of the closet

| February 15, 2018 | 6 Replies

I’ve wrestled with this for years, but the time has finally come. I need to tell the truth about who I am and what I believe. So here goes. I’m a Christian. There. I’ve confessed. Now that I’m out of the closet, let me tell you more. Many people have negative associations with Christianity. You […]

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winter bus ride

winter bus ride

| January 30, 2018 | 7 Replies

The sunlight gleams on the dirt-streaked bus window. The vinyl seat across the aisle glows. We flash past the snow and cattails. The fields and trees, the metal guard rails and concrete walls. Soon it will be dark, the way afternoons in winter tend to be. I am seeing the white lines on the highway, […]

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free song

free song

| December 4, 2017 | 4 Replies

Some time ago, I dreamt of standing atop a small tower playing a big singing bowl. When you strike a singing bowl it resounds like a gong. If you take the time to stir around the circumference of it instead, the sound is gradual. It feels like hearing a song in another room of the […]

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fabric of my days

fabric of my days

| November 28, 2017 | 6 Replies

Let’s say my time is fabric. Sometimes I am the scarf draped over the small altar where I sit for centering prayer. The scarf is a gift from Jess, a friend I’ve known since I was two. The scarf is rarely disturbed, and then only by the cat on his way to the windowsill. A […]

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seashore prayer

seashore prayer

| November 20, 2017 | 4 Replies

Who are you? How is it you live within me and I within you, and still I am flummoxed by you? My heart’s cry is to enjoy you, yet that’s not always a straightforward task in this world. I tend to be hard on myself for either not accomplishing enough or being overly focused on […]

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what courage looks like

what courage looks like

| November 9, 2017 | 10 Replies

We don’t get to finish being courageous. We don’t take one brave leap, land with a gymnast’s flourish, and saunter impressively onward for the remainder of our days. I’ve cognitively understood this reality for the better part of my life, yet I keep relearning it. It helps to watch the people I love. Courage looks […]

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changing light

changing light

| October 23, 2017 | 2 Replies

The light changes in the corner. A bright rectangle is cast from the window on the other side of the room. Morning air is cool in the kitchen: three seasons of the year it’s cool enough to chill my hands. I sit under my blanket, with my lit candle, space heater at my feet. Sunday […]

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after the slog

after the slog

| October 4, 2017 | 9 Replies

This is depression: walking the dog down beautiful paths where delight once thrummed through your veins, but feeling an ache in your throat instead. The paths are the same. The dog is the same. The weather is lovely. The only variable in the equation is you. For a long time I took shelter in beliefs […]

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six months after my last post

six months after my last post

| May 8, 2017 | 4 Replies

Blogging joined the ranks of other purposeful pleasures: swimming, practicing guitar, cross-stitching, braiding my hair. I stopped doing it for long enough that although I knew I’d start again, it no longer felt like something I ought to be doing. Who hasn’t added room after room to the house of self? Mine has looked like […]

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the storyless season

the storyless season

| November 20, 2016 | 8 Replies

At midday Saturday the sun shone full into the kitchen window. I almost wished that I hadn’t done the dishes already, but that’s a silly thing to wish, isn’t it? Forget dishes. I pinched some droopy lavender between my fingers and inhaled the fragrance. I set up my computer on the sink. I wanted to write. […]

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adventures in uselessness 

adventures in uselessness 

| September 18, 2016 | 7 Replies

Today I listen to Yo-Yo Ma play Bach’s cello suites and I dance around the kitchen. I have lived most of my hours aiming to be useful. The weight of that sometimes grows unmanageable. I am a dancer, but not a Dancer (if you know what I mean), so my body still remembers how to […]

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Parking lot 

Parking lot 

| August 19, 2016 | 2 Replies

Your life is a poem, Naomi Shihab Nye says in the podcast. You have known this to be true, even if lately the stanzas of your life look like unmetered scratches on a page. So write something, even if it is sad. Admit that even the pollen on the dashboard looks mournful to you: evidence […]

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clouds and wind

clouds and wind

| May 1, 2016 | 3 Replies

Today the sky is an apt metaphor. There is plenty of light to see, but clouds have covered over the blue. I look up and I give thanks, but my heart cries out for the color I love. On Friday I stood at my old beloved beach, Independence Park in Beverly. The sun was bright […]

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Monday morning prayer

Monday morning prayer

| April 4, 2016 | 6 Replies

Gracious God, please tell me again that I do not have to be Great. Tell me that breathing my way through the day is a triumph, that kindness is sufficient, that honesty is beauty. Good Lord, holy Mother/Father/Sister/Brother, please dwell in my overzealous shoulders and my weighty belly; please settle into my raw heart; please […]

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wrapped 

wrapped 

| March 28, 2016 | 3 Replies

Each moment is a gift. Sometimes it’s a broad-daylight, tromping-through-the-woods, birds-singing, dog-cavorting, husband’s-hand-in-mine sort of gift. Other times the moment doesn’t look like a gift at all. Sometimes it’s the ache of watching a friend suffer. Sometimes it’s an unexpected death or a life-changing diagnosis. Lately I’m learning that these moments are the most important […]

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life is a spell so exquisite, everything conspires to break it.

life is a spell so exquisite, everything conspires to break it.

| January 18, 2016 | 5 Replies

In honor of Martin Luther King Jr., here is a letter I wrote to myself in the fall.  _________ 22 October 2015 dear Hannah, Please remember the day you bought this card. It was July, and you were picking up gifts for Greg & Jamaica to thank them for Company. The colors of life had looked […]

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divine appointments & a tire rotation

divine appointments & a tire rotation

| January 17, 2016 | 2 Replies

Usually David takes Kenneth (our beloved little Prius-C) in for tune-ups, but on December 19th I made the drive to Peabody. Perhaps hearts open a little wider during the year’s darkest days. Even before I opened the car door I saw a light in the eyes of the man at the intake desk. “If you can figure out how to pair […]

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the marvelous mundane – part two

the marvelous mundane – part two

| December 12, 2015 | Reply

First, a fun fact. It’s unlikely that anyone remembers this, but the last time I wrote a blog with “part one” in the title, I never wrote a part two. (Don’t let it keep you up at night: I feel confident that “restoration – part two” will want to be written someday.) Now, a moment of self-congratulation. Woo-hoo! This time […]

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the marvelous mundane – part one

the marvelous mundane – part one

| December 9, 2015 | 2 Replies

Every day the counters are dirtied. Every night the bed is unmade. In dark seasons I can’t keep up, and I become Sisyphus, pushing the boulder up the hill only to watch it roll down again. No matter the season, I take comfort in doing the laundry. The hum of the washer; the warmth of […]

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candle or no candle

candle or no candle

| November 27, 2015 | Reply

I woke very early and eased my body out of bed.  The attic floorboards creaked beneath my careful feet. David slept soundly in the imperfect silence. The darkness of morning usually comforts me, but today uncertainty lay at the surface of my heart like scum on a lake. In several hours we’d be on a plane, headed toward our beloved family in crisis. We […]

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braiding my mother’s hair

braiding my mother’s hair

| November 4, 2015 | 4 Replies

Late on a Saturday morning I take my mother’s hair between my fingers and begin to braid. Mom doesn’t like it when hair falls into her eyes, and rotator cuff surgery has nixed her usual styling strategies. This turns out to be the number one thing I do to help when I visit: hair styling. Why do […]

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sublime chess game

sublime chess game

| October 12, 2015 | 1 Reply

For the third morning I wake very early. The silence of Rowley is thick and soft as a blanket. Today I do not even try to go back to sleep. I pull on my fleecy purple socks, tiptoe down the dark stairs, and light a candle in the kitchen. I boil water and scratch Thomas […]

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the willow and me

the willow and me

| October 4, 2015 | 1 Reply

I woke with a dozen tasks on my radar: curtains to hang, the office to organize, photo enlargements to order. We host our family next weekend, and I’d love to welcome them into a space that feels homey and cared-for. I’d also like to take a run today, go to the farmers’ market, and get our […]

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new home

new home

| September 13, 2015 | 10 Replies

Moving into David’s parents’ house was a no-brainer. We’d save on rent, have an easy commute to River Valley (where we’re both happily teaching now), and do Mark and Cheryl the favor of care-taking the homestead while they’re in Dallas. Okay, confession time: I’ve never wanted to live in a big house. I love rambling old New England farmhouses, but […]

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a good death

a good death

| September 4, 2015 | 7 Replies

Let me tell you how Gus the cat died. I promise later I will tell you how he lived. Our fifteen-year-old cat had been losing weight for at least a year, but in the spring he began to look legitimately thin. In early June his back legs began to malfunction. We picked him up to spare […]

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thank you, Tony Hoagland

thank you, Tony Hoagland

| July 26, 2015 | 4 Replies

I am standing in the doorway when I read Tony Hoagland’s poem. David and our niece and nephew are playing with toy cars and trucks and planes, and I’m about to join them. Jack sings gleefully to the tune of Black Sabbath’s Iron Man: “I am orange plane, orange-orange-orange, whack-whack-whack!” I didn’t expect Hoagland’s words to hallow […]

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this side of the street

this side of the street

| June 7, 2015 | 4 Replies

I sit outside the Atomic Cafe, watching Sunday glide by. I can’t count the number of times I’ve sat here like this: sipping tea and typing, my bike helmet resting on the tipsy metal table. Tomorrow the Atomic moves across the street, and I know the new location will be spacious and beautiful, but today I indulge my […]

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the kindness of Kim

the kindness of Kim

| March 8, 2015 | 6 Replies

The day I heard of Kim’s passing, I rode my bike to the beach and let the wind chill the tears on my cheeks. The pain came over me in waves all week long. I know her children far better than I knew Kim herself, and my heart ached to think of Sage, Lila, and Toby motherless. […]

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window

window

| February 3, 2015 | 10 Replies

The blue jay spread wide his wings and restored me to myself. The spare room is too cold for yoga, and the cat had spent the night scattering litter as far as he could across the floor, but one flash of blue in the small window could hallow the entire day. That’s how I want to live, […]

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repotted and it feels so good

repotted and it feels so good

| January 3, 2015 | 6 Replies

On the last day of 2014, I repotted our peace lily. Its leaves had been turning brown, one by one, despite my careful placement (indirect sunlight, the websites said) and watering (not too much). I finally decided that the plant was too big for its pot. Indeed, the roots seemed to sigh with relief as I shook them […]

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a walk

a walk

| November 25, 2014 | 4 Replies

As I walked from the bike shop to the Atomic Café, it occurred to me: I am carrying too much. I’d filled my backpack with enough work for four hours, but I only had 45 minutes till my guitar lesson. And a guitar to carry, of course. At the café I sipped my cup of tea. […]

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back-to-transformation

back-to-transformation

| September 26, 2014 | 9 Replies

September turns my heart to school. Not just the school where I teach now, but all the schools I’ve taught in and all the schools I’ve attended. In August, sales circulars paint a perennial picture of rosy cheeks, pigtails, and shiny lunchboxes. I appreciate pretty folders and fresh pens as much as the next person […]

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restoration: part one

restoration: part one

| August 16, 2014 | 3 Replies

In May of 2013, I unwittingly lost a glove from my bike basket on my ride to yoga class. When I discovered my loss, I stood in the yoga studio holding the lonely leftie, thinking how good and serviceable those gloves had been over many years. One glove was little use without the other. On my […]

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the inconvenient day

the inconvenient day

| June 7, 2014 | 1 Reply

Inconvenience is an invitation into the present moment. Some days I need to be invited repeatedly. The first time I took the laundry into the elevator on Thursday, I’d forgotten the bag of quarters. The second time, I found the washer in the 6th floor laundry room occupied, so I headed to the basement. In the basement I realized I […]

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another (brief) lesson in surrender

another (brief) lesson in surrender

| May 29, 2014 | 2 Replies

I have an hour till David comes home with our niece and nephew. An hour to clean up from lunch and water the plants and type the emails and make the phone call and maybe – just maybe – write the overdue blog entry. I love the way Ally and Jack take over our lives when we’re together. […]

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fruition

fruition

| May 17, 2014 | Reply

  Sometimes events you’ve been waiting for happen all at once. Thursday, May 15th was a day of great fruition. Early in the morning I began thinking of Suzanne, whose heart is so vast that sometimes I feel her love emanating from Massachusetts all the way out here in Kansas. The 15th was Suzanne’s 30th […]

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the intersecting space

the intersecting space

| May 12, 2014 | 4 Replies

When Cora asked me to help with Girls Group, I almost said no. For one thing, I earn money by teaching after-school yoga classes and voice lessons. Cora and her cohorts graciously offered to schedule the high school girls’ art group for my one free afternoon of the week, but I worried about missing an […]

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after the burning

after the burning

| May 6, 2014 | Reply

Here’s the guest post I wrote for my friend Catherine’s blog: some of the gifts of this challenging year in Wichita. http://catherineannehawkins.com/hannahs-in-between-guest-post/ Special thanks to James Nedresky for permission to use this photograph. Find many other breathtaking images of the prairies at his websites: http://www.jnedreskyprairie.com http://blog.jamesnedresky.com/?p=138

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my hands are dying

my hands are dying

| April 28, 2014 | 2 Replies

The luminous Catherine Hawkins was one of my husband David’s childhood friends. Catherine and I became close in the spring of 2012, when I sweet-talked her into a lead role in Hot Mikado. We’re guest blogging for each other this week. After you read her beautiful essay below, check out her blog! **** And for […]

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on mothers, hungers, and toast

on mothers, hungers, and toast

| April 1, 2014 | 8 Replies

When I get home from the airport, I’m hungry. I make a piece of toast and slather it with coconut oil, the way Mama does nowadays. I put it on the blue plate she left on the kitchen counter and sit in her spot on the couch. It’s my spot again. For days I’ve cooked […]

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