My pledge: to shine a light in the darkness

I’m excited to announce that starting today I’ll be posting daily for the first 100 days of the Trump presidency with a new project I am calling “#100daysofhope.” I decided to embark on this creative project as a way to shine a light in darkness, at a time of deep division, fear, and turmoil in our country.

And as fate would have it, I received an email several days ago with a template that allowed me to fully articulate this goal (see below, and template available here.)

Most of my posts will be on instagram at 100daysofhope, and I invite you to follow along there!  On the blog, all posts related to the project can be found under the tag “#100daysofhope” or at https://mourningdovemotherhood.com/category/100daysofhope/.

What do you pledge? What do you believe in and what do you hope to dream into being for our democracy in these coming weeks and years? How can you share your own gifts? 

 

 

 

 

Three more reasons to smile – and one reason to frown

Don’t worry – the reason to frown will also make you laugh. Stick with me.

three (more) reasons to smile:

1. the Canadians are back! the Canadians are back! Our Canadians (that’s what we call them) who live down the street have returned from Montreal. They have a huge, sweet brown dog named Buddy. They are polite and their country’s leader is Justin Trudeau. I want them to adopt me. 

2.  My daughter’s preschool had a thanksgiving lunch today (aww!) and the kids sang us songs. It was super cute. One staff member made a huge rice krispy treat dessert shaped like a turkey. It sounds weird, but It. Was. Awesome. 

3. My painted buntings are now friends with my mourning dove. IS THIS REAL LIFE?!


…and one reason to laugh/cry:

1. I discovered gray hairs in my eyebrows today. MY EYEBROWS. As the kids say, “what the actual f@”!?”

Thankfully I see my hairstylist Monday. She may or may not tint my brows which is technically not allowed in Florida (we regulate eyebrows more than gun purchases), but she takes care of me. Actually this is a reason to smile.

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I am called to listen to the sound of my own heart

“I am called to listen to the sound of my own heart—to write the story within myself that demands to be told at that particular point in my life. And if I do this faithfully, clothing that idea in the flesh of human experience and setting it in a true place, the sound from my heart will resound in the reader’s heart.”

Katherine Paterson 

Swingin’ from a palm tree as a married lady y’all!

Yesterday I found myself swinging from the palm frond of a 30-foot palm tree.

(I was trying to remove a dead palm frond. This is a thing you do in Florida. Totally normal. Hey ho, just pulling off a twenty-foot palm frond as part of routine lawn maintenance. STILL WEIRD TO ME.)

Well, it was glorious! My neighbor (my nickname for him is grumpy) stared at me like I’d lost my marbles. What, he’s never seen a middle-aged woman swing from a palm frond before??

And then, to top off this week of awesome, I found out that my husband and I are in fact officially married! The state of Maryland notified me to let me know a copy of our official certificate has shipped.

Things are lining up for old Liz Lemon!


How is your week going? Have you swung from a palm frond recently? Are you also officially married?

 

 

Don’t give up. Peter Gabriel is here to hug you.

This week has been intense. INTENSE. I keep using that word because nothing else quite describes it. It hasn’t been bad necessarily, but it seems like each day once I catch my breath another fire pops up that I need to put out. Phew.  I’m just riding the waves and hoping they calm soon.

And well, the external world has been pretty hard to manage too. Heart-wrenching in fact. Too much unnecessary loss of life. Injustices. Despair. And often the cries from entire communities that seem over and over again to fall on deaf ears.

I was feeling pretty down and hopeless. And that is when I heard it.

A quiet whisper. A song actually.

Out of nowhere on Wednesday a song lyric popped in my head. Don’t give up. And a female vocal. I couldn’t place it and it was driving me NUTS. I finally figured it out–I was hearing “Don’t Give up” by Peter Gabriel, and it was the vocal by Kate Bush that was sweetly singing in my ear…her voice is ethereal.

I listened to it on Youtube and I can hardly contain myself. I was like, I GOTTA BLOG ABOUT THIS SONG. First because it is a freaking awesome song and maybe I’m not the only one who needs to hear it this week. But mostly: THE VIDEO YOU GUYS. Oh my god. It is five and half minutes (!!) of Peter Gabriel and Kate Bush hugging.

Yes, you read that correctly. A looooooong hug.  While singing. Hugging–and singing–it out for five minutes straight. It is nothing short of amazing. (Ok and hilarious. Mostly hilarious.)

How can anyone feel bleak and hopeless after watching and listening to this? YOU ARE WELCOME. 

Hugs (long, Peter Gabriel hugs),

Sarah

xoxo

 

And Then…Growth.

A few months ago my friend gave me a plumeria cutting. Even if you have never heard of Plumeria I guarantee you have seen their blossoms: they produce the beautiful flowers that are used in making Hawaiian leis.

plumeria_flowers_frangipani
Source wikipedia.

When my friend offered me a Plumeria tree cutting I jumped at the chance to grow one. Until I saw what I had to work with:

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image source

That photo isn’t of my actual stick but I can promise you it looked just like that photo. I didn’t think to take a picture of it, likely because I did not think it would grow. I mean it is a stick. A stick that is supposed to grow into an exotic tropical flower plant.  I have never grown a plant from cutting, let alone a fancy pants tropical tree.

Well, I love a good challenge. I decided what the heck, I would try to grow it. I bought root hormone (who knew such a thing existed), followed some youtube videos on the topic, placed it in a semi-sunny and not too wet region of my lanai, and I left it alone. This is very important according to the horticulturist from Hawaii who is on YouTube. He grows hundreds of these sticks cuttings.  Leave it alone! he told me. Do not pull or tug or mess with it! (How did he know that is exactly what I would have done??) The fragile roots need lots of time to grow and grow and grow.

I left it alone. It was so hard but I did not poke or tug or anything.

About a month or two later a leaf appeared. I went bananas bonkers. Oh my goodness it was growing!!

Again, I didn’t take any photos because I think I was still in disbelief, but it looked basically just like this:

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Photo source.. Not my stick with a tiny leaf but it looked just like this.

Now, several months after that first sign of growth, I am very excited to share a photo of what it looks like today:

Wow right? Look at all those huge tropically leaves! It is amazing. 

Keep the faith. So often when we feed a garden, whether inner or outer, it can feel like nothing is happening. And then, boom, growth

I hope that the next post I show are of blossoms.  (Inner and outer both.)

(And just as beautiful: my husband can no longer joke about my black thumb. Yeah that’s right hubs, you are looking at a wife who grew a plant from a literal stick placed into soil*. Bow down sir. Bow down.)

*I just accidentally typed “placed into soul” instead of “soul” – revealing no?

How I learned to embrace 6AM and write in stolen time

My grandfather Karl woke up every day at 5:30 am. Voluntarily.

I am not normally a Karl. Not by a long shot. I’m more of a watch-Gilmore Girls-Reruns-until-1am kind of gal.

sunrise
Sunrises. Something new to me. (photo my own.)
That is, until recently.

My toddler wakes up early. Like 6am early.

I used to dread these mornings. I would barter with my husband in an attempt to weasel out of 6am childcare duty. And when I did get stuck with the morning shift, I would drag my blurry-eyed self to the couch, plop the child in front of the tv (no shame amiright?), let  Peg + Cat do its thing while I mindlessly scrolled through Facebook, sipped coffee and pined for more sleep.

I’ve had a recent change of heart about these mornings. Now I eagerly get up with the kiddo and I’m not ashamed to admit there is even a little spring in my step.

I’ve embraced these early mornings as my stolen time to write.

I was inspired after hearing Tara Mohr encourage women (and men) with care-taking responsibilities  to  embrace stolen time as a way to create art.  Yes, I know it sounds crazy. You say, but Sarah, I don’t have the time, or energy, or caffeinated beverages necessary for this task. This is the thing: it doesn’t matter.

By showing up anyway, you join a long tradition of creative fore-mothers who had no choice but to create in their own stolen time.

It makes sense. Great-Great-Aunt Mabel, you want to be an artist? Better stitch a quilt while the baby sleeps. Oh, and you want to work with fancy textiles? Fat chance. Here, why don’t you turn these *actual rags* into gorgeous quilts.  And quick, now.  That butter isn’t going to churn itself!

Adopting this new perspective was the swift kick on the butt that I needed. No more whining, no more wringing of hands. Time to sit down and write. In my stolen time, with stolen materials. (Well the stolen time thing is accurate. I promise I’m not writing on a boosted laptop.)

Which brings me back to my decision to embrace my inner early-bird. (With coffee though—let’s not get too crazy OK?)

I have created a new routine, my friends. As I type this, it is barely light out. I make my coffee and settle into my desk with my official Skunk Ape Headquarters coffee mug on my left and children’s programming proceeding on my right.

And here’s the thing. The more I write, the more I’m hooked. I now look forward to my morning writing sessions. And I swear my muse knows the new drill and shows up pretty regularly. It’s pretty cool.

Now, I rise at 6am, voluntarily.

Just call me Karl.

P.s. Share your own successes (or failures) of writing with stolen time. Feel free to comment below or on the Facebook page!)