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Red Right

Is there a red right…a spontaneous arrival of color without my notice…practically everywhere?

My computer…

Red RightRed LeaningsAnd videos, glass, pictures…

Pretty RedBaby PaintCactus FlowersRed Window GlassBags and Beads

In my clothes and accessories…
Blouse

In fun kitchen purchases…
Scarves
How has it happened?

I thought I was a blue person!

Maybe I’ve changed…

Or maybe I knew long ago it was my color when I chose to be born in July instead of September! Maybe I needed that ruby birthstone at the heart of me! 

As a teenager did I know when I decorated my room with pink walls, red rugs, red and pink flowered curtains?

And now I remember a time when I turned from red…I was ūüĒ• fired from a job I’d tried hard to master. Never mind I was young and struggling to make sense of a complicated business and balancing demands of small children and a husband’s demanding and stressful career. My confidence had grown and showed in one of my favorite dresses: red and black print with fitted bodice, broad shoulders (1980’s style!), and paired with low-heeled red pumps. 

After the rude dismissal from that management position, I had an odd but insightful meditation. I came to believe red was a problem! Maybe RED was the cause of my problem!

Fire ūüĒ• red!

Angry RED!

Quick to judge RED! Blaming red!

I turned to pastels and muted shades and non-threatening grounded black and charcoals. And creams. And then I started feeling tired and bland. Boring! Was I the cause? Did I bland myself down to detract attention from my obviously flawed self? That self who failed me…Who failed to conquer the career and mothering and friending and spousing and daughtering, sistering, creating the life I wanted?

Now I think it wasn’t that at all. Like a plant…I flowered one season…and then I withered, and rested in cool soil until a nurturing warmth brought me out again with growth, and glossy red petals…

And I know now red wasn’t wrong. It was wrong time, and wrong place, and wrong focus. It was me heading a direction…and then being redirected, sent back down to my roots. And now it’s red’s time to bloom in shameless beauty! It’s my comeback color! My ruby heart and passion. Red are my words…love beads on a string…

Seas Just Beyond Sight

Can you imagine seas just beyond sight?

Can you believe in returning tides even as they slip from shores?

Do you sense nature rising in every breath and breeze and trembling branch?

Can you believe perfection reigns even in chaos and destruction?

We are all¬†part of a constantly rebalancing masterpiece…

Even as dawn comes, do you dread returning night?

Do you forget where dreams are made?

Just Beyond

College Preparations and Scholarships

College Preparations And Scholarships

College preparations and scholarships weren’t on my mind much in¬†high school! A blogger’s post about scholarships recently launched me into memories of an April long ago when I left home for the first time. I was only seventeen…

Though I did attend Oregon State University the next fall through a “lucky” series of happenstances, it would’ve been¬†better to have put thought and effort into college preparations and scholarships! It would’ve been much less costly, both emotionally and financially!

Read some fabulous tips for scholarships here, then come back for more of the story!

My dad was a farm boy from Idaho, second to the youngest with ten siblings. His mother suffered “blue” periods she could not shake and left the farm when he was nine years old, about 1943. With the oldest boys leaving for the service, and no wife at home,¬†surely¬†the¬†load on¬†my grandfather was large. By seventeen, my dad was expelled from school for fighting. He did work hard though¬†at home and on neighboring ranches. That summer,¬†he met a “city” girl from nearby Lewiston, Idaho. She was to be Valedictorian of her class. Except¬†she fell for¬†the¬†sweet and funny farm boy. By the end of January 1952, they were expecting and married. She was expelled from¬†senior year of high school for being a poor example.

Twenty years later, the summer I turned seventeen, my family moved from the town where I grew up on the Columbia River in Oregon. I was excited to move to Walla Walla, Washington! It was bigger!

I was terrified on the first day of¬†my senior year in a new school!¬†It¬†had modern buildings scattered across a grassy campus with a creek running through! I worked evenings and weekends¬†at an independent¬†shoe store in the¬†mall where my dad was¬†Assistant Manager of a discount store. I quickly made¬†friends and joined a high school service club.¬†The boy¬†I’d been dating before moving had gone on to college.¬†I had other offers for dates¬†from boys I was meeting at school, and I was having so much fun in the new town!

But all the adjustments squeezed out thoughts of what I’d do after graduation!

Before we moved, I thought I’d¬†go to Oregon State University¬†to major in Textiles, Home Economics, Interior Design, or¬†Education. But I didn’t save any money. And my parents were no help in “future planning.” They were¬†adjusting to new jobs and downsizing to a small house with¬†three teenagers at home! At seventeen, my older sister had married¬†a soldier going to Vietnam; she left home, graduated high school, took business courses while holding down a full-time job and tending a baby. I definitely wanted a¬†different path! But planning the route was far from my mind! At least until¬†one day in December…Friends at school were discussing¬†SATs and asked, “How’d you¬†score? Where are you applying for college?”

I stared back blankly. I vaguely remembered hearing something about SATs…Was it too late? Wasn’t there still plenty of time to apply to colleges?

Wow! Many thanks to my new friends for alerting me to impending failure to launch! I did not want to be stuck going to community college and living with my parents and two brothers! That I knew for sure!

I scrambled to take the ACTs, and¬†scored well enough to get into a state school with¬†good grades and credit for community involvement. But where should I apply?¬†I could “imagine” myself attending OSU as originally hoped, especially since it was only forty miles from my sister!¬†I did apply only there,¬†and thankfully, was accepted! Hooray! But there was a problem. “Out of State Resident”¬†tuition would be double!¬†And I’d applied for no scholarships or financial aid! There was one glimmer of possibility though: a loophole in residency requirements (those have now been changed).

While¬†on¬†Spring Break, I visited OSU again, and my old hometown. I described my dilemma to a former classmate: my only chance to afford OSU was¬†graduating from an Oregon high school, away from parents and¬†self-supporting until college started! Then I could be considered for “Resident” of Oregon tuition. The friend proposed a solution: living with her family until the end of the school year!¬†I left home a week later.

College Preparation and Scholarships

I stayed six weeks with the friend’s family, lived in an apartment with another girl until we were kicked out, rented a room¬†from a co-worker at a retail store downtown. Moving into the¬†college dorm room that September was my fifth move in a year!

I do not recommend this method of college preparations! Plan ahead! Recognize your potential and your worth! OWN your future! Apply for scholarships, save money! Life should be more than happenstance!

College preparations and scholarships should start YEARS¬† before! Get excited and begin! College preparations and scholarships should start YEARS before college! Yes, that’s right, I repeated for emphasis! Sure, where there is determination and luck, one can go without planning ahead, but it is very stressful not knowing where or how to find the money and the energy to do it!

lured into craftiness like a kid

Lured by Craftiness

Is this you: lured by craftiness into doing more than intended? Do you dabble at something you want to do but can’t amp up the energy to tackle it head-on? Without preparing to do it correctly, do you just start…say, by¬†popping paint can lids and stirring with whatever you can find in the moment? Maybe a broken stick?

lured by craftiness

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
When not liking the tone of one, or the shade of another, do you start pouring and dribbling and stirring like a wild scientist?

And then do you – in your regular clothes instead of the paint splotched pants and tops and shoes already initiated with previous creativity – just dab a little somewhere? Just to see if you like it?

I might’ve done many things like this, more times than not since I turned fifty, and sixty. I often don’t feel I have the energy to tackle a job head on. So I trick myself into starting with a jolt of inspiration!¬†Once I get going, I can usually complete a chore. Or formulate an actual plan to do so. But then there’s no¬†thrill of the craftiness taking over!

Okay, so it’d be a better idea¬†to plan ahead, to assemble the proper supplies. But that can be off-putting.¬†Given time to actually think a task all the way through allows¬†fear, doubt, and laziness to¬†take over. It seems so much harder to go decisively about doing¬†a task, rather than¬†being led into doing it by the excitement of a progressing vision!

lured into craftiness like a kid
If you’re stuck in the “getting ready” stage, try going at the chore a different way. Try a little trickery! It’s fun! Let yourself be a kid again! Be lured by craftiness!

Are you a little like me? What things have you inadvertently been lured into doing?

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Love Story

Love story of Johnny and Viola began in Spring

He showed up in the garden unannounced

Covered in leaves and bits of straw, she hid beside a rose bush

He faced the filtered sun, smiled, waited and waited for Viola to show her pretty face

They share a name and striking good looks

Love story lives in the garden

Springing up with hope

Captivating us with wonder

And the beauty of another season reborn

love story

Story Cannot Be Silenced

Story cannot be silenced, especially a story of sorrow.

Sorrow has gripping presence.

story of sorrow

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If ever there is a picture of sorrow, it is this.

The story I endeavored to write in my novels (Mending Stone, Catching Rain, Seeding Hope) appeared in a dream in the winter of 1995. Two women, two lives filled with sorrow. I did not know the women, where they lived, why they cried. Many years I tried to capture their lament in the way I felt it. This picture of cracked stone, a part of a massive gravestone found in a cemetery in Oaxaca City in 2005, spoke to me. If ever an image in cold stone could hold emotion, it was this.

I don’t know why I dreamed the women as I did.

I grew up in a small town on the Columbia River of Oregon. The somewhat mild winters and long hot summers provide the perfect climate for commercial growing of fruit. Especially cherries. The summer I turned 16, my parents let me work in the orchards for a family where my younger brother also worked. It was my first job. By my age, my older sister had worked strawberry fields and picked cherries and held down a summer office job. But I had been needed at home to help with children my mom looked after for working mothers. It was thrilling to finally be allowed out of the house for a few weeks to pick cherries that summer!

I had no¬†definite financial goals: only wanted some spending and gas money as I was¬†soon to get my¬†driver’s license.¬†I had no idea how to pick cherries, how hot and dusty it would be in the orchard, or how tiring it would be climbing ladders, picking¬†for hours, carrying and dumping heavy buckets of fruit.¬†I’d told some¬†friends about the job. They were also hired and we were assigned a corner of the orchard away from the “serious” pickers, many who were migrants¬†from Mexico.

My friends and I probably did more talking and laughing than picking. At least, that’s what¬†I remember most. We were soon scolded by the owner for our slowness. He said some experienced pickers would come help us learn to work faster.

We were¬†surprised when¬†a big dusty sedan¬†drove up. Three men got out.¬†One was probably in his late 20s, two¬†might’ve been a few years older than us. And they were cute! The young ones spoke some English. And they were eager to help us. They set ladders¬†next to ours. They leaned¬†in close to show us how to properly and quickly pick the lush¬†dark red cherries. It was fun working beside these men and talking while picking. But the older man¬†became¬†irritated by the talk. He chastised the others in Spanish. We understood little of what he said except he was there to make money and wanted them to work faster. He moved¬†to an adjoining tree and the others followed.

It was hot.¬†I needed to take a pause. On the way¬†by the sedan, I was surprised to see a teenage girl sitting in the dust beside the back tire and weeping. She¬†hid her face in her hands. I felt terrible for her, but did not know what to say and she did not look up so I went on to the outhouse. Coming back by the car, I glanced at the girl with dark hair who had wiped her eyes and now looked back. I tried talking to¬†her with¬†my limited Spanish¬†from¬†junior high. My friends came over. Somehow we determined¬†why the girl had been crying. She was¬†about our age, and the wife of one of the cute guys. They’d been traveling and working for more than a month. She was¬†tired and homesick. And more than that, her heart ached for her young baby she’d left in the care of her mother in the south of Mexico!

I was mortified, and felt silly, white, privileged. I had only my smile to offer, a few kind words. My friends and I went back to work on our trees. The three men greeted us but kept their distance. Our hands worked fast picking. The boss came by with a truck to pick up fruit. We were surprised when the men poured some of their buckets into our boxes. It was astoundingly generous, undeserved.

We left at the end of the afternoon in my friend’s car. We had plans for swimming to wash off the sweaty dust clinging to our pale skin. The men and the girl waved goodbye. They would pick until much later in the evening. They’d sleep in their car or the small plywood “cabins” supplied by the orchard owners.

Cherry harvest finished a few days later. I don’t remember if we saw the men and the girl again. They’d ¬†follow the fruit and vegetable harvests all over the western United States before returning to Mexico. I passed my driver’s test, started dating a cute guy a few years older, bought new school clothes, and¬†vowed to look for other work in town: maybe in a store where it was not so hot and dusty. (I didn’t work cherry harvest again as the next summer our family moved to Walla Walla, Washington where I did work graveyard shift a later summer in a Birdseye¬†Foods plant on the asparagus belt.)

Through the years, After graduating high school and college, I married and had my own two babies. They were about teenagers that winter¬†I had¬†the strange dream. I was healing from abdominal surgery to re-suspend a drooping organ and remove several others I’d no longer be needing now that my family was complete.¬†I did not feel sorrowful letting go of¬†all possibility of making more babies. But maybe¬†that loss stirred something in me. Maybe my missing parts cried in my dreams for me to birth something else.

The¬†women in sorrow hatched a story in my mind and heart. I¬†raised the story up like a child gaining skill and confidence in words written and rewritten over the next sixteen years – the age I was that summer. As I look back now, I see the girl with face in her hands…her sorrow¬†reaches me across time and distance.

Want to know more about my writing? Read other posts, or hop over to my page: books.

Or check out Mending Stone, book 1 in the Possibility Series at Amazon

How My World Works

How My World Works

Does the world work for you? Is it similar to how my world works for me? Who’s in charge of making our lives? Is it us? Or someone, something outside of us?

These are questions I revisit when I’ve once again fallen off track, when I’ve allowed my thoughts and emotions to be lured from my core beliefs and practices. Yep, when I’ve listened too much to what’s going on elsewhere, and not enough to what’s going on inside me. And when I’ve again forgotten who and what directs my inner and outer life: me and my thoughts!

Time again this is demonstrated!

Last week, with my mind and emotions swirling around¬†distressing outside concerns, I pulled in,¬†rededicated myself to what I know works for my happiness: manifesting what I want for my life. It’s not hard! Focus is needed, though, and setting short term objectives. And believing! That last one is the hardest to maintain. But I had to get back to myself and my objectives! They are the only things I can control!

I wondered what would make me feel better? Hmmm. Selling my books! That always cheers me! How many? Three, in say, 48¬†hours. But is¬†that enough? How about five books? No. Ten? Yes, ten in 48 hours! But I didn’t focus in on how or where the books¬†would sell, or how I’d know if the goal was achieved. And true to that lack of clarity, 48 hours passed with no evidence of¬†any books sold.

How My World Works

It does take practice to accurately manifest fulfillment of our wants and needs. Just like beginning a new physical exercise plan, one needs to work at it, do a bit each day and keep upping the ante with determination and confidence.

The next day I went to the grocery without a list. But I knew what¬†replenishing was needed in the pantry and quickly filled my cart with selections. Then, I remembered we were out of potatoes. I returned to produce, had my hand on a bag of russets, but something in me said, “No.” I glanced around for a different variety. Red potatoes? Again, something said, “No.” I argued, “But we need potatoes for the week! I want potatoes!” No reply.

I left the store without potatoes.

Next morning, I was thinking we were long overdue inviting our friend David to dinner because of too many cold and flu episodes since the holidays. Perhaps today would be good. But I’d forgotten to ask my husband’s schedule. And maybe David, though retired and single, would need more than a few hours notice. Maybe he’d need to plan around his¬†farm chores. I debated calling both, but needed to do some household cleanup chores and walk the barking dogs, so I did that instead. And then I noticed some of our new gravel needing smoothing. I’d just begun raking, when a truck drove in. Stopping by without notice for the first time in nearly a year, David with a bag of his delicious farm potatoes I love!

Now that was a¬†quick fulfillment! I’d told myself, we need potatoes! I want potatoes! I hadn’t said, “I need to buy potatoes!” And I hadn’t specified when¬†they were needed! Was the next day fast enough? Yep!

I told David I’d thought of inviting him to dinner that night…But now that he was already there, I asked, “Have you eaten lunch?” No, he hadn’t. So guess what I did? I cooked him a delicious dinner for lunch, and we had a lovely chat! Replenished, we both went on with our daily chores!

The¬†day after,¬†while drying my hair, I was thinking I needed some new fitness goals. My husband and I are walking three miles a day. I’ve never been a competitive athlete, but I do try to keep off excess weight and to keep active. But, alas, age is creeping up in my over sixty year old body! I want to feel more vital, more energetic, more toned. But what activity besides exercise classes do I really see myself doing? Could I get excited about an athletic challenge? Would I do the work, commit to fulfilling a physical goal? Or am I too lazy? What have I seen others my age do but thought I couldn’t do?

Pole-vault jumped into my mind.

Our son and daughter were both pole-vaulters. My husband was a pole-vaulter through college and beyond. In fact, we attended a Masters Track and Field event for seniors at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon back in 2000. He vaulted, and I watched seventy-something women sprint with long poles down the runway and jump over the high bar! Afterward, they grinned with accomplishment!

That’s what I want: more grinning with accomplishment! I smiled at myself in the mirror, and wondered, “How could I strengthen¬†and be able to hang on a pole?”

I finished drying my hair, went to my phone, glanced at one post on Facebook, tabbed down one more post: story of strength building

And there are more YouTube videos: The Masters

Um, WOW! My mind is a comic!

I didn’t ask, “How could I strengthen and be able to hang on a pole-vault pole?”

NO! I wasn’t specific about the KIND of pole!

How hilarious! And¬†what an inspiration! I didn’t know there is such a thing as pole sports!

But there it was. An answer to my question!

And guess what else happened? Yesterday, out of the blue, someone sent me a message, “Hi. I finally bought all three of your books and am reading them on my RV trip. I have¬†enjoyed the first one Mending Stone and am looking forward to the others.”

Remember my first thought about selling my books? What was the first number popping into my mind? Three, the number of books in my Possibility Series: Mending Stone, Catching Rain, Seeding Hope. Okay, so confirmation was a few days after the self-imposed 48 hour deadline. And it was not the final number I thought of, but it was the first! That’s how my world works.

Is this how your world works? Now do you believe we make our own lives?

 

Seeds Carried

Righting Wrongs

Prompted by recent stirrings and struggles and desires for righting wrongs…I offer this call for renewal, a call for hope, a call for sharing.

 

Women are the joy and promise of change

It comes from us, shared in creation with daughters, sisters, mothers

We greet each sun with determination, our hands transforming ordinary acts with visible intention

All¬†may not seem right…And in¬†suffering, we cry –¬†not¬†of weakness –¬†but tears of process, tears washing away indifference and eroding erections¬†momentarily dominant

Our fortitude, our extensions of care make shifts

Goodness is birthed from seeds carried within

 

righting wrongs

 

 

How to Build Your Client Base by Delivering Workshops

Ever wonder how to build a client base by delivering workshops? I have! I know I have things to share, but I haven’t known how to go about beginning! Maybe public speaker Diane Allen has an answer!

Join Diane Allen for her talk on Facebook Live this Thursday, February 9, from 7-8pm.

Join Diane on her Facebook page 

https://www.facebook.com/dianeallencoach/Diane Allen

Let’s do it together! Let’s share the path of learning!

Hope in The Face of Hopelessness

(Find a post on twitter. Feel heart racing. Glance at the clock. One hour. Do it! Hurry! Don’t think, just write!¬† Rush to computer. Think. Draft in mind, I search for the website only to discover it’s already too late for flash fiction by 12pm EASTERN! I’m in the West! And it’s already after 11! Oh well, it is meant for me! I know this when I see Chuck Wendig’s site¬†and discover the title of¬†a book he wrote…You’ll know which when you read below!)

 

“Too late, too late,” she whispered. Shivering, weighted hands stuffed in pockets, she stared at the dark water chopped with wind. “Too late…”

She glanced to the white sky. Never¬†warm again. No sun to break in…

Her feet shifted on the wooden dock. Head tilted down, chest leaning forward, she stares down at¬†the pond again. Head tilts, waist bends. Momentum begins to shift…

A single trill on the wind pierces through.

Head jerks up, eyes scan dense bushes, return to the water. Waist bends…

Another trill, louder.

Head jerks up, scans the field covered in golden winter grasses.

There. He sits on a stalk of cattail. Red and yellow and black feathers bright against the dim sky, dark water, and faded vegetation. His head turns, eyes on her.

She shakes off a chill. He knows.

“Don’t.”

Her hands pull up, and down, releasing the weights to the water.

Her footsteps make a hollow call echoing from the old wood. Grass crunches under her feet as she runs, trills sounding in her ears…

“It will come!”

flash fiction challenge