The Deck


While Samuel’s hard at work, first the deck, now the landing and retaining wall, I have no project and feel a bit lost. For such a small project it certainly is a lot of work and the trips to the local lumber yard are adding up surprisingly in cost. I was even invited to go to pick out the stone path. That was a hot date on a rainy morning, bumping into another couple even older than us also picking out stone for a small garden project. 

“What is our purpose?” I ask Samuel, “Do we just get up and do it again day after day?”

“Yes, maybe that is our purpose,” he answers, barely looking up from his magazine. 

I press on, “You have a purpose. I don’t. The studio bores me,” I stated. 

“Well, maybe you need to do something different,” he responded.

He is right. I need to do something different. But with all the supplies gathered over the years, kiln, clay, glaze, and all the corresponding tools, it had better have something to do with all that. New horizons await. In the meantime, maybe my purpose is caring for this body I’ve spent a life-time escaping.

Being in it scares me, every little nuance making me wonder what is going wrong next. Yet being in it is what can also bring great joy if I work at it and try. Like caring for the burn that turned crimson and scaly. Taking the time to open a vitamin E oil capsule and gently applying it helped, rather than just ignoring it like I might of done.

That’s what others do naturally, care for themselves. And when they do they do great things like become exercise fanatics, yoga experts, lean bicyclists or runners, something physical to complete the whole. 

So my purpose is learning about my body, being in it as fully as possible, which takes work, time, and overcoming the fear. I tend to flee it residing in my head or hovering anywhere else but in it. What wonders await if I allow myself to go deeply into my given gifts?




I am a sucker for holidays, celebrating each one, always have. With spring bounding in so early the Easter decor cried to be brought out. Cindy, Poppy and I made Easter Baskets out of used egg cartons. I think I have more fun with these projects than even Cindy does. Afterwards I watched them both ride bikes in the driveway while sipping coffee in the sunshine, brisk breeze and chortling birds, nestling into my soft coat and hat. Ahh, Spring! I feel renewed and ALIVE!

Still, the juxtaposition of wintry weather one day and warmth the next causes havoc with brain chemicals and my spirit. Old hard-wired habits arise, excessive worry along with repeated thinking about one particular negative thought like a gerbil in a wheel.

After previous work on these pesky rituals I am much better equipped to use the ‘Stop’ technique, and replace it with a positive thought or memory chalking up it’s presence to the change in daylight. Coming into spring takes adjustment as challenging as the winter doldrums and the acceptance of less light. 

Sitting by the creek after a meditative walk tears come. My immediate reaction is to talk myself out of them and impose positivity. Then I remember Janet Cate’s recent post, a woman of great depth and wisdom. Allow all feelings. With permission granted, my mind, body and spirit settled and a wholeness was felt. Thank you Janet. 


As the sun set in west a golden glow appeared in the east…




Whenever I pick up a camera, Molly appears. Sit on my work why don’t you? So I shoot her as if she is a model, which she seems to think she is. The repeated click of the camera is so satisfying after using an ancient one that had to re-charge after every shot. (even though I have to do it one-handed…)

I have always loved hands; babies, old ones, my mother’s, all hands. It is the one body part of my own that I love… Hands tell a story.







OK, I confess, Samuel and I are barely speaking. That is the only way to find some space as cabin fever sets in grinding my teeth over his every move and word. So how do I entice him to cut out the next butterfly? Cindy. He cannot say no to her. 

The scroll saw was purchased so that I could cut out my own shapes but after a blade broke I begged Samuel to take over. The stress of wondering when the next blade will break along with no history of using power tools other than a food blender causes tenseness I can do without. 

“Poppy!” she yells, standing on a chair in my studio all set with goggles and ear protection. “Poppy, come!”

He sticks his head in the studio, “What?”

“Cut this out Poppy,” she demands. 

I didn’t say a word. He comes in and obliges. I watch them, his head bent over the saw, her as close as he would safely let her happy that he is doing as she bids. I sit by the door observing the scene feeling a bit like Tom Sawyer when he manages to get his fence painted without doing it himself. I feel grounded, full and satisfied, the love in the room like warm syrup.  

After the cut out I clean up. Cindy excitedly paws through my various bowls of beads, gems and stones. She has a natural talent for design and together we decide that this butterfly will be red and white to honor Valentine’s Day. She places each sparkly piece with delight. I like her choices because they are very good ones. We finish, both feeling it is complete and more would be too much.  

“Do you glue them on?” she asks.

“Sort of, but with this,” I answer showing her the caulk gun, but that is enough for today.”

Though disappointed she soon gets involved in cutting out hearts to glue and glitter. The ten hour day flies by. She is out of school with double ear infections and it’s her Mother’s long day at work. I enjoy her presence, energy and passion but as I lay down head tiredness hits like a train and I’m soon in deep sleep… 





Sitting under the morning full spectrum lights for twenty minutes listening to the morning headlines as usual, the local weather guy says it is 55 out even before dawn. He adds that you may want to howl at the moon. It is called a Wolf Moon. 

I cannot resist going out on the porch in my bathrobe and barefooted in a hurry not to miss it before it dips below the western horizon…I resisted howling.



And What to my Wonder?

The winter winds howl as temperatures dip to single digits causing a snow storm to make me stay inside all day. Cabin fever begins to collect in my bones and my head feels soggy. Grocery shopping was nixed as the white-out turned to freezing rain coating everything with ice.

We had Cindy to delight our day and make me smile, an endless ball of energy with a smile just as endless with rosy cheeks and dancing eyes. Through the night temperatures jet into the 40’s with winds waking me as it rattled the porch shutters and shuffled porch furniture.

A light beamed in looking like a planet that fell from the sky all aglow lighting up the shimmery snow. Stepping out in bathrobe and slippers before 6 am, wind whipped at my skirts connecting me to the force of nature…





Cory’s photos…

I can change many things, one thing I cannot change is being me. I grew up terrorized. My personality formed believing I was bad, dirty and unfit to live. I felt ashamed to be in public with the very same brothers who attacked me sexually fearing they would not want to be seen with a fat sister. The fatness came at age 8 after the first attack eating to appease my mother’s guilt and my terror.

I do not feel dirty anymore. I feel whole with access to my interior which runs deep, wise and compassionate. But the feeling part of me, the personality that formed holds a belief I cannot change; I am not worthy of love nor is anyone trustworthy enough to receive mine. I can change many things but I cannot change this. Maybe I have chipped away it more than I realize as I work on it daily, but the basis of my personality was formed believing it so it will continue to challenge me and need work. The more I work on it the less starved I feel. 

I’ve found moments of breaking through the worn cloth of my formed personality to feel a glow, the warmth of human love, necessities for all of us…but the moments are fleeting and the castle’s draw bridge snaps shut fast not daring exposure as too much betrayal will surely bring annihilation. How much can one risk?

I did not receive protection or touch that holds the purity of a brother’s love. That belief was founded, but unfortunately blocked out such sweetness from any further relationships. Guards permanently stand erect, the moat full, drawbridge locked, and the castle rock solid. Any touch frightens me at the same time I crave touch.

Good thing for cats. I have had cats and kittens throughout childhood and adulthood along with dogs, gerbils, white mice, rabbits, chickens, goats and horses. There are safe ways to fill a need if one is persistent in her efforts.

But I cannot change being me. I cannot go back and be someone else, a little girl loved and protected by her brothers. Things done irrevocably changed me and took much. Sex never became safe or satisfying. Trust, no. But I can trust my cat. That doesn’t mean she won’t take a swipe at me, but that I trust we can still be OK. And that give and take has been risked with human relationships too which also have their ups and downs. I am leaning into taking risks again. My time will come…



and my own photo of the little model…






(ornament from Cory when he shopped in a little European village at Christmas time while living in London)

Cindy’s exuberance brings smiles to our faces. Samuel says, “Can we bottle it?” as she crawls around on the floor meowing. Pretending to be a kitty she jumps up next me curling into a little ball like Molly. Such joy we are exposed to daily!

She brought a full bag of Christmas stickers and we work on the little table constructing scenes. I dust off the old camera because the newer one doesn’t do justice to close-ups. My urge this past summer to investigate flowers and gardens sprites all but dissolved. But this old camera makes the kids eyes glow red like children zombies.

I’ve had this cheap-o camera for about 14 years and never learned how to adjust the date, time or anything else except macro mode. Samuel hears my lament about glowing eyes and looks at it.

“Have you ever used the Portrait setting?” he asks after a moment. 

“NO!” I exclaim. The camera has 14 settings, but I have used only normal and macro. How do others do these minuscule tasks so calmly? Such fine tuning causes me great anxiety and a feeling of being greatly overwhelmed. Bigger obstacles impede the ability to complete finer complicated tasks. I call it Trauma Brain.

As peace settles and neurons mend I’m able to travel into new worlds of exploration and abilities. It is rewarding, full-filling and exciting. Today I set the date and time. I did it! And found a long lost friend that feels like an extension of myself and my hand.