A Few Things I Learned In July

Now this is really fun to write. I do hope it is fun to read. You have been warned that extreme randomness fills the lines of this post. I do  love joining Emily P. Freeman over at Chatting At The Sky, her beautiful blog home. I especially enjoy the series “What I Learned…..”. You may want to visit the others who have linked up  at Emily’s with what they learned this month. Some things are serious and educational, others are humorous and reveal a little  of life’s craziness and/or the writer’s personal nuances. You may even learn something new about this writer.

I will say, I may take creative license and include some things I have learned NOT in July but in general and about which I  feel  utterly compelled to share. You can try to figure out which item falls into that category. You may want to get out now. You have been warned. 🙂

482px-A_a_milne

1. I learned not to judge a writer by her writing. Well by that I mean this. I had a lovely meet up with two bloggers this week. Up until this point I only knew them by their blogs and social media. Amazingly they have two legs and two arms each and in this case they are both funny as all get out. I almost said something else but I didn’t. Self editing helps. I met Kendal Privette and Amy L. Sullivan for coffee at the quintessential coffee house, The Dripolator. These two women are the realest deal and both have hearts spun from pure gold. They drove out of their way to meet me. I am grateful. Thank you Kendal for the poetry book. I cherish it.

2. If you are leaving church,  pulling out into traffic from said church’s parking lot OR if you have a sign of the fish on your car, be nice. I am just saying. That may raise the bar on your driving etiquette but people, this is the time to raise the bar on yourself.  It is a good time to defer, slow down, pay it forward and just kill  ’em with kindness. There will be plenty of sweet tea at the after church buffet when you get there.

3. Editing is hard work. Well, proof-reading is hard work. My father and I are editing my mother’s book (twenty chapters long). Let’s just say it is not as easy as it looks. The next time you read a book and you find a typo, try not to be all, “Wow how did this book ever get printed and distributed, I mean with typos and stuff.”  We are proof-reading behind several people, at least one of which was paid to find the errors. To forgive is divine.  And I am convinced the eye reads what it thinks should be there,  we  often miss our own typos even after proof-reading five times or so. And thanks for grace here. I have had my few…..hundred myself.

4. One of the best places to dine out of doors is in my summertime back yard. Run don’t walk to The Grove Park Inn in Asheville. Well don’t run, just call and make  a reservation if you are anywhere near Western North Carolina. And don’t quote me. I just happen to have had a wonderful experience there. Who knows, maybe you will too. The sunset over the valley and the Asheville skyline are beautimous.

5. Walking through life with an aging  mother is filled with intrigue and wonder. I learned this in July and I am learning it in August and hopefully will continue to learn from it for the rest of my life. I will definately be writing more about that and Dementia here.

summer veggies

6. I am obsessed with Instagram and with taking pictures of food, seeing it increasingly as  art. Instagram is like an art gallery of the lives and art of folks I seem to be following– mostly family, friends, bloggers and magazines whose work I love. I am there at @graceappears on Instagram. It seems like a quiet place to be in  a very loud world. And yes, I realize that I contribute to the noise. Should I be following you.

7. Poets are some of the funniest people I know. At least the folks at Tweetspeak Poetry are. I recently participated in their “Take A Poet To Work Day.” Man that really caught on, like all around the globe. We started with flat puppets like flat Stanley. Whoever that is. And the rest is too hard to explain so I recommend you head over there and read the recap. It was a day of wit and whimsy and child’s play. Which takes me to my next point.

8. I am enjoying this summer almost more than I did when I was a child. And I am learning to play again. Though I am not quite there, I am making progress with becoming reacquainted with channeling the inner child. (see Instagram for examples of summer fun.)

summer picture JULY

9. When I make a salad, I am at my easel with paints and brushes and a blank canvas. One of my new favorite “paintings” is a peach salad. Here is the recipe. Fresh greens (I used red leaf which is not always a favorite but it was perfect here.) Fresh Peaches ( I like the peel on) sliced thinly and then cut bigger than bite size. I know I am weird that way. Blue cheese or gorgonzola crumbes. And candied walnut pieces.(I found them in the produce section. And then a vinegar and oil dressing. I added rotisserie chicken. Yummers. A meal.

10. I am thinking of and dreaming of two things. (Well more than that but…..you know what I mean.)  I am going to begin to look for a publisher for a poetry book and I am dreaming of collaborating with another writer or musician on some song lyrics. Let me know if you know anything about either of these so that I don’t spin around in circles endlessly dreaming and scheming. Who knows, maybe by August’s list of “A Few Things I Learned in August” I will be able to report what I now know about dreaming of writing and publishing a poetry book.
trio in nature

11. I am amazed at the quality of my camera phone. #oldschool not an #iphone.  And I am still using and totally  obsessed with Pikmoney. (pikmonkey dot com) I don’t always photo edit, but when I do it is with Pikmonkey. Instagram has it’s own fun filters. But you already knew that.

See you in August. Wait. No. I hope I will see you around here before then. Poetry is popping up all over and almost daily. Sort of like the mushrooms. It is like the summer of mushrooms with all the rain, they are taking over. I digress.

Food, Fellowship and Healing – Letters From The Village

mcvl sunset and tree:puddles

mcvl sunset after rain

We sat down and it all began. The flow of life, the pulsing heart beats of woman, of writer, of friend, of fellow Christ-follower. And the synchronization of all the labels and titles and banners we wear meld into perfect harmony. And we are just two souls. Hungry.

We begin a marathon of interchange. And food may be the anchor but there is a long thread which forms a tether between her vessel and mine.

We have stories that are untold. Don’t we all. Life can find you storing up more than you know when you walk out your days at a decidedly quiet pace. Hours of parenting and wiving and mothering and living can fill a soul with much to peel back. Processing is an act of revealing. Sharing a meal can set the stage for sharing a life.

And food is our anchor.

When she brought it sur table it was if a painter unveiled the master’s most recent canvas, her soul work. Or that of the chef. Art as food. Food as art. Our beautiful anchor was photo-worthy. Fried green tomatoes and shrimp from a stone’s throw away, the bounty of the sea, from the very village where she and I meet for more than nourishment for the body. On a bed of greens, the pinks and greens laid out in perfect symmetry surrounded by slices of sun-burst orange slices dancing along the rim of the plate. And diamonds of pineapple slices popping up here and there for sweet delight.

The senses are delighted and the heart follows suit.

And this could be the story of a writer’s lunch. And it was. Or this could be a story of a girl’s lunch half-way between our island home and Charleston, the holy city, the port city, the city of stories and a gourmand’s haven. The heavenly delights of that place. (I met the Patient One there back in the 80’s. You should know this important piece of my story if you read here. Writer’s sigh inserted here.)

mary margaret mcclellanville

But this is a story with chapters of mother’s at lunch breathing words of their children between and over bites of fried green tomatoes. And one with pages of writers chewing on writing and words and the passions that stir line after line on blogs and beyond. Of poetry, story, redemption and grace. 

Of poetic prose. And of dreams cast with nets that reach beyond blogging.

But I know well that the only real story which I can rightly tell is the one which is mine. The one which I live. So  I will not speak for her. She does that well daily in her exquisite voice of redemption and story, blended and baked up with perfectly timed phrases, going heavy on heart.

So I bookmark the chapters that tell of healing. And I highlight the parts which taste like restoration to the delight of my tongue. I savor that we who have come from a storm, a schism and a breaking can come in peace. That we, who found ourselves on opposite sides of a whirlwind in our church community, can break bread over the table of wholeness. No strife. No division.

Simply lovers of Christ, lovers of words and lovers of life, lovers of peace.

Building a friendship and walking around the frayed edges of the broken places. Seeing the common ground and overlooking the differences, whatever they are. 

Tasting and seeing that He is good indeed. In all seasons. That the God of our lives is a lover of relationship. That wholeness and healing are good and fill the soul with nourishment of grace and mercy. 

That the fruits of the Spirit may be the most delectable of all there is to bring to the mouth of the soul for growth in Him.

So she and I hug and part ways and promise to do this more often. We lose track of time and lose track of more than that. All that division. And we focus on the hungry parts of all woman, the need for friendship, relationship. A longing for a listening ear and a shared understanding of the joy and the struggles of this messy living.

And we plan to come around the anchor again. The one that keeps us decidedly in community. See clearly that need to break bread, to feast on fellowship. To heal relationships.

The anchor of love.

wall of windows when love is hard

Joining Jennifer Dukes Lee  and Emily Wierenga today. The community of writers at Imperfect Prose of Thursday’s is writing on the word prompt, food.