On The Things We Thought Would Come

I would have bet my life on it. I would have said there was a one hundred percent chance it would be. And then the things didn’t happen. They just didn’t.

We planted tomatoes in the late spring or was it early summer. I even wrote about the bounty that would come. I planned and dreamed and even longed with great expectation for the day. I announced, prematurely that we would have more than plenty and more than enough. And that we would share and give away. Joyously gift what I knew we would have to give.

I was hoping on things not seen. Longing for things to come. I had based my hope on the past. It had been this way year after year. We had experienced abundance. And thriving. And more than we could possibly enjoy. And so we would share this year. My mouth watered with anticipation at hot from the oven tomato pie and homemade pasta sauce made with basil.

Our tomatoes didn’t thrive. Yes, we had a few. But they would not win any awards. No matter how biased the judges would be (the growers). The cucumbers were “meh.” I thought we had planted squash, maybe they just didn’t come up or I missed the one that did while I was away for a few days.

And then there is the issue with our figs. The early spring cold front damaged the tree. Now the few figs we seem to have are being eaten by the birds and squirrels. We cherish the ten or so we pick everyday, rushing out to pick them early in the morning and late in the day. It is us against the cardinals.

I have lived my life as a glass half full person. And I am still that person. I am not Pollyanna but I am hopeful and mostly optimistic.

But I am learning that what we have now, what we have in these present moments are a gift. That looking forward and longing and dreaming are good. Even necessary and so integral a part of our humanity. I am a dreamer too. But these things we hold in our hand now are fragile. Sacred. Tender. The right here right now is what we have.

I will miss the tomatoes and the figs. I am missing squash from the garden with basil and onions four nights a week.

But the lack of fruit and vegetables from our backyard garden  has been a physical reminder, a needed remedial lesson. With the mild disappointment of a rather pathetic garden, I see through the lens of continued hope. Hope that holds fast and hard and firm. Even through disappointment. Even when we felt so sure we knew the outcome.

Life went a little off script. And that is increasingly more than okay.

Hope and faith which have permanence and staying power are hope and faith which ride out disappointment. Which wait for the tide to turn, for the next time, for redemption to color it all in technicolored grace.

As I work through the final stages of a writing project, I am reminded that the outcome is held in a place of unknowing. And I am increasingly okay with that. Because every step of the process, every word I have put down, deleted and re-written has somehow changed me, formed me anew.

Thank you for being here. For reading and journeying with me. You are a bountiful harvest for which I am grateful. You are friend. You are reader. You are co-journeyer.
You are subscriber, follower. You take time to read and to be here.  You listen. You listen well.

And I am grateful.

It would be an honor and I would be filled with gratitude for your continued support in these ways: if you would support my writing by liking my Facebook writer’s page, click the link here and if you would consider subscribing to my monthly newsletter, click here or at the tab at the top of this homepage. If you are on twitter or instagram, I am @graceappears there and there.

As a writer and artist it is always difficult to ask for help in these areas. So thank you. Thank you. Know that I am grateful.









And I imagine underneath
What seems to be a placid sea,
Life churns the silted sands of time
Years and years
In the making
Grains of brokenness
Teeming now with signs of life
Cycles of  the salty chains
Concentric circles
Old and new, life
In the quiet, creatures spin
Watery webs of
Sea life, below a murky grey tinged
Surface, ceiling to their room
Dwelling there in the

And I too
Underneath a paradox of quiet
Swirling, churning, cycles of this
New growth
Witness to ends and endings
Many to recount
In this space

I design my own
Land-locked home

And words leak out in advance
Of a watery avalanche
Story-telling prepares
To wash ashore

It will come
On the next high tide
Or the high tide after that

But waiting in the quietude
Life teems with
Pregnant thoughts

The words won’t wait forever

Quiet holds its breath
But for a season
Tides wait for no one

Won’t you come ride the swells
With me
Fueled by
Weeks of
The dam prepares to burst


Joining Jennifer Dukes Lee for #tellhisstory




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. 🙂


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.

Some Things I Learned In June

I am joining Emily Freeman over at Chatting At The Sky today as we join hands with our  lists, quirky, informative and random. We are over at her place sharing some things we learned during the month of June. Join me and others at Emily’s place for some humorous, informative, odd and fun list making.

Because I did not take copious notes during the month of June on what I was learning in June this will unravel in an organic sort of randomness, so hang on, stick with me, or go ahead and get out now while you still can.

And my personal favorite might be number 15 on this list, but I am not choosing a personal favorite because I don’t want to make the other random things I learned feel bad or inferior.

dolphin duo show offs

1. Teaching moments are everywhere and they can be teased out of a telemarketing phone interaction between said telemarketer and an eighteen year old. And yes I pulled the  “he probably has a baby to buy formula for” card, so be nice. A parenting moment for which I might want  to request a do over is this one–” how to be a patient Christian young man to an unrelenting telemarketer.”  When an eighteen year old picks up the phone and the voice says “are you a senior who is prone to falling” and it is not a robo call and he told him three times he wasn’t interested. Well this is when you try to teach “we all have to make a living somehow, be nice”.

2. People don’t whisper in libraries any more. When I was a growing up child, this was imperative, non-negotiable. Just saying. Things change. Any volume is “whateves”.

3. Days are like fingerprints. No two are alike. How can so many combinations of days exist. They just keep switching it up on me. Life is not boring. Never. Or is that ever. Double negatives undo me.  And so do tired cliches. Wait aren’t all cliches tired.

4. The older you get the faster summer travels. There might be a mathematical equation which could be formulated for the time, age, travel, season combination/thingy. I was never good in math and I only know this experientially which is how I learn best. Time flies!  Or at least this summer gig is going by in a blaze of glory. I will let the physics brain trust figure that one out.

5. Just when you think you aren’t one to get star-crossed, you are proven wrong. I went over the moon this week when I received a text message from Rita Wilson, Editor at Large for Huffington Post 50. Man I was giddy. So I took a grainy instagram of the said text message. Maybe I don’t know myself that well after  all.

6. You can learn a lot about humanity and stray cats and the price of deodorant when you wait in a line at the Dollar General. And wait…and wait…..and wait. You almost decide you can do without all the essentials you thought you couldn’t live without.

7. Friends you make through blogging are for keeps. And try to explain that one to non-blogging types who don’t have blogging friends.Go ahead, I am waiting. Because I might need some tips on the splaining part. This is a new type of “eyes glaze over” look.

8. Fresh fried shark is delicious. I was a doubter. I am a new fan. It is okay if you find that gross. I get it. But if you need a recipe email me.


9. Riding a bike is better than anything in the world. Well not really but it is awesome. Especially when your bike is turquoise with yellow flowers and it rattles when you pedal. I am a fan of just jumping on and going for little rides, a lot of little rides in a day. Cheap stress reliever.

10. Arugala may be the new Iceberg. Fifty might be the new thirty. Trader Joe’s coffee is my new fave and cheaper than my old fave. But I can’t say the name of the old fave because it might start something unpleasant. The internet is weird that way. I know. It happened to a friend of mine.

11. You can invite a published author to lunch and he will say  “yes that sounds wonderful” and that is a loose translation. But you get all giddy again. Giddy might be a new favorite word.

12. I am at the age where I am seeing a lot of facelifts. I might like faces unlifted.

13. A three man cheering squad is sometimes all the encouragement you need to submit your poem to Hufftington Post 50- 50 Poets project. Who can you encourage today?

14. A close up photo of a peach is really a new cool way of looking at an old favorite fruit. And you wonder if James got this close to his peach.

peach 2013

15. I closed down the comments on my blog for awhile and now I am opening them up. I MISS THE INTERACTION OF COMMENTORS AND FRIENDS ON MY BLOG.  Typing  in all caps sounds like talking loudly when you want to make your point really boldly and straightforwardly. And you don’t want people to miss the point you are trying to make.