Friday, May 31, 2013


As I sit here I feel the numbness under my right ear.  I*m told it should all wear off in the early afternoon.  I am sort of drinking coffee from a mug I rarely use.  I am dribbling.  The mug says Thank you for not being perky.  Thank you, I tell the mug, thank you... it is great to be honored in my non-perkiness.

Back from the dentist
My upper jaw is numb
Through my right nostril
And slightly
Under my right eye.
You will be able to eat
The dentist said.
Sitting here I think
You didn*t tell me
Drinking coffee
Would be such a challenge.
Sitting here
I dribble.
And I write
Numb of jaw.
I push my husband
To reschedule
His dental appointment.
My honorable aim
Is to promote his self-care.
Or maybe not
So secretly,
As I dribble,
I really seek

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Counting chickens

Clergy used to be paid in chickens and eggs (and other such things).  I*m back to figuring out what I will be when I arrive, much less where I will be when I arrive. God knows.  Of course God knows.  And pay?  Cups of coffee and an occasional chicken.  My friend says God holds up placards for me.  Yep.  It*s been a multi-placarded week.  I*m not sure how many placards I will need.  Probably a few more.  Almost certainly a few more.

I*m not much for labels.
I do believe Child of God
Is plenty good enough.
I still wonder
When I will ever arrive.
I will ever arrive.
If I do,
Where will I be?
I wonder
How to market myself.
After all
I*m not much for labels.
I wonder
If anyone will ever find me
Other than
By word of mouth.
I wonder if the practice
Of offering something
Hot to drink
A discerning heart
Will net anything more
Than the occasional chicken.
I wonder if anyone
Will know me
As God does.
I wonder if God is the only one
Who needs no explanation
And I can simply rest here
Count the occasional chicken
Simply wait.

DSM-5 (a haiku)

The Diagnostic Statistical Manual, Fifth Edition, arrived in the mail yesterday.  I am assured the editors see it as a work in progress.  I am skeptical.  Can a book progress as people do?  This is a reminder haiku.  It*s short; easily committed to memory.

They say it*s a work
In progress.  The book*s like us.
Exactly like us.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013


It was one of those days... a series of encounters meaningful to me, and, I realize now, to others.  A figurative flood of encounters.  This probably happens all the time.  It*s just sometimes... I notice.

Yesterday was a figurative
People washed over
My hull
In public places
And private.
I had lunch
With unplanned people,
Met them coming
And going.
I realized
I was part of the figurative flood
Washing over
The hulls
Of others.
I figure I know
Some of them anyway.
There is rarely any good way
To figure them all.
Yesterday I was flooded
And flood

Tuesday, May 28, 2013


We live here too.  You*ll just have to share.

The robin in the tree
Across the street
Has claimed our front lawn
And driveway
For his own.
He hops the blacktop
For worms
Or perhaps to mark
His boundaries.
This morning he thought
To stand down
The car,
Puffed up,
His chest more orange
Than usual.
We live here too
I said to him
You*ll just have to share.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Cloud of Information

I have to laugh.  Even as I write this, I know this blog is adding to the massive Cloud of Information.  Somehow this does not bother me.  So...what does it matter that someone might find out how many steps I take in a day, or whether my sleep was light or heavy?  Still... I am the child of the father who always overpaid his taxes, in part so he would be left alone.  I am the child of the father who sought to protect anything and everything.  This Memorial Day I am the child of the father who fought in World War II, who was injured in France, the only one left alive when his truck was bombed.  I am the child of the father who never talked about such things.

So many things
To pay attention to.
We have devices
Which almost mean
We do not
Have to pay attention to anything
The devices will do it
For us
Just as long as there is Wi-Fi.
The devices will chronicle
Every atom of sleep
Deep or catnap;
Every step we take
Or walking;
And oh so many
Other things.
There is an application
For everything, almost.
The apps will register it all
In the Cloud of Information.
I am the child of my father.
I just purchased
A pedometer.
It will count my daily steps
As I work up
To ten thousand.
It will not be registered
But in my head.
I leave my sleep
To fend for itself.
I am the child of my father.
The Cloud of Information
Knows enough about me

Sunday, May 26, 2013


I woke up this morning thinking about writing that owl reflection.  It is such a cool picture: three barn owls peering out of a rounded cross shaped window.  So I began.  The owls have yet to make their appearance.  Instead I remembered that breakfast with Possibility and Disappointment, and the later meeting I had with my therapist/supervisor/consultant.  Perhaps you could all hold hands, he said. Maybe you could close the circle.  

I am not on the roster
To preach
Yet every time
Trinity Sunday rolls around
I think what I might say
To clear things up
This time.
A few weeks ago now
I had breakfast with
And Possibility,
Just the three of us.
We all walked under the crabapple.
Possibility and I
Held Disappointment*s hands.
What if all three of you
Held hands,
Closed the circle
In the backyard
And danced?
He asked.
What if?
This morning I think
Why that would be
If we danced fast enough
No one
Could tell us apart.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

I was glad

Sometimes I wake up with a thought about what I will write... and then other things take precedence.  Like this.  Time to make a hot pot of coffee.

I was glad
To sleep
This morning.
It is cloudy,
Somewhat chill.
Bed held daylight dreams
Of my children
When they were small.
I was glad to sleep in.
The flat of flowers
Just outside the window
Beckons to be planted
In the empty plastic planters
In front.
I have not yet opened
The front door.
Not yet.
The cold cup of coffee,
The last one from yesterday*s pot
Oh come on
What is it to make
A fresh hot carafe?
I was going to write about owls.
This came out


Friday, May 24, 2013

Risk tolerance

Strange to say, or perhaps it*s comforting, or risky or...  I am back to the place of I can*t tell.  I know the risk tolerance quiz which arrived this morning has to do with financial risk... still I wonder how to measure any kind of risk, much less arrive at any kind of real answer.  Then to have a new client quote Julian to me.  

The morning sends
A quiz
For risk tolerance
As if there are answers
To such a thing.
I wonder about
The answer key
To the quiz.
I wonder if it measures
What it is necessary
To measure
But then
My eyes are focused
On different things.
I figure I could live in the middle
Of someone else*s back yard
Be perfectly
Pretty good, in fact,
In the Minnesota way
Of things.
Last night a client quoted
Julian of Norwich to me.
I keep seeing it
She said
I keep hearing it:
All shall be well
And all manner of things
Shall be well.
I reply
I*ve heard that

I*ve heard that too.

Thursday, May 23, 2013


It*s like mirrors, I think, when I read this morning*s inbox offering of yesterday*s blog.  Really I only subscribe myself so I make sure other subscribers are receiving it.  This morning I read it.  Usually I just note it*s there, and delete it.  This morning I read it.  I feel a bit like Alice.

I look in the inbox.
There is yesterday*s blog entry
Which itself reflected
The day before.
It*s a mirror
Reflecting a mirror
Behind me.
It begins a seeming endless looking
Or maybe it*s forward
I can*t quite tell.
I write this today.
I know it will arrive tomorrow
In the inbox.
I will say
Oh there you were
Where are you today?

Wednesday, May 22, 2013


Tendrils, the clematis, and me.  A reflection.  Thanks, Jen... for lunch and conversation and tying some more twine.

I left the clematis
On the front pillar
To grow by itself
A little too long.
It twined on itself
In a green twin-y mass
Of vine.
Now I spend time every day
Carefully separating vines,
Untwining leaf tendrils
Attached to each other.
Sometimes I have to call it quits,
Tear a tendril or two or three,
Trust that the vine
Will grow new ones,
Anchor itself
In better places.
Today I will tie more garden twine
Higher up the pillar,
Train another vine or two
Maybe the clematis wants to live closer
To the sun.
I demonstrated clematis tendrils
At lunch yesterday,
Hooked my fingers
Under the table
And tugged.
Today I will unhook a few more tendrils
Tie some new twine
Allow myself to be trained

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Metronome redux

I got a letter yesterday from a credentialing organization.  One more thing, it said, one more thing, and we will give you more letters after your name.  Maybe it will allow me to come at the official letters from another angle, I thought.  Maybe.  Get thee behind me.  Get thee behind me.  Then I saw the NPR metronome post. Oh yeah, I thought.  Oh yeah.  I am thinking of going back to that bookstore and setting all the metronomes at different speeds.

Before I started grad school
The last time around
I found the metronome display
In the bookstore.
I had no idea
There was such a wealth
Of metronomes.
I thought about starting them all
At different speeds
Then leaving.
I didn*t do it
But still
I smiled all day
At the thought.

Monday, May 20, 2013

The Beyond

Today was a funk day.  When I got in the car, the gas gauge said now, get gas now, or you will surely be sorry.  So I listened.  I was not late.  In retrospect, many positive things happened... conversations, mostly.  When I got home I opened the doors and windows... and heard the children playing out of the corner of my eye.  

After days of encouraging others
To look beyond themselves,
I was ambushed tonight
By the Beyond
It stood in my peripheral vision
Waited to pounce
Until I slightly turned my head.
The day did not begin well.
Mondays rarely do.
There was little magic.
Still the Beyond
Had tricks up its sleeve.
Sometimes it even wears a cloak
Of invisibility.
I cannot identify
Anything particular
Except now it is the end
Of the day
And with all the windows open,
I hear the children

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Pools of petals

A week or two ago I pointed out the flowering trees to the Spanish teacher at church.  It had rained and the dropping petals were beginning to form  fairy circles under the trees.  Isn*t it pretty?  I said.  

It*s so sad, she said, so very sad.

The mulberry peonies
Only in bud on Mother*s Day
Are full out now.
The petals drop
One or two or three an hour.
We just came home from church.
The table holds
A purple-red pool
Of petals.
We must have been gone
Longer than I thought.
It is a week
Of dropping petals.
The woman who teaches Spanish
At church,
When petals began to drop
From the trees:
The pear
The apple
The dogwood,
The woman said
Isn*t it sad?
Isn*t it so sad?
At the exact same time
I notice pink and white pools
Of petals.
I notice we see
Different things.

Saturday, May 18, 2013


The redbud is an amazing tree.  In spring the blossoms even pop out of the tree trunk, almost like nothing can contain them, there are so many.  It was fitting to arrive home yesterday from an amazing workshop, home from unpredicted encounters with unexpected people who told me what I needed to hear.  And then... and then... to find the sidewalk seams filled with fallen purple buds,   And then... to realize there are more buds yet to fall.

I drove home
Through flowering trees.
I walked up the front walk.
The concrete sidewalk seams
Were filled
With purple buds
Yet the redbud
Remains full.
There are more to come,
More to fill
More cracks,
More to stay on the tree
For right now,
And then
More to fill the cracks,
Even more
To line the way,
To light the way
To the front door.

Friday, May 17, 2013


Enjoyed the rain of pink crabapple petals the last couple days.  

The petals made
A pink pool
Under the crabapple.
Today the tree itself
Barely pink
Is instead
Dusk with a hint
Of rose
Like the sky after the sun
has set.
Black bones
Show through
The green  more of a promise
Than realization.
The fruit
Is still
a long way off.

Thursday, May 16, 2013


In my tradition, footwashing is part of the Maundy Thursday ritual.  I*m sure the number of pedicures rises during Holy Week.  With the warmer weather and in celebration of her upcoming birthday, my daughter and I got pedicures.  I usually choose pale pink nail polish.  On a whim, I chose red this year.  A day later I remember it is Pentecost this Sunday.

I didn*t get the standard pedicure
For Maundy Thursday.
Instead I met with a client
Under the footwashing space.
Today is my daughter*s birthday
We each got a pedicure
Complete with salt scrub.
I chose red nail polish.
I*m sure it has a fancy dancy name.
I didn*t look.
Sitting with a client today
I told him
God is always speaking,
Sometimes we hear.
After he left I noticed my toes
Painted red
For Pentecost.
Sometimes realization
Takes its own sweet time.


The Shedd Aquarium now has a Stingray Touch exhibit.  Yeah!  Find a small child and visit.  Even if you don*t have access to a small child, visit and remember the small child in you.  There*s nothing like it.  My son is now living in Minneapolis.  God willing he will visit this summer.

Over twenty years ago
I stood with a small boy
In his orange ball cap.
We carefully placed our hands
In the large kiddie pool of rays
At the New England Aquarium.
We visited the rays
Felt their slippery sandpaper skin
Sliding by.
We even talked about bringing one home
As a saltwater pet.
I remember the faded orange ball cap
The wonder in a five almost six year old*s eyes
The cool sandpaper feel
Of the rays
Simply gliding
under our hands.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

One a day

When I think about it, everything comes one at a time: clients, flower petals, even me.  

Sometimes clients
One a day.
This is a one-a-day week.
Hardly a way
To make a living,
A life,
Or maybe it is:
My life,
Today I watch the crabapple
Shower petals.
I prepare for my own
One-a-day conversation
At ten o’clock.
I focus on the rain
Of petals
The reign of petals
My own singular
Once a month
Sometimes things come
Once a day
Once a month
Like clockwork.
Sometimes they pour.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013


I like that Julian meditated on the hazelnut.  It helps in days like these, when I wait for something to happen.  It helps on days like these, when I wait.

It*s hard to explain,
A conundrum,
So I*ll leave it lay
For now.
Is a hard nut to crack,
A pistachio
With no easy way
Still I know
It is green in the middle.
Simply for just now
I will let it be
What it already is.
In time I may find
The potential.
Perhaps it is a hazelnut
I shall call it filbert
Maybe Fil for short.
I will hold it in my hand,
Roll it between my fingers
Know there is some kind
Of a future there,
Hard to explain,
A conundrum.

Monday, May 13, 2013


It is good to have friends who notice.

It is better
She says
To have breakfast
With the likes of Disappointment,
In the spring,
When the weather is warmer,
The light is clearer,
The trees full-blossomed.

How was breakfast
This weekend?
She asked.

I replied
I think we*re getting somewhere,
Wherever somewhere is.

Sunday, May 12, 2013


When I returned home last weekend I marveled this outside-the-box family, even the members I had never met before.  I caught myself thinking I am conventional, in comparison.  No.  Really... no.

I met extended family
Last week.                    
We walked through
The bird sanctuary
In the snow,
Had a close encounter
With a ruby-crowned kinglet,
The female version,
Minus the distinctive
Ruby crown.
My toes were frozen
By the end.
We are a motley crew.
I thought
I am the most conventional
Of the lot.
A ruby-crowned kinglet, perhaps,
In female disguise.
It seems I may have failed
I was a parish priest
But it was early
In the game.
Now I stand
With half a license
In mental health.
I have arrived late
In the game,
Whatever game it is.
It seems I barely know
I would not recognize it
If it hopped onto a branch
Six feet from my head
Like the ruby-crowned kinglet,
Without the ruby crown.
It seems I need
Yet another
Conventional guide
To birds.

Mother*s Day

I hope for my children the blessing of children... small, then grown.

Two amazing children
Not children
But now
Amazing young adults.
No mother
Could ask for more.
Very simply
No mother
Could ask for
Any more.
Blessings pour.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Possibility as the guest of honor

When I went to bed last night I realized that my vision for the morning had Possibility and me holding Disappointment*s hands.  I hadn*t realized Disappointment was a little girl.  She is.  I wonder what she will look like... all grown up.  I imagine she will still be late for breakfast, and prefer cocoa in her bunny mug,  Maybe I can teach her how to weed.  Then again, maybe not.

As I lay in bed
Last night
I went over the guest list
And plans
For the morning.
I realized I had invited
As the guest of honor.
She wears her silver hair
In a practical bob.
Sure enough
She arrived wearing blue jeans,
Hiking boots,
A workshirt.
She brought her garden tools
With her,
Ready to do some weeding with me
After breakfast.
When Disappointment arrives
As she surely will
She is most always
We will feed her eggs and toast
Find her special bunny mug
With two handles,
One on either side,
Pour her
Steaming hot cocoa.
Disappointment looks
Like she always has:
Very young.
A pinafore.
She has never
Gotten any older.
She does not know how to distinguish
A weed
From anything.
After breakfast
Possibility and I
Will take Disappointment for a walk
Under the flowering trees.
We will each
Take a hand.
We may point out an occasional weed
But most of all
We will help Disappointment look up,
Notice the blossom-laden trees.
Possibility and I
Will predict the fruit.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Possibility for breakfast

I am getting settled into the idea that I will probably not get that final license.  Of course, when I really think about it, I am already doing what I feel called to do, half-licensed though I am.  So I will sit at breakfast with Disappointment and Possibility tomorrow and we will take a walk under the flowering trees after we eat.

I think I will invite Possibility
For breakfast
In the morning
While the others sleep in.
I will make scrambled eggs,
Rye toast
And a pot of strong coffee
For us to share.
Disappointment may join us
For a time,
Share a bite or two.
I will even set her a place
At the table.
Maybe she will feel better
After a walk in the backyard
Under the deep pink
Crabapple tree.
The petals may be falling
By then.
Maybe the redbud in front
Will make
A similar offering.
Maybe Possibility and I
Will each hold a hand,
Walk Disappointment
Under the falling
pink/purple blossoms.

Save the poetry

It matters what we read. It matters what we place before our eyes.  I do like what I am already doing.  It fits with my soul.  Today I got notice that the Holy Spirit is following me on Twitter.  This is so much better than  random job listings.  I also receive poetry in my inbox every morning.  I will keep poetry and God reminders in front of me.

I survey what arrives
Every morning.
It*s time
To clear out
The job listings,
Look at
What I am already doing,
Hold it up
To the light.
I cancelled the first listing
Then I read
Three of the daily poems.
I saw
The Holy Spirit now follows me
On Twitter.
I kept that one.
Everyone should keep reminders
Of God
In his inbox,
Reminders of God
In her inbox.
Now I make sure
To save
The poetry.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Job lists

Thank God for the crabapple and redbud.  Their spring beauty will most likely be fleeting, with rain predicted over the next couple days.  I know from past years when the redbud lets loose, the sidewalk will be covered in purple buds, and I will process to the car, like a bride walking through rose petals.  It is good to know hope will be fulfilled.  Soon I may even cancel all those job listings.

Most mornings
Jobs arrive
In my inbox.
I have subscribed
To various lists.
Why I still hope for jobs
In the inbox
I don*t know.
I barely look at them
Still it is strangely comforting
To know there are positions
I wonder whether
They will be filled
By a blonde
Or perhaps by someone
With the right assortment of letters
After their name
Or maybe someone
Who has counted their hours
Exactly right.
The jobs arrive                               
In my inbox.
I barely see them anymore.
This morning the crabapple flowers
In back,
The redbud
In front.
It seems there are different things
To hope for,
Different things
To find.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

What a Dame!

Today is the feast day of Dame Julian of Norwich.  Dame Julian, of course, is the source of the title of this blog, now over two years in the making.  I added the .Period. at the end.  No, in fact, I spelled it out mostly because I forget sometimes that All Will Be Well.  I know this.  I proclaim this.  I believe this.  And I forget this, more often than I would like.  Today is Julian*s Day.  What a dame!

Today is Julian*s Day
What a dame!
She of anchoress fame:
What a dame!
Today I may sift through
Her Showings:
What a dame!
I hold a hazelnut
In the palm of my hand,
A hazelnut in both palms,
Maybe grasp one or two
With my toes
For good measure.
What a dame,
I tell you,
What a dame!
That hazelnut
Holds the whole world
The whole world
Beginning and end
All shall be well
And all manner of things
Shall be well
What a dame!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Open the door

Sometimes we don*t do things until the conditions are right.  Sometimes we don*t do things until the first step has been taken.  Open the door.

Not quite warm enough today
To open the front door,
Leave it open.
Maybe it will be
Later on.
Four weeks in
My client has left the door open
To his room to be painted.
He has cleared out the dirty laundry,
Fixed the closet door.
He has purchased the paint.
The room
Will be robin*s egg blue.
He waits until he can open
The windows.
Maybe this week
He says,
Maybe this week.
My beloved mentions
Meeting a former student
In an elevator.
The student told my beloved
How helpful he had been
With his advice.
What advice?
Asked the man to whom
I am married,
What advice?
Said the student,
The time you said:
Sometimes we don*t do things
Until we*re ready.
Open the door
I say
Open the door
Leave it open
Someday that room
Will be robin*s egg blue
The birds will sing
Through the open door,
Through windows
Flung open.

Monday, May 6, 2013


Another early morning dream.  I woke up puzzling about who this might be.  I think I*ve placed him.  I didn*t know he*d moved to France, much less that he*d joined the police force there.

Often people
From my past
Show up in my dreams.
Often they wear
Unfamiliar costumes,
Show up in
Unlikely places.
Last night a gendarme
Showed up
In the church office.
His face lit up
When he saw me.
He looked oh so familiar
But the hat
Threw me off.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

May 10 (for Sue)

We stood in the parking lot of the bird sanctuary on Friday.  The we included Sue Leaf, the author of the biography about my great-grandfather, Thomas Sadler Roberts.  The we included four great-grandchildren.  We had just returned from a bird walk in the snow, during which we had seen eighteen of twenty hoped-for birds.  Sue told us she had to make sure her hummingbird feeder was ready.  No matter the weather, no matter the temperature, the hummingbirds always arrive May 10 to her backyard.  They know the food will be there.  

She says the hummingbirds arrive
On May 10
Every year.
The hummingbirds arrive
May 10.
They do not care
Whether the climate has changed.
They do not care
If it is an unusually warm spring
Or if snow still covers
The ground.
They arrive May 10.
They do not wait
For perfect weather.
They know
They will be fed.
Let it be
The way it is
May it be
The way it is
May we simply know
Like hummingbirds.
They simply know
They will be cared for
When they arrive
May 10.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Surprise: an answer

Drove back home today to Illinois from Minnesota.  I didn*t get any writing done this morning, so perhaps an evening haiku is called for.  Seventeen syllables.  5-7-5.  Yep.  More 
in the morning.  For now, here goes:

Finally at home
I learned what I hoped to find.
Surprise!  An answer.