Wednesday, April 20, 2011


Last night was the final Habitat for Humanity Women Build clinic at Lowe's.

The "lesson" was about siding--a skill I can't imagine having any use for in my daily life. But Gina had hinted at a surprise for us, so I found myself racing out of the house early to make sure I didn't miss a minute.

Attendance was light, no doubt due to it being a holiday week coupled with the post-rainstorm flooding of the Passaic River that has hit the area hard. Our intrepid group was more interested in talking about the location of this year's "build project" in Paterson than in learning the surprisingly simple secrets of applying vinyl siding to plywood. Construction is set to begin in early June, and we agreed to exchange email addresses and choose a day to go build together.

There was also a fair amount of dissing by the veterans in the group about the just-announced wall-raising kickoff event that had quickly been booked to capacity. It was disappointing (but not surprising) to find out that it's more or less a PR thing where people show up just for a photo op with the celebrity chair (Patti Scialfa for several years running.)

The evening concluded with a visit from the store manager, who handed out gift-wrapped T-shirts and thanked us for participating. There was plenty of hugging and promises to keep in touch. As I left with my parting gifts (my work apron and Gina's homemade Rice Krispie treats), I took with me a sense of accomplishment and high hopes that we'll all cross paths again. Because as much as I've loved learning to tile like a pro, the true gift of the past few months has been becoming part of a new community of women. Women with a purpose. Dedication. And heart.

Women build, indeed.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Revealing My Sources

This is for my friend who blogs at Oak in the Seed.

She asked if I'd share some of my "sources of inspiration" and I am happy to do so. With a few caveats:

1. I don't love everything about all of them.
2. I don't read them daily: I like to pick and choose and flit from one to another.
3. I have Stacey to thank for getting me started.
4. Most of them are linked to each other in some way.

That said, they are keeping me entertained and engaged in my creative process. And many of the prompts have yielded fascinating results:

1. Jamie Ridler Studios: I'm doing her Sparkles online course and loving it.
2. Creative Every Day: The word-of-the-month thing has really struck a cord.
3. Wise Living Blog: Tara Mohr's site is just lovely.
4. The Daily Love: He's so annoying....but sometimes so spot-on.
5. Susannah Conway: Photos to die for and the Unravelling course is very enticing.

Care to share yours?

Monday, April 11, 2011


I should write about the Omega NYC retreat I went to last weekend. As Stacey, who'd invited me to join her, aptly put it: "We should take pictures--it's blog-worthy, right?" Indeed it was: Geneen Roth, Elizabeth Lesser and Joan Borysenko led us on a magical exploration of what it means to be resilient.

But I don't feel like writing about that.

I should write about the weekend before that: my annual March retreat to Ocean City, NJ with my sister, Deborah. It was totally blog-worthy, too. Surprisingly sunny days filled with beach walks, meandering talks, fantastic food, and shared intimacies.

But I don't want to write about that, either.

Why not?

It's too hard. Finding words to express these experiences feels like an overwhelming task. The depth of emotion. The power of the realizations. The sensory overload. Exhausting!

And yet these weekends were so pivotal in so many ways. Surely they should be cataloged. How else will I remember all that I felt and discovered? And how else can I possibly share all of this amazing stuff?

Well, like it or not, blogging works best for me when there's no "should" involved. When instead of being mandatory, it's just the handiest self-expression tool in a given moment. So what I want to write about is this: When Deborah and I walk the shoreline in search of shells, she encourages me to expand my definition of what's worth keeping. To be open to the beauty in the broken ones. To recognize the potential lurking in a textured sliver or a partially-exposed spiral. To rise to the challenge of using memory or imagination to fill in what's missing.

This morning, through the lens of my camera, snapping quickly so as not to make them too precious, I saw what she meant.