Secret Alphabet

Hello Friends,

So, a long time ago I lived in an air shaft of an old brewery in the Mission district in San Francisco. I listened to punk rock and had black hair. I gave myself a tattoo (still regretting that particularly lame decision…) and in general, had a completely irresponsible experience, but a glorious one too while I figured out who I was. At least at the time…

There was this song by my favorite band called X and they were amazing. Are you with me? Anyway, they played a cover of an old Doors song you may remember. Soul Kitchen. In the song Jim Morrison refers to speaking in secret alphabets. Well, we took this rather literally (Hell, that is how I got the tattoo. I made the mistake of watching The Decline of Western Civilization which  showcased how to give yourself a tattoo.) and started writing our own secret alphabets. We wrote secret alphabets of things we didn’t like, things we loved, things we wanted, boys we had crushes on… I think you get the idea.

Basically it goes like this.

Things that I love about my life

A – Apples, Adoration, Artichokes,

B – Bumble Bees, Balloons, Ballet

C – Chocolate of course, Cuckoo Clocks, Coffee with cream, Crème Caramel, Champagne

D – Desire, Devotion, Daisies

E – Elephant babies, Excellence

F – Feathers, Frolicking, Fierce Loyalty

G – Going fast, Goals

H – Holy Places, Happiness

I – Ice Cream

J – Jets, as in being a jet setter

K – Knitting,

L – Love, Love, Love

M – Mothers, Monster Cookies, Music

N – Nutella on Croissants

O – Opulence

P – Poetry, Pearls, Presents

Q – Quilts of all kinds

R – Roses, Rainbows, Ranunculus, Reading

S – Snuggling

T – Tea in a proper cup

U – Undulating wheat on a windy day

V – Vows, Veils, Venice

W – Watching Waves

X – The band of course…

Y – Yonder places

Z – Zyrtec (it cures what ails my family, particularly during these months)

So, that is how you create a Secret Alphabet. Let me know what you come up with when you write yours!

Love,

S

T is for How We Spend Our Time

Hello Friends,

I read a couple of interesting posts lately about time and the value of time and the waste of time. As I approach a milestone birthday this year I find myself questioning more and more what I am doing with my “remaining” time.

Do you ever ask yourself this question? I am betting that you, just like me, have questioned how you use your time. I know I want to use my time more efficiently. I want to do more with less. I want to make the most out of each moment I have.

But having said that, I don’t know that I need more hours in my days. Yes, we all want more time in a larger sense, but really we have little control over the number of days we have with which to squander or hoard our moments. We do have control over what we do with the hours we are given and I think this is where I find I must know what I really want.

What is of value to me?

What do I love?

Who do I love?

Where do I want to be?

Is this spot where my feet a firmly planted, where I really want to be?

Am I filling my days with minutia or am I filling my days with value?

Am I filling my days with purpose?

Am I filling them with fluff?

In knowing what and who and where I can then move to the how. For it is in the how that we find our place.

Time is not about using time to get someplace, to get to some end. As if it is truly all about the destination and not about the journey. We all know fundamentally that this is not the case. We know that it is really about loving and enjoying as many seconds out of every minute of our existence that we can.

I came across this amazing link the other day. If you are  remotely curious about others and how they live their lives this will be right up your alley.

Big-Thinkers-Time-Management-08-685x462From Mozart to Dickens

I am starting to build a better mousetrap with my time, by noticing more poignantly what is important to me and what I need to focus on. So, I look to those I love to make sure I am spending my time with them. I look to what I find myself drawn to doing, like writing for this blog, and I am making sure I have built in enough time to do this.

So, how do you fill your days? What is important to you?

Love,

S

 

L is for Loss

Hello Friends,

Choosing loss as my topic for this post was easy. Sitting down to write about loss is a wholly uncomfortable prospect. I sit here, looking out my window watching the gold finches and American blue birds flit through our oak trees, landing in the bird bath to splash water all over the baby tears growing beneath and I cry my own tears.

Loss.

Who amongst us has not experienced loss? Who has not felt that punch to the gut, to the heart, to the soul that loss delivers to us no holds barred?

Loss.

I don’t even need to think about it to know what losses are there. Loss is a catalog of pain and heartbreak. We all have a list written in invisible ink on a scrap of paper we carry around in our chest pockets. The slightest little whiff of memory can send tears down on that scrap exposing our list of losses. Exposing for all to see that we are brought low in pain with our loss.

Loss leaves us heavy on the floor. Deeply connected to the earth. I can feel my connection in the world, to the world, to the earth and all its inhabitants through my loss. No one is immune. No one gets out of jail free around here.

Loss.

I had a brother. He was fifteen when he hung himself in my mother’s garage on a snowy morning just three days away from Valentine’s Day.

Loss.

I was twenty-one at the time with a newborn baby. At the funeral my family was trying to keep it together. We were stoic. Waspy as ever. Standing tall in our going-to-church clothes. I held my newborn baby girl in my arms. I could bury my face in her blanket as I hid my tears. It was embarrassing to cry in public and it certainly was not the thing to do.
The church was filled with family and friends. Many of whom were friends with my brother. It felt like everyone’s eyes were on us and it was hard to stay controlled.

As the service began, my sweet baby girl, Chloe, started crying. Her fussiness led to wails. I tried to calm her, but she would not calm. I tried to soothe her, but she would not be soothed. My discomfort, my sorrow, my inability to soothe my baby or myself was becoming overwhelming when my step-father leaned over and whispered in my ear, “Let her cry Sara. Let her cry.”

She wailed. She cried. She sobbed.

Her little lungs filled with the sad air all around us and she spoke for all of us with each wail. What we could not share publicly, she did for us. Chloe was our talisman. Our mouthpiece. As she sobbed and wailed, we all silently sobbed and wailed with her.

Loss.

Love,

S

K is for Kisses

Hello Friends,

Don’t you love a good kiss? I certainly do. I was talking with a dear friend the other day about our marriages and about passion and the passing of time. We talked about how repetitive things can get in a marriage or long-term relationship. You know. Oh look, his socks are under the coffee table again. Stop making that awful noise while you chew. Must we always stop at Starbucks before leaving on a road trip?!?
We all have these experiences with our partner that can erode the passion a bit. Over time, those moments of renewed passion, adoration, and a quickening heartbeat can be further and further apart.

My husband and I went to a marriage workshop about two months ago. We have been married for about seven years now and while we love each other dearly we also have those challenging moments of utter annoyance and disappointment like any couple does. We also felt like we really needed to focus on our foundation. So much had gone on in our marriage and collective life over the last few years that it was time for a shot in the arm. A renewal.

So, we went to this workshop. If you have not heard of John Gottman or his wife, Julie Gottman, and you are in a significant relationship, I suggest you look immediately. They have this relationship stuff nailed. We are so glad we went to this workshop. For the record, we are not people who go to workshops or “touchy feely” stuff. We are pretty pragmatic. We have way too much of the WASP in us to enter drumming circles or share our feelings in groups. This had none of that.

Their theory, which is better explained in this book,

seven-principles-for-making-marriage-work

is that people need a strong base of trust, fondness, and admiration in order to create a positive lasting partnership. They have a seven step process explaining each part.

People, it makes complete sense to me. We were astounded and changed by our experience at the workshop. Here is a visual which shows what the seven components are. Without the bottom three you can not accomplish any of the others.

SRH Blog Pic

Sound Relationship House Overview

The one little takeaway that I want to share is this:

The six second kiss.

Anytime one of you is leaving the other or rejoining the other, you kiss. Now we all know how that can devolve into a crappy little quick peck on the cheek. This is exactly what my dear friend and I were talking about.

The passionless and perfunctory peck.

That is not what the Gottmans want you to do. They want you to kiss for at least six seconds. It is longer than you think. It easily tips the kiss from the affectionate to the, well, passionate. There is connection in that kiss.

Trust me on this one. A six second kiss on any departure or reunion. It makes a huge difference. It has for us. For it is in the little things, the everyday things, that momentum is built. It is in the cup of coffee my husband brings me every morning before he leaves for work. It is in the reading of the Sunday NYT together every week that we find our way as partners.

Go kiss the one you love.

Love,

S

G is For the Garden of My Dreams

Hello Friends,
It is that time of year when the garden wakes up and starts flirting with us all. The promise of great harvests both floral and food.

All the hard work of last year starts to pay off this year as our perennials assert themselves after a long winter’s sleep.

The vegetable beds are full of starts and sprouting seeds. Shallots. Carrots. Red bell peppers. Tomatoes. Twelve varieties. Lemon cucumbers. Yellow patty pan squash. Asparagus. Snow peas. Snap peas. Arugula. Kale. Oak leaf lettuce. Butter lettuce. Mustard greens. Spinach. Red Sail lettuce. Green leaf lettuce. Broccoli Raab. Fingerling potatoes. Yukon Gold potatoes. Shishito peppers. Basil. Rosemary. Chives and more chives. Mint. Oregano. Marjoram. Thyme. Italian flat leaf parsley. Meyer lemons. Five trees because I love them so. Lime Trees. Blueberries. Six varieties. Strawberries and more strawberries. Raspberries.

Roses are blooming.

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Calla lilies are standing tall and pure.

Lemon trees are blossoming with the promise of hot tea on a cold winter afternoons.

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Little strawberries are turning rosy in the sun.
Raspberry canes are struggling to free themselves from their enclosure.
Asparagus spears poke their tips up through the soil, reaching for the sky.
Lettuces, wet with morning dew lean against each other in support. Safety in numbers.

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Lavender blooms vigorously knowing its season end is fast approaching.

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Oleander dances together on the hillside, branches waving to some hidden rhythm.

This is my garden. This is where I find my pride. This is where all things are possible and they show their various vibrant colors in support of the common goal. Let us all nourish each other with love, tenderness, hard work, and consistent devotion.
Love,
S

Mighty

Hello Friends,

Mighty.

I want to be mighty.

I want to be mighty with my love.

I want love to be my sword, love to be my shield, love to be my strength.

I am not a religious person in the typical sense. I do not currently go to church. I do not pray. But I do believe. I believe in the mighty power of love. When we do anything, with love, we are where we need to be.

When I operate from a place of love, even when negotiating a deal or teaching middle school kids, or making dinner, or paying bills, I am creating greatness and goodness in this place we walk through. To be mighty is to be merciful. To be merciful is to use love. I want to be merciful in all the things I do. I want to be merciful with all I come across. I want to be merciful.

So I choose love as my cape. I choose love as my ammunition and with it I am mighty. For it is in the moments of mercy that I am my strongest. I am my mightiest when I operate with compassion and love and mercy.

Mighty.

Lisa Jo Baker has an interesting task every Friday. She calls it Five Minute Friday and it is a writing exercise posited around a particular prompt. You write to the prompt for a total of five minutes, uninterrupted, unedited, and then you link your writing to her site. As well, you go back and read two entries and comment on them.
She has, in effect, created a writer’s workshop. I love this and find it fun to participate in whether or not I had a blog. It is about the writing after all.

 

Love,

S

Joy

Hello Friends,

I choose joy.
I choose laughter.
I choose happiness.
I choose guffaws.
I choose giggles.
I choose smiles on rainy days.
I choose joy.
I choose love that arrives in the middle of the night.
I choose the sunrise and the sunset and all the moments in between.
I choose kisses that leave me breathless and hugs that make me swoon.
I choose unbridled enthusiasm.
I choose positive energy and heartfelt prayers.
I choose joy.
I choose corny jokes, and raunchy jokes and funny jokes and jokes that aren’t really that funny.
I choose cheering for those we love.
I choose spreading love.
I choose non-judgment.
I choose joy.
I choose the half-full over the half-empty.
I choose the land of good intent and the Church of Everlasting Hope.
I choose flowers, strong coffee, champagne, and linen.
I choose springtime and planting flowers.
I choose visits to art galleries and museums.
I choose road trips.
I choose good books, big beds, and snuggles.
I choose joy.

Love,
S

Lisa Jo Baker has an interesting task every Friday. She calls it Five Minute Friday and it is a writing exercise posited around a particular prompt. You write to the prompt for a total of five minutes, uninterrupted, unedited, and then you link your writing to her site. As well, you go back and read two entries and comment on them.
She has, in effect, created a writer’s workshop. I love this and find it fun to participate in whether or not I had a blog. It is about the writing after all.