Love and Cookies-The Winning Entry

Congratulations to Laura Bergerson for her winning entry in the Mother’s Day 7-word mini-essay contest. Here’s what she wrote about her fabulous mom, Charlotte Eckart:

Mom: source of love, hugs, and cookies!

Portrait of Laura Bergerson and Charlotte Eckart

Aren’t they adorable?

Thanks to everyone who entered and shared their thoughts about their mothers. Your essays were all terrific, making it extremely difficult to choose a winner. Somehow the cookies said it all.

Share Your Seven-Word Essay about Your Mom

Happy Mother’s Day to all the beautiful, hard-working mamas of the world! In honor of this special day, I’m hosting a seven-word essay contest. What seven words best describe your mom?  Leave your “mini essay” in the comment box below and share what is/was unique about your mother. Humor is welcome! The winner will have his or her essay posted on my blog along with a photo of you and your mom.

Photo of Mom Green, Becky and Olivia

Here’s mine: Loving, supportive character with fabulous funny bone.

 

A Bundle of Sticks Can’t Be Broken

It’s my birthday week, and the simple act of adding another candle to my cake always stirs a reflective and celebratory cocktail of emotions for me.  While many people loathe adding another candle to the top of their cake, I say, “Bring it on!” After all, celebrating another year aways beats the alternative, as far as I’m concerned.

Last year I shared my favorite music with you on my birthday and reflected on the impact it has on one’s life (click here if you missed it and care to take a peek).

This year I thought I’d share one of my favorite gifts, which I think you might appreciate as much as I do. It’s one I received a couple years ago from my dear friend, Kimberly Reeder-Riechel.

Photo of a Bundle of Sticks Can't Be Broken

This seemingly delicate, yet nearly indestructible bird’s nest, sits in my office in a place of honor near my computer, and it knocks my socks off every time I look at it–especially when accompanied by Kimberly’s hand-written note: “A bundle of sticks can’t be broken.”

This gift reminds me not only of how much I appreciate Kimberly’s friendship and all the strong qualities that make up my fabulous friend, but it also reminds me that no matter how challenging life gets, I will always feel loved and supported by the many caring, talented and diverse “sticks” in my bundle of life.

This proverb, while simple, is a great reminder that as humans we are infinitely more powerful when we band together to support one another than when we try to navigate through life as individual “twigs.” After all, it’s a snap to break a single twig in half, but nearly impossible to break a sturdy bundle. Just try it and see what I mean.

Somehow this notion seems especially poignant this year as I delve into a particularly fiery social issue (click here to read more) and also push once again to finish my book in the midst of all life’s daily pulls. Knowing that my “sticks” are there to support me gives me a sense of calm and strength, and even patience.

This proverb also makes me think of others around me like my friends who are still trying to recover from Hurricane Sandy and those who are dealing with debilitating illnesses. It also makes me think of those who have lost parents recently or who are struggling to handle parenting issues of their own, all the while trying keep their humor and sanity. And of course, it makes me think of my writing and artist friends who continually try to keep the creative fires burning, who put themselves out there, who yearn to start or complete projects which have simultaneously inspired and tortured their creative souls.

I share my bundle of sticks with all of you to remind you that you are not alone, that we are all in this great big crazy world together; and to remind you that anything is possible with hard work and the support of those who care.

I also share my bundle of sticks to encourage you to be kind to yourself if you feel the need to ask for support. Asking for advice or help once in a while does not make you weak, but rather wise and strong. It shows that you are passionate about what you are doing and have the guts to reach out to make it happen.

The beauty of each of our bundles is that it continually grows and changes, getting stronger with each year and each new person who enters into our lives. I didn’t know my friend Kimberly when I was in third grade nor even college. In fact, I only met Kimberly a handful of years ago, when our daughters went to preschool together. I never could have imagined that such an important friendship could have develop in such a short time.

The same holds true with many of my writing and blogging friends. I may have only gotten to know some of you over the past year or so, but your words and personalities have added nothing but dazzling, colorful sticks to my ever-growing bundle.

On this day that I celebrate another candle, more importantly, I celebrate you, dear peeps, all the beautiful “sticks” in my life (you know who you are). Thank you for making my bundle impossibly strong and abundantly memorable and meaningful.

The Story That Was Told

Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined the story below being inspired by this photograph of a woman walking along an allee of trees in France, but this is what swirled together during a “progressive story” project I posted on my blog last week. Each person added a new line or idea to the narrative, and voila, this is what it turned into…

Photo of an autumn scene with a woman walking

I never imagined I’d be here at this moment in my life, but…

Grandfather told me in his last letter that he wanted me to always be honest with myself and others. I’ve chosen today to tell my family about my partner.

I never thought I’d choose the weekend of his funeral, but here I am in the very place I swore I’d never come back to, as beautiful as I remember, and still haunted with the very things time and distance would not let me forget.

I spotted Aunt Nadine first, who always had a soft spot for me, and touched her shoulder. For a second she didn’t recognize me and I braced for the familiar pang in my gut as my eyes searched hers expectantly. But then she smiled, and I felt the moment expand with relief and gratitude.

“How are you?” I whispered quietly. Without answering me, she asked, “You are looking restless and nervous; it seems like something is hurting you from deep inside.” I stepped back, shocked that my inner turmoil was visible to others, others I haven’t seen in so many years.

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A Story to Be Told…

Last year I was so inspired by my blogging friend, Monica Medina, and the clever progressive story project she created on her blog, Monica’s Tangled Web, I thought I’d give it a whirl myself. Monica simply posted a photograph and wrote the opening sentence to the story. Her readers then took the story and ran with it, adding new plot elements or emotional twists by leaving their contributions in her blog’s comment box. The story ended up being wildly creative and memorable.

So here it goes…based on the photograph below and my opening sentence, please join the fun and help create a story with me.

It’s important that you number your comment so that each person’s new sentence or idea flows in the correct order. For example, if you write the next sentence following my opener, you’d simply write 2. blah blah blah…. The next person would write 3. blah blah blah…. Simple, huh?

From time to time I may throw in a line or two along the way to keep the story going. When it feels like the story has come to its natural conclusion, I will post it in its entirety so you can marvel at your creativity.

Photo of an autumn scene with a woman walking

Here’s the opener:

I never imagined I’d be here at this moment in my life, but…


Paying It Forward One Flit at a Time

Flitter Queen CrownOkay, I admit it: I’m a Flitter.

I’m not just your average Flitter either; my golden crown proclaims me “Queen of the Flitters.” Technically, that makes me a Flitter Queen.

“What’s a Flitter Queen?” you ask.

A Flitter Queen is simply somebody who delights in all of life’s possibilities and flits from one thing to the next. A Flitter Queen gets deeply and passionately involved in an idea or project, then zippity doo, when she feels that magical spell of inspiration and opportunity swirl around her, she gleefully dons her glittery, flittery crown and zooms into action.

The core problem of a Flitter Queen, if you choose to think of it as a problem, is that she finds life so damn interesting that it’s impossible for her to stay anchored to only one project for any length of time.

For years this Flitter Queen fought her instincts and forced herself to stick to the plan, stay focused, not veer from the path, but then one day she had an epiphany: life is way too short to waste precious moments of inspiration.

Why not roll with it and see what happens? she thought to herself. You can always go back to what you were doing, but you may never know what is possible if I don’t follow your heart and your gut.

Photo of No White Glove TestA Flitter Queen, as you might imagine, is often an all-or-nothing person. If this FQ is working on a project that stirs her imagination, there’s no stopping her. No detail is left unturned while other mundane responsibilities get left in the dust–often literally (dear Lord, don’t come by her house to do the “white glove” test when she’s on a roll).

“Sorry other projects,” the Flitter Queen says breathlessly, “You’ll just have to wait until this new project comes to fruition. I’m too inspired right now NOT to make it happen. The rest of you will get done eventually…maybe just not in the order you had planned or at the speed you had expected, but you will get done. Be patient.”

This flittery little tale brings me to the reason my blog has been quiet for so long.

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Repost: Memories of 9/11 and a Wish for Dreams

As I sit here grappling with how to explain the horrors of 9/11 to my 8-year old today, I can’t help but recall that gut-wrenching day like it was yesterday. I doubt there’s one among us who doesn’t feel the same.

Last year, on the 10th Anniversary of 9/11, I wrote an insanely long blog post recalling the events of that day. I had only just begun blogging and didn’t know that most people don’t have the time or inclination to read such lengthy pieces. I was also trying out a THEN and NOW format, in which I recalled memories from THEN and addressed current issues NOW. Much has changed in my blogging since then, but I thought I’d share this piece again in case you have the time or inclination to read it. Click here to take a peek.

 

Indelible Denim

In honor of back-to-school time, I thought I’d post this story I wrote a few years ago about my dear friend, Janet. I was trying to find a home for it in a magazine, but perhaps this is where it is meant to be. You tell me.

•   •   •

When Janet breezed into our dorm room that first day our freshman year of college, I immediately knew what she was all about. She didn’t even have to open her mouth; her jacket said it all.

The denim, faded to a perfectly distressed milky blue, the collar frayed into strings of fringe, the buttons worn to a coppery patina—all swirled together into the epitome of everything a college girl wanted to be: hip, smart and carefree.

Her jean jacket was the real deal, and so was she.

During that first year of school, Janet and I became best friends: inseparable and incorrigible. We studied together, laughed together, drank beer together, played lacrosse together, drank more beer together, gained 15 pounds together, and pulled all-nighters together. All along the way, Janet’s Levi jacket was there.

In fact, her jacket seemed to gain a personality all of its own as it absorbed every ounce of college fun laid in its path. It also soaked up everything from our bad hairdos and purple eyeshadow to eccentric professors and weird boyfriends, weaving them deeply into its soft fabric.

At the end of our freshman year, life shipped Janet and me off into different directions for the summer. My dad had died of cancer earlier that year so I immediately began working several jobs to pay my way through our very expensive private college, while Janet sailed to Tahiti with her family on their boat. I couldn’t afford envy, so I celebrated her adventure, and made her promise to send postcards so I could live vicariously.

With hugs and tears, promises of letters, and plans to regroup in the fall, we parted ways. But not before she unceremoniously tossed a bag at me. “Here, I think it’s time for you to have this,” she laughed.

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First Improbable Blogiversary

Photo of a birthday cake with 1 candleI don’t know whether to be thrilled or horrified that an entire year has whizzed by since launching this blog, but here I am one hundred and twelve posts later, celebrating my one-year blogiversary.

Don’t worry, I won’t navel gaze too much about this milestone. Mostly I just want to say, “Thank you,” to all my fabulous followers who have made this adventure so gratifying.

I thought it might also be fun to share the three things I found most surprising about blogging this year. Here’s what knocked my socks off…

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