Dear Mother Nature,

If I say uncle, will you back off? When I wake up tomorrow it will be 14 below 0 and I will drink my coffee and dread going outside. I will dread even more the clothes I am required as a good mother to make sure my son is wearing. This time of year that requires snow pants, boots, a ski mask, regular hat and insulated gloves, all which his little six-year-old brain must keep track of for more than 8 hours. This also means the dogs prefer not to do their business outside. Instead, they stand by the door and bark, waiting until they’re inside the warm sunroom where it’s so much cozier.

Coffee gets cold too fast, my feet are longing for warm green grass and I have a serious case of “I can’t stand this any longer.” If you’ve ever been struck by this seasonal disease you know the symptoms. The most irritating of these symptoms is the uncontrollable urge to complain…about the weather, and your salt-crusted car, and the price of gas, and the dirty floors in the foyer, and the winter gear tossed on the floor, and dripping boots, and dog pee in the middle of the sunroom.

I’ve forgotten what warm feels like, except when I’m awakened at night by hot flashes which have become commonplace for me over the last year.

And so dear Mother N, I would appreciate some consideration here. I will not only lose my mind if the weather doesn’t break soon, but I may also lose my husband, my friends and my ability to mother my child.

Be nice, okay?


MadonnaI am in Ohio, the place that I grew up, learned what family means, formed my core beliefs, and figured out that I was a square peg. I have always felt that somehow I didn’t fit. My strong will was always my vehicle for leading me out of one place and to another. That and my ability to know – from the depths of my soul – when the wind was about to change for me.

But in this place I am rediscovering a story that I have been reluctant to embrace. I do fit, perfectly, in this place and this family. It’s the story of a girl who had just the right parents, and just the right sisters born in just the right time and space to become me. I am the person I was destined to become.

My childhood and the church introduced me to the idea that there was something bigger than me and let me taste faith for the first time. This faith was steeped in ritual and mysticism that is core to Catholicism, and left an indelible mark on me.

My mother’s family is most responsible for this part of me. Her parents were salt-of-the-earth farmers who worked the land and never missed a Sunday mass. They prayed a lot with the help of leather-covered prayer books filled with pictures of saints they picked up at the funeral home when relatives died. And rosaries. Seems like all the women in the family were devoted to Mary, the mother of Jesus. They asked her for help in times of trouble, and there was always trouble. As I remember it, even the good times were marred by a sense of seriousness that comes from being faithful. There were topics that simply were not discussed, especially within earshot of children.

Without realizing it, these very Catholic women who played such an important role in my development introduced me to the divine feminine. With their prayers and gentle nudges to set my intentions before the Blessed Virgin for help, they guided me to understand the multi-dimensional presence of God.

When the faith so rooted in my very Catholic family failed me, I was destined to keep searching, seeking to understand this God who is both male and female and loves without limits.

My father’s family provided me with a very different set of tools for life. My grandfather was a wanderer and heard the beating of his own heart. Not one to conform, he lived a big life full of adventure, even after he married my grandmother when she was only twelve. She had all of her nine babies before she was 30. She accepted her situation with grace and became the mother I would like be. Sitting on her soft lap as a child, surrounded by the scent of her perfume and her warm embrace, I knew love in all its glory – no strings attached. My grandmother taught me non-judgement, showed me strength and courage, and helped me to understand the importance of caring for others.

My  grandfather was many things, but definitely not the sort of grandfather that you wanted to cuddle with. His unruly black hair was glossy and thick, and his skin was dark and weathered from spending time in the sun and in the elements. Most people thought he was a little crazy. I thought he was awesome. But I had the privilege of spending rainy afternoons sitting at his kitchen table with him, watercolor markers and a lot of white paper. He colored nature scenes mostly, and covered bridges. With broad strokes of green and brown he covered the entire paper with his pictures. I don’t remember my pictures at all. I think he wasn’t a great artist, but he didn’t care. We barely spoke. I’m not sure he knew how to talk to people under the age of 13. In fact, people over the age of 13 wouldn’t exactly call him a great communicator. Politically correctness was a foreign concept to him. If you asked him where he came from, he would say he was a gypsy, and I knew he was right.

I traveled down a few different roads in search of meaning and something I could embrace. What I found was me. I am a gypsy, wandering  the planet in search of something to believe in. My life is steeped in mysticism, ritual, and unconventional faith that we are all guided by a divine presence so much greater than anything we can imagine. And thanks to my grandfather, life is an adventure.

Yes, I am the perfect product of the people who have moved me, the places I’ve been and the spaces I’ve shared. I’m not a square peg at all, and this is as it should be.

Photo credit: © Tiberius Dinu | Dreamstime Stock Photos

Writing is life. Like breathing, it’s essential to my being. I know this from the very center of myself. But last week I had this unusual and frightening thought. What if I am really not a writer? What if I have spent the last 40 years deluding myself?

This crashed my spaceship.

I was soaring along through the galaxy perfectly on course until a few weeks ago when the company I worked for as a copywriter decided they didn’t need me or a marketing department in our Iowa office. This made no sense in my universe. They wanted to change direction without me. Hadn’t I always delivered good copy? Hadn’t I come to work in the middle of blizzards to prove my dedication? Hadn’t I done all the things you’re supposed to do to keep your job? My head said yes, and my heart said, “You suck.”

writing my way back to earth

© Yelenademyanyuk | Dreamstime Stock Photos & Stock Free Images

And then a friend of mine called me and asked if I was available to do some freelance writing. Maybe I didn’t suck. I did my homework and learned all about the client and got the job. But when I sat down to get writing…nothing.

So it was true. I suck.

I spent the next few days carrying around a notebook, thinking about a great beginning, and creating the story in my head. In the past, it always served me start on paper when I feel blocked. It’s organic and connects my heart to the paper. I scribbled. A lot. I brainstormed key words and wrote down catchy phrases. I reviewed my notes until I was ready. Then I approached the white screen. Nothing.

So I asked myself what I would do if I was forced to write something and I wasn’t a writer. It wouldn’t be nearly as challenging. It would just be a part of the job. My heart wouldn’t be involved. Mechanics is key. Make an outline. Flesh it out. Write it. Add the headlines and subheads last. After all, they’re just words.

So I tried to make an outline. Did I mention I don’t do my best work from an outline? This didn’t work either.

Self-doubt eats away at the soul, and mine was being devoured. I told myself to breathe. I ate chocolate. I drank too many cups of coffee and smoked a lot of cigarettes.

Finally I walked away.

Writing is solitary. Alone with my thoughts I entered the scary place. In that place I can’t write. In that place I’m a bad mom and a bad wife. In that place I should write letters to my aunts and go visit my parents more often. My life…epic fail.

It’s easy to get lost on that planet, where the terrain is unfamiliar and the silence deafening. I stayed for awhile – then I wanted to go back to earth.

To get grounded I talked to one of my biggest fans. He heard me out and nodded a lot. He didn’t give me a map, but reminded me that I know the way.

I stayed up the entire night writing. The result wasn’t great, but it was good, and clean, and definitely met the requirements of the job.

He was right. I do know the way. I also know that sometimes there’s a meteor shower, a lunar eclipse, and yes, even a system failure. Spaceships go off course, and sometimes they even crash. These detours can take me off on a new adventure, make me adapt and redirect. But only when I’m brave enough to face the page and suck once in awhile.

Today I don’t suck. I’m back on course. And I’m writing.

I'd rather have coffee with my soul.I‘m the smart one. I used to love being the smart one. Now I’m not so sure.

I have three beautiful sisters, all younger, with which to compare myself. And on many occasions, to be compared with. People don’t really mean any harm, but they can’t really help themselves when they see you as one of four daughters. One is bound to be the smart one, and one the princess. In my family, there is also a rebel and a loving one.

Throughout my life, I was more or less happy, believing I had drawn the long stick. I favored brains over beauty. I think it was just a way to defend my ego  because I never imagined myself pretty. When I looked in the mirror I saw only the flaws – the bigness of my nose, the sprinkling of freckles, the not-blue eyes.

My sisters were pretty and girly. I read books while they played dress up. This was all okay with me on the surface. I’m not sure I even knew that there was a part of me that wanted to be the pretty one. So I got by on my brains. I figured things out and always had the right answer. I listened and learned and spoke up to prove it. I got good grades and won contests and spoke Spanish all while being less than pretty.

One night I heard my sister’s fiance talking about me to his friends. He compared me to my sister while he thought I was not listening. “She got all the brains,” he said about me, “and her sister got the looks.” Nice. Twenty-five years later I’m still not sure how I feel about that.

My husband tells me that I’m not “just” pretty, but that I’m beautiful. I think this is his way of being honest. He loves me and sees my inner beauty, which is great, but sometimes it might be nice to hear that I am, indeed, pretty, in the feminine superficial sort of way – even if I’m not.

In any case, it has been my brains that got me to where I am in life, and that’s a pretty good place. Or at least it has been. Just recently it’s become obvious to me that having this brain isn’t always a benefit. It keeps me from hearing the little voice within. Since I think that voice is divine, this is a problem.

For someone who has always counted on her brain, conducting a thorough analysis of the situation, and making a decision only after carefully considering all options, turning off the thinking brain is a nightmare. I have come to know through hours of research coupled with hours of meditation that the inner voice always trumps the brain. My brain doesn’t agree. My brain always wants the last word. The small still voice speaks and the brain rudely interrupts and talks over it. Worst of all, my brain is fickle. It chooses one thing and then chooses again, compelling me to think more and figure it out. I am so tired of figuring it all out, only to find there are even more options than I originally considered. And so I constantly run from one truth to another and my brain is happy. This is what she loves. She loves knowing she can control my every action as long as I don’t sit still long enough to listen to my gut.

What I know is that the small still voice is always right. It is the voice of God speaking directly to me, not in words, but gently planting wisdom smack-dab in front of my thoughts. I just have to listen and trust.

There are occasions when my brain and my intuition play nice together, at least for a while. When they get along my life is much simpler. It becomes much stickier for a girl who has always trusted her brain when these two very insistent pieces of me have a girl fight. The brain, with her air of superiority admonishes me for even thinking that my intuition is anything more than my imagination, and she has a mean right hook. And my intuition, who is more of a lady, quietly waits, knowing that eventually, I will sit – quietly and open – until I find the answers I’m looking for.

I’m still not pretty, but like it or not, I’m smart. Through trial and error, I’ve learned that my intuition has a direct line with the Source who always steers me in the right direction. This direction always includes peace, and joy, and contentment and doesn’t have the time or the patience for chaos. I am grateful for my strong-willed brain. I have learned to wrap her gently in a warm embrace until she is still. Then I have a warm cup of coffee with my soul, and we all win.

Photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/javaturtle/133316103/”>javaturtle</a&gt; via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>cc</a&gt;

I live in a boy house. This requires lots of love and a willingness to relinquish chick flicks, breakable knickknacks, and a less gentile way of life. In my house we wrestle, kill aliens, and shoot anything that moves. We wear superhero costumes and jump off of furniture to avoid the lava. Usually this is okay with me. I protect my family with the ferocity of a mommysaurus. But sometimes I roar. Continue Reading »

This is me and my beautiful son

My mom is the kind of mother that every kids wishes for. Well, sort of. As a kid we don’t get it, but as adults, we get it all too well. She was there, always. And for years I resented that. I thought that meant that she had no life, no goals of her own, no aspirations. She was “just a mom.” Continue Reading »

I was born a writer and a writer I shall die. Nothing I can do about it. Sometimes I long to be one of the others, the non-writers, who are guilt-free when they go to bed at night because there are no blank pages calling their names or ideas pounding in their heads that must find a way out into the world. But I am not one of the others.

This site  is another new beginning, a way to let the words out into the world. I’m not yet sure what shape it will take or if there will be an ongoing theme. I am, though, willing to take suggestions.

I do intend to link it in some way to my tumblr space, which was created for Fiona and Kaspalita’s small stones, written and casually tossed into their river of daily conscious observations. And I will show my twitter feed (@indigokree8r) on the sidebar. I’m sure there will be more links and gadgets and widgets as time passes and I get fascinated by one new thing or another – all of which will provide adequate distraction from the business of writing.

My hope is that I will post topics that are interesting, and that you will like me – or at least that you will like my words.

In any case, welcome.

This is me when I'm happy.

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