The Feeding and Nurturing of Life

Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive.” – Dalai Lama

On Wednesday morning this week, I was driving the kids to school on the circuit around the lake and I felt softer and more patient. I appreciated the routine and the little people in my life more. I realized that it was because I’d just finished reading “Grow Damn It: The Feeding and Nurturing of Life” by author and blogger Cheryl Oreglia.

I clipped 23 quotes from my first reading of this book. And that was while trying to be mindful not to clip everything. Then I had the privilege of doing a Sharing the Heart of the Matter podcast with Cheryl to talk her journey and this book: Episode 7: Grow Damn It!

One of the stories Cheryl told me on the podcast was the one where she wrote a blog post and Krista Tippett of the On Being project (first aired on public radio, now as a podcast) tweeted about it. Cheryl laughingly said she assumed the technology was broken when she saw her stats after that.

In this great conversation, we got to talk about how the little stories make up the big picture, her journey to create this beautiful book, and asking people all the important questions before they go. I felt softened by reading the book and then I felt enriched after this beautiful conversation with Cheryl.

Cheryl said to me something like, “I know this book is not for everyone.” I agree – it’s only for people who want to feed and nurture their life – and laugh while doing it.

So if you do want to feed and nurture your life, please visit Cheryl’s blog, Living in the Gap, read the book, and listen to this podcast Episode 7: Grow Damn It (link opens the podcast to listen on Anchor). You can also find the podcast on Apple, Amazon, Spotify and Pocket Casts by searching for Sharing the Heart of the Matter.  Please subscribe!

Here’s link to the show notes on the HoTM site: Episode 7: Grow Damn It! show notes

I Have No Words

Dogs do speak, but only to those who know how to listen.” – Orhan Pamuk

When I first started this blog, it was mostly a place for the pictures I took of my dear dog, Biscuit, and the signs he’d pose with. And even though I wrote them, I swear I was channeling his sweet and funny messages, referee calls, and commentary on life. Every once in a while the cat would get to pose with a sign as well. Here’s a slideshow of some of his best signs:

So I felt wordless when Biscuit died six years ago at almost 14-years-old. The day after he passed, all I had was a sign for the cat who seemed equally as lost:

That space and time we need to find our words again after something monumental has happened in our lives is the subject of my Wise & Shine post for today: Writing From The Heart

The Flip Side of Writing

You think your pains and your heartbreaks are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read. It was books that taught me that the things that tormented me most were the very things that connected me with all the people who were alive, or who have ever been alive.” – James Baldwin

I think I’ve been ruminating for the past week or so about the idea of reading ever since I saw Davy D’s post What Kind of Reader Are You? Because when I woke up yesterday morning with no idea what I’d write about for my Wise & Shine post today, it popped in my head that what we all have in common on this platform is that we are readers.

Given the descriptions Davy provides, I relate to being a Skim Reader. When I was talking about this with my dear friend, she told me her husband who reads so thoroughly that the Kindle estimates about how much time is left to read a book actually go UP the longer he reads. They joke that the author must still be writing when her husband reads.

But whatever kind of reader we are, we create a space that we inhabit, even if briefly, with the author. My post today for Wise & Shine reflects on what a gift that is: The Ultimate Reader.

Leaps of Possibility

I am convinced all of humanity is born with more gifts than we know. Most are born geniuses and just get de-geniused rapidly.” – R. Buckminster Fuller

There’s a line from the Cars movies, “He saw things in you that you couldn’t see in yourself.” Because my kids like Disney movies in general and that series of movies in particular, I’ve heard the line a lot. Every time it touches me with that tingle of significance.

Especially in this last month since Vicki and I started, with a group of great writers and thinkers, the shared blog The Heart of the Matter and podcast Sharing the Heart of the Matter. This endeavor has been filled with intense learning for me. First with very specific skills like figuring out how to put together sound files for the podcast. But also in a greater sense of encouraging and being encouraged by others.

It’s reminded me that self-awareness doesn’t just mean knowing our limits – but that sometimes others can see things in us that we can’t see in ourself. When we trust the other people around you, it feels like it speeds up the growth because they help us take leaps of possibility.

Self-awareness is the topic of my post for The Heart of the Matter today, Here’s Looking At You, Kid And while you are there, check out the rest of the site and subscribe – if just for the sense of possibility!

(featured photo from Pexels)

Creative Restoration aka Mouping

Creativity is the power to connect the seemingly unconnected.” – William Plomer

By the time my kids went back to school on Tuesday of this week, we’d been together for 11 days. Christmas, New Year, a few days at an AirBnB on the coast – all great things. But I imagine like a lot of people, the days without a predictable rhythm, rich foods to eat, and special events have left their mark. The house is a mess, my body is out of whack, and my mind needs some help settling down.

I have a young friend, Alia, who told me she made up a name for creative restoration – mouping. When she’s mouping, she’s drawing, crocheting or doing something else creative but also a little mindless and repetitive.

It reminds me of the advice that scrolling social media is not restorative (why is it that I have such trouble putting the phone down?). But doing something like coloring or my recent favorite, glass mosaics, feels to me much more therapeutic.

Trying to connect the dots on why this might be makes me think of something I learned from Brené Brown: “unexpressed creativity is not benign – it’s malignant.”

Here’s one of the points the Brené makes about what she’s learned about creativity from her research:

“If we want to make meaning, we need to make art. Cook, write, draw, doodle, paint, scrapbook, take pictures, collage, knit, rebuild an engine, sculpt, dance, decorate, act sing – it doesn’t matter. As long as we’re creating, we’re cultivating meaning.”

Brené Brown in The Gifts of Imperfection

When I’m in the rush of the holidays, I am spending my time interacting with others at best, and reacting to others at the most exhausting points. But mouping feels like changing the rhythm — moving from ping pong to tai chi. It’s reestablishing the flow of life and balance that exists within me that I’ve suppressed when surrounded by others.

Alia texted me her explanation, “It’s one of my favorite things I’ve done for myself. It doesn’t mean I’m just hanging out when I could be doing other things but is dedicated time to recharging bc that time is just as necessary for me as checking things off a list is. 😊”

I have to say that I’m impressed she’s figured this out at 23-years-old (and actually she started mouping as a teenager) because I’m just now putting my finger on what really works to help renew me. Even Brené didn’t figure it out til she was in her 40’s.

But whenever we figure it out, it’s helpful to know that time mouping is not frivolous but something that helps us cultivate meaning.


Your first podcast will be awful. Your first video will be awful. Your first article will be awful. Your first art will be awful. Your first photo will be awful. But you can’t make your 50th without making your first. So get it over with and make it.” – unknown

I was recently interviewed by Troy Headrick on the Wise and Shine podcast about my creative process. It was my first time and if I haven’t set your expectations too low with the quote above 🙂 and you are interested in listening, here’s a link to the podcast: Wynne Leon On Writing and the Creative Process Or you can search on Spotify for Wise and Shine and find it there (and subscribe).

After we were done, Troy asked why podcasts are so popular since there are at least 2 million out there (more if you could episodes). So I’m throwing that out as a question. Anyone have any theories?

List of Lists

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always, hopes, always perseveres.” – 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

My engineering brain like lists to create order. But I think that lists can also be used in the creative process as a powerful writing tool. The quote for this post is 1 Corinthians 13 which must be one of the most often quoted verses and lists of what love is and is not.

Lists are the topic of my Wise & Shine post today: Give Me a List

More Lists

And as a bonus, here’s a list of some of my favorite WordPress lists:

Endless Weekend’s Top 5 Halloween Theme Comedy Shows:

Staying with the Halloween theme, Todd Fulginiti has a list of his Halloween Hall o’ Fame

One of my all time favorite lists is one Jack Canfora did when he turned 53 maybe because it made me feel more prepared to turn 53 in two months hence: Things I Think I’ve Learned so Far

And my last list is one I published from Miss O from her first grade journal on this blog with her permission:

And to bring the list full-circle to a conclusion, there are more links to lists in my post today on Wise & Shine: Give Me a List

The Story of Life

Just because they are a story doesn’t mean they’re not real.” – H. M. Bouwman

I was listening to Brené Brown’s podcast, Dare to Lead last night and the first question she asked her guest was, “Tell us your story.”

It is probably an offshoot of my dad – who loved parables more than directives and could tell a great story – but I love stories. Hearing them, telling them and the way they stick with you. Like yesterday, I read Ally Bean’s story of the self-scan mishap and then when I went to the grocery store, I chuckled all the way through check out.

So stories are the topic of my post this week for Wise & Shine: The Power of Story.

(featured photo from Pexels)

Thank Goodness They Survived

The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.” – Alan Watts

The other day I was out for breakfast with my brother, his wife and my kids. We went to my neighborhood cafe that we used to meet at every weekend before the pandemic but have only been back about a handful of times since. Greeted warmly by the staff who marveled at how big the kids have gotten, it was such a feeling of homecoming. As we left, my sister-in-law said, “Thank goodness they survived.”

I find myself saying that a lot these days about businesses that I love but imagine didn’t have an easy time weathering the pandemic. There has been much hardship but it’s also been combined with innovation. Like with the theater. As an example, my friend and colleague Jack Canfora is releasing a theatrical podcast this fall – his theater company is performing one of the plays he’s written and then releasing it in seven podcast episodes.

I had a chance to interview Jack about how he came up with this idea and that not only democratizes our access to theater but also lets us all participate and be patrons of the arts. It’s the topic of my Pointless Overthinking post this week: Adding Innovation to the Grand Theatrical Tradition

(featured photo from Pexels)