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.

Putting a Voice To a Name

The art of conversation lies in listening.” – Thomas Jefferson

There is so much to love about this blogging journey – the practice of writing down my stories, the delight of being able to read other people’s offerings, and the friendships that evolve over time when we comment.

And my recent foray into podcasting has just amped up this experience because it’s so fun to put real voices to people who I’ve read. To converse and have dialogue about what’s important and interesting from their point of view is so fun!!

I recently got to have a podcast conversation with Edgerton award winning playwright Jack Canfora about Why Theater Matters. I could gush endlessly about Jack. And I often do. I’ve had a writer’s crush on him for forever because he speaks to my heart. Every time I talk with him, read him, or listen/watch one of his plays, I come away smarter and more human. 

For anyone that has read Jack on Wise & Shine or his personal blog, listened to his audio drama in podcast form, Step 9, or just wants to find out what play Lincoln was watching when he was shot, I’d love for you to tune in to this Sharing the Heart of the Matter podcast: Episode 4: Why Theater Matters on Anchor. (you can also find our podcast on Apple, Amazon, Spotify and Pocket Casts by searching for Sharing the Heart of the Matter – and please subscribe)

And here’s a link to the show notes on The Heart of the Matter.

The Way I See It

Be sure to taste your words before you spit them out.” – unknown

I’m fascinated by the different ways our brains work. Most recently, I’ve had the chance to watch my kids as they approach the world with their “lantern awareness.” That’s a phrase from Dr. Alison Gopnik, the cognitive psychologist from UC Berkley, who talks about young brains being rewarded for what teaches them the most so they see the world as if they are holding a lantern high and they see everything in their vicinity. Whereas our adult brains have spotlight awareness, which most of the time is like tunnel vision towards our objectives.

In addition to that, it’s things like my friend, Doug, who can remember every route we’ve ever climbed in like a 360 degree view. “Remember that tree when we turn to head up the ridge?” he ‘ll ask. And I shake my head no.

Or my brother who has such great spacial awareness that to work with him to assemble the 300 bars of a jungle gym into a dome is a marvel.

When I was young, I used to memorize license plates which earned me the nickname Rain Man (do you remember that movie?). Fortunately my brain has given that up and now it hangs memories onto my favorite words. So when I hear the word luminous, it reminds me of Julia Preston because of her ability to bring light.

These word associations are the topic of my Wise & Shine post: My Love Affair with Words.

(featured photo from Pexels)

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)


It usually takes me two or three days to prepare an impromptu speech.” – Mark Twain

One of my favorite words these days is discernment, especially when it applies to my own actions. That is to say, when I take the time to discern to what I should or should not be doing.

Oxford Dictionaries defines discernment as “the ability to judge well.” I think of it more broadly as taking the time to choose how I apply my energy and time. Also, to notice when I’m trading routine for quality.

Lately I’ve been writing my blog posts on the morning of the post instead of what I’d done most of the year, which is to draft something the day before and finish it the morning I post it. Putting a little time between when my fingers hit the keyboard and when I hit “publish” served to give me space for reflection and hopefully be a little more thoughtful.

Discernment tells me I need to stop publishing every day so that I have more time to think about things. So that I can do a better job. Maybe three thoughtful pieces a week instead of five slapdash ones. And now I’m laughing because of the post I wrote about Interrupting the Pattern earlier this week – it’s hard to break a habit.

What role does discernment play in your life?

(featured photo from Pexels)

The Blog Tour

Vision without action is merely a dream. Action without vision just passes the time. Vision with action can change the world.” – Joel Barker

I glanced at the maps on the stats page of my WordPress blog yesterday and was delighted the sight of this map:

There’s a fantasy I have in my mind of taking a blog tour. Loading my kids up in a RV and driving to see my blog friends. The WordPress stats don’t show me any detail within a country so going off the top of my head from where I think people live –  down the West coast, Oregon, California, Arizona, Texas, up through South Dakota, over to Colorado and then to the West coast of Canada and then Alaska, over to Chicago, Wisconsin, Philadelphia, New York, up to the East Coast of Canada, then back down to New York, Maryland, North Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia.

Then hitting other countries – UK, Ireland, Belgium, Finland, Romania, Germany, France, Italy, Portugal, Malta, Lebanon, Nepal, Pakistan, India, Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa, Madagascar, Philippines, Japan, Malaysia, Australia, New Zealand. Then back through South America – Brazil, Ecuador then through Trinidad & Tobago, Jamaica, Mexico to home.

Who’s in for a blog tour? And though the physical thing would take a lot of resources, it is so amazing that this is where I get to travel each time I read something someone has written. This blogging thing is amazing!

(featured photo from Pexels)