Tag: flowers

a weekend well spent

dolly parton sings “it’s just a little bitty puissant country place, nothin’ much to see.” the words she uses to describe what is reported to be the best little whorehouse in texas are the same words i use to describe The Dissenter’s Chapel (a.k.a. my studio).

(but i don’t sing it.)

(you’re welcome.)




i spent the weekend (re)organizing my studio for the umpteenth time
after andy (my fabulous husband)
built me some cubbies that my fabric now calls home.
in a studio this small,
when you move one thing,
you move everything.
and everything must serve multiple uses.


quilts, for example,


become a pedestal for the mannequin that wears not one but two party frocks.
(there’s another one underneath this periwinkle beauty.)

having so much in plain sight
makes for a constant battle between
and visual clutter.
on my list of things to think about
is how to attach a shade to the
new cubbies.
maybe i can even find a way for it
to double as a designing wall.



even with all the reorganizing,
i still took walks
to get my steps in, you know


and i finished
stitching all the drawings (271, but who’s counting)
for In Our Own Language 3.


tomorrow i start fiddling around
with this fabric and this hand dyed thread
to figure out the border.

Not an Insignificant Exchange


The short version for those who don’t have much time:

  • Where I live, there are 3 Great Voices of Authority: God, Doctors, Football.
  • Single words, short phrases, or simple sentences, have The Power to change lives.
  • When something stupid, thoughtless, inconsiderate, moronic, or potentially harmful falls out of a mouth – even the mouth of one of the 3 Great Authorities – you have not only the Right but a Duty to speak up.
  • Speaking up at times like #3 can change lives, too.

The longer version:

Two years ago, at our first visit, the cardiologist looked at my husband (who was then a recent recipient of a stent in his heart) and said, “You’re lucky. You know how you’re going to die.” I sat there and said nothing, in part because I was struck speechless with such a stupid thing being said by one of The Great Authorities, and in part because this was a conversation between my husband and this doctor to which I was a mere observer who didn’t want to risk the doctor “taking it out on my husband.”

Today, this same cardiologist walks into the room, and instead of saying “Wow, you look great. I can tell you’ve been seriously exercising” or anything comparable, he immediately starts hammering away at Andy about nutrition and eventually says (and I quote), “If you want to live to be 88, you need to watch what you eat and to cut down on the fried foods.”

Having heard enough, I take Andy’s face in my two hands, look into his retinas, and say, “Baby, we’re shooting for at least 98, okay?” When he nods, I turn my attention to the cardiologist . . .

“You deal with hearts,” I say, “I deal with psychology and emotions, the driving forces in life.” And before I can finish that train of thought, he says, “I deal with more psychology than you might think.” I am both relieved and borderline thrilled to know he realizes that.

“Then you understand about the power of suggestion,” I tell him. “When you put a finite number on how long my husband or anybody else, for that matter, will live, you plant a seed that might grow into a self-fulfilling prophecy. So what say we leave out the finite numbers and ages and stick to concepts, information, and most important of all: encouragement and support.” I guess it comes as no surprise to hear that my contribution quickly brings the visit to a close.

To his credit, though, when the cardiologist shakes my husband’s hand as we exit the office, he says, “Okay, we’ll shoot for 108. Or 109. Yes, 109. Let’s make it an odd number.”

And me? I just smile and say, “I like odd.”

[ :: ]

Jeanne Hewell-Chambers has long owned and seldom apologized for her authority issues.


5 129 1 erased



The dahlias waited till the very last minute to get all dressed up and flaunt their beauty.


Such delicate beauty that unfolds


and unfolds
seems a perfect companion to Nancy’s drawing.


The touch of the natural and timely frost
creates a stained and withered look, a natural and timely beauty.


Next year we will plant them in a different place,
a spot that’s easier to get to, perhaps.
We will put them in the ground earlier
and we will get sturdier, taller stakes to support their sizable blooms.
We are learning.


She is my developmentally disabled sister-in-law, Nancy,
and I am Jeanne, the woman who flat-out loves her.
Go here to start at the beginning.



tonight, another of my mother’s altars.
i mean centerpieces.
blooms come early this year
from bulbs transplanted from my great aunt’s yard.
good soil
mild temperatures
and love
(or, in my case, benign neglect).
that’s what it takes
for blooms
to grace
the yards
and tables
generation after
after generation.

More about 365 Altars

drawing near, bending close


this year
i discovered
more specifically,
that i can grow them.


i also discovered
and fell flat out
in love
with photography,
what a visual
person i am.
and how i take
the way i present
myself in life:
only a wee little
bit at a time.
perceived safety and all.
we’ll talk more about that



i discovered
sunflowers this year, too.
oh, i knew sunflowers
from way back.
in graduate school,
i’d trek up to stowe
for some good wine,
good chocolate,
and roadside
sold on the
honor system.


but this year,
thanks to the
help of my
(iphone 4, no less)
i came to
know both
dahlias and sunflowers
in a different,
more intimate way,
much as jane kenyon
came to know
peonies . . .


In the darkening June evening
I draw a blossom near, and bending close
search it as a woman searches
a loved one’s face.


like so many people i’ve been honored to know,
and eventually die
with grace.
something you’re
bound to see
if you don’t just gaze
or look
or glimpse
but see,




at first glance,
it’s obvious she belongs to
the Sunflower family.
the family resemblance is obvious.


those yellow petals
shining brightly
from the dark center
of seeds.
future generations of Sunflowers.


but sit with her,


take a while to get to know her,


and you’ll see that
while yes,
she is a Sunflower,


she is more
than who she’s related to,
more than the
from which she


so much more.


and maybe
not at all
what you
thought she was
when you knew her
only as a Sunflower.

so many ways

All things are symbolic by their very nature
and all talk of something beyond themselves.
~Thomas Merton

There are


so many ways


to see


a dahlia,


each of them




in their own






if you ask me.


and i can’t help


but wonder


how different things would be if


we could see




as dahlias.



i wish
i had something profound
to share with you,
something that would
change your life
or better still,
enhance your life.
something that would
validate and confirm
what you already know to be true.

i wish
i had something profound
to share with you,
something that would
make you see the world
or yourself
or even your cat

i wish
i had something profound
to share with you,
something that would
encourage you,
give you the nudge
you need
to start that project
you’ve carried around
for so long.

i wish
i had something profound
to share with you,
something that would
make you smile
or better still
laugh right out loud.

i wish
i had something profound
to share with you,
something that would
erase all the bruises
that have made you
tuck yourself in
and be smaller
than you really are.

i wish
i had something profound
to share with you,
something that would
convince you
that your life
is precious to me
and to so many others.
something that would
convince you
that the world
needs your project,
your talent,
your words,
your ideas,
your creativity,
your love,
your laughter.

mostly, though,
i wish
it was as easy
as serving you
a page full
of words
for you to know,
to know at the cellular level,
how precious
you are.

today’s aspiration




when i grow into full bloom, it will be as a blue morning glory.

most definitely.


Blue Morning Glory


Voracious, yes. But when you see it,

shy blue flowers blaring like trumpets in spite of themselves,

center star shaped and yellow; when it startles you,

early in the morning, all over a white picket fence, say,

in Massachusetts, you might think “triumphal,” “prodigal,” “awake.”


Of course you don’t want it in your rose garden

among all the pruned, the decorous bushes. You don’t want it

in the vegetables, for it will romp through the tomatoes,

beans and peas, will leave no room on the ground, or even

in the air, for the leafy lettuces and cabbages soberly

queueing up in their furrows. It will hog all the sky it can get

knowing as it does what enormous thirst is satisfied by blue.


Father Michael says Follow the God of abundance

Says we hurry from the moment’s wealth

for fear it will be taken. Think of this:


the morning glory has been blossoming for so long

without permission that in some gardens it is no longer censored.

What does that tell you? See how it opens its tender throats

to a world that can sting it, how, without apology for its excess,

it blooms and blooms, though even yet

it seems surprised.


Anne Pitkin


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Hey, Sugar! I'm Jeanne Hewell-Chambers: writer ~ stitcher ~ storyteller ~ one-woman performer ~ creator & founder of The 70273 Project, and I'm mighty glad you're here. Make yourself at home, and if you have any questions, just holler.

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