Tag: living (Page 1 of 13)

50: Memorization, The Brain Food of Champions


(The Daily Dahlia)

A Morning Offering

I bless the night that nourished my heart
To set the ghosts of longing free
Into the flow and figure of dream
That went to harvest from the dark
Bread for the hunger no one sees.

All that is eternal in me
Welcome the wonder of this day,
The field of brightness it creates
Offering time for each thing
To arise and illuminate.

I place on the altar of dawn:
The quiet loyalty of breath,
The tent of thought where I shelter,
Wave of desire I am shore to
And all beauty drawn to the eye.

May my mind come alive today
To the invisible geography
That invites me to new frontiers,
To break the dead shell of yesterdays,
To risk being disturbed and changed.

May I have the courage today
To live the life that I would love,
To postpone my dream no longer
But do at last what I came here for
And waste my heart on fear no more.

~ John O’Donohue ~


In her late 90s,
Aunt Lucile still recites the ditties and poems
she learned in primary school.
Though she’d kill me if I told you her age,
I think my mother would be okay with me telling you
that she can still recall the words to
a little something she memorized
in elementary school: Thanatopsis.
It’s not exactly light fare even for an adult,
and she admits she didn’t have any idea
what it was about when she chose it.
It was the level of difficulty that made her select it.

Once upon a lifetime,
memorization was a part of the curriculum.
I think it should be brought back.

Some people do crossword puzzles to exercise their brain.
Me? I memorize.
And this beautiful Morning Offering
is what I’m currently weaving into my soul.


IOOL4 16

In Our Own Language 4:16

And here’s today’s installment of the Nancy and Jeanne collaboration.
Nancy (my developmentally disabled sister-in-law) draws.
I (the woman who flat-out loves her) stitch her drawings.


Thank you for joining me on my story quest.
To see more of the Daily Dahlias, join me on Facebook or Instagram.
And if you want to keep up with these 100 Stories in 100 Days
or my stitchings,
just mash the black “right this way” button in the orange bar
at the top of the screen and follow the directions.

it’s time

today’s a day
when we remember,
and in that remembering,
we’re put squarely
in touch,
in touch,
with our own

we know
we’re all gonna’
not a single one of us
is exempt.


we know
we’re gonna’ die,
but we do not know
or where
or (regardless
of circumstances)


if you’re reading
you’re alive.
you haven’t died,
though your clock
is ticking.


so, scoot.
get on out there
and live –
really live,
treating us all
to your very own
gorgeous genius
and genuine glory.


and hey,
while you’re at it,
why not stop,
every chance
you get,
and notice,
pay tribute to
somebody else’s
they shine,
you shine,
we all shine,
even though
we might never
know why
or who to thank.

15 minutes

This month, because I live for non-conformity (and to keep from having to think of something to write about) I am participating in a challenge designed to celebrate Ralph Waldo Emerson’s 208th birthday. (Honestly, he doesn’t look a day over 112 to me.)

Today’s prompt:
(Okay, it was yesterday’s prompt, but I never got around to it yesterday, so in the spirit of nonconformity, I’m doubling up today.)
We are afraid of truth, afraid of fortune, afraid of death, and afraid of each other. Our age yields no great and perfect persons. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

You just discovered you have fifteen minutes to live.
1. Set a timer for fifteen minutes.
2. Write the story that has to be written.


it isn’t about clocks.
(but isn’t this the cutest little clock?
sure do hope to inherit it one day.)

or words.
it’s about living.
pure, unadulterated
so what say
we rev up and
live a chapter
in that 15 minutes?



“I can see your brush strokes,”
he harumphed
this man who wanted me to pay
his people to repaint what I’d just finished painting.

More and more
I am showing my brush strokes.
And when I’m using metallic paint,
the strokes will show.

Some people don’t like seeing the strokes.
Some people find the visible strokes
offensive or uncomfortable,
preferring an all-concealing, even coating.

Shoot, sometimes I don’t even like the strokes.
When I was sweet,
when I was a nice girl,
when I blended in
and caused no trouble
and agreed appropriately
and stroked and cajoled
and said only things I knew would be
accepted – occasionally even lauded,
when I couldn’t even tell you what I
wanted or needed or was even all about,
well, truth be known: that was easier for me, too.
I knew the rules,
the parameters.
I know how to play that game
and it became so second nature to me
that I didn’t have to think about it.

It was,
in what now seems
a warped sort of way,


But let me be clear:
The days when I remake myself
into an image you find pleasing
is over.
If you find my words offensive,
if you don’t agree with me,
if you don’t like seeing
brush strokes,
there’s a solution that’s easy, simple:
Don’t read.
Don’t look.
Don’t listen.

Move on.

Instead of contacting me
and asking that I remove a post,
instead of contacting her
and demanding that she take down her words,
Stroll another lane of the internet.


I spent a lifetime
contorting myself into images
they would find pleasing.
Then I spent another lifetime,
telling my daughter to do the very same thing.
Because I wanted her to be safe.

And now I know:
Safety is not found in becoming
somebody other than who you are.


As for those brush strokes . . .

It is no longer okay
to say
“This offends me, so I want you to remove it.”
It is, however, perfectly okay to say
“This offends me, so I will
read elsewhere.”

It’s easy, once you get the hang of it:
Don’t like a particular stage show?
Don’t buy a ticket.

Don’t like a certain kind of music?
Change the dial.

Don’t like a particular television show?
Watch something else.

Just so you know.

in praise of curves in the road


i rounded the curve
and spied a gorgeous sculpture
in the middle of the greening field.
i blinked
and the captivating sculpture
a mule

from captivated and elated
disappointed and deflated
all in the space of
a few hundred feet.

then i remembered
something read
years after i left
pews and classrooms . . .
said he created his
by removing all that
was not david.

and just like that
i was once again


i’ve been pondering lately what it means to think independently.
and to value feeling as much as thinking.
and every now and then, i wonder what my life would be like
if i hadn’t been so strongly conditioned
that science rules,
that there is only one right answer,
that a mule eating is merely a mule eating
and not a work of art.

move day eve


an exhausting day, mentally, physically, and emotionally. an hour and fifteen minutes before the movers are to arrive, the truck rental place announces they don’t have the truck we’d reserved and offer little – very little – empathy. i’ve learned that staying calm works best more often than not, and it works again, albeit slowly. the two women (lisa and leslie) at the moving company are fantastic to deal with – i feel like angels are helping me move. they just keep assuring me that they will get me moved today, and they do. had i been close enough, i’d’ve had to use every ounce of self-restraint i could muster to avoid kissing them on the lips.

we eventually get a truck, arriving home about 7 minutes after the movers. my mother, my sister-in-law, and my daughter are busy beavers as they pack, move smaller things, and help me stay on top of things. eventually there is no more room in the truck, something that still makes me feel ill – but i just keep telling myself that like meredith, i’ll purge as i unpack. i mean we needed to completely fill the truck to prevent things from falling and flopping, right?

were it an olympic sport, i’d own the gold in justification.

all the hubbub upset the cats who pee and slink and hide once they are let out of their apartment (a.k.a. the garage), and as much as the cats wage battle against me, i feel quite loved as friends offer guest rooms, house keys, and even girl scout cookies.

hubbie, daughter, and i see everybody out and headed out for a margarita – something we’ve done three days this week, something we’ve never done before now. you know, that’s the one thing i’m enjoying about all this – how we shove work and chores and other miscellaneous to do’s aside to gather and see the day out together, laughing and talking and enjoying the company of each other. and i can’t help but wonder why we haven’t been doing this all along . . .

m-day approaching fast


we are moving.
didn’t plan to.
didn’t really want to
– at least not just yet –
but we are.


and i am struck
once again
with the undeniable fact
and weightiness
of accumulation.
of the
physical variety,
i mean.

as we fill more and more
and more and more
and still more and more and more
empty liquor boxes,
i long to streamline
to carry only what i can fit in my car
or better still
in a single backpack
and okay, possibly a suitcase.
(albeit an extra large suitcase).

i remember the days
when i covered empty cardboard boxes
with contact paper
to create nightstands.
i remember the delight
of making do
with what we had on hand.
and honestly,
i kinda’ want to go back to those days.
that kind of resourcefulness
builds confidence
and character
and creativity of the first order.

most of my boxes are filled with
family history and herstory.
and such
from a grove of family trees.
i will resume operation scan ’em up and roll ’em out
hopefully in the foreseeable future,
even though my daughter worries just a tad
about ever-advancing technology
eventually rendering them

ah, my daughter.

my son moved away years ago,
so i’m kinda’ used to
the way loving him
comes with a side of pain,
but it’s shocking how much
i already miss my daughter.
we are close, you see,
and otherwise.
but hey,
the good news is:
she’s able to take possession
of some special items
without me having to die
for her to get them.

interesting that i’ve been thinking about death
a lot
and here we are moving.
now i know that i can create a home
wherever i go,
there’s a kind of grief that
occasionally breaks through the barriers
i’ve hobbled together.

this whole scenario
came about just last week,
and though my son
worries that we are living
more impulsively
than waldenly,
when the couple appeared
and asked,
we said yes
and immediately began packing
a four-week turnaround
flies by quicker than you
can touch your ear.

the qualities of mud


as a little girl, i loved dressing up in frilly socks and ruffled panties and petticoats that made my skirts stick out like a tabletop. i liked patent leather shoes and dancing in the grocery store and creating private nests for myself where i could get away from it all and create. one thing i did not like was getting dirty. dirt just did not interest me at all . . . which for some reason, disturbed my mother to the point that one day as i sat quietly working on a new book, she picked my 5-year-old self up, carried me outside, and sat me down – ruffles, lace, petticoat and all – in the middle of the biggest mud puddle she could find. she still loves to tell that story, and i declare she sounds embarrassed that i didn’t like to get dirty and smugly satisfied when she gets to the part about unceremoniously plopping me down in the mud. i can just see her wiping her hands and laughing as she walked back to the house to watch me from the window.

now i may not have liked mud then (and i still don’t like to get stuff under my fingernails, so i’ll not be making mudpies any time soon), but in some ways, mud is kinda’ growing on me. not that i want to spend time in a mud puddle, mind you, but i do like holding clay in my hands and shaping it into something or other. and i love not having a clue what i’m going to write but picking up the pen anyway and just watching the words spill out on the page.

my precious friend and writing partner julie daley (jewels, i call her with very, very good reason) recently asked me a most excellent question: what does writing from the feminine look like to me? that question captivated me for days, and the mud story kept tugging at my sleeve pointing out that writing from the feminine can sometimes be muddy. muddy in the sense that i don’t always know where i’m going when i start to write. it’s not always clear, and there’s not always an outcome – intended, expected, or otherwise. when i write from the feminine self, i write from (including myself, my vulnerabilities, my feelings) instead of about (reporting, answering the 5 questions of who, when, where, what, and why).

when i write from the feminine, it’s more about process than product, and quite often, i don’t even know what i have till i get to the end and can see patterns and threads and word crumbs. when writing from the feminine, i write from the body, and often there’s a lot of space in what i write – space enough to crawl into and get comfortable while things incubate. writing from the feminine, it’s more about following than questioning, intuition than the cognitive. writing from the feminine uses dreams, metaphors, and imagery, relying on intuition and an inner knowing that can’t always be explained (nor does it need to be, actually) more than giving ink to what others think and write and theorize.

. . . as i sit here writing this, my resident owl serenades me under the glorious full moon, and i swear she’s urging me on, telling me that writing from the feminine is natural and needed and even necessary . . .

you know how when cars get stuck, little flecks of mud go everywhere as the tires spin their way forward and out (“out” if all goes according to plan, anyway)? when writing from the feminine jeanne, little flecks (and sometimes big flecks, too) get slung out, often without segues or outlines or even capital letters. there’s seldom a nice, tidy, linear structure, and often as not, there’s not even an

The Virtual Red Carpet

No Academy Award was ever more of a surprise or more appreciated than the various honors and awards i’ve received from my friends in the ethers over the past few weeks . . .

Tracy Brown and Gordon Simmons allowed me to sponsor the Daily Gratitude Journal over at Happiness Inside where there are multiple ways to discover, well, happiness.


My darlin’ Jewels honored me with the Beautiful Blogger award on The Awesome Women Hub on Facebook.


Susan, Abigail, and Noel dropped a Stylish Blogger Award on me, and with that award comes a request to tell seven things about yourself . . .

1. I am named after my uncle (my daddy’s brother) who was killed at age 18. My mother and daddy met in third grade in a most unfortunate eraser-to-the-back incident while doing long division at the blackboard. It may not have been love at first sight, but they dated each other exclusively throughout high school, then enjoyed over 50 years of marriage . . . except for that one weekend in high school when a little spat found Daddy taking their classmate, Jean, out on a date. When Uncle Gene was killed, Mother saw a chance to solidify the affection of her mother-in-law, but oh the dilemma when her firstborn turned out to be female. G-e-n-e, short for Eugene, is a male, so that wouldn’t do. And she didn’t want to go through the rest of her life being reminded of That One Awful Weekend, so Mother tinkered around with various spellings until she decided on J-e-a-n-n-e.

2. I met my sinuses while flying the wind tunnel in Denver. It was fun, though – the wind tunnel not the sinuses.

3. As a child, I loved potato chip sandwiches.

4. I still don’t drink bathroom water.

5. I don’t wear a watch – haven’t for years.

6. I don’t like strawberries . . .

7. Or tomatoes.


“I need 5 more quirky things about me. I’m struggling here. Can you think of anything?” I asked my husband.

In less than 5 seconds, Hubby rattled off all sorts of things to me (almost before the question mark was out of my mouth). “That’s enough,” I told him. “I have my 7.”

“Are you sure?” he asked. “Cause I was just getting warmed up.”


While I am loathe to thank my husband, I am not at all hesitant to say Thank you again to these lovely, talented folk who have seen fit to bestow a little spotlight on me, though I deliver it red-faced with embarrassment for my tardiness.

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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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