Friday, January 20, 2017

A Cup of Tea






Sometimes, twinkly lights show up like a simple cup of tea and sweater leggings and fuzzy slippers and a fire, even though it's too hot. I drink tea because my one of my sisters is an Irish immigrant and my first real sister friend. Clodagh is a force to be reckoned with. She taught me to dance, far too long into the evening. And, then she taught me to eat bolognese sauce to get ready to dance again. Clodagh will laugh with you the most and will cry for you the most. Days after 9-11, we visited ground zero, together. I smelled so much burning and saw pieces of metal and buildings just laying next to us. And, Clodagh, put her arm around me, The American. Every time I screw up and call her sobbing, she says, in her Dublin accent, "Ahhh Sar, you are only human. If people can't love you and forgive you for who you are, well then, that's their issue, not yours,". And, tonight, she imparted her wisdom, once again. "This is my last stop. America is where I raise my children and where I will be buried. I love this country,". Clodagh does not give up on anything. She just keeps going and going and going. She does not give up. Not on anything, her birth country, her country where she raises her children, and her friend, she met years ago. Because I had to pick her up at the airport. She sent me fresh tea bags and a tea cup for Christmas. Because, she knows better than me. That, sometimes, our best moments are a cup of tea before sleep. A ritual before rest. So, we can get up again and dance the day and night away, again. So, we can dance, again.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

First day of Project Twinkly Lights and eleven super food salad. It was a good day.

So, the twinkly lights I hung, today, are an easy tale. When I was just a few weeks out...after paralysis. I say this, because the idea I walked one morning and couldn’t, the next, still isn’t lost on me. Say that out loud. I walked one morning and couldn’t, the next morning.  It’s not an easy thing to say or accept. Despite all of my critics. Anyway, I make a point to tell you this story because it has a lesson. And I just love a good lesson.

There was this woman I met because my mom decided to sign me up, against my will, and better seven-year-old judgment, for Irish Dance Lessons. One thing led to the next, as they do, and, along with a friend from school, I ended up practicing at the Pleasant Ridge Community Center as a part of the McGing Irish Dancers. I loved these practises, and these teachers, and this community...center. And, then, one day, this woman walked in, with her three ducklings. And, I knew I loved her.

Her name is, Eileen. And, for whatever reason, whatever gift from fate, she was the very person, who walked into my hospital room, after an accident, at just twenty-one years of life, that took my legs, my life, my entire identity, and somehow she made sense of it in three minutes. This woman, Eileen, whom I met because my mom insisted I take Irish Dancing lessons, said, “Oh thank God. Oh, your face is just fine. Not even a chipped tooth. You are still, Sarah. You will be fine. You will be just fine. You, are still, Sarah. But, honey, that haircut is awful. I need to get someone in this hospital to fix your hair.”.

And, in that very moment, that moment when this woman saw through the breathing tubes and the giant back brace enough to say, “You need a good haircut,”...I thought, okay. Okay. Everything will be okay.

Eileen scheduled that haircut and then she arranged a night out to her home, with her family. She picked me up, in her husband’s car, and it was the easiest transfer, since ‘transfer’ became a part of my vocabulary, that I accomplished. I bought the exact same car her husband owned and I have never looked back.

I arrived at her home, full of butterflies. Would her kids still accept me? Would they be scared of me? Would they know who I was?

Kevin and Ron and Eileen, very carefully, carried me up the single step they have when entering their home. And, after I entered, the three girls ran up to me, one pushing me, one playing with my hair, and one running along, asking a thousand questions. Not questions about my wheelchair, but how I was. Was I happy. Was I okay. And, if I was getting ready for the holidays.

We ate dinner and the rest is history. I have four mentors that are younger than me. Four teachers who taught me to be better and more alive. Four teachers who saw me. Yup, just me. No chair, no issues, just me. Four teachers who taught me to be better because they believed in me.
And, their parents’ did too. But, I know their parents, and they would rather I brag on their kids. Because, these parents, they are the real deal.

Eileen taught me the art of home. She taught me home is a sacred space we must nurture and grow. In so many ways.

I learned to cook because of Eileen and Ina Garten. And, the whole cooking thing, that’s several stories, for several different days.

But, last night, I wrote about inspiration. This moment of spirit. The way it has changed my life. And, today, I lived it, again.

My twinkly lights today, are for washed and prepared vegetables for the twelve-super food Kale salad Laura sent me to approve for ‘healthiness’, this summer, and hand delivered to me for a test run. 

I forgot the blueberries, because no matter how much growth I have, my hair will, always, always be naturally blond.

So, Eleven Super Food Salad is my dinner, tonight. Because, I am, still Sarah. I might forget the blueberries, but I will never forget the people who made me feel like it was okay to forget those blueberries and made me feel like it was easy to love, a person who was super damaged, but was, after all, still Sarah. Even when I thought she didn’t exist.

Thanks for your breath of life, Johnston Family. Each of you has saved me. Each of you has made me healthier. Just like this Kale salad, in your honor.

I do love you. Each of you.



The Beginnings of the 'eleven super food salad.'. If you want the real recipe, google Twelve Super Food Salad. http://www.averiecooks.com/2016/06/twelve-superfoods-salad.html  My tip. Don't for get the blueberries. Laura's tip, double the dressing. I agree with Laura and the blueberries. This salad gets better with time. Just as it should be. 




Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Project Twinkly Lights

I tried to hit publish on this post about two hundred times. I tried to hit publish late at night, early in the morning, or just a random time in the afternoon. But, I failed. I failed to hit publish.

And, then, one of my very favorite people, sent a text, asking me, did you hit publish?

No. I did not. Yet. I did not hit publish, yet...



I live in this house because the building I love, in the area I love, sold to developers. I moved and bought a house, in a week, because of my parents. My parents, who have a whole history of their own, a whole lifetime before they knew me filled with scars and devastation of their own. Because of my parents, whom I didn’t always understand, but who always, always gave me a roof over my head. Always.

And, then there is Ashlea. When I couldn’t find anywhere to live, I remembered the neighborhood where Kyle and Ashlea purchased their first home. I moved into my home, in that same neighborhood, in a week. Ashlea, was my first friend to visit my new home. Later, she visited with her two kids, then three kids, and then when there were four, we visited, here, alone...for girls’ night. And, Christmas rolls around every year, and Ashlea, from the day I moved in, asks, Sar, can I please just hang a strand of twinkly lights...even if it’s just in your room. She will even stand in my bedroom, like Jeff Lewis, and all designer-ish spread her arms around my windows, and point out just where she will hang them.

And, I say, no, no. I am not doing any decorating until things are just the way I want them. 

And, a few years go by. And, I realize an accessible house is neither easy, nor is it cheap. No matter who is paying, a home that works for me isn’t easy or cheap. As the contractors come through, pointing out just how many times I crash into the small doorways, as evidenced by the black marks, or how they can tell I jump uneven tresholds because of nicks and crash marks, I realize, even in this chair, I do not understand just how much I adapt and accommodate. I live in a world that doesn’t work for me. I get by in a world not made for me. Things, just the way I want them, are a long, long way off.

And, that’s okay. It really, really is. 

Or, so I thought.

And, this this summer happened.

After enough time with Glenda, the Good Witch...aka Ashlea..., in early January of 2016, I decided, to finally hang the twinkly lights in my room, around the windows...in December of 2016. I would prepare the entire year to make things just right for the lights. Right around this same time, I heard an interview with Joanna Gaines. And, she mentioned she worked to make - where ever she lived - a home, doing whatever she could to make it a home. Well, I am very aware of my limitations. Not in a cynical way, just in a practical way. But, I am also very aware of my strengths. I know, even though I live in a fixer upper and would love to tear down the old wall paper myself, it just isn’t going to happen. But, I also know I can move furniture and organize and hire people to change light fixtures and learn how to do things I didn’t know I could do before. And, I can buy appliances that make my life easier. Like, front-loader washers and dryers. Because, after, seventeen years of Mary Lou Retton style laundry, it’s nice not to have to climb and bend and twist to wash my clothes. I knew my limitations and I did what I could do when I could do it. And life started to get a bit easier.

And, then I got all brave. My neighbor is this crazy urban gardener. She grows every vegetable - all on the side of her house. I quizzed her about her method and the work, insisting I just wanted to start with herbs and pretty flowers. She gifted me her nutrient rich and magic soil recipe, and I ran around to stores, purchasing everything on the list. I white washed my Terra-cotta pots. I hired someone to refinish my back deck and build custom cedar planter boxes - all along its railing. Because, damn-it, this was going to be the year I finally decided to hang the twinkly lights.

And, I worked in that little garden. And, out in my front yard. My nearest and dearest all contributed. Every, single one of them. Planting and mixing soil and carrying in plants and approving color schemes and putting up with my ideas. 

And, then, one day in late June, I went in for a routine MRI. I, actually, went in, still wearing my short Hunter boots, all covered in soil, because I was gardening and almost forgot about my MRI. 

I knew my health was declining. I was getting signs. All kinds of signs. I just actually thought...enough. This is not happening again. I am sick of stuff getting in the way of my life. 

Well, that’s not really how things work. Happiness doesn’t really come from the outside or what we want to happen. We get to believe this for a long, long time. We believe it is up to the outside world, our successes, our facebook status, or how we meet the check list of all-the-things-that-are-supposed-to-make-us-happy. 

And, slowly, over time, we learn we are not in charge. We are human and vulnerable and breakable.

I got a really bad phone call when I didn’t want to answer that call. I heard I was sick when I didn’t want to be sick...again. And, I had to go through it all, again. The IVs and the surgeries and the visits to the hospital.

But, I still watered my garden. I still ran to the garden center when the temperature cooled enough to plant the purple kale, just like Joanna Gaines. 

And, this Christmas, I hung the twinkly lights. In my bedroom, in the living room, in the bathroom, and in the kitchen. And, on the real, live Christmas tree my parents carried over and put up for me.

Look. I am the first one to tell you not to give up and the first one to tell you I understand why you want to give up. Right before this whole June thing happened, I received a private message from a friend, asking me how I continue to keep living, even when I don’t want to. I felt like a fraud. Because I couldn’t answer. Because I had no idea how.

And, I still have no idea how. I just do enough to get by.

I feel inspired by those around me and I try to do them justice.

I cook a recipe from a book each day.

I insist on organizing the insides of cabinets and the sweaters in my closet.

I plant a garden because my friend did.

I watch fashion shows on line and read fashion blogs, as if I wear anything but crew-neck sweaters.

I try out every skin treatment on the Today Show and pinterest.

I move furniture around and change hardware on the kitchen cabinets I can reach.

I build real wood fires and, bravely, I might add, clear the cold air with wadded up newspaper I have to light and hope to anything that is listening that it doesn’t fall back on me.

I drink tea, in front of the fire, with the twinkly lights on, and am grateful for the day.

Because that is all any of us has. Today. 

I don’t have a clue how to get through the hard stuff. But, I can tell you how to do enough to get by. I can hang the twinkly lights, even when everything isn’t perfect, and sit and enjoy them by the fire I built.

And, my house still isn’t perfect. For a lot of reasons. But, that doesn’t mean I can’t make it a home and choose to live, even when I am told I am dying. I can plant a garden and I can hang the damn twinkly lights around the windows in my bedroom.

I’ve been doing this all along. This living when I was dying. Just ask the nearest and dearest to me. Not because I want to prove myself to you. But, because I need to prove  I am okay to me.

I have a long life ahead of me. I want to hang those twinkly lights every singe day. Just as I always have. I want to remind me --- I do this. I want to remind me that I am okay. I want to show up for me.

The word inspire comes from spirit. To, breathe-in. So many people have inspired me. So many people have watered parts in me I didn’t know existed. I need to believe in me a little bit everyday. Even if I don't believe I am able to document those few moments - even if they are that cup of tea in front of the fire - that inspire me most, I need to do it for me. Because I am starting to believe my place is to be broken. I am starting to fear living. And, that's not okay.

I, finally, need to write that friend back and respond...I don’t know what I do or how. But, here are all the things I love about life and I do every, single day.

I just hope, like the people who inspire me most, we all continue to inspire each other to keep on living.

There are twinkly lights to hang. Even when it isn’t perfect.


Time to hit publish.






Thursday, October 27, 2016

GRACE.

I think there is something wrong with my bike.

No, I promise it’s fine.

That was our only exchange about my bike, between my aunt and me, as we traveled up a mountain, on Mercer Island, Washington. She lives there. She always bikes and swims. She had the bikes checked. 

I peddled hard. My thoughts were racing...why am I so out of shape if I am a dancer? Why am I out of shape if I go to the Sports’ Mall every single day? Why am I out of shape if my job is chasing children around or teaching them dance, an active sport? Was it that McDonalds’ cheeseburger last week? Was it because I didn’t eat breakfast today? Why is it so hard to peddle this bike up this hill?

The next day, my uncle, after listening to my story of aching legs at breakfast, checked the bike I peddled up the mountain. He came back into his dining room, where we all sat, and said, with an incredibly perplexed look on his face, Sarah, both of the tires on that bike are flat. You rode seven miles, up a mountain, with flat tires.
Yes. I did wheel up the mountain with two flat tires. And, yes, I had no idea the tires were flat. If there was ever any doubt my blonde hair is one hundred percent real, you now know the truth. I rode the whole way, thinking I was out of shape, thinking I ate one too many cheeseburgers. But, I was wrong. Dead wrong.

I hesitate to tell you the story I will tell next -  because I don’t want anyone to think life is filled with only bad stuff. But, then, I think it isn’t only filled with bad stuff, it’s filled with all of it...the good stuff, the mediocre stuff, and the bad stuff. But, I also know, no one wants to hear about the bad stuff. So I keep all the bad stuff and lock it in the safe that lives by my heart and soul and save it for later. Save it for when someone needs or wants to hear it. Like one of my dearest soul friends, Shan, says, “Sarah, you talk a lot in analogies, and I get that, so thank you,”. 

But what Shan doesn’t know is, she taught me, years ago, exactly the way I learn, when she first uttered that sentence about analogies. Yes, I do learn a lot from analogies or stories of comparison. Yes, I do. Even if those analogies come from my very, own life.

I read a book by, Barbara Brown Taylor. And, then I watched her on Super Soul Sunday and I knew I loved her. She shared she keeps ‘the Sabbath’, Sunday. I decided to do the same. Sunday is my very, special holy day. I keep it for me and I keep it private. 

A few weeks ago, my mom called. She offered to drive over to my house and pick up Belle and take her for a walk. I replied to her that I was about to head out the door and I was happy to drop Belle off at her home. 

I dropped Belle of at my parents’ house. I turned off my car and attached Belle’s leash and handed her off to my mom.

And, then, I tried to start my car again. The car would not start. I waited, impatiently, starting my car over and over again. I cried to my mom. I asked, out loud, why I couldn’t just have one Sunday without problems, just one day. And, then, I tried to start the car again, and it started, and with my dad following me home. I made it safely, home, in my garage.

Two days later, after my dad drove me to the repair shop after a funeral, he called to tell me, “Sarah, someone took my car today. I can’t get into my house, can you call Mom, please?”. 

I called my mom and then, five minutes later, I broke into a moment of hysteria, only akin to Hollywood movies. I remembered my ‘car wheelchair’ was in the back of his Four Runner - a Four Runner that someone just decided to steal out of a parking lot. 

I broke, for so many reasons. I worked seventeen years to try to prepare for the inevitable. I fought for a second wheelchair, because after having your wheelchair resposesed, because your insurance didn’t pay, you realize the importance of a back up. I broke because I actually thought I could control what I thought I could control.

Here’s the big truth. The big moral of the story. You can’t control anything. The only thing you are ever offered is grace. 

Today, I drove to the river, in my repaired and fully functioning car, to walk Belle at the river. And, half way through our walk, I realized, my bearing on my wheelchair was awful. My wheeling at the river was more like pushing 1200lbs up a hill. I broke, again. This time for real. Like, I didn't think I could push anymore, at all. Not at all. Not one more time. And I let the break happen. I was so tired and it was so hard to push and I just had to surrender to the break. The wheelchair and me. And then the grace came. 

As I wheeled, on a flat surface, thinking I was out of shape, knowing I only eat avocados and tomatoes and cilantro and whole grain bread, I thought, for the first time, I may not just be sick, I may not just be out of shape, this wheelchair might actually be broken again, even after I had it fixed four weeks ago, it just might be broken.

I continued on, pretending to allow Belle to sniff, while I took moments to breathe and shake out my arms. And then I, finally, realized my wheelchair might just be broken.

I work and worked seventeen years to prevent silly problems like wheelchairs breaking and medical supply issues from happening. But, guess what, everything will happen. Prevention or not. There actually was a mistake in a medical supply shipment today. A very important shipment. And my ONE wheelchair doesn’t work. And I chose not to believe said wheelchair did not work, until mile three.

Guess what else, though? That’s when I felt the grace. Not because a huge gust of wind propelled me forward into my heated and waiting car with a cowboy, star of Hamilton the musical, George Clooney type, who was waiting in the driver’s seat and said come on in.

No, because, when my arms just COULD NOT TAKE IT ANYMORE and I stopped to smile at a runner, who lapped me twice, and I was trying to keep it all together and, instead, I broke down, right down there, at the river...in the middle of the perfect Instagram pictures -  of the rowers on the river - with the caption that conveyed, something like, you know it’s all fall when you see a crew team on the river...I started, right in front of the hydrangeas and the crew team, sobbing and hyperventelating and asking...why, why, why, why, what did I ever, ever do to you? What did I ever do wrong? I know I fail. I know my mouth is awful, but what did I do to deserve this? Please just tell me. I will fix it. I just want to know why all of this bad stuff just keeps happening even when I beg and pray and try to think thoughts and act and act and again to prevent the bad stuff. Just why?

I heard an answer. Not the one that comes with some prize or gold medal or whatever. But, an answer. And here it is, from whomever or whatever you believe it came. It’s what I heard, it’s what I felt. The answer is...

This is what is called grace. This is the knowing. The knowing the odds are stacked against you. You are stuck. You are paralyzed. And, then, you move, ANYWAY. YOU MOVE ANYWAY. You move with the odds, you with with the sticky and the stuck. YOU MOVE ANYWAY. AGAINST THE ODDS.

That’s grace.

Grace isn’t shiny and sparkly and noteworthy.

Grace is coming home and building your own fire, after your dad - who had his car ripped from him - with your wheelchair in the back, taught you how to build your very own fire. Grace is sitting it front of said fire, that I made all on my own and feeling like you belong. Because this wasn’t supposed to happen. You weren’t supposed to be okay after all of this happened. That’s not how the story normally ends. But, then, grace happens. And Grace teaches you that you are okay. You made it today and yesterday, and you will make it today. And still come home. And still build your fire. 

Grace is knowing you will be okay no matter what happens. Your plans will not work out, even if you read a book about how to make plans work. Even if you earn a degree in anything. Even if you have your dream job. Your plans will not work out. And that's not because I am all pessimistic and all scary. I tell you this because you will need to know, even when the bottom falls out, even when you can't move, even when you feel you are paralyzed or maybe you really are, you need to know, YOU will be okay. YOU will be okay. YOU will rise, YOU will fall, but through it all you will be okay. Yes, you will. 

That’s grace.

Grace is not winning. Grace is not fancy. She is inevitable. Grace is the survival after the uphill climb, during the uphill climb, at the beginning of the uphill climb - especially the climb with the flat tires. She is always there, asking you trust her, asking you to believe you are okay...even when everything else in the world tells you not to trust yourself, much less Grace...Grace waits and is there for you, granting her wisdom, once again, repeating, you are okay. You are okay. I am okay. We are okay. That’s it. That’s grace. 

You are okay...all of it and all, winning or not, you are okay. Broken or whole. Sinner or Saint. You are okay. Grace is yours and mine and all of ours. Yup. No exceptions. Ever. Even me. 



I built this fire. All on my own. And I noticed the banner above, that reads, GIVE THANKS. Yes, give thanks. Even when thanks is super hard. Because all will be well. You will be okay. Give thanks. WE ARE OKAY. WE ARE OKAY. 




Saturday, October 8, 2016

I am not strong. I am worthy.

I hate when anyone tells me I am strong.

Dear anyone who has every felt less than or unworthy or inconsequential or objectified,

THIS IS NOT YOUR STORY.

Everything you think, everything you hear, it's not you.

No one will ever know the fight you have inside of you. No one will every know how many times you recovered after your many, many, many falls.

No one will ever know.

You just have to keep moving forward in the very best way you can, the very best way you are able.

You just have to tap into those parts of yourself you, suddenly and protectively, wanted to forget, those parts that showed up when you had your first big fall.  Those parts of yourself that everyone calls, 'strong and brave and tough,'. Those parts of yourself you wish you didn't have to know. Those parts of yourself that make you human and want to do things...despite all the pulls to stay in bed, despite all the hurt. Through the pain, you just have to tap into the parts that make you want to get up the next day, despite the crap. Those parts. I don't know their name, but they are certainly not called strong...maybe reluctantly strong or painfully beautiful or heroine when all else is lost? I don't know. 

Because, let's be real, none of us ever really wanted to be strong. We all wanted to be happy and easy breezy and peaceful. We all wanted it to be okay. We all wanted to achieve and succeed. THIS I know we have in common. But, then life showed up and other people and circumstances showed up and some of us were casualties. And we were lost because we watched as everyone else achieved and succeeded and went on vacation and fell in love. And we felt lost because we knew we didn't matter and we knew we were forgotten because we were STRONG and just had to deal with things. The luxury of success and achievement were not ours. We are strong.

You are not stronger than anyone else. You do not need to live up to, yet another, expectation. YOU ARE WORTHY BECAUSE YOU ARE YOU. Weak or strong or sensitive or brave or courageous or chic or cool or perfect or well or abled or disabled or white or black or whatever or Christian or Jewish or bi-polar or menopausal or prisoner of war or leader of a country or anything at all. 

You are worthy, just as you are. No matter what anyone ever says, ever. The fact that you woke up today and faced life...knowing you had to show up and pretend you are, STRONG...well you are worthy.

YOU are. No matter what anyone will ever tell you. You are worthy. You are worthy. You are worthy. 

And now you know what I do when I feel defeated. When I feel all hope is lost.

I try for, just a minute, to believe I am worthy. I try to believe every, single one of us is worthy. Oh, so very worthy. Especially the girls. Oh the girls. Oh the girls. And then I watch, Steel Magnolias and I pretend I am Dolly Parton and Olympia Dukakis and Sally Field and Julia Roberts and we are gathered in a hair salon and I feel better. And, maybe, some bleeding armadillo cake will change some minds, just maybe,

We may not be strong, but we are more. We are worthy. Worthy Magnolias.




Saturday, September 10, 2016

No title because I have no idea.

Each day, I want to write to you and share with you. I want to tell you what happened, why I was absent from this space. I, desperately, want to explain the lessons I learned and personal discoveries I made. But, I couldn’t and can’t. Not because I don’t trust you, but because I don’t know how to put any of these experiences into words. I don’t know how to tell you what flirting with death feels like. Because when that date with death actually happens, I am not thinking, remember this, record this, you will remember this one day

I stood under the Sistine Chapel and can tell you, in detail, about the moment I looked up, and noticed the ceiling and felt my breath leave my body. I remember the first time I witnessed the birth of a baby and the magic that fills the room...especially right after she is here. This time though, without magnificent ceilings and magical babies, I only thought about survival and the unknown. I only thought, please dear Lord, do not make this whole death thing painful. If this is your will, then so be it, but please make it easy. My thoughts weren't beautiful like the ceiling and they weren't magical and filled with love like those few moments after a baby arrives. They were confusing and unknown.

One Friday, this past June, I planted and potted, all afternoon, on my deck. This kind of day is not unusual, I have done this for days and weeks, since the first week of May. I remained determined to create my simple, container version of a garden. A true and tangible realization of a dream. A real, flowering garden watered by my heart and soul. My philosophy has always been and forever shall be, do what you can when you can. So, I designed a container garden in March. 

I researched deer resistant flowers and plants, and watched more YouTube how-to videos-- how to plant Dahlia tubers-- than you can imagine. I planted the tubers when they arrived and I made an obnoxious number of trips to the local nursery. I killed and over-watered and didn’t realize the importance of soil and sun and drainage. I chose difficult to grow plants and easy to grow plants, and I learned from each of them. But, then, this Friday, in June, I had to leave my garden for a few hours to go in for a quick and routine test. An MRI. Moments after the test, as I was quickly transferring mounds of laundry from the washing machine to the dryer,I received a call. The caller told me I was septic and must go to the emergency room as soon as possible.

I yelled and screamed. I tried to convince everyone these results weren’t possible. I was, after all, moving forward. I was working on a dream. I was paying my bills and showing up and doing all the things we think we need to do to live well. And then, boom. All was not well. I panicked. I refused to go the hospital. I insisted I could not do this again. I could not be sick. I would not take IV medications. ‘I am not doing this again’ is all I could say, over and over again.

And then I went into my bathroom, my very safest place. And I called my friend. The friend I call when I can’t do it anymore, the friend I call when I don’t believe in anything anymore...especially me.

I said, “ I have to go to the hospital because I am septic and I don’t want to.”

He said, “ Well, you understand this feeling more than most people.”

I said, “ I know, and I don’t want to go. I just don’t think I can. Just please tell me I can do it. Just say I can and I will. Just say it will all be okay. ”

He said, “ Sarah, you are far more resilient that you give yourself credit." 

And then I cried and asked him what the damn meaning was of the Book of Job, in the Bible. I cried and sobbed and asked. And he answered.

He said, “Well, I think there is some comfort that lies in the unknown.”

And I didn’t get it. At all. I thought the letting go and the unknown were full of fear, not hope and love. 

And then I suffered through these months of the unknown and only came out with more peace and comfort than before. And tonight as the rain poured, so did my tears...like a baptism, and I thought of my friend. And I messaged him. And this is what I wrote. 




And then I sent pictures of the silly little deck garden I stared in March.





We do not know anything for sure. Our only power lies in hope and love and faith...all things  unknown. We can force anything we want, we can ask for anything we want, but when we let go, when we let go of the requests and the have to's and should's and would's...our true self takes over. Our will to live outweighs our fear of the unknown. We take the risk, the leap of faith, that all will be well, even if we are not in control.   

I am having a hard time this time around, because I know so many things for sure and I don’t feel qualified to share these things. Because I am just human and make so many mistakes and lost my faith and fail at love and I hurt people. However, in the moments in the bathroom when I continued to repeat, Your will, not mine. Your will, not mine. I only thought of the mark I will leave when I am gone. Nothing about success or rules or time or right and wrong. Only thoughts of how I made people feel. And some thoughts had to be handed over to the unknown. And some thoughts were certain. I didn’t know the mark I would leave. I just hoped and prayed and loved. Because it was all I could do, in the end. It’s all any of us can do, ever. Just love. Just hope. And just pray in anyway you can.

The unknown sounds so scary and dark, like the night. And then the stars start to twinkle and shine and you know you are safe to let go and just admire...the unknown. Forever and always. 

I will be back. I will share more. I think of you, daily. 

Thank you for showing up during the certain and the unknown. You are loved. Each of you has left your mark. You helped a stranger. You are loved. 


Friday, April 15, 2016

The Tulips Will Grow

Ordinary. That’s how I describe my day, today. Just, plain, old ordinary. I woke ten minutes before my alarm and heard the coffee maker timer ding. I smelled the coffee, then peeled my body from the bed, and headed out to snuggle Belle for a minute. So, very ordinary. I let her outside, made a cup of coffee, and poured a huge glass of water. I let Belle inside. I sat in silence and read and meditated. Just so ordinary.

My day continued to be simple. I worked at my desk, which is a luxury some days. I planned an herb garden, window boxes, and potted porch plants. I washed and folded several loads of laundry, I ran errands. Belle and I walked miles at the river and because it was so stunning outside, we just couldn’t stop. I ended the day, with the sun peering through my white, wood blinds, as I sat at my table, and ate a salmon and cucumber relish salad. Belle slept at my feet and I turned on music and just ate alone and felt so ordinary and so excruciatingly happy and peaceful and full of hope.

Hope rises. For as long as I can remember, my only hope or dream for my life, is a simple life. A house filled with love, healthy food, soft-landings in every room, and peace. I hope for a garden and hot summer days on the porch with iced tea and good friends. I hope for over-flowing window boxes and a yard covered in crunchy, orange and red and yellow leaves. I hope for twinkly lights and wreaths and snowmen. I hope for tulips and thunderstorms. I stopped hoping for the big stuff a long time ago because those moments are fleeting. Yes, the big moments are magical and unforgettable, but they pass. The small moments, the little hopes, they happen constantly. Every day, every week, every season, every year. The faith that the tulip bulbs will flower come Spring is simple and eternally hopeful. The tulips will grow and I will notice on an ordinary day.

Hope rises and, some days, we actually get to live in the middle of that hope. We notice seeds, turned flowers, and we eat our dinner, quietly, as the sun peers through the white, wood blinds and our hearts overflow with gratitude for this life. This simple life, that if only for today, is so beautifully ordinary.