Gratitude Week Three

Sunday December 12 Coming Home. It is simple thing, really. You fly away for the weekend and you come home. Your animals wriggle and twirl. Your child smiles and hugs you. You are welcomed. You are home. I feel blessed to have a home to come to.

Monday December 13 My critique group. Every six weeks, I am fortunate to join three women around a table and we open our hearts and minds in the form of our most recent manuscripts. We say what works. We say what confuses us. We think together. We share the frailties of being writers. We cheer one another on. And on. And on.

Tuesday December 14 This Crazy World of Publishing. It is a sad thing when a publisher lets your book go out of stock. You have to get all official and request your rights back. Today, the rights to Snuggle Mountain came back to me. It is no longer languishing in a nether world. Because the publishing world is upside down with e-readers and iphone apps, I feel lucky and happy that Snuggle Mountain has a chance at a second life and being in the hands of more kids. Which is the whole point.

Wednesday December 15 Christmas cards. I love snail mail cards. I love seeing how the faces in the pictures change and the kids have grown. I love how we reach out to each other and share our love and our families. I am so grateful to receive each card and be a part of this tradition.

Thursday, December 16 Anticipation. “There was a moment just before Pooh began to eat honey which was better than when he was but he didn’t know quite what to call it.” A.A. Milne I love the day before a big event. I love wrapping the presents, thinking about giving them, thinking about what I am going to say. I love the moment right before I begin to eat the honey.

Friday, December 17 Motherhood. I watched my daughter and her friends twirl on the ice today. I watched them clump up and talk and giggle and then whirl away across the ice. I remember when I had to lean at the edge to see them on the ice. Now I sit in a chair bundled up watching each tall strong frame glide and wobble, glide and turn. I feel so lucky to be a mother and to witness my child turn another year older.

Saturday, December 18 The Day After A Big Event. I love the ebb after the frothy wave of a big day has crashed around me. I love how the space opens up and we remember each moment cresting in our minds. I love the simple act of sweeping the kitchen floor and reliving each moment of the special day before. The toasts. The smiles. The laughter. The weaving of another year of family and friendship.

Fourteen years ago…

Today is the day I became a mom fourteen years ago.

Today is the day I changed in one moment from being a single person to a mom. It is stunning to me how in minute we become something else, like when we say ‘I do,’ we become a spouse. Or when our first book is published, we change from being a writer to an author.

Those are the joyful events that change a person’s moniker. The tragic events are just as numerous. Widow. Orphan.

But today is about the joyful ones. Today is about celebrating the child that changed my life and altered the architecture of my soul.

Celebrate your loved ones today and how they changed your life.

Putting Puzzles Together

Guess what? I don’t make my living writing books…yet. I have other jobs. Three actually. One of them is scheduling this woman’s very busy practice. I just finished fielding 644 requests for 448 time slots in 2011. It was very challenging. In the middle of it, I realized that this puzzle of assessing people’s requests and fulfilling them is very much like threading and weaving my characters’ desire lines with plot, pacing and story arc. Stepping back, I could see that every job I’ve had has improved my skills as a writer if I let it. At the very least, these pay-the-bills jobs offer us the puzzle of cobbling our lives together so that we know what it is to balance jobs, family and become better people.

How does your pay-the-bills job assist your life as an artist?

Gratitude-Week Two

Sunday, December 5  My workout partner. We have been waking up and meeting each other in the wee hours of the morning to run, walk or lift weights for 20 years!! I am on my knees grateful for you, dear Liza. Here’s to another 20 years and being fit enough to fall on our knees in gratitude for each other forever.

Monday, December 6  My close circle of friends. I am blessed by the most extraordinary circle of dear friends.

Tuesday, December 7  Writing. What I love about writing is the vague nudge of an idea, then word by word, the idea drops onto the page where I can shape it, put flesh on it, make it walk around, even run. It is so cool and I am so grateful I can do it.

Wednesday,  December 8 The sunrise. In Austin, in the winter, sunrises ink the sky with red, purple, orange and pink. What a gift to start the day.

Thursday, December 9 Christmas lights. May I never tire of putting them up, looking at them, or having my breath taken away by them.

Friday, December 10 My neighbors. How they look out for us, for our animals, our yard. I feel blessed.

Saturday, December 11  Familial duty. Sometimes, with family,  you show up even when you don’t want to or when they don’t want you to and it all turns out okay because you’re family and that’s what you do.

The Bradford Pear Tree

At the end of my driveway is a Bradford Pear tree. It doesn’t produce pears. What it does produce in stunning magnificence in December is orange and red leaves.

After all the other trees in my yard are empty of leaves, the Bradford sets itself ablaze just in time for my daughter’s birthday so they look like birthday candles lining the streets.