Coast to Coast

Finally the stillness and a night alone at home.  Time to connect and do what makes my heart smile.

I am a lucky girl, I have a great husband and lots of sweet friends. I am social person so if I get a night home alone I usually fill it with someone I have not seen in a while. Well, last night my husband and first born went to see a movie. I am not a great movie-goer. I inherited this problem from my father. He could not see a movie if there was too much “human suffering.” Now, you must know I laughed at this in my youth and thought, “oh, it is only a movie, be flexible, toughen up.” Well, I have a long list of things that have become his words echoing in my mind and I now agree with them. If I could only invite him to dinner and thank him for warning me of these traits that a young person cannot comprehend. One day we will see each other again and I will thank him for the traits that we share.  

That being said a WWI documentary was not something this girl could survive. So it is cold outside and I am home alone. The fire is popping and I stumble upon the channel that I had no idea existed. It is the “Hallmark channel.”  Now I knew they played Christmas movies non-stop for the month of December. I had NO idea Valentine’s was another season of quick happy ending movies. Now this was really going to be a night for me to remember!!! I needed to make some bracelets and it has been months since I could sit down and make the space for Healing Knots. How life gets in the way of our favorite things I cannot understand.

SO I quickly run to my desk and start gathering the bracelet makings for a long ago ordered bracelet for my friend. She had lost her two dogs and wanted a bracelet to remember her furry babies. As I begin to make this order, I realize I have some people out there that might need a bracelet to get them through a new chapter. Some of my most faithful bracelet girls that have worn the first editions that are so cumbersome and tender I see them and I know I made them in week one of Healing Knots. I reach out to my sister-in-law in North Carolina. She has had a week. Her husband, Nate, had surgery and she has been managing the bedside vigil that comes with the waiting, watching and hoping the results show nothing serious. As I texted and asked if I could send her a new bracelet she responds with this text:

Here is the bracelet she was taking about:

It is like her friend was my angel that could be there with her in North Carolina while I was far away in Texas and that bracelet was able to go right back to Chris to give her back what she had given her friend. Now this is the full circle of these wooden beads that I cannot explain and that keep me coming back.

I quickly found this bead mix and whipped out a bracelet to get to Chris in Asheville. Her journey with Nate on this one is not over and she still needs to be held.
As I finished her bracelet I realized my dear friend Lisa had just celebrated a birthday on Friday.  Oh, she was a faithful Healing Knots fan and maybe, just maybe she would want a new bracelet to celebrate her special day. I quickly sent a text, “Hey Dirt! (Remember she is my Dirt Sister from Alabama) do you need a new bracelet?”  
Lisa is in California. Palo Alto to be exact. Oh, those special memories we shared back in the 80’s in Palo Alto are such treasures in my heart.  Quickly a photo of this bracelet appears on my screen.

It is the same bracelet that Chris had sent me. So from Asheville, NC to Palo Alto, CA. Two people that I love so dearly, both on the same evening have the same bracelet that they need to replace. These are the moments I cannot explain. Tears roll down my face.  First of all, I send out that silly question to people I love, “Do you need a new bracelet to get through this or to celebrate that?” I am ready for the day when someone says to me, “Now Corinne, I love you so much and know you love to make those things. But enough is enough. I have loved every one you have sent, but I am over it. You can rest.”

Truly, it will never hurt my feelings. I do not know why there is still something in these wooden beads and the knots I tie. I know it feeds something deep in my soul to make them. To put the colors together in a bowl and then see them come alive with the knots. I know it makes me remember that my brother pushed this creative outlet into my life to make it past the loss of his precious life. I know it keeps me connected to the wonder of each day and that we are all connected in our hearts forever. It gives me such deep moments of JOY that from coast to coast the same beads are holding people that I love.

In a world filled with so much stuff and so many choices.

Sometimes it is still the simple things that fill our hearts.  Love and wonder are alive today. Go out and celebrate that today is a new day!


Poetry and Life

Poetry and Life – Two wonderful topics!

Today I decided to grab a cup of coffee and take the Sunday paper and read it in my bed.  This is a huge treat for me.  I love my bed.  It is new and has white crisp linens and a very special quilt from my Grandmother Hallie folded at the end. I only spend time to sleep in my bed usually.  Those hours have slowly become 9:30pm to 5:30am.

So at 8:30 on a Sunday morning snuggling back in under my quilt is a treat like Christmas morning to me.  Now, we still have the newspaper delivered in our driveway.  Yes, it is rolled up put in a plastic bag and thrown from a car by a human every morning around 6:00am.

I describe this at length because I know we are one of a dying breed.  Yes, it is bad for the environment to have a huge pile of papers to recycle every week, it does sort of pad the wine bottles as we push the trash down the driveway.  It is wasteful and fills the recycling bin.  I do use the plastic bags for my doggy business receptacles.

But I am convinced my time holding the paper, reading the paper and cherishing the information adds true value to my life.

I must add it is a constant budget discussion with my husband.  He is convinced it is one more small monthly charge we could eliminate.  Having computers should make our lives able to read all papers at the touch of a button.

I stand my ground and explain – it keeps us aware of what is happening and gives our eyes a break from the computer screen.  It inspires me in ways I have no idea and brings topics into my life that are moving.  And today was one of those days!

The sad story of an old Austin restaurant closing after 30 years of business.  The back story of the owner and her journey of owning the special restaurant and what it did for Austin over the years.  And below that article a beautiful photo of a poet speaking at a Women’s Conference.  Mary Oliver, a famous poet.  She died at age 83.  Maggie Smith wrote a beautiful article celebrating the poetry and life of Mary.  Maggie writes for the Washington Post and she grew up in Ohio, just like Mary did.  Mary Oliver won a Pulitzer Prize for her poetry in 1984.  Well, all of this is so interesting to me.

In 1984 I was not paying attention to poetry or Mary Oliver.  I was a coed at Florida State University hanging out with my sorority sisters and worried about what aerobics class we would attend each day. I had no clue who was winning the Pulitzer Prize that year.

And today, I care.  I adore that all of this was dropped in my driveway.  It is truly a gift.  The quilt from my grandmother I would have ignored in 1984 and now I cherish it!  These words in the paper – I cherish.  The article closes with a quote that will keep me pondering all day, maybe all week.  I want to share this with you.  The most famous, most shared Mary Oliver quote from her poem “The Summer Day.”

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do / with your wild and precious life?”

Poetry is powerful.  This one line is a question I want to ask my children, my friends and myself.  Over and over.

Thank you Mary for sharing your words and your wonderful life!


You Are Enough

“It is, we are, already enough.” - Kristin Armstrong, Tribeza
How can 6 words, 2 commas and 1 period say it all?  Well, Kristin Armstrong did it in her article titled, “Already Enough” for the December edition of Tribeza.
It is a local rag here in Austin. It has been around since Austin was Austin, not this millennial, expensive, Instagram happy, bachelorette party destination that we have morphed into. 
DO NOT get me started.
In my efforts to preserve the Austin that I know and love, my husband and I packed up our 3600 sq. ft. house in the suburbs – best school district they have claimed for decades – and SOLD IT!
We got rid of all the stuff and moved to a 1967, one story with 1455 sq.ft.
It is a neighborhood where people drive old cars. People here let the leaves blow from the trees to the yard and into the street. 
Real people live here.
Some have kids, some rent, some built their house in 1967 and are still living in it. But most of all, Bob and I feel like we are home. We do simple naturally.
We like to keep our cars until they are paid off and the odometer hits 6 digits. We are happy that everyone here is different. People are not bragging about their second homes, ski vacations or what Ivy League their perfect child is attending. People here are just being who they are – doing what they do.
Bragging is not part of the casual neighbor conversation. Again – this feels good.
We didn’t know if moving 6.6 miles away and changing our zip code would work for us. All we knew was that the zip code we moved in to in 1992 had changed and we had not. So, I repeat – we just did it!
We went from 78746 to 78745. We only changed one number and moved less than 7 miles further south. And with it, we found our home.
Okay, the stove does not turn on, it needs a match, the oven sets off the smoke alarms every time we use it, the refrigerator is in the laundry room and you must walk thru the garage to get there. And all of this is right back to those simple 6 words, 2 commas and 1 period.
It is, we are, already enough.
I don’t know how to explain this. I know a fancy house with a lot of extra room is what we are supposed to want to appear successful. I know your garage is not supposed to have wood paneling. I know you are supposed to push a button so your garage door opens automatically.  Well, none of that is true for me.
None of that made my heart feel full or real or true. I sit here in 2019 and wonder what else is not true? What else is really blocking my heart from being happy and peaceful? What else is taking up space that is not needed in my life?
We get stuck, we believe things are true that are not. We get caught up in images that are not our own. This year is a New Year and this year I will borrow Kristin’s words. 
Only 6 words –
It is, we are, already enough.
Next time I see her in yoga I will thank her or for this amazing gift.
Good luck in 2019!
You are ENOUGH!


Lost and Found

This past month has been one of those to reflect upon.  So many stories of new things for people and so many stories for loss and letting go. This morning, the words “lost and found” keep rolling around in my head. It is not that pile of smelly socks, t-shirts and lunch boxes that use to gather in a big box in the corner of the front office at middle school. It is how life gives us this amazing opportunity to live just that – lost and found.

My New Year began with so much new. Our office had numerous changes of jobs and titles and all of a sudden, nothing felt the same. My job was the same. I drove to the same building every day. But, everything had changed.

As we adjust to changes and new chapters, it is often something that changes everything within us. Our comfort zone is altered. We are thrown out of our routine, our emotions feel out of balance. I am one to get quiet and start to observe where the new patterns will take us. What will become the safe place to speak up, or will it all pass and come back to the old ways of doing things?

Along the lines of change, this year has been filled with many around me experiencing loss. The loss of a loved one is still one of the most riveting ways to turn your world upside down. It is only after walking down that path of grief for years that I can slowly start saying that through every loss we do get to reach a new place of "found". Sometimes the loss is so great you cannot even hear such a sentence. I honor that, and just keep feeling whatever you are feeling. Walking through the pain is how we get to the other side. That other side of what you have found is what today has been bringing me.

There is something amazing about our lives when we can actually feel the beauty of healing and understanding. Yesterday I was invited to a wedding reception. The couple said their vows a week ago on a cruise with their families. They came back to Austin to celebrate and share their new marriage with those that they love. This is someone I work with, and it is an amazing thing when you are invited into someone’s personal life and realize that not only are you co-workers, but you are friends. That is where the “found” comes back to me. As I sat at the reception and looked around the room, I realized so many of these co-workers were people. Not just people that drive to the same building and sit at their computers, but what they had found in that process was actual friends, heart connections. So as we celebrated this couple and their new life together, I realized all of us in that room got to celebrate being friends. I guess this is simple, but a Saturday gathering with co-workers suddenly makes you realize you are together for different reasons. And today, I feel so honored to have found new friends.

Along the other chapters of lost and found, I have recently witnessed a dear friend search and find her birth mother. Never did I imagine this would have been such an emotional and beautiful experience to witness. So you take this story of loss. Loss of a connection at an early age. Loss of a genetic connection and loss of information. Then, you add 26 years of life and love from another family. And 2018 becomes the year that the "loss" becomes a "found". My sweet friend spent hours searching and researching. She found "search angels" that helped her track down third cousins, names and dates, and finally the "match". This came with quite a few misguided turns. With the fear of loss even when you had never found someone. And all along, this brought my friend closer to the well of gratitude. So thankful for the family she found as an infant. And still searching to find that missing piece of her story. With great courage and love, she landed on that person. First the birth grandmother, and then the precious woman that gave her life.  This story will continue to unfold.  But, this is a beautiful journey of "Lost and Found".

For whatever journey of loss, there is a chapter of found.  This theme repeats itself over and over, I begin to realize. I lost my precious son to addiction, and then we found him on the other side with a new understanding and mission in life. For some people, staying sober is a life goal. Until you understand that you are lost. When found – it brings the most amazing journey of healing to everyone. Hard work, and great healing.

A friend at work recently lost her mother. This loss has been agonizing and deep. She feels great appreciation for her life, and her family, and to be on this planet without her parents is a life changing reality. She wears a bracelet for her mother – holding her story on her wrist every day as she faces another day without her. Just as I was typing this story, she sent this picture. She said her 5 year old son woke up this morning and said, "Today I need some healing beads."

So that alone is the guts of this Lost and Found story. I lost the most precious thing when I lost my brother. I lost my childhood connection, I lost my favorite person to call and laugh with on the phone, I lost the most beautiful father to his amazing children. My heart aches at the photos when I see his gorgeous smile. I found these wooden beads. These knots. I am left with what I have found. And what I have found keeps finding more people. More hearts that are broken and trying to heal. Trying to find that next comfort zone. That new place to settle and call home. That new normal that feels so abnormal.

Maybe my words will be lost on you. Maybe my words will be found somewhere in your soul and this journey of lost and found will be something you begin to notice in your life.

I will continue to ponder how this works in our lives. How we keep seeking to find new. How we keep losing and feeling this pain and discomfort. How this is life. And who we love and reach out to include those that understand this. Hope today is a good one for you and you find something that helps you hold your loss.  May your Lost and Found begin to hold a new chapter in your life and heart. 

Peace on this Sunday.