The Goods

It’s day 11 (actually it’s day 12, but I’m a slacker and have fallen behind) of the 30 Day Poetry Challenge, and guess what? When they said it would be a “challenge,” turns out they meant that it would be challenging.

Who knew!

Originally I intended not to spend any more than 5 to 10 minutes on these posts, but as they have progressively grown more challenging, I have been inclined to rise to the challenge. Which looks like me putting my forehead in my hand and grinding my teeth whilst I attempt to be clever and creative and Grand Canyon deep. I’m not sure if I have succeeded, but I am loving these prompts and I wanted to share today’s with you.

 

Happy Saturday/Sunday, friends!

 

Day 11 – Write a list poem.

vintage_housewife_cook

Tips and suggestions for the handling and dispensing of virtues and other savories

~

Store kindness and mercy in reliable tupperware (nothing worse than stale charity)

Prepare and deliver intentions on the same day (possibly doesn’t age well)

Place humor at eye level and within arm’s reach (perspectives will clarify or conceal)

Poke theories and assumptions with a sharp truth (might still be gooey in the center)

Launder patience and keep folded in the linen closet (this will behoove you when unexpected guests arrive)

Begin each day with a bowl gratitude (otherwise you will forget to eat it)

Measure responsibilities for each day only (tomorrow is finicky and fickle)

If not on your person, peace should be kept somewhere safe and secret (I assure you this is for everyone’s benefit)

Rinse, rinse, rinse (rinsing is key to avoiding moods and attitudes gone bad)

Only serve opinions when the harvest is ripe (when in doubt, give it one more day)

Wisdom will keep for ages (but if you don’t share it then people will be none the wiser)

Wait twenty minutes before serving hurt feelings (additionally, running emotions beneath cool water reduces the risk of future cuts)

Look at all insights beneath a magnifying glass (this helps determine if they’re genuine or fake)

Be certain to monitor good deeds (they can spoil)

Generosity is like a tree: give it lots of water and plenty of sunshine and it will produce the sweetest fruit

Grace (give it prodigiously, and don’t be embarrassed to take some for yourself)

Doing It All

Do you ever find yourself muttering or declaring with savagery that there is never enough time?

We rise in the a.m. with high hopes and ambitions, only to lay our heads back down in the p.m. feeling unaccomplished, bedraggled, and a little despondent. Like we will never catch up. Like life is a kite string we stumble toward and chase after, on good days managing to graze with our fingertips and the rest of the time spend trying not to lose our tenuous grip.

Slow down!

Come back!

Wait for me!

Life is an earless animal. It does not hear us when we shout at it. Nor is it a kind stranger sitting in a crowded bus; it will not scoot over and make room for us. It gives us what it gives us. The same amount, everyday, rain or shine. I have realized that I cannot do it all. Maybe you will be surprised to know this came as quite a shock to me. Or maybe not. Maybe it surprised you too at first. I laughed. I said, Oh, no. I’m sorry, but you must be mistaken. You see, I am a multitasker. I do several things at once. It’s like my second job. So really I can do it all. What’s that? I look a bit strung out to you? Dark circles under my eyes? No, no, no, no. I can see how you might think–but no. No. Those are productive circles. Very different. They mean I am fulfilled. Yes, exactly. Fulfilled. Now you understand. Would you like to join me? I’m just going to take a seat here where I can make lunches, check my e-mail, water the lawn, and shave my legs.

cutest-calendars-around

Continue reading

It’s so hard that a pickle jar lid ain’t got nothin’ on writing.

This morning almost sent me back to bed. It was hard enough that I said some really naughty words in my head and a few tears dribbled out of my eyes. But I decided giving up would hurt more than to keep trying. So I sat at my computer and pressed letters until something like a chapter happened. When I finished, I copied what I had written and pasted it into a blank document. Then I held my breath.

My goal for each day is 1,000 words. Today I wrote 1,188.

I raised both arms into the air, made two fists, and shouted “DONE, Beee-otch!”

Thank you for listening. God is Good. Cara out.

WeWin

December My Lovely

Oh, it’s everything, I think. To pin point exactly what it is that has me wrapped around December’s finger, is to lose the magic with which it dances onto the stage just prior to the last curtain call. It is not a perfect month. No. There are things; things and ideas and implications seeking to ruin December’s jubilant mood and benevolent spirit. Hurry, greed, good intentions leading to debt, guilt, and overcommitment. We fill December, packing her with too much, and like a suitcase that simply won’t hold another thing, she is left panting, bloated, and exhausted. And so are we. Unless we treat her well. Embrace her, but don’t suffocate her. Share her, but don’t exploit her. Embellish her, but don’t vandalize her. She is meant to shine, but her light is extinguishable. If we place too many burdens upon her back, she will break her knees, crumple and fall.

When I was younger, in my early twenties, just married, and very determined, December was my way of proving to myself that nothing had changed. That, although I was grown and working fifty hours a week, and my husband was coming home exhausted every night after a full day of school and work, we could still make December the way I remembered her. Do everything. So I turned her into a non-stop parade, marching through her floats made of nostalgia and memory, determined to make her sing for me the way she used to. And when it wasn’t the same – when the parties and decorating and hot coco and baking and wrapping and church services and Christmas movies and trips to the mall didn’t bring back the joy and excitement, I cried. I cried to my husband, poor dear. Mostly I meant well. I simply wanted the carefree, magical season I’d had for all those years. I wanted that moment, etched perfectly on my mind, to remain intact, frozen, untouchable, forever. I wanted the dream.

It’s a hard time for a person, that age between child and adult. We don’t know yet who we are and how to be. We know we are us, the person we’ve been for the last such-and-such amount of years and also the person we’re growing up to be, but we’re a little confused. We’re conflicted. How much do we carry over? Traditions are like a garden we’ve spent years cultivating. But when we move, we don’t know how many plants, flowers, and veggies to take with us and which ones we should probably leave behind where they’ll be more comfortable. The blending of old and new is a delicate process which takes years to perfect. I wish someone would have told me that.

For years I continued to beat the heck out of poor December, determined I must be doing it wrong, so I should add something else. . . . Thank God our brains don’t stop developing until 25. It was around that time I figured it out. It wasn’t more. It was less. It was also being present. Not buying them or receiving them, but being. Little by little my blasted determination weakened, loosing its fist around a choked December. I apologized. I told her I was sorry for mistreating her, for trying to take what she meant to me as a whimsical little girl and make her mean the same thing to me as a soulful woman. She forgave me. Today we’re best friends. True, I only see her once a year, but we make the most of it. Or rather, the least of it. Oh, you know what I mean. I pick and choose my favorite things. And when I’m there, I’m there. All of me. I don’t allow a part of myself to go wandering off, thinking it might be nice if we drove out to the harbor to watch the boat parade. No. Right now, right here, this is where we are. On the couch, holding hands, looking at that gorgeous tree. That’s enough. It’s plenty.

Still, I adore Christmas music, White Chocolate Peppermint Mochas, the lights, and especially the smell of smoking firewood lingering in the air. There are other things, too, subtle and easy to miss if you’re not looking for them: less reluctant smiles from strangers, lightness of foot, and something unmistakably positive in the air, something hopeful whispering through the leaves.

I hope you’re enjoying December. I am. Here are few of our favorite moments this month. The ones that aren’t pictures, however, those were great, too.

Merry Christmas, friends.

Totem

Cards & Fudge

Wintry fun

candy cane lane

Candy Cane Lane

Bella, the sweet and protective

Atti, the playful and curious

Decorating

My love