Ground control to Major Tom


Does life ever feel like it’s just begging for your attention? Trying to repeat something to you over and over? And as you strain your heart and ears to listen, you’re surprised to hear Sean Penn’s voice? No one else? Just me?


It was a very-zen-Sean-Penn who caught up with me to deliver a message from ground control as I was sitting on a plane. International flights are where I get to catch up on movie watching. I could watch five in a row without pushing the “there’s-something-else-I-should-be-doing” button. I opted for The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. I hadn’t yet cozied up with this world-travelling movie even though it seemed like a natural go-to for this girl. I think that’s why I didn’t watch it. It was too predictable. Sometimes I avoid wander-lust movies because they just stir me up and make me want to sell everything in exchange for endless world airfare.

But on that day, I was en route home from the (truly) best trip I’ve ever taken with my husband. We had just celebrated our ten-year anniversary ala Europe. So I was feeling rather zen myself. I was heart-full of wandering and happy to be on my way home to the house I haven’t yet auctioned off to the highest bidder.

The very-zen-Sean-Penn plays a photographer, and when he has an elusive snow-leopard in his camera sight, perfectly aligned, Walter Mitty (Ben Stiller) asks him when he’s going to snap the picture.

Sometimes I don’t, says Sean.

Sometimes it’s just for me.

The plane stayed straight, but my heart lurched. I’m not a photographer, but I am a writer. So words are my pictures, and I’d been feeling an increasing pressure to “snap every picture”.

A lot of this sense of pressure came out of a Writer’s conference I attended earlier this year, to explore taking this writing thing to a new level. To see if something personal might translate into something public. I heard lots of great advice. What-to-do-to-become-a-writer. Or I should say, a published writer. Two very different things.

See, it’s one thing to identify yourself as a writer as part of who you are. That requires liking words.

It’s an entirely different thing to pursue publishing. That requires being a marketer. And when you dab your toe into that world, words like “platform”, “audience”, “followers”, etc. start dominating too many of the conversations.

Blogging is strongly encouraged. I’m still not sure what I think about blogging (as confessed in a blog post – cue irony), mostly because I’m a book girl. Books are, to me, like a long conversation over coffee, and blogs are more like a quick hello at the grocery store. I’d rather read (and write) a book.

There are other platform tools too. I won’t go into them here. Because they’re not the point. The point is that the very-zen-Sean-Penn caught me up short, and made me realize I’d been operating under many “should-do-this-moments” in the world of social media and blogging, and I needed to practice saying sometimes I don’t. Sometimes I don’t snap the picture, write the hashtag, post the blog. Sometimes it’s just for me.

And let me tell you, it’s been my favorite summer. I’ve seen more sunsets than I’ve posted on Instagram. I’ve been in more conversations than I’ve captured ala blog post. I’ve seen more friends than I’ve tagged on Facebook. I’ve held my husband’s hand more than I’ve held my phone.

I needed a summer filled with sometimes I don’t so I could choose the sometimes I do moments.

The very-zen-Sean-Penn reminded me that life is about experiencing, not performing. Do you need to hear that today, too?

Is there anything you need to … don’t?


400 and 26 [NIAW]


“Could a greater miracle take place than for us to look through each other’s eyes for an instant?” –Henry David Thoreau 

This past week’s series has been an invitation to look through the eyes of my infertility for a moment, as part of the NIAW (National Infertility Awareness Week). It seemed most fitting, then, to end this week by sharing a friend’s blog post that I’m told was inspired by this series. May I invite you to look through another set of beautiful eyes … 


Last week, I drove 400 miles to a Writer’s Conference in the Redwoods. Each mile would have been worth it for the sake of meeting just this one  new friend: Robynne Miller Feaveryear. Her heart is as big as her name, and our paths crossed before we knew it, as we have both experienced the sacredness of an empty womb amidst a full life.

We “met” through the exchange of manuscript samples – on the most holy of anniversaries. And upon meeting in real life, well, let’s just say there was a lot of laughter, a few tears, and I learned a lot about the prairie. Robynne is a Modern-Day Pioneer Mama who will teach you much more than just how to make your own laundry detergent, and still love ya even if you use Tide Pods like, ahem, someone.

So without further ado and in honor of the end of awareness week (but not of awareness), I introduce you to Robynne, mama to 31 littles, 26 of whom she never got to meet …

26.  Yes, that’s correct.  TwentySix

This huge, ridiculous, appalling number represents the babies I didn’t have.

Some people call them “miscarriages,” as if their precious little hearts never beat and their brains never sent miraculous waves of energy pulsing through their sweet, tiny bodies. But I can’t reduce them to “tissue” that was never meant to be.  They’re my children . . . even if I didn’t get the chance to raise them.

And I miss them all.  Deeply.

I’m not sure I’ll ever know the “why” behind such a large number of losses. I’m not sure I need to. 

Continue reading here …