31 December 2011

Grace #77: Wild Bells

Ring out the old, ring in the new, Ring, happy bells, across the snow;
The year is going, let him go; Ring out the false, ring in the true.

Ring out the grief that saps the mind, For those that here we see no more,
Ring out the feud of rich and poor, Ring in redress to humankind.

Ring out a slowly dying cause, And ancient forms of party strife;
Ring in the nobler modes of life, With sweeter manners, purer laws.

Ring out the want, the care, the sin, The faithless coldness of the times;
Ring out, ring out thy mournful rhymes, But ring the fuller minstrel in.

Ring out false pride in place and blood, The civic slander and the spite;
Ring in the love of truth and right, Ring in the common love of good.

Ring out old shapes of foul disease, Ring out the narrowing lust of gold;
Ring out the thousand wars of old, Ring in the thousand years of peace.

Ring in the valiant soul and free, The larger heart, the kindlier hand;
Ring out the darkness of the land, Ring in the Life that is to be.

~Alfred Lord Tennyson, adapted

Happy New Year! Peace...

26 December 2011

Grace #71: Jumping for Joy

What you get when you take a middle-aged mama, a passle of kids, and a trampoline.

What fun!


24 December 2011

Grace #69: Family

Today I give thanks for spending Christmas Eve with my husband, children, mother, sister, brother-in-law, and two nieces. It is the first time we have all been together Christmas Eve in 11 years. I miss my father but felt him smiling as we opened gifts.


23 December 2011

Grace #68: Almost There

Today was spent traveling from Baltimore to Raleigh. Of course, while en route we focus on getting there sooner than later. And this particular trip we did make in record time.

But the real gift is making it to our destination safely.


22 December 2011

Grace #67: Perfect Day

Day 2 of vacation = perfect day.

90 minutes of gentle yin-yang yoga that loosened my back and hips. Gourmet lunch with my husband at the open kitchen bar. A half-hour nap. A long walk. A haircut before meeting a friend for tea and a cookie exchange. Perfect burgers for dinner. Unwrapping of the family presents and a taste of chocolate before bed. Peace...

21 December 2011

Grace #66: Nothing

Today is my first day of a more than two-week vacation and I did nothing.

And it felt delicious.


20 December 2011

Grace #65: Pomp and Circumstance

Today my graduate student defended her dissertation. She made me proud, and reminded me why I love to teach and mentor.

She has worked beside me for over 3 years, and while I will miss her as a student, I welcome working with her as a colleague. Peace...

19 December 2011

Grace #64: Cards

I recently came into owning a grocery bag filled with unwanted boxed cards and stationary: homemade papers with pressed flowers, lace-edged invitations, notecards filled with water-colored landscapes, birds in snow-filled forests.

From these I chose my Christmas cards, such luxurious abundance. Peace...

18 December 2011

Grace #63: Seven Days

Only 7 days before Christmas. Anticipation fills me with giddy wonder and makes me relive being a child again. Peace...

17 December 2011

Grace #62: It Could Be Worse

Ever have one of those days when everything that could go wrong, did?

Just remember--it could be worse.


16 December 2011

Grace #61: It Pays to Look at the Ground

Today I found a ten dollar bill in Target. Three people stepped over it but didn't see it -- one woman was yacking on her cell phone, another walked quickly with a frown on her face, the third, a young man, was lost in his world of earbudded music.

I have found many things looking at the ground: $67 in a drugstore twenty years ago; another $10 lying in front of a postbox on a frosty Boston New Year's eve and, as a poor graduate student getting ready to take my comprehensive exams, I had no money and no plans, but the found money at least bought me a nice French pastry and a cheap bottle of wine; a diamond tennis bracelet; a diamond ring; several wallets, all returned (one from a recent Russian emigre, an older woman so grateful she baked twelve layer cakes and gave me bags of bright-foiled Russian chocolates, all for $2 and her Medicaid card); a monthly subway pass.

What do you find when you pay attention? Peace...

15 December 2011

Grace #60: Nip and Tuck

The cool blast of artic air. Sweater weather, tuck-in-your-shirt-tail weather. Brrrr....


14 December 2011

Grace #59: Grief and Love

"Grief is the tax we pay for loving people."

~An anonymous funeral director.

I think this is beautiful.


13 December 2011

Grace #58: Last Class

Tonight marked the end of my first class in my writing program. I am pleased it is over--Tuesdays are my hard day at work and extending them until 9 made me a tired puppy. But what a brain-stretcher, and what an opportunity to read and dissect stories and poems I might not otherwise have read.

Now a break, more than a month. Time to... write.


11 December 2011

Grace #56: Busyness

This time of year it seems the week bleeds into the weekend and the weekend bleeds into the week. I am as equally exhausted on Monday as Friday. It makes me cranky, but then I drive to the grocery store and see someone on the corner with a sign and a cup, begging.

My life is good.


10 December 2011

Grace #55: Christmas Shopping

Today I took the kids to a large, independent book store, gave them each $40, and told them to find gifts for grandmothers, cousins, aunts and uncles. It was fascinating to see what they bought for their relatives; in each purchase, I saw a little of my children, how their desires reflected in their selections.

And isn't that the way it should be, a little bit of ourselves in our gifts to others? Peace...

09 December 2011

Grace #54: A Single Glass

Of red wine at the end of the day. The children playing music, dinner cooking in the oven, the evening settling in. A fine way to end the work week. Peace...

08 December 2011

Grace #53: Sound of Music

The music teachers at my children's schools provide so much direction, instill so much passion. My son plays guitar, piano, trumpet, drums; my daughter piano, viola, and sings. I sit at my desk writing this, surrounded by keyboards, guitars, flutes, rattles, rainsticks, remembering the middle school jazz band serenading us earlier this evening with Route 66.

Here's Natalie Cole doing her Daddy's song...

Enjoy, and peace...

07 December 2011

Grace #52: Little Ant

A little ant am I, churning out my research papers, reading dissertations, giving lectures, readying exams, making jambalaya and apple sauce to get us through the week.

And now it is time to rest. Peace...

06 December 2011

Grace #51: Watermelons

Green Buddhas
On the fruit stand.
We eat the smile
And spit out the teeth.

~Charles Simic

How can this simple poem not make you happy?


05 December 2011

Grace #50: So much

to be grateful for. I've found 50 things over 50 days to be happy about. You?


04 December 2011

Grace #49: Father

Today marks two years since my father died. I am grateful he was my father--he was loving, firm and usually right. He also was an excellent grandfather to my children. I miss him, and celebrate his life today.


Grace #48: Hip-hip-Hooray

For Hugo Cabret! The movie is splendiforous, and the book THE INVENTION OF HUGO CABRET by Brian Selznick even better.

Read it, see it, and smile. Peace...

01 December 2011

Grace #46: Cold

Sometimes what we really need is a small case of the sniffles, just enough to slow us down for a day.

Today was just this--a chicken soup day.