Sunday, May 31, 2015


This door photo did not make the cut.

Sunday is rain and that one CD. You know the one. The whole album is a serenade. And couch and pillow and blanket. It's a little work, a little family. A big announcement and Little Bird and Sweetie. It's breakfast of biscuits and sausage and eggs and grits and butter and Mrs. Blackburn's syrup. It's a hike when you think I want to laugh.

Oh no. Never mind. I know how that goes. I'm usually the brunt of that joke.

So I call her and she tells me about Ms. Grannie, and wa la Ms. Grannie is funny.

Today I am grateful for a story, to hear a friend laugh, to laugh. For rain and thunder and breakfast and couch and pillow. I am grateful for the blueberries and the nuts. I am grateful for the muted light and how I can tell myself, It's okay. You don't have to pick up your camera everyday.



Keep it in the bag.

Photos here.

On Ken Flynt's photo LP sent this: It's the door of the motel room in which country-rock musician Gram Parsons died of an alcohol-morphine overdose outside his favorite Joshua Tree National Park in 1973. Parsons and Chris Hillman had left The Byrds and founded The Flying Burrito Brothers. Parsons was a romantic pair with Emmy Lou Harris and made many recordings with her. After his body was discovered, friends stole the body and took it to the desert at Joshua Tree where they attempted to burn it - in accordance with Parson's wishes. All that resulted was a flash fire and some charred remains.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

what if you're not for sale

Today has been about doors. I mean, not all about doors. Just in the back of my mind, doors.

The Sowashee assignment.

I did not take one photo. I went through the archives, dusted off file cabinets, and decided I had to use something old, two photos.

One I knew until I couldn't find it.

So I had to find two.
And I did so now I have to send them to LP.

If you'd like you can see them tomorrow.

Another thing. Copywriter.

She asks, "What do you think about being a copywriter?"

I tell her that I hear the writing business has grown slim and that the only problem I have with the notion of copywriter is that I may have to write something I don't believe. So.

I don't.

And the photographs, I believe they are doors though they may not look like what you were thinking.
It took me a while.

Today I am grateful for a little slower, a little less worry, a little walk, a little swim, a little music.

Friday, May 29, 2015


Sometimes I fight it (the where I am supposed to be) and then something happens.

Something personal that I most likely shouldn't write about because it's too personal.


I think that's what I'm here to do. Write about personal.

She is not there when I get there so I sit on a bench alone. Then he comes and sits beside me. The he I know by face but not name but genuinely sweet and kind and lovely.  And I don't know it yet but he's just lost his best friend.

She asks, "Are you taking her with you? Or are you leaving her here?"

And tears come down the face of a genuinely sweet and kind and lovely and hard working and just.  you know.

It was heartbreaking because you could feel his heart and you were crushed but not in the good way.

I listened to Kimbrough's Lord Have Mercy on Me tonight.

Today I am grateful to be exactly where I was supposed to be. I am grateful for the ability to reach my arm up and hand out and rub his shoulder and say, "I didn't know. I am so sorry. Good Lord, have mercy." And sometimes I think I am praying for every last one of us to not have pain though I know it always comes with the sincerest of loves and there is no way to avoid it because you cannot not love someone or something and loss of love is

please. mercy. I give up.

And I've got to come back and say this because really, there has to be a fairy tale somewhere. It can't end like that. Surely there was mercy in the memories of that dog walking beside the mule until that last day when she had to ride back with him. Eight years they shared and that feeling, the feeling of sharing love, lives on in us and someone once said something about when a heart breaks it never fully repairs. The scar tissue allows for more surface area. Our capacity for love increases. The mercy is surely in the irony of it.

the quiet

Today I am grateful for the pines, for morning light. For time.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Dear Anonymous,

Does gratitude make someone look like a snob?

I got this quote in an email today. I have not read the book, but I think I would like it.

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, 'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?' Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."

Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love: Reflections of the Principles of "A Course in Miracles"

Serious question.



He answers.
He is hilarious, and we tell stories and I remember all over again how much I love him.

When we get off the phone I think of things I forgot to tell him.
That's when I tell myself that there will be a next time, and I look forward to it.

tending is a selfish act

My love is too thin. You can't love this many people at once and tend to all that love.

So you have to select and know that everyone else is getting what they need. (or at least that's what you tell yourself so you can give as much love as you can to as many.)

She doesn't show up.
She does not call or have someone call. She just figures it will take care of itself.
And she's right.

Tomorrow morning will be rough. Not because I will yell or scream.
I learned that loud doesn't get you anything.
We will talk about commitment and responsibility.

Little Bird has already learned that.
Sweetie is like her Pop.
Both of them love him in their ways.

This month's theme is doors over at Sowashee.

She says, "How 'bout if I stand here and put one arm out like this and the other like this? I hold a basketball in one hand and my guitar in the other."

I see her standing there and tilt my head to the left, scrunch up my nose and say, "You're brilliant."

She says, "It's just how I think."

She was the first one to suggest that I not be so literal. Doors. My mind started thinking colors and if they were double or open or closed. I pictured doors, not the band, the thing you walk into or out of.

Until a child said, "Doors can be about choice."

Outta the mouths of babes is cliche for a reason.

Today I am grateful for help on an assignment.

She made me think of the perfect photo which I have not taken yet. Due by Friday evening.


to what Seth says.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015


Today I am grateful to be reminded of such sweetness.


So I got an email with a song by David Duchovny called Let it Rain.

And I couldn't help but go straight to this from that.

It's been so long.

This is me sending a thank you for the email and the memory of a song which meant so much to me at one point in my life.

what we imagined

Bright Idea, Oil on Copper    Erin Hardin   Meridian Museum of Art

It's not enough to have a bright idea.
There must be some follow through.

1. Send two photos to the newspaper for her.
2. Put photos on a flash drive for her.
3. Write story about her. Publish it.
4. Write two stories for newspaper. Send them out for approval.
5. Go through five hundred photos. Cull. Edit. File.
6. Guitar practice.
7. Aunt Dottie.

She comes back like a trooper.

Today I am grateful for how great it still feels to splash a mud puddle, to feel a rain fall, to talk about summer and school and we forgot to do some things but then we needed to make a really great memory and we did. We went hiking in the rain, and it was crazy fun.

Sunday, May 24, 2015


Today I am grateful for a song, for people, for a good rain and a good nap. For how a place to practice seems a perfect fit on the tailgate of a truck. For how all of a sudden or maybe gradually your now already feels like a sweet memory.

Saturday, May 23, 2015


I say, "The last time I saw your Daddy he was smaller than you."

And she's not astounded by that.

And I ask him, "How are you?"

And he asks, "What?"

And I ask again, "How are you?"

"I thought you were asking me how old I am."

No because that's okay because by the looks of those photos he's doing well no matter his age.

I ask them what they're gonna be when they grow up.
They both tell me. It's impressive.

Him, he smiles and she does too. They all smile in unison. Every last one of them.

He, he is my helper he tells me what to do.
His brother is all, "Are we done?"

She is the mother of all, and he is the greatest thing that ever happened to her past her three children.

She organizes worlds and she handled the logistics of the photos.
And she did, too.

They were a family when I was a kid, and now they are more than just one family. They are many.

Today I am grateful for expansions of people. Nice, fantastic, good people. They are.


"Isn't our life one attempt to fill a void after another? I don't know if I'm succeeding or not but I'm trying hard. Who knows where this stuff originates and where it ends. I don't know. There's a lifetime to work out here."
Dan Barber

Today I am grateful to be witness to such diligence in this world.

Friday, May 22, 2015


Today I am grateful for a cool morning and a long hike.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

everything is connected

He calls at five something a.m. He's out walking. Exploring, and all of a sudden I know 

he's good.

Of course he is. We already said that. Right?
Worry didn't make that okay. He did.

It's a video to a song about Happy and I laugh because people I know and love are dancing in a hallway and someone does the wave with her body and her arms. And there goes, Is that Donnis?

Yes, and I can't think of a better way to end the day than to know he made himself happy and friends danced to a song with that name.

Today I am grateful to look up and out and see people dancing.
How much more beautiful could it be?

Matthew says you're not supposed to answer that question because you don't know. And nothing is unbelievable. That's not even a word.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

peach season

It's like trying to grab a seed floating in the breeze just out of reach. If only I was a little taller.
If only I could jump higher. If only the air would be still. If only I could understand.

There are those days I talk to God, searching for a glimpse of the lesson. At least, there is a lesson I am supposed to learn here. I'm reasonably intelligent, right? But I feel utterly at a loss to figure it out. I search and ponder and wait. I stay still and quiet. I move and scream.

I plead. I ask if there is really a lesson at all. Am I looking for what is not there?

Of course it's there. Maybe not getting it is really getting it. Maybe I'm not supposed to have some epiphany. Maybe it just happens so slowly that I won't comprehend it while it is happening, but only after it is done.

To everything, there is a season.

Source is an old friend, an email I received this morning.

And I wondered on my way to work, What happens if we fall in love with a season? What if we don't want the seasons to change?

Tonight I received a call from a guy who today left a city he loved, and I wanted to tell him that this was not the end of the world but I didn't because tonight I needed to let it be for him. It was the end of a season, of remember when I hit the road, went to school, got a job and a life I could call my own. I had to convince myself that he could be sad and be okay.

 Of course he can. Being sad means you loved what you had.

Today I am grateful for how an email can feel like a hug. A bag of peaches and a tray of cherries. I am grateful for seasons and cities and lessons and living. I am grateful that guy knows what it is to love.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

in the losing of the periphery, focus

We become exactly who we are and we run home and we don't have any pain medication so we don't take any and we lay down and we rest.

Then we get up and think of everything we have to do so we start doing things one after the other.

Edit photos.
Don't exercise. You have the excuse of the upcoming headache which never came.
See Aunt Dottie.

And it was good the seeing because when I walked in the door I sat down on the couch and held her hand and I said, "You gotta keep it down in here. They're getting complaints about you."

She cut her eyes at me, gave me a chance to take it back, shook her head and then took in more air than she has been doing for ages. (as much of a laugh as I can try to make her)

And she says something about giving up.

And I say, "You know I don't know anything but I'd say that life is at least partly are you going to climb back up."

"What do you mean?"

"Are you going to fight for this?" (says the girl who just this morning wrote about stop the struggle)

"I don't know. Sometimes I think I am and sometimes I think I'm not. You know Daddy died young."

"I know. I understand wanting to be just like him when I grow up. I sometimes think about that when I am with Jess. I'm an aunt and I totally want to be a Papaw but for longer. and you got Brandi and Todd and Dylan and Skylar and Serenity."

"It's just, Shea, that I started working when I was thirteen. I started making money then. And I don't have a dime."

"But you got Brandi and Dylan and Todd and Skylar and Serenity. Think how rich you are."

"Not material things."

"Of course not."

Today I am grateful for a chance to visit Aunt Dottie, to see a play the likes of broadway with a star of I have her autograph. She and they rock. I am grateful for a woman dressed in blue who speaks of butterflies. I am grateful to have walked into what felt like some kinda little mini Woodstock where kids were getting ready to form a peace sign. I am grateful for emails and good music and a conversation with my son.

I am grateful for the material things (a home, a car, gas, running water, electricity, a phone, clothing, shoes, t-shirts, pants, all those things that I think I need to get to get where I am going). Those things are great as well.

This movie has been on repeat.

three photographers, three people

Trey & Karen & Jenny.

Monday, May 18, 2015

quotable quote

It was that quote which lingered from this morning till tonight.

When we think of everything that's happened or is happening right now. Right as I'm typing this there is pain and misery and a mother is crying and there is war and thirst and people who vowed to protect us, who made it their career, are falling to violence. I just cannot imagine there is anything I can do to stop it.

This will bring you down.

So you whisper to yourself, "Everybody stop it. I have to stop it within myself. The struggle, the bickering, notice it and cease. Come on now."

And I don't know how we could ever get back up unless we thought that maybe getting back up was some kind of answer and somewhere inside of us was a dreamer of how things could be if we just hoped and prayed enough for it to happen.

I don't know. I don't have the answers. I just look around and think, keep it simple (I try not to call myself stupid anymore). Look around you. Love. Be as much peace as you can be. Try to be an example to yourself, to some one else.

Today I am grateful for an important music lesson and peaches and people everywhere, all around me being amazing to each other. They teach me.

And I wonder and wander if I was born to something wouldn't I be it. And I think about that one movie, that one guy who on that bridge had an opportunity to step forward and he gave them a chance as well. They didn't and he didn't because in that moment he knew everyone within themselves had a call to stop fighting. It was my favorite part of that movie and my favorite part of life. I have seen it, and if there is anything I can do for the pain I can't stop or I understand your need to scream then all I know to do is live in peace and the first place to look for it is within myself.

and Howard Cosell.


Got an email this morning from Howard Cosell.

Not really.

Really I received an email which quoted Howard Cosell, and I liked the quote so where else am I going to tell you that.

"Courage takes many forms. There is physical courage. There is moral courage. Then there is still a higher type of courage--the courage to brave pain, to live with it, to never let others know of it and to still enjoy life; to wake up in the morning with an enthusiasm for the day ahead."

And there was this. An artist talking about rabbit holes.

It looks to be a good day, folks.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

family and aging II

You earned it.

Today you received a hug from two kids at once.
A cousin, an aunt, a guy named Ted, a friend who walked into the grocery store.

I mean, seriously girl, you take those hugs when you get them. They feel like gold in this world.

Today I am grateful for summer, for swimming, for family and friends.

I think if you ever didn't know what book you wanted to be and you always dreamed of fairly tale endings then you should know that endings can be in the beginning or the middle or at the end of the day because if really

today is all we had then (I mean let's hope not but if it was). Then let's hope that maybe we'll get another tomorrow.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

family and aging

There are these friends whose son or brother married a sister or a daughter, and they had the nicest little sweet country reception of backyard cookout.

What I knew is how important family is to my friends and especially that one friend who asked, "Will you come take some photos of this?"

"Just as long as you know that I am going to just do what I do and hope and pray that I get something you like. But yes. I get to meet the entire family. The pastry chef will be there?"

"Yes," she said.

"Okay, but you know you can't expect too much from me, though I think I can handle a backyard cookout."

It was exquisite and classy and lovely and I have to go through all the photos and send them in a link to her, but nothing I will do will repay her for allowing me the honor of witnessing such sweetness.

What a kid does to a photo.

And the food, of course, was delicious. Please don't tell the girl who has been drinking nothing but water and coffee for the past five months that I had some sweet tea. (and yes, that half a cup was worth every calorie)

Will work for food and sweet tea.

And a reminder of Where the Red Fern Grows because a great teacher may one day reach her hand out to you after thirty-five years. You will reach your hand out as well, and both of you will squeeze.

And the place was filled with hugs of all kinds.

And now my internet is saying no more uploading today. I'll take this as a message of, "Go to sleep, lady."

Today I am not only grateful for an honor, a friend, some great food and sweet tea but also a chance this morning to see my high school government teacher, Mrs. Bartee. Both she and my fifth grade teacher make getting older look like getting more fabulous.

It was a good day all around we'll say.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Friday night's taking topics

Dear Anonymous,

Your suggestion led me here among other places. Sweet.

Thank you,

Today I am grateful for a night off of heavy writing, a nice dinner with family and friends. Hugs are the best. I am grateful to watch some very special, very loving graduates receive congratulations. It was an honor to have received an invitation. I am grateful for a suggestion, the talent discovered and music and movies and internet.

And two paintings sent by one of my most favorite artists I have ever not met. But still. It seems that I have, and the painting is just exquisite. So is the watercolor she added to the box. Truly. Great art is so personal and precious to claim as my own.

Thank you, Chantel.

possible excerpt of nobody particular, incomplete works: episode four, witness (this title is obviously too long so you probably shouldn't read it.)

Photo here.

He says, "A friend dropped me off this side of Austin. It was on highway 290 and within the first hour I started questioning everything. Was this really what I was supposed to be doing? Seriously. I was walking into fear. And that's as I continued to pray, 'Did I hear that right? Is that what you (capitol Y) were saying? Go out there and start walking and talking and listening. Austin. Show compassion. Show people the love you know. Right?'

Step after step after step until one day I was there on that highway where a friend dropped me off and I said, 'Maybe I don't love the homeless like I claimed.' It was the gospel that I had to remember, and by gospel I mean what my parents taught me. There were books which held an important spot in my life, but the Bible was the best of them. And compassion comes and goes. You can't feel all the pain in the world because that would hurt too much. And 'haters gonna hate'. I had to love to truly love. So my walk to Austin was step by step fear and love. I push past both with the gospel and a small tent on possible private property. For the first time in my life I broke a law man had established. I kept reading the 4th psalm over and over trying to make it real.  So many things going through my head.  Is this even going to help people?  But I kept repeating, 'In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety'.  Every time the leaves would rustle a bit near my tent I would turn and hope it was just the wind.  I finally got so tired I passed out.  When I woke up the next morning I realized something.  I had made it through the night. So simple but a relief to my soul because I knew it wasn’t going to get easier.  I bathed in a nearby creek. Later I would realize that other than a water hose it was the most water I would see. The next morning I packed up my stuff and started walking."


She is vibrant. There is an energy which bounces off of her and onto you. This is love of life and learning and sleeping in and yes, she works.

Walking contains fear. It does for everyone, but everyone has a heart for their fellow man. Or do we? When it's down to them or us. Basic survival means we would pick us if we had to choose, but she doesn't want to. She'd rather not.

What she says is, "I was so scared. That car was right in front of me. Those guys were hooded and there was a pistol and I thought I was going to die. I knew in that moment I had to save myself. And however it happened I was saved by God. I ended up between a mailbox and a garbage can and at that point someone else had to be driving because there is no way I could have driven like that myself. That car turned around just like this." She pulls her hand up, flat and flips it from one way to the opposite.


It was a highway I was on, a half a mile of one. It was early morning dim enough that any car which would pass would have it's headlights on. Those were the headlights staring at me on the road I was supposed to turn.

"Yo, you. Smarty pants, you need to turn around now. You're not so great that anyone is going to save you. There are these moments when you are given a chance to prove your faith, and proving your faith means you were given enough sense to avoid pain and hurt to those around you."

"Keep walking."

"Little things add up. Don't make people who love you worry."

"But. You claim to walk in faith. Do you? What is faith other than fear and love tied into one."

"Keep walking."

I was about a quarter of a mile from those two lights when a black truck pulled up, and a driver raised both hands when he said his name after the longest pause and after the question, "How do I know your face?"

I've thought a lot about that question since then. It seems silly, but we see love in people's faces. In that moment that guy showed me what being concerned for another looks like. He showed me he would stop what he was doing to say, "Hey. Are you alright?"

I was a stranger. We all were on that road which Mom says I can't walk anymore.

And what I will tell you is that you can let fear overcome you. I do that all the time, but that morning every step was in fear and love and sweet love won out. It doesn't always happen that way, I know, but every time it does I should maybe say it.

That night in that tent a nobody particular read with a wind up light. He didn't know when he would be back. And he saw and she saw and I saw the very same thing in our hearts. In those moments we called those who we felt loved us and we received the answer we needed. I know I am not all that smart, but today I heard from two people who are.

He says, "One step closer is always one step closer. In our goals or if you find yourself walking from one city to another."

She says, "We had fourteen hours together to come up with a ten minute presentation for the people at the Peace Corps."

Today I am grateful for all the nobody particulars and all the book recommendations I received. I am also grateful for a comment I read.

Book recommendations are:
He recommends the Bible. I guess the King James version. I haven't asked.
My third grade teacher recommends Island of the Blue Dolphins.
She recommends the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling.
My local librarian recommends Nightbird by Alice Hoffman for a twelve year old girl who is possibly into fantasy or mythology.

In The Ballad of Jessie Pearl Jessie's sister just died.

There is a song not about place but about mercy.

And there is a comment there by Graphics from seven months ago.

"That song came out right before I moved to Brooklyn, with no job, nothing but $500 and a couple of suitcases. A generous man in Brooklyn did indeed take me in, if only for a couple of weeks, but just long enough for me to get a foothold. I met a girl almost immediately, fell in love and moved to lower manhattan. I've never found as many miracles as I did in that great city, and indeed, Brooklyn will take in all those willing and faithful…some time later I did hear this song in a coffee shop. There is mercy in the world. Never forget."

A special thank you goes out to him, to her, to Graphics for a constant reminder.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

when I try to see what you see, note to self

My vision gets blurred and I lack confidence as if I have already failed. I freak out a little bit if you commission work and work is life and you can't put a price which means tell me what to do.

But yes, you can.

"I'm thinking (insert what you're thinking and I need to take it on with some kind of weird go huge or go home mentality. I need to see what you see, and I am so scared I won't see it.)

But the biggest fear is that I may fail you. (I've totally done that before)

So then.

I either go huge or go home. It's that middle ground balance that Mama has always been reminding me of. "Balanceschmalance," I would say then ask, "How do you do that?)

"Write a list," she still says today, and you've already read how grateful I am for that.

So here's the deal.

1. Stick with what you are doing. Stop trying to turn it off. That's a struggle.
2. Do what you do.
3. Listen. You will be led to the next project.
4. Follow the lead.
5. Don't forget the other projects.


1. You have two focus articles a week.
2. One monthly focus.
3. A newsletter or publication.
4. Reading is Peachy.
5. A booth.
6. A personal photo shoot.
7. A family reunion.
8. Two hours of daily hike.
9. Swim two days.
10. Write, write, write. Take photographs, edit video, update, update, update, sleep.

Life is full. How could anyone or anything else fit?

Someone once asked, "Do you think you are any different now than you were back then?"

"No. I've always been this way. We're all surviving or not and it's so much that I can't imagine the whole of it so I have to take it in numbers, but hey, we're fed and that's nice. I have clean drinking water and electricity. I live in a place of birds singing."

Then she nodded.

Today I am grateful for a visit to my local library, for some more time with Jessie from the book.
I am grateful for people who inspire me and motivate me to make lists of life.

Sound men and women.

too far gone

"Life is either a daring adventure or nothing."
Helen Keller

(every now and again a little nothing feels nice)

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

sound guy

He is who makes it
make it to your ear.
The guy in charge of what you hear.
He has his own backstage pass, and he loves music.
So it became his life.

In other news there was a test of faith, and everything worked out just fine.
But the question of faith is a tricky one.
I have made bad decisions before. Taken a leap when maybe I shouldn't.
Denial is my poison.

And he says, "You need to be discerning."

"Discerning? I thought I was."

"Just.          You know."

Today I am grateful for the sound I hear.

Monday, May 11, 2015


He read me a story about a woman named Ada, who he says reminds him of me.

"That was beautiful, but she's alone under that tree. I want someone to sit with her."

"But that's not the point."

"I know. I know. It's just an incredible compliment. I love Ada, but none of them stay. Because they don't have to stay. Because she doesn't need them they all leave."

"But she's fine."

"Yeah, you're right."

"So I think you need to put that on a list."

"A list?"

"Yeah. Mark that page. Reading a story to a woman is like a beautiful bouquet of flowers. That was incredibly sexy and your inflection and you just hit it out of the ballpark. Way to go, man."


"Uh huh. Use that."

my local librarian

She recommended and gave me The Ballad of Jessie Pearl by Shannon Hitchcock.

Chapter 9, Page 33: It is tragic with a sweet scent of hope. I want things to work out for Jessie and her family, but I fear that it won't. And I'm hoping that JT is alright 'cause he is her little bit of light.

Oh Romeo. Oh Juliet. Please don't tell me that life is so tragic.

(but it is, I know)
So tonight I read on.

Many people offer me books. I share intimate spaces with readers at home and at work. People who have ideas and passions and love of the written word. The guitar player in my life has found her solace in Greek mythology.

I am fortunate enough to get books and article recommendations from friends because many of my friends have similar interests. Of course they do, though it's pressure to give someone a book you think they will love, and it is pressure to love it.

Until you let go and think to yourself, "I am going to give this book an honest read, because that's what friends do."

(and I haven't done enough of that)

Today I am grateful that Jess and I ended up laughing about how ill we were that we had to practice guitar and how sleepy we were and we had to go get the guitar because I forgot it and she needed a banana and four chocolate chip cookies and she almost got on that bus, but when we finally sat on her Mama's front porch and played she was playing at me with her guitar.

"Three easy chords."

The first one is beautiful and strong, and she gets that sly smile from her Pop. I never realized that till now. The rest of the three easy chords tells a story.

Then six four. She speeds them up not watching her wrist.  She makes faces with her eyes and complains of the flies.

"Now five three."

"Five what?"

"Five four, is that it?"

"Yes," she almost pouts and plays the guitar as if she's telling a story with it.

She does not like guitar practice today. She doesn't want to work at this after work, and her fingers and that one hard chord. Last week she talked to a nurse who told her, "Yep. The F chord. I remember learning that," and that woman sat in a chair and played Jess's guitar without a pick.

Later in the car.

"I don't see how those people do it."

"Do what?"

"Play without a pick. Imagine what her fingers felt like."

"I know, but wasn't that great listening to her and watching her play?"

She nodded and smiled a "you ain't lying" grin of a child.
That little nugget keeps me making her practice.

Because for me and her, even on bad days and I hate having bad days, a bad day being you didn't do your job as well as you should. Well with my soul, remember.

Then Jessie (of the book) reminds me that life is our little practices. Whether it be reading or writing or photography or guitar or softball or school or gardening or walking or swimming or hunting or fishing, it is the way we walk in this world.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

I told her you were coming

Though admittedly I don't know who you are yet and I have to admit

I am seriously nervous about meeting you because of all those expectations and all those warnings and yes, I would ask about you.

And I'm still here on my best days on this path, walking all the way to the end and back till I had blisters on my feet because I love when my body aches and

I love a good swim to stretch in.


I said it out loud to another person and she didn't know what I meant but she didn't have to.
('cause it's ridiculous that I would know how I already love you and part of me is scared that that is why you aren't here yet.)

Today I am grateful for a conversation with a two year old in a pool where we waved goodbye to a waterfall and told it, "Goodbye, waterfall. It was so nice to meet you." Then we whispered, "Bye." And it was funny to whisper. Whispering made us laugh.

No sooner than I wished it something is here.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

whispered gratitude for a couple + selfie by Alton Fairley

Mrs. Thetis is clearly stating, "Girl, put your hair up in a side ponytail and put a flower in it. Then have lunch with me."

It's no secret but it is, I guess.

Mom tells me in the kitchen while she is preparing yet another family meal because one way she loves is through food. (fried wild turkey breasts, salmon patties, the list almost seems never-ending, but biscuits. Yes.)

She says, "You know he's real sweet."


"Your Daddy."


"Yeah. When we're alone he's kind and sweet and we're good when it's the two of us here."

The backstory is that Daddy is swearing Mom took his walking stick and hid it from him. He found it in the flower bed where he had been working, but he swears he would not have left it there.

A week later he is in the watermelon patch, and I notice his walking stick is nowhere to be found. Of course I had to mention it.

"Dad, where is your walking stick?"

"Can't find it."

"Think Mama hid it?"

"Now you kids laugh at how she treats me like it's a joke or something, but this is serious." He can't keep a straight face.

"Know what she told me?"

He loves these what Mama said moments in our life, "What?"

"She said you're sweet when nobody is looking. That it's all just a show."

He can't stop the full on grin but pulls back as best he can, "What?"

"She says you two are good and kind to each other and anything else is just a show."

"Well, we need to get up to the house to settle that right now."

"Dad, I gotta get to work but you know it won't work if one of us is standing there watching."

My first selfie was by Alton Fairley, and I'd have it no other way.


There comes a time when everything you do comes with instructions on how to love those who had a mother in their life and by mother I mean a person rooting for you.

The face painted fan with a jersey she wears every day. That jersey has your number and every other number on it and as my Mom puts it, "Every someone needs that one someone in their life. It just takes one person who loves them like Mamaw Moore did me."

I don't remember Mamaw Moore, but Mom says, "She took us in and she organized us and she was a Mother to us." How my Mom learned to be a Mom is from a lady she respected.

And she taught me.

This is what I remember: 

Life is a never-ending list.

Believe strong and hard what you believe. Talk to people. Listen.

Love, no matter what.

Be the most beautiful you you can be. You measure beauty within yourself.

Give of your time and your self and never stop. (unless child. you have to have sleep. just make sure you take care of those around you and let them take care of themselves when they need to.)

Take care of you.

Whenever you have a problem with someone stand in the mirror and look. They’re staring right back at you.

When you give you take (physics) and don’t feel guilt about the good in your life.

Know that you are not alone on some island. Know that you have a friend in this world.

You are strong and powerful even when you think it is only you. With power comes responsibility so be as wise as you have learned to be.

Never, ever give up and know if that were one word it would not be in your vocabulary.

Today I am grateful not only for my mother though that is enough gratitude to fill this blog for the rest of my life,

insert ellipses. 

Because of her I am also grateful (number eleven) for that person in your life. Your face painting, jersey wearing, who has more awesomeness than anyone should, a man, a woman, that person or people who showed you what love meant because they defined it for you. You knew proper love when you first felt it. Everyone does.

Friday, May 8, 2015

me and you

He says, "You dance on tables."


"Your mama says it comes from my side of the family."

"But Daddy I don't dance on tables."

He pauses with a smile so sly it is as if he's saying she'll eventually get it.

I did.

Surely there is at least one question from the table dancer in all of us.

How many people do you need to listen or watch or what are we talking about? If we could have one or the other which do you prefer? Can you take photographs and write or should one overcome the other?

I went to a strip club once. I was in my early twenties and went with two friends from work at lunch. For me it was investigative discovery. I wasn't going to pay for a lap dance or do anything past give them enough money to sit in a chair in a dark room on a sunny Tuesday in Memphis. That cost too much. I was just going to observe because there was this thought that there was life outside of my existence and I had questions for it.

I got my answer.
We're all the same.

Today I am grateful for the opportunity to listen to my Dad when he talks.

Also, it's Jess's fault I'm listening to country music.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

the slow release of a grip

Tomorrow she graduates from college.

And goodgosh. Seriously. If you ever wanted two people, a couple who the girl began to feel like a daughter but you didn't want to say anything because it's not your decision and you don't want to ruin anything and the boy.


The boy you had every right to claim as your son. He was. He is. What are we doing here?



She is crazy smart and lovely and she was the first one to ever place her foot on Billy Sue's head in the very calm, cool, I am Alpha and you will obey way. I was confused. On one hand I was all, Wait. Whut? Billy Sue, are you okay? ohmygosh. Shelby has her foot on my dog's head.

On the other, the one where I stayed silent, the one I chose to proceed with and watched and thought, Yowsa, girl. You are also courageous and self assured and absolutely awesome. I knew that the first time I met her.

Can someone please tell me where time has gone?

She is graduating college.
He is moving to her.

(they're both closer to me and will live in a Mississippi town known by those in the know for it's affordable yet chef prepared food)


(But still a selfish part of me wants to replay all that time that came after she came into his life. ohheck, let's just do it all over again.)

Today I am grateful for her and him and them, and it's so great when your son is in love with a beautiful girl.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

sweetie's family for president

Dear Sweetie,

You look like your Dad, and you act like him too. Right now you have adopted eight little orphan puppies, and I had to pull you away because your sister was practicing guitar and we had to listen to her.

And she made us dance with her music. 
And I love the way you love her and your brother.
All you have to do is say their names, and the world lights up.

Now what's gonna happen?
You five lovebirds are going to have another one to love.
That's what.

Today I am grateful for family, for people who will always and forever root for each other.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

in the weeds

"It looks frozen."

"I know. Right. The way the light hits it. It's that morning glow."

She smiles, and we keep walking.

And I've been thinking that this week is supposed to be a big week of appreciating teachers. This is huge. You have to get all of your gratitude folded neatly and placed in a box of hours and space and there's no way to say that big of a thank you to those people.

And there are so many.

How do you write that?
How do you take a photo so brilliant and beautiful and
full of all that love you feel for all those teachers?

Do you say thank you? Do you buy them a cake? Send them a card?
Flowers always brighten someone's day.
I don't know, but tonight I need to write ways to appreciate a teacher every day of the year.

There are so many teachers we have to appreciate that it can't be just one week of the year.

Today I am grateful for the neuroscientists and social workers and motivational speakers and actors and they have their own children but they love ours as well and how do you say how much you love these people whose week it is?

Thank you, teachers.
Everyday. Thank you for what you do.

Off to write your article which will never be good enough. (glad I got that out of the way)

Monday, May 4, 2015

you can be

How much do I love her?
Let me count the ways.

Last week I asked Mrs. Thetis to recommend a book as if I was an eight year old child. "I'm just starting out reading chapter books, and I love horses."

Backstory is Mrs. Thetis has a love of books which can rival anyone's and a masters in counseling which makes me think she was sent to this particular library on this particular day especially for me. (obviously I think I'm real special)

But wait. No, Mrs. Thetis is here to recommend a book.

Last week when I gave her the scenario she gave me the name of a book before I could even finish with the idea. She was all over it. "Twister," she said.

I laughed, but then something happened.

She looked, and that book was gone and she remembered she had already loaned it to a child. She remembers which one and tells me all about her and her sister and their mom and Mrs. Thetis writes novels when she talks.

Have I mentioned how much I love her.

When I got there this morning she had at least twenty books and series and this is why and this is what and what do you like?

And I laughed. And I knew she would have an armful of books.
And she recommended a book out of her private collection that I could borrow as a friend, a first edition signed copy and my heart, oh my heart, and she said, "I'm going to get you fired."

"You're right. I have to get back to work."

Today I am grateful to have discovered the coolest little spot in town.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

go huge or go home

I could go huge into this plate of crawfish étouffée.

Let's do this.
Let's handle that rejection you got today.

So what? What if they're not that impressed with your work and you have to admit you could've done better so there is this thought that you sabotaged yourself. That's what.

You already have plenty of work to do so you can't stop now.

Or wait. You did stop. You took a day off work but never off writing and photography.

This is how you have to do it.

Today I am grateful for three articles due tomorrow morning, for a lady at the library who is going to recommend a book. For a hike, for getting there, setting up and going to work. There is opportunity everywhere.

music and Little Bird

Dear Little Bird,

This was our first music festival together. I don't know how you'll feel about music or what genre or if you'll play it in your home or just jam out in your car, but what I do know is that last night you got into some St. Paul and the Broken Bones.

Which was great. 'Cause I did too, and we shared that and some hibiscus tea. (hello, caffeine)

And we walked and met people and danced and right now in your life this is totally your thing.

Thank you for letting me tag along.


P.S. Your Mom wanted to hear these two on stage, a sweet husband and wife singing a love song while she and your Dad sat on a blanket together. I think you already know how cool it is to have two parents who listen to love songs.

Today I am grateful for beautiful weather and good music and the tea and the pretzels and dancing and laughing and family.