Wednesday, September 30, 2015


Hey now.


October is the ocean. It is nostalgia. A 2002 Nora Jones album. It is the absence of want because you have all you ever dreamed. It's when the birds look at you like you're a freak and wonder if you're going to feed them.

As complicated as it must be it always feels simple here.

Today I am grateful for photographs and photographers. I am grateful for this story and the other stories out there.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015


Easy now.


Today I am grateful for cooler mornings and calm seas. I am grateful for plans to go to the beach.

(tonight Macy Gray is singing about Beauty in the World)

Happy Birthday!

"Aunt Shea?"


"When are you picking me up?"



"But nothing. She has to be cleaned and measured and settled and we'll get there this afternoon."


And she asks a million questions and gives me a million reasons and I understand why your birth story is just one of the sweetest things I've ever seen.

Today I am grateful for you.

Monday, September 28, 2015


"It's weird and menacing and inedible."
Ms. Kringle

what I heard and saw

The writer didn't give Rahab much credit. She was just a whore. In fact, the fact that she chose that profession was essential to the story. It's old testament genocide. Yet she was spared even in her whoring ways. Which is crazy, because you know, the whole whore thing.

He asked, "If you were told to go in and remove a certain number of people who would you go after first?"

It's an appalling question now and whenever and wherever Rahab was. Never ask that or answer it.

"You don't have to answer it."

Nobody does.

Rahab pleas and I don't know if it was before, during or after sex. But she begs for the two soldiers to spare her and her family as a trade for her kindness. Was it kindness or was it complete fear? Would we be as kind if we did not have fear?

I know pity is not love and I should not pity her so I simply fall in love with Rahab because inside her home was a story of love. I mean, I can't imagine she liked the smell of those men or the power they had over her but it is what she did she did to feed her family. She already knew love. She didn't have to have other people to tell her.

He said those men went to her house because, you know, that's what men do. They find the whorehouse, the easy. The simple, the uncomplicated. A transaction.

(enter Richard Gere in Pretty Woman)

It was always the damsel in distress and a hero, but what if everyone was fine just the way they were. That somehow the story would have played out just as great without the war.

This post was brought to you by the fact I've been watching too much violence coupled with Sunday night service.

Today I am grateful for a walk and a rain, for how we sang, and that she was able to sleep.

(her whole life looked like a struggle between some kind of right and wrong and comparing herself to others, but today when she closed her eyes she looked as peaceful as I've ever seen her.)

Sunday, September 27, 2015


"I'll just take my non hierarchal paradigms out of your hair."
E. Nigma

(did I just fall in love with The Riddler?)

Saturday, September 26, 2015

the end, the beginning

"Yes," he says.

And I explain that this is not the easiest thing.

"Yes," he says.

When you love someone you are supposed to do that forever. Like, you know, ten years should be a hundred,

but what if love meant you let them go without ever stopping loving.

And what if the last ten years has produced one of the healthiest loves I've ever had.

Why wouldn't I fight for it?

(because you just thought being there was important. and fight for love? I don't want to believe that love is struggle.)

((this is him telling me I haven't learned a thing.))

And being there meant listening to all his hopes and his dreams without being a part of them. It sounds like heartbreak but it's not. It would be selfish and impossible to change how he sees so what I hope is that it is everything he believes he needs.

Nobody did anybody wrong. It was the greatest rebound relationship in history (mine anyway).

"If I call you two years from now and you pick up the phone we would begin like we never left off."

"Yes," I say.

Today I am grateful to let go of worry, worry that I'll somehow lose something because he's right. You can't lose something that's in your heart and mind. I am grateful for rest and fish filets and the suggestion I go visit her tomorrow.

Friday, September 25, 2015

nora is on the jukebox

The disconnect comes harsh.

(on a front porch. on a pleasant afternoon.)

Maybe you remember that you didn't take a pill for two days.


Taking life at warp speed is understandable. People who are passionate about whoever they think they are have a zillion reasons and as many photographs to say who and why they love

(,but you have to pace yourself, silly.)

And it's okay to be silly when it happens once a year.

Today I am grateful for a porch, a temperature, the crickets, Nora Jones and Sam Smith. I am grateful for a zillion kids. I am grateful for one. I am grateful for a chance to remember and then go to sleep.

(naps are beautiful.)

((it's Friday. how will you do better next week?))


It feels like coming home as if this is the closest we ever felt to belong.

Today I am grateful for blue jeans and a t-shirt, to sit on a curb, to see people I rarely see, to feel like somehow we all belong to each other, and I know, I know sometimes (mostly, really) I'm just ridiculously cheesy but that's okay with me.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

we are nowhere and it's now

Seriously. Great music. Though really. You may not like it.

"Just turns the jukebox on, and we hum along.
And I smile back at her."

(sometimes, I think, we keep things for luck)

On repeat is my gratitude for music.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Suess on always striving for more

I get the tiniest hugs by little arms. "What are you?" They ask.

I stop. Who am I? These kids are asking pretty deep questions. "I am a thing."

"Number eight?"

"There are seven others."

Later I tell the next group that the last group really showed some spirit. There I find that competition doesn't work. And I'm not here to destroy an economic system or sports. I'm just saying that kids, possibly everyone but then there's the no exception rule, do better when they just compete against themselves. Be a better them or me or us.

Then take a nap.
Then do it again.
A thing is nice to be.

Today I am grateful for a costume, a camera. Yes, I wore pigtails in my hair all day. Yes, there is a photo which who was a cousin took. Yes, I did threaten to kidnap a child's grandmother. Yes, there was a slight digression to the day. Yes, I can do better. Okay, okay. Hush.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

pay it forward

she did.

Alex, "What is a bad report?"

I call her Darth Vader because of the oxygen mask. She smiles, and we finally have the talk. This I have not been looking forward to.

"Have they told you?"

"Told me what?"

And then I don't know if my brain begins to scramble her words or she just doesn't know how to say what it is. But it's something about six hundred pounds and the doctors last week and she wants tears but I refuse to feel them.

"Did you say six hundred pounds?"

Death steals our ability to communicate. Duh. She verifies this, but I still don't understand why so I say, "You mean the doctor said you weigh fifty-one pounds."

Blue eyes, bluer than they've ever been. "I think I'm tired. I'm ready to give up."

Before this talk we had a couple when she would ask if I knew and I would try to play as dumb as possible and I would always says, "You won't make it with that attitude."

(dear her idiot niece, she should have said, "get out of my room, you idiot." I can call myself one, and she could do so as well but she doesn't because I guess love)

Not a kind of love which will save anyone but one with kindness and compassion. The same I want to give to her.

So I have prepared for this in a way, in the form of a Mom and me talk.
The whole give up, let go thing.
That you in the next however many days, weeks, months, years are not going to be able to cure this. You can't bring this person back and you saw it coming because yes, in all the scientific studies of the world (the ones much better than your's) smoking causes cancer and to ignore that would make an idiot of you.

(oh yeah.)

I say, "I don't know if you'll remember me. They say light and peace and no more pain. You know, people that have come back from death so if you remember me can you remember to give him a hug. I know you're gonna want to hug him first because what is that going to feel like."

Blue, blue eyes.

"Your sister. Sue. You get to see her."

"And Todd. How old will he be?"

"I don't know."

"How old are you?"


"He'd be around that."

Then I begin to imagine, to see something more than this because reality is sometimes tragic to watch or live and she ate good. That's my report.

Today I am grateful for her smile, that I was able to do some of her bidding, that suffering is temporary.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

she says, "pay it forward"

and I think that is the best thing she said all week.

So this week it is the theme.

I am going to be my best at paying it forward.

day of the Jedi

It is a day you are available. When someone drives by your house and you take a photo. When you visit for an hour and take off her glasses because that doesn't look comfortable. When you check the phone. When you call your mother.

When he says something and you say something and yes, there is a story about a pond and a drain.

It is a comedian, a dark series, a nap, because yes, someone did say, "Rest."

I should have asked if he needed help on the drain.

But someone taught me along the way that the next day may feel like a bomb goes off in your head because of a pressure you feel to be the best you can be at whatever it is you feel you are.

And then there's the Yoda thing. Try not. Be.

Today I am grateful for Star Wars.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

roller skating

It's the first email. I am going to have to read something before we talk, and there's homework too. Not just reading but listing. And yes, I do remember there was a time when I suggested maybe I should list more.

1. Offer french press coffee to the man who is weed eating your yard.
2. Read.
3. Create in a blank space three categories. List what is.
4. Nap.
5. Make another pot of coffee. Offer it again. Listen.
6. Finish list. Have it in before the five o'clock deadline.
7. Send link.
8. Send response to link.
9. Consider his invitation to watch a football game. Plan to make a strawberry cake instead.
10. Think about roller skating.

Smile. It's been a good day.

Done times eleven.

Today I am grateful for how all the weeds get eaten, conversations with the kid and a grocery store visit. How lovely it all is.


Me gotta go.

Friday, September 18, 2015

struggle in time

I haven't seen her in a week. When I do she runs up like she's glowing and then stops within a foot of me. She shines when I say her name.

Here is where I fight time and tired.
I resist because, I mean, I have to find some way to make coffee 'cause the carafe broke in the dishwashing machine, and well, I got the coolest little pot where you put the coffee grinds right on the glass, fill it with boiling water, let it sit, and then push this incredibly slow

take your time here.
steal it.

you get the picture,

push your caffeine.

and then speed up in time.

Seth wrote something today that I loved because yes. Don't you think?

Today I am grateful for a book, a great cup of coffee, a kid who is feeling better and music of course.

Thursday, September 17, 2015


It's a bottle of cheap wine, a slice of pizza. Collective Soul and Bright Eyes.

"I refuse to work under these conditions."

"What are you talking about?"

"I will complain to the employment people that you did not give me music. I can't do this type of work without music."

"Have you listened to Bright Eyes?"

"I don't think so."

point in favor: I like to secretly dance to new music.

Today I am grateful for an evening job, for some new music, for a bottle of wine, a slice of pizza. I am grateful for a book cover.

And for dangit.

A woman who is forcing me to dress up in costume next week, and now I think I know a kid who can be my other half. You'll have to use your imagination for this.

Each day a new costume. ohgoodgosh. Day one is twin. Twin to what?

why we despise wanderlust

It's an assignment at 8:00 a.m.

The character is a 911 operator.
The situation is goes on a honeymoon (dot, dot, dot) Alone.
The prop is a suitcase.

This is called shuffle and write.
We have six minutes.

A light streams through the bay window. A door is open. Sheer white curtains move.
He opens a small suitcase. In it are a few polaroids, a wood box, and a scarf.
He runs one finger across the top. The indention he created. What had happened since then and now makes the corners of his mouth turn down. It was a long road. He sees the note, typed and torn.

Don't take it personally. Never make assumptions.

Her voice is type. Where did she say that came from? He takes a deep breath, turns away from the suitcase, looks out the window. Feels a breeze.

She said he was her hero or did she. Damn memory. Too many notes in what had become some strange code between them.

This is the place. She looks up from the parking lot into rows and columns of doors and windows. Her mind is nervous banter. What the hell is she doing here? Why did she come? Hasn't she learned? Doesn't she know any better? But what if? What if this is all she dreamed? What if it was a nightmare? Everything is everything, she remembers.

She dials her own version of 911.

The phone rings.
He smiles.
Looks down to see type.

I'm here but I'm scared.

Don't take it personally. This is just the honeymoon.

Obviously that took more than six minutes, but hey, I did the assignment. So there.

Today I am grateful for the assignment we would give a child. I am grateful for the fear I felt when I saw it. Six minutes, three things. Let your mind wander until you get too scared. Too fearful. That's when you give up.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Ikebana and Longmire

I did not know the term. Julie Plasketes introduced it to me. She, of course, is in the show at Meridian Museum of Art.

Her work is titled Ikebana: Black Sun.

At first glance it is dark. Black, white, reminiscent of an old wallpaper in the background. Circles. Two flowers. Or three. This could be one of those how many things can you see.

Walt. I love his patience, his virtue. His sharpness. Duty to his fellow whoever. I appreciate his sadness, his struggle. I want to hold his face in my hands. That face freezing cold on a mountain in a Wyoming winter. But then I'd be freezing, too. And well, just come home, Walt. I want to hug you. Then we'd write letters because neither of us will have a cell phone.

Branch. Is that his name? That boy because how old is he? Good gosh. Strong. Highly capable. Torn in a prideful way. Did someone say beautiful? Holymoly. Child.

Henry. I would change my name for Henry. I would be Shea Blogsalot or Shea Will that girl ever shut up. Something like that. For Henry. Brilliant. Calm. I would tend bar or wait tables just to be close to him.

Ferg. I want to play checkers with him and bring him a present to work.

Cady. I am already jealous of her. It's the Branch thing. But still, I love her love for her Dad, and I love that he calls her Punk.

Vic. It's her doggedness. Her loyalty. A punch. There are no excuses with that woman, and she follows Walt around like a puppy. I love her.

Ruby. I want to have a desk across the office from her. Learn everything she knows about everything.

Wyoming. Brutal. Breathtaking.

Mama says, "Don't take it in all at once."

"I know. I know. But last night was a special night."

Today I am grateful for art and characters and for the opportunity to write about them.


Wyoming as a character.


It begins with a green plant.
Let's just say some one walks by there everyday after work.
Two years, twenty-four months, five days a week.

Let's just say for 235 days a year the one spends almost four hours here so in two years that would be eight. Until one day that one thinks I should save just enough to put a plant here. Something green.

Let's just say another one sees that green plant there and decides to paint a wall, a conversation piece, bursts of colors, a scene. And then come flowers and some one replaces the windows until one fine day some one looks at another one and says let's make a community center

or a shopping mall
or a coffee shop

or not.

I mean, this is the way it is but it doesn't always have to be, and I do know there is some beauty to that stone, that wood. It's kind of exquisite in it's simplicity.

(but Alton could do some great damage to that wall)

Today I am grateful for no such thing as a blank canvas, for how places can seem to ask for our imagination. If we listen.

I am grateful to the AT&T guy who came out and gave me real internet. I mean, he didn't give it to me. I have to pay for it, but today was a party of music and candle and homemade spaghetti and ohmygosh Netflix binging. It's like Alton came and painted a wall of my life.

(dear me, you need to get out more. or nah, you're fine. you have Netflix)

Sunday, September 13, 2015

envy preserved

This is obviously not the original work of Sarah Dunn in Talladega, AL.
This is only a photograph I not so carefully shot of her work entitled Preservation #1,
a large format digital print seen in Meridian Museum of Art's Bi-State Annual Art Competition.
The original is exquisite. You should see it.

If I were to call myself a photographer, and let's face it, it's a weird word.

1. I have an expensive camera.
2. I have an expensive lens.
3. I have a computer with editing software.
4. I have managed to get paid at least partly for my photographs.


While I was doing something Sarah was doing something else and when I saw this I looked away then looked back again and then began walking toward it until yes, my eyes could read well enough to confirm that this was a photograph Sarah took. There is that part of me that believes I did not think I would show this to you.

How absolutely brilliant Sarah is.

I did not spend so much time photographing it, because well, then you could possibly see exactly what I mean and what would that say about me.

Tonight I needed to show you this because I needed to not let my own silly insecurities get in the way of trying to show you some beauty here.

Today I am grateful for Sarah's work, for how my own envy teaches me.

Saturday, September 12, 2015


Today I am grateful for legends and kindness and how some nights just feel like a gift.

Friday, September 11, 2015

not discotheque. discontent.

That's the kind of thinking that got us here.

Today I am grateful for an old movie and a waterfall and a Haagen-Dazs Gelato Vanilla Caramel Pizzelle because yeah. I think we're supposed to enjoy it.

Thursday, September 10, 2015


(photo here)

One of these kids is going to graduate in May of 2016. If you scan the photo you will find her. She will stand out to you as a cheerleader, an FBLA member, a Quiz Bowl Team brainiac, which goes right along with her being in a National Honor Society.  And, yes, of course she belongs to the Math Club. She loves math.

You'll know who she is without us having to tell you because she is already wearing her work clothes.

(photo here)

But then she has so many different uniforms.

(photo here)

What you may not know is this is a Daddy's Girl and a Mama's Girl, too. She is an awesome big sister to two little brothers. Sometimes when they get mad at her they tell her they can't wait till she goes off to college. She laughs, "But I know they are going to miss me. And Mama says Daddy is going to be tearing up on graduation night."

We ask her, "Where are you going after high school?"

Again she smiles a huge smile, "Well, at first I was thinking about a community college. Then I started thinking about Southern. I want to be a Registered Nurse, but Mama says I should just go ahead and get my Nurse Practitioner. When I was little I got a doctor's kit as a gift. I wanted to check everybody out, and still today I always want to help people. When I can tell something is wrong with one of my friends or someone in my family I ask them, and if they tell me nothing is wrong I always say, 'Nope. Let's talk.' I like psychology too."

It is an energy this child possesses. We see it so many times, a light in our children's eyes. It is refreshing to be confronted with people like this young woman on a daily basis. As a member of HOSA and in her second year of Allied Health she is one of those people you meet who makes you think, If I have to be sick one day I'd love to look up and see her. She really cares about people.

If we were to make a list of those things which make us believe this young lady is going to be exactly who she wants to be we'd probably say:

1. She is great at juggling. She allowed this interview on a walk to mentor ten year old children. Two hours later we saw her in the back of an ambulance learning about equipment. Just the other day she had two club meetings at the same time, and she managed to physically show up to both and get what she needed.

2. Her mind is sharp and active. She absorbs information by listening.

3. She knows what she wants to be when she grows up so she is shadowing nurses at hospitals and nursing homes. She has a plan and a list, and, like so many others her age, she says, "It goes so fast. It's bittersweet. I'm ready to go, but it came so quick."

"But," she says, "I already know the most important things in the world are love and compassion. People just want people to love them. I'm just a loving person. I've always been that way."

If it's the people right in front of us who tell us about our future then I am grateful for the kids I hear.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

the ambiguous return

He reminds me that you always stay open to possibility. Then you find those things important to you, like your health, and you make time for them.


(Get in gear. Stop neglecting that one thing which you were doing so well.)

Today I am grateful for a guy who serves as an example.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

also, this is not the way to handle a thing

"I saw him at the horse show, and all I could see was his big brown eyes."

"Nope. I don't want to hear about it. I have to make your appointment with the psychiatrist."

"The psychiatrist?"

"Yes. We have to schedule your lobotomy."

"What's a lobotomy?"

"It's a surgery where a neurosurgeon will disconnect the right side of your brain from the left side."

"I can't like a boy? Seriously? I can't even like him?"

"Nope. I thought we could just take a little piece out. You know the little piece that liked him, but it sounds like it's too late for that. Total lobotomy now, chic."

"Well, you're just gonna have to take out the whole brain, I think."


a wave at the grocery store

It's a teacher thing.
They get a wave at the grocery store. Unless, of course, you're her.
I can't imagine her going anywhere without being mobbed.

Anyway, I've seen a little of that while standing in line at a cash register and looking to my right to see two familiar faces smiling and I feel so guilty that I don't have my camera. Because to those kids I'm the camera lady and I never even dreamed that that is what I could be.

The girl waved.
And I did my most excited, my personal best impression of a mime wave without jumping up and down back to her because I am giddy to see them here. I am full of love for kids who know I am their own personal camera lady. Who maybe somehow understand how much I believe in them.

Today I am grateful for my camera, for an extra thirty minutes. For BeBe's class. For a car ride fro and to and the award winning singing that can still happen with the wind blowing in our faces. For how we smiled together when I told him that his voice in my head said the bottle was telling me to shut up.

Monday, September 7, 2015


So it was the question between the red team and the blue team.

Does social media make you anti-social?

Tonight was an experiment of a surprise visit from an old friend. And I just about jumped out of my skin. He said, "Don't shoot."

So I pretended to and then realized he wasn't my brother so I kinda screamed and said crap, you're not my brother. I have to go get dressed.

After speed dressing, my hair still in that awful clippie, I stepped out the back door to someone who said we grew up together. From the top step I recognize a face but can't put a name. Two more steps down and to his right. He knew it when I said his name.


He smiled his Daddy's smile and that boy is his Daddy if any boy ever was. I can't believe it's Ben and all my social graces of which I never had any doesn't invite him in because well, I just don't have company.

It's crazy really.

And I tell him he's crazy. And he tells me where he lives now and sometimes how old he feels and now things are smaller, right? Back then they were so big. Our neighborhood was huge and fifth grade and a vacant lot where we would ride our bikes.

Do you remember when? And how much we both still love Coach Blackburn. I say tell your parents I send my love, and I neglect to mention I feel guilt for not stopping by to say it with a hug.


Today I am grateful for a visit from an old friend, for how being kids together can bond you with great memories. (even if I have become incredibly anti-social in my social media-ness)

Sunday, September 6, 2015


Today I am grateful for the unplanned, a great barbecue sandwich, and a hug from my kid.

Saturday, September 5, 2015


It's the handwritten note. How after all these years I can still hear her voice when I read it.

It's the realization and then the letting go of ever being able to photograph or say or write or sing or do some sort of expressive dance which could somehow convey how grateful you are for those people whose very existence was and will always be a gift.

A simple thank you is never enough. They are one of the reasons you live your life this way.

go team

Friday, September 4, 2015

keep up

First it was plants. Now it's cities.

Today I am grateful for exploration.


From the bottom left corner to the top right it creates such a lovely and deceivingly delicate line up the screen. Sometimes we study a scene until it seems natural to think nature is communicating in some way to us.

(also known as the moment she started listening to the plants)

Today I am grateful for a lady named BeBe, for people I trust to answer a hard question for me.
For the front porch greenery.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015


Remembering Nashville

She asks me, "What are you thinking?"

The question is who in the world has time to listen to that. We're all thinking.


I think that has to be one of the most generous questions ever asked.

So I must be as generous but concise in my answer.

I think introductions are important.
I think two is better than one. (Isn't there a Three Dog Night song about that?)
I think you each bring qualities to the table which complement the other's.
But what are they? What do you bring? What does he?

Today I am grateful for a question and a book.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

don't lose your child

Rather than say goodbye you say it was fun.

make me
your smile, your praise, your acknowledgement was what I was working for
someone I respect validate me

it's a smile
a high five
a hug
skipping where you used to walk
an idea, a purpose, a goal

I realized today I was five years old.

She didn't have me at hello.
It was the you say it was fun part when she clearly stated, "It's not the what. It's the why."

"I have a feeling you're going to blow my mind."

Today I am grateful for a lesson in intention and the child in me who still loves to cheer because of the cheers she hears.