Life in the Slow Lane

Contemplating life, faith, words, and memories

Revisiting On the Brink of Everything by Parker J. Palmer — May 3, 2022

Revisiting On the Brink of Everything by Parker J. Palmer

My first reading of Parker Palmer‘s book, On the Brink of Everything: Grace, Gravity, and Getting Old, occurred sometime between late 2018 and early 2019. I found great comfort in it then, and I am in my second reading. It’s even better now.

My second round of reading On the Brink of Everything began when I picked it up from my desk one day shortly after the pandemic began in March 2020. When I seek comfort, peace, and light, I turn to the Bible, prayer, or the words of believers. Palmer is one of those believers. On the Brink had brought me comfort before, along with a tasty tidbit of humor here and there. Why not give it a second go? Continue reading

The Blizzard of 1951 :: A Day in the Life (#13) — February 9, 2022

The Blizzard of 1951 :: A Day in the Life (#13)

Recent weather reports from the nor’easters blasting the eastern coastline as well as the storms to the north of us in Washington state brought back memories. As I watched the news, I was taken back to the year 1951. 

To a child’s delight, snow began to fall on January 28, 1951, as did a lot of ice in the form of freezing rain (to no adult’s delight). Winds blew taking down power poles. Roads were blocked by fallen trees. How little I knew about the wildness and harm of it all. Continue reading

Where Did She Go? — January 1, 2022

Where Did She Go?

Where in the world is she? Where did she go?

Almost a year ago I came to grips with a difficult decision. I needed to take a couple of months away from my blog. The difficulty arose from the realization I was giving in to my pain and resulting depression. Giving in is not in my nature.

Two months grew into six. Then into ten, and here we are today, a bit over a year later. Without saying anything more, I let the months slip by. Finally, my courage and determination have gotten the better of me. I’m stepping out from behind those excuses. Continue reading

A Quick Word — November 11, 2020

A Quick Word

Just a quick word about the things I “sort of promised” in a recent post on October 22, 2020. In that post, I mentioned potential writings in the works as well as some book reviews.

Quoting Robert Burns’s words in his poem, To a Mouse:

The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men gang aft agley.

Clarifying Mr. Burns’s language to modern-day understanding, we come up with the most carefully prepared plans that may go wrong. Continue reading

2020 Word :: Renewal — February 5, 2020

2020 Word :: Renewal

Choosing a word for 2020 has been a slow process for me. There were many I could have chosen and almost did. Yet they didn’t seem to fill the bill, so to speak.

 
Simultaneously, I started my word search and reading Leeana Tankersley‘s book. Tankersley’s book, The Brave Practice of Releasing Hurt & Receiving Rest, guides us through her personal transformation. Within the first pages of her book, Tankersley recalls four words from the Rule of St. Benedict:
 
Always we begin again.
 
I picked up my highlighter and read on. The words Tankersley wrote I soaked up like a sponge. Were her words speaking to me? Was it some higher power? Maybe, on both counts.
 
Recently I had met with a therapist who insisted I did not want to go back to the person I was in 2016 when I fell. He confidently promised that he was certain that I wanted to leave that person behind. That I needed to find the person I had “evolved into over the last four years.” 
 
What he didn’t understand is that it is as though I left behind a lot over the past four years. There’s a manuscript lying in my studio untouched. I have ideas for two other books, one of which was “in utero” back in 2017. My volunteer work disappeared due to my inability to carry out the job description. My life as a wife and mother has changed in many ways.
 
I felt like I had lost my former self. I want to recapture my former self. The self I was when I left home on the evening of January 24, 2016.
 
Those four words, [a]lways we begin again,” were like the lyrics to a favorite song—they stuck in my mind. But four words do not constitute a word for 2020. They constitute a phrase. Who has heard of a phrase for the year?
 
Off I headed to grab a dictionary and thesaurus and sort out these four wonderful words. But on my way, I found my word.
 
I stopped and brought up the subject to Bob, my handy husband. During our talk, he told me a story about a gift he received in church the Sunday before.
 
I didn’t attend worship that Sunday and missed that week’s children’s time. In the course of their special time, each child received a star that had a word written on it. There were extra stars, and the children shared them with members of the congregation. Bob received a star with the word renewalwritten on it (the link is to the root word, “renew”).
 
Bob believed that the word he received was meant for me. He brought it home to me. And I pondered this word with thought and heart, plus a quick glance at the dictionary and thesaurus.
 
That’s the history of my word search for 2020. Renewal seems to be the right choice for me. With four years behind me now plus the first anniversary of my surgery around the corner, I am ready to begin again. I am ready to renew my life as I enjoyed, lived, and loved it on the evening of January 24, 2016. I have lots of catching up to do [a]s [I] begin again” with my renewal—the wife, mother, writer, blogger, and more!

 

begin again, start over, renew, word 2020 

Featured image attribution: Myriam Zilles from Pixabay

True Confessions — October 22, 2019

True Confessions

Remember the magazine True Confessions? As an adolescent, I sneaked my sister-in-law’s copies of True Confessions to the creek banks. I’m not sure why I thought I had to take them to the creek behind the home where she and my brother lived, but I did.
 
The words “true confessions” have been playing havoc with my mind over the last couple of weeks. My blog looks neglected and forgotten with fewer posts published. And my presence on social media isn’t what it usually is. There are three reasons. As my readers and followers, you should know I’m not going away.
 
First, I managed to connect with a nasty cold and cough germ that kept me down for almost two weeks. Second, my laptop caught a virus or two or three. It was “hospitalized” for several days last week. Sadly, I didn’t even miss it. I found joy, peace, and calm in reading, coloring, and music.
 
And for the third reason, a hazard of my first spinal fusion in 2001 has raised its ugly (and I mean UGLY) head. I’m now seeing yet another doctor to bring this pain under control. We were told there was nothing to control the pain caused by the bone graft. Today patients are fortunate that cadaver bone is available for bone grafting. If we can get this pain controlled, it will be the first time in almost four years I am pain-free. 
 
For the next few weeks, I plan to focus on healing both my body and my mind. Healing the body is difficult when also dealing with depression. It takes time and a commitment to exercising, eating well, and allowing the self to heal.
 
One post per week is my plan. These posts will include reviews of recently published memoirs. I’ve also read some good books on writing creative nonfiction essays, and I plan to review them. I hope you’ll enjoy these posts.
 
Thanks for reading my words today.