Monday, December 31, 2012

Dusk at year's end

"I’m always sorry more people don’t understand the joy of knocking about in small boats.  You have to have something that will float of course.  But the main thing is leaving the land- shoving out on your own.  And I often think it is the coves, shores, beaches, blue water, towns far away, the sunlight and the tinkle at the bow- they are what you’re after.  

Who can say what the wind does to one’s spirit or what a night’s sleep at anchor under the stars does to one’s view of the world."

Elliott Merrick

Saturday, December 29, 2012

She asked, he replied

Chipping away at a laborious task with a fast-approaching deadline, he took a much needed recess in the chilly island air.   

She: "What would you like from me today?"

He: "Peace and tranquility, calm; forebearance.  A warm fire.  Perspicuity."

Nuff' said.


Friday, December 28, 2012

A swimmer's legs at 85

"Age is never so old as youth would measure it."

Jack London, The Wit of Porportuk

Sunday, December 23, 2012

One dream, two sons, three men

Sinanan men with Maudie & Eli, 2007.
Dreams come in the form of aspirations during our waking hours and through more subtle manifestations as we sleep.  It seems we are more curious and mystified by those that occur behind closed eyes, as if the subconscious might bring us to greater awareness.

As a teen, I dreamt that I would one day be the mother of two sons.  It was an uncomplicated dream with few details remembered.  In fact, I had forgotten about it until the very moment I birthed a second son.  I recall with great clarity laughing out loud in the birthing room.  "I dreamt about this!"

Josh and Rei, you are indeed 'my dream come true.'

Friday, December 21, 2012

Crafting a life

We shape clay into a pot, but it is the emptiness inside that holds whatever we want.  

~ Tao Te Ching 

Sunday, December 16, 2012

A senior moment

A quick stop at the pet store on Lake City Way today yielded all sorts of unexpected pleasure.  Lest you think I came away with a fluffy kitten or a sweet-smelling puppy, think again!  

It all unfolded at the cash register when the clerk asked a series of questions, including this one.  "Is any member of your household over 55 or active military?"  Quick as I am, after 15 years of martial arts training, I shot back, "No."  Pause.  "Oh, yeah, my husband."  Pause.  "Oh wait.  Me too!"  

It seems the good fellow was eager to extend the senior discount common to their locale, and there he stood, well-meaning and innocent, facing a woman caught in her own senior moment. 

We both had a long delirious laugh about it all, then he did the gracious thing and applied the blessed discount.  I thought about asking him to toss in one of those darling kittens, but before I put my wallet away, the foolish notion was long gone. 

A good belly laugh, a discounted tab, and no reflexive pet acquisition; as Carol would say, "life is good!"

Friday, December 14, 2012

From darkness into light

Another mass shooting.  Dozens of lives lost.  So many children.  

Make a connection to someone today, someone new to you, and help move us as a nation toward the light.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

A visitor came calling

It was the wind today, that brought her spirit rustling through the bare trees.  I heard it just seconds before I felt her presence and I found that I could not walk another step.  The dogs and I stopped mid-stride, and I gazed skyward and asked them, "Do you feel her spirit?  Faith is here with us."  

We stood like attentive sentinels and watched the trees sway, great gusts blowing through the alders and sending their last leaves scattering.  Tears flowed freely and I knew in that moment that I wept for the miraculous.  

I wept for the gossamer thread that connects us still and for the ability to live with my heart full open.

Monday, December 3, 2012

No postage required

Little Jenny Derick takes her turn.
Dear Santa,

I don't know how you do it, matching wish lists to people and getting it right year after year.  I mean, I know you get plenty of hand-written letters and direct appeals, but what you achieve is really the stuff of miracles.

Remember December 2000 when three sisters lined up for a visit and photo with you in Baltimore's Inner Harbor?  A daughter, a pair of puppies, and a lake in Canada; three wishes, as diverse as the women themselves, yet you found a way to bestow the blessing, albeit a tad modified.

And how about 1960 in Northumberland, PA?  Chatty Cathy topped this young girl's list, and of course the talking doll arrived as wished, wrapped and beribboned; yes she did!  The thing is, you never seem to place judgment on the request; you listen, and you deliver.  I'm wonderin', did you learn that at Santa school, or were you born that way?

These days, my favorite thing about the holiday season is holding fast to the simple pleasures: giving, receiving, savoring connections.  Yesterday I stopped at the local tree lot to look for a Christmas tree.  A little noble fir found me as I perused the selection, whispering softly, "Choose me."  She stands a mere four feet tall and is nearly the same around her girth.  A sweet gem of a tree if I ever saw one!

As always, we'll leave your carrot and cookie by the hearth.  Please be careful coming and going and don't be alarmed if the dogs get whipped into a howling frenzy at your arrival.  They're harmless, but their excitement simply cannot be contained.

And thanks for everything all these years.  You're one patient and generous soul.

Love, Jenny

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Heady stuff!

2012 USCL champions!
They did it!  The  Seattle Sluggers closed out the season tonight with a win over Philadelphia to secure the US Chess League championship!

Congratulations on your big win, especially to the gentleman on Board 3: Josh!

Friday, November 30, 2012


Holiday parties.  Sugary treats in various forms.  Traffic congestion.  Consumerism run amok.

Simple, unadorned.  Clearing space.  A single candle.  Opting out.

I'll take door number two please.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

At play

Finding a common language, Darien Province, Panama, 2006.
Sometimes I think I am in heaven.

Monday, November 26, 2012

A few inches shy of a self rescue

Ahh.  The many applications for a grocery cart.  Don't tell me you've only used them for groceries; I don't believe that for a minute!

Ida had one turned on its side today and it appeared she was about to climb on it and dumpster dive, which had me a tad concerned.  I met her only last month as she shuffled from the Lynnwood Senior Center where she teaches German to her contemporaries and I was walking by after a swim.  At 4'10", some might say she's easy to miss, but there is much about Ida that caught my eye from that first sighting, her self-sufficiency included.

Today she returned my eye contact and smile with a beckoning wave from across the Fred Meyer parking lot.  "Dear, I need your help!  I've deposited a pile of old newspapers in the bin and my keys went along for the ride.  They're right there.  Can you see them?"

So up I went on her improvised perch, and while she held on to the cart and sang in German, I fished them out.

And then we hugged.

I love my life!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Thanksgiving, then and now

Aunt Maude: under five feet tall,
but larger than life to my childhood eyes.
Memories connect us to our lives in mysterious ways.  As I prepare our Thanksgiving feast today and anticipate the arrival of our Canadian family, memories of my childhood come to me in sweeping waves.

 We gathered at my maternal grandparents farm in Watsontown, PA, a short drive from our home on the Susquehanna River.   For my cousins, siblings and me, a highlight akin to the sighting of a rock star was the arrival of Aunt Maude, delivered to the family gathering by my grandfather, Bob Sheffer.

Mika asked me today, "What was it about her that you loved so much?  Was she a great cook?"  I have no idea if Aunt Maude was gifted in the kitchen, though I do recall savoring a homemade popcorn ball in festive cellophane one year at Halloween.

"Aunt Maude was soft spoken, ancient, tiny and frail, smelled of soap and talcum powder, and had the softest earlobes you could imagine."  Why or how it came to be that we children seized the opportunity to touch her earlobes with the utmost intrigue and respect I cannot say for I don't know.  She never seemed to mind, though, which was part of  what we loved about her.

The menu today is bereft of Grandma's creamed corn and baked marshmallow candied applesauce, but the mere memory suffices quite well.

Now to see if I can find a pair of soft earlobes in the group.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Staying the course

Molokai as seen from Napili Bay, Maui.
During her years in Licton Springs, my friend Kris used to tell me upfront: "If you want to see me after Halloween, you'll have to come to me."  Who wants to navigate the Lynnwood area traffic scene between November and January?  Apparently quite a few, evidenced by the steady flow of car traffic since the horse trails and rail lines gave way to asphalt.

In the 80s, Lynnwood was the go-to destination for all things big: mattresses, tires, furniture galore, and the annual Big Hair contest held at a bar near 44th and 196th.  For better or for worse, we're in a new league now.  They flock in droves to Alderwood Mall with its anchor stores and easy access off I-5, the popular Olympus Spa, an airy Whole Foods, and the gem of them all, the Lynnwood Rec Center.

It's Black Friday, folks, and I can only imagine what the streets look like a few miles from our home.

Wherever you are, take five.  Here's to finding a practice and pace that serves you and adds to our collective peace in this season of excess.  I'm starting with a swim this morning and a soak in the hottub.

Peace be upon us all.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Creating space, making plans

Line 'em up.
Immersed in an organizational task last week, I attempted to explain the labeled stacks of papers to our son when he took a gander at the scene.  "Ahhh.  This is one of the many ways this new eating plan has manifested for me.  I'm purging items and reorganizing all sorts of things!"

Yesterday I received a pair of confirmation letters from the UW School of Medicine and the UW Alzheimer's Disease Research Center (ADRC).  I've made plans to donate my body to the Willed Body Program in the Dept of Biological Structure and my brain to the ADRC.

They shall have to wait until I am done with both, however, as planning is well underway for a Thanksgiving feast next Saturday.  But as my friend Annie would no doubt agree, preparedness can manifest in many forms.

Now, off to yoga to clear a path for the tasks at hand.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

A firm foundation

Fort construction, circa 1998.
Ours is a family of builders, though not in the conventional sense.  We can all swing a tool or two and each of us has some memento somewhere around the house or garage that we can hold in our hands and say, "I made this."

But tonight, after a feast of fine food with our family gathered round the table, I give a nod to the building of relationships.

And I believe we can proclaim with one voice, "We made this."

Saturday, November 10, 2012

A certain likeness

Baby Mika, 1955, Trinidad, West Indies
Jenny at 2 days, 1956, Harrisburg, PA
Newborn Reilly, 1988, Redmond, WA
Josh at 10 hours, 1985, Vancouver, BC, Canada

Monday, November 5, 2012

Where I stand

"I stand with you."
We chose to say yes to a future together in the shade of a broadleaf tree on a late spring day.  Both formally churched, whatever that means, we were intentional in our choice to be united in marriage outdoors.  It was less a statement of turning from the church and more of a personal comfort with sun and fresh air and open spaces.  

What I want to say is this.  We were 23 and 25; you can fill in the rest.  Lest you are stumped, consider this.  We were in love, full of hope and faith and thought we had an idea or two about what lay ahead.  All of that was true.  What we didn't have was absolutes, but we had a plan and two cars and a job waiting for us on the other side of the country.  We had a friend who was willing to drive one of our cars from Baltimore to Seattle, and since we were newly-weds, it seemed like a good idea to travel together in the other car.  Are you with me here?

How we got to this day some 32 years later is a bit of a mystery.  We're still a work in progress on many levels, and that elusive notion of absolutes- well, it's still a lofty concept.  Do you have it?  Do you want it?

For today and very likely for tomorrow and beyond, let me proclaim that we have gratitude for what we've crafted, nurtured, and weathered.  Sometimes we are in love.  And yes, we still have hope and faith and some idea of what lies ahead.  And for us, I believe, that is more than enough.  

To enduring relationships, including marriage for any couple who desire it; salute!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

A letter from Maude of Autumn Morning

Surrogate mother, Miss Delilah Lopez,
with her puppies, Harold and Maude, Dec. 2000.
Dear Delilah,

You might not remember when Harold and I first came to live at your house, but I do.  We were just a tiny bit bigger than you, but you were the elder and took us in with great tenderness.  Back then, Harold and I used to take naps together in one kennel, and you held vigil by climbing on top and resting while we slept inside.  Then one day, you crept in cautiously through the open door and nestled in with us.  

You've been such a dear companion all these years, and I just want to say thank you.  Today is my 12th birthday.  Harold, dear boy, would have loved the warm egg treat this morning and the beef chew after dinner.  And he would surely join me in barking a big woof of gratitude to you!

Yours in blissful joy,

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

A brother's gift

Sun and shadows,
Milton Valley Cemetery,
Josephine City, VA
Sunday Outings

Even then,
I knew it was wrong
to clamor across the parched lawn
like stray dogs,
pausing here and there
to investigate
and yield to the forces
of nature,
even those set aside for humans alone.

Yet I would never have traded
our clandestine exploration
for anything,
even the elusive gift
of time with her,
where she might choose to look into our eyes
and see the yearning,
the longing for so much more
than what she willingly provided.

Did you tremble too, settling in behind the wheel,
driving us from church to cemetery
releasing us to that mysterious landscape?

Rebels, young and restless.
Free, free, free.  

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Written and spoken words: Roosevelt Whole Foods

Alderwood Mall out and proud.
Democrat or Republican, pray tell?
Bumper stickers spotted in the underground parking lot:

"I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence or insanity to anyone, but they've always worked for me."
                                                         -Hunter S. Thompson

"Be true.  Be kind.  Be BRAVE."

Family of three shopping:
Mother: "Shall we get the curly kale or the dino kale?"
Girl child: "I like EVERY kind of kale mommy!"
Boy child: "I don't want it in my lunch box."
Mother: "Do you like the little potatoes?"
GC: "YES!  The purple taste the best... and the yellow."
BC: "Can I get out of the cart?"

Seattle, there is much about you to love!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Partners in health

Ginny Douglas, revered friend, expresses her delight at
the fine selection of organic produce at the farmer's
market in Ballard during the Komen 3-Day walk, 2012.
Meet Ginny: avid gardener, much-loved grandmother, devoted spouse, passionate lover of life, wise woman with a kick-ass sense of humor, compassionate friend, and relentless Susan G Komen 3-Day walker.  Since the day we met in 2007, I've been inclined to believe pretty much everything she says.  She's no preacher, trust me; it's more a reflection of a lifetime of wisdom paired with fine intuition and a positive spin on, well---everything.

  So it was that back in July, seeking a greater sense of health and well-being, that she began eating The Abascal Way.  Her spouse, fondly known as the The Big Guy (read 6'3" overgrown kid with a passion for softball), got on board soon after when he recognized his spry spouse had more sustained energy levels, less joint aches, was dropping unwanted weight, and generally feeling damn fine on her new eating plan.  He said "so long" to those pizza and hotdog lunches at Costco and joined Ginny on her quest for health, soon experiencing his own fitness and health transformation first-hand.

Fortunately, joy loves company! As Ginny waxed on about her improved health, a few of her buddies got drawn in with their own best intentions, and I'm one of them.  I'm in my 4th week on the anti-inflammatory diet and could not be more pleased with the results.  My energy level is more sustained, I'm sleeping better, the lingering plantar fasciitis is gone, and I feel more positive and optimistic about my health and life in general.  I'm 11 pounds lighter and am completely delighted with the delicious food I'm preparing and eating.

Kudos to Kathy Abascal for her wisdom in piecing together an eating plan that is, in fact, a way of life.  And Ginny, my dear, thank you for your friendship and steadfast support that now includes recipe tips from kale to kraut.  How you can be both a free radical and an antioxidant is a mystery to me!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Remembering Faith

Ordinary time: Faith and Nadya soak up summer sun
on Bowen Bay Beach during cousins weekend, 2008.
Your presence among us is as strong as ever, dear Faith, made manifest through acts both common and miraculous.  There remains much to love, revere and cherish amid the palpable loss.  Today, one year since your passage, I offer a deep bow of gratitude for the gift you were to all of us, and for the blessing we continue to receive from your unwavering spirit.  

Peace like a river, my sweet girl.        

Monday, October 15, 2012

Get your groove on!

Combining passions.
Lap swimming is one way I have long enjoyed moving my body and freeing my mind at the same time.  Today was a tad different as the view down under involved some steady traffic.  Though it lacked scuba-equipped cyclists, it did include two individuals making their way back and forth on the pool bottom for a full 30 minutes.  

One gent had a particularly structured approach, bending his knees, extending his arms and pushing off, then drawing his arms in close along his sides and following the contour of the pool floor from one end to other.  He seemed rather keen on trying to get as close to the bottom as possible and used his entire body to propel himself like a halibut with grace and ease.

The other fellow, one I see each time I swim at the Lynnwood Pool, prefers a surface dive from the deep end, cork-screwing his way straight to the bottom then floating back up with minimal effort, letting the water carry him skyward as he relaxes.  In parallel lanes, they met at the shallow end and shared some brief conversation before resuming their respective underwater exercise.  I wondered if they touched on their mutual pleasure of water play, bottom-feeder style.

As for me, it's all part of the grand experience.  Over, under, through; floating, stroking, descending, ascending; diving, jumping, rolling, and the grandmother of them all, underwater tea parties

Friday, October 12, 2012

A library that never closes

 Friday Books, our local Little Free Library.
This lovely neighborhood gem appeared recently at the foot of the hill on 214th and 36th and I am over-the-moon with delight!  I first read about little free libraries earlier this year and loved the notion of building, installing and overseeing a small collection of books for the taking from a curbside location.  Often erected in memory or honor of a loved one, this one, Friday Books, honors the memory of the owners' parents, who instilled in her a love of reading.  It also honors the students she teaches who, after 4 consectutive days of selecting "just right books," have the unbridled joy of choosing any book their heart desires on Friday.

Yesterday I stopped by and selected this enticing jewel.  The kettle is hot, the tea is steeping, and the dogs are nestled nearby as rain returns at long last after an extended dry spell.  

It's a perfect day for reading and for hats---and it's a Friday to boot!  

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Ten notable things on 10/10

  • One casual lunch with Reilly, on the day before his 24th birthday
  • Two Brittany Spaniels giving and receiving love from dawk to dusk                                                                       
  • Three colorful pumpkins gracing our porch
  • Four Paul Robeson songs filling my car with sweet music
  • Five loved ones sharing their grace with me
  • Six delicious vegetables on my dinner plate
  • Seven sites of inspired sound installation by doctoral candidate in music composition Abby Aresty
  • Eight days until the 1 year anniversary of Faith's passing
  • Nine different bird songs heard in the arboretum
  • Ten years since I've weighed less that 138

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Autumn splendor

This is what I would have seen had I gone hiking with Sheryl today!  Instead, I spent the day in the jury assembly room in Snohomish County Superior Court.  

Oh, the injustice of it all!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Collaboration unleashed!

On Saturday night we gathered in darkness near the fountain at Seattle Center, a group of strangers standing in wait to experience Underbelly, a site-specific project created in collaboration with the Degenerate Art Ensemble (DAE) and Olson Kundig Architects.  As one of 25 juried visual, performing, literary, and media art projects of Seattle Center's next 50, Underbelly crossed my radar here in suburbia because Reilly is a member of the ensemble.  Some have told me, "You need to get out more."  In this case, I'm glad I did!

DAE's website is currently under repair due to hacking, but I encourage you to visit it in a few weeks when things are up and running again.  A big shout out to Reilly for his dedication, devotion, and artistic vision in his work with DAE: you make me proud son!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Finding our voice

It was a song of sorts that I heard as the dogs and I made our way across the school grounds, and as he approached from the rear with a heavy footfall, the musical offering became clearer.

"It's nice to hear someone singing," I offered with a sideways greeting.
"I'm rapping."
"Yeah, I can tell.  I didn't get the actual words but it sounded great."
"It helps me; I live in a foster home; I had a rough childhood--- my own mother abused me."
"It's good that you found a way to express yourself."

And so it is.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

The long version of "look at this!"

Through my work as a teacher, I've met more than a dozen pairs of twins over the years, and one set in particular, Reuben and Juan, I see quite regularly.  This week when I worked with them, I was reminded of one of their differences.  Reuben, hearing impaired since birth, listens with a keen sensitivity and eagerness.  Juan, hearing-abled, has a listening disability; he screens what is heard, either consciously or otherwise.

Self reflection on my part has shown that I favor Reuben; I am more empathetic and patient with him.  I question whether this is connected to memories of a sympathetic nature following a surgical procedure when he wore cumbersome headgear, or, more likely, admiration for his perseverance and commitment to listening with intention.  And I wonder this: If Juan showed insight into his listening issues and expressed a desire to improve in that area, would I extend more patience to him?

Sheesh.  Now I'm thinking about grace, which is not where I was when I began writing this post.  Ah, but that's the way it often is with self reflection or clarifying exercises, be it writing, movement, meditation or simply carving out intentional time.  Perception vs perspective.  Images vs imagine.  Sight vs see.  Hear vs listen.  Rorschach  tests vs  self-analysis.

And to think all I wanted to do was share this lovely photograph with you!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

And the seasons turn

Oct. 3, 2011
Faith receives the paired gifts of fresh flowers and
unflinching love from her dear friend, "English Carole."
The passage of time has a profound way of carrying us along on a current of transformation.  It seems that what we glean is found in both the new season we find ourselves in as well as the learnings and insights gained from the perspective of looking back.

The chilly temps and waning light remind me that it is autumn now, but in truth, my heart already knows.  Though I go through the motions of being here now, part of me is in Ashland, revelling in the sacred and the ordinary.   

To Faith; a deep and reverent bow, and a hot-tub splash for good measure.  And to giving and receiving love, the greatest gift of all.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Risky business

Full disclosure: I smoked for 3 weeks in 9th grade, back when a pack of smokes cost 35 cents and anyone was welcome to purchase them.  It seemed like a rite of passage I had to try and I'm often grateful that I didn't become hooked.  Actually, it's nothing shy of a miracle, given that my childhood airspace contained enough second hand smoke to rival China's skies.  

The dogs and I have a favorite route for our afternoon walk that takes us through a narrow side street where high school students gather at day's end.  Most are puffing away with great gusto when we make our way through.  Those I know by name look away from me and I wonder if they hope I might not recognize them if they turn their faces.

School's been in session for 4 weeks.  I guess they've got me beat.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Performance-based outcomes

The tricked out Toyota was the second car in the cue at the red light, just in front of me.  Always drawn to text, my gaze rested on the license plate frame: ENGINEERED TO OUTPERFORM.

Already in ratchet-it-down mode on my way to yoga class, I tossed aside the notion of 'outperforming' and its partner, 'buff-me-up, baby' with a resounding "No thanks."  

The left turn lane light signaled green and the lone car in that locale shot forward.  Mr. Engineered to Perform reflexively hit the accelerator too, and BAM!--- slammed his tricked out ride into the car in front of him.

I thought of slipping the yoga class location through his open window, but a lightning fast change of heart nudged me otherwise.  The drivers pulled over and did their responsible thing and I sallied forth to my destination.  Truth be told, I was already there.  That's the beauty and the blessing of yoga; the mat is simply a defined place, but the practice is what we bring to it.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Sisters united

Sue Yeoman, cherished friend of Faith Sinanan,
committing herself fully to speaking on the powerful sisterhood of those
 who've journeyed with breast cancer, 2011.
The Strength of Survivorship arrived in my inbox today from Susan G. Komen Puget Sound.  It is my hope that you might find a measure of inspiration from these strong, wise and vibrant women.

To our health and to the courage to live our blessed lives!   

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Patterns for living

Pool pattern, San Jose, Costa Rica, 2006

As someone who strives to live in the present, it may seem contradictory that my  daily practice is rich with patterns.  Am I spontaneous?  Often.  Is my behavior predictable?  Quite regularly, yes.  Do I have patterns of operating that lead to success in my chosen endeavors?  Sometimes.  How about patterns that set me up for failure?  Uh-huh; got those too.

I'm choosing to focus on the good stuff these days and selecting practices and behaviors that promote my health and well-being.  One way that manifests for me is in listening more closely.  Less internal chatter and talking allows for creating space for listening, both internally and externally.   

What follows?  A palatte of choices and a most stunning view!  

Friday, September 21, 2012

Through her eyes

Dear Mom,

How wonderful that Geo took you to Wilde Lake this week!  I know how much this place means to you, rich with visual, kinesthetic, and olfactory memories.  You've no doubt walked across America without leaving Howard County what with all the times you've circled this lake in every season since 1969.  

The little green heron and the night heron still linger along the shore in those low-hanging branches that extend out above the shallow waters.  You were always so keen to spot them with your discerning eye.  And the old grand-daddy of them all, the larger-than-life great blue heron that rivals his kin with his regal presence, he's still there too.

We shall always feel your presence there, Mom; always have, always will.

To you, Mom; salute!

Your Jenny      
May, 2008

Early spring, 2009

May, 2010

May Birthday girls, 2012

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Stride for stride

Grounded, committed and striding side-by-side,
Ginny and Mike take on a Kirkland hill.
"Do what you can, with what you have, where you are."  

~ Theodore Roosevelt

'Nuff said.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

And we're off!

Beloved friend, Annie Searle,
shows fine form as a flag bearer, 2008.
The season-long work of fundraising and training has come to a close for my team, Kindred Spirits.  It's time to zip our duffels and head on out!  The 2012 Susan G Komen 3-Day for the Cure officially opens tomorrow at 0400 at CenturyLink Field in Seattle!

Our team has raised over $221,000 this year and engaged in countless conversations around Komen policies, strategies and historic accomplishments.  We've climbed hills and mountains and debated the finer points of 'inclines'.  We've logged hundreds of miles on trails, concrete and asphalt, one careful step at a time.

Use this post as a reminder to tend to your health and advocate for the well-being of others.  And if you're inclined, offer up a prayer or positive thought for our safety and stamina as we take it to the streets for 60 miles! 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Nature, nurture and the gift of grace

 Catherine Worrell Derick,
 my paternal grandmother. 
Nature vs nurture; genetics vs environment; it's a long-standing debate explored in classrooms, therapy sessions and around the family table.  I admit more than a passing fascination with it and often ponder the ways in which traits, mannerisms and values take up residence in the next generation.  Add birth order, traumatic events or assorted environmental influences and you've got ample fodder for a dozen disserations.  

My late father, George Charles Derick, lost his young mother when he was just 4 years of age.  How did she, in life and in death, influence my father and his younger twin siblings?  What genetic traits were passed along to cast shadows or light in their respective lives?  

My siblings and I carry our fair share of our birth parents traits and values.  Like our father, Melinda, my younger sister, was 4 years old when she lost a parent, though it was divorce that left her adrift.  Age and timing matter.  Where we are in our lives and how we utilize the resources at hand figure prominently. 

It's been five years to the day since my father's death.  Miraculously and wondrously, great chasms have closed over.  In its place lies fertile ground where we've sown the seeds of love and compassion.  My father meets me there.  "Namaste, dear father." 

My father with his guitar, Bill,
and his canine companions, Smokey & Shadow.
"Out beyond ideas of wrong doing and right doing, there is a field; I'll meet you there."  Rumi