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

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Honoring Mika

It was a whirlwind Sunday for our small clan, each of us off doing things we love.  By early evening we were gathered round the table for a celebratory feast in honor of Mika's 58th birthday, which falls on Thursday this year.  

My dear man is not enamored with a fuss of any sort when it comes to his birthday, but he clearly relished the meal and family time together.  As you can see, beards feature prominently with this group.  And, I dare say, gratitude and love was over the top.

Happy Birthday, dear man.

Friday, September 7, 2012


Except for an off-shore harbor seal, he was the lone swimmer in the water today.  I spotted him after I got out and was drip-drying on a sandy towel in the late afternoon sun.  The Edmonds Temperature Taker Dude has some well-defined ego strength, and, like me, a passion for cold water plunges.  

After work today, I skeedaddled home and headed straight for the beach in Edmonds where I took to the water with nary a care.  Whoa doggies!  We're talking c o l d, folks!  Though I didn't ask him what the water temperature was, I checked the marine forecast website when I was sufficiently defrosted in the comfort of my own home.  

Ready?  A refreshing 55 degrees.  

Life is good!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Beyond no. 2 pencils

My dear spouse, circa 1961, Baltimore.
My dear spouse was not fond of school until he was well into his university years.  He reports a sense of dread associated with all aspects: the back-to-school shopping, the return to routine, making new friends, gaining confidence and competence in a wide array of skills, navigating the social milieu, and so on.  I find it a tad puzzling, given his high level of academic achievement through the years.  But then again, success takes on different meaning for each of us, and though he soared academically, he does not have happy memories of school.

As a teacher of young children, it's important to me to create a safe space where students can stretch themselves with risk-taking at their own pace.  Some are so stunned by the entire experience of a full day of school that by day's end, well, they ain't got much left.

One dear soul approached me 15 minutes before dismissal today and in a barely audible voice uttered my name.  Pointing to his eyes with a pair of fingers, he directed my gaze to his face just seconds before the tears began to fall.  Unable to speak between sobs and sniffs, he accepted a brief touch and some gentle direction and packed up his things like a trooper.  

It turns out he was anxious about the after-school pick up, fretting about whether his mother would in fact arrive.  He agreed that if he finds himself unable to speak, he would try to express himself in writing.   That's success in my book, and, I trust, in his.