Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The Smell of Grass

What does grass smell like?

I'm not talking about the smell of freshly cut lawns, or happening to drive by and getting a casual whiff of that green tangy smell. I'm talking about nose in the earth, fully body face down in the green stuff.

Recently, I was doing something that required me to lay face down in the grass. I forgot my mat for stretching, I didn't have a picnic blanket, towel, chair, nothing. There I was, face planted in the grass, body stretched out, tummy side down.

I started laughing at the idea of it -- it had been a long long time ago that I actually layed in the grass. Usually if I am in the grass, it has to be with 15 modern day conveniences like a lawn chair, a sheet, a blanket on top of that, bug spray, wipes, etc. None of that was in play and it was wonderful.

I was instantly transported back to the days of college when we didn't travel around with gobs of gear for safety and hygiene purposes. If it was a nice day, we plunked ourselves down on the spot. We made out in the grass, we ate our lunch in the grass. Backpacks tucked behind our head for support, the grassy lawns of my college campus were perfect places to stretch out in between classes, get a tan, smooch with a boyfriend or savor life on a sunny day. Grassy was good.

With warm weather here, the grass is looking that fresh color of baby green. So the next time you see a lonely little patch, plant yourself in it and see what happens. You are guaranteed a trip to someplace else from a simpler time in your life.

Come on in, the grass is fine.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

You Never Know

Sometimes writing feels like tossing a pebble into a pond.

Instantly gratifying with the good flip of the arm and the all-satisfying "plunk" as it lands in the water. Watching the ripples even provides curious interest to see how long it takes for the ripples to reach the shore.

Writing is like that for me. I love the thrill of creating something that I conjured up. The twinkle of an idea, the laying it down on paper. The toe-curling feeling of having it done and hitting the send button on your e-mail. Then waiting with heartfelt anticipation of having the ripples come back to you with good news.

Only sometimes it takes forever for the ripples to come back. Or sometimes not at all. Usually in unexpected ways.

Last fall, I wrote an article for a network of websites for mommies. They were nice enough to say, thanks and we'll put it in our database of articles. Pretty soon I found it on one local website, then another, then yet another. Today I found it on a website in Hawaii. The ripples keep coming.

And the article wasn't earth-shattering -- it was about ending the morning crazy time. You can see it at But it was a pebble that people liked and I love to see how it keeps showing up in unexected ways. You never know.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


I am feeling un-inspired lately.

If I could describe my mental state it would be gray, blobular cardboard. My head feels like its have been transformed into an accountant brain, looking at numbers all day and feeling overwhelmed at the thought of picking up a sock.

I can't blame it on the weather -- it's been gorgeous 60 and 70 degree weather here every day. I can't blame it on my spouse, my dog or my health or anything else. It is just me, feeling un-inspired.

I know mostly it's because I have been really productive with my writing and really productive with receiving rejection letters. Nothing deflates my energy like a good rejection or two. I morph into that familiar awkward feeling of being in high school and the dorky girl who hopes someone will like her. But they don't.

When I am struggling, it feels like everyone is getting along great in the world, except me. Have you ever felt like that? Like everyone is living a fabulous life, wildly successful at their job, having deeper and more meaningful experiences every day -- and then there's me -- getting rejection letters all day long.

I guess the best way to work out of un-inspired is to surround yourself in change. I picked myself up from my desk in the darkest part of the house and moved outside. So as I write this, I sit with bare feet on the deck in a shorts and a t-shirt. My hope is that I will be transformed by new surroundings.

Who knows if it will inspire least I am surrounded by beauty instead of darkness.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Making Jesus Smile

It was an ordinary Tuesday, that ended in a not-so-ordinary way.

I was tucking my 6 year old son in as usual. We read our three books, we said our prayers. I said goodnight to him, he said goodnight to me. I usually like to lay there with him for a few minutes and rub his back to help him relax and smooth the way to dreamland. We were silent for about five minutes. I thought I was done with my mommy-ness and was enjoying the relaxing moment before I headed down to clean up the kitchen.

Out of the dark silence came "mom, what does acting with character mean?"

Time to put my game face back on.

When a six year old asks you this sort of question, this is the time to not screw it up. I felt like I was on one of those game shows where it is absolutely important for me to get it right. I paused to gather my thoughts, usually asking more questions to buy some time.

"Where did you learn about that?"

"I don't know" he said, usually to mean he didn't want to tell me in case it was a bad thing.

Then I proceeded to put together my best response I could gather. I flustered my way through examples of when someone hurts you on the playground or cuts in front of you in line, how to choose the high road. But I gave him my failsafe test of acting with character -- asking if what you are doing makes your mom and dad smile. And also if it makes God smile.

I borrowed that one from his teacher. It was so good that I thought I would recycle it. When given the rare special day at his Christian school to wear their favorite out of dress code clothes, the teacher's only rule is that their outfit has to "make Jesus smile." I think that's a pretty good test for acting with character and just about everything else in life.

I hope my son got it. He said he understood. I felt like I wanted to keep talking and talking to make sure he got my point. But my son prompted, "mom, I got it. Can I go to sleep now?"

I lay there next to him five minutes more enjoying this rare proud moment when my son asked a good life stuff question. Even better, I was basking in the fact that I actually had a great answer.