:: Ten Things ::

Ten Things.  Right Now.

1.  the wind…it’s cold, but it feels so good…it lifts (branch, hair, spirit)
2.  the pup at my feet…her loyalty, her furriness, her unconditional love
3.  the sky…vast, open…covering, holding, reflecting
4.  the last of the leaves…falling…unpretentious, somehow regal
5.  my fleece jacket, my handknit hat, my son’s old gloves…so many kinds of warmth
6.  this pause…after the work…before more work
7.   anticipation of weekend visitors…happiness
8.  strength
9.  the end of a month…the beginning of another…the way it all flows along
10. this spot, beneath the birches…home


And you?  What is your right now??

Sending a little love your way, m


P.S.  Tomorrow’s the last day to register for Just Five Things.  We begin Monday!

:: Ten Things :: {and Marie Howe}

One of my go-to writing practices is that of listing ten things that I notice in a particular moment, in a right now.  It’s a wonderful way to slow down and bring myself into the present.  It’s a way to get words from my heart onto the paper when streams of sentences feel too hard or too much.  Listmaking is a writing practice I’ve been using and exploring for years.  It does not fail me.  Ever.  If you’ve been with me for a while, you’re familiar with my lists of Ten Things.

Last spring, I was listening to On Being…in particular, this episode with poet Marie Howe.  Imagine my delight when she spoke about this writing exercise she does with her students:

I ask my students every week to write 10 observations of the actual world.  It’s very hard for them… Just tell me what you saw this morning like in two lines.  I saw a water glass on a brown tablecloth, and the light came through it in three places.  No metaphor.  And to resist metaphor is very difficult because you have to actually endure the thing itself, which hurts us for some reason.

I was, in a word, delighted.  It wasn’t affirmation that the writing exercise I’d discovered for myself years previous was valid in some way.  I already knew it was valid for me.  I already knew the way it grounded me, the way it invited me to get quiet and really look.  It was more a sense of connection to this woman; I felt the spark of a kindred.  While my version of this exercise focuses on observations of a particular moment as it’s being lived, it is much the same in feeling as the exercise Ms. Howe assigns her students.

And, okay, maybe I felt a tiny bit validated (I mean Ms. Howe was named poet laureate of New York in 2012!).  But after that initial excitement, I sank into a reflection on the power of this practice and how it feels for me.  It’s truly powerful.  And challenging.  And eye-opening.  And humbling.  And comforting.  And generally wonderful.

Here’s a list of ten I made the other day:

  1. the mums and the candles on the kitchen table.  their softness.  their invitation.
  2. the beginning smells of French toast in the oven, sausage on the stove.
  3. the kids curled up in armchairs.  this quiet before we sit at the table together.
  4. the rain outside.  the grey.  the cold that I know is there.  it makes the inside of our home that much cozier.
  5. the clean dishes stacked in the dishrack.  drying, waiting to be put away.  carefully.
  6. this oversized shirt that I borrowed (from my son).  now I understand maybe why he doesn’t wear it much.  itchy.  stiff.  though the heathered grey is lovely.
  7. the quiet hum of the oven.  it whispers.
  8. the raspberries I mashed to spoon over the French toast.  I think I could eat it spoonful by spoonful.  that little bit of added sugar – yum.
  9. the pup wandering through the kitchen, checking the floor.  just in case.  and now she’s lapping water from her bowl.  I find something so sweet in that sound of animals drinking water.
  10. thoughts of a hot shower. yes, after dinner is eaten and dishes washed – after the candles are blown out – or maybe left glowing – a shower is just the thing to round out this day.


Every time I write a list of ten, I feel held in a hug of my own making.  These lists are a balm to my soul.

Now I ask you:  What do you see and feel and hear right now?  Take a few minutes.  Look around you.  What do you see when you (really) look?  Write it down (below, or in your journal, or on a napkin if you’re sitting in the coffee shop).  Just get it down.  And have a listen to (or read) the conversation between Marie Howe and Krista Tippet.  It is, in a word, delightful.


 Sending a little love your way, m


P.S. Do you receive my Monthly Notes?  I’m sending out my April Notes on Sunday.  Sign up here if you’d like to be included. xo



:: Ten Things ::

Ten things.  Right now.

1.  English Breakfast tea.  With maple syrup.  And a splash of cream.
2.  Takenobu on Pandora.
3.  Birds chirping.  Two cardinals hopping in the grass.
4.  A mist hanging over the backyard.  The sky, white.
5.  The birches dressed in green.  It happened seemingly overnight.
6.  Stretchy yoga pants.  Because Pilates will happen.
7.  Vague overwhelm.  Trying to talk myself back and down.  And center.
8.  Both kids still sleeping.
9.  The quiet.  The blessed quiet.
10. Wishing that cinnamon rolls were healthy.  Also wishing I had one.


What’s your right now like?

Sending a little love your way, m



:: Ten Things ::


Ten things.  Right now.

  1. See that sky?  That’s my sky, right now.  (well, a few minutes ago) (it was so beautiful) (and I wanted to share it with you)
  2. English Breakfast tea.  With coconut palm sugar.
  3. Christmas music.  Of course
  4. My worn, grey, wool sweater.  I wear it, um, almost all the time once winter arrives.
  5. Piles of things on my not-very-big desk.  Must tidy up.
  6. Despite the long list of to-do’s, there’s a feeling of peace within.  I like that very much.
  7. Thinking about the December Notes I sent out yesterday.  Thinking how much I like sending those.  Thinking about the way I move in this world.
  8. A belly that’s beginning to feel hungry.
  9. Hoping that my son wakes up without a sore throat this morning.
  10. Wanting to sit in the still-dim room once I click ‘publish’ on this post.  The house is quiet with both kids still sleeping.  Yes, I think I’ll do just that.  Sit.



What is your right now like?  It’s worth the pause.  I promise.

Sending a little love your way, m
p.s. it’s the first Friday of the month, which means my friend Barbara and I have a new pairing up at Tandem Echoes.  quotes + photos.  Click here to see.



Ten Things


Ten things, right now…

1.   coffee with lots of almond milk…so I guess that’s a cafe au lait, yes?  #fancy
2.   my son doing Calculus
3.   my daughter reading on the floor next to me…hair in a ponytail…a long strand of hair hanging alongside her sweet eleven year old face
4.   David Gray on Pandora
5.   the green outside my window
6.   the clutter on my desk (must address this today)
7.   the absence of our pup this morning (she’s at the groomer’s)
8.   thinking about all I need (and want) to do today…trying to keep things in perspective and sidestep the overwhelm
9.   a cinnamon roll in my belly
10. running shoes on my feet…after I post this, I’m gonna hop on the treadmill

How’s your right now?

Sending a little love your way, m

***A note to remind you that registration is open for the next round of Just 5 Things. We’ll be playing with creative list making…part fun, part soulful. All doable. Will you join us? Click here to read about the class and to register.

Ten Things

Ten things, right now…

1.  red rooibos tea + almond milk + a red mug that reminds me of certain beautiful people
2.  Ben Howard on Pandora
3.  a list of to-do’s close by
4.  a glass of water close by too…I’m a good water drinker but lately I find myself succumbing to dehydration headaches…so I keep drinking even though I feel I might float away
5.  snow outside my window…dotted with bits of green and brown where yesterday’s rain made its mark
6.  nowhere to go until later this afternoon (so happy about that)
7.  the kitchen table…winter hats hanging on the chairs
8.  calling my daughter to start her math…but a certain sweet pup detains
9.  thinking about the lack of dinner prep today…take-out pizza is on the menu
10. wanting to curl up on the sofa with this book…but there is the aforementioned list calling my name…and so here I go

Sending a little love your way, m



Ten Things


Ten things, right now…

1.   Kathleen Edwards on Pandora
2.   Iced peppermint tea
3.   Tank top, cuffed jeans, bare feet
4.   Loose and relaxed muscles…I just did a little yoga
5.   Sunshine out the window…though we were expecting rain
6.   My daughter crunching on a Pink Lady apple
7.   Yellowing leaves on the birches out back (fall?  soonish?  yippee!)
8.   Contentment…today’s been good
9.   Papers on my desk…work in progress
10. Thinking about the dinner I’ll cook in a bit…cod, rice and beans

Hoping your right now is exactly what you need it to be.

Sending a little love your way, m




Ten Things {and Happy New Year}


I wasn’t sure how to jump back in here.  With the start of the new year, I was feeling like I should do something, you know, special to begin again in this space.  But what I really feel like doing right now is writing a list.  When I worry too much about what someone else might be thinking {and when they’re most like not thinking anything of the sort}, I’ve learned to return to my now.  And so here is my now.  In ten.

1.  Listening to Sean Hayes
2.  Looking at the sun shining on the grass and trees and crows
3.  Thinking I must get outside {it’s so cold so maybe not} {but that’s what winter coats and hats and mittens are for, yes?}
4.  Sipping Earl Grey tea
5.  Feeling relieved that there are leftovers for dinner {homemade stuffed shells}
6.  Feeling grateful that schoolwork is finished for today and now we will just play
7.  Not loving that the kids are playing video games {but everything in moderation, I remind myself}
8.  Knowing that transitions beg patience {our winter break was so nice and I wish it hadn’t ended quite yet}
9.  Wondering what all those crows out back are thinking right now
10. Admitting that raising my voice earlier was not the best choice and forgiving myself and intending to open my heart just a little bit wider next time


And what about you?  What does your now look like?
Also, Happy New Year to you…

Sending a little love your way, m



ten things


ten things.  right now.

1.   darkness outside my window…not even a hint of daylight yet…but i know it’s coming
2.   the chill of early morning
3.   papers {too many} on my desk
4.   the softness of well-worn flannel pajamas
5.   the soft glow of the lamp
6.   the quiet
7.   legos…there are a lot of them in this house
8.   a list of to-do’s rattling in my head…must write them down
9.   thinking about having a slice of this in a bit…with tea, of course
10. feeling not-quite-ready to begin this day…but it has already begun…so here i go

what is your right now like?

sending a little love your way, m


p.s. if you live in the united states…don’t forget to vote today!



ten things {and a giveaway}


ten things, camping.

1.   i am camping as you read this {lucky me}
2.   campfires
3.   simple meals cooked over the campfire
4.   the trees, the glorious trees
5.   no internet, no tv, no xbox
6.   breathing the fresh air
7.   the quiet {depending upon who is camping nearby}
8.   the slower pace
9.   accompanying hikes
10. s’mores {you knew that was coming, right?}

and now for the giveaway!  i am offering two spots in my e-course, 28 moments.  we’ll be exploring the daily bits of our lives as we play with camera and pen.  class runs july 14 – august 11; you can read more here.  if you’ve already registered, you can still enter the giveaway – if you win, you can gift the spot to someone else.  if you mention this giveaway somewhere else {facebook, instagram, your blog, twitter}, let me know that in the comments and you’ll be entered twice or thrice or…accordingly.  share with us something you love {or don’t love} about camping.  if you’ve never gone, tell us that!  comments will remain open until 12 noon PST thursday, july 3, 2014.  the winners will be announced back here in this post thursday, july 3…probably not till late in the day.  depends on how early in the day we’re able to tear ourselves from the woods.
so go on…tell us about you and camping.  comments are now closed.

and the winners are:  karen and helen!!  ladies, i’ll be emailing you shortly with details.  
thanks to all of you for leaving your comments, thoughts, and memories on camping.  i loved reading each of them!

sending a little love, m