For my grandchildren

My Grandson

He named me.
Before that, the first time I saw him he had that wisdom in his eyes.
His head was strong and may it always be.
He would run, I mean run to me when I opened the door,
Eyes bright with delight and a giggle that would melt a heart.
If he spotted me through the window, before I got to the door,
The both of us could not get to the door fast enough.

I wonder, will I see that smile, hear his laugh, feel his hug.
Does he want to share that, will he want to share that?
Will there be any glimmer of remembrance?

Are books by your bed, are you outdoors quite often, walking among the trees or zooming past them as you pedal fast?
What are your interest, I’d love to know?
Do you feel protective of your sister even if she bothering you when you’d rather not be bothered?
How is school, do you enjoy learning, making friends?
Will I get to know these things about you?
I love you.

My Granddaughter

You learned pretty quick to take up for yourself when your brother tried to overpower.
In the double stroller, you were delighted to be behind your brother, able to reach up and grab at his hair to make him squeal. I have a picture to prove it.

I am proud, proud of the way you are determined, even if you have to be loud about it sometimes.

And I beamed when someone said, “she looks like you” and when I saw you dressed in the clothes I had saved from your mother’s babyhood.

So peaceful were our quiet times together, snuggling, reading, figuring out a puzzle or singing itsy bitsy spider. 

Tell me now, do you like to draw, read, do crafts or would you much rather be getting on your bike, adventuring outside or a little of  both. What do you enjoy most about school, do you want to know more about numbers or words or science?

By the way, do you remember me? I do hope to know you again someday.  
I love you. 

Contemplating God

On a recent drive, I finished listening to Love is the Way, Holding on to Hope in Troubling Times by Bishop Michael Curry. It was so comforting and got me thinking, contemplating God, religion, my church upbringing and how do I feel about all that now. I had heard Bishop Curry being interviewed on
Brene Brown’s podcast. His voice, Southern accent, Southern stories and his message of love got me interested in his book. I grew up in the Episcopal church. Even though I don’t attend church anymore, I appreciate growing up in this somewhat liberal church with rituals of communion, incense, and fellowship. 
How do I feel about all that? I appreciate the experience of the Episcopal church, although I can only remember feeling the presence of God there once. It was a Christmas Eve service at our church, St. James in Jackson, MS. My parents and my daughter attended. The church had invited the children’s choir from a local black church to join our children’s choir. As those precious faces looked out and sang Happy Birthday Jesus, I was moved to tears. This coming together of people who are not the same is where I see God. I didn’t feel him at any of my three church weddings, the obligatory Sunday morning services or in the priest office where I was sent as a middle schooler when my family was experiencing trouble. When the priest asked if I had ever masturbated and suggested I try it, I never went back for another session. Who knows where that might have gone. 

Attending a webinar with Kiese Layman and his auntie Rev. Carolyn Coleman, I witnessed love. Reverend Coleman reminds us silence is a great teacher, a great communicator. I have learned that during the past four years more than any other time in my life. She also reminds, until you learn to forgive the unforgivable, you don’t really know how to love. Recognize there are imperfect places in all of us, the grace of God covers us and calls us to still rise. With silence and forgiving myself, I am loving myself and others more and more. Someone recently said to me, “I can forgive you”. Those genuine words have brought a sense of peace and lighter heart. Although neither of us are church goers, God was felt. Ironically, some of those I know who are church goers and followers of Jesus are the ones I feel the most judgement and lack of love from. 

Krista Tippitt, On Being, Remembering Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks – Rabbi Sacks tells us we need to be enlarged by people who are different from us, not threatened. We should see that the welfare of others is linked to our own and is best for our own welfare. He wrote Dignity of Difference which is a radical proposal for reconciling hatreds. I’d like to think we can reconcile civilizations and our closest personal relationship and love will rule. 

How do I feel about all that? God shows up in all of us, in community, in nature, in silence, yes sometimes church. I believe most, if not all religions are trying to get at the same thing: love, and how to live in communion in this world. I believe our relationship with God is private. 

“Follow your dream, speak your truth” Rev. Carolyn Coleman

Art and small business gift buying

It may not be the holidays of large family gatherings this year. Who knows maybe that relieves a lot of stress for some. But we all need connection. I continue to me amazed at the connections and support I have made through writing groups and workshops online. Certainly regular phone calls and short outdoor visits with friends go a long way. Won’t it be amazing though when you can run up and give those friends a hug.
Some of my friends are amazing artists and creators. In the spirit of the holidays and connections consider supporting some these creative spirits, send a gift to that person who could really use a package showing up on their doorstep.


Annie Heron Ceramics – I have watched Annie from the beginning, creating pottery, seeing the absolute joy it brings her, and making a living for herself through her pieces. A cup of coffee or tea is sure to taste better in one of her cups.


LeBrie Rich, PenFelt Studio – be sure to check out some of her “way beyond esty” level felted art work. She has introduced some felting kits for all levels to get you through the winter.


Paul Jean’s Garden – Paula is a fellow Southern gal who made her way west to Montana. She lives in beautiful Paradise, MT. One of her woodland lavendar wreaths would make someone very happy.


Joule Art – Terry McIlrath is the artist behind Joule Art paintings, cards and prints. “Artists are the guardians of the human spirit.”


FildiDesign – cool stuff from badass brain – Joyce offers up cool stickers, apparel and more. She also has started a tile business serving Missoula, MT, JOYceof Tile


Savona’s Bitchin’ bohemian boutique – Clothing, jewelry, accessories and more. I worked for Savona years ago. She was my mentor when I opened my own vintage re-sale store, offering up her business sense and good taste.

Susan Carlson – See the world through Susan’s collage, it’s a treat.

Cry-kerchief – Taj hand embroiders kerchiefs, a place for your tears to land. Custom orders welcome. Find her on instagram.

I always have photo greeting cards available for purchase, my heart puddle is perfect for almost any occassion.


Heart puddle greeting card

Comes with envelope in clear sleeve.

$3.00

Dogs in The White House Again!

Everything is lighter, more hopeful. Yes there is so much to be done. But for today I am mainly excited to have dogs back in the White House. So welcome Champ and Major Biden.
Champ and Major on twitter
Champ and Major on instagram

And a dog love song by Annie Heron

Upcoming post: artist to support with your holiday gift buying.

Damn it y’all!

Damn it y’all. Yesterday was a blur, filled with shock and sadness. This country truly is divided. I so wanted Mike Espy to win Senate in Mississippi, get Mitch McConnell and Lindsay Graham voted out. So wanted Steve Bullock in Montana to win the Senate seat and not have Daines. Not have Greg Gianforte win the governorship in Montana, remember he is the one who body slammed a reporter back in 2017. Yea, great guy. This list could go on.
Biden’s looking good though, there’s that. As Bishop Michael Curry says, the struggle continues, but love is the way. I’m going to hang onto those words.

On another subject, I just started an online memoir writing class through Creative Nonfiction. Already, I love the way it is structured, the way it gets thoughts and writing organized. First assignment is: Free-write on this question: ‘The story I want to tell is…’. Follow the first thought that comes and see where the words lead you. 
My Side of The Story:

Dismissed without discussion. That’s how it’s been for many years. And I still cry from the loss most days. It’s been four years since I’ve seen my now six year old twin grandchildren, a boy and a girl. I meet them at birth. I was an integral part of their lives for the first two and half years.

I have always been a “kid” person. Babysitting from a young age, being a nanny and then owning my own childcare. Children are so full of promise, innocence and fun. Being a part of their development is an honor. I love seeing the individual emerge and encouraging their curiosities as they  present themselves. It’s been twenty years since I closed my childcare. I am still in touch with many of the children I cared for and close friends with some their parents. Caring for someone else’s children is an intimate service. The joys and challenges of a child’s development allowed me to become a part of some of my childcare client’s families. 

Once I became a grandparent, I thought this is the life, the one I have been waiting for. 

Dia de los Muertos, who would you celebrate and what would you cook for them?

The next couple of days, the Mexican culture will celebrate Dia de los Muertos . During the Day of the Dead, Mexican families set up altars in their houses and decorate them with photos, candles, and various objects of their deceased loved ones. Family members come and connect in a spiritual way with their departed family members and offer them gifts. The Marigold flower (Cempazuchitl) is a popular flower that families place on the altars and on the gravesites at this time. Also, food items are placed as ofrendas for the deceased to come back for one night to eat their favorite foods again.
I love this tradition, that it is a celebration, not mournful or sorrowful. If I were Mexican, if my family were gathering with painted faces to cook the favorite foods of some of our dead, and bring them to the altar with photos laced with marigolds, this is who I would celebrate and cook for.
1. Nanoo, my maternal grandmother, would be served biscuits and coffee on a dainty saucer and cup.
2. Matt Miller, a dear friend, who died our senior year, would be served a Krystal hamburger and fries.
3. Daddy, fried corn, corn scrapped from the cob, sautéed in butter and salt and pepper.
4. Tayloe, my high school, college sweetheart, a city club sandwich from Ole Tyme Delicatessen, oh and his mama’s devil’s food cake.
5. Amedee, the elder gentleman I had the honor of living with and caring for, there would be many dishes to choose from as what we were going to eat for our next meal was a main topic. I’d serve him food from House of India. That was his request in his parting words to me just before he died. Then for desert, I’d serve him Kozy Shack rice pudding.
6. Mama, a steak and baked potato.
7. Woosie, Elizabeth, the black woman who raised me, I’d be cooking for days. I’d want to serve her every good meal she cooked for me and my family. For desert, The Joy of Cooking, floating island.
8. Elaine, lifelong friend, we shared many joys and dramas. I’d make her a big jug of sweet tea.

Worth Your Time

It has warmed up to 16 degrees from 4 degrees today here in Missoula, MT. But the sun is shining and it’s actually quite beautiful after a day and night of steady snowfall. It will warm up to the 50’s by the end of the week. I’ll head to Eugene starting this Thursday.

A couple of talented friend’s work appeared this week. I hope you watch and listen. I found them both entertaining and enlightening. It’s worth your time.

Chris Sand: Montana’s rapping cowboy, “20 for 2020”

Also, part-time Missoulian, Quentin Robinson, stars in the first episode of Move on Netflix.

Quentin Robinson starring in Move

https://www.sozoartists.com/lovehealsallwounds

Word of the day, writing rants

Word of the day from dictionary.com: Ambivert – one whose personality type is intermediate between extrovert and introvert. That resonates. I used to be much more of an extrovert but time and circumstances have made me much more of an introvert. Quarantine has been a gift to my introvert side.
My writing group that started during quarantine is about to begin it’s fourth session of six week sessions. Deb, who facilitates, started our group with the idea of writing in lists. She is compiling a book for her children, they will learn a lot about her and other ancestors in this format. For myself and some others the list have served as prompts. It is remarkable what comes from it. This group of eight women has been the biggest gift of quarantine. We share authentically and deeply. Two women have adult children with severe mental challenges that present dangerous behaviors at times, another is from India and was cast out of her family when she married an American man and had half-caste children, and another women just lost her son to suicide at the beginning of this year.
Sometimes when one of us complains then apologizes, “D” from India encourages our complaints. In her culture and others, it is encouraged as a way to get it out. I like that, and everything in moderation right? This week I suggested we write a list of rants. Inspired by Lola’s Get Down With Your Sweet Self improv class. Maybe you want to give it a try.
Rant on and thanks for reading.

Cancelled Amazon, watched Driving While Black

Awhile back, I won an Amazon gift card (remember Alicia). I joined Amazon and have watched shows on Amazon Prime. I ordered something this week, yes a cushy cushion for my seat to help with back pain. That’s the shopping theme lately, cushions, memory form, heating pads, even looking at suppression underwear. Anyway, I digress. I love my cushy cushion, especially while driving in the car. But when it arrived, it was in a huge box with unnecessary packing materials. That depresses me. It’s so wasteful. Last night, I heard a news story of how many accidents occur on the job at Amazon that are covered up, minimized, etc. They push their employees to make sure your item gets to you as fast as possible. (Why does everything have to be so fast?) Last night, I used the last of my gift card and cancelled my membership. I don’t need to help Jeff Bezos get any richer.
Also, last night, I watched a new PBS documentary, Driving While Black: Race, Space and Mobility. It is educational, eye opening and heart opening.
This morning woke up to this song and performance shared by my friend, Paty. Hope you watch it, I cried. Keep Going On Song
Love you all,
Thanks for reading.
PS not sure if I’ll continue with Fuck it Frances. WordPress renewal is coming up. It’s $118 per year. Feedback welcome.

Woke up, a poem

The family was gathered in the kitchen, cooking, laughing, dancing
then I woke up
Some of us moved away to make new lives for ourselves, we called each other to check in
then I woke up
I call my Mama every Sunday for a chat
then I woke up
My sisters, brother and our children, along with grandchildren are planning our next family vacation
then I woke up
We are listening to each other with empathy
then I woke up
I hear a little voice calling “mama”
then I woke up