inhale...exhale...relax your shoulders...repeat as often as needed

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

hope in the darkness

The sky is heavy with clouds and freezing rain. The roads are treacherous. But my heart is bursting with hope and love. The good news I received over the weekend has become official. Earlhamite Hashem Abu Sham'a has been selected as a Rhodes Scholar! When I met Hashem a few years back I felt his shining light  and wondered if there might be great things in his future. I am delighted that this young man has been recognized for his enlightened leadership. If you are yearning for an inspiring story, please read about Hashem here. Congratulations to Hashem!!!

Sunday, November 27, 2016

time flies...

The kitchen has finally quieted down.
 The first cuts of the season were made.
Two wee trees headed south...
one with Hannah and one with Lindsey and her Scott.
I love to think of their apartments filled 
with the scent of balsams from our
bit of earth.
 See that trail headed over the brink?
The beginnings of a snow person rolled down that hill...
 This is the transition time from harvest bounty 
to the darkest days of December.
The paper white narcissus parade has begun!
Pots are nestled under the bed in the chilly room of requirement,
ready to be brought out, bit by bit, through the winter.
 This very special quilt came up from NYC for some careful mending.
 Stitched by many hands with love and intention, 
it was won in a raffle in 2012 and was in need of some TLC. 
Honored to have it under my needle, 
I repaired its seams, and its headed back home now, 
filled with even more love than when it arrived. 
Dearest readers, I hope you had a peace-filled 
Thanksgiving if you are here in the US. 

If you live elsewhere, know that this was an especially
introspective time of gratitude for many of us here,
still trying to get our feet back under ourselves.

I am grateful for your visits here at
sew and sow life.


Monday, November 21, 2016

my favorite week of the year

The pie pumpkins are roasting in the oven. The bird feeders are hanging in the crabapple trees outside the kitchen window. The soft white table linens and my grandmother's turkey platter have been brought out of storage. The woodshed has been tidied up and the snow shovel is propped in the breezeway...

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

walk with me?

we'll head out past one of the birdhouses...
and follow the path through the balsams...
down to the beech grove,
carpeted in soft and silent leaves.
the sky is heavy with moisture...
that hangs in sparkling droplets from the branches.
 some of the birchbark is curling on the trunks...
 battered by the fierce winds, stripped free from their moorings
and floating on the breeze.
this bit was caught, mid-flight, on the needles of a balsam,
waving its subtle beauty as i walked by.

i had my gathering basket with me.
acorn caps, birchbark and bits of lichen
have been tucked into my sewing studio.

on monday night batman called me on his way home from work.
(he doesn't usually do that.)
"i've stopped on the ridge, you've got to come see the moon!"
i drove down that way and pulled off the road at the meeting house.
the sky around the moon had turned orange behind the bare branches.
the last few leaves rattled in the mild breeze.
oh friends,
do not doubt that there is still much 
holiness in this world.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

caught in between

On Sunday I caught wind of a trend...wear a safety pin to let folks know that you are a safe and compassionate person, who will step up to be an ally to anyone feeling marginalized by the whirlwind of change we find ourselves in the midst of. 

Patented On April 10, 1849, safety pins have been around for a long time. Safety pins are an ingenious solution to temporarily mend a tear, attach two things, hold things together. 

Well, give me a sewing metaphor and I'm in!

But, as usual, there are two sides to every story.


Sometimes I just want to crawl in a hole.


That is not going to help anyone. I want to be a helper.

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, "Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” -Fred Rogers

So, despite the confusion, for now, I will keep wearing my safety pin. I'm a maker, I'm an activist in my own way, I'm a ferocious ally and I try to be a helper.

As long as wearing a safety pin is done hand in hand with concrete action...

What's your take on the safety pin trend? 

Sunday, November 13, 2016


We have a calling in this world:
we are called to honor diversity,
to respect differences with dignity,
and to challenge those who would forbid it.

We are a people of a wide path.
Let us be wide in affection.
and go our way in peace.

-Jean M. Rowe

(Photo taken yesterday in Cambridge MA.
We took a day trip to Cambridge to attend 
an Earlham Alumni gathering. 
Such a blessing it was to sit with kindred spirits and 
hear an update on what is happening at

We have invited friends to gather here this afternoon
for light refreshments and fellowship.
We are gathering kindred spirits wherever we can.
I'll save a seat for you, dearest friends...

Thursday, November 10, 2016

All four of our kids are educators. Yesterday we texted/spoke on the phone and commiserated with each of them. It was a rough day for them as they worked with many of their students who came to school wounded and grieving. I admire the inner light and courage that our own kids (who were also wounded and grieving) bring to their work. They are change agents, fighting fear and ignorance every day. I love them fiercely.

Three cheers for anyone who is guiding folks toward the light.


Wednesday, November 9, 2016

How wonderful it is that nobody need wait
 a single moment before starting to improve the world. 
-Anne Frank

I am haunted this morning by this young woman's life.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

dragging myself into the democratic process...

Missing Bernie so very much today. I will drag myself to the polls anyhow. I may even struggle with my moral compass. But I'll put pencil to ballot. And all of us will wait to see how this plays out. Whatever happens, tomorrow is another opportunity for each of us to spread light and love in our own little corner of the world. Courage, friends. xo

A few hours later...

Done! So glad to have some very enthusiastic choices down ballot. And now we WAIT. 

And B-R-E-A-T-H-E deeply. Over and over again...

Monday, November 7, 2016

unstitching hate

for every stitch of hate you put in the fabric
you have to unstitch and you have to restitch
in a different way later
-Eboo Patel
from an On Being interview
"How to Live Beyond the Election"
If you haven't already, I urge you to listen to it here.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

finding my way home

Perhaps it's the time of year...Halloween, Samhain, Dia de los Muertos, All Souls Day, when the veil between the worlds thins. Maybe it's the arrival of stick season here in Vermont, when the gorgeous colors of the stark tree trunks and their branches emerge after the dropping of their spectacular foliage. Or maybe it's Tuesday, looming like a giant gash in the American psyche.

This confluence has me pondering. How did I become unmoored? When did I go adrift? When did I wander off my path?

When did my center wobble?

Not sure, but it has been a wonderful journey, this finding my way back home to myself. 

Here are some things that have been guiding me's sort of a menu...maybe you will find something here that is nourishing?

-Renewing my meditation practice. Tara Brach helps so much with this. You can find some of her sample meditations here. 

-Finding liv sulerud via Instagram. A writer, ecofeminist and healer, her voice has spoken to me and invited me to do some deep thinking. Working through some of her prompts led me to leave the crazy world of Facebook. Feeling better aligned already, thank you very much!

-I've listened to this twice now, and may listen again. I invite you to find the time to give it a listen. This On Being podcast is an important challenge to the hole we have all dug ourselves into....

-Reading David Budbill's poetry. One of Vermont's finest, the world lost his physical presence in September, but his words live on in the many volumes of his work. This one especially. 

-Eating with the seasons. The older I get the more respect I have for my body. How it feels directly reflects what I have put into it. Plain truth.

So, dear readers, where are you finding nourishment these days?  I would love to have some more resources in my back pocket.


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