Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Crown on Your Head


I am so excited by the discovery of this new book--The Crown on Your Head-by Nancy Tillman. It is beautifully illustrated...but more than that it is a story to share with the people you LOVE whether young or old. It celebrates the beauty of each of us----a reminder of how "special" we are. Read it aloud. 

An excerpt:
"On the day that we met and I put you to bed, 
I noticed a crown on the top of your head.
It was made up of sparkling, glimmering things.
Like moonlight, and fireflies, and dragonfly wings."

I brought several to Bambi's so that you can see for yourself....
it is a delight....beautiful words, beautiful art and a beautiful message--one we all need.

Monday, November 7, 2011

What I need....in cookies

I had no hope,
no trust,
no strength
so I bought them this summer, in the form of theses little shells...

what I need in place for a happier future....
oh, and chocolate 
a large regular ice coffee....
to get through today.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

"When did your mind ever conceive of anything in straight lines?" Not me--never...Jen knows

I think Jen can "See Me"...since I found her, her words are my words or the words I need whenever I am stumbling along, which has been too often. There is a "knowing" there, as if she knows me. It is as though she has been with me all along or that my feet fit into her shoes....

Jen said..."our blueprints always looked more like storybooks, you were always meant for more unwieldy forms of creation"....mine do look like storybooks.
"When did your mind ever conceive of anything in straight lines? Do you ever remember a time?" Not me... She speaks to me and for me---I am doing my best to listen...her words are wise. I hope she is right, that under the rubble something is growing. 

Wrecking Ball

October 23rd, 2011
Go ahead, let the ball swing, it’s time for everything to be gone now. The old ways, the old dreams, the old structures you propped up with your impossible will and foolish, stubborn determination. Your insistence is no longer needed. The same goes for your visions, your delusions filled with other worlds, other realities, other lives that only exist in the beauty of your untamed feral mind. Do not mourn, and by all means, do not cry, for this destruction is not for the purpose of suffering or pain or even the difficulties of dying, but for a clearing, a wide open space where something new and amazing can be grown instead of built. Building was never your strong suit, try as you did to adapt to this or that mode of construction. You are more like a sower, than an architect, as anyone who has seen the drawings on your napkins could have already told you, not to mention your half-completed buildings.
When did your mind ever conceive of anything in straight lines? Do you ever remember a time? When did you ever take into account the building codes or the classifications of certain materials?
That’s what I thought.
No, you have always been more of an artist, wandering around in the woods behind the houses, picking dandelions that could be woven into crowns for unsuspecting kings and queens who never really wanted to reign in your kingdom. No, you have always been more of a naturalist, examining mud for the properties required for sculpture. No, you have always been more of an adventurer, culling through unnamed and unknown fruits and vegetables at open air markets where you know deep in your heart, the ingredients are waiting for a fine and unforgettable stew.
Doesn’t that sound right?
Good thing for you, everyone already knows, though no one ever thought it would come to this. That wrecking ball thing? Most of the time, you just leave the building, before anyone knows you’ve slipped out the back door into the garden. But, no, now, things will be different. You will make announcements. You will say with your very own mouth the answer is no. Not this. Not now. Not ever.
Let the ball go. Let the rubble pile.
You are lighting a match, you are letting it drop and with that fire you will burn every old and stubborn thing in you that wanted to bend the world to your liking. You will burn every impulse you had to mold when the best thing would have been to break and let the pieces fall where they may. You will burn the part of you that insists on knowing, on seeing, of shaping when the deepest truth is that no one knows how a seed grows or what happens in the dark earth hidden from light.
This destruction is necessary and holy and beautiful, so let the wrecking ball come. There are stories waiting to be born in you. There are gardens waiting to be planted. There are the unruly curls of your own wild head that will happily bend to receive that crown of dandelions and in doing so you will feel no shame or embarrassment. Yellow was always your color.
The ones meant for you will come close to your side, you will not even need to call their names or sing them, the way you always do in the car when you think they aren’t listening or caring as much as you do. They will come close to you, the way your heart always felt close to them and you will accept your togetherness in whatever form is best for lovers, friends, family of the sort that feel as familiar and mysterious to you as the bright night sky. You will have an easy companionship, in the quiet spaces, and no one will say one word about that wrecking ball, they knew all along, your blueprints always looked more like storybooks, you were always meant for more unwieldy forms of creation.
So stand back, let it all go.
Don’t be afraid.
You cannot lose anything that was always meant to be yours.
You cannot have something when the only person who ever wanted it was you.
A new world is waiting underneath all that rubble and when you see the land underneath, you won’t regret being brave and you will know it wasn’t foolish after all, to let yourself be seen for who you really are.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Karma of Little Books

The Karma of Little Books...

Last week I was discussing my cookie baking with Jim, owner of Tootsie's IceCream and I left my little YBCrazy Cookies* book with him. *A little book of photos I took of the cookies I had made along with some favorite quotes. He returned it to me at Bambi's where I had just been introduced to Amy Citerall artist/owner of Harvest Moo Studios. We were discussing my unusual name and that my middle name is Amy.  Even more ironic was Amy's reply, "really, I'm Amy Jean"....funny how things like this happen.

Along came my little book of cookies and my passion for what a great way those books are to showcase your art, your photography, your inspirations.......Amy was excited.

This week Amy came in to Bambi's while I was there and with her she brought her very own book, containing all her beautiful, fun, whimsical animals. So much fun!!

I just love little books and Amy's work. I think we are kindred spirits...Yo, Amy Jean---what do you think?

Monday, August 15, 2011

hope is lost...i am lost

  1. i can repair a broken quilt---loved till it was full of holes, but i can not repair my broken life.
  2. pretty fabric is only a momentary distraction---sewing allows for lots of chatter, my mind is not quiet.
  3. surrender is what i must do, but i can not.
  4. i resist.
  5. the truth of this, makes a lie of all that came before.
  6. i am an empty shell, lost and tumbled in the tide....no home to be secure.
  7. there is no path--where i am going, there are tangled vines and weeds, toxic things that make me raw.
  8. the story fell away, unraveled, leaving bits of fuzz that you find insignificant and brush away.
  9. useless, but talented
  10. it is necessary to pretend to be strong and not say it would be best to lay down and die...because existing is not enough and i no longer "believe" i can survive.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Because you are my son....

18 years ago today we were blessed with you, Tyler. What a joy.

I am so proud of you. You showed just what strength of character you possess. A few weeks ago you followed what you thought was "right" and took the more difficult road to see your Uncle who has been estranged from me and your Aunts over your grandmother's estate---you went to him saying that you wanted to keep a relationship with him because he is your Uncle. You put aside other people's experiences and basing your connection on your own interactions. Sadly you were told that your Uncle can not have a relationship with you because you are my son. And it is just that reason, because you are my son, that made you the bigger man to be open, to follow your heart, to live with integrity.... I am so proud of the man that you are.

Happy 18th Birthday, Ty.

The word "integrity" stems from the Latin adjective integer (whole, complete).In this context, integrity is the inner sense of "wholeness" deriving from qualities such as honesty and consistency of character. As such, one may judge that others "have integrity" to the extent that they act according to the values, beliefs and principles they claim to hold.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

In the Storm...

I have weathered many storms....
things they say, serve to make me "stronger".

I say I am strong enough.

I have seen my babies have their faces stitched up,

held them face to face while they faced the scary things in the hospital.

I have watched people who loved me slip away, watched them fade, loved them along their path, kissed their cheeks, tried to wrap them in love, tried not to be scared, tried to be sure they knew how they touched my life, tried to help those that loved them know they were not alone....

I have learned to let go--let go of my children---I have not grown as fast as they would like. I am still scared for them. I have mothered them the best that I could. Maybe cookies can't make up for sleepovers, or costumes can't make up for parties, maybe my being home deprived them of things that money could buy, maybe other people do it differently---but I am not other people. I am solid, consistent in my flaws. 

I learned that losing old friends, my mother, my husband and my oldest son has just about crushed my soul and that the pain in it is deeper than I could have imagined.

I learned that people aren't honest enough...not with themselves or other people. They think that what is left unsaid saves heartache, but it doesn't. If I hadn't been honest about how it was hard to have a fourth child, I may not have found my dearest friend. 

I have learned that things are not as they appear---the people you think have the happiest lives, are not always happier. They play the game, they put on the show, they make it look good---but on the inside it is no less messy than our life. I held on to hope---held on to the love, even when it hurt. I believed that the core of who I was with you, was someone you really loved....but I was wrong.

I learned that omission is just as hurtful as blatant lies.

I have seen my entire vision of the life I had and would have, be erased, vanish--leaving me staring into the black abyss, wondering how to step forward into the darkness. I hate the dark.

Now I am stuck in the eye of the storm and I do not have a compass, no north star, no solid base to leap off....

I do not want to be "stronger"....
I want a soft place to land---light for the darkness---a hand to hold.

I have enough scars. I am strong enough.

Monday, July 4, 2011

You are tired, (I think) by e.e. cummings

I saw this link to another e.e. cummings poem---he has to be one of my favorites poets.

You are tired, (I think) by e.e. cummings
Miranda by John William Waterhouse

You are tired,
(I think)
Of the always puzzle of living and doing;
And so am I.
Come with me, then,
And we’ll leave it far and far away—
(Only you and I, understand!)
You have played,
(I think)
And broke the toys you were fondest of,
And are a little tired now;
Tired of things that break, and—
Just tired.
So am I.
But I come with a dream in my eyes tonight,
And I knock with a rose at the hopeless gate of your heart—
Open to me!
For I will show you places Nobody knows,
And, if you like,
The perfect places of Sleep.
Ah, come with me!
I’ll blow you that wonderful bubble, the moon,
That floats forever and a day;
I’ll sing you the jacinth song
Of the probable stars;
I will attempt the unstartled steppes of dream,
Until I find the Only Flower,
Which shall keep (I think) your little heart
While the moon comes out of the sea.
- e.e. cummings

yes--i am tired..."Of the always puzzle of living and doing"...

Friday, July 1, 2011

New books....Beach and birthday and laughter

Time to Party!

 Summer is the birthday season at my                      
house....I have 3 boys with birthdays all 
within a 2 week span--July 25, July 28 and 
August 8 plus their father's birthday on July 15
and I used to squeeze in my mother's birthday 
week later,July 22 with trip to Maine. 
Not mention the numerous extended family 
with July birthdays-my Aunt, nephew, 
neighbors, old friend and a nearly niece that fall 
before and among those.

I have often been heard to say it was easier to give birth 
than have all these birthdays....hmmm.
What makes you laugh? Make a list, squeeze in a story...
remember what makes you giggle...
For me---
summer or any possible moment brings thoughts of ocean, of picnics on a secluded spot in Spruce Head, walking the 
Breakwater in Rockland, searching for 
sand dollars in Owl's Head, watching painters 
on Isleboro, taking photos at Marshall Point, searching for sea glass, round rocks and pieces of myself that were lost along the way 
to here....

This is how the little book By The Shore and  The Ocean Soothes My Ragged Soul came to be.


We all need some direction-

 map to find your way,  or record your journey...


Something to "fix" us when we are broken....

Buy it, use it, break it, fix it,
Trash it, change it, mail - upgrade it,
Charge it, pawn it, zoom it, press it,
Snap it, work it, quick - erase it,
Write it, cut it, paste it, save it,
Load it, check it, quick - rewrite it,
Plug it, play it, burn it, rip it,
Drag and drop it, zip - unzip it,
Lock it, fill it, call it, find it,
View it, code it, jam - unlock it,
Surf it, scroll it, pause it, click it,
Cross it, crack it, switch - update it,
Name it, rate it, tune it, print it,
Scan it, send it, fax - rename it,
Touch it, bring it, Pay it, watch it,
Turn it, leave it, start - format it

Technologic Lyrics
Artist(Band):Daft Punk


Thursday, June 23, 2011

Finally I am Listening to you...

How long has it taken to hear you all?---my little beach book has continued to be a favorite, but alas it was a one of a kind,-a learning, healing, growing book. I needed it because "the ocean soothes my ragged soul".

I finally listened...it does that for you as well. So today, a lucky few will be able to buy one at Bambi's. 

It is not exactly the same, but includes the same quotes and cover design.  Each book coming will have its own personality, different beads, beachy papers and crocheted chains, and their own bit of love...

Look for the my new book "By the Shore" with the poem 

For whatever we lose 

(like a you or a me),
It's always our self 
we find in the sea. 
      ~e.e. cummings

As time allows, other sizes and versions will be hatching...so watch for them...
Leave me an email if you would like to know when the next batch of beach books will be at Bambi's...

Sunday, June 19, 2011

A Pink Moment from My Brithday

My Pink Moments have been hard to see lately, shadowed greatly by huge clouds and way too much sadness. I have spent hours of many days wondering about karma and what the universe has continued to put in front of me, whether it was something I did or didn't do, whether any of what I am, what I do, what I am passionate about---whether the messages coming back to me directly and indirectly-
-- are a reflection of some giant flaw that scars me.

On a good day---I know with unwavering conviction that who I am is "enough", what I have done is important no matter that a dollar value can not be attached to it...but on bad days, and lately there have been too many--there is doubt. Optimism and hope are not very convincing.

So, on Friday---June 17, the day of my birth. I was blessed with a beautiful Pink Moment. This letter from my daughter:

Friday, June 17, 2011

To Be SEEN and Loved

Jen Lemen knows.....
Read her words...know where I am....

 Absolutely Seen and Loved

Thursday, June 9, 2011

My ducks Won't Line Up

Why is it I can not get my ducks in a row? Most days I can not find them...
I'm not sure what they look like 
where to put them.....

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Bambi's has Soul....Handmade Soul

An open letter to Bambi's...vive le chic, who so generously encourages and supports my soul....

I read this article the other morning on Etsy, which although it is written with an on-line shop angle, it is so in tune with what you, Bambi,  are offering in a tangible spot.

"soul is evident in handmade items. As makers, we all know that something that is hand crafted is made with care and attention, by a real person who is attentive to the process and whose creative energy has brought something new and beautiful into the world."

Putting Soul in your Handmade Shop http://www.etsy.com/teams/5002/etsy-success/discuss/6854816/?utm_source=bronto&utm_medium=email&utm_term=Putting+Soul+Into+Your+Shop&utm_content=etsy_success_041411&utm_campaign=etsy_success_041411

That's what you are cultivating. I have always felt when you make things, there is all that energy and karma being immersed into your kraft. Love behind the stitches, happiness strung together in your choice of colors and style, intentions breathing life into each new creation. I find myself thinking of the ideas and creations that I have, as my babies---they are born--they hatch out...        

"Handmade has soul" and it is evident in the art. It talks to me when I am there, especially your jewelry Jane, and the happy face glass pieces, in Violet's Recyclable to Fashionableand the line of photo cards on the desk by Ellen J. Keiter, the Birch birdhouses and the Teacup feeders....  

I know the "soul" is there---it's bursting at the seems. Thanks for letting me be part of it.

Yours, Yo-Jean

Katy Delforno gave us something solid words to hang on to...

No other path.
No other way.
No day but today.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

What is on your Windowsill?

What is on your kitchen windowsill? Is that an odd question?

As a mother and as a woman, I have spent many hours standing at my sink or in my kitchen. My kitchen is the space where much happens. It is the space where the ideas hatch and where they come to life, where my family gathers, where I chat with friends, where papers are written, where quilts are sewn, research is done, cards are made, celebrations happen, homework is done, besides the usual cooking and dinners...it is my office and my studio. So it is also a place where many of the things I love collect....especially my windowsill, since I have a passion for little things. So here is what is on mine....

This little Asian doll that I rescued at from my mother's---the wood is split so she is held together  with a little bread tie. I think she started life as a top to an extra large souvenir pencil.

A jar of sea glass from one on my many trips to the beach...meditation in a jar.

A vintage Matt Dillon U.S. Marshal's badge, a model of the Marshall Point Lighthouse in Maine,and a rooster from Red Rose Tea (you can't imagine how many boxes of tea my mother drank and how many figures we've had)
Grumble buddy given to by my brother-in-law from one of his  Chemo treatments, yellow shells in a milk glass Cold Cream jar, and a charm to remind me to "Simplify"---and probably the only grass we'll have at my house this year. 

A duck from Red Rose Tea, my Momiji doll-she has a secret message , a cat from a bubblegum machine, and a toy pig reminding me of my mother's collection. 

The tiniest sand dollars and clam shells that I collected as a child...

I always hope to find some money----one day I found money at the beach--giggle.

More tiny bits of sea glass, marbles and a stone heart from my sister, a tiny piece of driftwood that was a primitive heart---now it is heart-broken like me... 

A jar of sand dollars and an odd collection of fortunes, and toy Buddha and Zenmaster  

Words of  Wisdom...

One of the tiny robots that the kids had years ago...and of course when I took this picture I thought, I should Picnik this. 

So that photo became a quick e-mail card to my Sister, to make her smile as we try to settle our mother's property.

So all that, from a thought while I made coffee yesterday morning.....what is on your windowsill? 
What inspires you?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

I Don't Have a Job...or so I Have Been Told--What is the value of this non-job?

I recently came across a note that I had written in 2007....today it still rings true. There are still people telling me that I don't have a job. At this time I am the mother of 4 teenagers---19, 17, 15, 13 and I can tell you that there is no way anyone can prepare you for that part of motherhood. It does not even enter your brain when you think of having a sweet little one....

That being said I have been lucky to "not have a job" for nearly 18 years....

       October 11, 2007,

I didn’t get a paycheck last week, nor did I get one in the 735 ½ weeks before that. I get 3 days off,  once or sometimes twice a year. My job is always incomplete. It requires careful attention to detail and constant re-evaluation.

I have crafted over 51 costumes and 25 quilts, washed over 9000 loads of laundry, cooked over 4382 dinners, decorated well over 3000 cookies, made 5000+ peanut butter balls, made innumerable lunches, changed over 24,000 diapers, made play dough, bubbles, tepees and books, cataloged and leveled 3000+ children’s books, recorded and researched more than 6000 ancestors, scanned hundreds of antique photos, bought thousands of gallons of milk and read hundreds of books…What is the value of my job?

When it is recorded this way it certainly appears to be a job,and this only touched on some of the highlights of the things I have been doing while I didn't have a job.

What does it count for? It was not enough...

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Jen Lemen always has the right words

Jen---Your words could be my words…ones I haven’t written yet, because I have been busy falling apart, being lost, crying, unraveling, being lonely, hoping, scrambling, being disappointed….I know the place that those words came from. My heart is in the same place and I can see you there. Thank you.

Love Will Find You Out

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Finding my Tail....

The new year has forced changes in my life that I have no map to navigate, so I have been a ghost of myself. I have been trying to figure out how to "be".... It has been especially hard to find my Pink Moments. More days than not, I have been Eeyore. My tail has fallen off and there is a cloud that seems to be only for me.

I realize that the Winnie-the-Poohs in my life: my children, my sisters, my family, my dear old friends Sue and Allyson, and my new friends at Bambi's and Kathie are all there putting me back together. Helping me do what I love, even helping me manage the things I don't love, so I can get my feet under me.

Bambi and her beautiful vision of a store full of wonderful art has handed me a gift. An enormous gift...a glowing Pink Moment...where I can feel joy. I am excited by the possibilities.

There are new things to come:

  • Tiny charms to make 
  • Preemie sweaters
  • A crinkly baby newspaper toy
  • My own buttons to create
  • Jewelry for teens
  • Books of self-esteem
  • A lovely pink baby sweater adorned with knit roses
  • white chocolate popcorn
  • dipped pretzels
  • Baby items like burp cloths and toys
  • Vintage baby quilts
  • Tiny crochet animal sculptures 
  • Tiny books about the Beach 

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Imagine a Woman

Imagine a Woman

Imagine a woman who believes it is right and good she is a woman. A women who honors her experience and tells her stories. Who refuses to carry the sins of others within her body and life.

Imagine a woman who trusts and respects herself. A woman who listens to her needs and desires. Who meets them with tenderness and grace. 

Imagine a woman who has acknowledged the past's influence on the present. A woman who has walked through her past. Who has healed in the present.

Imagine a woman who authors her own life. A woman who exerts, initiates and moves on her own behalf. Who refuses to surrender except to her truest and wisest voice.

Imagine a woman who names her own Gods. A woman who believes her body is enough, just as it is. Who celebrates her body's rhythms and cycles as an exquisite resource. 

Imagine a woman who honors the body of the Goddess in her changing body. A woman who celebrates the accumulation of her years and her wisdom. Who refuses to use her precious life energy disguising the changes in her body and life.

Imagine a woman who values the women in her life. A woman who sits in circles of women. Who is reminded of the truth about herself when she forgets.

Imagine yourself as this woman. 

-- Patricia Lynn Reilly