Walking the Sea

Walking the Sea: April 2009

Thursday, April 30, 2009

A Holy Moment

After dinner, I was sitting outside on the porch reading a blog when I heard this commotion with what sounded like blinds. I didn't know whether it was in my apartment or another so I went inside and looked in our window. I saw the black scrunchy I keep by my computer to pull back the blinds when I want to sitting on the windowsill but there was something else there too. On closer inspection, I realized it was a little black, white, and grey wild bird. I was stunned to say the least. Thinking it was going to start trying to hit the window again, I hurried into the kitchen to grab something to enclose it in. Finding such an implement, I take it back to the window and try to get the bird to go inside. To my surprise, the bird doesn't fly away, nor does it move. Deciding to risk it, I set the container aside and gently reached out with my hands to cup the bird between them like in prayer. The bird moved when I put it in my hands but was seemingly content to stay there. Walking back outside, I tried to decide whether to set it in the flowers (my photographic choice) or to set it on the balcony's edge (my caring for the bird's freedom choice). Initially, I set it on the balcony's edge and grabbing my camera, took a picture of it. But then my mystical side won out and it seemed so wrong to just leave him there so I picked him up once again and took him to where I had been sitting when I heard him. He sat there on my stomach then walked up to my shoulder and just sat there for quite some time. (Enough for me to go on facebook and leave a really cool update.) After relieving himself, he simply flew off into the blue sky and I was left with my holy moment. It is not often we get to share moments like that with wild creatures and I always treasure them.

Tomorrow I'll delve a lot deeper into this story but for now, I just wanted to share it with you.

365-09 #120


Wednesday, April 29, 2009

How Does Your Garden Grow?

It is said that life is what happens when you're doing something else. On my back porch I planted flowers a while back. They're still alive! Isn't that awesome? I have so much enjoyed watching them grow. One pot was even quite wilted after I got back from Portland but with some rain, it came back to life. Another was an annual I had forgotten about from the year before. Every year in May, Multwood goes to Anna's house in Newberg to see her garden. Last year, she gave those who were interested iris flowers. I came home and planted mine and was sorry to see it not doing very well. So this year, a green shoot came up and last week, I watched a deep purple bud emerge and grow bigger and bigger seemingly right before my eyes it came so fast. When I got back home a few days ago, it had turned into a full and beautiful iris flower.

I am hoping so much in my life is like that iris flower. There are a lot of conversations I had with my spiritual director when I saw her and things I learned at seminary I would love to have planted within me to grow and blossom when I least expect it. Sometimes I see how much I've grown even while I see so many of the possibilities and ways I could grow in the future and it excites me at the same as I am grateful to have the real Gardener beside me with the hoe.

365-09 #119

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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Swirling in my Mind...

It's one of those nights when I have a lot on my mind. I've been having a lot of those lately and there are so many things on so many different levels. From those deep feelings and thoughts moving where they can hardly be named, to the list of things needing to be done- for myself and others, to demands of work, finances, getting ready for the next dance show, photography at the theatre, and keeping time for friends, I'm not sure what to go about doing first. (?) Maybe that is why God has been giving me so much time in libraries. He knows I need that space of putting away books or covering them to let my mind wander, to let it think. "I love a good think." (Seussical) Ever since getting back from the meeting, I've been trying to get my bearings, to reorient myself to a life and a world that seems to be ever-changing and certainly not the one I left. It's a "Where do I go from here?" stage and I am still, quite unsure of the answers. But I am back into writing my poetry. I wrote one last night after writing my blog and it felt good to let my soul get one small, quick gasp of air.

I went by the library to get those books I've been wanting. I did find "Dark Night of the Soul" by Gerald May and "Leave Me Alone, I'm Reading" by Maureen Corrigan, and added the "Idiots Guide to Finances for those in their 20's and 30's" and "Poetry as Spiritual Practice". I did not borrow "The Giver" as I have spent so much time in libraries lately, I finished it on breaks and lunches. From the books I've read lately and the people I've talked to, I had a whole new sense of wonder taking the books off the shelves and being able to borrow them, for free! I love books. They are whole new worlds, ancient knowledge, and my friends these many years. "The Giver" has haunted me ever since I first read it as a high schooler. Read it, it's fascinating. It means so much to me in so many ways and this time, it occurred to me how much like a poet is the role Jonas takes on. It's something to think on.

365-09 #118


Monday, April 27, 2009

Where the Water Runs Deep

I was sitting beside Stacey last night at a dance show when during intermission, I turned to her and asked, "This is a poetical way to ask the question, but is dance what makes your soul breathe?" She thought about that for a few seconds and agreed that yes, it is. For anyone who knows her, this should be no surprise, but I find the question intriguing. What is it that makes a person's soul breathe? Where does the water run deep? And how many people have actually considered the answer? How many people know what their heart beats for? For most people who know me, my answer will also be no surprise- it's writing, poetry writing in particular. I don't fully understand why, but writing poetry is what makes my soul breathe. I enjoy things like dance and theatre but poetry is where the water runs deep. There is something about knowing what is at the core of me that helps me let go of and enjoy everything else.

Now how to get myself to actually write poetry. That's a whole other question in itself.

365-09 #117


Saturday, April 25, 2009

Leave Me Alone, I'm Reading

I am now looking forward to going to the library on Tuesday to check out three books I want to read. I miss being up at the seminary more often to check out books there though the Salem Library is quite good. If they don't have it- they can get it. I haven't had to use that service often but it's nice to know it's there. There is just something about libraries I love. They are like an old friend you're happy to see with open arms reaching out toward you. When I was a child, my mother would take my sisters and I on regular trips to the library, especially in the summer, as the library was air conditioned. We could check out as many books as we wanted and I always came out with a grocery bag full. I am not kidding. Next time we came, the grocery bag full of books would come too - each one read and enjoyed. Though I don't check out grocery bags full of books anymore, though it's tempting, for me, there is still nothing like holding a new book in my hand when I know it's going to be a good read. Each one is a whole world I enter into, learn from, hear, see, taste, and touch. Each one expands who I am, lifts me higher and higher into the air, giving me an ever wider view of the world, myself, others, and God. My selection for this next visit is "The Giver", "The Dark Night of the Soul" by Gerald May, and "Leave Me Alone, I'm Reading". What fun!

365-09 #116


Lets be Friends

I didn't blog last night because after our potluck in Portland I drove over to small group to catch the last bit of time with my friends there. Sitting on the couch, I knew driving home on the verge of crashing might not be the best idea so I stayed with Carole in Vancouver for the night. I am actually really glad I did that- not just for my safety but in that I also got to spend some time talking with her before going to bed and I have really missed spending time with Carole lately having been so busy with projects. I'm thinking of auditing her mystics class next fall. I've already taken it for credit a few years ago but I think I could really use some time being surrounded by my spiritual ammas and abbas again. I might throw in Greek while I'm at it. We'll see.

The second day with Emma, Harriet, Angelina, and John was fun and educational. We spent the day at George Fox University in Newberg and toured the Hoover-Milton House and Newberg Friends Church. The Hoover-Milton House was the highlight for me. I love learning history and seeing different ways to live. As the care taker told us the story, I found myself holding back tears several times I was so touched by the love Herbert Hoover showed to the people around him. After getting back in town, we found a sunny patch of grass behind Multnomah Monthly Meeting and laid out in the sun while looking at John's pictures from Kenya. We really needed that time to not be going anywhere, just time to rest, relax, and be.

People started arriving after a while with food so we helped set up tables and chairs. It was so much to fun to see many women I knew from Multwood there and they really enjoyed getting to know some of the other board members. After we ate, we brought the tables together so Angelina could present the book project and we all answered questions. One of the things we talked about were some of the conversations the board had about the topics covered by the submissions. Those discussions brought out our cultural and theological differences like nothing else did and we told them how it got rather intense at times. One of the women with concern on her face asked, "So what happened to the rest of the board?" This brought out peals of laughter from everyone. I shared with them how I had a phrase in my head throughout our meeting, "Put love first." We figure if we can do it with all of our differences, all Quakers can have such conversations and truly be friends.

365-09 #115

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Thursday, April 23, 2009

So Far, So Good!

Thank you for your prayers!  So far, so good.  Tomorrow we drive to Newberg.  Today was A LOT of fun.  We took a tour (led by yours truly) of George Fox Evangelical Seminary, visited the Tulip Festival outside of Woodburn (which everyone loved- especially the cutouts you could stick your face into and the large wooden shoes), and then we went to Silver Creek Falls to hike the five mile loop.  John was absolutely hillarious as he mimicked the sounds of foxes and birds. He also hid and jumped out at Harriet twice.  The second time doubled me over in laughter.  If the ferns in his hat wasn't funny enough, his poses for pictures certainly were!  It was really nice not to have the camera most of the time.  As Harriet loved taking pictures with it, she kept it and used it so between her and Angelina, I was free to simply enjoy the view.  Emma enjoyed seeing the waterfalls and we had a great picnic lunch.  Dinner for most of us was with Marge Abbot back in Portland.  Harriet was particularly amused by the Irish pub in America that advertised English beer.  

For myself, I am happy to have two more days with the four of them after having some time at home to rest and dance.  It's also been good to talk with them about some of the intense talks we had and I am feeling quite a bit better about things.  

So now I am absolutely exhausted and am going to curl up with a book before heading to bed.  I don't think that book is going to last long though, I am really tired.  Tomorrow we are touring George Fox University, having lunch with some Friends, seeing Newberg Friends Church, President Hoover's house, and then the Portland gathering of Friends.  As someone who loves to break through walls, it delights me to no end that because of the board, there will be a gathering of Friends tomorrow from both area Yearly Meetings.   These are the kinds of things we should be doing.  Yes, we are from different structures, but we are all Friends so why do we let names divide us?  Think of all the things we could do and be if we stood together.  Yeah, that picture excites me too.

365-09 #114

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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Please Pray

Between cleaning out the kitchen, getting my car fixed, and getting ready to be with four other board members for the next two days, I have had a very full day. I feel like central command coordinating and overseeing the movements of four people through the Northwest. In fact, when I'm talking to one of their hosts, I have to take a moment and think of who they're hosting, what that person's itinerary is, and then I can answer their question, help them, or coordinate pick ups and drop offs. Assuming I have all my ducks in a row, I am looking forward to spending time with them.

Tomorrow I am giving the four of them (John, Emma, Angelina, and Harriet) a personal tour of the seminary, then we are going to the tulip festival in Woodburn, and then taking the five mile hike through Silver Creek Falls. I have promised myself to hold back on the picture taking. I'll take pictures of my friends though I am sure I will sneak in a couple of my own of the waterfalls and trees when I'm not looking. Taking lots of pictures on hikes is fun when you're with others who do the same but it can also extend the time the hike takes by a lot and I don't want to do that. Besides, Silver Creek Falls is my most photographed hike already.

In the evening, most of us are joining Marge Abbot for dinner then I'm staying where Harriet and Angelina are for the night before going to Newberg the next day. Though I have been quite busy these last 2 1/2 days, it's been nice to get back to my normal life with work and dancing classes before going back with them for two more days. I have needed this time to see myself and to just be by myself and with God.

If you would, please pray for me. The car is fixed and I would REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY like it to stay that way as I drive them around the Willamette Valley. If the car could stay in working order while I drive these next few days, I would absolutely love that. Thank you for praying. I will be praying too.

365-09 #113

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Tuesday, April 21, 2009


As I was sitting out on the porch this afternoon with Allie, my new roommate who doesn't actually move in until Thursday, I was looking at a plant still in the cheap plastic pot that is wilted probably beyond repair as a result of not getting watered while I was gone. It's really quite a sad sight among the other plants and flowers that are doing quite well and looking very beautiful. Sitting there, I thought to myself, "I feel just like that plant." Wilted, dried up, and in desperate need of water. But I didn't know what water I needed. Below us was the pool I love to swim in but it won't be open for another month so no luck there. I felt lethargic, tired from the inside out, and I really needed some water. As I told Allie, having the burning smell on my car AGAIN felt like a second blow when I was already laid on the ground.

So when I went to tap, I was rather drained but despite my sometimes frustrations, tap dancing has always been that activity I keep coming back to. It seems no matter how else my life has changed these last four years, I have been able to go to class and see people who are happy to have me there and to make fun sounds with them. At one point, Stacey had me lead the others in the shim sham dance without the music- completely on my own. I have been struggling with the middle of it for months and am still working on the end not to mention the change of choreography since I first learned it. I don't know if this is what Stacey meant to have happen but it was a precious glass of water for me. I danced the whole thing and it wasn't perfect but it was a triumph. On my own, I led the others through the whole shim sham and realized I actually did it better on my own when I'm not trying to follow anyone else. I'm improving and I can see that, and right now, that was really good to see. And Stacey? She wore a shirt of blue, the exact shade a swimming pool is, cool and refreshingly deep.

365-09 #112

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Sunday, April 19, 2009

Friday Night Panel

For the panel on Friday night, we read a lot of the submissions we've received. The QUIP group really enjoyed them and asked us a few questions such as about John's travels and what we wanted this book project to be. I also got to talk about our vision for the book and that was well received. I had forgotten how much you feel like animals in a zoo, people looking at you, taking tons of pictures... Flash-flash-flash! Harriet and John were fun to sit between and it was fun to meet members of QUIP. They were really interested in our blog posts and our thoughts on the discussions we've had between us when we have had to work things out with ten different perspectives from all these different cultures. The editor from one magazine is interested in having me write an article about it for her.

Outside is blue sky. Our first session of the day starts at 9. We still have some art submissions to go through and to look at what parts of the book are still missing. (Lily is at the end of the table looking adorable!) Discussions like we've had is a great way to see in more clarity who you are - your theology, habits, why you do what you do. I was clerking yesterday and it was a learning experience to balance opening space and keeping us moving. A lot of discussions erupts on various pieces as well as lots of cultural stories on how to understand the piece under discussion - the back story if you will.

Well, while dishes are being done and John is playing the harmonica, I have to go get ready for the morning session. AKA- join those going upstairs to change out of our pajamas.

365-09 #111

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Sesame Street - Old School

We seem to get slower and slower starts in the morning. I am sitting at the kitchen counter while Emily, Katrina, and Rachel make breakfast. Cara is next to me reading a book. (Imagine reading something besides submissions!) Breakfast smells good - french toast, bacon, and catntelope. John just came downstairs and I know the rest of them are upstairs are getting ready. (Half of us down here are still in our pajamas.) Breakfast is supposed to be at 8, it's now 7:58.

Last night we kidnapped Peggy Parsons and Katie Terrell from the QUIP meeting along with Stephen Dotson for dinner with us. It was fun to have them over and we got regailed with African bus stories. John is no longer allowed to travel on the African bus system for our project. We got Peggy over with the promise of time with Lily, Wess's daughter. It wasn't hard, sixteen month olds are hard to turn down. After Peggy left, Stephen interviewed me for a project about young adult Quakers and transitions. It was fun to talk with him and get to share some of my experiences. After that, I went downstairs and joined the rest of the crew watching Old School Sesame Street. Lily had been going around the day before with her DVD showing it to each of us as if to say, "Will you please put this in for me? You're the weak link in the chain aren't you?" So last night we all watched it with her -cracked us up! Most of us grew up watching Sesame Street, even Harriet in England, so there were shouts of, "I remember that!" and "Oh, Snuffleupagus!" "I think I remember this one." It was a sweet time as Cara shared with us later.

I'll write about the panel a little later - breakfast smells really good and I'm going to go claim my share.

365-09 #110

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Friday, April 17, 2009


For free time today I took a walk IN the ocean. It was very cold but as many Northwesterners know, your feet just go numb after a while. When I got back, I heard twice, "Would you PLEASE put on dry clothes." But it was refreshing and nice in that normally, I don't have a house nearby where I can change. So now my feet are warming up and I have peppermint tea. Steven Dotson found us on the beach even. He came over from the QUIP meeting about two minutes away and came to find our group. It was fun to see him and we've invited him over tomorrow night to join us for dinner and free time. Tonight is Angelina's report to QUIP's business meeting and then after dinner back here at the house, we are going back to give the panel. I'm excited for people I know to meet the board. It is hard to imagine a cooler group of ten young adults who can be so diverse and love each other so well. We really do run the gamut from people who are very conservative Christian to people who aren't familiar with the Bible and who's Quakerism is more a way of life than a type of faith.

When you think about it, it's quite a challenge to have over 240 submissions to look at and decide upon. Like good Quakers, we don't vote, we have to agree on each one together and if someone has an issue about one, we have to discuss it until we are unanimous. Yesterday was a little slower as we built the framework of our process and today, we have gone much quicker. Last year, I explored and read up on the feminine divine. I didn't even think that referring to God as her would be a problem. But it has sparked a lot of discussion amongst us as we've read through the pieces. It's great to see the pieces of the book emerge and take shape. I am sure this will only grow in the coming days.

365-09 #109

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Thursday, April 16, 2009

All the Difference

We are having free time right now. Emma (from Bolivia) and Lomuria (from Kenya) are particularly fascinated with American television. A show about three sisters who are witches was fun to see his reaction to. Harriet has gone for a run on the beach (just steps outside our door) and Wess and his family left a while ago to go find a coffee shop before dinner. Some people are reading submissions and others are helping in the kitchen. (My brownies are baking as I type.) Earlier Lomuria and I took a walk on the beach and had great conversation. I am reminded of a book I read where an American woman and a Aborigini (sp?) man find this deep spirit connection between them. Across the continents and very different lives, we just connect. John gave us all matching beaded bracelets with our names in them. We are all wearing them around our wrists. Later, we'll take a picture of all our hands together.

All of us connect really well. Even Lilly, Wess's 16 month old daughter. Though this afternoon as we went through the submissions was a challenge. We had to re-remember how to work with one another amongst our different culture and theological backgrounds. Going through the various writings sure brings those differences out. It's a practice of listening, acceptance, tolerance, and love. It's more of a challenge than we had last year but as we work together, it is a challenge we can meet and exceed. Listening to the discussion, I am very grateful for our differences. Together, we make a whole. Some of us love poetry, some of us aren't so big on it. That is just one example. (There are cheers from the television watching crew.???) What a great group. As we talk, I can see how we are each a needed piece of this project and that we not only need each other, we want each other. And that, in this kind of project, makes all the difference.


More Tea! More Tea!

John just asked me about a short bio from one of our contributors, "and lives with her wife..." I got to explain that to him. That was fun.

So it turns out we do have Internet here and at least five laptops so I will be blogging, about the only thing I'll be doing on this computer as I really just want to enjoy my time here and not be in front of the screen. It feels like we just left off a few weeks ago instead of last year. This morning we looked at themes from the submissions, how they connect, and things we want the book to become. It was also really moving to go around our circle and hear how our year went for each of us. That sense of being brothers and sisters together, of being parts of one greater whole is very prevalent. We also have a lot of fun! Going through themes, Harriet, from England, told us, "If I wasn't overwhelmed before, I'm overwhelmed now!" Then Wess jumped in, "More tea! More tea!" (Harriet has been offering tea all day.)

Many folk are now in the kitchen preparing lunch while others are doing various things around the house. This morning we took a pre-breakfast beach walk. Lovely. Lunch is ready, got to go!

365-09 #108

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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

I'm Here!

I am safe here at Rockaway Beach. We have already had a great time driving over here, getting lunch, seeing the Tillamook Cheese Factory, and settling into the house along with dinner in a cozy dining nook just big enough for the four of us adults and Lily in a high chair. (She's 16 months old and a lot of fun!) The house is HUGE! It took us a while to explore it all, it just seemed to keep going. There are three living rooms and four bedrooms (there are lots of beds in each room). I haven't counted the bathrooms yet. But there will be plenty of room for the 13 of us. We're expecting the second batch of people anytime now. Meanwhile, we are watching the HUGE television. Fun, fun, fun!

365-09 #107

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Enjoy Life!

I am off to go spend five days with these wonderful people. I will blog about it when I get back. Until then, enjoy life!

365-09 #106

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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

See You at the Beach!

Last Sunday as I sat between Wess and Emma at meeting, I had the sense we were a team, (along with the seven others of course). I had the feeling I was a part of something incredibal, that each member of the team is unique and needed and that we were in this together. It reminded me very much of the same sense I had last year at our meeting in North Carolina, of reaching out and instead of strangers, finding friends, brothers and sisters. Tomorrow they all arrive here in Oregon, I'm excited to not only show them this land I love, but just to see them and be with them. We will be in a house together for days - what I consider sweet bliss of heaven. Yes, we got a lot of work done last year, but we also had a lot of fun, laughed a great deal and had an awesome time. I'm looking forward to an even better meeting this year.

I'm holding you all in my thoughts as you travel. Don't get stuck in Chicago. See you at the beach!

With love,

365-09 #105

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Utterly Loved

I walked into tap class tonight and Stacey's face just lit up when she saw me. I've been working really hard on getting ready for the board meeting and I had been looking forward to going to class all day. There is nothing like knowing you are utterly loved.

365-09 #104


Sunday, April 12, 2009

Wait For Me

Spending three days at the Richmond Elementary library was a gift from God to me. I have been so busy lately over my head in projects that I have taken no time whatsoever to sit with God. Of course there is the time at church but meeting is rarely when I go deep. And not that I went deep at Richmond either, but it was a time to slow down, take a deep breath, and regain some perspective. The friend I was helping is someone who has been to those deep places with me repeatedly, someone who's voice was steady when mine was screaming, who helped me find the strength in myself when I couldn't see anything to hold on to. It was a fun and calming time to help her and to hear how she's doing. I didn't realize it at the time but with the editorial board meeting starting this week, I needed that calm sky, that time to just lay back on the hill and gaze up at the stars. I needed to know they are there.

At the same time, I have been driving the rental car until mine gets fixed and it has a CD player. Having recently come across some particular CD's of mine, I put them in my bag to listen to in the car. Two of the CD's are talks by William P. Young, author of "The Shack". If you haven't read it, I can't recommend this book enough. It's one of my favorites. Being a Portland author, I've heard him speak and I learned a lot. These talks, though I did not hear them in person have deeply moved me. On one CD is the question and answer time, on the other is him telling his story, the story of metaphorically going through his own shack. Paul, as he is more commonly known, knows what it is like to be on your knees utterly naked before God and utterly dependent no matter what his reaction is because you know you have got no place else to go. He knows what it's like to have nothing left inside, to struggle though that, and then to find life on the other side.

Hearing him talk about his experiences dropped me right back into my own as if I had just been pushed over a cliff into the deep waters of the sea. But this time, though the ocean closes in over my head, it's a welcome sensation, a familiar place that to me, has become so much truer than anything else I know. It's like hearing music, the melody of my heartbeat, the drum beat marking my steps, the life-force within me I had let go of along the way. And now I want to shout, "I'm coming! I'm coming home! Wait for me. I'll be there. Keep the light on for me, I'm on my way Papa!" It's like placing my hand on the door and having Papa burst through shouting my name.

365-09 #103

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So Much for That Idea...

I am writing to sounds of the coolest band you've ever heard: "The Barbers". Okay, they are not actually a band, they're better! My friend Emma from Bolivia is here with me and to get a better idea of what Easter in America is like (they just celebrate Good Friday), I called Deborah and finagled an invitation to an afternoon dinner at her house with friends and family. The whole family plays and/or sings so it's fun when they get together.

I picked Emma up from the airport yesterday evening. Now, I had been told that people such as Emma and John are more conservative than we tend to be here in the Northwest so I was rather prepared for that. However, a show I love to go to in Portland, LiveWire!, happened to be last night so as a surprise, I arranged for us to go along with my friend, Deanna. Now, LiveWire! I admit, is the liberal end of Oregon culture. Still, I thought it would be fun for her to see. However, I was not counting on the man in the red dress handing out the programs. That was a fun one to explain. I also didn't know they are not allowed to drink in their yearly meeting. Where is the first place we go? A bar down the street for fries and water to talk while we wait for Deanna to arrive. But I was still pretty happy. After all, Peggy told me, "Just don't take her to the tattoo parlor. Tattoos mean something very different in South America." And I had no reason to take her. It was not on our tour agenda. But then... I found out my camera's battery charger is missing. I can't find it anywhere. I have to take pictures at the theatre tomorrow and I need my camera for the board meeting. Both of my batteries are nearly drained. Emily and Ali both have cameras similar to mine. Thus, where are we going? Yup. To the tattoo parlor to borrow the battery charger. So much for that idea, huh? She is certainly getting a good dose of Northwest culture. I am going to balance this all out with going to the mall, touring the capital, a walk through the park, and a play where a man comes out in a towel... Hmm... Well, so much for the idea too. You know what? I'm me. This is my culture. This is what she wants to see. I tell you though, it certainly has made me see my world in new eyes. She has an incredible story. and seeing things with her, is like seeing a whole new aspect to the people and land around me agains and agains and agains.

365-09 #102


Friday, April 10, 2009

It's a Small World

Tonight I met up with Ali downtown to give her a key for the apartment. After sitting at the Reed Opera House, we walked around downtown and had dinner together at SOBA. As Katie has mentioned, it's nice that Ali and I have a chance to get to know each other as friends before moving in. I mentioned over Phad Tai I wasn't going to go to Irish dancing tonight as I had too much to do but when her eyes lit up on "Irish dancing", we ran back to my apartment so I could change into something easier to dance in. So there we are in my living room dancing some of the basic steps when Katie comes home. Ali takes one look at her and exclaimes, "Katie!" and Katie shouts, "Ali!" soon followed by a dual, "How ARE you?" At this point I go into the kitchen and put away dishes while they catch up on a decade of seperation. It turns that unbeknownst to me, my roommates worked together at a pizza shop when they were in high school. As Ali also likes cookie dough, this bodes well for us as roommates. It's a small world after all...

Tomorrow promises to be a full day with lots to do. I'll try and get a post out in the morning as I will be in Portland after that until late evening.

365-09 #101


Thursday, April 9, 2009

Gardening the Soul

I tell you, I am looking forward to the weather warming up. My Internet is best from the deck and it gets cold out there at night, quilt and all. Brrr...

These last few days I have steadily been working through my to-do list- the things I need to get done before leaving for the Editorial Board meeting next Wednesday. I'm getting there. One of the items on my list was weeding. Every since I've moved in here, I make an attempt at flowers on the deck. I love working in the earth and miss being able to do so. I also like having the natural beauty of the flowers around me. However, it seems every year I house sit so often that the flowers get neglected and die. Then there are all those weeds that pop up and take over the pot. Thus, the weeds needed to be pulled before Emma got here and Ali moves in.

Some of the pots have annual bulbs in them and things are already growing. I'm not sure what most of them are but they are growing! Still, when all the weeds were pulled, the pots looked bare so I decided to hope and try again by going shopping for flowers. This afternoon when I got home I settled into the task and planted them around the deck. Tomorrow I may even water them. (Today it rained.) I even have the fertilizer I never used from last year.

As I planted the flowers, I thought about my own life and the things that have been growing within me. Years ago, I was asked what I wanted to plant in my garden (as a metaphor for me) and it is a question that has stuck with me ever since. It's strange how growth occurs- often unseen, unnoticed, then one day you turn and it's there, that yellow daffodil out on the deck you never saw bloom. And now you're really interested. You pay attention to it. You watch it grow and it delights you. These last few days as I have seen the difference between between my garden then and my garden now, I have been able to step back and enjoy the growth that has occured. I know there will be a lot more to come, in future and definately now, but right now, I am stopping to smell the roses and to appeciate how God has guided the flowers of my soul.

365-09 #100

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Wednesday, April 8, 2009

A Library of Peace

Working at the library today was like that night I spent at the pool late last summer. For those who have started reading this blog since then, it was a warm night and I was by the pool writing in my journal when I decided to go swimming fully clothed. Under an orange moon, it was so restful, soothing, and peace-giving. You can read the post here. I like being there and I like being around Adria and getting to help her Kim with the books. (And you know I love books). It was also really nice to catch up with each other, a lot has been going on in both our lives. It helped take a step back, look more at the larger view of things, sense how I've grown, where I still struggle, and it gives me some peace. I've been going so fast at home, it was nice to have a quieter day. She would tell you it was busy, but for me, it was calmer and I could just be.

After I get back from the editorial board meeting which I have been working on all night, I am going to take a serious look at my personal and business finances. Emily has already agreed to talk with me about it as a first step in deciding what I want to do. What I am amazed at is that Adria and her husband are part of the U-Turn Challenge program at a regional credit union where they work closely with financial advisers for a year and you can follow their progress and the progress of the other three families participating. You can be sure I will be on that blog listening and learning, looking at the resources for this is something I too, need to learn. I am hoping it all rubs off. God's timing is truly amazing. Thank you God!

365-09 #99

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Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Flaming Car and Rushing River

Last night I ran by Starbucks on north Lancaster to get drinks for myself and my friend who was going to look over my taxes. Driving to the tax office with the drinks in a holder beside me, the two women in the car next to mine grabbed my attention while waiting at a stop light and shouted to me, "Your car is on fire!" I had noticed the car was dragging a lot but as I knew it was getting fixed soon and I had been told not to worry too much, I was trying to make it to my destination. Car burning with flames coming out the wheel, I pulled over into an Asian mart as soon as I could which was soon taken over by a crazy woman with crazy hair screaming, "Help! Help! Help! My car is on fire! Get the fire extinguisher!" When the man was done extinguishing the car, the parking lot and my car was covered in white.

Having a level head, I called the tax office first to tell them I would be a little late. :) A young man and the store owner then pushed my car back to another spot where I could leave it for a bit. The young man gave me a ride to the tax office where I spoke with Carry, the man who fixes my car, about what happened. Taxes approved and a big hug from said friend, my dad picked me up and still level headed, I got my glasses fixed at Binyons before they closed. Errands done, we then went back to the mart where Jeff, the tow-truck driver met us. As he loaded the car onto his truck, which he did in a remarkably short amount of time, I looked up at the moon. You can imagine I was bit stressed. I have never seen flames coming from my car and I NEVER want to see them again. (I am now thinking I need to have a fire extinguisher in my car.) Having my dad with me really helped but the stress of these last few months... I don't know how I am dealing with it- whether I am in denial, have gotten used to it, or am just shoving it down inside. I think it's a combination of all three but a lot of the last one. But I am standing there in the dark looking at this nearly full moon and it's beautiful. I imagine it's shining on a river, the moon light reflecting through the trees onto the water and it's quiet except for the soft rush of the river and the breeze through the trees. The image gave me peace, a calm center, while we got the car over to Carry's house and then as my dad drove me home. (Don't you just love Dads?)

The car will actually be just fine. It's needs some parts obviously. I'm getting a rental car tomorrow morning so it should all work out. It does make for a good story. It only really affected the brake system. Carry is still going to look over the car for me and see if there is anything else while he has it.

Remembering that picture of the river helped me a lot because I remembered there is a lot bigger world than mine. That I am connected to something deep and true, something beautiful and eternal. My problem seemed so little, so fleeting, and I am so grateful to God who provided for me in so many ways last night.

God, thank you for protecting me and for protecting my car. Thank you for the love you give every day of my life, for being there for me and giving me what I need when I need it. I am most grateful.

Tomorrow I get to be in a beautiful library and I am so excited. It's much quieter than my life and though I have to bring my life with me and work on some things between inventorying the books, I will get to bring my life to the quiet and to hear what it says, what I say and haven't been listening to, and what God wants to say that I have not heard.

365-09 #98

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The Funniest Thing!

This is the funniest thing! I had tears in my eyes I laughed so hard. Take a gander, you'll love it!

365-09 #97


Monday, April 6, 2009

Weaving Sacred Wholeness

I wrote this for my church last Sunday about the "Weaving Sacred Wholeness" conference.

Weaving Sacred Wholeness

Stepping outside the Savannah airport, I met Seth Barch, a Friend about my age who was picking me up after my day of flying across the continent. He told me we had been invited to dinner at the house of another Friend if I wanted to go and asked me what I would like to do until then. I immediately answered, “Forsyth Park”. Driving into the city, we found a place to park on a side street and I had one of those “I’m really here!” moments. We not only walked through the park, but all over the historical district of Savannah.

Between that night and the next day, I was immersed in the history of Georgia. Savannah was already a thriving city before the Civil War and seeing history come to life around me was the most moving experience of the whole trip. Seeing the stones in the road brought over as ballast in the slave ships, laying my hands on the bricks of churches built by slaves and seeing holes to secret compartments on the Underground Railroad made some of the things I’ve only carried in my head move to my heart.

Along with Seth, half German, half Jamaican, my other touring companion was a black woman named Genevieve, an artist and kindred spirit. While hearing a talk about the First African Baptist Church, I looked around me in the pews and noticed I was the only white person in the entire room. They told me history from the black perspective, eyes I have never seen through, but I did that afternoon and continued to see it throughout the weekend as I met other Friends out on St. Helena Island, talking and making friends with both black and white, getting to share time with other young adult Quakers, an experience I do not often have, and I found myself once again fascinated by how we are all so unique yet we are all one.

At one point in the silence, I spent time watching a black woman across the circle from me. She had a brightly colored scarf on her head and as a black woman is one of my favorite images of God, I imagined she was God, sitting there with us. In a much deeper and more real way, I think it was true.

Another experience from the weekend that has stayed with me was a woman who had cerebral palsy. You really had to listen to understand her but as I got to know her through the weekend, she was the one who spoke the truest things to me, the messages that hit home time and time again. I learned through her that even though a package may be more difficult to open, there are incredible gifts inside. Whether this gift is playing in the Atlantic ocean, or meeting new people from other cultures than my own, the gift expanded me, expanded my vision and my picture of who I am and who others are. The more diversity I see, the more I truly believe we are all born of One.

Sarah Katreen Hoggatt

For those interested, I will write about the car catching fire tomorrow.

3656-09 #96


Sunday, April 5, 2009

Solved and Done, Hello?

Why can't problems just be solved and done? While I was at Multwood tonight, Carry replaced the brakes and rotors on my car. Driving home, I noticed a burning smell and a slight pull to the left. I pulled over and called him. He said it was burning the grease off the parts and that it would work itself out as I drove it. It didn't. When I put the brakes on, it really likes to go to the left. So tomorrow, I am taking it back by after he gets off work and he'll take a look at it. Tigers do not like burning smells coming from their cars.

As I was driving, I was thinking about how much stress I have been living with in my life these last few months. Between everything, it's at constant, high level which I know is not good for me. I am praying things work themselves out but in the meantime, it's, well, stressful!

Besides the car issue, the last two days have been really nice. I have been working a lot on a variety of things, taxes now being at the top of the list. This afternoon, I even had a fun time going around the capital grounds with camera taking pictures of the spring flowers and people enjoying the park. The last part of this week, I am volunteering at a library. I am really looking forward to it. It will be a nice, quieter time in the midst of this juggling act I call my life.

365-09 #95


Saturday, April 4, 2009

"Today" Quote

A few days ago, this was Emily's #87 blog post in it's entirety: "I asked Sarah to smell the mens room… it was a slow day." Thanks Emily, never a dull moment at your shop, is it?

365-09 #94 (And I'm back on track!)


April 2009 - "I've Got Brains in My Head and Feet in My Shoes!"

April 2009 Newsletter From My Website

"I've Got Brains in My Head and Feet in My Shoes!"

Quietly, I make my way along the light-lit path and out onto the deck of the Pentacle Theatre. I can just hear The Cat in the Hat starting the auction scene in act two in "Seussical the Musical". Turning right, walking past the doors to the auditorium, I find the narrow door many people don't even notice is there. Over the last few months, I have learned the Pentacle Theatre has many such doors, doors people don't see as they walk past on the deck or down below near the lobby. These doors are often the most interesting ones though! They lead downstairs to the dressing room, the paint room, the costume floor, and the one I'm pulling open, to the sound booth. Knowing the audience is just on the other side of a thin wooden wall, I creep up the small stairs and let myself into a larger-than-you'd-think black room above the audience. Paige, the sound technician, sees me come in and cheerfully says, "Hey girl! A seat's over there." I pull out the chair and bring it over to the counter overlooking the audience and stage below. I can see it's another sold out night, it's the show that in a few weeks, will set the record for attendance and money earned for any Pentacle show. Ever.

For now, I'm just happy to see my friends perform a play I have quickly grown to love over the weeks I have been photographing them. An incredible cast of actors, they have welcomed me into their Seussical world as their friend and personal paparazzi. Having already spent one entire night in the dressing room with them, I can picture what they are doing when not on stage. But as the next song starts up, these thoughts are set aside and I listen to the words sung, words that have been sinking deeper and deeper into my heart every time I hear them. And as I have them on my ipod as well, I hear them a lot. The messages inherent in the show have been finding their mark in me and I am captured in what they teach.

One of my favorite scenes is when Jo-Jo is taking a bath and imagines he's really in McElliot's Pool, singing "Anything's Possible!" Jo-Jo thinks incredible thinks, encouraged on by the cat who sometimes gets him in trouble, but Jo-Jo changes the world around him in the process. Just because something doesn't seem to be true, doesn't mean it's not. Jo-Jo thinks outside the box, outside of black and white, outside of what others tell him is so. Instead, he dreams in bright colors and flies to places like Solla Solew. These worlds he thinks of come to life around him and he brings forth the truth that we have the power to create our thinks, we have the power to bring to life what is in our heads and that often times, there is a lot more around us than what we see and hear.

Later that night as Jo-Jo is lying in bed and longing for a true friend in the universe, he meets Horton the Elephant protecting the clover their tiny dust speck of a planet is on. No one believes that Horton can hear people on the dust speck, all the jungle animals think he's crazy but after all, "an elephant's faithful 100% percent," and he knows they are there and firmly believes "a person's a person no matter how small." Just because they can't be seen, doesn't mean they are any less important, that every voice in the universe needs to be heard. He puts the Whos who live on the planet first before himself, protecting them despite the opposition. Then while sitting there protecting the clover, he hears Jo-Jo and they find they both dream and understand how alone each other feels. They find someone to believe in and who believes in them. Throughout the show, the theme of faithfulness, of being true to your word, and sticking by what you know to be true, is woven into the fabric of the story in circling patterns, ever growing wider and deeper.

While Horton protects the Whos, there is another faithful character named Gertrude, a one feather-tailed bird. Gertrude has admired Horton from afar with his "kind and powerful heart" but Horton has never really noticed Gertrude. Wanting to be beautiful so Horton will notice her, she goes to the doctor and takes pills to make her tail grow. It does grow, so long in fact, she can no longer fly. Horton doesn't notice her still and by the end of the second act, she realizes that to be able to help Horton, she really just needs to be herself, large feet, pitiful tweet, and all. She teaches there are songs we are each given, ways we look, feel, and those things are there for a reason. We are each created to be who we are and to grow through that experience.

While each of the characters are having troubles galore, The Cat pops in as he often does, singing, "tell yourself how lucky you are! When the fates are unkind and you get kicked from behind, tell yourself how lucky you are." His message, among the many, is to look to the light, the bright side, all of the things you do have. Why decry the dark sky? Things could be worse after all. Just think of life as a thrill and be thankful you've gotten this far. Find all the gifts in your life, the beauty and the love. Instead of concentrating on what you don't have, concentrate on what you DO have. And we have quite a lot.

There is a point in the second act when Jo-Jo is lost and scared. He doesn't know what to do or where to go when The Cat pops in again and urges him to think of a glimmer of light and to follow his hunch. These are some of the lyrics from the song.

Follow your Hunch!
And oh!
The places you'll go!
I've got brains in my head
And feet in my shoes
So steer yourself any direction you choose!
And oh, the places you'll go!
Set your hunches free to wander
And follow them where they roam
And follow your hunch
Follow your hunch
Follow it... home!
Anything's possible!

Jo-Jo finds that if he trusts himself, if he listens to the voice inside, pays attention to it, it will lead him where he wants to go. He already has everything he needs within him, brains in his head and feet in his shoes. Imagination, faithfulness, a positive outlook, and believing in your own power are all qualities that carry the characters through the difficulties that arise. I have had friends in my life who have instilled these lessons, these words, into the very rhythms of my breath, but seeing them sung on stage night after night, seeing them lived out by the actors in and out of costume, made them sink that much deeper into the makeup of who I am and they helped me find the additional confidence I need to find where I want to go. Anything is possible.

365-09 #93

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Friday, April 3, 2009

Thoughts on Blogging

Tonight as I was driving home from the tattoo studio, I was decidedly in the mood for pie at Sharri's. However, I didn't think I would be able to talk Katie into it as it was 10 pm by that point and I had papers to sort anyway. And, we rarely ever go over there together. The last time was for breakfast when we were iced in. (Living in a neighborhood as we do does have it's advantages.) But when I got home, I checked the blinking message and it was from Katie asking me to call her if I was home. So I rang her up and she was at Walmart and wondered if I felt like going out for desert at Sharri's. "Are you shitting me?" was the first thing that came to mind. When I told her I had just been thinking the same thing, we laughed and laughed. And we went to Sharri's. I can't quite explain it but to say it made me feel like I was a puzzle piece in the right place.

I've been reading over some past entries to my blog. It's so interesting to look back over where I've been, what I have thought about, talked about, what soapboxes I have decided to stand on. Blogging is an interesting form of communication. Some of you I have met for the first time and you tell me you follow my blog. Others I know on closer acquaintance and they catch me by surprise by what they know when I don't realize they keep up with this. Then there are my closer friends and family who don't read it at all. When I write my books, I have some form of protection and privacy in that most people don't know what poems are written when or what they were about for me. It's about what the poems are for you as a reader anyway. But on a blog, it's much more immediate, much more personal. But when I write to you all, I feel like I am sending out the fruit on my tree. I may not know who is eating it but I am glad you are there. I have been thinking of what I want to write next. I feel a soapbox coming on. That will be fun. I'll have to do something special for the the "365-09 #100" post in my blog a day challenge. Emily and I who have both been doing it are going to go out for coffee. (Remember Em?)

I have to get to bed now. I have a Ministry and Oversight meeting in the morning with quite a bit to discuss on my end. Plus I need to get the paperwork ready for it. Then I have a dance class and now that Stacey knows I will be able to come to and perform at the recital, she feels she has a free license to work me really hard until then. Made her day. There is a Bible verse that says, "Come to me all who are heavy laden and I will give you rest." I think I would like the mapquest directions to wherever "He" is.

P.S. I have now officially registered my blog with http://www.quakerquaker.org/

P.S.S. Someone walked over past the bookshelf where I was shelving books today just to see "who belonged to that hair!"

365-09 #92

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Thursday, April 2, 2009

Seussical Photos Website

For anyone interested in all the theatre photos I have been taking at the Pentacle Theatre including from "Seussical", you can see them all here to your heart's content. Seussical came in at the grand total of 1, 938. The most interesting ones for you are under Seussical Production Photos and Dressing Room Photos. Crazy photographer. "Death of a Salesman" photos will probably be posted on the site after our Editorial Board meeting, so late April.

365-09 #91

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Laundress Wanabe

Do you remember that thing I told you about not contacting me if you have a "Sarah, will you please?" Yeah. It didn't work. I now have two more large projects than when I started in addition to a few little ones I already did or will do. Though in the requesters' defense, I completely opened myself up for it on both of them. I am now keeping a saved document of all the projects I have on my "desk". Between books, websites, photography, quilts, and my own personal life (do I have one of those?) , it's quite the list. But you know what? If you want something done, ask a busy person to do it. I also like having projects in my hands. I love seeing something come together after hard work. And if I didn't have new ones, what would I enjoy delving into when the others are done? House sitting is finished for a while, the faith and practice is reprinted, and all web pages are nearly functional after the server they are all on crashed. So I am feeling accomplished and ready to turn my attention to other things.

A great deal of my time has lately been taken up with a large stack of submissions I received in the mail from Angelina along with all the other eight Editorial Board members. I haven't measured it yet... wait a moment... it's about 13/16ths of an inch. I know that doesn't seem like a lot, but double sided, it is a lot of reading, editing, and evaluating to do on a limited availability of time. The other morning I walked over to Sharri's and read a bunch over french toast and strawberries. There are some I really like, that speak to exactly where I'm at or say something I need to hear. These are the ones where I read them and I remember why I have chosen to take part in Quakerism. Then there are others I like, they are well-written and good stories or poems, but they have little to nothing to do with the point of the book. Then, as must be inevitable, there are those I read and go, "huh?" I'm not even half way through the stack. Katrina at least, has had similar reactions. Emma gets here in just over a week, the board meets in less than two. YIKES!!!

So I promised you a deeper post tonight. Deep post, deep post...

The truth is, my heart is hurting tonight. I got some news earlier and I feel sad for several people I love. I can't post the details on here but to say that it is life changing and not the direction I would have dreamed their lives to go. It's not the first such news either. There has seemed to be a lot of it lately, deaths, divorces, loss of jobs, sickness and things just not working out as we would like. You all certainly know my own story these last few months, it feels like one punch after another until you are brought to your knees and have no strength but to look at God with teary eyes and call out for help. Though, you don't have to call out very loud. Even a choked sob when you can't get the words out of your mouth, or even lay them out in your heart works just as well. I wish I could make this all better. I wish I could take all those lives that seem so confused right now, so blocked and cramped, and just iron those wrinkles out. I would take those lives, dunk them into spring water with mountain scent-soap, give them a good scrub, get all of the stains out that even Shout! can't get, and then pin them up on the clothes line to air-dry on a warm, sunny day. I would then wander among those lives like I did when I was a child, losing myself among the fabric hanging down front the lines, breathing it all in.

But, I can't fix them. There is no magic wand to wave, no special words to say. But I will go to my knees with you. I will cry with you, I will help you find the light in the darkness, the string of hope running though it and I will help you hold onto it. I won't try to wash all your problems away, there is a FAR better Laundress than I. But I will help where I can, I will shine all the light that is given to me, and I will help you remember who is holding onto you.

Just, please, help me remember who is holding onto me.

(I'm actually doing pretty well. I have found a new rhythm of life, living and enjoying what I do have. I am using my extra time to work on all these projects. Still, I haven't left a lot, or any, really, time for God. That needs to change.)

365-09 #90

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Wednesday, April 1, 2009

April Fools!

I just finished going through our entire house and twisting all the light bulbs out of their sockets just enough so they don't come on but still look like they could (including the microwave and Katie's clock). I got the idea from Megan at church who did it for an April Fools' Day prank a while back. (I have a lot more respect for her after that conversation.) Now I'm laying in wait for her to come home from Bible study to find all the lights not working. I have never actually done anything to her before so this will be fun. I even moved my car so she doesn't know I'm home and I can listen to her confusion from my room.

Later Post: THAT was satisfying. Katie came into my room to check my lights and I jumped out at her. She says I'm mean. I say she's jealous she didn't think of anything better. LOL LOL LOL She is going to miss me after she moves..... I told Katie to rely on the light within, (Quaker joke which she didn't think as funny as I did).

I promise you a more philosophical and deeper post tomorrow. My soul is aching to write one.

365-09 #89


Not Quakerly

I remembered today something I told Ashley I was going to blog because it was so funny. Last week when a bunch of people from our church went to the yearly gathering of Friends World Conference on Consultation in Canby, Oregon, Ashley made this comment to me about our row of people from Freedom Friends Church: "We don't look like anyone else in the room. [Pause] I think it's your hair!" And she was right. No one else had hair in the room like mine. Very few Quakers do. Though I think Jaye's bald and boldly tattooed scalp would have given me a good run for my money if she had been there.

Speaking of money, we sold over 50 copies out of the 100 we printed of our Faith and Practice that night. By the next morning, we had sold 72/100. We just had them reprint 150 more that will be picked up by Peggy tomorrow. She has promised me I don't have to go back and print more until after the Quaker Youth Book Project Editorial Board meets in mid-April. (Though I won't hold you to that Peggy, if need be.) The more people who want to read it, the better. It's a great book! A blog about all the submissions I'm reading for the youth book project will be posted in a day or two. By the way- I still need hosts for John in Seattle, April 20-23rd, and in Portland the 23rd-25th, and for Emma in Portland for April 20-25th. Thanks!

365-09 #89 (I'm almost back on track with the blog a day challenge after being in Savannah and South Carolina. Just one behind now!)

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