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This Phoenix Speaks

Seven years in the making, my first published book, This Phoenix Speaks , is now a reality. The tireless and tiring work invested to ma...

i {heart} my voice box

Sometimes I wonder what else could go wrong, but then I quickly stop myself because stuff does keep on going wrong.

I have had issues with my voice for at least a few months now. When I speak my voice sounds hoarse and there have been a few occasions when my throat gets so tight I cannot sing. I'm not a rock star or anything but I like singing. Plus, I have been struggling with how scratchy it sounds when I talk. I finally decided it was bothersome enough to see the doctor. I need my voice if I will be able to teach or sing or even do my oldest hobby to date-- talk too much.

So when I met with my ENT specialist, he ended up needing to stick a scope thing up through my nose to see down into my throat. (Not pretty, trust me.) He told me I have something something reflux which is also known as Voice Box Reflux. And of all the things to have, this is a rare thing. It's as if I need to be uber special in my health problems too. Anaphylaxis, something something reflux, and allergies to beat the band. All making me feel utterly special in messed up ways, I must add.

I am really thankful that I had the thought to get checked and that it's nothing like cancer or something even more special than that. Now I will focus on taking care of my lovely voice box.

Shirt Check

I do this crazy thing sometimes when I exercise.

I like to wear a shirt that is one size too small as a motivator. I know it's a bit strange, but for some reason it helps me. So anyways, I squeeze into it and then take a good hard look in the mirror so I can really see all the imperfections (uh, fat) which provides a mental and physical baseline. Then, I go workout. Typically, it's a really fabulous plan because I workout at home. I design my workout routines and then put them into action with my weights and other fun gadgety workout gear stuff in order to get the job done. And no one except my workout groupies ever sees me wearing clothes that are so entirely indecent for public viewing.

The shirt strategy happens about once a month since our bodies take about four weeks to cycle through an exercise routine and actually want to listen to all the hard work. But I also do it on the first day after falling off the exercise wagon. And since I have been busy with guests and visiting over the past few weeks, I needed to do a shirt check this morning.

My workout partner and I decided to do a walk/jog thing instead of hitting the weights today since it was so beautiful outside. So, I get my shirt on (and the rest of my clothes) and head outside. It was super nice to be out in the fresh air at dawn walking and talking with my friend. But then-- I notice other people across the way from my cul de sac where we were. I recognize them as some friends who live up the hill from us and they were out exercising, too. All of a sudden I feel like a freak because I remember about the shirt thing. I should NEVER have worn it out in public! The only thing I could do was keep going, but I can't even explain how grotesque I felt for those few minutes.

Moral of the story: Do not wear shirts in public that are too small--no matter the reason. There never will be one good enough to subject yourself to that sort of humiliation.

And no, I will not be providing a photograph for today's blog...

Cupcakes and Clarity

I was sitting here feeling quite (even more than quite) loserly and then I heard my doorbell ring. I literally thought to myself Who the hell could be ringing my doorbell? I'm not expecting anyone. I look like garbage. I feel like garbage. Should I just not answer it? But then I decided to stop being stupid and just went downstairs (after peeking into a mirror and deciding it was at their own risk that they rang that bell) and opened the door.

On my doorstep, I found an angel. One of my sweet, sweet neighbors was standing there with a smile on her face holding {chocolate} cupcakes and a card and a printout of an encouraging church article underneath it. I don't recall what she said to me exactly but I blurted out my response that I had just been acknowledging my loserliness and what a blessing she was to me for coming to my house that very moment. We hugged, then I actually said the word hell in front of her (I recounted my aforementioned thought process) which made me feel like a freak loser again but she just smiled and said something else amazingly kind and loving and we hugged again.  She left and I decided I needed to do something to recognize the regenerating gift of lovingkindness I keep getting bestowed upon me near daily. Therefore, I am writing about it.

What I'm thinking is this: I must be pretty special if God will keep on sending people to help buoy me up during this time of seemingly everlasting sinking.

Let's recount the past few weeks for clarity on this theory.

My best friend spent an entire week with me watching movies, eating junk food, and cussing and discussing emails/texts/man theory even though she has troubles of her own (and doesn't cuss). It's quite the liberating experience to be able to yell about stuff to someone and have them laugh at you in your face because you're being so ridiculously serious.
Then, I had an absolute windfall of reconnection with friends in a four-day period which produced enough joy to keep me high for a solid week despite my dramalicious garbage. It feels fantastic to know your friendship has been cherished by others.
Then, I had two sisters in law (yes, in laws) come spend time with me by choice. Can I tell you how amazingly loved that made me feel? Dude, in laws actually choosing to hang with an only girl of the family sister in law. That's rock star material, right?
Then, I got to spend an evening mending bridges with a cousin I haven't talked to in years, all the while watching fireworks for about 4 hours straight. Yes, be still my pyro heart.
Then, I got to spend a couple of days watching one of my brothers actually engage with my children and help encourage them to do good things. It is a beautiful thing to see a brother transform into an uncle, a real deal uncle who invests some time to the title.
Then, I was having a bad day and a dear friend called me out of the blue and he didn't even laugh at me too hard when I went on a crying jag and wasn't making much sense at all. 
Then, I had a BAD night and somehow a neighbor had saved a few fireworks and was lighting them off with her family in front of our houses. Yes, be still my pyro heart once again. (plus we girl talked it up for a bit which always helps a bad day go better.)
Then, I spent the rest of my evening laying on a blanket on a hill at the park near my house reveling in the loveliness of the constellations and texting with a friend.
Then, I awoke to a good day because I spent time with friends talking about stuff and about potential business opportunities, and I filled my spiritual bucket by heading to temple for the afternoon.
Then, another friend called me in the evening to go out to get frozen yogurt and we ended up talking for about two hours. Really, we settled all the affairs of the universe but ya know-- all in a day's work.
Then, I must mention all the encouragement I receive on a daily basis from my social media community. I am always astonished by how openly kind everyone is to me. For example, on my BAD night a rugby guy who lives in Australia sent me a beautiful purplicious poetic quote of hope and encouragement. Can we all say random? awesome? wow?
And, on top of all of these things, I have an old friend who has actively stepped into my life and become such a support, truly invaluable actually. Almost every day has had his positivity peppered throughout making this maddening period of hurt and healing near savory. My BAD night would have remained so if he had not coaxed me out of my cave. The interesting part about it is that he was away on business--out of town and busy enjoying himself on a Friday night--but he took time to text me and was even persistent when I had not responded well. Who does that?

I do not quite know what to do with all the positivity except to recognize it and be thankful. I really ought to figure out how I am so way not a loser, but those hard days haven't quite gone to the wayside just yet. I owe so much of my sane existence to the confidence and love of others given to me with pure, unfeigned generosity of heart. I feel loved by God because of all you give to me. Thank you to each and every one of you. You know who you are.

warm and melted just like my heart

questioning madness

You floated back into my life--for what?
So I could show you what strife looks like?
So I could cry and complain and make a display
of what is entirely wrong with the woman race?
So I could see how wholly wonderful you are,
how put together and decidedly amazing you are?
Just so I could recognize how utterly ridiculous I can be?
Just so I could feel—even more so than before—lonely?
So I could get so close to love that is not reality
that I torture myself quite fitfully?
Why would you be my friend?
Why now? Why ever?


I remember...

I remember family reunions at Pismo Beach
     with salt water colder than ice
     and sand--oh that sand--
     so warm being buried was a delight.

I remember being happy not so long ago, 
      but it feels like a distant memory
      and I struggle to imagine
      happiness as part of my story. 

I remember my mother how she left
      so abruptly
      how I got to say goodbye and my glad tears 
      falling softly.

I remember every time I am with a friend
      sharing memories and laughing
      inside jokes, mishaps, and road trips
      even daily life happenings. 

I remember my children, more precious than gold,
      treasures on the worst of days
      giving me love that never gets old.

Memories warm and long ago,
making me cry and laugh,
beyond the price of gold.  


Do you ever get so full of anticipation that when you finally get what you were anticipating you actually mess things up?

Well, even if you don't, I do. It is as if my nature forces me into anti-climactic situations just to keep life brutally real. I am at a loss for competent words it hurts so much. I wanted everything to be beautiful and lovely and full of peace, but no--there was crying, complaining, and, the most stabbing of all, indifference. I do not know how much longer I can keep going like this. I no longer wonder about how some people just give up and run away. My mother's heart is now also quite wounded, but not beyond healing ability. I try to focus on the fact that I have been true to them and keep on praying that time will teach us how to deal with the difficult situations more positively.

I don't think I want to lose hope although I am sorely tempted to do so today. The battle is waging onward and I am hardly able to keep up...hardly able to breathe...

a glimmering girl

I don't know about you, but I do not recall the last time (or even any other time in the history of me) that someone quoted a poem and purposefully meant to express something about me with its words. If this sort of thing occurred in my youth and I simply can't remember, I think it is probably because I was too young to appreciate it. OR it truly has never happened and I am just now entering a new realm of open and unafraid adult interactions. AND this person has a lovely way with words, even borrowed words.  I can hardly fathom the experience. I was already pondering on a great deal of things with my roller coaster of a life carrying me away on a daily basis, but now this. This is just wow. What can one do with such a romantic and seriously charming expression? I am without words at this point, so I will share the poem with you and invite you to share your thoughts on the subject.
The Song of Wandering Aengus by William Butler Yeats
I went out to the hazel wood,
Because a fire was in my head,
And cut and peeled a hazel wand,
And hooked a berry to a thread;
And when white moths were on the wing,
And moth-like stars were flickering out,
I dropped the berry in a stream
And caught a little silver trout.
When I had laid it on the floor
I went to blow the fire a-flame,
But something rustled on the floor,
And some one called me by my name:
It had become a glimmering girl
With apple blossom in her hair
Who called me by my name and ran
And faded through the brightening air.
Though I am old with wandering
Through hollow lands and hilly lands,
I will find out where she has gone,
And kiss her lips and take her hands;
And walk among long dappled grass,
And pluck till time and times are done
The silver apples of the moon,
The golden apples of the sun. 

more than you know

Searching the night sky, as your breath barely yet truly brushes my skin,
I look past the years as they fall away until we are left to ourselves
With memories old and tender and memories being created
In an instant with this flash of intense emotion
Leading me through the black of night to a place
Where light and wonder and the surreal meet
In one night—one perfect night—stars turn to glitter
Seen and unseen. Hidden and spoken sensitivity.
Time binds us to an awareness of relativity
Which could shatter hearts
Which could flatter and mend

As the dawn breaks and I'm left to myself,
a simple whisper of the evening's magic lingers
and I dare not trust how my memory holds this recollection.
My narrative could be a fraction of your experience;
Your story could be a shadow of what you illuminated.

word choice is important

Sometimes we blurt out words when experiencing intense emotion, but it isn't a very good idea because people might take you wrong...like, the completely off track sort of wrong.


from out of the mouth of: 

weird [weerd]  Show IPA
Part of Speech:
odd, bizarre
 curiousdreadful,eccentriceerie*, far-out, 

fearfulflaky*, freaky,funky*, ghastly

kinky*, kooky, mysteriousoccultoddball, ETC.

A Girl Who Writes

There once was a girl, not just any girl but a girl with energy beyond the bounds that caffeine has power to provide; a girl with the blind ability to make people laugh when she is being so serious looks could kill; a girl whose heart is so large that it longs to love unconditionally and completely deeply every single person she ever loved without restriction or inhibition; a girl whose pain has moulded her into who she has become, making it impossible for her to wish it away; a girl who grew into her womanhood while she wasn't looking and sometimes doesn't comprehend how it even occurred; a girl seeing through the dark void of yesterday with her eternal vision power to realize a peaceful future; a girl with enough spice to qualify for space in a professional chef's pantry; a girl whose hair, on a bad day, looks electrified yet somehow it matches her personality too well; a girl whose aspirations for expression reach infinitesimally out to a point that no one can fully comprehend; a girl whose hope is constant--to a heart-breaking fault; a girl who has a soul larger than her body and hence feels cramped in her own skin; a girl who wants to be loved deeply so much so that she can almost taste the man's lips upon hers and will recognize him when that moment comes; a girl whose imagination runs like wild mustangs across a wide open plain; a girl who writes really long sentences, even so long you might come away with the sense that you just read a short book.


With heavy heart and emptied words, another set of tears has fallen.
A sort of hopeful sadness, at my door, has come calling.
Trusting in lack of conviction and realizing the state of love
pushes me to heed the call of wishes left to others.
How could you believe me capable of anything less than perfect adoration
when the simple act of looking into your eyes is cause for jubilation?
Where there is no hope and care, I see futurity and us there.
When you say you have nothing, I see all I need—even everything.
A vision of eternity came into my view and I will not hide that it was with you.
A hurricane of hurt competes with all the joy I am offered.
Seizing upon visions of truth leaving them beaten, battered.
Yet—strength from within comes bubbling over
into my stalwart memory hanging on for this lover. 

TwitterVerse: Vol VI

photograph by C. N.


astonishing love . emotional heightening . friendship convergence 
no star can compete . your blinding brightness envelops . no sun shines warmer
aimless wandering . knowing I always belonged . open the door wide
in time, love has come . no impossibilities . vision us realized
drowning out his noise . salt-filled tears that do not flow . seizing true freedom

stinging needle pain . chosen too purposefully . desire healing strength 
apricots boiling . hillside blazing blackened smoke . oblivious kids

years gone by alone . yet surrounded by others . grasp my wishful thought #trilogy
lost to time and chance . why had he thought of me now . never forgotten #trilogy
arrested in thought . provoked deepest love once more . paralyzed by hope #trilogy


A poet's words may sting or heal/ dependent on how the reader feels/ slashing away our shells with zeal

sun's rays never shone / whilst you were gone away / when you came back to me / night turned to day

When I love/ I love completely/ with all that I am/ Prepare yourself to be overwhelmed/ and ready to give/ all that you have 

crazy summer day/ working in the sun/ raspberry harvest/ fragrance of love

Ever expanding is my love's capacity/It is part of unrealized eternity/Reaching toward perfect felicity

As I go throughout my day/thoughts of you draw tears away/giving strength, building faith

my love has never been so sane ~ perfected when we met again

knowing you has been/ a beautiful dream to remember/ lighting my heart on fire/ helping me to feel seen

a poem beats within my heart/ that time cannot undo/ in unspeakable language/ written just for you

 Your greasy drippings are like love ~ something to savor and dream of ~ I will light a candle for you ~ or maybe make a few #OdeToBacon


 undeniably needing your kiss this moment


I don't think he sees when I am there, maybe he never has. Maybe this love is a one way street, incomplete.

All those many years ago, I fell for you. I realize now I haven't stopped falling even still.


because you know me ~ the heart of me ~ because you care #micropoetry

only our hearts, heads, and feet/ taking turns in love without missing a beat #micropoetry

lines going everywhere ~ across the page ~ a glance ~ magnetism

of wishes ~ laden with the taste ~ of dreams

if only time should let me see ~ if ever I could join with thee

artistic creativity ~ a mirror ~ that dishevels

at oneness divine ~ written in ev'ry line

unbound dreams for completely contented love #sixwords

fairies and fate

I've been on this Peter Pan kick lately and I just can't shake it...

A couple of weeks ago, I watched Finding Neverland with Johnny Depp (for the fiftieth time--and no, I'm not exaggerating) so I decided I really ought to read the book which this beloved movie is focused on since I haven't read it yet [blushes at the thought]. I really should have by now, it being a classic and all, but it just hasn't quite happened. I commenced reading it aloud to my children even though they begged me not to and, since beginning the book, have begged me to never read it again...

So anyways. I have been working hard this week to stop feeling so obsessed with J.M. Barrie and his Peter Pan and Johnny Depp and his loveliness. (Did I just say that?) But I have realized that you can run but you cannot hide--I went to visit my little cousin today and just LOOK! at what she had on:

I wanted to start chanting I do believe in fairies! I do! I do! like some crazy, obsessed Johnny Depp Finding Neverland Peter Pan J.M. Barrie groupie...if there is such a thing.

Boy Turns Man

I sent Mr. [C] Middle Schooler off to camp this morning and I am astonished at my reaction.

The boy will be gone to camp for a week. That's not really the biggest problem. He was gone for a week up in the big woods last year. The ginormous deal about this drop off is that I dropped him off and will not be picking him up this time. Due to divorce and vacation schedules, he will go with his father for a week directly after camp is over which turns his week long camp into a two-week long catalyst for crying jags for me.

I sure kicked it off right too.

Just picture it-- there are 10-12 guys (boys and leaders) standing around in a near empty parking lot with the first light of dawn peaking out over the horizon, ready to go on an adventure in their tough looking troop shirts and cargo pants and hiking boots. Really, all the boys seemed to seamlessly fit in amongst the men even though a day before it wasn't so. As we pull into a parking spot, I look over at my son and he looks like a boy to me. He does. He looks like my little boy who needs me. But then, the transformation occurs as he steps out of the vehicle, heads over to the group, and evolves into a young version of the self-sufficient man he will become. Right there. In front of my eyes. This mother's heart could hardly contain itself, but it did it because what little man wants his mother crying like a blubbering idiot in front of all his friends and leaders? (I felt like I was experiencing that First Day of Kindergarten Moment I never had when it should have happened. I really do wish I could be more normal sometimes. This nonsense of saving things up for later is ridiculous.)

The thing that sent me over the edge: I had to get out of the car.

I had this most brilliant idea of writing him a surprise letter for his birthday which will be celebrated while at camp. The problematic part of the idea was in having to walk it over to his leader after the aforementioned unforeseen transformation. The walk in itself was fine, but then I had to communicate out loud--yet secretively--the reason for the letter and it was just too much. I barely got out of there alive. I sucked the tears from my heart up into my head and could hardly keep the flood gates up. I was fairly successful until I got back into the vehicle and had driven past eye shot of the group, but then the battle was over. Surrender to hot tears and self-pity overcame the fortress. For as long as he has been alive, we have never been apart for this length of time.  I guess it's good practice for when he is grown.

What I'd like to know is how does a mother ever get used to this feeling of disconnection? While I astonished myself by getting so emotional today, I think I will astonish myself beyond description if I ever get used to my children being away from me for extended periods of time. I believe I see what I'm setting myself up for--I will love and teach them and send them out into the world like everyone else, but will always have a hole where they took a piece of my heart with them for their journey.

Needless to say, I don't know if I will ever survive these summer camps. 


Two beautiful things occurred in the midst of this moment.

First, I was shown great compassion by his leader as we spoke about the letter and pick up arrangements. The man isn't even a parent yet and cannot fully appreciate a mother perspective either, but I could feel his knowingness. This stands as a great consolation to me.

Second, as I was walking to the car to leave, Mr. [C] Middle Schooler somehow was not amongst his friends but was standing between me and the car. And he actually gave me a hug goodbye without being asked.

Found Words

I say things, at times, when I should not say them.
Words come out all tangled—quite the little gems.
Conversations gone so very wrong and wild.
Roughly lovely intrigue upon which was smiled.
Confusing contradictions have this way of attracting
A flurry of fierce interjections that are perplexing.

How does one comprehend incomprehensible
imaginations of an impossible love?
Gifted kindness casts out every thought of judgment,
creating piqued infatuation that's enough.
Enough to drive all lovers clear out of their heads.
Enough to force any cougar out of the den.

Thinking along lines of lunacy,
sweet threats in friendship found
a way into those words you see.

There is neither rhyme nor a reason
when I pause to think on all of it,
lost in deficits of cohesion.


Sometimes we just have to celebrate the little things in life and today is a great day for doing it. I went on a road trip awhile back and made a pit stop in this small town called Logandale which has a gas station called Wally's. This place reminds me of some of the best of times and some of my favorite people.

Wally's is an oasis in the middle of pretty much nowhere. As a young adult, I remember being so grateful that it was there. It felt like my only lifeline to civilization amidst tractor crossings, open desert, and a severe lack of traffic lights and good shopping. Coming down the road, I knew I had nearly reached my destination once I saw Wally's which got me excited after a long drive, and I knew I was embarking on the most tiresome trip home once I had passed the place (not to mention I usually cried half the way home, too). In essence, Wally's was the giver of joy and sadness--if a gas station can do so much. Some members of that family still live in Logandale, so Wally's is a definite on my places to go list. 

To commemorate my love of freedom, especially the freedom to take roadies wherever I might go, I present Crush at Wally's.

 For more information on the PTGS:

The Fire Hydrant

In the midst of endless blistering hot summer days, the fire hydrant is the keeper of the key to an entirely magical and wonderfully fantastical world where once irritatingly bothersome and bored little children morph into dazzlingly delightsome and animated munchkins whose laughs are just the right volume, wet clothes somehow are the best sort to have on (even though in the normal world one spot of wet would demand a complete change of outfit), and no sibling could ever be imagined to be inclined to bite, hit, call a foul name or kick another, which of course inclines every mother who ever lived for even one beautiful moment of  time in the land of The Fire Hydrant to yearn for and always have a treasured place in her heart for when they all dwelt together in peace, love, and harmony while the roar of the blasting water drowned out the momentarily eternal giggles of running, splashing, lovely, happy darlings who are now firmly planted in the land of dry, hot, miserable, you're a stupid head meanie and I hate you until the day arrives when the water authority needs to run another water test.

vision blurred

Today I looked for you in every song I heard,
the breeze softly brushing across my face,
along with every message I received.

Though you were not there, a sweet vision occurred
and wishes on stars should have sealed our fate.
Alas, I was left longing for a word from you, more. 

You were caught up in staring at a closed door,
Yes, a closed and locked up tight door
to which you could not truly want the key.

Floating past the last opportunity to finally have the best of me,
the song within our melody takes me to a place of mixed up tears—
glad, grateful, grieving—all intertwined.

Take my hand in yours. See me standing across your line.

Reach the stars together is the last I'll ask from you
because in all of life's landscapes, you are part of my view. 

Seeking to Become - July 2012

All the while my breath is in me, and the spirit of God is in my nostrils; My lips shall not speak wickedness, nor my tongue utter deceit. God forbid that I should justify you: till I die I will not remove mine integrity from me. 

Job 27:3-5

Lately, I have been thinking a great deal on integrity and what this looks like as a daily practice. When we care for others enough that we will be honest with them especially when the cost to ourselves is great, that is integrity.  When we keep negative news about others to ourselves even when everyone else might be gossiping, that is integrity. When we work to eradicate bad habits that are even fractionally dishonest, we are building our integrity. When we give credit where credit is due in collaboration, we build our integrity.

These are only a few examples of integrity to get us started. This month's challenge is to look to Job's example in order to seek where we can fortify our integrity and celebrate the integrity we already have cultivated within ourselves.

As the month goes on, I hope you might add to the list of examples either in the comments section here, send me a tweet if you can't comment on the blog, comment on The Purple Lady Facebook Page, or simply write it down somewhere you can see it. My hope is that we can help each other recognize where we can improve by sharing our different perspectives on real life situations.