a quote from my favorite author

“The most solid advice, though, for a writer is this, I think: Try to learn to breathe deeply, really to taste food when you eat, and when you sleep, really to sleep. Try as much as possible to be wholly alive, with all your might, and when you laugh, laugh like hell, and when you get angry, get good and angry. Try to be alive. You will be dead soon enough.”

-William Saroyan, The Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeze

Sunday, June 29, 2014

in which I CELEBRATE every day

celebrate with Ruth Ayres and friends on Saturdays (or Sundays)
Sunday | I got to spend a day at the lake with my husband, my dad, his partner Jane, and her mom Dulce.

Monday | I had the surreal experience of participating in a Choice Literacy writing retreat.  I was completely out of my comfort zone and felt like I was growing for the first time in years.

me, tucked away to get some writing done
Tuesday | Mark discovered a restaurant near the lake that we hadn’t tried.  We were able to convince Jane and Dulce to go out with us and indulge for a night of fun and great food.

Jane and Dulce
Wednesday | Mark and I agreed to stay at the lake and watch over the house, the dog, and Dulce while Jane visited her friends in the city.  I was a bit nervous about the responsibility, but I was confident Jane’s mom would not give us a hard time the way she does Jane.  I was wrong.  This is a day for gritty celebration.  Although Dulce was more than a handful because of her attitude and condition, I was able to spend some moments enjoying stories from her childhood in Cuba. 

Donii, Jane and Dad's adorable dog
Thursday | The trying experience of caring for Dulce allowed me to share some insight with Jane and my dad.  This is sparking improved conversations about the care she needs, and will ultimately lead to a better situation for all of them.

Friday | My friend Kate’s mom passed away.  She was suffering from COPD and her health suddenly declined.  My heart aches for Kate, who lost her dad within the last year as well.  This weekend I will join Kate in celebrating the life of her mom—a life for which I am deeply grateful.  Kate’s mom has made her who she is and made it possible for Kate to be such a positive force in my life.  Kate’s experience is also a reminder to celebrate the health and lives of all those I love.

Kate with our friend Kathie
Saturday | This morning I got to take my niece to see The Fault in Our Stars movie.  Usually, our nieces and their friends come to the lake with us each summer.  This summer, because of Dulce’s condition, it is not going to be possible.  Because I won’t be giving them swag bags containing books (and other goodies) to pass time at the lake, Kadie recently requested some summer reading suggestions.  As soon as she finished reading The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, Kadie texted me.  We made plans to see the movie together when I got back from the lake if she hadn’t already gone with friends.  I was thrilled when she texted me to say she wanted me to take her.  Even better than the shared experience of the movie, was the conversation in the car. 


  1. I read TFIOS in one day and loved it. I'm looking forward to seeing the movie with my daughter. How lucky for you to attend the Choice Literacy retreat! I've read some amazing things about it. Thank you for sharing your celebrations this week, gritty and all.

    Sweet Writing Life
    Mrs. Laffin's Laughings

  2. What a roller coaster week you have had with highs and lows. There has been so much LIFE in these seven days. The scholarly look on your face at the Choice Literacy retreat shows the intensity of meeting a new challenge. I hope you share this with Kate, "Kate's mom made her who she is and made it possible for Kate to be such a positive force in my life ". My Mom was killed in a plane crash when I was in my early 20's(long ago) and losing her always stays hard. But knowing that she lives on in me has brought some comfort and maybe it will be that way for Kate, too.

  3. My heart aches for your friend Kate's loss. I'm so glad she has friends like you to walk beside her during this difficult time. This was quite a week. So glad you were able to include the gritty celebrations along with the Choice Literacy Writing Retreat! and seeing TFIOS with your niece! I haven't seen it yet, but it's on my summer list.

  4. So much to celebrate! Even though some of the celebrations have grit, it is important to recognize those moments of celebration. I'm so sorry for your friend's loss. You will be a comfort to her. Can't wait to read your pieces in The Big Fresh!

  5. I cannot imagine what it would be like to care for an aging parent. When you told me about your "adventure" with Jane's mother, two thoughts simultaneously came to mind:

    1: "I am soooo glad I will never have to see them decline and take care of them as if they were incompetent children."

    2: "I wish they could see how their little girl turned out."

    We will support our friend, and one another. That's what friends do. We celebrate, too; I am so thrilled for your experience at All Write and Choice Literacy. I checked out Choice Literacy and immediately signed up for The Big Fresh. Like Elise, I can't wait to see "Christy Wisdom" in PRINT!!!

    Here's to an awesome summer and what WE WILL MAKE an awesome school year.

  6. Nothing smooth and small in your week. Each celebration leads to big life questions and makes think about the time everyone has and how to make the most out of it. Choice Literacy retreat seems like a perfect place to dream and dare. What are you writing? What art are you making? Can't wait to read and see. Any plans of traveling to Estonia? I'd like to walk and talk with you.