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I've moved. In all sorts of ways. As for the blog, I'm now at Wordpress. Please follow me over there:
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Peace to you and yours,

{Echo} 9 - Illuminate

"The sun illuminates only the eye of man,

but shines into the eye and the heart of a child"
~Ralph Waldo Emerson~

(Illuminate Composition: Boy with sparkler © Brenda Lynn / Fireworks © Alyice Edrich)

 My "baby" is turning 21 this Sunday. That fact nearly leaves me speechless. (Not nearly as speechless, however, as the first gray hair plucked from my head yesterday during my trim. Ah, but that's another post for another time.) In the meantime, the {Echo} prompt this go-round is "Illuminate". These two seemingly unconnected matters actually had me pondering how my "baby" has become a man right before my eyes, though somehow I feel I've missed the show. What I do know is that though I was to be teaching him in the ways of life and the world, he has instead been the purest light in my life and illuminated not only my world, but me.

Thank you, Son, for reminding me daily to look past what my eyes can see.

I'd also like to thank Alyice Edrich, my {Echo} partner, for encouraging me to plant the good seeds and never fearing to tell me when it's time to weed. A hearty thank you also to Susan Tuttle and Chrysti Hydeck, the creators of the {Echo} Project. Chrysti does a great job keeping this boat floating when I know she can't find her own oars some days. Full sails ahead!

Please take a moment to visit my partner Alyice Edrich's version of Illuminate and our other diptych here. You might also enjoy a visit to the {Echo} Project and see the work of the other participants.

Peace to you and yours,

{Echo} 8 - "Juicy"

I've often wondered, "If winter is so white, then why do I feel so blue?"

Granted, living with BiPolar Disorder means living with a susceptibility to long periods of depression, especially during the winter months. However, a large portion of the population as a whole suffers with SAD, or Seasonal Affective Disorder, which is brought on during long periods of diminished sunlight. Of course one can take medication to ward off the symptoms of depression, but then there is a pill for everything these days. Yes, you sense a bit of sarcasm there. I'm not saying medication is not warranted. I take medication. But I am also a firm believer in taking a mind set that encourages its own well being and recovery. With that in mind, I've compiled a short "David Letterman-esque" list of ways to get through a Blue-Day white day:

Listen to a "Sun-Shiny" tune:

Grow and save summer in a jar:


 or a tall frosty glass.
Savor the reminder of melodious crickets and cicadas
(and blades of grass under bare feet).

Left © Alyice Edrich / Right © Brenda Lynn

Pull out your paints, your paper, pencils, markers, etc. Heck, pull it all out. Scatter it about you. Immerse yourself in all their succulent, juicy colors and spread sunshine on your palette.
Build an eternal summer on your canvas.

Take long walks on sunny days, even when you feel buried alive:

Always, always search out the beauty in the bleak:


And often there's humor in the bleak as well:

Lastly, try to keep in mind:

"In the depths of winter I finally learned that there was in me
an invincible summer." ~Albert Camus

In other words, it's up to you. Yes, some folks undeniably need the additional help of medications to help stabilize their moods. I am one of them. Regardless, how we set our minds and how we spend our time has a dramatic impact on the severity and duration of our Blue-Day moods.

This little list is not meant as a "fix-all", nor is it exhaustive. It is simply what helps me get through our long mid-western winters. Simple healthy habits like regular sleep and diet are also very important. My point here is simply to encourage you to see the glass half-full, no matter your circumstance. Find the beauty in the bleak. Play a sun-shiny tune. Paint that eternal summer across the canvas of your soul.

Please visit my partner Alyice Edrich's Juicy post here. For more on the Echo Project, please click through with the icon on the top right sidebar.

Peace to you and yours,

Snowy Sunday #5

The fifth snowy Sunday in a row made me sort of grumpy

and lazy. Even the birds were braver than I. Well, I suppose

they don't really have a choice in the matter, and even they

were sort of grumpy, too. But then

they get over it pretty quickly. Which, all in all, helped

me forget my grumpies too.

Peace to you and yours,

{Echo} 7 - Whisper

I've been unable to take part in the {Echo} project lately. Another blood clot in my leg forced me down, and the resulting depression forced me out. Lying there for weeks on end my body unable to move, my mind gladly took over. It hopped, skipped and jumped. It whirled and twirled and tore across fields and sprang somersaults across my peace. It gladly had the fun my body could not... but really, that sort of mind energy is not so fun. It's nearly maddening, to be quite honest. How fitting the 7th {Echo} prompt: Whisper. Oh, for the softening solace of a hushed whisper, something like a summer rain or a baptismal, cleansing and calming my racing mind.

Staring at the ceiling counting cornered cobwebs for the umpteenth time, I pondered the Whispers so soothing to my soul: rustling stalks of corn reaching the deep blue of late fall skies, lakeside water lapping rocky shores, hummingbirds searching out sweet nectar, loving professions tickling the hairs of your ear, girlfriends sharing all too well-known secrets. But a certain image, a specific time kept creeping in, coming back and playing across my mind like a somersault. A whisper shared only between a certain two, and only once in a lifetime... the soothing whisper of a new mother's love:

"It was not into my ear you whispered, but into my heart." ~Judy Garland

And in that moment, that very moment, I found that softening solace. A quiet stillness that brought me back to me, and hushed my busy mind. A whisper.

Peace to you and yours,

A Wordless Wednesday

Surprisingly Resilient

When I entered my blog, it surprised me to see just how much time has passed since my last post, and that brought a bit of a cringe upon me, quickly followed by a smile. You see, I've been pondering the idea of surprises lately as that is the topic of the latest Echo challenge. I assume like most folks my first thoughts went to cheers upon entering dimly lit rooms full of family and friends, bright boxes with fanciful bows, the love of your life holding out to you a simple gold band, and even the "+" sign on a pregnancy test . . . all those surprises life hands you as you're strolling along not always paying the attention you should to your own life. I thought to myself, yes, surprises, even good surprises (depending on your position in the matters), but for some reason these things just didn't settle as fine with me.

So, I percolated a while. I do that. I percolate. Sometimes I compost, but that only happens on the really big endeavors. On the smaller notions, I simmer and percolate, and this I did. I started thinking about more intense and unhappy surprises like your best friend moving hundreds of miles away, the engine failing on your only vehicle and you're on thin ice at work anyway, that lump in your breast the doctor says needs "a closer look".

These things certainly didn't settle as fine with me either. I just wasn't satisfied with any of the notions that were coming to mind so, being an exceptionally warm day for late November, I gathered my camera and my dog Delilah and we went walking . . . and percolating.

Now travelling along a country mile always holds a surprise or two no matter the season. This day was no different. First was the orangey-red fungi of which I have no knowledge growing along a downed log. Then there were the lime green hedge balls lying in neat piles under the hedge trees, along with the lone one wedged in a fork of a branch overhead. (As if some late-night fairies had held a rugby match.) Such color for a dead and barren winter pasture! Delilah found her own surprise while attempting to walk into her favorite pond, only to have her feet shielded by a thin layer of ice that had accumulated the night before. To this she growled and scratched until the ice gave way. (Another surprise!) Her antics brought a chuckle, but it was those bright reds and greens springing from the dry browns around me that brought some sort of inkling to my mind, but I just couldn't grasp it and name it . . . not yet.

Delilah and I made our way to the southern most corner of the pasture, turned, then headed back north along the fence row separating the plots of ground. (Funny, we followed the cattle path just like any other herding animal, but that's another story, another post.) Within just a few paces I noticed a tree leaning out from the fence line. At first glance it appeared as any other tree along that country mile. But, for some reason I was drawn to look twice and noticed a scarred notch bulging from its side. It was then I noticed the culprit, the agressor to the scarring which still had it's claws dug in:

And just like any good surprise, there was mine boldly staring right at me. That inkling finally percolated itself to a full simmer and boiled right on over.

"One of the greatest discoveries a man makes, one of his greatest surprises, is to find he can do what he was afraid he couldn't do."
~Henry Ford

That tree was exactly the visual metaphor for the notion that had been in my mind that I couldn't quite capture. (Surprises are grand in the way they just sneak right up on you!) For myself, it wasn't so much the gifts and joys, nor the trials and tribulations that are my life's greatest surprises, but how those things and events shaped me, sturdied me, strengthened me. Like that tree, I've seen great springs and times of growth, and like most of you, great sadness and times of pain and scarring. I've sat alone and wondered how in the world would I ever survive. But, I did. I do. I continue to thrive amid my scars. I'm marked, and in my mind, my soul, more alive for it. For me, that is the greatest surprise I've ever discovered.

(The silly part is, and I'll bravely share this here: I could have kissed that tree, and I did!)

Just a day or so after my "surprise" discovery, my new Echo partner Alyice Erdich sent me her Echo post and asked what I had in mind for mine. At first I thought, gosh, she'll think I'm nuts. But, as I've said from the start of my writings here, I'm braving a new path. I shared my idea and she said, "Oh, I have just the photo to pair with yours!" And she did. Long before my own personal "healing tree", Alyice had found her own:

"There is new life blooming from the dead base. It reminds me of how no matter what life throws our way, and no matter how much we feel broken, there is new life and new strength waiting for us--just around the corner."

Left photo © Alyice Edrich / Right photo © Brenda Lynn

And in that I had another surprise yet: my new partner just happened to see things just as quirky . . . or as normally . . . as I did. And that just makes me smile.

Please visit my partner Alyice Erdich's website for more of her Echo entries.

For more information on the Echo Project, please click on the icon at the top of the right sidebar.

Peace to you and yours,

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