REGISTRATION CLOSES September 1, 2016

Writing Your Spiritual Journey, Wildacres Retreat Center September 29 - October 2, 2016

If you are curious about your spiritual path, join us to explore the holiness of the ordinary in our lives. Perhaps you seek continuity between your inner world and the outer world, between your past self and who you are now, or between what you claim to believe and how you live. Perhaps you sense a power beyond you that gives greater meaning to your life. Perhaps your life is shifting in focus and intention. It is with curiosity and an eye to the sacred that we write and share our stories from Thursday night through Sunday morning at beautiful and welcoming Wildacres Retreat Center in Little Switzerland, NC [www.wildacres.org].
Contact Kathleen at leaders@mindspring.com for more information.
Register now and bring a friend!
Registration information is at bottom of the page.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Summer!

The hostas send up sturdy stalks to hold budding lavender flowers. Our two little goldfish nibble on water hyacinth roots and dive across the pump's bubbling water in the pond beside my studio. The dogwood branches are heavy with leaves, the wisteria's wandering vines stretch to capture the cherry tree branches.  Our resident turtle strolls across the damp grass from the shade of one bush to another.  It's summer! School's out, the pool is open and life is feeling pretty wonderful. 

I am finally able to think about June, July and August and have posted new information for the Wildacres' Writing Your Spiritual Journey. This year for the first time I have a reduced rate for those who have attended a WYSJ experience in the past.  I hope to see you in August at Wildacres! Bring a friend!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Morning Miracle



I wake to a dark sky without hint of the sunrise to come. The air is cool but humid, no movement just the promise of another beautiful beach day.  For two days and nights my sister and I have delighted in our little condo on the beach, a gift from my brother’s work partner.  In decades of Florida family visits, I have never stayed on the beach; in fact, on some visits I have seen the water and beach only from the air or a quick drive-by.  So this time has been surprisingly special.

Longboat Key is a narrow island between two others near Sarasota on the West Coast of Florida. Yesterday I found out that it is a turtle nesting spot, hence our condo’s name, Turtle Crawl.  My heart lifted when I saw two yellow stakes stuck in the sand on the beach in front of our rooms. Maybe this would fulfill a long time dream of witnessing tiny turtles hatching.   But both stakes have a date and an H written on them, signifying, I think, that the hatches happened on 9/10 and 9/14, just a couple of days before our arrival. 

I pull on yesterday’s clothes, fix a mug of green tea and walk to the balcony offering a silent prayer of thanks for a wonderful family visit and a quiet request for a turtle sighting.  My sister is already at work on her computer at the kitchen table. I sit to talk with her, but she is too focused on the landscaping plans for the day ahead and a problem with a difficult client. My gaze turns to the lightening sky over the beach.  Two men kneel at the 9/14 stake. I jump up, run out the door, down two flights of stairs, along the bricked path between two buildings, past the open lawn, into the sand and see one man walking to the water, his hand held up in front of him.  A turtle? I call out, “Wait. Please. Wait!” He does, it is. As my feet step into the water’s edge, he holds out his hand to show me the little turtle. I gasp, smile. “Thank you SO much!”I always wanted to see this,” I say. The turtle’s tiny feet/flippers move even before he touches the wet sand. He crawls so fast, as though he knows what lies ahead and cannot wait to be in the enormous expanse of water. A wave meets him and together they are pulled into the sea.

Gratitude explodes in my chest. My feet barely touch the ground. The volunteer and I turn to join the biologist back at the yellow stake who carefully pulls wet packed sand out of a hole with his gloved fingers. In a small black bucket are two more turtles! The two men speak something I cannot hear over the surf, and the biologist steps away to call someone. I ask the volunteer who kneels over the hole, “Can you explain to me what is happening here?”  He looks at me and shakes his head, “ This is very unusual, very surprising. We don’t expect to find this.” “’What do you mean?” I urge. “We came to excavate the eggs from the hatch three days ago. We always wait three days and then come back to check the nest.  We rarely find live turtles.  We know 25 turtles hatched here on the 14th. We did not expect any today.”  “ Do you think there are even more?” I ask.  “Probably,” he says.  We look down and watch the sand moving. “Look!” I cry, “Is that a flipper or a head?”

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

New Life



Perhaps you know that I did not drive for a year and gave up walking for exercise for even longer. I call that time alone in my chair waiting for healing my sitting time. I did not know if I would be able to be out and about on my own again, ever.  Good news! In the last two weeks, I drove nearly 1400 miles between Charlotte, Durham and Wildacres Retreat Center. By myself with no other driver!  This was a huge accomplishment that calls for celebration. . . except there is more! Two weeks ago our family added another precious child, a girl who has already touched my heart and spirit. Her twin siblings and parents are thrilled to welcome her into their family.  As Bah, her grandmother, I marvel at her very presence and her incredible power and strength. Watching her grow delights me already.



Her great-grandfather spent his last days with us last fall and died in mid October. He knew she was coming and took comfort in the knowledge that the legacy of love he and his wife created will continue and expand.  His time with us was beautiful, sweet and too short for us but just right for him. Hospice guided our last days together. My office flooded on Thanksgiving, Christmas is a blur, our father’s home sold in 8 days in January, February we cleaned out the house and sent the family treasures to six homes in four towns in two states. In March we watched movers bring furniture and household goods into our home and spent hours integrating the family pieces with our own. Our granddaughter arrived in late April.  So here I am in May, office now a studio, new china cabinets to hold beloved antique dishes, driving on my own, dreaming about a baby’s future and celebrating new life in every way.


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

White World Revisited

September 3, 2012

On  Day Three of thick mountain fog and rain, Cheyenne and I can see only about thirty feet down the driveway. For three days the mountains and valleys, the sun and clouds, the apple trees and the granite rocks down the slope remain blanketed in white. Raindrops splat loudly on the skylight, so I turn up the volume on my computer as I listen to the CD version of The Healing by Jonathan Odell. I read the novel a few weeks back and loved it, even wrote to the author to compliment him on his creation. A friend recommended the audio book version, so I listen to GranGran's stories here in my cozy mountain home surrounded by blank white walls of fog. The novel is even better the second time around!

What strikes me today is how happy I am to be here secluded and alone. You may have read an archive post when I was stuck in the fog and how hard it was for me. This time everything is different. A candle burns on the island as I pray for a friend who tragically lost her adult daughter this weekend. A small plastic car garage, two green and blue balls, The Runaway Bunny and new artwork on the refrigerator remind me of the twins' visit overnight while their parents camped. I hear their laughter and see them run through the room on a mission of making a baby bed or looking at the mountains through a magnifying glass.

The dinner table is covered in weavings, the coffee table hosts fingerless gloves and yarn for premie hats. Beside my favorite chairs, two prayer shawls wait in their respective bags for me to add inches.
Three large baskets of yarn can't contain the skeins and skeins I have available for weavings. Greens and purples spill onto the carpet. I leave them because I am alone. I finished a large piece for a friend yesterday, so today I will begin a new weaving that is already calling to me and continue my work on a larger hanging for over our fireplace.

I am grateful for this time of solitude and creating. I feel like the luckiest person alive to be right where I want to be doing exactly what I want to do all day long.  At night I watch the DNC with all the energy and anticipation packed into Charlotte and am grateful to be here, able to watch from afar yet thankful for the work of so many people who are dedicated to improving our country.

It seems the fog has become my friend, a companion in creativity, a condition that allows me focus and enjoy stillness as I weave and knit my love and prayers into colorful cloth of one kind or another.

A Beginning

While this is a date forever tinged with deep sadness and loss, for me it is also the anniversary of a new beginning. It is the day when, on a Wildacres Residency, I first claimed the writer and poet in me. So on this morning I am grateful to Philip Blumenthal, the Blumenthal Foundation,  and Mike and Kathryn House for the opportunity to find refuge in the Cabin where poems first emerged and where my creative life awakened. For eleven years, Wildacres has nurtured and birthed various creative experiences and gifts in me: writing, painting, pot-throwing, knitting and weaving. I have made great friends and spent quality time with my sisters. I have attended and facilitated workshops. I arrived on the mountain thinking maybe I could write. I left knowing I could. I did not dream of how significant Wildacres would be to me in the years to come. May Wildacres long continue to offer space and support and new beginnings in the years ahead.