742. What's next for this blog plus a look at what's gone before

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Last weekend, as an historic April blizzard dropped 18 inches of snow here in Minneapolis, I spent many hours on my laptop moving my blog from the site where it's been for 14 years over to the blog's page on my newer website, The Livelihood Project. (Here's the link for the blog over there.) I haven't closed the old website yet but likely will before year's end, redirecting the URL. As I moved content, I had the chance to revisit some posts I hadn't read in many years. While I didn't transfer over every single post– some of them just need to fade away–I was pleased that many stood the test of time.

Please bookmark the new site and plan on visiting it. If you are a subscriber, you'll soon get posts mailed out from the new site, through Mailchimp, but I still need to do a bit more work to transfer the mailing list. If you don't already subscribe but would like to, click this link. It will also give you option of subscribing to my Dear Reader newsletter as well.

Given that I just took a fresh look at my 740+ posts, I thought it would be fun to choose a post from each year beginning in 2004, a time when blogs were still a new thing. These posts really aren't "the best" but somehow caught my attention now. The links go to the posts on the new site. If you're curious, enjoy!

2004: Day one (the first post)

2005: Comic books as a work of providence

2006: The eye that blinks

2007: When the lights go down

2008: Pick a day, any day

2009: Grace on the floor and in the theater

2010: Mystery at the table

2011: Report from a funeral

2012: The art of work

2013: New Year's intentions

2014: A rule and writing

2015: The person(s) behind a book blurb

2016: To be a person on whom nothing is lost

2017: The free and the brave and the kind

2018: An ordinary day on repeat


[Photo: taken of the undulating bench designed by Gaudi at the Park Güell in Barcelona. It was the first photo header I had for this blog.]

741. The joy of making lists

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Marilyn McEntyre has a new book out about the joy of making lists, Make A List: How a Simple Practice Can Change Our Lives and Open Our Hearts. You may have read an earlier book by McEntyre, including the wonderful Caring for Words in a Culture of Lies. I’ve been reading her new book, after seeing an ad for it (some books do still get advertisements!) and ordering it. The topic grabbed me from the start. I’ve made plenty of to-do lists and to-buy lists and to-write lists but have seldom made a list that could possibly achieve a higher purpose, such as spiritual practice, as suggested by McEntyre.

There was a list I made in high school as part of an assignment in chemistry class to make 100 observations about a lit candle. There was a list I made as a young woman of things about which I needed to keep reminding myself. There have been lists for prayer. But overall, I have very few lists of substance to show for my life to date.

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McEntyre suggests that we should make lists freely and joyfully, even playfully; that we should add to them with anticipation and excitement about what may be discovered as the list evolves. According to McEntyre, indeed something worthwhile is usually is discovered. She writes,

“In the process of making a list, I generally find that I can, as a therapist used to advise, ‘go to the place in me that knows.’ Line by line, I can take myself there. It’s a place of deep, lively, somewhat amusing, sometimes daunting encounter with the self and, often, encounter with the indwelling Spirit who is more present, available, reliable, and forgiving than we may think.

When you make a list, if you stay with it and take it slowly, take it seriously but playfully, give yourself plenty of permission to put down whatever comes up, you begin to clarify your values, your concerns, the direction your life is taking, your relationship to your inner voice, your humor, your secrets. You discover the larger things that lists can reveal.”

The book is loaded with ideas for things to think about via lists: things to let go of, how to enjoy what I have, what gives me joy, what comfort might look like, and so much more. I’ve got some new lists underway


[Photo taken of a beautiful scene in Gulfport, Florida.]

740. An ordinary day on repeat

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Over the last couple weeks I read The Turquoise Ledge by poet and Laguna Pueblo writer Leslie Marmon Silko. I may not have finished it had it not been a book group reading. The reason I nearly stopped reading several times in the first 100 or so pages is that while the book is about Silko’s life outside of Tucson, Arizona, it is primarily about her morning walks, during which she often finds pieces of turquoise, and the care of her home and yard, replete with rattlesnakes (so many!) and sometimes scorpions. The book goes on repeat of these daily activities and discoveries. Over and over again. Here’s another piece of turquoise. There’s another rattlesnake. But a curious thing happened at about page 125; I got in the rhythm of her walks and her watering of her plants and her care of her pet parrots and her noticing of rattlers, and my interest in her routine and her observations piqued.

The book reminded me that this is what we do in life: one’s daily stuff, but please oh please do it with eyes open and ready to see the extraordinariness of what is around us. Numerous times Silko describes a walk in which then and there, right in front of her in the center of the path, is a piece of turquoise that wasn’t there when she walked the same path yesterday. Or was it? Had it just unearthed itself or had she missed it the day before?

I wanted to post about this book as an encouragement in getting up each morning and doing whatever it is you do over again tomorrow while keeping your eyes open for what you might see or discover that takes on new shape or meaning when you see it, really see it, for the third or fourth or 340th time. Maybe that’s one of the things I was trying to do in Finding Livelihood, challenging myself and you, dear reader, to see again and again, yet anew, what there is to discover in whatever place each of us calls work.

The book made me think about how it takes attending to something over and over again, closely and with reverence, before hidden beauty emerges, understanding emerges, and appreciation for small things becomes large.


[Picture: taken during our recent Florida trip of a grand dolphin artfully carved in the sand by an unidentified beach artist; in the top left corner is a pelican.]