Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Avoiding the Speed Bumps and Good Key Karma

My friend and blogging mentor {and a frequent "you won't believe how amazing she is!" topic on this blog and my other blog}, Ann Deakers, gave me some advice this morning that I found quite good:  "You can avoid the speed bumps ..."

Let me tell you the context:  we were leaving our morning workout at the YMCA and as we got into our cars, Ann said "you know, if you go out the north exit of the parking lot, you can avoid the speed bumps."

It was that simple.

But as I got in the car, I was struck with the wisdom of her simple advice. 

"you can avoid the speed bumps."

Wouldn't we all like to avoid the speed bumps?  Literally and figuratively?  Life is beautiful, yes, but it can be a challenge, we can endure plenty of pain and suffering, there will always be hiccups along the way.  SPEED BUMPS, if you will.

I know that I am not the first person {and I'd venture to say, I won't be the last} to compare actual speed bumps with figurative / life-occurences-related speed bumps.  But I just had to share that with you all today.

Listen to your friends.  ALWAYS listen to your friends.  For the most part, our friendships survive and thrive precisely because ... they help us work through or avoid ... life's speed bumps.

There.  I've got that out of my system for today! 

Oh, and speaking of cars and bumps ... I want to say that I had the most excellent key karma lately ... not just once, but twice.  In one month.  Here's how that went for me: 

The first incident was that I parked outside a Michael's (arts and crafts supplies) a few weeks ago, on a drizzly morning, and as I got out of the car, I noticed I had parked next to a storm drain.  You know the kind with the stencilled dolphin that says "I live downstream" ???  As I shut the car door, my keys fell to the ground.  One single inch away from that drain.  On a slanted surface.  I bent down very carefully, very slowly ... and got the keys.  What a relief!

The second incident was even more unbelievable.  Last week, my daughter came over to run an errand with me.  We parked both our cars (at home, in the driveway) at the same time and ran into the house to do a couple of things (like, say, going to the bathroom!).   When we went back outside, I couldn't find my car keys, and I was driving.  I quick grabbed the spare keys and off we went.  40 miles and 40 minutes later, we pulled back into my driveway.  She got out, went inside ... as I got out of the car, something caught my eye.  Yes, I had driven all that way, for all that time, up hill and down dale ... with those keys ON THE TOP OF MY VOLVO.  Thank God, there is a slender channel that runs the length of the top of the car.  One key had wedged itself into that; otherwise, they would have been oh-so-long-gone.   If you don't believe me, I think I took a picture of it.   

so looking at it again, I see that it wasn't really a key that held them all in place ...
rather, it was the little bone-shaped Harrod's "charm" on the keychain, a memento from our 2008 trip to London ... that saved my bacon !!!

And that's all I have to say today about SPEED BUMPS and GREAT KEY KARMA ...

--- Davi

Worthiness: Part Deux

I shouldn't have been surprised when I happened into another serendipitous moment last week ... they just keep coming.

My delightful mother-in-law Marion called to invite me to a women's spiritual retreat April 30 - May 2 here in the hills of East San Diego county, at Whispering Winds { } ... the same retreat that Mark and I will attend {separately} in October when we make our Cursillo  { } retreat/s.

 {photo of Sycamore tree, Leo Carrillo State Park, CA - by me - December 2009}

I was really interested when she told me who the Retreat speaker / leader will be:  Sister Macrina Weiderkehr, O.S.B. who I read quite often in our daily "Living Faith" book ... { } which is a "daily Catholic devotional".   And get this:  Sr. Macrina has a BLOG.  How could I not want to attend a Retreat with a Sister who blogs?  Really !!!   { }

You may have read my last blog post, HUSTLING FOR WORTHINESS.  I hope you did, anyway.

So Marion invites me to this Retreat, I tell her I'd love to attend, and then I run upstairs to look at some of Sister's writings ... lo and behold, Sister Macrina's meditation for Sunday, March 14 ... A PARTY FOR THE UNWORTHY ... jumped out at me.   Worthiness?  Unworthy people?    Now that is just plain more than mere coincidence, don't you agree?

I'd like to "lift" that reading in its entirety here for you all to consider:

taken from LIVING FAITH, 2010:

A PARTY FOR THE UNWORTHY / March 14 / Fourth Sunday of Lent
" But now we must celebrate and rejoice ..."   Luke 15:32

Embarassing as it is to acknowledge this, I often feel like the Prodigal Son's older brother.  I completely understand his sentiments.  He was not able to rejoice over another's good fortune because he was focusing on whether the recipient of his father's love was truly deserving.  He was also wallowing in  his own imagined neglect:  I've been faithful all these years, and no one even noticed.  Poor me!   This gospel offers marvelous material for prayer and reflection for each of us.  Are we able to rejoice with another when because of some good gift they've received whether it be a material gift, a promotion or new opportunity, an affirmation or reward?  Or has our fountain of joy dried up because we are foundering in our own misery?  Look deep within your heart to see if there may be a bit of rejoicing you are withholding.  Practice being glad because of another's good fortune.

Oh most merciful One, teach me to throw a party for the unworthy, knowing that I may be the guest of honor.   ~~ Sr. Macrina Weiderkehr, O.S.B.


Do we judge others to be "unworthy"?  Do we judge ourselves as being "unworthy" ??? 

Let's follow Christ's example and find EVERY ONE OF US ... worthy ... of our respect, our kindness, our generosity, our joy in their gifts ... let us be gentle with ourselves and others.

And by the way, when I also discovered that my most favorite art teacher, Chris Cozen, will be in town again on the exact same dates as the Retreat, I had a moment, a twinge, of  "oh, no, this can't be ..."   Until I realized that I most need to be at this women's spiritual retreat at this point in not just my life, but in my art-walk as well.   {but for those interested in taking the spot I would have filled at Chris' classes, you can visit Stamping Details at for class details; with my blessing!}

--  Davielle

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The Hustle of Worthiness ... Exploring the Power of Love, Belonging, and Being Enough - with Dr. Brene Brown

One of my favorite people in the whole world is the wholehearted DR. BRENE BROWN ... a researcher, writer, and professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work. 

Brene has spent the last decade studying a concept she calls Wholeheartedness, posing the question:  "How do we cultivate a life defined by authenticity, love and belonging, joy and gratitude, and a resilient spirit, and what gets in the way?"

Wouldn't we all like to have the answer/s to that question?  I know I would ...

Last year, Brene offered an on-line READ-ALONG with her book,  "I Thought It Was Just Me (but it isn't)" , which I blogged about ... and participated in ...

This year, we are waiting with baited breath {what does that mean, really, anyway?!  "baited breath".  hmmm} for the release of  her new book, "The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You're Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are" .  Due out in April 2010, this promises to be more wonderful work along the lines of  "ITIWJM(bii)". 

  This week, however, we are celebrating the release of a new DVD by Brene, "THE HUSTLE OF WORTHINESS: Exploring the Power of Love, Belonging, and Being Enough".

In the post about the release of her new DVD, author Brown notes: "Our lives are a collection of stories -- truths about who we are, what we believe, what we come from, how we struggle, and how we are strong.  When we can let go of what people think, and own our story, we gain access to our worthiness -- the feeling that we are enough just as we are, and that we are worthy of love and belonging."

How powerful is THAT?!

So what is this word, WORTHY, anyway?  Just what does WORTHINESS mean to you? to me?  I turned to Webster's {my trusty 1956, leather-bound edition that my mother Edith used for decades}:

WORTH:  that quality or sum of qualities of a thing rendering it valuable or useful; value; hence, often, value as expressed in a standard, as money; moral or personal excellence, merit; wealth, riches. 

Webster's goes on to add:

Worth:  the quality of being useful, important, excellent, or the like.

and they define WORTHY ... "Having worth; valuable; estimable. Having adequate merit.  'A person of eminent worth.'

And isn't that what each and every single one of us are?  WORTHY?  Having worth.  Of value and importance and useful ???

Being a lover of quotes, I found some very poignant ones that speak to me of the word and the concept of WORTH ...

"No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." -- Eleanor Roosevelt

"Do not let your peace depend on the hearts of men; whatever they say about you, good or bad, you are not because of it another man, for as you are, you are." -- Thomas a' Kempis

"The worst loneliness is not to be comfortable with yourself." -- Mark Twain

and to bookend the quote from Eleanor ...

"I care not what others think of what I do, but I care very much about what I think of what I do.  That is character!" -- Theodore Roosevelt

But I think that the quote speaking to me loud and clear this morning is this:

"Women's work is always toward wholeness." -- May Sarton

While women do not have the market cornered on issues of worth/unworthiness and being whole vs. being "broken", I do feel that women strive their whole lives, from the cradle to the grave, for that feeling of wholeness, completion, worthiness ... that Brene addresses. 

Do we struggle with body image issues?  education issues?  career or family or community issues?  {if you answered YES to any of those questions, then you are in excellent company ... because who among us has NOT struggled with those issues, and more?}

Do we ever truly feel that we "stack up" well against our family members, our friends, our neighbors?  {if you answered "YES" to the stacking up well question, then YOU need to be writing a blogpost on this topic yourself!}

I personally battle body-image and health-challenge issues all the time.  From the time I could talk and reason, I wondered "what did I do to deserve these headaches?" and I always wanted to know "why did I get the belly-fat gene in the family?!"   I continue struggling with body image / self-worth issues to this day.

My friend Karen Caterson, who I met through the read-along last year and have grown to love because she is such a beautiful person, caring and giving and open-hearted ... she spends a lot of time addressing body-image concerns that we women face.  Her work CHOOSING ME: Finding Comfort, Joy and Beauty in the Me I am NOW is fantastic! { }.

I know that we each have our WORTHINESS issues to face ... I invite you to see what Brene has to say about the subject via her new DVD.  And please, please do leave a comment ON MY BLOG ... your comments do mean so much to me, as they do to all bloggers, and gee, it just might give my FEELING WORTHY quotient the boost it needs to ... take the next step.  Or not!  You see, no pressure.

As Brene says, "join me and some of my favorite bloggers this week as we take to the streets to celebrate our messy, imperfect, wild, stretch-marked, wonderful, heartbreaking, grace-filled, and joyful lives!"

Visit Brene at to read more about her incredible studies.

--  Davielle

Still gathering AN ARTFUL JOURNEY post-Retreat thoughts ...

there WILL be more, including photos ... I promise!

I've been caught up in Google/E-Blogger world for a few days now, trying to create a NEW blog -- an offshoot to "I Am Princess Magpie", and in so doing, I made a little mess of which e-mail address goes with which blog log-in !!!


Hoping that Ann, my blogging mentor, can help me straighten it all out ...