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“The Journey” by Mary Oliver


“The Journey” by Mary Oliver

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice—
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
“Mend my life!”
each voice cried.
But you didn’t stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do—
determined to save
the only life you could save.


I tore that poem out of some magazine-Real Simple or Oprah I think, several years ago. I still have it somewhere. It resonated somewhere deep inside so I held on to it. Then this fall I started titling my posts with Autumn/Nature/Life quotes and started seeing Mary Oliver’s name quite a bit. Then I did more reading and realized that I had found a poet who really speaks to me. I pull up one of her quotes or a poem and feel like I can breathe a little deeper. The other day my Facebook status was “Laurie Viets wants to run through the house writing Mary Oliver poems on the walls with thick black marker and glitter glue”. I might settle for printing them out and taping them to the walls.
OK. One more and then I must go to bed.

“Wild Geese”
“You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
call to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting –
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.”
— Mary Oliver


I Know, I Know…

More pictures of dog and baby. At least I left out the close ups of leaves and inspirational Autumn quotes! (but there’s a poem and some trees coming next…)
But this is what a lot of my life looks like. This and being overwhelmed by clutter. But that’s another post all together.


Muppet Bohemian Rhapsody

Finally checked this out after it was floating around on Facebook all week. Now it’s my favorite thing!

Canyon likes it too!
Controlling urge to just post them all here but instead I will leave you with the Muppet Studio Link so you can enjoy. Muppets in high def!


Hey Canyon-so what’s your first impression of turkey?

Not so delicious at first!
Kudos to the baby man for wearing his turkey hat all day!
And here’s my lovely table-we FINALLY used the wedding china! Took it out of the boxes for the first time.
Now if only it wasn’t HAND WASH ONLY!


“Here are the two best prayers I know: ‘Help me, help me, help me’ and ‘Thank you, thank you, thank you.'” –Anne Lamott

It’s been a good thanksgiving. Joe joined John, Canyon, the animals and me for dinner. I cooked a feast. I will not pretend to be modest-a delicious feast thanks to the wisdom and guidance of Martha Stewart and Real Simple magazine. I tried new things-they turned out great.
This year has been full of new things for me.
A friend recently e-mailed me on Facebook, asking if I had any words of wisdom for her friend who was going through a hard time. I assume she included me in this question because this last year was the hardest I have ever been through in my 37 years. I lost a job that paid me well, a job that I loved, a job that I had let define me as a person for nearly 11.5 years. I became pregnant, had a challenging pregnancy that landed me on complete hospital bed rest for 2.5 weeks and was followed by a difficult emergency c-section. I spent 48 days trying to nurture and bond with my tiny baby boy in an environment that does not allow privacy, an environment that added to his struggles by contaminating him with MRSA. I spent 48 days trying to be as strong as he was.
And we made it through. Together.
So how did we do it? There is that cliche about Never Give Up. And we didn’t. And there’s that other cliche-Everything Happens For A Reason.
When I was told I was being laid off it was devastating. I was 4 months pregnant, terrified of losing that income, afraid of trying to figure out what I would do with my life. My only adult job was that show. My self worth and identity had been linked to that job, that title. Almost all of my local friends worked there. My husband worked there! My dog came to work with me! However would I live without that job?
Then I had time to breathe and could start to absorb it all. I could enjoy my pregnancy, get my home and life ready for our new arrival. When I ended up in the hospital it became even more clear that being unemployed during the hospital months was an amazing blessing. I was collecting unemployment and still had a severance package so I didn’t have to worry about missing a job. While moms around me in the NICU had to make the choice of either leaving their newborns to the care of the nurses or burning all of their maternity leave I was able to spend 6-9+hours a day with Canyon. I had no where else to be. I could just hold him and keep him warm and let him know that he was loved. And when he was finally released I was able to focus solely on him.
I don’t know if I would have been brave enough to walk away from that job, the money, etc. to be a stay at home mom. I like to think I would have, but I am glad that the decision was made for us.

So. Thanksgiving 2009. I am thankful for many things.

I am thankful for Canyon Jay. The Manlet, The Manyon-the super preemie who fought so hard for so long to come home to us
I am thankful that Canyon is so strong and healthy today
I am thankful for my husband who goes to work 40+ hours a week so that I can stay home with our son
I am thankful for Shaylah, Kele De and Lilo- our furry children who let me cry into their fur during the dark hospital winter and who welcomed Canyon home, each in their own way
I am thankful for my family
I am thankful for all of the friends who supported us and cared for us while we were in the hospital.
I am thankful I lost my job.
I am thankful that unemployment insurance keeps being extended
I am thankful for the opportunity to take classes in writing and photography
I am thankful for my beautiful home-with all of it’s crazy paint colors, art I love and yard full of trees.

I am thankful that as I write this I realize that while this year may seem hard to those on the outside, I know that it is nothing compared to what many of my friends survived this year. I send blessings to all of you who lost spouses and parents, siblings and nephews, animals and friends. I thought of you all today.

Blessed Be


Somebody in Duluth Loves Me

Bought this shirt at the Salvation Army store in West Duluth. Best dime I ever spent!
This series of facial expressions completely cracks me up.


No Dogs Allowed

The annoying part of taking Canyon to the park for swing time is that dogs are not allowed on the playgrounds.
It’s like she’s in doggie jail!
Luckily Canyon likes flying as much as swinging!



“Every leaf speaks bliss to me, fluttering from the autumn tree”-Emily Bronte