Hallelujah Anyway!

How do you begin? The answer is simple: you decide to. Then you push back your sleeves and start writing–I.e., scribbling words down on paper, or typing at a computer. And it will be completely awful. It will be unreadable s*#t! You won’t have a clue how it account to anything, ever. And to that, I say, Welcome. That’s what it’s like to be a writer. But you just do it anyway. At my church, we sing a gospel song called, “Hallelujah anyway.” Everything’s a mess, and you’re going down the tubes financially, and gaining weight? Well, Hallelujah anyway.

-Anne Lamott, recently on her Facebook page

This endearing part of a recent Facebook post by Anne Lamott only cements me further to her. No one speaks to my inner author quite like Anne.

Despite the swear word and a few teensy typos, I decided to run this quote as is because it motivates me. I want and am seriously ready to venture beyond my weekly blog posts, book reviews and such and write something of quantitative value.

Anne Lamott and Me! On the occasion of my most recent birthday!
Anne Lamott and Me! On the occasion of my most recent birthday!

For the last couple of years, I have wanted to write a non fiction book about Grace and my coming into the Light. A fellow blogger friend of mine has a book release TODAY and I am so inspired by this! (Go Heather!). Can I say it? To write a book and get it published is a really big dream of mine.

Anne is right. The best thing to do is just get started. This can apply to any dream- a new job, new contacts, new life- you name it. Just get started. And as Anne said it may be awful but so what! At least we got started.

Is there something you have been procrastinating about? If you’re interested, we can tag each other in our dream project. Tell me about it in the comment section below and we’ll cement our commitment. I am going to write my book and you are going to _______________.  If you’re overwhelmed at the moment and can’t take on another thing, just offer a few words of encouragement or your favorite quote about energy, motivation or desire.

Seriously, let’s do this together….xo

Join me on my graceful journey.

A Blessing on Your Head

A blessing on your head Mazel Tov, Mazel Tov…Fiddler on the Roof

Meeting my favorite author!

Yesterday was my 55th birthday and today is Thanksgiving. This same remarkable timing occurred five years ago when I turned 50. I consider it a beautiful juxtaposition of birthday to gratitude day.

Five years ago (on my FIVE OH birthday) I took my family to Fallingwater– the stunning Frank Lloyd Wright house which sits over a rushing creek full of water. The house was much smaller than I had imagined but it was still breathtaking beautiful. We had lunch in the cafe, took the tour and walked around a bit in the nearby woods. Then we all headed back to dinner at my sister Cally’s house where her husband Raymond had prepared a beautiful dinner of lemon shrimp and orzo. We even Greek danced a little after dinner, just to connect with our deep roots.

My birthday this year was another dreamy day of inspirational happenings. A couple of months ago I noticed via Facebook that my favorite author, Anne Lamott, not only had a new book coming out but was coming close to where I live. She was going to be less than two hours away in Akron, Ohio at a public library.

I asked my sisters if we could go hear her speak. Ironically (or not so) my North Carolina sister Mary was coming home for Thanksgiving to attend her class reunion. The timing was perfect.

The view from the hotel!

We left the day before my birthday and stayed at a hotel that overlooked the Cuyahoga Falls (and the Schwebel’s bread factory!). Dinner was at a lovely little place called “Crave” in Akron, a mere block away from where Anne was speaking.

I insisted we get to the library early and we did. An hour and a half early. My sister Mary thought I was crazy. But there was a small line forming already. We decided to buy a family library membership for $20 and that got us into the auditorium early. We sat in the front row, dead center.

Have you ever been in a situation that felt surreal? That’s how I felt in that auditorium, an hour before Anne came out. When she walked across the stage to the podium, with her dreadlocks and bandanna wrapped around her head, I instantly smiled.

She spoke for over an hour then answered questions. She said many awesome things but my favorite was “we are really here to help each other get home”. I loved that.

I stood in line to meet her and get my (her) new book signed. We chatted for a few seconds and as I was walking up the ramp to exit, a group of locals began singing Happy Birthday to me. They knew it was my birthday and wow, that just made my day!

When I got home yesterday, there was a song in my head. It was A Blessing on Your Head, Mazel Tov, Mazel Tov. I’m a Christian but I love that song and I love all of Fiddler on the Roof. The song seems fitting, doesn’t it?

Have a wonderful, gratitude filled Thanksgiving day! What are you doing today?

Join me on my graceful journey.

My 50th Post!

“By the time we hit fifty, we have learned our hardest lessons. We have found out that only a few things are really important. We have learned to take life seriously, but never ourselves.” Marie Dressler

Picture by Cally Jamis Vennare

Here I am, at my 50th post. It’s hard to believe it but yes, that’s 50 stories on Katherine’s Daughter.

First I want to thank you, my friend for reading this blog. I can’t believe the friends I’ve made (and found) through my writing and I know it’s only going to get better. I can’t wait to see who I’ll know in another 50 posts from now.

There has been much pleasure in writing this blog and very little pain. The pain has mostly come from learning the technology to use my host company, WordPress, to its fullest. I am still in the learning process but I am much braver than I used to be! If anything, I have more confidence with themes, appearances, settings and such, something I never really knew anything about.

The pleasure of writing my blog is equivalent to me holding both my arms wide open. It is limitless. If I try not to over think, over criticize or over edit myself, it is truly a wonderful experience. It does take a certain discipline to sit down and create stories. But I don’t try and force them; I just listen to my heart and soul. That’s all you really have to do.

If you’re reading this and have ever thought of having a blog, I want to encourage you to go for it! (What are you waiting for?) My only advice to you is to have your blog name picked out before you get started. After that, it’s all a delicious piece of cake.

So thank you again, for being one of my readers! I appreciate you more than you know. Onward, to the next fifty stories!

*Bloggers- if you’re reading this, what keeps you going, what keeps you writing?

Join me on my graceful journey.

Abundance…In True Anne Lamott Style

One of my favorite writers is Anne Lamott. You’ve probably heard of her or might be a fan of hers already. She has written a number of faith based books (Traveling Mercies) and some fiction novels as well. Her latest book is entitled “Some Assembly Required” and it is a beautiful journal of her grandson’s first year of life.

The first thing I loved about this book was Anne’s decision to be called “Nana” by her grandson. (My grandson calls me Nana too!) She “journals” her way through her fears about everything from her son and his girlfriend’s relationship, to the baby’s birth and early development. She calls close friends when she is losing it and always comes back to faith and humility by letting everyone live their own life. She is such an inspiration.

Here’s one of my favorite stories from the book:

(Anne says) “I have a new perspective on spiritual abundance, thanks to my friend Michelle, who told me about going to Starbucks the other day for a pecan sticky bun. She normally doesn’t order pastry at Starbucks, because it’s fattening, but the other day she decided to treat herself to a pecan sticky bun. She spent quite a lot of time picking out the exact one she wanted, which meant the one with the most pecans. She pointed it out to the counter person. He had to move a few others that were in the way, so she took her coffee and sat down.

He brought the sticky bun over, all wrapped up and on a plate. She started taking it out of the paper, and instantly saw that it was the wrong bun, not the one she had chosen. This one had only three pecans on top. She wrapped it back up and walked to the counter, where she pointed this out to the young man, with crisp annoyance. He looked at her incredulously. “Lady,” he said, “turn it over”.

And on the other side, the bun was tiled with candied pecans.”

I just loved this story. How many times have I had an attitude about something which turns out to be abundance in disguise? If we’d all remember to count our blessings, what a pecan studded world this would be!

So, if you’re looking to read with abundance this weekend, pick up a copy of  Some Assembly Required!

Join me on my graceful journey.

A God Nudge

A few days ago I emailed my friend Nancy. I thought she was participating in an event I’m attending this weekend. She emailed me back…. she didn’t know a thing about it. So I called Amy (on my lunch hour) who I thought had given Nancy’s phone number to the coordinator of the event. When I spoke with Amy, she too thought Nancy had been contacted.

I said to Amy, What do I need to do? Is this my responsibility? Amy said No, it is not. She said, Text me Nancy’s number again and I’ll call the coordinator. She can take it from there. I said to Amy (after a bit of hesitation), Maybe this is a God Nudge.

A God Nudge is when you get a hint that something needs your attention. God is letting you in on something, a clue so to speak, so that you end up feeling like a sort of spiritual secret agent.

I have come to accept that if I am supposed to know about something, God will somehow see to it that I am clued in. If I worry about whether or not I have the whole story on any given situation or if I think I am missing valuable information, this is really not my concern. If I’m supposed to know, I’ll be informed. Then, I can decide how to react, without making a big fuss or blaring any horns.

One of the biggest God Nudges I’ve ever had occurred while I was in Patmos, Greece a few years ago. Patmos is a place of outstanding beauty, a Jewel of the Mediterranean and I was there.

Perfect Patmos

We were on vacation, my sisters, my mom and I for two weeks. Patmos was one of our stopovers for four days. It was perfect weather, perfect food, perfect everything. While I was there, I had an overwhelming urge to write. The feeling was so powerful, I started a journal of our trip.

When I came home I wrote a small book and had it bound with a hard cover. I called it “Patmos Memories” and I gave it to my mom for Christmas that year. She loved it. I still pick it up when I’m at her house and read it over again. It was really my writing debut of sorts.

When I think of that time in Patmos, I realize God was nudging me to write. Maybe that is why I feel so comfortable sharing my thoughts and passing stories along. I think that you and I are divine friends, destined to be together and to pass along some Grace and Love.

In the earlier case involving Nancy, I alerted someone to the issue and let it go. Hopefully, I acted as a conduit of some sort. We’ll see. Thank You God, for the nudge!

Another Pretty Patmos Picture!
Join me on my graceful journey.

Writing, Faith….and Chocolate Truffles

I took the brave step this past weekend of creating a Facebook page to go with my Katherine’s Daughter blog. Now I will admit, I am a fan of technology but not a brave one. I hesitantly step along (almost as if I am walking through a lawn laced with dog poo) tap tap tapping on my new fancy cell phone, adding clever things to my blog (note the Goodreads section), occasionally tweeting and all the while doubting whether I am doing things right or not.

Note: I have to blame my weekend Facebook/Blog adventure on my sister Mary. She encourages me, so believes in me (Cally too, but Mary is a real motivator!), that sometimes when I talk to her, I think I am Superwoman.

So Saturday morning, with coffee cup in hand, I began to create the Facebook page. Within a half hour, I became instantly overwhelmed. I wondered if I did it wrong, wondered if I should be doing it at all, blah blah blah, Good Lord, what am I possibly thinking!! Jim, sensing my oncoming headache, offered to take me out to lunch. I said yes. Thank goodness, for Anthony’s Coal-Fired Pizza and those delicious wings.

When I returned, I bravely checked my Facebook page. To my amazement, my friends were slowly starting to LIKE me (thank you!!). Just like Sally Field, they LIKED ME! I am feeling much better now and, thankfully, not so overwhelmed. Also, my daughter’s paramour gave her a delicious box of chocolate truffles that I must admit, seem to smooth out all those rough edges of worry and moments of insanity.

The Yummy Truffles!

If you are wondering why I am doing all this- the blog, the writing, the Facebook- I will tell you this…I am really not sure. All I am sure of is… I am following my dream of writing to you. I want to share my thoughts, inspire and walk hand in hand with you while we both look for the Grace and Love that is present in our everyday life. It’s here and I can feel it.

That said, I am not good at self promotion. You will not see me pushing you to read, share or even comment on my blog posts or Facebook page. That is up to you. If you decide to do those things, I admit they are meaningful to me because it means I have touched a cord within you.

I’m just going to have Faith that I am going in the right direction. I will keep going, one day at a time….and…. I’m taking a few of those truffles with me! Thanks for walking along and being a part of it all!

Join me on my graceful journey.

On Being “Katherine’s Daughter”

In just three short months since I started blogging, life is definitely different. I love writing my blog, being part of the writing world and sharing some inspirational experiences of love, hope and faith.

WordPress.com is the host of my blog. For me it has become a mecca of sorts, where I can rub shoulders with and be inspired by some great writers. When I began the creation process for my blog, the WordPress prompts asked me what is the name of your blog? In the two minutes it took me to think of a name, I chose Katherine’s Daughter. Yes, I am the daughter of a Katherine (with a K!). She is the beautiful woman with me in the picture above. We are all someone’s daughter or son, aren’t we? Perhaps I felt my blog name implied a common bond that I could share with my audience.

That said, I have friends who do not (or did not) have memorable mothers. It doesn’t matter. I swear God sees to it that there is always someone in our life who will love, nurture and care about us. That chosen person will bring out the good parts of us and love us unconditionally, thank goodness. They will mentor us through difficult times. Think of who that person is for you. That person, for me, is Katherine.

My father passed away some fifteen years ago. Katherine is now 82 years old but gets along very well. Her vision is somewhat compromised so Cally, my youngest sister, has begun reading my blog posts to Katherine whenever she visits her.

I spoke with Katherine last night and she mentioned three of my last blog posts. Cally had apparently read all of them to her yesterday and Katherine said something to me about each one. I am truly blessed to have a mother who not only supports my writing but makes positive comments about it! Good Lord, what a blessing!

I want to thank my family and friends who have supported my blog, shared it on their Facebook pages, loved me through this process, even become one of my subscribers. In case you didn’t know, there is a place on my blog page where you can sign up to get my twice weekly blog stories. (Yes, you can have me drop- kicked to your email every week!). Best of all, it is FREE to subscribe. I just love free stuff…don’t you?

My goal is to publish a book, hopefully within a year, with stories on faith and love. A book to warm your heart and help you realize how truly loved you are. So many things have inspired me (another story!) and I just continue to follow my dreams. I hope you don’t mind if I take you with me.

Join me on my graceful journey.

Is it Odd or is it God?

Question mark liberal
Image via Wikipedia

Weird things have been happening to me lately when I publish my blog posts. Maybe they are not so much weird as they have been possible signs (to me) that maybe, just maybe, I am walking down the right path….

Here’s an example. On the exact day I published my last post “To Amy, With Love”, a new client came into my work place. Usually I never ask a new client what their address is but I had a few moments so I thought, what the heck? Here’s how the conversation went:

ME: Sue, I’d like to add your address to our database. Can you tell me what it is please?

SUE: Sure, it’s 1234 JOE CAIN LANE (blah blah blah city state zip)

ME: (incredulous) I can’t believe it. My name is Joanne Cain. My friends call me Jo Cain. Really? You live on Joe Cain Lane?

HER: Yes I do. (chuckle) Well, that is really a coincidence. I have an Aunt Joanne by the way.

ME: Really? How does she spell her name? Small “a”, with an “e” on the end?

SUE: Yes. Just like yours.

To top this all off, I went to leave for lunch and I almost put HER coat it. It was exactly like mine. Same brand, style and size.

(Yes, I thought about buying a lottery ticket that day!)

Is it odd, or is it God? What do you think?

Join me on my graceful journey.

To Amy, With Love

A few years ago my husband Jim and I were invited, by our good friends Amy and Joel, to spend a weekend in a cabin among the beautiful tall trees of Cook Forest.

If you have never been to Cook Forest, it is worth the drive. It is a rustic, back- in- time, beautiful kind of state park. It is lush with trees, big rocks, streams (you can go canoeing!) and of course the usual little gift shops. It’s very spiritual and a great place to unwind.

That weekend Jim, Joel and I got to the cabin ahead of Amy. Amy was riding up with her daughter Becky. Apparently it had been a long drive because when Amy got out of the truck, the first thing she did was bend over, grab a flat rock and turn it over.

I missed this somehow but Jim caught sight of it. He said to me later, “Did you see what Amos (our pet name for Amy) did when she got here?” He clued me in. What this meant was, something frustrating had gone on in the truck and Amy, in her wisdom, decided to turn it over.

Turn it over means let it go. Sometimes it can mean look at it in a different way. Other times it means I’m so angry I can hardly think!

Amy and her grandbaby, Willow

Amy has been an example to me of how to turn it over. She has had some troubling things happen to her in the last couple of years…. things that would have sent others over the edge. She just keeps going, keeps turning it over, keeps faith in her core. I can have the worst possible day going but if I see Amy, I always feel better.

Sometimes we all need an extra prayer. This week is a trying week for Amy as some memories are front and center. Please keep her in your thoughts and prayers. I’d really appreciate it. Thank you and have a blessed day!

Join me on my graceful journey.