Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Henry David Thoreau:
When I hear music, I fear no danger. I am invulnerable. I see no foe. I am related to the earliest times, and to the latest.

OK, The month is over and I have gotten a courage quote up every day. So now I want votes. What is your favorite?

Monday, June 29, 2009

We could never learn to be brave and patient if there were only joy in the world. Helen Keller

Sunday, June 28, 2009

“If we're growing, we're always going to be out of our comfort zone.”
John Maxwell

Saturday, June 27, 2009

To go against the dominant thinking of your friends, of most of the people you see every day, is perhaps the most difficult act of heroism you can perform. Theodore H. White

Wonderful if hot day. It's so nice having Bob home (I know I kep writing that!) I'm proud of us today. We had a flat tire (nail - went flat all of a sudden) coming home from taking K.K. to dance and we managed just fine changing it, even in the over 100 heat. It was also reassuring that a fire truck stopped just as we were finishing to see if we needed help and actually the crew finished bit, but we were fine without help. It was reassuring both that we could manage the tire and also that help was available.

Later in the afternoon we had visits from both Thing One (Liam) and Thing Two (Andrea)a special day. It was especially a great chance for Bob and me to have several sweet hours with Andrea alone. Tray is getting better after his football injury and he was able to be with his team on the bench during the game and Joanna had to work so Andrea stayed at our house. At first Liam and Auntie were visiting and Andrea and Liam had some time to smile at and observe each other - increasingly interested each in the other.

A funny note is that Andrea were dressed in her "Future President of the United States" onesie and Ruth said she had almost dressed Liam in his today. Hers is pink and his blue. I think it's marvelous that it is possible that Andrea, a girl child of color, actually could become President - wasn't so when I was a girl. A?nd of course it's wrong that it's marvelous. We want to get pictures of the cousins in their "future president" onsies before they outgrow them.

Chris came to claim his family after taking his teacher certification exams for English and ESL and he held you for a while. I'm proud of him expanding his professional opportunitues, consciously, intentionally. After their little family left to get dinner Bob and I had Andrea to ourselves.

What a sweet time! Andrea giggled for us and showed us that she can push up on your hands and knees and rock, (a BIG step toward crawling) and she laughed while she was doing it. She also LOVES singing (Joanna told us she did, but I had to see it to understand how much.) For a little while she were crying, really unhappy and I put her in Bob's lap to go make a bottle. I thought she'd just cry until I came back with milk, but he started to sing the French National Anthem in French LOUDLY and she not only stopped crying but calmed completely down, stopped moving at all and just lay in his lap perfectly still staring up at him mezmerized through four or five songs including "Puff the Magic Dragon" and "Amazing Grace ".

She also met Grandpa Bob's porcupine puppet today and loved exploring the little creature (a good friend of Liam's already) giggled out loud when it tickled her back, petted it and (of course) tried valiantly to get her mouth on it. She jumped, flew, rode our knees, drank three bottles, and settled in for several sweet naps pressed right up against me. It is such a joy to be geting to know her better.

A plus at the end of our time was a nice visit with both of your parents. Tray is about to start physical therapy for his leg - a hopeful step and Joanna is working really hard, but is almost at the end of the long frustrating certification process for her store. She is tired, but it is clear she's doing a really good job. I'm proud of both Joanna and Tracy, as well as Ruth and Chris.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt. –William Shakespeare

I love this quote - doubts as traitors to the cause of enacting good.

It's been a productive happy week even though the Longhorns lost the COllege World Series. They gave it a good ride. And I have managed to use the nervous energy of the games to clean out all kitchen junk drawers (not perfectly but well for me).

It is terribly hot -107 one afternoon - and I barely know it with long work days and air conditioned everything. It feels wrong (if comfortable) to be so out of touch with weather extremes. I'm glad though that Bob is doing his walking at the gym in the air conditioning.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Courage is the price that Life exacts for granting peace. Amelia Earhart

This courage quote I don't quite understand,but I cite it anyway because I remember reading about Amelia Earhart when I was in maybe fifth grade and obsessed with biographies of women who flew, one way or another. She did it literally and, even though lost, helped at least one generation of girls claim our own wings.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Confucius Analects
To see what is right and not to do it, is want of courage.

But to know what is right - that is wisdom I think, and even harder than courage. My prayer is to find both, day by day, moment by moment.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Don Quixote, de la Mancha 1605-1615
One man scorned and covered with scars still strove with his last ounce of courage to reach the unreachable stars; and the world was better for this.

This one's for you Bob - though I don't see you "covered with scars" I do see you determined to make the world better and it's not alwys easy. You are really fighteing the exercise demons this summer, and with such resolution. I love you, my love. All dreams possible.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Valor is a gift. Those having it never know for sure if they have it till the test comes. And those having it in one test never know for sure if they will have it when the next test comes. ~Carl Sandburg

I got to help Ruth grade today - a real treat to read the essays of her ACC students (who are actually advanced high school seniors). They are winningly self disclosing in their essays about messages that have shaped their lives and about criterio on which they select people as desirable to approach. The world has changed and hasn't. I was surprised that the one person who classified people in terms of age didn't talk about wisdom and authority in age, but rather helplessness and avoided people perceived as old. That was so NOT true for me in my teens and twenties - and I don't think for my daughters - so much wisdom in the generations ahead. But grading was fun and James brought the KDZ over to swim, which was nice.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

It seems right to use a father's quote for courage on Fathers' Day weekend (which is also the first weekend of summer and feels like it with temperatures over 100 and pools blissfully open.)

I thought my father, who hated guns and had never been to any wars, was the bravest man who ever lived. ~Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

Atticus Finch was, I believe an icon of the good, strong, brave, gentle, tender father for much of my generation, surely he was for me. In honor, courage of personal conviction, and devotion to family the wonderful men who have so influenced my life and those of my girls and grands are much like him. They deserve and extra courage quote.

It is curious that physical courage should be so common in the world and moral courage so rare. ~Mark Twain

This weekend I honor men of moral and physical courage, living and dead. I miss my own Daddy, honor Bob's Dad, who still is the head and heart of the male line of a family of world changers, feel sweet sadness and nostalgia for Kerry, young Daddy of my daughters, who did not live to see them grow up, and my young friend Paul who did not make it to his first Father's day with his baby daughter. I think of James, who is doing a good job of loving his kids through difficult changes, and Tracy whose eyes glow when he holds baby Andrea. I think of Chris, who was grieving one baby and hoping for another one this time last year, and now is the very very happy and proud father of very present Liam. I see Danny and Zachary tender and protective of their baby sister and imagine the fathers, good fathers, they will be in time. I honor Bill, Mark, Funny Joe, Dr. Bill, My own Uncle Rudy, both Davids, Danny and ROcker - all the good me who have been kind and strong and influenced us for good.

But mostly, though, feel love and appreciation for Bob who not only saw but helped them grow up and loves and is loved by them still. Blended families are hard - harder than I ever dreamed - and worth every tear and effort. I'm so glad we became the family we are. Poem for today is for Bob- whose goodness has been one of the major touchstones of my adult life.

No One Day

There was no one day
I finally knew I trusted
you, myself, the kids,
no one day perfect connection
fell in like magic and
fear shed like faded feathers.
There was no one day
I finally knew we were
family for real, for keeps,
no matter what. No one
day. But I know it now.

Victoria Hendricks
June 18, 2009

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.
~Winston Churchill

Another contestant for my favorite courage quote. I'm going to ask blog readers to vote on your favorite at the end of the month, so pay attention. Peggy, you ask where I get the quotes. Some I know - keep in my head and live by but most come from one online site or another. Two favorites are http://www.wisdomquotes.com/cat_courage.html and http://www.quotegarden.com/courage.html.

It's been a good, busy, odd weekend. We were going to drive down to Corpus to finish up a few tasks with Bob's apartment (everything he wanted to bring home didn't fit in the car the first time - but we decided to wait because the AC down there is broken and should be fixed on Thursday and it's HOT! It was nice to be here for Fathers' Day weekend anyway. We hung out with Joanna's family on their patio as evening cooled yesterday and watched Zachary do skateboard tricks. Poor Joanna and Tracy! She is working long hours getting the store ready for inventory and also certification - two major tasks, and he is still in that huge hot brace and suffering from his knee injury - but they are hanging in and yesterday evening was a sweet interlude. Before that we had been to the gym with Ruth's crew - taking turns working out and holding sleeping Liam. Both felt great. I hope I'm getting a second wind on healthy eating and exercise - was doing great through fall and winter, but less inclined lately. This weekend it seems easier again.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgement that something else is more important than fear. ~Ambrose Redmoon

This may be my favorite courage quote yet this month -one that's new to me. Once again I had a day that didn't require real courage, just persistence, discipline, perspective. It has been a long work week. My weeks alternate shorter and longer and this was a longer. The weekend stretches invitingly ahead.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Whoever said anybody has a right to give up? Marian Wright Edelman

Good ordinary day - precooking in ggod shape, laundry done, everybody well as far as I know, work invigorating, Bob home, the Lonhorns still in the winners' bracket, writing happening, friends in my life - good ordinary day.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

I can only embrace my courage to the extent that I accept my vulnerability.
Dorothy Baldwin Satten

Monday, June 15, 2009

Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm.
Winston Churchill

Good long mixed day. Bob and I started out with a visit with Joanna, Tracy and ANDREA. (The big KDZ are still at the ranch). It was so pleasant to just hang out and talk baseball, books, babies in their home - peaceful. Then Ruth,Chris and Liam came over and Ruth took pictures of Liam (Thing One) and Andrea (Thing Two) with me in their little red costumes like the characters from The Cat In The Hat. Back before the babies were born we joked about who would be Thing One and who would be Thing Two regarding birth order and somewhere in the process Ruth bought the sweet sleepers - good to have the pictures today even though I didn't brush my hair before being caught on camera with a precious double armful. Part of the urgency regarding the pictures was that thought the garments are the same size Thing One and Thing Two are NOT - Liam having had a major recent growth spurt - so we wanted to catch them while the costumes still fit. For a peek you can check out http://liamslife.shutterfly.com/ourgalleries or http://andreasgrace.shutterfly.com/. Note the difference in foot size between the two "things" and the hand holding which was spontaneous, not posed.

After family time Bob and Bill and I met to do our Snowflake Method writing meeting. I like the way this is flowing for me. They seem to feel the same. Step two, to turn the original sentence into a paragraph which lays out the basic progression of the novel int "three disasters and a resolutoin" is still short enough to share in the blog - so here is where I am so far. I did, obviously choose my first option about the two old friends starting a clinic.

Snowflake Step One

Two middle aged therapists risk danger and personal failure when they open a clinic for the uninsured in a tough neighborhood.

Snowflake Step Two

Libby and Becca, former college roommates, in their late fifties now, rekindle reconnect in an effort to establish a low cost mental health clinic for the uninsured in the now rundown hose the shared during the seventies. Libby, a therapist has just left her state agency job in disgust at failures of the system and Becca’s husband has asked her for a divorce, so both are at cross roads and crises of competence. The challenge of restoring the house and opening the clinic doors shakes both women as they discover the deterioration and increased violence of the neighborhood, but they find unexpected allies who help them continue. Once the clinic is open, Libby struggles with questions of ethics and competence as case after case tests her sense of her professional skills. After Becca is stabbed by the mother of a child the women have been working to find placement for, her husband pleads with her to return to the marriage. She and Libby both must decide whether to abandon or continue their dream.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

“Promise me you'll always remember: You're braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. Christopher Robin to Pooh” A.A Milne

The above quote reings very true. Almopst everyone I know is harder on him/herself than on anyone else. Makes me sad. I approve of high standards for self - and at the same time, I think we, like our children, function best when viewed through the eyes of love.

Bob and I had a very productive organizing weekend, and a fun weekend. And the Longhorns won the first World Series game - though not elegantly. THey could probably use the above quote tonight. A kick of game watching was the four generational nature of our experience. Bob's Dad called when the game was over and Joanna was on the phone with us through most of it. Liam, who we kept for about an hour, seemed to be intrigued by the movement and excitement on the TV. Odd the things that pass through generations, picked up by some, ignored by others. I wonder which if any of the next generation will be baseball fans.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

The best way out is always through.

Robert Frost

Today was a good day with Bob - the kind of easy busy productive day summers give us. We rearranged art and family pictures and cut book covers for his class next year and it was FUN, just being able to be together and do those things.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Another stormy night, though not as extreme as last night. I'm glad it's Friday. This feels like the first regular weekend of summer - Bob home already, no huge plans, lots of little projects to do. I'm a happy thankful sleepyhead tonight - a good feeling but not productive of much writing.

Courage without conscience is a wild beast.
Robert G. Ingersoll

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The test of courage comes when we are in the minority. The test of tolerance comes when we are in the majority.

Ralph W. Sockman

Stormy night - tornados between ther girls' house and ours. Big hail, but it seems like less damage than one would expect. All of us safe. The kids took shelter in the c loset under the stairs for a while.

We took care of Liam while Ruth and Chris celebrated their anniversary. He cried some, but I waas mostly able to comfort him. He was good.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Moral cowardice that keeps us from speaking our minds is as dangerous to this country as irresponsible talk. The right way is not always the popular and easy way. Standing for right when it is unpopular is a true test of moral character.
Margaret Chase Smith

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

We could never learn to be brave and patient if there were only joy in the world.
Helen Keller

Bob and I watched New York Ballet doing Romeo and Juliet (Prokoviev) on DVD - gorgeous innovative sets and costumes, superb male dancers. The second act, the tragic act, really caught me - but I still have trouble with the commentary saying Romeo and Juliet is the greatest love story. It seems more a story of revenge and impulse than truly of love. In the greatest love story (romantic love) I'd see the lovers live many years and grow old together, hurt and forgive each other, overcome obstacles and losses, rejoice together too, not just mourn. Tragedies are cathartic and beautiful, but I think the best love story would not be a tragedy, but a tale of transformation and growth.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Zachary's little birthday party was a delight. We gave him a little blue camel back pack to take on the trip later this summer and he loved it and used it while playing in the yard and riding his bike - well celebrated boy. We played a game at the table - What is one reason you like having Zachary in the world. here are some of our answers.

Grandma - He is strong and kind and the world needs more people who are both strong and kind.

Grandpa - He has a great smile and the world needs more smiles.

Auntie - He comes into the room and says "I just love today."

K.K. - He's funny. He makes me laugh.

Danny - He shares his toys and plays with me.

David - He was born on my birthday and is my very good friend.

Bob and I had a really restful nap after the party and then went on to delight in the Longhorn's baseball victory over TCU for a trip to the COllege WOrld Series in Omaha. Go Horns!

In the process of listening to baseball coverage I learned that today is Jakie Robinson Day, so it seems right to use a courage quote by that man.

Whatever obstacles I found made me fight all the harder. But it would have been impossible for me to fight at all, except that I was sustained by the personal and deep-rooted belief that my fight had a chance.
Jackie Robinson

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Good long day - hard in moments because I think I'm tired on some level. I love having Bob home. We went to another basebnall game today and the Longhorns lost - which means another game tomorrow which we'd best win. It's not til evening. Ryuth and Chris invited us to their house for supper - delicious as usual - asiago sausage and artichokes with homemade pasta. Yum! After supper we walked on a trail in their neighborhood - Liam first in stroller then in mobie wrap falling asleep on his Mommy and enjoyed the full moon. It put on a show playing peek-a-boo with the clouds. We played a question game, each of us asking a question which all of us answered - made for much good introspection and sharing. I'll share the questions here and my own answers. Again, the names of the questioneres are in parentheses but the answers are my own only.

(Bob) What book that you read this year was your favorite - Lost Boys by Orsan Scott Card

(Victoria) What would question about yourself or your life would you most want to have answered this time next year? Do I want to change focus between therapy work and writing wisdom work and/or fiction and if so how?

(Ruth) What is the hardest truth you have learned about yourself this year? My level of anxiety/struggle as perceived by many who love me is inconsistent with my view of myself as a happy person and troubles some who love me.

(Ruth) What is the happiest truth you have learned about yourself this year? I like myself body and role and personhood, at the age I am and really am not much afraid of the losses of aging in the way that I once was.

I love talks like this.

I'm nervous tonight because we are going to have a little late birthday party here for Zachary tomorrow (Bob's idea and he's right the kid should have a celebration with grandparents) I'm just not in the mood for hostessing even at a light level and have never been much of a birthday person. Bob will do most of it and I bet I'll have a happy report tomorrow.
Today's courage piece is poem not simple quote, by my friend Peggy Goetz, upon having met and listened to Sister Helen Prejean inspiration for Dean Man Walking., the oper and and the film. The opera is one of the strongest works of art I've ever seen. It has no simple interpretation for me, but calls up the courage to rexamine deep splits in my beliefs on complex issues. For more about Sister Helen, check out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helen_Prejean and especially her blog http://www.sisterhelen.org/

Meeting the Monster

Sister Helen was afraid to meet
him, a young man condemned
to die for a brutal crime. She
wondered would she be able
to talk to him, to even look at him,
this monster. Writing a letter of
spiritual support was one thing,
but meeting quite another. She
caught her breath with the sound
of a door behind the plexiglass.
And then he was just a man,
so ordinary, so human, pale
in chains, alone, scared
to die, young. She looked
the Monster in the face
and it changed her life.

Peggy Goetz, June 5, 2009

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Conscience is the root of all true courage; if a man would be brave let him obey his conscience.
James Freeman Clarke

Good day - Bob's home and the Longhorn baseball team won and K.K. visited and watched a DVD with classic choreography by Balanchine. I bought groceries for healthy summer cooking but haven't actually cooked yet - just keep munching cherries. Yum!

Friday, June 05, 2009

When I hear music, I fear no danger. I am invulnerable. I see no foe. I am related to the earliest times, and to the latest.

Henry David Thoreau

I chose tonight's courage quote in honor of my sweet husband who understands and experiences the glory and power of music as deeply as anyone I have ever known. He is now home for the summer. HOORAY!!!!! I am writing short tonight for obvious reasons.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Creativity requires the courage to let go of certainties.
Erich Fromm

Good courage quote for the beginning of a writing project, I think.
Several of you have expressed interest in my Show Flake Method project The link to Randy Ingermanson's description of this method for creating a plan for a novel is http://www.advancedfictionwriting.com/art/snowflake.php. The greatest news is that Bob is joining Bill and me. He has been wanting to try young people's fiction and this very structured method appeals to him - actually more than it does to Bill and me, and he has a great first step.

The description of the first step of the Snow Flake Method - from the web site I referenced, is:

Step 1) Take an hour and write a one-sentence summary of your novel. Something like this: "A rogue physicist travels back in time to kill the apostle Paul." (This is the summary for my first novel, Transgression.) The sentence will serve you forever as a ten-second selling tool. This is the big picture, the analog of that big starting triangle in the snowflake picture.

For myself, I was getting frustrated - am so much the "seat of the pants" writer, but I took a long walk yesterday and focused on the method and something clicked. I came up with three rough first steps and then realised that all three have the same theme in a way - the same reason fro being. So, even if I don't know what story I want to tell or how it will go I know WHY I want to tell a story right now, and for that I thank the snowflake. Here are my three roughies. I'd very much appreciate that anyone who reads this vote on which is most appealing.

My theme or purpose for writing is something like "In the early twenty first century people of different ages and backgrounds connect and pool understandings and strengths to face challenges."

Option One - Working Title Clinic Two middle aged therapists risk danger and personal failure when they open a clinic for the uninsured in a tough neighborhood.

Option two - Working Title Ghost A fourth grader, her recovering addict father, a young kindergarten teacher, a retiring janitor, and the school librarian work together to decode messages from an obstreperous ghost in order to find hidden money needed to save the school's music program.

Option three - A divorced nurse discovers purpose through lost stories while deciding what to do with her family home in a small Texas town.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

To dare is to lose one's footing momentarily. To not dare is to lose oneself.
Soren Kierkegaard

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again.

Maya Angelou

I didn't need any particular courage today, a day of meaningful work, not really stretching my edges but feeling useful. I do see courage every day in my clients. I guess my act of courage for the day is yet to come - finishing the Snowflake Method challenge and coming up with at least one novel "seed" to share with Bill tomorrow at lunch. This is very hard for me, starting in this systematic way, not natural, and I REALLY want to at least begin the process in real earnest.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Great day with Liam - such a sweet life, music time, story time,, naps in the chair. I want June to be a month of new beginnning on rhis blog - an experiment of a theme for a month. Out of mt hat, I pick courage for June, and start with a quote from a woman I much admire.

You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do.Eleanor Roosevelt