Saturday, October 24, 2009

For All You Runners Out There...Hurry!

This morning I read that today is The Human Race 2009 10k put on by Nike. You can race from anywhere in the world, anytime you want, between 10/24/09 (12:00am) to 10/24/09 (11:59pm).

My brother, Marc and I headed to Lacamas Lake this morning and ran our 6.2 miles. This "race" was a great incentive to begin those longer runs that I was talking about. And for a guy who's never run that far before, my bro did GREAT and finished feeling awesome!

Hurry, get out there and do it before the clock strikes midnight!

p.s. The link above looks like a great place to log runs.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Tears, Fire & Oxygen

Yesterday, I had a meltdown.  Husband happened to be in the vicinity when it happened and was able to talk me through, as I took deep breaths and blinked my eyes--a lot.  You know, the trick to keep them from pouring out like fountains?

Passion is a force of contradictory measure. It can catapult you onto a blazing trail of infinite possibility or become so over-stimulating that it stops you dead in your tracks with a dear-in-the-headlights sort if fear.  And because passion comes from the soul, any work derived from this place, is considered by many to be soul work. So when dealing with such work and feeling that 100% is not being given to the cause, it can bring moments of upheaval and panic that only near-meltdowns seem to remedy or Husbands and friends and family members can encourage through. Yesterday, my Husband did so with tender-boldness.

Husband is known for being matter-of-fact.  He's a cut to the chase kind of guy--he shoots from the hip so to speak.  I can always count on him to offer up his opinion and I have learned to value his constructive criticism (almost).  He's not one to sugar-coat just because he loves you, in fact, because he loves you so, he'll tell you the truth if he feels you'll be better off for it, even if it hurts a little.

Yesterday during my meltdown, Husband listened to my brief scenario of frustrations and demanded that I pick up the pieces. "I've seen that fire blazing under your @$$ since Tim Perrin emailed you a few months ago, and you've brought your expectations to a new level," he said. "Don't go dropping everything you have ever hoped for, now, because I've told all my friends--my wife's a writer, and we're not in this to look like idiots."  Besides being called an idiot, he did a good job of knocking some sense into me in that no-B.S.-sort of-way that I love him for. And he didn't say it because his friends really care if I ever write a thing, but because he knows that to live my life fulfilled, I must write.

He also reminded me that when a fire rages, there is no denying it the oxygen to burn. Time and care are just a few of the necessities that will keep it carefully maintained and flourishing in the night, providing warmth to the soul.

I've also realized that when you're dealing with grand aspirations and the makings of dreams, life and choices appear much more fragile than before. It reminds me of the preface to 'The Alchemist' when Paulo Cohelo talks about the main reasons why people quit seeking their dreams. It's because they are afraid to lose them, he says.  I don't want this fire for the written word to go out on me; I've gotta keep tending to it.  And there is payoff in the work--I know I'll keep warm by the fire.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


Have you ever found yourself alone in the kitchen, waiting for your coffee to re-heat and shaking your assets? I hadn't either until about five minutes ago, and I am without any conscious reason for it. Music wasn't it--because there was none.

Guess I'm just feeling good today, and that's good enough for me.

You should try it.

Letting loose never hurt anybody.
xo, C

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Silly Somethings From a Three Year Old

Setting: Today/fall day/almost evening. Brooklynn and Asher playing in the backyard. I am in the kitchen listening to music and their noise while cleaning the kitchen. Sliding back door open.

Brooklynn comes into the kitchen and asks for a spoon to stir her "soup" in the backyard. She asks for one of my nice wooden spoons in the holder on the counter. I decided that my old black plastic one in the drawer will be best instead. Happily she goes on her way and I watch as she makes her way to the furthest corner of the yard to the half-deflated swimming pool. A few minutes later Asher comes into the kitchen. He opens the silverware drawer. I ask,"you want a spoon, too?" and hand him another old black plastic spoon from the drawer. He takes it from me happily and walks back outside.

Moments later.

Brooklynn in a loud yell/song--loud enough for the neighbors to hear:

God made everything!
In the world!
I love you!
God loves all of His children, too!
Bob the Builder, yes we can!
1-2-3 splash in the water now.

A few minutes later, Asher comes inside. I hear him shuffle in the pantry. "Asher come here," I say. He comes out with a bag of boxed raisins with wet pants, grass covered crocs, and a drippy nose. I realize it is time to bring Brooklynn in as well. I remember that I saw her fleece on the kitchen floor. "Brooklynn, time to come in." "What? Why?" she says. "Do you not have shoes on?!" "No," she says. "Get in here. And bring those spoons, please. Is that my towel? Get my towel, please." She comes in with hands full.

Brooklynn says, "Do you know why I was barefooted out there?" "No, please tell me," I say.
"Because that's how bears do it," she says. "Are you mad?"

I couldn't be mad. She is the funniest person I know.

A few minutes later:

"My shoes are outside," she says.

"They are? Where?" I say.

"They're in the pool."

"What?" I say, imagining how nasty that pool is.

I get my shoes on and grab a sweater and head for the farthest corner of the yard.

There I found them--in her soup.

The other spoon is still missing.

Friday, October 16, 2009

I Married a True Outdoorsman

The poetry of the earth is never dead. ~John Keats

Tomorrow morning around five a.m., Husband will wake and get ready for his hunt. He'll gather his camo, burlap shades, his call, orange beanie, pocket knife and rifle and a steaming cup of coffee and jump into his Dodge to head for the mountains. He'll set out into the deep, lush wilderness, not far from our home, quietly listening and stalking the illusive.

It's adventures like these that have shaped the man. His loyalty to the wilderness is vast and his respect of the hunt runs deep. He feels proud to live off the land in even the slightest way. He is even prouder to feed his family.

As I have mentioned before, it's days like these that I would wish upon Husband regularly if I could. When he has the chance to escape into the woods or down to the river, something happens inside of him that penetrates. It's as if the very air is God's breath and the trees His long arms, welcoming Husband into the mystery and the beauty that He has created. Husband always returns from such days with a peace and a quiet that only an outdoorsman would know--and love.

The Hunt of 2006

Husband and the Sharratt Boys
(This is no small Elk! He made two record books that year! He was taken out in one shot with a Long Bow by Rickie--the man on the right.)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Wordstock Round-Up


Wordstock was awesome! I attended classes all day Saturday and Sunday and wasn't bored one bit. Husband was out of town last weekend, so I was a little hesitant to run off and be gone for two full-days, but things worked out great and the kids had great fun with their sitters, including my Mom who was in town from Utah. The kids love their Nana.

The classes I took were great. Here is a quick run-down on a few of them:

I took a class on the nuts and bolts of the freelance writing industry from Laurie Sandell who currently writes for Glamour. She was wonderful, funny, extremely down-to-earth and had tons of wisdom for all of us wanting to break into the freelance market. The main advice she gave was to KNOW YOUR MARKET!

I had the opportunity to learn how to balance the writing life with everyday life from a woman who truly knows what it's all about. Carol Cassela author of the new novel, Oxygen, is a nurse and mother of two sets of twins who were born fifteen months apart. If she can write books with all that going on, I'm golden.

Maria Semple said this in her workshop on how to write a great story, "Don't think of yourself as a story teller. View yourself as a story beholder." She also said, "have confidence in yourself, observation and experience. Be careful of the crisis in feeling not interesting or of worth for anyone else to read."

The last class that I attended was called Fire & Ink: Activist Writing taught by Frances Payne Alder. I wasn't sure of all this class would entail when I signed up, but was interested as I have a heart for students who deal with school bullying. I have to admit, that when I saw Alder before class wearing her tie-die head wrap I had to talk myself into staying. It's not that I have any qualms with the likes of hippies or the activist-minded, but it was the fact that I didn't enter that room in the mood to roar, and I had a strange feeling that I was about to be challenged.

So when Alder asked that each of us introduce ourselves and tell a little about our "cause" for social activism I began to feel extremely anxious. Quite a few heartfelt causes were shared, but the one that will stay with me was spoken by a little seven year old girl named Grace. Her mom had brought her to this class so she could learn how to become a social activist for the issue of the lack of school funding in schools today. She spoke bravely several times and was the only class member who read her writing to the others. She wrote far better than I would have expected a seven year old to write, and it was eye-opening to watch such a young mind be stirred into action.

It turned out that there wasn't enough time for all of us to speak, so I was happy to keep my jumbled mess of thoughts to myself and observe. It also turned out that Alder didn't expect any of us to roar, which I was very happy about. That class was the perfect ending to a great weekend. I was provoked to look beyond myself and my writing and see a glimpse of the greater cause. Alder says activist writing is a form of critical inquiry and an act of social responsibility." She asked, "What is the cost of what is written and what is not written?" That was enough to make me stir.

Overall, this last weekend I learned:

awesome ideas+great writing+self-marketing skills+confidence+persistence+tough skin+persistence+tough skin+persistence=

the writing life.

I'm game.

Friday, October 9, 2009


This weekend I am attending two full-days of workshops for writers at Portland's book and literary festival--Wordstock. Tomorrow, I'll be learning about how to become a successful freelance writer, tips on writing a memoir that sells, how to market myself and manuscript to publishers, how not to lose my family or mind while writing a book, and will even meet with editors from the Ooligan Press.

I am thrilled to be taking this next step in my writing journey and know that it is a beginning stepping stone in what will evolve in me as a writer over the coming years.

I look forward to being inspired by the successful, learn from the wise, and hear the stories of the many individuals who have brought their dream of becoming a successful freelancer or author to fruition. There is a passion in each of us and tomorrow, mine will sit comfortably observing the sites and sounds of other writers who have mastered their craft and tell their stories. I aspire to (in a short time) do the same. I may get the basics of grammar confused at times--thanks Riverview Elementary, and Tim--I'm working on it--swear, but the story within me will not leave me alone. I am proud to say that I am finally taking those nightful wakes of dreams of chapters and a book title, unceasing bookish thoughts and heeding the message of mentors and my heart. I can if I will.

I leave you with a quote that sums up my very feelings on all that I have learned in the last month and a half--

"Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do, than the one's you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."

Mark Twain

Here's to an inspiring weekend full of words!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Spending Time

Photo: Brooklynn & Asher McCully October 2008

Spend the afternoon. You can't take it with you.~Annie Dillard

Today was spent fabulously. I made it to the gym and got showered while Brooklynn was at preschool--something I plan to accomplish on a regular basis. It's nice when those things are checked off the list BEFORE noon! It didn't use to happen this way.

During naps, I worked on a piece of writing that came to me during my workout and said WRITE ME!! and so I brought the majority of it to fruition this afternoon. I'll share soon. I smile thinking about it. The giveaway will be linked to that post--I have not forgotten the giveaway!

When Husband (I need a new witty name for him) came home from work, he woke the kiddos with his boisterous phone calls so I told him he owed me. He immediately and happily obliged by setting me free to take my writing to the coffee shop. Once there, I continued to write, delete and edit. I am happy with my days progress. It is such a relief to have topics and ideas come to me that I can write freely about. So many times I have tried to spell out something specific in words and it ends up looking like a forced mess. The worst case-scenario for a writer.

Before I knew it, I was home and it was time for the kiddos to get to bed. I wasn't really watching the clock all that close, so I was astonished to see that I was actually back downstairs before 8:30pm. Thus, the very inspiration behind me writing this post this evening. Usually I am tuckered at this time and only feel like reading in bed, catching up on my blogroll for the day or watching trashy reality shows. Well, not the trashy-trashy ones, but you know, I really do have better things to do.

Speaking of things to do. I've began making a list of things to do before the year is over. Have you checked everything off on your list of to-do's for 2009? I am not sure that I had one of those for this last year (I think mine was only to survive grad school while raising babies, which lasted only one semester) but I know that I can come up with a few things to complete before 2010. Wow! We have a BIG year ahead of ourselves!! Here is what I'd like to accomplish before next year:
  1. Get my long distance running back in the neighborhood to be able to run another half-marathon.

  2. Incorporate flaxseed into my daily diet.

  3. Buy a juicer already--cleanse??

  4. Do a couple layouts for Asher's poor baby album.

  5. Get Family pictures taken by Jenn
  6. Visit my Alma Mater.

  7. Make an Advent Calendar for Christmas like my cute sis-in-law Brittany

Any plans for you?

Thursday, October 1, 2009

The Beach and Stormy Seas

On a whim Saturday morning, Husband and I decided to take the babies to the beach for a quick and relaxing getaway. My in-laws are building a home in Long Beach, Washington, so it was to there we headed. Shortly after buying the beach property, my in-laws had Husband and Little Brother, aka--the guys who can build anything, build a small cabin to house all of us beach-hungry kids of theirs until the house is complete.

The cabin is a cozy little place with kites adorning the walls, a stove to warm fingers and toes, and usually 1-4 outdoors men hustling about getting ready for the next clam dig or crab fishing trip. During the evenings, we usually snuggle in for a movie or spend the night entertaining each other with jokes and stories.

Saturday, Husband, father-in-law & my uncle-in-law took to the seas in their fishing boat to catch us some crab and they did not disappoint! They returned home with 36 MONSTER CRABS!   Let's just say our dinner was nothing short of a feast.  Since the catch, we've made some Divine Crab Pizza and some good old crab cakes. Mmm.

Sunday, we headed for the beach to enjoy one of the last 70 degree afternoons of the year here in the NW. With sand in our toes we ran. jumped. yelled. laughed. played. chased. searched. stared. listened. breathed.

Playing on the beach was the perfect preface to a session of Care of the Soul reading. With Asher asleep and Brooklynn sitting comfortably in the camping chair next to me watching DORA on DVD, I began to read.

Thomas Moore writes,
"There is nothing neutral about the soul. It is the seat and the source of
life. Either we respond to what the soul presents in its fantasies and desires,
or we suffer from this neglect of ourselves. The power of the soul can hurl a
person into ecstasy or into depression. It can be creative or destructive,
gentle or aggressive. Power incubates within the soul and then makes its
influential move into life as the expression of soul. If there is no
soulfulness, then there is no true power, and if there is no power, then there
can be no true soulfulness." pp.129
During a period of time in my late teenage years, I battled depression. I suffered to the point that I was not sure if I'd ever be "normal" again, or if I'd ever be able to feel anything again. I was numb, unable to express myself or make decisions. I was in an unhealthy relationship that was far too unnecessary for a girl my age. It was during this time that I suffered the great conflict of pleasing others and repressing my own needs. Much of the emotional turmoil had to do with differences in my spiritual beliefs and those which I was raised to live, but also was the fact that I had no idea what it meant to take care of my soul.

Around this time, I remember sitting in a booth at Sherry's Restaurant across from my girlfriend, Emily dissecting my sadness and the hopelessness that I was feeling. That night we drank coffee into the wee hours of the morning and she listened as I attempted to strategize an easier course for myself. The struggle proved to run deeper than what a few cups of joe and some good conversation could fix, insomuch that its stubbornness followed me into college, visiting me at often in-opportune times. Although much of my depression had subsided by this time, I was still encountering rough waters. After each hit, I wanted to believe that the storm had settled indefinitely, but just as the ocean conjures, stormy seas would meet me again in clouds of questions and painful crashing waves.

One afternoon during my senior year in college, while driving the winding 270 from Moscow, Idaho back to Pullman, Washington--just nine short miles, the realization came to me--that until I put in the precious time to embrace the ache and dreariness within me, I was never going to reach solid ground. I had to reconcile the weathered parts inside before I could reclaim the parts of myself that I never seemed to have hold of, but seemed to have hold of me.

In an older post I wrote about this period of time when I described my process as I tended to my pain, the questions and the truth. I write about that particular year and that basement that I lived in with adoration, as it was there that I sought and met the beginnings of a personal reconciliation. It was in that tiny little basement bedroom that I surrendered to it all and with what I had of myself spiritually, began to heal and nurture the parts damaged in the storm.

I recognize this cycle of quiet-tending-to throughout difficult times I've faced over the years of my life. Its been necessary as I face trying seasons and it is necessary in my everyday as I am a woman who could not sanely exist without heaping amounts of solitude or my faith.  I'm just happy that at this time in my life I can run. jump. yell. laugh. play. chase. search. stare. listen. and breathe. and do so soulfully and faithfully.

“You must write every single day of your life... You must lurk in libraries and climb the stacks like ladders to sniff books like perfumes and wear books like hats upon your crazy heads... may you be in love every day for the next 20,000 days. And out of that love, remake a world.” ― Ray Bradbury
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