I haven’t always believed astounding as an achievable or excellent idea, but I’ve changed my mind.

I’ve come around now, decidedly defining the rules of my own engagement.

Because. Astounding is interpretive and discretional.

Its significance does not require recognition from anyone; nor does it require anyone else’s amazement.

It just has to be surprisingly impressive or notable – for me: astounding.

My recent round of astounding wasn’t well imagined, thought-through or out, or carefully planned. It just happened.

One thing leads to another. Tumbling into opportunities guaranteed to make sure my pulse is still there, reinforces I’ve got something to offer, and that I’ve somewhat still got “it.”

One was curiosity, pursued with no concrete intention. I just happened to be waving my catcher’s mitt, and someone happened to noticed.

I got caught up. Happily. Then, I got caught up again.

Apparently, opportunities do abound, if you know where to look for them; or, more accurately, if they know where to look for you. The next was a click-point that lured me in, dancing dangerously close to skitterish stomach rolls.

Then, one more time, close to overbooking with a third, I managed to commit only interest. I’m keeping my pencil poised over that one; to see how the story develops.

I present to you my newly astounding:

Requesting and accepting the volunteer position of Marketing Manager at One Brick Ann Arbor.

Joining and participating in a Dance Walking of Ann Arbor event.

Following and becoming an interested member of WordPress Ann Arbor.


I’ve been busy writing and sending press releases for One Brick.

I’ve danced my way up and down South Liberty on a sunny Saturday morning.

I’ve been jotting down WordPress events, planning to participate on less hectic weeks.


Responsibility, exercise and education; I’m feeling well-rounded.

Astounding, really.


Quote for the Week:

If we all did the things we are capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves.- Thomas Edison

Enjoy this week’s discovery links:

One Brick Ann Arbor:

Dance Walking in Ann Arbor:

(Walk-Dancing; redefined. Observing a moment of my own reflection in a restaurant window, I was very much caught off guard by my own heavy-metal scowling, “Thriller” meets speed-walking, accentuated with arm-pumping enthusiasm. If you visit the site, you can see me in action.) J

82 Astounding Facts about Cats:

astounding packard stone school dandelion sunday 06 22 2014


Shoes and Pockets

It mostly takes sorrow to understand what it means for life to change in a minute or less; a blink of the eye.

I recently made my first volunteer trip without a notebook. Actually, I had a notebook, a specially made one, at that. I never had the chance or made the time to pick it up at night, in the morning, or during the day. I was that busy, that engaged, so much a part of the experience.

A few times, with a few spare seconds, I’d text myself notes without actually capturing the story. I only took one phone call on the job as well. It’s a number I always answer with one eye closed, as if grimacing and half-sight would lessen the possible bad news or make whatever I’m about to hear better. That day, I wasn’t fielding a crisis call, just an interestingly timed hello that coincided with a break between events.

My usual crutch, this time imprinted, spiral bound, soft-covered, had no place to ride. I made sure I packed pants with plenty of pockets, but it was just too wide; not easily rolled, cumbersome. So, my business card coordinated journal only left my shallow suitcase to be unpacked and repacked a few times as sleep accommodations changed. Accommodations changed four-times, but still, the pages remained blank, and my pockets remained full of emergency preparedness, and my shoes became varied.

Advised to bring along, the most comfortable, non-open-toed footwear owned, as a seasoned volunteer I brought along three. The most comfortable travel shoes, the broken-in but not broken-down lightweight running shoes, and the heavier, clunkier, dingy white walking shoes I’ve had for years. The travel shoes for the trip, the lightweights for indoor, the heavy-weights for potentially wet or muddy conditions; I thought I had it covered. After the first 4 hours of unexpected continuous circling on concrete, the day before the venue opened, my feet already disagreed.

Even the most comfy shoes can become the wrong ones in a given situation. When your absolute comfort zone becomes absolutely uncomfortable, it’s time to take the next step and step-out. Switching often was the recommended cure. I redefined “often” to suit my schedule: 8:30 am – 4:30 pm, and then 5:30 pm – ?, and because an extra pair of shoes wouldn’t fit in any of my pockets, either.

That’s how I came to be leaning slightly against a tall cushioned stool on my third night as Press Room, Cooler and TV Monitor, and how I came to be fully sitting as often as possible on the fourth evening. It’s how I arrived at a greater understanding of shoe references in folk-lore and axioms, and challenge their worth.

In the midst of high profile questions and cameras, gratefulness, humble humility and recognition of greater things were common themes. Often repeated, regarding a tragic event or overcoming odds, one phrase floated. Seemingly hovered near the ceiling, drawn in with deep breaths, and released again and again, made known by succession – it really was remarkable.

The common implication that life can change in a minute or in the blink of an eye usually refers to the unexpected – something bad. Nursing painful feet, cramping calves, traumatized thighs, I’ve exhausted-but-clear-headedly come to the conclusion it can go the other way. From good to bad or from bad to good are the really the only two options of change available. These are the roads thoroughly traveled by artists, musicians, poets and dreamers; everyday people – the ones who make things happen and keep life running.

So, maybe it’s time to stop expecting the other shoe to drop, and graciously accept another pair.

Perhaps it’s time to preemptively trade the moulded cradle effect of the same shoes we’ve been wearing over and over to allow our standard stance some breathing room, stress-reduction and sore spot-regeneration.

I’m not recommending a challenging cliché. I’d really rather you didn’t attempt to walk a mile in my shoes.

I’d rather you dance a few feet, run a mile or appreciatively stand still in your own shoes.

I do suggest changing them often or finding a new pair; a shoe-in process proven to combat the painful bondage of repetition.

Then, be sure your pockets are deep enough to hold all the happiness that comes your way.

Ephesians 6:15: For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared.


Quote for the Week:

To be happy, it first takes being comfortable being in your own shoes. The rest can work up from there. Sophia Bush


Enjoy this week’s discovery links:

Stop Waiting for the Next Shoe to Drop:

How to Find Shoes that Fit:

Sophia Bush:

if the shoe fits wear it 06 17 2014


Packing Lunch

Road trips. Our family vacations required them. Driving to Florida, or towing a trailer to Vermont, it’s how we moved out of our well-planned lives into well-planned adventure. I didn’t fully understand the term or the reasoning behind it, but children seldom do. It was one of the privileges of my youth to not know their necessity. I never questioned our destinations, just rode along happily wherever we were headed.

There were plenty of educational opportunities at every location. Exploring forts, museums, castles, state parks were always on the schedule, along with camp fires or shore-time. Coolers always came along, even to hotel-rooms. Lunch was a time-monitored road-side picnic at a highway rest-stop or a stop-along-the-way side-trip.

Heavy coolers filled with ice; heavy jugs filled with water, or occasionally, previously powdered, artificially lemon-flavored iced-tea mix, were hauled to picnic tables or occasionally, and only in the case of a lack of an available table, blankets.

A loaf of sliced bread, a large container of made-at-home tuna fish salad and apples were standard fare. Sometimes, sliced onion and tomatoes, and potato chips were included. Rarely, cookies or candy came along for the ride. Rarely, very rarely a two- liter of carbonated extravagance emerged as a surprise.

Packing lunch is easier now. Though it seems most people don’t, I still do. Partly because of fear, partly because of budget concerns, and partly because I want to. The fear factor comes along with stopping at off-highway gas stations or restaurants alone. The budget is because I want to arrive at my destination with funds to follow a whim. Modified tradition is why I want to. I work stretch stops and lazy lunches into my calculations. I carry healthier foods knowing I will indulge in a restaurant meals and desserts. I tote apples, and water, granola bars, cheese, yogurt, bananas, oranges, peanut butter, a bagged salad kit, home-made diced chicken, instant coffee and M&M’s. The majority of the M&M’s make the return trip in a close-by car cup to help relieve boredom. Granola bars and peanut butter are completely portable protein breakfast companions. There’s usually an apple around, too.

Driving is still my preferred method of travel. Shifting through scenery and sometimes seasons revives my senses. I pay more attention to colors and shapes; I rediscover rediscovering, alertness, and inspiration. I listen to decades old playlists and check-in with radio stations that seem to be in the middle of nowhere, but are actually very somewhere to someone. I think about things or think about nothing as I roll along monitoring gas levels, checking time, and trying to decide if waiting another 51 miles for the next rest stop is appropriate.

I stop more often on the way home, for some well needed stretches and to satisfy the rebellious because-I-can and slow-down there’s no need to get home in a hurry, reluctance to return to normal.

While packing lunch has sentimentally remained with me, as a part of learned process, it comfortably mixes with my modern needs. In between the going and coming, savoring time is an experience of premeditated self-care and pause, taking pleasure in the stops along the way.

Quotes for the Week:

“Travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.” – Miriam Beard

Enjoy this week’s discovery links:

Miriam Beard:

How to Make the Most of the Stops Along the Way:

Bob Gibson: Stops Along the Way, and other fantastic stuff: 


Spring Appreciative

In the spirit of never having missed a single week’s post in almost eight years, I am offering this one up a little early for good reason. Things change.

Spring has sprung from desolate browns to attention grabbing greens. It’s not possible to pinpoint an exact moment. Especially, since there wasn’t one; things just changed.

I could probably shave another 3 minutes and 30 seconds off my three-mile if I stopped stopping to snap greedy pictures of other peoples’ efforts. I feel like a creep, but new growth is newly fascinating.

The yellows are crisper, the reds run deeper, oranges out-put neon, wispy clouds seem whiter-than-white: every shade of pink pops and the sky is a clearer blue. Pristine, unravished by insects or shriveled by the sun; it all feels so… new. Like something’s changed.

I want to capture these beautful microcosmic worlds; strangely struck by the wonder of it all. Somehow, my camera-eye images are mostly (oddly) perfect; though I can barely see the screen. Sometimes, I can’t see it at all, but click away blindly anyway. Some of my most remarkable shots have been I-hope-I’m-getting-it gambles. Some of my worst have been ardent studies in perceived light perfection and complete focal clarity.

I find no abandonment in this randomness; only surprises
God speaks, and wholly appreciative, I confess.
Something has definitely changed.

Quote for the week:

Song of Solomon 2:11-12 ESV For behold, the winter is past; the rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth, the time of singing has come, and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land.
Enjoy this week’s discovery links:

Darkroom vs Digital:

No-Fuss Garden Plans:

Stress Break Mmm: