Yesterday we had a mini-tarot reading exercise at breakfast. I pulled the card “Fight” and was told that it meant that there was something I need to stop fighting. It left me in a mood for pretty much the rest of the day.

We visited two areas of Los Quinchos today-the Farm (the 2nd stage for boys in the program after the Filter House) and Yahoksa (the area where all the girls in the program live). We weren’t at either place for very long, just as we weren’t at the Filter House for very long the day before, but that hour was enough to leave a permanent imprint on my heart.

During process time in the evening (after a meditation session that had left me wide open), I just thought about how much I wanted to protect them all, and how I couldn’t, and how beautiful they all were. These children had either been living in the streets and addicted to paga (a shoe glue) or their had been living in very harmful home situations. They all smiled and laughed and played (as children are wont to do). Their resiliency is inspiring and frustrating…because children shouldn’t need to be so resilient.

I still don’t know what it is that I’m fighting. I’ve been fighting things for so long that I’m past the point of being able to figure it out. Maybe it’s that I need to figure out what I’m fighting for.


My first weekend here in Nica has been both an opportunity to relax and an opportunity to learn. Since I got here a day early, I had the opportunity to visit the laguna a whole week before almost everyone else. One word-gorgeous. It was nice to have a chance to hang out for a day and get acclimated to the weather, the time difference, and have some extra yummy food (Tostones con queso? Si!)



The next day, after everyone else arrived, we were off to Matagalpa to visit one of two casa maternas we would visit this trip. Along the way there was tasty fruit…and we seem to have way too much fun picking out our treats for the bus ride.


I don’t have pictures from the casa maternas we visited on my iPad (will add some later), but the work they are doing is amazing. I was particularly moved by the work done at the casa materna in Jinotega…they focus not only on insuring that the women who may be considered higher risk have the chance to access medical care and hospital during labor (though there are other issues going on there, the presence of casa maternas has done amazing things for the maternal mortality rate in Nicaragua), but also on the underlying societal issues that affect the women they serve-in particular abuse and sexual violence. I am intrigued by their work and hope to reflect more on it a little bit later.

The night we stayed in Matagalpa we visited this fantastic restaurant for dinner. The food was so-so, but the environment was amazing. The booths were painted with feminist quotes and words of empowerment…I don’t remember the full translation for this particular quote, but I do recall the end being particularly powerful to me. (I’ll double check the translation and post it later.)

The land is beautiful. The people are beautiful. I can’t wait to see more.

Hola de Nicaragua!

It’s finally arrived…something I’ve been working on since about this time last year…I am on Spring Break and in Nicaragua. Today I am thankful that I am not the only one of my group here…and that the other member that is with me speaks Spanish fluently. While traveling on my own is generally not a big issue, traveling to a country where you have extremely limited language skills has the potential of being a problem.

This time last year was an interesting time for me…not necessarily in a good way but it gave me some focus and desire to lead my life a little differently. I came up with the idea that, from then on, I was going to make it count. While I haven’t always been the best at it, I have still done more (I think) than I would have if I were just going through the motions. My goal while I’m here in Nica is to take it all in and then to go forth and do something with it. I’m wary of the idea that many from the US have about ‘fixing’ the problems of the developing world, but that does not mean that I cannot observe and learn…and take that going forward.

I truly appreciate the opportunity I have to be here. The bulk of the funds for this trip came from sources external of me…from family to friends to someone I have never even met. I am thankful to each and every one and will strive to insure their generosity does not go to waste.

There will be pictures eventually…today has been a rather uneventful day of travel and napping. There is great beauty here…and I’m sure I will see it in ways I never expected.

Word-Day 17, #Reverb13

(I know it’s technically the 18th…I’m cool with that…)

What word did you select to be your travelling companion in 2013? What gifts did this word bring?


That was my word for the year. It will likely be my word for next year.

I, like so many, forget to breathe. When I find my anxiety going through the roof, I would (and will) stop to count my breaths. It doesn’t always work, but sometimes it’s just enough. Because these spirals of anxiety often happen as I’m trying to fall asleep, the counting gives me something else to focus on.

Those of us who fight with issues of anxiety and/or depression know that what is going on isn’t completely rational. Sometimes, though, the grip is so tight that there feels like there is no escape. Taking things back to something as basic as breathing, at least for me, can feel like hitting a reset button.

It’s not a real tattoo…yet.

Boldly-Day 11, #Reverb13

What challenges lie ahead in 2014? How might you meet them boldly?

I read today’s prompt and laughed out loud. You know…that slightly maniacal laugh that comes from pure panic? Yeah, that kind of laugh.

I’m graduating with my undergraduate degree this spring.

Now, that’s a big enough thing at any time in life. I’m 35 and it’s been a process to get here, but here I am. I do have some advantages over a traditionally-aged college student, and I hope they will work to my advantage. But at the same time, I haven’t had a full-time job in almost 4 years, and I have moments where I am concerned. Then I panic.

My therapist talks to me (and I try to listen) about living life from a place of love rather than a place of fear. The fear part has kept me going for quite some times, and the fact that I have an extremely vivid imagination really feeds into it. It was a protective coping mechanism and it is something I really don’t need any more. So, with my graduation looming, and the fingers of panic trying to wiggle their way into my nerves, I’m taking action.

I’ll be:

applying to grad school (and all that entails-including taking the GRE, writing personal statements, etc)
applying for ALL the jobs
continuing to make it count

Here goes!

Self(ies)-Day 7, #Reverb13

Please post your favourite picture of yourself from 2013, self-portrait or otherwise!

When I was a kid I hated having my picture taken. My mother has oodles of pictures of me in the 3-5 year old stage, little arms crossed, head down, scowl on my face. I don’t know what it was back then, but it took me a long while (probably about 20 or so years?) until I stopped having a real issue. Granted, as I got older the crossed arms and furrowed brow went away, but I also had a tendency to hide my body behind people. I used being tall to my advantage, as I generally ended up behind everyone else. I’ve noticed over the years that I’ve even stopped doing that (unless it was a big group shot…then yeah, I’m going to be in the back or you won’t see anyone over my 6’1″ happy ass.) For whatever reason I’ve started putting myself in front of things…crowds, cameras, what have you. It’s been a good thing.

I believe I’m talking about penis models here.

I have also find that I like to be silly from time to time. This is also not something I would consider a norm for me.

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So thankful I #knit. #coldnose

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But my favorite ‘selfie’ isn’t even of my face. It’s a space of vulnerability and gratitude. In this particular picture, the post says

“Thought of the day…I was in the shower and decided I was going to wear a dress to school today. Not my typical longer dress, but a short one that would hit at or above my knee. This may not seem like a big deal, and it really isn’t, but it is a step for me in being appreciative of my body, whether or not I like how it looks. I have thick’s where I carry a good portion of my weight, and I liken them tree trunks sometimes. But…when I flex, there is a considerable amount of muscle there (thanks, #legday) These legs have carried me at my heaviest, my lowest, and everywhere in between. How can I not be #thankful for that gift? Yes, sometimes they hurt, and they aren’t the prettiest, but there’s been a lot of abuse on my part. Right now, I just need to say thanks and work to treat them better.”

Grief & Hindsight-Day 4 #Reverb13

I’m starting this poem in the middle as the beginning is too raw.

Then came the appointments
and the ultrasound that wasn’t
quite right.
The quiet fury I felt
when the doctor’s staff
kept asking if
I’d started my period yet,
like they knew
some secret that
they refused to
let me in on.

We had named you…
I wasn’t ‘allowed’
to call you
though anyone
who’s been pregnant
knows it’s far from a
symbiotic relationship.

So you were
Pimento Loaf,
if only for a while.

I was afraid because
I didn’t love you
right away.
I was afraid
that was what
caused you to
go away,
even though
I know
it’s not true.

I’m sorry.
When you died
I think
a little part
of me died, too.

You would be
2 years old.
I think of you,
and love you
I hope somehow
that is enough,
but there will
always be
a part of me
that thinks
it’s not.

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They would be turning 1 around now…

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Listening & Brave-Day 3, #Reverb13

Today I lucked out a bit. The writing prompts for today work really well together. This makes me happy.

What does your heart have to tell you?


What was the bravest thing you did in 2013?

Bravery is often in the small things, the things we don’t look at under the harsh light of the day that is, right now, so very short. Part of it, possibly all of it, is listening to your heart ,or your gut, maybe, or some other metaphorically assigned body part that is in charge of making you make things happen.

The bravest thing I did this year? I decided to live. My heart told me to, even though it was sobbing from pain because everything surrounding that particular moment of life felt so desperately hard. I had the means and almost the motivation, but there was something quiet and small that said no.

So I listened.

Nourishment & Shining-Day 2, #Reverb13

What made your soul feel most nourished this year?

Years ago I remember stumbling across a video on YouTube. It was this man named Taylor Mali, and he was, among other things, a slam poet. The cadence of his words, the message he delivered, impacted me more than I ever imagined poetry could. While I would go through fits and starts, forgetting and then remembering that it existed, every once in awhile I would be reminded of this vehicle of words and meaning, drawing me into a bottomless pit of poem after poem.

Last spring, during National Poetry Month, I was introduced to the poetry of someone who I list as number 1 on my favorite poets list. Her words, and the words of others I fell into around the same time, helped me through a dark period, and gave me the courage to work through Difficult Things.

I have started writing my own poems. I do not perform, generally, not because I don’t want to, but because the vulnerability is just a bit too much at times. I have found that writing poetry provides an outlet to say what you can’t say otherwise. At the same time it just hurts.

Shine | What was the best moment of 2013?

I think the best moment of 2013 for me was when I decided that I had to make it count. Big decisions, changes in life course, and I realized that I was kind of floating by without intention, and I didn’t like it. Having purpose may seem like this trite thing, but at that point of my life, it was important. Since then, while I haven’t been 100 % successful, I have definitely attempted to take more opportunities as they have presented themselves. A big thing for me is reaching out to other people I admire or who have touched me in some way. It’s anxiety producing, but the more often I reach out, the easier I find it.

Starts & Feelings – Day 1, #Reverb13

How do you feel, on this first day, in your mind? In your body? In your heart? In your soul?

Mind, stressed
Body, heavy
Heart, light (relatively)
Soul, hopeful


At the start: Where did you start 2013?  Give us some background on this year.

The first half of 2013 was rough. School went well, but the wheels fell off a bit personally.

That’s a lie.

The wheels feel completely off and the undercarriage was scraped across the pavement, shooting sparks and threatening make the whole thing explode. It was not pretty.

The second half of the year has been remarkably better. It feels as though it will be ending on a high note, so here’s hoping. My goal is simple…to make it count.

I was introduced to #Reverb13 by someone who inspires me, and, being the overachieving joiner I am, I proceeded to join 2 ( and  I have never used writing prompts before, but I thought it might be a good exercise. I decided earlier this year that, due to decisions I had to make, from then on I was going to make what I did count. This is part of that work.