54 days To 2016

goal setting versus duty

I just read another person’s blog post where they noted that there are only 54 days left in 2015.



And that was the kick in the pants that I needed to return to this writing adventure.

My last post was in JUNE, right after my son’s high school graduation. There was a lot going on at that point, and I thought I would take a couple days off …

Now, SIX MONTHS later, I understand more fully the notion of “never skip twice.” It is Soooooo easy to just quit. Whether with writing or a diet or any positive habit that you are trying to develop in yourself. Skip once- it’s recoverable. Skip twice and the next thing you know, you are half a year down the road.

During the last few months, there have been some new Miriam things; I began a part-time consulting job with a small tech firm (which I love, btw). I lost 20 lbs (!). I had a birthday (quickly approaching that half-century mark). We put one of our pets down, which was heartbreaking, and I’m still not over that.

Our planet keeps turning and the events of our lives pull us forward, yet are we accomplishing all that we want to be/become?

The other day, during a counseling session, one of my clients (who is a published author) asked me what kind of writing I did. I stammered somewhat, and replied, “I don’t know. I have bits of everything – fiction, non-fiction, poetry – and none of it is completed. It’s all there waiting, waiting for something. I wish I knew what.”

I found myself getting quite emotional (which is terrifying if you are the therapist!). The conversation haunted me, because I really DO want to pursue my writing.

At some point, each person has to take stock of their lives and say, “What do I want to do with THIS day?” And not let the dozen’s of ‘to do’s force the direction of the day. Conventional wisdom says, “Do what must be done first and then you are free to do what you want.” I think, perhaps in your twenties, this might be good advice. But at some point, dreams die on the alter of responsibility. At this juncture in my life (and yours too, possibly) I need to reverse those ideas. I need to put the fresh energy into the deep desire; the ‘have to’s have the power to force me to do them anyway, even when I am tired.

So, though my yard needs raking and the lawn needs to have it’s last trim, though all of my bathrooms are dirty and it sure wouldn’t hurt if I cooked something- anything; still, what I am doing is writing.

We each have only 54 days left in 2015. What kind of return do you want for those days? It will only happen if you actually INVEST them in something, rather than let them slip by.

If you have an idea of what you want to use them for, leave a comment – it’s always encouraging to hear other people’s ambitions! : )

Have No Regrets

Graduation Day

“Well Mom, eerybody like cake.”

This (what Donkey said to Shrek) was the answer I got when I inquired about a graduation cake for my son, who was ending his high school career last week.

Yes, it’s true. Everyone does like cake.

It was chocolate, with chocolate frosting. And it was mostly gone, the day after the big event.

Any of you who have been to your own kid’s commencements know this event is a tornado of emotions – a swirling mixture of pride, astonishment, and nostalgia.

During that ceremony, we watched as our youngest said farewell to one of the most significant portions of his life thus far.

I felt joy – we could recognize his deep bass undergirding the large choir, magnified throughout the stadium. There was amazement, as I wondered at how 18 years had passed since I brought home this little boy, burritoed in a small blanket – one who is now over six feet tall and weighs twice as much as his older sister. I felt sadness for him, as I knew he would rarely again interact with most of the people in his class of 400.

You can’t comprehend at 18 how much your life will change in the ensuing 4-5 years. Its like a whole second life.

Graduations, weddings, funerals … these kinds of events give us a momentary pause, where we get to honor the more lofty spaces in our lives. We are afforded an opportunity to do our very best to live exactly in that moment and soak it all in.

The temptation for us all is to get derailed on temporal things that really don’t matter – what will I wear? What will we eat? Oh my, look at the traffic, or that screaming kid beside us. But none of that matters.

At least not to me. My obsession: are we doing in such a way that we will have no regrets? Because there are no do-overs for these kinds of events.

Does he know that I love him? Does he feel seen? Is he aware that I am engaged and there, fully present for him? It is his day, after all.

Of course, there were small dramas that happened throughout the day and I prayed almost continually:

“Jesus, let this be about him. Come between me and my struggles. Let me be the mom he needs me to be today.”

I think it went well. We smiled a lot. I cried some. There were many hugs between he and all who were there who loved him. He was surprised and delighted by his gifts. All in all, it was a good day; an excellent start toward a new chapter in life. : )

How To Dance With Your Fear

Fear paralysis – it’s a real thing. It stops us from going to the dentist or the doctor. It prevents men from initiating with a woman; or vice versa. Fear shuts down good ideas. It whispers that you are sub-standard and that no one would want to hear what you have to say.

I have always thought of fear as a hungry dragon; a bully. Someone who will take whatever ground you give it and unashamedly ask for more.

Many of you know that each year, I try something new. 2015 it is the year of writing – in public. I have long desired to publish a book – this blog is the beginning of that process. Putting something out there for people to engage with.

But it’s scary.

More so that I would have anticipated.

It is fear producing, because I can’t sit down with you and read your expressions. I can’t tell if you are misunderstanding what I am trying to say. I can’ t add extra words or fill you in on the back story. I can’t know where you are coming from as you read my words. Perhaps I will say something and you will disagree. It’s allowed. We all have our own opinions. Yet, in a virtual format, I see people being more direct (and rude) than they are in person. Anonymity seems to give license for aggression. For a die-hard introvert who is fairly private, an online presence feels somewhat naked.

Yet, I love to write. And I feel I have something to offer to the world, to you.

Deliberately Human is about exploring this – pushing both of us to examine our lives and stretch for better versions of ourselves. Some of the content will be quite practical – really, about making decisions to streamline life. Other posts will dive into the emotional, philosophical, WHY spaces of our lives. Because all action comes from a deeper ‘why.’

So. I dance with my fear.

I invite you to join me to dance with yours. To comment, to share your stories, to “Like” and “Tweet” and “Share” – I am looking for People willing to give feedback. Fellow Travelers. Allies. Explorers.

Will you come along?


I just discovered a new blog – a couple of minimalists who are straight shooters and serious about simplifying their lives.  

The thing I noticed in reading about simplifying is that stuff weighs us down.  Excess poundage, too many clothes, too many items on the wall, too many things in our drawers.  I know whenever I do a purge of things in a drawer that I never use, there is a sense of being able to breathe easier.

The last few months, about once a week, I get into my closet and I ask: Is there something I can get rid of today?  Usually, I can find one thing.  I have a place where I keep these items for about a month to see if I ever regret putting it there … and I never have yet.

We are overloaded with STUFF.

I’m a little bit dreading the holiday season and wondering how I can bless my friends and family with something of value but not just one more thing to gather dust.

It’s not just physical objects that weigh us down.  Some of us have more relationships than we can actually nurture. Often, we are trying to change more aspects of us than are possible.  Even spiritually, if you focus on too many ideas or habits, you actually achieve none of them.

Less really is more.  Remove one thing from your “to do” list, or  your “should” category, or your garage … it will give you more energy to focus on what remains.  Over time, this gives you distilled space and thought.

I like it, I love it, I want some more of it –

Of Simplicity.  : )

Here is a sample of one of their posts: http://www.theminimalists.com/rid/

Black Friday Madness

I shun Black Friday.  

Too many people for an introvert.

However, I did get a deal:

An app that senses the daylight and adjusts your computer screen with a sepia tint that is much kinder to your eyes than the normal glarish blue glow.  It takes a little while to get used to the color change, but it is great on the eyes; and … its