Many years ago, I lived in a neighborhood where an outdoor cat had a habit of walking in mud puddles and then jumping up on parked cars, leaving a line of muddy paw prints across the car. Maybe the cat thought of itself as an artist. We usually kept our cars safely in the garage, but the cat got my husband’s car once when it was in the driveway, and our daughter (who was very young) thought it was hilarious when he grumbled, “I hate cats!” For a long time after that, she went around saying, “Daddy HATES cats!” and giggling.

That memory came to mind not long ago, randomly, when I was looking at a cat picture online. It got me thinking about how quickly life goes by. Even when things seem like major annoyances at the time, we may find that they make us smile later.

Word-art that says, "Never regret anything that made you smile." -Mark Twain

Nurturing Thursday was started by Becca Givens and seeks to encourage self-nurturing and to “give the planet a much needed shot of fun, support and positive energy.”

September 28, 2023 · 2 comments · Categories: Musings · Tags:

Almost four years ago, I wrote about a dream in which my subconscious mind repeatedly gave me a very insistent message: “Avoid assumptions, leave space for improvement.”

Not long afterward, the entire world’s assumptions got knocked for a loop in 2020, which made for some uncharted territory when it came to finding space for improvement in a much-changed society. I made more friends online, and one of them kindly gave me a custom-made mug decorated with my new personal motto. I’ve been keeping squares of dark chocolate in it.

Photo of a mug with the words "Avoid Assumptions" and "Leave Space for Improvement."

Looking back at the changes, I had more space for improvement in my life than I knew. Because labor shortages have prompted management to do more to retain long-term employees, I feel more valued in my workplace. My husband changed jobs, is better paid, and can work from home, after a lifetime of cube-dwelling purgatory. Our finances are in better order, and we have much more freedom to travel now that we both can work remotely. I’m keeping the mug on my desk in hopes it will bring more good fortune my way!

I had meant to post my weekly Thursday entry earlier, but once again, the day got away from me. One of these days I’ll get my life better sorted. Of course, like anything else, it takes patience…

Word-art that says, "Adopt the pace of nature. Her secret is persistence." -Ralph Waldo Emerson

Nurturing Thursday was started by Becca Givens and seeks to encourage self-nurturing and to “give the planet a much needed shot of fun, support and positive energy.”

When I sat down to compose my Nurturing Thursday entry, I got distracted and spent some time browsing through old stories and posts I wrote many years ago. I had meant to say something about those persistent feelings of always searching for a sense of direction, with a bright, shiny future somewhere just out of sight.

After looking at some of my past blog entries, though, I realized there had been quite a lot going on in my life, whether or not I’d been consciously aware of it. I had been growing my wings—much more than I knew.

Word-art that says, "Your time as a caterpillar has expired. Your wings are ready."

Nurturing Thursday was started by Becca Givens and seeks to encourage self-nurturing and to “give the planet a much needed shot of fun, support and positive energy.”

September 13, 2023 · 2 comments · Categories: Musings · Tags:

What does it mean when you suddenly disappear in a dream?

I recently dreamed that I walked into a quiet, ordinary living room and was looking around. The room had white walls and white furniture, sort of like this photo:

Photo of a room with white walls and furniture.

(Creative Commons image via flickr)

Then my body vanished from the scene, but somehow, I was still there looking at the room. While I was trying—without much success—to make sense of how that could have happened, I woke up.

I’ve been wondering how to interpret that dream, and my best guess is that I feel lost in ordinary routine, searching for myself against a backdrop of plain white walls. Where do I want to be, really? And how do I keep myself from disappearing before I find it?

Of course, many of us are having such thoughts these days—so I’d say that dream was a sign of the times.

This week I’ve been having an email conversation with a friend about the common belief that when we are not feeling energetic, it is because we are getting older. Although I have felt somewhat tired and run down this summer, it was clear enough, when I thought about it, that the culprit wasn’t the lurking gremlins of middle age but, instead, had to do with higher expectations and pushing myself to do more than usual.

On Monday morning, I went to the boathouse with my husband, and we rowed 21K as practice for traveling to the Chicago rowing half-marathon this coming weekend. Naturally, I felt more tired than when I was younger and didn’t take fitness as seriously! Keeping up with a demanding workout schedule and traveling to rowing competitions, while working full time (and some amount of overtime) was more than I once thought I could do. I haven’t, in fact, lost energy; instead, as the years went by, I overcame a significant number of limiting beliefs and set the bar much higher.

Word-art that says, "Strength doesn't come from what you can do. It comes from overcoming the things you once thought you couldn't." -Rikki Rogers

Nurturing Thursday was started by Becca Givens and seeks to encourage self-nurturing and to “give the planet a much needed shot of fun, support and positive energy.”

All parts of this story are consolidated on one page here.


Ina had tensed to run before she consciously knew it. The voice had come from somewhere on her right, high and excited. Had a mob gathered to attack her already, in just the few moments she had been standing here in open view?

Turning, she saw only the high grass and bright wildflowers of the meadow. Bees buzzed placidly among the tall blossoms of purple clover. The lake spread out beyond, its muddy surface rippling in a steady southwest wind. Sycamores along the shore reached spidery branches over the water.

Photo of sycamore branches reaching into an overcast sky.

(Creative Commons image via flickr)

The branches swayed in the wind, in harmony with the lake’s ripples—but no, farther up in the canopy, a limb shook more vigorously. A small head came into view, framed by rustling branches.

“Hello, witch!” The little girl gave a cheerful wave, leaning out precariously along a quivering branch. Ina recognized her at once; this was Nellie’s daughter, Mabel. The child had been the first person Ina had met, right here in this meadow, almost a year ago when…

“Mama is baking apricot scones. My favorite!” Mabel announced, distracting Ina from a memory that teased at the ragged edges of thought. “We have enough to share. Come and visit with us!”

Ina fumbled for words, pondering how she might give a kind refusal without telling this innocent child her mama would more likely try to kill a witch than offer hospitality.

Without waiting for a reply, Mabel dropped quickly from one branch to another, the pace of her descent quite alarming. The wind gusted, shaking the tree even more; it wouldn’t be long at all before the approaching storm arrived.

“Be careful,” Ina started to say—just as Mabel lost her grip and fell.

The sycamore overhung the lake there, on a slight rise. Mabel had climbed down enough that she wasn’t far above the water. Ina expected to hear a splash as the child fell below the level of the bank, just out of her view. Instead, she heard a thud, followed by a scream of equal parts terror and pain.

The scream continued as Ina ran toward the lake. Just beyond the bank, a large dead tree limb, with several smaller branches attached to it, jutted out of the water. Mabel had fallen directly onto it, impaling her right leg on a spiky branch. A frightening amount of blood had soaked through the little girl’s skirt in just the short time it had taken Ina to run across the meadow.

Then, with a sharp crack, the branch broke, throwing Mabel into the lake. The scream stopped abruptly as the child sank beneath the rippling surface. A moment later, nothing but a few bubbles could be seen.

Ina, keeping her eyes fixed on the spot, flung herself into the water.