philosophy of life

Happy May Day!

Traditionally, May Day celebrates the Earth’s stirring from her winter slumber. In honor of this bridge between Earth Month and the coming summer I would like to share a couple of poems from Sublime Planet by Magdalena Ball and Carolyn Howard-Johnson. These poems are re-printed with their permission. You can find two more poems, plus an interview with the authors at


The Man I Love and The Writing Spider

by Carolyn Howard-Johnson


Proud Arachne weaving threads of silver

into words became a changeling

at the hand of Zeus. Charlotte knew

the power of words

could save even a pig. The Writing

Spider my imagination’s



Forgetting my reverence for its writing

skills I begin to slide the patio door against

this micro werewolf in righteous

self-defense, his imagined face vicious,

hairy his legs, those tools under his belly

no longer idealized



Just in time, my husband, child of Zen,

tenderly shanghais my attacker. A folded

tissue—a papery cocoon not unlike

the silky space this spider makes

for herself in window


his palm.


He shakes her loose

from her pristine hammock


near the mound where ants

hang out to dine at will

on any fallen enemy

or comrade.


Saving one to kill or be killed.

Once, the savior of this story


rescued a bee, legs

and antennae

fruited with pollen,

only to have it plant its stinger

in his thumb and slowly die



Neither bee nor spider

aware of how tender

and treacherous my hero’s




by Magdalena Ball


Slowly, if you will

tip toeing through the biomass

pores hot and open

body on alert

pick through chemical decomposition

charred landscape of desire.


The wood beneath your fingers

terra preta

veins visible against filtered light;

a promise

you may or may not keep.



a concept too vague and amoral

to hold you.


The dirt below

becomes wilderness in your brain

the boggy soil in your gut

inspires forward motion.


Sublime Planet is the most recent book in The Celebration Series; I like the fact that all proceeds go to the World Wildlife Fund. If you like reading and sharing great poetry you’ll want to check out the rest of these titles. All are available as paperback and e-books.

Mother’s Day and Father’s Day are coming up fast—these make fun tuck-in gifts!


She Wore Emerald Then: Reflections on Motherhood (

Cherished Pulse: Love Poetry for the Rational

Imagining the Future: Ruminations on Fathers and Other Masculine Apparitions

( )

Deeper into the Pond: A Celebration of Femininity


And Blooming Red: Christmas Poetry for the Rational

And, of course, Sublime Planet in celebration of the Earth and Universe



Have a little May Day fun and share a short poem with us! In the comment section below, share a poem on the theme of May Day or Spring. Keep it short–under 200 character, like a Tweet.


Hysterectomy. At one time this surgery was thought to rid a woman of acting hysterically—which meant, basically, speaking her mind. Thankfully, those days are passed, but there are still times when a woman needs to consider having a hysterectomy. This can be a frightening and confusing time—a time when a mentor would be most welcomed.

Enter my friend Linda Parkinson-Hardman, founder of The Hysterectomy Association which provides information needed for women to make a fully informed choice. Linda’s newest project is an anthology of personal stories written by women experiencing hysterectomy. It is Linda’s hope that In Her Own Words: Women’s Experience of Hysterectomy will offer those journeying this path comfort and camaraderie. When pain wakes you up at 3 AM or you find yourself crying for the children you will never have it’s crucial to have someone to turn to—someone who has been there.

If you, or someone you love, have an interest in this topic then I have good news—you have the opportunity to help create this book! Linda is using Kickstarter to promote her idea and rally funds. She could really benefit from some publicity and pledges right now—she only has until March 9th, 2013 to raise funds. Please visit her page at Kickstarter for more information on this project.

DancingAtTheShamePromYou know she’s there, lurking behind every happy moment and every big decision…Shame. There she is, wagging a finger and reminding us of what we did—saying we don’t deserve anything more in this life. Did you think you were her only victim? The truth is that each of us hosts Shame—and it’s time to kick her out!

Amy Ferris and Hollye Dexter are on a mission to help us give Shame the boot! These talented ladies, together with twenty-five other writers, share their most shameful experiences in this new anthology Dancing at the Shame Prom. Their premise is simple; what you release no longer holds you.

In each of these twenty-seven chapters one writer shares her story, followed by her final thoughts on the matter and what she hopes readers glean from her tale. Like a loving sisterhood they tell us that everyone has at least one traumatic anchor—that isn’t shame, that’s life. Do the best you can along the way and then let it go. I’m willing to bet that no matter how bad your experience or choice was, you will find something more difficult in this collection—and if this writer worked through her shame so can you!

P.S. Bring a box of tissues.

Ready to dance? Dancing at the Shame Prom is on a virtual tour through January 10, 2013. Follow their tour, interact with the authors and enter to win copies—the information is all here at Women On Writing . You can also visit the authors at Please enjoy this book trailer featuring Hollye at the (shame) prom.

<iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”; frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen>


Dancing at the Shame Prom

Edited by Amy Ferris and Hollye Dexter

Seal Press (September 11, 2012)

Destiny Allison was living an all-too-common existence as a wife and mother who had lost her sense of self, and yet, she felt a stirring underneath. One frustrating evening she took up a handful of hobby clay and molded a figure. In this figure she recognized the chasm between the lives we bear and the lives we desire.

What lies beneath the personae we don each day? How do we uncover our masked face? Where can we find a reflection of our true self and the courage to exchange living for existence? Destiny Allison found her answers at the intersection of art and life.

Shaping Destiny: A Quest for Meaning in Art and Life isn’t just a book on transformation; it includes studies in form, structure, and vision. It isn’t just a book about art; in it the author candidly shares personal philosophies and life changes. This is a book with a holistic view of the mergence of art and life.

Destiny begins each chapter with an art lesson followed by her autobiographical narrative bringing us along as she discovers her passion for art, uncovers her abilities, and sculpts a new life. I found the author’s writing to be intelligent and candid; she drew me in immediately and kept my attention throughout the book.

If you are a creative or artistic person, if you enjoy memoirs, or if you are at a crossroads and need a bit of encouragement I highly recommend Shaping Destiny: A Quest for Meaning in Art and Life by Destiny Allison. This book made my Top 5 list!

Charlie- A Love StoryThose of us lucky enough to have had childhood pets sometimes take the human-animal connection for granted. But Barbara, who could not have a puppy as a child, never has. Once able to fulfill her childhood longing, Barbara opened her home to both dogs and cats. Then, one very special someone came into her life—a Golden named Charlie.

Charlie: A Love Story is Barbara’s ode to her very best friend. Taken directly from her personal journal, the entries invite us into her innermost thoughts as she experiences the aging and eventual passing of her beloved Charlie.

Any who have lost a special friend will relate to how the colors of life merge from vivid to gray when a pet is ill—this is apparent in Barbara’s entries. When Charlie is healthy and happy the author delights us with detailed descriptions of her California garden; the new plantings, the blooms and scents. .. When Charlie is ill her focus is all on him.

Having lived in California I found the garden entries particularly soothing against the backdrop of Charlie’s illness. Familiar with the weather patterns, the various plants in Barbara’s garden, and all the cities mentioned I felt as if I was right there with her. Also familiar with the intense grief of loosing a special friend, the loss of Charlie stirred my own not-yet-healed emotions. Thankfully, this book ends not with the loss of Charlie but with Barbara’s coming to terms with it…her healing, which allowed me a bit more healing as well.

Charlie: A Love Story will touch your heart. If you love gardening, pets, and memoirs I recommend this love story. To read more about Barbara and Charlie go to Barbara is having a virtual book tour this month and several stops are hosting giveaways.

The Art of Loving Your Life

is to fearlessly rediscover yourself

 Embrace change—in fact, welcome it–welcome it to the point of excitement


What new thing can I learn?

In what new ways can I apply what I know?

What emotional junk can I release to allow room for more delightful discoveries?

What hidden talents do I possess?


  • How deep is my love?
  • How wide is my soul?
  • How broad is my vision?


This and a pot of tea…


I wrote today’s post as part of the WOW-Women on Writing’s “The Art of Loving Your Life” Blanket Tour celebrating the release of Chique Secrets of Dolce Amore by Barbara Conelli (

Barbara Conelli is an internationally published bestselling author, seasoned travel writer specializing in Italy. In her charming, delightful and humorous Chique Books filled with Italian passion, Barb invites women to explore Italy from the comfort of their home with elegance, grace and style, encouraging them to live their own Dolce Vita no matter where they are in the world.

Her latest book, Chique Secrets of Dolce Amore offers an intimate view into the unpredictable and extravagant city of Milan, its glamorous feminine secrets, the everyday magic of its dreamy streets, the passionate romance of its elegant hideaways, and the sweet Italian art of delightfully falling in love with your life wherever you go.

Visit The Muffin to read Barbara’s post about loving life and view a list of other blogs participating in The Art of Loving Your Life tour.

Please share your thoughts on loving life! If you comment on this post or any of the others participating in The Art of Loving Your Life tour, you’ll be entered to win a signed copy of Chique Secrets of Dolce Amore! Comments will be accepted through June 27th. Winner will be announced on Friday, June 29th.

What are your favorite memories from childhood?

Closing my eyes, I ponder this question. The soft whoosing of water spraying under the creosote bush takes me back to summer days spent running through the sprinklers. Mom would have made frozen orange juice bars and Dad would be preparing the grill for a dinner on the patio.

Breathe, what else comes to mind?

  • The excitement and awe of kittens being born.
  • Pulling green onions from the garden for munching. (Actually, the bulbs never came out so I ate the green tops…much to Dad’s frustration.)
  • The soft hummm, click-click-click of the sewing machine.
  • The day Dad taught me how to use a torch to burnish edges of a decoupage–I think I was I was 9yrs old. (I wonder if Mom knew what we were up to…)

There are plenty of fond memories from bedtime tuck-ins to my parents spontaneously breaking into song…usually in the kitchen. Looking back, I’d say my fondest memories are those that whisper, “Home.”

I wrote today’s post as part of the WOW-Women on Writing’s “Everybody’s Talking About Favorite Childhood Memories” mass-blogging event celebrating the release of Finding Emma by Steena Holmes (

Steena is a woman who believes that ‘in the end, all things succumb…to the passions of your heart’. Steena’s life revolves around her family, friends and fiction. Add some chocolate into the mix and she’s living the good life. She took those passions and made them a dream come true by pouring her heart into each of her stories.

Finding Emma has quickly become a bestseller. Proceeds from each book will be donated to The Missing Children’s Society of Canada – an organization dedicated to reuniting families. Visit for more information.

If you comment on today’s post on this blog or any of the others participating the “Everybody’s Talking About Favorite Childhood Memories” day,  you’ll be entered to win a signed copy of Finding Emma!

To read Steena’s about childhood memories and view a list of other blogs participating in the “Everybody’s Talking About Favorite Childhood Memories” day please visit The Muffin.

What is it that makes your life poetic? How do you find beauty in every day? What is the art to loving your life?

To celebrate the release of Chique Secrets of Dolce Amore by Barbara Conelli, and to celebrate life, WOW! is hosting an “Art of Loving Your Life” tour. Bloggers everywhere will be posting their thoughts on finding beauty and balance.

The plane has already lifted but you can view the list of stops over at The Muffin. Last stop will be A Ponderance of Things on June 22! At each stop, leave your comment. At the end of the tour one winner will be chosen to receive a signed copy of Chique Secrets of Dolce Amore by Barbara Conelli.

See you here on the 22nd!

Need a reason to smile? Here’s a look at a one-of-a-kind-can’t-say-no marriage proposal! (Softies, you might need a hanky)

I received this via a newsletter from Patti Digh at 37 Days.

Here’s wishing Isaac and “Sweat Pea” many, many happy years! ♥

I can’t believe I’m showing you this but here it is…my kitchen table.

If I were to take you on a tour through my house you would see tidy piles in every room. There’s a pile for candle making and craft supplies, a pile for items destined for donation, the pile for clothes I can’t fit in the dresser or closet, the pile(s) of books I can’t fit on my shelves, etc… There used to be piles on the dining table as well but I’m proud to say that area is now cleared off—just don’t look behind the table.

I try to think back to when the clutter began. Did it start when I was injured? Did it get worse as I embraced my creative side? Am I making a statement or building boundaries? The pondering collides in painful chaos–time to escape with a book, this time a funny, poignant, and revealing tale of one woman’s journey into the depths of her clutter and the team of friends who helped pull her out.

A Cluttered Life: Searching for God, Serenity, and My Missing Keys by Pesi Dinnerstein is one of the best books I’ve read in a very long time. Pesi brings us along on her journey as she comes to terms with her clutter—how it defines her, how it traps her, and how it inspires her. Between these pages I found a kindred spirit. I gained insight into my relationship with clutter. I learned how to laugh at myself and my piles. If you live with clutter, or if you just want a good laugh, I encourage you to read this book.

Pesi is currently touring with WOW! Women On Writing. Come on by for my interview with the author, more information about the book, and a list of tour stops. There are plenty of chances to win a free copy too!


Insightful, unsettling, and wildly funny, A Cluttered Life:  Searching for God, Serenity, and My Missing Keys (Seal Press) is the story of Pesi Dinnerstein’s quest to create a simple and orderly life—only to discover that simplicity is not so simple and what constitutes clutter is not always perfectly clear.  When a chance encounter with an old acquaintance reveals the extent to which disorder has crept into every corner of her existence, Pesi determines to free herself, once and for all, of the excess baggage she carries with her.  Along the way—with the help of devoted friends, a twelve-step recovery program, and a bit of Kabbalistic wisdom—her battle with chaos is transformed into an unexpected journey of self-discovery and spiritual awakening.

Paperback: 312 pages (and Kindle)
Publisher: Seal Press
ISBN-13: 978-1580053105
For more information visit: or

About the Author:

Pesi Dinnerstein (a.k.a. Paulette Plonchak) has written selections for the best-selling series Small Miracles, by Yitta Halberstam and Judith Leventhal, and has contributed to several textbooks and an anthology of short stories.

Dinnerstein recently retired as a full-time faculty member of the City University of New York, where she taught language skills for close to thirty years. She has been an aspiring author and self-acknowledged clutterer for many years, and has spent the better part of her life trying to get organized and out from under. Despite heroic efforts, she has not yet succeeded; but she continues to push onward, and hopes that her journey will inspire others to keep trying as well.

Share your clutter comments! Commiserations, remedies, and rants all welcomed:)

« Previous PageNext Page »