#ThursdayTreeLove | Winter Care

Beckra Leaf

Cherish the winter. Cherish its quietness, the time of going within to rest and heal. Cherish this time of preparation that must come before new life. Cherish the hope that lies beneath the snow.  –Melody Beattie, Journey to the Heart 

This morning, as I was reading the passage above, I realized why I feel a bit on edge: this winter has been anything but quiet and restful. I have been busy, busy, and busy beyond busy, but as of this moment, I am taking a page out of Melody Beattie’s book (pun intended) and strategizing ways to find rest and quiet in the middle of the busy. It can be done. I mastered the art of stillness in the midst of madness before and, by the grace of God, I can do it again.

The strange thing is that I began to accept this level of “all the time” busy as normal. Everybody seems out of control with busyness, and no one seems really okay with it. I see the desperation for respite and healing in the eyes of many as we cross paths. I hear the frenzy in their voices. The rush to “normalcy” during the height of pandemic has affected us in significant ways—especially (I think) those of us in (all levels of) education. 

Therefore, we must be intentional—jealous even—about protecting ourselves and not allowing our jobs, our communities, and even our own aspirations to define what should be normal for us. We must take the reins (again) of our own lives and drastically eliminate the unnecessary.

It seems cliche, but it isn’t: take care of you. 


About the Image: The beautiful leaf image was shot by my pen friend, Rebecca R (Beckra). It isn’t amazing how we can see in the leaf a whole tree?

I am joining Parul Thakur for #ThursdayTreeLove every second and fourth Thursday of the month. If you would like to play along, post a picture of a tree on your blog and link it back to her latest #treelove post.

#ThursdayTreeLove | Green Trees in My Heart

Golden Glow Tree-3

Keep a green tree in your heart and perhaps a songbird will come. –Chinese Proverb

I missed the last month and a half of posting for #ThursdayTreeLove, so I am dropping in to share some trees from a recent brief walk between buildings on campus. The sky boasted an unusual hue–a cross between overcast and golden skies. These pics do not do justice to the scene I beheld. There was no way a phone camera could adequately capture the gorgeous play between trees and clouds, but I hope these are at least adequate.

I didn’t attract any songbirds, but if you look closely, you can see a squirrel hanging out in one of the pics. Close enough, right? 


I am usually joining Parul Thakur for #ThursdayTreeLove every second and fourth Thursday of the month, but I’m playing catchup and sharing on the third Thursday. If you would like to play along, post a picture of a tree on your blog and link it back to her latest #treelove post.

Deep Silence and the Conversation with Our Hearts

Rebecca R

It is possible to speak with our heart directly. Most ancient cultures know this. We can actually converse with our hearts as if it were a good friend. In modern life we have become so busy with daily affairs and thoughts that we have lost this essential art of taking time to converse with our heart.  —Jack Kornfield, A Path with Heart: A Guide Through the Perils and Promises of Spiritual Life

As I mentioned in my Sit with It post, I have been out of sorts. Not quite myself. I woke up this morning able to name some of my feelings–disoriented and flustered, like I can’t quite find my footing. These feelings remind me of the time [a little more than a decade ago] when I went silent for about three months. I still spoke with others, but I did not engage in lengthy conversation, did not engage in discussions about points-of-view on issues. I didn’t even listen to sermons. I closed my ears to all voices but God’s. I am heading in that direction again. 

Lately, I have spent too much time and energy striving, struggling, wrestling inwardly [with myself] and outwardly with other people and their struggles, strivings, and energy. There’s so much brain clutter that the only way through it is through silence. Not a literal silence, but a spiritual one—a way of tuning out the unnecessary and tuning in to what is needful and authentic. 

There is deep rest in that type of silence, in withdrawing for a dedicated time from the madness of the world and giving full attention to the stirrings and musings of our hearts. 

I like the way Jack Kornfield put it. We need this silence to “converse with our own hearts as if it were a good friend.”


About the Image: The abstract photo above features the work of my pen friend, Rebecca R, also known as Beckra. The artwork sits inside one of my planners–as a reminder to write to Rebecca. The reminder has failed. I owe you many letters, Rebecca. [Insert Face Palm Emoji]

Life Insurance: Nannie Helen Burroughs

Nannie Helen Burroughs

Reproduction of Knowledge Trust, part of Dead Feminists series of broadsides. Chandler O’Leary and Jessica Spring.

Education and justice are democracy’s only life insurance — Nannie Helen Burroughs

Although we are eight days into the month of November, I came to my senses and decided not to post every day for NaBloPoMo 2022. It took me a few days, but I realized that I don’t want to post for the sake of posting, especially when I need to spend my “real writing energy” on the unfinished essays that are due by the end of the year [self-imposed deadline]. Beginning with this post, I will return to my regular blogging schedule of two to three posts per week. I am looking forward to participating next year and I already have a manageable idea for the month.

Tonight I am sharing a postcard that was waiting for me when I returned from my brief roadtrip. It is appropriate for this election night as the results are rolling in. 

The postcard was sent by my Wildflowers friend, Kathi G. One of her artist friends creates inspirational art for women through the Dead Feminists Series, of which this card is part. 

The card features Nannie Helen Burroughs, an educator, religious leader, social activist, orator, businesswoman, feminist, and more.

The tiny print at the bottom of the card reads: 

Nannie Helen Burroughs (c. 1879 – 1961) was born in Orange, Virginia and moved with her mother to Washington, DC after her father’s death. As a student at M Street High School, she met activists Mary Church Terrell and Anna J. Cooper. After graduating with honors, she moved to Kentucky to work for the Foreign Mission Board of the National Baptist Convention (NBC). At NBC’s annual meeting in 1900, Burroughs’ speech “How the Sisters Are Hindered from Helping” gained national attention and inspired her to co-found the NBC auxiliary Woman’s Convention (WC), the largest Black women’s organization in the United States. Here Black women could exercise their labor and organizing power independent of male membership and white women suffragists. Burroughs served the WC for over 40 years, first as corresponding secretary, then as president.

In 1907, funded by donations from women and children, Burroughs opened the National Training School for Women and Girls in Washington, DC, adopting the motto “We specialize in the wholly impossible.” To develop “the fiber of a sturdy moral, industrious, and intellectual woman,” students learned vocational skills to become self-sufficient wage earners. Burroughs’ Africon-American history class was a graduation requirement. She served as school president until her death. The former Trades Hall, now a National Historic Landmark, today houses the Progressive National Baptist Convention.

Illustrated by Chandler O’Leary and printed by Jessica Spring, in gratitude to the Black women who have insured our democracy’s future beneficiaries. 190 copies were printed by hand at Springtide Press in Tacoma. March 2022

You can find out more about the Dead Feminists broadsides by clicking the link: Dead Feminists.

For a little more about Nannie Helen Burroughs click here: Nannie Helen Burroughs; click here for a few details on her relationship with the the Martin Luther King, Jr. family: Burroughs and the Kings; and click here for a list of her speeches with links: Burroughs’ Speeches.

Until next time…

Literary Wisdom: Sunflowers and Light

You Are One of the Lights

I am thinking about participating in National Blog Posting Month (NaBloPoMo) this year. I participated from 2016-2019, but I missed the last couple of years because the thought of blogging daily during the height of the pandemic was overwhelming. Now, I feel like I might need the daily distraction of Pics and Posts to help me stay sane. I’ll spend the next couple of days figuring out a strategy (and topics), and we’ll see how life goes. I already missed Day 1, so if I decide to post every day, I will end on December 1 instead of November 30. 

For today, I’m sharing a postcard from my Wildflowers literary sister, Gina B. Her postcard carrying sunflowers and light arrived just when it should have. In this quote from Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1897), Dr. Van Helsing enthuses over the work of Mina Murray who transcribes the diaries of Lucy Westenra, Dracula’s first victim. 

Here’s an interesting tidbit: I could not read Dracula. One of my graduate professors suggested the book for my master’s thesis, but I only read a little more than half the book before deciding against including it in my work. I was having very vivid nightmares associated with the characters and plot and simply could not allow myself to be tortured any longer. Despite the nightmares, there’s no denying the postcard Gina B sent presents a beautiful bit of literary wisdom!

There are darknesses in life and there are lights, and you are one of the lights, the light of all lights.

Creative Gathering | Music and Peace

Sarah R-1

When playing music, it is possible to achieve a unique sense of peace. –Daniel Barenboim

Today, I shot a photo of a new colleague, a gifted violinist, as she performed for our chapel service today. She had such a sweet, peaceful expression as she played that I was compelled to pick up my camera. I attempted the impossible–to capture the profound moment when musician and instrument coalesced and conspired to unshackle us from the bonds of this world and invite us into that peace. 

Postcards That Make a Statement | Malcolm X…a way unto ourselves

Malcolm X

We have to keep in mind at all times that we are not fighting for integration, nor are we fighting for separation. We are fighting for recognition…for the right to live as free humans in society. –Hotel Teresa, New York City, April 6, 1964

Malcolm was a path, a way into ourselves.  –Maya Angelou


Who Sent It? This Malcolm X (El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz) postcard, like the Anne Frank postcard posted last week, also came from Dove S. That reminds me. I owe her some happy mail!