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Wintery weather arrived in Iowa this week and, along with the colder temperatures, brought something much more unpleasant. Mice. There is really no way for me to adequately describe how much I hate mice. Or rather, how much I hate mice that have come into my house. I have three cats, which should be a sufficient deterrent to any sane small furry creatures seeking shelter from the elements. These particular mice were apparently undeterred, or desperate; and so this weekend, which I’d envisioned spending cozied up with a new book, was instead spent sealing up...

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On Nostalgia

At various times in my life, I’ve experienced what I can only call acute attacks of nostalgia. Though I’m not sure this word accurately describes my experience, as most definitions of nostalgia incorporate the idea of wistfulness, which sounds gentle and airy. My experience is far more visceral, in which I am seized by an intense feeling of loss and grief that grabs hold of my heart and won’t let go, at least for a while. The first time I can remember feeling this was when I was 10 years old. I don’t remember what was...

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The joy of coming home

I've missed my blog.  I've been away for a while, traveling. I love to travel, but I always forget how long it takes to reorient myself after returning home.  I spent 11 days in Wales and I've been home for 11 days and I'm only now fitting myself back into my daily routines. This morning I took a walk around my neighborhood.  The leaves began to turn while I was away and it was wonderfully foggy this morning, which meant opportunities for photos everywhere. One of the joys of traveling is being surrounded by newness on all sides....

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The Joy of Being an Amateur

When I become interested in something new, I tend to pounce on it with a desire to understand it immediately and completely. The gap between what I know (which in the beginning is obviously very little) and what I want to know is so wide, I am overcome by a feeling of being very far behind. Logically I realize this makes no sense; how can I know something before I learn it? Regrettably, this voice of reason is usually no match for the more vocal part of myself intent on pointing out, persistently and persuasively, that...

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The Joy of Saying No

A few months ago, I was invited to be a featured book reviewer for a professional journal.   I agreed, though I wasn't sure I wanted to. Partly I said yes because it seemed like an opportunity-- someone was asking me to write. Also, my default response is yes. I'm not technically allergic to saying no, but I have what might be termed an adverse reaction. I received the book in late spring, with a lovely little post-it note attached that said, "Please email review by Aug. 1." Perfect, I thought. I have the whole summer to write this review....

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Finding the joy in fear, when fear is an indication of possibilities

The idea for this blog came to me as I was painting the walls of my new home office. The phrase “one thousand shades of joy” arrived on a breeze of inspiration and I had approximately three minutes to dream without restraint, all the possibilities unfurling before me, until fear caught up. Three minutes to go from “Yes! That’s it!” to “Wait… who are you to write about joy?” The title, which initially felt inspired and expansive, suddenly seemed too grand, too brazen, too big for little me. So I sat with the idea for a...

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