Sunday, December 19, 2010
Sunday, December 5, 2010
Thursday, December 2, 2010
Monday, November 29, 2010
"It's in those places...those fissures...those very fragile and quite dark places...abysses that people find themselves in...I think those places give up this opportunity for revelation, for transcendence, for transformation.
I'm attracted to them not for their darkness, I think in everything I write, it seems strange to say, I feel hopeful about all the potential, about the magnitude of life and all that we are given to feel. I'm not shy about touching and talking about how painful it is, but I have this hope that somehow in dwelling in all of that there is an opportunity for some kind of enhancement."
Saturday, November 27, 2010
What are you doing?
Driving to swim lessons.
How is Daisy?
Did you have a good Thanksgiving?
Yeah. We had ham. What were you for Halloween? I was a fairy by day, witch by night.
I wasn't anything. I went to bed early.
You know what we forgot to do when I was in Denver? We forgot to make a Christmas list.
What could I send you for Christmas?
You know. You know. You know. Not clothes.
My mom and dad made my Toy Story 3 list and Santa is bringing me ONE Toy Story 3 thing.
Who do you think you'll get? Woody? Buzz?
Probably. But Dinosaur, Potato, Jessie, Woody, they are all my favorite.
Do you think they have Jessie at Target?
Probably they have Jessie at Target. She's twenty cents.
*****mumbling from what sounds like Madeline's mother in the background****
Oh, Amy? Jessie's MORE than twenty cents.
Okay. I will make sure I take enough cents for Jessie.
Okay. I love you.
I love you, Madeline. Have a good swim lesson. Call me again. Soon.
Friday, November 26, 2010
A little birdie told me today that
Lynn reads my blog.
Oh, the pressure!
When you (I) can write with the knowledge that
no one is reading,
you (I) can write anything at all.
At least it's Lynn,
who teaches second and third grade,
and is used to a lot of trial and error
Thursday, November 25, 2010
Nathan Alexander Dickerson McCracken
To me, simply Buddy.
For a hundred reasons that everyone knows,
and for many, many reasons that
only I know,
today it is Buddy.
During the middle of a night
23 years ago, my heart broke with
the knowledge that the tiny person I
was holding would grow up and
leave me one day.
But it doesn't really happen like that.
There's mercy in the way children go.
They leave you a little bit every day.
And we celebrate it.
When they learn to feed themselves.
When they walk.
When you change the last diaper.
When the school bus pulls away.
When one day they have body odor.
When you can't breathe because you see tail lights fading up the street.
Then there is the tassel on the mortarboard.
And the goodbye on the curb outside of the dorm room.
A little bit every day.
Until they really are gone--and all grown up.
But, if you're lucky, as I am, your child will
do or say something that makes you
realize they'll never forget that you
held them in the middle of the night
and that your heart broke.
And everything will be okay.
Buddy Nathan Alexander Dickerson McCracken,
I love you.
Monday, November 22, 2010
Thursday, November 18, 2010
Oh, Leslie, honey, I LOVE YOU!
On the first Wednesday of every month,
everyone I know is invited over for dinner.
Guests bring a dish to share and a small, handmade gift
to give away.
The "handmade" part stops some people from coming, I think.
Let Leslie inspire you to be
Work through the pain....
Monday, November 15, 2010
I get to hang out with this little girl
in three days.
I can't get this blog post formatted
the way that I want.
I don't care. I get to see this
little girl when she gets out of school
And there's also 6 other people I dearly love who
are waiting my arrival.
Saturday, November 13, 2010
I'm not going to lie.
I invited myself to Julia's birthday party today.
And, oh my goodness, am I ever glad I did.
Let's all have AT LEAST one day a year
to wear a hat like this
and have a cake all to ourselves.
Happy Birthday, Julia.
***It is now the morning after the party and I'd just
like to say that my imploring you to have your own
birthday one day a year illustrates that I give myself a
little too much credit. You'll probably have a birthday one day a year
whether you read this blog or not. Please enjoy it.
Best in Show Candidates
I'm lucky enough to be the Executive Director
at Richmond Animal League (RAL). I do not
know how it happened, and I tried to talk
them out of it. But here I am!
Founded in 1979,
RAL is the area's longest operating
no-kill shelter. Our mission is
Providing hope, help, and homes for
animals in need.
Our biggest fundraiser of the year is an
event we call Best in Show.
We round up seven candidates
(who happen to be humans--don't hold it against them)
to vie for the coveted title of Best in Show.
These candidates embark on their own
fundraising campaigns, and for 10 weeks
become obsessed with raising as much money as
possible before we come together for a
Grand Finale. Every dollar is a vote and we tally it all
up to determine the victor.
The winner gets the following:
her mug on a Richmond billboard,
a $12.99 tiara from Party City,
and a heap of gratitude and a round of applause
from all of us!
This year's candidates were tireless and relentless
advocates for all of the cats and dogs in our care.
They wore their friends and families out,
they sat at restaurants for hours on end
because they were promised a percentage of
proceeds from evening sales.
They hosted Poker Runs,
and even had a date auction.
They robbed banks (just kidding),
held raffles, solicited sponsors, and, toward
the end, just resorting to posting on Facebook:
Support Me. Now.
The Grand Finale was held on November 12
at the Science Museum of Virginia.
The candidates raised almost $63,000
for the animals in our care, and those cats and dogs still to come.
It's a tough world out there.
But these women make it look easy.
Here are my heroes today....
Thursday, November 11, 2010
It's Veteran's Day.
Everyone is posting tributes and
messages of support to our troops
past and present.
But not me.
Because I have some big work thing
going on and I am overwhelmed with
details, details, details and loading the van.
La la la. Heinous Bitch.
I adore my co-worker, Cynthia.
But I was even rude to her.
I left the office for a little while
so that I could find a quiet place to work
for a few hours.
After I calmed down a little,
I logged into Facebook and saw
Cynthia's profile picture.
He's Cynthia's brother.
Fifteen days away from coming
home from his second deployment,
Jeff died on a spring day
in Balad, Iraq.
A brother. A son. A husband.
A Philadelphia Flyers fan.
A soccer player.
After witnessing Iraqi children
resorting to playing soccer with soda cans,
Jeff organized soccer ball shipments from his hometown--
and played along with the Iraqi children
when new, inflated balls began to arrive.
He is missed dearly by everyone who knew him.
I'm happy Jeff lived.
I'm happy to know Cynthia.
I'm happy to have been jolted out
of my temper tantrum by
the reality that I have the freedom to
do all of the things that I do because of our
nation's servicemen and women.
Today, it's Jeff.
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
My See-ster Stacy
Sometimes you just have to tell it like it is.
I sent a somewhat whiny email
(and by that I mean an email in which I questioned
my existence and the meaning of life,
complained about how tight my
pants were on my thighs,
and used the "f" word more than a couple of times)
to my sisters and a friend this morning.
My friend replied with all sorts of
Stacy wrote back and said
(and I paraphrase)
God! I know! Life SUCKS!
I KNOW, GOD!
I love her for it.
It made me laugh.
And I love her for it.
Sunday, November 7, 2010
Oh, I love this happy, funny, irresistibly
adorable man. So much.
But I can't imagine what he would
have thought if someone told him--
when he was trapped deep in the
Chilean mine in which he worked--that he would
be laughing about his 69-day long brush with death.
In the mine, he was dubbed "the runner."
He ran as much as six miles a day through dark tunnels
--sometimes dragging a pallet behind him.
He explains his motivation by saying this:
"When I ran in the darkness, I was running for life.
I didn't say I can't.
No, I tried and I succeeded and I did it.
And, of course, I did that in the darkness.
I was running to show that I wasn't just waiting around.
I was running to be an active participant in my own salvation.
I wasn't just waiting around.
I was running because I was also contributing
to the struggle for our rescue.
And I also wanted God to see that I really wanted to live."
Today, Edison Pena is running the New York City Marathon.
I am cheering for him.
Show God that you really want to live by being an
active participant in your own salvation.
Don't wait around.
Friday, November 5, 2010
Thursday, November 4, 2010
Monday, November 1, 2010
I spent the day by myself today.
But sometimes even when we are trying
to be hermits and we don't leave the house,
people who make us happy come to us.
My friend Patti made me happy
today by being brave and then
sharing it with me.
So that I can be brave, too?
Maybe she just did it for no
other reason that she's just
The inspiration she provides for so many people
is like the wind was today--
gutsy and steady and comforting.
Patti can find words for things that
are all a part of us at some point
--loss, joy, grief, appreciation,
wonder, confusion, anger, ignorance, tolerance.
But when Patti puts into words stories
that are hers alone, it's even more powerful
wonderful and brave.
You can know Patti at www.37days.com
Here is another picture of her.
I wasn't sure which one she would want me to use.
Saturday, October 30, 2010
Pam and Lynn
When I asked Pam if she thought
she and Lynn would like to go
walk around a long-forgotten,
overgrown cemetery on the
city's east side she said
They did end up joining me this morning
for a long walk around
It was established long ago
as a beautiful burial ground for
African Americans who lived and
worked in Richmond.
It's been forgotten.
And it's overgrown.
But it's hopeful--because a small
group of volunteers are trying to
clear some of the growth and restore
the cemetery to a place where there can
be eternal rest.
And where Bertha E. Thompson's
membership in a
will continue, even in her death.
Friday, October 29, 2010
It makes me laugh that Elaine
has "Family Feud" listed as one
of her interests on her Facebook page.
I am happy (and lucky) to know
Elaine because of her fierce dedication
to her own family.
She's part of Beau's Brigade, a team that
gets together every spring to raise funds to
find a cure for Cystic Fibrosis (CF), a life-threatening
disease that her grandson Beau is living with.
Elaine makes a donation to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation
every year that
gets Beau's Brigade on the back of the
event t-shirt. The first year that I added it
to the event t-shirt we had a lot of sponsors and logos and
Beau's Brigade was printed a little lower on the t-shirt.
The next year, when it came time for Elaine to make her donation,
she called me, a little sheepishly, and said that she had
a special request.
"I'm old," she said, "and like to tuck my
t-shirts in. When I tuck last year's shirt in Beau's team
name gets hidden in my pants."
is now printed very near
the top of the t-shirt.
For Elaine and her generosity.
For reasons only I know
(well, you know, too, now).
Even though Beau's Brigade only gets together
one day of the year to walk as a team, Elaine is
a bright spot 365 days a year for me--as I am sure she is
for her family and all of those who know her.
Thursday, October 28, 2010
This is an ordinary photo of an extraordinary woman.
(After all, I use a cell phone camera, and we were at Panera,
and it was 9:30 on a Tuesday morning, nothing at all
out of the ordinary)
But here is Gina of Must Love Paws Bakery
and there isn't anything ho-hum about her.
That she dreams and sets goals for herself
makes her just like the rest of us.
That she is constantly living those dreams
and reaching those goals
sets her apart from many of us.
Gina left a job in the high-rise corporate world to
make organic dog treats in her basement.
that is what she wanted to do.
Did she have all the answers before she took the leap?
Did she have to figure stuff out as she went along?
Did she know she'd be able to make this work?
I don't know. But she knew she had to try.
She's brave, passionate, sincere, and
Gina's also a very good listener when
other people start going on and on about
their own dreams.
Thank you, Gina, for being an example of
what we can do when we want to.
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Friday, July 9, 2010
Friday, April 23, 2010
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
Sunday, February 28, 2010
Thursday, February 25, 2010
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
Saturday, February 6, 2010
this morning where I heard my
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
Sunday, January 31, 2010
Saturday, January 30, 2010
I have the best friends.
I'm watching the snow and am so grateful.
Thursday, January 28, 2010
Sunday, January 24, 2010
Inspired by--and happy to know--all of these faces!
Fifty years ago, kids with cystic fibrosis rarely lived
to see the first day of school. Today, some CF patients are living
into their 30s and beyond.
There is no cure for CF.
The families behind these faces work tirelessly to make
CF stand for Cure Found.
You can help by supporting me as I take a short walk for long lives.
Saturday, January 16, 2010
While Daisy Pierce’s mother, Amelia, was carrying around the sheet of paper on which we were to transcribe our dreams of Thin Mints and Samoas, Pierce and her friend Charlotte hung out in my office.
They told me that they were having a play date. Right then and there. Charlotte had come with Pierce and Amelia to sell cookies. Pierce told me that she had earned her Daisy petals.
“What else?” she asked me when she stopped talking.
Before I could think of what to say Pierce spotted the big bucket of shiny, plastic beads that got tossed in my office after they had been used at an earlier event.
“What are these?”
“OH! Those! Those are Princess Beads.”
Eyes as big as saucers, both of the girls asked, “What are princess beads?”
“Well, if you wear them you will turn into princesses.”
“Weally? Weally? Is that true? Can we have some?”
After much deliberation about whether they wanted gold or silver, diamond shaped or circles, they each took a strand of beads and put them on.
I answered the phone. As I was talking on the phone they both stood there looking back and forth between each other and then me. Each other and then me. Each other and then me.
I finished up the call.
“Well? We are not princesses.”
“Oh, that is because you have to wear FOUR strands. One of each shape.”
Frantic digging through the bucket ensued.
In no time both Charlotte and Pierce had four strands of beads hanging around their little necks, reaching their bellies. They looked at each other and then me.
“Oh, I forgot. After you have all of the beads that you need you have to wait until the first Saturday that comes along before you can tell that you are princesses.”
“Weally? What is today? What is today? What is today?”
“So Saturday is tomorrow?”
“Friday is tomorrow and then Saturday is the tomorrow after that.”
Another phone call.
As soon as I hung up they said, “Are we weally going to be princesses?”
"I think so."
They had more questions, though.
“Do we have to sleep in them or should we hold them in our hands? Will we wake up in our dresses and tiaras? Will we still have to go to school?”
Pierce was completely ready for the transformation. Charlotte seemed a little skeptical.
“Well, I keep forgetting to take my beads home.”
They gathered up four strands of beads—one of each shape and hideous color—and started to put them on me.
“Wait, wait! We should probably make some wishes.”
I cupped my hands around my beads and held them up. Then I put my mouth to my closed hands and started whispering, “Dear Princess Beads, when I wake up on Saturday morning…”
And the little girls followed. Their beads were spilling out and hanging down to their elbows as they whispered their princess hopes into their hands. While I was wishing for money to cover my Thin Mint bill, warmer temperatures, and better hair, the girls were whispering about more important things
“Dear Princess Beads,
I want a tiara
and the kind of puppy that a princess would have
and shoes that sparkle
and a pink snowstorm
It was during this ritualistic blessing of the beads that Pierce’s mother arrived at the door and wondered what was going on.
“Hi, Amelia! It might be a good idea if you just go ahead and pick up a couple of tiaras and puppies before the end of the day tomorrow.”
As the beaded princesses got ready to leave I shouted out to them, “If you have any questions at all you can call me on Monday. My name is Martha. Just call and ask for Martha.”
Did the girls know? Yes. Did they know that the beads were beads and that we were the ones giving them magic? Yes. Did they understand how fun it was to wish and to make yourself believe? Yes. Did they know that my name is NOT Martha? Yes.
But I weally, weally hope that when they got up this morning that they also knew how happy they made me, and how truly sweet and beautiful they are—tiaras or not.
Friday, January 15, 2010
Thursday, January 14, 2010
I just wanted to say:
Even though our daily face-to-face interaction was shortly lived at the AHA,
I hope to make it to a First Wednesday soon.
xoxo from someone who is grateful for YOU.
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
I wish I could sit with Val today like we used to everyday
from 12:00 - 1:00, and tell stories about
But I am grateful to be here in her chair,
in her old spot, casting every comforting thought I can
her way. To her new spot.
Love, love, love to Val and Mammaw.
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Monday, January 11, 2010
What Would LaDonna Do?
That's how much I love the way LaDonna does things.
That's how much I love LaDonna.