Sunday, January 31, 2010

January 31st, 2010

I Don't Know Who!

I just looked out the window and saw
that 14 inches of snow has been
cleared off my car.

Three cheers for random acts
of anonymous kindness.

January 30th 2010

Angela Dickerson

Can something from 22 years ago be the thing today?
On this snowy winter day in 2010?


Today, it's Angie.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

January 29th, 2010

Susan Keitges (rhymes with righteous) Kelly

Turning down an offer to come and get snowed in

with Susan this weekend I went on and on about all

of the things that I needed to do

(clean, pack, paint over a water stain, pack,

fix the latch on the door, fold up the futon,

sulk, get another quote for the hot water heater,

remove all soap scum from tubs, etc.).

She replied.

"You do what you need to do. If necessary,

the girls can come over and help you

with your tasks."

Here are the girls.

I have the best friends.

The best.

I'm watching the snow and am so grateful.

So grateful.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

January 28th, 2010


I met Jasmine at a really hectic family
sing-along at Christmastime. She was so darn cute,
and so johnny-on-the-spot
when it was her turn to belt out
that I wanted to be her friend instantly.

She is my cousin's step-daughter.
She lives in Ohio.
I live in Virgina.

I made her a refrigerator magnet.
She sent me origami.
I told her she was totally rad.
She sent me basil seeds.
I told her I loved her photography.
She sent me a story about visiting
a nursing home and witnessing an impromptu
(and kind of scary) choir break out.

In short, I love her.

Last summer, she sent me really groovy collage.
With boots and butterflies.
And ninjas.
On the back side she had written,
Sometimes I forget why I'm going about, doing what I do.
That is when I do things I love.
Doing things I love and being around people I love
helps me remember that, well, everything
that people do matters.
Everybody I know is somehow needed.
They are somehow loved.
My life is a bunch of pieces put together (like a collage)
as is everyone's life.
My point is, every piece is important!
You are part of my collage
even if it is starting as a small piece.
I hope it grows, it will always be there.

Jasmine rocked my world again today
(even though I found out that she
got a B in Art because a classmate asked
her for an answer on a test and Jasmine...
gave it. Zero for Jasmine Art Cheater).
Out of the blue, and into my lap
came the sweetest message.
About integrity.
And summer camp.

Jasmine, Jasmine, Jasmine, you are
an incredible gal.
And you have made me VERY happy today.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

January 24th, 2010

Breathe from Amy McCracken on Vimeo.

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.

Some don't.

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

January 16th, 2010

Princess Pierce

With no regard for my health or financial well-being, a Daisy Scout walked into my office on Thursday and asked if I wanted to buy some cookies.

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.
“Why aren’t you a princess if it’s so easy?”


“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.”
"Yeah, yeah, wishes!"
And then they started giggling. And I started giggling.

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

January 15th, 2010


I mean, just look at her.

She's happiness no matter what

I could write about her.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

January 14th, 2010


Oh, misery and petty bitterness today!
Starting early, mean, nasty.
Annoying alarm clock.
Uncomfortable pants.
Debbie Downer.
Negative Nelly.
Trapped in a spiral of destructive thinking.
All the while thinking of the grief in Haiti
wondering how to let go of it all...

And then, at 3:28 p.m.
like magic...
I get an email from someone I have not seen for
more than 2 1/2 years.
Pretty Chinda.

I just wanted to say:
Even though our daily face-to-face interaction was shortly lived at the AHA,
you have managed to reach back into my life through the amazing internet and Facebook,
and I'm truly grateful for it.
I love your blog and your random sayings and your positive "glass half-full" mentality.
I love that you love and appreciate everyone, especially when
I'm constantly surrounded by negativity
and mean people and people
who do nothing but spew the words
"I hate..." and "This sucks..." and "My life is miserable so I will make your life miserable...".
I go through my news feed on Facebook,
and have to constantly roll my eyes at the people who hate Mondays and who hate their bosses or who complain about their kids,
but your news feed is like the sunshine that jumps at me when I'm looking for that little ray of good news from my friends who can make me smile.
Thank you for that.
Stay positive.
I hope to make it to a First Wednesday soon.
xoxo from someone who is grateful for YOU.

The truth is: it made me cry.

I really believe that we go through life appreciating
so many things. So many things that we never take the time
to acknowledge. Chinda told me that she had resolved to take the time.
She wrote, "I had a few minutes before my Banana's gymnastic class,
and I'm glad I spent those few minutes to tell you how I felt".

Glad, indeed. Whew, me, too! I immediately wanted
to be the person that Chinda thinks I am!

And how lucky is Chinda's "Banana" to have Chinda for a mom!?

If someone does something that makes you happy,

They will love it.
Love it.

And it may come in right on time.
Like it did for me today.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

January 13th, 2010

Valerie's Desk Drawer

Since Valerie left me , I have been sitting at her desk.

I turn the light on in my own office every morning.

I check my voice mail.

Then I go sit in Valerie's office.

Sometimes I spread her business cards all around.

I use her pens.

I talk on her phone,

type on her computer,

and say, "Over here!" when my coworkers are looking for me.

And I ate most of the crackers she left behind.

This morning, I finished off the Tums.

Yesterday, I got a text message from

Val telling me that her beloved Mammaw died.

A picture of the two of them used to sit on this desk.

I wish I could sit with Val today like we used to everyday

from 12:00 - 1:00, and tell stories about

our grandmothers.

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

January 12th, 2010

Angela Dickerson

Today, it is Angie.

Not because of anything in her email, but for the
words "Good Morning Amos"
in a subject line.

I took this photo. But not today. I wish.

Monday, January 11, 2010

January 11th, 2010

LaDonna Austin

While at my desk, on the phone, filling out reports,
dealing with a grouch, planning the weekend,
questioning my worth, in my living room, in traffic,
cooking a meal, petting a dog, making a call, talking to my boss,
hanging out with my son, picking out wine, pouring wine,
hating my big feet, telling a story, choosing my shoes,
thinking of hair color, planning an event, making a poster,
decorating my house, planting flowers,
or loving someone,
I frequently ask myself...

What Would LaDonna Do?

That's how much I love the way LaDonna does things.

That's how much I love LaDonna.

January 10th, 2010

Susan and Richard Kelly

In exchange for a spaghetti and meatball dinner,
I got to hold the new baby
(with the sweetest ears)
and pretend that
she was all mine....

if only for a little while.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

January 8th, 2010

Okay! Okay!

Today I will screw my arms back on and starting writing again!
I promise.

My heartfelt thanks to the universe
(appearing to me in disguise, but looking an awful lot like
The River Side Writer, and Patti Digh) for reminding me
that I have a little project going on here
that I have neglected.


Wednesday, January 6, 2010

January 6th, 2010

Oh. Dear. Am I really this far behind?
On the lookout today for a good story....
I promise.

Friday, January 1, 2010

January 1, 2010

Happy New Year!
Here's to a great year of one person, every day.