Monthly Archives: April 2013

Reminders of Loveliness: A Progress Report





Spring is here and not everything is beautiful.   Or so we would believe as we look around.  Not to mention what I see in the mirror each morning as I say the mantra I talked about several months ago:  “I accept myself, unconditionally, right now”.  I don’t know if you tried it, but I’m still doing it.  I can’t say I’ve noticed any drastic changes but slow progress is in the works.  I even smile sometimes when I say the words and once caught myself thinking, “Not a bad face!”    Slow but steady steps, or “Bird by Bird” as one of my favorite writers, Anne Lamott, would say.  Come to think of it, Saint Francis might say the same.  Or Sow by sow.  Here is one of my favorite poems:


St. Francis And The Sow

By Galway Kinnell

The bud
stands for all things,
even those things that don’t flower,
for everything flowers, from within, of self-blessing;
though sometimes it is necessary
to reteach a thing its loveliness,
to put a hand on its brow
of the flower
and retell it in words and in touch
it is lovely
until it flowers again from within, of self-blessing;
as St. Francis
put his hand on the creased forehead
of the sow, and told her in words and in touch
blessings of earth on the sow, and the sow
began remembering all down her thick length,
from the earthen snout all the way
through the fodder and slops to the spiritual curl of
the tail,
from the hard spininess spiked out from the spine
down through the great broken heart
to the blue milken dreaminess spurting and shuddering
from the fourteen teats into the fourteen mouths sucking
and blowing beneath them:
the long, perfect loveliness of sow.


In the next week, my first—and hopefully not last—book is to be released.   It’s called Spiders from Heaven and is about my experiences with adoption and motherhood—specifically middle-aged motherhood.    In all the times I’ve read it, most recently checking for typos that seem to manifest overnight like dirty dishes in the sink, I have reactions that go from “What a great story!” to “Who would want to read this and hopefully it’s not too late to use a pen name and an author’s bio that says she doesn’t live in Kansas so it’s not who you think!”

But the truth is, each time I read it, no matter my general reaction, there are some entries that make me feel like Saint Francis is in the room.  Here is one of those entries:


March 5, 2001

Hi, Beth,

I forwarded a thing for NPR funding and forgot to add my name—can you add me to the list?  I thought I had big news about Helen sleeping in her own bed but it only lasted one night.  The second night she woke up around three and cried and so I went to get her.  When I brought her back she was half asleep but reached out and touched my face and said, “You’re beautiful.”  Anyway, last night she lasted ten minutes, then said she needed to sleep with me so I wouldn’t be lonely…how are you?

Love, Ann