This is a close up photo of one of my first quilts. It was a class project when I was a very new quilter, trying hard to follow the directions to something beautiful.

The quilt and I have been many miles since it was born.

Faded and crinkled in the vintage-y way I love, it feels like it was just dried in the sun.

With the repeating patterns and nearly straight seams, it is somehow a vivid reminder of the fact that there is order even in the midst of what feels like chaos.

It is comfort, both visual and kinesthetic.

I set this quilt free, years ago, as a gift for a friend who needed a great deal of comfort in those days.

I found it again yesterday when I arrived in Florida where my same friend needs another dose of comfort.

She’s doing really well. All things considered.

There’s a lot to consider!

For now, we’re focused on better.

And popsicles. And clean hair. And a break from T.E.D. hose!

All of which seem like huge miracles, here among a diverse tribe of women who love her, each in our own way trying to bring comfort.

I’m not sure whether it’s irony or providence that has me reading, for maybe the fourth time, Sue Monk Kidd’s The Secret Life of Bees, just now. (The book really is even better than the movie!)

I don’t think I ever quite realized, in just this way, how much this story is about comfort in the midst of our often messy life journeys.

A place to be. Time to get ready for what happens next. Sweet tea. And folks to walk with us to whatever our own version of the wailing wall might be, whenever we need to go there.

Tomorrow…soup. And gratitude.





“May I ask you a question?”

I was wandering around Kudzu the other day. My favorite neighborhood vintage, antiques, collectibles, artwork, industrial, and so forth kind of place. I went for a much needed mental health break.

Bill was home with the dogs. (The new kid still needs quite a bit of supervision.) It was too cold and damp for a walk outside, at least for someone with vivid memories of chronic pain.

Kudzu is perfect. Heat, but not too much. Sirius 60’s on Six radio. (Yes, I sing along!) A few slopes and ramps in the floor but no potholes. Or traffic. And enough eye candy to forget that I’m actually exercising. I try to go twice around, faster, rather than once, slowly.

If you discount, for the moment, the trendy decorators and movie set designers, the majority of the shoppers are people like me. Local. Somewhere between nostalgic and out of the box. Environmentally concerned. Not fans of matching. I often wind up chatting with new friends.

On this particular trip, a woman asked if she might ask me a question.

Neverminding the old joke about, “You just did,” I said that she might, indeed.

(This happens to me a lot. Farmers’ Market. The paint department at my favorite Ace Hardware. Or Lowe’s. PineStreet Market. Intown Quilters.)

Bill thinks I have one of those old hobo signs that translates into ask this woman!

In any event, her question was, “What would you call your decorating style?”

It’s a good question. One I’ve been trying to answer for a few years now myself.

First of all, it changes a lot. At least the expression of it changes. Needs change. We move furniture. We re-designate the funtions of rooms. I need new colors.

If you visited just now, you might assume that my style was something pretty close to early Kennel Club. Or campy dog furniture showroom!

Or, contemporary quilt store.

Or, library wanna-be.

Or, folk art fanatic.

Not too long ago, I hatched up a label that works for me.

Eclectic Urban Nest.

That’s me!

Quilts and books and folk art angels. Dog beds, for sure. (And dog hair!)

Furniture I’ve built. (And some I’ve un-built!) Heirloom furniture. Vintage stuff. Rustic stuff. And an old stainless back table from the operating room at a local hospital!

Colors. Lots of them.

Light. As much as possible.

And wall outlets. More than the guy who built my house in 1962 ever imagined!

Someplace handy for a Sunflower yellow Fiestaware mug of hot water with lemon.

An improbable combination of memory, function, and hope.

Hope for a future unfolding even now.

Breathing. Snoring. WholeTones music. Aromatherapy.

(The new kid is still a bit anxious.)

Comfort in service of the future. Hope.

And room for my family.

Just like a nest.

There is a nest, by the way, in the fountain on the front porch. There was one a couple of years ago, too.

We’ll go around, again. And resist the urge to peek, trying hard not to disturb the mama, while praying that the babies are not too early given the wild swings in weather.

Nesting is an odd combination of comfort and risk. Of faith in the future despite the immediate experience of vulnerability.

Of flight, as it were, to a new land. Hoping against hope that someone has swept a heap of dog hair and a few scraps of yarn and a bit of cotton quilt batting out the door in a gesture of welcome, rather than a mundane task to be forgotten as soon as it’s complete.

Perhaps we are called to be an eclectic urban nest for the world. In any event, I’ll be back at Kudzu soon, eager to find out what the next question might be.


Writing is a lot like quilting!

It’s been pretty busy around here, lately. A book launch Thursday. Another coming up the day before Thanksgiving! (Details to follow…)

I scribble endlessly on index cards. Sort. Cross out. Number. Pitch. Repeat, just as endlessly. More things keep coming to mind. More things that really belong in the second edition of Grandmothers Are In Charge of Hope. 

It reminds me of collecting fabrics for a quilt. Which fit? Which don’t? What will it take to make a particular favorite play along? Scraps. Fat quarters. Sometimes whole yards (or more!) of things I really love. Typography prints. Spiced with deep purples and oranges and a sprinkle of lime green. I can literally feel it in my body when it’s right.

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New Beginnings

In a few moments, it will be Monday again. I hope that your weekend has been wonderful. Easter. Passover. Gorgeous weather. Growing peace in the midst of faith rocked to the core. Or even a bit of precious time to do something on your list, rather than all the other lists in your world. (Sometimes realism is useful!)

I spent my Easter moments planting seeds. Arugula, lots of lettuce, parsley, collards, kale, hoping against hope that whatever ate most of the last crop of collards will be somewhere else this year because I don’t do bug spray! Misting the seeds and a bit of composting, and a couple of cups of tea filled out my morning.

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Order from Chaos, Eventually!

I have a secret.

When I get really stressed—when the chaos in my world gets too big or too close, I iron.

Please don’t call me Martha Stewart! It’s not about impressing the neighbors. Nor do I believe it’s impossible for normal humans to feel loved if their pillowcases are not perfectly pressed, monogram and all.

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Blog…Day One.

As it happens, I’m participating in “30 Days of Writing” led by Tyler Knott Gregson and Andréa Balt, from It started this morning. Imagine my amazement when I poured my second cup of tea, logged in, and encountered the writing prompt for today:

“Reflect over the past 10 years of your life and write the decade- younger YOU a letter, as if you were catching up with an old friend. Include 5-10 life lessons learned so far that you would share with this younger version of you.”

The moon is in the seventh house!
Here’s mine…What about you???

Dear Sue,

Have been thinking about you a lot lately. There are so many new things going on. But first, you were right!

Remember all that reflecting you did just after your surgery? I know that was a hard time and looking for new models and metaphors was really important. Then you did all that work figuring out what you wanted to do with the next part of your life. I actually still have some of your notes from that time. You said that you wanted to do the counseling, leading, training work you loved, make things, and—when the time came—be a cool grandma.

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