Wednesday, August 20, 2014

the wandering way

Yesterday, my beloved and I hopped onto our cherry red motorcycle and took off toward the horizon. We rolled deep into the Black Hills. Our companions? Ponderosa pine. Hawks, buzzards, swallows. Endless curves. Red barns, nestled into valleys and meadows. Roadside sunflowers, daisies, unknown hazes of blue and purple. Clouds like skyscrapers, tall and thick. Fellow bikers, returning our hand signal (a low wave, typically an upside-down peace sign or simply a hand out, indicating an unspoken kinship--we share the road, the passion, the understanding). And the highway, curving on and on.

We wander to escape worry. We wander to breathe freely again, under open sky, part of a world larger than us and our problems. We wander to connect with each other, our community at large, our sacred land. We wander to release, relax, renew.

We wander to remember
all will be well.

We wander to be present,
here, now,
in the ache
and in the relief.
Grace, grief, mingled. Mixed.

We wander.

Will you wander with us, friend?

With love,

Choose the winding way with us
a life-affirming celebration
of the openhearted way.
Friends, my father has undergone a difficult heart surgery. My brother has set up a fundraiser to help defray the considerable costs. If you feel so led, would you help spread the word and/or donate? Thank you. 

Friday, August 15, 2014

Sprout online magazine: WANDER

Erase your map of shoulds. Leave behind your tattered schedules and careful plans. Embrace instead the unexpected. Make room for sacred surprise. 

Un-wall yourself with Sprout: Wander, where we release rigid control and choose instead the holy ease of openhearted living.

Wander with us, losing and finding your way on the divine path of serendipity (only $6 for sixty full-color pages):
Issue 34 (Wander) $6:

Wander + subscribe to upcoming issues:

We develop a seeker's spirit. We answer the call of adventure in everyday life. We follow signposts of wonder and what-if. We gather traveling companions who enliven, encourage, enlighten. We turn down unfamiliar paths and intriguing side streets. We tell stories like treasures. We follow the winding way, guided by grace and whimsy.

Oh, friend, let Sprout: Wander be your companion in delight. In these sixty color-drenched, heart-full pages, we sing songs of celebration, compassion, and redemption. We speak in vibrant artwork, scribbled love notes from me to you, heart-galloping poetry, intimate interviews, brave prose, passionate prompts, and more (all in PDF instant download).

". . . the wanderer is hidden within each one of us. Our journey is waiting for us, right here--we just have to choose to set off on the path . . ." --Lacy Clark Ellman (A Sacred Journey), Thrive feature interview, page 29

Wander with Lacy Clark Ellman in her insightful Thrive interview, exploring pilgrimage at home and abroad. Seek shelter and sobriety with Brandy Walker in a hole-in-the-wall bookstore. Travel back to summer nights "and the long country roads to nowhere, and back" with poet Hannah Marshall. Celebrate the brave color-splash and ink-scratch of our Sprout kindred in interactive features, sharing peeks into their creative practices, and offering favorite places to wander. And much more.

"Just me
and the moon,
stirring up this bold bright sky . . ."
--De Jackson, "Meanderings," page 6

Wander (Sprout online magazine's 34th issue) overflows with life-affirming features, including:

+ 60 full-color pages (PDF instant download)
+ original mixed media painted backgrounds
+ handwritten love notes from me to you
+ art, photography, poetry, essays, prompts, interviews
+ interactive features honoring our #sproutmag gathering (celebrating messy joy, simple goodness in our everyday life, & artistic exploration)
+ creative prompts to cultivate gentle growth in everyday life
+ Amanda Fall: creator, editor, publisher (otherwise known as: gatherer and curator of delight, co-conspirator of joy, dream-believer & heart-on-her-sleever)

Guests in this issue:

Lacy Clark Ellman (A Sacred Journey), Brandy Walker, Joseph Murphy, Beth Pastore, Hannah Marshall, Beth Morey, De Jackson, Natasha Reilly, michelle gd, Julia Fehrenbacher, suzanne l. vinson, and Maureen Helms Blake

Thrive interview series: Lacy Clark Ellman (A Sacred Journey)
Community Garden: Beth Morey, Beth Pastore, and Brandy Walker

"I settle into her former seat, Mom at the helm, and I think I catch a hint of Marge's favorite Sand & Sable perfume. We cast our seeking gaze on the same endless roads and pastures and her beloved canyon, traveling companions in this life and beyond . . ." --Amanda Fall, my story, page 20

   Sprout is designed to uplift & inspire,
celebrating hope & healing even among life's bumps & bruises.

May these love-filled pages bless you. 

"Bookstores heal. Libraries are salve to my soul. Ten years ago, I was an addict living in a shadowland. I wanted to let go of the vices that grasped me, but I didn't know where to begin. I had numbed my emotions for so long, I was terrified they would consume me the moment I sobered up . . ."
--Brandy Walker, "They Read Me," page 37

Purchase your copy here:
Issue 34 (Wander) $6:

Wander + subscribe to upcoming issues:

NOTE: If you subscribe (thank you!), future issues will be sent on the 15th of each month to your PayPal email address unless you specify otherwise under Special Instructions: Note to Seller.

Sprout makes a great gift. Buying for a friend or family member? Purchase as usual, then wait for your email with download link (should arrive within a moment or two after completing payment), and forward that email to your recipient.

If you prefer the gift email to come from me, simply add Note to Seller on PayPal with your recipient's name, email address, and when you would like their issue delivered (immediately or on a certain date). If you purchase a gift subscription, I can also email your recipient and let them know details (again, leave Note to Seller). Thanks!

   Problems? Questions? Email me at SproutOnlineMagazine (at) gmail (dot) com and I'd be delighted to respond.

Join the conversation at our Facebook page, or connect with our life-affirming #sproutmag gathering on Instagram.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

give voice

What happens to a voice stifled?
How many times can you ignore yourself
(your purpose, your calling,
your meaning, your reason to be)
before you disappear?

"Instead of picking up a pen or a paintbrush
and getting down the ten thousand words/images
that were flooding my head, my heart, my lungs -- my breath
I wiped coffee stains off the old kitchen table, fed
the dog, the cat, the children
brushed the tangles out of my nine-year-old's hair while she screamed
that I was hurting her . . ."
--Julia Fehrenbacher, "And Then I Could Breathe Again,"
published in Sprout: Imagine

What happens to a voice amplified?
What happens when we join the chorus,
accepting the value and depth and meaning
in each part of the whole?
What happens when we release, express, expand,
and pour our love into the waiting world?

 "I've been gathering books and paper, feathers and photos, beads and pens, rocks and paint, glue and fabric, buttons and frames--hope and persistence and joy. All of it waits around me, even now, echoing back to me My Own Truth: I am an artist. A lover of beauty. A speaker of things beyond words. A shaper of miracles. A beautiful be-coming . . ."
--Maureen Helms Blake, Weeds & Wildflowers column,
published in Sprout: Imagine

Why not try?

Let your voice out
(even/especially if it trembles).
Sing your unique song
(in your shaky off-key wild joyful way).

You were born for this.
I celebrate you.

With love
& listening ears,

Oh, friend, welcome to your sanctuary of hope and healing. In Sprout magazine, you are heard. You are loved. You are supported, nourished, cherished. You are welcome here. Come in. Come in.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Light Between Us: an indie book review

"But his words yesterday had galvanized her. She'd found herself wondering why she thought of herself as so unworthy of happiness or purpose. Of living from her passions . . ."
Before they even meet, Ruth and Derek are both caught in traps of their own making: they are lost, frustrated, filled with a yearning for something . . . more.
Derek leaps from one "relationship" to the next, unable or unwilling to trust any woman enough to connect on a deeper level. Ruth dreams of pursuing her passion--romance writing, a fun parallel to the novel itself--but is afraid to commit for more than an afternoon at a time.
What if she fails? What if his heart is broken--again?
I'm excited today to celebrate my dear friend Beth Morey's indie book release. Her new romance, The Light Between Us, is available for the Kindle or in print (you can also utilize Amazon's app to read electronically, if you don't own a Kindle).

The Light Between Us is a breezy beach read--a comedy of errors overflowing with moments of delicious frustration (could they ever make a relationship work? And answer your freaking phone, Derek!). In addition to themes of romance and trust, this novel also explores coming of age, finding ourselves in spite of others' expectations--or even our own.
Can we ever break free? And can we find a beloved partner to journey with us into our dreams?
One of my favorite aspects of this indie book release is the author's own journey, revealed with honest vulnerability in blog posts such as My Perfectly Imperfect Book Launch and I am Not My Characters. She says, "So now there's this story of mine out there in a few thousand readers' hands that is scandalous and sensual and full of imperfect humanity and some rough language and characters whose lives don't match my own in almost any way. I'm not going to lie. This is uncomfortable, vulnerable. It's a risk. But it's a risk that I am okay with . . ."
I admire and respect this courage so deeply, as every month I experience this kind of feeling on a smaller scale within the pages of Sprout magazine (where Beth, by the way, is a regular contributor; she offers wildly honest and often vulnerable essays, poetry, and imagery). So, too, is The Light Between Us about risk: what will others think? What do we think? Can we live with ourselves if we don't try to step beyond our boundaries . . . or, better yet, to leap?
I hope you join Ruth and Derek in the "perfectly imperfect" pages of this novel, and think for yourself . . . what will you risk today? Will you choose to believe in love? Will you believe in yourself?
With joy on the journey,