We're Here Because We're Here

I’m listening to John Green’s Turtles all the Way Down , and the teen protaganist recounts her mother singing her to sleep to the tune of Auld Lang Syne: “We’re here because we’re here because we’re here because we’re here. We’re here because we’re here because we’re here becau … | Continue reading

@inpraiseofleftovers.com | 1 day ago

I'm Glad I went to Physical Therapy

Every decision now seems like a giant one. Should I let myself go to the grocery store twice this week? Should I order something non-essential from Amazon and make someone deliver it? This week, it was, “Should I go to the physical therapist about my very painful shoulder?” I … | Continue reading

@inpraiseofleftovers.com | 5 days ago

Lessons from the Healing Road

I just finished Neil Peart’s Ghost Rider: Travels on the Healing Road, a stream-of-consciousness tome about motorcycle travels after his wife and teenage daughter died when he was in his mid 40’s and at the height of his career as a drummer for the band Rush. He passed away fr … | Continue reading

@inpraiseofleftovers.com | 8 days ago

Whatever you are Doing now Counts

I went for a walk with a friend this morning whose work is fundraising for children on the other side of the world. Sleep-deprived, she had been on a midnight videoconference with her colleagues from various time zones. She said, “My own community is suffering right now, and all … | Continue reading

@inpraiseofleftovers.com | 10 days ago

Some People Have been Studying for This

I didn’t write yesterday, and I regretted it this morning. But I just couldn’t. I couldn’t pull myself out of the maelstrom. If there was a lab test that measured Negative Emotions, it would have turned up positive for every single one—Anxiety, Fear, Anger, Resentment, Lonelin … | Continue reading

@inpraiseofleftovers.com | 11 days ago


I’m crappy at waiting. How bad will it get? What will we learn? Will my parents be okay? Will my town be a ghost town forever? What will happen next week? Next month? Next year? I don’t have any truisms for you tonight. I’ve had moments of hope and even joy today, but they seem … | Continue reading

@inpraiseofleftovers.com | 13 days ago

I Finally Cried

I said to my neighbor Micah the other day, “I keep waiting to really cry.” It finally happened today, aided by Yo-Yo Ma playing this song . Yo-Yo Ma has always been one of the people who shore me up when I’m about to declare there’s nothing good in the world. Watch how he looks … | Continue reading

@inpraiseofleftovers.com | 14 days ago

The Amazement Continues

Some of you amaze me. Kerri and I went on a long walk today on the Railroad Trail. (Thank you, City of Bellingham, for having the foresight to know how important outdoor spaces are, and for dedicating the resources to create and protect them.) A few minutes into our 6-feet-apart … | Continue reading

@inpraiseofleftovers.com | 15 days ago

Raven Breads did a Second Bake

I got an email from Sophie at Raven Breads . Since the future is so uncertain, she said she’d be doing a second bake this week and gave us the opportunity to place a late order (I chose Mountain Rye). And she said she’d be baking every week she was allowed to. The checker at Tr … | Continue reading

@inpraiseofleftovers.com | 16 days ago

Most Poignant Purchase Ever

Yesterday, my family and I ran a few errands around our deserted town. We picked up groceries for my parents and bought a few things at the home improvement store. It was strange to see all the plants freshly stocked in the garden section, sprightly in the Spring sun. We took … | Continue reading

@inpraiseofleftovers.com | 17 days ago

Truth Bomb from Neil Peart

My husband is a Rush fan. I’m one of the millions of women who’s not. But I’ve become a Neil Peart fan. He was Rush’s legendary drummer, and died just this year from brain cancer at age 67. He was also a voracious reader, motorcyclist, and author of several books. Ghost Rider … | Continue reading

@inpraiseofleftovers.com | 18 days ago

I Haven't Become an Inspiring , Disciplined Person Overnight

I have not: Started doing virtual workouts in my basement Saved a local business from laying off employees Become a homeschooling expert (or even done one single thing to encourage my children’s learning around here) Read anything except the news Made a family COVI … | Continue reading

@inpraiseofleftovers.com | 19 days ago

I Haven't Become an Inspiring , Disciplined Person Overnight

I have not: Started doing virtual workouts in my basement Saved a local business from laying off employees Become a homeschooling expert (or even done one single thing to encourage my children’s learning around here) Read anything except the news Made a family COVI … | Continue reading

@inpraiseofleftovers.com | 19 days ago

I Just Want my Mom!

One of the things I can do is write. So I’ll be posting here as often as I can in an effort to bolster my own spirits and bolster yours in this strange time of COVID-19. There’s too much to say. My kids have taken to making fun of me because I’m making so many predictions about … | Continue reading

@inpraiseofleftovers.com | 20 days ago

Modern Chocolate Chip Cookies

Oh boy. I haven’t posted a recipe here in a long time. As I’m sure I’ve shared before, the online food world has changed SO MUCH in the ten years I’ve had this blog, and it just seems like the world doesn’t need more pontificating about food. I am still cooking my brains out over … | Continue reading

@inpraiseofleftovers.com | 3 months ago

Favorite Reads of 2019

I read 120 books in 2019. My goal was 110 and a month ago I didn’t think I’d make it. and I decidedly stopped keeping track the last several weeks because I didn’t want to take the joy out of reading. I reminded myself that the goal was a little silly to begin with, and I’d had … | Continue reading

@inpraiseofleftovers.com | 3 months ago

Advent Day 24 and 25: Becoming Everywhere and Nobody

Ram Dass died 2 days ago, and I’m missing him today. It’s strange how the death of a stranger can feel so poignant, how it can connect to every other loss or potential loss. I’ve only been connected to him for last year, mostly because of my son’s deep dive into Buddhism. We wen … | Continue reading

@inpraiseofleftovers.com | 3 months ago

Advent Day 23: Christmas Eve Eve

I’m 100% sure Loretta will say today, “It’s Christmas Eve Eve!” Do you remember that feeling? That feeling of counting down the days, of the time before the morning of the 25th dripping, dripping? Wheen I’ve been with client groups the last couple weeks, I’ve had them check in … | Continue reading

@inpraiseofleftovers.com | 3 months ago

Advent Day 22: The Books are Calling

Dear Reader, I was an obedient child. I spent my youth afraid of getting in trouble. (In fact, I am still afraid of getting in trouble.) I was the girl who cleaned erasers during recess. I did extra credit assignments. You would’ve hated me. Then one day in 1986, I skipped scho … | Continue reading

@inpraiseofleftovers.com | 3 months ago

Advent 21: Keeping Vigil in the Night

I’ve heard a lot of folks talking about the solstice this week. We have seen apocalyptic rain the last few days, and it seems like the sun is setting almost as soon as it rises. People are walking around with their heads bent, racing from car to grocery store or from bus stop to … | Continue reading

@inpraiseofleftovers.com | 3 months ago

Advent 20: Little Poems for Dark Days: Impeachment

My friend Aimee joked with me recently that she stopped reading my blog because she couldn’t handle anymore of my mountaintop moments. Ha! I hear you, sister! I had the crappiest, rainiest, longest darkest commute ever tonight, and then it darkened a little more when I remembe … | Continue reading

@inpraiseofleftovers.com | 3 months ago

Advent Day 19: Showing us, Lovely, what we Are

As I sit down to write tonight, there’s a moment from my day begging for attention. I was with a new client group this morning. I was in awe of their work, the way they talked about their work together, the warm welcome they gave me. I have learned over the years how rare these … | Continue reading

@inpraiseofleftovers.com | 3 months ago

Advent Day 18: Baby Jesus doesn't do it for me

An oldie-but-goodie poem of mine today, picking up on a theme that’s been resonating with me for several years now—real spirituality or real religion means radical change and transformation. It means maturity, healed relationships, humility, kindness, compassion, and resistance t … | Continue reading

@inpraiseofleftovers.com | 3 months ago

Advent Day 17: 30 Christmases

30 Christmases, 29 years dating, 24 years married, 16 years parenting, two home remodels, 10,000 cups of coffee, three minivans, three Volvos, every episode of Seinfeld three times, one early commute to Seattle together this morning, on this sweet, crazy ride since 1989. | Continue reading

@inpraiseofleftovers.com | 3 months ago

Advent Day 16: Happiness is a Vegetable-Heavy December

I’m leading my own little rebellion over here, wherein I have not baked a thing this month (okay—except for this ) and am happily basking in the glory of winter vegetables. Many, many people prefer the summer bounty. Peaches! Tomatoes! Strawberries! But there’s pressure to eat … | Continue reading

@inpraiseofleftovers.com | 3 months ago

Advent 15: What is Cooler than Holding Hands?

Now is the time in my Advent writing when I’m about to go to bed and realize, “I haven’t posted anything yet!” So I shuffle to my office, turn on the light, and wonder, “How will the miracle happen today?” Most often, it happens in the form of my bookshelf and the passages I’ve … | Continue reading

@inpraiseofleftovers.com | 3 months ago

Advent Day 14: Undefended Heart

I woke up worried this morning about work and got to my office grumpy. To help myself, I wrote “Undefended Heart” on my whiteboard, trying to remind myself there was nothing to fear. Something about that big red heart scribbled on the wall and the cup of coffee I made slowed me … | Continue reading

@inpraiseofleftovers.com | 3 months ago

Advent Day 13: Make Something

By now, you have heard this from me a million times. We are meant to be creators, not just consumers. There are lots of activities that can be labeled as “creating art.” Among them: Singing, humming, whistling Playing an instrument, however haltingly Creating a playlist … | Continue reading

@inpraiseofleftovers.com | 3 months ago

Advent Day 12: Take a breath in the checkout line

Jack Kornfield shares this story from his masterpiece After the Ecstasy, the Laundry. I share it to remind myself that there are higher aims being right or my own comfort. And that most assumptions I make throughout my daily interactions are likely to be wrong. Much better, I’m … | Continue reading

@inpraiseofleftovers.com | 3 months ago

Advent Day 11: Let there be Joy

Emily and I got to go The de Young Museum on Sunday. In the age of virtual reality, I continue my newfound infatuation with museums, letting myself love what I love, standing next to strangers, marveling at our human impulse to create. We visited the Turrell Skyspace “Three … | Continue reading

@inpraiseofleftovers.com | 3 months ago

Advent Day 10: Are we Not of Interest to Each Other?

I’m thinking of the second half of Elizabeth Alexander’s poem Ars Poetica #100: I Believe : Poetry is what you find in the dirt in the corner, overhear on the bus, God in the details, the only way to get from here to there. Poetry (and now my voice is rising) is not all love … | Continue reading

@inpraiseofleftovers.com | 3 months ago

Advent Day 9: Sometimes you Meet your Favorite Poet at the Ankles of the Redwoods

You won’t believe what happened one hour after we stumbled on the Christmas parade. Earlier in the day I told Emily that I was on the lookout for the one person I knew lived in Santa Cruz. My favorite poet Ellen Bass . I took a workshop from her at Esalen a couple years ago, … | Continue reading

@inpraiseofleftovers.com | 4 months ago

Advent Day 8: Sometimes You Stumble on a Christmas parade

Which is what happened to Emily and I this morning in downtown Santa Cruz. After spending too long in the bookstore and wrenching ourselves away, we started heading toward the car. There were people lining the streets, Santa hats on every head, and the sound of a drum line sever … | Continue reading

@inpraiseofleftovers.com | 4 months ago

Advent Day 7: Our Animal Bodies

Walked along Cliff Drive in Santa Cruz with Emily today. We’d stop every few hundred feet, take a deep breath, and say, “Wow.” We couldn’t have appreciated it more. I adore watching the surfers, their sleek black bodies atop the waves, the total aliveness of braving the cold wat … | Continue reading

@inpraiseofleftovers.com | 4 months ago

Advent Day 6: From lightweight to heavy to lightness

Coming to you from Santa Cruz, where Emily and I just saw Rob Bell . I’ve never seen him live, and it’s hard to overstate the joy, clarity, wisdom, and companionship his podcasts have brought me. I’m not a guru person (see Rob’s podcast with Pete Rollins on gurus and how anyon … | Continue reading

@inpraiseofleftovers.com | 4 months ago

Advent 2019: Thanks to Claire, who I met because of books

I had 45 minutes to spare in Seattle’s International District tonight and ended up in a little coffee and wine bar. I had forgotten my journal and didn’t have a book. Kind of an emergency in my world. Then I sat next to Claire. She was reading Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down th … | Continue reading

@inpraiseofleftovers.com | 4 months ago

Advent 2019: The truth is everywhere

Just a bit from Rumi today, this time translated by Maryam Mafi. If you haven’t bumped into Rumi yet, the 13th century Persian poet and mystic, I suggest buying a few volumes and keeping them by your bed. (I have this one , this one , and just picked this one up at my beloved … | Continue reading

@inpraiseofleftovers.com | 4 months ago

Advent 2019: This is what it's like

You might remember that I am an insatiable reader. I had a goal of 120 books this year. I think I’ll be closer to 110, but I’m still bragging. I’ve turned into somewhat of an evangelist for the healing power of quiet reading, and I’ll use some of these Advent entries to highlight … | Continue reading

@inpraiseofleftovers.com | 4 months ago

Advent 2019: Make a Shelter

I have many, many devotional aids—prayer books, candles, finger labyrinths, oracle cards, essential oils. Among my most prized is Gayle Boss’ Creation Waits: Advent Mystery of New Beginnings. She profiles different animals in winter and what they do to stay alive. She doesn … | Continue reading

@inpraiseofleftovers.com | 4 months ago

Advent 2019: I'm saying yes

All week long, the chatter in my head has gone something like this: “Advent is coming up. Are you going to write every day?” ”Nah. Blogging is so 2012. And do you really want to do all that work?” ”But remember last year, when you noticed so much? Remember when life revealed it … | Continue reading

@inpraiseofleftovers.com | 4 months ago

Garden Epiphanies: Compost is the Best Metaphor Ever

One time my friend Sue and I were talking on the phone. She was feeling disappointed, and I was attempting to comfort her. She said, “I know what you’re going to say. ‘This is compost and it will become something else.’ But I don’t want to hear that!” Well, shoot. Sue knows me … | Continue reading

@inpraiseofleftovers.com | 5 months ago

Garden Epiphanies: Work Happens Here

When I tell people I’m trying to become a gardener, I hope they imagine the kinds of scenes I follow on Instagram. Bright nasturstiums spilling over new cedar boxes, beautifully trellised beans, fat red tomatoes. What’s really happening, especially since we don’t have a garden s … | Continue reading

@inpraiseofleftovers.com | 7 months ago

Garden Epiphanies: Growth Doesn't Have to be Hard

I had a vegetable garden this summer. It was the last step of many. First, fence the yard so the deer don’t get in (5 years ago.) Take out three topped, dying trees and their roots to let the sunlight in (last summer.) Tear down the old rotting deck and replace it with a new on … | Continue reading

@inpraiseofleftovers.com | 7 months ago

Corn and Radish Salsa

…and some other things, of course! If you just want the “recipe,” it’s something like: Saute a bag of Trader Joe’s fire-roasted corn kernels in a little bit olive oil and salt. (Or other frozen corn.) Scrape the warm kernels into a bowl and add a pint of quartered cherry tomat … | Continue reading

@inpraiseofleftovers.com | 10 months ago

Acceleration of Calling

I woke up early this morning. I could go back to sleep, open my NYT app, or take a walk. I’m trying to read less news, and I wasn’t sure I’d be able to fall back asleep. So I leashed Padre up and downloaded this podcast , which turned out to be the best 20 minutes of my week s … | Continue reading

@inpraiseofleftovers.com | 11 months ago

Being with Mirabai

Got home last night from a retreat with Mirabai Starr at Turtle Haven, and it’s going to take me awhile to get over it. In the best way. I’ve been around enough authors and teachers in my life to be a little bit wary going into these kinds of things. Some people know how to … | Continue reading

@inpraiseofleftovers.com | 1 year ago

Beginning Again

My friend Janel and I met for our “writing group” this morning. This sacred, monthly ritual consists of taking up a table at Camber for at least two hours, talking about everything but writing, and then making rushed, earnest promises to one another in the last five minutes abou … | Continue reading

@inpraiseofleftovers.com | 1 year ago

Favorite Reads of 2018

I read 104 books in 2018. Some people have superpowers of running marathons, parenting more than two children, or playing the guitar. Other people have superpowers of keeping meticulous track of their money, knitting, or remembering everyone’s name and birthday. My superpower is … | Continue reading

@inpraiseofleftovers.com | 1 year ago