Wishing You a Wondrous Holiday Season

xP%Ei5xRRIGsNU0ALr5UqA.jpg

Haven’t written much on this blog this year. My only excuse is work and life have taken more of my attention. But I didn’t want to let this season of love and peace go by without expressing my gratitude for all of you who are (or have been) clients, family and friends. You sustain me throughout the year.

I will be taking on new projects in the new year, and I’m excited about what will come into my life. I am so grateful for the clients I have had over the years, and especially those who have become friends, as well. If you have a book you’ve been working on that’s ready for an experienced development editor, or you would like the little nudge that comes from working with a writing coach, I would love to hear from you. May the peace and promise of this season settle upon you. May the love of family and friends surround you. May the abundance of the natural world visit upon you the nurture of nature. May you feel the love of the people who hold you in their hearts. Happy Holidays.

Last Night in Greece

We spent one last night in Athens before catching our home-bound flights to London and LA. Rob and I had dinner at Orizontes, atop Mount Lycabettus overlooking the whole city. It was stunning at night, with views of the Temple of Zeus and the Acropolis. Here are some photos from the restaurant and our hotel.

0F024463-1E2E-41C7-9C15-2F01C092804D.JPG

The colossal Temple of Zeus, which took more than six hundred years to build. There are only sixteen columns left of the original 104. It's more than impressive when you see how enormous the columns are. 

IMG_8345.JPG
IMG_8344.JPG

I'll write more in coming days about the Greek island of Rhodes, and our visit to the Monastery of Saint Nicolas, the Sanctuary of the Cats, on Cyprus. I left my tzedakah dollar at the sanctuary, where nuns continue hundreds of years of taking in stray cats. The dollar was given to me by my dear friend Arthur Gross Schaefer, a rabbi. In the Jewish tradition, one writes a Jewish blessing for safe travels on the dollar, and at the furthest point of the journey, the traveler gives the dollar to someone in need or a charitable cause. The cats were first brought to Cyprus and the monastery in 326 AD to control venomous snakes, and they continue in that role today. 

IMG_8190.JPG

The mosaic above the entrance to the Monastery of Saint Nicolas.  

IMG_8192.JPG

Two of the residents. They do not necessarily have an easy life. One of the cats we saw was missing half of her face, no doubt from an encounter with a snake.  

IMG_8196.JPG
IMG_8195.JPG

Crete's Chania and Red Beach Near Matala

Rob and I spent five nights on Crete, the largest of the Greek islands. We flew into Heraklion, then rented a car to drive to the charming harbor town of Chania. Our hotel, Domus Renier, was exquisite and the owner, Litsa Paraskevaki, was warm and welcoming. She spent three years renovating a very old building, and it is beautiful with attention to every detail.  

5313A460-95C9-47B4-9FF2-ACCB14541686.JPG

The harbor at Chania.  

1941089E-E2DC-4831-9F96-E4D3E80C02B1.JPG

Domus Renier is the building with the green and brown exterior.

35523CFE-ACFF-4C89-996B-26080AF599AF.JPG

Yup.  

8D6D5AC9-8B9D-4D9B-BB20-3661ACE7E8D9.JPG
8E7B0635-7D4F-4617-B579-3B6DEAFED01B.JPG

A BIG beer.  

3B12A2D8-F283-41CA-A3C5-5F79F6F502A3.JPG

Chania lighthouse.  

6E8F5EFE-96F4-4882-B58E-920C23EB1856.JPG

A detail--exposed original wall at Domus Renier.  

CFF1BAA7-9864-489A-A38D-76A7F8D3CCBD.JPG

Rob with Litsa, the owner of Domus Renier.  

A4DCF5CF-6FF8-4B97-A191-5B88035563CA.JPG

Original details were retained or re-created.  

E604F8E8-2FB8-4AE0-94C2-B285C66864EA.JPG

Red Beach, near Matala in southern Crete.  

A New Year's Reflection

Things I am grateful for:

·      my love

·      my friends and family, especially my precious daughter

·      writers who share their lives, loves and words

·      my work and the people who entrust me with their books and dreams

·      my sweet dog, Chevella, who turns 14 next summer

·      the ability to read and think and appreciate ideas

·      meaningful conversation with interesting people

·      the wonder and blessings of travel

·      my home and the ability to share it with clients and friends

·      the possibilities of the future

·      my own writing projects, which feed my soul

·      wise women friends who provide support and succor when I need it (and you know who you are!)

·      the opportunity to live in a beautiful corner of the world

·      walking on the beach with my dog

·      mentors who guide and encourage me

·      good health

·      deep, intimate relationships with people I love and care about

For these things and many more, I am profoundly grateful.

May your 2017 be filled with meaningful work and relationships, may you experience all good things, and may your loftiest dreams come true.

Happy New Year.

On Wonder

My friend Kathleen Barry and I write together every couple of weeks, and yesterday we both wrote about wonder. You can read her take on it here. Here's mine:

I love the concept of wonder. It conjures up the image of a child gazing at a colorful butterfly, or watching a bird's egg open, the tiny feathered creature inside emerging into the light.

I have been in that dreamy state of wonder, whether at some physical world delight, or in contemplating the metaphysical. Lyanda Lynn Haupt says wonder "is contingent on the habit of being that allows it to arise...." In other words, you have to be in a constant state of openness and wonderment for moments of wonder to find you.

How can we bring more wonder into our lives? Can you discover the wonder in an everyday cup of coffee? Or in the choosing of your clothes for the day? Or in washing the dishes after a meal? It's easy to see the wonder in a stunning sunset, less so in the drudgery of vacuuming the house.

If we are called to see the extraordinary in the ordinary (and I believe we are), then we learn over time to recognize the moments in our lives that God (or the Universe) asks us to appreciate, no matter how seemingly insignificant.

Where do you see wonder in your life? I see it in the purple bougainvillea outside the window, in the hummingbirds which flit among its petals, in the distant ocean and the tides that govern its movements.

Life is both fragile and fleeting—wonder is our opportunity to appreciate it in every moment: the touch of a friend's hand, beach sand between your toes, ice melting in your double scotch. Wonder abounds.

The Stunning Beauty of Sea Ranch

Up at Sea Ranch again, on writing retreat with my AROHO sisters, eight women I met at the 2011 Room of Her Own Foundation's retreat at Ghost Ranch in New Mexico. This is our fifth year of coming together to write and commune, our fourth at Sea Ranch, on the far Northern California coast just south of Mendocino. It is a stunningly beautiful stretch of sea coast, with magnificent cliffs and thundering ocean and abundant wildlife. We've seen many groups of deer (bucks and does with lots of spotted babies), foxes and jackrabbits. Bulbous sea lions lolling on the rocks. Pelicans skimming over the bluffs. The deer are protected here, so they have no fear, and graze contentedly throughout the Sea Ranch. You can almost get close enough to touch them.

The tiny burg of Gualala (wa LA la) has a lovely little market, and a gas station and a couple of restaurants. And a bookstore! Which we will be appearing at this afternoon to talk about writing retreats and writing. The Four-Eyed Frog bookstore was recently purchased by a group of community people to keep it open. There's a lovely lesson there about the importance of books to community.

Here are some photos I've taken this week and in years past. May your day be filled with the peace of nature.