Category Archives: Musings

just that — musings on the world around me

Speaking at the Catholic Information Center

Last month I had the pleasure of speaking at the Catholic Information Center in Grand Rapids. Nu? What’s a girl like me doing speaking at the CIC?

A lovely man by the name of Dan Pierson found me through the wonders of the internet. We got to talking. I visited his website ecatechist.com and learned some things I never knew and should have.

He read and reviewed my book This Jewish Life, Stories of Discovery, Connection and Joy on ecatechist. We kicked around ideas for a presentation and decided that my talk Eight Teachings for Pursuing Your Dream, in which I share the lessons I learned when publishing my first book, would be a good topic for a program he knew of at the Catholic Information Center.

Dan calls himself a catalyst. As he told me in Grand Rapids when we met last month, “I get great ideas for programs, put the right people together and find the finance folks who make it happen.”

Dan catalysted (totally made up word) with Irene Strom, the CIC’s Director of Programming. Irene invited me to speak at the Center’s Great Women, Great Wisdom program.

It was a great night. Irene had arranged for there to be sweets and treats before my talk. The room where we gathered was lovely: blooming pots of pale blue forget-me-nots were set off by pretty tableware in similar shades of blues and greens. Right before I went up to speak, Dan whispered with a smile, “You better make me look good, girl, OK?”

“I’ll make us both look good,” I replied.

The audience at the CIC was a great mix of men and women, some young folks and some older ones. There was a sister—Sr. Sue Tracy—who, every time I looked her way was nodding and smiling. The audience was utterly rapt. They got my humor, and commiserated with me over the trials and tribulations of getting my book to print. Their questions were wonderful.

“Where did you find your interviewees?” someone asked.  I explained that I began with friends. I also sought out interesting stories in the Jewish periodicals I subscribe to often cold-calling those I read about to see if they would be interested in sharing their story.

Another person in the audience asked why I used the Hebrew word “Shoah” when referring to the Holocaust.  I explained that the latter word was drawn from the Greek meaning to offer a burnt sacrifice. Shoah means great calamity or catastrophe. Six million Jews and four million others — disabled, homosexual, others deemed undesirable — were murdered, not sacrificed in any sense of the word. Thus, my use of the word Shoah.

Irene had asked me to share an activity, and so we created little booklets that participants could keep on hand to write down their own dreams and thoughts. I brought decorative papers for the booklet covers; Irene had the instructions and supplies all ready.

I make it a point to read a story from the book before questions. This time, Irene asked if I would read an extra story as folks were finishing up their booklets. She wanted me to read the last story in the book which is titled “She is Pure.” This story recounts the Jewish ritual of tahara, the process of washing and preparing the deceased for burial.

I’m always happy to share the stories in This Jewish Life; each is like an old friend with whom I enjoy visiting. As I began reading the story this time, however, I did so having just lost my mother in March.

Each sentence I read about how the deceased’s body was treated lovingly, softly, how it was washed and wrapped in pure white linen, brought home that this ritual had been done for my mother as well, and so recently. There was a moment during my reading when my voice broke and I had regroup. I didn’t mind; all in the room had welcomed me so warmly.

Tahara is a beautiful and meaningful ritual. I was happy to share this story. Had Irene not asked me to read She is Pure  that night, I might never have considered, in just this way, my mother’s last moments as a Jewish woman here on earth.

I’m grateful to Irene and her staff and to catalyst extraordinaire Dan Pierson for making the evening possible. May you pursue your dreams and may they all come to be.

The best words: ‘I had a mother who read to me …’

SCAN0161I was shopping for baby gifts at Barnes & Noble last week—and headed straight to the children’s section to revel in picture books. Always my favorite part of the book store; always brings out my inner child.

I walked down memory lane, reacquainting myself with the The Grouchy Ladybug, rhyming once again with Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, commiserating with Alexander about his terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. One glance at their covers and I slipped down the rabbit hole, back to the days when my children still fit on my lap and I could envelop them not only with my arms but with words, beautiful words.

The lucky among us as the centennial of Mother’s Day approaches this year can echo the lines of Strickland Gillilan’s poem: I had a mother who read to me …

For us, the love of reading is forever entwined with a mother’s love, with the sensation of her voice, her breath in our ear as she read, taking us to wonderful places: sailing across Paris holding tight to a bouquet of balloons, dropped into flour-dusted night kitchens, journeying to the moon and back again. For as long as I can remember my mother surrounded me with words, English and French. Some Yiddish now and then.

My mother was forever reading and I have deep, long memories of library visits. Those visits are as much a part of my childhood as grocery shopping. Both fed us.

Yousuf Karsh self portrait

Yousuf Karsh self portrait courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

As a child I loved paging through Yousuf Karsh’s Portfolio, reading his recollections of photographing Hemingway, Picasso, Churchill. I can still summon his portrait of Pablo Casals caught at just the perfect moment, Karsh wrote, when the sun filled the space where Casals was playing his cello.

Victor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning was on her nightstand just beneath Colette’s My Mother’s House.

It fell to my husband and me to clean out my mother’s apartment after she died. Going through her books was to follow the map of her interests. They spanned continents—history, philosophy, biography, art, religion. Martin and I paged through as many as we could. There were hundreds. She had scrawled questions in the margins, making notations as if she was talking to the author as she read—conversing with Albert Camus and Andrei Codrescu. We found New York Times articles slipped between the pages of many. Barbara Tuchman’s obituary inhabited a chapter of A Distant Mirror. I had given her that book when I worked at Knopf, Tuchman’s publisher, in the late ’70s. Mom was thrilled beyond belief when I told her I had met the eminent historian. I know I became a writer, in part, because to be her daughter was to be bathed in language, in its cadences, in the richness and fun that wordplay could bring.

One book was pristine—no notations, no articles about its author, Rabbi Joseph Telushkin. From the inscription, I gathered this unread, possibly even unopened copy of Words that Hurt, Words That Heal, had been given to her, perhaps by someone whom she had verbally eviscerated. My mother could use words as weapons—a devastating characteristic. Still, I had to chuckle; how telling that she left that one on the shelf.

Martin and I took a few books to remember, sent a few on to one of my sisters and donated the rest to the library nearby. We left the clipped articles intact, enjoying the idea of readers stumbling upon her unique filing system.

Ours was a stormy relationship, my mother’s and mine, pockmarked with estrangements, studded with loving exchanges. She refused to speak to me for nearly three of the last four years of her life — know that we reconciled before the end. During those months of silence, those years of no words, I dearly missed learning what she was reading, and thinking; I missed talking shop. Books had always been our lifeline to one another.

As I left the children’s section, Robert Munsch’s Love You Forever caught my eye. How may mothers have been sucker punched by that book like I was? The book ends with the grown up son gathering his now elderly mother into his arms. He sings to her his version of the quatrain that has bound them together since his infancy: “I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always, as long as I’m living, my Mommy you’ll be.” This year, I read those lines with different eyes, with a different heart. Not only because I can no longer gather mother up in my arms, but because I never could.

Yet all I have to do is open a book, or read Edgar Allen Poe’s eponymous poem, to hear my mother’s voice.

To the tintinnabulation that so musically wells
From the bells, bells, bells, bells,
Bells, bells, bells—
From the jingling and the tinkling of the bells.

This is the power of books and mothers. I am grateful, so grateful, to have had a mother who read to me.

The balloons weren't red but I've never stopped wanting to be Pascal.

The balloons weren’t red but I’ve never stopped wanting to be Pascal.

The Sounds of Grief and Joy

It’s been a tumultuous roller coaster of a month. The bare bones short story is this: My mother died on March 9. Our son was married on March 22. So much has happened in the four weeks since her death that I cannot even begin to process it all. I have simply experienced whatever the day called from me to experience: grief, relief, joy, pride, exultation, exhaustion.

I have written nothing save my mother’s eulogy and an address I gave to my son and future daughter-in-law at the Shabbat dinner of their wedding weekend. So here, I offer up a few impressions, a first attempt to make sense of living through two of life’s most portentous passages, one on top of the other.

DSC_4007_edited-1The sounds of burial—Anyone who has been to a Jewish funeral recognizes the tableau: the coffin, spare and constructed of pine, has not yet been lowered into the ground but is suspended above the grave, cradled by thick bands of webbing. There is the mound of excavated earth piled high beside the suspended coffin. It is haphazardly covered with a green plastic tarp that does nothing to hide its role. There is the shovel wedged into the dirt, concave side out. There is the tension of knowing what will come once eulogies have been read and psalms recited. Then there is the mechanical sound of the winch as the coffin is lowered into the grave; the mourners rise and one by one take up the shovel and pitch earth over the coffin. The first sound is the worst. Earth hits coffin lid with a fist-to-the-heart thud that no one forgets, no one wants to remember or ever hear again. But we do.

Jewish tradition requires us to bury our dead ourselves. It is considered the highest chesed, or kindness, because the deceased cannot thank us. Each shovelful of dirt is scooped upon the wrong side of the shovel blade to symbolize how upside down life has become with the passing of a loved one. We do not hand the shovel to the next person in line, but instead dig it back into the earth for him to take up. It should not be made convenient; we do not want to show eagerness as we go about this most devastating act.

Most of those who had taken their turn were milling about, goodbyes were being said. I walked back to my mother’s gravesite and took up the shovel again. As I worked, and the earth was returned to its home, the sounds changed. Earth fell upon earth with a whispering sound, comforting even. There was a rustling that made me think of silken skirts or the hypnotic sound the edge of my sister’s blankie made when she passed its satin binding against her upper lip over and over again as she sucked her thumb. My son came up and said he would take over. But I could not bear the sight of him doing this alone and told him so.  “Neither can I,” he replied. And so we buried my mother, his grandmother, together. The sounds of the earth quieted to a comforting shushing like the sound of a hand smoothing a blanket over the feet of a child just tucked in for the night.

Three wedding sounds—the stomping of the glass, the cries of Mazel Tov! and then clapping, clapping clapping. Too much here to share about Elliot’s wedding. How to encapsulate the joy, the sight of our son as he wept upon seeing his bride? Our joy at his choice of wife? Those three sounds linked us to generations of Jewish parents who have brought their children to the wedding canopy. Elation and gratitude filled me as I heard that quick succession of sounds, that still reverberate in my heart and soul.

Isolation and community—Jewish mourning is structured so that the mourner is not alone. We sit shiva, seven days during which we are not to leave our home, during which friends come and care for us, feed us, clean the dishes, tidy up the house. Visitors come and pay their respects, offer comfort, stumble through awkwardness of not knowing perhaps what to say or do. Each evening there is a prayer service during which the mourner rises and recites Kaddish. But because we had to go from my mother’s funeral (in Atlanta) right to California where we had planned on spending the week helping the kids the week or so before the wedding, my shiva was nothing like I had envisioned. My friends were some 2000 miles away. I was not at home, supported by the familiarity of my exterior landscape at a time of upheaval of my interior terrain. It felt like all of life was being lived  on the concave surface of a shovel.

Elliot put out the call and two dozen or so of his and Elizabeth’s friends, and nearly a dozen of Elizabeth’s family members came to their apartment to participate in a prayer service. I was so very touched at how many young people showed up for Elliot’s mom, so touched that Elizabeth’s family, who would be my family just ten days hence, rallied ‘round me as well. I gave myself over to my son’s care and was so grateful. Ten Jews, twenty, thirty we were all there and though the voices might not have been familiar, the prayers, language, and melodies were. And so, I was at home.

Earthquake—as if I hadn’t had enough of the earth heaving up around me, we got treated to a 4.6 grinding of tectonic plates upon which LA is laughably built. The accompanying roar was terrifying. A whole lotta shakin’ goin’ on that I don’t want to experience any time soon.

i-vqfchvm-L“Yep, that’s her!”—of our many wedding customs, one is the veiling of the bride. Elizabeth’s mom and I lifted her veil when Elliot was brought to her. This custom recalls, and prevents, the trickery the Biblical Jacob endured when his father-in-law gave to him in marriage the sister he wasn’t intending to wed. Elliot looked into Elizabeth’s eyes, laughed and said, “Yep, that’s her!” He veiled Elizabeth once again. More clapping, more joy. Oh were they beaming. We all were.

"Yep, that's her!"

“Yep, that’s her!”

Mega thanks to Martin for his photos.

 

Blessing Our Children: ‘May you be like …’

blessing_childrenFor going on nearly three decades now, as part of our family’s Friday evening Shabbat dinner ritual, my husband and I have blessed our children.

When they were little, they would stand before us. Then, we would place our hands on their sweet heads and recite over them in Hebrew and then in English: May God make you like Ephraim and Menashe (over our son). May God make you like Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel and Leah (over our daughter.) And then over each of them in turn the words of the Priestly Blessing: May God bless you and protect you. May God’s face shine toward you and show you favor. May God look favorably upon you and grant you peace.

Friday after Friday, year after year, at first with hesitancy (this was new and unfamiliar to us), and then with growing confidence and authority, we would recite these ancient words over our children. Judaism understands parents to be God’s stand-ins on this earth, and so it was through our hands that God’s blessing came upon them week after week.

As they grew older and taller I had to reach on tiptoe. When they went to college, Friday afternoon became our check-in time. We have blessed them in unorthodox ways and places. They have called in for their blessings from Spain; they have read their blessings in letters written to them not to be opened until Friday. They have called from Glacier National Park, from dorm rooms and first apartments, beneath Manhattan’s skyline and the starry skies of Bryce Canyon. More traditional parents forego phone and letters, and simply hold their hands out and recite the blessing – north, east, south, west – in whatever direction their children reside.

Why did we start this?  Neither of our parents had ever blessed us. Incorporating the blessing into the rest of our Friday Sabbath dinner rituals seemed like a good and proper idea. It was, and so it remains.  This blessing is a constant in our lives at a time when we live in three different states and near as many time zones. Within its words are the memories of decades of Sabbath dinners shared with family friends. In its words echo the impatient times, too, when adolescent angst was held at bay as the blessing smoothed over the week’s discord. Our son will soon marry and we now bless his fiancee as well.  The first time Elizabeth looked up into my eyes as I blessed her, I felt a rush of so many feelings.  We didn’t know each other too well, but the blessing was my way of saying You belong to us, you are a part of us now, too, if you want to be.

Somewhere along the way I understood that within the blessing is immortality. One day, when I live on only in memory, our children will bless their children and feel my hands upon their head; they will hear my voice alongside theirs as they repeat the ancient words of the Priestly Blessing, May God bless you and protect you. May God’s face shine toward you and show you favor. May God look favorably upon you and grant you peace. It is good to know this. It is good to know that a tradition my husband and I began hesitantly and a bit awkwardly, will be an immutable part of them and their children. There is  power in this. Such simple, beautiful, and blessed power.

Your turn

You don’t have to be Jewish to recite the Priestly Blessing over your children. Pick a time. Establish it as routine and soon it will be come a ritual. What other family ritual have you created over the years? How has it added to your family’s life?

Expand the ritual. Share this post with your Facebook friends.

Bounty Hunting at Elmore Leonard’s House

UnknownElmore Leonard lived around the corner.

Every so often I would see him out and about, at Kroger, driving through the neighborhood in his little green car, a years-old Jetta or some other unassuming non-flashy model. One time, before HIPAA, I signed my name beneath his at our corner drug store, attesting that yes, I had been informed of blah blah blah. His was the autograph; mine, the signature. I never waved when our paths crossed. In the way veteran Manhattanites channel nonchalance when spotting a celebrity at Zabar’s or hailing a cab, I too, tried to give our hometown star his own space. I thought of him sometimes, writing in the house nearby. Were his characters behaving? Taking him down unanticipated alleyways? Did he ever get frustrated, want to forget all about this writing thing?

When he died, the neighborhood was a little dimmer, a little sadder. Did the walls of his upstairs study miss the sound of his pen scratching against the lines of a legal pad? The clatter of the typewriter that followed those initial handwritten drafts? The house went up for sale and my husband and I ogled the real estate sheets.  The grounds looked beautiful, the rooms elegant, bookshelves abounded.

Last week there was an estate sale. The streets, already narrowed by mountains of snow, grew narrower as cars lined the curb, their drivers walking eagerly toward the house. Of course my husband and I walked over. We have neither room nor use for additional furniture; but who could pass up the chance to peek inside Elmore Leonard’s home?

His son Bill was at the door greeting all comers with a cheery smile and a gentle request to put shoe-covers over our snow-packed boots. He graciously accepted accolades, traded stories with more than a few folks.  While the purpose of the gathering was a sale of his father’s belongings, it also had the feel of a wake or a shiva house as voices rang with laughter at shared memories and oft-told stories were retold just once more.

Future Reading

Future Reading

I ambled toward a sitting room/library.  Floor to ceiling bookshelves flanked a generous doorway. His hands had pulled these novels from the shelves; returned them. What had he thought of the Didion? There was one by Bill Vlasic, another local writer whose byline runs in the NYTimes. They likely had commiserated over the turns taken by the auto industry. Drawn by its title, I reached for a short story collection: Wanting Only to be Heard. I sometimes think that’s why I became a writer.  What had Leonard thought of Ann Beattie’s Picturing Will?  I nabbed that, too.

securedownload-2The rooms were comfortable but not overly grand. The furnishings, beautiful.  A glass sunroom had been added to the kitchen, overlooking an acre of backyard. Had Leonard moseyed down for a cup of coffee when the writing wasn’t going well? What did he think as he looked out over the lawn, steaming cup warming his aging yet still-nimble fingers? People looked over dinner plates and Val St. Lambert crystal candlesticks. They debated buying packets of everyday silverware taped into neat bundles of 12. What would it be like to eat with Elmore’s fork? A fork’s just a fork. For all his fame he was still just a person — ate like the rest of us. His food, post digestion, didn’t go anywhere more special than yours or mine, either.

It was a strange few moments in the home of this great author. I thought as I so often do, of what we leave behind. We spend a lifetime collecting, sealing memories into the stuff we lovingly place around us, arrange on skirted tables and on shelves that gather dust in the creases of our mementoes. We leave behind letters, conversations, loving gestures and way too often careless comments and pain. A piece of him could be had for a few dollars or several hundred. Or for nothing, just by heading over to the local library’s fiction section. And then there was the part of him that even a king’s ransom couldn’t buy — the talent that was his alone. The determination to craft one perfect sentence after another, characters so vibrant they reached from the page and slapped you silly, dialogue so spot-on that no one could touch him.

“The good stuff is going to DuMouchelles,” I heard someone say, referring to Detriot’s fine arts auction house. No, I thought, the good stuff can’t be sold. Ever. Famous or not, your good stuff is the stuff no one can buy, the stuff you can share only by giving it away: love, kindness, laughter; dedication, honesty, hugs; compassion, patience. If you’re conscientious and careful, the good stuff you leave behind will be so plentiful that even a mile of bookshelves won’t be able to hold it all.

Books in hand, I walked down Elmore’s driveway for the first and last time. Sooner or later new owners will be moving in. I sure hope they’re creative, another writer perhaps or an artist or a musician. Be a pity to waste all that great energy still flowing through the rooms of the house that belonged to one of the greatest of the greats.

Your turn:  Share your own Elmore Leonard sighting or memory. What’s your favorite Elmore Leonard novel? Are your friends Elmore Leonard fans?  Share this post with them on Facebook!

Ode to a Shattered Pomegranate

Debra-Darvick-photo-of-pomegranateOH boy is the universe a joker! Can’t be a total coincidence that not five hours after I attend a meditation class that focussed on the sense of hearing, I broke something I treasured for the delightful sounds it made.

Rabbi Aaron Bergman led the class, and prior to the meditation we studied the Shema, Judaism’s most important prayer. One simple sentence, Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One, is followed by the V’ahavta which instructs: You shall love the Lord thy God with all your heart, with all your mind, with all your soul…” Among other concepts, Rabbi Bergman drew a link between the first word hear and the instruction to love with our heart, mind and soul. When we hear someone cry out in pain, we should feel their pain; when we hear joyous sounds, we should allow ourselves to experience that joy within our entire beings.

Then came the meditation, sitting quietly aware of the sounds cascading around us: children running in the hall, the drip drip drip of water on the roof, the sounds of breathing, shifting in our seats. Afterward we discussed the emotions stirred up by the sounds we heard. Someone worried that the dripping water might signal a leak in the roof and thus an unexpected expense. Another was distracted by the sounds of the kids running in the hall; someone else was delighted by their laughter.

I have a keen sense of hearing and like nothing better than to be in a completely silent house. Football blaring on the TV instantly drains me of energy as I try to tune it out. There are many sounds that delight me as well, which brings me back to last weekend’s cosmic joke.

Some years ago I bought a delightful little ceramic pomegranate made by Israeli artist Yair Emanuel. I loved everything about it. Glazed in deep shades of red and crimson, it shone even in dim light. Cool and smooth, it fit perfectly between my cupped palms. Best of all, when I shook it, it rattled! A real toy for grown-ups! I loved the muted sound it made, and reveled, keenly aware of the tension between the pomegranate’s fragility and the clay stone banging around its interior. How had the artist inserted that little bead of a noisemaker? I wavered when I saw it. Why spend money on such a useless trifle? But it wasn’t useless at all. Every time I held that glazed pomegranate, I did so with pleasure. Every time I shook it, I laughed in delight. I truly did hear its sound with all my heart, all my mind and all my soul.

And then last Sunday,in a moment of distraction, I brushed against the pomegranate; it shattered on my desk. I heard the sound of it cracking deep inside as if something within me was breaking as well. Mad at myself for having been so careless, I was also bereft that something so small, that had given me such great joy, had vanished in a moment of carelessness. What a reaction for a trinket you may think. But don’t. All of us this week hear again the shots that took Martin Luther King’s life and mourn with heart, mind, and soul all that might have been. I have my priorities straight; I know the difference between broken things and broken people.

Sweeping up the shards of the broken pomegranate, I heard Rabbi Bergman’s words anew. I had taken such delight in this small work of art because I responded to its unique sound with every fiber of my being. Last weekend’s mishap taught me to be more careful with precious objects. It was also a reminder to turn outward the God-given capacity of listening with my heart, mind and soul to those whose path I cross.

Debra-Darvick-photo-of-broken-pomegranate

Song and Spirit: To Sit and Tile a While

I'm always drawn to the sparkly bits!I’ve gone only twice, but I’m beginning to love those Wednesday mornings. It’s a perfect loop: artistic creativity, getting to know an ever-expanding circle of women, an ample nosh, and best of all the knowledge that each of our creations will be sold to help those in need. The site of this wonderful Mobius strip of goodness is the Song and Spirit Institute for Peace in Berkley, Michigan. More on the Institute in a moment.

So what are these Wednesday mornings all about? Making glass mosaic tiles, something I’ve never done before.  I love it.

I love the bits of color and figuring out how to fit the various shapes into some semblance of visual cohesion. I love hearing the stories of the other women at the tables—the kind of intimate clothesline talk of kids and family, stories about work and relatives. And faith. I learn about Mary’s Mantle, “a safe haven for expectant mothers,” where one of the women at my table works.

Mary Smith (l.) and Claire Horton (r.) assure me that "grout is forgiving."

Marlene Smith (l.) and Claire Horton (r.) assure me that “grout is forgiving.”

“Grout is forgiving,” someone assured me my first day when I murmured that I wasn’t sure how my first tile was going to come out.

This led to a conversation about forgiveness—and how great it is to be involved in a kind of art making that comes with its own forgiveness!

And, they were right! When I saw my first finished tile, all those disparate shapes hugged together by dark grey grout, it did look pretty good.

I haven’t yet tried anything representational, choosing to stay within the safety of abstract  and more linear designs. Long-shelved quilt patterns return to me, eager for a second act.

A log cabin quilt pattern translated into glass mosaic,

A log cabin quilt pattern translated into glass mosaic.

Meanwhile, the veterans of these mosaic gatherings are creating hummingbirds that shimmer in flight above mosaic trumpet flowers, delightful butterflies, vases filled with flowers, sailboats, teapots and more. See more on Song and Spirit’s Art in Action page. 

There are mosaic tiles featuring crosses and Shabbat candlesticks, maize “M’s” on fields of blue and white “S’s”set off by green. From the same humble materials—glass bits, glue, tile cutter, paintbrush—jewels begin to rise to the surface, no two the same, just like snowflakes, fingerprints, human beings. 

And it’s the needs of human beings that lie at the center of this entire venture. The tiles are sold to help support the mission of the Song and Spirit Institute for Peace, which is dedicated to promoting greater understanding among people of diverse religions, cultural and ethnic backgrounds.

The center and its many programs are run by three extraordinary individuals:  Jewish troubadour, Maggid Steve Klaper, a professional musician; Brother Al Mascia, OFM, a Franciscan Friar whose Care’avan is a lifeline for parents and their children living at or below the poverty line; and Mary Gilhuly, Song & Spirit’s co-founder and Art Director who runs the Art-in-Action tile program. That’s the brief rundown. The longer and more deserving story merits more words than I can use here, so please please please, do your heart and soul a favor visit the Song and Spirit website and learn all that they do

Attending a weekend conference, Mary heard a recitation of a human being’s basic psychological needs: love and belonging; power and competence; freedom and choice; fun. She turned to her seat mate and said, “That’s what we do at Song and Spirit!  That’s what our tiles do for people!” She was exactly right.

I can’t wait for next Wednesday to get here.