Practicing the Presence of God: Making It Harder Than It Is

I slammed my pencil down on my math notebook, where half-worked problems sprawled. “I can’t do this!!!!” From the den, the computer chair creaked, and the soft thump of my mom’s step signaled her approach. I collapsed over my math textbook, notebook, and scratch paper. She needed to know that this was too hard, and it was hopeless, and I would never get it. I jutted out my lip. My mom pulls out the chair next to me. “What’s going...
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In Memoriam of 2016: A Poem

In Memoriam of 2016

In Memoriam of 2016, I’ve written this poem (well, really, for every year past). May it make you chuckle and breathe relief as we move from one year past to one year new. A word from Barbara, Lady Tennysdaughter, who sends her thanks for the thoughtful year, witty friends, and silly twists.   Ring out, cell phone, to the wild sky, The flying yell, the frosty trill: The year is dying from the mill; Ring out, cell phone, and let...
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LIVE OUT grace

LIVE OUT grace

In a conversation with a friend, we were discussing how to handle frustrating groups of people. You know the kind: People who can’t see past their own noses, who say ‘how are you’ but don’t wait for the answer, and who might be physically present but not emotionally. These soul-suckers and emotional drainers drag us down with their see-through-you-but-don’t-see-you gaze. Our conversation went something like this: Me: We need to hit them over the heads with bricks and then hip-wiggle...
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Blink: Christmas In Vienna

Blink: Christmas In Vienna

Tugging my winter hat over my ears, I reached for my puff coat and slipped my arms in. The Florida sunshine giggled at me as it beamed through the curtains of my bedroom, and I shook my head. Christmas and December meant snow. And cold. And if I couldn’t be where it was, I’d imagine myself there. And nothing helps imagination more than reality. I zipped up my coat and tapped my booted heels together. Blink, blink, squeeeeeze tight. Cool air...
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welcome sadness

welcome sadness

Sadness is an uncomfortable guest. When you see sadness coming, reach out to her, hands cradling her chin and kiss her hair. She needs to be invited in, welcomed and given space at your table and your bookshelf. To ignore sadness is like ignoring a broken bone that needs attention, to be realigned and bandaged, and bone healing takes time and it hurts. welcome sadness. I remember this one day where I woke up sad. Ridiculously and mopey sad. Blue bled...
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Dream Destination: Where Two Oceans Meet

Dream Destination: Where Two Oceans Meet

Did you know that sometimes when oceans meet that you can see the divide between them? It’s seamless water, and yet, something’s different. How can it be water and yet separate? This phenomenon is as mythical and magical as it sounds. But you can sometimes find it in Alaska! Eventually, the waters mix, but for that moment, you can see the separation of two bodies of water. The most common explanation is when two bodies of water carrying different earth...
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Bold Lipstick Like a Super Star

I Love Bold Lipstick

It’s not hard to wear a bold lipstick. I think it’s one of these things that we overthink or over-complicate. The key is to straighten those shoulders and slap that bold color on your lips. Walk tall, chicadee.   How To Wear A Bold Lipstick I’m on a lipstick kick. Seriously, I want to wear it everyday right now. Maybe it’s the shift to cooler weather or maybe I’m just feeling more vibrant. Or maybe it was my first successful trip...
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Flash Fiction: The Measure of Character

insta180, flash fiction, short story, measure of character

  The Measure of Character by Barbara Brutt, IG @cordiallybarbara, T @barbarabrutt   I should have known when he didn’t look up from his phone. When I first set eyes on him, I didn’t like him because he expected to be liked. His body, like a swimmer, strung long, lean, and fit with ape arms. Grey eyes and dusty hair that could either be brown or blond depending on the light. Sure, someone might think him attractive but not me. I...
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My Grandmother’s Art Class

If any of you grew up with me, you’ll remember how difficult I was…stubborn, fierce, turbulent, rude, and pig-headed. Probably explains why I have so few friends from childhood (those of you who stuck around, thank you). Recently, I’ve been researching painting for a novel series that I’m working on, and while paging through one of the research materials, I remembered the story below from one of my art classes. “Barbara, mix a little water into the paint.” My grandmother...
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Ivy’s Cayman Treats

The Grand Cayman Islands offer treats of all kinds whether the search is for a bank, a diamond, or a t-shirt. The sky was a blue that most only ever see on postcards, and the heat could have fried an egg on the sidewalk. Sweat hung along the my hairline. We cooled off at a sweet little creperie off Canama Bay for a bite to eat and some wifi, and then my sister and I wandered down the street in search...
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