Welcome to Mary Anne Radmacher's blog.

One way to get to know a person you've just met is to ask them to tell you about their favorite friends. It's said that a person essentially becomes an aggregate of the five people with whom they spend the most time.

There's another telling question to ask a stranger. It's all about a book.

1) Is there one book that you have re-read and will read again (and again)?
2) What is the most recent book that you've read and what stands out to you most?
3) What is the title of a book you recommend most often to friends?
4) What was the last book you read that made you so sad when it came to the end? (Because you wanted to keep on reading, not because the ending was sad!).

If the person you are just getting to know has never re-read a book, can't remember what stood out from the last book they read, doesn't recommend books to friends and has never felt sad to stop reading an excellent book...

I suggest that you stop conversing with them. And, perhaps, run. Kidding (not kidding). Perhaps you might consider striking up a conversation with someone else that you might want to get to know. AND start THAT conversation off by recommending a book you've recently read...

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Generosity and A Sourdough Baguette

CHOP YOUR OWN WOOD AND IT WILL WARM YOU TWICE.- Henry Ford – written by mary anne radmacher
Take care of yourself first. Many consider altruism as the hallmark of an elevated soul. Giving primary care to yourself, first, is not only practical, it is essential. Individuals trained in the liturgy of self-sacrifice and denial have difficulty seeing the balance between self-care and self-indulgence. In an objective glance they appear quite different.
Self care tends to the fundamental requirements of a healthy and contented life. A healthy person will choose the comfort and ease of another person over their own, periodically but not consistently. If Daily Bread is a metaphor for all essentials then - If you feed your whole baguette to someone with great frequency – then it is you who becomes a need for someone else to fill. The factor of generosity, so rewarding in a healthy lifestyle, can becom self indulgence. The conventional grasp of this phrase involves one giving too much to themselves. I’m mirroring that understanding here. Suggesting it can be that peculiar thing which masquerades as martyrdom. Generosity turned to indulgently giving too much . Giving to the detriment of one’s own values and needs. “I’ve given so much. How could they treat me this way? I’ve given everything I had. I’m all poured out.” One must ask, “Who is doing the pouring?”
Henry Ford addresses the basic message of self reliance. Providing your own essential needs empowers you to care not only for yourself, but others. Tending watchfully to our requirements builds a resource base that allows for positive, generosity (thus “warming twice.”) Generosity and (re)generative share a latin root, meaning, among other things, magnanimous or to create. Regenerating is restoring what was spent. Generating is the process of creating what previously did not exist. As a generous soul I grasp the impulse to “give it all away.” Consider that baguette. Sourdough starter generously recreates itself as long as a portion is retained upon which the rebuilding is based.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

a surprising saturday: friends and rest

I am writing on my deck, clothed in a sun dress. Puget Sound is at a minus tide revealing so plainly why the expanse in front of me is called “Useless Bay.” People stroll to the tide’s edge at low tide and there’s no hope for a boat moored close to shore in this bay. Hence…the useless part. The whirring throaty buzz of hummingbirds comes from the feeder to my left. The song birds are rehearsing their liturgy. The sound of fast moving sandpaper blocks striking each other come from the eagles in the trees over there. They are so close I can appreciate the majesty of their white hood from here, even without my helpful eyeglasses.

Slipping some gin in simply lemonade sounds seriously appealing as I sit soaking in this rare demonstration of Pacific Northwest Spring sun. My better judgment reminds me I have more manuscript to letter. Oh, yeh. This is just a pause in the day. A contribution to my healing lung.

An engine buzzes as a water plane zooms out of Hood Canal. And I just explained to the deer that ambled across the yard that Suze really prefers she stay away from all her plants. She seems disinterested and completely undisturbed by my message. The crow crowd (we don't call them a murder here) wonder if my presence means food will soon be thrown to them. They cannot imagine any other reason I would be outside. Simply sitting on the deck. We do exist only to feed them, don't we?

I remember saying to my dear friend Barb earlier today that rest and friends are two of the most important things in our lives…and yet in our busy-ness we often place them last in our day. If we place them at all. I pick up my phone and call several of my cherished souls whose voices I haven’t heard in a bit. Laughter and stories punctuate the bird songs.
While we discuss all the places in the world to which we could move next May – in this moment this seems the most pristine, ideal place on the planet. How grateful I am for the life I live.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Mother's Day reflection

i am going to use this mother's day to reflect on the qualities i most admire in the mothers i know.
AND aspire to demonstrate some of those qualities in the coming week.

what might some of those qualities be?

in tina i admire the way that she models confidence and self esteem for her daughter; in barbara i admire how she demonstrates taking personal responsibility for "stuff;" from kim i gather strength from the dining room table that is the focus of her family - the pile of cloth napkins and the coming together of story and experience that happens there; from kathleen e. i know that her OCCASIONS are grand and special and likely involve cupcakes and flowers. or, more generally, something she's baked and something she's grown; my friend eileen considers her three daughters her life's most viable and valuable asset. that's real perspective. there's no economic downturn with daughters; jan sees the talents and skills of her daughter and clears a path in the road for her to express those talents in as broad a manner as possible; busy business woman deanna doesn't do anything when it's meet the bus time. she has a lot to do...and it all lands in priority with her children first; connie meets each of her children on their own playing field and doesn't spend time comparing one to the other.

i'm blessed to know so many outstanding mothers. i'm even more fortunate that i am often the recipient of their nurturing motheringness. while i have no children, officially authenticating me as a mother, i am honored to demonstrate the lessons that mothers have presented in my life. i am proud to list "motherly" as an important attribute on my own list of qualities which i happily articulate to the world.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

queen of cupcakes recommends novel

my friend, kathleen, the queen of cupcakes (that's another story) highly recommended sy montgomery's THE GOOD GOOD PIG. yes! i said to myself. just what i need to punctuate my recovering from pneumonia with periods of appropriate rest. a good novel! off i go to the library. no good. not on the shelf. it's on order and i can begin with my restful reading breaks by the end of the week. but. "i'm here...i might as well go to the fiction section and find the novel for the next few days." so i go. i begin in C's. and before i know it, i find myself in the T's. "the t's already, and still no novel in my hand," i exclaim, with chagrin.

just one step to the right puts me in the section that i mostly called home. BIOGRAPHY AND MEMOIR. ahhhhh. yes. these come home with me, readily. MY INVENTED COUNTRY - A NOSTALGIC JOURNEY THROUGH CHILE by Isabel Allende; DOG YEARS, by mark doty; LIVING FOR CHANGE - AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY, by Grace Lee Boggs; and HERSELF by Madeleine L'Engle. Ah, Madeleine..."obedience is an unpopular word nowadays, but the artist must be obedient to the work, whether it be a symphony, a painting, or a story for a small child." thank you for those words and how i miss your breath on the planet, madeleine. obedience to the work. so that assuages me as i again fail to manage to pick up the novel to stir me. truth, history and reflection always manages to lift my eyes and challenge my thinking. it's nearly dependable. so. obedient to my work as an artist is to embrace the views of others and see if i can see the way they see. learn from their view on the world.

my friend, kathleen, draws my sights up at many levels. THE GOOD PIG will delight, i'm sure. and she's inspired me at another level. kathleen who flew just last month in a twirl skirt with martini glasses all over...has allowed me to imagine a wardrobe with a higher level of quirk in it. and i have acquired a vintage sun dress in an auction on ebay. and. more good news. the 50's style twirl skirt can double as a day tent for me and nine of my dearest friends if i want to serve up a picnic in the hot, mid day . quirk? got plenty of these days. i simply seem to be a little short of cupcakes and novels.

Monday, May 4, 2009

The qualities of an inspired life are yours to determine. For your life and days.
Just as I determine the qualities in my own inspired life.

As I was considering the many targeted completion dates presenting in my day today I thought
about my personal measures for priority. As the opportunity for feeling pressured by the
large list of opportunities rose up, I laughed. And I asked myself this question,
"Would any of these items qualify as an appropriate thing to list on my headstone?"

One qualified. I laughed again and suggested to myself, "Then why don't you start with that one?" Indeed. Sometimes it really is THAT simple.

Part of my inspired life today is paying attention to the things of great consequence.