The doormat of your life

May 22nd, 2008

One last thing my dog showed me.

Before the accident, Molly and I had a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy on the home front. I’d leave the backdoor propped open and she’d wander out to do her business, whatever that was, and I stayed inside to do mine, whatever that was. The stipulations of her rehab now require mutual engagement. I have to decode her wags and whines to judge the likely outcome, the redeeming value, of a bothersome excursion.

Do you have a good reason to go outside, Molly? I test her intent as she tap dances her enthusiasm.

Lately, she has no good reason at all.

Because the sun is shining.

Because the earth is warm.

Because the grass is thick.

Because she is alive.

This is a line of argument that I do not practice. I hardly do anything for no good reason at all. Last week she led me outside by leash, and I followed, impatient for her to find the right spot as only a dog’s nose knows. But she had no business being outside. She simply plopped onto the lush carpet of mondo, letting the day’s radiance soak her sun-starved coat.

Amused, I took the time to gaze up through the canopy of maple leaves. Then I saw the painted birdhouse we hung five years ago when I felt interminably housebound with a three-year-old.

The project, like most of my projects, was a way to relieve my confinement. But there is really no part of life that is confined, no part that is just a tiresome interlude to be tolerated, or a penance to be endured, because life doesn’t come in parts. Every moment is your whole life.

In faded strokes I’d lettered under the portal it still says “Enter.”

Make yourself at home. Cross the threshold. Enter your life.

Dogs, birds, babies, everything, everywhere, all the time shows you how.


And if you’ve read this far, read a little farther still and see what I found in the laundry basket. It will take me forever to get it washed, dried, folded and put on the shelf.


  1. Yahoo! I love this post. And I can’t wait to get my hands on that new book.

    Comment by Jena Strong — May 22, 2008 @ 4:03 pm

  2. Karen,
    Thank you for these juicy bits of wisdom. Just the right size, just the perfect flavor.
    I look forward to your new book. Congratulations.

    Comment by Phyllis Mathis — May 22, 2008 @ 4:54 pm

  3. and because the garden is so beautiful…who could blame her.

    Comment by Wendy — May 22, 2008 @ 5:08 pm

  4. Karen, CONGRATULATIONS!!! I look forward to purchasing your book. I will add it to it’s “sister” on my nightstand.

    P.S. Love in Time of Laundry is one of my favorite posts.

    Comment by Kristin H. — May 22, 2008 @ 5:09 pm

  5. Someday I will learn to follow my dog, go outside for no reason, and take more time to look up. I know, I know; there is no “someday” – there is only now. I will go walk the dog when I’m done posting this comment. Now.

    Also, congrats on the book!

    Comment by GailNHB — May 22, 2008 @ 5:12 pm

  6. Another fabulous post. Another reminder to be where i am, just when i need it. Thanks. And, congrats on the new book.

    Comment by RocketMom — May 22, 2008 @ 5:29 pm

  7. Oh, Karen! Congratulations! That’s such wonderful news…for us! I don’t know why, but I just pictured this book that when opened, shoots rays of sunshine on the walls and is so stuffed with bits of wisdom that they come tumbling out on the floor at the readers feet. 🙂

    oh, and I am learning this very home lesson, thanks for the reinforcement.

    Comment by Shannon — May 22, 2008 @ 5:58 pm

  8. 2 year olds are like dogs, wanting to be outside, examining the world, gathering information through their senses – all seemingly a “waste of time” to busy moms … but it’s nice to just let things go and follow them around for a while.

    Comment by Mrs. B. Roth — May 22, 2008 @ 6:18 pm

  9. So what you’re saying is that there is “no good reason” for living? It just is, and that’s reason enough?

    Maybe reasons are too close to excuses.

    Good dog.

    And congratulations on the book. This is the kind of book I need, i think.

    Comment by Rowena — May 22, 2008 @ 6:28 pm

  10. Exactly. I have two small boys so we do things for no good reason often. It is hard sometimes, but if I can let it go, we have a great time. Because if not now, when? 🙂

    Comment by denise — May 22, 2008 @ 9:38 pm

  11. ooh, a new book. can’t wait!

    Comment by Phyllis Sommer — May 23, 2008 @ 2:00 am

  12. so many loving laughs while reading all about your “baby”….what a great dog !!!

    aren’t we dog owners the luckiest people ever ?

    and congrats on the book !!

    Comment by Beth — May 23, 2008 @ 2:17 am

  13. Hooray! I am so excited for you, Karen. I know your laundry will come out clean and smelling oh-so-fresh.

    Thank you also for reminding me to enter…

    Comment by Leah — May 23, 2008 @ 3:28 am

  14. A new book — how exciting. I loved the first one so. Congratulations!!

    Comment by MonsoonAz — May 23, 2008 @ 5:11 am

  15. “Every moment is your whole life.”
    I feel like this has been cracked open for me, coming to me from everywhere. And it is really, truly amazing for me.
    Congrats on the new book coming out.
    I’m happy for you.
    And you know how I love your writing.
    Where shall we place our advanced orders?

    Comment by bella — May 23, 2008 @ 1:06 pm

  16. Every moment is your whole life.


    Congratulations on your book. Looking forward to reading it. Very inspirational.

    Comment by Lana — May 23, 2008 @ 1:17 pm

  17. I love your Molly.

    Comment by marta — May 24, 2008 @ 1:19 am

  18. I am coming out of lurkdom to say congratulations! A new book… can’t wait to get my hands on it.

    Comment by Noreen — May 24, 2008 @ 3:01 am

  19. Good for doggy. And the new book sounds great. Congratulations!

    Comment by Shelli — May 24, 2008 @ 8:31 pm

  20. Love the bird house. And the new book sounds wonderful.

    Comment by Mary Ann — May 25, 2008 @ 5:47 am

  21. First time visitor Karen.Your blog is wonderful.

    Comment by Pam — May 25, 2008 @ 10:00 am

  22. Congratulations, Karen! That’s so wonderful!

    Comment by Mama Zen — May 25, 2008 @ 12:38 pm

  23. Another wonderful post. And I’m sure another wonderful book. I’m looking forward to it, for me, and to give to one friend in particular. She doesn’t have children so I’ve hesitated to give her Momma Zen. But I think she’d like what you have to say. This new books looks like a terrific introduction for the two of you. From Anonymous in Mpls

    Comment by Anonymous — May 26, 2008 @ 1:25 am

  24. yay!! I’m in the midst of the first book and it is taking my breath away at every turn. It is exactly like having a wise and empathetic person walking by my side and seeing into my heart. Ahhhh. Every new mom I know is getting a copy.

    Comment by Michelle — May 27, 2008 @ 12:48 am

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