Why You Should Deviate

deviateMy husband and I are making a cake. Open before us is the bible for lost souls: the Joy of Cooking. Across the countertop are the requisite ingredients (flour, sugar, baking soda and powder, eggs and salt) and various implements of destruction (measuring cups and spoons). The Joy (ha!) of Cooking makes clear the precise measurements and order of ingredients. It states, “Deviation brings disaster.”

Deviation brings disaster? Joe and I frown as we reread the warning. We then look at each other and smile: “Screw ‘em.”

Why this story about cake, you ask? Because it’s not about cake but deviation.

I am a writer, and to not deviate brings disaster. If I can’t mix ingredients the way I want and in the order and proportions that strike my fancy, why bake at all?

So what if flour spills on the counter or I mistake the salt for sugar. Who cares if I turn my three-layer cake into an apple pie, or preheat my oven to broil. Or simply serve my pie raw, in wine glasses. Or toss the whole mess in the trash and begin again, this time with chubby blueberries that stain my fingers as I plop them into a paper cup. Perhaps I’ll sprinkle fairy dust sugar on them. Or add chocolate syrup with a twist of lemon. Lemon? Yes!

So there Joy of Cooking! Deviation does NOT bring disaster. It brings surprise, which can be just as sweet. Ask any writer.

(By the way, the cake my husband and I made? It was delicious.)

Beth Mende Conny, founder of Lifenicity and Write Directions shares one of her inspirational quotations. This quote is about friendship and the importance of friends.

Motivational Monday


Beth Mende Conny, founder of Lifenicity and Write Directions shares one of her inspirational quotations. This quote is about friendship and the importance of friends.

© 2014 Beth Mende Conny


My Weekly Recap in Pictures

black walnut weekly

Thermometer under the Black Walnut says 67, but weather folks say 90 today. Where should I put my trust?

Vegas weekly

How bizarre, but then again, this is Vegas. Ceasar’s Palace underground mall. Cash registers shouting: Hail the mighty Ceasar!

vegas weekly

Anyone want to join me? Only catch is you have to fly out to Vegas. #bethconny #lifenicity #someonegetmesmellingsaltimfeelingkindveweak

flowers weekly

Joe loves flowers so I made him a bunch. Learned how to make them in camps during arts and crafts. Pipe cleaners and tissue paper. #bethconny #lifenicity #feellikeakidagain

book weekly

A rare moment when everything aligns. Good book, lunch, ice tea and conversation I’m eavesdropping on #bethconny #lifenicity #shoulditellhimtoreconcilewithhiswife?

art weekly

New markers, old love. We were meant to be together. #bethconny #lifenicity #lovedrawingpicturesformylifenicityblog

dance weekly

So little time, so many dances. Which is your favorite? #bethconny #lifenicity #anotherrecordfrommyfatherinlawscollection

music weekly

This New Age music makes me feel old age. Too schmaltzy and putting me to sleep before even dinnertime. #bethconny #lifenicity #perhapssomeheavymetal


Should I or shouldn’t I get out of bed? #bethconny #lifenicity #maybeiwilljustlieinbedanothertowhoursandtrytofigurethisout


Familial DNA

Image Credit WikiMedia Commons

Image Credit WikiMedia Commons

Back from Las Vegas jet lagged. The three hours time difference feels like three weeks. My clock says 6:15 a.m., my usual waking time, but my body thinks it’s 3:15 a.m. Or maybe it’s not my body but family that pulls me back to bed.

For the last four days my family has spent nearly all of our waking hours together, drawn to Vegas for the unveiling of my Aunt Anita’s tombstone. Contingents from New York, Washington, Florida, California, Maryland are present. We have greeted each other with tight hugs and firm kisses, and when we stand at the gravesite, shoulder to shoulder, we pass tissues and reach for each other’s hands. We remember, together.

Always I am struck by the unbreakable bonds of familial DNA. Our daily lives do not intersect — we live too many hundreds and thousands of miles from each other — and yet we know each other well. And because there are no warring camps among us, our reunion, though bittersweet, is sweet.

We catch up, share Aunt Anita tales and form new memories. We vow to stay in touch, knowing we likely won’t. But when we meet next it will not have mattered. We’ll fall into conversation, share smiles. The hugs will be tight, the kisses firm. We will be together again.

(More of Aunt Anita and the remarks I wrote for her funeral.)

I would like to thank

I would like to thank …

I would like to thankI would like to thank the sun for coming through my window this morning, casting strips of shadows through the blinds and onto the floor. They were the ladder rungs I used to climb out of bed and into the bathroom.

I would like to thank my sink and the cool fountain water I cupped to my cheeks. Splash, splash. Tingle.

I would like to thank my mirror — but forget that one. The mirror’s too judgmental, and so early in the morning! Bad mirror, bad mirror.

So instead I will thank my teal towel that gently rubbed and opened my eyes so I might see the day and pray to make it a good one.

I would like to thank the day for showing up yet again, whatever the season or reason. I love how it weaves its fingers through mine and gently tugs: “Let’s begin.”

And I would like to thank the universal powers that be, whatever their shape or name, for the periodic wisdom that allows me to follow my purpose, with trust.



My Weekly Recap in Pictures


Definitely going on my reading list. Can’t wait to see the movie version. #bethconny #lifenicity #iguessthereisareasonwhytheyarecalleddummiesbooks

apple mac

Initiated! Jenna gets her first Mac. #bethconny #lifenicity #anothersuperiorpersonwalkstheearth


Well, so much for drinking out of my commemorative cup, which the guy in front thinks is an arm rest. #bethconny #lifenicity #isheevenwearingdeoderant?


Incredible!!!! Joe’s BD and as Joe, Julia and I go up to the O’s ticket booth to get seats, a season ticket holder gives us three tickets because his friends can’t make the game. We’re five rows from the dugout! Great BD gift! #bethconny #lifenicity #maybewewillcatchaballandgetonjumbotron!


Is today tomorrow?

tomorrowI don’t miss being younger, experiencing the rough stuff of youth. The fears and tears of pimples and unrequited love, the not knowing what to say or wear, or who I would be when, at some distant time and place, I’d be all grown up.

Grown up. An interesting term. As if we grow in one direction, vertically, when really growth is a horizontal thing. With luck and smarts, we grow out, furthering our reach each day, no matter how crummy it may be, for no day is without possibility, however slim.

Grownup; another interesting term. As if we become a solid, single being, rooted in space and time and emotion, when, really, we are fluid. Without the ups and downs, our lives are terribly flat. At the very least, we need hills.

These days my life is hilly and what I see in the distance is my present. How confusing.  It reminds of the time when, as a kid, I asked my mom, “Is today tomorrow?” I couldn’t grasp the concept of time, nor can I now. What day is it? What week, what month, what year? Have they merged and become something wholly different, like mixing red and blue and getting purple?

Purple. Not my favorite color but nice nonetheless. It’s the color of grapes, which I like, and the color of my recently purchased pants, which I love. Other than that, eh. I prefer the blue of clear sharp skies, the waters that ring tropical islands; worn denim.

All of which is neither here nor there, I suppose. Nonetheless, it summarizes my life: I am neither here nor there; I just am. Perhaps this is what it means to grow up, to be a grownup.