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Reach For It

January, 2022

Saving Ourselves (with Help from Others)

Our potential for growth is boundless throughout our life span. Sometimes situations that spur us to develop or expand are FOGs (an acronym for F***ing Opportunity for Growth). Sometimes life gets so danged FOGGY that we want to give up.

But wait: what has the power to burn off a dense cloak of fog in the skies above us? The sun!

And what if you are the sun? . . . even when the fog is so thick that you want to turn up the heat, light a fire or go back to bed!

My sun-worshipping mother taught me, indirectly, that the radiant, brilliant part of us is still there, even on an overcast day. She once said, “The worst sunburn I ever got was on a very foggy day.” It would have been hypocritical for her to say, “wear some sunscreen,” but she got her point across, nonetheless. The sun—our sun—is still there, no matter what.

“You save yourself or remain unsaved.”

~ Alice Sebold

How do we get access to our sun when gloom rules the day? In the crosshairs of a FOG, I often remind myself that growth is in process. It can be challenging, though, to figure what exactly is wanting to be grown!

In these moments, we may just want to be rescued. Sometimes, our need for help is indisputable. Even then, any rescuing that others provide will feel more like a victory if we do the reaching, rather than relying too much on others to figure out what we need.

This is not a call to self-reliance. We need one another; no doubt about it. This is a call to agency, or self-advocacy.

Your FOG? Your sun can burn it off. I think you can bank on it.

And if you do, I’m banking on there being more joy in your life.

How do you get through the FOGs? Feel free to share your tips, strategies, wisdom in the comments below.

[This month’s blog is dedicated to my mother, Martha Senior. We lost a wise, opinionated, talkative and energetic "sun" thirteen years ago this month. Tomorrow would be her 101st birthday.]

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I send so much gratitude to those who responded to my request for feedback about Out on a Limb. You helped me clarify what you like about the blog and gave me some nifty ideas for future offerings. Thank you!

Beth Bastasch and Cindy Gum tied for the first gift of a set of eight photo note cards, so they both got one! Next came Jana McBurney-Lin, who received a set of eight gratitude-related collage post cards. And I’m in search of the mysterious reader named “carmelarocco” who will receive a signed copy of Assembling a Life: Claiming the Artist in My Father (and Myself) as soon as I find out what her mailing address is!


Follow Me

For those who have expressed an interest in my collages, you can follow me on Instagram. I’ve got one brewing that I can’t wait to share with you.


Why Assemble a Life? An Interview with Author and Artist, Martha Clark Scala

What motivated me to write Assembling a Life: Claiming the Artist in My Father (and Myself)? Check out this video to find out. Comments and feedback welcome!


Prompts For Joy

When I need an infusion of joy, I often “reach” for Playing for Change (PFC). I hope this first Prompt for Joy will inspire you to get acquainted with their offerings. According to PFC’s YouTube profile, the group “was created to inspire and connect the world through music, born from the shared belief that music has the power to break down boundaries and overcome distances between people.”

Click here for a fitting song as we celebrate Martin Luther King’s birthday this month.

Click here because any clip with Betty White in it is worth reaching for! RIP Betty.

Click here for all previous Prompts for Joy.


About the Photos

Above: Foggy Afternoon at Botany Bay. Edisto Island, South Carolina. Photo by Martha Clark Scala.

Middle: “Reach, Reach, Reach.” Collage by Martha Clark Scala.

Below: Geoffrey Clark's photograph of his sun- and cat-loving wife, Martha.


"A collage of words and images, artfully presented, a story artfully told. I have given this book as a gift, I have read it four or five times (okay, I was the editor--but even if I weren't I'd recommend this touching story by a sensitive writer/poet who longed to better understand her father). Martha blends love, loss, images and humor into a memorable palette."

Darlene Frank, Writer/Editor/Creativity Coach. "Tour Guide" for Spirited Voices: A Writing Journey into the Deep Imagination.

My father's photo of Mom can be found in Chapter 12 of Assembling a Life: Claiming the Artist in My Father (and Myself). This memoir is loaded with color photos (and some black and white) on just about every page. A visual feast.

For additional book reviews, click here. To purchase the premium softcover or e-book versions of Assembling a Life, click here.


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