The Quiet Sacred

And to inspire to live quietly, to attend to your own matters, and work with your own hands. – 2 Thessalonians

A friend of mine recently posted this verse saying how much it struck a chord in her. And indeed in does within me as well. Both she and I love our lives, love the people in our lives and love making the people in our lives happy. For me that is tending to house and home. I love cooking delicious dishes and planting the garden. I love snuggling on the couch and watching movies, giggles over pizza and who gets the remote next.

I think there is value in hard work. There is a sacredness in using your hands to create what your heart intends, whether it be a meal, or a garden or a marriage or a family. It takes work and joyful dedication. And this year, that is what my life is about. To absolutely throw myself in the passions of my life.

When the world has seemingly gone crazy, as it has, sometimes the best thing to do is to be in constant conversation with your own life, making sure your time and energy is places in building what is most important.

A happy home, a warm kitchen with a fully stocked fridge, music playing whether by instruments or radio, laughter, warm hugs, slow dancing in the kitchen, long late night talks, sharing hope and secrets. Working hard at something that is worth it.

Life is short. And so many times we read about the celebration of it. But maybe it is the quiet times in the space between the second hand, and the moments between the raindrops, at home, holding hands, working, planting, making. And maybe we should be inspired by the sacred mystery of that.

The Help Blessing

In this day and age, it may be hard to ask for help, whatever the topic might be. Indeed, we have been taught to be so self reliant that we forget that needing each other is a part of the Human Experience and condition. No matter how accomplished you are, at some point you will need the help of another. And that is OK. Because we are all human. and I think that it is now more inportant that ever to be able to seek and accept help when in need. And you must allow others to help you, even when it is hard.

I am the first one to admit I have a taught time with this. I Hate asking for help and would rather cut off my own arm than swallow my pride and ask. And really, why its it so hard? I don’t know. Maybe it is pride, maybe it is feeling like a failure if you can’t do it yourself. Maybe it is a tad humiliating, or maybe, as humans, we can simply be too stubborn. Maybe it is the fear of rejection – what to do if rejected or given a sharp unkind answer? I have only had that happen a few times – immediately after my parents death, and also with an alcoholic ex. But they themselves were very broken, and did not have the capacity. Indeed that reaction says much more about them than it does you.

In this day and age of being flashy, being strong, driving the biggest most expensive cars…can we allow ourselves be human and vulnerable enough to ask? Yes.

I remember working at some small radio station in my early 20s, hardly making any money, and the GM firing the entire morning show because they were going satellite. I was crushed, and broke. I had 5 weeks saved up (which was a lot considering how little I made). I called Mom crying and apologized for needing to ask for her help. She told me to take a breath and said something that I will always remember. She told me that as a parent, she always wanted to and would be there to help me. And that while she hated that I lost my job, she loved having the opportunity to help.

Then my very wise and beautiful mother explained that there are people who get joy out of giving and actually need to give. She said that when we refuse to ask for help, we refuse that person the opportunity to be of service to others. So while it is important to be able to ask for help, it is just as important to be able to receive it, because it is important to recognize the need others have to Give.

It seems that now is a very interesting time. It seems that everyone is falling in love or breaking up, closing chapters or starting out new, or a combination. And it also seems that many need help right now, whether it is money, or a kind word, or a strong shoulder. No matter how you are, you will have bad days, go through bad times, and will need. When we accept help, we are recognizing the humanity in each other. And right now, more than ever, we need more humanity and compassion.

Life is short. Ask when you need and give when you can. I have been on both sides of the coin, and enjoy giving much more. Recognizing each other on such a basic level as assistance and support brings us all back on common ground. And therein lies the blessing.

The Cleaning

It’s that time of year again, the time of spring cleaning. Cleaning out the cobwebs of the past winter and making space for all of the wonderful that is coming. Today was vacuuming and mopping, dusting…leaving nothing but the gleam of clean behind.

There is something so magnificent about nesting, and making home, homey. It is a great feeling to walk in the house, and see, feel and smell the clean. I think it also makes us slow down a bit. We have to take time to do a good job and not miss any spots. And we might even have to put on some gloves and apply some elbow grease. But that’s OK, because cleaning is good for soul.

I say that because it is often rather cathartic to clean out the old, to make parts of our house and life, shine again, There is redemption in the cleansing. To make what is dingy shiny and desirable again. To polish it until a clear reflection can be seen. To start fresh.

And this seems to be the season for it. Indeed one of my best friends just moved into a new place, starting a new chapter after cleaning out the old husband who wasn’t really a husband at all. And she is happy in her new clean place, with her new shiny life. Redemption after spending ears trying to make ut work with an unwilling non partner who was wearing a ring.

Another dear friend is getting on a plane tomorrow to start a new chapter, all the way around the world. Almost a year in planning and getting ready, and he is off to a beautiful land with fresh opportunity. He went through, cleaned out and sold almost all of his things. Redemption after running miles to make this choice and to be free. And what will they find? What will any of us find after the cleaning? A lighter soul perhaps? A new path?

Maybe Spring cleaning feels so good because it parallels that we ourselves are cleansed of what we have done, and what we have left undone. Maybe we clean because deep down where it is dark and quiet in the middle of the night, we want to be new as well. Maybe we dust and vacuum and disinfect too because we want to wash away the mud of bad decisions, missteps and backfires. And maybe it is in the process of cleansing that we forgive ourselves of the very shortcomings that make us most human,

Life is short. So enjoy the clean.

The Value

My last blog talked about things that make you proud. Both if my examples where extremely hard. And maybe that is why I am so proud of them – they were the hardest things that I have done in my life. The level of difficulty cannot truly be expressed, even with my extensive vocabulary. And this is not to complain, quite the opposite. It is to recognize that some of the most beautiful and wonderful lessons come out of the most difficult tasks.

And maybe that is because when we push ourselves beyond what we think we can do, or how far with think we can go, it expands our reference of knowledge, feeling and depth. And that expansion is in direct correlation with the adversity experienced. In this sense, we strive to to overcome.

In the process we learn lessons that we otherwise would not master. And isn’t that how we want it? Imagine accomplishing arduous, even painful responsibilities and undertakings, only to learn nothing? To be exactly where you were before, mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually? it would be a bit disappointing. If I am going to sacrifice and work so hard, then I want more than a gold star at the end of it. Developing as a human being is the reward.

In in those experiences, you learn the value of perseverance, you learn the value of believing in yourself and your own abelites and you learn the value of being able to walk into a room knowing your value, even when others don’t know you at all. You learn the value of your own worth. You learn to ascertain what is needed and how to effectively use your talents.

And you also learn the value of failure, of mistakes, of being exhausted and crying in the floor of your closet. You learn the value of rejection and still going even when you aren’t sure. You learn the value exhaustion and rest and frustration and anger and being at your wits end, but getting it done anyway. Yes, you learn the of all of it.

When putting my nephew through college, I learned the importance of giving of yourself and being of service. And the joy of helping another truly succeed. The joy of cooking huge meals and sending him back to his place to share leftovers with roommates. And I learned the importance of making that promise to another, and following through. I learned things for which are worth the sacrifice.

I could write a book on what taking care of Dad taught me. The most important ones I think are to just keep going, and the value of rest. Also that you find the strength you need when you need it. Even when you think you don’t have it. And I learned what it truly takes to love someone so much that you would do simply do whatever it takes. You reach deep inside and handle it. I also learned the power and importance of discernment. That last one alone would be the subject for many blogs. And I learned that love is worth it, because whether it’s a friend, or lover and family member, those memories will carry you through the pain of the loss.

And maybe that is what we end up being proud of…that we did it anyway- despite the odds or ends. And in the end, we carry those lessons with our heads held high, because we earned those stripes.

Life is short. So be proud of your experiences. They didn’t break you, instead you took them and made them into a tangible measurement of the intangible Human Spirit. And there enlies the value.

What Makes You Proud

Life is a series of questions and answers. And I was recently asked what in both my personal and private life makes me proud. It took a moment to come up with the answers but I would have to say…

In my professional life, I would say I am most proud of the fact that I have been able to sustain myself by writing for over 10 years. In 2008 I was hired to be a senior editor and writer, which was both an amazing and horrible experience. It was amazing because I finally, after searching for several years, knew that there was no going back and this is what I wanted to do. And I called all my friends and told them that I was a writer! And they all laughed and said that t hey already knew that, what took me so long to figure it out?

But the company that hired me had very nefarious business practices, and my immediate manager was horrible and hated that I was so talented and could write circles around her favorites. She made mu time there miserable. But I still left that company extremely grateful for the opportunity given to me to write, for the first time, professionally. And even with a horrible boss, I still learned so much that would carry me and motivate me not only to continue writing full time, but to have the confidence to strike out on my own. And from there I made a name for myself writing and working with contracting agencies and small companies. And slowly I built a formattable reputation and could always find work writing in some capacity. For over 12 years now. While there have been some hard spots, and a few bad projects, over all it has been a wonderful experience and I am extremely grateful for all the opportunities I’ve had, given to me by those who believed in my talent and abilities.

In my private life there are two accomplishments for which I am proud. The first is putting my oldest nephew through college. I promised him that if he went to school in Atlanta, I would make sure he had everything he needed. And he did. This was also during the time that I first struck out doing contract work, so things were tight. That is when I learned the expression “motivation by obligation.” But it was a joyful obligation, as there is something so meaningful in investing in a young person’s future. I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that he could set the world on fire if he was given the chance. And no matter what happens in life and career, you always have your education. No one can take that away. He had a natural gift, and his school gave him the platform on which to build.

And I loved hearing about his classes and experiences. I loved hearing about his adventures with his friends, and getting calls that he was craving Waffle House…would I mind taking him? Of course not. It was a joy.

The second thing that makes me most proud is that I was able to take care of my Dad after Mom died. They lived in a wonderful but remote area, so I moved him in with me. He had end stage liver cancer, and he was getting treated at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, so it just made sense since I was not far from his doctors. That 7.5 months was difficult, as anyone who has been a care giver knows. But it was also such a gift. I had those months to spend with my Dad, to talk with him, laugh with him, get to know him better. To help and support him the way that he and Mom loved and supported me when I was younger. They were the best parents in the entire world, and to know that I did something to maybe pay them back just a fraction of what they gave me, makes me smile. And I know that I did right by them, my parents. And that brings me peace. It was hard, but it was beyond worth it.

These things that make me proud, they define who I am. I believe in hard work, but I also believe in taking care of those you love. I believe in believing in others. And I know that when you strive to accomplish tasks with love in mind, there is nothing that you can’t do. And I also know that now that I have taken care of others, it is time for me to invest in my own life, my own tasks, my own dreams. And that makes me proud as well.

Life is short. So live life in a way that you can be proud. Yes we all make mistakes, have missteps, and even fail. And that is OK, be proud of those failure too (that is another blog topic). I’ve made huge mistakes in my life, but I always did the best I could at any given time. So even when you fail, strive to learn and be better. Because if you can do that, then you can always hold your head high.

The First 48

Every year I celebrate my birthday for the entire month of January. And this year is no different. But this year the celebration has been more intentional. And by that I mean I have been paying more attention to the little things, and taking the time to enjoy them fully.

The night before my birthday I sat down with a mug of my favorite hot tea, a wonderful journal and wrote down many things that I hope to come true. I sat and was so very thankful for this life, and this time. and this birthday, and this house, and this chance. This little life that I have been given and will make even better.

My actual birthday started with a wonderful dream of my parents smile and laughing. I slept late and woke up wonderfully wrapped up in warm blankets and many phone messages. The calls, text message and birthday wishes poured in and made my heart happy. No matter how far away I am from Georgia and my support system of love and family, they are never far away, not really. And they made me feel closer to them than ever. I enjoyed a delicious cup of coffee, one of the best cups I have ever had, so good that I had 2 cups.

And then I made time to do something that I usually don’t – I worked in the yard and the garden. I decided where the new gardens where going to be and set the borders. I cleared the vegetable garden to make room for the next planting. And I decided where Mom’s flowers where going to go next.

Next was a delicious lunch, one of my favorites that I made from scratch and savored every bite. Then a nap and then getting ready to be taken out for the best birthday dinner in many years. Indeed it did not disappoint. Delicious and tender fillet with an incredible sauce, coupled with a side of my favorite alfredo noodles. Chocolate mousse cake afterwards topped it off and made it perfect. Flowers waited at my door when I got home.

And a gift that was perfect, thoughtful and beautiful. A gift that matches everything about me and is proof that Wonderful is waiting. And this birthday is only the beginning.

Life is short. We should take time to truly appreciate the life we have been given. to truly celebrate even the most mundane of days. Because it is in the space between birthdays that we find and live life. zit is in between this year and that, in between breathes and raindrops that time stops and the magic begins. But you must be intentional in your noticing of it. And that is one of the most important things I have learned in the First 48.


January is always a special time for me. Not only because it is my birthday month and I celebrate all month long, but also because it is the time after all the rush of the holidays. I love the holidays, but the time afterward is special too. Life gets back to normal. You can catch your breath a bit and relax. The decorations come down and life is not so rushed.

The week has been a wonderful combination of cleaning, organizing and planning. It may not sound that fun, but it is spectacular for me. There are so many things for which to be excited. Starting a new project, finishing another, getting the house back in order and back to my home. I am making the plans for this years garden and already starting to gather seeds for the spring planting. And learning to can and freeze those delicious vegetables. Indeed, we will have a feast of a harvest to feed us. But there will be learning and hard work first.

There is saving for the future, plans for parties and celebrations for accomplishments and turning points. There is the study of the Bible and the history. There is the continuation of the conversion to which I am deeply attached. There is optimism, that even now in the unknown, that the future holds so many possibilities, it is easy to be excited.

There are nights of quiet snuggling and making lists, reading great books and writing my own. There is a sense of accomplishment in making it through to this point and knowing that it will continue. There is a lot of hard work involved too, with the garden, with the projects, with the building for the future, but it is all so worth it when you know the goal you will reach.

Life is short, so reach as for as you can, as high as you can for as long as you can.

2020 Hindsight

Finally it is the new year, we made it through 2020. Not everyone did. And not that 2020 is officially in the rear view mirror, I think of everything that I learned during the long, strange journey of the last 12 months. Here it is, my 2020 hindsight:

Get Moving: When the year started, I was faced with the sudden task of having to move 3 weeks before my lease was over after my plans to move to with an ex full through. Panicked, I went the safe route and found a house about 5 miles away. Except I didn’t want to live in Atlanta anymore, or even Georgia for that matter. I love Georgia, but it was time for a new start. And so I did move – 1,000 miles away. I packed up about half of my things, gave away the rest, and left. It was the best thing I ever did. So if you don’t like where you are now, move, you are not a tree, Change location, change jobs, change your relationship…just put one foot in front of the other.

Plant the Garden: When I got to the new house, it had a huge yard. I thought about planting flowers (which I still might do), but then Covid hit and it made more sense to plant a vegetable garden instead. And it was glorious. Planting a garden got me outside, helped me exercise, gave me something constructive to do and it was a lot of fun. I got to rent a huge truck and a tiller. I got dirty and created something that produced and gave back. It taught me patience, care, hard work and the importance of watering every morning. IT made me slow down. So roll up your sleeves and plant that garden or some fruit trees.

Get me to the Church: 2020 was the year I went back to church. I grew up in church, but the previous year I was traveling too much to have a schedule of church. Before that I was so busy with funerals and family drama after my parents died that when faced with the choice of sleep or church, I chose sleep. But 202 was the year I started back, and prayed a lot more too. I also made the decision and started the process to convert to a different denomination. And I am thoroughly enjoying the study of the history of the Bible and those who wrote it. Indeed, it is fascinating and means so much more to study as an adult.

You cannot help an alcoholic: This started in 2019, but came to completion in 2020. I previously had a whirlwind romance complete with fabulous trips like drinking champagne on an oceanside balcony at midnight in the Cayman Islands. We seemed to always be going someplace wonderful, but the travel hid the truth of a horrible raging alcoholic. He spun out of control before getting sober for 2.5 months. He made the excuse that as soon as he got back to Texas with his family, friends and support system, he would be OK. But instead, he dove into the deep end of the bottle again. I tried to help him many times, but he would never admit he had a problem, He lost his high paying job after many mistakes including an inappropriate after hours call to his bosses wife and a payroll mistake that resulted in the doctors at his hospital he worked at not getting paid.

Take Risks: When I decided to move to Texas on my own, I moved into a house I had only seen online. I signed the lease and paid the deposits sigh unseen. It is one of the best risks I have ever taken. I loved the house and it was perfect. I took the risk to move 1,00 milers away from my remaining family and support system to stat a new life. I took a risk on a new project and took a risk on making a new life where I did not know many people. I took a risk on saying YES. And I will never look back. The risks are worth it, trust me.

Everything you want is on the other side of fear: The precipice of me moving to Texas on my own was a simple question. A dear friend asked me one thing when I told him I didn’t think I could move on my own: What are you afraid of? I stuttered, because the reason sounded so silly when I said it out loud. And indeed it was. He reminded me to always know who I am and that I am a badass and can do whatever I want. He was right. So when you have doubts, always ask yourself what it is that you are so afraid of.

Believe in Love: It is never a mistake to love someone, and never a mistake to tell them. So believe in love with all of your heart and soul, from the tip of your head to the bottom of your toes. It’s worth it.

Make Home Home: No matter where you are, or where you want to be, make it home. Because it matters, even of you are only there for a short period of time. Home is such a sacred sanctuary. Home is where you are protected from the everything that is out there in the world. Home is Safe. And we all need a safe place, where we can take off our armor and relax. So do what you need to do to make where you are your home. Hang the pictures, unpack the nik naks, and make some memories. Don’t just exist in the space, fill it completely with everything that is you.

There are more things I learned, but those lessons are not for this space.

Life is short, Learn every day, and make life amazing