Toxic Shock

“Regardless of how anyone treats you, you stand to benefit. While some people teach you who you do want to be, others teach you who you don’t want to be. And it’s the people who teach you who you don’t want to be that provide some of the most lasting and memorable lessons on social graces, human dignity, and the importance of acting with integrity.”

There is an illness called toxic shock syndrome that is a physical illness.  But I think that it could be applied to toxic people as well. Have you ever been around someone who is so toxic that you just feel terrible and exhausted when you are around them?  I think that is because these people are so horrible that they are a shock tour system – thus what I call Toxic Shock Syndrome.

These days I am very happy, even joyful.  It was not that long ago that I was unhappy and miserable, mainly because of grief.  But I have come out on the other side and have learned quite a bit through the journey.  One of those lessons is that happiness is a lot of work, but so very worth it.

“The moment you feel like you have to prove your worth to someone is the moment to absolutely and utterly walk away.” – Alysia Harris

Because I have learned who to keep keep in my life, and from whom to walk away.  This is a very powerful lesson to learn, no matter what age or place in life. When you are grieving, or going through a hard time, you have very little energy.  So what little bit of energy you do have must be spent wisely.  There is no time for unnecessary drama. The people who cause chaos in your life are emotionally abusive and will suck every bit of life, energy and air right out of the room. That is why it is so important that once you identify who these people are, you get them out and keep them out.

“Know when to leave the table when respect is no longer being served.”

Sometimes these people are friends or associates, sometimes a boss, sometimes a coworker. And because of that they can be hard to get away from.  Even if you cannot extract them from your life, you can choose to limit your time with them. And results are worth it.

But what about when these toxic people are family?  That is unfortunate, but if it happens then you need to walk away from them too. Especially if they are family. Because family knows how to get to you, they know your buttons and how to make it hurt. Because our families know us so well, we are extremely vulnerable to them.  So if they are the kind of people who are abusive and manipulative, they will have no problem hurting you to get what they want.

Unfortunately, this is something many people can relate to, including myself. My closest sister in age and location is extremely abusive and toxic.  Flinging around hurtful accusations, causing drama, refusing to help with anything.  She refused to be there when Mom died, she refused to help take care of Dad, has refused to help take care of the family compound and has so far refused to help pay for any upkeep of the property as well (even though she makes almost 6 figures more than I). Maybe that is why she has time to accuse me of things like keeping her from seeing Dad for 2 years before his death (Odd, because her kids remember her spending time with him on his birthday, her birthday and Christmas). Also accusing me of plotting to take all of her kids’ inheritance away (something I have no power to do, even if I wanted to, which I don’t). She seems to forget that the executor of a will has no power and can only do what is specified in a will.

The result has been a permanent divide.  I cannot have that kind of drama and discord in my life, caused by such hurtful and emotionally abusive accusations. Being in contact with her is extremely detrimental to my mental and emotional health.  So I choose to leave the table.  To stay would teach her that what she is doing is not only OK, but acceptable as well.  Which it is not.  While this kind of treatment is very normal in her world, it is not in mine.

“Sometimes walking away has nothing to do with weakness, and everything to do with strength. We walk away not because we want others to realize our worth and value, but because we finally realize our own.” –   Robert Tew

We teach people how to treat us.  If we let them think it is OK, then they will continue. So, if you tell them that whatever they are doing is not OK, and they continue, then they have shown- through their own actions – that they do not care. And if they do not care enough about you to treat you in a way that is kind and not hurtful, then why should you care enough to have them in your life? Know your worth. Know you have the right to be treated with kindness and love and have the right to walk away when someone is abusive to you or toxic to your life.

Why do nasty, toxic people insist on causing drama and pain for others?  I don’t know.  Maybe they are so miserable that they cannot stand to see others happy and feel the need to make others miserable as well.  Maybe they are truly so selfish that they are oblivious to the rest of the world past their nose.  Maybe they have been abused themselves, and think that their behavior is normal.  Maybe it is a combination of these and many other reasons. But you cannot concern yourself with why they are the way they are, only whether you are willing to accept the havoc they wreak on your life and emotions.

And when we get these life sucking vampires out of our lives, it is a weight lifted.  There is peace, there is calm, there is room for good things. That is because dealing with these people takes so much energy, time and emotion, that we may not even realize how much until they are gone.  And when all of that energy is not being taken up by their ridiculous drama, there is room for positive interactions with positive people.

Live is too short to have toxic people in your life.  Cut them out, leave them behind and let them make someone else miserable.

“Knowing when to walk away, is Wisdom. Being able to, is Courage. Walking away with Grace, and your held head high, is Dignity.” – Ritu Ghatourey

A Way to Give Back

I have always said that no matter what, you should always give back. No matter where we are, what we do, who we are or how much or how little we make, there is always a way to give back. I was raised with this belief and was surprised to hear it again at a formal holiday dinner party for a bank  worked for several years ago. I was surprised to it because of the man who was giving the speech at the dinner – no other than Jerry Springer. Yes THE Jerry Springer.

The bank headquarters were in Cincinnati, OH, where Springer was at one point the mayor and a practicing attorney before that. Then he was fired as mayor after the paid a “Lady” with a city check. I know that because he actually told the story right before he talked about why we should always give back.

This past week I helped a friend with an animal rescue fund raiser. Giving back and volunteering is often not very easy, and this was no exception. The fundraiser was an all night adopt-a-thon what started 5pm and went until 6pm the next day. We all arrived, got the animals situated, grilled hot dogs and then attempted to sleep. We had sleeping bags and inflatable mattresses in one of the temporary buildings set up around the event.

The next day was a brutal 97, hot and sunny. I think we all thought we might melt. But, we washed dogs to raise money, so we did get to cool off a bit.  It wasn’t glamorous, it wasn’t easy, it wasn’t always fun. But it was for a good cause and a good friend.

The bottom line is  that there is always a way to help out, always a way to give back. And it doesn’t have to be a non profit agency. It can be helping out a neighbor by watching her kids while she goes on a job interview. Or encouraging someone who has had a bad day, making a cake and delivering it to someone who is sick, or who doesn’t get many visitors. It can be many things. Just give back and make a difference.

The Winding Road to Here

It is so very interesting how people get from there to here, here being where ever they are now. And I wonder if life ever happens exactly as we think it will. All the roads we take, the paths to which they lead, and the adventures we take that we not on our planned road map.

 For instance, I never thought I would be a writer. But it just came so natural that I didn’t even think about it. Funny how something can be so comfortable and natural that it doesn’t even occur to you.  But it means something.

 Even in school, I wrote plays and reports. Friends and classmates would have me look over and edit their assignments. I started that in 3rd grade. Even the teachers in third grade asked me to help them write a play they were writing specifically for the school. At the time I thought nothing about it. I’ve written in a journal since I was 10.

 In high school got A’s for writing assignments, research papers and short stories. But do not ask me to diagram a sentence. I can’t do it. But I can write. In college I loved English classes and have always been a bookworm as a child and an adult

By the time I was an adult in the working world, every where I went they had me write once they saw I could do it. In addition to my regular job duties, I wrote sales copy, commercial copy, reports, memos, white papers, web copy, SEO copy, press releases, news articles, public service announcements and press releases. If they needed it,, I wrote it. For 20 years.

And then I became a writer, once I figured out that is what I was all along. And now I get paid to live my dream every day.  But I never thought I would be here, but am so happy I am.

And in life, would we want it any other way? People have asked if I ever wished I started as a writer earlier. No, I tell them, because as it turns out I was a writer all along, and my experiences in other industries, doing other things has only enriched my career that I have now. I could not be the writer I am without having had gone down those winding paths to here.

The things we do, adventures we have, the people we meet along the way to where we are going, even when we are not on the path on which we thought we would be…are what make our lives and ourselves, what they are. Those paths we take to here, change us and make our lives all the better.

So pay attention to those paths and to what is so comfortable that it may otherwise go unnoticed. Because those paths lead to the most bliss indeed. I have followed those subtle things, and I am happier than I have ever been. But first you must have the courage and passion to follow them, even if they make no sense, even if others call you crazy. And maybe you have to be a little crazy to take the path of your dreams, no matter what others think or say. Maybe you have to be just a little crazy to find that kind of peace and happiness.

So let the naysayers have all the negativity. You will be too busy being happy to even notice what others are saying anyway.

Thankful Day 14 and 15

Day 14, Doctors: I am thankful for the doctors who have kept my family healthy and alive. 12 years ago my mother was diagnosed with stage 4+ Ovarion cancer. Last year my father was diagnosed with Liver cancer. Both are still alive and well today, thanks to amazing doctors and a lot of prayer.

Day 15, Coffee: Today I am thankful for coffee. It is the necter of the Gods and it makes me very happy. Coffee keeps me awake and able to not kill people on my drive into work.

Thankful Days Continued

I have been away for a few days, busy with life. But here are the things I am so very thankful for this November and month of gratitude:

Grace, Day 7: I am very thankful for Grace. It has been given to me when I was going through hard times, was miserable and lashed out at others. People have loved me anyway, even when it was hard. And that takes Grace. And now I am trying to have Grace with others. It is not easy. But one thing I am learning, is that you cannot have Grace with others, until you also have it for yourself. That is even harder as I hold myself to some very high standards and fault myself when I come up short. But I am learning and getting better, with myself and others, every day. And for this I am thankful.

Generous People, Day 8: I am thankful for generous people. Last night, a friend of a friend came over and installed my wall mount for my TV. We had never met, he just did it because his good friend said someone needed help installing it. He brought his tools, his sense of humor and his technical know how. And now my TV is up on the wall and looks fabulous. He gave up his time for someone he had never met. A very generous man and I am very thankful for him, and many others who have been so very generous in my life. They have given when they did not have to and even when I did not deserve it. And for these many wonderful people, I am thankful. and I remember to pay it forward.

Where I live, Day 9:  I am very thankful to live and be a citizen of the United States. I went to a charity banquet many years ago and the main speaker talked about how we should always give back, because we were fortunate enough to be born where there is plenty. There is no difference between a child born in Ethiopia and a child born in the US, except one was lucky enough to be born here. That has always stuck with me. I have worked very hard to have the life I have, but it is honestly all by the Grace of God that I was born where I was, and live where I live, that I have been as fortunate as I have.

And this concludes today’s list of things I am thankful for (actually catching up for the last 2 days as well). Now back to your regularly scheduled programming.

Beautiful Illusions

In life there are things that I call beautiful illusions. They are those things that we really, really want, or think we want, because they look or seem so perfect. But when we get a closer look, we realize things are not always what they seem. It could also be called the quick-sand effect, depending on how far you step down into it. What kinds of things qualify as beautiful illusions?  So glad you asked.

Those Shoes: Oh yes, I see them in the store, those beautiful 5” stilettos and I must have them. I try them on, they fit. I walk around a bit in them in the store. Yep, perfect. Then I get them home one wear them the next day to work. And my feet are in Hell. But they look oh so good. That is why I may be barefoot at my desk. Beautiful Illusion.

That Man/Woman: You know the one – he is tall, dark, handsome, successful, smart, blah, blah, all-the-things-that-make-you-melt, blah. And then you go out with him. And Wow. And then you get to know him better. And wow he is a mess 6 ways to Sunday. He is the man who looks good “on paper”, but is a mess in real life. But you have to get to know him a bit first – past the paper façade and into the every day nitty-gritty part of life. Beautiful illusion.

That Job: Wow, it is right up your alley, is in line with your career goals, great pay, benefits, co workers, location, etc. And then you get in and start working it. And at first it is all that you though it would be…and then you slowly start to see that you are in the bottomless pit of the Twilght Zone and things are not what you thought they would be. Schedules, pay, benefits and expectations are shifting. Maybe more overtime, maybe bad projects, maybe your co-worker that sits closest to you needs a shower…whatever it is you see that it was a, you guessed it – beautiful illusion.

That relationship: You have liked them for a long time and knew that if you could just get together, you would be perfect and live happily ever after. Then stars line up, and fate smiles down on both of you as Cupid’s arrow strikes. And then…things are awkward. schedules are mis-matched, they have bad habits, ideologies that you assumed were them same are not… and what is going on with the their bad table manners that you never seemed to notice before but now you can’t stand? Did they always smack that loud when chewing?? Nope they are not horrible, but not the person you thought they were and that Happily-Ever-After escaped on Prince Charming’s white horse named…Beautiful Illusion. Which sometimes leads to…

That Ex: you know the one…it’s the one who got away. The one if you could only have another chance with, both of you could make it work. And then you get that magic chance, and you know, just like getting the magic shot in the last few seconds of the game – you’ve got this one covered. It will be the story book endings to end all story book endings. You shoot, the ball goes in a straight line for the basket, it hits the rim and…then…all of those same issues that broke you up are still there, staring the two of you in the face. And they brought their friends. Holy crap, you don’t remember any of this in the Let’s-get-back-together-contract. The basket bounces off the rim and into the hands of the other team. Beautiful illusion.

That recipe: Oh you saw it in that cook book or magazine, and it looked so yummy!  You could not wait to try it out. So you even create an occasion for it, tell others that you care going to cook this great new recipe you found. You go down the list, buy all the ingredients, get all the measuring g cups out, and you are ready. You mix it, mash, bake it, cook it…and…it is awful! WTH? You look at the recipe and go over the ingredients again. Making a mental checklist of everything you included. No, you did not leave anything out, all the measurements were correct, cooking time right as was the temperature. So why does it taste like dirty gym socks soaked in vinegar? Beautiful illusion.

It happens to all of us, even the best of us. No matter how smart we are or how smart with think we are…we cannot escape them. They are lessons learned and funny stories to be told with friends over dinner and drinks. They are the hiccups in life that keep it from being too boring and predictable. After all, if everything worked out the way we thought it would…where would the excitement be? And think of the stories and people we would miss. As long as we learn from the experiences we have, then nothing is truly ever lost.

Response: Your Awakening

A While ago, I posted a blog entitled Your Awakening. It was an amazing piece. My very good friend Rex also read it, many years ago and sent this response to me. And I thought I should share. Thank you again so much, dear friend.

I see it this way: from a guy who has pissed away more great chances in a week than most men will see in a year: I’ve been allowed to see incomprehensible scenery connected to a brain that “gets it”.
Without those missed chances I would have: never been able to speak of the pain of an aborted father in the throes of post-regret, nor spoken to others who are bleeding the same way. Never known the kind of fervor and spit and fire it takes to speak my mind into a howling wind and actually made it slice through.
Never known the dubious pleasure of bringing down a pseudo-Napoleon living as king of his particular hill in a school system I pay for.
Never heard the voice of a now-relieved-son thanking me for helping his invalid grandmother out of a winter storm
Never had the ocean-powered wave of gratitude wash over me when I, alone, stood with one, wrongly accused, against a courtroom full of antagonists. (Not-guilty, by the way)
Never known the sheer power of being the one in the fray who is COMMITTED.
Never been able to speak of true, unrequited, ripped-apart love to an adolescent who’s going through the same thing.
Never known the joy of vocally and VERY audibly cheering a teenager when they finally excelled at something and got their due for it.
Never seen the pain in a true friend’s eyes when they buried their youngest. Never been able to hold them and let them cry the way they would only in a true friend’s arms.
Never been blessed to help bear the pain of someone you love on any level.
Never felt so dirty and ashamed as to chase even my closest friends off.
Never felt the heat of a South Georgia summer.
Or the cold of a Kentucky ice storm.
Or the power of an Alabama thunderstorm.
Or the thundering beauty of a Mississippi sunset.
Or the caress of a Tennessee mountain morning.
Or the complete release of a hearty and block-shattering “KISS MY ASS” to authority.
Or of watching the pain
the pleasure
the ecstacy
the victory
of discovery.
Would never had heard the crowd’s approval swell like a big gentle wave in the warm Gulf.
Or my new bride, taking such care to dress in some kind of frilly underpinnings complete with garters and white stockings say, “…do you mind if we don’t”, on my wedding night.
Not a bit. I just drove three hours through nowhere, Mississippi to say to the hotel clerk, “I’ve waited 31 years to say this: I just got married, and I need a room.” I was tired. Be real.
I would have missed words like, “I do”, “You may take your planet home”, “Would you hand me the piano?”, “I want to try everything, tonight.”, and “Honey, wake up. Hannah Newton was killed last night in a car wreck. John was right behind her.”
Not all of these are pleasant or desirable but they are rich. A mosaic of life. If we didn’t like imperfection and character, photographs would far outsell paintings. It’s what we’re here for.
I would have missed the roar of the greasepaint, the smell of the crowd, and the cussing of the GM.
And I would have missed you and your smile.
Most of all.
Stop searching. It’s already there.


I was not looking for him. Then he stirred something deep within my soul that had been sleeping for years. And now that I have felt that again, I don’t want to settle for anything less with next the man, I can’t. 1996. I had forgotten what it felt like.

And I was vulnerable. For the first time in 7 years I completely let all walls down, completely gave of myself to another. I did not keep him at arms distance, I was not guarded and closed. And it was wonderful.

And I miss him. I don’t want to miss him but I do. And I wonder how he and his children are.

I felt love, I felt safe and protected with him. And for the first time in my entire life, I wanted to let someone take care of me. I trusted him implicitly.

Lonely does not bother me, I have been alone a long time. But I do wish to feel that way again. He made me realize also that I truly want to be a wife and mother. I had shut that off too. I pray that God gives me the opportunity. That is what I want with whom I next fall in love.

Old Books and Poems

I don’t think I could throw away a book. Ever. Indeed my house is full of full bookcases. And I could never read a book on a Nook. Or Kindell. There is just something so wonderful and tangible about turning the pages, feeling the paper, smelling the page, hearing it turn, seeing the actual print on the paper, feeling that paper underneath my finger. It has been a very long and wonderful love affair we have had, books and I. And it has lasted the test of time, through my ages and phases, jobs, careers, friends, moves, locations, relationships, scrapes and bruises. Yes, no matter what, books will always be there in my life. They have been a constant. Books, and my parents, and a really great English teacher, are the reason I am a writer. Books are magic.

And I love books.  There is nothing like opening up a book, sitting on the couch or favorite comfy chair, a big blanket or partner, and reading. Recently I took a stroll through one of my bookcases. The one that holds many of my books of poetry.  And one in particular caught my eye on this day. It is called Footprints in the Mind, and I bought it over 20 years ago. When I read this one poem, I nearly cried. While I did not understand, at the time, what it meant really, I understood the emotion behind it. And it reads:


Should I hesitate in my steps

And walk when you bid me to run

Please understand

I’ve stumbled before


When you plunge into the water

And urge me to jump right in

Please understand

I’ve strangled before


And in the heat of passion

You bid me come to you

Please understand

I’ve been….

Please just understand – Javan


















The High Dive

Ever since I was a child I have always had a sense of adventure, a wanderlust for …life. I was four when my mother decided to enroll me in swimming lessons. We had a pool already and I was allowed to swim with my “floatties”, but I could not wait to really learn how to swim.  And I loved going to the swim lessons. But it was not the lessons I looked forward to as much as the reward for doing well in the lesson.

From the fist day I was memorized by what was called the high dive. Twelve feet up, it was so high and amazing. I knew I had to dive off of it. On the second day of lessons I finally got up the nerve to ask if they would let me. They said they had to ask my Mom first. They did and she (has since said) she swallowed hard and said if I wanted to do it, and thought I could, to let me try. One of the many reasons why I love her.

So at the end of the lesson, they said I could go. I was so excited that my entire 4 year old body was shaking. So I started up the ladder – straight up. But I didn’t care because up was magic. Up was freedom. And then, finally, after what seemed like climbing up forever, I was up at the top. And I walked out, to the very edge and it was breathtaking. All the instructors had formed a semi circle around where I would be landing in the water. They wanted to make sure I would be safe. My Mom watching (and later I learned, shaking) I took a breath and jumped.

I don’t remember hitting the water, but I do remember suddenly being and swimming underwater. It was magic. I remember swimming under all the instructors, looking up while underwater and thinking how funny their feet looked. And then I popped up behind them and surprised them. And every day that I did well in the swimming lesson, I was allowed to jump off the 12 foot high dive.

And that began my love affair with what if? And there have been many moments in my life, a few even recently, where I have been so excited that I shook. I don’t know where this sense of adventure comes from. But there has also always been a drive inside me, almost instinctual, to keep going and pushing beyond what you think is possible.  A passion to succeed at whatever is decided. To ignore the odds and just go for it.

I have said it many times before, life is the adventure you make it. Be free with your curiosity, take chances, love with all your heart, smile when you are happy, cry when you are sad, believe in others and in yourself and really live.

A Phone in Pictures

Recently my phone died. Yes it is true that I only got it at the end of August, but dropped it so many times the front was cracked and just not working properly. Poor thing never had a chance next to my clumsiness. So, it was time to transfer over all the information, including the pictures. I don’t look at the pictures that much so it was a nice review of a life with many adventures…

The Dishwasher Incident...
The Dishwasher Incident...












Formal Event with the Girls
Formal Event with the Girls












Wonderful picture of my Parents that is being turned into a painting. 🙂











Beach on Barbados where I will again be returning soon.
Beach in Barbados where I will again be returning soon.









Dancing at a party
Dancing at a party












So True! What I created an a friends fridge.










My nephew - a good looking young man
My nephew - a good looking young man













A summer day
A summer day










My cat high on catnip
My cat high on catnip










Me after the whipped cream fight with my big sis - she won
Me after the whipped cream fight with my big sis - she won













Sailing on the ocean
Sailing on the ocean, where I will return again soon.





















Nephew picking out a small pumpkin
Nephew picking out a small pumpkin













Horseback riding - super fun!
Horseback riding - super fun!












My desk at work, and no it's not enough coffee
My desk at work, and no it's not enough coffee









A day at a vineyard
A day at a vineyard











I Want

I want to stay up and talk all night with you.

I want to see your smile.

I want to know what makes you happy, sad, hopeful, hurt, excited.

I want to spend lazy time by the fire.

I want to watch a rainstorm with you, kiss you in the rain even.

I want you to tell more of your jokes.

I want to know what motivates you.

I want to see that sparkle in your eye.

I want to hear you.

I want you to let me see you.

I want to slow dance.

I want to know more.


Why There Must Be Evil

There has to be evil so that good can prove its purity above it. – Buddha

Sometimes we wonder why there is evil in the world, why there are bad people who do bad things to us or others. It is a universal question in life and humanity. I wondered it myself after I was attacked and still do to some extent. I wonder sometimes why evil exists at all. Why I had to see it – his violence, his rage, his lies, the deceit, the pure evil I saw in his eyes.

What takes the humanity away enough in a person for them to become evil and attack and harm another? What is the real definition of evil? It is different for each of us, or does it just depend on the damage it does? Is evil violence against another, a lie, or even a truth? Is it what we see in a horror movie or read in a book? Or it is only evil when it crosses that line and becomes real? And what would we not do to protect those we love, our family, our country, our freedom, from that kind of evil?

We have all seen evil in it’s various entities. I myself have in the eyes of another man and it choilled me to the bone. But knowing it exists, or even seeing it firsthand, and being a victim of it are two separate things entirely

The fact is…is that it is just life, and good and evil are a part of it. There must be villains in order for there to be hero’s.  There must be dark for there to be light. It is the struggle between the villain and the hero, the good and evil that exist in us all. It is what draws us in and what makes a good movie, TV show, or book. Think of how dismal the story of Star Wars would have been without this eternal struggle. There is a natural balance to life of which good and evil are a part.  It is also part of the fact that we all must go through hard times to grow, at least I think. And that makes perfect sense.

But more beyond these words, deeper than what is on this screen or those pages, is the message that goes down deep, to those places that exist in the dark. It is what gives us hope, that evil can be overcome, that darkness is taken by the light, that good will always win, eventually. How many literary works are based on this, from The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, to The Shawshank Redemption, to even the Bible? Maybe it is the eternal optimist in me that makes me believe, after everything, this is still true. Because good and evil is at the core of all of us, and so is hope. Hope to overcome not only evil, but also adversity.

The same hope that tells me I can overcome any adversity is the some hope that tells me most people are, at the core of humanity, good. The same faith that tells me I can be stronger is the same faith that tells me those I love will do the best they can every day, even if I have seen otherwise. It is the same knowing that I am not a victim, just because evil exists. It all originates from the same deep place. And it is that place, deep within, that sit still and listen, so that I may touch the divine within myself. Because we know evil is out there, we must also know, within ourselves, that the good within us is stronger, that love is stronger, and that we are stronger.

This knowing seems to dispel the fear of evil. If we know that we are stronger, because good will overcome it, then how can we fear it? It is simply just a fact of life, no more, no less. And certainly nothing to be feared. Maybe even more of an inconvenience than anything. Yes, evil can be a bit scary, but so can a spider…until you realize how much larger are you than it.

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. – Romans 12:21

Feeling the Foot of Life

 The foot feels the foot when it feels the ground. – Buddha

We all have certain things that we read that just hit home for it, strike a chord and make us feel something. Yesterday as I was looking through some quotes I saw this and it has just stayed with me, rattling around in my brain for the last 24 hours or so. It just struck me as very vital right now.

To me it means that we are not meant to be stagnant, we are meant to be learning, growing and feeling, always reaching beyond ourselves and our experience to learn more about this life and the world in which we live. We cannot truly feel ourselves until we feel, and are in touch with, the world around us. We feel the most ourselves, when we touch others, emotionally, spiritually, physically. And I think communication is at the heart of it. For everything we do, not just what we say, communicates something.

Finding someone to understand what we are communicating is very important, but so too is understanding the communication of others. Again, we feel the most ourselves, when we touch others. I think we do that by listening and perceiving communication from those around us. We all just want to know that we are understood and accepted. And how can we touch another in a more profound sense than to simply understand and accept them? This is easier said than done now doubt, because they must also complete with our own need to be understood, and heard.

Then lines get crossed, misunderstandings happen, communication shuts down and pretty soon, we are not feeling ourselves or the other person any more. It’s a vicious cycle. But if we just kept the simple yet deeply profound statement in our minds, maybe we could remember the simplicity of communication. The theory is simple, but the practice is intricate and complex.

I believe that we should always be curious, to always ask why or how. Exploring what is around us and being inquisitive about life is the key to growing. The familiar is comfortable, and ultimately where we go to recharge, but if we ever stop being curious, we stop learning.  If we stop learning we stop growing, and if we stop growing , we die. Maybe don’t actually die, but I think a part of our spirit does. And many times we stop short because of fear – fear of failure, fear of rejection, fear of being misunderstood. What we forget is that in ourselves, in just the fact that we exist, we are perfect. And communication is not only educational but healing.

So  live life to the fullest and experience everything life has to offer. And many times that means shutting up, getting off the couch and learning to communicate. Truly interact with the complexities of life, digest them, deep within you, and your soul, to know that which you are capable. Life is a mystery and do we really have anything better to embark on the adventure of solving it?

Grace and Thoughts

Yesterday was a very emotional and wonderful day for me, to find out that my father’s cancer is gone, liver cancer which is almost always a death sentence because it has been considered “Incurable,” is tremendous. To find that he will be fine once he gets over the effects of his last round of chemo, has left me stunned and amazed.

There truly are no words to describe the feeling. Both my parents have now survived and been cured or incurable, terminal cancers. It is a realization that has had a profound effect on me.

Yesterday, I sobbed. I sobbed outof happiness,  out of thankfulness, out of amazement and out of humbleness. Miracles have that effect on people. And my family has had a wonderful stream of miracles.

And I sobbed for another reason yesterday. How can I  be worthy of such miracles? I do not deserve them. I have done nothing that good. I have not been to church in many months, actually before the attack. I have not forgiven, I am still angry, I have not earned what I have been given. And yet, there is Grace for me.

And I have not been to service because I have not felt like I can ask forgiveness from God when I cannot forgive others. How can I? And this very wise person said to me, that I do no have to, that God’s forgiveness and love are a gift. His Grace is a gift. He can forgive us because he is God and is capable of infinite love. He is much more capable than we, in our limited human state, can even comprehend. Why, how, then would I expect myself to be at that level and able to forgive? If I cannot it is because I am human and have human limitations. But God’s Grace is there for me, and that is why it is called Grace.

And I sobbed. From the very deepest places within me, I sobbed.  It is one thing to read about the Grace of God, it is entirely another thing to have the realization that it is truly gifted to you when you try with all you have and still come up short.

This morning, I slept a bit late and let this really sink into me, into those deep places that seldom see light, into my soul and my inner conscienceness. And today, though I still walk around a bit stunned, I can feel something creep in….it is a joy that I have not felt in a long time. A joy deeper than I thought it could go. And I truly believe that anything is possible.

Don’t get me wrong, I have always been a very faithful and optimistic person, but this is deeper than I have felt before. It is more than a belief, it is a knowing. And how can I not know? How can I look at my parents, both who should be on deaths door with cancer, and not carry the belief that there are an infinite amount of possibilities out there? How can I not believe that my dreams can really come true when I look at the miracles in my family?

And so it is with this renewed sense of joy that I great the world with today, and every day from this day forward, with thankfulness in my heart, God in my soul, Grace in my mind and a sense of adventure in my hands.

The Big and Small of It

And so it is that a new year has arrived. The past year was about all that was big. I wanted a big, wonderful fabulous life. Larger than life, actually. Big love, big work, big stories, big…everything. And I got it. That big love, the big career, the big money, the big romantic wedding planned, the big fat failure of that big relationship, and many more BIG things.

But this year has a different feel to it, as new as it is. This year is all about the small and noticing those little , “inconsequential”  things you might say. Yes, I am finding comfort and wonder in those little things and they amaze, humble me, surprise me, soften me, mold me, create me, keep me, rock me, and lift me.

It is the big collection of the smallest things that carry me into the new year. The smallest of looks, the whisper of a voice, of words sincerely said and carefully chosen, softly spoken to a small soul. Those honest statements that seem to make the world stand still.

It is those arms, wrapped around me ever so tightly, that small kiss ever so gently, that somehow, seems to mean absolutely everything to me. And what makes me want to be no where else in the world, but that small place, right there in the cocoon of that small moment.

It is the home cooking, the handwritten note, the little smile, the soft embrace, the silent reassurance that yes, I will be there, that small hand reaching for mine. It is the voice on the other end of the line, it is the laughter at midnight, or in the middle of the day, it is the smallest moment, almost missed, but still caught out of the corner of my eye. It is the email from a friend, a song sung softly, my mothers voice, my fathers joke, a sincere thank you, a long hug that you just want to melt into and never want to end.

It is knowing he will never, never be a part of my life.  What was once a possibility, now rests, withering, gathering dust, in the shadowed shelves of my heart. Dust to dust is the small saying.

It is hugging and kissing and hanging on tight the very instant the urge strikes.  What, is simpler, smaller or truer than that? It is saying “thank you” without agenda, with full heart, without expectations of return.  It is taking full stock of possibilities and potential the lie ahead in the next year, and saying goodbye to what was in the last.  It is running wild, and not looking back. It is taking a deep, deep breath, closing your eyes and trusting. It is holding your breath, just for a second longer, before taking that leap.

It is the changing and chancing, moving and dancing that we do through life. It is the small things really you see. It is the little reminders, the quiet cheers, the silent hidden cries, the subtle affection and smallest efforts, that can send the greatest waves of clarity and confidence through the air of this life that is mine.

It is a year, only a year. But in a year you can change many things.  Your address, your career, your clothes, your hair style, your thoughts,  your significant other, your habits, your hopes, and dreams, can all change in that year.  A year, just a small year, can change your entire attitude, your heart, your soul, your ability to forgive, to love, let go, and start again, new, heartbeat to heartbeat with another. In a year. Just a year.  You change.  In big and small ways.

Maybe I sound different these days?  Maybe that is because I am a year older, a year wiser, maybe a bit more weathered, or jaded even.  But, that is not a bad thing.  This is a mark of experience, of wisdom, of  bearing the brunt of a mistake or two but still pushing on, so hopeful, with the stories of survival and bravery carried along the way.

In that year, that small year, I learned, or relearned, the power and beauty of those little things. And those lessons carry me for the new year and remind me of what I want it to be filled with. I want more of those little things – those tight hugs, those small kisses, I want tenderness, honesty and truth. I want pure love that is raw and unrefined. I want to say thank you and pull those wonderful people close to me, those who cheered for me, hoped and prayed for me in the valleys, forests and storms of the year past.

And I want my voice that does not waiver, to say those words. Because while my life my be small, but in my heart there is plenty of room for everything small wonderful and exciting, and sincere, and fun, and strange, and…

One New Thing A Week

OK, I am inspired by the post from a fellow blogger:

In this Post she writes about trying one new thing a week…52 new things in one year. One, I am excited about this idea!  And it is so perfect for my very adventurous and wanderlusty spirit…Except where to start? So this is where I need your help. Please give me ideas of new things to try this year. It could be anything, new foods, new places, new…whatever. I am a creative person, but 52 things is a lot for one person to think up.  Leave a comment, or if you prefer privacy, email

Some new things I am looking to do this year already:

  • Go ziplining
  • learn new recipes to cook (suggestions welcome)
  • Get certified for diving
  • Go in a hot air balloon
  • go sky diving
  • Travel to Belize, Dubai and any other place I have not been
  • take my family on vacation (am working on that one now)
  • go to hot yoga classes
  • go to a spin class
  • Start writing fiction (this one is a bit scary, as even though I am a writer I have never done this)
  • take horseback riding lessons

And any other suggestions that might sound like fun….


You Have Got to be Crazy. No You Are Perfect

“Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with you own common sense.” – Buddah

Ever since  I was a little girl, mother always told me, follow what you believe to be right, follow your gut, and don’t worry  about what other people say or think. This is, without a doubt, the best advice I have ever been given.

Through life, I have beat my own drum and stood up for what I believed to be right, For me and my life.  Always listen to that inner voice – for your guts will never lead you wrong. Follow your own truth. But be prepared – you will be criticized.

Barbara Steistand did it when she invested everything  she had in Funny Girl, so did Steven Speilberg with Star Wars. Everyone, including Steve Jobs, thought Bill Gates was called crazy, and also Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook. Einstein was called crazy and stupid for his equations, as was Sir Isaac Newton and even Darwin. So was Walt Disney. They all had one thing in common though: the unshakeable belief, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that they could beat the odds by beating their own drum. And the risks everyone thought they were taking? Well are they really risks if you know the odds are more than in your favor?   Have to say, if I am a crazy person, lumped in with crazy losers like them, I am OK with that.

I have been called crazy for quitting  my job in Columbus, Ga and moving to Atlanta, been called crazy for thinking I could make it in radio (did that successfully for 15 years), called crazy for quitting the wonderful world of finance to pursue my dream of writing….and I have been called crazy more times than I can count for the things I have written.  Some have said very harsh things about me.  And that is Ok.

Because I am happy. I have a wonderful family, a great relatioship with BOTH my mother and my father, I have a wonderful man in my life, who treats me like a queen, I have a wonderful lucerative, succesful career as a writer that is very fulfilling, and amazing friends who love and support me. Those people who criticize me? Not so much….

So if you ever start doubting yourself, and wondering if what you are doing, the drum you are beating, is the right one, take a look at how happy you are. Compare that with how happy they are. Those people who criticize you (or me) – Who are they that their opinion matters?   And I will never criticize them, because I am too busy living a great life. Let’s face it, if I listened to everything people said I couldn’t do, I would have never gotten up out of bed. Just put on your blinders, focus in on what you want, the life you want to have, the goals you want to reach, and reach them. You can, because this is your life and you can do whatever you want. It’s not about them, It’s about you.

When it comes to following your dreams, your gut, your heart, don’t worry about what someone else thinks. While they are talking trash about you to others, you are skipping along living your happy wonderful life. And they…well, if you are the best thing they have to talk about, then that speaks volumes. This is your life. It’s not about them. It’s about you. Never forget that. And never for get who. You. Are.

Stay grounded as a person, as yourself, follow your gut, and you will never go wrong. And if you let the negative things negative people say about you…then let it motivate and inspire you to proove them wrong. All those people who say I am crazy for writing? Or what I write about? Do they have a book that is being published is the spring? No? No. And I do not say that to be cruel, not at all. Just to make the point that I am living my dream, and if they want to call me crazy for it, then they not only have my permission, but my blessing as well.

So follow your own path, your own dreams, your thoughts, your own truth, and let the chips, and opinions fall where they may. Break the rules, challenge thoughts, do it your own way, speak your own truth and don’t be afraid. Those who truly know you will know the truth, and those who don’t…well, you’ll be too busy being happy to worry about them, or what they think. Because you, and your drum, and your beat, are perfect.

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Christmas Rush

And so it is…the day before the night before Christmas, and I’m busy, busy!  Working to get the last of projects completed before leaving, rushing to get the last few gifts bought, rushing to see friends before celebrating with family. Oh, but I am having the best time, because it seems this year, that people are having the best time, they are nicer and kinder. Even yesterday, driving to the airport in horrible rainy, tornado warning weather, people let me over when I needed to change lanes. No one was speeding, cutting off, or going to slow. This year there just seems to be a general kindness in the air.

I have seen happy shoppers, happy children and parents at restaurants, happy couples holding hands and snuggling in the cold. I have seen happy grandparents, just a happiness in general. No, not that everything is perfect, not those people not not still struggling, they are. But even those who I have seen struggling are thankful for t=what they do have.

Maybe it’s Christmas? Maybe it is the economy and people being aware that whatever the party, we are all in this together. Maybe it is thankfulness that we have family and friends in a most unsure time. Maybe people are more acutely aware tight now, that we all have things to be thankful for, no matter where we are in life. Whatever it is, i have seen more laughter, kindness and happiness recently. And it is nice. And contagious.

So this year, the Christmas rush is feeling so happy, so thankful and blessed. This year, the Christmas rush is driving and letting that person in, because someone let me in when I needed to change lanes. This year, the rush is putting a little more in the Salvation Army bucket…because I can and I should. And this year, may you have a a lot to be rushed about too.


To All My Writer Friends…

A friend of mine sent this to me and I had to share…because we are always working…! Enjoy!!




The truth about writers What do they really do with all that time? By J. Robert Lennon

June 21, 2009

Ask a writer what she values most in her creative life, and she is likely to respond, “Time to write.” Not many of us have the luxury of writing full- time; we have spouses, families, day jobs. To the people closest to the writer, “writing time” may seem like so much self-indulgence: Why should we get to sit around thinking all day? Normal people don’t require hour after continuous hour of solitude and silence. Normal people can be flexible.

And yet, we writers tell our friends and children, there is nothing more sacrosanct, more vital to our intellectual and emotional well-being, than writing time. But we writers have a secret.

We don’t spend much time writing.

There. It’s out. Writers, by and large, do not do a great deal of writing. We may devote a large number of hours per day to writing, yes, but very little of that time is spent typing the words of a poem, essay or story into a computer or scribbling them onto a piece of paper.

Recently, I timed myself during a typical four-hour “writing” session, in order to determine how many minutes I spend writing. The answer: 33. That’s how long it took to type four pages of narrative and dialogue for my novel-in-progress, much of which will eventually end up discarded.

Let’s assume that this was an unusually brisk day. Let’s estimate that, in general, I spend between 30 minutes and an hour writing, on days when I’m writing at all. What this means is that, even at my absolute peak of productivity, I am actively writing less than 5% of the time. Considering how many days of the year I don’t write at all (most weekends, all holidays, teaching days, sick days, days of self-doubt, hangover days, bill-paying days), I could easily revise that figure down to 2%.

Should such a person, a person for whom writing consumes 2% of his life, even be called a “writer”? Given this logic, here are some of names by which I might more legitimately be referred:



bus rider

naked girl imaginer

child reprimander



But back to those four hours a day, during which, on those days when I do write, I am supposed to be writing. If I spend less than 25% of that time engaged in the act of writing, what do I do with the rest of it?

To answer this question, I surveilled myself during a recent writing session. The results are below.

8:04. Subject says goodbye to older son leaving for school.

8:05. Subject turns on laptop and sits on sofa in pajamas.

8:05-8:23. Internet.

8:23. Subject lets cat out.

8:23-9:07. Internet.

9:07. Subject lets cat in.

9:08-9:15. Really fast typing.

9:15-9:17. Subject makes toast.

9:17-9:30. Subject eats toast while rereading article in local paper about rural UFO cult.

9:30. Subject puts extra pair of socks on over extant pair of socks.

9:31-9:35. Deleting.

9:35-9:40. Re-creating deleted text almost verbatim from memory.

9:40-10:26. Internet, including 20 minutes spent writing, revising, and ultimately abandoning angry Internet message board post.

10:26-11:14. Intense self-doubt.

11:14-11:31. Subject showers, dresses (including two new pairs of socks).

11:31-11:49. Really fast typing.

11:49-12:01. Bathroom break.

12:01-12:05. Frenetic typing accompanied by quiet sinister chuckling.

12:05. Subject saves file, turns off computer, makes sandwich.

As you can see, writing makes only brief appearances in that chronology. Indeed, it would be easy to make a case for “non-writing time” as an alternative, perhaps superior, designation for what is presently called “writing time.”

The truth, of course, is that writers are always working. When you ask a writer a direct question, and he smiles and nods and then says “Well!” and turns and walks away without saying goodbye, he is actually working.

If a writer is giving you a ride to the bus station and pulls up in front of the supermarket and turns to you and says, “Enjoy your trip!,” she is actually working.

If you are a child, and your writer parent is scolding you for failing to do your homework, and then he or she suddenly stops, blinks twice, and tells you to go spend the rest of the afternoon playing video games and eating Pirate Booty, then he or she is actually working.

To allow our loved ones to know that we are working when we are supposed to be engaged in the responsibilities of ordinary life would mark us as the narcissists and social misfits we are. And so we have invented “writing time” as a normalizing concept, to shield ourselves from the critical scrutiny we deserve. Indeed, even writers who don’t write fiction are engaged in the larger fiction of imitating normal humans whose professional activities are organized into discrete blocks of time.

If you have any questions, please write them on a postcard, slide the postcard between the pages of a library book, and return the book the library. I will get to them when I’m finished writing.

Lennon’s most recent novel is “Castle.” He teaches writing at Cornell University.



Aging and Wisdom is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter. Mark Twain

As Christmas, the new year, and then my birthday approaches, I think about getting another year old, and of getting older period I ahve always loved the idea of getting older, as Father Time and I made a deal a long time ago: I only get better with age. The first time I saw one of those fine lines around my eyes, I panaicked, then I looked a little closer in the mirror and realized that with that line, I became more beautiful than I had ever been. And so it goes.
I think your whole life shows in your face and you should be proud of that. Lauren Bacall
On my 30th birthday , I could not stop smiling. It was probably my worst birthday – my Mom dying of cancer, I was in a new place where I did not know anyone, and my boyfriend out of town on business…and yet, there was a smile that would not go away. Finally, I had arrived. And I supposed that is how I have felt ever since. With each birthdya there is an arrival, or wisdom, of expereince, of knowing, of sophistication, of life. Finally, I am old enough to do the thigns that I want, young enough to still have the energy to do them, and making enough money to do them as well. Why would I want to go back to the younger years?
Aging is not lost youth but a new stage of opportunity and strength. Betty Friedan
Don’t get me wrong, I had a ball in my twenties. I partied a little, dated, stayed up all night driving to thte beach just to watch a sunrise over the water, went out with the wrong men jsut for fun, bought things I could not afford, took chances that drove my family crazy and marched through life with an innocence and just knew it would all be OK.. And it was. But, I have had more fun in my 30’s then even my best days in my 20’s. Because I am older, and wiser and can afford more, and am more comfortable in my own skin.
Yes, I am going to have much fun this next year, and I will earn every wrinkle, every fine line, every gray hair (thoogh I have colored my hair for so long I truly would not know if I had any). I will make this year the best age yet…though I say that every year. But i have so much fun every year because I never stop being curious, never stop learning, never stop asking questions and being open to the answers. I may not like what I learn, but I learn it just the same. And I am more of a woman, a person, a human being, because of my knowledge.
Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young.  Henry Ford
The one thing I do miss bout youth is the innocence and Niavitee that goes along with it. Sometimes I miss thinking that the world is perfect, that there are really no bad people out there. One you have staired in the eyes of the Devil, you loose that innocence. But what age makes you realize, in that wisom caused by expereince, is that you can completely envelope those expereinces, until there is no trace left, until it is only, wholly I. And that wonderful morsel is only something Iknow because of my age.
I’m happy to report that my inner child is still ageless. James Broughton
So it is with this attitude and excitement that I go forward another year, another age. And I raise my glass to Father Time and thank him. Because this year, there will be so many wonderful things to celebrate. There will be dancing, travel, laughter, writing, adventure, new expereinces, new questions, new answers, new opportunities, new life, new romance, new chances, a new age. And this, all of this, mostly because, all because, I have been blessed with a wonderful life.

My Own Limitations

Art consists of limitation. The most beautiful part of every picture is the frame.
Gilbert K. Chesterton

Don’t believe what your eyes are telling you. All they show is limitation. Look with your understanding, find out what you already know, and you’ll see the way to fly.
Richard Bach

There are three methods to gaining wisdom. The first is reflection, which is the highest. The second is limitation, which is the easiest. The third is experience, which is the bitterest.

We all must know our limitations. Knowing what we can and cannot do keeps us out of trouble and in line. Yes, even for a risk taker like me, knowing what my limitations are keeps me in line. We must also never take ourselves too seriously that we cannot not at ourselves and our limitations.  So here, for your knowledge and entertainment are a list of my most glaring limitations and things I simply will never be able to do or be good at.

Grace: No matter how hard I try I will never be graceful. Period. Not even if I trained at the Russion Ballet would I have grace…and I am pretty sure they would not even let me in the building, because I would probably trip on a piece of floor on my way into the building. The grace police would come and escort me out Yep, it would ugly.

The Ability to sew: I skipped Home-Ec in school, and it shows. I can sew a button back on a coat, or maybe fix the hymn on my pants, but beyond that…you really don’t want to trust me with sharp pointy objects (see above).

Singing: I can only sing in my car…and occasionally in the shower. Well actually I can sing everywhere, but I do not because my voice is so beautiful that no one would ever buy any album but mine, and I would not want to ruin all of those other music stars.

Drinking: I will never be able to drink more than two drinks before getting tipsy. Trust me, I’ve tested this one.

Poker: I will always loose at poker. Unless it’s Texas Hold’em, then that is completely different. I rock that game. And I suck at all others.

Jeopardy: I will never be able to question all the answers, no matter how hard I try, no matter how many books I read, no matter how much I cheat…it will never happen.

Whistling: I will never be able to whistle. I have been trying to do this since childhood. Maube it’s time to stop.

Wiggling my ears, rolling my R’s: Same as above, though I will also never quit trying. I keep thinking that, just like the lottery, today may be the day…

My check book: Ever since I was a little girl I have been able to do math in my head but not on paper.  It took forever to find a teacher to understand that I was not cheating when I could tell her the answers without actually working the problem. My check book is the same way. I can keep track of every bit of math…until I actually try to write it down in the registry.

Shoes: I cannot pass up a great pair of shoes that are on sale. I have tried. I have failed. Now I just don’t go into the shoe store unless I have money.

Spelling: I try, I really try…but typo’s will be the death of me. And the sad thing is that I am an editor. But I can spot  misspelled word or bad sentence structure a mile away on someone else’s work. But my own? Fahgetaboutit! IT must be like a psychic trying to read their own future…

Christmas Trees: I cannot Not put up a Christmas tree. Yes, it leans a bit to the left because of the Christmas Light Incident of 2009…but I don’t care. It is still my little tree and I will put it up every year…with as many lights and ornaments as it can possible hold. IT may be a little tacky, but it’s my tree.

Oreos: There is a reason why it is plural. It is because I cannot eat just one…or two…or even three. I must eat the entire bag.

So there they are, my limitations. Of course there are many more, but those are a good start. My therapist would be so proud!


“You can try to escape the story of your life.  But, you can’t.  It happened: the baby died, the dog died, a heart broke.  I knew you when you were young; I know your heart broke, too.  I will know you when we are both old, and maybe wise.  I hope wise.  I know you now, your story.  Mine isn’t the one I would have chosen in the beginning.  But, I’ll take it.  It is my story.  It’s only mine.  And it’s not over.  There’s time.  There is time.  There is so much time.” – Laura Dern’s character in enlightenment.

Yes, it is that time of year again, time for reflections on the past year…and I almost did not do it, as my writings have already documented the events – all the writings here, in other blogs and in my handwritten journal (yes, that is where most of my thoughts are kept…and yes, I am always writing in one way or another.) The quote above pretty much says what I feel about this past year.

This year, like every year, has been an adventure. I have been very lucky and blessed that there have been many more of the highs In 2011. And no matter how hard you try, you cannot run from your own life, your own story, though it may not be what you would have chosen. We’ll take it, we have to. Because it is ours. Ours. It is our own.  And no one else can live our lives or tell our story, only us, and only in our time. But I would not want to run away from my life, because over all, it is such a great life.

I am very possessive of my story, because it is mine, because I am the only person who has the rights to it. This year so maybe things have happened, so much that it is almost hard to comprehend it all. And through it all I have stayed true to myself, though I am surely not the same person as I was at the beginning of the year. I have taken chances, dared myself to go further, work harder than I ever thought possible. I found what I was searching for and found treasures I never knew existed. There have been long walks, long talks, long nights, long skirts and short hair.

There have been false friends, new friends, and things that end. There have been some tears, but much more laughter, lots of chocolate, a little bit of weight gain (but the ass is still Spanktacular), a new bra size, celebrations (yes, one did involve the new bra size and yes they are real and fabulous), lots of cooking, sharing, some drinking, lots of kissing, lots of tripping, some falling, more dropping, a good amount of cleaning out of things – refrigerators, friends list, desks, cars, contacts, that junk drawer that everyone has that seems to have every random thing in the house. There have been birthdays, funerals, reunions, weddings and births. There ahve been new loves, new jobs, new adventures, new chances, new…

But mostly, there has been love, so much love that my life almost could not hold it all. Love from friends, lovers, family, colleagues, and so much more. Yes, this has been the year of love. Funny considering I set out at the beginning of the year to ignore the L word…and then it found me in every face I saw, every voice I heard, every where I went. I could not escape it.

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Letter to My 16 Year Old Self

This post was inspired by a post I saw on Freshly Pressed:

I know you are very strong willed and head strong, and are going to do what you want, but here are some tips to keep in mind along the way. Plus, everything that happens really does happen for a reason, and makes you into a great person who is strong and comapssionate. First, you are beautiful. You will later look back at pictures and wonder what you were so self conscious of. Life at this age is awkward, from your body, to boys, to school, to, everything. Don’t worry, it all turns out OK. And don’t worry about your boobs, they fill out. It won’t happen until in your late 20’s and 30’s, but it does happen.

Second, remember that man who read your palm at your parents house? He said you were a writer, and you thought he was a bit crazy – he’s not. You do become a writer and it is even more fabulous than you could ever imagine. You write a book, many articles and you are happier in your career than you ever thought you could be. You also make really great money. In addition to writing, have a great career in radio in your 20’s. Your first boss in radio will be one of your lifelong best friends. You will also do a stint in finance…though you make a lot of money at it, it is not your true calling. Don’t feel bad when you leave it. You are not a failure, on the contrary, you are becoming what you were meant to be. You work hard and create the life you always wanted, and all the sacrifices along the way are worth it. You live your dreams.

Forget about what otehr people say and stick to your guns about doing the right thing. It pays off and your will always respect yourself.

Spend more time with Wendy, you’ll wish you had when she passes just a few short years from now. Her passing will have a deep and profound effect on you. And know, when it does happen, that there was nothing you could have done to stop it.

There will be two years, from 19-21, that you call the dark ages. Know that the things that happen are not your fault and you did nothing to deserve them. Forgive yourself.  Listen to Amy, she sticks by you, supports you and loves you, even when you don’t love or believe in yourself. Know that these years help shape the canvass of your life and that you truly do become a better, richer, deeper person for your expereinces.

You and your sister fight a lot now, but later she will be your best friend and biggest champion. You will also be hers. The Link between you two only grows stronger with age. And she hides your keys in the couch (you’ll know when you get there).

Mom, she is . right. Always. Don’t talk back to her as much, and yes you do need to clean your room. YoYou don’t know it, but she has cancer now though it won’t be discovered for many years. Be prepared for the first time you see her in the hospital, your knees will almost give out…it doesn’t look good and she has enough wires coming out of her to look like the back of a stereo system.  She survives but the next two years will be rough ones. They will tear you apart inside, but they will also bring the family even closer. And go to Vegas (you’ll understand when you get there).

On Dad: Take pictures of when the two of you work to fix the caliper in the rain. That will be one of your most cherished memories with him. As you get older he will be more and more one of your best friends and you often say he truly is the best man you know. And he is. And go out to dinner with him when he asks. That is very important.

You will have many friends in your life, and not all of them will be true or honest. But that’s OK. That is just part of life. You  don’t have to understand why, just love them and know that it all works out. Through it all, there will be many who stay your friends for life.They will be your heart.

On love and Dating:   You love with all your heart and everything you have. That is a very good thing, but you hurt the same way and just as deep. It’s all part of it. Don’t change it, as each time you love, it is deeper and stronger, until you are capable of loving even more than you thought possible. Loving someone is never a mistake, it is a gift. Never pass up the chance. Even if it doesn’t work, you will have wonderful memories, and a great book to write.

Having said that, here are some things you need to know: Don’t worry about what happens with your high school sweetheart. The man you date after that will say he loves you – believe him. You will spend many years looking for a man who will love you as unconditionally as he does. The man you call the love of your life truly is. When sis sets you up on that blind date, and you feel it, you are right. But that does not mean that you will end up together or live happily ever. after. It does mean that you will forever and always be thankful. It is worth it. Every second.

Some men you date will be wonderful, some terrible.  Somewhere along the way you get the idea that you have to be nice to everyone who wrongs you. No, you don’t. You do not have to give chance after chance. Remember that. If they were worth your time, and treated you right, you would not be walking away in the first place. Be civil, but beyond that they can kiss your ass. That goes for men, bosses and friends.

On Marriage: You have a sneaky suspicion that you will never get married and will always be a free spirit. You very well may be right. You do get close twice. The first will be with the man you are with now, just 13 years later. At 37 you decide that you will probably not ever get married and plan to start a family on your own once in your 40’s. With the second man, remember to trust your gut instincts. Don’t stay in the hotel. You love both of these men with all your heart, but sometimes love isn’t enough, and you have to let it go. And that hurts, a lot. You don’t regret either expereince or planning to marry them.. You loved them, and that is all that matters. Yes it is worth all of it, and yes you would do it again. It is never a mistake to love someone, never a mistake to take that chance, even if it ends badly. Love them, just as much, just as true. Just learn from those mistakse so you do not repeat them.

Also never forget who you are. You are magnificent, strong and capable. As in any life, there will be great highs and lows. Times you hurt so much that you can’t even cry, and great moments that you think you may pop from joy. I wish I could hold you through all those bad times, and tell you it will all be OK, but you already know that deep down, don’t you? Even if I could take away the pain and hard times that you will go through I wouldn’t, because that would deprive you of the knowleadge, expereince and depth you will gain from having gone through them and come out the other side. The pain you go through will carves out deep spaces within us, so that we may b=fell and experinece life even more deeply than we ever thought possible, but life must carve those deep spaces out first.

Know that as I look back on the girl you are, and the woman you grow into, that I am proud of you.

You will always be clumsy, that never gets better. Save more money, you’ll need it when the job market gets bad. Renew your tags every year – that’s important. And no, you really do not need to drive that fast. Give up on your sock drawer and your closet. Those will always be messy. You sing great…in the car. Never forget that.

There are many more things to tell you. I would love to sit down and have dinner and fill you in. But just know this…it is a magic, sometimes tragic, beautiful, wonderful, terrible, heartbreaking, joyfull, life. And it all works out.

Love You Always


Keeping Keepsakes and Being Sentimental

There are those things we must keep, those little things that remind us, make us smile, make us remember, maybe even makes us cry just a little. And they do because they means something. They are not just things, they are attached to a specific time, a specific place, sometimes even, most of the time, specific people. And we keep these things around us, and we find it hard to throw them away. Yes, I am a keeper. And I mean that in more ways than one! Or a packrat, others have said. But I am a sentimental person, and I love the idea of keeping these things that mark certain times instances and events that have meant something in my life.

First and foremost, I keep all of my handwritten journals.  I have written in a journal since I was 10, that is almost 30 years worth of handwriting, events, loves, loss, feelings, and adventures. My life. And as I go back and read those journals, sometimes, happy, sometimes sad, sometimes embarrassed, sometimes proud, it is all in familiar handwriting on those pages.

Looking in the boxes of keepsakes there are also so many pictures, of family, friends, places, things, and myself. All these wonderful memories that i could never get rid of, and why would i even want to? There are also old notes, letters and poems.  I still have every love letter my first boyfriend ever wrote me. He would be the man I would later move in with and plan to marry almost 13 years later. I still have all of those letters too. I have poems that my loves have written me and even a notebook one wonderful fellow wrote me over a trip across the country and gave to me later. Poems from long ago loves that still make me smile today.

And if I want to revisit high school, I still have many of the old notes my friends and I wrote back and forth to each other. Oh who I laugh when I read them now. Who so-and -so had a crush on, what another person said in the hallway, and who we heard and another someone kissed behind the school.  Yes, those were the days of innocence, yet every little thing seemed to make our world stand still.

And all the little nick-knacks and items from my travel. And part of the fun of travel and picking up these things are learning the kinds of things that you will actually keep. I have learned that I do not keep up with post cards of pretty places as well as I do a framed picture or piece of jewelry. So now I pick up things for me to wear or hang in my house. Or Christmas Ornaments. I love to hang something I picked up from some far away place on my tree.

Whatever those items are, what they reflect is a wonderful life, well lived and well-loved. The good, the bad and the ugly have all played a part in getting me where I am today and molding into who I am. And I feel as if I must always remember the construction of me, and how it is always changing, always being molded into something new, because I am always learning. As long as you are living your life in a way that you are always curious and thus always learning then you are really truly living. And that is why I keep all these things. They are the keepsakes that remind me I have lived a good life, worth being sentimental about. It is these memories that keep me inspired to always do better, reach farther and become more every day.

Indulgence and Adventure

Recently a fellow blogger made a comment on a post of mine that said:

People sometimes wonder why I don’t get “giddy” during holiday times, I let them know a secret…. everyday you breathe is a holiday….celebrate a little bit every single day and even when you’re a bit wild and wicked, God will know you loved your life enough to live it in an amazing way, not just on special days but everyday…(read more of his writing at

These words are truly what I have believed for a long time, and how I have lived my life. The only way to truly appreciate the life you have, and to honor your faith, in my humble opinion, is to truly live life to the fullest. So this weekned is going to be about indulgence.  Typically that word has a very negative connotation, but I think a bit is good for the soul. What I mean is that I am going to live fully, in each moment, indulging in every little detail. Whatever I do, I am going to do it with everything I have. And think about how much more we will enjoy out lives of we did this?  If you laugh, laugh with everything you have in you. If you work, work and give 110%. if you spend time with someone, do it with all your heart. And if you kiss someone this weekned, oh, especially of you kiss someone, do it with everything you have, passionately, tenderly, joyfully, and drink in every moment of it.

Yes, I live my life this way, but this weekend, I am going to make a conscieous effort into doing it.  Sometimes, even in our passion for living, we forget to put a conscieous effort into things. This weekend I will indulge in the every day adventures that make life…life. Because no matter how good we have it, if we truly decide to find the extordinary in our everyday lives, we will discover new things that we never noticed before. We can try a new way, or a new path, visit and new store, try a new food..there are a thousand adventures and new indulgences to try just outside your door, in your own nieghborhood.

You don’t have to travel to far off places to have adventures, though those can be greot too. Your life every day life can be a great adventure.

So what adventure are you going to have today?

Simple Happiness

First let me just say that I need to start thinking of better, zippier headlines. I am looking around at other blogs and they have all these great, eye catching, interesting, chuckle inspiring titles. And mine are…kind of boring actually.  But the content is great. 🙂 Like this post for example…Simple Little Things? Really? Let’s work on that….

  1. One Simple Thing in the Hand is Worth Two Large things in the Bush – …Hmmm, too….confusing. And not quite sure, but think it sounds a bit dirty…
  2. Less is More – …Hmm, not white what I am going for
  3. The Quick Brown Fox jumped Over the Lazy Dog – Well, it’s cute.
  4. Gauranteed Satisfaction! – again, not quite sure that is the audience I am going for…
  5. How to Get More Out of Life – Kind of reads like an instruction manual
  6. How a Sunset, Your Favorite Song and a Smile Can Make Your Day – too long…
  7. Be Happier Now! – Sounds like an infomercial
  8. Live, Laugh, Love all the Little Things in Life – Closer….
  9. Gratitude 10: Grouchy 0 – Close, but not sure it is zippy enough
  10. Don’t Let the Grinch Steal Happiness – what???
  11. Grinchy vs Gratitude – Hmmmm…
  12. Your suggestions!! – Yes, I could use some help!

Now, on with the actual blog…

We all have them, our favorite things. It could be a pair of warm slippers, a glass of wine, our favorite song on the radio, or a thousand other wonderful. little, perfect things that we just Love (with a capital L). These are the things that make us happy, make us smile, giggle, get that warm feeling, give us peace and contentment or maybe even excitement. I have long had a theory about these simple little favorite things: The big things don’t come around that often, so if we appreciate all the little wonderful things and moments around us, we can find happiness in the every day.

Like today for instance. It is just a Thursday, nothing big or fantastic going on, yet I have had a wonderful day so far. This morning I allowed myself to really take advantage of the snooze button (yes, I was a complete Snooze Junkie, and loved every bit of it). Then when I got up, one of my favorite songs was playing on the radio. I was able to get into my favorite pair of pants (yay!) and traffic was super light on the way to work.

Speaking of work, it has gone very smoothly with no issues on the projects I am working on. Lunch consisted of a delicious and messy cheeseburger (I have a theory on messy things too, but that is for another blog). And  as I walked outside to my car I felt the cold air hit my face and it was refreshing. The sun was out, which is a nice break from the rain we have been getting the last two days. I stood their for a moment and just enjoyed the contrasting feelings of the sun’s warmth and the cold breeze blowing on my face. It was a delicious combination.   And now, taking a moment for writing as I need a break.

If we take a moment, just a moment to stop and notice, and fully experience those little moments of our favorite things, life is a much happier, much more colorful place. For me it also makes me accutely aware of all the miracles and wonderment in the world, and how it is all connected somehow. It is almost a spiritual experience as I can almost feel the very vibration of life, if I concentrate hard enough. Tonight I hope to continue with my favorite things: Good music, some wine, cooking a good meal, my lover’s voice, my couch, my favorite TV show. Yes, Life is good. Have fun  finding those wonderful, delightful, delicious moments in your life. And when you find them, savor them, drink them in, get drunk off of them…and truly live in that moment.  Have a love affair with that moment. Sounds cheesy? Try it. You will be addicted…

Ambition and Satisfaction

Ambition is defined as a strong desire to do or to achieve something, typically requiring determination and hard work. By this definition, I am definitely ambitious. I don’t mind setting a goal, rolling up my sleeves and getting into the dirty, nitty-gritty of what it takes to make it happen. I am extremely driven. But being so driven is both good and bad.

When I set out to be a writer, I worked for 6 months, non stop, 16-18 hours a day, writing, building up my portfolio, working for pennies a word until I had something great to hand over to corporations when I applied for a job.  And I did it. In 6 months I was getting large contracts from some of the biggest companies in the US. But I also just about became a hermit during this time, and my personal relationships suffered a great deal. But I accomplished my goal. And now I am at the salary I wanted, and it is only getting higher (something for which I am extremely grateful), I am very happy with my current contract, and my work is very personally satisfying.

And even now I am searching for more. It seems that no matter what I accomplish, as soon as I reach my goal I want another one. I cannot sit still, I must be working toward another accomplishment. And I have reached every goal I have set. And now as I plan my next year, of what I want to accomplish, do , see and have, I still want more.  And I am impatient with my goals.

I must remind myself that everything takes time, and a good foundation must be given time to set. There must be time to rest and recharge, there must be time to savor and enjoy the fruits of ones labor.

Somewhere there must be a balance between being ambitious and lethargic. But where is it? In a world viewed mainly as black and white, sometimes it is hard to delineate between restful and apathetic, or at least to me. But you cannot live your life in constant forward motion. At some point there must be rest, there must be time to slow down and smell the roses.

Indeed. And I have been slow these last few months and maybe that is why I am so restless and ready to go now. As the new year approaches I am anxious to make up time and space that was lost. Acutely aware of the life and world that is waiting for me, I am eager to return. And when I am tired and tuckered out from all the going, doing, seeing and being, then I will curl up in warm arms and rest. And maybe, in those arms I will find the balance between ambition and satisfaction.