Partaking In Joy Is Part Of Our Daily Grind

Wisdom food for thought:

Do we define joy by achieving a desired outcome? Or is the joy on the path itself?

soul food 1

I don’t really feel like chewing on that, because like the rest of the human race, I just want to feel the joy whenever I want, which of course, is always. But it doesn’t work that way for the majority of us, so I’m trying to figure it out.

When Sir Husband received the news that he was getting his dream job a couple of months ago and we would be moving back home, we felt this burst of joy coming through us at light speed. Ironically, it was exhausting and we experienced some weird physical symptoms that are typically signs of distress. Bathroom issues…GERD…headaches…and both of us stopped sleeping.

It was weird because we were so excited that our path was finally changing for the better, so why were we so wiped out? Years of heavy stress finally lifting, and cloud nine was wearing us down. Oh we were definitely happy, we just didn’t expect the process of executing the joy to feel different than how we defined joy itself. It didn’t seem to make sense. Joy after all, is a feeling. Or is it?


When I mentioned this to local guru Dr. Christiane Northrup, she laughed and said, “Correct – your body and mind don’t know what to do with all the toxic overload from the past now that it’s over.” As we know, emotional toxicity can cause physical symptoms from stress, and we’ve had plenty of that. So turns out feeling joy is actually a process. Who knew?

pathAfter a few weeks on our new path of joy we noticed something else. That joy doesn’t always override the daily stressors. Life still happens in all of its grit and glory no matter what. That also tripped us up. Hold on – we have joy now, why is sh*t still happening that feels stressful? First we’re joyful and tired, then we’re joyful, stressed and tired, doesn’t joy win out and erase life’s other junk? Easy answer, no.

Intellectually I guess we knew this, but when you get a taste of pure joy, you don’t want it to leave. So things had to become a matter of perspective.

We habitually went to feeling sad or bad when anything went “wrong,” but interestingly yin yangthe joy of our new path was still happening. Is it possible to experience both things at once?  Stress and joy linked in a yin yang circle bouncing like a super ball through our daily existence?

The goal I’m told, is to experience joy as the constant undercurrent that rises to the surface – and here’s the key – when we let it. So that begs the wisdom question again, is joy in the desired outcome or is it on the path? Only we can know.


no guts no glory

(Notes from the Universe)

Even on His Birthday My Teen Won’t Leave His Room

tyler bday 007 copyBirthday season just opened in our house. We have three birthdays in just under a month, starting yesterday when the youngest turned 16.

I love to celebrate special occasions, especially birthdays, especially for those I birthed. I’m pretty sure I even celebrated in the delivery room as my kids were being born. I remember my doctor on the third child asked me why I was so smiley despite all the pain. Little did I know what that truly meant.

I spent my boy’s 16th birthday pretty much by myself. No cars and friends and cheer for him, he just hung out in his room. Like almost everyday, I can’t get my teenager out of his room and I don’t know what to do.

I have tried everything, but he won’t really come out except to go to school and eat, and it’s been going on for a couple years. Why am I waiting so long to speak up? Because I keep hoping it will change.

He isn’t hiding anything that we can tell, he’s got a fancy computer and spends all his time online. Introverted, totally tech, smart as a whip honors student, he’s not like me or his sibs. He opts out of interaction and seems perfectly happy. But it makes me really sad.

No matter what I do or say to try to help him, he pishaws and rolls his eyes. I realize this is teenager-speak, I’m not new to this. My other two 20-somethings seem to be fine, so I guess this will pass. But it’s worrisome nonetheless. He’s isolated and putting on weight, and even with encouragement from family and friends, it’s like trying to move a boulder. 26_23.jpg_24 copy

Nobody tells mothers that one day they will feel pain with their children like they did in the delivery room. Having children is as heartbreaking as it is joyful, and the teenage years are intense. All kinds of factors come into play – genes and environment, family status and stability, extended family, community – everything plays a role. So on some level I have to wonder where in all this I failed to help him be the best he could be.

Or maybe I didn’t. Maybe this is his best. Teenagers are still developing in their bodies and in the world. So I try to give him the benefit of the doubt instead of blaming myself. He’s not young anymore, not to mention he’s the size of an adult, unlike when he was two and I could control his life.

He has gone through a lot with our family trauma, problems and pain. But all I can do is keep showing him things are now really good, and role model every day.

So as I search for the answer to help my teen thrive, I keep repeating the old standbys – everybody is on their own journey…parents are only vessels, kids are individuals…don’t make him someone he isn’t…he has to want to change, nobody can do it for him…  But some days it’s really hard.

I guess one day he will come out of his room. In the meantime I’ll keep trying…and waiting…and trying…and hoping. This is parenthood.



The Ring He Gave Me Fell Off My Hand, Now He’s Giving Me The Moon

Let’s see how we can get her attention, said the Cosmos the other day…

I was minding my own business, typing on my computer, when PLINK. The diamond in its four prongs simply fell off my engagement ring. I saw it roll a couple of inches on the floor by the desk where I was sitting.

What the … ? I was just typing. I didn’t bang it, it wasn’t loose – I check it all the time. I picked it up and it was as tight as could be inside the four white gold prongs. But the ring was now broken and missing its head, I was as sad as I was surprised.

017 0flowers copyWe took it to a local jeweler the next day, maybe even the best one in our state. But I didn’t know there was a difference until that very morning. They wouldn’t even touch the ring until I spoke to the jeweler where it was purchased. We got the ring in another state a whole day’s drive away. So I called him on the spot and explained about the head of the engagement ring he sold us, simply falling off.

Much to all of our surprise – and we could all hear him on the phone – he was not too interested in the ring’s demise and told me I could mail it back and he would get to it eventually – he didn’t seem to care. Eventually?!!? I don’t think so, and what does that even mean? Now I was silently shedding tears.

ring boxThe goldsmith came out and looked at ring and told us why it just broke. It was not properly made from the get-go, and he explained in full detail why. I was lucky it happened at home he said, because at least we have the diamond.

The one carat diamond has a story of its own. It was originally my grandmother’s nearly-flawless gem that I was so fortunate to inherit. I wore it as my engagement ring with Mr. Ex. But a few years ago – when Sir Husband and I took it to be reset in a new engagement ring from him – the diamond did not match the appraisal. We determined it had been swapped out at a jeweler many years ago when Mr. Ex and I lived near Washington DC and took it to have the prongs tightened. Chaos ensued for quite some time until I finally had to accept that I didn’t have my grandmother’s diamond anymore.

In the meantime my diamond was sitting on the counter of our local jewelry store while we tried to decide what to do. The ring was not repairable, it was only worth its weight in gold.

moon_goddessSo we looked at new settings for quite some time before we found one that felt perfectly right. It’s beautiful. And custom and will become an heirloom. The setting’s name is Luna.

Luna:  The moon ~ a goddess ~ luck ~ miracles ~ the Divine.

Now we’ve got her attention, said the Cosmos the other day…

As we were making the arrangements to have a Luna made, the jeweler was looking at my diamond underneath the microscope. “Do you have the original appraisal?” she asked as she peered through her looking glass. “This is absolutely beautiful,” she said, “a near-flawless and perfect gem.”

What? You mean it’s maybe not the imposter diamond we thought it to be?

“This may be your grandmother’s diamond,” she said. “Let’s see what the appraisal says.”

Hooray! said the Cosmos the other day… She’s finally paying attention to her miracles.



Love, Fear and the News Make the World Go ‘Round

Life can feel hard enough, let alone when pre-coffee your husband says the news is really bad today. Yea, it’s always bad, what the heck happened now.

heart loveIt wasn’t like the last couple of weeks have been particularly soothing for us, when you’re selling your house all kinds of stressful stuff abounds. I thought we had finally caught our breath, the contract is now signed. I seriously have no room for more discomfort to process. I’m tired and am trying to get us moved out of state.

But due to the latest event – the mass shooting in Orlando – we had to pay attention. It’s getting harder and harder to go about our daily business when the world outside the front door doesn’t really feel safe.

I’m not a newshound like my husband, he was in that business for many years and in cases like this would have gone in to handle the breaking news. Not this time thankfully since his new job is outside of a media outlet.

But it didn’t change the fact that we were bombarded with the information from the moment we got up. It’s horrible news. In fact, after a couple hours I finally turned it off, despite my civic responsibility to be informed. I didn’t want to know the details of the latest gruesome event, it’s just so hard to absorb.

Most of us are TV bystanders to these ongoing horrible happenings, and there’s not a whole lot we can do. We can say something on social media to support the victims, we can donate or volunteer, we can do our part to keep both ourselves and our community as safe as we can.

That’s really where it all starts – with us. I’m not an expert, but it seems that so many people live from a place of deep fear inside themselves. We are afraid on many levels. Of what?

no slave to fearCorruption of government officials, according to Time magazine. That fear truly puts our personal power in the hands of someone else. Terrorism, identity theft, economic collapse – these are all valid concerns. Apparently 40 percent of our population is afraid of aliens or the paranormal. It’s not like we have any control over them if they do exist.

Gallup poll says we are afraid of snakes, public speaking, heights and claustrophobia. Ok that national survey did not say a thing about guns or racists or gays. I have a heartstring in the Orlando shooting event. My dad came out of the closet when I was 18. We had our differences through the years, but him being gay wasn’t one of them. I may be a rare individual, but I truly do not judge who other people choose to love. He is quite a cool dude – he’s open-minded, open-hearted, and just open to the love that life can bring.

There are really only two feelings in the world. Love and fear. These are the two things that motivate us – everything we think, feel, say and do. Love expands, fear contracts. Love is positive, fear is negative. Love is awesome, fear isn’t. But most of us live from fear. The problem is when it overtakes a person, a group and a culture. The mentality is contagious and toxic. Hence the world we live in.

I wish more people would live from love – that would be great news.


LOVE IS UNCONDITIONAL (fear is conditional)

LOVE IS STRONG (fear is weak)

love is all you needLOVE RELEASES (fear obligates)

LOVE SURRENDERS (fear binds)

LOVE IS HONEST (fear is deceitful)

LOVE TRUSTS (fear suspects)

LOVE ALLOWS (fear dictates)

LOVE GIVES (fear resists)

LOVE FORGIVES (fear blames)


LOVE CHOOSES (fear avoids)

LOVE IS KIND (fear is angry)

LOVE IGNITES (fear incites)

LOVE EMBRACES (fear repudiates)

LOVE CREATES (fear negates)

LOVE HEALS (fear hurts)

LOVE IS MAGIC (fear is superstitious)

LOVE ENERGIZES (fear saps)

LOVE IS AN ELIXIR (fear is a poison)

LOVE INSPIRES (fear worries)

LOVE DESIRES (fear dislikes)

LOVE IS PATIENT (fear is frustrated)

LOVE IS BRAVE (fear is afraid)

LOVE IS RELAXED (fear is pressured)

LOVE IS BLIND (fear is judgmental)

LOVE RESPECTS (fear disregards)

LOVE ACCEPTS (fear rejects)

LOVE DREAMS (fear schemes)

LOVE PLAYS (fear controls)

LOVE ENJOYS (fear suffers)

LOVE FREES (fear imprisons)

LOVE BELIEVES (fear deceives)

LOVE “WANTS” (fear “needs”)

From Tiny Buddha: Simple Wisdom for Complex Lives

be the change

When Our Number Is Up It’s Up, But Do We Write The Ending?

It seems that people are having trouble staying alive. I don’t know if we just hear about untimely deaths more because of our 24/7 media melange, or if it’s really happening more than ever. From music icons to right in our neighbor’s backyard, people are moving on, and earlier than imagined.


I got a message from a good friend, who shared that her best friend was suddenly killed while chopping down a tree to have wood for heat next winter. Preparing cords of wood for the following winter is a common practice where we live. A state filled with hunters and choppers, Mainers are hearty, tough, and skilled at taking care of things “naturally.” Their friend knew what he was doing, and was prepared. But the tree hit his head in the tiny location unshielded by his helmet. Nobody can be prepared for that.

The same day that I heard about my friend’s best friend, I came across an old photo of my great aunt, long since gone. The photo may be close to a hundred years old, she stands alone in her wedding dress. It’s ironic, because shortly after she was married, she came home from work to find her young husband murdered in what appeared to be a case of mistaken identity in a botched mob-hit. I can’t even imagine what living that horror was like. And she went on to live a long life. She never re-married, not sure I blame her.

every end is a newObviously life and death are conjoined. We’re born, we die. And while we intellectually understand that, nobody really wants to consider their demise. It’s hard to wrap our brains around the concept, so we grapple with understanding and ways to feel okay about it. That’s where it gets really personal.

I’m of the spiritual school that we are Divine souls shelled by a physical form that is an extension of God/Source/Spirit/All and we write our story before we take shape, planning it all out from beginning to end. We go back to infinite soul-form when “it’s time,” or when “we’re done” and we are not really “dead,” we are back “home” in an angelic, celebratory, timeless Divine way. I also believe we can utilize astrological patterns and exercise free will both on earth and to transition.

But as humans, we have this sort-of one dimensional perspective that doesn’t tangibly show us everything we wish we could see to be comfortable with not staying physically alive. Is it possible that my friend’s best friend wrote his very death chopping down a tree at the exact age he was? Of course he wouldn’t “remember” that, but isn’t there an All-Knowing that does? I can’t imagine that my great-uncle, who I never knew, would choose to be murdered accidentally. But who knows.

I had a younger sister, I don’t remember her, my parents never talked about her. I was perhaps three years old when she died. She was born with a hole in her heart, and back then they couldn’t fix that. I think she’s my guardian angel, and I often make up stories about her – ones maybe we wrote together in the ether whenever ago.

I put the old photo of my great-aunt on our antique glass bookcase. Every time I look at it I wonder – where is she now? Where are they all now? One thing I do know…love never dies, it only changes form.


Ps… This photo shows the veil I wrote about in my previous day’s post… the veil I saved in my storage box with the letters to my boys.…at-really-matter/



In A Box Of Heirlooms, It’s The Words That Really Matter

barbie weddingWhen little girls dream of their wedding day, it usually involves dolls dressed in a pretty ruffly dress. Maybe it’s Barbie, or an American Girl Doll, or her favorite stuffed animal adorned in special doll clothes, but she imagines with all of her might. Then the real day comes, and more often than not we wear a traditional gown that becomes an heirloom in our mind, the dress our daughter will wear, maybe her daughter after that.

I did that. I even wore my great-aunt’s veil which made it through decades of basement storage in an old yellowed cardboard box. I paid a fortune to preserve my own all-lace form-fitted gown and that long antique veil which were neatly tucked into a new box, ready for my daughter.

Oops. I had sons. Three of them. The third one was supposed to be my girl, the one who would would wear that dress. Life happens.

When I learned I was pregnant with my first baby and the ultrasound confirmed he was a boy, I set out on the journey of preparation. I wrote him letters in a journal every week, telling him things I thought he would want to later know, about my pregnancy, his family, and any wisdom I could impart at age 29.

Next baby, same thing. Baby boy revealed during pregnancy, excitement, preparation, writing, more wisdom shared, now at age 31. The pages continued to fill in my journal, hand-written in black ink. With each entry I moved the red satin ribbon over to mark the special spot where I would continue to write to my sons.

xmas and new house 006 copyBut as time went on and the daily routine of raising children became my focus, I just wrote when I felt inspired. I kept the hardbound journal in a small wooden chest next to the pristinely-preserved wedding gown tucked away in its box in the basement. Only now it was next to christening clothes that my two baby boys sweetly wore.

Eventually the third boy arrived, the journal now worn, the entries less frequent. The wooden chest was filled with memorabilia – baby books, tiny blankets, zippered bags holding their first locks of hair, important documents, special gifts, silver cups, even my own silver rattle, an antique, quite tarnished and chewed, the only thing left from my infancy.

For years my carefully-preserved wedding dress was nestled safely between hope and trust that its future would be secured. But I had three boys, and eventually divorced. The gown’s value now minimal and purpose lost, I finally opened the box that had been sealed some two decades before, to decide its place in my life. I kept the dress…its preservation not mattering anymore.

So it’s tightly rolled up with the veil, even smashed a bit in a plastic bag underneath the remnants of my babies’ keepsakes. The wooden box is long gone, along with many of the things that lost their significance as time went on. The boys grew up, we moved frequently, so much “stuff” lost along the way.

A few pieces of tangible memories now stay safe in a plastic storage container, perhaps one day important to the boys. It’s the journal’s worth that is immeasurable. Not the gown, probably not the veil – although almost a century old, not the christening clothes, the blankets, or even the old tarnished rattle. It’s the words hand-written on the pages, that rose from the depths of my heart and soul. The heirloom is the love. It makes the memories, sustains all time, and is the true foundation of our dreams.



A Note About My Friend And Her Li’l Bug


This is my friend Alison.



She’s an artist. And really tall.


Alison grew up with her family along the coastal shores of Maine. She spent a lot of time outside in nature and with her father on a boat on the sea.

Alison and dad

Once upon a time Alison decided to be an artist when she couldn’t stop drawing and coloring all the creatures that were part of her natural environment, especially the ones in the ocean. From this love, her Festive Fish business was born. Her motto – color your life happy!


I met her a while ago when I worked in the little Main Street bookstore in our village. We sold her colorful cards and calendars depicting simple, sweet and animated fish, lobsters, shells, and natural designs born from her bright imagination.

She told me a lot of stories about her life along the shore, and how her artwork was not just part of her life, but an extension of her heart and soul. One day she told me a story about a time that changed her life. But it was very sad. Tragic in fact. Clear out of the blue only a short time before we met, her father was diagnosed with cancer and it changed Alison’s life forever. As she held her father’s hand until he could not hold on any longer, she closely watched what it is like to experience terminal illness.

And Li’l Bug was born.

Alison told me all about Bug, and his long journey when he found out he was dying.


Alison worked and worked on bringing Li’l Bug’s story to life in memory and honor of her father, who she missed so very much. Sometimes she woke up in the middle of the night and wrote down what Li’l Bug wanted to say. Sometimes she worked through the night drawing and coloring what Li’l Bug wanted to share. She even sewed Li’l Bug and he sat by her side day and night inspiring Alison to keep going, even when she felt like she couldn’t.

Finally, Li’l Bug’s special story became a real book, that Alison did all by herself. It’s safe to say that blood, sweat, and tears went into this project, one that helped Alison evolve her beautiful soul through gut-wrenching loss and grief.

Alison took her brand new book to her father’s grave, sat Li’l Bug down next to her, and read the story out loud. And now she would like others to hear his story. It’s a tale of true inspiration that reminds us to live our best life in spite of what life hands us. It shines a bright light on the importance of enjoying the time we have when we don’t have much time. It helps those going through medical trauma learn to feel peace. And while its message is especially wonderful for children, it’s filled with wisdom for adults too.

I wanted to share the bravery of my friend Alison, who listened to her heart and embarked on a difficult journey to heal, with the hope of helping others. It took a lot of patience and a lot of guts, and I watched her bring it from imagination to reality over the last two years. She never gave up or quit even when it got really tough. Congratulations Alison, and thank you.

Bug in a jar

Standing Up for Relevance ~ We All Matter


Today is my step-daughter’s 10th birthday. Not that it’s relevant to anyone reading this post. But it’s relevant to us, despite the fact that we have not seen her over a year. Her mother is a parental alienator, and no amount of legal assistance or court intervention has been successful in changing that. But that’s not what this post is about either. It’s about relevance.

I spent most of my life not believing I was relevant. No need to delve into the historical or psychological reasons for that. I simply didn’t think that I mattered – in the classroom, in the house, in piano lessons, really anywhere. I know now that isn’t true. But it carried to my adult life in spite of my intellect telling me I indeed matter, and those in my life not having a clue that this is how I felt.

Back-of-the-room wallflower in most group situations, an introvert and a listener, or perhaps a mind-wanderer wondering if I fit in with the others in the room, I got brave one day, in my 40s no less, and put my yoga mat in the front of the room at a yoga conference. I wanted to be near the teacher, he was one of my favorite gurus, who I felt at the time was God-like. Of course he wasn’t, but he was relevant to me.

During one of the question-answer periods in the all-day session I actually raised my hand and asked a question. I don’t even remember what it was, but the act itself for me was huge. He chatted with me directly in a room of a hundred people, even said that I offered great insight. Other people approached me afterward and thanked me. I was relevant.

We all have aspects of ourselves that rule our psyches, even if we don’t show it to the world. I am married to an amazing man who in spite of his successes in life, feels quite the same about his own relevance. No matter what we do – or don’t do – when we are participating in daily life, we are relevant. But how do we learn to believe it?

Of course, like with all emotional evolvement, it’s an inside job. But feeling valued, needed, accepted, loved, worthy, even accomplished from our external world is significant for humans. And when we don’t have it, or worse, when our relevance is removed from those who matter in our lives, it’s hard.

As much as I believe that my step-daughter’s isolation from her father and step-family is due to her mother’s emotional incapacities, I don’t believe that her mother is irrelevant in her life and should be removed from it, the way she has removed us. I don’t believe that anyone is irrelevant in the world.

Happy Birthday sweet girl. You matter. And so do we.


Special Feature Feline Friday

For today, enjoy some pictures of our fur babies – Suki and JoJo – as captured by in-house photographer Sir Husband.


Did you know the love of cats is called ailurophilia?



Did you know that scientists still don’t know if a cat’s purr comes from their throat or their cardiovascular system?



Did you know that having a cat for a pet reduces your risk of heart attack or stroke by one third?



Did you know when a cat rolls over on its back it means it trusts you?



Did you know cats sleep for 70% of their lives, 14 hours a day? And they do it to conserve energy.



Did you know a cat can gauge the mood of humans and change their mood to match their owner’s?



Did you know a cat has 130,000 hairs per square inch?



Did you know a cat has 24 whiskers that it uses to measure distance, and has no collar bone so it can fit in and through small spaces?



Did you know that cats dream with the same brain wave patterns that humans do? And their brain is 90% like a human’s.



Did you know that a cat knows how to get it’s owner’s attention, by manipulation and by vocal sounds?



Cats have the rare quality that humans do not – a deep capacity to receive affection, and deeply feel our  presence.

Sure I’m a cat lady. And why not.



Happy Anniversary Sir Husband

Once upon a time, a 14-year-old girl, who felt self-conscious and awkward, sat in the first row of her band class holding her flute tightly in her lap. She wasn’t sure what that feeling was that was coming from behind her, it was something nudging softly and quietly as if to say hello, I love you.

IMG_2365When she slowly turned around, her head tucked into her shoulder, her eyes carefully looking to see what was silently surrounding her, she saw his eyes staring intently. The eye contact was uncomfortable. She waved to her best boy-friend, the sweet, 16-year-old trumpet player who faithfully drove her to school every day. His eyes pierced her at that very moment with an energy so fierce that she was afraid. He always looked at her that way, deep into her soul as if he knew something she didn’t. And she always laughed it off, knowing that this boy would always be there for her, no matter what.

That was three decades ago. And even though they parted ways as often happens in life, they never forgot.

They reunited seven years ago as if by fate, two writers ceaselessly writing to each other from the moment they woke until the midnight hour.  Dear Boston….  Dear Rochester…. that’s what they called each other for the cities in which they resided. Until they could no longer be apart, souls inseparable.

He knew a long time ago. She finally listened.  Today they celebrate their magical union.

Never doubt love. Or fairy tales. No matter what.