Good morning and welcome to a new day filled with possibilities!

Last night by chance I got pulled into the movie “The Adjustment Bureau” and watched the latter 3/4’s of it. I was moved by the story. I know it’s syrupy and filled with storybook fiction, but I can’t/won’t/haven’t/don’t plan to give up my hapless romantic ways. The desire for that sense of being is as indelibly stamped on me as the color of my eyes and the length of my arms. It just is!

My past is filled with a search for perfection in love. Over time becoming more aware and accepting of my own defects and failings has allowed me to see clearly that shortcoming and blemish is a portion of what makes me uniquely who I am. It is no longer the flawless and faultless romance I hope for. However, I won’t settle for less than what moves me to the core of my being. Never!

In my adult life, I haven’t experienced true romance. No one surprising me with dozens of flowers at work. No one sending me love notes. No one writing me poems about my beauty. No one whisking me off to the park for an intimate afternoon picnic. No one shouting at the top of their lungs their adoration for me in a public setting. The one and only time I experienced romance was in college–a phase in life lived in a vacuum that can’t be applied to any other aspects of “real life”. My boyfriend at the time was one of the sweetest, most thoughtful, hopeless romantics a girl could ask for. Thanks to a few lies and indiscretions, the bubble to my happy ending was burst before the ink on my college degree was dried. But I still fondly remember him as part of my movie romance that came partially to fruition.

I realize that there is much more to a successful and healthy relationship (which is ultimately what I want) than a few movie-inspired and grandiose romantic gestures, but I still desire to have a love that is unquestionably real and free. Because above all else, a movie-romance type of love to me is one that symbolizes an uninhibited approach to love, throwing caution to the wind, falling head first into an emotional whirlpool with reckless abandon. I want a romance where love isn’t afraid to show me its face. I want a romance that is willing to look ridiculous, even at the expense of its dignity. I want a romance that hits all 5 of my senses. I want a romance that regards me as its prized possession. I want…. a movie romance. From a post by gemmieboo on

 unquestionably real and free
an uninhibited approach
caution to the wind

head first into an emotional whirlpool
reckless abandon

all 5 of my senses
isn’t afraid to show me its face
willing to look ridiculous
I can do that!

I wish for the ability to know “movie romance” when it is before me and to act my part well. My constantly searching and questioning mind has caused me to walk right by love of that sort more than once. Thinking something better was possible there were times I simply did not give movie romance a real chance. I am grateful for that awareness and hope it allows me to never do that again.

…once I felt, even for a moment,
what I felt with you. You ruined me.
I didn’t want to settle for less.
Emily Blunt’s Character ‘Elise Sellas” in “The Adjustment Bureau”

Position My Sails To Catch The Best Wind

There are the parables of Aesop, the insights of Buddha, the stories Jesus told, the Muslim chronicles of Rumi, the anecdotes of Confucius and many teaching tales from Hindu, Sufi, Jewish and other spiritual and secular traditions. With origins in verbally passed on narratives, may are written down for our benefit today. Today I chose to begin my day reading a hand-full and here are the two whose message stuck with me the most this morning.

Teaching Tale #1:  A lady had a precious necklace round her neck. Once in her excitement she forgot it and thought that the necklace was lost. She became anxious and looked for it in her home but could not find it. She asked friends and neighbors if they knew anything about the necklace. They did not. At last a kind friend of hers told her to feel the necklace round her neck. She found that it had all along been round her neck and she was happy. When others asked her later if she found the necklace which was lost, she said, ‘Yes, I have found it.’ She still felt that she had recovered a lost jewel.

Now, did she lose it at all? It was all along round her neck. But judge her feelings. She was as happy as if she had recovered a lost jewel. Similarly with us, we imagine that we will some day realize the ‘Self’ we seek, whereas we are never anything but our ‘Self’ all along. (Ramana Maharshi)

Teaching Tale #2:  A man found an eagle’s egg and put it in a nest of a barnyard hen. The eaglet hatched with the brood of chicks and grew up with them.

All his life the eagle did what the barnyard chicks did, thinking he was a barnyard chicken. He scratched the earth for worms and insects. He clucked and cackled. And he would thrash his wings and fly a few feet into the air.

Years passed and the eagle grew very old. One day he saw a magnificent bird above him in the cloudless sky. It glided in graceful majesty among the powerful wind currents, with scarcely a beat of its strong golden wings.

The old eagle looked up in awe. “Who’s that?” he asked.

“That’s the eagle, the king of the birds,” said his neighbor. “He belongs to the sky. We belong to the earth– we’re chickens.” So the eagle lived and died a chicken, for that’s what he thought he was. (Anthony de Mello)

So I go into my day reminded of two things:
1) The greatest treasure I possess is the “self” I already am. All that I will ever be will spring from there.
2) As I think, so I will be. Who and what I perceived myself to be, I will be.

I am grateful for the essence of those two traditional teaching tales. Each helps to place my ‘rudder” on course and to position my “sails” to catch the best wind for this Monday.

P.S. The mountain snow photo at the top is self-imposed distraction from 111 degrees it will be here today and tomorrow!

You are the embodiment of the information
you choose to accept and act upon.
To change your circumstances you need
to change your thinking and subsequent actions.
Adlin Sinclair

Slivers of Insight

“Eyes in the back of the head” always seemed like a nonsensical statement that grownup’s sometimes claimed to have when I was young. Outside of being a figure of speech the phrase never had any particular meaning to me, at least not until the last decade. Now I think of those backward viewing “eyes” as being real as long as I forget they are there. 

At the moment my life is happening it is frequently unclear exactly what is going on. Activity of all sorts mix together to figuratively “stir up the dust” so no one spot can be perceived plainly. If it comes at all, gaining insight about the past comes in similar fashion to glancing into the distance at straight railroad and noticing the rails converging on a point. Understanding, when it comes, takes time, comes as an unexpected glimpse and only when looked back upon from a far-off view.

Also in my past there is the pointless, absurd, irrational, meaningless, nonsensical, useless and ridiculous of which no logical perception is possible. To try find real meaning where there is none to be found is “barking at the moon” and expending energy for no possible gain. It is a sickness of sorts to repeatedly attempt to find an answer to the unanswerable. 

When some measure of clarity comes to me about the past, it is almost never because I have “made myself” think about it until a conclusion arrived. Quite the contrary. What comprehension and insight I get arrives when I am long done beating the subject up and have let it go sometime ago. Only when I let my grasp go is discernment and comprehension of any of my past possible.

There is irony in the fact that the more I let go of my past, the better I understand bits and pieces of it. I am grateful for that insight and for those slivers of insight that make them selves known once I tire of digging for them.

I’ve never tried to block out the memories of the past,
even though some are painful.
I don’t understand people who hide from their past.
Everything you live through helps to make you the person you are now.
Sophia Loren

Done Together

Once in a while something meaningful touches me and I am rendered emotionally near speechless. One such case is this ABC News story from last fall:

A devoted Iowa couple married for 72 years died holding hands in the hospital last week, exactly one hour apart.

The passing reflected the nature of their marriage, where, “As a rule, everything was done together,” said the couple’s daughter Donna Sheets, 71.

Gordon Yeager, 94, and his wife Norma, 90, left their small town of State Center, Iowa, on Wednesday to go into town, but never made it. A car accident sent the couple to the emergency room and intensive care unit with broken bones and other injuries. But, even in the hospital, their concerns were each other.

“She was saying her chest hurt and what’s wrong with Dad? Even laying there like that, she was worried about Dad,” said the couple’s son, Dennis Yeager, 52. “And his back was hurting and he was asking about Mom.”

When it became clear that their conditions were not improving, the couple was moved into a room together in beds side-by-side where they could hold hands.

“They joined hands; his right hand, her left hand,” Sheets said.

Gordon Yeager died at 3:38 p.m. He was no longer breathing, but the family was surprised by what his monitor showed.

“Someone in there said, ‘Why, then, when we look at the monitor is the heart still beating?'” Sheets recalled. “The nurse said Dad was picking up Mom’s heartbeat through Mom’s hand.”

“And we thought, ‘Oh my gosh, Mom’s heart is beating through him,'” Dennis Yeager said.

Norma Yeager died one hour later.

It warms my heart to know such a lasting love really existed. Thank you Gordon and Norma for showing ‘ever after’ can be real.

What greater thing is there
for two human souls,
than to feel that they are joined for life
to strengthen each other
in all labor,
to rest on each other
in all sorrow,
to minister to each other
in all pain,
and to be with each other
in silent, unspeakable memories.
George Eliot

It’s Doing that Matters

Conditioning for hundreds of years has left modern western culture with a vile neurosis: the belief that happiness must be “earned” and can be obtained only through enduring unpleasantness such as drudgery,grief, misery, pain and discomfort. If a person chooses that route to “happy” how is it possible to know when one has suffered enough and deserves happiness? 

There is a second rule believed deep down by many, but never spoken: responsible adults never endure enough unpleasantness to truly be worthy of happiness.

Then there’s a third rule spoken constantly by advertising: spending money will make you happy. That’s akin to candy coating a rotten apple, then trying to enjoy eating it.

Like a hamster on a wheel it is the way of the majority of Americans to never stop working, never stop spending money and to never be really happy.

One of the definitions of “slave” is completely subservient to a dominating influence.   

NEWS FLASH: It is impossible to suffer your way to happiness. Being a slave won’t get it done!


1 – Remember, happiness comes from being grateful for what “is” and living in the current moment.

2 – Happiness is not attained. It never comes from grabbing at what I do not have. It comes from finding contentment with what I DO have.

3 – The future will look at lot like today does. If I can’t find a way to allow happiness to come to me now, not much of it will find me in the future either.

4 – Being happy is NOT about the absence of difficulty and heartache. It’s about feeling the full scope of what lies beyond and outside of my troubles.

This morning I am grateful this line of thinking came to me on the first full day of this new birth year. More than ever it is my intention to live well. Achieving that is not just about knowing what to do. That is only a small part of accomplishing the life I need and want. Thinking, talking and knowing what to do is hallow compared to actually practicing it. It’s DOING that matters!

Don’t talk… do.
Don’t complain… do.
Don’t make excuses… do.
Craig Jarrow

Alive, Well and Living a Good Life

Prior to moving to Oklahoma in the late 90’s, I worked part-time as a professional photographer and had the basement of my home finished off into a studio, darkroom and office. For a time I attained a high level proficiency and had more work that I knew what to do with.  Having gained a good reputation particularly for doing model portfolios and boudoir photography, there was an average two month wait to have work done. Those were the days 15-25 years ago when film was still king and digital had not achieved high enough quality to take over.

Recently I rediscovered some of the model photos I took back then and with the passing of time was now able to see them for the art they were. What really stunned me was the photography was better than I remembered and that was good for my self-esteem!

There was one particular model I enjoyed working with most and she was like a little sister to me. My family liked her and she and I worked together many times. Her name is “Sai” and she had an exotic and unusually beautiful look.  She was a natural poser and had the unique ability to be like a chameleon in front of the camera.  There are photos where it is difficult to believe she is the same person in each because she looks so different in them.

I got curious about what ever happened to her and encouraged by a friend, I went on-line to try to locate Sai. Finding an address last week that I thought might be her, I dropped a card in the mail last week. Low and behold, she called me yesterday.

We were both thrilled to get to talk to each other and catch up. Sai lives in Florida, is now 43, happily married to an architect and has two small children. What blew me away is that she has the photos we made up in her home just like I do. Her comment was “no one has ever been able to make me look the way you did”. I always thought the work we did was outstanding and was pleased to find after all these years she thought so too.

Sai said she will email me photos of her and her family and I look forward to seeing them. In the days when we worked together she was not particularly happy and talked about being lonely at times. I am grateful those days are in the past and happiness has found her. Locating Sai was a wonderful early birthday present. I am thankful to have found my “little sister” alive, well and living a good life.

Friendship is a Golden Chain,
The links are friends so dear,
And like a rare and precious jewel
It’s treasured more each year…

It’s clasped together firmly
With a love that’s deep and true,
And it’s rich with happy memories
and fond recollections, too…

Time can’t destroy its beauty
For, as long as memory lives,
Years can’t erase the pleasure
That the joy of friendship gives…

For friendship is a priceless gift
That can’t be bought or sold,
But to have an understanding friend
Is worth far more than gold…

And the Golden Chain of Friendship
Is a strong and blessed tie
Binding kindred hearts together
As the years go passing by.

“A Golden Chain” by Helen Steiner Rice

Just Past the Self-Imposed Starting Line

“See It Through” by Edgar Guest

When you’re up against a trouble,
Meet it squarely, face to face;
Lift your chin and set your shoulders,
Plant your feet and take a brace.
When it’s vain to try to dodge it,
Do the best that you can do;
You may fail, but you may conquer,
See it through!

Black may be the clouds about you
And your future may seem grim,
But don’t let your nerve desert you;
Keep yourself in fighting trim.
If the worst is bound to happen,
Spite of all that you can do,
Running from it will not save you,
See it through!

Even hope may seem but futile,
When with troubles you’re beset,
But remember you are facing
Just what other men have met.
You may fail, but fall still fighting;
Don’t give up, whate’er you do;
Eyes front, head high to the finish.
See it through!

Today getting in shape and losing weight began in earnest with an evaluation session with my fitness trainer. I am just past the self-imposed starting line one day before my 59th year kicks in. I am excited and a little fearful.

Excitement comes from the thought of being in better shape, losing my belly and being able to enjoy wearing clothes again. A touch of fear comes from borrowing trouble by worrying about the discomfort that’s ahead for a few weeks as I wake up old pains, past injuries and out of shape muscles. I will be OK! The hardest part is over: the beginning.

Like pushing a car is hardest the first six inches, beginning a fitness program is most difficult during the early days. I am grateful to be past the starting line. It took me years to get here.

What is not started today is never finished tomorrow.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Need Washing?

It fascinates me how a friend who has passed on can continue to give to me long after he is gone. Sometimes it’s a memory of a special moment or something that was said. At other times it’s when I notice a physical reminder like a gift or a keepsake. Now in the age of computers, I found the story below saved on my computer from when my dear friend Bill (know to close friends as “The Banger”) sent it to me. I am uncertain of the original source of the piece, but it’s a touching parable that connected me closely to my old friend in a moving moment.  


Need Washing?

A little girl had been shopping with her Mom in Target. She must have been 6 years old, this beautiful red-haired, freckle faced image of innocence. It was pouring outside. The kind of rain that gushes over the top of rain gutters, so much in a hurry to hit the earth it has no time to flow down the spout. We all stood there under the awning and just inside the door of the Target.

We waited, some patiently, others irritated because nature messed up their hurried day. I am always mesmerized by rainfall. I got lost in the sound and sight of the heavens washing away the dirt and dust of the world. Memories of running, splashing so carefree as a child came pouring in as a welcome reprieve from the worries of my day.

The little voice was so sweet as it broke the hypnotic trance we were all caught in ‘Mom let’s run through the rain,’ she said. ‘What?’ Mom asked. ‘Let’s run through the rain!’ She repeated. ‘No, honey. We’ll wait until it slows down a bit,’ Mom replied.

This young child waited about another minute and repeated: ‘Mom, let’s run through the rain’. ‘We’ll get soaked if we do,’ Mom said. ‘No, we won’t, Mom.. That’s not what you said this morning,’ the young girl said as she tugged at her Mom’s arm.

This morning? When did I say we could run through the rain and not get wet?

‘Don’t you remember? When you were talking to Daddy about his cancer, you said, ‘If God can get us through this, he can get us through anything!’

The entire crowd stopped dead silent. I swear you couldn’t hear anything but the rain. We all stood silently. No one came or left in the next few minutes.

Mom paused and thought for a moment about what she would say. Now some would laugh it off and scold her for being silly. Some might even ignore what was said. But this was a moment of affirmation in a young child’s life. A time when innocent trust can be nurtured so that it will bloom into faith.

‘Honey, you are absolutely right. Let’s run through the rain. If GOD let’s us get wet, well maybe we just needed washing,’ Mom said.

Then off they ran. We all stood watching, smiling and laughing as they darted past the cars and yes, through the puddles. They held their shopping bags over their heads just in case. They got soaked. But they were followed by a few who screamed and laughed like children all the way to their cars.

And yes, I did. I ran. I got wet. I needed washing.

Circumstances or people can take away your material possessions, they can take away your money, and they can take away your health. But no one can ever take away your precious memories…So, don’t forget to make time and take the opportunities to make memories everyday. To everything there is a season and a time to every purpose under heaven.

I hope you still take the time to run through the rain.

Thanks “Banger”! I love you, miss you and am grateful for the true friend you were and always will be to me.

In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out.
It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being.
We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.
Albert Schweitzer

Yes, You Are!

Growth is an erratic forward movement:
two steps forward, one step back.
Remember that and be very gentle with yourself.
Julia Cameron

Having come to understand that a good life contains many episodes of “fall down, get up, try again”, I find personal truth in Ms. Cameron’s quote from “The Artist’s Way”. However, the part that says “…be very gentle with yourself” is something I’m not as good about as I wish.  Even years into facing my “stuff” at times I still struggle with being kind to myself.  

Too frequently still such thoughts as “you could have done better” or “I’m just not good enough” bounce around. Of course, intellectually I know for certain they’re rubbish and my ability to throw off such thinking is steadily improving. Emotionally the grain of this type of ‘stinkin’ thinkin’ runs to my core. However, awareness has helped the prominence of the grain to fade somewhat so episodes self-depreciation come less often with smaller impact.  I discovered a passage in Elizabeth Gilbert’s “Eat, Pray, Love” that could easily have been placed for me in a case with a glass door marked “Break In Case of Emergency”. When I catch my self beating up on me I go find the piece hanging on my fridge and it usually helps me realize the person I most need to be a best friend to is myself.

I’m here. I love you. I don’t care if you need to stay up crying all night long. I will stay with you. If you need the medication again, go ahead and take it—I will love you through that, as well. If you don’t need the medication, I will love you, too. There’s nothing you can ever do to lose my love. I will protect you until you die, and after your death I will still protect you. I am stronger than Depression and Braver than Loneliness and nothing will ever exhaust me.

I have an inner voice some call the “judge” and others refer to as the “critic”. It’s that little piece of consciousness that holds incredible sway over how I feel and the general quality of my life. Spotted for what it is, a liar, scoundrel and a cheat, this self talk began to show itself as coming from the weak bully that originates it; my ego.  As I’ve learned to dispute my own internal bu!!s#!t it’s been healthy to argue for my sanity by silently saying “that’s not true” or simply “no, stop it!”.  Simple, but it works. 

Writing here today I feel stronger that I did when I started. I am a darn good friend to myself most of the time now. My inner-self steps up with pride and says “yes, you are!” as I type. It continues with the reminder “what you wrote is true so don’t forget it!”.  I am  grateful to realize to a large degree I can control what I think of myself and over time temper my ego by simply being good to my self. The battle to gain control over the “critic and judge” is life long but thankfully with effort those old enemies grow weaker with time and my friendship with myself grows.

If you really put a small value upon yourself,
rest assured that the world will not raise your price.
Author Unknown