Mind, Body, Spirit Connections

Thursday, June 30, 2011

June 30, 2011

Reflecting on the first half of 2011~

It's hard to believe that a half year has already passed. For those who do not know, I was directed by spirit to write/blog everyday. At the time, this was a horrifying thought (my first blog post is below if you did not read it). In this process of showing up and writing, I have found it easier to blog, and even fun. What I realize now is that I was being asked to "find my voice" and let it sing out. It's not easy to be naked in front of others. The stories emerge from the "everyday happenings of my life" and you have all shared in some deeply personal heartbreaking events, as well as joyous moments. The commitment to blog everyday has deepened my practice of living in the "now" by witnessing my thoughts, feelings, and experiences throughout the day, so that I can share and reflect.

In the next six months, I will be changing the blog format to incorporate some new ideas and requests from our readers. Each day of the week will have a theme focusing on Nourishing the Soul ~ Our mind/body/spirit connection.

Monday         ~          Intentions
Tuesday         ~          Quotes
Wednesday    ~          Health Tips
Thursday        ~          Spiritual Thoughts or Poems
Friday             ~          Celebrations
Saturday         ~          Blog Shares
Sunday           ~          Chapters from Jennifer's life

I will still blog about the everyday hopefully revealing some morsel of truth, bit of wisdom or, at the very least, twisted humor. I ask again, to please join me, share the blog with friends, comment, and enjoy!

Many Blessings,

2011 Intentions

Dear friends,

What are your 2011 resolutions? As the past year came to a close, I found myself reviewing the highlights and the challenges of 2010. It was a year of unparalleled transitions and new beginnings for me and for my family. I asked Spirit for guidance and a clear direction for 2011. As the old adage goes, "Be careful what you ask for!"

The guidance came in the form of a question similar to the directive given to me in 2004 that catalyzed the auspicious birth of the Intent Heals Journal. This question is just as challenging as that directive was, and I’ve chewed on it for two weeks now.

What if you were to "listen" to God -- your higher self, Spirit, (the unnameable one) -- every morning, and then write and post what you heard?

It reminded me of the movie “Julie & Julia,” in which Julie Powell commits to cook every recipe in Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Could I make a commitment of this nature? The thought unnerved me. Trepidation has flowed through my veins daily as I’ve pondered this gentle challenge from Spirit. What if I can’t articulate what is coming through? What if I fail to show up? What if God does not speak to me?

I have keenly felt my vulnerability and insecurity as I reflect on this daunting task.

And yet, isn't this what God asks of us? To move fully into our fears? Shine light on what is dark and scary? Penetrate the crevices and unseen barriers within ourselves that keep us from being in the moment, open-hearted, and loving?

And so, with trepidation in my heart and a pinch of fearlessness, I will listen and write what I hear.

Please join me if you are so inspired. And we can journey 2011 together, exploring both the valleys and peaks, challenging ourselves to be a bit braver and more remarkable.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

June 29, 2011

College boys and college towns~

My son, Max, elected not to come home after his freshman year and found a one bedroom apartment to rent while he hunted for a job and another place to live that would accommodate his friend, Dillon. It's been two months since school ended, and 'no job'. Max must be out of his apartment by Friday.

The frantic calls began while I was still in Colorado. He was disheartened by the job search, and even more frustrated by finding a "perfect" place only to be told the next day that it had been rented.

College towns~

Max stumbled upon the only remaining two bedroom, one bath place to rent that was in walking distance of the college and local businesses. He called me. "Mom, can you come up and look at the place? It just needs some TLC".  Andy and I drove up today.

This is where the honest inquiry within myself began~

The building was a dilapidated structure, and the inside was filthy, smokey, with vines growing inside the windows in the kitchen, and tenants who were "squatters". (But, the building is on the historic registry and cannot be torn down). It's hard to describe the sinking feeling I was experiencing while digesting the fact that this was the ONLY place left and my son had to be out of his current apartment by Friday!

The landlord assured me she would replace light fixtures, repair the holes in the walls, and shampoo the carpets. She said she would take a hundred dollars off the first month's rent if the boys would clean the place, and offered to buy all the paint if they wanted to roll on a fresh coat.  I looked at my son and his friends and asked,  "Are you game?" They were. Actually, Dillon said, "This will be a good experience for us."

"Yep," I said to myself, "until you are about 2 hours into the repairs, cleaning, painting and moving!"

I had to step back in time, thirty years ago, and remind myself that I did the same thing. Pressed for money, I left campus and found a tiny, one bedroom apartment, in an area that would not be described as the "best". I paid Steamy Barrett (yes, that was his name) a hundred dollars a month. I loved it! I had my independence. I found my furniture and knick-knacks at tag sales. I ate very little. And, I made ends meet. There was a sense of pride and accomplishment knowing that I could support myself.

I have no doubt my son and his friend will do the same. They will experience the thrill of "roughing" it, know what it means to work hard, and hopefully appreciate the value of a good education. I know the tenants in that building made an impression on them.

The message was loud and clear --  'Under different circumstances, this could be you'.

"There but by the grace of God go I."

Monday, June 27, 2011

June 27, 2011

INATS Postscript~

First things first... I'm home!!! Yea. Being on the road for two weeks is a bit tiring! Although the trip was fabulous, and we experienced many adventures, there is "no place like home" as Dorothy so aptly claimed. It is wonderful to be in our own bed, to cook at home, and to rub Millie's back witnessing first hand that she is just fine.

The truth? I am exhausted. I can hardly keep my eyes open. It is only 5:45pm Colorado time, 7:45pm our time, but I feel like it is midnight. And, this is ok! It is part of the integration process.

I wanted to share Sunday's events as I was a bit disheartened by Saturday, conveniently blaming the 'flowerly pastel dress'. Black worked! More people came to the booth and there were more sales. We did not break even, but the experience was worth it and the seeds planted will bear fruit. This I know.

The courgeous person in this INATS story is Julie King of Rota Productions. It was her idea to do a co-op booth where we could share space and decrease costs. Brilliant. And, it afford us "little guys" the opportunity to be present and to, at the very least, introduce our products. What you don't know is that Julie left her mother, during her final days on this earth, to honor her commitment to us. She flew to Colorado to represent 20 different artists, musicians, and small businesses at INATS. She knew as she stepped onto that plane Thursday, that she may not make it back in time before her mother died.

And, she did not~

Julie's mom died last night. I don't know too many people who would honor their commitment in the face of their mother's death. I witnessed first hand the internal struggle Julie was experiencing, and also the knowing that she had made the right choice, even if that was not 'her' choice. I also know that Julie's mom was proud of her decision, the integrity of her decision, and the commitment to serve the higher good. Not many people can rise to this level of integrity and honor.

I applaud you Julie, And, I applaud Julie's mom, who on some deep level let her daughter go and serve the greater good, knowing that her daughter, who had cared for her in her final months, was not going to be there in her final moments to say good-bye.


Sunday, June 26, 2011

June 26, 2011

The way out is the way in~

The following is a stream of consciousness shared by a friend I met at INATS reflecting on his current relationship~

"The fact of the matter is we get into these places where we get into an impossible situation....relationships for instance. The tendency is to try and get out. But, why did we draw the situation to us anyway?

So, in my life I have attracted a woman that shows me places so uncomfortable in myself that I want to get rid of the stimulus (her).


But, the reason I brought her into my life is to be forced to look deeper at the consciousness that I am allowing to operate in me. And I am learning that when I go into my heart space, I find that I can love the place where I am really at.

So what is in my heart?

My truth. And the truth in my heart is telling me what is really important. What is really important is loving myself no matter what I am feeling. And from feeling my own love for myself, I remember my love for her which now has no conditions.

This does not determine my actions necessarily but it does determine the background in which my actions take place. So I can't say what I will do if she says "this or that", but I know that by going in and finding my heart, loving what is there, opens a doorway to something totally new."

Saturday, June 25, 2011

June 25, 2011

The amazing pastel, swirly dress~

Lest anyone fail to fully comprehend the irony, I will go into a full blown satirical account of how my pastel, swirly dress stole the show. I thought it would be ncie to wear something colorful, thinking that my bright appearance might bring attention to our co-op booth and the retail buyers would buy, buy, buy.


While we did have some traffic, and we met some very nice, sincere people, there was not a lot of buying. I tried to stay optimistic and in the flow of positive energy. "Tried" being the operative word. I admit, I flagged about 3pm and fell into the pit of "disappointment", born out of the fertile soil of "expectation."

When I did have a break from the booth, I circulated in an attempt to network, meet new vendors, and learn. That is when the dress became the issue. "Oh, my God, I love that dress!" "Wow, you look amazing in that dress". "Where did you get that dress? " I love that dress!"

I could go on, but I will spare you. Suffice to say, the dress stole the show. If I had a 100 of those dresses, I would have sold them all! I do hope you are enjoying the irony of this. All hope is not lost. I did make wonderful connections (thanks to the dress) and hopefully these will lead to deeper relationships.

INATS has been quite the learning experience, to say the least. Tomorrow, I am going to dress in black and watch what happens -- perhaps the absence of color will attract the perfect buyers!

Friday, June 24, 2011

June 24, 2011

Rooming with Richard Shulman~

Talk about a blind date. I've never met Richard Shulman and quite honestly never listened to any of his music. We connected through a mutual friend via email and decided to share a room at INATS to reduce expenses.

I know. Pretty darn ballsy!

Once again, the universe is enjoying a good cosmic laugh. Richard knows everybody, or everybody knows Richard. It has been quite entertaining to watch the interactions. He is the quintessential musician. Best know as a composer of healing and meditation music, he is also a jazz pianist.
But as an artist's soul will do from time to time, Richard was called to write a musical -- it has taken him 5 years to write and produce A Dream of Camelot which premiered this past March in Asheville, NC to rave reviews.

This is the premise of A Dream of Camelot.

What if you knew your dream of the heart, and somehow, it all unraveled just as you tried to grasp for it?

Would you try again?
Would you look to see the cause of the unraveling?
Would you want to heal that cause for the sake of your own happiness and the happiness of all concerned?
What if that cause were something deep inside yourself, and what if you were afraid to look?
Would you look anyway?

Would you look anyway?

A great question Richard. I know I will be listening to your music and checking out the musical. Check out three songs from his musical.



Something About Him

Who You Are is Beautiful

To listen to all of Richard Shulman's albums:

To order, go to http://www.richheartmusic.com/

Thursday, June 23, 2011

June 23, 2011

We stayed in Estes park last night at a hotel situated on the main river that winds itself  through the town. One of the workers showed Zoe and I a hummingbird's nest built into the lodge. We tried to photograph her on her nest. Unfortunately, we scared her. That's a picture of her quite agitated at us!

Hummingbirds are so fascinating. Did you know hummers have to eat one-half their weight in food every day? Their wings beat 70 beats per second in a figure eight pattern and they weigh less than half an ounce. Their tongues are twice as long as their bills, and furry on the tip, so that they can absorb as much nectar as possible to feed their incredibly high metabolism.

Imagine if we had to eat one half our weight?

Actually, it might be kind of fun!

We were able to capture her nesting. It's a bit fuzzy, but you can see how tiny the nest is

Our adventure reminded me of when I was in my early twenties and renting my first home. Somehow, a hummingbird had flown into the house. She was pecking at the window trying to get out. I spoke really softly trying to assure her that she would be free soon. Of course, the window wouldn't open. But, this incredibly tiny creature let me scoop her up in my hands and I was able to free her.

A long ago memory resurrected as Zoe and I tried to capture the beauty of the hummingbird~

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

June 22, 2011

As kingfishers catch fire, dragonflies dráw fláme
by Gerard Manley Hopkins

As kingfishers catch fire, dragonflies dráw fláme;
As tumbled over rim in roundy wells
Stones ring; like each tucked string tells, each hung bell's
Bow swung finds tongue to fling out broad its name;
Each mortal thing does one thing and the same:
Deals out that being indoors each one dwells;
Selves—goes itself; myself it speaks and spells,
Crying Whát I do is me: for that I came.

Í say móre: the just man justices;
Kéeps gráce: thát keeps all his goings graces;
Acts in God's eye what in God’s eye he is—
Chríst—for Christ plays in ten thousand places,
Lovely in limbs, and lovely in eyes not his
To the Father through the features of men’s faces.

Thank you to my dear friend for sharing in response to the blog on white gold energy. Beautiful~ 

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

June 21, 2011

Summer Solstice~

Good morning sun! Today marks the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere and the first day of summer. She is shining in our room as I write. The birds are singing, the skies are a crisp blue and we are venturing North again towards Colorado Springs.

We spent late Sunday and all day yesterday in Santa Fe. To catch you up on our adventures, we took a last morning dip in the Mineral Springs on Sunday and headed to the Great Sand Dunes National Park. Pictures and my words of description will fall short of what we experienced. It is hard to imagine an enormous pile of sand that covers more than 330 square miles and lays claim to being the tallest dunes in North America.

A huge pile of sand in the middle of two mountain chains~ Try walking up these sand dunes! 

The wind whips around you and there is no avoiding thousands of particles of sand embedding themselves in every crevice of your body. We stoically forged ahead and climbed about 1/3 of the way up the massive dunes. I though it might be fun to lie down in the sand...."Not so fun!" I was picking sand out of my belly button the next day.

Going down was much easier and quicker. We then hiked up Medano Creek following the Mosca Pass along the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. The subalpine forest (9,500-11, 000 feet) was filled with surprises at every turn. Douglas fir, aspen, pinon pines and narrow-leaf cottonwoods lined the mountain and beautiful mountain flowers dotted the trail -- Rocky Mountain juniper, Splitleaf Indian Paintbrush, Shooting star, Skeletonweed, and Starvation prickly pear. A beautiful monarch butterfly kept us company for quite some time.

When I am hiking in the woods and at these elevations, I feel the urge to leap off the cliffs and fly. If I could just peel off my body and escape for a few moments...it is hard to describe this sensation, but it is powerful. I did not leap, however, much to Andy's delight. At the highest elevation, we crawled into an overhang and drank in the spectacular views of the snow capped mountains, the sand dunes below, and the rock cliffs that hugged us.

By two we were on the road headed to Santa Fe. We planned to stop for the night at a place we stayed at almost four years ago called Sunrise Springs, a beautiful spa and retreat. We arrived to what resembled a ghost town. We decided to stay and absorb the sadness of the place. I told the one woman, Sherry, who served in various roles simultaneously --receptionist, maintenance, manger and trouble shooter -- that even the "Buddha's were weeping".  They went from a crew of 60 to a skeleton crew of 5 and the land and buildings tell the story vividly. The ponds and gardens are neglected, the buildings dirty and worn down, and the service (with the exception of Sherry) dismal.

We set our intentions that a buyer would come in and restore the place to its original state - a place of peace, serenity, and beauty. We acknowledged that we were encountering in a very personal way the toll the recession has taken on a place that we loved. A somber reminder of how quickly things can change and why it is so important to stay in the moment and fully appreciate right where you are.

Here's to celebrating the sun, being here in this moment, and to the blessings that surround you~  

Monday, June 20, 2011

June 20, 2011

Homeless Korean boy~

We all need to be inspired from time to time. This story will no doubt inspire and move you to tears. What a testimony to the human spirit and to how the light continues to shine even in the face of darkness.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

June 19, 2011


This morning we tumbled out of bed just before 6am and walked up to a spot where there were benches to watch the sunrise. We are in the San Luis Valley and mountains surround us. The sun was just peeping between two mountain peeks as we made our way to the top of this mound covered in sage bush. We closed our eyes and let the sun hit our faces welcoming the day.

What a blessing it is to be alive~

My first thought every morning is the awareness of being alive - awake. I take a deep breath and exhale then stretch feeling my body and the warmth. Then I drift into a place of gratitude for the people in my life -- Andy, my kids, my family, friends....any number of people swim into my mind and heart. After I hold this gratitude in my heart, I then say a simple prayer for all beings.

"May all beings be healthy, may all beings be happy, may all beings prosper."

Then I visualize the planet in my hands and run white-gold energy through her, cleansing the toxins and imagining the liguid energy healing her injuries. Very quickly I slip into meditation and experience the white-gold energy running through my body cleansing, balancing and healing.

This is my way of creating a sunrise. It is not often I get a chance to catch a sunrise like this morning, but I feel like I immerse myself in a sunrise every morning. It is the best way for me to start the day.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

June 18, 2011

Change of heart~

When we woke up this morning and checked the weather for Yellowstone, the forecast was 70% rain, 32 degrees and possible snow.

"Uh, Oh."

What does one do when presented with weather conditions that conjure up images of  climbing Kilimanjaro? Andy and I simultaneously said, "Let's head south." And, so we did, and set out for Santa Fe. Now, I know some of you might think this is crazy behavior. After all, we had a trip planned to the Grand Tetons,
Yellowstone and then back down to Colorado.

Two days of hiking in the cold, wet rain? Are you kidding?

We packed up the car and headed south taking secondary roads. The scenery was spectacular. We stopped in Leadville for lunch and found the "famous" Silver Dollar Saloon. Built in 1887, during the gold rush years, and then later surviving because of the discovery of silver, we found ourselves catapulted into the past. "Doc" Holiday lived in Leadville and often frequented the saloon and Oscar Wilde also made several appearances. The interior was magnificent with wood structures dating back to the 1800's, and the paraphernalia on the walls was a sight to behold. We giggled, as we ate our cheese steak subs, enthralled that we had stumbled upon such a find.

We decided to stop and stay at the Sand Dunes National Park to break up the trip, but there were no rooms available at the lodge. We called them back and asked where to stay. The lady told us about the Joyful Journey Hotel about half an hour north of the Park. We had no idea what we were in for! Turns out Joyful Journey is a Hot Springs Spa, in the middle of nowhere. We serendipitously had landed in an oasis. A low key oasis, but nevertheless, an oasis. There is a hotel, yurts, and tipi's to stay in and three different hot spring pools to soak in, plus a full range of massage and body exfoliations.

We took a little hike and then soaked in the hot springs meeting several nice couples and laughing at our good fortune. Of course, they offered a plethora of information, telling us what sites and towns to visit on our way down to Santa Fe.

There is something magical that happens when we 'let go' and change course. We had no idea what awaited us today, or where we would land, only where we were headed -- due south! What a delight it has been. I have no doubt tomorrow will be filled with surprises.

Postscript: Millie is doing better. I asked someone knowledgeable about dogs to look at her, and he said she was slow and hurting, but he did not think death was around the corner. We think Millie is 'depressed' because we are not there. Thanks for all your prayers!

Friday, June 17, 2011

June 17, 2011

Millie is Dying~

I've had two dogs in my life. My first one, Brandy, tore my heart out when she died after 14 years and it took me ten years before I was able to have another dog. I did not choose Millie, either. She chose me.

It was Martin Luther King's Day, 2000, and I was traveling down Oak Road to my house when I saw vehicles pulled to the side and a dog lying in the middle of the road. She had just been hit by a truck. The driver had tried to avoid her and crashed into a tree. Another couple stopped to check on Millie. I pulled over and joined them. Sadly, nobody was checking on the poor man who had crashed.

We scooped Millie out of the road and laid her gently on the grass. I began to give her Reiki. I could tell she was responding to the healing energy and we were bonding. The other couple who had stopped first, however, wanted her. I was ambivalent anyway, not really sure I was ready to have another dog and told them to take her.

Two days later, they called me and told me she was snapping at the kids and did not want her. The vet told me that Millie had been abused by her owner, was about nine months old, and was in rough shape after the accident. I continued with the Reiki treatments. When I took her back to the vet a week later, she could not believe it was the same dog.

Advance eleven years~

My daughter called and told me she thinks Millie is dying. She isn't eating, walking much, or eliminating. I am
two thousand miles away and not due back for another week. And, much to my dismay, I find myself re-living what I experience with Brandy. One morning she could not get up and my husband took her to the vet. I had to go to work, and had yearly treatment team meetings scheduled that day -- these are not meetings you can easily cancel as they involve parents, teachers, clinicians, and staff. I got the call that Brandy had cancer and it had metastasized The vet wanted to put her down. I begged them to wait until I could get there. They waited as long as they could, but by the time I arrived, she had already been injected.

I just sobbed. All I wanted was to be able to say goodbye and for her to know that I was there. This has haunted me for the last 21 years. Now I find myself in a similar situation.  I can not fly home and miss INATS. I want to be with Millie in her final moments.

Please God, give her one more week and let me be with her~

Thursday, June 16, 2011

June 16, 2011

Quotes to Ponder~

“Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.” ~ Carl Jung

"Begin to see yourself as a soul with a body rather than a body with a soul." ~ Dr. Wayne Dyer

"Life will give you whatever experience is most helpful for the evolution of your consciousness. How do you know this is the experience you need? Because this is the experience you are having at the moment.” ~ Eckhart Tolle

“Whatever we refuse to recognize about ourselves has a way of rearing its head and making itself known when we least expect it.” ~ Debbie Ford

What resonates with you? Comment and share. We would love to hear from you!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

June 15, 2011

A Year to Remember~

On this very day, exactly one year ago, my two children, Max and Zoe, two cats (Bread and Butter) and one old dog (Millie) left Pittsboro, Indiana in a yellow Saturn, with Andy and I in the old Saab, and headed for New Smyrna Beach, Fl. to start our new life. On the steps of our Bungalow sat 12 teenage girls crying their eyes out because Zoe was leaving her old life.

I was crying out "Thank you God~

It is not until you take a moment to reflect on what has transpired in a single year that you become fully aware of how meaningless and meaningful 'time' really is. On one hand, I cannot fathom how much we accomplished in this year, the changes that each of us have gone through as a family, and the ease with which we have all made the transitions -- marriage, college, new high school, new friends, growth of business, and our new community.

Has it only been a year?

The power of setting an intention is fully realized - countless decisions that led us to this moment, as we find ourselves HERE in this present reality. I am in awe, washed in gratitude for the changes which have brought nothing but happiness to our family and new opportunities.

A tenderness fills my heart for the courage each of us had to step into the unknown and trust~

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

June 14, 2011

Wild, Wild West~

We have been traveling now since 6:30am when we left New Smyrna Beach and headed for Orlando. We landed in Denver about 4 hours ago making our way to Saratoga, Wyoming. If anyone remembers the book, Stranger in a Strange Land, this is a wee bit of what I am experiencing as we traverse this foreign land.

The landscape has just dramatically changed again. We are leaving the breathtaking views of the snow- capped peaks of the Rocky Mountain range and entering into territory where there are rock formations that look like T-Rex’s litter box. Now, we are entering into Laramie, WY where this sudden appearance of civilization buffeted by wilderness offends the senses.

There is something wonderous about being in new places and seeing the unexpected; like the camel just standing beside the road - no other animals in sight. I was looking for Bison and spot a camel. But, these are the surprises that delight the traveler. Spaciousness, wide open blue skies, highway cutting like ribbon across the land dotted with cattle. Strikingly absent are the homes, people, tall buildings, billboards, other roads--just wide open space.

I find my mind loosening, slipping into an altered state similar to meditation, becoming spacious and lazy. It’s peaceful and riveting simultaneously.

Only 100 miles to go~

Monday, June 13, 2011

June 13, 2011

Going to INATS~


INATS spelled out is International New Age Trade Show. INATS is being held in Denver, Colorado and there will be hundreds of vendors and thousands of buyers.

I am an INATS virgin~

Sometimes I think it is perferable to just jump in blindly and not know what lies ahead of you because if you did...you might not jump. Sort of like why we can't see our futures! I really have no idea what I am getting into and the idea of being around all of these businesses and retail buyers gives me the goose bumps. But, what an opportunity to meet new people, network and introduce our products.

The preparation has been intense. A re-tooled website (check it out - http://www.intentheals.com/), new products, sample size of new products, flyers, table tents, free shipping incentives, newsletter, packing of products and all of the myraid details that are intrinsic in a trip of this magnitude.

Don't feel too sorry for us as we are combining this with a trip to Wyoming first. Seventeen couples are flying out to "Old Baldy" in Saratoga, Wyoming to golf and play for 4 days. We will then travel up to Yellowstone park to hike and sightsee. Then meander down to Colorado where I will attend the INATS event.


May we make a big splash in this ocean of vendors and retailers!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

June 12, 2011

Finding love letters~

June 10, 2011

My dearest Zoe,

Today is your 18th birthday. You are a joy in my life. You fill my heart with love and light. And, I am so proud of the young woman you have become. I know you will find this love letter - today, or later when you feel a gentle inner urge to look.

Always remember to follow your inner voice Zoe. It will guide you in perfect ways and never lead you astray. Even if the present moment appears dark, trust that the light of dawn will soon be approaching.

God has a divine plan for you, my angel.

Whenever you feel lost, lonely, disappointed, or confused open your jewelry box and read this love letter again. I am always with you.

With love and gratitude,

your mama bear~

Well, it took my clever daughter less than 48 hours to open the secret compartment of the jewelry box and find my letter. She came out of her room, crying, and just hugged me. We stayed in this embrace for a long time.

These are the moments that we capture in our hearts and preserve for eternity ~

Yes, there are so many times in our lives that are hard, challenging, confusing, and disappointing. But, if we take the time to sink into the fullness of our lives, we will also remember all of the amazing, uplifting, loving, and precious moments that fill us with joy and gratitude. The light always dispels the dark.

Sink into your gratitude~

Saturday, June 11, 2011

June 11, 2011

Speaking our truth~

I think we, and I am speaking primarily of women, have been socialized to be "nice". Our messages -- 'Be careful what you say, how you say it, and by all means, "do not offend"'. I know that this was how I was raised. Polite, considerate, swallow your 'truth' so as not to 'make waves' or hurt the other person. God Forbid!

My friend and I dug into this issue today over a scrumptious lunch~

I was honest with her, and she with me. How refreshing to be able to lay it on the table, and examine our ingrained beliefs and behaviors. Neither one of us thought that we should be rude, unkind, or insensitive to other people. We did, however, discuss at length how one's upbringing could create an armour, or guardedness, that kept people out, or at a distance. This had been her experience.

I shared my story. Similar in ways, but with mine being more pronounced in "I must please people, make others comfortable, even at my own expense". Same theme, different variations.

How do we learn to speak our truth?

For me, it was becoming very ill with Graves Disease in 1988, and then 7 years later almost dying because I had stopped taking the synthroid, even though my thyroid had been radiated and was non-functioning. We all have our bottoms. I was psychologically, physically, and emotionally in a giagantic pit! My doctor told me that my body was literally 'eating itself'.

How's that for stubborness?

I stopped saying "yes" to everyone and everything that crossed my path. I watched people fall away because I was no longer "feeding" them. I was hurt. I was lonely. But, I knew that I was doing the only thing I could do to save myself. It took me almost ten more years to completely free myself. And in that period of time, I found my voice. And, I found my courage to be true to myself. I also found myself telling the truth to others.

A curious thing took place in this 'truth-telling'. The people in my life appreciated my honesty, insights, perceptions, and gentle "nudging". I was not outcasted, dismissed, violated, or left. Instead, I witnessed a receptivity, warmness, and openness to what I was sharing. In my vulnerability, they were able to 'hear' what I was saying. More importantly, they could feel the love and non-judgement.

I believe this is what creates safe and sacred space for us to grow, be nourished, and thrive.

Who do you love dearly, and need to speak your truth to?

Friday, June 10, 2011

June 10, 2011


One's 18th birthday is a milestone. Anxiously awaited by most teenagers as it signifies the beginning of adulthood. Zoe had 5 friends over on the 9th and they stayed up until 3:15am to celebrate the moment she was born.

How fun!

How does a parent make the 18th year one to remember? If you are a regular reader, you may recall that I blogged about my first love who crafted a beautiful handmade wooden jewelry box with a love note hidden in a secret compartment. Zoe's birthday present was the jewelry box, and inside was my wedding ring on a gold chain. I wanted to hand down and give her the precious moments of my past; a symbol of true love and a symbol of the union that created her. She cried. And, I knew that Zoe completely "got" it.

Her brother Max drove down from St. Augustine to celebrate with us. He, too, is experiencing a milestone; living on his own and learning how difficult it is to find a job in this market. Last month, he stocked up on dry goods to get him through while he hunted for a job. He's still hunting! He calmly told me how he was down to rice, beans, and Ramen Noodles. He was saving his one egg for something special.

Are you kidding me?

His Wal-mart cart was FULL. He would take one of something, and I would toss in three more of the same. Starving is not what I had in mind when I told him, "Get a job, or you are coming home". He will also be hauling home fresh vegetables, fruit, milk, eggs and cheese.

What kind of mother am I? Then he told me, in the middle of Wal-Mart, and I started to cry.

"I feel like I am taking care of the 'lost boys' (referring to his friends) in Peter Pan. I had no idea how much I knew, and how independent I am. You did a great job raising me mom. Thanks." And then my 6 foot 2 inch, wonderful son, bear hugs me in the middle of the aisle.

It has been a year of milestones for me. This particular day has been particularly sweet.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

June 9, 2011

Our Platform and Calling~

A dear, heartfilled, and very talented friend sent me Oprah's final words on her last show.

“Each one of you has your own platform. Mine is a stage in a studio. Yours is wherever you are, with your own reach, however small, however large that reach is, maybe it’s 20 people, maybe it’s 30 people, 40 people, your family, your friends, your neighbors, your classmates, your classroom, your co-workers. Wherever you are that is your platform, your stage, your circle of influence. That is your talk show and that is where your power lies.

In every way, in every day, you’re showing people exactly who you are. You're letting your life speak for you. And when you do that, you will receive - in direct proportion to how you give - through whatever platform you have. Of course the circumstances are all different for all of us but the power I know is the same. You can help somebody. You can listen. You can forgive. You can heal. You have the power to change somebody’s life. Look around and you’ll see. You may not have to look any further than your own family or maybe even your own self. The power is the same.

Everybody has a calling. Not everybody gets paid for it, but everybody is called."

Each of us has a platform and a calling. Everyday is an opportunity to reach within, and reach out, offering your 'self'. Oprah showed us how to do this in a very public way -- how to be open, vulnerable, curious, and how we all struggle.

Claim your power~

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

June 8, 2011

We have a guest blogger today, sharing her insights, thoughts and appreciation for life. Thank you Barbara!

Inner Strength~

In the process of every day commitments it is often hard to extract yourself from the exterior demands and wants of those we love to take a break, to take stock of our own needs. It is much easier to bow to the external chores than to delve into the questions and self doubts we choose to ignore.

The four letter word I choose to ignore most is "Stop!"  Breathe in, then out. Personal growth does not come without internal evaluation and some hard knocks. It takes time and acceptance for us to realize where we are going, or more importantly, where we choose to go.

The hardest decision for me is to accept the results of my actions, whether intended or accidental. It is far easier to float in the external waves than to search for the internal questions and answers which are so often easy to ignore.

I find myself looking at the natural world around me and often find an unexpected comparison to a question which has intrigued me.  I often wonder what gives me the strength to keep searching for my purpose in life. I sense an internal strength and deep seated faith in life which has been given to me. I know that the physical core of my being has been challenged to reach out to others and give of myself.

How is it that a Saguaro cactus which is composed of mostly water stands tall for centuries on end? The inner fiber skeleton is composed of a myriad of holes which allow the watery matrix of nutrients to  travel up and down the center and nurture the extreme reaches of the plant.  We too have a skeleton which supports our body in an upright posture. It is the inner workings of our body which provides the physical nutrients necessary for survival. I am grateful for those natural processes which sustain my life.

It has become clear to me that I must, in fact, make the decision to stop and evaluate the effect my decisions make on me and those around me. I need those quiet moments and reflections to direct me forward on my path of life. I need to take time to replenish my inner strength, my love and compassion. I need to let a sense of peace wash through me and fill the pockets of my self doubt and my human ineptness. I need a quiet understanding of what it is I can or cannot do, either for myself or others. I do not go forward alone in this life journey. I am filled with gratefulness for those around me who make my journey fuller.

How is it that a simple desert cactus skeleton can cause me to stop and evaluate what I am doing in my life?

Written by Barbara Ann Sheehan

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

June 7, 2011

We all suffer~

Our emotional wounding often begins in early childhood, by well meaning parents and family who are doing the best they can. We grow up in homes where the subtle undercurrent of "your not good enough" prevails, or in many instances, flagrant physical and psychological abuse, carving deep wounds into the psyche. In school it continues if we are bullied, or considered an outcast. The sense of not belonging deepens. Our society reinforces this sense of being flawed by projecting millions upon millions of images daily all saying "You can look better, age better, be better".

"What is wrong with me?" our inner voice cries~ 

We suffer in silence. Not wanting others to perceive our anxiety, inadequacy and flawed nature, we 'perform' and over-achieve or ease our unworthiness through some addiction. We quell the pain by any means. Our collective suffering keeps us separate and asleep to our true nature. 

All of the emotions and feelings of inadequacy we judge to be 'wrong' are part of being human.

It took me a long time to realize that it was acceptance, compassion and forgiveness of self that restores you to wholeness and a sense of freedom. The first step is acceptance of your 'self'. Allow a tenderness to arise from your heart and permeate your being. You are perfect even with your flaws, anxieties, and imperfect body.

Like a caring mother
Holding and guarding the life
Of her only child
So with a boundless heart
Hold yourself and all beings.


The next time the inner critic whispers in your ear, pause. Just pause and take a deep breath. And hold that nagging thought, or icy fear with full acceptance and watch it melt away.

Read related article by Kelly N Patterson - Therapy - How to Identify Your “Inner Voice” - Awakening The Bay

Monday, June 6, 2011

June 6, 2011

Social Media Marketing~


What is that?

Yes, I am a neophyte when it comes to all the new fan dangled social media sites on the Internet. It has been a long, teeth gnashing, journey to bring myself up to speed. First, creating the website, then joining Facebook and LinkedIn, the plunge into daily blogging...and now, horrors of horrors, learning how to tweet.

Apparently, there is a science to social media marketing. Gail Martin has written a brilliant book called 30 Days to Social Media Success. She provides a succinct 30 day plan, with action steps, to build your business through social media marketing. Andy and I are pouring over the pages and are anxious to apply her strategies.

It's a different world now and the traditionalist in me is dying a slow and agonizing death. I like it simple. I do not own a Kindle as I still love the feel of a book between my hands. I like to make notes, and underline passages that move me.

The learning curve is steep. I do not understand RSS feed, twitter still does not make much sense to me, and I find a lot on Facebook annoying. Times are changing, and changing is hard. Sometimes, you just don't want things to change. We like our fur-lined ruts. Leaving them is hard. I've been reluctant to jump on the IT train. Andy still works the TV clickers (smile).

With that admitted, after reading Gail's book, I am excited by the possibilities of social media marketing. I can't wait to plunge in, try her suggestions, and watch what happens. It may hurt just a little, but the pain is worth it!

For anyone looking to learn the fine art of social media marketing, please visit Gail online at GailMartinMarketing.com


Sunday, June 5, 2011

June 5, 2011

Family Dynamics~

I am listening to this..."My job was in the crapper"...No, "It was the 2009 recession"..."Chitty, Chitty, Bang, Bang"....another voice chimes in, a remark absolutely not connected to the first segment of conversation. My sister's comment to her daughter driving a 1964 Dodge Dart.

Will it make it down the road?

It's graduation tomorrow for my niece, Taylor. Her best friend, Dani and Taylor, are leaving now for Baccalaureate. There are tears of sadness flowing and tears of joy. Joyful memories being remembered and parents celebrating their daughter's future.


Losing a job at 64 and finding another one at 65 is a milestone to celebrate. My Aunt Harriet is grateful that she can continue to support herself and contribute. Our children graduating is another milestone to celebrate.

The family is now gathering to play charades~

The competition in the air is palpable. Teams are being chosen. Another bottle of wine is being poured. The level excitement is rising as we anticipate the shenanigans and fun. "Lord, help me!" There is nothing like family and friends gathering together to celebrate joyous occasions.

I am so in love with my crazy family!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

June 4, 2011

A Wedding to Remember~

I married one of my best friends today. Jane and I have known each other since college. An exact number of years would be 31, as I met her my Sophomore year at Dickinson.

This is Jane's first marriage~

One can imagine the trials and tribulations she has endured on the path of finding the "one." Not that marriage was ever her top priority, nor did she embrace silly, romantic, sophomoric notions of 'being married.' Jane pursued her career, dated, and had her fair share of heartbreaks.

When she met Tom, I had an inkling that this may be the "one". They fit; like peanut butter and jelly. When I saw them together, I thought to myself  "Yes, they're perfect." Finally, I received the call..."we're engaged!"


I did not expect the invitation to marry them. Humbled, scared to death, I married them today at 2:30pm on a beautiful lake in Essex, Massachusetts where, coincidentally, Grown-ups, was filmed. The weather was perfect. Jane was radiant. The most poignant moment of the ceremony was when a Billie Holiday song was playing, "East of the Sun and West of the Moon," and the song accidentally ended. Jane lovingly looked at Tom and sang the rest of the song. Tom chimed in after a few bars, and I was privileged to be between the two of them as they sang to each other.

No words to describe the poetry in that moment~

There is nothing like being in the midst of love. Weddings are magical. And this is one I will never forget. All my love to you Tom and Jane. You deserve all the happiness that awaits you.

Friday, June 3, 2011

June 3, 2011

Opening our heart in the face of fear~

We have to face the pain we have been running from. In fact, we need to learn to rest in it and let its searing power transform us.
                             Charlotte Joko Beck~

In Brach's book, Radical Acceptance, she writes about facing our darkest fears and realizing our true nature, and those of others -- to trust our basic goodness. In yesterday's blog I posed the question, "How do we triumph over adversity?" And asked, are there some simple steps.

Face your fears~

Forgive yourself~

Practice LovingKindness~

It is difficult to rest in our pain and allow its power to transform us. I know of no other way but to walk into the fire. All means of avoidance only serves to keep us stuck, closed and unable to fully embrace ourselves and others.

What fear will you allow into your heart today?

Thursday, June 2, 2011

June 2, 2011

Adversity and Triumph~

I think adversity can reveal the best in us, or it can debilitate. Why is it that one person can rise above adversity, become empowered and thrive, while another succumbs to the despair, fear and uncertainty, never moving past the trauma? I am specifically thinking of Elizabeth Smart, who has forgiven her kidnapper and is genuinely excited about her life, and her future. This is a young woman who was raped up to four times a day, drugged and tied to a tree at the age of 14.

Are we born with innate resiliency, a gene that allows us to access some inner, unknown strength, and make the best of whatever situation presents itself? And, for others, who despite their best efforts, seem unable to access these inner resources; is this gene non-existent or impaired? Is this a matter of environment, genetics, or psychosocial factors? I don't know. But we are all familiar with those that see the glass half-full and those who see it half-empty - it's the same amount of liguid, is it not? The perception, however, and the accompanying attitude makes all the difference in the world.

I am an optimistic and resiliant person by nature. I always have been. And, I have had my fair share of adversity and challenges. I always saw them as an opportunity to learn, grow, and become stronger. Is it my genetic makeup or a conscious choice on my part? Hardly seems fair if I possess a gene that allows me to be stronger, more resiliant, and optimistic than others. It feels more empowering to me if I say, " I choose to be happy."

But, what if it is not a choice?

I know too many people who suffer from depression. Who see the world gray rather than in vivid color. I am not certain they "choose" to experience the world in this manner. Winnie the Pooh is popping into my head as an analogy and the beloved "Eeyore". He just can't help himself, just as Tigger can't help himself.

Or, can they?

There is a lot of research trying to discern what those factors exactly are that contribute to resiliency and optimism in children and adults faced with adversity, trauma, and continuous stress. It's not a simple answer, but one that warrants further inquiry. What if there are simple, practical steps we can take in times of stress, adversity and trauma that mitigate and stem depression, PTSD, self-destructive behaviors, and the sense of hopelessness?

It is something to ponder. Please comment with your thoughts on this subject, or share a personal story of triumph in the face of adversity.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

June 1, 2011

Words of Wisdom~

It is most important
That the company you keep
Reflect the life you want to live.

Choose your companions wisely,
Seek your teachers well
Consider carefully the ones you engage
In serious conversation.

Look into the eyes of those who surround you
And you will see a reflection of yourself.


Each person in your life brings you closer to your truth. Acknowledge, trust, appreciate, and accept. When you feel the bonds that connect loosen, don't fight. Reflect on the shift that is occuring, surrender, and allow. It is all about growth, expansion and experience. Enter into this dance without judgement.