Friday, July 31, 2009

I Throw Pennies

I wonder why I cannot stay focused long enough to breathe life into my dreams.

I wonder why I am still afraid.

While I wonder, I wait.

While I wait, I pray.

While I pray, I throw pennies.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Inspire Me Mondays #15

Girl Power personified.

Inspired by: the luminous Nycolette of St. Petersburg, Florida.

As if being a pre-teen and teenager weren't hard enough in one's life journey, try being 11 years old when you notice your hair falling out in clumps. Nycolette noticed. Then more hair was lost and Nycolette was diagnosed with alopecia, an autoimmune disease that attacks the hair follicles in one's body and causes hair loss. Try being a bald girl during the cruel and angst-ridden years of Junior High. If you're like me, your heart is shuddering at the thought.

Body-bloating steroids were administered to counter-act the hair loss. Nycolette told me the medication was so uncomfortable she rebelled by spitting out the pills after putting them in her mouth. But behind the scenes, the Universe created an unexpected connection that gave Nycolette the dignity of reduced price and free human-hair wigs designed for children. When she and I met 2 years ago, she sported a gorgeous short blond number.

But wigs are hot and scratchy in Florida. And courage came early to a girl forced by fate to see clearly into the hearts and minds of people around her. When 10th grade began in late summer of 2008 for Nycolette, an English class assignment on personal timelines opened the gates to early freedom. She stood before the class, with the support of her best friend, and told the class of her struggle with alopecia. "It's the best thing that has ever happened to me", she said. Nycolette told her peers how she has been given the gift of seeing the truth of who people are. She knows well the ones who are truly capable of being her friends and the ones who never will be. Hair loss became her barometer of the quality of kindness in others. Her radar is impeccable and will serve her for a lifetime. At the end of the speech, Nycolette took off her wig. From the next morning forward, she has never put it back on.

And so I met this luminous Soul again this summer, sans wig and blond feathers covering her perfectly shaped head. The laser treatments are working. She is beauty personified, this girl who has walked through fire. Lithe and lovely with sparkling blue eyes. Besides seeing the truth in people, Nycolette told me the other gift alopecia has given her. Confidence. Confidence that is palpable when in her presence. At 16. She is Girl Power personified. I am grateful to know she exists in this world. I am nothing less than inspired.
For more Inspire Me Mondays from people I adore, go HERE.

Sunday, July 26, 2009


My wish for you, Dear Reader, is that you live to be 90. Not only do I wish for you to reach the age of 90, I wish for you to arrive as my beloved Oma did this past week. I wish for you to still be capable of living on your own, to drive your little red car with aplomb, to do your own wash and cleaning and meal preparation. I wish for you to tend your roses and vegetable garden and need a calendar to keep track of all your social engagements. I wish for you to have family and friends who support you in your age-defiance. I wish for you to be so greatly loved.
And when you do arrive on the doorstep of 90, I wish for you no less than 2 parties to celebrate your worth. Be sure to show up in your blue Hawaiian best, with turquoise necklace and snazzy clip-on earrings. Expect 4 cakes at your first party and keep the champagne flowing. Do what you must to make room for the van-load of flowers and plants that show up to acknowledge your cuteness. Flash your dentures at all photo-op requests.
At your second party, expect there to be enough homemade food to feed a medium-sized army. Be sure to try the 15 selections from the dessert table. Do not miss the rosewater cream puffs and raspberry torte. Drink more champagne and have tissues ready for the second chorus of "happy birthday". Wonder if you have any vases left at home for the second wave of flowers. Stay up way past your bed time.
Do not expect, Dear Reader, to reach 90 without a fair amount of suffering and setbacks and sorrow. But stay determined. Stay engaged in life. Keep moving. Hold dear your independent heart. Do not waste your time complaining. Use your stubbornness to your life-prolonging advantage. Eat well. And when you turn 90, if you invite me, I will raise my glass in your great honor and I will bow to the quality of your soul.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Inspire Me Mondays #14~only 3 days late!

Blogging is therapy and a very groovy way to meet kindred souls!

Inspired by: Lisa and Christine, wise and wonderful women bloggers who graced me with their presences on a recent summer afternoon. It was all Lisa's idea and I cannot thank her enough for boldly stepping out and suggesting we meet.

Lisa came up from Ohio and stayed with Christine, aka Bliss Chick, in Pennsylvania, who came with Lisa to New York. We met in nowheresville Silver Creek, along Lake Erie, for a diner lunch and a tour of the "Graceland" of American Kitsch, Valvo's Candy and Statuary. Dolly Dimples, the roadside hostess gave us a warm, if slightly frightening, welcome.

It takes a bit of courage to meet new friends. Comfort zones must be side stepped, schedules must be cleared, outfits must be tried on, and in my case, Spanx must be dug out from the back of the drawer. But let me tell you, it is so worth it, this openness, this expansion, this willingness to commune. These women turned out to be gems, keepers and kindreds. We connected immediately. Non-stop talking, a few tears and belly-laughs filled the afternoon. Both women are intelligent and spiritual and very supportive. My kind of gals. All 3 of us are striving to be the very best versions of ourselves through fits and starts and the occasional scraped knee. We each want peace within and love made manifest in our worlds. I can't wait to see them again.

I tell you, dare to reach out. Dare to expand beyond your tight little world. Start a blog if you haven't already. Be more pro-active on the one you've already got. The rewards are nothing short of amazing. Because community keeps us all sane. And sanity is most inspiring.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Not Quite Inspire Me Mondays

Really, I am inspired. On many levels. About many things. I even had a fantabulous post for Monday #14, with pictures and everything. But, well, the day got away from me and it wasn't smooth either. I'll spare you the angst. Frankly, I am emotional jell-o.

Regularly scheduled programming will resume. Because, really, I am inspired.

For good reads from good friends who are not jell-o today, click on Inspire Me Mondays.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

The Journey Continues

The verdict is in. The news is good. The journey continues. My Mother is a candidate for the surgery to remove and ablate the cancerous tumors on her liver. The scan revealed the tumors are dormant and there is not a speck of cancer anywhere else in her body. With scheduling luck, the lengthy operation will take place mid-August. I am grateful.

But. For 4 days prior to the final verdict given by the liver surgeon, we were under the impression, as per a short conversation with the oncologist, that the tumors had disappeared. That the miraculous had occurred. That the surgery was not necessary. That the tears of relief I shed from the kneeling position, while on the phone with my crying Mother, were the sweetest tears of a lifetime. It felt so right and true for her to be beyond this nerve-wracking dream. It felt so right.

So we cried again. And I promised her I would be sitting on the edge of my seat in the waiting room, for all the hours it took the surgeon to perform his best skills, willing her through the darkness. We will carry on undaunted. We will carry on with love. We will carry on.

I will hold in my heart, my stronger-than-I-realize heart, that the miraculous will come.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Careful Consideration

Around all the busyness of my summer season, I am spending time in contemplation. I am carefully considering nothing less than the rest of my life. What would I like it to be, to look like, to feel like, this forthcoming rest of my life? What will I choose to be doing? How will I choose to expend my energy? How will I choose to give back to the world in gratitude for all the gifts I received in the first half of my life? It's alot to think about and I'm taking my time.

I felt there was no order, no real plan for the first half of my time here on heaven's earth. There were too many shocks and too much wandering from one thing to another. Amid the beautiful moments and belly laughs, I could never seem to carve out a true place to call home. Within and without. Peace and fulfillment have been scarce. But now it's the time of my season to understand, myself to myself, what brings me peace and what offers fulfillment. It's time to understand the deepest callings of my soul and pledge to make them manifest.

So, I'm listening. And taking notes. And creating a visual journal on the door of my fridge. I'm not in a hurry, maybe for the first time in my life. Careful consideration is by it's very nature, slow. For now, slow is good. Realizations and proper plans will come in the time I can accept and embrace them. When that time comes, and for the rest of my life, I will call myself home.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Get To It

Over and over, the message keeps coming~
"To get something you never had, you have to do something you never did".

Okay, then.

We best get to it.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Inspire Me Mondays #13

I am deeply, madly in love with nature.
Inspired by: the urge to garden.
For now, it's done. The 3 foot by maybe 4 foot patch of dirt by my door is manicured and beautified. Yes, it's the middle of July and yes, it took me that long to muster up the urge to do something with my patch of dirt. You would think being a floral designer, among other things, would grant me a gardener's heart and passion, but that is not the way of it. Perhaps until today.

By 7:45am, I was outside. Weeding, digging proper holes for the campanula bells stifling in pots, trimming pink geraniums, clipping overgrown leaves on yellow begonias, weeding some more and dragging a too-heavy-for-me bag of "black diamond" mulch to the patch. Pitted rocks were schlepped from one end of the yard over to the patch to ensure proper drainage on the right hand side. More weeding, generous fistfuls of mulch and finally, my makeshift container garden was a thing of beauty. To me.
Being a renter of my home and not an owner, I have spent little time considering the yard I see from my kitchen window. But the urge to garden and the pleasing result had me wandering around the perimeter of the yard. I weeded some more, apologizing to each struggling maple and walnut fledgling as I clipped them into oblivion. I cleared every twig off the lawn. I poked into corners. I planted a hydrangea bush along the neighbor's white picket fence. And in return for spending the time to beautify, my coffers were filled with secrets waiting to be discovered.

8 raspberries are growing in this rented yard! My favorite food on planet earth. 1 singular Indian paintbrush sensation has sidled up next to the clothesline post. Ruby red berries of bird-eating quality are dripping from the back corner bush. Pocketfuls of under-sized walnuts, pungent and intoxicating, have been bombed to the ground by the resident squirrels. And behind the pine trees where I had never looked before today, a voluminous tangle of blackberry vines! Sweet Jesus, I found me my own private heaven. Right here. Right now.

Today, I am an inspired gardener. Today, I got grounded. Today, Mother Nature stole my heart.

For more Inspire Me Mondays from people I adore, go HERE and scroll down.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

The Cloud Obsession

I can't stop myself. It's a full blown cloud obsession. I haven't run off the road yet while snapping pictures on the fly. Until I do, and hopefully I won't, the summer forecast for my blog is definitely cloudy.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Simple Things~ July 8th

Keep it simple, Sweetheart.
My kind of simple is flowers. Always, always flowers.
My kind of simple is tea. Black, no sugar. Definitely no milk. Strong. Rose petal or Earl Grey.
My kind of simple is eggs. Preferably brown. Soft boiled, runny yolks.
Simple is bowls made of clay.
Simple is nests.
Simple is barn wood benches.
My kind of simple is backyard bunnies under pink hydrangea bushes.
My kind of simple is homegrown cherry stained fingers.
My kind of simple is thunder at 5am, rain spilling over the sill.
Simple is deep-curved, flapping blue heron wings.
Simple is one-pocket, vintage, gingham half aprons.
Simple is firefly constellations sweeping low on the lawn.
Simple is love. Love is simple. Give it. Receive it. Live it.
{Simple Things is the love-child of Christina at Soul Aperture. Visit her simple and sumptuous ways at, and find more July 8th links to other reveries of Simple Things. Thank you for having me play along, Dear Christina.}

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

American Kitsch~ custard stand

I'm on the lookout this summer for American kitsch. It won't be hard to find. First stop, Tasty Treat on route 78. Cherry-vanilla swirl custard on a sugar cone. The verdict? Big yum.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Inspire Me Mondays #12

Keeping my eyes on the sky.
Inspired by: Clouds. Especially the cumulonimbus kind. Last year, it was rainbows that had me looking skyward. This year, it's big puffs of water droplets hanging low to the road. I imagine I'm a hazard on the road as I drive, camera in my right hand, steering wheel in my left, snapping away and trying to stay in my lane. I'm obsessed. And I have not figured out why.
Could it be their fluid and constant ability to change? Could it be the landscape they create, forever and always different? The stories they tell with the rabbits and alligators and faces they spontaneously mold themselves into? The marvelous meditation they offer from the side of the road when I spare 20 minutes to watch the sunset color and emote their ephemeral mountains? A simple reminder that Nature, in all Her facets, is my salvation?
Maybe my obsession and inspiration is for all of it. Maybe, just maybe, the clouds are telling me that Heaven is always bending down to meet the earth.
For more Inspire Me Mondays, click HERE. My friends always have sweet things to share!

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Sun Feather

I find it impossible not to believe in miracles. Especially when four and a half inches of tiny feathers allows its invisible, animating life force to take flight from the palm of my hand.
She called me to her as I drove home from work. It was the slightest whisper of, "please take this road home". She knew I would hear it, sense it, obey it, that plea for help. So I took this road I do not usually take and I found her; an exquisite dusting of yellow on a grey tar lane.
She left ample room in my hand as I carried her. She was still warm with life, but she was leaving. The essence of common yellowthroat warbler, secretive, sweet and diligent, could be felt vibrating against my skin. Her soul was breaking free. I offered extreme unction. I bore witness to grace.
She left. Yet she left behind the tiniest black orbs that still reflected the sun. And shocks of yellow feathers that were the sun.