Wednesday, March 21, 2018


     May we respect the need for silence in our lives.

     That is an anonymous line from my current daily read, A Grateful Heart. I am a person who loves silence. Noise is the equivalent of physical clutter to me. It drives me nuts and drags down my spirit. Being an introvert (yes, I am!), too much noise eventually equates to too many people, and I have to retreat. My favorite spot of retreat is my woman cave. There a fan is continually on to be my "white noise" of silence.
     I confess that I am not so much a "music lover." While I enjoy music, given the choice of silence or music, I'll take silence. I don't have any music or TV on when I am home alone, and if I have headphones in, it's because I'm listening to a podcast, not music.
     I'm going to hop on my soap box for a moment. Are you one of those folks who goes to work all day, leaving your dog outside to bark incessantly? I used to love to putter in my garden, but not anymore, for as soon as I step on the deck, neighbors' dogs start barking, and they don't stop till I retreat back inside. The peaceful joy of gardening is long gone for me. Soap box fussing complete.
     It feels to me these days that noise never stops. Choosing silence requires deliberate effort. I invite you to pay attention to what you hear around you, and investigate what it takes to get some quiet time. Try silence on and see how it feels.
     Peace and quiet to you and me,

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Putting life into perspective, a useful reminder for most of us...

This prayer-poem is by Ina J. Hughes, from the book, A Grateful Heart:

We pray for children
     who sneak popsicles before supper,
     who erase holes in math workbooks,
     who can never find their shoes.
And we pray for those
     who stare at photographers from behind barbed wire,
     who can't bound down the streets in a new pair of sneakers,
     who never "counted potatoes,"
     who are born in places we wouldn't be caught dead,
     who never go to the circus,
     who live in an X-rated world.
We pray for the children
     who bring us sticky kisses and fistfuls of dandelions,
     who hug us in and hurry and forget their lunch money.
And we pray for those
     who never get dessert,
     who have no safe blanket to drag behind them,
     who watch their parents watch them die,
     who can't find any bread to steal,
     who don't have any rooms to clean up,
     whose pictures aren't on anybody's dresser,
     whose monsters are real.
We pray for children
     who spend all their allowance before Tuesday,
     who throw tantrums in the grocery store and pick at their food,
     who like ghost stories,
     who shove dirty clothes under the bed, and never rinse out the tub,
     who get visits from the tooth fairy,
     who don't like to be kissed in front of the carpool,
     who squirm in church or temple and scream into the phone,
     whose tears we sometimes laugh at and
     whose smiles can make us cry.
And we pray for those
     whose nightmares come in the daytime,
     who will eat anything,
     who have never seen a dentist,
     who aren't spoiled by anybody,
     who go to be hungry and cry themselves to sleep,
     who live and move, but have no being.
We pray for the children who want to be carried
     and for those who must,
     for those we never give up on and for those
     who don't get a second chance.
For those we smother... and for those who will grab the hand of anybody
     kind enough to offer it.

Knowing my life is truly easy and care-free, and so thankful for it,

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Our Stuff

     This past Tuesday on the way home from work, I learned that in our parched-and-dry-fire-hazard part of the country, the home of a friend of a friend was burned to the ground. Talking with my understandably-rattled friend about it, we agreed that an event such as this truly brings the importance of our "stuff" into dramatic perspective.
     Here is a quote I ran across several days ago:
"But when we really delve into the reasons for why we can't let something go, there are only two: an attachment to the past or a fear for the future."  Marie Kondo, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up
     I like to think that my life is fairly simple and uncluttered. Yet as I look around me in the woman cave, and mentally roam our house, the thought of ever having to move is totally overwhelming because of all the "stuff" we have. Right now, there's an entire room-full around me, and there's very little of it that I couldn't let go. Yet I'm comfortable here. The room is "me." I do put effort into keeping the clutter at bay. It's important to remember that this "stuff" that is often quite meaningful to me is just "stuff" to someone else. (If you are an estate sale shopper like me, you totally get that.)
     Post tax-season will bring on another cleaning/tidying/releasing exercise. I have the above quote to guide me. I shall use it to reinforce the love in me (grown from the past, the only thing I can truly keep) and my faith in expanding good (not fearing the future).
     Here's to a lighter life,

Friday, March 2, 2018


     I am a complete and total freak over Legos. I believe them to be the best toy on the planet, possibly even the Universe. My two sons' Lego collection grew to enormous during their childhood. I still have that huge box of Legos, and I have added significantly to our original collection with some outstanding estate sale purchases. I think I'm operating under the mantra, "She who dies with the most Legos wins."
     I often talked with my older brother about Legos when our sons were younger. All he talked about was how it hurt like hell when he stepped on one, especially unsuspecting in the darkness of nighttime. So when I saw this picture, I laughed out loud. So true!!!

Image result for what legos do when we aren't looking

     When I was in my mid-fifties, I was on retreat in California, and I learned that Legoland was nearby. Thus began one of the highlight adventures of my life, a solo trip to Legoland. I had a blast!! Unencumbered by impatient children or bored adults, I took my time exploring and riding rides and taking in the amazing wonder and creativity of it all. Do you know that there are real-live engineers whose JOB it is to build huge Lego creations?!?!? (Maybe my next lifetime...) They have a store there (of course) where bricks are separated by color and size and you can buy them by the pound. The park has everything from tiny villages to a giant dragon to a full-size Volvo SUV made out to Legos. It includes models of the Taj Mahal and the Sydney Opera House. Displayed near each creation is the number of Legos involved; sometimes that number is well into the six figures.

     What will you do today to have fun with something you love?
               Busy creating,

Friday, February 23, 2018

The Treasure of Today

A writing by Mary Jean Iron from the book, "A Grateful Heart"...
Normal day, let me be aware of the treasure you are. Let me learn from you, love you, bless you before you depart. Let me not pass by in quest of some rare and perfect tomorrow. Let me hold you while I may, for it may not always be so. One day I shall dig my nails into the earth, or bury my face in the pillow, or stretch myself taut, or raise my hands to the sky and want, more than all the world, your return. 
I catch myself, often, daydreaming and anticipating future fun. While there is nothing wrong with that, it tends to make me less aware of the blessings of the present moment. I'm especially vulnerable to this right now, in the midst of tax season. I am tax preparer, a job I do to fund my fun the rest of the year. So I tend to focus a lot on mid-April and the end of this intense 3-month job. I do, however, no matter how weird it may seem, love the tax job. It's a great match to my skills, I really like the folks I work with, and it pays well, funding the subsequent nine months of fun. I am grateful for the job. I am grateful for the learning opportunity. The knowledge I have gained has helped my husband and me enormously in managing our finances. So while this "normal day" at the tax job may not be as fun as the adventures to come later this year, I plan to enjoy it, appreciate my ability to do the work, and appreciate the opportunity I have been given.
     In the midst of a normal day and loving it,

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Sparkling Betty

     Last week my friend Betty made her transition. I came home Monday evening from work with the news, and upon telling my husband, he said, "That's interesting. The person I was playing music with this afternoon said his wife's grandmother was not doing well and they didn't know if she was going to make it." I asked his musical acquaintance's name, and replied, "Yes, that's Betty's grandson-in-law." Small world. Ironically, Dennis and I have known Betty longer than her grandson-in-law.
     I used to work at West Heights United Methodist Church, and Betty and Blanche were the money-counters during my tenure, faithfully there each Monday morning to count and record the previous day's offering. Betty stayed and entered the giving/giver information into our computer system. There was always great joy and laughter when they were in the office.
    Betty lived for many years in a condo overlooking the golf course at Rolling Hills. She hosted our partying group of women, the NUNS, for many lovely evenings of feasting, drinking and merriment. I sum up those magnificent summer evenings together with friends in the word LOVE--holding each other and our families in love and prayer and joy and sorrow. Betty was always "the hostess with the mostest."
     I remembered this weekend that our downstairs (primarily beer--here's to you, Betty) refrigerator was a gift from Betty. She was happy to get rid of it when cleaning out a rental property, and we are still enjoying it many years later.
     I visited Betty several times at Oxford Grand where she last lived. While others who knew her said that her memory was not what it had been, she was always "on top of it" when I saw her, asking me about our sons by name, and telling me the goings-on with all her family. Even when she was not feeling well, she still made lively conversation and smiled brightly.
     Betty sparkled. She had a magnificent smile, and rarely did I see her when she was not smiling. This is no small thing, as she suffered for decades with very painful arthritis. But she kept moving and contributing in so many ways, despite her pain.
     I believe Betty was ready to go Home. While I miss her, and it is still a bit jarring to realize she is no longer with us, I know she is back to bliss, and is sparkling ten-thousand-fold compared to her earthly life. She has truly blessed us with her time here. I am grateful for having known her. Thank you, Betty, for sparkling up our world!
     Grieving and joyful at the same time,

Thursday, February 15, 2018

I Screwed Up

     I like to think that I rarely make mistakes, and alas, that fantasy world in my own head is a lovely place to hang out. Unfortunately, because I hang out there so much, when I do actually make a mistake, my fantasy gets shattered, at least for a while. That's not a lovely place to hang out.
     As we move through the tax prep season, the thing we tax preparers dread is for someone whose taxes are done and filed to come in with another document and say, "I just got this in the mail, does this affect my taxes?" 99% of the time the answer is "yes." Are you guessing where my own screw-up lies? Yep, our taxes were filed on Tuesday, tax-changing document received Wednesday. Dang it.
     It will be handled, life will go on. I will restore my rare-mistake fantasy world. I will stick a note in my calendar for next year that says "Do NOT file our taxes before March 1!" I will continue to practice going easy on myself when I screw up. And I know my boss and my office mate are going to get a huge laugh out of all this.
     Forging ahead,