Life as it arrives and dreams as they happen

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Take another peace of my heart …

The world lost a light this week, and not just in our neighborhood, but the very street my adult daughter looks at from her front door each day.  The one my little granddaughter stands behind, dreaming and watching the world go by.

And this week it did, and as Jessica Ridgeway sits forever safe in the arms of angels,  her killer now waits  in a cell for judgment, unable to hurt another gentle soul.

Aside from the absolute terror, which gripped us all this October, there was love. But as quickly as it appeared, and as fragile as the light from a child, it will soon be gone again. Remember when 911 happened, how we hugged and cried, flying flags, and singing songs of hope.  In time the flags disappeared,  and we just hummed when we thought of it.

Ironically that very  night, I rushed this same daughter to the ER after calling 911, because an attack of hives was making it hard for her to breath. I was scared to death, never having had to dial those 3 fearful numbers before, watching my child in distress. However, everyone around us was wonderful despite the nation being in shock, and she came home later that night. I held her as she slept and felt humble, thankful for those who had been there for us.

The world was right again – and in time, she grew into a woman. We had mother daughter moments and fights, tears, hugs, and life took on the normal path that it always does. There was always going to be a next day for our unfinished business or that special something we always meant to do. So far, for us, there has been a next day, but really, who knows what is coming next?

My soul is one of giving, much to my own detriment as my family tells me.  I trust, my boundaries are almost non-existent and I love. There are bell ringers in the winter who always get random hot chocolate, children who find gifts at their plate in a restaurant, and just panic I have eased, because I could and for no other reason – I never look at what is in it for me, I am in it for life. However, recent events over the past couple of years have sadly shown me my path for love and peace is more the road not taken, even if I try to make all the difference I can.

How sad.

Single again at my age after 18 years of marriage is a new life. Many things have changed for me, often I am the one having a hard time, and asking for help is not easy. I have always been that go to person, the one who helps tying to get or fix anything they need, so this is a big rock in my path. Because I have never thrown rocks, something about a glass house –I try to move around them, and when I do  it is amazing to find no one there.

In her last days, my mother was frustrated, feeling alone, and she referred a lot to the book, The Little Red Hen, saying sure where were they when I needed company, help or care? But when I am gone, little that I have, they will all claim a pieceThey never claimed me with such intensity. She was a dear sweet person, with many people around claiming they would be there for her, but they never were.  I understand it now more than ever and it hurts, no different than a temporary band-aid on a deep wound. Please, let the wound of loneliness and worry heal on its own, because when you only do temporary good it hurts more than you will ever know.

Am I guilty?   Of course, I am human. I recently went to see an elderly woman I had not visited in several years, life changed for me after leaving our church and later my divorce. Her husband and I had been friends, and when he died there wasn’t a connection left, so time drifted us apart.  After I left that day, with a bag of vegetables from her garden she insisted I take, she said please come back, you have been only one of two visitors since he died 6 years ago.


I know life moves on and people have their own lives. However, it takes people to make those lives, or are you just in the middle of nothing, alone like an island – almost Donne. How hard is it to try a little tenderness? Buy two and share one, finish yours and help another? Walk in a door and keep it open for another? Enjoy the day and share the feeling? Why is it so difficult?

In the soft candle light of fear, we always find the compassion our soul breathes, and we embrace it. We hold one another and want to be with others, feeling that calming warmth of love and peace we  share, understanding and helping each other.  Why do we always blow it in such a short time, and just run out?

When I helped run a food bank, I was disgusted on days I sorted donated canned items, using the experience in many speeches to organizations for assistance.  Because you are without or in need,  does not mean you suddenly like squid, tiny pepper crackers with capers, outdated peanut butter, and tuna in jalapeno sauce or even worse. You still like mac and cheese, a good conversation, being asked about your day, a cup of warm tea or coffee and a laugh. But no,  fake do gooders without a thought, still clean out the shelves of things they got in a gift basket, or don’t want themselves – why because someone else will? A basic rule of thumb in this life will always be do unto to others –  remember?

This life is a gift, and should you forget, you are present in it! Stop today, and don’t look for someone to watch you offer a pay it forward, or some random act of brag about it later kindness, JUST DO IT. However, attitude is as big a gift as anything you do, so check yourself, because if you are going to make someone feel like they have inconvenienced you, adding to their feelings of  worthless – don’t waste your time, just walk back into your selfish darkness.

Remember, the person you are there for, will very easily be you someday and the ones we love are the ones we take for granted the most, assuming they are fine and there is after all always time – remember you are who you are, because of their sacrifices and love.

Peace can only work if we do our part making it a whole life.  Never forget to use those 3 joyful words as often as possible – I Love You.

“World peace must develop from inner peace. Peace is not just mere absence of violence. Peace is, I think, the manifestation of human compassion.”

— HH Dalai Lama XIV


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Families Just Don’t Have the Dough or the Scents

For all of the hours and hours parents are away from their children, and the stimulation of planned activities insuring close bonding,  generations of children are just not raised right.  Don’t get me wrong, I really believe the majority of parents out there are doing the best they can with what they have, it’s just what they have  isn’t always what a family kneads.

Growing up in the 60’s and 70’s, the best place to feel  love and hear laughter the kitchen.  Mom always had something baking, or coming out of the oven, and more often than not it was golden crusted loaves of bread.  No one needed anti-anxiety drugs or pain killers back then, we just hoped to get the first hot steaming piece, which would be covered in butter or jam, and we reached nirvana!  Mom would be proud of her efforts, loving us through and through, a conversation usually came along while we ate, or if not we just felt  love and were completed. Indeed, home was where the hearth was.

Now though bread is fast frozen, ready to toss in a pan and bake, along with everything else we have made into a shortcut or excuse. Nevertheless,  I still bake in my humble kitchen of almost 30 years, and even though I am alone that steaming first slice still reminds me of my life, and everything good I have and have had.

What we knead  the most, doesn’t come from half-baked get rich schemes or  greasing wheels on plans we know will never pan out. The best bread that can come into a home is not from a salary, it is from the honest care, love and hope that used to be a standard, along with the prayers we said before all bread was broken and thanks was given.

Recently, my young grandson was selling cookie dough for his church school, his first walk down the entrepreneurial path, making a difference in life through a bucket of unbaked cookies.  Of course I purchased one, hoping that on a day when the leaves were falling, and the air chilled, we will warm the house with the scents and sentiments, as  a few of those cookies crisped up in the oven, waiting to sizzle into a glass of cold milk. I hope he will remember when we do, remember  it was not just dough that made his school budget, instead it also rolled out a memory for us, sprinkled with sugar and love, along with his pride in not one but two jobs well done.

I always smile when I pass a restaurant and the smells invisibly grab at my stomach and nose. Most often, it is the rolls and bread people react to, maybe because it is the one part of life that has been given a backseat.  Fresh hot meals, made from love and by scratch from a time when a television channel was not dedicated to the effort, are missed.

My father used to say, you can’t butter me up so don’t try – and now I laugh. Indeed Dad, you were already a soft, warm loaf that had no need for butter to be won over.  Neither did my life, even if there was crust, and a few raw places when I needed them the least, but found them the most.

As I age I have to smile at the song, You don’t bring me flowers, not just because I don’t believe in killing something for a gift, but because the real love and connection should be,  you don’t being me flour anymore.

Last night, my granddaughter was over, thrilled she was finally making the cookies she had obsessed over all week – and at 2 ½ that is a lot of obsessing!  One look is all it took – the smile on her face, regardless of the spilled ingredients, or if she will ever remember the cookies in a week from now.  In that moment she was loved and happy.   She was also in my kitchen.

Sometimes the best rooms we have reserved for us, aren’t the living rooms or the family rooms, but instead the  loving room, where conversations and meals are made, memories are found and created, and bodies are nourished with more than food.  But then again, after all  I am what they call the sandwich generation – guess I just take it a little more seriously.  I value both sides that have been buttered, never loafing when I have the chance to love, and always praying nothing ends up crummy.

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Escher in the Silence

We knew this was the day, and the silence in the neighborhood was dark.

As a teen, I fell in love with MC Escher. The unique 3 dimensional  design of his work from a flat surface was intriguing – how he made something come out of nowhere – even more, when you learn he carved many designs into wood and stamped them out.  The tiny alligators jumping across a book of JOB, which could either be rolling papers, or the ritual words for Jobs Daughters – either way I explored them both, and found ash in each.  I loved the puddle of silence, the hands never touching as they drew each other, and yes – the birds of darkness flying into the light, and that is now.

We had to admit there was a killer in our midst today, darkness had flown over the innocence of light, and a soft spoken little girl was now dead.  Her only crime was wanting to live. Somewhere tonight, probably not  far from where a family mourns, sits a killer with blood that will never come off their soul, dark that it is. This is a reality none of us wanted to show, this is our home and Jessica the innocence of our own, lost to a force that came out of nowhere, stamping away her life. No matter how we pray and hope, the simple truth is the world we live in is an evil and dark place.  Evil is here every day and in every way, watching and listening, just waiting for an opportunity.

Our true journey in life like Jessica’s, is to bring light and conquer evil, to bring joy into lives and find hope and beauty as often as we can. We can’t let good fail, even when we are beaten down and emotionally battered.  Yes, the sad truth is evil has the upper hand, we are the squatters, we are the small voices, which only Horton might hear and say “who?” However, it is that who, like Jessica once was, we must be strong for, to face the darkness and refuse to let the light go out.

Darkness cannot win.

Tonight, along with a killer and an emotionally devastated family is someone who knows something.  A something they may be afraid of, unaware of its value or just wanting to be left alone in the safety of their fear – in the dark.  But staying in the dark will only insure one less light is seen, and  evil will continue to grow strong.

Our journey is unknown, there are obstacles around every corner, but with the light in our soul we are able to make our way, and help those we encounter.  Never miss the chance to make a difference, let your light shine, and keep even a small piece of darkness away. It is why we are here – It is what we must do, and it is the only hope for our world.


If you know anything about the horrific murder of Jessica Ridgeway PLEASE speak up. Contact the Westminster Police Department or your own law Enforcement Agency!

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o no you dit-ten


This past week I held the face of time, faced time as it passed and even made a face when time ran out, and I dit-ten say, “I’ll be there in a minute ~ I’ll do it later ~ “I’ll get to it,”  not even once, because I knew how precious each moment was.

I think those of us past the casual generation who can readily admit how long summer vacation used to be, the time from school to Christmas was an eternity, and the days to  graduation seemed as never ending as those pages on seaweed in Moby Dick – a lifetime. However, unlike the symbolic ending of Moby Dick, not many of us stand on a wood coffin, destined to survive life on the wings of death, and realize time is not on our side, as we become lost rolling stones, collecting no moss. The race to the end is getting closer every day.

Months ago, I prepared for a family visit, albeit one too short, but one that would hold the little DNA bands of genetic material we have left together, and remind us we are still alive – even if there wasn’t a trip to Dairy Queen involved. As the days passed, I realized too soon I would be there, and then I was, and then I was back – already now it is going on three days home.  I can however, still feel the tears, savor the tacos and salsa, and feel the cool breeze in the morning.  What happened?

Life Happened.

Maybe some people out there have discovered a way to live the poetic 100 years, taking in everything possible, loving like there is no tomorrow and collecting each memory like rose petals after a wedding. However, most of us scarcely have time to complete a full day before realizing what was left out, uncollected, unlearned and all too often unloved and unappreciated. Then it is night and another day peeks on the horizon of the sky and on our mortality.

True, working to survive is a reality that is hard to get around, but doing it with those we love around us can have a spiritual, if not just comforting effect, which will affect all we do.  Looking into the eyes of faces that care, truly love you and want you to be in their lives sharing and discovering is what life is all about, and it’s about time we take a minute to remember that. There is no gold watch at the end of our life thanking us for our support – no Bartles and James either sadly. There is no letter of appreciation for all we have done to help strangers meet their bottom line of profits – there is just a hallway, where we Taxi away to the last days of our life, and even Mr. Walter’s isn’t saying good-night. It is the end after all.

Saying you did not accomplish a bucket list because there was not enough time is wrong on every level – time won’t wait, so waiting for something to happen in your life  is a waste of time. Make your life an unfilmed reality show and think outside the bucket of conformity, making those around you the shining stars of your unscripted adventures.  There is no better time than the present to realize how short life is, how each hour and day pass faster than we will admit or recognize – just ask yourself how fast this week went in general or the month for that matter, which is already into the second week.

Because after all, when it is all said and done, no one wants those we loved to sit in a memorial with sadness at dreams that were never realized or tried by either of us  saying, “No she dit-ten.”