Jun 12

It’s Time To Say No

When you no longer notice the beauty in the things you possess, and shop for new, “more beautiful” objects.

When politely ignoring a situation doesn’t make it go away.

When you’re so over-scheduled that you can hardly wait to go to bed.

When you hate getting out of bed in the morning.

  Continue reading →

Jun 12

The Secret Ingredient in My Low-Tech Cappuccino


The froth is the perfect warmth as it clings to my lips.   The nutmeg tastes earthy.   The espresso is strong enough without stealing the show from the froth.  And the sugar….  oh…

Starting the day with cappuccino is a fine way to practice a little self-care.  This is indulgence with a kick.


Low-Tech Cappuccino

  • 1/3 C  2% milk
  • 3 T finely ground espresso or dark roast
  • 1 t sugar – rounded and spilling over
  • pinch of nutmeg or cinnamon or both
  • Continue reading →

May 12

On Clandestine Messages

Enter each day with the expectation that the happenings of the day may contain a clandestine message addressed to you personally.  Expect omens, epiphanies, casual blessings, and teachers who unknowingly speak to your condition. 
– Sam Keen



Apr 12

Selective Attention and Homemade Tea Bags

her pretend tea bags When I brew a cup of tea, Jenny runs over to stand next to my cup.  Her turned-up nose hovers over the steam as she inhales deeply.  She loves the smell of tea but isn’t fond of the taste.  She often asks if she can dunk my tea bag while she watches the hot water take on the soft yellow of Chamomile.  She likes knowing the color comes from flower petals.

I think she’s drawn to the ritual of the process.  She’s fascinated by the little envelopes that hold the dried leaves.  She likes the names of tea:  English Breakfast, Orange Pekoe, Honey Bush, Peppermint and Lemon Zinger.

And so she spent the better part of a sunny afternoon, sitting out on the patio with paper, embroidery floss, staples, tape and markers to make her own tea bags.  Her tea bags contained imaginary dried petals and herbs.

Will and I marveled at how much they looked like real tea bags.  Maybe these were tea bags for baby dolls.  They might be used for a party with imaginary friends.

Jenny served us up some “steaming hot tea” in pastel-colored cups with mismatched saucers.  Will asked for Peppermint.  I chose Earl Grey. Continue reading →

Apr 12


Cabernet and Cheaters are my middle age toolsMy breathing is loud.  I can hear my heart pounding in my ears.  I can’t remember if this is the sixth or seventh lap.

Does it even matter how many times I climb this hill, just as long as I get out here and move?

I get to the top and survey the river.  Through the pounding I hear my thoughts:

  • You are reaching for the cheaters more than you used to.
  • Maybe it’s age that keeps you from remembering how many times you’ve walked up the hill.
  • Remember when your ass was below your waist and not behind your knees?
  • You ought to have given more thought to what it would be like to physically keep up with two young kids at the age of 50.
  • When did you get to the age where  Mom Jeans are comfortable?
  • Isn’t it time to  consider coloring your hair?

I head down the hill and wonder if this upcoming birthday could quietly sneak away in the night without anyone in my family doing anything about it.  Through huffs and puffs, I laugh at myself because I know it’s not so much about the day, as it is about my perceptions of what it’s like to be turning 50. Continue reading →

Feb 12

Why You Shouldn’t Make Your Bed Every Day

Finding order in making the bed.There are the frazzled days when, for no apparent reason, you feel out of sorts.

Maybe you blame it on the full moon.

Perhaps you need to eat more protein and less carbs – or less protein and more carbs – I can never remember.  You may be dehydrated, or you slept poorly.

You sit quietly, coffee in hand, sifting through the thoughts mulling around in your head, trying to filter out the cause of the frazzle-ness.  You find several potentials –  emails that need answers, an over-baked tray of cookies, the need to run out to get milk, or a dwindling supply of firewood.  None of them amount to enough to cause the Frazzle.

The exercise of sorting through and examining the thoughts helps you see that what you are craving, though, is control.

This moment – right here, right now – demands a bit of control.

Not the heavy-handed I’ll tell you what we are having for dinner and you will eat it kind of control, but the kind of control that attempts to gently pull in fractured energies and encourage focus.

In an uncharacteristically desperate attempt at gaining control I make the bed – the same one that will go for days without being made.

The making of the bed starts a snowball effect. (If I made the bed every day, I wouldn’t have an obvious place to start the snowball effect. Isn’t rationalization handy?)  The snowball builds as I clean the cat box, take out the trash, sweep the front stoop, straighten the cushions on the couch and refold the blanket on the rocking chair.

The completion of each chore, starting with making the bed, allows me to pull in all those scattered energies, get some semblance of control and focus on what’s really important – figuring out what to make for dinner.





Feb 12

On Determination and the Power in Words

which ones words hold power?Sitting on the cold pew, with the stiff lace collar scratching the tender skin of her neck, she glanced sideways to see them reading those black books.  She assumed there must be power in the words since they gathered together every Sunday to read from the same book.

She doubted how much power could be in those tiny black letters on the filmy pages since there were hardly any pictures mixed in.

It was when they stood to sing that she felt a surge of energy.  The people seemed lighter when they were singing – less dreary.  Were the words in the songs more powerful, or did the music imbue the words with magic?


When she learned to read, she discovered the magic found in words and books.  She claimed a favorite corner in the school library – the only one with a window.  She’d sit in the quiet with a stack of books and inhale the scent of library dust, which smelled nothing like ordinary house dust which she’d scattered to new corners with a Pledge-soaked cloth. Continue reading →

Jan 12

What Lifts You Up?

He said, “Mom, why do you think I’m outta sorts today?”

I said, “Maybe you’re wishing we had snow. Maybe this is the pre-dad visit funk. Maybe you need to eat something. Or, maybe it’s just one of those days.”

And because the hot water of the shower has a way of warming my skull and opening my brain to the current of ideas that passes in and around this house, I came out of the bathroom with an inspired thought.


Imaginary Hot Air Balloons Continue reading →

Jan 12

Practicing What I Preach

It wasn’t because I was on my second glass of liquid courage.

It wasn’t because my kids were milling about and I was trying to lead by example.

It wasn’t because I’d been reading The Inner Pulse, by Marc Siegel.

It was because I wrote of this very thing in Seeing My Path.

I inherently believe that I can’t change others.

I do believe change can begin with me. Continue reading →

Jan 12

A Work In Progress

I am a work in progress and so is this blog.

First, some chronology to set the stage:

5 1/2 years ago –  Stuff three boxes, buckle two young kids into car seats, leave husband,  nice house, financially secure future, perpetual stomach aches and nicest yard* I’ll ever tend.

5 years, 5 months ago – Discover NPD and naively present the concept to narcissistic husband and helplessly watch as message falls on deaf ears.

5 years, 3 months ago – Buy tiny, cozy, safe home for the three of us.  Put holes in walls, roll in grass that is never fertilized, refuse to make beds, leave projects out in plain sight, smile and laugh every day.

4 years, 4 months ago – Youngest starts public school.  Take a temporary, part-time job with family.  Rush between commitments like every other family in the U.S.  Stomach aches start to make a reappearance.

4 years ago – Divorce is finalized. Kids seem to be coping well with divorce, not so well with public school. Continue reading →

Dec 11

When You Don’t Want To Go Out There

dance-partnerIt’s cold outside.

I won’t know anyone there.

I can’t go dressed like this.

Everyone will be younger.

Everyone will be older. Continue reading →

Nov 11

What Do You Need To Be Happy?

I could have said, “Geez you guys!  I can’t handle this stuff laying around everywhere!”

I could have said, “I want more time to do what I love, instead of having to pick up after you two!”

I could have said, “I need a break from this mess!”

I could have said a number of things, but while I was washing off the metaphorical dirt in the shower, I hatched a better plan.

It went something like this:

Take out a piece of paper. Continue reading →

Nov 11

A Life Remodel

One day, I’m going to get an internship at the Behr Paint Factory.  I’ll show up for work in jeans and sit in one of those spinning desk chairs that tip back.  I’ll prop my feet on the desk and throw Nerf basketballs in the net above the coffee machine.  I’ll spend the whole day brainstorming with my jean-clad co-workers about paint names.

I’ll yell out, “Champagne Moon, you know, for that iridescent yellowish quality that a full moon has.”

The gal at the corner desk will say, “Crushed Grass, you know…  when you step on grass and it gets that lighter shade of Kelly Green.”

There will be that guy in the office who hits on every female, and he’ll say, “How about Wet Sheets, for….”

And the girl at the corner desk will roll her eyes and cut him off. Continue reading →

Nov 11

The Impact of Attitude

The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness, or skill. It will make or break a company … a church … a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude … I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me, and 90% how I react to it.
And so it is with you … we are in charge of our Attitudes.
C. Swindoll*

I have a choice.

I could wake this morning, annoyed that winter is on its way, and I’ll soon be shoveling walks and hauling firewood; or I could appreciate the built-in exercise routine that doesn’t require a monthly health club fee.

I could be angry that I am a single mom with full responsibility for raising two kids by myself; or I could appreciate how fortunate I am that they are with me 98 percent of the time.

I could be missing the much nicer house we used to live in, and the lack of money worries; or I could appreciate that this home is full of love and comfort, and my kids have learned valuable lessons that come from living within our means.

I could be annoyed by the mess from the English Muffins and coffee makings; or I could appreciate that they can make their own breakfast, and make me a cup while they’re at it.

I could be anxious that I’m single and 49; or I could revel in the sheer joy of being single and 49.

I could be worried about what the future holds, and whether I’ll benefit from the choices I’m making; or I could trust that the level of contentment I see in the three of us is a good indication that we are headed in the right direction.

I could be cranky about having started a bathroom remodel when I know next to nothing about such things; or I could turn this into a homeschool project where all three of us learn in the process.

I could bark at the kids when I can’t handle the mess; or I could acknowledge that this is their house, too, and gently ask them to help when I feel overwhelmed.



I could choose to see what is wrong in our life and our choices; or I could choose to see what is right.

I can choose to wake with a positive attitude and greet my two with a smile and a kind voice that gets the day off to a good start.

I have a choice.

*Thank you, Kate.  ;)

Nov 11

Ordinary, Everyday Bright Spots

pressed-leaf1They are in there.

I promise.

You might have to train yourself to look at things differently.

Some bright spots may require a little effort on your part.

Some bright spots just happen.

Once you notice them, savor them.

  • Perfectly steeped tea, toast with the right amount of seedless raspberry jam, a good magazine and a few quiet moments to read.
  • A Jackson Browne song, followed by a Bonnie Raitt song, followed by Fleetwood Mac on the radio as you’re driving down a tree-lined street under a canopy of red, yellow and gold.
  • When the kids enjoy working together to build a ginormous pile of leaves for jumping in; and the sound of their caring, cooperative voices laughing and happy.
  • A canceled dad visit.
  • An email from a friend that simply says, “I was thinking of you today.”
  • The cat jumping into your lap, simultaneously warming you and slowing your heart rate.
  • When she finds the perfect leaf engraved with the mysterious zig zag and sets about pressing it in waxed paper between two heavy cookbooks, and doesn’t ask for help.
  • When he yells, “Thanks for washing my clothes, mom!”
  • A long, hot, uninterrupted, steamy shower with time to apply rosemary-scented pumice foot rub on dry cracked heels.
  • Spontaneous hugs and whispers of “I love you” from the child who didn’t use to be so demonstrative.
  • When she says, “Mom, can I fold the towels?  Please?”
  • When, at 4:30, you call and invite someone for dinner at 6, and they say, “Yes!  And I’ll bring the wine!”
  • When you stop raking for a second, realize that it’s not windy, and you can hear the train rumbling along the tracks down by the river and the high-pitched sound of the wings of the Canadian Geese as they fly over head.
  • That first sip of Merlot when the spaghetti sauce is simmering gently, the kids are outside rolling in the leaves and Dean Martin’s version of Sway comes on the iPod.
  • That delicious place at the end of the day when all the doors are locked, the kids are tucked in safely,  you lay back on a new pillow, open up a new book,  and realize you have the freedom to read for as long as you want.
  • The moment when you realize that all your choices have brought you to this place in time, and you discover that you are right where you want to be.