Recently, I took up photography after receiving a digital SLR camera. I had to look initially for those shots that would capture the moment or beauty of the subject. Every bug, bird, animal and flower was my prize. I took closeups frequently , trying to capture the colors and textures. I would hurriedly  run into the house with my newest pictures to download them to the computer to see it “on the big screen.”
   I accidentally took some great pictures.  I say accidentally, because I am self taught and still learning. I framed many of these pictures, not just because they were truly beautiful but as a reminder that even novices like me can capture beauty.
   A few years later and something in my head and eyes have changed. It is now impossible not to see color and beauty in almost everything. My eyes have become the camera. I have noticed more things like a small child seeing for the first time. Last fall was the most colorful I can remember in my lifetime. I saw colors in the pastel range I have never seen before. I have seen birds with additional colors I never knew they had. I am unable to go on a trip without gasping at the beauty of this country. I am in love with creation!
   I encourage you to either begin taking your camera and take pictures of the beauty around you or in the least go out and pretend you have a camera with you and look for the “shot.” It will train your brain to see the color and richness that is all around you. Letting your eyes become a camera lens can do more for your life as a reminder of the gifts we are given constantly.

I am here with you!


Sacred space

As I stood in my bedroom after spending over a hour cleaning, changing sheets, putting the thousands of pillows on the bed it occurred to me that this was my favorite space in my home. I had spent months thinking about this space and what I wanted. Did I want light and airy such as pale blues, greens, white, pale yellows? Was bright and colorful more my style like bright turquoise, reds and yellows like a santa fe necklace?
One morning I woke up with sun streaming in the blinds I had forgotten to close the night before. My eyes hurt from the darkness of my eyelids to the now starkness of bright filtered light pouring in the window. Bright colors were out! I wanted a sedate, quiet, tranquil bedroom with only splashes of color to tease my eye but not strain it. I chose earth colors of gray, ivory, beige and dotted rusty melon throughout.
I bought used furniture to convert because I developed such ideas I could not buy them. I shopped in unusual places to find just the right armoire because suddenly my bedroom had a french, traveled flare. My bedroom began to take on a place I love, France and the thing I love to do, travel.
I then added one of my favorite things in nature; birds and butterflies. My bedroom was not feminine yet it was me! It felt like my soul when I walked into that room. The room is not to impress anyone, get compliments on how tasteful or show my decorating abilities. It was solely designed for me and my peace. Some day I will show you but for now it is my sacred space that harbors a piece of me. Everyone needs to create a sacred space somewhere! A place when you walk in your soul can say, “ah, I am home!”

Always with you my friend

Never alone in this world

   Over a long career of being a nurse I found almost everyone had the fear they might not matter to someone as well as when they were going through something, they were alone. I plan to briefly address both of these.
   I promise you, no matter whether your 20 or 50, somewhere you have made a difference in someones life. A kind word for a friend, a smile to a homeless person, your family and maybe even a teacher. No matter what your circumstances are or where you are in your life, there is no way for you not to matter as long as you are breathing in this world. It is part of the human experience. Gosh, I may not know you but trust me, you matter to me! You matter to the world because only you have the specific talents and abilities that you possess. There is no one like you. I am not trying to ramp up your ego (it does fine on its own!) I am stating just “facts.” You are special in so many ways which is why you can not, not matter.
   When you are going through something whether it be a divorce, death, betrayal or life threatening illness you can never be alone either. We humans have been around for quite some time! Think of Henry The 8th and his wives! Now that was a screwed up marriage, with adultery, betrayal, divorce mixed with a little beheading! Look at the bible and you can see every bit of crap back then as we see now. Trust me, your pain has been felt by countless others and will continue to be felt. With billions of people on this planet, chances are when you are going through something, there is at least ONE more person going through it as well. You also can never be alone in something because all humans have the capacity for feelings and it is universal. Because of those universal feelings, the  tragedies and foibles of life follow humans no matter where they are. You tell yourself that your divorce has special circumstances, or the death of a loved one was different than anyone else experience of death but they are just stories, not true. Since the beginning of the time of being human started, people have suffered at the hands of others and as well as due to Their circumstances. I guarantee you, there were some pretty horrific deaths back in the 1400’s that we future humans could not even fathom. I promise you that the diseases were just as bad back then but instead, no treatment. Hell a broken leg most likely meant death! Men went off to war, never to return and women were left to fend for themselves and children.
  My  Great grandmother had 12 children but only 7 survived. She lost children as late as age 4. When I asked her how she survived the death of her children she said ” I was grateful for the lives of my remaining children”. This was actually the norm back then.
I promise you, we have it so cushy now days compared to just a few hundred years ago, but it takes perspective. I feel really lucky to be alive now, how about you? I feel so lucky not to be one of Henry’s wives!

Love to you

Nursing flashback

   This morning I sat down to my computer for which I thought would be maybe a few hours. Within the first thirty minutes I knew I was going to have problems. Every time I clicked on something, I would get the multi colored disc wheel of death (mac wheel). It would sit and spin while I did the dishes, I would finally get it to close out and stop, go to open something else up and back the death wheel would come, so on to another chore to wait. I did so much deep breathing at one point I thought I would hyperventilate.
   I do believe man created computers to put just one more thing on this planet that would trigger our anger and pent up hostilities. Working on the computer is definitely  a lesson in staying calm and focused,  a exercise in patience (which I struggle with) and a knowledge bender in working with their language. In other words, I despise them as much as I love them.
   When I was a nurse , every thing we did was recorded in the computer. Every thing I did, gave or said to a patient was documented.  We were encouraged to document every hour but realistically this did not happen. You were just to darn busy. So on average I would say I charted every 2-3 hours but I wrote everything down on paper till I could get to the hospital monster. In some hospitals it was worse than others as the computer system would go down. Could be by accident, for maintenance or other various reasons the computer could think of to annoy us. But the panic that would occur was overwhelming.  If for some reason It had been 3 hours since I last had time to chart and now the computers went down, it was reasonable for it to be another 3-4 hours before that chance would come again.  It would be a hour before my shift was ending when the computers would come back online.
There I would sit, feverishly pounding at the keyboard, praying for it to be over.
   For the first half of my career as a nurse, I had NO practice except if stress and panic were a practice, well I was almost dam perfect. I could have taught the class! Eventually I was eased in the direction of meditation, deep breathing and mindfulness so I would sit at the computer huffing and puffing as I tried to deep breath my way out of it. It was simply because of too much oxygen rushing to my head and feeling lightheaded that I was calmer at the computer. Today I had one of those moments and had to just laugh, knowing that the computer ALWAYS wins and its a game of futility!

Be calm my little butterfly!

Always with you


   This weekend I caught a TV show on PBS about travel.  Rick Steves goes to Iran. I was interested because there is so little I have ever seen on TV about Iran except all the bad stuff. I decided to watch and decide for myself.
   Even though Steve explains that he was only able to record, view, go where the government allowed him along with a government provided guide,  it was a travel show. He went to major cities in Iran, showing the sites, mosques, various historical sites and Iran’s close ties with Persia. He also spoke with various age groups of people which for me was the most fascinating.
   The people were warm and welcoming. Many stated, “we love America.” The statements were not what I found fascinating,  but the fact it confirmed what I believe which is we are not the product of our governments. It is our governments that lack the trust between themselves, but the people still have the compassion and curiosity about other people.
   I have always thought that no matter what country it is, a mother still protects her children, still weeps if they are injured, starving or worse killed. A father still provides, protects and worries about his family. Children are still innocent no matter what part of the world they are in. The universal human experience is everywhere which is what binds us. We really are all the same just different countries, colors, religions but our fears, concerns and compassion’s are the same.
   If we humans could see people for our likeness instead of our differences wouldn’t things be so different. Unfortunately,  as adults we think we know better and are doing what is best for our countries but in the big picture of life it really just hurts us. It ever divides us into US against them.
It really becomes all about our Egos! We are a more progressive nation. We are more civilized than them. Our religion is better than theirs. Where does it ever stop? War doesn’t even stop it. It has been going on since the beginning of time.
   The next time you see the news or a program about another culture or country, try to have compassion even if things are different from what you know and believe. It is changing how we think and react to difference that one day could change the world. One person at a time, one thought at a time.

Always here with you, friend


    I was once asked how it was so easy for me to forgive others. I actually had to think about it. I simply did not hold grudges but why was that?
   I realized years ago I learned something that Maya Angelou spoke of, “when people know better , they do better.”
   All people, no exceptions, have a certain amount of knowledge about the hows and whys of this world. Until they are taught by life how something feels or hurts others, they can not act in a way that  differs from this. Until a woman suffers from gossip, she can not truly understand the hurt that it causes, so she will continue to gossip. A man will continue to shout and rave when angered until he learns the fear this causes. A boy who was raised in poverty and saw death, starvation and worse, can not see how killing another is wrong until he experiences something that changes that lifetime of conditioning. They can not do better until they know better.
   When I see murder in the news, I do not just feel compassion for the family and loved ones of the murder victim, but also for the person who did the murdering. He does not know better. In essence this is what Jesus said to ‘forgive them father for they know not what they do.”
   When you really begin to see that it really is just about the knowledge you have in this life, it becomes so easy to forgive. They do not know better. It also makes it easier to forgive yourself. If you did something in your past that you have a hard time forgiving yourself for, ask yourself “if I had known better would I have done better?” If the answer is yes then forgiveness must start. You now know better but then you did not. You were like a child then working with a limited amount of information. You have apparently become more knowledgeable due to mistakes and other things in your life and now understand the repercussions to your actions. You would make a better decision now. How can you not forgive the innocent child?
   A few years ago, a beautiful woman I had known in high school showed up at a gathering a few friends of mine were having. Because it had been over 25 years since we had seen each other, there was a lot of catching up to do. I just briefly went over some of the highlights but for her she needed me to know what recent horrific wrong she had committed in her life. She needed me to find fault in her as she did. I refused to give her the rejection she hoped for. I told her that I too had many screw ups but they did not define my life and for her not to let this little thing define hers. There was nothing to forgive, she now knew better and would do better. She is now happy, in a wonderful relationship and repairing damage to relationships.
   You are not your mistakes! Period! We are all flawed and learning in the school called life. When you learn the lesson, you will always do better. I have faith in humans and I know their capacity for compassion and love.

Always with you, always forgiving

Love you

   This is mainly for women but it can apply to men as well. Are you in love with YOU? Do you feel your worth?
   For many of us, society, advertising and family have taught us that how skinny we are, how beautiful we are and how sweet we are gives us value. But as we age, we begin to realize this just is not true. You are valuable because of the things you have done and brought to this planet. You have birthed and raised children, worked jobs, kept a home tidy and clean, helped with PTA, volunteered, been friends and neighbors and most of all brought the special gifts you call you!
   The size of your butt, the lines on your face, the size of your breasts and the scars are just parts of what make up the real you. You are a sum of ALL parts. When you feel less because of physical stuff you diminish all parts of You. It is like when the sun is out and a large cloud passes over and creates shadows. Your feelings about physical flaws place a shadow over all the parts which are wonderful.
There is no one in this world just like you. This fact lends to the bigger butt, smaller breasts, upturn top lip, and other physical differences. It makes you a sum of all that is special.
   Next time you look in the mirror and wish you had something in your physical appearance to change, ask yourself if you want to look and be like everyone else? Do you want to just fade into obscurity or stand out as the special person you are? Learn to love all those flaws. If you can change something such as weight, then I encourage you to do so because of health reasons as well as it will lift your spirits and make you feel better. But if it is on your face or body and it was given to you at birth, try to see it’s uniqueness. Try to learn to love your uniqueness.
   I have learned with age to change the things that I can such as improving health, exercise and improving my mind but I have also learned to love those things that for years made me distraught. In particular were my skinny legs, long monkey arms and thick curly hair. I now see my arms as being able to carry babies, hug people tightly and carry large boxes that most people could not. I see my skinny legs as my foundation to carry my body, the one part of my body these days that doesn’t gain weight! My thick curly hair is a godsend now as I get older because if it begins to thin, I got lots of it.
   It took me years to begin to see my flaws in a new light and a lot of looking in the mirror and telling my self I loved me just as I am. Today I am proud of who I am, the whole good, bad and uglies.
Be proud of who you are, love who and what you are and be your own best friend because you are special and unique.

Love and blessings to you.

Sun behind those clouds

   I woke up this morning to one of those very gray, cloudy days.  It is so gray that it feels like early morning due to the low light coming in the windows. It is the kind of day that just makes me drag.
I do not mind rain; however, I find I do not accomplish what I would on a sunny day or even partly cloudy days. My body drags through the days as if at any moment we will be returning to bed.
   I am sure this is almost a metaphor for depression. But everyday is cloudy and less of the light comes through as days go by. I can not imagine months of really cloudy days and rain. Not knowing if and when the sun will come out.
   I had a friend who had severe bouts of depression and it was so hard to watch. She was very good at putting on a front when it would start so that no one would know. Then she would disappear for sometime as she received help. I spoke to her several times about it and she said she had no control over it and eventually it would overwhelm her body and mind. When I had the opportunity to speak to her during a moderate bout not only was her affect flat but so was her thinking. She had thoughts of worthlessness and hopelessness that no words from me could change. She literally was captive to her mind and IT’S thoughts about her.
   It was because of her that I began to pay attention to the words I use with myself. How do I talk to myself when I screw up or get angry?  Is depression from just years of horrible self talk until one day the mind takes over and thinks for itself? I could not answer this question but I did know that my words to myself became much kinder. What use to be “how could you be so stupid” became “silly me”. I became more compassionate to myself. I learned to see the basic human foibles I and every other human in this race do, with kindness and compassion.
   If you suffer from occasional or mild depression, pay attention to your self talk. If you can not find compassion for yourself, who else will? If you can not speak kindness to yourself who else will? You are the most important voice you hear every day. MAKE IT COUNT.

Be kind, always with you