Wednesday, August 31, 2005


When you get to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on. And swing!
Leo Buscaglia

The tragedy of Katrina is only beginning, damage done to home and hearth is the least of this brutal catastrophe. I have watched coverage hour after hour, as if by seeing them they can somehow feel my concern. My strongest emotion, besides horror and grief is a mighty frustration that is clearly evident in every voice I hear.
I look around and feel guilty for being comfortable when so many of my country men are suffering in ways I can only imagine. I eat while they starve. I have a roof over-head and a dry bed, and they have water where ground and pavement should be in a world where destruction is evident no matter what direction they turn.
I am poor too. If I had been in their location, I would be one of the ones still there. Once again the poor and infirm are charged the highest price for survival. Empathy ignited a flame, and every news update fans its height. Once the fuse was lit action of some kind was mandatory.
I did the only thing I am capable of doing. I donated $100.00 to the Red Cross, giving till it hurt, because to do less would be criminal. The aching I feel is just as sharp and jagged as before I left the Red Cross website, but I take some comfort from knowing that I did not sit idle in my safe home and let prayers be the only thing I gave.
I hope you can hear the echoes of their cries, as I do. I hope you give till it hurts. I hope you reach out a helping hand before you bow your head and add your prayers to mine. I hope!!!


Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Pigs Can't Sing

Never teach a pig to sing. It wastes your time and annoys the pig.
Mark Twain

This is one of my favorite quotes of all time. Mark Twain had a twisted handle on life and I love the timeless humor his words impart. I gave up trying to teach pigs anything long ago; either they want to learn or not, pushing them to do what they have little interest in cannot erase the pigishness out of anyone. If it could there would be a huge number of singing swine, touring the world, and we would come in droves to hear their divine squeals.


Monday, August 29, 2005


It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare; it is because we do not dare that they are difficult.

Daring the unlikely is quite a struggle. When I finally stood up for myself, not pleading for mercy or love, but demanding my space I did not even consider the possibility of failure. But it took twenty years to work up the nerve to dare the battle. If I had known that all it would take was determination, born of desperation, I expect I would have done it much sooner.
Things were worse than difficult, for my oldest children as well as myself, yet I did nothing besides attempt, in every way possible, to please someone who only cared about his own feelings. I stood frozen for much too long and we all paid a price for my brain lag.
My sorry's are genuine, yet they are of little comfort to any of us. Things were difficult in the extreme, because I thought myself trapped. But daring to demand my birthright, of three square feet of personal space, saved all of us years of added torment and taught a tormenter a gentleness he had never known. Dare much for the sake of difficulties not resolved, it may not be a cake walk, but you may be surprised by just how much simpler it is than what you dreaded. I certainly did


Sunday, August 28, 2005

The Moment

The moment one gives close attention to anything, even a blade of grass, it becomes a mysterious, awesome, indescribably magnificent world in itself.
Henry Miller

I know this is true. I have a vivid memory or a beautiful day, last summer, when I sat in my yard swing and gazed at a blade of grass long enough to imagine the world that lives under our feet. We tread over the ground, but rarely consider its reality. On that afternoon I considered little else.
I rocked and wrote and let my mind free-fall into the underbrush, soaking up sun and sound in a healing way that was rare enough to be quiet surreal. The echo of that day lingered with me through winter, it lingers with me still, and I expect it always will.
Moments come in all sizes, each short in time, but capable of absorbing a wondrous amount of sensory stimulation that can be recalled with amazing vividness at a later date. Fill your moments with attention to detail, from time-to-time, and they will fill you with joy over and over again.

This came in email from my good friend, Crystal. I place it here in honor of the joy reading it gave me, sharing the joy makes it even sweeter.

A well-known speaker started off his seminar by holding up a $20.00 bill. In the room of 200, he asked, "Who would like this $20 bill?"
Hands started going up. He said, "I am going to give this $20 to one of you but first, let me do this.
He proceeded to crumple up the $20 dollar bill. He then asked, "Who still wants it?"
Still the hands were up in the air. Well, he replied, "What if I do this?"
And he dropped it on the groun and started to grind it into the floor with his shoe. He picked it up, now crumpled and dirty. "Now, who still wants it?"
Still the hands went into the air.
"My friends, we have all learned a very valuable lesson. No matter what I did to the money, you still wanted it because it did not decrease in value. It was still worth $20.
Many times in our lives, we are dropped, crumpled, and ground into the dirt by the decisions we make and the circumstances that come our way.
We feel as though we are worthless. But no matter what has happened or what will happen, you will never lose your value. Dirty or clean, crumpled or finely creased, you are still priceless to those who DO LOVE you.
The worth of our lives comes not in what we do or who we know, but by WHO WE ARE and WHOSE WE ARE. You are special- Don't EVER forget it."
Count your blessings, not your problems.
And remember: amateurs built the ark, professionals built the Titanic.
If God brings you to it - He will bring you through it.


Saturday, August 27, 2005

Advice Is

Advice is what we ask for when we already know the answer but wish we didn't.
Erica Jong

This is true enough to be kinda sad. It shows how humans often know better yet pay little attention to their knowledge when it suits their fancy. I am guilty enough of that to admit it, although I rarely seek advice. I overdosed on unasked for censure, years ago, so asking for more is something I avoid whenever possible.
But when I do ask that quote almost always proves true. Words said by another most times echo ones I have already said to myself. I could be tempted by that to believe what I know already to be fact, yet in a way that quote reminds me to listen better to my own voice. The things known soul deep need no outside validation. And too many voices just give more to ignore when necessary, and double the I told you so's afterward.


Friday, August 26, 2005

The Next Step

He who stops completely before taking the next step will spend a lifetime standing on one leg.
Chinese Proverb

The urge to stop moving forward is often overpowering in its intensity. We come to a comfort zone and settle for that as plenty good enough, or we get too hopeless to attempt an escape from a sticky situation and just quit trying all together. Both are products of human nature, reactions to life to be expected and overcome if a full life is something you crave.
Stopping dead in my tracks, or balancing on one foot are not poses I plan on adopting. Standing still is no stranger to me. Twenty years frozen is plenty of time donated to a lost cause. I spent time and energy clearing my path, resting in place simply is not a possibility, Once the road is open the only sane thing to do is to move forward before something or someone clutters your landscape.
I have often taken detours, just to avoid pausing in my movement. Any onward motion matters, even the sidesteps taken to keep momentum. One essential demand of freedom is willingness to fight for its blessing, by defending its borders. Limiting your borders to the zone of most comfort steals some of the delight from freedom, cheapening it in the process. You are free to stand on one foot, but I am dedicated to both feet stepping down this chosen path.


Thursday, August 25, 2005

Outlived Enthusiasm

None are so old as those who have outlived enthusiasm.
Henry David Thoreau

Age on paper means little, simply a number that tells how many years you have been on earth, but not a true indications of how alive you are. I have been here for fifty-one years. I have been alert for almost twelve. During the last dozen years, I have been alive in several different degrees; sometimes almost electric in my enthusiasm at others less so, but always aware of the fact that life is a miracle, wondrous in its dimensions. And we each define those ourselves.
Age is a fact, yet when considered closely means not all that much, unless it describes you in a profound way. It simply says nothing about me worth note, except that I survived fifty-one years. Actually, I only survived for forty years. The last eleven I have been busy thriving in all the ways that matter most to me. I refuse to limit myself to a place so small as the age trap.
And you should not willingly give age any more space than it naturally demands either. Be as ageless, and enthusiastic as possible, for as long as possible and your possibilities will be limitless.


Wednesday, August 24, 2005

The Doom Prophet

If you keep on saying things are going to be bad, you have a good chance of being a prophet.
Isaac Bashevis Singer

Each day holds the promise of tragedy, miracle, or a crazy mix of the two. Some events are out of our control, while others are for only us to decide. The former cannot be manipulated, but the latter are shaped mostly by our own intent and state of mind. Trouble and grief are as natural as peace and joy, each has its place in every lifetime. Looking for the bad or borrowing trouble just seems like a willing visit to the fools playground.
I have watched people make happen the very things they fear, by constantly calling it to mind or using unreasonable accusations to prod others into doing things they might not have otherwise done. It makes more sense to wait and react to reality than it does to rush and create a catastrophe.


Tuesday, August 23, 2005

All Men Great And Small

A great man calls attention to the good points in others; he does not call attention to their defects. A small man does just the opposite.

I had the misfortune to be firmly under the feet of one who did nothing much, for twenty years, but belittle others to stand taller in his own sight. A bully is a hard burden to suffer year after year. Once I stood toe-to-toe, he adjusted his attitude to a more reasonable level and we got on very well. It was a bit like finding a treasure in a wasteland. We became true mates and best of friends. And I admired the strength he showed in admitting his wrongs, learning from them, and traveling past most of the debris they caused.
I lost him in mid flight from who he was to who he would have become, but he was a good man on the way to greatness and very brave to share all the demons that drove him to use fright as a way of controlling others. I loved him always, even when he was unlovable and I liked him too the last ten years, which is something I could not have said much during the first twenty. Life is an endless evolution on all levels and I feel honored that I witnessed his as I experienced my own. What size are you?


Monday, August 22, 2005

Praise And Blame

One who praises you for qualities you lack will next be found blaming you for faults not yours. Ali

I am always astonished by the sheer number of people who set themselves up as judge and jury for their fellowman. When heads are counted there, mine will not be among them. The gall necessary to imagine myself good enough to be God like is more than I will ever produce. If you have ever been unjustly condemned, I guess you know better than to condemn others.
Old wrongs should be dead issues once admitted and sorrowed over. The benefit of a doubt should be gifted to people whenever possible, but life is not quite so simple for some. God will judge me someday and I will try not to flinch away from the things He brands me guilty of, and accept with grace any praise earned, no matter how small.
Be gentle with one another; knowledge of what really lays behind what is apparent, at first glance, and what is buried deep is something between each of us and our creator. How you judge others is the measure that you will suffer too. Tread carefully the road to judgment, or you chance making things harder on yourself as well as the one you so loftily criticize.


Sunday, August 21, 2005

Come Alive

Don't ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and go do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive.
Howard Thurman

This quote makes me smile and nod. I was a dead woman walking, until I came alive to the things that make me happy. A life spent trying to please others only tied me in knots that strangled my soul. Measuring up to someone else's standards is an impossible fete, better to please yourself and let that be the measure to go by.
Choosing a path worth walking on is exciting if you have always walked where commanded by others. Finding something to give back is worth the effort. Coming alive is a rebirth we are all privy to, no matter our age or situation.
Each step after you find your special path is joyful, even the hard ones are special. I am still evolving, in an active way, and refuse to go back to the way I used to be. There is a magic music that echoes from the footsteps taken down a path of your own choosing. I dance to my own drummer, but never at a total disregard for the feelings of others. I just refuse to let pointing fingers direct my every action.


Saturday, August 20, 2005

Two Ways

There are two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.
Albert Einstein

There was a time when I lived the first, now the second is my choice of the only way to really live. Good or bad I search for the positive that lies within. Everything alters in a natural fashion when you simply change your point of view.
Life is not a cake walk, no matter who you are. Sometimes it is brutal in the extreme, finding a centered place to defend from the damage that just comes naturally with time and trouble is vital to a happy life. And you do not have to be one of the lucky ones with a huge bank account to be mostly care free when storms rage all around. All you have to do is believe that if you hold on, sunny days will surely follow.
I have my bad days, hopelessness visits from time to time, but one unflinching look backwards at the way things used to be shows me clearly that miracles do exist. Looking at where you traveled from is a good reminder of why you do not need to return to old patterns of thinking. Every moment holds a promise of such magnitude when you are willing to see the miracles in every second of the time gifted here on earth. One life is all you have, why waste it in a wasteland of your own building when miracles are all around.


Friday, August 19, 2005

A Keen Sense

A keen sense of humor helps us to overlook the unbecoming, understand the unconventional, tolerate the unpleasant, and outlast the unbearable.
Billy Graham

That is quite a statement, but every word is gospel. Laughter is an eruption of the soul that sends positives throughout your system, touching all who hear it with vibrations of contagious happiness. Humor is a gift to all it encounters. And the more unbecoming, unconventional, unpleasant, or unbearable the situation or human you are dealing with the more relief laughter brings.
A good belly laugh shakes all the debris from a cluttered mind. Glee is a mighty exhale. When you have been holding your breath or biting your tongue it is just what is needed to break the I WANT TO KICK SOMETHING HARD mood that life often forces on the unwary. Have a good laugh whenever possible and it will limit the space left for frowns. Chuckle at yourself when nothing else is available, everyone has reason enough for that. I know I certainly do.


Thursday, August 18, 2005

Tomorrow's Joke

The crisis of yesterday is the joke of tomorrow.
H. G. Wells

Things always look better from a distance, time softens even the worst of our memories so the funny portions we did not notice during the madness is revealed. My husband once had a mouse run up the leg of his jeans, I noticed both the crisis and the joke, but it took him much longer to chuckle. When your balls are at risk, in any fashion, it works the same way.
Irony is thick even in the stickiest situations. Laughter aimed at yourself disarms all who hear it, nothing gets a bigger audience than a good story and what better kind of tales are there than ones you can enlarge a bit for effect. After all the dealing is done and the coping is mastered, there is nothing left to do except enjoy the laughter.


Wednesday, August 17, 2005

What Lies Within

What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Well that is a comfortable image to tuck into my overflowing brain. If you are anything like me you are stuffed with all kinds of stuff; some good, some bad; things owned, things rented; shadows cast from the past, sun beam lighting the way to the future, and many miscellaneous objects just too numerous to mention. Knowing what is inside is not always simple, changing the landscape takes time and strength of purpose.
Knowledge helps, but action heals. I write here to teach myself too, picking quotes that help me turn my mind in the right direction. In the same fashion that you are what you eat, what you feed your mind and heart defines what they become. It is all too easy to just run with the pack, but in this one thing we each go it alone. Freewill gives us options we should make good use of, but the human animal is often overflowing with contradictions.
I am in constant defrag mode, caught in the sticky web between the knowing and the doing. I ache for things I will never have unless I am willing to bite the bullet and think mostly about long term happiness instead of short term satisfaction. The fact that I am totally aware of it only makes it harder, if I was clueless I would not carry the burden that knowledge brings, which is total responsibility for every purposeful act I perform.
Humans weave the traps that bind them then act surprised that they are caught up in something painful. I know this from personal experience.
But from time to time we take stock of how we got to a certain point, and that is where I am at......again! Tomorrow is another day, but waiting till then to alter some things that are stopping me dead in my tracks just seems like a handy placating bandaide for a wound that will only be bigger by then. Today is my starting point. Tomorrow is my target.....and the next day....and the next....and all the tomorrows that follow till all my time here is spent.

The following came in an email and I thought it was well worth the effort to place it here for viewing. Anyone who has something to contribute feel free to use the Hannah button at the bottom of my home page.

Some people understand life better, and they call some of these people retarded"...

At the Seattle Special Olympics, nine contestants, all physically or mentally disabled, assembled at the starting line for the 100-yard dash. At the gun, they all started out, not exactly in a dash, but with a relish to run the race to the finish and win. All, that is, except one little boy who stumbled on the asphalt, tumbled over a couple of times, and began to cry.
The other eight heard the boy cry. They slowed down and looked back. Then, they all turned around and went back ... every one of them. One girl with Down's Syndrome bent down and kissed him and said, "This will make it better." Then all nine linked arms and walked together to the finish line.
Everyone in the stadium stood; the cheering went on for several minutes; people who were there are still telling the story... Why? Because deep down we know this one thing: What matters in this life is more than winning for ourselves. What matters in this life is helping others win, even if it means slowing down and changing our course. If you pass this on, we may be able to change your heart as well as someone else's. "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle"


Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Wasted Blame

"All blame is a waste of time. No matter how much fault you find with another, and regardless of how much you blame him, it will not change you. The only thing blame does is to keep the focus off you when you are looking for external reasons to explain your unhappiness or frustration. You may succeed in making another feel guilty about something by blaming him, but you won’t succeed in changing whatever it is about you that is making you unhappy."
Wayne Dyer

Blame is a poison, seeping through your system, leaving a trail of bitterness that makes you old long before your time. I could never have gotten to a forgiving point if I had not laid the blame down and walked away. To me it just did not matter, all that much, who was at fault for the past once I decided to change the present and build a better future. Other's might have been to blame for the things they did to me, but I was to blame for what weight I gave it.
Life is mostly what we make of it, no matter how hopeless it seems sometimes. Energy is something that can be directed, using it to point fingers just leaves less for more important issues than who is at fault. Acting the eternal victim is a role that gives the wounding the lead. You not only get wounded, you also become the wounding. Building a monument, to a wrong, seems a wasted use of limited space. And none of us is blameless.
Odds are that someday you will need someone's forgiveness for something. Why not balance the odds for a positive outcome, when you are in need, by showing that forgivenessss is truly divine. A prayer said for strength just might earn you some mercy later, but will certainly bring you some relief now.

The following item came in an email from a friend. I loved it so much that I wanted to share with as many people as possible. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Slow down for three minutes to read this. It is so worth it.
Touching words from the mouth of babes.
What does Love mean?
A group of professional people posed this question to a group of 4 to 8 year-olds, "What does love mean?" The answers they got were broader and deeper than anyone could have imagined. See what you think:

"When my grandmother got arthritis, she couldn't bend over and paint her toenails anymore. So my grandfather does it for her all the time, even when his hands got arthritis too. That's love." Rebecca- age 8

"When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different. You just know that your name is safe in their mouth." Billy - age 4

"Love is when a girl puts on perfume and a boy puts on shaving cologne and they go out and smell each other." Karl - age 5

"Love is when you go out to eat and give somebody most of your French fries without making them give you any of theirs." Chrissy -age 6

"Love is what makes you smile when you're tired." Terri - age 4

"Love is when my mommy makes coffee for my daddy and she takes a sip before giving it to him, to make sure the taste is OK." Danny - age 7

"Love is when you kiss all the time. Then when you get tired of kissing, you still want to be together and you talk more. My Mommy and Daddy are like that. They look gross when they kiss" Emily - age 8

"Love is what's in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen." Bobby - age 7 (Wow!)

"If you want to learn to love better, you should start with a friend who you hate," Nikka - age 6 (we need a few million more Nikka's on this planet)

"Love is when you tell a guy you like his shirt, then he wears it everyday." Noelle age 7

"Love is like a little old woman and a little old man who are still friends even after they know each other so well." Tommy - age 6

"During my piano recital, I was on a stage and I was scared. I looked at all the people watching me and saw my daddy waving and smiling. He was the only one doing that. I wasn't scared anymore." Cindy - age 8

"My mommy loves me more than anybody . You don't see anyone else kissing me to sleep at night." Clare - age 6

"Love is when Mommy gives Daddy the best piece of chicken." Elaine-age 5

"Love is when Mommy sees Daddy smelly and sweaty and still says he is handsomer than Robert Redford." Chris - age 7

"Love is when your puppy licks your face even after you left him alone all day." Mary Ann - age 4

"I know my older sister loves me because she gives me all her old clothes and has to go out and buy new ones." Lauren - age 4

"When you love somebody, your eyelashes go up and down and little stars come out of you." (what an imagination) Karen - age 7

"Love is when Mommy sees Daddy on the toilet and she doesn't think it's gross." Mark - age 6

"You really shouldn't say 'I love you' unless you mean it. But if you mean it, you should say it a lot. People forget." Jessica - age 8

And the final one -- Author and lecturer Leo Buscaglia once talked about a contest he was asked to judge. The purpose of the contest was to find the most caring child. The winner was a four year old child whose next door neighbor was an elderly gentleman who had recently lost his wife. Upon seeing the man cry, the little boy went into the old gentleman's yard, climbed onto his lap, and just sat there. When his Mother asked what he had said to the neighbor, the little boy said, "Nothing, I just helped him cry"


Monday, August 15, 2005

Muddy Hands

When you reach for the stars, you may not quite get one, but you won't come up with a handful of mud either.
Leo Burnett, 1891-1971, American Advertising Executive

Reaching out to something bigger than self brings a joy like no other, but also contains emotions of much heavier weight. I have experienced them all in many different forms and doses. Just lately, I reached a point of almost total surrender, but today I had proof that my words here matter very much to someone besides myself. One voice gave me hope that what I intend with this space is a reality.
I know I have no choice; walking to a different drummer is the product of my temperament and life experiences. I have been flawed and strengthened, walking wounded with attitude is just how I get from place to place now. I reach boldly at times, with trembling hands at others, but I never drop my hand completely.
Life makes so many demands, we do a lot of things out of habit or duty or force. Reaching is something we can do for ourselves that benefits everything we touch. A handful of star dust is what we come up with even if we never fully capture the star itself. And how magical is that?


Sunday, August 14, 2005

Wisdom Made

We are made wise not by the recollection of our past, but by the responsibility for our future.
George Bernard Shaw, 1856-1950

Past lessons learned, comprise the most important items brought forward on the journey into the future. Without those as a guide, finding direction would be much more difficult, but dwelling on how those lessons are learned only gives old agony a pocket to climb into and ferment. Old grudges make potent poison that pollutes everything it touches.
Things you refuse to let go of slow progress, more weight to move from place to place makes settling for where you are a much more tempting urge. Loading the gun that shots you just makes no sense, at all. When my baggage gets too heavy I unpack what I can then rearrange what remains to even out the weight.
I pray that life always grants me enough wisdom to avoid lingering over-long in places that offer me no future above what I possess today. Wisdom made, is wisdom earned and the final pay off ought to be, at the very least, a life worth the living.


Saturday, August 13, 2005

Because You Are

Treat everyone with politeness, even those who are rude to you--not because they are nice, but because you are. - Source Unknown

This is a excellent reminder of uncommon decency. It is easy enough to return the gift of politeness to one who gives it to you first. Good manners come effortlessly with cheerful people, even strangers. Common decency is something anyone can give without too much strength. But uncommon decency takes more exercise, practice, and forethought than some are ever willing to apply to such a thankless endeavor. Today's quote gives gentle prodding to remind who benefits most from the bothersome practice of being nice to the un-nice.


Friday, August 12, 2005

Fool In Doubt

Tis better to be silent and be thought a fool, than to speak and remove all doubt. Abraham Lincoln, (attributed) 16th president of US (1809 - 1865)

I think one speed and speak another, careful to consider what I think before I try to say it. I do not take extra time because of fear of sounding foolish, although I do not enjoy the notion, but to make myself clear enough to avoid misunderstandings. People have a habit of manipulating words to suit their means and I wish mine to be as untwistable as possible.
Silence is a safe place, I lived there for years and know well that many populate it out of fear. And most of the fright that drives a human to almost total silence comes from constant belittling when they do speak. I know that nothing sent me running for cover faster than a finger in my face and a irate voice saying, "Don't you even dare open that mouth."
For twenty years I dared little, but in all that time I never stopped thinking. A mountain of things left unsaid finally built enough pressure to force a change in my landscape forever. Silence of that sort is a prison, finding my voice was difficult, yet worth the struggle.
The lucky ones visit its golden terrain with confidence. They know that when you prattle you lose the audiences attention. Oral diarrhea is a common condition with some who seem to care more about the volume of words said than their content. My voice is lovely, but I do not get joy out of speaking just for the sake of listening to it. What is said and how I say it is my concern, after all the years of enforced silence saying something worth listening to is joyful.


Thursday, August 11, 2005

Whoever Gossips

Whoever gossips to you will gossip about you.
Spanish Proverb

Listen to the whisper, gossip has its own tone and flavor. It stains all it touches; whether true or not, wagging tongues cut deep, leaving deep scars behind. It irritates me to hear and horrifies me if I find myself giving into the urge to say things better left unsaid.Anyone who deals gossip will deal it at every opportunity. Nobody is safe from a dedicated busybody. Next time someone leans into your space with that special glint in their eye and tone meant to make light of their role in something so distasteful, pause for a moment and take a close look. Imagine that same face poised to spew some information about you in a negative way to someone else.


Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Enjoyed Differences

A great marriage is not when the 'perfect couple' comes together. It is when an imperfect couple learns to enjoy their differences.
Dave Meurer, "Daze of Our Wives"

The thought of being married to someone just like me is scary. I doubt very much that I ever remarry, but if I am ever in the market I will avoid a relationship with anyone clone-ish. Differences are important ingredients, not simply reasons for battles, but opportunities to grow.
I admired my husbands ability to tell the world just what he thought without worrying what others would think. I cared so much, it was almost magical to me, but it was years before I understood that blending my concern with his ambivalence would forge two people stronger by their understanding of points of view of such immense differences. I became sassier. He became gentler. Really knowing eachother changed us both.
If I had simply stayed scared and silent there never would have been a meeting of the minds between us. It was a one sided war for twenty years, a dictatorship where I bowed to his will in every way. Once I began to understand myself better and gently invited him in things became as different as night and day. Our marriage became a real friendship between two very imperfect people who were dedicated to loving and accepting one another in spite of it all.
I thank God every day that I was such a rock solid comfort to him till the end. Not because I was forced; none of what I did came from a place of duty, it was an honor from the first step to the last. Brutal, heartbreaking life and death drama, done with steady hands and a steadfast heart. And if he had worn the caretakers costume the same result would have occurred. We were an island onto ourselves. Friends celebrating our differences. Loving someone in spite of the difficulty involved just makes it more valuable when you finally get it as imperfectly right as is humanly possible .


Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Great Spirits

Great spirits have always encountered opposition from mediocre minds. The mediocre mind is incapable of understanding the man who refuses to bow blindly to conventional prejudices and chooses instead to express his opinions courageously and honestly.
Albert Einstein, quoted in New York Times, March 13, 1940
US (German-born) physicist (1879 - 1955)

I have an advantage over some in that I once possessed a mind that worked in a very mediocre way, an unwilling member of the masses who follow the lead of the one directly ahead. I understand the comfort of compliance, but I also know the immeasurable joy that comes from free falling into life and soaring on the winds of change.
My mind does not linger overlong on incidentals nowadays, I rent no space to drama or gossip, there is just no room to waste on such idle issues. I try to stay informed about things that deserve contemplation. I rarely take things at face value, but look deeper to find the facts others may miss in their mad dash to the finish line.
I care about such things, because in them you find the real treasures. You discover things worth knowing, people worth befriending, causes worth championing. My orbit is small, but my mind is big enough to clearly see that in this day and age that means little.
In the age of information there are too many uninformed, by choice and by design. In an age where with one click you can cross the earth there are too many still stuck in place. In an age where there is so much to agree on there are too many still determined to be disagreeable. Every day I strive to not simply follow the crowd to who knows where, but to walk in the sunshine of a path of my own choosing.


Monday, August 08, 2005

Strength Of Purpose

The successful person has the habit of doing the things failures don't like to do. They don't like doing them either necessarily. But their disliking is subordinated to the strength of their purpose.
E.M. Gray

Successful people do not necessarily have more brains than other people, but they often have more stamina. It is the one who refuses to give up who wins the race. And nobody is more driven to succeed than someone with strength of purpose. To feel as if what you are doing really matters is potent fuel to keep a person going long after others give up.
The amount of success is equal to the size of the commitment given. Giving up because it is too hard is almost impossible to do when you imagine that to try just once more might be all it takes. I know that formula intimately, it often plagues my mind when I wish it would just shut up and let me be.
I am no rocket scientist, yet even I understand that to fail because I refused to try will make me a voluntary loser. I know I will fail at some things, but failing to attempt at all will not be one of them.


Instant Agony

Grief is the agony of an instant, the indulgence of grief the blunder of a life.
Benjamin Disraeli British politician (1804 - 1881)

I have known many grief's in my lifetime, and know that I will suffer many more. I have grieved, but I am not my grief. I know people who are little else except the pain they embrace, and I try hard not to follow their destructive examples. They never get passed the point of impact, because they focus on all they have lost. I concentrate on all I gained.
My giving my life to endless suffering will not give Jerry one more day of life. And he grew to hate seeing me sad, so my tears would only irritate him. His voice would ring in my head, and as much as I loved him, listening to him bitch at me from the great beyond is not an experience I want to invite.
I put my pain to good use here. I expose it for a higher purpose than to make others feel sorry for me, keep your pity for someone who needs it. I use it to say fix what is broken while you still have the time and energy to do so. I use it to say claim your space and fill it with pride. I use it to comfort and comfort myself in the bargain. What is given to others is impossible to keep hugged to yourself.


Saturday, August 06, 2005

Be A Fountain

Be a fountain, not a drain.
Rex Hudler, quoted in 'Sports Illustrated'

Give life to all you do, sucking the life out of all you touch only earns bitterness. The size of your orbit expands, even if you are locked in place, when you leave positive pieces of yourself behind. Hearts touched by gentle means hold tight to the space you possess there.
Life is a privilege, uncertain in length. Make it a pilgrimage that will leave a wonderful echo behind. Perfection is impossible, but with determination the best that you can do becomes a way of life. And the people who really love you will forgive you for most things if they see you are doing you best.
Love is a fountain that has no limits, not a drain that sucks you dry. I suffered many draining years, in the name of love, before I finally realized my mistake. I take responsibility for the things I allowed to happen to me, it was more my fault than his. What I learned I will never forget, so it will keep me safer now that I walk solo. I will remember the past even as I put it firmly away to face the future, a dedicated fountain, without a drain, overflowing with delight at being alive.

Memo From God

I am God. Today I will be handling all of your problems. Please remember that I do not need your help. If life happens to deliver a situation to you that you cannot handle, do not attempt to resolve it. Kindly put it in the SFGTD (something for God to do) box. All situations will be resolved, but in My time, not yours.
Once the matter is placed into the box, do not hold onto it by worrying about it. Instead, focus on all the wonderful things that are present in your life now.
If you find yourself stuck in traffic; Don't despair. There are people in this world for whom driving is an unheard of privilege.
Should you have a bad day at work; Think of the man who has been out of work for years.
Should you despair over a relationship gone bad; Think of the person who has never known what it's like to love and be loved in return.
Should you grieve the passing of another weekend; Think of the woman in dire straits, working twelve hours a day, seven days a week to feed her children.
Should your car break down, leaving you miles away from assistance; Think of the paraplegic who would love the opportunity to take that walk.
Should you notice a new gray hair in the mirror; Think of the cancer patient in chemo who wishes she had hair to examine.
Should you find yourself at a loss and pondering what is life all about, asking what is my purpose? Be thankful. There are those who didn't live long enough to get the opportunity.
Should you find yourself the victim of other people's bitterness, ignorance ,smallness or insecurities; Remember, things could be worse. You could be one of them!

Friday, August 05, 2005

Be Timeless

As we look deeply within, we understand our perfect balance. There is no fear of the cycle of birth, life and death. For when you stand in the present moment, you are timeless.
Rodney Yee

Standing in the present and owning the moment gives a special flavor to the banquet of life. I have found a kind of agelessness, inside my orbit, from the knowing and staying true to self, whatever my age. I have never been good at math, numbers are very abstract things, attaching them to people can be misleading. I am fifty-one on paper. I am simply myself in reality.
Do not assign me a box to fit into; the days of manipulating myself to match a set pattern are far behind me. Walls crowd me in ways that inspire panic to be free, at the sound of the first brick being laid I soar away to open spaces. Do not crowd me with narrow ideas of who I must be, at fifty-one, just let me be and enjoy.
Know yourself, own your space, capture the moment before it slips away. Do not be a number. Acting your age is unnatural, if the age of your mind and soul do not match. That must be why it is called acting. Ponder the difference between acting your age and being naturally you then lose the labels without regret. I did!


Thursday, August 04, 2005

Achieving An Even Better Result

Often we can achieve an even better result when we stumble yet are willing to start over, when we don't give up after a mistake, when something doesn't come easily but we throw ourselves into trying, when we're not afraid to appear less than perfectly polished.
Sharon Salzberg, O Magazine, The Power of Intention, January 2004

This is such a soothing quote, saying that even the clumsy, stubborn, and down trodden can succeed if they keep at it. I have a stumbling grace, a bull headed streak, and boot marks, from being trod on, so I should do fine if I just keep trying. And there is no chance, in hell, that I will just sit meekly and accept what comes as good enough. New territory is always my next destination.
I filled out papers this week, for student aide, so that I can take some college courses. I am constantly filling my brain with new information, doing so in a new setting will be surreal. And spending time with people that speak the language will only add to the experience of writing. I have few enough around me now that really understand the issues involved. I suffer from isolation from time-to-time, expanding the orbit I rotate in should alleviate some of those symptoms.
In my own view I am ageless; I simply refuse to place myself into a box and close the lid for the sake of years spent here on earth. If I only count the years really lived I am still an infant compared to the number fifty-one, which is what the tally is on paper alone. To do more with the little I have than someone who has it all and appreciates it not is my delight, making conquering my fears a contest of major importance. Being ordinary is not such a cross to carry if it is done with flair.
The past tries to recapture parts of me that no longer exist. Renewal and rebirth can be chosen ways of life. And one more cheerful attempt at achieving an even better result just might gain the jackpot I hunger for...

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Gentle Arguments

Use soft words and hard arguments. English Proverb

Nothing gets your point across quicker and makes more fighting, about the same issues, impossible than wise words, gently said. When my husband roared, I rarely gave in because he was right, but I often went belly up just to end the madness. Things had to be re-argued at a later date, so it was always more trouble than it was worth to just achieve momentary peace by such means.
Once I changed my attitude, it became a simple thing to choose the battles I was willing to fight and arm myself with weapons that gave me the edge needed for victory. I opted for reason, forged with knowledge, and encased in the language of my soul. I rarely lost and once territory was conquered I refused to battle for the same ground again.
It is not what you say, but how it is said. It is not the one who yells the loudest who wins the debates. Changing someone's outlook by force is a fools errand, it simply does not work that way. Screamers make me close my mind to save my sanity, not open my mind to adopt their way of thinking. Gentle persuasion is something that works wonders when nothing else does, but be certain that you are fully informed about issues before you open your mouth. Being gently wrong is almost as bad as being a loud mouth without a clue. And choose battles that mean something to you, or do not bother fighting at all. Why fight for landscape you do not want to occupy?


Tuesday, August 02, 2005


Dedicate some of your life to others. Your dedication will not be a sacrifice. It will be an exhilarating experience because it is an intense effort applied toward a meaningful end.
Dr. Thomas Dooley

I know this is true, I live it everyday. This is my exhilarating experience and what I get out of it is invaluable in the extreme. No words can really express the passion I feel toward this endeavor. Everyone should have a higher purpose and this is mine.
I received an email about the breast cancer site and the trouble they are having getting enough people to click on the free button to help pay for free monograms for poor women. I am a poor woman and lost a husband to cancer, so this is also something I care deeply about. It costs nothing but time. Just a few seconds that could save a life, seems a small enough price to me.
I will put the link under my title at least once a week from now on. I kept the email I received in my inbox, when I am going through my emails every day it is an easy thing to just click on the link, click on the button then move on to other things. Please use it here and share it with your family and friends.
A higher purpose is much better than simply plodding through life with low expectations or heaven forbid, no expectations at all. Our hands can be put to good use lifting each other up, in whatever way possible. Giving back, even a little, brings much more than it takes away. Few enough of us realize that, but I do. And anyone who bothers to come here and read what I write everyday knows it too. Click on the title for the breast cancer site, click on the pink button once there, its a easy huge step to lending a hand to your fellow man.


Monday, August 01, 2005

Be Master

Be master of your petty annoyances and conserve your energies for the big, worthwhile things. It isn't the mountain ahead that wears you out - it's the grain of sand in your shoe.
Robert Service Canadian poet (1874 - 1958)

Well, this quote is all too true. It is not what happens to you, but how you handle it that keeps things sane, or makes things worse. Life is no cake walk, it more often resembles a mine field, but we have clear choices where to place our feet. There is no way to get through without some explosions. But blowing up for little or nothing is a total waste of time and energy.
I have stood before many mountains in my lifetime. And I have scaled most of them, reducing the amount of sand in my shoes on each climb. The journey is still hard, but limiting the agony of travel to things out of my control has made a huge difference. The things I place in my own way can be managed from the map quest inside my soul. What life hands me uninvited is much easier to cope with if I refuse to be over-excited by incidentals.
The things that matter to me override my need for comfort. Sand in my shoe would not stop my climb, if I was determined to reach a certain destination. But silence of the soul takes sand free strolling, so I pause when necessary to keep that way. It just seems a better thing to happen to life than be satisfied to simple let it happen to you. If you disagree please let me be, safe in this wonderland where its finally alright to just be me.

Dust Off (or a variant of the product) is available everywhere there's a computer).
First I'm going to tell you a little about me and my family. My name Is Jeff. I am a Police Officer for a city which is known nationwide for its crime rate. We have a lot of gangs and drugs. At one point we were #2 in the nation in homicides per capita. I also have a police K-9 named Thor. He was certified in drugs and general duty. He retired at 3 years old because he was shot in the line of duty. He lives with us now and I still train with him because he likes it. I always liked the fact that there was no way to bring drugs into my house. Thor wouldn't allow it. He would tell on you.
The reason I say this is so you understand that I know about drugs. I have taught in schools about drugs. My wife asks all our kids at least once a week if they used any drugs. Makes them promise they wont.
I like building computers occasionally and started building a new one in February 2005. I also was working on some of my older computers. They were full of dust so on one of my trips to the computer store I bought a 3-pack of DUST OFF. Dust Off is a can of compressed air to blow dust off a computer. A few weeks later when I went to use one of them they were all used.
I talked to my kids and my two sons both said they had used them on their computer and were messing around with them. I yelled at them for wasting the 10 dollars I paid for them. On February 28 I went back to the computer store. They didn't have the 3 pack which I had bought on sale so I bought a single jumbo can of Dust Off. I went home and set it down beside my computer.
On March 1st, I left for work at 10 PM. Just before midnight my wife went down and kissed Kyle goodnight. At 530 am the next morning Kathy went downstairs to wake Kyle up for school, before she left for work. He was propped up in bed with his legs crossed and his head leaning over. She called to him a few times to get up. He didn't move. He would sometimes tease her like this and pretend he fell back asleep.
He was never easy to get up. She went in and shook his arm. He fell over. He was pale white and had the straw from the Dust Off can coming out of his mouth. He had the new can of Dust Off in his hands. Kyle was dead.
I am a police officer and I had never heard of this. My wife is a nurse and she had never heard of this. We later found out from the coroner, after the autopsy, that only the propellant from the can of Dust off was in his system. No other drugs. Kyle had died between midnight and 1 AM.I found out that using Dust Off is being done mostly by kids ages 9 through 15. They even have a name for it. It's called dusting. A take off from the Dust Off name. It gives them a slight high for about 10 seconds. It makes them dizzy. A boy who lives down the street from us showed Kyle how to do this about a month before. Kyle showed his best friend and told him it was cool and it couldn't hurt you. Its just compressed air. It cant hurt you. His best friend said no.
Kyle was wrong. It's not just compressed air. It also contains a propellant called R2. Its a refrigerant like what is used in your refrigerator. It is a heavy gas. Heavier than air. When you inhale it, it fills your lungs and keeps the good air, with oxygen, out. That's why you feel dizzy, buzzed. It decreases the oxygen to your brain, to your heart. Kyle was right. It cant hurt you. IT KILLS YOU.
The horrible part about this is there is no warning. There is no level that kills you. It's not cumulative or an overdose; it can just go randomly, terribly wrong. Roll the dice and if your number comes up you die. ITS NOT AN OVERDOSE. Its Russian Roulette. You don't die later. Or not feel good and say I've had too much. You usually die as your breathing it in. If not you die within 2 seconds of finishing "the hit."
That's why the straw was still in Kyle's mouth when he died. Why his eyes were still open. The experts want to call this huffing. The kids don't believe its huffing. As adults we tend to lump many things together. But it doesn't fit here. And that's why its more accepted. There is no chemical reaction, no strong odor, and it doesn't follow the huffing signals. Kyle complained a few days before he died of his tongue hurting. It probably did. The propellant causes frostbite.
If I had only known. Its easy to say hey, its my life and I'll do what I want. But it isn't. Others are always effected. This has forever changed our family's life. I have a hole in my heart and soul that can never be fixed. The pain is so immense I cant describe it. There's nowhere to run from it. I cry all the time and I don't ever cry. I do what I'm supposed to do but I don't really care.
My kids are messed up. One won't talk about it. The other will only sleep in our room at night. And my wife, I cant even describe how bad she is taking this. I thought we were safe because of Thor. I thought we were safe because we knew about drugs and talked to our kids about them. After Kyle died another story came out.
A Probation Officer went to the school system next to ours to speak with a student. While there he found a student using Dust Off in the bathroom. This student told him about another student who also had some in his locker. This is a rather affluent school system. They will tell you they don't have a drug problem there. They don't even have a dare or plus program there. So rather than tell everyone about this "new" way of getting high they found, they hid it.The probation officer told the media after Kyle's death and they, the school, then admitted to it. I know that if they would have told the media, and I had heard it, it wouldn't have been in my house. We need to get this out of our homes and school computer labs. Using Dust Off isn't new and some "professionals" do know about. It just isn't talked about much, except by the kids. They all seem to know about it.
April 2nd was 1 month since Kyle died. April 5th would have been his 15th birthday. And every weekday I catch myself sitting on the living room couch at 2:30 in the afternoon and waiting to see him get off the bus. I know Kyle is in heaven but I cant help but wonder if I died and went to Hell. This Officer is asking for everyone who receives this email to forward it to everyone in their address book, even Law Enforcement Officers.