Always watching over us. Happy Thanksgiving, dear readers.


Duke University, Durham, North Carolina.

Quote of the day: “Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.”  — Marcel Proust

Daily gratitudes:
That my house is under the Canadian Geese flight path
Owls hooting in the darkness
Cozy Mr. Man
Having Kelsea home for a few days
Embarrassing moments that make for good stories



A departure from the serious nature of recent posts. Not that the world and its events are any less serious, but I think that sharing beauty is a gentle reminder of love. And a little stillness in life is never a bad thing.

Orchid Still Life
Anna Maria Island, Florida.

Quote of the Day: “And when two people understand each other in their inmost hearts, their words are sweet and strong like the fragrance of orchids.” — I Ching

Daily gratitudes:
My Physical Therapist
The shop cat at The Happy Beast
Women with mermaid color hair
Inexplicable tears

The discussion about how we were all so focused on saying prayers for the citizens of Parls, and yet not for the citizens of other terrorist attacks in 2015 gave me pause. I feel no less sorrow for victims of terrorist attacks in Beirut, Syria, Thailand, or yesterday’s attack in Nigeria than I feel for those in France. And I feel the pain of those who suffer ongoing terrorism in countries such as Rwanda and people such as the Yadizis. As an empath, I have had to learn how to shield myself from my own feelings about these world events, and to some extent, from stories about poignant tragedies and disasters, while at the same time immersing myself in those stories until I can comprehend them, instead of just feel them. Perhaps that doesn’t make sense, but that’s how I am.

The uproar about our world’s lack of caring for other countries suffering similar attacks made me recognize (again) how our perception is driven by the media. Had we had minute-by-minute coverage on CNN about the Beirut attack and its aftermath, swarms of reporters heading to the scene immediately, and interviews with survivors and those who lost loved ones, perhaps our own sympathies would have been equaled stirred. But that’s not what happened. That’s not what happened with the terrorist attack in Yola, Nigeria yesterday. That same kind of intense media scrutiny might have generated similar sympathies. So yes, the media partially responsible for our reaction. It’s the only way we know about what’s going on thousands of miles away. In the early 19th century, it would have taken weeks or months to learn about a tragedy within a family if one branch were far distant. I don’t doubt that people lived from birth to death without knowing about atrocities committed on other continents.

(I will say here that the media did a good job of covering the horrific attack on the school in Kenya last April, and that my spirit was heavy with pain for the victims of that tragedy.)

Paris is a city that has been much more romanticized by western civilization than Beirut, Yola, Aleppo, or Kunduz. It has been the setting for films, novels, advertisements, vacations, and dreams, much more often than other cities that have undergone the trauma of terrorism, and that is another reason that last week’s events resonated more with many than did the other acts of terror. That doesn’t make it any more or less important. It just puts it more to the forefront of our personal vision. Had I known someone that had spent time in Beirut and fallen in love with it and shared that feeling with me, I don’t doubt that I would be more attuned to the daily events there. But, unfortunately, I don’t.

I appreciate the discussion about why we as a society did not seem to care as much about the other countries that were victims of violence last week and earlier in the year, and in the years past. It has made me recognize that I want to be more aware of what’s happening in the world, of the places that need the strings of my spirit to reach out with love and support across the miles. That’s now something I am committed to doing. It doesn’t minimize my feelings of empathy for Parisians, but it does make my empathy for other countries shine.

Like many, I wish there was more I could do. I am just one person. But all of us are just individuals. If we approach each other with empathy and love, perhaps all of our feelings of compassion combined can make a difference. I hope.


Lafayette, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.” — Jimi Hendrix

Daily gratitudes:
Confirmation that my pregnancy radar is still functioning (no, I”M not pregnant)
Getting things done
Heightened awareness
Talks with Kelsea who will be coming home on Tuesday!

I do not understand the violence in terrorists’ souls that enables them to commit such atrocities as we’ve seen tonight in Paris. It is even more challenging to try to comprehend how someone can do these things in the name of a deity – although at this point, that’s only an assumption. I suppose that is a good thing, that I cannot understand it. But the empath that I am can understand the pain and fear and loss. I can feel a hole in spirit tonight, on a day that started with minor first-world annoyances, and ended with a perspective on what’s really important.

I have never been to Paris, but have always wanted to go. Kelsea had a picture of the Eiffel Tower above her bed since she was born. I put it there to inspire her dreams. She has been there, to the very top, and I envy her that experience. It’s a city that has been made magical in the minds of those who dream. The logical me knows that it is a gritty city, just like another other city, with it’s glimpses of heaven around corners, and sewers that make you wrinkle your nose. Sculpted architectural beauty side-by-side with McDonald’s. It’s the Seine and the bridges, and the homeless and the pickpockets. The tourist traps and the hidden spaces where you can breathe in the past. It has a heart. And tonight, I feel the breaking of that heart.
Prayers for Paris.


Quote of the day: “The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places.” — Ernest Hemingway

Daily gratitudes:
Our freedom
Children’s smiles
Long, long winter scarves
Fancy pajamas
That love can conquer hate

Pardon me for waxing mushy for a post…

When I met MKL (through eHarmony, yes), I had no idea he would become my husband. When we had been matched (on my birthday), I had shown his picture to Kelsea and asked what she thought. She approved, so we did the little email-y, question-asky thing that eHarmony has you do, and it went well. And then I didn’t hear from him. And I didn’t hear from him. And one day, while we were at Topsail, and I was suffering from some stomach juju, I said to Kelsea, “Remember that nice guy that I was emailing with? He hasn’t responded to me. Do you think I should nudge him (because that’s what you can do on eHarmony) or should I just let it go?” “You liked him, right? Nudge him,” she said. So I did. He answered. When Kelsea and I got back, MKL and I had our first phone conversation. I was sitting in a camp chair on my front porch with a glass of red wine. We talked for an hour, and agreed to have lunch. He walked me back to my office after that lunch and kissed me on the cheek. When I got back inside, everyone said I was glowing. I never stopped glowing.

MKL knew that I was someone he had been looking for and hoping for. It took me a bit longer to figure that out , and I am so glad that I caught up with him. I cannot imagine my life and my future without him. He holds my heart and understands me as no one has. We are not identical, and we have our own opinions, but our spirits are shared and that makes me richer than anything else ever could. What a blessing, my MKL.

Rings! 0428
(Photo credit: Issy Kilbride)

Quote of the day: “There is never a time or place for true love. It happens accidentally, in a heartbeat, in a single flashing, throbbing moment.”  — Sarah Dessen

Daily gratitudes:
The shaking bowl today
A warm Mr. Man in my lap
Physical therapy
Kelsea’s and my agreed-upon text code

I’ve been watching the Republican debates with some interest this election two years, not because I’m a fan, but because I’m curious. It certainly is an … interesting collection of options. Ex-Pat and I shared some political opinions, but we could never discuss our opinions. It always turned into bullying and then into some huge personal argument. MKL and I have rather different opinions, and don’t discuss politics much. But I do miss being able to have a dialogue about it. I don’t know enough to base all of my opinions on pure facts, because for one thing, I know that most of what I read or hear is presented with its own media bias and so I mistrust it, and for another thing, I trust my instincts and feelings, as I do on most things. I won’t share my political opinions here (yet) but I’m sure you can probably guess at my leanings.

Do you recall the days when political buttons were a big thing? I do. And this picture reminded me of that. Even though there aren’t any political buttons in this picture.

Durham, North Carolina.

Quote of the day: “Our great democracies still tend to think that a stupid man is more likely to be honest than a clever man, and our politicians take advantage of this prejudice by pretending to be even more stupid than nature made them.” — Bertrand Russell

Daily gratitudes:
Freedom of speech
My dermatologist
Seeing MKL
Talks with Kelsea

And a Happy 240th birthday to the Marine Corps. Many Marines have meant much to me personally, but all have meant more to us as a country than we can ever understand.

The sea changes from day to day, as do I. Serene one day, restless the next. And ever sleepless. Forgive me for being gone a bit, and don’t forget about me. I am throwing myself into working on my novel (well, one of them) with a passion inspired by NaNoWriMo. Otherwise, I am still broken-toed and gimpy-armed and just managing.

Great Exuma, Out Islands, Bahamas.

Quote of the day: “You have to write the book that wants to be written.” — Madeleine L’Engle

Daily gratitudes:
Noticing the details but not getting trapped within them
Coffee shops
A good massage
Talking with Kelsea
My surprise from MKL

NaNoWriMo Day 2 word count: 3657

Maybe all I need is a little seawater, sand, coconut water, and time with MKL to cure what ails me.

Great Exuma, Bahamas.

Quote of the day: “That’s the thing about depression: A human being can survive almost anything, as long as she sees the end in sight. But depression is so insidious, and it compounds daily, that it’s impossible to ever see the end.” — Elizabeth Wurtzel

Daily gratitudes:
Color coordination
Flocks of birds with white underwings
That the grass is still green by the Prairie Flour apartments
Remembering clothes from your childhood from out of nowhere
Sleeping with the window open

Let’s have a lovely picture from summer this evening, as the weather starts to act like October. This is the kind of road I always want to take, and this time I did.

Weld County, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “There was nowhere to go but everywhere, so just keep on rolling under the stars.” — Jack Kerouac

Daily gratitudes:
Pillow talk
Travel dreams
A beautiful day
Clean gutters
Mare’s tails
14 Hands wine

As Hurricane Patricia pounds Puerto Vallarta, Manzanillo, and little fishing villages such as my much-longed for Yelapa tonight, my thoughts and blessings and white lights and prayers are with the people who try to scratch out happy lives there. I have been dream shopping for trips back Puerto Morales, Isla Holbox, Yelapa, and Cozumel for February, and am always a fan of patronizing a place trying to recover from a disaster, just so I can help a place and its people recover. These areas, while know for tourism, are also homes to families who do not have steel-reinforced structures, and who can lost everything in 175 mph winds. I have seen the damage a strong hurricane can cause in North Carolina, a place where people have the resources to rebuild, and my heart goes out to those in poorer cultures who don’t have that kind of help.

I know that this worst-ever-hurricane pounded areas north of my previous stomping grounds, but I wanted to post an image of the white sand beauty of the area from when Niece #1 and I took our wonderful trip down there and I thought she’d been kidnapped looking for hielo. She’s an excellent traveling companion and the trip was a blessing I’ll always remember. So join me please, in prayers for Mexico and its lovely people and to many more beautiful, mystical trips there.

Riviera Maya
Tulum, Mexico.

Quote of the day: “Some things just couldn’t be protected from storms. Some things simply needed to be broken off…Once old thing were broken off, amazingly beautiful thing could grow in their place.” — Denise Hildreth Jones

Daily gratitudes:
Big skies today
A morning that looked like Scotland
A toast to the success ofAnastasia Fawni
Making it home just in time when your stomach is upset
MKL’s hugs

December 2015
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