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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!

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 love the little town in which I’ve lived for over four years now. One of the things I love most about it is its support of the arts. We have a remarkable collection of public art lining our main street, as well as an “Alley Art” program, in which artists paint amazing murals on residents’ alley-facing garage doors. As I am planning on moving in with MKL (because we think a husband and wife should live together) in his town some 40 miles away, I wanted to document our small-town art so I could share it here, with a larger audience. Two weekends ago, on a gorgeous Sunday afternoon, I took a long walk and began to capture some images. I’ll let you see them as we move along in time together.

This beautiful piece is called Waiting for the Bus by artist Lucas Loeffler Child. The artist’s mother became ill with pancreatic cancer and quickly passed away just as Child was finishing the piece. He gathered a collection of little things – pennies from the year she was born and the year she died, little treasures that the two of them shared, memories – and put them in a shining circular tin, placing it inside the chest of the angel just where the heart would be. He also positioned her in the center of her bench, so that people could sit on either side of her, with one of her hands curled gently beside her, so someone could hold it for comfort. While much of our town’s art changes from year to year, our angel is permanent, sitting waiting for the bus in the shade, halo in her lap, at the end of a very long day.

Lafayette, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “When love has fused and mingled two beings in a sacred and angelic unity, the secret of life has been discovered so far as they are concerned; they are no longer anything more than the two boundaries of the same destiny; they are no longer anything but the two wings of the same spirit. Love, soar.” — Victor Hugo

Daily gratitudes:
October thunderstorms
Comfort food after a day of pain
A solution to the mystery of The Cold War Horse
Mr. Man

Still basking in the glow of newlywed bliss – although it would be really nice if we lived together, but that will come. It’s been a time of many moods, getting ready to send Kelsea off to college. I bought her a one-way plane ticket, and that made me a little shocked. She cut off all her hair and she looks adorable. We know we have a limited number of trashy-tv-together nights, and it makes me a little weepy. So my blues have been coming and going like the tides, rising and falling. But my happiness at being Mrs. MKL and the wonderful memories of our wedding help keep the light in my heart. I had saved a “blue bomb” orchid blossom from a wedding I worked a year or more ago; it has sat on my bathroom shelf so I could describe it perfectly to the florist (shout out to Judy at Surf City Florist for an awesome job). I now wish I had saved a blossom from my own bouquet, but I’m so pleased that I was able to leave Kelsea’s with Lynn and mine with Janie to enjoy.

A Bridal Bouquet
Topsail Beach, North Carolina.

Quote of the day: “She was prettier than a bouquet of roses and crazier than a headless chicken. Fitting in was not an option.” — Marissa Meyer

Daily gratitudes:
The man in mismatched socks in the bus station
Pretty skies
Mothers who smile at their children (that happens less often than you might think)
Prairie dogs

My feisty friend at Half Girl Half Teacup has nominated me for the Sisterhood of the World award! It’s been a long time since I’ve been in the blog award circuit and I’m delighted, so stay tuned for my acceptance speech and nominations!

All pink and blue, unlike our swirling yet unfulfilled storm clouds here in Lafayette this afternoon. And speaking of babies – or those who are no longer babies – my darling daughter goes off to college orientation tomorrow. Then she comes back, which is good, but then she will go away again. I guess that is the way of it. As today’s quote says, we all leave a bit of ourselves behind when we leave a place. I have left much of myself at Topsail. My darling daughter will leave much of herself here. But we both have so much more to see and do and give, and an endless amount of ourselves to leave behind in the places we will love.

Baby SKy
Topsail Beach, North Carolina.

Quote of the day: “We leave something of ourselves behind when we leave a place, we stay there, even though we go away. And there are things in us that we can find again only by going back there.” — Pascal Mercier

Daily gratitudes:
Making it through a tough day
Sharing Kelsea’s excitement about college housing
Our two new wooden parrots

One of the greatest challenges of seaside photography for me is the timing between taking my camera outside of an air-conditioned car or house and taking a shot. My timing was suberbly off in this instance, but I thought the condensation created as spooky a sand picture as I’ve seen.

Smudged Sands
Topsail Beach, North Carolina.

Quote of the day: “And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand,
They danced by the light of the moon.” — Edward Lear

(As an aside, this quote is from The Owl and the Pussycat. My Mother put the poem to a tune, and sang it to me when I was little. Once I had Kelsea, I remembered it, and sang it to her. My Mother heard me singing it to her once, and was so delighted that I remembered her little tune, that has now stood the test of time and generations.)

Daily gratitudes:
Having Kelsea home safe from her long road trip
Seeing my husband today (since we don’t live in the same house yet)
How nice the word ‘husband’ feels in my spirit
A slightly cooler day
Mr. Man laying on my heart in the middle of the night

Family 2The clearing skies after our pre-wedding Shark Party gave our friends a chance to become all one family by the edge of the sea.

Family at Sunset

Topsail Beach, North Carolina.

Quote of the day: “What is family? They were the people who claimed you. In good, in bad, in parts or in whole, they were the ones who showed up, who stayed in there, regardless. It wasn’t just about blood relations or shared chromosomes, but something wider, bigger. We had many families over time.”

Daily gratitudes:
Mr. Man
How proud I am to call MKL my husband
Hugs at work
My aircraft carrier-size bed

Windows, doors…all ways in and ways out, and important in our lives both physically and metaphorically. I have seen doors not just slam shut, but implode before me, leaving me left to pull pieces of splintered wood and glass from my heart, but no matter how hard it has been, there has always been a window, albeit one I might have to smash with my bare hands to get through. The doors and windows in my life now are welcoming and clear, and that’s a very good feeling.

And A Door
St. Elmo, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us.” — Helen Keller

Daily gratitudes:
Tattered Cover’s broccoli-cheese soup
A strange tinge of fall in the air
The sunlight on the wings of wheeling flocks of birds

When we were trying to clear parts of the yard recently, MKL approached me and said, “You know one of the things I like about you? You’re not a girly girl. A girly girl wouldn’t be doing this.” (This being whacking at the weeds with a scythe and yanking the stubborn ones out by the roots with my leather-gloved hands.) He’s right – to an extent. His statement was somewhat validated when I was driving (alone) by a construction site last week and squealed aloud, “Ooooooooo! A BIG hole!!!”, craning my neck to see what action might be going on down there.

But there is a definite girly side of me. The side that likes vintage lingerie and all things weddings, especially wedding dresses. It’s why job number three is in the catering/wedding industry. It has been a pleasure to find my own wedding dress and to have the people I love involved in the process. It releases the girly part of me that I wouldn’t change for the world. But I will continue to curse like a sailor when the lawn mower doesn’t start.

Girly girl
Centennial, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “To say that one waits a lifetime for his soulmate to come around is a paradox. People eventually get sick of waiting, take a chance on someone, and by the art of commitment become soulmates, which takes a lifetime to perfect.” — Criss Jami

Daily Gratitudes:
A little time with Michael Sean
The dress is almost ready
Watching Kelsea and her friends plan their cross-county road trip
That I used to dance
The possibility of a shark-themed wedding

I don’t think this balloon understands camouflage. And I have promised threatened to buy MKL a pink camouflage hat for most of our relationship. He’s not a camouflage guy, much less a pink camouflage guy, but he is a hat guy, so of course

Poorly Camoflauged
Steamboat Springs, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “The extraordinary hides behind the camouflage of the ordinary.” — Jacqueline Winspear

Daily gratitudes:
Dogs so fluffy they look like clouds
A possible new friend
Seeing MKL after three days absence
My very special grilled cheese sandwich
Belated birthday gifts

November 2015
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