October, 2011

23 Oct 2011, by


I am not a time waster. Most of my waking moments are spent being as productive as possible. The only thing that really slows me down is when I get sick and physically cannot keep up my usual frenetic pace. I’m not saying that my modus operandi is healthy. It’s just a pace I’m used to. I like to feel purposeful and in control. Even if it’s just in control of the mess in my garage…

Balance would be better…but slowing down is a skill I still need to master. I remember when I was a small child, I could sit and ponder a small patch of grass for close to an hour at a time. To this day, I can picture in my mind how each blade looked – with their sharp edges and fold in the middle. I wondered why the dandelions, withered as they sometimes were, still seemed to attract honey bees to their wispy white blossoms.

What happened to those days when I could stop time? When I didn’t need to do, or accomplish anything? Or will I forever need to have an end result in order to make something worth my while?

I recently met someone who calls herself a waterfall chaser. She and her husband like to hike. She says it’s motivating to hike with a purpose…the goal of seeing the power and beauty of Mother Nature in water. I like that idea and have made it my goal to follow in their footsteps. I will let you know how it goes along the way…

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5 Oct 2011, by


 I’ve had a series of, well let’s call them “challenging” moments in the past few weeks. I’ve felt alternately overwhelmed, angry, sad and even at times, I admit, a little defeated.  None of it has stopped me from moving forward.  However, it’s dampened my enthusiasm, and left me a bit grumpy…instead of grateful.  Grateful for all I have, all I’ve been given and all I have yet to experience. Ever feel that way? What brought back your perspective?

In my case, it’s a family I know who works hard, is kind to others and contributes to society. They work cheerfully and seemingly tirelessly to pay their bills and provide for their kids – never stopping to indulge in any “me-time”. They were getting excited about their grown daughter’s pregnancy. Honestly, it looked as if the baby could arrive any day but still she kept working. She finally slowed down…and then the rug was pulled out from under all of them.

 All of their joy and anticipation was crushed by devastating news.  Her father, the man who I see work two jobs without complaint, was diagnosed with cancer that has metastasized.  His wife apologized when she broke down as she told me. I told her never to say I’m sorry for being human.  It’s not just healthy, but also sanity-saving to show how you feel and not stuff it inside. She explained that her devastation was mixed with anger. They’d told his doctor something was terribly wrong but their concerns kept getting dismissed. Years passed. Not wanting to rock the boat, and trusting, they just kept working. He worked through his pain, until it became debilitating.

No longer can he hold down two jobs. He is now fighting for his life. And now, to add to their burden, they’ve been forced to figure out a way to pay for that fight. They lost their healthcare coverage in this economic downturn. The bitter irony is because they work so hard, they didn’t financially qualify for assistance. So, in addition to their pain, they’ve had to work through rising anger and frustration…and stave off desperation.

Fortunately, it looks like they will get some charity help to pay for his treatment. I was relieved to hear that…but remain appalled. I cannot believe our society would punish a family that embodies the American spirit of self-sufficiency by making the care he so desperately needs so hard to get. That is not a politically-charged statement meant to promote one political plan or agenda over another. I’m just venting moral outrage. The solution is not obvious or easy. But seeing what’s right and wrong about this situation sure seems to be.

Now, for what may sound like religious message…again not meant to be exclusively.  Just a simple plea.  If you pray, please spare a thought for this deserving family. Or if you prefer to send “good vibes”, please then send them their way. Right now, they need as much support and sympathy as we can give. Clearly, they are not alone. There are countless others we don’t know about who are likely facing similar situations.  Nobody should have to suffer doubly.

Talk about putting things into perspective.  No matter what frustrations may rear their ugly heads, in most of our lives we have so much to be grateful for even though we may not see it.  And we shouldn’t require someone else’s painful story to open our eyes to it.

(originally published on

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