I'm through planning for the 'whens, afters and somedays'.  It's time for action, now.

I've jumped feet first into some pretty great projects that I'm excited about, and though, there are times I feel I am knee deep in mud with my endeavors, I am doing what I love and I am not wasting time talking about it anymore.


1-- Writing
This last day of the month of January marks the most consistent writing I have done in more than 10 years (which embarrasses me to admit). After all, I'm a writer. So why haven't I been writing more? I've delayed, put off, made excuses, and procrastinated for a myriad of reasons, but only a few of them are valid.

I am so grateful to have been a part of an amazing group of writers on Facebook through Jeff Goins' "My 500 Words" challenge.  I am proud to say that I have been consistently writing at least 500 words, on more days than not, for the challenge month of January.

I also happily discovered another group of creative souls who are inspiring and helping me unleash another layer of my artistic side.  The page is called "The Documented Life" and this is a group of people creating their own planners/art journals, guided with weekly prompts, each person making their planner, a santuary, a place to journal, doodle, and organize. 

Mine will be a place to journal and write, brainstorm ideas for future writing projects, songs, dreams and inspiration.  I have always loved to doodle in the margins of notebooks or on scraps of paper and this is permission to do that in a very purposeful, creative and unique way.

3--Bible Study
I am attending my church's women's Bible Study to deepen my relationship with God and develop friendships with other Christian women. We meet for an hour of worship and Bible Study followed by an hour of break out classes. The breakout class I signed up for is a digital photography class. I already have some knowledge through a class I took when we first got our camera, but I'd like to start using my camera all the time for documenting and memorializing all the moments in my life.

Recently, I'd been bummed that I'd let my Spanish get rusty and wanted to brush up on it and expand my vocabulary and fine tune my ability to speak, read and write in Spanish.Recently, through a friend, I learned about Duolingo, a free app, that I downloaded on my phone and use every day.

Music.  I learned how to play the guitar (chords and some picking) beginning in the 7th grade and took lessons through my junior year of high school, but my guitar was abandoned and has not been played in several years.

I've regretted not completing my lessons so that I can read music. I began learning to read music when I was a junior, but my music instructor was very intimidating and demanding. At that time, I didn't have the desire to put in the time and work to meet his expectations, so I quit. I am now picking up where I left off in my music.

Each one of these five of these pursuits filled my time in my younger days.  I was active in my church, studied Spanish, took guitar lessons and played it often, wrote every chance I could steal away and sketched, painted and doodled on blank pieces of paper laying around. 

All of these things have a connection. They are creative outlets that compliment one another. I am excited about the journey that I've begun. I feel renewed and energized.

I am no longer just idling, waiting for the right time to accomplish the things I WANT to do. I am DOING them.

What are you waiting to pursue?



I felt sad, burdened and travel weary as I stared out the car window at the passing landscape. The highway was lined with three-rail farm fencing and leaf barren trees. 

We were back in Kentucky. We were here to bury my father. Tears welled again, uncontrolled, and rolled down my face. I glanced over at my mother, sitting next to me in the back seat of our rental car. Her own tears spilled down her cheeks. She, too, was lost in her own grief laden thoughts. It was even more heartbreaking for me to imagine her loss.  My head pounded like a thundering drum inside my skull and I squeezed my eyes closed and tried to shut the pain off. I couldn’t. I opened my eyes again and looked out the window trying to make sense of it all. 
A snow storm had arrived at the same time our plane landed in Louisville. After a 3:00 a.m. start to a long day of airport lines, snafus, plane changes and a cross country flight, we were finally in the car on our way to my cousin’s home.
Snow was blowing around us and frosting the world outside. We had an hour drive to go from Louisville to Lexington and my husband (a native Californian) had stepped up to the challenge of driving this leg of our journey. My brother rode shotgun next to him. They were a good team.  Their conversation consisted of road directions and traffic and I welcomed the distraction from my grief.

I'd been back to Kentucky for a visit with extended family when we made a trip to Nashville, three years earlier, but it had been a very long time since I'd visited Lexington with any snow on the ground.
I was in the 7th grade and we'd come to visit my grandparents for Christmas. All of the rest of our annual trips were during the summer, since Dad was a teacher and had all of his summers off.
This time we’re here for you.  This would be his last trip.  I tried not to think about leaving him here.  About having him so far away from me.
It felt surreal to be making this trip for the purpose of laying my dad to rest next to his parents. How did this happen so fast? I was just talking to him, he was being funny, teasing us.
I remember feeling confident that he'd be fine, probably weak and not feeling like coming to our house for our traditional family Christmas Eve dinner, but I was certain that the New Year would arrive with him out of the hospital and with us again.
I was right.
He was no longer in the hospital. He was home. His soul was home with his Heavenly Father and his body was home in KY. And now, January 2, 2014 we were home with him, too.

At that moment, I wished we could have been anywhere else. I wished that all of this was just one of my disturbing nightmares and I would wake up from it, with my heart beating fast and my day thrown off, but grateful that it was just a bad dream. 
But, it was not a bad dream this time.  It was real. It was a sharp piece of truth that had spun the world I knew, upside down and left me disoriented.
I continued to look out the window but my vision was blurred by swirling snow outside and the veil of tears. I blinked, took a deep breath and prepared myself for what would end up being the hardest day I’d lived, in a very long time. 



I am once again re-evaluating my life and what I want to do with the rest of it—what will I choose to spend my time doing. My initial reply is, writing more and working less.
Yes, losing my father has illuminated the reality of my own mortality and forced me acknowledge how short life really is and made me consider how I will spend the days left in my own life and how to make the most of each one of them.
None of us know how many days we have.  Some of us are told our days are numbered because of a disease that modern medicine cannot cure.  Some of us are taken without warning, in our sleep or in the course of our day by violence, accident or disaster. Few plan for that.  I don’t plan for that, either. I live my days as if there will be no end to them.
I have been on a journey of re-evaluation for awhile now.  This blog has several posts about slowing down, simplifying, shedding stuff, and eliminating drama. I’ve ignited discussions about planning for a simpler lifestyle in retirement and considering what I will do to fill my days when I am no longer employed.
But I haven’t written anything about taking time to be a child at play again.  To experience the simple joy I had when I was a child lost in play.
Life as a 50 something adult is full of so much seriousness.  I have tied myself down to managing my career, maintaining my home, chasing retirement and a multitude of other grand responsibilities that keep me grounded to the path of aging.
Do you remember being a child, wishing to be grown-up, to be freed from childhood?  I could not wait to grow up.  I saw making my own decisions and being an adult as the ultimate freedom.  But, having been an adult for almost 40 years now, I can say, aloud, that it isn’t freedom at all.
Of course, I can’t go back to my childhood, but I can take a “play like a kid again” break now and then, leave my cell phone at home and ignore the adult voice shunning the idea and just be a kid again for a little while.
·     I’ll go to the beach, roll up my jeans and run in the waves and still get my pant legs wet and sandy and squish my toes in the wet sand and giggle. I’ll throw my arms up to the sky and shriek with glee with each wave that splashes up on me.

·     I’ll take a Saturday afternoon and walk to my neighborhood 7-11 and enjoy my favorite frozen Slurpee drink.  I’ll walk a little slower on my return home, sipping my Slurpee and paying attention to the cracks in the sidewalk instead of thinking about the deadlines waiting for me at work and home.
·     I’ll choose to buy a double dip ice cream cone for lunch occasionally and savor each cold, sweet lick of my two favorite flavors. 

·     I’ll head to the park and swing on the swings for half an hour. Close my eyes and lean back, like I did when I was a kid, and try to swing as high as I can, remembering how free that made me feel.

Life is short. Take time to play.  How will you play like a kid again?



You were the best father a girl could ask for and I was blessed with your love and guidance for the most important years of my life and beyond.   I wasn’t ready for you to be called to Heaven, but you gave me so much while you were here, that I know I’ll be okay.  

Today, I cry because I miss you so much, but the memories I hold onto, make my heart smile.

I loved your passion for the games of tennis and basketball that you shared with me, by teaching me the fundamentals and helping me practice. 

You taught me how to fish, and even though I didn’t catch many, I still thought it was cool to go fishing with my dad.  Some of my fondest memories are of our family camping trips and one of my favorite ways to spend a long weekend will always be desert camping.  

I remember going with you to Gulls’ hockey games, and learning to drive a Tote-Gote when I was nine years old. I remember carefully riding it in big circles in the dirt thinking you were still on the back with me—but you’d hopped off to prove to me I could do it by myself—and I did.

I loved how special I felt going out on our dress-up dinner dates for my 13th and 16th birthdays—my handsome dad as my date!

You were larger than life and little pieces of you, will live on in me. I am confident because you had confidence in me. I’m strong because you gave me your strength when I felt unsure.  I’m smart because you allowed me to make mistakes and learn from them.  You never gave up on me, not even when I disappointed you-- I knew you were always in my corner, that you’d be there for me, no matter what, and you were. 

Thank you for being my compass to find my way between right and wrong, for setting the example of not only a good father, but also husband, teacher, friend and neighbor; for all of your pranks, jokes and teasing--your sense of humor never failed to make me laugh.

Thank you for sharing your life stories with me, for your generous heart, and the priceless gift of your time.

 You have always been my hero and you still are.

I love you Daddy.



How can it be that nearly two weeks have passed and yet I feel frozen in place--stuck.  I am mired down in unexpressed grief and denial. 
I lie to myself. You are not gone. You are simply delayed with your buddies, probably having a bagel and sharing laughs and lost track of time. You will be at home when I call to see how you are feeling today.

But I cannot remove the pain of the truth from my heart.
I cannot erase my last visions of you.  The first, you are laying so still in a hospital bed, except for your breathing, labored and thick. I cannot forget the sight of the rise and fall of your chest as you struggled to stay with us. I believed you’d triumph.  In my life, you were always invincible. 

Then, I blink the tears back and try to clear my head and I see you again.  This time, I return, after the call telling me you are gone. The lights in the room are now dimmed, your face is grey but your legs are still warm to my touch.  The nurse explains, that the soft intermittent rise and fall of your chest, that I think I see, is now only a cruel trick of my mind.  

I am crying, but I suck back gut wrenching wails and feel them catch hard in my throat. For a moment, I feel suffocated and I gasp thin breaths of stale air, looking for an escape from it all, but I am unable to move.  Part of me wants to run but I know that will not change the way I feel and it will not bring you back. So I wait--snared between denial and reality.
Every moment in the short span of time since then, feels the same. I allow myself to release stifled sobs, and tears roll down my face freely, but the cascade of unabashed grief remains carefully imprisoned inside my chest. 

My mourning time is spent alone, inside my car cloaked in the predawn darkness during my early morning commute. My sorrow song is muted by the music on the radio.  My ritual ends as I exit the freeway and harness my grief once more.  I wipe my eyes and put on my mask for the day.
Despite my memories of your flag draped casket and internment, I cannot find my closure.  Your memorial service looms ahead of me and I anticipate more helpings of pain while I have not yet embraced the pain served up and stored away. 

I need you to help me be strong and yet you are no longer here to do that.  You taught me to be independent and tough, but where is that trait in me, now?  I feel weak and small, and vulnerable to being trampled by the world around me. 

I know it is still there, somewhere deep inside of me but for now, it is covered beneath the pain of the loss of you, my father and hero. 

I will emerge strong again on the other side of this loss, because I am my father's daughter.