Sunday, February 26, 2023

May You Walk in Peace

 Every Sunday morning, I receive Maria Shriver's Sunday Papers newsletter in my inbox.  She is a profound writer,  who writes with an open heart and open mind.  Her words always make me think.

This morning she wrote about beginning a healing process, her search for it and Lent.  She also included an amazing quote from Pope Francis about fasting for Lent.

I do not observe Lent but am very much aware of its meaning and significance.  As I read her words, and the Pope's they reminded  me of how a dear friend of mine use to close all her correspondence with me, " May you walk in peace."  

I love that phrase,  May you walk in peace...but I realize almost daily it is a most difficult thing to do, this walking in peace.   I think the whole world struggles with that phrase, or maybe many have  no thoughts of it whatsoever.  

Peace for me, has been a most important concept for my whole life.  I want peace, want it for myself, for my family and friends and for the world.  But peace is expensive, peace is hard to achieve, peace takes work.  Webster's definition of peace, ( yes, I still own a dictionary)  a state of tranquility, of security, freedom from disturbance.   I think about what steals our peace, how we give away peace and how for  many it has become a word like intelligence, spoken with sarcasm and disregard.

Jesus and all great teachers of humanity spoke of peace, they saw the need and value of peace.

Many of us blame our lack of peace, whether it be personal or worldwide on other people, places and circumstances, but peace has to start within our own hearts, not someplace else.  As a yoga teacher I teach about peace and healing starting with the breath and I believe it does.  I know that concept is so simple that most think it is absurd but for me, the days that I practice what I teach, it works.

I am closing this blog today with the quote that Maria shared from the Pope,  through the years I have fasted for many reasons, but it was always a fast that involved the lack of food.  Today I start a fast for peace, starting with a few words from the Pope's quote, I hope you join me.

" Fast from angry words so you can be kind.   Fast from grudges so you can be reconciled. Fast from bitterness and fill your heart with joy.  Fast from selfishness so you can be compassionate to others. Fast from complaints to as to contemplate simplicity.  Fast from sadness so you can be filled with gratitude. "- Pope Francis

and from my dear departed friend, " May you walk in peace."


Saturday, February 18, 2023

February Changes

February 18

February has been a month of loss, change, hope and gratitude and of course, love.

Loss, at this point in my life it seems there is always loss.  Friends have passed this month, they will be missed.  One, I had not seen in awhile, one the beloved partner of a dear friend and one, an icon in the community.  Tears flowed, I understand loss and the pain of trying to move forward and the incredible hole that will never be filled, when someone you love passes.

Change,  in January I realized that I had to change, to step outside my comfort zone or just wither up and die.  So with a great deal of hope, I started teaching my Monday night community yoga class again.  I say this with a heart full of gratitude, it has been life changing for me.  It is at a new venue, the Aldersgate Methodist Church in Dora and all I can say is, it has been a class filled with love.  Most of my previous students returned and new ones came from the church.  And sadly, a few have passed on.

More change, I started an online class from NYU.  I must be crazy, it is challenging and scary but I am learning so much.  The class is, Engineering Health through Yoga and Physiology. can teach an old dog a few new tricks.

My next quest for 2023, to perform and write music again.  Believe it or not, that is the scariest of all.

I missed Rick so much on Valentine's Day.  I missed him not because it was ever such a big deal for us, but because that day is so symbolic of love.  I am eternally grateful for the love we shared all those many years.  I always painted Rick a Valentine, I guess I always will.  

Monday, January 2, 2023

New Year Wishes


January 2, 2023

I woke up thinking about the song California Dreaming.  All the leaves are brown today and the sky is that shade of grey of rain and storms that occur often in Alabama.

I have survived the holidays another year without Rick.  It's so different and how I miss all those things we did together.  In many ways, 2022 has been the hardest year so far.  I no longer expect anything to get easier, now I just try to gird my loins and deal with the hard stuff.  I don't think of myself as strong or weak, just that I have the willingness to do whatever the day asks of me.

Rick Watson loved New Years.  He saw it as a clean slate and loved making resolutions and setting goals more than any human I have ever known.

For  me, I never was very fond of resolutions, but for about twenty years I created vision boards.  I haven't done that since Rick died in 2020.  Those visions for that year died with Rick and it has been difficult for me to envision a future.  I am thinking I might create a new one for my birthday in March.

The rain is pounding on my tin roof, and I take comfort in that sound.  It inspires me, that and the grey skies.  The day Rick died, it was a blistering hot day in July with bright blue skies.  I still find it strange to attempt joy on sunny days with blue skies.

I have made a New Year's wish...I wish for my eyes to be open to possibilities and my heart to be open to hope.  If I have goals for 2023 it is to rediscover who I am, to regain as much of my creative energy as possible, to see friends in distant lands, live each day with grace and kindness and however much time there is left in my hourglass, to spend it wisely.

I wish all of you a year of kindness, good health and hope.

Happy New Year

Monday, December 26, 2022

Christmas photos

 I forgot to share my photos last night.   Top photo,  my great nephews, Anthony and Jordan baked cookies with me.

Middle photo, great nieces, Joy, Daisy and Breeze presenting me with  my gifts they painted for me.

and the last, 2022 Christmas card I painted. 

Sunday, December 25, 2022

Christmas 2022

 It's been a bit.  I thought with the  changing of the seasons, the farm work would ease up.  It didn't.  Doing the work of two is hard, complicated and challenging on a good day.  Bad days, well, we won't go there.

Then the holidays arrived.  I foolishly thought the holiday season would be easier, it hasn't been.

I now know that holidays will probably always be difficult.  Life has always been about change and transformation but acceptance is a whole different story.  

This past week I spent several days with great nieces and nephews.  Life is easier with them, they make me laugh.  Jordan and his  mom moved to Birmingham in August.  He's 14 and had always lived next door, their move hit me hard.  But he's in an excellent school and they both seem happy.  Life just goes on and I know I have to as well.

I have an interview this week at a local church, I'm hoping to start a community yoga class there.  I am ready to teach again, hopefully write more again, and maybe even play some music again.  The want to create is slowly coming back.  I need to do something to balance the physical labor that takes so much time and energy.

I hope you all have had a holiday season filled with joy and love, surrounded by those you love.  I have learned the past couple of years that the love of friends and family is my life line and I am so grateful to those who have loved me through the dark times.

I still navigate through the fog of grief blindly, but I am not alone, there are so many of us.  I have learned to truly appreciate the good moments, to cherish laughter and understand that tears flow for no reason.

Today I spent the day with the dogs and the chickens, walking on the frozen earth, feeling the  cold bitter wind in my face.  I had seen several family members during the week, and I had invitations for today, but the need to be by myself was overwhelming.  Conversation and interaction just seemed more than I could handle.

I hope that you all have had the Christmas you needed, that you have felt love and contentment and maybe a bit of joy.

Wishing all of you tonight, 

Merry Christmas.

Monday, October 3, 2022

Open Your Heart

  This blog was written on September 27, our local online news source The Community Journal published it that day, so I waited to post until today.

A few days after my husband Rick died, my friend, Christine Ohlman called.  She had been a member of the widow's club for a few years and she understood so much of what I was thinking and feeling.  As we talked, well she did most of the talking while I sobbed and tried to breathe and grasp simple  phrases to respond to her.  One phrase she repeated in that conversation and many others that followed, "Keep your heart open, open your heart."

When her words began to sink in, opening my heart was the LAST thing I wanted to do.  My heart was in a gazillion pieces, strewn around my soul in the wake of a grief driven hurricane.  All I wanted to do was curl up in a fetal position on the sofa and fade away in oblivion.

Christine was relentless.  She texted, called, sent cards,  and always there was that phrase, "open your heart."  As the days passed into weeks, then somehow months, "open your heart, keep your heart open" started to make sense.  Grief was showing me every emotion I was capable  of...anger, sadness, fear, loneliness, self-pity and each one was felt in extreme.  It  made sense after a few months, that it would be easy to become bitter, stay angry, and live in a perpetual pity party.  I finally got it.   "Open your heart" was the key for opening the door to letting go.

I pursued letting go and opening my heart as if they were precious jewels.   I hated not recognizing that person in the mirror and I knew that no matter how much I loved Rick and missed him,  I was still here and it was important to my existence as a human  that I had to find my way  back on the road less traveled.

I am writing this today September 27 because it is "National Day of Forgiveness."

You might ask what does this day have to do with opening my heart.?  My biggest lesson on this grief road ( it has been 26 months since he passed) has been forgiving Rick for leaving  and forgiving myself because I couldn't save him.  Maybe for others who have dealt with loss, forgiveness means nothing but for me the day I forgave Rick and myself I started to pick up all those tiny fragments of my broken heart.  It will always be broken, with pieces scattered here and there,  but at last I know my heart didn't disintegrate into a pile of's still with me and it's open.  From the bottom of my busted open heart, thanks Christine.



Thursday, August 11, 2022


 August 11

Contentment and acceptance, an interesting place to reside these days.  Acceptance, I have found doesn't mean giving up but a release of anger and struggle against changes I had  no power over.  The Serenity Prayer probably comes to mind for many of you.

Acceptance has meant  I no longer find myself at 2:00 in the morning demanding answers to questions that have no answers.  I still awaken in those strange wee hours but now I read, I make gratitude lists, I write song lyrics or just meditate.  After an hour or so if I find I'm still awake, I get up and start my day.  Acceptance means I'm ok here on this farm alone but I'm really not alone.  There are chickens and dogs and mother nature supplies an endless menagerie of creatures to amuse or annoy me.

Contentment is a byproduct of acceptance.  Both have brought  a greater understanding of who I am and how I want to live my remaining life.  There is a place now for the grief and sadness that will always be a part of who I am .  

My day planner of all things helped bring me to this place.  Each day I found myself connecting to it.  Maybe it was because it is one of my favorite gifts from Rick or maybe it was just the habit that had been instilled in me years ago and I just clung to the familiarity of it.

Daily I have written in this old worn leather planner for 35 years.  At first after Rick passed, I just kept a daily list of farm chores, business and personal chores that had to be done.  As the months passed I found myself adding to the "what matters most list" and soon items like, do your vocal exercises, walk, paint, read, write, call friends and family, take a nap,play guitar, pound on the keyboard were all helping me to find balance and regain acceptance of an everyday life.

Acceptance also gave me awareness of my most valuable treasure, time.  I have become so cautious now of whom I spend time with and how I spend my time.  I have no desire to waste a second.  

Contentment and awareness makes for a good place to live these days.  There are moments of joy and laughter but I also know the value of my tears and sadness.  I know that for me, memories won't heal my shattered heart,  I have learned to live with the hole that is always there.  For now, my gratitude list is long and that is enough.  An everyday life is a good one.