Thursday, September 30, 2010

My Guardian "Angel"

Some of you have read about my lab/chow mix, Blackie Bear. I will share a secret with you..... he is my guardian angel of sorts. He weighs about 98 pounds,covered in thick black fur, with a spotted tongue and these days sporting a grey beard.
He is my constant companion. Every night as I write this blog, he is in the floor beside me waiting patiently until it is bedtime. When Jordan is here and we are outside, so is Blackie Bear. When I take a walk every morning, he walks the first 10 minutes or so, then goes up to the front door, waits for me to open the door and tell him that it's ok, he can rest, I'll be back in a little while.
He is maybe 14 or 15 years old, not sure, because he was abandoned. He has been with us twelve years.

A couple of weeks ago, when I was very sick, he never left my side. There was one day, when I could barely breathe, he went to the bathroom door and waited for me for a couple of minutes, then pushed the door open to make sure I was ok.
Some days, when I am not breathing so good, I take short naps, so does he right by the sofa, ever watchful.

He knew this week when my brother was ill, and I was upset, every time I sat down, he was in my face as if to say, it's ok, I am right here!

He loves to swim, not as much as when he was younger, he's short of breath too.
The photo is of our garden a couple of years ago, when we had days of rain. Blackie thought we had built a pond just for him! He was so happy!

There is a pond down behind our barn, in winters past it has frozen, but that never stopped
Blackie Bear, he would dive right in, then come home with ice crystals on his fur. Last winter we had a couple of snows, as we walked through the woods, Blackie would roll in the snow and bark as if to say, this is my kind of life!

Some days I just need a hug, and he knows.........he will take his paw and nudge me until I hug
him, how does he know these things????? On a good day, he loves to prance and I try to savor
all these incredible moments with him, I know he like many of my friends came into my life for a reason. I am really grateful for this big, black, furry angel!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


My journey has been strange, wonderful, scary and exhausting these past few days.......but, when I think about it, that is pretty much life in general for most of us, most days.
Just when we think we have the hang of what's going on, we fall off a cliff, face a mountain, or hit a few hair pin curves. This journey that we are on, is not for the faint of heart, and not to discourage, but it has been my experience (so far) that the longer you travel......well the more interesting it becomes.

I remember my parents and their friends, it appeared that they just sailed through life. But, I know better now. When I think back, I remember deaths, illness, hard times, it's just that my folks never really talked about what was going on. My mom might cry, sometimes my dad cried, but basically they just kept on going. Friends would come for coffee and cake or a meal, and there was always laughter, a few hugs, and the world kept spinning.

So this journey, that we are on, all of us, right now are at a different place in the road. Some are
working so hard, we don't even realize we are on a journey.....others may be close to the end of theirs. Most days, I am aware of where I am, mindful of what is taking place, and the fragility
of the lives around me. To be honest, there are times during this journey that I wish could stop it.............
those times, when friendships are blossoming, when the sweetness of living is overpowering,
when joy sweeps over you like the ocean waves, when the goodness of life is thick and gooey
like fresh honey on the comb.

And then those times, that I wish I could just flash forward..............when there is sorrow, and heartbreak, when illness steals the energy of everything around it, when there seems to be no
salve for the wounds, just salt that is rubbed on the rawness and you think there is no end in sight.

But the journey is the journey, it is why we are here, why we are connected..............every breath we take, is fuel for the journey, that is why it is so important we remember to breathe!
Tonight, I appreciate my journey, all the curves and hills, the valleys and the plains, the storms
as well as the sunshine. My journey is me, it has forged my strength, broken me at times, and sometimes taken me to the end of the rainbow and the pot of gold.
I have thought about so many of you today, that I have met on my journey, each of you have added to my trip, given me what I needed, provided rest and nourishment, cried with me, and laughed with me, I only hope I have given you all the same and more. I hope our journey goes on for a long long time.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Blessings and Gratitude

First a loving thank you for all the prayers and energy that were offered up for my brother.
He had a very close call, but all is well tonight. A major artery was 100% blocked and a secondary was 98% blocked, but the doc was able to put stints in. My brother Ricky is home tonight and Jordan is happy as can be because his Papa is with him.

I have said many prayers of gratitude today. My family is blessed. I know that families can drive you crazy, make you furious, and push all your buttons........but I also know that I am very fortunate to have a younger brother like mine. We have lived next door to each other, 26 years.
His children have keys to my house, and call me their second mom. His grandchildren say I am their favorite aunt.

Ricky is like so many Americans, he works two jobs so that he can care for his family and keep his bills paid. He is honest and kind, and if he thought you needed it, would give you his last dollar or the shirt off his back. He is the spitting image of our dad. Sometimes as I watch him walk the hill to our house, I think it is my father and my heart skips a beat. (our dad passed away 20 years ago, due to a massive heart attack)

He is a great cook, and loves to give me hell about my cooking. He swears that I gave one of his dogs some of my meat loaf years ago and the dog left and never came back. When Rick and I were remodeling our house a few years back, he came over one Sunday night and found me sitting in the floor, stove, and several other appliances had been in the center of the living room for days. I had done ceramic tile, painted walls(inside and out) laid floor tiles and plank floors, I was exhausted and didn't think we would ever get it all done. He sat down on the floor beside, patted me on the back, and told me not to worry, we would get it all done. And we did.

When we were kids, I was in the third grade, he was in the first........I went down to his class room to walk home and some kid was beating him up, so I dragged the kid off him, took the kid over to the water fountain and held his head under the running water and told him I would drown him if he ever bothered my brother again. I know, so much for peace and non-violence.
I guess what I am saying, we have always had each other's backs. So tonight, I am grateful that he is home with his family where he belongs. When he was in the ER yesterday, another family was not so lucky and they lost their loved one.........they are in my thoughts tonight, I hope they have good memories, and friends and family to be there while they grieve. Loss is difficult,
my parents and oldest brother are no longer with us, sometimes I miss them so much, I would do anything to see them. But tonight, I count my blessings and I go to bed with a heart full of gratitude.

Monday, September 27, 2010


This will be a short entry younger brother was rushed to the hospital around seven this morning. The good news it was not a heart attack, they will be doing arterial gram tomorrow morning. He is in good spirits. The docs do think it may be some blockage. He has had five bypasses and four stints and lung surgery, send him good thoughts and energy please, and if you pray, say a prayer. I am exhausted, my bed is calling my name.
Good night, sweet dreams.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Alive and Awake

For the past few days, I have felt more alive than I have in a long time. Actually it began when we went to Telluride. That was the first vacation for Rick and I in almost 7 years. I was the walking dead. Sure we had taken trips, but they always involved work of some sort. Telluride was the vacation I had dreamed about for a long place to go, nothing I had to do. Just fresh air,
friends, music, great food, and mother nature. That's when I began to feel the change, it was like waking up from a long sleep, to be truthful, it started even a few weeks before we left. I began to rethink what I wanted, I started to connect with new and old friends, and realized it was important to pursue what was important to me.

I reached a point where I was willing to release and let go, and not be afraid to think about what I wanted and not put a million other things in front of me.
Telluride was the catalyst, and my path has definitely changed since then.
This past weekend, spending time with old friends, reconnecting and putting works into motion it all feels so good. Life is beginning to feel like it did a long time ago, possibilities are appearing and lots of cobwebs are being swept down.

There were many things along the way the past several years that had sucked the life out of me.
And I think at some point, I grew too tired to fight it, so I just allowed myself to just float.
So many of the things that had been important to me, had just fallen by the wayside.
But I have realized it takes some effort but not nearly as much as I had feared to wake up and live.
I believe in myself again, I believe in my dreams. I will always give, I will always serve, but now
some of that giving will be to myself. It is so easy to lose sight of one's path, so easy to drift along. It is scary how easy it is to lose confidence in yourself, and lose faith in your own vision.
Life is full of obstacles and detours, and many of those bring magic, but sometimes there's so many of them, we lose our way. Every once in awhile, it's important to sit down and truly see where we are, what we are doing and where we are going.

Sometimes, we do have to pinch ourselves to make sure we are alive, we are awake! Yes the pinch hurts, but the pain doesn't last long. So if you find that you have allowed your self to be lulled into some sort of sleep of the walking dead, give your self a pinch. Wake up, it's great to be alive!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Change in the Weather

For the past two days, the local weather guys are swearing a change is coming. It has been in the 90's for weeks, normal weather for this time of year is 80/55 with rain. It is hot and dry, and almost October. So, word on the weather, by Monday.....highs in the 70's lows in the 50's and I am saying bring it on!

Usually our fall is so beautiful, we have a lot of hardwoods and normally we are surrounded by reds and golds, but not now. The leaves are basically turning brown and blowing in the wind, along with the dust. Clouds floated across the moon tonight, and I could almost smell rain.

Keep your fingers crossed, I may have to do a rain dance! Will do what ever it takes, rain dancing is not beneath me! I just know, I am ready for a change in the weather, and I hope it is extreme.

Life is Good

My buddy Steve W. did a unique performance tonight, it is called Backstage Pass. It is not a concert, he actually talks more than he sings and plays, but he was on the road with John Denver as lead guitarist and as he relives a lot of what happened on the road, you feel like you have been there.
I feel very lucky to have him as a friend. I knew the first time we ever met, we would be friends for ever. It has been a great visit, and there is more good stuff to come tomorrow. As tough as last week was, yesterday and today have been really good. Music and friendship(and good food) that is pretty much the recipe for life is good.
It is late, I am tired, it is time to go to bed.
Good night, sweet dreams

PS. My fingers have almost bled from playing the guitar, and I have sung til the cows come home.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Magic of Friends

Needs are often met in the strangest of ways, and it usually involves friends. I have met friends who filled a need that I didn't even know I had until I met them. That is the magic of friends. I think the universe knew this week that I needed my friends, because they have circled the wagons and been there for me.

Isn't it magical how we think of friends we haven't seen for a while, or we want to talk to a friend, and out of the blue, the phone rings or an e-mail appears. Tonight is an extra special night, a great friend that I had not seen in years arrived to spend a few days with us. I feel like it's Christmas and my birthday all rolled into one! How lucky can I get???

In celebration of the fall season, I cooked my favorite fall meal tonight and in honor of my friend's arrival. Tenderloin with rosemary and sage, roasted sweet potatoes, green lima beans, slaw and ginger bread. It just doesn't get any better than this, an old friend, a good meal, laughter and hours of conversation. I live for these moments when friends are here, and the house rings with laughter. And it just gets better, tomorrow night we meet up with more friends for dinner and
a little picking and grinning. Somebody pinch me and tell me I'm not dreaming!

As the years have gone by, friendships have become my most valuable possessions. Old and new, each friendship is a rare jewel, a magical gift that I hold in my heart. Each one started with simple conversation, sometimes there appeared to be no common ground and then there were times when we were mirror images.

Since I have been fighting the infection in my lungs, I have had some depressed days......but friends have called and each time they did, I felt stronger and better. Just to know someone
cares, it is like a magic potion.

My buddy Steve and Rick are in the living room discussing technical stuff, while I write my blog. Every once in awhile, male laughter echoes through the house. These are times I dream about. Friendship is a magic elixir, it soothes, brings joy, it comforts and gives love.
Tonight, I am grateful for the magic of friends.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Sacred Trust

People trust me, children trust me, animals trust me. I am amazed by the trust that even complete strangers have in me. My whole life, people have told me their stories. Through the years, I have begun to understand what is sacred trust.

Sometimes it can overwhelming, this trust that people share with me. It is as though when they share their lives and secrets, I take on their burdens. I do not take this responsibility lightly.
Some nights I cry myself to sleep, thinking of those who have trusted me with things that they would never share with anyone else. I am humbled and honored, but I also pray constantly that
I will never let any of them down.

Rick gets a little freaked out by the experience sometimes. We will be at a concert, at a restaurant. on a plane, at Walmart and people that I have never seen before, share intimate details of their lives. He has finally learned to just find himself a quiet spot and wait until the encounter is over.

I wonder sometimes what draws people to me. There is nothing special about my looks, I think I am fairly ordinary. But I do love people, I believe with all my heart in human kindness and I do my best to live by the Golden Rule. I do know I listen, and maybe that is the secret.
I don't have to talk about myself when I meet someone, I much prefer to listen. Every one has a story, every one has an incredible story,maybe the universe decided to make me a listener.

Sacred trust........I will go to my grave with stories in my heart that were told in faith that I would never share them, and I won't. Some stories break my heart, others make my knees weak and my stomach churn, while others make me feel so blessed.

I believe we all search for some one to trust, some one that we can count on, some one that will not judge or condemn. We all need to believe that there is a human connection out there some where waiting for us to talk. I know that many of us think that we should never share, that to talk things out, is a weakness, it is better to push things inside and just try to forget. But to not
trust, to not share, whatever is inside, sooner or later will fester like an angry boil and make itself known one way or another.....abuse, guilt, shame, fear, illness, resentment, anger, depression.

Through the years, there have been times when I desperately needed someone to talk too, and for what ever reason there was no one there. So all that was held inside, came ulcers,
as anger, as resentment, as fear. So maybe that is it, I understand what it is to need to talk and feel like there is no one there to trust......maybe that is what people feel when they meet me.

I do know, that I have spent my life, trying my best not to judge. It is difficult sometimes to see someone or hear their story and not judge, but I believe that is where the sacred trust comes in.
I believe we are all capable of anything, given the right circumstances, so how can we judge others. So this sacred trust that I feel, I believe it is listening with no judgement. It is understanding that there but by the grace of God is me.

So for all the times, some one has trusted you, feel honored, know that you are blessed. In a world that is spinning faster and faster, when it seems that some days we are all out of control, and you don't have a minute to spare..............
and some one asks you if they can talk, be willing to listen and then lock it in your heart with the key of Sacred Trust.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


I met my best friend for a girl's day this morning, we spent a couple of hours at the hair salon getting beautiful, then we had lunch. It was exactly what I needed! and lord knows I now look better. I was almost home, actually about a half mile from the house and the most exquisite thing happened.

There is a large oak tree near our house, it is probably 100 years old. I have always felt that this particular place has good energy, is magical. Many times, I have seen deer there under the shelter of its craggy limbs and large crooked roots. And every time I drive by, I feel protected and safe.
Today as I approached the old oak, I caught a shadow coming at my car from the left side.
It was large and approaching fast, and breath taking beauty and quickness, I saw what was swooping towards me. At first I saw the wing span, as wide as Ingrid, my Volvo and then
this magnificent eagle swept across the front of my car. If my windows had been open, I could have touched her!

I could not believe my eyes. Years ago, when we first built our house, there were eagles that lived on the Mulberry River less than a mile from our house. They would fly over the house often, in all their splendor. A few years back, they disappeared.........I feared that some crazed hunter had shot them down, I hoped that they had just found a new home.
When she flew across the front of my car today, it was like this wonderful message being sent to me. It was as though the heavens had sent a message of strength, an omen if you will, telling me I was on the right path.

I worked with a Native American shaman in Tenn in the 80's. We were having lunch one day and I had told her about the eagles that flew over our house. She told me that eagles only flew over
special areas, that when you saw them, it was a great blessing. As that eagle flew across the hood of Ingrid this afternoon, I remembered what my friend had told me. .......because I felt that great bird's power, I felt as though she was blessing me as her wings shaded Ingrid and I. I still feel blessed tonight, that I was allowed to witness something special, that I was given an omen.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Saying Goodbye

Today was a sad day for me. Physically I am feeling better and stronger, finally getting over the lung infection. But, I had a cousin who made his transition over the weekend. He was several years older than my younger brother and I, but when the families got together he always made sure to spend time with us.

When my brother Ricky and I were kids, my cousin Billy would give us stacks of comic books.
We loved going to his house because he would Always give us a big sack of comics . Billy had been legally blind for as long as I can remember, but he could read comic book print. We would leave his house with Superman, Archie, Tom and Jerry, every comic book that was around he bought them and passed them on to us.

As Billy grew older it was apparent that he was very very smart. He was the first person in our family to graduate from college, then he got his master's and then his PhD. I really looked up to him. I guess in a way, I knew if Billy could be successful, then I could too. He was so inspiring, so encouraging.

The memorial today was bittersweet. There were great photos and memories of Billy and his parents and siblings who have already passed. But it was also a chance to see other cousins that I had not seen in a long time, a chance to relive some childhood memories. Billy had been ill for the past year, and had suffered greatly, but his wife told me that even this past week in the hospital his sense of humor never failed, he kept his nurses amused while he was in pain.

I know that tonight he no longer suffers, and I hope that where ever he is, his vision is 20/20 and he has a big stack of comic books!

Sunday, September 19, 2010


I live on the top of one of the very beginning foothills of the Appalachians. It is the perfect place to look at stars, not a lot of houses, far enough away from Birmingham that the city lights don't steal the stars' glow. I love to look at stars. You see billions it seems when you look in the dark indigo
sky. Sometimes I look at the stars like I did on the way home tonight from band practice.
We are much like them. They are individuals shinning brightly, yet they are also connected, a part of the universe.

Each of those stars shimmer in the night sky. Each of us have that possibility of shimmering here on earth. We are so very different, yet still so much alike. Our life experiences shape us,
the people we meet, the places we go, our families and friends, our education, everything plays a role in our individual selves. Some of us shine at the beginning of our lives, we light up everything around us, and then as the years go by, we lose our light........maybe the dimness is slow, or maybe through trauma and loss the light goes out quickly. Others start as tiny little twinkles, and as we live our lives, we glow brighter and brighter. These are the ones, who fill their lives and hearts with love, who seem to vibrate at such a higher rate than the rest of us.

Some of us reflect more than others, our glow is a quiet reflection of the love around us. We are happy to bask in the light of those who surround us.
Then there are those who are like magnificent shooting stars, they outshine all the rest, and as they streak through life, they leave a trail of light that seems to go on forever. Those are such rarities, those people who light a room up when they enter, who seem to light up everyone's world. These are the stars, who are missed so much, when their light is gone.

It might be a far reach to compare yourselves with the stars, but it is not. Every day, somewhere, at some point, each of us has the potential to light up some one's life. With a kind word, a smile, an offer of friendship, a common courtesy, a moment of peacefulness, dark corners can be filled with light, those whose lives may have dimmed, your light can reflect on them and they too can shimmer again.

Tonight imagine how empty the night sky would be without all those stars twinkling in the heavens, then think about how empty some one's life could be, if you don't allow your light to shine. Your light could be the only light they can see, the only light that reaches them.
Allow your self to shine, allow human kindness to radiate from you and let it fill a void in someone's darkness.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Sleep Walking

I know that every morning, at some point, we all wake up and get started with our day.
We awaken from sleep( and hopefully a good sleep) and we begin certain routines.........morning rituals if you will and for most of us they are the same day after day. Then our day begins, and once again for most of us, we go through the motions. Maybe we go to jobs, or we work from home, no matter what those motions involve pretty much the same activities on a day to day basis.

Many of us wonder, why we are bored, why we feel so empty, why we are depressed. Don't you think it may be time for us to wake up?????
It seems we exist many days on auto-pilot, knowing exactly how our days will start and end. It is not surprising then, that when life throws a curve ball, we lose it. Maybe the depression in this country is tied to our ambivalence. We eat the same food, listen to the same talk radio show, watch the same tv shows, complain about who's in office, judge each other, listen to the same music, the list goes on and on, and it's all the same day, day after day.

So what if tomorrow, when someone asks you how you 're doing, instead of starting the same old triad, pain, politics, everything that can possibly be wrong..........wake up. If it is a beautiful day say so, if things really are bad, instead of blaming, discuss honestly what is happening that is causing you so much grief.

I know we all love the familiar, but eat something new for breakfast. Don't listen to the news!
Listen to beautiful music. Take some deep breaths, and whisper a prayer of gratitude.
Look around and see if you can hear a bird sing. If someone cuts you off in traffic, send them a blessing instead of a curse.

When you start your day of work, instead of just doing what it takes to get by, do your best.
If you have some extra time, offer to help someone , kindness and service are great ways to feel awake. I think that numbness is epidemic in our world, and much of it we do to ourselves.
It is so easy to take a drink, swallow a pill, and not feel. Being awake takes effort, and it can be quite scary. When you are awake, you begin to see and feel, and that is not always pleasant.

When I was caring for my mom, I developed severe headaches, I knew it was stress, but I went to the doc, just to let Rick know that he would not be collecting insurance on me any time soon.
The first thing the doctor wanted to do, after he heard what was going on in my life, was to put me on antidepressants. I declined, and he was appalled. I tried to explain to him that I understood life was not one big party, that I believed we were here to experience and learn.
How could I do that if I could not feel? For me being able to feel, good or bad, happy or sad, was important, it is how I stay awake. This is my journey and I have to stay true.

Some days I find my self on auto-pilot, those are the days when I feel empty, those are the days that I begin to feel down. Thank goodness that I have people around who remind me to breathe, to meditate, to eat fresh food, and drink pure water, to wake up and see what is going on around me.

So, if you have found yourself sleepwalking lately, if you are moving through your days and they have become a is time to wake up. Take a mental health day, and go outside. Nature is a healing force, fresh air, sunshine, clouds, rain, wind, it is all good. Walk, we were meant to move, and as you walk, take in as much oxygen as you can, be greedy, it's free. You are worth more than fast food, you are worth a piece of fruit, a home cooked meal. You are worthy of seeing a beautiful flower and hearing the song of a bird. You are worthy of silence, and good conversation. Wake up, look around, it will all be gone before you know it, don't sleep through
the experience of being here.

Friday, September 17, 2010

What Matters Most

A few years ago, my husband sent me to a time management seminar called What Matters Most.
I know, but Rick is linear in his thought process and I am circles and squiggly lines. It was an excellent seminar and to this day I still sit down every morning and work my day planner.
Yes, I drank the Kool-Aide, but only a sip!

One of the most interesting points was setting priorities, or the big rocks as they called them. To make a short story of it, this guy fills a big container with rocks, them small rocks, then sand and then water, the theory being, put in the big rocks first(the most important stuff) and then add the little stuff, you will be amazed that it all fits, when you add the big rocks first.

And I got that, even before the seminar.......I understood setting priorities. What it helped me with most was understanding that a to do list was quite different.

But back to the title, What Matters Most........I had another asthma attack today. That is two in the space of a couple of weeks, along with the infection. As I was drowning on dry land all I could think of was what did matter most in my life. I kept thinking of friends that I wanted to see and spend time with, places that I wanted to visit, songs that I wanted to sing, people that I wanted to say I love you to. I never panic, I always stay calm and I believe with all my heart the yoga and breath work keep me going. But once the inhalers started to work, and I could feel the oxygen flowing into my lungs and I could exhale, I lay down on the sofa to take a nap.
As I lay looking out into the front yard, watching hummingbirds and butterflies and squirrels flit about with great joy, the tears fell on my cheeks.

What matters most........the ones who love you, who hold out their arms and hug you like there's no tomorrow, the joy on a child's face as they hear the wind and feel the sun, the beauty of a butterfly that lights on your shoulder, a big black dog that watches over you like a true guardian angel, the beauty of this earth, family and friends who love you when you think you are unlovable, writing a song that will be here even when you are not.
What matters most......being there when you are needed, listening when no one else will, making sure the ones you love know it, sharing time when it is the least thing you have to share.
Letting you all know how much I appreciate your time, the fact that you spend a few minutes of your precious time each day, reading my thoughts, getting to know me.
What matters most......another day to be grateful.

Thursday, September 16, 2010


It must be a combination, of the meds, the lung infection, the 95 degree heat, and maybe low bio-rhythms. I am feeling very low tonight and honestly not so well. I am not a good patient.
I have tremendous patience in many areas of my life, but not when it comes to my healing.

My normal sunshiny outlook, is definitely a shade grey. Tonight, I would like to run away.....and breathe salty air and feel cold. See rain in slow steady drizzle, and hear wind blow through the trees while leaves and branches do battle.

This is when I want to sing the most, and this is when I become furious at my body. Tonight I am not an easy person to live with. I know it will be better soon, and yes I have breathed and meditated and walked. ........and chastised myself for my ungratefulness.

This is when I want the signs, the omens, and this is when my lessons are taught and I find my humbleness. I have fought this for a few weeks, silly me, I thought it would go away or just disappear. So forgive me for my ravings, and bitchy attitude. My lessons like to slap me across the face.

I am sure by tomorrow, I will feel stronger. By tomorrow my breath will be easier, my attitude adjusted. I am grateful tonight that you all have let me rant and ramble, thanks for listening.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


Did you realize that we are all alchemists? Everyday we turn lead into gold......don't scoff!
Each and every day, we are faced with questions and decisions, some are life threatening, some are trivial. But when we take them to heart, when we answer with truth and honesty we make gold.

One of my absolute favorite books is The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. It's a small book, only 167 pages, a simple yet profound story that can be a fable or a book of philosophy. To me, it is a book of truths, every page full of insights and lessons.

The story of a young shepherd who wants to travel the world. He has a dream, he meets a gypsy and she tells him to follow his dream. Not convincing enough, he meets a king who explains that it is Santiago's(shepherd boy) Personal Legend to follow his dream. What's a Personal Legend?
According to the king, "it is what you have always wanted to accomplish."

So Santiago sets out to follow his dream, that dream is to go to the Pyramids and find treasure.
Along the way, he meets The Alchemist and then the lessons truly begin. One of the things the Alchemist talks to him about about is Personal Legends and how we lose them. The Alchemist
says "to listen to your heart, it knows all things,where ever your heart is, that is where you'll find your treasure."

My grandmother Mamie, told me once that your heart don't give bad advice. I believe she spoke the truth. I think that when we have tough questions(lead) and we listen to our hearts, we get the gold, the answer!

I reread The Alchemist, because right now I have questions, I am trying to hold on to my Personal Legend and not lose my way. This past year, my life has been filled with alchemy.
New paths, new directions, new far, it has all been gold. Trusting your heart can be unnerving, but this past year I have trusted mine more than ever before and it seems that every day I find gold.

So tonight my friends, think about you Personal Legend, just once your heart,
and remember there's a little alchemy in our lives every day.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Old and New

I love plants, and I have a green thumb...... courtesy of my paternal grandmother Mamie, and my mom. Tonight, I thought I would share with you all my oldest plant and my newest one. Before I share those stories with ya'll I will tell you this, when you enter our house in the winter, it is like walking into a forest. We have 14 foot ceilings in our great room and the first thing you see is a lemon tree and a grapefruit tree that touch the ceiling. Then you might notice a ten foot mango and a couple of avocado trees that are maybe eight feet tall. And all around there are various other plants, the only time I ever wish that we lived in a large house is when I need more space for the plants.

Now for the oldest plant I care belonged to my mom's mother Wilma and she gave it to my mother in 1964.
It is a big old philodendron, that summers on the patio out front by the screen porch and winters in the guest room.
Its leaves are almost a foot long, the trunk is 6-8 inches in diameter. Its place of honor in the guest room is in front of the bed. Needless to say, there is not much walking around space but you do get a feel of sleeping in the outdoors. Don't panic, if you ever spend the night with us, there are nice soft deep forest green flannel sheets and big fluffy pillows. A good
night's sleep is our guarantee!

Now, the newest plant to live here, was given to me by a dear friend a few short weeks ago. Believe it or not, all these plants and no bamboo! So my friend gave me this sweet little planter with two beautiful bamboo stalks nestled in river stones.

Another cherished old plant, is a begonia that Mamie gave to my mom in the seventies and now it lives with me. I feel so special to have these treasures in my home. There is a Christmas cactus that was in full bloom when my mom made her transition and it has never bloomed since.......five years. So if any of you have suggestions on how to get her to bloom again let me know.

Of course there is a pot of shamrocks, and a kitchen window sill full of violets. I do share, the philodendron has a baby right now, that needs a new home and I have a cutting from the begonia that is rooted and ready to move in with a nice family.
There is something mystical about caring for these plants. The trees that I mentioned earlier were all started from seeds that my mom planted. I do hope that if they are all still living when I make my transition that someone will want them, and love them and care for them. They are a part of me, really a part of my heritage, of who I am.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Monday Moments

Sometimes Mondays are truly Mondays, you get out of bed and it goes down hill. Today has been a Monday full of good moments. This morning walking the dogs, the air was brisk and clean( I actually needed a jacket for the first 15 minutes or so) it felt so good to breathe and move.
Today was the birthday for a couple of good friends, so I got to send them birthday wishes.
My phone rang this morning, and it was a dear friend's voice who lives in another state, we had a wonderful conversation and the call made my day!

I got to work and had really good classes. Then at my yoga class that I teach at the local community center, I had a couple of new students and the return of one who has had some health problems. It has been a Monday filled with good moments......not the grand slam kind, but the ones that remind you it is good to be alive. Also, Rick cleaned the porch(including furniture)! wow!

I love these days, these days that are filled with good moments. I know that we love the Big Days, but in the scheme of things, it is these moments that make our lives, that remind us that we are loved and cared for. These moments create memories and connections, that give us that little extra we need on days that are not so good. Tonight as I type these words, Blackie Bear is lying at my feet waiting patiently for bedtime. This big black dog has given me so many great moments. He knows when I am sick and he never leaves my side, he keeps his best eye on me.
Tomorrow Jordan will spend the day, I know there will be lots of good moments with him.
So tonight, before you close your eyes, think about your good moments today. Be sure to say a prayer of gratitude for those moments, I hope that tomorrow brings lots of those moments for you all.
Good night, sweet dreams.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Fruits of Autumn

We took the dogs and ourselves for our morning walk, and the most delicious smell permeated the air down by the barn. It was sweet and earthy, and I could hear the chatter of a squirrel in the trees above us trying his best to scare us away. He actually dropped a couple of hickory nuts down our way in hopes of hitting one of us on the head.

I continue to look for the source of the that intoxicating smell, and then I saw the vine and the clusters of deep bronze to purple fruit. No wonder the squirrel was so angry, he wanted all those muscadine grapes for himself.
For those of you who have never had a muscadine, you have missed quite a treat. There are wild muscadine vines all over our property, but the summer has been so hot that most of the green ones had dropped off the vines. Why these had clung to the vine I have no idea, just a little gift from Mother Nature I suppose. The skins are thick but the flesh is juicy and sweet with a little bite of tartness. In years past, when the vines have been loaded, I made muscadine jelly. I am here to tell you, muscadine jelly on hot biscuits is a southern delight.

I can remember when I was just a kid, my older brothers would pick muscadines for my mom so that she could make jelly. What they never told her, they always kept a quart or so for themselves..... and they would sneak out back and make muscadine wine in a mason jar.
They would tie fishing line around the neck of the jar and then slowly lower it down into an old well out back.
I once caught them sipping the wine and they gave me a dollar not to tell our mom. I know, I was such an easy bribe, I was only 5 or 6 years old. There surely would have been hell to pay had my mom known about their wine making venture!

There were not enough of the wild grapes for jelly making today, but there were enough for a mid-walk treat. Wish I could share them with you all to night, or at least share the aroma of those warm muscadines hanging in the September sun. The apples are starting to get those deep red streaks, just a few more weeks, fresh apple pie! The last fruits of autumn for us will be persimmons......that is if the deer and raccoons don't eat them all! Just wish there had been more muscadines.

Saturday, September 11, 2010


After writing about the now and the journey this week, guess there is no way to avoid not talking about purpose. These are just my thoughts because there are incredible books out there written by some amazing writers that discuss purpose. I have students that question me about purpose, what it is and how to find it, I have friends who have talked with me about it.

I think that there are particular times in our lives when we really question our purpose. Usually we are young, and trying to find our way through the maze of early adult hood, we have suffered loss or trauma, or there are more years behind us than ahead. Since the very beginning of time, I believe that we humans have tried to figure out why we are here, what should we do.

There have been times in my life when I have known beyond a shadow of a doubt what my purpose in life was, and then other times, when I seemed to have no purpose whatsoever.
Some days I believe that our only purpose seems to be, "to treat others as you would have them treat you". If it were only that simple...........maybe it is. Some days I think, maybe I am just reading too much into this purpose stuff.

So here are some of my observations about purpose, I think for most of us, our purpose does change as our lives progress. But no matter what our purpose is at any given time, I agree with Matthew Kelly in The Rhythm Of Life, we should strive to be the best version of ourselves.
So that point taken, if you are a parent, then be the best parent you can be, if you are a student,
don't settle, do your best, if you are a writer, an artist, a friend, no matter what you are today,
maybe it is our purpose just to be the best version of who we are right now.

All my life I have wanted to achieve greatness, but then I have to question greatness in what?
I thought when I was a teenager that I could change the world. There are times when I think that a song I have had a hand in writing would bring that greatness, but maybe the greatness just comes down to how we treat our fellow man. Maybe that is where true greatness lies, where purpose is born.......just in how we treat each other and ourselves.

I think it is good to question our purpose, that questioning keeps us on our toes, keeps us accountable. Sometimes our purpose may be to save lives, to help change someone's path, to lead........and then sometimes maybe our purpose is to follow, to speak truth, to be kind and just give somebody a big hug and a smile.

Friday, September 10, 2010

The Journey

One of the things that I have to remind myself's the journey, not the destination.
A couple of nights ago, I wrote about being in the now, how important the present is. Well along that same vein is the journey. It is so true that we allow the memories of the past and the fears of the future to cloud our vision of now, the actual journey.

Years ago I would make all these five year plans, all these yearly goals and I would do nothing but obsess about getting there. I met extraordinary people and had experiences that many just dream about, and I can assure you, that always foremost in my head at that time, was the destination, not the incredible journey that was taking place in my life.

Now, I simply write out a What Do I Want list every few weeks to gently remind me of things that I would like in my life, but every day there is a detour, and I am ok with that. The difference now and then, I obsessed, but I didn't put in the reps. Many days now I don't put in the reps, but I understand more fully the value of the journey and I truly understand the value of the reps.

The journey today has been good, difficult, and interesting. I have learned a little more about myself today and my growth. I realized today, that emotions can still sweep over me like a hurricane, but they don't own me, they don't rule me. Being in the now, keeps you focused on the journey, the breath really is everything and it is the fuel for the journey.

I keep a copy of the poems, Ithaka and Desiderata in my yoga bag. They are great maps and guides for the journey and each time I read them I am reminded of what a marvelous journey it has been so far and all that is unfolding as it should.

I let myself feel very foolish sometimes when I focus on the destination, because really in the scheme of things, the destination is death.......of the ego and the flesh. So tonight, I have read once more those poems I carry with me daily. They remind me to value my journey, to hold it dear to my heart, to feed it with my breath and to never forget it is now.

Thursday, September 9, 2010


There are many things in life that give me pleasure(enjoyment or satisfaction). On a hot summer day, a glass of pure cold water or sweet/tart lemonade, a slice of red ripe watermelon. On a cold winter's day, homemade soup and fresh baked bread, a mug of spiced cider or hot chocolate(heavy on the marshmallows please) put a smile on my face. Autumn leaves swirling in the wind, the first daffodils of spring.......
my nephew Jordan's smile when he walks in my front door, all the dogs greeting me when I come in from work.

A warm kind hug from a friend who loves me, a call from someone whose voice I haven't heard in awhile, an e-mail from someone letting me know they were thinking of me, a comment from one of you who read this blog. It really is the little things in life that give the most pleasure, the big things that you work so hard for, they happen......and then it's over, and life goes on. But the little day to day pleasures, that is what I hold in my heart. Those are the things that lift my spirit, that leave me feeling so grateful that I am alive.

Since I am rereading The Power of Now(for the 4th time) I am reminded of the fact that it really is the journey, not the destination. The journey is taking place now, it is the interaction of all things good and bad, the sweet and the not so sweet. Speaking of sweet, every night after dinner, Rick and I have a piece of dark luscious chocolate. You know the kind, that melts on your tongue ever so slowly, that has the body and richness of a mellow Cabernet. I eat very little sugar, but that dark chocolate, that is one of my guilty little pleasures and I savor every bite of that small square.

Life is full of pleasures when you think about it, a long hot bath after a long day. Clean fresh sheets, a good book, a great movie, an evening with friends or family, a lick on the face from a happy dog, a meal that is shared, a walk through the woods, watching the sunset, seeing shooting stars stream across the night sky.

The words I Love You, spoken from the heart, shared giggles and shared tears, knowing that you are cared about, when deep down in your heart you don't feel very lovable. A good night's sleep and a nap on a rainy afternoon, the smell of rain on dry dirt, the first snowfall of the winter and how clean the air smells, and all the colors of grey as the snow gently drifts down to earth.

So tonight, my friends, think about your pleasures, maybe it's the way your partner kisses your lips as though they were fragile crystal, or Sunday waffles, or the smell of fresh coffee in the early morning light. When you allow yourself to list all those little pleasures, the list really grows, I could keep going for sometime. The next time you have a bad day, list your pleasures,
that day will get better, I promise.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


Before we started our yoga classes today, I read from Eckhart Tolle's "The Power Of Now". I have read this book at least three times, and am on my third copy, because I keep giving it away.
It is also on my recommended reading list I give to my yoga students. I wanted to share Tolles' thoughts about the now and the future with my students, it seemed to be the right time, and judging from comments that were made after class it was something some of them needed to hear.

Many times when I talk about living in the now, living in the present, students eyes glaze over.
It is such a simple concept, yet so difficult to grasp. We are so geared to think about everything but now. We wag our pasts around, reliving our tragedies, our sorrow, our use to be and what might have beens. We worry and project about our futures, thinking so foolishly that we can control them. And what happens between dwelling in the past, and constantly looking into the future, we miss out on right now.

Tolle talks about the past as a memory trace, stowed in the mind, it is a former now.....when you remember the past, you just reactivate a memory trace. He calls the future, an imagined now, a projection of the mind. He reminds us that when we think about the future, we do it now. That the past and the future have no reality of their own. He compares them to the moon, and just as the moon has no light of its own, it only reflects the light of the sun. The reality of the past and the future are "borrowed" from the now.

I believe that our pasts help to shape who we are now, and the experience helps us face the future. But we cannot let the weight or the glories of the past take away our now. Just like we cannot allow our worries or projections about the future to overshadow our present.
How many of us take just moments each day to really be present??? Do we feel the wind or the warmth from the sun? Do we acknowledge people as we pass them on the street? Do we know if there are flowers blooming, when is the last time we listened to a bird sing? Do we know what our partner was wearing when they left for work this morning? When' s the last time we noticed the texture and taste and smell of the food we were eating. When you took your morning shower, how did the water feel as it washed against your skin, what did your soap smell like?

One of the saddest things anyone ever said to me, was several years ago at a class reunion.
I was talking to someone I had graduated from high school with, and on the outside it appeared that life had been very kind to them. They were married, with children, successful in business, known throughout their community. But as we stood there and talked, this person made the remark to me that the best time of their life had been in high this was some 15 years or so later. The question that kept running through my mind, what is wrong with you,
can't you see, the life you have.....all you are doing is reliving your memories, taking them around like baggage, living in your past while the present whizzes by.

I think gratitude plays a big role, in our ability to let go of the past, and live in the now. So, maybe a few years ago, we were younger, and stronger and better looking and more popular and faster and you fill in the rest of the blanks! But what about now, hopefully you have learned something, you have experienced love, and sadness, and all those emotions in between. Life is fleeting, and none of us are promised a future, all we have is right now.

So stop beating yourself up over what might have been, and stop sweating about what might happen tomorrow. It truly is all about now. Find one thing to tonight to be grateful about, and when you wake up tomorrow morning, find one more thing to be grateful for. Gratitude will bring you joy, and for many of us, it is time we gave ourselves permission to have joy and peace in our hearts NOW!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

A Very Long Day

My great nephew, Jordan spends the day with me on Tuesdays, while his mom is in Physical
Therapy School. He is a really sweet, smart little two year old and we always have a large time.
This morning he was sick, the doc seems to think it is viral, but his mouth and throat are covered
in open ulcers, and he keeps running a temperature. This has been going on for several days, so he is a very hungry child at this point. Popsicles do not sustain a two year's old energy for long.
So, I thought, maybe if he hangs in the kitchen with me, we can cook or make something that he can eat. WRONG! First, we made jello, well he would not touch it, that's not true, he loved touching it, he just didn't want to eat it. We made smoothies, and he loved dumping the fruit and yogurt in the blender, and turning it on, just did not want to eat it. Mashed potatoes came next,
bananas, and yep, we were back to Popsicles. Finally about two this afternoon, vanilla wafers dipped in milk worked like a charm.

Normally he is so independent, but today I have sat for hours and held him, rubbed his feet and his back, and every time his fever would rise, sit him in the bath tub. Right now, I am wishing that someone would rub my feet, my back and feed me Popsicles.

Actually, my plans were to take a nice long bath earlier, but the power went off. No, no storms, or wind, it happens a lot where we live. We are in the country, almost 12 miles to the nearest store or bank, our power lines are the original ones that were strung through the community in the 30's, if we go without power for 24 hours, our phones go out! Sometimes it's just a squirrel that crosses the lines. And no, my cell phone does not work here. But good news, about an hour ago, POWER! So, this is a short entry tonight,
there is a nice long bath calling out to me, and a cup of hot tea, and a good book.
Goodnight, sweet dreams

Monday, September 6, 2010


It's one of those days when I would like to breathe salty air. I feel the need to go somewhere.
It is a feeling of missing the sea.....drifting if you wish. I haven't seen the ocean in a long time.
And it's not the sandy beaches of the Gulf coast that I wish to see, it is the mountains dropping off into the Pacific or the rocky coast of the northern Atlantic. I want to see waves crashing, feel the wind blowing in my face, maybe have a bowl of clam chowder or some oysters. Walk barefoot on the beach, and feel cold water sweep across my toes.

This started last night talking with friends about Seattle, and then thinking about the coast just south of San Francisco, and then I thought about Boston, well that is just how my brain works.
Next thing I know, I want clam chowder, or salmon while I am looking out on grey rough water.

It's not that I don't love the Gulf coast, I have lots of great memories of the Gulf. The sunsets are some of the most beautiful on earth, and the turquoise water can be most breathtaking.
And of course, don't forget about the dazzling white sand beaches.

Ok, so now I am thinking about the coast of Ireland, especially Galway. The little fishing villages, and crab claws as large as my hand. A gentle rain falling, a great little book store, and the afternoon spent at a bed and breakfast, listening to the wind and rain, and a great cup of tea.

Well, it appears I am craving fresh seafood, salty crisp air, and just a little get away.
I had planned on writing something about Labor Day, but my brain can turn on a dime at any given moment and this is where I went tonight.
So for all of you who are somewhere on or near the coast tonight, I am envious. Go out and take a deep breath of the briny air for me, and maybe have some chowder for lunch tomorrow or fried clams. If you get the chance, let the waves wash over your toes and squeal and giggle, I can promise I would do the same for you!
Good night, sweet dreams.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Autumn Post Card

This morning it was 52 degrees here, in Empire, Alabama. The skies were blue and cloudless, the sunlight, brilliant with a hint of gold. I know this was just Mother Nature taunting me, just a big tease.......but that's ok. Autumn is just around the corner. Most of you know, this is my favorite time of the year. I wait patiently all during the searing heat of July and August dreaming that fall will come.

We walked this morning, and the dogs were in rare form. Blackie Bear, is maybe 12 or 14 and he pranced like a young pup, rolling in the dew soaked grass, barking for joy. Charlie, just meandered sniffing butterflies, looking up at the sky. Astro, ran like a shiny black race horse gearing up for the Kentucky Derby, while Buddy ran in wild sporadic spurts. Taylor the Dump Dog, rambled down the trail moving faster than she has all summer. They all knew, this won't last, but there will be more days like this in the weeks to come.

The weather man is already saying back to the low 90's mid-week and 70's at night. But in the morning, once again we'll sit on the deck and drink coffee knowing it's just around the corner.
Those crisp mornings, and warm afternoons, when days grow shorter and the sunsets more vivid, more colorful every evening. Every where I look, there is a tinge of softening color on the tips of leaves.

To those of you who love fall as much as I do, hold on, it's coming. Right now is just the transitional period, summer holding on refusing to leave without a fight, autumn waiting smugly in the wings for her time to shine. Today, was a post card, just a reminder
autumn's coming soon.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Vision Board

Once a year, I make a vision board. It hangs in the laundry room(for only two people, seems I do a hell of a lot of laundry). I often suggest to friends and yoga students that they too make a vision board.

So what is a vision board? You begin by cutting pictures, words, phrases, that represent the life you want and then arrange them on a poster. This year I focused on music, gardens/home, yoga and friends and creativity. Truthfully, many years those are the things that I focus on. But this year, it is a little different.......more music, actually more travel, changing my image, sprucing up the house,spending time with friends, teaching yoga with as much truth as I know, writing more(thus the blog)

Why do a vision board? It works. It puts into perspective what is important in your life, how you want to live, goals, the life you see your self living. It needs to be hung where you see it every day, as a reminder of the path you want to follow. So far, most of what I posted on this collage has in some shape or form manifested . We took our first vacation in seven years.
I lost weight(still have a few pounds to go) we have spruced up the house, reworked the gardens, playing more music, I am way better on guitar, I think my teaching skills have gone up a notch(due to great trainings and inspiring students) we have spent more time with friends.
One of my favorite Wayne Dyer quotes, "you get what you think about whether you want it or not" reinforces my belief in vision boards. When it is right there in front of you, and you see it daily, the brain is ready to make changes. You think about what you see, and you begin to strive for those changes, for that life that you have pictured.

I challenge you all tonight, make your selves a vision board. I think you will be delighted as you actually see your dreams and thoughts hanging on the wall. You will be glad to be reminded of what is important to you, on those days when it seems you are only treading water. And as the months go by, you will be reminded of what you have achieved. There will be changes too, what you may have put down at the beginning, in a few months you may realize that some of those things are not what you wanted at all!

Tonight, I have posted a photo of my vision board, and a new photo of myself. Just testing the waters on the new image. Let me know how those vision boards progress!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Just Breathe

Every yoga class I teach, I always talk about the importance of the breath. I spend a good bit of time teaching breath work, encouraging students to understand the breath is everything. I personally spend a lot of time every day doing controlled breath work. I believe with all my heart, that learning to control your breath enables you to control the body and mind.

But even with all of this, I know that like most of you, most days I take my breathing for granted.
Until a day like today,
I taught two classes( of all things on the breath) and my students loved them, they really got into the breath work and the reading that I did.
Plus, I gave a handout on stillness and breath.

After my last class, I packed everything up and got ready to clock out. When I entered the lobby of the building where the time clock is, my lungs started to spasm. Something had triggered an
asthma attack. I barely remember clocking out, and made it back to my car. Did my emergency inhaler and called Rick. I made it home, fine, very winded and fatigued. I took my breath for's such an easy thing to do, take your breath for granted until you feel as though you are drowning on dry land.

The yoga breath work has made such a difference, I stay calm, and as hard as it is, I do control my breath to some extent when an attack hits. I can't remember the last time I had an attack.
Who knows what caused this one today. It will be awhile before I take my breath for granted
In yoga, the philosophy is you are born with a certain number of breaths. But because of the stress that most of us live, the hectic lifestyle, the shallow breathing, then it is thought we shorten our lives. But when we breathe slow and deeply, we live calmly and we lengthen our lives.

So to all of you tonight, take a few minutes everyday, sit still and breathe slowly, in and out through the nose. The stillness and the breath will change your life.......... it may save your life.
Just breathe.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Four Gold Rings

For those of you who know me, you know that there is something missing on my hands.......
diamonds. I wear four skinny gold wedding bands, that's it. The only time they have left my hands was when I had surgery a few years ago.

The rings do have stories. One belonged to my mom, one to Rick's dad, one belonged to my mom's best friend, and the other is my wedding band. When I see them on my hands, I feel comfort, and connections. They are me.

Not sure why I never desired diamonds, they are beautiful on others, but when ever I have tried a diamond ring on it looks alien, it does not belong on my hands.

I am often asked about the rings. Once on a plane, a gentleman sitting next to me, asked if I had been married four times. I laughed so hard, he probably thought I had, even when I said no.

Now, I do love vintage, costume jewelry. Old and funky, old and beautiful, I have quite a collection. As my girlfriend Kaye likes to say, I decide what piece I am wearing and then I choose my clothes for the day. I have a couple of really special yoga pieces too. A silver dragon that a friend gave me, and a Tibetan prayer coin, both are sacred to me.

Most days however, I only wear my four gold rings. When I look at my hands, the rings just seem to belong, they complete me. My nieces, Becky and Jayna have made it known that when I leave this body, they want the rings. Cannot imagine the four not together.

So, as I sit here typing tonight, the gold catches the light from my desk lamp, and it shimmers. My hands are not pretty, they look like my grandmother Mammie's, but the rings make them special. Four tiny golden bands, four lives, forever connected.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Southern French

I love the French language, me trying to speak it is rather sad, I do have a decent comprehension of it. I now have two apps for my I-phone, and every day I practice........I think this is gonna take a long long time.

So today, I revisited a couple of cds that are part of my all time favorite collection. Both are by Zachary Richard, "Women In The Room" and "Snake Bite Love". So what do these cds have to do with my love of the French language. Zachary Richard is from LaFayette, La, is a singer/songwriter, a poet, a writer of children's books, he is so French, yet so American. He just released his first cd in English in 15 years. I love his music, it is Cajun, it is Zydeco, it is French poetry and American activism. It is happy, yet sometimes so poignant and loving, it brings tears to my eyes. I have a couple of his French cds, yet today I listened to those from many years ago. These two particular cds have songs that always make me smile and want to dance, yet also touch my heart. I can't wait to get his new cd. I saw Zach live in Atlanta several years ago, it was a great concert, an undeniable sexy, fun energy filled two hours with moments that broke your heart and then made you want to love. It was a truly memorable evening.

So, do I think I will ever be fluent in French? I honestly don't know. My southern drawl seems to butcher even the simplest of phrases. Sometimes, folks from other parts of the United States have difficulty understanding me, God help the French!

If any of you have suggestions on ways to study the language, please send me info. Yes, I know that packing up and moving to Provence would help immensely but at this point in my life that is not an option.

Maybe at this point I should just find a class and go! I have some extra time these days, if I could find a water color class taught in French by a singer/songwriter.............can anybody out there help me out????????