Tuesday, May 31, 2011


A soldier gave me his dog tags yesterday, and I cried. He is in one of my classes(he never misses)
and as he walked in, he told me had something for me. He said he wanted them to be my good luck charm, my talisman if you will.......at first I was speechless, and then the tears came. It was Memorial Day and I should have been the one giving to him, but instead there he was.......with tags in hand, hugging and thanking me. Today I have held those tags in amazement, I felt so honored, and so not worthy.

When I was a young teen, I wanted to join the Peace Corp. I talked to my dad about it, but my mom went ballistic, no way, no discussing, forget it. My whole life, I have wanted to be of service.
My parents were good examples, they were always helping, always lending a hand. I think yoga/therapy has allowed me to serve, to do my best. But most days, I wish I could do more.

This Thursday I will start a Stress Management Class in Sipsey, our community that was devastated by the tornadoes. It is free to any who wish to come, through out our county.
I hope that is some small way, it helps. We will do breath work, some very gentle stretches,
and relaxation techniques. We got good news today, FEMA has extended their stay for one more month. There is still so much debris to move, and around ten houses to be demolished, before the rest of the trailers can be brought in. We still have folks in tents and little travel trailers. It was 98 degrees today, and the weather guys say it will be that hot for several more days.

I hope that all of you, have warm sunshine, blue skies and someone to hug this week.
Blackie Bear is snoring, and it is almost my bed time too.
Good night, Sweet dreams.

Monday, May 30, 2011

My Corner

This is my corner of our screen porch. It's an old rusty metal chair that belonged to my grandmother.
A moon and stars folding screen(I love anything moon and stars) an old kerosene heater that works as a fern stand, and a rug that I painted several years ago. This is my spot, to sit and drink coffee, or lemon aide or read or just sit and listen to the birds. Don't you love the way the morning light shimmers across that corner?

We just got the porch spring/summer ready this past weekend.......better late than never. We sat and had our morning coffee there today, listening to music, watching the birds.......heaven.

Rick does a lot of his writing on this porch, but me.....I do a lot of day dreaming here. It is my quiet spot, my place to think, to meditate, it is a peaceful retreat.
The dogs love the porch too, there is a ceiling fan and a huge oak tree at the corner for shade, it is always just a wee bit cooler here than any other place in the yard.

This porch looks like our house, just a simple cottage, but warm and welcoming. The carpenter was here today, and he will finish the arbor tomorrow. Then, I can plant jasmine, and hopefully by next summer, you'll walk through the arbor covered in jasmine to our front door. Or as my sister calmly said, you can walk through my arbor covered in flowers and maybe fight the bees and wasps. So, now we see, my glass is half full, hers is half empty.......actually she is just a realist. I choose to believe, even if there are bees they will not sting. Ha, ha!

I hope you all had a good Memorial Day......I thought of my dad, friends, students and husband Rick, who have served this country. I know so many have sacrificed, and thank you just seems so inadequate. For those who have died, a prayer of thanks and love.....for those active and retired, a prayer of thanks and many blessings. I hugged as many soldiers as I could today, I hope you had the opportunity to hug a few too!
Good night, Sweet dreams.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Long Good Day

My day started at five am this morning. Rick and I did a local tv show, Coffee Time and it airs at seven thirty so we had to be at the studio at a quarter til seven for sound check.
It is difficult to sing that early in the morning! But we love doing the show, and we were able to discuss some problems with some of the tornado recovery work and hopefully the awareness will bring us some help.

This afternoon, my family came over, including nieces and nephews and great nieces and nephews.
We had a backyard full of little kids on a slippery slide! There were hot dogs, and watermelon and home made ice cream and all the trimmings, including sweet tea and lemonade. At some point the little kids wanted to play ball, we had a plastic bat and ball, so I told them I would play too.
All was well, until my great nephew Jared got up to bat, Jared is a slinger of bats.........he hit and
I caught the ball, and then the bat caught me, across the top of my left hand. At first there was a huge big black knot, and lots of throbbing, after a long sit with the ice pack, the knot is gone, but the top of my hand is one big bruise. Moral of this story........should not be playing ball with six and seven year old All Stars.

Needless to say, I am tired, in pain and yes, I would say I am just a little bit of a whiny baby right now. But it has been a great day! lots of fun, and all the kids wanting to know when they can come back. Oh yeah, as the day was winding down, and we were all on the back deck eating ice cream and watermelon.......three deer came down to the apple trees to eat. The kids were beside themselves. It really has been a great day.
Good night, Sweet dreams.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

My Mother's Voice

My mother's voice........my mother died almost six years ago......she has a younger sister, Betty.....tonight Aunt Betty called, and I thought it was my mom. Their voices are so similar.

Aunt Betty lives in one of the towns that was hit by the tornadoes. She is in her seventies, and they had been without power twenty-one days. She is lucky, she lived in an apartment complex that was not damaged, but most of the town was wiped out. She sounded so frail tonight.
And she still has fear in her voice. The old, and the poor, it seems they are the ones struggling so hard to make it through.....but she is tough and stubborn. Aunt Betty would not leave her friends, and go stay with her daughters after the storms. She would not leave her home.

Hearing her voice, it just left me sad. It brought back memories of my mom, on 9-11, she was on a bus trip with her friends just outside NYC. She never really got over that trip, and when I heard Aunt Betty's voice tonight, I know the trauma of these storms have taken their toll on her.
My mother's voice, the way she pronounced my name.....Aunt Betty speaks just like her.
Rick and I are appearing on a local tv show in the morning, I promised her I would dedicate a song to her........When I knew the storms had hit her town of Cordova, I was beside myself with worry, she is the last of my mom's siblings. It took her daughter two days to get to her,(with the help of the National Guard) and I cried with relief when I knew she was ok.

One day, Aunt Betty will be gone, and that voice will be gone forever. She is my last link to my mom. I am always glad to talk with her, and visit with her......but her voice.....always leaves a lump in my throat. How can two people sound so much alike?

Friday, May 27, 2011


Don't you love the fact that we are all unique? and flawed? I love that most about the human race.
We are all different, we all have faults and flaws.......there are people who love us in spite of our
flaws and those who hate us because of them. Pretty interesting...........my family always told me, I was the weird one, different, odd. When I was a tween, I tried to fit in, to be more perfect......but as I entered my teenage years, I gave up and accepted the fact that I was different. But so was everyone else!

I love that we come in all sizes, all shapes, all colors. I love that we all look different, that we do make mistakes, that we have shortcomings. It reminds us that we are human and there is perfection in the not so perfect. And the amazing thing.......that even with our warts, there are those who love us, no matter what. We are loved.

I know that each and every one of us at some point in our lives has yearned to be like others.
It's sad, that yearning to be just like someone else.......we think it will make us more popular,
more beautiful, happier, more loved. There is such a wonderful peace, when we accept and realize it is ok to be different. These flaws, think about how boring life would be if we didn't have them.......so we screw up, we fall on our face, we make dumb choices.......that's how we learn, how we grow. Unique is good, flawed is human.

Tonight, celebrate your unique qualities, quit beating yourself up because of your flaws. I read a few days ago, that one of the things that is so freeing about aging, is the ability to accept yourself. There are things that I miss about youth(like boundless energy) but I love that through the years, acceptance of me, with all my warts has become something I am comfortable with......I realize I am unique, and that I am loved, flaws and all.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Little Pink House

Today I passed by an old familiar landmark, and suddenly was almost in tears. My dad's family
was very typical of most families in this area......several generations lived on the family land.
My grandparents house sits on a hill, to the left lived my dad's oldest brother and down below to the right was my dad's younger brother.....my dad and mom lived in town. My dad's younger brother was handsome and full of life and like my father and their older brother died too young.
Uncle James and Aunt Inez (dad's younger brother and wife) lived in a pink house.
That house has been in my memory bank since I was a toddler. They had two sons, James and Jerry who were older than me, but I worshiped them and I know I was such a pest when we were kids.

They had a tire swing that hung on the limb of an old oak tree in the back yard. Aunt Inez had red seven sister roses every where, and purple iris. They had a dog, Shorty who was black and tan,
short legged and round as he could be, but I loved him and he always greeted me with a big lick on the face! Aunt Inez had a voice that was as sweet and slow as honey, she had thick black hair that hung almost to her waist, and she wore it braided and wrapped around her head........I loved her dearly. Honestly, she probably baked more birthday cakes for me than my mom ever did and they were always yellow cake with peanut butter caramel icing. The Best cake ever!

Aunt Inez died way too young, she was probably forty, and I can remember my mom and I going with her to the doctor.......I think at that time, the only treatment for cancer was surgery and radiation, and neither worked for her.

Today as I passed by, I realized that little pink house was torn down. It had sat empty for years, and I am sure it would have eventually fallen in, to look and no longer see it, was almost too much to bear. To this day, I remember the rooms, the furniture in that house. She had a lamp
that had a painting on the base and when the light was turned on, a waterfall appeared and it looked as though the water was running.

Aunt Inez always called me Jill, and Uncle James called me Jildabug, ( I did sorta look like an insect when I was a kid) I can hear their voices as clear as can be, I remember their laughter
and the love I felt when I was in their home. Tonight, there was a little part of me, that was torn down with that little pink house. It really is all just a memory now.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


When is a snitch, a snitch......and when and if is it ever the right thing to do? I was asked that question today? I thought it an odd question coming from adults. I was taught as a child that being a tattle tale or snitch was about as low as you go, it was right there with lying and my momma would not tolerate either behavior. My next thought was, as adults we make choices.... that is what this free will thing is all about. As friends we might counsel or advise, but when it comes down to it, we make our choices.......whether they are smart or stupid.

So when I was asked, all I could say was this......we all know in our hearts what is the right thing to do, and each of us has to be guided by our conscience. I am a true believer in following your intuition, listening to your heart. I didn't ask where the question came from or why it was being asked.....and I added that common sense guidelines such as if you knew someone was going to hurt another person, you know the drill.

But I do think that most cultures frown on snitches. And I think as Americans that word is very distasteful and no one wants that label. Trust is sacred......it has to be earned. Once trust is lost, for most, there is no going back......it is lost forever. To me, to have someone's trust is an honorable thing, to lose it, is a disgrace.

So this snitch thing, am I out of the loop, is that something that is taking place in our culture?
Are we encouraging tattle tales? Please tell me that trust still has value, and that betrayal
is still shame. Maybe "Big Brother" was never the one to fear, maybe it is ourselves.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Road Home

I have written about my road home before.......I love my drive to and from work. It is a winding country road, up and down hills and just a few miles before my work place, you realize that you are on a plateau on one of the foothills of the Appalachians . The view is breathtaking.

As I drove home today, I noticed how green and leafy the trees had become. In many places, they form a canopy over the road, a cool verdant roof of lacy leaves. Along the roadside there are black eye Susans blooming, and it seems miles of Queen Anne's Lace. There is a section that appears to be frontage of an old home place, and it is covered by orange day lilies. And of course, there are places where you can smell the wild honeysuckle and see massive blooms of the wild magnolia trees. These are just the wild and untamed areas.

There are modest homes scattered in settlements along the road, and many appear to be in competition for the prettiest flowers. It seemed each house had some sort of beautiful flower/gardens in full bloom today. Roses, were abundant, and also purple petunias.
The sky was a clear bright blue, the ozone has finally cleared, and thought it was ninety degrees,a cool breeze was blowing.

This road home, never ceases to amaze me with it beauty in every season. It is such a great transition to and from work. I am a lucky woman.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Butterfly Dance

I just could not bring myself to write anything about Joplin, Mo. last night. I was doing laundry yesterday evening, and had turned the tv on the weather station......I thought at first they were showing a special on the Alabama tornadoes, and then at the bottom of the screen, I saw the words breaking news. I got sick to my stomach.....all I could do was sit and cry. It has been almost a month, and no, nothing is normal......yeah, the debris is being moved, the roads are cleared, but
the devastation is everywhere. I find myself, more emotional than I have ever been in my life.

I thought about the first few days after the tornadoes, that first morning.......something was strange and I couldn't put my finger on it, the second day.....that same feeling, finally the third morning.....
I realized I had not heard any birds sing, and had seen very little wild life. After about a week, the birds and the wildlife began to reappear. Yesterday morning as Rick and I took our morning walk, I mentioned to him that before the storms we had had more butterflies than I could remember seeing in years.......had not seen any since the storms. Before we finished our walk, there was a large yellow and black butterfly dance across the sky in front of us, it was magic!

Tonight I send prayers and blessings to those in the midwest......their lives have changed forever......but like we Alabamians they will learn the kindness of strangers, they will find strength they never knew they had, and they will know that life goes on. I hope they hear birds sing and a butterfly dances across blue skies soon.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Being Peace

Being peace......I use to look for peace, pray for peace. But somewhere down the road, I realized to have peace, I had to be peace. I hear those words every day, looking for peace, needing peace, wanting peace. How can you be peace when you hate your neighbor? How can you be peace when you don't trust anyone who doesn't think like you? How can you be peace when you thrive on chaos and drama?

I once read that you needed to bless your enemies, bless those who hurt you, bless those who would do you harm. That is a difficult place to get to, to bless those who don't love us. It is easy to bless the ones we love, who love us and wish us well. Bless our enemies......see them as a part of all that is human, a part of who we are.

It is easy to get sucked into the daily news, the horrors that seem to pop up over night.....to sit in our living rooms and become indignant and angry, to spread our anger to our friends and anyone who will listen, to stew and let out thoughts and anger take over. To be peace, we have to change our energy, our vibrations, our thoughts. To be peace, we become active......we look for ways to help, we bless those who anger us, we search for our path of service, and we breathe.

Being peace......it is shelter from the storm, loving the unlovable, understanding you control how you react(it's the only control we have) making it through whatever we face one breath at a time. Being peace......starting to see yourself as peace, to breath before you speak hurtful words,
to hug, to give, to love, to understand now is all we have......those memories, resentment and anger that we cling to, the pity party we throw for ourselves.....time to let all that go......being peace, it's how we get the peace in our hearts, the peace in our lives.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Good and Bad

The good and the bad......it has been a really good day, but our air quality is bad, so that means for the past few days life has been tough for me. Rick and I performed at an Armed Forces Day Celebration today.....it was quite an honor to be invited to perform. There were Vets there from World War Two, up to active military today, it was very emotional to hear some of the guys speak, to look at the exhibits and understand the sacrifices that so many have made.

We got home this afternoon and we did a radio interview. I love doing interviews, especially about songwriting and performing. Dale Short did the interview, he has done quite a bit with NPR, written some incredible books, an excellent southern author and very good friend. I believe he may post some of the interview a little later, if so, I will make sure that I post the link. Oh yeah, the tv interview I did a couple of weeks ago, I am checking to see when it will air, and when we can post my part.

Now the air quality thing......I didn't make it to work yesterday, I have been fighting some kind of respiratory bug, and then with the bad air......hell on a singer to be short of breath. High temperatures and high humidity, makes the air in these parts like toxic soup. Anybody out there want a house guest for a few days????ha ha!

I hope you all have had a good Saturday, for all of you vets, thank you for your service, your dedication, for your sacrifices. I would have sung for you all today, no matter how bad I felt, you all are the best!
Good night, Sweet dreams.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Secret # 4

I wanted to share one more secret with you all( 10 Secrets for Success and Inner Peace, Wayne Dyer) and that is the fourth secret.........Embrace Silence. There are days that I live for the silence.
As a singer and as a yoga teacher I do a lot of talking.....but there are times when my voice has to embrace silence. When I reach the point that I do not want to answer the phone, when I want to stay home and not speak to anyone, I know it is time for my voice to rest.

I think our bodies crave silence. We are on overload, cell phones, radio, tv, internet, street noise,
other people talking, noise is like kudzu.....it takes over before you know it. At first silence can be unnerving......hearing nothing, or maybe just hearing nature......the sound of the wind, of birds, of your breath. But if you can take a silence break every day, turn off the cell phone(at least mute it)
turn off the radio and tv, find a place where no one is talking, and you can.......embrace silence.
It is like a cold drink of water on a hot dry day. Tonight, all I hear as I type this blog is Blackie Bear dog snoring. But I can step out on the back porch and just hear the darkness.......maybe the sound of the owl that lives behind the barn. It is all so soothing, this comfort of silence.

Embrace silence......or stillness. Mother Teresa said" We need silence to be able to touch souls."
Thoughts are birthed in silence, words, creativity, the recharging of one's batteries. Stress and worry disappear in silence, rest and joy appear when there is silence, when there is stillness.

Meditation takes us to a place of silence, that place of empty space between our thoughts.
Stillness and breath, start with five minutes a day.......see how embracing the silence fuels the body and the spirit. Suddenly, there is energy, there is joy, we see possibilities, our thoughts
are clear and we can focus.

Embrace silence.......drive somewhere without the radio, and turn off the cell phone. I dare you.
Just you in the car.........now breathe. Listen to your breath. Let silence be the hug you crave,
after a long hard day, let silence help you find your path, be still and listen......and hear God.
It is not easy, but it is worth it......and once you begin to experience it......you will demand those moments, and your soul will thank you. Embrace Silence.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Wishes and Thanks

This is a thank you tonight, to all who read my blog, who leave such incredible, kind comments.
You are like my yoga students, you all give me so much more than I ever give to you.
I am so humbled, and grateful for you thoughts, your advice, your humor........you make my day!

I felt your love and concern when the storms turned our lives upside down......and I love your sympathy when I am moaning and whining about all the remodeling projects that Rick has started.
So, even though this is short tonight, it comes straight from my heart........thanks for being there.
I wish you all joy, I wish you lives filled with kindness, I wish you good health and someone to always love you.

Goodnight, Sweet dreams.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Secret # 8

I have been re-reading a Wayne Dyer book, 10 Secrets for Success and Inner Peace. It is a small book, and honestly Dr. Dyer just reinforces what we all already know......we just tend to forget, and push the wisdom that is in us away. My favorite "secret" is number 8.......Treat Yourself As If You
Already Are What You'd Like to Be. I believe with all my heart we have to do that, if we are to live our lives, doing what we love.

He talks about living our lives in spirit.........living our lives inspired. Allowing ourselves to transcend all limitations that we place on ourselves, seeing ourselves in the life we want to live.
Imagine what life would be like, if we lived it with no fear, in spirit. Have you ever noticed that if you expect everything to go wrong it does? But when you know in your heart, when you expect good, that is what you get.

On April 27th, the day the tornadoes struck.....I found myself as most Alabamians did, almost frozen with fear. The sirens kept howling, the atmosphere was oppressive, warnings seem to
be given every five minutes......and in the midst of the most horrendous storms that afternoon,
I sat on my sofa and remembered to breathe......as the breath began to calm my spirit, I knew that no matter what happened I had to believe in the good. At one point, as Rick and the dogs and I huddled in our bathroom, and we could hear the storm roaring......I felt peace, I expected it, no matter what took place, I felt peace. Even the next day, as we looked for family and friends and saw the massive destruction, I kept telling myself to expect good, not the worst.

I will always believe we "get what we think about, whether we want it or not"-Wayne Dyer. Life does throw some unexpected curves, but we do have the ability to choose how we deal with those curves. I think when we "see" ourselves living the lives we want, when we expect the good to be there, that is what we will find.

Instead of treating ourselves as worthless, instead of seeing ourselves as stupid, instead of seeing ourselves as weak, or untalented or pathetic, or what ever those old thoughts are, can we not just take that first small step.........think of the life you want, begin to see possibilities, and be honest.......if you see yourself as artistic, but unmarketable, then continue to pursue the creative
path, but also allow room for someone on that path who believes in you, who can market your talents. What ever we need to live as we would like to be, is out there, we are the ones who set
the limits.

I started several months ago, writing a list once a week.......what do I want. That has evolved now to a daily, my intent list. It is working, it serves as a reminder about the life I am pursuing,
what I want/what I intend for my friends and family. Years ago, I wanted to become more compassionate........I had always been passionate, but I wanted to see myself full of compassion
when I keep focused, when I see myself as compassionate I stay in that state.....but there are times I lose sight, I lose my intent and when that happens, the compassion begins to fade.
We really do have to see/treat/think of ourselves as if we are already what we would like to be.
Take it slow, believe and see, change your thoughts.......your life will change.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Jordan and Honeysuckle

Jordan( three year old great nephew) spent the day with me. It has been a very busy day. We planted tomato plants, pepper plants and flowers. We hung out at the barn with the dogs, chased each other, played hide and seek, ate popsicles, made cheese potato soup, and as always he asked hundreds of questions.

We spent some time in the herb garden, he loves to break the leaves of mint and rosemary and smell them. Today, he smelled honeysuckle...... he loved it!
The blueberries are getting ripe, and he is really anxious to gobble up some blueberries, what can I say.......so am I. Blueberry waffles will be served soon.

He cried when his grandmother came to get him.......he did not want to leave. No matter how tired I am, it breaks my heart when I see those tears and he is begging to stay.

Thursday, if the weather is nice we are going to my
sister's goat farm. She has a lot of babies now, and several are bottle fed, so he can feed the baby goats. He seemed a little apprehensive about the trip as we talked about it today, I assured him it will be fun.

After days of rain and cold grey skies, the sun came out in full glory today. It was still rather chilly, but it was really nice to see blue skies! There is a full moon tonight.......Jordan loves the moon. Moon was one of the first words he ever said. His favorite book is Goodnight Moon. I guess that is something he picked up from his aunt Jilda, I too, love a full moon. I know that when the moon is full, its light shines not only on me, but on all my friends as well. There is something quite magical about the glow of the moon, and it is quite soothing to know that we all bask in its glow tonight.

If you step out and see the moon tonight, remember I am looking at that same moon........and no matter the distance, we share the glow. Wish you could smell the honeysuckle.
Goodnight, Sweet dreams.

Monday, May 16, 2011


I have spent a lot of time in fantasy world lately.......thinking of what it would be like to stay home, the things I would do, how I would spend my time. I am so envious of Rick and my friends who have retired.....I want to garden, to paint, to write songs. I want our friends to come and visit, to sit on the porch and drink coffee. I think about just hanging with the dogs. Would I get lonely and bored? I have a girlfriend who says I would just stay home and never leave......she is probably right.

My energy is very low tonight, and I am not feeling all that well. Running on empty may be my problem, it's a mystery. But I am loving these fantasies........of friends who visit, me in the kitchen cooking, laughter all through the house, a garden full of flowers, and the paintings that I dream of painting, and singing new songs we have written for all of our friends to hear.

It has been cold and rainy for days. Even my beloved cup of hot tea, does not warm me. The chill has reached deep, but I know the sun will shine again soon, and the hot moist heat of Alabama summers will wrap around me like an old blanket.

My bed calls to me, and dreams beckon........Good night Sweet dreams.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

A Journey

We are all on a journey, some of us have been traveling longer than others, and some have taken many detours. We look for ourselves daily, trying to find our way in this life........we want to be authentic, to be real, for our lives to have meaning. But it is a struggle......we make mistakes, we stumble, we hurt those we love, and those we love hurt us.

Everyone sees us in a much different way than how we view ourselves......we want to follow our dreams, to live the life we were born to live.......but how do we find ourselves???? I wish I had answers, I wish I had the key to the secret........all I can do is share my thoughts. For me, in my lifetime, on my journey.......there have been many different versions of me, many parts that make the sum,
every day it seems there is something about me that changes. But there is also a part of me that I think is like every one.......the need to be loved, to create, to help someone, that basic goodness of human nature.

I think of all that I have been, the different labels that people have identified as me, all the different ways that I have viewed myself. I know there is a need for all of us to pigeon hole
or categorize everything and everyone, can we cast aside that need and just allow our lives to flow? to realize that maybe all those things we were before, have helped to make who we are today, and who we are today will change tomorrow.

These little journeys, they can be so difficult.......we look in the mirror and wonder who we are, what we have become. I admit I once looked in the mirror and had no recognition of myself at all.......I stayed on that horrible dark path for quite sometime. To have no recognition of ones' self........it is trial by fire, a walk through the belly of hell. But there were people who loved me,
who never gave up on me, who knew that one day I would be back........I owe them unending love and gratitude.

Life changes, the path, the journey, twists and turns and surprises are around every corner.
Just when we think we have it all mapped out, we hit a dead end or a fork in the road.......then we hope like hell we make the right choice. While we worry and fret about out journey, I often think of the poem Ithaca.....I read that it was Jackie Kennedy's favorite and was read at her memorial
service, it is all about how important the journey is, and not the destination.

This journey, though it is our personal one, does not have to be traveled alone......there are many along the way, who care, who will lend a helping hand, who will listen, and who will love.......and the lessons we learn, the places we go and the things we do......that's what makes the journey so much more than the destination.
Good night, Sweet dreams

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Musical Healing

Ever since I was a child I have known the power of music. I began playing piano around the age of
eight, and maybe singing a year or two later. For me, there was incredible power, being able to play a song and sing...... as I grew older I sang at church and then performed with a school group
(glee before glee was even a thought). I knew how music made me feel, but I soon learned the power of song on others. There is joy in music, the ability to unite, to create memories, to bring tears and laughter and there is healing in music.

Today, we did a fund raiser at Berkeley Bob's Coffee House in Cullman.........the donations went to the Red Cross, all the musicians donated their time. Cullman just like so many other Alabama towns was hit hard by the April 27th tornadoes. Being there was a chance for us to give back....a chance to let those devastated by the storms tell their stories, and the opportunity for music to ease the pain and sadness. Bob and Gerri, the owners of the coffee house, have worked non-stop to help their community.......their business was closed for ten days, but with hard work they have opened their doors. It is a place to meet, to have a hot cup of coffee and a sandwich and listen to music, but also for friends to gather........for hugs and words of encouragement. Right
now it is an oasis in the midst of all the destruction, a place for spirits to soar, and for those who
gather there to know, a few good things remain.

It was an honor to play there today. Since the storms raged through our communities, no matter what I do, it just seems so small and insignificant........but I keep telling myself every little bit helps/counts. I learned as a child to never hide my talents under a basket, that creative
energies were meant to be shared. Today it was good for my soul to sing, to see my friends and other musicians give so freely of their time and money......it was a good day, a day for music to
soothe and heal.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Chaos and Drama

I know the moon is waxing, we did have a change in the weather today........has anyone else experienced chaos and drama the past twenty-four hours??????? At work, with friends, it seems the past twenty four hours the gremlins have been given the run of the castle and all is awry.

This is it......the mad flow of energy has to change. Almost everyone I know has experienced sadness, confusion, and turmoil of some kind for the past couple of days. Note to the universe,
enough is enough! I think we need to raise our vibrations, our energy levels if you will, and try to
tune into to the good and the positive. This stuff seems to be in a feeding frenzy.

So tonight, I have hugged my dogs, especially Blackie Bear.......he is my go to comfort. He is big and furry and cuddly, and he grunts when you hug him. Actually, I have hugged my niece's dogs today
(she is out of town and I am dog sitting) my neighbor's collie(he thinks he lives here) and all the rest of my dogs. I do feel much better. And I have thought about my dog Charlie who passed over the rainbow a while back.....I have missed his humor, his ability to raise a ruckus, and his welcome home greeting when I get in from work.

When things are so unstable, not only do I breathe, but I try to find some humor as well. I think about the goodness that is out there, and I look for beauty in the ordinary. Tonight's beauty......
the soft pale greens of spring have deepened into the rich deep greens of early summer. My humor, the neighbor's collie has moved a stack of 2x4's and dug a six inch hole trying to catch a chipmunk in our front yard. The goodness, we went to the local Relay for Life event tonight and helped our neighbors raise money for the cure.

I choose to believe the chaos and drama have moved on, slithered back into their dark corner and will not visit for awhile.
Good night, Sweet dreams.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


"Change the way you look at things, and the things you look at change." - Wayne Dyer
Since the tornadoes struck a couple of weeks ago, I have been trying to really practice what I teach.
I think that most of us who live in the area are still dealing with the shock.......but in my community classes I keep talking to my students about gratitude and not dwelling on the devastation. The dead have been buried, clean up has begun and we have to acknowledge that as bad that day was, it could have been worse. The death toll could have been much higher, because every time I talk to someone who survived they tell a remarkable story......of being pulled from rubble, of flying through the air, of walls falling in on them.

It is difficult, because I have a hard time thinking of anything else......and there are times when I feel as if the skin has been pulled from my body and every nerve exposed. It is hard to concentrate, and go back to daily life as it was before, maybe we are not supposed to go back to the way things were before.

Rick and our friend Steve and I are playing a benefit in Cullman Saturday to help with fundraising. We practiced tonight and it felt good to let creative energy flow. It is odd, I think my voice sounds different,deeper, more throaty, dare I say a little aged.

Change........not just mere change, but upheaval has taken place all around us. I see it on the faces of people I meet in the grocery store, at the post office......this change came hard and fast.
Maybe as time goes by, all will be as before.......but that is hard for me to believe. I think for many of us, this change has been a lasting one....we will look at things different and those things will change.

So every morning, as I lie in bed, I go through my gratitude list, it has become an obsession.....to make sure that I acknowledge, that I don't forget. It is way too apparent how quickly it can all be lost. I find myself wanting to hear friend's voices, to see them and hug them one more time.
To let family and everyone around me know that I care, that they are important to me.

For the most part, change has always been a fairly easy thing for me to deal with, but this change
hangs in the air, heavy like summer humidity. I know that this too shall pass, but the burden of this change weighs on my shoulders and all those around me........ Good night, Sweet dreams.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

John Roses

Some of you may remember me talking about my friend, John. His father was a congressman during the Kennedy administration, and after the president was killed, John's father began a life long friendship with Jackie Kennedy.

John was the most fun loving person I have ever known......he was instant party. But he was way more than that. He had the most generous loving soul, he fought for the underdog, and was the best friend anyone could ever have.

About a year before he passed away, I had mentioned that I was looking for a rose bush that my grandmother had had in her yard. She called it "seven sisters" because on each stem, there were seven tiny roses. She had pink and red, and I had a cutting from the red one and it was thriving, but when my grandmother passed, the people who moved in her house destroyed her flowers. John's eyes sparkled as I described the rose bush, he gave me one of his infamous big bear hugs and told me that one such rose was growing in his pasture, to come dig it up. Well, John's rose has thrived........today as I walked down to cut roses for the house tears welled up. The rose bush is probably ten feet across(it has actually just spread all along the bank in front of the house) and all I could do was think of John and remember his booming voice and laugh. The green vase that the roses are in first belonged to my grandmother, then my mom and now me. The photograph was taken in Nashville, our group of friends had gathered at the same hotel and I am truly shocked they didn't kick us out! John is the big guy standing by me.
He and I are at the top of the photo.

As always, when the petals fall I leave them for a few days, the shell is one that another friend,
Venus Barefoot gave me. Everything in my house, almost everything I own tells a story. If you read my blog last night, I can tell you this.......John was first rate, he was the same no matter where or who was around, his dad was the very first recipient of the John F. Kennedy Profile
in Courage Award and John could talk with the Washington elite and then camp out at a bluegrass festival, or ride a horse through his living room. I could tell you John stories for hours!

So tonight, I share memories of an old dear friend that I miss very much.......but his roses bloom every spring, and each year grow more beautiful.
If you would like to see John's dad, Carl Elliott receiving the very first Profile in Courage Award
go to the following link, John and his dad, both first rate.......http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/org.wgbh.mla:MLA000715

Monday, May 9, 2011

First Rate

"Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else."
- Judy Garland

It seems to me more than ever, that there are an awful lot of second-rate versions walking around.
Why is that? Why do we all want to be somebody else, live someone else's life? Are we afraid of who we are, embarrassed or just not sure? Maybe it is just easier not to be ourselves.......or have we just thrown up our hands and given up?

Each of us is such a wonderful unique individual, full of talent and creative energy, and we sell ourselves short. Have you noticed I include myself in this tonight? I know that life is tough, and sometimes the ones we love the most are our harshest critics, we ourselves the harshest....... are we so tired, there is nothing left, or have we allowed others to take control of our lives.

I have spent the past three days doing yoga, breath work, and meditation......I have gone inward on many levels and at times it has been frightening and sad, yet highly enlightening. Hearing others talk at the yoga training, it appears most of us are in the same boat......we have our moments but to reach them is like climbing Everest and once there.......we're not sure where to go next.

Being ourselves , our first rate versions......well it may not always be the version
our friends and loved ones are comfortable with, it may be extremely uncomfortable for us.
In life, it is so easy to coast, and then we wake up one morning(because of age, health, circumstance,etc) and realize we can't coast any longer, that time is flowing like a stream to the ocean and it is now or never. We have to live our authentic lives, or settle for second rate versions, impostors if you will, shadows of who we were meant to be.

I had a friend once who told me her whole life she had worn drab colors because her mom had told her, bright colors didn't suit her......but one day, on an impulse, she bought a beautiful bright pink sweater. At first she was hesitant to wear it, but it was such a beautiful color, so compelling that she wore it one day......and all day people told her how great she looked. It took a while, but with time she brought color into her life on all levels. She was no longer a shadow.

I think it starts with small changes, baby steps......thinking about what we really want, allowing ourselves to see the possibilities, remembering our dreams and then giving ourselves permission to become who we were meant to be.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

My Journey

So today, I completed my 200RYT in yoga training. It has been a journey of tears and laughter....it has been long, because I could not contain myself to pursuing just one particular type of yoga....my students were way too important for that. So, I spent years, accomplishing what many do in six weeks or a year....but that is ok. My path has been different, I pursued studies that would benefit my students more than benefiting me. That is ok....today while a goal has been reached....it really is the journey more than the destination. And in the words of my good friend Claude Thomas, I did it "one breath at a time."

I am tired tonight.....my muscles ache, my bones weary.....a smile on my face. The day has been good, but it truly was the journey that made this all seem worth while.
Every teacher training I attended, every class I taught has woven a tapestry full of beauty and knowledge and wisdom.....I am blessed. My students have been answers to prayers, bringing great joy and love to my life...and this path is unbelievably peaceful and rewarding. I will never be able to give back, what has been given to me.

When I started to teach, I had no idea what my destination was, but I knew in my heart the journey would be filled with love, joy, and incredible people, it has surpassed my expectations.
My heart is overflowing with gratitude, I know that I am blessed.....and tonight I send those blessings to all of you. I hope your journey will be as wonderful as mine, no matter where it takes you.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Tough Enough

Tough enough.....I am on the final leg of my 200ryt for yoga alliance...I actually have many many more hours of training than that, but they only recognize those hours in one particular style of yoga. Ten hours of training yesterday, ten today, ten more tomorrow and then my body can collapse....I am so tired(ok, just call me whiny baby)

My friend Jackie and I have been through these trainings for the most part together.
It is surreal that we are about to reach our goal....well for now. We are also pursuing
a 300ryt in yoga therapy. (I think we are both freaks, but what do I know)

All I can say tonight.....every muscle in my body aches, and so do all my joints....but I am tough enough. Tomorrow night, pictures!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Back Where I Belong

Back where I belong.....we have internet connection! Rick text ed me at a yoga training today, and I couldn't believe it, we were back on line.

I had a meltdown yesterday.....it just seemed the grief, the emotional roller coaster,
it all hit with a vengeance. I was in a bad place and it took some doing to get out of the darkness.

This teaching training had been scheduled for months, three days of it....and yesterday I began to fret about not being in our community over the weekend, not helping with the recovery, I was so torn.....but you know, this eight hour day of yoga was just what I needed. I needed to take a break, so I can help some more. This recovery is a long slow process, and everyone involved has to have a break at some point.

I am tired, but it has been a good day and it feels so good to be able to communicate without going to McDonalds(though I am very thankful for them the past few days).
Actually, it is so nice to sit here in pj's and write this blog.

Thanks for your patience, your support, your love and your kindness. Your comments were inspiring and uplifting, and I know that good thoughts and love were sent to me every day. I am so indebted.......once again, it is nice to be back where I belong.
Good night, Sweet dreams.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Strange and Wonderful

This is how strange and wonderful life can be....I went to work, taught my classes and before I made it to Mickey D's, I went to tv studio to be on a local talk show.
It is a show called Health Matters, hosted by Edie Hand and the taping that I am on is about addictions. I talked about the importance of breath, and how yoga can help with day to day stress as well as the stress of addictions. It was fun and a nice respite for me, I came straight from teaching, so I wasn't glamor queen,but that is ok.

Maybe once the show airs I can post a little clip....ha ha, I will be signing autographs soon!!!!

Thank you all for your wonderful comments the past few days, and your loyalty.
It is heartwarming and really inspiring to hear from all of you! For the first time since last Wednesday I am beginning to feel human again. It is amazing to me how the mind and the body process, and deal with life....no matter how good or bad it is. We are truly awesome creatures, and I believe way stronger and smarter than we give ourselves credit.

Back here in McDonaldland, the folks who work here know us now....sorta like Cheers, when they all yell Norm!!!!! Who knew it would feel like home at Mickey D's?

Today, Jordan came over with his butterflies, we released them and he yelled and jumped for joy as they fluttered toward the clear blue sky and the warm sun.
Last year, he cried when we released, but this year, he knew they wanted to be free, he knew they wanted to fly. It was so much fun, that simple act of releasing butterflies.

The sun is setting, I am tired and home is about a twenty minute drive, Good night Sweet dreams.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Happy Meal

McDonald's is my favorite place in the world right now.....I can check my email, and write my blog! There are a lot of folks here doing the same....it is beginning to feel like home. HaHa!!!

It is cold and rainy and today. I am still scattered in my thoughts(and there are those who would swear that is nothing new) Now Rick and I are really starting to have withdrawals from our "world of friends"!

As I taught my classes yesterday and last night I realized how badly I had needed to teach.....it was so much comfort, to walk into the class room, get the mats out and begin to breathe. As the students walked in, they were all smiles, it felt so good to see Happy Faces! None of my students will ever realize how much I needed them yesterday, how much I needed the routine of breath work, of asanas and relaxation.....and the hugs they give to me at the end of class.

Clean up in our communities has started.....power is back on in many areas, phone service is still iffy. This too shall pass.

Rick is laughing because I have eaten more fast food in the past week than I have in my whole life probably....but I feel guilty sitting here and not buying something, I figure when life becomes more normal, it will be along time before I can visit Mc Donalds again! (sorry guys, I can feel my arteries clogging)

Until my next visit to Mickey D's,.....Happy Meal anyone?????

Monday, May 2, 2011

I Have a Home

We still have no internet connection, thank God for McDonalds. Sorry that I am not posting every night, but these are difficult times. I know that it may seem strange to talk about yoga in the midst of our tornado stricken community, but honestly I think my yoga practice and breath work is keeping me sane.

Every time I see a convoy of phone, electrical service trucks, I take a deep breath, because I know some where those who have homes are getting electricity and phone service. I see National Guard convoys and know those areas that were hit are being protected from looting. And with every breath, I say a prayer of gratitude because I have a house and my family members lived.

I miss these postings, I miss not being able to connect with you all, but this too shall pass.....and I have a house. I appreciate all your thoughts and offers to help, as things change and we all begin to come out of the shock, I may ask for help, some of you I have already contacted and as I see needs I will ask.

A friend mentioned today, about how good people are and how kind.....he is one of those that had become quite crusty these past few years, but I have always believed in the goodness of mankind.....I knew in my heart when each of us needs the help of others, we step up to the plate. That is one thing this disaster has taught us, there is good and kind in everyone, we all want to help, none of us want to see anyone suffer. (and yes I know there may be a few who take advantage of this, but you know that is their path and their sad life to live)

I am bone tired, but that too shall pass......I have heard many horror stories, but I have also heard many good ones......I am amazed by the human spirit, by the strength
and faith that prevails in darkness.....and just as surely as darkness falls, light will come again.....I have heard so much laughter mixed with the tears these past few
days.....don't ever lose faith in the human race, there is love, there is kindness
and yes even in joy in our little communities.....I have learned so many lessons the past few days, I have been humbled more times than I can count, and I have taken many many deep breaths.

Maybe later I will share some of the more personal stories with you all, but right now I can't talk about them without tears.....but I have a house.
I miss you all, but I feel your love and prayers every day. Hug everyone you love, and no matter how humble or grand your home, be grateful for it and know that here in the hills of Alabama, there is a very tired yoga teacher who sends her heartfelt thanks for your comments, your prayers and love.....and I have a home.