Every month I chronicle those ordinary delights that give me comfort or offer a place of reflection or joy. Here are my everyday delights for August:

1. Taylor Swift Concert

We surprised our daughter with Taylor Swift tickets a few weeks ago. Although I love my solitude and downtime, I adore attending concerts. The energy is refreshing and when a performer takes the stage it incites a variety of feelings: awe, inspiration, connection and admiration. TS didn’t disappoint – she encouraged the audience to honor their true selves and offered comforting words to those girls who don’t fit in all the time. By the end of the show, my daughter and I were on our feet, moving our hips and hands to “Shake It Off.”


2. Spectacular Sunsets 

This summer I am in love with capturing dazzling sunsets. When I look up at the sky and see the layer cake of colors, I am swallowed whole by the mystery, wonder and beauty of the moment. In August, I lost my footing navigating uncertain terrain, but the sky pushed me to pay attention to the goodness in my life. If you enjoy these photographs, please follow me on Instagram, where I regularly post various images of what captures my attention.



3. Online Writing Groups by Jena Schwartz 

For the last year, I’ve had the privilege and pleasure of participating in several online writing groups with facilitator, Jena Schwartz. Her writing groups offer community, artistic freedom and a way to push your writing whether you’ve published many times or are just venturing into writing. Her prompts help me confront issues I’m avoiding or am fearful of revealing on the page. I can’t say enough about how much I adore Jena and her groups. Take my word for it, you will learn so much about yourself if you participate in her classes.


4. How To Be An Explorer of the World by Keri Smith 

I discovered this book, How to Be an Explorer of the World by Keri Smith. I love Smith’s advice on how to engage with your surroundings – Always be looking and view the world in way where everything is interesting. And if you aren’t seeing the sparkle – look closer. She encourages you to explore your world in a way you haven’t before.


What were your everyday delights this month? Would love to hear from you.



“Vulnerability is not winning or losing; it’s having the courage to show up and be seen when we have no control over the outcome. Vulnerability is not weakness; it’s our greatest measure of courage.” – Brene Brown

Image: Bleeding Hearts by Billy Wilson via Flickr.


there is a kind of grace that comes through the prayer of self-effort the spider works hard to create a web than waits for grace and daily bread the pine tree works hard to create a special cone filled with pollen and waits for the wind, Holy Spirit, and time to ripen its fruit in order to pollinate, to spread the word of God

“Grace, then, is grace, – that is to say, it is sovereign, it is free, it is sure, it is unconditional, and it is everlasting.” ~ Alexander Whyte

Grace is a complicated premise. I remember intersecting with the word as first grader. Standing in the middle of an auditorium filled with children my age, I was required by my Christian school to recite Bible passages. I don’t understand why my Hindu parents chose to enroll me in a school that honored a different religion from what we practiced at home, but I am grateful for this experience because those beginnings shape my definition of grace.

My other connection stems from evenings at the dinner table in my house. My mom cooked hot roti fresh from the stove. The green vegetables, the plate of cucumbers and tomatoes, and pickled relish added color to our chipped sunburned table. Before my sister or I stuffed the buttered goodness in our mouth, my father mandated that we say grace. The prayer began with the phrase “Om Saha Nau-Avatu” and served as our way to honor God and the meal we were fortunate to eat.

These two memories offered a glimpse into grace, but the texture of what it really meant did not percolate until much later. I needed grace to mean something more than a prayer at the dinner table or the recitation of a Bible passage. My struggle almost always involves trying to navigate the distance between sorrow and happiness. I cannot seem to reconcile the two opposite emotions. This month I’ve witnessed a new couple celebrate their upcoming nuptials, while a mother mourns the loss of her child. There are mothers who welcomed multiple babies, while other women are finding it difficult to even conceive one bundle of joy. Some are celebrating promotions at work, while others are wondering whether in the next month they will be in the pool of layoffs. My own personal pendulum revolved around trying to navigate the loss of my father and the birth of my daughter that happened in close proximity to one another. This provided my impetus to really pay attention to what I needed to reconcile two very extreme emotions.


Grace is in small things. Last weekend the mountains welcomed me at dawn. The sun played hide-and-seek with nature and her surroundings. I glanced up and caught a peak of the beginnings of a golden waterfall. In that moment, I took a breath, inhaled and exhaled, and listened to the birds, looked up at the light blue sky and tried to bottle up the feeling of this kind of grace—the ability to hike, to see, to hear, to feel the texture of what it means to be truly alive.

In the last month in particular, I’ve learned to appreciate the grace of simple things. The simplicity of knowing that you can walk, feel your breath, enjoy the sway of the trees and understand that this simplicity is a miracle. Isn’t this grace? I am always thinking about uncertain terrain between the good and the bad. Undermining what is in front of me, I tend to focus on all the things that aren’t happening, on what happened in the past, or what may occur in the future. In truth, though, grace is in the current moment. It is in the practice of appreciating the small gifts that encompass the busyness of your days. What we dismiss as routine or boring is where grace resides.

Witnessing grace has taught me that these moments are short, fleeting and temporary. But it is up to me to sink into the glory of such goodness without yearning for more.

It turns out that grace doesn’t have to be complicated.

This post originally appeared on The First Day. 

Image: Graces by Fe Langdon via Flickr


The Beauty in This Day

August 19, 2015

Each moment of the year has its own beauty. . . a picture which was never seen before and shall never be seen again. —- Ralph Waldo Emerson  Email Tweet

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Pay Attention to Sadness

August 12, 2015

“It seems to me that almost all our sadnesses are moments of tension, which we feel as paralysis because we no longer hear our astonished emotions living. Because we are alone with the unfamiliar presence that has entered us; because everything we trust and are used to is for a moment taken away from us; because we stand in the midst of a transition where we cannot remain standing. That is why the sadness passes: the new presence inside us, […]

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Another Turning Point

August 11, 2015

                                                               “How did it get so late so soon?” – Dr. Seuss “I am nervous-excited, Momma. Does that make sense?” These words ambled out of my daughter’s mouth as I drove her to school. Another beginning. The first day of 4th grade. “Oh, honey, that makes complete sense. It’s ok […]

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The Goop Questionnaire

August 6, 2015

Small details offer a glimpse into a person’s life. I adore answering memes and random questionnaires. When my blogging friends, Lindsey and Stacey brought this Goop questionnaire to my attention,  it inspired me to answer these random questions in my space. Please join the fun – I’d love to hear your answers too. Go-to weeknight recipe? Veggie tacos. I soak pinto beans overnight, steam them in the cooker and then cook them on the stove top. We love to  dress our tacos with […]

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Don’t Seek Joy at All Costs

August 5, 2015

Don’t do what you know on a gut level to be the wrong thing to do. Don’t stay when you know you should go or go when you know you should stay. Don’t fight when you should hold steady or hold steady when you should fight. Don’t focus on the short-term fun instead of the long-term fall out. Don’t surrender all your joy for an idea you used to have about yourself that isn’t true anymore. Don’t seek joy at […]

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Everyday Delights – July Edition

July 30, 2015

Every month I chronicle those ordinary delights that give me comfort or offer a place of reflection or joy. Here are my everyday delights for July: 1. Wonder  We were on vacation last week and I adore this photograph of my daughter. Witnessing her gaze and her ability to sink into the moment with awe made my highlight reel on this trip. She’s on the cusp of innocence and knowledge and I am so grateful I grabbed this glimmer of wonder.   2. […]

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Step Forward

July 30, 2015

“If you don’t go after what you want, you’ll never have it. If you don’t ask, the answer is always no. If you don’t step forward, you’re always in the same place.”  Nora Roberts  Image: where does these footsteps lead to? by Vinoth Chandar via Flickr Email Tweet

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When the Grief Has No Place to Land

July 29, 2015

Two weeks ago, tears streamed down my face while watching a movie in a packed theater. My visceral reaction unleashed a grief I try to keep under wraps. Most of the time I am successful, but in this particular scene, a daughter eulogizes her father at his funeral. I tilted my head up to try to stuff the tears back into my eyes, but I’ve done this long enough to know it never works. Instead, I gave in and let my […]

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Powering Through Turbulence

July 28, 2015

My body is glued to the middle seat like a wax figure in a museum. My fingers wrap around my almost 10-year-old daughter’s hand. I hear the wheels move forward, making the underbelly of our plane sound like its stomach is growling. The stewardess’s voice is a mix between Mary Poppins and Maleficent, asking passengers to pay attention to the emergency pamphlet, warning us if we don’t read the fine print it won’t end well for us. A laugh punctuates her statement. Half-joking, […]

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There Is Always Something to Do

July 23, 2015

“There is always something to do. There are hungry people to feed, naked people to clothe, sick people to comfort and make well. And while I don’t expect you to save the world I do think it’s not asking too much for you to love those with whom you sleep, share the happiness of those whom you call friend, engage those among you who are visionary and remove from your life those who offer you depression, despair and disrespect.” – […]

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The Power of Two Words

July 22, 2015

On Sunday, we spent the evening with friends. Our banter ignited an insightful energy and in the background our daughters laughed and played in a way only children understand. I thought about this evening two days later and smiled, recalling the sunset that I caught from our friend’s balcony, a complex layer of pinks, purples and a brazen yellow signifying the ending of the day. There were several gifts from that night that lingered in my mind and these thoughts […]

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Joy and Sorrow Are Inseparable

July 15, 2015

“Some of you say, “Joy is greater than sorrow,” and others say, “Nay, sorrow is the greater.” But I say unto you, they are inseparable. Together they come, and when one sits alone with you at your board, remember that the other is asleep upon your bed.” ― Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet Image: Fallen leaves on the ground by Lif…via Flickr. Email Tweet

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Nine and a Half

July 13, 2015

I purposely delayed writing this post since it shifts my gaze toward the quick passage of time. Last week, my daughter turned nine and a half – a milestone before she turns double-digits in January. Her long limbs stretch over the sofa and when I try lift her into an embrace, my own arms give and I am unable to carry her. She laughs and says, “Momma, you can’t even carry me anymore.” Her words spark immediate tears. She is right. Lulling […]

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We Always Have a Choice

July 8, 2015

We can let the circumstances of our lives harden us so that we become increasingly resentful and afraid, or we can let them soften us, and make us kinder. We always have the choice. Dalai Lama  Image Image: Choices by Gemma Stiles via Flickr Email Tweet

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Vulnerability Rips Open All Wounds

July 7, 2015

“I define vulnerability as uncertainty, risk and emotional exposure. With that definition in mind, let’s think about love. Waking up every day and loving someone who may or may not love us back, whose safety we can’t ensure, who may stay in our lives or may leave without a moment’s notice, who may be loyal to the day they die or betray us tomorrow—that’s vulnerability.” – Brene Brown  In the past few months my insistence on sinking into vulnerability feels like […]

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July 3, 2015

I do this meme from time to time and I thought it might be fun to revisit it again. This is what is happening in my world, right now: What I Am Listening To: I am listening to a book on CD called We Are Not Ourselves by Mathew Thomas. This isn’t my preferred way to devour a book, but I am experimenting – so far the voice of the narrator is compelling and comforting. At this moment, I am tuned […]

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Sacred Space

July 1, 2015

Sacred space is an absolute necessity for anybody today. You must have a room, or a certain hour or so a day, where you don’t know what was in the newspapers that morning, you don’t know who your friends are, you don’t know what you owe anybody, you don’t know what anybody owes to you. This is a place where you can simply experience and bring forth what you are and what you might be. This is the place of […]

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Everyday Delights – June Edition

June 28, 2015

Every month I chronicle those ordinary delights that give me comfort or offer a place of reflection or joy. Here are my everyday delights for June: 1. Summertime Movies Temperatures are hot in the desert and over the course of the last 2 weeks we faced several days of consecutive heat of 115 degrees. My family loves the comfort of a cold movie theater and watching new releases, while eating Sour Patch candy and munching on popcorn. Two movies we […]

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On Forgiveness

June 24, 2015

“I don’t know if I continue, even today, always liking myself. But what I learned to do many years ago was to forgive myself. It is very important for every human being to forgive herself or himself because if you live, you will make mistakes – it is inevitable. But once you do and you see the mistake, then you forgive yourself and say, ‘Well, if I’d known better I’d have done better,’ that’s all. So you say to people […]

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In Defense of Sorrow

June 24, 2015

  Over the weekend, my family and I watched the Pixar movie, Inside Out, a story following an eleven-year-old girl named Riley who moves with her parents from Minnesota to San Francisco. This movie emphasized Riley’s full range of emotions which included fear, anger, joy, disgust and sadness. The story made a point of portraying sadness as a positive part of our personality and one necessary for all of us to not only acknowledge, but embrace. It took me several years […]

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Donuts Always Help Me Remember

June 21, 2015

As a little girl, Sunday mornings meant one thing: donuts. I woke early, opened the door, creeped onto the driveway and fetched the morning paper. Rushing to the dining table, I shuffled through the headlines, grabbed the comic section, the glossy Parade magazine and the Target circular. After 10 minutes of moving through this ritual, my father walked down the hallway, dressed, keys in hand with one question, “Are you ready?” I never said a word. A nod later and […]

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Don’t Make the World Better

June 17, 2015

I’m not telling you to make the world better, because I don’t think that progress is necessarily part of the package. I’m just telling you to live in it. Not just to endure it, not just to suffer it, not just to pass through it, but to live in it. To look at it. To try to get the picture. To live recklessly. To take chances. To make your own work and take pride in it. To seize the moment. […]

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Quiet – A Midyear Reflection

June 17, 2015

  In January, I chose quiet as my word of the year. At the current moment, thoughts swirl in my head and despite my intentions, the words stay behind the dam. I detest the feeling of having so much to say, but when I try to write, nothing appears worthy enough to pour onto the page. Some call this writer’s block; for me, it means not enough quiet time. In the last few weeks, I’ve fallen into a slipstream of surrounding myself […]

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On the Bookshelf

June 12, 2015

The books in my life appear everywhere: on the shelves of my office, nightstand and purse. I travel with books since the privilege and opportunity to read welcomes me in the most unexpected moments. Here is what is currently on my bookshelf and a few books that I’ve read this past month: After This: When Life is Over, Where Do We go?  by Claire Bidwell Smith Everything You Ever Wanted:  by Jillian Lauren The Road to Character by David Brooks Recipes […]

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The Ability to Forgive Oneself

June 10, 2015

“Forgiveness. The ability to forgive oneself. Stop here for a few breaths and think about this because it is the key to making art, and very possibly the key to finding any semblance of happiness in life. Every time I have set out to translate the book (or story, or hopelessly long essay) that exists in such brilliant detail on the big screen of my limbic system onto a piece of paper (which, let’s face it, was once a towering […]

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Summer Slowdown

June 9, 2015

In the summer, the tempo of our days do not unravel like short staccato notes, but linger, enough that we can remain a little longer in the same moment. In the mornings, I am not begging my daughter to wake from her slumber, but instead I watch her sleep. She breathes slow, curled up on her side and a Mona Lisa smile appears on her face. My gaze is fixed, swallowing this scene out of my life, a mother experiencing the […]

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Try to Be More Like the Ground

June 3, 2015

The ground’s generosity takes in our compost and grows beauty. Look at this. Try to be more like the ground. Give back. -Rumi Image: Sunset by Sunny_mjx via Flickr. Email Tweet

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Pursuing a Small Life

June 3, 2015

This morning a glint of rays filter through our blinds. I begin my day in usual fashion. My feet hit the floor as I grab my phone to check the time and make my way to the bathroom sink, where I brush my teeth. It is summer in the desert and as my daughter hurls toward double-digits, she’s learned to appreciate the slow cadence of mornings where school isn’t a pressing urge. She is sleeping, huddled next to her purple blanket, […]

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Everyday Delights – May Edition

May 29, 2015

Every month I chronicle those ordinary delights that give me comfort or offer a place of reflection or joy. Here are my everyday delights for May: 1. Alex and Ani Bracelets:  I love my Alex and Ani bracelet and often give them as gifts. Their line includes a variety of charms to fit any personality.  My personal favorite is the charm pictured below – the tree of life. Despite all the chaos and noise, it is a reminder for me […]

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Ask Yourself: Who Has Earned the Right to Hear My Story?

May 28, 2015

“Our stories are not meant for everyone. Hearing them is a privilege, and we should always ask ourselves this before we share: “Who has earned the right to hear my story?” If we have one or two people in our lives who can sit with us and hold space for our shame stories, and love us for our strengths and struggles, we are incredibly lucky. If we have a friend, or small group of friends, or family who embraces our […]

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The Uncertainty of Everything Else

May 26, 2015

We helped my father die in home hospice. The oncologist said those words, the ones that are repeated in hospital rooms, in the middle of alleys and in the back of ambulances, “There is nothing more we can do.” With those seven words, we began participating in his limbo. He split his time between short bursts of energy, but walking the path of lifelessness. I sensed his fear and sadness. He slept in the middle of my old bedroom with a […]

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We Don’t Know

May 20, 2015

Letting there be room for not knowing is the most important thing of all. When there’s a big disappointment, we don’t know if that’s the end of the story. It may just be the beginning of a great adventure. Life is like that. We don’t know anything. We call something bad; we call it good. But really we just don’t know.  – Pema Chodron Image: Waves by Tony Hisgett via Flickr Email Tweet

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Spring in the Desert and The Mid

May 18, 2015

When I first moved to the desert, I questioned the landscape. It felt barren; the sand and cacti spreading out for miles offered little comfort. My move toward noticing the beauty happened over a period of time. My gaze tilted toward the hues of the flowers, the glorious sunrises and sunsets and the tranquility of what I feared the most when I moved here – the quiet in the landscape. In the last six years, my perspective shifted toward appreciating […]

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Watch Yourself When You Complain

May 13, 2015

There were people who went to sleep last night, poor and rich and white and black, but they will never wake again. And those dead folks would give anything at all for just five minutes of this weather or ten minutes of plowing. So you watch yourself about complaining. What you’re supposed to do when you don’t like a thing is change it. If you can’t change it, change the way you think about it.” ― Maya Angelou Image: Coloring […]

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Another Milestone… Here and Gone

May 13, 2015

It is the last day of school for my daughter today. This afternoon, we become parents of a 4th grader. As I type these lines, small tears start to form in my eyes. I tilt my head backwards to keep them from streaming down my face. Our morning started the same, a call for her to get ready as she ambles out of bed and toward the bathroom. I plead with her to drink a smoothie and reminded her to gather all her […]

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Do You Remember How to Laugh?

May 11, 2015

The most wasted of all days is one without laughter. ~e.e. cummings When I surf the Internet sometimes, I tend to search for a comedian’s work – brief snippets of stand-up that cause me to pause, listen and laugh. Robin Williams, in particular, is a favorite of mine. Over the last few months, I watched a few highlights of his comedy routines and laughed so loud that tears started tickling my eyelashes. One clip led to another and after about […]

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The Difference Between Should and Must

May 6, 2015

“When we choose Should, we’re choosing to live our life for someone or something other than ourselves. The journey to Should can be smooth, the rewards can seem clear, and the options are often plentiful. Must is different. Must is who we are, what we believe, and what we do when we are alone with our truest, most authentic self. It’s that which calls to us most deeply. It’s our convictions, our passions, our deepest held urges and desires — […]

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May 5, 2015

I do this meme from time to time and I thought it might be fun to revisit it again. This is what is happening in my world, right now: What I Am Listening To: I am listening to Kanye West’s song, Only One, featuring Paul McCartney. There is something sweet and sentimental about the melody and I love the piano playing in the background. Typically, I am not a Kanye West fan, but his collaborations with Rihanna and Paul McCartney definitely captured my […]

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The Magic in Routine

May 4, 2015

“Being in bed, having a shower, having breakfast in the kitchen, sitting in my study writing, walking in the garden, cooking and eating our common lunch at my office with my friends, going to the movies, taking my family to eat at a restaurant, going to bed again…. There are surprisingly few of these patterns of events in any one person’s way of life, perhaps no more than a dozen. Look at your own life and you will find the […]

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On Heartbreak

April 29, 2015

Heartbreak is unpreventable; the natural outcome of caring for people and things over which we have no control… Heartbreak begins the moment we are asked to let go but cannot, in other words, it colors and inhabits and magnifies each and every day; heartbreak is not a visitation, but a path that human beings follow through even the most average life. Heartbreak is an indication of our sincerity: in a love relationship, in a life’s work, in trying to learn a […]

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Everyday Delights – April Edition

April 28, 2015

Every month I chronicle those ordinary delights that give me comfort or offer a place of reflection or joy. Here are my everyday delights for April: 1) The mornings in the desert – I caught this picture last week and found this corresponding quote that aptly described what I felt in that moment: “When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive – to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love.” – Marcus Aurelius   […]

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Find Your Glittery Pieces

April 27, 2015

There are things you can’t reach. But you can reach out to them, and all day long. The wind, the bird flying away. The idea of god. And it can keep you busy as anything else, and happier. I look; morning to night I am never done with looking. Looking, I mean not just standing around, but standing around. As though with your arms open. – Mary Oliver I must confess that sometimes I find it hard to allow inspiration […]

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A Poet That Celebrates the Ordinary

April 23, 2015

We are plagued with wants, yearning for what isn’t in our grasp. The idea of contentment is dismissed because our gaze is toward what isn’t, instead of tasting the glory of those treasures that already fill our days. I struggle with restlessness, but to calm myself, I tend to tilt in the direction of focusing on those ordinary joys that inhabit my life. When I read Jane Kenyon’s poem, Otherwise, I let out a sigh of relief because her prose focuses on […]

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On Stumbling Through Life

April 22, 2015

“We are all stumblers, and the beauty and meaning of life are in the stumbling — in recognizing the stumbling and trying to become more graceful as the years go by. The stumbler scuffs through life, a little off balance here and there, sometimes lurching, sometimes falling to her knees. But the stumbler faces her imperfect nature, her mistakes and weaknesses, with unvarnished honesty, with the opposite of squeamishness. She is sometimes ashamed of the perversities in her nature — […]

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The Pageant of Welcomes and Goodbyes

April 22, 2015

Yesterday morning at 5:00 a.m., I opened the door and my feet touched the bare pavement. The cold ground provided its own greeting, comfort and startle climbed on my skin as I gazed at the sky. A calm silence enveloped my body. I took a deep breath, sinking into the earth’s embrace and made a mental note of how I felt at this precise moment. The word “welcome” flashed in my head like a neon sign. I let this particular word take […]

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On Worrying and Outcomes

April 20, 2015

The morning rays filter the bedroom and I hear the woodpecker pecking on a tree trunk outside our house. It is early. In one hour, I will hear another tapping inside the house. My daughter’s feet scurry to start her day. My day will unfold with routine and mundane tasks: washing dishes, making lunches and dinner, taking out the garbage, checking the calendar, exiting and entering my car for pick-ups and drop-offs and various errands that are planned or arise out of […]

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Intersecting With Peace: A Poet That Offers Refuge

April 16, 2015

Many ardent poetry fans worship Mary Oliver and her work. My arrival to her poems came much later than I desired, but when I read her various collections, her reflections offered a place to rest my head and seek a solace that seem absent in my life. After reading her poems, the swirl of her ideas, emotions and sentiments took over and led to reflecting in a way that did not appear attainable through a novel or short story. Her truths, singular and […]

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On Friendship

April 15, 2015

Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you too can become great. When you are seeking to bring big plans to fruition it is important with whom you regularly associate. Hang out with friends who are like-minded and who are also designing purpose-filled lives. Similarly be that kind of friend for your friends. – Mark Twain Image: “friendship” by mollydot via Flickr. Email Tweet

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Standing Alone and Finding Your Tribe

April 12, 2015

I am a self-proclaimed introvert. I enjoy quiet evenings with a book and a cup of coffee and am content eating alone in a restaurant. With large groups of people, I tend to hesitate before I mingle, focused on observation rather than talking. Solitude provides a nourishment that I tend to depend on: it is good for my writing and offers a focused chance to infuse calm into my restlessness. The days when this quiet time is absent, my irritation […]

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April 10, 2015

In honor of National Poetry month, throughout April I will post poems that resonate with me. “Kindness” by Naomi Shihab Nye is one of my favorite poems. I often return to it and reflect on her words. Powerful. Kindness By Naomi Shihab Nye Before you know what kindness really is you must lose things, feel the future dissolve in a moment like salt in a weakened broth. What you held in your hand, what you counted and carefully saved, all this […]

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Try Not to Compare Your Insides to Their Outsides

April 9, 2015

Everyone is screwed up, broken, clingy, and scared, even the people who seem to have it more or less together. They are much more like you than you would believe. So try not to compare your insides to their outsides. Also, you can’t save, fix or rescue any of them, or get any of them sober. But radical self-care is quantum, and radiates out into the atmosphere, like a little fresh air. It is a huge gift to the world. […]

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Intention Is Not Enough

April 8, 2015

The past weekend, overwrought with activities and “busyness,” the discontent crawled on my skin late Sunday evening. Distracted and irritated, the weight of saying yes to certain activities came at the cost of sacrificing solitude. Even though quiet is my refuge of choice, I realized that my execution of creating this space falls below my expectations. One epiphany materialized: Intention is not enough. As much as I relish quiet, my decisions need to collaborate with this goal. A litany of questions ensued […]

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Rediscovering Poetry

April 3, 2015

There are things you can’t reach. But
 you can reach out to them, and all day long.
The wind, the bird flying away. The idea of god.
 And it can keep you busy as anything else, and happier. 
I look; morning to night I am never done with looking. 
Looking I mean not just standing around, but standing around
 as though with your arms open. — Mary Oliver My love for poetry arrived late in life. In my youth, Shakespeare’s words […]

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Look What Happens

April 1, 2015

Even after all this time the sun never says to the earth, “You owe me.” Look what happens with a love like that. It lights the whole world. – Hafiz Image: Ankor Wat Eyegasm by Mike Behnken via Flickr. Email Tweet

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Self-Doubt and Starting Again

April 1, 2015

The blank page stares at me, like a billboard that fails to fall out of my vision even though I keep driving forward. I type a few words, hit delete and then decide it is time to fold laundry, wash dishes or browse the web for nothing in particular. This is an attempt to sabotage. I know this. But yet, I continue to take this break, hoping for a golden morsel to land in my lap. My wish – words […]

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Everyday Delights – March Edition

March 29, 2015

Every month I chronicle those ordinary delights that give me comfort or offer a place of reflection or joy. Here are my everyday delights for March: 1. The Giving Key Necklace I highlighted this key earlier in the month, but I’ve received such a strong response from wearing it, I thought it made the perfect everyday delight. My giving key says let go, a theme that thrums through the everyday in my life. When I encounter a person that needs this […]

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On Being Content

March 26, 2015

“When you are discontent, you always want more, more, more. Your desire can never be satisfied. But when you practice contentment, you can say to yourself, ‘Oh yes — I already have everything that I really need.” – Dalai Lama  Email Tweet

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Ushering in Spring: Flickers of Beauty

March 24, 2015

Spring is a complicated time in my life. I love the pulse of new beginnings, but in the backdrop, loss tends to weave in and out, forcing me to acknowledge its presence. To crawl out of this place, I tend to pay attention to the flickers of beauty that accompany spring. I’ve always loved sunflowers. The stalks are tough and resistant, while the flowered face welcomes its admirers. I like the idea of a flower possessing grit, but beauty too.  […]

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Right Now

March 19, 2015

I love doing this meme to chronicle my days. These are the things that allow my lens to focus on the pieces of my life I love, contemplate and enjoy. What I Am Reading: My nightstand is always filled with books. I also try to read when I can, in the carpool line or at my daughter’s tennis practice. Before I leave the house I always try to slip a book into my purse.  Right now, I am reading The Girl on the Train by […]

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What Lasts, Lasts; What Doesn’t, Doesn’t

March 18, 2015

“As time goes on, you’ll understand. What lasts, lasts; what doesn’t, doesn’t. Time solves most things. And what time can’t solve, you have to solve yourself.” ― Haruki Murakami, Dance Dance Dance Image: Million Diamonds! by Venu Gopal via Flickr. Email Tweet

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Listening to the Quiet

March 18, 2015

 “Silence is not the absence of something but the presence of everything.” – Gordon Hempton In January, I chose quiet as my word of the year. Quiet is this: an absence of noise or bustle; silence; calm. In this season, my inclination to sink into the present is born from cultivating quiet. I’ve nurtured this practice by rising early, waking at 5:30 a.m. The stillness in the morning is unparalleled. It is as if I can listen to each petal of the morning blossom. I […]

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This Season

March 16, 2015

When I contemplate this season, I think of the beauty and burden of  light and its shadow. Sometimes I stand in the pathway of unexpected sorrow, and then, in the next second, a parade of happiness marches through, like an unreliable narrator who takes over the plot even before you understand the story. Navigating the transitions between these two emotions is treacherous terrain since there is little identifiable rhythm. Recognizing the see-saw of sadness and joy is turning into a place I embrace instead […]

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Make the Most of This Day

March 11, 2015

Make the most of this day. Whatever that means to you, whatever you can do, no matter how small it seems. Find a bit of beauty in the world today. Share it. If you can’t find it, create it. Some days this may be hard to do. Persevere. —- Lisa Bonchek Adams I never met Lisa Adams, but her words impacted me. I checked her blog and followed her tweets regularly and sat in awe of how she taught others […]

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Hot Air Balloons, Ordinary Days and Holi

March 11, 2015

On Friday night we drove to a local stadium to view hot air balloons. As we stepped on the field, I noticed the energy around me: the family of four crawling into the basket to set sail on a ride in the sky, people standing in line for the newest food truck delight, kids running from balloon to balloon, watching as the pilots ignited the flame just enough to inflate their colorful contraption as both adults and children looking in awe, […]

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You Have to Find What Matters Most to You

March 6, 2015

I have a confession to make. I am wasting time. These five words rattle in my head like coins in a pocket. I hear the clang, but fail to remedy my inaction. Like all conflicts, I search for a source. Maybe it is the arrival of March that pushes buried emotions to the top. Spring is already in the air in the desert – warmer temperatures hit the pavement, the cacti bloom with yellow and pink flower buds and the hum of new […]

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A Desire to Go Home

March 4, 2015

The desire to go home that is a desire to be whole, to know where you are, to be the point of intersection of all the lines drawn through all the stars, to be the constellation-maker and the center of the world, that center called love. To awaken from sleep, to rest from awakening, to tame the animal, to let the soul go wild, to shelter in darkness and blaze with light, to cease to speak and be perfectly understood.” […]

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Everyday Delights – February Edition

February 26, 2015

Every month I chronicle those ordinary delights that give me comfort or offer a place of reflection or joy. Here are my everyday delights for February: 1. Coffee and this mug: I love listening to my coffee brew in the morning and the smell of those first drops of my breakfast blend dripping into the cup. That first sip is a comfort in my routine. I purchased this coffee mug from a local bookstore. It is a great way for my love […]

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The Difference Between Seeking and Finding

February 25, 2015

“When someone is seeking,” said Siddartha, “It happens quite easily that he only sees the thing that he is seeking; that he is unable to find anything, unable to absorb anything, because he is only thinking of the thing he is seeking, because he has a goal, because he is obsessed with his goal. Seeking means: to have a goal; but finding means: to be free, to be receptive, to have no goal. You, O worthy one, are perhaps indeed […]

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What I Am Reading

February 23, 2015

Some of my best days are spent conversing with a book. I love afternoons in the quiet, with the welcoming sounds of the pages flipping and my focus on the present moment. There are sentences that push me to pause and in those instances, I love that an invisible bridge forms between the writer and reader. Here are a list of book selections and an online essay that captivated my attention in January and February: Invention of Wings by Sue Monk […]

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The Review Review: Writing Tips

February 20, 2015

I am excited that the The Review Review decided to feature my article on writing critique groups on their website. A critique group can empower a writer, but also impede progress. If you belong to a group currently, do this self check to determine if it is working for you. Comments are closed here, but I would appreciate your feedback here.    Email Tweet

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You Do Not Have to Be Good

February 18, 2015

“You do not have to be good. You do not have to walk on your knees for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting. You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves. Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine. Meanwhile the world goes on. Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain are moving across the landscapes, over the prairies and the deep trees, the mountains and […]

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The Gaps Cannot Be Filled

February 17, 2015

As February winds down, I am confronted with the birth of March. It is a month that presents a paradox – the arrival of Spring, but the anniversary of my father’s death. This year will mark six years since we lost him. There are days that I still struggle to let go of his loss, but fail. I still look for him. When I embark on my morning run and pass the Indian man in the checkered long sleeve shirt, sporting his […]

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Get a Life

February 11, 2015

So I suppose the best piece of advice I could give anyone is pretty simple: get a life. A real life, not a manic pursuit of the next promotion, the bigger paycheck, the larger house. Do you think you’d care so very much about those things if you developed an aneurysm one afternoon, or found a lump in your breast while in the shower? Get a life in which you notice the smell of salt water pushing itself on a […]

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I Don’t Know

February 9, 2015

A few weeks ago we strolled into a local pizzeria for a family dinner. A muted red carpet, upbeat pictures decorated the walls and every table appeared taken by couples and families. The waitress escorted us to a small table in the back. As I walked through the aisles, I sensed a happiness threading strangers together. In my periphery, I noticed a mom hunched over a stroller touching her baby’s cheek and the resulting giggle from new life experiencing laughter for […]

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There Are Two Kinds of Life

February 4, 2015

Their life is mysterious, it is like a forest; from far off it seems a unity, it can be comprehended, described, but closer it begins to separate, to break into light and shadow, the density blinds one. Within there is no form, only prodigious detail that reaches everywhere: exotic sounds, spills of sunlight, foliage, fallen trees, small beasts that flee at the sound of a twig-snap, insects, silence, flowers. And all of this, dependent, closely woven, all of it is deceiving. […]

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28 Days of Play : A Confession from a Mother of an Only Child

February 4, 2015

I am excited and grateful to participate in Rachel Cedar’s series, 28 Days of Play, where mothers and fathers discuss their desire or reluctance to play with their children. As parents, we provide our kids with basic needs, but how often do we play with them? When Rachel asked me to contribute my thoughts on how I play with my daughter, I paused an anxiety churned in my gut. The questions and guilt started tumbling in my head. Thanks to Nina Badzin for the introduction […]

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Everyday Delights – January Edition

January 29, 2015

Every month I chronicle those everyday things that give me comfort or offer a place of reflection or joy. Here are my everyday delights for January: 1. These pictures and Instagram:  I took these pictures this past weekend and love the clarity of the blue between the branches and the intersection between the tree limbs. The next snapshot with the layers of various hues in the sky brought me back to a place of wonder and the vastness that swallow me […]

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Have Courage to Start Again

January 28, 2015

“For what it’s worth: it’s never too late or, in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit, stop whenever you want. You can change or stay the same, there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. And I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I […]

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Live Immediately

January 21, 2015

Putting things off is the biggest waste of life: it snatches away each day as it comes, and denies us the present by promising the future. The greatest obstacle to living is expectancy, which hangs upon tomorrow and loses today. You are arranging what lies in Fortune’s control, and abandoning what lies in yours. What are you looking at? To what goal are you straining? The whole future lies in uncertainty: live immediately. – Seneca Image: Water droplets on a […]

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Small Reminders

January 20, 2015

Last week, on the drive home, I caught a small reminder through my car window. I reached for my phone and snapped the evening sky. My intent and focus drifted to the white whispers and as an afterthought, I spotted the yellow sign that fit with the aura of the moment – to look up and pay attention. In the last few months, circumstances pushed me to place of melancholy. I confronted the idea of how situations can quickly change. This idea […]

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What Others Have Given Us

January 14, 2015

“I look back upon my youth and realize how so many people gave me help, understanding, courage – very important things to me – and they never knew it. They entered into my life and became powers within me. All of us live spiritually by what others have given us, often unwittingly, in the significant hours of our life. At the time these significant hours may not even be perceived. We may not recognize them until years later when we […]

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2015 Word of the Year

January 13, 2015

For the last few years, instead of adopting resolutions, I pick a word of the year. In 2012, I chose compassion. In 2013, I focused on gratitude. Last year I shifted my intent toward laughter. This year I struggled to find the right word. I contemplated abandoning my annual tradition, but then when I least expected it, a word popped in my head while running in my neighborhood. For a brief second, as I finished my regular route, I could only hear the rhythm of my […]

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January 8, 2015

Nine is here. Today. You sprinted into our room and announced in a voice that echoed as if we were in the middle of mountains, “Today is my birthday.” We sandwiched you with hugs and kissed the fleshy part your cheeks. I did not want to let you go. Hugging your fleece pajama pants, my insides pulsed with a roller-coaster moment, pausing at the ferocious pace of time’s passage. After a few seconds, you escaped out of my embrace, hurrying toward your room. […]

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The Mother of the House

January 5, 2015

I am beyond thrilled to have my work featured in Brain, Child magazine. My mother tells me that she doesn’t know what home is anymore. I sigh, not wanting the words to land. She sits at my dining table, while I make her fresh roti, an Indian bread that I devoured as a little girl. Her hands lay in her lap and her half-smile reflects her ambivalence. I notice her veins, the bright blue lines laying roads on her arms. […]

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Surprise Yourself

December 31, 2014

“May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you’re wonderful, and don’t forget to make some art — write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself.” –  Neil Gaiman Image: Coloring my world, drop by drop by Images by John ‘K’ via Flickr. Email Tweet

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2014 Favorites

December 30, 2014

Another year is ending. As time passes, I cling more to each minute. Recounting my favorites is an exercise that always fills me with such gratitude. I love to pay homage to the light in my life. Here is a short capsule of the gems I relished this past year: Favorite Reads: I love those moments where my attention is dedicated to turning the pages of a book. As a story unfolds, my mind might gravitate toward learning a particular character’s fate or the […]

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Nine Questions for Writers

December 29, 2014

Kristen, from Little Lodestar, posted these questions in her space a few weeks ago. Her questions offered a chance to excavate my writing process, as well as learn how other colleagues navigated their writing. Writing is solitary work. When Kristen’s meme emerged, so many writers answered these thoughtful and revealing questions and shared their insight. While I read these thoughtful answers, I felt less alone. That is the power of writing, of sharing, of community. Here are my answers and please visit the websites and responses of […]

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On Wonder and Holidays

December 24, 2014

My daughter is turning nine in a few weeks. I am not ready. I watch her teeter on the tightrope. Some days she seems like such an adult: emptying the dishwasher, asking questions about God and life, organizing and cleaning her room without prompts and engaging in conversations that shows flickers of adulthood. There are moments, though, that she turns her head toward wonder again. We will bake cookies for Santa and place them on a decorated dish by the […]

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My Favorite Reads in 2014

December 21, 2014

Some of my favorite evenings are spent reading. My book stacks keep growing like small ant piles on my nightstand and office. The words on the pages transport and I believe with a particular intensity that if traveling isn’t an opportunity that is available to you, reading a book offers an ability to peer into another world and gain insight into your life. Here are the 10 books that I adored in 2014: 1. This Is The Story of  a Happy […]

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Things Do Not Go Away. They Become You.

December 17, 2014

“Things don’t go away. They become you. There is no end, as T.S. Eliot somewhere says, but addition: the trailing consequence of further days and hours. No freedom from the past, or from the future. But we keep making our way, as we have to. We’re all pretty much able to deal even with the worst that life can fire at us, if we simply admit that it is very difficult. I think that’s the whole of the answer. We […]

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What Is Left Unsaid

December 16, 2014

My daughter still believes. She will turn nine in less than a month, but for Christmas she composed and decorated her Santa gift list, researched recipes for cookies on the Internet and asked whether this season, she landed in the naughty or nice category. As her mother, I adore this stage, fraught with innocence and godliness of children who still believe in magic, wonder and the glimmers of goodness in the world. Read the rest of this essay on the […]

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The Long Corridor of Uncertainty

December 14, 2014

For the last 2 weeks, “Be kind,  for everyone is fighting a hard battle,” repeats in my ear in surround sound. These same words echoed as I stepped on the extended sidewalk near our local hospital. In the periphery, I saw a mother and her young adult son sitting on a brown bench. A headband swept the mom’s thick black hair away from her forehead and her lipstick smeared outside the lines of her mouth. Her son sat  in a wheelchair next […]

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This Moment Is as Good as Any Other

December 10, 2014

“The future that we want – this is it. This is the future of all the previous thoughts you’ve ever had about the future. You’re in it. You’re already in it. What is the purpose of all this living if it’s only to get some place else and then when you’re there you’re not happy anyway, you want to be some place else. It’s always for ‘when I retire,’ ‘when I graduate college,’ ‘when I make enough money,’ ‘when I […]

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Let There Be Space in Your Togetherness

December 3, 2014

“Let there be spaces in your togetherness, And let the winds of the heavens dance between you. Love one another but make not a bond of love: Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls. Fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup. Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf. Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone, Even as […]

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The Power in a Note

December 3, 2014

  A paper airline glided onto the kitchen countertop. When it landed, my daughter asked me to open the flaps. A meaning existed behind her request. She sometimes prefers to communicate with a handwritten note. Read the rest of this essay on The First Day where I discuss the unexpected surprise I received from sending a note to my daughter.  Image: “Untitled” by Plear Littlefield via Flickr. Email Tweet

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On Gratitude

November 26, 2014

As we boarded our plane, my eyes gravitated toward the front seat. A young woman, with black horn-rimmed glasses, reddish blonde hair  looked down, aware of the stares she might receive as people scurried to find an open seat. My daughter noticed first. “Momma, where are her legs?” she asked as we landed in on our seats. “They didn’t grow properly, honey, so she has to lay on her stomach and use a wheelchair to help move.”  The plane lurched […]

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Sometimes the Unraveling Is Unexpected

November 24, 2014

It happened during a break from writing. I looked at my morning coffee mug at the corner of my desk, recognizing the stale smell of what’s forgotten in the air. The afternoon sun beamed through the slits of my office window. I glanced at my watch, knowing that the next hour required all of my attention before my writer cape switched to mother again. Since errant thoughts stockpiled in my mind, my focus failed. I scowled at the irony of  squandering sixty minutes of […]

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Books of a Lifetime

November 20, 2014

  I love the power of a good book. It lingers with you like a dream you cannot let go. Sometimes a passage might tinker with your mind, pushing you to reflect. Other times, you laugh hard, the same way a child releases a giggle from her belly. Books offer hearty conversations and a place to seek refuge. I adored this book meme from blogger and writer, Jackie Cangro. I discovered her musings a few months ago and admire the rhythm of […]

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The Tide Will Inevitably Come In

November 19, 2014

“We are like children building a sand castle. We embellish it with beautiful shells, bits of driftwood, and pieces of colored glass. The castle is ours, off limits to others. We’re willing to attack if others threaten to hurt it. Yet despite all our attachment, we know that the tide will inevitably come in and sweep the sand castle away. The trick is to enjoy it fully but without clinging, and when the time comes, let it dissolve back into […]

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On Navigating a Crisis

November 18, 2014

  The pulse of a crisis has one pitch. Panic. I am not certain it needs to be this way. In fact, I know, after reflecting on this particular time in my life – It shouldn’t be this way. Although it sounds counterintuitive, striving toward balance becomes paramount particularly during a crisis. Because I focused so much on saving my father from dying, I failed to focus on the living parts of my life. In the end, when tending to […]

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In the Middle of Things, an Epiphany

November 16, 2014

These days I am often in the middle of things. On Saturday morning, I started writing early, but stopped. My daughter walked into my office and asked for breakfast. I moved into the kitchen, pulled out the blender, grabbed some spinach, a pineapple, a half orange and a sliver of lemon and threw it in the canister and pushed the blend button. While the roar rang in my ear, I noticed that my iPhone flashed. The ring wasn’t totally unexpected. […]

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What If the Stories Stop?

November 14, 2014

“In the sky there are always answers and explanations for everything: every pain, every suffering, joy and confusion.” ― Ishmael Beah Yesterday unravelled like the previous day. I woke early, strapped on my tennis shoes and headed for a run. When I returned, the noise of the morning laid at my feet. I grabbed my coffee cup and let the smell of the liquid goodness simmer in the air. While my morning elixir brewed, I unloaded the dishwasher, made a […]

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When Fear Knocks

November 12, 2014

“At one point, we were all fearful. But as you get older, it’s the things you don’t do that you regret, more so than the things you do. When fear knocks, answer.” – Robin Roberts * I took an unintended hiatus from posting this week. Stay tuned. New post on Friday. Email Tweet

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Tell Stories Only You Can Tell

November 6, 2014

“Start telling the stories that only you can tell, because there’ll always be better writers than you and there’ll always be smarter writers than you. There will always be people who are much better at doing this or doing that — but you are the only you.” ― Neil Gaiman Image: “Rising Tide” by Justin Brown via Flickr. Email Tweet

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Mastering Failure

November 4, 2014

It is my first time. I push open the doors to the studio and spot a young woman, in a high-ponytail, yoga pants and a tie-dye shirt with an Om symbol sits behind the desk. My approach is hesitant. Should I turn around and walk away?   To read the rest of this piece, please visit The First Day.   Image: “Explosion of Beauty” by Toni Verdú Carbó via Flickr. Email Tweet

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Finding Quiet in a Spiral of Noise

November 3, 2014

  The hour is late. My fingers glide over the keyboard. I type a few sentences. Then I hit delete. The blank screen stares at me like a pair of  headlights on a dark road. Struggling, I start again. The pile of books on my desk are a distraction. Lena Dunham’s Not That Kind of Girl and J.Palacio’s Wonder shift my attention. Not now, I whisper, as if the presence of these books are the reason why I am in […]

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A Halloween Memory

October 30, 2014

Halloween 2006. A first. I gaze at this picture, holding back tears, at what was and how time sprints from this little baby to a girl approaching double-digits.  Feisty and independent, at 9 months she grabbed the bottle, eager to forge her own path. Glimpses of her personality bloomed in small ways: her little hands grabbed the edges of the couch and her feet inched sideways, peek-a-boo always meant a deep, guttural laugh that I never forgot and when held by strangers, she not […]

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It Is the Cliches That Cause Trouble

October 30, 2014

“You’ll get over it…” It’s the clichés that cause the trouble. To lose someone you love is to alter your life for ever. You don’t get over it because ‘it” is the person you loved. The pain stops, there are new people, but the gap never closes. How could it? The particularness of someone who mattered enough to grieve over is not made anodyne by death. This hole in my heart is in the shape of you and no-one else […]

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Everyday Delights – October Edition

October 29, 2014

It is that time again. Every month I chronicle those everyday things that give me comfort or offer a place of reflection or joy. Here are my everyday delights for October: 1.  This framed picture: Happiness is writing your own story. I found this frame this past month at a local Hallmark store. It sits on my nightstand and every time I glance at it, I smile. I am so grateful that everyday I possess the opportunity to write my story. […]

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I Am Not a Dancer

October 28, 2014

Her arms arc over her head and in an instant she twirls around the dance floor with a carefree exuberance. Although people are watching her, she continues to twirl, without feeling distracted from the movement in the crowd. I watch, my hands are nervous, gripping the iPhone so that I cam film my daughter dancing at her first solo performance. For months she practiced the moves, with help from her dance teacher so that she could perform at her Uncle’s wedding. […]

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Happy New Year

October 24, 2014

  The day after Diwali marks the Indian new year. Wishing all of my family and friends a hearty Sal Mubarak and Happy New Year. This year I am vowing to lower my expectations of others. When we expect, we assume. Detaching from expectations, I hope, will pave my pathway to embrace what is, instead of what isn’t.   Image: May this new year Bloom like this Beautiful Flower for all of you by Swaminathan via Flickr   Email Tweet

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Diwali 2014

October 22, 2014

A period of time existed when I didn’t quite understand the significance of Diwali, other than receiving gifts from my family and eating a special meal with some of my favorite Indian foods. Celebrating Diwali gained a different momentum once I had my daughter. I’ve thought about Diwali and its significance in an essay that I wrote for the First Day.  Happy Diwali to you and yours. Image: “Diwali” by Amarpreet K via Flickr Email Tweet

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Never Forget Your Own Insignificance

October 16, 2014

“To love. To be loved. To never forget your own insignificance. To never get used to the unspeakable violence and the vulgar disparity of life around you. To seek joy in the saddest places. To pursue beauty to its lair. To never simplify what is complicated or complicate what is simple. To respect strength, never power. Above all, to watch. To try and understand. To never look away. And never, never to forget.” – Arundhati Roy, The Cost of Living Image: […]

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Tracking the Ordinary

October 13, 2014

For years, my father listed his daily activities in a spiral-bound notebook. He noted random and ordinary moments that occurred during the day. He always wrote the date, the day of the week and the year. Below these notations, he made timeline of his day: ate pizza with the family, watched a movie at the theater or sometimes, the conversations he had with my mom or one of us. He never made a point of keep his journal private. He acknowledged that he […]

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Live In It

October 8, 2014

“I’m not telling you to make the world better, because I don’t think that progress is necessarily part of the package. I’m just telling you to live in it. Not just to endure it, not just to suffer it, not just to pass through it, but to live in it. To look at it. To try to get the picture. To live recklessly. To take chances. To make your own work and take pride in it. To seize the moment. […]

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On Creating a Legacy with Photographs

October 8, 2014

Last week, while surfing the internet, a particular story grabbed my attention. The New York Times featured a piece by Susan Minot, Forty Portraits in Forty Years. Nicolas Nixon took pictures of his wife and her three sisters every year for the past forty years. The sisters, known only as Heather, Mimi, Bebe and Laurie posed in the same order every year. What emerges out of this series is more than a haphazard photograph of four women; instead you begin […]

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Happy 5th Birthday, Being Rudri

October 6, 2014

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” ― Maya Angelou Five years ago this week, I started writing in this space. October 2009 brought many transitions: losing my father after a four-year battle with cancer, moving to Arizona after living in my hometown all my life and working out other personal transitions of work and motherhood and responsibilities. The rumbling in my core needed a place to land so I sought out writing as a path, not […]

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The Most Important Tool in Your Life

October 1, 2014

“Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything – all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are […]

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Everyday Delights – September Edition

September 28, 2014

Every month I chronicle those everyday things that give me comfort or offer a place of reflection or joy. Here are my everyday delights for September: 1. This Pen I love walking into an office supply store to experiment with new pens. I enjoy anticipating how the pen will land on the paper. When I am finished writing, I judge the arc of the letters to determine if I like the pen enough to buy it. During my birthday this month, […]

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Gratitude Is Not Unreachable

September 26, 2014

Our lives are comprised of ordinary moments. We are creatures of routine, immersing ourselves into our personal merry-go-round. Each day is much like the one that passed before. What will we remember? Will it be the moments that we discounted as too ordinary as we were living them? As a mother and a writer, my feet are firmly in the middle of things. In the morning, I try to squeeze in running or writing before my daughter and husband begin […]

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What Changes Your Life?

September 24, 2014

“We all think we’re going to be great and we feel a little bit robbed when our expectations aren’t met. But sometimes our expectations sell us short. Sometimes the expected simply pales in comparison to the unexpected. You got to wonder why we cling to our expectations, because the expected is just what keeps us steady. Standing. Still. The expected’s just the beginning, the unexpected is what changes our lives.” Shonda Rhimes Image: Water lilies by Louise Docker via Flickr […]

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Turning 41: Lessons Learned as I Enter a New Decade

September 23, 2014

  This past weekend I turned 41. In the last few weeks preceding my birthday, the curves seem slow and deliberate. A slight pensiveness accompanied my days. Shoulders tightened, irritation churned in my gut and various emotions shot like an uncontrolled geyser. I suspected this angst is what comes with time’s passage. Yet, I realized, simultaneously I am blessed with so much gratitude that threads the seconds of my life together. The morning of my birthday I did what I always […]

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Beautiful People Do Not Just Happen

September 17, 2014

“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.” – Elisabeth Kubler-Ross Email Tweet

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Cliched, but True: You Really Can’t Judge a Book by Its Cover

September 17, 2014

This past weekend I watched a segment on CBS Sunday Morning that highlighted book clubs. Malcolm Mitchell is a star football player for  the University of Georgia and he intersected with a woman named Kathy at a local Barnes & Nobles. Kathy is a middle-aged Caucasian woman, while Malcolm is a twenty-year-old African-American. But these facts did not stop these two from becoming friends. Kathy did not know about Malcolm’s football career and extended an invitation to him to join her book […]

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73 Questions & Answers About Me

September 12, 2014

Last week I stumbled on Vogue’s 73 Questions segment on The Scene. A reporter asks a celebrity 73 random questions on their lives within 6 minutes. I watched Anna Wintour’s interview and became intrigued by the premise. I thought I’d feature some of my answers to the same questions as answered by Sarah Jessica Parker as a fun exercise for Friday (of course, I put my own spin on the questions and for obvious reasons some of the questions don’t […]

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You Have Choices

September 10, 2014

There is so much about my fate that I cannot control, but other things do fall under the jurisdiction. I can decide how I spend my time, whom I interact with, whom I share my body and life and money and energy with. I can select what I can read and eat and study. I can choose how I’m going to regard unfortunate circumstances in my life-whether I will see them as curses or opportunities. I can choose my words […]

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Kindess and Competition: Women Can Get Along

September 8, 2014

She fell on the court, sobs mixed with smiles. As our family watched Serena Williams move toward her 18th grand slam victory, my daughter noticed tears in the corner of my eye. “Momma, are you crying?” she asked.  “No, I am not crying. Don’t be silly.” I tried to wave off the sentimentality I felt about Serena winning, but I’ve always admired people who dedicate themselves to one particular endeavor and continue to pursue it despite the obstacles. It takes a […]

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10 Books That Have Stayed With Me

September 4, 2014

A few friends on Facebook tagged me for a response to the question: What 10 books have stayed with you?  The question is daunting and it took a few days for me to compose my selections These are choices that reflect this time in my life. Here is a list of those books, in no particular order: 1. Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott 2. The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion 3. The Razor’s Edge by  W. Somerset […]

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You Must Accept All of It

September 3, 2014

“The art of living is based on rhythm — on give and take, ebb and flow, light and dark, life and death. By acceptance of all aspects of life, good and bad, right and wrong, yours and mine, the static, defensive life, which is what most people are cursed with, is converted into a dance, the dance of life, metamorphosis.”  – Henry Miller, Wisdom Of The Heart Image: “water drop blue” by Trevor Manternach via Flickr. Email Tweet

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A Name Carries Everything

September 3, 2014

  “What’s your name again? How do you pronounce it?” The teacher looked down at her class roll and repeated the question. “My name is Rudri.” I responded. The stares of my classmates felt like tiny laser beams that made me feel like I glowed in the dark. “Ru-dar-y”? Is that how you say it?” She asked again providing extra emphasis on the syllables. “Um,no. It is pronounced Roo-dri.” I answered, hoping she’d move on to the next student. “Ok. […]

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Barely Peeking, But Still There

September 1, 2014

When looking through my montage of snapshots from my iPhone, this particular picture grabbed my full attention. I captured this tranquil, but colorful piece of nature cycling around Stanley Park in Vancouver. It caught me by surprise only because my eyes are usually accustomed to the earthy tones of the desert landscape. I’ve never witnessed this kind of red leaf layer cake with the sky peeking from the top. As I maneuvered my bike around the park, children played in the sand on a nearby beach, […]

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Everyday Delights – August Edition

August 28, 2014

Every month I chronicle those everyday things that give me comfort or offer a place of reflection or joy. Here are my everyday delights for August: 1. This Journal  I’ve collected various journals most of my life. The blank page is where I find refuge, whether it is to jot down a few thoughts or make a list of things to do.  The message, “Don’t Wait” keeps repeating in my head like a mantra. When I discovered this notebook at […]

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You Can be Rich in Loss

August 27, 2014

Lost really has two disparate meanings. Losing things is about the familiar falling away, getting lost is about the unfamiliar appearing. There are objects and people that disappear from your sight or knowledge or possession; you lose a bracelet, a friend, the key. You still know where you are. Everything is familiar except that there is one item less, one missing element. Or you get lost, in which case the world has become larger than your knowledge of it. Either […]

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Trusting What I Cannot See

August 25, 2014

On a recent vacation to Vancouver, my family and I decided to climb Grouse Grinder, which is dubbed as Mother Nature’s largest stair master, numbering 2,830 steps. The steps spiraled up and the space between each stair required some interesting maneuvering. Midway through the hike, my legs started losing their focus. As I climbed each step, the trees shaded the path ahead. Although I could see what appeared directly in front of me, the path beyond a cluster of steps […]

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I Will Never Forget This Advice

August 22, 2014

“I am Wally.” He introduced himself with an ease, even though he had never met any of us before. “It’s just me.” He said this to no one in particular. I intersected with him almost thirteen years ago while traveling on a bus through Europe. My husband and I were exploring the French countryside and we sat near Wally during our travels. He periodically looked at his watch and brushed his hair behind his ears. One time I caught him staring at […]

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We Cover Up Who We Are

August 20, 2014

We waste so much energy trying to cover up who we are when beneath every attitude is the want to be loved, and beneath every anger is a wound to be healed and beneath every sadness is the fear that there will not be enough time. When we hesitate in being direct, we unknowingly slip something on, some added layer of protection that keeps us from feeling the world, and often that thin covering is the beginning of a loneliness […]

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On Robin Williams, Asking for Help and How Culture Plays a Role

August 17, 2014

I did what most do when a beloved celebrity passes away. Since I heard about Robin Williams’s passing, I’ve watched moments that encapsulate his time machine. From his early acting days, I caught a clip of one of my favorite characters, Fonzie, interacting with Mork, the beloved alien that Mr. Williams played with such intensity and authenticity. I laughed again, remembering my childhood and recalling how much I loved these two shows, Happy Days and Mork and Mindy. Watching this clip, […]

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Recognizing the Beauty of the Earth

August 15, 2014

“When we contemplate the whole globe as one great dewdrop, striped and dotted with continents and islands, flying through space with other stars all singing and shining together as one, the whole universe appears as an infinite storm of beauty.” – John Muir For the past week, my family travelled through various parts of the Pacific Northwest. I witnessed an array of emotions, but one pervading theme threaded my experiences: the overwhelming beauty and the magic of the earth. When […]

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You Must Learn One Thing

August 13, 2014

You must learn one thing: the world was made to be free in. Give up all the other worlds except the one to which you belong. Sometimes it takes darkness and the sweet confinement of your aloneness to learn anything or anyone that does not bring you alive is too small for you.  ― David Whyte Image: ‘The Web that is Us” by Evan Leeson via Flickr Email Tweet

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Another Beginning Becomes Another Last

August 11, 2014

August 11. First day of third grade. The sound of the alarm clock felt abrupt, almost as if it wasn’t meant to disturb the silence of the morning. I looked up at the ceiling, deliberately delaying the start of this day. A few seconds later, my daughter runs into the room and says,”Get up, Momma. It is the first day of school. We need to get ready.” I smiled, thinking how time always puts me in my place. Only a […]

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What Are the Sweetest Things in Life?

August 6, 2014

  “The best things are nearest: breath in your nostrils, light in your eyes, flowers at your feet, duties at your hand, the path of God just before you. Then do not grasp at the stars, but do life’s plain common work as it comes certain that daily duties and daily bread are the sweetest things of life.” — Robert Louis Stevenson Image: “Dancing in the…dark” by Yannis via Flickr. Email Tweet

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What are You Reading Lately?

August 3, 2014

“Books are a uniquely portable magic.” – Stephen King  Last week I visited Powell’s Books in Portland. Walking through the multiple levels and various genres, I took a deep breath as I eyed rows and rows of books, realizing that each piece of writing could make itself at home with someone. People perused aisles of different rooms that featured specialized genres. I added a few more books to my already growing pile. Here is what I am reading right now: The Unlikely […]

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Everyday Delights – A Belated July Edition

August 1, 2014

Every month I chronicle those everyday things that give me comfort or offer a place of reflection or joy. Here are my everyday delights for July: 1. Butterflies – I live in a city that houses the largest butterfly atrium in the United States. My daughter and I visited this wonderland and captured several colorful winged creatures on our excursion. As I witnessed my daughter’s excitement, I also felt nostalgic of my own childhood . I remembered that I designed a butterfly […]

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All Things Exist Within You

July 31, 2014

“All things in this creation exist within you, and all things in you exist in creation; there is no border between you and the closest things, and there is no distance between you and the farthest things, and all things, from the lowest to the loftiest, from the smallest to the greatest, are within you as equal things.”- Kahlil Gibran Image: “Orchid” by Joe Penniston via Flickr Email Tweet

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Beyond the Changing Seasons

July 30, 2014

On Saturday as I pulled into my driveway, I saw a glimmer of lightning behind the mountains. I dismissed the notion of rain because even when the clouds look bloated in the desert, a downpour is not guaranteed. The summer months are anointed as the monsoon season, but after living in the Southwest for five years, this seems more like a myth. There is a single type of weather that permeates most days in the desert: the sun is steady, […]

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A Sorta Fairytale

July 28, 2014

I became twenty again on Friday night. For just a moment.  Standing in the audience at the Tori Amos concert, I hummed the lyrics of some of my favorite songs like “Never Was a Cornflake Girl” and a “A Sorta Fairytale.” A mixed crowd filled the seats of the small auditorium. There were hipsters with heavy blue eye shadow and funky boots, older couples who probably first witnessed Tori in their twenties as I did and even some children that were […]

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What Happens When I Stop Doing This

July 25, 2014

For the last month, I’ve not laced up my tennis shoes to go outside for a run. It is summertime in the desert and that means even at 5:00 a.m., the sun is already making plans for its red carpet arrival. When I wake in the morning, I surmise that it is too hot and fall back asleep.  As I write this, I think, this is an excuse. I could get up earlier or brave the sun for a brief […]

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There Are No Perfect Endings

July 23, 2014

“I wanted a perfect ending. Now I’ve learned, the hard way, that some poems don’t rhyme, and some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next. Delicious Ambiguity.”  – Gilda Radner Image: “Purple Flower”  by Michael via Flickr. Email Tweet

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Right Now

July 20, 2014

I did this same meme last year and I thought it might be fun to revisit it again. Here is what is happening in my world right now. What I Am Listening To: I am listening to Tori Amos’s new album, Unrepentant Geraldines. I’ve listened to her music since college and have attended several of her concerts. She performs with a spirit that is hard to describe. Other songs playing in the background are Maps by Maroon 5, Roar by […]

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Moments, Not Months

July 18, 2014

The butterfly counts not months but moments, and has time enough~Rabindranath Tagore We are fortunate to live in a city that houses the world’s largest butterfly museum. This past weekend my daughter and I decided to venture into this butterfly wonderland. As a little girl, I chased butterflies in our neighborhood. I remember begging my father to get a net to capture these treasures. I never successfully trapped these beauties, but this glimpse of my past flickered as I walked […]

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The Power in These Four Agreements

July 16, 2014

I read the Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz many years ago. These are the tenets of his philosophy. I refer back to these often because his wisdom is timeless. 1. Be Impeccable With Your Word Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love. 2. Don’t Take Anything Personally Nothing others do is because […]

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Escaping the Safety of Routine

July 16, 2014

The summer months not only mean a slower, more deliberate pace for many, but a time when families make plans to take one special trip or enjoy several mini-vacations at various destinations. There’s discussion about whether their time should be spent barefooted on the beach or perusing aquariums or museums in major cities. Some might decide to take a road trip far away from reminders of work, school or home. One common denominator is present among all these plans—the goal […]

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Things That We Learn

July 15, 2014

I loved reading this article by Nick Crocker on Medium titled, Thirty Things I’ve Learned.  I urge you to click on the link and check out his insights. Some of his lessons resonated in my marrow and I could not resist writing about those insights that impacted me the most. His first lesson, “remember you will die,” is important to consider. At first glance it appears morbid to think that way, but I believe living your moments knowing that it could be your […]

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Five Life and Writing Lessons From Elizabeth Gilbert

July 10, 2014

On Monday evening, I attended a reading and Q & A session by author, Elizabeth Gilbert.  She is a fantastic speaker, who infuses humor, intellect and insight in what she articulates. Days after listening to her, the impact of her words lingered in my head. Although some of her advise centered on pursuing the arts, her wisdom carries power for the everyday. Here is what I learned: 1. DO NOT FOLLOW YOUR PASSION EVERYDAY. FOLLOW YOUR CURIOSITY.   Elizabeth bluntly […]

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The Undercurrent of Love

July 9, 2014

A mind that has come to the stillness of wisdom shall know being, shall know what it is to love. Love is neither personal nor impersonal. Love is love, not to be defined or described by the mind as exclusive or inclusive. Love is its own eternity; it is the real, the supreme, the immeasurable. – Aldous Huxley Image: “Purple Flower” by Yuri Levchenko via Flickr. Email Tweet

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Eight and a Half

July 9, 2014

Today my daughter turns eight and a half. I hesitated writing this piece because a part of me wants to deny that she is inching closer to double digits. She will likely be my only child and I mourn all of her milestones because they are her firsts, but my lasts. Perhaps my need to hold on shows up in ways I am only now recognizing. Her mahogany crib sits in the corner of our garage, along with the mattress, […]

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Paying Homage To The Ordinary

July 8, 2014

This past Sunday evening, I watched my daughter raise her arm and swing her tennis racket, hoping her energy landed in the right place. The breezy air made the yellow ball look like a meteor streaking across the sky. I felt a little coolness as the wind rearranged my hair. It was an out-of-character moment for the desert summer. As she continued to play, I interchanged my focus between my phone and journal. My 5-year-journal sat in my lap. When I encounter some […]

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July 4, 2014

  The yellow chair is a reminder. The state of your life maybe imperfect or on some days may not feel like enough. But isn’t that how it is for all of us? Holidays should not be the only day we set aside to celebrate, spend time with friends or sigh at the wonder of fireworks. The yellow chair is always there. That single bright spot. It can be whatever gives you that flicker of joy. A hug in the middle of the […]

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Falling Apart & Coming Together

July 2, 2014

  “We think that the point is to pass the test or overcome the problem, but the truth is that things don’t really get solved. They come together and they fall apart. Then they come together again and fall apart again. It’s just like that. The healing comes from letting there be room for all of this to happen: room for grief, for relief, for misery, for joy.” ~ Pema Chodron   * I am very pleased to announce that […]

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Best Friend For Life

June 29, 2014

My daughter loves writing notes. Sometimes when she is upset, she will write a handwritten note and slip it underneath my office door. Always, always, she writes, “Please write me back.” I do, of course, even if the note comes during the busiest part of my day. We’ve always emphasized the importance of writing as way  to express emotions, especially since her default is to cry when she is upset. I know one day this kind of communication may wane. She […]

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Don’t Let This Happen

June 25, 2014

What if you wake up some day, and you’re 65, or 75, and you never got your memoir or novel written; or you didn’t go swimming in warm pools and oceans all those years because your thighs were jiggly and you had a nice big comfortable tummy; or you were just so strung out on perfectionism and people-pleasing that you forgot to have a big juicy creative life, of imagination and radical silliness and staring off into space like when […]

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Everyday Delights – June Edition

June 23, 2014

Every month I chronicle those everyday things that give me comfort or offer a place of reflection or joy. Here are my everyday delights for June: 1. This coffee mug: I love playing Words with Friends and when I saw this coffee mug, it made me smile. I added this particular mug to my coffee cup collection and enjoy drinking my favorite brew while playing, of course, Words with Friends.     2. Summer Delight: Gelato from Talenti: Run to your nearby grocery store […]

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Some Questions & Answers

June 20, 2014

My friend Cecilia asked that I answer these questions in this meme. Please make some time to head over to her space, Only You. She writes honestly about anxiety, vulnerability and offers insightful book reviews. When her pieces appear in my feed, I know that Cecilia will write with authenticity. That’s what I appreciate about her writing. After reading her words, I feel less alone. Thanks, Cecilia for your candor. 1. Which author’s voice is most compelling to you? This is […]

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A Little Bit Of Good

June 18, 2014

Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world. Desmond Tutu Email Tweet

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Six Parenting Lessons From A Father Dying In Hospice

June 16, 2014

I helped my father die in home hospice. The oncologist said those words, the ones that are repeated in hospital rooms, in the middle of alleys, and in the back of ambulances, “There is nothing more we can do.” With those seven words, I began participating in his limbo. He split his time like a firefly. He vacillated between embracing small flickers of life and languishing on the path of lifelessness. His body withered in the middle of my childhood […]

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This Girl Misses Her Father

June 13, 2014

  Revisiting old memories unearths feelings you are not always ready to confront. On a recent trip home to Texas, I uncovered some old albums that featured snapshots of my father. In this particular picture, I am two months old, on my belly, huddled next to my father. When I looked at the photograph, I smiled, chuckling at the full head of hair on both of us. When I lift my head up to take a second glance, I noticed the grins […]

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