“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: “Drops on Lotus” by Takashi M. via Flickr

1 comment

Tracking the Ordinary

October 13, 2014

in Everyday life


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 wanted to track his moments to understand how he spent his time. As a teenager, I dismissed this practice, without giving much thought at how this formed a compass for his life.

I always laugh now when I am writing my own activities in my journal. As a little girl, I never really kept a diary. I couldn’t make the commitment to jot down my thoughts everyday. It seemed silly to mention my mall trips or how I fared on my last history test. In the last ten years, the practice of tracking my ordinary moments creates a comfort. I’ve kept a line a day journal for the last seven years and not only can I compare days of the same year, but also different years. Some days the entries are simple, like noting if I read a particularly good book or if certain situations evoked sadness or happiness. There are no restrictions or limitations on what I can or cannot write about.

In a recent article on Motherlode, the article pointed that there is evidence that tracking these mundane moments might offer an unexpected sense of joy. I enjoy focusing on the ordinary because often times, it is remembering my daughter’s belly laugh or watching my mom cook a particular dish or catching a late-night movie with my husband that extrapolates what the essence of my life has become. It becomes a collection of where I was in a particular year or a collection of what I am becoming.

An added bonus has emerged from my daily journaling. It allows me to remember not only my days, but also keeps me connected to some of the more happier memories of my father.

Do you journal? What benefits have you seen with the practice?

Image: 143/365Diary by Magic Madzik via Flickr


Live In It

October 8, 2014

in Thursday Musing


“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. And if you ask me why you should bother to do that, I could tell you that the grave’s a fine and private place, but none I think do there embrace. Nor do they sing there, or write, or argue, or see the tidal bore on the Amazon, or touch their children. And that’s what there is to do and get it while you can and good luck at it.”
― Joan Didion

Image: Stanley Park, Vancouver by Leo Mao via Flickr.


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.” – Elisabth Kubler-Ross

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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.

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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

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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

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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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