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 to hold on to certainty as much as my life will allow.

2. Birchbox

Every month I receive a pretty box in the mail containing samples of makeup, hair products, an uplifting quote, a sample of new perfume or tea. I enjoy the little surprises that I have the opportunity to try without taking a trip to the store. I tend to gravitate toward the intense and this little box helps me focus on tiny fun pleasures.

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3. A morning hike

We are lucky that we live in a city that allows us to hike year round. This past weekend we climbed a local trail and I managed to catch the quiet of the morning and the majestic view of the mountains. It is such a delight knowing that we can choose to hike every day of the year and bear witness to this beauty.

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4. A visit from my family

My sister and brother-in-law came to visit over Memorial Day weekend. I love the ease of  laughter, silly games, familiarity and the comfort of enjoying family time. This is one of my favorite pics from our weekend together.

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What delighted you this month? 

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Squares, circles and lines. Oh My!

“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 imperfections, vulnerabilities, and power, and fills us with a sense of belonging, we are incredibly lucky.”

Brene Brown

Image: Squares, Circles and lines. Oh My! by Kenny Louie via Flickr.

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door

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 hospital bed and an oxygen tank that breathed air into his lungs. The room was given a pulse by the swoosh-swoosh came from the tiny machine in the corner. Despite this, my father still had one chief complaint, “I can’t breathe, Rudri. Is the oxygen machine still working?”

I said I would check on it, but I knew the futility of this endeavor. I didn’t want to tell him. Too scared to say, “Dad, your remaining lung is so diseased that you are suffocating to death. You are dying.” Although we understood what hospice meant, he failed to understand the gravity of what was happening. Part of his confusion was derived from hypoxia. He struggled to take deep breaths during his three weeks in hospice because he lacked the lung capacity to do so.

My mother, sister and I watched as something that we could not fathom took over his body. He could not breathe well. He could not sit up. He could not walk. He used a bed pan to relieve himself. He spent most of his time moving in and out of a very restless sleep. As he tried to navigate this uncertainty, we took on the roles of cook, nurse, caretaker and maid. We strived to make him feel comfortable, but I sensed that our efforts were not enough.

In the middle of this, I tried to understand his feelings and I thought of a passage that described his plight. Years ago, I read the short story, The Death of Ivan Ilych by Leo Tolstoy. Tolstoy wrote about a man who suffered from a terminal illness and his need to grapple with this new reality. One particular passage resonated with me because it aptly described what my father may have felt as he was dying:

“Morning or night, Friday or Sunday, made no difference, everything was the same: the gnawing, excruciating, incessant pain; that awareness of life irrevocably passing but not yet gone; that dreadful, loathsome death, the only reality, relentlessly closing in on him; and that same endless lie. What did days, weeks, or hours matter?”

We tried to cheer him up by offering him the comforts of a life that he once knew. I read him the paper and served him a cup of tea. My mother made his favorite childhood foods, like rice and dal. My sister tried to show him various YouTube clips of comedy shows to incite some laughter. When we did these things, I detected his ambivalence and detachment to what we were trying to do. We wanted to forget, but he could not. Our desire centered around a focus on normalcy, but it didn’t matter. These little acts only magnified the futility of the situation.

Midway through his hospice journey, a doctor visited him. Her examination led her to the opinion that he may have weeks or months ahead languishing in the same nonexistent state. Her words hit like a tornado in my body. How could he carry on like this for months? How could we watch his demise for so long? But I knew that doctors are not predictors of death, although we give them that credit. They offer their best guess or estimation, but much of it is shooting bullets in the dark. Her prediction proved wrong.

The next day my father developed a rash. At first glance, I thought he burned himself with his permanent companion, the heating pad he used to stave off the internal pain he felt in his lungs. On a more thorough glance, his blistered rash indicated shingles. The irony was that his cancer numbed so much of his body that he felt no pain from it. A week and a half later he passed.

It was Sunday evening, around 10:00 p.m. at night. My sister called and said he had no blood pressure and I raced from my apartment to my childhood home, driving at a frantic pace. So many thoughts crawled in my head. I never thought my non-smoking father would develop lung cancer. I never thought the man who walked three miles a day would not be able to walk to the bathroom. I never thought his final breath would be one where he suffocated to death. I never thought I’d be part of his care taking team in hospice.

***

A faint odor emanated from my childhood room. A mixture of several distinct smells hit me at once: a Glade plug-in of vanilla, latex and a body that was deteriorating. My hand reached for the door. I cusped the knob with my grip and the cold metal provided an instant wake-up call. Walking in, I screamed when I saw my lifeless father.

I never thought that this day would come, where I faced the certainty of his death, but the uncertainty of everything else trying to swallow me whole.

This piece originally appeared on the First Day. 

 

Image: Door Knob by Nadia Pragoda-Lee  via Flickr

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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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Currently

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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Kindness

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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Nine

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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Enjoy

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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