Gratitude is the sign of noble souls ~ Aesop

Wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving ~ Kahlil Gabran

Joy delights in joy ~ William Shakespeare

Friday, December 31, 2010

Last sunset of the decade

*Note -- this picture isn't pixelated, it was taken through a screen from a window with the best view...I like how it looks old fashioned and futuristic at the same time.

The last sunset of the decade
must realize it's importance
and is taking the job very seriously
challenging the miasma
it makes a remarkable statement
and the grey clouds are no match
for the sun's true might
as they soon find themselves
accessories to the glorious event
seemingly startled by
the bright blaze of intensity
they flush a bright neon orange
the exact same shade
as a pair of suspenders I once wore
a quarter of century ago
the colors seem to mature
with each passing minute
fading from the neon eighties
to the earthen cadmium of the nineties
and finally to swirls of steal blue grey
and peach chiffon
a paradoxical dance
between optimism and pessimism
and I think that this sunset
represents quite brilliantly
the mercurial beauty that was
the first decade of the millennium

Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Nontoothache

I read about a wonderful gratitude practice that Tich Nhat Hanh calles "the nontoothache." It's basically the idea that it's easy to focus on negative things, to complain about a toothache when it hurts -- but it can be a gratitude enhancing experience to take time to focus on things we normally take for granted and forget to be thankful for. So I am thankful for the fact that my teeth don't hurt today. I'm thankful that my brain remembers to breathe for me. I'm thankful my elbows bend exactly as I need them to. I'm thankful that my dogs didn't eat anything special to me and that my house didn't flood. I'm thankful for the non-earthquake today too. I'm thankful that there's so much more to be thankful for than I could ever truly realize, but I hope I never stop trying...

Wednesday, December 29, 2010


Even though my dog has jumped up on the bed a hundred thousand times, every night he walks up to it, eyes huge with anxiety, and proceeds to make several attempts to jump -- which he bails out of before actually leaping. He forgets he can do it. It doesn't matter how many times he's made it, he always thinks THIS time he going to fall. Actually, he's very dramatic, so I'm pretty sure he thinks he's actually going to die. So I become his cheerleader, clapping for him, cajoling him, telling him he can do it in a high pitched enthusiastic voice. Eventually, the excitement in my voice convinces him and after 5 minutes of aborted tries, he finally jumps and makes it once again. Every once in a while, he has just psyched himself out too much and he sits spinning round and round until he's too tired to jump, so I'll give him an assist. All that's to say I am very thankful for the cheerleaders in my life, reminding me I can do it when I don't think I can. I was pretty sure I couldn't make it out of bed today, I've been so exhausted from travel and holidays and everything I just felt like I wanted to pull the covers over my head and sleep -- wake me when it's 2011. But my hubby was there to remind me I could get out of bed, and not only that, that I would be glad I did -- and I was. I had a wonderful time catching up with a dear high school friend that I hadn't seen in ten years, and then I went to my favorite hometown pizza place with my siblings and we came home and played a ridiculous game of Disney cranium. And before I knew it, I had made it through the whole day -- and ended up with a smile on my face. And now I'm back in bed, exhausted, yes, but happy. I can do it. Just like Pippin. I just need to be reminded. I guess we all do. So if you need some cheerleading out there here you go: YOU CAN DO IT! Just take a little leap -- YOU WILL MAKE IT! GOOOOOO, YOU!!:)

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Christmas the sequel

I'm thankful for Christmas: Part Deux today:) There is just no greater joy than spending time with family. My sister's famous cupcakes (Baily's and cream this time -- unbelievable) and her new concoctions of butter beer (hooray for Harry Potter) were awesome, and there is no veggie lasagna in the world that can touch my mom's. I love hours spent playing ping pong and bean bag toss and battling tops. Granted, 7 dogs in one house was a bit insane -- but a great time was had by all. And well, it just feels really nice to be home. Plus it made me happy to see 1987 Christmas bear in his same old seat:)

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Museum Day

Today was filled with the bittersweet joy that great art evokes...that feeling of beauty that aches somewhere deep that you can't quite name. We went to an art museum and saw paintings filled with passion and weary sculpted angels and pencil drawings so real I thought they might walk right off the wall and go have coffee together. I also was moved by a collection of spectacular dresses worn by a spectacular woman...Princess Di, and I couldn't help but cry when I laid eyes on Elton John's hand written verses for the song he wrote as a tribute to her. And as if all of that weren't enough, we went to one of Frank Lloyd Wright's spectacular homes and I was caught up in the rapture of details so lovingly rendered they could only be classified as true art. I am thankful for the visionaries who make such stunning creations, and in so doing, reflect the divine.

Saturday, December 25, 2010


I'm thankful for Christmas.
How's that for originality?
I am thankful for joy and peace and the spirit of gift-giving and for laughter over playing the ten-thousandth round of Cranium and for family and for dogs shredding wrapping paper and for the whole darn whirlwind. I missed going to my beloved candlelight service this year, but I did read the Christmas story from Luke (which I like to call the Linus story because of Charlie Brown Christmas) and I was particularly stirred with joy in my heart at the paradox of the Simplicity and Glory of it all. Angels and shepherds, pure love and a filthy manger -- the exalted and the lowly rejoicing together. Wonder-full.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas eve haiku

sweet sacred silence
douglas fir adorned with hope
come, Emmanuel

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Snow Dogs!!

They LOVE it:)

Letters to Santa

I picked up a small-town newspaper somewhere along the way on our little (LONGEST EVER) road trip, and they posted the local elementary school's letters to Santa. I read them out loud in the car and we were so buoyed by each little dose of joy in these earnest requests, that I had to pass a few along...:)

Dear Santa,
Hi. I want a Buzz Lightyear costume and an Iron Man Costume so I can fly high up in the sky. Can you bring me those kind of presents? A race car, a race car movie, and a race car game. Please!
Sky Salas

Dear Santa!
How are you? I love you so much. I want a real mermaid and I want a real witch. I want pink and dark purple high heels. And I want the Wizard of Oz.
Love me,
Kirsten Madrid

Merry Christmas Santa,
Please give me a rocket, a robot and stuff for boys.
This is were I live -- go straight, go up and down, and there's my house.
Your friend,
Daniel Romero

Hi Santa!
How are you doing? I will leave you some milk in my room. For Christmas I would like a dress and a horse rocking chair. And princes shoes that are high high high and that make noise.
Thank you Santa,
Anayali Romero

Dear Santa Claus,
How are your deers? I want a real dolphin and the ocean so he can swim. I want a Spiderman costume and Ironman and I will make you a cheese sandwich.
Nevin Bhakta

Friday, December 17, 2010

It fits!!!

We just packed our car to the gills (I swear it made a groaning noise when we shut the trunk) for our Great American Road Trip to see our families for Christmas. I am a total stress bucket, but I am excited for all we're going to see and all the new stories and memories we're going to make along the way. I'm grateful for the time off to be able to spend time with our families and I'm thankful my car has comfortable seats! I am not sure what the internet situation will be like along the way, so I may not be able to post for a few days. But I will try my best to report back with whatever joys I meet along the way when I get the chance. In the meantime...please feel free to go back are reread the greatest hits -- I can't believe there's over 350 blog posts already!!
Thank you all for taking this journey of wonder and gratitude with me:)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Hooray for Love Week

I'm thankful for a "Hooray for Love" week -- two of my friends got engaged (4, actually, I guess:) and two more of my friends had baby girls! Congratulations and blessings to all!!! It is wonderful to share in your joy.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


I remember snow
as my mom's whisper
Keep sleeping, sweetheart
there is no school today
the school bus can't make it through

I remember snow
in a mixing bowl
stirred with cane sugar
and vanilla to taste
maybe a splash of milk too

I remember snow
under a trash bag
too poor for a sled
but it was no big deal
sometimes a Hefty would do

I remember snow
on a lamplit street
one sweet silent night
when for the joy of it
I took a great leap and flew

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

As you wish...

I just smiled my way through THE PRINCESS BRIDE, delighted and quoting along to nearly every line:) What a joyful, irreverent masterpiece that movie is! It is the perfect antidote to a stressful day, a nightcap in celluloid form. Thank you Rob Reiner and William Goldman! I hope I can write a story with such humor, heart and exuberance some day...

Monday, December 13, 2010


Here's another new word to add to your scrabble game -- Proposaversary:) It's when Ryan and I celebrate the day he proposed to me every year at The Griffith Observatory. It is by far my favorite place in LA and I love returning every year to celebrate and relive that joyful moment when he knelt on the roof of the observatory, under the stars and the approving moon, and asked me to marry him:) Every time I go back to that gorgeous building, so peaceful and high above the city, I can't help but feel little prickles of magic and excitement. I'm grateful that Mr. Griffith J Griffith had the foresight to create such a beautiful monument. And I'm thankful that we get to have such an amazing place to call "our place".

Sunday, December 12, 2010


(One of my favorite sunsets in Tuscany)

I love sunsets. I never cease to be awed by them, which never ceases to amaze me when I've seen so many. I mean, it happens every night. But somehow, like snowflakes, each one is different and I feel like it's my duty to notice each one for it's unique wonder. Last night, when Ryan and I were on our way to a Christmas party (it was 80 in LA and I was complaining that it didn't feel much like Christmas) when I had to stop mid-sentence -- we were driving towards the sunset at it's exact most glorious moment -- and it seemed we were surrounded on all sides, hemmed in, above, behind and in front by the frothiest most delicious pink sky -- like a cotton candy snuggy for the whole earth. It was breathtaking -- and as a writer I wanted to capture it with a word. I wanted a word that meant that exact moment when the sunset is at it's absolute peak glory -- as the professional, I of course, couldn't think of a thing, but Ryan nailed it, and so from now on it will be dubbed "The Spectaculous." As in, "Turn off the TV and get outside or you'll miss the spectaculous!" :)

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Care Package

Hooray for care packages! My dearest, oldest friend (not in age, but in years of friendship:) Lisa, sent me the most deeeeelicious homemade blueberry-honey fruit roll ups today! What a truly sweet surprise! And what fun to get a package in the mail instead of just the usual battery of bills. It feels good to be cared for and I'm thankful that even though she's busy raising FIVE kids, she still made time to so something so thoughtful for me:) You can read more about her nutritious recipes at:
You can also click on my blog list under "Our Family's Journey to a Healthier Life."
She's a real life superhero -- Super Mom!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Isle of Eigg

I read today
about a remote
Scottish isle
that Sings

the beaches
have special sand
made of tiny
quartz Crystals

and when the winds
dry the grains
they huddle together
and Hum

a symphony of sand
whispering in the wind
an ancient rhythm
primordial Music

and just the knowledge
that such a place exists
makes my glad
heart Dance


Two of the most joyous words for a screenwriter -- it means you made it to the end of a long and winding road, and it didn't kill you! Hooray -- I finished a script today that I've been so scared to write for so long that I begin to fear I would never finish it, but I DID! Take that, script!
Of course, now the real work begins.
But I'm going to be grateful (nay, GIDDY) tonight for this first major step, and I can start down a new long and winding road of rewriting tomorrow:)

Monday, December 6, 2010


I love myself. I belt out show tunes every single time I'm in my car...I sing in the shower, when I'm gardening and sometimes even when I'm feeling sad just sitting on my bed. I also love listening to people sing. When many voices come together, as in acapella, the power can make my hair stand on end. It soothes me, lifts me up -- and quite often, when I'm down, a good song can literally make me get up and dance. I suppose there's a reason they call them glee clubs:) I can't recall a time in the Bible where it actually talks about Jesus singing...but I believe that he must have, perhaps it's even how he gave people the will to rise up off their mats.
Anyway, now you know why I love the new show The Sing-off, and it made me very happy to watch it tonight. Sure, I'll admit it, I got up and shook my tired little booty as I watched by myself in my room. Something else I highly recommend for raising the spirits -- a good old fashioned dance around your room like an idiot just for the sheer fun of it. Go one's looking...sing some rock and roll, dance around the room, perhaps do a jig, give it a try, and I guarantee you'll be smiling soon.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Cupcakes and Christmas

I made cupcakes for a Christmas party tonight and it made me remember how much I love to bake...there's just something so satisfying about bringing all of the ingredients together and having them turn into something warm and yummy right before your eyes. Adding Christmas music to the equation made it extra fun, and the cherry on top was the happy faces of all the people at the party who ate my red and green sprinkled confections. Yep, it was a good feeling from start to finish. I'm thankful for Lindsay and Cole and their annual all out Christmaspaloosa...always a great way to kick of the season of Joy.

Be still my heart

I'm thankful for my hubby's perfect crooked grin:)

Saturday, December 4, 2010

whispers of winter

shadowy leaves dance
a dream that doesn't need sleep
whispers of winter

Friday, December 3, 2010

Movie Night

It was a simple joy to lie in bed and watch LADY AND THE TRAMP tonight with Ryan -- and it was a joy for our pups too because they got to lie at the foot of the bed and watch with us, a rare treat. It was especially hilarious to watch Pippin watch the movie, trying to figure out what to make of it, and I was very proud of him when he jumped off the bed and barked his head off, trying to protect us from a cartoon rat. The movie is such a beautiful love letter to our ever faithful canine friends, and I found myself smiling the whole way through at it's sweet, gentle story.

Thursday, December 2, 2010


I love this is called "Manna" which is the bread that God sent the Israelites from Heaven when they were in the desert. I love that this poem opened my realm of understanding -- seeing manna not only as food from heaven, but as the joys that God sends us to sustain us not just physically, but more importantly, spiritually. I had a tough day today...a migraine and weakness that kept me from doing something I wanted to do...but I was sent manna in the form of kind words from a stranger when I was resting on a bench, and for that I am thankful. Those words and the care in which they were meant, sustained me so that I could get home. Kind of like the manna and the Israelites...just feeding and strengthening them so that they could make the journey home. Anyway, here is the poem -- it made me smile, I hope it will make you smile too:)

by Joseph Stroud
Everywhere, everywhere, snow sifting down,
a world becoming white, no more sounds,
no longer possible to find the heart of the day,
the sun is gone, the sky is nowhere, and of all
I wanted in life – so be it – whatever it is
that brought me here, chance, fortune, whatever
blessing each flake of snow is the hint of, I am
grateful, I bear witness, I hold out my arms,
palms up, I know it is impossible to hold
for long what we love of the world, but look
at me, is it foolish, shameful, arrogant to say this,
see how the snow drifts down, look how happy
I am.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Christmastime is here

On this first day of December it was a surprise delight to see two turtle doves when I was out walking the dogs:) Or maybe they were just regular doves, but still, they made me think of Christmas and that was nice. And then, further down the block, I walked past a truck full of Christmas trees, and just like that, the smell of joy and hope and magic was in the air! Welcome, Christmastime!!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


I am thankful for this day bringing us two more genius writers that also happen to be my favorites: Mark Twain and LM Montgomery. Isn't it amazing? 5 of my favorite writers born in 2 days! If only Salinger had been premature:) I just found out today that Mark Twain wrote an autobiography that he wouldn't be allowed to be published for 100 years (must be some scandalous things in there!) anyway, he died in 1910, so the first volume came out this year! I must read it. I am presently reading the journals of LM Montgomery and they are a joy to me indeed, I highly recommend them. She holds nothing back (much like her Anne with an e) and I find comfort in her ups and downs and her difficulties and triumphs in writing. I've felt so inspired these last 2 days that I've written 22 pages...hooray the dreaded writer's block has been beaten!

Monday, November 29, 2010


I am declaring today a special holiday henceforth to be known as IMAGINATION DAY as three of history's most imaginative and wonderful writers (who happen to be my personal favorites) were all born on this same day: Louisa May Alcott, Madeleine L'Engle and CS Lewis. Happy Birthday and thank you all for your dazzling, inspiring, edifying works, from A WRINKLE IN TIME, to THE CHRONICLES of NARNIA and LITTLE WOMEN. Hip Hip HOORAY!!
Here is a little more information on these three Icons of Imagination from today's Writer's Almanac:

It's the birthday of Louisa May Alcott, (books by this author) born in Germantown, Pennsylvania (1832). She's the author of Little Women (1868), a book that over the last century has been adapted into numerous stage plays, an opera, a Broadway musical, several Japanese anime films, and about a dozen Hollywood movies — including movies starring Katharine Hepburn, Elizabeth Taylor, Susan Sarandon, Kirsten Dunst, and Claire Danes.
And this 1868 children's book inspired the novel that won the 2006 Pulitzer Prize: Geraldine Brooks's March (2005), which is a retelling of Little Women, this time narrated by the girls' absent father. And in 2008, a dual biography of Louisa May Alcott and her dad won the Pulitzer Prize for biography. That book: John Matteson's Eden's Outcasts: The Story of Louisa May Alcott and Her Father (2007).
Little Women begins:
"Christmas won't be Christmas without any presents," grumbled Jo, lying on the rug.
"It's so dreadful to be poor!" sighed Meg, looking down at her old dress.
"I don't think it's fair for some girls to have plenty of pretty things, and other girls nothing at all," added little Amy, with an injured sniff.
"We've got Father and Mother, and each other," said Beth contentedly from her corner.
The four young faces on which the firelight shone brightened at the cheerful words.

It's the birthday of the writer who said: "When I was ten, I read fairy tales in secret and would have been ashamed if I had been found doing so. Now that I am fifty I read them openly. When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up." That's C.S. Lewis, (books by this author) born in Belfast (1898), the author of the seven-volume children's series The Chronicles of Narnia, which begins with The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (1950), the story of four children sent away from London because of wartime air raids. He also said, "Some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again."
As a teenager, he went off to boarding school in England. He hated it there. He said that English accents sounded to him like the "voices of demons." Worst of all was the landscape; he first looked at it and in that moment, he said, "conceived a hatred for England which took many years to heal." Also, he felt that his favorite poet, W.B. Yeats, — "an author exactly after [his] own heart" — was totally underappreciated in England. He wrote to a friend: "Perhaps his appeal is purely Irish — if so, then thank the gods that I am Irish." But despite all his disdain and contempt for England, he chose to live and teach at Oxford University for almost 30 years — while acquainting himself with other Irish people living in England as much as possible.
Besides fairy tales and children's classics, he wrote theological books, including The Screwtape Letters (1942), a novel in which a demon writes to his nephew; and The Great Divorce (1945), where residents of hell take a bus ride to heaven, and Mere Christianity (1952), based on talks he gave on the BBC during World War II.
C.S. Lewis said, "Miracles are a retelling in small letters of the very same story which is written across the whole world in letters too large for some of us to see."

It's the birthday Madeleine L'Engle, (books by this author) born in New York City (1918), who struggled to find any success as a writer with novels about ordinary families and ordinary situations. But after reading about the ideas of Albert Einstein, she wrote a science fiction novel called A Wrinkle in Time (1962), about a group of children who have to rescue their father from a planet where individuality has been outlawed. The book was rejected by 26 different publishers, who all felt that it was too difficult for children but too fantastic for adults. But when it came out in 1962, the novel won the Newbery Medal, and it sells about 15,000 copies a year.
Madeleine L'Engle said, "You have to write the book that wants to be written. And if the book will be too difficult for grown-ups, then you write it for children."

Saturday, November 27, 2010

The In-between

It is hard to be Here
when I'd rather be There
hard to Wait
when I'd rather Have
hard to be Content
in deserts of unrest
and at Rest
in valleys of discontent
I have heard that it is
this longing for
The Other
and I suppose Life itself
is a lesson on
learning to live in
the in-between
with the mischievous fates
of When and Where and How
dancing in my head
breaking the vases
that Peace has so lovingly
displayed on the glass shelves
of my mind
Overturning the furniture
that Contentment has arranged
so neatly
Maybe the trick
is to stand on the sideways sofa
and see things
as I would never had seen them
if I had sat on Contentment's couch
and perhaps if I open the windows
of my heart
the Light will pour in
and reflect off the broken pieces of Peace
creating prisms of Beauty
and unexpected Joy
that could only come
from living in The In-between

Friday, November 26, 2010

Belated Thanksgiving

I'm thankful for Day After Thanksgiving Thanksgiving and for our wonderful LA family waiting a day so we could all celebrate our many reasons to be thankful together:) I loved the sharing of the food and the cooking and the cleaning together, I loved the talking and laughing and singing and dancing with that little red-headed bundle of love. I loved the look of pure joy on the faces of our dogs as they ate delicious scraps, their eyes bugging out, loved all the make-shift tables and plates and mismatched glasses and silverwear...the word that keeps coming to mind is authentic. Yes, I'm thankful for an honest to goodness, nothing fancy, authentic and wonderful Thanksgiving.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Limoncello moon

Limoncello moon
tasty nightcap for my eyes
dizzying delight

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Sad Movies

I'm thankful for sad movies...the good ones...because sometimes there's nothing that feels as great as a good cry. I sobbed for the entire last 20 minutes of LOVE STORY last night -- it was beautiful and funny and sad, and Ali MacGraw had terrific fashion and Ryan O'Neal was actually charming and the dialogue was some of the most fun banter I've heard in a long time -- and it broke my heart. But the difference between a good sad movie and a and a bad one is that the good one makes you thankful to be alive, it points out how fleeting beauty can be, and reminds you to enjoy and be grateful for every moment that it lasts.

Monday, November 22, 2010

I loved watching Jennifer Grey just shine on the dance floor tonight in the finale of Dancing With the Stars. I know the show makes alot of people groan -- but to see someone just get past their fears and push past the pain to create something truly beautiful, well it takes my breath away. I'm so inspired how she just went for it and it made me giddy to see her give a nod to her character "Baby" from DIRTY DANCING. Such a GREAT movie! She definitely proved that "Nobody puts Baby in a corner!" I wish I could go on that show and learn to dance like that! But I suppose Dancing WIth the Writers wouldn't get many viewers:)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Ode to a Saltine

Square, salty and pale
oh you never fail
to heal my hurt tummy
with a crunch that is yummy
Toast is too plain
and rice is a pain
but your box is so easy
even when I am queasy
I can open a pack
and eat a safe snack
Whether two or a plateful
for saltines I am grateful!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Under the frosted panes

I love hotels with indoor pools! The smell of the chlorine, the echos of splashing water and squeals of joy -- it always takes me back to being a little kid when an indoor pool seemed like the epitome of luxury and opulence, royal even. It didn't matter if the rooms were uncomfortable and threadbare -- that hotel was a palace if it had an indoor pool. Tonight Ryan and I swam around under a giant glass dome with the full moon shining like a spotlight through the frosty window panes and we laughed like kids and had so much fun we got kicked out because it was too late. Yep, if I were a Queen, that's how I'd end every night, swimming in my pool protected from the elements, and I would just let the stress of each day float away in the wake of my wicked sidestroke.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Haikus for a night in Connecticut

refreshing night air
cold and clear like spring water
awakens my joy

the full moon looms large
but does not overshadow
his bright sister stars

a delightful chill
dances over the still earth
winter is so near

The Ride

Sometimes I think I want
a straight and level road
so I can make sure plans
for how I'd like my life to go
like an easy steady stream
with a calm and peaceful flow

But life is more like a feather
that on the wild wind blows
sometimes breeze, sometimes gale
zigs and zags, highs and lows
and I've learned the ride is best enjoyed
when I trust and float and just let go

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Future thankful

Billboards are like trees in Los Angeles. There's whole forests of them down Ventura Boulevard and up Sunset. So today I was driving home after physical therapy thinking about how I can't wait for the day when I won't be assaulted by giant billboards for vodka and designer jeans every five feet. That's when I thought of the idea of being future thankful. I'm future thankful for all of the real trees I'll be surrounded with some day. I'm future thankful for peace and quiet and a house with alot of land to roam around and breathe in. I'm future thankful for the day when traffic and smog will seem like a distant memory and billboards a novelty. And it's funny, somehow being future thankful made me present thankful, and that was a lovely discovery:)

Monday, November 15, 2010

My movie

For a screenwriter, it's a special kind of joy to see your words live and breath and dance upon the screen -- and it's especially wonderful when people say nice things about your story. I'm thankful I saw this clip today because it made me remember why I wanted to do this job in the first place and how blessed I am that I get to do something that I love for a living. This is from a movie that I wrote called MEANT TO BE - my first to make it to the screen:)

Sunday, November 14, 2010

quiet night haiku

two puppies resting
at the bottom of my bed
peace cloaked in warm fur

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Mother Nature's sense of humor

I was watching the sunset tonight and the silhouette of three palm trees in the distance made me laugh because they looked exactly like Groucho Marx -- just two big bushy eyebrows over a big bushy mustache:) It was awesome and exactly the lift I needed after a long day. I call nature my anti-Kryptonite, because whenever I'm feeling weak or down, I just get a little dose of the great outdoors, and I'm up up and away again in no time.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veteran's Day

I'm grateful for my Dad and my Papa and for Grandma Mary (the beautiful woman in the picture above) and Grandpa Murray and all of the veterans out there who have protected our freedom and kept us safe -- Happy Veteran's Day. Thanks just doesn't seem like a big enough word. God bless you all.

Man on the moon haiku

jagged moon above
profile of a thoughtful man
glowing cameo

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Pitter Pat

I just watched Oprah 's episode on Teen Heartthrobs and I'm still grinning like a twelve year old. It got me thinking of all those posters on my walls and Teen Beat magazines and button pins on my jeans jacket. The first poster I had on my wall, when I was really young, was of good old Bo Duke (John Schneider) just leaning back on his car and grinning like a mule eating briers. Yes, I guess I am a southern girl at heart. But I would have to say it was John Taylor of Duran Duran who first gave me that giddy teen feeling that he was looking at only ME when he coyly glanced at the camera in those early MTV videos. I also remember writing in my diary that I was going to marry Ricky Schroeder some day. Then came New Kids On The Block and I was actually one of those girls who stalked their hotel when they came to town, praying for a glimpse of Joey or Donny, because surely if they saw me, they'd fall in love with me too:) When I got a few years older it was al about Corey Haim and Patrick Dempsy -- I've always been a sucker for a crooked grin on a charming nerd (ahem, I'm looking at you, Ryan!) It's so awesome that no matter how many years old you are, when you hear one of those songs that first made your heart skip a beat, you still feel exactly that age again...I might have gotten rid of those mall bangs, but I'll never get rid of the memories of the hours spent listening to WILD BOYS by my beloved Duran Duran and YOU'VE GOT IT by those adorable New Kids on the Block. My husband pretty much sealed the deal that he was my real life heartthrob when he made me a video of YOU'VE GOT IT, playing all the New Kids himself (complete with awesome vests and high tops) heart still skips a beat at the thought! Yes, I'm thankful for that pitter patter feeling and for all those cute boys for each generation, from The Beatles to Bieber who helped to make those awful awkward years alot more bearable.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Saturn's ring

I'm thankful to have my beautiful engagement ring back on my finger after dropping it off last week for a little maintenance and shine:) I misspoke in my earlier post "Princess for ten minutes" when I said it came from a shop called The Paper Bag Princess. It is actually from a tiny, delightful store inside that one called Kurt Rothner’s Excalibur. I truly never thought I was much of a jewelry person until I discovered their vintage pieces, each one so unique, with such stories to tell. I love my ring, it is truly spectacular and it gives me such joy every time I look at it. It's funny, I've never been much of a diamond girl -- I have always prefered some color with my sparkle -- so I was thrilled and delighted when my husband knelt at the top of the Griffith Observatory and held out a gorgeous sapphire ring. It was especially meaningful because on our first date, at that very observatory, we got to view Saturn and it's rings through a powerful telescope -- and when I enthused about Saturn and it's beautiful rings, Ryan said to me "Someday I'll get you one of Saturn's rings..." I was charmed when he said it, but I had no idea he was actually going to stick to that promise. You see, sapphires represent Saturn in gemology -- so he actually did get me Saturn's ring. And now, two years later, it circles my finger, a perfect reminder that the sky's the limit when it comes to true love:)


Last night I had the great joy of attending an award show for an amazing organization called FREE THE SLAVES. It was a treat to sit in the front row so close to all the celebrities - Forrest Whitaker, Ashton and Demi - and to see amazing performances by The Agape Choir and one of my favorites, Jason Mraz. But even better than the celeb sightings and music was getting to witness some truly miraculous stories about people spending their lives working to free slaves. I was astonished to learn that there are 27 million slaves in the world -- more than any other time in history -- in India and Africa, and more surprisingly -- in America. How could that be?? I was so thankful to have my eyes opened and hope I can be a part of spreading the word so that some day this plague on humanity may finally end. If you want to learn more, please check out
I am grateful for the physical and spiritual freedom I enjoy. And I am thankful for the former slaves I had the great joy of meeting last might thanks to the tireless efforts of some real life heroes. One of my favorite quotes of the night came from a former slave who said to his liberator "You are an answer to all of my prayers." What a beautiful thing -- I want to strive in this life to be the answer to someone's prayers -- could there be any greater joy?

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Sapphire sky

After the sunset
the sky is a sapphire
cool deep endless blue

Friday, November 5, 2010

Princess for ten minutes

I went to get my ring fixed at a wonderful vintage jewelry and designer clothing store in LA called The Paper Bag Princess today and it made me happy for 2 reasons -- first, because when I was in high school I competed in Storytelling (yes, it was a real competition in Kentucky:) and the story I told was from a book called The Paper Bag Princess about a princess who ends up being the hero of the story and saving the prince. Great story. The second thing that made me happy about that shop was that I got to try on a beautiful work of art of a dress, designed by Richard Tyler for Sarah Jessica Parker and beautifully hand beaded. The picture doesn't do it justice...the way the layers of nude tulle caught the light and seemed to make the dress glow from within...and those glorious pink and gold beads...sheer perfection. And the best thing about it was that I put it on and IT FIT LIKE A GLOVE! That never happens to me -- I always end up having to take in the bust and shorten the hem -- but not on this gown, this gown was made for me. Of course, at $8000, I couldn't actually take it home with me, but I loved that it was mine for ten minutes. And I love that it filled me with dreams of walking the red carpet to the Oscars and getting to wear my own perfect dress that was made for me -- one that I wouldn't have to put back on the rack. It was wonderful pretending for a few moments that I might be a woman who could afford such a dress and who could have an occasion to wear it, because as far as that sales lady knew, I might have been. And for a few glittering moments, I was.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Unseen forces

Today I saw a science experiment that absolutely awed me. The scientist had a glass box with an open top and he filled it with a clear, odorless gas. This gas was so dense, however, that even though the glass box looked totally empty -- but the invisible gas was able to hold up an aluminum foil boat. The boat looked as though it were suspended in mid air -- but really it was floating along on a river of the unseen. How cool is that?? Unseen forces move the world every day and yet we get so used to them, we forget how powerful they really are. So I try to remember to look for them. To be glad that my feet touch the ground, held in place by gravity so I don't go floating away into space. To allow myself to be amazed when I think about all of the conversations that pass through me in a day from cell phone to cell phone -- waves of sound just flying by. And ever since I was a child I have been enthralled with the you couldn't see the wind itself, but you could see the things it moved, and that's how you knew it was there. CS Lewis once said that he believed in God as he believed in the sun, not because he could see it, but because by it he could see everything. That's how I've always felt about the breeze on the beach, I can't see it, but I can see how it moves everything around me -- the kites that dance, the birds that soar, the reeds that rustle. I love that if you close your eyes, you can hear it whisper, or sometimes you can hear it wail. Love how the wind seems to even have a personality, sometimes it's like a small child playing with my hair, tossing it into my eyes, other times it is wise and gentle, caressing my cheek after a good cry. Yes, I am grateful for all of the unseen forces in my life -- those invaluable invisibles that keep my heart, like the Earth, on its axis.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Flying high

I feel a sense of great accomplishment every time I fly remembering all that I went through to get over a debilitating fear of flying, and I am so thankful to be able to fly now and to even look out the window in utter awe of the world with such a view. And I am thankful for two smooth flight this week -- both of which landed an hour earlier than scheduled! When does THAT ever happen? I don't take it for granted. I'm thankful for the understanding I have always received from my family when I was going through the fear, and I'm grateful for their prayers. I'm also thankful for my wonderful therapist Lydia and for Dr. Tom at for helping to give me the tools to work through anxiety. And I'm most thankful to my husband and his calming support and unending's so true what the scripture says "Perfect Love drives out all fear." I am human, so there are still struggles, but I rejoice in the small victories -- and this week there were two!

Monday, November 1, 2010

November night

Battleship clouds patrol the sky
as the sun fades from sight
the pastel shades whisper
but do not put up a fight
on this cool and clear
new November night

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween delights

It was a joy to drive the neighborhood streets of adorable Westport, Ct tonight and to see the droves of children clutching their bags of candy and wearing such cute costumes:) We saw a Ghostbuster and several Princesses, the Hamburgler (old school!), Mario and Harry Potter and superheroes roaming in packs -- Batman and Spiderman and Superman all combining forces. It is crisp but not too cold and the leaves are still putting on their display of all the most beautiful fall fashion colors. Best of all, the sunset seemed to linger extra long tonight and as the sun set, in the last remaining moments before it was completely dark, I saw something I've never seen before -- as Ryan pointed out -- a CHOCOLATE SKY! A rich warm brown color in the horizon all melty and yummy was amazing.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Toast and Von Trapps

I just invented a new snack (peanut butter toast with grape slices on it yum) and it makes me very happy as I watch the Sound Of Music 45 year reunion on Oprah with all the actors together for the first time since the movie opened which also makes me very happy. Oh how I love that movie and those songs and those characters! I'm thankful for the opportunity to take little moments to do little things that make me helps stoke the flames of joy in my heart when they start to fizzle. For some reason I also take joy in the word fizzle. It's fun to say:)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Walking in the Rain

It is an act of courage
to walk in the rain
ignoring the siren call of comfort
and the bed that whispers
"These days are best spent
Do not let it lull you
into missing your life
go out and find it
It is better to be wet
than asleep
Pretend to be a drop of water
winding your way
to the swollen river's edge
Be caught up by a stone
watch your sister droplets
dance on by
Make friends with the moss
and if you sit still enough
maybe it will cover you
like a blanket of citrine chenille
Climb the brawny boulder
play king of the hill
(you deserve to win one
every now and then)
Stop and listen
to the lone woodpecker
tap tap tapping lazily
Look up and let the rain
soft as snow
sprinkle your face
Record the whole thing
with a pencil you found on a rock,
an offering from God
It is sharp, but the eraser is wet,
so don't edit, just write
Haven't you learned by now
that imperfection is perfect
if it is true?

Jackie Martin

I am thankful for my friend Marty aka Jack aka Buddy aka Martimus aka Marty Smarty. And he is a brings me such joy to get a postcard from him because I know if is going to be something special. You see, he never writes about himself, but instead, makes up a short story based on whatever the picture on the front of the card is. Once I got a poem about Audrey Hepburn's onyx eyes, one time he wrote a story that made me laugh about a statue cleaner and a flock of birds, and today he wrote an entire life story in the space of a postcard that was so poignant and beautiful I cried. Well done, sir. I'm thankful that even though he is a world away in Korea, he's really no further than my heart and a couple of days postage:)

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Old Tree

There is a lovely ancient tree
leaning right in front of me
her gnarled form so humanly
with two limbs lifted prayerfully

I can see from the cracks in her bark
she has surely been through the dark
now wounded she bears the mark
of the One who placed her in this park

I could learn from this old tree
standing split, yet sturdily
for the sun shines down and she
by grace sprouts brand new leaves

Retreat Haiku

Pink petals dripping
rain, sweet icing of the earth
the world is a cake

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Retreat, Retreat!

Just a quick note to let everyone know that Kara has hied herself away on a writer's retreat this week, and will be incommunicato (lucky girl!). I'm sure she'll tell us all about her joyful writing experience when she gets back.

Monday, October 18, 2010

And one more thing...

I had to make another post today in praise of fresh popped popcorn! Ryan and I panicked tonight when we discovered we were out of microwave popcorn...but then I remembered the canister of kernels left over from when my sister was here and had insisted on fresh popped popcorn. It always seemed like too much trouble, so we never made it after she left, but there it was tonight...what joy, and it was perfect! We laughed that we made waayyy too much -- and then proceeded to eat the entire bowl. A light sprinkle of salt and a drizzle of real butter. Mmmm. Just the way that genius Mr. Redenbacher meant it to be:)

Sunday, October 17, 2010

A rose is a rose...

But this was the BEST smelling rose I have EVER had the pleasure to fresh squeezed sweet summer lemonade. And there it is, right on my own back porch! I had to keep going outside to smell it all day...oh how I wish I could bottle it. Why is it that rose perfumes never smell like roses? Or the kind of roses I like, those slightly citrusy, sweet and somewhat fruity roses that must surely be the scent of heaven. Roses are wonderful at making you enjoy the present moment, fleeting as they are. Thankfully, for me at least, the memories of the really good ones lasts and keeps me happily expectant for the next bloom to come along:)

Saturday, October 16, 2010

An Easy Night's Day

I can't stop smiling, I just got to watch A HARD DAY'S NIGHT -- I can't believe it's taken me so long to see it! It is so fresh and irreverent and wacky and genuinely funny, I somehow feel like the Beatles are all good friends of mine now. Sweet, sad Ringo always getting picked on, charming Paul, quiet George, and free-spirited John with all of his ridiculous voices -- they were all so natural. And that early music -- I mean I couldn't help but actually get up off the couch and dance. It all just seemed like everyone was having so much fun that it made me have fun. I am certainly thankful for The Beatles and all of their amazing music that I can't help singing along with, and I'm thankful for out HD TV that made it possible to hang out with them up close without having to go through the trouble of chasing them down the streets of London:)

Friday, October 15, 2010

Garrison Keillors

I have a pair of bright red tennis shoes that I call my Garrison Keillors (named for the great story teller and host of Prairie Home Companion because he often wears red tennis shoes.) I love to wear them because they always seem to give me a little spring in my step, like I'm actually walking in the footsteps of one of my heroes. I can remember long car rides to Nana and Papa's house when Dad would turn on NPR and we'd "have" to listen to "dumb" Prairie Home companion, all the while I would secretly hang on every word, getting lost in the sentimentality and silliness. Now I listen every Sunday that I can, usually on my way to church, and the sound of his warm, grandfatherly voice just makes me feel like home, even in the midst of LA traffic. Now THAT is true storytelling -- to be able to captivate and transport your audience to another time and place so well that they don't even care about the bat crazy, honk happy, Rolls Royce driving masses in Beverly Hills. I hope to be like Garrison in that way some day - but for now I will just take joy in wearing my shoes that I've named for him:)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Cue the trumpets

I've got a new song to pump me up before I go into meetings, or to sing to myself when I'm feeling puny...the theme song for ROCKY. Just listening to those trumpets blast makes me feel like I could run up those famous steps...and maybe I wouldn't punch giant sides of beef like he did (gross) but I can internally swing at the allergies and the migraines and all the other things that try to stop me. My brother and I used to shout at the world when we were kids "You can only hope to contain me!" and I feel that way now. I saw a card today that says we never really know how strong we are until we find out how strong love can make us. So true -- I feel the love from my husband, my friends, my family and my God making me stronger day by day -- just like a spiritual Rocky; you might not see the muscles, but that doesn't mean they're not there:) Bum bum ba ba bum ba ba bum bum bum...Getting Stronger!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Indian summer

The smoldering ashes of an Indian Summer sun
set slow and hazy, red sinking into purple
behind the mountaintops so black
they seemed to be cut from construction paper
like scenery for a school play
set in the old west
all we need are some tumbleweeds

Around the world

Wow -- I just discovered that this blog has a button I can push that makes a map pop up that shows me where in the world people are logging onto this website from -- and I am beyond humbled. I have no idea how people from Germany and South Korea and Canada and Singapore have stumbled upon my little offerings of gratitude and joy, but it makes me happy to think of joy spreading around the world ..maybe someday it could even spark a pandemic of peace. It appears that a joy shared truly is a joy multiplied! The perfectionist in me wishes these posts were a little more profound and polished now that I know people are actually reading them -- but I suppose maybe they are best in their raw form, like carrots and apples. The organic ones that are all lumpy and spotted but taste the best:) Thank you all for reading my ramblings and for joining me for the journey, I wish each and every one of you joy in your lives and I hope you too can find something each day to be grateful for. Tonight I'm grateful for my heating pad and how it can melt my tight and weary muscles after a long day. That makes me think of Charles Schultz's quote that "Happiness is a warm puppy." Yes, warmth is a good thing. And so I'm sending warm wishes to all of you now:)

Monday, October 11, 2010

So much to be thankful for

I am grateful to be feeling better day by day:) And I am grateful that when there are set backs my husband never complains ever even when I ask him to do a million things for me, sometimes I don't even ask -- he just knows what will make me feel better and that is a true gift.
I am also thankful for the gift of the beautiful words of a woman named Julian of Norwich who lived seven hundred years ago and yet walks along the journey with me as I read her books. Right now I am reading I Promise You a Crown A 40-Day Journey in the company of Julian of Norwich that has been particularly uplifting to me. I'm thankful that Gabri from All Saints put it on my radar!
I also love that Ryan looked up at the wisp of the moon tonight and called it an eyelash moon -- maybe I will make a wish on it:)

Sunday, October 10, 2010

My dog the junkie

My puppy Pippin literally levitates when he gets to lick the bowl after I've eaten my yogurt. At least the front part of him does. Both legs just tilting up off the floor in ecstasy as he tries to get as much as he can from my cultured offering. It is bot hilarious and impressive. He's the only yogurt loving dog I've ever heard of...he goes crazy when he sees me take out the container and waits eagerly at my feet while I eat, his eyes bugging out of his head at the thought of just a taste. Ryan and I have often called him "Tweaker" because of his excitable personality -- but when he gets yogurt, he actually turns into a strung out addict. I'm hoping it's not a gateway to the harder stuff -- what's next? Frozen yogurt?? Then onto ice cream, and there's just no coming back from that. :)

Friday, October 8, 2010

New Old Discovery

Today came the news
that Cassini has discovered
the molecules of life
hovering in the atmosphere
above Saturn's largest moon
once scientists believed
life came from the primordial ooze
a cocktail of molecules
swimming in earth-bound pools
waiting to become
or someone
but now Titan proves
the building blocks of life
probably sprang from the air
Life created from the Heavens
how ironic

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Haiku on a fall day

the silver sky shines
through the latticework of leaves
the rain has moved on

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Journey

I am thankful for the journey. I sometimes obsess about the peaks, the mountaintop experiences in life, wishing I could always be perfectly happy, perfectly healthy, perfectly...perfect. But the fact that I don't stay there, the fact that I dip into the valley and the desert sometimes, it just helps me to realize that I am moving, I am journeying means I am living. In a way I suppose the human spirit is like a must keep moving to live. And so as I journey though the valleys I look for the beauty -- there may not be astounding views and snow capped glory...but there is delicate deep green moss and sometimes there are even streams in the desert if you keep your eyes open. And soon enough I know I will come to another mountain to enjoy. Up, down, up, down -- life, all of it -- and I am thankful to be alive.


I'm thankful for Chinese food delivery and game night with Lindsay and Cole. And I'm proud of myself for learning a new game and for having a blast even though I lost miserably. Normally I am a very sore loser. Actually, normally I don't lose:) But it was quite freeing tonight to be so bad that I didn't have to be competitive so I could just be silly. Who knew losing could be liberating?

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Keep Calm...

I'm happy to be home so I can keep up with my joy blog:) I'm thankful for a reminder to look for joy each day and the accountability to pass it on. Right now I am loving a poster I saw in a house in Connecticut that used to be a British poster in WWII -- It says "Keep Calm and Carry On." Yes! I will try:) It should be easy for me since I don't have to contend with daily air raids...quite a perspective giver.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Sunny Day

I'm thankful for a beautiful sunny day today and for the bright orange monarch butterflies that descended en masse along the river where the flowers grew wild and purple. I giggled at the gaggle of geese watching golfers at the country club, as they seemed to be commenting on every shot with their different degrees of honking. I clucked at some chickens in a little red barn built just for them and I also saw my very first cultivated bee hives today...which makes me thankful I didn't get stung! I am very grateful to still be migraine free and that Ryan is feeling better after an ill timed bout with the flu and I'm happy we were able to enjoy the sun before the rain comes again tomorrow.

Monday, September 27, 2010


I've always loved the rain...and I admit, I've truly missed it living in LA for over a decade now. There's something wonderfully indulgent about the rain -- how it makes you take shelter and relax, entices you to curl up, put on some fluffy socks and read that book you've been meaning to read or watch that DVD that's been sitting around for weeks. I'm thankful for the rain pouring down as I write in our little rental cabin in Westport. There is a funny old abandoned wooden boat at the top of the driveway with a tree growing out of it...I'm thinking that could be our ark if this rain doesn't let up. Ryan says it is raining dogs and dogs:) I like the rain and the symbolism of washing away the old, and the life giving force the water brings. When I was a kid I used to spend hours (no joke) tying to figure out how rain came from the those puffy clouds could hold it for only so long before it all came whooshing out seeming like something from nothing. I could see factories with angels who's sole purpose it was to form perfect little droplets and send them down a conveyor belt where the drops would roll off the edge and make their way to earth -- little pieces of heaven, making everything fresh and new. Everything except dogs -- nothing fresh about a rain soaked dog! I've often pondered why it is that wet dog can smell so bad and wet grass can smell so good...but I suppose that's one of life's great mysteries:) I feel the sickness and pain of the past month washing away and I am excited to see the new green buds of experience just waiting to bloom and grow.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Leaving L.A.

I am thankful for the chance to get away from the city for a week...I can't wait to breathe some clean air and let all the stress just melt away:)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Overcoming the Artist's Achilles' Heel

I'm thankful for this entry I read on today's writer's almanac:
On this day in 1852, 24-year-old Tolstoy (books by this author) wrote in his diary: "Went for a ride with the dogs, had a dull time, slept, killed a pheasant, considered the scheme of my novel, and began to write the same. Must make an effort to overcome indolence."
Haha! There's hope for me yet. If good old Leo could overcome his lazy tendencies, maybe I can too! Maybe I'll even learn Russian! And grow an awesome beard! Too far? Okay, I'll keep it at just writing an era defining great novel then:)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Fall TV

I'm thankful that new episodes of my favorite shows are back! They feel like old friends who went away for summer camp and now they have all kinds of hilarious stories to tell me:) I laughed with the HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER gang last night and tonight I got to giggle myself silly watching THE MIDDLE and especially MODERN FAMILY. And it was a bonus to get to see my hubby's cute face on COUGARTOWN tonight:)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Getting better

A whole week without a migraine -- a miracle, thank God!

Early Advent

It is not even close to December
but the roses shiver with anticipation
like footsie wearing children
on Christmas Eve
The green leaves turn red at the tips
heralding new life
bearing the gift of tiny buds about to bloom
I can hardly wait

Monday, September 20, 2010

Bath time

Not many things can make me laugh as much as giving my dogs a bath -- not only do they look hilarious, but after sulking in wet misery for a moment, they start to run around shaking and sliding and trying to dry themselves off on every available surface in a frenzy of doggie enthusiasm that can not be matched. I love it. They love it. The bathroom is always destroyed, but my spirits are buoyed and my pups smell like coconuts. I am so thankful to have been well enough today to enjoy the circus of it all:)

Sunday, September 19, 2010


I'm thankful for moms, for their bravery and tender hearts, for their optimism and super human strength, and for being the reason that all of us are here. I am in awe. Whenever I think about it, it seems like the most impossible job in the world, and yet, they prove the impossible possible every day. This is a poem I wrote about it today...

How am I to learn to be a mother
when I am already so tired
and the dogs seem too needy
How am I to have strength for another
when I barely have strength for myself
when the instinct to run,
to breathe, to be free
are so deeply ingrained in me
"Each day has enough trouble
of its own" Jesus says
as he entreats me not to worry
yet in saying it, he has made me worry
Maybe that's the point
I can't do any of it on my own
I need help to wake up
to be strong
to be still and not to worry
Maybe that's why so many people
speak about the "miracle" of birth
It seems like such a misnomer
to call the most natural thing
on the planet
And yet, maybe it is
Maybe it must be
in order to turn a mere mortal
into a Mother

Saturday, September 18, 2010


Today I'm thankful for Audrey Hepburn -- for her beauty and charm and style and grace and humanity, and for the way I can watch any of her movies and instantly feel my spirits lift. And she happens to have one of my favorite quotes, "The best thing to hold onto in life is each other." Simple and lovely, just like her.

Friday, September 17, 2010

The glow of grace

The royal trumpet vine
blooms bright purple today,
heralding the start
of something new

The wide open buds
are at odds with the calendar
that insists it's almost fall

Maybe this fall
will be less like the season
and more like the fall
that precedes new love

Love that brings life,
new life in the face
of the withering forces of nature

As they climb, the green leaves
know that there is still a sun
It may be further away
but its rays are the same

Light is still light
even if the cold in the air
has tricked our bodies
and most of the other plants

But these violet tubes
lined with soft yellow
and filled with wonder
are not swayed by
the changing temperature

Steadfast, they soak up
the warm glow of grace

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Super siblings

I get great joy reading my talented brother and sister's writing. Erin's blog this week had really stuck with me, a surprising and delightful slice-of-life story about my grandmother -- it can be read here:

And I read this haiku my brother wrote every morning this week -- it moves me deeply:

Peace, you will find her
staring down the screaming storm
and daring to breathe

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Magic salad and a special blanket

Lindsay made me the most delicious red quinoa salad that even though I had it for dinner last night and lunch today, I still want more. I am thankful that she made it and that it is helping to strengthen my body. I'm very grateful that today was a good day and for all of the prayers being wrapped around me like a warm, comforting, protecting blanket...I'll carry it with me always, just like Linus:)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


I was sitting at my desk today and saw something on the deck out of the corner of my eye -- a black cat. He seemed to be walking towards me in a menacing way, like he had a mission, like he wanted to cross my path -- but I wasn't about to let him do that, so I jumped up and flailed my arms a bit and scared him the other way. And it made me laugh because just a few months ago, a white cat came sulking across my deck while I was in the office and startled me so much that I jumped up and shooed him away too. Now, I have two black and white cats of my own at home, and all I could think about was how they were playing a trick on me, trading clothes so one was all white and one was all black all so they could get me to flail and dance around like a lunatic to shoo them away. The thought of it actually made me giggle to myself. Oh those magical mystical mischievous cats! I would write a poem about them if T.S. Eliot hadn't already done it so well:)

Monday, September 13, 2010

Take Heart!

I am thankful today for the powerful words I read this afternoon that Jesus spoke in John 16:33 -- "In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."
I like that it's sort of like a prescription -- take heart -- kind of like take 2 of these and call me in the morning. So how do we "take" heart? Take is a very action oriented means to hold, grasp, to grip -- to get possession of. It is a word relating to tangible things -- and yet "heart" seems so ethereal. How do we grasp heart? Through love, I think. The tangible power of love. Love so strong, so true that it has actually taken on physical property and can be held onto, grasped, gripped -- taken. And so I take heart because I am loved, not only by those around me, but by the One who created them and me and all of us...the One who is LOVE. It isn't fluffy, sentimental, judgemental Sunday school stuff -- it is a gritty and glorious promise to us fragile human beings trying to make it through this gritty and glorious world, and I am grateful, in the words of the old song that "We shall overcome..."

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Nose trip

I am thankful for my sensitive sense of smell and for all the times it works the way it's supposed to. I experienced an olfactory aura migraine today which messes with your sense of smell and makes you smell things that aren't real -- for me it was smoke and diesel fuel -- my actually nose hallucinated! Hopefully there won't be a next time, but if there is, I hope i hallucinate jasmine and fresh orange blossoms:)

Party for two

I'm thankful that when I couldn't go out to the party, my dear friend Ashley brought the party to me...equipped with a bottle of wine and a bag full of magazines to go through and rip out pictures of hair color we'd like to try if we had the guts and outfits we'd like to buy if we had the money. I also loved watching Pretty Woman for the umpteenth time and quoting it with her word for word. Friendship is a powerful medicine:)

Friday, September 10, 2010

Quiet Friday night

I was watching America's Funniest Videos tonight and saw one of the cutest things ever...this tiny little pig (quite gleefully and on purpose) hurled himself down a hill so he rolled all the way down straight into a muddy pond. Just the happiest little pig in the world:) My little piggy puppies are pretty happy too as they get the rare privilege of lying in bed with me...they can tell it's special, like when you're a child and you get to sit on one of the fancy couches (the one with the delicate flower print fabric) in the living room that you only get to go in when your parents have guests. The rules probably wouldn't have been quite so strict if you hadn't spilled nail polish remover all over the nice coffee table. Not that you would ever admit to such a thing...

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Remembering to breathe

Still in my pink pajamas
as the sun begins to set
I crawl out of my bed
like a half baked butterfly
my wings are not yet grown
so I stretch out my arms
stepping out into the dimmed rays
and I gulp in the air
like a goldfish who's been plopped
back into his bowl
after having flopped unto the
cold kitchen floor
I drink the wind like water
and it tastes sweet
like honeysuckle and hope
sometimes I forget to breath
but not tonight

Glimpse of Grace

Last night was quite a doozy, floored me with one heck of a migraine, so I wasn't able to look at my computer screen. I am so thankful it's morning...after a long, hard night, the light of a new day always brings such promise. But I am thankful for something that happened last night too -- a glimpse of grace in the midst of pain. I was lying in bed, cold washcloth on my face, the room quiet and dark, when i was given such a beautiful vision it is hard to describe. I felt the room, warm and glowing, like sun on your skin when you lie on the beach, and then I felt hands holding me up, lifting me towards the light. It sounds incredibly cheesy, but in that moment, it was one of the most beautiful things that's ever happened to me, because they were the hands of everyone who loves me. Mom and dad at my shoulders, my husband cradling my head, my whole family and my friends holding up each bit of me so I was surrounded by love and supported -- and for those brief few moments, the pain went away and all I felt was the love and warmth and hope of it all. I actually cried. Thank you to everyone who has been praying for me and loving me. It means more than you know. And I thank God for the grace to know it and feel it -- such experiences can carry you though a lot.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

A sturdy limb

It brought me great joy today that after having gone out on a limb a couple of months ago and emailing a writer I respect and admire very much and asking him, perhaps naively, perhaps audaciously, to read my work -- that he not only emailed me back, but he read my work and even said it was wonderful. Is there any greater word than "wonderful"! Here I had been so embarrassed after having sent that email and realizing what a risk it was, and then I felt so foolish putting myself out there, practically setting myself up for failure -- the wish that I could take it back growing stronger every week that went by. And then, today, as unexpected as a clear night in LA, a reply popped up in my in box. How nervous I was to read it! And then to have it be such a lovely and encouraging letter back -- well, I am very grateful -- grateful for my sudden streak of boldness and grateful for his taking the time to read and answer.

Monday, September 6, 2010

More popcorn, please!

One of the perks of being sequestered mainly to my room lately is that I've really been catching up on a bunch of movies. Random movies. Moves you wouldn't think to watch if you weren't bored in bed and ad already seen every episode of House Hunters ever made. Tonight we watched SECRET OF MY SUCCESS with Michael J Fox (who looks like he's about 13 even though he's playing 24) his freckles were especially adorable in the close ups and we laughed through the whole movie. You gotta love 80's movies for their saxophone driven scores and multiple montages, for their bold optimism that if you're cute you can get away with literally anything, and for the fact that the women wore oversized blazers while the men wore skinny ties -- made every woman look like a total amazon. I watched GUYS AND DOLLS last night and was blown away that the enigmatic Marlon Brando decided to do such a bright shiny musical. His smoldering sexiness and angst sticks out like a sore thumb amidst the cotton candy pink and dopey faced character actors -- and when he sings -- well, it's as if you've spied the pope dancing a jig, just seems out of place. We also watched the new Nicholas Sparks movie with Miley Cyrus, and I gotta say, when you're in the mood for predictable sentimentality and more than a few manipulated tears, Mr. Sparks is your guy. And then after all of the fluff, it was time to get downright serious with THE BOOK OF ELI. I don't know how he does it, but Denzel Washington is absolutely captivating whenever he's on the screen, I can't look away -- he is pure intensity and power. You have to be to carry a movie like that. I still can't stop thinking about it -- definitely not for the faint of heart. Finally, I watched my favorite of all of them -- one of my top five movies for sure -- SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION. What a beautiful love story, what a parable of hope. That makes me cry real, well earned tears. Movies are still magic to me, even after having worked in this business for so long, and for that, I am truly grateful:)

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Lessons on a summer night

I love the boldness of the climbing vines
as they reach towards the heavens
Love the sturdy unselfconciousness of stucco
with it's purposeful imperfections
I love the dogged determination
of the pup as he tries to eat a rock
and the efficiency of the tomatoes
as they grow smaller as it gets hotter
I love the resilience of the far rose bush
when all the others have given up
Love that the squirrel dug up 18 peanuts
he'd been saving for winter
and ate them all today instead
I love the patient stillness of the sycamore
its leaves poised to dance
even when there is no hint of a breeze
and the stubborn mountain
standing up against the smog in silhouette
Declaring I am here, I am here

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Mr. Birch

I went for my first walk around the block in a while today, which is certainly something to give thanks for. I'm also grateful for the beauty of the trees...we saw one molting today, just like a snake, its bark coming off in large sheets leaving a smooth, white beautiful surface underneath. And I couldn't help but reach out and take a piece of the thin greyish bark with it's peachy underside because I had the overwhelming urge to write a poem on it. As if I were some kind of ancient person, before paper was invented. It was an extraordiany feeling to think about how I probably would have been a storyteller in whatever era I was born in -- I use a computer now, I could've used bark a thousand years ago, or maybe I would've just told stories around the fire even longer ago than that. I haven't felt much like writing while I've been sick these past few weeks -- but I feel invigorated and inspired and I feel as if that tree was offering a piece of itself just for me. So, thank you Mr. Birch.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Haiku for late summer

The breeze tickles trees
Laughing gaily are the leaves
I smile and then sneeze

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


I went to the physical therapist today who was adorable and smart -- and young. She told me she had to wear a beeper, which made her laugh because she was born in 1980 and was only like 5 when they first came out. I felt old. Then she told me I was a lazy walker and that she liked working with people like me who had so many different contributing factors to my pain because it was a challenge and she likes a challenge. Maybe it doesn't sound like something to be thankful for or to find joy in, but after she poked and prodded and pulled and pushed me in every direction, she pronounced happily that she would have me good as new in 8 weeks -- 5 if I worked really hard. I could've kissed her. But she was married -- to an indie director apparently. She gave me his card. Ah, Hollywood:)

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The symphony of silence

the gentle constant hum of the air purifier
the raspy intermittent snores of the pups
the crisp whisper of old paper as he turns the page
the sigh he makes as he crosses his legs while he reads
the tap tap of letters turning into words on my computer
the simple symphony of silence

Monday, August 30, 2010


I was watching a show called Plain Jane where they make-over timid girls so they can go on a date with their secret crushes...a mindless and adorable show. Anyway, they always make the girls confront a fear to show them they can conquer it, figuring that it will make asking out a boy they like not so scary in comparison. So in this week's episode, the girl was deathly afraid of the dark. To conquer it, she had to go to one of those trendy new restaurants where people eat in the dark -- but she didn't know it was a restaurant, she didn't know where she was and she was freaked. When she finally hear the host's voice, she found out that she was going to have to eat something that they put in front of her that she couldn't see. She felt the food and started to cry because it felt cold and slimy and she thought it was slugs. Finally after crying and balking, she finally ate it -- and discovered it was key lime pie -- her favorite. I so related to that girl -- often worrying that the unknown is full of slugs, being afraid of new situations or experiences because they might be bad -- but why not instead believe that it's going to be good, like key lime pie? When confronted with something that scares me, I am going to try and think from now on -- it could be key lime pie! And I love key lime pie. I hope I have a whole future full of it. I was very afraid to get some shots in my neck today because I thought they might hurt too much and I didn't know how they would make my neck feel --thankfully Ryan was there to calm me and I steeled all my courage and decided to go for it reminding could be key lime pie. And even though it hurt a bit -- I'm sitting here tonight feeling so much better, which is just as sweet as pie:)

Chubbles Got a Bath

Gatsby (aka "Chubbles" to his other owners two doors down) is usually a few different nappy shades of grey and leaves mini toupees of wiry hair in his wake wherever he cautiously creeps. To put it simply: he's disgusting. But no more! Apparently the neighbors decided they'd had enough of the grime and managed to get him into a tub (wish I could've seen it!!!). His white belly is actually white! His soft coat is a pleasure to stroke!

My hat is off to you, mystery neighbor. By cleaning your cat Chubbles, you also cleaned our Gatsby. Two cats for the price of one bath.


Sunday, August 29, 2010


I'm thankful today for Icy Hot...I've used a whole tube in the last few days and it feels so good on my sore, stiff neck. I'm thankful for smart people who come up with medicines and that I live in a time when I don't just have to bite on bark when I'm in pain! I'm thankful for America's Funniest Home video marathons, because laughter is still the best medicine -- and for my husband who watches it with me because it's more fun to laugh with someone you love. Posted by Kara

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Doing nothing

I'm thankful for the giant sliding glass doors that take up half of one wall in my bedroom and allow me to feel like I'm outside even when I'm lying inside on my bed. And I'm thankful for a whole day where it's okay to do absolutely nothing!

Friday, August 27, 2010


I'm thankful for a new doctor and new medicine and new hope today. I'm thankful that it's just migraines and not something more serious and I'm glad to have a plan of attack...I'm ready to fight back. I'm also thankful that my Doctor reminded me of Dudley Moore and made me laugh when I was feeling scared and even managed to be very good at listening.
I'm also thankful that when I came home to lie down in bed, When Harry Met Sally was on -- I freaking love that movie and I love quoting all of my favorite lines right along with them as they say them:)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Cloud Battalion

a cloud battalion
wages war against the heat
great liberators

Old Man Pippin

It makes me laugh every day the way my dog Pippin seems to go through an entire life cycle in twelve hours. In the morning he's got a fresh little puppy face and turns in circles of excitment at the prospect of a new day. By the afternoon he's all barky and sassy like a teenager, running outside to chase the squirrel and causing a rukus. And every night he turns into what Ryan and I call "Old Man Pippin" his jowels seem longer, his eyes droopier, each step seems like an effort and all he wants to do is lie on the couch and watch TV. So we sing "Old Man Pippin" to the tune of "Old Man River" and put him to bed knowing tht tomorrow morning he'll be Pippin Puppy again:)

Monday, August 23, 2010

Time to grow some peanuts

We have an obsessive compulsive squirrel who somehow has procured for himself an endless supply of peanuts. He loves to bury those peanuts. And then dig them up. And then bury them again. Sounds adorable, a squirell moving his peanut stash daily like a bank changing security codes so that no one can ever steal them -- but it is not adorable. It is annoying -- because his peanut safety deposit box of choice is our vegetable garden. We have worked very hard on that garden and it has rewarded us with delicious cucumbers and spinach and tomatoes and peppers. We are creating life out there on our balcony, so it seemed like the perfect place to put my 3 special rocks that say "Always Create Happiness." But yesterday when I went out to water, I noticed something was different...something was missing. The "Create" rock was gone -- and in it's place I found...A Peanut. Somehow that pesky little squirrel had stolen my "create" rock and replaced it so that when I looked down, my garden read "Always Peanut Happiness." I think he was trying to tell me something...:)

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Slumber party

I'm thankful that you're never too old for a slumber party. With my hubby out of town it's fun to look at dumb magazines and watch movies and hgtv all night with Lindsay, and eat lots of popcorn. And I don't have to worry about her putting my bra in the freezer or toothpaste in my ear, which makes it considerably less stressful than the slumber parties I went to as a kid:)

Friday, August 20, 2010

Ugh, mom!

I don't know why, but while I was driving to the movies tonight, I glimpsed a private little moment that just made me laugh. A mother and her 12-year-old son were waiting at the bus stop, he was wearing a tie and nice pants, obviously dressed up for something, and his mother took a look at him, licked her fingers and stuck down his hair. Of course he brushed her away and looked terribly embarrassed as only sixth graders can, but it was such a lovely little piece of humanity it just made me happy:)

Thursday, August 19, 2010

(More than) A Few of My Favorite Things

I was driving home today and the song "FAVORITE THINGS" from The Sound of Music came on and it made me so happy listening to it that I thought to myself how that song was one of my favorite things:) A few of my other favorite things: bright shiny high heels, the way Pippin's face squishes against the couch when he's sleeping, how Alfie says Ah-roo-roo-roo every single morning and never at night, playing charades with my niece and nephew, giggle fits with my sister when we're too hungry, seeing sappy girly movies with Lindsay, composing with Andy or just listening to him play, hugs from my dad and long phone calls about nothing and everything with mom, fresh flowers all over the house, hummingbirds and their iridescent feathers that surprise you in the sun when they change colors like magic, how Lisa's kids call me Miss Kara, late night email sessions with Aunt Char, Eskimo kisses and morning songs with my hubby, clouds that look like animals and the sound of the breeze in the trees, a dress that fits so perfect it's like it was made just for you, Dick Van Dyke's rubbery leg dance, Audrey Hepburn when she runs down the steps in FUNNY FACE and says "I don't wanna stop, take the picture, take the picture!" and another one of her quotes " all means Rome!" and how I know what she means when she says it, and pretty much every show tune ever written. I suppose I should stop there...I'm grateful for so many favorite things that I'll have to continue in another post some other time:)

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

cool relief

An ice cold washcloth
relief for my aching head
thanks to my hubby

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Powerful quote about gratitude

"No one is as capable of gratitude as one who has emerged from the kingdom of night. We know that every moment is a moment of grace, every hour an offering; not to share them would mean to betray them. Our lives no longer belong to us alone; they belong to all those who need us desperately."
- Elie Wiesel, from his Nobel Peace Prize speech

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Put on a Happy Face!

One of the greatest joys ever -- meeting two of my singing/dancing/acting heros, and finding out they were as wonderful in person as they are in their wonderful roles. Thank you Dick Van Dyke for all of your goofy charm and humor and to Shirley Jones for your beautiful voice that I've idolized since I was a kid -- you have brought me so much joy for so many years:)

Funny guys

I'm thankful for Will Ferrell and his ridiculousness that never makes any sense but always makes me laugh so hard my head hurts. I sure hope I get to make a movie with him someday...what a joy that would be! For now I am grateful just to have a good laugh after a long week:) Also, it's nice to see Michael Keaton on screen again -- I've missed his perfectly timed brand of humor (doesn't get better than Mr. Mom) for a long time...I'm glad he's still got it.

Thursday, August 12, 2010


I read online that tonight
there is a meteor shower
but the city lights
make it impossible to view
so I sit quietly in my room
turn off the television
and listen for the shouts
of cosmic joy
as the shooting stars
streak across the sky

Couldn't put it down

I'm thankful for books that I get so wrapped up in I stay up too late reading to write on my blog:) I reread Madeline L'Engle's book A SWIFTLY TILTING PLANET (which I haven't read since I was 11) and I finished last night. Amazing it still held up after all these years...even more so because as an adult I could really understand the stakes and the deeper themes -- I actually cried at the end. I'm sure I've said it before, but I'm thankful for Madeline and the inspiration she has been to my writing and my life.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Rick Steve's new sidekick

I was sick last night and in bed, so I didn't get to write, but what I was going to write about was the fly that was in my room last night keeping me entertained. I was watching Rick Steve's on TV, and the picture was so beautiful, that fly kept trying to fly right into it. I think he actually believed he had traveled to France and landed happily right on the top of a medieval castle. And it made me grateful, first of all for a TV with such a nice picture quality, but also for TV in general -- how amazing that for people who could never see the 15,000 year old cave drawings in a tiny town in France in real life, you can get a pretty cool experience watching it from your own bed like I did last night:)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Eating grace instead of just saying it

We ate our dinner mindfully tonight...meaning we didn't talk, and we didn't think about anythng, but we put our full attention on eating our meal and being grateful for it. And what would've been devoured and forgotten while watchng a House Hunters International was instead luxuriated over and appreciated. I actually couldn't help but write a haiku in my head about the crunch of fresh toast. I've forgotten it now, but in the moment it made me very happy. I tried to really taste my food, to think about how I would describe a green pepper to someone who's never eaten it...not easy! It's crispy and juicy, kind of like an apple, but spicier, but not really spicy, more like tangy -- finally I just decided that it tasted green. My tomato seemed to melt like earthy butter in my mouth which seemed to be a new experience -- I never really thought of tomatoes as melty. So many tastes and textures! Thank God for all of the wonderful food we have been given to eat and enjoy. It's nice to be reminded what a miracle a grape is.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Two timing cat

My cat Gatsby is hilarious. He has huge saucer green eyes, waddles like an overstuffed goose and instead of a meow he says "meep!" He's been growing fatter for sometime now, and it didn't make one dent when I switched to diet food. He's gone most of the day, but always comes in for a good scratch behind the ears at night -- we always refer to him as our college kid, wandering restlessly all hours of the day and night, but always coming home for a snack and a hug when he needs it. We've been suspecting that he's been two-timing us for sometime now -- and tonight we got proof. Ryan brought him into the bedroom where I was working and he was laughing so hard he could only get out "look!" And that's when I saw the bright red brand new collar with a nice little name tag that read: CHUBBLES. HAHAHA!!! Chubbles the cat. It's actually the perfect name for him in her current shape. We called the number on the tag and as of this post, haven't heard back yet. Hopefully we can figure out how to put him on a diet between our two families. Although I'm sure that somehow Gatsby Chubbles will just find some other family to feed him if we do. Such a galavanting moocher, that cat!

Fashion appreciation

I cleaned my closets today...really cleaned: I put all my clothes in pretty arrangements according to color and fabric and all of my shoes in their boxes with the lids closed. The boxes are all so lovely, pink and red and purple and green...makes me want to open a shoe store -- one where I get to keep all the shoes:) It was hard work, but also fun to go through and see all the beautiful pieces of clothing I've gathered over the years and it made me very thankful that I have such nice things to wear. I've been on a spending freeze and it's actually been pretty cool to go "shopping" in my own closet, finding things I haven't worn in a while and giving them new life. I've always liked fashion, and today it was nice to appreciate it too.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Real to me

We were out late last night seeing TOY STORY 3 which is such a beautiful movie, well written, exciting, funny, sad and happy all at the same time. It was my second time and I still cried. It makes me thankful for all of my toy friends who were very real to me and who kept me company and carried my secrets and hopes growing up -- for Susie the pillow with a plesant doll face, for Peetie the blue bunny that Papa bought me, for Marshmallow and Rachel the pink and white bunnies I got for Easter, for Theodora the old fashioned teddy bear I got after I was sick to make me feel well, and for Herman the bear with the bow tie that I got for Christmas one year and who made the trip out to California with me to remind me of home. There were many more...but those guys were the first string, and I loved growing up with them:)

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Sit ups should be illegal

I'm thankful I made it through my first real work out in am I hurtin, but the pain is a good reminder not to put taking care of my body so far down on the priority list. Take care of your body and it takes care of you...neglect it and it will kick your butt! I'm really grateful to be able to have a wonderful trainer -- even lunges aren't so bad when she sings along with me to my ridiculous Show Tunes mix. The laughter almost makes me forget how much I'm sweating. Almost:)

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Comfort food in comfort

I just have to say that dinner in bed is just as fun as breakfast in bed, even when you're not feeling well, it somehow makes it feel like you're celebrating:)

City Cricket

I love that in the middle of one of the biggest cities in the world, that when I get ready every night before I go to bed, I get a lovely lullaby from one very lost cricket, and it sounds like home. I don't know how the cricket got to Los Angeles, or how he somehow climbed up to our top balcony, or how on earth he has escaped both our cats, but somehow he has set up residence in our vegetable planter box, and it makes me smile. I keep wondering if he grew up in some little town watching Jiminy Cricket movies and moved out here to make his mark and spread a little magic like his idol. When you wish upon a star...

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