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

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:)