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!!