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

Monday, December 31, 2012

Ring in the New!

I am very grateful to be on the cusp of a brand new year:)  As Alfred Lord Tennyson wrote: "Ring out the old, ring in the new, Ring, happy bells, across the snow: The year is going, let him go; Ring out the false, ring in the true."  Blessings to all in 2013!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

HSK -- Highly Sensitive Kara

I took a quiz from this month's Oprah called "Are You an HSP?" -- HSP standing for Highly Sensitive person.  I laughed when I saw it, because I didn't need a quiz to tell me what anyone who has ever met me knows -- I am definitely an HSP.  My skin is too sensitive for certain fabrics, I startle at the drop of a hat -- not an expression, I have actually jumped at the sound of my fedora falling from my desk to the floor; I can't watch scary movies or violent scenes without having the images haunt me for years; just walking past the perfume counter at Macy's triggers a migraine, flashing lights hurt my eyes; a thimble full of caffeine will make me climb the walls; and I cry, a lot -- when I'm happy, when I'm sad, when I'm scared, and yes, even when I'm angry.  So it made sense to me that I scored a perfect 60 out of 60 -- a perfect score for being highly sensitive.  Which like I said, I already knew, but somehow seeing it on the page made me sad.  You read me right, I was oversensitive about being oversensitive.  Because it is exhausting sometimes living in a constant state of feeling.  There was a good reason Deanna Troy was my favorite Start Trek Next Generation character -- I could relate to the burden of being an empath. Mostly I was sad because I felt like there was something wrong with me, like being highly sensitive was akin to being radioactive somehow.  Like Karen Silkwood must've felt when all of the sirens went off and people fled for their lives to get as far away from her as possible.  Look!  Kara's crying again!  RUN!

I have often remarked to friends or family members (when I was feeling wounded or vulnerable over something that most people would shake off right away) that I am just too sensitive for this world.  And deep down, I think I felt like it meant I wouldn't be able to contribute to the world, to make a difference for the good in it in the way I had always hoped.  That I was too fragile to make any impact, too breakable to matter.  But then something wonderful happened the other night.  I woke up at 4:30 am, a pretty common thing for me as I am a very light sleeper and will be instantly up and awake and ready for anything at the slightest noise (we call it my "Earthquake? Gunshot? Monster??" process).  Anyway, I walked into the bathroom and caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror, shaking my head and lamenting "you are just too sensitive, Kara."  I stared back at myself, waiting for mirror me to agree,  but what met me instead was a voice deep inside, a warm and gentle, wise and firm voice that I instantly recognized as the voice of God that said quite simply, "You are not too sensitive for this world -- you are exactly as sensitive as this world needs you to be."

Well, I'm sure you can guess what came next -- I burst into tears.  Tears of relief, because in that moment, a burden lifted.  That burden to stop being so sensitive, to try and be stronger and tougher just drained right down the sink leaving me with the startling realization -- I was made this way.  Sensitive by design, not by mistake.  Made to notice the way the breeze gives breath to a weeping willow, helping it to dance through the grief; made to see the confusion on the elderly woman's eyes as she stands on the corner not knowing who to ask for directions; created vulnerable enough to know how it feels to hurt so it can be credible when I say to a friend in pain "I understand."  And what greater gift could there be than to be able to offer understanding to the misunderstood, tenderness to the bruised, a silent ear to the unheard?

What a perspective changer -- the thing I had most lamented in my life, I was now beginning to be grateful for.  Heck, I would never have discovered cashmere if my skin didn't break out in a rash over wool:)  And I never could've experienced the pure bliss of my heart being healed in love if I had't felt the agony of it shattering first.  I recognize that not everyone is an HSP, but I do think that in each life we have a choice when faced with something that makes us feel more vulnerable than we would like -- we can feel weak and ashamed by it and try to ignore it and shut it out -- or we can be grateful for it knowing that if we are feeling something, that means we are alive.  And if we are alive in this world, it's because this world needs us -- exactly as we are.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Beautiful Bird

It is a breathtaking thing to have a red-tail hawk look you in the eye...after I took this picture, he just gazed at me, as if he was as curious about me as I was him, and we stood in one another's presence for several minutes before the paparazzi finally got to him.  It was an extra special Labor Day moment:)

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

I love a deer with a sense of humor:)

Celebrate for good times

A few weeks ago, my Dad came to visit my husband and me to see our lovely little home before we sold it.  We were feeling a bit discouraged because it had been on the market for a month and we hadn't had any offers -- and we were really needing to sell and move by summer's end.  He surprised us by saying he wanted to take us out for a celebration dinner -- celebration of what, we wondered.  He said he felt like God wanted him to take us to celebrate the fact that a sale was already set in motion and the right family was being prepared and that as far as God was concerned, the house was already sold.  So in the spirit of pre-gratitude, we celebrated and toasted with champagne and had the best meal we have had in months.  We laughed and ate and the heaviness of worry and stress just lifted right off our shoulders.  We needed to celebrate -- to celebrate all that we have already been blessed with in our lives and all of the good things that are to come.  To celebrate the promise that God always provides for our needs and as my brother put into song many years ago we should never give up on the brink of a miracle.  In other words, as one of my favorites, Julian of Norwich so aptly said many centuries ago, "All will be well and all will be well and all matter of things will be well."  And as Paul said so beautifully in his letter to the Romans, "We know that to those who love God, who are called according to his plan, everything that happens fits into a pattern for good."  For us the pattern took an unconventional shape where we celebrated first, and then three days later we got an offer from a family who said that for years our home had been their dream home, and that when they drove by and saw the sign in the front yard, they knew that it was more than one kind of sign:)  We are in escrow now and are waiting with joyful anticipation of the new jobs are that we celebrated that night too.  "Now to him who by his power within is is able to do infinitely more than we ever dare to ask or imagine -- to him be the glory" Amen, and thanks Dad!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy Birthday America!

Fireworks, the beach and strawberry shortcake -- I love the fourth of July:)

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Inspiration in bloom

What could be more wonderful than getting to tour Monet's gardens...without having to leave the country??  Thank you, New York Botanical Society for your exquisite exhibit!!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Dreams do come true:)

My beautiful and talented sister's first novel hits stores today!!! It is a real live dream come true for her and I couldn't be prouder:)  If you like feel good stories that fill you with joy, do yourself a favor and buy her book:

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Peony Power!

I wait all year for these beauties to bloom -- and they're finally here -- like fireworks in my garden!

At the top

I'm actually terrified in this picture -- the Ferris Wheel was spinning at an alarming speed (aren't they supposed to meander not hurtle?) and the seat was rickety and small and it was SO HIGH...but I'm smiling because my husband is next to me, and somehow made me laugh at my fear.  Now that's love:)

Monday, May 7, 2012

Late night musings

Just as there would be no rainbows without clouds, there would be no miracles without difficulty and trouble.   Miracles are the glory that appears when light blazes into the darkness and transforms it into something beautiful.


Kind gestures

It is amazing to experience the grace of a small thoughtfulness.  After some trying days, a gift certificate to pamper myself with a mani/pedi showed up in my email from a good friend and it was like a warm hug wrapped around my heart.  I am thankful for the encouragement of kind gestures at just the right time.

Friday, May 4, 2012

A smile wrapped in fur:)

My parents just got a new puppy named Wookie and no matter how rainy it is outside, or how crabby I am inside, one look at that face and I can't help but giggle.  Thank God for puppies, they are little packets of happiness:)

Friday, April 27, 2012

Beautiful Thomas Traherne Quote

From the Centuries of Meditations #30
"Till your Spirit filleth the whole World, and the Stars are your Jewels, till you are Familiar with the Ways of God in all Ages as with your Walk and Table: till you are intimately Acquainted with that Shady Nothing out of which the World was made: till you lov Men so as to Desire their Happiness, with a Thirst equal to the zeal of your own: till you Delight in God for being Good to all: you never Enjoy the World."

Friday, April 6, 2012

Afternoon nap:)

Tintern Abbey

I just discovered that this poem that so spoke to my heart that I wrote a post about it here :
Was written in County Wexford Ireland...and that I have ancestors from there, my great great great grandparents, Patrick McCrea and Isabelle Fleming:) No wonder it spoke to me so! I must find a way to go visit some day...

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Negative Space

The fluffy white clouds were so beautiful a few days ago, that I laid on my back, like when I was a kid, and watched them go by, smiling about the shapes I saw as they floated past: a mermaid, a dragon, a chicken leg, a sheep. But then, something interesting happened -- the clouds began to get thicker and soon almost the whole sky was white, save for some dark blue negative space that passed by as quickly as the clouds -- and the negative spaces had shapes all their own, that were beautiful in their own way: a dove, an angel, a smile. What a revelation it was -- that the dark places and negative spaces in our lives, when viewed from a different perspective, can have a beauty and grace all their own. It made me think of those optical illusions where a vase can actually be seen as two faces about to kiss, depending on where you place your focus. And it made me realize that you can make meaning of the dark just as easily as the light -- if you can take the time to lie back and watch with an open heart, a creative mind and a spirit of wonder.

Standing on a rainbow:)

Saturday, March 31, 2012

We are all the same

If you need a smile today, watch this. I love how at our core, people are all the same -- we all need hope and joy and love...which is what this video fill me with:)

Thursday, March 29, 2012

A blessing

Irish poet

I am so inspired by a beautiful Irish writer named John O'Donohue...his book To Bless the Space Between us is a constant source of joy, while his book Anam Cara is a source of awe, and whenever I feel sad, I just put in his DVD A Celtic Pilgrimage (set in Ireland) and I instantly feel better. He has the soul of a saint and the speech of a poet with a glint in his eye that proves his true Irish nature:) Wonderful. He passed away a few years ago, but it has in no way silenced his voice. I love to listen to his lilt and his heart in this interview:
And for all of his other books and videos, here's his website:

Spring springing up all over

I'm thankful for golden flowers shining like a hundred suns in the blue sky:)

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

In honor of World Poetry Day

My most favorite poems...if you want to be blessed down deep in your soul, take the time to listen and read them:)
The Lake Isle of Innisfree by Yeats,
i thank You God most for this amazing day by cummings,
i carry your heart with me by cummings,
Dreams by Langston Hughes,
The Peace of Wild things by Wendell Berry
No Coward Soul is Mine by Emily Bronte

Cool birds

I love that these guys (and girl) live in my pond:)

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Clear night delight

Have you ever seen Jupiter and Venus through a telescope in your back yard? I have. And it was awesome. Especially with red mars blinking a fond hello over my shoulder. Four planets in one night...and I think to myself, what wonderful worlds...:)

Mother nature

I felt like mother nature this weekend, waking up my sleeping babies in the garden, pulling back the thick blanket of leaves to let the bright sun warm their little faces. Can't wait to watch them grow:)

Friday, March 16, 2012

A very good week:)

I have so much to be thankful for this week. The most wonderful of which is that I have gone 12 full days with no pain whatsoever! A true miracle. Praise God! I feel a springtime of good health booming in me right alongside my lovely garden, and I am so very grateful for the thaw. I also finished a script that is near to my heart and has reinvigorated me and my writing. And as I mentioned, I got a book I just have to finish my novel:) And MY HUBBY GOT A JOB!!! WOOHOO!!!!!


I wonder if the inventor of Skittles (a rainbow of flavor:) had a prism in his office like I do? The mini-rainbows fill me with such delight when they "skittle" across my desk!

That Girl

I've been watching THAT GIRL every night on MeTV and her enthusiasm is contagious...I can't help but smile:) And when I went into the city this week, (and landed an awesome book agent!) I felt like I was That Girl:)

Urban Art

There's beauty all around if you just keep your eyes open and catch it before it speeds by...

Monday, March 12, 2012

The first flowers of the year:)

Spring forward

I'm thankful for Daylight Savings time giving me another hour of sunlight to enjoy...I love the sunset at 7:) Of course, I'm lucky that I didn't have to wake up an hour early!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Thank God for friends

I had a friend over for lunch today for the first time in a long time and it was absolutely wonderful. I loved sharing my home and catching up and feeling social and alive and well. We even were treated to a baby deer just four feet or so from the window -- I could've touched his beautiful soft ears if I had reached out:) I feel blessed she took the time to get on the train and ride an hour each way to see me.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


It feels good to be inspired and to be writing something from my heart. And I'm grateful for a beautiful place to work...I love watching the geese and muskrats and ducks and cardinals and my deer friends (come to think of it, it's amazing I get any work done at all!:)

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Beautiful quote

Underneath all the texts, all the sacred psalms and canticles, these watery varieties of sounds and silences, terrifying, mysterious, whirling and sometimes gestating and gentle must somehow be felt in the pulse, ebb, and flow of the music that sings in me. My new song must float like a feather on the breath of God.
~ Hildegard of Bingen


I am grateful that when I've had a rough day, I can just go here and watch it all get washed away...

Sunday, March 4, 2012


I have had three beautiful wonderful and completely pain free days in a row! Praise God! I am so thankful for the amazing nerve block and for my wise and helpful doctor. It is terrible how you can have pain for so long that it becomes somehow normal -- and it isn't until true relief is experienced that you even realize how far you had drifted from normal. I am so thankful to be well and look forward to this becoming my new norm!

Let's Hear it for the Boy

My husband cleaned the entire house from top to bottom (including baseboards!) yesterday. 'Nuff said! :D

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Hooray for PBS

I love when a television show is good enough to transport me into another world...and I'm glad I finally discovered Downton Abbey which is just such a show. Those costumes! That scenery! And pitch perfect writing to boot. So good! And I especially love that it's on PBS, so it's free and everyone has access to such wonderful quality entertainment. American Masters on PBS is another wonderful show...and don't even get me started on Antique Roadshow:)

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Rainy day

Outside it is mucky and muddy and rainy and chilly, but inside my happy caboose office it is warm and welcoming and full of inspiration. I am grateful for shelter and heat on a day like today, thankful I can watch the rain fall, preparing the earth for spring, from the comfort of my comfy orange chair.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012


I'm thankful that I didn't have a chance to post yesterday because I was too busy hanging out with my hubby who finally came home after nearly 6 weeks away! And I'm not just happy he's home because I'm tired of doing all the household chores by myself;p

Monday, February 27, 2012


It is such a joy to devour the novel my sister WROTE! More Than a Stranger -- such a great title, and such a great book. I can't wait until it comes out in bookstores so I can just stand near it and point "MY SISTER IS THE AUTHOR!" It feels good to feel so proud:)

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Won't You Be My Neighbor?

I'm thankful for my wonderful neighbors who brought me food for my dogs when I ran out today and had a migraine so I couldn't go out myself. And they delivered it to my door with a cute puppy in their arms named "Smiley" who did indeed make me smile. It's nice to know there is still such thing as neighborly neighbors in the world...Mr. Rogers would be proud:)

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Movies and music

I love how a great movie can lift my spirits and touch my heart on even the loneliest days. I watched Dan in Real Life tonight and just let the joy of the wonderful words and the fantastic music wash over me while the cold winds blew outside. In rooting for flawed and loveable characters it helps me to remember to root for myself, and I'm thankful for that. And in a related note: Sondre Lerche (the extraordinary talent who did all the music for the movie) also has a song on a separate album that I love to listen to called "Everyone's Rooting Just for You." Whenever I need a pick me up in the confidence department, it has quite often come to my rescue. Also, Steve Carrell makes me smile:)

Friday, February 24, 2012

Early morning snow

I was very grumpy when the dogs woke me up an hour early this morning, and I begrudgingly got out of bed and went to the door to let them out, when I got quite a surprise -- SNOW! It was 63 and sunny yesterday and somehow it snowed overnight just enough to sprinkle a little magic on everything. It was beautiful. So beautiful I forgot what time it was, and I forgot that I was ever annoyed. By mid-morning the pouring rain set in and washed it all away, so it was quite a little blessing that those sweet pups of mine woke me up when they did after all.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Mr. Postman

Today I am thankful that my longest stretch ever away from my husband is coming to an end on Saturday. I am so grateful he's finally coming home, and I'm thankful for all of the letters and cards that have sustained me up to now. I just love handwritten letters and I'm glad he feels the same way. Oh -- and I'm thankful for the gorgeous new mailbox those letters get to arrive in!
Now Mr. Postman is stuck in my head...which is okay, because it's a fun song:)

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Dancing Dust

I'm reposting my first ever post on this blog which I started as a Joy Journal for Lent in 2010. I will once again this year be writing something I'm grateful for every day for the next 40 days in the hopes that it will help me "give up" negativity for Lent this year:) And now, a few thoughts about Ash Wednesday...

Ash Wednesday. The day when many people go to church in the middle of the day in the middle of the week to a service that, quite honestly, has always extremely bummed me out. I mean there was a certain cache to it as a little kid, getting out of school for an hour, coming back with ashes smeared on my forehead. A proud beacon proclaiming to the world that I was good because I knew I was bad. But as I grew older, the ashes seemed morbid to me -- really, who wants a reminder that they are going to die, that life is short and they've probably messed up what little time they have? Truthfully, it kind of pissed me off -- isn't the whole God thing about Life? About Forgiveness? What's with wallowing around in the depressing stuff? 

And yet -- somehow I always find myself going to church. On Ash Wednesday. And so, the last time I went, I wore a bright orange polka dot shirt and a baby blue sweater as an act of rebellion. No sackcloth and black for me. I prepared myself for somberness -- but found something entirely different. As I walked through the heavy arched door, my eyes lowered in proper (if feigned) humility, I discovered words had been written on the floor. Written in a whisper of black ash across the gleaming marble...

"Remember you are dust and to dust you shall return." 

I steeled myself for the usual surge of doom, but for some reason, it didn't come. And that's when something wholly unexpected happened. I started to laugh. Yes, laugh. It started as a tickle somewhere deep inside and worked its way up to my throat as I worked my way down the aisle. I knelt at the pew, my shoulders shaking now. Trembling with, what was it? Joy? On Ash Wednesday?? What kind of a Christian am I...?

The kind who was given an amazing gift.

A glimpse of the miracle of it all. 

What glory, what magic, what a wonder that dust should be raised up in such a way! What sheer beautiful absurdity that dust should walk and talk and wear Jimmy Choo shoes. If dust could be formed into fingers and hearts and eyes that can speak as well as see, is not ANYTHING possible?? I wanted to dance to show that dust can dance too. How??? The human body has 90% chemically in common with dirt for heaven's sake! And yet, here I sit, typing a blog. Breathing, feeling, loving...

And it made me think of an incident with Pippin, my youngest pup, that happened only a few days earlier. I have a steam shower in my bedroom bathroom, if not THE reason I bought my place, at least one of them. I love the swirl of the steam, making me disappear in the glass box of my shower, love drawing on the foggy doors -- some people sing in the shower, I doodle. Okay, I sing too, but that's not important. What's important is, I love the steam. Anyway, as I stepped out of the shower on this particular morning, Pippin was sitting on the mat, toy in his mouth, patiently waiting for me to play. But suddenly, he dropped the plastic toy and began to back out of the room with a look on his face I had never seen before...a look of pure fear. The hair on his back stood up and he began to bark, barking for his life it seemed as the steam billowed towards him in in a hazy white cloud. Steam. Just steam -- I tried to reassure him, but he ran from the room. He couldn't understand it, so he feared it.

Oh how much time do I spend, how many days, how many sleepless nights, barking at steam? Being afraid of the ashes. Afraid I have sinned too much and believed too little. Thinking the cloud is going to kill me when really its just going to relax me and clear my nasal passages. I faced the fear that day -- the ashes, the reminder of death, the way being reminded makes me feel -- and I let the steam of it all pass over me for what it was, a bunch of hot air. And I found to my amazement that on the other side of fear was joy -- exuberance even. The amazing truth that life is a mystery...a beautiful, wonder-filled phenomenon. And if dust can dance, is not anything possible? :)

Sunday, February 12, 2012

The wonder of Wordsworth

I don't know how it has taken me my whole life to discover this poem, but it is pure joy and genius:

My favorite part:

And I have felt
A presence that disturbs me with the joy
Of elevated thoughts; a sense sublime
Of something far more deeply interfused,
Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns,
And the round ocean and the living air,
And the blue sky, and in the mind of man;
A motion and a spirit, that impels
All thinking things, all objects of all thought,
And rolls through all things.


Heart Hugs:)

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Flying high

I'm writing this from 37,000 feet -- how amazing is that! For all of human history, man has wanted to fly and now not only do we get the privilege of soaring -- we get to check facebook and watch movies while we're at it:) I am grateful for the courage to take this trip and for the blessing of spending time with my friends and family. And for realizing that when it comes to my job, I've still got it:) I guess you could say I'm flying high...

Sunday, January 29, 2012


If the word "coincide" means to fit together perfectly, as in the way the center of two concentric circles coincide -- doesn't it then make sense that the word "coincidence" is not about randomness, but more suggesting an order to things, a perfect fitting together as in a design? And so, using that definition, I am thankful that when I am struggling with something, I always seem to find myself reading a book, or watching a show, or hearing a sermon that coincidentally deals with that exact thing. It never ceases to amaze me.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


Feathered friends

I am thankful for the birdfeeder outside my office window, and I am thankful for my new lens to capture all of my new friends with!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Nature's majesty

I'm guessing not many people get to see Niagara Falls in the winter, because it's FREEZING -- but it was SPECTACULAR! Talk about a winter wonderland...

Sunday, January 1, 2012

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