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Be love

Time passes. Some things change. Some things stay the same. And in the markers of each year that tell us of the passage of time, from days to weeks to months, through the seasons, we think of where we’ve been of who we are and the millions of steps we’ve taken to arrive where we stand.

I have, over the years, at various times thought Valentine’s Day sweet, commercialized, a chance for scented hearts and Hallmark glory. It is all. It is none.

Love is the word that defines all that we should be. Valentine’s Day can be a chance to think on that and to share it with with chocolates or a carefully chosen word. 15 years ago on this day, I was at the start of a particular segment of my life, one that brought me two remarkable children, two children who surely teach and learn love every day.

7 years ago on this day, months having passed since a major change, life seemed confused.Valentine’s Day seemed confused.

4 years ago I wrote a poem as Valentine’s Day (…/i-will-be-my-valentine/)
approached, not of pining or solitude, but from years of healing and of reminded awareness, that within me, within each of us, is the real, solid, strong opportunity to be LOVE wherever we are.

I have tried, sometimes failing and sometimes not, to live forward, hearing and speaking in ways that would help me grow, to keep God first. I have been shown the errors of choices and the light of forgiveness, the mercy of each new day.

2 years ago on this day, I was sent a Valentine’s Day card by a man, Chris Worthington. The card stated simply how he appreciated the time we’d had together and how he looked forward to whatever was to come. Over these years he became a best friend, a confidante, cheerleader, comforter, goofiness companion, faith partner…a steady hand to receive and offer support. Our children have become best friends.

And now…this Valentine’s Day, I stand in awe.

Why write this here? Why not jot this simply on the pages of a notebook or in a card?

Aside from being a writer and, with that, the compelling force that sometimes drives me to share, share, share words, I want us all to remember that hope does spring eternal and around the corner is always the chance to understand a part of a plan that seems so out of sorts to us.

Life can be hard. Very hard.

In all the guards we place around ourselves, hurt can still get in, and we must be patient with the twists of our paths, others, and ourselves, as we move forward.

This past year has been filled with tremendous challenges with health and discovery of self. God was with me, teaching me, redirecting me, sometimes tripping me up a bit to save me from myself, and reminding me, even (maybe especially) as of late that I must put trust in Him. My wall coming down came with anxiety. I am grateful for a hand that understands and all of the really fabulous cheering around us.

My family has been truly blessed by Chris and his son in our lives and Chris’s amazing family. (Thank you Robyn and Richard for the love!)

So I offer you this, words of today and tomorrow, we must go onward and wait on what we may not know.

Happy Valentine’s Day!! Be love!


Farms and Family

Here is my long reflection on this past Monday’s Farm Fair Fundraiser, on the eve of The Relay for Life, as I look through pictures of the past week, month, year and life. It’s a mix of animal poop and flowers. Tears and cheers. AND it is all wonderful.

When I was a kid, the Orange County Fair was something that was the stuff of summer. The food, rides, side shows and table top tent sales. My grandmother was friends with the woman who ran the flower and vegetable exhibits, and my grandmother would sit and watch over the Arts and Crafts exhibits, in the connected building. People could enter all different kinds of things – from baked goods, to garden fare, flower arrangements, photographs, paintings, etc. Each year we would make our choices and stand on line to submit our registrations. The day before the fair we would go to drop everything off, and then the first day of the fair we would eagerly go, as family. Yes, we went to walk through the exhibit buildings, while the fairways were filled with people. Then we might do some rides, or eat or shop, BUT we would always go to the 4H buildings.

4H had some buildings with similar entries to the things we had done, but they also had animals. Oh, the animals. We would go through Old McDonald’s Farm. We would walk through the cow and goat and sheep barns. We would chat with the youth there, loving their animals. We had some friends there who we would talk to – about how the fair was going, their animals, their exhaustion from sleeping in the barn not overtaking their enjoyment of farm life.

They were respectful, kind, protective of their animals and friendly. They were informative. They were confident. They were comfortable.

My parents, at a young age, had fostered a love of animals in my brother and I, and we felt no need or desire to rush from those barns to the rest of the fair. It was a highlight. We had many animals at home, though not up to being called a farm, but as life would have it, 4H just wasn’t something we pursued amidst the many activities we did. Those summer afternoons in the fair barns were our time to live that life, before we went back to something else.

Some 20-30 years later, the Orange County Fair is not what it was. 4H, though, thrives.

Both Ephraim and Kira struggle with various challenges – some physical, some emotional,  life being what it can be sometimes. I wanted something that would help to encourage them, to bring them away from their insecurities. 4H, I thought, could be a good fit. I had it on my list to look into when we were blessed with bumping into a delightful boy named Fondue and his people pets, in goat tow, at the Pine Bush Harvest Festival, September 2015. Fondue led us to Agway’s where we continued to chat with Dawn Laffey Krenner and Zina Mazzone and James Krenner and interacted with their fabulous animals. They were naturally good with my quirky kids…and quirky me. They explained how they could share their animals with the kids. “We would like to check out a meeting,” I said.

And we did.

The kids belly laughed and shared. I was instantly impressed by the way the older kids interacted with them, the way Ephraim and Kira were able to express themselves with Miranda Florkowski, Mya, James Krenner, Alexis Krenners, Nick. We had found a place where we felt comfortable already.

I think this could be really good, I thought.

How could I even know?

Just over 8 months later, and I have wacthed my children do things they said they could not. I have seen them reluctantly go on a stage and come off pumped with pride. I have felt the love as they bonded with animals and the other members of the group.

We have celebrated birthdays and talked about challenges. It has been not just good for the children, it has been good for me…for our whole family, who has felt what we stood standing in a barn at a fair so many years ago, a feeling of what is natural.

When my mother was diagnosed with her second round of Cancer this past March, right around my 40th birthday, well…ouch. I like to solve. There are some things I can’t solve. BUT I wanted to do what I could to have empowerment from something dark.I decided to see about our own Relay for Life Team. The Relay for Life “planning” starts in September, around when we first met our Farm Friends.  April, well, that is kind of a late time to be getting started. I was okay with not raising a lot this year, though. “Whatever you can do will be good,” the coordinator told me. I put my family members’ names down and shared our page.

Then I received a Facebook message from Dawn – what was I doing Memorial Day?, she wanted to know. “Camping,” I told her. “We go each year.”

“Well, we’re going to a do a petting zoo and pony rides and games and raise money for your team. It’s okay if you can’t come, but I wanted to tell you.”

That is how it is.

And so began an effort that spread within the group and then to other groups – Farm Friends, Extreme Equestrians, Sheep’s Flock and Dairy Devils. Members donating goods and money and rallying to plan.

Soon the community was donating.

It was a feverish showing of collaboration and love. What do you need? What can I do?

I watched the day of the Fair as 4H kids, elementary to high school age, worked together to make it all happen. Adults giving up their Memorial Day to sit under a canopy in the heat and sell and serve.


Money handed in a bag to my mother, who tried to express that the money does not just matter to her, but will help so many people and will be a part of this phenomenal event – The Relay for Life. She couldn’t get her words right, overwhelmed. Emotional. [It was not until later that night that she could fully process the honor or the money being donated in her name.]

And I saw standing before my mother these 4H kids – respectful, kind, protective of their animals and friendly. They were informative. They were confident. They were comfortable.

I was brought back to my mother, at my age now, walking me through the exhibits –  the excitement I felt if I got a ribbon and when it was time to go to the 4H animal barns.

We won a “Best in Show” with this group, and now I get to stand in the animals barns with them.

I am blessed, touched and so very grateful.

Thank you to all of the 4H people and community members who in any way supported this Farm Fair Fundraiser.

Community conquers cancer.

At fear of missing someone, I am going to hold off on listing everyone who donated, but I am going to tag a bunch of people. I promise a list of everyone will come too.






Cheesey May the 4th post? Yes.

In truth, though, there’s something more. I pulled out some of my favorite figures from my collection, over *cough* 30 years old. Fading, Princess Leia missing a foot from one of my childhood dogs, not reticulated or shiny. A group of love and time worn toys, much like the characters at the end of the movies and our own tenacity on sometimes sand trap strewn days. Yep, we battle the dark and light within and without. I held this diverse little set of characters, along with the  others I have, in my tiny hands, a force all my own – my imagination.

Theatrical pomp and circumstance and creativity aside, there’s a reason many find an affinity with these movies and that most, thought not all, of the characters, Empire and Rebel. The memorable phrases extend beyond the movie to our own rebellions and our sometime power hungry ways. The themes are transcendent. We “get” the struggle, the hope, the frustration, the anger tinged with guilt. Male or female, we want to be the hero; we want to be found by the hero. And we are, but sometimes we forget.

Even those who haven’t seen the movies, know what a light saber is and, likely, have all envisioned wielding one, to strike down foes, physical or emotional. Tiny, green, pointed-ear, focused and timeless Yoda, that wisdom of truth and faith. Believe, we should. Achieve, we can. My figures bare the marks of playing in the dirt, skinning trees, breaking “princess” molds like Leia. Beautiful. Sensual, she could be. Tough, smart, stalwart Leia. Even with her chewed off foot and missing cape, she seems remarkable to me, poised on my window sill.

Hans, arrogant, but aware. Growing into sacrifice, something that he would turn to as a father, as I am now a mother. Loyal Chewbacca. Luke. Learning, hurting, conquering with love and commitment to truth and light. Furry, funny and fierce Ewoks. Droids that surpassed their circuitry. Evil dictators finding that their defeat comes from their ignorance from narcissim. Yeah, we meme it and we play on words it (maybe even a shameless dog in a blanket posing as Obi wan  🙂 – see photo below), but in the end there is something about Star Wars….

Truly, may the force be with you.



This word spread. We face it. We embrace it. We disdain it.


The fire burning on the Shawangunk ridge right above my parents’ house and the houses of friends. The smoke.
The Cancer in my mother’s body.
The poison ivy on my skin.

My list of appointments and needed appointments and tasks. My bills to be paid.
The mess. The unsavory things easily accessible to my children.

Terrorism. Zika Virus. Gossip. Despondence.

Then hope. Then compassion. These too can SPREAD.

Calls offering help. Someone handing me a $40 tube of strong ointment to try on my rash. Men and women across the mountain top battling the blaze side by side. A car ride to a procedure. A blanket filled with love and comfort. Posts on pages of outreach.

There will always be what is bad. There will be the conglomerated balls of what has not gone the way we wanted or believed it should that will trip up our paths. It is in the reality of our world, our communities, our inner circles and ourselves that there will be harsh truths and wounds of concrete and air. We have the right to grieve them.

These things deserve our sadness, but not our defeat.
We are more than the result.

There’s an essay I have been working on about the need for acceptance and planning through, or over,  what we deem as weakness in ourselves. I think this too is true of what is or what we deem as wrong around us.

We can spread our wings, our stride, our  inner vision, and our outward touch.

May you feel the spread of love around you today. It is there.


Thank you for feeling

Thank you all for the kind messages and words of support and love. It is times like these that show the blessing social media CAN be. Our family is lifted by the encouragement. I apologize for not having taken the time to respond to so many thoughtful words.

The port for chemo was successfully installed yesterday. Mom likes that they call it a “Smart Port,” noting it with a smile as she was in recovery. It is different than the one she had in 2004. Medicine continues to improve, and we are so grateful for that. The chemo will begin Th. The plan is to hit hard. 6-7 hours a day every day for a week every three weeks. I suggested, mostly kidding, I shave my head in solidarity, but my mom and the kids said NO!

While I joke, my heart ebbs and flows through moods, trying to make sense of it all, in the midst of other bumps in the road from this and in addition to this, and stay grounded and focus on being positive. Lest I make this a cry for pity, I will stop with just saying that I appreciate so very much your reminders of faith and strength, for all of us. This will  yield more songs and poetry and a new refining of my heart.

Over the years my parents have had a thing about precipitation as an indicator of goodness. Forget that it sometimes comes at inopportune times for the situation, and see it as a symbol of strength. So, we try to do that when it coincidentally occurs and impacts a plan. I cannot deny that I found our unusual, especially for this Winter, April snow poignant. It too made yesterday a bit tricky, but it also gave me an opportunity to laugh, for a brief moment, as it fell on me and to see how it so easily covers the mud and muck and makes everything look so pure and fresh, while mom begins this fight. New blossoms and ice, a sign of what our lives are.

I begin my testing today, as “it” is genetic. I find myself, at the moment, relatively calm about it, though not particularly eager for some of it (men, I spare you the details).

Over the course of this all I have uttered so many of the phrases that highlight the disdain for this nasty disease – Cancer S%&$#, F%&$ Cancer, Kick Cancer’s A##…. I think of the friends and family impacted by this undiscerning illness that’s very treatment is painful.

It is like any illness or obstacle, though, disrupting our routines and often our peace of mind, hurting and disheartening. Yet, around it are the signs of hope in common humanity regardless of the tragedy. There is empathy. We see who we can rely on and turn to.

In the woods I seek comfort in reflection on love and resilience and the music of God’s great orchestra, nature. I find myself reminded that our journeys are to be shared to help one another and to be helped by one another. It is why kind human touch is so powerful.

If you’re struggling, reach out – to me, to another. It’s okay to hurt. One needn’t be or pretend to be confident all of the time.



I live in hooded sweatshirts
On crisp mornings, with sun,
Yawning, and rocks with moss
Upon them, and the water overflowing
And swelling through the crags
To the sound of my heart flooded
With the prayers, passions and
Past of a child still finding logs 
And leaves in the moving stream
Where ice and buds of Spring both
Come to sing.

I sit on ground that’s cold, but
Warming and find myself a little
Lost, and drifting on the thought
Of Henry talking to the trees
And birds, and breathe the words
Of who I am in steadily
Trembling swipes of pen, that
Take me into myself again, with
Smells of nature and the touch
Of my Creator.

I am courageous and calm, no
Cover on and the misapplied 
Disguises gone, where my 
Transparency is elegant and strong,
A naked face towards the calls of
Longing and the place to pause,
To pause,
To taste the many flavors of my



Let us have together what we know,
and the generations that we’ve grown
in wearied, happy, hoping hands, to
hold and love.

And if I may, to take the reigns and go,
I say it strong, that I am not alone, and
deep within my very bones I’m
bold and loving.

I am anxious, eager, hesitant and
believing. I am learning, teaching.
A day is leaving as a day is breathing,
gold and dawning.


76 94 16 40

’76, Born.
’94, 18. Graduated High School. 

In 16 days in 2016 40.

I will turn 40 with every laugh line, scar, blonde-brown-grey hair. I will turn 40 with the wins and losses of life lived with potholes, peaks and purpose.
I will turn 40 with the love of family and friends in my pocket, which social media has no lock on. I will turn 40 with trophies and medals buried in boxes, my job – to live on.

I will turn 40 with loved ones struggling, illness and wellness and hoping. I will turn 40 remembering when 4 decades seemed distant, not daunting, but of another generation’s belongings. I will turn 40 with questions and answers and the chance to celebrate every…step.

I will turn 40 single, serious and silly, wandering and wondering and determinedly stumbling, bouncing and believing. I will turn 40 confident that courage is not only cased in jumps at high places, but in a steady pace through doubting and faith.

I will turn 40 having given and received, taught and learned and listened and talked and trusted and ached and run full speed into places with no finish line, to smile or cry or accept defeat and try to keep my head held high. I will turn 40 loved. I will turn 40 a child and a still learning to walk adult, so very precious to God. I will turn 40 despite and because of every moment that has been, to greet every moment that will be.

And I will be 40.


be nice

“What happened?”

My eyes are pulled from my phone, where I was lost in reading, by her voice, and I look to my side to see her sweet eyes, as she looks up from her tablet in her cozy and safe spot on our couch. Kira has looked over my shoulder and read a headline and it is the second time in less than a week that I have had to consider how to explain to her an incident of mass casualties caused by an act of terror. That people did something bad.

I wonder for a moment if I should have proceeded to the news to read, if I should have waited until after they were asleep. I wonder now how much to say, to this child, on the eve of her 8th birthday, who danced carefree in the driveway this morning. There is that fragile line as a parent between protecting and sheltering your child. I want her to be aware, to know there is evil and that she can be a light against. I want her to be careful. I do not want her to be afraid.

3700 miles away those weapons reach us too. Into our homes they travel to our sense of security on this quiet night; they travel to our calm.
“Why are 153 people dead in Paris?” she asks again. Her brother hears her and looks up too.

I tell them that people killed people with guns and bombs. Ephraim looks confused. Kira tells me that makes her angry and sad. “Me too,” I say. It seems too simple a response, but one that feels right in that moment. I remind them again that there is so much goodness in the world and we can be a part of spreading that, and we need to live on.

Tonight, there is no more that they want to discuss about it, maybe having just learned earlier this week that someone would put a bomb on a plane. I let them end the conversation, knowing it will be in our prayers at bedtime.

I am relieved, for a moment, that I do not need to explain more, to tell them how hard it is to confront someone who thinks that an act of terror such as this is the right thing to do. None of the six faces of specialists on the news on the TV as I type this, with my children asleep to what I hope is sweet dreams and peace, can make much sense of that in the way that we all yearn to, however powerful the words describing it as a “vicious, sadistic, nihilistic event” are. It is not about whether this is leading to war. We are at war.

I have never been to Paris. I have never been to Europe. Tonight, as with other tragedies, we will consider our unity as humans, our brothers and sisters in France tonight, and determine where we balance not dwelling and not disregarding.

We will celebrate Kira’s birthday tomorrow, with presents and candles that will be blown out with wishes.

Outside the window behind me, the wind chime I hung this summer has not yet been brought in. It rings feverishly in the windy air. In its swinging, my words, “why can’t everyone just stop and be nice?”

Real Data – Seize the Minute

*No Sound*