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I live in a small town that has its origins in mining. That said, gentrification is taking over and the boundaries of neighboring towns are rapidly blurring with more houses, more people, and more development. This week though, our little town felt little again. We have a strong, vibrant, long-standing Hispanic community here, and earlier this week, one of the little mercados had racist graffiti spray painted on it, and the ice cream/sandwich/wine shop down the street had a rock thrown their window.

And we all hated it.

Tonight, many in our community patronized the Eats and Sweets shop, offering to help, and showing support, and then a whole crowd walked a few doors down to the Las Montanas Market to share the love and again, offer to help in any way possible, and reinforce the importance of this family, the business they run, and the community which they enrich.

We are a community in the truest sense of the word. And our art, which is everywhere in town, reflects our spirit of love and unity.

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Community Holistic Health Center, Lafayette, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” — Martin Luther King, Jr.

Daily gratitudes:
Kindnesses
Smiles that reach eyes
My handsome husband
A beautiful day
A win at work

 

 

 

I don’t know if this means it’s a sale on Big Jesuses or if it’s a big sale that encompasses all Jesuses, but either way the sign struck my fancy. I mean, you can’t buy Jesus. He’s way too ethical for that. I don’t actually recall even seeing any Jesuses at this interesting and chock-full shop that popped up on the other edge of Cerrillos Road from Jackalope, which it is trying to resemble. It was worth a stop on the way out of town.

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Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Quote of the day: “I thought such awful thoughts that I cannot even say them out loud because they would make Jesus want to drink gin straight out of the cat dish.” — Anne Lamott

Daily gratitudes:
The light smell of rain
A peek-a-boo sunset
Shared experiences
Good books
Clean sheets

Kokopelli Sunset
Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Quote of the day: “Hope can be a powerful force. Maybe there’s no actual magic in it, but when you know what you hope for most and hold it like a light within you, you can make things happen, almost like magic.” — Laini Taylor

Daily gratitudes:
The man talking to his dog as they walked
MKL
Lightning
The stars in Estes Par
Sleep and dreams

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Cozumel, Mexico.

Quote of the day: “When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence.” — Ansel Adams

Daily gratitudes:
Thunder
Afternoon light
That Mr. Man knows when I need cuddles
MKL
Ceiling fans and that the blades have never flown off and decapitated me

 

I have had a very, very blue day. One of those days when it feels like I will never, ever get ahead, and there’s no one who I can ask for help. Yes, a pity party. Since this is not my first pity party, I know that making others feel better makes me feel better. I know not to anticipate problems that may never materialize. I know that worrying and feeling sorry for yourself does no good. I know that I suck at reaching out to people when I’m low. I know that some people actually do love me and would be heartbroken if I was gone. I know that some of my friends are hurting over real tragedies much larger than my own – which makes empath me hurt with them. I know that we each live in our own life in our own skin in our own heart, and that comparing someone else’s suffering or troubles to your own, or to your own feelings, is pointless. You feel what you feel when you feel it. Period. I know from the wisdom of my Mother that we all do the best with what we have at the time., so don’t beat yourself up about the past. Just keep movng forward. I know that hugs are wonderful and I need more of them, and to get one, you give one, and since I can’t physically hug all of you, I will share this mural from Cozumel, as a virtual hug. I hope it makes me feel better, and I hope it makes you smile.

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Cozumel, Mexico.

Quote of the day: “Optimist: Someone who figures that taking a step backward
after taking a step forward is not a disaster, it’s a cha-cha.” — Robert Brault

Daily gratitudes:
Hugs from MKL
A Skype with my girls
Blooming jonquils
Dogs asleep in the windows in the sun
How in an office I visited for a week in Puerto Rico, every morning everyone hugged each other

 

In past trips to Mexico, I’ve usually picked up one colorful piece of pottery. Not this time though.  That doesn’t mean that I don’t love the colors and the vibrancy. MKL and I are currently in a vintage “Blue Willow” pattern phase for dinnerware, but maybe next trip, we’ll take a few of these beauties home with us.

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Cozumel, Mexico.

Quote of the day: “The unknown life of the maker is evanescent in its brevity, but the work of his or her hands and heart remains.” — Susan Vreeland

Daily gratitudes:
Seagulls in unexpected places
MKL
My egg salad
Blooming forsythia
My Mother being with me this morning

Should you think that we did nothing but park ourselves on a beach during our sabbatical, you’d be mistaken. MKL, wonderful, indulgent husband that he is, drove our little VW bug into San Miguel for me to take pictures of the architecture. Although the driving was insane, MKL did a wonderful job. I loved San Miguel. We mostly avoided the tourist district, which is populated primarily by disrespectfully attired people from the many cruise ships that come into port each day, and  vendors using whatever line they could think of to make us stop (“Hey, Mr. Mustache!” was my favorite). Exploring the fringes of San Miguel revealed amazingly beautiful murals on building after building, as well as the small details that my photographer’s eye automatically seeks out. This piece was painted on the side and loading dock of the mercada, and our blue friend appears to be taking a sniff of the pink flowers. Oh, how lovely to see green and flowers and sunshine at the beginning of Februray.

Blue ManSan Miguel, Cozumel, Mexico.

Quote of the day: “I dream my painting and I paint my dream.” — Vincent van Gogh

Daily gratitudes:
16 days until SpringContinuing to fight the battle with depression
My bed
MKL
Sun

 

My heart is made of sand and sea and sun and shells, touched by the occasional storm and moved by passing trade winds.

Next to the dining space – for it could not be called a room – of what I think of as “our place” in Mexico stood a tree, its branches decorated with hearts. Glass hearts of pink and red and turquoise, carved folk art hearts, silver hearts in which we could see the reflections of ourselves, beautifully distorted, and hearts of shells, like this one. Delicately constructed, yet each piece unique, each element far stronger than one could imagine, having been tossed and tumbled by waves for years while remaining unbroken. Not unlike my heart.

Shell of my Heart
Cozumel, Mexico.

Quote of the day: “Everybody needs a seashell in her bathroom to remind her the ocean is her home.” — Sue Monk Kidd

Daily gratitudes:
Attending my first caucus
New friends who are awkward kindred spirits
Lunch today with MKL
Having my toes tucked under Mr. Man
The amazing sky and light tonight

 

The discussion about how we were all so focused on saying prayers for the citizens of Parls, and yet not for the citizens of other terrorist attacks in 2015 gave me pause. I feel no less sorrow for victims of terrorist attacks in Beirut, Syria, Thailand, or yesterday’s attack in Nigeria than I feel for those in France. And I feel the pain of those who suffer ongoing terrorism in countries such as Rwanda and people such as the Yadizis. As an empath, I have had to learn how to shield myself from my own feelings about these world events, and to some extent, from stories about poignant tragedies and disasters, while at the same time immersing myself in those stories until I can comprehend them, instead of just feel them. Perhaps that doesn’t make sense, but that’s how I am.

The uproar about our world’s lack of caring for other countries suffering similar attacks made me recognize (again) how our perception is driven by the media. Had we had minute-by-minute coverage on CNN about the Beirut attack and its aftermath, swarms of reporters heading to the scene immediately, and interviews with survivors and those who lost loved ones, perhaps our own sympathies would have been equaled stirred. But that’s not what happened. That’s not what happened with the terrorist attack in Yola, Nigeria yesterday. That same kind of intense media scrutiny might have generated similar sympathies. So yes, the media partially responsible for our reaction. It’s the only way we know about what’s going on thousands of miles away. In the early 19th century, it would have taken weeks or months to learn about a tragedy within a family if one branch were far distant. I don’t doubt that people lived from birth to death without knowing about atrocities committed on other continents.

(I will say here that the media did a good job of covering the horrific attack on the school in Kenya last April, and that my spirit was heavy with pain for the victims of that tragedy.)

Paris is a city that has been much more romanticized by western civilization than Beirut, Yola, Aleppo, or Kunduz. It has been the setting for films, novels, advertisements, vacations, and dreams, much more often than other cities that have undergone the trauma of terrorism, and that is another reason that last week’s events resonated more with many than did the other acts of terror. That doesn’t make it any more or less important. It just puts it more to the forefront of our personal vision. Had I known someone that had spent time in Beirut and fallen in love with it and shared that feeling with me, I don’t doubt that I would be more attuned to the daily events there. But, unfortunately, I don’t.

I appreciate the discussion about why we as a society did not seem to care as much about the other countries that were victims of violence last week and earlier in the year, and in the years past. It has made me recognize that I want to be more aware of what’s happening in the world, of the places that need the strings of my spirit to reach out with love and support across the miles. That’s now something I am committed to doing. It doesn’t minimize my feelings of empathy for Parisians, but it does make my empathy for other countries shine.

Like many, I wish there was more I could do. I am just one person. But all of us are just individuals. If we approach each other with empathy and love, perhaps all of our feelings of compassion combined can make a difference. I hope.

Love

Lafayette, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.” — Jimi Hendrix

Daily gratitudes:
Confirmation that my pregnancy radar is still functioning (no, I”M not pregnant)
MKL
Getting things done
Heightened awareness
Talks with Kelsea who will be coming home on Tuesday!

I love the little town in which I’ve lived for over four years now. One of the things I love most about it is its support of the arts. We have a remarkable collection of public art lining our main street, as well as an “Alley Art” program, in which artists paint amazing murals on residents’ alley-facing garage doors. As I am planning on moving in with MKL (because we think a husband and wife should live together) in his town some 40 miles away, I wanted to document our small-town art so I could share it here, with a larger audience. Two weekends ago, on a gorgeous Sunday afternoon, I took a long walk and began to capture some images. I’ll let you see them as we move along in time together.

This beautiful piece is called Waiting for the Bus by artist Lucas Loeffler Child. The artist’s mother became ill with pancreatic cancer and quickly passed away just as Child was finishing the piece. He gathered a collection of little things – pennies from the year she was born and the year she died, little treasures that the two of them shared, memories – and put them in a shining circular tin, placing it inside the chest of the angel just where the heart would be. He also positioned her in the center of her bench, so that people could sit on either side of her, with one of her hands curled gently beside her, so someone could hold it for comfort. While much of our town’s art changes from year to year, our angel is permanent, sitting waiting for the bus in the shade, halo in her lap, at the end of a very long day.

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Lafayette, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “When love has fused and mingled two beings in a sacred and angelic unity, the secret of life has been discovered so far as they are concerned; they are no longer anything more than the two boundaries of the same destiny; they are no longer anything but the two wings of the same spirit. Love, soar.” — Victor Hugo

Daily gratitudes:
MKL
October thunderstorms
Comfort food after a day of pain
A solution to the mystery of The Cold War Horse
Mr. Man

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