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I don’t talk a lot about being an empath. Partly because it’s a complicated thing. It’s also a pretty private thing. And these days, it has entered into popular culture enough that it can be easily dismissed by those who don’t share this quasi-gift, and easily adopted by those who are struggling to belong, to attach a cool label to themselves, or to understand their own feelings. I don’t diminish those people and their needs, but I do not know if their experience is the same as my own….though that could be said of everyone.

This week has been an eye-opening one for me with regard to this component of myself. Being an empath is something different from being empathetic or highly sensitive, or even empathic. I’ve been led to the realization that it is not something I can ignore at times of global collective distress – or anniversaries like September 11. It took the universe dropping a heavy veil over my body and spirit for me to see that this gift, this calling, this ability to wend my way between worlds and realms, is something precious and needed. I am a path through the veil for silent acknowledgement and connection for those beyond. Being a channel, a vessel, is part of the reason for my being here, on this earth, at this time. And the divinely given art of dancing across levels of existence is something I need – and want – to practice.

I judge my own words through the eyes of others. So, to head you off at the pass, I’m not high or crazy or a hippie. I’m a wife, a mother, a sister, a friend, a cousin, an aunt, a homeowner, a writer, and I work three jobs to put my daughter through college without (fingers crossed) student loans. I’m the picture of responsibility. I pay my bills on time. I don’t wear make-up, except eyeliner as my work disguise. I don’t color and style my hair. I like jeans and yoga pants and dressing up and thrift stores. I like tuna salad sandwiches (warm, with cheddar, mustard, and hot peppers), rib-eye steaks, and butter pecan ice cream. I like Appalachian music and opera. I love flowers and mountains and especially the sea. I love to travel. I help tourists in Denver when they look lost, and like to smile at strangers, especially, these days, women in hijabs, because when they see the smile in my eyes, their eyes smile back and I can tell they feel welcome and trusted and a little bit safer. I’m not stunning, I’m not unusual. I don’t have any piercings or tattoos, because my mother drilled into me at an early age that there’s no sense in poking holes in yourself for the sake of fashion (and she was right) and the only thing I would ever like to have indelibly inked on my skin are the latitude and longitude of my favorite places on earth, perhaps as anklets or bracelets, but not now. Maybe someday, when I’m older.

If you were to see me walking from Union Station to my office in the morning, you probably wouldn’t give me a second glance. But at a glance, I can feel so much about you, and you’ll never know that. I can sometimes turn it off, but not this week. This week there were so many souls who wanted their energy and their words resurrected into the consciousness of now for just a few moments, and needed me to be a silent channel for them. And so, while it took me a few days to figure it out, I did. And we are all, for now, somewhat soothed.

Some beautiful beach, some beautiful where between worlds.

Quote of the day: “People underestimate the stars and the connectedness they bring between spirit and matter. More often than not, when lost, we seek solitude in staring into the darkness hoping something speaks back to us, usually through a feeling, a thought or a rare occurrence of a shooting star.” — Nikki Rowe

Daily gratitudes:
That my cricket has moved to the kitchen
A clean bedroom
That MKL loves me regardless
Truck stop coffee
That Kelsea called me from the grocery store, asking about spices for what I have taught her to be her “signature dish” to cook

Not only mine, but tonight, the spirit of a dear friend. Do you think that as we age, our beliefs evolve just as our bodies and minds? As a teenager, I was firmly established in my own personal concept of faith, which encompassed many non-traditional beliefs, and which indeed still does. But lately, more and more, I have turned to words from the Bible and the strength of my friends who are so very firm in their faith that it is inspiring. I feel my spiritual perspective is expanding and compressing at the same time. Perhaps it is focusing in on something that is truly endless, and I am working at coming to terms with that seeming contradiction. I find prayer and God (or use whatever term you will) in the sky and the trees and the rocks and the sea. I look up during prayer, instead of down, with open eyes as if to catch the eye of God. I am reading the Bible and Anne Lamott at the same time. I am looking, not for answers, but for a deeper understanding of purpose, action, and what we can and cannot control. Are we indeed all grains of sand on a beach that God loves, forming into shells that house our bodies, and stones that reflect the clarity of light here and now, only to transform again into air and foam and and whatever form we will take next? Do we not even have the capacity to answer these questions to our own satisfaction – and is that in itself called faith?

the-heart-of-the-stoneTopsail Beach, North Carolina.

Quote of the day: ““if you are writing the clearest, truest words you can find and doing the best you can to understand and communicate, this will shine on paper like its own little lighthouse. Lighthouses don’t go running all over an island looking for boats to save; they just stand there shining.” — Anne Lamott

Daily gratitudes:
Our own form of prayers
Mr. Man
The easing of the migraine
The cricket in my bedroom

There were many places for reflection on our quiet side of Cozumel, though I found this one both lovely and surprising. Situated at the edge of the quasi-chill bar, Rasta’s, was this lovely little … chapel? shrine?


I’m not quite sure what to call it, but inside it was cool and peaceful, with small madonnas in shrines, windows with views of the sea, and a starry map of the island painted on the ceiling. Stepping through that arch, serenity enveloped me like a warm, gentle wave. Most others were heading to the bar or the tables in the sand, so I was happy to stay in here for a few minutes on my own, and soak in stillness, hearing nothing but the ocean and a muted roar of happy voices. I spent quite some time on this trip contemplating my own spirituality, and this was a fine slice of hush.

Quote of the day: “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.” — Pierre Tielhard de Chardin

Daily gratitudes:
Moments of true forgiveness felt
Greening things
Wisdom to avoid fruitless situations that anger me
My beloved

It is a night for positive prayers and intentions:

That people and animals less fortunate than I will find a warm and caring place to survive the projected cold and our current -7 degree night

That my sweet friend at work’s family finds strength and peace in their time of approaching loss

The MKL and I can successfully accomplish our tropical sabbatical to fend off winter for just one week longer

That this cold snap is gone before we return

That Mr. Man is well looked after by his caretakers in my absence (it’s his birthday on Friday)

That I can accomplish the long list of to-dos before departure time

That my physical not-rightness improves and is healed by rest and rum

I have always found my prayers more powerful when I turn my eyes to the sky and speak to the Great Spirit as a friend. This church in the Bahamas inspired me to do that. It was lovely inside and out, and a visiting orb accompanied me during my solitary explorations there.


Georgetown, Great Exuma, Bahamas.

Quote of the day: “Prayer is a relationship; half the job is mine. If I want transformation, but can’t even be bothered to articulate what, exactly, I’m aiming for, how will it ever occur? Half the benefit of prayer is in the asking itself, in the offering of a clearly posed and well-considered intention. If you don’t have this, all your pleas and desires are boneless, floppy, inert; they swirl at your feet in a cold fog and never lift.” — Elizabeth Gilbert

Daily gratitudes:
Straight roads and green lights
Loving my daughter
Feeling blessed by my relationship with my parents (and missing them daily)
A warm nightgown and bedsocks
The kindness of strangers, experienced twice today

Wyncie Bouge was 3 years old and had a smile that could light up the world. I did not know her. She died yesterday.

Wyncie, her mother Megan, her grandmother Janice, and her two-week old brother Emmett, were in a head-0n collision on a road in Springfield, Tennessee last Monday night, on their way back from dinner. The driver of the other car, who died in the collision, crossed over three lanes of a four-lane highway to hit their car. Janice died that night as well. Emmett had a broken leg. Megan has many broken bones, but she will recover. Somehow. In some ways. But her life, and her husband Brandon’s, will never be the same. Megan has lost her mother.  I know that pain. And now Megan has lost her daughter. That is a pain I hope never to know.

Thousands of people from all over the world were praying for Wyncie’s recovery. I was stirred. I was moved. I was praying for a miracle. I felt the sense of spiritual connection with all these people in a shared prayer. I truly believed that Wyncie’s recovery was possible.

And she died.

I am, and always have been, a spiritual person. Non-traditional beliefs have been a part of my make-up for as long as I can recall. Reincarnation. God as a spirit of the universe, more than as a Divine Father. This is the first time that I had felt the pull of God as a divinity that can perform miracles. Now, I am disillusioned in that idea.

I know that people say that God has a plan, and that there was a purpose in this. Really? What? What is the purpose in a joyous, beautiful little child dying a senseless death? I can accept that she brought joy and light into the lives of the people she touched in her short time here. But that more confirms my faith in my own non-traditional beliefs than in the Christianity that I felt myself touched by during this past week.

The whole premise of faith is belief in things that cannot be seen and cannot be understood. Some will say that this kind of tragedy is sent to test our faith in God, and that this sort of miracle does not always happen because God in His wisdom is meant to remain a mystery to us. But that doesn’t feel like a loving spirit to me, and I believe the spirit of God is love. I believe that part of our purpose here on this earth is achieve an understanding of God, of that spirit of divinity, and to reflect it in our actions towards others.

I continue to pray to the Great Spirit, God, whatever name you chose, to bring peace and comfort and strength to Megan, Brandon, Emmett, Wyncie, and all their friends and family. Even if it doesn’t make sense. Because I know that Wyncie, in her little joyous soul, would want them to be happy.

But I will never understand.


Today’s guest poet: Tyler J. Yoder

(This is a stanza of a much longer work by this gifted poet/writer. He currently aspires to publish his first volume of work, so please share your thoughts and comments about this piece. I’m sure he’d appreciate any and all encouragement, and I truly think his work deserves a broad audience.  I’m thrilled that he’s joining the list of luminous poets whose works have been featured on The Weekly Wednesday Poem.)

V.  Prophets

Tell me how the prophets were
When they were young men –
Did they lust, and drink, and fight,
Get dirty, now and then?
Did they jump to join the brawl
To settle brother’s score?
Did loyalty, fidelity,
Surge from every pore?
Did honour grow like cock’s comb
As on sons of gods of war?

Tell me what the Prophets did
When they were young men –
Were they brash and bold and brave
And cocky, now and then?
Were barefoot runs up craggy trails
A commonplace event?
Were evenings spent in shady bars?
Were their youths misspent?
Were brothers pushed to dare and dream
And let the blood ferment?

Tell me how the Prophets lived
When they were young men –
How could later holy work
Compete with youthful sin?
How to fold in animal,
Whose influence was banned?
How faces flick with scars and smiles
When caged in Promised Land!
How did they hide from history
All that made them Man?

You’ve probably gathered that I’m not a traditional religious sort of person. I’m spiritual –  I might fall into the pagan category, but certainly not in the purest sense of the word. So when I decided to observe Lent, my friends and loved ones said, “Huh? Why would you do something like that? You’re not Catholic.”

As it turns out, Lent is not the exclusive property of Catholicism. Also known as Quadragesima, it  is observed by Lutherans, Methodists, Anglicans, and Presbyterians. As you may notice, pagans are not included in this list, but I did go to the Presbyterian church when one of my grandmothers took me to whatever church they could.

Regardless, I decided to observe Lent as a test of my self-discipline, which I have struggled with for some time. I’m not being all crazy about it, but I am giving up something that tempts me – and that something is sweet stuff.

Yes, dessert (and snacky sweets) has gone off into the desert of my past for the 40 days of penitence. I have no real devout aspirations – I just want to see if I can do it. It’s been almost a week tomorrow and I have been tempted sorely by fruit tarts, brownies, home-baked cookies, numerous pies, and luscious chocolate bars.  And I am pleased to say that, while tempted, I have resisted.

The whole thing is good for my diet, good for my teeth, good for my temperament, and good for my spirit. In fact, I’m finding it somewhat of a relief to have this self-imposed moratorium on these things. I know I have a tendency to indulge, and to eat emotionally, and sweets are one of those things that I turn to in times of stress, boredom, and depression. With this personal pledge, I don’t have to worry about it. And it’s helping me be more proactive with healthier eating in general –  for example, today was Meatless Monday.

I think the main thing for me, aside from the health benefits, is proving to myself that I can stick with something I’m not keen on doing for 40 days. I believe this entire experience will go a long way towards furthering my faith in myself, and my ability to meet challenges, even when they’re not fun or easy (if it’s fun and easy, is it really a challenge?) So I guess in many ways, the whole thing is about having faith.

That’s pretty cool, isn’t it?

I woke at 1:30 this morning.  The moon was so bright that it was casting huge shadows across my bed. 

For those of you who remember my post about which side of the bed you sleep on, you’ll be interested to know that I’m branching out.  Maybe because my hot flashes are playing like a baby at night.  My bed has grown extra pillows somehow, and when I’m too hot, I find myself throwing off the covers, flinging myself sideways, and using the multitude of pillows as surrogate blankets.  I’m strangely padded by cool sheets and pillowcases until I get too cold, then rearrange myself in a more normal and customary position.

Last night though, when I awoke, I wasn’t unhappy about it – I was just awake.  I sat cross-legged on the bed for a while, letting the shadows play across my skin.  I even tried to take pictures, but I doubt they came out.  It was magical – just me and the moon.  Moonlight must be good for you, just as sunlight is, but in a different way.  It provides you with “yin” energy, which increases serenity and sensitivity.  Unfortunately, it doesn’t spur you too much action.  Which kind of makes sense, since after all, it IS the middle of the night and you ARE supposed to be sleeping.

Of course, Urban Dictionary also defines a moonbath as “farting under the full moon”.  That rather takes some of the bloom off the rose.

I think I’ll stick with my original definition.

I can’t remember if I’ve written about my favorite astrologer before – I think I tried to, and every time I tried to link to his website, my computer would crash.  Wierd.  But I’m going to try again tonight.

I’m not generally a big fan of astrology.  It’s mostly just amusing.  I know that in the days of yore (like the 17th century), astrologers often doubled as physicians or apothecaries, and used their astrological casting skills to predict the health and gender of unborn children, the outcome of serious illness, and a wide variety of other turns of fortune.  It’s small wonder that they were considered quacks by educated lords, while being honored and respected by the lower classes.

E-Bro went through a long period of doing astrological charts for people (me included).  He cast Kelsea’s chart shortly after she was born – I wish I still had the details, and no doubt I do somewhere, as I don’t recall much about it, but the things I do remember seem to be uncannily accurate, even if they weren’t quite the things that I wanted for her in a perfect world.  But they are exactly and perfectly her.

As for me, I idly toyed with “Linda Goodman’s Sun Signs” at the peak of its popularity (in my teens).  But I’ve never been one to put too much stock in the stars, at least not in the astrological sense.  However…

Some years ago, somehow, I discovered Rob Brezsny’s Free Will Astrology.  He seems to reach and touch and channel someplace up and away that speaks to me.  He’s so on track in his astrological parables and down-to-the-clouds advice that it’s spooky.  He’s also written a book that seems to be along the lines of’s Notes From the Universe.

Even if you’re the world’s biggest skeptic, I encourage you to check him out at  As a little peek for my fellow Cancerians, here’s our horoscope for this week:

“In her essay “The Possible Human,” Jean Houston describes amazing capacities that are within reach of any of us who are brazen and cagey enough to cultivate them. We can learn to thoroughly enjoy being in our bodies, for example. We can summon enormous power to heal ourselves; develop an acute memory; enter at will into the alpha and theta wave states that encourage meditation and creative reverie; cultivate an acute perceptual apparatus that can see “infinity in a grain of sand and heaven in a wild flower;” and practice the art of being deeply empathetic. Guess what, Cancerian: The next six months will be one of the best times ever for you to work on developing these superpowers. To get started, answer this question: Is there any attitude or belief you have that might be standing in the way?”

I’m off to to order both “The Possible Human” and Rob’s “Pronoia Is the Antidote for Paranoia: How the Whole World is Conspiring to Shower You with Blessings.”  Self-help city, here I come.

I awoke this morning after my usual complicated, half-frightening, half-supernatural, all-meaningful dreams, thinking about threes.  I don’t know why.  Maybe it’s because I finished Dan Brown’s Angels and Demons last night, with all its scientific/religious intersectional themes.

Aside from thinking about the classic Holy Trinity of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit (or ” the Holy Spigot”, as claimed by Rowen Atkinson in his short but sweet role in “Four Weddings and A Funeral”), I was thinking about the concept of love – true love – being something that is mind, body and soul.

Love can start in different ways.  It can start as friendship.  It can start as passion.  It can start as a sense of partnership.  It can start as a vibrant energetic connection.  Or it can start as some combination of the above.  In order for it to succeed and strengthen, the three core elements – mind, body and soul – must all be allowed to bloom.  And not just between two people but within each of those two people.

If you are mentally compatible with someone, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you share the same level of intelligence or education.  It does mean that you are eager to expand your thinking to consider ideas or ways of life or activities that you might not have considered before.  You are willing to be open-minded and non-judgemental of how you – or your potential partner – experience life.  And you are willing to involve your partner in your life and become involved with theirs.

If you are physically compatible, well, it’s an amazing thing.  You can have a successful love relationship without intense physical passion – you can be perfectly fine with average physical passion and attraction.  But when you do have the intense body connection, it can transcend the physical and touch the spiritual.  Due to our nearly-inborn Christian conservatism which we all want to deny, we can think that having an intense physical relationship is “bad”. We can place put on our shame-colored glasses and imagine that we should not be in such a relationship, because if it is that good, clearly that’s all there is to it, and that makes it wrong.  Not so.  An intense physical connection is just a part of the trinity, and something that should be nurtured, cherished and honored.

If you are spiritually compatible, you find yourself expanding in unexpected ways.  Your life is full of minor epiphanies about yourself, about the universe, about each other.  You each fuel the flame of spirit that burns within the other – and the result, while sometimes confusing, is ultimately most joyful.  While I don’t think any element of the “Love Trinity” is more important than another, the spiritual element is the most rare and the most frightening.  It takes courage and strength to confront yourself daily.  When the cares of life are overwhelming, the unclouding of the soul can feel like it is simply too much to manage.  It is easier to find a relationship where you can be less (or be the same) than stick with one that makes you grow.  At least then you have the illusion of peace.  Ah, but what you miss.

Back in college, I had a therapist who said that when you were choosing to be with someone, you needed to be sure that your head, your heart and your crotch were all aligned.  I’ve never forgotten that.  I’ve certainly gone with the “two out of three ain’t bad” approach once in a while.  But for a life partner?  Nope.

I will not compromise the mind-body-soul trinity again.  And I feel sorry for those who do.

I know what can be.  I know what I have to offer.  And I know what I’m worth.  I believe there’s a saying that good things come in threes. (I know there’s also a saying that disasters come in threes, but we’ll put that aside for the purposes of this post.  I believe in the power of good.) 

I am a good thing.

October 2016
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