Childhood Memories/The Leap

I remember being a young child, maybe nine or ten,

and I was at some sleep away camp, and there was this lake for swimming.

We all ran down to this cliff-like area,

and the kids all started diving and jumping off this cliff,

that probably wasn’t nearly as terrifyingly far away,

as steep a fall, as I remember it being.

It seemed a thousand-foot drop to me,

in my memory it was miles long, I was terrified.

Many of the kids were older and bigger than me,

and certainly more well-seasoned in life,

and likely every single one a better swimmer than me.

Which isn’t saying much.

One by one they ran up to the edge, and kids in the lake

and on the cliff were all shouting as they each, in turn, jumped.

The line moved, pushing me along and before I knew it,

My turn was up. I was there, standing on the edge.

Everyone shouted, people behind me,

anxious and excited for their turn,

and those down in the water. All looking, all shouting.

All eyes on me.

I heard someone say, “Come on, everyone is doing it,

there’s nothing to be afraid of!

It’s fun! Just jump!”

So, I took a deep breath (which I had time to release,

then take again on the way down).

So, so far down.

I saw the water coming closer and closer to me

and made it a point to gasp in a lungful of breath

just before hitting the water.

The impact knocked the air out of me

and I just went down and down.

I wanted to gulp in air, but there was nothing but water,

endless water.

Finally, I stopped going down and began to rise.

I kicked and crawled and kicked some more,

trying my best to keep panic at bay.

“Everyone’s doing it! It’s fun!”

But it was all pure panic

and anxiety to me.

Finally, my head broke the water

and I shot up, gasping for air,

amazed that I was still alive. I coughed,

I choked, then began to make my way over to the ladder.

I dog-paddled to the ladder to climb back up, and this ladder was so

Intensely straight up and tall and it felt like

Trying to climb all the way to heaven.

But I remember for one fleeting second, when my head broke the water,

there was this voice.

It said, “You did it! You did something you were scared to do,

something you’ve never done before.”

It was so fleeting, and so buried over with sheer panic

and deep breaths. But it was there.

Later, and at many times throughout my life, I’ve thought,

“What the hell was I thinking?! That was too steep,

too far for someone like me

with my very limited swimming skill.”

If it hadn’t been for being swept up with the crowd,

If anyone, any one at all, had bothered to ask me

If I wanted to jump

I’d have said, “No way, I don’t swim very well.”

I would never have been interested in doing it.

But I’d been swept away in the moment.

I hadn’t been given the chance to really think it through.

I remember this moment so frequently.

I remember, I did it, and I didn’t die.

It was one of the scariest moments of my childhood, and

I did it. If I’d thought about it, at all,

I never, ever would’ve made the leap.

I over-think. Always. It’s in my DNA.

But oh, that feeling.

Coming up out of the water. Cheers and applause.

I jumped. I did it.

I didn’t die.

I try and remind myself, sometimes I need to stop over-thinking,

and just take that damned step.


My Particular Kind of Crazy


I believe there is a love greater than we have ever known, and we have shut it down and contained it within our boxes and labels, we have dulled it and made it irrelevant.

I believe that in all of my life, the only unconditional love I’ve ever known has come from my mother and my husband. I hope my children give me this, I believe they do, even when they don’t get me. (That’s the thing about family, we love always. If only we saw everyone as the family they are.) I never saw it in church (from people). Conditional love, yes, but never the true “AGAPE” love that is so frequently talked about. By and large, we’ve become afraid of real love and intimacy, because of our pain and trust issues. We’ve all been guilty of focusing on our differences, rather than our similarities. There are a few friends who I believe have it down, if I’m to be fair. But it is so rare.

I believe we put each other down in order to make ourselves feel better, because we as individuals, can never admit we might be wrong about something, that we may still yet have something to learn from another’s point of view.

I believe that each of us are beyond beautiful in our own unique ways.

I believe we will ultimately destroy ourselves with closed-mindedness and hate.

I believe there is a large percentage of people in this world who will go to their graves never experiencing “digging deep,” never being who they were created to be, (and this primarily out of fear; fear of being different, of being judged, of failure, of success, and all manner of fears and anxieties). Most people go through life “asleep” to all we were created to be, and how we were created to love.

I believe in reasonable taxes but also, taking care of each other and being one another’s keeper.

I believe in holding people accountable for crime, while at the same time, getting people the help they need to get better and be better.

I believe that all life is precious but also that no-one has the right to judge another’s choices in moments of desperation.

I believe that—given the right set of circumstance—all of us are capable of anything. (Just try hurting one of my family members around me and see if I don’t become a deadly tiger.) “There but by the grace of God, go I” should be more of a mantra. We don’t know people’s lives and experiences, and yet are so quick to judge and label.

I believe that when you claim to love someone you always, ALWAYS, give them the benefit of the doubt, and grace beyond measure, but you never allow yourself to be an enabler or a doormat.

I believe forgiveness sets you free, whether it does any good to the person you’re forgiving or not.

I believe that churches and non-profits should do better at taking care of people, rather than building bigger buildings or softer pews or printing more colorful pamphlets. People can live without a church that has a full band and a coffee house, but people can’t live without food and water and shelter. Without love and human contact and understanding.

I believe that dancing, laughing, and music are three of the biggest gifts we’ve ever been given.

I believe every human on planet earth can do better, be better, when it comes to trying to understand one another and love each other. If only we listened with an ear towards understanding rather than arguing our agendas.

If these things make me crazy, so be it. I’ll continue to be my particular kind of crazy.






She Sings (An Elderly Woman’s Tale)

Aged and aging, sitting on the porch,

reminiscing about her life, she rocks. She sings.


She’s given birth seven times, two died and five thrived,

grew to be parents themselves.

Hard times have come and gone and with each she learned, she grew.

Now she waits for the kids and grandkids to come and visit

and at times the waiting seems like an eternity, so she waits, she rocks, and she sings.


She remembers a time when her oldest son wouldn’t let her out of his sight

and she chuckles at the memory. She thought he’d never learn to be apart

from her and now all these years later, he’s learned the lesson all too well.

Busy with his own life, conquering industry and the world,

raising his own little ones, and doing an admirable job of it.

A tear slides down her cheek, a tear of pride and pain at the same time.


The second son is in prison, twenty years or more yet to go

and she knows she likely will never lay eyes on him again.

He was the sensitive child, always unhappy,

always in the midst of storms, almost always made by himself.

Troubled, that’s what they called him. A troubled child.

Not strong enough for taking the high roads in life,

but more comfortable on the low roads amongst the

crooks and druggies. Made him feel superior maybe,

or maybe just accepted. He wanted to fit in somewhere,

and now he does.


Another tear escapes.


The only daughter comes to mind,

now on her third marriage,

a child that lives with her father.

She was the little princess.

Tried to protect her, to show her the way,

and in the end, she just wanted love

and looked for it in all the wrong places.

But a good woman, just the same,

has a good heart.

Works at the diner in town, sixty plus hours a week

and wouldn’t have it any other way.

Maybe works herself into exhaustion so she doesn’t have to think

about the mistakes she’s made in her life,

doesn’t have to think about the days

when she drank heavily and lost custody of her only child.

Such a sad life, yet, she’s trying.

She’s pressing on and there’s something to that.

No matter what, there’s something to that.


The two youngest boys are living outside of town,

sharing a rental house together,

going to school and working, carving out lives for themselves.

Only a year apart, they are the tightest of the siblings

and genuinely seem to look out for each other,

and that makes the old lady happy, truly warms her heart.


She muses, she remembers, she rocks, she sings.


As her heart fills with love and gratitude,

she grows tired. Soon the chair stills as the sun goes down.

The creaking of the chair stops, her head falls forward.


In heaven, she appears on a white rocking chair,

she jerks awake. Lifts her head, opens her eyes.

Tears flow down,


and she rocks and she sings.

Or Else

Sometimes I think we are here simply for someone’s amusement.

Ants under the glass, birds in a cage, mice in a maze.

It feels like we’re being tested, constantly tested.

How will I respond to this pressure or that problem?

Will I throw in the towel, give in to depression?

Will I grow bitter and bent like a dying tree?

Or rise from the ashes to conquer life again?


When we zoom out and see our world as the blue marble it is

It offers a different perspective.

We’re small, so very tiny and unimportant, or so it seems.

Life, grass, fish, animals, sky, oceans, all connected

Yet we are the species that kills and not for food or survival

But out of some twisted brokenness, some irreparable damage?

Who are we and why are we here?


Religions, churches, built to house the seeking and the faithful

And yes, the broken, for we are all this… broken;

Part of a species striving for survival, trying to comprehend human-ness,

Unknowable, unlivable life

Just too difficult for many to live.

Yet hope remains, enough to keep at least most of us from

Taking our own life, taking matters into our own hands.


Nations and rulers continue to threaten and boast

Attempting to force the other to conform or else.

Be our religion, worship our god, or else.

Leave us alone or else,

Stop enslaving and destroying the innocent or else,

Do what I say or else.

Someone always waiting to bring the hammer down.


We watch way too much, know way too much in the information age.

I now know more than I ever truly wanted to know about the nature of man,

The all-consuming self-destructive nature of man;

Always judging, fault-finding, accusing, trying to change the other guy

In our homes as well as in our world.

Whoever you are, you’re wrong; be more like me, like us,

Or Else.


What if we stopped doing that and evolved?

What if we started every conversation from a stand point

Of wonder and awe and love and acceptance?

What if we saw ourselves as the blue marble miraculously

Balanced in the skies?

What if we acknowledged the miracle of our existence;

The wonder and beauty of existing at all?


I’m the first to say I don’t understand.

I don’t know what God is up to,

Why all this happened, what it’s all about.

And yes, I’ve heard hundreds of people tell me

Their version of belief, their reality, their belief system.

The scriptures as explained by many millions and no two

Even agree on what they say and why, not really,

Not in the end.


So, it’s up to me to figure it out, for me.

What do I believe? What’s it all about?

I’ve got to learn to live with unanswered questions,

Because I believe nobody here can truly tell me, not really,

And I’ve got to figure out how to live on this rock

Not knowing, not fully understanding, I’ve got to be okay with that;

I’ve got to, or else.


Or else all hope is gone and I won’t live like that.

I won’t live a hopeless life.

Hope in my Creator not to abandon us entirely,

Hope for change, for life, for love.

I have to hope that things can get better

Because why else would we be here

If not to try to bring about positive change?


And change never comes unless one person says;

It starts with me, right here, right now.

I’ll change me with divine help, I’ll determine to love more,

Hate less, judge less, reach people more…


Love More.

We have to, we really do, or else.

Why I Left the Traditional Church (and why I use the term “speak your truth”)

Once again, I have seen on social media, people bashing the term “speak my truth” and this primarily from the far right and the traditional church. And aimed primarily towards Oprah. I want to write about the term “speak my truth” and the reasons I, personally, use the term and always will, and what that means to me, and why I left the traditional church.

I have “ranted” before about people perpetrating spiritual judgment on others, because when I see and hear this kind of thing, it goes all over me, irritates my spirit, my soul, and my very cells. So here I am a writer… what’s a girl to do? Sometimes I MUST write about it.

Let me say, I’ve been where you are. If you are in a traditional bible-based denominational church, you call yourself a Christian, I have been there and was there for most of my life. I don’t –in any way—believe that I am now better than anyone (ANYone in any religion or faith) so please hear me when I say that. I see my spiritual path as a spiral, not a staircase, I am not looking you in the face and saying “I’m steps above you” but I can and will say that I have chased God since I was five and I know as well as I know my name, that wherever I am is exactly where God brought me to. Others don’t get it, that’s okay.

Deep in my inner spirit and soul there began to be things that really didn’t fit for me, didn’t make sense. I would have “catches” in my spirit, something that said, “Whoa! That’s not right! That can’t be right!” and I finally began to listen to those things deep down, and I began to seek truth, only with my hand in my Creator’s hand, and I stopped listening to other’s perspectives.

I am a person who likes to live my life in total integrity. That does not mean that I am perfect, far from it, but if what the church is saying is something I find deep down I cannot align myself with, in integrity, then I cannot align myself with it anymore. I know this sounds like a “rigid” stance, but for me, (this is MY truth) it is the only way I can exist on this planet; to do what I believe I know deep down is right in as much integrity as possible, not compromising who or what I am or what I believe, not aligning myself with what is oftentimes hypocritical, broken, and nonsensical rules, laws, dogma, and behavior.

There’s a LOT of good in the church, and I recognize that the people in it are only human, I do get that. It often provides a community that many of us will never find outside of a church building. A community of like-minded people who will bring you food when you’re sick and serve you, love you, and take care of you. I know there is a lot of good there, and certainly a lot of good intention. I do not and will not judge someone harshly because they go to church or have a particular kind of faith. This, to me, is the highest form of spiritual judgment, to look at another human and say “I am right and you are wrong and you’re just being stupid.” To me, this attitude is immature, narrow-minded and hateful. Unfortunately, it is also an attitude I run across A LOT. If ever humans will be judged harshly by God, my belief, my truth, is that He will certainly judge the harshest, those who do this to their fellow man, rather than loving them. That is my truth. (See what I did there??)

When I say (or anyone says) “This is my truth,” what they are saying is actually something along the lines of “I have had a set of experiences and lessons in my life that is different than yours, I am different than you, THIS is what I have learned and know to be true,” and I think we HAVE to stop judging that. You don’t have to believe them, agree with them, or adopt their truth as yours, but I do think we are at a critical stage in humanity on this earth where it is more important than ever before, to focus on love rather than judgment. Judgment never “saved” anyone. It never changed anyone’s mind or talked anyone into or out of any core belief system, nor should it.

One of my “truths” (a powerful, life-altering thing for me) was learning and understanding that who I am and what I believe is truly between me and my Creator and is nothing to do with you. I don’t and won’t negotiate my spirituality or core beliefs with you (and I understand if you won’t either.) Nobody should. A spiritual journey is something each of us is on, ultimately, alone. God guides us where He will to teach us what WE need to learn, not what someone else needs to learn, in that precise moment in your life. What He is teaching me now is likely not the same thing He’s teaching you, in this moment in time.

This is my truth, my journey. You don’t get it? Good for you, God bless. But you better not get in my face about it—full of hate and judgment, because I WILL push back against that. I will stand up for myself and what I believe. Why? Well, because I must. I am not a follower of other people. I follow my God and integrity in all areas. I chase love, forgiveness, healing, joy, peace, and so many things. But I do not and will never again require anyone else’s stamp of approval on my life, not in any area.

Do I sound angry? Sometimes I am. I get very angry when I see people hurting and judging one another, hating instead of loving, isolating ourselves instead of being inclusive around those who do not believe the same. It hurts me and it angers me and I will always use any platform I may have to SPEAK MY TRUTH.





Letter from Him

A Short Story

It arrived on a Thursday afternoon. I’d been drinking my afternoon cup of tea when I heard the sound of the mailbox closing; the whine, the clink.

  Eventually I made my way down the hill, slowly, in no rush to see the plethora of bills and ads that no doubt awaited me. I carefully shuffled back up the hill, the post in a bunch under my arm, putting off looking through it all for as long as possible.

   In through the door, then locked it behind me. I plopped the pile on the kitchen table and sat in front of it. Drained the last of my tea.

   I flipped through two ads for loans, one for cleaning the gutters. Created a trash pile off to the side. Then an envelope caught my eye.

   Something in the back of my brain told me I recognized the handwriting but I couldn’t place it. I tore into the lavender envelope. It was a card. A letter fell out onto my lap.

   The card said something about “Thinking of You” but it barely registered. I saw the scrawled name at the bottom of the card. I picked up the letter. It had been three years or more since I’d even allowed myself to think of him.  Much longer since we’d spoken on the phone. It hadn’t ended well between us, not at all. I was shocked that he had written.

Our daughter was what they called “gifted” with a much higher than average IQ.  She was on track to get a high school diploma by the age of eleven. She never made it.

   One rainy night a drunk driver ran a red light and crashed through our car. He, my husband and I, we were banged and bruised, but she—she had been trapped in the car.

   I remember laying with my face on the pavement, staring at her, crying… she upside-down and immobilized, me—just trying to stay close, to reassure her. But—smart as she was—she knew and accepted it before we did. She knew she was on her way out.

   “I’m sorry, Momma. I had things to do. There were things I wanted to say,” she said, matter-of-factly, her blue eyes burrowing into mine.

   “I know, Sweetie! Hold on! You will say them one day!” I was not ready to let go.

   “No, I have stories to tell. I have books and poetry to write, inventions to invent,” she said, then sighed. “I’m not ready. Why do I have to go?” she asked, and the last shred of my heart shattered.

 A month after we buried her, he had left. My husband, he couldn’t take it. I tried to tell him about my pain, but his was too great. He fell into a bottle and as far as I knew, he’d never come out of it.

   Now this.

   I began to read his letter.

   He told me of the darkest days, the days that blurred together, a fog of booze and tears. He spoke of the great guilt he carried; guilt that he had been at the wheel, though very sober and not at all at fault, he still felt he should’ve been able to prevent the accident. The guilt he also carried that he had not been there for me when I needed him.

   They were all things I’d wanted to hear so badly at the time, but now… it just felt like too little, too late. My heart had died the night our child did, and I had nothing left to give him, not even my forgiveness.

   He wanted me to speak words of encouragement to him, to tell him everything would be okay, but I couldn’t speak the words. In fact, I dropped the letter into the trash bin, only partially read.

   For the life of me, I couldn’t understand it, I could not fathom why a child should have to die, then the bitter irony of my husband becoming a drunk afterwards, it was just too much. Life had become too much.

   I had managed to get a new job, one working from home, doing data entry. Within a year, I rarely left the house. My friends had all fallen away. A few tried for weeks, maybe months, to reach me, but eventually they grew tired of me telling them to go away and leave me alone… they finally did.

   I lived like a zombie, a ghost.  Wake up, have coffee, take a shower. Work. Lunch. Work. TV. Bed. I talked to people as infrequently as I possibly could. Most of what I needed to survive was delivered to my door, ordered online. I only ever saw the sun on my walks to and from the mailbox each afternoon. The sun was an affront to me, how dare it shine when everything in me was rain?

   It’s funny how life goes on, the world still turns, after a tragedy. The ant-farm of life still buzzing away like normal, like everything was just as it should be, like… like… my pain, my loss, didn’t matter, didn’t compute. Not part of the Matrix.

 After a few moments pondering, I went and grabbed the letter out of the trash bin. I wiped the few coffee grounds off of it that had stained the pages, and I folded it neatly. I put it in my desk drawer.

   I couldn’t read the rest of it today, not this day. But one day, I would read it. I would finish it. I’d call him and tell him how much I loved and missed him, and that, for what it was worth, I forgave him.

   Maybe one day, but not today. One day, I’d open the blinds, prop open the door, let the sun back in. One day I’d go out to the store to make my purchases, to a coffee shop and have a cup of coffee in public, smile at a stranger.

   One day I’d compartmentalize my pain, put away my grief.

   One day I’d finish the letter from him.





This Is Love (Gold & Blue)



An aura of gold and blue

Surrounds them

For they have been one with the other

His and hers

Hers and his

And the light, the aura



Occupying the same narrow space

For hours at a time

His ocean to her shore

Ever wanting more

Never needing to flow back outward

And it’s blue and it’s gold

And it’s nameless thousands of other colors



His hand upon her is electric

Tracing the lights and color

Creating the aura

And she is his


Until at last they, with slower breath, sleep

Wrapped up together

His arms like mist

Lost in her hair

And everywhere

And they know nothing

Except each other


And it lasts as long as it lasts

For love knows no timetable

No schedule to meet

No clock to watch


And the seasons follow

Glide and slide

Over the tunnel of time

And it changes

They change

But insist on flowing still

Into one another

And creating the blue and the gold


The aura

His ocean to her shore

They meet again

And again


This is love