I’ve heard it everywhere lately.
From participants in a recent retreat, clients, to friends and family I’ve heard versions of the following:
“It seems like the world is on fire!”
“ Why are people saying and doing the unthinkable?”
“ What the hell is going on?”
“Sometimes I’m afraid to even leave the house…”
I understand how they feel.
The wars, political rhetoric, gun violence and devastating environmental concerns are just a few of the challenges we all face. And when I search my own heart for answers, I know this for sure:
So what can we do?
I suggest we follow the example of the courageous souls I’ve seen who choose to center on love.
It’s important to note, these souls are not in denial of what’s going on. They...
I drove into town recently on a Sunday afternoon, enjoying the scenery when something caught my eye. On this rural road, perched high atop a tree was a magnificent bald eagle.
It was a true “WOW!” moment.
I’m one who believes God is always sending us signs, so I quickly realized this eagle sighting was a personal message for me!
Back at home, I searched for the spiritual meaning of bald eagles (of course I did) and found many interesting opinions. None resonated.
Then I happened upon a quote from the philosopher and author Matshona Dhliwayo:
“The eagle only knows how high it can fly when it spreads its wings.”
I got the message.
And I understood it.
I realize I’ve been hesitating on a few projects that I’m not only committed to, but am passionate about.
I’ve let other tasks get in the way of my progress. But why? Fear? Life distractions? Was I just lazy?
I’ve identified the culprit.
Not always, but often, I realize I’ve...
The photo above is me and my husband Joe, taken in one of our local parks last year.
Like most couples who’ve been together over 22 years, we’ve had our share of laughter and tears. It’s all part of marriage.
Recently Joe scheduled two cataract surgeries within nine days. I was concerned.
In my experience, Joe isn’t the best patient.
He’ll tell you he isn’t a patient man. He doesn’t like thinking he’s not in control of things. And he REALLY doesn’t like to be told “no.” Like “no driving for a few days” or “no exceptions to the multiple eye drops per day for the next five weeks.”
As we started this surgery process, I noticed something.
Joe was much more agreeable than normal. While he was a bit nervous, he was excited about the possibility of improved vision.
It was me who had the issue.
I had multiple scenarios playing in my head during the days leading up to the first surgery and the...
I hear some of my friends and clients talk about “leaving a legacy.” Some make generous donations to beloved charities, help build schools in Africa, or create a financial trust for family members.
Many of my author friends are proud of the books they’ve written while others have spent countless hours producing video content in the hope it helps others shift their lives in positive ways. They love to talk about the legacy of their work.
Then there’s Ms. Carol.
I attended the funeral of Ms. Carol over the weekend. At 86, her already small frame had shrunk in the last few years as her ready smile and sparkling eyes also began to fade. Although her death wasn’t a shock to her loved ones, we all felt the sting.
As I walked into the brightly lit sanctuary of the funeral home, I saw Carol’s legacy.
It was evident on the stoic faces of her sons who stood tall, hugging friends and relatives as they arrived. And on the tear-stained faces of the adult...
We’re a week away from elections here in the United States and…I’m tired. Really. Tired.
I’m tired of hearing what people are against.
It’s hard to turn on TV, listen to the radio or check out YouTube without hearing advertising from candidates that basically say the same thing:
“The other candidate is wrong / evil / destructive / Satanic.
Save yourself and your family - vote for me!”
Now I don’t claim to have seen EVERY ad or candidate interview across the country, but I’ve seen quite a few. Many candidates I’ve seen whether running for local community posts, gubernatorial or federal elected offices campaign on fear. Period.
We’re told to fear rising prices, another pandemic, crime waves, and, of course, the “other guy.” Who is the “other guy?” Depending on who you’re talking to, it’s you.
I don’t pretend to be a politician or any type of political analyst. As an independent...
What does it mean to live a BIG life? What constitutes a small life?
The answer is entirely up to you…and the way you choose to think about it.
You don’t need to take lavish vacations, spend time in Vegas or pal around with international celebrities to enjoy a big life. You need only go within and get curious:
How could I be enjoying my life more right now?
What activities bring me pleasure and satisfaction?
Who do I love being around?
What sparks joy in my heart?
What do I love to learn about?
What do I love to share with others?
What makes me feel alive?
As the leaves shift from summer greens to the hues of autumn here in Virginia, it serves as a gentle reminder of the passing of time. As I embrace this season of my life, I recall a famous quote from American poet Mary Oliver:
“What is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”
Am I content to live a small, limited life? What’s tugging at my heart right now? How is my soul calling me to...
I wish it was easy for me to choose love in every life situation. It’s not. Sometimes I want to avoid a difficult conversation or pretend I don’t get scared when I hear disturbing news. Even with a consistent spiritual practice, I can still get triggered by a harsh comment, chaotic world event or when faced with a difficult decision.
After practicing degrees of avoidance, dodging, pretending and the occasional “forgetting” for decades, I’ve remembered the truth. All these tactics are simply an ego dance that keep me feeling constrained, stressed, uncomfortable and in conflict.
The truth is equally simple.
Every time I go within and ask Love for guidance on a specific issue or ask for help to react from love instead of fear, something miraculous happens.
There’s a shift.
Sometimes subtle, sometimes more pronounced but a definite shift to a feeling of peace. The shift is physical, mental, and emotional. My shoulders relax, the knot in my stomach...
This past weekend, a true leader was honored in my town on his 100th birthday.
Rev. John R. Winter (known as “Rev. Dick Winter”) was surprised with a community celebration by the Warrenton Volunteer Fire Company at the fire house. Rev. Winter was the minister for the Warrenton Presbyterian Church from 1953 until his retirement in 1987. He baptized me as a child then my own daughter thirty years later.
He was in the Rotary Club with my dad and sat next to each of my parents’ hospital beds countless times over the decades. He did all the things a good minister does. He preached the gospel, taught Bible classes, officiated at weddings, baptisms, funerals, enjoyed church picnics, potlucks, and coffee hours, comforted the sick and offered counseling, kindness, and encouragement to all. But there was more.
Before we all had instant access to local news, he seemed to know where to go to offer support, comfort, and compassion in the community at large. He...
I used to know exactly what the “right thing” was. In my younger years, and in most every situation, I had my opinion and felt strongly it was the “right” one.
Then I lived a few more decades and got a tad wiser. Not a Yoda by any means, but I gained the type of insight that comes from living life and through societal changes.
When I was a very young girl, the “right” thing was to send children to specific schools based on their race alone. As I grew into a teenager and young adult, I was led to believe the “right” thing was to pay women a lower wage than their male colleagues doing the same job. Well into my adulthood, the “right” thing was to only recognize legal marriage between heterosexual couples.
A lot has changed over the last sixty years and thankfully so. I’ve come to recognize that prevailing opinions shift based on societal norms, customs, spiritual practices and developments in science and technology.
“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”
Viktor E. Frankl
This week my country celebrates July 4th as Independence Day. The holiday marks the ratification of the Declaration of Independence by the 1776 Second Continental Congress when my forefathers declared our freedom from Great Britain.
While the last few years have been cited as the reason many in America feel oppressed, in truth, significant swaths of our population have never been free. At least not like it was described in the history books I studied as a kid.
I’ve been thinking a lot about freedom. And who, what or in what circumstances I truly feel free.
I realized something.
My freedom comes from an inner sense of peace. While laws, ordinances and Supreme Court rulings can restrict my actions, movements and outside choices, my freedom lies in my ability to choose my response. As...