Olympic Observations


Watching the Olympics in Rio can help me feel like a great useless blob.

I realize that I shouldn’t be comparing myself to athletes that are in outrageous shape and much younger. But seeing these competitors run straight to the edge of what they are capable, then hurl themselves to record-breaking times and personal bests does hold up a mirror for self-examination.

The human body is capable of incredible accomplishments, but only with a strong mind as a co-pilot. Any athlete who breaks down psychologically only beats himself. Any loss of focus or distraction after making an error in performance can make the difference in being in the medals or not.

And most of the athletes incorporate their sport into their already complicated lives, not the other way around. Life comes before sport. Each profile revealed more challenges than the last. Injuries, illnesses, family and financial struggles, their lives are just like the rest of ours. But they do it anyway.

Even with the possibility of having this happen.

Their heart and determination lie outside their troubles. They push through and persevere no matter what else is going on around them. A few athletes  that had to miss the last Olympics are now in Rio. Others who performed better in the last Olympics are struggling in this one.  We all have peaks and valleys. Even Michael Phelps.

And no one gets younger. We are all on the same clock.

We can dwell in our deficiencies, missteps, the bad hand we were dealt, or we can focus on reaching our goals after being honest about why we want to.  We can work to keep our minds healthy and productive. And keep putting one foot in front of the other after a fall if only to finish what we start.

We can believe in our abilities, commitment, and spirit where anything is possible.

European dressage and jumping championships decide six more equestrian places at Rio 2016 Games

We can re-evaluate, restructure,  and resume after making adjustments.

We can show up and do our best with honor and integrity.

Because in real life, there are no medals. Only the satisfaction of the doing.



What Would You Need in the Afterlife?

Women buried with handspinning spindles 3000 years ago

I didn’t plan on following a funeral post with a burial post, but this really intrigued me. A friend posted an article on Facebook about ancient women being buried with their spindles. Men were buried with their weapons. Kings were buried with their riches. If they used animals in their lifetime, they would be buried with those too.

Spinning Yarn In the Grave

Got me thinking. If I hold a belief in the afterlife, what would I pack?

I suppose I always assumed that, since I would be entering a new world without a body, I wouldn’t require anything from this world. I wouldn’t have hands to wield a sword or a spindle. But at my brother-in-law’s funeral,  I did notice a man slipping something into his casket as he said his farewell. A note? A photo? A trinket? I’ll never know.

Humans seem to have a strange attachment to objects, assigning meaning based on emotions they conjure. Another friend posted that he’d just parted with a pair of boots that he knew he’d walked over seven thousand miles in and couldn’t bear to throw them in the trash for fear of being “disrespectful.” I had a similar attachment to my last car – the only thing that had survived my tumultuous past.

Given a choice, if you really could take something with you into “the next life” what would you chose?  A favorite book? Boots? Tool? Award? Jewelry? Sporting equipment?

I think I’d take pen and paper and/or camera to document my new journey.

You never know when you might run into a doorway back.(with proof of an afterlife!)



10 Life Lessons I Learned at a Funeral

  1. Make your own decisions, or someone else will. This doesn’t just apply to your last wishes, but your entire life.
  1. Dwelling on the past (regrets) is a waste of energy.  No matter what mistakes you’ve made, you can’t turn back time. Carrying them around like a pack mule benefits no one. Acknowledge them and resolve to do better.
  1. If you’re not living the life you really want, change it. That includes the relationships you engage in, the jobs you work, and the lifestyle you live.
  1. You can’t please everyone, especially parents. Parent-pleasing can breed resentment. Be yourself anyway. They are.
  1. Own your beliefs. If you are not a follower, don’t be one of the herd for just for appearances.
  1. You don’t know what you don’t know until you learn. There are questions you won’t know to ask until you have the answers.
  1. Everyone processes emotions in their own way. Denial, deflection, humor, suppression, pacing, compulsiveness, etc. Allow loved ones the space to do what they need to do.
  1. There are those who leave their hometown and those who stay. The “why” is personal. Some of us need to lay down roots. For the rest, only a touchstone is required.
  1. Family can love you and not always like you, and might never understand you. Be okay with that.
  1. Food brings everyone to the conversation. You can overhear a lot even at a long table. When people are face to face, it’s impossible not to engage, if only in body language.  A meal helps people feel normal, even if they aren’t hungry. The ritual of it can defuse or ignite emotions. Lean toward compassion first.



We all know we are going to die. We know this. Just as we know gravity makes a seesaw possible. But until death touches our lives, it’s only knowledge.

Balance exists. For everyone suffering from illness, circumstance, or loss, there is another rejoicing in good fortune and achievement. For every person who has lost their life to a horrific act of violence such as the shooting in Orlando and the truck rampage in Nice, there is one who must continue living. And more enter every minute.

My family both lost and gained a member in the last three days. Will the new member be as delightful as the lost one? As loved and valued?

No one can replace another. Each brings their own unique blend of personality and contribution to the table. No one life is more valued or important than another, although it may appear so. But that’s just ego.

I wonder so many things about the new baby. What kind of person might he become? His first photo taken in the hospital included a large red hazardous waste container looming from behind. Nothing says, “Welcome to the world” like a Hazmat bucket, eh?

Yet the lost brother was filled with toxins in an effort to ease his suffering. (How on earth did we come up with healing cancer with poison? Yet, it has for some.) Perhaps that is the balance.

As much as we will mourn the loss of a beloved core member of the family, we will celebrate the possibilities of the newest child. Hopefully, he can help restore balance.


Back to the Box

I love a great success story so I’m passing this juicy one along. After making my first blueberry pie of the season from our homegrown berries, I saw a piece on television about a woman who had shared my love of pie.

She’d lost her big job and broke the news to her partner with a half-hearted joke about ending up in the poorhouse. What to do?

They started baking pies in their home kitchen and quickly ran out of space. So they ditched the furniture, brought in more baking equipment and were all in. Then they put the finished product in a repurposed shed by the road. (Without anyone to man it!)  Customers pay by the old-fashioned honor system (dropping money into a metal box with a padlock) and selecting from a few varieties in a small fridge.

Poorhouse Pies in Underhill, VT proved that there was more than one way to make a living and sell their product. An unmanned shed by the road? Who would think that would work? I’ll bet a few folks told them that they were crazy.

Bored by the thinking “out of the box” reference? These ladies went back to the box and changed it completely  They transformed their home to a bakery, then set up an old tool shed as a store front.

Now, they’re doing far more than pie.

Hats off to a couple of Back-to-the-Boxers.


23 Park Street, Underhill, VT (802) 899-1346

I need to do some of this kind of thinking myself.

June Has Gone to the . . . Bears?

I have been MIA this month learning DIY publishing.  I won’t bore you with details. I will only say that I had no idea that this morning I would find my ebook had been released when I thought I had a preview window.

Life happens while you’re making other plans, right? I can bear it because it’s a perfect time for a rock and roll beach read.

Here’s the link. :


FREE right now if you have Kindle Unlimited. And if you do, please don’t forget to post a review afterward. I would really love and appreciate that.

I had hoped to have a print book ready to release at the same time, but Amazon had other ideas. I’ll return to regular scheduled posts once I have released that into the wild.

Hope your summer is cooking nicely with food, fun, and frivolity.


Monstrous Monday – Spiritual Responsibility

Zak Bagans’ latest television show Deadly Possessions brings up serious spiritual concerns. I’m not going to critique the show as much as what is not being broadcast.

After all, he’s not the first to open a museum stocked with paranormal objects. John Zaffis showed the world his museum on The Haunted Collector. But Zaffis also revealed some precautions he took to neutralize any spirit attachments after removing them from where they were found. Not all of the objects he acquired were placed in an open-to-the-public museum. Some were considered too dangerous to display.

Bagans doesn’t appear to have the same level of concern. In Deadly Possessions, he invites owners of possessed items to come to his museum to investigate the validity of the haunting, then interviews those who have suffered harm from having come in contact with the objects. A couple of objects had deadly stories attached to them as if even looking at the haunted object could kill a person.

He says “I” and “Mine” a lot about the collection of haunted items. In my mind, he doesn’t own anything. Those things own him. It’s a huge responsibility to be the caretaker of anything dangerous. It means being responsible for any harm that might befall anyone while displaying an item in your care.

Which brings me to an episode about an English doll that supposedly killed people who had merely gazed upon her face. Before revealing the doll’s face (covered with a black bag), a disclaimer was displayed on the screen that warned viewing the object could be dangerous. Look at your own risk. All right. After a few seconds, they revealed the face. I chose not to view it. I never cared for dolls when I was a child. I certainly had no curiosity about them now. But when the program resumed after the commercial break, there was no warning. Suddenly the face of the doll was the first image to flash in the recap. Thereby, exposing the audience whether they wished to view it or not. Highly irresponsible if the claims of death attached to this doll are to be believed. Exposing millions in the television audience with any level of belief in the possibility of harm makes everyone involved in the production responsible.

What other precautions are taken (or ignored) for the protection of visitors to the museum full of Deadly Possessions? I’m sure there are warning signs before entering the museum, but the only disclaimer for the television viewing audience at the opening of each episode is that the producers don’t share the views of the program.

Now you might be wondering, why watch such a show at all?  For me, the stories behind the items are the hook. Some might be nothing more than urban legends. But others provoke morbid curiosity.

I’m still alive.