A Blessing From Me To You

Hello My Beauties,

I wanted to share a blessing that comes from Martha Beck’s newest book, Diana, Herself:  An Allegory of Awakening.  When I read this, I felt cherished.  This is how I feel about and what I wish for my loved ones—and that includes you, My Beauty.


Be well, my dear one.

Be safe, my love.

Live in joy and peace, sweet friend.


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Little White Mailboxes

Little White Mailboxes

Hello My Beauties,

Spring has sprung and with all the rain we’ve been getting here in the Valley, it’s about as green as a four-leaf clover!  It’s just delightful.  I hope wherever you live, you’re feeling rejuvenated and refreshed too, that everything has been washed clean.

I wanted to share a recent epiphany I had.  I’ve been taking myself on walk-jogs around my neighborhood and happened to notice all the white mailboxes along the way.  About every couple of hundred yards or so….

Do you know that feeling when you’re jogging, and your body is screaming at you to quit, and you have to play mind games just to keep going?

Well, that’s what these white mailboxes have become for me, a game.  My lungs are burning, my hips are squeaking loudly in protest, and I’m tired.  Then I see one of these little white mailboxes and I tell myself, ‘you can make it to that next one.’

When I get there, I give it a little love tap, then shift to my two-minute walk and somehow, that little white mailbox has made all the difference just by ‘being’ there.  And then I do it again, and again, until I’ve completed my 3-mile loop.

I’ve been making some serious progress on editing my novel, I’ve written my query and synopsis for like the quadrillionth time, and… part of me is still scared.  Not scared about the literary agents saying ‘no, thank you,’ or that no one will like it, or even that it will never get published.  I know deep in my bones, none of that is true.

What I’ve finally realized scares me is the business side of getting published, of having to sign contracts and work with money.  Of being an adult and a professional ~ not my scared inner little girl ~ and do things I’ve never had to do before, like be famous and put myself out there in an even bigger way than I am by writing this blog….

AND the little white mailboxes have made all the difference.

They reminded me I only need to take one step at a time, and I can do that.  I can focus on the right here and the right now and get the edit done.  Then I can focus on getting the query letters actually out to real, live literary agents.  And when the time comes to say, ‘yes’ to the best partner in my writing career, I’ll focus on that then.  And then the next piece after that and then the next….

And the true ‘aha’ to this?  Fear moved to the back seat happily, all on its own.

Becoming a published author, if I take it piece by piece, won’t be scary at all, it will be exciting and thrilling and adventurous.  And I’ll have people in my court cheering me on, LIKE THEY ARE DOING RIGHT NOW.

I can do this.  I AM doing this.

It’s just sometimes, I get caught up in the big picture and get overwhelmed by all that has to be done/has yet to get done, by all that I don’t know, by all the time it’s taking me/has taken me to get to here, let alone how on earth I’m ever going to get to over there….

My Beauties, I know, you know what I mean.  This isn’t just something that happens to me while jogging or even in regards to my writing, this feeling is something we all experience, in all kinds of different ways, for all kinds of different reasons.

Our dreams can be SOOO BIG, we don’t know how to allow them to happen.

I’ve decided I’m going to take mine on, one little white mailbox at a time.  I KNOW I can do that.

And I KNOW, My Beauties, that you can do that too.

So, if there is something that’s got you overwhelmed, break it down into smaller pieces.  Find a visual that’ll help solidify this idea like the white mailboxes have done for me.

Another way of looking at this is to imagine yourself driving at night.  The road is pitch black but for the gleam of your headlights.  The light only reaches so far ahead, but you don’t stop driving.

You TRUST that the LIGHT will guide your way, that you will make it safely around the next bend or up the hill or beyond that bridge because you turned your lights on.

So, turn your lights on, My Beauties, rev up your trust and faith in the Universe taking care of you.  And jump with me!  Or, better yet, go at it, one little white mailbox at a time.

IN Joy,

Love and Blessings ~


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a bit of grace and a bit of peace

Hello My Beauties,

I hope you’ve been well.  So many beautiful and challenging things have been flowing in my life over these last couple of months.  Huge life shifts for my family and friends, and thus for me.  I do my best to find the beauty in the muck, but sometimes this can be very, very challenging.  Nonetheless, it is the intent that makes all the difference.  Instead of wallowing in it, I sit with the sadness intentionally, give it my attention, love it, cry and rage at it, at the circumstances that currently, and perhaps never will, make sense.  And then I let it all go.  This too is intentional.

Like forgiveness, letting go of my sadness doesn’t mean I am totally okay with what has happened/is still in process, but I am also not allowing sadness to rule my day, my choices, or my life.  How have I done this?  I turned to some old friends….

Journaling ~ I have always journaled ~ always being since I was a young girl ~ it is my meditation, my place of healing, of spewing all the sickness onto the page so I don’t carry it around like a ton of bricks on my back.  Through this process, I have found more grace and peace than ever.  Journaling has allowed me to find clarity in the chaos, to let go of the outcome, and to focus instead on what I can do ~ prayer, conversation, hugs, letters of encouragement, and most important, creating a sacred space where their wellness is the one sacred truth I hold for them, until they can hold it themselves.

Movement ~ As a teenager, I was an athlete.  I swam every season, ran cross country, dabbled in track.  We snow skied and water skied and hiked.  I let that athleticism go for a long time.  But, now in my 50’s, I’ve happily rediscovered my love of moving my body.  My girlfriend and I go for a walk/jog (walk 2 – 3 minutes, and then jog 2 – 3 minutes) for an hour or so at least twice a week.  And lately, I’ve been taking myself outside and doing the same on my own.

I have rekindled my relationship with being outdoors ~ in nice weather.  I did run in the rain once, but we got caught in the storm….  I haven’t gotten to the point where I’ll go out and face the cold, no matter what.  Ha, maybe it’s because for over twenty years of my life I had to shovel snow to go do anything.  I like being warm and toasty, hence living in Santa Ynez where it was 90* this Christmas!

Walking outside has once again become something I cherish and now look forward to.  Here’s a trick that’s helped motivate me to move even more…

~Podcasts…  I listen to some brilliant people sharing what they love and it makes my walks/jogs even more special.  Check out Jonathan Fields at Good Life Project, or Linda Sivertsen at The Beautiful Writers Podcast, Rob Bell at The RobCast, Hay House Live! and something new I’ve just started listening to, Launch by screenwriter/author, John August.

~Paying attention… I pay attention to the sunlight and how it illuminates the leaves just budding on the trees, how the lavender bush had no flowers two days before but is now blooming and buzzing with bees.  I listen to the birds calling and speaking to each other in their own language that is so beautiful and heart lifting to me.  I see others in the neighborhood I walk in, out doing the same thing, being with themselves and with each other.  We smile and wave and keep going with a kind of knowing smile on our faces, as if sharing a secret others have yet to discover ~ this, this moving, this being outside, is heaven.

Drawing ~ My mother is an artist.  When we were kids, we had arts and crafts days where our friends and their mom’s would come over and we’d do all kinds of art together, from melting crayons and making crazy designs, to pressing flowers we’d collect, to using colorful blobs of paint on a piece of paper, then folding it in half, and pushing the paint around, creating magical butterflies, or flowers….  One of my favorite houses we lived in, Mom painted a mural on our stairway wall so that every time we climbed the stairs to our rooms, we’d be reminded that imagination was a wonderful thing to set free.  That beauty was everywhere, and that we, too, were part of that beauty.

In September, I finished my most recent novel, and set it aside to percolate before I started edits.  That setting aside, has been waaay longer than I anticipated, in part, because my energy has been needed elsewhere.  But that didn’t mean my creative energy disappeared, or even that I wanted to shove it aside.  I need it, as surely as it needs me.  So instead, I revisited an old friend ~ drawing.

I haven’t drawn anything in years.  I started out slowly, doodling a little bit here, a little bit there.  Pinterest is full of beautiful images and all kinds of drawing tips.  And suddenly, I can’t get enough of doodling.  Granted, my doodling took on purpose, but it is a purpose that came from my need to create and my willingness for it not necessarily to be with words.  I’m now in the process of creating a coloring book/journal to share with all of you, and I’m so excited!  More fascinating, is that the output has been prolific, and I’m not ready or willing to stop.

The point being, My Beauties, LIFE happens.

And when She hands you something, or several somethings at once, that you truly were not expecting, things can get bitchy and twisty and scary, and hard.  Knowing you have old friends ~ sacred time-outs to replenish your well so that you, in turn, have more energy to give ~ can make all the difference.  And all that journaling and moving and drawing?  It keeps the goodness flowing, allows Hope to keep the candle burning.  And it just feels good.

My Beauties, don’t wait, take the time, NO, make the timeRIGHT NOW to discover, or rediscover what those sacred things are for you.  In the meantime, feel free to try out mine.

You might just surprise yourself and find that within the ick, there actually is a silver lining… or at least a place you can find a bit of grace and a bit of peace to help you get through.

Love, love, love always and in all ways.

In Joy,


PS For more helpful hints on getting through the ick, check out my blog post, Buckets.

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A Toe Head’s Little Adventure


Just Hanging Out!

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I decided to re-post LIGHT (12/22/16) as it still resonates with me during this holiday season.  May you find your own inner spark, and may it shine bright!

Hello My Beauties,

So, I was thinking about LIGHT and why we cover our trees and houses and windows with sparkly lights, why this time of year is especially magical….

There are the obvious reasons, Jesus’ birth, Hanukah, Kwanza, Winter Solstice… the time where family comes together when many of us are apart the rest of the year.

But it goes deeper than that. This time of the year lights are everywhere ~ the night fairly sparkles here in our little valley. Solvang has white lights wrapped around the trees that line Highway 246, and you can’t help but feel the magic in the crisp night air.

What the lights do for me is remind me, that even on the darkest of nights, all you need is a spark and the dark becomes embraced by the light.

For me, that spark is joy.

In an earlier blog post, Buckets, I wrote about how we need to keep our buckets of joy and gratitude and love and hope full so on the darkest of days, we know we have what we need to heal ourselves.

This time of the season can be especially trying for some, for others it is the most joyous of occasions. In either case, perhaps the sparkly lights we see everywhere can serve as another type of bucket ~ a touchstone to remind us that we too are made of LIGHT and Stardust and… Magic.

Perhaps we lace our houses and trees with bright lights in response to December and January being the darkest of nights and in some places in the world, the bitterest cold. Perhaps we do this because LIGHT represents safety and warmth and welcome.

And in the darkest of nights, don’t we all need the hope, that at least somewhere in the world, we are welcome, wanted, that we matter?

I am very fortunate. I know I am welcome, that I am wanted, that I matter. But what if you don’t feel that way? What if no one is there to remind you that you are a miracle just because you are the only YOU in EXISTENCE? The Light is like a slap in the face, a constant reminder of what you DO NOT HAVE and what you WANT with ALL of your being….  What then?

The answer, My Beauties is: BE YOUR OWN DAMN BEST FRIEND. Do for yourself what no one else is.

Love yourself like there is no tomorrow, because in fact, there might not be.

Laugh because you are alive.

Tilt your face up and let the rays and warmth of the sun fill you with light and know that LIGHT recognizes LIGHT ~ that you are a mirror of all that is above and all that is below.

Tilt your face up and let the cool glow of moonbeams enfold you, whisper that you too are of the Night. That you too belong among the Stars, that the diamonds that sparkle far, far above are OF you.

Let the breeze tickle your skin with your hair, a gentle caress to remind you, you are cherished.

Watch a butterfly dance upon the air and know that once it was a caterpillar. Know that within its cocoon the caterpillar literally turned to mush and goo so that it could then, and only then, blossom into its true self.

Hug a dog. Let it lick your face in greeting and feel its unconditional joy at meeting you as if it is for the first time, every time.

Listen to a baby laugh with unfettered joy and then bring that joy into your being so the spark can be relit.

Blow gently on that spark of joy with self-compassion and watch the flames catch, the fire grow.

You are of the LIGHT.

You are made of LIGHT.

Be your own LIGHT if no one else will.

As you shine, your LIGHT will be the beacon for someone else hidden in the deep, dark night terrified to move because UNTIL YOU, it has been black as pitch.

It only takes a spark.

LIGHT is all around you. LIGHT is in every fiber of your being. LIGHT is WHO YOU ARE.

The DARK, My Beauties, is there to show you this TRUTH.

So shine and shine bright.

Blessings and may all the LIGHT that you are, fill your being with joy and love and self-compassion and acceptance.

Isn’t that the best birthday, Christmas, Hanukah, Kwanza, Winter Solstice, and just any-old-day gift you can give yourself?


IN JOY and limitless Gratitude.



The golden-white lights of Solvang, Ca.  Peace, Grace, and Ease this holiday season to all of you, My Beauties!


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Happy Thanks

Hello My Beauties,

I know Hanukkah ended last eve, Winter Solstice is today, and Christmas is right around the corner (already?!  how can this be?!), but I wrote this for you, My Beauties, a week after Thanksgiving, and decided to post it today.  Who really cares about physical timing anyway?  It’s the divine timing that matters most.

Holy holy holy.  You

Are a miracle

Precious in every way

Perfect by design

You are the only YOU there is ~ one in a million, billion, trillion….


Take the time to get to know who you are

Hold yourself close, whisper sweet nothings, and know you are loved

Angels watch over you, giggling with you, crying with you, loving you always 

Notice the little things, let them tickle your fancy, make you smile

Kiss a bunch of frogs and be your own prince or princess

Savor the sweet and the salty, the bitter and the tangy for all of it, all of you, is LIFE

Thank you for all you do, for all you are.  Thank you for loving me and supporting me.  THANK YOU for finding within your own good enough-ness and joy and love and laughter and light and sharing it with the world.  Thank you for showing up and for taking this journey with me — and we’re just getting started!

I am the better for knowing each of you.

Blessings and in ever ending JOY,


We hold each other in our hands and in our hearts.

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How Does Your Garden Grow?

Hello My Beauties,

I’m sooo excited to share this with you!  I was invited to write a guest post for my new friend, Lauren Cook, THE Sunny Girl.  Lauren spoke here, in Santa Ynez for the National Charity League, and we hit it off immediately!  There is a reason she calls herself THE Sunny Girl, Lauren exudes happiness and warmth and a kind of compassion that comes from listening and talking with hundreds of middle school, high school, and college students nation wide about gratitude and finding the sunny side to life.  Lauren writes:

“Happiness is about loving an imperfect life for all of its little splendors and failures. My goal is to help you get there—so that you can find gratitude in the good and bad days and find the blessings in between.”

Now you know why we connected so perfectly ~ we share the same message, helping girls and women, and boys and men too, cultivate more joy in the everyday.  You can find my guest post below or read it at Lauren’s website, THE Sunny Girl.  Lauren made it so pretty too!

How Does Your Garden Grow?

I am happier now than I’ve ever been, but I can remember as a teenager crying in the shower because I was so sad.  And the saddest part?  I didn’t even know why the gut wrenching tears had me curled in on myself on the shower floor.

I now know ‘why’.  It was because I was missing me.  The me that was my potential, the joyous, loving, kind person I could be.  The smart me, the me that actually followed through, the me that didn’t hold back because I was so afraid.  Afraid, of what exactly, I didn’t know.

Have you ever felt that way?  Afraid and sad and angry, sometimes all at the same time, and not really knowing why?

Many of my girlfriends felt the same way I did, but back then, we didn’t know how to talk about it, let alone how to deal with such a quagmire of ick.  If I knew then, what I know now, maybe I wouldn’t have lived so long with despair and the idea that I wasn’t smart enough, or good enough.

In case no one has told you lately, my dear Sunny Girl, YOU are good enough just the way you are.  You are a miracle.  After all, you are the only YOU there is.  You are a precious being with untold gifts waiting to be unwrapped by you, for you.

But how do you move from feeling so sad and confused and angry to finding joy in the everyday?  You become a gardener, the kind that tends to your heart and mind and body and soul.

Try these 4 steps to become the cultivator of good enough-ness and joy in your life.

  • Step 1:  Make a Decision
  • Step 2:  Create Some Space to Grow
  • Step 3:  Plant the seeds of Gratitude and Joy
  • Step 4:  Tend with Great Care

Step 1:  Make a Decision

Every day, people are telling you what to do.  Your parents, your teachers, even your friends have an opinion on who you should be, how you should act, feel, dress….  But what if YOU decided you want things to be different?  That YOU are tired of being sad, or angry, or quiet.  The first step is acknowledging you want things to be different and then making room in your mind and heart and body and soul for things to be different.

Step 2:  Create Some Space to Grow

To plant a garden, you need a sacred space.  That sacred space is YOU, my dear Sunny Girl.  But if you are full of anger, and sorrow, and shame, or blame, or the dis-ease of not good enough-ness, some serious weeding is in order.  It’s hard to bloom, when you’re suffocating from weeds of negativity.

The best way I know to weed out negativity is to write it out.  Grab some paper and a pen, and write for 3 whole pages without stopping.  This is not a grammar or spelling test.  There is no censor here.  Think of this as yanking free the weeds of ick and letting them land on the page.  Write whatever comes up and spills out.  By putting your feelings on the page, you’re preparing the soil for a new crop of seeds ~ of ideas and feelings ~ to prosper and grow.

Step 3:  Plant seeds of Gratitude and Joy

What are the seeds you want to plant in your newly tilled soil?  This is your garden.  Perhaps you want to nurture more forgiveness in your life, or the willingness to try new things.  Maybe laughter is what you want to see bloom, or the knowledge that you are good enough, smart enough, strong enough….  There is no limit to what you can grow in the garden of your mind and heart and body and soul.

Planting seeds of gratitude and joy are game changers.  Nothing has shifted my attitude from feeling not good enough to loving who I am faster or with more grace.  Start by keeping a Gratitude Journal.  A simple list at the end of the day about what you are thankful for shifts your focus from lack to abundance.  And suddenly your whole world is about what is working, instead of what isn’t.  Know that some days will be full of sunshine and your gratitude list will pour out of you.  Other days will be stormy and grey, and all you might be able to come up with is being grateful the day is finally over.

A Joy Journal is like a Gratitude Journal, only its focus is on what makes you feel good.  Before I go to bed, I write down a list of the things from the day that made me smile, made me laugh, made me feel better.  Anything that brings me joy, from a humming bird whizzing by my ear, to the comfort of my own bed, gets written down.

I am a true believer in what you focus on blossoms in your life.  I don’t know about you, but I got tired of my angst growing stronger and stronger every day.  Of feeling like I did everything wrong.  Of not trusting myself and thus, not being able to say ‘no’ to what I no longer wanted in my life, or even ‘yes’ to those things I did.  Whether you decide to keep a Gratitude Journal or a Joy Journal each will help put in perspective that your garden needs both the rain and the sun to flourish.

Step 4:  Tend with Great Care

Remember, a gardener must not only prepare the soil, plant the seed, water it, but pull the weeds that persistently keep popping up for the days and weeks and months it takes while waiting for the crop to come to fruition.  This is a gardener’s tender loving care.

My Sunny Girl, remember YOU are the gardener AND the garden.  Tend to yourself with great care while you are growing.  Drink plenty of water, eat good food, sleep more, be creative, exercise, laugh often and laugh hard.  Surround yourself with people who tend to YOU with great care.  It’s hard to nurture the precious seedlings of I am good enough, I am thankful, I am full of joy, when those around you keep stomping all over your precious seedlings.

Gardening is not an easy undertaking.  Neither is shifting your head and heart and body and soul from the darkness into the light.  Be gentle.  Be kind.  Ask for help when you need it.  Wake up each morning ready to pull the weeds of negativity and dump them on the page so you don’t carry them around with you.  Read your Gratitude Journal or your Joy Journal as a reminder of why you are tending to YOU.  Listen to that still small voice within that whispers, “YES, you CAN.”

It is my greatest wish for you that your garden, your LIFE, be bursting forth with the flowers of good enough-ness, and joy and gratitude, and anything else YOU choose to plant in your body and mind and heart and soul.  And may the occasional weed help you pause and take the time to re-evaluate where you are, what you are doing, and why you are doing it.  After all, a weed is a kind of flower.  And YOU get to decide if it stays or if it goes.

Happy Cultivating!


THE Sunny Girl with Lauren Cook


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