If I Should Have a Daughter

This is an amazing watch… let yourself be inspired.

Have a great weekend!!! Happy Easter!

If I Should Have a Daughter.


Before You Know Kindness You Know that Mean People Suck.

Clearly I am on a poetry kick.  It does not help however when your AWESOME readers send you more AWESOME poems to read and review…. ahem.

You know, I have to say that I write a lot about heart ache.  Maybe I am a tender hearted person OR maybe I am an over sensitive wah wah who can’t seem to get over the pie in the face of life (sore looser!) but either way – I can totally relate to this beauty written apparently for all the people who’ve known the sting of mean people (mean people suck- wah!)

Photo Credit: Monica Rodgers


Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.

How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.
Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness,
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans
and the simple breath that kept him alive.

Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.

Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to mail letters and
purchase bread,
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
it is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you every where
like a shadow or a friend.

Naomi Shihab Nye / The Words Under the Words: Selected Poems


A Poem to Set you Free

The Bird Nest by Linda Apple

This poem by Mary Oliver has been near and dear to my heart since I first came upon it in the book : Ten Poems to Set You Free.  Before I was finally able to find the courage to speak up about what I wanted in my life and assert my own needs I would go to the bookstore ( B&N) which is something I’ve been known to do all my life.  Somehow walking through the shelves of books, touching the bindings, or reading the back jacket made me feel safe and comforted.

One of these many afternoons I found myself in the poetry section and this little blue book with a nest on the cover seemed to beckon me to open it.  I opened it directly to this page.  I remember my heart beating more quickly as i finished it, and a flood of emotion welling from me and I read it again and again as I just sat there on the carpeted floor in the safe haven of this poem that said it all, and I wept for joy…. it really did help set me free – nothing else could have explained what I was facing so eloquently… my family had no hope of surviving if I continued to remain a ghost.  This poem gave me the courage to do what I needed to do, and I hope it speaks to someone else out there today.  XO

The Journey

One day you finally knew

what you had to do, and began,

though the voices around you

kept shouting

their bad advice —

though the whole house

began to tremble

and you felt the old tug

at your ankles.

“Mend my life!”

each voice cried.

But you didn’t stop.

You knew what you had to do,

though the wind pried

with its stiff fingers

at the very foundations,

though their melancholy

was terrible.

It was already late

enough, and a wild night,

and the road full of fallen

branches and stones.

But little by little,

as you left their voices behind,

the stars began to burn

through the sheets of clouds,

and there was a new voice

which you slowly

recognized as your own,

that kept you company

as you strode deeper and deeper

into the world,

determined to do

the only thing you could do —

determined to save

the only life you could save.

~ Mary Oliver ~


September has always been the most powerful month in my life.

My father died when I was twenty toward the end of September- and I will never forget the feeling in the cool Maine air that week before he passed. It was as if he was joining the gentle fall of the leaves as our tears fell too and we wept to let him go. Everything was still and quiet when we said our goodbyes and I knew then that he would always be with me, and that goodbyes are not forever.

After College graduation I spent the month of September driving cross country roads with Irish Paul and under the big sky’s and over the badlands which added such expansion to my world, and my heart. Each exploration of National Forest and Coast filled my being with wonder while the radio blared REM and open windows blew it’s cool dry breathe in our faces leaving echoes of laughter in our wake.

My honeymoon was in September and I spent almost four weeks in gentle Bali meeting people who were filled with love and service. Traveling through the mountains of Ubud on married feet visiting communes of artists and the rural beauty of expansive villages. I was there September 11th when the World Trade Center fell and the people of Indonesia looked at my American face with eyes of grief telling me they were sorry for “my people.”  I learned then how very connected we all are.

My daughter was born September 12th one year later and I will never forget when they lay her on my chest that evening and I felt her – skin to skin, and touched each tiny part of her drinking her in. My heart expanded and life became something different then. Each year we celebrate her life in ours… this year she is nine.

I spent a month in Italy with my little family the year after my daughters birth and we walked September streets in Florence and learned to take our time each day just enjoying the feast of every visual, and food that had never tasted so good. We drove each day to a new adventure with our little one in tow and so happy we were that month in Luca, Rome, Venice, and mountain towns… the happiest until

Ten years later in September my deepest understanding of Love yet and it’s power to heal….

In September the hot summers cool into beautiful passages of fall, and my children return to school.  September is like the New Year for mothers who’ve managed to shake the last sand from salty towels and who’ve cut the final wedges of cooling watermelon.


Beautiful September.

Not Your Children

I’ve been thinking this morning about that poem by Kahlil Gibran because sometimes I need to remind myself what my role is as a parent and I particularly love the part in the poem – “you may house their bodies but not their souls” –  how very true.  My children are free beings…not my possessions.  They have come here to find and follow their own path- how lucky we are to tend to them in in the meantime, as we strengthen our bow to eventually send them off into the world.

Lets not bend them to our will.

Break their spirit.

Control their thoughts.

Censor their speech.

It would be a grave and terrible mistake to make them like us.  Lets each teach them instead how to find their freedom of expression, their voice, and ability to listen to their own heart…and if we listen, closely and openly- they have so very much to teach us.

Kahlil Gibran

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.

The Power of Words

Words:  They have the power to heal, and the power to hurt.

My brother came to visit for the last couple of days…. you know- my brother the poet.

He recently graduated from his job as Kick Ass Sales and Personal Awesomeness Development Coach (that’s my own job title for him) of those he trained to do the turn around job with him…. he did  amazing work. He did such a good job in  fact, that after two years of working his tushie off (sleepless nights, anxiety, long hours, travel) with the awesome team he built –  investors magically came to the table to buy the company.

So he graduated Magna Cum Laude.

Truly- imagine if we treated people with the




for their contribution to our company, project, or dream that were created during their time with us?

instead of having a quiet little chat just after 5:00 pm placing “the letter” on the desk and offering a cardboard box for the collection of his “things.”


I prefer the word GRADUATION: it has so much more to offer and says something completely different- even allows the recipient to hold their head up high in honor and feel proud of the work they’ve done.

So Lar,

in recognition of your amazing contribution to a company I know desperately needed you at the time you were hired and had the amazing good fortune of working with you and benefiting from your experience, wisdom, and willingness I want to THANK YOU and let you know how AMAZING you truly are and to say EVERYTHING happens for a reason….

Your work was done…and they did not need you anymore and that- is something to be proud of. You helped them become self sufficient and wildly successful.  Time to move on.

Now… get writing- I can’t wait to read more poetry that truly expresses you and will be far more reaching, and a whole lot more satisfying.

I love you.


Expelled from Comfort: A Poem for Japan


This morning I donated a measly $10 to the Red Cross by texting 909-99 on my phone. It feels insignificant, really (they just add it to my cell phone bill).

My eldest brother was born in Japan in 1949.  Our dad brought back some paintings ( similar to the one above but much more beautiful- pen and ink) and these images hung on the walls of our staircase and I went up and down, up and down, never really having to much relationship to them other than copying one for art class when I was in high school. I found the image beautiful.

This same brother of mine is a Poet, and I wonder how he must be feeling about all this.  I myself feel particularly lame and unhelpful.  Similar to the way I feel when any disaster strikes somewhere in the world where I am not and all I can do is, with deep gratitude, pull my children close and take a moment and think of the only thing I can to try and relate.  In order to do that I realize everyone in Japan has a child or is a child…therefore, we all have someone we care for. They are just like me.

Our father passed away when I was twenty, and because my brother was quite a bit older than I, he became the most noble of volunteers to coach a girl (because I was, still, just a girl) who felt lost, without a compass.

He stepped bravely into shoes still barely worn… the soles and treads still shiny and new to continue the walk of parenthood by my side, even though he himself had never really had one (long story), or been one himself. When things in my life, or in the world  just don’t make any sense, he’s the reliable place I cling to – my buoy.

He’s at a trade show this week on the west coast, but I’m thinking about him and wishing he could write a Poem that can explain the inexplicable that is the disaster in Japan.

In his absence I found this one:

A Poem for Japan

The earthquake came and the water rushed in and the world was turned upside down,

Time circled once again and life seemed to end but in the shadows of death I see a flicker that time will come again, but

How shall it come and whence cometh it and who shall know of its coming,

As these old eyes grow dim slowly like an autumn leaf floating down an Aspen hill and my memory is dragged along however unwillingly by the force of such an awesome falling,

I wonder how shall the flash of recognition occur, how shall the veil be lifted, when shall the silence be rent asunder by a shout so loud that the cosmos itself quakes,

Ah in waiting shall we have the answer but in the meantime we are expelled from our comfort like a birth not sought but realized

~Bishop Andrew Gentry

My Brother the Poet: Was and Will Be

On one of my earlier posts I shared a poem my brother Jim wrote to me in five minutes flat.

He’s always experiences life most intimately in pictures & images weather internal or external and it’s how he tends to communicate and express those magic moments that lie somewhere in between the senses   You know how sometimes you just can’t FIND a way to express something you’ve seen or felt?  Those “intangible” moments where emotion and serendipity and insight collide?  I grapple with ways to express them, and when I get one of his poems I feel like I am looking inside a window that expresses what i could not find the words to express.  That’s what poetry is to me.: a way to say something that can not be said otherwise.

This one was written for our younger Brother and Sister in Law on the day of their wedding Sept 20th, 1997.  Our father had passed six years previous, and his presence was so very missed there as we stood in the sunlight of the field that grew wild with flowers which had been collected to put under the tent on the tables in ball glass jars.  The perfect day… the perfect poem- to express the hopes and dreams and challenges of a marriage yet to be embarked upon.

Was and Will be

I found you in the springtime
when you were the snowmelt
Packed seasons turned granular, crystal in march sun.
The Sparkle that weeps into opening streams
You stood like a willow with a dandelion crown.

But it will be in winter
I will love you most of all

I followed you in Summer
when you were the river
Broad and flat as my hand
Drifting along bends, conforming to curves,
tumbling toward ocean
where the surf gathers up
with blood surging, heart pounding
I arrived on your shores.

But it will be in winter
I will love you most of all

I married you in the Autumn
when you were the empty field
your sounds the last echo of fleeting jays
your words the incessant call of the crickets
your movements the shimmer and quiver, the dance of the aspen
Your eye and eyelash in each wild aster
I held you like the last fallen maple leaf
my skin hot crimson

But it will be in winter
I will love you most of all

For it will be in Winter
that we will find ourselves
lost in the darkness
of our silence and isolation
mired in the deep snows
of burdens borne alone
sorrows blanketed under
pierced by chilling winds
of uncertainty and doubt
of what we thought we once believed

And it will be in Winter that
I will love you the brightest
I will love you the deepest
I will love you the warmest

It will be in Winter
that i will love you most of all

~ JL Grady Sept 20th 1997
On the wedding of Joe and Laura Grady

Makes you glad it’s almost spring again huh?

My Brother: The Poet


He tells me it just “comes out” and it’s true- I’ve seen it happen.  I wonder though how his mind can work this way.  Five minutes ago I sent him an email letting him know that my house is officially on the market.  Five mintes later he sent me this… a poem- for us, me. him. you. those & they.  It’s a poem for me, yet I think so many can relate.  Can they?

He’s written like this for as long as I’ve been his sister. Forty years. Sometimes I am just in awe because he can capture what I can’t say…no matter how many words I write.

First Seeing
When we first saw the place
We knew
We were so certain
All our dreams would be fulfilled
We would all be there
For generations to come
Especially the new one
We had brought along that was tugging on our sleeves
Wanting to climb up into the branches of our arms.
We knew ahead of time
All the laughter that would float in the air
Like bubbles from those silly toys that every child gets sooner or later
Spinning, spinning as they made them
Their eyes focused on every one
While you and eye failed to see
Eye to eye
As conversations descended into
Eye for an eye.
Soon enough
All we could see was a future
Far away from the big elm tree
In the center of our little circular drive
You drove away first, or I made you
I would follow later
Going the other direction
Leaving only
The dreams and the big elm tree
For the Realtor to show
The next generation of couples.

-Jim Grady