Under a winter sky


Dusk descends.  The deep blue of the night sky edges its way into darkness and evening begins to fall.  Stars mottle the nightscape and any heat the earth consumed during the day is slowly released back into that vast open space.  The long spindly finger of Old Man Winter begins to caress the world and the cold enters everything it touches. Trees snap and groan in their defiance of the stinging night air and animals have long since retired to the protection of their dens.

winter sunset

The smallest portion of exposed skin is ambushed by the cold and is threatened by the gnawing jaws of frost bite.  It hurts to breathe but the beauty of a cold winter night is unparalleled.  The sky seems anxious to introduce every star in the milky way without the intrusion of clouds and the silence is deafening.

This is my winter.  These are the nights that I am drawn into the cold for the sole purpose of watching the stars put the sun to bed for another night.  I tilt my head back to take in the constellations and wait for a shooting star.  This is life in my Northern town.  This is the pastel portrait that saturates my brain before I go to sleep.

Every time a bell rings


With all of the negativity that has been thrown haphazardly around the myriad of social media, the timing of our 3rd Annual Toy Drive at the lodge couldn’t have come at a better time for me.

For anyone who has ever done anything nice for someone, you know what an astounding feeling of satisfaction you get knowing that you made a difference or at least made someone smile.  Random acts of kindness, whether large or small, create a ripple effect that we need to send back into this world.

I’ve written before about “paying it forward”.  It is a concept I truly believe in and one this Earth could really use right now.  You may think that buying someone in the line behind you at the drive-thru a simple cup of coffee may seem like nothing, but that person may turn around and donate $50.00 to a charity that may help a family have a real turkey dinner at Christmas.  For each kind wave sent into this world, the ripple of that kindness swells into bigger rings on the pond of our life.

I took our first few monetary donations into a local shop and bought the first toys for our Toy Drive today.  It made me feel happy and it made me feel hopeful.  That spirit of giving still exists within each one of us.  Whether it is a donation for a charity or merely a kind word to someone who could use a smile, kindness begets kindness.

It is easy to lose sight of the simple niceties with all the fear and anger being broadcast on every news station around the world.  It is understandable that our anxiety and apprehension are clouding our vision and not allowing us to remember the kindness we have been raised to feel and to share.  I am thankful that I have been made aware that tolerance and humanity still exist and I am extremely grateful that I continue to comfortably tread water in the sea of optimism.

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I am reminded of the line from ‘It’s A Wonderful Life” ~ every time a bell rings, an Angel gets its wings.  Perhaps we can bring that thought process down from such an ethereal level and just hope that every time a kind act is performed, a small piece of hatred dies.


Got Milk?


For the greater part of my life I have lived in a small town.  I branched out into the bustling metropolis for a few years to attend college but the pull of our tight-knit community was too strong to ignore and I came home.  Much to the chagrin of my city dwelling friends, I have never regretted that decision.

There is something comforting about seeing the same people on a day-to-day basis.  It may feel a little too close for comfort at times when they know more about your life than you do but it has become the safety blanket of my existence.  The community that began as a collection of strangers rapidly transformed into an extended family and I take solace in the fact that I could knock on any door and receive the same warm welcome from any one of them.

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The milk of human kindness flows more freely in a small town – at least that has been my experience.  And in the summer of 2013 that lesson was inked into my skin in colors more vivid than any tattoo.   My mother had a slight episode while on her scooter as she was making her way home from her shopping excursion.  Her dog had broken free from her collar and, in the chaos that ensued, my mother had toppled from her scooter and lay on her back on the pavement.  As fate would have it I was driving through town just as the mishap occurred and I was able to pull over and help.

In the time it took for me to pull over, a handful of people were already either assisting my mother or madly looking for the frenzied dog that was dodging parked cars and moving vehicles.  It was controlled chaos but in the end my mom was fine and the dog was recovered without incident.

There is an overwhelmingly consolatory feeling knowing that if I had not been there my mother would have been just as vigilantly attended to and things would have still ended well.  Knowing that the milk of human kindness flows freely through the veins of my community makes me glad that I made the decision to carve my life into the growing trunk of the tree in this rural atmosphere.

There may be moments of my life that I will look back on with regret but choosing to live my life in this town and the community of people I share it with is not one of them.

My only wish, especially now, is that the kindness we experience here could be broadcast on a much grander level.  Whatever happens in this world, we must not let the anger and hatred of the few be able to quell the kindness that resides in the many.   Fight hate with love and keep your hearts open.  The more we hate, the more they win.


Party on Weight! Party on Girth!


wayne and garth

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I am not skinny.  I have never touted the pretense that I ever was skinny and by no means do I think I ever will be skinny.  I am not built that way and, after my many trips around the sun on this planet, I have come to accept that and be okay with it.  It’s who I am and I happily embrace who I am.  I have many other attributes I am proud of without having to slip into size zero pants.  And I am hoping I will remain this secure when the newest clothing lines are introduced and size “minus-ten” becomes the newest “in thing”.

But that is not saying that I have not made valiant attempts to become healthier by decreasing the caloric sums that enter my digestive system.  I am not a victim of fad diets.  I merely try to cook and eat whole, natural foods that consist of ingredients I can pronounce.  Chicken is a very easy item to cook with because it contains, well, chicken.  I try to avoid fast-food at all costs and hope the only processed foods I eat are ones I have processed myself so I can easily articulate the components of the nutrition that I am consuming.

In the process of communicating with my fat cells, the message was clearly not concise enough for them to understand – when I lose you, I don’t want you to come back and bring your friends!  “Weight” and “Girth” have been partying like rock stars in the Aurora, Illinois basement of my viscera and it’s time to pull the plug on the amp and shut this party down.

When I sat down and had a chat with those fat cells and told them the plan, I could swear I heard Mike Myers voices saying, “No Whey!”  Yes, Mike, “Whey…..because I’ve been told it’s good for you!”