My Moment of Enlightenment in the Shoe Aisle at Academy

Being claustrophobic, I try to avoid crowded malls and stores whenever possible. For example, you will never find me shopping in at a discount store on a tax-free weekend. I’ll gladly pay the taxes and go shopping when everyone else is counting the cash they saved  by fighting throngs of people. Better yet, I try to shop online and avoid people altogether.

Last Sunday afternoon, however, my son and I went to a nearby Academy Sports + Outdoors to pick up some new shoes. I figured not many people would be there because school had already started for many kids and surely parents shopped a few weeks ago during the tax-free weekend, right?

Wrong. (more…)


Overcoming Blogophobia

Have you ever been really freaked out about doing something but you did it anyway and then realized it wasn’t as bad as you had anticipated? That’s happened to me many times over the past few years. For example:

  • Giving blood
  • Driving in Boston
  • Going to an event where I didn’t know anyone

But you might be shocked when I tell you one of my biggest fears: Blogging. (more…)

Walking With Lucy

These days I should be walking Lucy before the sun rises. By the time it’s 8 a.m., the temperature has climbed to the uncomfortable level. By 10 a.m. it’s unbearable. And yet, even when my morning activities mean a walk at 8 or 9 a.m., Lucy still wants to go. That’s the great thing about dogs. They never say no.

Yesterday on our walk we had two people encounters. A older white-haired man rode by on a bike and then, about 20 yards away, he seemed to change his mind about riding by. He turned his bike around and pedaled back toward us. I have to admit that I instinctively tensed. He slowed down and stopped in front of us. I unlocked my phone in case I needed to call 9-1-1. (more…)

How To Make The World Better

I wish there were an 800 number at the end of the newspaper that you could call to do something about the horrific things you’ve just read.

I would call on Sunday. I imagine it would go something like this:


“The New York Times how-to-make-the-world-better-hotline. May I help you?”

“Yes, I’m calling because I feel really bad about all the terrible things in the world that I just read in your newspaper.”

“Wonderful. We appreciate your call.”

“So what can I do to make the world a better place? The problems are so big and I am just one person.” (more…)

Perspective is Everything, Especially When it Comes to Rejection

I recently received my first rejection since I started this blog in April. A short poem I’d submitted to a well-known children’s magazine was “not right for us.”

It wasn’t my first rejection by far. (We writers have to get used to rejection or we would never submit anything. Our stories would remain locked up inside us, silently struggling to seep out of our pores.)

The morning I received the rejection I had a conversation with my aunt. She asked if I remembered that when I was diagnosed with cancer 14 years ago I told her that I just wanted to see my boys go to kindergarten. And as long as I got to do that, I’d be okay with whatever happened. (They were 7 months and two-years-old when I was diagnosed.) I don’t remember saying that to her but I do remember thinking it. I remember thinking that asking to see my babies graduate from high school or college would be too much. Too greedy. So I chose kindergarten, the closest educational step. What seemed the most possible at the time.

After talking with my aunt that day and being reminded about my good fortune to still be breathing, I opened the rejection. Instead of wallowing in self-pity and letting Shoulder Frank spew his soul-crushing evil like I’ve done in the past, I let myself have a brief moment of disappointment and then I veered right to gratitude.

I’m grateful for that rejection because I am still alive to be able to write poems and essays and articles and stories that can be rejected. I could easily be dead but I’m not. Thanks to the power of modern medicine I’m alive to see my children in high school. And I’m alive to write.

So who cares if that magazine didn’t want my poem!

Perspective is everything.

In case you need a little help figuring out what you can be grateful for, check out my free one-minute e-book, 100 Things Anyone Can be Grateful For. Even if nothing else speaks to you, the world’s best brownie recipe will. It’s my grandmother’s and it’s divine.

Grandma's Brownies - definitely something to be grateful for!

Grandma’s Brownies – definitely something to be grateful for!