Archive for June, 2008

Simple Instructions for Living a Happy Life

June 26, 2008



  1. Get a Sharpee
  2. Draw a big circle around your heart
  3. Anytime there is a decision to make, check inside the circle.
  4. Listen your heart
  5. Do what makes your heart sing.

Easier said than done? Oh, yes! Living a life of joy is not for the weak of heart.

You must abandon all wish for security and predictability.

They will be replaced with wonder and with awe.

I promise!

Handling Grief in the Spirit of the Baglady

June 14, 2008



The other day I heard from Sheila Hensley again. The first anniversary of Charlie’s death (see blog post for May 7th) was this past week. She did the most unique thing I’ve ever heard a widow do to commemorate such an anniversary.


When she told me, I exclaimed with delight, “Sheila, you are such a wonderful Baglady!”

The line was silent for a moment and then I felt I better explain myself. After I did, we both laughed together, Sheila saying that she knew I would love her story.


See, the Baglady in the way I meant it was Rose, of course. And that would be anyone who follows her heart. She’s not afraid to take an action that seems so right to her even if everyone else (supposedly in their right mind) would be worried about what other people think.


A true human being lives from her heart. She hears and follows her intuition. And that is Sheila for sure!!  I suspect that, while there will never be a day in her life that she won’t think about and send loving thoughts to Charlie, she knows he is with her in spirit and she knows he wants her to live on and discover happiness again.


I know, you’re thinking stop putting it off and tell me what she did. So here goes. Sheila, her roommate and her new gentleman friend all went out in the back yard, and with hearts full, they yelled for Charlie. “Charlieeeeeeeeeeee!”  “Charlieeeeeeeee!”  And then the birds sang and a car drove by and another bird sang and they knew he heard.

Sandy is my hero (Or is it heroine)

June 7, 2008

Yea!!!! At least one of us finally figured out how to post photos on our blog. Sandy is my hero.  Dina


I’m Back!

June 6, 2008


We are back from our amazing European Adventure!  When I told people we would be traveling out of the country with 3 13year olds and an 11 year old, I always got the same response.  Your nuts.  They won’t appreciate it, they’ll want to eat at McDonald’s and they’ll whine all the way across the world.  My reason for making the trek with our older 3 kids plus one extra 13 year old friend for good measure was that I wanted to let them experience this type of travel while they’ll still be seen with me.  I keep hearing horror stories  from friends how there perfectly nice 11 year olds turn into demons that won’t speak to them when they hit their teens.  So I thought the timing was perfect. 

We started off in Venice, Italy and stayed in a Seminary built in the 1400’s.  It was amazing. My husband had met the Rector of the Seminary in the states at a “silent retreat” where they talked every chance they could.  Fr Lucio in his broken English said what all visitors to our country say, “you must stay with me if you ever make it to Venice”.  So we showed up with our 4 teenagers and they rolled out the red carpet.  Our rooms all had windows with these creaky, large planks of wood shutters that opened onto the Grand Canal.  We were so close you could drop things into the canal (not that we tried it or anything) but the view was breathtaking.  We had one of the Seminarians give us the grand tour of St Marks Cathedral and even the kids were impressed with his stories of the early martyrs and the great battles and history of the church there.  The kids even ate Spaghetti with Mussels at the Seminary but thought they were mushrooms.  They were very gracious about all the weird food and especially liked the fact that they were offered Limoncello (An Italian lemon flavored after dinner liquore).  So I was unleashed in Venice with some slightly typsy teenagers and they felt very grown up and worldly as we used Euros and sipped Cappucinos and watched a local glass blower making amazing jewelry in his little shop.  We even found the poor man’s Gondola which you could cross the canal in for 50 Eurocents each and our Gondola driver even sang for us. 

Then we trained up from Venice to Ancona for our exciting crossing of the Adriatic sea to get to Croatia.  This part of the trip was the only piece we wished we could have skipped.  A nasty storm followed us the entire 9 hour journey and the boat was full of sea sick and fairly frightened passengers. 

Once we recovered from this overnight trip that started feeling a bit like the Titanic, things starting looking up again.  After a breathtaking drive up the winding mountain road with views you have only seen in some exotic travel magazine, we arrived in a remote village in Croatia.  Here we were welcomed at a real life castle that was built 10 years ago.  They had waited breakfast on our arrival and we sat down with about 40 of the most interesting people from all over the world to an amazing meal cooked by the Italian chef that everyone called “Mama”.  It was some special feast day so the kids were all encouraged to start breakfast with a 3 scoop ice cream sundae.  They thought they’d all died and went to heaven.  Staying in a castle and eating ice cream for breakfast. 

They not only survived being entirely electronic free, no internet and no computer games, they absolutely thrived.  I remember walking into the dining hall to a pea shelling contest between our 4 kids.  And seeing them wander around the rolling hills with the sheep or trying to avoid the bulls that weren’t tethered when you made the 25 minute hike amongst the vineyards to get to the village was pretty memorable.  It was a simple existence, with lots of little pleasures and I wouldn’t trade a minute of it (except for the ferry ride from you know where) for all the Euros, Kunas, CMarks or Pounds in the world.  These are the currencies we got to use first hand during our travels.  It was funny to watch my husband hold out his hand to someone in a shop and say how much do I have?

I’ll try to process a bit so I can pass along some of the amazing insights we gained from Mother’s Village, the orphanage that holds over 5000 children orphaned in the war or the drug rehabilitation community that has a 95% success rate with lives full of meaningful work, prayer and community life.  For now, suffice it to say, we had the family trip of a life time and hope that it will have an impact on who my teenagers grow up to be.  Perhaps it may stave off them turning on me or becoming demons in their later teen years!

Talk with you again soon,


The Cement Pond

June 5, 2008

Well, I’m finally back home after 2 back to back trips to California and the wedding of my neice in Wichita, Kansas. My cat was happy to see me and…….

I haven’t talked about my koi pond before, but with my 100 year old home, came a pond, a cement pond to be exact.  It was just a mosquito haven when I moved in. I decided to refurbish it and get some fish. Well, a person can get really attached to their fish, something I had never imagined before.

This spring, my pond was so full of algae that I couldn’t even see my pets and I did absolutely everything I could to clear up the problem. In the process, I lost 3 of the 11 koi I had and was worried about the others.

When I headed out for my 3 week journey back in early May, I fully (though sadly) expected that the rest of them would die while I was gone. I was so excited to see that they were swimming around and happy when I got home. You can’t beleive how beautiful they are. Most of them are over 12″ long now.  And…… there are about a million (really more like a thousand) tadpoles in the water as well. So, pretty soon I have a funny feeling I’ll be telling you about an over abundance of frogs.