Since May is a big month for me personally, I decided to look into the history of birthdays. I did not know the first mention of birthdays starts in Egypt around 3000 B.C.E.! And it’s pretty clear that birthdays are to remember and celebrate the life of that person. And how better to celebrate that person than with that birthday cake, right?!

I asked a coworker how she typically celebrates her birthday which she replied two facts: 1, she does not work on her birthday, and 2, she does not celebrate her birthday at all! After she explained her reasons, I realize that birthdays are just like holidays – they can be wrapped up in painful memories, anxiety, or any other unwanted feelings.

What my birthday means to me, aside from gratitude for my life, is a day when my loved ones call and sing Happy Birthday to me. As the years go by, I get fewer calls, so the ones I do get become more dear and precious to me. The second part of celebrating my birthday is that I get to choose my birthday dinner. No diet is to be factored in, and no other person’s consideration matters. And lastly, the very important birthday wish! No matter what, at the very least a candle needs to be lit and a wish made.

I’m turning the big 60 this month. Aging used to be pretty amusing – – well, it’s losing its humor and getting a little serious now! I think my mind and eyes are that of my youth. I think I’m about mid-thirties when I’m in conversations with people. Especially when I’m talking with coworkers, I think I’m just like them even though I am old enough to be their mother. I see the world with my youthful eyes. My heart feels a little older, a little more wiser as I’ve learned and developed more compassion over the years. Definitely more kindness and acceptance than I had in my twenties and thirties. My body is a different story. I vividly remember back around 1989 or 1990 when I worked at the forklift company. I was in my late 20’s and I developed this weird new pain in my abdomen. I was worrying and complaining about this pain, what could it be – it had to be diagnosed so it could be fixed. My friend, Joe, laughed and said he wouldn’t know what it would be like to wake up and not have something hurt or feel weird. Unfortunately, I can relate now.

This month’s New Moon is the day after my birthday, and according to the internet, “Mars and Jupiter, which are presently conjunct, harmonize with the new moon. This should bring a great sense of passion, excitement and optimism to our lives.” Well, that sounds good to me! But before the New Moon, there is a lunar eclipse on May 5th signify significant periods of change and transformation. In a nutshell, this month, astrologically speaking, urges us to connect with Mother Nature. Encouraging us to feel one with everything and know that we are part of the magic in the Universe.

Wishing you a beautiful month enjoying Mother Nature, feeling connected to All, and taking time out to celebrate YOU and your life, even if it’s not your birthday.


A Call For Help

I had a very disturbing experience at work this past month. One Sunday I was working, a very busy day at that, and a man called us at Hospice asking if there was anyone he could speak with because he had just lost a loved one and was having a very hard time. After expressing my sympathies to him, I told him I would get our bereavement counselor to get back with him on Monday. He said that would be too late, he was having a hard time now, he wasn’t able to only be troubled Monday through Friday, 9 to 5. As the conversation progress, I had my coworker contact our bereavement counselor for advice.  While my coworker was on the phone with our bereavement counselor, the man I was speaking with progressed to talking about suicide. I kept repeating to the man to call 988 or 911 immediately, instructing him to hang up from me and dial 988 or 911.

Early in the conversation, I asked him very directly, “Are you thinking of killing yourself?” One thing I’ve learned working with Hospice, is to ask very direct questions. When it comes to death, people often are far too afraid to speak directly and openly. And, for a split second, I realized as I asked him that it was awkward. However, he was too deeply emotionally hurt to even think if what I was asking was awkward or uncomfortable, he was only able to speak with raw hurt and honesty.

Working as a team, we got the police involved to do a wellness check on this person. It’s remarkable at how much the police can do with just a phone number! They were with him in an impressive amount of time and assisted him in getting help. I don’t know any more about what has happened with this person.

When relaying the conversation and what happened with my coworkers, one person said that people who are serious about committing suicide never talk about it, they just do it. And that those that talk about killing themselves are just trying to get attention. Well, that first comment is incorrect. People who die by suicide usually talk about it first. They are in pain and oftentimes reach out for help because they do not know what to do and have lost hope. Always take talk about suicide seriously. Always. 

Here are a few statistics:

  • It is estimated that close to 1,000,000 people make a suicide attempt each year.
  • Every year around 800,000 people succeed at taking their own life.

I hate having such a sad newsletter, but life has sad parts too. We all have very difficult experiences and times in our lives. If you’re concerned about someone being depressed, withdrawing, or suicidal talk to them about it. Speak up and say something, anything. You can’t make a person suicidal by showing that you care. In fact, giving a suicidal person the opportunity to express their feelings can provide relief from loneliness and pent-up negative feelings, and may prevent a suicide attempt. There is a world of help – many, many websites offer help, go to the hospital, call your doctor, and always remember the suicide hotline is 988.

Let’s switch topics and brighten up the newsletter now! Last year we planted a weeping cherry tree in our front yard. I am so happy to report that “Cherry” is making a grand debut this spring, full of buds and blooms! I’ve said it before, I get so excited watching all the flowers and plants bloom and grow. I sincerely wish you a fun month, full of growth and youthful energy.

Back in December I had injured my knees. Crawling around on the floor on my knees wrapping Christmas presents aggravating arthritis in my knees. I was at work walking quickly down the hall when I got this weird twinge in my right knee. It started small but grew to my knee actually buckling underneath of me. This was all very new to me, I have never had my knee, or anything else, give out on me.  As this all progressed, I slowly realized how much fear was growing in me. Would I be able to work, would I be able to go hiking, would I even be able to go for a walk?

Early February I came down with a cold. Started out as a common cold. But man, did that cough settle in for the long haul. I have had a cough for going on four weeks! I was tested 4 times for covid, all negative. My doctor diagnosed the ol’ common cold and warned me about the cough that lingers.  Again, fear crept in me. I worried deeply about calling out sick at work, about contaminating my husband before his shoulder surgery, and will this cough ever go away or is it actually a symptom of something far more serious?

So, this fear that wormed its way into my life has me clenching my teeth, giving me indigestion, all mixing in with very doomed thoughts.  And that’s when I had to get myself to realize is I am the one creating the ‘what if’s’ and all of the contrived problems. 

In Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Now, he writes: “The psychological condition of fear is divorced from any concrete and true immediate danger. It comes in many forms: unease, worry, anxiety, nervousness, tension, dread, phobia, and so on. This kind of psychological fear is always of something that might happen, not of something that is happening now. You are here and now, while your mind is in the future.” “You can always cope with the present moment, but you cannot cope with something that is only a mind projection – you cannot cope with the future.”

I am no stranger to mindfulness and being present in the moment. But just because I am pretty well versed in the concept and practices, does not mean that I, too, don’t need to recognize, realize and work on it!

I’ve peeled away at all of this, one by one. I am currently getting gel injections in both of my knees, which has made a very big improvement in my knee health and abilities. No more knee giving out on me, and yes, I am back walking. I acknowledged that everyone gets sick at some time or another and has to call out from work, and that I am no different. Work did survive without me, they managed just fine. And on top of that, my coworkers checked in on me and showed unexpected care and concern. My husband did not catch that cold, thankfully! His surgery went very well and he’s healing wonderfully. And lastly, the cough is subsiding and is almost gone. So now when I find myself residually clenching my jaws, I relax and then smile big!

This month we will officially welcome Spring. It is always exciting to see the first signs of the daffodils and forsythias blooming! Yes, all this new life budding. Wishing you a bright, beautiful month of new beginnings and creations that bring color and much joy!

Working 12 hr. shifts with one person can lead into all kinds of discussions. Recently I was working with Dee, a coworker/friend that I am paired up with the most. The other day we were talking about different places to go on vacation, and she said she wants to go to Hawaii. I told her that while I would love to go to Hawaii, I would probably never make it there. After looking at me, she asked why… and why indeed, I had to think. This answer, while true, was not a thought-out answer, rather it was an automatic response.

I’m no stranger to the concept that we carry our parents (or influential peoples) beliefs and values as our own. We have a tendency to take on our parent’s point of view at an early stage in life. Well, I didn’t realize this applied to me on my thoughts about vacations. I do remember somewhere along the line my mom saying she didn’t want to vacation anywhere except to go be with family.

My father traveled a lot and traveled all over the world. I never once crossed his views of vacation with my mom’s. I have taken vacations to various places without there being a family visit mixed in, but I realize that all of those vacations have been relatively local. And the first splurge vacation we planned to Key West was abruptly cancelled one week prior to leaving when we found out about the investment fraud that greatly impacted our finances. In retrospect that affected me as a kind of roundabout way of reinforcing the notion of not taking a special pleasure trip.

So, until Dee questioned me, I didn’t realize the preconceived restrictions I had on travel and vacation. I realized several ways in which I had been directed by outside and outdated thoughts. Hmmm, so where will I go?!

With Valentines right in the middle of this month, take a moment out to think about Love. Not the chocolates and flowers perfunctory kind of love, instead the love of oneself. I was reading Louis Hay and she says:
“Stop criticizing yourself now and forevermore. Love and accept yourself as you are right now. When you do, you’ll blossom in ways that you can’t even imagine. Love will heal you; I promise. Your love for yourself will work miracles in your life.”

So my wish for you this month, is to see yourself as I see you, as a beautiful soul of love.

Happy New Year 2023!

Happy New Year! Looking back on 2022 I’m filled with awe of all that’s happened and changed in 2022. I can see my professional growth, which I am very proud of. I asked a coworker what she envisioned for herself in the upcoming year, and she talked about personal growth goals. Discussing this she described that she read about looking at yourself naked in a mirror every day as a way to let go of negative self-images and to start accepting, and hopefully loving, your body. I suggested she incorporate the gralphabet (gratitude alphabet). After explaining it, she absolutely loved the concept and is going to incorporate that with her new routine.

The following is a combination of poems written by Donna Ashworth which resonates with me:

“Why do we start a new year, with promises to improve?
Who began this tradition of never-ending pressure?
I say, the end of a year, should be filled with congratulation, for all we survived.
And I say a new year should start with promises to be kinder to ourselves, to understand better just how much we bear, as humans on this exhausting treadmill of life.
And if we are to promise more, let’s pledge to rest, before our bodies force us.
Let’s pledge to stop, and drink in life as it happens.
Let’s pledge to strip away a layer of perfection to reveal the flawed and wondrous humanity we truly are inside.
Why start another year, gifted to us on this earth, with demands on our already over-strained humanity.
When we could be learning to accept, that we were always supposed to be imperfect.
And that is where the beauty lives, actually.
And if we can only find that beauty, we would also find peace.

No, 2023 won’t be the best year yet.
Nor will it be the worst.
You see, a year is a mosaic of absolutely everything.
Joy, fear, heartache, loss, beauty, pain, love.
Failure, learning, friendship, misery, exhilaration.
Each day, each moment even, is a tiny shard of glass in this beautiful, confusing creation.
2023 will be another mosaic to add to your wall of art.
A wall that shows the life, you are continuously gifted.
A wall that shows you are human.
A wall of survival.
And before you march on into another year of ‘everything’, pause to look back, at the work you have created thus far.
It is quite something.
You are quite something.
Now onwards we go, my friends.
Onwards we go.”

Yes, onward we go into the New Year. I wish you good health, good fortune, and peace in your thoughts and heart.

My how things change. A meme asked: what is something you would say today that you didn’t say/know in the 80’s – or something like that. I read a couple of answers people gave, but then I started thinking about how different life is now compared to the 80’s. And then one thought led to another and how tv shows and movies are very different now then they used to be. I wondered why I don’t really like the shows of today too much. Listening to one of my podcasts (there’s one of those things we wouldn’t have known about in the 80’s), they discussed and explained how filming techniques are done now which is very different then it was years ago. They also said the attention span of today’s viewers has shrunk so much that they must write and record shows/movies differently to keep our attention. That makes sense to me and explains why programs are just different these days.

Then there’s the whole world of streaming programs from different networks. (I promise, I won’t keep pointing out these ‘didn’t know about in the 80’s’ things.) While I still have satellite tv, I have been slow to but am now starting to stream more and more.

In fact, an area of shows that are starting to make a bigger presence is Native American shows and movies that are written, starred, and produced by Native Americans. Right up my alley! I absolutely love the series on Hulu called Reservation Dogs. So, there’s Reservation Dogs on Hulu, then AMC has Dark Winds which is based on Tony Hillerman books, and then just the other day I saw an ad about a movie on Amazon Prime titled Smoke Signals that is in this same genre.  And I watched it. Very similar to Reservation Dogs, and I loved it. 

At the very end of the movie Smoke Signals, by Sherman Alexie, was this quote that moved me:

How do we forgive our fathers? Maybe in a dream. Do we forgive our fathers for leaving us too often, or forever, when we were little? Maybe for scaring us with unexpected rage, or making us nervous because there never seemed to be any rage there at all? Do we forgive our fathers for marrying, or not marrying, our mothers? Or divorcing, or not divorcing, our mothers? And shall we forgive them for their excesses of warmth or coldness? Shall we forgive them for pushing, or leaning? For shutting doors or speaking through walls? For never speaking, or never being silent? Do we forgive our fathers in our age, or in theirs? Or in their deaths, saying it to them or not saying it. If we forgive our fathers, what is left?    

Wow… I have read this many times now and it still grabs me. If we forgive our fathers (or mothers, or who or whatever), what is left?  That can be the challenge. How to fill that void where all that energy, thought and emotion sat.

Well, perhaps this doesn’t wrap around to these things we say and know today that we didn’t say and know in the 80’s… but this is just one example of a rabbit hole my mind wanders…

I hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving. I am surprised at how much of the Christmas spirit I am in this early in the month. This is one of our busiest months of the year, and this time next month will be the New Year! Whoa… stay in the moment, Xina… enjoy today! 

Wishing you fun, peace, and many blessings this holiday season.

My Young Soul

Whoa, how did November get here that fast?! When I think of November, I’m thinking Thanksgiving with Christmas right around the corner, colder temps and maybe even the hint of snow. But how did we get here so fast? Didn’t the leaves just start changing color, and didn’t the kids just start school? This whole time concept can really blow my mind. And if we’re talking about how fast time rushes by it always leads to our own personal aging.

At work (the upstairs crew) there is only one coworker older than me, and that’s a crazy thing to me. When talking with these women I ‘see’ me the same as them. I truly feel that we are the same, equal. Well, until I look in the mirror, or remember that they’re the same age as my son (and younger)!

Just this morning I read the following:

“I am still every age that I have been. Because I was once a child, I am always a child. Because I was once a searching adolescent, given to moods and ecstasies, these are still part of me, and always will be… This does not mean that I ought to be trapped or enclosed in any of these ages… Far too many people misunderstand what ‘putting away childish things’ means and think that forgetting what it is like to think and feel and touch and smell and taste and see and hear like a three-year-old or a thirteen-year-old or a twenty-three-year-old means being grownup. When I’m with these people I, like the kids, feel that if this is what it means to be a grown-up, then I don’t ever want to be one. Instead of which, if I can retain a child’s awareness and joy, and ‘be’ fifty-one, then I will really learn what it means to be grownup.” Madeleine L’Engle

I think maybe all this pondering I do on my age, making a conscious effort on remembering how to play, on reminiscing on my life is typical to do as people age.  But I’ve rushed through some parts of my life, and I really think it’s more about appreciation, and about truly living life now. I want to make sure I absorb my life. I want to make sure I’m living all of my life and making the most of my life.

I just picked a card from Marianne Williamson’s Miracle Cards deck and it reads:

“Learning from children: children are not really children; they’re just younger people. We have the same soul at 60 that we had at age 10. Children have at least as much to teach us as we have to teach them.”

I like that. I really like that! That really resonates with what I was saying about talking with my younger coworkers and feeling the same age. It’s my soul, it’s each of our souls that’s the very same as it’s always been. Yes, I completely agree!

As we begin the upcoming holiday season, I hope you remember the magic and joy from when you were younger to enjoy the holidays more and keep those stresses at bay.

My Desire to Play

Ahhhh, October! How I dearly love this time of year. As I’m writing this, it is so cool out this morning that I have a sweatshirt on. Now that the weather is cooling off maybe I can get back to hiking, I do miss those mountain trails.

Last month we drove down to Florida for our brother in law’s celebration of life. Since we were going down, and we would be close to Christopher, I definitely wanted to see him.  

I don’t think I can accurately express how special it was to get this extra visit with him. We spent a day in the pool, and then a day visiting the manatee lagoon and a science museum where we saw this very creepy fish with human like teeth! And our brother in law’s celebration of life was truly a celebration of his life. My sista in law (intentionally misspelled) greeted everyone saying that Les wanted his family and friends to come together to drink, eat and be happy. To share stories and actually celebrate him – and that is precisely what we did.

The next day we spent at my sista in law’s house with her best friend, and Marvin’s brother and his wife; we spent the whole afternoon in the pool. I realized that this is the one area I remember how to play! I challenged my sisters-in-law to races, we got to doing cannonballs and diving off the diving board – I truly felt like a kid again. Occasionally the thought would pop in my head about what my body looks like when I get out of the water or was the splash from my cannonball WAY more of a splash because I’m so fat, among other fat shaming thoughts.

I was able to push them away then because my desire to play was greater – thankfully. I realize these things I think and say to myself are one sided. I officiated a wedding very recently where I was surrounded by friends and coworkers. One friend’s husband told her he was surprised every man wasn’t chasing me around. To him I had the most perfect “ass” (his words).  At work after the wedding, we were talking about the wedding and all the events including this one husband’s comments, and a coworker agreed and said people pay good money to get a butt like mine.

Well… I don’t see that, but it is all perspective. After all, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I do stop those thoughts when I notice them. I try to put all of my life in perspective and replace those shaming thoughts with recognizing beautiful things about myself.  I re-read the newsletter I sent in May about the very same thing – what we think and how our brains and body respond! I guess I’d better re-read it again and again…

I hope you get to take a little extra time this month to soak in the spectacular displays of color the trees will soon show us, and maybe enjoy an extra pumpkin spice of your choice! Wishing you beautiful thoughts, feelings, and autumn appreciation!


With the kids back in school, September begins the start of fall. Yes, pumpkin spice everything is happening now. Except it sure doesn’t feel like autumn yet, it’s still 80 degrees outside! But I always get a little excited feeing inside knowing that my most favorite time of the year is coming up.

My granddaughter has gotten off to a great start at college, and my grandson, starting his junior year at high school, has a good start as well. I just held a Reiki III class last weekend and now there are three more beautiful Reiki Master’s in the world. And it was a year ago that I started preparing and moving to my current position as med tech upstairs.

Funny how typically we associate summer being a very active and busy time of year, but I love the different type of active and busy that autumn brings.

I read the following, “Seasons”, from the book Notes From the Song of Life by Tolbert McCarroll that I wish to share with you:

A tree knows where it is on nature’s wheel. Whatever the position – budding, in full leaf, with ripe fruit – it is all part of being a tree.

There are seasons in your life. Do not try to escape a season. If you try to bear fruit when it is time to bud, you may never bud.

Listen to the song of nature. Every year is a cycle. There is a time for activity and a time for quiet. There are moments of beginning and moments of ending. There are seasons for moving and seasons for renewal. Be still and learn. See nature’s story unfold. Watch a bird and a tree. Learn about the commonness between you and the bird. Let the tree help you find your place.

Be aware of the day. There are seasons to a day. The dawn is spring. Summer is midday. The afternoon is autumn. Winter comes at night. You were made to experience this cycle each day. Always remember that tomorrow there is another cycle, another turn of the wheel.

Every breath is a cycle of life. Take in the sweet spring of your breath. Fill up your lungs with the summer of the cycle. Experience the autumn joy of letting go. Be empty and still in the winter of your breath. Now breath again, for there is always a new beginning and a new ending.

You will never take a breath more or less important than the one you are taking now. You will never be in a day or year more or less important than the one you are in now.

Every single moment is a new beginning for all life. This present second could see the end of all. This instant is a new beginning for all. If you really jump into a now-moment you will be completely renewed.

Life, like an ocean, is made up of many waves. There are waves for each moment, each day, each year, each life. If you hunger after a sense of completeness, be in harmony with the waves.

I wish you a beautiful month full of the amazing splendor that autumn brings.

Retro Nostalgia

July is one of the heavy months for me. Several very important women in my life passed in July, the most important being my mother. She is always at the forefront of my thoughts. I don’t think a day goes by that I don’t think of her.

My granddaughter is getting ready to go to college, her freshman year. I took her shopping recently to help with getting ready to go off on her own. I haven’t been to stores outside of Target, Marshall’s and JC Penny’s in quite some time. But when Savannah and I went to the outlet mall and we went into various other stores, I felt like I was taking a step back in time! The styles are straight out of the 70’s and 80’s – very retro! And as I see these clothes, so much like the clothes I used to wear when I was her age, I was instantly brought back to the various outfits my Mom bought me. This is all so heartwarming – both past and present.

The other afternoon my husband came inside and said he kept hearing something hit the side of the garage. Going out and looking, it was June Bugs! So many of them that it sounds like hail hitting the house and garage. I timed it, every 2 seconds you’ll hear a dink sound. They’re big too! Marvin called them Japanese beetles which got me wondering the difference between Japanese beetles and June bugs, so I looked it up. Japanese beetles are the small ones, June bugs are the big ones, similar in size as half my thumb.

In the 24 years we’ve lived here, we have never had this many June bugs. I couldn’t even sit outside because of them flying into me. As Ted Andrews says, when you’re being hit by the preverbal 2×4, you need to pay attention. So, I looked up and read about June bugs. Out of every bug in the world, the June bug carries one of the most sacred spiritual symbolisms. Keynotes are good things coming from new beginnings, indications the spirits of our lost loved ones, spiritual protection, and that the Universe is trying to get your attention. What I find most fascinating is that the summer my Mom passed, we had an abnormal amount of dragonflies, and now on the 11th anniversary (no, I’m not missing the master number here) of her passing we have an abnormal amount of June bugs.

All of this, surrounding my granddaughter going off to college. She is so full of excitement and energy as she starts her life. I’m so excited for her. All this with her has got me reminiscing about my youth. In fact, San and I will sometimes talk about choices we made in our young adulthood, and our thoughts and goals around them. How we’re influenced by our father and our mother in different ways. I wish I had made different choices when I was Savannah’s age, I have lots of ‘I wish I had of…”, but I would be a different person than I am now, and I wouldn’t be where I am now – and I dearly love who and where I am now. I love my family, I love my friends, I love my home, and I love my job and coworkers. Yes, life is a journey…

As we progress into August, the last month of summer, let’s make the most of the long day light hours and the warm temperatures! Remember to take time to play and celebrate all the little things and big things that are meaningful to your life.

Namaste and peace