Steppin over the Edge

“Life is inherently risky. There is only one big risk you should avoid at all costs, and that is the risk of doing nothing.” Denis Waitley

Oh, the nebulous world of Risky. The definition depends on the day. When I was young, it didn’t seem so risky to climb a ladder, reach a little to paint in that wee corner of the wall. Today, I am older, and the days of climbing ladders has ceased. It is deemed too risky. The wall may still need painted, I just have to find a new way to get it accomplished.

As a nurse, my mind has turned into radar to detect risk. As we rehab our 200 year old home, my job is risk management. With an adventuresome, courageous and competent engineering husband I stay plenty busy in that role!

I use the sliding scale of “risk : benefit” ratio. Many activities carry some degree of risk. However, the benefit may outweigh the potential risk. Conversely, the benefit may be low and the potential risk too high. On occasion, the risk is high for me, but the benefit for mankind may be huge.

“I wondered how many was like me. Like me wanted to be free. Had thought bout leaving, but stayed for some reason. Then somethin happens. Takes you over your edge-that edge of fear not knowin what’s on that other side. Not willin to take the first step to move to some new spot. Then somethin kinda forces your foot. An you step out.”    ” Leo and the Listener”, by Faye Hager







Island Illusion

“No man is an island.” John Donne

Islands bring adventure! Beauty! Exotic sights! Or perhaps they can bring danger, hunger and isolation.

By definition an island is surrounded by water. Without a means to leave the island by boat or swimming one could feel trapped there. Emotions can be like islands. We can feel so overwhelmed by an emotion that we believe there is no escape. When the emotions are jubilant, we don’t mind. We would like to live on the jubilant island forever! But when emotions are dark, we wish to seek light and an escape from such despair, sadness or loneliness.

One must start with John Donne’s declaration. ‘No man is an island’. No matter how isolated one feels, there is a way of escape. The first step is an act of the will-a desire to escape. The desire must translate into actions or the presumed desire is not real. It is an illusion which further traps the inactive person in despair.

So how might one bridge the water which seems to obstruct escape?  Remember, we are not islands. We are people with connections to others. Approaching others may not be easy. A bridge may have to be built or repaired. A person may have to learn to swim to escape. Sometimes we can build the bridge alone. Sometimes we can teach ourselves how to swim. Sometimes we need external instruction. This instruction can be obtained via a friend, a counselor, a book, or a sage. When we want to escape, we must take the action required for that desire to become a reality.

“Too much self-centered attitude, you see, brings, you see, isolation. Result: loneliness, fear, anger. The extreme self-centered attitude is the source of suffering.” Dalai Lama



“We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal…life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” Thomas Jefferson

What a wonderful time for our nation as we witnessed a milestone in our legal system which just enabled more citizens to embrace a long with-held freedom. The freedom to obtain a legal certificate of marriage for same sex partners.

I think the definition of marriage, is the legal union between two people. At some point in time, the concept was added-between a husband and a wife (male and female). But that is a very limited definition. The full definition is a ‘legal contract’.  Having that legal contract allows one to speak on behalf of their injured/or medically impaired partner, to be provided spousal privilege  in not  testifying in court when it could harm your partner, and in issues related to taxes.

Many of these issues were unknown to me until I became friends with those who did not have those same freedoms. I am happy today that they can now experience them.

Our nation has many concerns to think about. We are starting the presidential campaigns and must look at issues related to our financial processes, and defense resources to name a couple. It is time to put aside social differences.

“I have never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend.” Thomas Jefferson

Let’s be inspired by our founding fathers as we ALL celebrate freedom today!!



Patience with Imperfection

“Have patience with all things, but, first of all with yourself”  Saint Francis de Sales

Patience is a funny concept. Margaret Thatcher is quoted as saying “I’m extraordinarily patient provided I get my own way in the end.”  Is that patience or persistence? I tend to think of that as persistent. Not giving up on what you want.

I think patience is different. As Saint Francis de Sales indicated; patience includes being patient with yourself. The first time I really thought about this concept was when I went through my divorce. I was at the end of my forties. I was facing being fifty. I had been married for 31 years. I had not dated anyone else for 33 years. In many ways I was terrified. I wondered ‘what if I make mistakes?’

My married life was wrapped up in a very conservative church. While the church taught that we were all sinners saved by grace, it behaved as though everyone had to be perfect. My husband was on staff at those churches. We were trained to be very perfect. When you are on the staff of these churches you live in a fish bowl. Everyone sees what you do and they all have an opinion. You may have heard the saying; three baptists-four opinions. You wear yourself out trying to please so many people. In fact, I often lost sight as to what I really thought or believed as I was so busy trying to pass the constant inspection. I had witnessed how the church responded to people who ‘made mistakes’–they were criticized, judged, and condemned.

I remember wondering why the church had the expectation that people would be perfect. They of course won’t say that. They will readily say, oh no, people are not perfect, they are sinners. Only God is perfect. You would think that with that mindset, the church membership would not be shocked every time someone ‘sinned’. They would expect it. Love them, help them and comfort them. That was not what I witnessed. So, people were afraid to make a mistake. In practice we all walked around trying to be perfect.

Then one day I told myself that I would make mistakes. Not that I might, but that I would. I was human. I was not God. I am not all knowing, all seeing and all present. I would make decisions the best that I could, but that I would make some mistakes along the way. I told myself that it was okay. It was okay to make a mistake. I was human.

I cannot tell you the relief that I experienced that day. The pressure to be perfect was lifted. I might mention that by the time I gave myself this freedom, I was out of the fishbowl. The divorce was final. The church rejected me-divorce you know. They count that as an unexpected sin. You drop right off the perfect pedestal.

Now I was able to think, and consider who I was, what I wanted, and how I wanted to live. I knew it would take time. I didn’t expect myself to heal over night. I knew it might take time to discover truths about myself.

Patience is defined as “an ability or willingness to suppress restlessness or annoyance when confronted with delay”. So I remind myself not to be annoyed or restless as I take time to become who I am. Or to recognize who that is. We are rehabbing an old house. We constantly make decisions what to keep, what to discard, and what to alter. Life is like that. And it all takes time. If I am inpatient, I will miss the pleasure of the journey.





“Leo and the Listener”

“The voices whisper. If you listen you can hear the past.”

“Leo is a runaway slave who dies in the cellar of the Frost home. He cannot move on until he is able to tell the story. But no one is listening. He misses his beloved Sena and wants to return to her. He has to tell someone the secrets of the house so he can be freed. As the new owner tears down the old walls for restoration, the stories break out as the walls break open.”

my new novella available for eBook from Amazon for $3.99. It will go to your Kindle or to your iPad.  It was inspired by the discoveries made while we have been rehabbing our 200 year old home.

If you purchase, let me know what you thought!