This project's goal is to give each family member and myself just 10 minutes of unconditional positive regard every day. All attention is focused on the other person for those 10 minutes and only positive comments or thoughts are allowed. Just 10 minutes often becomes much more. Try it and see. You'll find the Just 10 guidelines on the right side of this blog.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

See You Soon.

We buried my Uncle Gene last Friday.  His life was long.  His final years did not suit him.  His body failed to cooperate with his mind.  We celebrated his life and said goodbye for now.

As I stood behind the pall bearers, strong men with broad shoulders, my cousins, I was forced to accept that so much time has passed.  We, who for a time, felt forever young, are young no longer.

So many of our relatives, those who were solid landmarks in a chaotic world, are gone.  Those of us that remain are much older now.  Our hair is dusted with gray.  Our faces etched with lines.    We ask each other, "Where has the time gone?"  When did WE get so OLD?" Our age sobers us.  We, who walked in the shadow of our elders, now cast shadows of our own.

For a few trying minutes, I felt the passage of time, the loss of what was, the loss of those who mattered.  I stood behind a wall of somber strength and fought back tears.  I was glad that my uncle was free from the limits of his failing body but I mourned the loss of time.

The pain of this hit hard.  Giving in to the personal grief could not be allowed.  Focusing on the flickering candles, the feel of the early summer air, the smell of incense, wax and wood, I realized that the best use of time is found in moments in which feeling intersects with life.  This painful grief is an integral part of what makes other moments sweet.  Without the contrast, life becomes a meaningless blur.

Much of my life has been a blur.  Some thing, some one, seemed to have their foot on the accelerator and I have raced through the years riding in the back seat.  The years that remain don't stretch before me like an endless highway of what-might-be.  Time is at a premium.  Soon, I will be back to bury another and another.  All too soon, that other, will be me,

Silently, I pray to those who have gone before me.
"I need help.  I feel lost.  Nothing is turning out like I planned.  What do I do?"
In my mind, they look on me with a quiet, benevolent silence.  There is no need for words.  They, who fought the good fight, who have run the race, wait at the finish line.    Their trials, their fears and failures were part of the journey as mine are to my own.

In the end, life is less about what you have done and more about who you have become.

My uncle's life was a simple one.  He made a living by the work of his hands.  The land was the floor below him, the sky his cathedral.  In his presence, I felt a reverence I never understood.  Our relationship didn't have words to define it.  They weren't necessary.  Words aren't what really defines a life or shapes a destiny.   Those monumental events occur in between the crevices of the minutes, days and years.  They are found in action and choices, in moments of intense feeling both pain and joy.  The blood and bone of life is in the doing and the being.  It's in the showing up.

Thanks, Gene, Dad, Grandmas, uncles, aunts. . .Your lives have shown me the way.  Please save me a spot at the table.  We have some catching up to do.  See you soon.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Why Not?

Recently, Elizabeth Gilbert recommended the blog, Momastery.  Of course, I checked it out.  Loving it, I envied how well Glennon Doyle Melton writes.  For 3 days, it provided me an excuse not to write.  I gave up because I wasn't someone else.
Crazy?  Yes.  Not all my excuses are so illogical, however, I am an amazing author of excuses.  Maybe, it's time to look for reasons instead.  So, I did.

Carol's reasons to write:

In order to write, I have to write.  It's just like breathing.  It's what one does to stay alive, if you're so inclined  Holding my breath is not breathing.  All that effort to avoid the inevitable is futile.

I am not Glennon Doyle Melton or any other author I admire.   My life is uniquely mine.  Instead of finding reasons why I'm not good enough, I need to remember that the ONLY person I need to be better than is myself or the me I was 30 seconds ago.

I am interesting.  I honestly believe I'm one of the most interesting people I know.  In fact, I'm overly attached to my ideas and stories and I never tire of sharing them.

It's important to make time to do something I love.  Considering how much time I spend doing the things I have to do and don't enjoy,  if I can't make time for a little fun and enjoy what I'm doing, it's time to pack it all in.

I won't know what I can write if I don't give it a try.  Not every word or post is going to be good. It doesn't really matter.  Once in a while, I hit the mark.  The more I practice, the more I learn and the better I get.

Why not?  No, really.  why not?

Wednesday, May 20, 2015


"Stop thinking you are fragile," a wise friend said.

Guilty.  And, yet I know, I am not fragile.

My life is full of challenges.  Some may say it's a mess.  Some do say, "you're a mess!"
I am a glass-half-full gal.  I come from a long line of pessimists who are trying to find a glass.  A glass-half-full is an accomplishment.

I have good reasons to wake up at 3 a.m. and cry.  Occasionally, I have "sack-and-ash cloth" days when I feel sorry for myself.  There are days when I'm angry and impatient.   I remain human.  In time, I get a grip and begin again.  That's the joy of being human. You can reinvent yourself when the old self just doesn't cut it.

This mess, that is my life, has become a tremendous opportunity for growth.
This mess, that is my life, has opened my eyes to what is most precious and who among my friends and family provide bright spots in our lives.
This mess, that is my life, has witnessed a generosity and kindness that often leaves me speechless and teary-eyed with gratitude.
This mess, that is my life, has drawn us closer.
This mess, that is my life, has forced me to be brutally honest with myself and to begin to take greater responsibility for how I contribute to where I am in the moment. . . any moment.
This mess, that is my life, has taught me that blame, guilt and pity stand in my way and prevent me from the important work of beginning again.
This mess, that is my life, has deepened my faith in a loving God.  In a world turned upside down by disappointment and financial challenges, God is the only constant that makes sense.

No matter how discouraged I may feel in my darkest moments, my life remains an amazing gift.  I can not waste it.

I'm not fragile because I've discovered what I'm made of.  I am strongest in my broken places.

My wise friend, ended the evening with a direct statement to me.  "You are going to get through this. We're going to get through this."   She is right.  We are not fragile.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015


Blocked.  That was the message I received when I tried to post on my web site.  Blocked seems to be the theme lately.

Heading back over to "In Just 10" I rediscover what "In Just 10" was about.  I'm ashamed to admit that I had completely forgotten.  Total blank.  It's time to get back to what I value and to take action to protect it and to increase the joy I am certain will follow by being more attentive to those things that truly matter to me.  It requires effort.  I wonder if I have the energy.

I'm off course.  The wrong things are capturing my attention.  Ideas for op/ed pieces roar through my head like hungry lions.

As I try to shake off the mantle of negative energy, I realize that underneath my frustration and anger lies a deep and profound loneliness.  No one is more surprised than I to discover it there.

I am desperate to feel useful, essential, connected.  Instead I feel a profound disconnect at the deepest level.  Maybe this is the nature of grief.  Maybe, it is an essential component of change.  What ever it's purpose, cause or function,  I walk with it now.

My life is rapidly reduced to its basic elements so that I may rebuild again but the process is exquisitely painful and isolating.  Reality does have teeth and they are sharp.

I grieve under a great burden, the brokenness and the confusion follows me like a love sick puppy. Insight comes and goes with a brutal randomness.  Is this how others live?  Do other people worry about these things, the things that rip me from a sound sleep at 3 a.m. and form shadows on the wall that the light of day can not erase?

Polite conversation is no place for such things.   A curtain drops between me and the rest of the world.   It tries to hide the danger.  If it isn't spoken aloud, it doesn't exist.  But,  it does.  I carry it around with me like a hungry cancer.