Dangling their feet off the edge of the world.


“They came to sit & dangle their feet off the edge of the world & after awhile they forgot everything but the good & true things they would do someday. ”

 Brian Andreas,  StoryPeople

I have this picture and quote by Brian Andreas on the table that is reserved for newborn pictures of my grandchildren. I think it has the perfect sentiment. I love each one of these precious humans so very much! Each so unique and with so much potential to do good in the world.

Let's do all we can to ensure a bright future for them and for all of the children in the world. Their future is in our hands, all of our hands, just as the future of the generations to come after them in is their hands.

The connection between generations is more than just a continuation of families. It is a sacred trust that is passed from one generation to the next and the next, even to those generations far removed from our own.

It is a trust that we serve and honor by doing our best to live now, while we are on this earth, in a way that ensures future generations will have access to the resources we have now. It is a way of living that ensures the wonder and beauty of the natural world will still exist for them.

It is a way of living that says, "I did my best to be a good steward of the environment because I want the very best for you, my grandchild, and you, my great grandchild, and you my, great great grandchild, and all those children who are born into a future far removed from my own lifetime."

It is a way of living, that says, "I have lived fully with love, a love that extends not just to those who live now; not just to those who will be descended from me, but to all those who dwell on this planet now and in the future."

It is our sacred trust and it is reaffirmed for us every time we look into the eyes of a newborn child.

It is a trust born of life itself.

I Call Myself Earth Girl, my first novel, is available in bookstores, online retailers, as an ebook in all formats.

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The bittersweet gift of 9/11

All of the 9/11 remembrances and tributes on FB today and have been so heartfelt and beautiful, somber and sad, yet filled with gratitude for the emergency responders. Just like everyone else, my memories of that day are crystal clear, and just as some have written, I, too, feel sad about how America has changed since 9/11.But I am going to share a different kind of memory from that time. I remember being gathered together with my family in the living room that evening after everyone had returned home from work and school. I remember feeling overwhelmingly grateful that we were all safe.I could literally feel with my body, as well as my heart and soul, the love we have for each other and how precious each of us was (is) to each other.

My heart was breaking for everyone who lost a parent, a child, a spouse, a lover, a friend. I could not sleep for days thinking of the enormity of the loss to so many people who never had a chance to say "Good-bye. I love you," one last time. It seems so selfish, but I don't think I have ever felt luckier or more blessed in my life, just knowing that each of us was safe.

Our family changed that day. We made more time for each other in the months that followed. More family dinners, more phone calls, more sense of needing and wanting to be together. Time passes and the intensity of fear, relief, needing each other's company wanes. We begin to take each other for granted again. I don't mean this in a "oh they don't care about me" way. I mean that in normal day-to day life we don't always recognize how precious our family circle is. We don't focus, really focus, on how much we love each other.

So, today, while I remember the immense tragedy of 9/11 and while I honor those lives lost, I will also be thankful for the awareness that day of loss brought to our family. We are profoundly lucky to have each other.

I Knew the Boston Marathon

The standard advice to writers is to write about what you know. I know the Boston Marathon.

Maybe I should say I knew it. Although, my memories from 46 years of the Marathon remain the same, the emotional impact of these memories is forever changed.

The marathon has been something amazing and special to me since the first time I saw it in 1967. I was a freshman at Boston College, up from my home state of Maryland. I had never even heard of it. But I loved watching it and I loved its history, going all the way back to 1897.

For so many New Englanders, the Boston Marathon was more than sport. It was a rite of spring; a cherished family day; a chance to stand with people you did not know and cheer on other people you did not know; to offer paper cups of water and sliced oranges as the runners passed by. It was a feel-good day.

Rain or shine, too cold or too hot, the runners came and so did the spectators. Every year I watched with tears as front runners sprinted by and those at the back of the pack struggled by. The crowds always cheered for both - awe in their voices for those in the lead and sincere words of encouragement for those in the back.

I always felt like the Boston Marathon was an example of people at their best. Their real best - not just their peak of physical performance - their best because it was, in many ways, about collaboration as much as competition; about striving as much as succeeding; about cheering on with appreciation as much as being cheered for; about celebrating the last as well as the first.

It was about the spectators as much as the runners.  Running Boston just wouldn't be the same without the crowds and traditions. It was truly the most interactive of sporting events and many families built traditions around this special iconic Boston event.

It was about people coming together from all over the world to participate, and in a funny way, it was about people from the suburbs coming together with Bostonians to celebrate our "Bostonness."

Bostonians, for the most part, love Boston - its history, its crazy traffic patterns, its accent, its sports teams and its marathon.  To us, "the Marathon."  When we heard someone talk about "running Boston" it held a special meaning for us.

So how has it changed? What does it mean now?

It means even more than it did before.  Until 2:51 on Monday afternoon, it represented a happy celebration of spring and sport, a chance for people to be at their best. Now it will always represent people at their worst, as well.

But here is what we can't forget. Whether there was one bomber or a dozen or even a hundred, there were more heroes than bombers. People rushed in to help. Others showed up at area hospitals to donate blood. Others opened their homes to those who couldn't get back into their hotels. People across the country are collecting money to help victims in whatever way possible.

None of this diminishes the horror of what happened. None of it makes up for the senseless loss of lives and limbs. None of it can restore the innocence so many children lost on this day.

No, the harm -and it is immense - can not be extinguished.

But the spirit of the Boston Marathon can not be extinguished either.

If the bombers thought that fear would prevail,  they were wrong.

If they thought that hatred will overtake us, they were wrong.

If they thought that we will be convinced that the evil in the world is stronger than the good, they were wrong.

We can show them that they are wrong, and we must.

So from now on, be a little more loving to everyone, a little less fearful about everything, and embrace all that is good in the world. Hold tight to the good.  Never let it go.

Finally, come to Boston for next year's Marathon.                                                                   Run it.                                                                                                                                                Walk it.                                                                                                                                               Watch it.                                                                                                                                         Just come.

We need you here.




  Sometime life challenges us by forcing us to accept things that just don’t make sense to us.  I experienced this in a very profound way watching close friends struggle  against terminal cancer  at the same time that my mother – much older than all of them – was suffering from living too long.

Within a few years, four close friends were diagnosed with cancer. Each of them chose the most aggressive treatment options because they desperately wanted to live. They chose chemotherapy that caused relentless nausea, weakness, skin infections, and often kept them away from the people with whom they most wanted to spend time – their children, grandchildren and friends.  They were in their late 50s, 60s and early 70s. Not young, but by today’s standards, definitely not old. During this period my mother was in her mid-90s and having a hard time.

My mother’s depression was probably rooted in my father’s death after a long decline from Alzheimer’s disease. But for some reason, she could not admit this, not even to herself. Instead, she convinced herself and all of her friends in her retirement community that she was dying. She wouldn’t get out of bed and had doctors convinced that she was suffering from some sort of physical condition. When test after test revealed that she was actually quite healthy, she refused to believe it.

When I would cheerfully tell her how great it was that the tests found nothing wrong, she would reply that the doctors were wrong. One day she told me she knew they were wrong and that she was going to die soon because she wanted to die. She told me she was tired of  living; that she had lived long enough and that all she wanted to do was die and go to heaven.

When I forced to get out of bed, to eat and to shower, she said she couldn’t understand how I could be so cruel to her.  Why didn’t  I just let her stay in bed and die, she asked.

At the time, the question made me very sad, but more than that, very angry. I had friends who wanted desperately to live, who still had reasons to live; who were not, in any way, ready to die. And they were all dying. Yet my mother, at 94, was eager to die. She was finished with life and ready to let go.

I spent a lot of hours during those years wishing I could trade my mother’s life for the life of one of my friends. That is embarrassing to admit, but true. As each one of them died, I noted with some bitterness that my mother was still alive and she didn’t want to be.

Mom is now 97 and hanging on pretty well. She has lived with me and my husband for the last three years. Being with family ( and a good dose of anti-depressants) has changed her outlook. She no longer says she wants to die, but she has expressed complete peace of mind about it. Whenever it happens, it will be okay with her. If she lives to be 100, that is okay too.

Bearing witness to the death of those who struggle and suffer to stay alive has taught me about the strength of the life force within us. Bearing witness to my mother’s desire to die and her eventual acceptance that she is very much alive has taught me about the effect of grief and loneliness on that same life force.

But most of all, it has taught me about the space between life and death. We all will dwell in that space some day.

It is a space that can be filled with the love of life and the desire to live it fully, even as the body is letting go of physical life.

It is a space where a battle can be waged by a healthy body determined to continue even when the desire for life is gone.

If one is lucky, it is a space that can be one of acceptance and serenity, knowing that the love that ties us to our life never dies. The love lives on beyond the space that we call life and the one that we call death.

It is a space that beckons all of us to look through its window with compassion and understanding for those confined in it, no matter what the circumstances.

It is where my mother lives, more of a home to her  now than our house is.  She lives in the space between and she lives there well.

Do you know anyone living in the space between?  How has it affected you?

Exploring the Capacity of the Human Heart

Welcome to the first edition of my blog. I will be exploring with all of you the incredible capacity of the human heart to hold within it love and hate, hope and fear, pain and joy, forgiveness and revenge....and much more. I hope that I will hear from all of you with your insights about what the heart can hold.

This blog will feature a variety of posts, including poetry, video, art and a readers' forum.

To get us started, here is a poem I wrote:

What I Would Have Said 

What would I have said to my children when they were born if I knew then what I know now?

When my first son was born, I sat awake in my hospital bed and wrote a long letter about all my hopes and dreams for him. 

 I wrote about how much we anticipated his arrival, about how much we loved him before he was even born.

And how we would always love him, no matter what. 

I wrote essentially the same letter to each of my new born sons. 

Many years have come and gone. 

My sons are men now and I have grandchildren.

My life is full. My heart is full. The words of love I wrote are still completely true. 

But if I knew then, what I know now, the letter would be different. 

Not knowing then, that my marriage would end in divorce, I neglected to tell them that all love is matter what....having loved someone matters.

No matter how it ends, or changes, love is never wasted. 

Never fear a broken heart because the only way you can get one is by having loved deeply, and deep love enriches the soul.

Never think that once your heart is broken, you can’t ever love again.

Each time we love, we increase our capacity to love.  

The human heart is designed to love and it has the capacity to grow and expand until it is so big that it loves the whole world. 

Most of us run out of time before our hearts get big enough to hold love for the whole entire world, but many of us come pretty close.

Yes, there was a lot I did not know when I wrote those love letters to my children.

Not just about love, but about the incredible mystery of life. 

So many things I didn’t tell them, because I didn’t know then what I know now.

I would tell them that they are the stuff of stars....

That the very atoms that pulse and vibrate inside us come from the stars! 

We are in the universe and the universe is in us; in all of us, no matter when or where we lived.

I would tell them that they are connected to every being who has ever lived or ever will live.

That long after they have died, the atoms that were part of them will be somewhere in the universe, part of some other life...recycled in the air, the soil, a beautiful flower, a tree, or even another person. 

And because of this, we will never be separate from the rest of the world; from the earth that we live on, from the people we call enemies and those we call friends. 

I would tell them, because I do know it now... 

that everything they do really does make a difference.



Our actions have an impact far beyond our ability to know.

The choices we make about what we eat and how we live affect people everywhere....not just metaphorically or spiritually, but really. 

We share the earth with billions of people and there will be billions more after we die. 

What we use and what we conserve affect them all.

Wars we wage and wars we avert affect them all.

Discoveries we make and how we use them affect them all. 

They are us and we are them, only luckier.

I would tell them that we were chosen to be that accumulation of atoms that won the birth lottery; that we were born to a life of relative plenty.

That we have responsibility because of this.

And I would tell them this too.

None of us will ever make the whole difference; none of us can truly change the world,

Because each and every one of us is needed.

I would tell them “the power of one” really means the power of EACH one combined with the power of many other ones. 

And, although, they share the atoms from the same stars as the rest of us,

Each of us is a totally unique, unduplicatable individual person.

Within each unique individual lies the future of the world.

We are all chosen to use what is in us-

 that stuff that makes me, me and you, you -

 No one else has that to offer to the world.

 So, shine like the stars that are within you! 

Love so much that your heart expands until it can hold the whole world in its care. 

And know that as my heart grows, my love for you grows, every day.

Looking forward to our exploration of the varieties of human experience and how the heart grows to hold and honor all that we experience. I plan to write once a week, but in the beginning, I may write a little more often. So please check in now and then!

In the meantime, what do you think about the heart's ability to grow big enough to hold love for the whole world? Do you have any examples to share? Please leave a comment if you do!