stretch your heart.

It's like it was a dream. The past few months were like a dream. 'm not going to lie, I am scared. it just keeps going and going. and going. but this is what I always like to do. around this time of year, I like to put together lists, and this year it's a different kind of list. I am throwing a little party for the unexpected and you are cordially invited to attend. because sometimes the best things are the ones that slip in through the back door. for one reason or another, this is how my past year went down. it was a big year, maybe not the biggest ever, but big. I traveled. I experienced what felt like a hundred firsts. if ever there was a year to celebrate unpredictablity, this would be it. I'm telling you, this past year was a force to be reckoned with. 2014 was not kidding around.

And then there was Christmas. The house was not clean, the candles were missing, the sheets had not been washed, our favorite foods no where to be found and we got bad news. But, the music was cued, the shopping was finished, and I was silly excited. and oh so grateful. Momma was home! I know it's not about any of the above, it's okay that the house was a mess, the sheets in shambles and not a twinkly light more than my own little shine and I was grateful and happy for all of it. Because having each other is so much in itself. But I'm also grateful that we were able to do a little of the extra stuff, the song and dance, and I was worm-holed back to the holidays of my childhood that made me forever entranced by the magic of Christmas.

This year we did things a bit differently.

We did not do our traditional Christmas Eve dinner this year, and I'm happy to report that we survived. In fact it was amazing. On the day of we opened our gifts, ordered Chinese take-out (something I've wanted to do since 1983) and watched a Christmas Story. We waded around in the mess like always and our hearts burned bright for our family, not quite as whole as last year, but here. It, like everything else this time of year, made me cry.

One more thing, I was thankful for Nat King Cole. I'm so glad he recorded all those amazing songs! Wish I could bake him some cookies, drop them off and tell him how happy I am that he made music.

The New Year swept me up again. It's a tradition, and I think you know what I mean.

It would be such a waste to not just suck it all up. I don't know of many other parties that have us buzzing for a solid month before the Big Event, year after year. But with the close of that day, the old year whistled out my door, and as usual, right about now, I'm feeling just a little blue. It makes me sad, the coming down. I've never understood it, but I remember feeling it even as a child.

 I'm thankful for technology which pulls my family closer. FaceTime grand kids pajama chats with pictures of Christmas tress and lots of "Miss You Grandma!"s. I have always loved this time of the year. It's like a huge party where everyone you love is in one room dancing, feeling so grateful, and everything sounds like "Dude, I love you!" For the record, it can also bring up weird sad stuff, ghosts from the past, things undone, family nostalgia, yada yada. I feel a little bit of that too this time of year, and I make sure to stretch my arms out as far as they can go and feel it all. Hearts are big, they can stretch, trust them. You're happier in the end if you just stretch your heart now and feel it. No holding back.

I don't know what I believe about life today, but the stories of love and gratitude feel familiar and comforting. this year when I'm tucking myself into bed, grateful for every good, hard and beautiful thing I am blessed with it feels relateable and good. I know that love. I feel that love. And it's grounding. So I hang on to that.

Have you ever come back from a trip and felt unsettled? Do you get that floating feeling as if you’re watching from outside yourself as you go about your day? Yeah, that's how I feel, to me this is the uncomfortable period where we get back to our old routine, allowing the old self to catch up with the present self.

I’m going to raise my hand up and admit that I’m in that uncomfortable period now, having come back from a life changing few months. In fact, I haven’t been writing here as much because I’ve been writing in my journal trying to make sense of everything. Because while I’m absolutely enamored by life right now it’s been even more amazing to have discovered things about myself.

Being the notoriously curious person that I am, I want to explore these discoveries. I want to use these lightbulb moments to tackle the bigger themes of love and self-discovery. But I have much more introspection to do.

For all the good, hard and beautiful things I've experienced so far this year, I'm so glad there are places to feel loved and not alone in the world, and this new-fangled Internet thing (can I still call it new-fangled or I am just approaching another birthday and trying to stay young? Go ahead, roll your eyes, but it sure gives us all a damn good outlet. From my heart to yours...twinkle, twinkle, love, love.

Because ungrateful whining is so 2014, I had a whole post written and ready to publish, about the ways in which I spent the last six weeks pretty much not-coping with the weather, holidays, health issues, etc. In truth, there was a stretch of darkness and rain so debilitating that the only defense was to press my face against the window every few hours and weep silently, eat my weight in soup, wash sweaters obsessively, and read reputable, yet mildly trashy historical-romance novels, but then things suddenly got all lovely on me, and the sun made a few appearances. It's still unpredictable, but the path in the muddy park that I visit every day with the dogs got a bit easier, and I had to think better of all the lamentations. Dear Universe, Thanks, I GOT THE MESSAGE. Because you can't run away in giant snow caked floppy paw-feet.

Not even new love, with all it's promises and sweetness, can quiet a heart that longs for what it left behind.  or calm a soul that wants to be somewhere else.   

I wasn't ready to take such a big leap into the unknown, to a place that I knew nothing of and that didn't know me back.  I want to go back to everything familiar, to the only home I've known.  That I understand. But, his year I will be stronger. And isn't it funny how clear that blue looks when you view it from a distance with your heart stretched to breaking?

just sayin'.


1 jalapeno, stem and seeds removed, minced (add more or less to taste)
1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
1 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves, finely chopped
1/2 tsp. coarse sea
3 ripe avocados, peeled and pitted
dash of cumin 
1 roma tomato, cored and chopped


Mash together avocados, jalapeno, onion, lime juice, cilantro, salt, cumin with a fork until well-mixed.  (If adding tomatoes, stir them in at the very end.)  Serve immediately, or cover the bowl with plastic wrap (so that the plastic is literally touching the entire top layer of the guacamole) and refrigerate.


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