The Sun, a Monster and Spring Bikes in Bloom

Monster by JL Villarreal
“Look over your shoulder. It’s not there. We carry it all inside us.” –Natalie Goldberg, Writer

At thirteen years old, I transferred from a parochial Catholic school to an intense, academically challenging, amazing Quaker school. There was a teacher there who told me during a studio art class, “That’s not the sun, silly.” And from there, I did not stick with visual art for almost two decades. Though I did lots of creative things, in that moment, I let her shut down my vision of what I could draw and paint.

In my late twenties and early thirties, I just started buying paints and taking photos. I was always writing.  My first painting was an abstract of the sun called “That’s not the sun, silly.” It was my defiant step into the world of visual art.  Since then, I have participated in several visual art group shows and even had a solo photography show which also featured large installations of poetry.  

I share my story to invite you to step into your courage. 

Is there some area at any point in your life where someone told you that you were not good enough? Or perhaps you didn’t have the formal education so you don’t count your talents?  Did you stop trying? Do you still long for it? Take one step to try.  See what happens.

I’m happy to post my son’s painting titled “Monster” and to celebrate the public art installation I witnessed on the way to work. Art is everywhere!

Tonight at midnight, the contest closes for my blog followers.  Do you want to win a box of personalized inspirating gifts just for you?  Details are here:

Art Bikes on Franklin Street, Chicago, IL

Art Bikes on Franklin Street, Chicago, IL

How did you get here?


Did you ever stop at a high point or low point in your life and ask, “How did I get here?” How did I end up living in this town? In this house? Wearing these clothes? In this job? Unemployed? Married to this person? Single?

I remember being 28 years old and standing in the middle of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in Uganda staring into the eyes of this mountain gorilla and wondering that very thing.  How did a girl from Philly end up looking at one of the last 620 mountain gorillas in the world? How did she even know how many there were? Wasn’t she just seven years old, running barefoot, playing wall ball with her cousins?

That moment in Uganda was a high point. And I have asked myself the same question at what I thought were the low points.  No matter where you feel you are in life, remember, you are exactly where you are supposed to be at this moment.  Everything has brought you here.  Even as you read these words, you are supposed to be reading them at this moment.

So now I’m going to tell you a secret formula:

E + R = O

Event + Reaction = Outcome


So, it’s not a secret formula. It’s Jack Canfield’s formula.  He’s the author of The Success Principles.  The idea is this: events happen.  You usually cannot control those events.  So what can you control? Your reaction. Your reaction to any event impacts the outcome. Try it in the small moments and in the “big decision” moments. Pay attention.

And you just might find yourself on the adventure of a lifetime–in small moments and in big ones. blog birthday gift-a-way!

It’s my 44th birthday and I’m celebrating by creating a personalized individually wrapped gift of inspiration and love! Follow my blog via email or your own blog and you’ll be entered to win! Contest ends April 26. Winner announced by April 30.  Refer friends and let me know via comment or at and you’ll get extra entries for every friend that follows. International readers do qualify for the contest–due to shipping and customs the physical weight of your gifts will be light and the intention will be equally bright! [Note: if you follow via email, please check your inbox to confirm that you are subscribed as a follower.]


Get to know this poet: Terry Spencer Edwards


Get to know this poet: Terry Spencer Edwards – click on the link below.  Nearly 10,000 folks have done so from Brazil to South Africa.

As a Thursday gift to you from Tuesday morning love, I say, get to know this poet.

Her light inspired my own poem below:

Neptune’s Corndogs

Giving birth this you and me

three times round the eleven


Madame Khloe

Sir Kelvonicus

all woven threads of buxom beauty

spilling from your pen

toe pointed

you step from the carriage

lifted by blackbirds quilting the sky

Neptune smiles


wishing for a corndog

only you can give him

this gift

this verse

this burning ball of fire


What’s your superpower?


Yesterday while watching the movie, The Green Lantern, I heard, “Green is the color of will.” Hal Jordan was chosen as the Green Lantern for his courage.  His big a-ha came when he realized that you can have fear, overcome it and become courageous.  We all know this.  Yet sometimes, in fear, I think we forget that courageous folks are scared all of the time.  If you had a superpower, what would it be?  Are you the most organized person in the land? Are you the funniest? What would it take to hone your superpower? A focus on fitness and nutrition? Watching comedy so that you can laugh more? Writing every day so that it becomes a habit? Think about the greatest possibilities, why you were put on this planet for this period of time. Think about the best version of yourself.  What will it take to get there?

Mr. Fred and Miranda’s Meringue

ImageHow did Mr. Fred come to Tola Island? He was drawn there by the paintings of Jackson Blue. Miranda was the subject of one of those paintings. She was done up in her best silver sequined dress and standing behind the counter at Jed’s diner with all of those beautiful glass cake and pie covers that belonged to Jed’s mother. She has full lips, glossy and not done up. She was holding a just-dipped-in-meringue finger to her mouth. He was standing in Catanzaro’s grocery store where the news was showing on the TV behind the register about some gallery up north. They zeroed in on the painting of Miranda and called it “Miranda’s Meringue.” Mr. Fred was turning 33 years old that day. He was sent to pick up ricotta for his mom’s tradition of making cannoli on his birthday. Back then he was just Fred, staring at that sequined wonder all lit up by the glass, the pies and the wonder of that painter who got to look at that face, that finger covered in toasted air, those soft pillows she had for lips.

“Fred! Fred! That’s $1.35 for the ricotta.” He knew right then he had to meet Miranda of the meringue.


To learn more about this character and Miranda Cully, please visit:

This story is living and breathing. It all started with writing prompts from – I highly recommend signing up for them, just for fun. It only takes 10 minutes a day.

I just spent the morning doing the math of Mr. Fred’s age, when he fell in love with Miranda, what year characters were born and I actually wrote a poem to Mr. Fred. I’ve never written a poem for one of my characters before. This is how alive they are becoming for me.

3 Women. 3 Birthdays. 3 Poems.


A Case of You

  for Tindi

Transcendental Cuarenta

Liberte in flamenco feet

Never undone by the journey, always watching

building files on what’s next

you know there’s a washing coming

moving the garden, it’s tilled, it’s sown

no groundnuts here, just truth nestled in Neema’s kisses

and a wondrous globetrot

Queensland, Sydney

a reverential you

fingers up receiving the vibrations

monkey washing potoatoes on the other side

and you in Lavington


clouds propel spirals, flight and

a case of you

eyes closed

a case of me

back on Gresham

healing wounded hearts in slumber

gotta be

Touching Earth

 for Megan

There is Cazenovia in your veins

mixed with the silt of clay from a wood-burning kiln

let this be a year of glorious lessons learned

like that Starbucks guy with his coffee soda

you are all that is true

in generosity and gratitude

from the 12,000 pumpkin pies in your Quaker school years

to the love in Faraday and Cardozo

Your poppa watches from the stars scattered above mulberry bushes

wishing you a return to all that is born in your fingers

making cups, home for wasabi

a centering of your soul

Corny Love

    for Heather

you and your egg salad

you and your Excel spreadsheets

you have never known love like this before

(Yes, I want to send you the 1980 YouTube Stephanie Mills video to commemorate a love for Lucas Micah)

a LYLAS friendship crosses a decade

all those clear plans

those grassy Naperville squares buttressed by Hawkeyes and iceburg lettuce

maybe some romaine

you mock my arugula, kale, radicchio

‘Grass! It’s all grass!’

I embrace the woman who can make me laugh like no other

purple polka dotted pumpkin eaters

holding helping those who cannot help themselves

you dearest, need celebration

for your wisdom

and your love of that which you know

and that which you don’t: jicama, jojoba