a simple dream


a simple dream

No grand entrances,
big accomplishments, or
roaring accolades.
Simply to
embody joy.

For joy to
carry my heart, and
nourish my spirit.

For joy to
fill me with grace,
envelop me in calm,
open me to hope, and
allow trust to flow through me.

For joy to
guide my intentions,
shape my choices,
carry me in action.

Oh, that my joy
shines bright,
moving ever so gently,
unfolding compassionately,
touching others.

Could it be –
my dream is
as simple as joy?

My dream:
Be Joy.


Sometimes I find myself searching and striving as if something is missing, as if there is somewhere else I am supposed to be. Yet, in the morning calm, I see the simple truth — that everything is already here and I am already what I need to be.

I once lost my joy. I found it when I learned to be more aware and awake to ‘what is’. That is, I learned to be more present. I learned to tune in to the power I have to create my experience and impact others. I’ve carried joy through abundantly delicious adventures, exciting challenges, job changes, health crises, personal losses…and I know that joy changes everything. It is the passageway to whatever is next.


* I took this photo of day lilies in my backyard. I selected this photo because the way that the lilies reach for the sunlight looks like joy to me.



Terre de Vendicari Sicily Italy 2.JPG


the awakened spirit
bravely leans into
the moment’s softness

the hungry soul
opens and allows
others’ love to flow in

the tender heart
the gift of wholeness


This post was inspired by reading Healing is Mutual in Rachel Naomi Remen’s Kitchen Table Wisdom. She writes about a doctor who follows his intuition and breaks with his training to pray in his office with an elderly woman patient in the final stages of cancer. Rachel describes how the women touched the doctor’s cheek in appreciation and how that simple act of grace was a  powerful gift for the physician, giving him strength and recommitting him to his healing work.

I love how Rachel inspires me to listen to the wisdom inside, deep down where my heart beats softly. I like the way she invites me to be vulnerable and courageous in acting on what feels right, even though it may be different from what I would usually do, or what I might think is ‘professional’ or aligned with others’ expectations. I appreciate how she helps me see what’s possible when I show up 100% for what’s happening – and the beauty of others’ gifts flowing into my life.

* I took this photo at Terre di Vendicari in Sicily, Italy this past summer. I chose it because of the way these horses seemed to give and receive from each other.

in gratitude

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“Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgiving, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.” ~William Arthur Ward

We just celebrated Thanksgiving here in the United States. I love this holiday – what a beautiful act, to be thankful for all of our blessings and the vast array of ways that abundance shows up in our lives.

How often do you pause during the day to appreciate the beauty around you? Like the color of the sky on a clear day, the architecture of a barren tree, the dove huddled on the fence as the cold wind blows? Like the way your partner laughs out loud, the way your kids run with glee, the way your pet snuggles with you? Like the flow that sometimes comes when your passion and work collide, the opportunities to make a difference for others with something as simple as a smile or kind gesture? Looking for ideas about ways to increase your gratitude – you might want to check out this post featured on IBM’s recruitment blog that I wrote as part of my work in leadership development: The Goodness of Gratitude: More ways to practice mindfulness and cultivate gratitude and appreciation.

What I love most about being grateful is how it makes my heart feel different. What do you notice about how you feel when you pause in appreciation?


* I took this photo in San Agustinillo, Mexico.


Related posts you might enjoy:

50 Shades of Gratitude

With grace and gratitude





uniquely beautiful
strong and resilient
so often underappreciated
despite her majesty
as she sways amidst
the wild grasses
where her energy focuses
on the warming sun, and
soaking in the nourishing rains
that she may stand tall
surrounded by kindred spirits
in her grand garden,
the vast, open prairie


Are you a wildflower? I didn’t always realize it, but I am, for sure. From here, I wonder why I spent so many years trying to become a cultured rose, perfectly colored tulip, or brilliant dahlia. I’ve found so much freedom when I’ve embraced my true essence!

This post was inspired by my first prairie harvest when I joined a friend who is in training to become an Iowa Master Naturalist. We collected grasses and wildflower forbes, from which seeds would later be harvested to create another prairie in another part of our county. I had not fully appreciated the beauty of wildflowers, especially as they die off for a winter break, nor the diversity of flowers that grows amidst the prairie grasses here in Iowa. Thank you, Ginny!


* All photos were taken at F.W. Kent Park in Johnson County, Iowa.

until we live it

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“It so tempting to want the answers before we begin the journey. We like to know our way. We like to have maps. We like to have guides. But we are more like a breathing puzzle, a living gab of pieces, and each day shows us what a piece or two is for, where it might go, how it might fit. Over time, a picture starts to emerge by which we begin to understand our place in the world.
Unfortunately, we lost a lot of time seeking someone to tell us what life will be like once we live it. We drain ourselves of vital inner fortitude by asking others to map our way. At the end of all this stalling, though, we each have to venture out and simply see what happens.”
Until We Live It by Mark Nepo

This excerpt is from The Book of Awakening: Having the Live You Want by Being Present to the Life You Have, another book that I find very inspiring and have read multiple times. Each time I read it, I take away something new, something deeper.

I confess. I am definitely one of those people who feels more comfortable when I have some idea about what I might expect. Yet, I also have this inner knowing that it is the mystery in life that speaks to my soul, that makes me come alive, that opens me to joy.


* I took this photo in San Vincente de la Barquera on the Cantabrian coast of Spain.

may i

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May I 

May my heart and mind be open
May I see what is true
May I have clarity of purpose and seek the greater good
May I be kind and open with others, and myself
May I be intentional in my choices and actions
May I feel alive and filled with joy and gratitude
May I be courageous in facing my fears
May I have the strength to live in integrity with my values
May I be filled with hope
May I hold positive expectations and possibility
May I move through my day with grace
May I bring a calming heart presence to wherever I am

I first posted this poem on Mostly My Heart Sings  in January 2017. I had forgotten about it until I was searching my blogs for posts that had been inspired by Rolf Gates (he inspired last week’s post). It still fits so beautifully and I feel invited to start my day with these intentions.


* I took this photo on the Amalfi Coast of Italy.

aligning our will and our heart


Day 49, Right Intention and Right Effort
Meditations on Intention and Being: Daily Reflections on the Path of Yoga, Mindfulness, and Compassion
by Rolf Gates

“Something happens when we align our will and our heart. Our efforts become an unstoppable force for good. The joy that we take in this kind of action is not the pride of achievement, nor is it the joy of possession, for it does not belong to the realm of the separate self.  The joy that is felt when our will soars on the wings of our heart is too big to belong to any one aspect of creation. It is a joy that belongs to all of us. The strength we embody is the strength of us all, the kindness, the wisdom, the grace, the wit, the poetry, the vision, the courage, the beauty that we love and create — all of this belongs to us all. For a moment we are the hand of creation, thh voice of creation, the heart of creation. The ancients called this “vivid true knowledge” or “direct knowledge of the soul.” and it is enough for any heart. The only reward we ever need for such an experience is to be given the opportunity to serve once again as the hand of all of us.”


Rolf Gates’ writing has been inspiring and guiding me for well over a dozen years, since my friend Celeste gave me a copy of his first book, Meditations from the Mat: Daily Reflections on the Path of Yoga, which I have read cover to cover at least five times. That’s 5 years of my life listening and feeling Rolf’s wisdom. What a gift!

Other posts inspired by Rolf:


* I took the above photo on my vacation to Italy. This tissue paper heart sat on the steps just outside the Duomo San Giorgio in Modica, Sicily, just after it been thrown with joy upon a newly married couple. Below is an image of the cathedral and the many steps leading up to it. Modica Duomo.PNG

let it go

Malorca Sunset from Costa D'Or

Let It Go
By Danna Faulds

Let go of the ways you thought life
would unfold; the holding of plans
or dreams or expectations- let it
all go. Save your strength to swim
with the tide. The choice to fight
what is here before you now will
only result in struggle, fear and
desperate attempts to flee from the
very energy you long for. Let go.
Let it all go and flow with the grace
that washes through your days whether
you received it gently or with all your
quills raised to defend against invaders.
Take this on faith: the mind may never
find the explanations that it seeks , but
you will move forward nonetheless.
Let go, and the wave’s crest will carry
you to unknown shores, beyond your
wildest dreams or destinations. Let it
all go and find the place of rest and
peace, and certain transformation.

A friend recently shared this poem with me. I loved the invitation to let go, to rest and allow transformation. I enjoy Danna Faulds poetry and was delighted to find a poem that I had not seen before. What a beautiful gift.

* I took this photo at sunset from Llucalcari, Mallorca, Spain.

on the other side of fear

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As with last week’s post, this week’s post is in celebration of the 7-year anniversary of my mastectomy. I wrote the poem below for my husband, Jim, after my surgery. He is an amazing partner who loves me completely, for all that I am, however imperfect that might be – and who I love more than anything.

So much became possible as I leaned into my vulnerability. I found my way to the other side fear. The possibilities that awaited me were moments of deep love, interpersonal connection, immense peace and contentment, and even joy and gratitude.

Do You Know

Do you know
what it meant to me
to have you there in my most vulnerable moments
when I was afraid and uncertain about what I would see?

Do you know
what it meant to me
to hear you tell me I was beautiful
when I sat on the chair with the bandages removed?

Do you know
what it meant to me
to have you tenderly touch me
when I was so fragile and exposed?

Do you know
what it meant to me
for you to see me as pretty
when in front of me were wounds and scars?

Do you know
how truly important
your love was
to bringing me to the other side?



* We took the selfies in the opening photo collage during our 2018 summer vacation to Sicily Italy (Catania, Ortygia, Vendicari, Cava d’Ispica, Ragusa, Caltigirone, Cala Scibetta).

* I first posted this poem on my Mostly My Heart Sings blog


a parent’s love

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They sit quietly.
They are calm, or so it appears.
They hold each other’s hands,
channeling their strength to each other.
They steal glances and kisses,
grounding themselves in the love that bonds them together.
They smile,
They speak softly, kindly.
They focus on being supportive.
They are here to give.
They continue to give.
It’s never-ending, a parent’s love.

Their precious baby girl.
A grown woman now.
A challenge along her journey.
They want to remove the obstacles for her.
Yet, they know, as they always have, this is her path.
She’s strong.
She’s spirited.
She can do this.
In her own unique way with grace.
And, how do they know?
The same way they knew she’d climb all the mountains before:
Their love.
It gives.
It continues to give.
It’s never-ending, a parent’s love.

My parents visited last month for about 10 days. I love that they can come in their RV and be our neighbors for awhile! It is way too long between visits, and always super special to be with them and to feel their love close up.

Last week was my 7-year anniversary of my mastectomy – I almost forgot! Amazing how it’s possible to integrate experiences into your life in a way that they are not something negative to dwell on, but rather a source of strength and possibility.

These two events inspired today’s post about my parents, which I wrote upon reflection of them sitting in the hospital waiting room prior to my surgeries.

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Mom&Dad TX Dancing 2.PNG

* The opening photos were taken a couple of weeks ago when my parents were visiting and we had lunch together in Iowa City. The closing photos are from my parent’s website – out dancing with friends in Texas.

* I first published this poem on my Mostly My Heart Sings blog.