The 5 Legged Chair of Joy

Happiness is personal. 

A journey, as unique as the way you look. 

As rare as a doppelganger, as surprising as a few people in the world that look like you. It is the same with happiness. 

We have very quirky ways of experiencing happiness. 

For instance, when I say I love the color of the sea water, there is a particular shade of blue that makes me happy. 

It takes place when the light hits the water early in the morning, about an hour after sunrise. 

I feel joy in that moment that I can’t feel any other time of the day while next to the water. 

I also find happiness when I am holding a book, just holding it. 

Even more than reading it. 

And if I pair it with a cup of coffee between 6:00 to 6:30am then it's true bliss. 

The silence of that early hour does something to my soul and it cannot be experienced in the same way later on, even if I hold that same book and drink coffee from that same mug. 

You see, the more loss you have experienced the more tailored your happiness will need to be. But we can have the same losses, the same stories, the same heartbreaks. 

We may visit the same places. Walk the same roads. Look at the same views. But our feelings of happiness will not be found at the same exact moment, as everyone else’s. 

Don’t look for it there. 

Go after your own version of what feels good. 

Even if it is a half painted wall in your kitchen. 

Or a chair with 5 legs. 

Maybe even a dish made of plain spaghetti. 

Whatever it is, remember anything that mimics the five legged chair or the coffee mug you love won’t cut it. It won’t make you feel the things you need to feel. 

Now let’s say we take this point of view to finding someone new to love. 

It is hard to meet someone you can fall head over heels for when we don’t pay attention to the peculiar ways in which we can fall in love. 

Maybe who you find attractive is someone with an interesting smell, or someone who wears old burgundy coats from thrift shops. Who knows. 

Just make sure you notice your own peculiarities so you can find your way to the happiness that occupies them. Tell yourself about the chairs with five legs and the books that like to be held and not read.

Oh and don’t forget to visit a thrift shop along the way. 

Just in case. 


With 6:00am coffee and book holding,


The Water Shoes

Did you know that when you choose a different life, it feels divergent? 

Unalike the one you are walking out from. 

Logically, this should not be a surprise. 

A different life should feel different. 

But as I stepped into a new chapter in my life this week I started to feel unfamiliar.

Even my body acted anew. 

I saw my reality through different eyes. 

It was as if someone put me inside another body. 

I have written many new chapters in my life, so when I was writing this next one for myself I expected it to have some of the same elements. 

Some fear, excitement, doubt and difficulty level. 

As everything is always more challenging when it's new. 

But here is what was completely different. 

The challenge part. 

It was hard but it was easy at the same time. 

Almost like I had water shoes on to walk on a pebble beach. 

I sat with this for a couple of days and tried to understand, how did these water shoes go on my feet? Why weren’t they there in previous chapters? 

How come I have never worn them before, or never thought it was an option. 

So, this is what I think happens. 

When the choice you are making is deeply right for you, then the Universe/God sends you water shoes. 

I have never had them sent to me before. Ever. 

This choice that I made for myself must have been unlike any other choice before it. 

The closest I ever got to previously was loaner water shoes.

But this time the water shoes stayed on. 

I have been wearing them since last week. 

And the longer I have them on, the more I feel this is a very different chapter. 

It feels like more than just a new beginning, more than just a chapter inside my book. 

I think it may just be a new book. 

Here’s to you choosing what you know is true for yourself and receiving your own water shoes. 

I believe there is a pair available for every person on Earth. 


With my very own water shoes,


P.S. Art by me.

Have I been Faithful To Myself?

I was interviewing Dr. Parker J. Palmer, an extraordinary poet, writer, change maker. 

And in the middle of the interview, he asked me if I was faithful to my gift. 

My eyes must have widened quite a bit. 

My brain repeated. 

Faithful to my gift? 

How would that look like?

I thought about us in that moment in time. 

About all of us. 


How faithful are we to ourselves? 

I mean, have you ever thought about asking yourself this question? 

When you are in a conversation. 

In a relationship. At work. 

Every place in your life. 

Do you stay true to your specialness? 

Faithful to your gifts. 

Or do you drop yourself on the floor while trying to hold someone else up? 

Are we cheating on ourselves? 

Oh my world. What a question. 

One I had never asked myself, and why it stopped me in my tracks. 

I saw the thousands of times when I cheated on my gifts. 

And chose someone else’s. 

The times when I rejected myself while choosing another. 

What an abandonment. 

What a neglect of self to be unfaithful to the specialness of me. 

I went to bed last night thinking about this. 

Have I been faithful? 

To me. 

Have you?

Been faithful to yourself. 


With unfaithful moments,


Mother Nature's Icy Castles

When Mother Nature knocks on your door, you get down on your knees and pray. 

You pray for your family, your self, your neighbors, the people around you.

You lose all safety, in an instant. 

You lose the ground you have been on. 

The physical world around you becomes a threat, an enemy and you pray for Mother Nature to stop the storms, the ice, the cold and to cradle you like she did before. 

Before when it was warm, and you had food. 

And the sun was speaking to you. 

I live in Austin, Texas and in the last few days we were thrown into an eerie and cold world where snow looked like glue, and the air stopped breathing around us. 

We were met with an unwavering icy stillness. 

It was like we were on our own, away from everyone. 

Almost as if planet earth held us upside down for a week, while everyone was watching to see if we could hang on. We hung on. 

In the midst of undrivable roads, contaminated water, freezing indoor temperatures we saw people helping their neighbors. 

Furniture shops opening their doors, drivers with pick up trucks helping those stuck on the icy roads. 

As I am writing this letter to you, the temperature just started to rise and by the time you get this, the eerie, glue-like ice will be melting.

Mother Nature will be moving on from us, leaving us with almost nothing and bruised knees from all the praying. 

Wherever you are today, whether you live in Texas with me, or in a small town in Ireland. Down under in Australia.

Know that no matter how scary this week has been, it will end. 

Nothing lasts forever. 

Not even Mother Nature’s Icy castles. (Click to tweet!)

Not even sticky ice. 


With warm blankets,


Three Seconds of Courage

Birds are brave. 

Not because they fly too high, but because they fly too close. 

Too close to our homes and us. 

In the last few days I have had so many birds get close to my windows. 

They fly, they stay for a few seconds and then they fly away. 

I realized that this is how courage may look like for birds. 

They step close to the edge for a few seconds and then return to comfort, which for them, is the sky. I learned that courage looks very different for every person. 

For every single one of us courage reflects the many pieces of our story. 

It is as unique as our DNA. 

Courage for you today may look like simply walking outside to take a deep breath. 

For someone else, courage is responding to a text from an ex husband after years of silence. Courage could be putting on a dress you last wore at a dinner with the person you loved and lost. It could be playing the piano for the first time since you were a kid. 

Courage is not always the gigantic leap of faith but a quiet step towards the other side of your personal version of fear. (Click to tweet!)

Being brave can never be compared with someone else’s kind of brave. 

What is considered courageous to you could be a walk in the park for someone else. 

That should never make you think that you are not brave. 

You are brave when you choose to take a shower after days of not having the strength to do so. 

When you choose to respond to an email that has been waiting in your inbox for weeks. 

When you get up in the morning knowing it will be a hard day and you get up regardless. 

When you look at an old photo even though it breaks your heart. 

For someone who is in constant pain every day, courage may look like just simply opening their eyes and breathing and deciding to take another breath regardless of how difficult the first one was. 

Courage sometimes is simply the ability to step inside your own pain and stand in it for three seconds before you step out. 

These three seconds make you brave.

You better not forget that. 

Today, tomorrow or every day after that. 


With many unforgettable three second courage intervals,


P.S. Listen to this week’s podcast with the magical SARK here.

Together Forever

Oh life, you are so complex.  You give, you take.  We ask.  You respond.  We live.  We die.  We lose.  We cry.  We mourn.  We reenter.

My daughter is going to college in the fall.

She was six when her dad died.

Her sister was four.

We began a journey together.

The three of us.

And every night, we would hold hands.

And whisper to each other.

Together forever.

Together forever.

Me and the girls.

We became one.

To make it through.

To live. After him.

And we did. We got here.

Together forever.

Now the oneness expands.

So she can leave.

So she can go on beyond the house.

Beyond the three of us.

And when she does, life... please give to her.

You already took so much.

So let her have a little more.

I know it doesn’t work this way.

But I will always ask.                        

Her sister will ask

And as I am about to finish this letter, he comes in too.

Whispers from another world.                      

Far and beyond.

Together Forever.

With whispers and chills,


P.S. We featured some new writers on our Second Firsts site this week.

Our health contributor, Leanne Ely, talked about making dinner for one here

Our new author contributor, Brian C. Taylor, wrote about guilt here

Our new author contributor, Kelley Lynn, wrote about dating again here