Post: Silence

This post was originally published on Marketing, Musings and More

Standing on the precipice of desperation

Darkness whispered in your ear

Void of rational thought, burdened heart listened

Tilted head and heard the bottomless pit of hopelessness, calling softly, come, come

Gun cocked, thoughts silenced

Bang! End of pain, end of thought and darkness welcomed you

A mother’s heart beats wildly,  world spinning in fear

Mouth moves but makes no sound, chest heaves with panic

Body moves in slow motion toward the sound

Eyes behold what mind does not, God no, no, no

Sirens blare but rescue is too late

Flashing lights and uniforms surround your now still form

Was it true, I was there what could I do

The noise in your head has spun ours into silence

Left to bear the pain of your decision, left to wonder why

Pitying looks, awkward silences

Comforting pats on back, we’ll never know what caused the break

But we are left to ask why for the rest of our days

Why didn’t you love us enough?

Blog Post: Joyful Flights and Soft Landings

This post was originally published on

For a time I lost my voice, not the physical one for that would have been less painful, but my writing voice. Fingers stilled, words no longer bubbled to the surface begging to flow onto the page. This was no ordinary writer’s block but a crisis tantamount to the loss of a vocal cord. It was an obstruction that would require more than the usual tricks of the trade.

Initially, I welcomed the silence as one does when ordered to a day of voice rest. I needed the time to be still, to quiet the noise that not only surrounded me but had permeated my being. But the silence stretched on and my voice went from a tired croak to a soft whisper to nothing at all. While my voice was silent my world and head were filled with the haunting voices of others. No matter how hard I tried to push them down, they rose angrily to the surface like ugly ghosts clawing at me with skeletal fingers in the graveyard of disillusion. I ran from the page to escape their grip desperate to once again reach the welcoming light of day. I was afraid to venture back into the catacombs to find my voice so I stayed in the safety of daylight comfortably ensconced on a bench watching the words of others go by.

Then one day a floodgate of emotion arose like a tsunami sweeping away the locks and chains that held me captive. Its force propelled me into mid-air light with reckless abandon. In flight I did not open the parachute of perfection, not caring if I landed in an undignified heap on the rapidly approaching concrete. Broken bones, bruised ego and a hard landing would be far better than the prison of silence to which I had been confined.

Words tumbled out propelling me through my flight of fancy. Certain I would crash at the bottom, fear mixed with the heady excitement of freedom. I cascaded through raw emotions strung together into sentences, unpolished, uninhibited, toward my fate. Vulnerable, unequipped I stretched my fingers quickening my flight. Near the bottom, I squeezed my eyes preparing for the final fall, willing to accept a hard landing that would leave a permanent stain of failure that would seep into the grout and crevices of my legacy. But I did not go splat. Inches from the ground I was safely gathered in a net woven by caring souls who had witnessed my fall and cushioned by landing with their gentle words of encouragement.

Giddy with the thrill of adventure I bounced upon their gentle net before I climbed safely down. I looked up and shouted with my newly recovered voice, giving thanks for my freedom and for good friends who stood by when I was silent and cushioned me when I dared to once again take flight.

Special thanks to Joanna Paterson, Lillie Ammann, and Crieg Bryan for cushioning my landing.

Aging, Hallways and Reflections on Life


Image courtesy of By Gabbyly (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Note: I wrote this post six years ago and it sat in my drafts folder. I stumbled across it today and nearly a year after my Dad’s passing, it seemed fitting to hit the button and publish it. 

I entered the brightly lit hallway and gave thanks for the welcoming absence of smells typical to healing environments. I turned right and moved past the doors, each one indistinguishable from the other except for the numbers. I reached the end of a corridor shaken from my inner dialog and realized I had taken a wrong turn. After several wrong turns, I landed in the right corridor and at the end spotted a man in a wheelchair. Even in the distance you could see the petal soft gray hairs surrounding a patch of bare scalp, they reminded me of the carefully planted daises around the outer edges of the tree in our backyard. My breath caught as memories of home washed over me. The old man, thin and slightly hunched over in a wheelchair was my Dad. When had he become an elderly man?  It was easy to look past the slowing gait and the memory lapses when he was at home but here without familiar anchors the pretense was stripped away, my father was no longer getting old, he had arrived. I slowed as I approached him not wanting to startle him and gently touched a shoulder. He looked up in my direction, eyes focused but unseeing, lost in another world where even English had escaped him.

As I removed my winter coat and sat in a chair next to him, a neighbor resident wheeled over to greet me. Her wide girth filed the chair and her equally big personality filled the corridor. She introduced herself and we made small chat as my Dad sat peacefully unaware of our presence. He was content in his own silence, interrupted occasionally by words that seemed reverent and prayerful. When I asked how long she would remain in the facility, she informed me that it was her home. The word “home” echoed like a scram in my head. How could this artificially cheerful place ever be considered home? She seemed nice, and though not ambulatory, fairly healthy.

I barely heard the cheery woman tell me that she was a childless widow, with nowhere to go. Her voice faded as my brain furiously spun out of control sizing her up and making comparisons that would fight the growing sense of dread that this woman was my future self. I was fit and this woman clearly was not and oh god I would never wear a sweater that ugly. I hated myself for my ugly thoughts yet seemed to temporarily lose control of one lobe of my brain. I shuddered visibly both to shake myself back to decency even as a part of me acknowledged with horror that I could end up alone in a nursing home wheeling through the halls as the resident Mayor of a town in which no one wanted to live.

The whole episode rattled me but I once again focused on my Dad. For the length of our visit, he slept on or off but was silent. I held his hand, and kissed his head and in fleeting moments of lucidity, told him I loved him. For now, this was home for my Dad but it was only a location. In that moment I remembered that the “where” of our dwelling was less important than those who shared the space. I cannot predict where home will be in my senior years, but I can live a life that ensures that the place will not matter. Like my Dad, I hope to be loved regardless of the address.

Holiday Opt-Out

Dear Holidays,

Today I am unsubscribing. I am opting out and no longer wish to receive your messages. No I don’t want to change the frequency of

Holiday break

Holiday break (Photo credit: César Poyatos)

your messages, I want out completely. Your automated response says that you’re sorry to see me go but I know that I no longer matter.

I did not hit unsubscribe lightly. I have been a loyal subscriber for years. But over time, you’ve changed and quite frankly your content is no longer relevant to me. I was with you before the merger. I remember when Christmas, Hanukkah, Thanksgiving and New Year were separate outfits. I supported all of you and enjoyed your distinctive offerings. But then you merged and became the “Holidays,” and you lost your distinction. Oh yes I know that you cited brand evolution as a natural progression. You talked of a new era that was inclusive. You were staying true to your core values but innovating to stay in the game…blah, blah, blah. I understood the words but could not help feeling abandoned by brands that I once advocated.

You have assembled an army of affiliates who use your name and marketing to sell everything from books to teeth whitening. It no longer matters if they align with your core brand as long as they use approved messaging and brand colors.
Now you have decided to expand your brand visibility. You’re not content to be a seasonal brand but are moving into the broader market. I read that you’re close to a deal with the 4th of July and Veteran’s Day and are developing new brands for the months that lack coverage.

Congratulations you have arrived. You took your mom and pop shops and grew them into big brands. I wish you the best but I can no longer support your vision.

We had some good times but please don’t contact me again.


P.S. I found a small startup that is filling a niche you abandoned. They are focusing on people like me who still treasure faith and family. They are wide eyed idealists who care more about the experience than the profit. I don’t need shiny gadgets, apps and maps to access their offerings. They remind me of a little of you before you became a “season.”

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Facing Down Failure

Pressure sensitive starting blocks at the star...

Image via Wikipedia

Last Sunday, I watched Kellie Wells become the new women’s 100-meter hurdles champion. Even on television her joy was palpable. It was her first American title, and her chance to put old demons to rest. On the same site three years prior, she had a solid chance of heading to Beijing but fell to the track in agony, with an injury that brought her career to a temporary halt.

On Sunday, Kellie Wells had to return to the same place she had once failed. She had to compete among colleagues who had witnessed the failure. How many of us know what that feels like, to not only fail but have witnesses?

We all blow it on occasion. Our failures may not be as public, but they can be just as debilitating and heart wrenching as a career stalling injury.  Some failures are short lived and others require us to fight back through a rehabilitation period. The good news is that we always have an opportunity to try again. Whether you had a business crash, lost a job, lost a client or failed at a big project, there is always another opportunity to line up for a new race.

When Wells put her feet in the starting blocks on Sunday, her thoughts were not of the past. She was only thinking of that day and that race and her impending victory.

I know what failure feels like. Even when it’s not public you feel like you’re wearing a neon sign that flashes “loser.” It can rob you of your confidence and make you doubt your abilities. I know that tape that plays – didn’t you try this before…remember the last time you were here…are you sure you’re ready for this…and on and on.

Some are never able to shake off the stench of defeat. They allow themselves to be continuously victimized by past failures. They limit their potential by refusing to stretch beyond the boundaries of where past failure allows them to go.

I have had failures, and am confident I’ll have many more. Some have resulted in a long dry spell without a single victory. But giving up is never an option. Each day, is a new chance to win. As you get into position, feet in the blocks, the only race that matters is the one you are about to start.

Today as I line up, I know that I have a fresh chance to win, or at the very least to jump over hurdles and cross the finish line. My outcome is not determined by my yesterdays but by what I do in this moment, in this time. How about you?


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Perfection is Overrated

Imperfect Beauty

Image by ToniVC via Flickr

I had big plans for this site. Written plans with timelines and resources. But life does not always go according to plan. It started with the design that did not go according to plan. I had not planned on the complexities and had to delay the site launch. Unfortunately, business and life conspired to take over and I soon found myself off schedule and without time to even address the issues. Sigh.

I was stalled but my inspiration was not. I suddenly had so much to say and no place to say it. Life was happening all around me and I wanted to share what I was learning, what moved me and what changed me. I took notes and made drafts but could not publish them because my site was not ready. Should I continue to let these moments pass by or move forward in imperfection?

I am not a perfectionist. I am far too flawed to even aspire to perfection but I am someone who likes to give my best effort even if it draws blood. I don’t care what people think about me but I do care about people and would never want to treat them to less than they deserve. So deciding to embrace “undone” was not going to be easy.

This experience has reinforced that perfection is not always necessary. When it comes to life and death, by all means opt for perfect but at other times being a work in progress has its advantages. Things move quickly in our digital age. I could spend months trying to get the design perfect only to have it be in need of an update a few months later.  So, I’m launching or what we’ll call a rolling launch, a continuing work in progress. I hope you’ll join me in the journey. I won’t promise that it will be perfect but we can sure make it fun!

How about you, have you ever chosen imperfect over perfect? How did it work out for you?

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