What does your Obit say?

We get no choice.
If we love, we grieve.
~ Thomas Lynch


This share started last week after I finished my am scan of the obits. So many stories condensed into short paragraphs. If you wrote your obit today, would it be filled with things you did many years ago, or would it capture the you today? Are your “glory days” behind you, or are you engaged in the your life today? Who would be best to tell your story? I think I could put together an Obit 101 course, I think about them so much (ever since 2000). Oddly, my daily obit habit gives me a brief connection to my Mamas (maternal GM), who read them with flourish!

First thing upon picking up the paper, reading glasses went on, and the crisp pages were snapped open to the obituaries. My maternal grandmother was serious about obit time. Fall_River_PanoramaOver breakfast and coffee, from a New England home where you could see the Taunton River from the kitchen window, she would plan her social calendar based on who was in the obituaries. When you are young, you never really get that. When your parents cross, or you hit your own Jubilee year you begin to understand.

When my Mom crossed in 2000, I became aware that the obituary was the final notice to the world that someone had left it. From that point on it was all word of mouth, and if you weren’t on the “phone tree” you might never know.   I also realized that until someone tells me someone died, they have not. They are alive forever in my mind until a fact confirms the opposite.

My local paper has a banner running daily with a photo of Steve Irwin and a young Bindi, and the phrase “whether we are famous or not death touches us all”.   I waiver on how I feel about this banner ad. Some days I feel it is in poor taste, because of course fame has nothing to do with your value after death, and some days it makes me miss Robin Williams.

Today’s obits have a 69 year old woman who has crossed, with her high school picture taking the lead. I wonder about these people. Her life had to have had many rich times since high school, yet here at the snapshot of her official public goodbye, that was the moment framed.

Part of my morning ritual is the prayer over the obits. “Peace to those who have crossed, and peace to those who remain”. This is my way of throwing my arms around the world, for a-peaceful-1577176even a brief moment, and offering comfort. I know the feeling of loss now, and remember how grateful I was for those who truly loved me through the process. This is my daily thank you.

When called upon to present the service for someone who has died, I know my role is to tell their story, and to bring comfort to the bereaved. I am not a religious person, but I am a very spiritual person, and I align with the Divine to be sure that I meet that goal. Only once did I do a service where the hate between the family members remaining was so formidable, love and forgiveness could not break through. I went home at least knowing I had told the story for the deceased in a way she would have smiled upon.

When I read the obituaries, I sometimes find paragraphs laden with facts. I might tilt my head at the enormity of their accomplishments, but the ones that dance off the page are the ones written from a place of deep love. The ones that speak of the gifts that were received from having this person in your life. The gifts that will carry on.

Is it a morbid exercise to write your own obit when you are finished with my words to you ?

No. It is a wonderful opportunity to see where you stand in this glorious process called living. Are you living your todays? Are you loving those in your today? Are you loving who you are? Are you listening to your Divine Voice?   What is your story my friend, and how would you like it told? Be that, and be that fiercely.

Sharing this potent poem written by Mary Oliver to accompany you on your fierce walk.

When death comes
like the hungry bear in autumn;
when death comes and takes all the bright coins from his purse

to buy me, and snaps the purse shut;
when death comes
like the measle-pox

when death comes
like an iceberg between the shoulder blades,

I want to step through the door full of curiosity, wondering:
what is it going to be like, that cottage of darkness?

And therefore I look upon everything
as a brotherhood and a sisterhood,
and I look upon time as no more than an idea,
and I consider eternity as another possibility,

and I think of each life as a flower, as common
as a field daisy, and as singular,

and each name a comfortable music in the mouth,
tending, as all music does, toward silence,

and each body a lion of courage, and something
precious to the earth.

When it’s over, I want to say all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.

When it’s over, I don’t want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.

I don’t want to find myself sighing and frightened,
or full of argument.

I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world.


And… Bruce got this thought party started many years ago with this….



Walk A Mile in My Shoes

Sometimes lessons we need to learn are a pain in the ass, but this lesson I am experiencing is a pain in the back.

Short version. A couple of weeks ago I started experiencing back pain. First episode was a work collision that took me down in a hallway. The following Monday, another encounter opened me to a another couple of minutes of bring me to my knees in pain. On Thursday of that week I could barely move and was convinced my back has been fractured during a shovel incident. I called out of work, and somehow found a sweet spot sitting on the couch, knees to my chest, and later in the day, the pain scaled down a bit.compassion-now

The next morning when still having trouble even walking, I went to the ER. The good news was my spine was not fractured. The bad news was the strain and possible tear could take 5-6 weeks to heal.

LESSON ONE: Pain is best defined on a scale. I have had some physical pain in my life (migraines, childbirth, appendicitis, tooth pain, surgeries). This pain changed the definition of my 1- 10 scale. Life sometimes takes us out at the knees. Disappointment, loss, grief. Life pain sometimes affects us physically. It can break us. We have all heard the adage what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger. There is truth to that. Sometimes the life pain does kill us though. It takes us down to such a deep and dark place, and it takes a fierce inner fight to struggle our way back to the surface. Some just don’t have the fight in them anymore. The only thing we should be offering these people is our love.

quote-Dalai-Lama-love-and-compassion-are-necessities-not-luxuries-956LESSON TWO: My husband has had back issues since 2003. There have been episodes when he lost a day or two. A couple of years ago he was changing light fixtures and we lost him for about 5 weeks.. My mother had ruptured disks, but more seriously disintegration of her spine. I could not feel their pain, but I could see it every time they moved. Now as I am feeling my pain, I am feeling theirs as well. I am thinking how many times they felt crippled and I didn’t understand the intensity of what they were experiencing. I have been doing inner “I am so sorrys” over and over again, traveling to the past in my inner mind and asking forgiveness. I am sorry I didn’t understand why you couldn’t take long car rides. I am sorry I didn’t truly grasp that even picking up five pounds brought you such pain. I am sorry I teased you about your walking pace. I am sorry I didn’t realize how pain could make you not want to see people and be unsociable.

I understand now that you knew people were judging you, and they had no idea what you were really experiencing. I am so sorry that I didn’t find a better way to comfort you of that pain. We never know what another is experiencing. The only correct action ever is kindness.

There are those deep in depression. Not the “things have sucked for a couple of weeks and I am depressed’ version, but the kind the takes root at your core and doesn’t seem to want to be kind battlelet you go. Telling these people to “look on the bright side”, “count your blessings”, “oh it can’t be that bad’, is one of the cruelest things you can do. No one wants to be genuinely depressed. If you truly want to be of service to them, shut up. Be there for them quietly. Listen and offer love only, no judgment.

Everyone grieves differently. Allow people to grieve in their own way, at their own pace. Again, to be of service, listen with love. If you seen an opportunity to physically be of service, take it. Small gentle actions propelled by love are the kindest give you can give.

My husband has truly been the poster child for “Act with kindness. Be only love”, as I have been derailed by this back situation. Not one moment of abandonment. Not one moment of judgment. Compassion flowing from his pores. He has been judged for his situation, and instead of being bitter,  he has used it to make himself kinder. The mother of a friend of his was dying from brain cancer. It has been a very long road. His friend has made some work and life choices others were harshly putting through their own court system. Will continuously only said “It must be so hard for her to go through that”, and served the highest with small and gentle acts of connection and support. I am so blessed to be married to a man who comes from that place of compassion.

LESSON NUMBER THREE: Let’s face it, old adages get to be old because they are good. When I was a kid, my mom had a plaque that read:

        “Before you criticize a man, walk a mile in his moccasins”

walk a mile moccasions

That could be the biggest lesson. My Mamas (maternal grandmother) often said and lots of folks in 12 Step Groups still say “But for the Grace of God, there go I”.

Our true purpose is to be kind and compassionate to each other. To cut each other slack. To remember that sometimes you must seek to see the invisible.

My most frequent prayer is  ” Divine Mother – please let me see with your eyes, hear with your ears, speak your words.  Let me be your arms, and share your love”

I hope you will take a moment to watch this video and sing with the King.  May you always remember who you truly are, and have the eyes to see the same in others.

Other shares you might enjoy

Kindness is All that Matters

Awaken to Your Own Personal Power

Shadow and Lights from the Past




Only Human

How many times have you said this to someone else, or even to yourself?

You are only human”.

Here is the rock bottom truth. That is bold face lie we say  to attempt to sometimes offer comfort, sometimes provide an excuse, or sometimes both. We are so far from only human. We are spiritual beings living in a physical form. We are sparks of an all powerful Divine Source, and co-creators in this magnificent Universe. Human is simply the physical form that we have chosen to host our life force in this Earth realm.   My Shanti and Freya chose “dog”, and my Hamish and Rory chose “cat”.  I know, I know. Moving up the evolution chain human is supposed to be top self, but let’s have that conversation with a dolphin later.

You are not a human being in search of a spiritual experience you are a spiritual being immersed in a human experienceOnly human limits us. Only human lays the foundation for an understanding that only so much can be expected from us because we are weak and faulty. We say to ourselves, “after all you are only human” to justify why we act or feel certain way. Do you see the flaw in that stinking thinking? “After all you are only human”. Doesn’t that indicate that we are claiming only the physical form made manifest, and ignoring the true Light Being that we can come into this world to be?

Our human form gives is a physical playground to express our true selves in. How miraculous is it that we are a flesh and blood operating machine? We are pumping, whirling, healing and moving 24/7. It is our Spirit that creates that truth. My fur babies are also “generated” by some invisible spirit, so that knocks out the idea that it is humanness that makes that happen.

Emotions are not representative of being human. Human is the flesh suit, the modus operandi, the working model. Our emotions are reminders of who we are. Offering inklings and clues to feeling, and feeling is connected to knowing.

The famous unknown said (and I really worked to find out who did say this) “Each of us is born with the potential for the unfolding of our true self. When you deviate from the truth, you are interfering with the intention of something greater than you are. As a result, you develop discomfort”.   Claiming to be only human is an interference. It sets up a road block to move past the event/emotion/action and let your Inner Spirit flow into the wounds, and show a path for Higher Understanding.  Claiming to be only human is a big ass roadblock  on the road to your Spiritual Evolution.

Possibly the more evolved the species, the more powerful the “mechanism” to experience emotions. Really, I would love to know the answers to these questions. Are there some actions that are routinely human? An example might be some dogs like to dig holes because they are dogs. But not all dogs are hole diggers. I have seen jealousy in several species, so that is not merely “being human”. Most are aware that grieving occurs across a broad spectrum of species, so that is not merely ‘being human”. soul human body

Someone makes a mistake and the conversation ensues that “it’s okay to make mistakes, you are only human”. No. The truth is mistakes happen, and forgiveness happens, but being human has nothing to do with it.

Stand up and open your arms and breathe in deeply, exhaling with the knowing you are fabulous. You are unique, seemingly flawed at times, yet perfect. You have more bags of tricks at your disposal to live a vibrant and powerful life than a gazillion Houdini’s.  Claim it. Own it. And shelve the thought that  you are only human.

click me EnJoy this about seven minute video with Anita Moorjani (author of Dying to Be Me) quotes set to the music of Diane Arkenstone’s “Transformation”.





NOW. No Other Way.

The only way to make my life work is to live in the NOW.
Most of us know this. Why is it so hard to live this? Robert Holden wrote a book called Happiness Now but you most likely know him for Shift Happens. Though not usually a watch wearer, I have for years tried to get my hands (haha..watch puny) on his NOW Watch.  A somewhat crazy looking, but excellent exercise, is to walk around (anywhere) for about five minutes, observing everything while repeating out loud, NOW. NOW.NOW. That is all we have. NOW.

Easy to say the past is gone, the future is not promised, all we have is NOW. When someone we know suddenly crosses over, we often think of the moments we wish we had made  time to share with them.  Or maybe you decide to make big bold changes in your life, because you recognize the power of that NOW. We plan and plan, but the truth is, it’s all a crapshoot. We do not know what is coming. We don’t know what tree will fall, who we will meet, if any of our plans actually will come to fruition. We can plan the game, but it’s not until the moment is before us we know what gifts it is offering.

live_in_the_present_momentPersonally, I have gotten better at NOW, but still have some evolution in the regular process to embrace NOW as I know it is meant to be embraced.  I do know if something happens to be today, that I can’t fully resolve until Tuesday,  my NOW is putting it on the schedule for Tuesday. Then it is gone until then.

Many want to argue how important the past is to where we are now. First, stop arguing. Arguing comes from a place of fear that we are wrong, that we will look stupid, that we really don’t know what we are talking about. You know what? Very often, we don’t know what we are talking about and the truth reveals itself later.  (fodder for another day).

Why hold so tightly on our version of NOW based on the past. We need to hold the “item” up and look at in as all elements that are in the NOW. We see the color and the influence of the past, but the energy in the NOW can shift our reality. We know that change is always in motion.  We think things looks stagnant (like the pile of mail I need to sort after writing this) but everything is always changing (like the pile collapsing when I need to find that paper).  We are always changing. CONSTANTLY.

Dr. Wayne Dyer is a walking example of someone who knew to live life fully in the present. My personal belief is that he truly did awaken to who he was before crossing, and all those who connected with him, in any way,  were graced by a Master.  If you are one who knows your path is to live mind fully, and walk more consciously through  your moments you might enjoy this article.

The future is a beautiful belief, but promised to no one.  By the nature of our physical existence, it is not an abstract idea to have visions, and take action toward those visions, of the future.   The key (as in most things) is balance. Are you madly stealing the precious moments of now to put in a box to feed a future that is uncertain? Still, if there is a plausible chance the future holds some event or opportunity, wouldn’t we want to take a moment of our now to plant seeds for it to unfold for the Highest Good?

There are people who fully live off nature, wander, spend no real connection to the future concept. I am not one of those people. I am entrenched in physical reality where I know I need to spend a little time planning sometimes. But again, the planning happens in the NOW.  Like shooting little info flares going forward, I set my course.  If the events of my life change, the NOW says adapt.

Not going to go deep on this part, but many believe in the ” it is ALL happening now”. I love the visual of a holograph of many levels, where the act in the moment now, alters both the past and present.  My head goes BOOMShakkawaka sometimes when I let my thoughts travel where the rabbit hole takes me.  I am betting I am not the only person who has suddenly understood something on a level of knowing, but had no words to express that understanding.  (for those of you who thought the word Grokking when reading this, let me take this moment to high five you).

When I see the word NOW, it is accompanied by many beautiful colors. It is where creation is birthed. Each moment truly offers its own individual vibration. It may be similar to something else, but if we open our eyes, and allow our Inner Knowing to take the help, we will be aware of its rare offering. The more NOWs we agree to fully participate in, the less things will seem like they are always the same.

My favorite part of this culmination to this particular rabbit hole is no matter what we think, it still and always will be NOW.

Take a moment to enjoy Karen Drucker’s powerful voice while watching this video for her
Morning Prayer – I Will Surrender.  Fanstastic way to daily set a course toward a sumptuous  now.


I will surrender to my greatest highest good.
I will release any fear that blocks my way.
For every step I take is taken in pure faith,
and I am stronger every moment every day.
(2nd time: grateful 3rd time: kinder)
My mind is willing and my heart is open wide.
I trust my instincts and let Spirit be my guide.
I vow to live a life that’s real and true and free,
as I continue walking in this mystery.


There may be walls there may be roadblocks in my way,
but I can choose to take a higher path each day.
And now I know that what I thought was safe and sound,
was only habit and regret that held me down.



For the Full Moon September 27, 2015


FULL MOON fill my pockets!!
Back when I was in High School, I learned that phrase from a woman named Nympha Cronin. Amazing how it is with me every full moon still, and how many others have come to enjoy adding it to their monthly ritual as well.

With this full moon in Aries, Lunar Eclipse with the Aries/Libra energy balance at the forefront. I am reminded that “what we reap we shall show’. The Harvest Moon reminds us that what is coming up is what we planted. Aries prods that if I don’t like what I am seeing, start again and plant better seeds. I am reminded (and I hope others reading this are reminded as well) we own it all. Take responsibility. Nothing is more liberating – no shadows lurking waiting for ‘secrets” to be revealed.

Your relationship with others and your relationship with self are under the magnifying glass of this ‘super moon’. OPEN WITHIN. Don’t just give a glance over the surface stuff. What are you feeling? Where are you angsty? Comforted? Knowing you are ready to make change? What people in your life are in a give and take role, and who are simply taking?

What words are you having follow I AM? Use this time as an opportunity to make sure the words you are speaking represent who you truly choose to be. Time for Action. Aries says let’s go, tempered by Libra reminding you to weigh things out. Get clear and get moving.

Howl at the moon tonight and share your intent and prayers out loud. Let them vibrate through the universe!

Blessings pouring upon all who read this. We are in such magnificent times energetically, and the shifts are exhilarating.

Conversations with Vincent… The Nudge

I do hope you go back and read all of the Conversations with Vincent shares. I just did and it is my duty as an inspirer to encourage you to do so.  Some good stuff. So it all makes sense why the nudges showed up.

I had been receiving gentle prompting to continue the conversation, but for the past two days, it got real. Now tinfoil hat me ponders does Vincent show up more loudly when there is a crazy geomagnetic storm going on? Going to have to start testing that theory.

actually Vincent

The magnificent picture you see is supposedly the only known photograph of Vincent Van Gogh after he was an artist. The gent with the pipe. I got giddy when John Opal, my colorful friend and crazy talented artist shared it. A day later, another person living the palette colors to the fullest, Lucy (you know Lucy. Underground Lucy) shared something else. First, yes I KNOW the picture is large and not inserted nicely in proper blog form. I wanted to make sure you could SEE Vincent. Clearly he was speaking so loudly to the eccentric, artistic, writers, dancers and life celebrators that multiple people around me were tuning into him.  He was reminding us that he was real. Reminding us that we have gifts within us to open as well. Live whatever our art is.  Though it is language I am not fluent in, creating a successful business is an art form that inspires passion in many. Some daniela night skypeople’s art is kick ass vegan cupcakes (and I give thanks for those folks) and others share magical scenes drawing us back to memory of our own enchantment.  Daniela thinks about Vincent and blends her love of nature with his starry sky. My son just broke out his camera again and renewed his commitment to seeing through the lens. My husband shifted his vision and is adding new possibilities to his line up.  Can it all be linked back to Vincent? Maybe in the six degree way.  Everyone is a spark of the Creator, and we all came here to create. Something big is happening, and those who have stilled themselves long enough to hear, notice the conch is sounding and the time is NOW.  Not to step to the left to far, but BE IT.

normality is a paved roadFind your colors and live them. Be a wild flower.  Get in that cardboard box castle you want to create and then kick out the sides. Stop the silly normal conversation. Really, stop it, stop it now. No other mirror but your own from this day forth. Make that promise. Break out whatever crayons you were born with and make your life a piece of art!

Take a stroll through all of the conversations. There is something there waiting for you.

A birthing.   Little Stream  When I fell   We are All Artists   Crossing Day and Trees

This guy has done a series of songs on artists. Can you guess why this one is my favorite? “Vincent van Gogh” – Jonathan Richman w/the Modern Lovers – a dance in your seat, tap your feet, (and somewhat educational) music video.




A reminder.. You are Light

I am the lightMy friend Rev. Joan Fericy was the first person I heard use the phrase “I am the Light and the Light I shall remain”.  Through the years I often find myself repeating it during meditations, or prayer fires.  When I recognize a thought or a behavior in myself that I am not comfortable with, I sometimes wash them away with these words.

The LIGHT.  My husband teases that my tribe is the “Love and Light Gang”.  I know it’s all about the Light. Maybe it’s my fascination with Quantum Physics that allows me to tuck a universe full of meaning into that five letter word.

My prayer for all who read this is that you allow yourself to be saturated with the Light. Breath it, dance in it. Let any tear you shed be formed of liquid Love and Light. May it fill your essence with Joy so that your laughter bursts out and echos across galaxies.  My prayer for all who read this, is that you remember the Light.

India Arie gifted us with this beautiful and perfect song. She shared it for all of us.  We can sing it with her. EnJoy!

India.Arie – I Am Light

Artwork by John Dowson -“I am the Light’.

Awaken to Your Own Personal Power

Ramblings of a Bliss Follower after a week of parkway musing and weekend of intention setting.

light charkas

Have the courage to stand in your personal power.  Be bold. Hold your head high and look life square in the eye.  Kick the illusions to the curb. Don’t shy away from what is coming toward you, but don’t feel like you have to throw yourself headfirst into that which doesn’t really belong to you anyway.  Make sure you don’t get yourself entangled in the dramas of those around, to keep you from being awake in your own dream.

AWAKEN.  Know that you are all of it anyway. Confusing yes? Separate but all the same. How on earth are we supposed to get all of this? Remember it is AS ABOVE SO BELOW.  Nothing is really separate. Everything you see is a reflection of all that is you.  We get to choose in every moment what reality we will paint for ourselves. The only way to “get it” is to relax and allow yourself to see it.

We can’t SEE when we are :

  • uptight
  • judgmental
  • frenzied
  • angry
  • exhausted
  • being self serving in a gripping greedy sort of way
  • fearful
  • mean

We truly SEE, maybe even through the third eye kind of SEE, when we are:

  • Loving
  • Accepting
  • Compassionate
  • Selfless
  • Kind
  • Flowing

I think of life itself now as a wonderful play that I’ve written for
myself… and so my purpose is to have the utmost fun playing my

~~ Shirley MacLaine

You are the director. You are in charge. Stop the blame game. Put the victim mask in the prayer fire and ask for purification.

Do not be held back by what you think others think of you.  Stand true letting your freak flag fly if that is what you want…. or maybe you don’t have a freak flag and that is fine too. What is your super power? I bet you have a couple of them.  Rev’ em up! The world needs them!!! You weren’t born to be dim. You are a spark of the Divine and your purpose is to SHINE YOUR LIGHT BRIGHT!

Shoot Love Sparks!!!

Know Your Oneness.

Walk the Path of Divine Light.

Be authentic.
See the Divine in it all.
After reading this SET THE INTENTION to live the “best life ever”.  What is your next step? Close your eyes, deep centered breath… what next? What brings you joy? Do it! Something giving you angst? Ask for the lesson in it, then move through it, lose it and move on!!!  Feel the joy in the release and resolution of that which does not serve your HIGHEST.
power all alongWhat is your VISION for the you when you are wearing your Divine Being Self with all of the sparkly stuff polished? Go there NOW! Why waste the time on slow road? Once you know, it’s a ‘jump to the right’ and you can shift into your upgraded reality.
Stand in your Power.  Align with All-That-is and feel the pulse of Source flow through you. You are the only you. That is pretty amazing.  Own that completely. Go forth and be amazing!

Let Spirit Ignite a Fire Within You


dare to dream

Walk with the dreamers, the believers, the courageous, the cheerful, the planners, the doers, the successful people with their heads in the clouds and their feet on the ground. Let their spirit ignite a fire within you to leave this world better than when you found it…    

           ~~~ Wilfred Peterson            

I found this paragraph on a picture of a page  for some wine (that is no longer available)  .

In the Apache way of life we evolve each day, and the flame of life is determined by our choices.  There is a path that will ignite your Fire within  Life is meant to be filled with job and passion.

What is your FIRE? First thing that comes to mind. Write it down. LISTEN to it. Make it important. Some people mistakenly think that if your passion doesn’t save the world or feed the hungry (though it could), or  something of immense volume, it has no real value. The answer to that is FALSE. Everything each of us do, all of the time, is contributing to the whole.

In traditional Chinese medicine, when Fire Qi is weak, a person may be lackluster or uninspired. Most of you have read that INSPIRATION, can be defined as In Spirit. It also means to “inhale air into the lungs”.  Air is essential to fire. Let’s play with some phrases.  “This idea lit a fire in me”. “This idea breathed new life into me”.  We need to stop and truly breathe to fan the flames of our inspiration.  The element of air encompasses thoughts, ideas, and words. The fire, the energy, the action, sets the gifts air brings in motion.

I know everyone reading this in some way , connected to the quote I started out with. I know this because of who I am, and I know the Energy that finds its way to my shares.   I am urging you to bake your cupcakes, love the children, sing, draw, write, create, or however your are inspired with voluminous passion. Give your gifts to us all. Saturate everyone around you with what you have been brought into this life to contribute. Who you are, and what you are, has a value that you can’t even begin to comprehend. Your every action rolls on forever, and will benefit people you don’t even know.  Recently I learned that PositiveBits,   which I have been sharing daily since 2002, is looked forward to every day in the women’s section of a local jail.  Every morning a group of  people get a BLISS FOLLOWER Facebook post, and usually a BLISS ACTION.  Sometimes people share them to benefit someone else. Sometimes I get beautiful emails that remind me why I do it every day. willy wonka dreamer-of-dreams

We are the dreamer and the dream. How tangled that sounds, but how true it is.  We are the ones who reach through the ethers and bring the dreams to the physical reality.  Willy Wonka fans will remember this.

Don’t allow the definitions, expectations, or limitations of others deter you from fully recognizing, and truly putting into motion the actions to fan your flame. Time for a bon fire baby! Burn off all that does not serve you and let the purity of your purpose burn bright!

Before you get that journal out and get busy noting what “inspired you” while reading this, enjoy a little Ozzy, and “Dreamer”.  Such a beautiful song.  For those of you who have limited your idea of who Ozzy Osbourne is and what he offers, open your mind and enjoy. The rest of you are already here with me.


Dare to Dream picture source


Mixed Kitchens – A Vegan and Not Story (with recipes)

I am a vegan. My husband, my son, and most of my friends are not. This never stops me from having vegan potlucks at my home, or dragging my family down the vegan food path on a regular basis.

When I first became a vegan, it was a challenge because I hadn’t really learned how to be a vegan yet, I had just claimed the label and was unsuccessfully doing a lot of food substitution. I had been a vegetarian for a very long time, but no dairy was a whole new game plan. The key to being a successful vegan is finding a variety of delicious menu choices with ingredients you can secure with some ease.

For one of the first potlucks, my friend Jillian, not a vegan, found a recipe for Chloe Coscarelli’s Avocado Pesto Pasta. Huge hit. This took us on a day trip across the Brooklyn Bridge to meet her at a book signing, and started the Chef Chloe adventure in several kitchens. Chloe’s story pulled me in because she tested, and tested, then tested some more, her recipes on people who ate meat (and others as well of course)  “Chloe’s Kitchen” winner of a 2012 Chloes kitchenVeggie award was the first vegan cookbook that helped me transition my food choice into something everyone was on board with. She has several more books out now, and not one of them has let me down. Her recipes make sense, and are manageable. If you want to test the waters first, her webpage is very generous with recipes. One of my vegan pangs was I missed the comfort of Mac and Cheese. Chloe’s recipe took care of that for me. We sometimes substitute organic grape tomatoes cut in 1/2 for the broccoli.

Chef Chloe’s Vegan Mac n’ Cheese

Serves 4 – 6

  • 1 lb elbow macaroni
  • 3 cups broccoli florets
  • 1/4 cup vegan margarine
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour (or gluten-free all-purpose flour)
  • 3 cups soymilk (or almond or rice milk)
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon agave nectar


  1. Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil. Add macaroni and cook according to package directions. Add broccoli for the last 5 minutes of boiling and let cook until broccoli is fork tender. Drain and return to pot.
  2. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, make a roux or paste by whisking the margarine and flour over medium heat for 3 to 5 minutes. Add nondairy milk, yeast, tomato paste, salt, and garlic powder to the saucepan and bring to a boil, whisking frequently. Reduce heat to low and let simmer until the sauce thickens. Adjust seasoning to taste and stir in lemon juice and agave. Toss the noodles and broccoli with the sauce and serve immediately.

Thanks to the beauty of search words on TV DVR devices, I found Laura Theodore, the Jazzy Vegetarian on my local PBS channel. It only took a couple of shows in for me to realize that vegan recipes weren’t random on the show, but always on the show. Laura and her jazzy tips pulled me in, and soon I was really learning a lot from her. We bonded when she shared that she developed several of the recipes for her husband, because I too had a husband I was striving to feed food I wanted to eat.   Another recipe generous vegan cookbook author, Laura also shares a slew of recipes on her webpage. jazzy vegetarian These vegan powerhouses are making it easy for you to get your non-vegan peeps to enjoy vegan meals. My first of her cook books was “JAZZY VEGETARIAN, Lively Vegan Cuisine That’s Easy and Delicious”. The recipe I am sharing below is from that. Her follow-up “Jazzy Vegetarian Classics” earned a slot on the shelf as well.

One day company was coming and I wanted to make something gorgeous and delicious. Got lots of oohs, aahs and cleaned plates with this. (served with a not to be ignored salad)

Fancy Stuffed Peppers with Quinoa and Black Beans

Serves 6.

  • 1 lb elbow macaroni 1 cup quinoa, rinsed thoroughly
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 6 bell peppers, any color or a combination of colors
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil (optional)
  • 1 jar (about 25 ounces) marinara sauce, as needed
  • 1 can (15 ounces) black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 6 ounces cremini or white button mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1⁄4 cup toasted wheat germ, plus more as needed (I have done without. Still worked!)
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil


Put the quinoa and broth in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Decrease the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for about 15 minutes, until the water is absorbed and the quinoa is soft but not mushy. Let cool slightly. Transfer to a bowl, cover, and refrigerate for 2 to 24 hours.

When ready to assemble the stuffed peppers, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Slice off the top 1⁄2 to 3⁄4 inches of each pepper and set aside (these tops will be used to “cap” the peppers later). Seed the peppers.

Stir the optional oil into 1⁄2 cup of the marinara sauce. Spread the mixture in the bottom of a deep casserole large enough to hold all the peppers snugly so they remain upright during baking.

Set aside 1⁄4 cup of the remaining marinara sauce. Mix the quinoa with the beans, mush- rooms, onion, wheat germ, garlic, basil, and half of the remaining marinara sauce. Stir until well combined, adding more marinara sauce, a couple of tablespoonfuls at a time, until the mixture is moist but not soupy. If the mixture does get a little soupy, simply add more wheat germ.

Spoon one-quarter of the mixture into each pepper, mounding it if need be. Spoon 1 tablespoon of the reserved marinara sauce over each pepper,

then top with the pepper tops. (The stuffing will peek out between the pepper tops and bottoms.) Carefully position the peppers in the casserole so they will remain upright while baking.

Cover and bake for 45 to 60 minutes, until the sauce is bubbly and the peppers are slightly tender but not mushy. Serve immediately or let cool for 15 minutes before serving. Put the sauce that has accumulated at the bottom of the casserole in a gravy boat or small bowl to pass at the table.


kitchen divided

I recently added Ellen Jaffe Jones “Kitchen Divided” to my collection since it was specifically written for a semi-vegan household. I have read it, but not tested out any of the recipes yet. I will be starting with the No- Beef Bourguignon. This recipe does include a store bought “alternative product”, the subject of an upcoming share.

One of the outstanding benefits of me preparing meals from these cookbooks, is that it made vegan cooking more feasible for my husband. With my work schedule, he prepares dinner at times during the week. He has seen that vegan cooking doesn’t have to be a mysterious thing that you need years of training to conquer. One of these days I will share one of his own crowd pleasing recipes with you.

I look forward to hearing what cookbooks you have found recipes wowed the non vegan crowd!