#CRU11TOUR, Golf Fights Cancer, Healing, Make it count., More Beautiful Than Before

February 6th, 2018.

Last week at Powell’s bookstore in Portland, Oregon, I approached the information desk to ask about a book a very wise friend recommended.

The young gal in charge, Portland requisite cap and tats, typed furiously on her keyboard.
“Hmmm” she said, moving closer to the computer screen. “Looks like we just got a copy in today. I will have them find it for you.”

Ten minutes later, she placed it reverently in my hands. “I hear this is a good one,” she nodded. Karma.

I pushed it into my bag. I didn’t really want them to find it.

One year ago to the day, two young men I knew lost their lives. One would have done anything to stay. One made the most extreme effort to leave. As family and friends navigated the past twelve months a question keeps presenting itself with every book, blog and helpful friend: Do words help?

More Beautiful Than Before, by Rabbi Steve Leder, a small, unassuming book that I can palm with one hand, navigates grief and survival and the subsequent reincarnation of the self. I don’t read it. Instead, I write my son and tell him I love him on the anniversary of his best friend’s death. I write my girlfriend a text early this morning, I say “I LOVE YOU,” hoping my love, in capitals, can soothe this day a little more. I think my words help.

I still can’t open the book.

How Suffering Transforms Us reads the subtitle. The book lies next to my laptop. I think, in my snarky inner voice, I can answer that, so can my friend, my son, my family, their families. Look at us!

I read the first paragraph of the introduction. But, Leder spars back, can you make that count?

I write my son a second text. I tell him he has changed me and the world around him by his profound love and actions since his best friend died. I write my girlfriend again, and tell her that she has changed me with her unflinching honesty and love of her son. They transformed their suffering into fundraising for cancer research and education on suicide awareness, even while consumed with grief. They have made this year count. Despite.

On an anniversary day that leaves me a little breathless I honor these friends and family.  I honor those boys that we loved.

May I be blessed with the wisdom to transform this next year, to find the words to make it all count.



Budding Quince, January, Green Lake, Seattle, 2018





#crushtour, Begin anew, Choices, Golf Fights Cancer, Kindness, Suzanne Wedel XOXOUT

Cowgirl boots. Attitude. Onwards.

Forget gentile resolutions. This is the day I am kicking stuff to the curb. There’s that word again. Time for my red pointy cowgirl boots and a big attitude.


People who can’t be fair or open minded about politics or gluten or sexual preferences.  Anger, prejudice, hatred is life-sucking, mean and tiring. If we were all the same life would be a big snore. I love you all. Thank you for loving me.

Sugar: Used to be just salt. Now I am going to scrutinize sugar. Turns out that is a sneaky unhealthy additive, too. Still researching the chocolate.

Bad humor: From me or others. A new barista has ruined my morning ritual with unfriendliness. I am killing her with kindness. We had enough animosity in the elections. Try the opposite effect.

Ignorance:  Fact. The divide will be greater under the next President. My cousin Nicole, on seeing a homeless family this week, asked them what they needed, drove to the store, purchased the items, and returned to place them at their feet. I intend to practice kindness with double intensity, especially to strangers. Do it more. Thank you, Nicole.

Wasted time: My dog is getting old. My 50’s winding down. I want to measure 2017 with all the good times. We have to make that happen for ourselves. I wasted a huge portion of 2016 addicted to the news. And we know how reliable that was — don’t cheat and waste time on people or places that do not make your heart soar.

Cancer. I may need help with this one, it is heavy. My son’s very best BFF is battling Gliobastoma. Ovarian cancer took a friend in March. Let’s #CRUSHTOUR every single day: Help crush cancer with your heart, feet, hands and your wallet. Suzanne Wedel XOXOUT Fund, Golf Fights Cancer, wherever people are putting science and money into understanding how to crush cancer they need you. Please. Your kick will make a difference.

And finally:

Looking down has got to stop. Look up. We are part of a vast, complicated, beautiful world. Be part of it. Look where staying in our own little reality got us in 2016. Open yourself to everything and everyone.

While Olive snoozes off her breakfast and the birds kick  seed into the air I write this short list. Write one of your own now. Let’s make a mountain on the curb. Let’s start something good tonight, like a New Year.

Kick hard today. The very best news about tomorrow, January 1st, 2017, is that the crazy horrible that was 2016 is out with the trash.

I’m taking the best bits forward with some serious attitude.

Adios, 2016.

Let us step outside for a moment
As the sun breaks through clouds
And shines on wet new fallen snow,
And breathe the new air.
So much has died that had to die this year.


May Sarton, New Year Poem, first stanza.

Bainbridge Island, November 2016.