Monthly Archives: April 2021

A Small Law of Attraction Moment


Jack’s Fork River in Mark Twain National Forest, SE Missouri

I’ve been studying and applying Law Of Attraction (LOA) concepts in my life lately, and have seen some very awesome things happen because of it. If you are unfamiliar with LOA, you can learn more about it here.

With only a few months’ practice under my belt and being the results-oriented person I am, I have been asking myself, “Is this really working?” Even though I am seeing desired things manifesting in wonderful and unexpected new ways every day, I still have had this little niggling doubt in the back of my mind.

One of the teachings of Abraham-Hicks (you can check them out on YouTube, highly recommended; changed my life) is that it is easier to manifest something that is less emotionally charged. For example, it is easier to quickly manifest smooth traffic on your way to the park than it is to manifest the $8,000 you need to stop foreclosure on your house. Both are possible, but we usually have a harder time releasing resistant thoughts and beliefs with regards to something we deem vital or extremely important.

And so it has been with me. I have been quite successful at reducing my resistance to some very big desires I hold for myself and my family. I have seen things coming into play to help in the manifestation of these desires. I can feel the momentum of it, and it’s very exciting. But still, that doubt. Tiny, miniscule, but present some of the time.

I have found it very beneficial to notice and appreciate the “small” things that I have successfully manifested. It encourages me to keep looking for evidence of the bigger manifestations.

So a couple days ago, my ex asked me for a small, inexpensive item I had borrowed. Now, I knew it was around. And I was not looking forward to searching for it, as I had just hurt my back and moving around was painful.

So I put it off for a day or two. Actually, I pretty much forgot about it. Yesterday morning as I was grabbing a few things from my nightstand, I successfully knocked over not one, but TWO glasses of water (I have nightstand hoarding issues 😆). Some on the floor, some on the bed. Cleaned it up, but the sheet right where I sleep is wet. Oh well, I can just sleep on the other side of the bed tonight (I would have just changed my sheets, but my back wasn’t having any of that).

Then last night, getting ready for bed, I was having difficulty plugging in my phone charger and knocked over my ashtray, right onto my still-damp bed. Immediately a thought came to me: WHY have I kept messing up this area today? I looked on my nightstand and realized the spot that I had made to honor my ancestors was just a mess. Wrappers, junk, etc. And I thought about how disrespectful that was to my departed family.

So I started straightening my nightstand a bit. Moved an item that had fallen over, and there was the thing I had borrowed from my ex!

In the grand scheme of things, not a big deal. And I got a chuckle that for my stubborn ass, my path of least resistance was cleaning up an ashy, wet sheet and a nightstand. But the experience showed me that by putting forth a desire (to locate the item I borrowed) and then simply forgetting about it, the Universe gathered all the cooperative components to bring it to me in a very short period of time.

If Source (or God, or the Universe, or whatever name you wish to bestow upon it) is so involved with my well-being that it concerns itself with such mundane things as a $10.00 borrowed item, then how can I doubt its ability to give me all I desire, if I would just stop the thoughts that impede momentum and allow it to flow to me?

Source loves us. Source adores us. Source wants us to thrive and have a joyous, abundant life. And all we have to do is get out of the way and allow Source to gather whatever we need to live that joyous, abundant life.

Peace to you!

Better Late Than Never: My Experience in Getting My Inner Critic to STFU


Dobby and I spreading the love in Jackson Hole, WY

I have a confession to make. Up until just recently, I was absolutely living my life on auto-pilot: I reacted to life based on the patterns of thinking and behavior that had been ingrained since my birth. I had an absolutely brutal Inner Critic. The slightest physical misstep or social faux pas would have me silently (sometimes verbally), viciously, and hatefully berating myself in terms most foul and vile.

Small things. A shoe slipping out of my hand as I prepared to put it on would unleash a vulgar harangue–“Oh, that was brilliant, you stupid f***ing b***h.”

I could never do anything fast enough for my Critic. Every single task would find my body tensed, stomach in a knot, neck muscles in such spasms I was unable to turn my head without searing pain. “C’mon! Hurry, hurry, HURRY UP WITH THOSE DAMN DISHES!!!” she would yell. “PEE??? Hold it till you’re done vacuuming!”

So, this was my life for about 55 years. My Critic was my constant companion, always making sure I knew how bothersome to others and completely inept and unlikeable I was.

In my case, my Critic’s voice belonged to my mother. Mom was an alcoholic and likely covert narcissist with her own demons that she never was able to acknowledge and banish. Had you talked to me just a year ago about my Mom, you would have been treated to a litany of all the ways I was done wrong. Today I am at peace with the way my life unfolded and hold no blame towards my Mom. She loved me the best she could but she was broken from childhood. She simply did not have the tools she needed to raise me in an emotionally healthy environment. I did the best I could with my children, too, but sadly I blindly recreated my mother’s parenting style. So I also did a crap-ton of damage to my kids as they grew up. I have regrets. Big ones. I have been blessed to receive forgiveness and understanding from my adult children. And I am still working on forgiving myself.

But as the saying goes, once we know better, we can do better. So how did I come to know better so I could heal myself and pave the way for future healthy generations?

First, I had an epiphany. I realized that my Inner Critic had spent 50+ years coloring my perceptions of myself. I truly believed I was that voiceless, unlikable, despised, devalued, unimportant, clumsy wallflower, nearly paralyzed with social anxiety and low self-esteem.

Shortly after, I had another epiphany. I realized that I would never, under any circumstances, speak to another soul in the way my Inner Critic spoke to me. I would hate myself for tearing another’s sense of worth to shreds with my words. And the lightbulb illuminated over my head. And I made it my new goal to treat myself as kindly, gently, and compassionately as I do others.

I will tell you, those first couple weeks were exhausting! I quickly became acutely aware of the constant barrage of negativity running through my mind. Nearly every single thought had to be filtered and corrected. I would knock over a cup of water, Inner Critic would go off, and I would need to just stop the inner shaming and remind myself that spilled water truly has no bearing on my value as a human being. I would tell myself that Everybody knocks over a cup of water sometimes!!!

Concurrent with the revised self-talk, I also worked on my need to rush and hurry through life. Washing dishes became an exercise in deep, slow, breathing and relaxing my neck, back, and stomach muscles. For a while I had to reteach myself to do chores without holding physical tension by consciously taking the chore s-l-o-w and keeping my mind calm and focused on the task at hand. It took many months, but I am able to actually work quickly at something now without becoming a big ball of tension.

I will never forget the day that I accidentally dropped a paper on the floor. And as I bent over to pick it up, I chuckled at myself, thinking “oops!” It stopped me in my tracks and I cried tears of gratitude: It was the first time that my initial response was not that of my Inner Critic. I accepted a mistake I had made, realizing that mistakes, missteps, and messing up is simply a beautiful part of being a human.

This may sound funny, but I actually approached going to the bathroom as a means of self-care! I reminded myself that tending to my bodily functions was normal and not something to put off.

I made a concerted effort to treat myself better. It wasn’t easy at first. I had to actually FORCE myself to buy a 5.00 bar of fancy fou-fou soap at the Dollar General. Experimented with a little make-up. Got a haircut. Started shaving my legs again. It took a while, but I was able to work up to following through on some long-delayed needs: New glasses. Dental work. Addressing my hearing/balance/sensory issues. I am finally beginning to feel worthy of kindness and compassion–from others, but especially from myself.

And where am I now? I am so much happier and more satisfied with life. I still struggle with social anxiety and shyness sometimes, but I am able to briefly chit-chat with a cashier without terror striking my heart anymore. I am more able to speak my truth without fear of rejection. I am learning who I really am and who I was meant to be all along.

I can now clearly see the incredible benefits my early experiences have provided me. I am compassionate. I want others to feel good about themselves. My childhood loneliness and dysfunction gave me opportunities to think deeply and spend many hours in solitary creative pursuits. I have developed incredible self-reliance that serves me well today.

I now know that my dysfunctional ways of dealing with my childhood were simply coping mechanisms that kept me emotionally safe at the time. And they were extremely effective in protecting me. But now, I am no longer that child who needs to protect herself. Those threats to my self-worth no longer exist. And so it is now time to let go of those ways that no longer serve me. Those ways that are now a hindrance to living the joyous, powerful life I came here to experience.

I think the best thing I’ve noticed is that I am now looking FORWARD instead of backwards. I have remembered, forgiven, and healed, and I’ve been able to release the emotional and physical blocks that kept me stuck in a sad existence for over half a century.

I finally feel as if I have a future, open to possibilities, opportunities, and joy. So…..better late than never!

Peace to you.

The Great Kentucky Adventure, Vol. I: The Jones Clan Welcomes Us

“How could you possibly think this would even be remotely OK with me?”

These were the words of my long-suffering daughter-in-law Jenny, sitting in a U-Haul on a remote Kentucky mountaintop that cold January night. That truck, and another, was loaded to the rafters with every worldly possession we owned, as well as a goat and a handful of chickens. I know we broke some U-Haul rules, but pretty sure the statute of limitations is up by now.

We all loved North Carolina (Me, my sons, my daughter-in-law, and two grandchildren all lived together-by choice.). I had a job I enjoyed in the OR at Duke University Hospital. The people there were lovely, and the local rural community was wonderful. But money was extremely tight, and we simply could not afford the 4-acre property we were renting. Months of searches for another place close to my job were fruitless. So to Craigslist I went!

A Shot In The Dark

The search went like this: I closed my eyes, put my finger down on a map, and that is how we decided on Kentucky. I started looking for rentals. Found some promising things that were affordable. I applied for a job at University of Kentucky Hospital in Lexington. Now we had a more specific area to search.

We all love the mountains, and Lexington was a 45-mile drive from the Appalachians {Due to the mountainous terrain it would end up being a 1:20 commute to work), so I began my search there. In short order I found something deceptively perfect: A 3-bedroom house way up on Furnace Mountain, vacant, and only 400.00/month! A couple texts back and forth with the owner, and soon our first month’s rent and security deposit was on its way. The new landlady informed us that when they moved out they had left some things, and we were free to “pick through them” and get rid of what we didn’t want. Yes, I rented this place sight unseen. Yes, I know about potential scams. Yes to all this. Yet here we were….

I had already landed an interview at UK, which had to be in-person. So my oldest son, Michael, and I packed up and drove to Kentucky. The plan was to stay the night at the new rental, go to the interview the next day, and then come home, pack up and move as long as I got the job. After a couple hours of TomTom trying to take us through muddy logging roads to the property, we finally arrived. And what a sight we beheld!

Those few things we were allowed to “pick through?” A veritable MOUNTAIN of trash bags full of dirty diapers, basic household trash, mounds upon mounds of clothes, broken toys, and food! We looked around and finally found the source of this mess: Apparently, the house had vomited some of it’s contents into the yard. The inside was more of the same. A knee-high sea of papers, books, dishes, clothes, and anything else you can think a trash hoarder might have laying around.

The house had no heat or water, so we spent the night frozen. When Mike fired up the little burner he had brought and made a small pot of terrible coffee, I almost cried. It was so warming and comforting. I went to the interview the next day looking like I had just got back from a weekend camping trip. Nailed the interview and got the job offer. So now what do we do?

I now have a job, and a start date. The place we rented was an absolute dump and truly uninhabitable, but there was simply not enough time nor money to begin a search for a different house. Mike and I headed home. We explained the situation to Jenny and my other son, Justin. We tried to be very forthcoming about what we were about to walk into, but honestly, words were simply inadequate, and they were sorely unprepared for what they saw when we pulled up that snowy January night.

Meet The Neighbors

Enter the Jones clan. Jill, a young widow with a couple kids and a brand-new boyfriend, was the owner of our rental house. Her dead husband was buried out back, and was apparently the adored Golden Boy of the grieving family. Unbeknownst to us, Miss Jill neglected to inform the rest of the Jones clan that we were going to be renting their dead son’s/brother’s/uncle’s house. The Joneses lived on a long, rutted, almost impassable dirt road. Our rental was 1000 feet past their house. Imagine their surprise as a couple U-Hauls and cars are delicately maneuvering around the toys and bikes scattered in the road at 10 pm!

The next morning we were all exhausted from the trip and shell-shocked by our surroundings, but it was time to dig in and start carving out a more livable situation for ourselves. I had two weeks until my job started. I was waiting for a $1,500 sign-on bonus check to carry us through till the paychecks began. We were gonna work our asses off for two weeks and then continue our homesteading dream. We were still under the impression that this was a very inconvenient, yet temporary and fully surmountable hiccup on our path. Only as the weeks unfolded would we learn how very wrong we were!

Jenny started on the refrigerator. Closed up for months, no electricity, and filled with old rotted food. Six. Hours. Justin started garbage eradication with a Bic lighter. Ten hours a day for over two weeks. Seriously. There was THAT MUCH trash.

And here comes the Jones Clan welcoming committee, asking us who the hell we were and what the hell we were doing. We tried to explain that Jill had rented the property to us, showed them our correspondence and receipts, but they were not dissuaded: We were interlopers in their dead relative’s house, and we had to go. They had no legal standing; Jill was the rightful owner of the house. So they did the next best thing: They stalked us and made our lives a living hell for the six weeks we were there.

Next morning, Jerry Jones stops by for a visit. Tries to walk in the door, which my brave Jenny blocked while holding a shotgun. Jerry is totally wasted at 10 am, and is threatening to come over with his buddies and his machine gun. So this is a fun housewarming for us.

The First Three Days

We quickly discovered that the water containment system was almost empty, and was entirely reliant on catching rainwater from gutters that were all blocked up. Even a perfectly working system would never supply the amount of water a family of seven needs, so changes had to be made. The washing machine was simply not an option, so there we were, washing our clothes by hand in the bathtub with a washboard. For SEVEN people! Then we had to get a bunch of 5-gallon water jugs and make our way halfway down the mountain to the spring for drinking and cooking water. Every day or so .

One of those water trips led to quite a serendipitous meeting. As we were filling our jugs an old Chevy Tahoe filled with tie-dye shirt-wearers went by. We looked at the occupants and exclaimed, “Hippies!” Suddenly the car slammed on its brakes and backed up to us. Apparently as they were driving by they saw us and said, “Hippies!” We met the most beautiful group of souls that day, two of which are still very dear friends.

After our warm welcome from the landlady’s family, the weather decided to come say hi. Three days after our arrival we had a storm. I am talking about tornadoes all over, thunder and lightning, rain coming down in sheets, the works. Seven of us were crouched in the laundry room, no electricity, mattresses pulled over us, listening to the roof trying to come off. Good times.

The Speakeasy

Did I mention this was a dry county? If we wanted alcohol, we had to drive 40 minutes to the next county over. Fortunately, we quickly discovered the Lion’s Den, a small speakeasy a mere 20-minute drive from the House of Horrors. Lenny was the owner of this fine establishment. Lenny was an upstanding Mountain gentleman with a liver so big he needed a wheelbarrow to carry it, along with an affinity for the nose candy and beating up his girlfriends. He had a lovely old cinder-block building with an ancient monstrosity of a wood burner and burlap marijuana seed bags on the walls for ambience. Over the years he had acquired a hodgepodge of dusty bar decor, a small bar, fridge, a couple booths and tables, and an old pool table. Ladies’ restroom was outside to the left of the building; gents’ on the right. Lenny would make the trip out to Richland every week or so and buy several cases of Bud and Bud Light, and sell them for $1.50 a can. Dine in or carry out! And if you wanted something a little stronger, the bartop was a great place to snort your drugs, and somebody always had a joint going around. Lenny, his daughter, and his clientele would frequently partake. More than one person has died there over the years.

It Can’t Get Any Worse?

I could continue to write stories about all we encountered those six weeks we were at La Maison Jones. Here are some highlights:

  1. My start date at work was pushed back 2 weeks. Well, ok. That $1,500 check should be here any time.
  2. Some crackhead stole the $1,500 check out of my mailbox and cashed it at a local used car dealership. Much wailing and gnashing of teeth ensued before I got my money back. We were so dead broke, we took to picking clover, violets, chives, and plantain in a cemetery so we could have fresh greens with our lard-fried quick bread patties {Lovingly named “Butt-Dumplings” by my three-year old granddaughter).
  3. The Jones family would sneak up on us at night and spy while we were sitting around the campfire, discussing what we were going to do about our situation.
  4. While we were basically penniless due to the above, my landlady and landlady’s mother-in-law came over and attacked my daughter-in-law. My son stopped them. Next day we went to the sheriff’s office to try to file charges. Unfortunately, the Joneses had gotten there first and gave their messed-up version of what happened. So instead of getting help, my son was arrested and put in jail. I spent the day going to pawn shops to try to get the $300.00 needed to bail him out, but was unable to.
  5. The Joneses gave antifreeze to my son’s pet goat and killed her. That was the final straw for us, and amazingly, Mike was able to find somewhere else for us to move to immediately.

When all was said and done, we basically paid someone 800.00 to clean her house and be terrorized by her family for six weeks. We got out, which is a miraculous story in itself, but that is for another day.

And What Have We Learned?

Now we are 10 years out from this fiasco. And what have we learned? Well, first of all, avoid Craigslist for a sight-unseen rental! But seriously, my family and I have discussed the situation many, many times over the years. We are able to see things now from a bigger perspective. And for all the abject physical, mental, emotional, and financial deprivation we suffered, not one of us would trade that experience for the world.

We learned what it means to have no one but family on your side. The way we were able to come together in order to survive this ordeal was a beautiful thing to be involved in. We learned that true freedom is when you literally have nothing else to lose (See “Me and Bobby McGee:” Janis Joplin).

We learned to be a little less trusting of the intentions of others (read: naive). We learned that we have the capacity to overcome incredible obstacles. We discovered more of our inventiveness, our abilities to think outside the box, and our incredible tenacity.

And we learned that bacon and beans cooked over a fire for three days is the most delectable meal ever! Seriously. It took three days of adding water and cooking until those damn beans softened up. But they were worth the wait.

We had unfortunate encounters with a lot of scumbags on that mountain (Generational poverty, alcoholism and fetal alcohol syndrome, drug use, rampant domestic violence and inadequate educational and social services will do that. These are truly “forgotten people.”}. But we also have memories of some wonderful, inspiring people we met there: Shere and “Bird,” Phil, Jimmy and Bonnie, and Tom, who lived in the woods nearby with his wife.

Our welcome to Kentucky was definitely a memorable experience. Eventually, we ended up moving to four other different houses on that mountaintop before we finally hightailed it back to Pennsylvania to admit defeat, lick our wounds, rest a little, and regroup in order to embark on our next (and hopefully final!) journey to our current homestead in Missouri. Each of those four houses have the same underlying theme of nonstop deprivation as the above, just a slightly different twist for each of them.

I hope you enjoyed this small piece of my life. Please leave a comment below if you wish. Also, I changed the names of the participants, but everything else happened exactly as written.

Peace to you.

Next: The Great Kentucky Adventure, Vol 2, part 1: Sam’s House