To Your Health

My Facebook feed is full of grief right now.  Grief is permeating the very air right now.  Many people I know are dealing with severe illness and/or death of a loved one due to COVID.


“Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” Abraham Lincoln

I was a big fan of biographies as a kid, and I liked this Abe Lincoln quote. I used it to motivate myself to take charge of my situation. But what happens when it no longer works?

One Hundred Thousand

This morning my blog, Peace Out Loud, reached 100,000 views.

Since my first post about Veteran’s Day on November 10, 2012, I’ve written 56 posts about many things.  There’s a poem or two and a letter to the President of the United States.  Some blogs were about global issues, some about national issues, some were about my own little hometown, and some were deeply personal about my family.  Well, they’ve all been deeply personal to me, as I only write about things I care deeply about.

My theme is peace, as I believe in creating peace within and spreading it beyond ourselves to the world around us.  

I never dreamed that my blog would be reaching this landmark, or that my posts would be read all over the world, but somehow this happened!  My posts have been read by people in Israel, Hong Kong, Russia, Ukraine, Indonesia, Germany, France, China, Sweden, Bulgaria, Brazil, Turkey, India, Canada, Poland, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, and of course my own home, the United States, as well as a few other places.  I am humbled that I’ve somehow connected with people I will never know, from around the globe, by the simple act of writing from the heart.

I’ve been working on some personal lessons lately, around asking for help and being willing to receive it.  I have spent my life trying not to be vulnerable; now I’m trying to change that.  I want to connect with others from a place of honesty and vulnerability, but at times I haven’t been honest with myself about how much I’ve needed others.  My blog has been a place where I’ve opened that door a tiny crack. 

I was talking with a friend today who said something important.  She said that as much as our society values individuality, we will struggle as long as we don’t realize that we are part of a larger collective, the human collective, and the collective of life on this planet.  People often fail to see the larger impact of their decisions on others, and sometimes don’t care.  We are doomed until we realize that we belong to each other.  This logic can apply to COVID precautions, climate change, stopping racial and other injustices, ending hunger, poverty, abuse, or any other suffering.  

We are all affected by these things, and many of us know it.  Things are shifting. 

I feel that writing is how I fit into that collective, and how I can live my best, most meaningful life.  Writing helps me to peel back the layers, but more importantly, I feel much more connected to others.  I plan to write more, and I hope to be an ambassador for kindness and justice.  That’s my tiny role.  What’s yours?

I want to thank everyone who’s taken the time to read my ramblings.  Maybe you’ve related on some level.  Hopefully you’ve felt a little less alone, a little more understood, and cared about.  I’m sure you’ll find things you disagree with, and that’s great too.  We don’t all have to be in lockstep philosophically or politically to acknowledge and celebrate our humanness or to have compassion and empathy for one another.

I am just very grateful to celebrate this milestone in my life, and to share it with you.

But for the Grace of God

The first time my mom attempted suicide, I was eight years old and my dad was at work.  My older brother and sister and I were home with her, when she announced that she had just taken “a whole bunch of pills.”  I remember the ambulance being called and my teenage brother getting her to drink mustard water to try to get her to vomit.  She was driven away in an ambulance to have her stomach pumped.  I've written about my mom before in a prior post a few years back, but something happened recently that has her fresh on my mind.

Honoring Jaime

Today is my birthday.  It’s supposed to be “my day,” but I’d like to share it with someone special.

I recently learned that I had a birthday twin.  Her name was Jaime Guttenberg.  If that name sounds familiar, it’s because she was in the news a few years ago.


On Thursday, June 17, 2021, President Biden signed legislation which was overwhelmingly passed by the House and Senate, making Juneteenth a federal holiday.  Juneteenth commemorates the end of slavery by marking the day that enslaved people in Texas learned that they were free.  This was on June 19, 1865, two and a half years after Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation took effect.  For obvious reasons, word was slow to spread to people who were enslaved.  Texas was the last state in which the state government was still permitting slavery, in resistance to the federal law.  Juneteenth has been celebrated since 1866, and is also known as Jubilee Day, Emancipation Day,and Black Independence Day. 

Cemetery Clean Up

The Bay City Oddfellows Cemetery is a very special place to me.  As a kid, when things got rocky at home, I’d walk to the cemetery to sort my thoughts.  I spent hours there alone.  To some people this might seem odd, but for me it was a great thinking place.  One day some grazing deer were just a few feet from me and I sat quietly as we watched each other.  

Time for a Choice

In 1999, I spent four days in Washington, DC where I lobbied for children’s mental health parity on Capitol Hill.  It was November but it felt like early fall, with balmy weather, cool evenings, and brightly colored leaves making a swirling path for our ten-person group from Oregon.  Life felt light and hopeful.  It was a magical experience.

Father's Day

I spent this last Father’s Day in silent, burning rage at my dad, and it’s taken me three months to sort it out enough to write.