Be the true you

Posted by & filed under my life.

The title of this post is a message to myself. Yes, it’s to all of you who read this, too. But I’m trying to give myself a little pep talk. Okay?

I’ve always felt different. And people have noticed. I was teased as a child. You don’t get teased if you fit in. It’s when you stand out that you become a target.

But, being gentle (for the most part – there is certainly a feisty part of me), I didn’t know how to fight back. And so I didn’t. And I practiced flying under the radar, making myself smaller, blending in.

There’s consequences when you do that. You lose who you are. And you wind up letting other people talk you into how you should live your life. You go along with the status quo, even though you are anything but – and even the opposite of – the status quo.

As people may have noticed, I’ve gone inside myself this last year (or maybe it’s longer, I’m losing track of time), pulled away into nature and time with God without the noise of man telling me who God is. He’s nothing like what I’ve been taught, and what I’ve struggled many, many years to believe. I’ve always connected with him more in nature and quietly, by myself, than anyplace else, and told that wasn’t enough. Well now it’s enough.

It’s everything.

There is a great book by Sue Monk Kidd called “When the Heart Waits” about her mid-life journey of finding herself. Who’d have known that I’d have my own similar journey. I’m trying to find the pieces of myself I lost. The pieces I have squelched in the process of getting along in this world.

I have a ways to go, I think. It’s kind-of a roller coaster ride and I still have to live the life I’m in (and it’s a wonderful life, don’t get me wrong). But this I know….even if I’m going along on the outside, I’m not on the inside. I’m becoming me. Slowly, ever so slowly. The true me.

I was going to write something about this true me, but I’m not ready. Because it all comes out defensive. And my goal is to get a place where I am so totally accepting of myself that I don’t give a damn what anybody else thinks.

Working on it, working on it.

And so, let me end with this thought….The world needs us to be our true selves. Otherwise, why were we born? Just to take up space and become another brick in the wall?

Our real selves

Posted by & filed under my life.

There are some things we can’t change about ourselves. Maybe we can with surgery, but if we don’t want to do that, our physical appearance is pretty much what we’ve been given at birth.

Like big noses, big hips, baldness, lots of wrinkles, insert whatever here: ________.

These things are all “less” than the human physical ideal. Not exactly sure who sets that ideal, but maybe it’s just part of us because little kids tease each other about physical attributes. Or maybe they are just picking on “different.” I remember as a little kid a neighbor of the same age asking me why my eyes were so wide open/big.

Wide-eyed innocence, maybe? Let’s just say growing up that sure can get squelched. All of a sudden, I let that kid make me think something was wrong with my eyes.

And I was not one of the lucky ones to get a small button nose. My nose has a bump in it and is not small. It’s a combination of my dad’s nose and my mom’s nose. Funny how that works. It was really tough growing up with this nose – kids can be so cruel. But what is even worse is when I run into someone who is suppose to like me, suppose to be my friend, who teases me about it. Luckily I don’t run into that too often. But I just did fairly recently and guess what?

Jokes about someone’s less-than-perfect physical qualities hurt. No matter how old you are.

The scripture in the Bible that says, “out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks” applies here.

But what really prompted me to write this were some jokes made towards a bald person in my family this past weekend. By other family members. At least two of them.

How is that okay? Tell me, how is that okay? I’m sure he’s used to it, I had to get used to the nose jokes. But at least I don’t hear them too often by friends (barring that recent one) and family.

So, perhaps we cannot change our physical experiences. But I’ll tell you what we can change. We can change the words that come out of our mouths. And we can do that by changing our hearts. By learning to love everyone for who they are. By celebrating differences and uniqueness. By getting a better self-esteem and/or outlook on life so that you don’t have to cut people down to make yourself feel better. By learning – maybe from this blog post – that it’s not okay to make fun of someone’s physical features. It’s just plain mean.

Let’s all work on changing the things about us that we can change for the better, and learn to love our physical selves just the way we are. Because who we are is more than our outsides. Our physical body is just our shell. The real us is inside. In our hearts.

Love, me

Me, profile view

This Easter

Posted by & filed under faith.

Jesus, on this Easter Day, when everyone focuses on your resurrection – so much better than focusing on and celebrating your death, at least – I want to think about how I move forward in my relationship with you.

I really want to understand your teachings. Because I think you came here to teach us, and we’ve turned it all into a religion where you are the only way to God and all others who love God are condemned to an eternity in hell. Even the Jews, of which you were one.

Why doesn’t that seem to make no sense to more Christians?

Why, when you spoke in parables, were some of your words taken literally?

Why have we not realized the profoundness of your teachings, even when you led us by example – like by practicing non-violence even to the point of not trying to defend yourself when condemned to death. And asking for forgiveness for those who killed you because you realized their ignorance.

You realize ours, too.

Please help me read your words with fresh eyes. I find myself stuck in a place of rejection and repulsion by much of what is written in this book that used to bring me such comfort. Help me through that, please, so I can walk with you and God in confidence, not defensiveness. So I can be an instrument of your peace and love. Even if I don’t fit the mold.

Please help this world, Jesus. Help heal man’s inhumanity to man. Nothing has changed since you left. We still condemn each other to the point of death. And most of it is because of religious differences.

I breaks my heart. I’m pretty sure it must break yours, too.



The Journey

Posted by & filed under poetry.


Who I was and who I am met together one day.
Who I am smiled with love at who I was.
Who I was looked with wonder at who I am.
Who I was apologized to who I am,
and who I am said, “Don’t.
It all happened for a reason.”
And as they were realizing what they meant to each other,
Who I will be entered the room,
whispered hello,
and beckoned them both
to follow.



photo credit: Hands Across Time via photopin (license)

The dance

Posted by & filed under poetry.

I dance in the love of the divine,

Leaving all fear behind.

Letting go of the lead,

The dance becomes magical,



Why did I resist for so long,

Instead of trusting the hands

Of the perfect partner.

Together we have left

The crowded dance floor

And twirl among the stars.

Don’t follow me,

Or call me back.

Just dance your own dance

Be it waltz,

or polka,

or a dance

never danced before.



Photo courtesy of


Perfect you

Posted by & filed under poetry.

You are perfectly you.

There is no one else just like you

So don’t compare.

Just be you!

Treat yourself with grace.

You don’t have to do, do, do.

That is to please others who have expectations of you.

You are not here for that.

You are here to share your gifts,

Your love,

Your uniqueness.

All you are is a gift to this world

And the people who walk it.

The world needs YOU.

As you.

Not as someone else’s idea of you.

This is hard to embrace.

Because we were brought up to conform.

To put others needs before our own.

I think that’s why so many of us feel broken.

We were.

Elmo’s song

Posted by & filed under the nana diaries.

landon & elmo

We gave my grandson Landon an Elmo for Christmas. Frankly, it was because I was looking for a doll that had laces, ties, buttons, buckles…we had a clown like that when my kids were little. Most of the help-me-learn dolls were kind-of funky looking, so I settled on Elmo. Landon likes him. He’s a little young for the help me part of him, but he’ll grow into that.

He also likes this little guy, who I really like, too, made for him by cousin-in-law Jenna, who is uber-crafty….

Landon’s Little Minion.

landon & minion

Anyhow, back to Elmo. Tonight as Kelly and I sat on the couch and entertained Landon with his Elmo doll we had a little debate about the lyrics to Elmo’s trademark song. I said it was la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, Elmo’s song. Kelly said it was la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, Elmo’s world. And so, of course we had to look it up. And when we did we found that there were two versions, once had the word “song” and the other had the word “world.” We both agreed that the “song” version probably came first.

We also found out that Landon loved watching Elmo. His little hands started moving to Elmo’s song, and his eyes were fixated on the computer screen. So cute.

I guess you are never too young for Sesame Street. Or old, for that matter.

La, la, la, la….


A Tale of Two Sippy Cups

Posted by & filed under the nana diaries.

First there were the puppy diaries. And occasionally I still write a puppy post here and there. Now, though, we begin the nana diaries. Landon, my first grandchild is now 6 months old. It’s crossed my mind that I should have begun this sooner. But here we are, now, with the first post, as I realized this morning’s adventures in babysitting warranted one. Let the fun begin!

sippy cups

Alex got these sippy cups for Landon for Christmas. Tracey was all excited, she says Landon is ready for them and that I could use them today, as I am babysitting while all the “kids” and Andy ski.

Well, Landon may be ready for sippy cups, but Nana apparently is not. Or maybe Tracey is ready for them but Landon and Nana are not. Here’s how this morning’s attempt to use them went down….

Landon happily ate this morning’s pears. Tracey asked me to get some prune juice in him because he gets constipated. So I mixed prune juice and water and put it in a sippy cup. Landon took a few eager sucks on it, then got upset. Hmmmm. Did he not like the prune juice? Was it coming out too fast? Was it coming out at all?

I examined the sippy. It looked like there might be some signs of liquid in the 3 little holes of the sippy part. So I stuck it back in his mouth. He wouldn’t even suck on it. Hmmmm.

I didn’t want to contaminate the sippy he was using by trying it so I filled the other one up with a little water and sucked on it.

Nothing. Hmmmm.

So I sucked harder. At that point, the water shot into the back of my mouth and down my windpipe. Holy criminy!

So, while choking, I transferred the prune juice / water from his sippy cup to his bottle. And gave it to him while coughing for the first 5 minutes or so. Sorry Landon.

I’ve decided I’m going to let his parents have the joy of teaching him how to use a modern day sippy cup. The ones I had for my kids were tupperware ones that had a slit in the sippy cover, not little holes. They liquid came out without having to suck much at all. These modern day ones are dangerous! Or maybe they just are not meant for adults. Hmmmmm.

After that little adventure, Nana and Landon visited for awhile. He’s really talkative in the morning and I’m kicking myself that I left my phone upstairs and didn’t get a video. We had fun with the Elmo I gave him as I animated it and made it talk. Which made Landon laugh. There is nothing like a laughing baby.

There is nothing like a sleepy baby, either, when he’s tired. For whatever reason, after sleeping through a long night. Landon likes to nap in the morning (not the afternoon). As he started to get fussy, I changed him, gave him a bottle, and tried him up in his bed. No go. Then I thought I might walk him for awhile. I used to be able to conk him right out that way. But he’s bigger now, heavier now, and more engaged in what’s going on. So we went to plan B (or really, I guess plan C). I settled him into his rocking carrier/car seat (those used to be separate pieces of equipment when my kids were little) and rocked him to sleep. It worked like a charm.



Which gave me time to get bathed and dressed, and write the first post of the nana diaries. Now we (Gammy Pinky is here with me) wait for him to wake back up to create some new adventures. This nana thing is so much fun!

Wisdom Teachings

Posted by & filed under faith, tao.

37th Verse

The Tao does nothing,
but leaves nothing undone.

If powerful men could center themselves in it,
the whole world would be transformed by itself,
in its natural rhythms.

When life is simple,
pretenses fall away;
our essential natures shine through.

By not wanting, there is calm,
and the world will straighten itself.
When there is silence,
one finds the anchor of the universe within oneself.

This is from the Tao te Ching. I am meandering through this book slowly, picking it up at random times, often going for quite awhile between verses. Yet each time I pick it up it seems to speak to me just where I am. The thing that fascinates me about this book is that it was written in China well before Jesus was born. Yet it says so much of what he said. I can't help but wonder if he read it, but I also wonder how connected the world was back then and if a copy of this book would have even been available. And then I wonder if it's just that both of them were one with God and through that revealed divine truths. In any case, I don't need to figure out any of that. I'm done trying to have all the answers. This second part of my life is about being led by God, not by man. Loving this book, and loving the freedom of taking in wisdom from all sorts of places.

Christmas thoughts, 2014

Posted by & filed under my life.

As I sit down to write this, my little kitty Grace has curled up next to me and is purring happily as I type. It’s a metaphor. I see metaphors everywhere. And this Christmas I wish you all a little grace curled up next to you, comforting you and filling your senses with happiness.

Peace has been on my mind as it is every year and especially this time of year. It is my goal to walk through this world learning more and more how to be an instrument of peace, because that is what this world desperately needs. And it’s not easy. Life gets upsetting at times. But I am learning that the following things make a huge difference in my attitude and effectiveness. They aren’t perfect habits yet. But they will be because I keep practicing! Maybe 2015 will be the year they are completely absorbed into my being! A girl can dream….

  1. Take care of myself. Eat real food. Get enough sleep. Move my body and get outside into the natural world.
  2. Focus on the positive. Turn off the news. Turn negative thoughts into positive ones.
  3. Meditate. Be thankful.

If we all walk around as our best selves, the world will change as ripples of love spread wide. We are all connected.

2014 Events

This was the biggest and happiest one.


Little Landon Carlos Mahoney was born on June 4th. On Auntie Kelly’s birthday. And now he’s this big:


This is Landon with his dad, the picture taken up at his parents’ farm (by Landon’s Beula MJ) with their puppies. Of course Landon has been exposed to many animals. He lives with kitties, Columbus always tries to lick his face, and so did these puppies. So cute. He’s a good little boy, very laid back, just like his parents. Tracey and Roberto are wonderful parents; he’s a blessed little boy. As are we, to have him in our lives. He has a Papa and Nana (Andy and I) and a Beulo and Beula (Berto’s parents). Lots of love to go around. And country living in both homes. Now, I ask you, doesn’t this look like one happy family?…


The other big news, which is sad, is that my dad lost his battle to stay here in this world after a bad fall. This just happened in November and is still really raw. I flew down to Georgia and got to be with him along with my brother and sister and mom during the last few days of his life, as we stayed with him around the clock. He was a good dad, and we will miss him terribly, but have been blessed to have had him as part of our lives for so long (he was 82). He got to meet Landon, and of course loved him. I have a short little video of him talking to Landon which is now a treasured possession. Here they are together…

dad and Landon

And this picture of me and my dad, found while putting together a memorial to him, has become another of my treasured possessions:


As you can see by his expressions, my dad loved little kids.

I had a powerful experience on the beach this summer, at sunset, where I felt surrounded by unconditional love. It was an amazing time, and I felt like I got a glimpse of heaven. So, although I am sad for us, I am not sad for my dad, who is experiencing this now. I couldn’t keep in that moment here on earth. But he gets to be a part of it for eternity.

On the homefront

Andy and I are getting used to being empty nesters. Andy is lovingly supporting me in my efforts to build a food forest on our property, helping me to put in an orchard (still more plants to get in this year), cutting down trees to let more sun in, building a pergola in the back yard for hardy kiwis to climb. In my mind, we are getting set up to live largely off our land as we enter our retirement years, which are still a ways down the road but the fruit and nut trees are going to take awhile to mature and produce, anyway. I consider these learning years, as I begin saving seeds and starting my own seedlings, and how to best preserve the extra bounty for the winter months. Andy is working on building up the soil in our orchard to support a couple more production gardens. And some of the trees he is cutting down we will mill and he will have wood to make some creations with in the years ahead – he made our dining room table from trees he cut down while clearing our land. I feel that this is a wonderful way to honor a tree that you fell. We have a couple of big oak trees that we can’t cut – I was ready to cut one of them until Andy was hesitant. So we will try to work around the shade that he (she?) casts over the garden. These trees are older than we are! I also continue doing herbal studies. I am fascinated by the power of herbs and learning more about how we can keep ourselves healthy just by what we eat. And I’ve started another blog, just for herbal / plant stuff. It’s called Dandelion Forest, which is the name I gave our place.

me in orchard   pergola

Andy and I have our own “children” still at home. Gracie, Max, Koda, and Columbus. They keep us busy. And entertained. Columbus is Andy’s new best friend. He loves that dog.

 columbusintruck columbusintruck2_small andy wood columbus

I love him, too, but he continues to be a challenge.

naughty columbus

The rest of the gang:

koda gracie gracieandmax


Andy and I are pretty much homebodies, but we do take the occasional trip. There are separate trips to Florida in the winter months – Andy to play golf with his buddies, me to hang with my girlfriends. This past year they took me to Disney World for the first time ever! I couldn’t believe how special that place is. I always pictured it as a bigger version of all the asphalt-based, long-lined amusement parks I had been to. Never knew it was so quaint and clean. And magical.


This fall we went to see what Kelly does in NYC, attending the New York City Wine and Food Festival, which she helps to put on as her job with Share Our Strength.


Another fun event this year was our Samoiloff family beach vacation in Rhode Island. This year we were in a wonderfully big house that accommodated all the gang. We had enough people there, including a couple of boyfriends, to make up two basketball teams, although they still played half court.


One of my favorite moments of that family time was when Kelly and Greg took their turn making dinner. Tunes were on and all of us in the kitchen started dancing. Greg took a turn dancing with Landon.


 Family Updates

Andy is working at Reliance Engineering, bought an industrial building with his friend (and Reliance’s owner) Craig, continues to play basketball and tennis and cut down trees and chop wood. We have a fire going all winter long. It’s cozy. His new toy this year is a smoker and he is perfecting the art of smoking meat. His creations are quite popular with guests.

I’m still at IBM, coding up web user interfaces, growing my own food and learning herbalism on the side. I’m a mostly vegetarian (occasionally will have a piece of fish) and don’t eat Andy’s smoked creations.

Tracey is working for Cornell University Veterinary Specialists (CUVS) in Stamford, CT, as a surgical veterinary technician. She is working towards a specialty in anesthesiology. She and Berto and Landon are living in Norwalk. Berto is a stay-at-home dad, doing coaching and caddying on the side. They lost two of their pets this year at too young an age. Stella and Austin (their orange tabby).

Alex is working for Nine Point Medical in the finance department. He lives in Brighton, MA and is the only kiddo close by! He dog sits once in awhile for us or comes for an occasional weekend to hang and watch football and eat Andy’s smoked creations. I looked through my photos and couldn’t find ANY of Alex. My project for Christmas is to pull out my camera and get some updated photos. Meanwhile, I stole this on from Kelly’s Facebook page:


PS It really warms my heart that my kids are such great friends.

Kelly is in NYC with Greg. They both walk to work. She is an event planner for Share Our Strength and helps plan the New York City Wine and Food Festival, a huge charity event that raises money for hunger. Greg works for Credit Suisse and is in the process of passing 3 tests for being a certified financial planner. He studies really hard for each of them for 6 months at a time and has only one to go!

And Andy’s mom Pinky comes out and spends weekends with us. We love to have her. She and I have babysat a couple of times for Landon when Tracey and Berto had weddings to attend.


In Closing

And with that, Andy and I want to wish all our family and friends a wonderful holiday season. May you all have a special time with your loved ones and may 2015 bring you many blessings. Love you all!