Monthly Archives: April 2012


While at the checkout counter I saw a rack of these. How interesting.

This small packet has planted an idea.

Later I discover this at another store. It is a Sunflower Grow Kit.


This kit contains everything needed to successfully grow a sunflower. It includes the pot, seeds, growing medium, and instructions. I must supply the water, sunshine, and attention.

“Too bad they don’t sell People Grow Kits”, I muse as a new thought begins to take root, “but they don’t need to. I have within me, my own little Grow Kit.”

I possess all that I need to change or begin anew at any time I choose. It starts with an idea and the desire; the seeds of change.

And it’s all up to me.

I can’t just toss something into the dirt and wait for a flower to sprout. That’s like wanting a better life and expecting the wishing to make it so. No, it requires thought and some work.

I am responsible for gathering the necessary tools. I must prepare myself to be the dark, rich soil from which all things will grow, and choose healthy, loving people who will help nourish me. God will provide the light and the life.

But growth can be painful. And sometimes I’m like a teething puppy who constantly chews to relieve painful gums, and my development is uncomfortable not only for me, but for those around me.

At other times I am delicate and fragile and my friends are the lifelines that support me until I’m strong enough to stand on my own.

April marks one year that I am clean of the fog and sedation of unnecessary prescription drugs. One year clean . . . after nearly 40 years of addiction. It has been a year of challenge that hasn’t been easy.

But it certainly has been worth it.

“Every moment is another chance to turn it all around.” – From the movie, Vanilla Sky.

New growth is new life.   And hope.   A fresh start.

We are never too old and it is never too late.

 Photograph by Renske de Jong (from the Netherlands); amazing photographer, artist, & friend.

Categories: Addiction, Inspiration/Motivation, Nature | 29 Comments


This posting is dedicated to JAMES JOSEPH BUJNO.

Although I never met Jim, (his sister, Sandy, is my friend), I learned some things about him as his friends and family paid tribute at his memorial service on Saturday, April 21st.

I looked at the photograph collages displayed at his service and it was clear that he was a man who was full of life. His smile was huge and his spirit, even larger; there was just no denying it. Picture after picture, he was surrounded by smiling friends and family. I suspect he was greatly responsible for those happy faces, as I couldn’t help but grin as I looked at them.

I learned that he was a really good man who loved life and having fun. He loved shooting pool, bowling, golfing, riding his motorcycle, dirt bikes, and hunting, boating, snowmobiling, and playing video games. He loved watching hockey and the Red Wings. Someone named the things he loved to do. I remember, it was like, everything. Wow, the guy knew how to live. He was a wonderful son, brother, father, and uncle, and he had A LOT of friends.

Every time one of them reminisced about him, they smiled. Even as their tears flowed . . .

What a testament to a man.

I sat, reflecting on the crowded room of tearful, smiling, grieving faces, and thought about the man who had brought them all together and how they honored him.

Anyone would be so lucky to be remembered that way . . . but not everyone would be so deserving of it. It is obvious that he was.

And so, this remarkable man whom I never met has inspired this week’s blog. He brought me to a place I needed to revisit.

This one’s for you, Jimmy Bujno, a man who lived life well.


I sat at a funeral recently and was profoundly touched at the sight of those in mourning. What honor they bestowed upon their loved one with their presence, words, and tears.

I’ve given many eulogies over the years. Too many times I’ve stood at the podium singing the praises of someone I had loved and lost. At times I wondered who would be left to sing for me. And when I looked around, it broke my heart; there was no one.

I had to take a close look at why. And then I needed to climb the steep steps to change. I needed to make some important adjustments in ME and the way I was behaving and living. And I had to learn to be a better friend. And I am learning; because I have some pretty amazing girlfriends who teach me by example every day.

Now, I’m pretty sure, there would be someone to say a kind word or two on my behalf after I’m gone.

A friend jokingly told me that she was working on the photo collage for her “someday funeral” NOW because she didn’t trust her sons to pick out her best, most flattering pictures. Although we mused over this, it got me to thinking.

NOW IS THE TIME to create the memories and live the experiences that are reflected in those wonderful photograph collages. And NOW IS THE TIME to become the person worthy of the eulogy that I would want spoken in my honor.

But I had to wonder, “How would I be remembered?”

Upon reflection, these are the words that I would want spoken:

“Julia was a kind and compassionate Christian woman who helped people and animals humbly and without expectation. Through her writing she shared her greatest weaknesses and joys in an effort to comfort, share, and show a new perspective. She was honest, brave, and passionate. She strived to be a better person, lived life to the fullest; made us laugh, and was well-loved. She was a good friend.”

Just as my friend gathers the pictures she hopes will be displayed at her own memorial service one day, I will strive to live my life NOW in a way that will earn me these words LATER.

We determine how we are to be remembered.

Tell me, what do you want your eulogy to say?

Categories: Family, Friends, Grief/Healing, Inspiration/Motivation | 26 Comments


Today I have a bit of a ‘tude

feeling short-tempered and a little bit rude

I have a chip on my shoulder

okay, it’s more like a boulder

I’m in a menopausal state of mood.

I think my mirror is playing a hoax

I’m seeing nods from some of you folks

gravity has come

and stolen my bum

sadly my treadmill was in on the joke.

 You must be thinking I’m some kind of clown

see my sweat as it pools on the ground?

I’m all dressed for summer

need snow…..what a bummer

I really need powering down!

There’s a new battle commencing in bed

the front lines between hormones and head

I toss and I turn

I freeze and I burn

my mattress a warzone instead.


My passion for food needs to end

it’s been my comfort, my lover, my friend

but until that day comes

I’ll work on my bum

and pray chubby becomes the new trend!


  You men don’t understand weight

we ladies have saved you that fate

when hair falls from your head

and grows from your nostrils instead

we shrug and we tell you you’re great.

We all know you are visual boys

but this I find quick to annoy

your weighty comments bring tears

please pluck the hair from your ears

chug a Bud and go play with your toys.

So excuse me if I have a ’tude

but the temperature’s now ninety-two

just show that you care

and don’t mess with my air

I’m in a menopausal state of mood!

Categories: Humor, Physical Health | 12 Comments


My treadmill, a Horizon T-91, wasn’t a dust-collector, a newspaper rack, or even a clothesline. Nope. It was a quiet and complete machine that I actually used on a pretty regular basis. Although I was worried about removing this efficient source of exercise from my home, I did. I sold the treadmill and bought a puppy; a wonderful new addition to my family that has nothing to do with fitness.

Or so I thought.

Meet THE BAXTER 218.

A seriously intense powerhouse of a workout machine disguised as an adorable little puppy who will melt your heart. Yeah, he reeled me in too, with that precious innocent little mug.

But don’t be fooled.

He is a fitness and exercise phenomenon who will tilt his sweet tiny head, smile at you, and then kick your butt right into next week.

There are some unpredictable differences between my treadmill and THE BAXTER 218, (born  2/18/12). I don’t run ON this machine, I run FROM it, I run TO it, and I run AFTER it. Yes, it does keep me running. Constantly. It comes equipped with some standard features too, such as incline and speed controls. But unlike my treadmill, it easily transforms into a stair master and has built-in ankle weights that provide both leg and butt lifts simultaneously.


This compact unit requires no electricity and has an automatic recharging system.

THE BAXTER 218 accommodates close living quarters and provides for convenient storage almost anywhere. It slides beneath a bed . . . or even under a coffee table. Unlike a treadmill, occasionally you may have to actually go and look for the unit.


This little machine does have a few quirks, however, so I’m contacting the manufacturer for some troubleshooting tips.

It has an alarm system that sets a workout schedule FOR you. It will squeak when your workout should begin; but if you ignore its recommendation for exercise? Let me just warn you, alarms will sound that will make your ears bleed! It also has “startup randomness” issues that are throwing me off balance. It powers-up, accelerates for short bursts, and then suddenly stops for no apparent reason. And lastly, it frequently malfunctions and begins leaking . . . something.

My treadmill did a lot of positive things for me: It helped me reach my weight loss goals, energized me, provided an efficient workout, and even gave me confidence. It truly transformed my body.

But it didn’t transform my life.

It never made me laugh or cuddled with me in bed. And it never licked the sweat off my face after a workout.

THE BAXTER 218. It’s a hardcore little unit that is for serious users only. It’s good for your body and GREAT for your heart.

Buy one today at a retailer near you.

Categories: Animals, Humor, Photography | 42 Comments


Sometimes late at night while I’m watching television in bed, things get percolating in my brain and become inconveniently irrepressible. Being the lazy creature that I am, most times I won’t rise to retrieve my laptop, but will take a pen to whatever is lying on the floor next to the bed, whether it’s a napkin, bookmark, or random scrap of paper.

In this case, appropriately, it was the back inside cover of an  issue of Writer’s Digest Magazine;  and I used every bit of white space that I could find on the page to expel my thoughts.

And although this now illegible page is entitled, “Write Great Fiction”, what I ultimately pulled from all my chicken scratch was not fiction at all, but a poem for a friend who had just lost her husband.

One small part of that is a simple but heartfelt sentiment that I’m rather fond of:

“A brilliant star was plucked from the night,

but Heaven got brighter, can that be right?

I think of you and I understand why;

you’re making God smile and it lights up the sky!”

When something needs to be expressed, anything can become a canvas; and whatever the creative endeavor, the important thing is to find your own canvas and your own way to paint it.

Of course this bit of scribbled mess was eventually transferred to my laptop where it was worked and reworked; but it started here, with a heart full of emotions, a slothful disposition, and the old fashioned notion of taking pen to paper.

Imagine that.

Categories: Art, Grief/Healing, Inspiration/Motivation | Tags: , , , , , , | 18 Comments

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