Encouragement, Family, Strength, Wisdom

How an Afternoon Walk Turns into More


Sometimes a whining dog is my conscience. 

Chip, said dog, stared mournfully at his hanging leash. He reminded my busy self to take advantage of the warm weather and take a walk. Okay, I wasn’t busy. More like tied up in my own thoughts of problems my family and friends are going through.  Chip caught me looking at him, then his leash, and let out a bark. 

We strode past the walkways in the neighborhood, past the geese at the tiny man-made lake, and past the golf course.  Calmness drew into my brain with each breath of outdoor air. I often forget that the mind clears during these times.

We walked by shrubs that he wanted to pee on. Of course he wants to pee on every tree, bush, and hydrant, but this time I let him saunter up against the hedge. 

I noticed one purple flower in the center of the bush. It must have struggled through the thicket of broad leaves surrounding its thin wiggly stem. Lavender petals among dense greenery. Peeking out. 

It probably blew there from some far place. No other purple flowers on the path. From the dirt, through the thicket, up towards the sunlight, poking its head through a crowd of heavier leaves the flower swayed on its frilly stem. The petals soaked up sunlight.

I thought about God and the universe and how we find our way through the scrub of life. It’s often a fight, through the darkness of the undergrowth, weaving in and out of a temporary sunshine, sometimes on a crooked stem. But if we keep at it, believe in our strength, and keep pushing, we can enjoy the sunshine.

Chip tugged at his leash. He was ready to mark more territory. I snapped a photo. Who knew one could find encouragement among the hedges and wisdom in a scraggly flower. 

Encouragement, June Gloom, Strength, Wisdom

Red Umbrellas and June Gloom

Yesterday I felt down in the valley, you know, my head droopy, thoughts scattered, and a bit of woe is me. 

It’s a combination of a week of witnessing my mother’s advancing confusion, close friends who have serious illnesses, misunderstandings in personal relationships, and rejection letters. 

I woke up to rain. Usually I love the rain. But today it had me feeling morose. Over here in Southern California, smack between Los Angeles and Santa Barbara coast, my county has seemingly unending days of June gloom. And it’s only June 9th, I know.  

Chances are we’ll trip and fall if we keep our head down. So it was fortuitous that this little girl, with her gorgeous red polka dot umbrella, came into view.

The red umbrella made me smile, gave me a little hope, I felt so much better. 

This is not my destination, only a bump in the road, inviting me to pause a while, think, give gratitude, understand that when I’m weak I can be strong. 

We all feel this way sometimes. It’s a cycle, the ups, downs, and in between. Those valleys, plains, and mountains. Part of life. 

We can also look at this part of our life differently, see the circumstances in another light. 

We can ride that cycle. Enjoy the multitudes of gray (I refrained from using 50 SOG-you’re welcome) knowing that another day will break, things will get better, and that red umbrellas are there for us to brighten up the gloom.