Sunday, December 30, 2012

For Holly :)

I thought of you dear, as I read this recipe..

Better Than Anything Cake

Combines all things great into the PERFECT gooey dessert!


Print This Recipe Print This Recipe


  1. Bake cake according to directions in a 9x13 pan.
  2. Let cake cool for about 5 minutes.
  3. Poke holes in cake with the handle end of a wooden spoon.
  4. While cake is still warm, slowly pour over sweetened condensed milk over the top making sure some gets in all the holes of the cake.
  5. Next drizzle the caramel topping evenly over the cake slowly, making sure some gets in all the holes as well.
  6. Spread cool whip over the top evenly.
  7. Sprinkle with Heath Candy bar pieces.
  8. Store in fridge until ready to eat. Store any leftovers in fridge.
*NOTE* you can combine the sweetened condensed milk and caramel topping in a separate bowl, stir together and then pour on cake, but I just use the easy method so I don’t have to dirty another dish :)

Kind of Figured it Might Happen Again.

that's all I have to say today.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Just for Today. (elephant journal 12/29)

Just for today, swing wide that proverbial “life’s door” stepping boldly on into the outside.

Scream loudly for all and everyone to hear—let the wind flush your cheeks and mess up your hair, as you run wildly forward and into your fate…your destiny.

Just for today, embrace your dream with both hands locked firmly and tightly around its back—squeezing with all of your moxie and might—as if to say, “I shall never lose you again, my friend.”

Just for today, smile with all your heart and at all those things that wander in and out and through your path and then, let that smile find the empty eyes of a stranger, smiling once more until those eyes shine back to you again.

Just for today, walk fearlessly and ferociously out and into this world and on again and into that dark night. Hold your head up high and strong and let your heart guide you to your most perfect you.

And then, look up and far and deep into those stars knowing each and every one of them is there—just for you—to share their love and light your way.

Just for today, love with all and everything you’ve got and if you find your mind clinging backwards instead of forwards, reminding you of just how very hard a heart may shatter and fall…then, and right there, love again, but love yourself first and most of all.

Just for today, let go of all of your moments save for this one, right here and right now.

Let loose your grip on the way back when and save tomorrow again for another day.

Just for today, hold all of forever and everything in it, tucked gently in this moment now…promising to never, ever let it slip away again.

Just for today.

Source: via Tara on Pinterest

There is nothing more beautiful.

Source: via Tara on Pinterest

Walk With the Dreamers.

Be that dreamer, 
Be that believer, 
Be courageous.. and cheerful... 
Plan and then *do*... 
Let your head live up in those clouds... because, that is where the magic begins... 

And then... be that spark that is bright enough, and powerful enough, and just magical enough to light up this whole big world... and all of the darkest skies that surround it. 

But most of all and just for today, believe - anything is possible, and it's all right there for you.


Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Something worth remembering.

If you want something you've never had before... be willing to do something you've never done.

Source: via Tara on Pinterest

Monday, December 24, 2012

a good christmas cry.

sometimes, it can be - that someone we love, may say something that pokes us right at the core... at our very heart... making us feel so not so very well. 

so tonight... after a very long day... and after someone saying something so hurtful... I believe I am going to retire early for the next few days... and pray for good energy to come this way... I made a Christmas wish tonight, it was a big one - I'm hoping for a hug. 

Saturday, December 22, 2012

One hand to ship. One hand to me.

"One hand to ship. One hand to me."

It's not something we often think of as we move into the busyness and noise of our day ~ focussing all of what we have in that which we are doing, sometimes pushing all of our own hearts so cleanly out of the way. How is it that we have become so detached from self?

"One hand to ship. One hand to me."

Any old sailor will tell you, this is the way to steer that ship without losing one's balance. But in many ways, it reminds us ~ that in giving energy to the work in front us, we must also be mindful to our own self in that process. In this way, we don't lose ourselves in the activity of doing. In this way, we are able to stay in balance and always present. Only when we are present, are we fully open to the moment.

"One hand to ship. One hand to me." 

Remember this, as you move through each moment of your day ~ namaste.

Friday, December 21, 2012

A letter from a Plum Village monk and native of Newtown, CT, written last weekend.

Brother Phap Luu, a monastic at Plum Village, grew up in Newtown, Connecticut. He has written an amazing, heartfelt letter to shooter Adam Lanza, that you can read here:

Saturday, 15th of December, 2012
Dharma Cloud Temple
Plum Village

Dear Adam,

Let me start by saying that I wish for you to find peace. It would be easy just to call you a monster and condemn you for evermore, but I don't think that would help either of us. Given what you have done, I realize that peace may not be easy to find. In a fit of rage, delusion and fear—yes, above all else, I think, fear—you thought that killing was a way out. It was clearly a powerful emotion that drove you from your mother's dead body to massacre children and staff of Sandy Hook School and to turn the gun in the end on yourself. You decided that the game was over.

But the game is not over, though you are dead. You didn't find a way out of your anger and loneliness. You live on in other forms, in the torn families and their despair, in the violation of their trust, in the gaping wound in a community, and in the countless articles and news reports spilling across the country and the world—yes, you live on even in me. I was also a young boy who grew up in Newtown. Now I am a Zen Buddhist monk. I see you quite clearly in me now, continued in the legacy of your actions, and I see that in death you have not become free.

You know, I used to play soccer on the school field outside the room where you died, when I was the age of the children you killed. Our team was the Eagles, and we won our division that year. My mom still keeps the trophy stashed in a box. To be honest, I was and am not much of a soccer player. I've known winning, but I've also known losing, and being picked last for a spot on the team. I think you've known this too—the pain of rejection, isolation and loneliness. Loneliness too strong to bear.

You are not alone in feeling this. When loneliness comes up it is so easy to seek refuge in a virtual world of computers and films, but do these really help or only increase our isolation? In our drive to be more connected, have we lost our true connection?

I want to know what you did with your loneliness. Did you ever, like me, cope by walking in the forests that cover our town? I know well the slope that cuts from that school to the stream, shrouded by beech and white pine. It makes up the landscape of my mind. I remember well the thrill of heading out alone on a path winding its way—to Treadwell Park! At that time it felt like a magical path, one of many secrets I discovered throughout those forests, some still hidden. Did you ever lean your face on the rough furrows of an oak's bark, feeling its solid heartwood and tranquil vibrancy? Did you ever play in the course of a stream, making pools with the stones as if of this stretch you were king? Did you ever experience the healing, connection and peace that comes with such moments, like I often did?

Or did your loneliness know only screens, with dancing figures of light at the bid of your will? How many false lives have you lived, how many shots fired, bombs exploded and lives lost in video games and movies?

By killing yourself at the age of 20, you never gave yourself the chance to grow up and experience a sense of how life's wonders can bring happiness. I know at your age I hadn't yet seen how to do this.

I am 37 now, about the age my teacher, the Buddha, realized there was a way out of suffering. I am not enlightened. This morning, when I heard the news, and read the words of my shocked classmates, within minutes a wave of sorrow arose, and I wept. Then I walked a bit further, into the woods skirting our monastery, and in the wet, winter cold of France, beside the laurel, I cried again. I cried for the children, for the teachers, for their families. But I also cried for you, Adam, because I think that I know you, though I know we have never met. I think that I know the landscape of your mind, because it is the landscape of my mind.

I don't think you hated those children, or that you even hated your mother. I think you hated your loneliness.

I cried because I have failed you. I have failed to show you how to cry. I have failed to sit and listen to you without judging or reacting. Like many of my peers, I left Newtown at seventeen, brimming with confidence and purpose, with the congratulations of friends and the approbation of my elders. I was one of the many young people who left, and in leaving we left others, including you, just born, behind. In that sense I am a part of the culture that failed you. I didn't know yet what a community was, or that I was a part of one, until I no longer had it, and so desperately needed it.

I have failed to be one of the ones who could have been there to sit and listen to you. I was not there to help you to breathe and become aware of your strong emotions, to help you to see that you are more than just an emotion.

But I am also certain that others in the community cared for you, loved you. Did you know it?

In eighth grade I lived in terror of a classmate and his anger. It was the first time I knew aggression. No computer screen or television gave a way out, but my imagination and books. I dreamt myself a great wizard, blasting fireballs down the school corridor, so he would fear and respect me. Did you dream like this too?

The way out of being a victim is not to become the destroyer. No matter how great your loneliness, how heavy your despair, you, like each one of us, still have the capacity to be awake, to be free, to be happy, without being the cause of anyone's sorrow. You didn't know that, or couldn't see that, and so you chose to destroy. We were not skillful enough to help you see a way out.

With this terrible act you have let us know. Now I am listening, we are all listening, to you crying out from the hell of your misunderstanding. You are not alone, and you are not gone. And you may not be at peace until we can stop all our busyness, our quest for power, money or sex, our lives of fear and worry, and really listen to you, Adam, to be a friend, a brother, to you. With a good friend like that your loneliness might not have overwhelmed you.

But we needed your help too, Adam. You needed to let us know that you were suffering, and that is not easy to do. It means overcoming pride, and that takes courage and humility. Because you were unable to do this, you have left a heavy legacy for generations to come. If we cannot learn how to connect with you and understand the loneliness, rage and despair you felt—which also lie deep and sometimes hidden within each one of us—not by connecting through Facebook or Twitter or email or telephone, but by really sitting with you and opening our hearts to you, your rage will manifest again in yet unforeseen forms.

Now we know you are there. You are not random, or an aberration. Let your action move us to find a path out of the loneliness within each one of us. I have learned to use awareness of my breath to recognize and transform these overwhelming emotions, but I hope that every man, woman or child does not need to go halfway across the world to become a monk to learn how to do this. As a community we need to sit down and learn how to cherish life, not with gun-checks and security, but by being fully present for one another, by being truly there for one another. For me, this is the way to restore harmony to our communion.

Douglas Bachman (Br. Phap Luu)
who grew up at 22 Lake Rd. in Newtown, CT., is a Buddhist monk and student of the Vietnamese Zen Master and monk Thich Nhat Hanh. As part of an international community, he teaches Applied Ethics and the art of mindful living to students and school teachers. He lives in Plum Village Monastery, in Thenac, France.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

How to Get in Touch With Me.

I have been getting more and more contacts and questions - a big mucho-thanko to elephant journal for sharing their site with a rambling goof of a writer.. but I guess this means now I have to get somewhat organized... *gasp*... Anyway - here's my online 'business' card, in case you ever want to reach me - all roads to lead to home, and I always love to chat. xo


On days, just like today, where I find myself at the 'almost very end' — just about when the night sky gains the slightest of chills...

 And just about when my little pup climbs into my lap... 

I close my eyes, find my breath, and thank the stars for all these most wonderful things... 

I think of all of those I love and whose love lights my path... 

I think of all the moments I have shared and hope yet to share... 

But most of all, I think of how forever grateful I am to most very simply — be here now. 

This is what I am most grateful for this evening. 

What is your gratitude as you end this day?



*Love* this. :)

One of my all time, most favorite things to think and say out loud and often to myself... Go now, and live....


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

What Surprises the Dalai Lama Most?

A most brilliant reminder, of how it is we should view this life and all our moments within it. If you would like to see more of this article (and many other cool ramblings and writings).. you can visit elephant journal and read to your heart's content. 


Just Because.

This is how we all need to wake up :)

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

13 Amazing Quotes about Gratitude. ~ Elephant Journal, 12/18

Piglet noticed that even though he had a Very Small Heart, it could hold a rather large amount of Gratitude.

~ A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

At this very special time of year, it’s important to take that ever-thoughtful pause in our busy day to show gratitude for our own lives and the lives of those around us. And in taking this moment to make time for gratitude, we’re giving ourselves the most wonderful gift of all—the gift of now.

Be grateful, in every moment of every day. Because, when we believe our Universe if filled with abundance and love, then this world and all of our moments within it will be always and forever wonderful.

So, as you’re busy getting ready for this holiday season, why not take just a moment or two to make room for gratitude?

Happy Holidays, and namaste—may the gratitude that is within you, become the blessings that surround you.

13 Amazing Quotes on Gratitude

We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.
~ Thornton Wilder
There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.
~ Albert Einstein
Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.
~ William Arthur Ward
As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.
~ John F. Kennedy
There is a calmness to a life lived in gratitude, a quiet joy.
~ Ralph H. Blum
The best way to pay for a lovely moment is to enjoy it.
~ Richard Bach
Let gratitude be the pillow upon which you kneel to say your nightly prayer. And let faith be the bridge you build to overcome evil and welcome good.
~ Maya Angelou, Celebrations: Rituals of Peace and Prayer
At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.
~ Albert Schweitzer
Forget yesterday—it has already forgotten you. Don’t sweat tomorrow—you haven’t even met. Instead, open your eyes and your heart to a truly precious gift—today.
~ Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free
Walk as if you are kissing the Earth with your feet.
~ Thich Nhat Hanh, Peace Is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life
Some people grumble that roses have thorns; I am grateful that thorns have roses.
~  Alphonse Karr
Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.
~ William Arthur Ward
If there ever comes a day when we can’t be together, keep me in your heart, I’ll stay there forever.
~ Winnie the Pooh

And a bonus poem, with a gentle reminder of how we might live each of our days.

Dare to Be
by Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free 

When a new day begins, dare to smile gratefully.
When there is darkness, dare to be the first to shine a light.
When there is injustice, dare to be the first to condemn it.
When something seems difficult, dare to do it anyway.
When life seems to beat you down, dare to fight back.
When there seems to be no hope, dare to find some.
When you’re feeling tired, dare to keep going.
When times are tough, dare to be tougher.
When love hurts you, dare to love again.
When someone is hurting, dare to help them heal.
When another is lost, dare to help them find the way.
When a friend falls, dare to be the first to extend a hand.
When you cross paths with another, dare to make them smile.
When you feel great, dare to help someone else feel great too.
When the day has ended, dare to feel as you’ve done your best.
Dare to be the best you can—
At all times, Dare to be!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

A Letter to My Children.



"I find hope in the darkest of days, and focus in the brightest. I do not judge the universe." - Dalai Lama

As I turned on the news yesterday, my heart sank learning of this great tragedy. I watched as our President paused in tears over our Nation's terrible loss. In that moment, as most parents, I began that process of searching for just the right words to give comfort to my own children and in this hour.

The following, is a letter I have written them - that I wish to share with you. I hope it brings comfort to your children, as it did to mine.

A Letter to My Children.

To my most precious darlings, my love - my light...

I suppose that you're wondering what it is that is going on in this great big crazy world. And, as with all things, you're probably looking to me to provide you answers, insight... perhaps, even a little light. But the truth is, it's not always easy being a parent and finding always just the very right thing to say. I suppose, when you were much younger, this job was much easier.

Why is the sky blue?

How many stars are in the sky, Mommy?

Where does all the toilet paper go when we flush?

But then, you've grown - and now, you are just a little older, and your view of this world has changed, as it always and forever will.

And you're probably looking to me now to give you just the right words to make sense of all of these most recent and horrible catastrophes. But the bottom line is, that sometimes - I just don't know these answers. And I can't always be there to help you to understand why it is that these things are happening.

But you are here now, seeking comfort - and as your Mom, I feel compelled to share with you my heart.

My darlings, sometimes there are no answers. And, sometimes, there are just no words to describe what it is that we should be thinking and feeling and believing as we move through to our next day.

All I know and I have ever known is that everything we have and will ever need is right here with us in this very moment.

You’re probably wondering what it is that we must do when faced with these often overwhelming life situations. My darlings, what you must do in these moments is breathe, because that is always the very first step.

Then, when you’ve found your breath again—’be love.’ With every breath of every moment and with all that you’ve got in your hearts— ‘be love’ again.

Because, my darlings, when these things happen in our world, you will find that love is what we all most need right now. You will serve this world well, if you are able to carry this forward in your hearts no matter what the darkness may bring.

Be love, my beautiful babies. And know, that we are much more than our bodies, that our inner light will shine on just like all those stars in the sky. Our spirits, and the energy that we share, will forge the path for our next generation.

Be love, my beautiful darlings. Because, in the end, you will always find that it’s true what they say: “love conquers all.”

Why has this been such a difficult year? Why did this happen? My darlings, in life you may find that sometimes there are just no answers and no words to describe.

It’s in these moments that we must most hold dear to our hearts faith and hope and lovingkindness, because without these there is no hope.

Hope is what will always bring up the sun on a brand new day. Hope will forever toss those stars high and deep into the dark sky. Hope is what will carry us through those nights when we feel that we have lost it all.

In those moments when you feel your hope is most challenged, those are the moments you hold hope most dear to your hearts. Because, in the end, and no matter what, hope is what will always and forever carry you through even your most darkest hour.

Sometimes, there are no answers. But in the end, we always have hope.

In love and light, forever and always,


P.S. Hope is what makes the sky blue.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Need Your Help!!!


As you all know, I am writing for elephant journal... and, this year they are rewarding their writers with a little extra cash in pocket. They are having a contest for us regulars - paying out $250 for each few thousand 'views'. With all my expenses this year, I could really use your help getting the link out there... with a request for just a quick "click". 

Here is the link -


The Gift of Now. ~ 12/10/12 elephant journal

Source: via Lynn on Pinterest

I had finally made my way outward and into this world, venturing off as if a new explorer discovering this whole great planet all over again.

And with an almost hesitant awareness, I found my way into the city to meet a dear friend for coffee.
I had felt a bit down lately, with these approaching holidays, stuck in my home recuperating from a very long and difficult surgery. In some ways, I had wanted to shut my door to this whole ugly mess of holiday festivities, which I had tried my best to avoid in these last several weeks. Although, in my heart, I questioned—how can anyone really hide from Christmas?
But as we walked about, I couldn’t help but breathe in all of these most brilliant surroundings. I had been tucked away for what seemed so long, that these streets in some way felt “new” again. And with each step, it took me back, to a time when I was just so very small and the snow was still so very new.
I remembered sleeping anxiously the night before, my heart filled with the anticipation of knowing that the dark of this night would soon give way to brightness of that first snow. In the morning, I would bundle up into every piece and sort of protective winter warmings, and swing wide that big, steel door to our house… stopping for just a moment to admire this great and new wonderland.

photo: Ross Tucknott
There is a sound to winter, a sort of muffled stillness setting the stage for the symphony of gusting winds and cracking trees. And that first breath—that first big winter breath—would sting my lungs and force a gasp. Oh, how I would love to trample off into that deep snow, with all the force and determination and might my tiny little body could produce—pausing only just long enough to watch the clumps of snowflakes drop to the earth, and wonder how it was that they could always fall so effortlessly and perfectly into place.
Hours later, my mother would lure me in with promises of dry clothes, a spot by the fire and a mug of hot cocoa to warm my nearly frostbitten hands still buried somewhere deep inside my snow-caked mittens.
As night would begin to fall again, the only remnants of my day, would be a trail of snow-packed footprints somewhat shadowed in the moonlight and displaying for all the world to see, my each and every move on this cold, winter day. And even though this snow, was so familiar, with each passing season—just like this day—it always felt so completely and entirely new.
Convalescing can be quite the trickster, playing with our minds and moods in ways neither imagined nor expected. But as with all things, and specifically our life’s challenges, in some ways our biggest adversary can become our greatest teacher.
I had been so caught up in the process of being tucked away, that I had almost turned down this day’s meeting, somewhat fearful of the world around me and all those things left waiting for me. But something compelled me to venture outward, to take a chance, and believe again—if only just for today. To have the same faith and trust and wonderment, as I had “swinging wide” that door so many years before.
And as we walked along, sharing stories of these days and weeks gone by, I realized just how verylucky I had been. And I also realized, had I stayed tucked away into my inside world, I would’ve almost and most nearly missed this most wonderful gift—a reminder of seasons past, and the brilliance of being able to see this world as “new” again. But most importantly, I would have missed out on the very best gift of all— this gift of now.

Time moves with us or without us, never looking back to see if we’ve kept pace.

And it moves on irrespective of the things and stuff and matter of our days. But, if we’re able to approach each moment with the anticipation that precedes that first winter snow—with the same spirit, determination, and child-like incessant unstoppability from our many years ago—then we’ll have always, and most certainly, lived this now, well.
Happy Holidays, and namaste—may the gratitude that is within you, become the blessings that surround you.