3 wooden crosses & a star of david


On our way out of Santa Fe, we had to stop by & pay our respects to Rose’s memorial beside Old Las Vegas Highway.  Rose was one of Alaska’s (my stepdaughter) friends. The night before she was killed she had spent the night at our house on Asequia Madre.  The accident happened in June of 2009 just after midnight, five teenagers were travelling in a car when a truck travelling in the opposite direction hit them killing four of the teens & severely injuring Avree the driver. The entire city mourned their loss for weeks & beyond.

The driver was drunk but a few months ago they finally finished his trial and found him NOT guilty because they could not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he had swerved into their lane. This sounds like legal mumbo jumbo & I know he will suffer beyond anything I can imagine, knowing that he was responsible for the death of four young teens.

What is still blazoned in my memory is the call we got from Alaska sobbing and saying, “Rose is dead.” We jumped out of bed & drove out to the fire station where all the parents & teens were gathering. Alaska was travelling in another car & came upon the accident road block. We waited with her for information & news about the teens & their condition. Julian’s mother was in a room by herself curled up on the floor sobbing uncontrollably, occasionally crying out with an unfathomable pain. Then Rose’s father, John, came through the doors looking panicked and searching the faces for Rose. He was calling out for her with a soft, fearful, boyish face asking everyone, “Where is she? Where is Rose?” One of the teens stood up & hugged him close & then turned away so as not to meet his eyes. No one could say anything until they had identified the bodies, which apparently was difficult to do.

Meanwhile, Larry & I sat in chairs, holding each other. Holding Alaska when she came over for support. We were so grateful & deeply sad simultaneously. Alaska was going to be in that car but at the last-minute she decided to go in another car. Everyone was in different states of shock.

It is a scene I hope to never participate in again. More parents arrived, more tears, screams, desperate pleadings, & more tears.

Rose’s memorial service was filled with heart, comfort & celebration of her grace-filled 15 years.  It was held outside at the Mountain Center in Tesuque, hundreds attended. Storm clouds were coming in, thunder clapping, crow was standing watch, eagle soared overhead as the brook babbled. I stood in the water to cool my pregnant swollen feet & felt & witnessed & smiled & cried.

So to Rose, Julian, Kate & Alyssa you are remembered & live on in the hearts of those who never had the honour of meeting you.

Teens killed in auto accident 2009

We drove on & enjoyed the show put on for us the entire way home through Texas & into Houston. Mother-Nature is simply amazing it was so hard not to just click a photo every mile as the sky changed from one spectacular scene of contrast to another. Raine & I sang every song on the radio & did our car dancing until she crashed into a deep sleep. We stopped in Henrietta, Texas at a Best Western with bats fluttering out front to greet us & cows outside our window moooing us to sleep. How cool is that?

I love road trips & I’m thrilled to be home back in Larry’s arms, holding my baby boy where I will stay . . . until the next adventure.

Hmmm Contrast

Texas Double Rainbow

Cadillac Ranch in a dust storm

College Station

My Bumper Sticker

remembering in Santa Fe

Santa Fe Skies

Raine & I are loving Santa Fe for different reasons. She is spending all her awake time with her best friend/boyfriend Dillon, & I’m running around taking photos with my Instagram app on my iPhone. Here are some of the cool places I visited.

cool clouds

Returning to a town I once lived in can be an emotional experience a little like returning to a scene of a crime. It’s a bit hard to digest at first. Every street, corner & intersection has a memory attached to it. I moved to Santa Fe in 2007 just after getting back from Iraq & I dove head on into the community. I became a thread in the tapestry & felt very comfortable here – as comfortable as one can feel in Santa Fe. It’s not a city that allows one to rest for very long. The natives say there is a plate of obsidian buried deeply below & because so, one is forced to look at themselves all the time. This can become an arduous & rigorous task after a while. I wanted to be healed, to feel better, to not feel the effects of PTSD anymore so again I did healing the Marine Corps way & dove head first into processes that were painful, tearful & taxing. I learned so much & just when I felt like things were flowing I would be flung back into more tangled thinking to unravel.

It was hard work but I progressed in my thinking, loving & feeling. I learned about boundaries, about opening & softening & I learned how to live in closer alignment & harmony with Mother Earth thanks to all those lovely beings who graciously took me in as a fellow wanderer.

I left Santa Fe with the love of my life, Larry, the child we created together, Finnegan & Raine, the child we are raising together. I feel so blessed to have had this experience & the time to dive deeply into my Shadowlands, walk through it & emerge on the other side for a breather.

Since being here on this visit, I have realized that there is one event that occurred here in Santa Fe just before we moved to Houston that I have not made peace with. That was the birth story of our Love Child, Finnegan.

Our desire was to have a water birth at home. We had both prepared in every way possible both physically, emotionally, spiritually & mentally. I visualized, I floated, I walked, I chanted, meditated, did yoga, talked to Finnegan, took the Birthing from Within class, took herbs, prenatal acupuncture, & somatic therapy. We prepared for the actual day by setting up the room with a tub, a hammock to hang from, a ball to labor on, music, candles, Larry had a Blessing Way party where we asked our community for their blessings & prayers, & on & on & on & on.

It started out sweetly, but when the sun came up & then descended again, I asked our midwife to break my water to see if we could get on with this but he still wouldn’t come out. He sat with his head trying to move by my pelvic bone for 7 hours while I’m pushing in the 4th stage. Then there were the hours in which I pushed while my midwife had her fingers inside me trying to help him pass through.

There are two things that I was disappointed in, the first was not listening to my body because at about 2 am I knew I wasn’t going to physically be able to do this but did not say anything. I didn’t listen, I abandoned her & I waited for someone else to throw in the towel (this was what the Marine Corps taught me). 6 hours later when the sun rose again our midwife told us we had to transport to the hospital. I was so relieved.  Everything went beautifully at the hospital. I was able to birth him vaginally with the help of an epidermal & everyone. Finnegan is a gorgeous boy who is a rock star swimmer this summer. Luckily through this process he was never in danger, his heartbeat was always strong, he was just too big to squeeze out.

Which brings me to the second disappointment, my body, I believe somewhere deep, down I failed somehow by not being able to birth him at home. I feel as if I am just am not made for birthing babies. The recovery time took forever & I still don’t feel as strong as I was prior to the birth. It’s not just the weight that won’t come off, it’s my physical strength. That brings tears to my eyes & I’m not sure why but there must be shame involved. I just stuffed all these feelings because really. . . how could I complain with all the beauty & joy surrounding me. I did what every good Marine does, I sucked it up & drove on without even realizing I was doing this. I rejected my body as weak, useless, & disappointing. I had no compassion, nor did I look at all the greatness of my body. She has been so healthy & strong & has taken me to so many incredible places in my life. I’m beginning just this summer to see how much I rejected her & am beginning to see her beauty just as she is today. (why am I referring to my body in the third person?).

Wow, I didn’t expect that story to come out, but there you have it. I know that shame cannot survive in the open, so thank you for reading, listening with your heart & hearing my human-ness. Perhaps I can move forward from here with a sense of lightness around that event & joy for the healthy, lusciously beautiful, strong, body I have.

Enjoy the photos – they are some of my favorite spots in Santa Fe.

The Plaza

Our Old Neighbor Gary

This way to ice cream

Our Lady of Guadalupe

kids painted on caboose

Railyard Water Tower @ the Farmer's Market


Sweet Onions

a gallery on wheels

Santa Fe Brewing Company

@ Downtown Subscription Coffee House

my latest favorite photos of Finnegan

Finnegan in his sister's room

Finn loves his 14-year-old sister Raine. She loves him but isn’t crazy about him in her room touching all her stuff! So here he is in the middle of her bed wearing her glasses. She is too busy texting her bf in the background there to care about what he’s up too. I think he knows just how cute he is.

Then when the electrician’s who were installing our outdoor lights left this rim to a light fixture on the patio table, Finn decided it would make a great hat & wore it around for a few days.

Finn wearing the rim of a light fixture

the finn swims . . .

After four swim lessons Finn still cries when he goes & whimpers during the 15 minute class but when we go to the YMCA on our own just for fun he is so excited & mimics everything his teacher has been drilling him on. The survival swim course he is taking is all about repetition, creating a muscle memory that he is already exhibiting when we swim with him. It’s amazing to see his confidence & growing skills in the water, but most of all his pure joy.

These images are hard to capture in a pool with my iPhone (yikes!). Perhaps not the smartest choice but it’s just so precious.

let me go!


he's fearless


i see dead bugs

my Raine makeup makeover

the makeup artist

My daughter, Raine, loves makeup. She has 120 different shades of eye shadow in one pallet, tons of brushes, mascara & who knows what. Her new favorite store is Ulta, she gets all giddy in there – it’s almost too much goodness, sort of like Disneyland or something.

Youtube has videos on how to create different looks which she watches regularly. Perhaps someday she will work for MAC or some cool new line of makeup.

She’s really good, but has never worked on someone with different faces with different kind of eyes, different age, etc. I volunteered to be her first subject. It is a little strong under the eyes, in fact I’ve never put eyeshadow under my eyes & I haven’t worn blue eyeshadow since I was 14, but it was fun to see her artistic talents & be a part of it. I need a more rock n roll haircut to go with the make up.

She promises me to have another go at it.

my sweet boy

I love this boy. He is so sweet, contemplative, observant & smart. I just had to share these photos that capture his beautiful nature. He started his first swim lessons last night & was really traumatized by going under water so much. He held onto my neck so tightly, it both opened & broke my heart simultaneously. It’s one of those mom moments where I know it will be best if he pushes through his fear & discomfort so that he can be a confident swimmer (& not a statistic), but will he really . . . ? or will it just be one of those unknowns from his childhood that he spends hours in therapy trying to discover why he is emotional unavailable in relationships & showing up for his dreams. I guess all I can do is listen to my heart & trust.

hmmm fathers . . .

It’s Father’s Day & what a strange swirling of emotions & feelings I’m experiencing. Fathers are so important to us, so much power is placed in their hands by us girls. Perhaps it is just too much & we set them up for failure from the git go. I wish I had happy memories & stories of me & dad to reflect on today, but I don’t. I wish I had a photo from my childhood of the two of us smiling & laughing, carefree & happy, but I don’t. The funny thing is that I didn’t realize our lives were so different than most until after college when I had friends who shared their childhood stories. They were far different than mine.

my dad

Today my father is in a residential nursing facility in Sun City, CA. He has dementia. He is happier today than I’ve ever experienced him. I think in this state of dementia he is learning to open up a little, to allow other’s in a little. He told me over the phone that he always thought he was better than others & he didn’t know where he got that from, but in this facility he says it’s the weirdest thing but more people like him than ever before. I believe he held himself out of love his entire life. That is sad to me, but at least in his 70th year he is feeling what it feels like to have other’s like him.

I’m not so interested in digging up my childhood abuse & laying it out on the table to sift through anymore. I have spent many years in different processes sifting, churning, turning over & releasing most of it (it is a lifetime journey).  Today I’m more interested in just being “in Love,” feeling infinite love, being in love’s embrace (as much as I can allow), appreciating love & not getting too tangled up in the sticky-ness of blame & judgment.

My daughter, Raine is spending this Father’s Day in the last day of the Landmark Forum for Teens. She wrote a letter to her father last night to present today to the group. Her father has not made an attempt to see her in over three years. She hadn’t heard from him in two years then he sent her a Christmas card in January with an already used gift card in it. He texts her once every few months now asking how she is doing & when she answers he doesn’t reply. I ache for her & also know that she will work through this & come out a strong woman capable of accomplishing all she desires because of it (in fact she already is that).  

I’m grateful she has Larry as a dad who daily embraces her as his own daughter, supports her, adores her and holds her accountable for participating in our family. He is an incredible man.

my babies daddy

My son, Finnegan has a daddy who takes him to Home Depot regularly (they are there now). Larry is building Finn a mini work bench in the garage which will stand next to Larry’s. That way they can work together. In April he took his older boys, Zac & McKenzie to Nicaragua to surf & fish. Larry is showing all of us, to include himself, his best expression of fatherhood.

Dad with his boys in Nicaragua

I always liked the idea that children choose their parents before coming here. I like how it flips everything upside down & turns the responsibility back on us, as children to decide why we chose this particular man to be our dad.

To all the expressions of daddy out there. Thank you for doing all that you can do, because it really is all you can do & as Kermit said, “it’s not easy being green” or being a dad.

mornings, sunflowers & poop

My mornings are no longer mine alone to sit & sip my cafe con leche while I write in my journal. Instead my mornings are filled with constant movement & distraction. Today a Finnegan boy sprays me with the water hose while laughing when I scream. I pick tomatoes, fix him breakfast, water the jungle, keep the cat away from his breakfast, keep Finn from dragging the cat across the front porch by his tail. Then I clean Finn’s hands of the clumps of kitty hair before he starts to eat again. We sing Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star for the 20th time so far. I long to open my journal, scroll a few thoughts down.

But the breeze is blowing & it’s only around 85 degrees, feels like a warm blanket. The birds are chirping in our tree and the cicadas are singing from a tree across the street. I’m sitting in the shade of our urban jungle garden with sunflowers too many to count, reaching their faces toward the sun. This morning, this place, this moment, this allowing is paradise.

And my boy is happy and my girl is snuggled up in her nest sleeping her summer vacation away. Larry is on his way home from three days in Austin.

Oh, most importantly, the nanny will be here soon, so all is well from my vista.

THanKs be tO LoVe,



Just before the Nanny arrived Finn pooped & when I took off his diaper he ran over to the cat and sat on him leaving a skid mark in his fluffy white fur. The poor cat had no clue & Finn was very pleased.