May 14, 2015 § Leave a comment

It’s 1 am on May 14th, and I can’t sleep.

I am floating. Celebrating. Rejoicing.

Tonight (technically it was yesterday, I suppose), at 9:20 pm, I watched this precious baby girl come into the world.

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We didn’t think it was going to happen then. In fact, around 8 I was preparing to get some sleep before midnight, which is when I thought the labor would start.

IMG_5792I want to quickly jolt down what is fresh in my memory before I force myself to sleep.

I left the ranch this morning at 11:30 and was back by 2:30. I set up camp in the trailer our ranch worker kindly put outside Rain’s stall in the breezeway and settled in for a long night. Around 6 I went and got a pizza for Jim and I but every other moment, I was waiting.

Around 8 or 8:15, when the ranch was dark and all the other horses still, I heard Rain pawing and groaning in her stall. Every five minutes I’d get out of my little bed to try to check on the momma. We had the baby cam, but about half the time it doesn’t work and won’t connect, and tonight was no exception. Every time she saw me she’d stop.

So rather than having her see me and get scared during the early stages of labor, I changed tacts and tried to watch her on my iPad using the baby cam app but that didn’t work out. So a little before 9 pm, after hearing her pawing and groaning for almost an hour, I went into the house where Jim was watching her on the one monitor we have that’s hooked up to the camera and actually works.

“She’s really restless,” I said as I walked in. Then I looked at the monitor. “She just went down!”

“Yeah, she’s been doing that for a while. Let’s stay in the house a while – right before is the time she needs to be alone.”

We pulled up chairs and watched. I called Bre, our ranch manager, and told her to book it down to the ranch. My mom called and asked how everything was going, and right as I started to answer that Rain was down and seemingly groaning, Jim jumped and pointed. A hoof. A foal hoof.

We both ran out to the stall – me abruptly hanging up on my mom (sorry, Mom!) and Jim flipping on the barn lights – and saw Rain on the ground, sides heaving. She stood up once and flopped the other way, groaning quietly. The hoof we’d seen on the monitor was still peaking out.

There I was thinking we were in the early stages of labor, that it would be another few hours before any real action happened.

And then.


There came the head.

There it was.

I gasped when I saw it – it absolutely knocked the wind out of me. Jim grabbed my hand as we watched it slowing, steadily sliding out, wrapped delicately in its milky sac. We stood there watching Rain in complete and total awe as she pushed and pushed and pushed until that tiny, perfect little head was followed by its tiny, perfect little body. Then that body met the earth and Rain groaned again and lay her head down and rested and that little body lay quivering in the straw.


Out of nowhere.

Out of nothing.

There that baby was.

There she was.

Mere minutes after we’d run out of the house to make sure everything was okay.

After so much waiting. After so much excitement and anticipation.

There she was.


I didn’t think to even touch my camera for a few minutes. I was in absolute shock. Not only at the abruptness of it all… but the indescribable, calm, natural beauty of the birth.

That little girl nibbled at the sac, the straw, the air within moments. Her nose quivered as she took her very first breaths.

Watching her attempt to take her first steps was unbelievable. Such a tiny, helpless little thing not even in the world an hour ago, to be thrusting herself upwards attempting to walk. I simply have no words.

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I have no words for the moment I touched her soft, soft neck and she looked at me with liquid brown eyes.

I have no words for the gentle – gentle – nickers Rain gave her baby as she encouraged her to suckle.

I have no words for the way that sweet little filly finally stood on her own and jumped, kicked, and bucked with the pure joy of being alive.

I never understood why everyone called it “the miracle of life”. To me, being born was the most ordinary thing in the world. Just another event that occurred on a daily basis.

I see now.

Our Sunny is a miracle.

As I watched her in amazement tonight, the song “With Arms Wide Open” kept playing in my head.

And to me, the words are perfect.

I sang them to little Sunny before I left at midnight. I will sing them to her for the rest of her life.

With arms wide open

Under the sunlight

Welcome to this place

I’ll show you everything

With arms wide open

Now everything has changed

I’ll show you love

I’ll show you everything

With arms wide open.

Oh, sweet girl.

Welcome to the world.



Baby Watch

April 27, 2015 § Leave a comment

For those of you following along on my Facebook and Instagram accounts, you know that we saved a pregnant mare from slaughter two and a half months ago at my ranch. We have been eagerly anticipating the arrival of her foal for ten long weeks, and now – as of April 27th at 9 pm – we think we are mere days away.

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Rain: April 24, 2015

I can’t even describe what I’m feeling now.

I didn’t go through an excitement phase when we first got her. I don’t think most of us at the ranch did. When I found out about the mare – Rain – she was 36 hours away from slaughter. The owner of the ranch and I were so scared for her and desperate to get her out of the hands of her kill buyer that honestly, when we brought her through the gates, I couldn’t be excited for the new beginning we were going to witness. All I felt was relief. Baby? I constantly wondered as I’d look up and see her eating contentedly in her stall. What baby? All I could think about for a long time was how close we’d come to not being able to save her.


Rain, the day we brought her home: February 13, 2015.

The vet came out to examine Rain a few days after we got her and said she hoped she wasn’t pregnant, as we had been told, on the grounds that Rain was too skinny. After an examination, however, the vet confirmed she was. I and one of the volunteers that had stayed for the visit actually jumped up and down and shrieked. But again – all I really felt in place of happy anticipation was relief.

Vet visit

Vet visit

Over the past few weeks, Rain gained a lot – a LOT – of weight. Soon it became pretty obvious that she was eating for two. Not to mention, she sure got comfortable in her new home considering she’s learned to yell at anyone passing for food!

A few weeks ago we had our former vet and one of our dearest friends come out to visit. He kindly looked over Rain for us and gave us more information about newborn foals and advice about what needs to be done when he/she gets here than we could have ever thought we needed. I took notes about what to do with the placenta, how to make sure the baby passes meconium and what to do if he/she doesn’t, and the type of Chlorhexidine we need to dip the baby’s navel.

And these past few days? I swear Rain got bigger whenever I turned around.

Rain: April 24, 2015

Rain: April 24, 2015

Last week we set up our baby camera that connects to our smartphones and tablets via a free app (head over to the Tierra Madre Horse Sanctuary Facebook page if you want to access it, too!). The three of us that will be present for the birth (the owner, the other ranch manager, and me) are taking shifts waking up in the night to check the camera to see if anything’s happened since most mares give birth in the middle of the night.

Tonight I packed a little bag with a change of clothes and some food that I can grab at a moment’s notice and run to my car with should I get a call in the middle of the night or see something happening on the camera myself.

And now – finally – as I watch Rain on my iPad and look at the alarms on my phone for me to wake up and check the camera and look over to my packed bag, the excitement is kicking in.

Rain: April 24, 2015

Rain: April 24, 2015

In the last few days Rain’s udder has swollen up and the baby has really started to move downward. The time is coming soon.

I’ve felt that baby move around inside her for such a long time that it never really sunk in that he or she was eventually going to come out and join the world. I don’t think it will really sink in until I see that baby for the first time with my own eyes. But for now, I am finally feeling the excitement. It’s amazing how much we all already love this precious little foal, and we haven’t met him or her yet.

Rain has done an amazing job carrying this baby and I am in awe of her. I am in awe of her strength and her grace and the fact that she walked onto our ranch a miserable mare and has turned into the happiest, sweetest, most gentle spirit in the world. Her baby has no idea how lucky he/she is.

Hurry on out, little girl/guy. The world awaits you.


Rain and I: February 2015

Joe and McKenzie – A Story of Near Suicide and Friendship

June 7, 2012 § Leave a comment

After I wrote down Tyler’s story a few days ago, I decided to tell another tale of mine that also contains a powerful message, one I fear bears relevance to today.

This incident took place when I was in the 6th grade, a few months after my family had moved from Arizona to California. I was new to the school and hardly knew anyone outside the sixth graders I had classes with. Before I fell into the wrong crowd and became the victim of good old middle school bullying that would put me into contact with just about everybody in the school, I got to know my classmates on a decent level. There was Nicole, who never wore the same outfit twice and wore lots of makeup – a mystery to me back then. Then there was Chris, who always made everyone laugh, even our teachers. There were the guys who were afraid of girls and the girls who were indifferent to guys. There was the popular crowd, the loners, the kids who doodled on their notebooks and the people who made fun of them. Typical middle school.

And then, in the midst of all the different kinds of people and social infrastructures, there was Joe and McKenzie.

Joe and McKenzie were best friends. They talked to other people, certainly, for they were in the ring of popular kids, but more often than not they were together, quietly talking and sharing stories, sharing laughter. Joe always brought sunflower seeds to school – a huge trend back then – and before he shared them with everyone else it always seemed to me like he made sure McKenzie got the first handful. I didn’t pay too much attention to them, for I was caught up in the happenings of my own life then, but I saw them often enough to envy them, to know that their friendship was real.

One day, a month or so after I made my debut as the “new girl”, I was in the middle of my morning English class when our door burst open without warning and rushing in came another teacher, dragging McKenzie beside her. She and my teacher gave each other a look of sorts, then McKenzie quietly took a seat at the back of our classroom and the other teacher left. Without pausing in her teaching for a moment, with no change in her voice whatsoever, my teacher casually walked over to the door and locked it.

My classmates and I shot bemused looks at one another; some of the girls who knew McKenzie tried to get her attention. But she sat silently without making eye contact with any of us, and my teacher went on teaching despite the ten or eleven hands that had just been raised by my bolder classmates.

About five or ten minutes later, our principal came on over the loud speaker and ordered a lockdown. She was very calm and our teacher had already locked our door, so we automatically assumed it was a drill the teachers had known about beforehand. I thought no more about it that day, though looking back now I think I should have been able to put two and two together.

The next day we heard what had happened. I can’t remember who I heard the story from, exactly, and some parts of it are fuzzy in my memory. I know some information was sent home to parents in a letter. The gist of it, however, is nothing I will forget very soon.

Joe and McKenzie had been talking on the phone the night before McKenzie was hurried into our classroom. Joe – happy, smiling, always joking Joe – had told McKenzie he was going to kill himself the next day. He said he was going to come to school the next day with twenty dollars, a note, and a gun in his pocket, and he planned to run away from school midmorning at break. When the twenty dollars ran out, he said, then he would commit suicide.

I can imagine how McKenzie must have pleaded with him not to go through with it. We were all in the sixth grade, for God’s sake. Everybody in my grade was eleven or twelve. But Joe apparently was insistent, and he told McKenzie under no circumstances was she allowed to tell anyone. He had told her and no one else, I’m assuming, so he could say goodbye to his best friend.

McKenzie did the bravest thing anyone in her situation could have possibly done. The next morning, she went straight to the school counselor and told her everything. The councilor told the principal. The principal told all the staff and the teachers and made sure the local police were on standby. By the time Joe got to school that day, the entire administration knew that a student was bringing a gun to campus and that he intended to run away and kill himself.

I’m unsure of some of the details here; it’s been more than eight years since this happened. But one way or another, Joe got wind of the fact that McKenzie, instead of staying silent like he had asked, told on him at the cost of their friendship to save his life. Well, he got angry. Too angry, as any emotionally distraught kid wanting to commit suicide would be. While McKenzie was in class, he decided that before he ran away he was going to find her and kill her.

When that teacher had come running into our classroom with McKenzie at her side, Joe had been ready to burst into that classroom and shoot her and anybody else in his way. By rushing her to our classroom, whoever had figured out what Joe intended to do had protected McKenzie by making it impossible for Joe to find her.

Apparently when Joe got to the classroom where he would have found McKenzie and shot her, police officers were waiting for him. So he panicked and fled school grounds. And, as my parents were told, the officers followed him and gently convinced him to surrender the gun. Maybe he was desperate for someone to stop him, maybe he hadn’t intended to do it all along. Either way, Joe gave up his weapon, and the last thing I ever heard about him, all those years ago, was that he was being sent to get professional help.

Looking back over these events that happened when I was twelve, I don’t think I realized the significance of the bravery McKenzie had when she went against the wishes of her best friend to save his life. I don’t know if their friendship was ever rekindled. I hope it was. But McKenzie had been willing to surrender that friendship in order to do what was best for Joe…and that is something that is too inspiring to properly describe. And she was eleven or twelve at the time. At such a young age, she knew what she had to do and, despite the high cost, she went through and made sure it was done.

Lately in the news so many – too many – teens and young adults are committing suicide day after day. Every one of these can be prevented. I fear that the ones who need help the most are the ones who never speak, never give any warning beforehand. The ones who want to be saved might be the ones who tell their friends they’re going to do it.

If there is anyone who is reading this who has had suicidal thoughts, please, please listen carefully. I personally want you to know that the darkness you are in is only temporary, no matter how hopeless the future seems. Trust me, I was there once. Suicide seems like a safe option sometimes, an easy way out. Sometimes it is comforting to know that if things don’t get better, you have an escape plan.

What you need to know is that you are loved, you are special, and you have a lifetime ahead of you that will be better than the life you are living now. Please dial 1-800-SUICIDE now (1-800-784-2433) and talk to someone you can trust, someone who wants to hear what you need to say.

And to those of you reading this who know loved ones who have talked to you about committing suicide… be brave for them and help them. Be brave like McKenzie was for Joe. You have the ability to save a life simply by telling somebody what your friend or family member intends to do, and I know you have the courage to do it.

Little Miracles in Sedona

May 20, 2012 § 2 Comments

This morning I stopped by the horse ranch I volunteer at to say hello and drop off some brownies for my friend Jim. As I drove there and as I walked around outside with the horses, I felt sick and nauseous for no reason, though one conversation with Jim changed that explanation of the anxiety that has been making me sick for about a month.

There was a reason I was sick. I was not happy.

Not just today, not just speaking in general terms. In life. And, I realized, there was a reason for that, too.

Being sick with IBS has trapped my mind in a vicious cycle in which I am always so concerned about getting sick that the thoughts alone make me sick. I have been living with extreme caution these past few months, not wanting to do anything that would put me out on a limb, not wanting to take risks for fear of having my stomach hurt more or my blood pressure plummet which would leave me shaky and dizzy for hours. I am incredibly spontaneous and impulsive, and lately that just hasn’t been me. And it’s been making me miserable.

“Do what makes you happy,” Jim had said to me. And so, as I was driving away from the ranch around 11 o’clock this morning, on a whim, out of nowhere, I thought, I’m going to Sedona.

I had been meaning to go for weeks, because if there is any little town (besides Carefree) that makes me happy, it’s that place. If there is any place where I could sit quietly with my thoughts and just detox for a bit, it’s Sedona. Of course I was going. There was no question.

Now, of course, this is where logic kicked in for a moment or two. Oh, it’s too late in the day to go there now, my nitpicky little mind chided me, you don’t have your contacts case and glasses in case your eyes start hurting… you’re already not doing so well today and you should probably go lie and bed and feel sorry for yourself. No traveling today.

Then the wilder, more impulsive part of my mind started taking over.

I had just stopped for food at Fry’s since I was lightheaded and had also bought a big water bottle since the water I brought with me had all but boiled in my car. I had my phone and my wallet and my sunglasses. I was wearing jeans and converse shoes so I could hike. Why did I need to go home to get anything? I’d just drive up there. I’d just enjoy the car ride as I always do. Sedona has always been fun for me; there was no reason why I would make myself sick with worry if I were there.

And, that part of mind continued to tell me, bad or risky things can always happen, but so can things that are good. And unless you venture out and take a chance, you’ll never discover either one.

So I turned my car north and drove just over an hour to Sedona, not giving it another thought, not listening to the new, anxious side of my brain whimpering. I drove. I didn’t think. I just drove.

And it was everything I needed to do.


I love driving far more than any normal human being should, and if there is any journey that is more therapeutic and calming than the trip to Sedona, I have yet to find it.

The road to Sedona is the I-17, which has a number of names. It’s Interstate 17, the Black Canyon Freeway, the Maricopa Freeway in some parts, the Veteran’s Memorial Highway in others. Whatever you choose to call it, it’s a beautiful drive. Although the highway runs beside some little towns, most of the land on either side is uninhabited and wild once you pass the Carefree Highway. It’s fascinating to see the geography of Arizona change as you head north. The picture-perfect Sonoran desert landscape merges with hills of rock and valleys that are filled with oddly named little trenches: Horsethief Basin, Bumble Bee Pass, Bloody Basin, etc. Plateaus in the distance give way to the Bradshaw Mountains that you have to drive over in order to reach the yellow-grassed plains that rest at a higher elevation.

The Gladiator Wildfire

Today, the Gladiator Wildfire was clearly visible as I passed through these mountains and entered the plains. I hadn’t heard of any wildfire before starting the drive, and in fact would not even know the name of the fire until later when I stopped at a rest area on the way back home and found a large bulletin regarding fire information posted near the restrooms. As I made my way through the plains onward to Sedona, however, I could see a dangerous amount of smoke to the west near the city of Crown King. The amount of damage wildfires can do is very humbling and frightening, and I was sincerely grateful that I was safe in my car, miles away.

These plains of yellowed grass begin to merge into a dark green forest as you continue to drive north on the I-17. The trees dot the grass and gradually become more clumped together until suddenly you’re driving through quite another mountain range through a thick forest. After weaving around another little city or two and driving through a combination of trees, hills, and roadwork, you exit the I-17 and drive on the SR-179, the road that pulls you around little bends and dips in the landscape until bam! there lie the red rocks. They emerge out of nothing and are simply there, towering above the ground. And nestled in these breathtaking red cliffs lies the beautiful little town of Sedona.

The view from the Airport Vortex

Sedona is pieced together beautifully by roundabouts, and although it is now a touristy little town, there are still places that are easily accessible if one simply wants to sit and reflect instead of shop. Stop number one for me was the Airport Vortex, my favorite place in Sedona. There are several of these vortexes scattered around the town, and they are defined as swirling centers of energy that emerge from the earth itself. The plants that grow in vortexes are twisted. The atmosphere within and around them is very spiritual, powerful, and healing. The Airport Vortex itself is a mound of sorts that turns into a cliff once one reaches the top because it overlooks a vast amount of Sedona. It is surrounded by hiking grounds and scenic little spots families like to get their pictures taken at. The little cliff takes some work to hike, but if one knows where to jump and climb, reaching the top is fairly easy and worth the ascent.

Now, to me and countless others who love and all but worship the Earth, the energy within the rocks and the ground at the Vortex has always made the area a quiet, almost sacred place, like one might consider a chapel. Any given time I am at the top of the Vortex, I am able to close my eyes and be close to the Earth and be comforted by the wind and the sun; I am able to be alone with my thoughts no matter how many people are around me and simply look out at Sedona and marvel at its beauty. I can think. I can be healed.

Overlooking Sedona

Today, I was bitterly disappointed. A large family that consisted of a mom, a dad, an aunt and uncle or two, and all of the children in between them were already at the top of the cliff as I began my climb. This would not have been anything out of the ordinary – if they all hadn’t been shouting, screeching, yelling back to one another at the top of their lungs all throughout the hike. All during my visit there I could hear nothing but the moms of the group hollering at their (teenage) children to stay as far from the edges of the cliff as they could, their squealing about how they were terrified of heights and jokes about how they’d all fall off and become pancakes (the cliff is not steep nor too high up). I heard nothing but the yelling of the kids wanting to know when they were leaving, the bellows of the dads playing around with their cameras and making fun of their wives. Their voices pierced the near holy stillness that made the Vortex all that it was. By the time I had reached the top and had nestled myself within the side of the cliff at my favorite little crook where I could overlook Sedona, the group’s cackling and clamoring had gone up a notch to the point where I could focus on absolutely nothing but them.

The several people who had made the climb with me or had been there already slowly and regrettably left one by one, clearly disgusted with the way the group was acting. I wanted to leave, too, but I thought that I had not driven all the way to Sedona to come to my favorite place and leave after a few minutes, so I tried to sit it out.

Now, if I were who I was several months before now, or were in a worse mood today, I might have turned and asked the group to shut up, please, because they were disrespecting a hallowed ground and I couldn’t hear myself think. But I was a broken person at this point; my walls had come down like they always do when I’m at the Vortex. The family’s disrespect of the immensity and beauty of the place might have made me angry another day, but today it just made me sad. So after ten minutes of hearing, “It looks like a mini Grand Canyon!” and “Brianna, Brianna! Come back and take pictures with me! Briaaaaaaanna!!” and “I’m gonna pee my pants, we’re up so high!” I quietly and sadly left my little spot and started my decent down the cliff back to the little parking lot. So much for soul searching, I thought to myself.

As I descended, I noticed an older, gray-haired man sitting in the shade of a clump of trees toward the bottom of the cliff where the ground spread out into a hiking trail. He, too, was watching the happenings of the family on top of the cliff with a small frown on his face. I finally climbed down and took a last, regretful look behind me to the beautiful Vortex I would have to visit another day. The man must have seen the sadness on my face because as I turned to head to the parking lot, he spoke to me.

“Excuse me,” were his words and, surprised, I turned to him. “Are you into rocks and minerals at all?”

I was taken aback. “Well,” I said uncertainly, “they certainly are beautiful to look at.”

The man smiled a little. He held out his hand to me; resting on his palm was a small, blackened stone. “This is a part of a meteor, one that fell to earth a long time ago and left a creator just over those mountains,” he said softly. “This is the spirit of Sedona, right here.”

I smiled a little then, too. “I came here looking just for that.” The echo of one of the women cackling behind me reached us then.

The man nodded as though he understood completely, which he probably did. “Here.” He placed the little stone in my hand. “Wrap your fingers around it.”

I did so without any hesitation. I had stopped thinking logically hours ago. As I held the stone, I felt a little rush of warmth in my palm, an uncanny sensation that spread through the rest of me instantly. I had been feeling a little faint in the heat, and within moments the weakness in my limbs was ebbing away. It was very subtle, but it was there.

“Do you feel that sort of tingling in your hand?” the man asked, and I nodded. “That is the spirit of Sedona. That’s the energy of the earth you’re feeling, wrapping itself around you. It never leaves.”

Somebody in the group gave a shriek of laughter up above and one of the teenagers was complaining loudly about something just then, but I barely heard them. I was focusing on the little stone in my hand.

I looked at the man as he told me that the same material of the rock had been found in Israel, too, and in other little sections of the world besides Sedona. As I considered this and held onto the little rock as though my life depended on it, I told him, “Our planet is amazing, isn’t it?”

He nodded again. “Yes, yes it is.”

I thanked him and gave him back the stone. I wanted to tell him how grateful I was that he had spoken to me, how he had changed my negative experience into a positive one without trying and with the same gentle demeanor the Vortex had always instilled in me. Instead I could only smile gratefully, wish him a wonderful day, and walk back to my car, my palm still tingling.

The spirit of Sedona is the spirit that surrounds those of us who are willing to listen to what the Earth has to say. And I learned something today. I don’t need to be on top of a cliff to find it.


The Chapel of the Holy Cross

After visiting my favorite New Age gift shop in Sedona, I decided to stop by the Chapel of the Holy Cross before heading home. This chapel was built into the mesas and blends in beautifully with the tall red rocks, yet it manages to stand out in its own modest way. Although the place is a tourist attraction, it is still a chapel, and people treat it as such by talking quietly around it and speaking in whispers, if at all, while inside. Unlike the atmosphere I had just experienced at the Vortex, today was no exception.

I am very uneasy when I am within religious buildings, but the chapel has always been an exception. It is very calming and welcoming to me, despite its Roman Catholic roots. The sculptor of the place said it best: “Though Catholic in faith, as a work of art the Chapel has a universal appeal. Its doors will ever be open to one and all, regardless of creed, that God may come to life in the souls of all men and be a living reality.”

I climbed my way up to it, took a picture or two of the view from the mesas where it rested, then proceeded to sit inside the chapel for a long time. People came and went, some tactfully taking pictures, some praying on the kneelers in front of the pews, some lighting candles to the sides of the altar at the front. It was roughly 95 degrees outside and, since the chapel is very open and there is no air conditioning inside, it was a little uncomfortable for a while. But somehow the stifling air went away after a time, or maybe I just forgot to notice it. I was so lost in thought, for once not thinking of the past or the present, but rather on what was going on around me, what was happening in the present. I was so focused on living in the moment that I didn’t think about getting sick. I didn’t think about going back to school, or going back to work, or anything else that would have otherwise caused me stress. I breathed. For the first time in as long as I can remember, I simply sat and breathed.

Inside the Chapel

It hit me very suddenly as I finally left Sedona. Focusing on what life is going to bring us doesn’t do us any service, because if we keep looking too far ahead, we’ll miss what’s going on right in front of us. Little miracles happen each day and we miss them because we are so caught up in making money in order to survive, planning ahead for the future, reliving what cannot be changed in the past. Experiences that are too rich and wonderful for words are waiting for us to throw ourselves into them, but we will never reach them if we are too busy cowering in fear. Sometimes listening to what logic has to say is matched by the need to listen to our hearts. Sometimes the need to listen to our hearts is stronger than anything else by far.

Words cannot describe how grateful I am to that little part of me that impulsively drove to Sedona. I have realized that defeating my anxiety is going to be a tricky journey, but as I made the drive home today, I was comforted by the fact that I have survived much, much worse and can get through anything.

Smoke from the wildfire

It is ironic and fitting to me that I drove home through the progressively worse smoke of the Gladiator Wildfire. As awful and destructive humans and animals alike find wildfires to be, I can imagine that the planet sees them as cleansing and healing. Through the death of one cycle of life comes another beginning, another chance. When one door closes, another door opens. Life is terrible, beautiful, and surprising in that way, depending on the time and the place and the perspective. But one thing is for sure: if we get too caught up in the troubles of the past and the future, we’re going to miss every part of the present.

As the saying goes, “Enjoy the little things in life, for someday you will realize they were the big things.”


For Amber N. Wish you were there with me today, Six.

And for Jim G. Thank you for always believing in me.

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