I struggle with titles. I would be a terrible purveyor of  Clickbait.

I couldn’t draw you in to read this post through a snappy title. I am all but out of words.

This weekend we entered alongside the grief of others while participating in two  “Celebrations of Life.”

These two dear people have held significance in our lives for a very long time. I think that all I need to say is that our hearts have been very tender.

I ignored the headlines for a couple of days, refusing to “click” on stories I could see were going to break me open. I avoided it all until today.

And now I don’t have enough tears in me to express my sorrow.

It’s been a mournful week, both personally, nationally, and internationally. My reserves are a bit low!

But I do refuel.

I find ways to experience joy even when I’m sad.

My children and grandchildren are doing well. I’m thankful. My dog, in all of her idiosyncrasies, makes me laugh. The weather is beautiful and I’m able to sit still and almost prayerfully watch hummingbirds continue to grace our garden. And I shake my head with the hilarity of the squirrels digging in my potted plants while hiding  acorns despite the fact that winter doesn’t visit us.

The rhythms of life are comforting.

I send a wish for peace to each one of you to find cherished moments you can hold close in times of stress.

It’s a new week, and I hope for better. Despite all that I feel and observe, I do tend to make my way back to optimism. I do think we can do better.


I plan to invest in a counter-cultural act and sow seeds of kindness. I’ll bet you’re willing to join me. That’s perhaps all we can do to influence at least our own little spheres and strengthen our small communities. I think that’s a hopeful act.

I have plans to visit the ocean again this week. I think a few days of quiet while staring at the ocean is just what I need for now.


I am in love with Ocean
lifting her thousands of white hats
in the chop of the storm,
or lying smooth and blue, the
loveliest bed in the world.
In the personal life, there is

always grief more than enough,
a heart-load for each of us
on the dusty road. I suppose
there is a reason for this, so I will be
patient, acquiescent. But I will live
nowhere except here, by Ocean, trusting
equally in all the blast and welcome
of her sorrowless, salt self.

Mary Oliver

Love and peace from your friend, Debra



45 thoughts on “Untitled

  1. Andrew Reynolds October 28, 2018 / 3:56 pm

    Watching the ocean always puts life and energy back in my soul.

    Titles aren’t needed.

    • Debra October 28, 2018 / 7:06 pm

      Thank you, Andrew. The ocean is definitely calling my name this week. October has been a bit brutal, but I think November we can focus on gratitude and there will be some renewal. 🙂

  2. Eric Tonningsen October 28, 2018 / 3:59 pm

    Refueling, acknowledging and expressing thanks, and actively practicing kindness. All three, as I know you know, are restorative. There is power in optimism and I firmly believe that we have the pendulum swinging in a favorable direction. Shifting even more strongly into positivity will take time but humanity will get there. I am sorry to learn of your losses, Debra. Still, you are choosing to invite and accept light and live into your life. How beautiful! Blessings, friend.

    • Debra October 28, 2018 / 7:11 pm

      What lovely encouragement, Eric. Thank you. I do believe that we have a choice as to how accept the “battering winds” that seem so unnerving. I think once we’ve been able to get some rest we’ll feel a little better prepared to meet November. I really appreciate your kind comment.

  3. nrhatch October 28, 2018 / 4:00 pm

    Beautiful post . . . no title necessary.

    I took a quiet day for myself today too ~ reading Sisters In Law about Sandra Day O’Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsberg.

    We’ve come far . . . but have miles to go before we can sleep.

    • Debra October 28, 2018 / 7:12 pm

      That’s a book I would really like to read, Nancy. I’m going to add it to my list right away! 🙂 I think we really need to lean into quiet whenever we can, don’t you? 🙂

  4. Slow Happy Living October 28, 2018 / 4:27 pm

    The poem is beautiful. I, too, find my small peace by spending time at the ocean’s side. And by gazing at the mountains… which received a dusting of snow this afternoon. The world turns. Sometimes evil seems to be everywhere, and grief is the only possible response. But beauty and love still exist and, somehow, will persist. We must hold on to one another and ensure that they do.

    • Debra October 28, 2018 / 7:18 pm

      It’s so good to hear from you Lori. I’ve thought of you and hoped you were well! Your response is beautiful and I thank you. I think you’re right in reminding me that sometimes grief is indeed the appropriate response to what we see. But for both of us, nature does help balance that grief with enough renewal to find strength. And you’ve made me smile thinking of your dusting of snow! I won’t even mention how warm we were today! LOL! Maybe November will bring us a little fall. 🙂

  5. Ray V. October 28, 2018 / 5:01 pm

    The ocean (East coast) is where I go when I have to go somewhere to escape. I describe standing in the surf wash and feeling the stress leave my body through my feet. It has been a crazy year in so many ways. The hummingbird photos are great. Ours have already left the area for the season. Be well.

    • Debra October 28, 2018 / 7:24 pm

      You’re absolutely in synch with me in seeing the ocean as escape, Ray! Sometimes we just need to do that–escape! 🙂 I like the image of stress leaving through your feet in the surf. That’s wonderful! I feel fortunate that more times than not I rejuvenate quickly. I can be sad and at peace at the same time if I’m rested, and right now, that’s what we need more than anything I think…a little rest! Thank you for the compliment on the hummingbird photos. I think we’ll see some action from them throughout fall and winter, but not as actively as summer. I hope you have a great week.

  6. virginiahildreth October 28, 2018 / 6:45 pm

    Thank you.
    I spent many years living in Squirrel Hill…and it has been many more years since I’ve been back there, but…this hit me hard. I am made up of pieces of all the places I have lived, and Pittsburgh holds many of those pieces.
    Now that has shifted and I’m having to rearrange.

    • Debra October 28, 2018 / 7:30 pm

      I had not “placed” you there, V, and I can imagine this hitting you very hard! I feel “gut punched” and I have NO personal connection to the area at all. It’s very hard. Like I said, yesterday I kind of avoided anything but the headline, and coming on-line today to names and faces was just about too much. And with our services this week, I heard your voice when you said to me, “Stupid Cancer” and I can’t tell you how that endeared you to me! It was just so honest! We’ll need to steep in it all a little bit and then talk. If you can share how you “rearrange” I’ll be ready to listen. ox

  7. aFrankAngle October 28, 2018 / 7:25 pm

    Your garden and some beach walks will provide the needed positive stimulus. Peace to you!

    • Debra October 28, 2018 / 7:31 pm

      Thank you, Frank. Yes, indeed. A little solitude in natural beauty is amazingly restorative! Peace to you, as well. I appreciate that.

  8. restlessjo October 29, 2018 / 12:38 am

    I’m a little out of touch at the moment Debbie but sending you hugs and positive thoughts 😃😃 xx

    • Debra October 29, 2018 / 6:47 pm

      Thank you, Jo. That’s very kind. I know you really do have a lot on your own mind right now. 🙂

  9. Chatter Master October 29, 2018 / 2:27 am

    Love and peace returned to you Debra. I will join you in those acts. Mindfully, deliberately, I will do things of peace and kindness. ❤

    • Debra October 29, 2018 / 6:50 pm

      You are continually messaging about peace and kindness, Colleen. I know you do! There are so many people who are major contributors to peaceful living and co-existing, and I look forward to a time when that is the larger collective voice. I appreciate you!

      • Chatter Master October 30, 2018 / 2:23 pm

        You are tuned into the same frequency Debra. Truthfully, I think there IS more peace and love. I think hate and evil are scared because tolerance and acceptance and kindness are so vocal now. That’s what I’m going to keep promoting. 😉

  10. rivergirl1211 October 29, 2018 / 3:52 am

    It’s been an utterly horrible week of hatred and sorrow. I think the ocean is a perfect remedy. Breath deeply!

    • Debra October 29, 2018 / 6:52 pm

      You have appropriately labeled the week, my friend! I hope you, too, find a way to breathe deeply and take care of yourself, as well. Thank you!

  11. Gail October 29, 2018 / 4:37 am

    I’m sorry for your loss, Debra. We’ll have to come up with a better term, but finding respite & renewal at the beach reminds me of what some Japanese physicians prescribe for anxiety: “forest bathing”. “Ocean bathing” prompts a different image!

    • Debra October 29, 2018 / 6:56 pm

      “Forest bathing” or “Ocean bathing” are very cool terms. I’m going to see what more I can find relating to this particularly beautiful “prescription.” I know what you mean about the term “sorry for your loss,” Gail, as it always sounds a little robotic to me, too, but it’s what we say, and I thank you! The services were very lovely and I think other than being quite tired from so much “family and friend” connection, we are doing well, and planning our mini-getaway! I look forward to telling you more when we next visit. 🙂

  12. Kate Crimmins October 29, 2018 / 6:44 am

    I am a lot like you, seeking refuge in normal routines and simple joys. Being near water has always been a great therapy for me when I’ve hit hard times in my life. I am not sure what it is but it’s soothing for the soul. I am truly flummoxed by what’s going on today. Perhaps it’s our rally call. Have a peaceful week.

    • Debra October 29, 2018 / 7:03 pm

      Thank you for your thoughts and sharing, Kate. I have wondered, too, as to how much worse could this all get? I don’t even want to think about the “potentials” but instead I’m trying to make sure there is as much peace and “quiet” in my own life, and by extension then my family. I find that I have to really pull back and re-center my focus, and then I have what it takes to continue to be a positive force at least in my own small community. I hope you, too, have a very peaceful week. We have to find it ourselves, I’m convinced. 🙂

  13. Cathy October 29, 2018 / 7:02 am

    Untitled was the perfect title – sometimes words just don’t say what you want them to and are hollow. So I will just say my thoughts are with you Debra, and I wish you a better and more peaceful week to come. xx

    • Debra October 29, 2018 / 7:03 pm

      Thank you very much, Cathy! Your thoughts and kind words really do mean a great deal. I appreciate you!

  14. Jim Stewart October 29, 2018 / 7:49 am

    Yes, we can certainly do better. When I am struggling with grief, both personal and community, I try to find a place of gratitude. Sometimes that’s difficult, but I’m learning to wrap myself in it and begin to heal. And tell you what, :-), I will join you in your random acts of kindness subversion. Bravo!

    • Debra October 29, 2018 / 7:09 pm

      I really appreciate your comment, Jim. I believe there are thousands of people, maybe many more than I can calculate, truly committed to kind and loving acts of commitment to others, whether within their own family and friends or even the greater societal context, but we somehow need to find a way to bring our voices together. I have no idea how that is going to happen, but I believe it may. Wrapping myself in gratitude and healing–what a wonderful image. Thank you for that, Jim.

  15. Donald Wilden October 29, 2018 / 12:06 pm

    I Loved the Poem and the Ocean and the hummingbird Quiet restores me but also forces me to look inside and outside as well. I do watch sad movies like Collateral Beauty it helps me grieve since I am not good at letting myself cry. I Love your random acts of kindness, even with my neighbor or a friend in need or someone just needing to know that someone cares. Love Debi

    • Debra October 29, 2018 / 7:10 pm

      Thank you, my friend. I haven’t seen Collateral Beauty and I had wanted to see it when it first came out! I’m so glad you’ve reminded me of it. You have always had such a loving heart, Debi, and I appreciate you! xx

  16. philipstrange October 29, 2018 / 1:57 pm

    These are very difficult times and I sometimes worry what I will read when I open the newspaper. I am sorry you also had a personal loss to add to all of this. I hope your walks by the ocean helped. We are going for a seaside walk tomorrow for similar reasons.

    • Debra October 29, 2018 / 7:30 pm

      I hope your seaside walk is very refreshing for you, Philip, and that you also find the renewal you seek. We need those times to strengthen ourselves when life seems to throw enough at us that we feel depleted! The month of October was just “one of those months” in our lives, but we are resting up, and we will continue to rebound. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts. Be well!

  17. 2e0mca November 1, 2018 / 2:29 am

    November brings the chill freshness of Winter and with it a chance to clarify our thoughts and our souls. Gather close your family friends and the nature around you for the ongoing cycle of life does indeed bring a oneness with the world. May you find your peace Debra.

  18. lifeonthecutoff November 1, 2018 / 8:35 am

    Debra, your ocean is my forest and each a source of comfort and release.
    I am sorry for your losses and for the losses of so many this past week. They seem to pile upon each other and we crave some space to breath. You have found it and know your own rhythms, hard and bumpy as they may be. Again, my friend, I am so very sorry.
    I gasped as the news emerged of Squirrel Hill. I have friends and I have relatives who were in their own synagogues as the shootings occurred and the added tragedy of then needing to explain it to their children. As our friend Dee Ready would conclude Peace.

  19. thefolia November 1, 2018 / 5:33 pm

    My reserves have been low too Debra for the last six weeks and now to hear another heart-wrenching incident is unimaginable. In place of celebrating the season, they have to unexpectedly walk a road of loss and grief.

  20. Stacey November 3, 2018 / 5:50 am

    Sending you lots of love Debra… xoxo

  21. bruce thomas witzel November 3, 2018 / 7:11 am

    I’m definitely in Debra, sowing seeds of kindness – the only way to affect change (or is that effect?) Thanks for this uplifting post – even amidst the pain and sorrow.

  22. morristownmemos by Ronnie Hammer November 5, 2018 / 8:38 pm

    I can’t imagine communicating with you without your wonderful humor coming through. As sad as you feel now, I wish you a time soon when humor will renter your life.

  23. Karen November 7, 2018 / 12:40 pm

    Enjoy the comfort and peace that the ocean provides you.

  24. Otto von Münchow November 8, 2018 / 7:20 am

    It has been dire and sad times. Wishing you all the best. The ocean is good place to seek consolation. Beautiful poem, by the way.

  25. Born To Organize November 10, 2018 / 4:51 pm

    Debra, you write beautifully and with a full heart what so many of us are feeling. It’s been another horrific week, here in California as you know, on top of what you are going through with your personal losses. My heart goes out to you. It’s been hard to escape the news on all fronts. Taking breaks in nature, spending time in your garden and that beautiful ocean view are all balms for a troubled soul. Thanks for being here in the world with your grace and warmth and insights. Sending a gentle, virtual hug your way.

    • Debra November 11, 2018 / 7:16 pm

      Thank you so much, Alys. I’m sure you’re currently experiencing the effects of the Camp fire. I think we are all being very stressed and strained and need to find fresh resilience to get by. I hope you and your family are personally doing well. Thank you for the hug, and back to you!

  26. Holly G. November 28, 2018 / 6:41 pm

    Debra, indeed, there is so much chaos and pain in these days. I’m so sorry for all that the state of California (and the world at large, really) is going through. It’s nothing less than devastating.

    I pray for the mending of your heart and restoration to your soul in these coming days…

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