December 19, 2010

New York City Christmas

 It is Christmas in the heart that puts Christmas in the air.

So this is Christmas
And what have you done
Another year over
A new one just begun
And so this is Christmas
I hope you have fun
The near and the dear ones
The old and the young

A very merry Christmas
And a happy New Year
Let's hope it's a good one
Without any fear

And so this is Christmas
(War is Over, if you want it, war is over now)
For weak and for strong
The rich and the poor ones
The road is so long
So happy Christmas
For black and for white
For yellow and red ones
Let's stop all the fight

December 13, 2010

Maximum Pace

My hypersensitive awareness of time's speed led me to push myself to experience life at a maximum pace. If I were going to have such a short visit on earth, I had to do everything possible to experience it now.
When you sense a faint potentiality for happiness after such dark times you must grab onto the ankles of that happiness and not let go until it drags you face first out of the dirt - this is not selfishness, but obligation. You were given life; it is your duty (and also your entitlement as a human being) to find something beautiful within life, no matter how slight.
 You take whatever works from wherever you can find it,
and you keep moving toward the light.

December 9, 2010

Happy Right Now

 At the end of the day faith is a funny thing. It turns up when you don't really expect it. It's like one day you realize that the fairy tale may be slightly different than you dreamed. The castle, well, it may not be a castle. And it's not so important happy ever after, just that its happy right now. See once in a while, once in a blue moon, people will surprise you , and once in a while people may even take your breath away.
 You got a dream, you gotta protect it. People can't do something themselves, they wanna tell you that you can't do it. You want something? Go get it. Period.
You just have to focus on things that never change. Like the stars. Those are always the same stars. In a hundred years no ones going to have a clue who we were, but they'll know those same stars.

Never Grow Up

Your little hands wrapped around my finger
And it's so quiet in the world tonight
Your little eyelids flutter cause you're dreaming
So I tuck you in and turn on your favorite nightlight

To you, everything's funny
You got nothing to regret
I'd give all I have honey
If you could stay like that
 Take pictures in your mind of your childhood room
Memorize what is sounded like what your dad gets home
Remember the footsteps, remember the words said
And all your little brother's favorite songs
I just realized everything I had is someday gonna be gone
 Oh darling don't you ever grow up, don't you ever grow up
Just stay this little
Oh darling don't you ever grow up, don't you ever grow up
It could stay this simple
I won't let nobody hurt you
Wont let no one break your heart
No one will desert you
Just try to never grow up
Never grow up

December 3, 2010


'Time heals all wounds.'
There was a point where I began to doubt - make that hate - that old adage.
Time is fickle. It doesn't 'heal' woulds as much as it 'salts' them.
The farther down the road of grief I got,
the less patience I had with myself for not having it more together.
In Loving Memory of TJ Brady
December 3, 1983 -- January 14, 2001

As you begin a lifetime of driving there are a few things you should know. As your mother, I fear for you! Do you know how to avoid black ice? Do you know how to avoid peer pressure-- not to speed, not to drink and drive? Do you know how important you are to me? Do you know that if you are hurt -- I am hurt. If you bleed -- I bleed. If you die -- I die.

Take care, be careful, you have a role to fill on life's stage -- I need to see you finish what I've started.

A car is a wonderful thing. It is the first step to independence, freedom, and young adulthood. Take care with these responsibilities as they can be deadly -- a car is not a toy but a wonderful necessity. It symbolizes freedom, independence and adulthood. I know you are ready for these things but I am not so sure that I am. Please be careful, I love you with my whole soul and I need to know that you will survive the teen years so that I can enjoy you as an adult.


"Other things may change us,
but we start and end with the family."

December 1, 2010


What you leave behind
is not what is engraved in stone monuments,
but what is woven into the lives of others.
I'm lucky I'm in love with my best friend
Lucky to have been where I have been
Lucky to be coming home again
Lucky we're in love every way
Lucky to have stayed where we have stayed
Lucky to be coming home someday

And so I'm sailing through the sea
To an island where we'll meet
You'll hear the music fill the air
I'll put a flower in your hair
Though the breezes through trees
Move so pretty you're all I see
As the world keeps spinning round
You hold me right here right now
 "I believe that everything happens for a reason. People change so that you can learn to let go, things go wrong so that you appreciate them when they're right, you believe lies so you eventually learn to trust no one but yourself, and sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together."

November 26, 2010


Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it. You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestations of your own blessings.
And once you have achieved a state of happiness, you must never become lax about maintaining it. You must make a mighty effort to keep swimming upward into that happiness forever, to stay afloat on top of it.
 That was the thing. You just never knew. Forever was so many different things.
It was always changing, it was what everything was really all about.
To find the balance you want, this is what you must become. You must keep your feet grounded so firmly on the earth that it's like you have 4 legs instead of 2. That way, you can stay in the world. But you must stop looking at the world through your head. You must look through your heart, instead.

November 25, 2010

Family First

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

"My mom and dad met and started dating in the 10th grade. They married at the age of 21 and have spent the next 59 years together. They are a picture of true love. We were raised learning the importance of family, something even our own children truly understand. Family first. There weren’t holidays or family parties where we were forced to go, or reluctantly attended…. It was and always will be something to look forward to- being with each other. Mom loved to cook and her homemade mashed potatoes were the highlight of our holiday meals. Last year before she had a computer, she hand-typed on a typewriter a family recipe book of all the recipes she makes that weren’t written down anywhere. She gave the book to each one of us, a gift to pass down through the generations.

Mom also loved to travel. She told me last week that her favorite vacation was Hawaii but she really loved the month long trip driving across the USA with my dad for their 50th wedding anniversary. When we were growing up we went on a family vacation every year. We didn’t have a lot of money, but if my mom had a choice of getting new carpets or going to Va. Beach, we knew she would choose to be away with all of us. She instilled that travel bug in every one of us, and to this day we still plan family vacations for all 30 of us!"

November 24, 2010


 Live with intention.
Walk to the edge.
Listen hard.
Practice wellness.
Play with abandon.
Choose with no regret.
Continue to learn.
Appreciate your friends.
Do what you love.
Love as is this is all there is.
 I set out on a narrow way many years ago
Hoping I would find true love along the broken road
But I got lost a time or two
Wiped my brow and kept pushing through
I couldn't see how every sign pointed straight to you

I think about the years I spent just passing through
I'd like to have the time I lost and give it back to you
But you just smile and take my hand
You've been there you understand
It's all part of a grander plan that is coming true

Every long lost dream led me to where you are
Others who broke my heart they were like Northern stars
Pointing me on my way into your loving arms
This much I know is true
That God blessed the broken road
That led me straight to you

November 22, 2010

Grandparents & Grandchildren

How Lucky Are We To Feel This Grief?
Notes from a Type 2 Grandchild

It seems many times the grandparent-grandchild relationship fits into one of two types.  Type 1 goes something like this: grandparent equals distant relative who sends $100 for every holiday (and I mean every holiday – Christmas, birthdays, Easter, Valentine’s Day, and even the more obscure ones that nobody gets gifts for, like St. Patrick’s Day, President’s Day, maybe even the Fourth of July!).  Growing up I knew kids who were Type 1 grandchildren.  When I got my birthday card containing five one-dollar bills, maybe I was a little envious of my friends who were getting a free $100 in the mail every month, no strings attached.  Because I, you see, am not a Type 1 grandchild.

We Type 2 grandchildren don’t get those hefty monthly paychecks.  What we get instead are grandparents who just won’t leave us alone.  They come to our dance recitals, to our graduations, to our new houses, to our tailgates!  Like a plague, they are impossible to avoid.

Over the years, though, we begin to see them differently.  We see that they, too, were 23 once.  They were 23, and 30, and 40; and wild teenagers, and anxious 20-year-olds, and excited newlyweds, and scared new parents, and firm disciplinarians; and finally, our grandparents.  We begin to see them not just as grandparents, but as people; and if we’re really lucky, we begin to see them as our friends and role models.

When grandparents die, Type 1 grandchildren are no doubt in grief, but they haven’t lost what we Type 2’s have lost.   We’ve lost something bigger than our holiday salary.  We’ve lost the opportunity to see our grandparents, whose marriage we so admire, be the last ones standing on the dance floor at our wedding when we have the couple dance.  We’ve lost our chance to put our own children into the arms of their great-grandparents and see an entire generational span sitting in one chair.

And when our grandparents die, we don’t have the money in the bank to remember them by.  What we do have are countless memories.  And also, for the time being, we have what seems like insurmountable grief.

And how lucky are we to feel this grief?  To feel this grief means to have been able to call our grandparent “cool” or our “friend.”  It means to have been able to share experiences beyond formal holiday dinners.  To feel this grief means to have had a constant presence in our lives that we knew would never leave.  It means not having had to think of every family event as “mandatory,” but to have actually had the opportunity to look forward to spending time together.  To have had little inside jokes with someone 50 years our senior.  To be shown first-hand that maybe wisdom does come with age, and maybe our parents and grandparents aren’t as clueless as we once thought.  To feel this grief means to have had a sterling example of what it’s like to be over-the-top-in-love for over 50 years. To feel this grief means to have gotten to actually know the people whose existences our own depended on.

So to those Type 1 grandchildren, I say You can keep your $100 and I’ll take my $5 in singles, my memories, and my grief.

November 20, 2010


"Grandmas hold our tiny hands for just a little while,
but our hearts forever." 
 "Grandma always made you feel she had been
waiting to see just you all day and now the day was complete."
"Nobody can do for little children what grandparents do. 
Grandparents sort of sprinkle stardust over the lives of little children."

November 19, 2010

Need You Now

Picture perfect memories scattered all around the floor
Reachin' for the phone 'cause I can't fight it anymore
And I wonder if I ever cross your mind
For me it happens all the time

It's a quarter after one, I'm all alone and I need you now
Said I wouldn't call but I lost all control and I need you now
And I don't know how I can do without
I just need you now

Can't stop looking at the door
Wishing you'd come sweeping in the way you did before
And I wonder if I ever cross your mind
For me it happens all the time

Said I wouldn't call but I lost all control and I need you now
And I don't know how I can do without
I just need you now
Guess I'd rather hurt than feel nothin' at all

In Loving Memory of Mam-Mam
Dolores Del Rio Smith

Other things may change us, but we begin and end with the family.

November 18, 2010


L'amor che move il sole e l'altre stelle.
[The love that moves the sun and the other stars]
 "You need to learn how to select your thoughts just the same way you select your clothes every day. This is a power you can cultivate. If you want to control things in your life so bad, work on the mind. That's the only thing you should be trying to control."
"Faith is walking face-first and full-speed into the dark. If we truly knew all the answers in advance as to the meaning of life and the nature of God and the destiny of our souls, our belief would not be a leap of faith and it would not be a courageous act of humanity; it would just be... a prudent insurance policy."

November 17, 2010


 "No matter how much time has passed, these things still affect us and the world we live in. If you don't pay attention to the past, you'll never understand the future. It's all linked together."
"Life can be long or short, it all depends on how you choose to live it. It's like forever, always changing. For any of us our forever could end in an hour, or a hundred years from now. You can never know for sure, so you'd better make every second count. What you have to decide is how you want your life to be. If your forever was ending tomorrow, is this how you'd want to have spent it?"

November 16, 2010


"There comes a time when the world gets quiet and the only thing left is your own heart. So you'd better learn the sound of it. Otherwise you'll never understand what it's saying."
  "It's just that...I just think that some things are meant to be broken. Imperfect. Chaotic. It's the universe's way of providing contrast, you know? There have to be a few holes in the road. It's how life is."

"It's all in the view. That's what I mean about forever, too. For any one of us our forever could end in an hour, or a hundred years from now. You never know for sure, so you'd better make every second count."

November 15, 2010


Other things may change us, but we start and end with the family.
 The strength of a family, like the strength of an army, is in its loyalty to each other.
In truth a family is what you make it. It is made strong, not by number of heads counted at the dinner table, but by the rituals you help family members create, by the memories you share, by the commitment of time, caring, and love you show to one another, and by the hopes for the future you have as individuals and as a unit.