Created To Fly

I am a journey. It begins with a breath.

Madrid Day 3 – Life as Art



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Standing in front of Picasso’s Guernica at Reina Sofia, I became a different person. And I don’t mean that in some cheeky, self-indulgent way. I mean it in the truest sense of the word. This change was not subtle. It was startling.

I have never been a lover of modern art. With its seemingly simple brush strokes, violent streaks of color, deformed faces, stick figures, and incongruent structure, it has always grated against my craving for depth and history and culture. To me, most examples of modern art are easy to pass off as childish.

But we mustn’t confuse childish with child-like, for one is just a beginning, while the other has come full circle.

At first glance this painting, circa 1937, seemed melancholy, monochrome and perhaps somewhat morbid. And yet – like an optical illusion, elements began to appear and disappear. Multidimensional textures and hued colors took turns stepping forward to be counted, then disappeared back into the shadows. The longer I stood, the more it pulled at me. It began to haunt my mind, begging me to continue to plumb its depths, to discover all that it had to offer.

Guernica is an enormous work of art, taking up most of the entire wall of its home in Madrid, eleven feet tall and twenty-five feet long. I walked from one side of the room to the other, letting the altered angles expose its different facets. I have never stood so long in front of a single piece of art, save Michelangelo’s David.

Never have I wished I could stare at something longer than propriety would allow. 

In the space of two short hours I fell in love with an entire genre of art that I had previously dismissed out of hand, and in the process realized my own lacking. I long to return to Reina Sofia for Picasso’s Guernica, Miro’s Man With a Pipe, Dali’s Enigma. Studying art in a book is one thing, but a picture cannot possibly capture the three dimensional nature of oil on canvas. It cannot convey that which lives and breathes within a created work.

I didn’t love everything I saw there. Whether it is classical or modern, some art is just paint on canvas, and some sculptures are just interesting shapes carved out of marble. But there are those rare, inspired pieces that have the capacity to stun our hearts back into beating and shape our lives differently if we stand there long enough. If we let them become a part of us. If we’re willing to make the trip.

Our lives are the art we make. The canvas on which we paint the scenes that will step forward to be counted.

What form will you take? Which colors will you choose?

Day 1 Madrid – Posting to New Blog / New Website

Hey all! Just put up a post about day 1 of Madrid. You can find my new blog over on my new website here: www. The site had a few hiccups last week but it should be good now!

If you want to keep up with all the travel and other posts, please come and follow me over there!


“You want to go home and rethink your life”


Many people spend the first part of the New Year sort of rethinking their life, and it doesn’t take The Force to convince us to do it. It comes fairly naturally. I’m pretty familiar with this ritual.

Each year I take a walk on New Year’s Day and write down my impressions about what I see in my journal, then I use those themes and images to help me think about the coming year. But thinking about the coming year inevitably comes with thinking about what’s gone before, and for me, 2015 was a year filled with change. A LOT of change.

My “walk” this year was actually a drive. And the images and impressions were heavy with birds, trees, and bridges. Not surprising. These have been staple themes for a life built by the desire for a mix of metaphors. Bridges for transition, birds and trees for freedom and stability, roots and wings.

Also the idea of keeping the past where it belongs. Trying to look through a dirty rear window while attempting to drive forward is bound to cause an accident at some point, so I’m going to try not to drive like I’m traveling backwards. Sometimes this isn’t easy for me, and I realize I have a lot of work to do, both inside and out. That’s ok. I don’t mind getting my hands dirty. Or my heart, for that matter.

It’s not easy figuring out who gets to make the journey with you, and it’s especially hard to accept the last line of the above quote (which is by Rebecca Campbell, by the way, from her book Light Is The New Black).

“Sharing your path with someone is a sacred gift; don’t cheapen this gift by rolling yours in the wrong direction.”

Not everyone you meet is going to like you. Sometimes even the people you love don’t like you. Being willing to move on and find your tribe takes guts, but it makes all the difference between a life that moves forward vs. one that stays mired in the past. Find those people that make you stronger, not weaker. Who fill your tank. Who make you want to be a better person. Then cherish them.

Find joy.

Find simple pleasures.

Find peace.

Official New Release of Finn Again!

Hey all – I have a new website  and I’ll be posting over there a bunch, so click on over and find out all the haps with my crazy adventures in writing and riding!

But first! In case you hadn’t heard, the new novel just released! See below for more info!

Finn Final Final with border

Hey all!

I’m so very excited to announce the official launch of Finn Again!!!  This book has been a long time in the waiting, but it’s finally here!! It’s currently available in paperback and on Kindle. If you haven’t read it I hope you’ll give it a try. If you have, please feel free to add your comments, questions or reviews to the mix!

Here’s what the book is about!

Finn McCarthy is half Irish, half English, and fully fantastic. Raised in the pubs and educated at Oxford, he never did know which half to favor. His Irish half loves women and booze, while his English half is wicked smart and damned polite. And then there’s Regan, the one girl who never did succumb to his charms. 

When a world at war beckons, Finn answers the call, but there are some casualties even a soldier can’t prepare for. To heal his wounds he must banish his demons, a journey that leads him to a sleepy fishing village, where the mysteries of his Celtic roots begin to take hold. The battle for balance might just take everything he’s got left. 

War does things to a man. But Finn isn’t just any man.

Here’s what a few of the reviewers have said so far: 

“Well written. Throughly absorbing. Thought provoking. Magical. Physical. Emotional. Finn Again touched all the right places.”  

–  Darcy, Amazon reviewer

“I just finished reading Finn Again. Such a good story. Gripped me from the beginning. I loved Finn’s emotional, spiritual and physical journey with lots of twists along the way. I didn’t want his story to end. A great read!” 

–  Dawn, Amazon reviewer

“I loved Finn Again! Such an engaging, gripping story. I loved walking with Finn as he figures out life, love, and who he is beneath the armor. I didn’t (don’t?!) want his story to end…!”

–  Danielle, Amazon reviewer

Winter Adventures on Mt. Hood



In addition to 2016 being a year full of travel plans, I’m also committed to spending part of my time off exploring this great Pacific Northwest. Having a winter birthday means I get to go skiing to celebrate and I’ve been wanting to explore the slopes of Mt. Hood (Oregon) for the past several years.

Mt. Hood is one of the only mountains in North America where you can ski year round (most years, anyway) so it’s pretty awesome living within an easy drive of this monstrosity. It boasts several different ski areas and a height of 11,250 feet at it’s summit. Mt Hood Meadows, where we chose to ski, had 85 runs and 13 lifts open on the day we went. That’s a lot to explore and I only got through a very small portion of it before my legs gave out. Continue reading “Winter Adventures on Mt. Hood”

What’s New?


I have to admit. I laughed at this one. Out loud.

And then I cried a little. On the inside.

And then I smiled when I realized life is kinda like that.

Anne Lamott talks about writing shitty first drafts in her book “Bird By Bird”. It’s one of the things that gives me the courage to keep writing. Not worrying that anyone will necessarily read that first bit of dribble, but rather just getting it down on paper. Worrying about the editing later. Much later.

I think about this idea of a shitty first draft a lot, actually, and now that I am solidly planted in the middle of my life, I kind of think the whole first part is pretty much a first draft. That is to say, once you finally get to be an adult, you realize you’re the one holding the pen, and you get to write your story however the hell you want.

Continue reading “What’s New?”

Is there a Match to Spark this Tinder?

this is for those who howl at the moon.

I’m not a fan of dating websites. I prefer my relationships like I prefer my produce: organically grown. However, in this day and age of internet dating and so much conversation that takes place online and over text, I can understand how tempting it is to just throw your manifesto out there, like a boomerang, and see if it comes back with anything interesting.

I am one of those people who probably ought to come with a warning label. So when I found this, by inspirational coach Jeanette LeBlanc,  I nearly cried when I read it.

This is my warning label. This is about as close to the core truth of who I am as anything I have ever read. Makes me wish I’d written it. Also makes me wish I had more friends just like Jeanette LeBlanc, who obviously gets me… 😉

The following is from her website:

for those who howl at the moon

Continue reading “Is there a Match to Spark this Tinder?”

8 Simple Ways To Pull Off The “Perfect” Thanksgiving



Ah, the gift of imperfection. It’s a holiday favorite. Rushing around trying to be all things to all people, when really all you want is to be ok with not being enough.

Here’s the holiday we all WISH we could have: Continue reading “8 Simple Ways To Pull Off The “Perfect” Thanksgiving”

Procrastination = Fear. (Or, Tattoo You…)


I attended an amazing Ted-X event in Salem, Oregon recently with a theme of Fearless. Or maybe, Fear-Less, depending on how you look at it. Either way, the timing of this topic was spot-on.

I’ve also been listening to Elizabeth Gilbert’s podcasts for her newest book Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear. In the very first podcast she made a profound statement that pretty much stopped me in my tracks:

Procrastination is another name for fear.

I flashed back to a couple of weeks ago, when I dropped my last child off at college. Continue reading “Procrastination = Fear. (Or, Tattoo You…)”

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