Forget about resolutions for the 2015. Why not work on your “prickles”?  What do I mean by “prickles”?  These are things we say or do that could harm ourselves or another person.

chestnut hull

Prickle #1 from a chestnut tree

Sarcasm is one of those things.  I used to consider sarcasm witty or clever.  The way I see it now, is it’s a way of speaking which cuts both the speaker and the person whom the speaker is insulting.

About 20 years ago, I was doing a life coaching course and one the women in the course said to me, “When you started this course you were a bit prickly.” Thus, I can thank her for the name of my topic for this blog. Sarcasm is still something I work on killing off daily, and I tend to avoid sarcastic people as much as possible.

“We are suffering from too much sarcasm.” –

Marianne Moore, poet (1887-1972)

holly bush

Prickle #2 Holly bush

The next prickle is gossip. I like the words back biting or dishing the dirt, too, because they define gossip so well. When I would engage in gossip about someone, afterwards I would always feel like I needed to take a shower.

These days I don’t like how gossip divides people and creates a competitive and judgmental atmosphere. Besides, when I gossip I’m not working on myself, so now I try to stop myself from gossiping by removing myself from the conversation or holding my tongue. Still a work in progress here.

“Gossip is the Devil’s radio.” – George Harrison

blackberry bush thorns

Prickle #3 vine thorns

Hypocrisy is my last big prickle. It is always easier to observe some one who is acting like a hypocrite, when he/she is claiming to be so virtuous and then I notice that isn’t true. However, when I have noticed how I have been holier than thou, and then have judged others harshly or lied about something, I have felt embarrassed.

Now I find it makes more sense for me to watch out for my own hypocrisy rather than look for it in others; it takes time, willingness, and awareness to put a dent in old patterns such as this!

Listen to a radio program: on point.org on npr.

It was rebroadcasted on December 29, 2014 and called: “Feeling Hypocritical? Don’t Worry: Everybody Else Is, Too”

Since I have been becoming kinder to myself, I have observed that my prickles happen less frequently. I also have supportive people in my life who are working on their own prickles. I’m good with working on my prickles no matter what it takes because I know perfection in humans does NOT exist!

Happy New Year, Prickles and All!










A Spirit of Generosity

For me generosity is about giving. It can be financially, as well as giving from the heart (no money involved).

open hand

open hand of giving

I have always deeply respected people like Paul Newman who founded his Newman’s Own Foundation in 1982. Since it started the organization has given over $400 million to thousands of charities around the world. Bill Gates and Warren Buffet are other people with wealth whose philanthropy and generosity for the whole world has been and continues to be phenomenal. Their generosity is NOT about controlling politics, rather it is about truly helping people in dire straights or changing bad situations. I am very grateful for their generosity.

I do NOT fit into the Newman’s, Gates’, or Buffet’s category of wealth! However, I can give from the heart.

heart from necklace

Giving from the heart

What does that mean in action?  I can give an hour of my time to an organization that I know is helping people. For example, I  read with children for an hour a week at a public school. Or I help a neighbor or friend who needs a ride to the grocery store or to a doctor’s appointment. It is simple. I can CARE. We can CARE. If we are able, we can give a little of our time.

“True generosity is an offering; given freely and out of pure love. No strings attached. No expectations. Time and love are the most valuable possessions you can share.”

– Suze Orman

I’ve noticed as a people we seem to have much greed for stuff in the USA. In the past I’ve gotten caught up in it, too. When we buy more, then we have to work harder and longer hours and have less free time because we have to pay for all the stuff we thought we needed! In the USA we have been speaking and writing about this very thing since the 1830s. Then it was called materialism; today we call it consumerism.

“There are other measures of self-respect for a man/ woman than the number of clean shirts he/she puts on every day.”

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

I know I’m tired of it. Stuff and buying the latest whatever does NOT do much for me any more. I respect that we all have choices, and that is everyone’s right to buy what they want. I’m wondering whether the tide of buy, buy, buy is turning for some or even a lot of Americans?  Have we switched that tide of buy more to GIVE more of our time to others, including animals, and to our own families?

Please take this poll and be heard.  Is the spirit of generosity alive and well?

Thank you for giving your opinion.





shelter sign

painted sign “Shelter” on neighbor’s window

How we treat those who are some of the most vulnerable, such as homeless people and particularly homeless children in this country says something about who all of us are as a nation.

What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans, and the homeless, whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or the holy name of liberty or democracy?” 

Mohandas Gandhi

This is the time of the year when we give. Sometimes that giving may mean just looking a homeless person in the eyes and giving them a smile, instead of looking away.

food growing in garden

food growing in community garden

It might mean giving a can of soup or food to a food drive if you are able.

We think sometimes that poverty is only being hungry, naked, and homeless. The poverty of being unwanted, unloved, and uncared for is the greatest poverty. We must start in our own homes to remedy this kind of poverty.

 – Mother Teresa

child's hat and gloves

child’s hat and gloves

It could be donating clothing to keep a child warm.

Watch this video from November 2014 about the number of homeless children in this country.


Now that we know the truth, what can each one of us do about the homelessness of children?

As full disclosure prior to writing this blog, I was not aware that millions of children were actually homeless in the USA. I was stunned by this report. Just yesterday I found an organization which is helping homeless children and their families where I live, and I will support their efforts.

Here is a poem written by women who lived in a family shelter in Canada.

The Family Shelter Poem

By Anna Maria, Leona & Sandy, 2007 (Residents)

I came to the shelter seeking for help,
Needing a roof over my head,
Hoping to leave all my trouble behind,
And looking to find peace of mind.

In the family shelter I love to be,
feeling so good deep inside of me.

I make many friends and we play together,
We share our story and we care for each other,
Sometimes I feel that this is my home,
I don’t have to fear for I am not alone.

In the family shelter I love to be,
feeling so good deep inside of me.

There’s so many people from different places,
Speaking different languages and from different races,
I know someday soon we are going to go home,
But a piece of my heart will always be at the family shelter.

In the family shelter I love to be,
feeling so good deep inside of me.

Can you share any ideas that have worked in your cities?



Thank You for Our Beautiful World

What part of nature do you love in our world?

squirrel in tree

running squirrel

Today I finally was able to photograph a squirrel or two in my neighborhood after two days of trying. I remembered feeding chipmunks grapes as a child. I call them nature’s mercurial kitties, so I have old kinship with them.

resting squirrel

squirrel resting after eating

As you know from my other posts, I think trees are beautiful. They help me feel rooted. I have been thankful for their shade when I have walked in warm climates. Thank you brother tree.

gold color tree

gold color tree

Another joy that I am grateful for are the heavens, clouds, and  sunsets. The sun breaking through the clouds is something awesome.

gray clouds and sun

heavens and clouds

And the gorgeous colors of a glorious sunset can NOT be matched anywhere. Our earth delivers us such amazing phenomenon like the Aurora borealis, which lift our spirits with its beauty. Thank you sky and sunsets.

sunset Sweet Cheeks

Coral sunset and clouds

Every part of this soil is sacred in the estimation of my people. Every hillside, every valley, every plain and grove, has been hallowed by some sad or happy event in days long vanished.”

 –Chief Seattle  of the Suquamish Tribe. This is an authentic version of his speech from Washington State Library.


insect outside my door

insect outside my door

I don’t see this insect as a lowly creature. Although I did knock it on the ground yesterday.  That insect taught me! When it showed up for a second time today,  I learned persistence from it.  Now it is another of nature’s friends to me. Nothing is lowly on this planet, people, animals, insects, bacteria, and all of nature.

For me gratitude for our world is essential to a happy life, and it is so simple. All I have to do is open my eyes, smile, breathe, and not judge. Nature adds to my personal serenity, and it has a way of uniting all of us humans. Others believed this, too.

“One touch of nature makes the whole world kin.”              

– William Shakespeare

This video shows a little more of the beauty of nature on our planet:








When Pigs Have Flown?

When Have Pigs Flown?

The idiomatic expression: “When pigs fly” has been around since the 1600s and implies sarcastically that something is NOT possible. I want to turn that expression on its head and suggest that there have been times when pigs have flown.

flying pig on key chain

Flying Pig

Certain events in American history since the 1800s have had  profound effects on beginning to transform many of us humans to become more humane and respectful towards each other. We still have a ways to go.

1. When slavery ended in 1865 in the USA

2. When women suffrage made it possible for women to vote in 1919

3. When the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed

flying pig on key chain 2

another flying pig

It is impossible to struggle for civil rights, equal rights for blacks, without whites. Because equal rights, fair play, justice, are all like air: we all have it or none of us has it. This is the truth of it.”    – Maya Angelou

4. When the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was passed and then was renewed in  2013.

5. When in 1969 man landed on the moon and all of us humans could see the earth as one planet with NO boundaries.

6. When in 1967 interracial marriage was legalized everywhere in the USA.

7. The beginning of this millennium there was conclusive DNA evidence that ALL humans originated in Africa and that we are ONE human family.

One of the important geneticists who worked on establishing this evidence was Dr. Spencer Wells, who gave a TED talk on this subject:


Optimism about these bills and this knowledge we’ve gain when “pigs have flown”  is all good and are nice concepts in our heads. However,  it is up to you and me to search my own and your own heart to fully manifest these “when pigs have flown” events in my own and your own daily actions towards all people. Our government  and all the laws we pass won’t save us or make us behave better towards each other.

“A little less complaint and whining and a little more dogged work and manly striving, would do us more credit than a thousand civil rights bills.” 

W. E. B. Dubois

What is your pigs have flown list?