75th Golden Globe Awards

Tonight was the airing of the first of two award shows that I watch each year. The Golden Globes, which honors both film and television, presented its 75th ceremony. Seth Meyers hosted the live event in Beverly Hills, California.

Hollywood has experienced a huge shake up in recent months, as victims of sexual harassment and abuse, both female and male, have found their voices and come forth, breaking their silences. People in positions of power…directors, actors, television personalities and politicians…have toppled, losing jobs and careers, and facing charges and future convictions.

I love the story-telling medium of film, and good television. Movies, especially, have long spoken to me, teaching me deep truths about the world and myself. However, it was time for this shakedown…long past, rather. I stand wholeheartedly in support with those who have suffered abuse and harassment and have found the courage to speak up.

I wasn’t sure how tonight’s Golden Globes would go, as the industry emerges from a dark time into the light of change. I was not disappointed with how the Globes’ host, presenters and those being honored rose to shine.

Differences in tonight’s show were immediately apparent. The majority of the attendees wore black, not to be dull, but to stand in solidarity. There is mourning in Hollywood over wrongs that have been covered up for too long. Black was a very appropriate color to signify unity among a group of women and men who are saying “no more”.

They are saying, in fact, #TimesUp. This hash tag was used throughout the evening as a bold statement to say, Times up on sexual harassment, homophobia, gender inequality and racism.

I was very proud of the film industry tonight. I applauded, as I usually do, over the winners. I laughed, and teared up, over the acceptance speeches. I noted which movies and television series I’d most like to view. My heart was moved, however, by the devotion to change that I saw tonight. In Hollywood, in the world, things will only change when people change. I didn’t hear blame cast tonight on the “other” people. Instead, actors, actresses, directors, song writers, and a multitude of others shouldered responsibility and vowed to make a difference.

I cheered with the audience when host Seth Meyers addressed the women in the room with great sincerity and said, “I look forward to you leading us to whatever comes next…”

I nodded in agreement with Elizabeth Moss, Best Actress – Television Drama winner for The Handmaid’s Tale, who shared, “We are writing these stories now ourselves…”

I applauded Oprah Winfrey’s moving speech as she accepted this year’s Cecil B DeMille award. She promised, “A new day is on the horizon…”

And I squealed when This is Me won the Golden Globe for Best Original Song. I’m not scared to be seen, I make no apologies, this is me.

These women and men, these actresses and actors, and writers and directors, are agents of change. I witnessed the shifting of the tide tonight, amid recognition and happy acceptance speeches. I saw respect for one another, and fierce determination to bring about that change.

I have a list of award winning films and tv shows to watch. And an even longer list of beautiful life changers and shifters to watch and grow with. A new day is dawning, indeed.

This is Me…and Me…and Me

The song This is Me has not only totally captivated me, its message of acceptance and courage and living as the authentic self is inspiring me in many ways. All kinds of ideas have surfaced. I have used the phrase on several selfies and included them in blog posts.

This weekend I am visiting family in Oklahoma. I wanted a simple story to tell, so as not to take time away from my sister, niece, nephew in law and two great nephews. We are having fun playing games and chatting and eating Indian fare!

Watching six year Kaleb as he played his pint sized violin that he received for Christmas, I decided to capture each of my family members in a This is Me pose. The kids entered whole heartedly into this adventure, and even came up with great ideas for the adults.

Here are my family members…this is them!

I am enjoying this whole this is me experience. It is helping me to see myself in fresh, accepting and loving ways. And, it is helping me to see others in the same way. How can I look at someone now and not recognize their beauty, their gifts, their uniqueness?

As I take these pics, capturing people in that moment, I recognize that that is who they are, right then, at that point in their journey. Tomorrow, next week, two months from now, a this is me photo might look very different, as we all continue to shift and grow.

That is the wonder of our individual journeys…and the incredible power of declaring, “This is Me!”

From Christmas Tree to Potpourri

I just undecorated my Christmas tree late this afternoon. I love having my house decorated for the holidays, and I take my time undoing it all and packing it away. I prefer to use a freshly cut Fraser Fir as my Christmas tree. The subtle earthy scent greets me when I enter the house and it is symbolic of the season for me. I may buy smaller and smaller trees, as I get older, however, my intention is to continue to have a real tree every year.

I was sweeping up stray fir needles, after I carried the undecorated tree outdoors, when I paused to pick up the tip of a small branch that had snapped off. Closing my eyes, I held the bit of Fraser Fir to my nose and inhaled deeply. The scent lingered still, in spite of the tree being indoors for weeks and drying out considerably. I felt very alive, and centered, standing there with a broom in one hand, sniffing Fraser Fir!

Suddenly, an idea arose.

I gathered a handful of branch fragments. A new year, with fresh beginnings, signals the perfect time to create herbal potpourri to burn, clearing away the energy of the past. I would add Fraser Fir needles to the mix.

Using my heavy mortar and pestle, I combined the fir needles with dried sage, rosemary and thyme from my garden, while a tiny charcoal briquette turned ashen in my incense burner. I frequently burn my own homemade potpourri, made using a variety of herbs that I have grown. Sage in particular is excellent for cleansing energy in an enclosed space.

I know pine needles are considered helpful in eliminating negative energy. What do fir needles do? I turned to Google.

The smoke from fir needles helps to shift the atmosphere as well, clearing away negativity or clogged energy. Fir trees symbolize immortality, and seeing the bigger picture with great clarity. They also represent hope, healing, reverence, rebirth and faithfulness. And, science has proven that the aroma from the fir tree’s needles is both invigorating and relaxing, with is why they make excellent Christmas trees.

I carried my burner and fragrant mix of herbs and fir needles into my bedroom. The small rustic box at the foot of my bed, with a little artificial tree tucked still in the corner, provided the ideal space to burn my potpourri. I lit an unscented tea light candle in the bird candle holder and sprinkled the dried mixture over the hot charcoal.

As smoke curled delicately into the air, a wonderful aroma filled the room. I found it very fitting to clear the energy in my bedroom first. This is my dreaming space, both at night as I sleep and during my waking hours, when I am in creative mode. I closed my eyes, breathing slowly and deeply, and gently waved my hands, to move the scented smoke throughout the room. I could feel the energy in the room lighten and shift. Out with old ideas, old thoughts and old dreams…I am creating space for the new to arrive.

I loved this simple clearing exercise. And, I received great joy in knowing that this special time of renewal was carried out using the needles from the tree that has graced my home for more than a month. Its time of giving was not over. I collected and saved more tips of branches to burn with my herbs throughout the year. What a beautiful gift from Fraser Fir. I am honored.

Becoming the Wild Woman

My attention was snagged this morning by a meme on Instagram. Posted on the Wild Woman Sisterhood page, the words resonated with me and have remained with me all day. Headed out the door this afternoon, to get the oil changed in my car, I grabbed a book to read while I waited. I returned that book to my bedside table, to be read another day. I felt drawn instead to pick up the newest book by Brené Brown, Braving the Wilderness. The chapter I read, entitled The Quest for True Belonging, aligned perfectly with my thoughts about my journey and becoming the wild woman.

There is a wealth of information online and in publications about being a wild woman. I am a member in two different Wild Women groups on Facebook. It’s one of those “new” topics that is actually ancient. Within every female, young and old, a wild woman resides. Somewhere between our carefree days as little girls, and the responsibilities of adulthood, the wild woman inside can go dormant. But she is there, waiting to emerge again when we remember who we are.

Clarissa Pinkola Estés, who explored the myths and archetypes of the wild woman in 1990, wrote this definition: “Within every woman there lives a powerful force, filled with good instincts, passionate creativity and ageless knowing. She is the wild woman, who represents the instinctual nature of women.”

Being wild is a very individual experience. It doesn’t mean partying all night, or engaging in illegal activities or being a difficult to be around woman. The wildness within women can be compared to the raw heart aching beauty of the wilderness…natural, instinctual, free, with cycles of birth, death and rebirth. It is a journey of becoming…becoming who we really are and throwing off all the things we aren’t. It is often an unlearning process first, as we shed all the people pleasing personas that we have learned to wear, to be more acceptable to others.

The meme I saw this morning.

Being a wild woman, then, is about women becoming their true selves, and allowing their hearts, bodies and souls the freedom of authentic expression.

Becoming the wild woman does come with a cost, as the meme above suggests. As I began to be who I really am, after years of going within and uncovering the real me, I appeared to change. A friend I have known most of my life, but see infrequently, has said that every time he visits he feels like he has to get to know me all over again. I am a different person each time.

I don’t think he meant that as a compliment. However, I received the remark as encouragement that I am truly growing into my authentic self. I am emerging, becoming, the wild woman. People who don’t understand might fall away. That’s okay. This is my journey. And part of becoming who I am involves learning to be solitary and stand on my own. And it includes seeing my own value and offering who I am unapologetically to others.

In Braving the Wilderness, Brené compares the willingness to stand alone as a wilderness…an untamed, unpredictable place of solitude and searching. It takes courage, and a fierce wildness, to discover that true belonging means that we first learn to belong fully to ourselves.

She defines true belonging as “the spiritual practice of believing in and belonging to yourself so deeply that you can share your most authentic self with the world and find sacredness in both being a part of something and standing alone in the wilderness. True belonging doesn’t require you to change who you are; it requires you to be who you are.”

This is my journey. I am becoming the wild woman…in all of my bohemian spirited, fun loving, creative playing, getting healthy, living free, heart open, communicating with the Divine, marching to the beat I drum, this is me glory. I am speaking with my own voice, sharing my best, most authentic self, and heading frequently into the wilderness, alone, in nature and within my own vastness, to explore ever more deeply who I am.

Joseph Campbell wrote, “If you see your path laid out before you step by step, you know it’s not your path. Your own path you make with every step you take. That’s why it’s your path.”

The meme that inspired me this morning says that the wild woman you are becoming may cost you people, relationships, spaces and things. Choose her over everything. I am making my own path, step by step. I am choosing the wild woman that I am becoming. I am belonging, deeply, to myself. This is me.

With this Ring

The ring I ordered the day after Thanksgiving finally arrived. I immediately slipped it on my finger. I selected this particular ring for two reasons: it has a definite boho style to it, and the silver band is made from a feather, my symbol for 2018.

The ring is bestowed with significance for me already. The feather design will be a constant reminder of the journey I am on this year. As I moved through my day, a story arose around the ring that makes it even more…dare I say it?….precious to me.

The story began this morning with a quote that arrived in my email box.

“To be responsible, keep your promises to others. To be successful, keep your promises to yourself.” Marie Forleo

I was struck with the truth of that statement. I quit setting goals on January 1, years ago. Instead, I choose to immerse myself in the flow of life, engaging passionately with others, acting on the opportunities that are presented to me and navigating through the challenges that appear.

My goals have shifted into promises that I make to myself and to the Divine, and they begin with a simple premise…stay in the flow and trust that it will carry me to where I need to go. It’s not that I don’t make plans. However, they are released to the Divine as desires of my heart, as promises. And then I let go of the outcome. I stay open to possibilities, and act on the next thing I need to do, as it is presented.

My trips to Italy, Ireland, Scotland and England last year began as desires, as promises, made to myself and to others, to travel. The Italy trip was five years in coming together. The UK trip came together in a year. I took each step as the way opened before me, as did the family members who traveled with me, until we boarded those international flights.

I looked up the word promise this afternoon, to see its origin. Promise comes from the Latin words pro, meaning “forward”, and mittere, meaning “send”. Promittere – promise -to send forward or put forth. My heart beat faster when I discovered the literal meaning. A promise is sending something forward, putting something out there.

That is what I am doing, when I make these promises to myself…I am sending something forward before it is made manifest. I am putting my dreams and desires out there. And then acting on the guidance I am given. What a beautiful meaning the word promise holds for me now.

Looking at my ring, the significances suddenly all connected together. Promise rings are frequently given to represent love, and a commitment to a future long term relationship. That commitment may turn into a marriage. However, it can also signify a forever friendship or an eternal bond between a parent and a child.

My ring is a promise ring, that I have given to myself. It represents a commitment I am making to myself, to honor and cherish my heart, mind, body and spirit. I promise to care for myself, to continually learn and grow, and to seek to raise my awareness ever higher. I promise to listen to myself, to love and accept myself, and be gracious, so I can love and accept others, while being gracious to them.

And in keeping with the theme for this year, I make a promise to myself, and to the Divine, to see the Larger Story, to communicate my own story with transparent authenticity, and to share the stories of others with compassion.

I am so grateful that I was drawn to this special piece of jewelry. At the time, it was pretty and it represented my symbol. I had no idea, yet, the truth the silver feather would bring to me. I wear it with a heart full of wonder and joy.

With this ring…as my reminder…I will be mindful of my promises and what I am quite literally sending forward. I pinky swear.

The Stories I Don’t Want to Tell

Every morning, I ask the Divine a question, “How shall we play today?” Beginning this morning, I added a second question, “What story shall we tell?” The answer came almost immediately. I was guided to write about the stories I don’t want to tell.

Author and speaker Byron Katie has taught me valuable truths about these kinds of stories, the ones we make up in our minds that are responses to life situations. She says we create stress in our lives when we argue against what is, instead of accepting it. We go into our heads and create untrue stories around a situation, and then believing the story we have made up as truth, we unwittingly invite misery in.

You wave at a friend at a crowded mall food court. She doesn’t wave back. In fact, she appears to ignore you completely as she rushes by. Your mind immediately builds a story around that incident. She must be upset with me, to ignore me like that. What have I done to her? She believes she is better than me. I don’t like her anyway.

On and on the thoughts go, building a story based on a perception. The emotions the story generates feel genuine, and affect your mood and your whole day. Later you find out the friend did not see you at all. She was distracted as she rushed to purchase a gift for her mom’s birthday. The situation created had everything to do with your thoughts about it, and nothing to do with the friend.

I experienced this type of negative story telling, when I twisted my knee in October. As I dealt with pain again, after being pain free for more than a year, my mind began spinning out a story about what was happening.

This always happens with my left knee! It is weak. It gives me trouble. What if it doesn’t heal? What if my knee hurts for years? What will people think, after I’ve shared my healing journey, if they see me limping again?

On and on my story went, until I brought myself back into reality, back to the present moment and complete awareness. The truth was, my left knee twisted. And it was painful, as a result. That was all. That was the real story.

From my fifteen months of adhering to a plant based lifestyle, and learning to care deeply for myself, I knew what to do to heal. I applied knowledge, and tenderness, toward improving my knee….and it healed.

One of the most freeing lessons I have learned in the last few years, is to not go into the stress inducing practice of creating untrue stories around people, events and situations. I have learned to stop myself when I begin to do so. During my Year of Surrender, I discovered that telling myself untrue stories moved me out of the flow of life. I could feel the resistance my thoughts created, and that became my signal to release them, and return to the flow.

Life is easy in the flow. Life is without stress, in the flow. Byron Katie says, “We don’t attach to things; we attach to our stories about them.” And who has control over the stories I tell? I do. Who has control over the stories you tell? You do.

Stories are compelling. Whether they are good stories that encourage, or stories that create stress, they have the ability to shift us energetically, upward or downward.

Robert McKee ways, “Storytelling is the most powerful way to put ideas into the world.” 

I take my responsibility, as a storyteller, as an alchemist, very seriously. The ideas that I put out into the world, by way of my stories, will be held to a high standard. No one else sees the world exactly as I do. No one else can tell the stories that I can tell. The same is true for you. I am excited to share my stories with you. I am excited to hear the stories you will share with me.


Year of Stories

It’s a fresh new day, at the very beginning of a fresh new year. And that means I am embarking on a fresh new journey. Last night I turned the final page on the book that was last year. It is finished. To paraphrase Brad Paisley, “Today is the first blank page in a 365 page book. Write a good one.”

If you have been walking alongside me for a while, you know what a new year brings with it: a new word, to represent my journey ahead, a new symbol that corresponds with the theme, and typically a new song, or quote, to remind me who I am as I explore the path ahead.

The word, symbol and song/quote are part of a Divine roadmap that I am given, to guide me. I realized years ago that I was not selecting these tools, they were being given to me. They arrive when they arrive, one by one, through synchronicities, signs and sheer repetition. I am usually seeing the next journey come together by September or October, well before the next year begins. There is typically some overlap of experiences, which actually serves as confirmation that I am headed in the right direction.

My word for 2018 is “story”. I am very excited about the intention of writing a daily story. We tend to think of stories as fictional tales, but a story can describe a historical event or person, or present day ones, or they can enlighten and teach, entertain or encourage. Every person, every object, every event has a story connected to it.

In fact, it is our stories that connect us to each other…highlighting the ways we are alike or the intriguing ways we are different. They draw our compassion or our scorn, that make us laugh or cry, they give us courage or make us afraid. Stories are so powerful. William H. Gass wrote, “The true alchemists do not change lead into gold; they change the world into words.”

I love that quote! I intend to be an alchemist this year, capturing my world by way of my words. I want to be mindful of the kinds of stories I am telling, and make sure they entertain, inspire, uplift, encourage or challenge, in positive ways.

My symbol for 2018 is a feather quill. The feather was the initial image I was given, and today I spent time studying the rich symbolism connected to it.

Feathers, by their connection to birds, represent freedom and flight, suggesting a heightened perspective of the world, and the ability to see the bigger picture. Think a bird’s eye view as it soars above the earth. They also represent travel, and not just physical travel, but traveling with the mind and spirit.

The feather signifies communion with the Divine, and finding a feather is considered a message from Spirit. I frequently find feathers. I expect to encounter many this year.

And, feathers are connected to abundance and growth, levity and lightness of being. Finally, they represent communication. A feather quill is a universally recognized symbol for writing and storytelling, making it an ideal representation for me. I don’t own a quill pen…yet…but I believe I soon shall!

I just received my song for this year within the last few days. I have been captivated by This is Me, from the Greatest Showman movie and soundtrack. It resonates deeply with me. What a powerful song to stride confidently into this new year with, singing out, literally and figuratively, I am brave, I am proof, I am who I’m meant to be…this is me! This song’s message provides an important foundation for using my voice in telling the stories I will tell.

The first day of a new year, while it ushers in keen anticipation, is always a bit disorienting for me. I just completed 365 days around a different theme, and I became attuned to receiving inspiration. Today I stepped into unknown territory with a map that is added to daily, as I journey, and a set of divine clues, to be opened one at a time. I don’t plan out what will happen, because I don’t know! Instead I set off down a new path and I will see where it takes me. I can trust that guidance will be given, at the right time. I can trust as well that the journey will be playful and enriching and it will provide me with many opportunities to learn and grow…and write stories.

I mentioned yesterday that I felt a bit reluctant to leave my Year of Inspiration. I used Alan Rickman’s quote as the foundation for my daily experiences, making life a little more tender and art a little more robust. It felt odd today, knowing I would not be typing one of those bylines into the blog post categories, or into the blog meme.

As I was gathering info this afternoon, looking at quotes about story, I was delighted when my guide from last year popped up unexpectedly. It felt like a fond send off from an old friend, as I am swept off on the next adventure to I know not where.

“I like it when stories are left open.” Alan Rickman

Good advice. I teared up, and then laughed. Me too, Alan. Me too.

Take a New Class

It was rather late in my day, when I suddenly realized two things: 1) I wasn’t sure what I was going to be writing about this evening because 2) I did not draw an Inspiration Starter out of the jar this morning. My work day started the moment I woke up. And these double realizations came about at 6:00 this evening.

Reaching into the Inspiration Starters jar at night requires courage…and trust. The day is spent. There isn’t time to drive to a new town for an adventure or work on a large creative project. I reached into the jar anyway.

This is the slip of paper I drew out:

I smiled. This was very doable. And as it turned out, traveling down this trail as I searched for a class to take led me to an unexpected destination.

I checked out several options for furthering my education, in local shops and online. I found classes on nutrition, painting, photography, cooking, and a variety of artsy crafts. All looked interesting or fun…and yet none “rang my bell”, as Aubrey would say. They didn’t resonate with me.

And then, with my laptop plunked on my lap, I stumbled across a word that directed my path. It got my attention because it is my word for 2018…Story. I’m very excited about next year’s adventure as it is evolving and unfolding.

My new writing journal, with next year’s word and symbol on it.

As the year winds down, and the new year approaches, I experience this overlap of the old word and symbol and the frequent appearance of the new. It is the way life flows for me. When the word story caught my eye, it became a light on the path that drew me onward.

As a result, I found a wonderful website called Story Circle Network…by, for and about women. Visit the website HERE.

Founded in 1997, by Dr. Susan Wittig Albert, Story Circle Network is dedicated to helping women share the stories of their lives through memoir, poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and drama, and to raising public awareness of the importance of women’s personal stories. They carry out their mission through a wealth of resources and activities, including online classes.

I am so excited to have found this place. I feel divinely guided and invited. And just as I was inspired this year by Alan Rickman’s quote, about making life a little more tender and art a little more robust, I will be empowered through Story Circle Network next year as I write stories.

Checking their online classes, I was immediately captivated by this one: The Love of Everyday Things: Telling the Stories of Our Lives by Teresa Cutler-Broyles. This class resonated with me. It begins January 22 and concludes March 5, with weekly writing assignments. Each week I will choose an object in my home and tell its story, its connection to my past or future, to my hopes and dreams and losses, to people or places or memories.

This class is perfect for me, on so many levels.

I’m excited about the class. Even more, I am excited about joining Story Circle Network. I already appreciate what it will offer to me as a member in the upcoming year, and I am eager to discover what I can offer to the network in return.

I love that I was led to this class, this place, because I drew a random slip of paper out of a jar, late in the day. I love that Trust whispered Do it… and belief enabled me to go for it. The beauty and wonder of it all makes my heart beat faster with immense gratitude. Isn’t life a grand adventure?

You Don’t Know My Story

I wasn’t sure what I was going to write about tonight. Oh, a topic popped up repeatedly throughout the day, however I didn’t feel ready to unpack my thoughts about it. Coming home late, after a full day, I wanted to take the easy path this evening, posting a couple of pictures with few words. 

As I contemplated creating that brief post…and titling it Every Picture Tells a Story…I realize the very word I was shying away from was there. 


That word has been coming into my awareness frequently. It caught my attention and snagged my heart earlier today when I saw this quote: 

“You know my name. Not my story.” 

As I sat undecided tonight, wavering between writing the post I knew I was supposed to write…and taking the easy out…a character on a TV show that I wasn’t even paying attention to said: “Story…” The invitation couldn’t be any clearer. 

You Don't Know My Story
Consider this post an introduction to what may turn into a series of essays about story throughout the year. 

What if…instead of creating stories about the people we know, the people we don’t yet know, the person we’ve just met, the stranger standing in line next to us at the supermarket, we stayed open and curious and allowed them to tell us their stories?

What if…we refused to accept as truth the stories that we make up about people, and stopped judging them based on our own inaccurate characterizations?

What if…we asked to hear their stories and we listened without our own opinions clouding our perceptions? 

You know my name. You don’t know my story. 

You see my skin color, my gender, my age, my size. You don’t know my story. 

You see the clothes I wear, the house I live in, the car I drive. You don’t know my story. 

You see my actions, my frustrations, my struggles, my triumphs, my successes. You don’t know my story. 

You experience my rage, fear, shyness, anxiety, silence, crudeness, sorrow, emotion, lack of emotion. You don’t know my story. 

You hear my accent, my child crying, my nervous laughter. You don’t know my story. 

I have a strong desire to go beyond the reactions I may have to people, and learn who they are, through their stories. I want to listen with my heart, get beneath the surface clatter, see with empathy, offer understanding. 

And if their stories can’t be shared yet, for whatever reason, I desire to feel compassion.  I choose to live with an I-don’t-know-their-stories awareness, rather than create stories about who they are based on my own thoughts about them. I want to get comfortable with “I don’t know”, and accept that I don’t. 

I’m not sure where this journey is going. I don’t need to know. I only know that I am being drawn, guided, inspired. I’m being invited to love unconditionally and experience deeper compassion. 

This is part of my story, and it is still unfolding. In sharing my story, you may feel inspired to tell your story as well. Go ahead. I am listening. 

You Don't Know My Story

The Disappearing Coins

Today is National Storytelling Day. I love a good story, which can be told in so many ways. Traditionally, books, poems, films and plays were the favored storytelling format. However, stories can be told, beautifully, through songs and music, art of all kinds, a vignette, a starry night, or a soulful look from across a room. 

My favorite stories are those that are true, events based on real people experiencing real life. I also appreciate a great story that although fiction, has deep truths evident in the telling of it. For me this includes epics such as The Lord of the Rings or The Chronicles of Narnia. While both stories fall in the fantasy realm, they contain elements of truth so profound that they resonate strongly with the reader or movie watcher. 

To celebrate National Storytelling Day, I’m sharing two short stories that are linked together by a common theme…coins. They are my stories, and they are absolutely true, however both are imbued with mystery and magic. 

Are you comfortable? Good. I’ll begin…

Years ago, when my children were school aged, I worked one afternoon a week at a church, in a homeschooling group. On this afternoon, I was walking down a hallway to the kitchen, with the intention of buying a diet soda from the vending machine. Halfway to the kitchen, I spied a coin lying on the carpet. Picking it up to inspect it, I found the coin to be a quarter, painted on one side with enamel paint or nail polish. Marked thus the quarter was distinct, and memorable. However, I decided to plug it into the soda machine, replacing one of my own quarters. I kept the painted quarter in my hand, closing my fingers around it. 

However, in the kitchen, when I opened my hand to spend the quarter, it was gone. I had taken approximately 12 steps from the time I found the quarter until I stood before the Pepsi machine, but the coin was no longer in my hand. I shrugged. I must have dropped it. After purchasing a soda, with my own two quarters, I returned to my office slowly, scanning the hallway for the missing coin. I didn’t find it, and promptly forgot about it. 

One week later, I was back at the same church, sitting at the desk in my office. I was wearing different clothes than I had the previous week…a dress, with the obligatory pantyhose, and low heels. As I worked I became aware of an itching sensation on the back of my left calf. I reached down, distractedly, to scratch my lower leg, and was surprised to feel a bump on my leg. It wasn’t an insect bite. The bump was circular and felt cold…metallic. 

Very aware now, I raised the hem of my dress and twisting my leg, peered at the back of my calf. There was something stuck to my leg, beneath the fabric of the pantyhose. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. In the ladies restroom I removed the hose to better see what was stuck to my leg. It was a quarter, firmly adhered to the skin of my calf. My skin prickled in goosebumps. Peeling the quarter off my leg, I turned it over. The back was painted in a distinctive way. 

It was the quarter I had found last week, that disappeared out of my hand. I have never been able to explain how it reappeared a week later, stuck onto the back of my leg. 

I’ve often marveled at that story. It is beyond bizarre. It is magical. Recently, I had another mysterious experience with a coin.  

Cleaning in the house of Greg’s dad, after he passed away, I found an old wheat-back penny under a bed. Turning the coin over I saw that it was stamped with the year 1958, my birth year. How cool, I thought. I placed the penny in my billfold, within a clear plastic sleeve, a keepsake to treasure. Because it had my birth year on it, the penny seemed like a personal gift from Greg’s dad. 

I’ve carried the penny in my billfold since that day. I see it everytime I open my wallet. A couple of months ago, I was transferring laundry from the washer to the dryer. I always do a final check in the washer after emptying it, to make sure I don’t miss a sock. No socks remained behind, but I saw something small and dark in the bottom of the washer. 

Retrieving the item, I saw it was a coin…a wheat-back penny. I was amazed. How strange to find another old penny. I moved into the kitchen, near the window, so I could see it better. And I knew. Before I even turned it over, I knew what year was going to be stamped on the face of the penny. 


I stared at the penny, my scalp tingling. No way. No way was this MY penny from my billfold. How could it be? 

I retrieved my wallet and slowly opened it. Again, I knew. Before I looked in the plastic sleeve, I knew. But I checked anyway. The penny wasn’t there…it was gone. Or rather, I was now holding it in my hand, fresh from the washer. I returned the coin to the sleeve in my billfold. 

I can’t explain either of those experiences with coins that appeared…disappeared…and reappeared. And that’s the whole point of these stories…I don’t have to understand. I don’t have to figure out why magical experiences and items show up in my life. I just have to accept that they do…and believe..that life is big and mysterious and full of unexplainable enchantment. Such a belief expands my heart, mind and soul. And lest I forget, and let my world grow too small, there are disappearing coins to remind me. 

I do believe.