So many things in life are out of our control

We don’t control the sun, the moon,, the stars, the wind…the rain

We don’t control those moments when our heart fills up with pain.


Perhaps then while we’re alive it should be our goal

to do the best that we can do….with the things we can control.


We cannot control our past…and the future’s not always in our hands…

but we can control how we treat the animals…and how we treat the land.


We can control how we treat others…if we are unkind or humane

We can control if we cause another person’s happiness…or pain.


If we make treating the animals, 

the land around us 

and people 

with compassion as our goal….

It becomes much easier to accept those things that are out of our control.


For they will be there to support us through the uncontrollable winds and rain

and they will be there when we need them most…when our hearts fill up with pain.

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He often asks himself how she did it…

what subtleties did she employ

to help him find his happiness

to help him discover his joy.

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When the seas around us are choppy

when the times ahead are tough… 

If I can make one heart a little brighter

then I have done enough.


Because if I make one person smile

If I brighten one person’s day

There’s a good chance they will take that smile

and send it on it’s way.


Eventually that one smile 

will find its way to you

then you will take that smile

and brighten one heart too.


For we know even in our darkest times

like being quarantined by the flu…

sometimes brightening one heart

is all that we can do.


Which is why I repeat when the seas around us are choppy

When the times ahead are tough

If we all can make one heart a little brighter

then we have done enough.

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I have this list…I keep it in my head…an ever-expanding file

of things that make me happy…things that make me smile.


What makes this list so amazing is that it’s always very near

and I never know from day to day…which items will appear


On this list are my friends and family…

and individual moments we have shared

moments that were planned out…and moments unprepared.


Moments walking along the beach

Skipping stones or holding hands

When our children and grandchildren were young 

and we built castles in the sand.


Standing under sunrises and sunsets

In the city watching crowds

Seeing the waves move across the ocean

or the changing colors in the clouds.


Listening to bird songs

or the wind whistle through the trees

Walking barefoot in the grass

feeling the mist in a morning breeze.


The feel of a baby’s skin

The taste of sugar cane

The aroma of cookies baking

The smell of a forest after rain


My list is in no apparent order…

thoughts float in then float away

I’m never sure what’s coming next…

and I kind of like it that way.


It means whenever I call up my list

when I stop and visit it a while 

I am never far from happiness.


and the things that make me smile.

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I’ve said this over and over again because I believe it to be true

most of our enjoyment in life comes from the little things we do.


Little moments…little adventures…little wonders

that somehow find a way

to enter into our lives…and brighten up our day.


Like moments found by two thin blooded Floridians…both over 65 years old

on a recent camping trip together…when the weather outside turned cold.


They bundled up and took a boat ride…

they listened to what the captain had to teach

they saw a fort that was built but never used

and watched wild horses running on a beach.


They ate the best clam chowder and crab cakes

they had ever been served

and they handed the waitress who served them

a tip she so rightly deserved.


They stood on the edge of the Atlantic ocean

while a flock of birds circled overhead

they tried the Pirate punch in the oldest bar in Florida

and watched as their cheeks turned red.


They watched three sunrises and sunsets

They saw a family of dolphins perform…

they found when you hold hands even if it’s freezing outside

inside you feel warm.


These little moments…little adventures…little wonders

somehow found a way

to enter into their lives…and brighten up their day. 


Thus proving once again what I’ve always believed to be true


most of our enjoyment in life…comes from the little things we do.

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I was brought up quite religiously…

I was taught heaven was somewhere in the sky.

Where if a person was good down here on Earth, 

there was a place for them on high.


A place where we will walk among the softness of the clouds

in a paradise floating above…

where miracles happen every day

and where we’re always surrounded by love.


When I grew up and began to think for myself

to question…to clarify

I kept returning to the concept of Heaven…and began to wonder why?


Why do we look up to Heaven, for when we look straight ahead, 

side to side…up or down

there are a myriad of miracles to see…right here on the ground.


Look at the diversity of life created right here beneath our feet

from natures beauty that surrounds us to the daily foods we eat.


I have been at the birth of my children and grandchildren 

and don’t think it’s preposterous to say

in the maternity ward of a hospital you walk among angels every day. 


I’ve experienced love

I’ve seen beauty, 

I’ve seen a family grow and blossom and thrive

I’ve seen sunrises and sunsets and rainbows,

all while I’m still quite alive.


I wonder if I’ve had this concept of Heaven all wrong…

if religions aren’t a little remiss

for when I look around at the blessings in my life 

I wonder…can it get any better than this?


Sure there may be a Heaven high in the sky 

which we may experience in our rebirth

but let’s not forget…while we’re alive

the Heaven…

right here 


on Earth.

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Yesterday was a great day…one I will long revere

It began when I looked in the mirror…and realized…I’m still here!


That I have a wife, children, grandchildren and friends 

with whom this life…I share…

This is how my day began…and it only got better from there!


We watched the sun rise on our morning walk.

We saw a father carry his daughter piggy-back

We said ‘Hi’ to Stella, she is homeless…

and for the first time…she said ‘Hi’ back.


We stopped to talk to an old man as we walked down to the sea.

We took goodies down to our daughter-in-law 

(she’s having surgery on her knee).


We bought candy from the candy store.

We drank fresh-squeezed lemonade.

In the heat of the Florida sun…we found respite in the shade.


We bought the final present for Ava’s birthday party…(she just turned 13)

We put a new rug in our craft room…we decorated for Halloween.


We saw our eagles…on the top of the pole where they both like to rest

We ate take-out food from Thai Town…their Pad Thai is the best!


From my spot in my favorite chair I watched the sun set through the trees.

As we turned out the lights and kissed goodnight I thought…

I love days like these…


And when I awoke this morning…knowing yesterday was through…

I looked in the mirror and couldn’t help but think…


Today’s starting out pretty great too!

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The beginning of another Summer means the end of another Spring

and I wonder as with all transitions what this new beginning will bring…


And it makes me think about beginnings and endings

will this new beginning bring us joy…or strife

and it makes me wonder how beginnings and endings

fit into a life.


Life is a series of beginnings and endings

they loom in the shadows like silhouettes

Every birth has a death, every start has its finish, 

every sunrise…its sunset


And though it’s true we experience beginning and endings

wherever we go and in whatever we choose to do

most of our life is spent in the middle

living between the two.


Certainly every beginning is important

as are the times we bid adieu

but isn’t it in the middles of our life

where most of our dreams come true?


So the next time you think about a beginning…

or an ending

take a moment

close your eyes…

and remember all that happened in between…

in the middle…


where our happiness lies…

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Some people believe happiness is a myth…of that assumption I have my doubts

for every day I am glad to discover so much to be happy about.


When I was young I’d secretly hope the day would never end

when I was outside playing in my neighborhood with friends.


or when seated around our table…talking non-stop…incessantly

eating, in between our words, with friends and family.


In my neighborhood, in my house…at my table…up a tree…

happiness was everywhere I went…it seemed to be following me.


and it continues to follow me today…with family, with friends…when talking,

when eating, playing, singing, dancing,…in silence or when walking.


In a mountain lake wildly swimming with family…I feel just as much elation

as when sitting quietly in a church for my granddaughter’s confirmation…


It is not a myth that happiness surrounds my heart…

allowing it to float carefree

or that each day it is more and more enhanced


by the people surrounding me.

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