We walked along the beach today...together hand in hand

enjoying the sights and sounds of nature…while making footprints in the sand.


We watched the sandpipers scurry to and fro between the water and the land

searching for their morning meal…while making footprints in the sand.


We saw a young family playing together making castles with their hands

each moment filled with laughter…while making footprints in the sand.


As we walked what caught my attention was not so much the beauty of the land

It was the myriad of footprints left imprinted in the sand.


And the fact we will never know who made these footprints in the sand.

If they were old or young or black or white…if they were a woman…or a man?


We can’t tell their gender…their God…where politically they stand…

when all we have two go on are their footprints in the sand


We have no way of knowing if they were from Russia, Ukraine, Sweden or Finland…

when the only information before us are their footprints in the sand.


And for one idealistic moment I thought…wouldn’t it be grand…

If all we had to judge another person by…were their footprints in the sand.


No one need be ridiculed…no one need be banned…

we would only see how similar we are from our footprints in the sand.


And in that idealistic moment I wished we were more like sandpipers as we scurry across the land…with no reason to judge each other while making footprints in the sand.


Hoping we could live in harmony…like the footprints we saw today…

and that the rising tide of hate would never come ashore…and wash that harmony away.

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For nine months we live connected…sharing the same rhythm…so it should come as no surprise…how we share a similar message the first time we look into each other’s eyes.


It’s a message at first unspoken…something all mothers and babies do.

Love me, we say with our eyes to one another, that’s all I ask of you.


Through all life’s highs and lows…all our successes and our failures too…our message to one another remains the same…

Love me, that’s all I ask of you.


When we meet someone we hope to share our life with…

when we know our love is true.

we look into each other’s eyes and say, 

Love me, that’s all I ask of you.…


As we grow older we make a wish to our friends and family 

as each day starts anew…

Love me, we whisper with our eyes closed…that’s all I ask of you.


Love me, that’s all I ask of you…

a message so innocent and sweet…

I wonder what our world would be like 

if we shared that message with everyone we meet.


Would it be happier place…

where peace, 


and joy shine through…

if Love me…is all I you ask of me…and all I ask of you?


And wouldn’t it be wonderful when our time on Earth is coming to an end…

when our life is almost through…

If the message we share with all those gathered round us is…

Thank you…for doing all I asked of you.

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When it seems like hate and evil are raining down…hard from the sky above…it’s a good time to remind ourselves many of those raindrops are also filled with love.


So when I’m caught in a shower…when from the heavens raindrops pour…

the raindrops filled with love are the ones I’m looking for


I look for love between any people…any color, shape, gender or size…

It can usually be found in the smiles they share…or the joy in each other’s eyes 


I look at how people treat one another with kindness…I look for how love expands

the moment two people become one by the mere act of holding hands.


I look for people laughing…dancing…

I look for a…a whisper…a stolen kiss…

I look for old friends coming together and see the love as they reminisce.


I look for strangers helping strangers…

I look at how a box of candy, a card, or a bouquet of flowers can impress…

I look for silent exchanges of tenderness…a gentle touch…a sweet caress.


I look for a man putting his head on his wife’s tummy and suddenly becoming aware…

he’s about to become a father…there’s a life growing in there.


I look at one mother listening to another woman’s chest and crying tears of joy once she becomes aware…she listening to the sound of her sons’t heart…her son’s heart…transplanted there.


I look for couples enjoying a sunset…eating a romantic dinner for two…

I listen for all the times in a day I hear the words…I Love You.


Each raindrop of love…no matter how big or small…has its own wonder…its own reason to  celebrate…because each raindrop filled with love has the power to silence each raindrop filled with hate. 


And how do we know how much hate or how much love each raindrop might contain?

I imagine that all depends…

on how we view the rain.

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She said to her husband one evening…”Here’s something I don’t understand…

how in the world have I acquired so many lines upon my hands


So many tiny creases…so many wrinkles…so many veins and spots and folds.

When…oh when…I wonder…did my hands become so old.


Her husband took her hands in his saying, “In all the years we’ve been married…all the years together we have grown…I think I probably know your hands even better than my own..


When I look at your two hands…the two hands of my best friend…my wife

I see all the balance and the beauty they have added to my life.


When you look at your hands  ”I think you, too, should be thrilled….

at all the hopes and dreams and wishes your two hands have fulfilled.


Your hands have helped to guide our family…that’s been no easy feat…

Look at all the times we’ve fallen and your hands have helped us back upon our feet.


Think of all the the ways your hands have nursed us night and day…think of all the faces they’ve cleaned…all the tears they’ve wiped away. 


Think of all the love your two hands have joyously revealed…

all the scrapes and scratches and bruises your two hands have helped to heal. 


Think of all the cookies your two hands have baked for our children and grandchildren too…Think of where we’d all be…without your two hands…and you.


Your hands have kept us safe and warm…happy and well-fed…think of all the pages they’ve turned…all those bedtime stories read.


Think of all the letters your hands have written…all the good things they have done…

Think of all the lives they’ve touched…all those flowers they’ve planted in the sun.


Think of how your hands…though silent…have the ability to say so much…

with a soft caress…a warm embrace…a kind and gentle touch


When I look at your two hands all these years of holding us…helping to guide us through…I have often wondered to myself…is there anything they cannot do?


So I can say with true conviction…as I hold your hands in mine….

each wrinkle has formed with elegance and richness and beauty….

two hands aged to perfection…just…like a fine wine.



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Together…it’s one of my favorite words…I believe it deserves some recognition

sometimes it’s the simplest words that give life its definition.


If you’re lucky enough to find someone to share your world with, 

your cares are few…you know there’s nothing you can’t weather

you hope for happiness, perhaps a home…a family…

and you have this shared dream of growing old together.


Then life comes at you with its responsibilities…its burdens…its restraints…

you secretly wonder how you’ll ever muddle through…

but together you do…

then one morning you wake up and realize your dreams have all come true.


You know life hasn’t always been easy…sometimes you’ve been at the mercy of the wind…like a feather…but you’re healthy, you’re happy…you’ve made it…you have grown old together.


Life has moved so quickly , however, you’re not sure when it happened…how…or even where…but with your children grown…your grandchildren growing…there is happiness in the air.


It’s a wonderful feeling knowing you were right…

when you said there is nothing you can’t weather…

and now you’re ready for the next phase of your life…

growing even older together.


There’s a funny thing about time…

as we’re building a life…a family…how often we admit…

no matter how much we try to budget our time…

there’s never enough of it.


Often time is our enemy…and we wonder if that feeling will ever end

then one day…as if my magic…time becomes our friend.


And when we have the time to look back…

we realize what has been the glue in our life…the bond…the tether…

What made our life worthwhile…was simply living it…together.

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They were walking on the beach one morning…together hand-in-hand…when, overwhelmed by a memory, he stopped in front of a castle in the sand.


“Do you remember,” he whispered, “when we built our first castle in the sand?”

She nodded…laid her head upon his shoulder…and gently squeezed his hand.


And soon her memory joined with his…two children a chance encounter…unexpected…totally unplanned…who met upon a beach and together built a castle in the sand.


Back then they didn’t think about it…they were too young to understand how much their life would be constructed around that castle in the sand.


Knowing their parents vacationed on that beach the two children hatched a plan…to meet up every summer and build a castle in the sand.


After many summers building castles the two of them began taking long walks in the moonlight…together hand-in-hand


And then, one summer’s evening he got down on one knee in the sand to ask, “Will you marry me and help me build our castle on the land?”


And so they married…built their castle complete with family…so grand…all from the humble beginning of one castle in the sand.


Which is why…just like the day they met…another moment unexpected……totally unplanned…they got down on their hands and knees together…and built a castle in the sand.



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Immediately after a grandson and his grandma walked into the bookstore…the grandson walked up to me…a little bit bemused…and asked if I would help his grandma…he smiled saying…”She is a bit confused.”


“Certainly!” I said without a moment’s hesitation…then the grandson told me this story…as a way of explanation. 


Grandma was always giving me little gifts…to praise me when I’d succeed or to encourage me when I’d fall.  She filled my life with memories…perhaps her greatest gift of all.


So many wonderful memories over the years…such a wide and beautiful array…

which is why it makes me sad to watch her memories slipping away.


“I can’t understand it!” She will say as tears from her eyes spill. 

“But there are blanks within my memory I cannot seem to fill.”


It so unfair…so depressing…so confusing…so unkind…

to watch so many of our wonderful memories get lost within her mind.


So now, every time I visit her…whether planned or out of the blue

I bring with me my smile…and all my memories too.


Sometimes we sit for hours…sharing a laugh, a smile… a groan….

Hoping from out my shared memories she’ll find some of her own.


“When I saw your bookstore I thought perhaps it will help plant a seed into my grandma’s memories…because grandma loved to read.”


Luckily the store was empty…was it luck…or was if fate…so for the next 20 minutes I took his grandma on a date.


We walked around I showed her books…mostly I answered her questions…even when…she asked me the same questions…over and over again.


I’m not sure how much good I did…if any memories she reclaimed…

but just before they left her grandson thanked me…just the same.


As I watched them walk away I thought what a beautiful way to say I love you…

what a wonderful way of giving thanks…

a grandson sharing his memories with his grandma…

doing his best to fill in all her blanks. 

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It is sad when we see people lose their lives, their homes in a fire…a tornado…or a hurricane…We feel helpless and we struggle with ways to help to ease their pain.


As devastating as that is…nothing is more heartbreaking…more sorrowful…more tragic than…when the death and the destruction comes at the hands of their fellow man.


Which is why, as we witness the people of Ukraine in the midst of their man-made  nightmare….we gathered together last night in a park to light a candle and say a prayer.


We came together…most of us strangers…different backgrounds, different beliefs…to offer our encouragement…to help Ukrainians find relief.


We listened as Ukrainians spoke and sang…voices filled with hopeful apprehension

and as we prayed for their safety to our different Gods…we felt unity…not dissension.


You see it didn’t matter what faiths were represented…what Gods we may have named.

for the people of Ukraine…all the messages were the same.


We prayed for Ukrainians safety…that this senseless killing cease….

And as we prayed for them we prayed for ourselves…for a world of liberty and peace.


Everyone present lit a candle and we held them in the air

proving, once again, love is universal…proving love needs to be shared.


And when we finished praying…for an end to Ukraine’s plight…

we walked away in silence…taking different paths into the night…


Hoping lighting candles and coming together as one human race to pray…..

will somehow help to end a war…5000 miles away.

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I have always counted myself extremely lucky to have been blessed with a wife

who agrees with me that it’s the little things that make a happy life.


It’s not only listening when the other person talks but hearing what they say.

It’s a card to say I love you at the end of a bad day.


It’s a little gift that’s given when there’s no reason for a gift.

just to say ‘I love you’…to give someone’s day a lift.


It’s a drive out in the country with a filled picnic basket in the back.

It’s making pancakes together for dinner and sharing one large stack.


It’s reaching something on the top shelf when your short wife is unable

It’s the family gathered together for a dinner around the table.


It’s sharing our stories, our joy, our laughter, with our children and grandchildren too

It’s the smile that will not leave your face when the evening is through.


It’s feeling a baby kicking while still inside a mother’s womb

It’s holding hands, stealing a kiss or a shared smile across a room.


It’s the sharing of our deepest fears, our long range hopes, our dreams and wishes

It’s one person doing the cooking while the other does the dishes


It’s sharing every joy and sorrow that in life comes our way.

It’s calling just to hear a voice in the middle of the day.


It’s watching the sunrise together and thinking of the day we met

It’s spending a whole day doing nothing…then watching the sun set.


It’s a walk under a moonlit sky or a stroll along the shore

It’s simply living a life with someone you adore.


Because these little things…

these little gestures…

these little moments that on the surface may seem small….

when you stop and think about them…

they’re not so little…after all.



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