Category Archives: Blessings

Friends for the Journey



















Many years ago at about this time in December my mother, brother and I left Germany from the airport in Hamburg. We were on our way to North Platte, NE where my father would be waiting to to be reunited with his family after an 8 month separation …he having come before us by way of an ocean liner to New York and then by train to live in a small farming community in Elwood Nebraska. We were people from the North, specifically the North West coastal area. All the rest of our relatives and friends remained there and at that time we believed that we would probably never see them again. Fortunately that turned out not to be true.

My grandparents were married for 62 years and after my grandmother died, my grandfather moved to an apartment in a senior residence facility where he welcomed my mother, his daughter once a year until his death at 102. During these visits my mother was delighted to experience the healthy North Sea air, enjoy all foods German, especially her beloved fish, freshly caught the night before and offered at the Friday farmer’s market in the town square.

In addition, she had the privilege of staying with her dearest friend in a neighboring village and sharing life present , as well as past …bonded together by friendship and shared experience in good and terrible times. In addition to this relationship she was also blessed to know as an older women the love and friendship of her friend’s only son and daughter-in-law who welcomed her into their lives. In the years after her friend died they loved her as their own. After my mother’s death 6 years ago my family and I traveled back to Germany to honor my mother’s wish to have her ashes spread on the North Sea. Her “adopted adult children” joined us as we traveled on a small ship on a rough sea day to say goodbye.

Next week, I’m flying back to Hamburg for Christmas where my mom’s friend’s children will meet me at the airport and take me home with them for a Christmas visit.

Today’s image: My mom on the left and her friend beside her.

Wishing you all a time of reflection and memory of the friends of your journey.

Blessings in your transitions, comfort for your losses, and hope for a new year coming.


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In Walking Away, We Can Miss A Lot



I spent a long weekend in Brooklyn, New York where I visited my youngest son.  We walked, we talked, drank great coffee, ate ethnic food and talked about the times we find ourselves in. All too soon it was time to go. I took the subway to Penn Station in New York, and then the New Jersey Transit to the Newark Airport and then to my gate,and a two hour weather delay …


While waiting and on the subsequent 4 hour flight to Denver, I thought about the millions of people who maneuver in urban contexts for work, and school and play and worship, and how amazing it is that people from all different places generally get along pretty well. Several people had offered assistance as I carried my rolling bag up the subway exit steps; answered and confirmed directional inquiries; shared stories of being immigrants who opened a restaurant using their Palestinian grandmother’s recipes … and so on.  Our waitress on one of our last meals together in the city, was a puppeteer and singer, songwriter, from Maine, who went to school in Colorado and knew the brother of my son’s high school friend from Lincoln, NE.


Perhaps because of the density in a large urban area, there is a forced closeness in encountering people who are not like us, and yet in our daily actions, and hopes and dreams, we are exactly alike.  When we have the luxury of living with more space, we might be tempted to walk away to our own comfort and miss the blessing of new insights. Pity.


Also posted in Insight, Others Tagged , , , |

Off The Map













In November of 2016 I spent the weekend in New Orleans to participate in a surprise 70th birthday event for a dear friend of 42 years. Having arrived a day early, and settled at the Auld Sweet Olive Bed and Breakfast ,I ventured out with a map. I was in a residential neighborhood called Faubourg Marigny, which, along with my inn, an 1830’s creole house, was a plethora of colorful residential historic homes of the “artsy” variety.The instructions  by my host were simple: out the door and to the left, and another left and right and I would find my way to  the French Market area; out the door and to the right several parks and other areas of interest.  All went well on day one .


The next morning I explored in greater depth and made my left, left, right and then  saw a sign indicating that a foot bridge was ahead and where there’s a bridge there’s usually water, so straight ahead. Hours later I looked at my map and turned away from the beautiful urban park along the Mississippi River and found the street to return “home”. I  realized that I’d made a mistake and started asking people if I was headed in the right direction.  Some said yes, others no idea; it was getting dark and my feet were hurting.  I approached an  older woman who was standing on the sidewalk.  “Excuse me, could you tell me if I’m heading in the right direction to get back to …?”  She looked at my map, put her hand on my shoulder and with a  lovely southern accent proclaimed:  “Well my dear, you’ve walked yourself  right off of your own map.”  She told me that it would take “at least an hour” but I would get there by following the path I was on . “Once you cross the railroad track, you’ll be just about home” she called after me.


Today’s image was taken on a side street near the French Quarter away from the crowds and for just a second on a cloudy day, as I looked back at where I had come to …”off of my map”, I was rewarded with light.  🙂 May your “off the map” exploration assist you in seeing new opportunities in whatever stage of transition you might be in, wherever you are.


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Time Well Wasted


©2013 Telluride













Recently, I had the privilege to hear “someone’s heart” about some major decisions regarding a hoped for direction in a relationship and a desire to engage in more frequent work or perhaps a career change. After several interactions and some movement forward, I received a note. In essence: “Things didn’t turn out the way I’d hoped and I made some sacrifices, but had I not taken this risk, I would not now know so much more about me … and then this:  “It was time well wasted.”  I was so moved by such a healthy reframe and have been “dancing” with the phrase ever since… time well wasted.  We usually say:  “It was time well spent” but this reframe opens  many possibilities.


We of course want to have a lot of memories of  time well spent but we often don’t get there because we think it was (or is) such a waste of time to spend time on something we want to do or be. It seems so frivolous or so much work.


Today’s image is a view from an abandoned cabin at the top of a trail in Telluride, Colorado. My photo friend dragged me up there to see this “unreal view” of a cabin with multiple windows and doors that each had a unique stunning view of the surrounding landscape. The only post processing work here is a slight crop to reduce the overall size of the image.  Ah…”time well wasted”.


What say you? Can you think of time well wasted that lead you to new places and insights?








Also posted in Courage, Insight, Seeing In New Ways Tagged , , , , |




Hello Dear Readers,

I’ve missed offering insight and encouragement in your life transitions, but today I’m ready to begin again. I’ve been in a season of rootedness vs. roaming and there have learned to wait for answers I couldn’t find, and in some sense, didn’t need.  It’s a season of asking new questions because this has been an year of new challenges.  The best part of my year has been that I have experienced a few things that I had no control over and instead of acting  to get them  resolved, I learned to be grateful for what I had lost.  I’ve learned to wait and be given what I need; I’ve accepted help when it’s offered; and relearned the difference between sentiment – feelings – and love, which takes into account how my actions  affect all involved.  I wonder what it would be like this coming year if I could “be” more love than to “do” loving things. Both of course are important.

So as this year ends, I wish for you comfort for your losses; the courage to end well and care for yourself in addition to others; to write new chapters; or begin new books; the time to reflect on how you’ve been loved through your “ickies”as my friend S. says and continue to hope as you notice the seedlings sprouting up amidst the rocks.

Love and Joy Come to You and Yours in these days of reflection and hope.




Also posted in Courage, New Beginning, Seasons Tagged , , |






Hello.  It’s been a couple of months since I’ve shared a word and image to offer insight and encouragement for life’s transitions.  I’ve actually had to learn to speak some of those words to myself as I’ve worked through some challenges regarding my health.  As I was making a routine left turn on a Sunday afternoon, my world started spinning…literally and now after a couple of months of vertigo incidents I am learning to live with the after affects of an acute vestibular event (probably a virus) that has damaged my left inner ear – the part dealing with balance.


It’s been a humbling experience to not be in control of your body movements; or to walk down the sidewalk looking as though one was inebriated; to realize that once again there is another loss to adjust to… and then you begin to understand – too slowly sadly – that there are all kinds provisions given that enter into this time of transition.  Family and friends providing comfort, encouragement, rides and arms for stability; a deeper prayer life not only for wellness but a deeper compassion for those who’ve lived with or are currently living with the reality of acute or chronic health challenges;  digging deep for a sense of humor in all of this; but mainly accepting that this is a new normal, and I will receive what I need when I need it and don’t have to force the timing.


Today’s image is usually seen as a  clear night shot of the colored lights in the fountains located at City Park with the downtown Denver skyline as a background.

After weeks of pushing myself to restart my blog, I realize that an abstract of reality  can be a gift to remind one of the essentials.


Also posted in Courage, New Beginning, Seasons Tagged , , , |

Something Old is New Again

©IBKimage 2012


It’s very interesting how things that we’re struggling with “all of a sudden” resolve.  One day, without notice, something that has been taking away so much of our physical and mental effort, finds it proper proportion in our life, or even disappears.  It was one of those weeks for me.  I was grateful for a negative result on a diabetes test and all that would have implied.  The gratitude turned into action as I examined the layers of denial that I had piled on during the last few months.

All of the things that I can do, (and know how to)  to stay healthy, both physically and emotionally and spiritually, I decided to take a sabbatical from.  Who knows if it was rebellion, passive-agressive behavior, or perhaps  just a realization that in our very human transitions, we sometimes just need  a long “soak” in a dry tub. Having no idea of what’s next, but trusting my creator,redeemer,sustainer to provide what I don’t even know I need.  Until then, we can take small next actions, engaging again in habits that satisfy and then gradually … the old is new again.

Today’s image comes from the Queen City Salvage Yard here in Denver; a delightful garden of oldness tucked underneath a busy I 70 East viaduct.  Here so close and yet so far away from the cacophony of daily activity, are yesterdays front doors, and old car bodies; tools and gadgets from another time, once on grandfather’s tool bench; and rusted hand pumps used to bring cool water to the farm and town kitchens before pvc pipe carried the running water to the faucet.

The paint is peeling on the door in our image but look at the beautiful grain and pattern underneath.  Someone will find this new old door and in just the right season – wherever it goes, it will be just the right thing .


Also posted in Aging, Courage, Letting Go, New Beginning, Seasons Tagged , , , , , , |

New Beginnings



Dear Readers, I’m back from my summer sabbatical of sorts and happy to be. The discipline of a weekly blog makes me think more clearly about a theme that I’d like to explore and during the week I receive a phrase here and there, read a sentence in a book, hear a song  or interview on the radio and so on.

Like little grains of sand that collectively become the beach, these bits of blessings gradually form a word pattern. When  partnered with an image, a story emerges. At other times a picture is the theme and provides a wonderful opportunity to process the many distinct experiences I’ve had in a week and try to make some sense of it.

Sometimes in the days and weeks that seemingly fly by while one is confronted with the realities of being human – illness, death, major life transitions, celebrating milestones, mending relationships, moving, fatness, and so on,the very things that can help us along the way through, are often the tools that sit idly in the shed.

As I bemoan the fact that my image making and “wordsmithing”have taken a backseat this summer, I realize, like the small tiles in todays image, when joined together a beautiful pattern make, that the small  acts of presence and and listening, and celebration, and grief, and encouragement,and humor, are all  a way that love can illuminate the darkness and elevate the joys.

Delighted to be back “in the saddle.”










Also posted in Aging, New Beginning, Seasons Tagged , , , , , |


©IBKimage 2012



Having always been a curious sort from the time I was young, I’d sometimes get into trouble – especially if I asked people about things they’d  rather not disclose.  The phrase then was:  “Stop being so nosy”, or the firmer:  “mind your own business.”  I was always wondering how things worked and would order things like seeds to sell to the older single and widowed ladies in town , ostensibly to save them a trip to the store, but the true reward was the gift of time, conversation, and …a cookie or candy.  Most of the changes in my life were as a result of my interests and explorations and the freedom to experiment and change course.


Well into adulthood , I still had that luxury, but somewhere along the way, I found myself getting into trouble again because I was so curious about so many things, in addition to family and other responsibilities, that I kept  trying to devise systems to get and stay organized … this eventually became a career and I helped other people do that … and now today so many years later, I am overwhelmed by the choices that vie for my attention: travel here, try this, donate now,upgrade,download, only $2.00 for an e-book, press the button … Amazon delivers, punch your frequent buyer card and so on …  all of these opportunities can easily morph into agony of decision.


Today’s image of my hands  is a made on an ®iPad  in a program called ®Photo Booth, which allows the manipulation of images in a variety of ways.  Somehow it captures the paradox of the possibility  and an open handed prayer / plea for wisdom to minimize the choices that keep us bound.  I remember the gift of love, in those gifts of time and attention and treats, and want to offer that to a new generation.  To do so, I have to  hit the delete button on so many of the things that I routinely do… even if they’re great things – just not my things.  What about you?

Also posted in Aging, Courage, Letting Go, Seasons, Wisdom Tagged , , , , |

Photo Friends

Callas at Lakewood



I’ve been away for a photography workshop with Frans Lanting and associates in Santa, Cruz California. ( I first heard of Lanting when he and two other world renowned  masters of nature photography came for a two day Denver event in mid April.  I was especially drawn in by his emphasis on the importance of telling a story with one’s images and his availability to participants attending – as well as his kindness and humility.  After a break on the last day, I heard him say that they (he and partner/wife, Chris Eckstrom) had one spot left for a May workshop in Santa Cruz where they are based.  Impulsively, and yet knowing that this was the next major transition in my photographic learning, I got a business card and signed up with Chris via e-mail that evening.


Sixteen came ; from the west, central, and eastern parts of the U.S. and from Germany and Japan/SanFrancisco.  Interesting, curious people ; a variety of ages, and acumen and what we all had in common was a desire to learn and to “do photography together” for 3 1/2 intense days, and become better storytellers learning  from a master and his skilled and delightful associates . How divine!


In the coming weeks I ‘ll share more , gleaned from my own new insights and the encouragement I received during my adventure.   There were brief times when I wondered what I was doing there, and the old sirens tried to call me back  to interrupt my journey, but thankfully those times were brief and time and tide as well as new photo friends, call out to come and see.


Today’s image is a direct result of learning new ways to see.  It started out as a color photo of a planter full of calla lillies, exquisite in their creme and green hues,and ended up as a black and white exercise in the use of negative space.  Less is more.  “I’m listening Frans …”








Also posted in Courage, Insight, Letting Go, Road Trip, Seeing In New Ways, Uncategorized