I am having a very difficult afternoon.  Packing today to get ready for a long anticipated retreat weekend, I realized that I had been robbed.  I don’t know when or who but the more I search for things the more I am finding missing.  It started with a very expensive lens for my work camera that I chalked up to my slowly declining mind and made peace with the disappearance believing that perhaps it was inadvertently left at a photo shoot and long gone.  Then today, I opened a cabinet in my office to pack a small camera to take along this weekend and it is gone too.  The extra lens and the charge cord too.  ALL GONE.

Trying to be adult and not get overly emotional I did a good job not to cry.  I lamented to my understanding husband and continued with my chores with this really sucky feeling hanging over me.  As I made an attempt to take a “happy” walk with my husband and three dogs I had to voice my feelings once more.  This is not the first time I have been robbed.  Unfortunately it has happened more times than I wish to believe.  The feelings are always the same.  Anger, disbelief, a sense of being violated and unsafe.  There have been times when I have known the thief.  This time I do not.  So my husband asked if I had checked other things that might have gone missing; jewelry for example. I said I had checked quickly but it appeared to all be there.

I shared a story of being robbed in NYC and the thief leaving a ring that they thought could have been a wedding ring.  Thoughtful right!  Well, it did mean a lot to me but it was not a wedding ring. My parents bought me that ring on a trip to Florence, Italy on the Ponte de Vecchio.  I loved that ring.  As I was telling him I had this nagging feeling that I did not recall seeing that particular ring in my cursory look.  Picking up my step to get home a minute quicker that normal I made my way to the jewelry box.  The ring was gone.  So now I am experiencing these feelings twice in one day.

I know these are just things.  They can always be replaced.  The ring less so than the camera.  The people, my husband, parents, dogs, friends… THE PEOPLE and the relationships I have are of true value so I am going to be grateful for those diamonds and pearls in my life and let go of the things I can no longer have because some selfish and self seeking person took them from me.  Whoever you are, you may have my things but you can’t have what is MOST precious to me.

Maybe they blessed you in some way.  Paid your electric bill or cell phone.  Maybe you bought food for your kid.  Maybe you make a rent payment to keep a roof over your head.  I just hope you didn’t snort, swallow. blow or inject it.  You are someone who needs help and I pray you find it.  I pray you don’t hurt someone else the way you hurt and violated me.  I don’t like you.  I don’t want to know you or ever think of you or see you.  But I will forgive you.


Eight Ways to Get Your Zen on at Work

So I am really getting into this whole “mindfullness” craze.  Looking for ways to increase good health and happiness in the ever changing world with all the distractions is not easy.  I find it even harder personally being an empath and drawing in other people’s energy when need not do that for my own well-being.

Many of us have predictable jobs.  I don’t personally but for those of us who do I think these ideas might help find peace and well-being during the 9 to 5 grind.  Many companies have sought out corporate wellness programs for employees hoping to lessen the amount of “sick days” someone might take and to boost productivity.  I believe it is important to know when you need to detach from your workday in order to feel better.  So here are a few ideas for reducing your stress on the job.

  1. Hide you phone.  You CAN do it!  I promise it will not run away when you go to find it.
  2. Take a break BEFORE lunch.  It’s okay to take a morning break.  Even ten minutes to breath some fresh air, read a magazine article or grab a coffee will improve your mood.
  3. Gossip.  Social time is good for you!  Make sure you keep conversation office-free!  Talk about weekend plans, your dog, your fish, what you plan on cooking for dinner.  Anything but work or people at work.
  4. Disappear.  This does not mean sit on the toilet in the bathroom.  This means take a walk for ten minutes, make a call, mediate or listen to a quick podcast.
  5. Procrastinate.  Take 5 to play a game or day dream.  Your work problem is still there in the background but you may end up with a creative idea or solution in the end.
  6. Volunteer.  It helps you connect to others.  So grab them a cup of coffee if a co-worker is having  a bad day.
  7. Play with a puppy.  Ask your boss. You may just get a yes.  Some companies bring in puppies for some stress relief.
  8. End your day completely.  Leave your work at work.  Don’t take it home if you can help it.

I work from home so some of these are not relevant to me.  I can tell you that there are blessings and curses attached to your office being at home.  One being how to end your day and leave the phone when it is there.  I tried doing some of these things recently and I have felt better and more relaxed.  The world did not come to an end if I let the phone go to voicemail and return a call the following day.  My dogs were happy to have my full attention in the yard to play when I took a meaningful break (not throwing laundry in or emptying a dishwasher) and I always found when I returned to the computer I felt relaxed and less stressed too.




Ah, morning!

What marvelous unknowns will you set before me?

What unexpected events will you make unfold?

I awake. Curious, ready to receive your plans.


Gentle morning.

There is a newness to your breeze.

A freshness I invite into my body as I inhale you in.

I offer gratitude with each breathe.


Sweet morning.

You are a gift.  New every day.

Reminding me I too can give myself that same gift.

Yesterday is gone; never to come again.

I receive your gift, morning with compassion and an open heart.

Lea Austen/poetry


Wanderlust is a strong desire for or impulse to wander or travel and explore the world.  I met my husband seven years ago. My five year plan at that time was to move to Italy.  Little did I realize then that I was sitting across from my future husband.  So, even though I am not living in Italy, I am happily married and living here in Charleston.  One of the things that attracted me to Jon was his love of travel.  Not just saying that he wants to but actually took the time to visit other places!

We have enjoyed so many trips together.  Some here in the United States and some on other continents.  Hungary and Croatia are coming up!  The photos I chose are from a trip we took last January to India.  When I travel, I love to take time to photography people.  Taking the time to hang out and watch, feel the energy, listen to the sounds and just be present in a moment is very important to me when I travel.  I think it is the difference between being a tourist and being a traveler.  So I hope you enjoy these as much as I do





To reach

shaped by thoughts

we are what we think

As I pass from here to there, and then to now

my condition is changed, I become __________

That blank is open, infinite, fluid – changing minute to minute

As I become, staying present in this  precious moment in time
I am different now

No beginning or ending, just becoming

May I be worthy and may I be grateful for this precious gift

as I being to be again and again and again…..

by Lea Austen


I have been mediating on the word “become” for a few days now.  We use the word “become” quite frequently in our daily conversations.  Statements like “I have become (verb- angry, sad, excited) about or because of some experience or event”.  Maybe it goes like this, ” So and so became a (noun- preacher, firefighter, teacher)”, or ” The weather became sunny after the rain this morning.”  Whatever the use, the word “become” in its simplest definition is “begin to be”.

I really like that, BEGIN TO BE.  It is empowering to me.  I feel like the word become gives me permission to move forward every moment.  It is positive!  I can begin to be AGAIN even after something uncomfortable or negative or embarrassing happens.  I don’t have to stay there, stuck, owning some sort of misery and unhappiness.  My personal “BECOME” allows me to begin to be again!

Face it, some times we just don’t get our way.  We don’t get what we want.  The big dream we had just does not manifest they way we had hoped it would.  There are so many events, large and small that influence our lives and the way we view ourselves not only on a personal level but in how we believe the world views us.  I know that these beliefs are not always healthy and we need to dig deep and find our higher power to overcome some of the challenges and road blocks that we face.  It’s easy to walk around grateful and thankful when things are going our way, but what about those other times.  How do we handle the disappointments?  The word origin is a great place to start.  Becoming what we are could be understood as happening, an occurrence that we may not have envisioned or planned, but which has put us in a position from which we learn our own life lessons while teaching something to others as well.  I believe that some knowledge, some gift, something of value is given to us when we follow our path. So as I continue my journey I choose to be grateful for each moment, and use the time I have wisely!

Celebrating Earth Day

It was so hard to choose just ONE image to show off my love of “earth” – especially here in the Lowcountry where I call home.  I wake up every morning so incredibly grateful to call this my home and to appreciate the wonders of nature around me.  Sunrises and sunsets where I can feel the angels above me.  Water that reminds me just how small I am in great scheme of life that not only keeps me grounded but humble.  Our majestic live oak trees.  The one pictured here is the “Angel Oak” and it is over 60 feet tall and over 400 years old.  The gorgeous marshland behind our home and all over our coastal community are home to so many animals and birds.  They also help with protecting our barrier islands and provides food for fish and wildlife as well!  I hope you enjoy some of the sites I see daily here in Charleston!

Surprise – Photo Challenge

On a recent trip to California I took a stroll around the resort where my friends and I were vacationing.  Rancho Valencia has some amazingly beautiful landscaping and some of the flowers they can grow do not grow well here in South Carolina.  When I returned home and ran my photos through photoshop I got this very exciting surprise.  This sweet little hummingbird was by the flower and I never saw it when I first shot the photo.  So this is my pick for this weeks photo challenge; surprise.



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