Dear 18-Year-Old Me

18 year old Me in Coronodo, CA001

Dear 18-Year-Old Me,

  1. Buy original art that moves your heart and lots of it. The joy and comfort it will bring you for years will be a greater return on your investment than you will have ever imagined.
  2. Change the color of the walls in your home from white to whatever you love right away. Don’t wait. Make your home the place you love most to be.
  3. Live in the moment, but take lots of pictures because in 1996 you will suffer a brain injury and those pictures will tell you your own story.
  4. Wear sunscreen and never skimp on skin care. It will pay off, trust me!
  5. Invest in a good vacuum and other cleaning instruments that are easy to use. Play loud music and make cleaning fun. You will think more clearly and feel more energized in a well-organized, clean home.
  6. As you travel the world get to know the people and find a way to stay connected. Those relationships will influence your world view in years to come and will be more accurate than the news media.
  7. Nourish the creative voice inside of you. One day you will need for it to be stronger than the storm that comes against it.
  8. The more time you spend with your dogs the more time you will spend with your dogs. Thank Lynette Zwerneman for that advice one day. Love them every day because their life is devoted to you.
  9. Don’t compare the value of love given or received in this world or base your worth on anyone else’s comparison. Follow and look to God on how to love and let only that be your measure of value.
  10. Know that bullies come in all shapes and sizes and are not always loud and boisterous, but can be quiet and manipulative or pretend to wear white hats. Always stand up to them no matter how much it scares you.
  11. Cherish and hold tight to your friends in their youth because when they become parents you are going to appreciate them and their gifts even more when you meet their children.
  12. Moses sent 12 spies to the land of Canaan. Ten came back speaking words of defeat. Only Joshua and Caleb spoke words of victory before the battle was won. God gave THEM the land. Surround yourself both personally and professionally with others who carry an attitude and speak words of victory even before the battle is won.
  13. Keep learning and if you struggle to grasp a subject, find a teacher that teaches the way you learn.
  14. Take lots of pictures of bugs because then you will learn to appreciate them and will spend years being fascinated by them instead of fearing them.
  15. Spend more time in museums. Learn about and appreciate who and what came before you. Understand that you, too, have a place in history and it’s up to you to define what that is.
  16. Invest in your mind; educate yourself; never stop asking questions and seeking answers.
  17. Save money and invest it in your future, but also, on average, give more that benefits others than you spend on yourself. This is the greatest investment you can ever make with your money – the lives of others both human and animal.
  18. Know that life is a course we travel day by day and that course can and will change by either your decision or the consequence of someone else’s. Either way, you hold the power to determine how you will manage the course. Know that some days you will fail in your actions and others will in theirs, but choose not to stay that course or stop and park. Whether in weakness or strength choose to focus on the course you know is right for your life and move in that direction. Know that some days your steps will be big and many and other days they will be small and few. Rest when you need to, but never stop your mind from moving in the right direction.
  19. Make phone calls, knock on doors, send letters, and in the future, emails. Don’t hold back from making contact with others. Good things can come of it only if you actually do it.
  20. Discover what brings you joy and freak out with joy! Thank Madison and her mom Betsy Myers for that one day.


You on Your 51st Birthday


The Voices of Flowers

Sometimes the most powerful voice is the voice of something that speaks silently.

In life, I believe the most lonely of times is not a separation from other people, but from the silencing of the voice within that guides us in our life’s purpose. The inability to hear that voice, to me, is the greatest loneliness. In recent years, a deep wound silenced my ability to hear my own creative voice — a voice that is very much a guide to my purpose in life. This summer, my garden, the bugs within, and flowers broke that long silence … and I couldn’t be more grateful.

The voices of flowers are more beautiful than I ever imagined.