Author Archives: samglauser

Being Good to Me and Other Lessons Learned

I was reading a post by Elizabeth Gilbert on Facebook the other day. She has been sharing some really amazing thoughts and ideas, and I always look forward to reading them. Liz is one of my favorite writers and speakers—she writes beautifully in an eloquent but approachable style with such honesty and openness about her life and her learnings. She likes to provoke people to think, lovingly. I enjoy her creativity and her big heart. She doesn’t hesitate to point out when she does something she feels could be better and I love that too.

She recently wrote a book called “Big Magic” and I flew through it. It is about inspired creativity, and her process for creating the beautiful works that she does as well as some areas where she believes people go astray and they chase the creativity away. She suggests that the stereotypical ‘suffering artist’ is not the way to tap into creativity, and that through openness and love, not through suffering, we reach our potential and invite creativity to flow through us.

I have read from several authors that you have to write. Every. Single. Day. Just sit down and force yourself to put pen to paper, so to speak. I have tried that. I have stared at a blank page frustrated that nothing was coming, and feeling like my spark was gone. This approach took something that brought me joy and made it a frustration. It made me question myself.

It wasn’t fun. At all.

I have learned that my inspiration just doesn’t come that way. It comes when I’m driving down the highway and have to pull over with words floating through my head with an insistent message so strong that it must come out immediately. It comes to me at 3 am when my busy brain tends to like to process, whether I like it or not. Waiting until morning (well, a reasonable time of morning) simply doesn’t work and the thoughts are gone. When I honor them, I often find sleep again quickly. Sometimes it does come to me when I sit down to write, but more often then not, it comes whenever it wants to. I have learned to accept that.

I don’t mean to say discipline isn’t required with writing, but I have found that I simply cannot force myself to do it. I need to be in a receptive space where I welcome the inspiration and the ideas floating around in my head and have the desire to get them down on paper. Liz wrote about similar concepts in the book.

When my words are just floating in my head waiting to be plucked, that’s when I know inspiration has hit and I am ready to take the dedicated time to write those thoughts and ideas down. It’s almost a physical need it’s so strong. While it feels good to get it out, it does take a level of discipline not only to carry it through the end, but also to review, rewrite, review again. The thoughts are just the first step in the process.

Liz puts it this way, “Do you have the courage to bring forth the treasures that are hidden within you?” She describes the hunt to uncover these jewels as creative living. The often-surprising results of that hunt is what she calls, Big Magic. Inspiration is magic that wants to be realized. When you say yes and are open to it, it’s showtime! Creativity doesn’t require degrees or education and it doesn’t necessarily require talent. It simply requires curiosity, openness and acceptance.

Liz’s message on Facebook a few days ago was about being good to yourself.

“A life has been entrusted to you. That life is your own. Please treat it with tenderness… You want to practice goodness. Well, conveniently, there is somebody with you 24 hours a day, upon whom you can begin to practice your goodness and your kindness and your compassion — and that person is yourself.”

Be good to yourself

She wrote about how we aren’t kind to ourselves, and how when she finds herself in this situation, she considers an animal in need of rescue and that she wouldn’t blame that animal for things that go wrong in her life. She would care for it and love it through the need–exactly what we should be doing with ourselves.

This has been a tough year full of some disappointments. I took chances that didn’t pan out—with a job, with a romance, with a friendship. In the first, I allowed myself to believe and trust, and while that person may have had good intentions, she didn’t follow through and it has had a marked impact on my life. I spend two hours a day commuting, which is exactly what I didn’t want to do. I asked and received help of an amazingly wonderful friend who helps me care for my dogs, and I am forever grateful for her kindness. And I’m considering again what I want and need, and what my priorities are.

The second was regarding a romance that didn’t work out. I think our expectations and commitments were different and ultimately, we were unable to communicate at a level that made us both feel safe in our friendship and in our relationship. The feelings were there but when we hit bumps, neither of us was willing to truly be open and vulnerable, and to expose our hearts to try as hard as we needed. Through intermittent periods of love, friendship, frustration, regret, anger, sadness and silence, we wandered unsuccessfully. I’m not sorry for loving him, but I am sorry that I wasn’t brave enough to truly try, or kind enough to myself to love myself through it in the way I deserved.

The third was regarding a close friendship I had for many years and someone I considered family. While I’d like her to own this as a decision and not provide excuses about why she didn’t make the effort, I have learned that it wasn’t about me as other things in her life became more important. She did recently reach out at a time that is a bit sensitive for me and I’m spinning again as to my feelings, however, I’m trying to recognize that her decision to essentially move on from our friendship wasn’t really about me and her reaching out when she thought I might appreciate it was an act of kindness and caring. I am proud about how I handled it—I expressed how I was feeling, I listened to her with an open heart, then I showed my heart love by recognizing my feelings and accepting them without judgement.

In the typical fashion of the Universe, I checked my email and received my daily message from a site called Simple Reminders. The messages are uplifting quotes and messages, and today’s was on point:


Instead of beating myself up for my failings and feelings, I’m trying to be kinder to myself. I’m writing now because the words are flowing along with the emotions and I’m recognizing them, accepting them and loving them. They are all part of who I am and I do love that person. Wanting to change things and to grow and learn is an act of love when it’s done with tenderness. It took me many, many years to truly learn.

My recent trip to Chile and the 8.3 earthquake and tsunami that followed made me appreciate the relative ease of my life. I may be disappointed, feel rejected and sad sometimes, but I am safe and comfortable with the ability to have pretty much whatever I want. While I sometimes feel like I’m floundering in a sea of possibilities without knowing what would truly make me happy, I’m grateful for the opportunities and learning to trust that it’s all part of the process of growth. What a gift.

How to Find Humor in a Crisis

I posted about my experience on vacation in Chile in a coastal town, Valparaiso, when an 8.3 earthquake hit and we were evacuated from the area due to a tsunami. The experience was terrifying, frankly, but it could have been much worse. Up the coast there were 15 dead in a small town.

It could have been so much worse.

I worked hard that night to not let my brain go to the ‘what ifs’—what if the tsunami is as bad as the one five years ago that killed hundreds? What if a wave crashes over our head? What if the hills we climbed crumble into the sea? What if our hotel on the water crumbles with all of our things.. the list could continue on and on.

Instead, I ran a constant soundtrack that things were going to be ok, and that my story wasn’t over. I didn’t want it to be—I have too much to live for and too much to do.

After the immediate urgency subsided, and over the next few days, we tried to find some humor in the situation. It really seemed to help keep our focus when there were regular aftershocks shaking the ground beneath us.

My friend mentioned during the aftermath of the earthquake that she can’t swim. My response was that if a wave crashed over our head, her inability to swim really won’t matter!

I said I’m checking Valparaiso off my ‘where I want to live when I retire’ list.

My friend added ‘lived through a natural disaster’ to her bucket list and then checked that bad boy off.

The humor and irony continued during the trip. We finally flew out of Santiago and landed in Houston, so happy to be back on U.S. soil. We boarded our plane but then were delayed over an hour. A man with full hazmat gear (face mask and plastic surrounding his entire body) boarded the plane.

What else could possible happen?

We started joking that we would end up being quarantined for ebola or something crazy like that.

We were able to view a movie preview as we waited the hour plus to take off. Care to guess what preview was showing?

San Andreas

Seriously. Over and over it played! We expressed our disgust at the situation, then laughed our asses off.

Then we arrived in Phoenix and I drove home from the airport. My route took me on I10, where the highway was plagued by close to a dozen incidents of a person (or persons) firing on cars while driving on the highway. There were ‘I10 shooter tip line’ number signs scattered down the highway.

I laughed and thought, “I didn’t survive an 8.3 earthquake and tsunami in Chile to get pegged off by this idiot shooter!” Needless to say, I was very happy to pull off the highway to head home!

Interestingly, I came home with a super power: the ability to fry technology and electronics. My laptop died near the end of our trip. When I got home and booted up my backup, it also died within minutes of use. My phone tried to die, but I somehow revived it. Same for my work laptop. Then my internet went down at home, saved by the Cox Cable guy. If I were to choose a super power, this would not be what I’d choose! I’d want something cool like the ability to turn anything into dark chocolate!

I came home feeling really off-kilter—almost like I was looking at my life inside a snow globe. I felt very disconnected and was really struggling to feel home again. I finally was in a place where I felt safe, and yet I was experiencing some pretty vivid nightmares that plagued me for several days. Apparently my brain was processing what happened between the wee hours of 2 and 4 am. Fantastic!

One one hand, the experience and visiting Chile overall made me feel incredibly grateful for all that I have: a roof over my head, the love of friends, a safe place to be, among others.

On the other hand, I was feeling very much like my life isn’t all that I want it to be. I’m content, but I’m not happy in several aspects of my life. It felt like the experience was a wake-up call of sorts, and I really felt a strong urge to make major changes in my life to work towards being more in alignment with the life I want.

I’m not yet sure of the lessons I’ll take away but I’m not going to make any rash decisions. I do know that being grateful for what I have feels good, and that I do have a lot to be grateful for. Focusing on the humor in and after the earthquake made the situation more tolerable and gave me something more positive to focus on than my fear and lack of control. I know that focusing on the gap between what I have and what I want doesn’t feel good, so instead I’ll continue to seek gratitude with humor. Maybe that’s the super power I truly came away with.


The Big What If

I was vacationing in Chile having a great time when the earthquake hit. It was a whopper—8.5. It was a rolling earthquake and lasted several minutes.

Plaza Sotomayor

I was at a show celebrating the Fiesta de Independencia, The Independence Day in Chile. The show was outside in Plaza Sotomayor, which is right by the Pacific Ocean. Everyone remained seated, but I noticed that people were turning around.

The water was behind us.


A policeman got up on stage, and while I didn’t understand him fully, there was no mistaking his tone and the word, “tsumani.”

We got up quickly and began walking towards the nearby tsunami evacuation route. We had taken pictures of the sign laughing. We weren’t laughing now.

The sirens started blaring and our phone weather alerts started chiming. “Tsumani warning.” There were a lot of people at the show so it took an eternity to get to the stairs. Every second felt like a minute as we made our way over and up. Over and over in my head, I thought, “I will be ok.. I will be ok.. I will be ok.” I didn’t allow a single other thought in my head. I couldn’t.

And up. And up.

Valparaiso is very hilly, similar to San Francisco, CA. In ten minutes or so we were fairly high, and made it to the “Tsunami safe zone.”

Then an aftershock hit. It was around a 6.5.

Up we went, higher and higher. The hills that seemed so steep that morning felt level under our feet.

We finally made it to a large open area where there were several hundred people, a fire truck and several policemen. We figured we were high enough.

We were careful to stand near no buildings just in case a larger earthquake hit, and got on our phones to let people know we were ok. At least, we thought we were.

Then our phones died, along with our connection to our world. Our safe world–which, until that time, was not only our lifeline, but we were doing our best to keep our friends and loved ones from worrying. Now we went dark, and were concerned about what they would think.

We waited outside for hours. The sirens stopped but no one left the area. Around 11, it was getting cold and we were getting tired, so we decided to find a café to sit down in for a bit. We walked for around 15 minutes before finding a pizzeria. I got a glass of wine. I jokingly said that if this might be my last meal, I would enjoy some wine. And pizza. The hell with my wheat-free diet. I was going to have gluten and I was going to enjoy it.

I did.

We left at around 1 am and the area we were previously in was empty except for the fire truck. Someone in our group (we met a woman from Australia, and a young couple from Germany that we were hanging out with) asked one of the firemen if it was safe to go down. We were told it should be, so down we went.

We dropped the German couple off at their hostel and went down to our hotel by the water. Staying on the water was so cool just a day earlier. Now it was terrifying.


The doors were locked. The lights were out. There was no note.

We made our way back up the hill and banged on the hostel door, yelling the German man’s name. Thankfully, they were staying in the room right by the door, and let us in. There were open beds, so we had a safe place to sleep for the night.

Safe. It’s hard to define safe in this environment. But safe at that time was not sleeping on the street.

We were able to charge one phone and get messages out, and tried to sleep. A few minutes later we heard a sound that seemed like waves crashing. We bolted up and to the window in a panic. A woman was outside talking on her phone, and a car was making its way down the cobblestone street. It was that sound that we heard.

We did finally sleep for a few hours, and left when the owner of the place arrived, after sharing our story and paying her for the beds. She kindly offered us breakfast and no charge, but we insisted for her kindness.

The hotel refunded the night, but had nothing to say about not leaving a note, or even having a policy as to what to do in a tsunami warning. Apparently they have them frequently.

That morning as we tried to nap, we could feel the building sway. We felt several aftershocks, and there were 7 in the 24 hours after the earthquake rating over a 6.0. The next morning we were woken by one. When we went outside, everyone was milling around as if nothing happened. It was calm and peaceful on the harbor.

Pratt Harbor day after

A day after I returned home, I woke abruptly to a bad dream and started to cry. That’s when it really hit me. We were on edge for the two days we remained in Chile, so I never let my guard down to really process.

The whole night was terrifying. We didn’t know if a wave would crash over our heads, or if the earth under our feet could crumble. We didn’t know, and had no control. The sound of the siren’s wail, the slow shuffle of feet, the anxious chatter in a language I didn’t much understand, and the inability to connect with anyone I care for.

It will be ok. It will be ok. It will be ok.

Thankfully, all I have is some anxiety and a killer story. Nothing happened to us and we were ok. Some miles up the coast, a town was devastated and 15 were dead. We were truly lucky.

What a way to get in touch with gratitude.

In the days since, things don’t seem to bother me as much anymore. Things that would have set my teeth on edge don’t seem to matter. It’s not an earthquake, it’s not a tsunami.

I realize that I have so very much to be grateful for, and that I have an opportunity to learn from, and benefit from, this experience.

A week later and I have finally stopped processing between the hours of two and four am. I no longer wake in a panic, trying to run. I wake up knowing I’m safe, and feeling ever so grateful for it.

One Foot In… and Forward

I wrote some of this post a few months ago. It was one of the pieces that I wrote but didn’t plan to post. I write a lot and only a small portion ever lands on the web. I write to process things, I write to release things, and I write to grow. I write because it’s my art, my passion.

A relationship that was important to me ended and though I felt sad and disappointed, I felt it was worth it to hold onto the friendship we developed. Here’s some of what I wrote:

Hindsight is 20:20. It provides a great perspective when you’re able to step back from something to really see the bigger picture. My last relationship was pretty good for the most part. We became good friends and though we had some communication challenges, we both made the effort to learn to do better. We enjoyed each other.

He has a job that requires travel, and he moves every three months for it. We talked about it early on and he said he was willing to stay here longer to be with me to explore this relationship. So I was all in and threw my heart on the table, willing to peel back the layers of defenses to really be in the moment.

I thought he felt the same way, but looking back, I see he only had one foot in. I believe he wanted to be all in, but I don’t feel he was. He loves travel and really didn’t want to give it up. He felt that doing so would be a sacrifice and he really struggled with that. It didn’t have to be all or nothing, but I can’t want something enough for the effort of two.

I cared enough to let him go when I realized how important this was to him, and when I said I needed space for a while before resuming our friendship, he cared enough to let me go. I’m disappointed and sad and I miss him, but I feel this is what I need to be able to enjoy our friendship in a healthy way.


It’s now several months later. I’d like to think I’m older and wiser. I did take some time, though instead of taking time for myself, I jumped into another relationship that ended up not working out. I was ok with that and ended it when I realized it wasn’t making me happy. Then my cat died. And he was there. I got all caught up in it again, thinking, hoping, feeling.

I allowed it, and I own the result.

“You can only lose what you cling to.” Buddha

Months went by with moments of confusion, happiness, frustration and disappointment. Then it finally happened. I heard the truth. I heard my truth. Like a blinding flash of insight it came and washed over me. I braced myself, thinking it would hurt. But surprisingly it didn’t. It felt freeing. I felt liberated. No longer do I have to carry the weight of this with me anymore. I hadn’t failed, and I didn’t give up. I just realized that it wasn’t meant to be.

“When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be. When I let go of what I have, I receive what I need.” Tao Te Ching

The Value of a Heart

I tend to trust people until I learn that I can’t. I’m not sure that’s the smartest and safest way to be, but it’s who I am. It gets more complicated when I learn I can’t trust someone, not because they aren’t a good person, but because they are so bogged down in their ‘stuff’ that they can’t be trusted.

I dated someone a few months ago that I considered a good friend. Overall things were wonderful and we had a great time. However, I never really felt that he felt the same about me as I did about him, so I held back a bit. Or I thought I did. When he left, as was part of the plan all along, we agreed to be friends and to stay in touch with a “maybe someday” kind of promise. I was ok with that and for some reason felt that it was truth. We stayed in touch fairly regularly and it felt right.

Then I called one day and heard everything I hoped I wouldn’t hear: he had found someone, he was really serious about her and planning to stay nearby to see if she was someone he might want to plan a life with. All of the “sort of” promises he shared with me. Then he cancelled our vacation plans as he didn’t think she would approve. When I asked if he was ok with never seeing me again, as we don’t live near each other, he said, “well maybe someday when I’m in Arizona, or I dunno, maybe when you’re dating someone we could meet up the four of us.”

Seriously one of the dumbest things I have ever heard. Why ever would we want to do that??

This was the same thing I heard from another guy—a guy I was great friends with for several years. We traveled the world together, saw each other weekly and were in almost daily contact. He and I never dated, but when he told me his girlfriend (that he never said a word about) was moving in, he said, “we need to find you a man so we can continue to hang out together.”

Those words were the deafening roar of a friendship ending. I never really talked to him again.

So now, I hear this again, only it’s a different guy, and one that I considered a really good friend and also someone that I finally admitted to myself after he left, that I was in love with. One week after I had to let my cat go so I was flailing around in my grief. To be fair, I opened the conversation, however, that didn’t make it any less painful. My heart broke into tiny little pieces that night. I had partly been preparing for this, but when it actually happened, it hurt so much more than I expected it to.

I spent the next few days crying my eyes out, then I decided I needed to move on. I have had my heart broken before—not a pleasant thing, but the price of love when it doesn’t work as I hope. I started making plans again and getting back to my life with my friends. I even went on a date or two, half-heartedly, perhaps, but wanting to get back to my life and to feeling alive again. There was nothing I could do about the situation, so better to let it go and move on. I thought I’d like to stay friends with him in time. I was starting to feel ok again.

Then three weeks later, I get a message that he’s been thinking a lot about me, that he owes me an apology and is so sorry. When I asked why, he said that he now realizes what he had with me and that he was an idiot to let me go. He realized he just got scared, panicked and ran to what doesn’t work for him but feels comfortable.

I had no idea what to say, so that’s what I said.

He then asked if I’d still go on vacation with him. Well, the Universe intervened, as I had just booked a trip, ironically, the one I was going to do with him, a week before. I was going to go solo but someone I know was interested in going, so I was excited to go with her.

Two days passed without comment, then I wrote, “Now what?” And my response was, “What do you mean? Now I continue living my life.”

I had spent two days with my mind racing of ‘what ifs’ and thinking that maybe there was a chance. And instead, he apparently thought that without any conversation, he would just pop back up in my life again, joining me on vacation and slide right on in as if nothing had happened and nothing had changed.

But it has changed.

I know the cost of a broken heart—at least, I know what it has cost me. Entry isn’t simply showing up, but truly and honestly being there with a whole heart. It’s not just acknowledging failings and poor choices, it’s also making honest amends. Being there in a way that I need, and not that he needs.


I hope he feels better for his heart-felt confession. I now understand that it was all about him and little to do with me. He felt badly for his behavior and for hurting me and wanted to apologize to feel better. I appreciate that as I truly believe he meant it. I forgive.

What I won’t do is open the door to my heart again for someone who can’t be bothered to treat it gently, and is so caught up in his stuff that he fails to see what his confession did to me. They were the words I wanted to hear so badly weeks ago, but in my dream, it was followed up with action. In reality, the only action it’s followed up by is his doing more thinking about his failure. He may live halfway across the country for now, but there are ways that he could be present if he chose to.

And now I know—he does not choose to.

And now I know—I won’t either.

My “maybe someday” is when he can step up and show me the man I believe he is. Until then, I will move on with my life because I know it’s best for me. The price of a heart goes up even more the second time around.


What Makes Us Stronger

A few days after I lost my cat, a friend wrote something to me that really has stayed with me. She said:

“You are in my thoughts and prayers. Take it easy on yourself, grief is not logical or linear….do what you need to do to cope and don’t worry about what you “should” be doing or whether you “should” be “over” losing him!!! I love you.”

Every day since, several times a day, I have read this message and think about it. I think about how they were exactly the words I needed to hear at the time, because I was feeling like the waves of grief should be rolling back. I was feeling like I should get back to my life and doing the things important to me. I was even feeling like I should devote my energy to my dogs, who need me.

Should should should

The word “should” keeps creeping into my life.

I was bundled up in my feelings of obligation, of feeling a need to be perfect and of being strong instead of just working through my grief–instead of taking care of me. I was doing what I do when facing a challenge that I don’t know how to handle: I compartmentalize. I cut off the feelings that I struggle to manage and instead focus on something else. Maybe if I look strong on the outside, I’ll feel that way on the inside. But since I’m not dealing with my feelings and simply putting them aside, all I feel is numb. And vulnerable. And weak.

I have a tendency to crawl in my cave of sorts when I’m upset. I think part of it is that I don’t want to inflict myself on others. Who wants to be the one that drones on and on about her dead cat? And who would want to listen to that? I also feel very vulnerable reaching out to people for support, for love and for help. So, away I go.

Confession time

I’m going to call myself out on this because not talking about it makes it more powerful. I’m cringing at the thought of people reading this, but if it helps even one other person, then it’s worth it. And by not sharing this with anyone, it makes it so much larger and more powerful.

It starts off simple enough—I can’t sleep as I wake early in the morning thinking, but after a few days, that becomes habit and my gigantic busy brain is busy at work every night around 3 am circling over and over. I lose my appetite, I feel isolated and the sadness takes hold. I grasp desperately for some semblance of control, some way to take control over the rush of feelings that I have. I feel like I’m spiraling down a whirlpool and have no way to fight back the waves of depression and sadness.

My search for control leads me to stop eating. I shouldn’t want to eat when I’m this upset, and I may not be able to control many things in my life, but this is something I can control. I ignore the rumbling in my stomach, my faintness and lack of energy and eat the minimum to sustain me. What makes it worse, is that I begin to realize what I’m doing, dislike it, and instead of focusing on how I can make myself feel better by being kind to myself, I begin the harsh judgment of how I know better than this, how I can do better and that maybe this is all I deserve. Instead of sharing my feelings of powerlessness at this moment, I turn them onto something I can control. At first it’s not conscious, but then it becomes a game of control. I learned there is a word for it: restrict. I start to consciously restrict, because I may not be able to control the situation that caused me to spiral, but I can control my eating.

Deep down I know that starving myself won’t bring my cat back, nor will it make me feel better. It becomes a game—a twisted one to see just how far I can go, how much I can exert complete self-control over eating. It’s not so difficult to ignore the pangs of hunger when your brain is cycling with self-doubt and grief. I start with a furious bout of self-judgement, though I know that’s not fair to myself nor an effective way to stop the cycle I have started. I give myself a physical reason for the hollowness I feel.

Then when that’s not enough, I move onto over-exercising and use what little energy I have to punish my already tortured body, while the feelings of powerlessness, isolation and sadness continue to grow, fueled by my behavior. Fueled by people noticing that I have lost weight and telling me I look wonderful. It becomes my little secret that I don’t share with anyone, nor do I usually readily admit to myself. It’s embarrassing and I’m ashamed that in my quest for control, I have lost it. I struggle knowing that this isn’t good for me, yet have a strange sense of pride about how far I’ve taken it on occasion. Is it strange to brag about losing 30 pounds in a month? I suppose it is, and it’s certainly not healthy. Eventually a small part of my brain realizes that I’ve taken it too far: I’m hurting myself and I finally stop.

My shame always led me to not want to talk about this, though I’m learning that not talking about it makes it stronger. I’m not perfect, and I don’t need or want to be. This is a part of me, just like my brown eyes and freckles. I look in the mirror and hope someday to face myself without judgement, without criticism and with love. Sometimes I’m there, and other times, I’m still a work-in-progress.

Together Forever in my Heart

My Leo

We’ve been on such a roller coaster,
you and I.
I don’t regret one minute of it.
Loving you wasn’t easy at times,
but, still, I loved you dearly.

From the day you drew me in at the shelter
rubbing your face against mine and licking my nose,
I knew you were mine.


I watched you fall in love with Beastie.


And finally, five long years later, win her over with your devotion.


I woke to you exfoliating my face
and purring so loudly in my ear
that I was sure a truck was rumbling by.

I enjoyed my Sunday coffee with you
contentedly curled up on my chest
with a smile. And a purring rumble.

Reading my books,


and supervising my work.

Leo supervising

My constant companion for so many years.

You were dealt a crappy body
but you always made the best of it
with such a positive attitude.

You even tolerated your baths with finesse.


So many times your health would cycle
and I would ask you, “Is it time? Are you ready to go?”
you would look at me, headbutt me in the head,
and walk away, muttering.

You watched in horror as the dogs invaded your turf.


But found a way to assert your place and make it ok,
and trained them well to respect a cat.

Then finally, you decided they might be ok.

snuggle buddies bromance

You are one of the most gorgeous cats I have ever seen,
and even near the end, you were stunningly handsome.

leo pussboy

I miss you so much, my sweet boy.
You took a piece of my heart when you left,
though I’m glad you’re back with your favorite sweetheart.


I miss your wake-up meow,
I miss your pawing at me when I was at my laptop for attention,
I miss your purr,
I miss your steadfastness– no matter what ailments your body threw at you
you just kept on going, determined as ever,
I miss your headbutts,
I miss watching you rule over the dogs,
I miss your swats when I was by your food bowl,
I miss our little talks,
I miss your sandpaper kitty kisses,

I miss you!

My pussboy, my puss in boots, my cattitude, my dude with ‘tude,
my Leomonster, my Pepe le Pew, my Picasso,

I will always be grateful that you chose me to be your mom.




Changing Perceptions, One at a Time

I was a young girl around 8 years old when I met my first pitbull. I have always loved dogs and would go up to pet them whenever I could. We never had dogs at home so this was always a special treat.

My mother and I came out of a store and were walking along a sidewalk when I saw a man sitting on a bench with a dog next to him. The dog was white with some light black splotches and a big blocky head.

I don’t remember what distracted my mother, but she turned around, saw me petting this dog that was only slightly smaller than I was and she yelled out, “Get away from that dog now!” I remember being upset thinking that the dog didn’t look mean and couldn’t understand why my mother was yelling.

The dog was a pitbull.

Years later, I’m living in Phoenix involved with animal rescue. I had two dogs—perfect mutts, and two cats. The kids in my neighborhood all knew my dogs as I walked them every day. Whenever they found a stray, there would be pounding on my door.

One morning I opened the door to see one of the most pathetic-looking dogs I have ever IMG_20111126_180149seen. She was emaciated, had what looked like bite marks all over her. Her head was hung low and she looked like she had been through hell.

She was a pitbull.

I looked her over and handled her, and she seemed quite sweet and friendly. I took her inside and set her up to rest in a spare bedroom. I later introduced her to my dog, and he wasn’t having it, so I scrambled to find her a place. Thankfully, a friend had recently told me about one of her friends looking to foster dogs. Voila! I had a short-term foster and went about looking for a rescue to take her. Thankfully I found the perfect place, Lost Paws.IMG_2853

Venus was spayed and vetted. She was cared for physically and loved, and flourished in their care. I visited her periodically and would take her for hikes. She blossomed into such a beautiful dog when she was cared for as she should be. Then she was adopted into a home perfect for her, with an active woman who loved hiking and running daily. I cried with happiness for this perfect happy ending.

Venus forever home

I got more involved with Lost Paws as my way to say ‘thank you’ for the kindness they paid Venus. She likely would not have made it out of the county animal care and control facility as a scared, under-socialized pitbull.bad Che

I fostered two of their dogs—one that I sprung directly from county who was on the euthanasia list for a cold. I nursed him to health, and promptly ‘foster failed’ by adopting him into my home. The second dog stayed here for ‘staycations’ but she was such a great fit with my male dogs that she never left.


My pack was now complete, including two pitbulls.

Che and Molli

I live with these dogs and love them. I volunteer with them, and I advocate for them with every fiber of my being. As a marketer, I have extreme dislike the media campaign against them and know that if people took the time to get to know them, they would realize that under the blocky head is a big heart devoted to loving people. They are great with kids, they are great with other animals, and they are perfect reflections of the love and care they receive.

I’m participating in a contest with my rescue called The Lost Paws Amazing Race. Every week we are given four activities to do with our assigned dog, taking pictures along the way. The activities are like going shopping, going to a restaurant, taking a picture by a public art space, spa day and going to a dog bakery. Activities not only to get them out socializing in places that they will likely go when in their forever home, but also giving them exposure to find their forever family.

My dog is Gemini. Isn’t she gorgeous? Gem Stock Shop 9She is shy, affectionate and incredibly sweet. She is very under-socialized and anxious about new experiences, and it seems that almost everything is new to her. It only took one outing for her to connect with me and two for her to start marching up to people, even groups of people, to say hello. I am so enjoying watching her as she learns about new experiences and settles in to enjoy them.

Whomever gives this girl her forever home will be incredibly lucky. I am completely in love with her and will commit to taking her out regularly until it happens for her.

Happy gem and fountainGemini is one-and-a-half and appears to be a pitbull crossed with a greyhound. She is tall and lanky with a silvery blue coat with tan undertones. She has beautiful gold eyes. She will need someone who will support her confidence as she learns and grows. She is good with other dogs, though would need a slow introduction. Her interest at this point seems more in people. She has a moderate energy level, so she would love someone who would take her out places and for walks and hikes but is also willing to snuggle. Beware if you meet her—be prepared to fall for this sweet girl.

Please share so we can find her a forever home.


Gem puppaccino collageGem Stock Shop 10

Living from my Heart

This was my message one morning in my Notes from the Universe (

When a thing hurts your eyes, Samantha, stop looking at it.

When it hurts your ears, Samantha, stop listening to it.

And when it hurts your heart, Samantha, stop justifying it.

I love you so much,
The Universe

Somehow, these notes often seem to run along with my life, telling me just what I need at the time.

The Universe is watching.

But the message that I need isn’t always what I want which is when things really get fun. I’m learning to pay attention. So many times I have a feeling in my gut but I haven’t listened. Especially when it wasn’t what I wanted to know.

And now, my intuition often hits my mailbox. I open this email and then get a punch to the gut that somehow just seems to ring true. I can’t explain the feeling, but my stomach knows and then my heart engages, as if forced to see something it doesn’t want to.

Living my life by an email? No, it’s not that simple. I find that the messages come in multiple ways—my intuition chimes, I see and hear but don’t want to believe. Then the email hits as a final statement that I simply can’t ignore.

The day before I got that message, I got this:

The pieces fall into place.

2014 was my year of exploration. I really dug deep to get to know me, to work on my relationships and to better understand what I need and want in my life. I made some positive changes. I loved, I lost, I got hurt, I moved on. I spent my time and energy focusing on me and on the places where I find joy. I said goodbye to things that don’t bring me joy, mourned and moved on.

I released that which did not serve me.

I am learning to no longer carry other people’s baggage, as well as to release my own. I am not defined by who I was but by who I am. And that person is evolving. It’s scary and feels powerful all at the same time. I can bring into my life what I want and I can release what I don’t want.


I’m also learning to do it sooner because it’s often not about me. My holding on doesn’t help anyone, certainly not me. It’s ok to let go, without anger, without hate. Leaving doesn’t have to be a negative and it may just be for now. Or it may be forever, and that’s ok too. Not all friends are meant for a lifetime.

I have always hated the word “goodbye.” Maybe it actually means “goodbye for now, until I can say hello again.” Ever the optimist.

Living from my heart isn’t always easier than living out of my head, but I will take those wonderful moments that make my heart sing any day. Even with the tears, because I am worthy of happy.

My Truths

It wasn’t until my thirties that I realized by always being in “protection mode” I was missing out on my life. It’s hard to feel, and to really be present, when you’re busy trying to protect yourself from getting hurt.

I learned that I had to consciously decide I was going to open my heart. It was scary, so I would dip a toe and watch the ripples in the water before retreating back into my shell. I even went so far to pick people that I couldn’t trust or that weren’t right for me to validate that I shouldn’t be out there learning to trust people. Thankfully, I realized it’s important and kept trying.

In my late thirties I realized that living life as I was wasn’t enough. I was enjoying myself, but I wasn’t happy. I wanted leap-in-the-air-giggling kind of happy, and I was going through the motions of a life. That’s when I decided to really change and to become more open.


I’d love to share a beautiful ‘happily ever after’ story, but in truth, it hasn’t been easy–I have trusted, and I have been let down. I have opened up and I have been rejected. I have loved and I have lost. But I have also found an amazingly loving and resilient person in myself. I don’t have to compartmentalize my pain and resist it. I can feel and I can be ok. What a gift.

Here are some of the truths that I have learned during this journey:

  1. Real friends will support you regardless— People come in and out of your life—some friendships require regular nurturing and others can stand the test of time and distance. A true friend of the heart is someone that you will support, and who will be there for you. Period.
  2. Love is action, not language— Anyone can say the words, but it’s the people who demonstrate their love for you that feel it. It’s important to communicate what I want or need, which makes me feel vulnerable, but those who love me will either follow through with my ask, or will talk about it. We can’t always do what those we love need but we can step up and explain why and what we can or are willing to do.
  3. Assumptions are almost never correct (and the stories that I create while avoiding the conversation, are also never correct)– Maybe because I am a writer, I am a master of crafting stories. When I’m the protagonist, those stories always evolve to protect myself. I was joking with a friend that, “when I write the story, he/she is the @$$hole.” When I take the time and the risk to ask instead of assume, the story almost always is different.
  4. The risk is worth the reward— Whether a relationship lasts or not, as a friend or otherwise, I always learn more about myself. It has always been a good thing to put myself out there and when I am truly open to the lessons to learn and grow, the effort has always been worth it.
  5. It’s not always about me— We’re all moving about our lives floating in our own stuff. We write our own story and we view life through our own lens. What other people do is not a reflection of me, and I can’t let my thoughts or feelings be impacted by others.
  6. Vulnerability can actually be ok— This continues to be difficult for me. I know I won’t get what I want if I don’t put myself out there, but exposing myself to being hurt is uncomfortable. When I started my growing process, my feelings were so wadded up that if I let my guard down, even a little, I was scared of the flood of emotion that would flow out. When I cry now, I still feel uncomfortable and a little embarrassed, but that’s life. If crying allows me to feel joy, then I’m ok with a few tears.
  7. People always come into your life when they are meant to— I’m 43 and I have never been married. I know my truth: I wasn’t ready, open and capable of the kind of relationship that I wanted when I was younger. I know that I am now and that the Universe is providing me with people to practice with. I also know that when I have learned what I need to and I’m truly ready, he will come.

I don’t have all of the answers and that’s ok—it’s about the journey. I’m growing more comfortable with knowing that I will find answers eventually, when I am ready to. I have faith that things will work out in the way that they are meant to be.