Song of the Day – Love Helps Those…

I went to bed last night and woke up this morning to a repeating chorus playing through my head:

“Love helps those who cannot help themselves
It cares about those hearts that’s been put up on a shelf
It will introduce a lonely soul to a lonely someone else
Love helps those who cannot help themselves”

Love Helps Those by Paul Overstreet

Of course, I had to truck right over to song lyrics and youtube to take a listen to it, once more. I cannot remember the very first time I heard it, but I remember what was going on in my life around that time.

I was on my way to becoming a mom for the first time. I was also going to be a single parent.

I was scared, and uncertain about whether I was strong enough, healthy enough, etc., to do it well, by myself, but I also knew I was not going to take any options or actions to avoid it, either.

The risk of missing out on the chance to be a parent when I had been told, in my early teens, I would probably never have children, well, trying to avoid what might be my one and only chance, to be a mom, thinking I could ‘wait for a better time or circumstances’ just seemed like the much riskier choice.

Neither of the two options available to me (abortion or adoption) were something I could live with, so onward I marched while some very well meaning people did their best to tell me how hard it was going to be on so many fronts.

This song reminded me of the goodness and beauty in everyday life, gave me hope and was what I listened to when I needed a good cry, after another long day, but had suppressed it for so long, even once I was alone and desperately wanted to cry, I had a really hard time getting started.

Which reminded me of a story my grandmother told my mom, and then my mom told me, when I was a young woman and ‘plowing through’ Life with my hard-ass face and hat on, because, well, that’s my own little M.O. personality quirk.

“I Once Prayed for the gift of Not Crying”

My grandmother was extremely shy. Not the best personality for one who is the minister’s wife. And while she did her duties as she should and had a golden, tender heart, her introvert ways caused others around her to speculate that she was ‘cold, or a snob’ or whatever other mean labels judgmental folks use.

It wounded her so to learn how some in her community chose to see her and despite her best attempts and breaking out of her shell a bit here and there, she simply couldn’t become an extrovert just to please the whiny masses –

But it hurt and she was tender hearted and she would cry a lot.

Which frustrated her. One day, she prayed to God that she receive help to not be such a cry baby.

And she got what she asked for.

But then, when she knew she needed to cry, she discovered she no longer could.

So she prayed to be able to cry again.

And she got what she asked for.

Memory serves that she was weeding the carrot patch when relief finally showed up.

And three years after my dad died, two years after my son died and many other family members fell into their own private hell of physical or emotional illness along the way, I finally was able to cry the way I had long needed to.

I was weeding the beautiful little johnny-jump ups out of a rock area at an Abbey where non-Catholic me had been given refuge for one blessed week.

That story and it’s beauty and blessings, can be read here. You might want to take a gander at it – it was written before my stroke, and therefore, is much better than anything I’ve written since after the stroke….

I come by my ways Honestly….

Despite having this information in my brain from a fairly early age, I still hit phases and go through long periods of shoving down the ‘crying impulse’ – for there are times, the hurt is so deep and so painful, I can’t bear the thought of even starting, for fear I’ll never stop and I won’t be strong enough to survive the full spectrum of facing it and releasing it.

I’ll just keep shoving it down and ignoring the impulse, right up until my chest and back scream at me so loudly, I realize I can’t put it off any longer.

And if I put it off for too long, waiting for the proper time that won’t impact anyone else, or a time when I feel strong enough to survive the opening of my internal Pandora’s box, if you will, and I find I am having trouble getting ‘started’, I have a little collection of favorite songs, accumulated over the years, to help the process along.

Tears of Joy or Tears to Wash out the Sadness….

Love Helps those still chokes me up and I have to be in the right internal place in order to sing it without crying simply from sheer beauty of the stories it tells.

It’s one of those songs that celebrates the most beautiful parts and actions of humanity (joy), and it’s also really good for starting the floodgates of those thick , goopy, globby tears which, I learned from a health care provider, some years ago, are really good at taking all the toxins created from deep pain, stress or grief and flushing them right out of the ecosystem that is being damaged by that nasty gunk.

You know about those type of crying tears, right?

The ones where, once you’ve done the massive first stint, unable to even breath while crying, your heart and chest and ribs all feel better, but your nose is all stuffed up, your face is all blotchy and you have a mild headache from the sheer force of getting all that gunk washed out of your body….

Well, I have never found it pleasant, but for me, over and over, even when I forget here and there, I know when I need the full body health flush and relief of a durn good cry. If I catch it early enough, it isn’t as messy of an operation and I don’t get as stuffy or have the headache for as long afterward.

My only goal is to try to get to the point where it doesn’t pile up so badly the cure is one big gunky, miserable mess to recover from.

I still am likely to suppress at first – then finally set up an appointment, carve out time and solitude during which slated time, I don’t care what I look like or how stuffy my nose is for the next 2-3 hours.

I PLAN for it, to be free to cry until I’m done, just in case I waited a tad too long. :D. It’s the one thing that I learned in Time Management classes from various employers that is actually useful for me….

If there is one consolation in my life, I am surely and slowing learning how to ‘get ‘er done’ a tad earlier each time than I used to.

Just so you know – this song was in my head because I’ve managed to come for air enough the past couple of days, to be reminded again of the pure & simple beauty I’m surrounded by, that I let pass by unnoticed, because I was ‘busy’ on one battlefield front or another, with my hard-ass hat on.

Fortunately for me, I didn’t have do any of this process from the medics tent, this go around, because I waited too long and fell before I just jumped in and got the crying portion done.

What a merry-go-round of repeats I do sometimes – 🙂

A Day of Peace

This morning, after quite a few months of ignoring things I should have paid closer attention to, I rolled out of bed at my usual time, sans an alarm clock (pure luxury that has been!) and started the coffee I had percolated the night before to warm up on the induction plate for so many minutes, trusted it would turn itself off when it was supposed to, threw on a pair of sweats and hoodie over my pjs grabbed the leash and called out to my dog…

“C’mon – let’s go for a walk.”

At first, she had a hard time believing in her grand great luck and eyed me with great suspicion.

The waves of suspicion visibly vibrated off her to hit me, as she knew full well I had zero caffeine and nicotine in me and it’s too early for a ride in the truck to the vets place, what the heck? Is this silly human to be trusted? At all?

But when I repeated the words coupled with bending down to put her pretty pink collar and leash on her (gifted to her by my Auntie 2 years ago and still looking all but brand new, through low use….ahem…) she started getting excited and quickly forgave me my numerous and recent sins and demonstrated with her full body from tip of nose to the end of her tail –

“Yes! YES! Let’s hit the open road Jack!!”

We headed out into the pre-dawn light and right into the gentle, but increasing swell of nature’s song played to greet the new day. A song which she and I often miss cuz I’m working, while she pulls perimeter guard duty and/or keeps me company while I work late and jerks awake to move out of the way when I pop up from my office chair and forget she’s laying right next to it with her dainty, fragile paws in the path of danger.

She eagerly smelled the ground, raced ahead or stayed behind to sniff some interesting spot some more, which left me to me own devices and had me alternating between speed walking and standing still to do my own deep breathing in and out of the fresh, dewy, bursting with the smells and tastes on the back of my tongue of a beautiful, cool summertime morning.

For me, our walks are less about raising and sustaining our heart rates for overall health, and more about just living in whatever the moment brings, whether it’s on her preference levels or mine.

I’m in charge of speed-walking by homes of aggressive dogs, calling out good morning to them, and am also in charge of pausing at major roadway crossings to check traffic patterns.

She’s in charge of our pace the rest of the time.

Since she’s a dog, who lives to smell things, I have plenty of time to engage in deep, to my diaphragm, breathing in and exhaling so fully the exhale operation actually bends my body forward, or doing the alternate nostril breathing to get my left and right sides of the grey matter in my head back in sync.

She does her thing, I do mine.

By about 1/2 a mile in, we have hit our stride – by 3/4s of a mile in, I think perhaps she has slipped her collar, but no, she is padding right beside me and the leash suddenly feels invisible.

We have become one moving entity made of two and are moving through space and time in natural harmony!

By a mile out, she is fairly subdued, not smelling much of anything and lagging somewhat behind me, but not yet dragging on the leash, simply because she fell too far behind.

And it hits me…..

In human years, she is somewhere between 69 and 78 years old according the age chart for mid-sized dogs, provided by the pet section of webmd[dot]com.

For the sake of comparison, let’s just say she is old enough to be my mother or even my grandmother if all my matriarchal line started childbearing activities when they were fairly young.

She also, like me, hasn’t gotten out much for sustained, long term steady walking, for quite some time.

While we do occasionally race, play hide and seek or dance around the living room and she has free range access of our 780 sq foot house with a small 30’ by 15’ foot penned area or so to race through the doggie door betwixt the two spaces anytime she likes – it’s just not the same.

I stop, check in with her and myself, and say,

“That’s enough for today girl, let’s go home, we can walk a bit further tomorrow.”

For I also noticed that by going barefoot a lot this past year, instead of frequently walking or racing around in my comfy Ariat work boots which had my ankles and calves reminding me quickly of my allowed to ‘degrade & weaken’ physical stamina fronts.

And because I’ve done this little ‘rodeo’ of atrophying portions of my internal world and then rebuilding them, on different fronts, quite a few times in my life, I know starting out with ‘just enough’ and pushing it a bit more, everyday, is the best overall approach for me to walk the road back to better health, without injury.

Maybe this choice will work well for her too…

I was reminded, yet again, of how great it is to start the day in this manner and commit myself to doing so for me and her, until freezing temps or wind gales of 60 mph talk me out of it, or I once more get distracted by financial stressors from unexpecteds that always manage to herd me right back into workaholic ways or the need to learn massive amounts of new skills in a short time and I lose sight of what I first learned long, long ago.


And that, my friends, is the first, more than 900, less than 1,000 words of the nearly 9,000+ word count I wracked up overall today in writing for the fun of it, the pure joy of it. Writing which as already been edited & refined twice, before I laid it aside to revisit later with fresh eyes.

A day that started great and by some miracle from above, afforded me enough space and grace to just sink into what used to be easy and quick to do, that finding the skills, the time or inspiration to do for ever so long, has been a mighty struggle or felt like one more ‘have to do’ thing…

For me, this kind of day actually occurring and not getting interrupted by 9:30 or so by a descent into chaos on various external fronts & needs, has been ever so long overdue, and was needed so much by me, personally, I couldn’t wait to finish and publish the entire work, before logging in and sharing some of it with you….

I do so hope your day was blessed by some small moment of grace and beauty or, like me, was hit by a the tsunami sized chunk of long overdue waves of grace, arriving all at once, in waves that left you refreshed and not drowning.

“Will I see you next summer…”

After a really productive day yesterday – today rather fell apart in notifications, tech stuff, ‘yup it should work, have you restarted your computer?” lame tech support when it’s easier to question my computer and my skills then it is to say, “I don’t know, can you wait while I check on what used to work, and no longer is?” fronts –

My chosen life, to earn my living & my circus and my monkeys, but still….

By mid-afternoon, after starting in to whip out work, rarin’ to ‘go’ at 5am, I was ready for a break from my ‘world’ of ever changing chaos .

My mom had previously texted me a picture of her flower garden area-

I called her today, before the day got away from and too late for a phone call.

She asked if I had checked out how bloomin’ fantabulous her Columbines were?

I scanned through emails/text sends and was looking for ‘blue columbines’ –

Told her I hadn’t seen the picture of her columbines – did she send it recently? Did she text or email me the picture?

We figured out, finally… it was texted, and yes, I saw the picture, then, found it today in the ‘feed’ of texts and yes, the going gangbuster’s Columbines are right where she said they were, in the picture –

I didn’t see them because I was looking for ‘blue’

Right up until she finally said,

No! Mine are ‘maroon/pink’. The maroon with pink things? You can’t see them?!?

Given that little piece of extra information, I quickly saw exactly what she was talking about in the large picture on a tiny phone screen, zoomed in so I could better & fully ‘appreciate’ the display they made and all was good.

But it got me questioning my own assumptions on Columbine flowers

That if someone talks about their columbines in the garden, I’m always looking for blue – and that just may not be ‘so’ or ‘true’ in this moment…

Seriously, I’m a child of the Great Plains surrounding the Rockies and I just have a bias that Columbines are Native to our region and they are Blue, unless someone says,

“I got a multi-color pack of Columbines” or “I picked up a variety of Columbines that are supposed to do well in our area, and they are this stunning mauve color…”

If someone is kind enough to give me a few extra ‘extended labels/identifiers’, well….

Then! I know better what to keep an eye out for when they are sending pictures and I don’t really want to transfer the pic to my desktop computer so I can enlarge it and be able to easily make out the leaf/petal shapes to know what the heck I’m looking at, really…

I will confess to another bias – Native Yarrow is white – best as I know – and yes, yes, that pretty peach one lived here for about 2 years after I rescued it from the ‘discount’ shelf at the nursery, but it didn’t take off, propagate itself nor could I ever figure out if that ‘peach variety’ was good for mosquito control and medicinal herbal tea uses, either – so to me? If it ain’t native, white yarrow, why mess with trying to get it started here?

I Also confess to often wondering, on the subject of garden, domesticated, columbine stories:

If you live here, why aren’t you doing native Columbines? – They are BLUE! BLUE I say! and are native to the region and will truck right along without help from you or me for another 1,000 years or so…”

said the lazy gardener

That all confessed and my ‘bad’ and all, the whole exchange ended with a win for both parties –

It reminded me of one of my fave songs, from long ago, that was B Side of a 45 record –

I played the first few bars of it for her to listen to, and nope, she doesn’t remember hearing that before, but it’s pretty…so I emailed her the link to it…

And I had something else to think/write about

Regarding my current thoughts about how unspoken/unacknowledged assumptions & biases can make even your mother question your sanity, eyesight and/or ability to navigate enlarging a photo on your smartphone….so you can see the whole thing…. 🙂

Instead of trying to wade into the whole ‘sharing/spouting off’ field that I may/may not have any true experience of..

There are many assumptions and biases that have run the gamut for a long time, been institutionalized, etc., but I’m here to tell ya, from personal experience, just because someone says their columbines are growing real well, doesn’t mean you just scan the picture for the specific shade of blue your memory tells you to look for –

(*Ahem* yes, I’m using the ‘silly TamrahJo moment’ to make a broader point that I believe we are all guilty of here and there – maybe on big things, maybe on smaller things, maybe on 1,001 smaller things that add up to a really, overall BIG thing – who knows, for sure, where to point the finger at for ‘total blame (scapegoat)?

But why preach at others when I can make fun of myself, and still make my point, I ask you?)

There are a couple of the lines from this song, that really just stick with me throughout the years…

“Will I miss you while you were away?”

“Will you miss me when I’ve gone away”

thought every human, at some point in life

Enough of an intro before showing you the song – (yes, I’ve deleted over 5,000 words in trying to continually edit this piece and not go off on too many tangents, overall, so I can just hit the ‘publish’ button and not edit it ad nauseum over the coming 10 years….)

C.W. McCall – “Columbine”

New Song in my head…

Some months ago, I awoke to music playing in my head that I had to search to find –

(you can read that whole saga in Night-to-Day Dreaming post, if you are intrigued about my brain and what it chooses to do with music snippets from the past…)

But the ‘wake up to’ and/or ‘shows at odd times of the day’ new song to show up in my internal world, replaced the previous one, a few weeks ago.

Fortunately, for me, didn’t take too long to locate, because I knew EXACTLY the album, performer and song name, the moment it ‘appeared’.

Extending thanks to the many kind souls who made both the album and the song available on so I can quickly share with you. 🙂

Performer: Billy Vaughn and his orchestra

Album: Theme from a Summer Place and other great themes

Released in 1960, and at some point, purchased by my parents, it was pretty easy to find what I was looking for just by the album cover, as I scrolled through options of which option to listen to.

My brain remembers pictures, too, apparently.

Song: Tracy’s Theme

Yup – this is the tune that just ‘shows’ up whenever it wants, to randomly play in my monkey chatter brain – 🙂

It shows up REALLY LOUD when I’m getting stressed or frustrated.

In my childhood, this is the album I often fell asleep to.

So I am rather impressed that playing the whole album on repeat, now, actually makes it easier to focus deeply on work, instead of the portion of my Brain Committee in charge of thinking ‘they’ should urge me to:

Just go take a nap, your brain is exhausted, chaos reigns and what’s the point? Really?

My Brain Board/Committee, who talk loud and often, but who were stripped of their voting rights, years ago – yes, I’m a tyrant….

And so, here’s my current Theme Song For Daily Life- for now – just until my subconscious brain (who regularly defies the strict limits I’ve put on the Board/Committee members) chooses to pull yet another song out of the dusty file cabinets to meet the current needs he/she deems a priority… 🙂

Hope this finds you & yours well.

I personally made it through June 3rd without chaos, catastrophe, death of someone in my household, tornadoes or hail storms that wreak total havoc on growing/living things.

Thus, I’m counting this year a win, as opposed to years in the past, when I really thought Skipping June might be the best long term option for me….

Why Yes! Skipping June option was presented by committee member Ms. Avoid it/Ignore it if there’s nothing you can do about it – –

She was opposed on her motion, by Ms. I Call BS, who said,

“Hmm…bet we can find some way to change our experience of it, somehow, someway….”

one of my brain committee members

Overall, I learned sometime ago – maybe I should listen to the various portions of my brain, and maybe I shouldn’t. I’ve also learned to listen to them as if I’m the director with final approve/veto power, and so, what does it hurt to listen? Really?

I’m not sure what you are fully and currently dealing with – on all the fronts of your daily life. But I hope this finds you/yours as well as can be expected in these fast-changing & chaotic times.

Human Sacrifice

I wrote this piece back in 2010 – amid wide spread economic woes, unemployment/underemployment rates, historic foreclosure/eviction rates, and cries from many regarding the signs indicating Armageddon, the Second Coming and/or worries the Mayan Calendar might be right and Yellowstone was all set to blow us all to kingdom come –

Don’t let the title fool you – and it’s a short read and yes, enough key words if one would like to research the 1960 Chilean Earthquake story, fully, the can –

But still – seems rather appropos, to me, even after a decade passing – 🙂

The Good, Bad and Ludicrous

My mind has returned this morning to the valiant efforts by 500+ average citizens after the 1960 Chilean earthquake.

If you’re not familiar with this heroic story, here’s the recap:

Saturday, May 21 – Small earthquake affects Arauco Province.  Holiday celebrations are canceled and emergency relief efforts organized.

Sunday, May 22 – The most powerful earthquake ever recorded affects all of Chile between Talca and Chiloe Island.  Some coastal villages simply disappear.  Mayhem and Chaos rule.

Tsunami waves start testing the mettle of survivors and continue to make their presence known for the next 22 hours.  Some individuals report being tree bound during the night, helplessly listening to cries for help from those they cannot see or reach.

Resulting landslides affect mostly sparsely or unpopulated areas.   However, one blocks the outflow of Rinihue Lake.

Tuesday, May 24 – Cordon Caulle begins to erupt 38 hours after the main shock of…

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