meanwhile, back at the ranch…

I’m coming up on the 10th anniversary of my Dad’s death… This post, from years ago. comes to mind…
I haven’t gotten over my dad not being here; and I expect I never will. Although I am even further from actual farm living (and only two miles from Main St. in Hendersonville), I’m still holding on to the farmhand archetype he gave me; and proud of it.


Between two horses, two dogs, and a very suspicious cat, it feels like all I’ve accomplished this week has been cleaning up crap and mending fences. I do love my fantasy farmhand land archetype and welcome it whenever I get the chance but this past week it has been just a little too realistic. My fantasy is now tainted with the fear of phone calls and voices saying “Your dog is in my yard.” What I need is a ranch with miles and miles of fenced acreage so if I were to look out my window and not see my dogs I wouldn’t worry that they are in someone’s yard digging holes, doing their “business,” and getting me in trouble with the homeowners association.

When I was about eight or so, my daddy bought his first farm. It was about 40 acres just off Rocky River in Union County and he started…

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The “Un-Vote”

I have one vote in this year’s presidential election.
Just one.
I have to make it count.

I have been a registered voter since I turned 18 years old. I have been faithful to and supported one party all these years; but I am frustrated. Very frustrated. And I think a large majority of other Americans are equally frustrated in this year’s presidential ticket, regardless of Democrat or GOP affiliation. I don’t believe either major party is doing an acceptable job of representing the folks that support them.

Further, I think a significant number of Americans are fed up with the burden of what to believe or who to trust.
I am.

I am fed up with the lack of integrity, questionable honesty, and personal/professional deportment in the two mainstream choices before me this year. Maybe the media is largely responsible for the ugliness; but, nevertheless, it is a sad day for Americans when casting a vote for a presidential candidate is done with heavy doubts.

Nine years ago I wrote a blog post entitled “Speaking Out” that voices: It is dispiriting to me as an American voter when those I truly want to respect just don’t get it. This year that sentiment is overwhelming; however, it isn’t just aimed at the opposing party. It’s aimed at my own registered affiliation as well.

Since the primaries back in May, I have been pretty nauseated just thinking about the voting dilemma come November. Choosing between two candidates that “just don’t get it” is not an option for me (at least in terms of the quality of leadership I expect for the greatest nation on planet earth).

There comes a point when political party pride is a real handicap and merely casting a vote for who you think will win bites you in the rear end. And many folks believe that not casting a vote for one is equal to giving it to the other (Trump Clinton; Clinton Trump). Not so. There is a third choice, at least in 39 states.

So, I am leaving the political mainstream (for at least this election). Why? Because I won’t allow my vote to represent less than what Americans deserve, need, and can respect. And right now, history in progress needs someone a lot stronger than who the Dems and GOP are offering. We  also don’t need a leader who brings additional burdens to the table… especially one with reckless attitudes and actions or even the slightest questionable level of honesty.

I have never considered the Libertarian Party before, but this come this Election Day in November, I plan to be first in line at the poll to cast my vote for Governors Gary Johnson and Bill Weld. I believe this leadership team “gets it“. I also consider it a pretty big step of courage to “un-vote” two-party leadership, Mr. Trump, and Mrs. Clinton, but my vote has to count for something—even if only accomplishes that as a single voter I expect more and I am not afraid to stand up for it.

I’m in.



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A good week…

share_Deb_65_20140306_0853_472338It’s been a busy, but fulfilling MS Awareness Week

  • Lots of new connections on MS Connect and new friends on Facebook
  • Formed a team to participate in the 200-mile BIKE MS Greater Carolina’s Chapter 2014 Breakaway to the Beach; (See our “That How We Roll” team page here.) and made a personal commitment for the 60-mile leg of the ride (Geez, I hope I can make it !)
  • Established a “That’s How We Roll” team page on FB, posted a lot of photos, and made a Bike MS 2014 video
  • Wore lots of orange (although I look like a big pumpkin in that color!)
  • And most importantly, I recognized just how fortunate and blessed I am to have so many folks on my side—especially the NMSS Greater Carolinas Chapter!

Special thanks to all my FB friends who joined me in MS Awareness Week!



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a simple tree with glowing lights

a simple tree with glowing lights
shines here, my friends, this winter night
a symbol of a starlight glow
that breaks the dark, that lifts the soul
that stills in silence for a while
with wonder of the manger child
and brings to mind true light of love
from Heaven, Father, Spirit, Son

give voice to prayers: Christ’s peace to be
for all in plenty or in need;
for all the days that lie ahead
in grace be strengthened, healed, and fed;
for simple good to be the wealth
from which we share among ourselves;
for every hand to touch and hold
a warmth that breaks the winter cold

this simple tree with glowing lights
is what I have to give this night
with quiet wishes as my prayer
that all would come to know and share
and grasp forever light that shines
beyond the days of Christmastide

-D. Bridges

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the b’ch chronicles, iii

This time of year and for a few more months, the beach becomes one of those thin places for me − you know, the kind of place where the membrane separating Heaven and earth is so thin you could almost poke your finger through to the other side. The relationship between sea and sky becomes so clear when there are no distractions (like a cluttered beach-full of vacationers); and the rhythm of the tide renders a timepiece counter to the watches of busy humans.

This morning at 5:15,  high tide is approaching. I lean over the edge of the balcony as far as I can to poke my finger through that micro-thin membrane…
Above, the stars are like fine silver glitter; below, broken lines of foamy white rush inward. Straight ahead, there is no line indicating the horizon; the sea and the sky are one in the darkness − a pre-dawn moment of neither morning nor night. The sound of the surf is a gentle presence, a voice inviting me to just be still for a while and not think about anything but breathing, watching, and hearing; and I willingly accept the invitation for as long as it lasts.


The moment is found poetry.

Instructions for living a life.
Pay attention.
Be astonished.
Tell about it.
−Mary Oliver, Sometimes

By 7:30 a.m. the sky is fully lit. A few dolphins are breaking the surface of the water. I take my dog for a walk on the beach before getting on with the day’s tasks. Although it is the same place I viewed at 5:15 a.m. as I leaned over the edge of the balcony, it seems very ordinary now.  The daylight reveals shell-seekers, other dog walkers, and iPod-plugged-in joggers; there  is a clear line where the sky meets the ocean toward the east and a string of tall condos and hotels westward. There is nothing really astonishing in view; not like a few hours earlier when the same place pulled me through that thin earth-heaven membrane.

Things change so quickly. The astonishing turns ordinary. We only have rare glimpses and moments of thin places and times in which the only requirement of life is to breathe, watch, and listen.

Wishing you thin places and moments today, friends.

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Finding pennies…

I visit Trevis Gleason’s FB page and blog just about everyday. Yesterday, Trevis’s post (in the spirit of Thanksgiving) asked: “For what are you most thankful?”

I am truly thankful for many things–too many to list individually on a FB comment. I tried to narrow the list down before I clicked on the “post” button; but even then, the list was still pretty long. I switched perspectives: What is one thing that has made a significant impact on my gratitude for all good things?

Hardly anyone stops to pick up a penny anymore.

Maybe it’s just not worth the physical effort; or perhaps folks don’t believe a penny makes a difference in the spending power or saving value of their pockets and purses.

Nowadays, I always stop to pick up a penny.

It’s not because of its monetary value; instead, I understand it as a gift too valuable to ignore or toss aside. There’s a long story here that justifies my penny-picking-up attitude and actions; but I’ll try to make it short…

In the days immediately following the death of my sweet Daddy in September 2006, I started finding pennies–lots of them. The very first one I found was inside the pocket of a fleece jacket I had given my Dad for Christmas a few years earlier. The day after his funeral, I had pulled the jacket out of a closet and wrapped myself in it. I didn’t really think too much about finding the penny in the pocket of that jacket until the next day when I discovered another one, this time in the toe of my shoe as I slipped it on. I continued to find pennies as the days went by…inside books, inside my mail box, in sweater and coat pockets, and even once inside a folded newspaper. The more I found, the more I started paying attention to the timing and circumstances surrounding the finds.

Coincidence? I don’t think so.

The first Thanksgiving following Daddy’s death our family gathered at the beach condo that my parents had purchased just a few months before my dad died. Knowing how much my Dad had been looking forward to spending time at the beach, I knew that particular Thanksgiving was going to be a tough one. On the drive down to Cherry Grove, I stopped for fuel at a convenience store and found a penny on the ground. I picked it up and put it in my pocket before continuing my journey.

I was grateful for that penny, yes; however, when I arrived at the condo and discovered another shiny one lying on the mat at the front door, I almost fell to my knees. The only thing that made sense of it all was that my Dad was letting me know that everything was good and as it should be; that although it might be a tough few days for our family, I would be alright; and that he was still there and would be forever.

That’s the abridged version of the story. Trust me, I could go on and on about other pennies I have found since then. A general footnote to the longer version is that the pennies usually come at a time when I need them most. None has increased my monetary wealth; however, every single one has equaled far more than what can be bought or earned in this life. I’ve saved each one I’ve found and kept it close to the heart.

penniesBy now, you can probably understand my “thing” about finding pennies. I’m pretty sure it will continue to be a “thing” for me as long as I live. And while “finding pennies” might be kind of an unusual response to Trevis’s question, “For what are you most thankful?” (e.g. family, friends, home, etc.), it represents my story of how such a simple gift can change the way one views his or her blessings.

This afternoon, I am heading back to Cherry Grove Beach for a few days, grateful to have a special place to reflect on prayers and thanksgivings for family, friends, memories…and yes, pennies.

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