IMG_0218A personal story for today, March 28, Mom’s birthday: My mother died on December 8, 2012, peacefully and with great faith. One month later, Jeremy, my younger son, opened his sock drawer to dress for a game of tennis when he heard a scrunching sound that he hadn’t heard before. Moving the drawer in and out, he realized the sound was coming from somewhere below, as if captured in the tracks of the drawer. Removing the drawer from its hinges, he found a page on which Mom had handwritten a prayer: 

Ezekial 36, He will pour His spirit upon us and take the stony heart out of our flesh and give us hearts of love.

Jeremy thought no more about this, lay the page on the top of the dresser and went to play tennis. After the game, his friend, who knew nothing about Mom’s prayer, said, “Look at your shirt. You sweated a heart.”

Jeremy looked down and there, on his chest, was the heart pictured here.

 Maybe it was a message from Mom and maybe it wasn’t; however, it is something our family will honor.

Today’s Promise to consider: Today, I will be the best I can be. I will live today with a heart of love. Happy birthday, Mom.


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Son Jeremy and granddaughter Iysa

A mom wrote, For years, I lived in my head and froze my body as if I could keep away the pain of my son’s addiction. But now I dance. It is one way I deal with my emotions, but only one way. Whatever strategies you need, use them. Meditating helps train my mind, and dancing is helping to train my body and soul. Through all of this, I’ve learned that we have a choice to be compassionate, not angry towards the addict and ourselves, a choice to be happy. I still have to work hard at not being afraid and not being sad. But hard work of the soul is maybe why we are here. 

My reaction: I, too, remember years of trying to deal with the trauma of Jeff’s addiction by running and swimming miles, trying to relieve the pain. Like the childhood book Max and the Wild Things, dance allows us to stomp and rage against addiction and then to spin and raise our hands in joy and happiness. My personal journey toward happiness began when I reached out my hand for help. Al-Anon was there, and it still is.

Today’s Promise to consider: Locking ourselves away in pain and hurt doesn’t help our loved ones or us. When dealing with addiction, it can feel impossible to be happy, but today I’ll do the work necessary, the hard work of the soul. I’ll dance and meditate. I’ll run. I’ll pray, attend Al-Anon meetings and talk with a therapist. We owe it to our loved ones and ourselves to find our way toward happiness.



Friends: Libby, Sandra, Frances

A mom wrote to me: As the mother of a 23-year-old addict, I fear looking too far into the future. Recently, I visited a close friend who is dying of lung cancer. He and his wife savor every day, every hour, they have together. It reminded me how Al-Anon teaches us to live one day  – and sometimes one hour – at a time. The choice is mine. I can live each day in fear and anguish over my son, spending my time in dread and misery. Or I can strive to be happy and  – much like my friend – savor the time I have left. 

My reaction: When Jeff was in active addiction, I started each day with the prayer, “Dear Lord, keep him alive today.” Sitting quietly, even for a few minutes, was a challenge as my mind raced and conjured traumatic scenarios. I lived in fear that the phone would ring, especially in the middle of the night, blistering my sleep with frantic anxiety. In time, I learned to take my life back. Al-Anon’s steps gave me the road map to recovery and, eventually, to happiness.

Today’s Promise to consider: The choice of how we live our lives is ours. We can choose to live in dread and misery or we can choose to live in serenity and peace. When our lives are crumbling around us, it’s not easy to strive toward happiness, but I will. For today, I will savor the day, smile and rejoice.





imagesA mom wrote to me: As a Buddhist practitioner, I remind myself again and again that the only thing I have control over is my own mind, and in turn my actions. The sooner one can accept this fundamental truth the sooner one can begin to experience inner peace because we aren’t constantly worrying about trying to control others’ actions, moods, choices. What we can do is generate love and compassion for those who are suffering and pray for them. 

My reaction: When I was a child, my dad used to tell me, “You gotta make something happen, Dearie.” I grew up believing that if something went wrong in my life, it was my fault because I didn’t make something happen and, therefore, wasn’t in control of the outcome. Today, I think I misunderstood my dad’s words. He wasn’t telling me that I had to control all the events in my world, but rather that I needed to be in control of my own thoughts and actions. He wanted me to make decisions that would lead to a productive and action-oriented life.

Today’s Promise to consider: As much I as want to control the events in my life, today I accept that I am powerless over anyone other than myself. This starts with my thinking, my intentions and my behavior. As the mom writes, “I can control only my own mind and in turn my actions…and begin to experience inner peace.”