“A Christmas Prayer!” Dana – On The Simplicity and Power of Love


This Christmas morning, I was relaxing in the crystal clear water of my Jacuzzi out back, listening to the birds singing in the trees, while admiring the shades of blue tile glimmering beneath the surface of the water.  “Wow! They matched the beautiful hue of bright blue in the crisp, clear sky perfectly!” I thought.

I was sitting on the hidden bench within the warm swirling water and enjoying the slight breeze that cooled the heated skin of my upper body, as my little golden dog lay content on the grass just outside.

Suddenly, my sense of peace and serenity was disturbed by the alarming buzz of a bee circling close to my arms. For a moment, I stiffened in a child-like panic…fearing the worst of intentions from the monstrous, fierce-looking yellow and black insect.

I thought for a moment of flailing wildly to scare it away…or perhaps I could SWAT it down into the water and force it to drown!

Yet, just as quickly as I realized my automatic, knee-jerk reaction to it’s presence…I took a deep breath and willed my body and mind to calm down.  I thought to myself, “It’s just a bee.” “It is a life, just like mine.” “This little creature has just as much right to be here as I do.”

As I slowly relaxed, I wondered to myself about the nature of business this little creature was about.

As it continued to circle around me, I asked myself, “Perhaps, all it wants, is to drink safely from a little drop of water that is glistening on my skin?” “I can imagine it might be difficult and dangerous to drink from an ocean of pool water!”

Exhaling slowly, I mentally invited the little fellow to land unharmed upon my arm in a gesture of love and friendship.

Somehow…I was not all that shocked when it did.

And though it was only there for a mere fraction of a second before it flew off to somewhere unknown…I felt a wonderful sense of peace and connection with the universe as a whole.

Later, as I pulled the roasted turkey from the oven, I realized that most of the time, we as humans act and react out of fear.  And I was saddened to think of all the times, I myself had done this…the relationships destroyed or damaged…the business plans faulted or ruined.

“Why is it?” I wondered to myself, “That, the critters in the ‘wild’ seemed to understand and respect the boundaries of others.” “And, that when most ‘animals’ encounter something new or uncertain…that they react with curiosity or caution…NOT aggressive fight or panicked flight?”

As I busied myself at the kitchen stove, a myriad of thoughts flew through my mind…

That we as humans spend countless, needless minutes, hours, and years engaging in the destructive nature brought on by fear…fear…resulting in anger, jealousy, betrayal or rejection.

And that this (often, un-warranted) fear then destroys or damages our personal relationships with bitter disputes, arguments, ‘bad-mouthing’ about others, and emotionally abusive words.

Because of fear, we sabotage business plans and community networking with selfishness, vicious gossip and greed.

And worst of all, we kill each other in the name of politics, greed or religion!

All of this destructiveness…because we allow our fear to control our automatic, ‘knee-jerk; reactions to all that we do not understand or know?

“Ahhhh…” “How truly sad!” I thought. Sighing deeply, I realized that perhaps there is a very simple, and powerful way to avoid such negativity and destruction.

I finished whipping up the garlic-mashed potatoes and poured the warm aromatic gravy into the china gravy bowl, and then lit the bright red candle on the table set for one.

“I wonder what would happen?” I questioned myself as I began to carve the turkey. “If we, as humans spent more time sending out messages of love, acceptance, tolerance and friendship…that perhaps the bee’s of this world would not sting!”

“Perhaps then…we could calm our hands, our voices and our minds. Perhaps then, our hearts would sing as one with the universe, and we could all travel safe and protected in the simplicity and power of love.”

I set the warm, wonderful smelling plate of food on the table, sat down, and bowed my head in prayer.

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To Thine Own Self Be True! – The empowerment of ME

9. Dana - Teen copy

Finding ‘myself’ has been my biggest wonder of self-discovery. Perhaps it is because I am the youngest child and was abandoned at the age of three. Some astrologers’ say that it is because of the month and year I was born.

I tend to think it has more to do with being raised in an orphanage where control and conformity was the name of the game. I believe it’s, in part, a fact of growing up in the God-fearing ‘South’…in Louisiana…where it was ingrained in my head always to be polite, never to express anger or a conflicting opinion. There, it was driven home to me, that as a ‘lady,’ I was to let the man make all the decisions and that it was my job just to support him. Whatever, the reason, I find that it has taken over 40 years to discover just who ‘I’ am!

Truly it has been and still is, my hardest lesson in life to learn to be true to myself. I have spent years upon years in the survival mode of bending to the will of others and blending into the lives of the men in my life.

Yet what I have discovered is that I am happiest when I am just ‘me.’ I am happy when I know that the life I am living is filled with animals, nature, peace and harmony. I am happy when I can pursue my career and leisure goals without reprisal or conflict with my partner. And I am happiest when I know I am being strong and true to ‘who’ I am.

This is not to say that I do not have room for compromise with my partner. I am very good at this because I enjoy ‘giving.’ I love making my loved ones happy.

And yet my discovery that it is best to be true to myself has been empowering. I find that I am finally able to make much better choices about a prospective partner and friendships. I enjoy knowing that I now have boundaries and limits to what I will, and will not do.

Of course, there are times when I truly enjoy playing the role of the little lady of the house. Yet I also revel in the excitement of being willing to risk failure to achieve my career goal. Ultimately, I find it exhilarating to live life to the fullest by just being ‘me.’

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Be Remembered, Not Forgotten


I so admire people who can walk up to a complete stranger and get that person talking about their life or thoughts. I myself am fairly good at this from time to time, yet nothing like the lady I ran into at a recent 4th of July BBQ. There were about 40 of us out there on this 4,500 acre ranch next to Tom Ford’s massive property outside Santa Fe, New Mexico. Many of us didn’t know each other, yet most were happy to have you introduce yourself and engage in a few minutes of small talk. And then, there was this pretty lady, probably in her late 40’s. She marched up to me and told me she wanted to know more about my Olympic win. She had such a light in her face and keen interest in her tone of voice. She made me feel interesting and important. And though I tried to turn the conversation back to her, she successfully navigated me in another direction. Throughout the remainder of that day, I observed her chatting earnestly with quite a few others, and I was amazed at how easily she could engage just about anyone. Driving home from the ranch that evening, I thought of the people I had met and realized that although there had been a lot of nice, ‘well to do’ people there; the conversations they initiated were always about ‘them’ and how important they were. The one exception was that wonderful lady and how she made me feel special. As I turned off the dirt road to enter the highway, I thought of a quote from the late, great Angelou Maya, “People do not remember what we do or say. They remember how we make them feel.”


cc:  danahee 2014



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Destiny Is A Choice!


We live, We Love, We Win, We Loose

Our destiny given, yet our fate to choose.

Who are we that can choose, you may say

Our path is given, we dare not stray!

Yet it is there within our heart, we know the truth

Our life is ours that only WE can prove.

Do not doubt, our destiny is clear

Only also know this, no matter what may seem

So much MORE is ours to redeem.

So rise, I say and claim your bounty.  

Choose your fate, over your seeming destiny.

The power you see, is up to you.

Do know that destiny can deceive.

And choose your life with the simplicity

That it truly is up to me.

We live, we love, we win, we lose

Our destiny given, our fate to choose.

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cc: dhee July 2014




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The Parting Gift of Life


I’m not really sure why my mom thought of the name ‘Bathsheba’ for my  little ball of fur puppy. Yet the name stuck, although mostly she came to be known as ‘Sheba.’ Now, fourteen years of happy life later, my now beautiful loyal Akita/German Shepard dog is on her last days here in this world.

Many people here in my one-horse rural town think of dogs as a tool for guarding, hunting or herding livestock. They would not understand my devastation about my dogs recent stroke and resulting paralysis of her hind legs. They cannot relate to the sense of stress and sorrow I feel as I monitor her hour after hour, day after day…awaiting the inevitable…her death. I pray the Lord will take her, yet her apparent joy for life is still strong, and indeed it may be my decision to have to put her down. So I have made time to be with her a much as possible in this tiny window between now and tomorrow…between life and death.

I find it fascinating that she herself seems to know this and is also taking full advantage of our last minutes together. Normally, my very ‘lady-like’ ‘Queen’ Sheba would never venture outside in the heat of the day, with all the dirt and bugs. It is customary for her to be disdainful and aloof all other critters and people. No longer.

As if she is preparing for her reunion with Mother Nature, she seems to revel in the feel of the dirt beneath her hide, lying watchful under the stars at night, enjoying the sun warming her body during the day, and showing keen interest in the friendships of all other life around her. She can no longer see, yet she turns her head at the sound of voices near, and chickens there. This morning, she even laid down with her handsome kennel mate with one paw stretched over his foreleg in a completely abnormal, yet loving embrace.

Her obvious love of life in these final days, truly makes me aware of how we are all interconnected here on this earth. It makes me realize that we often take this gift of life for granted…choosing not to risk the inconvenience of dirt or bugs, not to let the sun embrace us or enjoy the stars above, choosing not to allow other people into our lives. Sheba’s last days here on this earth are a great reminder to me, to treasure each and every moment, and to embrace all living creatures in my circle of life.

Yes, perhaps many here in this tiny little town will not understand the depth of my sorrow when she transcends this world. But I do wish that they could witness this beautiful gift of the joy of life that she is leaving behind.

ShebaSnow copy


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Quitting Is NOT An Option! an Olympic moment

17. At Olympics - Large Group copy

The 16 members of our U.S. Olympic Taekwondo team rounded the corner of the third mile running at a good even pace.  We were lined up two by two, keeping pace with each other in uniform rhythm…except for me.  Little by little I had dropped back in line, until I took up the last position at the rear, and was still loosing ground.  My heart was racing and I could not get enough air into my lungs.  My legs felt like lead, and I was light headed from the effort and lack of oxygen.  

Panicking, I slowed my pace even more, watching in dismay as the gap between my team and I grew further apart.  The farther the distance grew, the more my resolution weakened, until finally, I decided it just was not worth it!  In my mind I heard the voice of my mother, “You are not good enough, and you never will be!”  Giving up, I came to a stop, feeling that familiar disappointment of defeat.   Dropping my head in chagrin, I stood there with my head bowed, my hands on my knees, struggling to breathe.  

Feeling a vibration and pulse of movement, I looked up and discovered that my entire team had circled back towards me.  Coming up behind me, the two lead runners caught my arms and pulled me with them back into line without breaking the pace.  Forced to jog alongside, I willed my feet to move forward.  The entire team started a military chant to help us keep pace; and falling into this rhythm helped to distract me from my agony. 

I forgot about my misery and weaknesses.  I blocked out the memory of my mothers voice.  I focused only on the chanting words, my breath, and the next running step forward.  At certain intervals within the chant, our team leader would yell out, “Hee…Woman!”  And then the entire team would clap three times in unison.  Each time, a sense elation at this show of support surged through my mind and body.

Before I knew it, we had finished the five mile run.  I had made it!  It was not pretty.  Yet with the help of my teammates, I had done what was necessary.  As I made my way wearily back to the locker room, mopping my wet face with a towel, I realized how much is possible if I can just keep putting one foot in front of the other. Sure, maybe I was not as good of a runner as my teammates were; maybe I did not have their endurance or strength of will…but I WAS learning. 

I was learning that my mind could be my worst enemy or it could be my best friend. Success or failure is all a matter of focusing on why you can…or why you can’t.  As I entered the locker room, I realized that quitting is a choice, and the choice is mine to make!  As I collapsed onto a bench inside, I realized that if I wanted to become an Olympic champion, ‘quitting’ was NOT an option.

Now, at the age of fifty two I find this lesson to be extremely helpful as I face a new and daunting challenge in my life.  Many times it seems that for every step forward I take, there is one that sets me back.  There are moments when I get frustrated and just want to quit!  Yet each time, I force my self to keep stepping forward while my team’s voice echoes in my ears, “Hee…Woman!”  

20. Gold Medal copy

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Finding Strength In Adversity

1. Baby picture

Dressed in my pink and white polk-a-dot nighty, I poke my head around the corner of the doorway and watch as my parents yell and scream at each other in the living room. Toe to toe they stand facing each other…my dad with his hands on his hips…my mother gesturing wildly. Spinning around, my mother strides angrily to the nearby dining table, grabs wildly at the used dish ware and begins hurling cups, glasses and plates at my father. My father shields his face and dodges the flying saucers, as they smash and splinter against the brick fireplace behind him. Sobbing and holding my hands over my ears, I stumble through the room towards my father before tripping on the hem of my nighty and falling on the broken pieces. I roll over and sit there waling, seeing my bare knee and the bright red blood…as my father turns his back and stares with stony silence into the dark empty fireplace. The last sound I remember before waking up alone in an orphanage is the loud slamming of a door as my mother storms out of the house.

And now? I look at my life today, and I acknowledge the years of turmoil, of living on the streets, in Half-Way Houses…the Government Shelter and Foster Home.  I recall some desperate times of pain and near suicide.   And I find that I am grateful for all that has happened in the past and all that happens in the present. The hardships, the pain, the obstacles…they serve to make me stronger. They teach me to find faith, to hope, to persevere. I believe that it is because of the difficulties in life that I have achieved so much. Even today, as I strive for my next big achievement, I know that it is the bitterness that helps me savor the sweet.

Life is not over when one door slams closed.




cc:  danahee June 2014


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