For a very long time, I have been in awe of the innovation of technology and I can foresee tremendous upcoming growth in areas such as Augmented Reality, Data mining, Machine Learning, and Automation. Probably the most fascinating is the power of social media and the phenomena it creates. Although intended to bring people together, its platform has been used to rouse a false reality through rumors and unsubstantiated gossip which is more commonly culturally accepted. Technology is changing our values.

Whether you are on social media or not, there is a cascade of trickling information we absorb through others in conversation. It has become easier to pass along the information in a seemingly harmless manner because everyone accepts it. Gossip is a venomous bite. We know this to be true when we personally experience negative consequences. Sharing hearsay, distorting the truth, and breaking confidentiality destroy relationships and cuts to the core.

So here’s the thing, crows swirl around…

Being Alone

This week heaven gained my family’s earth angel. As difficult as it is to sit with sadness, I am grateful for every visit, particularly my last visit with Aunt Bern last Saturday on her 91st birthday. I did not have to say a thing, she just knew and wrapped her words around my heart.

We watched a Catholic mass on the small television in her hospital room. She gazed out the window several times beyond the cemetery at the church steeple piercing the sky. Then she reached across and held my hand. And as she spoke, hot tears streamed down my face. Her words burned in my mind and when I got to my car I wrote them all down in my journal.

Time is passing so quickly. Do not be afraid. You will be loved. It never happened for me, but you will be loved again. You won’t be alone for long. You were betrayed and you have nothing to be ashamed of. God has not abandoned you, sweetheart. Be sure of your intentions. You need to have confidence. God is clearing the way for you. He is removing all the b…

Analysis Paralysis

My son had one request on the grocery list this week, Cheerios. When I navigated to the cereal aisle and found the Cheerios section, I had to take 3 steps back to take in the full panoramic view of all the options. I looked like a squirrel trying to cross the street. Did you know there are at least 16 flavors of Cheerios? His untimely response to my text put me in the position to make the decision for him, I didn't want to be wrong. To be honest, I almost just grabbed a box of Apple Jacks and called it good. The unanticipated choice overload was far too stimulating.

From the simplest things of choosing the right cereal to choosing the right career path, I can be crippled by data overload. Analysis paralysis is caused by overthinking. The brain is constantly running and creating an immense feeling of overwhelm. The fabrication of "what-if" scenarios sucks me into this vortex. It elevates pressure and fear of not making the right decision.

There is a plethora of available…

Weight of Words

I often begin my day with a personalized coffee mug. What do you think? Would I rather drink my morning coffee from a cup inscribed Seize the Day, #blessed, or one written with You Can't Fix Stupid? Words have the power to elevate or devastate. Neutral is non-existent. I can undoubtedly recount times when I was highly complimented as well as deeply wounded by someone's words. I am guilty of it too. Even unintentionally, as I may rush to get my point across. After all, these are the days of multitasking, deadlines, and dehumanizing.

Let's face it, some people do just like to hear the sound of their own voice. It makes them feel good about themselves. In my opinion, there may be a time and a place for sarcastic or cynical conversations with close friends or old college buddies. Or maybe when I am speaking to a confidant to vent about some negative situation. In my experience, when others see no value in talking to me, there will likely be a rift in the relationship. I work …

Book Review: When You Find My Body by D. Dauphinee

I recently read Dee Dauphinee’s book, When You Find My Body, a memoir of the search for lost Appalachian Trail through hiker, Geraldine Largay. I listened to the audiobook three times, which is read with a pace and the sense of urgency the situation called for. I then read the hardcopy cover to cover, pondering over the epigraphs which emphatically introduce each chapter. As an avid, elite hiker, filled with wanderlust, this story struck a deep chord.

I had Google Alerts set up for Gerry Largay so that I would not miss a whisper of hope. It was the summer of 2013. I had just hiked Mount Abraham. I squeezed it in between the torrential rains flooding us that month. I proudly checked it off my list of New England’s Highest Summits. I recounted the Reddington hike. The only way to Reddington is via a bushwack. It is always a pleasant surprise when making it back to your vehicle at the trailhead. The woods swallow you whole. The forest seems to get thicker every year above the 45th paral…

A Return to Roots

Beautiful, magnificent Eagle Lake - where friends are family. The Cannan Compound - a place where things were simpler and carefree. Where I learned to fish, swim, waterski, run, backcountry ski, and bushwhack. Where I lost my first tooth, had my first kiss, and survived my first heartbreak. Where the beautiful things and the hard things happened.

So many memories and so many mixed emotions that surface. I am not the same person as I was in junior high, high school, or college. It is surreal - like I stepped into the memories of another person. My concept of home has changed and continues to shift. Travel will do that. Travel is transformative. It is why we may feel sad upon returning from a destination vacation or an adventure. We've tried new things; we have an altered mindset.

So here's the thing, this place where I use to feel safe and secure, I now feel lost and lonely. At one point along the way, I realized that the home I grew up in is really not my home anymore. My ide…

From Financial Abuse to Independence

Financial abuse: when one person in the relationship uses money to gain power and control over another person. 

Recently, I sat with a young woman as she unveiled her story. And as she spoke, a familiar wave of nausea rolled over me. The horrid details of her current situation were painfully clear that she was financially ruined. It begged the question, how did this woman allow this person into her life? Well, I know exactly how based on personal experience.

At first, he acted like he was doing me a favor by managing all the finances. He professed to be an excellent financial manager and that it would be much easier to reach our financial goals with one person at the helm. He told me he could squeeze blood from a turnip. He told me to trust him.

Financial abuse is virtually invisible, and it is subtle and gradual. It includes a progression of behavior patterns such as:

Gives you an allowance for basic needs.
Overreacts to simple purchases.
Communicates with strong emotions on the topi…