A new chapter begins 1.24.24

every morning we are born again. What we do today is what matters most. ~ Buddha

Technically, every day is a first day.

We’ve heard this said so many ways and we know it to be true. Recently I heard this version “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” This is attributed to a Chinese Proverb.

Maya Angelou’s words appeared in my gratitude journal this week “This is a wonderful day. I’ve never seen this one before.” All very true, but they each take some serious discipline to embrace.

I’ve always loved the more visible cues to “begin again”. I love the energy of New Year’s Day – not so much for all the resolutions and intentions, but for the lightness and possibility. January 1st gives us a thoughtful opportunity to write the first words written on the page of that new year…a story about to begin. Here in Saratoga, I love Labor Day as the eve of the beautiful season of autumn, of harvest, of reaping what we’ve sown. And, of course, I love birthdays (especially mine – as the only child that I am), as a day to reset the calendar and say “what will I see, what will I do, what will I be this year?”.

Most of all, I love “First Days”… of whatever! For whatever reason the Burgart part of my brain latches on to dates of often very obtuse days (and not as many real-world important ones). I’m something of a specialist with remembering when people I love start new chapters. One of the most important for the Maven and I in recent history was April 10th (2018) – our first day of our new life in Saratoga. That was followed by May 1st (2018) – my first day with the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation.

Today, January 24th, I’ll etch another “First Day” in my career chronology as I walk in the office for the first time in my new role with the team at Therapeutic Horses of Saratoga. Indeed, a new chapter will begin!

Reflecting and preparing for reinvention

Compared to most people in my extended circle, it feels like I’ve started a new professional adventure more often than most. I just asked Google and it says “It is estimated that most people will have 12 jobs during their lives” (source: apollotechnical.com). Absent any exploration of the data, I’m game to say “sure, sounds about right!”.

My question is, how many times have I done this? And, more importantly, what have I learned along the way?

Quick summary of Kim’s career path (#Ivedonealotofthings)

  • Camp Counselor – Camp Strawderman (summer job)
  • Waitress – The Spot (summer job)
  • Education – Oldfields School (teacher, dorm parent, admissions office)
  • Various Temp Jobs in Washington, DC (let’s say 5 assignments in 1996-1997)
  • Banking – Riggs Bank
  • Technology – CivicZone
  • Technology – PromiseMark
  • Economic Development – Virginia Economic Development Partnership (Trade)
  • Economic Development – Virginia Economic Development Partnership (Investment)
  • Economic Development – Research on Investment
  • Consulting – Starting Gate Global
  • Venture Capital – Mid Atlantic Venture Association
  • Philanthropy – Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation
  • Philanthropy – Therapeutic Horses of Saratoga

Well, how about that? Today I will start my 12th new job, not counting my summer jobs and counting my two distinct jobs at the VEDP separately (same boss, but different work and different colleagues). I’m not certain this number means anything at all, other than the fact that I * should* certainly should know something about how to “be new” and, hopefully, how to make the most of this next opportunity to begin again.

Truly, I love being new and savor the myriad of feelings that make up “newness”. I love meeting people on their first days and I always share my advice to “embrace the weirdness”. Being new is such a strangely ephemeral thing. At first, it’s all consuming. You don’t know anyone’s name, what they do, how to work the copier or where to find the restroom… and then, one day, you just do! As an extrovert, I love the thrill of walking into a room full of strangers and wondering who I’ll meet and what new information I’ll learn. For all of us, every time we do this, there is a chance we will meet someone who will radically change our life (or we might change theirs). As much is this is always true, today is a special one for me. It’s a new day and a chance to bring and be my best self as I write the first words of this new chapter. Pretty darn exciting! It’s a great chance to put all the lessons learned through my first 11 first days in to action. But, that begs the question… what are they?

Looking forward, and making the leap!

Since my last day at the TRF on January 12th, I’ve been focusing on the “exhale”and directing my energy into the letting go part of the process. It’s been a bittersweet uncurling of my fingers from around the trapeze bar. While my heart will never leave that work, Saving Horses and Changing Lives, it’s been important to unwrap my (tightly wired) brain from around the people and projects that have consumed me for these past 6 wonderful years. It’s been a good 10 days and I’m feeling pretty well rested and reset. So now, today I’m focusing on the “inhale”. Breathing in all the good thoughts I want to bring with me to my new team and my intentions for this next chapter.

It feels helpful to look at that list above and think a bit about each of those first days. What did I learn there that I want to carry with me tomorrow?

For now, before I head upstairs to bundle up for my first day at the farm, here are my main thoughts…

  • Be curious – listen, learn, watch and absorb
  • Be open – don’t jump to conclusions
  • Be patient – let things sink in
  • Be interested – pay attention, hear the stories, observe the patterns
  • Ask questions and listen to the answers (spoken and unspoken)

And, especially in these earliest days, a bit of advice from Lin Manuel Miranda (via Aaron Burr) “talk less, smile more”.

And now it’s time. Heading upstairs to bundle up and head out into the first page of my next chapter… eager and excited to Go Where I Will Grow!

Tis the season for pondering…

Peace. Greenlights. The metaphor of the open hands.

These ideas have played leading roles in the story of my life this past year (2023). They have been the signposts along a walk through some of the rockier stretches of road I’ve travelled on my journey, and I am grateful for each of them.

So much so, that as the season of reflecting has arrived in these quiet days before the New Year begins, I feel moved to share my pondering in case these thoughts resonate with friends walking down similar stretches of the path we’re all navigating. Today, I’ll share a few thoughts on my quest for peace and tackle the others soon.

Pondering Peace

Peace. It is such a simple and powerful word. It isn’t one that I’ve thought deeply about much in my life, until this year. It always seemed like a technical term, most frequently appearing in the context of my long-ago studies of International Relations at UVA, on the news and at church. Of course, I always liked the idea of peace (who doesn’t?), but it existed in my world as an abstract concept and defined as the antidote to all the overwhelming, war-torn, world news situations that cause so many to suffer so much. Fortunately for me, I have lived a life where those frightening environments have been far away and peace is something I’ve had the great fortune to take for granted. Maybe we’ll call this peace “Peace” with a capital P. The absence of suffering is Peace, right? That kind of Peace is a very tall order and generally seems too big, hard, complicated to ever (?) achieve at scale. This year, with the violence and loss we’ve witnessed in the Ukraine, Israel and Gaza, it’s a word we’re hearing all the time, because our world is so sorely missing it. So, really, who goes out seeking Peace? Sounds like Don Quijote tilting after a windmill. Personally, I think us “achiever types” tend to pick more winnable objectives. Anyone else feel this way? I direct my energies at making the world a better place through the butterfly effect, hoping that each small act might one day have a big impact. More on that later.

2023: The year That Peace got personal (for me).

So, how on earth did peace make its way into my “top three” themes of the year? Heck if I know, but as my year has unfolded, I found that peace can also be very personal and its absence can have an almost physical, heavy presence (certainly an emotional one). Is there a word for “not at peace”? I guess there are many… and we all know it when we see it or feel it, even if we don’t know what to call it. Whatever that is, it is pretty powerful too. It can settle in and undermine an otherwise “perfectly fine” set of circumstances. And it is hard to spot with the naked eye. I’d compare living without peace like building a house on quicksand. While it may look fine on the surface, you’re putting all the things in your house at risk at any moment… and it’s really unsettling, because there isn’t anything “there” to point to.

This summer I was given a clear message to “find peace” through the words of two special souls who crossed my path on a day when all the cracks were showing in my “house on quicksand”. It was August 24th and, without getting into all the details, I was a hot mess. On paper I was doing all the normal things, running around doing errands, seeing many friends at the racetrack and around town, basking in the glow of a great TRF BBQ at the Barn, but for whatever reason… I literally couldn’t stop crying (#notagreatlook). Fortunately for me, all my running hither and yon, put me in the presence of two wise women (who don’t know each other at all). Their names are Annie and Karen, and I love them very much.

Each of these beautiful, intuitive souls took one look at me, saw the invisible cracks, and said/did the exact same things:

  • “Kim, take a seat. Take a breath. Tell me what’s going on.” (Cue tears)
  • After a kind measure of listening to a bunch of incoherent babbling, they each said.
  • “Kim, I just hope that you can find peace. It is important. You deserve it. And you have to make an effort to find it.“(And Karen offered a very lovely prayer)

Well, OK… wow. It hit me like a ton of bricks. I had a bad case of the “absence of peace”. How grateful am I to have had this diagnosis handed to me by such amazing humans who helped remove the gauze from my eyes (yes, Universe, I see you doing your thing. Thank you!) In this moment, I learned that peace (lower case peace) can be a very personal thing and its absence can take a toll. As obvious as this sounds, it sure proves that the only way to learn it is to live it. It felt like a lightening bolt. So, THAT, was the problem! Like so many things, identifying the problem was the most important first step toward figuring out the solution. But now, where to find it? As someone who’d never really even thought about this idea in such a “micro” way, I wasn’t at all sure how to even begin. The gift that Annie and Karen gave me was simply the word “peace”. We all know it’s hard to find something when you don’t know what you’re looking for, and they gave me a word for what was missing. Thank you Annie and Karen!

starting on the Path to Peace

At the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame, there is an absolutely fabulous movie called “What it takes” which is a beautiful telling of the story of what it takes to get into the Hall of Fame. Personally, I like to call the movie a love letter to the Thoroughbred and I think every single person who visits Saratoga Springs should see it. I bring this up because there’s one really great line that always sticks in my ear (I think it’s Carl Nafzger), he is speaking about a really good racehorse and he says:

“You can’t buy one. You can’t breed one. You can’t even steal one. Then one day you wake up, and there’s one in your barn”. I love this. It probably applies to countless things, but I think he could also be speaking about peace. It’s hard to make it happen, but one day (if you’re really lucky) it might just “show up”.

Spoiler Alert: One of my favorite “Kim-isms” is Nothing. Just. Happens.

This is the mantra of the hustler. It takes a million little “behind the scenes” things for something to one day “just happen”. Malcolm Gladwell backs this up very well in his awesome book “Outliers” – which I highly recommend.

Turns out, you can’s just “Go Find Peace”… bummer! It is as elusive as a unicorn, but happily, like a unicorn, once it shows up you sure do know it has arrived. The story of my Fall of 2023, my search for peace, was much like walking into a field of horses hoping to find a connection. Much to my dismay, I couldn’t just march out and grab it. I had to do a whole lot of looking, listening, waiting, thinking, sitting, feeling (and quite a bit of walking & talking too)… and then, one day, so very, very gratefully…. it showed up! Actually it kind of emerged, like a flower that finally bloomed. Not to say that it arrived in a tidy little package with a bow “ta da”, but more like a faint, but glowing light at the end of the tunnel. A sense of “oh, there you are… have you been standing there all this time?” Once I sensed its presence, it got easier to walk toward it and in doing so many of the bumps and ruts in the road of this year started to fade away (and the tears stopped falling).

Looking back on the year, I realize that it is more likely that the road didn’t change at all, but because I wasn’t fighting each bump and bracing against each one, the jarring didn’t hurt so much. Peace is the thing or the space that makes it all less hard. This reminds me of sitting the trot. When sitting the trot, the worst thing you can do is stiffen up and brace for impact… and the best thing you can do is breathe, relax and accept the motion (dare I say “go with the flow”) and things go so, so much better. Note: I’m fully aware of how incredibly obvious this sounds. Call me a walking cliché, I accept it because I’m living it.

It appears that there’s a lot one can say about Peace/ peace (libraries and universities are full of the topic), and I am certain that there’s not one single original thing in this post. I appreciate your patience in reading this anyway.

Nevertheless, for no reason other than my itch to write and share, I’m hoping to carve out time to write a bit more over the coming days. For now, I’m going to wrap up with a couple quotes to consider (which I hope are properly attributed) and a video to watch. Consider them as tools in a toolkit to help us all find a little more each day. Peace be with you!

Finding Peace Behind Bars: Joan Peralta by Corrie McCroskey
“Do not let the behavior of others destroy your inner peace” – Dalai Lama
“Nobody can bring you peace but yourself.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

View from La Jolla Shores Beach, La Jolla, CA (Dec 23, 2023)

Yoga Mandali Studio in Saratoga Springs, NY (Jan 1, 2024)

A letter to my future self

Question: What’s easy to give and nearly impossible to take?

Answer: Advice.

If I had a dollar for every time I’ve earnestly expressed the old adage “sometimes the universe just tells you to stop sometimes, because that’s exactly what you most need to do”… I’d have an overstuffed hefty bag of dollars. Raise your hand if I’ve said it to you. I know. I know. It wasn’t super helpful, was it? When a friend snapped her achilles’ heel, I definitely said it. When friends get sick, when they break bones, when they have surgery, I’m always there with the sticky sweet “silver lining” interpretation that these unwelcome pauses are messages we need to hear, often (always?) when we least want them, and usually (always!) when we most need to just stop.

But now, the shoe is on the other foot. I’m the one who has been put on “on ice”. Last month a friend said to me “with this surgery, literally everyone has given you permission to take time off – the only person you have to convince that this is OK, is you”. Very true. It wasn’t easy, but as the days off dwindle, I can sincerely say is that I tried my best. Friday marked 3 weeks since my surgery. I am feeling great, my incision is healing well and I am feeling very, very fortunate. I had my check-in with my surgeon at Albany Med on Wednesday and received the “all clear” to return my previously scheduled programming as soon as I’m ready. My plan is to return to the real world on July 6th and I must admit I’ll do so with a bit of trepidation. Not with fear of what awaits me (summer in Saratoga = my favorite season), but with hopes that I will look back on this time without regret. It truly has been a gift to have this time “off” and especially to have had it without any significant pain or inconvenience. I am simply the luckiest person I know, and I just hope I can hang on to some of what has been so good about this 100% guilt-free time-out.

So, I’m pulling out a few old school teacher tricks to help me navigate this last bit of doctor-approved, fully sanctioned down time: giving myself a grade on this project AND writing a letter for the time capsule for my “future me” to open…. let’s just say, one year from today 7.2.23.

The Letter

Dear Me in early July 2024,

It’s July, before the busy season begins… how are you feeling? Are you rested? Are you ready? (Really, are you ever really ready?) Let’s take a little quiz, based on June 2023, to see if you’ve held on to any of the things that you prioritized during your R&R. Good luck! ~ Me

  • How many books have your read?
  • How many naps have you taken (or tried to take)?
  • How many mornings have you stayed in bed past 7am?
  • How are you doing on your gratitude journal + Headspace?
  • How many independent conversations have you had on that front porch (in person or phone)?
  • Have you practiced with The Mook (my bass guitar)? Taken any lessons?
  • Are you more or less “caught up” with your non-work related “to do list”?
  • Have you talked to your mom lately? How about auntie Sue?
  • How many walks have you taken?
  • Have you spent some quality time with Bobby? One on one?
  • Is the campground project in good shape, with volunteers feeling supported?
  • Is there someone you’ve wanted to catch up with that you’ve not yet been in touch with?

June 2023 Scorecard

I guess I’ve kind of rigged this quiz based on the things I’ve done this June, so I’ll give myself a decent grade. Let’s say A-. My goal has been to sit still and be present with a focus on rest (and recovery). The thing that most helped me do the sitting was that I had two weeks when I wasn’t allowed to drive, which I’ve now learned is an excellent way to force a person to “cool their jets”. It worked like a charm! The other big help (or cheat) was that I rationalized a lot of not-work, by staying off of work email but spending “a bit” of time with friends on phone and text – mostly from my beloved porch.

Now, we’ll find out if I find that having done all of these things (or actively not doing things) creates some sort of lasting effect on my mind and body as I dive back into the summer next week. I hope so!

Looking ahead, the even tougher test will be… next year, without the “forced time-out”, will I find a way to prioritize all these gestures intended to help me refresh, recharge and regroup? I hope that by writing this down I’ll at least make a sincere effort to try and maybe even inspire someone else reading this to do the same. It shouldn’t really take major surgery to make us slow down, right?

As a mostly unrelated footnote, on the same day that I’ve written this little time capsule, I’ve “announced” my new title at work: Director of Donor Engagement. After 5 years at the TRF, I’m glad to have a new chapter begin – even if it’s mostly semantic. Yesterday, I updated my linked in profile and my Facebook page to reflect this title. I like it. It’s a bit broader and softer than the old title. It’s a little less likely to make people run for the hills (although I liked the transparency of intent that came with “major gifts”). As I come back into my responsibilities at the TRF after this chapter of “stall rest”, it feels good to return with a refreshed approach to my role, combined with my recharged body & soul. Seems like a good recipe for a great summer ahead. I’m game!

Let’s get rolling and see how it goes!

The horses are approaching the starting gate: 11 days until Opening Day!

Happy Summer & Happy 4th of July!

A story to tell and two lessons to share

It began on December 5, 2022.

I’ve been thinking about this post for more than 6 months, knowing that I have been living a story that I’m meant to tell and believing that I’ve been taught a lesson that I’m meant to share. As my eponymous blog title indicates, I am the Magpie. Mine is the gift of “exhortation”. The magpie is who I am and what I do. I absorb information and when it strikes me and moves me, I am compelled to share it as far and as wide as I can with all of my heart and energy.

The tricky part about this story is that it’s taken quite a long time to unfold and I’ve been a little bit superstitious about telling it before I felt certain it was truly (or mostly) done. Funny to realize that as much as I like telling stories (Exhibit A, the Monique Koehler/ TRF Origin Story), it’s much more challenging to do so as the protagonist. I guess I’m more comfortable as the biographer than the autobiographer. When the story is your story, it’s harder to know when it is over – even when the moral of the story seems really clear from the get-go.

So, all of this is a bit of an apology or explanation for why I’ve waited a while to put these words on “paper”. I simply wanted to be sure the coast was clear and, let’s face it, I wanted to be sure the story had a happy ending. Spoiler alert: It does (as of 6.17.23). I am more grateful than any tidal wave of words can capture – although I’ll surely use a boatload trying.

Lesson 1: If you know it’s wrong (really wrong), it doesn’t matter if it’s not bad

This inelegant phrase is the best I’ve come up with to convey the #1 Lesson of this story. This awkward sentiment is the thing I most sincerely want everyone reading this to understand, to take to heart, and to promise me you’ll remember this because it’s the key to this story’s happy ending. Here goes.

On Monday, December 5th I sat down at my desk in the guest bedroom which has been my office since March 2020. Bobby and I had just returned on Sunday from a fabulous long weekend in Charleston, SC with our friends Augie and Christy. It was trip we’d long awaited, one I’d much needed after some challenging months of turbulence at work, and we had enjoyed every moment of the change of scenery. Rested and refreshed, I was glad to settle back into a new week and hopeful for a good week ahead. I got up early, I spent some time on our rowing machine, I made my coffee and I sent Bobby out into his day with a even-more-chipper-than-usual “let’s go out and make today a GREAT day, honey!”. (Cue the foreshadowing music…)

Seated at my laptop, I dove into my normal routine – creating and responding to email with my fingers flying over my dear little MacBook’s keys. I don’t really remember working on anything specific, just normal stuff, but it was one of those nice “unscheduled” mornings of just doing my thing, with no calls, no zooms, just me and my thoughts and my keyboard. Getting things done! Bobby had taken the car to do some errands (Christmas shopping) and I had made a plan for lunch with my dad. I was out of the starting gate and galloping along nicely. I think it was about 10 or 10:30am when I first realized something was off… everso slightly, sort of like a shadow slowly falling over my desk.

As soon as I tell you what happened, you’re going to know where this is going. But, before I tell you, I want you to think about what you would’ve done if you were me. Looking at the world through our own eyes and hearing thoughts in our own head simply comes across really differently than when you hear them come from someone else.

I started missing keys with my right hand. It was weird.

I picked up my hand to see if I’d just shifted my hand position somehow. You know, that happens. Right? I typed some more. I missed some more. I thought “nah… that didn’t just happen”. I literally thought “wow, I must need more coffee”. I stood up, I walked around my room to be sure I felt OK… I did. I looked in the mirror to see if I looked OK… I did. And about this time, my dad checked in about our lunch and said “I’m here at the triangle for lunch”. I said “Oh dad, I needed you to pick me up because Bobby has the car – have you already gotten a table?”. Since he had, I said “No problem, why don’t you just eat and bring me lunch – I’ll take a shower.”. My thought was I’d just step away from the laptop and this whole weird thing would go away. So I took a shower (and later, realized how glad I was that I did this). I was asking myself… did I feel clumsy? did I drop anything? The answer was mildly negative. I did OK. I even dried my hair. Then, I decided to go back to the laptop to see if the shadow might have gone away. It hadn’t. I couldn’t type my password. I really couldn’t make the fingers on my right had do anything.

Something was really wrong. I was scared.

Lesson 2: When you know something is wrong, call someone who will tell you what you already know and need to hear

I called Bobby. I can’t imagine how scared he must have been, but he stayed calm and said “you need to have your dad take you to urgent care”. I didn’t argue. I told him that Dad was on his way and that I wanted to call our Dr’s office too. I left a message for Dr. Taneja (they were on lunch break) and got myself dressed. When Patty called me back, I had an image of her in the office listening to me say “I am having trouble typing with my right hand”. I wonder if her face fell a little, or if she sort of gritted her teeth, but I know that she simply said “you need to go to the emergency room, right away”. That was a moment I won’t forget. Both Bobby and Patty did just what I needed them to do: to hear me and to tell me – that sounds wrong, that sounds bad, that needs attention. ASAP. They gave me permission to know what I knew and that’s exactly what I needed.

As if we’d planned all of this, Dad arrived in my driveway a few minutes later and I walked out to greet him. Feeling a little shaky, I said “Dad, I know this is weird, but I need you to take me to the ER.” I’m so grateful that he appeared right then and that he didn’t panic. He just said “OK” and drove me to Saratoga Hospital. I must admit, it seemed like he’d never driven so slowly, and I will always remember the trembly feeling I had of trying to stay calm and act normal while we drove down West Ave as I kept hearing Patty’s words echoing in my head. I’m grateful that Dad has a fair amount of experience with ERs (and their usually long waiting times) and that he could see that I really did seem fine. I am grateful that he felt comfortable dropping me off knowing I could call or text him as soon as I had some information about what was going on. He and Linda were leaving for Florida the next day, so he went off to do errands as soon as I had checked in with the triage nurse.

That’s when I started to come unglued. The fear began to overwhelm me. Things got much, much scarier when they called me in two minutes later.

Fast forward through the next three days…

There’s not much to be gained by giving you the blow by blow of the three days I spent in Saratoga Hospital, so I’ll try to stick to the highlights.

  • Nothing ever hurt. Nothing ever got worse. I never had any other symptoms beyond my errant fingers on the keyboard. I actually think that by the time I was in the CT Scan, my symptoms may have resolved themselves (hard to know without a keyboard). If I’d been driving to Kentucky that day, I really don’t know if I would have even noticed the “glitch” in my system. This is something I think about a lot.
  • The triage team knew I was having a stroke right away, even as they tried to assure me that they hoped I wasn’t. They were great. I was terrified. I could hear the “code alerts” echoing through the triage area and I could sense the speed with which they were expediting my check-in.
  • I was incredibly impressed, at every turn, with every single healthcare professional who cared for me over the course of my three days (two nights) at Saratoga Hospital Being there in December 2022, I think I experienced the lagging effects of the last few years plus the “end of the year” crush. I spent my first night in an ER room and there were patients stacked in the hallways, but despite how stretched they were, their care for me was extraordinary.
  • My roller coaster included the “faux shame” of first finding that my CT Scans were clear and that perhaps the threat of stroke was a false worry. I suffered through thinking that I’d wasted everyone’s time and energy, and then abruptly learned that my MRI told another story. My images showed what they called “a cloud of microclots” on the left side of my brain and thus, it was confirmed: on December 5th, I had a stroke. Sigh.
  • The next 2 days were spent trying to find the cause of this most impossible, inexplicable, incomprehensible fact. The medical team suspected my heart and they dedicated many resources to testing my heart to see where and how it may have caused this “cloud” (20+ micro clots) to go to my brain.
  • Possibly the topic for a future blog post, throughout my stay I felt like one of those embedded reporters in the Gulf War. I was the healthy person watching the healthcare machine from the inside. I observed. I appreciated. I was amazed and I developed a fully-formed thesis on the similarity of the experience of a hospital patient with an incarcerated individual: total lack of agency, kept captive unhappily in a place full of misery, surrounded and cared for by people who are well-intended and service-minded, but whose focus on “making you better” far outweighs their focus on “making you comfortable”.

And now, 6 months later, let the next chapter begin!

As I write this today, I am gratefully one week past a Carotid endarterectomy on my left carotid artery on June 9th. Dr. Courtney Warner was my vascular surgeon. She conducted the surgery at Albany Med last Friday. Bobby and my mom were there with me. I spent one night in the hospital (as planned) and, so far so good, all went well. I’m currently taking a few weeks of medical leave from my work at the TRF to ensure that I give myself, and my artery, adequate time to properly and completely heal. My goal is to be rested, recovered and ready for the 2023 Saratoga Summer meet (25 days away). I will most certainly write more about another set of lessons, or at least conclusions/observations, about how the last 6 months have unfolded. But, that’s too tall a task for today.

For now, I’ll say that I am simply, profoundly and overwhelmingly grateful. To every soul who has walked with me on this journey so far. I apologize to the many dear and beloved friends who may not have known about all of this going on. I simply didn’t know how to talk about it without knowing where the story would end up … or whether it was going anywhere at all. Also, as many know, I’ve also been doing my best to manage my way through a host of other weighty and exhausting topics on my heart over the last 10 months. I’ve asked for so much support, patience and encouragement from so many starting last September. This shadowy sort of monster-in-the-background just seemed like “one too many things” to tackle on top of the roller-coaster ride at work, the sadness of nursing and then losing my beloved heart-cat Mookie, and the strain of caring for my beloved Padre. It has simply been a long hard stretch since last September, with this thing lurking in the background, but I can truly see the light at the end of the tunnel now. With extraordinary support of the Maven, Maggie, our families and friends, I feel confident that I’ve made it past the darkest time of a rather long night.

My friend from Oldfields, Beth Toney, shared this quote a few days ago… it really has resonated “When life changes to be harder, change yourself to be stronger.” I guess that about sums it up.

Bring on the dawn!

Mookie Musings (Day 3)

Sept 2015 – Mookie’s first sink photo

Mookie was a morning cat.

She approached each day with joy. She was always the first creature to stir in our house, and even before she’d so gently hop on the bed, I could feel her little presence appear in our room. Then, I’d look forward to opening my eyes to see that sweet, eager face looking at me expectantly often followed by a velvet soft poke of her furry paw, without a word she would say “c’mon mom, there’s a whole brand new, bright day waiting for us – let’s go see what it has in store“.

On the days when I opted to wait a few more minutes before jumping into that day, she had a couple different strategies for impatiently waiting for one of us to join her. The somewhat passive one was to go hop in the sink in our bathroom from where she could just “will us” to rise from her favorite little perch. We see this sink from our bed, It is a hard thing to wake, now, to see that empty space where her bright yellow eyes would always be waiting so hopefully for us.

Her other move was more of a “if I can’t beat you, I’ll join you” tactic. This was my favorite. She’d daintily poke me a few times, and then, with as much drama as a little 7 lb lump of love could muster, she’d flop down right next to my pillow, belly up, purr volume at 10. Pure joy. Whenever I need to calm myself, I close my eyes and imagine this moment over and over. Her purr penetrated my every cell with her vibrant love and her calming, happy, always hopeful energy. Now, when I think of all those wonderful moments, I cannot stop the tears. I’m really not sure I want to… I don’t want to forget those gifts of her love in palpable form.

We loved our little morning routines. We were the two early birds of the household.

Did I mention she loved a sink? Boy oh boy, did she love sinks! As soon as she had succeeded in removing me from the comfy bed, she’d leap off the bed and run to my bathroom silently shouting “c’mon mom, this day is going to be awesome, let’s get rolling“. If you’re looking for an example of being thankful for the little things, I present exhibit A: my Mookie cat and her “drips”. Anyone who has stayed overnight at Casa Weir has experienced this lesson in how to find joy in the littlest things. Mornings at the bathroom sink were like Christmas for her every day, looking at me, looking at the faucet, with so much anticipation and so much delight as those little drips appeared. She made the act of brushing my teeth a gleeful celebration. I mean, really? Who gets that excited about something so simple. Mookie did. And she taught me to do the same.

Mookie was never food motivated. Her early-bird tendencies were driven by the fact that she wanted to day to begin (now!) so that she could participate in all that it might include. For Mookie & me, we spent a lot of morning time together in our living room here on Madison Street on our little blue couch. It is a reupholstered antique that shows the signs that one of us, she or me, has been sitting on it for most of the last 5 years… it was/is our little oasis. From this couch we would look out the front windows to the sunrise, to hear the birds chirping or watch the snow falling. We would soak up our beloved “Winter Tree” (up from early December through March, to match the Saratoga snow season). We would text our friends I (ok, maybe that was just me). We would gather our thoughts. We would bask in our fireplace, and we would do our morning practice of meditation on Headspace and write in our gratitude journal. She was my little buddha, my partner in being present. She was my inspiration.

There was a wonderful guided meditation in the old Ophra+Chopra app that I loved so much (circa 2017) in which Deepak instructed us to close our eyes and visualize a bright warm light in our heart center, then to visualize sending a beam of this warm, sparkling, liquid love from our heart directly to one “thing”, could be a person, an object, a flower… and of course, a cat. I would often do this exercise with Mookie, always, as my love-target. Just like Deepak said, as soon as I locked my beam of love on her I could feel the wave of her love come flowing back, vibrating and glowing back at me stronger than the beam I’d sent her. It was powerful and it was wonderful. It was our silent call and response. It gave me strength. She gave me strength. This feeling of love gave me joy, courage, comfort, and calm. Now that she’s gone, I’m feeling a bit lost. I am sending my signal to all the places where she used to sit – the sink, my pillow, the bed on our bed, under the tree, so many empty spots around our house. Yes, I feel her presence here, but it feels like a shadow. The connection feels disparate, gauzy, unclear, less strong and sad. On this, day 3 of our world without Mookie, I’m hoping this will get easier day by day, but I don’t want to forget what we had just because the absence is painful.

Thanks for listening. I’m planning to keep up these musings for a while. I want to be sure I capture her sweet spirit, her many lessons and the gifts she gave and left with us here. I simply don’t want to forget and I hope that these memories will help me heal the ache of her absence.

To enjoy some of the amazing journey we traveled with our Mookie, please visit her #hashtag on Instagram: #mookieweir

Mookie’s last sink photo – March 2023


April 4 2015 – March 23, 2023

Did you feel it too?

At about 10:30am today this big, beautiful, complicated, challenging, wonderful world of ours grew just a little less sweet, warm, soft, loving, joyful and lovely.💔

The tiniest, mightiest, magical, miracle Mookie left her weary mortal shell behind and in her absence she’s left a vast and aching hole in our hearts.

How can a creature so small, so gentle and so quiet make such a powerful & vivid impression on every creature she encountered?

She gave every ounce, every moment and every whisker of her all-too-brief time with us to the single purpose of expressing love, joy and gratitude for every day she was given. That was her gift. Every day. She inspired me to see the world through her eyes.💖

Her passing breaks our hearts. She touched so many on her journey, and together our love sustained her through the darkest hours all those years ago. In the end, these last few days, she told us she was ready to rest. She made it as easy on us as only she could. She lived an amazing life in 9 short, beautiful years.

As we drown in our tears, we can only try to fill the void she has left with our best efforts to follow her example. Call me corny, I don’t care. I say, let’s all try to be like Mookie to restore the light that left us this morning. I like to think she’s counting on us and cheering us to do so from a light, bright, happy place of kitty peace.

Oh we miss her so!

Facebook Post 3.23.23

Marinating in January

Hello Friends!

My, it seems like a lifetime ago that I last settled in for a Maven and Magpie sort of reflection. Indeed, the year went by in a flash. My last post was on 1.31.21 “And even as we grieved we grew”. Makes me think, it’s time to listen to that amazing poem and inspiring delivery once again. Amanda Gorman is a gift and her words might be just what I need to coax me out of my winter doldrums into the brighter day ahead.

Not that I’m in any big hurry. I have to admit I’m luxuriating in these calmer, quieter, colder, slower and simpler days of winter. The phrase I’m using to describe my mood has been “marinating in January”. As if I’m soaking & stewing in one of the yummy simmer sauces that the Maven uses for one of our “go to” dinners… I’m just bubbling along in the cozy blanket of a month without deadlines, without gatherings, without logistics or really many expectations. Letting all of this just soak in. My only goal is to begin. To begin what? Ah, that’s why we need this quiet time. To ponder, to reflect, to consider… to take a little time to think before launching headlong into the joy of the doing (admittedly my favorite lane).

It’s a bit odd, really. Usually I fly out of the gate on Jan 1 with a brain bursting with intentions, goals, plans, mantras, mottos and a good dash of early momentum. Not this year. I think it’s just that last year was ALOT. I regularly described it as living 3 years in one. It was, in my corner of the world, an extraordinary year. Set against the backdrop of some painfully difficult times for many, 2021 was overwhelmingly and undeniably positive for the horses of the TRF, for the TRF organization and our programs, and because of this and many other things, for me & the Maven too. I am profoundly grateful, but I think the pace really took a bit of a toll. My full-tilt frenzy finished in early November (celebrated poolside, imitating a potted plant at my dear amiga’s home in Tijuana). I gave my all and I left it all on the field, but the recovery has taken a while. Following my two week trip to California and I was thankfully able to downshift my velocity through the last 6 weeks of the year, but there were still a lot of things to do to catch up and to make the most of the holidays. The holidays were very happy and full of highlights, but not a lot of downtime.

And so, January. Looking out my home-office window at the snow covered backyard of my neighbor, I spend a lot of time looking at a bunch of trees. Those trees are in winter mode. They are still, they are in power-saving mode, they are waiting for Spring – and I think I know how they feel. My beloved bestie, Megerly, and I just finished reading a book together – a book she gave me for Christmas called The Overstory by Richard Powers. We both recommend it. It is intense. It is beautifully written and it is really dark, and it absolutely makes you look at trees (and furniture and paper and a whole lot of things) from a radically new perspective. Of the many things I learned about trees from this book, two that I know will stick with me are: they are not in a hurry and they are all much more connected than we might think. What’s not to love about that?

As the Maven and are hunkering down for the arrival of Saskatchewan Screamer, we’re also about to begin a 3 day Juice Cleanse tomorrow as the next step in our New Year’s re-set. We’re mid way through “dry January”. We’re both back into our regular house-bound exercise routines (a gift of being and staying home). I’m especially thankful for an amazing twice-weekly yoga class with friends on zoom by the fireplace and our decision to invest in our awesome Concept2 rowing machine #loveit. We’ve been embracing a simple, stripped down “eat healthy & shed a few pounds” approach to this month. We’re making the most of our new air fryer (by we, I mean he, Chef Maven). We’ve given ourselves a bunch of guidelines, but the key focus is to cut out guilty pleasures (cheese, crackers, cookies, chips) and reduce all dairy, bread/pasta, meat and sugar. We’re leaning on our favorite healthy cookbook guy, Chef Michael Symon, for our plant based meals. We love his Fix It with Food (10 day reset) and now there’s a second book Fix It with Food: Every Meal Easy. In the “old life” in Alexandria we’d made a somewhat regular habit of the every-so-often Juice Cleanse, but this will be our first since the move to Saratoga. I picked up our juices today from Thorn and Roots, and look forward to starting in the AM. Yum!

Looking ahead, yes, it’s tempting… but for now, for tonight, I’m going to just keep on simmering. Savoring this time at home, on the couch, with the Maven and the kitties. Reading, rowing, a puzzle or two, a bit of knitting, a bit of decluttering, a bit of baking and even a blog post. I’ve been listening to podcasts more than usual at home (thanks to the rowing). In fact, I am completely obsessed with the Next Big Idea podcast. Highly recommend! Start with these two and let me know what you think: FRIENDSHIP and CODE BREAKER.

I’d love to hear from any of my friends who happen to come across this blog post (or the email version of it, if that still works) . I’d love to hear how your January is going, what you’re feeling, thinking about and what you’re marinating in.

Stay safe & be well.


“That even as we grieved, we grew” ~ Amanda Gorman

Hello Friends!

Here I am, once again! I’m determined to make my writing a habit this year, even if I’m a little less certain that I have anything worthwhile to say. Heartfelt thanks for “tuning in” – just imagining a friend reading this makes it seem worthwhile.

“That even as we hurt, we hoped.”

“That even as we tired, we tried.”

Yep, I’m kind of obsessed with The Hill We Climb by the extraordinary Amanda Gorman. While I’ve missed a couple days of listening, I’ve tried to do so regularly. It’s a wonderful, uplifting “brain break” from the nonstop torrent words that fill my day via email and zoom (each of which fill my cup in their own way). Just to hear her cadence, her vocabulary, and to feel her vision for a brighter tomorrow… it lifts me up.

Writing the whole poem out in my journal is something I’m glad I took the time to do. I’ve always found that I process information better while speaking or writing – it wasn’t until I arrived at Oldfields that I learned some of the terms for each of our unique learning styles, and in so doing, became more aware of my own. In college and then later, in graduate school, I learned that I needed to be taking notes to really “absorb” the information presented by the professor. I took alot of notes (more like transcription), which made me pretty handy for my friends who were not similarly inclined, but I rarely found that I used them much once I’d taken them. The process of writing in itself is what enabled me to internalize the information. And, at 50+ years old, I continue to be who I am… and moreso. Since writing the poem out, different phrases from sunk in, and several seem to bubble up more often than others. “That even as we grieved, we grew.” This one most of all.

There is just so much grief in our world right now. While I’ve known this for months, while I’ve watched in horror as the numbers have climbed, supported friends through their losses, been moved by the flags planted in memorial in DC, and I’ve tried to feel it. In doing so, I think I’ve also learned that one can not feel grief, truly, until you have someone to grieve. And now, so many of us, do. It’s an experience that humbles us and unites us – always, in the past, and now more than ever (in my lifetime).

And so this phrase “as we grieved, we grew” is really stuck in my mind. It calls to me because I want to find the good out of the terrible, the lessons learned from this difficult and sad time, the call to action from all this pain. So, how do we do that?

When I think of the three lives lost from my life last month, representing the 100’s of thousands lost in the US alone over these long difficult months, I want to honor them by growing. It’s a course of action and an antidote to feeling “stuck” when all else seems so futile. I can’t comfort the families whose loved ones are gone, I can’t heal the wounded hearts and I can’t even fly to be with those I love to show them how much I care. I can’t do many things… but I can try to grow. It’s something!

And this brings me back to my admittedly self-centered plan for the blog this year. Or maybe it’s just another example of masterful rationalization, to make my focus on my “greatest impact” seem less selfish amidst such sorrowful times. I recognize that my ability to dedicate time, effort, thoughts and words to my achieving my personal “best” in 2021, is the ultimate luxury. It is the gift my friends can no longer enjoy. So I’m choosing to take each of their lives and their legacies as my inspiration. I’m going to stick to my knitting, my intentions and my goals and see what I can do with the time I’m given. There’s simply no time to waste.

Wishing you each a hopeful, healthy week ahead.


  1. CliftonStrengths 34 – Grateful to my friend and inspiration (and birthday girl this past week), Shari Goodwin of Jaeger2, for recommending this tool to me. I’ve always believed in the importance of leaning into the things we love, and leveraging the things we enjoy – because we’ll likely practice them and be better at them. This really fun, reasonably priced and time-efficient self-assessment resource has given me much to think about over the past year. I highly recommend doing it & keeping the report “handy” especially while choosing where and how to invest the gift we’re given with each precious day.


  1. Within my goal of maintaining a disciplined & balanced approach to the allocation of my energy – a couple of milestones to celebrate.
    • I am happy to say I’ve managed to securely plant reading & rowing in the routine in January. (Finished Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter today).
    • I also have two good examples of finding ways to not undertake, directly, a couple of tempting new volunteer projects. Instead, spent a little energy finding other terrific, willing and excited resources to “do the work”. Just a little “woo hoo” for momentarily resisting the urge to do it all myself and intentionally leaning into my #1 CliftonStrengths strength (I’ll share mine if you share yours!).
  2. To carry the message of the TRF (Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation) widely I was delighted to record my first 2 podcasts of 2021 (thank you Pete Fornatale, In the Money Podcast & Rick Thompson, Talk Saratoga), and to facilitate our first print media piece (anticipated in The Aiken Horse in last week of Feb).
  3. To help my Padre navigate and execute a move to live nearer to me  I am proud of us for completing our 3rd “virtual tour” this past week, and moving along toward making a timeline for next steps & decisions. Very thankful to Renee Birnbaum for her assistance (and if anyone is undertaking a similar journey, please let me know – Renee is a great resource with a national network of colleagues)

That’s it for now. Be well and keep on growing!



Adding Fuel to the Fire

Hello Friends!

It’s a sunny, but frosty 23 degrees Sunday afternoon here in Saratoga. The fireplace is on, the neighborhood kids are playing outdoors (they raise ’em tough up here), and I can hear the first sounds of football on TV in our living room. All is well, safe and peaceful for us… but it’s been a week of signs in all their splendor and severity. Hopeful heights and heartbreaking lows, and much to learn from all of them.

As I wrapped up last week, I felt ready to dive in to an admittedly self-serving presentation of my goals for the year as the focus of the Maven and Magpie blog in 2021. My intention: to burn brightly. And then, the week happened.

Hope is in the air

First, the joy and exhilaration of Wednesday’s Inauguration. For all the anxiety I felt in the lead up, and even through the vows and formalities as our new leaders sat so exposed on the steps of the Capitol, the day was magnificent. It was wonderful to see the blue skies, the flags, and the splendor of DC showing its best and most beautiful to the nation and the world. I loved Gaga’s glorious gown and rousing rendition of our National Anthem, I loved J. Lo’s over-the-top Chanel couture and her “let’s get loud” medley of feel good songs about our country. While I was much less impressed with Garth Brooks, I was utterly mesmerized and captivated by the absolutely extraordinary Amanda Gorman. Wow. What a gift for all of us to participate in the historic moment of her national debut and to receive her words, as a mantra to carry us through these challenging times.

I’ve written her poem by hand in my journal to help me absorb all the beauty in her words and I’ve decided to listen to her performance once a day for 30 days, like a tonic for a weary soul. (It surely can’t hurt.) I’d love to have you join me!

loss and Grief

Then, the blows of reality began to land. Three lives lost in my world, in rapid succession – from different chapters of my story – and all with the same, painfully poignant lesson: Tomorrow is Promised to No One.

While my blog is not the place to share the stories of each beloved individual, I feel the best way to honor them is to cherish each as a messenger for all of us. I am humbly and sorrowfully grateful for their role in making me feel the terrible un-fillable hole of loss that is left when someone is taken unfairly (to our human eyes), suddenly and seemingly too soon. The three losses I’ve experienced this week have pierced the walls of my cozy little cocoon, with a tiny sample of the painful reality faced by everyone who loved each of the 400,000 souls lost, so far, to a virus we knew nothing about one year ago today.

Each of these friends represented the very best of a “life well lived”. Theirs were lives that serve as inspiration for all of us. They truly and completely lived, in vibrant color and at full volume, until the last. Two of them, my peers from high school and from college respectively, were dealt the miserable hand of cancer diagnoses which they fought valiantly, although far too briefly. Their courage was their final gift to those who knew and loved them. The third, much older in years, but not in spirit, energy, passion or will to live each day fully and on his own terms – not bending to the expectations of someone “his age” in any way. Cruelly, for those left behind, this individual was gone with no warning and no chance to say goodbye – a peaceful escape from this earthly world, and a terrible shock to those whose future included so many plans with him at their center.

So, what to do with all of this? I am inclined to add my mourning of their passing and my awe in the way they lived each day to the kindling of my fire to “burn brightly” this year. It seems that the best way to celebrate all they were and all they demonstrated is to do great things as they would have done, given more time, and to remember them in so doing.

“To whom much is given, much is expected.”

This is a quote that has always driven me. It wakes me up in the middle of the night, it drives me to jump out of bed and to do my best Hamilton rendition of “not throwing away my shot”. My three friends are adding their voices to the chorus.

if only we’re brave enough to be it

So, I turn back to my intention for 2021: to “burn brightly” and make my greatest impact. This simple intent seems even more important and urgent than it did last week. I’m not sure my specific goals are meaningful enough to truly honor my friends, but I’m hoping they are clear enough to give me a chance to make a difference.

By sharing them, I’m inviting you to join me on my journey – both by following along the path with me and by suggesting new paths or doorways that might help me reach them more directly. And, of course, I’m counting on you to hold me accountable when I drift (and I’m sure to drift).

magpie goals for 2021:

1. To help my Padre navigate and execute a move to live nearer to me and to realize all the benefits of living in a supportive, active and engaged community. Objective: settling him and his loved ones into a new home in upstate NY by end of 2021.

2. To carry the message of the TRF (Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation) widely through dramatically expanded visibility and media coverage by specifically seeking out national and international audiences to whom I can deliver this message (speaking opportunities).

3. To secure at least one major gift ($5K or greater) for the TRF from a donor compelled entirely by the human impact of the TRF Second Chances (with only distant interest in the welfare of the horses).

4. To maintain a disciplined & balanced approach to the allocation of my energy including my calling (the TRF), my health (mental & physical), my community (family, friends and Saratoga), and an ample dose of time given to “unscheduled/unstructured” fun & rest too. Objectives: Run a 5K this summer & blog once a week – gulp.

5. To meet and exceed my annual Major Gifts fundraising goal. Objective: To enjoy a December similar to 2020 without anxiety.

This week’s recommended resources are:

  1. NY Times Podcast “1619 – 6 parts, beautifully done, impactful & important.
  2. The Hill We Climb Amanda Gorman (daily)
  3. “Dismantling QAnon” by TedX-MidAtlantic (Oct 2020)- challenging, shocking, eye-opening and scary. I’ve had my head in the sand about what this is for a long time, and this was super informative way to pull the wool away from my eyes.
  4. A Promised Land, Barak Obama – finished this engaging, informative and refreshing book this week… and can’t wait for the next one!

Much to Celebrate

  1. Lives well lived. May they Rest in Peace and their spirits inspire us Every Day.
  2. A new US President, Vice President, Administration and countless public servants dedicating and re-dedicating their lives in service to their communities and their country. (Shout out to our awesome re-elected New York Assemblywoman Carrier Woerner)
  3. The amazing volunteers who come together here in Saratoga to make the Rural Food Delivery Program happen. Wow! I may use my blog to capture the story of this incredible group. Over the past few months I’ve been observing them and documenting the system that keeps these trains running. Hats off to Saratoga LifeWorks (formerly EOC) and Presbyterian New England Congregationalist Church (PNECC) for all they do to make this happen.
  4. January is Mentorship Month. I’m hoping to become a mentor this year (two pending opportunities to make a direct impact), and I will look forward to sharing that journey too. If you have time and interest, spend a minute to google “mentorship programs near me” and see what you find!

And, that’s it for now. Looking forward to “raising a glass” with friends and family on zoom tonight and hoping to manage my time in the most impactful way possible over the week ahead. Thanks for listening!



Bloom where you’re planted

January 2021

Ponies – Jan 18, 2021

Good morning friends!

Well, here we are. Saratoga Springs, NY on January 18, 2021. Wow.

I just took a moment to look at the list of “published posts” on Maven and Magpie since that car-ride to the Hamptons 3+ years ago (71 of them). The first one written the Eve of our “Re-invention” (Dec 23, 2017). I know it’s painfully cliché, but I can’t help saying “So much has changed, and so much has stayed the same”. And for all of it, the changes and the sameness, I am just incredibly, profoundly grateful.

Some of you have been on this journey with us from the start and few may have just stumbled upon us along the way (and a handful of you were gently nudged to join by me). To each of you – thank you.

The concept of imagining an audience for my thoughts has been the inspiration for me to capture them in words. I find a murky mix of answers when I look down the rabbit hole of “why am I writing this?”. Truly, there have been different reasons at different seasons. Sometimes I’ve wanted to keep friends & family posted of our progress, sometimes I’ve needed a place to park the challenges and emotions of the journey, from time to time I’ve just wanted to capture a milestone, and most recently this summer, I wanted to share an experience that I found enriching, challenging and possibly somewhat interesting. Through it all, I’ve wanted to practice writing about something other than my work and I’ve nurtured the ember of hope that something in my musings might be helpful, comforting, encouraging or at the very least mildly entertaining for the reader – wherever you are, whoever you are, and whatever mountain you’re planning to climb.

So today, sitting here in our cozy home on Madison Street, just back from a mid-morning walk around “our loop” (it’s MLK Jr. Day, so I’m away from my desk), I thought I’d go read that first post. After launching from the car on Dec 23rd, my first “real post” was published on Christmas Eve from the Maven family’s lovely home in the Hamptons.

Here’s what I wrote about my “why”:

December 24, 2017

“And on to the blog, a couple simple goals I have in mind.

  1. Share my observations along the journey of everyday life – kicking off with the big move Bobby & I will be making this year.
  2. Share our adventures – largely along the Food & Travel lines, with a big dose of Thoroughbred Racing & Saratoga Lifestyle.  Somewhere in this goal lies the original inspiration for the Maven and the Magpie – Bobby’s maven-like talent for picking & finding great spots to eat, drink & enjoy and my Magpie-like desire to share our discoveries so they can enjoy them too!
  3. Promote places, people, causes, products, services, events, activities and organizations I believe in and think are worth the time & money for others to check out. A curated set of things this Magpie wants to support by spreading the word.”

Time to Reset, Re-focus & Re-commit

While I may spend a few minutes ruminating on how well (and not well) I stuck to those goals, I’m mostly focused today on the “what next? where do we go from here?” as I look ahead to 2021. Taking stock of the miles we’ve traveled over the past 3 years, especially the strange & special year of 2020, one thing is incredibly clear: the Maven and I have arrived at our destination. We are very, very fortunate to be exactly where we want to be, doing what we are each called to do and to be in a community we are happy to call home. We’ve “come a long way, baby” – no doubt about it. As my friend Rebecca’s Boy Band navigation system loves to say in its funny, British accent singsong voice “You Have Arrived”.

So that means it’s time do what we came here to dowhatever that is!

The words that have emerged for my 2021 Intentions center around a craving to make the most of the gifts and blessings we’ve received, while we can. Carpe Diem!

For me, I think it’s time to make my highest and best impact on the world around me. IMPACT is the word I keep hearing in my head. It is accompanied by a strong sense of BURNING BRIGHTLY, deep like a true flame and not disparate like sparkles and fireworks. Within this there’s a mandate to choose things carefully, and then to lean in “full-tilt”, and perhaps find ways to measure progress – to know if my energy is being converted to meaningful effect. This is what I plan to focus on this year and I think this is what I’m going to write about too. Fair enough? How about you?

A CAVEAT: Let’s be clear. I’m not writing this as an advice column (although I fear it may come across like that from time to time). The one thing I know is just how much I don’t know, but I am going to lean on lessons learned along the journey so far – and we’ll see where those take me.

If you’re game to join me, I’d love the company!

With that in mind, here’s my updated plan for the blog 2021:

  1. Set some goals (intentions, not resolutions) and share them publicly – then tell the story of my progress, so that you can help hold me accountable.
  2. Identify resources that help me realize my vision– with hopes they serve someone reading too.
  3. Celebrate milestones “wins” and examples of individuals and organizations who are inspiring to me – with hopes that they inspire you too!

Getting Started…

“The journey of a thousand miles, starts with one step”.. an oldie, but a goodie. And that’s what this post is – a start. I’ll be back soon to dig in and get rolling, but for now an appetizer:

  1. Goal: Write one blog post per week. (Eek. I was going to say month, but I’m going to stretch.)
  2. Resources: Reinventing Greatness by Shari Goodwin (and Lemon Squeezy) – I’ll share more on this over the days ahead for sure, but for now just go ahead and buy it, you’ll be glad you did! (And remember to always use AmazonSmile to be sure your favorite charity benefits from your purchase!)
  3. Celebrate: Today this is easy – it’s a day designed to remember him and be inspired by him. Here are two links that helped me start my day with MLK Jr’s words in my ears.
    1. 22 Inspirational Quotes from MLK Jr
    2. “I have a dream” speech in its entirety (17 min)

Time to start blooming!

Namaste. Stay safe, well and hopeful!



Saratoga Winter – Jan 2021