I do love Thanksgiving.

I love hosting Thanksgiving, gathering around a meal, the challenge of a massive bird, a holiday that has only one objective…. dinner….so you better get it right.

My Thanksgiving is never perfect, there is always one dish that goes awry, the meal is always late. This year cooking a 21-pound turkey turned out to be an experiment in heat conduction and a quick dissection/ biology class. The kitchen is still covered in a thin film of turkey, and I think I see whipped cream on the ceiling.

No matter. Dinner was served.

Around mid-October I dive into my Pinterest account to see how whimsical, and Thanksgiving-y I can possibly be. The night before Thanksgiving I am wondering what mid-October Heather was thinking.

I did manage to create this little gem

Behold the tree of gratitude!

It’s kind of like the Festivus Pole- although there was no airing of grievances.

But there may have been a Feats of Strength! I’m still not sure who won the ‘Old Guys vs. Kids’ football game.

After the last piece of pie was served and the turkey was tucked away, I had a chance to read through the Tree of Gratitude- I love what my amazing Turkey Day Tribe was grateful for:

  • My Cousins
  • Friends and Family
  • Family, cats and bread: seriously….I cook a 21 pound bird and bread???? Alas, second graders.
  • Bread- again. Bread- next year I’m setting out a pack of Hawaiian rolls and letting you all go at it.
  • Bread, not school
  • Heather! Aw……I don’t know who I bribed but the check is in the mail.
  • True Friends- and my daughter
  • Friends, family and health
  • Getting together with everyone
  • My body’s ability to move
  • Being surrounded by love, great food, being in a beautiful home (aw, thanks) and good health

Bread clearly is the winner- but I think the nephews and the cousins hijacked the tree.

During dinner, I stood up to toast, surrounded by family; Hubs, Mom, Dad, Stepmom, Stepdad, Brother, SIL, Besties……

And I had to take a moment and shed a tear.

We are far from perfection or the family you want to emulate….at times people have looked at us with one word…..oof.

But at that table, surrounded by family, love and (of course) bread……the word gratitude is not enough.

Whatever the word may be, may your holiday be filled with it.

Happy Thanksgiving Dear Tribe.


The Heart

Hey Dear Tribe:

This weekend finds me at a Writer’s Retreat. Here’s a little something that has been brewing:

The Heart, the fearless worker.

The committed soldier with one job.

Keep it going. Work the pump

From the first sign of life to the very last beat.

The heart carries on.

Steadfast, determined, unthinking, unemotional, the heart.

Contrary to our love and lore, the heart does not get lovesick.

The heart does not break after a torrid affair.

It is not heartfelt, whatever emotion you seek cannot be found in the bottom of your heart; your heart does not desire.

But buried deep within its chambers, encased by bone and cages of rib, deep within the chest, the heart carries on.

Keeper of the blood, mover of life, the heart has one job.

When the brain is sad and tired, pockmarked with trauma and emotion, the heart beats.

For the broken sad mind, the heart is relentless, unshaken by tears, unencumbered by emotion.  

A world may be shattered but a heart carries on.


Fleeting Joy

I had a ridiculously fun weekend. I danced way too much for my poor new knee. I sang loud and off-tune. I gave my nephews sloppy kisses. And I found myself back in the beautiful mountains so close to my home. It was a joyous weekend.

Ridiculous Joy is a funny, lovely, unsustainable thing. Sunday night I iced my knee and tucked myself into bed. Monday morning found me trying to fit back into a schedule with the sweet scent of the weekend still in my head.

Ah- Joy.

I try hard to find joy.

And I must confess, I think lately we as a society look a little harder for joy.

I was talking to a friend today as we discussed the quest for joy.

“I had my life in 2019 and then Covid came along. And I hunkered down and waited for my life to return. And now we are back. But some of the things in 2019 that worked, no longer work. I ironically find that I must reinvent myself yet again.”

Reinventing is fine but it must be recognized and attention must be paid. Where do we find our joy? How do we find our joy? The Rowdy? The Quiet?

As I left for the weekend, I checked the stove again and turned off the water. I locked the door and armed the alarm and I realized that I’m a little more anxious about leaving home.


Home which had become a safe sanctuary the last couple years. Home- where after 50 years, I found joy in the quiet.

And I left it to embrace the rowdy joy of sloppy kisses and dancing crowds.

Tonight it is quiet other than a very persistent cricket. The sun has set and their is a hint of Fall in the air. The sky is peppered with orange and purple clouds.

Perhaps joy is not fleeting- perhaps it does not have to be rowdy or quiet, it can be both.

Perhaps joy can be found where we take time to recognize it.


Where is my Mind?

This is a great song by the Pixies if you have a chance to listen.

It’s been a while since I have posted.

A new knee and six weeks of rehab since I have posted.

And where is my mind?

It’s better….but I have learned quite a lot about myself along the way.

When you recover from surgery, you spend a lot of time with you. You in a compromised state, you in pain, you not being able to swim, you waking up in the middle of the night, you and your crazy head.

I’ve had surgery. But this surgery has been pretty intense. I told this to my surgeon the other day and he did confess, “well I did take a saw to your leg, didn’t you watch the videos?”

No, no Mr. Surgeon. This would not have happened had I watched the videos.

And six weeks out, I am happy to report that I hiked two miles yesterday. I am healing. I will be back.

Two days before Mr. Surgeon took a saw to my leg, a friend asked my how I was doing.

“Not great,” I said. “I’m nervous about Mr. Surgeon taking a saw to my leg to remove my knee. It’s three days before Samantha’s birthday. I can’t be at the Courage Classic. I had to move this whole thing because I got stupid Covid. The last time I was so vulnerable was when I was put on bedrest because of Jack and we all know how that ended.”

Where is my mind?

Oof! I know you all are thinking…… never, ever ask Heather how she is doing two days before surgery.

And in the process, I have once again had to lean back on you…….and I thank you. The meals, the notes, the flowers, the cookies, the texts on Samantha’s birthday and (ironically) the week later when we lost her………the kidnappings so Hubs got a break, pizza dates with Mrs. PacMan, and an 18 year wedding anniversary with a new knee.

I could not do this on my own.

And I thank you.

This weekend I hiked 2 miles with amazing friends. I may have danced to a Grease sing off……

Summer Lovin’ had me a blast…..

No, I really did NOT have me a blast this summer.

But ya’ll got me through….even if you did not know it.

And for that dear tribe, I am grateful.

thank you.

This may or may not have been before the Grease Sing Off 🙂

Years of Courage

SamsMom 2009

13 years ago my life looked very different- it was the Summer of 2009, Samantha was on day 14 at Children’s Hospital and I was trying, very, very hard to train for the Courage Classic. I would ride from the hospital. I took the elevator from the 8th floor in my helmet, cycling shoes and super-flattering bike shorts, grab my bike from the car and take a cruise around scenic Colfax and 225.

Samantha was sick. Thursday before the ride she was still in the hospital and my chances to ride looked iffy. On Friday evening, we were finally discharged, with the caveat that if anything looked suspect, we would head back down the mountain.

We unpacked that Friday from the hospital and packed again for my ride.

We left Saturday morning at 5:00 to drive to Copper.

I got a migraine an ugly bout of diarrhea on the way up the mountains.

I don’t know why this ride was so important. But it was. Perhaps it was my time to prove I was still alive. I had spent months in the hospital with our girl. I needed to climb a mountain. I needed to find my breath.

I rode the entire tour.

Upon our return, Samantha ended up right back in the hospital.

But I did it.

And I sobbed when we finished.

Since 2009, this team has raised over $1MM for the Mitochondrial Clinic. Yesterday I sat at Panera with our doctors and they stated, quite clearly, “The goals we set ten years ago have become a reality. This money from Summits has made it happen.”

The Summits team will ride on Saturday.

They will ride without me.

This year, I am the patient.

I am a grumpy, self-pitying patient.

It was hard to bow out. It’s hard not to be up in Copper with the people I love.

It’s hard to put my knee ahead of my FOMO.

It’s hard to put my knee ahead of the feeling I get when I climb these mountains, when I find my breath, when I see my girl in the vistas.

This year, I am the patient.

Because this year, I no longer feel strong when I climb. A bike dismount is followed with concern that my knee will support me. A ride is coupled with a struggle to climb the stairs the next day.

Maybe I’m back where I started 13 years ago. Needing to find my breath again, prove my strength, find my moxie.

It takes Courage to know where we are and what we need.

This is what I am telling my grumpy, self-pitying me…..that she is courageous.

I still don’t know if she is buying it.

But next year will be different.

PS- I am still fundraising for our clinic! You can donate here!