Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Life lessons by Regina Brett of the Plain Dealer

Regina Brett's 45 life lessons and 5 to grow on

By Joey Morona

September 20, 2007, 2:03PM

Originally published in The Plain Dealer on Sunday,May 28, 2006

To celebrate growing older, I once wrote the 45 lessons life taught me.

It is the most-requested column I've ever written. My odometer rolls over to 50 this week, so here's an update:

1. Life isn't fair, but it's still good.

2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.

3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.

4. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.

5. Pay off your credit cards every month.

6. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.

7. Cry with someone. It's more healing than crying alone.

8. It's OK to get angry with God. He can take it.

9. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.

10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.

11. Make peace with your past so it won't screw up the present.

12. It's OK to let your children see you cry.

13. Don't compare your life to others'. You have no idea what their journey is all about.

14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn't be in it.

15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don't worry; God never blinks.

16. Life is too short for long pity parties. Get busy living, or get busy dying.

17. You can get through anything if you stay put in today.

18. A writer writes. If you want to be a writer, write.

19. It's never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you and no one else.

20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don't take no for an answer.

21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don't save it for a special occasion. Today is special.

22. Overprepare, then go with the flow.

23. Be eccentric now. Don't wait for old age to wear purple.

24. The most important sex organ is the brain.

25. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.

26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words: "In five years, will this matter?"

27. Always choose life.

28. Forgive everyone everything.

29. What other people think of you is none of your business.

30. Time heals almost everything. Give time time.

31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.

32. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will. Stay in touch.

33. Believe in miracles.

34. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn't do.

35. Whatever doesn't kill you really does make you stronger.

36. Growing old beats the alternative - dying young.

37. Your children get only one childhood. Make it memorable.

38. Read the Psalms. They cover every human emotion.

39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.

40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else's, we'd grab ours back.

41. Don't audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.

42. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful.

43. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.

44. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.

45. The best is yet to come.

46. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.

47. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.

48. If you don't ask, you don't get.

49. Yield.

50. Life isn't tied with a bow, but it's still a gift.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


I move fast. I say what I feel. I reserve the right to change my mind. I could leave almost any material possession behind. My mind never quits. I can’t sleep in. I’m always looking to get high on life…people and thoughts that light my fire. Heart always wins over head. Passion for people is my life’s common thread. I sleep diagonally, but never comfortably. My ailments are an extension of my head. I like to become a part of other people’s experience. Teach me to feel strong, stable and free. And stay. Bring the dreamer out in me. Sometimes reality is too much for me to take. I’ll do something just for something’s sake. I miss my youth, but love the things I’ve taken responsibility for as an adult.

Sometimes the air hits my lungs just right and I remember what it felt like to be a kid. I’m so aware it’s impossible to act oblivious. The words “loved like I should, lived like I shouldn’t” make sense to me. I’ve been told by a boss and friend to “never lose my gypsy spirit.” I can remember distinct moments where I’ve felt on top of my world – and moments where I realized that I let someone else stand between me and my happiness. Sometimes I know someone is taking advantage of me and I let them. I’m bad at dating – but great at loving. I write poetry. I like to live in my head a lot of times. I’m not afraid to admit my faults. There are things about myself I’ve come to accept – even though sometimes they aren’t the easiest things to digest. The best time I’ve had in a while was on the back of a four wheeler, speeding fifty miles per hour – when I got to thinking about it afterwards I realized that it was one of the very few times I’ve had the privilege of not having to hear my own thoughts. I like to tell people how I’m feeling – about them, about others, about my life. I believe that sometimes the person you thought you knew is nowhere to be found in the body you knew them in.“Serendiptiy” – I love the word and the meaning. I believe in people. I believe in myself. I feel like I know what I have when I have it. That scares me in itself because I’m always aware that it can be lost. I fear losing things and people I love. Life is one big lesson…a quest for perfection that can never be achieved. But I believe that being dedicated to the quest itself is enough to saves us from complete failure. I know I’m “getting there.” Serenity means the world to me.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

I don't mind what happens.

"I don't mind what happens." E Tolle.

I remember sitting in a Doctor's office in mild panic over a year ago. It happened to be during the time that I was reading through A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle. Instead of allowing myself escalate into a deeper cycle of panic I remember taking a line from the book and writing it down over and over again. "I don't mind what happens. I don't mind what happens. I don't mind what happens." Just doing this put me in a place where I could deal with the wait. I empowered myself into believing that no matter what came of that visit I could deal with it. I could be okay with whatever.

Here I am today with no idea what I was even there for...and I am okay. If I had allow myself to lose that day to completely unhealthy thinking...it would have been for nothing. A day lost.

The thing is that if we just allow ourselves to be in a mindset of okayness...we really can deal with anything. Most things don't turn out half as bed we could possible conjure up in our heads. Fear is almost always worse than reality.

Plus, we only have control over a certain number of events in our lives. And that's probably the way it should be. Some things have to happen in order for us to open our lives up to the things that are meant for us. Struggling against something just makes it get larger...hurt more...become paralyzing. Struggling and resistance fill our eyes with gray. When we do that too long we forget how to see the good.

So, for today I am reminding myself that I shouldn't mind what happens. I should find trust that all things happen for a good enough reason and that even if I don't know that reason right now...it's out there.

So, to ease my day I took some advice from the road...
...and made myself a little care package and I'm about to open a new book. And really, if that is what is happening here in my present - I don't have much room for complaint anyways.

Monday, September 21, 2009


Some breaks are foreshadowed by cracks veining across an object, spreading rapidly but never causing a fracture.

The windshield of a car. A coffee mug dropped in the sink.

The interesting thing about this state of destruction is that until there is a complete separation in space...these things cannot be repaired or resurrected.

It's in the complete space that you can apply a bonding agent, something to reunite the two pieces and truly hold them together.

It is in complete space that the individual pieces show their worth. Where you can see that one really may not work without the other. That both are needed.

Some breaks are clean - almost as if they come with instructions for repair. Apply bonding agent here. Stick together. Apply pressure. Rejoice.

Others shatter. Pieces go missing. The air always get's through. The coffee always leaks out. There's no handle left to hold on to.

But until the break...we may not ever know a thing's true strength or lack of it. Until the break we might not know how to fix or strengthen object, instead we run in circles...applying a beautiful layer of paint over and over again just to hide the mess. Until the break we might not see the biggest weaknesses, or place value on the strength of of individual pieces.

Photo Source - Original Artwork from Griffin and Sabine by Nick Bantock.

Friday, September 18, 2009

A tisket a tasket...


Last night I received a letter (plus two pages of beautiful toddler drawings that tickled my heart) from a dear friend whom I’ve spent little face time with, but whose energy has sparked my life into greater focus. I opened my life up to her in the moment I first saw her…and luckily enough she reciprocated the friendship.

Earlier in the week I received a delicate envelope from a friend I haven’t seen in months and months.

Last week I opened two letter bundles from my brother…complete with letters for me and the people I care about.

I am here to just rejoice and feel grateful. These letters feel incredible in my hands. It is so centering it is to hold this bundle of packaged words, words placed on paper just for me. There’s a thrill breaking open an envelope to touch a piece of paper that was only days ago in the hands of someone who I care deeply about, but don’t have the privilege of seeing often enough. My eyes gallop across the letters at first, then go back to savor each word. This is my bliss.

Letters are so significant to me.

Writing letters has given me a place of sanctuary in my life. A time for me and the exploration of my thoughts. A one-on-one date between me and a pen pal. A way to let someone completely captivate my focus even when they are nowhere near.

I love this exchange of words.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Shot Twice

My dream last night was particularly disturbing.

A man with a half covered face and a robotic expression cornered me against the bathroom wall. He fired one shot that hit my hand and I screamed. "Why did you do that? I'm a writer. How will I write?" Without any delay he turned around and fired again. This time at my throat. I could actually feel myself drowning in the dream.

Maura woke up and asked if someone had criticized my writing any time during the day.

"No, hmmm."

And then all the way to work I spent thinking about what it all could mean.

It seems each shot was fired to cut off communication in one form or another.

Maybe I'm feeling pent up. Or unheard. Or unable to express.
Maybe I'm just not putting enough into my communications.

Ponderous. Ponderous.

Hours later I realize -

Maybe the real message is to talk less and listen more. I talk A LOT.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Best of The Mix Swappiness

We did a mix swap. It was my first...and stretched me beyond my comfort zone. And I'm proud of myself for not shying away.

AND NOW....courtesy of Lindy Loo... the best of the best has been compiled online for your listening pleasure.

Enjoy here.

While you are there take a look around. The blog is filled with fun little tidbits...it's a daily visit for me.


Friday, September 11, 2009

Thank God For Songs.

This song sends me to tears every time I hear it. It just plucks my heart strings. Over and over and over again.


Lyrics by Amos Lee
Well I walked over the bridge
Into the city where I live,
And I saw my old landlord.
Well we both said hello,
There was no where else to go,
'cuz his rent I couldn't afford.

Well relationships change,
Oh I think it's kinda strange,
How money makes a man grow.
Some people they claim,
If you get enough fame,
You live over the rainbow.
Over the rainbow..

But the people on the street,
Out on buses or on feet,
We all got the same blood flow.
Oh, in society,
Every dollar got a deed,
We all need a place so we can go,
And feel over the rainbow.

But sometimes,
We forget what we got,
Who we are.
Oh who are are not.
I think we gotta chance,
To make it right.
Keep it loose,
Keep it tight.
Keep it tight.

I'm in love with a girl,
Who's in love with the world,
Though I can't help but follow.
Though I know some day,
She is bound to go away,
And stay over the rainbow.
Gotta learn how to let her go.
Over the rainbow.

Sometimes we forget who we got,
Who they are.
Oh, who they are not.
There is so much more in love,
Than black and white.
Keep it loose child,
Gotta keep it tight.
Keep it loose child,
Keep it tight.

Keep it tight,
Keep it tight,

And this one...I play on repeat all day long. Just Perfect.

Lyrics by Feist
Though I'd like to be the girl for him
And cross the sea and land for him
On milky skin my tongue is sand until
The ever distant band begins to play

He's my Brandy Alexander
Always gets me into trouble
But that's another matter
Brandy Alexander

He's my Brandy Alexander
Always gets me into trouble
But that's another matter
Brandy Alexander

Though you know what I love most of him
I'm walking on needles and pins
My addiction to the worst of him
The low moon helps me sing

I'm his Brandy Alexander
Always get him into trouble
I hide that I'm flattered
Brandy Alexander

I'm his Brandy Alexander
Always get him into trouble
I hide that I'm flattered
Brandy Alexander

Goes down easy
It goes down easy [7x]

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Feeling a little down? Giddup (or Giddyup if you prefer it.)

The truth is blog friends, I've been feeling a little bit down.

The details of the struggle aren't necessary...I like to keep a little bit to myself at times.

But here is what is important.

There are a few things that work for me during even the most difficult times...and maybe if I share them here they can help you to work through your life struggles as well.

1. Be honest with yourself first. You can't deal with other people if you are fooling yourself. If you do...any resolution you come to will be unfounded and an avoidance behavior. In times of hardship we need to work with what is real and modify real actions. "The truth will set you free." It's overused...but only because it's true.

2. Be gentle with yourself. There are things in life we can't control and our own thoughts are one of them. We can work to modify what we do with them...we can even work to push certain ones away, however punishing ourselves for being human and having reactions is entirely defeatist. Again, it only leads to avoiding a real issue and debilitates us from feeling powerful enough to push through.
3. Reach out for help when you need it, but don't expect anyone to have the single best answer for you. This goes back to being honest with yourself. Our bodies will direct us towards what we need and so will our hearts. We have to figure out the best answers to our life predicaments for ourselves...but outside perspective from people you trust is never a bad thing. If I didn't reach out I'd be bruised and bloodied by my own hands. I admit it...sometimes I need someone else to share my pain with me. I need someone to buffer my self blows...and to buffer me from delivering careless blows to others.

4. Make a commitment to moving forward. Period. My BFF gave me great advice..."it's not helpful to dwell on any one thought for more than 5 minutes." Once you do you are just simply torturing yourself. Think things over...come back to thoughts if you need to...but darn it...MOVE FORWARD. Try something new. Change your outlook. And commit yourself to happiness, with or without immediate resolution.

So here I am trying away. Learning to love and accept myself even when I'm struggling.

Giddup. Giddyup. Darnit Just Do Something!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

TeaBird - Postcards Made With Yogi Tea Bags!

In order to try to focus some of the energies inside of me I decided to take my obsession with Yogi Teabags one step further and create postcards!

I also used one of the designs as the new header on my blog. Needs resized, but I'm loving it. It just fits.

I heart tea!

(Confession: I used a cheap teabag to cut open and spread as grass. I couldn't bear to waste a delicious Yogi bag.)

Monday, September 7, 2009

Sunday, September 6, 2009


Open your eyes. Blink.
Where did you come from...how did you learn
Where were you loved...did each take their turn?
Which things were spoken and taught?
Which things did you know that forever you fought?
Why didn't you say it back then?
Why let a thorn in your side protrude and not mend?

Open your eyes. Blink.
What is it about the holding of a hand that helps you walk and helps you stand?
Why is there enough in a fingertip to create...to take...to give and demand?
Why have I let my struggle make me a slave of my mind...
If there were no limits what would I find?

Open your eyes. Blink.
Who do you see opening the doors of your pain?
Teaching with touch, guiding with thought, and holding on to restrain.
Who is there when the lights turn off and the mind rides?
Does the soul visit when the body hides?
is there someone you meet in the corner of your dream...where the wind drowns emotion and tears cannot stream?

Jamie Belardo circa 2002

alumni night (64 photos) - My youth returned.

Friday night we had our alumni band celebration. An event in honor of Mr. Lydecker, a man who spent the last 40 years of his life changing lives through music. And for me personally, giving me the best memories of my entire high school career and a place where I still feel at home.

There's hardly ever a high school thing that gets deep down into the souls of the people that were a part of that and brings them back giddy and eager 15 years later. For the most part it seems that people are happy to have moved on.

But when you witness 600 people (including current band members) marching onto the filed equipped with instruments, flip books and pride - you realize that something is different about band.

I have so much pride in being a part of that group of people. I loved every face that I saw. I felt safe, excited and inspired.

I felt like a part of something huge.

Thank you to Mr. Lydecker fo giving us a band that was so incredible. Thank you for the years of your time. Thank you for magnetizing great people to get, and stay, involved in something so positive. Thank you for putting up with all the idiosyncrasies of nearly 300 students every year and bringing us all together to create something amazing. You changed my life. You improved my life. I'd do every moment of it over again - it was the best of my high school career.

Hugs to everyone I got to spend my night with. It was 15 years in the making for me..and the best reunion I've had to date.

Check out the photos if you are interested.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Firday Shootout - Windows and Doors

Posted by Picasa

And the winners are...

As I mentioned earlier...I didn't win the photography contest for the city of Cleveland. However the winners are posted and their work is great. Congrats to all who entered and won. I hope you had as much fun taking your photos as I did taking mine.

The Winners and Rules etc are posted here.

I'm attaching my entries just to share! Hope you enjoy them.

Entered Photos:

Unentered Photos that I liked: