a life of faith at nautilus teachings

grace entered my life
like the soft wind
caressing the shore…
my head slightly bowed
almost in reverence
to the power
of mother ocean
and the changing
tides of my life…
from birth
i knew
one day
my footprints
would be solo
so from first breath
i drew my life
from my faith…
i was 5 years old
when i met my aging self.
the day was sunny
warm, birds chirping
i could smell the
lilacs blooming
outside my open window…
the wind was gentle
when i felt my
tiny self crumble
to the floor
my breath stop
my little lids close
i left my body
and sat in the palm
of God’s hand…
below me, i watched
my mother frantically
call the paramedics
who were there in
less than 5 minutes
because the firehouse
was at the bottom
of the hill
across the street
from my favorite place
Lord’s park…
in those few minutes
i knew
my life
was full of God’s love
grace and protection…

i saw an elderly woman
with long gray hair
in a flannel nightgown
with her eyes closed
floating beside me
then i saw God’s other hand
lift the woman
place her next to me…
i felt a transference of
one life to the other
the air filled my lungs
i opened my eyes
gazed up at the men
and then my mother
and smiled…
i told my mother all
about meeting God
and the older woman
she smiled
held me close
and then together
we kneeled before
her golden praying hands
while she
thanked God for
bringing me back
to her…
from that day on
i believed i was here
to save my mother
from her life.
maybe she did not need that.
maybe she was really happy.
maybe i was completely wrong.
after all, i was only 5…
i spoke very little
i observed everything
and as much as i feared
my brothers ugliness
toward me
it never stopped me
from being my mothers shadow
watching her cook,
clean, create…
i can still see her smile
hear her laugh
in that little house
on linden avenue
in elgin illinois…
i can still smell her scent
see her ruby red lips
feel the softness of her hands,
just as easily as i can
hear my brothers
back talking to her
my father yelling
and putting her down…

which is why
no matter what
i vowed to God
i would protect my mother…
maybe this was one of the
among many
that i hid,
eavesdropped on
peered through key holes…
maybe it was one of the
my brothers
hated me
hurt me
making me feel
and worthless…
i just knew things
before other people.
i believe it was the
holy spirit speaking
to me
when i was young
because i know
it was the holy spirit
speaking to me
for a fact
from the time i was 11
up until today
at the age of 55…
call me crazy
don’t believe me
it does not matter…
my faith runs deep
my faith sustains me
my faith-
not religion-
is my center…
for some people
religion and faith
go hand in hand…
it never has for me.
i loved being raised in
the church
and my children
grew up, themselves
with a church family…
it was what saved me
knowing every sunday
i would bow before God
in the holiest of places
ask for forgiveness
and leave after the service
much lighter
in any sanctuary
i was safe
and at home.
all my mentors
we pastors,
and still are…
i have spent my entire life
trying to connect the dots
painting dots for air
surrounding all my images
with a black line
to protect them
from the poison
encompassing my reality…
then one day in 2005
i rebelled against my adult life,
a life i had chosen
a life i had endured
a life so filled with ugliness
pain, disappointment
that left me feeling
completely broken
useless as a woman
or mom
churches did not help
they only thing that did help
doing yoga
letting my faith surround me
cradle me
i hopped inside God’s pocket
and spoke those few words
every believer says,
“Lord, lead me life…”

Read More a life of faith at nautilus teachings

lists, kids, God, dogs & humor at nautilus teachings

you’ve made your list.
the day is all planned out
you’ve left plenty of time
for bathroom breaks
maybe even 5 minutes
of you time
and then
place one foot
down upon the floor
what is this?
how did i not
hear my dog vomit last night?
oh, yeah,
must have been that
vodka on the rock i had before bed
to calm me from
you hop on one foot
to the restroom
wipe it off
while you pee
and smile
you think to yourself,
‘not even 7am
and i am already
you flush,
brush your teeth
let the dogs out
and begin your day…
as you turn
you jam your pinky toe
into the doorframe
and scream…
ugh! it’s going to be
this kind of day, is it?
you think to yourself.
you begin your morning routine
of making tea, coffee,
lunches, feed the dogs,
meditation and prayer…
today you are full on demanding,
“GOD!!!! PLEASE make this a
good day!”

you miss the green light
and decide to turn right
and do a u-turn
as you do a runner
comes from out of nowhere
startling you so much
you spill your coffee
on your white shorts…
you breath in, put on
calming music
and convince yourself
today is gonna be grand.
a quick stop at starbucks
yields you a,
“the guy in front of you
paid for your coffee”
you smile
this is your sign…
the table has turned.
you park your car
and as you rise up
your backside squeaks out a long….
‘oh no…not today, Lord…
i don’t have time to be
running to the bathroom…’
you decide to risk it
and enjoy your
delicious expresso
as you ride the elevator
to your floor
unlock your door
and gaze at all the color…
‘ah, you think, i love my life…’
you start up the computer
light a few candles
and sit in silence with your coffee
thinking about all the fun
today will bring you…
the kids arrive
ready to create
sitting patiently
the little mermaid
while you wait for two more
to show up…
20 minutes later
you heave a sigh
and begin…

first you all jump in place
to get out the jitters
a quick bathroom break
and then they all
pick their seats…
not one minute into it
two boys are yelling out
across the table at each other
playing some kind of weird word game
so you pick one of them up
and plop him at another table
with his back to the other boy…
one of your helpers steps up
smiles at you
letting you know
‘she’s got this!’
life is funny.
its way unpredictable
and we are not in control…
we can make all the plans we want
check our list a million times
and their is still that one
‘crap, i forgot…’
this was me,
the first day of camp
was unbelievably awesome.
i think my helpers this year
are beyond the best i have had
so far,
and it helps that i have 7 of them
for the 18 kids…
so they are all painting
and blinging out their masterpieces
when i discover the tails
won’t stay on with
my glue gun…
plan b.
drill holes and attach with wire,
piece of cake!
until i realize
i forgot the wire!!!
we have 10 minutes left of working time
when one of my helpers comes up
and says,
‘don’t worry. we can finish it tomorrow!’
i love these girls…
they are calm, beautiful and smart!
the kids all leave
i run home and get my wire
and sit alone
on a chair
in the doorway to my studio patiently attaching all the tails
so i can pause
and gaze at the colors
and memories of the day…
3 hours later
i realize
‘well, no workout today!’
i slide into my car seat
crank the AC
drive the 1/2 mile home
and am greeted with
wet noses and wagging tales…
my list sits on the counter
with the bold words
i smile
how my day began
scroll through the awesome
moments with all the kids
from the day
thank God for my helpers
and the parents
who trust me
hop in the shower
let the warm water
wash off the paint
and sooth my aching joints…
i open my shower curtain
to find my two dogs
asleep, waiting for me…
it’s good to be loved
it’s good to feel needed
and sometimes
all it takes
is that one mushy face
staring at you
as they lie on the floor
wapping their tail against the ground
just letting you know
they have your back.

Read More lists, kids, God, dogs & humor at nautilus teachings

filling up the spaces at nautilus teachings

parts of our lives
are spent
filling up the spaces…
the empty moments
can i still breath
is this really true
did that happen
how can i make it through
where do i start…
we gaze through the cracks
seeking memories
we scroll back through
old texts, voice messages,
search emails
hanging on to tiny threads
scattered pieces
as the ticking of the clock slows
we find some breathing space
allowing our soul to rest
we tap our feet
rub our hands together
close our eyes
sit in stillness
trying to find scraps
tiny segments to feed us
assuring our heart,
we will be ok…
we begin by learning
to do for ourselves
while our moms
cook, clean, pick up the house…
we crawl and walk around
playing with toys
drawing with crayons
picking on our siblings
we fill it all up
until she appears
smiling, happy
ready to change us,
feed us
hold, sing and talk to us.
from the very beginning
we are taught
life may have blank pages
but everywhere we turn
their is another color
to fill it up,
or, if we wish
we can choose
to sing a song
look up at the clouds
lay in the grass
listen to the wind
just be an observer…
what do you fill up those
moments with?

as we grow
we have choices
do we release it through
do we retreat inside ourselves
spending to many hours
filled of sadness?
or are you like rubber
things bouncing off of you
able to paint on a smile
and just move through it?
maybe your are a procrastinator
piling everything up
in the corners of your mind
until one day
you just break open
unable to handle the deluge
landing you
in a deep depression
needing medication
to even cope?
we all have them…
you get the call,
“……has passed away…”
your boss pulls you aside,
“i’m sorry but we are downsizing…”
the mail arrives with the reality
you cannot afford your lifestyle,
the doctor tells you,
“the tests came back,
unfortunately you have…”
at all these blows
against our day to day routine
tell us
we need a coping mechanism.
for me,
i go silent.
i retreat.
i may stretch out a long canvas
and throw paint at it
while i cry
listening to the dixie chicks on full blast
i grab my computer
and write until i have nothing
left inside…
cooking is another way i
let the slow ticking of time pass
i can immerse myself in
flavors, colors and scents.
when i was young
i would hide in closets
underneath the grape vines
behind the big oak trees
i would just get lost.
and really,
isn’t that what we need
in those resting spaces
while we are breathing in
the unexpected truth before us,
to just

the trending phrase for all of this
is, “what’s in your tool box?”
you can take online classes
read many self help books
even install apps
all of them with the same idea
to help you
there is no magical way to heal.
when tragedy strikes
leaving you feeling depleted
sucking out your air
blowing up your heart
leaving you broken
in so much pain
you think,
“will it ever end?”
the only answer is time.
let your self be sad.
cry, scream, pound your
fists against the way
run till you cannot
take one more step…
if you allow it to just bounce off
you will one day find it come
flinging back at you
unexpectedly like
a boomerang
catching you so off guard
you won’t even know
what hit you…
if you bury it deep inside
not allowing truths to surface
you may become bitter
taking out your frustrations
on those you love
hurting them
in ways you never imagined…
life is here
it’s short
every day is a gift
so point your beautiful smile upward
feel the grace, light and love of God
in those
empty moments
through faith

Read More filling up the spaces at nautilus teachings

leaving your “self” at nautilus teachings

you have to leave yourself
in order to find your
recently d asked me,
“how come you don’t paint anymore?
i love it when you paint.
are you just writing now?”
there was no defining answer
or at least one i did not wish
to share…
inside he knows the answer
he understands my loss
my pain
my searching
for guidance…
it’s been a crazy last
year and a half.
my d underwent multiple
surgeries to fix aging
and over used
body parts,
our son and wife
bought a house here
and gave us a grandson
which has permanently
placed a smile upon our faces…
we all went through
the hurricane
which set life back
by months for
most of us…
so trying to find
creative time
to paint
dream up ideas
put a brush onto canvas
became difficult for me…
all around me,
what i do,
my byob’s that i started
9 years ago-
they are everywhere…
embracing this
accepting this
seeing peoples posts
of ‘other paint nights’
with friends who used
to grace my studio
made me think
just maybe
it was time to move on,
close my tiny studio
and find something else
to do.

so over the past 15 months
i have put new ideas out there to paint
nothing was working…
i even  wanted to get a faith night going, but….
then one day
i gave it all over to God.
writing flowed easily
new ideas to paint
got drawn out in my journal
and left to sit
on pages
without color
and brush ever meeting
on canvas…
i was born an artist
i never wanted anything else
yet one cannot just sit down
and make a masterpiece
some of them fail, yes
but most of my paintings,
i know when i finish,
they are good
because they speak to me…
i can see people smiling
and taking them home…
so those images i see
are all still dancing within me
beckoning me to play…
and play i will
when it’s time.
what am i waiting for?
i’m not…
i decided
to let this huge universe
sorta take it’s own course…
over the past year and 1/2
i have also seen people
post the meanest
ugliest more hurtful things
all while thinking
they know it all
have all the answers
and unless you agree with them
they drop you
throw in the trash
and walk away…i can’t do this.
i’m 55 years old
i love my family
i love my life
i love painting
being with my dogs
hosting parties
and fundraisers
and i love
seeing so many
beautiful faces grace
my studio to paint.
summer camp starts
and i have the honor
of teaching 50 kids
over a period of 3 weeks-
yes, my numbers of kids
is down
and no
it doesn’t bother me.
i’m not a babysitter
i am a luxury-
i know this…
i teach children art
for 3 hours a day
5 days a week
for only 100$.
my byob’s have been
$30 since i began in
december of 2008.
life is coming full circle for me
i am happy,
actually i am filled with joy…
this july i will begin releasing
all my images on canvas
my next book will
be available
and tiny bali studios
wall of classes
will have new things to paint.
i am growing as an artist
mother, teacher, wife and friend
just like God teaches me to…
i’m not going away
i’m not closing my doors
nor will i spend
money i don’t have
on advertising…

you know me
you know what i believe in
you know my style
and you also know
at tiny bali studios
miss sheri
“do it your way,
your colors
your style…
i’m just here to
put a little color in the lives
of those of you
who believe in me…”
so as you go on with your life
and i do the same with mine
know i am filled with gratitude
for every one of you
who supports me
and shares their beautiful life
with me…
i see you on fb-and i hear d’s question
“why don’t you paint anymore?”
“i just don’t feel like it”, i say back,   “why would i waste all my colors
on a world so caught up
in fighting, complaining and hurting?
i don’t live in that world
i live in my own…”
i will be at my
little bali studios
painting, smiling and listening to
Louise Armstrong croon,
“And I think to myself,
What a wonderful world…”
hope to see you all there starting in July…

Read More leaving your “self” at nautilus teachings

imodium, ex lax and unisom at nautilus teachings

she had them all lined up
on the kitchen counter
the time was 6pm
dinner was on the stove
the kids had been
out of control all day,
the dogs barking at every
possible sound, motion or smell
this was supposed to be her sunday night…
she glanced at the bottles and
began reading their names out loud,
imodium, ex lax and unisom
on the counter opposite
lay a bb gun, rope, duct tape, nerf gun
she walked to the bathroom
placed small candles, a lighter,
a bottle of wine with a glass
ear plugs, and lavender epson salt…
she check her email
making sure all was clear
peaked in on the kids
who’s bedroom looked like
a bomb hit it and spoke
“everyone outside now, please…”
the three munchkins looked at her
and went back to pulling and screaming
at one another…
“now” she said, pointing at the door…
the dogs were already waiting
when they lined up
waiting for her to open the slider…
but first she grabbed the dogs collars
and placed them in their cages
with a fresh bone
kissed them on the nose
closed their doors tight….
dogs were easy.
they loved you,
were happy to see you
listened to you
obeyed for the most part
and loved to sleep…
she returned to the family room
to find all three missing
she heard them giggle,
“ah,” she thought, “so it’s hide from mommy time…”
she smiled and sighed,
“oh, i guess i will have to go outside
all by myself… i will be so sad to be alone…”
more giggles, only louder
came from the hall closet.
she slid open the door
and hid from them behind
the chase which was poolside.

soon they all scrambling out the door,
“mommy. mommy. where’s mommy?”
she thought to herself
they were the cutest things on the planet
their tiny fingers and toes,
gorgeous smiles
long curly locks
huge green eyes like their father…
her mind flashed back to the kitchen
and her stockpile on both counters of
imodium, ex lax, unisom,
a bb gun, rope, duct tape, nerf gun
and burst into laughter…
she jumped up and surprised her
three young children,
“you”, she smiled,
“have been ordered to walk the plank”
then she pointed at the pool.
“last one in the spa is a rotten egg,
now strip off your filthy clothes
and get it!”
plop, plop, plop…
soon they were gurgling water,
splashing each other
and of course screaming,
“i farted!”
he appeared from around the
side of the house,
sweaty, buff, handsome as can be
with that killer smile!
he quickly took on the character
of a british ‘bobbie’ changing up his voice
swinging his towel at his side
and his crazy walk
led to overwhelming cheers
from the spa and the, 
“oh daddy! you are so silly…”
he looked up at her
as he sat upon the edge of the water,
“well, “ he said in a british accent,
“time to dip the fishes?”
she smiled, nodded
and walked inside
removed the imodium the ex lax
placing them in the cabinet thinking to herself,
“he’s really an awesome dad!”…
when she returned he was in
the spa with them
happily washing their hair
and tiny bodies
singing them silly songs
while all three
hung on his neck, back and arms
while saying,
“cannonball daddy, cannon ball!”
one by one he picked them up
and plopped them in the pool to rinse
as they swam under the water
twirled and rubbed off any
soap left on their suntanned bodies
or in their long locks…

soon they were on the steps
exiting the pool as
one by one
she dried them,
kissed their noses
and said,
“clean jammies, brush your hair
and meet me on the sofa!”
she followed them inside
grabbed the unison, placing it too
inside the cabinet next
to the sink thinking,
“tonight he is mine!”
while they were getting
ready for bed, she pulled the pizza
from the oven,
divided a root beer
amongst three glasses
carried them to the family room
and popped in one of their
favorite movies.
they returned quickly
with blankets and pillows
knowing what was ahead…
the movie kept them glued
while she cut up the pizza
put it on plates
and glanced out the window
at him.
he was asleep
amongst the bubbles left over
from the kids bath
in the hot tub.
she smiled
fed the kids
sat for a brief moment
smiling with her three munchkins…
she heard the door open
walked to the kitchen and caught him
smiling and staring at the
bb gun, rope, duct tape, nerf gun…
“and these are for?”
he asked her…
she kissed him gently on the lips,
“well, the bb gun was to shoot towards you
getting you out of your gardening coma
you tend to get in on Sunday afternoon
when the kids are driving me nuts…
i thought of using the rope
to tie you up and the duct tape
to put over your mouth
while i seduced you…
but since we have an audience
all the flipping time,
i decided on the nerf gun…”
she quickly grabbed it
and began shooting and laughing
as she tried to pelt him with the
spongy darts…
he quickly grabbed it,
as they both laughed,
and kissed one another….
soon the kids were hugging their legs
screaming ,
“do me, daddy, do me…”
this was her life-
the life she created
and the life she loved….

Read More imodium, ex lax and unisom at nautilus teachings

letting numbers go at nautilus teachings

what is the point
in counting birthdays?
i guess i can see the relevance
up to your 21st, but after that
we tend to count decades
30, 40, 50….
on the morning of my birthday
as i was walking the beach
awaiting the sun to rise
my mind began turning
and highlights of all the
mornings i had watched
the sun welcome a new day
made me smile,
i have so many memories
of early mornings
on the beach…
maybe after 21 we should start
counting sunrises, sunsets, moon phases…
just something besides
how many years mark us
from the day we took our first breath…
can you imagine your
3, 385th sunrise
or how about our 108th new moon celebration,
or the fact that there were 709, 560 high tides
since you turned 21!
what i am talking about is
a new way of thinking…
by ceasing to obsess about numbers
not worrying that you are almost
a certain age,
the age your parents died,
or, the next one you get to
collect social security…
what if we woke up on this
special morning
counted our blessings
expressed gratitude
thought about all the opportunities
which lay before us
which will allow us to grow
learn more
help someone
give back
laugh, love and smile…

it is more difficult to rise up
in the wee dark hours
as time passes
yet when i open my eyes
i push out the fact
that my bones ache
i still feel exhausted
my vision is blurry
and those dang extra 10 lbs
keep hanging on…
instead i wonder
how brilliant will the colors
be as the sun rises over the ocean
will i get to see pelicans
skimming the water
find a beautiful seashell
will i be able to see the moon,
stars and the sun as the same time
for a short moment
or will i wake to a morning sprinkle
which washes away all the
grunge of the day before
and then if i wait long enough
will i see a rainbow?
i think about all the seasons
i have enjoyed,
the springs waking up
to see new buds pushing
up through the hard dirt
the birds making their nests
hoping to one day hear
their little chirps
and maybe if i am lucky
see them fly…
or the russet colored squirrels
who are perched upon my
red christmas palm berries
munching away
or the deep browns, reds and oranges
of fall leaves
just waiting to be racked up
and jumped in…
how about all the winters
i got to sled down the big hills,
the summers i rolled down them
and how much fun it was to raise
my own children, teaching them
the simple pleasure of life…
i wonder how many more cups of coffee
i will get to wake up to every morning-
oh how i love the scent of it brewing,
and take that first sip…
how many bottles of wine?
how would you count the passing of you-
your days,
your life,
your moments?
by color,
wind storms,
level of knowledge?
as we age
birthdays become
numbers don’t matter
years are remembered by,
the year someone got married
someone was born
someone passed away…
oh, that was when i moved to…
i did that when i was a vegan
awwww that was when finny was a puppy…
i am just all for stopping the counting
putting numbers on us
standing on scales
freaking out at my pant size
or how many ways i can
get rid of my crepey skin…
when i hit the speed limit
or double nickels
as some call it,
i smiled
and remembered
all the candy i could buy
when i was a kid for 10 cents
from the store on the corner
or the fact that i could
make a phone call at phone booth
until i was a young mother for the same price…
let’s start a revolution
go against the flow
break away from all rules
and when asked
how old we are,
smile and say,
“today i am a beautiful shade of
turquoise water
lapping the sandy shore…”
“today i am a lazy loo,
wandering the streets
watching people
and soaking it all in…”
or better yet,
“today, i am alive
and life can’t get any better than that!”

Read More letting numbers go at nautilus teachings

that “aha” moment at nautilus teachings

have you ever waited for
the light to pop on
in someones head
as you finally  hear them say,
“ahhh. ya know. i finally get it…”
sometimes it feels as if
they will never grow up
hear the truth
see what lies before them
and stay stuck in that
rut they keep
complaining and crying about
the one that
hurts them down to the core
but they are afraid to let go
they keep trying
never giving up
researching for something new
any way just to help
someone they love.
the day comes
they know.
they grow up.
they get it.
do you remember your moment of awakening?
when you stopped fighting the current
and allowed your self to just be buoyant
how it cradled you
rocked you to a deep healing sleep
only to gently place you upon the shore
feeling inspired, rested, ready
to begin your new footpath
that God placed before you
so long ago,
but it wasn’t until now
that you actually
heard HIS calling
turned the volume down
on your crazy, stressful
mixed up life
and said,
“Lord, lead me…”
we are born into the hands
and lives of those who are
supposed to protect and love us,
yet, sometimes one of our loved ones
does the exact opposite
or they put themselves
continually first
or even worse
they show affection to us
and then
we find out they just cannot stop lying
and hurting, not just themselves
but those who love them.

when do you cut the ties?
how many years do you endure
this psychological and emotional torture?
when does the mask finally fall off
allowing you to see clearly
it’s time to walk away?
we all have a different threshold
for pain endurance
and granted their are different
types of pain
emotional pain is a tough one
how can we love someone
and still allow them to hurt us?
what is our breaking point,
do we take verbal assault
yet draw the line at
or do we turn the other cheek
and wait until we are so
battered and broken
we look as if we just
stepped out of a boxing ring?
the worse damage is usually
on the inside where no-one can see it.
people stay for so many different reasons
this one particular young beauty
believed she could save him
he was finally clean and not lying
she wanted the heart connection
with him she had felt when she was a child…
she tried
she trusted
she even kept dismissing
all the obvious signs
trying to protect her heart
from breaking into a million tiny pieces…
the day came
when he finally turned on her
yelling at her
the way he did at her mom
so many years ago
and she knew
no matter what
one of the bravest
and most difficult steps
you will ever take is
when you finally let HIS
light shine down upon your life
illuminating before you
it’s time to grow up
and leave this all behind.
my mother always said,
‘sher we are all broken
in some way, because of that
we must be accepting,
forgiving and love unconditionally”…

when i answered the young beauties phone call
i could feel her silent pain
as she tried desperately
to speak words,
she began crumbling
pieces of her memory
with him which were whirling around
like a tsunami
she was drowning in
a living grief…
i reminded her of her strength
to breathe in deeply
and find a calm center…
she was listening to my every word
and i knew
she was ready to let the light in
all the cracked pieces
melting away the feeling
of responsibility for him
and allowing her to unfurl
her own dreams
choose her own path
say goodbye to the town
she had been in for 2 years
and finally grow up
do only what she wanted
expand her wings
and begin to find herself,
just herself
always walking in the knowing
God is protecting her
and just like on the day
she was born
her mom has her back…
it does not mean she
is running away from any one person
or even him…
it’s that the light popped on, securing in her the knowledge ,
She is clothed with strength and dignity,
and she laughs without fear of the future.
Proverbs 31:25

Read More that “aha” moment at nautilus teachings

his interior life at nautilus teachings

outside he depicts
habitual life.
he’s married
with children,
holds a job that
pays the bills,
goes to church
and from afar
appears average.
he could lose a few pounds
drinks a bit to much
angers easily
is a master
at verbal assault
and when that doesn’t work
he uses
his hand, a rope, maybe a knife
to make his message clear
of you…
why does he do this?
make you feel as if you are tiny?
as if you carry the plague?
why the bullying approach
to marriage, fatherhood, life?
he lives an interior life
was raised in the
60’s in a family that
swept everything under the rug
and walked away
refusing to acknowledge
that maybe
he needed some psychological help
and at the bare minimum
his behavior needed to be
talked about
he needed to be heard
and accepted
but that was just not the way
of life then…
in society today
is completely accepted
young people are united
they are unafraid to be
exactly who they know
they are,
they embrace each other.

i can still remember my daughter
years ago saying,
‘mom, we don’t see color at all…’
i loved this
because being a child of the 60’s myself
i heard prejudice spew
across almost every mans lips
i encountered.
i can also remember
my 9th birthday party….
i invited my closest 6 friends
one was asian, one was black,
one was special needs
two were goofy boys
then me and my bff.
i never thought anyone was different
nor did my mom.
i don’t remember seeing color
or differences either
because my mom raised
me to love everyone.
he- was not so lucky.
at 12 his life
inside his head
was so alive
that the gravitational pull
to retreat into himself
completely shutting out
the world
through alcohol and substance abuse
while he dressed in female clothing
rooted deep inside
a need for a private world
no one had access to.
he became a great liar
and teller of stories
could look you straight in the eye
without flinching
while he unraveled the most
intriguing stories
all 100% bullshit-
but the listener
was clueless.
he could wrap you up
in such a tight cocoon
you actually fed off of him
as he mirrored back to you
your pain, happiness, struggles…
he could actually get inside you
without your knowledge
or invitation.

this is the mind of a
twisted sociopath
and narcissist.
she fell prey to him
finding herself
dangling from
a pendulum
by a tiny fraying thread…
his words stripped
her of all worth
the ropes he tied her up with
drained her strength
the knives he held
at her throat
and threw at her
from across the room
taught her feared obedience…
the older her grew
the bolder he became
bringing his addictions
inside the family home
and locking himself
in the furthest bathroom
where he felt safe
completing his rituals
while the family
vigilantly slept
down the hall.
one night she felt brave
and knocked
then pounded on the door
for him to reveal himself…
when he did
dressed in her clothes
hot and sweaty
his words slapped her face
as he revealed,
“when i am in here
i feel ‘godlike’…
i leave my body and become
the image in my head.
i feel complete possession
of ‘her’
taking over me
‘she’ empowers me
making me feel invincible…”
in the 60’s he began
crossdressing in
his mother and sisters
bras and panties…
30 years later
he lived a double life
and she and her children
were trapped…
after many years of marriage
he was able to strip
her of all self esteem
and voice
until this day.
she stood looking at him/her
turned her back
and walked away.
the next morning
he was gone.

she changed the locks
filed for divorce
fell down to her knees
and begged forgiveness…
while he
traveled to the southern most
point on the east coast
stepped out of his truck
and started his life
as her…
he did live a full life
as a woman for a few years
landing himself in jail
a few times
and eventually
a 3rd rehab
which worked
long enough for him
to wrap another woman
in his twisted, sticky web
of lies an deceit
and reconcile with one
of his children
who slowly opened her heart
to him and believed
he was fine…
can people truly change?
with proper medication
and counseling
can they carry on
fairly normal lives?
he chose no.
he chose himself
leaving behind
any chance at a
semi normal life
and crushing
his adult daughters heart…
do you  love
and embrace
everyone regardless of
sexual preference
political views
religious affiliations
whether they  are vegan
gluten free
can eat everything
what car they  drive
what school they go to…
we are not to judge but to go on
living our truths, being kind,
forgiving, loving, growing, believing…
we are not expected to live in fear when faced with harm
we need to find the strength to walk away
finding our selves and family a safe place
when my phone rang to hear her broken voice
screaming for help from across the miles
my response was, “go to any church for sanctuary…”

Read More his interior life at nautilus teachings

happy birthday to me at nautilus teachings

there is a glow
emanating from the
large number of lit candles
placed upon the table
underneath the revolving fan blades
put on low
so as to not
rush the burning of
the moment…
sweat drips down
the aged temples
of the woman
sitting there
a complete life…
her life is full.
she is blessed.
inside her a battle loomed
between imagined death
and dreamed continual breath
until the day,
she would make the call,
“God, you can now take me home…”
the emission glows
reflecting small eye wrinkles
family gathered for the celebration
smile, nod their heads
in acknowledgement
of their aging mother
knowing she has their backs
loves them unconditionally
and she understands
growth is needed in life.
the song continues on…
‘happy birthday to you…’
she closes her eyes
makes a private wish
for health and long life,
then glances around the table
seeing pieces of her heart
gathered in celebration
of her…
she takes in a deep breath
thanks God for her blessings
gently blows out the flames
closes her eyes
as her heart skips a beat
and the words from her mother
caress her soul,
‘it is not the end dear heart, it is the beginning…’

what makes you blush
takes your breath away
leaves you speechless?
is there a dream
tugging at your heart
a friend, relative you still
wish to hug
just one more time
a conversation you need to have
do you need to forgive,
the light warming out faces
paints our souls
as our hands grasp tightly
the unteathering
as another years reel
of recorded heart memories
awaits to be opened,
heard, seen, listened to,
in the quiet moments
in this last week of newness
that i am given the
priceless gift of watching
our grandson,
as he arrives early,
eyes still sleepy
i gaze at him next to me,
he appears to be taking
his ole’ granny in,
we smile at the same time
our eyes lock
and i am lost
happy tears stream
down my cheeks
as i hold my breath
taking a memory photo
of this moment
and praising God for
this tiny miracle…
i tell Ry all the angels
are around him
kissing and protecting him
that grandma angels
is with him always-
he pushes his binky out
of his tiny pink lips
looks me in the eye
gives me a big smile
and begins to coo…
i take this as a sign from
mom and God that, yes
she is always near.

i am a believer of God
of angels,
i believe in the Holy Spirit
visiting me
as it has done my whole life…
i don’t feel death surrounding me
as i thought would be the case.
i truly believed i too was doomed
to take my last breath in my 55th
year of life.
i have had all my testing done
from colonoscopy
to mammogram,
complete physical
and blood work up
and for the 12th year in a row
my doctor looks at me
with a smile upon her face
and utters those words,
‘sheri, you are not dying.
you do not have cancer
or leukemia. keep doing
what you are doing
and enjoy your life…’
so as i baby step my way
through my 55th birthday week
as i feel my whole life
on the threshold of
big changes
as my kids gather
around my mothers table
in celebration of me,
as friends pop over
with flowers and wishes
and social media
bing bing bings me
with more friends
saying happy birthday
i have to pause
take a deep breath
and try not to
break into tears,
yet, eventually they do
as i let them seep from the
corners of my eyes
sniff sniff sniff my nose
blink my eyelids
listen to baby music
watch my grandson sleep
in the same room
with my grown up
baby girl still herself in dreamland,
boys at her side
while d is off to work
helping people,
Ry’s mom is working
her last few days of teaching
for the year,
his daddy up in JAX
designing fabulous graphics
for customers
i once again
remember the glow
of the candles
the feel of warmth
that encompass me
as i allow the words
happy birthday to sink in…

as i inhale that one
deep breath
close my eyes
blow out my candles
open my eyes
to see smiles
and hear cheers
i melt
into a blubbering mess
as they all giggle
hug me
and then the card,
‘i have the best mother in the world’
from my son and his beautiful wife…
and d’s words,
‘i am so grateful for you all.
look at the blessings i get to have
in my life. i love you all.’
this is what family is.
near or far,
happy birthday to me!

Read More happy birthday to me at nautilus teachings

miss me? at nautilus teachings

“don’t you want a chance to miss me?”
have you ever heard this?
maybe from a guy
who you are head over heels
in love with
and you say something like,
“i don’t want you to go…”
or what about when
you are up to your eyeballs
in baby, kid, school, pta, soccer demands
and you see the opportunity to
even if it’s to the grocery store?
as soon as little hands see you
grab your purse,
“mom, where are you going?
I want to go.
take me with you.”
you could absolutely say,
“how is mommy ever going to miss you?”
what about when you’ve had a long
stressful day at work
you come home
the house is a mess,
husband had a bad day too
you have nothing prepped for dinner
and all you want to hear are those
four precious, sweet words,
“calgon, take me away!”
do we go from the cradle to the grave
craving aloneness?
does our body really need solitude?
sure, we mostly get to withdraw
while we sleep every night,
but there is always a spouse,
child or animal who
could disturb our much cherished Zzzzzzzz’s!
we may think we are alone
in the car
but our phones are buzzing
the radio blaring
people are honking
and you find yourself
knotted up with stress.
maybe a walk on the beach?
you start out alone,
walking slowly
listening to the ocean
things are going swell
when you hear parents
screaming at their kids
a lively sand volleyball game
is a few feet ahead
beach patrol drives by
and you run in to a friend
you have not seen in a long time
so you stop and chat…

the body does need to withdraw,
to detach from all
the tiny life darts
ping ponging off us
all the time,
even going to the restroom
can be a challenge
if you have kids or dogs!
so let’s face it
you need
you are an introvert
like me.
d always says
blondie, you need some people time!
so once in a while
i venture out with him to an event
but for the most part
teaching is plenty for me.
i thrive when i am alone
i never get bored
never take naps
or seek out bad habits
i love writing
playing with my dogs
and at 5:00pm i have
my netflix binge time
with my candles lit
AC cranked down
mini blinds closed…
it is simple bliss.
i begin most days with meditation
then add the gym mid day
followed by yoga
and another 12 min meditation…
i know, i know, i know,
i am spoiled rotten
and blessed.
but i learned long ago
materialistic things don’t matter
to me.
i grew up poor,
married well,
married ok, but won the lottery
so we were millionaires
for a short time-
long story-
married for love
found joy and happiness
in simplicity…

only once did d ever say,
“don’t you want a chance to miss me?”
that was at the very beginning of our relationship.
he was traveling to puerto rico
for surfing,
we were very new,
like 3 weeks in
so i made him a card
for each day he’d be gone-
but i was crushing on him bad.
he got mad at me
said it was “too much,”
“don’t you want a chance to miss me?”
was his response.
years later i found his diary
from that trip
“just learn to relax and enjoy a woman
who loves giving and is NOT a ball breaker.
build a life with sher, do not back off!”
sometimes we don’t
make time for ourselves
because we are afraid
we will be exactly that
d knew then
and knows now
how much i love him-
we fit perfectly,
as i’m sure you do
with your spouse or
loved one
but in order for us
to give 100% in listening
loving, doing, living
we need time for
our self.
i for one believe
in self love
and self care.
i also know,
you have to make the time,
put it on your schedule-
even if all you need is
10 min of peace,
do it!
then the next time you hear or say,
“don’t you want a chance to miss me?”
it will make you smile
knowing the answer is
a powerful

Read More miss me? at nautilus teachings