Diaries of The Breadman’s Daughter: Have a Grateful Heart.


Girl Warrior. Have a grateful heart. Count your blessings. Each and every day. There are so many things to appreciate in your life. Right here and now. Take nothing for granted. Don’t squander your godsend.

Concern yourself with all the things you already have. Not with what’s missing or what you don’t have or wished you had. For if you aren’t grateful for what you already possess then getting more of anything else won’t change your heart or fill your soul.

Know this Girl Warrior, it is imperative that you are first and foremost grateful for the life you have, the gorgeous gift that it is. Look around at the people who surround you and give thanks for their presence. See the heavenly divineness in all things. Big and small. It’s all so precious.

See your cup half full. Always. Express your thanks at every turn. Seek opportunities to acknowledge the lavishness of your life. Just as it is in this precise moment. Look around at the eternal abundance of the universe. And say thank you. Make this your mantra.

Send out Thank You cards to the world Girl Warrior.

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Diaries of The Breadman’s Daughter: Be Resilient.

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Girl Warrior. Be resilient. Flexible. Pliable. Adaptable. Bend and sway like an elegant Willow tree. Full of grace and economy. Follow the ebb and flow of your wonderful awe-inspiring life. Embrace the wind that moves your sturdy spirit. Take courageous steps into the blinding light and the dark places of your soul. There is nothing to fear.

You are stronger than you think Girl Warrior. You are hard-wearing and tough. Like an indestructible black leather jacket. But you are also supple and nimble. Like a Ninja cat. Both contain the secret to resiliency at its finest.

Study intently the skill of quick recovery. Practice diligently irrepressible comebacks. Master the fine art of give and take. Rise from the ashes like the magnificent Phoenix you are. Rally and return stronger and more resourceful than you could ever imagine.

But remember Girl Warrior, it’s not an all or nothing life that we live. That’s the true wisdom in resilience.

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Diaries of The Breadman’s Daughter: Have Impeccable Manners.

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Girl Warrior. Have impeccable manners. There is no excuse for rudeness. Anywhere. Anytime. Treat everyone respectfully and politely. Please and thank you go a long way.

Be courteous and considerate at all times. Especially in those situations when you’re on the receiving end of someone else’s bad form. Take the high road. Always. Pump up the volume on your pleasantness. And you will see how disarming it can be. It’s powerful stuff.

Remember the Golden Rule. Carry it around in your hip pocket. And pull it out whenever you need a little reminder. Treat others the way you would like to be treated Girl Warrior.

It’s that simple.

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Diaries of The Breadman’s Daughter: For the Love of Mary Passingham.

Ma in shorts

Dear Love,

I wanted you to know that my great grandmother’s name was Mary Passingham and she was born on the Isle of Wight. And that some day I’m going to write a romance novel and use Mary Passingham as my pen name.

I wanted you to know that I have always had a passion for reading books and I think that was a gift from Mary Passingham.

I wanted you to know that when I was growing up and everyone else in my house was watching television, I read books. And that I dreamed about another life that had nothing to do with the one that I lived.

I wanted you to know that my mother was raised by Mary Passingham and that she died when my older brother was two months old.

And that my mother loved her dearly. I say my mother, “loved dearly” because Mary Passingham was the only person who ever called my mother “dear” while she was growing up.

And I wanted you to know that because Mary Passingham called my mother “dear”, my mother at age ten, would walk two miles to Eaton’s to buy Mary a spool of embroidery thread. Just to be her dear. And because Mary taught my mother how to embroider. And my mother taught me.

I wanted you to know that Mary Passingham had no money but she loved my mother dearly and that once she gave my mother a bottle of Evening in Paris perfume for Christmas. My mother cherished that bottle of perfume. It didn’t matter that it cost only seventeen cents because it was a gift from Mary. And she received no others that year.

I wanted you to know that I never understood why I loved books so much until my mother told me that Mary Passingham spent her days reading books, doing embroidery and growing vegetables in the summer. In the summer my mother and her sisters feasted on Mary’s garden.

And I wanted you to know that Mary taught my mother how to bake bread. And my mother taught me. And that my mother loved sandwiches made with Mary’s homemade bread and lettuce from her garden.

And that I love sandwiches made with my mother’s homemade bread and lettuce freshly picked from her garden.

I wanted you to know that I love to spend my days reading books, doing embroidery and growing vegetables in the summer.

I wanted you to know that Mary Passingham had a china cabinet made of carved oak filled with knick-knacks and trinkets and that my mother polished it for her every Saturday morning.

And that my mother has a china cabinet made of Canadian maple filled with knick-knacks and trinkets but I never spent my Saturdays polishing it. Although I loved that china cabinet.

I don’t have a china cabinet but I have a house filled with knick-knacks and ornaments. And I love them dearly.

I wanted you to know about all these wonderful gifts that Marry Passingham gave to my mother. And my mother gave to me. I never knew Mary Passingham. Only my mother did.

But I wanted you to know that I love my mother dearly just as she did Mary. And even though I never met Mary I loved her dearly too.



Footnote: I came across this sweet little piece today while looking for an old story I had written called The Sixteen Jacket. I hadn’t seen it in years and thought it was lost. Both this piece and The Sixteen Jacket were written decades ago when I was a young woman, and long before my mother died. I don’t even remember who “Dear Love” was. I’ve decided to share it unedited, and exactly as I had written it back then, to honor with loving kindness the young blossoming writer that was just beginning to emerge from a veil of shy awkwardness.

Cherished pillow cases embroidered by my mother.

Cherished pillow cases embroidered by my mother.

I spent months embroidering the front of this denim skirt.

I spent months embroidering the front of this denim skirt.

Diaries of The Breadman’s Daughter: Open Heart Surgery.

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The act of authentic writing is like performing open-heart surgery on yourself. Without anesthetic.

You slice open your chest, rip apart your flesh, hack into your bones and pull it all out. You have to be willing to be vulnerable. Fragile. Breakable. Frightened at times. Scared out of your wits.

Where did this come from? Where is it going?

But to write this way you also have to be courageous. Fierce. Raw. Genuine. Willing to take big emotional risks. Go to the dark and scary places of your soul. Tell the truth.

I not only write from the heart. I give you my heart.

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Diaries of The Breadman’s Daughter: A Writer’s Blessing.

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I walk my ginger cookie dog Rusty every morning in the hour just before dawn. It’s a sweet time. A gift from heaven.

Peaceful. Quiet. A writer’s blessing.

The hush before the alarms go off. The kettles plug in. Showers turn on. The Today Show announces another incomprehensible tragedy.

We walk the same circle route every morning. I’m a creature of habit. So is Rusty.

He likes to poop in the same spots. I carry white plastic grocery bags to scoop up after him. It’s all part of our daily dance.

This morning, when we got to the bend in the road, the glorious spot at the crest of the hill, I caught a glimpse of eternity.

The lights below flickered like halos as the world awoke.

At that moment I wanted to fly. Spread my arms. And take off. Rusty has floppy ears that were engineered for flight. I have big hair.

We can do this.

I stopped and looked out at the glorious sunrise and thought how lovely and endless these days are. Filled with the promise of forever.

But they aren’t of course.

I thought of my mother. How this particular orange of the sky would have inspired her to paint.

What a view. Oh God what a divine view. Tears came unexpectedly.

One day, if I’ve done this right, I will be the memory. I will be the gentle tear brushed from the cheek of one of my children.

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Diaries of The Breadman’s Daughter: Defend and Stand Up for Something.

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Girl Warrior. Defend and stand up for something. That’s what true Girl Warriors do. Don’t stand on the sidelines. Believe in something. If you haven’t got a cause. Find one. The mission is personal. And it’s critical. Don’t worry if you’re the only one fighting for it. That’s not the point. If it’s meaningful to you, then get behind it.

Breathe life into it in a way only you can.

While you’re standing up for something, avoid putting someone else down. No matter how much you disagree. Cheap shots are easy and beneath you. Defend their right to have their own beliefs. Don’t kick or trample on the weak. Reach out and extend a helping hand.

Girl Warrior, invite them to stand with you.

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