Maya Angelou & Her Powerful Words


“We may encounter many defeats, but we must not be defeated. That in fact it may be necessary to encounter defeat, so we can know who the hell we are. What can we overcome? What makes us stumble and fall, and somehow miraculously rise and go on?”

I hope many of you were able to enjoy the PBS Special: Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise this week. If not, go enjoy it now.

I loved every minute of it as a historian, a writer and an American. I learned so much about black history, struggling writers, and our own history as a horribly racist country. I had heard much of her poetry from her later years, but did not know her life’s story as a dancer, singer, civil rights leader, etc. I also had no idea she was six foot tall! I believe I first heard about her through watching Oprah. Talk about an intelligent woman with an AMAZING way with words! She truly understood the POWER OF WORDS.

how-important-you-areThe small piece I would like to focus on here was from an experience Ms. Angelou had with a few young men who were speaking threateningly to her once in her life. She turned to them and said: “When was the last time someone told you how important you are?” These words stopped the youngsters in their tracks, and made me sit up straight and ask myself the same question.

Ms. Angelou’s point was to educate these kids to their own family history. She said something like, “Do you ever think about what your ancestors had to go through to bring you to this place and time? How are you honoring their struggles?”

How rare is it that we honor our ancestors’ struggles? How often do we tell those who make our lives worthwhile exactly how important they are? The world is full of people who need to feel appreciated, and yes even important.

Tell them now.

Are blogs a new form of vanity press?

You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take!  — Wayne Gretsky

Come to find out I am not alone in observing that my pre-blog friends and family don’t read my blog posts much, but others whom I’m not even familiar with, find it interesting. Even people in over 75 other countries come here, I assume to check out rural living in the USA.

I suppose most people see blogs as a new kind of vanity press. I can see their point. Who cares about me and my life? But there are also over 18,000 visitors who have made over 40,000 views here. Who are they?

I’m sure some are simply nosy about the lives of others. Some may hope to leave city life behind and some day move to a rural area and build a solar home. I’d sure LOVE to hear from any of you!


The reason I started this blog three years ago, and the reason I put together my new book was to document our experience in leaving suburbia for a quieter, more economical, rural experience in sunny southern Colorado. I have always had very good reasons for writing my books. Of course I also just enjoy writing. I find it helps me with my recent brain injury.

My thought process and intent:

We are doing something very different for us. After living in or near cities all of our lives, we are going rural. I wonder if others are thinking about doing something similar? Perhaps they might enjoy reading about one couples’ authentic experience. Perhaps they would like to know more about designing a home around passive solar heating. Maybe they would like to know how well passive solar heating can work. Reading about the experience of another might encourage others or convince them not to take such risks so late in life. Either way they could benefit from our experience.


We are so glad we took on all the risk and uncertainty, however if you asked me three years ago I might not have agreed. But now I can highly recommend leaving city life behind for the quiet, wildlife watching and pure beauty of living close to nature.

If you never take a risk, you will never know for certain how well it can work out! That’s our best lesson from our own retirement experience…

P.S. For whatever reasons you find to come here and read, THANKS!

To purchase your own signed copies of any of my books, or if you have other questions, please e-mail me at:

Please follow me on Twitter too!

The Ups and Downs of Being a Writer

I saw some interesting commentary on whether maintaining a blog is “real writing” over at Kathryn Mayer’s Writing Out Loud blog this week. This topic certainly got me going! No maintaining a blog isn’t just writing, it’s learning a certain software, editing, proofing reading, organizing the appearance of your article on the page and, in my case, providing professional-grade photographs. Then if you decide to write a book and self-publish, you need to acquire so many more new skills, and pay others for their skills.

writing-penI’ve been writing professionally since 2006. I started out as a freelance writer with a number of stories published in national magazines, but I did not like how the editors decided everything. Specifically I could find no editors willing to cover my favorite topic: midlife psychology.

Sometimes the editors were simply wrong, sometimes their English was terrible, sometimes they stole my ideas, and sometimes they cut my piece at the last minute, paying me nothing for a few weeks of work. (Thanks American History Magazine!) That’s when I started blogging. I for one am so glad to have the freedom to write everyday if I like, and reach those who want to hear what I have to say.

Freedom of the press is only available to those who own one. And now, I do!


The downside to all of this is the unreliable pay for those of us who write because we love it. Through the years I have made money on sponsored posts, but most by selling my books. 

For those of you who read this blog regularly, thank you! I’m happy that you come here and follow our life beyond the big city, but remember, my only real income is from book sales. Please consider purchasing one or two today. It makes my day!

Follow me on Twitter:

Why write about yourself and your experiences?

writing penAs I begin working on my next book, a journal of retirement, I wondered why anyone would find this story interesting. I have certainly had more interest in this blog than I ever expected, with over 50,000 views so far from over 25,000 visitors all over the world! I so enjoy seeing those from other countries taking an interest in our escapades in rural southern Colorado.

Of course the next question is why blog at all? Why do some wish to share their daily lives and lessons with others, while most can’t even imagine it?

why blogIn this particular case, I thought there might be some who would like to see what it feels like to choose to leave a nice suburban home in one of the “best retirement cities in the country” to move to a rural area with little traffic or shopping, but so much amazing natural beauty and lovely silence. And as I read the posts I wrote a couple years ago, when considering this gigantic change for myself, I do find my thoughts and worries interesting in retrospect.

I guess what interests me the most is the psychology of changing something major in your life, especially past age 50 or 60. Why do some take the risk and go for it, while others stay home and watch TV? I guess it just comes down to personal taste, but also a gigantic fear of change.

leap_of_faithI was full of fear the day we sold our nice home in Fort Collins. I really did not know what to expect, and I admit it, parts of our experience down here have been quite discouraging. But now I know we made the right choice for both of us. Sometimes you just have to take the big risk, leap, and build your wings on the way down.

“We must be willing to get rid of the life we had planned, to have the life that is waiting for us.”   — Joseph Campbell