Tag Archives: Susan Piver

Day of Rest

muffinsI finally got around to making muffins this morning, America’s Test Kitchen “Better Bran Muffins” with dried raspberries from Trader Joe’s. I meant to make them on Friday, as I’d eaten the last one for breakfast, and that’s what I eat for breakfast every day lately — a muffin, raspberries, strawberries, a few dried plums, and a glass of water. But then I got busy (took an unplanned nap) Friday afternoon when I got home to let the dogs out and forgot about the muffins. Again, I meant to on Saturday, but went to the gym instead in the morning and forgot again once I got home. This morning, I felt like I really needed them, so made sure to get them done first thing, in between doing laundry and watching this month’s theme video for the Open Heart Project Sangha.

This month’s theme was the 7 characteristics of a Dharmic person. The short version is that a dharmic person cultivates the following:

  1. Passionlessness
  2. Contentment
  3. Preventing too many activities
  4. Good conduct
  5. Awareness of the teacher
  6. Propagating prajna/wisdom
  7. An attitude of goodness

The effort for me right now lands with the first three. And it’s a sort of “which came first, the chicken or the egg” sort of thing, because I can’t really say for sure which one happens first, what triggers what, I just know that I find myself circling between the three.

To be passionless doesn’t mean to be without passion, exactly. The energy of passion isn’t a bad thing. When it gets wonky is when you get caught in grasping and rejecting, agitating for something else, wanting things to be different, “wanting another now.” To be passionless is to cultivate some kind of tolerance for discomfort — when things don’t turn out the way you want, you don’t freak out. You can stay relaxed with what is.

To be content is to stop fussing with the way things are, to be okay with what is.

To prevent too many activities is to stop trying to do so much. This involves a busyness both physical and mental. The effort here is to not rush around, speed through things, smash yourself to bits. It also means to soften the way your mind constantly gnaws on your experience, working and worrying about all the things.

I have difficulty relaxing where I am, with what is. I want more, want something else, want better. If something is “wrong,” my immediate response is to try and fix it. And I keep myself so busy. Even if I look like I’m on the couch watching TV, my mind is rushing around. Even when I seem at rest, I’m busy.

Watching the video, listening to Susan’s talk this morning, made me more carefully consider my morning, my plans for the day. As I was watching the video, I was taking notes, making plans, baking muffins, and doing laundry. I was trying to get the video done so I could make it to a yoga class. I had plans for running errands after, three different stops. A shower when I got home, clean sheets on the bed, laundry put away, place an online order for some essentials we were running low on, balance the checkbook, make some flyers for my upcoming Wild Writing Crazy Wisdom classes, write a blog post, etc. This sort of planning, the rush, trying to do all the things, triggers an underlying and constant anxiety.

So I skipped my yoga class. I decided against running my errands because there wasn’t anything that couldn’t wait. And I remembered the video I watched the other day while I was riding the bike at the gym, the one where Laurie Foley talked about transforming energy, how as she was undergoing treatment for her cancer, she had to start asking herself about any choice she had to make “is this energizing, or is this draining?”

I’m spending the rest of my day contemplating these three qualities: passionlessness, contentment, and preventing too many activities — considering what tiny shifts I might make to cultivate them in this day of rest.


pathwithtextTo be honest, I was starting to think maybe I’d picked the wrong word this year. A month has passed already and instead of feeling immersed, focused, clear, I was feeling a little lost. Yoga and writing come more naturally to me, but I was finding it hard to meditate, let alone deepen my study of the dharma. This morning I was scrolling through my Facebook feed, trying to find some direction or distract myself when I saw a post from Lodro Rinzler, “New video teaching up to kick off a year series studying Atisha’s mind training slogans.” I recognized the screen capture from an email I got at the beginning of the week from him, one that I’d filed away like all the others for some later date when I have “more time.”

You can sign up for Lodro’s newsletter and he sends a meditation challenge every Monday. Sometimes I watch, but more often I file it away for later. When I saw the post on Facebook, I actually read what it was about, and I was in.

Three years ago, Susan Piver was focusing her Open Heart Project Practitioner teachings around the lojong slogans. I enjoyed it so much, was learning so much. I have two books from Pema Chödrön about the same topic and was using them to help deepen my understanding. Then Susan made the difficult decision to discontinue the Practitioner program, and we never made it past the 17th one. So I was so happy to see that Lodro was teaching them, that he was committed to the full set of 59.

Lojong (or “mind training”) slogans are from a classical Tibetan Buddhist text, and are described by Pema Chödrön as offering “pithy, powerful reminders on how to awaken our hearts in the midst of day-to-day life, under any circumstances.” The editor of the book by Chögyam Trungpa about these same slogans describes them this way,

The Root Text of the Seven Points of Training the Mind is a list of fifty-nine slogans, which form a pithy summary instruction on the view and practical application of mahayana Buddhism. The study and practice of these slogans is a very practical and earthy way of reversing our ego-clinging and of cultivating tenderness and compassion. They provide a method of training our minds through both formal meditation practice and using the events of everyday life as a means of awakening.

Pithy. Practical. Perfect. I don’t know if I’ve told you this before, kind and gentle reader, but it’s that practical application component that draws me to Buddhism. All the stuff about various deities and realms and karma is interesting to me as an intellectual exercise, but it’s the part where the rubber meets the road that I get excited about. I look to the dharma as a way to understand how to be a better human — how to meet what is beautiful and tender and keep my heart open, how to face what is brutal and terrible and not give up.

And the first lojong slogan is one of my favorites. It presents what are sometimes referred to as the Four Reminders. The slogan is “first, train in the preliminaries,” and those preliminaries or reminders are:

  1. Maintain an awareness of the preciousness of human life, the luck of a human birth
  2. Be aware of the reality that life ends, death comes for everyone
  3. Know that karma is real, actions have consequences
  4. Contemplate that as long as you are caught up in yearning for pleasure and shying away from pain, the suffering of suffering, you will remain trapped in unhappiness

I’ve written about the Four Reminders before. I was happy to revisit them this morning. Even happier to feel myself back on the path, encouraged by what Pema says about this study, that “when we work with the slogans, ordinary life becomes the path of awakening.”

Day of Rest

Selfie I took with my new laptop while on retreat at Shambhala Mountain Center -- what I look like when I'm working

Selfie I took with my new laptop while on retreat (writing and meditation with Susan Piver) at Shambhala Mountain Center — what I look like when I’m working

Over time, as the thinking mind begins to settle [through the practice of meditation], we’ll start to see our patterns and habits far more clearly. This can be a painful experience. I can’t overestimate the importance of accepting ourselves exactly as we are right now, not as we wish we were or think we ought to be. By cultivating nonjudgmental openness to ourselves and to whatever arises, to our surprise and delight we will find ourselves genuinely welcoming the never-pin-downable quality of life, experiencing it as a friend, a teacher, and a support, and no longer as an enemy. ~From Living Beautifully with Uncertainty and Change by Pema Chödrön

As I mentioned recently, my guiding word for 2016 is path. In a moment of luck, serendipity, magic, or auspicious coincidence, the monthly theme for January in the Open Heart Project Sangha is “stages of the path.” In Susan’s talk introducing the topic, one thing that really stood out to me was something she said about discipline being related to remembering our priorities — some of the most important of which are to find out who we are and share what we have to give, to nourish and nurture ourselves so we can be of benefit to others.

For so much of my life, I was confused about this. I looked to external standards and measures to determine who I was supposed to become, what I was supposed to do and how I was supposed to be. None of this process ever asked, “who are you? what do you have to offer?” My effort was completely disconnected from my inherent being, and was focused on becoming something else. I spent most of my adult life denying who I was, lost to myself, homesick for something I couldn’t quite put my finger on.

A conversation with a friend got me thinking about how I got here, how I found myself back in my own body, reconnecting to my true self, and about all the remaining ways I still struggle. I went back through the timeline (starting nine years ago) and considered all the things that had to shift, all the effort and patience it required. It wasn’t easy, and I’m nowhere near done.

And I know that sounds like I’m talking about changing, about self-improvement, but that’s not it exactly. Before I was a constructed, false self, and the effort now is about sinking into my authentic self, letting all that other crap fall away. For example, some people might look at my body now and think “she’s bigger, she changed,” when actually it was the previous form of my body that was a construct. I put so much effort and struggle into how my body was before. It wasn’t natural or healthy, and yet to look at me, I was a better fit with the norm, the standard women are measured by. My body before by external measures was preferable, but I had to suffer to have it. I had to hurt myself to look like that. I’m now making the choice to not generate more suffering, to be kinder and less judgmental. I no longer go to the gym to change the way my body looks, but rather I’m there to feel good in the body I have. Sure, I hope the effort translates into an increase in strength, endurance, overall health, but I can no longer be motivated by needing things to be different, thinking I can control the outcome, hating myself because I don’t measure up.

And what a wonderful surprise to realize that the most important thing I have to offer, the best thing I have to give can only come from being fully myself. That who I really am is nothing to be ashamed of, nothing I need to fix or hide, but rather something to honor, something precious, something to set free. No smashing myself to bits. No more striving. Instead, I just need to relax, sink deeply into my tiny ordinary life, just as I am, letting the edges of my practice soften so that there is no longer any difference between my life and my path.

2016: One Word

bestnineThere’s a website (2015bestnine) that will look at your Instagram account and make a collage of the nine most liked images from your account for 2015. The above is mine. I’m a little surprised there’s no pictures of dogs, and only one food picture, since it seems like those are the kind of pictures I post the most.

I’ve been doing lots of year end things like this lately. Crafting year end reviews, and cultivating new year intentions. Letting go and looking forward. In a meditation this morning with Adreanna Limbach’s 31 Days of Devotion program, I contemplated the suggested question “what do I feel devoted to this year?” I was surprised and not surprised by what came up. There was nothing I hadn’t expected, but I was caught off guard by the intensity of my devotion in regards to some of the things on my list.

  • Health and well-being of my body. The intensity of this one was so strong. The desire was deep to care for it, let it rest, give it lots of water, feed it good food, take it on walks, stretch it, do yoga, lift weights — to be rested, well-fed, and strong, to feel good.
  • Reading and thinking and practicing. This is both in relation to my Buddhist studies and doing for the simple joy of it.
  • Intimacy. This in particular to my relationship with Eric, continuing to explore the ways we can be closer, familiar and connected and content.
  • Joy. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m realizing that when I lost Dexter I let my joy go with him. I’ve been so focused on the bad things that have happened over the past decade, so caught up in preparing for the worst and working with the hard stuff, that I lost my sense of joy. I’d like to open some space for it, invite it back in.
  • Writing. For this blog, for the book I’m writing, for publication elsewhere, for the fun of it.
  • Teaching. Yoga, my Wild Writing Crazy Wisdom workshops, and some online classes — both in service to my students and for my own sake.
  • Simplified, beautified space. With our bathroom remodel, I realized how good it feels to have a beautiful space, beautiful things, and to get rid of what no longer serves us. I want all my space to feel like that — cleared out and full at the same time.

After having picked a guiding word for the past four years, I wasn’t sure if I would this year. Last year’s word didn’t turn out like I expected, and one didn’t seem to be coming to me. I signed up for Susannah Conway’s Find Your Word free class, but I put off reading the emails, doing the work. I thought maybe I just wouldn’t have a word this year.

Then I went on retreat with Susan Piver, and she talked about the necessity of our writing and meditation practices having a path quality to them. I’d been feeling a longing to deepen my Buddhist studies, having taken refuge vows a year ago, so the idea of cultivating a path quality in my life, in my other practices, was very appealing.

I kept coming back to “path” as a possible word for 2016. For the past few days, I was planning to work through Susannah’s emails to be sure, but after listening to Adreanna’s video this morning, practicing with her, listening to her talk about devotion, I knew path was right.

pathwithtextPath carries with it a sense of devotion — love, loyalty, and enthusiasm. It’s commitment, immersion, dedication, discipline, and joyful effort that springs from a place of love and attention. On a path, there’s a clarity of direction and intention, but also unexpected obstacles and surprising beauty. I show up, open up, stay with what arises without an agenda, thus sinking deeper into my innate wisdom and compassion, experiencing my life more fully. I encounter clarity and simplicity, ease and contentment, stability. It’s a good word.

Day of Rest

decsunriseThis picture is from two years and one day ago. Back before we’d even met Ringo, and before I’d started yoga teacher training. In those specific ways, it seems like it was a long time ago, but I still remember exactly how beautiful it was that morning, how lucky I felt to see it, to be out walking with Eric and Sam.

I haven’t been able to get as much done as I’d intended to recently. I had big plans to post responses to various reflective challenges, keep up with all the good content sent my way through the programs I signed up for, catch up on a class I’m in, prepare some content for the ecourse I’m creating, read and take part in a book group, buy and wrap and ship a few extra gifts for the Pine Ridge Holiday Project, get all the shopping and wrapping and shipping done for the gifts for my own family, do some baking, move everything back into the bathroom, give the house a good clean, write a few letters and send a few packages unrelated to the holidays, work on something to share at my retreat next weekend, catch up on some reading and laundry, and maybe even take a few naps…

Sigh. I put so much pressure on myself to keep going, keep doing, and the to-do list is so long. What has changed is that the realization that it’s unrealistic, unsustainable, comes so much sooner, and I’m able to adjust, lower the bar, be gentle with myself. That’s mostly what I’ve been doing instead of all the things.

This morning I was listening to one of the meditations from Rachel Cole’s Savor. It was about silence and truth. In it Rachel was talking about spiritual practice and what it was, what it meant. She said that spiritual practice isn’t about seeking happiness, but rather it’s about seeking and being with the truth. In the meditation, she invited us to allow ourselves to open and be receptive of whatever might be true for us, allowing in whatever truth might be trying to offer us.

Right after, I listened to this week’s Open Heart Project meditation from Susan Piver, which reminded me of a blog post she wrote last week, What you are doing right now is the path. In it, she suggests that the householder or layperson’s path is “the path of diving headfirst into ordinary life and taking it and all its details—money, sex, buying a house, hanging out in bars, making a career, figuring out what to wear, raising children, and so on—as the path itself.” This makes so much sense to me. I have long felt the lines blurring between practice (on the page, on my yoga mat, on my meditation cushion, on the other end of a leash) and everything else.

I wasn’t going to pick another word to guide my year, not because I didn’t see value in the practice but because one just wasn’t finding me. But this morning, I’m considering choosing “path.” There’s something about that concept, what I know about it, that feels like it has the capacity to provide clarity, help me to make better choices, allow me to focus on what truly matters, provide the way to seek and be with the truth.


Something Good

Lory State Park, image by Eric

Lory State Park, image by Eric

So great to be partnering with Wanderlust to share this list with a larger audience.

1. December Reflections with Susannah Conway. “This project has no real rules – the idea is to simply take a photograph every day(ish) for the whole of December. That’s it. Pause, look around you and shoot what you see. Reflect on how the year’s gone down. Enjoy a bit of mindful creativity in the run up to the new year.” 31 photo prompts, three ways to share your pictures. I’m in!


2. An Ancient Chinese Ginkgo Tree Drops an Ocean of Golden Leaves. This is one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen.

3. 29 Playlists To Listen To When Everything Sucks. I haven’t listened to any of these yet because I can’t stop listening to Adele’s new album, but when I do, I will.

4. F*ck That: A Guided Meditation. This has been floating around for a bit, and I finally listened to it. *gigglesnort*

5. How Lowering Your Standards Leads to Greatness from Jen Louden. I’m always open to lowering the bar. In this post, Jen gives us permission.

6. You are Allowed, from Mara Glatzel’s latest newsletter. This is the kind of thing you should print out and hang on the fridge. Click the link she includes to hear her read the list to you, close your eyes and listen to all the things you are allowed. And when you are done, go sign up for her newsletter for more of this sort of goodness.

7. A Little Guide for More Comfort and Joy from Be More With Less. Courtney consistently writes things I have to share. I feel like she’s a version of me, wiser and more compassionate with a simpler more fulfilling life, some years down the road sending me messages from my possible future, reminding me to not give up, to keep trying.

8. Body Gratitude Print Out for the Holidays from Curvy Yoga. What a great practice.

9. How to be generous from Danielle LaPorte. It’s funny to me how the antidote to poverty mentality, a feeling of scarcity, is to give more away, to let things go, to have less, to be more generous.

10. Breathe, an offering from the wonderful Julia Fehrenbaucher, “an eleven week, (self-directed), deep breathing, creative recovery retreat for your spirit.”

11. The Biggest Legal Mistake Freelancers Make from Paul Jarvis.

12. How To Read A Book. I developed a bad habit of reading multiple books at a time while I was in graduate school, but according to this list, that means I’m doing it right.

13. Two Dog Pals Separated At The Shelter End Up In The Same Loving Home. This makes me so happy. And, I have a serious crush on Mr. Riley!

14. I Quit My Boring Office Job To Start Making Mini Paintings On Recycled Wood. I’m glad. She makes some beautiful things.

15. I Doodle Introvert Comics To Express How I Feel. Love these! Her website is great too.

16. Scientists now think that being overweight can protect your health. Oh, snap!

17. #whatayogilookslike: Spotlight on Laura Sharkey.

18. Why this woman’s “badass undie” selfie is starting a viral movement.

19. Adam Kurtz, a great artist interview on Lisa Congdon’s blog.

20. ‘You Can’t Prepare Yourself’: A Conversation With Adele. Because, I’m obsessed.

21. Jimmy Fallon, Adele & The Roots Sing “Hello” (w/Classroom Instruments). Seriously: my brain = all Adele, all the time. Her voice here gives me goosebumps.

22. Sensitive-The Untold Story, a documentary.

23. Move Over Turducken, PIECAKEN Is The Dish To Beat This Thanksgiving. I don’t know how to feel about this…

24. 75 inspiring gratitude prompts from Positively Present. These would be great journal prompts or conversation starters.

25. December Encouragement Notes from Esmé Weijun Wang. This is a free offering. “I’m making this because I think we all need a little extra push and a little extra comfort in December, and because I’m grateful to all of you who make this online space something to be excited about.”

26. What is Literature for?

27. The World Will Be Saved By Waffles, a beautiful post by Erica Staab, which she ends with, “When we can offer a soft place to land for those we love, when we can share with one another our little acts of love, we light up the world. And we could all use a little more light in the world.”

28. Chronic Dieting: The Socially Acceptable Eating Disorder. I lived this, could have written this post, but since I didn’t, I’m so glad Caroline Dooner did.

29. The Real Difference Between Artists and Everyone Else. Spoiler alert: “Making things makes you an artist.”

30. My sister is a heroin addict. This isn’t my exact story, but I’m living a version of this and it sucks.

31. Pet Every Single Dog. This event on Facebook is so perfect. I’m in!

32. Flora Bowley’s Bloom True ecourse. “Enjoy 25% off my five-week, deep dish, transformational, painting course now through December 1st, and savor the freshly designed course at your own pace for one full year. You can also give this as the most rocking gift ever! Use coupon code: btgratitude to receive your discount.”

33. 24 Tweets That Will Make Every Nurse Laugh Out Loud.

34. World’s Largest Spice Company to Go Organic and Non-GMO by 2016. Cool.

35. Wisdom from Jeff Foster, “Heaven is this moment. Hell is the burning desire for this moment to be different. It’s that simple.” It’s also that complicated.

36. The Power in Writing About Yourself.

37. Love List Selfie, a little project and short interview I did with my dear friend Sherry Richert Belul.

38. Dharma of Writing Group a great offering from Susan Piver and Kate Lila Wheeler.

The Dharma of Writing is an ongoing two-hour online monthly gathering designed to help you enter your own writing with the support and companionship of other writers…At each session, we will practice meditation together and then actually write. Each person will work on his or her own project with the quiet, supportive companionship of writers all over the world. We will convene using the video conference platform, Zoom. Sessions will be recorded and links sent to all, so if you can’t join live you can still participate.

39. Wisdom from poet Andrea Gibson, (thanks to Jessica for the original share),

Just to be clear
I don’t want to get out
without a broken heart.
I intend to leave this life
so shattered
there better be a thousand separate heavens
for all of my separate parts.

40. This Man’s Wife Cries About Absolutely Anything So He Started Writing The Reasons Down.

40. Neil Gaiman and Georgina Chapman – Donate to UNHCR – UN Refugee Agency. “Together with UNHCR, international best-selling author, Neil Gaiman, and co-founder and designer of Marchesa, Georgina Chapman, are developing a storytelling project highlighting the Syrian refugee crisis.”

41. Couple Lets Their Dog Film Their Wedding And The Result Is Better Than Most Wedding Videos.

42. How to get out of a rut. Good advice.

Something Good

Lory State Park, image by Eric

Lory State Park, image by Eric

So great to be partnering with Wanderlust to share this list with a larger audience.

1. Adele’s latest album, 25. I’ve been listening to it nonstop since it was released. And this prank she pulled on a group of Adele impersonators is so sweet.

2. Wisdom from Susan Piver, “Love is the least safe thing there is. It’s fierce. You can’t domesticate it. It’s wild. When you find it you should rejoice. When you lose it you should grieve.”

3. 31 Days of Gifts You So Deserve from Be More With Less, “is like an advent calendar in your inbox designed to deliver the gifts you so deserve. The gifts are meaningful, some are magical, and all of them remind you to fully embrace the simplicity and meaning of the holidays with purpose and intention.” Added bonus? Pay what you want! This would make a great gift, for yourself or someone else.

4. NIH to retire all research chimpanzees. Fifty animals held in “reserve” by the US government will be sent to sanctuaries. This makes me so happy. Here’s one reason why, Chimp With Darkest Past Takes Comfort In Tiny Troll Doll.

5. Outlaw Willie Nelson Opens Up In Two Classic ‘Fresh Air’ Interviews. Confession: I adore Willie Nelson.

6. In ‘Just Eat It,’ Filmmakers Feast For 6 Months On Discarded Food.

7. Roasted leek and white bean galettes, a recipe from Smitten Kitchen. Yum. And this Honey Maple Roasted Carrots recipe from the Cafe Sucre Farine. (I get a little obsessed with roasted veggies this time of year.)

8. Florida Teacher Starts Each Day Complimenting Students One by One.

9. Finding Your Way Back to the Practices that Serve Your Soul, Willo O’Brien on Medium. This, in particular, is brilliant, “Fully allowing and feeling the emotions. Letting them be and letting them come through. Listening to what they have to say, giving them love, compassion, and space. This is the ultimate practice at the heart of it all.”

10. The incurable creative virus from Paul Jarvis. Have I told you lately how much I adore him? (P.S. Here’s a call for stories that will be published in the book this piece will also be in).

11. 365 Collage Journal Flip Through from Jamie Ridler. This looks like a fun project.

12. “You can always just listen” from Judy Clement Wall.

13. One letter can change your life–or someone else’s, “a free digital booklet all about the art of letter writing” from Alexandra Franzen. With the holidays coming up, this is a great practice to start cultivating.

14. Good stuff from Chookooloonks’s this was a good week list: let us attempt to spill light, and Still learning lessons, and Karen’s advent of light journaling course.

15. The *new* Black Friday hosted by the amazing Sherry Richert Belul. “This Black Friday, go with the new black: Spend at least part of the day making a Love List as a holiday gift for someone you love.”

16. Good stuff from Susannah’s Something for the Weekend list: Visible Mending as an art form, and Shinning the Light on Sensitivity, and Elizabeth Gilbert on dealing with criticism.

17. A Funny Thing Happened When I Was Typing My Suicide Note…

18. Health at Every Size Lies from Dances with Fat.

19. READY ♥ SET ♥ REFLECT an online retreat being offered by the amazing Susie Stonefield Miller. This is for “anyone who is yearning to take some time to reflect on the past year, to let it inform this next year, to choose a word for the year and to make a gorgeous deck of inspiration cards,” and will include “short guided meditations with art journaling prompts, video tutorials, thoughtful worksheets, and community connection.” Good stuff.

20. Planning Day: Design Your 2016 from Jamie Ridler, a webinar to help you design the year you want.

21. Wisdom from Brave Girls Club, “…each minute we spend lending ourselves, our time or talents or energy or thoughts to something that we really want little or nothing to do with is time is stolen from the things that really do matter to us. Each minute spent with the parts of our life that we want to be free from is a minute that we are not at peace….a minute that is spent feeling miserable instead of joyful.”

22. Buddhism by the Numbers: The Four Noble Truths, a simple, clear description.

23. Ladybug take off – in slow motion. Nature is so fascinating, so amazing.

24. How our Feelings Weigh Down our Bodies on Elephant Journal.

25. 10 Things Black People Fear That White People Don’t (Or Don’t Nearly as Much).

26. 5 ways Christian fundamentalists completely misread the Bible.

27. The Gnomist: A Great Big Beautiful Act Of Kindness.

28. 20+ Cute And Funny Puns By Arseniic. Part of me feels like I’m too smart and too grown up to laugh at these, and the other part is laughing her thunderpants right off.

29. WATCH: A French Father Tries To Explain The Attacks To His Young Son. Sweet and heartbreaking. The way he smiles at his dad at the very end is worth the entire thing.

30. Three Reasons Frozen is Better.

31. Artwork is Work, Supporting the Arts Means Paying the Artists, a really great bumper sticker.

32. Nurse Writes This Heartbreaking Letter To The Parents Who Just Lost Their Daughter.

33. 48, written by Christine Mason Miller on our shared birthday, in which she says,

For now, while I’m able, I’m going to keep creating, feeling, living, crying, laughing, breathing deep breaths and being of service in whatever way I can. I will continue opening up my home to those I love. I will keep on trying to create the best I can create, whatever that means.

Today, I am turning 48 years old. Today, I am in awe of everything my first 47 years have given me. Today, I’m here to do one thing: LIVE.

34. Company is Coming. This is funny because it’s true. Anyone who is hosting Thanksgiving this year understands how it feels, the particular way you can lose your mind getting the house ready when you have people coming over.

35. Liz Kalloch’s redesigned website. LOVE it.

36. Watch Anthony Bourdain’s Mind Get Blown Eating At The Waffle House With Sean Brock. I always wonder where I’d take Anthony if he ever visited Fort Collins. Where would you take him where you live?

37. This quote from Arundhati Roy’s War Talk, which seems especially timely.

Our strategy should be not only to confront empire, but to lay siege to it. To deprive it of oxygen. To shame it. To mock it. With our art, our music, our literature, our stubbornness, our joy, our brilliance, our sheer relentlessness – and our ability to tell our own stories. Stories that are different from the ones we’re being brainwashed to believe.

The corporate revolution will collapse if we refuse to buy what they are selling – their ideas, their version of history, their wars, their weapons, their notion of inevitability.

Remember this: We be many and they be few. They need us more than we need them.

Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.

38. Horse Head Squirrel Feeder. This is the best, a great gift idea.

39. Buddhist Extremist Cell Vows To Unleash Tranquility On West on The Onion, (just in case you thought it was for real).

40. Gluttony? It’s the holiday season; don’t judge yourself.

41. Funniest Parenting Tweets: What Moms And Dads Said On Twitter This Week. You don’t have to have your own kids to see the humor here.