What to do when you've exhausted all the options? Pick a card.

I used to be afraid to ring the streetcar bell. There were countless times when I would stay on until someone else rang the bell – often a few stops further than I needed. A small thing that speaks volumes about how I felt about and within myself at the time. Ringing the bell was akin to asking outright for something – acknowledging a need: Please stop. I need to get off here. It embarrassed me, as it announced my presence in a way that made me feel uncomfortable, self-conscious and exposed. At the time, I didn't have the staying power to be with that discomfort of being seen or expressing a need, so I stayed hidden and ashamed and, well, entirely self-absorbed.

How to find the window after the door slam.

This past week I pretty much took up residence within Maria von Trapp's quote: When the Lord closes a door, somewhere He opens a window. It's not the comfiest of quotes. There's that itchy emptiness that accompanies the waiting you have to do between the door slam and ensuing window appearing 'somewhere.' If you know me at all by now, you'll know I appreciate coziness and nurturing aesthetic in my furnishings. Like the abbey Maria left, this quote is furnished with faith and not a whole lot else.

When what you need is a miracle, tell the Truth.

While searching for a creative way to frame this week's blog story, I found myself not really resonating with any of them. I normally LOVE this part of writing to you – sitting in front of a blank page (or screen) and 'listening' for what is being asked to be written. It's a creative partnership between me and the Truth. This week, every idea I put out there got thrown back at me, like old fruit at a bad joke. Too lame; too needy; trying to be too clever; too vague; too obscure; too much. At first, I fell back into old ways of thinking where I beat myself up at 'not being able to get it right' and then realized I wasn't actually listening. Suddenly, it clicked: this week, what's 'right' is to tell you the facts and nothing more. The facts ARE the story.

What to Carry for Self Care in Your Purse

They say the state of a woman's purse is the state of her soul. The purse I carry is relatively small, but like the narrator at the beginning of Aladdin says of his magic lamp: “Do not be fooled by its commonplace appearance – like so many things, it is not what is outside, but what is inside that counts.”

This is no ordinary purse.

While the outside is a stylish well-worn camel leather, splotched, sadly, with ink stains from The Unfortunate Pen Incident of 2014, the inside is more Mary-Poppins-carpet-bag in its magical capacity to store things you didn't think would fit. On so many occasions I have expressed a need of some sort, placed an exploratory hand inside this vessel, and emerged with the solution to many practical emergencies. Forgotten chocolate to bypass hangriness. A bandaid for paper cuts that happen mid-streetcar ride because I took my love of voracious reading a little too far. Finger puppets (don't ask). Needle and thread to sew a flimsy summer strap. Randomly and serendipitously, while in IKEA: a tape measure I'd borrowed from a friend and forgotten about.

Mai Lin Jewelry & Beautiful Reminders

Once upon a time, an unsettled version of me sat on a park bench. Between sobs, I tried, without success, to explain to my kind friend who sat next to me the state of my heart. We couldn't arrive at an answer or any peace, so she simply let me cry.

The way I remember it, a middle-aged lady strolling with a much older woman approached us. The middle-aged lady's face looked both eager and pained, in that particular way that people have when they are about to ask for directions. I selfishly willed her to GO AWAY. I remember thinking from her perspective, sarcastically, like: “You know who looks like they might know the way? The inconsolable woman on that bench there. Yes, she's clearly not in the middle of anything intense. We should definitely ask her!”

Despite every fibre in my being willing the two of them to let me be dramatic and think the world was ending IN PEACE, they came right up to us. The middle-aged woman spoke with a thick Spanish accent, but her English was good.

She did not ask me for the way to anywhere.

What she said instead was this: