Monday, January 29, 2018

Eliminating The Problematic

“We believe you should consume only foods (and drinks) that support normal, healthy digestive function; eating anything that impairs the integrity of your gut impairs the integrity of your health.” 

There are three days left on my Whole30 diet. I followed the invitation of my One Little Word, Umkehr and eliminated added sugars, grains, legumes, and dairy. 


This was a return, Umkehr, to a cleaner diet which I tried in the past for a shorter duration. Now, because I am going to carry on another month, I will give an accounting of the results after one month.

  • Much less digestive rumblings
  • My face is very smooth, rough surface gone
  • I am able to fall asleep quickly
  • Weight loss of 7 pounds
  • I can move easier, less joint inflammation
There is one food family I will introduce back into my diet. Legumes will be the returning ingredient this month. With a dash of dark chocolate. I've missed it!

  January is destined to become a memorable month. Click here to see some other Umkehr challenges in the future.

Maybe I should have picked Rubato for my word this year since it is the name of my mystery novel. 

“Rubato is a musical term which means temporarily leaving a strict tempo to allow an expressive quickening or slowing, usually without altering the overall pace."

Friday, January 26, 2018


Windows and Mirrors
Reflection and Light
One borrowed image
The other pure sight

Sixty-four years ago I surprised my parents by arriving twelve years after their three boys. I was a big deal. They surrendered to starting over with diapers and sleepless nights. The novelty wore off, but I must say they loved me very much. They have both passed from this world but I think about them all the time. Forty three years of making decisions in a war torn country made a safe place for me to arrive. My brothers survived the war as children and they tease me by saying I waited until the war was over to make an entrance. What they did before I was born impacted my while life. I hope that some of the things I have done since they have passed make that kind of an impact on my posterity.

You are within us
We carry your light
To vistas, extended
Beyond present sight.

And, I thank-you for reading some of my mystery novel, Rubato. Judith makes a decision which, upon reflection, changes the lives of others, not for the better.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Trusting The Results

If I am seeing results, can I trust that they will last?

This month my word is taking me on an adventure of eating differently. Umkehr means to return to better ways. Today is day 22 of my Whole30 experiment. A high protein and high, healthy fat diet is working for me. My clothes fit better and I am less burdened with digestive issues. 

The last three weeks have been a love affair with vegetables. Greens are really good cooked with a little sausage and squash for breakfast. Add a half of avocado and there is a filling meal. 
  My only trepidation is whether I will maintain my new eating habits. I plan to, I hope to, and I will work towards the goal. However, on February first I intend to have some chocolate and later that week a half of a croissant. It is still umkehr if I stay largely on the path I started, right? Ha! Ha! You don't have to answer, I know. 

  January is destined to become a memorable month. Click here to see some other Umkehr challenges in the future.

And, don't miss out on reading my brand new mystery novel, 'Rubato'. It is the story of a piano teacher found dead and a valuable Liszt autograph manuscript gone missing. 
You'll love it.


Friday, January 19, 2018


Rubato, an Italian word, means to intentionally rob time.

It may be that I appear to be self promoting my new book by rambling about it here but I'm learning so many amazing things by writing this fictional mystery. It was my intention to write about the world of music, most especially piano teaching, because that is my day job. 

It was also intentional that I added musical terms and used them in a different context, namely the world of a homicide detective. What wasn't so intentional was the necessary study of motivation and response. To my surprise as I thought about the victim and how she came to be murdered by the hand of someone else, a process emerged. I was peeling away the layers of impulse and action. My victim made decisions not necessarily based on right or wrong but on what should be right. Her actions left the strict tempo of law and order and applied 'rubato' to actions that had devastating effects. She robbed justice just like a pianist robs a measure of it's strict beat by holding on to certain notes intentionally longer than prescribed. I found myself assessing my own attitudes about right and wrong. Just yesterday I was parking in front of my son's house in the wee hours of the morning. The little side street was lined with cars, that's what happens when a neighborhood builds apartments without parking accommodations. I parked in front of a fire hydrant, knowing it was wrong but expediency pushed me forward, after all, I wasn't going to be there long. When I saw the parking ticket on my windshield I felt mad. Then, I felt the justice of that ticket. 
So, long story short, I'm learning unintentional lessons from writing this book. I invite you to read some free chapters below. 

And, I thank-you for reading some of my mystery novel, Rubato. It is the story of a piano teacher found dead and a valuable Liszt autograph manuscript gone missing.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Remembering Me

   I remember a lighter, less burdened person

   How many of us choose a word to carry us through the new year that invites physical change? Does that word invite us to remember previous years of feeling better, more fit, and healthy?

    My word Umkehr, a German noun, certainly does. It means to come back, to change one's ways. To return to a previously healthier time is the motivation for doing my first Whole30 month. If it is a fad, I probably will be the last one to join. The rebel in me likes to wait and see how it works for others first. It was really my One Little Word that goaded me into trying this eating regimen. Thirty days of eating whole, unprocessed food, no products with added sugar, no grains, pasta or legumes, and no dairy. It was the bread, cheese, and chocolate that I missed the most. There were temptations and trials, and to be totally honest, I'm only half way through the month. But, I see positive change and for that I am grateful. 
    This isn't my first diet rodeo. Change to my way of eating lasts a while and then I'm back to stopping in at bakeries, not just once in a while, but weekly. I tell myself that I deserve the treat of unfettered indulgence. However, the flip side of feeling bloated and overfull is a consequence I can't seem to shake and I'm pretty sure I don't deserve it. So there you have it. I need Umkehr, with all it's imperfect attempts and mindful maneuverings. 

   January is destined to become a memorable month. Click here to see some other Umkehr challenges in the future.

And, I thank-you for reading some of my mystery novel, Rubato. It is the story of a piano teacher found dead and a valuable Liszt autograph manuscript gone missing.

Friday, January 12, 2018


Ta-Da! I've figured out how to simplify my life.

  1. Exercise less
  2. Eat less
  3. Clean my house less often
  4. Shower once a week
  5. Drop some piano students
  6. Practice the piano only when preparing for an occasion
  7. Stop blogging
  8. Visit my grandkids less often
  9. Wear the same clothes three days in a row
  10. Never go into my art studio
  11. Stop visiting friends
  12. Take all the unread books back to the library

        There you have it. A dozen ways to make my life simpler. 

If you want to add some fun to your life read my cosy mystery and find out how the piano teacher got mixed up in an international intrigue.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Inviting Back and Letting Go

"Umkehr ist der schnellste Weg voran."
C.S Lewis

My translation; Coming back or returning is the fastest way forward.

Each month I will be choosing a new way to invite my word of 2018 into my life. This January I wish to invite back a practice I did last January. My diet needs a reset so I'm letting go of sugar, bread, and dairy. Today is day eight and I must say yesterday and this morning have been the hardest. I felt light headed and lacking energy and I can't help thinking it may be my body letting go of the hold sugar has on my physical and mental well being.
The foods I am eating are whole, unprocessed, and plentiful, so I'm not hungry.
Last year I found after two weeks I didn't want sweets. As in many good things I invite into my life, time dulls the positive consequences and I need Umkehr. 

Click here to see a table of contents of this year's process.

And, I thank-you for reading some of my mystery novel. It is the story of a piano teacher found dead and a valuable Liszt autograph manuscript gone missing.
Click here for chapters

Friday, January 5, 2018


“Obligers may find it difficult to form a habit, because often we undertake habits for our own benefit, and Obligers do things more easily for others than for themselves. For them, the key is external accountability.”

Gretchen Rubin, Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives

Five Minute Friday motivates me to write. I wish I could say I write without an outward motivation, but I can't. I move more easily and with commitment with outward accountability. I suppose God knows that about me. That reason alone makes the word covenant, sacred.

  In our relationship, God promises me his spirit and I promise to always remember him. I am motivated to start the day and end the day, in Him. I can forget, rebel, and ignore but he draws me back because of his outstretched hand. 
   I feel that God wants me to write. This November I jumped into writing a novel, I joined NaNoWriMo, and I felt his gentle nudge. The book is about a detective, a Christian, who is investigating a murder. Not compatible? She has some compelling reasons. I really like her. 
   God works with people who motivate themselves, with those who need outward accountability, with those who rebel, and even with those pesky questioners. His gospel encompasses every personality.

   “What are your plans tomorrow?” Reggie asked. 
   “I will sleep in and go to church with my mother.”
   “That’s right, I forget that you are a believer. No offense meant, but I don’t understand how you can see what we see day in and day out and still believe in a God.”
   Stevie replied slowly. “It is preciously why I believe. God is my hope that this messed up world has some redeeming value. I believe in the power of God to save, even the hardened criminal who forfeits his right to be free.” Stevie laughed at Reggie’s expression. “There you have my sermon and it isn’t even Sunday.”

Monday, January 1, 2018

My One Little Word for 2018 Is Umkehr (Return)

My word for 2018 is a word in my native tongue. 

Even though I was raised in the United States I grew up speaking German at home. There are many words which cannot fully be translated into English. Umkehr is such a word. My mother would use the word on our long walks. As we turned to retrace our path back home she would ask, "Sollen wir Umkekr machen?"
This word will invite me to return to things forgotten or abandoned temporarily. 

Umkehr  Um•kehr     
    (lit)  turning back  
 zur Umkehr zwingen    to force  to turn back   
geh   (=Änderung)  change  ,  (zur Religion etc)   changing one's ways

zur Umkehr bereit sein    to be ready to change one's ways  

"She went back to all that was comfortable and familiar while keeping her gaze looking ahead- to all that would be and could."
Colleen Attara

January- Return to a Healthy Diet

January 8- Inviting Back And Letting Go
January 15- Remembering Me
January 22- Trusting The Results
January 29- Eliminating The Problematic

February- Return to Meditation and Prayer 

February 5- A Vision of Umkehr
February 12- Spring Is Umkehr
February 19- Returning To Past Successes 
February 26- Consistency Versus Quality

March- Return To Writing Everyday
March 5- Editing
March 12- Fighting Resistance To Daily Writing
March 20- Starting Fresh Everyday

April- Umkehr To My Six Habits of Happiness
April 2- FOMO
April 9- Questions About Umkehr
April 16- Unused Creativity Is Not Benign
April 23- What If I Get Offtrack Again

May- Umkehr in Pictures
May1- Pictures of Trying Again
May 7- Using My Words On My Paintings
May 14- Returning To My Ancestors With Pictures
May 28- Looking At Pictures From the Past

June- Mid Year Progress Evaluation
June 3- Asking The First Three Questions
June 18- More Questions About Progress
June 25- Kein Umkehr, No Re-Entry

July- Playing with my Word Visually
July 8- Playing Artistically with my Word to Make it Visual
July 15- A Visual For The Cycle Of Change

Weekly posts will keep track of my return


And, I thank-you for reading some of my mystery novel, Rubato. Judith, a piano teacher extraordinaire,  makes a decision which, upon reflection, changes the lives of others, not for the better.

Click here to read the book for free.