Humor · spirituality

Church Chat


If there’s one thing I dread discussing — it’s religion.

All those pesky questions: Who created us? How did we get here? Why are we here? Where are my car keys? I just had them a second ago and — oh. Someone put them in the fridge. Ahem. Anyway. So yes…lots of questions. If you happen to think you have a good grip on some of the answers, there will always be some jackass to say that you are “wrong, wrong, wrong!” –and your ultimate fate is burning in hellfire for all eternity.

The two ultimate goals in my lifelong spiritual path?

1) To get to the actual truth.
2) To not be that jackass.

I was raised to find my own way, discover my own mysteries in life. I took cues from my grandmother who was deeply religious yet hardly talked about it. My parents tried not to cram their views down my throat. They allowed me to get to know either God or Buddha or the Big Void of Nothing in my own time.


My earliest memory of church-y things was when I was around 6 years old. My dad had a part time job cleaning the local Baptist church and once dragged me and my brothers along on a quiet Sunday afternoon. I was mesmerized by the giant stained glass Jesus peering down at me as I skipped around the empty pews. Hmm….he seemed like such a nice guy! Maybe he could be my friend? His eyes were warm and understanding.

((Cue the angel choir))

Suddenly my bowels cramped, gripping me with fear. Oh no! Would Jesus be mad at me if I pooped in the church bathroom? Jesus seemed to wink down at me and chuckle, “Well, my Dear One, God created you AND your need to poop. So it’s okay, go on. Poop away, my child, poop away. I love you and everything about you. Even the poopy parts.”

And so began my lifelong relationship with God*. As I grew older there were a couple things I knew for sure in my heart: He was good. He was all about love, acceptance and forgiveness. He was like a close friend of mine, always there if I needed to talk. And He was hilarious.

Of course, my spiritual beliefs weren’t always so solid. I read the Bible many times as a kid, purely out of curiosity. (Encyclopedia Brown Takes the Case was out on loan.) Then I entered college and read it again (Encyclopedia Brown and the Case of the Disgusting Sneakers was out on loan). Only this time with fresh eyes, more cynical. I used my Big Brain and thought, well I’m much too smart to believe in something that I can’t prove, right? This book was written by mere mortals after all. There were lots of parts I didn’t believe in (and still don’t.) I thought maybe religion was for suckers. For people who have their own sins to hide, so they use religion as a shield to protect their own personal ego and pride (I still think this to be true for some).

I flip-flopped between believing in some Big Creator and thinking, maybe there really IS nothing else? How clever I was! I had discovered the real truth! Maybe others who believed in God were brainless sheep?

But I remembered that fateful poopy day in church, I love you no matter what. And that experience of feeling completely accepted and loved, plus the countless personal experiences that I’ve had with God since (none involving poop) have shaped my faith over time and made me the person I am today.

So I’d like to stand up now and say something.

Hi, my name is Darla and I believe in a Creator*.

The most important thing I’ve realized in my quest? This is my story. These are not your memories. This isn’t about what you believe and don’t believe in. I am me and you are you. And we are all together. Goo goo g’joob. So how can I possibly condemn others for their own views? I don’t care if you believe in God, Buddha, The Big Nothing or Justin Bieber. Whatever works for you and brings peace to your heart (OK, I take back Justin Bieber) because you are on your own path and finding your own Truth in your own time, just like me.

I’ve never understood religious fanatics who pound on my door to tell me they know the answers and it’s their duty to tell me. It’s like they’re carrying a punch-card: Convert 10 People and Win a Free 6 inch Subway!

Eat Fresh!
Eat Fresh! And Repent Your Sins Now with Double the Meat!

Well, you don’t need to convince me of anything. I’ll be fine, really. Because when I am dying and facing the reality of things, you won’t be there beside me, will you? No one will — it’ll just be me all alone, facing my own deep and intimate relationship with the Source and the Unknown. And when it comes down to it, all that matters in the end is what I know in my own heart to be true.

My simple truths (not yours, mine, so take a chill pill) about religion and spirituality:

None of us knows for sure what is the Ultimate Truth of All Things.

For crying out loud, we can barely figure out how to program a DVR or how to make a good cup of coffee.

If you do believe in something, great. If not, fantabulous.

But try not to tell others they are obviously wrong.

Never treat anyone with disrespect, no matter what they believe in.

Unless it’s Justin Bieber.

Don’t go pounding on doors to tell people they’re going to burn in hell if they don’t go to your church.

Especially when I’m in the middle of a Golden Girls marathon and still wearing my bathrobe. I appreciate your concern, but I think I’ll be just fine. It’s a nonflammable robe.

Everything in life is about two things:


We are here for only three things:

  • to experience
  • to learn
  • to eat chocolate

Get it? Is that so hard, people? Sheesh.

And finally,

If you have to poop in a church bathroom, it’s okay.

I know God is laughing at me right now for that last one.


*Creator, God, Source, Spirit, He, She, It…whatever.

Image result for church lady snl
Amen, sister! (Betcha didn’t even notice I Photoshopped the pic from above the post. My resemblance to Dana Carvey is uncanny!)
Nature · poems · poetry · spirituality · writing


Image result for sequoia

I dreamed of shadows and sheltered things

beneath the tree with golden leaves.

Today the mighty trunk sliced bare as bone,

the rings rough and splintered,

you take my hand as we count the lives together.

A thousand deaths, a thousand loves,

a thousand circles bound us with frayed fibers,

spinning its thread, the splinters cut deep.

Now and then at the wound’s core,

the sapling sprouts from a single seed,

always yearning and always bending toward love’s light,

free of pain again,

under the sequoia tree.





What I didn’t do on my summer vacation

I spent most of the summer reading. Author/spiritual guru/King of Chilltown, Eckhart Tolle, has a simple message: Life is all about balance; there’s an intrinsic ebb and flow. You win some, you lose some. Things come and go. You try to do the tree pose to impress your kids, you fall onto the yoga mat and pull an ass muscle you didn’t know existed.

Eckhart’s Spiritual Truth #234: Give it up, girl. You’re a klutz.

This summer, I decided to balance my mental state by weeding out the soul-sucking nonsense in my life — social media. What was interesting in this experiment was how little I missed it after a few days. It was very difficult at first. I had the typical withdrawal symptoms: trembling fingers, twitchy eyes, bitchy mood.  I had to uninstall apps on my phone to resist the temptation.

Then I would reinstall them. Then uninstall them. Reinstall. Uninstall.

Balance, dear child.
Balance, dear child.

Then I muted almost everyone on Twitter. Then I unmuted some. Then muted them. Mute. Unmute. Mute. Unmute.

Balance, dear child.
Twitter isn’t real. Nothing is real. It’s all a figment of our collective consciousness. An illusion. Let it go.

Then I scrolled through my Facebook feed, cursing at myself for caving once again.

Facebook is merely a construct that serves the purpose of feeding the ego. We all project a false sense of self, a persona. This is not your authentic essence of your true being.
Facebook is merely a social construct that serves the sole purpose of feeding the ego. It’s a place where we all project a false sense of self; a persona. This is not the authentic essence of your true being. Release yourself from this manmade prison. And let it go, etc…. I mean, I think it really goes without saying…duh.

Finally, I threw my phone in the trash. Then retrieved it. Throw. Retrieve. Throw. Retrieve.

Ah! For the love of– YOU are an IDIOT! 

Man, that Eckhart Tolle sure gets on my last nerve. But the smug bastard speaks the truth. When you let go of things that don’t serve you well and life is in harmony, a whole new world opens up.

And yes, I’m an idiot.

After a week with less social media, colors seemed brighter, images sharper, my kids’ names clearer. Still, there were doubts. I did miss the social interaction on the interwebz.

How would I survive without knowing how outraged people were with the asinine thing Trump did this week? How would I go on without seeing in my Facebook feed 35 photos of my friend’s cat that all look the same? How would I cope not knowing how everyone else is having more fun and looks ridiculously more attractive than me this summer?

I’m happy to say I curbed my addiction. I stopped doing things I wasn’t truly enjoying anymore. I let negative stuff go. I didn’t blog for two months. (gasp) I didn’t go on Twitter. I came to the stark realization that no one really cares how tasty my omelet looks on Instagram. (For the record, it had feta cheese and spinach and it was AMAZEBALLS!) I discovered that people no longer say ‘amazeballs’. My Facebook page was (mostly) silent.

Guess what? I exist. I’M STILL ALIVE!!

(Barely, but I do feel a faint pulse…)

Thanks, Eckhart. You’ve changed my life, dude.

Huh? Did you say something? Sorry, (hehe) but I was watching a YouTube video of Chewbacca Mom wrestling Trump in a vat of pudding.  Hilarious! But (ahem) yes….uh….balance. It’s all about letting things go. All that matters is being fully engaged in the present moment. To find out more about how we hold onto material things that don’t matter, be sure to buy my book on Amazon, on sale for only 19.95 plus shipping and handling!

Gloating in my success at banning social media, I watched a YouTube video of Tolle talking about another addiction we all face (after I checked out that hysterical Chewbacca Mom clip). It’s an addiction that’s much larger in scope and more difficult to beat.

Our addiction to thinking. Specifically — overthinking. Or thinking about overthinking. Or thinking about not thinking about overthinking thinking.

I am so screwed. I love to think! It’s what I do best! Or worst. First step to get back on my road to Chilltown: Buy beige sweater vest.

The key to a calm mind? It's all about the vest.
Calm vest, calm mind.

Thankfully, I’ve practiced meditation for nearly 25 years, so I’ve got this nonthinking shit down. I just have to not think about it so much. Easy! I need to breathe in….and breathe out….just…….one with my true essence…ahhhhh…

I feel dizzy now, but it’s all good.

Because — like Eckhart has said many times in that soft, mesmerizing, endearing Yoda-like way — we are all simply forms of consciousness, always transforming, manifesting and dissolving into formlessness. This is the true reality of existence. Not worrying about how big my thighs look in my leggings or how in the hell I’m going to survive until our election is finally over.

You hear that, Trump?

Republican presidential candidate, businessman Donald Trump stands during the Fox Business Network Republican presidential debate at the North Charleston Coliseum, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2016, in North Charleston, S.C. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)
The Donald — fully basking in his true essence.

You are a temporary form of consciousness! Everything has its purpose! It’s OK! (deep inhale) You’re just manifesting! (long exhale)

Sigh. I think I need to meditate again. Om.


How was your summer?
How long have you gone with no social media?
Do you have any extra beige sweater vests lying around?
Is this election all just a crazy, mixed-up, endless, nightmarish trip I’m having due to that time I accidentally smoked the ganja?




Chitchatting with the Dead

Whenever I learn about something a little out of the ordinary in life, I usually question its validity. Well, at first. It’s not like I don’t believe anything, because, given enough time to analyze it, I feel everything is possible. But I’ve got to see some solid tangible evidence in my own life experiences or I just won’t buy it.

Eating healthy and exercising can help you lose weight? Whatever. Chiropractors are ‘real’ doctors? Doubtful. Algebra is a useful class? Please.

This brings me to my favorite subject: psychic abilities. Yeah, that’s right. Listen up all you skeptics, because things are gonna get all freaky-deaky up in here.

I’ve had loads of experience in the mystical side of things since I was a kid. I grew up in a 100 year old house that was haunted. I’ve glimpsed ghosts. I’ve heard spirits. I’ve been to psychics. I’ve had readings. I haven’t been abducted by aliens. I haven’t gone that far off the edge. I’m not ruling out the possibility, though.  As George Carlin once said, “If it’s true that our species is alone in the universe, then I’d have to say that the universe aimed rather low and settled for very little.”

When you tell someone you believe in this psychic stuff, they either wholeheartedly agree or think you’re obviously off your rocker. The paranormal is something you have to directly experience if you are to fully believe in it. I do think some people can pick up on certain vibes more easily than others. I feel all of us are capable of this ability but choose not to cultivate it.

What convinced me psychic readings were real? I first went to see a medium years ago, before I had kids. At the time, I already believed in psychic ability, not surprising considering my childhood background of directly experiencing the spiritual world. Yet, being born an analytical, critical person, I thought she obviously must be a fake. Charging 60 bucks for an hour? Puhlease! What a racket!

I see…that you will be out sixty bucks in sixty minutes….

So I sat there in a darkened room that reeked of patchouli, trying hard not to giggle as she lit a candle and started some weird oomba-goomba heavy breathing.

Suddenly, she stopped, opened her eyes and looked right above my head.

“Ahhhh……” she breathed. “Your dad is here with you. He’s departed, yes?”

Lucky guess, I thought, all smug in my smugnitude.

“He’s very excited because you’re finally acknowledging his presence! He’s saying he’s very proud of you!”

Wow. Get out. I tried not to let out a snort. Ever notice how all dead people seem to want to talk about is how proud they are of the living? Why not tell me next week’s winning lotto numbers?  Or who’s in the next Super Bowl? Still, just imagining for one second that maybe my late father really was there in the room, she really was communicating with him and he truly said he was proud of me? I admit, I teared up a little.

“Wait…he’s telling me….” she whispered as she gazed over my left shoulder.

More weird breathing.

Hmm….let me guess…my dad is in a good place now and is at peace?

“He’s saying he gives you signs with the car….um…. something about the doors locking. Yes, he said that soon after he passed, he made the car doors lock and unlock, they went up and down over and over again in his car and he is validating for you that that was him.”

Hold up. Holy crap.

My dad died a week before Thanksgiving in 1991. A few days after he passed, my younger brother and I were driving his old Chevy Blazer around. Every time one of us mentioned my father, the car door locks would suddenly move by themselves, rapidly clicking open and shut. These locks had to be operated manually, they would only open if someone pushed on them. Sometimes they would slowly unlock and lock. When one of us would ask, “Dad? Is that you?” the locks would click faster. We both saw and heard this with our own eyes. Neither of us were near the locks. This went on every time we got into his car for days afterward. But then, a few weeks later, it stopped completely.

“Your dad said he’s there with your dog,” the medium smiled. (My beloved dog died a few months before my dad.)  “And your two cats. One cat is very wise. He is very sweet and loving. The other cat comes across as kind of mean.” (Both my cats had died previously and her descriptions of both were accurate.)

And now your dad is saying you will have kids soon,” she continued. “Don’t worry. He knows you worry about having kids. Oh! He said he’s with your firstborn. He’s a boy. He’s got thick, curly hair just like you.”

Must keep it together. Don’t cry. Don’t you dare cry! Firstborn?? She could be making all of this up. I’m sure she is just pulling stuff out of thin air! Right? Me? A mom? A son? 

At the time, I had given up on having babies after trying to get pregnant for two years and undergoing surgery that left me with only one partially functioning ovary. I had thought being a mom maybe wasn’t in the cards for me. But I had a vivid dream once of my dad with my future son and often wondered if this was going to really happen one day.

So this is how my reading went for the next hour. She would blurt something out and I would sit there like an idiot with my mouth hanging open. I didn’t cry though, I really didn’t.

Apparently my dad had a lot to say. He informed me of future events, particularly about my younger brother and something traumatic that he had to go through. Without going into specifics, everything she told me in that reading came true. All of it.

I’ve had several readings since then and all have been eerily accurate. I know what you might be thinking. Feel free to doubt, it’s all right, I would do the same. I respect a skeptic’s view, I do. But these readings were not vague. They didn’t throw random stuff out and fish for information. My readings were all very detailed and only things I would know, things she couldn’t have possibly known beforehand. Sorry, but Google doesn’t have all the answers.

Do you believe in psychics or mediums?  If you’ve been to one, do you have any cool stories to share?

I’ll leave you with a hilarious clip from SNL that cracked me up about
The Long Island Medium. I faithfully watch this show. I know, she’s a trip, a bit in-your-face and loud. But I do cry watching every episode, I can’t help it.

Family · inspiration · reflections

The Breakthrough


The helicopter overhead was distant–the propeller’s thumps a low murmur seeping into my mind, stirring up dread, thick and suffocating.

I stood inside my grandmother’s old house and gazed at the peeling yellowed paint on the walls and the layers upon layers of dusty photographs covering every inch. In one black and white photo, a young pig-tailed girl’s face beamed, sitting on her father’s knee, her face forever frozen in mid-laugh. In another– a girl in her teens, blowing out the candles on the cake, her father resting his hand on her shoulder.

A splintered mirror on the wall reflected an older woman. A woman now startled by the creases circling her hollowed eyes and the raw bleeding wounds dotting her scalp.  The wounds my mother gave me.

Hot red anger flashed as my fingers frantically tried to cover them with tufts of matted hair– but there were too many, they just grew and grew, and bled and bled.


A soft breeze blew the front door open, rustling the photos about like leaves.  I shuddered as the leak of fear dripping in my mind ran cold. A rush of wind swelled and the hardwood floor beneath me groaned, each floorboard lifting one by one, rippling like waves. I turned to look out the window.

It was coming.

Lazers of red light pierced through the tiny holes and cracks in the floor, casting blood-orange spots around the room; the thundering pulse of the propeller almost on top of me now.

I opened my mouth to scream, but only a raspy gasp escaped my lips.  The photographs began to flutter and fall to the floor, forming tiny swirling tornados that danced and circled around the room; the blackened edges of each photo curling unto itself until each one disintegrated into a thin gray dust.  Vibrations rippled through me, my body nothing more than an empty shell as the helicopter’s relentless chant filled my ears.


Bracing for impact, I shut my eyes and turned away, the taste of choking dust filling my mouth. It was outside the window now–a spinning black steel spider hanging from an unseen web growing bigger and bigger until it was inches from breaking through the glass.

Suddenly, it stopped to hover, frozen in mid-flight; as if the web’s sinewy thread was pulled taut. I felt a hand on my shoulder. My breath stopped.

It was my father.

Dad. Dad!


I searched his face, unbelieving. He was young again; his face smooth, his smile warm and knowing. A sparkling white light radiated from his eyes.

Don’t be afraid, he said without moving his lips.

I will help you.

Watch me. I’ll show you.

Churning back to life, the helicopter continued its path toward the window. I closed my eyes, imagining it tearing through the house, shards of exploding glass, wood and metal showering down, consuming me in flames.

Look, my dad said. Here, look.

I opened my eyes.

He stepped in front of me and raised one arm, his hand shielding me from the spider. In response, it reversed, the broken shards of wood and glass flying backwards with it.  The thundering pulse of the propeller a soft murmur again as the helicopter vanished into a small black dot swallowed whole by bright blue sky.

I sucked in the air and a sweet coolness spread across my face, into my lungs and down my spine.


I was standing on the precipice of the tallest mountain. Below me, an endless sea of jewels, sparkling blue and green.  I drank in the beauty as it flowed through my veins.

I floated. I was free.

My dad grabbed my hand and smiled. We were back in my grandmother’s house again.

Do you see?

I looked down, wisps of my hair were swirling to the floor like feathers. I tenderly touched my head. My wounds were gone, replaced with pink skin–warm, soft and new.

I do, Dad.  I see.

Thank you.

I looked out the window and into the bright light.


Significantly Simple Guest Blog

This week I was thrilled to be a guest blogger for one of my favorite sites, Significantly Simple, created by my friends Heather and Laila. Their site is filled with informative articles on everything from the environment to homeschooling and natural living. They offer product reviews plus their favorite recipes and books.

Please feel free to pour yourself another cup of coffee or tea and settle in to browse their lovely site. I hope you enjoy my take on recurring dreams, Finding My Way Home.


My Zen

The tiny bright ball of energy was whirling in front of me. It swirled and spun while even smaller dots of yellow light zipped around the ball like moons orbiting Jupiter. I was mesmerized. All I could do was observe it in my mind’s eye. The light was growing bigger and bigger, suspended in space in front of me. There was no thought. There was no time. There was no “I”. Nothing existed except for that ball of light. Continue reading “My Zen”