Friends And Family

Picking the closest one is like choosing a favorite. Now, that might hurt feelings, and I don’t want to do that. Plus, I really can’t say I have just one, nor are they all blood relatives! I consider my real friends family.

I will feel close to people and open up to them when I know they accept and love me and allow me the space to be myself. The friends and family who feel the closest to me are those who can let me be just who I need to be at any given moment. Those relationships where I can let my guard down and feel safe. It’s been a process, literally years, to understand what I needed and get to this point of surrounding myself primarily with those who respected my thinking.

So that’s me, in a nutshell! 🙂


Inspired by Sadje’s Sunday Poser #3 & The Sunday Whirl #483

with wind prodding me towards home
tender reminders and gratitude 
fill my essence as

feed on the love shown me 
no frill or pomp and circumstance
nor silver spoon of connections born 

my friends, my tribe
they flow alongside my road traveled
no words mince, no hearts break

i transfer a kiss to my finger
with a smile and gratitude, place it firmly
on the lips of my family

Led Astray – Part 2

Part 1

As if I would say no. I chuckled to myself. Eliott, you haven’t been picking up on the signals I’ve put out there.

“Sure, I would love to have dinner with you, Eliott.”

“Great, you choose – hearty burgers, Indian or Spanglish Mexican. That is what is closest to the hotel, and I’ve been to them all,” Eliott offered up. “I can recommend them with confidence as I broke from the meal plan a few times already.

“Hmm, it’s been a long time since I’ve had Indian, let’s do that,” I said, looking forward to eating some Chicken Tikka Masala and Naan bread to dampen the heat. I hoped it was as tasty as Eliott said.

“The seminar is over at 5:30 pm, but I need to wind down a bit and shower. How about you meet me in front of Conference Chicago at 6 pm?”

“See you then!” I said excitedly. A quick hug and we went our separate ways.


“Well, hello again, Mr. Blast from the Past,” I said, beaming as I approached. After a quick peck and a firm but brief squeeze, we made our way to the restaurant. I was looking forward to this evening and seeing how it would progress.

We laughed for hours, picking up where we left off at the coffee shop. Eliott went into more detail about his messy divorce, hitting rock bottom emotionally due to it and explained more about the wrong financial decisions he made. Sadly, it all happened around the same time, and it took a toll on his mental health. I found him very mature to have accepted his mistakes and taking the next steps to get back on track. It’s rare to see a man know when he has to reach out. I found myself drawn into his personal success story and applauding with each detail of his journey towards stability.

“I think that had I not gone through what I did, I would not be where I am today,” Eliott said humbly. Even that was refreshing to see that he wasn’t braggadocious about it. Mr. Stedwell, you are looking better and better every minute!

“Eliott, it sounds like you’ve become a wise man going through all your struggles. I admire that in you.”

“Yeah, I’ve picked up a thing or two. This positive life I have now is one of the biggest reasons I got started in mentoring. I wanted to give something back. Jack Canfield was inspirational and willing to take a chance on me. He brought me onboard his organization after seeing all the progress I had made,” he said and then paused for a bit, just staring into my eyes, reaching in to touch my soul. “Under his tutelage, I grew the confidence to break out on my own.” 

“So happy for you, Eliott!” I said, resting my hand on his. “If anyone is deserving, it’s you. Say, do you mind if I change the subject to something a tad more personal?” 


Led Astray – Part 1

“Maxie!” yelled this handsome man coming in my direction. Chicago sure produced many of his kind, but his broad smile was inviting, and he did look so familiar. I returned the smile. Slowly, I realized who he was.

“Eliott Stedwell! Oh my gosh, it’s been way too long! How have you been?” I said, wrapping him in my arms with a heartfelt hug.

“Pretty good, actually,” he said with confidence. “Life is treating me well now, I must say.”

“So, are you living in Chicago now?” I asked, hoping it was true. I couldn’t help but let my eyes wander over his face with delight. He was still hot as ever, with the charm to match. God, those eyes!

“Well, for the time being, yes,” he said quickly. “But only temporarily. I’m running a self-help seminar at Conference Chicago on State St. It’s a short-term engagement, not just one talk but a series of them taking place over two weeks. The location is perfect because they also offer housing for my attendees, and me, of course. With the meal plans included, it made it rather reasonable for everyone.”

“Wow! That’s interesting, Eliott. I didn’t know you were on the lecture circuit as a motivational speaker. Do you work for yourself or a company?”

“It is my company, but I didn’t start out that way. I got into it because of a seminar led by Jack Canfield. I had a rough patch a few years back, which led to some dark times for me,” he said earnestly. “A friend of mine recommended his course, hoping it could turn things around for me. And did it ever; it was the best thing I could have done for myself!” Yeah, I could see that. He seemed very confident, happy, and of course, hella good-looking to me! I noticed Eliott was wearing a pretty expensive suit, so it really must have worked out to his benefit financially too.

“Well, good for you,” I said with a big smile for him. “That makes me happy to know you are in a good place now. Hey, if you aren’t in a rush, do you want to grab some coffee and catch up some more?” Even though I had a few pressing errands to do, I was glad for the distraction, not wanting to do them anyway.

“Yeah, sure, then I can tell you more about how I went from being a total clod to a minor success,” Eliott said with a boyish grin as we started heading in the direction of the nearest Starbucks.

“Right, minor success,” I said, poking him in the shoulder. “From what I can tell, you seem to be enjoying major success!”

We spent the next few hours reminiscing about old times, mostly but also where our lives had taken us in the last few years.

“Say, I do have to give a seminar later today, but I wondered if you would like to have dinner afterward?” He looked at me, hoping I would say yes.




This year has been exceptionally odd so far.

Frankly, between the impeachment and now this COVID-19 pandemic, I’m feeling a bit unsure of how life will go on from here. Add to that, it’s an election year. 2020 will go down as one of the most controversial of my lifetime. The creation of all these current restrictions for safety and the need for isolation has literally changed our world as well. Let’s just say, it has made me reevaluate some things. Maybe for you too?

This pandemic is something unlike anything we have ever encountered before and probably will not have to face to this extent ever again, if we are lucky. I’m sure we’re all feeling a little unsteady as friends, family, communities, work-life and pretty much every facet of life is experiencing this gigantic and unexpected plot twist.

Current events got me thinking about a lot of things especially about the people I’m connected with for whatever reason. Some I know mostly offline, others online and offline, and some it’s only online and we’ve literally never met. I’m thankful for social media connections but these platforms don’t necessarily keep us in touch all the time. It is nice though when we do “talk” from time to time, so thank you for that. If this year teaches us anything, maybe fortifying connections will be one thing we’ll do right?

Let me get to the point of this post and why I decided to send it out on this platform. I’ve been genuinely wondering how everyone is feeling this year. With my own feelings being off-kilter at times, I thought I surely can’t be the only one. Since social media doesn’t always give us an accurate picture of people’s lives, my thought was “let’s talk about what’s going on.” I really think it’s ok to feel whatever we are feeling right now but keeping connected through it is also key.

So how is everything impacting you? Need to rant or cry? Have you found unexpected positives during these times? Do you have a close social network that you can reach out to if things are not going so well for you? Have you been able to keep the stress level down enough to not feel overwhelmed? Have you started something new? Is there anything you need to feel better? Feel free to comment here or if you’d rather have a private conversation, email me at

I look forward to hearing from you but if not (and that’s ok too, whatever you feel comfortable with), I just wanted to let you know that I care.

Make The Time For Me


I loved his words.

He loved mine.

A bond since 2018.

be they virtual
or in your face

if they are seeking you out
supporting you and your craft
making your efforts known

that’s love, acceptance, respect, and admiration

**This piece was inspired by John – The Mush from the Hill
Sorry, it took me so long, John!! I found my original notes finally! 🙂