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Five weeks ago I started an Oprah Lifeclass with Brene Brown titled The Gifts of Imperfection based on the book of the same title. It has been an extraordinary journey and one that has truly opened my eyes. Along with the readings we do lessons and a journal using multi-media crafts.

To be able to say ‘YES I am imperfect, but that is okay,’ has been truly freeing. To realize that I am me and accept me that way I am and not as you expect me to be is so liberating. One of our assignments has been to cultivate self-compassion by letting go of our imperfections.

Here are two of my journal pages for that day.

Gifts of Imperfection Journal

Gifts of Imperfection Journal


This has been a truly spiritual journey. I leave you with words from Dr. Kristen Neff “self-compassion has three elements: srelf kindness, common humanity and mindfulness.”


We’ve Moved …

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I am happy to say that I have my own hosting site, so I am no longer at WordPress.

Please come on over to my new site

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The only difference is there is no longer wordpress in my URL.


Cat von Hassel-Davies

I’m back, sort of…


DH and I took a much needed mini-vacation. It helped our grieving process to be able to be away from home, to have other things to think about. On Friday we packed the car with our overnight bags and my briefcase. I take it everywhere with me, it has a book I am reading, my iPad, a notebook, my notes, tape recorder, my various fountain pens, and sometimes my e-reader. It was an unusual chilly day for NC so I grabbed my favorite soft fleece pullover and a matching one for hubby.

Around noon we set off, heading west. We weren’t sure where we were going, we just knew somewhere in the vicinity of either Asheville or Boone. Checking out the map I decided I wanted to go see Thomas Wolfe and Carl Sandburg’s house. I love maps, we do use a GPS, and I have my maps on my iPad, but there is something about a paper map. I can see where we are and where we’re going and say, hey look this little road takes us there, let’s follow it. I much prefer back roads to highways. There is something about seeing towns, or what was once a town, and I try to imagine what it was like during it’s heyday. I imagine a timeframe and then the people. How might they have dressed? how did they travelled? car, horse, train, buggy? The only problem going this route is you sometimes can’t find a restaurant, especially on a Sunday, or a hotel/motel. Well, one you would want to sleep at anyway. The good thing is you can find very interesting stores, bookstores – used/new, eateries and B&Bs. The B&Bs are usually in old historic houses and being a history buff they are perfect.

We wound our way through Lake Lure, Chimney Rock and Bat Cave. All small towns, on a twisty mountain road. We were wondering what it would be like in the winter. Not that we are snowbirds, not by a long shot we lived in upstate NY, a mountainous area that gets snow measured in feet. It’s just the road was very steep with lots of twists and turns. We had a good laugh when we saw a sign for a farm saying it was a mile away. We were wondering if that was by the way the crow flies, or by the length of the road. If it was the length of the road, it was right there to our left, only thing was, we would have to go through four hairpin turns to reach it.

We found ourselves in Asheville just as the sun began to set behind the mountain. We settled into a Hampton Inn and headed for dinner. The next morning we repacked the car and headed for the Wolfe house, called Old Kentucky Home. I was disappointed to find that he did not do any of his writings there. It was his Mother’s boarding house, the children mostly lived in another house nearby (long gone), but Thomas did spend time there, only not writing. I thought maybe when he wrote some of his plays while in college at UNC Chapel Hill, but no, he didn’t. It was a great house and seeing some of the original furnishings was interesting.

We then headed south for Flat Rock and Carl Sandburg’s home Connemara. AMAZING!!! I loved it. It is a hike to the house along a winding steep path, but well worth it. You pass a pond, filled with turtles who peek their head out to say hi as you walk by. The scenery is gorgeous, with wonderful mountain vistas. The house sits up on a hill and has breathtaking views of the mountains. After Carl passed away, his wife Lillian didn’t want to stay in the house any longer. She wrote to the government to see if they wanted to purchase it for an historical landmark. They agreed, so Lillian, her daughter and grandchildren, packed up their clothes and moved to Asheville. Yes, you read right, just their clothes. Everything else stayed in the house. When you walk in, it is as if you expect one of the Sandburg’s to come walking around the corner to greet you.

Carl Sandburg

This time I was able to see a writer’s workspace. I was surprised, it was a small room, filled with shelves and cabinets, papers and books strewn all over. A typewriter sat on a small box next to the desk. What really surprised me was the small window and the desk was no where near it. Carl was actually to take a room near his office with a great big window and a wonderful view, but declined saying that it would be too distracting. Okay, I guess I could see it, but I need my view. In my craft room, my sewing table sits in front of the windows, in my office, my desk is near my window, overlooking a small sitting area with a white bistro set, a birdbath and feeder, along with a hummingbird feeder and rhododendrons (Mums in the fall). Hmmm maybe I should rethink this and sit where I am not distracted by the view…

Cathy von Hassel-Davies

P.S. One of the best things is finding out the name of Carl Sandburg’s house – Connemara. I have always loved that Irish name and the names of nearby Killary Harbour and Kilkieran Bay, so it was with great pleasure hearing the name of the house. Also during one of the video’s in which Edward Marrow is interviewing Carl and he mentions a rock he likes to go to and write his poems. When we lived in NY I would frequent John Burrough’s Thinking Rock and write in my journal. Having two things in common just made the writer in me very happy and a little bit of the grieving let go.

Today I am Sad


Chantilly with Daddy

Today is one of the hardest days of my life. At 4:30 I am going to say goodbye to Chantilly. She is our sweet red-headed Yorkie. Our vet always said it is as if she dunked her head into a bucket of red dye. We bought her from a breeder February 2001, she was so tiny she fit inside a shoe. She was awesome, she crate trained very fast, in the beginning I would come home for lunch driving 20 minutes one way, to feed and walk her. After a month she didn’t need my afternoon visits, she held herself all day. She was wonderful. A sweet disposition, but she didn’t like little kids three and under. Their fast, tiny fingers frightened her.

She wiggled her way into my husband heart. She became his little girl. She new when he was heading home after a week long absence. She would jump on the shelf in front of our picture window waiting for him, she knew, she just knew. She would meet him with bounces and kisses, nearly jumping right into arms. She had this neat thing she would do, when you would pick her up, she would jump a little to help you. Once we settled down for the night in our den, she would jump up on his lap, lean back so she was sitting and expose her soft pink belly. She just wanted soft caressing from hubby, both of them relaxing and releasing the stress of the day.

She had this amazing way of running, we live in a cul-de-sac with three acres, she loved our neighbor Mike. She just needed to hear his voice and she was off, all four paws meeting, hair flying backwards in the breeze she created. That is how I want to remember her and that is how I will.

All our love Chantilly Lace.

Chantilly and Daddy

The Rainbow Bridge

inspired by a Norse legend

By the edge of a woods, at the foot of a hill,

Is a lush, green meadow where time stands still.

Where the friends of man and woman do run,

When their time on earth is over and done.

For here, between this world and the next,

Is a place where each beloved creature finds rest.

On this golden land, they wait and they play,

Till the Rainbow Bridge they cross over one day.

No more do they suffer, in pain or in sadness,

For here they are whole, their lives filled with gladness.

Their limbs are restored, their health renewed,

Their bodies have healed, with strength imbued.

They romp through the grass, without even a care,

Until one day they start, and sniff at the air.

All ears prick forward, eyes dart front and back,

Then all of a sudden, one breaks from the pack.

For just at that instant, their eyes have met;

Together again, both person and pet.

So they run to each other, these friends from long past,

The time of their parting is over at last.

The sadness they felt while they were apart,

Has turned into joy once more in each heart.

They embrace with a love that will last forever,

And then, side-by-side, they cross over… together.

© 1998 Steve and Diane Bodofsky. All Rights Reserved.

The Barn


This is our first campaigner challenge from Rachel Harrie’s blog. I am a little late as we are still dealing with Chantilly Lace (our Yorkie’s) health problems. We have ruled out cancer, Cushing’s disease and many other potentially deadly illnesses. I’ll post more on this on another day, but for now….

Write a short story/flash fiction story in 200 words or less, excluding the title. It can be in any format, including a poem. Begin the story with the words, “The door swung open” These four words will be included in the word count.

If you want to give yourself an added challenge (optional), use the same beginning words and end with the words: “the door swung shut.” (also included in the word count)

For those who want an even greater challenge, make your story 200 words EXACTLY!

Here’s mine — 200 words.



The door swung open banging against the brass doorstopper. Samantha jumped, thinking ‘now what?’ Living in her great-great grandparents house she was use to the odd bumps and sounds of the night, but rarely did they happen in daylight.

Until recently that is, the sounds of the house invaded the peacefulness of this rural farm.  Rising to close the door, she walked to her alter instead, wondering what is causing the increased activity. Samantha decided to mediate and see if she could get a glimpse into the unknown that is the otherworld. Samantha tied her long blonde hair back with a pink rubber band, lit white candles, and a sage smudge stick. Sitting down on green meditation cushions, Samantha closed her eyes and chanted, “drem, dreeeeem, drem.

Minutes later visions began appearing, she saw a barn… it looked like her barn only it wasn’t… not red but weathered, boards that have been assailed by the sun, rain and cold, that only upstate NY could produce. Then the vision of a fire; crackling, raging, hot, yellow, red and green flames engulfing the barn. People running, a baby crying, a woman screams. Samantha wakes with a start as the door swung shut…

Campaigns – Getting to Know You


I am part of a few writing campaigns this month. I have had a story in me for years, working and churning inside, and now bubbling to come out, like the critter in Alien. A few of my fellow campaigners are going to come for a visit and I thought it would be a great idea find out who you are.

So pour yourself a cup of coffee or tea, have a seat, and tell me a little something about yourself. I’ll start – I was born in Germany and moved to the states when I was two.  My Dad was in the US Army and stationed near his hometown. Both my parents were German citizens at the time, hence, they made my brother and me German citizens. Even though they knew they were coming back to the US.

Cathy von Hassel-Davies

Hometown Disaster


I have been in North Carolina for 15 years, moving here from NY. North Carolinians are use to hurricanes, it is part of our history. We batten down the hatches, empty out the grocery stores and hunker down. Those on the coast do the same, except some will evacuate. When I hear hurricane I never think about the northeast. I know it happens, but it is very rare. Usually New Yorkers worry about nor’easters and spring thaw, not hurricanes. Especially where I come from, the mountains of NY. I lived on L.I. for almost 15 years and then we moved to Delaware County, located in the Catskill Park area. Snowstorms, YES! Floods, YES! but to the extent they suffered this weekend from Hurricane Irene, UNFATHOMABLE!

Unfortunately you do not hear a lot about it. Occasionally a picture is shown on CNN, TWC, MSNBC, etc., but the focus is mostly on Vermont. Not that I am begrudging Vermont for the coverage; however, upstate NY needs to be focused on also. Townspeople, government officials and emergency responders are working feverishly to get roads passable. Emergency supplies are slowly getting in, but getting in they are.

Cash donations can be made to the MARK Project, their phone number is 845.586.3500.

Today there is a radio-a-thon, “Disaster Relief for Delaware County,” which started at 7:00 a.m. You can call 1.888.432.1030 go make a donation.

Miller Drug Store can fill prescription that people had at the now demolished CVS.

Now let the pictures and videos speak for themselves.

Video by Jacob Hubbell.

Margaretville NY Hurricane Irene Flood

Margaretville NY Bridge St.

Unfortunately I do not know who to give credit to for this photo, but I do believe James Baker. I hope he doesn’t mind me sharing.

Video was taken by Fred Marguiles.

This video was taken by VeccVideography.

It is the town I grew up, the town my parents owned a business in. It shows many people I grew up with, and many people I remember as babies. I took refuge in the Northland Motel with a friend back in 1976, when we had an awful snowstorm and our end of town had no electric. This folks was my reality check.

Cathy von Hassel-Davies

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