Goldenrod field sept 8 2014

Photo by Monica R. Ashbaugh, 9/8/2014


“If we can only find majesty in the mountains
but not the valleys,
If we can only find value in the gold
but not the wood,
If we can only find beauty in the flowers
but not the weeds,
Then we are missing so much.”

~Monica R. Ashbaugh, 9/18/16

Posted in Daily Affirmations, Poetry, Uncategorized


“Life is a serendipitous happenstance.”

~Monica R. Ashbaugh, 9/18/16

Like a seed cast to the wind, where it lands and takes root is a mystery.  To come across a wildflower in a field is an unexpected joy.  Life has no planned wildflowers, only surprises.


Photo by Monica R. Ashbaugh, 9/10/16 Sunflower

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9/15/16–Take Your Loss

“Take your loss and live your life.” ~Monica R. Ashbaugh, 9/15/16

So often we feel trapped–trapped in bad relationships, miserable jobs, unpleasant surroundings, drowning in possessions. We don’t want to give up what we already have secured for a chance at something better. And better may not mean a step up, it may be a sideways step, or even a step back. It may mean “different.” It’s a chance to be happier, which vastly outweighs the dollar sign and status. Take your loss, it may not be one. It may be your only chance to live. At the end of your life, do you want stuff or to be happy, to feel fulfilled? Shed the shell of societal expectations. On your deathbed, it won’t matter what kind of car your drove or how many square feet your house was. Those who die with the most money are not the winners. They’re simply dead.


Photo by Monica R. Ashbaugh, 10/15/15

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9/12/16–Our Stuff


Photo by Monica R. Ashbaugh, 9/15/16

As I was making breakfast and putting away dishes this morning, my mind wandered to what peculiar primates we are. We like our “things.” I wonder how that developed evolutionarily. I like my flatwear put in the drawer a certain way. Spoons of the same type nested, forks of different sizes separated, cups in a certain order in the cabinet, mugs segregated from glasses. Where did that come from? There are animals that hoard. Species of birds, packrats, squirrels. We used to classify human beings as the only creature that uses tools. That has now been debunked. Chimpanzees use tools. Crows use tools. Sea otters use tools. I can only guess that our love of “things” comes from the evolutionary advantage offered by hoarding food and keeping tools that worked well, rather than repeatedly finding or forming a new tool every time we needed one. I wonder if otters keep a good shell-breaking rock. Do chimps keep the good termite fishing stick? If they do, they are going to need cupboards in many a millennia. (Note: I’ve been reading about tool use in animals today on Wikipedia. My biggest surprise was tool use by elephants. If you want to be humbled, give it a read. And, spoiler alert, some do keep their good tools!)



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9/11/16–A Remembrance

“Memory rescues love when death has stolen breath.”

~Monica R. Ashbaugh, 9/11/14.


Photo by Monica R. Ashbaugh, 2012

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9/11/16–Life & Weather


Photo by Monica R. Ashbaugh, 9/13/16

I was driving home from a writer’s conference yesterday trying to beat the storm. The dark clouds were rolling in from the northwest. I was driving due east and the storm was converging on my route. The car was feeling the wind gusts, being pushed sideways. The leaves and trash were blowing across the road. The sky was layer upon layer of rolling clouds, like an angry, turbulent sea. A flock of birds were intently flying to take shelter and I marveled that “even birds know not to fly into the wind.” I watched them make a sharp perpendicular turn in the sky and fly parallel to the gust front until they found a way through. I thought, “Wow, this is exactly like a riptide in the air.” I pondered how much this was like life. We struggle against the storm trying to break through head on, flailing against the chaos, fighting reality, when we should accept the presence of the storm, turning with it, and making our way through with acceptance and consciousness. A conscious navigation through acceptance of reality. Because what is life, but weather. Life isn’t an endless string of halcyon days. Storms rise and fall in life, and our happiness isn’t dependent on the weather, but our ability to accept and navigate it.  ~MRA

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9/10/16–Pretty Words


Photo by Monica R. Ashbaugh, 9/10/16 Storm

While outside watching the storm roll by, I heard a flock of geese. They descended from the clouds and there were only 5 of them. I wondered if that could even be called a flock because it was so small, but then they fell back into chevron formation and arrowed away. It was definitely a perfect flock of geese.  ~MRA


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9/10/16–The Only Must


Photo credit: John Singer Sargent [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons, Atlas & the Hesperides

What has helped me tremendously in life is realizing that I really don’t have to do anything, so long as I accept the consequences of my actions. That one proposition has helped my stress level tremendously (…and my Imodium intake.) Worlds don’t collide because I don’t show up. In the grand scheme of things, I am dust. Life goes on with or without me. That lifts the weight of the world off my shoulders. That humbles the ego. There is nothing I MUST do, except die. And I’m working on that.  ~MRA


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9/10/16–My Left Foot

Labyrinth Path feet

Photo by: Monica R. Ashbaugh, 8/2014 Labyrinth

I realized today that my new, left shoe has a squeak. It’s both annoying and humorous. Every other step. Squeak. Squeak. Squeak.  An unceasing, unipedal reminder.  What is your squeak in life that cannot be silenced?  ~MRA


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9/9/16–Lethean Literature

Memory. I used to be flabbergasted by authors who didn’t recognize their own writing or were shocked when someone quoted them and they responded, “I said that?” Now I know the reality. When the Facebook Memories app reminds me of something I wrote from a year or two ago, I am shocked because, frequently, I don’t recognize it nor remember it. It’s a rather surreal experience–one from the forgotten files. Perhaps we should refer to it as “Lethean literature.”

“I don’t write. I listen and then write what I hear. It starts in silence.” ~Monica R. Ashbaugh, 9/6/15


*Lethe:  the River of Forgetfulness that the dead pass over to Hades, the land of the dead,  from Greek mythology.


By Gustave Dore (original prints, 1880) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons, The River Lethe.

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