Dear Friend, Last week came and went without much writing. I blame it on the heat....and that the "s" key on my keyboard stopped working. I couldn't


Dear Friend,

Last week came and went without much writing. I blame it on the heat....and that the "s" key on my keyboard stopped working. I couldn't even write my name: Ahley Ahley Ahley.

The highlight of my week was driving Ruby (my 1982 chevy) to Flat Rock to visit Carl Sandburg's home. The house is exactly as it was when he lived there: his papers are on the desk, his trinkets sit on his shelves, and his 14,000+ books line almost every wall in the house. And yet it breathed simplicity. I walked through it as if I was home.

So many of you read and shared your thoughts on my post about Brett and I walking away from our old life. Thank you. I still can't wrap my head around the fact that six million men are diagnosed with depression each year. And those are only the ones that are actually diagnosed. We live in a culture where there is constant pressure to measure up. We use the words "I'm so busy" as if they are a merit badge.

So many people walk around with a meaningless life. They seem half-asleep, even when they’re busy doing things they think are important. This is because they’re chasing the wrong things. The way you get meaning into your life is to devote yourself to loving others, devote yourself to your community around you, and devote yourself to creating something that gives you purpose and meaning. -Mitch Album, *Tuesdays with Morrie*

I wrote a post last September called The True Measure of a Man where I talked about wanting to live beyond myself. I thought about that as I left the Sandburg house the other day. I'd taken Harper "the intern" with me and we bought tickets for the full house tour. As we went through the house the two of us soaked up every little thing, we took pictures, asked a million questions, said "pooh" and "ahhh" more times than I can count... there was nothing else on the earth during that hour except for Sandburg's house, the elderly tour docent, and us. As we left, the tour guide walked over to us and thanked us for coming. Then she said, "it was so nice to have such enthusiasm in the house." I imagine that's what Carl Sandburg would have wanted....visitors who saw the house as a living, breathing structure....connecting to it in some way. I just think I should have enthusiasm about everything...and that requires paying attention. And paying attention makes people feel good.

Have a great weekend (with enthusiasm),


P.S. If you've received this letter secondhand, you can leave your email address here to receive my weekly letters.

It is heartbreaking to see men waste their entire lives trying to convince other people that they are someone they are not. This is why men’s soul’s do not grow mighty in spirit and courage. They spend their existence covering up and living in fear they will one day be discovered as a fraud. There is a voice inside them that keeps telling them that in spite of all the ornaments they collect in life, they are still not OK. The results are a lifelong tension with guilt, shame and anxiety. -Jerry Leachman in the foreward of The True Measure of a Man


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All of life is a coming home. Salesmen, secretaries, coal miners, beekeepers, sword swallowers, all of us. All the restless hearts of the world, all trying to find a way home. It’s hard to describe what I felt like then. Picture yourself walking for days in the driving snow; you don’t even know you’re walking in circles. The heaviness of your legs in the drifts, your shouts disappearing into the wind. How small you can feel, and how far away home can be. Home. (from Patch Adams)


She's teaching me the art of driving. I'm not on cruise control anymore.

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