The Secret Grandma Helen Told Me That Changed My Life.


On January 6, 1929, a girl child was “born with the veil”.

Folklore that stretches from old Europe to the Louisiana bayou will tell you that a child born with a veil will have the ability to hear and see spirits, and has the gift to foresee the future.

That child of the second sight, was my Grandma Helen, daughter of Anna, who born to the wandering people of Czechoslovakia.

At this point, she’s been gone for longer than she was in my life,
but her spirit lingers,
she would never leave me completely….
a simple thing like death could not separate us.
I connect to her through the threads of things she taught me, through the curves of the letters I write on this page.
She lives in my bones.
In my breath.
In the whispers of the wind that hum with the cadence of her voice.

On this anniversary of her birth, I wanted to share one of my favorite lessons of Magic Grandma Helen here.

When I was small and being picked on at school, my Grandma Helen took me down by the lagoon.  We sat on the old dock together, the murky waters just a few inches away from the bottom of my sneakers, as she brushed my hair.  She was always fussing with my hair and telling me stories, and I’d sit there hanging on every word.

I remember the sides of the boats slapping against the dock with the rise and fall of the tide.

I remember seagulls gliding like cartoon Vs through the salt water air.  

I remember wanting to live under the ocean or with the seagulls in the sky – anywhere but on earth where I felt picked on and lost.

My Grandma continued pulling the brush through my hair and I wished that I could always feel as safe in the world as I did then.

When she was done, we walked back up to her house and she pulled my hair out of the brush.  It was like a little puffy cloud of my blonde strands.  She put it on the outside window sill and lifted me up to see it.

“That’s your gift to the birds to make their nest with.  Watch….”

And we sat down by the dock and waited and watched for what seemed like hours until a little brown bird hopped down and took it in its beak.

My Grandma turned to me and said,

“You stand tall and proud, you hear me?  Baby birds are going to sing their first song nestled in your hair.”

I never forgot that.

It made me feel like I was a part of the great mystery of life.

To this day, I leave the strands of my hair out for the birds to build their little homes.

By now, generations of baby birds have grown up singing their songs in my hair.

Each year when I do this, I think of what my Grandma Helen said to me that day down by the lagoon.  She left me with so much, and those gifts can be passed on across the world, to all of you who read this.

That way, her story continues….

And she never has to die.

Happy Birthday, Grandma Helen.

I celebrate you always in all that I do.
And the baby birds will have a home in the strands of my hair until the end of my days.
Thank you for showing me the way.

The Day of All Days in my Wild Love Affair

Picture 102
I had this journal.
It was green and velvet.
I wrote an adventure in it about this boy that I was falling in love with.
One night, when it was late
and I was crazy
and not thinking
I showed him the green velvet diary.

He said I was a great writer.
He loved the bits of story I had written.
We brainstormed together.
Made it a game.
Made it bigger.
Late into one night,
he turned to me with tears in his eyes
and told me the ending
and I saw it
like I was there.

And that was the beginning of everything.

It became our screenplay.
Our story.
The thing that happened
when our wild imaginations combined to be one thing.
This world
that we wrote side by side
in a tiny room
for over a year.
Picture 105
We went on a road trip
and we spent nights sleeping
side by side
in a van
covered with paintings
of tropical fish.

We took a wild chance.
I was afraid.
But he said yes.
“I believe in us.”

And the world said yes.


And this is the year
that this boy that I fell in love with
the one who taught me to adventure
and pushed me to believe in myself…
this storyteller of the ages..
the one who dares
who pushes
who lives boldly
with his adventurous heart
will get to live his dream
and to tell the world that story.
Picture 104

He is my hero.

And this is the day
he was born.
Picture 103

Happy Birthday
to my soul mate
my true love
my adventure partner
my hero
Burke Heffner…..

My Birthday….

I am beside myself with the outpouring of love through facebook, twitter, youtube, for my birthday. Seriously. Happy tears are rolling down my cheeks right now as I type this. I cannot even believe all of you beautiful people exist in this world. I am blessed and HONORED to have all of you in my life. You guys are my fucking heart and that’s the truth. THANK YOU FOR MAKING THIS THE BEST BIRTHDAY OF MY ENTIRE LIFE. I am happy to know that all of you are out there in the world – living your dreams and making this world a better place.


Know that.

This is the year of world domination for all of us. All of my love, every single tiny drop of blood in my body and every pitter pat of my heart belongs to you…. I love you guys more than you will ever know…….. I could not have dreamed a better life….a better story…… Thank you for walking side by side with me on this amazing journey. You have changed my everything.