pelican-sunset-fishing-1024x768“What have I done? What am I doing here?” I thought horrified as I sat collapsed on my couch in my new home in Nokomis, Florida. I had just arrived, utterly exhausted and totally depleted. Not a good time for self-examination. My life force seemed drained from the long drive and the last two months. First, a bad, lingering flu, then, an unexpected, sudden trip Miami to advocate for my nephew who had ended up in a medical coma in the hospital.  During those three nightmarish weeks as I fought for his care, my house sold. After terrible medical mishaps, John finally made it to a rehab. The negotiations for the house sale were done. I rushed back to Connecticut and had three weeks to get rid everything except what I could stuff in my car. In the middle of that, my nephew died suddenly of cardiac arrest. Loss piled on loss.

I managed to get through it all and make the long drive alone to Florida. Somehow, I even unpacked all the stuff from my bulging car before I got to the couch. But I reeled in shock as I looked around. The house was quiet and utterly calm. I had furnished this place last year. I think it is beautiful and spiritual. In the peaceful stillness, however, the realization that this is my permanent domicile smacked me in my worn-out face, and I was swept away with terror.

The knowledge that I have no family here, and the few snow bird friends I knew were still up north and would be for weeks, left me feeling utterly lost and alone. Everything that I had not processed in the last stressful months came crashing on top of me. I felt overwhelmed by death, loss, and emptiness. “Oh god,” I thought. “It’s one thing to furnish a house. It’s another to furnish a life!”

I lit a candle and tried to meditate. Awful buzzing feelings hummed through my body. My mind was a black hole of negativity. But I knew enough to do my best to just hang out with the terror and not listen to any decisions or conclusions that came from it. Still, fear about an infection from a spider bite on my leg fed the swirling black thoughts. I was sure I was dying.

In the next few days I functioned, albeit on about two cylinders, as I moved through a kind of numb fear organizing the things I had brought. My body and mind ached for rest, so I took deep, long naps.

Awake, I would occasionally stop, light a candle, and sit with the terror. One day, as I surrendered to the scary feelings, I heard the same message I had on one of the last days in Connecticut: that this move is about expansion. Not loss. Not downgrading. Expansion. That’s the deepest fear. Death is expansion. That’s why expansion feels like death. I found that comparison fascinating, and it made sense to me. My fear ebbed.

I realized that my home in Wilton had been a kind of ashram for me and for the people who had done the Creative Explosion workshops there. Now it is gone. I am here in this lovely little villa, but it is not a sanctuary as that home was. Instead, this is a kind of sacred nest from which to fly and explore.

Rest helped, and in a few days, I was ready to get out of isolation. So when I got a notice on my phone about an all-day Sarasota Ted X event, I bought a ticket. It was to be held the very next day nearby at the Venice Theater.  The timing was perfect and just what the doctor ordered: stimulating and inspiring and fun. I met and talked with intelligent and actively involved people.

A couple of days later a friend phoned. She was here because she and her sister-in-law were escaping Hurricane Matthew in St. Augustine where they lived. We went to lunch and I arranged to go to a screening of the Met’s Tristan and Isolde with one of the women the next day. It was five hours of brilliant singing and music. Then I saw an email about a line dance class. I talked myself into going, even though I was sure it would be too hard. It wasn’t. It was great exercise and fun. Another email prompted me to go to see three brilliant performances at an arts festival at the Ringling Museum. All of these things were definitely “expanding.”

With each passing day, I feel better and better. I once more have faith that this move is right for me, and will turn out Better Even Than I Can Imagine.

Yesterday, I went to Pelican Alley to order some of their delicious dynamite shrimp to go. While I waited, I got a glass of wine, stepped outside onto the pier next to the water, and sat on the bench. The sunset was gorgeous.  Pelicans streaked across the pink and purple clouds. Clusters of small birds swooped in formation, under the bridge, and back over the top in a circle in front of me in a kind of dance in the sky.  I don’t think I’ve ever felt happier than at that moment.

Expansion.  Maybe it just means letting go on a really deep level and trusting what shows up.

This blog is about The Four Principles: Being Present, Commitment, Relaxation, and Communication.  





house_gift_wrapped_shutterstock_103025681“I feel great!” I said to Gabi, as I sat in her lovely living room in the morning sun drinking a cup of tea. I was stunned that I felt so good.

Yesterday, I felt like last week’s garbage as I arrived at her house in the afternoon. I smelled a bit like it, too. Emptying out my house in three weeks had been a monumental task, but the last three days hit a new level I would call Extreme Packing.  I had not showered in the last 24 hours because I had mistakenly packed away all my towels. I did manage to sleep on an air mattress for about five hours in the same clothes. I was rank, but my house, as I turned it over to the new owners, was not. It was better than I could have imagined it would be when it sold three weeks ago. I had even swept out the shed and washed off the garbage cans. They were a lot cleaner than I was.

Earlier that day I had a moment in which I suddenly felt scared.  I had just dropped a bottle of clear nail polish on the bathroom floor and was cleaning up the shattered bits when I realized that I was “off.” I knew I should stop for a moment, even if the time for the “walk through” was rapidly approaching.  So, I lit the candles on my fireplace/alter, sat in a chair and focused on my fear. It was strange. I expected sadness at leaving my beloved home of 35 years, but not fear.

Then my inner wise voice said, “It’s about expansion. You are leaving this sanctuary. It has been a kind of ashram. You have healed so much of your childhood pain here. So many other people have also transformed through the Creative Explosion workshops and acting classes in this house. Now it is time for you to leave and go out into the world. The place in Nokomis is special, too, but think of that home as a sacred nest from which you will fly.”

That felt true even though I’m not sure I know how to fly. Maybe I won’t, but that’s what’s next—even if I don’t think I’m up to it. I felt better understanding why I had felt “off” and got up and finished my work as consciously as I could.

The morning progressed wildly and miraculously.  Marilyn Dugan* and her friend arrived to pick up the fourth and fifth truckload of my things to give away to people in need. I had one other painting I wanted to keep that had not been packed. I intended to take it to the UPS for them to package and mail, but it was too big to get in my car. Happily, Marilyn drove it over in her truck, so I got that done.

The crunch was on. Marilyn said she probably wouldn’t be able to take everything before the walk through at 12:45, but amazingly, at noon she was done! Meanwhile, I swept out the house, packed the rest of my stuff in my car, which, to my astonishment, all fit, emptied the last bit of trash and even managed to blow the leaves off the deck with the little leaf blower. Just as the lovely young buyers arrived and walked up the stairs, I finished placing red and white roses, a congratulatory card, and a bottle of non-alcoholic sparkling cider (in consideration of the pregnant wife) on the counter in time to turn and say, “Hello. Welcome. Don’t come too close. I stink.”

Wonder of wonders, it was all done!

I blessed the house, blew it as kiss, and drove away. Bleary-eyed, I arrived at Gabi’s. She had graciously offered to put me up for a few days to rest before I make the drive down to Florida. She greeted me, fed me some cheese and crackers since I had not eaten in a day, and went off to an appointment. I took a shower, did some laundry, and went to get a foot reflexology treatment. I thought I would fall into bed after all that, but, to my surprise, I felt refreshed enough to go out with Gabi and my friend, Sarah, for Margaritas and laughter.

I slept well, and this morning, I could not get over how good I felt. Not exhausted. Not sad. Really happy.

“I know why you feel so good,” Gabi said smiling as she sipped her tea.

“Why?” I asked.

“Because you didn’t just sell your house, you turned it into a gift and gave it with love.”I

t’s wonderful to have friends who are not only smart and funny, but wise.


*If you have anything to want to give to Marilyn Dugan’s foundation: 762 3574


img_0919I am moving out of my house that I have lived in for 35 years. And I’m doing it without the use of a dumpster or a moving van. I think that’s pretty amazing. Of course, there have been many trips to GoodwilI and thrift stores over the last two years. And some women have driven away (so far) three truckloads of stuff for charity.

It has been hard to let go of this home that I so love, but it has been great fun to give away things in it to people—like a favorite red, down-filled coat that is like wearing a cloud of warmth in the bitter cold days of winter. One of my good friends accepted it, and best of all, thinks of me when she puts it on to walk the dog. Of course, I have no need for it in Florida. In fact, I have no use there for most of my things.

Today I think I’m through the sadness and am now feeling very happy because of what happened yesterday morning. When the house sold a few weeks ago, I asked the buyer’s realtor if they might like to have anything in my house. She said, “No. They won’t want anything of yours. They have their own things.”

That turned out not to be true. A few days ago, I gave this realtor permission for the buyers to bring their parents to see the house. To my surprise, a group of about 9 to 11 people showed up—including their contractor. They were part of a baby shower gathering for the pretty wife who is soon to give birth. A bit put off that the realtor had not forewarned me about the crowd, I was, nevertheless, happy to get to meet this handsome, young couple.

While the crowd wandered everywhere, the mother-in-law and I chatted out on the deck. She asked if I was taking everything with me.

“Nothing but my pictures, files and clothes,” I said.

“Not the deck furniture?”

“No. Why? Would your kids want them?”

“Oh, I’m sure they would. They’re living in an apartment. They don’t have any outdoor stuff.”

“Well, of course!” I said. “I’m happy to give it to them.” The wood lounge chairs with comfy cushions, umbrellas, table, and chairs are perfect for this deck. I got up, went into the living room, passed their realtor, and went up to Greg, the young husband. “Your mother says you might like the deck furniture.”

“Sure!” he said.

“Why don’t you take my cell phone number, call me, and come back to look at anything else you might like.”

He did.

In the meantime, unfortunately, my washing machine broke and the sink in my bathroom started leaking from the trap below. “Oh, god!” I growled at the house. “Couldn’t you have waited til the closing in 10 days to start breaking down?”  I started scrolling Craig’s List for a washing machine and asking around for a good plumber.

Greg, his wife, and parents to came to the house after breakfast the next day.  To my delight, they wanted a lot more than I expected.  The artificial trees in the far corners of the big living room with twinkling lights will stay, along with three bureaus, and a small stool-sized carpeted cat house that the wife loved for her two cats. “I’ve never seen one this sturdy!”

He said, “Are you taking the white hammock in the living room?” (They had spotted, hanging almost unnoticed against the wall with its delicate lacey fringe.)

“No. I’m not. Want it?”

“Yes!” They said enthusiastically, which delighted me. I have loved my hammock in the living room—so unusual but so relaxing and fun.

I told them about the sink and the washing machine, Greg said, “Don’t worry about it. We were going to get new ones anyway. And my dad and I can fix the sink. Or, I’ll have the contractor look at it.”

I discovered that they are upgrading the house exactly as I would were I to stay and had the money. I liked them more and more as I showed them light switches, how some things worked, and gave them the names of all the people who serviced the house and lawn.

Downstairs, I offered them my 4 ft long cow horns that I bought years ago and had wired to the front of my used Cadillac. It caused a lot of comment as I drove around conventional Connecticut. The couple laughed and said they would pass on the cow horns.

With every minute, I became happier that they were the ones who were going to move into my beloved house.  As they were getting ready to leave, I said, “Let’s go into the living room for a minute.” They followed me. The parents stayed behind in the hall. I held out my hands. They took mine and each other’s. It was impulsive but it is something I do at the end of my acting classes. I closed my eyes and said a kind of prayer to the house, “Okay. I get that you may be sad or upset with me about leaving, breaking the washer and springing a tearful leak in my sink, but I want you to embrace this lovely couple who are going to bring new, energetic life into you. They are going to make you even better with their upgrades. So, I want you to love them as you have loved and sheltered me for so many years. I know they will love you as I have loved you, too.”

I opened my eyes and the wife had tears rolling down her face. I crossed to the desk and handed her Kleenex. The husband reached for a couple for himself. “Oh,” she said, “I love this house so much. We’re going to be so happy here!” I hugged her. Then, I hugged him.

We were all smiling as they left. I felt so happy and finally okay about leaving. I don’t know what impelled me to do that little ritual, but it was just what I needed to be able to transfer this sanctuary from my hands to theirs with joy.

P.S. Greg texted me last night saying, “We’d like the cow horns after all. We’ll put them up somewhere because it’s just such a great story.”




I was five years old standing in a room full of weeping adults. My mother, grandmother, grandfather, aunts, uncles, great grandparents were all sobbing. It scared me to see my beloved relatives in such terrible grief.

I tugged on my aunt’s sleeve. “Why is everyone crying?” I asked.

“Oh, honey,“ She said softly reaching out for my hand. “We just found out that your Daddy died in the hospital.”

Two soldiers had come to the house with the terrible news. It was 1942, the beginning of World War II. Daddy was an Army doctor. He had been on the way to care for Japanese Americans who were being rounded up and sent to a camp in Texas in the fear-driven reaction to Pearl Harbor.  When Daddy discovered that he had gotten on the wrong train, he tried to jump off it as it left the station.  He fell under the wheels and died.

Five days before his death he had taken me to his army hospital to consult with his colleagues about my tummy ache. It turned into a totally unanticipated appendectomy. Mother was still at home doing the laundry. This sudden operation, our move to Indianapolis while he volunteered for wartime duty, his death, my mother’s disappearance into her grief and shock led to a lifetime of self-examination on my part.

I had healed so much that I thought there was no more information—no more to be learned. However, this memory of being in that room of devastated adults was new to me. It came in a Getting Present Process (p.155 of The Four Principles book. https://www.TheFourPrinciples.com ) during my latest Creative Explosion. One of the participants, who has repeated this two-day workshop many times over the years, was my “Compassionate Witness.” Initially, when she asked the question: What sensation are you experiencing in your body right now, I felt incredible joy in my heart.

Then this vivid memory of that room of devastated adults emerged suddenly from my subconscious.  I felt as if I were 5 years old desperately wanting to say or do something that would be comforting to them. But, at that young age, I had no skills or understanding to draw on.  But, oh, how I wanted to help them somehow. I couldn’t and didn’t.

As I experienced this during the Getting Present Process, I realized, as an adult, that this deep yearning to help my relatives became the seed that years later has flowered into my teaching and these workshops. In a way, I am now fulfilling that heartfelt desire of my five-year-old self. From that trauma came the gift and my joy.

How often something like that happens to people: a woman becomes a grief therapist after the death of her own child. Rape victims offer comfort and help to other rape victims. Cancer survivors support other people facing cancer.  These are not easy gifts, but when we do realize them and offer what we have learned to others, they become a source of our own happiness.

Join me for The Creative Explosion Workshop Sat and Sun 1 to 6 pm August 13 & 14

To purchase The Four Principles and The Four Keys to Authentic Acting books and for more information about the workshops: https://www.EKatherineKerr.com




This workshop is about going higher and deeper into your life and getting clarity about your heart’s desires and what steps to take next. Whether this is your first or your umpteenth time, join me in a safe, fun, and powerful space. It will be better than you can imagine.

5. CE widgetEverything worthwhile in life takes just a little more courage than we currently have.—John Patrick Shanley

Learn to:

  • Master Fear
  • Access Your Own Wisdom
  • Eliminate Negative Self-Judgment
  • Express Yourself Fully

The workshop is not just for performers.

 Katherine Kerr is a brilliant actress. It is not surprising that her method of teaching is as alive and plugged into human behaviors as are her portrayals of characters that you would swear have just been brought into the room from their real lives. –Mike Nichols

I was in a production of Urban Blight at the Manhattan Theatre Club in New York Citywith E. Katherine Kerr. I watched her, riveted, in the wings every night in one of the most powerful moments I had ever seen onstage yet it was never the quite the same. I enrolled in her powerful Creative Explosion Workshop.  My career and my life have never been the same.  The Four Principles are life altering. —Faith Prince, Tony Award Winning Actress

While the workshop is powerful, it is also easy and gentle. There is no pressure. We write, share, learn, and laugh a lot. Participants leave the workshop feeling clearer, energized, and often utterly transformed.

Saturday and Sunday July 9 & 10

1 to 6 pm in Wilton , CT

 FEE: First time participant: $250

Repeating participant: $150

To enroll or more information email EKatherineKerr@aol.com


Brain shockOnce again I have been reminded that my real purpose in life may be to make God laugh. I think I hear chuckles after I bang around the walls of my own darkness.

The fact that my house has not sold has sent my mind into shock. I had been so absolutely convinced this place would be snapped up immediately that I packed light when returning from Florida last year.  “I’ll only be here month or so,” I thought. That month passed, and another and another, and there were no buyers. I was, frankly, stunned. I went into brain shock. It didn’t make any sense to me.  It’s the least expensive house in a great neighborhood with top-rated schools. It has privacy, high ceilings, two fireplaces, wood floors, and great ambiance. Why didn’t it sell in a minute?  I didn’t even realize how invested I was in my own expectations. But fall arrived, no one made an offer, so the house went off the market, and I went back to Florida.

Fortunately, a friend was in the middle of a breakup, needed a place to live, came here, stayed for the winter and paid the utilities. In Nokomis, since I had not sold the house, I furnished my charming, little villa miraculously on a dime, and had a magical, wonderful time. My mantra “This is going to work out Better Even Than I Can Imagine” became an acronym to name my new home, The Villa BETICI. I was in the Flow. Things were great.

Then it was time to come back and put the house up for sale again.

In Connecticut I lost the BETICI context that had worked so well for me. I reverted to old mind sets that were not helpful. I began to worry about things again. Why? Why? Why isn’t the house selling? I speculated: It is too unconventional, too…something. It’s my fault, because deep down I still love the place and don’t want to sell it. I have put a curse on it. It’s my fauIt. I worried about my ex-husband’s state of mind since he owns half the house. I worried about how I would continue to pay back my dear friends who made my new house and newish car in Florida possible. I fell into fretting about everything.

Then, a jazz musician came, loved the house and said he wanted to buy it for sure. “Take it off the market! It’s mine! Great vibe!” Well, finally! Someone who appreciated this place as much as I do. My sanctuary. My sacred spot. We made a deal. Then, after several weeks of non-action, he disappeared into the cosmos.

That really sent my mind reeling. I got stuck in an anxiety swamp and could not pull myself out of it.  I was not Present. I was not in the Now.  At that point, the angels knew I needed a lot of help, so they sent me a whopping virus to get me out of my head.  It was so bad, I ended up in the ER nearly delirious and with a high temperature. I wasn’t worried about anything other than my own survival at this point.  The doctor’s literal diagnosis was, “You’re sick.” After a day of observation, they sent me home.  I was sick for days. I could barely think, let alone worry about the future.  I healed. Slowly. And I stopped worrying.

For the last two days, I have lain on my comfy lounge chair on my deck in perfect weather, breathing in the healing energy from the surrounding trees. I was still in a kind of drugged daze, but my ghastly, violent cough went away. Next to me lay my god dog, Josie, a little terrier/Chihuahua mix. Ostensibly I was taking care of her for a few days, but let’s face it. She has really been here to take care of me. I napped, read about Thomas Jefferson, and absorbed the beauty surrounding me.

Last night, I began feeling well again, and in a moment of enlightenment seemed to wake up.  “Katherine,” I heard. “You don’t know the future. Let it go. Leave it up to The Big Whatever. You have no idea what is going to happen. Enjoy being here in your house now, enjoy the gorgeous weather. Let go of all your expectations—how YOU want it to be or think it will be.  At the moment everything is fine. Continue showing the house, but accept the uncertainty, and remember to keep holding the context that this is all going to work out better even than you can imagine, and You. Do. Not. Know. How.”

Trusting is not easy in a world that seems rife with tragedy and danger. On the other hand, I could see that my worry served no purpose whatsoever, given I had done all that I could do. So something inside me shifted. I felt as if I stepped into a delicious, warm flow of energy again. I laughed with relief and seemed to hear a responding laughter in the air.



5. CE widgetEverything worthwhile in life takes just a little more courage than we currently have.—John Patrick Shanley

Learn to:

  • Master Fear
  • Access Your Own Wisdom
  • Eliminate Negative Self-Judgment
  • Express Yourself Fully

The workshop is not just for performers.

 Katherine Kerr is a brilliant actress. It is not surprising that her method of teaching is as alive and plugged into human behaviors as are her portrayals of characters that you would swear have just been brought into the room from their real lives. –Mike Nichols

I was in a production of Urban Blight at the Manhattan Theatre Club in New York Citywith E. Katherine Kerr. I watched her, riveted, in the wings every night in one of the most powerful moments I had ever seen onstage yet it was never the quite the same. I enrolled in her powerful Creative Explosion Workshop.  My career and my life have never been the same.  The Four Principles are life altering. —Faith Prince, Tony Award Winning Actress

While the workshop is powerful, it is also easy and gentle. There is no pressure. We write, share, learn, and laugh a lot. Participants leave the workshop feeling clearer, energized, and often utterly transformed.

Saturday and Sunday June 11 & 12

1 to 6 pm in Wilton , CT

 FEE: First time participant: $250

Repeating participant: $150

To enroll or more information email EKatherineKerr@aol.com


Bull.ospMy new neighborhood in Nokomis is a mix of gated, landscaped developments, tattered old Florida houses, and fields with cows and horses. The roads are wide, flat, and people drive either too fast or too slow—the young cowboys in trucks are irritated by the old codgers in Camrys.AOL

Yesterday, I went for a stroll and saw a small group of enormous brown bulls in a field right next to the sidewalk. One huge one near the fence seemed to be having a lot of fun with an empty cardboard box.  He managed to put his head through it, lift it up, and, with his nose sticking out, toss it around wildly.  Very funny. I thought only cats made cardboard boxes into toys.

A second bull, attracted by the activity, ambled over and started licking and chewing on another box. I could see by the label that it once held vegetables. Ah, so it was the flavored cardboard they were after. It seemed to be quite a treat as they both ripped off pieces and chewed away contentedly.

I laughed as I watched and complimented them on eating their veggies. I reassured them that I too am a vegetarian and continued my walk.

This morning in my meditation I was given the message “Katherine. Every day look for love. Express it and receive it. Remember, every moment of love is a victory in life.”

I contemplated that lovely little reminder as I went for my morning walk. Nearing the field of bulls, I called out, “Hi there!” The big guy looked up and as if recognizing me, and started walking toward the fence. I stopped at the metal gate and leaned on it. He came right up to me. The smaller one ambled up as well but stayed to the side.  I talked to them again, telling them how beautiful their big, brown eyes were. The biggest one nudged the gate.  I was frankly a little afraid that he would push what seemed like a flimsy structure open, but it held, and I stayed put.

Then he startled me by reaching out with his tongue and licking my hand. It was massive and felt rough. I jumped back. He jumped back too. I laughed. “I’m sorry,” I said and moved slowly and carefully back to the fence. He rubbed his forehead on the metal bar, and I bravely reached out and scratched the top of his head.

It was a victorious moment of love for both of us, I think.


Apparently God loves to shop. I don’t. I loathe shopping. However, I need to buy everything to make my villa livable. God-shopping-online (2)Since, to my utter surprise, my Connecticut house has not sold, I will have to do some extremely frugal shopping. I groan at the prospect.

God says, “Katherine, we’ll do this really fast and inexpensively. Trust me. Don’t resist me.”  I roll my eyes. God knows me well. “Katherine, what is the mantra you have used in the last year or so?”

This is going to work out better than I can imagine.”

“Right. And hasn’t it?”

I have to admit that it has, even if not according to my timing or my plans.

So, after unpacking and recovering from the exhausting drive from Connecticut, I decide that the first things I need are a sofa and another bed. I’ll start there. Thankfully, my Internet is working. so I begin perusing Craig’s List. Many people have advised me to go to consignment shops, but lying in bed looking at pictures is all I can muster right now.

I see an ad for mattresses on sale by appointment with a picture of a huge truck with BeautyRest written on the side. That’s good sign in more ways than one. Maybe I will find a bed like the oh-so-comfortable pillow top I slept on at the Days Inn on the road. It was so comfortable I had leaned over and pulled up the sheet to find out what brand it was: BeautyRest. I looked it up on line. Pretty expensive. But, now I make an appointment, maybe I can get something like it on sale.

Then, I look at sofas. Here’s a nice one. A Norwalk.  I don’t know anything about brands, but the fact that I have lived near Norwalk, Connecticut, seems somehow serendipitous. This is a goldish color from what I can see, but I want a white or cream colored couch. I almost scan past it.

The Voice stops me. “Go look at it.”

I frown. “But I want a cream or white couch!”

“Don’t whine. It might blend in nicely with those fancy, gold chairs that go with the dining set the former owner left.”

That’s true enough. I study the couch more. Those chairs have classic, curved backs.  The couch’s arms are curved in the same way. But, I resist.

It’s not the color I planned for my new home.

“Katherine. Just call. See if it’s still available. And go look at it.”

So, I do. It is. And I do.

I drive 35 minutes up to Bradenton with a dining room chair in the back to see if the colors will blend. Nice neighborhood. Nice man. The couch is already in the garage. It’s big. I sit on it. Oooooooo Very comfy. The pillows are wide and deep. Great for a lounger like me. I like it. But I hesitate. It’s just not the color I had in mind.

“If you don’t like it, you can get something else next year when you sell the house. Lean back.”

I do. Oh yes. Very cozy. Oh, okay. It’s a good temporary couch.

“Good. Blends in with the chair nicely. Buy it. Offer the man $150.”

“Isn’t that insulting?”

“His wife wants to get rid of it. She’s already redecorated. It’s taking up space in their garage. Offer $150.”

So, trying not to grimace, I do.

The man smiles, “My wife said that if you offered $150 to tell you it’s $175, but, go ahead, take if for $150. What the hell.”

“What the hell or what the heaven?” God whispers.

“When can you pick it up?” The man says not having heard God’s rather lame joke.

“As soon as possible,” I say, but I have no idea how or who is going to get this very large thing down to Nokomis for me. I know no one with a truck.

Next, I stop in the mattress place I saw advertised on Craig’s List and quickly buy a BeautyRest pillow top mattress half price. A great deal, and the sample one feels just like the yummy one at the Days Inn.

A very big man delivers it in the morning. “Umm, by the way,” I say as he lugs it in. “If I give you $50, could you go get a sofa for me?’

“Awesome,” he says.

Off we go and the owner helps put the sofa in a small trailer where it just fits as if it were made for it.

Back in Nokomis, my new friend JoAnn brings her husband over who kindly helps carry the sofa into the house.

They leave.  I rub my hand over the soft fabric of the sofa, lie down, and stretch out. It is not what I had planned. Better, I think. Better than I imagined. This is the comfiest, nicest couch I have ever owned. Actually, if the truth be told, this is the ONLY one I have ever owned. I have a kind of day bed in my living room in Connecticut.  I’m won over. I laugh out loud. “Okay, God. Good choice. I’m never getting rid of itI”IMG_0959

Now all I need is a coffee table, end tables, sofa table, chairs, rugs, everything for the kitchen, a desk, stuff for the den, furniture for both bedrooms, etc., etc., etc.  I throw my arm dramatically over my eyes at the daunting prospect. Oh, god.

“Right here, Katherine. Take a nap.”  I do.  And it’s a good thing given what is coming.

….to be continued


Villa BeticiIf telling God one’s plans is a way to make Him laugh, I must have Him rolling on the floor.

My plan last year: To look around Sarasota just to get an idea of what might be available, go home, sell my house, come back, and buy something the next year. So, I do not get a real estate agent because I don’t intend to buy anything. I merely peruse the newspapers for open houses and drive around to look at them on my own. It’s very discouraging. There is nothing at all I like in my price range.

After church one Sunday I get into my car depressed about the housing possibilities. “Wait a minute,” I think.  “There has to be something here that would work.” So, I start cruising the open houses again. No. No. No. No.

Then I stop at one just below the border of Sarasota in the small town of Nokomis. Surprisingly, I really like it. A lot. It’s everything and more than I want: Spanish tiles, freshly painted stucco, a cozy little courtyard, lovely entrance. Inside: two bedrooms and a den, arched doorways, all upgraded-kitchen, two-car garage. All very clean and nice. “Wow,” I think as I look around. “Yes. I could live here. It’s quiet and only a short drive to the beach (for sunsets, not sunbathing), and not too far to the theaters.”

I feel nudged to make an offer, but I’m scared. I think it’s way too soon. I leave, but it’s nice to know that there is something I like so much that I could afford.

I try to dismiss it, but in the next few days I can’t stop thinking about the lovely place. Still it is not in my plan, so I take no action.

However, it seems God decides to take action. Two friends from Winter Park come to visit me.  One just happens to be a Florida realtor. I mention the villa. “Let’s go see it!” Linda says. “I love looking at real estate!” Her sister Karen jumps in. “Yes. I want to see it too!”

So, I arrange for another viewing. Before we even see it all, Linda hisses at me, “This is great. Make an offer!”

Her sister is just as enthusiastic.  “This is perfect for you! I love it!  You should make an offer!”

That night their certainty supports what I’d really like to do, so even though I’m scared, I call the agent and make an offer. It’s low. I doubt if it will be accepted. After a few exciting phone calls and upping the price a little more, the deal is made.  I’m pretty sure I would not have done it without these angels.

I am now on an unexpected trajectory. I get through the tedious mortgage application process, and the closing date is set. When it is only a few days away, the owner moves out. I buy a bunch of kitchen stuff at Walmart that she lets me store in her garage.

Then. Surprise. The bank refuses the mortgage because the appraisal comes in too low.

We’re all in shock.

When the dust settles a bit, I think, “Well, okay. Maybe it’s just not meant to be. I’ll go get all that stuff and take it back.”

I drive to the villa and wait for the agent to come and unlock the garage. It’s a gorgeous day. I sit in a chair that the owner left in the courtyard. “So. I’ll go home, sell my house, and come back next year. I’ll find something else I like.” I’m fine with the way things are. I’m a little relieved, actually. I turn my face to the sky, close my eyes and listen to the swishing sounds of the palm tree in the breeze.

“We’re not done yet.” Some voice or thought intrudes on my meditative state as if the house is speaking over my shoulder. I laugh. “I don’t know about you, whoever you are, but I’m done.”

“Nope. It’s not over.” I roll my eyes and shake my head hoping I’m not going crazy.

The agent drives up. I don’t tell him that the house is talking to me.

He walks up and says to me, “I don’t think you should take those things back.”

“Why do you say that?”

“I don’t know.”  He smiles and shrugs, “I just have a feeling.”

Has the house been talking to him? I shake my head. My plan is clear. “No. I’m going home. I don’t have a place to stay here in Sarasota any more.  Open the garage. I’m taking all that stuff back.”

So, he does, and I do.

That afternoon, I’m on the phone letting my friends know that the deal has fallen through and I’m okay about it.  I’m going to pack and go home.

One of the friends, Louise, calls me back. “Katherine,” she says. “I was in my bathroom, and I swear it’s as if the angels were talking to me. What if I took your mortgage and you bought it outright?”

“What?!!!” I scream. “That’s crazy.”

“I’ve got the money. You can pay me the interest you were going to pay the bank. Make a lower offer. Remember, cash is king.”

“Louise, this is too much.  Let me get off the phone and go breathe or something.”

When I recover a bit, we talk on the phone several times. I decide that if I take most of my savings, I could offer cash and borrow a much smaller amount from Louise, a much more reasonable amount in my mind.

“Okay, that’s fine,” she says. “It will take me a week to get the funds to you.”

Amazed at her generosity, I tell John, the realtor. He starts renegotiating with the owner. “But the closing is supposed to be in two days,” he says.  “That may be a problem.”

I am now in a giddy whirl. I tell another friend, Barbara, about what’s happening, laughing at the wildness of it all saying that the only problem is about the closing.

“Well, that’s not a problem,” She says. “I’ve got the money in my bank account. I’ll go tomorrow morning and wire it to you.”

“What?!!!” I scream. “Barbara!”

“Sure,” she says in a bright voice. “It’s just sitting there earning no interest given today’s rates. Let me do it.”

“Oh, my god, oh my god, oh, my god, oh my god. Really?!” I am stunned at the outpouring of love and support from my friends.

Before the day is out, another friend, Liz, hearing about all this also offers to loan me money if I need it. For someone who is as alone in the world as I am (or think I am) I feel and am blessed beyond words.

So, my plans change once again. Later that day, the owner accepts a lower price cash deal, saving me beaucoup bucks. Barbara wires money. I move in on March 9.

God is silent. I do not hear, “I told you so,” But I imagine I hear a lot of self-satisfied chuckling.


To Be Continued: