Just to know

manhattan flags.jpgFor many years now, I’ve had a loop of the song “City of New Orleans” finding it’s way into the front of my memory. The fact that it’s resurfaced for so many years now tells me that it has found a home in my subconscious and just raises its hand from time to time as some type of release or reflection for my soul. I hear Willie Nelsons version for which I am thankful for. I like Emmylou Harris’ comment one time that if America had a voice it would be Willie’s. “Good Morning America, how are ya?, don’t ya know me, I’m your native son!”

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In these days where it’s easier than ever to find heartaches, sadness, division and every other adjective that makes us feel like the good fibers of our world are frayed and thinning, the opening line to City of New Orleans feels like an internal barometer for me. I hear that line as the eternal optimist reaching out with his open heart saying ” hey everyone, what’s going on, you doing ok?” . I also hear him saying, “me too, I know it’s tough. But we really are in this crazy thing together”. There is a common road and everyone is traveling by his own light, culture and accumulated experiences. I think we need to remember our commonalities, those threads that hold us together. Love is an eternal language and it slides in and out of music, art, 4 legged creatures. Yes 3 legged too. The winged ones, the trees, the landscapes all speak in their own ways to us. Bringing us a sense of belonging, balance and peace.


The natural world will bring us more truth than CNN or Fox, believe me ! There are the eternal truths, the one the Creator passes along through everything that he made. And there is the nonsense that the news brings us. Headlines of fact, but that’s where it all ends and where the big spin begins. The spin of misdirection, confusion and doubt reigns supreme.

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I wish you peace my friends. I wish for you a balance based in the deeper truths of the universe. Not to sounds crazy full of double talk and new age yak yak. This is simple stuff. Look to what the Creator made. Find the good stuff in your loved ones. Watch their smiles and how they love each other. Listen to the trees and the birds. Know you are loved. Know you matter.

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Know we all hold the same doubts. Know you are not alone.


I hope the reminder to you and me that we all share the same stuff is comforting to your spirit. If you are hurting, know the continuum of life keeps going. The new reality will present it’s own gifts. Know our hearts beat and grieve with you. For we are all a thin veil from each other. Aloha, Peace, Blessing, Aho, and any other kind cultural gesture you wanna pass along, I’ll take it !


Joshua Tree, California

Flags, Brooklyn NY

Glenn Simmons and Josey, Nashville TN

Paden Simmons and Dylan Simmons, Amtrak Train NY state

Tamra Simmons Nashville TN

Cross, Pensacola Beach



The Art of Thankfulness

josey1How do I begin to speak of thankfulness? I know the language. I am pretty good at talking about how thankful I am. I even think I am thankful. But that is usually when things are going well. When they aren’t going well, I have the inclination to think of that first.

Many years ago a member of our family, Josey was hit by a car. He lost a leg. This was not only traumatic for him but really traumatic for me because I attached much more to that loss than Josey did. I thought about him looking different. not being able to run as fast as he once could. The accident made him different visually and in our culture different isn’t as openly accepted.

For Native cultures, animals have always been teachers. They studied the animal ways to learn everything from hunting to how to be in the world. Sadly these days we don’t think we have much to learn from animals these days as we see ourselves on the top of the ladder and not viewing life as a circle. In a circle everything is dependent on each other, and everything is equal.

Josey showed the rest of our family how to be thankful for what we have. Not what we think we should have. Not what we assume we deserve. His stitches, his limp, his “imperfectness” didn’t effect him at all as far as his worth of himself or his worth in the eyes of others. He is thankful and lives that thankfulness everyday. He accepts everything as a part of how life is. That everything happens for a reason. That everything belongs. We have now talked for years and viewed Josey as a great teacher in our house and life.

Josey has a story much like all of ours. He’s been wounded. Life has full of surprises and paths not chosen but accepted. In his teaching it’s like “so this has happened, now what?”. For all of us wounded brothers and sisters, how thankful are we for what remains? Do we view it as enough to create happiness from ? I hope my journey continues here for many more years. Apparently I’ll need them to close out my circle as full as I hope it to be.

What Makes You Happy ?

If you are a little older or even if you aren’t , take a moment to remember the things through your life that have made you happy. Different stages, different things, right? I remember when a new Matchbox car could keep me smiling for days. The years wore on and the toys changed. Bikes, surfboards, cars, computers, you name it !

Through all of that stuff, I also remember the feeling of a safe home. Clean sheets that somehow deep in my spirit reminded me that my Mother loved me. Walking in the door and smelling supper being cooked. A smiling wife. Children that hug you and say they love you.

Is it that human cycle of acquiring and then letting go? Is there some mark of maturity there? Maybe it just takes a while for the “shine of things” to wear off. Realizing in your younger years if you are finding truth, that it ain’t, it’s never been stuff that really makes us happy. In a recent CNN poll they found the happiest folks in Denmark, living simpler lives.

I’m not against stuff. I’m really not, I have a good bit of it. There are things I covet for sure, but it’s sure hard to ignore that there are alot of folks with “all the stuff” who are miserable, and folks with little that are happy. Maybe it’s what we attach to the stuff. As long as you know it’s not the source of happiness then maybe you can have as much as you want and be fine. I do think it that’s not really in the human condition, cause we always want more and more. Do we expect too much or are we expecting the wrong things to make us happy?

I find a good cup of coffee and petting my dogs as God wakes up the world,  among my happier moments. Kissing my wife. Watching my kids laugh. That’s just enough for me. So what makes you happy, I’d like to know. If it’s a new BMW then say so, maybe I’m missing something. In the words of the 70’s spiritual prophet, David Cassidy, “Come On Get Happy”. We’re all sure trying !!!


When I was younger I thought God should have made it to where the older our pets got, the less attached to them we were. The pain of losing a longtime pet is incredibly difficult. They are family, plain and simple. But God had bigger plans for us as He usually does and he knows we grow and get closer to Him and all that’s real, when we are uncomfortable. When we hurt. When we simply have no answers. That, and as hard as it is for us Western thinking folk, pain can be used for good and growth if we let it. Maybe it would remind us of the journey with everything including our life with animals.

I’m often jealous of our Dogs lives. Other than being told what to do alot of the time, they have it pretty darn good. As I was looking through our I Photo the other day I noticed how many pictures of our dogs were right there along side the kids and friends. That’s just how it should be.

My son Dylan and his dog, Dakota

Our dog, Josey goes to work with me everyday and I think as many customers come to see him as to look at the store. He is the best ice breaker in the world.

They should be honored for what they are. A wonderful part of creation and a wonderful part of our lives.