Sunday, February 21, 2010


On Wednesday nights there is an auction and the offerings range from furniture to paintings to lamps to jewelry to boxes stuffed with a lot of junk and maybe some interesting additions.
Bidding for the boxes rarely exceeds $ 5, and some times only $ 1 or $2. The last box I got had old watches, Christmas ornaments, plastic vases, and a roll of 35 cent stamps. There are a hundred stamps in a roll, so my $ 2 investment yielded me $ 35 in stamps.
I love bargains and surprises like that. I love knowing I've gotten something of value (if only to me) at a good price.
Which brings me to this true story of a couple who wanted to use their retirement money wisely, so it would last, and decided to buy a home and a few acres in Portugal.
The modest farmhouse had been vacant for 15 years; the owner and wife both had died, and there were no heirs. The house was sold to pay taxes.
There had been several lookers but the place had a large barn with steel doors that had been welded shut. Nobody wanted to go to the extra expense to see what was in the barn, and it wasn't complimentary to the property, nobody made an offer on
the place.
The couple bought it at just over half of the property's worth, moved in, and set out to tear into the barn. They bought a generator, and a couple of grinders and cut through the welds of the giant steel doors, their curiosity increasing. What was in the barn?


At a value of $35 million dollars, this collection of antique cars took care of any retirement worries. The couple had rights to it, free and clear. Can you even imagine?
The moral of the story of my stamps and these cars is to not hold back, not be restrained, not be surprised so the universe can decide to hand you a surprise.
Surprises are everywhere once you let yourself zone into them. Renee Khan is a surprise. Who knew she would spin her loving magic into the hearts of so many of us, affirm our capacity for love and friendship and playfulness and community in a way most of us never imagined?
So today, in the midst of a tough week, praying for Renee, preparing to lose her, please don't forget that magic is all around you. Sometimes you have to hold your hand up high and make a bid, but sometimes that turns out to be a very tiny price.
Love to all,
*so now I have to tell you the story of this couple is a hoax! i looked it up on the internet and it's true these cars are in a barn, in Portugal, dusty and ignored, but they belong to an auto dealer. There is no happy couple. Does this qualify as a SURPRISE?!!!
darn it kj, check your facts before you post about them!! ♥


  1. Wow!!! what a cool post! I would have loved to see this place and sat in some of these cars and pretended to drive down wonderful old roads to fabulous parties and places, or maybe a picnic??? so cool!

  2. oh kj.

    your a beautiful person.
    there is magic here too.
    thinking of renee with all the love in my heart.
    love you kj,

  3. Wow, I hear of things like this from time to time!
    Sometimes we just need to throw it out there and trust the universe.
    Beautiful story. And I love the way you wove Renee into it.
    She sure was a huge surprise in my life. And a blessing. Big, big blessing.

    You're a blessing too you know.
    And I get to see you next week. How cool is that?

    love you,

  4. these two comments by two women i have come to love truly and dearly.

    two women who are able to soften the loss of my beloved friend renee.

    val, i will send you all the pictures and the names of all the cars. you won't believe it. xoxo

    lori, i love you too.

  5. whoa! make it three women. ms. lolo has moved into a special place in my heart. she rescued me. i love her dearly.

  6. In response to your question, yes, it could be a barren day. But I spent a lot of time in the past two days collecting each and every word that flew between us (2 years of several times a day) between blogs and emails and I am fortunate to have letters and cards as well. I was feeling so miserable yesterday - the hematoma is subcutaneous and it hurts like the dickens to sit up - but I spent most of the day re-reading, laughing and crying and reminding myself that I must practice what I preach if I am a truly honest being or to shut up and stop suggesting to others what to do when in pain.

    So, I let her fly free. She knows where to find me, I know where to find her. My heart is never too far away. When I will find myself looking for her comments I will promptly turn to my computer where all those funny, irreverent, loving things are kept now. And I will pretend since I find nothing wrong pretending like a child, that she is on a long trip, and there is no Internet.

    She survived as long as she has because she was filled with Light, She chose joy over self pity. I will honor her in every measure I am capable trying to do the same.
    And I apologize, maybe your question should have been answered on an email, but maybe this could be a bit of help as well to those who love her and will feel the sting of her absence. Collect her emails and print them, lest a failure caused by the perversity of inanimate objects takes away that too.

    Hugs from here.

  7. I've always wanted to find a place that held all the magic and secrets of a past life... I even have reoccurring dreams about this...

    Thank you Kj for reminding me of magic in the world... I needed that post today to help combat the loss of our dear angel Renee

  8. I have always felt that the grief is in part a testament to the amount of love. I don't think that grief is always a bad thing, though it never feels good.

    I also haven't found grief to ever end completely-it becomes forever bound up in the love.

    I do believe a life untouched by grief would be not quite a whole life at all.

  9. allegra, how wise and fortunate you are to have a chronicle of your friendship and more with renee. i know that will comfort you because just the way renee turns a phrase brings comfort (and often smiles). i'm glad you shared this here on my blog. it will help others. together strong, dear allegra. ♥

    pattee, i know how hard this is for you. my tears fall easily. but this morning, pattee, when i clicked on your blog and saw your incredible doll, that amazing smirk, i felt only joy. ♥

    debra kay, you are so damn wise. that is my favorite part of you. besides for how much fun you are to hang with.... ♥

  10. Oh Kj what a beautiful post going straight to my heart!!!
    What an inspiring story!!!!
    The perfect one to close my day with. Thanks for sharing this with us.
    A great reminder to be open to what the universe have in store for us........

    Thinking of you in these difficult days!


  11. kj - That is an amazing story! Just imagine their expressions as they opened the barn! :) Renee is a surprise, and a delight. A friend who is nestled snug in my heart forever, even as she leaves us.
    Hand in hand, kj, absolutely. And hands raised high. :) xoxoxox Pam

  12. I love this analogy. Once you open the door to life's possibilities, a stranger can walk in quietly and grow in your heart until you are astonished at the gift that was right there all along.

    Renee reminded me to really look at the world as if there were no time left. Every second is precious and the abundance of wonder in the world is there to be taken, if we have the courage to reach for it.

    For the rest of my life, I'm sure some phrase or story here or there will remind me of Renee and I'll smile. She is part of me, of all of us, now.

  13. Amazing insight, post, and love. I was given many gifts from Renee and one of them was you.


  14. Wow, very lucky couple!


  15. kj this is awesome!

    Yes Renee is a magical surprise and one that I am so happy to have had.

    mind you i too would love the surprise of all those cars ;)

    love to you...
    have a great week xx Ribbon

  16. I have been holding out for something amazing for Renee.

  17. Hi Kj,
    I love this, the amazing car story, the stamps, and most of all the magic of Renee. I have been thinking about her so much obviously and I love the way you describe her as a surprise. That's right! Such a thoughtful, kind, loving energetic person, despite all she has been through. She is a wonder. I feel so lucky to know her.
    The comments on your post are wonderful too.
    Sarah x

  18. AMAZING! Hubby would like the info please and thank you.

    Yes. What a prize Renee has been, and always will be. She lives forever in the hearts of those who gathered at her feet to learn her lessons of gratitude, humility, and love. At every moment, do what love requires. **kisskiss** Deb

  19. Oh I can't wait to find my own 'barn'. In some ways I think blogging i a bit like that, you find all sorts of people-treasures!

  20. Oh I just love this. You are so amazing.
    What a great post kj! Indeed Renee is magic and who knows what she will bring now.
    Here is to the magic in life and Renee magic.
    I do believe in magic, I do, I do.
    I love the story about the retired couple, yay for them!!
    This made me smile huge, thank you!
    It was magic when I met her and I am so grateful I was there for it.

  21. I love old cars! It would have been awesome to have been there to view them. What a fun post! :)

  22. Well, magic is magic, old cars in barns,,,true or false,it doesn't matter. It's still a great story,,,,and just look at all the great discussion it's created.
    Magic,surprise, joy and miracles,,,it all kinda speaks of Renee,right?
    (and she'd be laughing, I'm sure)
    Still a great post, kj!

  23. Thank you KJ! Thank you- been really teary and overwhelmed though knowing this would be a someday thing with Renee- it's never the right time...How lucky I feel to have been in her circle of love...

  24. Well, it would have been more magic if it had been true, but it is good even if you made it up :-).
    I agree, magic abounds and I am waiting for some fairy dust to arrive any minute. xoxo

  25. marianne, i love your optimism! it's contagious. &hearts

    pam , hand in hand. hands raised high. perfect. xoxoxo

    linda, there is no doubt we will never forget renee. never ever! xoxo

    sonia, likewise and ditto. i am grateful for you girl. xoxo

    julie, hahaha. lucky until i found out they exist only in fantasy! :)

    aww, love to you too ribbon. when i see your avatar here it always makes me smile. i miss renee very much, and i would not want to lose you. xoxo

    cs, my friend, i wish i could feel that way. but i think the level of pain meds our renee requires now will help her body slowly begin turning inward. still, i would love love love for you to be right, in whatever form 'amazing' may be. xoxo

  26. hi sarah, very nice that you have stopped by. you are welcome anytime.

    we are all so lucky to know renee. for me, it feels like being friends with the dali lama. xoxo

    deborah, hahahaha! no feet! i can only gather at her side, her head, hands, her body at large, but i have to do feet? only for renee. actually i would do anything for renee, anything to ease her pain, as i know you would too. we are living large in love, deborah. xoxo

    hi sag, how true! we are gifts we give ourselves! ♥

    marie, i am grateful too. we are blessed to know this woman and we will care for one another in our loss, when that time comes. take care of yourself, marie. it's nice to know you!

  27. hello sophia, i hope you are drawing or having some other kind of fun. xoxo

    babs, do you know i just adore you? mwah!

    linda sue, so renee was your roomie at the lake, is that right? :) she entered our best fantasies and hopes and dreams and let us flourish there with her. remarkable. i know about your tears, i have them too. ♥

    annie, i am starting to believe in magic again. that makes me hopeful. part of that is wanting to believe i somehow won't lose renee or anyone else i love. xoxo

  28. Same here. I am trying as hard as I can not to think about missing her.
    As I told you, I read and re-read all our chats and letters, emails and posts and comments then the tears flow and then I read something wicked, as we are prone to do to each other, and burst into laughter because even now she made me laugh at the most inappropriate moments, as I used to tell her.

    I want her free of pain, free of suffering, I told B.Loved that I gladly would take more on if it means for her to have less. She once said she would take some of mine when I was doing chemo and she wasn't and I told her she had already taken too much from me, to cut it out and she nearly fell off the chair when she read that and told me she laughed every time she thought about it.

    But I mean that, about taking some of her pain. I just wish to know she is resting, even in a drug stupor, but resting. I don't want to call the Hospital or their home anymore. I feel I am intruding on their time, and I don't want to keep anyone away from her for a single second. I am selfish but not that selfish.

    How are you doing? Dumb question, I know the answer but we must try hard to set her free. My beloved Mary M. one of my dearest friends wrote to me this morning: "I heard once (and I have no idea if this is true) that some Native Americans believed that in order for a spirit to "go on" after a person has died, the people left behind must let that person go. I believe that. I know how thin that veil is between the worlds and I think that some people probably have a hard time speeding away to wherever it is that spirits must go because of such a powerful sense of obligation to the living." I hope for everything that is of value on this Earth that she may be set free. The idea of her suffering is something I cannot handle at all. Training or no training, she is dear to my heart and the doctor who treats herself, has a fool for a patient.

    Hugs from here.

  29. I can't help it - it's all I can do for her.

  30. Kj, I KNOW this. Spirit never dies and love never goes away. So, you can never really lose someone you love, you may not see them, but they are there. Renee will always be there. xoxo

  31. I read your post earlier and had to come back to it! It's so true - much the same for me! Although I've stopped putting so much emphasis on the words with those I see every day because we can show each other our love through our eyes, our hands, what we do for each other, etc. With those I "only" know online, words are more important. My dad and I rarely say "I love you," but I know we couldn't love each other more if we tried. I don't need the words. Daniel and I say it a lot, but that's always been that way. It's a funny thing, really. Something to think about, that's for sure!

    Yes, together strong!!
    Love, Silke

  32. What a gret post. Pity it wasn't true about the couple and the cars, but we can dream. Renee, Renee. What a light she is to us all.