All posts by Sunny Bridge

I love travel, seeing and photographing new places, meeting new people, learning languages (focusing on French). In the past few years, I've been discovering the joys of poetry, both reading it and writing it. You can reach me at

Loads of Love

Who doesn’t think of love in February? Be it friends, family, or partners who spring to mind, there’s no escaping the ubiquitous theme of the month. In our family, it was also Brooks’ first birthday, a definite celebration of love for this little guy.

Time to get ready to party. Check out that look of love for his mama!

And for his big brother, Beckett–plenty of love to go around…

Beckett, Chelsea and Brooks 

I don’t know if Brooks loved his vegan cake, but he certainly seemed to enjoy it…

A few days after the party, I was with my friends Tom and Christy French.* Christy had invited me to come see the new Pathways Inpatient Care Center on Valentine’s Day. She would be playing a meticulously rebuilt and restored 1920 Steinway grand. This is the hospice organization that helped me care for David in his final weeks and then helped me begin to process my grief. I’m not sure what I would have done without them.

Christy plays weekly in the great room of the inpatient center for anyone who cares to listen, beautiful music that soothes the soul even when heard from down the hall. I’ve since learned that a number of my pianist friends also volunteer in this way. It’s a luminous, peaceful place, brimming with gorgeous art and overflowing with love–and sometimes with music. It was the perfect place to spend a bit of Valentine’s Day.

Then over to Chelsea and Brian’s to babysit and get my dose of love from Beckett and Brooks. I was a very good day. That morning, I had woken up to this…

Valentine’s Day Blooms

…at the height of perfection just that one day. It felt like a Valentine’s Day gift from beyond.

Wishing and praying for you loads of love, both to give and receive!

*The link on Tom and Christy’s names will take you to another post they’re in, as I usually do with my links, but it’s also the post with a link to the slideshow we showed at the Celebration of Life for David (including the little videos we showed only at the reception). Couldn’t resist watching it again and found myself smiling so much my cheeks hurt. Love does not end, thanks be to God!

Loving the Light

Winter Storm – 22 December 2022 – taken from INSIDE my warm house

If you’ve read many of these posts, you know I love color and light. I absolutely savor Christmas lights during the darkest part of the year. And this year, we also had some less-traditional colorful fun with lights during the holidays. I had asked everyone to bring something black to wear, which they did, not knowing what I had in mind. Then between Christmas and New Year’s Eve, we had a dollar-store glow-stick dance party. In case you want to try this yourself some dark evening, word to the wise: the little clips that come with the “costume kit” are annoying and next to useless. The girls made loops and headbands and bracelets instead, so we managed to laugh and dance and had a great time. How many activities do you know that entertain three generations, including teens, for under ten bucks? Just saying.

Of course, by now everyone has gone home, and the Christmas lights have been put away, so I love that the days are getting longer. Okay, not by much and not quickly, but I did leave Chelsea and Brian’s one evening recently a mere half hour early and drove home in semi-daylight, even if it was fading fast. In fact, it was bright enough that I noticed my next door neighbor, as I was about to pull into my driveway, motioning for me to stop. She was holding a bottle of wine and told me some women from the neighborhood had started a monthly happy hour for the women in the neighborhood, and I should drop off my stuff and join them. Just say oui, as I’ve already learned. What a lovely way to fight the isolation that tends to threaten so many of us, especially in winter.

So as the dark is so very present these days, both in the season and in the news, I pray for you love, good friends, warmth and light as we wait and hope for the sun to break through and stick around a while.

Folly Beach, South Carolina – January 2015

Compassion for Christmas

Brooks – Christmas 2022

The month of December has flown by, and not everything about it has been a bundle of joy. After holding and comforting a very sick Brooks the entire week after Thanksgiving, by Friday afternoon the 2nd, I had the same thing. I’d imagined my immunities much stronger by now than they apparently are. Experiencing what he was going through definitely increased my empathy for the little guy, although I hope I have always been a compassionate caregiver.

Then he had a few truly scary allergic reactions, ending up in the ER twice in eight days. Here he is the second time, after treatment had reduced his reaction to just an adorable Rudolph nose.

Brooks in the ER –  visit #2 – Photo by Chelsea

He now has to have an EpiPen handy at all times and is confirmed allergic to casein, so ALL milk products; maybe eggs, to be confirmed or disproved soon; and weirdly, blueberries, which he had eaten with no issues for weeks, if not months. As someone who cannot imagine life without butter or cheese or old-school ice cream, I’m hoping he grows out of these allergies, but he’s his usual cheerful self, especially when he’s not tormented by hives and eczema and other random rashes.

I’d like to think it would be the rare person who would not be touched by the suffering of a little one, but I’m being stretched to think of many others these days, as well. Tomorrow David will have been gone five years, and I have not forgotten the agony of those early days without him.

David DONE smiling for the camera – October 2016

I have three close friends spending their first Christmas without their beloved and one family without their beloved adult son/brother. A few others without one of their parents this Christmas for the first time. Others facing scary, challenging medical diagnoses. And this is just within my circle of acquaintance.

I watched a movie recently, The Swimmers, chosen because I love stories of underdogs succeeding against all odds, but I had no idea what it would do to me. This depiction of the plight of immigrants wrecked me. I know the numbers are overwhelming and the solutions are complex, but I had allowed that to numb me into mostly putting it out of my mind. I no longer can.

I’m increasingly convinced this month that the gift God is trying to give me this Christmas is compassion on a whole new level. I’m certainly feeling a lot of empathy. My heart has been breaking this month more than usual–in a good way, if that makes sense. But compassion requires action, not just feelings. So here’s hoping I (and all of us) can put hands and feet to work for the good of others. To continue to feel and express gratitude for beauty, like this Christmas sunrise. . .

Christmas Morning 2022

. . . while also living in such a way as to teach our little ones . . .

Beckett – 30 November 2022

. . . to be mindful of others, to both feel empathy and live compassion.

Grace and peace to you!

Great Big Gratitude

David, May 2016, refusing to hold still for a photo!

There’s something about this photo–out of focus, but somehow capturing the joy of spending time with this big man, my beloved. He’s been gone nearly five years now, and I still thank God every day for him and all the memories we made together.

What we focus on matters. I feel the truth of that every day and highly recommend The Book of Delights: Essays by Ross Gay. In his book he doesn’t shy away from  tough subjects, but manages to find delight every day in spite of disheartening, even maddening realities. Truly inspiring.

I was also thinking recently about a book I read nearly a decade ago, One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are by Ann Voskamp. I remember being challenged–even in the midst of hard times–to start a gratitude list,  presumably with the goal of eventually reaching 1000, at which point gratitude might be almost automatic. One would hope, anyway. I’m afraid I began to stress out somewhere around 200, trying to think of new things, until one day I wrote, “#182–Realizing it’s okay to thank God more than once for the same thing.” Yeah. It took me a long time to come to that genius conclusion. I confess my list never made it past 200, but I still have the journal that holds it, and even that simple list inspires gratitude when I reread it.

I find old photos are excellent gratitude triggers. So in the spirit of thanks giving and Thanksgiving, I am forever grateful for . . .

. . . great big stunning vistas like this . . .

Rocky Mountain National Park (from the top) – July 2013

. . . for Paris and that perfect French blue . . .

Paris – May 2013

. . . for La Rochelle and the inexhaustible patience David displayed for my frequent photo stops . . .

La Rochelle with David patiently waiting, not quite out of frame – May 2013

. . . for sunsets like this . . .

Sunset on Panama City Beach – March 2015

. . . and this . . .

Key West – February 2015

. . . for fields of poppies on Île de Ré . . .

Photo by Pascale – June 2019

. . . and dear friends who would stop the car to let me jump out and get a photo pretty much whenever I wanted and who shared so much of France with us . . .

Pascale and Jacky in Bordeaux – May 2017

There are too many adventures to choose a link, so just check out the France category to find them all. Merci, Pascale et Jacky, pour tous!

I’m still grateful for this amazing tree . . .

The Never-Give-Up Tree – near Lake Sunapee, New Hampshire

. . . that inspired me so much I wrote a poem in which it was featured.

As I continue to spend much of my days with Chelsea’s little ones, especially Brooks, I’m reminded of when our girls were small, and I feel great big gratitude for this pic of some of my favorite people . . .

One of our annual trips to the pumpkin farm — 1988

Praying for you: grace and peace and no trouble at all finding delight and reasons for gratitude every single day.