Monday, February 19, 2007


Today, 2/19/07, I finished a book by Jennifer Chiaverini entitled, THE RUNAWAY QUILT. I suspect it was begging to be read because the day before I finished TRUTH, about Sojourner Truth's story, and the energies of the topic, like microwave beams, kept bouncing around and through me. (See previous post about TRUTH.)

The book began at a slow pace and I wondered if I would have to put it down. I always give myself four chapters to decide; by chapter four I was hooked and read it almost in a single setting.

For me there were notable passages which I have taken the time to write in a specially designated book. Here's one from THE RUNAWAY QUILT which completely tied into the story of Sojourner Truth and her role in history: "....I began to see how inextricably intertwined were the rights of women and the rights of slaves, simultaneous battles in the same war." She not only fought slavery after she was freed, she also fought for the rights of women.

The quilt story bounces back and forth from a present day scenario to the events in the mid 1800's; a descendant seeking knowledge of her roots and the legends of the quilts which held the messages of safe stations for the runaway slaves.

The book also is about quilts and patterns and the wonderful craft of quilt making. I have come away with a new appreciation for the tireless labor and the artistic value these heirlooms have. At one point in my reading, I had to stop and go examine a quilt given to me by my Grandmother Hendrix. It was made by her mother, my great grandmother, and great great grandmother of JoDee, Amy, Mandi, and Megan. As far as I can figure it must be near to or over 100 years old, but it looks new, having never been used.

When I read that quilters often sewed their name and date in a corner of the quilt, I quickly searched for my great grandmother's information. I guess she didn't get the memo, but what I have received from this is a greater appreciation not only for those who risked their very lives for the freedom of the runaways, but also for the art of quilting.

Here's a passage that felt significant enough for me to record:

"In l850, as part of a compromise meant to placate Southern states angered by measures to check the spread of slavery elsewhere in the growing nation, Congress passed The Fugitive Slave Law. It proclaimed that runaways, even those who managed to reach Free States, must be returned to their owners, and that federal and state officials and even private citizens must assist in their recapture. Moreover, anyone freeman or fugitive - suspected of being a runaway slave could be arrested without a warrant and, once apprehended, could neither request a jury trial nor testify on his own behalf.''

"This Jonathan told me, indignantly adding, "I cannot and will not submit to any law that compels me to act against the dictates of my conscience and my God!"

Today is President's Day. I so appreciated what Amy wrote in honor of our Founders, and I want to add my gratitude as well. The reading of these two books makes me feel particularly tender towards President Abraham Lincoln who faced such sorrowful times in the nation as he pressed forward to free the slaves. I know there were a lot of other factors involved in this, but reading these two stories has reigned in my maternal fierceness for protecting my children as I've witnessed what the slave mother's had to endure and what they had to witness happen to their children, and see them carted off as tiny little slaves, merchandies of the highest bidder, never to be seen again. It's simply incomprehensible to me.

In TRUTH she has a special place which is her own "cathedral," her "God house," the place where she goes to talk to God. At this time she is known as Isabella (she later takes the name of Sojourner Truth) and she says, "I stood in the midst of three white birch trees, grown from the same root..."

I couldn't help thinking how all of us are grown from the same root of the human family. We're individual like the separate trees, but we're connected at the soul of the family; and then I read in THE RUNAWAY QUILT, Gerda says, "...I saw quite plainly a sameness linking all of us entangled in this great conflict, so that I felt at once both guardian and fugitive, both slave and freeborn. slavery made slaves of us all, it seemed to me, imprisoning those with dark skin in the iron shackles of injustice, those who owned slaves in chains of sin, and those of us complacent in our freedom with the heavy yoke of obligation to help our enslaved brethren..."

All through these two books the words of a poem by James Russell Lowell, one of our great American poets, have been going through my mind. He lived during these times and championed the cause of freedom, and called this particular poem, "Stanzas on Freedom," and it echoes the thoughts of the character, Gerda.

Read it carefully and with feeling to get the full meaning of his message:

“Stanzas on Freedom"

Men! whose boast it is that ye
Come of fathers brave and free,
If there breathe on earth a slave,
Are ye truly free and brave?
If ye do not feel the chain,
When it works a brother’s pain,
Are ye not base slaves indeed,
Slaves unworthy to be freed?

Women! who shall one day bear,
Sons to breathe New England air,
If ye hear, without a blush,
Deeds to make the roused blood rush
Like red lava through your veins,
For your sisters now in chains—
Answer! are ye fit to be
Mothers of the brave and free?

Is true Freedom but to break
Fetters for our own dear sake,
And, with leathern hearts, forget
That we owe mankind a debt?
No! true Freedom is to share
All the chains our brothers wear,
And, with heart and hand, to be
Earnest to make others free!

They are slaves who fear to speak
For the fallen and the weak;
They are slaves who will not choose
Hatred, scoffing, and abuse,
Rather than in silence shrink
From the truth they needs must think;
They are slaves who dare not be
In the right with two or three.

by James Russell Lowell (1819-1891)

I want to take the world into my arms and free all who are enslaved and wash away their sorrows with my tears, and heal the wounds with my touch, and soothe the broken hearts with my song, but of course, I can't, so with hope I'll send my tears, my touch, and my song on the wings of the wind to carry to those who have gone before, to those who remain behind, to the gathering clouds of the future to rain a measure of sweetness, like cleansing rain, upon those who have yet to come. If only that could be possible, perhaps the burden on Mother Earth could be lightened and she would not grieve as she now does.

Sometime, when the spring appears and the grass has returned, go lie upon Mother's breast and tell her you love her. Thank her for sustaining your home. Tell her that for your little plot of ground there will be love and kindness, charity and devotion, righteousness and right living. Tell her she need not worry for you because you will lift her burden by your acts of kindness both in and out of your family. Let her know of your devotion to her as the footstool of our Heavenly Father and Mother. I've done this before and words cannot explain the moment nor the tears which flowed from my eyes to her bosom. There is so much for which to be grateful.

These past few days have been rich in reading for me, and if anyone made it this far, thank you for taking the time to read my ramblings. I'll end with the words which my dear friend, Jill Homer always uses at the end of her emails: - Live in Gratitude. :)

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Two More Books

I've finished two books in the last two days and I'd like to mention them in a brief review. At first they will seem to be two completely different books, but as I think about the content of each , I realize how much there is in common.

The first is LIVING WITH PASSION by Peter L. Hirsch; he develops the "10 Simple Secrets That Guarantee Your Success," and I have to say it was a fabulous read. I heard him speak years ago, bought his book at that time, but just got around to reading it a few days ago. I guess it took me that long to be ready for what he had to say.

Very briefly the 10 Success Secrets he develops with anecdotes, reasoning and statistics are:
1. Challenge
2. Belief
3. Purpose and values
4. Conquering fear
5. Attitude
6. Focus
7. Commitment
8. Desire
9. Goals
10. Choice

There is nothing "new" about the principles, but his packaging is refreshing and I had a few "ah ha's" that were fresh for me, and about three book titles to consider developing my own take on these principles. The bottom line is the power of attraction and intention. There is never too much that can be said about the power of the Law of Attraction, that what we hold as our prevalent thoughts will be attracted to us. We simply are giant magnets.

The second book I finished a few hours ago is, TRUTH by Jacqueline Sheehan. It's a biographical, fictionalize historical novel based upon the life of Sojourner Truth, a black slave who overcame unbelievable challenges and left her mark on the world.

I first read her name in my American Literature text books, but I didn't know anything about her life. This book, TRUTH, was sitting on a shelf in the doorway of Wal Mart and begged me to take it home. I've had it about a year, and today was the day to read it, or rather finish it since I started it last night.

Let me share this one small part that I thought was note worthy, and a metaphor for all of us: She is talking about copperhead snakes, how the copperhead is a much maligned snake.

"The fact that she has poison in her fangs makes her honest and purely defensive when she isn't looking for a meal. 'Copperhead' came to mean something different when the full-out battle against slavery grabbed us all by the throat. Then it meant a northerner who was in favor of slavery. They picked too honest a creature to describe such a vile person.

"Here is what I learned from snakes, and the one I gathered the most from was the copperhead. When the sun warms the earth and wakes up all the animals from their winter sleep, when the snow is another year's memory, and when rocks are warm to the touch, then the snake takes notice and, with her boundless wisdom, emerges. I truly don't know where snakes go in the winter. It must be deep, because they would freeze and shatter if left exposed to one of our winters. But come midspring, when the bulb plants have burst through the earth, the snakes wake up.

"I like to find them on logs near a creek, sunning themselves, staying still for so long......The snake was unfairly hated. I knew what it was like to be despised on sight, to have lies told about me by people who knew nothing of my thoughts or actions. I gave snakes a chance until they proved themselves untrustworthy, which they never did. If you understood them, you could expect them to be perfectly honest.

"Their changing was what I most admire. At some point, their outer self grew tired, too tight, and had to be abandoned. They shed their old outer self like a full-length scab that must be scraped off. I had occasion to watch a snake or two leave her old self behind and emerge fresh and bright, aglow with colors begging for hope. It looked like birthing, hard groaning work, and the emerging body seemed to be unprotected. The old tube of skin hooked on a stickery bush, and the copperhead, with her dangerous eyes and honest fangs, was born different from before.

"I wanted to be sister to the copperhead; I wanted to shed my old outer self and emerge scarless, fresh, full of hope, to coil my body around a warm rock and flick my tongue for the whole sunny part of the day. I did not want to be who I was, where I was."

I can completely resonate with the idea of shedding the old and emerging new, but bless her wounded heart, her beautiful enslaved heart, I've never "did not want to be who I was;" I have so much for which to be grateful, we all do.

We've all experienced disappointments, pain, and heartache to one degree or another, but we've never known this kind of sorrow, cruelty, deprivation, and hardship. Compared to the lives the slaves had to endure, ours are rather cushy; and suddenly the spilled milk, muddy foot prints on the carpet, the clothes on the bedroom floor, the incessant noise of boisterous children, the undending sameness of motherhood take on a new meaning, something to be celebrated instead of cursed, for it means there was milk on the table to spill, and shoes on the feet to track mud, and carpets on the floor to be track upon, children with the freedom to make noise and express themselves, more clothes than the ones on their back, and even a bedroom instead of a cold, dirt floor one room cellar to live in. None of us have to worry about our children being taken from us when they're only six years old, sold to other slavers, never to see them again. Before she was born, Sojourner's mother had given birth to 12 children, and all of them were sold and taken away. Sojourner was sold when she was only 9 years old, and her younger brother, Peter, age six, was sold and she never saw him again.

So what do these two books have in common? It's simple really. Sojourner Truth lived what Peter Hirsch wrote about; she instinctively lived the principles of success facing challenges, holding onto beliefs, living on purpose and with her values intact, conquering her fears, keeping an attitude of being the best at her work, focusing on the possibility of freedom, being committed to freedom, her family, to God, never giving up her desires or goals.

I recommend both books. Oh, and I've started WAR AND PEACE. YIKES! This is going to be a challenge....:)

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

The Valentine

In honor of Valentine's Day here's a poem by Carol Lynn Pearson:

I loved
The valentines we made in school.
I never cut the hearts out flat-
The two sides would never match for me.
I always folded and centered
And scissored out a half a heart
That opened into perfect symmetry.
So they never had a side that was fat
And a side that was skinny.
I loved them for that.

I felt sort of nice and tidy that way
The day we saw the shape of our being one-
As if it had opened from some good design
That made two matching halves,
Yours and mine.

But I find we don't stay put like paper.
We are not comfortable with glue.
Your edges have shifted, stretched,
And mine have too -
But not to a pattern.
If we folded our halves up today,
They would not fit.
Occasionally I itch for the scissors,
I will admit.

Ah, well.
I will put away childish things-
Cut them off like braids.
We are no valentine, you and and I.
We are something so alive, so moving,
So growing, I cannot yet
Put a name to the shape.
I only know it goes on and on and on,
Pressing toward whatever border
There may somewhere be.

Your center and mine are one,
And between the halves there is flow.
That is much.
I will let the edges go.

I'm so grateful for the steady, safe, comfortable, loving relationship we have grown into across 39 1/2 years. It has certainly been worth the journey.

Monday, February 12, 2007


I have just closed the last page of a life altering book entitled, SPIRIT OF CHAMPIONS, with a sub post on the cover, "Great Achievers Reveal How to Integrate Mind, Body and Spirit." The authors are Thorn Bacon and Lyle Nelson.

This is one of those moments when words are not adequate for expressing the depth of the impact of this material. I can only toss out the invitation to any who happen to stumble upon this message to have a leap of trust and partake of the message. For me it was a phenomenal read, and a part of a gathering testimony for me that when the student is ready the teacher will appear, or the testimony that there really is a divine order in life. I've had this book for years and have never opened it. The other day it fell off the shelf into my arms and spoke to my spirit and said, "Now, you're ready."

My gratitude to the Universal principles and the Power of Intention, and the Laws of Attraction, and the Divine System that makes it all work.

There is too much to share in a single post, but here are a few dangling carrots - [For you who are too young to know about the dangling carrot-- that is how we used to get the donkey to move when we wanted to ride him at Aunt Dode and Uncle Richard's house in Cottonwood, AZ. We'd tie a carrot on a string attached to a stick, and hold it out over the donkey's head just out of reach, and the little ass would go for the unreachable carrot and we'd get our ride.]

I'm not trying to liken any reader to a little "ass," but hopefully it will intrigue you enough to take the journey. The book is filled with interviews with accomplished atheletes, some who became authors. They speak of the experiences of being in the "zone." So many inspired writers are quoted and borrowed from that I've filled the front covers with the titles of books to be read.

Here's a thumbnail sketch of the "Self-Actualizers" presented in the book. [ Self-Actualization is a term we hear a lot about, but may not understand that being "self-actualized is defined as OPERATING AT THE HIGHEST LEVELS OF PERSONAL POTENTIAL."

So here are the ways to accomplish this:

1. Self-Actualizer Number One: AFFIRMATIONS - Affirmations speak to our potential to perform, more than our current state of perfection, (and this performance is for anything we desire, not just sports.)

2. Self-Actualizer Number Two: CLEARLY DEFINE GOALS - Goal setting is indespensable to the achievement of the outcomes we wish is amazing how many opportunities our subconscious, with the help of the RAS, can "see" to make our goal(s) come true. [RAS = reticular activating system - we don't have control over the RAS, it silently functions to create what our conscious mind is focused on. Gives new meaning to "As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he," doesn't it?]

3. Self-Actualizer Number Three: VISUALIZATION - According to Dr. Maxwell Maltz, "Your mind cannot distinguish the difference between that which has actually happened and that which is vividly imagined." Information is loaded into our subconscious more effectively through images than through words... [Read on the "eye of faith" Alma 5:15; and Ether 12:19-20]

4. Self-Actualizer Number Four: PLANNING - As we plan, we are creating a goal or event; we are thinking about how to bring about the outcomes we want. Planning requires focus; and focus unleashes the potential of the mind.. When we have a plan, the Reticular Activating System (RAS) will alert us to all relevant information that could help us accomplish the plan.

5. Self-Actualizer Number Five: CREATE AN ENVIRONMENT THAT FOSTERS PRAISE AND ENCOURAGEMENT. "Often, the first big step to self-actualization is to turn your back on what is in order to participate in what can be. Remember, it is much easier to change yourself than to change somebody else."

6. Self-Actualizer Number Six: FOCUS ON THE REWARDS NOT THE SACRIFICES. "Everybody has to pay a price for success; that's how life is....Focus...on what you have accomplished, congratulate yourself on where you are, and make a point of creating new rewars as objectives to work toward..."

7. Self-Actualizer Number Seven: ACKNOWLEDGE YOUR SPIRITUAL NATURE - We will be able to regard ourselves in high esteem if we will develope these three traits:
1. An obligation to do the morally right thing
2. A belief that life has a purpose
3. A strong sense of individuality, but a realization that all
individuals are a part of a grander order.

8. Self-Actualizer Number Eight: MAINTAIN YOUR MAGIC CARPET - our bodies are our "magic carpet." "...It is bodily energy that allows you to transport your mental and spiritual strengths to where you want to use them for as long as is earthly possible."

"The brain only responds to positive or negative thoughts furnished by the mind. So make of yourself a sensational human by believing that you are."

The book is a life line to anyone who desires to change for the better. It has been incredibly inspiring for me; maybe it'll bless you as well.

Saturday, February 3, 2007

A Time to Edit

The other evening I was channel surfing and happened to land on a rerun of "Everybody Loves Raymond." The writers of this show are witty and clever as they weave unbelievable humor into this dysfunctional family. Every archetype of human foibles seems to make its way to the surface in this sitcom, and just when I think I can't stand the unkindness, the screaming, the sarcasm, or the criticism, something happens that saves it for me; Frank will let Marie and the audience know that he really does love her; Marie let's Frank and the audience know that she really does understand him; Raymond and Robert in spite of their pettiness at each other really do defend and support their brotherhood; Debra, ever long suffering at Marie's interference, is a stabalizing force, but gives in to her own fits and tantrums, and yet, as an observer there's no doubt that she loves her family and her spoiled husband.

There's just so much noise on the show with the kind of yelling that hurts the heart, but it's the kind of yelling I sometimes want to do, but don't, and the kind of insults I think but don't voice. I really can't defend that kind of family life, but perhaps it's honest.

It's just such a strange juxtaposition of love and hate...the things that happen in real families, but perhaps in other families it happens in a more civilized way, or then again, maybe not.

Ok, so what am I rambling about?

This particular rerun was Robert and Amy's wedding when Marie stands up and says a mouthful of ridiculous things at that point where the Priest asks if there's anyone who knows any reason why they shouldn't be married. Marie goes on and on as people are sitting in stunned shock. She's not really voicing an objection, but she has something she needs to get "off her chest," and she does as she multiplies words upon words upon words. Raymond sits down on the step as she drones on. The Priest joins him, and then suddenly she finishes saying what's on her mind. They limp through the rest of the ceremony and the scene segues into the reception, where we see a bedraggled, wounded, deflated bride and groom take their seat at the head table. Marie has marred what was supposed to be the happiest day of their life.

Next is the toast and Raymond is asked to speak a few words. He's not sure of himself. Everyone is sort of on auto-pilot just wanting the get this "happy" occasion over. I couldn't help feeling sorry for Robert and Amy, embarrassed for the families, and completely irritated at Marie, even if she did have good intentions.

I don't remember everything Ray said in his toast, but I was moved to a place of a metaphor in life by what he said. The writers had triumphed again with a hidden gem of wisdom that exploded in my consciousness.

He spoke about the video which was made of the wedding, and he openly spoke about what his mother did which ruined the ceremony, but then he said that the great thing about making a video was the ability to "EDIT," to cut out the parts that weren't good, that didn't add to it, that marred the beauty of the event. I honestly don't know if he expanded the "editing" to include those things in life which are not so happy, or if my mind simply ran-away with the thought? Whatever it was, I was caught up in it.

It really does appeal to my senses to consider all of the things to be "edited" and removed from the constantly running camera/video of life. I don't have to play the reruns of painful events. They simply do not have to be a part of my life's story anymore; I can edit them, especially that which doesn't add to anything. I'm not talking about the painful parts which have brought me to higher consciousness and greater learning and understanding, but that which keeps me in darkness. I do not know about the editing process of film, but there are many ways to "edit" the film of the soul, repentance and forgiveness being two of the most powerful.

I remember connecting with the Greek meaning of repentance as that of being the simplicity of "changing one's thinking." That definition appealed to me for it didn't carry the judgments of "sin" which had wedged into my world view. I can change my thinking, and what follows a changed mind is changed actions, and changed habits, and then a changed life. Yep, the Greeks have it right.

Forgiveness is the other side of the coin. Simply desiring to forgive and speaking the words are the beginning steps to the freedom which awaits those who bless themselves by this act, and by extension, they bless all who are involved in their life.

Moving out of judgment, honoring the paths of others as they call forth their lessons, concentrating on the business of my life and not other's lives, are powerful tools for achieving forgiveness. Never giving away the power for anyone to offend in the first place, is a supreme surrendering to the energy and essence of forgiveness before it's needed in one's life.

My intent was not to give a Sunday School lesson here, but just to offer up thoughts of "editing" the soiled parts of the video tape of our lives. The metaphor has merit in my world, perhaps it can work in yours as well. Namaste.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007


This Tuesday we had a speaker at Anthem Author's Club. We choose speakers who have published their work(s) and who share not only their book's content, but also, and of utmost interest to us, their journey to publishing, the pitfalls, and the absolute must's.

Our speaker yesterday was Stephen Nasser who wrote, MY BROTHER'S VOICE. Mr. Nasser's content far outweighed his publishing journey. My only regret in going to hear him was that I didn't take a package of kleenex. He was thirteen years old when he and his brother, Andres, were taken from their home in Hungary to a Nazi concentration camp. For a brief time they were in Auschweitz.

He was so inspiring as he told of his determination not to let the Nazi'a have his mind. They had complete control over his body, but reminescent of Viktor Frankyl's MAN'S SEARCH FOR MEANING, he knew they could not control his mind.

He expressed the happiness now which he experiences each day that he wakes up in freedom in America. It was General Patton who freed him on April 30th, l945 (which interestingly enough was the same day that Hitler committed suicide).

He encouraged all of us to write; to open our hearts and leave our legacy, leave our family an heirloom of our lives, our thoughts, our feelings. He encouraged us never to give up, but to persevere in our efforts, and he shared his perseverence in writing while he was in the work camp where he was able to confiscate thick paper from cement bags and he was able to get pencils from a kind guard who was not a Nazi.

When he left the camp he only weighed 72 lbs.(down from 138 lbs.), and he had a thick diary of their experiences, but it was lost in transit in a rail car where he had passed out from being pinned down by bodies of the dead. When Patton's men pulled out the bodies and discovered he had a pulse, he was taken for medical care. No one thought to look for his make shift diary, but he was able to write down the major events at a later time.

I won't write all of the details of the notes I took, but I do want to share some significant messages he gave. He said that "Nazis" exist today. He said we have not learned the lessons of history, that the holocaust is happening in countries right now. He lived through it and he warned us that it's happening all over again.

He said in Iran they have caricatures circulating displaying Jewish people killing babies, drinking the blood and making kosher food of it. I know this is as disgusting and sad for you to read as it is for me to write, but the truth is, nothing can hurt us more than what we don't know. He said their goal is to kill us if we won't follow their religions.

Then he spoke of his journey of ridding himself of hate and learning to love ALL people. He said the Germans are not to blame for the atrocities of the holocaust, but the Nazi's and the SS are. There were many who were Nazi's, not just Germans, and there were many who died, not just Jews. (I know this is true. When Roy and I were in Dachau, Germany at the concentrations camp,I was surprised at the various monuments built to honor the many who were murdered who were of other religions.)

Mr. Nasser spoke of the gift of God that life is. Just being able to be a human being is a gift. We are all God's children. His tearful emphasis was that it's so much easier to love than to hate, and he wants that to be his message to the world.

He told how in his own mind he became a "part-time "prisoner. Before falling asleep at night, he would recall his pleasant memories of home and his family, and then when he'd sleep he would dream of them. He chose to have his dreams be his reality and to have his waking hours be the nightmare he would leave behind him at night. At that time "anger" kept him alive.

He said that one day in camp, after they had been there about ten months, he was eating lunch with his brother who was growing weaker and weaker every day. This particular day his brother said, "My Little Brat, I know how determined you are. I'm about done here. I will not survivie, so we haven't much time. Mother, Father, and other relatives are looking down on us. It's important for you to get used to being on your own. Would you like us (meaning the dead family) to be miserable or happy? You must keep on smiling. You must keep your attitude so we can look down on you and be happy that you are happy."

There was so much more that he shared, but I'll leave you with this portion of his talk. He travels the US giving his story, and he doesn't charge a penny. He does accept donations, but his message is his mission.

As this dear man, now 75 years old, concluded his message, he asked all of us to stand and hold hands with the people next to us. He stepped to the front row and took the hands of the people there, then he began to pray. I was completely dissolved into a puddle as this blessed Jewish man of peace prayed in the name of all those who had suffered, sacrificed, and/or died during the time of the holocaust. He prayed for those today who are away from their families in foreign lands suffering and sacrificing. He prayed for the families. He prayed for peace and concluded with "Never, never, never again." Then he asked all of us to repeat with him, "Never, never, never again." I could only say it in my heart, for I could not speak.

Freedom is a blessing we take for granted because it's all we have ever known. Today I'm especially grateful for freedom and for those who have fought and died throughout all of the wars so that I might have a comfortable life. I'm writing in respectful contemplations of the families left behind whose lives have been changed forever by the loss of their loved one(s). I honor their sacrifices.

If enough of us could have a concentrated consciousness, a collective consiousness pertaining to peace in the world, perhaps it could be a Hundredth Monkey principle and waves of peace and love could be telegraphed around the world. Perhaps!
Think gratitude for peace and love. Pray gratitude for peace and love. Live gratitude for peace and love. Be gratitude for peace and love.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Time With Michele

Michele just left. We have wanted to see each other for a year and a half, but it never happened; or maybe I should say we didn't make it happen. How could the time have gone by this quickly?

Michele is one of my favorite younger cousins, but we have always seemed to resonate on the same "page." She's one of those gifted women who doesn't know how gifted she really is, but then again maybe none of us really get it about ourself, either. To her credit she has published a book, as well as written and published a musical piece. She has been a speaker at various firesides and even has at least one of her talks on a tape that can be purchased, and I'm really proud to call her not just my cousin, but also my friend.

After she left, I came into my office to make some sense of the many projects which are giving my desk the appearance of chaos and clutter. It's organized clutter in that I absolutely know what each pile contains. I picked up one of my old poetry packets, a shabby remnant from one of my literature classes of yesteryear, and my eyes fell on a verse which brought my mind back to Michele. I know that one of her favorite topics is the Law of the Harvest, in fact, that is what her music is about. So, Miss Michele, this short quatrain is for you:

The tissue of the Life to be
We weave with colors all our own.
And in the field of Destiny,
We reap as we have sown.
-John Greenleaf Whittier

It's a wonderful message to remember, "We reap as we have sown." So, for today let's sow happiness and peace, love and gratitude... Thanks, Shel, for the safety and comfort from the moments we laced into our memories.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Synergy of Life

I'm always intrigued by the synergy of life, by the seemingly random happenings which so perfectly carry the right notes to complete the melody of the moment. I love whatever power it is which calls this forth to carry the whispered confirmation of perfect choices, and to add a flourished signature signing All is in Divine Order, Proceed in Peace and Confidence.

My last entry was about the word "Gratitude," as my choice word for this year, 2007. I've been living in Gratitude every day, and am beginning to experience an internal shift in just a few days. Every morning I sit in my Contemplation Chair in the sunny nook in my kitchen, and I list something for which I'm grateful that corresponds with every letter of the alphabet. That's twenty-six items a day. (A=apples, B=butterflies, C=creativity, D=Dreams, etc.) I've determined that if I can't think of something to correspond with a particular letter, I'm going to read the dictionary until I find it. This is such an uplift. Thank you, Amy Girl.

Now to the synergy. Yesterday, with "Gratitude" uppermost on my mind, I pulled a spiral notebook from my bottom drawer which is the "spiral notebook grave yard" and abounds with barely used, half used, never used spirals. [Some people buy shoes, I buy notebooks.]

It was a random choice. I settled into my comfy Contemplation Chair, opened the notebook to begin a Gratitude Journal, and there, taped on the inside of the front cover was a page from a steno note pad. This is what I had written years ago. I don't remember why I wrote this, I don't even remember writing it, but it's my handwriting, and does correspond with a journey I once took to replace my language with "celestial language." For example, instead of saying to a child who might have interrupted me, "What do you want?" I'd say, "What would ye that I should do for you?" And instead of saying something like, "You're going to get into so much trouble," I'd say, "Oh, how exquisite your pain, ye know not..." Or I might replace the temptation to call a child "lazy" with, "Look to the ways of the ant, thou sluggard." We would laugh, but the message was given wrapped in the sweetness of scripture. You get the picture... It was a fun journey. So, I suspect this may have been written in connection with that experience.

"Celestial words! How sweet they are. How tender, how tranquil, how elevating to the heart and soul of man. How refershing, and, oh, how pleasing unto God. The words of Eternity - the words from Eternity to Eternity - Words are spoken and worlds are created. The sweetness of words, the joy of words, the power of words, the propriety of words - it escapes us today and we are bereft of the blessings that fall like manna from Heaven; blessings that distill upon the very soul like dew in the crystal morn illuminating and sparkling from the first rays of the morning sun.
These are the everlasting words of Holy Writ upon whose power we rely, albeit at times ignorantly. For we have failed to grasp the simplicity and charm and true power in the meaning of prayer and of praying in the name of Christ - the act whereby scriptural promises are made that all desirws can and will be fulfilled. Praying in His sacred, holy name is more than simply closing our prayers with His name. That act is "with" His name - not "in" His name. To pray "in" the name of Christ is to pray the mind of Christ. It is to pray the will of Christ and the words of Christ. His very words are a key to unlocking the powers of prayers being answered.
The language of prayer is precious and should be sweet, like honey, upon the tongue. Reverential tones and words should be second nature to us. The dignity of Diety requires the language of Eternity. ..

Then it stops. I'm perplexed as to the purpose for which this was written, or even when it was written. I do remember being impressed in the Bible Dictionary with the information about what it means to pray in the name of Christ, but perhaps the Divine Order of life was for me to discover this yesterday. Who knows upon what power "synergy" moves and performs magic?

What really stood out in bold print to me, as a powerful message for me right now, were the words I put in bold, "Words are spoken and worlds are created." I'm sure at the time of writing, I was thinking of Father's task, but the power and truth for me today, is more personal. The words we speak (either aloud or in the heart) literally do create the personal "worlds" in which we each live.

As James Allen said in his verse, "Mind is the Master Power," "We think in secret and it comes to pass / Environment is our looking glass." [see an earlier post for the entire verse]

Remember Tinker Bell telling Peter/Robin to "think happy thoughts" so he could fly. For him it was his children. Hmmm, not a bad idea.

So, in the words of T. Bell, let's "Think Happy Thought" and maybe we truly can fly over the ruts and bumps in our road. Ciao for now...

Saturday, January 20, 2007


I took a sweet walk with Amy's last post and was touched and impressed with her meandering through some of her girlfriend's blogs to reach this beautiful suggestion wrapped in the following exquisite words:

“A single word can be a powerful thing. It can be the ripple in the pond that changes everything. It can be sharp and biting or rich and soft and slow. Last year I began a tradition of chosing one word for myself each January - a word that I can focus on, mediate on, and reflect upon as I go about my daily life. Last year my word was something I wanted to bring into my life in a more tangible way. My word was Play… Can you identify a single word that sums up what you want for yourself in 2007?”

This challenge from friends four times removed speaks to me with a reassuring resonance, so I've chosen "to focus on, meditate on, and reflect upon" the word "Gratitude."

It's not that I don't already have gratitude in my heart as much as it's about REALLY getting gratitude into the very cells of my body. It's about every breath bearing the energy of gratitude. It's about the honor which gratitude gives to Heavenly Father, and the personal empowerment it brings to me. It's about the Universe which recognizes gratitude, and the effectiveness of prayers uttered in gratitude through the language of gratitude.

Once I attended a seminar and the teacher drew a horizontal line which he then proceeded to intersect with zig zag up and down lines that resemble pointy skinny mountains ...all up and down across the entire line. He said the line was our base line, our stable emotion, while the sharp up ward lines were the high's, the excitable, happy feelings, and the lows attached to each high represented the low's in our lives. As high as we allow ourselves to go with that which we perceive to be "good," we will experience an equally low "low," which will probably be perceived as bad, or negative.

I watched and listened and seriously pondered his message, then I thought of Kipling's poem "IF" and the wonderful line which reads, "If you can meet with triumph and disaster / and treat these two imposters just the same..." What did this poet know? Triumph and Disaster are imposters? At the top of the peaks above the line we would put Triumph, and at the bottom peaks below the line we would put Disaster, but they're both imposters. They are simply messengers.

Knowing what each extreme feels like, and not liking the lows at all, I laid siege in my mind and prayers to find the magic that would keep me from going too high so that I wouldn't turn around and fall so low. Joy in the good would still be there, but how could I temper it to keep a healthy balance below the line? After three days of earnest prayerful thought, I heard the word, "Gratitude," and I knew in that instant it was the answer; Gratitude in ALL things, the good and bad, the happy and sad, the success and the failure.

We never reach those pinnacles of achievement, excitement, joy or whatever that high emotion might be without the assistance and support of others. No one does it alone; there's always someone in the wings who deserves our gratitude. It's that gratitude in the journey that tempers the "Imposter" of Triumph, and its the gratitude infused into the dark valleys which give energy to the "Imposter" Disaster and lightens the sorrow.

I want all who read this to know that I am very grateful for many things, not the least of which is my earth walk and the lessons I've called forth and the constant unfolding of knowledge and deeper truths. I'm grateful for the sunshine, butterflies, a baby's smile, running water, paper clips, computers, electricity, garbage trucks, cameras, green plants, ink pens, kleenex, literature, refrigerators, washing machines, cars, angels, mirrors, hair dryers and curling irons. I'm grateful for my family and for my friends and the richness brought to me by others. The list becomes impossibly long, so I'm going to live gratitude and apply the principles I know to be true about effective praying. I'm going to be like the 172 year old man in the city of Eldorado in Voltaires Candide who said they never pray because they have everything they could ever want. All they do is thank God for what they have. It's in the thanking God for what we have (whether it has manifested or not) that generates the magic and brings to us that which we desire.

Years ago when I took Holly to see the movie, Hook starring Robin Williams, I was heavy in my heart with some burdens in my life. Completely absorbed in the movie, I was enjoying the scene where the lost boys were serving in great style the non-existent banquet. Peter/Robin was watching this and certainly wondering as these boys pretended to eat. Suddenly the insults began to be hurled back and forth and Peter takes his spoon full of imaginary food and he says, "Oh, yeah, well take that," whereupon the other boy's face was suddenly splattered with a colorful whipcreamy looking substance. When that happened one of the boys said something like, "Oh, Peter, you do believe." In that moment a spiritual whispering reached me and said, "Judy, all you have to do is believe and the banquet will be spread before you."

I offer this spiritual moment to say that it's the believing that we have already received which is what makes it happen. According to Wayne Dyers most people say, "I'll believe it when I see it," but the opposite is the real truth, "I'll see it when I believe it." The real power in prayer is the power of gratitude.... I'm grateful that our family will be safe today. I'm grateful that angels will be with us. I'm grateful that I will remember to be soft spoken and gentle and without judgment.....

Yes, I am going to let Gratitude be my word for 2007.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Present Tense

Tonight as I was looking for a quote, I came across this poem and thought I'd share it. It's good to be reminded of the things that are important, and of learning to live in the perfect "present."


It was spring,
But it was summer I wanted,
The warm days, and the great outdoors.
It was summer,
But it was fall I wanted,
The colorful leaves, and the cool, dry air.
It was fall,
But it was winter I wanted,
The beautiful snow, and the joy of the holiday season.
It was winter,
But it was spring I wanted,
The warmth, and the blossoming of nature.

I was a child,
But it was adulthood I wanted,
The freedom, and the respect.
I was twenty,
But it was thirty I wanted,
To be mature, and sophisticated.
I was middle-aged,
But it was twenty I wanted,
The youth, and the free spirit.
I was retired,
But it was middle age I wanted,
The presence of mind, without limitations.

My life was over,
But I never got what I wanted.

It's a gift of spirit to be able to live in the moment and love whatever stage of life we are in.

Roy and I are learning to post pictures. This is my friend Kathy who lives up the street. I went with her as support when she had some photos taken for her Real Estate business cards. We both were having so much fun with the young photographers, that they insisted that I join her in a picture for the fun of it. This is the result.
I'm going to have him scan some others to share, so stay tuned.....

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Not User Friendly

I've received some emails stating that this blog isn't user friendly. If you're having difficulty posting, please let me know at . I'm seriously thinking of trying a different more friendly site.

I'd appreciate some feedback... Thanks

Monday, January 15, 2007

HOPE - a chapter from my up coming book

Amy expressed an interest is seeing a post from the book I'm writing which is currently holding my attention and my labor. Its focus is on a silver bracelet which is comprised of seven oval links, each link bearing an inscription with a quality, one of which is HOPE. Each chapter is about the inscription on the link. So far I have written the introductory lead in, and chapters on Family, Hope, Truth, and I'm now tackling Joy. Yikes! Can anyone tell me what joy is? Or what truth is?

This is much more difficult that I thought it would be. The format is a piece of cake, but really being able to coherently write about Hope, or Truth, or Joy... well...... I've had to do some serious thinking on these, and I'm not 100% sure of the finished draft.

What I'm going to post is my rough draft on HOPE. I finished it a few days ago, and I'm letting it set and distill. I must put a little distance between us.

Maybe this is risky of me to put it out there for all the world to see, but my disclaimer is the rough draft status. If anyone has any suggestions, I'd be so grateful to hear them.

“What shall we do when hope is gone? …”
Joaquin Miller

Next to FAMILY on my silver bracelet, is HOPE. I would love to write something profound about HOPE, but I can’t imagine what I could say that hasn’t already been penned from those wiser and more eloquent than I. Emily Dickinson says that “HOPE is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul…” If our poet Emily is correct, then HOPE has wings and can give flight to falling dreams, as well as to lofty possibilities.

It feels to me that HOPE is one of the most important attributes of life that we can have, for what do we have if we have not HOPE? Where is the farmer without hope for his yield of crops, or the rancher for his herds, or the builder for his mighty skyscrapers and humble single dwellings? Without hope why go to school, learn a trade, or cook a meal?

Perhaps HOPE is a gift from that unseen gift giver; perhaps it’s a characteristic of soul; maybe it is a learned trait. HOPE seems to reach out and wrap her arms around other attributes such as courage, confidence, faith, achievement, and charity. She is the well from which springs all that is good in us and all that keeps us going; for “what shall we do when HOPE is gone?...”

When I first taught American Literature, I found myself inspired by the Puritans and the Pilgrims who forged a new life in a new world. They came for the freedom to worship according to the dictates of their own conscience, but upon landing they were faced with hardships they had never known. There were no Circle K’s or Motel 6’s. The land was hostile as were some of the native inhabitants.

They had a choice to make and they made it, that of holding the possibility of the dream without despairing at the reality. It was HOPE which brought them here. HOPE which forged through the wilderness, felled the trees, built the towns, planted the crops, and expanded the new world…

As a people they never abandoned HOPE, and many never realized the fruition of the dream, but perhaps they sensed that in their circumstances, very little that was worth doing could be achieved in their lifetime, so they held the dream for the future. They held the dream for us. The annals of history bear this out. Only a small part of that which is true or beautiful or good seems to make complete sense in any immediate context of history; therefore we must have HOPE and hold the vision of the dream.

I have thought of our courageous forbearers many times, and I have adopted the motto in my mind to, “Hold the possibility of the dream without despairing at any present reality.” That hasn’t always been easy to accomplish, but without HOPE what would I do? What would any of us do?

I remember reading from William H. Danforth’s book; I DARE YOU, where he challenges the reader to develop the four square life which he labels the body, the brain, the heart, and the soul, and which represents our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual parts. None of these, I realize, can be developed without HOPE. Why would we even try? Why would we read a book, or paint a picture, write music, sing songs, write memoirs, poetry or books if we didn’t have HOPE? Why would we seek the medical professionals if we didn’t have HOPE for a healthy outcome?

It simply is the bedrock of who we are and what we can accomplish. HOPE is the symbol of the richer, fuller life. HOPE is the oxygen of being; so in Joaquin Miller’s poem, Columbus, when “the men grow mutinous”, and the “mad sea shows his teeth” and the “very winds forget their way,” and the frantic first mate asks, “Brave Admiral, say but one good word: What shall we do when hope is gone?” The words leaped like a leaping sword: “Sail on! Sail on! Sail on! And on!”

Columbus had hope of a new world, and he sailed on until he found it, as did many great explorers who were driven by that internal quality which cannot be denied. It’s a part of the divine order of every life to follow their life’s star, but it’s HOPE that starts and sparks the movement.

Friedrich Von Schiller lived in feudal Germany and never gave up HOPE for freedom; having all of his work characterized by the theme of freedom and idealism, he eventually inspired his countrymen to fight for liberty in the early l800’s. His classic poem, “Three Words of Strength,” call for engraving upon our souls the lessons of HOPE, Faith and Love, “Have hope! Though clouds environ round / And gladness hides her face in scorn, / Put thou the shadow from thy brow, / No night but hath its morn.”

The light will follow the dark and therein lives the spark of HOPE. It is born from the evidence of the turning of the earth…The light will follow the dark…”No night but hath its morn.” My blessed Grandmother always comforted me with, “The darkest hour is just before dawn,” and because she said it, I believed it, and then I came to know it.

Without HOPE the Wright brothers would never have tried to fly a plane; nor President Lincoln free the slaves; Benjamin Franklin wouldn’t have flown his kite into electrical history, nor would Alexander Graham Bell acted on his genius which gave us the telephone. HOPE gave us Einstein’s theory, and Henry Ford’s car. Hope gave us the Sistine Chapel at the brilliant hands of Michelangelo, and HOPE gave us the works of Shakespeare. It gave us professional ball games, human achievements and world records which are ever being broken on the wings of HOPE. Hope put man on the moon, and Mother Teresa in our hearts. HOPE gave us Disneyland and dreams and stars to wish upon.

So, what shall we do when HOPE is gone? Edmund Burke said, “Never despair, but if you do, work on in despair.” The great men and women who fill our history books, our literature books, and our quote books seemed to understand this principle. When HOPE is hiding her face, and we feel frightened, lonely, forlorn and anxious, we would be well advised to do as all of those great people have done before us; keep moving in the direction of our dreams, and we’ll “… meet with success in uncommon hours,” promises Henry David Thoreau.

I want all of the beautiful women in my life, young and old, to embrace the role they have chosen for themselves, and let HOPE be their partner. I want each of them to remember that they are unique; that they are a single flame adding to the light in my life. I desire for them to “gain a world” of their choosing, just as Columbus “gained a world,” and I yearn for them to give the world their lessons, while they hearken to the great Columbic lesson of, sailing on…. “On! Sail on!”
* * * *

What I didn't tell you before hand is that this book is a tribute to all the women in my life.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

The Perfect Words at the Perfect Time

I feel to share this essay I wrote last September

The Perfect Words at the Perfect Time
Sept. 16, 2006
J. Naegle

Another box is yielding its contents under my unrelenting fingers fueled by my tunnel vision on this project; it’s actually the third box of the day, the others have been relatively easy to disband and disperse, some with treasures long forgotten, photos hastily placed during the last minute rush of packing those many months ago, too many months to count lest I blush at the procrastinating lapse of time in getting them emptied on this end of the move.

Ah, here’s a pair of blue knit gloves to tuck up in the closet for the day when the steering wheel is too cold to handle, which could be never here in the desert, unless I venture out at some obscenely early hour in the heart of winter. I can’t help smiling at the thought, especially since I just lowered the thermostat to offset the discomfort of the afternoon sun beating against the western windows. I don’t care about master planned communities; homes should only face north or south in the suffocating lands where the suns blistering rays relentlessly beat a path to invade available doorways and magnifying windows with rings of fire.

I pick up the paper lying under the gloves. Oh my goodness, here’s Chris Richard’s parody poem on William Blake’s “The Lamb” from the celebrated Songs of Innocence, that sweet gentle poem metaphorically linking the lamb to the Son of God. To appreciate Chris’ renderings, one must know the original where the poet asks questions of the lamb:

“Little Lamb who made thee,/ Doest thou know who made thee? / Gave thee life and bid thee feed / by the stream and ‘ore the mead / Gave the clothing of delight, / softest clothing wooly bright, / gave thee such a tender voice making all the vales rejoice, / Little Lamb who made thee? / Dost thou know who made thee?

In the next and last stanza the poet answers all of the questions:

“Little Lamb I’ll tell thee, / Little Lamb I’ll tell thee. / He is called by thy name, / For he calls himself a lamb, / He is meek and He is mild, / He became a little child, / I a child and thou a lamb, / we are called by his name, / Little Lamb God bless thee, / Little Lamb God bless thee.

I remember so well the day Chris wrote this and I can pinpoint the year of l994 or l995 because we were still at the old school location in the Jewish center on Broadway Road in Mesa, Arizona. We had been working on memorizing “The Lamb,” and I distinctly recall being annoyed at Chris for the minor disturbance he was causing. I was pressed for time and he wasn’t in sync with the rest of the class, but his beaming face stopped my reprimand as he excitedly cried out, “Mrs. Naegle, you gotta hear my poem.”

“Ok, Chris,” I let out an exasperated breath, “let’s hear your poem.”

Christopher proceeded to read:

Little lamb who ate thee?
Dost thou know who ate thee?
Ripped thy flesh and tore thy skin,
Thou once were fat but now art thin.
Blood and guts all spread around,
Not a piece of thee can be found.
Little lamb, who ate thee?
Dost thou know who ate thee?

Little lamb, I’ll tell thee,
Little lamb, I’ll tell thee.
He is not of they name,
For he calls himself the wolf.
He is hairy, he is mean,
He is wicked and obscene,
I am living,
Thou are dead!
Little lamb good eatin’,
Little lamb good eatin’.

The entire class, including the chagrinned teacher who came so close NOT to letting him read the poem, was dissolved into peels of hysterical laughter by the time he finished reading; actually the laughter began at the first line of “Little lamb, who ate thee?”

I’m chuckling as I remember a similar parody on the same poem. It has quickly connected itself through the halls of memory with the same cadence and rhythm, this vague reminiscence of a quip my second son, Cap, made as we were driving by a field of sheared sheep in the mid l980’s. Upon my urging, “Oh children, what poem does this remind you of?” They were supposed to respond, “Little lamb, who made thee?” and then proceed to quote the entire poem, but Cap, about age ten, quickly and cleverly piped up with, “Little lamb, who shaved thee? Dost thou know who shaved thee? / Took the sheers to thy fleece, / didn’t leave a little piece of curly wool to keep thee warm / and from the cold keep thee from harm…” His rhyming trailed off, but left the other children and me in stitches. The tragedy of such cleverness is that it is often obscured by the natural static of being young and immature. I hope I never miss the sweetness of the genius of children.

I smile as I think back on those days at school and remember Chris with his mop of blonde hair and his mischievous grin. A nostalgic sigh escapes from the knowingness of nothing staying the same; everything changes and that is how it should be, but looking back I wish I had not been so caught up in the everyday things of life that I might have been able to catch more precious fleeting moments at school and at home.

I’m so glad I held my tongue that day in the classroom with Chris and didn’t lash out at him for being out of step with the rest of the class; my, how his whisperings do pale next to his clever verse. His young creative mind was bursting with the rhythm of a parody which he knew we all would appreciate. Taken out of context of the class and Blake’s original, it’s really rather violent and gory, but to us it was very witty, intelligent, and we loved it.

The fortuitous holding of my tongue reminds me of another time when my eldest son was about thirteen, some twenty three years ago, and was supposed to be in bed asleep. I was reading late into the night, the only time I ever could manage to read it seemed with five children ranging in ages from thirteen to four, and all of them being home schooled by me. I did value my small pittance of private time at night. Cory surprised me at my door. My initial response was a flash of irritation at being disturbed, but I held my tongue.

“Mom, do you want to hear the poem I just wrote?” He was clutching it in both of his hands. I didn’t, but I was a loving mother, so I answered in the affirmative. Then he proceeded to read:

“Sometimes we tend to stumble and fall amidst our sins,
So God has sent His only son to pick us up again.
And though our sins be great or small from each a lesson’s learned,
And with this lesson go we forth His forgiveness to be earned.
And life can be much easier if one point is made well known,
Our sins need not be stumbling blocks, but only stepping stones.”

I sat there in stunned silence as this precious son melodiously read this poem written from the depths of his young and pure heart. He continued, “Mom, I’ve got another one, do you want to hear it?” This time I sincerely answered yes. He called it simply, “The Minute.”

What a little thing a minute is, yet what magic it doth hold
It’s only made of seconds, but it worth much more than gold.
For it only takes a minute to stop and shut the door,
And it only takes a minute to pick the toys up off the floor,

It only takes a minute to replace worn laces in a shoe
And it only takes a minute to pause and say, “I love you.”
So if we’ll learn to cherish each minute and use each new one found,
In the end we’ll stand before the Lord and wear the victor’s crown.

I shudder to think at how easily I could have missed this moment with this beloved son, had I responded with my initial feelings. I wonder how many times I have forfeited a treasure in favor of the mundane things of life that always seemed so important at the time, but in actuality were fleeting, unmemorable, and most unimportant.

This third box of the day is certainly yielding up some treasures. Since I haven’t the wits to toss and pitch, I must read everything. I’m now holding a paper which is the work of Holly Brooke, my only daughter. We shared office space in our large Arizona home, so I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised to find some of her work in my box.

I feel my throat tighten as I read her writing. It has the ear marks of an assignment for one of her college classes. I can see that it is a rough draft, but it’s precious to me. She confirms the power of the perfect words spoken at the perfect time. This one belongs to her father who in the natural course of being a good daddy gave her permission and encouragement to honor her own unique identity as not only the youngest, but also the only girl in a house full of boys. Holly wrote:

“Nothing is more beautiful to me than music reverberating from the paunch of my piano and the feeling of the ivory beneath my fingertips as they move rapidly across the keys. I go back to the days I spent lying under our baby grand piano as my mother played her repertoire of classical music, and I tried to reach up with my little feet and touch the bottom of the piano and tap to the beats of Beethoven, Mozart, and my favorite, Chopin. I don’t know when the change happened, but I found myself nine years later at age fourteen sitting in tears at the end of basketball practice one day as my father came to pick me up.

On the drive home his words were inspiring to me as I complained about the coach, the team, and not even liking the sport. He said to me, “Miss Priss, what happened to your music and your dancing? I miss the sound of your piano and your violin, and not that I necessarily like your ballet recitals, you are my only daughter and I love the fact that you are good at feminine things. You don’t have to play sports; I have four boys who play enough for the whole family.”

How was I supposed to know that these few words from the mouth of my father would change the course of my life and the events to follow that got me to where I am today? In that moment I realized that I had given up my classical training in the arts to try and impress my father by running back and forth on a court chasing a ball. He, in his profound wisdom, made me realize that I didn’t have to impress him with what I thought he wanted, but that I should do what I wanted, what I was good at, and that happened to be music, art, dance, and literature.

I had totally forgotten about this epiphany in my life until I was reading Women’s Traditions in THE MIND HAS NO SEX, and the words of Christine de Pizan when she argued that “…women’s arts, not men’s, have contributed most to civilizing the world; arts developed by women,” she claimed “have been more valuable to humankind than the works of the most profound philosophers. These arts, whether they be music, gardening, or the making of tapestries all have had a place of importance to the improvement of mankind and the sciences in one way or the other.”

These arts as seen by Francois Poullain de la Barre, “…took as much skill to embroider a tapestry-variegating the color… as it did to engage in men’s sciences, where there was ‘nothing to do but to observe the uniform laws of nature.’’

Dr. William Alexander, from the same text, also argued for women’s arts saying, “…women’s skills-particularly their skills in raising and caring for children-are essential to humankind and should be accorded the same value as men’s.”

Holly finished her writings with this sentence:

“I now know that my decision made eleven years ago to change my path and pick the road less traveled in our family of boys, was the right decision, and I never will be ashamed that my skills lie in music, dance and literature.”

I have to pause and look back over what she wrote. Her father’s words were perfect for her at the time, and now her words in this rough draft of a long forgotten essay, are perfect for me to catalogue in my heart so that I might have them as the song one would sing to a friend when they forgot the words to their own melody.

I came into the market place as an English teacher, her teacher, late in the game when she was fourteen years old, having spent the better part of mother hood as a stay home mommy where the mundane everyday duties of diapers, dishes, laundry, and band aide applications stretched the limits at times of my grip on life beyond the fenced yard. Somehow, for me it was important to be there for them even if it taxed not only the bank balance, but also taxed my brain not to tax my brain….and here, all of these years later, my youngest vindicates my choice with the voice of the collegiate intellectual who said, “…women’s skills-particularly their skills in raising and caring for children – are essential to humankind and should be accorded the same value as men’s.”

I bless the perfect words rendered at the perfect time, and I smile as I remember the perfect words for anytime in a favored verse by William Ross Wallace:

They say that man is mighty,
He governs land and sea,
He wields a mighty scepter
Over lesser powers that be.
But a mightier power and stronger
Man from his throne has hurled,
For the hand that rocks the cradle,
Is the hand that rules the world.

* * * * * * *
Hats off to all of you young mothers.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

a Stream of Consciousness Post

Hello Dear Ones....

The weather people on TV had predicted snow this week, not the usual fare for a Las Vegas forcast, but not impossible either. One chilly morning, a few weeks ago in December, we woke up to the pristine freshness of a winter wonderland scene with snow covering our LV world. Our palm tree fronds were bowing under their weight, as were the branches of our willowy tree and our myriads of bushy plants. The rest of the yard was a lumpy blanket where the cottony white rippled over the contour of the rocks.

Yes, I'm sad to say, we have rocks in our yard because the powers that be have rocks in their heads claiming a moratorium on water and grass in our master planned community. Don't let me get started! Maybe some time I'll post my essay entitled, "A Stream of Consciousness on Rocks and Grass." Move over James Joyce, you've got competition for rambling thoughts and disjointed ideas.

I stopped to help with breakfast and clean-up. If Papa Roy isn't out "winning bread" and leaving me alone to clean, then he's winning my heart and helping me clean. Go Papa Roy!

During said clean up, I stepped beyond the "shove-the-dishes-into-the-dishwasher,-swipe-the-counters,-turn-on-"Rhomby"- (our floor cleaning robot),-and-call-it-done" routine to "let's-examine-every-paper-in-this-pile-in-the-corner."

I'm sorry I missed the treasure I had passed over at Christmas time. It's a message from my friend, Laurei Southam, (yes, that's how she spells the name Laurie - rather unique, wouldn't you say?) whom I met this year, and who is a "hound dog" for learning, a true seminar junkie, and a genius for applying what she learns. We're on the same wave length of thinking, and her note is..., is..., well...I'll let you see for yourself and you can deterine what her message means to you. For me it's a precious reminder of much that I have come to know, and it would be shameful not to share with all of you who are the important people in my life.

Keeping in the spirit of the title of today's visit, let me toss out a thought about sharing which I reread yesterday, or maybe it was the day before in a little book called, I DARE YOU, by William H. Danforth. He was the creator of the Purina Chow red and white checkerboard, which was a representation of the "four square life" and all about equally developing each side of our personal square, the physical, the mental, the social, and spiritual. (My square is lop sided as heck).

So, with that introduction to Danforth's book, and with Laurei's message jumping up and down in the wings begging for center stage, let me tell you what he said about sharing, and what he calls "Life's great principle."

"Our most valuable possessions are those which can be shared without lessening; those which when shared multiply. Our least valuable possessions are those which when divided are diminished."

Sharing Laurei's message can multiply the greatness in all of us. Among other thingss she writes:

"In 2006, I learned......(and lived)

...that "amazing" is my choice of adjectives which replaces "unbelievable, weird, and
...that I no longer fear death or life.
...that friends/teachers come into your life (our lives) when least expected, but when you
(we) need them most (and they need you - [us]). expect miracles everyday, lots of them...then be open to recognize and appreciate them. do my "happy dance" as often and as naturally as I breathe.
...that everyday is a perfect day, as long as I keep myself out of it and let the Universe do
its thing.
...that my thoughts, feelings, and words are my reality, so I now choose with great care
that which I invite into my consciousness. go through my day noticing the perfection in all things, and in all people, and to give
thanks each night. stop asking "why?" and "how?" and start saying, "WOW." say "I love you" to my friends.
...that I am enough!
...that my only prayer now is, "Thank You," for there is nothing I lack. drop the "w"... We have a choice to "wallow" or "allow" - when the "w" is gone,
miracles flow.
...that there are no mistakes and at every moment, I am [we are] EXACTLY where I am
[we are] meant to be.
...that I am [we are] here to "knock on doors" and that to serve others is a really cool way
to live.
...that each and every moment of my life is just one more forward step in my amazing
...that expectations are limitations, so I just "allow" and then marvel in magnificence at just
how amazing my life is.

So as we embrace 2007, "the best year of our lives," my intention is to ...laugh more than I ever have, shine the light of my spirit wherever possible, live every moment being 100% present, and love unconditionally, just because it feels so incredibly good!

I send you abundant laughter, light, life, and love. Laurei "

I added the "we" to her "I" and "you," because the resonance of her ideas are so completely true for me, and possible for you, too. Anyway, she brought me to a higher leverl of coherence and consciousness today, and I thank her for that.

There are so many of her ideas I'd love expand, but that would make this longer than any of you have time to read in a single setting, so for now I'll just comment on one.

"...that my thoughts, feelings, and words are my reality, so I now choose with great care that which I invite into my consciousness."

Perhaps this jumps out at me because I was reading just this morning in Wayne Dyer's book, 10 SECRETS FOR SUCCESS AND INNER PEACE and he completely supports this truth. It is the tenth secret and begins with, "Every single thought you have can be assessed in terms of whether it strengthens or weakens you...." He has some valuable wisdom in this whole book, but on this particular topic, I want to share some of his words and hope you feel as edified by them as I do:

"The most empowering thoughts you can have are those of peace, joy, love, acceptance, and willingness. .... Powerful, joyful, loving thoughts stem from your willingness to allow the world to be as it is. Then you're in a state of inner bliss where serenity replaces fighting, reverence for all of life substitues for craving and anxiety, and understanding supplants scorn..... All of this is nothing more than a conscious decision on your part to be in charge of your thinking. Be aware at any given moment in your life that you always have a choice about the thoughts you allow in your mind. No one else can put a thought there. Regardless of the circumstances you find yourself in, it is your choice. Choose to replace disempowering, weakening thoughts with thoughts of a higher spiritual frrequency.

It's even more powerful to have the preceding information in this chapter about David Hawkins book, Power vs. Force, and the frequencies of the various words we use in our vocabularies and what they do to us. Maybe some time I'll feel impressed to discuss this book's concepts, but not now.

James Allen's book, As a Man Thinketh, powerfully supports these ideas, and is the source for one of my favorite poems which I had my students memorize:

"Mind is the Master power that moulds and
And Man is Mind, and evermoe he takes
The tool of Thought, and, shping what he
Brings forth a thousand joys, a thousand
He thinks in secret, and it comes to pass :
Environment is but his looking-glass."

Such treasures these great people are in my life. Sigh! I'm always having to remind myself that "As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he." The mirror of life is held up for us in many ways, and sometimes I don't like what I see in the looking-glass, but it is only a messenger. Bless the messengers in our lives.

I want to ramble on and on, but alas reality is calling me to the laundry, and to find out where "Rhomby" is hiding. Have a beautiful day, make it sing, dance your "happy dance," dream of Disneyland....

Friday, January 12, 2007

A New Experience

In the early hours of this morning as I sat wrapped in a warm cover in my "quiet contemplation chair," a strange thought occurred to me. Perhaps it isn't really strange, for it applies to all of us. It was a thought about death and the fact that if I die without leaving a written record of my life, it will not only be as if I never lived, but it also will be as if a small treasure chest of valuable (or not) records, information, and experiences had been buried from the world, never to be unearthed. What good is a treasure that never sees the light of day to bless anyone's life, or life's experiences that never are shared?

Thus, today, at the suggestion of my niece, Amy and some of her friends, I embark on a new experience of creating and writing on a blog, and applaud those who seem to do this effortlessly, not to mention eloquently. Their blogs are so interesting and bear testimony to their creative know-how. I'll have to have Papa Roy teach me how to put pictures on here. My mind doesn't have a file for getting the pic from the camera to the blog. Does this make me a likely candidate for the cave man commercials for Geico?

After breakfast I danced with my kitchen . The sameness of being, the non-endingness of necessity, and the mundane task before me turned into the "mun-dance." Suddenly, I didn't want to clean, but I couldn't just walk away, so I played a dancing game in my mind without music or lyrics, but with poetic fluidity of motion beginning my cleaning at the far end and moving as efficiently as the "god" of possibility would allow.

Where once I had five little helpers, there is now only me. Oh how I miss those ten arms and legs, not to mention the brilliant minds, incessant chatter, and natural static. I'm now left to my solo dance, my "bread winner" has gone to win some bread. He cooks, I clean. Our chosen roles for our morning brings us comfort. We greet the day with visiting time and a cup of tea; mine Peppermint, his Chamomile. We sit in our kitchen nook by the windows where pale yellow silk flowers strain against the glass and hug the windowsill outside. They have held up well through the cold of winter and scorching heat of summer, but the power of the sun has stripped them of their brilliant yellow. It matters not. Flowers of any color, including white ones, gladden the heart and strengthen the spirit.

I smile at the memory of three weeks ago holding my little two year old granddaughter, Adyson, as she pointed to the flowers and in her precious baby talk informed me that those "flaus" were "ow-sigh" and these "flaus" were "in-sigh." How do we spell baby talk words? To me she was brilliant in her descriptions. We talked, kissed, hugged, and then she was gone to explore her world.

I think of the song from Fiddler on the Roof, "Sunrise, Sunset," which laments the fleeting passage of the years of our children as children. "Turn around and you're two, turn around and you're four, turn around and you're a young girl going out of the door..." It goes by too quickly.

On Tuesday I stopped by the drugstore near my home. As I was opening my wallet, a man bumped into me, reached his arm across in front of me and said, "Oh, excuse me," and proceeded to pick up an item I was buying. I stepped back thinking he had left something on the counter, then I looked at him and realized it was my friend from my author's club. His name is Lawrence Montaigne and he's an actor. We laughed and hugged, and then he invited me to see the protype of his book which was in his truck. He needs to send it back to the publishers to sharpen up some of the pictures inside, but it was exciting to see that he has a product very nearly completed. Lawrence has quite a list of movie credits to his name, movies like The Great Escape with Steve McQueen, and he was part of the original Star Trek cast with William Shatner and Leonard Nemoy. You can check him out on his web site if you're interested.

I'm not sure why I'm writing this, except perhaps to express joy in his writing of his book, and to relate a brief moment we had when I gazed at the picture on the front of his book which shows him now, and two characters he played in yester-year. I asked, "Lawrence, do you ever wonder how quickly you got to this age? " He was instantly engaged and said he and a friend were just talking about this; then he said it made him angry. When I asked why anger, he said, "...because there is so little time and so much yet to do."

I guess I'm feeling this way. There seems to be so little time left, and so much yet to do, not the least, and perhaps the most important, is getting my books finished. Some days I don't know which one to write on, Life's Lessons Through Literature, Life's Random Moments, The Fault Dear Brutus Lies Not in our Stars, But in Ourselves: Personal Transformation is an Inside Job, The Bracelet , or my favorite, the title I think Amy knows, but I'm not ready to write it publicly, so it shall remain a secret for now. I have chapters in five different books and can't seem to corral my chatter to one track. I've even got an idea for another called, A Bag of Chocolates, and an idea for a novel that takes place in Rocky Point. Does anyone have any suggestions for keeping me on task to complete one project? I have to say that I'm loving The Bracelet, but I'm finding it is making me think and reevaluate or define what I really "think" about some things, like what is TRUTH? Maybe I'll post a sampling of The Bracelet.

Well, "..time flies on wings of lightening." I shall say goodnight and push the publish button and see what happens. All of this is a first for me....