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....