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Friday, July 30, 2010

Spirits of Cibola County


As promised Friday’s Feature will soon contain true stories about the people of Cibola County. Since I have lived in Grants, NM for over thirty years I consider it my adopted hometown. To preface the stories I thought I would tell you a little about it so you can feel at home too. The 2000 census found that we had 8,806 residents. Grants is 6,460 ft. above sea level. It lies at the foot of Mt. Taylor (elevation 11, 305 ft), considered one of the four sacred mountains by Native Americans.

The town began as a railroad camp in the 1800s, first named after three Canadian brothers who were awarded a contract to build a section of the Atlantic and Pacific railway through the region. The camp was called Grants Camp, then Grants Station and finally Grants. The town grew as the result of railroad logging in the Zuni Mountains. After the decline of logging in the 1930s Grants became known as the “Carrot Capital” of the U.S. The volcanic soil proved ideal for farming and the railroad efficiently transported the product to merchants.

1950 brought uranium, discovered by Paddy Martinez, a Navajo shepherd. The mining boom lasted until the early 1980s. Since then Grants has been trying to recover, focusing on the beauty of the region and near by tourist attractions. Efforts have also been made to promote it as a retirement community. Grants is a quiet little town with great weather- nothing drastic like tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes or flooding. We just have a little rain, a little wind, a little snow and a lot of sunshine.

Grants is located 70 miles West of Albuquerque with 3 casinos in between and 60 miles East of Gallup with I casino on the way, for those in a gambling mood. The area is the home of four Native American Pueblos: Acoma, Laguna, Zuni and Navajo. Chaco Canyon is also the site of the ancient ruins of the Anasazi Tribe. Historic sites include the Sandstone Bluffs, El Malpais National Monument, El Morro, Acoma-Sky City and mesas and lava beds.

The major employers are three prisons, New Mexico State University Grants Campus, Cibola General Hospital, Grants Good Samaritan Center and Wal-Mart. The rest is like any other small town in Anywhere USA.

Our most renowned event is the Winter Quadrathlon held in February. It attracts participants from all over the world. The start to finish race is 44 miles and includes biking, running, cross country skiing and snow shoeing. The race starts in town, goes up Mt. Taylor and back to town. It is run as a group of four or as a single person. Participants are very tired when they finish!

The other local events are La Fiesta De Colores (celebrating Spanish heritage), Bi-County Fair and Rodeo and coming up in October the Fall Chili Festival.

Well my temporary job as a travel guide has ended and I hope you have enjoyed the trip. As promised, next Friday I will begin the individual stories of the Spirits of Cibola County.

(I took this photo of Mt. Taylor Jan. 1,2010)

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Pipeline to God

One of the web sites I enjoy following is www.Heavenletters.org. It is manned by Gloria Wendroff, who ten years ago began writing letters to her “inner self” and got answers. She then moved to the top and wrote directly to God with the same result. Believing God wanted his answers shared; Gloria started Heaven Letters, featuring daily letters from God.

The following are recent messages from the Source:
United we are a union of one. We are not a twosome- we are a one-some. You and I are forever that is reality.

Earth and Heaven are figures of speech. Make the most of where you seemingly are.
You are of the earth, yet created in Heaven.

You have one teacher. You are the teacher as well as the learner.

Your body is mortal. You are immortal. Ashes to ashes refers to your body, not to you. I don’t collect bodies in heaven.
(I’ve always known God has a sense of humor!)

The truth of you is contained within you.


In my recent post Walking the Path to Change
7/12/10 I referred to the soul. “Our soul is the only thing that is uniquely ours from the moment of our creation throughout eternity. It is our very own pristine connection with Source.”

I can relate to Gloria receiving messages from the Universe/God/Source. About 10 years ago I would often awaken with inspirational sayings on the tip of my tongue, which I wrote down to share with others. The following are some of my favorites.

You can’t expect others to believe in you until you believe in yourself.
The most fertile spot to plant a seed is inside the heart.
Every day is a series of tests with no right or wrong answers.
Faith should be as quiet and peaceful as feathers floating in the sky.
Love needs time to grow.


The most beautiful universal message I have received is the poem, Pure Love, which I shared as a blog post on 4/22/10. It still amazes me that I was able to write it down exactly as it was given to me. The poem is a perfect gift of love from God to me to share with His people.

Back to the top- Gloria Wendroff is my kind of lady, she loves to share what she has been given.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Write Right Now

On Tuesday my friend Nancy Hatch, who writes "Spirit Lights the Way" (nrhatch.wordpress.com), asked the question “Why do you write?” Lately Nancy and I seem to be, if not on the same plane, at least in the same airport. I thought about the question. My answer is- to share my creative gift of words in the hopes of inspiring others to be the best that they can be.

I have always given things away that I have created. When my daughter Christina, who will turn 31 next month, was little I did a lot of sewing and crocheting, participating in local craft shows. It was nice to sell my creations, but it made me happier to give them away. Some of my daughter’s former teachers still thank me for things I gave them way back when.

Christina is actually the reason I began writing. One day she commented, “I don’t know anything about you.” What she really meant was, compared to her father and his large menagerie of cousins etc. I have one brother and a nephew. I started writing and haven’t ever stopped. I’m sure there have been times when she has wished that I would have. Sort of like Joan Rivers, nothing and no one is off limits for me to write about.

Today I thought it would be fun to share my very first column submission for “Another Angle", published in the Cibola County Beacon on 9/11/02. This column was short lived, but it was a stepping stone to another column, “Who We Are”, two published books and this blog. For some time I have wished to be a motivational speaker and now I am. I just didn’t use wood for a stage!

In our little town of Grants it is not unusual for things to disappear and appear overnight. Remember your reaction the first time you drove by first and Santa Fe and the Gunderson Furniture store was gone? This column is a little like that in reverse. One day it wasn’t and now it is thanks to the vision offered by the Cibola County Beacon.

I have accepted a unique gift of sight which allows me to see things other people see from a slightly different angle. This column focuses on positive people, doing their best to live their lives, no matter what happens to them. Before you ask, no I do not have a degree in journalism. I have a degree in life and love writing. Recessed genes, perhaps! A sense of humor has always worked when all else fails.

Many people have left their mark on my life. President John F. Kennedy made a lasting impression on me for his creative use of words. “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country”, still rings in my ear as clearly as if just spoken. It is as appropriate today as it was more than forty years ago. Substituting family or town for the word country makes it more personal.

Some people have taught me by example what not to do. My deceased mother had some wonderful sayings that I have outgrown. Her, “Never put anything in writing”, makes this column all the more fun to write. I have some sayings of my own. One of my favorites is, “Believe and it will be.”

I like to write about people who, when told they can’t, do it anyway; people who listen with their heart and judge for themselves, no matter what others say. If this column is for you, welcome to the family!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Carrots, Eggs or Coffee Anyone?

Today I am passing on a story recently offered by Priya Deelchand, who is an Administrator for the facebook page Make Your Life a Masterpiece! I don’t know where she finds them, but she always comes up with the most positive inspirational stories to share with the group. This one is a real gem!

A young woman went to her mother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her. She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up. She was tired of fighting and struggling. It seemed as one problem was solved, a new one arose.

Her mother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire. Soon the pots came to a boil. In the first she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs, and in the last she placed ground coffee beans. She let them sit and boil without saying a word.

In about twenty minutes she turned off the burners. She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. Then she ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl. Turning to her daughter, she asked, “Tell me what you see". “Carrots, eggs and coffee”, she replied.

Her mother brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft. The mother then asked her daughter to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard boiled egg.

Finally the mother asked her daughter to sip the coffee. The daughter smiled as she tasted the rich aroma. The daughter then asked, “What does it mean Mother?” Her mother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity, boiling water. Each had reacted differently. The carrot went in strong, and unrelenting.

However, after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak. The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior, but after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened. The ground coffee beans were unique, however. After they were in the boiling water they changed the water.

“Which are you?” she asked her daughter. “When adversity knocks on your door how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?” Think of this. Am I the carrot that seems strong, but with pain and adversity do I wilt and become soft and lose my strength?

Am I the egg that starts with a malleable heart, but changes with the heat? Did I have a fluid spirit, but after a death, a breakup, a financial hardship or some other trial, have I become hardened and stiff? Does my shell look the same, but on the inside am I bitter and tough with a stiff spirit and hardened heart?

Or am I like the coffee bean? The bean actually changes the hot water, the very circumstance that brings the pain. When the water gets hot, it releases the fragrance and flavor. If you are like the bean when things are at their worst you get better and change the situation around you. When the hour is the darkest and trials are their greatest do you elevate yourself to another level?


(I wish my mother had been that understanding!)

Monday, July 26, 2010

Time to Pull the Plug

The last two weeks have been a tug of war for me regarding my first published book Wake Up! The seven year contract will shortly expire. I had to decide if I wanted to renew it or pull the plug. Even though the sales have not met my expectations my first thought was to renew the contract. After much contemplation I changed my mind a week later.

Any author will probably agree that their first published book contains their heart. Wake Up! didn’t sell because it was bad writing or the contents sucked. It didn’t sell because I simply didn’t have the resources for promotion and the print on demand publisher couldn’t have cared less. Since making the decision to dissolve the contract I now know it was the right thing to do.

I thought holding on to it was keeping me grounded, well I was wrong. Holding on to it was acting as an anchor keeping me from moving on. When I realized I didn’t need a published book to validate the fact that I am a good writer letting go was easy.

This book is unique because it was written in two parts. Part one shares my spiritual journey, beginning with my desire to end a 40 year addiction to nicotine. Although everything I wrote is true, according to me, it is no longer pertinent. The events and relationships are in the past and need not be referred to again. I have moved way beyond where I was when I wrote part one.

Part two shares 30 life stories of residents of our little western town of Grants, NM. Writing these stories is what helped me become a proficient writer. I loved doing the interviews. I loved the fact that the people I wrote about trusted me to present their lives in a positive manner. I had no clue what I was doing when I began, I just followed my intuition. I am proud that every story was approved by the person before it was published and there were very few corrections.

Although Wake Up! will officially be out of print on 9/16/10 I have decided to gradually share the individual life stories on my blog. Some of course, will need to be upgraded and possibly shortened a bit to fit the space. I truly believe the stories deserve another chance. These people are my friends and neighbors and their lives are important.

As I have shared with others, if anyone desires to purchase a signed copy of Wake Up! I have some available. Please email me so we can exchange information.
begunn37@q.com

Thanks for listening and stay tuned for the upcoming
Friday Feature- Spirits of Cibola County

Thursday, July 22, 2010

A Story with Heart

From 2000 to 2004 I wrote over 50 true life stories about people who live in Cibola County, New Mexico. They have been previously published in one form or another. The one with the most “heart” is “Mother and Child”. When this story was written I was a columnist for our local newspaper. I also worked as the Resource Development Coordinator for our nursing home, who’s Administrator told me I couldn’t write the story. I followed my intuition and wrote it anyway, knowing my decision could have caused me to be fired. It has been slightly shortened due to space, please enjoy.

What if eye contact was the major means of communicating with your child? Because of a tragic accident, that is basically how Jan reaches her son, Dustin. When he was 16 he survived a freak hang glider accident. The accident caused a severe closed head injury to his brain stem, leaving him with extremely limited motor skills. While still holding on to the hang glider, Dustin was carried thirty feet down Mt. Taylor.

Doctors informed his mother he had a one in ten million chance of living through the night. The prognosis was that he would be a vegetable if he survived at all. Dustin did survive and spent time in several facilities that didn’t work out before coming to Grants Good Samaritan Center in 1990.

To watch his mother one would not suspect that she has such a tremendous challenge in her life. Her positive spirit is reflected in her smile, her manner and the joyful music she plays on the activity room piano. Jan and her husband make three long trips a week to visit and help care for their son. From day one Jan has believed that God will heal Dustin.

Some people think she is in denial or that she is just plain crazy. She doesn’t know how or when he will be healed, just that he will be. Jan gives her son an enormous amount of credit for his positive outlook and sense of humor. When given a choice between Mom, Mickey Mouse or Godzilla, Dustin blinked that Godzilla is his hero.

Dustin’s room is quite unique. On the ceiling above his bed is a large picture of Tyra Banks with a small amount of clothes on; a birthday gift from his nephew. It also contains a special wheelchair, a gift from the NM Hang Gliding Association and an even more special Eyegave System Computer made by LC Technology. The computer allows Dustin to use his eyes to manipulate the keys, allowing him to talk. It also gives him some recreation with programmed games. His mother thinks he cheats!

Jan made it quite clear that she gets upset with people who think Dustin is stupid. He is bright, funny and understands everything that is said to him. She wants people to realize that those who have trouble communicating, for whatever reason, still have a need to be recognized.

It is hard to separate the spirit of this mother and child. They both have strength beyond measure. Children can sometimes be a pain in the neck, as well as other places. Perhaps the next time your children annoy you because they are making too much noise you will remember this mother and child and just be grateful that they can.


(Dustin is still a resident of Good Sam and a few years ago his mother obtained a job there too, making it easier to keep her eye on her son.)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Message in a Glass Box

The other night I began watching the end of a Lifetime movie, which I had seen before. I don’t remember the title and it isn’t important. The story was about relationships between parents and their grown children and male/female partners. Two of the main characters were living together; a divorced man with a daughter and a divorced woman with a daughter. The two had very different ideas of how much freedom a parent should give their (grown) children to make their own decisions.

The man was a humble, down to earth farmer who believed “live and let live” is the best way to live. The woman reminded me of myself, let’s say 10 years ago. For her own reasons, she was a very controlling mother. Her daughter got pregnant at a young age and decided to marry the father of her baby, against her mother’s wishes. This also caused an enormous rift between the kind man and the controlling woman. She blamed him for everything that happened.

Fast forward to the end of the movie and the reason I believe I was destined to watch it again. The woman finally decided to leave the man. Her final words to him were, “I wish I had never met you”. That got my attention and my immediate reaction was, she didn’t get the message the man brought her.

I began thinking about my past relationships, especially with men. Even though some were pretty bad I have never been inclined to use the words, “I wish I had never met you.” I know that every person who comes into our life is there to bring us a message. Someone once reminded me it isn’t the messenger; it is the message- the lesson that is important.

The universe works in strange ways sometimes, even bringing an important message in a glass box, just to get our attention and show us how far we have come.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Change of Plans

Last week one of my facebook friends posted this quote: Plan B is giving permission for plan A to fail. I have been thinking about it ever since. It could have been written about my life. I always have a plan B, believing it is good to have a back up if things don't turn out the way I expect them to. Now I see it is a giant mirror reflecting the fact that I don't really think I am worthy of having my desires met. I am willing to settle for second best.

I thought about the numerous times I have asked for something, but in the back of my mind added a P.S. "If I can't have that then this will do." No wonder I am still waiting for things to happen. The universe/God is waiting for me to forget about plan B and realize that I am worthy of the best.

Learning to believe in myself has been a long process. There have been many road blocks along the path. Just the other day I told my chiropractor that maybe I should place a post-it note on my forehead, visible when I look in my mirror, that says "ME FIRST!". She laughed and agreed. I have a habit of waiting too long to make a needed appointment, thus causing a painful problem to last longer than it should.

So from this day forward I vow to remember the quote: Plan B is giving permission for plan A to fail.

P.S. Thanks Brenda!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

The "Hogs" are Leaving

Whew! Grants, NM has survived another year of hosting the Fire and Ice Bike Rally. As a long time resident my thought is thank God it's over. Fortunately, I live slightly outside of town and if I use my brain and plan I can stay home and relax and not be bothered by the festivities.

The bike rally was the brain child of Cecil Brown 10 years ago. He convinced the town that it was a good thing and would bring in a ton of money. Well that is partly true if you happen to own a motel, a bar, a restaurant or space for camping. If, on the other hand, your business is located on the main street you might as well close and take a vacation for the four days of the rally. A place to park as well as any business you might have at the Post Office is impossible. Oh, and the Riverwalk, usually available for family fun, is off limits for the duration of the rally.

To be fair the Fire and Ice Bike Rally offers live entertainment, including the battle of the bands, and this year Molly Hatchet; a Poker Run, bike tours to local attractions, Baby Biker Contest, bike games and a bike show. Interested observers will also see biker babes of all ages, attired in leather, clutching a hairy dude riding an expensive "hog".

Friday, July 16, 2010

Wishing

I wish I may I wish I might have the wish I wish tonight.

Be careful what you ask for because you just might get it. A funny little quote, but I have found it to be true. I have had a priority wish for several years and just recently realized it has been granted. So what’s the problem you might ask? Well let me put it this way- although I got what I asked for it wasn’t really what I wanted. My wish was based on the ego not the soul. The moral of my dilemma is when you ask you had better know exactly what it is you want, because the Universe IS listening!

If wishes were fishes we’d all cast our nets. ~Novelist Frank Herbert 1920-1986

When I was a kid I used to pray every night for a new bike. Then I realized that the Lord doesn’t work that way, so I stole one and asked him to forgive me. ~Great Quotes

It is not good for all our wishes to be filled; through sickness we recognize the value of health; through evil the value of good; through hunger the value of food; through exertion the value of rest. ~Greek Proverb

When you wish upon a star
Makes no difference who you are
Anything your heart desires
Will come to you

If your heart is in your dream
No request is too extreme
When you wish upon a star
As dreamers do

Fate is kind
She brings to those who love
The sweet fulfillment of
Their secret longing

Like a bolt out of the blue
Fate steps in and sees you through
When you wish upon a star
Your dreams come true.
~Disney Lyrics~

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Just do it

We all have our own reason for inhabiting this planet called earth. Like snowflakes, no two souls are exactly the same. I recently found a quote that said, “We are not here to fix anything we are here to expand.” How we accomplish that mission is a personal journey. We are not given a how to book or a road map. I believe the only expectation our Creator has for each of us is to simply do our best.


Do it Anyway
People are unreasonable, illogical and self centered.
Love them anyway.
If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives.
Do good anyway.
If you are successful you will win false friends and true enemies.
Succeed anyway.
The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway.
Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.
Be honest and frank anyway.
The biggest person with the biggest ideas can be shot down by
the smallest person with the smallest mind.
Think big anyway.
What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
Build anyway.
People really need help, but may attack if you help them.
Help people anyway.
Give the world the best you have and you might get kicked in the teeth.
Give the world the best you’ve got anyway.
~Anonymous~

“It is not the critic who counts, nor the man who points out how the strong stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows great enthusiasms, great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.” ~Theodore Roosevelt

Monday, July 12, 2010

Walking the Path to Change

Whether from minute to minute or year to year everything changes. I don't believe anything was meant to be permanent. A few days ago I heard a very powerful quote by Tracy Chapman, "All you have is your soul." It started me thinking about how true that is. Our soul IS the only thing that is uniquely ours from the moment of our creation throughout eternity. It is our very own pristine connection with Source.

All else is much like a movie that we star in. Our relationships and possessions are simply passing experiences to help evolve our soul. As humans we get caught up in the script and forget the purpose- the big picture. I love the Biblical statement, "This too shall pass". It is difficult too remember it in times of stress, when everything in our "world" seems to be crumbling before our eyes.

Another powerful quote that recently came to my attention is a Buddhist saying, "Look at your feet." I have been doing that a lot since I heard it. Although I am very grateful for all that I have there are times when I wish for more. At those times I look down at my feet and realize that they are exactly where they are supposed to be at this moment in my life. They are doing exactly what they are supposed to be doing, walking the path to change.

Change
By changing your thinking, you change your beliefs;
When you change your beliefs, you change your expectations;
When you change your expectations, you change your attitude;
When you change your attitude, you change your behavior;
When you change your behavior, you change your performance;
When you change your performance, you change your life.
~Anonymous~

Friday, July 9, 2010

Celebrating Freedom

Almost to the minute, 11 years ago a judge declared my marriage of 27 years legally ended. Am I sorry? Absolutely not! Looking back it is hard to believe the changes in me. I have grown from an unhappy wife who yelled most of the time to a very happy independent woman who does exactly what she pleases and values herself.

Over the years I have learned that I do not need to depend on a man to live my life. Generally speaking there is nothing wrong with male earthlings. I have just discovered that they are like the cherry on top of a delicious ice cream sundae. It tastes good, but is not the main ingredient.

So today as I think about the last 11 years I am very proud of myself. I owe no one anything. I have made great decisions that have kept my body, my house and my relationships in good shape and as the song goes- "I did it my way". Words from an Abraham/Hicks video I heard this morning pretty well sum it all up- "I am where I am and I am doing really good!"