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Saturday, March 31, 2012

Lost in the crowd

I first moved to Cibola County, NM in 1976 because my then husband could not find a job in California. His parents lived in Old Laguna and helped us purchase a mobile home that we placed on their large lot. My first question as we entered New Mexico was, “Where is the grass?”

To that point in my life I had lived in Alaska, four towns in Washington State and two in California. Grass had always been a part of my life that I guess I took for granted. Green was the color I grew up with. Brown was a color found in hot chocolate or wrapped in foil and nibbled on.

Living on an Indian reservation was an interesting experience. For one thing there were no stores to speak of. I was pretty much isolated in all directions from everything that had previously been part of my everyday life and I didn’t like it one bit. Our oldest son began his sophomore year at Grants High School, thirty miles away, and our youngest was enrolled in St. Joseph Catholic School in San Fidel where he finished elementary school.

My husband was part of a large family consisting of parents and many aunts, uncles and cousins. I always felt like an outsider who was simply tolerated due to marriage. Every time they congregated all they did was talk about their childhood experiences. Not once did anyone ever ask me about my experiences.

This situation continued until 1980 when our New Mexico born daughter was a year old. We moved our family, complete with our mobile home to the Mt. Taylor addition, slightly east of the Grants city limits line. We weren’t exactly in a town, but close enough. There were stores and things to do. One of the first things we did to cover up some of the dirt on our ½ acre of land was add grass to the front and back yard.

I began participating in craft shows and volunteering, first at schools then for various organizations. Before I knew it I was no longer just Don’s wife or Mary & Wally’s daughter-in-law. By 1999 my children had all left home and my husband and I divorced. By this time people actually knew who I was, standing by myself.

Today I enjoy going anywhere in town and having people call me by name. After all these years of moving around I feel like I have a real hometown and do not desire to live anywhere else. I am not sure this feeling of family could have happened in a big city where I might have remained lost in a crowd.

One of my very favorite spots is the Riverwalk right in the middle of town. Where I have taken many beautiful photographs and have had interesting conversations with people I know and some I don’t know. I love it because it not only has green grass; it has water, trees, rocks, ducks, geese and little animals running around.

Riverwalk, Grants, NM

Friday, March 30, 2012

Busy busy

For all those readers who think I have stopped writing you would be wrong. I have just been very busy for the last week or so. Some great things have been happening and I would like to share them with you. The first is about my writing group, Write on People.

The Grants, New Mexico writing group Write on People has been given space in the Cibola County Beacon to publish, on a monthly basis, articles and poems expressing our interest in people, places and things that make up our community. We also encourage others who like to write to submit pieces to us for consideration along these lines. Our group is made up of ordinary people who have fun getting together and sharing thoughts through writing and discussions about what is important to us.

In addition to writing as a group and encouraging other adults to write we are looking forward to hands on projects with the students who participate in the summer program at Future Foundations Family Center. We have just begun to plan a writing contest for grades 3 to 6, complete with prizes for the winners and possibly all participants. We are also discussing mentoring for the younger ones. Our group feels it is important to keep students thinking and learning through fun activities.

The next news is about all the spirit photos I have been taking since 2001. By following my intuition I walked into the premises of John and Bob, partners who own a new store in Grants. Besides intuition communication is the next step to make wonderful things happen. I shared a couple of my most "outspoken" spirit photos with them and they were thrilled. I knew they would be, but I didn't know they are both spiritual accepting beings until we began talking. To make a long story short as the saying goes, we are all in the process of planning a spirit event to be held in a few weeks in their store.

I am very excited and have been busy sorting the numerous photos into a large notebook suitable for display and discussion. I have to admit I am a little nervous about sharing my little "secret" with the whole town. I have over the years shared several photos with friends, but this is different. If I have left any doubt in the minds of those who already believe I am crazy this should do it! As back up, I have also asked several friends from other states to share their spirit photos so people will know I am not the only one. Whoa that sounds like a John Lennon song!

That's about it from me just now I'll keep you all informed as new developments occur.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Filling in the gaps

I believe grandparents were created to fill in the gaps formed by parents too busy living their own lives to have time for the little things in their children's lives. I feel it is my job to notice, teach and encourage whenever I can.

Last Friday I had the pleasure of the company of my young grandson, Colin. After breakfast we spent some time at the family center for a little exercise. Always exploring, he found a tiny rubber ball on the floor that he used as a basketball. His efforts made me laugh. Next stop was the bakery where he decided on a chocolate doughnut and I chose a little apple pastry that I had been wanting to try. Then we investigated the contents of a new antique store in town. We were both intrigued by the unusual assortment of wares offered in the tiny store. Later came a cooking lesson. After slicing hotdogs almost in half I instructed my student on placing cheese in the middle and then rolling crescent dough around each one. Colin was proud that he had fixed lunch as he saw the tasty creations come out of the oven. The highlight of our day, for Colin I am sure, was taking his scooter to the Riverwwalk and the freedom he was given to ride it in the warm spring sun. My payment was when he announced, "I had fun today Grandma!"

The following is a special story I wrote for my grandson as a Christmas gift. As I said it is part of my job to encourage him and fill in the gaps.

Little Boy Big Dreams

There was once a little boy named Colin who had dreams bigger than he was. He was sure that someday he would do something to make everyone proud of him. What would it be he wondered?

He has all kinds of interests maybe one of them will make him famous when he grows to be a man. He loves to read maybe when he learns enough words he will write his own book and become a famous author. He could write about all the animals he loves. They include dogs and cats, and birds and fish and even tiny insects or he could write about his experiences as a little boy growing up in a small town in New Mexico.

One of his favorite subjects in school is art. He loves drawing little creatures to illustrate his thoughts. Maybe he will be a famous artist and have his creations in galleries around the world. Maybe he will draw cool cartoons and they will appear in important newspapers; or he might create a character like Mickey Mouse and build a theme park around him and lots of people would come to see what he had done. That would be cool he thought as he dreamed on.

Colin also loves sports, especially playing soccer and basketball. Maybe if he played really well he could get a scholarship to a college and go on to join a professional league and help his team win a championship. His name would be in the newspaper and on television along with his winning team.

Sometimes he dreams of being a fireman and saving people from harm. At other times he dreams of being a policeman with a gun and an astronaut with a space laser shooting bad guys. He has even dreamed of being the President of the United States and he would make new laws. The first law would be that all the needy children would get toys to play with.

After awhile Colin became tired of dreaming and finally decided he could be anything he wanted to be when he grew to be a man, but right now he was very happy just being a little boy with big dreams because he knows everyone in his life loves him and he loves them too.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Communication unplugged

I am so happy to report that the writing group, "Write on People", that I created back in November 2011 is alive and getting healthier all the time. The group is small, but we are having a lot of fun expressing who we are through our creative efforts.

Today we added an extra half hour to our regular meetings and decided to use it as a social time to talk about whatever happens to be on our minds. We have discovered that we all enjoy hearing about each others lives. I think today we also learned the value of plain old fashioned communication unplugged.

When you get several people of about the same age with different life experiences talking about the same thing it is surprising what comes out. We are learning to learn from each other. This group is turning out to be much more than I originally thought it would be. It is amazing what can happen when you plant the seed of an idea.

Of course, we do write. After all the group is called Write on People. We select a one word writing challenge to be worked on at home and brought back to read at the next meeting. We also have a box of "spontaneous" writing prompts to use during the meeting. These prompts are meant to jog our creative minds and do not require a lot of thought. We also try to incorporate fun writing challenges, often borrowed from the desks of elementary teachers. We all have the mind of a child. Some of us have just forgotten how to let that mind out to play.

Today I used something I found online that not only worked out well, but caused a lot of laughter. A teacher had written down the first half of some familiar quotes, as in "if at first you don't succeed" and then asked her first grade students to write their own ending. We found it not quite as easy as it should have been. One of our group came up with the reason. Knowing the original second half kept us from freely writing a new one.

Anyone could start a group like this in any community, anywhere. All it takes is a place to meet, a little paper and a pen or pencil. Although my credibility as a published author helped to get this group started, it was my desire to gather like minded people together that made it successful. Members of the group have gradually recalled just how much fun writing can be and how beneficial it is to share their experiences and communicate unplugged.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Going going but not gone

Lately I have been thinking a lot about death. Not in relation to myself nor in a morbid way, just about the general subject. I remember a quote from one of my recent teachers along my spiritual journey, she said, "nothing ever dies it is transmuted to another form".

That memory led me to a trip to our local cemetery yesterday. I went to see if I would be given any new messages from deceased spirits as to what I am supposed to do to help them. After agreeing several years ago to be their "bridge" between heaven and earth I am still confused. The job came with no instructions. Actually the only title I can come up with is messenger.

That title reminds me of being a member of the Masonic youth organization Job's Daughters during my teen years. The ritualistic work was based on the life of Job. Part of the initiation ceremony included five messengers seated in a semi circle, who one after the other, related the story of Job's life to the candidate. Apparently the words impressed me more than I realized at the time. No matter what happened to Job he never gave up and was eventually rewarded for his unwavering faith in spite of his many trials and tribulations.

While sitting in my car yesterday viewing the cemetery grounds I noticed how quiet it was. I took in the grave markers, benches and the numerous plastic flowers people had left at the graves. Except for the trees and the grass just beginning to turn green I felt nothing alive. It was as if all the souls who had been buried there were whispering in unison, "we are no longer here". It was then I realized that the only thing under those grave markers was the decomposed remains of the human bodies that had once housed their souls. The spirits weren't dead they had just been transmuted to another form. They had moved on.

From my own experience I know that those souls can continue to communicate with those still living a human life. They are not going to speak in human voices, for they are no longer human. They speak in silent voices that only our heart can hear. They are joined by angels and personal guides to help us peacefully complete our own journey. All we have to do is be quiet and listen.

In closing, I want to share a beautiful prayer given to me by another of my current spiritual teachers. Thanks jts I listened even when you didn't think I was listening!

Don't Stand at My Grave and Cry

Do not stand at my grave and weep

I am not there
I do not sleep

I am a thousand winds that blow
I am the diamond glints on snow

I am the sunlight on ripened grain
I am the gentle Autumn rain

When you awaken in the morning's hush
I am the swift uplifting rush of quiet birds

In circled flight
I am the soft stars that shine at night

Do not stand at my grave and cry

I am not there
I did not die

~unknown~

Saturday, March 10, 2012

A universal gift

In 2001 I began to take photographs that contained images of spirits. The first one I took showed the image of a man in cement at the Riverwalk Park in Grants, NM. What made this image interesting is that the week before my daughter’s best friend and her step-father had walked over that very spot on their way to the gazebo for her wedding ceremony. After sharing the photo with someone who was used to seeing spirits, I was asked, “What does that tell you?”

I had no answer at the time, but today it would be, “I was the one chosen to take the picture.”

The following is that photo and if you look closely, perhaps even using a magnifying glass, you will see the image I saw on the path next to the middle tree. Below the man in the suit and tie is the face of a woman.

Since that day I have always examined photos for spirits who might choose to appear in them. I have a black and white taken of me in Alaska in 1939 that contains several spirits, including one I believe to be my guide, Richard.

Several years after my first viewing I had an eye opening experience at our local cemetery. It ended up in my e-book Journey of an Enlightened Egotist. Following is that excerpt.

“While writing one day a message was planted in my mind that I could not ignore. I stopped what I was doing to perform the task that was suggested.
I cut the only three daffodils growing in my yard, placed them in a plastic cup, added glass pebbles and water and started my car. My destination was the cemetery near my home. After parking the car I picked up the container of flowers and walked to the grave of a young woman who had died of cancer several years earlier. I had a strong spiritual connection with the girl that I did not fully understand.
Kneeling at her grave I placed the flowers on the headstone. I quietly asked, “Can you help?” Instantly two voices coming from the back of the cemetery repeated a variation of my question. The first was female and it was closely followed by a male, both asking, “Can you help me?”
I could clearly see that I was the only human in the cemetery. Startled, I quickly returned to the safety of my car. During the next few months I tried to figure out who the voices were and what they wanted me to do for them. I finally realized they were spirits who wanted me to tell the humans they had left behind that communication with them was possible if one believes.
The spirit photographs I was taking began to make sense. They were a tool to give credibility to what I was being asked to do. The only question was would I comply with the request? I had come this far I might as well go all the way. My answer was yes.”


It took a few more years before I realized that the universal gift I was given was not taking the photos, anyone with a camera could do that. The gift is being able to see what is in the pictures. The yes I gave to the cemetery spirits was an agreement to share them to help others believe that we never die. No doubt since I did say yes I am attracting spirits that make it hard for the unbeliever not to believe.

This is the case with the recent photo I took and shared on my 2/22/12 blog post (Spirit Photography). The woman's face is so large it is hard to miss. The photo was taken the morning after Whitney Houston's funeral and because of the resemblance of the eyes I briefly thought it might be her and perhaps it is, but so what! It can be neither proved or disproved. The photo is called The Woman Speaks. I couldn't call it The Voice; people might think I am crazy!

So here I am today trying to figure out just what in the world the spirits expect me to do to pass on their message. Although I truly appreciate the gift a little help from the universe would be appreciated about now.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

To continue...

In reference to yesterday's post about sexuality I decided to continue speaking just because this is my stage and I have a little more to say on the subject.

The inspiration for my previous post came from one I read on a closed online writing group I write for. It was regarding a couple of gay high school students who decided to attend school wearing clothing that was not appropriate for a male. The main character in the post was a young man who decided to show up in 6" heels. He was offended when he was suspended for three days, mainly for causing a distraction for other students. The article also referred to another boy at a different school in a different state who was suspended because he choose to wear female clothing to school. (The way kids dress now days I don't know how anyone could tell the difference). Anyway he went home with his tail between his legs and threatened to commit suicide. He felt his freedom of expression had been taken away from him.

This is where I had a serious problem. I didn't comment in the group because I didn't feel like starting an argument, but as I said this is my stage and I am free to express myself here.

I really don't have a problem with those who decide they want to be an individualist. I am trying very hard to allow those people to live their lives without my judgement. That is not always easy due to my own life experiences, but at least I am trying.

What I don't understand is why people intentionally do things that they know in advance will cause negative repercussions and then whine, sulk and threaten to take their own life when that happens. Just as an example, I can choose to clean my house with a bare butt and that is my business. It affects no one else; however, if I choose to go grocery shopping in the same attire I would be laughed at, thought crazy and most likely end up behind bars. Now would it be right for me to blame everyone else involved for my situation? I hardly think so.

One of the comments made about this article was that there appeared to be no dress code at the school. So what! Even though there should be in all schools in my opinion, that doesn't give a student the green light to do something so stupid.

That's all I have to say on the subject.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Gay isn't always...

I didn’t grow up in a gay world. My first experience with the word was when I was about 8 and spent a week with relatives, including an older cousin who my mother pointed a finger at as gay. Although I wasn’t sure exactly what that meant I did understand that he was different than his brother and from that day on I also looked at him as different. Was that fair? Probably not, but I was just following my mother’s prejudice.

My next experience didn’t come until I was in my 20’s and was working in an office as a file clerk. Two female employees were thought by co-workers to be gay simply because they spent a lot of time in each others company, often holding hands when they were seen together. It didn’t really bother me because it had nothing to do with my job or my life.

When my daughter was in school she had many female and male friends. Because I was a room mother for most of the years she was in elementary school I was in a position to observe her classmates. It wasn’t until years after she graduated from high school that I was told one of the boys who had been the most polite and respectful to me as a parent is gay. Did that change my opinion of him? No it did not.

My daughter’s 6th grade female teacher was also gay. A fact I learned from another teacher. For some reason this did cause me to have some uneasy feelings. It caused me to be very careful how I talked to and related to the woman. I do recall asking myself, “should this person be teaching my child?” I can’t explain the exact reason I felt uncomfortable, but I did.

After my last divorce I had a woman living with me for a few months to bring in a little extra money. Although there was nothing of a sexual nature going on, except that she had a boy friend, I was glad when she decided to move out. Silly as it sounds today the situation made me wonder what other people were thinking about the arrangement. It seems it is always the thoughts of other people that screw us up.

Also to bring in extra money I did product demos at Wal-Mart. One of the products was giving away samples of a new line of greeting cards. This particular job was a lesson in disguise. To this day I cannot believe the reaction of some of the customers when they found out the cards were created by Ellen Degeneres. In particular, the pharmacist shoved the card back in my hand with, “Oh my God, she’s gay!” Under my breath I said, “It isn’t catching!”

Speaking of Ellen, I have a great deal of respect for this talented woman. Her gay marriage to Portia in 2008 and their lives together has been kept pretty much private. When you are as famous as she is it is I am sure it is impossible to keep everything from the press. I have never seen her flaunt her gayness. She is in my opinion a very loving, kind, generous being.

There is one star who is not gay, but has flaunted her sexuality all over the world for 26 years and been applauded for her choices. Yes, I am speaking of Oprah Winfrey and her live in boy friend Stedman. Isn’t there something in the Bible about this kind of relationship too? To me the most appalling thing she did was to drag Stedman to Africa when she opened her school for girls, as if to teach them by example how to live.

I guess what this boils down to is, if you aren’t interfering with my life, you are quite welcome to do your own thing. Whether you are gay or straight simply give a little thought to how you sexually express yourself in public.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Let the kids play

This past weekend I experienced yet again parents interfering with kids trying to play sports. It was the third basketball tournament of the season for my grandson's team. They did very well, winning the first two of the four games they played. The players were great, The coach was great. What wasn't great were the parents and grandparents yelling their heads off with instructions for the kids.

The bellowing sounds of, get the ball, stay on him, shoot, get under the basket, pass it, keep your arms up, move to the corner and the most irritating of all DEFENSE, screamed at the top of the lungs; mostly by women. Like the players don't already know that if the opposing team is in their side of the court they need to defend it? Shut up already and let them play! It is impossible for a kid to listen to instructions from their coach and adults on the sidelines at the same time.

We are about to the end of the season and next we move on to soccer, where this same trend will again take place, even though the rules are keep your mouth shut. Nobody listens and the rule is never enforced. The words yelled at the players may be different, but adults are still interfering with the kids and their instructions from their coaches.

My grandson enjoys playing both basketball and soccer. If I want to watch him play I am forced to endure the rude behavior of other adults also watching. Investing in a good set of earplugs is about the only way of drowning them out.

I believe youth sports are a wonderful teacher for children. I have enjoyed observing my grandson grow through the years and develop as a team member. He is a natural born athlete who loves what he is doing. I have not enjoyed the adults shouting instructions. I wish they would just shut up and let the kids play.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Wildflowers

More and more I have been noticing that some of the people in my life are much like wildflowers. I did not plant them. They pop up all by themselves whenever they choose to do so. I have also noticed that their job appears to be to offer support, encouragement or maybe just an opportunity to look at a problem with a different view.

Several times in this past week I have run into people who have either read and liked one of my published books or remembered the column I wrote for our local newspaper. They have all asked the same question, "Have you written anything new?" It is my cue to answer, "As a matter of fact I have a blog that I love to write and I also have a couple of e-books on Amazon." These beautiful blossoms offer hope that possibly the things I write and have written and maybe will still write are passing on inspiration to those who read them.

After checking out the possibility for a part time job for Barnes and Noble at our college campus book store I stopped by the snack bar and spent some time talking to a long time friend that I had not seen for several months. Her previous job was as a hair dresser and she had cut my hair for years until she retired and began a new life. Only your hairdresser knows for sure is quite true of my relationship with my friend June. We have exchanged a lot of personal information over the years. After sharing the fact of my surgery last fall and that my family choose not to visit me during my hospital stay, June asked a bit upset, "Why didn't you call me I would have come to see you?" Again one of those beautiful wildflowers who just pop up when I need to know someone actually cares about me.

Just this morning I received an unexpected email message and photo from a friend who thought I needed a chuckle. This man I am quite sure is one of my special wildflowers, appointed to help me learn not to give up hope and not to forget to laugh. In his case he might just be a cat tail, but still they grow wild along the ponds of the river walk; one of my favorite places to explore.

Now that the wind has ceased to blow and the sun is once again bright and cheerful I give thanks for all of the wildflowers in my life. They are a colorful diverse bunch who always keep me hopeful of something better!

Friday, March 2, 2012

The wind God's messenger

On March 1, 2012 the wind came in like a lion, fiercely challenging everything in sight. The trees just beginning to show signs of new growth began waving their branches as if trying to protest. Looking out my window I noticed a little bird fighting with all its might to reach its destination. It caused me to think of a time when I had a battle with the mighty wind; the breath of God gone just a little wild.

Several years ago I spent much of my spare time sitting on the bank of the old police station on Roosevelt Avenue. It didn’t matter to me that the building was falling apart. The view from this site, of the town and its surrounding mesas is magnificent. I had just taken up sketching and this experience became my teacher. It taught me to look beyond what was negative and focus on the positive things that the universe presented for my personal growth.

On one particular day the wind was just as strong as or possibly even stronger than it was on March 1, 2012. Something pushed me to go up to my usual vantage point anyway. By this time I had learned to follow my intuition. After arriving at my destination I briefly wondered if I was going crazy. I sat down on my usual spot, partly to avoid being blown to the ground.

I began to realize that I had voluntarily accepted a fight with the wind. Its force against my face was actually exhilarating. I soon developed a bring it on attitude. Then I began to think of Dorothy and Toto and their Wizard of Oz adventures. It made me laugh. I definitely was not in Kansas. I was sitting all alone on a hill overlooking my adopted home town and challenging the mighty wind. I was not afraid because I knew this was exactly where I was supposed to be at this moment in my life.

I believe that day I learned just how strong I had become. I also began to learn that everything I need to take care of myself is found inside. It took many years before I got that lesson down pat. As on that day years ago yesterday's wind again reminded me of that fact. This time it came with an additional lesson. I now know I do not have to fight for what I want. All I need to do is relax, be myself and it will come. As with everything else the wind is a messenger of our Creator and when we listen we learn.