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Monday, April 29, 2013

Remembering you Mary

This 29th day of April 2013 marks 17 years since you left us to move on to your next assignment. You spent your life  volunteering for your community in whatever way you felt you could help. You were a positive role model for others. Although you were not born here you loved New Mexico and considered it God's land. Everyone you touched through your generosity and kind spirit was happier for knowing you. I am grateful to have had the privilege to be chosen as your daughter-in-law.

Peace be with you always Mary.

In memory of Mary Milan Gunn, daughter, wife, mother, grandmother, great grandmother, friend to all.


Thursday, April 25, 2013


Yesterday a co-worker and I were invited to the volunteer luncheon held by our local nursing home. She and I have been hanging out at the facility twice a month since last October. We are officially the Sharing and Caring Club. All we do is allow a small group of residents to communicate with us. We talk about the past, the present and yes even the future. Just because they are residents of a nursing home does not mean they have stopped thinking.

The luncheon we attended yesterday was an annual event to thank all the volunteers associated with the facility. As the activity director stated she couldn't do her job without volunteers.

I found it interesting that I knew about half the people who filled the dinning room because of previous community volunteering I have done over the years. My co-worker chose to sit at a table with people she knew, but I had the opportunity to sit with someone I wanted to get to know better. I have talked to Thelma off and on during our visits, but we had never had the time to just sit and communicate.

I discovered she has lived in the area for over forty years and was for many years the director of nurses at  Cibola General Hospital. She and her husband of six years traveled for the first four years of their marriage, then it was necessary to admit him to Grants Good Samaritan Center due to Alzheimer's. Thelma became a regular volunteer at the facility and has been there ever since. We had a lot to talk about as my mother-in-law was also a victim of that disorder. Thelma is a wonderful lady and I am happy I had an opportunity to get to know her better.

The food we were served was excellent, especially the much too large piece of German chocolate cake for dessert. At the end of the meal guests were all given a very cool tote bag with the words, "Volunteers making a difference in the lives of others". The invited guests also got to choose a wrapped door prize. Mine was a water bottle with "thanks for all you do" written on it.

My co-worker and I left full and very happy with the knowledge that we are going to keep on doing what we are doing, because we know that communication is a big part of keeping the residents healthy.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Here's to your health

Today has been a strange day following a path to good health. It started with a trip to Albuquerque with a good friend to keep an appointment with my dermatologist.  A few weeks ago I noticed a small growth below my eye, that had existed for some time, seemed to be growing. I first had my primary care doctor look at it and although she didn't think it was serious she suggested making an appointment with my dermatologist, which I did.

Bright and early this morning my friend, Ginny, and I were off to the big city. We arrived about an hour early and decided to check out Trader Joe's. We have never shopped in that market without buying something and today was no exception. If you are looking for healthy this is the place to go. I ended up with a bag of Minneapolis (small oranges), honey wheat pretzel sticks, orange flavored dried cranberries and just for the heck of it, a bag of veggie & flax-seed tortilla chips. That should give me enough munchies for awhile.

After our little diversion we ended up in the parking lot of Dermatology Consultants. While I kept my appointment, Ginny, who doesn't like to waste time, decided to walk around the neighborhood. She has a certain amount of steps she likes to take daily to keep fit.

Face to face with my doctor I showed him what I was concerned about. At first he said the growth was benign, but then decided he wanted to do a biopsy and send it to the lab, just to make sure. I calmly asked, "can you freeze it?", hoping for the least painful approach. His answer was, "No I have to cut it out".

The most painful part of the procedure was not the cutting it was the needle, necessary to numb the area. I tried to remain calm and still through the brief surgery. It is a good thing I have complete trust in my doctor and the decisions he makes to keep my skin healthy. I have been going to him since my daughter, now 33, was in the 6th grade.  Fair skin and sun do not mix well. He always reminds me it is not what I am doing now it is what I did years ago.

Our next stop was something we had been looking forward to since I made the appointment. Lunch at the Tomato Cafe. Ginny had introduced me to this fabulous eatery on our last trip to Albuquerque. We love it! It is Italian with a healthy twist, which includes: a salad bar with 6 dressings, 2 homemade soups, 5 handcrafted thin pizzas, handmade bread sticks, 3 pastas, 6 pasta sauces, meatballs, green beans, broccoli and if you still have a little room, soft serve yogurt.

After our tummies were full we headed back home. It had been a day of healthy choices for us both. Most of all I am grateful for a dependable friend like Ginny who always comes to my aid when I need her..

Saturday, April 20, 2013

One hour one time

I am so excited about the writing camp my group is offering our local elementary students this summer. Everything is falling into place with very little effort. Our dream of inspiring young people to write is growing in ways we never imagined. I can clearly see that the experiences I have been given over the last few years have helped manifest this dream.

What's really great is the only cost to our small sponsoring group is paper, pencils & pens from the dollar store. With the economy today cheap is a big deal! Future Foundations Family Center, provides us a free room to hold the camp and their staff assists in getting the word out to the students through their summer brochure.

This is our second year of offering a writing camp and we wanted to expand on what we did last year. When I suggested two weeks instead of one I think I noticed one or two in our small group holding their breath. My next comment was, "There is no way we can do this alone-  so we need people from the community to help us".

Together we started coming up with ideas, not generally found in the school day, to inspire young minds to realize that writing is more than essays and books. It is a skill we all use every day. Our number one priority is to make it fun to learn. Sort of like Mary Poppins and her spoonful of sugar.

Because I have volunteered in the community for several years I literally "have people" that have talents that I can tap into. I also recalled a very successful block party I manifested, as the Resource Development Coordinator for our local nursing home. All I did was ask people/groups for $10 in exchange for a space on the facility grounds where they could promote anything they wanted to.The event lasted four hours and brought in over $2,000. 

I pretty much used that same process to locate community help with our writing camp. I knew from my past experience that talking to people in person rather than via the phone would be a better approach and I was right. All I asked for was one hour one time. Not one person said no to me.

This year our writing camp, thanks to some generous caring individuals will offer as inspiration: art, music, newspaper writing, food, a NM video, volcanoes, poetry, interviewing, dialogue and creative writing.

There is absolutely no reason why any group, no matter how small, could not take on a project like this in their community and I hope we have inspired others to follow our lead.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

A star is born

My writing group, Write On People, was very small this morning, but I believe we proved that it doesn't take a lot of people to launch a great idea. It just takes minds focused on positive energy to make good things happen. This morning a star was born before our very eyes.

Several weeks ago we decided to include as a member of our group a resident of our local nursing home who displayed an interest in writing. In fact she had been writing all of her life, but entering a nursing home temporarily pushed that talent aside. She had been concentrating on another of her interests, crocheting. Life moves on when you aren't paying attention. We noticed her, we grabbed her, and claimed her as our own.

She often makes the rest of us look bad because almost as soon as we decide on our next writing challenge her mind starts working on how she can put her concept on paper. She has a wonderful imagination that seems to never stop working. Anyone who believes nursing home residents are simply vegetables who have no value have never met our Ms. M..

I had been told by the activity director of the facility that our newest writer had been working on a story that she had not yet shared with us.With a little nudging Ms. M. read her latest project to us this morning. It is an unfinished story about a horse named Star. We were mesmerized as she took us on a journey we had never been on before. My first reaction along with that of another member of our group was, "You have the makings of a wonderful children's book". Her response was, "Really?"

Ms. M. then shared that she had been working with a fellow nursing home resident to create sketches for her characters. Why you little sneak you!

As I drove her back to the nursing home after our meeting this morning she admitted she had been seeking feedback from us. Sometimes all one needs to become a star is a little encouragement and caring friends to help them believe in their own ability.

You go Ms. M. we are right behind you!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Mixed energy

Yesterday while most people were busy reacting to the horrible events of the Boston marathon bombing   of 4/15/13 I experienced a day of mixed energy.

In the morning I noticed that my chest felt like someone was pushing in on it. It didn't cause breathing problems but was enough annoyance to get my attention. After I finished my morning exercises it went away. I mentioned it to my massage therapist later in the day and she noted she had experienced something similar. We concluded the air was full of negative energy and none of it belonged to us.

I had been working on ideas to make this summer's writing camp, sponsored by my writing group, really special for the participating elementary students. The idea is to use unusual means that they don't get in school to inspire kids in grades 3-6 to write. My personal goal for this week was to locate community residents who would be willing to help us carry out our ideas.

I was looking for people who are passionate about what they do. In order to convince them to help us,  I  first had to be passionate in the way I approached them. I had 10 hours available and just needed a few people to use their unique knowledge to fill them. By the end of the day every single person I talked to gave me a yes. Working together with our current writing group's members the summer camp will be a huge success this year and will hopefully inspire some young people to find a love for writing.

This morning I thought about the energy from yesterday and my mind went back to knowledge I acquired about my beloved Riverwalk Park, while writing my first book. Around the mid 1990s, a former Grants, NM mayor, Jackie Fisher, had a vision. He convinced a number of residents to tear down some old buildings and construct a park right in the middle of town.

The following is an excerpt from my book, Wake Up! "A man named Weaver with remarkable vision planted each rock. He would look at the area, dig a hole and search for the exact rock to fill it; numbering each one on the bottom."

As I thought about that fact I realized it was exactly what I had done. I had holes and looked for the exact person to fill the space. I can't help but smile this morning at the mixed energy that was available yesterday. Bad stuff happens and it always will, but when you focus on positive energy you can always turn it into something positive.

Sharing some photos of our Riverwalk and the wonderful "rocks" Mr. Weaver found.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Write on

This morning I was so happy to see that a young friend of mine, who is also a blogger, has begun writing again after an absence of several months. I love the way this person writes. He freely opens his heart and is not afraid to share what it contains with his followers. Paul Soluri just created a new blog site and I would like to encourage my readers to check out his honest writing. His current work can be found at:

We writers all have something to share, but sometimes we question whether or not anyone actually cares what that is. I have lived through that questioning process more than once and I am still writing because I know in my heart it is what I am supposed to do. I have often received feedback from people I would never have guessed that what I share is helping. It is the warmest most fulfilling feeling in the world to know that simply sharing my life experiences is making a difference and inspiring others to be the best at whatever they are passionate about.

Sunday, April 14, 2013


This about sums up my life on this sunny Sunday morning. You all enjoy your day!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Do you listen?

This morning I saw a FB message that got my attention. It was, When I say wait do you listen?" and it was signed God.

"Well sometimes, not often, okay almost never!"

I really do try to follow my intuition, but sometimes my stubborn nature pipes up and I am torn between should I or shouldn't I? One would think by now I would have learned to listen to my guides because I know the information comes directly from God.

Lately I have been trying to make peace with someone who has been, let's say, absent from my life for awhile. I found a wonderful image that I wanted to send to the person to say how much I missed our unusual relationship. I kept toying with the should I or shouldn't I? I wasn't getting a whole lot of spiritual help or maybe I was and was ignoring it. Did I hear the word WAIT whispered in the distance? Wasn't it just recently I promised to leave the entire matter up to God?

Thinking I knew best, I stubbornly tried to send the image to the person via FB and it just as stubbornly refused to send. I was briefly annoyed because it was the perfect animated picture of a cute kitten with its tongue licking an invisible person with the words I Miss You! Almost immediately my thoughts went back to the original message I received earlier this morning and I started to laugh as I remembered the word WAIT!

Friday, April 12, 2013

You wild thing you

A week ago I found some large packets of wildflower seeds at our local dollar store. I couldn't resist buying a couple, actually it was three packages. For the last few years I haven't had much luck getting anything newly planted to grow. I did have an abundance of apples last year, but no flowers to speak of. This time I  actually saw the flowers, pictured on the front of the packets, blooming in my front yard.
It reminded me of when I moved from California to the Laguna Indian Reservation in New Mexico in 1976. Our brand new double wide mobile home was placed on a back section of property owned by my in-laws. One of the first things we did was bring in some sod, giving us a small grassy area in front of the house. It was nice, but not to my satisfaction. I was used to flower gardens, not plain old dirt everywhere. We planted several rose bushes which helped, but it was still not enough color for my taste.

The next summer I planted wildflower seeds. They took off and from then on they reseeded themselves every year. I finally had what I had been missing since moving to New Mexico- color!

In 1980 we moved the house to a piece of property 100' x 200' just outside of Grants, NM. Here we go again- not a thing on the land except dirt, weeds and sage brush. Again our first move was to plant sod for a front yard. Then we gradually purchased shrubs and fruit trees. We also transplanted the rose bushes and lilacs we had in Laguna and things began to shape up with a lot of effort on our part.

Having pretty much lived in apartments all of my life I was thrilled to finally have a house and land that was mine. Of course, the first thing I did outside was to plant more wildflower seeds, because I knew they would grow when nothing else would. Over the years I went on to plant other varieties of flowering plants, but I have always favored wildflowers. They seem to have a mind of their own and require little care other than water and sun. That's my kind of plant.

The last few years I just haven't been in the mood to plant or nurture anything and things have gradually died out. Perhaps this spring it's time to start over with a new attitude and faith that the seeds I planted last week will have a mind of their own to grow and give my yard and my life the color it has been missing.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Teach me gently

A couple of days ago I received an unsolicited online message that stated, "The best teachers are those who tell you where to look, but don't tell you what to look for." Since then I have been thinking about teachers and how varied their approach  is to teaching. Some are very successful and others not so much.

The subject reminded me of something I wrote in the introduction for my first self-published book, Spirit with a Positive Attitude. "Grants is like a pot of homemade soup. Take a little of this and a little of that, add water and just the right combination of seasoning and you have a comforting, plain good meal. Like any other, this town is made up of teachers; most of them do not have a degree, but have taught since birth."

I later heard via the grapevine that my comment caused quite a stir in our little old western town. All I really meant was that we are all teachers and I still wholeheartedly believe that. We are also all students.

From my personal experience I have concluded that the best teachers are the ones who willingly share their life lessons with their students. While writing as a columnist I interviewed two such outstanding teachers; one was male and the other female. They both taught not only what was required, but what they had learned through living their lives. Both seemed to instinctively know that the best way to make an impression on their students was to go beyond books.

Just for fun and to get you thinking I would like to share a variety of quotes I found on the subject of teaching.

One looks back with appreciation to the brilliant teachers, but with gratitude to those who touched our human feelings. The curriculum is so much raw material, but warmth is the vital element for the growing plant and for the soul of the child.~Carl Jung

It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.~Albert Einstein

You can get help from a teacher, but you are going to learn a lot by yourself, sitting alone in a room.~Dr. Seuss

A good teacher can inspire hope, ignite the imagination and instill a love of learning.~ Brad Henry

I like a teacher who gives you something to take home to think about besides homework.~Lily Tomlin

I have learned silence from the talkative, toleration from the intolorent and kindness from the unkind; yet, strange, I am ungrateful to those teachers.~Khalil Gibran

Study how water flows in a valley stream, smoothly and freely between the rocks. Also learn from holy books and wise people. Everything- even mountains, rivers, plants and trees- should be your teacher.~ Morihei Usehiba  

The true teacher is the one who gets the most out of the lessons and the true teacher is the learner.~Elbert Hubbard

Those who know how to think need no teacher.~Mahatma Gandhi


Monday, April 8, 2013

Are you an archivist?

Inspiration for this post came from a soul who just won't go away. I give up and have concluded the match was predestined and there isn't anything either of us can do about it. We simply inspire each other to inspire others and that's just the way it is.

Because of this fact the word I am investigating today is archivist: a person in charge of archives, which is a place to keep records.

I believe we are all archivists, whether we have been officially trained for the job or not. From the moment we are conceived we keep records in our minds of every experience and every word that we have ever heard. That's a lot of information to be crammed into such a small space. No wonder our minds get more than a little confused at times. We remember things from yesteryear as if they just happened today. Some of us even have clear memories of past lives, adding to the mix.

Little things happen every day causing us to recall things from our past. It could be something as simple as a word that pops out of a book we are reading or a song that takes us back to a prior time, without leaving the comfort of our current surroundings. Often times if we have allowed our minds to grow we will find that our memory of the event/situation has acquired a different slant. That could be referred to as growing up, maturing or evolving. Whatever it is called it is usually a good thing.

Following a suggestion several weeks ago to check my archives for information I began to look back over some of the things I had written over the last few years. That may not be what the person had in mind, but I have been known for taking things a bit too literally. As it turned out it wasn't a bad thing because I found some really good writing that I used as foundations to offer them with a more positive attitude. I suppose I have to admit that this approach did encourage me to begin to also rethink the archives of my mind.

Obviously one can't rethink everything, but where there is desire the important stuff can be reshaped so that it doesn't interfere with our present and future experiences. Okay, I'm done working on the word archivist now and I sincerely thank the soul/teacher who inspired me to do so.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Speak for yourself

One of the problems with the social network, as in Facebook and blogging, is the chance you take when posting your thoughts, that someone who believes they know your life better than you do will take the opportunity to speak for you.

In the last few days I have been busy cleaning up debris from my yard and haven't found time to post any new thoughts, but that doesn't mean I have had my brain turned off. As the dried leaves and dead branches were gradually removed I began thinking about people who are no longer in my life. No, they didn't die. I eliminated them one by one pretty much all for the same reason. They were trying to change my thoughts to meet theirs. Whose life is this anyway?

Some of these people believed they either had been granted special gifts of sight, far above mine, or had moved on up the evolvement ladder because of their education/training. Of course, because of their specialness they felt that they were more learned than poor little ole me and much more proficient in expressing my thoughts for me.

The only way I could stop them in their tracks, whether they were ready or not, was to remove them from my life. For some reason the song, popular some years ago; Don't Let Me be Misunderstood just popped into my mind. Check it out if you care to:

I ran across an interesting and true thought this morning that I would like to share. It was that we are all spiritual/spirits, whether we know it or not. We always have been and always will be. So I wonder what is all the rush to be the most enlightened about anyway? Why are we all scurrying about trying out this and that to be what we already are? This reminds me of a question a priest once asked me which was, is anyone anymore holy than anyone else? Not sure what the right answer was, but mine was- no. You're either holy or you aren't.
(See Father Bob, even though Catholic didn't stick forever I do remember you and your interesting questions!)

I never mind people expressing their opinions and enjoy a friendly healthy debate as much as anyone else; I do mind people who try to convince me to think as they do and insist on changing my words. Please speak for yourself!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Rest in peace

Every time someone posts something on Facebook about praying for a soul that no longer resides in a human body it gets my attention. They are probably busy praying for us when they are not otherwise occupied with living the life of a spark of light in another realm. I am sure they are resting in peace.

Of course, we miss our friends and relatives. We miss their love, humor, even their anger and the energy/lessons they brought to our life while they were here. They played their part in our drama and have more than earned a time of rest. To pray for them I believe is unnecessary and perhaps a little silly.

These souls have the best of both worlds. They no longer have to deal with the struggle of living a human life. Those who suffered from physical pain are now free to fly unaided by material bonds. These souls no longer need to worry about money or mundane chores like paying bills, washing clothes, buying gas for their vehicles or purchasing groceries. Do they even eat where they are?

Without getting involved, they have a great view of those still struggling to make the best of their human lives. I imagine we provide many hours of laughter for them as they remember, been there done that it doesn't work.

From what I have read the only thing these souls are responsible for after they leave earth is going over what they learned while they were here. Depending on the answer to that question the list could be very long or very short. It's all about how open they were to following their intuition and their hearts. How much a soul evolved during its stay probably has a lot to do with whether it will return to give it another try.

So I really don't feel it is necessary to pray for the souls who have earned a better place to reside. They have worked very hard and deserve to rest in peace.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Finding the middle

I'm wondering if not finding the middle is the problem with the world today. Everyone wants to be at the top and nobody desires to be at the bottom, but what about the middle?

There are several people in my current life whose views are so totally opposite from mine that we are constantly in a battle. Because we are so focused on the differences we miss even noticing the similarities. Somebody has to be right- right? This tug of war seems to be present in a lot of lives today. What would happen if we all just dropped the rope and stopped the fighting? Peace maybe?

There is one little catch that I can see to this perfect scenario and that is it takes teamwork. Both "parties" need to be on the same page with the goal of oneness uppermost in their minds. As in a marriage or any relationship when only one person seeks a peaceful solution it's rarely going to happen.

I love the TV show The Middle and can relate to the trials and tribulations of Sue Heck, played by the talented young actress Eden Sher. She is the middle child in a family consisting of an older brother in love with himself, a younger brother with his face constantly in a book and parents who just don't quite get the fact that they are supposed to be responsible role models for their children. Poor Sue keeps trying to not only find herself, but wake up her sleeping family in the process. I keep rooting for her because I know from personal experience how she feels.

I'm not sure if finding the middle is even possible, but it would make a beautiful peaceful ending to a real life fairy tale.