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Friday, June 28, 2013

Day three- patience

This is day three of my internet and or computer problem; probably a little of both. I'm still waiting for help to fix whatever is wrong. There's that pesky word again- patience!

I am suspecting the major problem with Facebook access is that my account has been tampered with. It is quite possible that I will need to delete it and open a new one. I'm not looking forward to that scenario. It would mean that everything I have posted on my wall, including several years of photos and over 100 friend contacts will be no more and I will have to start over from scratch.

Replacing photos etc. isn't a problem, although it would be time consuming. Sending out all those friend requests would be a major problem. Fortunately I keep a card file up to date. Looking over the file I see that there are names that I most likely choose to just ignore. I wonder how some of those names even still remain on the list. 

It is of course, possible that I won't have to take this step. At the moment it could go either way. Because there are many contacts that I would be very upset to loose I am going to share my other contact information here and attempt to keep a positive thought or two about the situation. Patience!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

When the universe speaks

Well readers, this is an interesting situation. I have been having computer/internet problems for the last day or so and I am waiting to find someone who can help me fix the problem. Strangely, the problem seems to mostly affect my use of Facebook, no matter which browser I use. I have come to the conclusion that perhaps the Universe/Source/God is trying to tell me something.

Many of my FB friends live in other parts of the country and several in other countries. I will truly miss a temporary imposed distance, caused by a piece of machinery. I did manage to post a comment as to the problem so nobody would think I am ill. When people dissapear on FB friends who care tend to wonder where they are. This happened to me in 2011 and I finally asked a local friend to post a statement on my wall that I was in the hospital. It really is nice to know that people care.

Although I am not sure exactly what is going on it would be very easy to blame it on Mercury just going into retrograde. I did also have a problem with a leaky pipe, which required the services of a plumber a couple of days ago. It would be easy to cast the blame, but I pretty much believe the universe is speaking loud and clear and it is up to me to determine what the real message is.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Inspiring another

I am very happy today to offer an update on a lady, also known as Ms. M, who I befriended a few months ago. Some of you may recall that she is a nursing home resident. Until we connected she spent her days crocheting and some people referred to her as the crocheting grandma. One step led to another and she is now a published writer. Unforeseen miracles happen when one purposely sets out to inspire another.

Our journey started when I listened to a story a lady was relating about her short stay in our local nursing home, following an accident. It seems writers never close their ears. I turned her words into a short story and she asked me to share it with the staff at Grants Good Samaritan Center. The staff was so impressed that they asked me to start a writing group at the center. It actually turned into a communication group called Sharing and Caring. It also put me in touch with Ms. M., along with several other interesting residents.

As the relationship between the two of us grew stronger we discovered many things that we had in common. I also found out that the lady had a secret talent for writing. She had been doing it all her life, with no instruction. She is a creative writer, who enjoys giving  animals a voice and cleverly waits to the very end of a story to add an unexpected punch line.

The next step in our relationship was  to invite her to join my writing group. She loved having a reason to get out of the facility and we loved having her. Ms. M certainly brought a different slant to our thinking and writing. She wrote as she talked, with a Texas twang, which was sometimes difficult to understand.

Realizing that she had some physical difficulty writing I suggested that we find her a typewriter. We managed to locate one, but it needed some work. In the meantime, someone gave her a used laptop. It was the best thing that could have happened. She wrote one story after another. I did everything I could to encourage her to improve the appearance of her writing. One day I even offered, "If you want your writing to be taken seriously you have to clean up your work." I wasn't trying to be mean I just saw that she had raw talent.

As time went on she moved her work from the laptop to a computer in the activity room. I was so proud of the steps she took to go beyond what was familiar. A staff member helped her open an email account and she recently started a blog to offer her stories to the public. By an unusual turn of events the editor of our local paper read one of her stories titled, My Motorcycle Ride, and published it. She had no idea who she was handing it too.

I'm sure Ms. M is not finished with her journey and I can't wait to see how far this now published writer will go.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

From the heart

Today I am sharing one of the stories from our Writing Camp for kids. On the day it was written the participants were given a project from the editor of our local paper. They were told to select a subject that they cared about and write a story. When they finished and had read what they had written, the editor informed them he was going to write an article about the camp and publish one of their stories. As the paper only comes out twice a week, we are still waiting to read that article and discover whose work was selected.

In the meantime I am going to share the story my 11 year old grandson wrote. I think he did a great job. It is obviously written from his heart and I am very proud of him.

Soccer  by Colin Stoughtenger

I have been playing soccer since I was four. I like playing soccer 'cause it's fun and I'm really fast and sometimes I am the star player. I like playing soccer 'cause I can play with my friends and sometimes I make new friends. And if you play soccer it's not about winning it's about having fun. If you get hurt just try to get back up and keep going. If you get scared don't worry 'cause in tournaments I have been tripped, flipped and kicked and it hurts, but I got up.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Why don't we listen?

The universe seems to go out of its way to point us in the right direction, but do we listen? Pretty much no.Why? Because we think we know what's best for us. It is our life isn't it? After all we helped design it, even before we arrived on this planet called earth. Something apparently happened between the planning and the doing to cause a short circuit in our memory. Amnesia maybe?

My two past marriages are an absolute perfect example of ignoring universal wisdom and doing as I please. The first AKA: the womanizing jackass, tried to date one of my bridesmaids just before our wedding was to take place. She said no, but shared the information with me. I said yes and went ahead and married the man. Did he change after the ceremony? Only to get worse. Two children later I finally woke up. If I hadn't married the man I would not have three grandchildren and two great grandchildren so perhaps it wasn't a mistake after all.

Then came the second universal jolt, which I again ignored. I knew the man had a drinking problem which caused me to ask him not to drink before our ceremony was to take place. After the vows were exchanged and we faced each other there was no doubt in my mind that he had ignored my request. Did he change after the ceremony? I think you know the answer to that one. The union produced one child so perhaps it wasn't a mistake after all.

Our daughter heard and ignored a similar universal message that still makes me laugh. On the night of her marriage she was a block away from where the ceremony was to take place when her car broke down. The union lasted less than a year and produced the best grandson any grandparent could ask for so perhaps it wasn't a mistake after all.

There is that piece to the puzzle known as free will. It is supposed to be a gift. I am wondering if we always make the best choices when we choose to ignore the universal messages we are given. 

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Time to pull the plug

For the last 18 months I have been trying to hold together my small writing group. It has become apparent that it is time to pull the plug and move on to another challenge.

Clearly seeing that the group was not only a positive step in my personal journey, I also proved that one person with passion can make a difference in the lives of others. That makes me very happy. At one time a member stated that there is no "I" in a group. Perhaps not, but someone has to act as the director or the group will be going absolutely nowhere. I did my best to try to inspire others to do their best, taking every opportunity that was offered to expand, and I am very pleased with my efforts.

Sometimes relationships go on way past the time that they should have died of a natural death. It reminds me of my last marriage. We hit 25 years and didn't even exchange cards. That should have told both of us something, but we allowed the torture to continue for another 2 years, until I pulled the plug. One of us had to take the plunge and that one was me. It was a giant risk, considering I was 61 at the time, but I have never been sorry. It opened doors to a world I didn't know existed. Although the journey hasn't been easy it's been a whole lot of fun.

Our writing group has never attracted more than a few members at any one time even though I have tried everything I could think of to change that fact. Since forming the group we have shared some wonderful stories, had monthly articles published in our local newspaper, encouraged people who didn't know they could write, created a communication group at our local nursing home and sponsored a writing contest and summer writing camps for elementary age children. Not bad for a small group of people.

Although I have pulled the plug on, Write On People, the summer Writing Camp for children will continue. Because my writing group existed I connected on a higher level with a very passionate retired elementary teacher who still has a lot to give. We have mutually decided we are going to take on offering the camp next year. We make a good team. She has the experience of relating to the kids, I have the writing experience and we both have a burning desire to inspire the creativity that in her words, "Teachers are teaching out." I told her this morning that she is the only member of Write On People that really got what I was trying to do- inspire others.

It might be time to pull the plug on the writing group, but focusing on the good we did, will form the basis of what comes next.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The floor is yours

I think Shakespeare hit the nail on the head with his monologue from As You Like It, "All the world is a stage and all the men and women merely players: they have their exists and their entrances; and one man in his time plays many parts".

If we could all believe that the world would be a happier place.

Several years ago I read a wonderful book by Michael Newton PH. D. titled Journey of the Souls. Using hypnosis Dr. Newton took his clients back in time to recount their experience living in the spirit realm. If you want to know what happens between incarnations this is a good source of information. One of the important facts I learned from the book is that we have a part in choosing the particular souls (players) in our current life. They are members of our soul family.

Another book along this train of thought is Mitch Albom's, The Five People We Meet in Heaven. it focuses on the premise that there are people who come into our lives at pivotal points to help us change for the better. I really believe that to be true. They act as road blocks, causing us to pause for a time and reconsider our actions.

These are strong people who quite often bring experiences that are not especially pleasant. Otherwise we most likely would just walk on by and not learn a thing. The stronger the person the tougher the lesson. The point I am attempting to make is that our life is pretty much scripted and the players, as Shakespeare referred to them, are doing exactly what they are supposed to be doing.

Although forgiveness is nice for the soul perhaps it would be better to offer the person gratitude and applause for a great performance.

This thought reminds me of the words from the movie, Love Story, "Love means never having to say you are sorry." At the time it came out I was Catholic and I remember the priest having a fit about them. Today I can understand what the author may have meant.

To cover both approaches I found some interesting quotes on forgiveness:

Sincere forgiveness isn't colored with expectations that the other person apologize or change. Don't worry whether or not they finally understand you. Love them and release them. Life feeds back truth to people in its own way and time- just like it does for you and me.~Sara Paddison

Forgiving is the giving and also the receiving of life.~George McDonald

Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future.~Paul Boese

So my friends whether you agree or not the floor/stage is now yours.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Intimidation- a two way deal

A funny thing happened to me this morning as I was walking at our family center. I was alone until another woman came into the gym walking twice as fast as I was, passing me in the process. It made me feel uncomfortable and inadequate. I stopped to talk to her and jokingly told her she was causing me to feel intimidated. She laughed and said  she always walks fast. Her father was over 6 feet tall and she and her siblings had to walk fast to keep up with him. I have on occasion walked faster than some of the regulars, passing them on their journey. It suddenly occurred to me that I may have unintentionally caused some of those people to also feel intimidated. 

Intimidation is a two way deal, almost entirely depending on confidence. If you believe in yourself 100% there is no way anyone is going to be able to intimidate you.

I have at times during my life allowed others to get away with this nasty habit, but no more. I believe it all started with my very controlling mother. I spent years of my life, even after she died, trying to prove that I mattered. She spent years trying to rip any confidence I had in my own ability to shreds. Whether she did it intentionally or not I am not sure. Perhaps it was a universal test to see how strong I was.

While thinking about her this morning a scene popped up as clear as if this was still 1987. My grandfather and I were sitting in the funeral director's office making arrangements for my mother's remains. He had two available plots, one above the other, that had not been used. Out of the blue, he asked, "Do you think your mother would mind being on the bottom?" We looked at each other and burst out laughing. The funeral director must have thought we were nuts or at the very least insensitive.

When you really get a good look at the person doing the intimidating it takes the wind out of their sails.
If you can see the humor in the situation you have it made.

Until recently I knew a person who constantly intimidated me. His arrogance caused me to think that everything I believed and especially wrote was idiotic. Having been given the opportunity to take a better look at this man I now see how ridiculous the situation was. He is a self-centered control freak who lacks the ability to complete anything he starts, even a simple friendship. No more mister.  I finally see the real me and you can't intimidate me anymore.

Intimidation is definitely a two way deal and you are in charge!

Monday, June 17, 2013

So you think you can write?

In my writing career I have used an untold number of words in my 2 newspaper columns, 2 published books, 2 e-books and 611 blog posts with 28,657 views. That's a whole lot of words!

It's a good thing I paid attention during my English class all those years ago. I have been told on numerous occasions that not only what I write, but how I write, makes my words worth reading.

I have known people who may have the ability to put their thoughts down on paper, but the way those thoughts end up makes me cringe. Some of these people often believe that what they have to say is so important others will just overlook their bad writing habits. Grammar, spelling and proper punctuation are important; ask any English teacher or editor. Just because a person has a pen and paper or a computer does not mean they are destined to be a writer.

There is no excuse for anyone who wants to be taken seriously as a writer to be sloppy. If you can't take pride in how you are writing it is best to keep your thoughts to yourself. Please!

One of the things that really irritates me when I am reading something is paragraphs that go on and on and never seem to find an ending. Another is the constant use of $5 words, causing one to pull out a dictionary to grasp the full meaning of the content. I prefer to keep my writing simple and easy for anyone to understand.

I know a writer who finds it necessary to use an abundance of exclamation points and question marks before, in the middle and after what he writes. For example: "!!?? Listen to !!?? what I AM telling you!!??" Good grief it reminds me of a little boy stomping his feet to get his mother's attention. A writer does not need to yell to be heard by readers if what he/she is saying is worth hearing.

Yesterday a person that I am trying to encourage to write told me she just started a blog. Curious, I checked it out and was appalled. After printing out one of her posts I took a red pen and circled all the obvious mistakes. There were 34 in an article that was not even a page in length. This same person informed me that she is planning to write to my former publisher to see if she can get her work published. I silently screamed, "NO don't do that!"

Oh well, I guess everyone has their own idea of what makes a good writer. I had to learn what to do and what not to do on my own, one step at a time. It was a long process. One thing I hope I have learned is to allow others the experience of learning from their own decisions.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Father's Day again

I always have mixed feelings when Father's Day comes around. My own father died of liver failure due to years of drinking when I was 30. He died on Easter Sunday 1967 following  a long illness. By that time my husband and two children, the youngest only 4 months old, were living in another state and I was unable to attend his funeral.

When I was young my mother was a strong controlling being who had to work so we could eat. It caused my father to appear to be a weak parent in my eyes. Although they stayed together for 30 years their marriage was far less than happy. These were my early role models. 

My first husband and the biological father of my sons was a self centered being, who preferred to spend time with his numerous girl friends rather than take on the role of father or even husband. After 13 years I woke up one morning and decided that my boys, then 10 and 5, and I would be much better off without him. He was their first paternal role model.

Not allowing enough time to adjust to the new circumstances I had created and take steps to believe in me I quickly married a second time. The man who would become a stepfather to my children had never been married and had no children. He also had a drinking problem that I admit I was aware of, but stubbornly ignored.

After 6 years and a ton of tears and praying on my part this man moved up to the role of father with the birth of our daughter. Because I followed the example my mother had set for me years before, I became the strong parent, causing my husband to appear weak to my children. After 27 years of an unhappy marriage I woke up one morning and decided I was done. It was a decision that ended in a non-contested divorce that amazingly only took 3 days to become a reality.

Since 1999 I have been on my own. There has been no man in any way shape or form in my life, except for occasional friends along the way. It's funny that most of them were not available for any other role. There was no doubt a really good reason for that! I needed time to develop confidence in me without male interference. It appears to have worked very well and perhaps now I can actually think about adding what is missing to the mix.

The odd part of this little story is that today two of my three grown children do not communicate with me, but seem to be joined at the hip to the man known as their biological father and step-father. Apparently it is his turn to be a parent. What goes around comes around and that's not a bad thing!   

Friday, June 14, 2013

One down one to go

The first segment of our youth writing camp ended this morning. I give the parents of the children who participated a big hand because the children were attentive, eager to learn and respectful of the adults in charge. It isn't always easy to capture the attention of a room full of elementary students on summer vacation, but we did it!

This morning I am mentally going over the activities we offered and making notes on what worked and what didn't. The second half of the writing camp will be offered in July with a different line up of inspiration.

One of the things that was very obvious was the kids are more interested in hands on activities rather than having an adult offer a lecture. They get enough of that during the regular school year. With a little  imagination students can learn without realizing that they are being taught. Works for me and has as a matter of fact!

I learned a few things myself this week. Number one is that even though one should properly prepare for any new adventure; one should always allow for wiggle room. Also, if you expect a room full of kids to enjoy what they are doing you had better make sure you are enjoying what you are doing. In other words just relax and go with the flow.

The fact that was really reenforced for me on a personal level this week is that I am a very good coordinator. I believe part of the reason is that I can stand back and "see" what is likely to happen well before it does. I guess that is called manifesting a dream. It is also called imagination and that is exactly what we are trying to inspire in these young writers.

We have one week down and one week to go.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

My forever home

Several months ago I entered a writing contest sponsored by Geist, a Canadian company. the instructions were to use a photo as a post card and write about it in 500 words or less. As I have received notice that I did not win I am now free to share my submission on my blog. Here goes.

My Forever home

This could be my forever home. It has everything I could ever want, including two of my favorite things, nature and water. A modern log cabin nestled amongst the trees, providing a permanent home for song birds of all kinds and shelter for critters big and small. Windows everywhere letting in sunlight during the day, a view of the moon at night, with the occasional pitter patter of rain drops or silent snow flakes sliding down its pains. I can see myself having a morning cup of tea, a light lunch or entertaining friends in the evening sitting at the picnic table on the porch.

It's just three little steps down to the fabulous deck where I would spend hours dreaming the time away, dangling my toes in the cool water, while watching a free movie, featuring fluffy white clouds quietly drifting by. If I were in the mood I would choose to pick up a fishing pole and catch a bite for dinner. In the evening, sitting in a deck chair with a friend, we would engage in animated conversations while,  enjoying the setting sun with its majestic array of colors. The only thing missing is a canoe, which just might be tucked in slightly out of view.

Yes, I could quite easily make this my forever home.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Creating a team to manifest a dream

Our future is in the hands of our children is a quote many are familiar with and of course, it is true. I also believe it is our job as adults to give them the tools they need to make this a better place for themselves and their future children.

One of the tools we can help them develop is their imagination/creativity. I have always loved  a popular quote attributed to many, including John F. Kennedy. It's source is actually a line from a little known play, Back to Methuselah, written by George Bernard Shaw 1856-1950. The original quote is "You see things and you say "why"? But I dream things that never were and I say "why not"?"

Indeed, why not?

Who says things have to be just so or they won't work? I have found that mixing the old with the new creates a very palatable dish. It is exactly what I set out to do in offering a writing camp for elementary students this summer. The first week of the two week camp starts Monday and I am very excited about what will be offered to our young people. I reached into the hearts of area adults who agreed to share their unique passion for one hour on one day to help inspire the creative minds of our youth.

Our facilitator on day 1 is a retired elementary teacher who is also a member of our writing group, Write On People. She will be teasing the participants with creative writing suggestions; day 2 will bring in the Managing Editor of our local newspaper, The Cibola Beacon, to talk about writing for a small town paper; on day 3 a personal friend of mine who is also a wonderful cook will help the participants use their imagination to concoct a calorie free meal. On day 4 the director of the Double Six art gallery and a local artist will help the youngsters understand that art also has a voice. To round out the week another member of our writing group and a lady who is passionate about poetry will be the facilitator.

My main job for this first week was to inspire the adults to be willing to inspire the kids with what they are passionate about. Everyone knows what their assignment is and it's one two three go...INSPIRE! 

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Looking for a word

This morning I am looking for one word that means stick-to-it-ness. Is that even a word?

Years ago my very negative minded mother accused me of not having this quality. If she had  possessed a little more positive sight herself she would have seen how wrong she was. One of the things I am known for, even by those who do not particularly like me, is my ability to stick to what I say I am going to do.

What is a word  for this quality?

Purpose, dedication, loyalty, determination, faith, belief and passion are all possibilities. How about authenticity? What you see is what you get- like it or not.

Many of you know that I have dealt with physical pain due to a freak accident. Several months ago I gave up on traditional treatments and decided to trust my guidance to heal the problem myself. For the most part my approach has worked well. While exercising yesterday I pulled a muscle which caused me to seriously cut back on movement for the remainder of the day.

The experience brought back memories of the months of excruciating pain I had previously lived through. It was better this morning so I set out to continue my usual morning routine of exercise at our family center, thinking if it started hurting I would just stop. I was also keeping a quote in mind that I heard yesterday which was, "there are seven days in a week and someday isn't one of them". Or as my dear grandmother would have put it, "don't put off until tomorrow what you can do today". Thank you Nana!

As I was approaching the center I noticed a man that I had seen many times before walking down the street. What makes him stand out is he has an amputated leg and he walks with crutches in all kinds of weather. My thought was, "if he can do it what is my excuse?"

So I did exercise this morning and the effort made me happy with myself.

I began thinking about the people who at one time or another had walked with me at the center and have now dropped out. They once had a purpose and now they find excuses. I, on the other hand, am still doing what I set out to do several years ago because I know my body thanks me for my actions and I am grateful that I am basically healthy.

Perhaps the best word for stick-to-it-ness is authenticity after all. As long as I see positive benefits you can bet I am going to continue with my purpose.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Following Archangel Jophiel

Interesting how things pop up, adding new information to my understanding of who I am and what in the world I am supposed to be doing with the universal/spiritual gifts I have been given. For the last couple of days I have been asking Archangel Jophiel to provide me with guidance along these lines. We connected several years ago and he/she has never failed to come to my aid when I have honestly asked for assistance. This archangel heals negative situations and brings beauty and organization to our thoughts and lives.

I have found the ways of the divine are quite amazing and often put a smile on my human face in response to their actions.

This morning a Facebook friend posted a personal experience about knowing what her Totem Animal is. Apparently everyone has an animal guide whose purpose is to give them direction and assist on their journey through life. I know other people who know what their animal totem is, but I have never paid much attention or until today been curious enough to discover what mine is.

Taking that first step I accessed the website 
After answering the questions found there I realized that I know what my animal totem is. I have always had dogs and cats, but that just didn't fit. I started thinking about what animals really stand out and I believe it is a white (Pekin) duck.

It made so much sense when I looked up and saw one of the most amazing spirit photos I have taken hanging on my wall. It is the spirit photo I use to convince others that we do not die when we leave earth, but the white duck introduced him to me.
 For years I have been drawn to our Riverwalk Park, where this photo was taken. It is where I go when I am looking for peace of mind. It is where my grandson and I have spent hours just hanging out since he was very little. Until this morning I never realized that it is the ducks that draw me there. Although there are Mallards, Mud Ducks and other varieties they are not what capture my attention.

I once followed the progress of  the babies of one of them with photos documenting their growth.

Checking further online, I looked up duck totem with some interesting results that made further sense. It teaches us to re-connect with family. I take this to mean universal family, not necessarily biological. It is exactly what I feel I am doing. It helps us learn to deal with our emotions, is very social and graceful. It's power is in the spring and summer, my favorite times of the year. Also the duck guides us to find a comfortable safe place to be.

Wow, thank you Jophiel! You are amazing!!

Now to wind things up, I recently downloaded a photo of a white duck and placed it on my vision board to remind me to let things roll off (other people's problems, negative energy etc.) like water off a duck's back. Need I take another step to find my animal totem? I don't think so!