"Let's have a merry journey, and shout about how light is good and dark is not. What we should do is not future ourselves so much. We should now ourselves. "NOW thyself" is more important than "Know thyself." Reason is what tells us to ignore the present and live in the future. So all we do is make plans. We think that somewhere there are going to be green pastures. It's crazy. Heaven is nothing but a grand, monumental instance of future. Listen, now is good. Now is wonderful." ~ Mel Brooks

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

New Post on HEAR

Then I saw him clutching the limb
in an island of shade
with his red-brown feathers
all trim and neat for the new year.
First, I stood still
and thought of nothing.
Then I began to listen.
Then I was filled with gladness -
and that's when it happened,
when I seemed to float,
to be, myself, a wing or a tree -
and I began to understand
what the bird was saying,
and the sands in the glass
for a pure white moment
while gravity sprinkled upward
like rain, rising.......
~ Mary Oliver

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

New Post on DO

Hope springs eternal in the human breast;
Man never Is, but always To be blest:
The soul, uneasy and confin'd from home,
Rests and expatiates in a life to come.

-Alexander Pope,
An Essay on Man, Epistle I, 1733

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Thursday, July 28, 2011

New Post on FEEL

Eros, Agape, Philia, Storge.......do you know what these 4 words have in common? Go to our FEEL page to find out!!!!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

New Post on FEEL

"He's the hope of all nations"

A significant birth, a rare white buffalo name Ligthning Medicine Cloud, brings the prospect of hard times unless humans on this Earth learn how to live in harmony and respect with each other and the Earth.........how do you FEEL about that?

This is a little post on how we FEEL::

Thursday, June 30, 2011

New Post on DO

If you're looking for something wonderful to do with your little ones head over to the DO page and find out a wonderful way to spend some quality outdoor time together. This is a local to me event so if you're reading from afar I would encourage you to source out an organization like the one described and see if they have something similar in your area! SoOoOo worth it!!!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

New Post on TASTE

If you're looking for another way to cherish those amazing strawberries that are in season right now head over to the Taste page and indulge your senses on a Strawberry Shortcake PIE!!!! http://rhythmicsilence5.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

New Post on HEAR

Bring a little bit more joy to your life by quieting the noise in your head to make room for the joys that can be heard instead. Read more here:: http://rhythmicsilence7.blogspot.com/

"The time has come" the Walrus said,

....."to talk of many things."

After almost two months of a hiatus I've figured out the revolution I'd been feeling. It is a handmade revolution, my hands, have changed the direction of this blog. It is important for me to clarify my thoughts......I tend to be all over the place, now things will be a little more organized and functional, God willing!

To the right are links to pages off of this main page to points of interest categorized by the title; Feel, See, Do, Taste, Touch, Hear. Life has so many facets, thankfully, otherwise things might get boring real fast! My new direction embraces all of those facets. I'm drawn to really bringing the essence of living back onto the main stage. Time is not slowing down for anyone and I of all people am always looking for ways to cope and be more tuned in, especially with my family. What I hope to share with you are the things that I find remarkable in my day to day. We are simple people. We don't drive fancy cars or bring home a six figure salary. We grow our own food, strive to live gently on the Earth, and want nothing more than to be together all the time. We don't have television but we like a good movie every now and again. We sing, we dance, we love. I hope those things plus all that I hope to bring to this blog are enough to keep my loving and devoted readers peeked with interest!

I'm loving this journey, and the transformation.......I'm glad you're here to see it and be a part of it all. Comments, suggestions, well wishes are always WELCOME!!!!

Monday, April 11, 2011

With Grace and Nobility

Even though Spring is springing it is still rather stark outside. The trees are still bare, the grass isn't quite green, the garden is toiled but lacks visual vitality......in some ways it's still lonesome outside. But, the sun is peaking it's beams a little today and the temperature is rising.

I was visited this morning by a male and female cardinal. They flew after each other and around each other and flirted on a tree branch. It was beautiful to watch them. Their red colors were vivid, particularly the male. Amidst the bleak and bare trees they shown brightly. These two lovebirds, as I imagined them to be, inspired me and this blog post. Time to find out why.......

"The symbolic meaning of cardinals deals with vibrancy and brilliance.

As we observe the cardinal – particularly against the backdrop of the stark winter months, we are reminded that even when things appear bleak or isolated, there is always the presence of beauty, hope, and love.

Cardinals encourage us to express our brilliance and reveal our truest selves. Their radiant red is a symbol for us to recognize the gifts in our hearts that we have to give to others in love and friendship.

Here is a quick summary of the attributes & symbolic meaning of cardinals:


As we might guess, a large part of the animal symbolism of the cardinal comes from the brilliant red color of the males. This shock of red, especially against the stark backdrop of winter snow, is a magnificent sight. The male cardinal reminds us passion, warmth and vibrancy is available to us - even in under the cloak of winter's grey clouds. Interestingly, the more bold and bright his color is, the more successful the cardinal will be at prolonging his lineage. Dull colored male cardinals are less likely to mate successfully than bright ones.

True to the fire of his color, the crimson cardinal has got some major spunk. He will aggressively defend his territory, and fight attackers with ferocity. Indeed, they have been known to fight ghost males (their reflections) in mirrors for hours on end.

Both male and female give us glorious songs. Along with peeps and pips and warbles, the tuned ear can also hear "cheer, cheer, cheer!" Very appropriate to the animal symbolism of cardinals, because they are a delight to both eyes and ears.

The cardinal reminds us to hold ourselves with pride - not ego pride. Rather, the cardinal asks us to stand a little taller, be a bit more regal, step into our natural confidence as if we were born to lead with grace and nobility."

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Come and join the living.......

Peace Train ::

Now I've been happy lately,
thinking about the good things to come
And I believe it could be,
something good has begun

Oh I've been smiling lately,
dreaming about the world as one
And I believe it could be,
some day it's going to come

Cause out on the edge of darkness,
there rides a peace train
Oh peace train take this country,
come take me home again

Now I've been smiling lately,
thinking about the good things to come
And I believe it could be,
something good has begun

Oh peace train sounding louder
Glide on the peace train
Come on now peace train
Yes, peace train holy roller

Everyone jump upon the peace train
Come on now peace train

Get your bags together,
go bring your good friends too
Cause it's getting nearer,
it soon will be with you

Now come and join the living,
it's not so far from you
And it's getting nearer,
soon it will all be true

Now I've been crying lately,
thinking about the world as it is
Why must we go on hating,
why can't we live in bliss

Cause out on the edge of darkness,
there rides a peace train
Oh peace train take this country,
come take me home again

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

All is well

"The best thing one can do when it's raining is to let it rain." ~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

A lesson in trust. It all sorts itself out. All is well. Be still and listen. Trust that you know what it the next step and if you don't.....stop! Listen, be quiet in your mind. Let the rain fall. The fog will lift and your path will be clear. The rain is a time for cleansing, renewal, nourishment. Don't fight it. Allow the rain that must fall in your life to come. Don't hide from it. Listen, feel, absorb, be cleansed. Then, let go.

Friday, April 1, 2011

To begin again.......

It's amazing how the time slips by, somewhat unknowingly. One moment your there and the next moment, weeks have passed and your left wondering......'where has the time gone?' My goal for this Lenten season was to post each day with something that inspired growth within me and my family. I seem to always forget that when you're reaching for that higher self, experiences will arise where you will be challenged to practice what it is you're trying to grasp/learn/rediscover/or correct within your self. Needless to say, these last 15 days I have been challenged. Each day that passed I put up the word that inspired me that day.

Here they are::

This is a very clear map of the journey we went on; we spent lots of time praying for a dear friend who was in the hospital having surgery, we spent time in the hospital ourselves with our three year old daughter, we came home to amazing friends and family who have gone above and beyond to help us maintain a healthy rhythm, rediscovering our gifts to eachother and our community, and the freedom the comes with discovering and letting go of what works and what doesn't work in our lives. Today, we are holding the word 'cleansing' in our minds.

It is April 1st and it is snowing here. It's technically spring, but, I feel like there is so much turmoil happening everywhere that Mother Nature is trying to keep it slow and still in the places where love can grow freely. I know that snow in spring doesn't bring much joy to many, but, it's a welcome shift for me. I am eager for warmth and sunshine but I can respect and understand what else needs to happen first before we can truly begin again.

Cleansing. To cleanse we are creating a different model for eating, sleeping, playing, and who we spend out time with. We've been so fortunate to be given loving and supportive family members at birth and then be attracted and connected to the most amazing, wonderful, selfless, inspiring friends.......who, at this point in our lives, are our family too. Sadly, there are folks who we are connected to but just aren't able to, for what ever reasons, be unconditional. Thankfully, I am awake enough to realize this, love them anyway, and let them go; allowing them to be what they can without attachment. Another big piece in the 'cleansing' aspect.

However tumoltuous these past few weeks have been, I'm so thankful that everyone has come out of it somewhat unscathed. We're alive, together, loving eachother, and celebrating each new moment together. We have a new found admiration for those who walked through these dark day with us.........and when we were the ones holding up, we felt honored to be able to be the support that was needed.

Life is moving faster and faster. Each day presents a new list of tasks and experiences in addition to the daily grind. Open your hearts. Listen. Be soft and quiet and allow the messages that will come only to flow through you. Love your friends and family. Be thankful for them everyday. Hug them and express your love without hesitation. It's time to begin again.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Our own heart is our temple

"There is only one place to practice compassion: the one you're in." ~ Karen Maezen Miller

Compassion is a virtue. It is living in presence with those around us: loving them, honoring them, suffering with them, being joyful with them........unconditionally. Being in compassion is giving the wholeness of your heart, with nothing to gain.......only to give. Do we do that? Do we give without the hope of receiving? In these times of material wealth and living to only get more, more, more, is it possible to be compassionate anymore? Truly?
It's taken me a few days to think long and hard about this. I've be thorough in my own feelings and actions and I've found the answer:: yes......sometimes. Of course, if it was yes all the time than we'd be Saints! I'm allowing myself the space for forgiveness to see that it is possible to be compassionate while it is also possible to not be. Given the situation, I'm sure you will all understand.
Realizing that I'm admitting to times when my ability to be compassionate is limited I thought how I might change that. Here is an example of when I was lacked in compassion. We had been living in this wonderful old farm house. An 8 room farm house, it was a dream and even existed in one of my husband's favorite Francis Dunnery songs. We had found this house as a last ditch effort before the house we were living in went on the market. You see, we rent our homes, so we're always at the mercy of the owners!!! That's one of the downsides.......at any rate, this farm house was old, 1800's old, but, everyone had their own room, the land was beautiful, a stream ran behind the house, it was close to town, the children had many places to play. It seemed just perfect. The man who owned the house was old, too! He was a wonderful man, kind, generous, and well loved in our area. It was a pleasure to be his neighbor.......even if he was a bit stern with the length he would allow the grass to get! As our time went on there, our landlord passed away. This led us to have to deal with his children, who I knew as a member of our community. It was a nice meeting. They led us to believe that a rent to own option for us was in the plans for down the road, but, nothing would happen soon. Time went on and the new landlord's mother passed on, leaving more to deal with 'the estate'. Sadly, her husband also passed, but during this time, there was no communication about what the plans were for the place until the day we put up a removable fence to keep our littlest from the temptation to run to the front of the house where a main road was. I received a curt phone call from our landlord requesting that the 'very ugly' fence come down as they wouldn't be able to show the property with such an eyesore! So......this was how we learned the house was for sale, but, not to us! It was at this moment that I lost my ability to be compassionate as I was faced with the grim reality of having to uproot my family again, on account of someone elses 'misfortune. I didn't care that she had lost her father several months prior, or that her mother had just passed, or even that her husband was also facing death. We had been kind, understanding, and had taken many jabs and unexpected punches from them, all with a kind and understanding heart. I just couldn't be compassionate anymore. I became quite upset with her and told her that I understand all that she is going thorough but I'm done worrying now about you.......I need to worry about where my family will go now. It seemed to me that our compassion was being taken advantage of and I wouldn't allow that anymore. How could I suffer anymore with her, constantly sending cards with prayers for strength and courage, baking for her and her family, offering assistance at every turn, and then to not be given the same compassion in our new uncertainty, but to be shown that their material wealth was more important than their words spoken. They had no intention of selling us the house, or renting to own. It was lip service given to keep things peaceful. We allowed ourselves to trust, because, well, that's who we are. As you can see, I still struggle with this. Yes, it's in the past and we have moved on (sort of, resentment will be the next item up for discussion!) and have landed in a wonderfully peaceful, loving environment where the children are the happiest they have been and quite frankly, so am I. I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason, but, I still regret losing my ability to be compassionate. I never want to act that way again.
Acting out of compassion lead to many things: resentment, anger, frustration, sadness, regret. There is no good that comes from it. Only when you can act in complete compassion can you truly understand what it means to be human. We all falter. That is how we learn. We act out of alignment with our spirits and we then remember who it is we're meant to be and how to do better next time. Life is all about learning so that we can embrace enlightenment, if only for a moment.
I've thought up a daily exercise to focus on living in compassion. It's a simple request of oneself to remain open to love and to allow it to flow freely between you and those you encounter. Sharing love is the greatest of all things and it absolutely promises the return of good things, for giver and receiver. How could you not want to assure yourself good return? Especially when all it requires from you is to give and be love?!

Greet each morning with this message by the Dalai Lama: “Today I am fortunate to have woken up, I am alive, I have a precious human life, I am not going to waste it. I am going to use all my energies to develop myself, to expand my heart out to others, to achieve enlightenment for the benefit of all beings, I am going to have kind thoughts towards others, I am not going to get angry or think badly about others, I am going to benefit others as much as I can.”
Upon rising, look at yourself in the mirror and realize that today is a good day. You have the power to be love and create love in your life. You have the gift of compassion so that when you encounter someone who is miserable and has nothing to offer but toxic venom you can look at them and remember that he has known sadness just as you have or she has known heartbreak just as you have or he as known worry just as you have or she has known loneliness just as you have. We are all alike. We've all know what it feels like to live in fear, shouldn't we acknowledge that and allow those similarities to bring us closer? When that someone comes into your life practice compassion by giving them a smile, acknowledge them and thank them for being here. If it's the barista at the coffee place you frequent, tell her she makes the best latte around and give her an extra tip. If it's the man behind the counter at the gas station, simply let him know you're glad he's here. If it's the checkout person at the grocery store, bag your own groceries, give them a smile and tell them you wish for them a wonderful day, sincerely. While you are looking at your beautiful face in the mirror, make a plan for how you will spread kindness. You will only be excited to share your joy with someone else.
While your driving, turn off the news and put on some good tunes that make you feel good. Raise that vibration. Imagine all of these positive thoughts to be shooting out of your car radiating to all of those around you and beyond. Be a beam of light that is sending out love and compassion. It might seem a little cheesy, but, how could it hurt? You pass a lot of people on your way to work, why not try to reach as many as you can?!
When you're out in the world, smile! Smile and when you meet someone stop, look them in the eye, and listen......really listen to what they are saying. If it's somewhat confrontational, stay focused and realize that you have the power to keep your emotions at bay and pay attention to the details that are only meant for you. Most confrontations are not just about that one thing.......most people struggle with so much that every little thing that is bothering them comes out in all encounters. Maybe your boss is having relationship difficulties and that is why he's so upset that your assignment is late. Maybe your secretary's mother is ill and that's why she is snappy with your request to get her a phone number. Maybe the the mail person is suffering from depression so that's why isn't able to stay focused and keeps misplacing your mail. Compassion. Act with compassion. Ask your boss if everything is OK because you too have known what it's like to be in a rocky relationship. Offer to take your secretary out for coffee, let her know that you're here for her if she needs anything while her mother is ill. Walk down the hall with the mail person, share a joke, let him know that you're glad he works here. It's these little things that can really turn some one's day around. Act with compassion. You know what it's like to be in these spot's shared by your co-workers, friends, family, and strangers who you encounter. Offer them you heart.
"Compassion is a hard-won state of being. Much more than a feeling, compassion is a choice to view suffering is a universal experience. This means viewing illness, loss, and even death as human experiences that are bearable with support. This helps us remain calm and keep our hearts open, and we become able to sit with someone in great physical or emotional pain. Compassion bridges the distance between people often created by suffering. This is not comfortable to do, as we must acknowledge their problems might reflect our own future."

The differences between Sympathy and Compassion::

exhausts both giver and receiver.
defines suffering as helplessness.
wears a fixed mask, tries to mind-read.
counts the minutes, wants to escape.
asks yes/no and rhetorical questions.
holds breath, afraid of being inadequate.
Fills the quiet spaces with the “right” words. Compels others to hug, and stops crying by touch Creates a boundary to separate from their pain.
Compassionnourishes and soothes.
recognizes suffering as a passage.
is authentic and open-minded.
is timeless, refuses to be hurried.
asks open-ended, genuine questions.
breathes and ignores critical self-talk.
knows silence is valid communication.
touches with permission, only to connect.
develops heart connection to share the pain.
Here are some other suggestions on how to work compassion into your daily lives:

  • Breath. Focus on your breath. Keep it calm and full. This will allow you to remain calm, clear and focused during your encounters today.

  • Expect nothing. Try not to focus on how you can be helpful or how you will feel important by being a support to someone else. Try not to focus on your thoughts of what you think they need and be open to receive whatever they have to give.

  • Avoid thinking of others as helpless. When in a situation, reverse it and think of how you would like to be perceived. Treat others the way you would hope to be treated.

  • Be calm and try not to rush. Each meeting you have is a chance for a wonderful heart connection. Use it!!! Connect with people, smile, laugh, offer up your love. Be that light you wish to be.......if you're at the store running from aisle to aisle and meet up with a neighbor, stop! Be present. Experience that moment because it will never happen again. Make a positive impression because they will remember, and , so will you.

  • Just listen. Try to listen without offering any solutions. Most folks just need some time to sort things out, let feelings go. They don't necessarily need to have someone tell them what to do. Listen. If they ask, offer an idea or two, don't be attached to whether they take you up on it or not, just listen.

  • Let them cry. There is no need to stop the tears........in fact tears are what keep us from drowning on the inside (dm). If you feel your tears well up, let them roll! There is no need to quiet the soul when it's trying to remain free.

  • Acceptance. Sometimes things are really hard, sad, unfathomable. "Compassion means accepting the reality of what is happening in the moment. " Try not to focus on how you can change a situation, accept that it is what it is and allow the healing to begin.
Reaching out is your gift, allow your compassionate heart to show you how to give love.

Monday, March 14, 2011

The Peace of Wild Things

When despair grows in me
and I wake in the middle of the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting for their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

~ Wendell Berry

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Love's Divine

Love heals. It's raw and pure. Giving love and sending it to all corners of the Earth. Feeling the sadness and horror that is gripping Japan today. My heart aches. My head aches.

Lent. A time to pray, fast, and give......to be closer to God as we know him/her/it. Being a few dozen countries away from Japan doesn't make it easy to help out. I can't just walk over or fly over and give them our clothes, cook them food, share a hug, or even hold their hand.......but, I can offer them my love from a distance while holding them in the Light. I can realize that all that I have can be taken away in a matter of moments and I could be left with nothing. No family, no material objects, my life. So I will fast from selfishness and taking my life for granted. I will give them what money I can because that will help someone. I will give them my love through prayer and thoughts of goodwill. I will give them my heart, my tears, and my hope that Life will be OK again.

Love......Love's Divine.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Peace, Peace, Peace... Be calm. Be still. Let the healing begin...

In light of that tragic events in Japan and along the Pacific coastline I am honoring today's Lenten post to all of those who are mourning, worrying,and in despair. I am honoring all of those who have lost everything. I am honoring those who will stand up and be a friend to a stranger and offer a hug full of love and compassion. I am honoring those who have no material objects to give but will give all of their heart to a neighbor in need.

I am praying for the guidance that is needed to keep everyone safe from further harm, guidance to know where to turn for help, guidance to begin the healing and to find peace again. My heart aches for those who have suffered.......let the healing begin.

Friday, March 11, 2011

The simplest of things.......

We made pretzels. They are wonderful and smell just like the ones you can get in New York City except BETTER!!!! There is nothing more wonderful than discovering you can make those coveted treats at home and they truly do taste just as wonderful. *sigh* The simple pleasures......

*********The following is my article that was published in Little Acorn Learning's March Afterschool Enrichment E-book. If you haven't already checked out all the amazing work Eileen is doing.......GO! Check out her amazing website and all the amazing gifts she has to offer!

The photos are from our pretzel making today! It truly is such a simple pleasure and a ton of fun!!! ***********

Pretzels have a surprising history within the celebrations of Lent, dating as far back as the fourth century. During the time of the Roman Empire, those who were devout Christians followed a strict fast during Lent. Their diets for that 40 day period would consist of no more than breads, fruit, vegetables, and grains. Simple breads, made of only flour and water, were made and folded in the way that honored their traditional way of sitting in prayer, not with folded hands, but with folded arms across their chests. These breads were called "little arms" or bracellae. It is from this Latin word where the word 'pretzel' came from.

A simple way to make these pretzels part of your Lenten celebrations is to begin making them on Ash Wednesday as a family. Talk about the rich history these little breads have and how they can represent something so meaningful. Like a candy cane is to Christmas, let pretzels be to Lent. Serve these breads with each evening meal though out the Lenten season until Easter. Reserving this tradition solely for Lent will make these a time honored tradition in your home.

Recipe for Lenten Pretzels::

Combine 1 1/2 cups of warm water, 1 tablespoon of sweetener, and 2 teaspoons of salt. Add to this one packet of dry active yeast. Let this mixture sit for a few minutes until it has proofed (becomes foamy). Add 4 1/2 cups of flour, one cup at a time, along with 4 tablespoons of melted butter. Once the dough has come together, pour it out on to a clean surface and knead until springy (about 5 minutes). Return the kneaded dough into a large, oiled bowl and let rise for one hour.

Once the dough has doubled, pour out onto a cutting board and cut into 8 equal portions. *At this time, prepare a large pot with 10 cups of water and 2/3 cup of baking soda and have it heating to a rolling boil.* Roll each portion into a long rope (about 18-24 inches).

Hold each end of the rope and form it into a "U" shape. Still holding the ends, twist the ends around each other 2-3 times and then meet them together at the bottom of the "U". Pinch the dough together. Complete the rest of the ropes. Pre-heat your oven to 450 degrees.

Now that the ropes are 'tied' and your water is boiling, place one pretzel at a time in the water bath. Let it sit in the boiling water for about 30-45 seconds. Remove from the water with a slotted spatula and return to cookie sheet. Once they have all been boiled, brush them with a solution of 1 egg and 1 tablespoon of water. Sprinkle them with kosher salt and bake until they are golden brown (about 10-12 minutes).

Thursday, March 10, 2011

"Just like the butterfly, I too will awaken in my own time." ~ Deborah Chaskin

A little later than I had hoped, but with transition comes the challenges that puts us to the test.......our challenge for today?......Acceptance. This is what we as a family have decided to work on together. Accepting all that is that we have no power to change. Accepting all that is that we do have the power to change. Accepting that all we can do is always right in front of us......not behind us or ahead of us.

Today we created our Lenten Journey calendar. I found an idea similar to this and thought it would be wonderful to create our variation on the theme. The idea behind the calendar is 'transformation'. We used the butterfly as our visual support. From a simple caterpillar to the graceful butterfly......transformation is a fluid transition from one physical form to another. I know we won't physically change from human to something else, but our emotional form and spiritual form will. It is our hope that through these next 40 days we as a family will build a stronger foundation for our spiritual growth together. We will come together in prayer, fasting, and giving to build up our lives together. We have a pretty great life. Simple, honest, joyful, abundant.......we are very blessed in this lifetime to be so fortunate as to have each other to be with and celebrate this life with. We also understand that we are given this one life to live. We have this one chance as these six people together to make a difference, to transform to a higher form of ourselves, to understand more fully that which makes it all worth while, to be closer to our Higher Power. The butterfly symbolizes all of those things. The journey we will take on these 40 days will meander and wander all over.....this is why the path our caterpillars will follow is not straight......it curves and swerves all over. There will be ups and downs and forward steps and back steps but ALL the steps will eventually lead us to where we hope to be........together in Unity with our God of choice and each other.

If you, too, would like to make a similar calendar to help guide you and your family through the 40 days of Lent, all you need is some paper, crayons, and the will to transform. Give a title to your poster, we used 'Our Lenten Journey'......

......draw a meandering path around the page, however you feel moved to draw it.

Make 40 leaf shapes to attach to the path. These can be labeled each day with a thought for the day, a prayer, mantra, what it is you hope to transform within yourself (acceptance, forgiveness, honesty, friendship). Then, make 40 caterpillars to represent the emotion that comes with the words on your leaf. Whatever it is you feel when you think about the word, hear the word. These two things will bring a visual to the transformation at work within you. Attach each caterpillar to the leaf at the end of the day.

Create a big butterfly to attach to the end of the path on the opposite end you start on, this signifies the full transformation. On the night before Easter, give wings to each of the caterpillars and hang them around the calendar so on Easter morning everyone can see and celebrate the transformations of the caterpillars and within.

As a child I yearned for a closeness with God and my family. I'm so honored that I have been given the ability to open my heart and to share my life with a partner who, too, is open, so that we can raise up our children together, in the Light. I am proud that we are not afraid of the honesty and grace that comes with wanting to know more, be more, give more. I am proud that we are open, together, to love more, accept more, and forgive more.

Wishing you Grace in your transformation and all the love your heart can handle!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Let the Light shine out of Darkness

I don't really follow any type of denomination, however I am quite Spiritual. I believe in the God of my choosing.......one that embodies Love. I don't believe in a punishing God. I don't feel as though I will be cast to hell or damned to the pit of sulphur for not going to Church every Sunday or for having an unfriendly thought about someone or something. I am human, after all. I am not perfect. What would the point of this all be if we were to fear our whole lives away? Therefore, I choose to love as much as I can in my life. I choose to fear as little as possible and to raise children who will not fear, especially the God of their choosing. It our greatest effort to know that we are loved, always. To know that no matter what, we will be loved, supported and looked after. That is our simple right as dwellers of this Earth. To love and be loved, to give and to receive, to hold and be held. This Lenten season, as millions of folks 'sacrifice' something they love and cherish for their own spiritual growth and to 'show' their faithfulness to their God of choice, I will follow a little differently. Sacrificing at Lent, as I understand it, is to show that we understand the sacrifices that Jesus made during his 40 day retreat into the wilderness. He fasted for those 40 days so giving up food items is typical. In more modern times, giving up TV, gambling, smoking, driving, drinking and many other kinds of personal vices have become popular. This year, it seems many people feel that giving up Facebook is a sacrifice!!!

"The three traditional practices to be taken up with renewed vigour during Lent are prayer (justice towards God), fasting (justice towards self), and alms giving (justice towards neighbour). Today, some people give up a vice of theirs, add something that will bring them closer to God, and often give the time or money spent doing that to charitable purposes or organizations." To provide a sound plan for celebrating Lent with my family we will utilize the three traditional practices: prayer, fasting, alms giving.

Each day, during the 40 days of Lent, we will focus our 'prayer' by connecting with our God of choice, whether in sitting together quietly, taking a walk outside and connecting with our surroundings, preparing a meal together giving full attention to the bounty before us, writing, or reading something that inspires us.

Each day, during the 40 days in Lent, we will make sure to focus our 'fasting' to better the lives of those we live with. We will fast from saying hurtful words, forgetting our chores, not listening, and other acts that may seem hurtful or unfriendly (to be determined by each individual). Being a family with small children, I feel like it is so important to allow our children the most potential for personal growth. Having said that, fasting from foods is not something I want to encourage, even if it is sweets, ice cream, or gum! Focusing on 'doing' something positive seems more fulfilling in the long run and will hopefully bring lasting change. Sweet treats will always return after Lent, but, working long and hard on changes within our personality, my hope is that the harmony that will ensue will be clear......everyone will be happier!

Each day, during the 40 days in Lent, we will focus our energies on 'giving'. Giving to each other, giving to our neighbors, giving to those we don't know. We will give of our time and talents......to focus deeply on things we are good at and then doing to benefit someone other than ourselves. These tasks are easily done by all members a family, young and old! Little ones and older ones can help clean out a neighbors garden bed, bring treats to the Humane Society, bake for the food pantry, visit the home bound, bring cheer to someone who might be feeling down. The ideas and possibilities are endless. Giving is endless. Lent is about Giving, the ultimate in sacrifice! Giving is LOVE. God is LOVE!!!! It all makes perfect sense and these things don't need to end once Lent has. They can be motivations to change ones life forever and bring us closer to the God our our choosing as well as bring us close to remembering who we are meant to be. These small shifts in ones consciousness will bring peace to the heart and soul.

Each day during these 40 days I will share a thought of the day. A focus to help guide the Lenten day. Whether it is an idea to share with family, a simple meditation, a song, a poem, a picture. My hope is to bring inspiration to Lent and to help foster the joy Lent can bring in it's endless celebration of life and giving. I am choosing not to focus on the traditional 'sadness and grief' that is associated with Lent but to bring about the Love that was shared by Jesus and all others that suffered in sacrifice to each other. This truly is such an inspirational time. Being that today is Ash Wednesday we will celebrate the beginning of our Lent together with a fire. We will make ash to bring symbolism to the day. We will share this poem:

"Tomorrow at sunset the Journey begins
The footprints precede you, but glow from within
Stop often to listen, to pray and to write
Be aware of your breathing, your feelings, your Light
Be true to intention, to wisdom received
Allow for transition in what you believe
Open your heart that your Way may be known:
That your peace and your truth become solid as stone."

We will celebrate a lovely meal and enjoy our homemade Lenten pretzels (which have a fun Lenten history). We will make a plan for the next day to keep our focus and to share in the excitement of all the wonderful gifts to come: how we will 'pray/connect' together, what we will 'fast' from, and how we will give of ourselves. I wish for you an inspiring Lenten journey.

Trust that your God loves you and wants only the best for you. Trust that giving of yourself is one of the greatest gifts you can give. Trust that God is Love.


Friday, March 4, 2011

Into a daybreak that's wondrously clear......

Welcome to the New Moon! There is an awesome awareness that comes with this moon: an expansion of new understanding and creative endeavors that will support our ability to tap into the energies of our dreams and aspirations. WOW!!! This energy will be with us for the next 18 months so it seems as though this would be a great time to reconnect with our intentions and put good use to this extraordinary energetic shift.

The most wonderful realization about the time of the New Moon is that it marks a new beginning. This time identifies one that can be of deeper connection and inner growth within our personal lives. This particular New Moon will require that we find or rediscover our own truths and connection to our passion. We could be flooded with a library of new ideas and spirit that will drive us into action in order to discover what it is that makes our hearts sing. In that light, it is of utmost importance to act, in all ways, from the heart........to be open to our truths and feel love and a deep sense of compassion for every living thing.

How awesome that we get the chance to start anew every single month! We are given the opportunity to re-evaluate the prior month, weed out the things that didn’t work, and apply a brand new approach in our lives and the path we’re leading. It’s very liberating when you think about that......it’s like a breath of fresh air that we can count on to purify and replenish all that is within us. As I think of how I might be affected by this energetic shift, I am reminded that everyone’s response and reactions to these changes will be different, they may even pose a challenge. Change is not easy.......and when we feel an inner drive to be something different, feel a calling for another type of work/creative play/project, it can bring with it frustration and sense of being unclear with all that you have become thus far. Compassion. Act with compassion.

I think about how my life has changed, from 10 years ago to now. Of course that is a broad time frame, however, I can clearly see how I have grown.........in motherhood, in friendships, in marriage, in personal awareness and growth. It is astonishing how in 10 years, all of these amazing changes and shifts can happen, but........I find it most amazing that during those huge transitions, revelations, epiphanies, I was almost unaware of what was happening. I knew ‘something’ was happening.......beginning an education, moving through a personal journey, rediscovering those ideals that align my heart with my mind.......but I didn’t know what and to what capacity. I just trusted that all was well, I discovered my direction and found the guidance I needed for the questions I needed answered.

Having discovered the potential that comes with this New Moon, I am awestruck to know that this will also be the time that I begin my tuning for Reiki I. I have been feeling the intense pull to act on this and the time kept narrowing itself to now. I had originally thought to begin with the newness of the Spring Equinox, but thankfully, my teacher knew that this time would be optimal. To know that my heart is aligning with my mind and to know the power that comes from being connected, evenly, to both, is wonderful inspiring and assuring.

As I think of all the amazing potential this new time holds for all of us, I’m always called to discover what that means for the children. How will our children be effected through all of the energetic pulling and shifting? Some might be a little cranky, some might have more energy than usual, and some may become saddened or troubled. They know there is something happening, it’s a matter of whether or not they are held in the light so that they may have the opportunity to grow, shift, align their hearts and minds. Our children are our biggest dreams and dreamers. Imagine the amazing potential they would have if we could just let them loose and allow them to cultivate all that is real for them. I think of my daughter, Bella, who has been put in a very tight spot. She has just learned that a vacation has been planned, where she is expected to go, on the same weekend as her dance recital. For her, no matter what she decides, she feels someone will be disappointed. Typically, my sweet child would throw a tantrum, become very irritable, and stay hold up in her room angry and wistful. Instead, she has been talking about how she feels and she has discovered that she doesn’t really like this particular dance class anymore. She’s feeling the urge to move on to other grand adventures, like horseback riding. She has also discovered that it feels better for her to not go on vacation and finish out her dance class instead, since it will be her last. Now, her gut reaction was to go on vacation and forget about dance, but once she sat quietly, aligned her heart and mind, she discover that which she thought she knew didn’t fit. It’s these little lessons our children bring that reminds us of how we can be more authentic to ourselves and those around us.

To celebrate the New Moon with my family, we are planning a retreat. We will stay home, be at peace with one another, play games, draw together, read together, snuggle in together. We will honor that which makes us all who we are and begin the dialogue to discover those things that align our hearts and minds. We will discover and help chart out the paths that will lead to the guidance and answers we need to make it happen for each of us. We will celebrate life and our family. We will simply be......in love and compassion.

As the New Moon shifts into your life, I wish for you a stronger sense of peace. I wish for you the guidance and answers that you seek to align your hearts and minds. Be free from those things that keep you from allowing yourself your dreams. It is all possible.......be in it. Be.......in love and compassion.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The March winds are the morning yawn

It has been a beautiful March thus far. Sunny, mild temperatures, and a cheerful disposition make the day that much brighter. It was an early morning and I'll admit, it was lovely to be up and going before 7:00am. Usually, I'm not one to admit that willingly but today......I will.

Charlotte and I decided that since today was March 1st we must celebrate the newness that is forthcoming. Charlotte and I love making things together, typically they're baked things, but today we decided to 'bake' for the birds. On our home we have two lovely bird feeders. One right close to our kitchen window where we see and talk to the birds that dine at our window buffet. It's a wonderful treat early in the morning when the birds are just waking up and one by one they come to the window. It's this quiet, slow time of day that I luxuriate over my cup of coffee and am grateful for the little things......particularly juncos!

Since Spring is on it's way and along with it a plethora of new birds we decided to make a bird treat. I had a couple of larger pine cones lying around so we thought using those as our vehicles with which to deliver our snacks would be sufficient. Most recipes for bird snacks call for lard or some other animal derived fatty substance........we went with peanut butter! I can only think it's healthier for the birds who will gorge themselves and, well......this is a whole other topic entirely! Nonetheless, peanut butter will offer them the extra calories essential oil content and will also work to glue our birdseed on to the pine cones.

The basic rule is to have fun, make a messy and lick your fingers!!! Simply coat a pine cone with peanut butter (smooth or crunchy would be fine as well as ANY other type of nut butter)and then roll the peanut butter slathered pine cone in birdseed.

We tied our two together with some twine and hung it on a branch where the birds wait their turn for the other bird feeders.

After we had hung up our little surprise for the birds we sat quietly on our porch step and waited and listened and watched the flurry begin. The chickadees and juncos discovered the pungent peanut snack and flitted by and around the pine cones. I had suggested to Charlotte, and not only because I wasn't wearing my coat, that we sneak back inside and watch from our window.

Once we returned and warmed up a wee bit we came to the window to discover this.......

Today I am grateful for my children,the birds and this most inspiring day!

"One must ask children and birds how cherries and strawberries taste." ~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
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