Love transforms. . . .

Perhaps you also feel as I in looking about, and wondering is this not the hardest lifetime to have lived?  This lifetime is filled with notes and memos reminding me of the impossible events I have labored through.  And wondering from where came the energy and the chutzpah to work through them. 

I am glad for the nudge that brought me to the keyboards to note those events.  It is dotage that brings a respite from vivid memories because the weight of them is burdensome.  Glad that I learned what was mine to learn and now ready for what refreshes Spirit.

And glad for the sons in my life who brought awesome gifts to me and whose presence in my life made what was mine to learn, necessary.  Not only helped make me a better human being, but wealth in experience money cannot touch.   They are the jewels of my life.  Love transformed us all.

Legacy. . .  

The house is quiet
when I enter this private place,
this holy place,
to listen to my private oracle,
my comforter,
while I chase down my holy grail.

This holy grail for me
is my philosophy,
that I spent a lifetime pursuing.
I was pushed and pulled
into a blackened pit
strewn with many lifetimes’ worth
of desecrated dogmas.

I was expected not to question,
just accept as mankind had dutifully done
for centuries.
But life’s ironies consumed
an enormous part of me
as the maternal segment refused
to feed the children of my heart
an unpalatable meal.

Strong arms lifted me
and the nearing century
found me
in august terms in a legacy.

But I will leave some memos, essays,
words of many muses,
whose meanings are dressed
in costumes of countless lifetimes.
There will be ledgers
on how to build a life
with digestible ingredients.

Done as the mother of sons
whose hearts and minds she hallowed
so they would never, ever
think that she took
the keys of the kingdom

 and left them bereft.

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A State Of Mind. . . . .

  A State of Mind     

 

‘Country’ is surely as much a state of mind as it is a way of life.  If it is a place, it need not be in this time and space.    It can indeed be buried so deep in memory that in the normal course of affairs, it will not be unearthed. 

Just to recognize the feeling is sufficient.  One can live in the center of the largest metropolis, yet have within the pulsating heart the yearning for ‘country’.  And find its expression, it will.

The eyes will hunger for a skyline with no buildings.  And we will find the largest field we can and pick out the hedgerows and swiftly identify the birds nesting.  The heart will be alert for the sudden movement in the shrubs and note with delight the brown eyes of the trusting doe. 

The feet will shed their years in the cool grasses and pick up  the butterfly net with the youngest child and take to the fields.  It is the metamorphosis of the most profound kind.  It is the body coming to life in however brief a time.  And sometimes, too brief.

For eyes too long held to the grimy snow of cities,  in the one whose heart brims with ‘country’  even the first city snowfall will bring to mind other times where ghosted angels cavorted in knee high drifts. 

In those very eyes the star valentine will be seen and be recognized by a similar soul trudging alongside.  It is a song to be heard and Nature calling to her own.

Touches of ‘country’ will be found everywhere.  Sometimes an ancient bowl and pitcher will have a special place to be handled carefully with dreams attached.   Or a checkered cloth with pottery will be set for dinner.  And cornflowers in a crystal vase. 

Stories will be born unto these memories brought in from deep wells of yearning and they will spring to life and hurtle into the future with internal power.

Carefully crafted wooden toys, highly polished, will seem to belong to another time.  The receiving child will still delight in what is different but unmistakably made  with love.  And the circled guests will marvel at a cobbler floating its berries in heavy cream and shush the health fanatics with ‘it doesn’t  happen every day’.

These are tributes to another time and place and also to those who keep alive a way of life for those of us less fortunate.  And the loss is felt when lives are run by the second hand on the clock, when there are no fields in center cities for children to run barefoot in grasses.

Country people whose lives are lived with their eyes to the clock, their senses to the change in wind and darkening skies and wheat fields ready on the moment for harvesting, may not readily agree.  But the differences are valuable and meaningful.  In their presence one senses the difference immediately.

It is that imperceptible hesitancy in answering a question that articulates keenly variables affecting an answer.  It is in that glance that takes in the horizon, ‘whence cometh my help’ before a commitment is made.  It is in the delicate thrust of a child’s hand in answer to a greeting.  And the firm grip of the parents’ on yours.

These come from an innate love and respect for our Earth Mother.

These are the signs of ‘country’, simple, articulate, trusting when trust is extended.  Beautiful, artfully crafted with loving hands, whether from the oven or the workshop or the knitting needles.  Signs that we cling to because our lives depend on them and they do.

So when the first snow flies in countable flakes, keep me in mind.  I will be searching the snow for the earth angels.  And I will find you.

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English Muffin Bread that toasts divinely. . . .

You might find this helpful if you will be having a houseful of hungry people looking for something to eat Thanksgiving morning but wanting to leave space for big bird, this you will feed them.  Everyone loves English Muffins but to have enough on hand leaves a bare budget.  This recipe makes two loaves and they are good!  And taste even better than the muffins.  Follow the recipe and don’t substitute.  I have and when something is good,  I hope I have learned not to  mess with perfection. 

This yellowed recipe is from the Detroit Free Press from early 1982.  I know some of you were not born, but  I narrow the decade to the century mark.  I don’t know why I seem to have lost this recipe to be found again because  even in hard times we have to eat. 

 

 

 

5 ½ to 6 c flour , divided
2 pkgs active dry yeast or
(4 ½ tsp measured active dry yeast)
1 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp salt
¼ tsp baking soda
2 c milk
½ c water
Cornmeal

In large bowl combine three cups of flour, yeast, sugar, salt and baking soda; set aside.
Heat milk and water until very warm (120 to 130 degrees). Add to flour mixture gradually, beating constantly. Until batter is smooth. Gradually add enough of the remaining flour to make a stiff batter. It takes most of the flour.

(I sprinkle some flour on the counter and push the batter onto counter.  It will be stiff enough to smooth and knead into a ball gently 2 or 3 times.  This I love to do because I somehow know the dough knows the feel of my hands and the love flowing through.  It is my connection and who I am,)

Prepare two 8 ½  x 4 ½ inch loaf pans greasing lightly and sprinkling with cornmeal if you wish.  Divide dough into equal parts for each pan.  Sprinkle with more cornmeal.  The directions say to cover with damp cloth.  I don’t have success doing this because the cloth always sticks.  I just put the 2 pans in a warm place until almost double in bulk. For me it is a little over ½ to 1 hour. My warm place is a toaster oven with no heat of course.  Or your regular oven with no heat. 

You may have a warm place the family pets cannot reach.  Let rise an inch above the center of the pan.  It has a tendency to fall should you forget and let rise all around the pan.  If you do and it does, remove and knead lightly and let rise again.  It happened to me and took a little more time, but no calamity.  I had dressed the tops in the photo with bagel seasonings.  

Bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes.  I have invested in an instant thermometer and wonder why it took me so long.  At 195-200 degrees the bread is done.  No guessing.  Otherwise all my life I tapped the bread like a drum for reason I do not know to this day.  To my ears it was a drumbeat.  Remove from pans and cool on rack.  Makes 2 loaves.  Enjoy and in good health.

 

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What if it is true. . . just for today. . .

What if it is true. . . . .just for today. . . .

 The thought occurred to me what if whatever we think  is true. . .  just for today?  How would it affect me and life around me?  How would it affect you being related in thought with me?

What if it were true that thoughts are things and have a weight?  That everything crossing our minds is true somewhere, what would their effect be?  And what if our thoughts hang in the air, ripe for anyone’s picking?

Supposing, just supposing what we are thinking is considered prayer by the heavens?  Would we be embarrassed? Because we  approach our Thanksgiving holy days of gratitude, can we try something?

We are a special country on this earth.  And many the world over, envy us.  We were settled because people fled persecution for many reasons and one of them being they wished to worship in their own way.  We are a country composed of  the world’s religions and it makes us special because sacred customs  are honored.

My mentor, the Nazarene said you give me a drink of water and you give a drink to all.  Or what you do for one, all will do for the each.  When you do something kind, it is a way of giving your blessing to everyone you meet.  It is a gift we all can give simply because we breathe the same air.

Since you are reading this, I assume you learned to read in kindergarten when I did .  I read the Dick and Jane stories about families not like mine.  I also learned to be kind to the one sitting next to me and not to hurt feelings, to be gentle. 

Which was a big lesson to learn because those sitting next to me were different than me and were not allowed to come to my house to play.  We all had to learn that different can be a  big lesson because in many ways you see me as different than you.

So let us  be helpful and do good.    Today we will think kindly about each other and give our blessings.  We try for happy memories for all and send our thoughts skyward so that whoever finds them will say thank you!

Be it true. . . just for today have our thoughts be prayers and see where they go.  We can do it. . . .just for today.  I attach my name to mine.  You too?

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He Watch-ed Me. . . he watch-ed me. . . .

This is my birthday gift to my inlaw daughter Claudia and my granddaughter great Emma E.  They almost share the same birthdate just one day apart.  Emma E. will hear this blue boy story many times and will come to love hearing them.  She knows she walks on her toes because she was a dancer before she was a baby to them all.  She told her mother this.  To the birthday girl and birthday grandmother, my love to you both in a heart hug.  I am glad you both chose me to come to.  I have loved you both from  forever.

 

Can we make the snowman now,  the little one asked.   Almost time,  I said,  almost time.   Well, he said,  when will it be the right time?   And I asked him to think about it.   He was still for a minute and then asked me what I meant. 

Well, I said,  there is a right time and a not so right time about things.   Can you name some things that have a right time?   He looked at me and with a bright smile that showed gleaming teeth,  and said, yes!!!   Well then,   I said,  tell me.

And he looked at me and said that it was always a right time to make cookies.   It was a right time to eat ice cream.   And it was a right time to take care of those littler than you.   And it is always a right time to put your toys away when you are ready for bed.

I agreed with all of those and I said that was good thinking.  And then I asked for examples of things that don’t have a right time. Can you think of some and tell me what those are?

Welllll. . . . he said, the not so right time is when you ask me to do something and I am not ready because I am not finished with what I am doing.

Intrigued, I asked, what can you possibly be doing that I don’t know about and especially when it is the right time? And he looked at me with wonder, puzzled. . . . . you don’t know?   Nooooo, I said, I don’t.

Well, he said, when I am doing private things and ‘specially when I am telling secrets and those are private things.  When I am talking to my friends that you don’t see.

And when do you do that?  I asked.   When I play and whisper things to them.   They whisper back but you can’t hear them.   But we have talks and they are my friends.   Who are they?,  I asked.   These are good friends from before.   When,  before ?,  I asked.   Before I came to you,  he said.   They are my forever friends, he said.   Forever.

Hold onto them,  I said.   Hold tightly to them.   And you be their forever friend.   Tell me next time you talk so that I can wait till you are through.   I know,  he said that you have forever friends.   How do you know this?,   I asked.   I see you move your lips and I know you are talking to your forever friends.   I watch-ed you, he said.   I watch-ed you.

And then I hugged this little forever friend who watch-ed me.

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Like Silly Putty In The Hands Of Children. . . . .

  . . . .I got to thinking about this dream that made this world and all in it.  I have been thinking about Michael Talbot who figured out that this was a holographic universe and everything in it was a soup kitchen.  Soupy and until we looked at it to name it and because we identified it, it turned into matter.  So the soupy mess never stayed that way because the minute we looked at it,  it became more solid. 

And the noises surrounding all this identifying and naming and  photographing we couldn’t because we found  also that when identified everything soupy had potential.  Even if we thought there was no life in it, the bottom line to subatomic particles is that there is no divisive factor.  Everything is non divisive,  is united or clinging to their almost likeness because there is a desire to bring forth life I think, in The All or Life or what we think Sacred. 

What I was trying to say years ago in Connecticut when Hal and Ann(our minister friends)  came to dinner was that there is God In A Rock.  That even when we dismiss non life we simply do not have eyes to see everything and what we are dismissing as non viable may indeed be submerged and we don’t have those eyes yet to see.  Because all that we acknowledge is what we are able to relate to.  

As I read the Talbot book what is seen is the top layer of what we look for.  And Researcher Bohm by his proclivity  says that the deeper secrets still are not evident.  We only see what we look for.  So we can only discuss the soupy texture of the Universe and what we hope to see is what is composed of this soup.

As  we evolve we create the reality we identify as we swim in it and rewrite it.  We draw summations of what we experience and view but we cannot project what conclusions can be drawn from the parts.

The good Science does is that it tries to compute how things began but we draw conclusions from what is experienced and what has been glimpsed.  The full potential is not yet disclosed.  And what we are open to.   The potential is in its becoming.

Perhaps as Susan Howatch wrote some philosophers believed that human nature cannot grasp the concept of reality at all. 

My dream of our David after his death was as he came down the street while I was moving the water hose on the front lawn.  I said David you are alive and well and he said it is a wonder.  Heaven  makes  as many mistakes as he had,  David said.

And the reason for the mistakes is that as long as there is growth, no conclusions are drawn because it is incomplete, everything inconclusive and offers potential growth.  Is anything ever finalized?  Surely beyond my frame of thought.  But as long as there is a one who thinks he can make a difference, can we close anything off?   

Especially if the ending is not determined to have a final potential.  Or is final potential an oxymoron?  It can be understood that our desire for manifestation of our mind’s produce gave way to this world’s creation.  Was there direction foreseen with boundaries within moral and ethical choices?  Was there a sense of sexual morass or proclivity to it all?

We have seen human behaviors manipulated as so much silly putty in the hands of  children.  And we have seen the reality show onstage and have seen applause inhaled as so much addictive substance. 

We couldn’t believe what we were seeing because it was not in our frame of reference.  But it blew our minds and we are all wounded.  We have not recovered and wonder if we ever will.

 

photo by  Mark Jacobson

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Observations. . .from my lifetimes. . .

If you do not intend to look back,  it’s best to remember to lift the plow.
*****
Wishes are as potent a force as fishes swimming in live water.
***** 
Under adverse conditions, we become more of what we are.
***** 
To think is a holy obligation.  And to be held accountable should follow.  We would then be responsible human beings?  Imagine that!
*****
The world no longer tolerates the thinker.  He has become a recluse in the ribbon of concrete. 
*****
The world hails the activist, the doer.  The attention and kudos are granted no matter the consequences, constructive or not.  And we live in those consequences.
***** 
Curbside decisions belong to the white charger.  The smooth phrase, the quick retort are only newsworthy.  And both fade rapidly in memory to be recalled only by the video screen.
*****
The thoughtful person cannot find a place to be asked a question requiring the time to raise their eyes to the hills and back for a reflective answer.
*****
The visionary has the look of one used to focusing on the horizon.  I have time for the visionary.  They have substance for the long haul as a participant in the vision.  And strangely, human events still take time no matter how we wish otherwise. 
***** 
The immediate situation may be alleviated with a curbside decision but the progression of humankind may never be affected.  There is always that hope. 
*****  
Where is safe?  Safe is only in your head because no place is safe.  And I would have to argue your head.
*****                                                    
Nothing gets done in this world unless somebody’s back breaks, a somebody’s legs ache and at least a somebody’s mind splinters and a heart rips apart.
*****  

 

photo by
Kathy Rybacki Qualiana

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The Workers Are Few. . . feeling used?. . .

 

Feeling Used?  Of Course!

And the call came and because panic ensued,  the young one got dressed and the night found him getting another vehicle running and a friend grateful to be driving home.  I asked him do they realize what they ask?  No clue, gram.  Not a clue.  They are scared to death and hope no one approaches their stalled car. 

And an other finds her time called upon to transfuse a parent with soothing words and tangibles.  Her time for making a living takes her days. And an other finds his talents are siphoned to fallouts of matchstick houses that need first aid.  And grandparents across the world these days still are pledged to keep the grandchildren from self destructing. 

And because I live with a son and in law daughter,  a sibling said, you are live in help!  As opposed to a facility that does not allow access to a kitchen where I can cook comfort foods and bake cookies?  I have been perfecting signature foods for almost 80 years and have become quite good, I think.  Where I can sit near a fireplace and drink coffee and absorb heat to thaw icy limbs to feel human?

I remember 10 and 12 hour days when I would have gone on bended knee with gratitude to find dinner prepared to welcome me home.  Or when the children were toddlers to have an afternoon for a nap or a leisurely bath.  Most grandparents have these memories and know the priceless value of them.  Or an evening for dinner out. 

Taken for granted.  Must.  Workers with conscience always are taken for granted.  Heaven has to count on us so we keep the classroom open.   

And times now flood our days with information. We feel inadequate and not caring if we are not quick to comment with knowledge about the national scene which goes from chaos to madness daily.  No one seems to have a handle on anything and no one assumes accountability.  So we have no decisions. 

Any thoughtful person realizes that the Sages and Gods are not up to decision making.  With knowledge of simultaneous times (everything happened yesterday or is happening now) most have forgotten the details of earth life.  So complex has daily life become, it takes a hands on knowledge to come through on a daily basis. 

It seems we have given no thought to updating our beliefs and myths that solace our days.  What does it matter?  A whole lot when you find yourself no longer breathing earth’s rarified air and you are waking up someplace you do not want to be.  No one wants to take on the Book of Revelation to change an iota that has been written.  Scared to death we are lest we be swiped to oblivion. 

But we don’t need an anthropomorphic god to be decent and caring people.  Or knowledgeable.  Our God of Choice is who animates us and is our GodWithin.  And if we don’t like who we are,  it is time to take ourselves to a classroom.  To school. 

Ambient adherence I call it.  Ambient adherence.   We are the example of what it means to live in a world and absorb its ambience unknowingly.  Like breathing in Covid 19 unbeknownst.  Because  someone not having symptoms is contagious.  Asymptomatic. We will kill each other and not know why and learn nothing. 

Education is the only answer to deal with a world where everyone is at a different juncture of understanding.  That is the way Evolution works.  We are not allowed to take a step toward the next until we integrate understanding of where we are.  This is the ethical structure I have come to understand.  It is God?  Ethically speaking.  Because all the accoutrements accompanying each step must be integrated and that means things like kindness and compassion. 

The subjective things understood  depends on the GodWithin.   Painful?  You bet.  Otherwise …we go down the tube again. 

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What’s A Mind For?

Somethings Learned While Scrubbing. . (with no help and no money we called it work, and did not know it was multi tasking. . )

 I scribed. . .January 16, 1994. . . .

When capacities are stretched continually, compassion fatigue is a condition when all avenues are locked into emotions.  It is no surprise to us to find we burn out and just do not care much.  The words out of us then when confronted are so what else is new? And we shrug off what we should care about and we know that is not right.

The need then is to go into  some quiet place and rethink our position.  Time to hold conference within ourselves and then to share ourselves with a trusted one.  As long as there are commitments who of need depend on us,  we cannot fail to perform to the best of our ability.  Tired as we are,  regret is not the companion we want for the rest of our days.  I tell you true.

To the age old question, who is going to care?  Your voice may be the only one in the wilderness that is heard.  Your ‘I do!’  may be the one history carries forever.  Let it be so.

And furthermore. . . wonder also why we labor under the illusion that heaven has the answers and knows what is best.  And too often it gets us off the hook of accountability and we let all hang loose.  We then don’t have to make a thoughtful decision about anything because we say we have left it in God’s hands.  

And then we wonder how the ones with hate and anger  unite others  to destroy our cherished lives.  They unite in their anger and rush to destroy with vengeance what powers them.

I understand remedial classes are now added when we leave our world to enhance the teaching of what could not be grasped here.  And for the reluctant ones not equal to accountability, our present names are attached to half-hearted attempts at reconciliation.    

In truth our present lives far exceed the simplicity of the Sages on Olympus.  Their memories are cloudy and there is no relation to the complexity of lives today with the  storms of conflicts and treacherous devastation of our institutions.

I have learned that time spent in thought, in conference with the GodWithin which animates us, is looked upon as prayer.  When motivations are researched and the arguments are valid,  we become teachers as well as students.  And heaven takes note of us and responds.

When our thoughts and actions are one and pulled simultaneously through our hearts, we teach what we feed our minds.  And the power to act and accomplish because we use our minds to think all things through is a sacred gift. 

It is one we use to build and not dismantle.  It is used with words such as honor, trust, love and bond.

I scribed July 27, 1990 . . .you wrote that heaven matched your thoughts.  It could be also that you matched the heavens.  You think on it. . . (for William, a  professor of holy writ. . .   who commented on the poem I wrote feeling humbled when heaven matched my thoughts and he could relate,  perhaps you matched heaven’s thoughts?  Why did we all believe that heaven had all the answers?  And who told us?)

 

art by Claudia Hallissey

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Take Me Home Jason, Take Me Home. . .it is time.

 

 

I have been trying to catch up with myself for a very long time now.  Putting up with the old timer’s disease of trying to make a body work like I remember it doing.  But of course, it does not.  At better than 90 it will not conjure the energy it did at 50.  Or even 75.  And I did pretty well at 75! 

But still a couple of things pulsing my perimeters and causing me to reflect.  Having no talent for memorizing,  I do recall almost word for word the first poem introduced to my inner hearing called Courage.  That I could almost remember word for word surprised me.  I remember sharing it with my husband and sons and of course they guffawed and did not believe I just wrote it.  But I did and I am a truth teller.  I have researched it and it had no history.  And keep looking.  It goes like this. . .

Courage. .

How often have we stood
in water, ankle deep,
daring not to take a plunge
or do a running leap?

How often have we said
the water is too cold,
in truth we know our lack
is courage pure and bold.

There is hope for those of us
who’ve stood too long at bay.
There’s time to grab onto the reins
and steer through just one day.

It would be so much easier now
had we been taught before
that courage is acquired
and practiced evermore.

Our characters will toughen up,
our hides grow thicker skins
and surprise ourselves in water cold
to find we’ve sprouted fins!

(written 1963)

Also in all this research and malaise and introspection that exhausts such meager surplus of  energy, somehow also coming to mind was a simple nugget that goes and brings up the little girl Veronica who held onto Papa’s hand. . .

The night is silent                          
and the air is very cold,
I wish I were a child again
with a hand to hold. . .

And after looking at what I thought was in the files and did not find,  I think it was written by author Marcia Willett’s  sister whose name I don’t know.  The poem was simple enough but meaningful to what I was reading at the time.

And the last thing I looked at were recipes in a scrapbook taken from when I was a 12 and intolerant of heat and sun and relegated to the kitchen.  My mother took my place in the fields on the Farm.  I took the scrapbook when I left home and used forever when housekeeping.   But this was in the scrapbook of recipes cut from Woman’s Day magazine but this column uncertain.  Clipped from a magazine and  titled Household 1954.  Written by Barbara Nelson because her little son complained  that the prayer his mother said at night with him made him fearful because he did not want to die.  The prayer was Now I lay me down to sleep and every child was taught that.  She wrote instead the following which was calming and with a foot in the future of religious evolution. 

God in me and God in you,
in everything of good we do.
We thank you Lord that this is so,
we thank you that we live and grow.

I must spend more time doing what I love to do because ideas fall all over themselves and run down the front of my shirt. I want to snatch them up before they disappear into thin air and no longer be visible.  That is how I know I am in my dotage.  When younger the ideas flew and clung together in a synergistic manner.  They gathered upon themselves like matters that embellished and enhanced their basic meaning.  And the topics grew and became legends and we had something to consider.  And our knowledge as mankind, as humankind was enhanced.

And what then.  See.  I can put myself back there and relive the ancient times and know I am not far from the truth.  Take me home, Jason, take me home.  It is time.

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