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Valentine Table

Napkinwriter has been silent lately. While I hold great value in silence and quiet and while it serves me well, I also need to keep speaking as Napkinwriter. I hope over the next two weeks that intention manifests as I enter new posts.

I am not sure what form it will take. Probably just practice writing. But it will be a start.

Ahh, the word……practice…..so very important in all phases of life and being.

I may use writing prompts as jumping in points. I have relied on reading daily in my spiritual guides and uplifting literature increasingly these past few months. I am grateful to pick up a long-held book or review one of my favorites on my Kindle. They hold much support for me, indeed.

My life is filled with caregiving for Tom these days as he has had a steep, uphill recovery path from skin surgeries for cancer coming very close together. From his usual Mohs procedures to complicated full OR surgical procedures, for about six months now with a weekly return for more procedures and checkups coming up in March. These treatments and medical care have been given expertly and consciously by the medical staff members at University of Michigan Cancer Center. We have deep gratitude for the caring attendance and professional guidance and skills they have given us all through this ongoing journey.

We have had to allow a lot of quiet space and companionship in our days together. Not much talk. Some. But a lot of observation on both the physical and emotional planes. Respect. Love. Trust. Gratefulness, above all. Never to let that slip, keeping our hearts open to the goodness and richness of our together life.

Tom's Valentine

Remembrances. I made a SoulCollage for Tom’s valentine. I was hearing the clues in music played that led up to Valentine’s Day.

I have stood on the mountains with Tom. The Smokey Mountains. The Blue Ridge Mountains, Pikes Peak and the Colorado Rockies and Mount Haliokula in Hawaii.

We swam together and snorkled in the luscious Caribbean seas of the U.S. and British Virgin Islands. What glorious times.

I do want to stay this way forever, as lovers, companions, spouses…..

Until the sky falls down on me.  It has been above us for more than fifty years.

For that, I am grateful.

Golden Anniversary

I have a “Stuff” file that piles up at the end of every year as holiday festivities and fun take over the days into the new year. Then I usually procrastinate and stare the pile down before I work up the courage to sit down and take care of “the stuff.”  Usually medical EOBs and other stuff that bears looking into or catagorizing and making a place for.

Today was that day. I did it.

But in the midst of the work, came some playful fun. There were several cards in this pile given to us for the celebration of our 50th wedding anniversary in June.

So as I sorted them out, I began to see an image form for a SoulCollage card, and I stopped the work and brought a beautiful and symbolic image together from the cards that I now add to my SoulCollage deck.

I love having this card, and Tom and I being the golden butterflies, fly freely among the roses and into the see breeze.

The lighthouse stands as a symbol of the guiding spiritual light we have always felt in our love and our lives. The seashore brings the water of graces flowing into our lives.

And while there is sand, our love is rooted on firm ground, strengthened by the rock of faith and the values of church, love and joy. The Holy Spirit brings these gifts to us and we are grateful.

The poem that back the card says:

Love is the power
that brings two souls
together.
It is a promise,
a dance, a song.
It opens doors
and explores
new worlds.
Love is a gift
to be celebrated,
and love is
a lifelong journey.
Love grows
in the marriage
of two
devoted hearts.

We have made that promise of love. We have opened new doors and explored new worlds. We are on a lifelong journey.

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daughters

Crying for a Woman I Never Met – Honoring Seena Frost.
Posted on January 14, 2016 by Barbara Techel
GUEST BLOG

Seena FrostSeena Frost, Founder of SoulCollage®.com

http://joyfulpaws.com/blog/2016/01/crying-for-a-woman-i-never-met/

by Barbara Techel

I never met Seena Frost— the remarkable woman who created the process called SoulCollage®. A creative, intuitive, and fun process I learned about in 2014 and trained to become a facilitator.

I was overcome with emotion when I read this on her daughter, Jennifer’s Facebook page today: “my mother and friend, merged peacefully into oneness with Spirit late last night at home with her family gathered around her.”

Why does this feel so emotional? I wondered. And as I thought about it there are many reasons. First, to think about losing my own mother someday I know will be one of the hardest things I will ever have to face. I can’t even imagine it. But I know this is reality and I pray she will have the same peaceful transition as Seena when her time comes.

Second, I have such immense admiration for Seena. She made such a difference in this world. She has helped thousands, many being women, to find their authentic voices and to be proud in letting their light shine.

In a world where so many are frightened to let the mask come off and be who they really wish to be in fear of judgment, to have had someone like Seena who thrived on encouraging others to tap into their own wisdom, was such a gift – a deeply, rich, wonderful gift.
I’m also getting ready to facilitate a SoulCollage® workshop in my home this Saturday in the lower level of my home which I’ve dubbed, “Joyful Pause Studio.” It’s not my first time sharing this process, but it is the first time in my new space.

I can’t tell you how often I’ve felt scared to take this leap – scared that no one will sign up for the workshops —worried about being disappointed. But I’m honored to have five ladies who will be taking part in the workshop this Saturday.

And so it will be an even more special honor in sharing this with this group of ladies, knowing that I, along with over 2,300 other facilitators, are carrying on the legacy of Seena – with our own authentic styles and voices added to the mix.

I discovered through the many thoughtful memories being shared on Facebook of Seena something she wrote in an article that I want to share also in her honor and memory:
“I truly believe that creating our SoulCollage® cards and sharing them in groups adds positive energy to this cosmic vibration, and will help humans move into the next paradigm. We may not be able to see it, but perhaps, if we look up at the night sky, we can be reminded and reassured of the vastness of Indra’s Net, and, as individual jewels, continue to create and share compassion and hope and humor and love.”

Seena, now part of that night sky, shining ever so brilliantly bright – I take into my heart that beautiful vibration of her spirit and hope that by sharing this process with others, I too, can make a difference in helping others feel safe in sharing their inner light.

Godspeed Seena. Godspeed.

Winter Weather

Steamboat SpringsSteamboat Springs photo by Stacy Taluskie

Winter is coming late to Michigan this year. It is January 10th and we have yet to have much of it, by direct comparison to the blizzards of 2015.

But this morning we got out and about for the necessary things and back home again, fortified for in-door living if the predicted storm arrives.

The snow falling now makes me long for by-gone skiing days of our early adulthood. Both Tom and I enjoyed the cold and frozen temps of Northern Michigan–every moment of them and a bonus was even sometimes getting “snowed in” so that the roads closed and we couldn’t get back to lower Michigan.  Oh darn, another day of skiing. We called in……”snowed in!”

I have a friend from Kentucky, who traded in her days of medical practice as a Physician Assistant, to return to a love of her life — Steamboat Springs, Colorado. She got herself a place to live and went back to work as a lift operator at the famed resort, and is living a life of her dreams. Talk about options!!

StacyStacy

Tom and I lived in Lexington Kentucky for the first twelve years of our married lives and became dear friends of Stacy’s parents and family, leaving Lexington to pursue another dream for ourselves when Stacy was just a toddler.

But before we left, we talked her mom and dad, Stan and Sheila, into going on a cabin snow vacation with us up to Northern Michigan.

And……we offered to teach them how to ski.

 Steamboat2

So that went well, but I don’t think either of them became fans of skiing.  Super bundled up, they both looked almost like the young toddlers with snowsuits where they can barely move their legs and arms. But they were game.

Tom and I taught them the basic snowplow, and assured them they could slow down, turn a bit, and even stop by employing that technique in varying degrees.

Then came the first run. Sheila skied successfully down one hill with Tom closely behind her, issuing verbal and calm directions, which she followed to the tee. She said if she didn’t hear Tom say to do it, she didn’t do anything.

I, on the other hand, took Stan to another hill, and we started off and practiced the snowplow at the top of the hill. That was fine until…..Stan’s skiis started to tilt downward with the gravity of the hill.

Ready

Maybe Stan should have had some of Stacy’s headgear, for he started straightlining down the slope. I picked up speed behind him, shouting (for I am never the calm one), “turn, turn, turn”….. to which Stan replied,  “how, how, how”.

Then he went straight off of ski run and flopped into the fluffy, deep (thank God) snow piled in the out-of-bounds area, with trees ahead of him.

I was between laughing and fright when I arrived beside him, and he lifted up his head from the snow bank, and the snow broke off around his eyes and mouth and mustache, and we corrupted into duo laughing.

He survived and I coaxed him down the rest of the slope. The next day, while Tom and I returned to the snowy slopes, Stan took to roasting the turkey and Sheila sat by the fireplace with a good book and a hot toddy!  Yet they survived, and if they haven’t told the tale, I am doing that right here.

TaluskiesTaluskie’s at home, Stacy on the slopes

Happy New Year and Anniversary Stan and Sheila. Happy Birthday, Sheila. Hi Steve, Shari and Sandi.

Tom and Sue Christmas tree

Traveling Afar

Advent Post

In Father Jim’s homily on Epiphany this morning, he offered to us that God is always being revealed to us through our experience. Always. In every experience. He said at the time of the birth of Jesus and the Epiphany of revelation at the visit of the three kings, that Mary didn’t know at that time what was being revealed.  What was she doing? She was “holding these things in her heart…..she was pondering these things in her heart“and continued to do so throughout her life.

How could she possibly understand what was happening now? How would she understand what was to come?  How?  She held them in her heart…a true contemplative.

I approach a lot of my life this way now, having just turned the age of 73. There is much going on above, around and through me. I journal, I hold these things in my heart. I feel gladness and joy; I experience pain and tears, uncertainty and fear. But I ponder and I am aware of gratitude for the gift of life and love all around me so freely given.

I love the words and art and spiritual vision of Jan Richardson and I share her poem of Epiphany with you for my first 2016 Napkinwriter blog.

 

For Those Who Have Far to Travel
A Blessing for Epiphany

If you could see
the journey whole,
you might never
undertake it,
might never dare
the first step
that propels you
from the place
you have known
toward the place
you know not.

Call it
one of the mercies
of the road:
that we see it
only by stages
as it opens
before us,
as it comes into
our keeping,
step by
single step.

There is nothing
for it
but to go,
and by our going
take the vows
the pilgrim takes:

to be faithful to
the next step;
to rely on more
than the map;
to heed the signposts
of intuition and dream;
to follow the star
that only you
will recognize;

to keep an open eye
for the wonders that
attend the path;
to press on
beyond distractions,
beyond fatigue,
beyond what would
tempt you
from the way.

There are vows
that only you
will know:
the secret promises
for your particular path
and the new ones
you will need to make
when the road
is revealed
by turns
you could not
have foreseen.

Keep them, break them,
make them again;
each promise becomes
part of the path,
each choice creates
the road
that will take you
to the place
where at last
you will kneel

to offer the gift
most needed—
the gift that only you
can give—
before turning to go
home by
another way.

—Jan Richardson
from Circle of Grace

“© Jan Richardson. janrichardson.com

New from Jan Richardson
CIRCLE OF GRACE: A Book of Blessings for the Seasons

Within the struggle, joy, pain, and delight that attend our life, there is an invisible circle of grace that enfolds and encompasses us in every moment. Blessings help us to perceive this circle of grace, to find our place of belonging within it, and to receive the strength the circle holds for us. —from the Introduction

Beginning in Advent and moving through the sacred seasons of the Christian year, Circle of Grace offers Jan’s distinctive and poetic blessings that illuminate the treasures each season offers to us. A beautiful gift this Advent and Christmas. Available in print and ebook.

 

 

Blessed to BE

Sue & Tom

Taking comfort in my family blessings and graces today. I am blessed to be wife and mother.

Blessed Are You Among Women

Sue & Girls Lexington

“Hail Mary, full of Grace
The Lord is with you.
Blessed art thou among women
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb
, Jesus”

Family Disney

Happy Mother’s Day to my beautiful family of women
who express in the world the highest esteem, respect and
faith in motherhood.

You set the foundation of our country
and give our future hope, otherwise unrealized.

I will call you by name:

Grandmothers:  Katherine Heffron, with whom I shared little girl stories and private sharings of what grandma was like in the “prairie days.” Grandma Tanberg with whom I shared blood heritage, giggles and hugs. Grandma Thompson, only a short stint of summer farm days. (But a secret alcove upstairs in the farmhouse, where I spent many hours alone going through scraps of fabrics and antiques of great-grandma and grandma’s possessions nobody else cared about).

Three beautiful mothers:  Doris Tanberg Heffron, who gave me birth and told her best friend, motherhood was the purpose of her life, which ended here on earth a few days after my birth. She was also mother to my older brother Dave, whom she told my father in the Catholic orphanage that: “this was the baby for us; nobody else would love him like I can.” So Dave got a sister a short year and one-half after he became first sibling in our family; me.

Marion Heffron – the mother I knew and loved from age 2, who created a home for us, being dad, Dave, younger brother John and me.  Mom’s creativity was homemaking par excellence and a soft, caring heart for others. She was in love with her grandchildren and puffed with pride at our daughters’ accomplishments, enjoying many of them before she died of Alzheimers. She loved it when Great-grandson Andrew pushed her wheel chair fast for her trips around the nursing home. She laughed and laughed and probably remembered herself doing what others said she did: “She drove fast!

Frances Helminski Hajec – I fell in love with my ” newest mom” the first day I met her when Tom brought his “intended” home to his family.  Mom was a gift of Mary to all her future daughters-in-law, who wanted nothing more than each of her sons to be loved and cared for by a good woman. And she DID get her wish 100%.

Mary mother of God

Andrew and Great Buscia

Little Kelly

Daughters: Laura Sue Hajec Mitchell, wife of Carl Mitchell and mother of Amy; Kathleen Marie Hajec Warriner, wife of Gregory Warriner and mother of Devon and Andrew. Two daughters who grace the world with their gifts and talents of giving and focus on motherhood. They and their children make this world better by their being here.

Grama,Devon & Amy

Baptism Cloth

Andrew and Me

Bed time pals

Kathleen and Clarinet

Laura baby Amy

Amy and Dr. mom

Happy Mothers Day to sisters in-law Joan Heffron, wife of John and Linda Brown Heffron, wife of David who have been with us for many family celebrations and added to our lives with their creativity and generosity and presence.

Sisters in-law:  (Stan’s) Lucy Hajec, mother of Nick, Chris and Katie. We shared many summer vacations with them in Delaware with the young cousins romping about at the shore.

(Joe’s) Susan Hajec, mother and grandmother focused entirely on faith, family and health.  (and swimming!)

Mimi and grandson Robert

Susan - swimming

(Dave’s) Donna Hajec – Gentle, quiet presence with direction. A guardian angel of a mother to her children.

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(Mike’s) Shirley Hajec – Center stage for laughter, fueled by a passion for living in the moment with what life gives you. A heart of deep compassion,  and …… quietness is not her thing!

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(Dave’s) Mary Hajec Russell –  Mary, the “apple of her five brothers’ eye”, the baby of the family grew in grace, as the prayer says. Mother to three wonderful boys, grown to fine men. The thing I remember Mary saying the most was “my boys”. That defined her life and now she enjoys those boys and their families,  Jeff, Dan, and Tim.

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My nieces and nephews from these families offer evidence that family comes first. As they share snippets of their family joys on Facebook, their aged aunt can enjoy the life-affirming values of love and family along with them. Each one, in their own way, live daily lives of creative energies going out across the land. Just as important is that love is taking root deep within their private lives, thus contributing to a growing goodness within our society.

And that makes for a very happy and joyous Mother’s Day.

Becky’s  and Ean’s children.

Becky's children

Donna and Dave’s son Brian and grandson Logan.

Brian & Logan

Happy Mother’s Day Brittany, mother to Nora. (lucky Charlie’s beloved wife).

Brittany & Charlie

Go Green! Nathan and Kyle, sons of Jeni and Dan Gould. God bless you all.

Danny and Jeni's boys - Kyle & Nate

Mean Machine, son of Kelly Hajec Hanson.

DonnaDave

Cookie creator, and mom sports enthusiast, Katie Gould, wife of Jeff.

Jeff and Katie

and dad Jeff, Kalamazoo Marathon runner, cheered on by his children.

Jeff and kids

Gives new meaning to Go Daddy!

You Go Daddy

Happy Mother’s Day, Melissa, mother of Mark Hajec’s children, whose life center is “her boys”….ALL three of them!  Mark not shown here.

Melissa & Mark

Happy Mothers Day to Nan, wife of Mike Hajec, and their family.

Jill Hajec Radunzel, sharing with other mothers, and exemplifying a way of life for those waiting the return of their husband in military service to our country.

Jill

Jill sharing with other women

And Commander Joel, soon returns to heart and home!

Robert & Daddy

Grand niece, Jessica has added to the ever-present excitement in her family with the birth of her son. You can only slightly tell that young grandparents, Nick and Nancy Hajec, are slightly ga-ga over the little guy!

Nancy

and also celebrating their son Nick’s college graduation from Old Dominion and the start of a new teaching career. Another good teacher added from the ranks of Hajec heritage.

Nancy & NickMary HajecBorrowing from Mary’s wonderful photography  to
add these family pictures.

Jessica

OH HAPPY DAY.
Thanks for the thrill, honor, treat and blessing to be a mother.

Amy’s Angel

rainbow and little angel

Amy’s Angel

NOTE:  It is December 19, 2015 and I am thinking about angels today, so I repost one of my favorite stories about angels….I have posted quite a few about our family experiences with angels and there are more to come. I love keeping company with them!

Once upon a time, in the land of Kalamazoo, a small princess was born. She was a beautiful baby girl who had come to bring much joy and happiness into the lives of her mother and father, the Queen and King of the land of Kalamazoo.

This little princess’ name was Amy. The King and the Queen took very good of this baby and she grew to be a happy, happy child who truly believed in magic and knew she belonged in the kingdom of princesses.

Princess Amy especially loved her “Baby Bear” who was with her from the time she was born, until now more than six years later. She loved to play pretend and did a lot of this with her GrandQueen Grama.  They built castles together, played hide and seek together, walked on rainbows and climbed mountains together. They loved spending time together.  They often had tea together.

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Princess Amy was very often seen in sparkly dresses and play clothes. If it had sparkles on it, she loved it.

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And Princess Amy loves rainbows. She draws and colors them all the time. She even draws rainbow snowflakes.

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This is a picture of Amy and Grama walking under the rainbow and in the background, Dziadzia is watching us from behind the rainbow.

Then one day, she drew and cut out a rainbow snowflake, encouraging spring to come after this very long, cold winter.

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The very next day the sun shone brightly and melted some of the big piles of snow we have from the winter snowstorms.

Lately, almost every time Amy is playing with Grama, she mentions she is going to have her tonsils out in a short while. Now, with less than a week to go, she even counts down every day until next Monday when the operation is scheduled.

I mentioned to her Queen Mother that we could help Amy’s anxiety a little if she knew she had a special guardian angel looking over her at all times and they could talk about that leading up to the big day.  I told her I would draw her angel and bring it to her and that, of course, her special angel would be a rainbow angel with lots of sparkles on her.

A few nights later, I got a call from the Queen. She said that Amy needed her angel right now, since she knew I was going to find it for her.

With all the graces that angels bring to us, her angel flew right into me in an image I found on the computer.  I had taken a photo of Amy a week earlier as “the sleeping princess” awaiting her prince (me), who would kiss her and wake her up.

So the two pieces went together beautifully on a SoulCollage® card which I was working on at the very moment of the Queen’s phone call. The power and mystery of SoulCollage® works that way.  I finished it up and drove over to see the Princess.

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Princess Amy was thrilled to see her angel. She recognized her right away as her own angel that God sent to her. She said she sees the very sparkles that were on the card already in her room when it is dark.  “Sometimes I even feel a breeze in my hair and that must be the angel’s wings,” she said. “Look, even her hair and wings are rainbows.”

“I am going to keep this forever,” she told me. “I’m going to keep this until I grow up and then I can show my own little girl my guardian angel and tell her about hers.”

She clasped her to her heart and said she wasn’t going to be alone and not so afraid to go to sleep now that she knew all the company she would have: her mom and dad, her baby bear, God in her heart and “Sparkle Rainbow Diamond” guardian angel. She thought she should tell the doctor there was going to be an angel in the room.  And that God was in her heart and would tell the angel everything she needed and for the doctor to do everything right.

Her confidence and courage built by the moment, and my daily prayer is that all that good energy stays with her through her first major medical experience. The angel can do that.

And back in the land of Kalamazoo, we will have the popsicles and ice cream ready.

  1. Thanks for sharing Good Luck to Amy. With all the Royals around her and her Angel. She is going to be better than O K

  2. how very beautiful Sue, I am sure this angel will be a big comfort and healing aid for Amy … wishing her a good surgery and a very quick recovery … you are an angel yourself Sue!

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