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To Women Who…

To those who bake the bread, tend the hearth, love the children, care for the sick, honor the elders, pave the way, live in truth, serve with compassion, find the joy, soften the heart…to woman filled with grace, light the way, embrace humble boldness, protect their dreams, honor their path….to woman holder of sanctity, filled by Divine Spark, dedicated teacher, keeper of the keys, container of change, womb of new life, be blessed, be joyful, be…

Lent 2019

Today, I didn’t have my napkin in my purse to write upon, when I was at the 8 am children’s Mass on Ash Wednesday at Christ the King Cathedral. So many blessings entered my soul from the readings, to the music, to the homily and the children filling most of the cathedral. “Bless the Lord, Oh my soul.”

And of course, I can’t remember most of what I wanted to. I need napkins more than ever these days to remember, oh my remember. I know the first message I soaked up like a sponge was “Return to me with all your heart.” It is such a blessing to be involved in anything in our life where we are in it whole-heartedly.  Another scripture at another time warns us to be a full Yes or a No — anything in between  is not “of the Spirit.”

I am so grateful to be living whole-hearted in each day, maybe with a few aches and pains, various trials here and there, some inconveniences, but in the over-all appraisal, I feel grateful and whole hearted for the life I have.

Today, I share my SoulCollage image I made for Lent maybe over five years ago. I add to it the magnificent blog post of Jan Richardson, and thus I am complete. It is all here.

 

Readings for Ash Wednesday: Joel 2:1-2, 12-17; Psalm 51:1-17;
2 Corinthians 5:20b-6:10; Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21

From Jan Richardson:

We are entering the season that begins with a smudge. That smudge is a testimony to what survives. It is a witness to what abides when everything seems lost. It is a sign that what we know and love may, for a time, be reduced to dust, but it does not disappear. We belong to the God who well knows what to do with dust, who sees the dust as a place to dream anew, who creates from it again and again.
—Jan Richardson, from Ash Wednesday: What God Can Do with Dust
The Painted Prayerbook, February 2018

Friends, as we enter into Lent, I want to share this Ash Wednesday blessing again. It’s been six years since I first wrote it, during what would turn out to be my last Lent with Gary. I have found that the question the blessing holds—”Did you not know what the Holy One can do with dust?”—is a good one to ask myself anew each time Ash Wednesday comes around. And I can say now: I know what God can do with dust. And I am learning still.

As this season begins, what blessing do you need to claim from the ashes?

Blessing the Dust
For Ash Wednesday

All those days
you felt like dust,
like dirt,
as if all you had to do
was turn your face
toward the wind
and be scattered
to the four corners
or swept away
by the smallest breath
as insubstantial—
did you not know
what the Holy One
can do with dust?
This is the day
we freely say
we are scorched.
This is the hour
we are marked
by what has made it
through the burning.
This is the moment
we ask for the blessing
that lives within
the ancient ashes,
that makes its home
inside the soil of
this sacred earth.
So let us be marked
not for sorrow.
And let us be marked
not for shame.
Let us be marked
not for false humility
or for thinking
we are less
than we are
but for claiming
what God can do
within the dust,
within the dirt,
within the stuff
of which the world
is made
and the stars that blaze
in our bones
and the galaxies that spiral
inside the smudge
we bear.
—Jan Richardson
from Circle of Grace: A Book of Blessings for the Seasons

NAPKINWRITER so highly recommended this beautiful, inspiring book. Buy it now!

 

Please include this info in a credit line: “© Jan Richardson. janrichardson.com.”

Make Mistakes!

 

I have not been writing on Napkinwriter as often as usual, and that may be a mistake. But it is because I am writing full steam ahead on my memoir, Journey Girl, and I have a good chance at having it completed when Spring gets here, which may be different months for many people.

In the meantime, here are some words this morning that inspired me, posted by my artist/psychologist/friend mentor and I share them with you. One of the best bosses I had in my working life told his staff often. “Don’t make that mistake. You already made that one. I want you to make new mistakes!” I was a better person for having heard that. A person who didn’t like, but did allow herself to make mistakes in her life.

 

“Go and make interesting mistakes,
make amazing mistakes,
make glorious and fantastic mistakes.
Break rules.
Leave the world more interesting for your being here.
Make. Good. Art.”
– Neil Gaiman
*This is a beautiful truism!

Separating Egg Whites

January 23, 2019

 

I have been separating egg whites for my whole baking career by precariously cracking them on the edge of a bowl, and tossing the white back and forth between the two shell halves. The danger, of course, is that yolk will spill into the egg white and ruin it for beating them stiff. It is particular agony if it happens on the sixth egg.

It didn’t happen to me today, however, as I was creating my Gugelhupf for my daughter’s office staff. I am grateful for that because I owe them a debt of gratitude for their graciousness in late December when I called Laura while her dad and I were being rushed to Emergency in a siren blaring, lights flashing ambulance.

I gave her our destination and they told her to “Go! Right now! To meet your mom.” And she did, which helped to calm the high vibrations of the hour. Many hours, actually, as tests were run to diagnose extreme pains in his lower chest-top belly area.

I used to see my mom crack and separate eggs this same way, but I also saw her use an egg white separator kitchen tool. There are two reasons why I don’t have one of those. The first is I am too lazy to go shop for something if I don’t know exactly where to find it. The second is that I don’t bake often anymore since Tom has to watch his sugar and I have to endlessly watch my weight. It is just more efficient to not have temptation around.

I was in a bit of a hurry to complete the Gugelhupf, for I had made my “to do” list fairly long for this day. That is not wise either, as I don’t do “hurry” well anymore. And I have given up multi-tasking because it is highly overrated and I am not as good as I once was at it anymore.

I need to recall Brother Lawrence’s Practice of the Presence of God. Where ever I am God is. Whatever I am doing, I can bring God’s presence into it. I do that pretty readily these days as we live a rather quiet mid-70 years of age lifestyle. Things are simpler. I see the packed schedules and tasks of the younger generations in my daughters, nieces and nephews. And I see they are packing a lot of good into that multi-tasking….a lot of God.

Tom and I endured his seven day hospital stay, diagnosed with Acute Pancreatitis, for which he is still being treated. But he is out of pain without medicine. My aspiration for 2019 is to see things more clearly… I don’t ascribe to the current culture of blame game hyped by the media. It has taken me a very long time and a lot of hard lessons to rid myself of the last vestiges of blaming others for anything and I am still not perfect at it. But I have learned the value of self-inventory and “my part” (thank you 4th step inventory of AA) of disturbances in or nearby me and I carry on to making amends where necessary and letting go of blaming myself or others.

The Gugelhupf is baking in the oven and…

 

A little dust of confectioner’s sugar and I am off to Laura’s with this treat.

 

We recently witnessed the passing of one of our presidents, George Herbert Walker Bush. With that passing, the honor and respect of a full military funeral was given to him and many of us watched the progression of the rituals and the mourning of his family and the citizens of our country.

Along the way, people spoke of his accomplishments politically, in the military, and in his family life.  Two things rose to the top and were mentioned over and over again: that he listened–really listened–to who ever was speaking to him. Much to be admired. And that he wrote so many personal notes to so many people throughout his life.

Sad to say texts and abbreviated words now comprise the most common form of communication. I have always been a letter writer and a note and card giver. I know these were loved to be received. I still do this, just not as often.

When I taught Write Now! writing workshops, I headed off any fear the writers might have had by telling them that they would write what they heard coming from their heart; the words would flow down their arm, through their fingertips, into the writing pen or pencil and out onto the paper.

And their words did.

There is an intimacy and genuineness in this simple act of note-writing. It is a treat to both the writer and the recipient.

 


 

Life to Art. Art to Life. She slips through the Advent Portal in the Wildwood, her Divine Child is not adverse to the theme of the season — Waiting— Waiting when all the world seems in a rush, waiting when extra duty and even desires stack up upon her day, waiting for the smile and peace to adorn her body as she slips and slides the labyrinthian paths that lead to family and friends. Waiting to settle into her own breath, breathe into her own bones, ever watchful, faithfully waiting to hear again the familiar and sacred messages that come with this season. This is her favorite sacred season, that special time BEFORE Christmas, just as her second favorite season comes right AFTER the Resurrection, when the women find the grave empty. I have reason to pause…to wait…to accept darkness in the world, but know…always know that the light, the light within me, does not cave to the darkness. I do not have to wait for the light. It is within me. I only have to be awake and know.

This is a big week for me regarding  SoulCollage®. This Saturday, I am attending a SoulCollage® )  cardmaking session at the Lexington Library East, near my home. This is the first gathering I’ve had since moving from Michigan. I am looking forward to meeting new SoulCollagers in my area.

Also, Anne Marie Bennett, facilitator extraordinaire,  from Kaleidosoul accepted a feature write up on me as one of Kaleidosoul’s Friends. I thank her and what I submitted to her is written below.

SOUL TREASURES, NOV. 12 –   Anne Marie Bennett

Soul Friends
The Voice of a Different Kindred Spirit Each Week

Susan Heffron Hajec
Truth Seeker, Peace Maker, Love Giver
Lexington, Kentucky

I am a grandmother, mother, wife, writer, and integrative holistic health healer who is passionate about writing creative non-fiction and poetry. I write a blog at Napkin Writer and my Souljourner at-Large SoulCollage® site is here.

I wear a tank top that says just one more chapter. That fits me well, whether it pertains to reading or writing. Jesus, in the Christian scriptures, tells us to “be in this world, yet not of this world.” Aha! All my life, that has been a dilemma. To learn how to do that and stay present is one heck of a learning curve.

Around my sixty-eighth year of human life—along came SoulCollage®. What a gift! I do not remember what brought me to Catherine Anderson’s website, but I was amused that when I found it, I had just moved a short distance away from Charlotte, NC. I really had no idea what SoulCollage® was, but my inner essence plagued me until I signed up for an Intro class in 2011. This, now, required a road trip from Michigan back to NC. Meeting Catherine and SoulCollage® for the first time, and being in her sacred home studio, led instantly to my falling in love with this wisdom practice of creativity.

I repeated the trip two years later and became a SoulCollage® facilitator on August 11, 2013. now having a sizable deck of my own. The practice was simple enough. Take the time to sit down with a few magazines, let images choose me (and they always, always did), collage them on my card, and let them reveal my inner knowing through the universal prompts, starting with… I am One who….

What I liked immediately about SoulCollage® was how awesome our cards were by our simple, random image selection. What I liked best in gatherings was seeing the faces of those who had created them and feeling the sacred respect that falls upon the group. The message each one gains is an incredible manifestation of wisdom.

It is beautiful to be in a group of strangers who experience SoulCollage® together and leave with a heightened sense of inclusiveness, even if we don’t see one another again. It is even better, when a core group forms and wants to continue meeting together, under the guidance of a trained facilitator.

I have moved often and yearned for new people to share this with. I find it lonely when I do not have a SoulCollage® group near me. I hate when I have to leave a seasoned group behind. But I grow in this practice by what is offered on the Internet. I keep in touch with Deborah Storts, in Germany, who trained with me. I found Anne Marie Bennett and KaleidoSoul and met other leaders through her generous work and dedication. I studied with Karen Mann, when she was in Australia, combining Faster EFT (Emotional Freedom Tapping) with SoulCollage® and I surf the SoulCollage® Facilitator site.

To the question, “what would you grab to take with you in case of a fire,” I would answer: “My purse and two heavy boxes (probably three soon) of my SoulCollage® card deck.”

Here are two cards I’d like to share with you today:

 

Child of the Universe
Council Suit

I am One who is a child of the Universe and feels connected to all time.
What I want you to know is this is your time to be here, ignited by the fires of goddess Kali and tempered by the ice of snow-capped mountains.
You are a powerful presence of good in the world.

SoulCollage® Mentor
Community Suit

I am One who helped you discover the beauty and meaning of SoulCollage® in my studio in Charlotte, North Carolina.
My gift to you is my calm presence in your practice of and facilitation of SoulCollage®.
I invite images to support you on your path and I join you in finding joy in the labyrinth travels of your life.

SoulCollage®