Archive for December, 2010

Unused Christmas wrap is lined up to return to storage for next year. This year’s gifts have been inspiring and useful. I am thinking about the gifts of daily life — 363 of them so far with today’s and tomorrow’s waiting to be claimed.

Right after the New Year, I have my birthday on January 2, so I always look at it as two new years in a row. Last year I received a special birthday card from a friend. It said exactly what I wanted to gain and claim  for my life in 2010. I was so certain of it that I taped it in my journal, and checked it out every once in awhile and it seemed as though the words were indeed coming true for me. I gave thanksgiving for that card many times throughout the year. Here is what it said: 

Thinking of you on your birthday and wishing you

a little more joy than you’ve known so far,

More pleasure in being just who you are

A little more peace in your heart all year through

And always God’s love shining warmly on you. “

Now wouldn’t you like a year like that? I have felt all of those in abundance this year and it makes 2010 a very good year for me. In the early part of the year I made a New Life Covenant, and Tom did as well. We read and prayed those covenents nearly daily and they contained the intentions we each held for the year.

My intentions included: to live the scripture of “seeking first the Kingdom of God, revealing God’s abundant Glory and Power in my life, writing, teaching, and healing; being a blessing to family; including the Practice of the Presence in my prayer practices; reconnecting with my playful spirit (lighten up); move forward in a Christ-centered life, demonstrating  physical and financial health, and to express my life in the world as faith, love, joy and freedom in service to family and others.

This covenant was formed in a study group with others who attend our Monday night Christ-Circle prayer group. We stood witness to each one’s individual covenant, and as we met throughout the year, we heard testimony and witness to God’s movement in each of our lives, touched by financial uncertainty and various health and relationship issues. Our covenants stood firm in faith and action throughout the year. I give great thanks for that.

I focused on my intentions throughout the year and let the meaning of Luke 17:21 come through to me: “The Kingdom of God is within you.” That gave me cause to know, “I am good and I live and give the highest good.” I practiced fully opening to receive good, and only good, and to share that with others in thought, word and deed.

The year, a day at a time, went very well.  I am living life as a gift, and it gets a little easier to do that as age marches on and I know I’m on the shorter end of my timeline. That’s ok. It is what is in the day that matters.

I put prayer in my day, love and service, physical fitness practices, I give up on no one, I see the Divine in self and in all others, I have little or none left to forgive of myself or others, I live in freedom and the faith of provision by the all-loving God.

…”A little more joy”….. More than a little —so much with family this year, it overflowed!

…”More pleasure in being just who you are”….I’ve had a face-to-face with the inner critic, and we understand each other now, are on friendlier terms, and are changing the dialogue to a more peaceful expression. This has been a biggie throughout my life, and we’re in a “taming” mode with each other. I just happen to be…good enuff!

…”a little more peace in your heart “– Thank you God, yes, a LOT more peace, all year.

…”and always God’s love shining”…The greatest gift of all and when I feel it shining, it is so easy to give away…The gift that keeps on giving. Emmanuel, God with us.

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McDonald’s is a quick breakfast site occasionally for us. I say “occasional” because I now fix a healthy-grounded breakfast most days of the week to keep us on track with the best fitness plan I can muster. But the Sunday before Christmas, Tom and I treated ourselves to a pancake breakfast.

You know how in church, you often pick the same pew or close to it out of habit it seems. Well, we do this at McD’s too and so we sat in our “usual” booth. It was not long before a group of three, two men and a woman sat down in the next booth. Then there was a commotion and a couple of young employees got their photo taken with one of the men.  I thought, “maybe a family reunion”.

Then an older employee came over and asked for an autograph and I began to put it together. He looked slightly familiar and I “ahemmed” the employee, and asked her if that man was a famous singer of national fame. She responded, “Yes, that is Matt Giraud.”

Matt Giraud had been a contestant on American Idol and made it almost up to the end- incurring a judges favor- to return one week after he’d been voted off the show. He returned and came in second — but he was a huge favorite of the show’s fans.

Matt is a vocalist and exquisite piano player, and trademarked by his fedora when he is performing. It was absent when he came into Micky D’s so maybe that’s why I didn’t instantly recognize him. I was not a viewer of American Idol, but my daughter and teen granddaughter were big fans and so I hatched a plan.

Having just started my napkinwriter blog, I grabbed a napkin and approached his booth with an instant apology: “Mr. Giraud, I know this is rude, and please forgive me, but my granddaughter just loves your performance, and I wondered if you would autograph this napkin for me.” 

He was most gracious, took the napkin, asked her name, and signed it “with much love” to her. We framed this and put it in her Christmas gifts for Christmas morning. When we left the restaurant, we saw this black car with the special license plate that had to be his, so I took a photo of that.

It was the Mystic Muse of Surprises and just plain fun that accompanied us that morning — something unexpected. And then resulted in our sitting near a person who had followed his own talents and dreams and responded to his Musical Muse, accomplishing fame and satisfaction along the way.

In an article I read on the Internet, Giraud said it was never his intention to win American Idol. He just wanted to perform on that stage….and perform, he did. Good luck, Matt, in all future professional and personal creations.

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Let every heart prepare him room.

I take a quiet moment
The Reason for the Season

“Mary’s boy child, Jesus Christ was born on Christmas Day.

 “…and while they were in Bethlehem, the time came for her to have her baby. She gave birth to her first son, wrapped him in chloths and laid him in a manager — there was no room for them to stay in the inn.”  Luke: 2: 6-7

“Let every heart prepare him room. “

I release the old and whatever does not serve me well, forgive what needs to be forgiven and prepare my heart for him with unconditional love.

“The hopes and fears of all the years are met in you tonight.”

I remember to center myself in the present moment and release my hops and fears. They are met in the Divine Providence of Jesus Christ.

“Silent Night! Holy Night!”

In the quiet of this moment, I am at peace.

I take a quiet moment amidst the merriment of Christmas to know how true holiness resides within me and to share it with others.

“And so this is Christmas. Another year over, a new one just begun.”

I choose now to expect only good in my life in the New Year for the indwelling Spirit is my constant companion.

“Hail the new ye lads and lasses!”

I AM a new creation in Christ and I turn inward to the Divine Presence that restores my spirit and inspires me to create the life I desire.





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Mystic Muse arrives with a bell.

So in my earlier post I ended with the statement that writing, for me, is often a way of prayer. That is true. Focused listening is one of the greatest keys in skilled communication. One does a lot of both in writing and in prayer. I write because someone else has written something that touched me deeply and I feel I must share the impact and truth of it with others. I write because sometime I cannot speak. I write because nature speaks to me and I must record its message.

I write and read because writing changes, informs, transforms or enlightens something in me and most likely another. What changes? My mood? My focus? My ability to be present? My relationship to what is? My connection to my place and purpose? Writing will deliver the answers.

Perhaps journal writers are the largest group of people who live as writers and yet go unpublished all their lives. They may not even focus on or intend to be published. They write in their journals because that is a natural and satisfying way for them to live. It is an activity that needs no further validation.

I am one of those people. Although I have written professionally, have been published and am working on projects I hope to publish, it is journal-writing that is at the core of my writing. I journal to chart my way through life. I journal to hear myself. I journal to make a connection to something larger than myself and in finding it, I discover it is One with me.

The simple truth is I cannot stop writing. It would be most unnatural and I would become unhappy if I did stop. I know because I’ve done it and unhappiness is always the result. I always return to writing for my own good health, healing and happiness. I love the synchronicity that appears when I live my writer-self. I hate the things I’d miss if I didn’t take to jotting down fragments of ideas on nearby napkins that later turn into a full-blown story I wanted to tell myself.

As I wrote this blog, the Mystic Muse dropped in via the radio station. You will be hearing a lot about her in future blogs. She comes in many forms and with varied requests, suggestions, and even demands. This time it was a request.

She was asking for donations of $35 for children in the Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital in Grand Rapids, Michigan. That donation would buy one child a journal to write and draw in and help them on their path of recovery during the Christmas season. That was a perfect fit for me to give a donation because I know that journal writing is a blessing to the writer.

You may contact Jennifer at 877-953-5437 at Spectrum Health Foundation and the Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital Foundation if you care to give this gift to a child in the hospital.

This blog will introduce you to other Mystic

Editing my napkin writing

 Muses who appear in my life as friends and mentors and the Mystic Muses of words and photos I am happy to share with you. I plan to post weekly on Mondays and Thursdays or very close to that schedule.

Now I’m hoping the Mystic Muse stops by and helps me get more acquainted with this WordPress site, so I can add photos and make it look like some of the others who have inspired me to do this.

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Writing on Napkins

Part I

Writers really do that, you know — write on napkins. French fries scatter across the table. Conversations stop in mid-sentence as I stop to jot down a quiet gift that floated in from the mystic muse. Coffee sits cold and forgotten as a few words string together into three paragraphs, then continue onto napkins 2 and 3 into a short memoir. All of this innocently sparked by my eye catching a woman’s hat that reminded me of the one my mother wore — everywhere.

Everywhere was definitely Sunday morning church, every Sunday morning. That hat still turns up in black and white photos of the ’40s and ’50s from most family special occasions. She didn’t get a new Easter hat; she got a new Easter dress to go with the hat she loved so much. Then, that hat was mistakenly sold in a Church Bazaar put on by the Women’s Faith Society. From that time on, I could never comment on the charms of her other hats without hearing how precious and comforting the sold hat had been to her.

Now how could it be that in the new millennium of 2000 plus 10 years, a new style could remind me of mom’s favorite hat she had loved so dearly? I don’t know the answer to that but my hand automatically grabs the nearest napkin and begins to shape words on it. These words won’t be there for me later. They must be attended to now as they come so that I can pick up the thread of the memory and find the content later.

This blog is about the way of the writer. By writer, I mean the men and women young and old who put a pen to paper and their fingertips to keyboards for any one of the uncountable reasons that exist: articles to complete, column deadlines to meet, a screenplay to polish, a poem that begins forming somewhere in the heart and needs a place on the page. Writers write school papers from elementary and high school and continue in both undergraduate and post-graduate college levels, striving for brilliance and a great grade. Musicians compose lyrics and melodies for concert performances. Published writers are recognized, accclaimed and validated for their talents.

Yet there are many who live as writers for other reasons that are personally satisfying and even necessary. They write letters that touch a person’s heart and are long remembered for doing so. They write letters to a distant, but loving, grandfather who walks with an arthritic gait down to the mail box in expectation of receiving his granddaughter’s letter. They write to an older brother in the Service, striking up the first meaningful brother-sister dialogue they’d never had while living in the same home growing up together. A young mother, who needed to know about the childhood mysteries surrounding her own mother’s death at her birth, writes to the best friend of her birth mother and begins to unravel silences of old through this rare voice who could give testimony to her mother’s life. I wrote all of these letters.

With the advent of the popular world-wide web blog, it is obvious that writers are writing as a way of life, published or unpublished. Blog writers can gain an audience for their voice and writing form in a most accessible way. This also goes to prove, we will do what we love with passion and freedom regardless of monetary compensation or even lack of it. It simply is part of the way we live our life — a big part.

Many people live a way of writing as a tool of organization in their life and their work. A grocery list structures the visit to the market and gives order to the weekly menu, saving resented trips back to the market. In the business world, writing outlines, plans and proposals that win the powers-to-be’s attention and support pave the way for their own advancement and prosperity.

Writing for me is often a way of prayer and I count it as one of my most important prayer practices. This is where I will pick up this blog tomorrow as I am such a newbie to the techy part of getting just this far that I will stop for now. I believe someone very special to me is awaiting his dinner.  And I have to see if I can get this much to appear on my first blog.

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Hello world!

Welcome to WordPress.com. This is your first post. Edit or delete it and start blogging!

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