Archive for November, 2012

It is Thanksgiving Eve and the preparation is underway for gathering and dinner at Laura and Carl’s tomorrow. The apple pie Laura likes just came out of my oven, and the pumpkin pie Carl looks forward to every year is baking now. His mom is bringing her State Fair Winning Pecan Pie. Choices, choices, choices.

Today’s blog is a wish for you to be wrapped in and aware of the blessings and opportunities we have to have a very happy, healthy and faith-filled life.

I am also copying down a dear treasure and what our family thinks is the best pumpkin pie there is. It’s been handed down through my mom and if you make it, you will love it!

Marion Heffron’s Pumpkin Pie

Make one home made pie shell to fit 9 or 10″ pie plate.


1 3/4 cup Libby’s pumpkin
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnemon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
2 eggs
1 cup Carnation Evap. Milk
1/2 cup water

1. Place pumpkin in pan over low heat, cook 10 min., stirring frequently.

2.  Combine brown sugar, salt & spices and add to hot pumpkin and stir til blended.

3. Beat eggs with fork and mix with milk and water. Into this mixture, add pumpkin mix and stir til blended. Strain into pie shell.

Bake at 450 for 15 min, then turn to 300 for 45 min.

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I am beginning to prepare the menu for Thanksgiving Day at our daughter’s Mitchell family home, just five minutes from here. Just a wonderful time of the year. This year our daughter Kathleen celebrates with the Warriner family group. Next year, we get to have both daughters together for our celebration.

This is the fun “polishing the silver” time of year that comes with the changing temperatures, falling leaves, sometimes light dusts of snow and the distant sounds of gunfire in the woods for those who pursue their deer bag of the year.

Marion, my mom who raised me from toddler age, was indeed a queen of the kitchen. Her Norwegian heritage and Northern Wisconsin farmland upbringing yielded her a trove of nutritious, hearty, and sweet fanciful pastries, cookies, and cakes we were all the beneficiaries of on a regular basis.

But the coming of Thanksgiving brought all of this to a higher level. And it all started with the polishing of the silver and the scrubbing down of the house. No decorations were to be seen until the windows, furniture and floors were squeaky clean, shiny and polished.

I don’t remember mom drinking tea much, and to this day, I am still at this late stage trying to make myself a tea drinker. But I do remember she would settle into a brief afternoon respite with her black coffee and perhaps skim through a coffee table magazine like Good Housekeeping, McCalls or Ladies Home Journal.

I don’t have too many of our old household baking, dinnerware, or eating utinsels, but what I do have, I treasure. It keeps her presence. and the sense of how much she enjoyed serving her family and others alive,  through the wonderful foods she made in her kitchen.

The time of celebration lasted between Thanksgiving and  Christmas, and actually went right up through the dates of my birthday (Jan. 2) and dad’s birthday (Jan. 4). Our mahagony leaf table enjoyed the center of our square dining room on La Salle Blvd. in Lansing Michigan. It would not be returned to its side wall space until the last celebration had been held.

I only have the coffee cup of the set of dishes mom adorned the table with for these feasts. I do still remember the crisp, light feeling of the dinnerware as I usually was the table setter for her. So, occasionally, I too now take a brief stop in my day and enjoy either tea or coffee from this china cup. I give thanks for the many ways mom cared for us.

This glassware usually had her little confectionery sugar nutty ball cookies on them or chocolate-covered cherry candies. She had a glassware dinner set of medium size plates that matched this. This is what was set on the dining room table awaiting our arrival back from Midnight Mass, where I usually sang in the choir. Mom fired up a full fledged breakfast, complete with sour cream coffee cake, I could not stop eating. This is the breakfast we had at 2 am in the morning, then went to bed to wait for Santa’s arrival, which my dad said was certain not to happen til past 3 or 4 am sometime.

We were the kids at Midnight Mass who didn’t know what we’d gotten for Christmas while the other kids were telling of their gifts because they got to open theirs on Christmas Eve before Midnight Mass!

Mom always had yummy marshmello and creamy type jello salads in her pretty glass bowls. Usually a lime or raspberry cherry flavor, sometimes with pineapple and nuts. Those were like dessert to me. But there was always dessert beyond this. Mom began baking her Christmas cookie wide-selection of goodies around Thanksgiving which included many things others had not seen; Sunbackles, Rosettes, Lefsa, all kinds of Christmas breads. I didn’t like the candied fruit in the bread, but other than that I was go on everything else.

I still don’t know how she was able to store all these and still have them fresh through the holiday time. Between what she gave away and what we could find to sneak anytime we could, the large quantum amount disappeared at a steady rate.

These dishes always completed the center spread on the crisply clean and ironed linen table cloth. They held mom’s homemade  pickles and jams of many varieties.

These bowls were the best! And she mixed up things in them all the time. The one thing I remember about these bowls is that what came to the table in them, stayed hot through the meal. Mom was big on having her bowls sit in very hot water until she used them. Usually a full bowl of mashed potatoes came in the largest, and mashed rutabega (which I still love to this day, and often times the check out clerk does not know what it is) came in the medium size bowl.

I have these bowls now, after they had gone missing for a while. My younger brother and his wife were collectors of very fine and aged china, and they had a lot of dishware that matched this set. I finally let go two years ago, and gave this trio to him for his 65th birthday, not realizing he was quite ill at the time and has not recovered his health yet, staying in a nursing home. So one year later, I asked if I could take them back and he agreed.

Now I regularly use them as I mix different Atkins style jellos, cream cheese desserts, and putting salads together. I leave them out on my kitchen ledge and feel mom’s presence with them.

Mom had two sets of silverware. This first set was hers and dad’s silver-plated chest, full service for at least twelve, plus serving places. This was the set she used most often.

I didn’t know about the heritage of the second set until I was a teen-ager. Mom would bring out a silver set to be polished as well. This is the set my birth mother and dad had either been gifted with or purchased for their wedding.

I can see I got too close on the first one and the camera did not focus well. That is a bit like my birth story — It was difficult to bring the truth of it into focus. But with age and time, I eventually discovered the “full place setting” of my family-line.

My granddaughter, Amy, when she was four, knew all the rules of the correct placement of the place setting of the knife, spoon, and fork. And if I put them down out of order, she would “right the situation”.

For some time of my life, my birth story and heritage was “out of order”, not only for me, but for my family to come. A part of my life has been bringing that back into order for all of us. To have my birth mother and my mom, who became my mom, and of  whom I can share so many memories, both be present to me as daughter, well …

it becomes my full place setting of parents. I am grateful and I celebrate.

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Oh Great Mystery
Sun, Moon, Earth, Sky and Sea
You are within me
and all around me.

As seen from the Earth, a solar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes between the Sun and Earth, and the Moon fully or partially blocks the Sun. This can happen only at new moon, when the Sun and the Moon are in conjunction as seen from Earth. In a total eclipse, the disk of the Sun is fully obscured by the Moon. In partial and annular eclipses only part of the Sun is obscured. If the Moon were in a circular orbit close enough to the Earth and in the same orbital plane, there would be total solar eclipses every single month.

A total  solar eclipse  will take place on 13–14 November 2012 (UTC), beginning in local time on November 14 west of the  International Date Line over northern Australia, and ending on November 13 east of the date line off the western South American coast.

Tom and I are preparing to renew our travel passports in hopes of new travels opening up to us in the next ten years. Australia is one of the “wanna go” places. It’s on my intention list, which replaces my bucket list.

When I studied SpringForest QiGong with Master Chunyi Linn, he gave us a very beautiful meditative and healing verse to repeat:

“I am in the Universe.
The Universe is in my body.
The Universe and I combine together.”

So there are many spiritual and faith traditions and ancient learning that come from long ago that teach us to know there is union between all. I and the Universe are One. In God, there is only One. In God, I live and move and have my being. The Universe lives, moves and breathes as ONE.

I just recently caught up with the fact that there is a solar eclipse today on November 13. I was looking forward to this date for another reason.

Tonight, the first of three workshops based on the writings and work of Barbara Marx Hubbard  is takine place at Unity of Kalamazoo. Sara Houseman and I are the co-facilitators of it. The purpose of tonight’s meeting is to simply acquaint others with the life and the work and the grand vision Hubbard has for Conscious Evolution.

She, too, in her pursuit of the “pulse of Evolution” has come to the conclusion that there is only One and our earthly time is spent within that One. She has studied the history of Evolution and says whenever crisis and chaos appeared in the chain of evolution, that the species has always moved forward. That has been true, she says, since the time that the first single cell needed to grow into two cells to survive. It did so, and it did it again and again changing species along the evolutionary timeline to today.

Barbara calls these current times a “chaos point.” Things are broken. There are many things systems-wide that need change. The way we communicate and lead needs changing, in order to grow past the chaos today into what she calls a “Universal Being” — a species we homo sapiens are all capable of being.

But first, we need to become more familiar with our heart. Indeed, we must learn to breathe through our heart. We hear the beat of our heart, and without our heart, there is no breath. This is the exact muscle, we need not only strengthen for fitness, but for our very life, itself.

HeartMath Institute, under the direction of Doc and Sarah Childre has studied the workings of the heart and the effect it has on ourselves and others. We are encouraged to “lead with our heart”, to become aware of heart resonance, which beats with the pulse of the Universe – with all that is.

They have a measured Science with convincing data, that our hearts produce an electro-magnetic field of about eight feet extending from the center of our being. When filled with heartfelt peace, acceptance and resonance, this field CHANGES the interaction and the space it is holding – for the good.

Long ago, we heard the story of “one little candle”  at a time being able to light up the whole world. The same is true with heart resonance. It is a practice that benefits us physically (it is more than just being calm, it is a frequency that the Oneness in which we exist recognizes and beats in harmony with us).

I will write another blog on the actual practice of Heart Coherence and how you can easily put it in practice and accomplish immediate results with it.

An old tune comes to mind. (by Dusty Springfield or Rusty?)
“Once upon a time I was falling for you
Now I’m only falling apart.
Nothing I can do
A total eclipse of the heart.”

In the movement of Birth 2012, we want to get beyond the feeling there is nothing we can do to fix the things in the world that are now falling apart. We believe we can do something, within ourselves by recognizing our soul Essence, our Oneness, and joining what Barbara calls “our genius” with another or others and  then — see what wants to be born within us in the new year as a new world.

In times of crisis and chaos, we have ALWAYS moved forward. We can move forward into the world, leading with our hearts, within the spheres of family, church, community, and even bigger stages. It all depends on what “is waiting to be born” in us.

A new moon….a solar ECLIPSE…..a TOTAL eclipse of my heart. Namaste.

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“Be kind whenever possible.
Hint: It is always possible.”
                           The Dalai Lama

Today, I was treated unkindly by three people in a business of which I have been a frequent customer. There was a time in the past, that I spent a fair amount of money at this nail salon business (which is a highly competitive business) receiving both pedicures and synthetic finger nail applications, colors and manicures.

Our family income has required the scaling back of this discretionary spending, so I have settled for getting a pedicure once in awhile because I have difficulty caring for my own and they do a good professional job. Then I do my own manicures, keeping my nails short and not requiring the expensive add-on nails from the salon. I occasionally treat myself to a manicure and polish which is not expensive.

Today, I went in for a re-polish of polish that had come off quickly from their service.  It was only a $5 expense for me (but I had spent $40 for toes & fingernails within this past week). Today, this was not enough of a service for them, and two of the employees plus the owner treated me gruffly as if they didn’t want to bother with me. It wasn’t enough of an expense to have them accept my debit card (they have a business charge on use, but they offer the convenience) so I had to pay cash.

Ok, enough on the situation. They were rude and unappreciative  to me for my business. They were unkind.

And I was unkind in manner and response to them. I left, mostly unattended, and knew I would not come back. They lost a customer.

But I lost the opportunity to be kind, in a situation where I could have been truthful… but kind….about how their treatment was affecting me.

I am thinking of this now because I am creating my living intentions (in mandala form) for the coming year of 2013 — my 70th year.

I have been fortunate enough to have studied with Janet Conner, author of Writing Down Your Soul and The Lotus and The Lily, the second one being a recently released book, and she is on cross-country tour with it.


I took her first course on-line when it was known as The Lily. It was a fabulous experience that was centered on the scripture, “See ye not the lilies of the field, they neither toil nor spin, yet God……” you know the rest probably….they are adorned in splendor and seem to lack nothing.

That was the promise or “manifestation” I wanted to co-create in my life at the time I took her course. There had been a financial upheaval and a new way required for us to live within some newly set narrow boundaries. Yet, I needed the reality to know, really know……that my life was and could be nothing less than prosperous.

I learned that Truth in so many important ways through Janet’s spiritual and worldly and historical teachings. I carry that learning in me today which is why I am thinking about kindness.

She, rightly, took the focus off our “I wants”, even though we had to name them and put them on the outer reaches of our mandala. What really mattered, it turned out to be, was our “inner conditions”….our list of commitments to how we intend to show up in life…..and then to live those, truly each and every day.

Oh there were a few little things to mind before the co-creations and manifestations of our wants. Like looking back and “seeing the gift” in perhaps the pains we have experienced. And there was that little matter of forgiveness…..the once and for all type of forgiveness, we had to apply to the people and circumstances in our lives, and then finally to….yes, ourselves.

After those little things were tended to, it seemed much more possible and even joyous and purposeful to live our life according to the conditions we set. And as that began to happen, the “I wants” began to suddenly or “at the right time” or even surprisingly appear too.  Just one of mine was financial stability and supply without end over the past two years since I entered this process. I am grateful.

Now, I am thinking about one BIG condition to enter into 2013 with: Being kind whenever possible, knowing that it is ALWAYS possible! Can I live that? Can I hold that as a core value and what wonderful transformations will occur within me when I try to live this path?

I think I am going to go for it. I can settle for a day at a time and then the whole year won’t look so daunting to me. My heart resonates with it, but my flaws are only too willing to take the stage.

In any event, I think I will let the 2013 curtain rise on this newly created play in my life. I know I’ve got the best support cast in the business. I’ll just go out there and take the Lead……in kindness.

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“Music paints pictures and often tells stories.

Some of them magic, some of them true.

But some of the music and all of the magic

reminds me of you.”
John Denver

We are a very fortunate family, that through our daughter Kathleen, and her children, Devon and Andrew, we have enjoyed years and years of musical instrumental and singing performances and the best in musical drama and comedy at the  Franke Performing Arts Community Center and school performances.

This all started “way back when” Kathleen started piano lessons as an early elementary student. She stayed at it after we moved, bringing the piano with us, to Illinois for a year, and then back to Michigan.

In mid-elementary and high school years, we had the grace to find an exceptional piano teacher outside of Gobles. And, in Kathleen, she found an excellent piano student. The teacher’s husband was also a musician and he confessed to me one time that he always made it a point to be home at the time of Kathleen’s late afternoon piano lesson time. The reason was he loved hearing her learn and play such intricate songs as “Hooked on Classics” and “Bumble Boogie”, both of which she performed in concert.

As a young girl, myself, who practiced piano, I was quite afraid of concert performance, and never looked forward to it. I still play for the love of playing, but not performing.

But Kathleen tackled these like the musical professional she became. In high school, her band instructor wanted us to talk her into choosing the French Horn, because other students were not as capable of handling it at the high school level.

But she would have none of that. She had a deep love of the clarinet and would choose that through high school and test for the Central Michigan Marching Band with it and win her spot on the field.

After college, she worked in some jobs other than music, but she eventually recognized her joy resided in her heart and soul with music. She instructed as a teacher, she performed in community, became a founding member of a jazz woodwind quartet.  She performed also in the summer concerts in Marshall, with the highlight each year being the Fourth of July Fountain Celebration and Chicken Roast.

First Chair Clarinet – Kathleen, 2nd row
4th of July Park Concert

Cousin Amy hangs with Devon and Aunt Kathleen

While she was raising a family and teaching music and being the director of the Marshall Community School for private instruction in music, she took courses at Western Michigan University and completed her Masters Degree in Music.

She now has a position where she is the director of the total music program for the Tekonsha school system, mid-elementary through high school and the marching band.

Filling the post of musical director for children and adult dramas, her upcoming one will be directing for the production of  Jesus Christ Superstar.  I’ll have a time warp with that one, remembering the production I saw  and enjoyed “back in the day” when I wore tie dyed shirts!

So you can see, we have sat in many audiences, concerts from elementary through college and beyond, football games and theater productions…just with Kathleen alone.

But it doesn’t stop there. Both her daughter Devon and her son Andrew have followed in her footsteps and often been at her musical side and their hearts beat to the sound of music as well.

In her senior year of high school, Devon just finished her first musical director role for the youth,  K- 5th grade performance of “Jungle Book”, spending many after school hours inspiring and coaching an awesome performance of music and dance from these young Thesbians. She was “Miss Devon” to them and their adoring eyes.

Devon has completed her senior year of Marching Band, but continues to perform in the highest choral group of her school, the Marshall Singers, who perform throughout the community. We are looking forward to celebrating her Grandpa Tom’s December birthday at Schulers and enjoying the Marshall Singers Christmas Music Program.

Devon has also qualified for a select position in the Regional Honors Choir  and she was delighted to compete for and win that spot.

Devon is playing the saxaphone in her high school band pre-game performance.

Son, Andrew, is right in the midst of it all. Absolutely having a love for acting and music, Andrew is on stage repeatedly as a support or leading actor. Most recently, he sang and danced his way through a thrilling set of performances as the King in  The King and I.

Play director, congratulating Andrew on a fine performance.

He brought the house down with his character, Judah’s calypso version of “OH no, NOT Me!”  (Joseph and the Technicolor Coat) and we were in the audience of all his theatrical fun.

You will notice they spare no imagination and creativity in the departments of costuming either. Above from left to right, Andrew as the Clock in Beauty and the Beast,  singing “Anything is Possible” in the  Seussical  Jr Musical, the Wizard’s doorkeeper in Wizard of Oz; then as a duck in Honk! and as Judah in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Coat,  and  most recently as the consternated leader in “The King and I.”

Andrew is a lead voice in his church choir, also is accomplished in piano, and he is studying percussion. He has come so far so fast with his percussion that he has been elected to the Honors Percussion of his school.

Today, as our country citizens elect our next president, Tom and I also have voted our choice. While we will be interested later tonight as the returns pour in on the television. we will get a nice time out from the intensity of the political scene and enjoy a concert where Andrew’s percussion group is first up on the program.

Andrew as JoJo in Seussical Jr.

JoJo and Musical Director Mom

“Music DOES paint pictures”……..and so many years of so much music will continue to ………..”remind me of you” (Kathleen, Devon and Andrew).

Thanks for the memories, truly.

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