Archive for December, 2012

Happy New Year 2013Ring out the Old
Bring in the New!

2013 is Soon to be Here

“Behold, I make all things new.” Did St. Paul tell us that about Christ in his letters, or did Christ, himself, say those words according to one of the four evangelists who recorded his story. I am forgetting where that quote comes from exactly, but I do know this:

I always have room for and need of THE NEW in my life. And as I get older each day, I welcome the new with more enthusiasm and gratitude  ever more.

Not only is each year new. But I live each day new, as the gift it is as I set my feet upon the floor and take up the routines of the day…and enjoying tiny surprises held in short little moments that go by all too quickly.

The song of a bird…..the smile of a friend…..the surprise note in the mail…..a funny tidbit on Facebook….something unexpected arising in a treasured, long-time and well-known relationship.

The sun shining down upon me. It’s new again today even though I enjoyed it yesterday. A chance to serve. An opportunity to surprise another with a gift of friendship.

The aroma of fresh-baked banana bread. Enjoying the children’s laughter. Reading a good book. Taking a creative photograph. Feeling my new breath come in and go out.

Watching the daily  transformation of our grandchildren right before our very eyes. Love returned. Appreciation sensed. An understanding heart with open compassion for others.

All of these things make me “new again.”


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This is another repost – this time from a little past mid-2011. This is a post that is read fairly frequently, so I pulled it up to read it again myself. I am glad I did.

I am still a member of the Gentle Yoga class, in which I was so uncomfortable when I first began. Now, I feel I AM a member of this group, and miss it on occasion when I do not make the scheduled Monday or Friday class.  Now, in 2012, I respond truly more gently to the flow of the Downfacing Dog, and the Warrior Poses, and the Triangles, and balancing poses. And my whole body “flows” much more openly as I leave class to travel into my day.

I have also lost some of the heaviness I described as having in 2011. During the past year, I found a comfortable, gentle way of eating and nutrition that allowed for the loss of 40 pounds — a new lightness I welcome into the new year.  I see both the weight loss and the yoga accompanying me on new paths and continuing health and harmony.

Gentle Warrior

August 27, 2011 by napkinwriter | Edit

Exalted Warrior

I found Abby Lenz on the internet today at http://www.heavyweightyoga.com/2011/03/39-years-of-yoga/ . In talking about her beginning youth experience with yoga over thirty-nine years ago, immediately falling in love with it, and being able to do any pose imaginable, she says she is now….”older, heavier and much wiser.”  She says and teaches what she knows being on the mat is all about in her Austin, Texas classes.

She says it is never about the poses, it is rather about where they lead you. She  does not measures success by how triuphant you look and feel on the mat. Success, she says, is really about just showing up and doing your best for that day.

I, too, am older, heavier and somewhat wiser at the age of sixty-eight. Today, I did not show up on the mat at class. I wasn’t feeling triumphant about anything in particular and I put myself on yoga class vacation for this Friday.

I will start again on Monday, or most likely with some pauses for home poses, balance and breathing over the weekend to remind myself that my true self doesn’t really want or need a vacation from yoga.

I love that I have discovered some of the richness of yoga in my own life. I am in touch with the true energy within my body, how it can be stirred, awakened, unclogged, and make me feel as though I am “streaming” with my own body instead of pulling and pushing it around.

I love how I hear Petra’s voice in my daily life and how the flow of yoga, even off the mat, finds meaning in my day. When I began yoga, late in life (unless I live unusually long), I was concerned mostly about my physical “bigness” and remembered the Beatles’ early 1960s introduction of yoga and swami’s into Western culture. I surely thought it was a no-no for me, a cradle Catholic and Republican, trying to go Democrat.

When I started, I was uncomfortable standing in mountain pose for any length of time and thought surely this would be a short experience. I came to “land yoga” through my water class of fused Poolates-Yoga. I loved feeling the poses, supported by the water, and the instructor encouraged me to try the gentle yoga class at the health center. I am glad she did.

Over time, and with the effort to do the best I could (like the 4th Agreement of Ruiz I have been writing about), I came to feel a genuine part of the class, if a stumbling one at times. Sometimes my motivation to get through the poses and balance and stretches was that I knew Shivasana, the peaceful quiet, awaited me at the end of class. I could hold on.

I remember about breath being the most important thing. Even though I knew that to be true, I suspect that it is being on the yoga mat that brings it home to me when I need it in my daily experience.

Once I had to leave the class for a bathroom break. When I returned through the door in the front of the class, they were all in a Warrior II, opened toward me and gazing forward. I started to return to my place, but was actually stopped by the palatable positive energy flowing  toward me from the group. It was an amazing and respectful feeling and I stood for awhile to soak it in and enjoy it before threading my way back to my mat.

My own self-described Energy Identity I’ve had for some time now is: Sue, Truth Seeker, Peace Maker, Love Giver. My Life Statement is: “Her ways are ways of gentleness and all her paths are peace.”

I am gentle warrior, learning to forge my path and respect the paths of others. I do not know if there is a gentle warrior yoga pose.


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Birthday 2 - Napkinwriter

Writing on Napkins Part 2

December 23, 2010 by napkinwriter

Republishing my second blog as Napkinwriter.

Many thanks to all the readers who have enjoyed my blog as I have enjoyed writing it. I guess 2013 is about the “terrible two’s” for Napkinwriter. I’ll see what comes up.

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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What Child is This?

Christ Child

What Child is This?

O Holy Night
Silent Night.

Mary, did you know
when you looked
into your baby’s face
you saw the face
of God?

All is calm
all is bright.

It is the night
of our dear Savior’s birth.
He came upon the midnight clear.

He appeared and
the soul felt its worth.

Joy to the world!
Angels we have heard on high.
Lulaye thou little tiny Child
above thy deep and dreamless sleep

the silent stars go by.

Another year over
a new one begun,

and so this
is Christmas.

The lights on my tree
I wish you could see.

Merry Christmas
A Happy New Year

to the old and the young.
May all your dreams come true.

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Merry Christmas

Cardinal Hills Trail greetings

As I  bless each new day in the gratitude of the immense value and gift of life and the freedom to choose to be a person where a little more love shines on all life, I extend the prayer and belief in all that is good, that is true and that is beautiful.

May these graces accompany you each day of the new year of 2013 and be especially present on Christmas Day, the birth of the Christ child – Emmanuel – God with us.

This looks like our bird feeder on Cardinal Hills Trail and we enjoy watching the cardinals come to eat. As the snow arrives, it will be even more beautiful.

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

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Broken Snow Globe

16 Sunday Dec 2012

Posted by in hope


snow globe

My small grandson, Sweetie-Pie, brought home secret presents from his school’s Christmas shop. He was so excited: “You are gonna love it, Nana!” I sat in the living room reading, while Sweetie-Pie and Papa worked to wrap the presents. Papa’s was already wrapped in tissue paper from school, so it was okay for him to see the bundle.

Then I heard a crash, followed by a heartbroken, “Oh, Papa! I broke your present…”

I went instantly to the kitchen. What can you say to heartbreak? I held Sweetie-Pie and cried with him. Then I gently pulled the item out of the trash, where Papa had very naturally put it, knowing it was beyond repair. It was the remains of a little snow globe, with a train. (Papa and Sweetie-Pie have shared many an hour watching train crash videos on YouTube.)

“We can keep it. Papa can take the broken glass off. It doesn’t matter that it doesn’t have a globe. We still have this, and it is still cute, and still a present from you.”

So that’s what we did. After a bit Sweetie-Pie could smile again.

“We carry on. We have ourselves and we carry on — in spite of our losses and mistakes, and women, I think, have more than most. ~Susan Fletcher, novelist.

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Things are not falling apart for me now. But there are a few times in my life when they truly were on a personal level. Somewhere along the line, I picked up Pema Chodron’s book by the same title: When Things Fall Apart, Heart Advice for Difficult Times.

On December 14, 2012, things fell apart on a collective, national scale, and of first importance — fell apart on  the deepest of personal levels for many, many family members and emergency and law officials of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings in Newtown, Connecticut.

I, of course, have no advice, nor many words. Yet I recognize, that because I am a writer, I am usually hiding something from myself when I refuse to write.

I am on the verge of refusing to write….so I will not give into that. Most of my “falling apart” personal experiences, I notice I have not written through. My journals reveal the underpinnings, the warning signs, the path right UP TO the falling apart — then there is a significant amount of time not accounted for; in other words, blank pages, until I was “through it” and on my way.

“Life is like that. We don’t know anything. We call something bad; we call it good. But really we just don’t know. When things fall apart and we’re on the verge of we know not what, the test for each of us is to stay on that brink and not concretize.”
Pema Chodron

I cannot deal with this on a rational level. Reason demands something  hard and defining like —concrete. I cannot grasp this. It is not static. It is too fluid, too life-changing for too many people, too much, too much, too much….It is a wilderness.

The skies even have gone dark since Friday, after two exceptionally bright days. The atmosphere is gloom. It reflects the hearts of the country, the raindrops, the tears falling everywhere. We are at one with the environment grieving this vast grief.

This Sunday morning, in the midst of Advent, the readings from St. Paul paralleled  this “brink” that was as present in the long ago days in the early Christian faith as it is in today’s scenes of purposeful infliction of pain, suffering and loss upon the innocent. It is “Latare” – Rejoice — Sunday. Only one Sunday of the four week season is focused on keeping a rejoiceful spirit amidst any number of our own troubles.

It looks like a daunting, impossible task for the immediate future, but we are also in the season of promised hope — Christmas; but now one Christmas so unspeakably different than what these families in Newtown were preparing for.

The liturgy today, including the hymns chosen to be sung, appeared to me to be sending a cradle of love to fellow families on the East Coast. Even though the presider of the Mass had to speak of rejoicing in his homily, he drew us gently to  the one main way (not by reason) we are able to do this.

It is through our embodying the faith of old, as when St. Paul, in his most dire circumstances of imprisonment and impending execution, still wrote to his followers to rejoice, as indeed, he himself was doing. The reason Paul told them that they could was that Christ was truly present to them in all circumstances, at all times,

There had been no mention yet of the Sandy Hook School shootings by Bishop Murray, who was assisting Father O’Leary until he is feeling a little better. But he concluded his homily, by slowing down his words and deliberately pronouncing these words directly to the congregation. I felt it was as though he knew he had to address the amount of grief held in the hearts and faces before him.

I cannot quote directly, but this is what my heart heard.

“In the fifty-three years of ministry I have performed and the 80 years I have taken breath after breath, I can tell you this. I know for certain that God is very especially present with individuals undergoing hardships of any kind and that God was and is most present to the victims and family survivors and officials dealing with the vast horrors of this immense and immeasurable tragedy.

I believe that.

I am still on the brink — in the moment of pain. There are an infinite number of beaches around the world, I suppose, but today, there is not enough sand to hide my head in. I know what’s going on. But then again, I don’t know anything, really.

I’m also choosing to believe in another line Chodrin writes in Falling Apart.

“Right now — in the very instant of groundlessness — is the seed of taking care of those who need our care and of discovering our goodness.”

That, I can do and I commit to doing it. Perhaps that will help in overcoming the dueling-banjos of both a headache and stomach murmur.

…..”main point is that we all need to be reminded and encouraged to relax with whatever arises and bring whatever we encounter to the path.” Pema Chodron’s words, not mine.

I will need practice to arrive at peace with that.

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Amy Montessori Concert

Light A Candle for Peace
Montessori Peace Song

Light a candle for peace,
Light a candle for love,
Light a candle that shines,
All the way around the world.
Light a candle for me,
Light a candle for you,
That our wish for world peace,
Will one day come true.

Sing Peace around the World
Sing Peace around the World
Sing Peace Around the World
Sing Peace Around the World.

At the Winter Concert and Wassailing in Richland,the children from the Montessori School of Richland, under the direction of Sarah Miller, sang these sentiments for us to carry home and live.

Thank you children, for a beautiful concert.

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What I See

starry night

On the night of 12-12-12

“Do you see what I see?”
said the shepherd boy
to the little lamb.

“Do you see what I see,
do you see what I see?”
a Star, (the stars) shimmering in the night,
they will bring us goodness and light.

“They will bring us goodness and light.”

Tonight, I see the shimmering stars.

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I woke up this morning and had to put my sun glasses on! By that you can see I slept in past sunrise. However, in our early morning errand out, it was so bright and crisp out that I immediately searched for my sunglasses. It is still that way at almost 4 pm in the afternoon.

So it seems to me this IS a day of more LIGHT coming into our world. And I say “Welcome.”

My world this past week has been very filled with light.

Last night, we finished the third of three workshops on Birth 2012 at Unity of Kalamazoo. Each workshop was two weeks apart, and each workshop grew in attendance! Every night we had short astounding cosmic videos that gave us a glimpse of awe and grace of the very creation of our Universe. Each week, we participated in a beautiful circle meditation in our inner Sacred Chambers,

Each week we practiced heart resonance and coherence within our own bodies and sent it out to our family and friends, calling their names into the circle. Each week, we pondered the absolute and complete magnificence of our Mother Earth, symbolized by my garage-sale $10 globe with a somewhat rustic Equator line. Each week, we closed with an affirmation individually to be a “holder of light” and a “path of peace” walking upon this earth in this year and in the coming 2013.

Barbara Marx Hubbard

Birth 2012 Creator – Barbara Marx Hubbard turns 83 on 12-22-12

We look forward to our Party Celebration at Unity of Kalamazoo for Birth 2012 on Saturday, Dec. 22. This is the day Barbara Marx Hubbard has mobilized and led many “hubs” of evolutionary consciousness individuals to come together and celebrate the light, the higher choices and consciousness, the essence of goodness within each one and all. Thousands upon thousands will be celebrating and bringing forth the “birth” of Newness — letting go of the old — the only thing that is dying is what no longer serves us and the good of the world.  Rejoice!

We will have music, song, be dancing, enjoy art, and connection with many other party-goers.

Awakening to our Codes

The light is so bright just thinking about it, and it is now, not far off after months of planning. Living in light and love. What could be better for our world!

My world has also been filled with the light of family, home and musical entertainment by our daughters and grandchildren. So much to be thankful for. The ultimate prayer is that of just two words.  THANK YOU.

Cardinal Trail Flag

Being able to plant this flag in front of our very own home on Cardinal Hills Trail gives me about as much thrill as seeing the American flag put on the moon.

Cardinal Hills Christmas

Christmas House Porch

We put some greenery and sparkle up this year. I especially cherish the door wreath made by the nuns at Green Mountain Monastery in Vermont. We may add a little more dazzle next year.

Andrew and Devon musicians

Marshall Music School Private Students, Devon and Andrew Warriner
in concert

Kathleen - music teacher

Marshall Community School Instructor, Kathleen Warriner

and we will be attending Kathleen’s Tekonsha school choir and band concert tonight.

Amy Montessori Concert

Amy Mitchell with her Montessori School classmates prior to performance.


Andrew at our family table at Marshall’s famed Schuler’s Restaurant

Schulers family

A delicious meal served as we enjoyed Devon in the Marshall Singers Christmas Choir

Amy and Devon

Cousin love and admiration!

Devon and Tyler

Devon and Tyler

Sue - Black Formal & Drape

It was my dress up night!

John McQuiston II notes in his pocket-sized book, Always We Begin Again,  that there is increased recognition in medical science that the human mind contributes to, and in some sense creates, the universe in which it lives. He contends that the Rule of St. Benedict teaches that if we are intentional and careful in how we spend the hours of each irreplaceable day and live in a balanced and thankful way, we will create from our experiences the best possible life.

So, always we begin again — a new era of cosmic existence!


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