Archive for June, 2013

Lark in prayer

“My heart wants to beat like the wings of the birds
that rise from the lake to the trees…..to sing
through the night like a lark who is learning to pray.”

The Sound of Music, Rogers and Hammerstein

My suitcase is almost packed. In the words of John Denver, “I’m leaving on a jet plane.”  But unlike the lyrics in his song,  I DO know when I’ll be back again.  I leave July 3 and I’ll be back again on July 15.

Where am I going?


I’m going to dance in the Austrian mountain meadow field where Julie Andrews musically enjoyed all the earthly glories of God in Sound of Music.

This will happen on Day 5 of a twelve day tour through the Alps where we will touch “up and down” 4 countries and a principality:
Germany, Austria Italy, Switzerland, and Leichenstein. I’ve even learned how to spell the name of that tiny principality.

But there is nothing tiny about this trip.

First, it is a trip that is given to me by my friend, Martha. Our friendship has spanned forty five years, since our early married days. We were neighbors who played together with our children and other neighbors in our Lexington Kentucky days.

It was the middle sixties; Martha had two sons, we had two daughters, and they played together in our safe triangular shape of four yards that all ran together.

Along with our children, Martha and I grew, wondered and processed all the changes of consciousness and human growth that were “in the air” at that time, so along with traditional stay-at-home motherhood values, we enjoyed the emerging new persons we were both becoming. It is a friendship that led to deep bonding.

Then by the mid ’70s some rather big changes began to develop in both our family lives.  Unrest, namely, by both our spouses, in the way they were earning their livelyhood, formed through their college training.

My Tom wanted out of mid-management in his field; her Joe wanted out of pharmacy. He went back to college and earned a PhD in another field; Tom took a “leave of absence” from a Blue Chip Corporate company, never intending to return. We sold our home and  moved to Chicago to determine how to create what was next in our life.

Lark learning to pray

I was not singing at that time in 1976.  Martha came over the night before we would be leaving with UHaul, Pop-up camper, and car with our two young daughters and our black cat, Fritzi.

Martha said, “I’m not even going to watch you pull out of your driveway, this is good-bye.” The pain of separation was huge.

Well, life went on. Martha and Joe moved onto St. Louis, Martha went back to school and got her Masters in Social Work, and eventually moved down to Florida where she would be near her parents, working many more years in her field setting up discharge and supportive services for the elderly in hospitals.

We have “picked up the phone” to check in on one another at amazingly synchronistic times…like our friendship has a vibration that communicates across time and geography which is the only thing that separates us now. We have visited briefly across the years, but it is mainly the bond we each feel that has kept us connected and vital to each other. We’ve shared joys and sorrows and moved on, each in our own way.

This year, in February, I was enjoying some Saturday night leisure time with Tom in my lounge chair in front of the TV. I was probably reading my Kindle rather than paying much attention to the TV.

The telephone rang. It was Martha. She told me she was just going to “throw something out there” and I should think about it and tell her if I wanted to do it.  She then told me she was inviting me to accompany her to the Swiss Alps, all expenses paid. Would I come, she asked.

I didn’t have to think too long. And the second part of this gift is that she sounded so excited and even surprised that I said a quick  “yes, when do we go?” response.

Lark praying

So we are ON….two girlfriends, twelve days… five countries,  three days in the birthplace and music of Mozart, mountain tops, meadows, and villages, first class travel and hotels…..

oh, you should hear me singing now!


Austrian Mountains

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Aunt Resh

Resh & Diane

My Aunt Resh died and went to new life last week, for truly love can never die. And that in a word was “Resh”, Loretta Tanberg.  If you ever need proof that love goes well beyond the confines of the heart in your chest, you just need to look to my Aunt Resh.

Living her life in what I would describe as the “somewhat tiny” little town of Spring Valley, Wisconsin…..Resh lived a tremendously BIG LIFE!

Filled with family and fun and laughter, and coping with sorrrows too deep to imagine, like the disability of her daughter Cathy, who could neither speak nor walk, I can still feel the energy of Resh with that child, her daughter Diane and later Jon and Lauri.

They had “the big white house on the hill” of this tiny valley town. That’s what my older brother Dave and I remember. And when we visited there, it was a raucous time with laughter, drinking and card playing by the adults. My father and Resh’s husband, my Uncle Dale’s main goal seemed to be to “get Resh going”.

Before you knew it, they DID have her going, and she would let them have it, more than what they dished out.

Resh was adamant about keeping Cathy in their home as long as it was possible and she was greatly assisted by daughter Diane, who also floated love waves upon her. I remember seeing such an expression of joy throughout Cathy’s body that sounded like noise. But it was unmistakeably JOY, not noise, rising up from within Cathy and shining in her eyes.  It was one of Resh’s deepest trials when it came time for Cathy to be taken care of in a home.

So besides raising her two youngest children, Resh then delved into loving her grandchildren and being so very present to them. Then she went to work assisting other little children she called “her babies” in a day care center, well into her “elderly life.” She was still taking care of the babies, into her eighth decade of life.

She called me “Susie” with such sweet lovingness. No one else really called me that but that is all I can remember her calling me.  Their home had the big screened-in front porch where I sat with my grandmother Tanberg on our summer visits. My grandmother Tanberg, who was my birth-mother’s mother. A fact I did not know when I was sitting with her until I was late elementary school age because their was a “forced-secret” culture present for all of us, and no one — child or adult — would break that silence.

That is the only sad thing I remember about that house.

My Aunt Resh made sure many, many years later when I was in my forties and had college age daughters of my own that I received my birth mother’s wedding gown. My grandma had given it to Resh who had kept it all those years. “You should have that, Susie,” she told me over the phone. “That belongs to you.”

Aunt Resh gave me many things. This was one of the best ….right up there with her gigantic smile and her hearty laugh.

God bless you Aunt Resh.

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Souljourner banner statement

My granddaughter, Amy, completed her Montessori pre-school education his month. In September, she begins kindergarten in the Richland Public School System.

She is greatly enriched and informed from all her Montessori experiences, and one thing in particular is she loves, loves, loves singing the Montessori Peace song with her classmates in public performances.

She even instructs grandma in the proper wording of the song if grama “slips up” on a word or two.

Ahh, changing the world….even being the change we want to see in the world.  This seems like such a monumental thing to many of us.

But truly, it is not.  Take this song which is a formation of consciousness and living for the children who attend Montessori.  Take all the debate about what can be and what cannot be allowed in public school education.

Take this simple but powerful song. No doctrine or mention of God by any name within it. What would be a reason for keeping it out of any education at the primary level?

There is a place to begin….right in your own place and then spread out over all the world.

Is this too easy?

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

Visit this inspiring website for precious insight.


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Tree - ash wood(image from internet file collection)

From my Divine Being Poetry Collection
by Susan Heffron Hajec


Rooted firmly in the ground
Bark-covered tree trunk aged and round.

Before that tree grew strong and tall
There was a plan which wasn’t small.

Contained within one fragile seed
Was all the knowledge it would need

To be the best tree it could be.

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