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Archive for September, 2013

Morning gloryphoto by Linda Wilson, Austin Texas

Morning Glory

by Susan Heffron Hajec

The breath of dawn gives birth
to the day reflecting the lavish expression
and perfect personality of God.

Kisses of dew drops hug
the trillium carpets which bloom
in the hills, hollows and valleys
of God’s precious fields.

Migrating birds, a mantle of lace, float
with romantic grace across the ridges and valleys.
Jubilant fields awaken and jump for joy
as the rising sun tiptoes above the horizon.

My heart beckons me into this bountiful orchard
and amidst sparkling streams and waterfalls
I find the radiant beauty of your Presence.
My thankful voice forms a garden arch of praise
and I sing of your Glory.

For the crisp air of this Heaven on earth
speaks sacred sounds of sun-filled serenity.
And in these meadows and hollows,
I find you, my God,
and I celebrate this precious moment.

Yes, you are here in blossoming vistas of grandeur
and today, amidst the mountain laurel
and whispering wildflowers I realize
I am one with all good.

Then, silently, in the solitude of evening
I rest and am made comfortable
knowing that You, who are in all,
over all and through all
in this garden of glory
are the keeper of my soul.

 

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IMG_01861Flower photos by Linda Wilson

Today is just one of those days — glorious days — that thrills all your senses and makes you think up every excuse to be outside, that is if you need an excuse. Here we are entering into the autumn season and the tress are giving their first hints of changes in color. The trumpet announces a panorama of crystal clear blue skies and the clouds are playing hide and seek, nowhere to be found. The temperatures are in the mid 70s and breezes are calm and gentle.

Linda Wilson,  in Austin Texas, is my life-long friend and she occasionally sends me a gorgeous gallery of her Texas garden flowers. Since we cannot tip-toe through the tulips until next spring, I will share her summer garden glory.

Linda's flower

And I will let the pictures do the talking…..and the singing. I just think I can hear a song when I look at these images.

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Morning glory

This is my very favorite flower image. I don’t know the names of my flowers very well, but if that is a morning glory, I have a beautiful poem I wrote long ago with which I would pair this image.

I don’t know what the Texas sky looked like this morning, but I will finish this garden tour with giving you two images of the Michigan sky today.

The first one is taken by Christine Kidd DiCesare of the northern Michigan early morning skyscape.

Misty Morning - Christine (Disney)

And a photo I took after 10 am this morning from my deck confirms that it is such a lovely day that even the moon really did not want to go to bed.

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A New Beginning

 

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“Today is the new beginning….Let peace come forth in every mind. Let love flow forth from every heart. Let forgiveness reign in every soul. Let understanding be the common bond.”

                                                                                                John Randolph Price – World Healing Meditation

Today is my new beginning. It is always good to be new.

 

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fallI’m blessed to call Brenda Horton a friend of mine and an inspiring writer and photographer. She and her husband Ted, of Georgia Bulldog heritage, live part of their lives on Mackinac Island each summer into the fall.

You can read and see all about the beauty of this way of life on-line at:

http://bree1972.wordpress.com/2013/09/22/subtle-changes-9222013/

But for today, we are just going to take a little autumn walk with my very favorite adopted dog, Bear, who lives his gifted life with mom and dad, Brenda and Ted.

All photographs are from Bree and I’ve left out many scenic ones on the walk so you will want to check out her website directly.   From there you can open to a full novel’s length choice of stories back through the years in Bree’s Mackinac Island Blog.

That is actually how we met and pretty instantly became friends. Bree was riding in the horse taxi on an early, cold morning departure date for my family from a week on the island. Well, I’m pretty apt to strike up a conversation with any writer, and sure enough I did. And I count that my lucky day. Since then, the striking stories, celebrations and history of Mackinac Island that have flowed from Bree’s keyboard have been matched only in quality by the amazing photography with which she gifts us . And both of those are topped by the personal friendship and communications we have enjoyed over the last several years.

Now for that walk with Bear, her incredible, honorable, handsome Golden, who stole my heart many years ago.

Bree’s descriptive line of her blog states…summers on beautiful, magical Mackinac Island….and I suspect autumn is “the cherry on top of it all.”  Just take a look.

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“Fitness in the fall. Just take a fun little walk. I’ll lead the way.”

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One must never lose their scent of curiosity! Humans need to know this.

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“WHO needs a Stairstepper?  Save the money!”

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Royalty, for sure.

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“Just one more trail dad before we go home, huh, please?”
Please!

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Sunflower child Mandala conditions

I have put my 2013 Sunflower Intention Mandala on my computer as a screensaver. Today, I sat down to enter a Peace in Our Hearts and Around the World entry. I gazed at the screensaver with “soft eyes” as I said aloud and breathed into each condition I am practicing in my life this year.

In the middle of this practice, I saw a new image in the sunflower. All the “mandala style” buds at the center of the sunflower became people looking inward toward the center. And just now, I made and corrected a “typo” as I typed the word, funflower, for SUNflower.   The name of my 2013 Intention Mandala IS My Year of Joy and Fun.

We are now into the last two weeks of September and my life is living up to the name of this 2013 Intention Mandala beyond my wildest expectations.

This Intention Mandala comes from the teachings of Janet Conner. Her books, Writing Down Your Soul, My Soul Pages Companion Journal, and the lotus and the lily, and her workshops for mandala instructions have graciously and prosperously guided the way I approach my daily life.

The manifestations of good I list for this year are not in sight on this image because I have rightly focused on the center of the mandala where the conditions are stated. As Janet points out… once I have listed the manifestations I want to see in my life, I can forget about them; they will come about when conditions are sufficiently met.

I have no reason to doubt this, as my larger than life manifestations I’ve listed on my two previous mandalas are all realities in my life today.

Before stating the conditions I am willing to live by, there is an important inner process of looking within and looking back and recognizing the gifts that were present in hard times and with hard lessons learned. That takes a respect for the quiet and a courage to live and let live, and let go and release anything not serving my good today.

The next step is a big one — and requires even more courage — forgiveness.

Forgiveness, the ultimate gift to myself! At any cost, worth the price of admission — admission to a freedom in the present, leading into a worthy future. Forgiveness of anything and everything, anybody and everybody, and most of all forgiveness of self.  Always a work in progress. But I am ever more mindful of the benefits and the quicker release of grudges and resentments. I’ve come to know, it is just not worth it to hold onto them.

Now, I’m ready for those conditions I was reading aloud this morning:

I practice radical self-acceptance.

I allow Truth.

I move in the world.

I love in the spaciousness of my heart.

I sit in silence.

I serve in compassion.

I Am in Joy for I know all my needs are met. My life is filled with Abundance of every kind and it reveals the Awesome Power of God.

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After being a sleepless night flight bird, as we winged our way from Newark New Jersey to Munich Germany, I gazed with tired eyes to the level fields and pastures below as we approached landing in Newark. My friend companion, Martha, had caught a few winks through the night, but I flew from the 5 pm departure time in the United States in the light, through sundown into the dark and back into the horizon’s sunrise in Europe…awake.

All the while, pushing the clock six hours ahead in time. Shall we say, I arrived a bit on the tired side. Yet adventure lay ahead.

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Here comes Munich and the beginning of a twelve day European Alps tour through four countries and a principality: Germany, Austria, Italy, Switzerland and Lichenstein. After clearing the passport officials, and safely securing our travel documents and itinery (which I continued to check a zillion times throughout the next twelve days), we located our luggage, even though our flight arrival number was not posted anywhere in the baggage claim area. Not bad, huh, for two women, new to Munich!  Then we looked for our private escort, arranged through the tour, to take us the thirty minute trip into the city.

There he was at the end of the line holding signs for newly arriving passengers. No more baggage handling for us. He took over and directed us to his sleek and shiny black BMW, an upgraded model in which we were comfortable passengers.

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It was somewhat rainy, damp and grey on our arrival day but this was the only time and day that we were rained upon. The rest of the trip boasted exceptionally sunny blue skies and moderate, comfortable, edging toward hot, temperatures.  We experienced our first of many International Five Star hotels here in Munich. We saw quite a bit of this lobby, as we were very early arrivals and we had to wait for our room to be ready.

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We were both definitely wrestling with jet-lag tiredness as we resided in the lobby, watching the comings and goings, and attempting to get our telephones and ipads in wifi sync. But since we had “arrived”, we both agreed, to waste not a minute and take a stroll down into the Marienplaz to “see what we could see” just like the bear who went over the mountain. We knew just enough to know that the famed Glockenspiel Clock Tower was in that vicinity. There was a lot of construction going on throughout Munich, and perhaps, this is why I have the fewest photographs of this location than anywhere else on the tour.

Or maybe, I was just a little groggy.

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Department stores and wares for sale were everywhere throughout this plaza. I was fascinated with people-gazing along with the new feeling of being so far away from home. We didn’t stay out long, returning to the hotel to catch a breather of a rest before our official greeting and dinner party of the evening. Here, we would meet people, seemingly unfamiliar to us, but whom we will be able to recall readily as friends, after the tour is over. It seems like that is what traveling together does to you.

Anna, our marvelous Tauck Tour Guide, explains the next day’s schedule in Munich, along with some free time. We agree to meet the bus at the Opera House at 1pm that day for the beginning of our travels to Oberammergau in Southern Germany and then onto Austria.

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The Vier Jahreszeliten Kempinski Hotel afforded us sweet, luxurious bed and bath accomodations for our first night’s rest and several rooms of food choices for breakfast the next morning.

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Before leaving the hotel that morning, we got a glimpse of a $450,000 Mercedes Benz, parked behind our bus. I saw a sheik checking in, so perhaps it was part of his entourage.

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Martha and I chose to take a stroll through the famed English Garden during the free time we had in the morning before departing Munich. It was one of our many great choices throughout the tour. The garden was too large to take in altogether, but the time we were there was exquisite. The sounds and sights of nature surrounded us on the paths we chose, Martha having a keen sense of “this is where I think we are”.

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We wanted to get up to the Chinese Pagoda, but we were not sure on time allotment. Since we definitely wanted to be “on the bus”, we chose some shorter paths that wound our way back to the hotel, caught a lunch at a Marienplaz biergarten, and met up with our group at the Opera House. All missions accomplished.

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The local people we passed were out walking their dogs, riding their bikes, running their fitness training trails, walking and conversing with friends. Germans walk and ride bikes a lot! The sounds of the birds in the park just made it a nice place to be.

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When I hear the song, “In an English Country Garden”, I will think of Munich because I have not yet been to England.

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Back in town, sitting at the Biergarten. A great beginning to what just gets better and better every day ahead.

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Goodbye Munich. Strike up the band, Willy….we’re on the road.

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Newness1

Today, I share a short blog. It is an image and reflection I posted on the Abbey of the Arts new photography invite through the Holy Disorder of Dancing Monks Photo Party. Christine Vaulters Paintner practices Lectio Divina, a speaking with the scriptures, in which I also participate. I am “commissioned” as one of her Monks in the World, as it fits my contemplative desires so perfectly.

She says,

“We began this month with a Community Lectio Divina practice (stop by to read the beautiful responses).  As I prayed with the Isaiah text, this phrase kept shimmering for me: 

‘See, the former things have come to pass, and new things I now declare; before they spring forth, I tell you of them.’

I  (still Christine speaking) love this image of God seeing the newness of things to come before we do, God’s imagination so much wider than we can see, and the possibilities just on the verge of being birthed that are hidden to us in this moment.

September can have the feel of a new year beginning, especially for those of us connected to school calendars. The ushering in of autumn, the return to classes, programs gearing up again after the slower pace of summer.”

Above are the words of Christine Vaulters Paintner

I, Sue, need to be aware of the possibilities just on the verge of being birthed that are hidden in me in this moment. This refers to my work in placing workshops in many places sharing my soul’s passion for SoulCollage, in which I am deeply trained. At the present time, there is only a rosebud hint of that coming to fruition for me.

But I deeply believe in the rosebud hint and see the rose bush of many workshops fully flowering the world within the next year….a day at a time.

So I look to my front yard rosebush as witness to my faith. I photograph the new life seen in the small and almost overshadowed new bud coming forth amidst the larger blossoms. This is the life that is light. The light that overcomes the darkness of both doubts and reality. The light that the darkness cannot put out.

That light is within me and my work in SoulCollage. I am grateful and step out into the new life that awaits me.

And with my photograph, I post on Holy Disorder of Dancing Monks:

“Call to Newness; today on my newly planted Everlasting Love Rose Bush, I receive the holy image of newness in the late bloom of a new rosebud; protected by the greeness of health as it streches forth seeking the supporting light of the sun, leaves surrounding it with hints of red and the life that is to come. I walk today with that hint of life within me, seeking always the light — the light that darkness could not put out.”

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Labor Day can be Anyday

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My dad said, “Hard work never hurt anybody.” He said that frequently. Very frequently. He truly believed it. And He lived it. Dad worked very hard all of his life. He preached this and instilled this philosophy to my brothers and me. He was assisted in this by mom, who had grown up the oldest daughter of thirteen surviving offspring of her parents.

So we pretty much fell in line and worked pretty hard ourselves. We have various rewards to show for it and some losses as well. Hard work doesn’t guarantee wealth. In my own case it guaranteed…..enough.

I worked at various jobs from grade-school youth age well into my sixth decade. I am still working on projects and activities I love.  I had jobs I liked, jobs where the leadership was precious and taught me things I needed to know. I’ve had jobs where just the opposite was true and I saw what seemed to be the wrong actions and values being rewarded with promotion and promise.

I never had the benefit of a union to right any wrongs I may have experienced. I had to learn to pick and choose my battles. I had to learn to believe in myself, and I needed to learn that. The job place was a great teacher. Sometimes I needed to know how to let go…..and move on. And I did.

Work is not the only form of labor, however. Much of the important work in my life has taken place on the personal stage of life. I came to realize that all of life is a gift and giving where ever I could to family, friend, stranger, and just someone in need of “something” I could be or give to them was a very important labor.

One that is always rewarded. One that promotes the good of all. That is the kind of labor I think about today. It is a labor of love.

Kindness

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