Archive for the ‘Friendship’ Category


Napkinwriter is wishing my readers, family members and friends NEWNESS in your day……exciting STARTS in creativity, spirituality, kindness and wondrous living in your lives and in our world.   PEACE BE in 2017.


“Start Close In”
by David Whyte

Start close in,
don’t take the second step
or the third,
start with the first
close in,
the step you don’t want to take.

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We have moved and lived in a lot of houses over the years. Our home in Newton, NC had the prettiest front door we have ever had. It was built by a man, who lived across the street from us, and he and his wife became our good friends, Terry and Judy Rhead. Neighbor friends on our other side of us Lois and Jim, — the six of us were a little neighborhood in our own. Terry and Judy’s back yard looked like an English garden. None of us are in that neighborhood anymore. Jim and Lois moved back to Jim’s home town of Cleveland Ohio where he passed from cancer. Terry and Judy are back in Terry’s homeland of Wales. We hope to visit them there one day. And Lois moved back to her home in Upper State NY where she carries on ministry work and tells the next best joke she knows. What a nice little slice of life that was for us.

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Lucretia’s Poem
                     Susan Heffron Hajec

She is the one.

She is one who has traveled
to be with friend.

She is one who opens
to grace in the day.

She is one who lives the grief
of her earthly loss of her love partner
who has traveled on.

She is the one.

She is one whose curiosity awakens
the glory of God in her surroundings
inside and in the landscapes of land and sea.

She is one who hears happiness and remembrance
in songs of long ago that touched her heart and spirit.

She is one whose girlish giggle
fits her womanly presence.

She is one who sight of tulips
brings instant connection to her love.

She is the one.

She is the one who laughs, sees, and
both understands, yet questions

The many mysteries of life and death
love and loss, family ties and

The sacredness of ancestor roots,
and spiritual truths and traditions
passed down through generations.
She is the One.


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labyrinth cardinals


Good morning, Duane. I have a pair of cardinals for you today in honor of you and Marsha. They visit us frequently although I did not take this picture. But it looks like they are on our labyrinth arch. Tom and I walked the large labyrinth in the floor of the Chartres Cathedral in France in 2000.


A labyrinth is a quiet space….a sacred path….a metaphor for life….with its turns and circling….but the one path it has is never blocked, as in a maze….no, the one path leads always to the center, where God resides with his gifts…..and all the way in while you are on the path you can let go, accept and take your journey one step at a time, watching your feet place one foot in front of the other, and TRUSTING your Divine Companion is with you all the way.

Tom helped me build our labyrinth in the back yard. I will walk it for your intentions of healing.



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backyard sunset

A repost from Napkinwriter  September 19, 2015
I dedicate this to my friends, Duane and Marsha English
Duke, there are too many questions here, but we can make up the next step together, for I am along side of you.
Which question do you want to take on?
Where is Home? 
Lately, I’ve been involved in such a little matter of making order out of my little room where I spend creative time and energies when I write, draw, doodle, meditate or search the web.

Meanwhile all around me on a world-wide scale, millions of people are trying to make order of their lives, finding most of it destroyed by the violence of the human race or the ravishing energies of natural fires and disasters. Innocent people and their families are victims of random singular acts of violence; the threat of terrorism is ever-present. Whole nations are seeking new ground and new life in a setting which doesn’t threaten their daily way of life.

The sheer numbers are stunning and tend to make me feel like a sideline observer.

Yet, there is a call within that tells me I am a “companion on the journey”. That somehow, even in my own simplified and scaled down life, I walk with these others in compassion, in prayer, in belief and hope they  and all of us shall somehow be renewed. But just how do I “do something”?  Aren’t there many of us wondering that? Are there large needs that need to be fulfilled by small people or…..are there small needs that need to be fulfilled by large people?

Alfred Delp, who was a German Jesuit Catholic priest condemned to death by the Nazis in Berlin, believed and said we need to be men and women who are fulfilled. That faith is the path to fullness. “Fulfilled men and women are not pious caricatures,” he said. “They are people who are genuinely impregnated with the spirit of their calling, people who have prayed with all sincerity: make my heart like unto thine.”

In the midst of the destructiveness, pain and suffering of the Nazi power-driven and mad regime, he called people to have willing hearts that beat with compassion and return to the ideal of….service.  He defined this as meeting people on their own ground, in all circumstances, with a view to helping to master the challenges at hand. “That means walking by his side, accompanying him even into the depth of degradation and misery. Go forth, our Lord said — do not sit around and wait for someone to come to you.”

Why do bad things happen to good people? This is the eternal mystery.  Psalm 33 explores it. “The designs of his Heart are from age to age, to rescue their souls from death and to keep them alive….” The promise is held in Jeremiah 29;  “I know well the plans, I have in mind for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare, not for woe! plans to give you a future full of hope.”

Today, I received a reminder in my email from Betty Lue Lieber, who resides and works in the midst of the endangered California forests burning right now. She has been supplying reminders on a daily basis for ever so long, but today’s reminder speaks right to being a person fulfilled and one dedicated to service. I share some of her words here.

Thursday, Sept. 17 at 4PM
From Betty Lue.

Robert and I have been living in Hidden Valley Lake, our Reunion Lake House, for over five years.
We also have a holistic counseling and healing center, Reunion ReSource Center, in Middletown.
We have a Reunion Community Room for everyone in Middletown and surrounding area to use.

We have been very fortunate during these wildfires with everything still standing.
Many of our friends and neighbors have lost everything.
As soon as the highway opens with electricity and water available, we will return to be helpful.

Many are grieving the losses.
Some are already conceiving the rebuilding.
We are believing together it can and will be done.
We appreciate good thoughts, help and support.

Blessings multiply with gratitude and Love.
Betty Lue

Update on the Wildfires in Lake County.

Valley fire
(as of Thursday, 8 a.m.)
·       73,700 acres burned
·       35% contained
·       13,000 people displaced
·       7,650 structures threatened
·       585 homes, hundreds of other buildings destroyed
·       3,580 fire workers
·       4 injured firefighters
·       3 confirmed deaths
Butte fire (as of Thursday, 11:30 a.m.)
·       70,760 acres burned
·       49% contained
·       10,000 people initially displaced
·       6,400 structures threatened
·       252 homes, 188 outbuildings destroyed
·       4,403 fire workers
·       2 confirmed deaths

What Can You Do?
For the thousands displaced by the wildfires and so much more around the world!

What Can You Do?
What Can I Do?
What Can We Do?

When we want to be helpful, what can we do?
When we don’t know what to do, how can we help?
When things are unknown or unclear, what can we do?
When caught in confusion, conflict and concern, what can we do?

When we feel hurt and frightened, what can we do?
When we are lost and alone, what can we do?
When we feel disconnected and separate, what can we do?
When in grief and without comfort, what can we do?

We can let the tears fall to wash away the hopelessness.
We can sing a song of comfort to soothe the pain and sorrow.
We can breathe in inspiration and seek some revelation.
We can write a poem and draw a picture to begin to create anew.

There is always something we can do.
We can give thanks for everything we have.
We can watch the sunrise and feel blessed.
We can let go and flow with what seems to be needed.

We can do what is valuable.
We can forgive and erase what is not.
We can make up our own next step.
We can give what we have to feel good.

We can tell stories of hope and faith.
We can remind ourselves to be kind.
We can reassure those who are worried.
We can give what we want to receive.

We can build a new world of possibility.
We can seek inner guidance and outer information.
We can share the best we know with others.
We can give thanks we can do something good.

We can remind ourselves, we can do what we choose.
We can encourage those around us.
We can care deeply for those who are lost, depressed and confused.
We can do the work to repair, rebuild and renew.

I am with you in Love, trust, support and encouragement.
We can, because we are willing.
Betty Lue.

Because I am willing and because I live as a fulfilled person, today what I can do that matters is to encourage anyone in my surroundings today in whatever way I can. One of the ways I encourage is to write Napkinwriter and remain faithful to the writing of it. Does it put out the flames? I don’t know but I write in the faith that my words matter.

I can care deeply for those who feel lost, depressed and confused. I can also pay particular attention to and offer myself loving kindness when I feel those things.

I can always work to repair, rebuild and renew that which provides fullness in my own life and what touches others.

That’s a pretty complete TO DO list for today. I can always begin again tomorrow.

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lotus - whitelawPhotography by Christine Whitelaw


Remembering Christine Whitelaw

My last words on Napkinwriter from Christine were posted on June 28, 2014, in response to my post on our 3 day family vacation on Mackinac Island in early June. Just a mere  five days before she passed.

Just for the Family Record, June 28, 2014 archives: ” what a fabulous holiday Sue, I loved the butterfly house, and the pic of you three in rain gear … truly such fun and love to remember!” dadirri7

The sweet lotus was her favorite flower and her photographs reflect this. Christine, a flower of perfect sweetness.

In the late afternoon we sat watching the lotus. A cool breeze took the edge off a hot day, but the water was still…Dancing in the afternoon light, pods and flowers together, celebrating the lowering sun, turning their heads to whisper sweet secrets to each other. We bow, united, our dance concluding with the sunset.” Christine Whitelaw. Dadirridreaming.

We entered into our friendship through words…blogging…..and our hearts met across time and space, her in Australia, me in Michigan.

Christine Whitelaw and I met through my Napkinwriter blog nearly three years ago. She was one of the few who commented on my writings. Then she began blogging herself which grew into a wondrous photographic blog. Through her writings came her light, compassion, and “stretching” into the wonder of life itself.

That’s what she said. “We ARE it, whatever IT is!”

Through her photography, we shared nature’s embrace and brilliance as gift to us. She opened my eyes to always include my horizon, always respect my environment and always LISTEN to its teachings. I thank her for that.

Light….in her words…..and shining in her photography.

I wanted to go to Australia, but I wanted to visit Christine when I did. I wanted to walk on the beach with her, each with our cameras, each with our sharing about life with eyes wide open. I wanted to go to Australia and attend one of Christine’s Yoga Nidra classes. I wanted the grace to participate in one of her annual Women’s Weekends.

We daydreamed about that…..Dadirridreaming and I….we did. We looked forward to that happening.

Christine and I shared a love of poetry by Hafiz. Christine, too, quoted Hafiz on occasion and the poem she selected below gives us a glimpse of her acceptance of the “impermanence of the body”.

She posted these words on March 20, 2014 by dadirri7 — Christine completed her travels of this mysterious existence quite abruptly on July 2, 2014.

She wrote:  “More on life and death from Hafiz: do you like the idea of being simply “a midair flight of golden wine”?

lotus pods and bloomsPhotography by Christine Whitelaw

Deepening the Wonder by Hafiz

“Death is a favor to us,
But our scales have lost their balance.
The impermanence of the body
Should give us great clarity,
Deepening the wonder in our senses and eyes
Of this mysterious existence we share
And are surely just traveling through.
If I were in the Tavern tonight,
Hafiz would call for drinks
And as the Master poured, I would be reminded
That all I know of life and myself is that

We are just a midair flight of golden wine
Between His Pitcher and His Cup.

If I were in the Tavern tonight,
I would buy freely for everyone in this world
Because our marriage with the Cruel Beauty
Of time and space cannot endure very long.”


Through the permanence of our words, Christine and I now transcend the impermanence of the body.

I remember the fun and love of our friendship.  Like the treasures she found on the beach.

Christine - Seashell

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Marsha - Lovers

I remember it like it was yesterday. I just don’t remember whether it was Marsha’s 40th or 50th birthday. Pretty sure it was #40 and Duane *Duke*, husband and love of her life and her son, Scotty, were throwing  a big surprise bash for her.  A blast to the past — the fifties!!

We (being her family and friends from all parts of her life) were waiting in ambush in the darken hotel banquet room for her innocent arrival for a “family dinner”.  Surprise!

Marsha walks into the scene to the amped up music rendition of “My Girl”, and looking upon the stage, there sees the Duke, suavely attired in his letter sweater, baggie slacks and saddle shoes, while son, Scotty plays away on the electric guitar, both perfectly lip-syncing to the famous tune.  I never since hear that song without reliving the magic of that moment in time.

Stunned, Marsha is guided to her table, has her hands to her cheeks in disbelief, and eventually begins laughing so hard, tears stream from her eyes. She often laughed that way — with her tears — when overcome with rediculousness, and this fit the bill. She later said, everytime she looked around the room, she was surprised by seeing some friend who had come there to be with her at this fun time.

40th HS reunion

Today, we are crying tears of another kind, the very sad kind. I received the very sad news that Marsha had passed unexpectedly and suddenly on May 12, 2016, just last week — after surviving several health challenges and surgical procedures. She suffered a post-surgery heart attack after returning home from the hospital for an anticipated recovery.  I received this sad news from a telephone call friend, Diane Ignatowski made to me after speaking with Barbara, whom Duane had called.

We are shocked and grieved. Each day since, I feel a bit of the lead in my heart. Marsha’s funeral Mass will be tomorrow, May 18 and we unite with her and Duane and family in sorrow for this loss and gratitude for the gift of life that Marsha was.

I felt my immediate response to be once again to “raise the wall”. The one that doesn’t protect, but engages instead the dull ache of what has to be eventually accepted and then released with tears. Some of that will probably happen at the memorial that will be Marsha’s at a Mass liturgy in Lansing. I will be there.

 Wall 2 clocks


In the meantime,  I look at a SoulCollage card I recently created. The Wallbuilder.  There I am,  hastily adding bricks and mortar to my wall, trying to escape from all those dreadful feelings!! The wall does a pretty poor job of that.

But the two clocks are there. The one in the palm of my hand reminds me of the gift of time was all had with Marsha. Time, oh precious time, we have with our loved ones. Gift indeed.

Marsha RHS GraduateRHS 1961 Graduation

We had a gift of time that spanned from our  high school days into our 70th decade of life.  We enjoyed ever so often girl trips to fun places, under the direction of Diane Ignatowski.  We treasured our friendship.

Diane Ignatowski, Barbara Czubak, Marsha, Sue, Diane Hess,  and Mary Lee Green. The trips were all fun, but perhaps none more than the trip to Atlantic City, with an ocean view hotel room.

Oh,  and then there was the casino downstairs. Diane used to wait in the room for us to return to see how fast each one ran out of their gambling fund.  Mary Lee shared a birthday cake (I think this was our 40th) table celebration with the guys at the table next to us because she had beaten them the night before at the Black Jack table!

Our friendship spanned special events in our different life trails….


Celebration Rome Pilgrimage Dinner

2000 -Dinner Celebration in Rome
on pilgrimage & writing and video production


Lennie's WeddingFamily Weddings
Son, Lennie Ignatowski

Marsha - and DuaneFun Times in Florida

First GrandsonHolding First Grandson

It spanned our college times together, our career moves, the building of our families up through this point in time.

We’ve shared Shamrock reunions and RHS monthly luncheons.

RHS Friends1

RHS friend John Lynch

John brought many of us together and the luncheon gatherings continue.

RHS Friends2

RHS Yearbook pages

And there is always the published yearbook pages. Barb and I were co-editors of the Shamrockette in 1961, something I will always treasure. Thanks, Sister Ann Judith.

Coach Paul Cook remained a shaper of our abilities and belief in ourselves, so many can claim.  Marsha and Diane and I enjoyed girls basketball for Resurrection.

RHS growing up with Paul Cook

and we all sang for Miss Klein. Gilbert and Sullivan operettas, especially. And the boys always pushed someone off the top tier, to her total consternation (as she laughed underneath it all).

Marsha Fun Table 50th

The Jackson’s and the English’s became down south and up north neighbors, enjoying the good life both had to offer.

RHS Friends Sparty

Sparty remains a good friend of us all.

Marsha - Duane & Scotty

Never a happier Marsha than in her married life with Duane, her visits with son, Scotty and her enjoyment of grandmotherhood.  I am so happy she had her recent California visit with them all.

Marsha - grandmother

Marsha - and then there were two - grandkids

To Barb, may God fill up the hole this leaves with his Amazing Grace.

Marsha & Best Bud Barb

Most say death is a slowing down. It can look like that. But I am beginning to think that is not true. I think death is actually such a speeding up of the good, whole, spirit and soul of a person that the vibration of uniting, at last with God, is too FAST for the body to contain it, and it flies out of its “container” — its Temple, and continues to unite with all that is Love and God.

We are united to you, Marsha, through our Love, and know that God will bless us with the Love we need as we continue life without you here, facing forward to the time we, too, will be in love and union once again with you.

God bless Duane and your family and friends. We all need it.

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