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Fireworks behind statue of liberty

Fireworks behind statue of liberty

 

Almost every one of the last twenty years, we have enjoyed “that old time feeling” of going back in time and celebration at the Marshall Michigan 4th of July kids and pet parade and the community concert, featuring fresh bar-b-q chicken during the concert intermission.

Our daughter, granddaughter and grandson all play in the featured and spirited marches and patriotic music, ending with a tribute to every branch of our United States armed serves. The concert this year will begin in about one-half hour. We will not be there this year as Tom is still recovering from his last skin cancer Mohs operation. But I can hear it —  even from a distance — in my heart and soul, not even needing my ears. I feel blessed to have been there so often.

And there’s always next year to look forward to.

Here is a repost from 2011 to show you what it looks like.

 

Marshall MI 4th of July – Thanks for the Memories

Conductor flanked by redheads Kathleen and Devon

Inserted into a collection of rousing, high-spirited American patriotic marches was a melody of nostalgic tunes including “Thanks For the Memories.” And that’s what I would like to do — thank the Marshall Community Band and the 4th of July Festivity planners for another spirits-raising day at the Fountain Park.

It’s been tradition for us to travel from Kalamazoo to Marshall for this summer treat, followed by goodies shared at the Warriner home. This year, I brought home-made apple crisp. Last year, Kathleen served fresh strawberry shortcake. You can’t beat them for 4th of July desserts.

You have to get there early, that’s a proven fact. Not just to see the kids’ parade, but to set up in a cozy spot protected with shade from the gracious trees that grace the park.

 

The kids’ parade, pets, wagons, bikes, costumes start the fun, and here they come!

Now, we’re ready to hear the music!

The band plays on and on the great American patriotic marches and we love it!  During the break, we enjoy grilled chicken from the Rotary Band Booster Fund Raisers. The concert concludes with a rousing crowd appreciation number honoring all the branches of the Armed Forces and ends each year with the Encore of STARS AND STRIPES FOREVER.

Our spirit is lifted high as we leave the park singing something about being kind to our web-footed friends.

 

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Today's Gift 7-26-15 I complicate things as soon as I get back inside but I do retain the gifts offered by my labyrinth walk this morning. I have been resisting walking and movement lately. I don’t know why. My inner critic ramps up her demands and judgments, but I dig ins with many ways of refusal So today, I decided to combine two of my practices of the quiet and walk our backyard labyrinth while I was saying my Sunday rosary. Sunday’s rosary is dedicated to the goodness and protection of Amy, my youngest grandchild. Each daughter, and their husband and my three grandchildren receive the blessings of Mary and the rosary on their designated weekday. IMG_6859 Upon entering the labyrinth, I am in my second decade of the rosary and I notice very bright fresh yellow and white miniature daisies greeting me. Just one patch It is enough to lighten my mood and willingness to step further along the path. They remind me of the fun times I have with Amy and how proud she was to fix our breakfast yesterday of egg salad, of which she proclaimed she is the best at making. I like the self-confidence and image she has of herself at the tender age of seven.  All of this is gift to me. Circling to the center Soon the circular pattern of the paver bricks lead the way both to the center of the labyrinth and to the calming peace of acceptance of being right where I am on the path.  No hurry. No worry. Just a breathing time for my soul.

The labyrinth Tom and I created a few years ago is daily present for my sight. And even when I gaze upon it from my kitchen window, it reminds me of gratefulness and I don’t know how this happens. It just does. It reminds me of a Oneness, which I might not even be feeling at the time I look upon it, but that is its constant message to me. And grace.

Now, as I walk, I pray. Random thoughts pass through and like in the practice of Centering Prayer, I hold on to none of them. I just notice them and let them pass. This leads to further stillness. Some kind of knowingness arises within as I walk that I am at a loss of words to explain. But then I don’t need to explain this. I only need to walk it. I know I am on my way to the center.  The center represents that elusive thing I seem to “grab for” in my daily life….some kind of certainty, some kind of acceptance.

On the labyrinth this peace comes as I notice the blades of grass, as I listen to the birds, as I feel both the heat of the sun and the breeze, however slight on this day when the temperature and humidity are rising. What drops away?  The plans for the day, a lot of the complexity of what seems to be my makeup — both a blessing and a bit of a curse….they begin to get left behind, perhaps to return once this labyrinth journey is complete, perhaps not if I am lucky.

WestBend Laby4West Bend WI labyrinth I have not walked.

I  have a personal story connected to the labyrinth, having discovered it through Lauren Artress’s book, Walking a Sacred Path. I had no clue that somehow that labyrinth path would lead me to training with her and walking labyrinths in many marvelous places including Chartres France, facilitating retreats, walking with groups, walking alone, and at last partnering with Tom to build our own backyard labyrinth.

Chartres Labyrinth

I think most of my walking experiences are somewhat commonplace. I rarely feel any profound “breakthrough” dramatic experiences while I am on the labyrinth, but I have witnessed it happening to others.  Journaling after a walk is a revealing time when you may not know how the flow of your pen or pencil is going to inform you. Perhaps an image flows onto the paper that you feel you are only co-creating with.  A simple walk to the center and then back out again.  Being present with the present.

Cairn watching over the building

Is it easier to listen on the labyrinth than it is in the rest of your life. One writer, Travis Scholl in his book Walking the Labyrinth, says that “underneath the surface….is a stillness…between everyday’s noise and walking it is finding the voice speaking in whispers underneath the whirlwinds of sound ” (in our lives).

I think that is true for me.  I see a tiny toad (or is it a frog, I don’t know) on the path on the way out.

As soon as I return to the house, I find the noise again…. in my head….in my peace turning to impatience….get my camera, take a photo of the daisies, find Ted Steven’s Animal Speak and see what he says about the meaning of frog,  finish two decades the rosary, blog,  fix left over pizza for lunch, continue your workshop preparation, oh yeah, write two thank you cards, and for goodness sake play with Zentangle today….noise, noise, noise.

Bird on the arch

Maybe I’ll take an evening walk on the labyrinth tonight and see how this day went.

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Dolomites hills and valleys  7-10-13

 

I remember feeling very peaceful in these surroundings on day 9 of my 12 day tour of the Alps with my friend, Martha.

 

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“Peace is the simplicity of spirit, the serenity of conscience, the tranquility of the soul and the bond of love. Peace is order, it is the harmony in each one of us,, it is a continual joy that is born in witnessing a clear conscience, it is the holy joy of a heart wherein God reigns. Peace is the way to perfection, or even better, in peace dwells perfection.” St. Pius of Pietrelcina, an Italian Capuchin. Source: Magnificat, May 2015, Vol 17, No. 3

 

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The year was 2013. The month was July. We arrived via business class luxury air to Munich, Germany and began travel through “the Ultimate Alps”, touching Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Leichenstein, and Italy.  The fortunate touch of long-lasting friendship made this possible for me when Martha asked me to accompany her, all financials taken care of.   I felt the simplicity of spirit in that and the holy bond of love.

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Peace is the way to perfection……we each knew this peace of shared past times as neighbors and the witnessing of friendship shared across the years through each one’s numerous life changes and geographical space.

Dolomites hills and valleys  7-10-13

We still picked up the old-fashioned phone and said, “Hi, how are you? What’s going on?”

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We still started new conversations where long ones had left off many moons prior.  A continual joy, a holy joy of the heart.

I was struck by the concise wording in the first paragraph of today’s meditation, knowing that peace truly is what is written there on all those levels. And that I recognize it as something I am able to experience, not just long for.

For this, I am grateful.

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Change 6 overview

It’s a process! A little at a time. Some of the changes you can see. Some you cannot. Some of the inside changes are hidden away in my computer files, organizing and planning for upcoming projects.  Some inside changes are taking root in my heart and intention to complete long-awaited and dreamed of “children of my mind” before they become “orphans of my soul” as Anne Murray sang in one of her songs which did not make the pop charts.

Those on the outside are designed to create more light, space and inspiration in my room.  Also to rid myself of the papers and images that I can let go of to make room for the new. This is my plan. I already feel I am sitting in more light as I write this.

Change 4

Like the blank page I come to most days in my writing practice, I have cleared a surface for work and clear thinking. Also some “moodling” as Brenda Euland, author and teacher, calls it. That’s like daydreaming, which many of us have been discouraged from doing at an early age in the long-gone-by days.  Opening space for the little, unconnected to purpose thoughts that don’t seem to be on the highway to any “big idea.”

Change 2

Storing, but not putting out of sight my Reiki table, clearing the center space of the room and making it easy for set up when needed. Journals, that need harvesting reside on the bottom shelf, room for Soul Collage essentials on next shelf up, while many more materials are stored away in closet awaiting the next workshop or call to service.

My favorite “go-to” books on writing and spirituality and world evolution have designated positions within the bookcase shelves These are topped off by my $10 garage-sale buy world globe to keep my consciousness open to our world and current conditions. The two turn of the century 1999-2000 memorial white and gold plates refresh my consciousness that, indeed, my gift of life includes living through the time of the 1900’s into the years of 2000.  Fifteen of them so far which with a few more months of grace will include celebrating 50 years of marriage to my true soul-mate and life, service and love to my family of children, their spouses and our grandchildren. It’s been the best life I could ever have thought of.

Change 3

My prayer chair for reflection and my Reiki panels, and a long time framed picture, “He Shall Hear My Voice”, and surely He has over each of these past 72 years!

Change 5

My new altar for Spring, with my grandmother’s embroidered linen as altar cloth, the angels guarding me, St. Francis keeping me fresh to be a channel of peace daily in my life.   My Little Sue doll from Rosann, a treasured and loved gift from “the sister I never had”.

The mandala wall hanging is one I bought at one of the IWWG workshops I attended back in the 1990s, and this year it will serve as a permanent mandala design on which I will create my yearly Intentions Mandala.   My 2015 Intention Mandala is titled,  “I Am Living As Love”…..in my mind, my heart, my hands, my life, my world.

I have been creating these Intention Mandalas since working with Janet Conner. The focus of these mandalas in on the inner conditions we commit to live during the year.  What we hope to manifest gets listed on the circumference of the mandala…..these manifestations, large and small, have regularly showed up in my life since I’ve been making these and living by them and it is truly a huge act of faith and amazement.  I am so grateful to Janet, of Writing Down Your Soul that these mandalas are in my life, as well as my soul writing journals.

Change 7 Intention Mandala

Onward through my light-filtered room.

Change 8 to be dealt with

As I said, it’s a process. There is much left to be done…..a day or step at a time!

And then, there is this!

Change 9 - Behind closed doors

I am graced with Grandma Tanberg’s embroidery of the 1940s. She is the mother of my birth mother, who died within days of my birth. I had the great honor to know Grandma into my high school years.  She was my “huggy” grandma who giggled a lot and played with my brothers and cousin Diane whenever we were together.  She didn’t mind getting us in trouble either!

Change 10 - Grandma's embroidery

And when I approach the unwritten loose leaf page or the blank computer screen to be filled, I only have to remember these screensaver rules and I am off again.

writing rules

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Little Tree - Hajec “Tis the season of the Little Tree! I’ve seen them, more and more often, popping up on my Facebook feed.  We are the people of the Little Tree. We’ve had our seasons of the tree too tall for the ceiling….the tree that wouldn’t quite stand up straight….the tree that looked perfecto in the field, only to reveal a glaring bald spot when we got it put up in the living room.

We are the people in our 70s now, who enjoyed our young ones’ squeals of delight on Christmas morning, attempted to keep the cat from eating the tinsel, piled more and more presents under the tree right after the promise to “go light this year.”

We are the husbands and wives who enjoyed lingering into the night in each others’ presence, after the children were tucked into bed.  We are the ones who endured yet one more power failure after the lights were all strung together. We are the ones who know our lives are blessed both by the star and the angel who top our annual festive tree. We are the ones who know that Jesus is the gift and we have taught the same to our children.

Now, the Little Tree proudly takes center stage in our aging lives. Our children are having their Christmas morning excitement with their own children and visiting us later in the day. Our Little Tree adorns its special spot in our home and holds the same loving energy of all the big trees over the years. Our Little Tree says, “Well done, good and faithful family.” Truly ’tis the season to be jolly. Here are some Little Trees shared with me.

Little Tree - HajecThe Hajec Little Tree

Little Tree - CairnThe Cairns Little Tree

Little Tree - RewaltThe Little Tree –  Rewalt

Little Tree - DuberkeThe Little Tree — Duberke

Little Tree - FeeleyThe Little Tree  — Feeley

Oh!  Christmas Tree! Thank you for all the special moments.

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Kathleen - in charge of Jesus Christ Superstar

Looking through the poetry of Hafiz today, I found the name of a great play. BEHOLD YOUR SELF!

As I read the lines of the poems, photograph images I had taken popped up in every line.  I have combined Hafiz’ poetry with my photography for this blog.

BEHOLD YOUR SELF
by Hafiz

“Hints of your beauty the mountains have.

Swiss Alps  church

The enchanting complexions of the coral reefs are pale

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to a golden candle in our heart.

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What moves in any ocean moves through us.

Waves crashing

A thousand kinds of music play every hour that you orchestrate.

Kathleen - in charge of Jesus Christ Superstar

Let the next ticket you buy help seat you in front of….your soul.

RAKU - Peace Lady Raku by Sue

Photography credits:  Susan Heffron Hajec, Music director in blue lights; Alps mountains,  burning candle, peace lady mask sculpture created by Susan.

Internet stock,  Coral reef.

Christine Whitelaw, dadirridreaming7, (c)  ocean waves crashing off Australian coast.

 

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Jan 26 Under the rainbow

I need those hearts, rainbows and sparkles today, so I repeat a story told on January 26 this year about Amy who gives all of those in great measure.

 

I am curator of granddaughter Amy’s away-from-home art gallery. Almost every time she visits us, she has “something I made for you” to give grandma and dziadzia.

Jan 26 - dziadzia-with-princess

Amy almost always dresses in sparkles. To quote her, “A princess can never have too many sparkles.”

Amy draws in hearts and rainbows and sparkles. Her hearts come in many versions and she has a sense of how precious they are to us when we receive them. She gives them over graciously.

Jan 26 Refrig heart

 

We have a large side-by-side refrigerator and we need it for space to hang her art. I am pretty sure she checks it out when she comes to know that I am current with her postings.

One day, I was coloring with Amy at her house and she said she was going to color a story for me. This is the story of grandma and Amy out on a nice walk together after a rainstorm. A rainbow has appeared in the sky and low and behold there is dziadzia, pencilled in under the rainbow, peeking at us to see where we are going.

Jan 26 Under the rainbow
You can immediately distinguish Amy from grandma through her detail. Grandma has the head of white hair!

Hearts and flowers….joy and expectancy….a rainbow to cover all endings and holding hands to add warmth and companionship. That is the story of our lives.

Jan 26 Amy's hearts

A good story.

 

 

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