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Last week, I sat awhile on the memorial bench in Lucretia’s front yard, enjoying the balmy early March seventy degree weather.

Lucretia’s front and back yards are actually gardens surrounding her home and giving enjoyment to all who pass by or pause to reflect.

I sat reflecting on our precious friendship that spawns from the 1960s, while we lived just down the street from Jude and Lucretia Thomas and we were “growing up” our family of young ones.

 

There was quite a bit to reflect on. It is still so easy to see these adults now, who are raising families of their own, as the little children they were, it seems not so long ago now. We all played together, laughed together, and were so very busy with family stuff.

 

There were the purple crocus, reaching up out of the still cold earth. The crocus to me looks so gentle, a flower of blessing and lifting of spirits. But it is also a flower of courage, for it arrives usually before winter flurries have had their last say for the year.

 

 

And so it was, one short week later a snow storm of six inches covered the Lexington Bluegrass and trees.  It never deters the crocus from arriving however.

 

 

Over time, a blessed time, the family branches grow in varied directions and increase in number and we give thanks for all the blessings on our tree. We have planted our tree in rich soil and we honor and acknowledge the deep roots of all who have come before us.

 

 

The family tree reaches ever upwards, reaching for newness, becoming one with joy and with sorrow. Our lives are shaped by all that this tree contains.

 

 

Our tree does not stand alone. It is overseen by the God in whom we trust.

 

 

 

 

A heart that holds such sorrow, only the saints can understand. Judy, and her family, ever-present in our hearts and lives.

 

 

Linking the fun and promise with the grandchild generation….bright, bright, bright.

 

 

Lucretia goes to Mother Mary, and remains Mother and Nana to family.

 

 

Another summer visitor in Lucretia’s garden.

In the Nana is contained all the ages of the woman.  Walk with her in her garden.

 

In the Garden
Jim Reeves

I come to the garden alone
While the dew is still on the roses
And the voice I hear, falling on my ear
The Son of God discloses

And He walks with me
And He talks with me
And He tells me I am His own
And the joy we share as we tarry there
None other has ever known

(He speaks and the sound of His voice)
(Is so sweet the birds hush their singing)
And the melody that He gave to me
Within my heart is ringing

And He walks with me
And He talks with me
And He tells me I am His own
And the joy we share as we tarry there
None other has ever known

Songwriters: C. Austin Miles
© Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd., Songtrust Ave
For non-commercial use only.
Data from: LyricFind

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.AND NOW in 2018, I am happy at being 75!  Here is a little background I posted a few years back on Lois…

 

“It’s a sin to look so good at 70!” That is what my neighbor friend Lois called me next door to see.
“Sue,” she said on the phone. “Come over here and see what my sister got me for my birthday.” Out the door I went and she met me half-way across the front yard, sporting and showing-off her new t-shirt her sister gave her for her birthday.

It is true. She really did look good for 70. She still does, today, about five years or so later. She called me to wish me a happy birthday, for I have reached the same number in age this year.
I asked her how her t-shirt was. She said it was a little faded. I told her that what was important was that it was the t-shirt fading, not her.

Not her, indeed. We were neighbors in North Carolina for just a couple of short years, but we became close-knit friends. We didn’t spend that much time together, really, because we were busy with our businesses and gone from home long hours each day. But she and Jim moved into the home next to ours shortly after we had arrived, and together with Terry, the builder of both homes and his wife Judy who lived across the street from both of us, we were just good old “drop-in” neighbors, who shared some special times together.

Now the three homes are owned by others. I wonder if they built the same type of community we easily formed over a very short period of time. Somehow, I suspect not, but I could be wrong.
Lois, far from fading, had to be on the move…..always. She and I sometimes walked the neighborhood road together. Then, when I was away managing a fitness business, she would be on hiking trails, on kayaking ventures, and I don’t even know what else. If Jim was outside, you would find him mowing grass on his John Deere tractor or sitting on his front porch thinking about things. But Jim was most comfortable inside around the poker table. Lois needed the fresh air….and action!

Or a good joke; and she and Jim had plenty of those.

Today, Terry and Judy live in Wales, his homeland, we returned four years ago to our Michigan family area, and after Jim’s death, Lois returned to her beloved upstate New York home where she owns a cabin at the top of a long, wind-ey and steep hill in the Finger Lakes area on, none other than…..”Lois Lane”, of course.

A regular hiker in the summertime, she adds the snow shoes for her winter treks. Today, she told me she went to the sports store just to look at cross country skiis. She came home with the whole package and was probably going to be too busy skiing later to call and wish me a happy birthday.
She is in love with her Irish Notre Dame team who have gone unbeaten this year and is anticipating the big national championship game soon to light up the TV screens across the land.
Our first meeting came, when she and Jim pulled into their driveway, after having newly unpacked. I was on our deck and waved to the new couple appearing to be in “our age range” and welcoming them to the neighborhood.

“We are really friendly,” I warned her. “But you probably won’t see us much because we’re gone a lot on business.”

“Hey, hey, wait a minute,” she called, not missing a beat or sending me a hi either. She took a few quick steps in my direction and said, “I want to ask you: Do you play bridge?”
That was our introduction to each other.

Well, I don’t, but I thought that was the funniest thing. She, an ardent die-hard fan of the game, was drumming up her newest table of her favorite game. That’s about the only inside sport I think Lois likes. I told her she would have wished my aunt Kate was her neighbor, for they surely would have had the greatest tourneys going between them.

So I could tell by today’s phone conversation. She’s not fading. She’s still lookin’ good but somehow I think she has overcome the sin of it all and resides in the state of grace with her humor and her constant on-the-go activity. She’s just that good.

I’m happy about being 70. I feel good. And I drummed up a couple of pictures of lookin’ good so I can do right by this new gift of life given me. Blessings and God’s Presence abides.

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I am thinking of Lois and the stars at the same time. For He calls you by name, Lois and he counts the uncountable times you have served in His name. Good friend, happy joke teller, mover on God’s green earth and water passages. You are His glory, made manifest. And He is with you in your present challenge, telling you, in the words of the saint, “All is well, so very, very well.”

Tom’s and my  prayers and love to you.

(very personal, because I know you look for Napkinwriter)

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My friend, Lois Miller, called me today to lament the recent bad playing of whom she knew to be our favorite team, the Michigan State Spartans. She is quite the sports fan and her affections lay with that little leprachan in Indiana and the sacred name of our Holy Mother, Notre Dame.

I was having an “inside-day”, catching up a bit on every little thing from laundry, to stretching the menu another week with what we have on hand to eat, to last storing away of Christmas items and playing stupid games on my Kindle Fire.

She reminded me she hadn’t heard from Napkinwriter lately and tapped directly into my guilt vein, provided generously by my Catholic upbringing along with all the good stuff it brought too.

I explained I am writing, but not at Napkinwriter, but I will begin again immediately. I have been focused entirely upon writing a book I have for a very long time wanted to write and now, at last I am doing it.

Lois sounded like she was struggling a bit but wanted to bring me current since it has been since 2008 that we shared a neighborhood in Newton, NC.  During that time, she sported a terrific tee shirt “It’s a sin to look this great at 70!”, a birthday gift from her sister, Mary Lou.

She also brought health news of two more friends in that neighborhood, Terry and Judy. She said Terry is all right now, but had suffered a heart attack on Thanksgiving night. Terry was the BUILDER of our little three-some neighborhood. He built both our home and was in the process of building the one Lois and Jim moved into next to us. Terry, whose home country is Wales, and Judy, a realtor, lived in their beautiful home across the street from us and had a magical English garden and landscaping all through their back yard.

The neighborhood of which I speak had many beautiful days with small gatherings between us, where laughter and frivolity always seemed to find its way through when we were together. Separately, we each faced our challenges — us overworked and running three separate Curves exercise franchises with about three years of success and two dwindling years of hardship and creating an exit strategy; Lois was an on-the-go gal, moving, moving, moving and Jim loved his on-line and buddy poker times and sports TV, but eventually faced the curse of the big C – cancer; Terry and Judy looking for a way to find their way back to his beloved Wales.

So we each departed “our neighborhood” at different times; Tom and I were first and moved back to Michigan close to family, then nine years later on to Lexington, Kentucky where we had started our married life in 1965, to join one daughter who was moving there with her medical practice; Lois and Jim moved back to Cleveland near his family as the disease progressed and claimed his life and then Lois moved back to upper New York state, near Fingers Lake region where Tom and I had a fun, fun, fun visit to her cabin in the woods on Lois Lane; and Judy and Terry moved back home to Wales.

Now our neighborhood is kept intact through cyber world with occasional texts, tweets, posts and Facebook.  It was a short time we were together, yet we’ve never been “apart” since we met. These friendships are treasured and as the elderly years keep bringing those things called limitations upon each of us, it may be that we will not be able to visit each other’s neighborhoods again.

Lois had a very rough and tough chemo journey a couple years back, got back on the mend and now she has more to face. Her call today gave me an inspiration for Napkinwriter and I will begin to make posts with these scripture images I am receiving on Pinterest, which means they have been posted somewhere else.

I will begin a series for Lois and I hope I can get them copied to Judy and Terry.

We danced well together!!

 

 

 

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We need to come together and have an open, honest conversation about this.”

We hear that often on the television or speaking circuits in the noisy ways of the world these days.

There are two problems with this statement:

As a whole, we are not very practiced or adept at “coming together” when there is an issue at hand that has strong opinions about it.

Secondly, there are very know how to have an “open and honest” conversation about complex attitudes and actions in our changing world. Even with good intentions to be open, and even thinking we “are honest”, we all bring multi-factored bearings to the issue at hand.

We need to be able to hear ourselves and the other.

Or we end up like this!

Yep! A tug of war.

There are professionals who have all kinds of input, however, and  renewed scientific and human behaviorist practices that can help move us humans forward in the art and necessity of wholesome communication.

Heart Math Institute and the studies of Doc Childre is one such place. When I studied with Barbara Marx Hubbard in Conscious Evolution, I found the practice of Heart Resonance, bringing the resonance of your own heartbeat in sync with the pulse of the world a fascinating endeavor.  I was also introduced to a radically different type of group resolution communication that focuses much more on listening and speaking uninterrupted while others listened, and doing this many times over for the same issue to be resolved, to see how individual consciousness could meld and become one unified consciousness that felt right to move forward on.

Radical, indeed! No debates, no shouting, no “going home with my ball.” There are some experiments with this in religious communities and organizations, but to my knowledge, I have not seen it hit the big time in News or Documentaries for the mass public.

We are still going about, making our noise, and hoping for some instances of connection.

 

HeartMath provides tools that connect us with the heart of “who we truly are” for living healthier, fulfilling lives and building a brighter future.

Since 1991, the HeartMath Institute has researched and developed reliable, scientifically based tools to help people bridge the connection between their hearts and minds, and deepen their connection with the hearts of others.

 

Practical solutions to help you lower your stress, revitalize energy and resilience and restore your mental, emotional and physical balance.

 

Heart connections with family, friends, co-workers – even pets – enrich our lives. Deepen your heart connections. Add flow and energy to your field environment.

 

Global Coherence Initiative unites people in heart-focused care and intention, facilitating a shift in global consciousness toward balance, cooperation and peace.

 

The mission of the HeartMath Institute is to help people bring their physical, mental and emotional systems into balanced alignment with their heart’s intuitive guidance. This unfolds the path for becoming heart-empowered individuals who choose the way of love, which they demonstrate through compassionate care for the well-being of themselves, others and Planet Earth.

 

Their Cause: Activate the heart of humanity

HeartMath Institute is committed to helping activate the heart of humanity. We believe that when we align and connect our hearts and minds and connect with others, we awaken the higher mental, emotional and spiritual capacities that frequently lie dormant. HMI aspires to always conduct our operations with passion, compassion and a heartfelt desire to transform lives. This is in keeping with our desire to help usher in an era of ever-expanding heart intelligence.
HeartMath’s research, training and technologies are aimed at guiding all of humanity toward realization of its full potential and to rely on the qualities of the heart in its role as caretaker of future generations and our planet.

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Harvest Moon Rising

 

Harvest Moon Rising

Susan Heffron Hajec

A shimmering moon came down
from the sky
and touched her in the soft earth
of the Wildwood.

“Will you take a ride with me?”
asked the moon, gentle and kind.
Intrigued by this visit, she sat herself
in the welcoming center womb
of the moon and it rose
once again into the high reaches
of the swirling color creations
of her moon-lit sky with no ceiling.

“Where are we going?” she inquired
as stars, like lightening bugs, flicked
and sparkled all around her.
“To your harvest,” replied the November moon
as the horizon widened below them.

She looked down and saw millions of seeds,
reflections of her love, planted over the varied
seasons of her life span.
They had fallen deep into the soil, seeking
both the heat of the earth’s center
and the touch of the sun above.

Risen to the surface were bountiful fruits,
many of which were random and scattered —
unplanned spontaneous seedlings —
some were such simple seeds as to have been
forgotten by her.

Now they spread across the Wildwood
seeping out into the wider world, they
enriched all that they touched.
She, the author of kindness and creation,
relaxing in the kaleidoscope of color-filled purpose,
breathed into the movement of Harvest Moon
and now, opened even more
to the discovery found in journey.

 

 

 

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It is Monday morning, September 11, 2017 and Hurricane Irma, with devastating power, has torn across the Carribbean  islands, leaving wide wreckage in its path, then winding northward between Cuba and the Bahamas now has made landfall in seven different places on the Florida coast.

The sounds and force of the blowing plus one hundred miles per hour winds and the sights of the surge out to sea and back in again play across the television screens of all of those not knocked out of electrical power in the effected areas.

Hurricane Irma cuts a wide path of destruction across the entire peninsula as her Cat 5 rating lowers to a 2 and then as a 1. Then the tropical storm heads into the Southeastern states with plenty of wind and rain left to cause havoc to residents along the way.

The sounds and images of this traveling disaster that are imprinted upon me, one who resides outside the danger area, are the human sounds and sights of help and consideration. Everywhere in the physical areas awaiting the storm, officials took charge and put their Disaster Plan into effect and kept their number 1 priority the safety of its citizens. Even with warnings that went ignored by some at their own peril, their directives were largely heeded by the majority of Floridians.

Individuals and families prepared their physical properties as well as they could and followed the evacuation orders or shelter in place so as to save life and limb. Gas and oil companies, so often maligned, did everything they could to keep gas flowing for those travelers who had to leave precious belongings behind but take the only thing that really mattered out of harm’s way — their own lives.

People out of the danger areas offered up space in their own homes so the journey would not be so far for those with homes in flood zones. Out of State friends and family of Florida residents, if they could do no other, kept the highest good for their beloved ones in the top of their minds and hearts and offered what they could in support by prayer, monetary and durable goods to “flood” into the area that would have great needs over the next few weeks.

THESE ARE GOOD SIGHTS AND SOUNDS IN THE FACE OF HIGH IMMINENT DANGER.

This is humanity choosing to move forward each day, confident that somewhere within themselves they have the RESOURCES  and ABILITY to express life, love, wisdom and even the seed of divinity.

“This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Ps. 118:24  Well, maybe we don’t rejoice IN the day that brings hardship, sorrow and trouble, but we reside IN the day with a spirit that is summed up in the Serenity Prayer:

Grant me the Serenity
to accept the things I cannot change.
To change the things I can
and the Wisdom to know the difference.

There were many people in Florida embodying that short statement and still are.

And all God’s creatures.

 

And one mayor said,  “How can you help us?…Prayer is not the last thing, it is the FIRST!”

A friend told me this morning that she was recently in NYC and had seen and been deeply affected by the 9/11 Memorial. Today is sixteen years after the unspeakable horror of the attack on 9/11/2001.  She wrote this interesting observation:

“I’m guessing all of us remember were we were when we heard about these events of that day and how that morning turned quickly from the everyday, common tasks to grief and fear and so many other emotions. Why is it that we don’t realize the significance and beauty of ordinary things until those things are threatened or taken away?”

I ask myself that same question, realizing how the ordinary can blind us to its beauty and truth.

I learned in my childhood faith that a man who knew himself as Divine — Jesus — told us in many different ways, “I came so that you may have life, and have it more abundantly.”

I still believe that today, as a well-travelled spiritual seeker of truth, peace and love and elder  citizen.  Only I recognize that I don’t always know or acknowledge what and where my true abundance is.

I think the it is, for some reason, more visible in a time of danger and need. Can we carry this truth, peace and love on into our ordinary days ahead, once we have been restored to the normal in our lives and the disarray of our political system.

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