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“It may not look like it, but I am writing now,” I said to Tom as I was folding a new batch of clean, fresh towels just taken from the dryer and still snuggly warm. He was watching me from his lounge chair as I completed the task on the top of our new spring bedspread.

I was heading for my writing room as soon as I completed this household task, something writers often do — put other “stuff” in front of creative time. Yet starting points were bubbling up within me for writer’s warm up, so that’s why I count it as writing.

The next part of my writing was sitting a spell with words by Michele Weldon, author of Writing to Save Your Life, about the quality of quiet in a writer’s life. Something that really attracts me, since I am writing a book titled, Being Faithful to the Quiet,  (subtitle, Finding the Silence that Soothes Your Soul). My book is a mix between memoir and mystery, a long-lived mystery that encircled my life like the ripples formed when a pebble is thrown into the water. And that pebble was thrown at my birth.  It is about the grace of the quiet and the pain lived out in  being silenced.

I relate to much of what she says in one very small section of a great book. Did you know that the genre of books on writing is only topped in numbers sold by the Christian Bible. So many writers write about writing!  Anyway, this is not a diversion, my reading about writing, is is part of my warmup practice to get into the quiet myself and begin writing. Hence, before I begin on searching my words and rhythm for my drafts of my book, I continue warm up with a short contribution to Napkinwriter. I am grateful to  the writing and readership of my five year Napkinwriter blog to keep me practiced in writing. It has spawned poems and memories I either did not know was there or thought I had forgotten. That’s the magic of the written word. So many creative journeys open up.

Weldon quotes Sarah Orne Jewett in a 1908 letter she wrote to Willa Cather,

“You must find your own quiet center of life and write from that to the world.” And she says these words hold true almost a century later. They do, for me. And from that quiet center of life, I also resolved mysteries and dilemmas in my life.  That is what I write about in my book because I continued to find practices of prayer and movement and contemplation, different types all through my life. They were gifts of grace to me. Saving grace, I would even say. And not all grace and prayer look like prayer, just like my folding towels didn’t look like writing.

 

 

 

 

 

“If I had been there, Jesus, I would have helped you. I would have told those soldiers you did nothing wrong. I would have demanded Pilate to let you go. I would have wiped Mary’s tears and I would have helped you carry your cross.” But I was not there. I am only remembering what happened over 2,000 years ago.”

Our nine year old granddaughter read words like these during the Living Stations of the Cross elementary school drama on Good Friday.

This morning, we awake to Holy Saturday. All is quiet after the tumult, suffering and despair of the last two days. As redeeming as the wondrous feast of Easter Sunday is with its uplifting power to wandering souls, Holy Saturday is the day that gives me pause and brings mindfulness to me spread over the day as to what exactly did happen on the day before.

God or man? Jesus, who had been among the Jews and Gentiles peacefully and with a message of total love and forgiveness has been put to death in the most cruel way ever devised by mankind.

Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

 


Now morning has broken. Now, Mary, Peter, John,  Mary Magdalene and the crowds who followed him, saw his miracles, listened to his message and heard his promise of life everlasting must be stunned. Mary, turning over in her heart that this is the babe she bore who was the Promised One. Peter, left to lead his flock. John, his beloved, torn in grief and loss.  Others ripped apart by the shear terror and killing spirit of the Roman soldiers and powers to be, along with the religious hierarchy who were threatened by his words and his presence.

But they must have been thinking, this could not be. He has left. He has abandoned us and he told us he would not do that.



Hush quiet. There must be something we do not know. There must be strength coming from someplace we do not know. For we have none. We are broken and invisibly crucified with him. We do not know the way. We do not see the light.

We have tended and cleaned his tender, beaten body. we have wrapped him in a clean linen, we have laid him in the tomb. Our tears as well as the large stone rolled in front of the sacred space seal it closed.

Closed. Put apart from. Abandoned. Alone. Loss. Confusion. Anguish. Lacking the ability to go on. Afraid of the authorities. We followed him. They will come after us. We will hide.

Until…….he walks with us again.

And that won’t be very long from now. But for today, Holy Saturday, we do not know that.

Butterfly Prayer

Butterfly Prayer
Susan Heffron Hajec

In a star-filled Jamaican sky
Souljourner’s voice
sends out a Divine Spark
of love and gentleness
across the calm waters.

A living prayer of protection
and passion transforms
the holy monk’s confined walls
to golden vibrations
of worldwide peace.

They seek
the cry of the wolf
and soothe the ancestor’s
pleas of long ago.

 

 

SoulCollage(R) by Susan Heffron Hajec

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No Repro Fee: Seanchai Batt Burns brushing up on a story with his grand daughters Aisling and Laoise Burns ahead of the Sneem International Storytelling & Folklore festival which will take place in Sneem, Co. Kerry from 8th-10th November. Details on http://www.sneemstorytellingfestival.com. Credit: Dominick Walsh Photography

 

 

An article that came to me by way of Lora O’Brien, an Irish lass, author, mentor and personal guide for the green island of Ireland.  Napkinwriter corresponds with her occasionally and is inspired by her lifestyle of living according to her artistic roots in the home she loves well and wants to share with others.  O’Brien writes of the depth of Irish history, mystery, lore and mysticism of ancient pagan tales of the land.

You can see a wee glimpse of this on her website:   www.loraobrien.net 

Below is guest blog about Irish storytelling, by writer Sophie Gorman.

Photo caption:  Once upon a time… Storyteller Batt Burns reads to his granddaughters Aisling and Laoise. Dominick Walsh

Celebrating the Irish tradition of storytelling

By Sophie Gorman, Arts Editor, The Irish Independent

November 9 2013 1:00 AM

‘I don’t think you need to have been born into storytelling or need to be a natural actor. I think most people can learn how to tell a good story,” so says Batt Burns, eminent seanchai and chairman of the Sneem Storytelling Festival, which takes place in the south Kerry town this weekend.

Sneem has a rich storytelling heritage. For much of his childhood, Batt Burns lived a few miles outside Sneem with his grandfather in a “rambling house where every Sunday night local musicians, yarnspinners, singers and dancers would be invited to come along for an evening of fun and entertainment”.

“My grandfather was a traditional farmer, but he had the gift of storytelling. He was a product of the old seanchai tradition of the Iveragh peninsula here in Kerry, and growing up with him sparked an interest in it myself.”

“There was quite the community of storytellers when I was growing up. The art was alive, more so in the pubs, short humorous tales told over a pint. My dad was the village butcher and he had a man who would come in to help him out with work who was one of the best story tellers that I had ever known, even better than my grandfather. The gift that he had was that he wasn’t regurgitating old stories, he was able to compose on the spot, a tremendous gift for a man who wasn’t able to read or write.”

Batt’s own storytelling happened almost by accident. In his teens, he would go to parties but didn’t sing or dance or play the spoons. So he began telling traditional stories. And Batt has a softly lilting Kerry brogue that seems made for stories.

“I remember a piece by Brendan Kennelly comparing storytelling to a blackbird singing his song in springtime. He, the blackbird, puts so much effort into his song that he ends up becoming the song, and the storyteller puts everything into the story that they and the whole room disappear into the story.”

An Irish celebration was enjoyed here in Lexington Kentucky with Irish food, games, festivities and a company of high performance Irish dance teams.

Time in a Bottle

 

 TIME IN A BOTTLE

Title from the song by Jim Croce ….. Guest Post from Alan Cohen, A Course in Miracles Made Easy

Note from Napkinwriter: (I am asking myself these questions, the answers are appearing.)

“What would you do if you had more time? What would you do if you had less time? What would you do if you had no time? How would your life be different if time were not a factor?

Time, invisible yet apparently rock solid, exerts silent dominion over our lives.

The purpose of time is to enable you to learn how to use time constructively.

What is the purpose of our day?

Is it to savor connection, express creativity and celebrate blessings?

If you were to leave this world now, would you be satisfied with how you have spent your time?

If not, what would make your remaining time here more meaningful?

Likewise, at the end of each day, conduct an honest introspection about what you did with your time today.

What would you do differently tomorrow to make your precious time count?

“We ask for long life, but ‘tis deep life, or grand moments, that signify. Let the measure of time be spiritual, not mechanical.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

To the ego, time is a relentless taskmaster. To the Spirit, time is our friend, calling us to receive the gift every moment offers.

PORTALS….

*A heavenly moment, even while you walk the earth, is a portal to eternity. Each day seek and find as many portals to eternity as you can. Any moment in which you feel peace or joy is a portal to eternity, because the hallmark of eternity is well-being.   Go to the place in consciousness where the success you seek is already accomplished, (BFTTQ) and you will HASTEN its demonstration in time.

All the good you seek is ALREADY HERE. It’s not about time.  It’s about TIMLESSNESS.”

 

 

 

What I Did in January!

moving-clip-art

Well, guess what I did in January……and February.   Move! That’s what I did. I couldn’t seem to find half a brain to write a full sentence, so here is my first attempt, which is a joint project from my on-line art processing class and a little SoulCollage review.  Also in the midst of moving, and three weeks leading up to the grand date, I was flattened and exhausted from severe bronchitus, which stuck like super-glue. Yes, like the tinman, I was seriously lacking in brainpower.

movingSo we have landed for the moment (a six month moment), for the apartment complex neglected to notify us that they were not putting us into the one we had agreed to be on the waiting list for, but a handicap accessible one.  There is pro and con about where a brand new “what we expected unit” is worth a move, but I fear the pro is going to win out.

 

Napkinwriter now shares a deed completed before a group call tomorrow in some of the art processing and writing exploration I’ve been doing.

up-sc-klews-eiffel-tower

 

A DIFFERENT LOCATION, THE SAME JOURNEY

Cover for Klews  (Clues) SoulCollage exploration. The prompt is still…..”the direction is UP……the word is UP……the direction is New? or just everything Old is New again in QuestPath Journey? My love and I travelled UP to the top of the Eiffel Tower in May 2000, on a very, very windy day.We looked across a wide expanse of peoples and buildings and landmarks, wondering what marks lay ahead for us in our life journey together. 17 years later, Many paths led out from the center, just as the streets below formed diagonal slices of the pie of life. We have tasted many flavors. Some tart, some oh so very sweet.

 

up-sc-klews

 

SoulCollage Klews for UP. Six of the twelve I found in my deck. Left to Right: She has always known her work to be among the people and based in love. She has stretched, she has served faithfully, and along the way, she has found both people and methods to balance an ego, once upon a time, so very, very frightened and unworthy. She has had some surprises, maybe more than her share, but the fire of Spirit burned brightly within, ego took a spectator seat and when she landed in strange lands, her non-GPS guided Intuition piloted her safely on to the next adventure. She relied more and more on the balance within her Soul. She swings high on the winds of the mystery of money supply and management, so many times called to follow “where others feared to go”, and it all seems to be working out ok. The muted swan, her throat chakra, needed a full long life experience to hear itself.

 

up-sc-klews2

2nd half of life with SoulCollage Klews: Under the mighty power of the horse, she found the powers of the Universe were with her when she was aligned with her purpose, something she had read so very much about before she believed and experienced it and continued to notice it. She thinks it was there all the time. She just had to NOTICE. Always UPward in open heart and in her travels, always, always. Now, white hair adorned, a contemplative flame burns in her soul and her prayer, and she contemplates a busy, busy, filled, and purposeful life scheduled across her daytime planners, and realizes, it is almost March 2017 and she has not yet purchased a planner for this year. What does Intuition have to do with this? She BELIEVES, as the butterfly, her soulsymbol leads upwards on the golden road that she is to breathe deeper, rest sounder, move when motivated and encourage that look on her face to widen, which seems to say, the critics’ time is past….enjoy, celebrate and even, my dear, even boast your magnificence along the way to this point. Just see what’s in front of you; what’s over the hill will come in view when it’s time and you are totally supported in it. You continue to choose well.

 

b-is-for-butterfly

Practice, practice, practice…..this will come back.

music-note

Yesterday afternoon, Saturday January 21, many young women high school age, joined their boy classmates and made their beautiful VOICES HEARD. They all did this through their focus on how music is important to them in expressing themselves, giving great joy to the filled auditorium audience. They used their passion and desire and practice to compete to the state level of performance. They were led by two women directors and one male director, whose passion for the performance and sound of music in our world, is uncompromised. Their conductance of the choirs electrified through their bodies out the tip of their fingers. The sounds, movements and exhuberance for the songs selected came forth from the students; songs they loved performing with historical and spiritual backgrounds. Perhaps music is the true unifier among us.

 

double-stands2

 

It was another amazing State Honors Choir Performance with Andrew in the SATB Honors Choir at DeVos Performance Hall in Grand Rapids. Such a wonder to be in the audience and see hundreds and hundreds of high school boys and girls excelling in music and life.Thanks to the parents and professionals that support this going forward. Music rocks the soul and these performances are proof of that.

 

state-honors-hs-choir