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.


*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!


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.




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.




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.



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.



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


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.




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.




I got as far as the letter B, before I lapsed into a time away from Napkinwriter. Many things afoot prevented my best intentions to get back to this post and write about the letter C.

Then what happens is so many C’s caught my imagination and begged for a showing….

choice,   courage,    Consciousness,    curiosity,    companions and more.  Oh my, to choose just one, I think not so I will give several a go.

zentangle-cI have chosen Zentangle art for fun.

CHOICE,  such a short word, such large CONSEQUENCES.  Ones we like or ones with which we suffer. Life is a conglomeration of choices. We have more than we think many times. We have choices between good and more good. We have choices that pan out about the same as in win-win situations.  We have choices made in a split second that are choices between good and very much not so good, harmful in fact.  We are always making choices and the choices we make at any given time are our total responsibility.  I am responsible, not for others, but totally for myself; the choices I make toward healthy being, spiritual being, intelligent and educated being, family and friend being, financial being, and the being I am as I relate to my world and environment.  We cannot know the full outcomes of our choices, they will come in time. We cannot control (ah, another C word) the results of our choices, but we do have to live with them. Choices, sometimes, are made on intuition –that often takes the next word…..

COURAGE — fire-c

Sometimes, we are tested by the fire. I don’t know many people who have not been. Courage is needed in life for the big things and small things.  We often take on responsibilities that require so much courage, that we wonder how we didn’t back down for them.  I believe there is a spirit of courage within us and scripture confirms “I have not given you a spirit of fear, but one of courage!!”   In me, I have always recognized a bit of the Wizard of Oz’  lion.  He was not aware of his own powerful roar, and he could always see the things he, perhaps, should have been afraid of, and whimper about them, but a deeper call forced him to recognize the fears and do what he had to do anyway.  I have done a lot of that in my life.  And I am still here to tell about it. I believe that fiery spirit within is the Holy Spirit and it helps us overcome the fears with the sweet gifts and fruits of the Spirit….love, mercy, kindness, patience, fortitude…. It is the same Spirit that runs through the Spirit of the Universe and holds us on evolutionary course, the course we must cooperate with.

c-practice-printingI always enjoyed the time we spent in elementary school with printing and cursive writing.


I want to learn Japanese kanji writing and Calligraphy. Both of those would take lots of new practice but I love the flow and peaceful appearance they both give. I have the rice paper and some ink supplies in my bookcase supplies and I hope I will get  ’roundto-it.  In elementary school, practicing printing and cursive writing was one of my favourite times. I loved seeing the cursive letters posted at the front of each classroom. Now, with the advent of all the electronic gadgets, I hear cursive is going by the wayside.  Who has not been surprised and gratifies by the arrival of an unexpected hand-written note, on no special occasion, that some loved one has written to them — and even better yet one that comes from a stranger to convey a thanks for some way that you helped them which you barely recognized. No computer board, typewriter nor word processor can produce the heart-felt sincerity of the writer, nor the gracious reception of it by the addressee.  It’s true, the elder generation is the keeper of notes and handwritten letters, until at long last they are put away by family after one’s passing; yet they held their value and vibration over long spans of time.  Texts disappear in an instant.


The C word I initially thought would have solitary spotlight for this post was CONSCIOUSNESS.


But Consciousness is too large a topic to write about here.  Yet, I can CONNECT it to two other words: choice and courage.   We learn, we grow.  “If I had known then, what I know now…..”  What? Everyone has a story that follows that thought. But that is what life is……”if I had known better, I would have done better”.  If I know better NOW, I must do better. Consciousness is alive and it moves in us.  We continually see things in a new and expanding way. We must use judgment and discernment throughout life, without being too judgmental about “how I used to be.”  A growing Consciousness begins to illuminate the individual relationship to the group relationships of the world.”  We are never alone, and yet we are all One.  Growing Consciousness leads us to thoughts and actions of love and never sees self or other as “less than.”  Growing Consciousness is filled with  “aha” moments and a better ability to listen actively and quietly to self and others.  It dispels the myth that for me to win, others must lose.  Actions to alleviate injustices to others, social and otherwise, are based not in the desire to hurt and discredit others, but in efforts, both humane and purposeful, to obtain healthy and orderly outcomes. There are people working toward these ends now, with these base purposes and you don’t hear much about them. Riots and protests are the candy of the media. The people, held out of the spotlight, are amazingly called “light workers.” I am one of them.

My COUNTRY  ’tis of thee
sweet land of liberty…


On this January 18, 2017, the eve of the Inauguration of the 45th President of the United States of America, we, as a people, are far, far from the spirit of the songs that point to the glory and spirit of our country. Indeed, the blessings of this country, founded in democracy.  People want different things.  People want to blame. People want to hate. People do NOT WANT to have discourse nor dialogue. They want to argue. They want to accuse. They want to be RIGHT and want you to be WRONG.

There is danger on all sides because of the way we are. It is not a Democratic danger nor a Republican danger. It is a type of danger that has crossed the line….some line…..and we are not sure even WHAT that line is. The danger is power-based and reason-deficient. We don’t look like America anymore because we cannot allow dissent to exist peaceable within our democracy. We are allowing dissent to become corrupt smearing of people and issues.

Coming out of the post office today, a older gentleman held the door for Tom (with his walking stick and me plodding up the stairs!). We said thank you to him. He smiled and asked, “Well, do you think the man tomorrow will fix some of the problems he says he will?”  We said we hope there will be progress in problem solving and changes for good, but afraid there is a large element working toward his demise.”   He said, yes, even though the vote didn’t go his way, he too, hoped that good could be achieved.

I thought that is the America I know.  A voter wanted someone else to win the election, but now was prepared to accept who he didn’t want to win and hope we would do some good.

I believe in the good in people. I know my country is MORE than a good country. I am greatly blessed to be its citizen. America is beautiful, in its people, its lands, its giving to less fortunate countries and peoples. I bless these good things and understand there is room for more goodness to happen.  I wish we could bless each other and go into the new political arena with a watchful eye and a willing heart to be a united states of America. There are enough checks and balances in place to respond to any of the envisioned tragedies  drummed up in people’s minds before the fact.


“America, America! God shed His grace on thee.
And crown thy good with BROTHERHOOD.
From sea to shining sea.

America! America!
God mend thy every flaw,
Confirm thy soul in self-control
thy liberty in law.


I feel a nap coming on, so I revert to a post I made five years ago. Today, it is the same, however Tom and I just returned from Panera’s where we enjoyed the comfort food of soup and a pumpkin muffin.  We will enjoy our rest this afternoon.

Winter Warmth

It may not be a good sign that the first four photos I’ve put in my blog picture gallery are images of comfort food! Even my computer is (patched together albeit) exceptionally s-l-o-w, as I begin this day which is predicted to deliver our first major storm of this winter season. Only the second snowfall of any accumulation at mid-date of January, it seems the snow may come anytime now. Today, Friday the 13th would be a great delivery date.

I say this, only because I do not have to go out in it. Tom will soon be returning from an early morning doctor appointment and after I fix him a hot breakfast, I plan to put some order and design in my creative room, waiting patiently for a little attention.

After the snow accumulates, we have the perfect backyard hill for Amy to come over and do her favorite snow activity — sledding and going fast.

Which brings me to hot chocolate. That’s what we will fix when we return inside, complete with large size gooey marshmellows and all. Actually Amy likes to help me fix it, but then she prefers to drink her apple juice.

I, on the other hand, would like nothing better than a cup of hot chocolate that tasted like it did when I was a frosty-nose, ice frozen kid thawing from the inside out after a long romp in the snow. But I can’t get it. It is one of the three foods/drinks I don’t think can possibly taste as good as they as they did when my mother made them for me.

And the best of all oatmeal treats was the oatmeal mom made on the wood stove on the old farm in Wisconsin. On the “Make Three Wishes” list, that would be one — to eat, just one more time, oatmeal that tasted like it came from mom and the wood stove.  And our afternoon cocoa, simmering with a thin milk film you’d skim from the top.

Now a perfect day would be topped off with mom’s baked macaroni and cheese casserole — milky, creamy smooth and I was always ready to beat out my brothers in portion size. I saw a Martha Stewart picture and recipe of old fashioned macaroni and cheese, but I think it might be a very cold day in …….somewhere else…..before I’d go through the toil and trouble to produce it

Some may suggest that my nostalgia has affected my taste buds and that there really is no difference. I will step up to the blind-folded taste test and be able to tell the difference.

The difference is they all used to taste……well, better.

donna-knutson-91-year-old-motherMother Evie and Donna Knutson

I gift my friends and readers today with this guest blog. It was actually an entry Donna made on her Facebook page.  When I read it, I paused in appreciation, both of the photo and the text of this story and the beauty of this encounter between mother and daughter.  Napkinwriter


From Donna:   News on Grandma Evie… grandchildren , nieces, nephews and friends who love my 91 year old mom up in Fargo:

So I said to my mom, ” I brought pizza and we are going to try selfies!” which makes her laugh. Then I asked her what was beautiful to her in the world. She talks about her favorite nurse at Bethany Retirement Living. How Gail puts the craziest nail polish on her nails, and tells her about her five dogs, how she stays with her until her pain level gets better again. Gail brushes her 17 year old cat, Timmy.


She wants to know if I’m talking about beautiful faces and I say, “well it’s kind of like that, but you can see their soul shining out. That special place of knowing something about another person that you see within yourself, and you want to be near it.”


We start talking about Audrey Hepburn, and Katherine Hepburn and all the dance movies we grew up watching together. And how women are still moving through barriers…and she looks at me and smiles, ” And you’re going to be a minister.” and I laugh and say, ” Mom, God knew I was always going to be a minister, it just took me a while to catch up !” and she laughs…and then she says,”That’s pretty beautiful !” and I smile, and heal a bit deeper inside of me.


The last thing she tells me before I leave is that someday she is not going to be in pain anymore and that will be alright with her. And, I say, that will be alright with me too, Mom.





Appreciation is under-appreciated.  It is a practice that we can bring into our daily lives with a constancy that defies gravity!

In an effort to remain true to writing on a regular basis in Napkinwriter during 2017 with no long lapses, I have decided to commit to two entries per week based on the alphabet.  Other entries will be as inspiration leads.

Today’s letter is A.  The word is appreciation.

I appreciate whenever the red cardinal and his charming female mate make an appearance on our back deck or the labyrinth entrance arch.  I appreciate the feel of a cold snowflake touching the skin on my face and I appreciate the warmth I feel in my house on a cold, snowy day.

I have noticed for a long time that people who live with visible evidence of appreciating their lives, no matter what circumstances seem to be up, are genuinely happy people.  It is a motivator and reminder for me to follow suit.

I appreciate coincidences and serendipity that appear before me and remind me that I am not as much in control of my situations as I tend to think I am.  Appreciation helps me relax into the Big Picture with some degree of trust that things will work out as they should.

I appreciate my senses: sight, and all that is before me to see, and for the ability to read and write; touch of the soft baby’s skin and the embrace of a loved one; hearing, that I may speak and hear others with clarity; taste, yes yum and hooray for the taste buds;  and the sense of smell brings gratitude for baking cinnamon buns.

Stop and smell the roses!  The senses are the gateway to so many appreciative treasures in the moment, if all moments are not spent in the fast lane.

The practices of meditation, Centering Prayer, and Yoga  amplify the blessings that appreciation bring into my life. Like an amplifier for the day, when night time falls and another precious slot of time allotted me on planet Earth has passed by never to return again, I am at peace and made whole when appreciation has colored my day — honored.


Some of the people and things I appreciate

beautiful-moonour moon and galaxy



img_6680my husband and family

labyrinth cardinalsthe birds that visit our feeders and deck

backyard sunsetthe sunsets

Fireworks behind statue of liberty

our liberty and country


vigin_mary_rosarymy faith & family help from Mary

Chartres Labyrinthmy trainings & experiences in labyrinth and SoulCollage

Chartres CathedralChartres Cathedral Labyrinth Retreat


IMG_1837Catherine Anderson

IMG_4284our backyard labyrinth

IMG_2587my wondrous trip in the Alps with Martha

souljourner - atLarge frontmy work and service


IMG_5398my help from my guardian angels

No Matter the weather

Butterfly House gorgeous lilies

It’s hard to stop. I could go on and on. Through our travels on our Earthly pilgrim path,  I have at times not known the ultimate destination, or thought I had found it, only to be moved along on a path accompanied by Tom and to my best discernment, designed by God. Always, when uncertain of means of provision, the lilies appeared reminding me that “they neither toil nor spin.”

I appreciate that.