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August 21, 2017

On this date, several years ago another miracle occurred in my life. I gave birth to my second daughter. I love her with all of my heart. I have snuggled with her, played with her, laughed and cried with her. I have witnessed her two miracle births and wondrous young children, my grandchildren.

This is a fully open heart occurrence in my life; one that beats through every moment of my life with gratitude and sheer wonder — yes wonder — that the life given me is filled with the awesomeness of being a tender-hearted mother, who enjoys life focused on family.

This is what love is…not always understanding, not always quiet, but always resolving how we are in relation to one another and how the love that beats below the base line centers us and creates our purpose.

Today in a few hours, MOTHER EARTH will experience a Total Eclipse of the Sun.  This mother has been having a tough time of it lately.

She knows and I know that much of humankind have open, loving hearts and intentions that serve her lands and waters with respect and care. But the SHADOW side of humankind is right now getting all the attention.

SHADOW likes to argue, cause ruckus, destroy, intimidate, hate…yes even take pride in being hateful…claiming the right to BE hateful….SHADOW’s time appears to be NOW in the turning of the planet.

I am not versed nor educated in the astrological physics, but I think I understand that there is a principle that’s been in existence since the Big Bang and that is that our Universe is continually expanding.  I have studied further that we are in the universe and that the universe is in us. Meaning that the same atom particles of the exploding stars are the same materials found in the human body that have existed since the beginning of time. (or was there a beginning?)

So, today, I want to think about this. If the universe is expanding and I am expanding, I choose to expand with all that looks and feels like LOVE.  I choose to leave behind and cut myself away from the shadow of anything that inhibits that free flow of love within me so that this expression can enhance my own life and the life of others.

THAT MEANS, to me, to continue to do things I’ve been learning all along to do: forgiveness of self and others is primary. Then working in harmony to accomplish what is mine to do. I can think small in order to accomplish big things…a simple smile, a word of grace, establish orderly living, and free myself for time into creative endeavors I feel called to.

This will be my Total Eclipse of the Heart. My intention for living in this manner. I hope, that like the sun that will once again shine through after the passing of the shadow moon, my life will contribute to the light of the world.

I do believe the darkness will never overcome this light.

 

 

GUEST BLOG:

from

Mark Kolack.

THIS ECLIPSE IS AN EJECT BUTTOM FROM UNIVERSE

Beloveds,
Tomorrow between 1:22pm – 4:17 pm Florida time, peaking at 2:54pm on August 21, 2017, people across the USA will see the Sun disappear behind the Moon, turning daylight into twilight, causing the temperature to drop rapidly, and revealing massive streamers of light streaking through the sky around the silhouette of the Moon. On this day, America will fall under the path of a total solar eclipse.

This is the first total solar eclipse visible from the continental USA in 38 years. It is the first Total Solar Eclipse in 99 years to be visible in its totality across the lower 48, and the first in 1500 years to be ONLY visible in totality across this region.

What does this eclipse mean? Reset: this celestial event will wipe the slate of your life, past, shadow, clean and set a new direction in your life parallel to what intention, vision, direction you set for it. What we visualize and focus on will be set into motion for years to come!
Make the choice to go deeper: admit what you really want and believe you can have it: face what you have been running from, good and ‘bad’ and embrace them both so they manifest and dissolve respectively. Ask God as yourself to free you and to fulfill your heart’s desires. Pray this into the vortex between 1-4pm.

On a psychological / metaphysical level a Total Solar Eclipse (TSE) blots out the conscious mind and allows the unconscious (INTUITION, as well as repressed emotion) to emerge. This is one of the best uses of the energy of a TSE: allow your ego to be blotted out and allow your Divine Knowing/Intuition to be revealed! We do this through prayer and affirming that this is what you are intending, what you are doing, and then it is what is happening! Then ask and listen and reflect.

On the flip side, any skeletons in your closet will dance when the moon (unknown, subconscious, repressed shadow material) takes over, but this is for the best. Dance with your shadow remembering that what you choose to release under an eclipse will disappear forever. It’s an eject button from the Universe.

This is a time for centering, visualizing, believing, asking, affirming, decreeing, commanding, surrendering and being grateful. Imagine if you were given a series of wishes from a beneficent genie: and all she required was that you got real with yourself, touched your heart; admitted what hurt you, asked to have it removed: and then asked for what your heart truly desired:

This is what this eclipse is: on a grand planetary scale of personal and epic proportions. Get real. Admit what’s up with yourself. Pray and affirm it into the eclipse vortex. Then go in peace.

We are going through the eye of the needle into the New World tomorrow. Don’t bother packing. Only self-love can fit. Leave the rest. Unhook your seatbelt for maximum effect!

Fly!
Eternal Love and Blessings,
~mk~

 

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angel food cake

The birthday dates of January 2014 have come and gone. January 2, my 71st birthday was enjoyed in a rather simple, quiet style. It is the day most other folks get back to “life as usual” after the holiday celebrations and the frequent occasions for festivities and food. A heart-warming return to schedules, dismantling the decorations and tree and ordinary living seems to be on most minds. Trying to remember exactly WHAT day it is heads the top of my list, when every other day seems to be like a Monday to me.

January 4th is my father’s birthday; he would have been 99 this year. Happy Birthday, dad. Jan. 6, just four days after my birth, mom Doris died, and so I wish her a very heavenly birthday. Each year, I contemplate the different facets surrounding the time of my birth, which include leading up to the life-threatening realities for my mom, the birth of new life to my father and maternal grandmother, my dad’s birthday in the midst of the trauma, and his loss of his love within two more days.

It is not quite the common, uncomplicated look-back upon a grace-filled event such as your own birth. But through the years, I have found a grace in all that was, is and will be through our continued heritage of children and grandchildren. And I am grateful.

We celebrated by going out for a free birthday dinner at a local restaurant where I enjoyed a magnificent Michigan Cherry Chicken salad and greens. We enjoyed some serene sunset glimpses on the way into town.

IMG_3791

This reminded me of some of the words to Suz Ogden’s “On The Wings of Prayer” song and I found myself singing some of the words:

“When the light of day is fading
Rejoice before you rest.
Cherish the light of each moment

Embrace the days one by one
Give praise to the Creator
Find peace when your day is done.

Fear neither storm nor darkness
Knowing you’ve done your best.”

That’s a pretty good birthday song and I am grateful for the peace found in my days, the lessening of fear, and the general feeling that in most instances, I am doing my best. And each day, as the Benedictines say, “Each day, I begin anew.” That all feels pretty good.

birthday night sunset

My mom, Marion, made a most wonderful birthday gift for me, by my request, as far back as I can remember. She made her old-fashion recipe of Angel Food Cake for my birthday cakes. It was my very most favorite cake of all. She made it from scratch, with the aluminum cake pan that had the insert that came out and the tabs at the top for proper cooling after removing from the oven. I wish I still had her pan.

angel food cake pan

Then mom made the best tasting thin, thin, thin, confectioner sugar icing to go on top of the cake and drizzle down over the sides. I don’t think I’ve ever duplicated that, but it just made it superb. I had a hard time not running my fingers along the pooled frosting at the bottom of the cake. And actually when no one was looking, I did do it.

angel food cake with icing

I just love mom for making those cakes for so many years. This year, I really got to obsessing about this cake. I don’t have a pan and didn’t get out to buy one, but I thought I would make one for myself. Instead, the day passed as quickly as the whole darn year of being 70 seemed to have passed, and I didn’t do it.

But a couple days later, as I was picking up a few things, with impending storm warnings blaring from all media sources, I happened past the bakery part of Meijer’s and they had a semi-tall, semi-homemade angel food cake I helped myself to. I frosted it with a thin glaze, and walah!

Not AS good, but a sense of both my earthly and heavenly mom was there as I enjoyed more than my share of angel food cake and a scoop of vanilla ice cream. The little girl in me partied.

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Disney -dream

This is how Matthew Fox, author of Creativity refers to the Imagination. He calls it a fierce power!

Imagination is a fierce power. It is a playful power. It is a dramatic power. People pay a lot of money to visit Disney’s Theme Parks, awash in imagination.

Imagination lets us step into a space within ourselves that we too often ignore in the daily routines of life. We, even though we are adults and have gone to Disneyland “for the children”,absorb the magic of imagination just for this special time of our visit.

Disneyworld

I remember being highly influenced by the word “imagination” during one of our visits to Disney World.  When we visited the cartoon exhibit, they explained that the scholarships they gave to creative apprentices, were aimed at heightening the appreciation of this quality of imagination within others….to raise the value of it….and to increase the potential of the student to learn from their  creative and imaginative powers.

Einstein, himself, has stated that his most profound discoveries have not come from rational thought, but from imagination.  Dreaming was an important activity to him. In fact, Thomas Edison, found it absolutely necessary to take a nap in the afternoon. That was part of his work pattern.

Disney - dream pillow

In Creativity, Fox writes: “In the Kabbalah, the medieval Jewish mystical work, we are instructed that “the firece power of imagination is a gift from God.” To call imagination a “fierce power” is to warn us that we are wrestling with the wild forces when we enter into the arena of creativity. A wresting match not unlike Jacob struggling with an angel can be anticipated.”

Author John O’Donohue points out that in the Celtic way of seeing the world, the soul is the place where the imaginatin lives.

Imagination takes us to the space of “elsewhere.”

I love that phrase – “the space of elsewhere.” O’Donohue continues to describe it as taking us to nothingness, to emptiness, to what is not yet and therefore to what might still be. The space of “elsewhere” invites us to have a living imagination.

We can choose today to be a “space of elsewhere”, where we are busy feeding and nourishing our imagination. We can dance with the rhythms of creativity and not simply sit on the sidelines of life.

Today, I am creating a day with my grandson, celebrating his 14th birthday. We are still in “fluid design” of exactly what the day will bring. But it will bring spontaneity, laughter and fun, I know.

We will view the day as a river of creativity running through all things. We’re going to get wet, jump in, and ride the rapids, wild and sacred as they may be…..even if we only go to a movie and eat chocolate cake together!

IMG_0605

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Sue - Black Formal & Drape

“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.

Amy - photo G & G

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January 2 is my birthday, I am 69 years old today. Thank you moms and dad for the gift of life and your love. I have a good life and I am loved. This is the best I could have.

In honor of my own birthday, I am copying a poem from Joyce Rupp’s “The Star in my Heart.” I have a heart connection to Sister Joyce, poet, prolific writer, and religious sister. I used several of her books in the 1990s in my workshops to inspire women to look within and see the star in their own heart. They did. They saw.

At the beginning of her book, Joyce talks about her own journey to Wisdom.

Once upon a time a child of happiness danced upon the land, knew friendship with the earth, and celebrated life with her love of solitude and simple things…She grew into a young woman, whose vision of self was clouded, clothed with the complexities of insecurity and the necessity of leaving the hallowed womb of the quiet earth. She walked into cities of strangers straining her inner eye to catch the slightest hint of the beauty that had energized her younger days…

…Days stretched into months and then years went by. She slowly changed by going deeper, deeper, into her Center. Never understanding why the desire to go deeper was there but always knowing there was no other choice than to follow at all cost…Darkness often loomed….Risk and Truth became her companions…She met Compassion and then…..

Wisdom came to greet her.

So close, at times were these companions that she wept for their intensity and her unworthiness. Still they walked with her and…

everywhere she went, her companions reached out and blessed the people of her life. She could only kneel in gratitude, offering her heart of praise to the Divine Companion who had faithfully kept the kindling of love burning in her heart”.

My journey has been much like that and I am grateful to Joyce, for much more, but at least for these summarizing words. In my case, the happy childhood was present, but amidst a lot of mystery of my own heritage, my birth mother and my mom who loved and raised me from the age of two on.

I am grateful to have remained true to the call and companionship and rewards of Wisdom residing within me and I know all my steps and searches, whether in the joy of light and discovery or the mystery of darkness and uncertainty, have been blessed by the ever-present God and grace within me.

And so now, I copy a Birth Poem by Joyce Rupp that always makes my heart dance with wonder and delight. And then I’m going to get up and dance.

                    “gathered together am I
                     from a history-held-mystery
                    a bundle of memories am I.

                      caught from smiles and heartaches
                      of faces and places past cherished,
                       given in love from the heart of life.

                        from kisses and lovemaking,
                       from caring and growing,
                      from vibrancy and vitality,
                      the gathered memories
                      of my own named person
                      have been gifted into existence.

                      surprises from seeds and secrets,
                      gifts from unknown voices and events:
                       here am I, so ordinary, so unique.
                       here am I so gifted, so complex.
                       knowing that the seed of my self
                       has touched the gathered memories;
                       gleaned from the ages of another time,
                       seed and sperm seeking, making known.

                      a birthed bundle surprised into life, 
                       light filling the center of a new spirit;
                      the blessing of eternity passed on:
                      urgency always to seek the face of God,
                      first gatherer of all good memories.”

                                         Joyce Rupp
                                          A Star is Born
                                         page 49

Thank you Joyce. This is a beautiful celebration of the Truth and Wonder of my birthday. Now, turn up the music and let’s dance!

 

 

                     

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Dad & Sue’s Birthdays – 1970

My birthday comes right after New Year’s Day on January second. I celebrate it. Just after my birthday comes my father’s birthday on January fourth. I always remember it. This year, dad would have been ninety-six. He died suddenly in July 1977.

Dad was a fun-loving, hard-working Irishman from Heffron heritage who loved Eisenhour, both as a military general and an American President. The black Chevrolet was his choice of car for many years before he could think of owning any other car.

Born in upper Wisconsin, his boyhood bore both the harshness of the seasonal weather and the responsibilities of the oldest son, providing for his mother and younger sister after his woodsman father passed away while he,  Anthony Junior (Tony), was still young.

He attended teachers college for a certificate, and began trading “trades” to raise more money for his own keep and for his family. He was proud of teaching in a “one-room” schoolhouse like we heard of in the Little House on the Prairie tales.

He was a police officer on the Eau Claire Wisconsin police force in the late 1930s and early 1940s and really did catch “the bad guys” with his parnter, Scotty. He had a brown scrapbook, now in my brother’s possession, that contained medals, photos, and newspaper clips of many “take-downs” during his law and order career. More than a few photos displayed dad and his fellow law officers, standing with one leg hitched up upon the running board of that era’s car — their chase vechicle.

He met the first love of his life, my birth mother, when he experienced a stay in the hospital (I believe it was Luther, but it could have been Sacred Heart Hospital, I am not sure) to pass a kidney stone which was giving him great grief. While there, he was in the care of a beautiful Norweigian nurse named Doris, whom he began to court with his wild, Irish charm.

 You would have to look hard and long through their dating and early marriage black and white photos to find a “serious” pose among them. Together they were always “horsing around” with each other or making fun of whoever was behind the camera. Always, their bright white teeth flashing in wide smiles or outright belly-laughter.

Into this family I was born, after dad and Doris had adopted my older brother from a Catholic orphanage. Mom convinced dad that nobody could love this orphan baby boy the way they could together, and home they came with Dave.  Soon after his arrival, mom became pregnant with me. But it was a troubled pregnancy and she delivered me early with etopic poisoning, complicated by kidney failure. She died just a few days after my birth and dad’s birthday. 

Dad was only in his late twenties when this personal tradegy came upon him. He had a young son and daughter to care for in the aftermath, and I can only guess how he healed his grief, for it was a mysterious fact that this was never discussed in the family with us children, even when we reached adulthood. It is a conversation I wish I would have had the courage to start. I certainly practiced it often enough.

I do know he never had any doubts about providing for his two children as a widower single parent and he set forth with strong determination to do so, enlisting two grandmothers’ help along the way. Dad left the police department in search of more income to support his growing family, and managed a sports store, still in Eau Claire.  

By the time I was around two years old, another brunette Norweigian woman caught his eye and his heart and Marion would come into our home as his wife and our new mother. This love affair lasted forever — or to say correctly — to the time of his death in 1977 and long after that in Marion’s heart until she could no longer remember any of us due to the memory robbery visited upon her in Alzheimers disease.

Tony and Marion gave birth to my youngest brother, John and we were one complete family of five from the 1940s until the mid-sixties when we children started forging our own paths in life; Dave in the Coast Guard; Sue married and moved to Kentucky; and John finishing up high school.

Dad was in the propane gas business by that time, managing a plant in Lansing, Michigan when an opportunity arose around 1968 to transfer his talents and work to a tropical paradise, St. Thomas, Virgin Island and manage a plant there. They did that together, mom working for the company too. It was a magic “begin again” moment for both of them and they loved living and working there and building new friendships and awarenesses with island culture. 

They didn’t really take up sea fishing there in the tropics but when they lived in Wisconsin and Michigan, it was one of their favorite pastimes and their most ideal vacation.

They had a favorite spot in Chapleau, Ontario where they stayed in a rustic cabin at Moosehorn Lodge, became faithful friends of the owner-couple and traveled there yearly for a one week vacation on the crystal blue water lakes in a quiet little dinghy putt-putt motor boat. This would be accompanied by rest and relaxation in the cabin and great home-cooking of fresh lake fish, fried potatoes and veggies.

In 1977, now living in the VI, they had not been to Canada for quite some time. That year, they were looking into a cruise trip to their home countries of Ireland and Norway, but there was some holdup in aquiring their passports and dad decided to scrap the whole idea and come back to Lansing, borrow a car from Dave, and drive up to Moosehorn Lodge.

This change of plans was a blessing in disguise, although none of us in the family felt immediately blessed by what happened on the second day of their vacation. Dad felt tired so they relaxed in the cabin the first day of vacation. But on the first fishing trip the next day, dad suffered a fatal heart attack  in the boat and died instantly even though mom tried to help with CPR. After securing the boat in the obscure landing area, she got an ambulance through the help of the lodge owners. Thus began a quick trip ito the hospital in Chapleau, but a rescue of dad’s life was not possible.

Yet, Dave and John were able to be with mom soon after the distressing news which would not have been possible had mom and dad gone to Europe as planned.  The shock value of dad’s death couldn’t have been higher for mom or for us. One month earlier, my husband and I just moved and started a business in a town not far from Lansing, and I was awaiting dad and mom’s visit to us when they returned from Canada, in just one week.

It had been over a year since I had seen them, and so much had changed in our life since we acquired the business that I was truly counting the days until I would see them and talk to them again. That I would not talk to my dad ever again became a bitter, bitter pill to swallow.

 The complete opposites of “saying hello” and having to “say goodbye” was a battle I played out in my soul for a long time after. Eventually, I penned a poem on paper, and set it on the backdrop paper from which I have my Mystic Muse with the bell coming forward. The trees remind me of the Canadian country mom and dad loved so much. Today, dad, my spirit says “hello” to your spirit, just as it has done each year near your birthday.

Canadian Pines

                                         He left without
                                                   saying good-bye
                                         amidst Canadian pines
                                                    and placid blue lakes.
                                         I had meant to say hello
                                                     before he would go.
                                          But the chance
                                                     passed me by.

                                           He was not a continent away
                                                     as had been their plan
                                           to visit for the first time
                                                     each of their native homelands.
                                            They came instead
                                                      that hot week in July
                                             to his favorite place on earth.

                                              His tired and restless spirit
                                                       would feed
                                                on lake-fresh fish
                                                         he caught.
                                                 And the peace he found
                                                         in the northern breeze
                                                 always soothed his troubled heart.

                                                 He would rest and relax
                                                         and have fun with his mate
                                                 in the place which he
                                                          so loved.

                                                  And then —
                                                          he would visit me.

                                                  But he left instead
                                                         at the end of the day
                                                   before he got off the lake.
                                                   It broke my heart he had                                                             to go.
                                                   Because you see, I still had meant
                                                            to say
                                                                 hello.

 

 

                       

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