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With Integrity

Farewell Marley

Marley was rescued from under a shed miles away.  He was starved, weak, and showed to have had a broken hip.  My two youngest adult sons spent two days trying to lure him to rescue him.  Our gentle giant son literally dragged him out from under the structure.

No one wanted a wounded animal and his hip had been hit before.  Despite his disability, he spent another two wonder filled years in our home.  He limped and after a good run, he would come in and rest his head on the hurt thigh.  Today it showed to be broken once again.   He must have been stunned.  His amber eyes closed.

Words fail me.

He spoke in a way to let us know what he wanted.  He was a gentle fellow, and a lover boy to our Anatolian Shepard, Daisy.  She is listless tonight.  She must have been near when Marley departed.  We know All Good Dogs Go to Heaven, and I spoke to her about it.

However, our youngest gentle giant dug a grave by our old shed, and he stopped and leaned on the shovel.  I asked if I could help a little.  Both of us fighting a ferocious cold, felt twice as miserable in the first warmer day.  On the lake we saw a white fog, so dense, unlike any other before.  I think Marley may have had a woof about it. Keep Reading

Faux Pas : an Apology for Jeremy

Slice it, dice it, mince it and the texture changes, yet the flavor of an onion remains the same.  In preparing the Romanian eggplant salad, I know how to tweak the crunch to please the palate.  Add olive oil and lemon with just one teaspoon of salt and pepper to taste, and the well beaten pulp of the four to five baked eggplants is truly delicious.  The eggplants are pierced with a fork and set on an aluminum foil lined cookie sheet and baked at 400 degrees for an hour.  Once cooled, it is sliced open, spooned into the mixing bowl.  I let it mix for at least fifteen minutes…  There is a point to this…

Likewise, the mindful storage of kitchenware ameliorates the efficiency in preparing a meal.  Certain tools fit comfortably like an old glove to stir a batter or flip a crepe.  Timing of course is equally important and multitasking at some point reminisces a concert like all of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons.  We become better at what we practice more and as a piano teacher reminded my sons, perfect practice makes perfect.  Oh, the stress of it all!  Even with the most proficient care,  cooks, and I dare say, master chefs, have blunders.  Yes, most have essential blenders, but unfortunately, there are “blunders.”

YIKES, what a word: BLUNDER!  It constructs the image of an unseen event, as if our eyes may have been shut.  So true.  In a careless instant, a burn of any kind near the stove or oven, can be assuaged by” dusting it good” with flour; yep, keep a jar for an emergency dip, and voila, the pain subsides.  Oh, but where can “blunder” be stored ?  In the pantry, or can it be discarded?

Mind you that after clearly remembering the location of certain kitchen gadgets so aptly placed in entirely too many kitchens due to moving ( fourteen times in thirty-eight years to be exact), I need to rely on a quote by John Muir in order to make my point clearer about blunders or the more elegant word: faux pas.

“When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it all attached to the rest of the world.” __John Muir

No wonder we falter, even a gourmet cook or a theologian for that matter can be tactless and meet up wit Faux Pas.  “Stupid is as stupid does” said Forrest Gump, and even remarks spoken or written in error are in fact wholly unholy.  Just as I was brewing to write an apology to Jeremy of Accelerated Web Solutions for doing and saying the unthinkable about a glitch on this site over the weekend, Pastor Bryan Jones from Grace Church knocked at the door for an unannounced visit.  My favorite kind because then I can excuse the ruckus of the four dogs so easily ignored by the seven hens and one rooster in the front yard.  If a feather makes its way to the entrance, I too can ignore it with a sigh.

The how “do-you-dos,” the catch up on weather reports of wishing for global warming due to the exceedingly cold temperatures and abhorring the dense, menacing fog then led to the sharing of health issues among us and friends, and family situations, including the announcement of the new Thursday Bible studies at 2:00 PM.  PHEW!  Thank God I had home baked  Greek cookies and Guava nectar to serve.   I held on to my tea towel, how did Pastor Bryan end up talking about Apostle Paul’s admittance of wrongdoing in Romans:7 ?  He blurted something so fast I asked him to let me write it down.  I handed him my trusty Zondervan Bible and he read just what I needed to hear.  Was it a coincidence?  The amicable exchange of stories filled a pleasant afternoon hour and he blessed us with a prayer.  Bless his heart.

I returned to this task at hand to face the same dilemma Apostle Paul addressed in Romans 7:15-16 : “I do not understand what I do.  For what I want to do, I do not do but what I hate I do.  And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good.”  Okay, it may sound like a riddle, but in essence the blunder dance with faux pas steps throws yoke in the face.  The law of kindness is the one sometimes easily forgotten.

Being “overwhelmed” already admits to be in the “throws of under”.  It is in such a state coupled with impatience that my hand used the power of the pen to accuse in retaliation to a task that was simply resolved with the click of Jeremy’s mouse in a timely fashion.  Being entirely focused on slicing, dicing, and mincing to deliver the strongest message I could, the flavor turned out TACTLESS.  The devil did not make me do it.  The imperfection is within me.  Plus, years ago I painted Ralph Waldo Emerson’s quote on a tiny framed canvas: “Adopt the pace of nature, her secret is patience.”

I faltered. I blundered.  I apologize to Jeremy for the rude Monday morning surprise.  He is an asset to Accelerated Web Solutions as he gave his time and expertise with great patience and he went above and beyond the call of duty to assist me in constructing this blog.  The planning and preparation to deliver messages that attract an audience is important to me.  I wish I had beat the giants in the invention of the technology that magically serves a feast of options to suit individual preferences.  Jesus said we would do greater things than He…  His modesty is divine.   His Father too must smile.  I do too when I think of how He invented an onion.

 

“Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future.”

__Paul Boese

One’s Unique Star-Shine

 “The meaning of life is to find your gift.  The purpose of life is to give it away.”

__Joy J. Golliver

 

The first memory of viewing the moon in the sky surrounded by millions of stars appears on the stage of every starlit night.  The recognition wakes the familiar.  Similarly, to lie on a trampoline wrapped in a blanket staring up at night calls for a whisper. I remember such a night with my dear friend Rae Whitney, a writer of hymns.  We watched for falling stars…  They were meteorites…  No words can capture the whole of the Nebraska midnight blue.  The embrace felt in grace led me to thank God again, and again, and again.
Years earlier, on a starless night alone at my desk with the intention of writing the graduation speech I was asked to give for the Senior Class of Maplewood High School in Guys Mills, Pennsylvania, I turned to God to ask for help.  With pen in hand, I wrote : “The sky can never have too many stars; there is room for everyone to shine, including you.”  
No one could have known the enthusiasm these words stirred in me.  Was it a coincidence?  What do I mean?
 The irony is few would have known how the phrase that came through me for others, in turn would help me.  I asked God on their behalf for inspiration, and the answer came as in a love letter for everyone to own.  No one’s light is diminished by the light of another.  With humility or with pride or with simple certainty, the beam of each soul shines.  I pray we can be encouragers as opposed to discouragers for others to trust in their abilities, their skills, their visions, and their talents…  I ended the speech by spilling the quirkiest line… “Shine each moment to a shine, you can do it Class of 1979!”
 One of the greatest honors in my life was to be a High School English teacher.  The classroom electrified me as I thoroughly enjoyed teaching the students to love learning the material covered.  To this day I think about Munchkins who read, discussed, wrote, memorized, gave speeches, and participated in all the lessons presented.  Nothing was perfect yet I respected their presence to listen and learn.  I hope to have been the encourager they may have needed at some point in their lives.  Even after numerous moves, I keep a decoupaged plaque with a poem written to me by Michael Woods, a student.  It’s entitled “The Happy Maker”.
 My parents were the models of my prayer life. They sought answers through prayers and I attended churches and synagogues where others did the same, so I naturally engaged in conversations of pleas with God the Father.  My Dad was an Orthodox priest and he told me Jesus was the greatest Jew that ever lived.  I was terrified by the stories of the Holocaust survivors.  I cannot understand the madness of 9/11 because I know God and His Son Jesus Christ could not have willed the tragic, untimely loss of lives.  If anyone lacks faith despite all they have seen, they must not understand Ralph Waldo Emerson’s quote:  “All that I have seen teaches me to trust the Creator for all I have not seen.”  Heaven will welcome those who seek the light of the Lord.  I say we can seek to merge with His light.  It is not easy being human; we are imperfect.  We all fall short of the grace of God.  Yet, we are blessed to “arrive” at the moment when we “will” to live by God’s Ten Commandments.

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The Light of Peace

The Art of Aloha…

When in doubt, be the light.  When saddened by one’s own perceived limitations, be aware every one of us is the light of our own  life.  We can’t be all things for all people.  We can choose to be the best we are, and that is what makes a difference in being at peace with oneself.

 Twenty-eight years ago, I welcomed the responsibility of planning the monthly programs for the Erie County Medical Auxiliary in Pennsylvania.  Exactly twenty-seven years ago today, February 7, on a Thursday, our gathering entitled TALENTS AND INTERESTS of Our Own Members, took place at 10:00 AM in my home.  Is it a coincidence I searched to find the album today?
As I recall, I encouraged as many ladies as possible to participate in the event designed to bring us closer to one another.  Eighteen of them though somewhat reluctant at first, did in fact open their hearts to shine.  The photographs in my possession walked me through a treasure chest of a time gone by.
Heavenly Bandora strummed by an Angel…

The art of cooking together with displays of a collection of antique dolls, and another of Santas while there was a real Irish step dancer, a bandora player, a piano concert with a vocalist, a display of leather and beads handwork, four artists of paintings in oil, watercolor and acrylics, and a table with handcrafted paper mache creations, a colorful and elegant quilter, a seamstress of dresses, a Ukrainian array of decorated eggs surrounded by intricate cultural accent needlepoint, and dearest to my heart the crewel works of a remarkable member.  Trust poured in the sharing of interests and talents and the event still shines in my heart.

 In life we make choices that may well have been written as sacred agreements too deeply imbedded for us to recognize.  Carolyn Myss wrote a book entitled The Sacred Agreements.  I still wonder why about so many things.  Does the weather really matter to people who move from a cold climate to a warmer place ?  Now that I am familiar with Sclera Derma, I know it does.  Does it have to be that serious? No, it does not.
God knows our hearts and bestows blessings that arrive even when we are unaware.  That is precisely why we are best to be in the light of goodness.  The Course in Miracles says to remember anyone you meet is a holy encounter.  The past came alive today again as it has throughout the years in quiet times when I wished I could have gathered those lovely souls again in my home for tea.  Their light brightened my life.  Their trust in participating in an event that marked their interests and talents to be viewed by all present was a gift of peace.  Therefore, when unsure about our heart’s desire, let us consider the light of peace.