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With Integrity

Taylor’s B-day Surprise

Reminiscing jabs my heart because it splits the distance farther from ones we cannot visit on their birthday…  However, I am instantly filled and inspired by a life so dear to have known.

No presents, no cake, no visit, just the knowing that today while the thunder bounces as the lightening dances, far away a sparkling person has a birthday.

Once in a lifetime, one meets a young lady as poised as Taylor.  She is my dearest friend’s daughter.   At a time when the clock stood still, we watched the laughter of her daughter and our sons roll like prairie grass combed by the wind in Scottsbluff, Nebraska.

Taylor held her own with a brother and all of his friends; she could jump higher than anyone on the trampoline, and no matter what the play, she stood there confidently and smiled.

She was simply capable of mingling with adults alike; she sipped tea and smiled only to blossom even more purely by having a kind disposition.

I wish her a garden of love from her beloved husband and Family.  She has made them all proud…an accomplished woman and a devoted wife, daughter, sister and sister-in-law…and aunt…

It is heavenly to have known all of you.

” If light is in your heart, you will find your way home.” __ Rumi

Somewhere in a box there are photos I could share to show the light she gave each of us.  Even after being gone, she would call as if I were her friend, and I recall her mannerly ways of caring, and of joyfully sharing her life.  I have treasured her notes, and most of all, her love.

God bless you, Taylor O’Holleran Robinson, with love… joy always… and faith…

TRUE Social Justice

I have swept clean my earliest memories as a child. 

I mean, I cleaned them out in a pile of dust for the Potter to mold them into a pitcher.  Now that it is filled, I would like a word about Social Justice.  It begins with being cordial.  There is no way anyone can advance a wholesome relationship without the quality of cordiality.  Any ambassador on a diplomatic post knows this card of success in bringing peace to the table.

I am sincerely baffled by the need for the world to learn more about being kind hearted.  Of course, I am even more disturbed by the fire fueled to burn the legacy of the intelligent thinker.  That’s why I say an incomplete education causes consequential harm in our society.  Mark Twain hit the nail on the head :
Every time you stop a school, you will have to build a jail. What you gain at one end you lose at the other. It’s like feeding a dog on his own tail. It won’t fatten the dog.
– Speech, 11/23/1900

It breaks my heart.  Lies aim to murder the truth.  A test of how serious we are in our belief in God and His power, is in our ability to stick to the truth.  After all, He knows all our secrets.  Therefore, to Him, social justice stands for words intended to fight a cause that was addressed by great thinkers.  Had they been taught, what a great difference they would have made.  I don’t give up on educating because there is no greater joy in any soul than to be in the knowing.  That’s where freedom soars.  Teachers and professors carry the responsibility of the nation’s future.  To deny a proper education is criminal.  To oppose those who give their time to better the lives of others is criminal.  To be infested by an ideology that promotes the destruction of our nation’s Constitution is sickening.  The disrespect has escalated and it is time for the educated to be heard instead.  There is no benefit to listening to the inept.  Who are they?  Easy to spot.  They fling mud at those who do the work.  They are the chameleons that unsuspectingly poison.

To be enslaved by the lies that have been spewed and continue to be spewed, is to be caught in the whirlpool of a cesspool.  Instead of disempowerment,we must choose to discipline ourselves to behave in civilized manners.  To laugh at this grain of truth is to deny the power of faith as large and heavy as a mustard seed.  That’s how little faith most of us have until that instant, that defining split of a second, when the TRUTH sparks, and we become what God intended all humans to be: humane. Keep Reading

Tibetan Terriers

” There is a time for everything,

and a season for every activity under heaven:…” __ Ecclesiastes 3:1

The cycles in our lives provide us with understanding the need for prayer.  The disciples and the people who gathered and asked Jesus how to pray to God, were given our Lord’s Prayer.  Thanking God for what is good in our life is also heartfelt prayer.  Becoming centered quietly respectfully giving God our pressing problems, rises a peace beyond human understanding.  To negate its power, its glory, its presence  is as foolish as to negate the breath of life taken here on earth.  The next one as our souls depart, is in heaven, just as Reverent Billy Graham said.  Well, maybe the next breath after death is in the somewhere where we face our life in full review.  Here is a quote to consider:  “LORD, help me to become the person my dog thinks I am.” __Dawn Ewing  

I once struck a conversation with a young lady checking out my groceries at Walmart and she said she had just wished God a good day.  She said she just felt it in her heart to wish Him a good day instead of just asking Him to bless her with one.  It still makes me smile.  We ought all do that sometimes…  When King Solomon invoked there is a time for everything, he surely knew God’s plan for us is to learn from one another from youth through maturity.  That cycle of every lifetime is the parentheses in time here on earth to fulfill our purpose to learn and to teach.  The light of love within each being is the source of all good.  We each have a divine purpose, and the sooner we realize this fact, the sooner regrets will be a thing of the past.

A dog’s unconditional love gives me pause.  We should all wish to be the human our dog thinks we are.  Dandelion and Tumbleweed are two Tibetan Terriers born to Princess in Lahaina on Maui, Hawaii.  Their Mom belonged to a grandmother whose grandkids scheduled a pick up in the parking lot of the new Bowling Alley in Wailuku for the folks who had responded to the ad in the Maui Weekly.  Since I had been the first to call in December, they let me choose one from a litter of five.   Dandelion was the nudger in the group.  Her excitement was contagious and had to pick her as the others were waiting in line to choose their treasured pup.  As it turned out, she was the first born.  The three new owners chose a male and two of the other two females.  They were also adopted to live Upcountry in Kula.  Each dog was given an assigned stuffed toy and Dandelion’s hound dog was bigger than she was.  The runt, asleep, and oblivious to all that had already transpired, remained to be chosen by someone who did not show up.  After a half an hour, I debated about switching Dandelion for Tumbleweed as she wouldn’t stop barking.  I asked if I could do so and they said sure, it didn’t matter, one would go to the pound.  That’s how I ended up taking them both. Keep Reading

Signs of Divinity

I see more than I saw when I was there yet I wished just as much of the embracing love to be shared with one and all.  It was on a walk alone for an hour that  I found myself in a banana tree grove.  In an instant I was enveloped by an invisible force and I turned myself around, looked up and slowly down.  I experienced an awesome envelopment like a physical vortex though its lightness rose in me a spiritual well-being.  Whatever it was, I returned to find the spot.  Unfortunately, I could not.  

Back in the days, Kodak made a fortune.  Folks like me were intrigued by the loveliness of moments, and we lived to their motto to capture  “a Kodak moment”.  I had the least expensive one on the market; it was my delight to pick and click at the right time the image, the color, the spirit that held the magic.  If I could choose today what to become in my life once again, it would have been to learn to use the best camera, become a professional photographer, and serve my wares to National Geographic magazine.  The world has always been smaller  in its grandeur as I had the honor of meeting an unforgettable young lady who did just that for a living.  Her parents were the Baldwins and they lived across the street from us.  In retrospect, she herself would have been a beauty to behold  in a photo as a prize.  She sublimely moved to speak as she smiled demurely.  I can’t remember her name yet I think Angel would have been fitting.  To take in what one beholds in admiration is to embody respect in appreciation.

We hold images of our loved ones in the midst of joy, and the photographs remind us of how swiftly the moment embedded in the memory eventually sheds light on the empty.  The missing misses the joy.  Nonetheless, we frame them, we carry them, we revisit, we keep them as tokens of our love.  Photographers have the skills of artists though theirs depend on the eyes to find the shadow and the light.  Their canvas moves unforeseen.  Today the advanced technology may skip the old time steps yet the photographer must be there in full force to know the angles that will be there no more in an instant.  The beholder must still be led by spirit, a feeling, a sound in flight, a dot on the line.

When the above photograph came developed, I remembered where it was taken.  I wondered how it related to that strange phenomenon experience.  I studied it.  I showed it to anyone I saw had an interest.  Some saw what I saw.  I have looked for a quote to recapture the possible symbolic experience in the banana patch.  My photograph of the photograph does not do it justice, and the intent here is to tell the story.   Keep Reading

BEING the LIGHT

“GOD has given us two hands__one to receive with

 and the other to give with.  We are not cisterns made for hoarding.  We are

channels made for sharing. “

__BILLY GRAHAM

My parents told me the story of a gift brought to me by my God parents, a chocolate bar.  I was five years old, and their visit was due to a special occasion.  My Dad had been ordained to the priesthood.  I remember the table set with food for a crowd.

Our neighbors with their daughter and son were there and I unwrapped chocolate bar, and inhaled the scent with a smile.  I snapped to give each a piece.  One for each parent and one for each friend, two for my Godparents, and two for my parents.  The eight pieces completed the bar.  What about you? asked my father.  Even though some tried to give me a part of their piece, I was perfectly happy to share it all with them.  I don’t remember the incident yet my parents repeated it enough that I certainly lived up to the joy felt in giving.  Perhaps we give what feels so abundantly available simply because there is greater pleasure in seeing the satisfaction in others receiving.

The delight to give is apparent in children.

Pastor Billy Graham was a sort of shepherd who sought God’s flock to deliver the faith, the hope, the love, the wisdom filled Bible. His mission’s message continues to shine like a candle whose flame lights and warms the room in our hearts.  He gave so much for so many to receive.

We all can.

Albert Schweitzer’s life is an inspiration of a man with a complete education dedicated to humanitarian assistance.  By the age of twenty nine he had written three books, he loved Bach’s music, and his exemplary life shines on…  His devotion to his work, just as Pastor Billy Graham’s, inspired others to fulfill their dreams.  Their encouragement was designed to light the way for others.  Their patience moved mountains as their faith the size of a mustard seed, could and would not be snuffed out.  Their mission was charged with divinity.  Their humanity called out to humans; they heard the cries and responded with their love.

Like all of us, both men felt the pangs of rejection; their flame, however, rekindled.

” Sometimes our light goes out but is blown into flame by another human being.  Each of us owes deepest thanks to those who have rekindled this light.”  __ALBERT SCHWEITZER

The up close image of the angel on the tree trunk as discovered in Bible Study on Maui appeared at a glance.  Look and see the signs all around waiting to be found. God gives us the clues.  Angels sometimes are in being the light.  Sometimes they are humans in the light.  Sometimes they can be recognized and when two meet, the path is lighter, brighter.

” Believers, look up–take courage.  The angels are nearer than you think.”  __BILLY GRAHAM

When I discovered the verse below, I decided it was time to read the Bible with a magnifying glass.  I still hope we can all be star-shine daily.  We can.  We can give from this light within us.

“This light within you produces only what is good and right and true.”  EPHESIANS: 5:9

Please share your thoughts with me…  God bless you.

Annabeth the Preacher’s Daughter

Defining moments in our lives are carved in the air to stand as tall as statues.  They are the pillars in our gardens.  They remind us of who we became because of them.  They call to us in spirit when we have nowhere else to go, and their friendship never ends.  Each conversation is a beginning.  Each farewell reassures a reunion.  It is an ever flowing stream.

Friends have a voice that when heard it’s a song.  We can dance to its beat because we know it.  We are at ease.  Annabeth Miguel Sayles sat at the school’s office on the first day of her new job, answering the phone, looking through papers, and wearing a smile with an uncertain confidence.  She was the lone warrior at Horizon’s Academy in Haiku, and many were glad she could muster what it took to do the job so sorely needed to be fulfilled.  She looked like a Precious Moments Angel figurine.

She took to the helm ever so grateful to make do as a widow, a Mom of two adult children, and a grandma of three.  As I recall, there had been a shift in administration.  She amazingly orchestrated all that was needed even in delivering successful fundraisers held on a golf course on the West Maui Mountains in a building designed by Frank Lloyd Wright for Marilyn Monroe.  Getting along with everybody that came along required composure, tenacity, and a sense of humor.  Parents, teachers, administrators, aids, and students all passed by her and needed her for this or that, and she answered and took care to see that all was done and completed.  She stayed long hours.  Her elegance was prime.

In the midst of school functions, we discovered in conversation a mutual torch: being preachers’ daughters.  I think we both said simultaneously now that is funny !  Something about her natural beauty, her stately humility, her steadfast faith, her sincere devotion to family, her admirable strength of spirit, her common sense, and her discreet attention to the needs of others, set her apart. Her character qualities are imprinted on a solid marble like presence in attendance in my life.  The details of cruelties she endured are locked in a room of confessions in the heart of hearts.  We got it from our fathers who prayed to Our Father.  We were cemented. Keep Reading

Angel Mission and Billy Graham

“Everyone entrusted with a mission is an Angel” __Maimonides

Reverend Billy Graham left footprints traced to heaven.  His passionate devotion reached hearts, minds, and souls.  I heard him preach on television, and remember his fervent authority.  His faith unquestionably poured from a source of love.  His divine calling soared as we think of angels.  I think heaven is celebrating his soul’s arrival.  I feel in my own heart God has said, “A job well done.”  He took his life on a mission and the mission to speak to all about the word of God in the Bible, became his angelic quest.  Even so, he humbly kept his wings tucked.

” Once, as we dashed onward like a hurricane, there was a flutter of wings and the bright appearance of an angel in the air, speeding forth on some heavenly mission.”  __ Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Celestial Railroad

When I think of  the mean spirited chatter, I look away and pray for a better world with devoted to God people.  I pray we can give the chaos a piece of our peace, serve it with equal authority, with confidence.  I pray for divine intervention to stop the madness and bring about more visions of angels.  May we be blessed with the mission to make a difference.  May we ask to fulfill it. Keep Reading

A NOTE TO GOD

I am apart from the part of me

yearning to be complete.

I embrace the longing for the fullness of grace–

as I am yet still hurt by the memories of beauty.

Love fills every crevice from the crib to the casket;

it is in You I trust to understand the confusion therein.

Scraps of papers embedded in thoughts with scribbles

donned star dreams deserted to serve You these nibbles.

I look up and down and around and see all that is to be–

a classroom empty of students but me, mindfully learning.

I reach for the pen and the paper to write to You for all–

I see books on my desk standing tall to beckon attention.

How can I find the letters to compose any essential clue?

The royal paints have dried on the canvas out of the blue.

It is as a blade of grass surging to be its best green foliage,

we humans breathe wherever air moves us to be a continuum …

Like the stars that step forth even in the bright moonlight,

I hope to return to the rhythm in concert sung by the birds.

May my gratefulness be showered in blossoms of dewdrops

aside alike souls in Your Kingdom in heaven and on earth…

I thank You my Lord in front of all these Friends, Your people,

Afar and close in thought and heart, entirely yours from birth…

Despite the chaos, the sun has risen to draw shadow shades;

we contemporaries live to sway the wave that flings a ripple…

Please help us see when we cannot fathom all there is for us to grasp,

Forgive our judgments from present and the past, have mercy, I ask.

 

I would love to know if you have ever written a note to God…Please leave a comment.  Thank you.

QUANG NGUYEN’S STORY AND AMERICAN VALUES

THE MYSTERIOUS COINCIDENCE

How many significant coincidences can you recall in your life ?  I wish we could pull up a chair at my round table and have some tea to reminisce and maybe get goose bumps.

I have told this story repeatedly.  It’s old.  For those who don’t know me, it will still carry the point.  For those who have heard it, skip it unless you like the detours.  In fact, as I begin to tell it , I know I should write a blog about the essentials in moving because I did so far too many times.  Maybe you wouldn’t want to hear it.  I say to pack a suitcase with books, and one with seven days change of clothes.  I wish I had done just that.  One can be an established minimalist by realizing the freedom of not spending precious time packing and unpacking and making things fit where they don’t, won’t, and shouldn’t.

Let me just say that BEFORE the ninth move, the address number was 1198.  My heart goes there because I actually painted twelve gates in a glorious garden surrounding a pool.  Each entrance then with a panel had two sides.  I felt inspired to paint zany designs coupled with cherished quotes.  Oh, I wished to write a book and could never muster the time t concentrate, to be organized, to fully cross the t’s and dot the i’s…

Coco Chanel muttered one sweet day, “Gentleness doesn’t get work done unless you happen to be a hen laying eggs.”  We actually had three on the path behind this gate…  Though we now have seven hens and one rooster, I’m not certain a hen lays two eggs.  Cocoa Chanel of course must have regarded the value of elbow grease in getting things done…  She had a point.  Moving requires the strength of an ox.  No wonder my mother once said I reminded her of a horse.  She thought she was being complimentary.  I didn’t get it then.  I do now,

I decided both sides of the panel to the gates would be a chapter and thus began my solace in life to finally pursue the unfulfilled dream.  Make plans gingerly in life because the scales may tip delicately off balance.  That is the kindest way I can say our bed and breakfast was shut down along with five hundred others overnight eight years ago.  No matter the details except to avert to the fact that the least predictable twist of fate made the last move feel like an eviction. Keep Reading