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Pennsylvania

Sincerely Yours

 

Once or twice this side of life, we come across a beautiful scene, an unforgettable person, an unexplainable bliss filled moment, and/or the sinking into the life of another being’s sorrow in total empathy.  Each are defining moments that we revisit when time slides into memories.

I searched for so many self-help methods, I remember being admonished for doing so.  I don’t know if I was more surprised that it should have been a bad thing, or if I felt shyly embarrassed; in retrospect, maybe both.  Ironically, the process served me well.

At a group therapy session, we were asked to close our eyes and visualize a place we would like to be in for a half an hour, preferably one that delighted us in some way.  I still go there to fall asleep in prayer.

My God parents visited us in Sao Paulo just before we moved to Niteroi. It was then that we went to Araruama. My father must have taken the photo. My mother is to the left in white.

The pure white sand beach glistened even below the clear emerald and aquamarine water.

The see-through colors at the Araruama beach in Brazil was empty except for tall bales of wind swept salt foams.

I ran through them and heard their soft cracking like chimes and felt enveloped as if inside a translucent bubble.

I ran into the water and floated so easily as the salt held me up me like a feather.

With eyes open below the water, I found a few treasured shells, and I still have them.

Somewhere behind me stood my parents and Godparents.   Keep Reading

The Price for Responsibility

Get it right as soon as possible.  We are given three things but not the other three needed; as soon as we realize that, we must take responsibility.  I read this in Ayn Rand’s book Atlas Shrugged as it is told by the character John Galt.  I extracted just these three points because I believe they help our understanding of the need to be responsible

We are given a life but not our survival.

We are given a body but not its sustenance.

We are given a mind but not its content.

Ultimately, the mind is the tool for our survival.  We do what we must  and to travel life’s journey successfully, and I believe we must make time to be in the presence of God.  There is no escaping His presence, only denying it.  That is a choice each person carries until death.  Thereafter, we meet our Maker. Keep Reading

One’s Endurance: a Grateful Immigrant’s Story

Sometimes the “A HA!” moment comes in a quote:

”  Let yourself silently be drawn by the strange pull of what you really love.  It will not lead you astray.” _Rumi

I’ll tell you how the sun rose, —
A ribbon at a time.
The steeples swam in amethyst,
The news like squirrels ran.
The hills untied their bonnets,
The bobolinks begun.
Then I said softly to myself,
“That must have been the sun!” _Emily Dickenson

One’s endurance is measured by the breadths taken day and night to survive rejection.  It is inexplicable to the unbeliever because the life of faith delivers an ever restoring, flowing Holy Spirit.  Without it, I could not have arrived at this moment in time.

I can count my encouragers.  Who are yours?

In this abundantly planted orchard of life, the fruits ripen to be chosen rather than discarded.  In today’s bowl, endurance is at the center; it has an old flavor recognizable for its ancient characteristics.  Its value is as long as the beginning of each day is observed.  It is delightful to the soul, gentle in texture and borders  on honey for sweetness.

I remember the aches clinging to my joints as I gathered a handful of acrylic paints, three preferred brushes, and a trusty folded stool to take along to the gate waiting as a blank canvas on a palette ready to receive the very Spirit in me.  It is in this laboriously searching to create a vessel to renew the luster of words written to welcome each soul that I found respite, consolation, and determination to honor a church whose people chose to invite my father to be their priest.painted in the far away right side…I wish I had taken a close up.  There is a squirrel with a bushy tail in the lower left and two bobolinks in the tree, North American migratory blackbirds.

I used my father’s magnifying glass to see “the onion” church so dubbed because of the shape of its steeple.  It is barely visible.  It is painted in the far away right side…I wish I had taken a close up shot.  There is a squirrel with a bushy tail in the lower left and two bobolinks in the tree, North American migratory blackbirds.  Go figure. Keep Reading

An Open Letter For My First English Teacher

Mr. and Mrs. George Rugh
August 13, 1966

I wish I could show up to be near you to thank you for being my first English teacher.  I was about to turn fourteen years old, and could not speak a word of English.  You were the spinster parishioner in the church that hired my Dad, a Romanian Orthodox priest, to serve St. Elias Orthodox Church in Ellwood City, Pennsylvania.  You and others treated us kindly, took pity on us, and offered all that you could to welcome us and help us become established.

You were my particularly favorite person because you and your brother spoke broken Romanian, peppered with English, and mischievously taught me to call all boys “honey”.  Just like Red Skeltom though, you would laugh so heartedly, I knew you were joking.  I loved that you invited me to visit you at your home where you two also lived with your Mom.  I often remember how hospitable you were to invite me to join you for dinner.  I ate my first Venison roast with you.  The plums were picked from the trees just outside, and your warmth filled a void in my life. Keep Reading

Friendship Garden

Once upon a time someone for as long as it was possible became a friend, and blessed are they because friendships remain.  The token of words exchanged between two hearts stay true.  The heartfelt bond cannot be broken even by misunderstandings, disagreements, or separation.  In fact, the precious moments too dear to relive have indeed a garden in the hearts that cherished them.  Love never ends, and there is love in friendships.

Humans learn and teach from one another from the moment of conception.  Friends recognize one another instantly or over time; they become a wholesome part of one’s character’s.  Perhaps the saddest separation of friends is not in miles, but in the departing from this life.  The finality keeps a candle burning.  Friendships are the lights that light our way, and we always look to feel their care.  Even after having lost touch, the heart that cherished the friendship, honors the love.

It is in time “understanding recovers” any friendship lost in quarrels or disagreements.  No one really knows all that transpires unless the conversations continue.  It is a luxury known to all who invest in keeping in touch because the heart strings just will not let go either way.

” ‘I am a part of all whom I have met,’ ” So, friend of mine, you are a wholesome part; our precious visits, lingering with me yet, are flowers in the garden of my heart. “
__Charles Chapler

Understanding recovers our memory because in time we perceive the past differently.  Perceptions change as experiences gather in the room of considerations.   There are memories that are understood with the passing of time…

” Memory changes the color of memories.”  _Jacques Bainville  

This is Friendship Week and dearest Linda Patton from Meadville, Pennsylvania, sent a garden of flowers with quotes honoring all friendships.  I have a box of letters from her as she sent them through thirty-eight  years, and the photos show how the children have grown  , how new members have joined her circle, and I know I could call her today.  I lived through her teaching years, retirement, care of parents, and the quirks of her dear husband, Denny.  His devotion to volleyball and coaching after teaching Geometry as we car pooled together hold memories equal to Linda’s attention to detail at home, in the kitchen, for family, and her notes.  I often only longed to be nearer.  I was strengthened just by seeing her handwriting.  When I painted the gate in the garden, know I remembered all whom I have met.

I miss friends who gladdened me with kindnesses I keep tucked in my heart, and most of all, the ones who shared significant moments in time.  I thank God for each and all.  Their seeds still blossom “in the garden of my heart “.

” We cannot tell the precise moment when friendship is formed.  As in filling a vessel drop by drop, there is at least a drop which makes it run over; so in a series of kindnesses there is at least one which makes the heart run over. ” __Samuel Johnson

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Knot Doll: My Story

This is my story of how I set out to give birth to the knot doll.

(K)not all wounds are so obvious….Walk gently in the lives of others…

My Symptoms were my normal–the ankle twists,rare loss of balance followed by falls, the awareness of the effort needed to get all that was explained in a conversation,the dizziness unveiling upcoming weather changes, the ache behind my eyes, the waking tired, the sadness, and the one time complete paralysis for a few minutes.  I was single and alone and don’t know for certain how long it lasted.  I made my way to the telephone to call in sick.  I could not join the car pool.  My classrooms would never know.  I kept the incident a super secret.

I walked into a door and gave myself a black eye.  I wore sunglasses to class and they conjured up a plan to wear theirs the next day.  We were in Hollywood back in the woods of Maplewood High School in Guys Mills, Pennsylvania.  I had run into a pole when I was in High School a few years before and managed to break my nose.  Such klutzy incidents may have been clues.

An only child learns how to manage certain crisis unattended.  I thank God my parents modeled praying before and after meals, crossing themselves upon leaving and arriving anywhere, and when passing a place of worship.  Though I would try to dismiss their habits, I noticed years later, I asked out loud sometimes “God help me”.   He did and has, and I still ask.

That is my story.  My Symptoms were there all along for decades.  Five years ago, after a strange fall caused by a twist of an ankle and loss of balance, the egg sized lump on my head grew large and was painful.   From the CT scan to the MRI, a lot was supposed to have been wrong with me–from mini strokes to multiple brain tumors.  I observed the conversations unattached.  I absorbed the unfolding of opinions as if shopping for necessary items to line a cupboard of life going forward.  At last the diagnosis was MS.  I didn’t understand much about it, and decided I could learn more on my own time and speed.

I realized immediately I did not need the two bladder surgeries that were atrocious.  It is amazing how one can survive unnecessary glitches.  Again, I was thankful to my long departed parents for reassuring me and others to lean on prayer.  I did and do.  Being centered quietly in prayer kept me calm through times of stress and disillusionment. Keep Reading

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

The Lady Named EUGENIA, My Mom

My earliest memory of my Mom is wrapping myself in her skirt.  I was born in Brazil.  She wore skirts and took them off at the beach to swim in the ocean.  She paced herself elegantly wherever she went.  I recall watching her in wonder because she could wood burn any piece of wood and turn it into a treasure.  The designs were of her native country, Romania.  She had a flare for cooking though I was not allowed to disturb her, and to this day I try to recreate the wondrous soups she served, to no avail.  She read and she wrote.  She sewed and she embroidered.  She painted icons.  She was odd in that she was unpredictable in the face of being a priest’s wife.  She held her own opinions and standards about absolutely everything, and though she sought to be friends with others, people tip toed, as I did.

I remember my Dad softly calling her name “Gina” when it was obvious she was about to say something we wished she would not, like the time the wife of the President of the church board mentioned that in America women mostly had short hair cuts.  She was a lovely lady, and my Mom raised her big eyebrows, and announced the braid would stay on top of her own head.

She proudly told anyone interested that her name meant “well born,” and she was despite being a premature baby.  The oldest of seven, she was dearly loved by her family.  Unlike the gals her age, she left the parents’ farm in Timisoara, to go to Bucharest and attend the University.  She did some study of milk, and no one could know more about it.  Her degree was in Chemistry.  I remember feeling intimidated coming home from High School; to me, Chemistry class was close to Mandarin, Chinese, a language I had not heard of at the time.  However, it was my mother who told all the parishioners about the benefits of Chinese tea.  I didn’t know how she knew that and often wished she would say no more.  Those dear folks just nodded. Keep Reading

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.