Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

I hate uncertainty.  I am happiest when I am clearly shown the path I need to take, but that so seldom seems to happen.  Perhaps it is more my fault than God’s, since I rarely take enough time in my day to practice God’s presence.  When I do, there seems to be far less uncertainty, and still I do not do it with any regularity.  I sometimes wonder if we humans actually enjoy being in pain on some level.

We have always had natural disasters and we will continue to have them — earthquakes, floods, tornadoes, hurricanes — stuff like that.  But now we have man made disasters that seem to crop up with no warning and can happen anywhere.  If we leave the security of our own homes, we are putting ourselves at risk!


Anderson Gardens 09 017I have always been a bit afraid of flying since I was born in those past years when man rarely left the ground.  But these days?  Terrorists abound in airports, and planes.  But then, they can also be in restaurants, theaters, shopping centers, subways, and trains.  Is any place safe?

My personal belief is that our Creator meant for us to be happy, joyous, and free.  We can’t be that way if we are always afraid something bad will happen to us.  The vast majority of bad things we fear will never happen to us.  But we can’t really count on that with certainty, can we?

Do I want to be a hermit?  I’ve considered it.  After all, the confines of my brick house are relatively safe.   But is a safe life what I really want?  Isn’t there more to life than just staying safe?  I am just starting to cogitate on all these things, so I have yet to come to real conclusions, but I am thinking that perhaps if I truly trust God, than I can believe that nothing truly bad can happen to me.  If God is with me, am I not completely safe?  I need to do more thinking on this, but would appreciate any thoughts you who might read this might have.


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Soren Kirkegaard said : “The function of prayer is not to influence God, but rather to change the nature of the one who prays.”   I read this years ago, liked it, and promptly forgot about it, but I found it again in another blog I follow last week and it has been haunting me.  It is so true, and yet I still pray for selfish reasons because I am in pain and want God to help me.  Most of the time I remember to not pray for things but for the strength I need, but my prayer life is still selfish.  I want something.

Is this a bad thing?  I chastise myself on a regular basis for being selfish, but in many ways, self interest is what motivates humanity.  I think we humans often do good deeds because we want to feel good about ourselves, and I am not so sure this is wrong.  In fact, in recent times, I have taken to wondering about things that are right and things that are wrong.  Who am I to know?  To be sure, I think it is a bad thing to kill, and a good thing to love and give help to others.  But beyond that, there are so many gray areas, and I have spent so much of my life wishing I had the “right answers” to things.

Perhaps there are no right answers — at least not specifically.  How many times have we thought something was right only to find out later that it wasn’t at all.   Who is making the judgment call?  We can even do right things for wrong reasons at times, and vise versa, I suspect.  My  life seems to go best when I simply keep telling myself that I am doing the best I can with what I have been given.  Life is what it is.  It is often not what we would like it to be.  Oddly enough, it is generally what we need it to be, but we rarely realize this until a lot of time has passed.

Has praying changed me?  Oh yes!  I haven’t prayed in order to obtain those changes — and sometimes I even have prayed because I didn’t want to change.    But praying does indeed change the nature of the one who prays.

Brown sunslowers - Version 2

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Every now and then, something happens in our lives that really impresses us.  Such a thing happened recently to my sister who lives in Florida, and I felt a need to share this with others.  It was a sign of hope for me — one of those synchronicities that seem to sometimes come when we most need them.


Florida has many great places to take walks, and my sister is fortunate enough to live near Tampa Bay and thus has many places where she can walk along the water.  One such place is Phillippe Park.  She related to me that recently she went further than expected and became very tired.  There were many huge homes facing the Bay but most had high walls or were screened in some way from the public walkway.



She was very pleasantly surprised, therefore, to walk past the home pictured above (and we show just the place by the water and not the home itself).  She was struck, as was I, by this note of welcome in this world where so many these days feel the need to barricade themselves behind high fences, strong walls, and heavy security measures.

This is not to say that we don’t need security measures.  In order to live safely today, most of us are very concerned with security measures for our safety and that of our families.   Nonetheless, the resting place and the sign pictured above speaks to those who still want to share what they have with others.

When I walk around our neighborhood, I often see resting places in the yards of the home by which I walk.  There have been a few times when I would have loved to sit down for a few minutes and rest.  I keep meaning to suggest to our local park district that they place benches in more of the small parks our village has scattered here and there.

I even wondered briefly what my neighbors might say were I to set a few chairs near the street and put up a welcome to rest sign.  I doubt I would have the guts to do it — and the rest of my family would likely protest.   Still, I am old enough now to be aware of how much our world has changed and how often our reaction to others is to pull away rather than welcome.  Could we be more welcoming to our human brothers and sisters?  Should we be?

I wonder.  And yet I greatly admire the people who live in the house by Tampa Bay who were gracious enough to extend a welcome to those walking by.

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Tress of Life

Tress of Life


They say that time flies when you are having fun.  For me, time has been flying whether I am having fun or not, and I realized recently that I have paid little attention to this blog of mine.  It began because I hoped a few people would want to purchase my little meditation book.  I still do.  If you would like me to send you a copy at a reduced rate, leave a comment and I will get back to you.


MEANWHILE, I think I have done enough with giving you a sense of what the book if about.  I am not sure if this will work, but I would like this forum to be more interactive.  It is very hard to practice the presence of God.  Easter Sunday is tomorrow, and yet Easter fails to mean quite as much to me as it once did.   Whether or not you are a Christian, Easter can remind us of rebirth.  This past winter has been very hard (and destructive) but most of my little plants are attempting to rise above ground level, and some of the yards around us already have daffodils blooming.


Life goes on, day by day and year by year.  It is now 2014, and I have written nothing new here.  If you will assist me, I promise to do better.   I invite you all to use this forum for a discussion on how we maintain our spirituality — if indeed you are interested in doing that.   I often watch Bill O’Reilly on the Fox News Network, and I agree with him that our world is becoming more secular and less religious.  Is this impacting we humans adversely?  Do we need to be religious to be spiritual?   What does it mean to be spiritual?  How can we make religion more attractive to those who want no part of it?


I will commit to writing about these questions in the days ahead, but I am hopeful that some of you will jump in and add your own ideas to this blog.   I’d like to take this blog in a new direction and I need help to do that.  Please help.

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Thanksgiving 2013

How strange!  I find myself just as grateful this year as I was last year, which I take as a very good sign.  Perhaps I have finally reached the place where I more regularly see that glass as half full rather than half empty.  There is no doubt in my mind that having an attitude of gratitude can make a big difference in how we live.

Since what I wrote about for last Thanksgiving still holds true (why not take a minute and read it after you finish this) I thought I would talk about some of the things I am grateful for today.  My family will always top the list, as well as the friends who keep me on the straight and narrow.  For today, though, I am feeling lots of gratitude that all of the dead leaves that cluttered our yard have been bagged and hauled away.  We are not getting any younger, and each year this seems more difficult to accomplish.


ImageI am grateful for a sunny day and the reign of high pressure.  I may be especially sensitive to pressure, because I always feel so much better when the sun shines full out.  That extra pressure gives me energy, I suspect.  Just had an odd thought — perhaps I should look at the pressures life tosses at me in the same way.  I need them to energize my life.

I am grateful for all the crystals I hang in my windows so the sun can make rainbows (I seem to be back to the sun again, but then, where would we be without it.  I am grateful for mood changes, as I seem to be in a quirky kind of mood today.  I used to try to squash those feelings because I felt they made me an odd ball.  I am grateful that I have embraced my oddness.

My husband often tells people that he is grateful to be still “above ground.”  Lately I have been borrowing that phrase because as the years pass, we lessen the amount of time we can be there, so despite a few aches and pains, we should be grateful.  Nonetheless, I do not appreciate the thought of ever being “underground” so I think I will also be grateful that I am not just a body, but am spirit as well.  Indeed, I think I will be grateful this Thanksgiving for my everlasting spirit. (more…)

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Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not
irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all
things, endures all things. (1 Cor. 13:4-7)

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Today is a perfect day to think about love. Are you aware of how many different kinds of love there are? In English, there is only one word for love, but in Greek there are several. Valentine’s Day most often, though not exclusively, seems to exemplify the romantic kind of love. But there is also a fraternal kind of love we have for close friends and family, often referred to as brotherly love. Agape love is that which we feel for all of God’s creatures everywhere.

And of course, there’s self-love, which all of us need, but which easily becomes complicated. We need to love ourselves, but not in an egotistical way, and that is often difficult for many of us. Right after birth, we see ourselves as the center of the universe, but we soon begin to learn that there are many others sharing the universe with us.
As you progress through life, your ability to give and receive love  changes. As a small child, my love was almost entirely conditional—I loved those who cared for me and provided for me. As I grew into my teens, I found myself starting to deal with the “sexual attraction” kind of love—exciting, frustrating at times, complicated, and at times frightening in its intensity.
Maternal/paternal love is something else again, and can feel verwhelming until you get past the fear of doing something wrong and harming your child. For many of us, it may be the first time we have truly loved someone more than ourselves. Today, think about all the kinds of love you experience.   Reach out to someone with love.   Show love in an unexpected way.   And remember that nothing can separate you from the love of God.

Taken from “Talks with our Creator” for February 14th

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Enjoy what you have rather than desiring what you don’t have. Just dreaming about nice things is meaningless; it is like chasing the wind. (Eccles. 6:9)

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Have you ever gone hungry for any length of time? Have you ever left a table wishing you had more to eat? Think about how this feels, even if you have not experienced it. Quite a few of us doubtless have even more than we need of the world’s goods.   Many of us regularly donate used clothing and household goods to charities, which is an indication of our abundance.

It never ceases to amaze me that I can have so many “things” and still find myself attracted to more. During holiday periods, just reading the advertising (or seeing it on television) can make us long for more.   If I am honest with myself, a lot of the things I purchase are things I want rather than things I truly need.  Our culture (and our advertising and our media) encourages us to think that something new will be better than that which we already have.

Every year, I am amazed that once the Thanksgiving holiday is over in the U.S. (and now even before) people line up waiting for stores to open so they can get great “deals” on the things they wish to purchase.  Watching what happens when those stores finally open looks like a feeding frenzy in an aquarium.   Does all that buying fill some need in us?  If we feel some elation over our purchases, how long does this last?

It can be very helpful for all of us, no matter how much or how little we have, to cultivate a grateful heart. I lean toward being the kind of person who sees the negative rather than the positive side of things. It is one of the things I work on almost daily. The strange thing is that negativity produces more negativity, but when you become aware of the many things you should be grateful for, you find even more of them.

I got some help from a book called Simple Abundance which suggested keeping a gratitude journal in which you wrote down at least five things you were grateful for at the end of each day. I did it for over a year, and still do it at times. Some days my list only includes my gratitude for breath, vision, hearing, food, and shelter, but often I find other, far more specific and special things—especially if I look for them.

When we become aware of how much we have, and regularly give thanks for it, we will be far less likely to buy things just for the sake of buying them.   Cultivating an attitude of gratitude helps to feed that ‘hunger for more’ that all of us feel from time to time.   There is nothing wrong with buying gifts for others (or ourselves) when we can afford to do so.   However, we humans need to be more aware of enjoying what we already have.

Taken from “Talks with our Creator” for December 7th

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Not my will, but thine, be done. (Luke 22:42)




Use this phrase as a mantra for your meditation today. Relax, breath deeply, and allow these words to sink deeply into your consciousness.  Can you honestly say that you are in full agreement with them? Are you completely willing to follow God’s will?

It is true that we do not always know with certainty if we are following the will of God. However, if we are honest, we know that many of the things we choose to do would not be what God would have us do. When we deliberately antagonize a family member or a coworker in order to pick a fight, we know God would wish us to respond in a different manner. We know, that is, if we have taken the time to think before we speak. This is not something human beings do with sufficient regularity.

For the most part, if our thoughts are loving thoughts, we will speak and act in a way that is loving and caring. Why do we allow anything but loving thoughts to enter our minds? Because we are “not God,” we are human beings with human responses. When we interact with others, we frequently find that our ego is conflicting with that of another. When this happens (and it always will), our thoughts will then determine what we do

None of us will likely ever be able to hold loving thoughts all the time.But we can make significant improvements if we simply become conscious of how and what we think. Today, allow yourself to monitor your thought processes. Be aware of how often your thoughts are unkind, perhaps even downright nasty. When we become aware of our thoughts, we will naturally begin to shift them so that they are more in line with God’s will. God has told us we should love one another.

Taken from “Talks with our Creator” for December 15th

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Most of us feel upset and resentful from time to time, and for some that feeling seems to almost always be with us.  The word “resent” means literally to refeel, so those who carry resentments are simply replaying unhappy times in their lives over and over again.  One lady I worked with at one time kept saying to me, “But how can I feel happy when my husband is gone.”  I would usually tell her that she could feel sad that he was no longer with her, but she could begin to let go of the constant feelings of grief.  She insisted that wasn’t possible.  She would tell me that no matter how engrosing whatever she was doing was, she would also be thinking of how much she missed her husband and about all the things she wished she had done differently in her life with him..

It is very difficult to shift our thinking from one channel to another, but it can be done with lots and lots of practice.  The process can begin with the realization that no matter how hard we work at it, we can not change reality.  My patient’s husband was not going to come back, and she would never be able to change the way her life with him had been.  By spending so much of her energy resenting the fact that he was gone, she was in effect poisoning the current monments in her life.  We talked about the fact that her husband would not have wanted her to think that way, and gradually she began to see that she could begin to shift her thinking to more positive thoughts.

Many people allow their thinking to get stuck in certain tracks, and they come to believe that it is not possible to change this.  Their take on life is that they feel what they feel, and there is no way to feel differently.  In recent years, science has come a long way toward proving that what we think determines what plays out in our lives.  It doesn’t do so directly, of course, or we would all be winning the lottery all the time.  But when we think we are helpless to change our thinking, we find that is true in our lives.  When we begin to think about all the ways we might be able to shift our thought processes, we find we can do that occasionally.  Since practice makes perfect, we find that our ability to change our thinking can grow.

To give you an example of how this words, I will tell you that my parents lived through the “great depression” just prior to my birth.  It colored their lives and I grew up thinking that no matter how much I had, it was never enough.  Eventually I realized that my thoughts were always of scarcity, so scarcity was what I attracted to my life.  I worked very hard at shifting my thoughts to abundant thinking.  I would get mail from many worthy causes asking for donations.  In the past, I always felt that I did not have enough to give funds away.  Slowly I sifted my thinking to the realization that I might not have much, but I had more than many others, so I opted to share the little I had.  Since I was sending out abundant thoughts into the universe, the abundance in my life grew and grew.

If you have decided you want to learn to control your own thoughts (which will indeed change the way you view life and the people in it) you can begin by taking baby steps and progress from there.  Whenever, you find your thinking is going around and around like a hamster on a wheel, tell yourself that you would like to change the way you are thinking.  The way that works best for me is to ask for help from a power greater than myself.  I simply say, “Please help me not think this way.”  It helps if you have some more positive thoughts available.  Think about something for which you are grateful.  Think, perhaps, about the reward you will give yourself when you have achieved a change in thinking.  Above all else, do not be discouraged when your thoughts shift back into an old rut.  Simply allow yourself to be aware that this has happened, and try again.  It will work if you work at it.

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