Thursday Re-View — This I Promise You…

This I Promise You…

For those who are alone, I will sit with you.
For those who have no voice, I will speak for you.
For those who feel invisible, I will see you.
For those who are afraid, I will protect you.
For those who know hunger, I will feed you.
For those who need help, I will offer aid.
For those who suffer emotionally, I will help ease it.

For those who go unheard, I will listen.
For those who mourn, I will comfort you.
For those who know sickness, I will nurture you.
For those who know hate, I will love you.
For those who are dying, I will help you to live.
For those who crave human touch, I will reach out to you.
For those who are blind, I will see for you.
For those in pain, I will bring relief.
For those who cannot walk, I will journey for you.
For those who are lost, I will find you.
For those in despair, I will hold hope for you.
For those who weep, I will dry your tears.
For those with no place called home, I will shelter you.
For those who are wounded, I will bring healing.
For those who wait in darkness, I will be your Light.

This I Promise You…  ~ Theresa

Angel wings V

_______________________________

Thursday Re-View — The Labyrinth of My Heart

labyrinth 5

Solvitur ambulando . . . It is solved by walking . . .
~ St. Augustine ~

LABYRINTH OF MY HEART

A pilgrim, I stand at the entrance of this Sacred Path,
this Path of Prayer,
this Journey to the Center of Being.
I know not what to expect, but am assured that
walking forward will bring me closer to You.

I cannot see my way to the center;
the path twists and turns with no seeming direction.
One foot in front of the other,
one step at a time,
patient trust that You will show me the Way.

Walking the path without a map,
feeling myself empty in the quiet,
letting go of the control that I seem to need
so very much outside this circle,
releasing the chains as I move on.

Walking the curved path dulls my outside awareness,
while inside glistens with claritas and focus.
My heartbeat slows to a soothing rhythm,
lulling me to a place of peace
as I drink in this well for my spirit.

I hesitate, then stop, dropping to my knees,
resistant to the Way that lies before me.
You and Your Blessed Mother, one on each side of me,
lean down and whisper,
“Come with us, little one. Come.”

I shake my head no as my chin sinks to my chest,
exhausted, fearful,
a cloud of unknowing fogging my heart and my head.
“Don’t ask me to do this,” I beg, frozen, huddled
and twisted about my Being.

For I know if I move forward
I will be forever changed.
I will hand over myself
to journey to a place unknown.
I am comfortable where I remain.

Yet I stand up, shaking, knowing that
I will take this further journey.
The next step is commitment, a marriage,
a promise, a vow.
I will go but You must lead me.

What I lose, I may gain ten-fold;
what paralyzes me may set me free.
If I move on, I let go.
Total, fearless surrender.
Truth. Discovery. Light.

In the center – a communion of all
the tears, loss and desolation into
a treasury of sorts of all that is good;
into a community of love that surpasses
all understanding.

Sitting in the quiet, the whisper of spirit
on my face as I gain strength
for what is Being asked of me.
Be still and know that I am. Be still and know.
Be still. Be.

Centered, in the womb
of this mystical union between heaven and earth,
I receive the blessings of awareness and wholeness
as I return to the collective memory of my soul.
As above, so below.

I struggle to rise, then I am lifted unaware.
Empowered as the path unwinds
beneath my sure-footed steps,
its rhythms beckoning me, calling me
on my journey back to a life renewed.

My leaving becomes an arriving as I dance
in the shimmering light that is Grace.
Bringer of Light. Seeker of Truth.
Bearer of this Sacred Heart.
You are their Light.  Shine.

labyrinth 6____________________________________

Thursday Re-View — “Thoughts for My Son”

Call Mom.
Pick your battles.
Be kind.
Thoughts matter.
Breathe.
Count to five before you speak.
Look beyond what you see.
Don’t judge.
Rescue an animal.
Keep your word.
Give back.
Be present.
Apologize.
Give thanks.
Choose your words with care.
Dance to your own music.
Character matters.
Listen with your heart.
Honor your family.
Respect your elders.
Share.
Play fair.
Be honest.
Remember where you came from.
Root for the underdog.
Volunteer.
Be charitable.
Keep the faith.
Look people in the eye.
Mean what you say.
Follow through.
Be a good example.
Listen.
Color outside the lines.
Smile.
Purple glitter makes everything better.
Feed the birds.
Remember that squirrels like birdseed, too.
Be compassionate.
Enjoy thunderstorms.
Talk to animals.
Pray.
Be true to yourself.
Visit other countries.
Try your best.
Put in an honest day’s work.
Forgive.
Hold fast to your beliefs.
Patience really is a virtue.
Nothing is random.
Follow your moral compass.
Never give up.
Ask for advice.
Reach out to others.
We’re all in this together.
Admit when you’re wrong.
Offer a firm handshake.
Laugh with gusto.
All things in moderation.
Good will always triumph over evil.
Life isn’t fair, but that’s okay.
Give good hugs.
Don’t lose hope.
Be passionate.
Seek the truth.
Look within.
There is meaning in suffering.
Listen to the birds each morning.
Don’t forget the sunsets.
Go sailing.
Smile.
Surround yourself with color.
Hunt the Northern Lights.
Water your flowers.
Plant a tree.
It will be okay.
Every ending is another beginning.
Write real thank you notes.
Cuddle.
It’s okay to say no.
Sing to babies.
Remember those who have gone before you.
Take your hat off inside.
Offer your help.
Say thank you.
Don’t take it personally.
There are many levels of love.
Don’t hold grudges.
Be a gentleman and a gentle man.
Avoid toxic people.
Tip well.
Look to the stars.
Lose yourself in the clouds.
Stop for all rainbows.
Take the road less travelled.
Be well.
Remember that Mom loves you.

You are my greatest blessing.

__________________________________

Thursday Re-View — This is How I Will Remember Dad

Dad as a little boy

Dad as a little boy

He was baptized by monks.

When you spoke with my Dad, that was one of the things he was most proud of in his life. Oh, he was proud of his wife and 2 daughters (his “girls”), his three grandsons, his four great-grandchildren, too. But he always returned to the monks…

Both his Hungarian parents entered the United Sates (separately – they had not yet met) through Ellis Island in the first decade of the 20th century. His Mother came here all by herself when she was 16 years old, with $28 in her possession. His father had even less. His parents – my grandparents – eventually met, married, and had 4 children. My Dad was the youngest, born almost 10 years after his oldest sibling. And yes, where he grew up in Union, New Jersey, he was baptized by monks.

He grew up on a farm of almost 90 acres, where my grandmother had a beautiful garden, a spring where we used a pail to fetch clean water, cows that Dad used to milk and manage to have fun at the same time by squirting near-by cats, and an outhouse that had rhubarb growing at the back. Things were a lot simpler then.

Dad played high school football when they wore leather helmets and decided differing opinions mid-field. In his senior year, World War II raging, he joined the Navy on September 16, 1943, a day before his 18th birthday. His school gave him his diploma even though he only finished 2 weeks of his senior year. He was an A student, anyway.

Basic training was in Great Lakes, Michigan, which must have been interesting for a farm boy who had always walked to school and had never been away from home. In addition, he joined the Navy not knowing how to swim. But there was a war on, and that was unimportant in the bigger scheme of things. After Basic, Dad was one of three sailors out of 500 chosen to go on to Texas A & M for training in what would become the nuclear submarine program, but he refused. Why refuse what was such a golden opportunity? Because this 18 year old man has recently met the 15 year old girl who was to become his wife.

Before leaving for the war, this sailor in his dress blues went to a small park in Pennsylvania with a friend, where he saw a pretty young girl with black hair and dark eyes across the gazebo. When he asked his friend who the girl was and said he was going to marry her, his friend laughed and told him he’d never get past her mother – the protective, unsmiling woman beside her.

We know how that turned out. Dad did get introduced, the now 16 year old girl wrote to him during the war, and they got married (Mom was 18, Dad was 21) when he returned home after the war was over. They were married in a beautiful church ceremony with money Dad had saved by selling his cigarette consignments while in the Navy, at a reception with beer, root beer, and sandwiches wrapped in waxed paper. Dad promised Mom he would buy her a new dress every week. Romantic – yes. Did he manage to keep his promise? No – which Mom never let him forget, but he did give her so much more.

Mom & Dad

Mom & Dad

Dad apprenticed as a furrier, then worked at a company that manufactured tools such as scissors, tweezers and nail cutters. Then, this young couple decided to venture out on their own by opening their own business. First, they bought an old house in a small town that didn’t like outsiders. In fact, they had to retain an outside attorney (this was almost 60 years ago) to close the sale because my parents’ ethnic background and religion weren’t easily accepted (sound familiar?). After the purchase, they found white sheets and hoods in the attic, which they hurriedly threw out. You get the picture…

They knocked on doors in the garment district in New York City until, after mocking laughter and countless doors slammed in their faces, one Jewish jobber (Bless him…) took a chance on them and offered to send them work. Their business – manufacturing women’s’ and children’s’ blouses, had begun. With a stranger and a handshake. No contract, just their word. In a business relationship that lasted for more than 2 decades.

We lived in a small apartment over the blouse mill. My parents employed almost 30 women and one man for 23 years. Many were single mothers who needed to put food on the table; others were disabled in some way (epileptic, partially sighted, learning disabled). The hardest workers made enough money that some of the men in their lives came to “have a talk with” my father, angrily asking why Dad allowed them to make more money than the man of the house. Dad simply explained that their women earned it. Enough said!

Earlier than most men, Dad treated women as his equal and respected anyone’s hard work and desire to get ahead. By the time my older sister and I were born, Dad was surrounded by women at work and home, so it’s a good thing he could survive in the midst of those hormone shifts!

Memories of Mom and Dad getting up by 6 am and Dad still being downstairs at midnight, doing book work… He made smart investments and saved money, but we still managed to drive almost an hour away once or twice a month to try out the hamburgers at some new type of restaurant known as McDonald’s. When he’d fill up the station wagon’s tank with gas, sometimes we’d get a few ice cream squares, cut them in half, then share them between the four of us. Plus, Dad found that he could save a lot of money by repairing all of the machines in our factory by himself, so the smell of soldering and polishing wafting upstairs was common.

As things settled down and he knew the factory was going to “make it,” Dad started to take us on actual family vacations to Atlantic City, New Jersey and Williamsburg, Virginia. Wow – that was the height of luxury to stay at a motel near-by. And to actually eat out every day??? Heaven. By the time my parents retired from their business, their travel had evolved into Spain, Italy and Greece. They always taught us that we needed to broaden our horizons and meet other people to better understand the world.

They weren’t perfect parents – I’ve never met a perfect human being – but they were very good parents. Mom taught us that “ladies don’t drink, smoke or swear,” (those childhood messages stick with you, don’t they?) and to always wear clean underwear in case we were in a car accident. My sister and I couldn’t date until the magic age of 17, and I worried that no one would ask me out. (A few brave souls did). We were taught that if God gave us more (of anything – intelligence, money, opportunity, etc.), then we were obligated to give more back (to society) in return. Dad had a temper (yelling, never physical) and could be stubborn, while Mom had a tough time forgetting if someone did her or anyone in her family wrong. But they were smart, hard-working, compassionate, generous people who believed in God and their country.

The blouse factory was a family business, one that saw my sister and me working every summer, as well as in the evenings after we did our homework. We were a family unit, and my parents always gave good advice, with no agenda other than our best interests. I asked my parents’ advice until the day each of them died. They never led me astray.

Family

Family

They would also throw high school graduation parties for nieces or nephews if relatives didn’t have the money, buy someone a washer and dryer to make that person’s life easier, or loan money to those in need. Education was very important to both of them; they always said that education was something that no one could take away from you.

My sister went to beauty school and obtained her real estate license; I went to undergrad, optometry school, then grad school (wow – that’s almost 12 years of higher education; one could question my sanity!). All 3 of their grandsons graduated from college. Their 4 great-grandchildren (another one is almost here) already have college funds started.

The American Dream.

From grandparents who came through Ellis Island (Moms’ parents also came through Ellis Island, from Italy) to a man who quit his senior year in high school to fight in WW II and a woman who had to drop out of high school after her sophomore year in order to earn money for her parents and siblings during the war…

What a wonderful legacy Mom and Dad left behind… And I miss them terribly. Next week, another family will take possession of Mom and Dad’s house, another chapter closed.

But I was able to give one last gift to Dad, after I held his hand in the driveway where he fell (see “Remembrance II”).

One of the priests at the college where I worked – a member of the Congregation of Holy Cross – traveled almost 2 hours to say his funeral Mass. He never met Dad, but he knew him from almost 4 years of working with me, and he had the entire church crying about how important Dad’s wife, “girls,” grandsons and great-children were to him. And he allowed my sister and me to dress Dad’s casket with the pall and bless it with holy water as well. Three times – Dad’s favorite number, representing the Trinity.

So for this man of faith who was so honored to have been baptized by monks – add to that a funeral mass celebrated by an ordered priest. A fitting validation of a good and decent man…

By the time the veterans played Taps at the cemetery and we were given the flag, our time together was done. He was finally with Mom…their bodies together in the mausoleum, their spirits together in another plane, at long last.

Rest well. You did good. The world is a better place for having had you in it. And at the end of life, that’s all we can hope for.

Thank you for all of the sacrifices, the guidance and the love. I hope to make you and Mom proud.

____________________________________________________________________

TAPS
Daniel Butterfield – music
Horace Lorenzo Trim – lyrics

Day is done, gone the sun
From the lakes, from the hills, from the sky
All is well, safely rest
God is nigh.
Fading light dims the sight
And a star gems the sky, gleaming bright
From afar, drawing near
Falls the night.
Thanks and praise for our days
Neath the sun, neath the stars, neath the sky
As we go, this we know
God is nigh.

______________________________________________________________

Thursday Re-View — Who Will Remember?

Memories IV

“Memories” by
Adrian Art

Who will remember us after we are gone?

Really – who will remember each one of us, past perhaps our grandchildren? Or, if we started a family young enough (I didn’t), perhaps our great-grandchildren? If we have not achieved the notoriety that a Lincoln or a Gandhi or a Mother Teresa has, then who will remember us?

These thoughts came about during the past year when my sister and I were charged with cleaning out our Dad’s house after he died (see Remembrance II). This is the house that he purchased for Mom in the town where she was born – her “homecoming,” so-to-speak. She loved it, even though she died after only a few years of living there.

After Mom died, it took Dad 24 more years to die (at least physically; emotionally, I believe he died when Mom did). And in that 24 years of living alone and missing Mom, Dad accumulated three 30-yard dumpsters full of “stuff” that we threw out, and that didn’t include lots of furniture, food, clothing, etc., that we donated.

That’s a lot of stuff. More than a third of a lifetime of stuff.

What my sister and I sorted through over the course of months (yes – months) meant something to Mom and Dad. Sometimes we understood why it meant so much, and it meant a lot to each of us as well. Did those things mean something to his grandchildren? Only a few, markedly recognizable things. To his great-grandchildren? No – they only remembered that Poppy used to bring them a treat whenever he came to visit.

Some things we found:

– Mom’s old eyeglasses
– Thousands of rubber bands
– Hundreds of plastic bags (wrapped inside of paper bags, wrapped inside of…)
– Piles of empty boxes
– Coins
– A compilation (at least 10 years worth) of mpg for Dad’s Saturn
– Laminated, hand-written, detailed instructions on how to correctly pull the handles on slot machines in Atlantic City in order to win money (we’re talking coins here)
– Black lab calendars for at least the past 10 years (Dad loved our black lab, Misty) with important dates and events listed
– Christmas gifts that Dad had specifically asked for, opened in front of us, then placed in piles, never to be taken out of the boxes
– Packages of white tube socks, unopened
– Bottles of rubbing alcohol
– Thousands of band-aids and cotton balls
– Hundreds of clipped coupons
– Thousands of personalized mailing labels from every charity imaginable (Dad always was a soft touch for sending in donations)
– Hundreds of comic strips clipped from newspapers, held together with rubber bands or paper clips
– Trousers in Dad’s size from Haband, still with tags on
– Several boxes of new sneakers in Dad’s size
– Boxes of tissues and toilet bowl cleaner from the days when Mom & Dad had their own business (they retired in 1981)
– About 15 digital wrist watches in their original boxes, never opened
– Packages of sugar and artificial sweeteners from fast-food restaurants
– Styrofoam coffee cups from McDonald’s (used but washed clean)

The list goes on and on…

But please don’t get the wrong opinion about my Dad… He was not a “hoarder,” as showcased by the reality show of the same name. He was simply a man for whom time stopped when Mom died, and who couldn’t bear to part with anything that reminded him of their 41 years together in marriage. Being born in 1925, he was also a child of the depression, where doing without was “normal;” where he ate what his mother grew in her garden on the farm, and he drank what he milked from the cows (that is, whatever was left after he finished squirting all the cats who lived on the farm) and had breakfast each morning with the fresh eggs he grabbed from the chicken coop.

You never knew when you might need something, so you’d better not throw it out…

Every available resource was used, then reused. Clothes were patched and handed down, foods canned and “put up” in the basement, vegetables stored in root cellars. You were poor, and in order to survive, you kept just about everything.

Old habits die hard.

But we also found:

– a bank envelope with 5s, 10s, 20s and 1s laying on the top rack of the dishwasher
– two paper clippings (one for each of his daughters) with the name and number for a business that specializes in estate junk removal with a comment in Dad’s handwriting: “for after…”
– detailed instructions on the location of life insurance policies, bank accounts, keys, important papers
– a note from the parish priest who married my parents authorizing their double room reservation in a NYC hotel for their honeymoon (my, how times have changed!)
– The NYC train schedule that Mom & Dad used when they first started their business – when they walked through the garment district, door-to-door (and having many of the doors slammed in their faces) – trying to find work
– three copies of a prayer for those living alone
– Dad’s rosary
– Dad’s American Legion membership cards all the way back to 1945, when he was honorably discharged from the Navy
– All of the sympathy cards sent to Dad when Mom died 25 years ago
– laminated copies of years of the “In Memorium” notice Dad put in the local newspaper each year on the date Mom died

And so on and so on and so on…

How much stuff do you throw out until you no longer have anything tangible to touch, to hold onto, from your loved one?

I remember when I traded in my car a few years after Mom died; before leaving it at the dealership, I ran my hand along the worn leather of the passenger seat, knowing that Mom had once sat there when we went shopping together. I cried while I was shredding Dad’s old tax returns and cancelled checks, running the tips of my fingers over his handwriting, always heavily indented into the paper. And when I drove Dad’s 20+ year-old car to the salvage yard to have it scrapped for parts, I could barely see for the tears, knowing my hand was touching the steering wheel with his DNA still on it, interspersed with laughter at the sound of its jet-engine whine. Not to mention the sound of the muffler that a teen-ager would do almost anything to own…

Now I know I’m the author of Soul Gatherings, with daily quotations that touch upon the importance of relationship and interconnectedness, rather than the material. And I truly believe all of that. I know that my parents live on in my memory, in me, in their grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

But I’m human, and it takes a lot longer for our heart to catch up with our head where strong feelings are concerned. And throwing out so much of the “stuff” of my Dad’s life was exhausting, liberating and draining, along with a deep sadness accompanied by a profound sense of loss.

Who will remember us after we are gone?

Tell me – who will remember???

______________________________________________________

“En ma Fin gît mon Commencement…
In my End is my Beginning…”
~ Mary, Queen of Scots (1542 – 1587) ~

____________________________________________________________

Monday Meeting — Krishna Thompson

Krishna Thompson

Krishna Thompson

Meet Krishna Thompson, 47: Shark attack survivor

From “The Against All Odds Club”
By Brooke Lea Foster
Psychology Today – April 2013

August 2001, Krishna Thompson and his wife flew to the Bahamas to celebrate their 10-year wedding anniversary. Thompson’s wife didn’t enjoy swimming, so one morning he woke up before her to get some extra time in the ocean. The water was usually crystal clear, but that morning it was murky and rough. Thompson was treading water when he noticed a shark fin coming toward him. He calmly backed off, hoping the animal would go away, but the 10-foot bull shark swam through his legs, its slippery skin grazing his right knee.

Then, without warning, the animal snapped back and took Thompson’s left leg in its mouth. It dragged Thompson underwater, shaking him like a rag doll. He thought about how he was going to die without ever having children. He feared that he would drown, which panicked him. Thompson summoned all of his strength, reached down toward his leg, and punched the shark in the face, which surprised the animal enough to release its jaws.

Thompson swam to shore and collapsed. When he caught sight of his left leg, all he saw was a broken tibia bone—there was no flesh left, no arteries, just bone. He remembers staring at the overcast sky and thinking: “I beat this shark, and I’m going to live to tell the world about it.”

As Krishna Thompson lay on the beach after the attack, his left leg ripped up to nothing but bone, it occurred to him: I am the man who conquered a shark. He approached his recovery with similar resolve, working hard to chase away any negative thoughts with positive ones—even after learning his leg injury would require amputation.

Thompson counted down the days for six months until he could return to work on Wall Street. In 2002, on his first day back, he didn’t drive in to New York City, which would have put less pressure on his leg. He insisted on taking the one-hour commuter train, pushing his way onto packed subway cars, and walking up the steps out of the station. He’s taken the same route in the decade since, his leg often throbbing at the spot where it’s connected to the prosthesis. Still, when a woman asked him to help carry her stroller up the subway steps recently, he didn’t tell her he had a prosthetic leg. Instead, he nodded and said: “We’ll just have to go slowly.” He held onto the railing with one hand, the stroller in his other, and used his good leg to inch his way up the steps.

Sometimes he stands in the mirror and shudders at what he calls his “deformed leg.” But he’s quick to remember: It could have been worse. “Yes, you lost a leg,” he’ll tell himself. “But you have a whole other leg. You have two arms. You can walk.”

Today, he and his wife have a daughter, Indira, 10, and a son, Chad, 5. As his kids have grown, he’s realized the attack can still rattle him. He and his family were swimming in the pool one day when his son accidentally kicked his foot—and a shot of panic rushed through him. He nearly didn’t let his daughter go on a class trip to a local beach. “I was scared they wouldn’t watch her closely enough,” he says.

When a Manhattan police officer was hit by a car and lost his leg, Thompson felt compelled to visit the man in the hospital. He strutted into the room in a suit, walked over to the windows, and put his leg up on the windowsill. “I heard about your accident,” Thompson told the officer, whom he’d never met. Then Thompson lifted his pants leg and showed the young officer his prosthetic leg. The officer’s face lit up, and Thompson said to him: “You’re going to be fine.”

________________________________________________________________

In honor of all those who triumph over adversity with
courage, perseverance, determination and sheer will.
Your souls shine and your spirits inspire us with hope.
~ Theresa

Monday Meeting — Pizza for Hazlenut

Huffington Post
July 15, 2013
Photos Courtesy of Lauren Hammersley & Children’s Hospital Los Angeles

Hazel Hammersley, 2 yo

Hazel Hammersley, 2 yo

On April 21, 2013, Hazel was diagnosed with a high-risk, stage 3 neuroblastoma tumor in her abdomen. Hazel, affectionately known as “Hazelnut,” will require a year-and-a-half hospital treatment.

Hazel II

Hazel and her mom, Lauren, stay at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles during her treatments. “We are taken care of here, but you know, after a while, you get a little stir-crazy,” Lauren told HuffPost. To pass the time, they take walks, color, play with Play-Doh, dress up…

Hazel III

On the Fourth of July, Hazel was admitted to the hospital with a fever. Lauren’s mom, Hazel’s grandma, was visiting and told the toddler about a funny sign someone put in the window of her hospital room when she was a girl. Hazel wanted a sign too. And so, Mom and Grandma made her one.

Hazel V

The sign was up on the window for several days, Lauren says. Then, on Saturday, everything changed…

A man drove by the hospital, and this is what he saw. He posted a photo on Reddit with the caption: “Photo taken outside Children’s Hospital in Los Angeles. Smart kid.”

Hazel VI

“Send Pizza – Room 4112”

One Reddit user took up the cause, saying “No need to fear! Pizza Delivery will soon be here!”

More Reddit users sent pizzas — over 20 pies arrived.

Hazel VII

Due to the number of deliveries, the hospital had to request that people stop sending pizza.

Hazel VIII

But Lauren and the entire Hammersley family hope that Hazel’s story helps spread awareness of childhood cancer. “We can use this opportunity to let people know that not enough research goes into how to treat our kids,” she says.

Hazel has responded well to treatment, so far. “She is going to get through this journey. She is going to be strong and healthy at the end of it,” Lauren says. “We don’t take time for granted. We have four kids, 6 and under. [With little kids who] require attention, you forget to savor the little things. We’ve learned to take every moment and savor it and not wait to say things.”

Hammersley Family

Hammersley Family

You can visit the Hammersley family’s blog at http://www.ourlittlehazelnut.blogspot.com/

___________________________________________________________________

Dear Hazlenut:
You are a beautiful little girl, and I hope you enjoyed your pizza party.
You might only be 2 years old, but your smile brought a lot of
strangers together. You gave them smiles back.
Be well, little child, be well.
May your long life be filled with
rainbows and good health, pizza and smiles.
And love…always love.
~ Theresa

__________________________________________________________________

This I Promise You…

This I Promise You…

For those who are alone, I will sit with you.
For those who have no voice, I will speak for you.
For those who feel invisible, I will see you.
For those who are afraid, I will protect you.
For those who know hunger, I will feed you.
For those who need help, I will offer aid.
For those who suffer emotionally, I will help ease it.

For those who go unheard, I will listen.
For those who mourn, I will comfort you.
For those who know sickness, I will nurture you.
For those who know hate, I will love you.
For those who are dying, I will help you to live.
For those who crave human touch, I will reach out to you.
For those who are blind, I will see for you.
For those in pain, I will bring relief.
For those who cannot walk, I will journey for you.
For those who are lost, I will find you.
For those in despair, I will hold hope for you.
For those who weep, I will dry your tears.
For those with no place called home, I will shelter you.
For those who are wounded, I will bring healing.
For those who wait in darkness, I will be your Light.

This I Promise You…  ~ Theresa

Angel wings V

_______________________________

Thursday Re-View — “Thoughts for My Son”

Call Mom.
Pick your battles.
Be kind.
Thoughts matter.
Breathe.
Count to five before you speak.
Look beyond what you see.
Don’t judge.
Rescue an animal.
Keep your word.
Give back.
Be present.
Apologize.
Give thanks.
Choose your words with care.
Dance to your own music.
Character matters.
Listen with your heart.
Honor your family.
Respect your elders.
Share.
Play fair.
Be honest.
Remember where you came from.
Root for the underdog.
Volunteer.
Be charitable.
Keep the faith.
Look people in the eye.
Mean what you say.
Follow through.
Be a good example.
Listen.
Color outside the lines.
Smile.
Purple glitter makes everything better.
Feed the birds.
Remember that squirrels like birdseed, too.
Be compassionate.
Enjoy thunderstorms.
Talk to animals.
Pray.
Be true to yourself.
Visit other countries.
Try your best.
Put in an honest day’s work.
Forgive.
Hold fast to your beliefs.
Patience really is a virtue.
Nothing is random.
Follow your moral compass.
Never give up.
Ask for advice.
Reach out to others.
We’re all in this together.
Admit when you’re wrong.
Offer a firm handshake.
Laugh with gusto.
All things in moderation.
Good will always triumph over evil.
Life isn’t fair, but that’s okay.
Give good hugs.
Don’t lose hope.
Be passionate.
Seek the truth.
Look within.
There is meaning in suffering.
Listen to the birds each morning.
Don’t forget the sunsets.
Go sailing.
Smile.
Surround yourself with color.
Hunt the Northern Lights.
Water your flowers.
Plant a tree.
It will be okay.
Every ending is another beginning.
Write real thank you notes.
Cuddle.
It’s okay to say no.
Sing to babies.
Remember those who have gone before you.
Take your hat off inside.
Offer your help.
Say thank you.
Don’t take it personally.
There are many levels of love.
Don’t hold grudges.
Be a gentleman and a gentle man.
Avoid toxic people.
Tip well.
Look to the stars.
Lose yourself in the clouds.
Stop for all rainbows.
Take the road less travelled.
Be well.
Remember that Mom loves you.

You are my greatest blessing.

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The Labyrinth of My Heart

labyrinth 5

Solvitur ambulando . . . It is solved by walking . . .
~ St. Augustine ~

LABYRINTH OF MY HEART

A pilgrim, I stand at the entrance of this Sacred Path,
this Path of Prayer,
this Journey to the Center of Being.
I know not what to expect, but am assured that
walking forward will bring me closer to You.

I cannot see my way to the center;
the path twists and turns with no seeming direction.
One foot in front of the other,
one step at a time,
patient trust that You will show me the Way.

Walking the path without a map,
feeling myself empty in the quiet,
letting go of the control that I seem to need
so very much outside this circle,
releasing the chains as I move on.

Walking the curved path dulls my outside awareness,
while inside glistens with claritas and focus.
My heartbeat slows to a soothing rhythm,
lulling me to a place of peace
as I drink in this well for my spirit.

I hesitate, then stop, dropping to my knees,
resistant to the Way that lies before me.
You and Your Blessed Mother, one on each side of me,
lean down and whisper,
“Come with us, little one. Come.”

I shake my head no as my chin sinks to my chest,
exhausted, fearful,
a cloud of unknowing fogging my heart and my head.
“Don’t ask me to do this,” I beg, frozen, huddled
and twisted about my Being.

For I know if I move forward
I will be forever changed.
I will hand over myself
to journey to a place unknown.
I am comfortable where I remain.

Yet I stand up, shaking, knowing that
I will take this further journey.
The next step is commitment, a marriage,
a promise, a vow.
I will go but You must lead me.

What I lose, I may gain ten-fold;
what paralyzes me may set me free.
If I move on, I let go.
Total, fearless surrender.
Truth. Discovery. Light.

In the center – a communion of all
the tears, loss and desolation into
a treasury of sorts of all that is good;
into a community of love that surpasses
all understanding.

Sitting in the quiet, the whisper of spirit
on my face as I gain strength
for what is Being asked of me.
Be still and know that I am. Be still and know.
Be still. Be.

Centered, in the womb
of this mystical union between heaven and earth,
I receive the blessings of awareness and wholeness
as I return to the collective memory of my soul.
As above, so below.

I struggle to rise, then I am lifted unaware.
Empowered as the path unwinds
beneath my sure-footed steps,
its rhythms beckoning me, calling me
on my journey back to a life renewed.

My leaving becomes an arriving as I dance
in the shimmering light that is Grace.
Bringer of Light. Seeker of Truth.
Bearer of this Sacred Heart.
You are their Light.  Shine.

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Thursday Re-View — “Walk On”

In my work with loss and bereavement, music is a powerful tool.  It not only comforts the dying, but the living as well.

“Graceful Passages: A Companion for Living and Dying,” produced by Michael Stillwater and Gary Malkin, blends messages and music about life, death, forgiveness and acceptance, narrated by spiritual thinkers from a variety of faith traditions.

One of my favorites, which I use for myself from time to time to affirm my life journey, follows. Here, Jeanine Prevatt holds sacred her Cherokee lineage and her deep connection to the Earth. You can also find the accompanying music on iTunes if the words speak to your heart, as they do to mine.

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mocassans II

Walk On
~ Jyoti ~

Good morning, Grandfather.
I entered this life a ways back
and put skin on to walk two-legged on this Creation –
and what a glorious time it was.

It taught me about breath
and about sensing and feeling and caring through my heart.
And I walked on around that Red Road,
looking and trying to understand more
about the mystery and the secrets She holds.

And You spoke to me through the wind,
and You sang to me through the birds.
And You brought challenges forth so that
I might listen to the message You bring me more sincerely.
And I kept walking down this road.

And I came ’round the bend
at the middle of that curve in the road
and I began to find a secret in the Spirit of my Self…

And still I walked on, sometimes blind and deaf,
and sometimes with pain.
But I fought with my fears and I embraced my unknowingness –
and still I walked on.
And my children and my family stood with me
and we came to know each other in those later years more than we
had before – for some of our falseness had fallen away –
and still I walked on.

And I kept walking on this road towards You,
towards that other world that grew closer to me with each step.
And as the door of the Great Spirit world came closer
my fear loomed up inside sometimes…

But something called me forth –
the Morning Star rose with each day –
and my prayer became a centering – and still I walked on,
until I began to hear the Song of the Mother,
and Her arms embraced me so,
that instead of walking She carried me right to the door.
And as the door opened, I heard Her Song,
and Her Song lifted me up, so I could soar.

herondance.org

herondance.org

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Endings and Beginnings

Another ending.

I received a “Final Receipt and Release” Form from the attorney handling my father’s estate.

Probate. Sale and closure of the house. Dissolution of the Estate.

Finished. Essentially, no more Dad.  Or Mom, for that matter.

Instead of relief, there is sadness, an emptiness, a longing.

Another “on this date in history” event at the same time – one year ago yesterday, I had the TIA (Transient Ischemic Attack) that changed my career’s course. Following a mini-stroke, 5% of the people have a full stroke event within 2 days, 10% within 7 days, 15% within 90 days, and up to 21% within the first year (Cleveland Clinic).

I’ve been lucky – no residual damage, no further stroke event. Or should I say blessed?

Another part of the package – today, I turn 60 years old. It’s official – I have now lived longer than Mom, who died at 59 (Remembrance). And I have an even better understanding of just how young Mom was when she died, and how much more living she had to do. How much more advice she could have given. How much more influence she could have had on those around her, and on the the world. How much more wisdom she could have imparted to her 2 daughters, her 3 grandsons, and her (now) 5 great-grandchildren.

So Mom and Dad are gone, with the “Final Receipt and Release” of their Estate. I sign the form, affix the stamp, seal the envelope, and return it to the attorney to be officially recorded. How impersonal is that? (Who Will Remember?)

Now what?

Is this an ending or a beginning?

Is the light beckoning at the end of the dark tunnel a Near Death Experience or a birth?

Do these tears signify a departure or an arrival?

All I really know is that, along with gratitude for their lives, it hurts to have them gone.

I love you, Mom and Dad. I love you.

And like I said – this getting older and losing you both hurts.

But I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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cala liliesl

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Love – Gratitude

The agony is so great…
and yet I will stand it.

Had I not loved so very much
I would not hurt so much.

But goodness knows I would not
want to diminish that precious love
by one fraction of an ounce.

I will hurt,
and I will be grateful to the hurt
for it bares witness to
the depth of our meanings,
and for that I will be
eternally grateful.

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by Shirley Holzer Jeffrey
Death: The Final Stage of Growth
Elisabeth Kubler-Ross (1975)

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Related Posts:
This is How I Will Remember Dad
Echoes of Darkness Sheathed in Light
Of Ladybugs, Dragonflies…and Love

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