Saturday, December 31, 2016

Links to A Few Enjoyables -

Empowering



Worth the effort, if you have Facebook. I couldn't find it on Youtube:

https://www.facebook.com/ForestHillWaxhaw/?hc_ref=NEWSFEED&fref=nf


Tender



Just Plain Funny




Friday, December 30, 2016

Catnip, Fatboys, and Orgasms -

Oh my goodness, I'm still laughing, and I'm trying to figure out how to write about this experience without laughing at my patients. Here's my attempt -

Patient with no energy is living a "cat's life" right now.
Asking for clarification - eat, play, sleep, wake-up, eat, play, sleep, repeat.
"Is your morning Ritalin helping with your energy?"
"Well . . ."
"Isn't that what catnip is for cats, Ritalin?"
"Actually I've never understood what catnip does."
"Oh, well, we know. Catnip for a cat is like a fantastic orgasm for humans."
"So when cats are in ecstasy from catnip, they're really having an orgasm?"
"Yes, that's what cat lovers say."
Biting lip to try and quit laughing. "Oh."
"So, how are you feeling?"
Conversation continues on a somewhat normal tone.
"But does Ritalin give you an orgasm?"
"NO."
"I'm buying catnip on my home from work tonight."
"I didn't know you had a cat."
"I don't. I'm going to give it a try!"
Burst out laughing, then attempt to get serious.
"Two last things. I love . . .  and Fatboys."
Thinking large men here, following the orgasm strain. "Oh?"
"I take one bite and my mouth is just filled with goodness, ecstasy, fireworks, tingling. I feel warm and fuzzy and delighted and good all over. All I need is one bite."
Conversation is now out of control and two people are cracking up laughing while two others are serious.
"So kind of like catnip?"
"Yup."
"Well do whatever makes you happy."
End of conversation - for the most part.




Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Signatures - Great Quotes to End an Email -

Do you have a quote at the bottom of the emails you send out? I'm a fan of inspirational, motivation, funny, seasonal, etc. quotes. My father was a quote man - he loved sayings, metaphors, tongue ticklers, and he had files and files of them, paper and electronic. I think I owe my affinity for them directly to him - they're all over my house, my office, my computer. I have paper and electronic files. I love these words - they are art to my voice and to my eyes and to my imagination.

One year for Christmas my father gave each of his seven children three discs - one with inspirational quotes, one with secular quotes, and one with talks that inspired him. I have them, I did download them, but I'm saving those discs, even though their obsolete, because they're a physical reminder of my father's love for good words.

So when I send out a message I end it with a quote. The font styles change to fit my interpretation of the message, and I change them based on my mood, the season, or my temperature gauge of the climate. This year they've been:

Amazing: “Don't be afraid to be amazing.” —Andy Offutt Irwin (1957-); storyteller

Cave: The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek.
-Joseph Campbell

Christmas: “Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love.” 
- Hamilton Wright Mabie, American essayist, critic

Complexity: Complexity is your enemy. Any fool can make something complicated. It is hard to make something simple. Richard Branson

Doors: “The doors we open and close each day decide the lives we live.” Flora Whittemore -

Friendship: The happiest business in all the world is that of making friends,
And no investment on the street pays larger dividends,
For life is more than stocks and bonds, and love than rate percent,
And he who gives in friendship's name shall reap what he has.
Anonymous

Happy:  “Now and then it's good to pause in our pursuit of happiness and just be happy.” Guillaume Apollinaire (1880-1918); poet, playwright, art critic

Kindness: Guard well within yourself that treasure, kindness.
Know how to give without hesitation,
how to lose without regret,
how to acquire without meanness. ~George Sand

Kuan Yin: I tell you, recognition and awareness will come in time. Kuan Yin

Lifetime: The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are. - Joseph Campbell

Manning: "We give glory to God by simply being ourselves." Brennan Manning

Peace: Peace is always beautiful.  (Walt Whitman)

Time Wasted: “The time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.” Bertrand Russell (1872-1970); Philosopher, Mathematician

To:  “Vision is not enough, it must be combined with venture. It is not enough to stare up the steps, we must step up the stairs.” —Václav Havel (1936-); playwright, essayist

Share Happiness: “I don't want to live in the kind of world where we don't look out for each other. Not just the people that are close to us, but anybody who needs a helping hand. I can't change the way anybody else thinks, or what they choose to do, but I can do my bit.” -Charles de Lint (born 1951); Writer

Sweep: “Let everyone sweep in front of his own door, and the whole world will be clean.” Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832) 

There are two ways: There are two ways to get enough: one is to accumulate more and more. The other is to desire less.    G. K. Chesterton

Tunnel: “The light at the end of the tunnel is not an illusion. The tunnel is.” ~Unknown

Way Out: Sometimes the only way out is through -


Sunday, December 25, 2016

Christmas Day Reprise -

"Blessed is the season which engages the whole world 
in a conspiracy of love."

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Christmas Eve Candlelight Service -

Going on 6 years at the hospital where I serve, is our Christmas Eve Candlelight Service. Last year, and tonight, I'm in charge, with the assistance of 2 lovely families and mine - who see tonight as an opportunity to serve those who can't leave the hospital to be with family - employees and patients and their guests. There are 2 services this evening, to accommodate schedules.

Typically I write a Christmas Eve sermon and prayer. Today I was blessed with a visit from a friend, whose Christmas gift to me was a loan of her book, Ceremonials of Common Days, by Abbie Graham, published in 1923.

Thankfully - tonight's sermon will come from this book and by poetry by Robert Louis Stevenson and Mabel Jones Gabbott.

For your enjoyment:


Christmas Prayer
by Robert Louis Stevenson

"Loving Father, Help us remember the birth of Jesus, that we may share in the song of angels, the gladness of the shepherds, and the worship of the wise men.
Close the door of hate and open the door of love all over the world.
Let kindness come with every gift and good desires with every greeting.

Deliver us from evil by the blessing which Christ brings, and teach us to be merry with clean hearts.

May the Christmas morning make us happy to be Thy children, and the Christmas evening bring us to our beds with grateful thoughts, forgiving and forgiven, for Jesus' sake, Amen!"

When Love Came Down
Mabel Jones Gabbott

1. The night was still, and then a song awakened shepherds ’round their fire,
And hastened them to Bethlehem! Hosannas from a heav’n-ly choir!
[Chorus:]
This was the night when Love came down, as promised in God’s holy word.
The angels heralded in song the blessed birth of Christ, our Lord.
2. This was the night the King was born, as stars foretold in distant space;
And three who watched the skies were led to Bethlehem, that holy place.
[Chorus:]
This was the night when Love came down, as promised in God’s holy word.
The angels heralded in song the blessed birth of Christ, our Lord.

3. This was the night, that holy night, when Love came down to bless the earth,
And men and angels worshipped Him this night, the night of Jesus’ birth.

[Chorus:]
This was the night when Love came down, as promised in God’s holy word.
The angels heralded in song the blessed birth of Christ, our Lord.



On Christmas Eve love is clothed with visible vestments, with gifts and written words, with wreaths and flowers and candles. The love that through the years is silenced by busy-ness is expressed in terms of tangible beauty. Christmas Eve is for the gifts that are given to explain something the heart cannot say.

As we watch the Christmas candles burn, we see in them a symbol of the Great Love which dipped a lustrous spirit into human form that the world in its darkness might be illumined and made beautiful.

And if tonight, Father of Light, there are people standing out there in darkness, may we be to them the shining symbol of your light, a winged flame that shall rekindle in their hearts the light of joy and hope and love.

We pray for those who are walking through the intricate patterns of life. Wilt thou watch over our safety throughout the night.

We would not forget that there may be tired, hungry, hurting, lonely, hard-working ones amongst us tonight. Some face great sorrow; others face joy. Use our hearts to illuminate the birth of thy Son, and to reveal the reality of His presence. May we understand each other’s suffering, and each other’s joy.

Wilt Thou, in thy love remember the loneliness of our own hearts. How didst Thou trust us to give us the loveliness of human presences? Our hearts are gladdened by thy trust.
And before we usher in the calm of the darkness, we thank Thee for the stars, for the light that calms our fears, accompanies us when we are alone, guides us to Thee.

Lead us into light – where we can be joyously aware of life, of beauty, and of the spiritual presence of those whom we love.


Amen



Merry Christmas to You -


"Blessed is the season which engages the whole world 
in a conspiracy of love."

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

A Safe Place to Vent - Confidantes -

Everyone needs a safe place (friend, therapist, confidante) where they can go to just let things out. Whether that's news of glad tidings, pain, anger, frustration, fear.

I don't know what I would have done for the past 30+ years without good friends and exercise - both ways to let frustrations out and walk away a little more calm.

Friends such as Renae - a little older than me, kids older, a little more life experience, but someone who helped me develop my talents by teaching me about my weaknesses and strengths. When I was a young mother we both bought long phone cords, so we could clean our houses and visit, at the same time! We can go months without talking and pick right back up.

Friends such as Debby - someone who didn't look at our differences as faults, but as blessings, who taught me as I taught her. And she never judged - she listened, showed by example, and then allowed me to create myself, incorporating some of her teachings. She provided me a resting place at a turning point in my life - emotionally and physically. We haven't seen each other in many years, but I count her as one of my best.

Eve - taught me that playing with my children, on their level, was the best thing I could give my kids.

Beulah - much older, much wiser, blunt, honest, and by voicing her regrets she taught me how to live without regrets. And how to be true to myself.

Shirlene - heard more than her share of my anger, frustration, marital woes, as we walked and walked and walked and talked. She did not turn her back on me, even when I screwed up big time, but wrapped her arms around me and trusted me.

Karin - taught me language. She says she just opened the door and gave me permission. But I believe she gave me words for my feelings, then validated these feelings. And we've been through so much in our years together, and I love her, admire her, and owe so much of me to her generosity, and frankness.

Cody - kicks my butt every morning, listens to my yapping, and teaches me; even though she's younger than me, she's much wiser in so many ways; I cherish our friendship. We dive right in to push ups and intense conversation. She saw me through cancer - and she saw me!

Holly - respects my bluntness, and we share similar life choices. Without judging. She is generous.

Irma - we don't need any introduction, ever.

Sisters - everyone should have a sister, or two or three or six, like I do, who will listen, call me out, laugh, cry, and they know what "Can we have a sister craft day" really means. They understand family dynamics and can quickly understand where I'm headed.

These are some of my tights - although my friendships are typically that - I go deep, not shallow, I keep friends who are comfortable with this.

Just a few - and I'm finding every day that not only do I have safe places to share, but that I am also a safe place - there is reciprocity in all of these relationships. These women - it's not all me whining or them whining that's the key to the safe place. It's that we are safe with our thoughts, which may or may not result in actions, but the point is - no judging, no edging toward solution, but creating a space where tinkering with identity, dignity, beliefs, choices, definition are just fine - and the conversation will go no further. We don't talk about people (well, spouses and kids sometimes), but rather life - and all the crisis and conflict that come with living life on life's terms, and on our terms.

In a seminal article written in the early 1990s (abstract here) research showed that women "tend and befriend," while men "fight or flight." One is not better than the other. But we do have differences.

I've spent some of my time tending to my friend's needs - caring for their words and thoughts, just as I would a friend who was sick, a child who was hurt, even a grandchild whose parents were on a date. Women tend for each other in a similar fashion - we take each other, figuratively or literally, in our arms and hold on tight, providing that safe space, when safety is all that is needed. We won't let go of these confidences, we don't compare our dirty laundry to each other's clean, won't let them run into the street, or eat too much candy, or stay up late playing video games. We nurture, love, cater to, mull over, and then let them go back to their owners when the time is right. We have each other's backs, and there is never a fear of betrayal. We are true and honest and brave.

I am grateful for my girl friends - those who share with me and who allow me to share with them. We all need that safe place - male or female.




Monday, December 19, 2016

Stopping Hate - Begins with Me -

I spent 2 1/2 hours today with 2 members of my Palliative Care team and 2 family members who were fighting over the care of their mother. In front of her. As she lays dying, she is watching her children fight over who loves her most, who she loves the most, and pushingly persuading her to do "their will," in the name of love.

We made the family leave the patient's room, and we moved to another room to attempt to reach some sort of resolution. And their yelling was so loud a nurse at the nurses' station came in and asked that they keep their voices down!

As I was watching this happen, I kept thinking - I'm so grateful I don't have to resolve this, and - so this is how hatred and animosity and violence begins. I'm right - she's wrong, end of story. And with what is happening around this world - ohhhhhh, I ache.

I am reminded of the below video and TED talk.

The Only Way to Stop Hate is to Show People There is Something to Love - What's wrong when we won't recognize this?





http://www.npr.org/programs/ted-radio-hour/

Thursday, December 15, 2016

End of Semester - Dismay -

Oh my gosh, I'm fried, and I still have 66 papers to grade and grades to put in my grade book and grades to submit to UVU and to the English Department. And goodness it's been one hell of a semester. I've had great students, lousy students, mediocre students, and some really wonderful human beings in my classes. And I'm beyond grateful that I'm able to teach, beyond grateful that for the most part my students enjoy me, and I enjoy them, and beyond grateful that I have three weeks off.

I hope I've been able to teach them not only how to write, but how to think, how to live, how to seize the moment, and how to appreciate their strengths and acknowledge their weaknesses. I hope I've been able to learn this as well.

My thought for this full full weekend is this:



Monday, December 12, 2016

Times Like These - Clarissa Pinkola Estes

I own a first edition of Women Who Run With the Wolves, published in 1996. I consider it one of the tops in my Feminism library. It was a literary bible for me, giving me words to thoughts, and permission to speak them. 

I've been feeling anxious this past month, and I haven't known what to do with my anxiety except ride it out and be kind. My life motto is: be fair, be true, do no harm. And that's how I've faced November, particularly, and as January fast approaches, this is how I'm choosing to face the unknown. Be kind to those in my own little world, and pray that any energy I have of value to those outside of my world will reach them. 

I have had this quote from LDS President Gordon B. Hinckley on my refrigerator for the past four years - it brings me comfort: 

It isn’t as bad as you sometimes think it is.
It all works out. Don’t worry.
I say that to myself every morning.
It will all work out.
Put your trust in God,
and move forward with faith
and confidence in the future.
The Lord will not forsake us.
He will not forsake us.
If we will put our trust in Him,
if we will pray to Him,
if we will live worthy of His blessings,
He will hear our prayers.

I'm not a Pollyanna, my head isn't in the sand, but when I go to the dark side, my anxiety gets heavier, my pain greater, my despair stronger. And I won't go there. There is beauty and strength and goodness in this world, and I choose to look for it. 

This article from Estes is brilliant. I thank her for this affirmation. 

Clarissa Pinkola Estes
My friends, do not lose heart. We were made for these times. I have heard from so many recently who are deeply and properly bewildered. They are concerned about the state of affairs in our world now. Ours is a time of almost daily astonishment and often righteous rage over the latest degradations of what matters most to civilized, visionary people.

You are right in your assessments. The lustre and hubris some have aspired to while endorsing acts so heinous against children, elders, everyday people, the poor, the unguarded, the helpless, is breathtaking. Yet, I urge you, ask you, gentle you, to please not spend your spirit dry by bewailing these difficult times. Especially do not lose hope. Most particularly because, the fact is that we were made for these times. Yes. For years, we have been learning, practicing, been in training for and just waiting to meet on this exact plain of engagement.

I grew up on the Great Lakes and recognize a seaworthy vessel when I see one. Regarding awakened souls, there have never been more able vessels in the waters than there are right now across the world. And they are fully provisioned and able to signal one another as never before in the history of humankind.

Look out over the prow; there are millions of boats of righteous souls on the waters with you. Even though your veneers may shiver from every wave in this stormy roil, I assure you that the long timbers composing your prow and rudder come from a greater forest. That long-grained lumber is known to withstand storms, to hold together, to hold its own, and to advance, regardless.

In any dark time, there is a tendency to veer toward fainting over how much is wrong or unmended in the world. Do not focus on that. There is a tendency, too, to fall into being weakened by dwelling on what is outside your reach, by what cannot yet be. Do not focus there. That is spending the wind without raising the sails.

We are needed, that is all we can know. And though we meet resistance, we more so will meet great souls who will hail us, love us and guide us, and we will know them when they appear. Didn't you say you were a believer? Didn't you say you pledged to listen to a voice greater? Didn't you ask for grace? Don't you remember that to be in grace means to submit to the voice greater?

Ours is not the task of fixing the entire world all at once, but of stretching out to mend the part of the world that is within our reach. Any small, calm thing that one soul can do to help another soul, to assist some portion of this poor suffering world, will help immensely. It is not given to us to know which acts or by whom, will cause the critical mass to tip toward an enduring good.

What is needed for dramatic change is an accumulation of acts, adding, adding to, adding more, continuing. We know that it does not take everyone on Earth to bring justice and peace, but only a small, determined group who will not give up during the first, second, or hundredth gale.

One of the most calming and powerful actions you can do to intervene in a stormy world is to stand up and show your soul. Soul on deck shines like gold in dark times. The light of the soul throws sparks, can send up flares, builds signal fires, causes proper matters to catch fire. To display the lantern of soul in shadowy times like these - to be fierce and to show mercy toward others; both are acts of immense bravery and greatest necessity.

Struggling souls catch light from other souls who are fully lit and willing to show it. If you would help to calm the tumult, this is one of the strongest things you can do.
There will always be times when you feel discouraged. I too have felt despair many times in my life, but I do not keep a chair for it. I will not entertain it. It is not allowed to eat from my plate.

The reason is this: In my uttermost bones I know something, as do you. It is that there can be no despair when you remember why you came to Earth, who you serve, and who sent you here. The good words we say and the good deeds we do are not ours. They are the words and deeds of the One who brought us here. In that spirit, I hope you will write this on your wall: When a great ship is in harbor and moored, it is safe, there can be no doubt. But that is not what great ships are built for.

By Clarissa Pinkola Estes

American poet, post-trauma specialist and Jungian psychoanalyst, author of Women Who Run With the Wolves.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Prodigal Son - But for the Grace of God -

For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in,

This scripture and the Bible story of the Prodigal Son is a favorite of mine. I have written in depth about it before. This story has been on my mind today. One too many deaths, one too many with death sentences, and a few students who are without right now.

I married the Prodigal Son, and his daily service to the homeless and alcoholic, to earn back his inheritance, constantly touch my heart and show me his heart. He is my reminder that whomever I serve should be out of love, not glory, and that I am serving the "least" regardless of their class, education, finances, skin-color. For are we not all beggars - I know I have been a beggar, and "there but for the grace of God go I." And some days I wonder why them, and why not me.

Tonight, as Scott drove me home from campus, I shared with him two quick stories of service today - two times I was prompted to go-beyond, and two times - the reward for today's service has been far greater than what I gave (the devil is in the details, but I cannot share more than this for HIPAA's sake).

A friend shared this video this evening - touching Scott and I as we gratefully and graciously count our blessings.


Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Ted and Soap - Operas, That Is -

Kate Adams gave the best Ted talk in September. She titled it, "4 Larger than Life Lessons from Soap Operas." At 12 minutes long, it's worth every moment. 

Enjoy - 


Thursday, December 1, 2016

Be the Change - Light of the World -

One of my life mottoes is: Be the Change You Wish to See in the World. I work at this every single day. It's at the forefront of my thoughts, and hopefully, my actions.

This is innately me, and I believe would be so whether I'm Christian, Buddhist, Muslim, Mormon, Catholic, Baptist, Quaker. I find goodness and truth where I can, and I am a searcher of this - probably why I'm drawn to spirituality and culture.

So today, from Mormon.org, comes this video:


And this initiative - 25 days of service in 25 ways, with a downloadable Advent Calendar. Regardless of who you are and what your beliefs regarding Christ are, my bottom line is this - couldn't we all use a little kindness? Couldn't we give a little? 

Happy Advent -