Friday, July 31, 2009

Hot Biscuits from California.....

Inspired by one of my blogging pals, Dar over at Ramblingsaboutwhy .... I photographed the Hibiscus plant at my Dad's place (formerly my Grandmother's place) and just wanted to share.....I love that she calls the Hibiscus "Hot Biscuits", here is ours:
I hope you enjoy....

The weather here has become mild, especially for this time of year, it was a mere 91 degrees today...the garden is beginning to think it's fall....

Roomie and I are having guests for dinner tomorrow, I will share pics of our I will be preparing a TART....

And, then, I have chores to complete over the rest of the weekend...I will work on a 'real' post for Monday....

Have a wonderful weekend....peace to you

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Love, in the snail mail.....

I LOVE to get snail mail....not the junk stuff, real mail, hand addressed persoanally to ME...not some typewritten, bill, advertisement, invitation to a timeshare, you know, non-personal stuff, but, real mail. And, over the weekend I did get a wonderful little package from Christina over at Soul Aperture. I won a little contest she was having....I never win stuff...this was a double blessing!

Inside the envelope I found a beautiful card which had a gorgeous little sterling silver token with the word FAITH engraved on it, tucked inside....and a snappy little photo album with which to stash some of my favorite pics!

Christina, how did you know I collect photo albums? Your package was a wonderful surprise and brightened my weekend, THANK YOU.

Monday, July 27, 2009

The days when I was a Tart.....

Several years ago I decided that I wanted to master cheesecake, I wanted to be able to make the SaraLee Cheesecake that my grandmother always bought at the grocery store. It was a favorite of mine...and after some serious research I did find that exact recipe in a Gourmet magazine, which I still have and bust out anytime I want to make a cheesecake. I use that cheesecake recipe for a framework and I've experimented with it for years, augmenting it with all sorts of things, chocolate, berries, cookies, nuts, pumpkin, caramel....I even froze one, one time and then covered it with magic shell chocolate sauce (that one was my favorite)!

Why am I telling you about mastering the cheesecake? I have now decided to master the TART! My Sister gifted me with a sweet little book this weekend, all about Tarts....for me, a gauntlet, tonight, I used a combination of three recipes to bake this wonderful savory Tart:

ingredients: potato, red onion, pancetta, rosemary and fontina cheese, a little olive oil, salt and pepper and some corriander, (my favorite spice). I paired my savory tart with a caprese salad with the first red tomatoes out of my garden and my own garden basil! Yummmmmmm.....

And, for dessert:

Blueberry lemon tart!

I am sooooo going to Master the Tart!

(this is my way of making art and showing love) peace

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Little Altars everywhere......

Seek and ye shall find....right? At least that's what I remember from Catechism and I took Catechism classes as an adult, not as a kid, so, my memory of it should be pretty close to the surface. Yes, that's what I remember them saying, "Seek and ye shall find". Boy, have I been seeking, in all kinds of places. I have to confess since I read "Eat, Pray, Love" my search has been a little skewed, in fact, my expectations have been very high as the story of Liz shadowed over my own spiritual quest. I adored the book and the story, I want to move to Italy, learn to speak Italian, study meditation in an Ashram in India and find love in Indonesia, seriously. And, adding fuel to my envy of her spiritual quest, Elizabeth Gilbert is coming to speak at a venue close to home and I am desparate to go see her and hear her speak. (It is a very great possibility that I will be going to that event).

Back to my seeking situation......I have been reading voraciously, all kinds of books on religions, seeking Divine inspiration through prayer and my misguided attempts at meditation and Friday I participated in Kirtan with a group of Hare Krishna's near where I live. After chanting and music (which I thoroughly enjoyed) we cracked open the Bhagavad Gita and read from the scripture....and a man presenting himself as "Brahman _____" attempted to 'teach' the group what the scripture we read meant. This is where my journey into Hinuism comes to an end.....personally, when a person presents themselves as all knowing and then cannot simply articulate the meaning of what he is imparting, I am out the door. I was very excited about attending this form of worship and learning what Krishna had to say and having someone intelligently discuss these lessons, but, I was seriously disappointed and my disappointment has clouded my entire weekend. I was to attend the Sunday afternoon worship and feast with the kind Hare Krishnas, however, I know that I would not have been able to disguise my disappointment from them had they asked what I thought about Kirtan on Friday night over our FEAST....I chickened out and stayed home brooding over my 'find'.

Now, all of my life my family has done their very best to persuade me that either Catholicism or Evangelical faiths are the only true churches and I have made very concerted efforts to respect their judgement, however, I never felt fulfilled by these religions....they didn't like it when I would ask questions. "how does Jesus come back to life?" "how does the wine turn into blood?" "why do I have to ask Jesus to become my personal savior if he loves me unconditionally? won't he save me whether I ask or not?" And, "what do I have to be saved from? I'm a nice person, I do good things for other people and I haven't killed anyone and I carry all kinds of guilt around with me on a daily basis, in fact, I have 8 steamer trunks I carry around with me everywhere I go, can't you see my size 16 caboos?" This is why I keep searching, hoping one day the answers will come.....that is why I would like to learn meditation, to become enlightened, because I've HEARD that when you can escape this plane you find the answers....

After my experience on Friday night....let me add here what actually transpired, my friend Judy, the nurse, the extremely intelligent nurse, got her head caught on some of the scripture we were reading, it went like this, the scripture:

(from the Bhagavad Gita as it is purport)
"There are different processes of religion and purificatory processes by cultivation of knowledge, meditation in the mystic yoga system, etc, but one who surrenders unto Krshna does not have to execute so many methods. The simple surrender unto Krisna will save him from unnecessarily wasting time. One can thus make all progress at once and be freed from all sinful reactions."

These words caught me, too, if the law of the Divine is so simple, why are there so many 'book's (ie; religions)? Why so many words to say the simplest of things; surrender to me and you will find enlightenment, happiness, fulfillment? Why are there holy wars about this simplest of statements? Why do we have to read and interpret ancient texts, in a bazillion languages in order to grasp this one concept? And, this was the question posed to the man who represented himself as the teacher of the Bhagavad Gita.....he could not answer the question with any confidence, he danced around, paused, mumbled, stumbled and reiterated a few phrases he'd already read to us from the Gita, but, did not clearly and or succinctly answer the question....and that's when the answer hit me, came to me as a slow dawning, while I was squinting my eyes and arching my one eyebrow at this man who was supposed to be my teacher....I was hearing my own heart give me the answer: As humans we are incapable of understanding such a vast concept of what the Divine's love is like that it takes many words, debates, even wars for us to sort out that concept, to surrender to the simplicity. We seek out icons, statues, beads, names, architecture, prophets, altars, pen to papers to find something that we can hold, touch, feel, SEE, in order to understand. And, I got that answer on my own, without a teacher.

I know my disappointment is judgemental. I am a judgemental person, although I strive not to be, I judge myself, continually, so, therefore, I tend to judge others...a grave sin, I know, it is something I pray about all the time...but, back to the experience with Bhagavad Gita study. I probably will not go back to the Hare Krishna's, I believe I've found some of the answers I have been seeking and like the prodigal son, I will more than likely return to the Catholic church on an as need basis and the the Evangelical church on an as need basis, blending what I have consumed in my reading with my experiences and pray and continue to find that Spiritual Enlightenment through lame attempts at meditation at the little altars I have scattered throughout my home. I inadvertantly lead my devoutly Evangelical Aunt to believe I was considering Bible college when I asked her where I could study Theology, guess I better let her know that I probably won't be signing up for that. Although, I am still very piqued by the whole Monastic life Monks lead, very mysterious to me....those are some people I would like to ask some questions of......

The real question I wanted to ask at Kirtan on Friday will probably never get answered, "why is Krishna always depicted blue?"

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

So, she thinks she's a jeweler

Last year, during my year of grieving, I went to jeweler's school. There is a previous blog about how I ended up there....this blog is about some of my jewelery. Why? Because the niece and I finished up some new pieces today and I wanted to, well, blow my horn - (I'm trying to think of how to spell the sound of a horn blowing, nothings coming to me though.)

Hearts are a part of my life...for years I thought they were juvenile, you know, things with little hearts on them were just girly and for little kids, but, after my last heart surgery, I just embraced them. Now, they permeate everything, materially, physically and metaphorically and they also come out in my jewelery making, as evidenced by this little grouping. These hearts are a collaboration with my Nephew, based on a ink drawing he did for me whilst I was recovering from my last surgery.
This is the drawing he did for me....he framed it and it sits on my nightstand, reminding me of him and His heart. This small piece of art inspired me and my signature necklace that I wear all the time. After I had acquired the necessary skills and knowledge, I went to work putting together the 'repaired hearts' you see above. Two weeks ago, my niece asked me if she could have one of the necklaces, I told her yes, but, she would need to make her own. Today, we finished hers and now we both have Anthony's heart near to ours!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Adventures in the garden

I've noticed that my blogs have really taken a somber tone.....a more serious flavor and I miss the fun....wait, did I ever write any fun blogs? might have to check the archives. Anyway, thought I might write on the light side tonight! Check me out, eh? "write on the light side", see, I'm already killing myself, HA!
Let the adventures in the garden begin. I mentioned in yesterday's post that I picked about 100 lemon cucumbers, I swear that is not an exageration and then I did my best to share them all over the place. It was amazing the quantity that one plant put out. I love the garden, it gives me a sense of accomplishment and all I have to do is water it. I guess I can't really take credit for it, Mother Nature gets that right....wait, see, I think I already covered this in another blog....probably ought to stop IM'ing the nephew while I'm trying to write, eh? Sheesh...can't even multi task anymore, dang old timers.

Well, at least Texas has a story to tell, well, maybe....he likes to hunt for frogs in the zucchini plants, 'cept, we don't have no frogs in this garden:
He usually ends up with the end of his nose scraped up and dirt and dead weeds all over him, but, no frogs. He is actually very bad as catching any critters, in fact, he rarely even notices small critters even when they are right in front of him. I have to take the blame for that, he grew up in an apartment, poor kid. He's done a pretty good job of adapting to having a yard to hunt in, but, he's never really adapted his hunting skills.

And then, after a long day in the garden, the NAP:
He is significantly adept at the you can see. "The heartbeat at my feet".

He makes me laugh all the time, I cannot imagine the garden being nearly as fun without him, my little peice of TEXAS!

Monday, July 20, 2009

....and she finds the light.....

....or so she thinks......

After my prayer of gratitude this morning I went out into the world, distributing mass quantities of lemon cucumbers and used books to the used book store....AND, may have found a place to learn meditation and maybe some other cool spiritual stuff.  I literally typed into my web browser, "meditation roseville ca" and lo' and behold, I found a meditation center a mere 10 miles from my home! (this was pretty much how I found the Monastery, as well).  I did the necessary errands and then decided to head over to the meditation center. 

When I pulled in to the drive I got all goosepimply....and serene at the same could feel the peace all around.  I met with the director of the center and we toured the grounds and discussed my mission, to learn to find my path.  They have a beautiful place, what appears to be a massive house that has been turned into a meditation/yoga/retreat center, literally hidden in the middle of an older suburban neighborhood, right under my nose.....who would have thunk it?  I was figuring I'd have to go all the way to India to find nirvana....but, it is right here in my own backyard...what a gift!  The director was warm, inviting and serene....she listened and shared and I immediately felt like I belonged there, in fact, when we entered the meditation room I felt I had been there before, like I had dreamed about it. 

I begin instruction on Wednesday.....stay tuned!

P.S. to Julochka, I picked over 100 lemon cucumbers this morning....from one plant and there were many, many more I did not get to.....I passed out 12 bags with 1/2 dozen each......;-)

After Focus, Inspiration

Pray with gratitude:

(starting with something easy)
I am grateful that the heat wave seems to have broken just a slight bit....there is a beautiful, lovely breeze blowing through the window this morning.

I am grateful for a new day, in which to paint my future.

I am grateful for the sound of the doves cooing outside my window.

I am grateful for the warmth of my litlle dog snug against my leg, even though it's sunburnt.

I am grateful for my bedroom which has evolved into my tabernacle, where I can meditate and pray and shroud myself in the Divine Mysteries.

I am grateful for my support system without whom I could not do this thing called LIFE.

I am grateful for the used book store and all of the treasures it holds...and which I now hold some of.

I am grateful for fresh garden vegatables and the abundance which is my garden.

I am grateful for my heart, broken, repaired and still ticking....I forget to be grateful for it, most of the time....and my soul heart, for it also keeps on keeping matter how many times it gets broken.

I am grateful for my all her broken wonder and her act of is most inspiring.

Again, I am grateful for this day and am ready to begin it full of gratitude and wonder....amen.

Finding focus.......

Well, usually when things come together too easily, it's a sure sign that it's too good to be true. Signing up for school literally went too smoothly, too good to be true....subsequently, I found out that what I was told and what was reality, did not coincide. I've had to reevaluate what direction I'm going to take and figure out how to support myself while doing that and honestly, it put me in a lost place. I'm kind of floating out in the ether and not sure how to make ground again.

Arrgh, I hate this feeling, the unsureness of myself and my prevous decisions. However, I am better armed now and I can do the leg work and make my situation better, stronger for having the reality revealed to me! I hate having to start over again, but, such is life. We stagger, swagger, stroll, swing, stumble, fall, crawl and get back up and start all over again. I hate the stumble the most, because knowing you're going to get your knees scraped is almost always worse than the scrape......

On my knees again, pray, then to all.....

Friday, July 17, 2009

My Hero.....a boy in Iraq

I know....he doesn't look like a 'boy'....but, he is. This young man is serving in Iraq right now...and he's ready to come home....and we're ready to have him home. More than ready. I miss him. This is my old friend of mine. We were pretty tight when he was a little fact, kind of inseparable. I remember the day he was born as if it were yesterday, despite the hangover I sweet nephew was about the only thing that really kept me here on this earth....knowing I'd be leaving him if I did myself in....morbid, but, true. We were such great friends when he was a little boy, but, somewhere along the way, I think I failed him and we lost each other. And, when he was leaving to go away to war, I tried to salvage what there was of our relationship, but, I don't think I did a very good job.I didn't want him to go away to war....I wanted him to rethink his decision and become a man, here, were we all were and where it was safe. I wanted to impose my judgements on him....and he just wanted to go out and prove himself in the most expedient, grand way he could. I knew that was what he was doing and swore to him I'd be just as proud of him if he stayed here and became an auto mechanic, like he (ie; all of his family) planned to do.

I never really had a sense that he would not come back or that he would be harmed physically, however, my heart was aching with what I knew would be the worst emotional pain any person would go through, the loss of someone you loved,...and he lost some of his brothers over there and I did not want that for him, ever. He did in fact grow up while there, but, it seemed like it was a slow process, slower than I assumed it would be....I think he was trying to hold out as long as he could....still be a kid when he could. He says he's angry now and that he gets belligerent....I told him that I believed in his heart and that it is a good and beautiful heart...and that over time, his heart would heal and he could let go of the anger and move on....he said he hoped I was right....he's on his way home for leave....he arrives on August 4th...we have a lot of catching up to do....we've been IM'ing....and becoming friends again....he assures me we were always friends, but, I know I let him down, I wasn't mature enough to be both cool and still be his aunt....I tried, but, again, not mature enough to be both....

When he was little, I was really just beginning my 'photography' passion and he used to follow me around and ask to use my camera. Kid you not, this little munchkin would run my old pentax k1000....when he was like 4 and 5 years, he's an amazing photographer in his own right....he has mad editing skills and a great eye... he makes me jealous of his talent, but, maybe I'm biased ;-). I hope he will be able to use his art to heal himself....I pray he will....

Thursday, July 16, 2009

For Mari and Gag.....with love

Perhaps they are not the stars,
but rather openings in Heaven
where the love of our lost ones
pours through and shines down
upon us to let us know they are

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

"Our doubts are traitors and make us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt" Will Shakespeare

I am supposed to start school in a few to be a medical of the reasons I went away to the Monastery was to make sure I knew what I was doing and if it was the right thing.....and I am still not sure of my path. Doubt has dogged me since the weekend. I do not have my financial situation completely sorted out and I am not entirely comfortable starting something as big as 18 months of tech school without a back up plan for support. I want to be one of those people who just flies by the seat of their pants, trusting that all will work out....but, I have learned, the hard way, 'the check isn't always in the mail'.

I'm a recovering alcoholic and I used to just live my life by the seat of my pants, figuring things would just work out and usually I ended up broke, about ready to have the lights and the phone turned off and hung over. I'm not that person anymore, but, I am still gunshy about winging it. Part of the trip to the Monastery was to also shore up my Faith, believing that the Divine will provide for me as I come to need.....and for the most part I do believe, however, even the Bible says, "God helps those that help themselves' and at this late stage in my life I don't want to be foolish.

Further, I've had a few conversations about maybe going in a different direction with my education and my goal of giving back....I think I may want to go the whole distance and study nursing, rather than just medical assistant - I am also considering surgical tech - so, I have sort of amended my goal, I guess.

What it really boils down to, is that my intuition is telling me to wait and my brain is trying to override that by telling me I'm just being a chicken. I vowed to quit being a chicken, but, I also vowed to start honoring my gut or rather my heart. I think that things are still just a bit too unsettled for me and I need to step back and re-assess my situation I spoke with the admissions advisor today, but, he doesn't want to hear anything about my reservations, in fact the first thing he did was apply pressure, which makes me even more uncertain about what I'm getting ready to undertake.

Time to pray.......

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

"If the chimney is full of smoke, how can the light be seen? If the mind is full of dirt, how can the soul shine?"


Breath.......... the silence....the calm.......



Know that all will be well........maybe not in my time, but, IN time.....

Eat, Pray, LOVE.........

Love to you......S

Monday, July 13, 2009

Another Chapter.....

(photograph: new picture, same subject, new post)
Something happened in my family over the weekend while I was gone that is extremely private and I would like to explore it in my writing and with this blog....however, I want to protect my loved one from outside scrutiny, yet, I find that what happened is ironically linked to my spiritual quest at the Monastery. I felt a struggle with myself all weekend long to have some kind of 'obvious' spiritual awakening and that the sky would open up and God would talk to me like we were just sitting in a cafe having a latte and all of my problems would be solved. But, this was not to be born and I left feeling like maybe my expectations were too high and that I was not deserving of such an epiphany as to have received such an open message from the Divine.

I'm an instant gratification kind of girl and what I really need to learn to be is a mail order catalog kind of know, be willing to wait with barely contained anticipation....that sounds kind of impatient, too, huh? Hmmm....guess I'm never going to get this "pray and have faith that everything happens in God's time" stuff....regardless, the communication between me and God, evidently, was really happening at the Monastery, because when I got home one of my prayers had literally been answered, right as I was praying it!

I have prayed for this loved one over and over and over again for many years, hoping beyond hope that one day my loved one would be ushered through the difficulties they faced....on Saturday night, almost as if I'd surrendered to the "old fashioned way" of praying, I hit my knees, in the Chapel, late in the night, at the darkest time and I humbly asked God to fill my heart with love and forgiveness, I thanked Him for all of my blessings and I began to ask for help, intervention on behalf of my loved one, crying, aching for God's hand in my loved one's life. I finished my prayer, wiped away my tears and collected myself and returned to my dorm room and went to bed.

I got up the next morning, packed my things, prayed again for God's guidance and this time I received one of those messages I had been hoping for, "If you want to go home, go, do not stay here because you think you have to, go home". And, I did. When I arrived home I shared with my Father about my expriences at the Monastery, he listened patiently and then began to tell me about his weekend.....he told me of my loved one's 'rescue'......the exact moment that I was in the chapel, on my knees, humbly praying, the rescue was taking place, here at home.

Grace is not to be looked for, it is to be expected and believed in, because, when we finally get down on our knees, it will show will bless us.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

The Journal of a Journey.....

(this is the journal entries I made while on the retreat):

In the shadow of reading, Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert, I found that my 3 days of silence were colored by the book. Firstly, I have never 'meditated', so, finding the 'quiet' in my mind is not happening. However, since the time of check in on Friday afternoon, I have not spoken to anyone. I've just finished reading the book, completely; all pages….I loved the book and will probably read it again, soon. If nothing else comes of the retreat or reading the book, I will be seeking out a place to learn and practice meditation. I am an impatient person, much of the experiences Liz had while on her spiritual journey I can totally identify with….wondering when the magical place you can find while meditating is going to show up for me. I already believe that God and I converse, not as often as I would like….my fault, I know, because all I need to do is pray.

I attended one of the 'hours of the day' prayer service…..the sound of the monks praying is beautiful, like a warm golden, glow of praise and love. I decided I might not be patient enough to enjoy it, yesterday when I was attending, but, today, I am committed to getting the whole affect of my location. The Monastery is beautiful – I'm going to over use that word, I can already tell – the grounds are like a gorgeous garden. The trees are the most amazing trees I've ever seen – accept my Oaks - and HUGE, like mastodon size. The Monastery grows plums, walnuts – which are the trees that shade virtually all of the grounds where the dorms, chapel and kitchen house are – and grapes, for wine. All of the worship houses are simplistic beauty. In St. Cecilia's Chapel is the most haunting white marble statue I have ever encountered – the way the light fell on it at the time I explored the chapel was mesmerizing, I could not help but take many pictures of it. As I leave, I hope to be able to ask the Guest Master, Bob, about the Statue.

Adjacent to St. Cecilia's Chapel is the Chapel of Contemplation and accept for looking inside to see what it looked like, I've avoided it thus far….late last night I considered going to it, I can see if from my dorm room window, just beckoning me, calling out to me.

I did spend some time last evening, just before dusk sitting in a chair gazing up at the sky….facing a large stand of the, again, most amazing evergreen trees – maybe redwoods – I have ever seen. The breeze gently stroked my face and tossed my hair ever so lightly – it felt like God was reminding me that He was there, waiting for me, ready for our conversation, I only have to engage him.

I did not sleep well, dozed off and on all night, never getting comfortable, maybe I am not going to get to sleep until I go to God and talk. I've always had a problem 'getting around' to the TALK. Even in therapy for so long last year, I almost always took until almost the end of my session to get to the hard stuff, the crux of the matter. My counselor would push, poke, prod, cajole, until finally, I broke.......caved…..surrendered….which is what I need to do here and now. It is merely the surrender that we all fear, surrendering has always had the connotation of weakness, therefore, something I do not want to show, but, truly, surrender is the purest form of Faith and that is what I am trying to strengthen, my faith, in God, myself and destiny.
Evening of July 11:

I did visit the Chapel of Contemplation, for almost an hour, to my surprise. I really, really tried to meditate and I feel that for a few brief moments, I achieved a smattering of heightened awareness….maybe, either that or I dosed off. After my contemplation, I did attend noon time prayers, called Sext. I missed the late afternoon, None hour of the day prayer, but, made good on my promise to myself to attend Vespers and Compline – all beautiful and serene and contemplative. I'm more mesmerized by the Monks than the songs, although, the prayers made in song are so compelling, I could not help but want to talk to the Monks and ask them what brought them to this life. At Compline, you are blessed with Holy Water; this is a blessing to carry you through the night, as Compline prayers are for protection through the night from evil. Much like, "Now I lay be down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep…."

I had it in my mind that I should not read for the rest of the retreat, however, after what felt like a failed attempt at meditation, I wondered if perhaps reading might provide me with the inspiration I needed to reach that place where I connected with God….then I just took a nap.

After my nap, I took a walk, round the vineyard…man, are there a lot of walnut trees around here….not as many grapevines as walnut trees….and they are just amazing in size and stature. After the walk, it was almost time for Sext…I attended prayers. I'm intrigued by the thought of praying seven times a day….and being called to prayer by the ringing of a church bell. I so want to talk to the Monks, to ask them what this life is like and if it was hard to give up the secular world. I can seriously identify with giving up all material items and giving up the responsibility of the outside world and living a cloistered life…..I just can't get my head around living only for prayer….I am trying to find a way around, wait for it, BOREDOM….I guess if my heart was pure and in love only with God then I could foresee boredom not playing a part in the life of a cloistered Monk/Nun – maybe I'm far too secular to ever understand and it wouldn't matter if I did talk to a Monk…..

They are reconstructing an old Monastery Chapter house from stones brought from France in the early '50's, the structure is under construction right now and there is unfettered access to it, so, as you might imagine, I have photographed it extensively, because how often does one get to photograph a sacred building being resurrected in our times, eh? Unfortunately, there are all kinds of equipment in the way of truly capturing the splendor of the arches and stones without some kind of tool in the shot, but, I tried my best to shoot around what I could. It was kind of eerie walking around out there by myself, almost like I wasn't by myself, like maybe there were some thousand year old spirits guiding me.

I'm still learning how to work the big camera, so, I used this place to practice with the lighting. I think so far, this is the most spiritual I have felt, inside this sacred space, weilding my camera.
I went to the Chapel after Compline and finally got down on my knees and prayed, old fashioned like. Asking God to fill my heart, to show me the way to the path I am supposed to take, to please tell me what I am supposed to do….and then, I tried to listen, but, as usual, my mind got lost…..I did ask for Candace and her family to have peace and to help my little sister and what the hell Steve Hewitt was doing in my dreams…..

P.S. I marked another one off of the "To Do List".....for those of you who love know who you are! ;-)

Thursday, July 9, 2009

I know better....but, I can't help myself.....

I always end up with too many zucchinis and then, the neighbors won't answer the door when I come around....But, I really can't help myself, there is such joy in the bounty produced by just one zucchini plant and I love to feed everyone. We're having a time with the tomatoes though, still none ripening. Friends and neighbors are surely waiting for the tomatoes, but, not the zucchini.

As I am going away for the next three days, roomie, is going on her own adventure, I figured if I didn't check the garden and pick what was ready, surely, I would find that the zucchini's had grown legs and moved into the house....I think I had a couple that bordered on 5lbs or more - a couple looked like the size of a hefty newborn. If you are not vigilant in your search through the huge leaves, you miss a little guy and the next thing you know he's talking to you like he's a grown child, "Hey, lady, you missed me last time and since I grow 6 inches every 8 hours, I'm the size of your 13 year old neice now, pay more attention next time or you'll be moving some of us out of here with that bobcat your friend has". We harvested 16 zucchini tonight, half of which were by anyone's standards, HUGE.....

Note to self: must be more vigilant in search for garden bounty, remembering to check zucchinis TWICE.

The lemon cucumbers are rather abundant, too, however, those are easier to give away in quantities, as they do not get as big, obviously. I think we netted 25-30 of those tonight....I am taking them with me to the Monastery this weekend as a contribution to the kitchen. There are so many more, just waiting to ripen, hidden under the massive vines that are spreading out all over the place.

We checked the watermelons, too, we have about 9 of those. We picked one, not sure if it was time or not, we cut into it and it had just begun to turn pink....we tasted it and there was the slightest hint of sweetness, actually edible, very juicy, so not necessarily a waste...but, they all still have a week or more of time they might need to be on the vine.....this is my first year with the watermelon.

I had such high hopes for the garden, I was going to plant so many different things, but, a storm ruined all of my seedlings, so, I just purchased some plants, not nearly as many as I had from seed, so, I guess, considering how much the garden is already producing, I'm better off. The pepper plants have tons of blossoms, as do the beans...but only two little peppers are on one plant and only two beans, as well. Many tomatoes on the plants, just no red.....when they go, we'll be buried in them....oh, well, EVERYONE loves home grown tomatoes. Surely, they won't turn me away if I bring tomtatoes with the zucchini, right?

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Exalted anticipation.....

.....of silence. for three days. solace. peace. soul dancing. spirit courting. I am slowly preparing my heart for this journey. I am readying myself for the embrace. Alot is going on in my life right now. Decisions need to be made and direction is needed. This is the perfect time to be in silence, listening to the Divine. I am feeling some trepidation, some reticence, just the slightest bit of fear....not real fear, just the minor kind that let's you know you are coming close to the precipice...a place I have been dancing with for more than a year and NOW, I am where I need to be in my heart where I can leap with faith. I am excited, but, shy about my excitement, as this is a quiet, personal journey I am making. An interpersonal trek through pain, heartache, fear, self doubt, complacency, mediocrity and denial.....I pray there will be enough light, that my spirit will bring me through the other side with new insight and depth, that I will know myself in a way I never have before, that my faith will be unshakable.

I have been reading voraciously in the last couple of weeks, giving my soul nourishment for the silence. I have explored some different beliefs, looked at my beliefs and examined where they come from and while I have not come to any life altering realizations, I have opened up my heart to possibility. This is what I wish for this pilgrimage into my self, unlocking my heart.....letting go of the fear and being truly open.

I leave on Friday morning....I suspect Sunday evening when I return will be spent in quiet contemplation of my trip....but, I will share with you shortly there after....

I wish for you, love, great love.....

Simple things......

Christina, over at Soul Aperture asked the bloggy world to play with her and share some 'simple' things that we each love......I'm all for simplicity, so, here I go.....

A simple meal - pasta, sauce, a salad and some bread - even simpler, on the porch, on a easy summer eve

being able to cut my own basil for the evening meal, right from my backyard

pick my own cucumber for my salad

flip flops to wear out to the garden for the evening picking

a tall glass of ice water on a warm summer evening

the full moon peeking in my bedroom window as I write

a chocolate chip cookie for dessert....just one, with a glass of ice cold milk

the glow of the candle I light each night in reverence for the day I just lived......

Monday, July 6, 2009

Putting it out there....

After a wonderful day yesterday, seems Monday has decided to shroud me in doom and gloom. I feel paralyzed into inaction. I know there are things I need to take care of, but, just cannot get myself to do them. The problem is I'm afraid to look at my situation, because I'm worried it's worse than I suspect. I have a propensity to play the ostrich, hide my head in the sand until I've either waited too long to deal with the issue or I've finally conceded that I have to quit acting like a chicken and just deal with it. I hate it when I get like this. I'm not good with a lack of structure, either, so, now that I'm unemployed, I'm all over the place, yet, no where. Make sense?

I start school in two weeks. Yippeeeee! I have so many things to do, take care of, deal with, it's almost like there is too much to do or deal with and it's suffocating me. The suffocating usually causes me to want to go back to bed and try to sleep through the suffocation. Then, I beat myself up because I went back to bed to ride out the suffocation, arrghgh! So, blogging about it, might help, right? Perhaps I will be able to purge the doom and gloom, just by putting it out into the ether. Perhaps. No definitely, just give it away, poof, gone. There, that's better.

I will endeavor, now, to pull my head out.....of the sand and do at least one thing on the list of to do' I go......................................................................................................................................

Sunday, July 5, 2009

"My Friends are my Estate". - Emily Dickinson

.....and, my blessing. Had a great day with all of my people...yes, they are my people. You know what I mean, my people, those who get me and love me, just the way I am, barnacles and all and whom I love, just the way they are, warts and all. We gathered to celebrate my Dad's birthday, which is offically July 4th and share a meal. Dad had a wonderful day, as all of his kids, this includes my people, as he has quite adopted all of them for himself, as well, were around to partake of the celebration of him being on this here planet for 65 years....! I would have posted some sort of photo commemorating the actual birthday party, but, I was not quite the photograhper I like to think I am, decent shots that weren't just present opening, please enjoy the lovely flowers, instead. (aren't they great?)

So, to carry on about my friends and our celebration....I so LOVE my friends, (family, too, but, since I don't choose them.....right?) and how we all have shared humor and that we rib each other mercilessly, without apology, in fact, expect it from each other, knowing that if we show weakness, we are sure to be the target.....all in good fun. We had an exceptionally big group, lot's of new friends, who managed to hold their own in our crowd, which can be awkward and somewhat daunting, since the old timers have a shared history...but, the newbies managed.

I am one of those people who loves to include everybody and I usually have a sense of who will fit and who won't and who to invite to one occasion, but, not another....and once in awhile, I choose wrong and someone new, will not quite fit and I feel bad and wish that I could have a do over with them and their introduction to the 'group'....I sort of got that chance today and the second time around, fun was had by all. I tend to have several uniquely different friends and the really different friends don't always do well with my core group....which for me is a little tough, because, really, I like to include everyone, especially when I want to entertain and feed people.

Today, two couples who I previously attempted to introduce into the core group and did not seem to fare well the first time around, (both couples left early, after spending most of the evening huddled in the corner or hanging out in the kitchen trying to help {which I don't mind, accept that I wanted them to enjoy the party}), came to the party, this was good, because, both new couples are actually fun, smart, creative and would be great friends with others in the 'core group' (I know, it sounds like I throw seminars for people with social disfunctions or something, I guess, I'm having a hard time really articulating tonight, because that is not even close to what I'm trying to say), so, the fact that both left early and with fear and panic on their faces, left me feeling like I had not succeeded in 'adding them' to the group. I did not give up though and even after I invited the two couples, trepidation creeped in, but, I'm glad I included them again, as they were able to enjoy everybody, the party and 'my people' enjoyed my "new" people. (I own them, you know, my people, like I'm the Queen or something, right?)

I really like having my people around, I looked forward to this party ALL WEEK long and it was all I hoped for....integration for my new people, OH! And.....Dad had a great birthday celebration, too!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Have Faith

I keep saying that to myself. Just trust in Divine guidance. Listen to your heart and BELIEVE. I've made this my new mantra. I've been saying it for months and I believe it's finally kicking in. Taking a leap and going back to school, hoping that the money will come and that unemployment will kick in and that the stars will align, all will be right with the world - or at least my world. I've been looking backward and wondering if I've made the right choice, but, I've decided to 'practice' believing, then, I WILL believe. Looking back, just a little farther than a couple of weeks ago gave me some perspective and I believe that I will be okay. I'm taking things one day at a time, working through that and when I start to get scared and think that I might be lost, I remind myself that listening to my heart is the only way I'm going to get to the life I've not lived.

Last year I went to jewelers school and I REALLY thought that I wanted that, despite all economic forecasts I believed that I could go to jewelers school and become a jeweler and really honor the artist inside of me....but, there were obstacles. Obstacles that I just took as they came and totally steamrolled through them to get what I thought I wanted.....I did not stop to examine the trials I was going through to get to and through school. I did not finish jewelers school because I had exhausted my savings and had no money left and no income and no more unemployment. I attempted all sorts of ways to get money for school, jumped through I don't know how many hoops and no money came....but, I went to school anyway, thinking to myself nothing worth having will be easy...right? In retrospect, (I wish I didn't have to rely on retrospect to get on this world, but, I spend alot of time with ol' retrospect), I see that the obstacles, were not just hurdles I was supposed to go over in order to get what I wanted, but, the Universe telling me "hey, dummy, this is the wrong path, wrong choice, give up, look around, LISTEN TO YOUR HEART, your REAL HEART", eventually, money ran out and my sense came back and I abandoned my idea of becoming a full fledged jeweler and went back into an industry I hated out of fear and defeat. Wondering, what I am supposed to do, because I still had the feeling that I was in the wrong place, that my heart would not rest, be content until I honored it.

I reread my blog, all the way back to the beginning, just a few short months ago and looked for my heart and when I found my heart, I listened and decided I am without choice in the matter. When I made the decision to listen to my REAL heart, the peices fell into place and there were no obstacles. I begin school to become a medical assistant on July 20th! I got CPR certified the week after I was laid off and I had a meeting with my cardiologist asking him to support my decision and later on help me get a job in pediatric cardiology, the place where my heart belongs......right where my heart has always dwelled. I was always too busy just bulldozing through life, doing what I THOUGHT I was supposed to, that I did not hear any of the many calls bellowed out to me by the Divine.

Am I scared? Will this be hard? Will I have to eat top ramen for the next 18 months? Maybe. Perhaps these are the hurdles I am supposed to leap and, yes, it will be worth the effort, because, finally my heart will sing, instead of it so often does. I have experienced a real sense of peace since the decision was made and it was like a dream getting signed up for school - not a single obstacle to the financing, getting sponsored and accepting. I am worried about money, unemployment is available, but, I'm having some minor difficulties getting my claim started, but, I understand I am not alone and I am confident things will work themselves, I keep telling myself, Have Faith, BELIEVE - trust your heart.....begin living your life.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

What was I like at 13.......?

She's a good girl....really. She's everybody's friend and she is the champion of the underdog, everytime. And, she is very mature for her age, too mature. She looks after too many people and she's had to grow up too fast. I really regret that for her and wish that I could have done more to help her along....but, how much is too much for an aunt to do? I try to be there and listen and when it looks like she's thinking down a path that will hurt her I try to guide her without sounding like a judge....(I tend to be judgemental, I'm working on that, though). I discovered her MySpace page today and while most of it is really cute and it looks like she's having a ton of fun, her tag line is "f--k you" - and there is a photo of her flipping the camera off in her albums. While I already suspected foul language, I hoped that she might exercise some decorum with a networking sight that is so mainstream and that many people have been getting 'hurt' by. And, that many people exploit. I totally understand her having a place to exercise her point of view and to express herself, even if that means showing off with some attitude, but, I was disappointed with the tag I over analyzing this? Is it okay for a 13 year old girl to use that phrase on the front of her MySpace page?

I sent her a private email, letting her know I thought she was too classy a kid to have that kind of phrase on her page and let her know I thought it was cool that she was expressing herself, but, that maybe she could rethink the tag line....and that even if she didn't see my point of view I would still respect her choice to leave that phrase on the page....I know, it's probably none of my business, but, I just don't want to see her hurt by it. She wants to come off soooo strong and all attitudinal and she is a strong kid, but, I don't think she's grown up enough to pull that phrase off on her page - furthermore, I think she is disrespecting herself by using that language and tone. Maybe if she gets hurt by it the lesson will mean more? But, maybe if an adult was watching out for her and just gave her information that she could ponder....?

I'm pretty sure her Dad doesn't know about the page or it's content and sometimes her Mom works too hard to be her friend, so, maybe no one is really giving her food for thought.

I'm trying to remember back that far and for some reason the selective memory is kicking in and I can't seem to find me at that age....and, we didn't have social networking pages on the internet when I was her age....the most I can remember at her age was riding my bike up and down the street and being shy around the neighborhood boys......I probably cussed, but, I knew better than to cuss in front of an adult, much less the whole world.