Friday, December 15, 2006

We Were Put Here on Earth to Be Humble

As the New Year approaches and the bustle of the holidays ensues try to slow down and be filled with joy and renew your sense of hope. This is the season of HOPE. A magical time of year when all things are possible.

Don't have regrets about things in the past year -- or years. Regret is mistakes or misfortunes of the past having control over you in the here and now. Only you have the power to release them. Tell yourself "Today is a new day!" And if you believe it: then it truly is.

Forgive those who may have wronged you and move on. Stop wasting valuable energy and joy by holding onto the negative.

I truly believe that we were put here on this earth to be humble. When we are humble what is best in us is able to connect to the divine, GOD ... our Creator, and through HIM do truly amazing things. So slow down, connect, be humble, and let the joy of this magical season touch and inspire you.

God Bless and have a great day!

Monday, December 04, 2006

I Saw the Movie & More Holiday Traditions

Okay. I saw the movie "The DaVinci Code" this weekend. It was okay, but I think that the book is better. Somehow Tom Hanks is not quite how I pictured Langdon. But it was mildly entertaining and an excuse to sit down and relax for awhile.

It's still pretty popular I guess because it took us 2 rainchecks and 3 trips to the video store before a copy was available to rent -- and they had about 30 or so available for rent.

Oh well, check that one off my list!

Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving! We had a surprise arrive here on Thanksgiving evening. My sister finally had her baby. A healthy, bouncing, baby boy. What a day to make your entrance into the world: on a day of reflection and thanksgiving. Awesome! Welcome to the world little one.

Well we got our tree up, lights on and decorated. Our stairway banister and fireplace are done too. All this by Dec. 1st! Most amazing! We had our outside lights and decorations up the weekend after Thanksgiving. This is a first all the way around for us! We are usually scrambling the week or two before Christmas. I guess that our kids are getting older and life is getting smoother and a bit easier. Praise God!

I've really enjoyed hearing everyone's inputs on "Holiday Traditions." There have been some really clever and neat ideas. Thanks so much for sharing!

This past weekend I received an email from my godmother telling me about her wonderful family traditions. They have a big family dinner, a weekend or two before Christmas, and everyone brings a dish. Then the kids put on a short play or skit. Sounds like so much fun! I remember doing that as a kid myself.

Her story inspired my oldest daughter and I to write a play for our extended family of kids to put on for the parents and grandparents. The kids are so excited! Thanks for the idea Nancy. Now that the kids are all a bit older I think that it will be a blast.

Our play is a bit of a comedy or sorts, but serious too. It will be titled "A Christmas Story: 2 Dudes and a Wise Woman." We've written the first draft and it looks like it will be fun and funny! Can't wait! Let me know if you would like a copy of the script to do with your family or if you want a DVD of the final "production." Just leave me your name and email or send me an email.

Happy Holidays everyone!

Monday, November 20, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving

Here's wishing you and yours a wonderful Thanksgiving!

I truly hope that yours is a blessed celebration of friends, family, loved ones and all that you have to be thankful for. Lots of good food too!

I am thankful for ...

My wonderful husband.

My 3 beautiful, healthy and energetic daughters.

My loving and supportive family.

Friends across the many miles.

The good health of all of my family and friends.

Friends and family who keep in touch and share their news and photos to stay connected in this fast paced -- and sometimes crazy! : ) -- world.

God Bless and Happy Thanksgiving! And in our family the first one to get their tree up wins -- usually my sister-in-law Jenny.

P.S. "Holiday Traditions" is 2 entries down.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

The Truth About Claims Made in Bestselling Novel “The Da Vinci Code”

Remember this book? Everyone was talking about it when the novel hit the stands in 2003. It has since become so popular that it has made it to the coveted movie status.

Have you read it? The movie is due to be released on DVD today, November, 14, 2006. And the talk about the startling claims made in the book is once again raging.

I have read this book. I started out to read it just so that I could see firsthand what all of the hype was about, but I have to admit that the book was an interesting work of fiction – even a page turner at times. Having said that, however: I firmly believe that “The Da Vinci Code” is in fact nothing more than a well-written work of fiction.

One of the things that has so many people up in arms, and mislead, is Dan Brown’s “Fact “page. This “Fact” page follows immediately after his title page.

But therein lies a simple solution to all of the angst about this novel: Brown’s “Fact” page follows his “Title” page. And so, it follows that this “Fact” page is merely a part of the overall work of fiction and nothing more.

Don’t buy that? Well you’re not alone: there have been stacks of books written to discuss the claims made in the novel “The Da Vinci Code”. There have also been several television documentaries made. Wow! If you ask me, Dan Brown is not only a brilliant writer, but an excellent marketing strategist as well.

Well here’s what I have found in listening to discussions about the “claims” made in this novel:

The first “fact” listed on Dan Brown’s “Fact” page states “The Priory of Sion – a European secret society founded in1099 – is a real organization. In 1975 Paris's Bibliotheque Nationale discovered parchments known as Les Dossiers Secrets, identifying numerous members of the Priory of Sion, including Sir Isaac Newton, Botticelli, Victor Hugo, and Leonardo da Vinci.”

A pretty impressive list of members no? Well the truth is that this document does exist, and it was in fact found in the noted library in Paris, in 1975. But the truth ends there. Examination of the document has since revealed that the document known as the “Les Dossiers Secrets” was a document that was created in the 20th century and most believe that it was created by the very man who “discovered it,” Plantar Chanteau . As luck would have it, Plantar Chateau happens to be listed as a member of this same “secret society.”

It is believed that in the late 1960’s, Plantar Chanteau had visited the hotel that was erected on the land adjacent to the site of France’s Rennes le Chateau -- in Brown’s novel, the Rosslyn Chapel -- where the proof of a the “Holy Grail” is supposed to reside. It was here that Chanteau learned of the story of the “Holy Grail” – a story which many believe was a marketing ploy on the part of the hotel owner who acquired the land on which the chapel sits to generate interest and tourism. Chanteau, a megalomaniac, experts theorize then began to write himself into the story.

There has been no subsequent evidence to support the existence of the secret society of the “Priory of Sion”. And as such, experts do not believe that it existed at the time of Christ; hence the “Priory of Sion” was not created to protect the secret of a Christ and Magdalene bloodline. Further, since the society did not exist they do not believe that Leonardo Da Vinci, nor any of the other esteemed members listed in “The Dossiers Secrets,” was/were members of the “Priory of Sion.”

If the renowned artist Leonardo Da Vinci was not a member of this secret society -- which did not exist until its creation in the 20th century -- then his works of art do not hold secret clues to the existence of a Christ and Magdalene bloodline. And Brown’s third “fact” would also seem to be invalid. It would appear that any “descriptions of artwork, architecture, and documents, and secret rituals in this novel are …” at best convenient coincidence.

Religious experts claim that the individual seated to the left of Christ in the famous Da Vinci painting, “The Last Super” is the young apostle John. Artistic experts agree that the feminine portrayal would be consistent with the Renaissance style at that time for a young male.

The only possible truth on Brown’s “fact” page is the existence of a religious society known as Opus Dei which is not “officially” recognized by the Catholic church. Oh, and there are no monks in Opus Dei unlike Brown's character, Silas, in the novel.

As for other claims made in Brown’s novel:

With respect to art: Brown’s supposed “sacred feminine” symbol of “V” -- that the novel claims is hidden in many of Da Vinci’s paintings -- has been refuted, by expert and lay artists alike, as merely a new, but common, technique used at the time for showing movement via the use of diagonals.

As for the claim’s of cover-up by the Catholic church about a Christ and Magdalene relationship. Proponents get the fuel for their fire from two sources:

The first is the fact the church tried to downplay the role of Mary Magdalene in the Christ movement by perpetuating a case of mistaken identity which has Mary Magdalene confused with a nameless prostitute in the Gospel of Luke. This case of mistaken identity comes from the fact that the passage in which Luke introduces Mary Magdalene is followed by a passage about a nameless prostitute from whom Jesus exorcised demons. The mistaken identity of Mary Magdalene as a prostitute was solidified by a homily (speech during a mass after the Gospel reading) given by Pope Clement XIV (1769-1774). This mistake was not corrected by the church until the early 1900’s.

Proponents argue that the church was trying to supress a movement within the church that followed Mary Magdalene and further allude to a romantic relationship, possible marriage and offspring between Magdalene and Christ.

To date there has been no historical evidence found to show evidence of a marriage or of any offspring. You would think that a thing as big a wedding to Jesus would have been known and told to many.

It is more likely that the male-dominated hierarchy of the church was threatened by the power of a woman to influence others in matters of religion and so perpetuated the mistaken identity of Mary Magdalene so as to discredit her and thus remove her as a real threat to the church.

Proponents of the Christ and Magdalene bloodline theory claim that Mary Magdalene fled to France after the death of Jesus, carrying with her The “Holy Grail”. They claim that The “Holy Grail” was the offspring of Christ, in the womb of Mary Magdalene. But there is no mention of The "Holy Grail" anywhere in the Bible and to this date there has been no substantial historical evidence of a “Holy Grail” uncovered.

The second source of ammunition used by the Proponents is a second set of gospels found in Egypt in (?date TBD). These Gnostic [see also] gospels have been historically verified to have been written at a date substantially later than that of the original Gospels. For this, among other reasons, the Catholic church has rejected these gospels.

In a passage in one of these Gnostic gospels, Jesus’ disciples are troubled by his dealings with Mary Magdalene and in one line of text there is a reference to a “kiss on the _________” by Jesus. The page is torn here and that one key word is missing. Historians think that it may have been the hand or foot which at that time would have symbolized deference to a woman.

Proponents say that the above line of text is evidence of a romantic relationship between Jesus and Mary Magdalene. Historical experts say that the evidence is at best inconclusive. Even the authors of the book, “Holy Blood, Holy Grail,” upon which much of Dan Brown’s novel appears to be based, say that their book presents merely the possibility of the existence of a Christ and Magdelene relationship. They further state that this theory is merely a theory and far from proven fact.

So there you have it in a “nut shell” – a big one : ). Hopefully this will help other Christians to speak clearly and thoughtfully about the fact vs. fiction in Dan Brown’s novel, “The Da Vinci Code.”

If you haven’t read it: read it. It is a well-written, intense work of FICTION. Just keep that in mind as you read. Who knows: I just may tackle “Holy Blood, Holy Grail” next. What else have I got to do?

Oh, I know: I still haven’t seen the movie …

Holiday Traditions

Okay, enough politics! Time to start thinking about the Holidays. Are we ready for this?

This year, I actually feel that I am ready for a change. Maybe it is my newly painted house -- inside, furniture, and out?

All this thinking about the Holidays has gotten me to thinking: What things are our family holiday traditions? What things would we like to do to add to these traditions? So I am emailing & writing to others to see what their holiday traditions are. Here is one from my cousin in Louisiana:

"We don't do dat [put up Christmas tree] 'till da first week of December!!!!!! We usually try to get a real tree from this Christmas Tree farm just outside of the city limits. The thing is though that most of XXXXX tags their trees right after Halloween, then lets them grow for another month, then goes cut it down closer to advent.

Well, this family seems to never getting around to going tag ours! So every year we get stuck with a "Charlie Brown" tree. Every year I describe to Barrett and the boys what I want. (tradition is that the XXXXX men go get the tree, the woman decorates) They get off knowing exactly what to bring back. Sure enough, Barrett says that they always see just what I wanted but it was tagged!!! So, he tries to pass off what he buys as the most beautiful tree that they had left, with the boys ohhing and ahhing too. It is actually pretty hilarious!

One thing that our girls do is to write a note to Jesus about something that they will do during the holiday season to help others. It may be to pray for someone in need, or donate toys to a charity, or send an email or letter to someone who is lonely. Then they place their note in a wrapped box under the Christmas tree and open it on Christmas day for Jesus.

We also almost always go out to look at neighboring Christmas tree lights and displays, while sipping peppermint hot chocolate, and singing Christmas Carols. We try to do this at least one time and on Christmas Eve, after mass, if possible.

What are your holiday traditions? Email me, or post a comment.

Well here is what some of you had to say -- Thanks for sharing! :

1) We order Chinese takeout on Christmas Eve as my brother-in-law is Jewish -- kind of reminds me of the movie "A Christmas Story." : )

2) We look at the light and yard displays in a big neighborhood that goes all out. You can walk or they even have horse and carriage rides available. Fun!

3) We light a candle near our Nativity with Baby Jesus and sing Happy Birthday to Jesus on Christmas Day.

4) We light an Advent wreath with candles each night, in the weeks preceding Christmas, and say a special prayer to remind us the true meaning of Christmas. On Christmas Day we light all of the candles and sign Happy Birthday to Jesus.

5) We make lots of Christmas cookies, with tons of icing, sprinkles, and red hots. The ratio is usually about 1 part cookie to 2 parts icing and sprinkles. We're cleaning up sprinkles off the kitchen floor for days! : )

6) We try to visit a nursing home and sing carols/give gifts to the residents -- so many of whom are very lonely at this busy time of year.

7) My mom used to make PJs (pajamas) for all of us kids, and for her and dad if time permitted. Many years they were matching sets. Now she does the grandkids.

8) We try to do a "Christmas Angel" or something like that to give gifts to others who are less fortunate.

9) We try to add a new piece to our Fontanini nativity set each year. They have neat stories that come with each person, angel, or animal. They even have wells, palm trees, and other structures.

10) We try to buy at least one new ornament each year for our Christmas tree.

11) We try to have each person take a turn putting the Angel on top of the tree each year.

12) We try to take a family photo each year and send out a card.

13) My daughter Lauren: I make a Christmas countdown chain out of red and green strips of construction paper. I have a link for each day until Christmas. Then I number them and put the largest number at the bottom of the chain and work my way up to #1. I remove 1 link each night to keep track.

My mom loves this because then she doesn't have to answer the question each night: "How many days until Christmas?".

You can also make a poster to represent the actual day of Christmas. Then attach your countdown chain to the poster and/or just hang it up in a spot where you can reach it to remove the links. Happy counting!

14) Speaking of Lauren: I remember when Lauren was 3 1/2 and on Christmas Eve, when we were driving around looking at Christmas lights, she got the idea in her head that she wanted to look for Jesus's star. She wouldn't let us go home until she was absolutely sure that we had identified the correct star. We did manage to talk her out following the star to the Baby Jesus though, or that would have been a long night! : )

So why not look for Jesus's star while you are out with your family looking at Christmas lights?

15) We get together one weekend before Christmas with the whole extended family. Chief Mom/Grandma cooks the main meal and everyone brings a dish to complement the meal. Then after the dinner the kids put on a skit or play for the grown-ups. Lots of fun!

16) We try to go to see a Christmas play, concert, the Nutcracker or something as a family.

17) We go to our town's Holiday festival complete with noontime parade, bounce houses, train rides, gingerbread cookie decorating, live performances, face painting, craft fair and in the evening the town tree lighting by Santa Claus and kids can visit with Santa. Lots of good food too!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

What's in a Politician?

The elections are over and our people have spoken. Republicans are out. Democrats are "in", taking control of both the House and the Senate. Or to put in Bush terminology: Republicans "took quite a thumping." Or to put it in terms of my five year-old: "The Democraps won." -- gotta love the innocence of our little ones! : )

I guess that Republicans had it coming. There has been a lot of infighting within the party which has perhaps contributed to the Republican controlled Congress accomplishing very little with its majority and control of both the House and Senate. So let's see if the Democrats can do better. Hopefully, they'll accomplish objectives to improve America, without damaging the recovering economy. Perhaps Democrats' efforts will be less hindered by perpetual debate over the status of the war in Iraq -- thanks to the "Iraq Study Group" and a change of leadership in the Department of Defense?

As for the infighting within the Republican party, it has been said that "there were too many Republicans in name only" and that this election has flushed them out. Now with its party in-line, perhaps the Republican party can focus on key objectives and issues without the hindrance of political infighting. Perhaps the Republican party has finally returned to its true conservative values.

So what key attributes do you look for in a politician? Maybe: 1) Honesty/trustworthiness, 2)experience, 3) endorsements, 4) party affiliation, 5) moral stand on key issues such as abortion and the death penalty? 6) other.

I am truly curious to know? Leave a comment for me: put the above in the order that is most important to you, with the first on the list being the most important and the last being the least important. Also, if you would like: list your party affiliation -- if any -- as well.

What issues do you hope will be addressed this Congressional term?

I would like to see seatbelts put into every public school bus -- and eventually a law requiring private schools to do the same.

Our state has thousands of children riding on public school buses everyday with absolutely no seatbelts. From what I have seen, most private schools use vans and these come equipped with seatbelts. As a parent, I wouldn't let my kid get on a bus without seatbelts and I'd let the school know exactly why. It's craziness to put our kids on school buses without seatbelts.  I can't be the only one who has taken the time to think this through?!  For the time being I drive my children to and from school each day, but many parents do not have this option.  And it's not always the easiest thing for me to do.

Legislators argue that it is just too costly to retro-equip buses with seatbelts. Well come on people: let's get our priorities straight! How about channeling some of the money for endless -- and often needless -- road construction projects and putting it into seatbelts for our children's school buses. And further, let's pass laws requiring new buses to come equipped with seatbelts straight from the factory.

I am surprised that organizations such as the American Academy of Pediatrics  is so blaise about requiring seatbelts for school buses, when this organization has in recent years lengthened the amount of time/expanded weight & height guidelines for children using car & booster seats (up to about 70 lb. now).  They have made these adjustments due to new data on crash statistics related to children, but still no one from the American Academy of Pediatrics broaches the subject of seatbelts on school buses? ... Follow the money???????

I wonder: what issues concern you?

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Allow Anymous Posts: TBE ...

I have tried to set the "comments" portion of posts to my blog to "allow anonymous posts." This is so that you don't have to have a Blogspot account in order to comment. I haven't been very successful so far.

May have to do it for each post, on a case by case basis. So keep trying! I enjoy reading your email comments from friends and family.

When comments are enabled, to make a comment: 1) simply click on the word "comments" and a screen will pop up allowing you to type in a comment. 2) Select "anonymous" and type your comment in the text box. 3) When finished select "publish" to see your comment appear on the blog. 4) use the "<" back arrow key to return to the blog main page.

Note: you will of course have to select "comments" to view all comments, and it may take a few minutes for your comment to appear. You may also have to click the "refresh (dual arrows)" button on your browser as well -- depending on your browser refresh settings.

Upcoming: "What's in a Politician?" and "Why is the Mainstream Media Bias Liberal?"

Blog ya later! : )

P.S. If I do get "anonymous post" enabled, please keep in mind that my blog is semi-anonymous. I don't want the State I live in, my name etc., out there on the web. Just my preference. Thanks in advance for respecting my preference for anonymity!

President Bush Addresses the Nation: Nov. 8, 2006

The winds of change are upon us. In a lunchtime speech to the American people, President Bush congratulated the Democrats on their "well orchestrated victories." And so it should be.

President Bush reiterated that his "first responsibility, as Chief Executive, is to protect America and that that objective will not change as result of the election."

After emphasizing the need for both parties to work together to meet "real challenges" (the economy, education, and global issues such as American independence from foreign oil), the President warned "our enemies not to take the outcome of our American democratic process as a sign of a lack of will." He also emphasized that Iraq should not despair or fear that America will abandon them, and that our own American troops should not fear that America will no longer support them.

President Bush also announced a study group, the "Iraq Study Group", under the direction of "Baker and Hamilton", that will be analyzing possible solutions for addressing the war in Iraq. Then, Bush announced the resignation of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. He announced that Rumsfeld's replacement will be former CIA Director Robert Gates, who would be working very closely with the Iraq study group.

President Bush called Rumsfeld "a true patriot who has served ... with honor and distinction." Bush said that both he and Rumsfeld recognized the need for a fresh perspective on the war in Iraq at a "critical juncture."

When asked when the President knew that Secretary Rumsfeld would be stepping down and why he waited until after the election to make the announcement, President Bush said that he did not want to make this announcement "in the final stretch of the election" and send the "wrong message to American troops" that the Commander-in-chief will flip-flop on "complex military issues based on the political whims of the American people."

It appears as if Bush is ready is to embrace change in an approach to the war in Iraq. Further, with the Rumsfeld resignation he is putting that rhetoric into action and perhaps offering Democrats a symbolic "peace offering" of sorts.

Republican officials said they welcome the change in leadership in the House and look forward to seeing what Democrats will do to enact the changes they have been espousing. They also said that the current Democratic victory should help to give Republicans a better chance to win the White House in 2008, as the on-the-fence Republicans may be reluctant to give full control (House, possibly Senate, and White House) to the Democrats.

"If you want to have friends: never discuss religion and politics." What do you think?

Time for the Republicans to take off the Gloves!

So my husband says. Isn't it convenient for the media that they don't cover the fact the aftermath of investigating Iraq DID find that there was in fact weapons grade plutonium in Iraq and also viable components for manufacturing lethal nerve gas on a large scale.

The media was so quick to jump on President Bush for his blundering of the reasons for going to war with Iraq, yet when the WMD evidence did finally come to light -- due to relaxation of security issues surrounding the information -- the liberal media buried the stories. "WMDs found!" is not headline news -- that's reserved for Bush and company bashing. Instead the "found" story is relegated to a mere footnote, 3 to 4 stories down. How can anyone say that their is not blatant bias in our media?

What's even scarier is that most people don't see this bias, don't get it, or just don't care! It takes some effort to find out the truth: You have to read multiple news sources and listen to alternative news and talk radio. Even if you don't agree with the alternative opinion: don't you owe it to yourself to hear both sides of issues so that you can make informed decisions and opinions?

I challenge you to try to get both sides of the issue. Try it: this week pick up an alternative news source. I recommend the "Week" magazine. They report excerpts from several reputable publications in one convenient location. So you get different views on the issues in just one read. Try listening to one of the talk radio programs on AM radio ( News Talk 820 or KRLD 1080) while you are stuck in your car driving. Try watching FOX news once a week -- or just flip back and forth between your local news and FOX and see how the headline stories compare from night to night.

Looks like we're in for a wild roller coaster ride if we wind up with a Democratic House and a Republican Senate. I just pray for the safety of our country on multiple levels.

In the meantime, Republicans perhaps do need to take off the gloves and address the mud-slinging head on. Not doing so seems to have cost them quite a bit in this election. Republicans aren't perfect by any means. The American people have spoken ... let's just hope and pray for a more informed electorate in the next election. And if an informed people arrive at the same conclusions: so be it.

God Bless our Democratic Republic!

What's in a Christmas Card?

It's that time of year again, when we all start thinking about Christmas cards. I really look forward to this time of year, because it is the one time of year when I get to hear from all of my family and friends. I just love reading all of the letters and seeing all of the photos!

I do wish that more people would take the time to write a short note or letter to include with their card though, but  if I get a card that just has a name signed at the bottom: I say to myself "Praise God! They are alive and well enough to send out cards and they thought of me/our family. " Even though, I would still really love to hear their news.

Contrary to popular belief: I don't find Christmas letters annoying and I don't think that they are "brag" letters. I think that Christmas is the one time of year when people actually force themselves to take the time to slow down, sit down, and think about what wonderful things have happened to them and their families throughout the course of the year. And often times writing one letter -- that can be mechanically reproduced -- is easier than handwriting a note in each and every card, especially if you have a lot of cards to send out.

How SAD for those who get green with envy when they read a Christmas letter and as a cover-up for their own inadequacy they resort to calling the letters "brag" letters!

I have an Aunt, on my husband's side of the family, call my Christmas letter a "BRAG" letter -- among other things -- one year, and it really hurt my feelings at first. Ken and I had just struggled so much to put ourselves through college.  It was nice to finally to be moving ahead and reaping the rewards of our hard work, so we wanted to share. Well this Aunt really hurt my feelings and I began to think that maybe others truly did see our Christmas letter as bragging, so I didn't do a Christmas letter the next year.  Shortly thereafter, everyone was calling and emailing me asking if Ken and I were doing okay?  And where was my letter?  It turns out that everyone missed hearing our news. So now, I will include a Christmas letter with my Christmas card and if people take it the wrong way: that is just their own problem --NOT MINE! They can throw my letter away for all I care.  They don't have to read it if it bothers them.

As for my husband's Aunt, I realize now that she has a lot of hate, hurt, and anger that are her own issues and not mine. I refuse to take that on. So she is simply no longer on our Christmas list for a letter. I hope that she works out her issues so that she can find her own peace, healing, and happiness.

I have one friend who sketches out her family's Christmas letter with stick figures and multiple choice questions that are just hilarious. How creative! We always look forward to seeing how unique her letter will be each year.

So if you can, put a little effort into it this year! Put something out there about you and your family ... make a personal connection. Dare to go a step beyond just signing and addressing your card.  You'd be surprised how much this effort reaches out and really connects you to your friends and family.

And for those of you who have the time, energy, and presence of mind to actually write a personal note to each and every person on your list: God Bless You! And more power to you!

Happy Christmas Card composing  =)


Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Don't Let the Media Determine the Election Outcome

I think that the election of 2000 was a real eye-opener for all of us! The media had called the election in favor in Al Gore: "It's over they declared." This bold proclamation was made despite the fact that the polls had yet to close on the west coast and only preliminary numbers were in for most of the rest of the country.

This message that "it was over" prompted many people to figure that their vote didn't matter anymore, and thousands of people didn't vote because of this arrogant media proclamation.
The country was in for a rude awakening the next morning when the media had to eat their earlier evening proclamation. It wasn't over: it was still undecided!!

I hope that the lesson of 2000 hasn't faded into the background, now 6 long years later. The media is out there again with their experts, analysts and polling with renewed fervor and intensity ... But keep in mind, all of the mainstream media numbers are just best guesses and predictions of what could occur. What actually occurs is up to average citizens like you and me!

Don't give these media corporations power by letting their predictions determine whether, or HOW you vote. Your vote belongs to YOU, and how YOU vote is entirely up to you.

It truly is "not over until the fat lady sings" and we, the American people -- not the American mainstream media -- vote and every vote is counted! So go VOTE!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

The "Lost" Craze ... Or Just Plain Craziness?

Yes, I am married to a "Lost" addict. I have brother who is one as well. To be frank, I can't stand the show! But I am subjected to it, each and every week, as my husband religiously watches the program -- wish getting him to attend church on Sundays was as regular as his viewing of this show.

At best, "Lost" is just plain terrible writing. It seems as if the writers keep flip-flopping on the direction they want to take the show so as to not disappoint the dwindling fans that they've been trailing along with their big carrot for 2+ seasons now.

I have another theory: the whole show is a government -- or private corporation -- scientific experiment to identify key personality types and traits of those unique individuals who will continue to watch the show, season after season, as the show continues to painfully twist and turn without ever delivering any tangible explanations for what the island is, who the "others" are and why they are there. Nor does there appear to be any consistent sense of direction as to where the show is heading. Maybe these key personality types -- who continue to watch the show -- will make good assassins, or soldiers that "they" can stuff in a cave/hole underground to push a button, or buttons, in the event of a major war on our turf? Sound familiar?

In any event: I am sick and tired of "Lost". I've "lost" my husband every Wednesday evening for an hour, and I want him back. So "Lost" producers, writers, etc. I issue you a challenge:
Enough already! Stand and deliver us something tangible or get LOST!

P.S. I am going to have a "Thank Heavens It's Finally Over!" party at the end of this fiasco!
Want to come?

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Don't Forget to Vote!

As citizens of this great country, the United States of America WE ALL have a duty to:

1) Stay informed and know what the issues are.

2) Know which political candidates currently represent us, who their opponents are, and which candidates best represents the issues that are important to us, our well-being, and the well-being of our country at large.

3) Hold our elected officials accountable by voting and writing to them when we have a concern or are unhappy with their representation of us on key issues.

If you DO NOTHING to act as an engaged citizen of the United States of America: then you have absolutely NO RIGHT to complain about how things are, or are not, going!

The elections are upon us. Read, watch, listen, and act: VOTE!

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Halloween & Happy Decorating!

Well I confronted my "decorating frustration" head-on ... Or perhaps more accurately, I was forced to do so! You see, I committed to having a Halloween party at my house for my children who are at a new school this year. It was supposed to be just my oldest daughter's classmates, their siblings and parents. My other two daughters were supposed to invite a few friends (about 4) each.

Well, my youngest went to school and couldn't contain her enthusiasm: "We're having a party!", she blabbed to all who would listen. And of course, I did not want to become the NEW parent who hurt the uninvited children's feelings -- or their parent's more importantly. So I wound up inviting all three classes: my oldest, middle and youngest daughter's class, for a total of 22 families per class, with grand a total of 66 families!  I wasn't too worried -- trying to remain calm. I told myself to expect about 20-30% turnout from each class. What I got instead was a 75% response and over 150 people, plus all of my extended family and close friends. Crazy right?!

In order to get ready for the party, I have spent the last 4 weeks sanding, painting, staining any and everything in my house ... outside too: the swing set, benches around the yard, and exterior of the house. I painted my formal entry w/2-story walls, upstairs hallways, 1/3 of my formal living, and all of my formal dining which is now a pool hall room. I will admit that I wound up hiring out for the exterior of the house. They did an awesome job at quite a reasonable price. I also let some things go, like replacing a fence and restaining my decks.

The amazing thing was for some reason the "decorating fog" that had been in my head seemed to clear under the pressure and I was able to choose colors and confront the horrific task of painting again. I even found a solution to my half painted kitchen table and chairs: KILLZ. You paint it on over the previous paint -- yes, even glossy -- and it works better than sanding. With KILLZ, a one-hour dry time, and 2 coats red paint per chair: I was able to finish my table & chairs half-done project in just days. And it really worked!

I also found that painting itself wasn't so bad with no kids running amuck underfoot -- they're all in school now, and I work from home -- and the right tools. I found a great tool called the "Paint Stick." It sucks up the paint in a big medicine-like syringe and disperses it evenly to your attachment of choice (i.e., roller, edger, foam pad). It was amazing: virtually no splatter! And if you actually read the book, you see that you can flush out unused paint right back into your can -- otherwise you waste quite a bit ... especially with the roller attachment. Another nice feature is that with the length of the stick you get added reach, so that in normal rooms you don't even need a ladder.

Having this Halloween Party dead-line FINALLY gave the excuse I needed to put something important to ME first for a change. It gave me focus too, so that I could make color decisions, etc. So my advice is: 1) force yourself to have a real dead-line; 2) have the right tools for the job (i.e, Paint Stick and KILLZ); 3) prioritize and decide which things can wait until a later date; and 4) know when to call in the pros.

We just had our party, this past Saturday, and the house looked great. Everyone seemed to have fun. Now I can sit back and enjoy my "new" home. At some point, I'll tackle the rest of my unfinished projects with my newfound decorating confidence. Happy Decorating!

P.S. Also found a good quick and inexpensive photo editing tool at CVS Pharmacy -- easy to use too ... no experience required. I scanned in all of my Italy trip (nearly 10 years ago when they didn't have photo CD's) church/architectural photos, adjusted brightness & contrast, cropped and printed enlarged versions (5 x 7) of 14 photos for only $26.00 in under an hour. Then, I choose my 12 favorite prints -- from my home PC photo CD -- from our recent trip to the ocean. I edited and printed those out in black and white as well -- my home photo printer does color great, but does black&white lousy ... so watch for that when you buy a printer, if black & white is important to you. My 5-year old is overjoyed when she looks at our black wall frame, in the den, and sees familiar faces smiling back at her. : )

Friday, October 13, 2006

Christ's TRUE PEACE!

Something about my entry on the Pope's September 12th speech has been bothering me, and I've finally figured it out. In that entry I said "I sincerely don't think He [God] prefers [one way of worshiping Him] one way to another."

What bothers me about that is how sad for those who don't know Jesus! I call upon Jesus daily in many conversations throughout the day. I give him my fears and worries. I ask His advice. I ask for His help and strength where I am weak. I thank Him for all that He does for me and my family in our daily lives. And I feel joy and comfort in His presence. I couldn't imagine a world without Jesus to turn to!

It says in the Bible that the only way into Heaven is through Jesus. And that may be true, but that is for God to decide and not me or any of us. So by my quote above: I do not judge others in their choice of way to worship God. There are many different Christian ways of worship as well.

I think that we need to stop judging and criticizing our different ways of worship. Let us just show others who Jesus is by the way we live our lives and by witnessing to the power He has in our lives to make us whole and to feel TRUE PEACE in a world that -- at times -- seem to have gone mad.

All we can do is share our knowledge of Jesus with others -- by our words and actions -- planting the seeds of faith, and then let Jesus touch their hearts. I think that's what we are here on Earth to do. And in these times of war, conflict, and terrorism: I don't think that just "being a good person" is enough anymore! We need to act daily with our whole being to witness to the power of God in our lives, to share Jesus with others, and to make the world a better place in little ways each and every day. There is a bigger war going on here: a spiritual war for our very souls and every little thing that we do DOES make a huge difference!

So think about that as you get angry at the person who just cut you off on the highway. Smile at the person who frowns at you as you walk down the street. Pray for the safety of our children and truly love and help one another!

Those that have been shown Christ and choose not to accept Him may have to answer to God, but that is for Him and not any of us to decide.

May Christ's TRUE PEACE be with each of you who reads this. May He inspire you to live more fully in His name and to share Him with those who you come into contact with on a daily basis. Amen.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Kids Say the Darndest Things!

Every parent has experienced that moment when your kid repeats something that you weren't even aware that they saw or heard. I've had many of these over the years. Kids never cease to totally amaze me!

Here is my latest:
My eldest daughter had to write a personal narrative for her school English paper. She chose to write about our vacation this summer. In her first draft she wrote every little detail of the trip including:

"We had breakfast the next morning at the hotel buffet while my mom stayed in bed and ordered room service."

I had to laugh! I don't usually eat breakfast, as it upsets my stomach early in the morning. So as we were on vacation: my husband offered to take the girls to eat breakfast in order to give me a chance to have some coffee and put my make-up on/fix hair without a three ring circus going on in the small room.

But to see it through a kid's eyes? How funny!

I can only imagine what her teacher must think of me now? Slacker mom? Luckily, the above observation didn't make it into her final draft. Whew! : )

Share some of your embarrassing moments with me in the comments section below (click "comments" below to enter). I'd love to hear some other stories! : )

Thursday, September 21, 2006

You Are What You Spell?

My husband is a spelling fanatic! He's always looking over my shoulder as I write, pointing out my numerous spelling errors. He says: "You are what you write!" It is annoying and unnerving! I now have major spelling anxiety and couldn't spell correctly if I tried!

I wish he would just give me a break and let me compose first and spell/grammar check later. I'm an engineer and spelling is not my forte, okay? Sometimes my brain just goes faster than my hands can keep up with!

I felt just terrible about my spelling anxiety until my wise brother sent this email to me. I read it start to finish, in a matter of seconds, without stopping to pause or question a word one time. And now I don't feel so bad about not being perfect at my spelling the first time around. Hopefully, this new-found knowledge will help my spelling anxiety and yours -- if you have it too!

Read it for yourself and see what you think : ) ...

Read the following paragraph:

Yuo'd thnik olny srmat poelpe cluod aulaclty raed tihs:

I bet taht cnanot blveiee taht you aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht yur'oe
rdanieg. Boehld the phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid, aoccdrnig to
a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr
the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist
and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses
and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm.

Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by
inedpndetnely, but the wrod as a wlohe. Amzanig huh? Yaeh, and I
awlyas tghuhot slpeling was ipmorantt!

Happy Spelling!

P.S. The kids and I have a new name for my spelling fanatic husband "Mr. Spelling Bee".

12/06/2009 Lauren's 'CSI' Science Project Report ...

Just helped Lauren type up her Science 'CSI' project report. She still hunts and pecks, so I had her write it and then I typed it up in five short minutes -- my fingers should be registered weapons, no? ; )

Anyway, I don't remember my 6th grade science class being this much fun. Times have surely changed?! Now, if every science class was this much fun we'd have kids trampling one another to be science majors in college! Seriously ... check this out ... tres cool ...

The Case of the Missing Hard Drive
By, Lauren C.

Five suspects and one missing hard drive. Could this be the work of two suspects? Or just one? How can we be sure? Well, with the evidence my group and I have gathered, we have concluded that the evidence points to Violet and Kevin. The powders, the liquids, the ink, and the metal all point to them, as I will show in the subsequent paragraphs.

First of all, there were 7 metals in all and the crime scene evidence was not magnetic. Kevin had a tin screwdriver and Violet had a zinc hammer. Our group verified that both the tin hammer and the zinc screwdriver are not magnetic by using the magnetism test.

Secondly, we tested the liquids to see what temperature they boiled at. The crime scene evidence boiled at 66 C. Violet's Isopropyl alcohol boiled at 70 C, and the isopropyl alcohol smells similar to the crime scene liquid. The similar smell along with the nearly the same boiling point -- only a 4 degree difference, which is within a reasonable margin of error -- are evidence that Violet's liquid is the most similar to the crime scene liquid.

Our third test was a vinegar test. The crime scene powder did not react to the vinegar test at all. We found that Violet's Epsom salt also did not react to the vinegar test and neither did Kevin's Epsom salt. The no reaction to the vinegar test, for both Violet and Kevin's powders, along with the fact that both Kevin and Violet had Epsom salt show that we have two suspects and not just one lone suspect.

Our fourth test was a chromatography test on the ink. This chromatography test showed that the crime scene evidence faded to black, then purple, then blue, then yellow. Kevin's ink demonstrated the same chromatography pattern as the crime scene evidence. This proves that the pen used in the crime was Kevin's paper mate pen.

Finally, the hair evidence showed that we are dealing with two different suspects, working together to commit the crime. This is because the hair samples were each unique and not identical strands of the same hair. And why would someone bother to write a note to themselves? It just doesn't make sense. Two suspects had to have been trying to communicate with one another.

In conclusion, the metal test, the vinegar test, the presence of two unique strands of hair, and a note all support the theory of two suspects working together to commit this crime: Violet and Kevin. The liquid test clearly identifies Violet as a suspect. The Chromatography test clearly identifies Kevin as a suspect. Therefore, our team names Violet and Kevin as the suspects in this computer hard drive crime. We recommend that the police investigate immediately in order to ensure that the missing hard drive may still be recovered.


My attempt at poetry ... a bit unconventional ... but I'm new to this ... these words come from my heart ... from my present and past lives ... temporarily assembled here (in no particular order) for ABinsolitude : )

'The Angel of Death', By Evelyn Pickering De Morgan
(Image Courtesy of

@September 2009, Copyrighted Poem.  All Rights Reserved:  Isabelle Black Smith.

The Unexpected Angel

Death is not dark. He is not cold, nor is he evil. On the contrary, Death is quite simply misunderstood. No faceless, black robed, sickle bearing demon is he. Death has a face, and a rather handsome one at that. And though his countenance does not bear signs of age, his eyes are filled with the wisdom of ages; for Death has witnessed the rise and fall of many once great nations.

Death does not set about his task with joy nor malice, as fable and legend would have the world believe. No indeed, Death has a warm and gentle, almost tender, nature. His compassion is beyond measure, for he has personally borne the pain of every soul ever placed into his charge. Death takes no twisted pleasure in his work, but neither would he ever trust his many charges to the care of another.

Death is harbinger to weary bodies and souls, and protector of the innocent who seem to have been taken from this life before their time. He lovingly guides the way between this life portal and the next.

Death is the keeper of the Door to Rebirth. His shouldering the burden of that heavy door gives birth to the possibility of growth for the soul and the hope of eventual enlightenment for all souls.

Death heals the broken-hearted, by mercifully laying unrequited loves to rest. His act of kindness grants peace to those held in the cruel grasp of unrelenting pain, giving the heart leave to be open to new possibilities and the hope of experiencing love once again.

Death can give us wings. Like a butterfly's chrysalis, Death provides us a safe space, in his loving embrace, where we are allowed to fall completely apart so as to emerge once again, rebuilt anew, stronger and wiser in this life.

And so, hopefully, you now see that Death is many things: Guide and Protector, Father, Healer and Lover ... none of which are to be feared, but instead should rather be revered. I wonder, could it not be said that Death has perhaps the biggest heart of us all?

@September 2009, Copyrighted Poem.  All Rights Reserved:  Isabelle Black Smith.

'Hope', By George Frederic Watts
(Image Courtesy of

@September 2009, Copyrighted Poem.  All Rights Reserved:  Isabelle Black Smith.

A Truth of sAges

Hands and feet, these may be bound.

And voices can eventually be beaten into submission.

The heart, the mind and the soul, however, these remain wild and free only ever belonging just to me.

Thus empowered, know that the eye that is me will prevail.

@September 2009, Copyrighted Poem.  All Rights Reserved:  Isabelle Black Smith.

Song: 'Hope', By Rush


For the past three nights I have had the strangest dream. Each night, after the dream, I would awaken after only a few hours sleep, at exactly 4:22 a.m. WST. Last night, after awakening, I decided to write about what I had dreamt. So regarding my the post of a few days ago, about soul mates, here goes: (Keep in mind that I wrote this at 4:22 a.m., after just three hours of sleep. It may need some further refining at some point.)

@August 2009, Copyrighted Poem.  All Rights Reserved:  Isabelle Black Smith.

The Hunter's Moon
As I lay in silent darkness, exhausted from the endless flood of tears, sleep stole silently upon me, flying me away to the land of peace and possibilities.

He placed me high upon a lone cloud, in an indigo sky lit by dancing rays of the Hunter's moon. There, I quietly sat upon my privileged perch, listening and admiring the beauty of the universe surrounding my weary soul. Secure in the knowledge that somehow, however unworthy I felt, my soul was a part of something bigger and more profound than me.

I dared not ask why I had been chosen for such an honor, for fear it would just as quickly fade away. Instead, I sat quietly gazing out in awe at the wonder of marvelously abundant works of our Creator. As I communed with this sleepy world of brilliant stars, each one ripe with infinite possibilities, almost close enough to reach out and touch with my tired, trembling hand:
peace and comfort warmed my soul.

Then, just as mysteriously as my arrival in this celestial sphere, the sound of glistening stars, each one singing her quiet song, suddenly retreated leaving me momentarily afraid and alone in a sea of silence. I sat trembling in the echoes of silence, unsure of what was to happen next. But then, a familiar voice called out to me and the fear began to beat its slow retreat, like that of a lingering ocean tide. Looking eagerly about, I searched to find a face for the voice, that I somehow knew so well, but try as I might, there was to be no gazing upon his face, nor knowing of his name. I could but hear his sensuous and familiar melodic voice as he spoke my name, "Michelle".

And he beckoned me, "Hold up your hand, my love." So I raised my trembling hand, reaching out with hope into what seemed the nothingness of space beyond. And as I extended my arm to its farthest point, the trembling stopped, for I felt his gentle touch upon my hand and the warmth of our reunited souls too long since parted. As we touched, I knew simply this: that I was not alone. Here under the knowing gaze of the Hunter's moon, I had at long last found
my better half.

As to whether, or not, we shall ever, in body, meet here in the waking realm: I know not. It is, however, a possibility that gives me hope. Perhaps we have already met, while walking aimlessly down a neighboring street? Perhaps he is the one who used to sleep next to me, his soul having masqueraded in insolent youth, now awakened to truth, finding instead an old fractured soul on the mend. Perhaps it was the touch of some being not of this earthly world. But even if only in the land of peace and possibilities are we ever to meet again, it is enough for me to just have hope once again.

@August 2009, Copyrighted Poem.  All Rights Reserved:  Isabelle Black Smith.

'Luna', By Evelyn Pickering DeMorgen
(Image courtesy of

So that's it. Any thoughts? I don't usually sleep, and hence, I rarely dream. Is this real? Or just imagination and longing? Who was behind the voice in the dream? I guess ... I've got to figure that out ...

"To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven; A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck that which is planted." [Ecclesiastes 3:1+]

I have to remind myself of this when I am going through difficult times ...  
My 11 year-old -- little genius, too wise for her age -- asked me the other day: "Where are all the good men dead? In the heart or in the head?" She got this from the movie 'Grosse Pointe Blank' -- one of my favorites. At the young, innocent age of 11, it seems she already has formed her opinion: 'they're dead in the heart.' Why do you think that is? I asked. She replied: 'because they aren't taught to be alive in the heart.' But, she rationalizes that is okay with her because, she says, quite simply: 'I couldn't live with a stupid man.' Neither, can I, I guess? Maybe we need to do more, as a culture and society, to teach men not only how to be alive in the heart, but that it's okay to be alive in the heart.

9/3/09 Thoughts on a bad day ...

@August 2009, Copyrighted Poem.  All Rights Reserved:  Isabelle Black Smith.

The Looking Glass

I have no need of looking glass.
I have but to look into your loving eyes
to see the truest reflection of me.
For is not a love, reflected through the union of two souls,
the surest measure of a love that sings true?

Alas upon awakening this morn,
I found my heart heavy with burden.
For I had finally come to accept,
that even though we had once sworn,
somehow our once true love had been torn.

Now when I look into your empty eyes
I no longer see myself.
Through tears of infinite sorrow,
I wonder if, in truth, I ever really did.
Do you see yourself in me?

The grown-up in me thinks that perhaps
my measure is yet another silly truth,
too long since carried from days of foolish youth.
And thus, my last remaining illusion shatters;
now, I too can close empty eyes
and resign myself to the path
that my feet were set upon so very long ago.

And thus with shattered looking glass:
nothing in my life worth reflecting shall ever more come to pass.

Yet the silly child in me still, somehow, foolishly clings to hope...

@August 2009, Copyrighted Poem.  All Rights Reserved:  Isabelle Black Smith. 

'Meeting on the Turret Stair', By Frederick William Burton
(Image courtesy of

12/4/09   Evolution of poem ... they're never ever really done ... always changing, shifting, evolving ...

@December 2009, Copyrighted Poem.  All Rights Reserved:  Isabelle Black Smith.

Willow's Whisper

Have I made you cryHave I awoken once sleepy eyes?

Perhaps, I've made you smile? Shared something that's made your visit here worthwhile?

Come then, and stay with me awhile under peaceful shade of the willow tree, here in my secret garden. Tell me of your hopes, your dreams ... your inner most desires. What would it take to set your world on fire?

Promise me that one day I'll find, in me, the voice to sing again ... that this happiness might never end ...

I breathe you in and close my eyes.  A tear of joy wells up inside, and with a whisper I wish us away, on willow's wings, to the place where Majestic Day bends to sweetly kiss Serene Night.  A place where all is momentarily right in the world, as in the celestial heavens far above.  A place where my love for you is sacred and not a given.

Yet the hour draws swiftly to its close.  Reality returns.  Sadly, I must let you go. With parting kiss on shade of tear stained lips, I bid you a silent farewell. Until we meet again: know that in my heart that I still call you friend.

@December 2009, Copyrighted Poem.  All Rights Reserved:  Isabelle Black Smith.

Song:  'Happiness', By the Fray

'Immortality', By Henri Fantin-Latour
(Image Courtesy of

"Faith, Hope and Love ... but the greatest of these gifts is Love ..." 1 Corinthians 13:13

@Copyrighted Poem: December 2009. All Rights Reserved: Isabelle Black Smith.


"I was never yours to own ... nor you mine to possess. We are only borrowers of each other for our short time here: A blink of an eye in the sea of eternity. What then is immortal? ... All my love, now and forever." ~Isabelle

"What then is Immortal?"

I am nameless ...
I am faceless ...
Faith and Hope are my kin ...

Hope is but a dreamer and while Faith may move mountains: I move men. Tis true, I have moved many a man to brave and noble deeds. Yes, some to even truly amazing feats! And yet, sadly I lament, others I have unwittingly moved to their defeat; For Passion, masquerading as me, has brought many once great men swiftly and humbly to their knees. Passion, however, is merely a jealous sibling rival to me ... a desperate imitator, want-to-be of the true me.

It is said by wise, divinely inspired men, that I am ‘patient, gentle and kind’ ... that I ‘bear all things’. Noble and honest sentiments indeed we'd be agreed; Had I a face, you might just find me crimson of shade, but I digress ... For not all happen to agree with this naming noble disposition you see. These skeptics often lash out at me in wild lament, claiming that I am but the bearer of unbridled torment. Their justification? That I am a cruel and unrelenting master when I refuse to meet a match; For though I am freely given: I am not always well received. Therein, perhaps, lies the folly of man ...

In my defense, I claim to be no master of any sort. I am simply here to inspire and nothing more. I am a potential within all beings ... some more so than others … but the will, the desire to act is not within the scope of my power. Nor is control of the quickly waning hour; For so often, I am all a matter of timing. Hence, much is left to chance ... unlikely, serendipitous circumstance.

Now I make my final stance before our parting glance … for surely, you have my name? ... Despite the arguments leveled against me above: I am what I am and what I am is … (xxxx) … A whisper of hope carried upon the mystic winds for all mankind. And all in all, I’d have to say that the world is a better place because of, rather than in spite of me. Do you, perchance, agree? I wonder: does the latter not, to some small degree, make me immortal?

A moment before you answer and pray do ponder this: can you even begin to imagine a world without me?

@Copyrighted Poem: December 2009. All Rights Reserved: Isabelle Black Smith.

Painting: "Immortality", By Henri Fantin-Latour.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

"In God We Still Trust"

My sister just sent this music to me and it is truly wonderful!  So uplifting and moving.  It definitely awakens the patriot in you!

For anyone who still truly believes we, as Americans, are indeed "One Nation under God, indivisible ... with liberty and justice for all ", this song will make your heart swell.  As you listen, you'll feel proud to be an American and to believe in the God who allows to be such a wonderful, diverse country and still be one of the world super-powers able to shape and effect change in the world, for the better, on a global scale when necessary.

So without further adieu, here is the amazing song for you to have listen ...

"March, 2005, this song was performed at a Diamond Rio concert. They received an immediate standing ovation, and continue to do so every time they perform it! Sadly, major radio stations wouldn't play it because it was considered politically incorrect. Consequently, the song was never released to the public. If this song speaks to your heart, share it with friends and loved ones. Then let us cease being the silent majority and join together -- not as a particular political party, but as Americans!"

God Bless America!

6/7/2013  Saw this post pop-up in my stats listing.  Apparently the above song is no longer available for listening, but I checked and you can find the song on ... If you're interested in hearing it.  Contrary to what you might think --per my more recent posts-- I am still a Christian ... I am just not an intolerant or a judgmental one, not that I have ever been intolerant or judgmental:  I am just now finding my own voice --this past year or so-- to speak out against the latter negative --yet somehow, still widely accepted--  aspects of "Christianity" as I do not find these traits to be truly of Christ or Christian in nature.  To my way of thinking Jesus was all about Peace, Love and Understanding, traits which run counter to the very nature of intolerance and judgment.  As Christians we should lead by example ... love, nurture and care for others in need unconditionally.  From what I have witnessed in my own personal life, it is this "unconditional" part that most Christians have trouble with, especially when it comes to resisting the temptation to force one's own moral convictions and personal beliefs upon others that we encounter in life.  In matters of a spiritual nature our choices must be made, felt and truly processed in the heart and mind of each individual for only then can true spiritual enlightenment and advancement of the soul along the path of our journey home to our Creator occur.  The latter meaning simply that fear and coercion --forced or otherwise-- are not instrumental toward the end of spiritual enlightenment and advancement of the immortal soul along our journey home.   I have written several pieces (here in this blog) on contraception and other related topics if you are interested in truly opening your heart and mind in order to consider another valid point of view.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Pope Speech, September 12th to the University of Regensburg

Copyrighted By "What Planet Are You Living On", September 2006

I have read the Pope's speech in its entirety ... just so that I could see -- without media bias - for myself the context in which his controversial quote was made. More on what I think about what the Pope said next login, but for now let me just say this:

Isn't a soul coming to God of his own free-will -- a gift God chose to give to us, when HE above all has the absolute power to command and force our obedience ... yet He chose to give us free-will -- more meaningful to Him? As opposed to a soul that pledges allegiance to God and a particular set of man-made religious ideals out of fear and as a result of violence?

Further, why would God want any of us to use force, fear, and violence to call others to Him? By using force, fear, and violence to call others to God don't we totally dismiss the gift of free-will that He gave to us in the first place?

It says in the Bible that our God is a loving God, slow to anger, and quick to show mercy and forgiveness to all who ask it. Isn't it time that we start showing LOVE, MERCY and FORGIVENESS and tolerance to those who differ in man-made religious ideals and dogma?

God made us a diverse peoples, with different skin colors, languages, gifts & talents, and cultures. It only stands to reason that these different peoples would find different ways to worship and know God. And I sincerely feel that He finds no one way preferable. But I also feel that God IS saddened by those that would overlook His gift of free-will and choose instead to use force, fear, and violence in order to bring followers to His name in-line according to their own narrow-minded --and often rigid-- idealogies.

I think that on some level this was the major point that the Pope was trying to make. Also that we need to keep a dialogue open between various religions, but that a dialogue is impossible with extremist religions that have no tolerance for other religions, and that further resort to violence as the means to spread their version of religion.

I regret that the Pope chose to quote a conversation from some medieval text. I don't think that particular quote was truly needed in order to set the stage for his speech. I think that the Pope could, and should, have found another way to begin his speech and set the stage for his conversation.

The Pope's intent may have been innocent: I think that in his mind, he was simply addressing his fellow theologians. He had just read the text that he quoted, so he felt that it would be appropriate to share the same with his colleagues. I don't think he considered the ramifications, or possible interpretations, of this quote when it would be heard by the general public. That for him, and for all of the millions of Catholics around the globe, is unfortunate: When you are the Pope you can't afford to make statements like this without fully considering the possible ramifications and interpretations.

The above being said,  I hope that there can be forgiveness and that the violence against innocent Catholics can stop. Let Islam be the "bigger man" in this instance and lead by example not by violence. Prove this very controversial quote wrong and simply do not respond with violence!
Here is the quote to the actual speech text. Read and decide for yourself: (Not currently working ... the Vatican isn't allowing blogger servers to connect to its website.)

Copyrighted By "What Planet Are You Living On", September 2006

What Makes You Happy?

Let me get my tea and ponder this for me ... What makes me happy?

Music ... music is the rhythm of life.  I could not endure a life void of music.

A cup of tea, sipped in quiet moments of peace ... Like this one.

Seeing butterflies swoop gracefully through my backyard garden, in their spectacular array of colors and sizes. It's like getting a kiss from heaven for my garden each time one lands.

Seeing our neighborhood cardinal family enjoy our backyard trees, bushes and birdbath.
Seeing my children's excitement at spotting the cardinals or butterflies.

Hearing the neighborhood doves sing their melodious cooing songs, often times perched on the sill right outside my bedroom window.

Seeing a new flower unfold and breathe to life in my garden. Seeing a lizard scurry through my garden.

Watching my children smile from ear-to-ear as they swing -- almost high enough to touch the sky -- on the swing set that Daddy made just for them.

Hearing my husband open the door in the evenings upon his return from work and getting/giving him a big hug.

The smell of the morning dew on the lawn and bushes and the sun gently touching the sky in the early mornings.  Witnessing heaven's glorious kiss upon the earth at sunset.

Not having to do dishes at night -- thanks for yesterday Ken! Not having to cook every night -- great dinner last night Ken!

Having my husband serenade me with his guitar & vocals.  Maybe one of these days I'll be able to sing along?

Playing Backgammon, Mancala, or Pinochle with my husband.  Chess is too competitive for Ken.

The smell of a fresh pot of coffee in the morning. I LOVE coffee ... my one vice.

Hearing news and getting photos from family, friends, and loved ones.

Watching old movies ... need to do this more often!  Curling up with a good book and escaping into strange and foreign lands.

Driving our new car (SUV) after waiting years to finally buy it..

Having a clean house ... especially when I don't have to clean it ; )

Sharing a bottle of wine with someone I love, especially when it is accompanied by a jar of exquisite olives.

That's all I can think of for now. Take some time to think for YOU!
And remember:"If you never had a bad cup of coffee: how would know when you had a good one?" ~ Me 2004

( What's he story behind this quote?:
My husband can't stand it when I make the coffee. Why? Because I refuse to measure the grounds out. I figure each brand and blend is different so one measure doesn't work for all across the board. I prefer to eye-ball the grounds in the filter and if it feels right I go with it. My husband, Ken, can't stand this! He never knows what kind of cup of coffee he is going to get. : )

He used to try to get me to measure the grounds using arguments of logic and reason which my method defies. He would ask me repeatedly: "Why do you insist on doing it your way?!" And ... One day I found the words and simply replied: "It let's me know that I'm alive. Besides, if you never had a bad cup of coffee: how would know when you had a good one?"

Now Ken has come around and I think he actually enjoys the surprise on the days that I make the coffee. : )- )

'Amoretta and Time, In the Garden of Adonis'

11/7/09  You found me!  My new Secret Garden ... this is #4. 

It is a dark day for me today, but I am going to force myself out into it.  We have a sitter coming and are going to go out with other couples -- for a change -- this evening.  We are going to a place with loud live music and very little lighting, so I won't have to do much talking.  I am a wonderful listener anyway ... 

11/8/09 Dinner out last night was nice.  Great band ... jazz and blues ... not my absolute favorite, but still enjoyable.  The band did a Louis Armstrong song that is one of my favorites:  'What a Wonderful World'.  Wish they would have done 'Bye, Bye Blackbird' ... that was Armstrong too, right?  The drummer held a trumpet and sang in raspy voice that actually came quite close to old  "Sachmo" ... not quite, but darn close.  As I'm finally over this flu stuff, I was able to have a glass of wine ... Pinot Noir ... one of my favorites ... yum. 

I came home too wired to sleep, so I took a hot bath and read for a few hours -- till 2:30 a.m. ... early for me.  I don't have much time to read during the day, but late at night many good books keep me company.  One of the books that I am reading right now -- one of eight -- is a very fascinating book on philosophy -- Ken says I wasted my electives in college on philosophy, history and political science ... but I disagree.  I am at a section of the book that is delving into the man behind the works of Francis Bacon.  What an interesting life he seems to have led.  Books are a weakness for me ... I have way too many ... I read way too many at one time ... etc., etc.  I used to feel bad about not finishing some books, but then again some books just aren't worth finishing ... Anyway, as I'm reading last night I came across a quote from Bacon that sums up books rather nicely:  "[In books] we converse with the wise, as in action with fools." [That is if we know how to select our books] "Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested."

I had to resort to sleeping pills --finally -- in order to sleep.  Hate to do that, but sometimes the sleeping pills are a necessary evil.  A dark day gave way to dark dreams as I had feared.  I awoke this morning with sore feet from running through a nightime misty wood in bare feet.  I felt as if I had actually twisted my ankle and I had an unexplainable bruise on right arm.  The rest of the dream?  Well, that will have to wait for another day ... and even then, it may just be too dark and personal to share.

11/9/09  Everyone I know is on Facebook?!  I just don't quite get that ... the willingness to put so much about your life out there and then attach your name and where you live?  Must just be my not trusting nature, but I will never do Facebook as ME.  That being said, I feel so out of the loop ... not enough to sucumb to the pressure of opening an account in my actual name ... but just for the hell of it, I set up an account under an alias ... just to see if I could do that.  It worked, so now I've sent messages to my friends and we'll see what it is like to be inside the loop for a change -- probably not much different, I suspect.

It's just funny that we, as a society, today have so many tools that enable us to be connected, and yet people actually spend less time TRULY communicating because they are always on-line uploading photos and writing snippets for their photos and daily entries .... or they're texting (I absolutely do not get texting!)... instead of picking up the phone and calling, visiting, or even doing that archaic thing known as emailing.

I admit that I do spend some time on my blog ... but I try to limit my time on-line to under 15-20 min. a shot -- hence my many typos and re-edits -- and only as I find free time throughout the day (e.g., lunch and late in the evenings ... on rare ocassions early mornings).  For me, my blog is a sort of therapy.  It lets me vent so that I can be a better mom and an approachable wife.  Is that so bad?

As for connecting?  Well maybe it's just over-rated?  Maybe it's (Facebook and the like) just an illusion of connecting ... an illusion of who we really are?  As long as I have my health, my children and family ... and, of course, my books: I'm happy.  Easy to please, no?  Besides, my elusiveness allows me to retreat without suspicion during dark times ...  and during times of deep introspection.  There are times when I long for a deeper connection, but they are fleeting and quickly pass ... guess that's just who I am.  No point in trying to change it now ...

P.S.  p.m. ... I'm on facebook now, under my alias ... I finally was able to see photos of my nephews 1st birthday -- they weren't sent out to those out of the loop (me!) because EVERYONE else is already on Facebook.  My nephew turned 1 in September!  I still haven't seen photos of either of my sisters' new homes ... but I have hope now.  : )  And its been almost a year since I've seen any photos of another dear friend from high school and her daughter who is now almost 3 -- last photo I saw of her:  she had not yet turned two!  So it feels good to be 'in the loop' ... Facebook seems a strange animal?  I'm guessing I have a lot to learn ...

11/10/09  Ken and I had fun last night playing guitar together.  I play flute and just play around on the guitar for fun.  Ken has had many years with a college educated music major so he is FAR, FAR superior.  He's helping me learn some new stuff, and I have found the patience to let him teach me.  It was fun ... good to spend time together doing something we both love ... music ... and laughing ... mostly at me and how horrible I sound?!  But I get an A for effort.  Look out Jimi Hendrix:  I'll have 'Purple Haze' down in no time at this rate.  I'm smiling again ...

I've thought more about why I hesitate to let others in ... watching the memorial service for the thirteen fallen soldiers at Ft. Hood, I felt such an overwhelming pain for those that had tragically, and so unexpectedly, lost their lives ... especially the expectant mother ... and for their loved ones left behind.   I definitely have the gift of empathy ... but maybe, aside from not trusting others -- due to my past abuse -- I keep others at a distance in an effort to protect myself from having to feel too much for others because it can be overwhelming for me?  Definitely something toexplore in therapy when I return from my travels.

Some parting thoughts:  Aristotle's take on the character of a man ... Read for yourself and see ... do you, perchance, agree with Aristotle?

"He does not expose himself needlessly to danger, since there are few things for which he cares sufficiently; but he is willing, in great crises, to give even his life, --knowing that under certain conditions it is not worth while to live.  He is of a disposition to do men service, though he is ashamed to have a service done to him.  To confer a kindness is a mark of superiority; to receive one is a mark of subordination ... He does not take part in public displays ... He is open in his dislikes and preferences; he talk and acts frankly, because of his contempt for men and things ... He is never fired with admiration, since there is nothing great in his eyes.   He cannot live in complaisance with others, except it be a friend; complaisance is the characteristic of a slave ... He never feels malice, and alway forgets and passes over injuries .. He is not fond of talking ... It is no concern of his that he should be praised, or that others should be blamed.  He does not speak evil of others, even of his enemies, unless it be to themselves.  His carriage is sedate, his voice deep, his speech measured; he is not given to hurry, for he is concerned about only a few things; he is not prone to vehemence, for he thinks nothing very important.  A shrill voice and hasty steps come to a man through care ... He bears the accidents of life with dignity and grace, making the best of his circumstances, like a skilful general who marshals his limited forces with all the strategy of war ... He is his own best friend, and takes delight in privacy whereas the man of no virture or ability is his own worst enemy, and is afraid of solitude."

11/11/09   I wonder ... if you were unaware that you had, in fact, lost something:  would you recognize it, if it found you?

11/12/09  Much to do before I can leave here and travel to Texas.  The pantry and fridge must be restocked, with easy to fix meals in mind.  All laundry must be washed and folded.  The bathrooms cleaned, etc., etc. ... And as I tackle this mountain of 'TO Dos', I do so knowing that chaos will probably reign supreme while I am gone ... that I will probably have to redo each and every single thing all over again upon my return ... but such is life, eh?  You do what you've got to do ... complaining ... dreading ... feet dragging ... only makes it worse.  I'm 1/3 of the way there already -- to finishing my 'to do' list that is ... not the feet dragging.  Of course, coffee would help my outlook immensely ... just joking ... just wishful thinking ... I have no desire to jump on that addiction wagon again.  My stomach is finally rebounding from ulcers.  So life is good! : )

It will be nice to see my family again.  I was a stressed out MESS last time I saw them, with trying to oversee fix-its on our Texas home (to be put on the FOR SALE housing market), while packing up the last of our possessions (giving or throwing the rest away!) and loading them onto a truck ... which, I had planned to drive by MYSELF (what was I thinking?!) up to our new home in the Pacific Northwest.  But the stress must have gotten to me, because I became sicker than a dog and completely lost my voice.  Try having to direct others, with a sincere interest in helping, when you have NO VOICE?!  So Ken had to fly down and rescue me.  He drove the truck while I slept -- probably just as well ... I am not a fun person to travel with when I am well, bored and confined in a small space.

SO, it will be nice to see my family under less duress this visit.  To actually be able to sit down and have real conversations.  To play with my nieces and nephews -- I love kids ... they keep it real!  I am hopeful that I will get to see two of my friends from my high school days, in England, while I am there as well -- Monica and Eileen.  Needless to say, I am really looking forward to my trip.  Will be strange not to be on call 24/7, but somehow:  I'll manage.  A whole week to myself ... whatever will I do?  Maybe catch up on some much needed sleep.  : )

Received this in the mail today ... a beautiful image.  Fun to imagine being one of these horses ... out for run under a moonlit sky ... plowing through the cool whispy snow ...

Night ... Sweet dreams to you ...    M

11/13/09  So I'm on Facebook now ... under an alias, with a creepy photo and screen name.  My way of making my own subtle protest at being forced into to doing something that I really did not want to do ... but at least I'm in the loop now.  I have a wacky profile to match my alias as well (e.g., Activities:  'Stalking football watching fans and disrupting their game viewing.'... and actually, now that I've done it ... having an alias and being mysterious is rather FUN. : )

I've even  figured out how to chat ... last night -- never really done that before?! ... I've done Skype (live video feed), just not text chat ... like I've said before:  I don't have a lot of patience ... but it wasn't too bad.  Figured out that being able to type a mile a minute is not really condusive to chat, because you never give the other poor person a chance to speak (Sorry Paul!) ... but I'll figure it out eventually.  Funny, because I said that I would never go on Facebook (wrong!) ... said that I'd probably never chat (wrong!) ... and I still say I'll NEVER TEXT (haven't done that one yet though) ... but I guess, that it just goes to show that you should really never say:  NEVER!  It may just come back and bite you ... Go figure?!

It's workout day today ... overdid last time again ... guess I have a lot of latent frustration to work out ... not looking forward to being in pain again, but no pain ... no gain, right?  I'll try not to beat myself up too badly this time ... perhaps I should workout to classical music instead of hard core rock?  : )  Well ... here I go ... have an awesome day and a wonderful weekend.  God Bless!

Workout Music: Break, By Three Days Grace

P.S. A riend of mine (from up here) was in a bad car accident yesterday morning ... on the highway ... on her way to work.  Her car was completely totaled.  Had to cut her out of it.  But thankfully, she was in a well built car -- a Saab.  She is alright ... just banged up ... mild concussion ... sore and stiff ... but she will be alright, THANKFULLY!  It's just really scary ... especially when it hits so close to home.  So you all: BUCKLE UP and drive defensively, PLEASE!  And SLOW DOWN!  Going 5-10 m.p.h. slower might just be the difference between life and death.

11/14/09   I find comfort and solace in books and in writing, but I also find it in music ... hence all of the music footnotes throughout this blog ... [and I have an 8GB MP3 player and a huge playlist on, not to mention numerous CD's  : )].  To me music adds dimension to life, as well as writing. 

'Music', By Edward Burnes Jones (Image courtesy of

Plato says it well ...

"Through music, the soul learns harmony and rhythm and even a disposition to justice ... [posed as a question of truth to Glaucon]: musical training is so powerful, because it finds its way into the secret places of the soul, bearing grace in their movements and making the soul graceful [does it not?]."

... Shifting gears and moving back into life in three dimensions ...

I watched the movie the 'Ugly Truth' last night. It was after 2:00 a.m., and I had already read.  My eyes were tired, so I popped this movie in.  Never made it to see this one in the theater, but after watching it now ... think that that was probably a good thing.  

What can I say about this movie?  ?????????  Well, I think that you could safely classify this movie as a 'chick flick'?  I think, anyway?  To me, the movie did not paint either men, nor women in a favorable light.  And the funny parts?  Well, they just weren't that funny.  Maybe I was just overtired, but the whole movie was just kind of big blur that didn't make a whole lot of sense.  As I'm watching, I'm thinking ... okay, are most women really that shallow and flighty?  Are most men really that caveman-like?  Gee, I sure hope not ... how depressing?!  

The only part of this movie that truly resonated with me was the very end of the movie, where K.H.'s character -- the network TV producer -- says to the Ugly Truth talk segment host, Mike:  "You're in love with me?  Why?"  And Mike replies:  "It beats the HELL out of me."   Then the two kiss, progress to the next level ... and live happily ever after  .... right?  [I get this last part because it sums up my relationship with Ken rather nicely ... that's just the way it is and you have to accept it, or move on.]

One positive thing that came out of this movie for me is that it makes me feel a whole lot better about aging ... because, I figure that the older I get, the less likely it is that I will ever have to worry about this kind of crap (dating) again?!  If something were to happen to Ken, or we were to split:  I think I'd choose to remain SINGLE.  I have NO desire to play the dating game again ... ever.  Takes too much patience these days -- from what I've seen anyway.  I feel for those out there, on the front lines, trying to survive and make it work in the dating game of today.  More power to you (and so glad it's not me out there)! !

So bottom line ... save yourself the $4.99 that it costs to rent to this disaster of a movie ... and spend your valuable time ELSEWHERE.

NEXT TOPIC ... someone asked me why I write my blog ... especially when I name people ... Do I expect that they will see what I write about them?

Answer: NO. They may see it; they may not. To me the latter point is irrelevant. Why? Because, I believe that if I take the time, thought and energy to put the words out there ... that the universe will deliver the good intention to whoever it is that I write about, whether they read what I have written directly or not. And whether that makes sense, or not, to the average persons' 5 basic senses ... that's what I truly believe.

On that note, I'm going on 3 hours sleep here and the words on the are starting to blur together.  Went to Erynn's last soccer this a.m. and Lauren's is later this evening.  I need many, many cups of tea between now and then, so having cleared my head a bit ... I'll sign off now.  Joyful day to you!  Hope its nice weather wherever you are.  It turned bitterly cold here and snowed/hailed last night.  The hail pieces are still intact on the ground even this afternoon ... its that COLD!  : {

11/16/09   I am afraid that my husband's neglect just might be my undoing ...

I still sleep in the music room most nights.  Actually, I shouldn't say sleep ... I should say stay.  But, I did sleep last night ... for awhile ... until I awoke from a very vivid dream ... and let's just say that my husband was not in it.

For some reason, Ken seems to only want me when I am not in the mood.  It's more of a challenge that way? When I am, he's not interested ... hence the mood I went to bed in last night.

Somehow, I will get through this?

P.M.  After a good 1.5 hour workout, and a chat with a friend, I'm feeling grounded again ... I don't know what the future holds ... I don't why things have happened in my life the way they have, but they have.  I'll keep hope and try to do what's best for my family, for my daughters ... but maybe I need to be open to what is a little bit best for me too?  Working on figuring out just what that is ... time away should help my perspective.  Talk to you when I am home again ... Peace ...

11/17/09  Packing ... but as I yawn and rub tired eyes, I think about the recent quote that I posted on my front page:

"No man when conscious attains to true or inspired intuition, but rather when the power of intellect is fettered in sleep or by disease or dementia; the prophet or genius is akin to the madman (Phaedrus, 244)." ~Plato

I smile and laugh ... thinking ... just because one is 'fettered in sleep' doesn't necessarily guarantee genius WILL result ... sometimes just a foggy tired mind is all you get ... : )  ... got COFFEE?

Joyful, joyful day to you ... I am joyful in anticipation of my first vacation -- recent trips to Texas were HARD work! -- away from home since having kids.

11/27/09  I'm home.  Flew home evening before Thanksgiving. 

Hate flying ... not so much the flying, but feeling claustrophobic trapped in the small cabin with all of those people!   It takes a lot for me to stay focused and not flip out, but the Big Guy upstairs watches out for me.  I kid you not, the last 5 times that I have flown now -- in a row -- I have  not had anyone immediately seated next to me.  And this, on relatively full flights (i.e., only 1 or 2 empty seats on the entire plane!).  If I'm in a window and there is no one in the middle:  the ride is not so bad for me.  So thank you God!  Your efforts on my behalf were sincerely appreciated!  : )

Good to be home.  Time away from home and responsibility truly did me good.  I feel refreshed.  When I came home, I found that I had been honestly missed and Ken was glad to see me.  Maybe time away made him realize what life without me would be like?  I've gotten lots of hugs, kisses, and caresses for no apparent reason since being home ... feels like when we first started dating.  Nice: I could get used to this. 

I wonder if men have an inate desire for the thrill of the chase ... maybe a hold over from early caveman days when men were the hunters?  They get bored when the thrill is gone ... or in their minds, they perceive that the thrill is gone?  The kids and routine settles in, and the walls begin to close in?  Well, I've got news for you men ... women feel that way sometimes too!  We may rank security and comfort high on our list of priorities, but we like a little excitement now and then too.  I guess, the key is just finding the way to communicate that to one another?

I was good while I was away ... did not cheat ... I had one opportunity, but it was not too hard to pass up.  I guess that I am a good girl at heart ... even though a BIG part of me wanted NOT to be ... for revenge mostly, I guess and to defy a stereotype that I feel has been forced upon me.  I'm sure that nagging desire to have other experiences will probably rear it's ugly head from time to time, no?  But I'll just deal with those moments as they arise.  For now, I am rested ... have a new perspective ... am happy to be home and have had lots of good lovin' from my husband ... so all is right with the world for now.  We'll see what tomorrow holds ...

11/29/09  I saw that a friend of mine, who initially said that he had doubts as to whether, or not, God even existed ... and if he did exist that 'he was mean mother f_ _ _ _ _', posted a quote from Miraim Williamson on his blog and on his facebook page that referred to the existence of a God, in that we are all children of God with our own inner light.  Wow!  That gives me hope for him.  I won't call him on it though.  Somehow, the right words, messages, and experiences in his personal life are getting through to him.  I'll just smile and continue to pray.  God bless you, Paul.  I am thankful for your insights and your friendship ... you've opened my eyes in many ways as well.  Know that I will be praying for you, your father, and your family especially this upcoming Monday.  I know that the surgery will go well.  Peace and blessings to you.    - M

11/30/09  Dante's 'Inferno' is proving an interesting and challenging read.  Kind of puts the fear of Hell and damnation back into you ... although, truth be told, I have a very different view on what Hell is and is not.  Still, what a fascinating mind the author of this epic poem has ... and perhaps a bit of self righteousness, with a rather large ego, dare I say?  I'm nearly at the end of the 'Inferno' -- reading 7 other books at the same time makes the read go a bit slower ... hard to read at night too (when I do most of my reading), as I have a very vivid imagination and reading this at night sometimes gives me the CREEPS!-- but, I feel compelled, at this point, to read right on to the very end of this 'Divine Comedy' ... though I've not yet seen much comedy in the pain and suffering of others in Dante's contrived Hell?

'Dante Conversing with Farinata degli Uberti', By William Blake (Image Courtesy of

Knowing a bit of history helps ... but I did have to do a bit of background reading on Dante in order to understand some of the people that he (the everyman) meets along his journey through Hell.  I'm learning quite a bit about allegory through this read.  It is also interesting how Dante weaves so much Greek Mythology into his city of Hell. I'll share more as I go along ... wish I knew someone else who was reading this at same time ... would to be FUN converse on.

I am also eager to know more about Dante's beloved Beatrice ...

'Beatrice Addressing Dante', By William Blake (Image Courtey of

Have been giving some thought to events in my life of late and what my future holds.  I had said at one point, near the beginning of summer, that I would consider going to my high school (mulit-year) reunion ... I think now, however, that while I have been able to reconcile and come terms with a lot of things that have happened in my past ... I am not strong enough to physically go back and reconnect with people that were a part of that past.   So, I won't be going to the reunion:  Boston 2010.  I have tried my best to stay connected to those who mattered most to me from that time and that is enough for me.  I'll still pray for those who happen to come to my mind from time to time ... and I'll treasure fond memories of days long since gone ... but any more than that, I am simply not capable of.

P.M.  I am proud of Ken and me.  We came together, as a team, and successfully tackled putting 7 strands of lights on our massive 9 ft. (artificial tree).  Putting lights on the tree is never a fun task, but it has to be done.  I did the tree lights all by myself last year ... and part of me thinks that while it took longer to do the job all alone, that it was easier, in the end, than having to work with Ken.  We both have strong opinions and definite ideas as to how the lights should be put onto the tree. 

Things were dicey at first, but I was determined that putting up the tree was going to be a FUN family  experience this year.  My bad wrist was shot from cleaning out our storage shed (and our last material foothold in the state of Texas) in Texas last week, so I was in no shape to put the lights on all by myself  this year ... and Ken was not about to do the job all alone ... so that meant working together.  When it looked as if we were about to come to blows (verbally speaking), I decided to employ humor in an effort to diffuse the situation ... and to my surprise it worked ... we were soon both laughing and compromising.  Instead of me taking the better part of an afternoon to put the lights on all by myself, the two of us finished the job in under an hour.  Go figure?!  What a great exercise in marital compromise and teamwork.  : ) 

After the lights were up, the kids had fun reminiscing over ornaments that they had made, or selected for purchase ... and then hanging them on the tree.  Nice that the girls are old enough now to reach the higher parts of the tree, so I don't have to rearrange and move everything up -- after they've gone to bed : ).  So we're almost done with tree decorating and it's not even Dec. 1, yet -- a definite first for us!  Tonight we'll put the angel on top of the tree and add the strings of cranberries.  This is Erynn Jeanne's year to place the Angel Gabriel on top of the the Christmas Tree.  God Bless ALL families this time of year as they come together to share, bond, and celebrate this joyous time of year.

We finished 8:300 p.m., Nov. 30, 2009!  Yeah!  : )

Christmas 2009 'mini-miracle'

[Click on image to view album]

A Happy note to end this Secret Garden on.  : )