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my gratitude – to so many

My thoughts  –  as the Year 2010 comes to an end and we enter 2011 – a Blank Sheet – a New Year – a New Beginning –  I’m thinking of the many blessings in my life.  Most especially I’m thinking of the people I love and who have shown love to me – as I continue on This Journey.

There are countless folks who have influenced my life and have inspired me to want to be a better person: my husband, parents, children, grandparents, neighbors, friends  – and sometimes people I met – perhaps only one time and can’t even name – who gave me inspiration and made a difference in my life.

The marvelous folks in our adult Sunday School Class (the Sharers) immediately come to mind as people who truly Live Life and who enrich mine.

My dear dear friends from childhood and school years and young married life – and now – OLD married life . . .  God has truly blessed me with Good People throughout the years.

I am very grateful for all.

Whoever I am, whatever I have become (and am becoming) – in any good way – is mostly because of the influence of  people who exhibited love and warmth and caring and who live lives of worth.  These folks certainly make me want to be better – in every way.  Thanks – to the human angels who have crossed my path and those who continue to bless my life.

God bless you.

You are ever in my prayers.

Looking forward to a New Beginning!

The Year of our Lord

Two Thousand Eleven


My friends and family – The Lord Bless You and Keep You

a toast

I wish you health, I wish you well, and happiness galore.
I wish you luck for you and friends; what could I wish you more?
May your joys be as deep as the oceans, your troubles as light as its foam.
And may you find, sweet peace of mind, where ever you may roam.

The Beauty of the Prayer-Gift

In my prayers, I remember my friends . . . my family . . .  my church . . . and often someone I don’t personally know . . . or a concern that has come to my attention.  I don’t always know what is going on in the lives of those I know casually and sometimes not even those with whom I am intimate; however, I lift them up in prayer.  God knows.  And I am assured that He desires our prayers.

When a friend tells me that I am in his/her prayers, I am heartened and uplifted and feel a closeness – to God and to my friend.

John O’Donohue writes that

It is a lovely gift when a person prays for you.  One of the greatest shelters in your life is the circle of invisible prayer that is gathered around you by your friends here and in the unseen world.  It is a beautiful gift to draw someone into the shelter of your circle of prayer.  When you are going through difficult times or marooned on some lonesome edge in your life, it is often the prayer of your friends that brings you through.  When your soul turns into a wilderness, it is the prayer of others that brings you back to the hearth of warmth.  I know people who have been very ill, forsaken, and damaged; the holy travellers that we call prayers have reached out to them and returned them to healing.  The prayer of healing has wisdom, discernment, and power.  It is unknown what prayer can actually achieve.

When you meet someone at the level of prayer, you meet them on the ground of eternity.  This is the heart of all kinship and affinity.  When you journey in there to meet someone, a great intimacy can awaken between you.  I imagine that the dead who live in the unseen world never forget us; they are always praying for us.  Perhaps this is one of the ways that they remain close to our hearts: they extend the light and warmth of prayer towards us.  Prayer is the activity of the invisible world, yet its effect is actual and powerful.  It is said that if you pray beside a flower it grows faster.  When you bring the presence of prayer to the things you do, you do them more beautifully.

snap of the day

Creativity often consists of merely turning up what is already there.
Did you know that right and left shoes
were thought up only a little more than a century ago?
– Bernice Fitz-Gibbon

I’d rather be reading

Visiting with friends the other evening, the talk turned to television viewing.  Last week, my husband and I saw an On Demand movie on the television screen that was very good: Winter’s Bone.

Other than that movie, I cannot recall the last time I sat in front of a television to watch anything.  When our friends and Dear Hubby mentioned the television programs and sitcoms and reality shows they enjoy, I was at a loss to remember any but that recent movie (which I highly recommend).

When we participated in a television viewing analysis last year, I watched a total of two hours television in one month (a documentary if I recollect and I doubt the TV company gained much insight in the viewing habits in our household – at least from my perspective).  Although (don’t tell him I wrote this!), DH more than made up for my lack of television watching.

However, I WILL watch a basketball game now and again – if I don’t have a Good Book at hand.

it’s that time . . .

It’s never too early to start planning for overseas holiday mailings, according to Postmaster Dennis J. Mahoney.With thousands of American troops and civilians stationed around the world, the coming weeks will be a busy time for mailing international and military parcels and packages, he said.

He listed below the major dates recommended for mail to be delivered by Dec. 25.

  • Nov. 13 —Parcel Post to military APO/FPO addresses.
  • Dec. 4 —First-Class cards and letters or Priority Mail to military APO AE ZIP 093 addresses.
  • Dec. 11 —First-Class cards and letters or Priority Mail to all other military APO/FPO addresses.
  • Dec. 18—Express Mail Military Service to all military APO/FPO addresses except APO ZIP 093.
  • Dec. 4 —Priority Mail and First-Class Mail to Africa and Central or South America International Mail locations.
  • Dec. 11 —Priority Mail and First-Class Mail to all other International Mail locations.
  • Dec. 12—Express Mail International to Africa and Central and South America.
  • Dec. 17 —Express Mail International to all other countries (except Canada, Dec. 18).
  • Dec. 19—Global Express Guaranteed to all countries (except Canada, Dec. 20).

“We hope the publication of these dates will prove beneficial to persons mailing cards and gifts to foreign countries so they will arrive in a timely manner,” he said.

He said the Postal Service’s website can prove to be a helpful resource during this holiday mailing season, offering a wide variety of links to mailing and shipping tools.

USPS Shipping Calendar

for a season . . .

“Where is it written that others must act the way we want them to? It may be preferable, but not necessary.” – Albert Ellis

Reason, Season, or Lifetime

Many of us are fortunate enough to have friends who are a consistent part of our lives throughout all our ups and downs. However, sometimes others we consider friends appear to enter, then depart from our lives for reasons we try to, but don’t always, understand. This piece nicely explains the flow of people in and out of our lives.

“It is said that love is blind but friendship is clairvoyant.”

People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime. When you figure out which one it is, you will know what to do for each person.

When someone is in your life for a REASON, it is usually to meet a need you have expressed. They have come to assist you through a difficulty, to provide you with guidance and support, to aid you physically, emotionally, or spiritually. They may seem like a godsend, and they are! They are there for the reason you need them to be. Then, without any wrongdoing on your part, or at an inconvenient time, this person will say or do something to bring the relationship to an end. Sometimes they die. Sometimes they walk away. Sometimes they act up and force you to take a stand. What we must realize is that our need has been met, our desire fulfilled, their work is done. The prayer you sent up has been answered. And now it is time to move on.

Then people come into your life for a SEASON, because your turn has come to share, grow, or learn. They bring you an experience of peace, or make you laugh. They may teach you something you have never done. They usually give you an unbelievable amount of joy. Believe it! It is real! But, only for a season.

Your job is to accept the lesson, love the person, and put what you have learned to use in all other relationships and areas of your life.

Letting go is very similar to forgiveness in that you can worry over something for ages, years even, or you can worry for a minute or two, get over it and move on.


For reasons we can never know, fate brings friend to friend, then leaves the rest to human nature. The results are mixed. While a few special friendships last a lifetime, the vast majority prove easier to leave behind. Some take years to fade away; others end spectacularly. Research shows that the quickest way to end a friendship is betrayal; the second-quickest, a canoe trip.

In fact, we have to lose a few friends before we can appreciate their most important gift: the stories we share. In hearing these stories, you may begin to sense a deeper truth, that our friends and friendships are not as unique as we first believed. They’re more like summer movies: the dialogue changes (kind of) but the plots and characters keep recurring. Jeremiah Creeden has a catalog of the archetypal friends that over the course of a life you’re likely to encounter again and again.

Jeremiah Creedon article

The friendships which last are those wherein each friend respects the other’s dignity to the point of not really wanting anything from him.
– Cyril Connolly

Having realistic expectations for others involves realizing that all of us are less than perfect. Instead of looking to others to meet our needs, we must take responsibility for our own life and make necessary changes that are in our best interest. We must leave our self-blame behind and find ways to untwist our thinking and behavior to make our lives more fulfilling. It is important to value and accept our partners and friends for who they are. It is in our best interest not to spend our energy trying to change them to fit an image of what we believe we need and what they can provide for us.

James P. Krehbiel, Ed.S., LPC

I am so very grateful for the friends God has gifted me with throughout the years.

God bless these friends.

praying for friends

Prayer, like music, can often reach the deepest part of a person’s soul.

I am especially praying this morning for a friend who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease; his loving wife wrote that he is not doing well at all.  God bless and be with this friend and his wife – and his family . . .

If you happen upon this site, please say a little prayer for Richard and Carol.  They have been on this Road for many years and Alzheimer’s is such an insidious disease.

Pray for me I was once like you.
Be kind and loving to me that’s how I would have treated you.

Walk with me Oh my God
Through the darkest night and brightest day
Be at my side Oh God
Hold my hand and guide me on my way.
Help me to pierce the mists
That cloud my mind and heart
So that I shall not fear
The steepest mountain side.

by Estelle White

Sandra Day O’Connor:

Experience has taught us that we cannot avoid Alzheimer’s disease by having regular medical checkups, by being involved in nourishing relationships or by going to the gym or filling in crossword puzzles. Ronald Reagan suffered the ravages of this disease for a decade despite the support of his loving family, the extraordinary stimulation of his work, his access to the best medical care and his high level of physical fitness. What’s needed are new medicines that attack the causes of the disease directly.

remembering Lynn

Madeleine L’Engle writes in Glimpses of Grace Daily Thoughts and Reflections that

. . . The search for grace, costly grace, involves an acceptance of pain and the creative grief which accompanies growth into maturity.  Don’t be afraid the pain will destroy the wholeness.  It leads, instead to the kind of wholeness that rejoices in Resurrection.

No one dares to grieve who does not dare to love, and love is always part of costly grace.  It has been said that before we can give love we must first have received love, and indeed love is a response to love.

. . . But in thinking about love and grief we must be careful not to confuse either with that sentimentality which is part of cheap grace.  The kind of loving grief I’m talking about involves acceptance of the precariousness of life and that we will all die, but our wholeness is found in the quality rather than the quantity of our living.

. . . We live in a time where costly grace is what makes life bearable; more than bearable–joyful and creative, so that even our grief is part of our partnership in co-creation with God.

with a little help

September 12th is National Day of Encouragement.

Goodness knows, we all need encouragement.

M. Kathleen Casey: “Pain is inevitable.  Suffering is optional.”

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up,
just as in fact you are doing.
~1 Thessalonians 5:11

September when it comes

In previous postings, I’ve mentioned a dear friend who has Lou Gehrig’s disease (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS).  Jan, a very close friend of Lynn, wrote:

at the moment I cannot get beyond my sorrow.

That sums up what Lynn’s friends are now feeling.  We don’t want to let go.  To lose someone who has gifted us with so much and to think of never hearing her laughter, seeing her lovely face, reading her extraordinary prose, to never see Lynn again – in this life  – causes such intense pain to well up in our hearts.

God bless you, Lynn.

God keep you in his arms – forever.

And thank you for the Gift of Yourself

which you have always given so freely and lovingly.

Lynn wrote a short note to friends, explaining that she wanted us to know how much her friends have meant to her.

While I still am able, I want to thank you for the truly wonderful outpouring of love and concern I have received since I let people know of my diagnosis of ALS.

I echo Jan’s exclamation:  Damn Death!

Excerpt from Lynn’s moving letter:

Remember the old Frank Sinatra classic, “September Song”?   He sings about days growing short when you reach September, and how, when autumn comes, the days dwindle down to a precious few.

My days are dwindling down to a precious few which is why I’m writing to say good-bye and to wish you all abundant good health, happy lives and lots of laughter.   Your many good wishes have brought much light into my life, and I am eternally grateful.

Love to you each and everyone,

Circle of Friends

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When I was little,
I used to believe in the concept of one best friend,
And then I started to become a woman.
And then I found out that if you allow your heart to open up,
God would show you the BEST in MANY friends.

One friend is needed when you’re going through things with your man.
Another friend is needed when you’re going through things with your mom.
Another will sit beside you in the bleachers as you delight in your children and their activities.
Another when you want to shop, share, heal, hurt, joke, or just be.
One friend will say, ‘Let’s cry together,’
Another , ‘Let’s fight together,’
Another , ‘Let’s walk away together.’

One friend will meet your spiritual need,
Another your shoe fetish,
Another your love for movies,
Another will be with you in your season of confusion,
Another will be your clarifier,
Another the wind beneath your wings.

But whatever their assignment in your life,
On whatever the occasion,
On whatever the day,
Or wherever you need them to meet you with their gym shoes on and hair pulled back,
Or to hold you back from making a complete fool of yourself …
Those are your BEST FRIENDS!!

It may all be wrapped up in one woman,
But for many, it’s wrapped up in several..
One from 7th grade,
One from high school,
Several from the college years,
a couple from old jobs,
On some days your mother,
On some days your neighbor,
On others, your sisters,
And on some days, your daughters.

So whether you’ve been my friend for 20 minutes or 70  years,
God has placed you in my circle of friends, and for that, I am very thankful!

Friendship is a two-way street and I am so fortunate that God has blessed me with caring friends!

It’s one thing to start a friendship, it’s quite another to maintain it, to keep it, to stay on what Lewis called “the same secret path.”  Even strong friendships require watering or they shrivel up and blow away.   That’s why George Bernard Shaw touched an exposed nerve when we read the words he scribbled to his friend Archibald Henderson:  “I have neglected you shockingly of late.  This is because I have had to neglect everything that could be neglected without immediate ruin, and partly because you have passed into the circle of intimate friends whose feelings one never dreams of considering.”

There is no crystal ball to predict that a particular friend will turn out to be a reliable, positive relationship in your life or, by contrast, that a negative association will cause you emotional distress, or worse.

One happy teenager!

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Bless the hands that prepared this meal.

Friends extended hospitality (including A Great Meal!) to our visiting Grandson.  He is one satisfied and happy kid!

Can you say 'two large helpings, please."

remembering good times

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good times - good friends - lovely memories

remembering good times

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hear, speak, see - no evil

The origin of the proverb “Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil, See No Evil” is unknown. However, the phrase usually means that a person does not want to get involved because this person chooses to see, hear and speak nothing. The phrase is represented by the Three Wise Monkeys from the 7th century, each of which covers its ears, eyes, and mouth with its own hands. The three monkeys were carved on the door of the Sacred Stable in Nikko, Japan. The names of the three monkeys are Mizaru (See No Evil), Kikazaru (Hear No Evil) and Iwazaru (Speak No Evil) which also translate to the well-known phrase.

we all desire security – and family – and friends

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Many surveys of homeless people focus on demographics such as age, sex, income, medical problems or housing issues. But a recent study by Seeds For Change Consulting, a business that provides services for nonprofits, takes a different tack. While the report does delve into the basics, Seeds for Change also surveyed more than 200 homeless people in Austin about personal issues, such as their desires, their perceptions of themselves and their hopes for the future. [Austin American Statesman article by Andrea Ball, published March 15, 2010]

The National Coalition for the Homeless Fact sheet states that two trends are largely responsible for the rise in homelessness over the past 20-25 years: a growing shortage of affordable rental housing and a simultaneous increase in poverty.

According to the Stewart B. McKinney Act, 42 U.S.C. § 11301, et seq. (1994), a person is considered homeless who “lacks a fixed, regular, and adequate night-time residence; and… has a primary night time residency that is: (A) a supervised publicly or privately operated shelter designed to provide temporary living accommodations… (B) An institution that provides a temporary residence for individuals intended to be institutionalized, or (C) a public or private place not designed for, or ordinarily used as, a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings.” The term “homeless individual” does not include any individual imprisoned or otherwise detained pursuant to an Act of Congress or a state law.” 42 U.S.C. § 11302(c)

The number of homeless families with children has increased significantly over the past decade.  Families with children are among the fastest growing segments of the homeless population.

San Francisco Chronicle reporter Kevin Fagan and photographer Brant Ward spent four months in the streets, parks and alleys with the homeless and those who deal with them-health care workers, police, tourists, residents, businesspeople, commuters-in an attempt to answer the question: How did San Francisco, one of the most sophisticated and cultured cities in the world come to have so many people living so blatantly, so visibly, in misery?

Homeless in high school

The number of high school students who become homeless after turning 18 has increased dramatically in recent years, far outpacing the few housing assistance programs available to them, say advocates for the homeless. Some youths leave home voluntarily to escape abusive situations, and others are forced out by parents or relatives. Youth advocates say economic hardship, family disputes, and, in some cases, the belief that children should support themselves at 18 lead some parents or guardians to push their children out.

Quote of the Day

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A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity. (Proverbs 17:17)

Dr. Bill Denton writes that

There ought to be a course in school on friendship.

If you google (and I do a lot of Googling!) ‘Friends’ and “Friendship,” there are hundreds of quotations floating around the internet.  Relationships are complex and we value our friendships; indeed, what would we do without friends?  We are made for relationships.

God bless our friends! [Click on ‘friends’ and read about a very Sweet Friend with a Servant’s Heart!]

friends forever

“Friendship is a living thing that lasts only as long as it is nourished with kindness, empathy and understanding.”

dear friends

high school

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It was in school that we made our first friends, competed to excel, hoped for places in the sports teams and scholastic leagues, and learned our first lessons about life.

What is it about high school?

I remain friends with those I knew before I entered first grade (I didn’t go to kindergarten).

I have friends who lived in one city/town all their lives and attended the same schools with others all throughout their school years.

My school years were divided among three towns:  Springer, New Mexico; Tucumcari, New Mexico and sophomore through senior year in Farmington, New Mexico.  Before moving to Farmington, we walked or bicycled everywhere – everywhere.

But, I repeat:  what is it about high school that holds my memories the strongest and is so precious?

Perhaps, because those years were the Real Growing Up Years.  World War II was in the past and we were beneficiaries of the post-war prosperity.

My uncles  served in Korea, but we  were too young for Korea and Vietnam was in the future (although several of my classmates did serve in Vietnam).  Life was uncomplicated.  My father went to work and my mother stayed home.  I wasn’t expected to do much more than go to school, play, and stay out of trouble.  There were kids everywhere and we walked everywhere.  A few of my friends had cars and we would sometimes all pile in and ‘cruise’ town or congregate at the drugstore – priming the jukebox with coins.  In those days, no one worried much about strangers lurking in the shadows.  Everyone knew everyone and although we were allowed much freedom, our folks knew (generally) where we were and that we would be home by dinnertime.

There were, of course, mothers who worked outside the home during these years.  However, for the most part, we had extended families and/or close friends nearby and we certainly felt safe.  And we were.

All things considered, I think I was very fortunate to grow up in the 1950s.

Farmington friends:  the Scorpio Tales newsletter is ALMOST in the mail.  This issue has some old (fifties) photos and information and some current material.  In some ways, those days seem so distant and in another, the memories are quite clear.

[Send YOUR reminisces for the next issue!]

Breast Cancer

Molly Ivins wrote about her cancer for Time Magazine, February 20, 2010.  The piece was entitled “Who Needs Breasts Anyway?”

Ivins wrote that “You don’t get through this without friends.  Use them.  Call them, especially other women who have been through it.  People like to help.  They like to be able to do something for you.  Let them.  You will also get sick of talking about cancer.”

How true this is; we don’t get through the serious matters that attack us throughout our lifetime without our friends.  And there are attacks.  None of us get off scot-free in this life.  Ivins said that we must ask our friends for specific help (for even close friends can’t guess at what a friend wants or needs).

Ivins was always extremely generous with her friends and her friends’ friends and everyone’s kids.  She was wise enough to call on her friends when she needed help; she asked some friends for help in editing, scheduling, giving her the shots she required, a Thanksgiving dinner when she was extremely ill.  [Read the Thanksgiving dinner segment in A Rebel Life Molly Ivins.]

Reading Manutaglio and Smith’s biography of Molly Ivins not only highlighted Ivins’ political views, but her intense friendships.  Ivins wrote about her father after his suicide that “. . . here was a man.”

Reading Ivins, I kept thinking:  “Here was a woman.”

More than one of my friends has battled breast cancer.

Aside from non-melanoma skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common form of cancer in women. Breast cancer is the number one cause of cancer death in Hispanic women. It is the second most common cause of cancer death in white, black, Asian/Pacific Islander, and American Indian/Alaska Native women.

Click to give free mammograms.