Category Archives: new york

A new baby

The expected birth found us ready and waiting, for the last two weeks. Neighbor Mom and Dad were ready to go to St. Anthony Hospital and, along with other neighbors, we were ready, on call, to watch the baby’s three-year old sibling when the time came.

An ultrasound showed the baby, not so much waiting as hanging out content as a pearl in a shell.

So, let’s briefly go back in time.

Oblivious to a near future, the pregnancy was celebrated before epidemical rumblings turned into roars. We could easily foresee, along with their three-year old and our two grandchildren, another child happily loping around on our lawns with no fences between.

Happiness wasn’t dampened as time passed and circumstances changed. But travel restrictions brought about some rethinking.

The neighbor’s immediate family members live far away.

The parents got caught in conversations between us neighbors offering to help and their families wanting to travel to help during the birth.

How do we comfort the joyful yearning to share the birth, but the need to stay home?

I lessened my judgmentalism about people traveling. Birth and death define human life but it’s the love in between that lives. I could respect their decision to travel. But as it turned out, they found comfort in staying home.

Fast forward to last Friday night, when all of us near and far, were texted a photo of the newly born infant. Picturesque. Powerful. Pure.

Another neighbor was home with the three-year old.

The birth went well. But the professionals wanted to watch Mom and Baby for 48 hours. So Dad came home, spent time with their three-year old and then brought him to our house before returning to the hospital.

Grinning ear to ear, Neighbor Dad was operating on adrenaline. Their three-year old caught the eye of our three-year old grandson and they nearly collided with excitement to go play. The noise level of the house ramped up double notches. Our daughter and I stood and smiled and nodded as the enamored dad told us details.

After the dad left our house to go to the hospital. After their son and our grandson played until they because starved. We congregated in the kitchen for some chow.

I asked the three-year old, “What is your baby brother’s name?”

“Baby Brother,” he said.

Sometimes I too can’t remember names or the correct words, but it doesn’t lessen the meaning or anticipation of joy.

Sure enough, the three-year old expressed unadulterated joy a few days later when we came to see his baby brother. His joy wasn’t dampened by the fact we all stood a ten-foot distance away on the porch. Neither was ours. Joy closed the gap.

Looking Up

Blooming Dogwood trees. It’s happening around town. And for me, each tree causes a flush of memories and calm. I’m not talking about a calm that sits down with a cup of cocoa and good book to read. I’m talking about a calm that says, I know, I know, I don’t know.

The statement begins agitatedly, I KNOW. Then quieter, I know. Then in a whisper, admits, I don’t know.

I release all “my knowing,” look up and…calm. Even if for a second. It’s the calm of trusting goodness.

In Washington state, one Dogwood tree ornamented our orchard. One. One Dogwood tree on the outskirt of our forty-acre orchard. An orchard planted with about eight-thousand trees, all blooming delicate pinks and whites.

The one stood out.

While the fruit tree flowers came in bunches of nickel-sized florets, flailing every which way, the Dogwood flowers carried a look of independence. The Dogwood flowers were large, the size of saltines and they faced upward.

Each time this year, I’d walk to the one Dogwood tree and cut a few long stalks of flowers to take home, arrange in a vase, and put on top of the piano. The Dogwood flowers became my classic décor when hosting Easter dinners for family and friends and anyone else I previously bumped into in town to invite, no matter what their religious or nonreligious background.

We all had one thing in common, appreciation for, or at least getting a kick out of the dignity and uniqueness of the grandiose Dogwood bouquet.

But the next day, those flowers went to the compost pile, because they started stinking.

I know, I won’t be hosting a dinner anytime soon or bumping into people, because I hardly go into town and when I do, I avoid people.

I know, my typical way of seeing and celebrating this time of the year, full of renewal and friendship, has been contradicted and dashed.

It’s enough to make me look down and feel afraid, frustrated, weary. Apathy grabs me. But I shake it off and say, nope, I don’t know. Or rather, I admit that what I currently do know won’t last. I don’t need to hold onto what I know.

More knowledge will come. It is coming.

And every day of late, even when I’m not trying, glances of Dogwood flowers infuse me with increased knowledge of a trust in life and renewal.

I John 1:1-4
“That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life— the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us— that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.”

The happiness of choosing good memories

I define good memories as images of innocence, comfort and joy, all embracing. Such as my childhood memory of getting a parakeet for a pet. It was a nice bird. My buddy.

Which brings me to our grandchildren’s dog, Hammish. A miniature Dachshund who has challenged many intrepid dog whisperers and trainers. Hammish isn’t dangerous. All bark, bark, bark. He watches the grandchildren diligently, or rather watches their food because the instant food can be reached with Hammish’s long nose, gone, disappeared. Oftentimes causing tears of anguish from children. Oh sure, progress has been made over the last seven years but Hammish can bark it away in nanoseconds.

When the family comes to visit on the weekends, I roll my eyes as Hammish bullets into the house, running from corner to corner, ready to terrorize my cats. My cats know a fraud when they see it, and they don’t have to sit to high to be taller than Hammish and watch him loose his bananas.

Author Jon Katz, in his book, Talking to Animals, says dogs aren’t bad, they just need to be understood. They’re a blend of wild and domesticated. They understand through images. Use fewer human words. Katz teaches how to communicate mystically, by picturing images in your head of how you want the dog to behave.

I get what Katz is saying, and I’ve more often than not actually experienced what Katz calls mystical or spiritual relationships with pets and animals. But not with Hammish. His wild side just can’t shut up enough.

Then the other day, our granddaughter and I are finishing lunch. Hammish is sitting in a sunbeam, on alert, but not enough to come steal food. Our granddaughter is calm and happy, and we talk about snow skiing, school, and her latest bracelet making.

She scoots down from the chair and walks over to Hammish. Sits next to him and pets his head. Hammish lets her. No commotion. Peaceful petting continues as Hammish gazes into her eyes.

She says quietly, “Hammish is such a good dog.”

I mentally choke, snort, and stifle myself before saying something that would probably banish this good image or memory.

It wasn’t easy, basically, to shut up myself, but I managed to agree, “Yes, you’re both good.”

A few days later I figured that image was one of the better gifts I received, and gave, this holiday.

How Woodstock 50th taught me about togetherness

Unknown to me fifty-years ago, when I was seven years old, the anomaly dubbed The Woodstock Festival, made history. How was it possible that 450,000 people knew to trek their way to the town of Bethel in upstate New York? No internet. No cellphones. At a time when area codes categorized people by regions.

In 1969, I was living on our family farm in southeastern Washington state. Oblivious to the world.

Mom and Dad had recently bought a black and white television so we could watch men land on the moon. I observed and thought, “Hmm, that’s interesting.” But was more intrigued by the boxy gizmo sitting on an end table, showing me moving and talking images.

I was a teen before I learned about Woodstock. I learned the clean version. Self-caring musicians, well-behaved attendees, people picking up their own litter, standing up for what’s right, wanting peace.

I still believe the clean version but as is true to any human version of life, it comes with flaws, eventually exposed. Fame sometimes blocks self-care, bad behavior lurks in the background of the human mind, litter happens, and what’s right and peace aren’t always clear.

And yet, after all these years, it’s the clean version that receives the brunt of my attention and is passed along in conversations. Fortunately, I’m not alone. Last Sunday, Times Herald-Record ran an article, Spirit of Woodstock lives on in memories of historic festival, confirming the type of attention and communication that points to the good in humanity.

From Times Herald-Record, Steve Israel interviewed three people who were closely connected to the original Woodstock. They shared hindsight and deepened admiration to the festival.

The article also carries a black and white photo showing a long line of cars piloting, bumper to bumper and sandwiched between thousands of people walking side-by-side, to the festival.

That photo reveals an answer to my very curious wonder of how so many people knew to make their way to a dairy farm in Bethel, back in the day before the internet.

Despite the fact I avoid crowds like the plague, the photo asked me to admit that I’m still in close contact with people. Whether in a line at the grocery store or eating out in a restaurant. I may be sandwiched in with family members, co-workers, or strangers, but without hesitancy and without the internet, we can strike up a conversation and keep sharing the spirit of togetherness.

Inheritance

My husband and I moved. From one house to another. From one county to another. About 100 miles. The major portion of our “stuff” was hauled in one day. A long, tiring day.

Last weekend, with a uhaul rental, we moved the remainder of our stuff.

I couldn’t believe how much stuff we had. Stuff I’d forgotten.

When reading Galatians last night, I came across this verse:

“Because you are God’s children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into us to call out, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer slaves but God’s children. Since you are God’s children, God has also made you heirs.” (God’s Word)

A heir of God?

What a provocative thought.

I don’t think God’s legacy to us is stuff.

My parents died too young. Dad died in the 1990s and Mom died a few years afterward. I think she missed her identity with Dad, but they were good parents. And I still carry visions of their expressions of love and integrity, unforgotten. The visions aren’t a burden to haul around, but are uplifting.

I’m not an heir of hate, weakness, and death.

If God is eternal Life, I must be an heir of vitality.

If God is love, I must be an heir of loving kindness.

If God is Mind, I must be an heir of intelligence.

 

 

Moments of insight and love

Creativity

Creativity isn’t stuck in the past. It’s living now. It’s giving advantages to wisdom, wellbeing, and the future.

The human mind resists creativity by insisting on repeating the past, which is impossible because God, Life, is now, new, and nimble. Unfortunately, the human mind also is actively struggling to hold onto its mortal identity and insists it’s pure and right. Thus, ignoring creativity.

We just moved to a new house. Well, it’s an older house, but new to us.

And, it is the middle of a hot summer.

Sunshine heats the inside of the house in a blink. This house has old moldy, disintegrating curtains (I kid you not) and vertical blinds that only partially help the situation.

At first, I resisted the whole move. I was ready to move back to our old house which sits in a cooler climate and has efficient window blinds.

The resistance came with the insistence that the past scenario was best, however, it the past scenario involves material things.

And material things, whether buildings, books, or human bodies, can’t stop creativity.

So, I took what we had and used them effectively while ordering new blinds.

I removed the decomposing curtains and hung them outside to continue blocking the sunshine. I broke down emptied moving boxes and hung the cardboard on other windows. Yes, there are a lot of windows in this house, but I re-learned again that we don’t lack, and creativity is active.

The neighbors understand. Our children crack jokes. “Oh, just look for the house with the curtains hanging on the outside.”

Life goes on. Instead of bemoaning the decomposing past, instead of enabling a decomposing future, get with creativity. It’s here. It’s alive.

Quoting from science & religion to God

“Consider these factors:

  • The temporal never touches the eternal;
  • The changeable never touches the unchangeable;
  • The inharmonious never touches the harmonious;
  • The self-destructive never touches the self-existent.

Reproduction by Spirit’s individual ideas is but the reflection of the creative power, God.”

Come on by Craft Shows

Just before Easter, you can find that special gift for others or yourself at  two Springtime Craft Shows:

Saturday, March 24th, from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. at Binghamton University in New York

Sunday, March 25th, from 10 a.m.- 6 p.m. at Wayne Valley High School in New Jersey

Stop by my vendor booth and check out the books I’ve written. Good reads about relationships, mindfulness, an Easter dog, family, women progressing along with men.

All books price listsmall

Come on by the Women’s Expo

I will be one of many vendors at the 9th annual New York Women’s Expo in Albany, February 24 & 25th.

The Expo is designed for women.

I see us expanding the definition of woman and women. We reflect compassion, insight, strength, wisdom, bravery, and integrity, equal to all people and increasingly.

I’ll be selling my books, in which you will find strong female characters:

I Am My Father-Mother’s Daughter: A Memoir tells about life as a girl working on the family farm, operating machinery and learning not to back down to authoritarians. $10

Zen Kitty and Other Meows is a booklet containing blogs and articles I’ve written in the past. Many topics are covered. You can read about the time I interviewed a monk who wanted to sit on my motorcycle. $5

Zen Dogs and Other Woofs is another booklet containing more blogs and articles, covering many subjects along with dogs. $5

from science & religion to God: A Narrative of Mary Baker Eddy’s Science and Health is a briefer version of a spiritual book written in the 19th century about healing and divine Mind. $10

21st Century Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: A Version of Mary Baker Eddy’s Science and Health is a full-text version of Eddy’s book on spirituality and self-determination. $15

A Foster Child Comes to Stay with Josie and Brooke is a children’s book, a true story about inspiration and the power of family love. $5

Magenta’s Family Christmas is a book written by Carly Hilios (my daughter) for young adults. Magenta is a foster teenager who learns more about the true meaning of family. $5

Location of Women’s Expo: Siena College Marcell Athletic Complex, Albany, NY

February 24 & 25, 2018

Saturday 10am-6pm, Sunday 10am-4pm

All books price list

 

Craft Show Success

Nearly 100 vendors gave customers a wide selection of gift shopping last weekend in Oneonta, New York. I sold my books, which make for good cozy reading during the winter. Top seller was Zen Kitty and other Meows. Zen Kitty is not specifically about a cat, but is a collection of short articles and blogs I’ve written in the past. Positive, inspiring, and hopeful blogs.

At NYC

All books price listsmall

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