Sunday, July 31, 2011

Of Sunflowers and Healing Rain

Wheeling around the house today, I know I must have glanced out the front windows several times. I'm certain I would have noticed the glorious opening had it occurred earlier, which leads me to believe it just happened. Just like that, silently, this beautiful sunflower opens her head and lifts it to the sky, an over cast sky. It has been cloudy all day intermittent with showers.

The bit of rain has been, for me, quite welcoming. For days there have been dark billowing clouds, even thunder, but it has only been a tease from Mother as she withheld her rain. There are times when my heart, my soul feels more parched then the ground around me and just the feel of good rain refreshes. While I would like more, my soul has been soaking up the moister she has offered today. And, I believe, this sunflower has done the same.

Taking advantage of the weather, I chose not to work outside today and instead stayed inside and played in paint; finishing a painting which had been desperately calling for completion. While I painted, I listened to Snatam Kaur and Deva Premal (thank you Connie for the Deva Premal). Afterwards, I popped on my IPod and Michael W. Smith’s song Healing Rain came on. How perfect I thought and it seemed even more perfect when I saw this sunflower. Maybe this sunflower's heart was dry and all it needed was a little rain. There was no sun shining and it too had a troop of ants marching up and down all around it, but this trusting, newly emerged flower was unafraid to lift its head and be washed in the renewing, healing rain.

Since exploring the sacred feminine, encouraging the emergence of goddess, beginning Kundalini Yoga there has been this nagging negative voice in my head whispering, “You’ll have to give up Christ.”

“No, I don’t.” After writing yesterday’s post, chanting Ra Ma Da Sa mantra during last night’s prayer time, followed by reading more of Sue Monk Kidd’s book The Dance of the Dissident Daughter, awakening this morning to rain, getting lost in a FEARLESS Painting journey while listening to Sanskirt mantra, Kundalini, and Christian music, then seeing this sunflower; no, I don’t have to give up the Divine Christ while seeking, growing my own divinity.

I have known Christ since I was a child. He came to me then, when I was young, again at a desperate time in my mid 20’s. Jesus visited me while I was in the hospital and held me during the frightening, lonely nights when Jeff was in the hospital. More importantly, we knew each other before I knew about Christianity or the diversity of religions. He remained Himself as I investigated churches, as I joined a church. The key phrase here is, “He came to me.”

On this, my 49th year journey, as I begin to embrace my all encompassing divinity may I not forget the Divine companion who has and continues to journey alongside me. There will be times when a fire will need calming, times when I will be parched, wounded, shamed, times when I’ll need Him to come soak my dry heart with His healing rain.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Of Sunflowers and Ants

When in the gardens, I plop onto to the ground, dig my hands into whatever project I’m working on and just lose myself; it’s Mother Earth and me. Last week was no exception as I cleared another area for planting. I was engaged with Mother and anxious to see how this space would unfold into a new garden spot.

Sitting on the ground, even on top of a little rug, I attempt to be aware of any unpleasant insects which might encroach into my space. This particular day, being lost in my project, it wasn’t until a troop of little ants were biting the inside of my thigh that I became aware of the ant hole I had exposed. Most of my left leg is skin grafted and doesn’t have any external feeling, no sensation to touch. Unable to feel them, I looked down to find this leg covered in hundreds of marching little ants. My leg, the rug, under my bum, I was encircled by an army of ants, hundreds and hundreds of ants. What made this worse was I couldn’t jump up and stomp on them, I had to scoot through them to get away.
This distressing moment from last week came back around today while I was out watering the wild flower garden. Being late in the season many of the wild flowers are beginning to fade, most have finished blooming and are about to go to seed. The wild sunflowers, though, haven’t yet opened. The stocks are up with bulging buds, but nothing has yet popped. At a closer look, I noticed them quivering. This movement is something I have witnessed before.
The summer prior to my accident my kids and I planted a sunflower patch. The large sunflowers became a haven for sparrows and bees. One hot summery Las Vegas day, I looked out the kitchen window and noticed every one of those sunflower plants quivering. Even though they weren’t dancing as if a breeze had blown past, I wondered if that caused the odd motion.
Curiosity sent me outside to see what was making the tall, stocky sunflowers move in such a way. I was astonished to find every stock, leaf, and flower covered in ants; marching in their own uniform, freaky rhythmic way up and down all around our beautiful sunflowers.
Later that evening, as I was rinsing the dinner dishes, I looked out at the sunflowers. They were still quivering from the invaders march, yet each flower’s head managed to tilt towards the western sky to face the setting sun. Undeterred, they continued to do what Nature, Mother Earth, God, what their Great Creator called them to do, simply follow the sun. The sunflowers in my yard today, once they pop open, undoubtedly, even amidst the adversity of a massive army ant invasion, will do the same.
So this leads me back to the reminder of my own ant invasion last week and the thought that there is something I am to gain from this experience, something deeper than ‘don’t unearth an ant hole,’ or ‘what a troop of ant bites feels like on ones thigh,’ yes something deeper than pure irritation. With this thought, I opened myself up, allowing my mind to venture where it needed. Shortly, a long forgotten book I had read right after returning home from the hospital came to mind. I dug it out, skimmed through it, and found the following excerpt. It’s from When God Weeps written by Joni Eareckson Tada & Steven Estes. Here the writer is speaking of a friend who has a debilitating disease:
“His bed stands in the center of the living room…Nighttime is no longer friendly…Breathing is heavy labor. Calling out is impossible…In the darkness an ant finds him. The scout sends for others and they come. First hundreds, then thousands. A noiseless legion inches its way down the chimney, across the floor, secretly crawling up his urine tube, up, over, and onto his bed. They fan out over the hills and valleys of John’s blanket, tunneling under and onto his body. He is covered by a black, wriggling, invasion…His wife found him in the early morning with ants still in his hair, mouth, and eyes.”
Even in my loss of ability to jump up and stomp, I found a new depth of gratitude in my ability to scoot my way through and away from the ants. Following this sense of gratitude I felt (and this isn’t the first time) that God can be so unkind. This feeling reminded me, once again, that suffering, adversity, loss, heart ache, all which seems as if it shouldn’t be, is all a part of the Great Creator’s plan, a part of an infinite God’s love. Why? Why did this particular man, John, who not only couldn’t scoot through and away from an ant invasion but couldn’t cry out for help either, have this horrid experience?
In a later chapter the authors write:
“People may not be noticing John, but the spiritual world is…God’s angels actually get emotionally charged up when people chose to trust in God…God gets glory every time the spirit world learns how powerful His everlasting arms are in upholding the weak. They learn it is God who permeates every fiber of John’s being with perseverance…”
The authors also refer to Ephesians 3:10, but I want to reference parts of 10-12:
“His intent was that…the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, according to His eternal purpose…In Christ and through faith in Him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.”
I recall John’s story from when I read the book years ago. I noticed John then and I notice John now. His ‘story’, I’m sure, is much greater than this one event; however, this one event has made a profound impact upon me. What else is profound is the perspective of the spiritual world noticing and learning not just from John’s story but yours and mine.
I believe in and speak of angels as well as loved ones who have crossed over; there must be a whole host of dwellers in the heavenly realms. Are they doing more than watching over me? Are they noticing and learning from me? If so, am I an example of divine perseverance? Am I someone of whom they can learn from? Do I truly know what it is to be spiritually free and confident? If so, then when I say I am a child of the Universe, a daughter of God, I would take it beyond mere words. There’d be realization that I am child, a daughter thus a goddess all be it lower case ‘g’. Could it be time for her to confidently emerge?
This brings to me a greater sense of responsibility here, in the earthly realm. I know many individuals notice me, but, again, am I an example of divine perseverance. Does my Great Creator, my God permeate every fiber of my being? And if so, is it evident within me? What about all of Mother Earth’s inhabitants? Do they too notice me? Is it possible for the quivering sunflowers to notice I have learned from them? Even the cruel legion of ants which invaded John; is it possible they realize the roll they played in the profound impact of John’s story?  If so, is glory given; does Mother rejoice?
 When an army of ants invade, literally or figuratively, I have the choice to wallow in humanness or impart divine perseverance. On this, my 49th year journey, may I always choose the latter, may I also, even in the midst of an invasion, be like the sunflowers and do what I have been called to do, simply follow the Son. It is time, freely and confidently, to emerge into the child, daughter, goddess my Great Creator, my God has created me to be, trusting, even if no one notices, that I will fulfill my place, be it ever so small, in this vast Universe.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Wacky, Wondrous, Whatever, What If Wednesday #12

“A human being is part of a whole, called by us the Universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separated from the rest--a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circles of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”
Albert Einstein
Last week, my son Dillon and I ventured south to St. George to take care of business. While there, we took the opportunity to visit the bookstore, after all it was part of taking care of business since Dillon was moving to Denver and needed a large book style atlas of the state.
The bookstore has always been an enticing playground for my children and me. Once inside, he and I wandered our separate ways traveling various isles to linger among the genres which spoke to us this day. After about an hour we remembered why we were there in the first place. Together we set out to find an atlas.
On our way to check out; with more than just the atlas; he caught glimpse of a Time special magazine devoted to Albert Einstein. Knowing how much I admire Einstein he said, “Mom, you’ll like this.”
“Oh I would, I love Einstein. You know, I have wanted to do a college book of Einstein quotes. This would be perfect.”
It was a bit pricey and deep inside I knew I wouldn’t be able to bring myself to cut it up or add glue and paint to the pages. Full of articles and photos, I had to have this magazine. It would be another one of which I would treasure and keep whole.
We piled our finds at check out and I completed our purchase. As I went to leave Dillon stayed behind for a moment, he knows me so well, he thoughtfully purchased another copy of the magazine. “Here Mom, you have one to keep and one to create with.”
This morning I began to look up Einstein quotes to add to the ones I already have. When I came across this one I knew I had to share it for Wacky, Wondrous, Whatever, What If Wednesday. Each line of this quote has depth in and of itself. While I could comment at a personal level of each line, I thought I’d share it here, hoping you’ll be inspired to assimilate the quote for yourself. How does it apply, wacky, wondrous, whatever, what if?
Okay, I have to make one comment because it seems to be a continuous reminder, a lesson for me on this, my 49th year journey. I am a child of the Universe, a part of the whole, and the parts are never greater than the sum…Enjoy!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

A Lesson From Ms Frehner

“Everyone has her own specific vocation or mission in life.
Therein she cannot be replaced, nor can her life be repeated.
Thus everyone’s task is as unique as is her specific opportunity to implement it.”
Victor Frankl

I connect with an eclectic array of individuals all of whom seem to know and pursue their specific vocations or missions. I am in awe each time I witness the unfolding of a piece of someone’s mission or the transformation of an individual as their mission or vocation alters, shifts, and at times completely changes. As awe inspiring as it is to see this within others it is even more so seeing my children immersed in their own specific ‘mission’ in life.
While at girls camp a few weeks ago, a young girl came up to me and asked, “Are you Ms Frehner’s mom?”
“Yes, I am.”
“She was my 5th grade teacher; Ms Frehner is my favorite teacher; she’s the best teacher ever! Would you let her know I’m doing really well in middle school? I know she’d want to know that.”
Two days ago my daughter Heather and I flew to Phoenix for one of my sons graduations. As we chit-chatted during the one hour and ten minute flight from Las Vegas, I don’t know why, but I couldn’t help recall what her former student had said to me. Maybe it was the part of our conversation during the flight, when Heather told me that fingernail polish remover was really good at removing markers off doors. “I know this because when I was a kid and played school I wrote on the doors with markers which usually came off with water except one time, and for some reason I decided to try polish remover.” It must have worked well, because I never knew she was writing her DLR, Daily Language Reviews, on the bedroom doors.  
While I don’t remember Heather using the doors as white boards, I do remember when she first wanted to become a teacher. It was the influence of her 2nd grade teacher, Ms Nelson, which sparked her future vocation. She feels for Ms Nelson the way this young girl feels for her. In fact, Ms Nelson and Ms Frehner have remained in contact throughout the years and are currently not only associates but friends.
My daughter’s high school counselor called me in one day. He went over some of her scores and told me, beyond what I already knew, how intelligent Heather was. He knew of her desire to pursue elementary education but felt her father and I should encourage her to explore other options. “She should be looking into engineering. The field is in need of brilliant women and she is more than capable of excelling in such.”
So we discussed career options with Heather. She, having spoken with us and her counselor, began to explore engineering as well as other areas of interest. For once, since 2nd grade, she thought maybe something other than elementary education was in her future.
Attending Community College High School with an emphasis on elementary education, when career day came around she was required to shadow a teacher opposed to an engineer or anyone else. I kind of thought this would be the deciding factor, that maybe she’d see how over whelming managing a classroom was, how long the day could be with all the demands placed upon a teacher. And so it was the deciding factor.
When she came home from school that particular day, I said, as I did every day, “Hi how was your day?”
Instead of the usual response, “Fine,” Heather looked at me and burst into tears.
“Oh my goodness, what’s wrong?” I asked.
Through her tears she said, “I’m going to be poor for the rest of my life. Oh mama, I have to be a teacher.”
As my daughter and I spent time together on the flight to Phoenix, the sweetness and pure admiration of her former student kept coming to my mind. I thought of notes Heather shared with me from parents and students. I know her commitment to her students. There was a time she took over a classroom mid-year. The staff informed her of the needs of her students but when they began to tell her about the class ‘clown’ and the class ‘troublemaker’ Heather stopped them. She didn’t want any of her students labeled, prejudged, she would get to know them for herself; she would build her own teacher/student relationships. I also recalled her frustration with a bureaucracy who, among other things, puts an emphasis on overall test scores rather than individual student development.
 “A teacher affects eternity; she can never tell where her influence stops.”
Henry Brooks Adams

My daughter continually amazes me in so many ways. She works hard and remains dedicated to her ‘vocation’ all the while, whether consciously or intuitively, being aware the classroom isn’t the only place in which to accomplish her ‘mission’ in life.
I wonder about my ‘mission’. Do I have one? Surely I must. Will I recognize it when it occurs? Might I be distracted and miss its arrival? Has it come and gone?
Heather, the perpetual teacher, probably without even knowing, has taught me something more. I see in her that it isn’t so important to know your ‘mission’ as it is to trust your ‘mission’ knows you. Through her, all of which I am gathering on this, my 49th year journey, is beginning to come together.
·         Keeping an open heart & mind to life
·         Courage to honor the whispers of life followed by
·         Bravery to work hard & be dedicated to the mission(s)
·         Wisdom to know life’s mission(s) isn’t contained within a single ‘classroom’
·         Embrace the occasional ‘you’re the best ever’
·         Fearlessly go forth even if it’s against the ‘bureaucracy’, the norm, even the neighbors
·         Trust the Universe, the Great Creator, just trust and ‘it’ shall be
Oh, yes, one more thing; writing the DLR, Daily LIFE Review, on the bedroom door is now highly recommended.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011


Moving full time to the country was a huge step in simplifying my life. But, living in the country has taught me that going simple doesn’t mean things are going to be easy. One of the greatest teachers of this lesson is the garden.
This past Spring I was plucking out every new spout which popped up in my flower garden. One day my sister-in-law came by and while we were wandering around the flowers she noticed tiny spouts of Columbine. “Oh, and this is a Lupine.” She went on to identify more delightful flower spouts. With a sigh I regretted having pulled out every new spout I’d seen. She suggested that if I’m uncertain of the spout allow it to grow, it may be a welcome bloom.
In my efforts to keep the flower garden neat and tidy, safe and un-invaded I robbed it and myself of its gorgeous potential. That was a few months ago. Now in the midst of summer the flower bed is bursting with blooming color. While there are a few late bloomers of which I am aware of, there are however, a few of the unidentifiable growers also not in bloom.
Yesterday, I scooted around the flower and vegetable gardens to weed. While I didn’t know all of what I pulled out, I did know what I was pulling wasn’t where it belonged; they were going to do more damage than good. I also noticed how some weeds, such as goatheads, had really hidden themselves, wrapping and spreading around other plants, securing their place in the gardens. Unlike the pesky goadheads, there were a few growers and unknown visitors I allowed to remain in hopes they would be wonderful, welcome additions to the gardens.
 Sometime later, in the early evening, a friend stopped by. Knowing he was raised in the country, a true young cowboy, rancher, farmer, I knew he could identify these new garden residents. I pointed to the tall thin growers within the flower garden and asked him if he knew what they were. “I believe those are milkweeds,” he said.
The warning bells went off in my head. I haven’t lived in the country long but long enough to know what the neighbors, ranchers think of milkweed. I’ve heard how harmful milkweed can be to livestock. Even though I don’t have livestock except for the occasional escapee horse, I made my mind up they, the milkweed, would be up rooted in the morning.
Before heading out this morning to enforce the eviction, I decided to do a little research on milkweed. I discovered my two butterfly bush are also a type of milkweed. There are over 100 species of milkweed.  While milkweed is toxic, the Native Americans knew how to utilize the milkweed herb for medicinal purposes. The milkweed flowers provide needed nectar, not only for butterflies but honey bees as well. Milkweed leaves are a host for monarch larvae. By consuming the leaves it creates a toxicity within the butterfly’s wings which becomes a defense for the butterfly against its predators.
I have reconsidered the eviction, for now anyway. What will the neighbors think?
What possibilities would I have missed had I kept my mindset to pluck every spout which emerged in places I felt I needed to control, protect? I’d have barren spots within the flower garden of which I’d have gone to the nursery and purchased new occupants; all the while the occupants were there; some being the posterity from last year, others, weary travelers which had blown in and settled down. Some, like goatheads, are mean intruders who invade, crowd out, and produce thorns and slivers which wound and fester. Others become a safe, delightful welcoming place for humming birds, butterflies, honey bees and then together, become reliant on each other for growth, survival, and on occasion, teachers to humans like me.
From the book, Dirt Farmer Wisdom, Jojo Jensen writes, “We are interdependent just as the plants, birds, and bees must be to keep the garden blooming. All things are possible with an open heart dwelling in the garden of love. Just as the dirt farmer considers new flowers for her garden, you can overcome a barren, empty life by cultivating an open heart and mind.” Perfectly, simply, said.
On this, my 49th year journey, may I open my heart and mind to a deeper simplicity of life, fully aware that it may not always be easy. May I welcome tender new spouts and a knowing of when and what to pluck out. May I truly seek the wisdom to cultivate the gardens of my heart where dreams, desires, new possibilities can bloom, regardless of what the neighbors may say.

Friday, July 1, 2011

A Needed Boost

Wow, what a week! The talk I've been preparing for was on Wednesday. There is much to say, to write about on this speaking journey and it's all brewing, working it's way to the surface. There has been other stuff this week as well, whew, oh the stuff. Isn't it 'odd' just when you need a bit of a boost to self, a little, "hey, you're okay;" someone happens to offer; something happens to occur. When I opened my Facebook page I saw an interview I had been asked to give a few weeks ago was now posted. First, I've never been interviewed, so how totally honored that someone, not just anyone either but Lisa Dieken from Wild Creative Heart, would want to interview me and think me interesting enough to post the interview on her blog. I know of Lisa and her work. I also know of some of the individuals she associates with so when I say I'm honored, I'm humbly honored, wow, to be included in such company of angels. In the opening of her interview she refers to me as an 'artist'; this in and of itself is most moving for I have never refered to myself as an 'artist.' I hope you go read the interview. She matched me up with another remarkable woman, Natasha Reilly. Truly you'll want to get know these two women, you'll enjoy their writings, their art, and Lisa has some amazing photography, oh, and you'll get a glimpse of me through someone else's perspective.

Wild Creative Heart