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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

End of Year Reflections

It has been a year that seems both long and quick as I look back on it. Time is a strange thing. As Einstein said, all is relative to the reference point.

So in terms of my many years on earth, one year is not so much. Year 72 went faster than year 10 for example. 

In terms of my hopes and dreams, it was mostly a very, very long year. The dreams I began the year with have mostly not come to fruition - at least not yet. So I wait. Waiting seems slow. Not that I am not busy doing things, going places, being with people - no I'm not putting off my life. That part moves quickly, a fast paced life.

Oh, yes I've done so many things, quilted so many quilts, learned so many new skills, met many new friends, said and wrote so many prayers, seen some great movies, been busy with the quilt guild and the church and my home and family and hobbies. Yes, it has been a full year. 

The slow is the dreams, the hopes that still are not visible, that are either circling for a later entrance or are no longer coming. There are BIG dreams and tiny dreams and all things in between. 

My tinier dreams include new sewing toys, a redone kitchen, a closed in patio. My larger dreams include my husband's success and some material things like a bigger house and a new car. 

My big dreams include spiritual growth, finding others with spiritual depth for sharing and conversation and stretching. It seems that so few people are open to an Infinite God and just want to repeat what flat and uninspiring things some one or other said, usually someone who had no idea what they were saying or how congruent it was, etc. I long for a Meister Eckhart or Hildegard or Thomas Kelley kind of friend in my life. I long for the shared spiritual journey that I once had back in the day. So I have a couple of dear friends willing to engage in deep spiritual things, and I have hope for a larger circle. It seems God directs me elsewhere right now. Maybe in 2013.

And my big dreams include the healing of my son, the draining away of his rage and paranoia and his restoration to the loving child I once had the joy to have. I know it is possible. I know God can heal all. Yet, my prayers so far are either stillborn or in slow motion for it has been what seems like an eternity since I've heard him say "Hi Mom." The sound of his voice is fading in my memory. I can still feel the hugs of my grandchildren, but they grow dimmer. It has been over 2 1/2 years. I often hear the voice of my daughter saying he told her "I won't see Mom again until her funeral." I wonder why. I wonder what divine purpose there is in the depth of pain and grief I live with. It has been an excruciatingly slow year for this big dream.

God, I offer up my dreams to You for Your Will to be done in my life. Help me stay faithful as I move along this path for as long as You wish for me to be here. If it be Your Will, bring me understanding and peace.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Election Day and Beyond

Tuesday we vote in America. It is a turning point for us. On one hand we could go towards more socialism and government control, some even say toward communism. On the other hand, we could go toward our Constitution and our American way of life and values of freedom, success, individual worth and ability.

I confess, I care too much. I have been very emotional over it all. I have been close to people who have had other kinds of government than the kind we've had and heard the horror stories. I will weep with sorrow at the passing of our way of life if the election goes to the first group I mentioned above. I will dance with hope if the second group wins.

It has been made clear to me, that I need to spend more time apart from the gyrations of such things and turn my focus upon the creativity that surges in me and the spiritual path that has quickened my life and opened understanding. Of course, these two come together in my writings. So I will focus on "finishing" my new book, for one thing and also getting my previous books ready and up on Amazon ebooks and maybe other places.

I have a vision that a channel of light is opening for us and change is about to happen. I have a knowing of being untethered from what has been our usual life and people. The process has been going on for awhile, but only recently have I come to see its pattern and purpose.

Something has been unfolding in our life. I have resisted it. But my inner eyes were closed to it. In the past few weeks, I have been opened to see as I once saw. I no longer resist. God is leading us to the next phase of service in the Light. 

Perhaps I will share more soon. In the meantime, if you are reading this, I encourage you to open to let Spirit show you how what is going on in your life is part of something larger.

Great Spirit, Creator, Friend - I welcome what You show me, how You lead me. I trust You and follow where You lead. I am grateful for Your Presence in my life. You never give up on me. Thank You. I walk forward with Your Light.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Filling In the Blanks

I had some questions about the blank lines in my previous post. So I'll try to explain what I was/am thinking.

For me, knowing that I am in the last portion of this life, I want to focus mostly on things spiritual and things creative. I want to endeavor to waste as little time as possible. This means to me that I need to evaluate my choices in line with what I want to do with the rest of my life.

So, when I consider spending time doing this or that, I want to put it's name in the blanks and see if I get a majority answer one way or the other. For example, hmmmm shall I go to see a particular movie, or engage in a particular activity, or read a particular book, or watch a particular TV program, etc.? Put that choice in the blanks and see how they fare.

I put "Facebook" in the blanks and discovered that most time there is wasted. What is not wasted is getting to keep in touch with family and friends, getting uplifting ideas, finding gorgeous quilt ideas, etc. So I am limiting my time there to not over 1/2 hour a day.

By evaluating our usual activities, we can stop wasting so much time on things that do not lead us where we want to go. Of course, we all need "down time" and a bit of time wasting can be restorative, but just a little.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Time Management

It's hard to know how to spend the coin of my life, my time. As I accumulate seniority on this planet, I realize, that if you add it all up, I've likely spent years doing nonsense, nonproductive and useless things. I'm not talking about seemingly nothing from an outsider's view - meditation, contemplation, prayer, musing, etc. may look like nothing but are very much something. I'm thinking about too much television, upsets over triviality, estrangements, doing things I really really do not want to do, etc.

So here it is near the end of 2012!!! Wow!!! With dwindling time left to serve on earth, what can I do to waste a lot less of it. I think I might begin by asking myself questions. Fill in the blanks with the activity being considered.

  1. Is this _________ something that makes my insides sing and dance and be filled with joy?
  2. Is this _________ something I really, really, really want to do?
  3. Is this __________ something that helps me be more spiritually awake?
  4. Is this __________ something that is helpful, lifting, useful, meaningful, and positive?
  5. Would I truthfully name this _______ a waste of my time?
  6. Is this ________ in anyway tied to my life's purposes?
  7. When I stand before the Divine, when my time here is over, will I be happy to present this _________ as something I gave the coin of my life for?
I am sure you can come up with more questions that speak to you. For me, for now, I came up with the number of completion, 7.

Now, do I have the courage to ask these of myself and then to fearlessly apply them to the remaining moments of my life? It remains to be seen, but I can begin and do my best and see what happens.

In the finite time I have left on earth, oh Divine Master, guide me to see clearly what it is that I spend the coin of my life upon and to choose wisely.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Where It's At Today

This week has been incredibly special for me. For years at major quilt shows, I find myself entranced by the ones by Sharon Schamber. For about 2 years we've had her booked to come to our guild, and this was the week.

Her trunk show at the meeting took our breath away. All of us gasped multiple times by the sheer magnificence of her work. And, many were taken aback by her humility and openness to share all she knows.

Then there were two days of classes. They were more than I had expected. On the first day she taught us her brilliant technique for doing curved seams. I LOVED it. But, the highlight was our spiritual connection and conversation. I treasure the knowing that I have made another deep spiritual friend. She said no wonder I felt attracted to her quilts. I came to understand that my connection to her quilts was the spiritual connection that we ignited in person.

On the second day, she taught us her technique for making feathers with tons of important tips on all sorts of quilting/sewing things. Our spiritual connection deepened. But, my husband was taken ill with a major bout of diverticulitis. He went to the doctor on his own, so all of us who have men in our life understand what a big deal that was. I was not able to be totally at the class as I was so concerned about him. I did learn a lot. He got antibiotics, tests and a follow up appointment with the admonition to go to emergency if he got worse.

I am not certain what happened, cosmically speaking, this week. but I have a strong notion that a turning point happened. I think something new is about to unfold.

Lord of the universes, Lord of the dimensions, Lord of all that is, was and shall be, lead me onward back to You. Unfold in me the secrets You placed to be opened at the time of ripeness. Clear my eyes to see the steps to take into the newness that has left a gentle whiff of itself. I walk forward in the full knowing that You walk every moment with me. Thank You!!!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

A Note for My Grandchildren

My beloved grandchildren, I pray that one day you will find my blog and website and books and discover who your grandmother was. I leave a bit so that you can know something about someone who loves you with all of her heart. My DNA is in you, and so part of me lives on in you. The DNA of our ancestors is dancing in you too. It could be interesting to you to find out what influences are at work in you from your family that has gone before you.

It was a deeply painful day when you were taken from my life. It was over a misunderstanding, misinformation and decisions made on this lack of clarity. Even these years later. I can scarcely believe it happened. I hold no anger, for Christ taught us to forgive and to love. I know that such cruelty and rage come from someone who has some inner work to do, so I pray daily for your father. I miss you and weep often. I wonder how you are, where you are and if you think of me.

I pray you express the wondrous gifts that God has placed in you. I pray you have a fabulous life. I pray that joy and love and wisdom and peace walk with you.

If you find this little blog before I leave this life, I hope and pray you will find me and once again we can hug and talk and do loving and happy things together. If not, know that I have joined the cloud of witnesses watching over you. My love is with you always.

God bless you and keep you.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Autumn So Many Ways

It is autumn at so many levels. The weather is about to cool. Leaves are about to become jaw-dropping colors. The pace of growth is about to slow, getting ready for the sleep of winter.

The rhythm of our planet is once again being true to itself. The seasons we number 4  rotate regularly into place. It is comforting to know the rhythm and not expect spring when it is autumn. We trust what is to follow. 

There is a rhythm in our lives too. I could say that I am in the autumn of this leg of my eternal life. I know God created me - you -everyone. I know we have eternal souls. Our bodies are like spacesuits our souls wear to navigate earth. Our bodies belong here and will stay here. They are carbon compounds. As they age, they begin to break down. They begin to slow down. My body surely is.

BUT, my soul is not slowing down. It is not subject to earth's rules. My soul quickens and jumps and dances with ever expanding understanding and at the same time ever expanding questions/quests. I feel excitement about what I know and know that I know and even more excitement about what I do not yet know. God, being Infinite in Nature, can never be known fully, for then God would be finite - containable into some sort of box or the other. Right around the corner, maybe today, is the next aha waiting for me. 

One of my main stated goals for this life is to go as far spiritually as I can. In the service of this goal, I have been led to many places, many people, many books, many churches, many ideas. I have sought, considered, discarded, accepted, been saddened by, been exhilarated by and so much more. The journey has not been boring. Sometimes perplexing, sometimes clear - but never boring. I am pretty sure that since this has been a life-long, up until now, pattern that it will continue until my winter of sleep comes, and I (my soul) leave this planet for God only knows what.

In the meantime, I will engage fully in the autumn and all it offers. I accept the gorgeous colors of a fading life and the enrichment to the core of me that comes in autumn time. 

Lord, I know You are here with me in the autumn of my earthly life, just as You have been through every moment of every season. Open my mind, my heart, my very depths to You in every way possible to a person on earth. Help me embrace the colors of my autumn. Help me come to understand what You bring to me to understand. Lead me where You would. Your Will be done now for every millisecond. I turn my life and this prayer over to You. Amen

Monday, August 27, 2012

Sorting Through

Life has such interesting opportunities. All are teachers I think. I strive to discern the lesson each moment comes to bring.

The ultimate goal, for me at least, is spiritual awakening. I am in pretty good shape in prayer, meditation, understanding spiritual principles, reading and discerning. I'm not there yet, as they say, but I am on my way.

Of course, there are others who think their spiritual understanding is superior to mine and might even attack me. But I know what I know. I am confident in my understanding and spiritual relationship with Christ, God and the heavenly hosts. So, I can see what other people present and know that it is where they are, but I am somewhere else. I know what I know. The veil has parted often enough that I am confident in my spiritual understanding.

Sorting through the outer stuff of life and mining the lessons there seems to be my challenge. When I think I see through some outer thing or the other, that upsets someone who thinks they have done the same but came to a different conclusion and their conclusion is right and mine wrong. It is fascinating. Sometimes it is hurtful. The dynamic of attack when someone reaches a different conclusion rather than the persuasion of a better argument confuses me.

As I write our nation is in the throws of a Presidential election. Some dear people are on both sides of it all. Some get angry when they are disagreed with. Some throw personal attacks at the candidates on the other side and on those friends who are on the other side. I find it fascinating. In my view we ought to be on the side of America. We ought to explore to find the facts rather than throw slogans. We ought to want to know the truth rather than protect our points of view. The old, let the chips fall where they may, saying might do us well. What if we are gutterly, emotionally attached to this or that person who is running and blind ourselves to reality that might change our attachment if known? Do we dare as a people to drop our biases? Do we dare to look truth squarely in the eye? I truly hope so.

In the meantime, I must learn the lessons especially from people I care about who so strongly disagree with me they attack me rather than argue the point. I think part of my lesson is to not take it personally. An angry person who fights unfairly via attack rather than debates via valid argument is just exhibiting their consciousness in general. I need to be an observer and not a reactor.

I need to love passionate people, even when they are not nice passionate people. Jesus told us to love unconditionally. That is my marching order so to speak. Hence, the lesson returns to the common mission of all on earth, to the final question we will be asked, "Did you learn how to love?"

Dear, dear Lord, help me to love as You have called us to love - unconditionally, fully, without reserve.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

What's Up in August?

It's been awhile since I've written. Lots going on though.

I've been reading Teilhard de Chardin, Cynthia Bourgeault, and others - clarifying, deepening, praying and also writing on my new book - "What On Earth Is Going On?"

We had our 25th anniversary with little fanfare as my husband had some serious health challenges. Hard to believe it's been that long.

Busy at church with assisting, pastoral care and Prayers and Squares. I am so thankful we found St. Stephen's Episcopal Church in Menifee, CA.

Still President of the Quilt Guild and very busy with that. I absolutely love to sew and quilt. I adore fabric. It is an outlet for creativity that feeds my soul. I'm learning to do the quilting myself and getting a bit better at it. I really like that aspect of quilting. It adds another layer of art to the quilt and makes it more my own expression when I do all the layers. I've also begun a series of whimsical quilts. I've completed 4 whimsical quilts at this writing.

Speaking of nourishing my soul, I love the idea in Teilhard that not only the bread of communion, but also all that nourishes the soul is divine, is Christ's own. Something deep in me truly resonates to his thinking on the Cosmic Christ. I also like Matthew Fox's thinking on this.

The grieving is getting bearable most days. I think I've turned the corner of releasing my beloved son and grandchildren to God's care and keeping. I pray for them almost daily as well as for the rest of my family. I am still bewildered over it all and cannot fathom the why of it or the divine of it. Maybe someday all will be clear. In the meantime I have to trust God's working in all of our lives.

I am concerned about the election this year. I am deeply worried about the future of our way of life. I hope people start thinking clearly, checking things out, verifying what is said, etc.

Lord, I come to You this day seeking Your clarity. Guide my understanding. Lead me to walk in Your path as You would have me walk. As I come closer and closer to the end of this earthly journey, lead me to do all You sent me here to do so that I may answer a resounding "Yes" when I come fully to Your Light.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Today is Independence Day

I awoke with this scripture speaking itself to me this morning - "This is the day the Lord has made, rejoice and be glad in it!" 

I am so thankful. No tears this morning. Instead, a message.

This is the 2nd anniversary of the last time I was with my son and grandchildren, the 3 from him. It was such a happy time. We loved and laughed and hugged and enjoyed. We sewed. We did tourist things. We ate. We met his fiancee. We watched fireworks. We were a family.

I have grieved for 2 years, deep agony grief. The 15th of July, 2 years ago, he called and informed us he never wanted anything to do with us again. He divorced his mother! A year ago they disappeared.

I tried to find them. I was concerned. I agonized. I worried. I prayed. I cried rivers of tears. I hurt in deep, deep ways. Betrayal, false accusations, cruelty, paranoia, bizarre, incomprehensible, confusing -- not enough words to describe it. I don't get it????

Nothing worked to ease the pain. A hole in my heart, missing them oh so much. I prayed, yes I prayed. I asked others to pray. 

Then this morning, Independence Day, July 4th, I awoke with the scripture saying itself to me. No tears. Scripture. "This is the day the Lord has made, rejoice and be glad in it!" 

Thank You, Lord, for You heard my prayer and spoke to me. I rejoice for the gift of another day. 

Monday, June 25, 2012

That Good Ole 20/20 Hindsight

Yesterday I woke up with the realization that there have been big swatches of my life that I've been not as aware as I might have been. Being busy with this and that (mostly service and creativity) I've missed some big clues that might have helped me and others I care about avoid some pitfalls, some even huge stumbling pits. Or maybe we needed the pitfalls to learn what we need to learn. Maybe they cannot really be changed.

I realize that in many ways I've been naive. I've trusted where it was not warranted. I've given slack where I should not have. I've excused behaviors that I should have seen as patterns of mental problems. I've been patient way too much. I've allowed too much.

I see suddenly that what I decided was a personality thing, an individuality thing, in someone incredibly special to me, is more likely to have been a pattern of mental illness - obsessive, paranoid, narcissistic, hypochondriac, a raging storm within him from the very beginning. I loved/love this person, but I think maybe I failed him. The signs were there. They set up and became prominent as life progressed.

There are some dilemmas. On odd days I wonder about how it could have been different. How do I love fully, unconditionally and not be naive? Is tough love actually love? Could I really have changed the course of life anyway? Am I my parents'/son's/daughter's/husband's/friend's/etc. keeper? When I leave here, am I accountable for myself and my own responses only or also for all others who came into my life? Is the observer, non-attached position the only way to extricate oneself from the drama? Are the tears I've wept futile?

I want very much to live as God intended. Sometimes it all seems as if a puzzle. In trying to be the most loving, kind, caring, spiritual, creative person I can be and give the gifts instilled in me, is that enough? I think of Carl Jung saying if your love does not engender love back, it is impotent.

What do I do about the mean, the cruel, the mentally disturbed, the arrogant, the fanatics that cross my path either briefly or in the form of family? I pray for them, sure. Sometimes they go away, sometimes I go away eventually. Sometimes they stay around for a long time. In the short or long term, I don't seem all that effective in helping them. They remain as they were. They have on occasion turned on me, sometimes viciously and for no actual reason. I find myself bewildered by this. I cannot change others, okay. But if I love sufficiently, can't I change their responses and model for them another way which they will want to find for themselves?

It seems to me, for example, I've had more than my share of mentally disturbed people come into my life. Of course, maybe we're all a bit tilted, but I mean way off center people. I am sure there are many lessons here, and since it doesn't seem to stop, I guess I've not learned the lesson too well.

Maybe this all leads back to the book I'm working on - "What On Earth Is Going On?" So I just muse today with questions long asked and not well answered over history.

As my dear, dear friend in Russia says so often, "Life Continues."

Oh God, open my eyes to see what I am to do. Open my ears to fully hear Your Guidance. Open my heart to love as You call me to love. I am here; I am willing; lead me Lord. What on earth IS going on?

Saturday, June 23, 2012

My Spirituality is Quiet

My relationship with God, with Christ is a quiet, personal, intimate, precious, treasured relationship. Our communion together informs my life, leads me, guides me. focuses me. If you watch how I live, the choices I make, the way I treat others, how I spend my time, what I read, etc., hopefully you can see the visible part of my relationship with God. But you cannot see my relationship. It cannot fit it into words. It is in a deep secret place in the temple at the center of my being. It is not for PR. It is the richness of oneness that is far too precious, treasured & intimate to be cast about willy nilly.

I am suspect of those who loudly speak their faith, especially those who think they are the only ones who are right. The show of faith, the theatrics, they ring false.

Jesus said to go into the closet to pray & didn't much care for the hypocrites who publicly & with fanfare did their prayers.

There is a humility in knowing & living from the deep well of actual communion. It is not to be shouted & pridefully displayed; it is not of or for ego. It is to be quietly lived, the example being an irresistible magnet to others who are drawn to the light & joy & love & kindness emanating from a heart actually attuned to God.

It is not furthered by entertainment with drums & guitar, but is rather pushed down by the loud, spectacular, entertainment based "churches." It is not the outer dance at all. It is quietly living & being one with God. It is Brother Lawrence, the humble brother whose enlightened life drew people to him from far & wide. It is Jacob Boehme,the cobbler who knew God & great princes came from all over to sit & listen to him. It is Hildegard von Bingen whose deep communion with God drew so many to her & draws us today as we read her words or hear her music. Those who hear & see & experience Reality, are humble. They do not seek power, fame or wealth of the world. They do not feed the ego. The simply live as they are guided. Maybe there is some such one unnoticed nearby. Maybe there is such a one inside of you, waiting to be set free.

Lord, I turn to You this moment. Show me the way to simply be with You, learn from You & live as You would have me live. I cast aside the ego & seek the genuine. I choose to be a spiritual adult, not needing distracting entertainment, only needing You. Help me live more quietly and humbly. Help me live kindly, lovingly. I ask this in Your name. Amen

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Life Lessons from an Ole Grandma, Me

I feel led to share some ole grandma thoughts - some things I've learned over 72 years here on earth & I wish I'd known earlier. Maybe I can save you some detours.

  • Jesus said that it is not what we put into our mouths (what we eat) the defiles us, it is what comes out (our words). One of the keys to a successful, fulfilling life is kindness. Speak kindly, act kindly, never do harm or hurt on purpose. My daddy said often "You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar." Confucius said we would do well to act as the gracious host or hostess at all times.
  • Everyone, yes everyone, is our teacher. Each comes into our lives so that we may learn something and become more awake, more spiritual, more what we are intended to be. 
  • Observe rather than get emotional as much as possible. Once upset takes over, someone else is in control of you. The task is to stay in control of yourself.
  • You are sort of an extra in the story of other people's lives and they are the star of their lives. Usually whatever is going on with them, it's not about you.
  • People often get hurt because they say they trusted the other person who let them down. What most people mean is they expect other people to act, think and be like they do. Instead it is wise to just watch people and their patterns and trust they will be them. For example, if someone is always late, you can expect/trust they are likely to be late. It is useless and silly to take their patterns personally. This goes back to observe. Everyone has one or two major patterns and several secondary patterns. Observe what these are and expect/trust that is how they will be. It takes a huge amount of desire and effort to change a pattern, and for sure you cannot change some else's. 
  • Which leads to this, do all the healing, thinking, praying you need to be the best person you can be. You are the one person you are in charge of, responsible for and ultimately accountable for.
  • Love is the key. Jesus told us to love our neighbors (everyone) as ourselves (must love oneself) and to love God are the key to it all. Develop a loving attitude and way and you will find great happiness.
  • But do know that as they say, "into each life some rain will fall." There will be challenges. It is a sort of soul school here. Observe and respond from the highest place within you. Don't let it all control you. 

I love you tons and tons and wish for you a marvelous life. But in the end, it really is up to you. Please think on the things I've shared.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

It's A New Day

Yes, it's a new day. I awoke with some sense of release, relief and renewal.

I am ready to move on.

My turning point has been coaxed by a diverticulitis attack. I think it was partially brought on by the grieving I've been doing for almost 2 years. I am ready to let go and move on. Or maybe today I could say it feels more like the whole thing released itself. 

Some of my new day thoughts include:

  • There are some things in life over which we have no control. Other people go off on their own tangential journeys. I cannot learn other people's lessons for them. I am doing well to learn my own lessons.
  • In this case, one of the lessons of my life is that others do not have the right to abuse me. It was the norm for a long time. I just quietly went inside and dealt with it, for it was the way of life was for me. It is no longer my way of life. I withdraw permission from abusers to abuse me. All who have done so are jettisoned away from my life. I don't have to fight them, argue with them, convince them otherwise or allow them. They do not belong in my life any longer.
  • The main person who has been in my life for a long period of time who has never abused me is my sweet husband. He is a great gift to me. He shows me so much.
  • My peace of mind, my peace of life, my spiritual journey is not to be derailed by someone's off the rails choices.
  • It is not appropriate to put off the rest of my life waiting for the return of others who are not coming, and if who did return, would bring more abuse. The healing required for abuse to be gone from their behaviors may take more than this lifetime. Sadly, some are filled with cruelty, paranoia, and anger. It is up to them and God and not to me to deal with that.
  • Today has never before been lived. I will do my best to live it well. I will recall my "theme song" for my spiritual travels - Isaiah & the song "here I am Lord..."
  • So:  Here am I, Lord. Is it I, Lord? 
    I have heard you calling in the night. 
    I will go, Lord, if you lead me. 
    I will hold your people in my heart. 

Monday, May 7, 2012

The Change in Education from Then to Now

Title portion of examination

What it took to get an education in 1895

This is a final exam from 1895 in Salina , Kansas , USA . It was taken from the original document on file at the Smokey Valley Genealogical Society and Library in Salina, Kansas, and reprinted by the Salina Journal.

Final Exam: Salina , KS - 1895 probably for a teacher applicant, who most likely had "only" an 8th grade education.

Grammar (Time, one hour)
1. Give nine rules for the use of capital letters.
2. Name the parts of speech and define those that have no modifications.
3. Define verse, stanza and paragraph.
4. What are the principal parts of a verb? Give principal parts of 'lie,''play,' and 'run.'
5. Define case; illustrate each case.
6 What is punctuation? Give rules for principal marks of punctuation.
7 - 10. Write a composition of about 150 words and show therein that you understand the practical use of the rules of grammar.

Arithmetic (Time,1 hour 15 minutes)
1. Name and define the Fundamental Rules of Arithmetic.
2. A wagon box is 2 ft. Deep, 10 feet long, and 3 ft. Wide. How many bushels of wheat will it hold?
3. If a load of wheat weighs 3,942 lbs., what is it worth at 50cts/bushel, deducting 1,050 lbs. for tare?
4. District No 33 has a valuation of $35,000. What is the necessary levy to carry on a school seven months at $50 per month, and have $104 for incidentals?
5. Find the cost of 6,720 lbs. Coal at $6.00 per ton.
6. Find the interest of $512.60 for 8 months and 18 days at 7 percent.
7. What is the cost of 40 boards 12 inches wide and 16 ft.. Long at $20 per metre?
8. Find the bank discount on $300 for 90 days (no grace) at 10 percent.
9. What is the cost of a square farm at $15 per acre, the distance of which is 640 rods?
10. Write a Bank Check, a Promissory Note, and a Receipt.

U.S. History (Time, 45 minutes)
1. Give the epochs into which U.S. History is divided
2. Give an account of the discovery of America by Columbus
3. Relate the causes and results of the Revolutionary War.
4. Show the territorial growth of the United States.
5. Tell what you can of the history of Kansas.
6. Describe three of the most prominent battles of the Rebellion.
7. Who were the following: Morse, Whitney, Fulton , Bell , Lincoln , Penn, and Howe?
8. Name events connected with the following dates: 1607, 1620, 1800, 1849, 1865.

Orthography (Time, one hour)
[Do we even know what this is??]
1. What is meant by the following: alphabet, phonetic, orthography, etymology, syllabication?
2. What are elementary sounds? How classified?
3. What are the following, and give examples of each: trigraph, subvocals, diphthong, cognate letters, linguals?
4. Give four substitutes for caret 'U.' (HUH?)
5. Give two rules for spelling words with final 'e.' Name two exceptions under each rule.
6. Give two uses of silent letters in spelling. Illustrate each.
7. Define the following prefixes and use in connection with a word: bi, dis-mis, pre, semi, post, non, inter, mono, sup.
8. Mark diacritically and divide into syllables the following, and name the sign that indicates the sound: card, ball, mercy, sir, odd, cell, rise, blood, fare, last.
9. Use the following correctly in sentences: cite, site, sight, fane, fain, feign, vane , vain, vein, raze, raise, rays.
10. Write 10 words frequently mispronounced and indicate pronunciation by use of diacritical marks and by syllabication.

Geography (Time, one hour)
1 What is climate? Upon what does climate depend?
2. How do you account for the extremes of climate in Kansas ?
3. Of what use are rivers? Of what use is the ocean?
4. Describe the mountains of North America
5. Name and describe the following: Monrovia, Odessa, Denver, Manitoba, Hecla, Yukon, St. Helena, Juan Fernandez, Aspinwall and Orinoco
6. Name and locate the principal trade centers of the U.S. Name all the republics of Europe and give the capital of each.
8. Why is the Atlantic Coast colder than the Pacific in the same latitude?
9. Describe the process by which the water of the ocean returns to the sources of rivers.
10. Describe the movements of the earth. Give the inclination of the earth.

Notice that the exam took FIVE HOURS to complete.

No, I don't have all the answers! And I don't think I ever did!

A hypothesis I have is that this is what education looked like before the legislatures and unions took it over.

Have fun with this...pass it on so we're not the only ones who feel stupid!!!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Precious Memories

Sitting at the national day of prayer event this morning, thoughts of events in my lifetime came to mind. Sometimes I bring thoughts on purpose, and sometimes they waft up seemingly on their own accord.

Some of the memories are like pearls. They are shiny, smooth and lovely. I roll them around in my heart and mind as precious treasures. Some are like broken shards of glass. They cut again, just as they once did. Some have their sharp edges worn off by countless prayers and much forgiveness work.

A persistent shard that stabs at me without mercy is a certain estrangement for which I am speechless and in total confusion as to why. I pray that this beloved person will one day actually discover who I am and lay down their strange beliefs about me and cleanse their heart of darkness. It is such an amazing thing to have someone I love have a point of view of me that is 180' from my understanding of myself and that of everyone else I know. I picture that aha moment sometimes, but I am sad for all the times of pearl memories that have been and are being lost forever. I pray this person actually comes to a relationship with Christ and lets go of the cruel version of Christ that rules his delusion. I weep for the angry pain in his heart and pray for Christ to enter there and bring peace and light.

The memories of my life are a sort of private album to look through, ponder and learn from and treasure. No one can fully enter there with me, save God. I am reminded that all I really have though is this now moment. I can look back - did I learn this lesson; is that person okay; have I fully forgiven; etc. etc. etc? But this is the moment I have to live.

So I need to ask myself - am I doing the best I can in the here and now? Am I living in God's Light to the best of my ability? Am I listening and following Guidance? If I were to leave earth today, would I hear "well done good and faithful servant?" I do hope so. I have striven my entire life to do and be the best I can, to model God's Love by the way I live my life, to pick myself up when I fall and to turn again to God.

Thank You, God for being with me always, in the dark twists and turns of the valleys and golden lit mountain tops. I rejoice to know You!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

It's been awhile

It's been awhile since I've written here. I've been busy, sure. But then I'm always busy. I've been a bit depressed, so much seems out of control. I go to my quiet and meditative spot, my sewing room. That's where I've gone since I was little. Sewing is healing, therapeutic, creative, etc. It is soothing to make something lovely. I've been sewing a lot lately.

I wrestle daily with the bizarre turn of events with my son. I cannot grasp why. I cannot seem to be able to understand. I am left with grief. I hear whispers - it's for your protection from further hurt, he has to work out his own rage and confusion, the grandchildren will return one day.... The pain continues.

Our financial life is bizarre too. I cannot grasp why regarding the slowness, the circuitousness - our own finances seem to stand still or go in circles. I've never experienced anything like it.

Our nation seems to have gone crazy. 16 trillion is bandied about like it is pocket change. Mud slinging is the norm rather than thoughtful dialogue. Solutions seem like foreign entities pushed aside for schoolyard like bickering and name calling.

I guess I'll be sewing a lot for awhile. I'll try to get back here more often though. Maybe between projects I'll come back to touch bases. I guess it's most important because there is a part of me that thinks one day maybe my grandchildren will find me via the internet. Maybe they can get to know me a bit from this blog and my website, even if when they find me I've gone on to the next life. I had hoped for more direct impact on their lives, but I have no power to find them and be with them. I had hoped to teach them to sew and draw and write and love God and everyone as children of God. I had thought that the things I have learned over decades of living and learning could touch them and lift them and maybe save them some dead ends. I had hoped my hugs would fill them with love. I had hoped my humor and creativity would inspire them. I can only hope the time I had with them in the past watered and nurtured some seeds. As Meister Eckhart said - the seed of God is in you. Wherever you are dear ones, I love you and miss you more than ever you can know.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

DNA - Cellular Memory

Last night we watched a new television program that takes people on a journey into their ancestry. The first program was with Martin Sheen. It was fascinating. One thing I want to share here was that on both his Irish & his Spanish sides, that is on both his mother's & his father's sides, he had political activists involved in the 1st Irish revolution & the Spanish uprising against fascism. Martin has been impelled to be involved in activism himself.

This morning I was musing about a thought that maybe part of our lives is influenced by a stream of family imperatives, carried on via DNA or some sort of cellular memory. I only know a little about my ancestry, but it rather made me want to know more.

What do I know. My father's sister was a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution, tracing our family on her mother's side back to 1730 on these shores. To move to the new world in 1730, he must have been quite a pioneer spirit. My father told me that his grandmother was a Free Methodist preacher in a country church, which was of course in a day when women couldn't do that. My great-grandmother on my mother's side was a widow & turned her house into a boarding house to take care of her children & survive, a sort of entrepreneur in her day. My mother's father moved to Pennsylvania from Tennessee to seek his fortune & become an architect, & he succeeded in that. My father was an optimist, telling me, "you can do anything you put your mind to." My mother was a successful businesswoman.  My mother's sister was very creative & appreciative of things creative. On the negative side, my mother's father killed himself with a gun. My father said of my mother, "she's never so happy as when something's wrong," acknowledging her draw to the negative. My father never made his dreams come true, often saying, "when my ship comes in." My aunt never focused her creativity. etc, etc. etc.

So I am a mix of ancestry & experience, as are we all. Maybe what we're to do is accentuate the positive & eliminate the negative, as the song says. That is, as I become aware of leanings in me, I should lift up those that lead to good places & resist those that don't. I see in myself a pioneer spirit in so much of what I have done. I see in myself a strong spiritual calling, I see in myself refusing to be held back because I'm a woman. I see in myself a positive attitude, creativity, survival skills, etc. Those echoes of my ancestors. I need to encourage. I also hear echoes of the negative aspects of those who were my ancestors, which I must minimize & try to eliminate.

Just a thought, what if we are the chance of our family lines to get it right so to speak? What if we are supposed to be the one to end the negative, dark strains in our cells & to send forth to the future the positive strains? Or what if we are only supposed to do that for our particular life because we cannot totally change our cellular memory that is passed on, we can only add to it by what we have become by the time we have children? And then there are the environmental things we do by our modeling & choices that affect our children who internalize some of that to add to their cellular memory.

Such a web we weave & live out & pass on.

Help me Lord to live as You would have me live. Awaken me to see patterns that You would have me reinforce and those that You would ask me to eliminate, whether they come from echoes of the past or from my own choices. Give me the courage and the wisdom to do as You would have me do.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Another Turn In the Road of Life

As 2012 warms itself up, I feel the tinglings of newness in my very soul too.

So much grief, so many challenges, so many obstacles were navigated in 2011. Into the winding path, some sparkling goodness fell too. It was not all a downer. For that matter, in all things there is at least some good, and in the midst of the struggle of mountain climbing through life there are still rainbows and flowers.

It's fun to think of this being the year of the dragon in Chinese mythology, but beyond the fun of myth, there is actual life. It is always the year of God. It is always the year pregnant and bursting with opportunities for all sorts of things from spiritual growth to prosperity to new ideas, etc.

My usually good intuition tells me that some very amazing goodness is on the edge, ready to fall into my life. 2012's surprises will fall more on the side of Light than of darkness. I really do feel it in my bones. I also feel a sense of relief. There are those years that are almost more than one can bear. I've had several of those years, including last year. In the dance of life, in the swinging pendulum, a turn toward the good has happened.

I eagerly watch to see the good God has prepared for me this year -- and for you too. Thank You, God, for this new year and new Light. With open arms, I await.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Aunt Eleanor's Ring - A Bit of Family History

For a long time I have been praying intensely for my son and family who have vanished, for healing, for reconciliation, for truth to be known, to be able to release it all to God, etc, etc etc. I have been grieving anywhere from sobs to lonely tears running down my face. In the past 6 months or so, there have been no sobs but have been many trickles of tears. He did some things that made it clear it does not work for me to be in his life, and he or someone he prodded on did a particularly nasty attack. And he has escalated to his sister with his anger. So somehow I have to accept that he is gone and my beloved grandchildren are gone and his new wife I will not get to know and love.

This morning in the shower, God spoke and gave me a smidgen more of understanding. It involves my mother and her sister, Aunt Eleanor. No one, with the possible exception of me, could upset my mother more than Aunt Eleanor. They were pretty much opposites. Where my mother thought if I laid on the living floor reading the Sunday comics, I had made a total mess of the entire house; Aunt Eleanor sometimes had so much stuff in her home you could only walk through it in a narrow pathway. She was creative, but rarely finished anything. She would make me adorable dresses, but bring them without a hem. Mother grumbled while hemming them. Aunt Eleanor was inspired to begin hundreds of projects and disband them before they were fully explored. So there were the bejeweled piggy banks, some of which we got and some of which stayed undone; there was the knitting machine that only made a few garments; there were piles of projects either forgotten or pushed to the back burner in favor of the latest inspiration. She had discombobulation regarding money too. I remember being awakened in the night and having to sit dozing in the back seat as we drove to Glendale or Eagle Rock or some such place to pay the rent so they wouldn't be thrown out in the street. My parents paid, but did not like doing it.

To me, Aunt Eleanor was fun. She painted my nails red and put my hair up with a thing they used to call the "rat", which was a net covered sausage-looking thing. On the rare occasion when I got to go to her house, I got to stay up late, jump on the bed and have Dr. Pepper and donuts for breakfast. She paid for me to take art lessons and bought me my first textile paints and later oil paints. I loved Aunt Eleanor and cherish the memory of her.

Well, she got breast cancer. It metastasized. Before she was bedridden, she was at my home and took me into the bathroom. I can still see her. She opened a beautiful bag of stunning jewelry. She said she was going to die and wanted me to pick what I wanted to remember her by. I picked a star-burst gold necklace with a diamond in the center. Then she asked me to pick a ring for each of my children but to not give them the rings until they were old enough to appreciate them. So I picked a platinum, diamond and sapphire ring for my son and a gold and diamond ring for my daughter. It was a very tender, joyful and also sad day.

I must inject into this story that for whatever reason, yet to be understood, my mother worked tirelessly to turn my children against me. This comes to play in this insight, so stay with me.

1976 was really, really, really a hard year. My beloved Aunt Eleanor lay bed fast, down to just a skeleton, and passed on in October. Oh how my heart hurt. Then in November our dog died, my first dog, my children's first dog. Double sad. Then on Christmas my husband had an aneurysm in his brain and I became a widow. Deep sadness. A year that was on the edge of too much to bear.

In 1978 my son went off to college. I had showed him the ring and told him I would hold it for him until he wanted it or needed it. We both thought maybe one day it would be an engagement ring. To me it was a very sentimental piece. Well, my dear mother, began calling my son and telling him that I had sold Aunt Eleanor's ring. He would call me angry and accusatory (he always believed her for some reason). I would tell him I did not and would not sell it. When he'd be home for vacations, I would show him the ring. This scenario repeated numerous times. Finally, I got so tired of it, I gave him the ring, which he eventually sold, to my sorrow. I don't know, I have a thing about family history and sentimental things.

So fast forward through many variations of this story, and a bit over a year and a half ago he once again accused me of taking something that was his. He refused to listen to what really happened. A year and a half ago he shunned us and told us he was done with us. Six or seven months ago he vanished.

The story of Aunt Eleanor's ring seems to be a myth (something that never happened but is always going on) that defines our relationship. I guess the seeds my mother planted in his subconscious win out.

I find myself quite confused as well as sad. But, I do see that this is a larger version of the same story "you sold Aunt Eleanor's ring." I don't know why we have to live out this myth over and over again. I don't know at this moment how to stop it or if it can be stopped. I only know I didn't sell the ring and have been accused of this and similar things a hundred times or more by someone I love so very much.

Dear God, thank You for this insight. Now I ask You to show me what I am to do with it. Bring the Light of Your Clarity upon us. If it be possible, if it be Your Will, help this myth to end and cease to define us. Set us free from the false shadows of the past. I trust that Your Good will come out of this in this life or the next.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Living Life Fully, and Yet...

So, if you know me, you know I'm a participator by nature. I like to be part of life. I don't have to be in charge, but I want to play at the things that interest and intrigue me. At this, shall we say, mature time of my life, I am focusing on participating on things spiritual and things sewing/quilting. These keep me really busy.

This week and this week-end have been a full example of participation. Not forgetting the busy rest of the week, I just want to mention briefly the week-end. Yesterday I took an all day class through our quilt guild, taught by Shelley Swanland, on a new to me technique. It is really different, involves folding and lots of accuracy. I had to focus like a laser. When I got home, I was exhausted --- good tired and beyond. I really dislike the reduced stamina that seems to stalk me. Today was church with lots of participation during and after plus a home visit taking the Eucharist. I love it all.

I finished the Lenten Prayer Journal, printed copies to hand out at church for Lent and sent it off to be looked at by a publisher. The new book I'm writing is coming along pretty well too.

In the quiet moments I notice that there is an inner point in me still grieving. It seems like it is going forward with the grieving on its own, even while I am fully engaged in participating in life. There is a deep place that perhaps will never be quite able to reconcile the confusing absurdity of the things that have happened in my family. I just cannot seem to wrap any satisfactory understanding around it. I have released and released and released to God, yet there is a shadow, an echo ringing sorrow in my soul. Oh, the moments that are missed when estrangement happens. Memories not to be made. Explanations never made. Hugs unhugged and kisses unkissed. Never able to go back and recapture the moments. Life only moving forward. Deep sorrow grieving itself. No, life will never be the same -- was it ever? The joyous memories, were they real? Was it all theater? What happened? Will I ever know?

Nevertheless, life continues. Smile, pick up the feet and move forward, what else is there to do? God is there in it all, even though it seems clear as mud right now to my limited human eyes. Somehow, even if the intention was evil, the outcome will be good because I know I'm all right with God.

Lord, help me do my best and not be hindered by the inner grief. Help me do what You would have me do  - no excuses. I'm not the only one on earth with grief. Help me rise up and live the rest of my life in the way You would want.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

2012 Just Getting Started

We're 10 days into 2012, and I feel encouraged so far. I also have kept quite busy.

I'm busy at church with leading a Bible Study (the Bible in a year), a monthly spiritual discussion group, Prayers & Squares prayer quilt ministry, prayers before church, writing a prayer a week for the bulletin, putting together a prayer journal for Lent, President of Daughters of the King, and assorted other things.

I'm busy at the Quilt Guild as President this year and also editor of the newsletter, although I'm trying to get someone to take that one over. Tonight is our first meeting of the year, and I am really looking forward to it.

I'm learning to be able to quilt on my home machine and am actually getting better at it. I'd still really, really like to have a long-arm machine though. And I have hopes that some new sewing toys are in my near future.

I started a new book. The working title is "What On Earth Is Going On?" I feel excited about it.

My health is soooo much better than last year. I have hopes I'll be fine in this new year. If it continues, maybe I can make at least one more trip to see my friends in Russia and present another round of spiritual seminars. Some of my dearest friends are over there. You'd kind of expect that since I started going there in 1991.

We've finally discovered what caused some of our challenges and froze a part of our lives. We think that has been resolved and all should flow at any moment.

So, we could say it's only been 10 days since 2012 began. On the other hand, as you can see, a great deal has already happened in my life. Time is not a particularly concrete thing.

Dear Lord, I ask You continue to bless our lives in 2012. May it be all You would want it to be. Lead us, guide us, help us to live as You envision.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Welcome 2012!

I welcome you, 2012, with open arms and high hopes.

I sadly say good-bye to old 2011. It is a sad good-bye because it was such a difficult year for my family, my nation and my world.

Healing of some things I had fervently prayed for did not heal, at least in the way I had hoped. The answer was endings. God does not always say "Yes." Someday, perhaps, I will know the full reason for the "No" answer. I have a partial answer. I am on a path of Love, of gentleness, of giving, of serving, of reaching out, of compassion, of endeavoring to awaken spiritually. I am more focused on the New Testament than the Old. I strive to discover the 1st century, the original intentions, the before theology and control set in. I am more in the vein of seeking to be Christed, The Imitation of Christ, the Christ within expressing. The one for whom I prayed so deeply is on a more harsh path, a more Onward Christian Soldiers path, a more Old Testament, more hard sayings of Jesus. More listening to recent teachings that have been added in the past 100 years or so. We can not see eye to eye. Perhaps our souls require these different paths for growth and completing our purposes for being here on earth. It has been with tears, heart-break and deep prayer that I move closer and closer to release, to letting go of my wishes and accepting the way it is.

At the same time, 2011 saw some astounding physical challenges and healings. As for me, I was diagnosed with a variant of Guillain-Barre Syndrome, GBS, and went through numbness, pain, difficulty walking, etc. Then it turned around, and it is about 85% gone, although there are days it is more difficult than others. My son in law read that Turmeric helped numbness, my doctor said try it. It and prayer worked. My doctor said I am a miracle. Then I had elevated aldosterone - the 1st patient in 28 years of practice that my doctor had seen. Fortunately it is not caused by the usual suspect, tumor, so can be controlled by medication. So far so good health wise.

There were other deep and difficult challenges in 2011 too, but enough of that.

2011 also saw some wonderful things at home, in family, in the quilt guild and at church. I am glowingly thankful for these mighty blessings that honored my life.

It is, nevertheless, a relief for that year to be over. Of course, I don't know what will unfold in 2012, but I have a feeling, a sense, maybe just a hope, that it will be a really good year. I could use a really good year.

Lord, I give thanks for Your help in navigating 2011, leading me through the valleys. I give thanks that You have led me to 2012 and will walk it with me. I listen for Your guidance. I promise to do the best I can to follow You. Here I am Lord.