Life: Apply Liberally

Pastor Ellen's blog about life these days

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Friday, May 28, 2010

Poppies On Memorial Day

(Story copied from
In 1918 Miss Moina Michael was teaching at the University of Georgia, in the town of Athens, USA. Having volunteered for war work with the YMCA she was called up for service with the Overseas YMCA War Workers. In September 1918 she took leave of absence from her post at the university and arrived at the YMCA training headquarters at Columbia University, New York City, where she had originally been a student in 1912-1913.

After completing her training course Moina's hopes of being sent abroad were dashed when she was barred from overseas service due to her age - she was 49. However, Dr J W Gaines, president of the Overseas YMCA Secretaries, helped Moina stay with the organization by giving her a job at the training headquarters where she worked until January 1919.

The idea for the Flanders Fields Memorial Poppy came to Moina Michael while she was working at the YMCA Overseas War Secretaries' headquarters on a Saturday morning in November 1918, two days before the Armistice was declared at 11 o'clock on 11 November.

The Twenty-fifth Conference of the Overseas YMCA War Secretaries was in progress. On passing her desk, a young soldier left a copy of the November Ladies Home Journal on Moina's desk.

At about 10.30am, when everyone was on duty elsewhere, Moina found a few moments to read the magazine. In it she came across a page which carried a vivid color illustration for the poem "We Shall Not Sleep" (later named "In Flanders Fields") by the Canadian Army doctor John McCrae.

Reading the poem on this occasion - she had read it many times before - Moina was transfixed by the last verse - "To you from failing hands we throw the Torch; be yours to hold it high. If ye break faith with us who die, we shall not sleep, though poppies grow in Flanders Fields."

In Moina Michael's book 'The Miracle Flower' she described the experience as deeply spiritual, and she felt as though she was actually being called in person by the voices which had been silenced by death.

At that moment Moina Michael made a personal pledge to 'keep the faith' and vowed always to wear a red poppy of Flanders Fields as a sign of remembrance and as an emblem for "keeping the faith with all who died".

Compelled to make a note of this pledge she hastily scribbled down a response on the back of a used envelope, entitled "We Shall Keep the Faith".

On the morning of Saturday 9 November 1918 three men from the Twenty-fifth Conference of the YMCA Overseas Secretaries appeared at Moina Michael's desk. On behalf of the delegates they asked her to accept a check for $10 in appreciation of her efforts to brighten up the headquarters with flowers.

She was touched by the gesture and replied that she would buy twenty-five red poppies with the money. She showed them the illustration for John McCrae's poem "In Flanders Fields" in the Ladies Journal, together with her poem "We Shall Keep the Faith", which she had written in reply. The delegates took both poems back into the Conference.

After searching the shops for some time that day Moina found one large and twenty-four small artificial red silk poppies in Wanamaker's store. When she returned to duty at the YMCA Headquarters later that evening delegates from the Conference crowded round her asking for poppies to wear. Keeping one poppy for her coat collar she gave out the rest of the poppies to the enthusiastic delegates.

According to Moina, since this was the first group-effort asking for poppies to wear in memory of "all who died in Flanders Fields", and since this group had given her the money with which to buy them, she considered that she had consummated the first sale of the Flanders Fields Memorial Poppy on 9 November 1918.

During the winter of 1918 Moina Michael continued working for the Staff of the Overseas YMCA Secretaries. She visited wounded and sick men from Georgia who were in nine of the debarkation hospitals in and around New York City, to find what could be done for them other than what the hospitals were doing.

By March 1919 she had moved back to Georgia to take up her place at the University of Georgia. With the return of thousands of ex-servicemen from that time Moina realized that there was not only a need to honor the memory of those who had died in the service of their country, but also a need to remember that those who were returning also had mental, physical and spiritual needs.

During the summer months of 1919 Moina taught a class of disabled servicemen, there being several hundred in rehabilitation at the University of Georgia. Learning about their needs at first hand gave her the impetus to widen the scope of the Poppy idea, to develop it so that it could be used to help all servicemen who needed help for themselves and for their dependents.

In September 1921 delegates at the Auxiliary to the American Legion Convention agreed that disabled American war veterans could make the poppies sold in the United States, thus generating much needed income for veterans who had no other income. The Auxiliary provided all the material and had it pre-cut for forming into flowers.

Saturday, April 10, 2010


“There’s something in your face, Michael, I’ve seen it all the day;
There’s something quare that wasn’t there when first ye wint away. . . .”

“It’s just the Army life, mother, the drill, the left and right,
That puts the stiffinin’ in yer spine and locks yer jaw up tight. . . .”

“There’s something in your eyes, Michael, an’ how they stare and stare –
You’re lookin’ at me now, me boy, as if I wasn’t there. . . .”

“It’s just the things I’ve seen, mother, the sights that come and come,
A bit o’ broken, bloody pulp that used to be a chum. . . .”

“There’s something on your heart, Michael, that makes ye wake at night,
And often when I hear ye moan, I trimble in me fright. . . .”

“It’s just a man I killed, mother, a mother’s son like me;
It seems he’s always hauntin’ me, he’ll never let me be. . . .”

“But maybe he was bad, Michael, maybe it was right
To kill the inimy you hate in fair and honest fight. . . .”

“I did not hate at all, mother ; he never did me harm;
I think he was a lad like me, who worked upon a farm. . . .”

“And what’s it all about, Michael; why did you have to go,
A quiet, peaceful lad like you, and we were happy so? . . .”

“It’s thim that’s up above, mother, it’s thim that sits an’ rules;
We’ve got to fight the wars they make, it’s us as are the fools. . . .”

“And what will be the end, Michael, and what’s the use, I say,
Of fightin’ if whoever wins it’s us that’s got to pay? . . .”

“Oh, it will be the end, mother, when lads like him and me,
That sweat to feed the ones above, decide that we’ll be free. . . .”

“And when will that day come, Michael, and when will fightin’ cease,
And simple folks may till their soil and live and love in peace? . . .”

“It’s coming soon and soon, mother, it’s nearer every day,
When only men who work and sweat will have a word to say;
When all who earn their honest bread in every land and soil
Will claim the Brotherhood of Man, the Comradeship of Toil;
When we, the Workers, all demand: `What are we fighting for?’ . . .
Then, then we’ll end that stupid crime, that devil’s madness — War.”

Robert William Service

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Hope For The Future?

Check out this "two-fer"-- Easy Hate, Hard Love...from Jarrod McKenna, an interesting young blogger/activist as he comments on Cornel West's Note To Obama.

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Monday, February 15, 2010

When I Can't...God Can.

This week's Alban Institute E-Letter article, Downward Mobility, directs us pastors toward analysis of what we are and aren't good at in our job descriptions and then asks us and our councils and congregations to accept the reality that we are "only human!"
The ultimate wrap is approaching ministry with humility which thrills me in light of last Sunday. I went into the day absolutely exhausted...was it because of the topic or the preparation or the week before or the weeks before? Probably a combination of all plus some I haven't considered.
Be that as it may, at the moment I stepped up to preach I knew I didn't have the energy to pull off "my vision" of a Sunday message. So I simply sent a prayer skyward that said something like, "God, I am humbled here and now by the task at hand. I am literally on the bottom of the energy barrel but you are God. Anything good that comes of the next 20 minutes is up to you and the Holy Spirit!"
And in the praying came the answer and the Word of God went forth. I am thankful and grateful and inspired by a God who "fills in the blanks" for us and I realize that this kind of rescue effort is going on even when, especially when, I am not humble enough to ask for it!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Where are the Other Christian Voices Against Uganda's Anti-homosexuality Bill?

This post came across my Facebook page. In the midst of our hustle/bustle/spend, spend, spend season...a tragic event is sneaking past on the world scene. Read it and weep (and then speak out). LN

Where are the Other Christian Voices Against Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill?
by Aaron Taylor 12-11-2009
As a career missionary to Africa, I fear what would happen to me on judgment day if I didn’t speak out against what is happening in Uganda right now in the name of Christ. I was in the middle of typing my monthly newsletter when I decided to check my e-mail. The subject line read, “Pastor Rick Warren condemns Uganda anti-homosexuality bill.” Hurray for Rick Warren, but my question is where’s everyone else? Christian Right leaders in the U.S. are constantly griping that the media portray them as bigoted toward homosexuals. Well Mr. Dobson and Mr. Sekulow, now would be a perfect time to prove them wrong. I’m still waiting for my urgent action e-mail.
I’m not talking about an issue that falls within the realm of perfectly legitimate political debate — like whether gay marriage should be legal or not. What I’m talking about is a bill that, if passed, would condemn homosexuals to prison, would give the death penalty for homosexuals with HIV, and would criminalize heterosexuals who support gay rights. The bill being considered would actually force heterosexuals to report their gay friends and neighbors to the authorities. I would expect something like this from a group like the Taliban, but from a nation with a vast majority of Christians? Who would have thought? But then again, I’m not sure why I’m surprised.
I’d like to think American Christian leaders have nothing to do with the direction that Uganda’s government is sliding toward, but I know it’s not true. For starters, I’ve been to Uganda and have lived and traveled extensively throughout Africa. Based on my experience, the level of influence that American pastors, evangelists, and missionaries have in predominately Christian countries in Africa is astronomical, especially when you consider how many African churches and ministries are dependent on American support. As difficult as it may be to believe, in most English-speaking countries in Africa, American televangelists are like rock stars. Ironically, the way the average Ugandan feels toward people like T.D. Jakes, Reinhard Bonnke, and Benny Hinn is what the average American feels toward people like Bono. If I’m exaggerating, it’s only slightly.
Lest I be misunderstood, I’m not suggesting that the above-mentioned leaders are guilty of stoking anti-gay bigotry in Uganda. I use their names only to underscore the fact that, in most cases, American Christian leaders wield a greater influence over the pop-culture in African countries than they do in their own country. Even pastors of small to mid-sized congregations in the U.S. can go to countries like Uganda or Kenya or Nigeria and preach to tens of thousands of people at a time — and maybe even meet with the country’s leaders. It happens every day. American Christianity has enormous influence in Africa. With great influence comes great responsibility.
Let’s not forget that there was a man about 80 years ago that came to power on a platform that included criminalizing consensual gay sex. His name was Hitler. There’s a reason why the Apostle Paul said to the Corinthian Church, “For what have I to do with judging those who are outside?” (I Corinthians 5:12). Paul must have known that when Christians try to legislate morality outside the confines of spiritual discipline within the Church, the result is usually an ugly monster that looks nothing like Christ. It’s time for American pastors, missionaries, and evangelists, along with our African brothers and sisters, to declare loudly to the world — not in our name!
Aaron D. Taylor is the author of Alone with A Jihadist: A Biblical Response to Holy War. To learn more about Aaron’s ministry, go to To follow Aaron on Twitter, go to Aaron can be contacted at
Categories: Faith and Politics, Human Rights, Theology
Tags: Africa, African, America, Apostle Paul, bigotry, Christ, Christianity, church, death penalty, debate, dobson, evangelists, Gay Marriage, government, HIV, Homosexuality, leaders, marriage, Ministry, morality,

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A Note From Jesus Re Christmas....

This came via email....I appreciated its sentiments greatly...LN

My Dear Brothers and Sisters:

It has come to my attention that many of you are upset that folks are taking My name out of the season.

How I personally feel about this celebration can probably be most easily understood by those of you who have been blessed with children of your own. I don't care what you call the day. If you want to celebrate My birth, just GET ALONG AND LOVE ONE ANOTHER.

Now, having said that let Me go on. If it bothers you that the town in which you live doesn't allow a scene depicting My birth, then just get rid of a couple of Santas and snowmen and put in a small Nativity scene on your own front lawn If all My followers did that there wouldn't be any need for such a scene on the town square because there would be many of them all around town.

Stop worrying about the fact that people are calling the tree a holiday tree, instead of a Christmas tree. It was I who made all trees. You can remember Me anytime you see any tree. Decorate a grape vine if you wish: I actually spoke of that one in a teaching, explaining who I am in relation to you and what each of our tasks were.. If you have forgotten that one, look up John 15: 1 - 8.

If you want to give Me a present in remembrance of My birth here is my wish list. Choose something from it:

1. Instead of writing protest letters objecting to the way My birthday is being celebrated, write letters of love and hope to soldiers away from home. They are terribly afraid and lonely this time of year. I know, they tell Me all the time.

2. Visit someone in a nursing home. You don't have to know them personally. They just need to know that someone cares about them.

3. Instead of writing the President complaining about the wording on the cards his staff sent out this year, why don't you write and tell him that you'll be praying for him and his family this year. Then follow up... It will be nice hearing from you again.

4. Instead of giving your children a lot of gifts you can't afford and they don't need, spend time with them. Tell them the story of My birth, and why I came to live with you down here. Hold them in your arms and remind them that I love them.

5. Pick someone that has hurt you in the past and forgive him or her.

6. Did you know that someone in your town will attempt to take their own life this season because they feel so alone and hopeless? Since you don't know who that person is, try giving everyone you meet a warm smile; it could make the difference.

7. Instead of nit picking about what the retailer in your town calls the holiday, be patient with the people who work there. Give them a warm smile and a kind word. Even if they aren't allowed to wish you a "Merry Christmas" that doesn't keep you from wishing them one. Then stop shopping there on Sunday. If the store didn't make so much money on that day they'd close and let their employees spend the day at home with their families

8. If you really want to make a difference, support a missionary-- especially one who takes My love and Good News to those who have never heard My name.

9. Here's a good one. There are individuals and whole families in your town who not only will have no "Christmas" tree, but neither will they have any presents to give or receive. If you don't know them, buy some food and a few gifts and give them to the Salvation Army or some other charity which believes in Me and they will make the delivery for you.

10. Finally, if you want to make a statement about your belief in and loyalty to Me, then behave like a Christian. Don't do things in secret that you wouldn't do in My presence. Let people know by your actions that you are one of mine.

Don't forget; I am God and can take care of Myself. Just love Me and do what I have told you to do. I'll take care of all the rest. Check out the list above and get to work; time is short. I'll help you, but the ball is now in your court. And do have a most blessed Christmas with all those whom you love and remember :



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Friday, October 02, 2009

The Time For Deleting Has Passed

Most of the time when a "political/religious" email that I don't necessarily agree with is forwarded to me I simply hit "delete." However, I have come to understand that this is a mild form of avoidance and maybe even, elitism.
Somewhere in my mind I entertain the thought that I am far too enlightened for this type of thing and that he/she who sent it simply hasn't "arrived." Recently, though, I have come to understand that the sender was probably thinking the same thing as he/she hit the forward button.
So today when this email came, one that suggests some people love the soldiers and some don't and that the defining feature of either group would be based on our acceptance or rejection of crosses in cemeteries....I realized it is wrong to hit delete.
We have got to start talking about these things. An email is easy. A conversation is not. Thanks to the internet, we are a nation divided by spam.
So I hammered out a reply and have pasted it below. I am not going to let up on this kind of thing. This is my crusade. We can not hide behind our computer screens, erroneously harboring disdain for those who do not think like we do. It is time to talk!

Here are my thoughts...
This is a spam email and filled with half-truths according to the verification sites. I pastor a church filled with chaplains from all military backgrounds including the Navy and again, this is not true. What they are not allowed to do is proselytize non-Christian service men and women (and non-Christian chaplains are bound by the same guidelines).
So why is it going around? Why might there be something "not so good" about it?
In my opinion, it is a lie developed to create divisiveness within God's America and world.
Some churches don't allow symbols to be used (ie crosses, statues, paintings) because we humans tend to place more importance on those than on what they represent...have you heard the word "idol"? That's what it means.
Jesus never intended for us to be warring with one another over him, his cross, or gravestones. He said "let the dead bury the dead." In essence..."get with the living, there's work to do!"
We Americans are allowing what divides us to take leadership over what unites us. We are trusting in the idea of America (and what we think we've lost?) more than in the God of America. And emails like this one emphasize that. They are covert "hate mail." They single someone out to be the enemy. And Jesus said "love you enemies" plain and simple.
We must begin to rebuild ourselves as a nation under God and that means do what God said to do! Don't talk about it, war about it, forward emails about it. Do it!
Satan is innovative and clever and uses the words of God to trick, convince, and deceive. If he wants to take our country down, wouldn't the best way be to use God in a way that divides us from within?
Begin talking with those who are different from you. Have dinner parties, coffee dates, work days. Listen and share and begin to understand why they are thinking the way they are. Let them know the same about you....lovingly. I promise, neither of you will walk away the same.
Most of us will share God's Kingdom together after death. What if we decided to begin that Kingdom and that sharing love, rather than indulge our earthly loyalties at the cost of our eternal ones. God is love. And when we love, we are like Him.

And no, I don't want to be dropped from your "forward list." I read your idea. You read mine. And at the end of the day let's pray for one another in love and celebrate that as different as we might be....we are MORE than conquerors, we are lovers.

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Monday, March 09, 2009

In The Land of Giants

An amazing man died last week. Okay, lots of amazing men - and women - died last week. But this one was my friend and a member of my church. He was smart and kind and organized and adventurous. He flew airplanes and ran marathons and played the guitar and raised children who grew up to be fine adults and he used his hands to form burled walnut into a lovely jewelry box that he gave his wife on their thirty-fifth anniversary....a box that now holds his ashes.
The brass plate on top of the box reads you are the wind beneath my wings.
Funerals are part and parcel to my work.
Butchers butcher, bakers bake. Candlestick makers make and pastors bury the dead.
There is a place we have learned to go to, a mental and emotional land without feeling where we set ourselves aside in order to do the work at hand. But there is a high toll paid for the journey there -- our ability to grieve.
Today I sat on the podium with two other pastors, credentialed men of high learning and experience beneath whose table I am not worth to gather crumbs....
This was the kind of people who also sat before us, who came to pay tribute, who traveled from near and far to honor the passing of one who lived well and long.
Life is filled with glimpses of the good, sneak peaks of heaven, sacred moments that we can miss if we are not careful. Elizabeth Barrett Browning wrote:

Earth is crammed with heaven,
and every common bush is on fire with God;
but only he who sees takes off his shoes;
the rest sit around it and pluck blackberries.

Let it be known that today I stayed in the now and let it all in. I took off my shoes, opened my eyes, and beheld the good fruit of a good tree, the ripples from a rock tossed well, the tracks of a man bound for glory.

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Objectify This!

Curious. I spent fifty years of my life with auburn hair...okay, brunette led to auburn. They were in the same general field of the spectrum.
After I passed the half-decade mark I felt that it was time to stop exposing my scalp (and therefore my entire ecosystem) to the extreme toxicity of hair color every six weeks.
So I surrendered to my dominant color: white. But while white is the mode 'o day on the first half of my head, the rest of the follicles did not get the memo. A lot of those guys are still living in the land of the lost. Which means I still have to add some color now and then....and while I'd love to possess the beautiful white mane sported by Emmy Lou Harris, I am forced to live out these days of my life a blonder shade of pale.
It is odd.
Blond jokes just don't register.
I hear them through brunette ears. It takes a minute to realize they are at my expense.
And just recently I was at an event at which a man, a big fat bossy man....made a comment about me via my hair. He had met me before and apparently the meeting was fresher in his mind than mine. And when I asked his name (for the second time...ouch!) he snidely eluded to me as an emissary of my unforgettable ash-blond apogee.
Excuse me!
Remember me for my brains.
Remember me for my wit.
Remember me for my amazing ability to communicate.
But do not objectify me.
I'm not a square on the palette. I'm an amazing human evolving from giddy girl to grounded grandma and I am not going to be put into your tiny mind's pigeon hole labeled women with blond hair.
If I have but one life to live, let me live it as a...woman with her own sense of self. Not as one you have created via your limited ability to grow.
I took feminist studies and thought those girls were a bit radical. But guess what! You, sir, have tilted the scale to their favor
So objectify that, buddy boy. . I am more than the sum of my beautician's ventures into creativity.
I am my own woman.
And you are a jerk.
Oh, and God bless you, Mr. Jerk. I am a pastor, after all.

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Saturday, March 07, 2009

A Conversation With A Very Smart Guy

Below is an excerpt from Mr. Locke's Classroom. Mr. Locke aka Neal is a Princeton seminarian and we are having a conversation.
Check it out!

Jesus Who?

March 3rd, 2009 by Neal Locke

This post was inspired by Pastor Ellen (one of my last remaining Methodist Pastors) who emailed me the following question as she prepares for a class:

Did Jesus know who he was and what he was going to do on earth? At what point did he know if he did? How does that connect w/fully man and fully God?

It’s a question that we’re dealing with right now in my Systematic Theology class, and one we dealt with last semester in my Early/Medieval Church History Class. And once again, I’m on the verge of throwing up my arms and yelling, “WHO CARES?”........(continue)

To which I answered....
Oh, Neal! We live in the same spiritual neighborhood and so I find myself wrestling with the temptation to simply let it go vs. pursuing the issue! Ultimately, the question becomes...why do we want to know? Is it for the sake of dogma, is it a ruse for justifying faith or the lack thereof? Or is it to know Jesus better, understanding that this could be a side trip on the path to wisdom?
Ever the psychologist, I am using current profiling techniques in my class to get a fix on Jesus as he was in an effort to move my people past the Jesus they've created in their own image. That said, I anticipated this question so I polled you and a few other brainiacs to get a span of opinions (which, we know are like...shall we say belly buttons?).
I love your rant and I agree...what Jesus did is so very important and often gets overlooked by pamphlet-toting Jesus freaks and textbook-toting academics alike.
But to step completely away from the conversation, from the searching, from the pursuit of knowledge is to alter the trajectory of the Kingdom in a most dangerous way. Better, I think, to see that the ingredients of your argument are not mutually exclusive or finite. The argument, in and of itself, points to that truth.

Man, I love this stuff. But I think I better go do some trench work...the Kingdom comes!

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Saturday, February 28, 2009

Home Again

It was late in my 17th year as I walked through a sorority dorm at ENMU that I caught the soul-searching song of Carole King drifting down the hallway:
Snow is cold, rain is wet, chills my soul right to the marrow.
I won't be happy till I see you alone again,
till I'm home again and feeling right.
She had me at Snow.
Those lyrics came back to me yesterday.
A bride and her groom stood before me and I needed somehow to explain to them the amazing power of this thing called love which they were just now professing before God and a great cloud of witnesses.
Just then it began to snow.
This bride's father had died in a snowy car crash years hence and his ashes were interred on the hill above my little church. In our counseling sessions she explained that having the wedding here was the closest she could come to him walking her down the aisle. She told me she would have the photographer snap pictures of her on the hill by his crypt and our wedding coordinator warned her that it might be snowy and if she did such a thing her dress could get stained as she made her way up the trail.
She said she hoped it did snow. Her best memories were of playing with her dad in the Colorado snow....
Snow is cold, rain is wet, chills my soul right to the marrow....
There we stood in the midst of a miracle.
We simply paused, stared out the window, and absorbed the awe of a moment no one could explain.
No explanations were needed.

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Finally Made It To Blue

What's blue?
I love Annie's New Mexico sky photo. Has there ever been a bluer shade of blue?
I remember "Love Is Blue" from junior high mixers...oh boy, do I remember! I was the girl stuck to the wall -- praying somebody/anybody would ask me to dance while simultaneously scared to death somebody would.
And something old, new, borrowed, blue at my wedding -- well, that depends on which one we're talking about. Wedding #1, it was my bridesmaid's dresses. I still remember Carolyn and Kim and Debbie in those big floppy hats and their baby blue empire waist/Neru collared granny dresses with fistfuls of daisies...God, I miss the revolution!
Wedding #2 was a simpler event: backyard, justice of the peace, a few family members, our kids. What was blue?
Maybe it was my baby girl's beautiful recently returned from almost certain death after a prolonged illness.
It could have been my heart...mourning the loss of my mother, not yet cold in her grave.
Blue was possibly the icing flowers on the cake that honored the start of our first year and the end of my husband's parents' 40th. Who could have known they'd have just three more?
Traditions are meaningful only when we make them so. I can't think that on the day of that second walk down the aisle they held much allure. I was beyond them. I had moved into practical survival mode and there was no room for frills. I had no pennies in my shoe or lace garter on my leg. I know we clinked champagne glasses but not long after that was done I was putting my new children to bed -- drying their tears as they wept for the lost home of their divorced parents.
That was thirty-something years ago and the beat goes on.
I read that psychics who claim the gift of the third eye, the ability to see auras, understand the blue emanations from a person indicate their deep rootedness in spirituality. People with blue auras tend to become social workers, teachers, writers, psychologists.
Or preachers?
I met an old Jewish lady named Gretchen several years ago. During the war her parents fled Germany with her in tow. Her father had been a famous artist there and the one thing he carried with him across the snowy mountains was a cask of cobalt. She explained that his signature etchings were done in the deepest of blue derived from this semi-precious element.
I spent an afternoon with her and when I readied myself to go she ran to her back room and returned with a cobalt blue pottery plate, formed by her own hands on the wheel that sat in the corner and fired in the kiln on her back porch.
It was flawed, she confessed. But she could not bear to throw it out. The blue in the clay was from the last of her father's precious stash.
An imperfect blue plate sits on my shelf and I love its story, its significance, its likeness to me, my days on the planet, my journey through time.

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Friday, February 13, 2009

Some Thing Borrowed

It was the kind of world a kid knows isn’t normal but accepts because it’s all he or she has ever known. Yep. That was the world I was born into. And so when things got crazier than normal…(vs. normaler than crazy)…I just left.
Indeed I did.
At the ripe old age of 7, 8, 9, and beyond when other children were fast asleep, you would often find me climbing out the bedroom window and onto the wavy tin basement door to embark on a nocturnal scavenger hunt for hope.
Hope was the commodity I borrowed from those who lived in the houses up and down the streets I walked when I was very near the edge of that wonderful childhood condition called resilience.
Hope emanated from the warm yellow light that streamed from the windows of those homes. Peering in I borrowed the peace, the comfort, the safety, and the fraternity that those inside took for granted.
It was of no consequence whatsoever that most of those homes were filled with strife and anxiety, unrest and fear. The little girl standing on the sidewalk looking in could not have known this nor would she have wanted to.
The borrowing was what kept her life between the lines.