Archive for the ‘The Gratitude Pool’ Category

“Believing Is Seeing”

December 1, 2014

by Florence Ondré- 11/29/00


The day was gray and cold.  Wind cut through layers of clothing.

Who cared?  This trip of a lifetime was incredible and had presented itself in a most curious set of unfolding events.

First there had been the the fleeting thought of possibly going to England for Valentine’s Day.  That idea  had been scotched when we lost everything in the stock market crash.

How could we even entertain being so frivolous when we had no idea how we were going to live this coming year?

Then Tom found the vouchers for airline tickets in the back of the file cabinet.  They were from a trip that had been botched for us last year and had to be used by the end of February or be lost.   Free tickets for a trip to somewhere.  Great but what would we do when we got there? Where would we stay?  We’d been told that  the tickets were for travel in the continental U.S.  Upon investigation,  Tom found  they were transferrable for travel to the U.K.

England danced in our dreams again.  Not London of last year, but the Arthurian and Celtic countryside of Glastonbury and Stonehenge I’d always dreamed of seeing.

With his usual trust-in-the-Universe optimism, he said, “Hmmm. I can’t see how  but maybe there’s a way we can go.”

“Out of the question,” I said with practical opposition.  “Surely this is a time of tightening belts,  bucking up for a tough climb out of the hole and work, work, work.  No time for fun.”

That’s what I  learned in my childhood.  Seeing is believing.  If it can’t be seen,  it isn’t real.

As I sank back into  fear and depression; just when the cloud over us looked  blackest; when my brain was screaming,  ‘what are you crazy?’  the call came from London.

Our travel-guide friends were going to be filming in Egypt in February and they offered us their home in the countryside- 20 minutes outside Bath, half an hour from Stonehenge and an hour from Glastonbury.

“Just look after the plants for us.”

Wow!  Ok, there were the airline tickets and where to stay,  all for free, but how would we be able to afford a car?  Rentals’ notoriously expensive and gas prices through the roof in Europe.

“No.  We can’t go,” I stated; still the practical parrot.

Tom was not dissuaded.

After a few inquiries, calls started coming in like a bidding war for our business.  Messages on our answering machine sang out bargain prices that plummeted from $300 a week to $150 with free mileage no less!

“Yes,  we can do that but where was the money for daily needs?”

No sooner than I’d asked the question, two clients paid their overdue bills out of the blue and there was enough cash to carry us through a week’s stay.   All that was left to worry about was  being up to the adventure of driving on the left hand side of the road.

The house in Midsommer Norton turned out to be a wonderful greystoned estate.  Our thoughtful friends had left food for us, drawn maps of the surrounding areas, jotted down clear notes on how to find everything we might need, from petrol to marketing, and left stacks of books out for us to peruse for history and traveling.

In the town of Bath, after visiting the ruins of the Roman pools and lingering over clouds of clotted cream on scones at late afternoon tea, theatre tickets popped up for us at the very last minute before show time.

In Glastonbury, being part of the filming of an historical reenactment of the Passion play at the ancient cathedral where, Peter’s tree bears white blossoms from Jesus’ rood and King Arthur and Guinnevere  are buried touched our former lives remembered with incandescence.

Climbing round the Glastonbury Hill beyond the running red sacred waters and sitting  atop the windy Tor, treated to an impromptu, sunset didgeridoo concert; echoing inside the tower, while hawks circled and sheep ran round the steep, grassy slopes, more than fulfilled our dreams.

In each place,we met wonderful people who welcomed us and felt like dear friends and family.  Serendipity was everywhere and time seemed to blur between past and present.

We chose to spend Valentine’s Day going to Stonehenge and Avebury.

For the past 20 years walking into the center of Stonehenge had been off limits.  For protection of this wonder of the world, a pathway many feet away from the circle had been constructed so that people could walk around the circumference to look but not touch.

Some time ago, we’d heard a whisper that it might be possible to get special permission to enter but we couldn’t remember who  to contact.  We’d read it was open  to Druid gatherings at Solstice but you had to know one of the Druid priests to be invited as a friend of ours had been.

I would have given my eyeteeth for that experience.

Before we left NY,  Tom had called the  tourist board and any office he could think of to find a way to gain us entry- all to no avail.

We inquired at the National Heritage office in Bath and they’d never heard of any such thing.

“No.  That’s been ended for about 20 years now, dears.”

The London office was called to make sure no stone had been left unturned as it were.

“Sorry, no not possible anymore,”  was the answer.

“Any other places to call?” asked my determined Tom. Got to give him credit for stick-to-it-tiveness.

“No, see here, the rules state ‘off limits to the public,’ luvs.”  She kindly held up the directive for us to see with our own eyes.

Ah, well, just being there would have to do and at Avebury we could actually walk amongst the giants encircling the little village. A woman in Glastonbury said that simply putting your hand on them was an incredible experience and since we were sensitives and the energy so great, we’d be able to hear them sing.

I walked on air at the mere thought.

On February 14th, as we crested the hill to Salisbury Plain, it seemed to me that the hugeness I’d always read about had shrunken to a small group of grey hulks, huddling together on a flat stretch of land with a few mounds in the background.

“It’s dinky,” I said,  “I can’t believe how much smaller it looks than in pictures.”

“It’s Stonehenge, honey!”

“It’s dinky,” I replied.

From the parking lot we could see lines of people stretching before us to a little ticket booth.

“This is gonna take forever,” I moaned.   “We can see this from the roadside.  No need to pay to not even be able to get close to it.  Let’s go on to Avebury where we can hug those stones.”

“We’re here, honey.  Let’s just check it out,”  Tom encouraged.

Off he went to the front of the line, poked his head in the window and asked if there was any way to get in to the center of the stones.

“No. Next.”

Onward my man went to a uniformed guard with the same question.

“Go see the gent in the office over there in the back corner,” he whispered as he quickly motioned us away from the crowds.

A knock on the weathered, grey wooden door brought a silver-haired gentleman into view as the top half swung open like a portal from the Emerald City in the Wizard of Oz.

Again the question.

We were informed  that we’d have to read the quite strict rules, fill out  proper forms to request  permission and state our purpose.  “What month & year would you like to apply for?”

Omigod!  We can actually get in?

Filling out the paperwork in shock at having finally gotten an affirmative answer and writing the single word, ‘spiritual,’ under the heading marked, ‘Purpose,’ Tom replied, “Today, please.”

With a soft chuckle and a kindly smile reserved for maiden aunts gone round the bend, he gently told us that people like scientists, historians and filmmakers generally reserve months to years in advance.  To give us a visual confirmation, he hoisted a huge, ancient, dusty green ledger out to show us the pages filled with appointments for the coming years.

“See, here’s today’s date. There’s a party of two.”

“Only two people? Do you think they’d mind if two more joined them?” I asked.

“Oh, no, Miss, that’s not possible.  Just the people who’s names are in the book are allowed to go in at 4 PM, after closing, for a single hour’s time. Even if there were one name, only that  person alone would be allowed.  Sorry.”

Barring some miracle from Heaven, this was obviously  not going to happen.

He took our application and, as we disappointedly began to walk away, Tom  turned with one last ditch effort and asked,  “Do you ever get any cancellations?”

My immediate thought was, “What? Are you out of your mind?  What do you think this is?  The Holiday Inn?”  But the gentleman took pity on us poor foreigners and said , “Well, not really but you could give a call around 3  o’clock… to see.”

“Great.  We’re outta here. Off to Avebury and we’ll call later to see if we need to come back,” said I, not wishing to miss getting up close and personal with ancient stones.”

“Well, we’re here. Why don’t we just pay the admission, go through the tunnel under the road and across to take a quick look-see at Stonehenge,” offered my dear, Tom.”

I acquiesced.

Nothing prepared me for the energy that took me in like a kid gazing at the magic kingdom.  It held me in its thrall at every angle.  On each inch of that walkway, I was mesmerize; pinching myself to belief that we were actually looking at one of the most historic and enigmatic wonders of civilization that we’d only seen in films or books.  Tom couldn’t pull me away.  My feet were numb with cold and Avebury was forgotten.  This was more than enough. I felt grateful to my core for this opportunity as one of the guards described her experiences with the stones.  This was her last day and she generously shared facts and stories with us.

I asked, “What was your favorite time of day with them? Sunrise or sunset?”

Her answer was, “When the mist rises off the moor and rings the stones.  It’s magic.”

“Ooh, I wish I could see that,” I sighed, “That would be my favorite too.”

Feeling  blessed and radiant, as we returned to the entry gate, the keeper of the Register, came running up to us.

Visibly out of breath, “Oh good you’re still here. I’ve been looking for you,” he said as he motioned us out of earshot of the human herd.

Back in the private office, he opened the ancient ledger.

“See here,” he pointed to today’s date and then flipped the pages two weeks forward.  “This never happens.  The names are the same and I’ve no confirmation for today’s appointment, so I’m putting you in for today.”

He scratched out the other names and wrote ours in beautiful flowing inked script.

“You must be ready for the guard to take you over at precisely 4 o’clock.  If you are late, you will lose your time.  You’ll have one hour alone in the center of the stones and he will come again to collect you and bring you back.”

Stunned we paid the fee and went to sit in the car.

Tom was taking no chances of driving anywhere with the possibility of getting lost and losing this amazing miracle.

We sat for hours  in a pool of  wonder and joy, feeling the incredulity of the miracle which had just come to pass.

‘Breathe,’ we reminded each other as tears of gratitude flooded through us as we sat in the car looking out at the barrows in the surrounding countryside.

I wished I had brought my silver Celtic love knot ring to energize here.  Tom had given me one of a matching set.  Well, at least he could soak up the energy for the two of us. He always wore his.

I glanced over and noticed his empty ring finger.  He told me he’d left it in his suitcase.

‘Nevermind,’ I thought,  ‘We’re here together to experience this magical Valentine’s Day.  That’s what counts.’

Then at 3:30 it started to afternoon drizzle.  We watched people baggy up to go see the stones and run back as it became a steady rain.

‘Oh, no.  What’s the purpose of this?’  I silently asked the Angels.  ‘Why give us this opportunity only to turn the weather foul?’

Umbrella at the ready, we would go no matter what.  Cameras were loaded, video charged, extra film stuffed into carrying case and fresh batteries and tape put into the tape recorder.  I would get the fantastic opportunity to channel a meditation from the consecrated center of Stonehenge.  My skin tingled with excitement.

The car park emptied and only a few hardy souls hung around the outer fence across the road at the henge.

We tugged on layers under our raincoats and went out to meet the guard who silently escorted us under the roadway tunnel through the gate to the other side of the fenced in span of earth and stone.

We cleansed our energy, took a deep breath, and as we stepped over the rope of the outer pathway, touched the heel stone and stopped in awe as the reason why rain had fallen became apparent.

Before our eyes, the downpour stopped and the mist rose from the ground, just as had earlier been described as magical; ringing the stones with the ethereal quality of another time.  The hair stood up on my entire body.

Voices of people behind the fence gasped as we smiled at each other, joined hands and began the long walk up the avenue of grass to enter the hallowed hall of Stonehenge much as we realized we’d done lifetimes ago.

There was familiar sense of ritual as we chose to enter through different linteled uprights and we gave each other time and personal space within the ring, to simply be.  We felt the awe  of being alien and the sense of belonging all at the same time.  Tom’s walk  from stone to stone was the grace of a silent prayer.  A mantle of serenity descended upon him like invisible royal robes.  After completing  the entire inside circle, being afraid to touch yet unable not to, I stood still at the fallen altar stones sunken in the middle ground. The amazons’ energy vibrated and sang their tones into the air and into our being.  I sank to my knees and channeled a meditation of peace for the world from that sacred center.

And when I finished, my dear Tom came to me, gently lifted me up and knelt at my feet; his palm open; our two silver Celtic love knot rings shining there, as he whispered the words, “I have loved you for lifetimes.  Will you marry me in this one?”

Tears of surprise and love splashed a cascade of  ‘yes, I will’ down my cheeks onto his face to mingle with his own liquid prayer.

He had surprised me again and been prepared; believing without visible proof that we might  see this moment.

After setting our rings upon the grass to be blessed and thanking God and the Angels  for making possible the great gifts given this day in so much love,  we  placed the rings on each other’s fingers.

Now, here we were standing on the wind swept plain of Sarum with the saracens of Stonehenge drawing us into the magical energy of their ancient circle; shielding us from the cold.

Knowing the full truth of Believing Is Seeing, we held each other and sent the warmth of our love and appreciation out to light the world.


Open Letter From The In Between

December 28, 2013
Today, while I’m a bit more rested, coming down from holiday crush to try to be superhuman; having taken silent time, I’m closer to sanity and further away from a slip and fall to match my dear Tom’s. (we do everything
Invisible ice will bring you to your knees.
Did it slow me?  Hmmm. yes, in some places, not so much in others, but I did have to make some clear choices as to where and how to expend my dwindling energy.
Grand kids came first, cooking came second, family activities and then somewhere after, came me with  visions of juggling dancing in my head and circus music circling my cerebellum.
It was a fun time with the children and their joy is always worth everything!  I am always glad to be tired from making the kids happy.  It was thus for my own kids and now it is for my grands.  Nice to see the threads weaving through the tapestry.
In my going within, I took a look at what seemed to be wearing away in my own life and missed certain voices and visits dear to me.  it seems time is speeding up, people are speeding up, lives are speeding up.  You can hear it in the impatience in voices and feel the voids of connection.  It bruises the energy, these hit and run relationship behaviors and leaves one feeling unimportant and empty. The question arises, “How meaningful am I to a person who only calls or returns calls on a day labelled, holiday?”
With these ruminations, I’m thinking there was more purpose in slip and falls and nonstop preparations with a physical body becoming more challenged as time goes on its own merry way.
I think the gift of this season for us all might be revelations in the re-evaluations; the questioning, “Who & what is important to me?  How can I better shepherd my energy and have more balance?  What can I let go of to choose more personal closeness?”
I have more questions than answers at this moment and that is a good place to to what comes on the brink of a new year.
For those with whom I did not get to connect, for those who called with well wishes, I thank you and please, know you were all thought of fondly and sent best wishes from my heart to yours.  And it is in that chamber you are always held in loving light.
I’m grateful to know that I express this on a daily basis unreservedly…no holding back or saving for a holiday or rainy day.  I’m a sandy survivor.   I’ve lived through enough rain to float the ark!
As our physical connections change- especially with personal distancing of so many wonderful electronics, may we remember to give each other our best gifts of spending time with each other; in person for those geographically near, or a personal call where we can actually hear the essence of our voices for those farther away in miles.
And may we remember to give each other our full attention when in each other’s company, putting away our smart phones to honor each other with full focus and behavior that says, “You are important to me.”
For we all pieces of God in action;  worthy of this honoring…..and we are gone too soon.
May Angels bring you highest good beyond your wildest imaginings in this coming year and I know they hold you close as this old year merges into the new and exciting energy manifesting.
In Light and Love,

Of Magnetic Memory

December 28, 2013

Today I saw a saying that spoke about not waiting until funerals to show we care and I remembered that when my mother retired to her Florida home, she placed a ceramic magnet on her refrigerator that read: “Appreciate Me Now and Avoid The Rush.”

I always loved that one.  It showed me that a) she was aware that she was worth appreciation and b) knew the worth of what’s important in the now.  With her gone from my life in this dimension, I still smile each time I think of that magnetic reminder.

Thanks Mom. 


November 30, 2013

Woke up this morning in the afterglow of yesterday’s lovely, simple and fun Thanksgiving/ Channukkah afternoon.  I can still hear the laughter, see the smiles on everyone’s faces and smell and taste the delicious racks of ribs my son proudly cooked on his beloved bbq/smoker.
(right here is where I ask my dear vegetarian friends to please turn away. avert your eyes! please, don’t judge me)

Picture a tall, happy looking guy standing outside his garage in the freezing cold; bundled up for winter; scarf wrapped around his neck, hands gloved and a nice knitted hat covering his head and ears (ok. it was a bright yellow wool ‘minions’ hat; one half of a two part set knitted by his wife for him and his 3 yr old son for their duo costumes on Halloween, but it did lend the chef a jaunty, humorous air to his serious business of seasoning)

Not being much of a rib gal after Tony Roma’s closed, this newly acquired culinary artistry escapes me…until yesterday….

Watching my grown son lovingly lavishing his attention to tending his culinary creation at the finish line of 8 (count ’em, 8!) hours of basting, turning, temp checking with the precision of a surgeon, was enough to rope me in to at least trying this entree again.

He proudly took me into his kitchen and showed me his impressive array of spices, sauces and rubs; explaining his process of how he chooses which for what reason and how he makes his own combinations for just the right flavors of sweetness and spice for each rack.  I listened with respect as he described the stages of the cooking and reasoning behind each to bring about perfection.

In honor of tradition and with permission from the my son, the host, we’d brought a small roast turkey with trimmings. (and honestly, for me, just in case I didn’t fancy more than a polite bite of ribs…I mean, two whole racks of ribs! Who’s gonna eat them on Turkey Day?)

Under the heading of ‘O ye of little faith,’ he opened the promise land lid, plated those babies and ‘ta da’d’ them into the kitchen with the flair of Guy Fieri  confident in his grillwork or Moses parting the sea.

They looked falling off the bone delectable; tantalizing, scintillating, aromatic and tasted tender, sweet and woody smoked.

I went from ‘oh, I’ll try them because my son made them,’ obligatory to bbq sauce mustachioed convert with the first mouth watering bite.  I found myself thinking, ‘Will two racks be enough?’

It was a stand up feast in the kitchen and those bad boys were gone before you could say, “Let’s eat!”

Wow!  All those hours to make/minutes to devour; leaving only the scent of enjoyment, the sounds of lip smacking contentment and smiles on our sauce smeared faces.

Later that night, my nose still filled with mesquite and honey, I wished for more.  Turkey, my tush! I only yearned for what was gone but not forgotten.  We’d split the leftovers; the usual turkey for sandwiches, the sage stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, green beans and cranberry sauce.

And all I craved was wispy dreams of ribs.

As easy laughter and warmth of the day spent in happy camaraderie came floating back to me upon awakening, I realized what a gift my son had given all of us in the invitation to gather at his home.  His was the same labor of love as mine was when, for all his growing up years, I got up at 5 in the morning to start the turkey roasting for as many hours as the bird’s pounds determined, in order to create a fine meal and the custom of giving thanks…. with the grace of the extra ingredient of every really good meal and family tradition…the ingredient of love.

And on this historic, double holiday of Thanksgiving and Chanukkah which will not occur for another 70,000 years, I am filled to delicious, overflowing heart warmth as I share the threads of light we pass along, each in our own way, to one another other; to our children and our children’s children; opening our hearts for better than the best we can imagine in all outcomes… Happy, healthy history with what changes may evolve.

For and from me and mine, to old and new ways of celebrating the good in life…. here’s wishing you a moment in history where new meets old…Happy Thanksribukkah!

The Gratitude Pool

March 22, 2013

Jumping back into writing….not.

Just dipping a toe in the inkwell and seeing what dribs and drabs onto the page.

Still in limbo in life and edging the hem of my life’s garment with trepidation and timidity for fear that inches over the edge may take the muzzle off my mouth and  I may never stop shouting at the stupidity deluging us all with no help for those who need help; for victimizing victims and for the insensitivity toward the immeasurable suffering of the thousands of people who lived through one of the greatest national disasters to befall this country in over a hundred years.

My new heroine is a woman in Long Beach, New York, who actually went out into the cold of the day and wrapped her devastated home in tape….red tape.

For this honesty and expression of reality, I am grateful.

She speaks for us all eloquently and helps maintain our sense of humor in a humorless present plight.

Mayhaps my next trip to Home Depot or Lowes, might have a bit of coin of the realm spent to make a cherry colored purchase.


Because Of Betty…

March 15, 2013

by florence ondré


My thanks to Betty who moved me along

And told me not writing was totally wrong

Betty, a writer with comedy flair,

Noodged and reminded with strength and with care

That now was the time to pull myself through

And think of my readers of more than a few

Who hadn’t seen nary a word in a while

Who savored my stories; enjoying my style

“You haven’t been writing,” she waggled her finger

“We go to your blog when we’re wanting to linger

And what do we find there but current blank pages

You’ve got stories to tell us. Don’t make us wait ages

For something happening; something new

From your experiences and inner view

Paintings of words, broad strokes, fine lines

All relatable in designs

Which weave your readers with common thread

Give us something soon,” she said.

So, here I sit with her in mind

Her forthright words ringing kind

For this woman, writer, colleague, friend

Has helped me stretch again and mend

An apathy becoming trend

By simply stating truth and fact

Not reticent or playing tact

She teased at first then flat out tackled

The nuts and bolts until  I cackled

“OK OK, your point’s well taken

I’ll write again; no lie; no fakin'”

It’s true my life’s turned upside down

With loss of home and flood wrecked town

I’ve hit a silence; gone to ground

It’s taking time to come around

To find an equilibrium

Which at the present’s yet to come

At sixes and sevens, am all asea

Am captive and yet strangely free

For with great loss comes gifts not known

One stands on ground uncommon; grouped; alone

Silence has been necessity

With blinders gone, new eyes do see

What’s important; who is true

Where to let go; what one must do

If any deed has need at all

Of doings large or doings small

Pondering, I ask this question

Regarding action or secession

Might ceasing be the best of ways

To lighten brutal, icy days

Of toil, survival and frustration

Lack of control; victimization

Waiting endlessly for aid

Empty promises; rights unpaid

I’m but a bit of people’s pain

Among the thousands without gain

Of former faith and dignity

In a dearth of honorability

And yet within, there is a light

To take us all beyond this fight

For rebuilding and reclaiming

Past these ponderous paths of shaming

“Stay strong!” we hear and yet I falter

Before a devastated  altar

The magnitude both awes; astounds

And courage shifts on sandy grounds

What shall I write when life’s been gutted

Where every road is gouged and rutted

When breathing is a toxic task

Health now shrinks behind a mask

And water is a chancey drink

To wash, one has to double think

I miss the green so desperately

No Spring of colored shrub or tree

This year is fraught with death and dearth

And grief for what is gone from Earth

Honor for community

Patience and civility

The energy is caustic hard

Unceasing noises yard to yard

Grating what is left of skin

Gone is home and myth of kin

And yet there are these points of light

People who dig in and fight

And pull us up as we slide and fall

To them I pass the clarion call

When I cannot lift my head or shout

I’m grateful I can look about

And find in unexpected places

Champions who take up the traces

Of those of us who weary worn

Find ourselves of voices shorn

Dimmed;  diminished by the weight

Of unprecedented freight

Of unrelenting unfairness

Lack of senses; carelessness

No whit of sensitivity

We cry for creativity

And wring each dime which is our due

To build again; our homes renew

While insurance companies and banks renege

Government takes back each word

Leaving the very ones they owe

A burnt and barren row to hoe

It breaks my heart and bends my faith

This bearing witness like a wraith

Near unseen yet closely tethered

To the masses greyly weathered

I am not the same, yet I am here

In the dense surrounding fear

Palpable while almost gone

Everyone and all alone

Each one intent on solo deeds

A must for sheer survival needs

Makes for coming apart together

I and we edge each endeavor

Well, dear Betty, you got me going

Now the ink has started flowing

To you I extend my gratitude

While winds shift all attitude

And though there is no end in sight

In this complicated plight

Through every challenge hourly thrown

Still forward we wade into the unknown

Day Of Thanks Giving-2012

November 22, 2012

Dear Earth Angels, for that is who you are,

As this day of thanks giving dawns on the flood ravaged, near unrecognizable place I’ve known and called hometown for over 30 plus years…as the sea is now calm and the sun shines oddly, almost affrontingly, bright on the wreckage of the beloved home which sheltered my children and me and on the many whose homes and livelihoods are equally injured or swept away,  I want to let you know how thankful we are for you…for the light of your loving energy and your prayers which covered us through the storm and continue in the aftermath; for your caring and care packages which sustained us and the many with whom we shared and still do; for the batteries of your loving support; for your light which shines in a dark time and reminds us, as we are hip deep in mold, muck and mire; digging out from under mountains of sand splintered lives, that, as I’ve said for years, “There is a light at the end of the tunnel and it is not a freight train.”

You, of the generous heart and loving spirit answered the call and  reaffirm this for me.  And your very knowing and holding the light of this truth beyond our present ken, supports us all; reaffirms our faith when it falters in the face of fearsome forces and multi-layers of more than mere survival.  

We the communities; the families who are digging out from the devastation of hurricane sandy, face not only wading through the wreckage of our homes and communities; trying to salvage what shreds we can of our former lives; our family’s heritage, but also going through a grieving process that runs the 5 stages and round that circle again and again while dealing with insurance webs, financial finagling and fear in the face of home invasions of the human kind; all while trying to find ways to stay alive, warm,upright while exhaustedly asleep on one’s feet from almost a month of nonstop dawn to dark backbreaking, mind-bending work, and staving off illness in conditions which are barely getting back to anywhere near normal.

As I write this, my dear Tom, who has been an olympian at my side; doing yeoman’s work; lending me the physical strength of lifting what I cannot and bearing up beyond human expectation or experience; being a partner par excellancé, is sleeping-in past the now customary 4 or 5 a.m.  He is finally getting much needed rest.

I am grateful for this respite (and internet connection-which has been spotty to nil for most of this ordeal) of quiet when I can come online, write and give him the silence for sleep which he so desperately needs.  

I am thankful for this apartment in a building near my house which needs so much surgery.  I was grateful for obtaining another roof over our heads upon learning that my home was uninhabitable after being underwater…grateful even in the face of no power. sewer, water and a daily double set of stairs climb to what i now call, ‘Mt. 6 Manjaro.’  

As I write,  I’m even more grateful, that the building now has power, light, heat, sewer and water.  At this time, ability to flush a toilet ranks high on my gratitude list….followed by hot showers…then, after freezing nights wrapped like many layered burritos in sleeping bags on the floor, big hooray for heat!!

I’m thankful for the overwhelming coming together of people; neighbors who slog side by side each day, sharing info, survival tips, laughter, irony and their stories.  More ‘Big G’ is given for the kindness shown by strangers, the  P.B. and J’s made by teens, handing them out on to all of us who lost everything, now standing on line at the ice arena turned into a place where people might obtain necessities like soap, toothpaste, a blanket, a warm sweater or coat…all donated by people we’ll never know.
The hugs that come out of nowhere because someone senses and feels your pain before it is spoken and wants you to know they care shock and awe.
I still have moments in the day when I dream of those sandwiches.  I can inhale the memory of the sweetness of the peanut butter and grape jelly infused with unconditional love.  I don’t think I will ever eat another choke and slide without smiling inside-out and thinking of, and thanking, those kids who are now part of my cellular being with their bright energy and creative, complete caring.  In the face of overwhelming need, they didn’t think ‘I’m only one person what can I do.’  They just put bread together and showed up to do what they could and it was good.
I’m grateful for the fire department who showed up stat when the wet wiring in my house walls started smoking.  They saved the place from burning to the ground, in addition to being flooded!
And am so thankful for police officer, Janet, who looked at the two of us in our masks and dirt laden clothes and sneakers and told us to go to the M.A.S.H. unit, which had erected tents on the ball field, and get our tetanus shots updated.  I’m grateful we listened and went because the first day of house rip out, I accidentally stepped on a nail–mercifully not more than a pinch deep.
And am thankful further for the volunteers in those tents, which look exactly like the T.V. show, because I did need treatment and medication for health complications stemming from the lack of healthy environment.
I’m grateful for shelter given, us upon mandatory evacuation, during the storm at my son Chris and his wife, Hope’s, 4th floor apartment., where we watched all through the night as waves broke the seawalls, inundating everything in their path; transformers explode ghoulish green and winds of up to 100 mph whip raging fires out of control in cars, homes and whole neighborhoods.  
You may notice that when I reference this hurricane, I cannot yet give her any capital letters.  The wounds are still too fresh and painful.  There is too much present trauma and we are still in rounds of surgery….not yet in the recovery room, which will be filled to overflowing for many months to come… years for discharge from rehab and hospital.
For some it will be a hospice time.  It will take a long time to uncover all the side effects of this national disaster, which is what I recognize on the spirit level as “a gift in shitty wrapping paper.” 
More than the jetties on the shore, the good, the bad and the ugly of humanity is uncovered…consciousness laid bare and choices of reactions or responses available for every individual to answer Glinda’s question, “Are you a good witch or a bad witch?”
We are, in effect, blown hurricane-off-course; landed in an “Oz;” of our own.  Our deepest loss and grateful goal…home.  

Quote For The Day

September 19, 2012

“Don’t Think.  Thank.”

The Gratitude Pool

July 20, 2012

I’m grateful tonite to dabble my toes in the G Pool.

Appreciation of so many ‘little’ things catch my mind’s eye and meander through my consciousness:

Cooler temps for sleeping; a comfy bed with soft oomphy squooshy pillows that support my neck; cool, clean sheets and a soft comforter to burrow beneath like a bear hibernation;

A safe roof over our heads; enough to eat; enough to pay the bills and enough to go to a movie.

I’m grateful for the creative teams who make good movies like “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel,” which has characters and lines that stay in one’s heart and funny bone;

Eyesight which allows us to see and enjoy the fruits of last year’s planting labors;

Awe as dahlias bloom monster mop heads of riotous color in our garden;

Ears to hear crows who caw-caw us awake to the sound of their cleaning our rain gutters for us;

Bright blue stellar jays and songbirds and hummingbirds visiting with a host of many colored butterflies.

This morning when I awoke and breathed in the gratitude for another day, my next thought was, “It smells like summer; like childhood on a good day.”

I’m still smiling.

The Gratitude Pool

May 23, 2011

Big G for what makes our world green and growing and flowers blooming all around us in the most unlikely places.


Of Wings And Wind

January 20, 2011

I have been thinking of all the people who enrich our lives with the services and work they do every day to keep us all safe and warm; well fed and clean in our world….people who we might seem to take for granted because they are so integral with our living conditions…people like the truck driver’s who carry all our goods and food stuffs across many miles to stores, so that we may eat and live well; people who pick up our trash each week so we can be healthy and clean; people who drive our buses, railways, cabs and subways so that we may get to our destinations safely; people who provide us with electricity and clean water and keep our plumbing and dwellings in good repair; people who make sure the mail gets to us and communications stay open, clear and delivered; repair personnel out in the weather and in factories, shops and facilities; people who wipe down our tables in restaurants so each of us can have a clean table at which to comfortably eat; people who wash dishes and chop vegetables and cook meals and sling hash and wait tables at all hours of the day and night; people on assembly lines who are as important as the inventors and manufacturers of goods; people who teach and people who clean; caregivers to youngsters, seniors and disabled; people at checkout counters and people who work in factories, companies, laboratories, offices and shops; people who sew, weave, sweep, assemble, make and fix things, talk to us on phones, tot up numbers, keep paperwork in order and grease the wheels of industries; people who get up at the crack of dawn to plant, grow, reap and tend livestock to keep us well fed; people who work in hospitals caring and curing, cleaning rooms, making beds, emptying bedpans, monitoring and dispensing meds, bringing water, stocking the necessities and giving a kind smile with the magazine, book or tv hookup; people on street corners who sing, strum or play an instrument and share their music with us all; people who write and share the poetry of their souls without acclaim; people who toil in anonymous silence and try to stay true to their calling; people who meet and greet with a smile and a cheery hello; people on land, in air and at sea who gift us with their skills, time, attention, talents and abilities every moment of the day around the world…..

People like you with your own special positive touch in every endeavor who are an integral part of our lives; you are important.

This day, this moment, take pride in your work; swell with satisfaction.  You have earned it and do so every day.

It may seem that the very visible jobs get the recognition.  It may seem easy to thank the surgeon who saved your life or the professional who stands out in the spotlight of face to face in seminal moments and particular occasion of one’s life; yet it is you who are our unsung heroes and are essential to our well being.

In addition I add all teachers at every level of our lives from family members to schools and life experiences; to those who take time to teach any child or adult one lesson in life, you make our world a better place simply by giving the gift of your self and moving on in constancy.  Like a pebble in the pond, you touch one being as each lesson and kindness ripples out forever to enrich all lives in ways you may never imagine.

We may not know your name or see you face to face, yet please know that, as sure as you are reading this, you are thanked and much appreciated for your contribution to society and to each individual who benefits from you having done your job.

You matter.

Thank you.

Like the song says, “You are the wind beneath our wings.”

The Gratitude Pool…once in a…

January 1, 2010

Hello 2010!

With gratitude for so many miracles that got pulled out of aught nine, like rabbits from magicians’ hats, a sigh of relief deep as oceans runs through my being like a freight train that has turned its corner tracks; chugging up steep inclines through snowy, crisp cold alpine passes, now rolling along smoother terrain to mid balance climes; unstoppable in its ahhhhhhhhhhh.

Yesssssss, my soul sings and ‘Thanks Angels !’ is at the heart of my ‘endzone dance.’

Not that I feel I’m anywhere near the fourth quarter end zone.  It’s just one of many touchdowns I’ll look back on from Heaven’s vantage point,  when I have better vision than these human windows of wide wonder, at how things can turn around just when you think you’re a goner; just when you are convinced that you’re at wits end and no thing will come your way.

I breathe in the wonder and ever green growing gratitude that springs from a well of unending opportunities to have better than I can imagine, when I am forced to spin on the spit of  life’s twists until I give up and give in to allowing things to manifest in ways and times far better than I imagined; when I am spent from trying to do it my way or society’s or someone’s way.

It’s then that I get a chance to view everything in and around me from a completely different perspective-albeit that point of view may be flat on the floor.

And when the kicking and screaming stop and I’m wrung out from wrestling with how I see it; how I want it, the it is surprisingly eye-opening…if and, only when, I allow it to coalesce into cleared sight.

This New Year’s Eve, was a blue moon night said to be double the energy of completion and cleansing.  The way I saw it written was about  more light edging out darkness in this new year; this new decade.  I liked the sound of those words especially in light of how much change was wrought and the familiar wrested from  us.

It was a bitch of a roller coaster year.

I don’t know many who wouldn’t agree with that on some level.

Losses overwhelmed, grief was at a multi-layered all time high and people got down to just chucking it all.  So many hands thrown up in the air made us look like the planet was waving at God.  “Yeah, Big Guy, it’s us down here doin’ the wave and signaling the biggest SOS from stadium Earth.”

Yet, here I sit at 6 in the morning of the first day of the new decade and hope has replaced despondency and feral fear in my heart.

Breathing room seems to be rolling in on an optimistic tide and change wears a new costume, the fabric of which is softer, a bit more flowing and better fitted to new styles of being and doing… a more balanced garment…a one size fits all yet fits each, with room to grow…good for lounging and play as well as appropriate for the office…both day and evening wear for all occasions.  Why, it’s the little black dress of the 2-10’s!  A must have for all closets.

Back to basics.

Yup.  We had to key up our courage, take the hem up, nip in the waist of that sucker and remove the shoulder pads in the jacket …and oh, what a sigh of relief at the end of the refitting to find that we are lighter and more creative; able to move more easily and wear the world like a loose garment.

The I-don’t-wanna-change look became so unwieldy or tattered that wearing it for another season of life became impossible.

The rat race ran out and only the rats won…and even that was was a ‘maybe’ award.

Our human race company had to take on an entirely different mission statement and change its ways of doing business.

And though we’re still digging out, today I have hope.  For I am lucky enough to have realized, caved in and changed and am willing to clean, clear, reshape and allow myself and how I am in the world to unfold.

When I’m not fighting the tsunami of change, I can float the currents and find safer haven in ports  of call I’d never even dreamed of visiting.

My partnerships are plentiful too.  There’s H.P. a power greater than the old company of ‘me, myself and I;’ a host of Angels, Earth and Celestial, who each add their perspectives and talents to the whole and, though there still is a ‘me, myself and I,’ we take a lighter approach to the business of living; allowing a variety of sub contractors to pitch in and bring their best to every endeavor.

In this way; this backing down, stopping cold and allowing room for better than I can imagine to come from what looks like sheer catastrophe, miracles rise up between my eyeballs and slug me like a kid with a gigantic ‘Ha ha!’

OMG!  I’m still here after the blizzard of aught nine, after the wipe outs, the bail outs, the chaos, the near not being here at all and the wanting to chuck it all in for real and for good.

Looking back, I see that I got what I asked the Universe for last year…not in ways I thought I wanted; not in safe little boxes of sameness.

No.   My greater good came out of the proverbial blue; each one leading and threading one  to another; surprising the hell out of me.

I wanted abundance first and foremost – and I meant money.

I wanted healing and perfect health.

I wanted creative projects.

And I figured if I had the first item on that wish list, the rest would follow.

But nooooooo.

What I got was abundance of opportunities to self care, be silent, notice the little things around which brought me joy that didn’t cost a penny and the about face which gave me that scenic view…which led to mind, spirit and body healing…which led to better health, perfect enough for each day…which led to becoming able to consider some superbly creative projects which came my way…which led to  actually doing work which makes my heart sing, touches others and gives joy into the world.

Hmmm. Who knows?  Perhaps that saying is accurate….’Do what you love and the money will follow.”

What I’m seeing more clearly is that currency comes in many shapes, sizes and forms other than folding cash.  Coin of the realm depends upon which realm I’m focusing.

I have abundance of good, nourishing, supportive, unconditionally loving relationships on planet family of choice.  Unlimited imagination and a willingness to learn and grow are part of the fabric of my being.  Creativity and a desire to be of service in the world  stand inside a loving heart and generous spirit and I have faith in all sorts of good appearing at just the right time; in just the right way.

My good this year has come in the miracles of multilayered manifestations where everything is possible when I remove the frame from the picture.

Some listen to me as I process on the way to progress and say, “Miracles, ha.”

I say, “Well, you know when those come around.”

And here we are on the first day of a new decade, after a unique colored, New Year’s eve moon…

for which I’m grateful.

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