Friday, February 29, 2008

"To touch someone with kindness is to change someone forever. Heavy, huh? But that's not the half of it. Because for everyone you touch you also reach everyone they will ever know. And everyone they will ever know. And so, for the rest of all time, your kindness will be felt in waves that will spread long after you move on."

- Mike Dooley


Everyday Grace

I got this in email this morning, and coincidentally my Simple Abundance thing for today was about asking for grace every morning ("enough grace for today")


At the beginning of the day, the mind is most open to receive new impressions. One of the most important things we can do is to take full responsibility for the power of the morning.

If you want to have a nonmiraculous day, I suggest that newspaper and caffeine form the crux of your morning regimen. Listen to the morning news while you’re in the shower, read the headlines as you are walking out the door, make sure you’re keeping tabs on everything: the wars, the economy, the gossip, the natural disasters…But if you want the day ahead to be full of miracles, then spend some time each morning with God.

Most of us wouldn’t think of beginning our day without washing the accumulated dirt from the day before off our bodies. Yet far too often we go out into the day without similarly cleansing our minds. And our minds carry more pollution than our bodies, for they carry not only our own toxicity but that of the entire world. We carry the fear, anxiety, stress, and pain not just of our own lives, but of our families, our nation, and millions all over the planet.

Our greatest weakness is the weakness of an undisciplined mind. We need not let fear steal the morning; we can consciously choose not to allow our minds to be programmed by the worldly viewpoint that dominates the earth. We can set our day upon another course. Each of us has an inner room where we can visit to be cleansed of fear-based thoughts and feelings. This room, the holy of holies, is a sanctuary of spiritual light. The light is not a metaphor, but rather an actual energy of mystical vibration. When we begin our morning within it, the mind receives a radiance that illumines our thinking as we go through our day.

Imagine yourself sitting in a perfect, comfortable spot for meditation. It might be a chair in your bedroom or living room. It is a place of relative quiet and calm, where you go on a regular basis to find the peace that only God can give. You have come to realize that this time of rest, in its stillness and peace, is beneficent to both your mind and body. Here you come to surrender to God, using a prayer or mantra to move beyond the frantic and overwhelming thoughts that stalk us night and day. You are making your daily pilgrimage home, where your life will be renewed.

While the power of such quiet time can be profoundly healing, we often resist it fiercely. We have scores of reasons why we don’t have time to meditate: "The kids have to get off to school…I have to go to work…My partner wants to be with me…I have early appointments…," and the list goes on. Yet none of those excuses would be used to avoid taking a shower or getting dressed. It would be ludicrous to say, "I’m just too busy. I had to give up showers." And yet "busy-ness" is a common excuse for why we do not take the time, or give the time, to meet regularly with God.


Every morning, visualize and pray for divine right order: If you are a teacher, for instance, bear witness with your inner eye to an angel, or Jesus, or Buddha, wrapping his arms around every child in your class, then allow your mind to hold that image for five minutes or more. See God’s Light around your coworkers, your neighbors, your children, your spouse. Whatever it is you will be doing with your day – whatever your workplace or activity – consciously bless the people you’ll meet, as well as those you don’t even know. Remember to include those you don’t like as well as those you do. Allow yourself to imagine, while in a prayerful, meditative state, the life you most long to experience. Then bless that image, and surround it with light.

Now you can leave the house smiling, because you’ve placed your future in the hands of God."

LOTS more here: Everyday Grace, by Marianne Williamson

Humorous Pictures
Enter the ICHC online Poker Cats Contest!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Rock on

With Rock Band for Playstation. How fun!! I want it now!

Monday, February 25, 2008

"If the sight of the blue skies fills you with joy, if a blade of grass springing up in the fields has power to move you, if the simple things of nature have a message that you understand, rejoice, for your soul is alive..." -- Eleonora Duse

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Reiki, Foot Detox and Herbal Remedies

So today I went to Lady of the Lamp and had foot detox and reiki. The proprietor of the shop is Jeannie Short.

I wasn't planning to do the foot detox today. I had asked her about it because Mom wanted to do it and I was going to go with her. But it was $5 off if I did it the same day as reiki so I went ahead and did it. Basically it's a pan of water (maybe salt water) with an ion generator in it. Allegedly, this pulls toxins out of your body through your feet as you soak them. My water almost immediately turned orange, which is related to joints. (There's a list of what each color means). By the end, there was also dark green stuff in the water.

And there was some type of sediment in the water. I washed my feet off with wet paper towels and they don't seem any worse for wear. I saw one web site that suggested the stuff in the water is just iron and has something to do with oxidation. I don't know, it doesn't seem like that could happen that quickly. I don't know what if anything it did but I figured it couldn't hurt anything.

A giant furry cat dozed next to me while I had my foot bath.

He was very sweet and let me pet him and licked my hand.

After the foot bath, I had a reiki treatment. This lady does several different energy healing modalities and said she doesn't do just strictly reiki, but whatever she feels is needed. I laid on a massage table in a darkened room with lovely music playing and the sound of a water fountain while she worked on me. Her hands felt so warm, almost hot at times. Sometimes she touched me, sometimes she just held her hands over me. It was very, very relaxing. Near the end I felt this energetic "jolt" is the only way I can describe it. And I felt like I was in a heightened energy state. I've had this happen recently when meditating but only a few times. I'm not sure what exactly it is. Anyway, afterward she said she felt like I had problems with my right knee (that's the one I had my surgery on) and my right shoulder. I do have problems with my shoulder sometimes but it seems like it's the left one not the right one. I need to pay attention the next time it happens to be sure though.

Jeannie is training to be a naturopathic physician and is almost done. When we talked about my medical issues, she suggested an herbal remedy that she felt could help with my sinus problems and get me off the Allegra D. I am all for that so I decided to give it a try. What I got is made by Pure Herbs, Ltd., and is "SI.A.-R" which contains Bayberry, Bitter Orange, Indian Tobacco, Golden Seal, Licorice Root, Wild Rose Hips and Thyme. (Everywhere I find this mentioned online it says it has several other herbs as well. I'm not sure why my concoction doesn't have those too.) According to the Pure Herbs Ltd website, these herbs are supposed to do the following:

  • Bayberry: Liquefy and drain sinuses, shrink and dissolve polyps of all kinds

  • Bitter Orange: doesn't say

  • Indian Tobacco: Nerves, spasms, rub on "charlie horse", cramping, poison antidote, asthma, empty stomach, food poisoning, correct bronchials, medulla

  • Golden Seal: Powerful antibiotic, activates other herbs, varicose veins, stomach, diabetes

  • Licorice Root: Adrenal nutrients, stamina, allergies, anti-stress, low blood sugar, takes place of cortisone, menopause, helps as hormone source after hysterectomy

  • Wild Rose Hips: Natural source of Vitamin C, connective tissue, neutralize poisons, build immunity, stimulants peristalsis, colds, coughs, healthy tissue, healer, repair blood vessels, stops bruising, helps absorb calcium

  • Thyme: Calms nerves, thymus gland in chest, high iron, promotes immunity, nightmares, colic, gas, ill-disposition, strengthen lungs

The concoction is a liquid and I'm supposed to take 1 tsp. three times a day. It doesn't taste very good. I'm very interested to see how well it works.


The St. Joseph's Indian School sent me a packet soliciting a donation. It includes all kinds of cool stuff, like pretty address labels, bookmarks, a notepad, stickers, etc. But my favorite is this rawhide and feather dreamcatcher key ring!!

You know how I love feathers. I think I'm going to just hang it in my bathroom.

I don't usually go in for this kind of soliciting, but I like this so much I feel like I SHOULD send them something. Maybe I'll just buy something from their museum gift shop instead.

Oh and you can get the same packet as I did by signing up for their email list here:

Native Astrology

"Salmon People Birth Dates
July 22nd - August 21

Earth Influence: The Ripening Time
Totem: Mouse
Direction: South
Influencing Wind: The South Winds
Element: Fire with Water
Elemental: Hawk (fire) Clan
Function: To do
Birth & Animal Totem: Salmon
Plant Totem: Raspberry
Stone Totem: Carnelian
Polarity Totem: Otter
Affinity Color: Red
Musical Vibration: F Sharp
Personality: Proud, energetic, confident & enthusiastic
Feelings: Passionate & intense
Nature: Demanding
Intention: Rulership
Positive Traits: Generous, magnanimous, creative
Negative Traits: Domineering, arrogant, dogmatic & intolerant
Sex Drive: Insatiable
Compatibility's: Owls and Falcons
Conscious Aim: To Rule
Subconscious Desire: Emotional Stability
Life Path: To find purpose
Spiritual Alchemy: Yang Predominates
Should Cultivate: Tolerance, Sound Judgment & Emotional Stability
Should Avoid: Arrogance, egotism, indolence & pomposity"

My sign is under Hawk Clan:

"Keywords: Independent, Trailblazing, Courageous, Impetuous

Hawk Clan individuals are born with the drive to Initiate. They are the trailblazers of the Clans with the Group Consciousness to Discover All that is New. As a result, their function within the greater tribe of Humanity, is to be the Clan that broadens boundaries which might otherwise limit the progression of Humanity within the ~physical~ plane. They are not on the ~Good Red Road~ to build or to harvest, they are the Clan that forges the way ahead in preparation of the planting and harvesting that is to be done by the other Clans. And here-in lies the challenge of this Clan . . . to learn the gift of Patience, for to utilize our gifts to their fullest potential, we need also to have true understanding of that which would appear to be our polar opposite.

Think of the Hawk soaring high, held aloft on the invisible hands of the Four Winds. His eyes scan all below and before him with a perception that is without equal, and yet his true desire is not to know what lies below, his true yearning is to rejoin with ~Grandfather Sky.~

As such, Hawk Clan souls are always looking for Higher Union of Spirit, and will be restless and anxious until they learn that true union comes first in the form of the union between Personality, Emotion, Mind and Soul, or that which is referred to in esoteric astrology as ~integration.~ When the union has become complete, when the Hawk Clan member has flown in each of the Four Winds and learned the lessons unique to each, then the union with Grandfather Sky will be attained. "

"The birth totem embodies the innate characteristics of the Dominant forces operating in nature at the time of one's birth."

Mine is salmon or sturgeon

"The sturgeon is known as the king of fishes. A primitive fish that has probably existed on the earth since around the time the dinosaurs disappeared ... . Sturgeons were considered the royalty of fishes among the Native people who lived in the Great Lakes area. In the Ojibwa nation there is a Sturgeon clan that is one of the teaching clans. To the Ojibwa people the sturgeon represents depth and strength. ... Working with the sturgeon can teach you about your determination, perseverance, depth, knowledge, generosity, strength, and sexuality."

"Birth Totem Salmon is an individual whose outer personality is driven by the need to Create and have dominion over his/her environment. The desire to create is motivated by Birth Totem Salmons desire to leave a lasting impression. Depending upon what level of personality the Salmon individual is choosing to operate from, this may manifest itself as either the desire to inspire others through their own example, and thus be as a lantern in the night, or they may be operating from the desire to bring acknowledgment for the achievements they have made to assuage the feelings of self doubt which may harry them until they learn the lesson of Self acceptance. ... Life’s emotional currents may run deep, and at times tumultuous, yet as the Salmon will forge its way upstream against seemingly impossible odds so that they may propagate their species, Birth Totem Salmon will become truly Whole when he/she has conquered the currents that roil within their own hearts. ... Only once he/she has learned that the Destination is not the End, and that life’s currents are not always an upstream battle, when the realization is made that one must delve within for the Answers they desperately seek, may they find the insight which is the Birth Right of this Totem. Then, as they swim in the deep clear waters of Awareness and Understanding, they will realize that the doorway to Home has always been WithIn."

"The Directional totem aligns or brings one into harmony with his or her inner Senses."

My direction is south.

"The elemental totems describe instinctive behaviours, those Behaviours which are natural as opposed to learned or enforced. The tree, Stone and colour associated with each totem have the power to convey Strength during times of challenge, stress or testing."

My plant totem is the raspberry (my sign is under the ripe berries moon).

"The raspberry itself is a delicacy, and the leaves and root of the plant have medicinal properties. The berries not only delight but also cleanse the system. They can aid in breaking up and expelling gallstones and kidney stones and stimulate the action of the urinary tract. The root is an astringent and has some antibiotic and healing properties. It can be used as a gargle for sore throats. The tea as a compress has been applied to wounds and cuts to slow bleeding. A tea from the leaves can be used to cure diarrhea, cankers, uterine problems, and menstrual issues. Raspberry leaf tea is one of the belt herbal teas for pregnant women, acting as a tonic. A tea from the twigs is good for colds, flues, difficulty in breathing, and for balancing blood sugar levels. Raspberry plants can teach you to find the sweetness within the thorns of life."

My minerals are the garnet and iron (and/or carnelian):

"Garnet and iron are the minerals associated with the Ripe Berries Moon. Garnet can help to balance your sexual energies. It is associated with the heart and blood and can stimulate the free flow of emotion in its wearer.

Garnet can help to strengthen those who carry it, can warn of danger, and can help you to lead a good and honorable life. It can also help you penetrate to the heart of any matter.

Iron is good for the blood and heart. It can remind you of the necessity of being tempered by life's experiences. It can encourage you to have a discriminating hardness that will allow you to know when no is the answer that will promote the highest good for all that are involved."

Sources/More Info:

Friday, February 22, 2008

Crow Stuff

Did you know "Cuervo" means crow in Spanish??

Does that mean Jose Cuervo means Joe Crow?

Crow Trivia

  • American Crows congregate in large numbers in winter to sleep in communal roosts. These roosts can be of a few hundred, several thousand, or even up to two million crows. Some roosts have been forming in the same general area for well over 100 years. In the last few decades some of these roosts have moved into urban areas where the noise and mess cause conflicts with people. [Maybe this is what we saw when we saw all the crows gathering the other day??]

  • Young American Crows do not breed until they are at least two years old, and most do not breed until they are four or more. In most, but not all, populations the young stay with their parents and help them raise young in subsequent years. Families may include up to 15 individuals and contain young from five different years.

  • The American Crow appears to be the biggest victim of West Nile virus, a disease recently introduced to North America. Crows die within one week of infection, and few seem able to survive exposure. No other North American bird is dying at the same rate from the disease, and the loss of crows in some areas has been severe.

  • In some areas, the American Crow has a double life. It maintains a territory year-round in which all members of its extended family live and forage together. But during much of the year, individual crows leave the home territory periodically. They join large flocks foraging at dumps and agricultural fields, and sleep in large roosts in winter. Family members go together to the flocks, but do not stay together in the crowd. A crow may spend part of the day at home with its family in town and the rest with a flock feeding on waste grain out in the country.

  • Despite being a common exploiter of roadkill, the American Crow is not specialized to be a scavenger, and carrion is only a very small part of its diet. Its stout bill is not strong enough to break through the skin of even a gray squirrel. It must wait for something else to open a carcass or for the carcass to decompose and become tender enough to eat.

Lots more crow info:

Squirrel Nests

When we got home I was looking up in the trees and noticed a nest in the top of a tall oak tree across the road. I was wondering if it was a crow's nest, but then I saw a squirrel up there and it looked like it went in.

I never knew they built nests like that! The outside is interwoven twigs, and they build up the inside with softer things like leaves and bark and fur. (We should give them all the Stubby fur we collect in this house).

Anyway, I thought they just lived in holes of trees. Apparently that is the preferred location but they will build these kind when the holes are scarce.

This is a very interesting article about tree squirrels and their habits:

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Big Foot in WV??

You may already know of my fear of UFO's (which I've had since I was like 10 years old) and alien abductions (which I developed later when I would read everything I could get my hands on about UFO's). (Aside: speaking of which, I may have to stop watching UFO Hunters. They had the abduction story of Betty & Barney Hill last week and had footage from the movie about them and "re-creation" type stuff and now I can't get those images of one of the aliens touching her on the shoulder and she turns around to see him standing there out of my head).

My other childhood based fear is Big Foot, thanks to that Boggy Creek movie which for some unknown reason I saw as a child and scared the crap out of me. Now, I'm not afraid of Big Foot like I am of UFO's (because of course aliens can get you wherever you are; Big Foot is at least only found in the woods). But I do believe some kind of creature like this exists. I never thought he was in West Virginia though. Until today!!

"CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — Some call it Sasquatch or Bigfoot. In other parts of the world, it’s known as the Yeti or the Abominable Snowman.

Believers in this mysterious apelike creature are coming to West Virginia in April to try to find proof of its existence.

The Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization, considered the nation’s authority on the search for Sasquatch, has been in the Mountain State before. In 2006, the organization led a mission over two consecutive weekends in Pocahontas and Greenbrier counties.

Founded in 1995 by California attorney Matthew Moneymaker, the group has dozens of volunteer investigators. In their spare time, these volunteers meet with people who claim to have had a Bigfoot encounter and decide the validity of those reports.
Two of the group’s official investigators have ties to the state.

Stephen Willis is a native of Webster County. He lived in West Virginia until a couple of years ago, when he retired from the U.S. Army and opened up an industrial business near Wytheville, Va.

Pam Lovins of Kenova works in health care administration in Huntington.

In the past couple of years, Willis and Lovins have investigated dozens of reported Bigfoot sightings in West Virginia.

Both are well respected in their fields and have a lot of friends. But they acknowledge their hobby — searching for Bigfoot — can be difficult for some people to understand.
Willis will be heading up the April four-day expedition, the exact location of which hasn’t been disclosed.

“We can’t tell people exactly where we’re going before we do this because we don’t want people coming in with guns blazing,” Willis said. “There are a lot of people who’d like to kill one.”

The search group will be looking for footprints and any physical evidence that Bigfoot resides in the state. And as on any expedition like this, the searchers will be hoping for a close encounter with the creature.

Willis says he has no doubt the creature is out there.

Growing up, he would listen to his grandfathers talking about weird noises and howls, and of running into things in the wild they couldn’t explain.

“They would talk about unknown creatures in the woods that would make these holy whooping kinds of sounds,” Willis said. “A lot of it was from the early 1900s, when my grandfather was a little kid. They attributed some of the noises to mountain lions, but it always sounded to me like something else.”

The closest Willis says he’s ever gotten to one of the animals was during an expedition last year in California. He was using a thermal imaging system and says he clearly saw one of the creatures lit up in infrared.

He also has photographs of footprints he found in Texas that he says are unmistakably the tracks of a large Sasquatch and its offspring.

Lovins has never seen one but says she believes she’s heard them.

“When you are out in the woods or on the side of a mountain and you hear this, there’s no mistaking it,” she said. “It’s not a bear or an owl or a coyote unless they weight 400 pounds. You know immediately when you hear it what it is and what it isn’t.”

Officials with the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization estimate there are anywhere from 2,000 to 6,000 of the creatures living in the United States and Canada.

But skeptics cite the lack of physical evidence that Sasquatch does exist and point out that no bodies have ever been found."

Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization plans expedition in W.Va.

A quick Google search brings up some recent sightings. This oen has a picture taken in Audra State Park, near Elkins where we used to live (and we visited this park once)

Now this is not good - sightings in the area where we vacation!!

More recent reports:

I guess I won't be taking any walks in the woods anytime soon.

I hope there aren't any up on Spruce Mountain!!

Monday, February 18, 2008

A Visit to Stonewall Resort

This weekend we stayed at Stonewall Resort, a lovely lakeside resort in North Central West Virginia. My husband had to attend a business retreat ("summit"), and I was able to go along.

Historical note: Stonewall Resort sits on Stonewall Jackson lake. Civil War General Stonewall Jackson grew up nearby, in Jackson's Mill.

We had a nice king room with a sofa and armoire and computer desk, and a lake view.

Views from our room Friday evening:

Friday night, we had dinner with the rest of his company people. There were supposed to be at least 2 or 3 other spouses but I was the only one there. Just me and the guys. We had a wonderful buffet dinner (the restaurant, Stillwaters, apparently always has a buffet and it was VERY good). We splurged on red meat by having a slice of the prime rib, which was excellent. Everything I had was wonderful. Salad, mushroom risotto, and penne pasta with sun dried tomatoes and pesto. We did manage to skip the dessert table at least. After dinner, the men went into a meeting and I went back to the room. Later, we went to the hotel bar for awhile with the rest of the group. There was one more spouse there but I never got a chance to meet her because it was crowded.

Saturday morning Dave had to leave at 7:00 for breakfast. I went to breakfast by myself later and had a leisurely meal while enjoying the Charleson newspaper left on our doorstep.

Afterward, I finished reading the paper out to the lobby, where I sat in this leather chair.

I went back to the room and then went out for a walk. There is a nice walking path around the lodge, except it doesn't go all the way around because there is a pool in the way in the back. That was kind of annoying. I walked around one side and saw a deer. Then walked around back. It was still pretty cool (30's) out but sunny. Then I went out front, where there are some beautiful large trees. I don't know what kind. I love trees.

This is my favorite tree. I really loved this tree.

After visiting the trees, I walked down the hill on the path which led to a little picnic area and a footbridge. In the distance you can kind of see the resort's cottages.

The bridge had steps leading down to a dock.

I sat there on the steps for awhile just enjoying the sun and the peacefulness. Watched some bluebirds. There was still frost on the rails of the wooden bridge but it was warm enough in the sun as long as I kept my hands in my coat pockets.

After awhile, I walked on around the other side of the lodge on the foot path.

At the end of the path was a bench, so I sat there.

Across the lake there were some deer having breakfast.

I also watched some grackles. I think that's a juvenile on the left. There was just one when I first heard them, and it was making soft chirping noises. I looked back up a little while later and noticed there were three of them.

I had to walk back the way I came.

I went back into the lodge and did a little shopping. Later, I joined Dave and his group for lunch at the restaurant. We took a little walk after, until he had to go back in. We also checked out the library just off the lobby. Very nice, with big comfy furniture and a fireplace and books you can borrow.

After Dave went back into his meetings, I went back to the room and tried to decide what to do. I didn't have a whole lot of options. There was a spa, but I wasn't sure I could get an appointment this late and couldn't decide what I wanted to do anyway, or if I wanted to spend the money. Even a manicure was $40 and it wasn't even the deluxe manicure. There was a pool but I didn't bring a suit. And a fitness center, but I didn't want to work out by myself. There were hiking trails down the road, but I didn't want to walk in the woods by myself.

I decided since it was so beautiful out I wanted to be outside, so I took a book and headed back out. I ended up back at the little park by the footbridge.

There was a picnic table and what I called a fire circle, with logs cut for chairs. I really felt drawn to the circle. All day I had been watching for a special rock to take home with me, or a feather of some kind. I thought maybe I would find something there. I sat there for awhile and meditated. I heard a crow in the distance and wanted him to come and visit me. I sat there visualizing him landing on one of the other seats. I did see the bluebird again but that was about it.

It wasn't a comfortable place to sit so I went over to the picnic table to read. After awhile I heard a loud cawing and the crow had flown to the tree behind me! I turned to watch him but didn't take the camera out for fear of scaring him off and sat there quietly. He looked at me briefly but wasn't really interested in me. He cawed to another crow in the distance a couple of times, and fluffed his feathers and then took off again. I was so glad he visited me. I decided to head back to the lodge and when I got back to the foot path I found a small downy feather! I have it in the "medicine bag" I carry in my purse, which also contains some specials rocks.

Native Americans believe that when an animal crosses our path, it has a message for us. They call it "animal medicine". ("medicine" referring to the healing aspects the animal brings to our consciousness, relating to the spirit rather than the physical body). We can learn the lesson they have for us by observing their habits and characteristics. All birds are considered messengers from the Great Spirit. Crows are supposed to be very spiritual. They can bring messages of change, creativity, intelligence, law/justice, spirituality, intuition, etc. I think maybe it represents spiritual change for me right now. I have been very interested in crows and have been wanting a crow feather for awhile. I actually had one a few years ago, but I left it outside because the cats were having so much fun playing with it. I wish I'd kept it now.

I also saw a bluebird and some grackles. Bluebirds can represent joy, happiness, love, contentment and confidence. I was feeling very happy and content both times I saw them. Grackles can represent overcoming excess and dealing with emotions. Maybe it was reminding me not to go too far with the food this weekend.

After I found the feather I also noticed the moon was showing up. I wonder if that means anything.

I was going to go back to the lodge but decided to visit my tree one more time. While I was there I noticed two crows up in another tree.

I watched them and took pictures. At first, I thought one was a juvenile. But then I realized it appeared to be courting the other one. It was preening and ruffling its feathers up. It moved closer to her. And it was making a noise I've never heard a crow make before. The male is the one on the right.

The only way I could think to describe the sounds was like a woodpecker, but not really. I confirmed that I was indeed witnessing courting:

During the breeding season, that in the south can extend from early spring into the fall, and may include two broods, American crow courtship can be rather vigorous. Males pursue females in flight and among the trees or on the ground where they often fluff their body feathers, spread their tail, and bows several times to their lady while uttering rattling call notes. They will then perch together, preen one another and touch bills

I went back to the room for awhile and eventually joined Dave for dinner. The group ate in a conference room. After eating, we sat in there for a long time talking with people. Some other folks started a poker game in there and we went on to the bar for one drink before turning in.

Sunday the meetings didn't last long and we were able to be home by early afternoon. It was a very nice trip and I would definitely recommend the resort. Although what I did while there sounds pretty boring, I enjoyed it so much. It was so relaxing and peaceful. The room was very quiet and comfortable. The weather was perfect for walking and enjoying the sunshine. It was a nice place to just sit and "be". I'm only sorry Dave had to work the whole time we were there.

"Let me ask you something. If someone prays for patience, you think God gives them patience? Or does he give them the opportunity to be patient? If he prays for courage, does God give him courage, or does he give him opportunities to be courageous? If someone prayed for the family to be closer, do you think God zaps them with warm fuzzy feelings, or does he give them opportunities to love each other?"

From the movie: Evan Almighty
Written by Steve Oedekerk


Thursday, February 14, 2008

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day to me


from The Husband :)

Posted by Picasa

Pay up, Rich!

Stop whining, be a man and keep your word, Rich Rodriguez!

Small Steps To Big Change

"February 13, 2008
Small Steps To Big Change
Making Big Change Easier

When we decide that it's time for big changes in our lives, it is wise to ease into them by starting small. Small changes allow us to grow into a new habit and make it a permanent part of our lives, whereas sudden changes may cause a sense of failure that makes it difficult to go on, and we are more likely to revert to our old ways. Even if we have gone that route and find ourselves contemplating the choice to start over again, we can decide to take it slowly this time, and move forward.

Sometimes the goals we set for ourselves are merely indicators of the need for change and are useful in getting us moving in the right direction. But it is possible that once we try out what seemed so ideal, we may find that it doesn’t actually suit us, or make us feel the way we had hoped. By embarking on the path slowly, we have the chance to look around and consider other options as we learn and grow. We have time to examine the underlying values of the desire for change and find ways to manifest those feelings, whether it looks exactly like our initial goal or not. Taking small steps forward gives us time to adjust and find secure footing on our new path.

Life doesn't always give us the opportunity to anticipate or prepare for a big change, and we may find ourselves overwhelmed by what is in front of us. By choosing one thing to work on at a time, we focus our attention on something manageable, and eventually we will look up to see that we have accomplished quite a bit. Forcing change is, in essence, a sign that we do not trust the universe’s wisdom. Instead, we can listen to our inner guidance and make changes at a pace that is right for us, ensuring that we do so in alignment with the rhythm of the universe."

Book Meme

Tagged by Mountain Laurel

Here are the rules:

1. Pick up the closest book of 123 pages or more
(No cheating.)
2. Find page 123
3. Find the first five sentences
4. Post the next three sentences

"When you maintain a peaceful inner posture, even in the midst of chaos, you change your life. (new paragraph) The wisdom of this verse of the Tao Te Ching prompts you to know that you have a choice. Do you want to be in a state of confusion or to have a tranquil inner landscape?"

Change Your Thoughts -- Change Your Life: Living the Wisdom of the Tao, by Dr. Wayne W. Dyer

Does my vote even count?

This delegate stuff is infuriating. I think it's high time we moved past this system. Recently the Republicans in this state got together and decided who got what delegates.

And we haven't even had the primary. If you're a Republican, why would you even bother to vote? And reading this, why should I as a Democrat vote?? I thought this year my vote would actually make a difference. Our primary is so late that by the time it gets here the race is usually decided.

And I didn't even know anything about these "super delegates". I hate politics and don't stay involved because it's just a huge game, nothing about what is best for us or for our country, just what is best for the politicians. This just confirms what I already know.

"The elite party insiders will likely determine the Democratic presidential candidate. But should they vote as their constituencies did? Go with their own preferences? Or throw in with whoever leads?
With victories Tuesday in three more elections, Barack Obama has now won 23 of the 35 sanctioned Democratic primaries and caucuses so far. But he has not yet solved his problem with Mannie Rodriguez.

Rodriguez supports Hillary Rodham Clinton -- and his vote matters more than most. He is a "super delegate," one of the 796 Democratic Party insiders who will break the tie if neither Obama nor Clinton emerges from the primary balloting with a clear victory, a strong possibility even after Obama's wins Tuesday.

Obama's task Tuesday was not only to carry Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C. -- which he did in dominating fashion -- but to win the argument now emerging among the super delegates over whether and how to use their strength.

And that contest is far from producing a winner.

Rodriguez, a party official from Colorado, reserves the right to back Clinton, no matter that Colorado and a majority of other states have so far chosen Obama.

"I do not go with the candidate who is always winning. I go with the candidate I believe in," he wrote recently to a voter who asked how he could side against the Democratic voters in his own state.

Dan Parker, chairman of the state party in Indiana and a super delegate, feels just as strongly -- even though his state will not vote until May.

"I have made my decision, and I am supporting Sen. Clinton, and that is not going to change," Parker said.

Even as the primary schedule rolls on -- Wisconsin and Hawaii vote next Tuesday -- the campaigns are devoting a huge amount of energy to gaining the upper hand in the private conversation among the super delegates, most of whom are members of Congress or party officials.

Clinton has won pledges from just over 200 super delegates so far, and Obama from about 150, according to unscientific media tallies. The super delegates can change their allegiance at any time."

More here: "Debate intensifies over role of super delegates in Clinton-Obama race"

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Nick turns 15 today

"Happiness does not depend on outward things, but on the way we see them." - Leo Tolstoy

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Cumulus Clouds (cell phone pic)

What's Your Political Philosophy?
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You scored as Old School Democrat

Old school Democrats emphasize economic justice and opportunity. The Democratic ideal is best summarized by the Four Freedoms: freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear.

Old School Democrat


New Democrat






Foreign Policy Hawk


Pro Business Republican


Socially Conservative Republican


Friday, February 08, 2008

Different paths to the same destination

"All mystics speak the same language, for they come from the same country.
– Louis-Claude de Saint-Martin

What we are all looking for, even though we are searching in the most improbable places, is infinite wisdom, infinite joy, infinite love. In other words, we are trying to discover our real nature. At the very core of our being is a spark of purity, of perfection, of divinity. When we learn to identify less and less with that which is subject to change and more and more with this core of perfection, we are gradually moving closer to this supreme goal.

Though different religions call it by different names, the goal is always the same. It is nirvana to the Buddhist, moksha to the Hindu; Jesus calls it “entering the kingdom of heaven within.” To the Sufis it is union with the Beloved; to Jewish mystics it is the return to the Promised Land. No matter what they call it, all the great religions point to the same supreme goal. "

Eknath Easwaran’s Thought for the Day

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Oprah and "A New Earth"

Louise Hay was on Oprah this week. She is an incredible, inspirational woman who has touched so many lives. I admire her greatly and just adore her. It was so wonderful to see her on the show. Oprah was talking about The Secret, one year later, and had Louise Hay and two other women on the show. It was an excellent show.

During the show, Oprah also revealed that she is having a free 10 week course related to her new book club pick, Eckhart Tolle's A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life Purpose. I have never heard of it. But if Oprah feels so strongly about it that she is doing this for FREE, then it's good. And I feel like it is really important.

I hope Oprah doesn't break the internet.

Anyway, here's the stuff from the website and the link:

"Are You Ready to Be Awakened?
For the first time ever, you can join Oprah and Eckhart Tolle, the best-selling author of The Power of Now, as they teach A New Earth in Oprah's worldwide classroom live Monday nights on

By reserving your seat for this 10-week interactive webinar, you'll be able to:

* Watch and participate in the live classroom webcasts
* Ask Oprah and Eckhart Tolle questions before and during class
* Connect with others who are seeking to become more aware of themselves—and the world around them
* Download and save your thoughts in an exclusive workbook
* Access the classroom video archives…and more!

How to Reserve Your Seat:
You’ll need to be a member of and Oprah’s Book Club.

If you're not already a member of, you'll need to join now. During the registration process, you'll have the opportunity to become a part of Oprah's Book Club. Click on the "join" button to get going!"

About the book:

"Best-selling author and spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle has been inspiring readers since his first book, The Power of Now. In A New Earth, Eckhart provides practical teachings for waking up to a new, enlightened mind-set. If you're seeking a more loving self and a more loving planet, this is the book for you. Join Oprah and Eckhart Tolle Monday nights live in Oprah's classroom! Reserve your seat today and find out how you can be part of the live webcasts."

(also from

"Eckhart Tolle first inspired us with the timeless and uncomplicated clarity of the ancient spiritual masters in his groundbreaking bestseller, The Power of Now. Continuing the journey to self-discovery, Tolle, a contemporary world-class teacher, offers all faiths a simple message of hope: “There is a way out of suffering and into peace.”

A New Earth looks at the fractured world around us and our need for a gentler, safer, more loving environment. With a supportive voice, Tolle explains this can be accomplished through a shift in consciousness, but we must first understand how the “egoic” mind works and then recognize the need for awakening. Using a variety of religious principles and historical examples, he asks us to consider:
• Is humanity ready for a transformation of consciousness?
• Can human beings be open to such change?
• If everything I think, say, or do leaves me feeling disconnected from other people, what kind of world do I create?

Tolle teaches us how to discover who we are by letting go of preconceived notions. “When you fully accept that you don’t know, you actually enter a state of peace and clarity.”"


I can do it

I have lost 17 pounds since we started our diet.

For the first time in a long time, I am actually starting to believe I can do this! It's like I'm scared to believe I can, because of the repeated failures in the past. But the past doesn't exist any more. Now is all there is. I have to cut the ties to the past. Like Louise Hay said, you have to move past that and let it go and release it.

So today, I release my past in regard to dieting. It isn't important any more. It doesn't define me. It has nothing to do with my chances of failure or success. I am changing my life, not dieting.

And I love myself, just the way I am.

Monday, February 04, 2008

"You must learn to walk to the edge of the light, and perhaps a few steps into the darkness, and you will find that the light will appear and move ahead of you."

Harold B. Lee, 1899-1973
American Teacher and Clergyman

Friday, February 01, 2008

Pizza & Pepsi Day

So once a week I allow myself to have real, good pizza w/o worrying about the calories & fat. Today I also decided since I hadn't had any Pepsi for a week, I would also let myself have Pepsi. I went to Graziano's (Capitol St, the best pizza ever) and had one slice with sausage and mushrooms and one with just mushrooms, then took some of the sausage from one and put it on the other.

I think next week I'll only have one piece of pizza because two actually made me feel too full! And the Pepsi tasted TOO SWEET. That really surprised me.

I have been surprised also that I haven't craved or missed Pepsi really. I haven't had much difficulty just drinking water and tea and occasionally juice. That is a very good sign for me.

Fridays USED to be Tudor's day :(. I don't see me having any Tudor's in the near future.

I'm doing very well with food. Now I need to get back to walking. Definitely next week.