The Almost Daily Thread

musings from the blue chair

Writing Prompt #4. Who is driving?

Again, I diverge from the given topic! They say a quote from a movie. I am choosing a quote from Animal Dreams by Barbara Kingsolver, (HarperPerennial 1991). Maybe this book is my favorite of hers, but really everyone I read or reread is then my current favorite.

My friend Deborah and I did a writing prompt around this today.

Quote from pg 224 in a letter from Hallie to Codi: “What keeps you going isn’t some fine destination but just the road you are on, and the fact that you know how to drive.”

The “I know how to drive” is what strikes me in this quote. So much of my life I have not felt like the driver but the passenger, not reacting primarily to my own thoughts, needs, desires or reactions but to someone else. Me, the peacekeeper, the one in service.  Let me fix this for you.  Let me do this for you.  Co-dependent.

Seeing the many roads and at this stage in my life, knowing and really believing at an independent level that I can make my own choices – I drive. Certainly with concern and compassion for any others involved but now including myself as equally relevant.

I drive sometimes with the top down and my hair blowing in the wind feeling the sun and the shade of the passing clouds.  Smelling the trees and skunks and road kill and cooking.

Sometimes I drive with the windows up and the music so loud I can’t hear my thoughts.

Sometimes I drive too fast, wanting everyone else to get out of my way, my mission being way more important than theirs.  Especially if I have caused myself time constraints.

Sometimes I go slower, wanting to look around (often at the bane of the me from the last paragraph in the cars behind me.)

Sometimes I leave the house without knowing directions to where I am going.  My second ex-husband claims Garamin was created for me.  I am now saved by Google maps and Siri and, conspiracitorally speaking, tracked by the same.  My new big brother, Google.

So I have been the driver, as well as a willing and unwilling passenger and I know absolutely the destination can certainly be colored by the journey.  Changing the “fine destination” to stressed, angry, happy or excited destination.  So how can I completely color or visualize the destination without leaving some areas for shading to accommodate the human emotions/experiences on the road to getting there?  Some fine destinations turn out to be so changed or rearranged by the time I get there!  Can I accurately color the future?  So what about intention?  Do I set them?  What about vision boards and dreams?  Do I even consider vision or envision?  How do I paint where I want to land, my destination?

The road I am on can be laced with, intersected by so many other interesting other roads.  Other options like curiosity and ADD and boredom can cause many a change in my direction.  And because I am directionally challenged I’m often turning left instead of right and vise versa.  Your side, my side works much better for me!  Lost is often its own unique journey.

I don’t read the last chapter of a book without reading the character’s journey through the middle.  Because here is lies the richness.  Here is where the ingredients, all mixed together, cook up into the serving/the destination as it is right now.  And then we are off to yet another …

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Prompt #3 – Paint a Word Picture

Today, I am to use all my senses to describe. Paint a word picture. I think I can stick to the instruction today!
Oh, the many things I could write about. Paris. The earth beneath my feet on the Camino. Closer to home, my flowers or my bee stings.

August is a ripe and sensory month. Humidity that drips from the air and is sucked up by the heat. Heat and harvest.

Then there are the trash men who deal with all of the senses all day. God bless those brave strong people who brave the smells and weights and shapes of what we throw away. The grinding truck rolls away and my cans are emptied, ready to refill.

I settle on the green and red fruits hanging from the tall vines, caged for strength, the power of their growth so focused the plant quickly outgrows its core capabilities. Tomatoes are over achievers! Roots suck nutrition and water from the composted soil, fed with worms and minerals with one mission – grow. And grow. And grow. Product fruit, their one specific mission. Until – the cold sets in and the seeds of the unused fruit fall on cold, hard ground, waiting out winter and the return of sun and heat.

The tomato is an ambitious plant. Started from a tiny seed, raising itself to a 6’ vine giant. Green, rich is the unmistakable smell of tomato goodness, even from a touch of the seedling, then the little white flower turns into a globe of red lusciousness, their smell permeates.

A green stem reaches outside the rim of a silver washtub where smooth, red, ripe goodness waits . Abundance, sustenance, summer time, like the magic of seed to fruit, like a pizza parlor, like the kitchens of gardeners in August. Fruit flies catch a whiff, follow the trail and indulge. I will blanche, core and freeze to add summer warmth to winter soups, stews and chili.

I suggest you carry the salt shaker to the garden and capture some of the sun’s warmth as you bite through the skin of this luscious goodness. Let the seeds run down your chin. Let that ummm escape from your throat, past lips reaching for another bite.

Salute to the Goddess of the tomato!

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Writing Prompts Day #1 – Books

I am challenging myself to write with an email prompt for 31 days. To sharp my skills, to force myself to write. Writer’s write. So if I want to publish again, well… pen in hand, Susan Rea.

The first prompt is: Write about a beloved book and relive your memories of the time spent entranced by a wonderful story.
Being the Libra poster child, I can’t pick just one. So here is my response.

The first novel I read was Old Yeller by Fred Gibson. I cried so hard. That dog became as personal to me as Dusty! I learned then the power of the written word. I was hooked. Give me a good book and a quiet spot from my early teens.

From a family of storytellers , now wishing I had listened and could remember some of them better, I thank you Uncle John for the snippets in the bundle of letters we found in your desk. I am trying to take it from there, writing little personality bio’s for the faces I have represented in the archives I have assembled.

Another book I well remember is The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley. Life changing. The book really changed my belief system. The Goddess connection spoke to me and drew me in – connected with me. From this reading, I experienced possibility and earth spirituality. This didn’t strike me as fantasy but a reality channeled through an open mind.

The Hobbit and trilogy, The Lord of the Rings, while much more action packed and violent than I usually read, held me spell bound. I propped these books in the window sill to read while I was washing dishes! Heroes, with every character flaw and self-doubt, faith and courageous curiosity. By the way I think Samwise is the hero of this story.

I love books where the historical characters come alive, are given personality. Historical fiction – I suspect many are channeled or directed in some part by divine syncronicity. The focus of the writer on a specific character can often be too intense to not connect with the energy of that character and time. I believe it’s possible.

When I read The Invention of Wings, which I read because Sue Monk Kidd wrote it and I loved The Secret Life of Bees and the strength of the female community, I was entranced, fascinated and so angry.

Thoroughly intrigued with the book and insulted that my history lessons had not taught me, not mentioned or considered important the Grinke sisters, Handful and her mother Charlotte important enough to include in it’s references. (See my previous blog post from July 2015.) Grossly unfair to our culture’s story in both areas of race and gender.

Maybe that’s why I tend to female writers. Louise Erdrich. Barbara Kingsolver. Isabelle Allende. And…Mary Oliver’s poems. Sena Jeter Naslund’s, Ahab’s Wife. Of course, Anita Diamant’s Red Tent.  My list does go on and on and on.

That being said, I have read many Tony Hillerman novels and love them all.

I am fascinated by books written on Mary Magdalene, her history and the theory that she was the most beloved disciple and wife of Jesus. Also, Anna, Jesus grandmother and the Essenes.

I also love stories about the English Queens, their strengths and limitations.

I enjoy young adult literature, but not the fantasy, so much.  It’s concise entertaining, blatantly real.  I did enjoy Harry Potter.  Even though – even his Owl got killed off.  Gezzzzz.

So, I am practicing with writing prompts to bring Hazel and Uncle Ira alive for those who will someday care to peruse what I have archived.

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Joseph’s Journey

Joseph’s Journey is a novel I have worked on for a long, long time.  Because of the generosity of my Uncle John I was able to take a year’s sabbatical and write.

This novel was given to me through a storyteller who spoke to me every day at the same time.  I got up, got my coffee, sat in my chair (another blue chair) and translated what went through my head. Channeling.  What I discovered was an incredibly beautiful story of a man, an everyday carpenter given a huge God-task.  Going against all the dictates of his society and way out of his comfort zone he said yes. And what he finds is that through divine synronicity he is not alone, the “world” begins to work with him. He gets money and a wagon for Mary to ride in.  All along the route the needs of Mary and Joseph are met by total strangers – grassroots, kind, and generous people.  Just like who we, mostly,  are today – although the news doesn’t cover the millions of stories of daily kindnesses or the “miracles” of divine syncronicity.

I did lots of fascinating research into this story.  I make huge mistakes in self-publishing and I still have little knowledge of marketing.  I just know that the first publications weren’t as perfect as I would have liked yet, I hit the button to Publish.  Knowing the imperfections maybe kept me from much marketing.  Whatever.  Now, Christmas season 2016, I have been through the text with the help of a fellow blogger and friend, Jerri and I think it is done.  Jerri blogs at:  athursdayschild.wordpress.com.  Thank you, Jerri.

Well,  Joseph’s Journey where it is in this moment!  And I am proud of the new cover that Jerri designed, and the type style and the new size AND I love this story.

I hope you will read it and let me know what you think.

Kindle version:   https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01M7U6EYM/ref=tsm_1_fb_lk

Hardback at: CreateSpace eStore: https://www.createspace.com/6672305

 

Enjoy the song and know that Joseph didn’t get much press!!  And yet, his service was great.  In gratitude for the storyteller who whispered this story into my ear.

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CreatingPaths on Etsy

It is with great pleasure
I invite you to
visit
CreatingPaths on Etsy
https://www.etsy.com/shop/CreatingPaths

I am learning this social networking. Whewww!
Let me know what you think.

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Help California — Plant something.

 

Spring Garden

Spring Garden

We have no water shortage in Kentucky. Our global warming ramifications this year have been a bitter, cold end of winter; the most snow fall in decades, certainly all at once, 17”, and the wettest April on record, 6+ inches of rain in a 24 hour period was only one of the storms that pummeled us. The rains created a Spring of abundant green and lush lively colors.
And yet our neighbors in California are not so blessed. Due to political and environmental or non-environmental decisions of which I know enough to get myself in trouble, they have run the water table dry. What can we do? I say we can ease the effects of the drought in California by planting some of your own food this summer.
I love my garden and, I admit, it is somewhat in defiance that I plant a garden. Although I am retired and… isn’t that what retired people do, plant a garden to subsidize their food budget? Admitedly, that penny pinching has its rank. Yet, mostly, I like knowing where my food comes from and how it’s grown. And I like taking some of the responsibility for feeding myself. And, I love gardening. I love dirt under my fingernails. I love the nurturing part and watching those tough, tiny little seedlings grow into their fullness.
As you have seen from my posts, here and on Facebook, I am a back-to-the-earth, eat local, stop the chemicals in our food (plant and animal), and label the GMO’s (You do it for the European consumer – why not the American consumer?), kinda girl. I eat as much organic as I can afford. I buy meat from farmers who treat their livestock with love, respect and gratitude. And I grow as much as possible of my own food. Food independence.
It is a small yard we have converted to raised beds and a raspberry patch. I am happy to get dirt under my fingernails in order to walk to the back yard and pick healthy food to eat. Confession: the snap peas seldom make it into the house. We simply stand and eat our fill right out there in the garden! The spring pea seedlings are about 7 inches tall but have no blooms yet. We eagerly await them.
Or a tomato? The same way. Picking and eating a warm tomato, juice running down my hand? Ummm. Or parsley? A sprig freshens my mouth and my senses. AHHHH. Grow. Grow. Grow.
So, I suggest we give the earth a break until the Californians figure out what is more important swimming pools and green lawns and golf courses in the dessert or avocados and almond grown in the desert? In the interim, I suggest you plant something. Anything. Plant your favorite. I am not suggesting you do the O/C thing I have done and convert your whole yard, but there are many options. Containers? Easy to set up and take care of. Convenient. Have you seen those upside down hanging planters?
Maybe convert a bit of your flower garden to food. Lettuce is easy. Cabbage is fun to grow. So is broccoli. Brussel sprouts aren’t a top ten favorite of many but the plant is soooo cool with little sprouts at every leaf up the stem? A tomato is simple to grow and the extras you pop into a freezer bag and then dump it into your chili in November. No need to even take off the skins. The skins will loosen up and rise to the top of whatever you are cooking.
Oh, and herbs? Mix them in with your flowers. Dill is a lovely plant. Basil? Delicious and a fabulous shade of green with a heavenly smell. Parsley is a beautiful plant. Peppers aren’t difficult. In fact, two years ago I let a pepper plant sit and dry out; the red peppers stayed attached to the plant, and I used it for my Christmas tree.
Oh, and I just bought a carton of worms. Yep. Worms from Uncle Jim’s Worm Farm. Found it on the internet, of course. That’s how big a gardening nerd I am. Red wigglies for my compost. Yep, I’m in as far as I can go here in the middle of town. There’s a law against having chickens I the city limits or maybe, I’d have chickens. Just now my only wildlife are the blasted squirrels who think I plant stuff for them and this little guy who lived under the wood pile until I brought in the last log to burn in the wood stove.2015-05-01 11.13.51
So, If you haven’t already, take the plunge. Buy a plant, love it and then feast on it. It will be grateful to share it’s nutrients with you.
Here’s to healthy food and dirty fingernails.

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What if there are no limits?

Doll series - created by Susan Rea Caldwell

Blessed

In my meditation class last week I was given the message – There are no limits.
Consider that.
So in my ruminations about that I came up with a prayer.  Let me say that I like to be all inclusive in my prayers!  Once while driving a friend and I played prayer!  We blessed things like everyone in the world who was wearing blue jeans – and everyone who was not.  We blessed everyone who was born in January and everyone who was not.  It went on and on for miles!  (This may be a statement that gives me points in the, “You are so weird,” category.  And you are posting this for the world to see!!! Oh, well.)
So, in my journaling, I asked that all the gloves in the world brought warm, healing power.
And that every time someone donned a hat they felt spiritual connection.
So then, what if all the shoes put on this morning brought connection with the earth and awareness of the life, beauty and living relationship with her?
What if everyone’s clothing brought with it a sense of protection and supported a strong knowing of the true self?
But I quickly realized this material aspect of this endeavor created an outside need.  A need for gloves, hats, shoes and/or clothing which would create limits because one person would have a silver hat and another a ball cap. And then, consider the issues of so many kinds of shoes!! One of my particular joys.
So, it all comes down to what I/we create inside, without anything outside of ourselves. How do our thoughts support our physical, emotional and spiritual self? And from which area do I listen and follow? The spiritual? The emotional? Or do I keep a nice balance.
So what if there are no limits? What can I accomplish if my mind, body, emotion, spirit connection works in sync to bring to me what I truly desire?
Which brings me to: “What do I truly desire?”
What do you truly desire?

Blessed is one of a series of dolls I am creating out of fabric, trim, yarn, earrings, bracelet pieces, and on and on!  I aspire to creating 20 of them.  And since there are no limits, I guess I can make an infinite number!!! Because there are no limits as to time or pieces of stuff to work with or ideas.  Hummm.  Let’s make some dolls today!

Blessed is 8″ x 11 1/2″ wall hanging, created from a piece of vintage wool, trim, yarn, pins, earrings, beads and bracelet pieces.  $50.

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The Gift of the Sun Goddess

Sun Goddess

The Sun Goddess grew as a result of human generosity, compassion and my imagination.

The fabric pieces were gifted to me by a complete stranger at the Victory of Light show in Cincinnati in November. A gentleman came into the booth and began to look up close and personal at the fabric collage pieces I had for sale. This guy really looked. Rare for a man to examine the stitching and the embellishments and feel the fabric. Rare for a man to be so involved and interested in the structure and the composition. We chatted for a minute. He left the booth. He then returned and chatted again about where I get my materials and ideas. Seems he is a costume designer! And someone had only recently gifted him with a bag of fabric for which he was grateful and which he knew he was not going to utilize and the bag was still in his car and he had too many unfinished projects in the queue. He asked, “Would you like this bag of fabric?” And I said, “Yes!”

The orange earring is a gift from my brother-in-law, Dave, who works for an apartment owner doing repairs, restoration and spiffing up when a tenant vacates. This particular tenant apparently left very abruptly because she left behind piles of personal belongings. Among the leavings were a hundred or so pairs of big dangly earrings and a bunch of necklaces. He gathered them into a box and brought them to me. They smelled badly of cigarettes and unhappiness. I looked through them wondering, “I don’t know about this stuff.” I laid all the pieces out on the picnic table in the back yard to cleanse in the sunlight for 4-5 days. And the things began to take on as aspect of possibility. Although some of it I tossed, some I kept and the orange oval earring – presto, change – a halo!

The sheet music was part of my Aunt Janet’s collection. She and her mother were accomplished pianists. I have a stack of sheet music with her notes and comments on it. The story is that her mother would start dinner and have it nearly ready when her father came home from the office. He would have a cocktail while she played a piano piece for him and then dinner was ready and they ate!

The wings are really old hinges. They came as a part of a much larger gift from a woman who had more stuff than nearly anybody! She and her husband travelled and collected and shared a lovely life together. My partner became her Mr. Fix-it after her husband passed. He did repairs from changing light bulbs to tiling the bathroom floor and wiring lamps. We would take dinner and talk and share stories. A dear friend. She had the greatest greenhouse full of every color geranium. One Saturday we helped her clean out the tool room and ended up bringing home all sorts of hardware. Nails and screws of many sizes. Picture hangers, wire, and, yep, hinges!

The sun’s face is a hematite. A hematite is a beautiful, smooth, shiny stone used for grounding, stabilization and protection. It’s heavy and solid. While I am not completely certain, most of the arrows point to this being a gift from Wendy Sue, whom I lovingly call my personal shopper. I am sure this piece was a necklace. Wendy Sue can zero in on a bargain from across town. Like a heat seeking missile searching its target. She finds beads, jewelry, lace and fabric. Clothing, shoes. The treasure list is long. Most currently she presents me with a big box of trim samples like for pillows or curtains and tiebacks.
Some might call it excessive or even silly, but Wendy and I can dally through a box of “stuff” admire its quality and workmanship and…and… for a long time. Then she gifts whatever it is to me and I have to find something to do with it! Well, the trim piece becomes: tada, a Sun Goddess body! Who knew!

My Sun Goddess is carrying a pail from which she will pour her blessings.

My blessings within this piece are the result of saying thank you to the many gifts I receive from many, many people. And for the gift of this time in my life wherein I can explore and grow more fully my creative uniqueness. And – believe me, I am continually surprised with the things I end up with.

Receiving the creative piece is just like receiving the material gifts. It’s saying “YES.” It’s being open to the Universal flow. And the flow comes in many packages be it fabric, whats-its or ideas! And the flow? Call it God, call it Creator. Call it the Universe or Source. However you relate to it – Call on it. It is yours for the asking and receiving. It is you, a more fully examined you. I hope you will claim yours.

I did. I am. And it’s fun and it just makes me happy.

And I’ve been humming this song the whole time I’ve been working on this blog.  So, enjoy…

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