Saturday, November 30, 2013

Returning to the Circle - Calling All Women!


Over a year ago, I had an epiphany that led me to write an eBook, Returning to the Circle: Inspirational Wisdom from Women for Women. This is a work of love created in collaboration with several of my dear Sisters of the Soul, who contributed words of wisdom of their own.  The idea of the book is to reach out, especially to young women and girls, who may not be able to share in the wisdom that was once available to women as they gathered around the kitchen table or at the sewing bee or as they ground corn, prepared food or tended the fire.

Within the pages of this book, women will find thirty days of affirmations along with the writings of my "sisters" and I.  Our hope is that it will help them to feel stronger, to have more confidence and to know their value.  One of the saddest things I have encountered in my middle years is the number of women who don't see their own self-worth.

If you know of a young woman, girl or even a young-thinking woman, who might benefit from this wonderful collection of quotes, poems and stories, please feel free to share the link above or visit the book on Amazon.com.

One more thing - profits from the book will go to help other women in need.  So, as you can see, it is a win/win situation!

Namasté!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The True Meaning of Thanksgiving



 Photo Credit: Nicole S

 
Many of us in the US are preparing for tomorrow's feast, for the gathering of friends and family and for the traditional events that surround this day we call, Thanksgiving. However, I have taken time out of my preparations to write about something I read that simply makes me crazy.  According to a Time's article, Macy's and other stores are getting a jump on Black Friday by being open all day Thursday.  

I am all for free enterprise, but please!  Keeping people from their families, from the ability to have one - yes, ONE - day off to give thanks in whatever form that takes for them, is simply wrong.  I refuse to shop on Thanksgiving. There is nothing I need that I can't wait 24 hours for it.

Several years ago, I researched the Thanksgiving holiday for a class I was teaching, I discovered an interesting fact.  Giving thanks for the harvest was NOT a pilgrim tradition.  Giving thanks was an Native American tradition!  In addition, this national holiday was proclaimed such by President Lincoln during the Civil War.  War was what brought this nation to its collective knees in prayer, but for the Native American peoples, giving thanks to the Creator was and is still a daily practice.

The corporate giants will NOT be getting my money on Thursday.  Nor will I get romanced into thinking that what I am observing, as we sit around our table, is some kind of tribute to the magnanimous generosity of the Pilgrim Fathers.  I will, however, bow my head, giving thanks for the important things in my life, as I do everyday.  I will slowly eat the meal my beloved and I will prepare together, remembering that many will go without today and for thousands of tomorrows, too.  Then, as we sit enjoying the company of a dear friend, I will pray silently that all my loved ones around the world will be blessed today, not because it is a national holiday, but because this is what I ask the Creator everyday. I will remember those whose lives where cut short by oppression, hate, disease and war. I will offer prayers for peace, as I remember the sacrifices of those who protect us every second of every day - those who will not be with their families, not because they are working so that we can spend money on things we don't need, but because they work to give us the freedom to shop or to write about how appalled we are at the thoughts of shopping on Thanksgiving.

May we all find time to give thanks - today, tomorrow and for all the days to come.  May the bounty we have be shared freely and with great joy. May we be forgiven for the times we turned away from, lashed out at or forgot the needs others. May we forgive those who hurt us with words, actions or thoughts. And, may the Love and Light of this season shine brightly from the hearts of all.

Namasté! 


Other Articles of Interest: 

 Mass Moments - http://massmoments.org/moment.cfm?mid=340
 United American Indians of New England - http://www.uaine.org/

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Bethlehem's Baby - Five-Minute Bible Stories by Shiela Deeth

Today, I have as my guest blogger, Shiela Deeth who describes herself as an, "author(and sometimes illustrator)--Mongrel Christian--Anglo-American--mathematician who can't add up and writer who can't spell."

Her latest book, Bethlehem's Baby is out. In Bethlehem’s Baby, we meet the Emperor Augustus’s advisors, the quiet research student helping wise men study stars, the shepherd whose granddad keeps complaining, an Egyptian fisherboy, a Roman soldier, and more. Bethlehem's Baby is a set of forty 5-minute read-aloud stories based around the events of the Christ Child’s birth in Bethlehem.  

Read on as Shiela tells us a bit about how she came to write her Five-Minute Bible Stories for children.



One day my eight-year-old, he with the boxes of dinosaur toys, dinosaur games, dinosaur cards, books and more, suddenly announced, “I don’t believe in dinosaurs anymore.” Not having realized they were a matter of faith, I asked him why. “Because my teacher says they’re not in the Bible.” 

I assured my son that, since the word for dinosaur wasn’t invented until the 1800s, one would hardly expect to find it used in ancient Hebrew. But that wasn’t enough. “My teacher says...” Then I reminded him there really are sea-monsters in the Bible. Couldn’t they be dinosaurs? “But my teacher says...” And finally I let him know I really didn’t mind. 

“Just remember, Son, the rest of us have seen dinosaur bones and we’re convinced they existed.” I had to stop the discussion before it devolved into argument. Small boy’s older brothers were nobly trying not to laugh at him and his teacher, but their muffled giggles were getting much more intrusive. 

Years later my oldest son was doing pre-med in college and decided to phone home. This wasn’t the regular, “Hi Mom, yes I’m fine,” type of call. This time we spent over an hour discussing the merits of evolution, and demerits of faith. The conversation started with, “Mom, Christianity’s stupid.” 

“Umm,” said I, stalling for time. “But I’m a Christian, and I don’t think I’m stupid.” 

“Yeah,” replied my son. “But you’re weird. Christians don’t believe in evolution and the evidence is really overwhelming. How can any halfway intelligent person not believe... and do you know... and they’ve just found out...” and so on, for rather a while and then some more. 

Eventually I got a word in edgewise. “But I’m a Christian, and I don’t have a problem with evolution.” 

“Yeah, but everyone says...” 

“Who’s everyone?” 

Then middle son, entering college a few years later, told me Christianity was just a myth, and faith a fallacy. 

So many kids grow up with Bible stories learned by rote, like fairytales filled with magic, bearing no relation to reality. They learn not to ask questions, because who wants Cinderella to answer. They learn that the stories don’t need to make sense because magical mirrors can always bend the rules. And then, they meet people who challenge their faith with a wealth of fascinating, verifiable and frequently incontrovertible facts. Maybe they’ll go back to the Bible and learn to learn to really read it, rethinking the difference between word and interpretation, and applying the same sense of logic to all that they’ve learned. Or maybe, sadly all too often, they’ll decide they’ve grown up and grown out of the things parents made them believe in as kids and they don’t want any sort of faith. 

I write my five-minute Bible stories with these children in mind, so they can learn before they leave home that it’s okay to ask questions, that the Bible’s not totally unrelated to the real historical, scientific world they meet in school, and that the Bible’s message just might be bigger than they’ve imagined. I write the stories for parents too, and include author’s notes, so they can check why my version maybe sounds different from the one they thought they’d been told. Maybe they’ll check in the Bible themselves and find it’s not so illogical, anti-science or unhistorical as they’ve believed. I write for teachers, so they can talk about faith in a down-to-earth way. And I write to entertain, but I hope the entertainment I offer might engage the reader’s brain, and heart, and soul. If it does, I’ll know I’ve done something vaguely worthwhile. 

Linda, thank you so much for welcoming me to your blog. I really enjoyed trying to answer your question about why I took the path I did in writing my Bible stories as well as what I hope parents/teachers/kids can get from the stories told in this style. 



Links: Find Bethlehem’s Baby at: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00EY172MA/ 
 
Or on Smashwords at: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/357261 




More of the Five-Minute Bible StoryTM Series on the publisher’s website: http://capearagopress.com/Five-Minute.html 

Sheila Deeth grew up in the UK and has a Bachelors and Masters in mathematics from Cambridge University, England. She now lives in the States near Portland, Oregon.  Shiela enjoys reading, writing, drawing, telling stories and meeting her neighbors' dogs on the green.

Connect with Sheila at: 

Sheila Deeth: http://about.me/SheilaDeeth 
Blog: http://sheiladeeth.blogspot.com 
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sheila.deeth 
Fan page: https://www.facebook.com/SheilaDeethAuthor 
Twitter: https://twitter.com/sheiladeeth 
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2853735.Sheila_Deeth

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Brotherly Love Part 2


 The Look of Brotherly Love

After twelve hours in surgery, Barry got a new liver.  His best friend, Rob, came to visit in less than 24 hours after giving Barry the gift of Life!

Both are doing very well.  The road to recovery will be long, but the prognosis is good.

Thanks to all who have sent words of encouragement and support.  

Thanks to the medical teams who have cared/are caring for Barry and Rob.  Each of you is a precious gift to us all!

Thanks to Rob and his family for giving my brother a new life.  Words will never be enough to show our gratitude.

May the blessings of this gift of Love ripple out touching all for many years to come.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Brotherly Love


The word "brother" is found in many languages. (Just to name a few - Old English broþor, from Proto-Germanic *brothar (cf. Old Norse broðir, Danish broder, Old Frisian brother, Dutch broeder, German Bruder, Gothic bróþar), from PIE root *bhrater (cf. Sanskrit bhrátár-, Old Persian brata, Greek phratér, Latin frater, Old Irish brathir, Welsh brawd, Lithuanian broterelis, Old Prussian brati, Old Church Slavonic bratru, Czech bratr "brother"

I have been blessed with brothers, in fact, I was the only girl in our family of four children.  My brother, Barry, and I are what some call "Irish Twins," because our birthdays are just over a year apart. We have, as often happens, been close since childhood.

Barry will turn 59 on Monday.  This is big day for him, not because of his birthday, but because he is entering the hospital for the life-giving gift of a new kidney.  The new kidney comes by way of his best buddy, Rob, who it turns out is the perfect live donor for Barry.  Needless to say, we are all so grateful.

So, in celebration of my dear brother, who is one of the best brothers a girl could have in any language, here is a little trip down memory lane via photos.  












Love you, Barry!  May this birthday be the beginning of a new adventure. 

Namasté!