Picture taken by my friend Cyndi Leos....thank you Cyndi.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Miracles, Energy and a Stroke Of Insight...

Yesterday I read a story in the newspaper which started a process of thought which ended up consuming my entire day and into the night...

It was about the Ava Maria Grotto, or "Jerusalem in Miniature" in Cullman, Alabama, which is an artistic refuge built on a hillside at a Benedictine monastery called St. Bernard Abby. The grotto is a collection of over 125 miniature replicas of historic religious buildings and shrines, created over a period of 70 years by Brother Joseph Zoetl.  

During the April tornadoes, one of the monks was horrified to see the approaching tornado headed directly for the Abby. Sounding the alarm, they all ran to the basement as the tornado roared above them.  When the storm subsided, they emerged from the basement to find nothing had been destroyed!

The tornado ripped through this religious town, blasting and shattering homes, churches and businesses.  Miraculously, the Abby, the Grotto and the Catholic church nearby were untouched.  People who came to offer help, were amazed it was still standing. It has been and continues to be a peaceful place of great spiritual renewal, relaxation and prayer.  Click on the video and link below to see for yourself...

1600 St. Bernard Drive SE
Cullman, AL 35055
256- 734-4110
Open 9am to 6pm daily

It made me think of energy.  The kind of energy Oprah talked about on her last show.  How we all have it.  Every person, every rock, every tree and every flower. How we are each responsible for our happiness and our lives. How we are responsible for the energy we bring to the people around us...

Could the creative energy of Brother Zoetl, sharing his energy through his work, surrounded by a place of collective contemplative energy for good and selfishness...possibly generate enough energy to redirect a tornado?  I wonder...

According to David R. Hawkins, M.D., Ph.D., in his book POWER VS FORCE, he tests and measures the energy fields in the various levels of consciousness... I bought this book in 2004 after listening to a program by Dr. Wayne Dyer on The Power of Intention.  I have been attempting to read, understand and implement Dr. Hawkins theories in my life for the past seven years.

He has calibrated the levels of consciousness with explanations and examples on each level. The levels from lowest to highest are:  Shame 20, Guilt 30, Apathy 50, Grief 75,  Fear 100, Desire 125, Anger 150, Pride 175,  Courage 200, Neutrality 250, Willingness 310, Acceptance 350, Reason 400, Love 500, Joy 540, Peace 600 and Enlightenment 700-1,000.

Not all levels are achieved one then another, more often we go up and down the ladder so to speak, gaining insight, knowledge, and learning lessons. As we grow and learn we gravitate more toward the higher levels of consciousness and lead more meaningful lives.

Which brings us back to why I was thinking of  Oprah.  She gets it.. on many of these levels.  If you did not see her show, she spoke of the one common thread which runs through each one of us.  We want to know (like in the movie Avatar) Do you see me?  Do you hear me?  Does what I say, mean anything to you?  We want to know we matter.  We want to know we are enough...We want to be validated.

She spoke of shame and how it destroys lives...if we allow it.  We each have the power to change our lives. She is a prime example, coming from poverty and the shame of sexual abuse, to the higher levels of consciousness. Those who are in pain and suffering through these lower levels have one thing in common... unworthiness.  "We block our blessings because we don't feel inherently good enough, worthy enough, smart enough, or pretty enough".

Oprah showed a clip of an episode about Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor, and as a 37 year old brain scientist, alone in her apartment, had a sudden stroke on the left side of her brain. She could not speak or remember her mother. Dr. Taylor had only the use of the right side of the brain, which  feels energy and perception, to assist her in getting help for herself. I remember seeing that particular show in 2008 and was mesmerized by her story...

Dr. Taylor gave Oprah a quote, which Oprah keeps in her dressing room, but practices daily in her home and business.  It reads:

"Please take responsibility
for the energy
you bring into this space."

Think about that for a second...

Wanting to explore this deeper, I Googled Dr. Taylor on the Internet.  I found this video which is one of the best explanations I have ever seen or read, between the difference of the right and left sides of the brain.  She tells her story of "experiencing her stroke from the inside out."...which became the title of her book, MY STROKE OF this and you will see why...

It is 20 minutes long...may I suggest you stay with it, because it is really amazing and inspirational...

How many of you watched Oprah's last show?  I was both captivated and validated. I appreciate what she shared and look forward to her next venture... 

Oprah understands positive energy. She spoke of Newton's 3rd Law of Motion: "For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction".  She quoted the Golden Rule, "Do onto others as you would have them do onto you"... and showed us how LOVE is the energy of best intentions...

The part I liked best was her giving all the credit and glory to Jesus and her staff.   She said "God is closer than your still and know it."

So much is still in my thoughts...but it is almost 4am and my husband and I are going to Lake Las Vegas tomorrow... Almost a year ago, I did a post about the Casino and the Ritz Carlton Hotel closing.  A company bought the old Carlton, redecorating and re-opened it as Ravella this past February.  The MonteLago Casino was bought, completely redone and opened this weekend.  I love it is like a quaint Italian village with cobblestone streets which lead down to a man made lake...

I better get some shut eye so I can stay awake and enjoy it...I will take pictures....

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Six Word Saturday...

Brain full: whirlwind tornado of  thoughts

Thursday, May 26, 2011

What Is Happening With Blogger????

I am not sure if Blogger is having problems again...if it is from the Tornadoes in the mid west, or if it has anything to do with my upgrading to Internet Explorer 9, but my followers are not showing on either of my blogs. When I scroll down my blog, it sticks and jerks...

Is anyone else having problems?  I think I have had one comment.  I heard we needed to change our comment section to pop up and to removed the word verification, which I did...and still no comments...

Posting is acting up too...putting the letters in funky places.  Is it just me?  I have also tried Mozilla (which I am using now) and also had trouble with Chrome....

Monday, May 23, 2011

Magpie #67 Disconnected Twins...

Nicolas Tournier's Banquet Scene with lute player

Photograph prompt by Tess Kincaid
Writing/Poetry challenge hostessed by Magpie Tales

Interesting alternate painting I found below...same painting
with different lighting for contrast
making the women look different...

Nicolas Tournier's Merry Company

separated at birth
each emotionally
separate lives
moments in time
shared instantly
hypnotised by
the experience
of the other
of what
by a cruel fate....


Sunday, May 22, 2011

Devastation and Renewal...

Photograph taken by Mari from 365 Days

The tragedy of
uproots lives,
topples trees,
and material possessions
under water or blown
in all directions
from tornadoes
and storms...

The destiny
and reality
in living where we do
 what happens
on our journey
through life...

Forces of nature
ready or not,
a different path
forged in
 green shoots
of new life...
sprouting, striving through
the chaos...

A thunderously challenge...
of renewal,
connecting powerful
pulling from
inner strength,
to seek
 fresh insight,
for re-discovery
in remembering
the importance
of the most  basic
 in life...
precious gifts
money cannot buy...
like knowing
 family and friends
are OK
and finding
 lost pets...
to rebuild lives...


Saturday, May 21, 2011

Miracles Do Happen...

Today I watched a heartwarming video about a woman in Tuscaloosa, Alabama who lost her home in a tornado on April 27, 2011.  She and her three cats were running into the hallway when the roof of her house blew off.  When the roof detached, the walls fell upon Miss Judy and pinned her beneath it with two of her cats. 

Her cat, Cadie, who she had for ten years was missing.  Cadie is a long haired, white cat with one blue eye and one green eye.  The cat had been missing for over three weeks.  While being interviewed by a reporter in front of what is left of her house, Cadie, the missing cat, walked up to her on camera...

Talk about getting a lump in my throat...what a touching story...see for yourself... click on link below:

Miracles do happen...

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Don't Fence Me In...

Photograph from Pat from A View from the Edge

I want to jump the fence
and run free in a full on gallop!
Racing against the wind
into wide open spaces;
kicking, bucking, spinning,
screaming my will,
until my legs won't carry me...
Panting joyfully from spent energy
caressing the freedom enveloping me...
Sun on my back,
nostrils flared, pawing the earth,
excited from the experience...
I followed my heart.
This is my vow-
bent up restraint
will not fence me in...


Monday, May 16, 2011

Magpie #66: Temptation In The Library...

Photography byTess Kincaid
Writing Challenge, Hostessed by Magpie Tales

he stared at his potential porthole
of leather bound editions...
gathering his wits
he wondered if anyone
could hear the pounding of his heart...
despite the thunder
in his ears
he swallowed twice
hearing the hushed whispers
and muffled, seductive, giggles
from the isle
on the other side of him...
was he prepared to see for himself?
red handed proof,
the rumors were true?
his hand trembled
as he reached for
a handful of books....


Saturday, May 14, 2011

Six Word Saturday...

Limpin' from blister on my foot.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Mappie #65: Prayer of Protection...

Photography by Tess Kincaid
Writing/Poetry challenge Hostess Magpie Tales

a mother's quest
to teach her children,
like baby birds, to fly high and strong
once they leave the nest...

we do our best
as mothers
to teach, to share, to caution...

some lessons
must be learned
by living one's life...

 there are times
when due to experience
and living longer,
a parent can only hope
their children will heed
their advice...

St. Francis,
the rest of the Saints,
 dear Lord above,
all the positive and protective energy...



Friday, May 6, 2011

Magpie #64: A Dream Fulfilled...

Photograph by Tess Kincaid at Willow Manor
Challenge hosted by Magpie Tales

She wanted a child
and she yearned to live
in the lush tropics
She sold everything
and worked as a cook
on a one way sail.
She was a plain looking
woman, with a strong back
and determined nature.
She secured work
as a food server
and part time cook
She loved the smell of
the earth, planting in
she grew her own food
and flowers for the table
She found an abandoned shack
close to Haleakala
The owner compensated her
for fixing up the place
and sharing her fresh vegetables and fruit.
Not long, he began
to notice more than
how hard she worked.
He had ancestors of royal Mauian blood
and he too longed for children...
His admiration would only allow
him to ask for her hand
and lucky for him,
she accepted.
She and the earth
had much in common
She gave birth in the spring
to fine, strong son.
The couple went on to share
several more children
and she loved her family
and her home above the volcano...


Wednesday, May 4, 2011

How To Squeeze Every Possible Nano Second Into A Creative Weekend...

While walking Izzy on Monday, after the girls left for California, Izzy charged a dog, pulling unexpectedly on the leash, which was wrapped around my left middle finger and thumb.  When she lunged, it bent my finger back, strangling my finger and spun me around.  My left middle finger is swollen and bruised, better today than yesterday, but still I will not be typing a lot on this post...but wanted to share some photos from the weekend...

Above is our itinerary for the weekend. My sister Holly and girlfriend Bonnie arrived around 10:30am.  We chatted and ate our lunch, waiting for Barbs to get home from work.  When Barbs called on her way home, I made her some lunch and we packed up to go to her house.

From left to right, Holly, Bonnie and Barbs.  We gathered at Barb's dining room table and began to work on our tile photos.  Basically, we took photographs printed professionally by photo processing and Hodge Podge them to tiles in varying sizes.  I misunderstood and brought photos I printed off my computer, so the colors faded. 

From left to right, Holly, me and Barbs.  Below are pics of what they did...

These are Bonnie's picture tiles drying in a CD holder...

This is Barb's 12 x 12 tile progress....

Sorry, TOP SECRET, can't show you Holly's.....yet...

Since I had stayed up all night watching the Royal Wedding of Prince William and Princess Kate, I passed out, exhausted.  Of course my friends took the opportunity to take pictures of me and laugh at my snoring... They continued on without me and made some other crafts....

A wine bottle lamp, filled with a white super bright mini light set, with a small lampshade resting on the lip of the wine bottle...
Another lamp...

And another creative masterpiece by Barbs...

Paper flowers to be glued to flip flops for Bonnie and Barbs' grand daughters...

Saturday morning, Holly and I set off for the community yard sale up at our community center.  My sister found an awesome decorative drawered table, an antique frame

I got a footstool for $15, a Microfleur kit (brand new) for $2, a light weight, rose bathrobe for $2, a black Vera Bradley purse for $1, a thick "candy striped" apron for $1 (to use when I bathe Izzy), and my best deal, a sterling silver six piece set of baby silverware for $1.

$15 rosy beige, hinged storage foot stool

$2 Microfleur flower drying kit

$1 striped heavy apron

$1 black, quilted, designer lined, Vera Bradley purse

$2 light weight, rose patterned bathrobe...
$1 sterling silver six piece baby's silverware...

Then we hit a few thrift stores.  We were searching for small easels to display the tile these...
We all loved this sign...

We we out longer than we planned.  We told Barbs and Bonnie to eat breakfast.  They wanted to go to Hobby Lobby for more supplies, so we told them to go ahead and we would meet them there.  Afterwards, we all went to Mimi's for lunch.

When we arrived back at Barb's house...our trunk looked like this from our shopping expedition...

We left our laptops each night so we don't have to lug them back and forth.  The red and white polka dot bag holds our sweat pants and slippers, for later on...the rest are our "found treasures".

This is the drawered table (upside down) in my back seat...with the antique frame leaning against it.

Our project for Saturday night was to make Bakerella's cake pops.  Click on the link to view her video:  ttp://

There was a beautiful sunset Saturday night...

Laughing and joking around rolling our cake balls....

It takes tremendous concentration to laugh and roll at the same time...

Admire our work...

Here is our melted pink chocolate peculating upon the stove...

We dip a stick into the hot pink chocolate and stick it into the cake ball to glue the stick to the cake ball...

We did plenty of "quality control" ensure tastiness...

Improvised when the balls fell apart... as you can see, the dipping part was pretty tricky..making sure the excess is "gently tapped" back into the heating pan. 

Holly researched the dipping technique...

Into the sprinkles...and then into the bucket to harden...

Wrap all up...

Into the buckets to look pretty...
Celebrated with fruit and champagne...

While the dogs slept...

It was late, so Holly and I left and drove back to my house.  I had wanted her to help me hang a quote above our dining room slider, leading into the back patio...  I was tired, but my wonderful sister insisted we do it, despite the late hour... What do you think?  She printed out three vinyl red hearts for accent...but I have not put them up yet...

I think we hit the sack at 2am....

Sunday morning, we were up, dressed and arrived at Barb's house around 9am.  Barbs and Bonnie were still in their pajamas.  Immediately, Barbs went to my sister and hugged her...telling her she was sorry and she would pay to have it fixed.  My sister and I kind of looked perplexed, not quite sure if it was one of her normal pranks...

Turns out this time she was serious.  Her dog got tangled in the computer cords and pulled Holly's laptop off the kitchen table, onto the area rug and then onto the tile floor... They had been working on it since they got up.  Impressively, my sister was calm and immediately began to trouble shoot with Bonnie to see if they could get it to boot up...

Holly pressed and poked and between her logical approach to resolve and Bonnie's instructions via the Internet, they were able to boot it up and get it working.  Talk about celebrating with tears of joy and relief!

We were happy!

We had planned a trip to the Apple store, as all of us have Apple laptops except my sister who has a Dell.  I needed to upgrade my operating system to Snow Leopard, and all of us wanted to update iWorks and iLife.  We also wanted to stop by Michaels for iTunes cards, more supplies and a stop at Borders...

My sister decided to stay behind as she wanted to do a project in one of our craft magazines, do some updating on her laptop and to make some stick on's for the tile photos with the Cricut.

When we returned, a few hours later, we walked in ready to cook dinner, when Holly announced her computer crashed right after we left.  We tried looking on line again for other options, but she assured us, she had been trying and it would not boot up.  All she had was a blue screen...  Our computers are such a part of our lives, it really put a damper on our spirits.  She was a trooper, watching her Sunday shows while we loaded up our family pack of upgrades...

Right in the midst of her show, we got the news on the death of Osama bin Laden!  We all stood and cheered....then back to work, listening with one ear... It was after midnight by the time we finished.

When Holly and I drove home, I could tell she was bummed.  We stayed up talking about solutions.  I offered her my mac book to borrow, but she decided to ask Mom if she could borrow her Dell laptop.  We determined it would be best to call Dell in the morning, rather than some regular computer repair.
We went to sleep with a plan of attack in the morning...

The first thing we did Monday morning, was call Dell.  We were shocked to find out the minimum would be only $159 if it was the memory or circuit board and $358 if it was the motherboard!  We all were thinking she would need a new computer.  Dell will ship her a UPS box with label and she returns it to them.  They will communicate with her via email on the progress and she should have her repaired laptop and power cord back in 7-10 days.  AWESOME!

Mom confirmed she would loan Holly her laptop.  It was a huge relief for both of us, and especially to Barbs, whose dog got tangled in the power cord and pulled it off the table.  When we all met for breakfast, Barbs handed Holly a check and we all celebrated it would not be as much money as we all thought.

Other than the computer mishap, it was a great weekend...

Tomorrow I leave for California for five days.  My husband is staying home and having two of his friends visit.  They will be ON THE GO the entire time, so poor Izzy will have to go to boarding camp...

Thursday and Friday I will stay with my oldest daughter Holly and my grandsons, the 8 year old and the 6 year old.  My younger daughter Jodee will come up one of those days with little Jacob so we can have our Mother's Day celebration.

Saturday, the 6 year old has a baseball game and then I will drive to Mom's house.  Most likely, my sister, Mom and I will get together for dinner and a show.  Sunday, we all will meet at my second the oldest brother's for a BBQ and celebrate Mother's Day there.  It will be good to see the family.  Monday, Mom and I will attend Dad's Care Conference and probably go out to lunch.  I return home on Tuesday....

My step daughter and a girlfriend arrive the following Saturday for one our guest bed sheets will have been changed four times this past month!

Best be finishing my with you all soon....