Follow by Email

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Best Ways to Say Thanks

Two little creatures in my house have taught me many lessons. You may have met them before, but if not, let me introduce them to you: This is Dolce. She is a small cinnamon colored Chihuahua. This other one is a reddish yellow canary whose name is Tom. They have different languages but they say a lot. Dolce talks mostly with her tail and eyes but occasionally with a bark. Tom speaks with beautiful song and pleasing chirps. Here’s where they are most alike: they have the same language for the words “Thank you.” That is their glad and immediate acceptance of what I give them to eat. (Whatever they don’t like, they politely ignore.) 

Here are some lessons I’ve learned from my housemates: 

Lesson no. 1:
If you’re truly grateful for something, use it eagerly and enthusiastically. If you are not grateful for it you might as well ignore it. It will go away.

I am learning this lesson better every day. For instance, I’m playing my piano more often. How I'd miss it if it went away! I’m reading the books I’ve been intending to read, not dutifully, but as much or little as I like at any time I like. I work with clay to mould faces of real people, not ones I know, but ones I’d like to know. And I do this when creativity overcomes inconvenience. I talk to my plants. I keep my house fairly neat. I listen to music that I like when I like. I sit out on my patio beside the creek to soak up sunshine and serenity whenever I’m smart enough to do it. I watch TV sparingly to keep abreast of the news, to enjoy my favorite channels, and to exercise the mute button regularly during offensive commercials. (I've started to work a jig-saw puzzle while the TV is on so not to become a complete sponge!) I eat what I like, when I like, and limit appropriately the amounts. I enjoy my family, my home, my car, my cane and the modest wardrobe in my closet. I like playing cards, once a week with the party bridge group at the senior center, and at home on the computer. (I have lain down the law at home. Only half an hour of this!) Most of all I enjoy writing, reading and leaving the arithmetic to my son who watches over my financial obligations. I am learning more each day about saying thanks by using the gifts I’ve been given and by giving to others what I can in return. 

The doggie gives her gratitude with tongue licks and tail wags, and the canary with beauty and song, but we all say best the thanks we feel for the gifts we’ve been given by using them.

Lesson no. 2:
Keep unencumbered by too many activities outside the home.

Dolce enjoys a daily walk or two, but these are in familiar territory within the boundaries of Quail Creek with its charming park paths and woodsy green glens. Tom has the corner kitchen windows where he can look out on these and he seems content to let the cage be his see-the-outdoors home without complaints for his confinement. (I once left the door of his cage open all day just to test this theory and he proved me right. He didn’t venture out.) 

While I enjoy getting out several times a week, I relish the days I can stay at home. I’ve taken several tours abroad and a number of cruise ship vacations and enjoyed them all. It’s nice to know I could do that more, but right now I have no desire to. Dolce and Tom are happy at home. So am I.

Lesson no. 3:
Live in the moment and use your days and minutes in ways that seem most appropriate and pleasing to you at any given time. 

Dolce takes naps a lot in the daytime and still sleeps all night. Tom is a dusk to dawn fellow when it comes to sleep. I'm pretty much in his camp. “Go with the flow” is my motto. That is, go with whatever comes the closest to divine desire. I say “divine” because we all have the choice to think a-right, do what is right, and accept God’s blessing in these.

Why is it our creature companions don’t need to be taught these lessons? How is it that they are so innocent of evil? I’m sure I can learn lots more from my little dog and canary. House pets are smarter than we give them credit. Mostly, when treated well, they teach us how to say thanks. 

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Bed Times at Home

This morning as I finished my occasional breakfast in bed I looked around at my assorted books, paper pads, etc. and came across a short poem our writing teacher gave us to prompt poetical nudges. It reads:

Keep a poem in your pocket
And a picture in your head
And you'll never feel lonely
At night when you're in bed.

The little poem will sing to you
The little picture bring to you
A dozen dreams to dance to you
At night when you're in bed.

Keep a picture in your pocket
And a poem in your head
And you'll never feel lonely
At night when you're in bed.

Well, it did the trick. I don't consider myself a poet but I thought I'd give it a try. Wasn't going to go public with it, but my daughter said, "Mom, That should go in your blog." Before I chicken out I'll put it here. 

Big Bed’s Lonely Boons

Why did I buy a big bed
when I knew I’d be sleeping alone?
I must have known 
it would accommodate books, 
the remote for TV and my telephone.
Tablets and pens would find room too,
and there in her blanket near my feet, 
 a little Chihuahua might choose to sleep.
I confess I bought the bed for its look.
Arched white headboard and footboard so high,
a broad breasted mattress
to carry me up in the sky,
as magical carpets are said to do,
to far away places 
adventure lands new.
To dreamlands
and wide awake scheme lands I soar
 in effortless lazy delight 
and more.
Then home again, 
I look ‘round to see
mementos of years that used to be.
Now? (a perk for the "elderly,") there’s no hurry,
no stress, no need to scurry.
No need to get up, no clock to race. 
No warm embrace either, but then,
snuggling down on soft pillows a-while,
what’s that I feel on my face? 
 A sleepy contented widow’s smile. 

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Later in Life Leeway

I’m often told by those who care about me that I should exercise more. Perhaps they’re right, but I wonder if they’d change their tune if they followed me around in a day. It’s true, I do not get out on hiking trails and work up a sweat. I don’t go to a gymnasium for workouts. Water aerobatics are not my thing, though they might be fun if I had my own backyard pool. A Jacuzzi tub would be more to my liking. And here’s another thing: How many times a day do I get up to answer the house phone only to find it is some marketer or surveyor or charitable organization volunteer? I keep saying I should get those calls blocked again but they do give me exercise both bodily and in delivering a polite response. No, the experts say, “ That's not enough. You should get out and walk rigorously for at least a half hour every day. Work up a sweat!”

Well, what if I don’t want to? What if I’d rather count all the times I bend over, reach up, walk back and forth inside my rooms, sit down, get up, answer the cell phone (after I’ve found it,) and take whatever exercise that comes along with keeping a house fairly neat. Emptying waste baskets, carrying out the trash and recyclables, getting the mail, walking the dog, dusting, vacuuming, and sweeping the patio may not be considered exercise regimen but to me they are. Not that I have anything against a walk around a lake with my daughter or a friend to enjoy the scenery, the weather and company, but to make it a daily must? Time, too, is a factor. It seems to me that at my stage of life I might do what pleases me most and not necessarily take time do what I don't want to do.

I remember when my Auntie Dorris advertised for a cleaning woman once an applicant showed up and before she got in the door announced, “Just one thing, I have a bad back and I don’t do any bending down or reaching up.” No need to say, she didn’t get past the doorstep, although Auntie expressed sympathy for her back.

There’s one way I get exercise that most people don’t get. I can’t sit for long without looking around the room and thinking of ways to arrange things better. My furnishings must think they’re on a merry-go-round. Often these changes involve little things like moving a lamp or a picture or a chair. But I can’t rest easy until it’s done. It’s almost an addiction with me. Even a picture hanging a bit crooked makes me jump up to straighten it. I don’t put off those things. My daughter, who is an artist, understands. She says, “Your home is your canvass, Mom. It’s the artist in you.” I add, “And as often as I get up to move something I think I could call it exercise, right?”

I’m really not complaining. No one gets after me to exercise more. I’m simply justifying myself whenever I hear someone on TV say, “...and be sure to get plenty of exercise.”

I forgot to mention that the walk out to my carport takes exactly 125 steps. Going and coming that’s 250 steps. Same thing for getting to the mailbox. Does that count too? And how about the steps I have to take in these Southern California shopping mall parking lots? Or the ones I take to find some odd item in the supermarket? 

Now that I’m resting my case, I want to say, More power to you exercise enthusiasts who get such a kick about how good it feels after you’ve exercised and  showered and got dressed. I know about that. I used to play tennis and golf and ride a bicycle. Many my age still do. More power to them too. Let’s just agree that when you get older you’re given a little more leeway to choose your exercising habits. Or, I think, you should be!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Stories Worth Retelling

One of the failings, if you could call it that, of old people is that of telling the same stories over and over. The children and grandchildren who have heard them many times may shrug them off now, but those retold stories are likely the ones to be passed down from generation to generation. That day comes when nearly everyone says to himself, “I wish I had asked Grandma or Grandpa about that! Why didn’t I?” I know why. We’re all so taken up with our own lives we rarely sit down with our elders to hear about theirs. So many things that would be of great interest to us later on go into the dim corridors of the unknown. 

Today I am reading a new biography of Queen Elizabeth II and I’m reminded of one story I wrote many years ago and have told too often ever since. You’ll get a condensed version of it here. We were living in Bellevue, Washington around the early 1980’s. I don’t remember the exact date, but Queen Elizabeth II had come to Seattle on the royal yacht, Britannia. She would be greeted at the Science Center. I was eager to see her but since there was no likelihood of seeing her up close in such a crowd I’d decided to stay home and see her on television that evening.

A sudden change of mind came when I heeded my inner angel who said, “Are you really going to not see this beautiful Princess and Queen you’ve grown up with on far sides of the world? Do you really intend to miss this opportunity, perhaps the only one you’ll ever have?” 

I had little time, but dressed and hopped into the car to cross over Lake Washington to the Science Center. I was late but found myself ushered in to a spot very close to where she would be coming in. Now the details of all this are written in that article I’d hoped to become published but never was. It would be too long to copy here but it told of that day’s event from my point of view, from my heart. After it was over I went home and wrote it out just the way I’d love to think the Queen herself might read it were it to be published in The Christian Science Monitor, an international newspaper. But the Monitor did not accept it so that did not happen.

Never mind, it was a precious remembrance for myself and took its place among the many other writings of mine all stashed away in drawers and boxes. Soon after the event I pulled it out to show to a friend who was visiting from Victoria, B.C. He enjoyed it so much he asked if he might borrow it to take home to show his wife. Of course I said yes, providing he return it.

A few months later a large envelope containing my article came back in the mail. Also in the packet I found a smaller one with a strange looking return address on it. “Buckingham Palace?” Quickly I opened it and found the writer, a secretary of Queen Elizabeth’s, was thanking our friend for sending her my article. She said how very pleased Her Majesty had been to read it! Can you imagine the pleasure this gave me? The very mission for which it was written had come through! Though the Queen had been only a few feet from me on that precious day we had not made eye contact. I was disappointed. Still, I had seen her gracious spirit shine on a little girl standing between us who had given her a hand-picked bouquet of yellow daffodils. I know that child will always remember. So will I!

When I read that letter I knew we had finally made contact, if only for the few minutes she took to read my article. All the years of following her through newspapers and news reels in the movie theater I used to wonder what it would have been like to be a princess and queen. I still do. Did she ever wonder what it would have been like to switch roles with a life of anonymity, perhaps an ordinary American girl? What a difference fate plays in our lives!

Somewhere in a drawer or box lies that article and the precious envelope with the message from Buckingham Palace. They give poignant proof of a day I shall never forget and tell a story I shall ever feel is worth retelling.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013


There’s a gladness in a day at home, especially when my daughter drops in unexpectedly and has breakfast with me. Besides our native unconditional love for one another, it is fun to be artists in our own mediums. She, a watercolorist and me, a sculptor. Robin has the additional talents of marketing and networking. She and I have a new business arrangement. I have forwarded her a check which she will work off in return with time spent helping me clean house. She will also, that way, be compensated for time spent photographing my sculptures, keeping records, and selling my work. The check helps to remove my guilt for taking time out of her busy life, (which I know she’d gladly do out of love,) and the arrangement fills a present need for each of us. It’s long been a standard in our family that compensation and love go hand in hand.

 About my clay sculpting. Let me explain. I discovered the joy of clay sculpting back in the early 90’s when I signed up at the Laguna Beach School of Art and went to my first class only to find that the class was entirely composed of people who worked with wheels making pots. The teacher persuaded me to stay and set me up in an adjacent room with a table, a set of tools, some books, a block of clay and gave me just a few minutes of her time explaining the rudiments of what I was about to do. I won’t elaborate except to say that as I drove home that night I felt the car was not on wheels but levitating a few feet off the streets. In the years since I’ve taken up my clay sculpting off and on. Whenever I do I marvel at how people, real people, (faces and heads primarily,) come out of the clay all by themselves as if to join me on this Earth they once knew.

Selling? That part has yet to resonate with me in a positive way. When a face, a person, this one young and beautiful, that one old and beautiful, all with a character and identity and, (this is a must), a smile, comes out of the shapeless lump of clay I am awestruck. Heaven must be guiding my hands. I could never do this myself! That’s why I can talk about it with not a bragging bone in my body. 

I don’t care if the jury at the Art-A-Fair didn’t let me in this time. I’m happy to prolong the day when I must part with my faces. They all seem happy too, but I know that in order to keep on producing I cannot let them crowd me out of my home! The time and place for selling them will come and at my own pace in my own way. And I shall keep careful records on where they go. The money? It seems nearly irrelevant since I don’t need it, but neither do I want to insult them by selling them cheap.

The title of this blog tells you what I’m calling my people. Here’s an example of how each piece will be identified:
Certificate of Authenticity


Out of clay I come to you
with only a hope for one more view
of a life I lived
and a place I knew
on a planet called

Joyce Darling* Collections 
original sculpture


Robin will help me set up a web site and then you can see my people. They are not all beautiful by worldly standards, but they are beautiful nevertheless. You will see. I’m anxious to introduce them to my readers, though (and I reluctantly admit) I am not eager to part with them. A few I could never sell but someday when I’m no longer here I may come back to Earth by the fingers of another sculptor. Then I, too, will be in the rich and rare company of “OLD SOULS.”

*Faith Darling was my mother's maiden name. Grandpa Darling had no known relatives and his only son died at the age of 22, so there was no one to carry on the name. My granddaughter, Rosalynd, is doing so by adopting the name in her acting profession, and now I'll do my bit with my sculpting.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Plans Go Oft Awry*

I try to stay positive about life, as those who know me have observed. It seems too sad, too futile, to dwell on the darker sides of life. Yet when I see myself getting too Polyanish I remember this poem by Bobby Burns: 

To A Mouse
Small, crafty, cowering, timorous little beast,
O, what a panic is in your little breast!

You need not start away so hasty
With argumentative chatter!
I would be loath to run and chase you,
With murdering plough-staff.

I'm truly sorry man's dominion

Has broken Nature's social union,
And justifies that ill opinion
Which makes you startle
At me, your poor, earth born companion
And fellow mortal!

I doubt not, sometimes, but you may steal;

What then? Poor little beast, you must live!
An odd ear in twenty-four sheaves
Is a small request;
I will get a blessing with what is left,
And never miss it.

Its feeble walls the winds are scattering!

And nothing now, to build a new one,
Of coarse grass green!
And bleak December's winds coming,
Both bitter and keen!

You saw the fields laid bare and wasted,

And weary winter coming fast,
And cozy here, beneath the blast,
You thought to dwell,
Till crash! the cruel plough passed
Out through your cell.

That small bit heap of leaves and stubble,

Has cost you many a weary nibble!
Now you are turned out, for all your trouble,
Without house or holding,
To endure the winter's sleety dribble,
And hoar-frost cold.

But little Mouse, you are not alone,

In proving foresight may be vain:
The best laid schemes of mice and men
Go often awry,*
And leave us nothing but grief and pain,
For promised joy!

Still you are blest, compared with me!

The present only touches you:
But oh! I backward cast my eye,
On prospects dreary!
And forward, though I cannot see,
I guess and fear!

I had high hopes for today. I was to take my granddaughter and her boyfriend to church with me. They had gladly received my invitation and accepted it. We were to have had a lovely day. Lunch afterwards, maybe a trip to the beach or a good movie. It might have been a big help to all three of us. But I just received a call, and the message? “Grandma, I’m so sorry but I’m not feeling well today. No, I don’t need you to come, but you can pray for me.”

So, here I am, and I could look on the bright side, knowing, in the words of another poet, Robert Browning, that "God's in His heaven and all's right with the world."

My disappointment is small compared to that of the little mouse who lost his home in the winter. Or that of the many who lost their homes in the hurricane Sandy last year. But I’d imagined I could fill a need for these young people, give them a little grandmotherly encouragement. And lunch. That's usually a good hook. 

I’m a grandma today who’s been told where I’m not useful. Bummer! But the message from on high went like this:

“Dear little grandma, I don’t need your help today. Your grandchildren don’t need it either, except in your prayers. But don’t feel bad. I’m not a grandparent either. Never could be. So take the day off and have a good time! Stay in your robe and slippers if you like, read, watch TV, play the piano. What's that you asked? Can you write a blog? Why, of course, my dear, but keep it short.” 

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Solomon Grundy

Who was Solomon Grundy? I used to chant the nursery rhyme about him as I’d swing on the swing my father rigged up for me on that old oak tree down in the woods behind our country gas station. I didn’t know anything about Solomon except what the poem suggested and even today when I Google up his name I’m hard put to find the origins of the fellow in the nursery rhyme. As I’d swing and chant the poem at the tender age of five and up, I somehow sensed that Solomon Grundy was typical of all who enter this human story. Here’s how the verse goes:

Solomon Grundy,
Born on a Monday,
Christened on Tuesday,
Married on Wednesday,
Took ill on Thursday,
Grew worse on Friday,
Died on Saturday,
Buried on Sunday.
That was the end,
Of Solomon Grundy.

It’s like an answer one might give to an extraterrestrial creature who came down to chat about the creatures on this strange planet he’d happened upon. Solomon might do well to tell it in his poem. Our answer?

“Well, you see, first we are born,
Then we are cultured according to our caretakers and environment.
Most of us find someone, usually of the opposite sex, to make us feel complete.
But life is often disappointing and we take sick.
Some get over the sickness but eventually all grow worse;
then we come to an end called death.”

‘’That’s it in a nutshell,” we say. “Now tell us about you and your people.”

I loved that swing down at the edge of the woods. I’d go there often to study up on life and its meaning as I helped the swing carry me in rhythm with the world. Really. I've been a philosopher all my life, but not totally out of books. Outside of times when my little brother would tag along and beg for his turn on the swing I could be alone, commune with nature and contemplate any old thing I wanted to contemplate on that swing.

There was a huge black rock near the swing. Daddy told me it was a meteorite. That got me to thinking about outer space and the universe beyond my little country home. What could that rock tell me? Life was so full of questions then. Most of the questions are still hanging out there waiting for answers. When I’d ask Daddy my questions he must have become tired of saying, “I don’t know,” so he would make up answers or set out guesses and ask me what I thought. By the time I got home I’d usually forget to ask Mother. She was always busy and would give me something to do. “Dearie, will you please go wash your hands and then set the table for dinner?” The time for food always preempts the time for questions without ready answers.

I thought the answers would come the older I grew but instead they seem to be multiplying. I don’t mind. I know there’s a correct answer to any question I might dream up and my favorite occupation, usually along with breakfast and shortly after, is to entertain those age old questions about life. Even as a child I was not at all happy with the story of Solomon Grundy. It left too many gaps. It didn’t tell what kind of man he was or what he did with his life. As I’d swing and sing out the poem, my little girl self often thought, What a short life Solomon Grundy had! I actually thought it took place in a week! Now I’m thinking that it just happened, the thing mentioned, on that particular day, never mind the year. 

In my advancing years I still think life as I know it is too short. I’d like to think it would never end, especially if I could make a turn-around and not get worse. All my life I’ve loved to ask questions and have often wished I had some invisible sage at my side who knew all the answers and could feed them to me. Wow! Even Google can’t do that, though it tries.

Come to think of it, I’m pondering the idea that maybe I do have all the answers. They could be all right here inside me in an intelligence called divine MIND. Now I need to learn how to communicate more clearly with this all-knowing Mind and leave the Solomon Grundy idea of life all bottled up in the black boulder meteorite while I explore the light at the end of the tunnel.

Don’t worry. I’m not going too far too soon. I’ve got a lot to do yet and even at 87 life is far too short. But then that’s the life of lower case. There’s a LIFE, I’m thinking, that’s in higher case letters connected with the one MIND and can’t be measured between birth and death. Now that is the one I’m looking for. 

These days I still love to swing but my thinking moments are more at home in a rocking chair with pen and pad. Or in front of the computer while writing a new blog. I seldom think of old Solomon Grundy  but since he came to mind this morning I'm giving him a eulogy here and a farewell.

 Goodbye, Solomon Grundy!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Playing the Game of "Valley"

Do you remember the movie The Truman Show? If not, you might check out this website:  

Briefly, a baby boy is adopted by a television company and featured as an unwitting reality show star growing up on an island. He fears the water and so is confined to his island. His whole environment is fake but he doesn’t know it until in the end he conquers his fear of water, gets into a boat and discovers the perimeters of his world. Then he breaks out. It’s a thought-provoking story.

As my readers know, I am prone to questioning “realities” and the very hand I’ve been dealt to play in this game of life on Earth. Like Truman, I suspect there’s a conspiracy to keep me prisoner in the play. You see, (another perk of growing older,) I have not busied myself to the point of not taking time to contemplate the meaning of life. It’s a fascinating subject once you get started, though I’m afraid I might lose whatever audience I have in exploring it. Everyone is too busy playing the game their own way.

I think the familiar Psalm of David, no. 23, suggests that game we all are playing as unwittingly as Truman. “Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death...” Take each word by itself: walk, through, valley, shadow, death, and you get an idea of some basic truths of the human condition. For the fun of it, I’m calling the game Valley.”

Suppose we’re all dwellers in Heaven and there’s this game where we imagine an outer universe, one that is both exciting and scary. A universe where reality is not bound exclusively to goodness but fraught with opposites, namely good and evil. In the allegory of Adam and Eve in the second chapter of Genesis, it is typified by the “Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.” It is forbidden because it presents a dualistic view of creation opposite to the one God looked upon in the first chapter of Genesis and called “very good.” It suggests that the declaration of good necessarily implies its opposite, evil. Then it declares evil as real as good and often more powerful.

The “serpent,” a sneaky suggestion that there’s good in evil, causes Eve to eat of that tree and then entice Adam to do the same. Once they accept the premise of two sides to creation they are cast out of the Garden of Eden and unable to access and eat of the Tree of Life. They are cursed in countless ways and locked into the final curse of death. 

Now the game I suggest is one we’re already unwittingly playing. The object is to walk through this Valley where death hangs over everyone as a massive “shadow.” The word “through” implies that there is a way out, but what is it, where is it? Well, you see, that’s the object of the game, to find our way out of the Valley. We’re walking, that is, our steps are taking us through, but we have many choices of paths, some even backward ones. It’s up to us how long we shall tolerate the ups and downs of this game and find our way out.

The Psalmist said that we can get out more easily and fearlessly by the assurance that God is with us, showing us the way. His rules are not so much to be considered restrictive as they are freeing. Sort of like mathematics or any pure science. They guide us in the right direction but it's our choice to obey them or not.

In the movie Truman discovers his world of goodness has been contrived and fake. He breaks through into the “real” world of good and evil. Sort of like Adam and Eve, huh? And so, somehow we all have broken into this outer world, this outer darkness, this Valley of the shadow of death. Apparently, we need to find our reality of good ourselves, not by any outer stage setting, control and manipulation of others.

Quite the reverse of the Truman story, our game teaches us to break out of a world of contradictions into a wider world of the exclusive reality of good wherein is no suggestion of evil. Here we’re coming into the light, growing up as children of Light, and learning that good is all there is, continually unfolding endless aspects of itself. Boring? If it is to some, that’s their choice. They might fall for the game of Valley.

I’m here, so I must have chosen to play this game, but I don’t think I’d knowingly play it again. Once I get out I'm going to stay above the shadow by dispelling the very evidence of shadows. Heaven is all good and Good is more interesting, more exciting, and more than enough for me! 

(Shhh! Evil can go to hell!)

Monday, February 4, 2013

The Canary Yellow Dishwasher

When dishwashers started to be common kitchen appliances I wanted one but couldn’t afford it. We’d just moved into a house that had a canary yellow Fridgidaire refrigerator, so, when I saw a glossy full page ad of a portable dishwasher the same make and color, I wanted it. When I consulted my husband, Wally, he said, “We can’t afford it right now, Honey.” But that’s when I wanted it, right now! 

However, I didn’t argue, beg or despair.  I remembered what I’d heard from someone quite wise: “When you are tempted to want some good thing, never say, ‘I want it.’ When you say,‘I want it,’ you are at the same time saying, ‘I don’t have it,’ and as long as you say you don’t have it, you won’t have it.” 

Now I took this as an opportunity to put his theory to the test. I took that beautiful glossy ad and tacked it to our kitchen bulletin board. Then I said, “I have my dishwasher!” I truly believed that because I had the idea of it.

From then on I refused to look longingly at the picture, but rather used it as a reminder that I already had the true substance of the thing because I had the idea of it. I really enjoyed knowing that idea and adopting it into our home even though it was not yet there in its tangible, more useful manifestation. I was willing to let that part of the idea come when it may, but I knew it would. And it did.

A friend came to our area on business and we invited him to dinner one night. We talked about his family and the line of work he was in, promoting a series of housing developments. After the meal was finished I said, “Now is the time I’d love to see my dishwasher come into my kitchen and wash these dishes.” I added, "I have one in mind and a picture of it hangs in my kitchen. It’s a canary yellow Frigidaire with a butcher block top and wheels to make it portable so we can take it with us on our next move.”

Our friend said, “If the cost is holding you back, I can get that model for you wholesale through our business. It would cost you less than half the retail price.” Wally glanced up at me from the other side of the table with a smile and look that said I’d be getting my dishwasher. 

My wise friend had also said, “Having  the idea of a thing is all there really is to it." Remembering this, I said to myself, Where would the metal, the paint, the mechanism of a dishwasher be without ideas? There could never be a thing without the idea of it, as you can plainly see from its inception to its completion. So, if you have the idea, you have all there is to it and, so long as you don’t block its way into your experience with doubts and fears, that idea will become manifest in a practical way.”  

What I also learned from the dishwasher experiment was that I could use this principle in every way so long as I did not let the material substance of the thing overshadow the idea. Greed, foolishness, stupidity, etc. are not elements of good ideas. 

In today’s world news media we hear and see how much the world needs a better sense of economy. Ideas, good ideas, can lead us to it. And the wonderful thing about that is, ideas are free!    

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Figurin' It All Out

How many times a day do you sit down with the sole purpose of tackling the hard questions of life? Like: Why can’t we have everything good?

I could go on and on but let’s leave it with that one question. If you’ve asked it, and I’m quite sure you have, what’s your answer? Want to hear mine? (If not, then you can skip this blog. I’d understand.)

In a few words I’ll say we don't see good everywhere because we haven’t let the right light shine yet. Even God knew that spiritual light is necessary and before He'd created the stars, the sun and moon to give light He called upon that spiritual light. He let it be in spite of the "darkness upon the face of the deep." The light that shows us everything is good needs a switch to turn it on and that switch is the little three-lettered word “Let.”

We aren’t letting our spiritual light be when we settle for darkness or semi-darkness. Semi-darkness is what we have settled for and so we’re stuck with the consequences. The darkness, the evil, the lies, all the negations of good, need only the light of spiritual understanding to show them up as mere negations, mere denials of truth. In other words, they are bald-faced lies.

Sunbeams, star light, moon light, X-rays, radio waves, etc. do give us light and their light is useful, but  we also need spiritual light in order to see, understand, that every claim of error or evil is simply a denial of some truth, and nothing more. It’s the same as saying, “Sin, sickness and death are real, of course, because they appear every day in some form. How can I deny evil? It's right here in my face!” Now that’s like saying  “Mathematics can’t be scientific because look at the blackboard. There are mistakes all over it!" So, what are we to believe, the blackboard or the science of mathematics?  

I’m getting to the point of claiming that the only reason we mortals don’t see everything as good is that we haven’t let our beam of spiritual light be. We’re too much in awe of what seems to be and not sufficiently aware of what really is. We see the difference between good and evil but we are not willing to let go of the belief that they are both real. 

There’s an old joke about three friends who died and found themselves in hell. One was a Catholic, another a Jew and the third one a Christian Scientist. They were trying to figure out what went wrong. “Why did you end up here?” the Jew asked. The Catholic said that before the Church had removed the rule prohibiting the consumption of meat on Fridays he had broken that rule many times. The Jew then said, “Oh, of course, I’m no doubt here because I ate pork with my Gentile friends.” Then they turned to the Christian Scientist who stood to one side with a benign upward look on his face. “Well," they asked him, "why are you here?” Without diverting his gaze, and with a smile of contentment, he answered simply, “I’m not!”

I’ll go with the Christian Scientist. He may look crazy to his friends who rely only on appearances, but if he sticks to his premise he may just have found the narrow pathway out of hell and into heaven. 

But then, I don't claim to have figured it all out yet. If I had, I wouldn't be here!