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Not only mine, but tonight, the spirit of a dear friend. Do you think that as we age, our beliefs evolve just as our bodies and minds? As a teenager, I was firmly established in my own personal concept of faith, which encompassed many non-traditional beliefs, and which indeed still does. But lately, more and more, I have turned to words from the Bible and the strength of my friends who are so very firm in their faith that it is inspiring. I feel my spiritual perspective is expanding and compressing at the same time. Perhaps it is focusing in on something that is truly endless, and I am working at coming to terms with that seeming contradiction. I find prayer and God (or use whatever term you will) in the sky and the trees and the rocks and the sea. I look up during prayer, instead of down, with open eyes as if to catch the eye of God. I am reading the Bible and Anne Lamott at the same time. I am looking, not for answers, but for a deeper understanding of purpose, action, and what we can and cannot control. Are we indeed all grains of sand on a beach that God loves, forming into shells that house our bodies, and stones that reflect the clarity of light here and now, only to transform again into air and foam and and whatever form we will take next? Do we not even have the capacity to answer these questions to our own satisfaction – and is that in itself called faith?

the-heart-of-the-stoneTopsail Beach, North Carolina.

Quote of the day: ““if you are writing the clearest, truest words you can find and doing the best you can to understand and communicate, this will shine on paper like its own little lighthouse. Lighthouses don’t go running all over an island looking for boats to save; they just stand there shining.” — Anne Lamott

Daily gratitudes:
Our own form of prayers
MKL
Mr. Man
The easing of the migraine
The cricket in my bedroom

As one of the lovely ceremony elements of Niece #1’s wedding, she and Hubby had people write prayers on small prayer flags, which were not actually flags, but colorful slips of paper on a ribbon, and then tie them to a slender rope on the porch of the castle where the ceremony was held. I wish I’d taken a picture of them – I might have, with Niece #2’s iPhone, but I don’t recall. Niece #2 trusted me to take all the pictures for her, as she was, naturally, the maid of honor. Or as I liked to think of her the adorable badass of honor.

Even without an image, the symbol of prayers and good wishes resonates with me this week. According to our friend Wikipedia, “the Tibetans believe the prayers and mantras will be blown by the wind to spread the good will and compassion into all pervading space.” Given Niece #1’s compassionate nature and her close ties to neighboring Nepal, incorporating this tradition into such an important day for her was a level of grace I’ve come to expect and look forward to seeing in her actions.

Since we seem to be in such times of darkness, evil, mistrust, and turmoil, let us all take a moment to light a lamp, and send words of peace into the wind to ease and comfort our fellow humans. Prayers today for those whose lives have been forever altered by the EgyptAir crash and the devastating bombings in Baghdad this week. We may not all be of one belief system, but we are each of us one part of something much greater than ourselves.

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Sedalia, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “Let gratitude be the pillow upon which you kneel to say your nightly prayer. And let faith be the bridge you build to overcome evil and welcome good.” — Maya Angelou

Daily gratitudes:
MKL
Curating the Cool
Jax the golden retriever
A beautiful day
Mr. Man stretched out by MKL’s feet

 

 

Still sending prayers to Fort McMurray today. The damage wrought by the fire there is unbelievable. But I do believe in the strength of communities and the hearts of the people who live in them, and who will rebuild them. Just as we have done in our mountain towns of Colorado. I have watched the changes in lives and landscape wrought by Mother Nature at her most tempestuous. I have wept at the devastation. And wept again watching strangers and neighbors come together to heal homes and spirits. From what I have read, the people of Fort McMurray have the same resilience. Tonight, I send them not only prayers, but a shot of calm, blue beauty to ease their heat and hurt.

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Great Exuma, Bahamas.

Quote of the day: “It troubled her much to see what a great flame a little wildfire was likely to kindle.” — Thomas Hardy

Daily gratitudes:
A lovely Colorado day
The bird on the stoplight with a Christmas icicle twinkling in its beak
Kelsea being such a blessing on this earth
MKL’s love and encouragement
My little gallery

 

When I was little, my father would say my prayers with me every night. He would start, with “Now I lay me down to sleep…”, that familiar prayer that was a staple of so many childhoods. But he altered the words “If I should die before I wake, I pray thee, Lord, my soul to take.” I suspect he found it to be an unthinkable thought, and didn’t want us to think it as we went to sleep. Our version was “All through the night, may angels spread protecting wings above my bed.” I still find that prayer a comfort, along with the spontaneous ones I now have as an adult.

Our world needs many prayers these days. Tonight, I am sending special prayers to the people in Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada. 53,000 people have been evacuated from that city due to an explosive wildfire. The fire has moved into the city. Whole neighborhoods have been destroyed. There is no more gas in the city. People are running out of gas and getting stuck in traffic, or by the side of the road, as flames move ever closer.

May I say, as I listen to radio coverage from Edmonton, and phone interviews with high school seniors, fire chiefs, and other citizens, that everyone sounds so calm and polite and well-spoken and pragmatic that it just makes me want to hug them all. Or go be a Canadian.

We in Colorado, particularly those  in the Colorado Springs area, went through a similar disaster a few years ago. I remember watching live coverage on the news, and truly, it looked like my vision of  hell. The earth and the people still hold the scars. Here, we pray for enough snowpack to help prevent wildfires, but not so much as to cause floods such as the devastating one we experienced in 2013.

So tonight, and tomorrow, and likely the next day, please join me in saying a prayer for the people of Fort McMurray and the brave firefighters and first responders who risk their lives to help keep others’ lives intact. And if you’re otherwise inclined, a little rain dance wouldn’t hurt.

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Iglesia de San Miguel, Cozumel, Mexico.

Quote of the day: “The way sadness works is one of the strange riddles of the world. If you are stricken with a great sadness, you may feel as if you have been set aflame, not only because of the enormous pain, but also because your sadness may spread over your life, like smoke from an enormous fire. You might find it difficult to see anything but your own sadness, the way smoke can cover a landscape so that all anyone can see is black. You may find that if someone pours water all over you, you are damp and distracted, but not cured of your sadness, the way a fire department can douse a fire but never recover what has been burnt down.”   — Lemony Snicket

Daily gratitudes:
MKL’s eyes
A beautiful day
How green can fill my eyes
One working lawnmower in the family
The toddler playing in the dancing waters with her golden retriever trying to bite the streams

 

As Hurricane Patricia pounds Puerto Vallarta, Manzanillo, and little fishing villages such as my much-longed for Yelapa tonight, my thoughts and blessings and white lights and prayers are with the people who try to scratch out happy lives there. I have been dream shopping for trips back Puerto Morales, Isla Holbox, Yelapa, and Cozumel for February, and am always a fan of patronizing a place trying to recover from a disaster, just so I can help a place and its people recover. These areas, while know for tourism, are also homes to families who do not have steel-reinforced structures, and who can lost everything in 175 mph winds. I have seen the damage a strong hurricane can cause in North Carolina, a place where people have the resources to rebuild, and my heart goes out to those in poorer cultures who don’t have that kind of help.

I know that this worst-ever-hurricane pounded areas north of my previous stomping grounds, but I wanted to post an image of the white sand beauty of the area from when Niece #1 and I took our wonderful trip down there and I thought she’d been kidnapped looking for hielo. She’s an excellent traveling companion and the trip was a blessing I’ll always remember. So join me please, in prayers for Mexico and its lovely people and to many more beautiful, mystical trips there.

Riviera Maya
Tulum, Mexico.

Quote of the day: “Some things just couldn’t be protected from storms. Some things simply needed to be broken off…Once old thing were broken off, amazingly beautiful thing could grow in their place.” — Denise Hildreth Jones

Daily gratitudes:
Big skies today
A morning that looked like Scotland
A toast to the success ofAnastasia Fawni
Making it home just in time when your stomach is upset
MKL’s hugs

It is a night for positive prayers and intentions:

That people and animals less fortunate than I will find a warm and caring place to survive the projected cold and our current -7 degree night

That my sweet friend at work’s family finds strength and peace in their time of approaching loss

The MKL and I can successfully accomplish our tropical sabbatical to fend off winter for just one week longer

That this cold snap is gone before we return

That Mr. Man is well looked after by his caretakers in my absence (it’s his birthday on Friday)

That I can accomplish the long list of to-dos before departure time

That my physical not-rightness improves and is healed by rest and rum

I have always found my prayers more powerful when I turn my eyes to the sky and speak to the Great Spirit as a friend. This church in the Bahamas inspired me to do that. It was lovely inside and out, and a visiting orb accompanied me during my solitary explorations there.

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Georgetown, Great Exuma, Bahamas.

Quote of the day: “Prayer is a relationship; half the job is mine. If I want transformation, but can’t even be bothered to articulate what, exactly, I’m aiming for, how will it ever occur? Half the benefit of prayer is in the asking itself, in the offering of a clearly posed and well-considered intention. If you don’t have this, all your pleas and desires are boneless, floppy, inert; they swirl at your feet in a cold fog and never lift.” — Elizabeth Gilbert

Daily gratitudes:
Straight roads and green lights
Loving my daughter
Feeling blessed by my relationship with my parents (and missing them daily)
A warm nightgown and bedsocks
The kindness of strangers, experienced twice today

There are so many people for whom I say a little prayer in my heart daily – Lea G. as she fights the good fight against breast cancer, Megan Bouge and her family as she struggles on this anniversary of the day she lost her Wyncie, for my sweet co-worker whose father is facing a bone marrow transplant. For Colonel’s Mom. For all those people and animals suffering from the long cold of this winter.

When I was on Anguilla, shortly after my mother died, I went for a drive to explore the island, and found a little cemetery atop a hill overlooking the sea, and across the street was a little whitewashed church. It’s blue shuttered windows were wide open to the soft ocean breezes, and lovely lilting voices raised in a gospel hymn were floating on the air.

This is not that church, but it seems that the spiritual practices of so many islands are housed in similar places of worship, like this one on Little Exuma.  In fact, the Exumas had many little churches, which speaks to the strong faith of the islanders. I know that for me personally, anywhere beneath the blue sky is an excellent place for me to send prayers up to heaven.

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Little Exuma.

Quote of the day: “One must maintain a little bit of summer, even in the middle of winter.” — Henry David Thoreau

Daily gratitudes:
A day with my daughter
Beach dreams
Charley the elephant
Having heat
Warm drinks on white cold days

AND, OF COURSE, GO BRONCOS!!!!!

Today’s photo of the day is a little different.  It’s to send a blessing to the missing Colorado girl, Jessica Ridgeway.  A picture of her is also below – please be vigilant for her, as she might be anywhere by now. And please keep this little girl and her family in  your prayers, and hope that whoever took her has the courage to set her free.

Santa Fe, New Mexico.

PLEASE! SPREAD THE WORD! SHARE HER PICTURE! POST IT IN ANY PUBLIC PLACE THAT YOU CAN! WE CAN FIND THIS LITTLE GIRL!

Quote of the day: “It is much easier at all times to prevent an evil than to recify mistakes.”  —  George Washington

Daily gratitudes:
How our Colorado community pulls together in times of trouble
Volunteers
Hope
My own daughter
Leaving a light on

Waking up to NPR is an interesting thing.  Sometimes I just sleep right through until Alarm #2 (the phone) goes off.  Today, I was already half-awake because of the wind.  The story of the earthquake in Japan made my eyes fly open.

My heart and thoughts, prayers and healing energy goes out to the people impacted by this disaster.  Some of the footage coming out of Japan is amazing – breathtakingly horrifying. 

I have always been fascinated by natural disasters, particularly ones involving water, due to my prophetic “water dreams”, which I’ll talk about another time.  Now, I am glued to the computer and the TV, watching coverage on Hawaii’s KITV4, which has a live webcam going.  While there fortunately hasn’t been a huge sweeping surge, it was fascinating to watch a view of the calm sea suddenly start to move around.  And now the sea is calm again (temporarily).  As one newswoman said, “Nothing super-duper dramatic.”  It seems they dodged a bullet (though I recall saying that very thing about New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina first came ashore, so don’t listen to me.)

I’m frustrated with local news coverage, which has barely touched on this disaster and has carried its usual intolerable load of stupid commercials.

In a small point of morning irony, my hot water heater is broken.  Some have too much water and others, not enough.

To share with you one more interesting coincidence, www.seattlepi.com carried an interesting story of newly discovered color photographs of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake taken by an experimental photographer named Frederick Eugene Ives.  I’ve certainly seen photos of the aftermath of this earthquake before, but these just struck me.  Why?  Because of the color.  I suddenly realized that on some less than conscious level, I had almost thought of the world back then as colorless, since I’ve only seen black and white photos.  The color images made it feel so much more modern.  I was flabbergasted (your good word for the day) by my own reaction.

Time for a Puerto Rican shower and off to work.  Blessings to all in the world on this day of earthquakes and floods.

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