Saturday, April 7, 2018

A Big Birthday Plan


I've been away from posting on this blog because of a variety of life-changing events happening, and now I can write about them and share the Big Birthday Plan.
The frosty conditions of winter will melt with spring warmth.

About two weeks before Christmas I was in Florida with Wayne Ratcliff and after a series of extraordinary stressful actions, one of which included realizing that my son was incapable of being honest with me about anything, I decided to sell my house in Lake City. Wayne stepped up to the plate to help me get all my personal things out of the house and put them in storage.

It was raining. It was cold. And Wayne was recovering from a very bad cold or the flu while I was trying to recover from all the sleepless nights incurred taking care of him. And now there were two tired, grieving folks: Wayne for his late wife, Barbara and me, for the son I was going to have to evict from my home because of his failure to grow up, get work, and live honestly.

It was a recipe for disaster. And disaster struck with the decision I made to walk away from someone I loved after he demonstrated his potential for rage and impatience with me over something that should have been trivial and handled differently. (We both see that now.)

And in that action, we set in motion a series of detours on the Road of Life that almost, but not quite, ended the relationship altogether. The angels must have been watching over both of us as we each struggled to make sense of what we both had contributed to the mess.

Those detours presented the necessary contrast so that individually we could see what we DID want and as January came to a close, we found ourselves talking, texting and emailing several times a day, believing we were just learning how to be friends. But in that structure, we really did become more friendly, developed new appreciations for each other, and when Wayne returned to Sequim, we danced again at Straitwheelers.

We went for a walk on the Spit and talked some more.
The clouds were a good representation of the turmoil we
were both sorting through to get to the other side.
And then we danced on Tuesday at Rhody-O's and Wayne insisted he had to take me out on Valentine's Day. It was not so much the place we went as the effort he put into making the day a very special one that made me realize he was more than literally head and shoulders above the rest; and I told him so.

The next day we met for coffee and talked some more. By now we had accrued somewhere near 140 hours of talking, texting and emailing and we both agreed we could spend our time more effectively by joining forces and he asked me to marry him.
Wayne Ratcliff at Solmar Lake - 2018
And five days later he asked me again - just to be sure - and pointed to the calendar for the date he wanted us to memorialize our commitment... My Birthday! Sensible man; he didn't want to ever forget either event. And this is one of those birthdays that marks a significant achievement in just living, so it will be a very special day. I will be marrying someone who really is my friend first and everything else as well: walking buddy, dance partner, adventuring pal and sweetheart.

We 'graduated' from our dance class learning to waltz, salsa,
fox trot, cowboy cha-cha and two-step. Some we do well
and others require more attention.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

The Hebrew Letters Experience

א Aleph

"The Creator, the Divine spark secured to the physical, the ultimate paradox as the transcendent one comes to us in matter creating an invisible reality in a visible embodiment. Through the incarnate one all matter is incarnate, beyond name or form. Air." (From the Hebrew Letters Course taught by Joe Woodbury in 2016 at Emmanuel Lutheran Church, Everson, WA)

In the Tarot, the first card is "The Fool," the moment of Divine Consciousness, the middle of the Tree of Life, potential purity.

Last  year, about this same time, I re-entered into my Tarot and Kabbalah wisdom studies along with encouragement from my friend Carol Joy B. She was already taking a class with her husband, Joe, learning about the Hebrew letters and I was invited to join in. It felt quite right to study the influences of the letters as they appear on the 22 Tarot cards and both Carol and I immersed ourselves in that study.

Carol went farther, however, and soon she was opening up her heart and mind to the Source and was channeling/connecting to the greater mysteries. She translated Psalm 91 from the King James Bible back into the Hebrew letters and re-translated that into the spiritual, living message from God showing the timelessness of the letters.

"He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most high shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty." (KJV) (Line one... I am not going to print out all of line one, but just the first three letters - Yod, Sin, Bet.)
"Father, son and spirit are transforming me as Spirit penetrates and infuses my life in an actual embrace (in intimate connection)."

For me this was just the beginning of understanding how the Hebrew language can teach us how to allow ourselves to live in a state of grace. Carol and I studied the word "grace" using the Tarot (temperance / card number 15) and the Hebrew letter Samekh ס. See how the circle of the letter brings us around; that 'living in grace' means we have our sails set, and we are moving forward, listening to the wind of God pulling/pushing us "buoyantly along." (Carol's interpretation). And each letter has something to teach us, both in its shape and the meaning as Carol has discovered.

In the days since that introduction, progress has been made in both our lives. I have deepened my appreciation for the value of focusing my thoughts so that I choose to be happy, generating more delightful moments, meeting more interesting people, having more of the life I want. 

Carol has carried her studies forward and has developed a meditation using channeled wisdom, teaching those who wish to learn how the letters can reveal our purpose, comfort us, and show the enduring love the Creator has for us.

I have posted the letters here with their various bits of information but you can find a lot more at Wikipedia.com. What you won't find is the wonderful meditation that Carol Joy B. has channeled and is presenting in Yuma, AZ at present. I will post here a way for contacting her and arranging for her presentation when she is ready to 'set her sails' for that journey.

What I feel developing is something that a presenter on National Public Radio recently said about how we are shifting our communications back (or forward to) an oral tradition from the written word. Over 500 years ago there were few people who could read and they depended on priests, oracles and other 'leaders' to speak The Word to them and that was their Truth. 

Eventually as folks learned to read, there was The Bible/The Koran/The Talmud providing them with their truth, but since there are many interpretations of it, those 'words' have different variants and meaning. More years, more books, more readers and fast forward to the digital age when words are coming at us fast and furiously. How do we select which ones hold our own Truth?

It comes down to being able to focus our attention in such a way that only that which brings us to the reality we want to create can be allowed in. It's an interesting premise which is supported by the Law of Attraction. For readers of "The Secret," or any of Abraham Hicks or Neville Goddard, it makes perfect sense. And the Hebrew Letters provide the portal for this focusing of our attention. In the last letter, Tav, we have our answer.
ת‬ Tav

A Resh released, poured out, the cross. Let it not make sense, the language to throw you out of your comfort zone. Transforming the mind to a level of consciousness that is spiritual, the cross. 

In Tarot this card is "The Universe," the positive and negative forces, made manifest but NOT by ego dominance; as Jesus said, "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit." Moon and Sun are now one, light and dark now allow consciousness to be fully open; new life.

Although Hebrew is read and written from right to left, the following table shows the letters in order from left to right.
Alef GimelDalet ZayinHetTetYodKaf
אבגדהוזחטיכ
ך
LamedMem SamekhAyin TsadiQofResh Tav
למנסעפצקרשת
םןףץ

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Returning to My Home

I guess I really am getting older... as I approach having three quarters of a century under my belt, I realize I don't have to justify why Recreational Vehicle living was just 'not my thing.' I loved living aboard the sailboat and I naturally thought that a land yacht could be a lovely extrapolation of that joy without the hassle of dicey weather.

Well, 'landing' in Lake City, FL, was wet, wild and wretched. Aside from the emotional stuff that was going on with a son who continues to resist growing up and getting a job, even a part-time one, it was clear that my RV life could not continue with Wayne. He has his way of living and I have mine and while we will remain casual friends, the 420 sq. feet in his home (not ours, not truly shared) made it challenging.
Square dancing with the Dixie Dancers in Lake City, FL
was a high point in the square dancing journey for me;
and I reconnected with Barbara Rosenthal, and her husband.
I loved the adventure of traveling and having a companion to view the world with was pleasurable. I still want to travel and I still want to share it with a friend and so in time I will journey out again.

But for now I am back in Sequim, WA, which is actually warmer than Florida (today) and warmer than much of the southern U.S. due to a nasty storm that developed into a Nor'easter for the northeast states. I am back on my routine of painting at least two days a week (sorely missed in the space-limiting RV), and will rejoin the Y next week to shore up my activity plan.

It's very much OK that I discovered in two months something which could have made life painful for both of us had we continued. Of course I wish Wayne all the best in the new year, finding all the square dances that give him such joy and maybe more peacefulness in his grieving process as I seek peace about my son. I am grateful for all Wayne's help with getting my personal effects into storage.

As this new year progresses and my personal things finally find their way to Washington, I am planning to clarify what brings me peace and joy and I hope the same for all my readers.
Wayne and I at the St. Augustine Pier, FL, where he bought
a plank to be placed on the pier honoring his late wife.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Medina Lake, Texas

John Carlton calls a mainstream square.
Wayne Ratcliff is in the purple shirt, promenading.
We are staying at a Thousand Trails RV park in Medina Lake, Texas this week. I was pleasantly surprised to see such a lovely, large clear lake after driving over ground that looks pretty parched. And there are lots of birds and deer for further entertainment. Fishing is also an option with largemouth bass, white and hybrid striped bass and catfish in the lake. Not sure I'll take advantage of that, however.

Last night we went to a local square dance called by John Carlton in a nearby town.

Steven Ratcliff feeds a zebra special approved pellets.
Our visit to Wayne's son, Steven, in Killeen last week gave him a chance to go fishing at night and during the day and he really enjoyed that. We also visited an exotic animal park in Topsey where we saw numerous kinds of deer, antelope, sheep, llamas, camel, buffaloes, elk, and my favorite: zebras.

The nighttime temperatures are cooler than I expected for central Texas, but it makes sleeping nicer. They range from the low 40s to the low 50s. Daytime temperatures are pretty dependent on cloud cover; upper 70s and low 80s with clear skies, 10 degrees lower if there are clouds.

My nose has been stuffed up with a minor cold or allergies since we drove past El Paso, so I am not able to determine if Texas really 'smells' different, as one person suggested it might. I walked by the lake yesterday and there seems to be a lot of limestone and not much grass with live oak trees dropping nuts, so there is a crackling sound as I walk. Very peaceful place.

There is a swimming pool here, along with other amenities, but the temperatures are not encouraging for me right now to think about getting wet all over. What a woos I am.

My desire to do any painting has been thwarted somewhat by the driving schedule and other activities. Perhaps since we are here for a week I can get at least one project done. I did complete this one with Susie Ratcliff last week.
We went to a painting place to do some art together. It is
always interesting to try new things.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

I Could Not Waltz Across Texas


First of all, it's a huge state. Texas has not gotten any smaller since the last time I drove across it, but there are signs of growth all along the I-10 corridor. El Paso is finally expanding the lanes through the city and there're plenty of indications that other roads are being improved as well.

An overlook in Texas someplace; I'd lost track of where.
But more disturbing is a Border Patrol 'incident' where one agent died and another lies in the hospital severely injured. We came upon a huge gathering of police and Border Patrol vehicles and assets at Milepost 151 east of Van Horn, Texas on I-10 about 10 a.m. Sunday morning as we were heading for Fort Stockton. It was clear to me that something was afoot, but no traffic was being stopped so we kept on at our 65 m.p.h. rate. It was only later in the day when I decided to look for more information that I even got some of the details.

At first all the media was saying one agent was murdered, but in later reports the story has been tamped down and all the intensity about illegal aliens wielding rocks in a murderous rampage has been defused. I would like the truth to be revealed, but perhaps it never will be. I'm only theorizing but it seems like it might have been some kind of accident which did not necessarily involve any folks from the south and after all the saber-rattling of the media, no one wants to admit they jumped to conclusions.

As you arrive in Fort Stockton from the west, this very
impressive metal art sculpture can be seen on the right hill.
As we drive through the lives of the folks in Oregon, Nevada, Arizona and now Texas, it is inevitable that we will see only portions of the fabric of their lives. It was one of the reasons I stopped being an EMT; I didn't like not hearing the conclusions of the events I was participating in.

Texas mountains just before sunset from Fort Stockton, TX.
We stopped in Fort Stockton because I wanted to see the reconstructed fort, read about the history of the area and make sure we didn't race across Texas like we had gone through Nevada.

We were able to get into the fort and also to see the Annie Riggs Hotel Museum with tons of interesting artifacts from settlers who were involved in making their home in Texas. It turns out that taking matters into one's own hands to achieve a particular result is not unique to this area, either.
Texas sunset in Fort Stockton.
"Buffalo Soldiers," so called because the Negroes' nappy
hair reminded the Indians of buffaloes, were key to helping
settle the region after the Civil War.
We saw the largest roadrunner in the U.S., the old pioneer cemetery which has fallen into such disrepair that almost no headstones remain readable, and a number of original buildings which are still being used today. But the downtown/main street is in a sad state of abandonment; the city of Fort Stockton has failed it's constituents by not giving benefits to those who want to have shops there.

It is not enough to have wonderful old historic sites and no main hub reinforcing that history.

However, we did enjoy the actual fort and grounds and some of the video presentations. We made our donation and hopefully along with those of other folks, the Historic Commission will find the funds useful to repair the video that wasn't working and to take care of other aspects of the site so that future visitors will get the full effect.
An artist's rendering of the original fort's site.
It is quite large, unlike the Lewis and Clark fort, and I could almost hear the ghost soldiers and their horses as I walked over the ground.
A building used as a kitchen still stands.
This fort was a key spot for travelers to receive refreshment and support as they wended their way westward. There was a huge natural spring offering fresh water and the troops offered protection from the indigenous tribesmen who didn't want the colonizing Americans on their lands. 

What a time it must have been for all concerned. As we were driving east from here, we discussed the distance and the time it would have taken riders to get from Fort Stockton to Fredericksburg, TX, the nearest bit of civilization in those days, some 270 miles away. We estimated that riding hard, it would have taken about five or six days... over ground that had rattlesnakes, badgers, foxes, wolves, coyotes, wild turkeys and other birds and rodents. We made it in about 4 hours. Grateful it was by vehicle!!
Buildings have been salvaged or reconstructed to give an
historical replication of Fort Stockton as it was in the 1860s.
Fort Stockton parade grounds and officers quarters today.









Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Random Thoughts and Shots Along the Trail

Up at the Elwha River dam location
 in Port Angeles, WA.
As we planned our journey, we took side trips and walks in the woods or along city streets and so here are a few thoughts and shots that are nice reminders along the way. Perhaps they will make sense to you, or maybe not. But like me, just enjoy and see where they take you.

These birds are very pretty, easy to train, but cannot hold a
candle in intelligence to the African Grey, a bird I once had.
Still, it was a treat to have a feathered connection this day.
In Seaside, OR, the beach simply goes on forever. I didn't actually feel like walking on it, but wanted to watch the waves roll in. As I was sitting there, along came a fellow with his pet bird. She was more than eager to jump on my arm and shoulder, and it was a nice reminder of the days when I had a bird.

Wayne cast off all inhibitions in Seaside, OR
and jumped on a reindeer on the carousel!
Then later in the day, Wayne decided to throw caution to the winds, so we rode the carousel together. Up and down, up and down, we listened to the music, smiled and watched folks looking at us, two senior people being kids again. Such fun!

Along a path after our trip to Mt. Saint
Helens, we walked a marshland trail and
saw millions of spiderwebs being made.
The marshlands trail below Mt. Saint Helens offered us a chance to walk easily through woodlands changing colors. It was also a breeding ground for some kind of spiders and every step was a challenge because of walking into another web being created. 

At one point Wayne was streaming threads of spider webbing like braids of hair from his shoulders.

It caused me to think about how there is so much energy being trailed behind each of us as we move through our own worlds, only we don't have the eyes to see it (in most cases). And our positive thoughts emanate from our auras either lighting us up or bringing lights to others.

An abandoned building sits in a town that used to be full of
mining activity and now has to find other ways to maintain
its existence.
As we journeyed through many towns along the route taking us from Reno to Las Vegas, there were all the signs of hope being delayed or denied with small towns that once were probably rollicking and rich with laughter as the people found resources and spent the value gained. Now those towns are grabbing at tourists like a lifeline, hoping with each stop something will be exchanged for the time they've invested in trinkets, arts and magnets to remind the tourist where they've been.

The red rocks of Sedona, Arizona push up all over the desert.
We finally made it to Sedona, where I feel the sacredness emanating from all the red rocks. Where I find my energy being wound up and realigned with Mother Earth. And when we arrived at the top of the Oak Creek Canyon Road, there were Navajo men and women artisans with their created treasures. I did not want something expensive or large; and Source pointed me to a woman who created copper pendants with turquoise and coral inlays. It was enough. A reminder that I am connected to the earth that gave up the copper and the semi-precious stones for a small adornment.

Sedona as seen from the airport area; growth continues in the city and its
surroundings changing it every time I visit. But the earth is still sacred.