January 25, 2018

After learning the words to the song “The First Noel” well enough to be able to sing my six-year-old heart out one Christmas season, I asked my mother about the meaning of a phrase in the song, “to certain poor shepherds.”

“What did God do to the shepherds?” I implored with heartfelt earnest.  “What does it mean to certain someone?” Thinking the word was a verb instead of an adjective, I needed to know exactly God changed the shepherds that night. More specifically, I wanted to know how I could become certained, too.

Frankly, I don’t remember her exact answer, other than it had something to do with reading the Bible, Jesus being born, and the Christmas season; her second answer had more to do with me asking the questions to someone else another time.  I always needed spiritual depth in the answers to my many questions, just as I do now. However, my mother had her hands full with a newborn daughter and a three-year-old that demanded a lot more attention than Mother was able to give. With a muscle disease to manage, a husband that was gone a lot, and her own household to manage, answers to my many questions weren’t her main focus at the time. So, for years, I just assumed that God certained those particular Shepherds, an unknown result making them special enough to be part of every Christmas manger scene I have ever noticed. Many years later, I had a good laugh, realizing that the word certain in the song meant that the angels sang their Noels to specific shepherds, probably those that had the God-given sense to follow the star.

Lately, I’ve revisited the word certained, even though every dictionary I’ve consulted never lists it as a verb. Perhaps it should be though.  After all, aren’t each of us specially made as we leave the comfort of our mother’s womb? Aren’t each of us created in the image of God, created as a part of Divine Love, and aren’t each of us supported every moment of every day and night by Divine Spirit, whether we know it or not?

Think about this for a moment. Do you have the God-given sense to awaken to your own inner Divinity? To follow that special star created just for you?  You have one, you know. Not the kind of star that the Shepherds saw lighting up the sky at night, but something just as phenomenal, if not more special.  It’s not hanging out there in the cosmos, but is inside your heart, part of your Soul. You access it through your intuition (the voice of the Soul), your inner wisdom, and your faith – however you choose to believe. Be still enough to listen, be astute enough to incorporate and then claim the direction of life that suits you best, and keep moving forward, however you are able. Without a doubt, you can do this, just like the Shepherds did. Just like them, you have indeed been certained by nature of your birth. You are part of a Loving Presence – cells, body, thoughts and all, whether you appreciate it or not.  You are quite special. You really are!





Have you ever seen an emperor penguin walk? Because of their body configuration, they take short steps, often waddling from side to side in the process. Their head bobs side to side also, moving in rhythm to the cadence of their walk. If humans had to walk this way, we never would get anywhere. Yet, these emperor penguins travel in this manner anywhere from 31 to 75 miles in ice and snow in order get to their breeding ground. The journey is spontaneous; the need to travel is never questioned as to distance, effort, or necessity.

Then, as the young are hatched and begin to grow, first the female emperor penguin makes the trip back to the sea and then returns to the breeding ground in spite of the winter weather. Then the male penguin does the same thing. That’s a lot of distance to travel in frozen conditions, a distance that can only be traversed by taking very small steps.

Have you ever thought you would never be able to complete a task? That the time and effort you would need to put into the project seemed to be more effort than you intended? Or have you been in the middle of an event only to realize that you cannot leap forward as fast as you wished? Or perhaps been afraid to even begin?
Actually, we all have.

A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. This Native American slogan has meant the world to me when writing books, painting, or when any other task I have chosen is at the beginning stages. Nothing is more intimidating than facing a blank page, knowing you only have 220 more to go before your words turn into a book. An artist told me once that the hardest part is just putting that initial wash of color on the blank canvas. When a friend of mine was just starting a course of study to become an acupuncturist, she became intimidated quickly by the chart of the human body dotted with what looked like thousands of points to learn. Her instructor reassured her by saying, “You eat an elephant one bite at a time.”

No, I am not advocating eating an elephant. But, I am encouraging you to cease thinking of the entire journey ahead of you, and focus instead on making that first bit of paint present itself on the canvas, on the one step forward, or on that first word on the page. Whatever it is, just make the first movement forward, accepting the process as it presents itself. Then, do it again, and again, and again. Eventually, the progression will create its own energy, as if the painting, book, or event begins to have a life of its own. It will lead you where you need to go; you will automatically follow. It will also let you know when it needs more, or something different, and when your created work or special event is completed. At some point, you may not be able to do otherwise than to let this creation you are involved with continue until it is fully expressed.

Whereas you first assume you are creating something, assume the success of this creation is entirely of your own doing, eventually you realize that you are simply the methodology by which this creation, event, or product may come into five-sense existence. Michelangelo said one time that his statues already exist inside the stone. All he ever did was chip away, one tiny bit at a time, at what wasn’t the statue.

Small steps gather great results.




Love in the Midst of Chaos

December 14, 2017

I did not want to be in the check-out line at the grocery store that afternoon because it was so very crowded. Yet, Easter was the next day and I had family coming to dinner. I attempted to move my cart a few inches to the right, hoping to find more space. Yet, there was […]

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December 7, 2017

Settling down last night after a rather full day, we delightfully discovered a program on TV that made us think, then one that made us laugh. Yet, it took less than five minutes of watching the news before we cut that nonsense off. What was reported to be news actually was sensationalism, exaggerated horror stories […]

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Consciousness Begins Individually

November 30, 2017

The other day while cleaning out a drawer in one of the vacant bedrooms, I rediscovered some old photographs I had taken when on a trip to Greece overlooking the Mediterranean. The pictures jogged an old memory of rather concerning thoughts that flooded yet again into my mind. Oh, the area was so beautiful. But, […]

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Unity In Diversity

November 23, 2017

The blue sky stretched out above me as an all encompassing joy.  The trees were busy doing whatever trees do in early spring when old leaves lay scattered about in crispy applause for life and new ones are an internal nudge pushing out toward the light of day. Two squirrels were playing tag between the […]

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