Sunday, August 24, 2008

The Two Carolines

I had my cousin Caroline with me for part of last week. It is always so great to see her!

We went to camp together a couple of times - for art and for canoeing - and, since she has an interest in nature photography, we also went to the Botanical Gardens. I'd never been to ours before, and I was glad I had the opportunity because it was a really pretty area. Plus, we had fun!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Native American Connection

Over the course of most of my life, I can't say that I have been particularly drawn to Native American spiritual beliefs. Recently, however, things keep "popping" into my life that have slowly brought about an interest in at least learning tangentially about them. For example, a few months ago, while out walking, I came across a group of Native Americans blessing Town Lake. That proved pretty interesting, as I was brave enough to stop by and ask questions about what was going on. Then, sage has been around a lot lately, it seems. You may be aware that sage, according to a wide array of spiritual beliefs, including those of the Native Americans, removes negative energy and negative spirits so it can be used, for example, in a house to "clear" the energy or after coming in contact with a negative person to "clear" any lingering energy that may remain. You'd read about sage in most any feng shui book, too, actually. I also have a friend who seems to have quite a bit of a Native American connection that I keep feeling/sensing. At first I didn't understand what I was getting, but now I am starting to, especially since he reminds me of a tribal chief or royalty of some sort. Then, I ran into a Cherokee in the gym sauna, of all places, and we conversed about stones such as turquoise and other areas of Native American culture.

Of course, the Barton Springs area has quite a bit of Native American history, and I am there a lot volunteering. I had a recent communication experience there with a Native American spirit, which was interesting, as he played his drum for me. (Yes, you read that right.) And, in the camps, they try to incorporate a lot of the Native American beliefs into their programs, such as respect for the earth and elders, etc. I've done some fun things with the kids to enrich the learning experience in this regard: we made dreamcatchers and leather headbands, and we discovered and then made totem poles with our animal totems. The kids get a big kick out of all this stuff.

With the animal totems, for example, Native Americans believe that we have one main animal totem with us throughout our lives and then we have nine other animal totems that come to us at certain points in our lives to help us learn lessons. I told the kids that, according to these beliefs, the animal they have now may be there to teach them how to get along with others and how to respect their parents and teachers, etc. Later, like in college, a different animal might be there to teach them how to focus and study and how to think about their life in terms of the big picture. I was trying to communicate that we always can learn lessons from what is around us, these animals and their related characteristics and personality traits being one way. I wasn't sure the kids would get the premise and thought they would all lean toward everyday animals, like cats and dogs, but I got a remarkably wide array of animals from them - coyotes, snakes, butterflies, hawks, dragons, turtles, etc. Of course, kids are so much more open naturally to spirituality than are us (mostly) closed-minded, indoctrinated adults. I'm sure it helped how I explained it, too, though. God has a way of putting the right words in my mouth when I can positively impact others.

This picture shows me in one of the headbands I made, and I think it kind of makes me look like a Native American princess, if I do say so. ;) Keep in mind it was probably 100 degrees when this was taken, but I thought you might like to see it anyway. I don't know what all this Native American stuff means for my own life, but it's interesting so I go with it and explore. I'm always open to learning.

Monday, August 04, 2008

A Record Writing Day

Yesterday, I wrote 5,000 words for one of my books! That, I'm sure, is a record for me in one day!
My creative juices have been there since starting again, but they have been flowing more in trickles than in downpours. And, I also have felt the need to pull myself in, to center myself a bit before delving fully into things. Thankfully, I recognized that I should allow myself to enjoy the break this offered because I felt like when it hit - it would hit - as it has!
I am going to try to write the same amount today. It's mentally exhausting and mentally stimulating, but so far all brain function appears intact! ;)

I also have a story that I wrote a long time ago out this month in Kansas City Parent. It's a column-style piece about helping kids learn money management through the back to school shopping experience. You can read the whole story here.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

With Great Delight

"Live imperfectly with great delight."

I came across this little saying and loved it. And, it just so happens that "delight" is one of my new favorite words. It's so happy and cheery and, well ... all-around delightful! I find myself using it all the time now. I find delight in all I can!