Category Archives: Reflection

Favorite Tweets of the Week

Do you Twitter? Follow me @lavalily for some wonderful quotes from other Tweeters. Here are a few of my favorites from the past week:

NutriliteHealth NutriliteHealth
“The greatest wealth is health.” -Virgil

OutofyourBox_EN Fred Krautwurst
Stay connected with younger people. They can help you understand new paradigms #networking

BabaRamDass Ram Dass
Ambition does to intuition what a weevil does in a grainery…

OutofyourBox_EN Fred Krautwurst
Everything you want in life is just outside your comfort zone #networking

wikiHow wikiHow
A brother is a friend given by Nature. ~Jean Baptiste Legouve. 9 Reminders for Cherishing Your Brother http://ow.ly/1dKAgM

VisitBritain Visit Britain
“You don’t have a soul. You are a Soul. You have a body.” ~ C.S. Lewis #BritQuotes

wikiHow wikiHow
Are you too hard on people? Next time you’re about to criticize someone, offer praise instead http://ow.ly/1dBr9N

A hui hou!

Why I Love Teaching In A Community College!

Sharing what I’ve learned along the way, knowing that some might never “get it”, but those who do will be ready to take that knowledge to the next level;

Finding new ways to present old material that will make it more relevant to today’s young people;

Watching students struggle to understand a new concept in order for it to mean something in their world;

Catching the shy romantic glances between two people who don’t think anyone saw it;

Seeing the look in a room full of big eyes when they are truly surprised by new information they had no idea existed;

Hearing their excitement when they tell me there is a new baby on the way, but not due until after graduation;

Listening to the dreams of older students who have come back to school after many years of working and/or raising families;

Explaining the difference between high school and college to those who are recent graduates of the local high school;

Recognizing the pride in many of the students because they are the first in their family ever to go beyond high school;

Welcoming the daughters and sons of former students because their mother or father said for them to be sure to sign up for my classes;

Worrying when some of the students don’t pass the class;

Pondering schedules and requirements with those who aren’t sure what they want to be when they “grow up”;

Striving to make each class better than the one before it;

Accepting the challenge of keeping my brain active and alive;

Empathizing with those who have to work more than one job while tending a family while they take classes;

Admiring the young healthy bodies of those who can’t imagine ever getting as old as I am;

Learning new names for each class member and actually knowing how to pronounce them;

Praising those who grow out of their timidity enough to give an oral presentation in class;

Crying on the last day of classes because I will miss the students over the summer holiday;

Celebrating with them when they finally receive their Associates Degree before moving on to the next level of education.

A hui hou!

Metaphors

One of my readers hoped that the reason I hadn’t been blogging recently was because I was off drawing with my new-found pastel chalks. I wish I could say that was my excuse for being absent this last month, but the truth is that I have been doing my best to lift the spring semester off the ground.

One of my favorite courses to teach is “Psychology and the Expressive Arts.” Not only do they learn how to use the expressive arts (writing, painting, clay, dance, music and more) in doing counseling, but to use the arts to re-discover the creativity within.

This past week I gave my students an assignment to write about one of the metaphors in their lives.

Metaphors are all around us, and I offered suggestions for my students to find them in unexpected places.

One of my personal favorites is the metaphor of sailing. I’ve used it so many times in the past that it’s almost become a cliché, and yet it is a strong metaphor for me. Those of you who have been reading my posts fairly regularly will remember that I lived on my 37’ sloop for five years.

I moved off my sailboat to the Phoenix area when I was assigned to be a pastor there. About six months into that appointment, one of the men in the church came to me and said, “This is the first Sunday you haven’t mentioned sailing.” He went ahead to say that he wasn’t tired of it, but that it emphasized the fact of how many ways sailing was a rich metaphor for our lives.

We’ve seen many sailing metaphors illustrated on posters or key chains and the like. I am reminded of one metaphor in particular that continually comes into my life, and that is the way we have to maneuver the boat in order to get to our destination.

You know that a sailboat cannot go directly into the wind without being stalled. The sailor must tack back and forth, sailing just off the wind, yet never losing sight of our goal.

The same thing is true of my life. When I am not able to sail directly toward my goal without getting stalled, I don’t need to let that stop me. I can veer off course a little as long as I keep in mind where I ultimately want to go.

This has been true so many times – with education, career, home, relationships. How easy it would have been to give up, rather than to let the wind carry me in a different direction!

A hui hou!

Day of Enlightenment

There are thousands of lights decorating homes, yards, and businesses at this time of year. There is one light that doesn’t get unplugged or taken down after the holidays and that is the light that shines from inside each of us.

December 8 is Bodhi Day, celebrated in Japan as the day when Siddhartha Gautauma, the historical Buddha, experienced enlightenment. “Buddha” means “awakened one” or “the enlightened one.”

In the strictest sense, I suppose, we are all striving toward enlightenment as our ultimate goal. I like to think of enlightenment more as the path itself, the journey or quest, simply living with light shining from within, rather than an end point we might never reach.

In Nicaragua, there is a combination of festivals that start on the night of December 7 called “la gritería.” People run through the streets shouting in Spanish, “Who causes so much happiness?”

This boisterous evening leads up to the following day, December 8, to “La Purísima” or the “purest conception of Virgin Mary.”

But I like to think the notion of “la gritería” is pushing us to recognize our inner light as the source of our happiness. May we all celebrate our own enlightenment!

A hui hou!

Remember Typewriters?

One reader sent an email in response to Sunday’s post that has great appeal for me. It makes so much sense, I’m surprised I didn’t think of it myself. He suggested that I start something completely new, and to set aside all the “old” stuff I’ve written.

He said “You don’t need to suffer the discouragement of being rejected. After all, you’re a different person now and a lot more experienced.” How true!

Back in the day of typewriters, ribbons and carbon paper (yes, I’m that old), sliding a fresh sheet of paper between the rollers always gave a sense of new possibilities. There were times I used one piece of carbon paper so long that it was almost in shreds. And a new ribbon with freshly cleaned keys (remember the smell of that cleaning fluid?) made the manuscript look crisp.

There is something cleansing to see a pile of wadded up paper on the floor after numerous fresh starts.

When word processors came into being, there were many articles in writing magazines about whether that would change the way authors write. The consensus seemed to be that it would take away our creativity! There may have been something to those worries.

I loved having a legal-sized yellow pad handy beside me in the car for scribbling down notes as ideas popped into my head. That is still the most reliable way for me to capture those fleeting thoughts. Sure, I have a cell phone that takes notes, and when I’m not near my laptop, my netbook is handy for note taking, but nothing beats the old-fashioned convenience of a pen or pencil and paper.

There is at least one book I’m reading in each room (or in the car or in my purse) accompanied by a small notebook and pen for seizing inspirations.

Sometimes starting a fresh new page is the necessary impetus for many things in life, isn’t it? New curtains, rearranging the furniture, or even a new house brings new energy. Each new semester of school brings hope of brilliant and eager students, although I enjoy most of my “old” students, as well. Fresh soil in my planting beds brings anticipation of new growth.

Perhaps someday, I will return to the “old” written stuff and recognize its worth – or its worthlessness!

As the year 2010 draws to a close, what of the “old” do you need to set aside to allow room for the “new” to flow into your life?

A hui hou!

Thoughts for the Day

Canterbury Cathedral
Canterbury Cathedral

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin was not only a Jesuit priest but he was well known as a palaeontologist. Among other accomplishments, he was involved in uncovering the skull of the Peking man. As someone with a mind of both the spiritual and the scientific worlds, he has inspired me in several ways.

A birthday can be a good time for reflection, so it is on that occasion I think about one of Teilhard de Chardin’s primary concepts. The way I understand it, we constantly are evolving or spiraling to a higher and higher state, which he called the Omega Point. He described it as a “transcendent centre of unification,” a convergence, rather than a divergence.

As I apply that concept to myself, I see that I have evolved over the past decades, although perhaps starting that process later than I might have wished. As he put it, in my life there was “a clear pattern of a rise of consciousness…a continual heightening, a rising tide of consciousness.”

Like his description of Time and the Universe, “in any period of ten million years Life practically grows a new skin,” I have grown a new skin throughout my own quest. More than ever before I am aware of how my action or inaction affects my traveling companions, aware of the world around me and of its cyclic nature. It is my personal evolution – “a condition of all experience,” he would say.

There is another quote attributed to Teilhard de Chardin, although I’m not sure which of his books it is in. I use it as my own mantra.

“Our duty as men and women is to proceed as if limits to our ability did not exist.”

In his Hymn of the Universe, he writes “Happy the man [sic] who fails to stifle his vision.”

For the next several decades, I want to continue an upward evolution without stifling my vision!

A hui hou!

A Season of Changes

It has been a summer of emptying old boxes full of junk, planting seeds, watering because of (or perhaps in spite of) the drought, reading delicious murder mysteries, writing a little here and there, and even spending some time being totally slothful.

Now on this sixteenth day of August, 2010, I am officially back to work as a full-time instructor in a community college. A week from now, classes will begin, each class full of students eager to learn. Well, I think most of them are.

At one point, I was working so hard to catch up with chores here at home that I was ready to go back to teaching so I could relax. By the end of summer, those chores were (mostly) completed and I had more opportunity to kick back, have a little fun.

So while I’m looking forward to the first day of classes, some new faces, some familiar faces, several students looking toward graduation so they can either go off to a four year school or get into a depressed job market.

Summer isn’t officially over, first day of autumn is still a month away, and winter is practically nonexistent here in Hawai`i, although there are seasonal changes. In the area where I live, the plumeria (frangipani) loses its leaves, there is a bit of briskness in the morning breeze coming down from the mountain, the hens are not laying as profusely, and I am delayed by school buses that manage to get ahead of me.

All of this rambling leads me to say that I’m a mixture of reluctance, anticipation, joy, relief, sadness. Through all the changes that happen in life, I hope I will continue to inspire even a handful of students to become who they are meant to be. Isn’t that what teaching is all about?

A hui hou!

Comfort Zones

One of the weather announcers this week talked about the seasonal climates and how people react to them. On the mainland, almost every area is experiencing some horrendous heat, and people wish it would cool down. This person showed pictures of the same geographic area complaining about the extremely cold weather and snow conditions earlier in the year.

A statement was flashed across the screen that said the comfort zone for most people was between 68 and 78 degrees, and that anything on either side of that was outside our comfort zone. My own physical comfort zone fits into what the television suggested, which is one of the main reasons I live in Hawai`i (big smile).

We have other comfort zones, of course. Many people find a comfort zone in the way they eat, and become uncomfortable about trying new cuisine, even when they are traveling in a foreign country. That has never been one of my dis-comfort zones. I love to eat too much not to try almost anything in the way of food.

For others, the comfort zone might be the clothes they wear, or hair styles, never trying anything new or outrageous. I think it’s fun to step out of the box in these and many other areas once in a while.

I do know about comfort zones, however. Typically, I am a painfully shy person whenever I am not in a familiar setting. People who know me, have problems thinking of me as being such a social recluse and introverted person. If I am with a group of people I know well, or if I am standing in front of a classroom of students where I am “in charge,” I am fine. Mostly I tend to avoid situations where I won’t know anyone, or if I am not sure what is going to be happening.

This past Saturday, I posted about my cheesemaking experience. At least once a day after I signed up for the class, I wanted to back out, then forced myself not to. (I’m not even very visible in the picture at the top!) Once I got to the class, met the others who had come to make cheese, and got started in a process that was so much fun, I completely forgot to feel shy.

Where are your comfort zones? How would you describe them to someone? At least once a month I try to push myself into a situation where I am out of my comfort zone. What do you do to get outside your box?

Mahalo!

The Magic of A Book


There is one book I have read over and over ever since its first publishing date in 1959, and that is The Magic of Thinking Big (Paperback) by Dr. David Swartz. No other book has had quite the impact on my life as this one.

In the early months of 1973, when I was a newly single woman and mother of four, I needed something to keep me from going over the edge. As I started absorbing the messages in this book, I found a few short key phrases from each chapter that struck a deep personal note.

Then I wrote those out with a felt marker in big lettering on a piece of paper that I taped to the dashboard of my car. No matter where I went, those words were right there in front of me. Only when I felt the message had penetrated, would I put up words and phrases from the next chapter.

I cannot begin to tell you how deeply those phrases stuck with me, even to this day. In spite of my degrees in theology and psychology, I find it too easy to forget how to apply what I know to my own life. This book helps me do that.

My original copy is held together with rubber bands, and the pages are torn, smudged, tear-streaked, and almost unreadable. This past year, I finally bought a new copy. I suspect I’ll end up buying yet another copy before my life is over.

There have been over 4 million copies sold at this point, so I’m not the only person to find direction in The Magic of Thinking Big. I can almost guarantee that you will find something in this ageless book by Dr. Swartz that will improve your life, even if you don’t think you need it.

I haven’t told you which phrases I used to strengthen my life. In reading, you’ll discover the ones that apply to you alone.

Note: As an Amazon affiliate, I am obligated to tell you that if you click on the book and order it from my website, I will receive a few cents from your purchase, but please don’t let that stop you. You owe it to yourself to read this book.

Mahalo!

Aloha!

Feral Fables, my newly published e-book, will be available for a special promotional price of $2.99 until August 1, 2010. Go here to to buy or sample Feral Fables. Use the promotional code “SL25S” (not case sensitive) at checkout.
Mahalo! (Thank you!)

Too Old To Dream?

In the mid-thirties, The Night Is Young, a movie with Nelson Eddy and Irene Dunne, featured the song “When I Grow Too Old To Dream.” Most of you reading this will remember that song. I was a mere babe in arms when it came out, but I know the song from having heard it over the years by various artists.

That song floated through my thoughts the other day, and I decided Romberg and Hammerstein had those words all wrong!

The textbook out of which I teach a Human Development course at the college categorizes the “young old” as 65 to 74, the “old old” as 75 to 84 and the “oldest old” as 85 and above. I won’t discuss my calendar age here, although I do admit to being over 65! In terms of the great site Real Age my physical age is about 10 years younger than my calendar age. Another fascinating site is Living to 100 where I learned that based on my health and lifestyle, I will live to 104, and with a couple minor changes, I could increase that to 108.

So do you think I am too old to dream? Are any of us ever too old to dream?

I don’t intend to stop dreaming until they sprinkle my ashes over the ocean. And who knows? Maybe I won’t stop dreaming even after that.

Please! Let us not stop dreaming, just because we think we might be “too old to dream.” The world is full of dreams just waiting for someone with our talents, our openness, our persistence, our love – no matter our age!

A hui hou!

Aloha!

Feral Fables, my newly published e-book, will be available for a special promotional price of $2.99 until August 1, 2010. Go here to to buy or sample Feral Fables. Use the promotional code “SL25S” (not case sensitive) at checkout.
Mahalo! (Thank you!)

Our Little Battles

 

July 4 is our day to party. We grill out, drink and eat too much, then look for the best place to watch the excitement in the sky. Even our National Anthem glorifies the “rockets’ red glare.”

Our view of war is that of Major Battles, usually taking place “out there.” Yet we have battles “in here” as well. Those Little Battles consume most of our time and energy.

How do we handle differences, diversity and conflicts? We can say we are for peace, but not live in it! When my daily actions are made up of anger, or when I view my life in terms of winning or losing, as a victor or a victim, I will have war.

What Little Battles do you and I overcome?

Mahalo!

Aloha!

Feral Fables, my newly published e-book, will be available for a special promotional price of $2.99 until August 1, 2010. Go here to to buy or sample Feral Fables. Use the promotional code “SL25S” (not case sensitive) at checkout.
Thank you!

After the Rain

 

My family loved to backpack in the high Sierras. One year, after a refreshing afternoon rain, my youngest child, about seven at the time, looked down at his feet and picked up something shiny. It was a perfectly formed arrowhead of black obsidian. Evidently the rain had washed it out from an ancient hiding place. What a treasure the rain revealed!

In Hawai`i, we have the saying “no rain, no rainbows.” Too often we concentrate on the rain and neglect an openness to the treasures afterward. What riches or inner resources have you discovered after the rains in your life?

Mahalo!

Old Recipes

 

From time to time, for as long as my emotional stamina can handle it, I go through boxes of stuff left over from my parents, primarily my mother. Such was the case this morning.

I found an old Sunset cookbook I’d given her years ago when I first moved to California. She had transformed a hardback book one-inch thick to an eight-inch thick scrapbook of old recipes from people from churches where my dad had been the pastor, from other relatives and especially from my grandmother, who had also gleaned recipes from parishioners in my grandfather’s churches. They were scribbled on the back of old bulletins, on the side of business cards, on napkins, on whatever was at hand.

In this cook/scrapbook I found love notes from my father to her, handmade cards to them from my brother and me when we were children, clippings from newspapers telling about all of our accomplishments, and so much more.

I was surprised at the number of recipes for making your own sweetened condensed milk, for example, or making your own sour cream to stretch dollars at the store. On reflection, I realize these ideas came from World War II and before that, the Great Depression. She also kept labels from products that she used regularly, but that may no longer be in existence today.

Mother and Daddy were in the process of trying to put together a cookbook, using many of these recipes. I started thinking what fun they would have had writing a blog if they’d had access to something like the internet.

I may try a few of these recipes and let you know how they turn out.

A hui hou!