Category Archives: Uncategorized

Colors of the Spirit

Savvy Raj

Colours of the spirit
Reside in nature
The energy manifests
In various ways
In the sky and the sea
So many shades of blue

In the forestland and the garden
So many shades of green
In land and in sand
So many shades of yellow

In the mind heart and the body
Are a spectrum of colors
Like the beautiful rainbow
Blessed are we to sense nature

Nature says, in the most colorful way,

Flow through the day

Expressing your self uniquely along the way!

Happy Festival of Colors

Happy Holi!!

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You Live*You Learn*You Love

Publishing Day

Here it is,finally, at last …Publishing Day!

And for a blind author *love that word…and poet, too* like me, it means scheduling with my Team of agreeable and mostly-skilled sighted assistants to push through, to jump the final electronic hoops to the end…to the point where you, my darling readers, are able to access your very own copy of my work.

But it also means remaining patient and open minded…even somewhat resigned to the idea of not quite making the goal.

*sigh*

Because that’s how it is when you are blind, or disabled, or simply somewhat dependent on someone else…a volunteer, no less, who happens to be a person you value and love.

**Projects come and go…even amazing one-of-a-kind projects like self-publishing a book…but loved ones need to be cherished, and relationships honored…and besides, you catch more flies with honey, right?

So, darling friends, I am not quite ready , the links are not quite ready, but should be in another couple of days.

Please stand by.

You Live*You Learn*You Love*You Learn*You Love some more

**Delighted to tell you!

Dear Friends,

Yes, friends. Before I say more, I want to thank you for that…for being my friends. You continue to follow and read my posts, you share your own thoughtful remarks and encouragement, you delight me with your affection and company…and I am so very, very grateful!

You have coaxed me out of myself, into the sweetness of dawn, where dewy meadows glisten with freshness, and the promise of full sun beckons. And I have no words, only the sweet sensation of feeling your presence with me as I write. And I feel so privileged.

So if I now invite you to join me in a dance of joy, I hope you will feel your part in my swaying and singing!
Because my little book of poems, One with Willows, is coming out on Wednesday, March 20!

I hope you’ll add it to your poetry collection, and let me know your thoughts as always…friend to friend!

Description of One with Willows:

One With Willows is a collection of spiritually playful poems which invites you to step out of the everyday world, to catch your breath, even to catch a glimpse of what really is. There is magic in light that turns hummingbirds into rubies. Wonder and delight wait for you in a garden, bid you to sit beside a young child at the piano, and may even lead you to stumble upon holiness where you least expect to find it.

You will want One With Willows on your bookshelf when you need a friendly reminder that things can get better. It will sit with you on the edge of the bed when you are weary, and revive your sense of hope when you need a boost.

Joan Myles has always been a child of wonder as well as a spiritual seeker. When she lost her sight at the age of 12, these qualities and writing poetry saved her from despair. And what’s more, once blind, her spiritual seeking took on a deeper, richer dimension. No longer was Divinity somewhere out there, hovering just out of reach. She felt God to be with her, a whisper away, a breath, a sigh, a longing inside her, an expression of wonder and delight and most emphatically, Love.

Joan earned a BA in elementary Education, a Master’s in Jewish Studies, and spent 15 years teaching Hebrew and Judaics to third through 6th graders. During that time, she also founded Yismehu, a non-profit organization which provided free Jewish learning to blind students nationwide via distance learning, and served as both textbook developer and instructor for 7 years.

Joan and her husband raised four children together. They currently live in Oregon, where she continues to delight in the wonders of Life Divine, and in the magic of words.

*Hearts Embracing*

Oh my, such a sweet surprise this morning from my beloved friend, Krishnapriya!)

Blue Feet, Bamboo Flute

These words are inspired and offered with great love and affection to my beloved friend Joan, whom many of you might know – a sweet, gentle singing child, masquerading as a Hebrew teacher . Across faiths, time and space, we connect as one – in love. Please see link to her blog below.

Four foot prints in the snow
And four paw marks ahead
Sun shining through the mist
Dancing daffodils

Singing childrenRelated image
Clap their hands
In a love
That never ends

Embracing hearts
This Universe
In One-ness of the One
Who is the all as well

Oh! Sweet magic
To see that One
And feel His hug
Right here, right now
In you and me.

Thank You for being here, beloved friends and dipping into the joy of the journey. 🌻
Find Joan’s writing here — https://jewniquelymyself.com/

Sri Krishna Sharanam Mama

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Morning Wind

Robin calls across the way,
“Wake up, my friend,
embrace the day.”

And Sunshine’s dancing, prancing beams
bid me to follow,
dismiss my dreams.

Still one more darling friend I meet
once dressed and walking down the street.
She snatches at my coat and hat,
ruffles my hair–
I don’t like that.

But one thing I can’t fail to mention,
she wakes me up,
grabs my attention,
uplifts my gaze
expands my heart,
and sets me right before we part.

*Kindling Friendship* Butterfly Thomas

Spring is coming, spring is coming! See? The daffodils have bravely put forth their sunny blooms.

But alas, temperatures in Salem this week have remained chilly to downright freezing.

Sure, the sun itself has timidly peeked through, but sno and sleet mid-week had us asking, “What month is this, anyway?”

**Which brings me to my final guest in this rendition of *Kindling Friendship*. I have deliberately held her to the end, just because of her delightful name, it being so significant to me as a symbol for change, and a signal of hope, transformation, renewal, and yes, even Springtime.

So as Ari barks a cheery response to the doorbell, I eagerly open it wide, and welcome author, Butterfly Thomas.

Me: Greetings, Butterfly, won’t you come in and get warm…brrr, how about a cup of tea or coffee to take the chill off?

Butterfly: Salutations, Joan. I don’t think I’ll have either, maybe just hot water with lemon thank you, and a banana if you have it.

Me: No problem, I’ve got a few beautiful, organically grown bananas right here…shall we stay in the kitchen? Or would you prefer a comfy chair as we chat?

Butterfly: A comfy chair all the way.

Me: Okay…Mmmmm this lemon ginger tea is especially tasty today…so Butterfly, won’t you tell me a little about yourself?

Butterfly: I never really know how to answer this, how much or little to tell. I am in my 30’s, I have 2 children, and I am divorced. I work as a Counselor and Advocate, but I don’t love it as much as I love reading and creative writing. Those are the basics I guess.

Me: And where do you live?

Butterfly: I live in the finicky state of Virginia. I was born in Germany to military parents. We came back to their home state, Virginia, when I was a toddler, and been here ever since.

Me: Is your writing influenced by where you live?

Butterfly: I don’t think so, I think it is influenced greatly by what I’m reading.

Me: And what about your writing process? Can you describe it for me?

Butterfly: Hmm, my writing process? Well I like to write mostly in the early morning hours… I don’t have an inspirational place to right though and I mostly write when the mood hits or when I have a particularly intense emotion I need to express. May I read a poem I wrote almost 3 years ago that explains why I write?

Me: Yes, please do.

Butterfly: It’s called ”Poetry”

Poetry Is A…
Powerful tool that allows me to lament or rejoice
Original works from my heart that urge me to
Express ideas, thoughts, points of view, alternate perspectives that display my Talent for word play and the contentment I get from
Releasing my feelings and emotions in such a way that
You can feel me

Me: Very nice. I especially like the final words, “you can feel me”. I think that says it all…you, the poet, are directly accessible through your words of poetry. Thank you, that was lovely. Now, are you up for a few quirkier questions? What other kind of living thing would you like to be?

Butterfly: Any other living thing, well the butterfly of course because of the natural symbol of transformation and the reason I have my name…Or the black panther, because of its sleek fierce raw power

Me: Do you have a favorite punctuation mark?

Butterfly: My favorite punctuation mark is the comma, because I never know if I’m
using it right lol

Me: And now tell me more about your writing, won’t you?

Butterfly: So far, I have written an urban thriller called Head Held High and I am working on compiling my poetry into a book. I have an idea for an urban fantasy novel, but I am currently attempting to flesh out a short short story I wrote that sparked the idea. You can check out my self-published novel at
https://www.dldbooks.com/bthomas/
And follow me on twitter
@ButterflyTNovel

Mea: well, thank you so much for chatting with me this afternoon, Butterfly, it has been a delight.

She draws her coat collar up around her ears, we exchange one more hug, and she slips outside into the gathering darkness. A mix of misty rain and light snowflakes moistens my face as I bid her one more good-bye.

Then the door shuts against the weather, against the week’s labors, against all things unessential. Shabbot is at hand.

I find the candlelighter, flick one flame onto its wick, then the second, and ready my thoughts for the blessing. My eyes close automatically as my hands draw candlelight first toward me, then circle it round to embrace loved ones and friends, and finally, the world’s inhabitants.

I sigh. Spring will come, I thought, in fact it is already on its way. In the meantime I will accept the gift of its emissaries—the sprouting of daffodils, and a young woman named Butterfly.

And I whisper:

Blessed are you Beloved One, Source of All, Breath Divine, Whose Light sustains us, Whose Darkness draws us near in longing and anticipation.

And let us say:

Amen.

*Kindling Friendship* Tammy Frost

Oh, my, can it be that Madam Winter heard me grumbling last week, and decided I needed a serious lesson in the real ups and downs of the season? Well she certainly lost no time in tossing her cold white cloak over the Salem landscape and sealing it with a cold, cold kiss! She held us all in her mesmerizing grip as the calendar marched closer and closer to Spring, and didn’t I hear her taunting laugh…brrrr! ***

But we have somewhat warmer temperatures this afternoon, and the snow is melting away at last…just in time to welcome author Tammy Frost. I’m sure she will brighten my wintry world.

Me: Tammy, welcome, I’m so delighted to meet you. Oh, come in, won’t you? May I get you a hot cup of tea or coffee to warm you up a bit?

Tammy: I would love a cup of tea!

Me: And I have a few tidbits to nibble. How about a cookie or maybe a piece of fruit?

Tammy: I have to admit my weakness for sweets. A cookie would be wonderful. Thank you.

Me: And where would you feel most comfortable: here at my kitchen table? Or would you like a comfy chair in the livingroom?

Tammy: I would enjoy a relaxing rocking chair if you have one. Me: Perfect. Our matching blue chairs just happen to rock and swivel, too. See? And right here in front of the fireplace…ah, nice and cozy for us. Now, tell me a little about yourself, Tammy, and about your writing.

Tammy: Well, I was born in June, 1965, in Peoria, Illinois. My interest in writing began in my teen years. However, I did not publish my first book until 2018. I am a lifelong Christian and my poems, stories and now books reflect my faith. I was born blind and became severely hearing impaired in my late twenties. My faith has sustained me throughout the many storms in my life, and I was encouraged by my devoted parents, Allen and Mary Lovell, who taught me that I could do anything a sighted person
could do if I tried and wanted to do it badly enough. I attended public school for all of my education. I attended Hope
College, where I studied history and special education. Fay and the Rainy Day is my first published work. In addition to writing, I enjoy reading, listening to many types of music, knitting and other crafts, gardening and cooking. I live with my husband, Clarence Jr., three cats and one large golden retriever puppy. I am the founder of Faith Foundations Publications.
Me: Well, you certainly have a rich and fulfilling life, Tammy. What part of the country do you live in?

Tammy: I live in rural Minnesota, in Mora, which is about halfway between the twin cities metro and Duluth.
-Have you been there long?

Me: What do you like best and least about living there?

Tammy:The thing I like best is the spirit of community we have there. Everyone is caring and shows respect for everyone else. In addition, I love my home and yard full of flowers. I love the weather, as well. The thing I like least is being far away from my parents and sister.

Me: Can you describe your writing process for me?

Tammy:I really write whenever the inspiration hits. I don’t have a specific time or place. However, having said that, I often write in the middle of the night. I will just wake up and feel ready to write, and listen for what God wants me to say.

Me: What got you started writing?

Tammy: I started writing poems in my teens, poems for special friends and occasions mostly. God gave me a few poems along the way too. My book writing really came about from the prompting of my younger sister. In August of 2017 I heard about an essay contest sponsored by Onkyo Corporation. The topics interested me so I decided to write an essay/poem. The title of that poem was Life with Braille. It discussed how Braille had impacted my life from childhood to the present. I won second prize in the contest. I shared the essay/poem with my family. When my sister read it, she said, “You should write children’s books.” I kind of laughed at the time. But, when I thought about it, I decided to work on it. I began writing my story and had it mostly done in just a few days.

Me: And what keeps you writing?

Tammy: I write as God inspires me. I listen for what He wants me to say.

Me: And now a few more “creative” questions, if you don’t mind, so I can get a better glimpse of you as a person. If you could be any other living thing, what would you be?

Tammy: If I could be any other living thing, I would be a cat. Cats are wonderfully independent with definite personalities. They know what they want and how to get it. But, at the same time, they bring such comfort and joy into the lives of those around them.

Me: -What do you like to do on a rainy day?

Tammy: -Funny you ask that question as my book is all about what to do on a rainy day. I love to cook/bake something that smells delicious. I also love curling up with a good book and a soft kitten.

Me: What’s your favorite part of going grocery shopping? What do you think that says about you?

Tammy My favorite part of going grocery shopping is coming home. While I love to buy nourishing foods for my family. I enjoy being at home most of all. I am comfortable there with my husband and my pets. I think that means I definitely have a warm spot for home and hearth. I love being with family and friends and enjoying things we do together. I especially love the holidays.

Me: Would you rather vacation at the beach or in the mountains? Why?

Tammy: I would much rather be in the mountains. I love the feel of the cool air, maybe snow, and the general feeling of being close to God. I enjoy being in a place of peace and joy. I love the smell of the woods and the sounds of a waterfall. I would pray for a cool mountain stream with croaking frogs and chirping birds.

Me: What is your favorite punctuation mark?

Tammy: My favorite punctuation is the comma. It is not the end of something, but rather a break. It gives you time to stop and think. It gives you time to stop and listen. It gives you time to be still and know that He is God.

Me: What role have children played in your life? How about in your writing?

Tammy: I have worked with teens in a career counseling capacity. I have two step children. I have taught Sunday School for years. My book was written for younger children, so they are very important to my work.

Me: Do you have a favorite fairy tale/children’s story? Why?

Tammy: I have always been drawn mostly topoetry. My favorites were always Mother Goose Nursery Rhymes and Dr. Seuss. I love “Goodnight Moon”.

Me: Oh, I know you need to get back to your busy life, but before you leave, tell me a little more about your writing, won’t you? And where I might read your work?

Tammy: I would love to share my book. It is about a calico kitten who is sad because it is raining outside. Mama explains why God sends the rain. She also tells Fay why she should not be afraid of the storms when God is near. They then find some fun things to do in the house. They bake, cook, and have other fun. My book and information links are:
Author Ppage:
http://www.amazon.com/author/tammyfrost
The link to ppurchase my book:
https://smile.amazon.com/Fay-Rainy-Day-Tammy-Frost/dp/1790523990/ref=sr_1_2 ie=UTF8
You can Contact me at:
tammy.faithfoundations@gmail.com
My facebook page:
https://www.facebook.com/Faith-foundations-publications…/postsFaith foundations publications.

I hug my guest, and we stand together in the open doorway, the late afternoon air fresh and much friendlier upon our faces.

Me: Thank you so much for coming today, Tammy. It looks like you’ve broken Madam Winter’s spell upon us.

Tammy: Thank you so much for inviting me, Joan. I appreciate the tea and cookies, as well as the opportunity to share my work with you.

The door closes gently behind her, and I reach for my trusty candlelighter. The candles stand at the ready, and the flame ignites once, twice, then fades away. I breathe in the glow, close my eyes and circle my hands to embrace my family in the light, my friends, the world, and in my intentions. And I sigh:

Blessed are You, Beloved One, Source of Light, of Life, of All, Who enables me to share in Your gifts, to be sustained by them, and to share them with others that Your Light may be magnified.

And let us say:

Amen.

*Kindling Friendship* Edward Cohen

A deluge of rain, a smattering of snow, wind, and chill, and just when I think I can’t take it any more, that the evidence is in, and I should just find some cozy corner of my house to dwell in forever because winter is obviously never going to end…

A single little hummingbird flitters up to me as I stand with Ari in the backyard. Yes, it’s quite chilly, and the sky is gray, but this little guy is still buzzing through his day, with lively delight. And that little spark of hope catches me in the throat, and I can’t help but smile.
***
I’m still smiling as the doorbell rings. The warm kitchen tingles with the scent of fresh-brewed lemon ginger tea, and combined with the choclatey citrus aroma of cookies and orange slices I have just added to the table, my kitchen exudes the kind of cozy feeling I most appreciate, but seldom manage to achieve.

The door swings wide, and Ari does his best to usher in my guest, entrepreneur, Ed Cohen .

Me: Welcome, Ed, how nice of you to drop by!

Ed: So nice of you to invite me over.

Me: Come in, come in. As we chat, would you like a cup of tea? Or perhaps you’d rather have coffee?

Ed: Tea sounds nice, thank you.

Me: And I have a few tidbits to nibble. How about a cookie or maybe a piece of fruit?

Ed: The cookie sounds good. It will go perfectly with the tea. I’m smiling, can you tell? Because my grandmother used to welcome me to her house with the same, “Would you like a piece of fruit ?”

Me: That’s sweet. Well, I am a grandma myself, you know. Now, where would you feel most comfortable sitting as we talk? Here at my kitchen table?
Or would you like a comfy chair in the living room?

Ed: You have a lovely kitchen. I like how much natural light it has. Let’s stay here.

Me: Ah, now that we’re settled, tell me a little about yourself.

Ed: Of course, where should we begin?

Me: What part of the country do you live in?

Ed: I now live in southeast Minnesota, in the small, yet growing, city of Rochester. My wife and I only moved there in 2010. Prior to that, we lived in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Me: What do you like best and least about living there?

Ed: It is one tenth the size of what we’re used to. This, of course, means that some things are more limited. But the longer we live there, we’ve learned that it offers more than we originally thought.

A positive thing is, we find Rochester far easier to get around. We can walk, bike or drive to nearly everything we need n 15 minutes or less.

One thing that has stood out is, as my wife and I have become active in the community, we now frequently run into someone we know and who knows one or both of us. Besides just friends and family, this might include local elected officials, plus business and organization leaders. I leave it up to you if you think this is a good thing or not.

Me: And has your business been influenced in any way by where you live?

Ed: That’s an interesting question. I don’t think it was influenced, but I do think it may have been assisted. You see, as I was beginning my business, I was also serving on the city’s Energy Commission. At one point, I shared with someone I met through that work that I was starting a small business. He introduced me to an entrepreneur network in town. And I have been attending their meetings ever since. Through that group, I found many of the resources that helped me build and promote my business. I’m not sure if I still lived in
Indianapolis, if I’d have stumbled into such resources or even would have successfully started my business.

Me: Interesting. Tell me about your work, what kind of business or service do you offer?

Ed: I manufacture and sell an 8.5 x 11 weekly planner/calendar with features designed especially for people like me who are dealing with vision loss. I was born with a degenerative retinal disease called RP. And while I still have some useable sight, I no longer see normally printed text. I continue to stay active and I don’t want to depend on my wife to keep track of my schedule, so I need a way to do it by myself. For years, I bought what were called, “large-print” calendars. They really weren’t that helpful. I still had to use a marker to write over the numbers to enlarge them so I could read them. Plus, they never had much writing room. And while I have a smart phone, I don’t find using it that easy. I looked high and low for a weekly calendar that met my needs. Eventually, I gave up searching and started to think my only option was to make my own. Fortunately, my life education and experience allowed me to give it a try. At that time, I had no thought of starting a business.

Me: How do you sell them and do you sell them just in Rochester? Ed: I do sell some locally and in my state; but the last time I checked, I have customers in 31 states. I have two types of customers.

I sell them to other businesses. Some just sell them in their community like eye doctors and not-for-profits who work with blind and low-vision people. Others sell nationwide, like on Amazon. My other customers are individuals who buy them in two ways. One way is off my website. But the way I find most heart-warming is people who tear out the Order Form from the calendar they bought last year, fill it out and send a check. I’m touched that they do that.

Me: Well, Ed I have certainly enjoyed learning about you and your work. I know you need to get back to your busy life, is there anything else you’d like to share?

Ed: Yes, there are two things. May I give my company web address?

Me: Of course.

Ed: Ok, Since I’m going to speak it, I’ll give it to you
phonetically. I’m giving you the shorter version that will redirect you to the even longer one. I’ll spell it out, since it is one of those tricky sounding ones. It is, E as in Edward, Z as in Zebra, the number 2, C as in cat, all followed by the word Products dot com. So that’s EZ2CProducts.com.

Me: I assume people can reach you through your web site?

Ed: Yes, they can. On my website, look for the Contact Me link.

Me: Well, Ed, thank you so much for visiting with me today. I hope you’ll visit again.

Ed: Thank you Joan for the invitation. It has been a real pleasure.

The rain has started again, and Ed pulls his coat collar higher up around his ears as he ducks under his opened umbrella, and into the windy downpour. I close the door quietly behind him, and breathe a sigh, grateful to be cozy and warm inside.

It is nearly Shabbot, the most important day on the Jewish calendar, the expanded, 25-hour long reminder that Creation does not belong to human beings, but to Divinity, that we are merely one element of Creation.

I click the candlelighter, bring the flame to the wick of the first candle. It catches, happily. And as I bring it to the second, it does likewise. Eagerly, I draw the glow toward myself, circle it around my thoughts of family and friends, spiral it to include all the world’s inhabitants, all my fellow creatures.

I whisper: Blessed are you, Beloved One, Holy Creator Who enables us to co-create, to reflect Your Love Divine in the world, to partner with You six days a week in repairing the woes of the world, Who has given us Shabbot, one sixtieth of Paradise, to rest and renew ourselves, to remember our place among Your beloved creatures.

And let us say: Amen.

The Dream

I was flying
up
and up

in the thick of the forest,
Darkness
all around me

up
to the uppermost branches
and into the light

the vast
open sky
blue and vast

and I looked down
saw mountains and fields
the forest from which I had emerged
wondered how high I was

felt myself falling
down
down

all the way to the ground
where the old man asked:
are you blind again?