Posted in Awareness, Beauty, Children's Books, Co-Creation Manifestation, Creativity, Energy, Family, Light, Love, Music, Reconstructurist, Spiritual ABCs, Spiritual Parenting, Transformation

Magnificent March Brings Sacred Spring

Fertility Spring Birth Spring Beginnings Spring Renewal Spring Light Spring!

Namaste Blessed, Birthing, Blooming Beauty!

Happy spring! Happy March! Women’s History Month! St. Patrick’s Day! Equinox ~ First Day of Spring! What a month! Are you feeling the Equinox renewal and balance?!  Here’s hoping your hearts and calendars are full ~ yet not too full ~ with fun, frolic, and expanded awareness opportunities! For my part, life’s beautiful celebrations have been a bit tempered with the continued swirling political energies and my personal family journeys. Below, I speak a bit about ‘women’s work’ globally and what that has meant for me personally and in relation to Leaping Literacy this month.

Yet, let us delay no further in fully embracing the wonders of SPRING! Officially March 20th this year, Equinox ushers in spring (and fall on the other side of our pretty planet!) bringing equal hours of light and dark as our days become longer in light, our nights shorter in darkness. AND! Equinox brings the rich beauty and history of Goddess Ostara. Before Christianity (and I suppose other organized religions like Judaism & Islam too), Goddess and nature worship was widespread. Goddess Ostara was also known as Esther (Easter!) and known for renewal, resurrection, birth, re-birth. Today, we can metaphysically align with all these energies as nature calls our Spirits out to dance with the sprouts of green and colorful blossoms. Here’s is a prayer that combines these energies:

Sacred Spring! Oh, you reignite our passionate hearts to take flight!
Thank You Goddess Ostara for renewal, balance, and resurrection.
Thank You holy Source of All Creation for blooming perfection;
divine order grace,  transformation’s face of magnificent magnitude.
May we all spring forward now full of faith, trust, and joyful gratitude!

I also wrote a new song this week with and for Ostara and the gloriousness of spring. Here it is!

Ostara Ignites!

Easter Esther Ostara!
©2017Laurie Story Vela Song is here with lyrics below.

Ostara Ignites! ©2017Laurie Story Vela

Chorus:
Spring is here alive and bright!
Spring is here alive and bright!
Green is reaching for the light
Easter, Esther, Ostara
Easter, Esther, Ostara

Ostara shines new birthing delights
Spring is here alive and bright
Light returning to balance the night
Ostara ignites our passions to flight
Chorus

Ostara Shines on fertile ground
scattering seeds all around
Like green seedlings we reach for the light
With renewed desires, our passions take flight
Chorus

This celebration of Ostara and spring kicked in for me last week as we experienced desert blooms ~ fresh flower faces smiling up from the cracked, dry earth. Life appearing from where it seems there is only barren dryness. We had gone south looking at universities for Jeremiah (he applies in the fall!) and I insisted on taking in the super bloom on the desert that came after so much rain this year. Jeremiah was happy enough to take it in from the car ~ yet he missed much! Though this picture looks like we were off road, I assure you there was a good size, legal road underneath our tires! It was an amazing, far as the eye could see experience that I relished. These moments of nature’s beauty feed the soul long after! One patch I tip toed through was full of caterpillars on their way to transformation …

Women’s Work

Transformation! There is a lot of that going on these days! Women’s History Month reminds us of some of the incredible struggles women have gone through. The plethora of information and inspiration is out there in growing web pages which I still aspire to add to.  As women, we are the receptive ones and yet the ones to give birth. Throughout history, women have been the ones to surrender … yes, in childbirth. And in patriarchal society ‘norms’ that still dominate in many places today. Spiritually, surrender can be a great strength; ‘Thy will be my will’. In learning to balance surrender and birth, there is a powerful co-creation wisdom. In this time of evolving consciousness, women hold a special place in the birthing process of humanity. As the world undergoes definite birthing pains with continued power struggles, the receptive, flowing female energies are needed more than ever.

My own ‘women’s work’ has been embodied in my Lenten intention to let go of doubt. By naming and claiming ~ anything ~ along with persistent practice, you will find how deep the roots go. In my own case, doubt runs much deeper than I would like! My days are filled with family service as I continue to care for the elders ~ my dad in particular who is still on the ranch which leaves me 2 sets of houses, food, bills (his) pills, etc. ‘Women’s work is never done’ as the saying goes leaving us the truth that all too often, as women our time is consumed by caring for the needs of others. Before last week’s Spring Break college looking road trip, I hosted Jeremiah’s dad here in our tiny home for a week. While he is a good man, he is one to really fill a place up with his big presence. I got to practice surrender, step away from a lot of work I had on my list and say, what project would I/could I get done this week? I put together the demo CD of the 36 Short Spirit Songs A ~ Z ~ now ready as a practice CD for the intergenerational voices who can help bring these singing affirmations to the world! These spiritual family literacy songs came to life throughout our alphabetic 2016 and continue their journey into being. So goes the birthing process of co-creation transformation and manifestation!

 Our Leaping Literacy Library Free Shelf this month features some strong female energies! They include SoulPlay Earth Gym Guide Rachel Flower, Teen Talent actress Angel playing a Reconstructionist scene of Anne Frank and Tess the liberated snake in the newly re-illustrated Laurie StorEBook, Tess’ Dress.One of our alliteration Laurie StorEBooks is on the Free Shelf this month as well; Carey Canary’s Cakes gives us a creative, caring & quite chipper canary:
I like to think my imaginary mentor Dr. Seuss would like Carey the strong little canary! March is also Dr. Seuss’ birthday with lots of literacy based celebrations. We visited Geisel Library on the UCSD campus; I sat on the Dr’s lap (bronze statue outside!) and felt encouraged to continue keeping on with my Laurie StorEBooks. From the Seuss archives on the inside of the library, I was amazed by this cartoon the Dr. did in the 1940’s: WOW! And time marches on … ~!

Our New Thought Families Daily Play & Pray Calendar this month features Compassion In Action. Our long list of Reconstructionist pages and games has once again stalled ~ leaving me to once again practice lots of self compassion! Yet! This (Women’s History) Month isn’t over for another week+ so I’ll update you again here! Balance of calendar inspired, I will keep planting seeds!

Spring Seeds! ~ Planting Your Glorious Garden! 

Yes, spring! This is a great time to plant spiritual seeds in our minds and hearts. As the earth around us is bursting forth with green goodness and colorful, blooming gloriousness, we can take the energy of renewal to plant seeds of what we want more of … freedom, community, relaxation, inspiration, intuition, creativity … What is calling you? Whatever it is, put some representation of it on your altar ~ and/or on your heart. Be sure to water it with faith filled remembrance in the days to come as well as be mindful to weed out any doubts or fears that sprout up around it.
Whatever you are planting this day, this season, may it bring you an ever increasing bounty of blessings and abundance! I send you seeds of great appreciation, contemplation, co-creation & celebration. Namaste, Love!

12th Annual Feathers Of Freedom Family Camp!
 
Free Spirit Weekend ~ August 18-20, 2017
 

Early bird deadline 3/31!
And! NEW Option: Free Spirit Full Week! ~ August 14-20, 2017 

Posted in Awareness, Children's Books, Compassion, Hope, Humanity, Justice, Love

Sacred Spirit! What’s Your Story?

roe-deer-1888115_640Namaste dear sweet sacred snowflake Spirit!

I greet you in celebration of you and your story ~ whatever that is this sacred moment. YOU! The yes blessed creation of Love expressed you are … thank you for being here. Deep breath of gratitude and centering …

As we looked at the intricate infinity of snowflakes last week, we called on the strength of slowness, softness, and surrender. This led me to look deeper into my story and the stories of those in my family, including the ancestors. And in this incredible time of awakening and ground shaking social injustice, I took in a few of the stories of our relations in our global family that I have chosen to share here.
fishstory1I first heard the powerful truth that “We live in story like fish live in water.” from Rachel Flower on the shores of Lake Tahoe where we taped her Earth Gym SoulPlay segments. The waterways of our stories include that of our ancestors, children, extended families. As global family, the oneness of who we are as creation intersects all the individual stories of the collective humanity. Free will and consciousness allow us to choose how much we step back from the story though we seemingly can never be free from it. Story being like the water to fish, it keeps us alive while it defines our existence. Like the snowflakes, we each have our own configuration and intersection of stories ~ always further explained through our perspective. I have noticed with my siblings, we all have a slightly different tale to tell about our upbringing. Do your family stories vary too?!indian-1119222_640

We belong to each other through our essence; we absorb each other’s essence through story. We all desire to belong and definitely align through shared culture, religion, and oftentimes skin color. And though we refer to shades of skin pigment with colors like white and black, none of us are that. Yet it aids the parameters of story that help us honor our ancestors. Part of humanity’s evolution is to help heal and transcend the wounds and injustices that have gone before. And as we are experiencing now, these ‘sins of the fathers’ have a way of repeating themselves ~ stories and narratives of fear resurface repeatedly until we can collectively Love them into memory banished from returning as experience. It seems we have a long way to go. Yet! Perhaps we are closer than we know. For we are better connected now and better able to trust the truth to transform. And for those not there yet, we can choose compassion as we stand for truth, peace, and justice within our individual and collective stories.

wepeople

One story I would like to honor this week is that of  Rumana Ahmed, a young Muslim American woman who worked in the White House during the Obama administration and the first 8 days of the Trump regime. “I debated whether I should leave my job. Since I was not a political appointee, but a direct hire of the NSC, I had the option to stay. The incoming and now departed national security adviser, Michael Flynn, had said things like “fear of Muslims is rational.” Some colleagues and community leaders encouraged me to stay, while others expressed concern for my safety. Cautiously optimistic, and feeling a responsibility to try to help them continue our work and be heard, I decided that Trump’s NSC could benefit from a colored, female, hijab-wearing, American Muslim patriot. ~ Reported in the Atlantic.

This young woman’s story is an inspirational account of courage from being born here in the states, suffering intense racism & islamophobia after 911, growing up to work for national security in the White House only to re-experience the growing resurgence of fear fueled hate towards Muslims she remembered post 911. “My father taught me a Bengali proverb inspired by Islamic scripture: “When a man kicks you down, get back up, extend your hand, and call him brother.” Peace, patience, persistence, respect, forgiveness, and dignity. These were the values I’ve carried through my life and my career.” Rumana Ahmed is an inspiration and a truth teller.  Her story is also a chilling and telling account of what the newly inhabited White House was/is like after the changing of the guard. You can read Ahmed’s whole story in the Atlantic.

There are, of course, so many, many stories in this time of deportations, immigrants, families in fear and turmoil. book-im-australian-too-coverInnocents of all kinds are being harmed. My second story comes from beloved children’s book author Mem Fox.
Fox is a world renowned children’s book author from Australia. Earlier this month, she travelled to America to speak at a literacy conference; she was detained for questioning at LAX in a room with others where all were reportedly treated badly. “I have never in my life been spoken to with such insolence, treated with such disdain, with so many insults and with so much gratuitous impoliteness,” Fox said. “I felt like I had been physically assaulted which is why, when I got to my hotel room, I completely collapsed and sobbed like a baby, and I’m 70 years old.” Fox said she was questioned over her visa, despite having travelled to America 116 times before without incident. She was eventually granted access to the country. Fox said she was shocked by her treatment and “couldn’t imagine” returning to the US. Her story has been covered by multiple sources including ABC in Australia yet the clearest account of the whole incident I’ve read just came from The Guardian wherein she said, “I am all about inclusivity, humanity and the oneness of the humans of the world; it’s the theme of my life.”  Ironically, Mem Fox‘s latest book is “I’m Australian Too” which celebrates multiculturalism and immigrants in Australia. You can see as well as hear the audio book, I’m Australian Too HERE!

As we share each others stories ~ of sorrow or celebration ~  we open our hearts wider to the best of who we are as humanity. Unfortunately, ‘history does repeat itself’ in the horrors yet also in the brave resilience and actions for justice. Incredibly, the Underground Railroad is back! The reporting on the Railroad for illegals and undocumented is here ; it tells of a few efforts including a network of Los Angeles religious groups called the Rapid Response Team. In the sorrow of these times, we can celebrate the sanctuary cities and the individuals willing and able to provide safe houses on the resurrected Underground Railroad.

It’s true that in the toughest times, the tender truth of our humanity rises ~ even in a car commercial! I can’t believe I’m sharing this here yet it touches my heart and speaks to the collective story of our sacred connections:

As we grapple for our personal and collective truth, let us, indeed dare to live our highest and best in oneness.

For my part, our Leaping Literacy Library continues with various voices and offerings. At New Thought Families, our daily Play & Pray Calendar switches this week here from February’s Love Blessed to March’s Compassion In Action ~ daily remembrances, invitations and celebrations! Our Peaceful Reconstructionists are still being added, catching up from last week. Our last finished round was 3 celebrating these environmental heroes and sheroes:vintagevoicespr3Through spending time with inspirational people, we share the magnificence that each of them brings … past, present, even future ~ and we are better able to touch our own magnificent radiance. Let us keep countering any bully culture with the best of human kindness, perseverance, resilience, and Love expressed for ourselves and for our children.

Finally, I must also honor the story of our indigenous people as the No DAPL Standing Rock Camp was dismantled this past week. Through this worldwide prayerful effort, consciousness has indeed been lifted. While the black snake has been tapped and not left to sleep, there are many victories and celebrations. Standing Rock brought us many wise voices and a reporting of the people by the people. Lyla June sings of the generational story in her All Nations Rise. Below, she sings a bit of All Nations Rise at Standing Rock and then the full version music video that was released last fall. Feel the power of her voice and wisdom and that of her ancestors coming through. The story is ancient, layered, wisely profound, compelling and indeed … rising ~ all of us ~ ever higher.

 All Nations Rise by Lyla June At Standing Rock

All Nations Rise • Lyla June • Black Hills Unity Concert 2016

 Thank you again for being here … to share your Spirit, these stories, your story, our story of conscious humanity on the rise. Whatever your stories be, may their sacred core bring you home to your resilient Spirit and home to the heart of humanity. Namaste, Love!

Posted in Abundance, Acceptance, Appreciation, Awareness, Blessings, Children's Books, Co-Creation Manifestation, Creativity, devotion, Divinity, Energy, Freedom, Grace, Gratitude, Presence, Reconstructurist, Thanks Living

A Disciple’s Decisions

smilecircleNamaste Mindful, Mystical Manifestations of The Mystery!
In the Circle of Time, I greet you with a smile of Love and well wishes for a bright, bountiful, and beautiful New Year!

With 2017 well under way, I am reaching out today with various video messages you can choose to peruse ~ or not! In the sea of offerings that call to our minds, hearts, and souls, we definitely have to choose only those that serve us best! ‘The Mystery’ linked above and here remains some of the best advice I know in choosing how we can live a meaningful life ~ basically by choosing to be happy and be with the ‘Mystery’ every day ~ of any year, any life!

So! How are you living your ‘Mystery’ this new year? This new moment of being? You are HERE! And I, for one, am grateful.  For all my intentions of being here in this blog space to ceremoniously ring in the new year, it is simply here and now that I am showing up with scattered greetings of epiphany, burning bowl and the shine of solstice shadows. The following 3 videos came about on December 21st, December 31st, and January 6th. I suppose the way any ‘real’ person shares such things is in real time like on FaceBook. Somehow, I save things for this space because it feels more sacred and sanctified. And yes, we get to make it all up, whatever meaning we assign to whatever we do … for who … when!

This Epiphany video shares my intention/resolution to DIG in this 2017 as a disciple as well as a new song, “Free To Leave” that sings to the spiritual parenting journey I have been on with my son, my father, and myself. My big epiphany of 2017: Just keep showing up however you are called! DIG in and do it! Be a devoted disciple to the divine callings of your heart with discipline. Not too sexy or exciting yet the discipline will allow me more structure and ultimately more freedom! Too much freedom can lead to chaos. And in my case, the lack of structure and devotion to my own callings in the wake of serving everyone else led to some extreme end of the year exhaustion I am just now recovering from! Inward Investments invite innate inspirations! Intuition! Imagination! I am a disciple of these! And in being a devotee of this infinity of divinity, I gratefully live in the glow of grace. Gratitude garners grace! So it is that I am a disciple of my divinity infinitely inspired by intuition ad imagination as I gratefully grow in grace!

43.CoCreateDreams
Our Creative Spirit Families’ ‘For Humanity’ year did indeed make it’s way co-creating A-Z in 2016. This co-creator rolled over into 2017 with extra ZZZZZZZZZZs to catch up and replenish in the Circle Of Time!


Ultimately, especially this time of year, we can look to our dreams for the solutions and resolutions we seek for our happiness. Yet, we all have failed resolutions. In fact, the odds are with us that by year’s end we will find ourselves in a similar place in the circle from where we started. YET! As spiritual beings on this human path, we have SO many transformational tools to transform our dreams into realities. Habits can be shifted and changed to support us. Being mindful and proactive in releasing the old and embracing the new is one that comes up this time of year. Setting intentions, using a burning bowl for release and centering into what we are embracing is a ritual that serves us on holy days, calendar milestones, and ANY time the energies beckon! From the small to the tall, there are always milestones along our path …

Breathe deep in blessed, bountiful, beautiful balance! Affirm change with any and every mindful breath ... releasing the old and embracing the new!
Breathe deep in blessed, bountiful, beautiful balance! Affirm change with any and every mindful breath … releasing the old and embracing the new!

Our year always ends and begins with Folk Music Camp; a few hundred of us sing, ring, play, dance out the old and in the new. This was my 25th+ year and Jeremiah’s 17th (counting in utero) so quite the long standing tradition. This was the first time in all those years, I didn’t have kids for a youth chorus. the tradition started when I first joined because there were SO many kids and a need. For the last bunch of years, the kids have been few and the need diminished. This was the year to let it go. So I released that and many other things with some tears and a beautiful burning bowl ceremony with some lovely ladies who joined me. Rather than do it alone, I invited others on the workshop board and The Invitation was beautifully met as shared in this brief Camp video:

And since this is a video sharing day, let me issue one more invitation. Let’s just simply say shine on from the lost and found camera, barn song video, Shine Through The Shadows here!

Shining our light and living our dreams is not about being shadow free but rather a continuous process of bringing our light to the shadows. And! If you’re anything like me, taking the time to shine the light in celebration of all that HAS changed, HAS gone right, HAS manifested is paramount! We can always take time to honor what has come to be! Like water over stone, we are constantly evolving and changing … With each turn of the wheel, we are always in a different place on the circle.

At Camp, I had a little workshop to sing the 36 A-Z Short Spirit Songs created in 2016. I am excited and delighted to be resolved in producing those songs in CD and digital release this year ~ whoopee! I also published in the Leaping Literacy Library, 44 new alliteration titles in 2016! You can get online pictorial & audio samples of any or all of them here:

2016newSo my 2017 is still working on the missing letters and a WHOLE lot more as a disciplined disciple of my muse. One day, one page, one title at a time … at the pace of grace … from my winter zzzzzzzz slumber of rejuvenation ~ resolved not to repeat the exhaustion of 2016! Our January Jubilee Free Shelf is stocked and we are smiling on the New Thought Families daily Play and Pray Calendar!

freebies

Whatever mix of new and old you are in this mindful moment, may you breathe in ease and grace in the circle of time knowing that you, and all of life are absolutely fine and divine. And yes, absolutely, continue to release, embrace, and SHINE! “Let the cracks allow more light to shine through your heart.” Thank you, thank you, for the infinity of divinity that is the smiling you. Namaste, Love!Mountain Flowers bloom thru granite

 

 

Posted in Advent, Awareness, Blessings, Children's Books, Co-Creation Manifestation, Family, Hope, Light, Love, Prayer, Presence, Spiritual ABCs

Exhilaration, Expectation, Exploration ~ Expressions!

 

330-expressexistence

Namaste Exuberant Expressions Exploring Existence!

Yes, our alphabetic year has us wrapping up, X-Y-Z with today expressing some thoughts of the Season in an exploration with the expansive Letter X ~ coupled with the seen and not heard silent e! Gentle readers, were any of you raised with the silent e? A generational thing, my father, in particular was of the mind that children were to be seen and not heard. An interesting placement for an expressive word girl like me! Our current exploration and examination looks at some of the gifts of past and present as we continue to consciously co-create our personal and collective realities. In the Christian tradition, the second week of Advent is underway, celebrating Love or Peace depending on your tradition with the super energized power of Hope as week 1 of Advent and the pink candle of JOY being lit for the 3rd week. As we center in these expectant energies, we experience more of them in our consciousness.

 

The Power Of Prayer & Expectation!

As in the last few posts, I find myself compelled to be more politically outspoken than ever before. First, great gratitude to the Army Corp of Engineers and President Obama for (finally!) halting the Dakota Access Pipeline on Sunday. YES! #NODAPL nodaplThank you to the thousands of peaceful, prayerful water protectors who stood the (freezing!) ground under illegal, militarized force. Thank you for the thousands of veterans who showed up over the weekend to protect and stand with the people and to say this is not acceptable in the country we fought for. The power of feet to prayer! The tide was turned … for now. The prayer continues to let the black snake sleep and to harness the clean energy of the wind and sun that promises prosperity and sustainability … for all our relations. Aho.

Examination  & Excavation!

336-exceedexpectationThere is a definite correlation with what has been happening at Standing Rock and the rest of America as we stand divided over the Presidential election. Like racism & sexism, the oil industry should be on it’s way out but not without an uprising of resistance. Environmentally evidenced with the CEO of Exxon being interviewed as the potential Secretary of State, there is a definite eye on turning back our environmental headway and sustaining the greed of big oil companies; talk of reinstating construction of the Keystone pipeline is also in the air. As our wise indigenous people call it, the ‘black snake’ is still very much a threat. So! That is just one aspect of why I ~ and millions of others ~ are harboring hope for a different outcome in this Presidential election.

There is still hope. The Electoral College officially votes in the President on December 19th. With Green party Jill Stein initiated recounts in WI, MI, and PA, there is hope of a different outcome. Stein is maintaining that the integrity of our voting system needs to be checked, hear, here! And! The Electors are free to vote their conscience. The Electoral College was, in part, designed by the forefathers like Alexander Hamilton to be a protection valve to keep someone unfit from being our commander-in-chief. Electors were initially formed as a group of citizens bound not by party, but by their responsibility to this nation. Unfortunately, there has been some loss of this vision as expressed by one Elector from FL who said she campaigned for Trump and would of course vote for him. So much for not bound by party! YET! Let us expect more from other electors given so many red flags about the president elect. Let us expect that the exasperating normalization of his sociopathic behavior all through the campaign and through his cabinet selections, tweets, and ‘Victory Lap’ rallies of late will STOP with the sanity of humanity guiding the Electors to vote for the popular vote winner (by 2.5 million votes), Hillary Rodham Clinton. I am choosing to expect this! Yes, I am along for the ride of divine order in all of it, no matter what. AND! Just like with Standing Rock, it takes prayer to feet, voices raised ~ in Loving expectation for the highest good to execute change! You can write the Electors with your voice through an easy peasy website HERE! An excerpt from the he letter I wrote reads, “We have an extremely experienced and capable President in Hillary Rodham Clinton; the people’s choice by popular vote. No matter what your party affiliation, which of these two candidates do you truly see as able to lead? Able to responsibly hold the nuclear codes? Able to sit with other world leaders? Able to reach across party lines? Which would you like as a role model for your children and grandchildren?” Should you be interested, my whole letter is HERE.
333-experiment
This great nation was founded on an experiment. We must follow human evolution to continue to experiment and expel what doesn’t serve the highest good. My hope is that justice and sanity will prevail in this election as well as our government’s decisions going forward. At the least, let this be the end of the Electoral College which was founded on some good tenants but also on the indigestible, inexcusable back of slavery which equated a slave as 3/5 a person. That’s hard to type. Some parts of our executive history must be expelled. Especially with so many different views in this diverse country, every person and every vote should count equally. We must raise our voices for justice! Again, write the Electors  HERE! And if you want to know all about the Electoral college, the government’s site is HERE.

Of course, there is so much to take in these days. We must align with what resonates with our own heart and mind. Ultimately, every part of our existence is up to us to prioritize our own truth. I know of no other way than turning within for deep listening.335-examine

Excited Expectation & Exhilaration!

This month of de-LIGHT ~ FULL December, at least some of our children teachers are exercising their expanding extreme excitement for the arrival of Santa or other gift giving, light filled traditions such as Hanukkah (December 25-January 1, 2016). Our New Thought Families Inspiration page lists some of the light filled celebrations and traditions going on around the world this month like St. Lucia Day on 12/13 and Solstice on 12/21. We are having an intergenerational Living Light PlayShop on the 21st in a sharing celebration with some of our local families. Here our Inspiration page’s celebration THIS day!
St. Nick Christian ~ December 6th ~ Saint Nicholas Day
Christian celebration of the birth of Saint Nicolas, patron saint of children and role model for gift giving. Many churches named for this saint who is also the Dutch version of Santa Claus. It is thought that over the centuries the legendary St. Nicholas was merged with similar cultural and religious figures. Significant among these were the pagan Knecht Ruprecht and the Roman figure of Befana, as well as the Christ child (Christkind, or Kris Kringle). In parts of northern Europe, particularly the Low Countries and some German-speaking areas, St. Nicholas Day has remained a time when children are given special cookies, candies, and gifts.

 

santae

Expressing Expectation!

Yes, letters to Santa are something many of us, in this culture have done; back in the 1960’s, my letter here was written at school, I’m sure. I found it this year in cleaning out one of the cluttered corners at my dad’s ranch. I got to see how similar the 7 year old me is to the 54 year old me ~ wordy! Heartfelt and expectant of the good. We must keep the flame of hope and expectation alive for the expanded heart to stay healthy and hearty!santaletterl

328-expand

Exploring Expansion!

Feeling exuberant excitement and exhilaration sometimes eludes us as adults caught up in the workaday world. Let’s look to the young children again as our teachers when we need to reconnect with the wonder of what it is to be alive ~ for the awe of existence … our own and the life that surrounds us. It is through the now moments of aware, grateful celebration, we allow our hearts and our happiness to expand.  I recently celebrated the last red leaf on our beautiful dogwood tree, clinging to the bare branches as the last expression of fall beauty. Whether it was fear of falling or simply extended, expanded expression, this beautiful lone leaf hung in there for days lending lots of contemplation of existence for me. I was reminded of the short story by O Henry, The Last Leaf,  that can be read quickly and easily HERE through the wonders of the world wide web. Though published in 1907, it’s timeless message speaks to how our expressions can expand or even extend each others’ lives. Like the best of Christmas movies (think, ‘It’s A Wonderful Life!), it is exactly fitting in this season of light.

332-explain

The traditions of each family are handed down to our children. Some are ancient, some adapted, some relatively new. The candle lighting celebration of family, culture and community that is Kwanzaa (December 26-January 1st, 2016) began in 1966 so is 50 years young this season.  A 500 year old tradition of Las Pasadas is a procession reenactment of Mary on the donkey with Joseph looking for lodging for the birth of Jesus. In our little town, Las Pasadas began 10 years ago and this year was my 8th to participate; 4 in the walking choir, 4 as a singing musician. The sea of voices and candle lights spread out through our little town always feels holy to me. I am grateful for the ways we can connect to story, ancestors, our inner light and the collective light that is the best of humanity. When we explain to our children who we truly be as shining lights, tradition is part of what makes up the explanation of our existence.


Expressing Exclamations!

Our daily Play & Pray Calendar as well as our Free Shelf in the Leaping Literacy Online Library are all about the Letter Y the first half of December ~ lots of yesness and yoga! With Laurie StorEBooks and songs featuring yelling, yes, and yellow, we spotlight Yogi Keith Lickey and Yogini Marsha Therese Danzig with their yoga explanations and invitations. Coming sometime this week, is a long overdue bit of fairy yoga on the beach with Marsha. Due to bad sound and a replacement soundtrack I just couldn’t sync, I had abandoned the project but with renewed faith and acceptance of what is, I think we can still do some sparkling yogic yesness with marvelous Marsha ~ YES!freebies

Exuberant Exhilaration!

Oh, exploring existence of goodness, I wish you so much illumined exuberance … or at the least, a full measure of comfort and joy ~ this moment ~ and all throughout the season! Thank you for the gift of you and your presence here. Whether you express yourself through Christmas cards, a letter to the Electors, to Santa, to Creator, to yourself … may you know you are exactly in the right place in your/our expression and expansion.

May we all keep examining what needs saving from extinction and what needs to be expertly extinguished so that the light and Love of our full expression can shine ~ this season and always! Namaste, Love!334-extinction

P.S.
Sing transformational expressions with us this season!

12 Thoughts of Christmas
 
Posted in Awareness, Blessings, Children's Books, Co-Creation Manifestation, Compassion, Justice, kindness, Love, Service, Spiritual ABCs, Spiritual Parenting, Truth

Justice Kisses: Kindred Kindness

152.Kiss Connected Kisses This Memorial Day!
I greet you in kindred connection to the kind core that lives in each of us and all of us ~ especially on this Memorial or Decoration Day here in the U.S. where we honor those who have died in war. My mother grew up with Decoration Day being a time to place flowers on the graves of all family members; to remember all those no longer here. My mom remembers picking wild flowers when they were fresh and storing them in 5 gallon buckets under the house for a week sometimes before Decoration Day. Somehow this image of the mindful remembrance and co-creation of my kinfolk, seems to make my heart smile and make me feel more akin to the holiday.151.KindToCreationCaring Kisses! Though this holiday weekend means many things ~ including BBQs and an ushering in of summer (though Solstice is still 3 weeks away!), it is most widely an honoring of those lives lost and damaged in war. I’ll be taking my dad, a WWII vet, to a ceremony and lunch at our local Veteran’s Hall. Last year at this event, the Chaplain’s extra long ‘prayer’ included what I found to be hate speech against many in our American (global) family. So, I am resisting returning there again yet I am still willing to be in service to my dad; in this case, for his service to our country. And I am willing to be in service to Love, kindness, justice, allowance, remembrance …MemorialKisses Of  Remembrance! Memorial. A time to remember. Where we honor our ancestors and bring forward some of the past into our present and ultimately our future. Hopefully, generations to come will heal the insanity of humanity that is war (Eckhart Tolle) and more fully embody the inherent freedom that exists within us as both the truth and possibility of humanity. And by us remembering this essence of who we truly be, we make each day, an opportunity to live remembrance … in active Love and service, allowance and forgiveness, compassion and kindness. Memorial picture from Pixabay.Kisses Of  Kindness! We attended a graduation celebration yesterday for a wonderful young woman who has always embodied kindness and service. Sara sang on many of our CDs and it was fun to see her and Jeremiah together … our kids are such a kinesthetic marker of time! Sara has upcoming service projects this summer that include building a house in Mexico, helping handicap children ride horses in Idaho and feeding the hungry in central California. She continues to keep connecting in kindred kindness in answering the callings of her heart. Jeremiah and I then returned to our old church this morning in their (not so) new location we had never been to. This was the community where we met Sara and sang together. The church continues to “Love, Serve, and Remember” and it was a gift to rekindle some old connections with kisses of caring kindness.150.KindredConnectionsKinfolk Kisses! My own Jeremiah is wrapping up school this week: some tests still await ~ including his driver’s test. Gulp. It’s here, my son, the licensed driver. This week also includes a long drive to my nephew’s graduation, the local graduation (Jeremiah’s on French horn for pomp and circumstance!) + I am hosting a little cast party one day after school at 14 Main ~ the dusty old family store some of the drama kids did the one act play about this year.BlogLakeT And! Next Sunday, our Creative Spirit Families’ local PlayShop is at beautiful Lake Tabeau ~ woo hoo! So lots of continued, blessed busy-ness, as my little Laurie StorEBooks (the most joy filled calling of my heart!) are still being birthed. JoinJ00 copyCommitted Kisses! In the midst of keeping commitments and connections with kin that include all of the above + a whole lota blessed birthday celebrations and some local performances this June, I will be sending my teenager off with free wings and a big sky the summer. Jeremiah is going to Spain on a school trip and when they come back to the States into Dallas, he will board another flight to Philly to be with his dad. They will drive nana’s old car across the country so my licensed driver will have his own wheels next school year. (More free wings for mama too!) Jeremiah will also return to band camp at Lake Tahoe for a week before school resumes in August so my free bird will be covering lots of sky this summer! Me? I will still be caring for dad while having a bit of a staycation at home. I will be kindling co-creation playing with a huge ABC project and production list. I plan to go back to kindergarten ~ with a playful heart and an open, learning mind! 154.KindergartenKisses Calling! What summer adventures are calling you and yours this season?! How about joining us in the sacred Sierras for fun, frolic, feathers, conscious, caring community and heart opening, empowering connections with self, family, friends, nature, creativity, spirituality?!
Feathers16AFeathers16B Kindred Kisses! Our hearts are always calling us home … to kindred connections of kindness, creativity, compassion, justice. We know what’s right and fair for ourselves and our family. In spiritually parenting myself, teenage Jeremiah and elder dad, things may often feel unfair or ‘wrong’ yet I have come to know the opportunity in those feelings to go deeper into divine order where kindness and justice reign supreme ~ always and in all ways. With Jeremiah in particular, I see the power of conscious connection that we have nurtured together. I heard a great term this week from an unidentified source, that the teenage experience is “dirtying the nest”. So true ~ in more ways than one! Yet awake and aware consciousness allows us to keep Spirit/God in the forefront helping us to navigate sometimes turbulent teenage waters with conscious kindness. The natural give and take of him growing up gives me just enough “Ok, go ahead and take your mess with you” to balance out the tears and sadness in spending the summer without him. I actually feel happy for him and for me ~ for the most part!
Leaping Literacy Kisses!FreebiesAs promised, we added K to J for the fleeting days of May on the Leaping Literacy Online Library Free Shelf. In the upcoming first days of June, we embrace the light, life, and Love of L! Remember, you can play & pray with us every day on our New Thought Families Daily Play & Pray  Calendar.

Kindle Kisses! And so it is we carry on in kindling moment by moment kisses. Kisses of awareness, goodness, justice, kindness, togetherness & tenderness, reverence & remembrance. I send you a grateful kiss of yes in this blessed moment with a reminder invitation to carry kindness wherever you go … Namaste, Love!148.CarryKindness

Posted in Affirmations, Awareness, Children's Books, Co-Creation Manifestation, Compassion, Creativity, Divinity, Family, Joy, Justice, Spiritual ABCs, Spiritual Parenting

Joyous Inspiration, Judicious Implemention

116.InvestigateNamaste  Joyous, Jolly, Judiciousness Expressed!
I greet you with great gratitude after some time away from the blog this May. I am joyously grateful to be back! I have had many moments of missing this space and feeling out of integrity in not showing up here though this has been a time of integration and inner investigation amid outer exhaustion. A merry month of May mothering, nurturing, deepening vision and commitment along with tempering judgments; ah, awareness of judicious fairness! Like busy you, always so many things on the perpetual list to do, a job of forever choosing and tempering joy and justice. In this very moment, I am choosing to return to and stay in service to posting this blogpost rather than go to my yoga class. Out late last night and every night this week with Jeremiah’s joyous drama and band events, I am on dad duty later this morning to get him ready and to the doctor. My yoga class is on the way to dad’s house … mmm … deep breath. I embrace the yoga blessing of this blog here and now. I release the ongoing judgments of not enoughness that seemingly demand I stop sleeping altogether ( that wouldn’t be enough either!) and I breathe in the joy of this blessed, connected moment. It is joyful and I was made for this job! 139.JollyJumpingIsn’t it a wondrous blessing that we get to choose how we show up for the work/play of our lives?! While my own family commitments of single, spiritual parenting a 16 year old, a 90 year old, and a wanna be business continue to be potentially overwhelming, the groceries and dirty laundry of life provide the ongoing opportunity to consciously align and re-align with putting the joy in all the jobs I have taken on. In the Mothering Month of May, we can look at the co-creation of our lives as a joyous celebration. And when darkness comes to call as it does in every heart, we can explore the judgments for justice. My own exploration this month has found judgment as the balance point between joy and justice. Every mother (and father, and human co-creator) knows what it is to feel the joy of life gone ‘right’ and the pain of injustice for the myriad of ways the insanity of humanity shows up. Indeed, Mother’s Day itself began for justice, a “Mother’s Day For Peace” that no mother would ever lose a child to war. Ultimately, the ‘job’ of being human is a navigation between the juxtaposition of allowing joy and implementing justice.127.Implore130.JoyfulNoise

Even though there is plenty of injustice instigated by the insanity of humanity, our hearts are ever calling us home to joy evidenced in young children as our teachers. I find this call to joy to be an irresistible invitation and one that we can help hold for all of humanity ~ especially those who unfairly suffer. One playful, prayerful practice from our daily Play & Pray Calendar this month is to feel grateful joy for our blessings and to send out this high vibration in waves of compassionate justice hopefully helping to uplift the hurting hearts unfortunately found everywhere. 140.JoyfulWavesJusticeSo! It seems we can always meet in the messy middle in consciously living the divine. Enter … Entropy! ~ My teenage Jeremiah explained to me that he had found the reason for his messy bedroom clearly explained in his chemistry class. It seems there is a natural law called entropy that denotes that everything is always in a continuous chaos state of breakdown. Jeremiah further educated me that entropy has been scientifically proven and is irrefutable. “Ok”, I answered, “I certainly get chaos but where is the divine order?” Without missing a beat, Jeremiah said, “Mom, science hasn’t integrated the divine yet.” Yet. I suspect my Jeremiah may be one of those who will help the integration of science and spirituality along. And that thought helps me allow the presence of entropy in his bedroom. And in my own life and work for that matter!

The introduction of a named natural law for breakdown and chaos has helped me in my current, fluctuating chrysalis states. I do, absolutely see, know, affirm, believe in divine order. Always. And in all things. Yet, the messiness of my life and business, can easily feel out of control. It seems when one area of life feels well managed and handled, several other areas feel more messy. So Jeremiah shows me this YouTube video on entropy and the young sci guy is explaining that you eat lunch to get the fuel to clean your house. As you are cleaning your house and it is coming into order, your lunch is breaking down in your body in a certain state of disorder. ~ And yes, we know there is divine order at work there as always ~ One definition of entropy says, “lack of order or predictability; gradual decline into disorder”. So maybe as you have a work project, you bring it together in an office or room that gradually turns to disorder. Could be just the regular week of life, school, kids, here and there … starts off in cleanly order and ends in heaps of dirty laundry and other piles of disarray. Is it divine? All the time!

Freebies

Leaping Literacy Library! We are actually coming to the end of our 2 week stay with J on the daily Play & Pray Calendar and the Free Shelf offerings. Yet! In all good keeping with joy and justice, we will add K and keep J for the rest of May! With jolly J we are joy jumping and joining the Overground Railroad! Our continued connections with kindness and our global kinfolk are narrated by Ruth Humphreys on this upcoming week’s daily Play & Pray Calendar ~ thanks Ruth! And! In all my messiness, I have co-created 14 new Spirit Sing short songs; there are 16 posted in the developing Spirit ABC CD for Marvelous Leaping Literacy Library Members. I have also co-created and published 24 (!) new Laurie StorEBooks this sweet 16 available on our Kindle Shelf and in the Leaping Literacy Library ~ check out free samples of all of them from HERE!
135.JoyToWorldThank you again joyous breath of justice ~ for being here and for being conscious you expressing your goodness, kindness, justice and isness in this big, bold, beautiful world. Through our conscious expressions of who we truly be, our joy does help bring justice to all … And so it is! And so we are. Namaste, Love!

Posted in Acceptance, Awareness, Beauty, Blessings, Children's Books, Co-Creation Manifestation, Creativity, devotion, Grace, Gratitude, Hope, Imagination, Love, Music, Nature

Growing Gratitude: Appreciation’s Altitude

94.GrowGratitudeNamaste Green Growing Gusts of Grateful Gusto!

I greet you with great gratitude and appreciation for you ~ and April, and alphabetic guidelines, for the Letter G ~ and H! ~ and for the grace filled growth of gratitude. In this week’s blog, we are further embracing G’s galore as we explore what it is to grow gratitude. From my blessed, safe, and beauty filled existence, I have 3 pictorial examples of how gratefulness can help garner more grace from experiences that otherwise lean towards doubt, grief, defeat, and fear. Though these stories are small, I hope they may serve you in some way ~ thank you for being here!

Birds and animals gratefully store their acorn groceries for another day!
Birds and animals gratefully store away their acorn groceries for another day!

If you watched last week’s grace vlog, you caught a glimpse of the green glory that is surrounding our home this time of year. We are richly blessed with hills and fields of green, dotted with wonderful wildflowers. Right outside my (office) corner window is a dazzling dogwood tree. Even though this is the 5th spring bloom I have witnessed of this tree, I found myself giving into an annual doubt that the itty bitty buds couldn’t possibly yield big, beautiful blooms this year … Blooms1I remember last year thinking my fabulous pink faced friend wouldn’t bloom because of the drought. With much more rain this year, how could I doubt? I dunno … I just did. I watched myself doubting and had conversations of faith. Surely our dogwood would absolutely sprout in grace …???!!! I have to say, I gave gratitude every day and affirmations of this beautiful life unfolding … as if I was gently scolding my inner doubts, that of course the buds would sprout. YES! Of course blessed! Blooms2My little work corner is once more graced with glorious pink blooms galore! With pink triumphantly smiling and sprouting a go-go, how could I ever have been doubting my little buds would grow and glow?! Blooming WorkSo while I am graced in pink divine, how can I help but rhyme?! I have been co-creating more Laurie StorEBooks in keeping with my alphabetic calendar … still a bit late but loving how great it is to co-create! Now, in this next sharing example, you may easily miss the doubt, fear and defeat that threatened to be ample … Briefly put, I ran into more of the technical difficulties that seemingly can come from old software, no budget or supporting workforce, and a grim reaper that can rise up to shout how silly my ‘work’ is and to just GIVE UP already! Whoa. See how the energy just shifted … In the face of the details, I was able to stay my mind on the freedom of grace ~ firm faith in divine order. Everything turned out more than fine ~ I find these latest alliterative Laurie StorEBooks divine! You may remember seeing this title a few weeks back … but the diner was way too dingy … DinaDiner00 copySo technical difficulties aside … rah, rah, and TA DA!DinaDiner06 copyYou can now find Dina Dimetrodon’s Dessert Diner on Kindle! You can also find Fiona Fay’s Family Flower Farm on our Kindle shelf!FlowerFarm00 copyFlowerFarm07 copy
So! I am ever so grateful for staying grateful … or at least faithful in these little big ways in my world this week. What I found is that appreciation is fed by gratitude and this leads to an inevitable altitude of Spirit! Being grateful and faithful has also been fed with large doses of allowance, acceptance, forgiveness and an intermingling of some big C’s ~ commitment and a much dreaded (by me!) C … compromise! In my alphabetic timeline, I seem to forever be behind … of course, this plays out elsewhere in my “never enough” existence! So! With great and grateful use of the spiritual tools, I am celebrating and adjusting as needed. I am working on “G” books and loving them even as I celebrate the “D” and “F” titles above. The Leaping Literacy Library shelves are slowly be transformed for the way better in how they look as well as what they house. (Patient blooms!) For New Thought Families, our daily Play & Pray Calendar is right on track ~ today, we technically are crossing over from G to H:
99.GrowHopeAs we continue to grow and hold hope for humanity, tomorrow marks our 100th “For Humanity” calendar day! We still have hope of sprinkling more narration voices onto our calendar pages ~ the lovely Ruth Humphrey’s narrates 3 days this coming week ~ yay! How about adding your voice?  Contact us, ok?! The magic of technology could add your voice with ours! What do you say? I also want to say that the new Children’s Chants, A~G (11 of them!) are roughly recorded and in place for our Marvelous Members.

The final little pictorial story for grace filled gratitude comes from the calf who died on Good Friday at my dad’s ranch. Briefly told, the little calf got sick and kept taking herself into the pond. Her poor mama didn’t know what to do ~ except protect her from us ~ our good ranch neighbor who tried to help …Cow1Mama cow was having none of the cowboy’s tricks. She ended up on the other side of the pond which caused baby to swim across to her … The whole time, the rest of our little herd of 3 mamas and 3 babies were calling and calling …Cow2Simply put, shortly after crossing the pond, we watched the calf die. I had been praying to the helping angels and it seemed they answered with a hastened death. Since she was to go, and she was suffering, quicker is better. The other cows immediately stopped calling and went away. The mama stood grieving and as I turned away in sadness with our neighbor, I turned inwardly to gratitude. With a prayer of surrender similar to that of my ‘technical difficulty’ one, I affirmed divine order. The conversation that ensued, ended up bringing a huge shift in my dad and release for me. Sadly for my 90 year old dad, and in a blessed gift of grace for me, we will be letting the cows go later this year and our good neighbor will rent the fields for his cows grazing. Truly, divine order grace! Meanwhile, our grieving mama cow is most often found with the small herd but looking away from them. Here, another mama sits with her as she gazes into the flowing creek. Grief is real and deep for this mother and even though I can greet at least part of this situation with gratitude, I’m not sure how it soothes mama cow. I do believe she has grace. And in this and hopefully other moments, she has a friend. Sometimes, just to be gathered together is the greatest gift.Cow3Again, I thank you for being here and I do hope that you are able to garner gratitude for whatever gifts of grace you are facing. I really know how gratifying it is to affirm divine order when everything looks good and how challenging it is when things seem ‘wrong’. Yet I also have a deep appreciation of how gratitude grows the altitude of our well being on all levels … especially when we employ faith filled thankfulness for ALL. Truly, there is no spot where God is not and for that, I am forever grateful. Namaste, Love!

PlayShop THIS Sunday! SO grateful to be gathering!
PlayShopsApril