My name is…and I’m a…

What do an unkempt yard, garden tools, and a timer have in common? The answer… awareness and inspiration. My time pulling weeds and cleaning up garden debris has brought to the forefront of my awareness an obvious addiction I’ve had for years…perhaps my entire adult life. It’s one that is often welcomed in the professional arena. But before my friends and congregants get too concerned about my problem, let me declare it here and now: I’m a workaholic…on the path to recovery.

During the past two years, I’ve focused on two separate careers. Long hours and extensive commuting have been the priority, excluding me from any kind of real life. Now, having left the distant, full-time office job and turning full-time focus to ministry, teaching and writing while working from home, I’m discovering the challenges of creating my day’s schedule, learning to rest without becoming complacent or distracted (staying motivated), and quieting the voice in my head that constantly tells me I’m not doing enough.

Just recently, I literally forced myself to spend an afternoon on the couch, resting after a busy Sunday morning and watching television with my husband. There was work waiting at my desk (there always is) and projects were clearly visible around the house, in the yard, garage, and especially in my office. The whole time I was on the couch, that ugly voice was whispering how lazy I was….that I wasn’t really tired and didn’t need to sit there…that work – any work – was more important than television (no matter what was on)…that I’d pay for it later…and other things that were much more critical and hurtful. Ego will say whatever it can to keep things static, familiar. It was all I could do to force my restless body to stay seated in the recliner.

I have always known how to work. I learned it at an early age and have been rewarded for my efforts. It’s what I do best. Frankly, resting, taking breaks, or relaxing is where the difficulty lies. Take away my opportunity to work on a project, to solve a problem, to meet a deadline, and it’s like taking away the bottle from an alcoholic or drugs from an addict. In the past, given a choice to work or go to some social event, I’d gladly choose work (in my head). Most always I have two or three or more projects going at the same time. My brain never shuts off and is generally focused on work-related topics. I learned I could rest when the work is done, but it never is. I’d start a 12-Step group in my area, but taking on another task would only add to the problem. (Go to for symptoms of this addiction.)

As I work on my landscape maintenance projects, something I absolutely love doing, it’s become critical for my health to pace myself. I use a timer…and the “power of an hour.” I give myself one hour each morning to play in the dirt – that’s it. Then I consciously talk myself into cleaning up, putting away the garden tools, bagging up the weeds and yard trash, before going on to the next task (it’s quite a conversation!)…where I set the timer again. If I don’t limit my time in this manner, I have been known to work myself into exhaustion – euphoric with what I’ve visibly accomplished, but unable to move a muscle from all the adrenal push and exhaustion. My body needs the physical exercise and movement, but I don’t need to work myself to death. Yes, it appears I’ve reached bottom.

My ego had been fairly quiet these past two years as I pushed myself through an insane schedule and rationalized it was something I had to do. Now, it’s shouting again. Making the choice to focus on one career and a personal life has not been an easy one for me. I’m seeing me in a glaring light of self-awareness. I’m noticing the difficulty in pacing myself through projects, finding balance on a daily basis, and committing to recovery from this obsessive, addictive behavior. I’ve even begun to set the timer for my rest periods or fun activities, too, so I know when I can get back to work. Baby steps…one day at a time.

I’m ready to enjoy life – every bit of it – family, friends, home, hobbies, fun and relation, time for me, and work – each in its own turn. I’m grateful for all the loving support in this recovery endeavor. It’ll be interest­ing to see who I become through the process. I could go on and on about this, but right now, I’m being called outside to give a six-year-old lessons in tree climbing. See you later.


One of the aspects of our family home, the one we’ve moved back into in recent months, is that – as one friend commented – it has character. Yes, it does. It has unique attributes that give it its own personality and atmosphere, similar to the way people have theirs. It got me wondering, “How does this happen to a house? How do we recognize when a person has character? What does that really mean?”

A few definitions for “character” include: personality, disposition, moral fiber, nature, spirit, and more. When applied to a house, it must come from its architects and, eventually, its residents. We can witness over time how a homeowner or family adds to the personality of a house through its décor, landscaping, and wear-and-tear – the livingness of life. The nicks and bruises, repairs and improvements, even the human or animal scents of those who live there, all modify the original structure. Modifications can be the result of a family’s growth, such as changing a paint color of a room to indicate a boy or girl occupies that space, adding an addition or remodeling a basement as individual interests expand. The space becomes personalized and takes on features that are connected to its occupants and their life events.

This happens to us as well. Our physical development as humans begins in the womb, before we even enter this outer world. We’re born into a family or situation that begins to mold the person we can become – through traditions, rituals, customs, rules, etc. We begin to engage in the shared world, go to schools, join activities, groups and churches, make friends and adversaries, get jobs, and have all sorts of relationships. Every interaction and experience impacts us in some way…it just does.

You may not remember every single thing in detail, but your participation is forever logged in your being, whether physically, mentally or spiritually. It shapes the person you become – and you are always becoming more of who you are capable of being. This “what” – this beingness of you­ – is your character. Just like a home – the nicks and bruises of life, the self-improvements and growth opportunities, the mental expansion that experiences naturally provide – your personality, nature, and spirit are impacted. These factors and more shape the person you are and how you respond to the world and all its interactions of life.

Your character is your way of being in the world, how you think about it, and your part in it. It’s the way you react or respond… judge or accept… blame or take responsibility… avoid or participate… reject or choose. While aspects of character, such as honesty, integrity, ethics, etc., are shared by all, each person’s interpretation of those aspects is what makes their character unique to them. I learned a quotation decades ago that has served me well: “The true character of a man is what he does when no one is looking.” (This applies to women, too.)

A house becomes a home…a baby becomes an adult. Every transformation may include pain and hard work. The final result depends on the effort made throughout the process and the quality of mind put into the creation. As long as you are breathing, you will never be finished creating the person you can become and the character you hold within. And isn’t that a wonderful thing!


It doesn’t matter who you are, where you live, or the life you are creating…you will be in relationship with someone at sometime. Your very life began as a result of the physical relationship of your parents. The end of your life may include the care of those who are not your family. Yet the most important relationship to consider, which you will no doubt reflect upon during your final days if not before, is the one you have with yourself…your human personality or ego self with your spiritual or God-Self.

You are always the common denominator in any relationship of your life. Think about that? In fact, here are a few questions to consider:

  • If you are experiencing negativity or irritation or some other type of low-quality feeling with the majority of the people in your life, is it really them?
  • Would the people in your life be more welcome to you if ALL of them just changed?
  • Or is it your perspective and attitude that needs the adjustment?
  • What is the ‘quality’ of your relationships with others?
  • How do you view yourself?
  • Would you want YOU for a friend?

I am about to leave my place of employment where I’ve been for nearly two years. During this time, I’ve taken little initiative to get to know many of the people here. In fact, far more people know who I am than I do them. Our work tasks do not mingle, we’re on different floors, work different schedules, etc. It is what it is.

On the other hand, of those few people I do know and interact with regularly, the depth of most interactions has been very shallow. We’ve not gone out lunch together or shared a coffee break. Topics of conversation have centered on work or the company the majority of the time. This approach is partly due to the solitary environment in which I’ve been working, as well as my less-than-enthusiastic desire to be here. I am responsible for the way I isolated myself so as not to get too involved, which could have impacted my decision to leave or focus on a new career direction, but resolved an inner conflict I found easier to avoid than to face.

It is only now that, with the decision made to leave and my last day of working here clearly in view, I am taking the time to share of myself and they with me. Oh, what I have missed!  We have shed tears together, shared dreams, told stories, solved world problems, and laughed about so many things. Whether we continue our new, deeper relationships after my departure from this job remains to be seen.   

While I have some regret of not making this effort earlier in my tenure here, I have learned, again, a valuable lesson of living, connecting, and being present in the now moment of livingness…to recognize the preciousness of our earthly relationships and the value they offer to our spiritual consciousness. Whether it be for a moment in the check-out line, daily interaction with the people at work, or how you live with yourself from the inside-out, the quality of your relationships is up to you…and you alone.


Tell Me What You Want…

At first glance this title may suggest that I’m asking someone what they want so I can help fulfill that desire. Actually, this is far from the meaning. While I am more than willing to assist, pray and encourage others to fulfill their dreams and goals, it is no longer in my nature to do it for them.

What this title is asking is that you be direct with me (and others)…that you speak honestly, authentically and from the heart…with compassion and respect, of course. Rest assured that I will do the same with you. A slogan I learned years ago states: “Honesty without compassion is brutality.”

When a person speaks Truth (based on principle, objectively and from their God-self), it’s much easier to hear, too. All the excuses or whining, the reasons why-not, and the justifications for being unkind, just seem to disappear and fall away. The words and emotions of Truth are more recognizable because they’re in all of us. It’s the human drama details that get in the way of us communicating effectively with one another.

I want to hear what you want to say…at the gut level, from the heart. Tell it to me straight the first time. Don’t give me a story now because you think that’s what I want to hear, and then later change the information or avoid the topic (and me) altogether. Tell me what you really want to say…what you really want to create in your life, in our relationship. I may not like the specific words used or the decision you make, but I accept your right to choose and I will heal whatever pain is felt, knowing there is actually love behind your words and actions.

I want to see the real you and the situation for what it is…not what I (or you) hope it might be…maybe…someday. I want to know the substance of who you are in this moment. I want to know you at the soul level. We are connected much more than we realize; we share a common Life Force. Truly, we are One. Whatever you say to me, you will hear as well. Your soul will. My heart will. Speak Truth and Principle and Love for one another…and tell me what you want.

What You Can Do

I grew up in an age when mothers stayed home to raise the children and fathers were the primary wage earners. My generation (baby boomers), especially the female population, were just being indoctrinated with the idea of career liberation. For me this was not political revolution but common sense.

Why should anyone be restricted or limited from pursuing a profession or career position simply because of their gender? Or racial background? Or any other identifiable characteristic? If you think you can do it, pursue it – was the message provided by the adults surrounding me.  Thank goodness! This approach applies not only to career aspirations, but to every realm of life conceivable. (The one caveat I include is “as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone” in the process.) In this culture we have the option to explore any job for which we have the skills or are willing to learn. We can develop artistic capabilities, musical talents, aptitudes in technology and science, human or social interests.

Life offers unlimited possibilities in every realm of consciousness. Nature is evidence of this idea. So the reasoning follows that if the Creator (God) has abundantly supplied the universe with innumerable features and beauty, available for all to appreciate and respect, why should we limit ourselves to only one or two modes of creating a life?

Through time and natural evolution new species of animals and plants have come and gone. The same is true for the technological advancements the world continues to produce. We now have items available for purchase that used to be just something seen in a sci-fi movie. After viewing a recent television commercial about an advancement in television technology, I got the feeling that I’d been projected several years (decades?) into the future. It was a bit disconcerting, but awe-inspiring as well. It validated, once more, if you can do it, pursue it!

Question is: what do I want to pursue? I’m never at a loss for new ideas. My challenge most often is deciding which path at what time. There is a cornucopia of opportunities all around you and me, surrounding us. Which one to choose? Where is time best spent? What is the best use of skills and talents? What inspires me or you today…at this stage of life…with what you can do?

There’s no doubt we change as individuals…our interests, our skills, our priorities. While my current day-job provides me with sufficient funds to pay certain bills, it leaves my soul crying for greater expression. (Fortunately, I do explore other heart-supporting endeavors, too.) A recent “personality test” allowed me to answer questions that confirmed it’s time to fulfill both – to earn an income that exceeds my financial obligations AND in a way that satisfies my creative yearnings. I know it exists or I wouldn’t have the idea. If I can think it, God (the Universe) can create it. And with God as my partner, I cannot fail!

Choosing Oneness

In recent days I’ve become aware of a practice I find very disturbing. It appears our American society regularly practices the habits of labeling, profiling, discriminating and separating various segments of our culture into smaller and smaller pieces. This practice, of course, only serves to position “us against them” and cause discord on many levels. I have not paid much any attention to this, until a comment was made at my church. I will stay quiet no longer.

The first nudge began with an article that came across my desk, comparing the characteristics between introverts and extroverts. Fortunately, it was a very positive piece, written to show the qualities each personality provides. Unfortunately, I don’t remember where I read it and can’t find it for my reference here. However, another website I discovered today ( provides something similar, though highlights more the benefits of being an introvert. Both personalities are necessary to our world; one is not better than the other.  Each has strengths to compliment and support the other. Balance is created when both are accepted into an organization or society.

The next unsettling bit of news came from a congressional bill that aimed to protect a familiar segment of society – those who wear leather jackets and ride motorcycles. The bill is/was an attempt to protect such folks from discrimination (as is done for gender, age, religion, etc.) by businesses or access to (commercial) property and refusal of service simply because of what they are wearing and what they drive [my interpretation of the bill].  I wasn’t even aware such fear and bias existed to such a degree, in my state of residence, in this century! To refuse service because of bad/offensive behavior, that’s more reasonable as it stems from the Universal Law of Cause and Effect.

Having personally experienced various degrees of discrimination myself – due to nationality, gender, age, and religion – the idea that I could be refused service because I rode a motorcycle and wore a practical, heavy coat against the wind and elements – just seems barbaric in today’s world. So I have to ask, does my being an introverted, female minister and a working, educated professional over the age of 55 who also likes to ride on the back of her husband’s motorcycle and wear black leather jacket, boots and chaps…am I a threat to your business? Really? I’m having a hard time expressing how ludicrous this is. What happened to “One nation…under God”? What happened to accepting our differences? What happened to Oneness taught in ALL major religions?

One of the things I preach EVERY Sunday is the acceptance of ALL people who come through the doors of our church and live in our world. We honor all paths, all faiths, all forms of prayer and worship…because at the core root of most religions, the same principles are found and we all worship the same God. Each religion teaches there is ONE God, thus, we are all praying to the same entity.

We are all members of the same family – the human family – and as such, I strongly discourage labels that even hint at separation thinking. For example, I prefer congregants over members – when referring to those who attend our spiritual community, so that everyone is included. It takes every one of us to create a welcoming and friendly atmosphere. But it only takes one fearful person carelessly expressing a personal bias against a certain group of people to damage the efforts of so many loving and open hearts. Whether in jest or in sincerity, words that separate do little good. Perhaps those thoughts, those beliefs, need to be examined and replaced.

Obviously, I have more work to do within my own church family. Apparently, I need to be more of a living example of what I’m expressing in these words. And, yes, I am more than willing to discuss the concepts and practices of Acceptance and Oneness with whomever is still living in fear of these ideals or does not yet understand the damage done through indiscriminate labeling and name-calling.

Based on the situations I’ve encountered just this week, I’ll be busy for quite some time. Won’t you join me in loving consciousness…for expanded acceptance of one another … for our human family? … for our Spiritual Oneness?

All thoughts and prayers are welcome.

Tea Leaf Wisdom

“Delight the world with compassion, kindness and grace.”

“Happiness comes when you overcome the most impossible challenge.”

“May you have love, kindness and compassion for all living things.”

“It’s not life that matters; it’s the courage that we bring to it.”



When I was growing up, “discipline” did not have the same meaning it does for me today. Back then it meant punishment for something I did wrong, a harsh consequence for breaking rules. Today, thank goodness, it means a dedication or conscious practice to something significant, something meaningful in my life.

There are many activities or skill-building actions that require discipline before one is able to attain any sort of mastery or a level of success. Areas of skill involved can include mental focus, time management, financial resources, new ideas (or distractions), relationships, etc. The discipline is in the “stick-to-it-ive-ness” of the practice…to keep going toward a desired goal even when it’s boring, repetitive or frustrating. Discipline can also be exciting, confidence-building and stimulating as you witness your skills and practice being honed to a higher level and, thus, become the new starting point for even greater accomplishments.

I’ll be the first one to admit that my interests are varied, my skills diverse.  As a result, my focus can shift from one project to another in a short period of time (within days, even hours and minutes), depending on what it is. This capability can be quite useful in my professional environment and work projects. However, it can also be frustrating when my intent is to accomplish just one thing and do it well, within a given period of time, but am instead directed elsewhere. The discipline is in returning to my original focus and intention as quickly as possible…and not giving up.

The doing of something well, through repetition, eventually becomes a discipline of another sort – a hobby, profession or expertise. The constant practice becomes a part of who you are and is done so well, so easily, that you no longer give much thought to the ‘how’ of it…you just do it. For example, I was taught to “always leave ‘it’ better than you found it”…whatever that ‘it’ might be…a campsite, a rented house or apartment, the world, a relationship, a job. This direction or discipline is now a part of who I am and I can do no less than my best. It says something about my integrity, credibility, commitment and quality of being, of my service to life (mine and others). I’ve also discovered that this is not a common practice in the world, which, I believe, makes it even more important that I continue in this manner, and teach and encourage this lesson to all who have ears to hear, starting with those closest to me (family).

I recognize that there are still many areas where concerted discipline will improve and expand my skills and consciousness…to enlarge my life. There is always room to grow!


It is written in the Science of Mind textbook (Ernest Holmes) that “We must not be lukewarm in our conviction. We must know that we know.” (p. 159.4) Whether the conviction relates to our faith or spiritual understanding, or whether it’s about a direction or goal toward which we’re working, conviction is the solid knowing of a truth for our lives. It’s concrete, definite and specific.

Can our convictions be tested? You bet! When new evidence, doubt or confusion arises in the face of what you know (or thought you knew) to be true, this new information may well change (or slightly modify) your conviction. Holmes tells us that “This faith [in God] can exist only in such degree as the conviction is in line with Reality.” (p.285.4)  The foundation upon which you base your conviction or faith must truly be rock solid and steadfast if it is to stand the test of time, doubt, criticism, etc. You can feel conviction when its presence is known; there is absolute clarity in thought and an energy that never diminishes. It is a power of the Universe that can create the unformed through your word.

Recently I was sharing a business concept with a friend of mine, someone I can rely on to be honest, forthright, and diligent in uncovering the pitfalls of an idea, as well as extremely supportive and inspiring in problem-solving issues. She is such a strong and intelligent woman that I often found myself wavering before her questions when I shared a project goal or business dream with her. I easily buckled to her opinion and, on occasion, a dream would fade under her bright light of scrutiny and never come into being…up until now. I’m determined that this dream succeed and so I require someone of her intensity and wisdom to help me see where I haven’t looked deep enough. And she did that for me. Only this time, I have an attitude of gratitude for her special gifts.

My conviction, my faith, in this new dream has been ‘birthing’ itself for more than five years (in my head and heart). The conviction has taken hold and gives me strength to express in words what I see in my mind. Only recently was I moved to start putting my dream down in words, on paper, because, as we know, “…word gives form to the unformed.” (SOM, p.476.2)  The business idea still has much work to be done to achieve success. Other participants must be sought for their expertise. The idea, the words on the paper, can be modified, added, edited, changed, perfected…but my conviction to see it through is palatable. “Just words, without conviction have no power, and just conviction, without words, will never stir up latent energy.” (SOM, p.476.2) Trust me, the stirring has begun!

Behind the idea, the words, and the desire to create this business entity and project, is a power I cannot contain. It is the driving force that has been welling up inside me these many years. It is conviction to this cause, a firm belief in this higher purpose, that this idea will become a Reality in the world. The form will change as it evolves and grows. That is as it should be. “The tree that does not bend with the wind will be broken by the wind.” – Mandarin Chinese proverb.

Although I have  the idea and a plan, I do not know what the final result (Reality) of my dream looks like. It is an exciting time! I only know that it is much bigger than I alone can do. I am grateful for the people it has attracted; their enthusiasm is growing. More will come. But without conviction…the dream, the possibility, the desire to bring this idea into form… it will never become the Reality it has been waiting to be. This I do know!


The New Year’s holiday is a already a fading memory, the Super Bowl is done, and there’s a bit of a lull before the next big holiday sneaks up on us. In recent moments of reflection, I realized that (1) my husband and I have a special wedding anniversary coming up in May; (2) my desire to start a new business will soon become a reality; and (3) devotion to my spiritual journey and expression grows deeper every day. All of these reflections have at least one trait in common – commitment.

I believe everyone knows and expresses commitment in some way, most assuredly to an interest or passion that gives them joy, something which they have a part in creating. Such effort is relatively easy to give in such a case, even if challenges occur along the way – you keep going. However, there are some situations in life that we are not always able to end exactly when we want. It takes conscious and concerted effort to give positive attention to something that no longer makes your soul sing.

One meaning of “commitment” is to pledge or vow, a gift of the mind and heart to give of ourselves willingly to what we love or cherish. Another meaning is that of obligation, when a task is required out of duty or responsibility. A person can grow through duty, whether you enjoy the experience or not. It can take time to appreciate the experience, to look back on it eventually with fondness at the growth that occurred.

I’ve come to know that the greatest commitment we can make is to our own soul’s journey, to become the grandest expression of who we are or can become. In the words of George Bernard Shaw: “I want to be thoroughly used up when I die…” I want to explore all my talents and develop those I haven’t discovered yet… to fill my mind with the great wisdoms of the world… to love life, family and serve my community… to allow Spirit to express through and as the best me possible.

My commitment to Self, in this manner, in no way robs anyone of anything. In fact, it requires that I give more of myself to the world, for the Good of all and me. The Master Teacher, Jesus, taught “As you give, you receive.”

Commitment…dedication…focus…truly has its own rewards.