Day Forty

It begins (Genesis 2:8) and ends (John 19:41) in a garden.

Today I had a chat with my mother Sally in the Memorial Garden.  I told her how much I missed her and how much I still need her.

In the gentle breeze blowing the nascent blooming jasmine framing the bench on which I sat, in the burgeoning pedestrian pink pansy, in the swaying of the palm fronds, she whispered, “I am here.”

A little girl ran through the covered walkway surrounding the garden singing,  “BEST DAY EVERRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!”


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Today, I am returning to the subject of tattoos.    Like Moses’ bronze snake on a pole, tattoos frequently serve as reminders:   memorials to loved ones, odes to heartbreak, words to live by.   I live in a museum of souvenirs, wear Catholic charms around my neck, and wear inspirational clothing.  Thus, no need for permanent ink.  I have a (mostly) excellent memory.

However, I recently met a woman who had the word SOZO tattooed on her left wrist.  I was interviewing her to sell my house in Arkansas.*  After trying to figure out what the word said, I finally asked her.  She confessed to being a little embarrassed I’d noticed but  told me the following story:

As a young woman she traveled to the leper colony Kalaupapa on Molokai as part of a Christian mission group which worked on clearing the trails.  The colony, in 1984ish, was still operational.  Indeed, as of 2015, six patients still inhabited the colony.    When she asked the priest if she could hug the residents, the priest was surprised.  No one ever asked to hug the “lepers” when they visited.  But he told her adelante.  (By then, drugs had been developed to cure what is now called Hansen’s disease so the “patients” were not in any way contagious.)  So this woman went ahead and hugged the affected people.

Later in life, she heard a sermon based on Luke 17:11-17.

Jesus Heals Ten Men With Leprosy

11 Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee.12 As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy[b] met him. They stood at a distance13 and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!”

14 When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed.

15 One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. 16 He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan.

17 Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? 18 Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” 19 Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”

Curious, this woman wanted to know the Greek word for “well” – obviously it was different than just healed or cured.    That word is “sozo”.  It means saved, delivered, protected.  For this woman, as she approached fifty years of age, she wanted to be reminded to live a sozo life, not a so-so life.  It is notable that the man who was made well was a foreigner  who came back to find Jesus and thank him.  Gratitude, it turns out,  is the greatest component of the wholistic, holistic healing journey.

This is the kind of word I would have tattooed on my wrist.  Sozo is just another name for the truth, as long as you are willing to believe it.

*Still on the market, sadly.












*still on the market

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The Blue Light & Mrs. Holier Than Thou

I do not know where I am going with this post.  There are a lot of things swimming in my murky brain.

One, my face is on fire after being Blue Lighted by Dr. Skin’s medical cohort. This, in theory, is to bring all of my pre-cancers to the surface in one fell swoop.  Sadly, champagne is not served while one’s face is cooking in the equivalent of a facial MRI machine while wearing too small swim goggles.  Get on that, Dr. Skin.  She had her face done yesterday so she should know!  While in her office, I wondered if she was aware that the abstract artwork on the wall was that of a female nude? With a pair of too small swim goggles dangling daintly off the woman’s left hand?  Now I’ve probably ruined/improved the experience for everyone.

Secondly, I am solidly in the desert with Jesus right now.  It’s arid.

Thirdly, when thinking of the blue light, I also absurdly think of Adam Curlykale (not his real name).  Adam is a young man who, after surviving cancer, decided to tattoo his entire body.  According to this article, he only has two spots left to ink in.

I have written several times about tattoos on this blog, mostly pertaining to my friend Viking Queen.  I have lost touch with Viking Queen but think of her often.  She was my entree into the world of tats.

Thing 1 also pointed out some interesting facts about tats when she briefly worked for an organ donor NGO.  In that organization (but not all) donors with tats are excluded from donating organs.  So, for that matter, are most people over the age of 50.  At that NGO, the only viable parts would be corneas and unblemished (aged) skin.  Not worth checking the box on my driver’s license for me!

Also, the Red Cross limits blood donations for those who have been recently tattooed, some forever.  Read this article here.  These are the places in America that DO NOT REGULATE tattoos: District of Columbia, Georgia, Idaho, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania, Utah and Wyoming.   Well, no wonder.   I was precluded from donating blood in the US for five years because I had lived in a many a virulent, disease laden country.  Oh, for the expat life once again!  What if I had lived overseas AND had a tattoo?

It has also come to light that residual tattoo ink lodges in your lymph nodes, the infection clearing houses of the body.  Click here to read more about this fascinating subject.

I have spent a lot of time around a lot of yogis with lots and lots of ink displayed across their bodies.   Some of it is nonsensical, ridiculous, and ugly.  Some is artistic, sobering, and empowering.   But I guarantee, guarantee, that none of them (yogis!) thought about the health implications!  Which, frankly, stuns me.  I have an allergic reaction to henna tattoos so you know I can only imagine what cadmium would do to my skin ….

Finally, no judgment if you have a tattoo.  If you are my age, your skin is sagging already and a tattoo might perk it up!  Why not?  Live large!  No one wants your skin anyway!  I am clinging to the patches of mine that are healthy.  All my messages to the Universe are writ large on my blog and t-shirts and that’s enough for me and my truth for today.

Apologies for not editing.  It’s (TRUTHFULLY)  been one of the longest weeks of my life.  Shalom!






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Today’s Truth

Yesterday I asked God to roll out the red carpet for my family.  The truth?  He did me one better.  Hot pink wildflowers blanketing the sides of the highway to Tallahassee.  Happy  Spring, indeed.

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I Am Not Sure I Am Up For This

Recently my friend (?), Dr. WooWoo gave me a book to read called The Autobiography of a Yogi.  Most of the time, I am open to reading pretty much anything someone puts in my hand.  This was a challenge.   Not only was my cerebral bandwidth at an all time low, the material was daunting.   Paramahansa Yogananda cites as much Biblical teaching (primarily New Testament)  as Hindu in his tome, so naturally this was fascinating to me.    It is pretty much a yoga classic.

My father, seeing the book on the dining room table, said, “Oh!  Paramahansa Yoganada used to live down the street from us in the Pacific Palisades.”   He said the guru’s name right.  I can’t say the name right. And indeed, PY’s Center for Self-Realization was in the immediate vicinity of his teenage home.  Grumbling, Big Mike referred to all the “weirdos” in their garb going in and out of the place.  Hmmm  …  Although my father is not enamored of yoga, he has gone to chair yoga classes  – but only if I am teaching.  He even closes his eyes in shavasana.

But I get ahead of myself.  This is not the type of yoga PY practiced.  He focused mainly on breathing and meditation as a way to get to Samadhi, bliss, union with God.  He called it Kriya yoga, based on the teachings of his own guru.  No asanas, or poses, were involved.

At the end of his autobiography, Paramahansa Yogananda references some of his favorite chants.  A few weeks ago, out of curiosity, I checked out the chants on Spotify.  DING DING DING DING DING!  There they were!  Not only that, Paramahansa Yogananda’s own chanting was recorded!  From shortly before his death in 1952!

I listened to it and was overjoyed I’d listened after reading the book.  I would NEVER have started the crazy long book  if I had.   Bottom line:  I am pretty much ensconced in Christianity.  Karma sounds terrible to me.  The truth is, I do not ever want to come back (DO YOU HEAR ME?).  Reincarnation (unless you are perhaps Jesus) sounds like a terrible idea to me – to keep fixing my mistakes of prior lives, a spiritual “catch and release” if you will.   Jesus for me = ONE AND DONE.    But there was a lot of food for thought in that book and a lot I do not disagree with.  It was worth the cultural voyage.

Finally, as I was doing some glancing research today on karma, I came across this website.   Of course, it is of the organization PY started.  When I get to Heaven, I am sure he will be on my greeting committee.  I can pretty much hear his laugh – he had a great sense of humor – as he points me to the EXIT door ….    Perhaps I will be so enlightened I will change my mind?






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Happy Spring!

Another one of my favorite spiritual authors is Brother Richard Rohr.  A Franciscan priest, he approaches the Universe in a unique way, deeply, profoundly.  Sometimes so deep and profoundly I don’t know what he is getting at.  But I persist in trying to understand him.  I do not think I understood most of what he wrote before I turned 50.

Today is his 75th birthday.  Reading his birthday memoir post was a gift to me this morning that I would like to share with you.  The truth, of course, makes an appearance.  Enjoy!

Hot music tip:  download Sarah MacLachlan’s Prayer of St. Francis and Medicine for the People (all of it).

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Jesus Calling

As I have noted, I lost my reading brain last year.  It is just beginning to come back.  One of my favorite books is a book some of you know of called Jesus Calling by Sarah Young.  Jesus Calling is a daily devotional, perfect for short nuggets of truth, Biblical uppers which remind one of important promises.   Texas Belle gave me a fancy edition which I love because it is large print.  In addition to losing my brain, I am losing my eyesight.  You can also get the Jesus Calling app for your phone.  Bea Long gave me one too that’s by my bed.   Even this easy practice evades me frequently.

But today I picked up my book and this snippet of Wisdom spoke directly to my heart:  “I speak to you from the depths of your being. ….  I speak to you in love-tones, lifting you up.  My Spirit convicts cleanly, without crushing words of shame [emphasis mine].  ….  Be transformed by the truth that I live within you.”

This morning I took my yoga class to the beach.  As it was thunder storming outside, we laid our mats down the studio floor.  Each student picked a shell from my collection.  If you can’t find God in a shell, I don’t know what to tell you.  Think about it:  The hard exterior protects our soft insides.  A pearl is born of irritation and friction from the depths of our gushy innards.  How often do you hide your true selves with a complex outer layer to shield our truest self?

Some shells are smooth, others spiny, bumpy, or rough.  Some have crusty ridges.   Some are plain and others are iridescent or colorful.  Large or small, curling or flat.  You get the idea.  God loves variety.   Within each shell there is order.  How would you describe your shell?  Do you honor it?

Johnny Nash‘s Mr. Sea made an appearance on the playlist as did Miley CyrusMalibu and the Eli Young Band‘s Saltwater Gospel.  There was a little Antonio Carlos Jobim bossa nova to boot.  When the class was over, it was a bright, sun shiney day.  When my class leaves happy and relaxed, I know I have done my job.   Inside I am mentally jumping for joy, fistpumping the Universe, giving thanks, and loving the shell that houses me just a little bit more for carrying me through another hour in the ebb and flow of life.



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The Irish Good Bye

Recently, my family was at a party and some of the guests left without saying good bye.  My Things snorted and said, “Well, that was an Irish good bye.”  I had never heard the phrase.  While watching the TV series Schitt’s Creek yesterday, one of the characters mentioned  the  “French exit”.  It turns out they are the same thing.  Americans implicate the Irish and the Canadians and Brits finger the French.

Per Urban Dictionary, “the irish [sic] exit refers to the departure from any event without telling any friends, associates or acquaintances that one is leaving. It is almost always the result of being very inebriated/intoxicated.”  Here is a good article on this topic as well as the very millenial form of separation called “ghosting”.

In the case of the above noted party, intoxication was not the reason.
In other news, my DNA per revealed that I am about 29% Irish,  27% British, 33% Scandinavian, and the rest is Western European, including 6% Iberian Peninsula.  There was no German, which was odd because I was always told I was also German.  This later Iberian dollop did not show up in my father’s DNA, so we have to surmise it came from The Radish (sadly, she did not spit in her tube before passing away).  My Aunt SuSu had no Iberian Peninsula in her DNA.  Raftbuddy sent me this interesting article explaining why siblings get such varied DNA.  So, sisters, order your kits and let’s see who is the most Irish and who’s the most Iberian!    The truth will out!
I trust that none of my readers pulled an Irish exit yesterday!  My father, Big Mike, made my mother’s corned beef recipe, key lime pie, and soda bread.  You cannot believe what a fantastic, nourishing feast that was.  The potatoes, sadly, never made it to the party.  The Truth be told, I forgot to bring them.  The cabbage, however, was not missed.
Question for you:  Have you ever pulled an Irish goodbye and if so, what were the circumstances?  TELL THE TRUTH.


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Never Going Back to Malaysia

As today is St. Patrick’s Day, I reread my posts from the past on this day and truthfully, they were pretty darn good.  I really need not say more except that I have totally forgotten the face of my duende and need to find another one, this time perhaps in the yoga studio.   And I never heard the crazy drunken wedding song because I left the marathon festivities in the early evening.

Since snakes have featured heavily here over the past week, I am sharing  this article/video with you.  It is not for the faint of heart.  I cannot explain this behavior.  Thank you, St. Patrick, for ridding an entire country of them.

Congrats to my Irish sisters – MCVWasHere has run her 20th half marathon and MoodRingMomma has another Dawg in the house!


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“In the Yoga Sutras, Patanjali delineated the eight limbs of yoga. These precepts are intended as guidelines to living a life with meaning and purpose. They may be seen as a kind of map for seekers of greater happiness and spiritual fulfillment.

The first limb consists of the yamas, or universal ethical observances. The second of the five yamas is satya, or truthfulness. Like building blocks, each yama rests upon the foundation that the ones before it create. Satya follows ahimsa (non-violence), the first and most important of the yamas. Hence we cannot practice truthfulness without first considering the principle of non-harming. In telling the truth we should aim to cause the least harm possible. If speaking the truth will cause pain or suffering, then it may be best to remain silent.

So the practice of satya is not about blindly and heedlessly telling the truth regardless of consequences. It is much more about restraint: about taking our time and carefully considering our thoughts and words so that the way in which we express the truth is in harmony with ahimsa. Yoga is first and foremost a practice of awareness. Practicing satya in accordance with ahimsa requires awareness of the effect our words and thoughts have on others and ourselves.”

Christine Malossi, YogaU online

One cannot argue with this interpretation on how to apply the truth, can one?  St. Paul called it “speaking the truth in love” [Ephesians 4:15].


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The Way of Humanity

“When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time, they can seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall. Think of it–always.”

That’s Mahatma Gandhi with your inspirational quote of the day.


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Pole Dancing

I need to go back to those snakes in the desert for a hot minute.  The bronze snake Moses put on a pole served as a reminder to the ingrates of the very thing they repented from.  The last thing the Israelites wanted to be reminded of was a poisonous snake.  And yet it was the very thing that saved them.

If you had to put something on a pole to serve as an unpleasant reminder, a metaphorical snake bite or ass kicking, what would it be?  What would “pride” look like on a pole?  Smugness?  Self-righteousness?  Today we do not wear our hearts on our sleeves – unless it’s a tattoo – but I would not want my pole hanging out for everyone to see.  Good thing I prefer granny underpants to thongs …

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Mr. Bojangles

The truth is that yesterday’s post was a little sloppy.  I did a lousy job of connecting the dots.  Tying in the above-referenced song title was a bridge too far.  In my head, bhujanga (Sanskrit for cobra) translated to Mr. Bojangles, a minstrel.

The truth is that today has been a hard day.  The Devil really likes to show his fangs during Lent, a spiritual desert.  Intellectually, even though I know this, I am sometimes slow to catch on.  Truthfully.

Tomorrow will be a new day and I will have a fresh perspective.  In the meantime, keep the EPP and her family in your prayers.  We are not out of the desert yet.  The Devil sometimes like to do a soft shoe ….

Matthew 16:23, NRSV

“23 But he [Jesus] turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; for you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.”  




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Mr. Bhujangasana


God must be reading the blog because yesterday the readings in church were all about serpents, rebellious fools, healing, and the truth.  With some manna thrown in.

The first reading was Numbers 21:4-9.

“4 From Mount Hor they set out by the way to the Red Sea,[a] to go around the land of Edom; but the people became impatient on the way. The people spoke against God and against Moses, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and we detest this miserable food.Then the Lord sent poisonous[b]serpents among the people, and they bit the people, so that many Israelites died. The people came to Moses and said, “We have sinned by speaking against the Lord and against you; pray to the Lord to take away the serpents from us.” So Moses prayed for the people. And the Lord said to Moses, “Make a poisonous[c] serpent, and set it on a pole; and everyone who is bitten shall look at it and live.” So Moses made a serpent of bronze, and put it upon a pole; and whenever a serpent bit someone, that person would look at the serpent of bronze and live.”

I learned during the sermon that the Hebrew word for manna means “what’s this?”.  Don’t you love this definition?  According to Merriam-Webster, it can also mean “b:divinely supplied spiritual nourishment c : a usually sudden and unexpected source of gratification, pleasure, or gain“.   In any event, the heavenly fast food did not look like food;  the Isrealites, not satisfied with a bland diet, complained about their meal.  Unfulfilled expectations!  They were also supremely irritated about having to take the long way home.  So irritated were they, they thought enslavement might have been preferable (!).

The Gospel reading was John 3: 14-2.

14 And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.[a]

16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.

17 “Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 Those who believe in him are not condemned; but those who do not believe are condemned already, because they have not believed in the name of the only Son of God. 19 And this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil. 20 For all who do evil hate the light and do not come to the light, so that their deeds may not be exposed. 21 But those who do what is true come to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that their deeds have been done in God.”[b]

(Biblical poisonous serpents, it should be noted, have two upper jaw hollow point fangs and move slower than your average garden-variety snake.)

 Isn’t that always how it is?  Impatience, grumbling, taken down a peg or bit on the arse, repentance, prayer, healing.   The snake on a pole thing is weird  (potentially another blog post).  All the Israelites had to do was look at it – belief was not an antivenin.  Today it is though, mainly because not just anyone was lifted on a pole – it was the only Son of God.   Everyone can repent of their actions, but not everyone believes.
But before I even address “belief” (another topic for another day), it is the last part of the Gospel that I believe upon which most of humanity hinges.  Are you walking towards the light?  It seems to me that this part has to take place first, before belief is even an issue.  For the most part, humanity is seeking the good, the light, the truth.  Frequently, however, something like a one-eyed trouser snake sneaks into the picture and screws it all up.  (Just remember that in THE END, it is Mother Mary who crushes the wiley creature).
I could go on all day about the unclean, dirt eating creatures.  But I am going to soothe your frazzled nerves by suggesting you activate your first four chakras by practicing a little Cobra pose, Bhujangasana, a HEART opener.  Per my Yoga Toolbox book by Joseph and Lilian LePage, ” The snake represents the forces of the natural world.  As the cobra rises up, it represents opening to receive spiritual energy.  Grounded in the earth and open …. we meet life with a willingness to embrace all experiences, both positive and negative, as part of our process of learning and awakening.”
That seems a lot for a snake to assimilate but I am going with it, in whatever form it comes in: Crocheted, bronze, rubber, or …. perish the thought.


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Joy Cometh

Today my father and I went to church.  On the way he played a song by Johnny Nash (not to be confused with Cash) called “I Can See Clearly Now”.  He said it was how he was feeling.

A sometime reggae singer with ties to Bob Marley, Nash brought me today’s truth:  it was a bright, bright Sun-Shiny day.  Hearing the song made me want to jump for joy even as my heart broke all over again.

“I think I can make it now, the pain is gone

All of the bad feelings have disappeared

Here is the rainbow I’ve been prayin’ for

It’s gonna be a bright (bright), bright (bright) Sun-Shiny day.”



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