Sometimes writing feels exactly like that, though once I get started it tends to get easier.  Not necessarily better or more entertaining to read, but easier to write.

For the past 68 days I've set aside time every morning for meditation and prayer.  It's become such a welcome habit that I've created a meditation space in my studio, and on some days have added an evening zazen.

So, has there been an observable effect on my daily life as a result of this practice?  Yes, but I can't qualify it.  If pressed "I'm more aware of how little I know, and that awareness bothers me less & less every day" would be the most accurate statement I can make.

There have been no tectonic epiphanies, my days haven't become filled with mystical synchronicity, I've not become a serene pillar of wisdom.  Thank God.

There is now a nifty and simple altar in my new meditation space, holding a few meaningful objects I've scrounged from around the house.  An image of Christ, a votive candle, an incense holder.  Nearby are my singing bowl, tingsha chimes and a box of matches.

The biggest challenge while establishing this regular practice has been unexpected noises around the house, most notably when my husband suddenly decides to get up two hours before his usual rising time and either directly interrupts me or turns the television on.  With the volume up around 60.

So what do I do when those things happen?  I respond briefly with a monumental effort at a calm "I'm meditating," or a "would you mind turning the television down (or off) until I'm done meditating?"  What's the point in getting bent out of shape?  Wouldn't that defeat the whole purpose of meditating?

Just what is my purpose in establishing & maintaining this practice?  Ultimately, union with God.  But in the meantime, I'll consider it to be simply enjoying God's first language - silence.

If anyone reads this post and is interested in learning more about how I meditate, or about meditation in general, please let me know in the comments.

"Yeshua said, 'And so I tell you, keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.' "

Om Sri Yeshua Bhagavate Namaha!  (I bow to you Lord Jesus, the Supreme Consciousness).


Hat-haters Gonna Hate (a letter to HRH Princess Beatrice Elizabeth Mary of York)

Your Royal Highness -

In recent days i have been appalled by the license with which hatless haters are ridiculing the awesome chapeau you were proudly sporting for the marriage of HRH the Duke of Cambridge to his lovely bride.

It is my fond hope that you persist in joyfully sailing above the critics and that you continue to inspire & astound your admirers with your millinery magnificence.

i look forward to many years of viewing your terrific toppers.

Sincerely (and i MEAN sincerely),

An admiring American of British descent.

And an aside to the haters - in a world that is so often drab and lacking in harmless audacity, may you find yourselves at least a little more open to the surprising and imaginative. Especially when exhibited by someone who is subject to public criticism every time they show their face in public.

It's not like the Princess is wearing her jeans halfway off her royal fundament or something equally ridiculous.

And since i am a crass American - suck it, haters!!!


A Primer of Pittburghese

Every locale has its colloquialisms, odd turns of phrase, accents and dialects. Where i grew up, about a 45 minute drive from Pittsburgh (Pixburgh), is no exception. Here are some of the ones i still recall:

Yinz, used for plural of "you". I always have assumed it's a version of "you-uns".

Using an "S" in place of the word "East". For example, Pittsburghers (Burghers) will refer to the area named "East Liberty" as "S'liberty." (If Anton's Deli is still in S'liberty, be sure to get a fish sandwich, some mac'n'cheese, and greens. Mmmmm, mmm!)

The "ow" sound is also replaced with an "ah" sound. So instead of saying "town" it sounds like "tahn". So, downtown would be dahntahn...

"Jaggin'" is used for "joking" or "irritating". Example, Stop jaggin' me! or Stop jaggin' around!

Also the word "Jag" can be used to replace "Jack" or "Jerk". Such as... You're a jag off! or He's a jag ass!

Burghers have never met an infinitive that they couldn't drop. "My car needs to be washed" is usually "My car needs washed."

"Anat" is used to replace the words "and that".

The "r" sound is added in words where there is no "r". Example... I need to "warsh" clothes today. We should "warsh" our cars today. The White House is in "Warsh"ington D.C.

"Da" is almost always used to replace "the".

"Did" and "you" are combined when speaking into "didya" or the plural form "didyinz". "Didyinz" go dahntahn?"

"J'eet yet?" means "Did you eat yet?"

Rubber bands are called "gumbands".

When my mother wanted me to clean my room, she'd tell me to "Redd up" my room.

Kennywood Park is the largest amusement park in Western Pennsylvania. However, the phrase "Kennywood's open!" means that your zipper is down.

Bologna is called "Jumbo".

Underwear is called "Gutchies". (i still call underwear gutchies, LOL)

A creek is called a "crick".

Spaghetti is called "Sketti".

Older folks might call a brown paper bag a "poke".


Stroke Awareness

Stroke is far more common than most people realize, and it's important to be able to recognize the signs - the faster help is administered, the more of the victim's brain is saved. When someone exhibits signs of stroke, call 911 and make a note of the time that you noticed the symptoms starting. Every minute counts, both for how much damage is prevented and for determining what immediate treatment options are best.