Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Donna Kelly, nurse that works with the Homeless

Got Socks????
My mom saved the below article yesterday about my friend Donna Kelly. Donna is a nurse that works with the homeless in downtown Cleveland. My friend Traci introduced me to her. Donna is a true angel. I have been out with her two different times(once on the streets and once to help in one of the homeless shelters.) Both were eye-opening experiences for me..and Donna never seems to stop amazing me. She goes all over downtown cleveland and even under the bridges and finds people to help. She seems to know everyone by name and they all know her and trust her. Donna emanates such love towards these homeless folks. Anyway, she is in need of socks to protect the homeless from frostbite and foot infections (I saw a lot of nasty feet when I went out with her. ) read below. I will be collecting them here if you want to donate some socks and will be delivering them on Feb. 16th...or you can contact her at the number below.
Read the articles below and see what a true angel Donna is!!! check out the pictures of Donna below....the pictures say more about her than I ever could!!!!

Seeking socks for feet on street

8:45 a.m. Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Nurse Donna Kelly needs socks, lots of them, to help protect her homeless patients from frostbite and foot infections. Kelly makes daily rounds to check on the city's street people. She also visits shelters to pass out new socks. Kelly works for Care Alliance, which runs three clinics for homeless and low-income Clevelanders. Socks can be dropped off at the Downtown clinic, 1530 St. Clair Avenue.

The following articles are ones that I googled about her.
I am telling you she is awesome!!!!!!

The Care Alliance Medical Center downtown is seeking donations of gently worn or new gloves, hats, scarves, socks and large coats for the homeless. Nurse Donna Kelly will deliver the clothing on her rounds throughout the city.


Homeless need water, sunscreen

The Downtown Care Alliance Medical Center for the city's homeless needs donations of bottled water, sunscreen, insect repellent and men's white socks. Nurse Donna Kelly will deliver these items to the men and women living in boxes, on benches and under bridges in the August heat wave. Drop off donations at the clinic, 1530 St. Clair Avenue. For more information: or 216-781-6228.

American Red Cross, Greater Cleveland Chapter Hero Awards Recognize Community Leaders and Local Heroes
The 2006 American Red Cross Hero for
Healthcare Donna Kelly Cleveland resident Donna Kelly, a registered nurse, provides care to Cleveland's most vulnerable residents - individuals living on the streets, under bridges, over heating grates and in downtown doorways.

Vendor Story (Homeless Grapevine, USA)

Lydia Bailey
November 1, 2005

48 year-old Paul Hardin drove a Peterbilt, and worked in auto body and construction. Drinking related ulcers, and head and leg injuries from a motorcycle accident disabled him. "I died 3 times and each time God brought me back...I'm still trying to figure out why." He has lived under a bridge in Cleveland for three years.

Spring is here and this morning Paul Hardin has walked the four blocks from the bridge where he lives astride highways ramps to Trinity's Cathedral Hall. His leg hurts, and he is with the perennial pack he carries. "Soon I'll have my own apartment, and won't have to carry this thing." Paul looks down at his pack, his eyes brighten, and he imitates a high, little voice, "No, don't leave me," the pack says. Paul has a smile that's always ready to break out.

I hear about Paul's recent turn of events, "A nurse from Care Alliance, she knew I was underneath that bridge, and she tried to get me out from under there several times. '[Paul], you look like you're dying here, and I heard you're not even going to church to eat or nothin'.' I said, 'We'll I don't feel legs don't want to work right.'...So I'm just lying there. And so she says, 'You're comin' with me.'" Paul imitates her voice- full of conviction, and you feel his gratitude. "Yep...a nurse named Donna from Care Alliance, and a fella, Jim Schlecht... They put me in Joseph's Home." This is where Paul stayed from September of '04 to February '05.

I recall the last time I saw Paul in September. With his usual greeting, "Top o' the morning to you," he said he couldn't stay. Paul wanted to tell me he was going somewhere. He gave me a piece of paper on which he'd written his full, careful signature... something so formal about was this individual's own identity, I surmise later. Paul had written the address and phone of Joseph's Home on the paper. "That's where I'll be...Call me." No time for being hail and hearty, he was out the door. I kept the number, but didn't call.

Joseph's Home is a shelter with 11 rooms down the block from Paul's bridge. A former convent, it is run by the Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine for homeless men with medical problems that regular shelters can't handle. "Our niche is home health care; we're not a nursing home, not a hospital," says the Director, Sister Joan Gallagher. Paul describes his six-month stay as "Quiet, really quiet... But I'm getting sick of that bridge sound...the sound of cars wrecking above me." Sister Joan gets to the point, "[Paul] had some serious medical problems when he arrived. The alternate for him would have been the shelters or City Mission. Even then, the men have to leave around 7:00 AM... If it's raining, you get pretty desperate. We see a lot of orthopedic problems, broken backs, necks...and cancer or pulmonary."

In this suffering is motivation for change, says Sister Joan. "We have a captive audience here," she chuckles. "People who are ill are particularly vulnerable. They're the ones most likely to change."

For Paul this meant enrolling in alcohol rehab at Rosary Hall inside St. Vincent Charity Hospital. "He knew his drinking was causing a lot of pain. The only way to overcome pain was to overcome addiction."

At Easter, Paul proudly showed me his diploma from Rosary Hall. "What am I going to do with this thing?" he asks. "You hang it in your new apartment," I say. "Oh yeah, that's right, I'll have a wall."

Sister Joan Gallagher continues pragmatically: "[Paul] needed to make contacts with social security. Our social worker helped him. [Paul] needed medication, and he needed to keep medical appointments. Our nurse helped him here."

All this materialized for Paul, just before a Cleveland winter. "A clean room, a bed and a chair, a washer and dryer, a shared dining room," Paul tells me. And within this environment, Paul slowly made friends.

"After a while [Paul] saw he didn't need to be defensive," says Sister Joan. "Kindness and gentleness are important ways to help somebody move into new spaces for themselves."

She describes how Paul chose to team-up with two students who were at Joseph's Home, doing their fieldwork in Occupational Therapy. "They challenged [Paul]...laughed with him. They found [Paul] liked animals, so they visited a vets office. They got along very well."

Then in February, Paul left the structured environment of Joseph's Home, choosing his old bridge life instead. The issues of sobriety, income, and housing must have come back in force. Paul left, however, knowing he had some very good friends. "He needs to know," says Sister Joan, "that we're here, if he needs us. For the next few years, at least, Joseph's Home "has a grant that pays for a Coordinator of Continuing Care, to follow up with the see their income is being maintained, and their sobriety, if that's an issue."

Now Paul has big news, as I talk with him at Trinity. As of April Fool's Day, 2005, he received notice of social security payments. They go all the way back to September 18, 1995 when he had his accident.

"I can't wait to get me an apartment." Then he imitates the high little voice of his pack again, "Oh, no, I don't want to go there."

Paul is choosing his apartment carefully, he tells me, away from his drinking buddies. The weather is breaking, and Paul says, "You won't recognize me in a week or so. I'm gonna be clean shaven." He hides his hurt when he speaks of the little kid at Trinity who said, "Look daddy, there's Santa Claus."

Two weeks later, having not seen Paul, I will talk with those Outreach workers from Care Alliance who first helped him move from his blankets under the bridge. "[Paul] looks good," Jim Schlecht says. "He's got his own place... Donna saw him the other day."

My regards to you, Donna Kelly and Jim Schlecht. You specialize in finding those who don't go to shelters, who are hard to find.

Each Sunday there are 175 or so homeless individuals in Trinity's Cathedral Hall. Within our neighborhood there are nine shelters. We are the only organization that serves homeless people on Sunday mornings in downtown Cleveland. Here is Trinity, Care Alliance, Joseph's Home, and Rosary Hall...You piece together these services, and it was just enough, just in time for Paul Hardin.

My concern is that Paul and many others in Cathedral Hall could easily slip through the cracks. There is something in Paul's manner that I have found more than once in individuals who are homeless. It's a quality approaching what Frederick Buechner describes in his book, 'Telling Secrets." Buechner writes about our "original, shimmering self," that gets buried so deep that most of us end up hardly living out of it at all. "Life batters and shapes us in all sorts of ways before it's done, but those original selves which we're born with...echo with the holiness of their origin."

Maybe it's Paul's vulnerability that has caused this to surface, giving him an honesty and simplicity. It is there in his smile that is always ready to break out. And, as Buechner would say, it is a source of strength and healing that Paul and others like him can draw upon - even in the most unlikely circumstances.

"How did you manage bridge life for three years?" I asked Paul earlier this spring.
He tells me, simply, "Every day I get up in the morning, I say, 'Good mornin' Lord. What we going through today? I do! I talk to Him. When I go to sleep at night, I say, "Good night, Lord. Watch over me. I don't know what's going on, but watch over me...I'll see you in the mornin'. That's the way you're 'sposed to do it, isn't it?"
(Editor's Note: Paul Hardin's name has been changed to protect his anonymity.)

Reprinted from Homeless Grapevine

© Street News Service:

Animals as Spiritual Teachers

This is our dog Dusty. He is my spiritual teacher!!! His love is so unconditional.
He is always "here now or in the moment." He loves to play. When he is tired he sleeps and doesn't worry about what did or did not get done. He is always happy to see me no matter what time it is and always willing to give me kisses and he never holds a grudge!!!!!

By Sharon Callahan

How does our relationship with and treatment of animals relate to our own spirituality and unfoldment as human beings?

If one respects living things, one does not become self destructive. Life has meaning and our relationships are the nature of the meaning and the reason for living. We must recognize animals are our teachers and are living their unique purpose and path. We have the free will to make it meaningful and, in effect, so do animals. They decide. They are more loving, more soulful, less intellectual. That makes the difference. I think because we think it interferes with our completeness. Many of our abilities, senses, especially the intuitive, are blocked by our thinking. Things animals know, and plants know, we don't become aware of love, danger, all kinds of things intuitively sensed. Animals sense. We would be thinking and could not detect these subtle changes that are, nevertheless, scientific changes. They're physical changes involving chemistry. We don't pay attention to our feelings. I say this to people with illnesses.When somebody says "What do you want to do?" ask yourself "What feels right?" The other thing I always tell people is that animals don't live in the future. They live in the present. In other words, they're not worrying about tomorrow and they aren't resenting yesterday. As a matter of fact, at workshops I read a long list of ways to behave. At the end of the day if you can do these, you're almost as good as your dog. People have no idea we're talking about an animal. (The list contains) things like not needing drugs and not resenting people and all the things we judge and animals don't.

So it's a matter of being award of the subtle things, isn't it?

Yes. I have to say I test this a lot with our animals. They read my mind. There's no question. When I walk towards them thinking about brushing their teeth or cutting their toenails, they scatter. But if I walk into the room to read a book they don't budge. If I go for the nail clippers or the comb, no one seems to wait for me.

Who is in your personal animal family?

Right now, we have four cats and a home bound rabbit. Before that we had three dogs and many ducks and geese and literally hundreds of animals in the house. When I say hundreds I'm talking about guinea pigs anything with fur that was willing to be cuddled. We had some exotic pets because the veterinarian would send things to our house that people got tired of or didn't know how to care for. We had a house full of animals. They all became part of the family. I made the children learn. If an animal can be brought up, you will become an expert. You will read. You will learn and it will become part of the family. Everybody had a name. Everybody, basically, lived free in the house. We had dead trees in our house that all the creatures could live in. We had crickets all over the place that we fed the reptiles. They would get themselves into our shoes. What it meant later, I realized, was that the children developed a reverence for life. Nothing was injured. They didn't step on bugs, they put them out. Injured birds would be brought in. It taught them about love. One of the greatest lessons came from a recovered pigeon that moved into our yard. It knew our schedule. One day it left. Our daughter was in tears. She had rescued it. It had been hit by a car. I said, "Honey, don't. We're not waiting for a phone call from this pigeon. If he found a girl friend and they flew off somewhere, you should be feeling wonderful about having saved a life, not sad that he didn't love you enough to stay or even send a card." I may add we had to learn how to deal with death. I'd come home from the hospital having dealt with it all day long and be confronted with sick turtles and guinea pigs. That used to get to me. I can't save everybody's
life. Death and illness are there and you have to deal with them, you're going to have that happen. And then there's the joy of hatching turtle eggs and having these little creatures as big as your thumbnail growing up in the house.

How do you think our relationship with and treatment of animals reflects our spirituality and our unfoldment as human beings?

We tend to love our animals more than ourselves. We are less judgmental of animals than we are of ourselves. I see that over and over again. I say to people in workshops, "Please treat yourselves as kindly as you can." We grow up with shame and blame and guilt. Very few people grow up totally loved. So we're doing self-destructive behavior but not letting our animals be exposed to it. My hope is that animals will bring us back to our spirituality and soulfulness to help us remember God loves us just the way we are. That's something I've truly learned from the animals. They never stand in front of a mirror discussing their appearance or asking to be shampooed. They just know who they are. We'd be concerned about how we look and what people will think. There's a reason we feel down on a bad hair day. It leads to depression and emotional difficulties. It's not just a statement. It literally means something. Animals don't have bad hair days. They don't identify and I think the process connects us with us our spiritual growth, with the idea that there's more than just this external appearance. You become much kinder to yourself, you are not doing things you did in your earlier life that were self-destructive. I shaved my head over five years ago. What I learned is that the mood business influences our whole decision about our bodies. A Veterinarian once reminded me that animals wake up with a broken jaw or leg yet they are joyful. It helped her realize "I am not my body and I am more than that." The other thing my animals taught me was about love and how much it heals. One of my dogs had developed a melanoma. The vet said he had never seen a dog this sick recover. So I told our children we'd had to put him to sleep. They said, "You can't. You don't put your patients to sleep so you can't put ours to sleep." I had to bring this poor, pathetic dog home. Once I had made the commitment to bring him home, I thought "Ok, I will practice what I preach." I gave him all kinds of vitamins, massaged him, just loved him. What happened? Oscar got up, got better, went out into the yard and lived for years. He really taught me that what I am preaching does work! You give love and the creatures respond, whether they're people or animals.

What do you think people can do to enhance spiritual life for their animals?

My first thought is a quote from one of my children. One morning as they we driving me crazy at breakfast I said to them "Why can't five children get along in a house full of animals?" One of them said to me "The animals get on because they're all the same color inside." I say it to people. We're all God's creatures. We're all one family. We have differences. We recognize each other. It makes life interesting. Basically, we are the same. Just ask a surgeon who opens people. He'll tell you we're all the same inside. You don't have to know and study each person. You know what they will be like.

Animals aren't that different inside either, are they?

That's right. When you're underneath the skin, we really are the same. When you can really sense and feel that, you look back at creation (and realize) we really are part of the same thing.

How do you think we can expand awareness to people so they can begin to consider the possibility that animals are spiritual beings?

I'd have to get back to parenting. If we grow up loved, we get that reverence for life. Then I think it's easy to have these other things happen because you experience living things. If you go into a nursing home and give the residents a goldfish, they begin to do better. It doesn't even have to be through touch, just some contact with other living things. But when you grow up not understanding life, meaning when you give up your life to make everybody else happy, you're much more likely to take other lives rather than to stop and think about eliminating what is bothering you. If we grow up with the right parents or have someone teach us what our parents didn't a school teacher that brings in what life is about, a religion that teaches us to love each other rather than destroy each other in the name of that religion all these things can be brought together. Animals, as in Susan McElroy's book, are teachers and healers.The reason they are so effective with people with handicaps, in nursing homes with illnesses is because they teach us what we should have known as we were growing up; that we are loved; that we are forgiven. All of these are wonderful, spiritual messages the animals are giving.

How have you experienced the roll of animals in the healing of people's bodies, minds and hearts?

In several ways. Animals live in the moment, like children. If they come home with an illness, they don't say "Oh my God, what's the point of eating. I don't want to go out into the yard and have any fun today." They want to eat. They want to go out in the yard. And this focuses you on what you have, not on what will happen. Truthfully, if you live fully and do what you love, who knows where you'll be in a year or two, as opposed to getting depressed and crawling up and dying. Animals show us we are loved and lovable irregardless of our physical development. We always loved our dog I named Tripod because he had three legs. Animals don't see themselves as handicapped. They demonstrate that wholeness isn't related to our bodies. I also feel strongly about the value of touch. If people were covered with fur I think we'd all get along better. Just touching an animal the warmth of their fur is such a wonderful feeling. Last but not least, animals express their emotions when they experience them. They are like children. If they don't like what you're doing, they make noise. If they want to be loved, they demand it. I can be at my computer and they'll walk up and howl until they get their back rubbed. A human baby would bellow if it were hungry or if it wanted someone to hold it. As we grow up we don't let people know we need their love. We repress things. Animals help us know it is ok to express feelings, even anger if you don't project hate. A dog's growl expresses anger. A cat hisses, and you know to leave it alone.

How do you feel human beings can help in the healing of animals, animals who have been abused?

It may be that we abuse animals because the animals are subjects of what we haven't gotten from other people. A person who would do that, that kind of personality, could go on to killing high school students. A person who grows up with a reverence for life, knows animals aren't to be treated that way, that they are precious creations. They may need discipline. But they also need our love. If you don't treat living things badly, then not only wouldn't you abuse animals, you wouldn't abuse your neighbor or yourself. Love thy neighbor as thyself and love your animal as yourself. But if you don't love yourself, how are you going to love your animal? Often people get so much love from their animals that's who they start to love first, before themselves. There are people who I ask if your animal was allergic to your smoking, what would you do? "Oh, I'd smoke outdoors," they tell me. People who were writing to "Cat Fancier Magazine" sort of blew my mind. A woman's cat died of cancer, two more had asthma. It ended up with her smoking out in the yard so as not to expose her cats to cigarette smoke. The magazine praised her for this. I had to speak up. I wrote in and said, "Excuse me folks, I think you should make the point that she's killing herself and her husband too." I'm constantly bringing that up to people because they can hear that with a smile. They know they are paying more attention to the cat than to themselves or their children.

Most people know they're doting on an animal in a way they cannot dote on themselves but they really don't know how to care for themselves in that way.

Yes, they have to be re-parented. The animal may be your parent letting you know you are worth loving. It may be a doctor who cares for you. It may be a school teacher who says "You're a great kid. It's not about your grades." Somebody can come along and let you know you're not the defect, the problem. You are a child of God, not a horrible creation. Animals who love us help us learn that we are god's creation and we may do dumb things and act in strange ways but we'll be forgiven and go on and practice and rehearse and become the person we want to be. All of the major poets loved animals. They say the same thing I say. If I can be with animals and children, fine. If I have to spend the day with grownups I'm not to happy about it. We realize grownups have been wounded. Maybe that's something else the animals teach us. It's sad. Every time you read in the paper about abused animals, there are thousands of phone calls. "We'll take them! We'll take them. We'll take them." If you read about abused children, nobody calls. Maybe the animals can connect us with the fact that we're all abused, all wounded and we need to be kind to each other. I think we should start an ASPCH-American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Humans. Laws were passed to care for animals, but not for humans. What amazes me is that one can take the most horribly abused animal and, with a little love, brink them back into good shape. The same is true of people. If you persist in loving them, when you punish them they eventually begin to really transform. The kid who's a devil, the patient who just ignores me, are both testing me. They're asking, "Am I worth loving?" When you have a dog who isn't behaving. You train them. You walk them to the fence. You don't blame them. You work with them. You are less likely to work with children who are difficult, to say I love you and let's work on it.

Why do you think that is?

It's our view of each other, how we judge each other. With an animal we get down to the feeling instilled by how it was brought up. Why don't we say that about our kids? If a kid was abused, stop blaming. Try to understand. I don't have to like what another person is doing, but if I can understand, I can forgive and love and move on from there.

Dr. Bernard S. Siegel, who prefers to be called Bernie, attended Colgate University and Cornell University Medical College, where he graduated with honors. His surgical training took place at Yale New Haven Hospital and the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh. He practiced general and pediatric surgery until retiring in 1989.

In 1978 Bernie founded Exceptional Cancer Patients (ECaP), an individual and group therapy based on "carefrontation," a loving, safe, therapeutic confrontation enabling everyone to understand his or her healing potential. He has written extensively about the mind-body connection in medicine, and has consistently encouraged patients to take an active role in the healing process.

The Siegel family lives in the New Haven, Connecticut area. Bernie and Bobbie, his wife, have written many articles together and have five children and many pets. Their home resembles a cross between a family art gallery, a zoo, and a museum.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Happy, Happy Birthday to Cassie

Today is Cassie's birthday!!!!!!!!! Happy Birthday to you Cassie!!!!
Cassie is one of Macy's bestfriends. They met when they were two and had an instant connection.
Above is a picture of Cassie and Macy from 2 years ago. Cassie loves animals and donates her allowance to Save Ohio Strays and other organizations to save animals' lives.
In honor of Cassie's birthday, please make a donation to Save Ohio STrays....just click on the link below.
Save Ohio Strays

Macy & Cassie - Our Youngest Donors to Date!

Cassie and Macy are our youngest donors to date! Cassie, at the ripe old age of 2 started her reputation of being a life saver. “Never do harm” has been her motto, and that sticks even with bugs! Macy’s mom told of a time when Cassie was sleeping over and a spider was in their room. Macy woke her Dad up to get him to come catch and release the spider for Cassie.

Well, these girls have been doing bake sales for some time now with proceeds going to many of the wonderful animal rescue groups of our area. They had a big sale on May 7th and advertised their sale as usual. The girls have a great following and even some of their teachers come to buy their delectable goodies!

They proudly attended our first general meeting bringing a jar full of change and hope for our future. They beamed as they presented it to Sandy Caldwell and excitedly told the attendees of their love for animals. “Animals are so cool” was on their little donation jar.

We knew we had to give them a very special thank you, although they asked for nothing. These girls do it because they sincerely love and want to help. What better ambassadors for our future than young people like these?

At our volunteer meeting, we asked them to attend for a little surprise. We had made photo albums up for them and named one of our just recently saved kitties after each of them. They beamed with pride as we gave them their new buttons with the face of their kitty namesake that they helped to save. Best of all, we brought their namesakes along with a few of their closest 10 friends (we are swimming in kittens right now) and everyone enjoyed themselves.

These young animal lovers are our future – our future volunteers, our future fosters, and our future hope to help save homeless pets. Thanks Cassie and Macy for your love and generosity! You give all of us hope!

Check this out!!!

LINKS: Watch the Video in Quicktime | Watch the video in Windows Media

click above to see one of my very favorite videos....recorded in Kent, Ohio.
Pretty powerful video...and below is a more graphic video to the same song!!

notes from the road

Iraq War Death Has Part in Ohio Video

image of Iraq War Death Has Part in Ohio Video

While working on a political short film about the war in Iraq, cast member Sarah Rolan, playing the part of a widowed war bride, received news that her long-time friend, U.S. Marine reservist Lance Corporal Daniel "Nate" Deyarmin of Tallmadge, Ohio, had been killed during active duty in Iraq on Monday, August 4, 2005, along with 13 other Ohio servicemen. The eight-minute film, "There's Something In the Air / But It's Not on the Airwaves," a composition by political spoken word artist Chris Chandler, has since been dedicated to Nate Deyarmin. The video was produced by Chris Chandler and Karen Kilroy. [link]


This was filmed at OSU (my alma mater.) It fact, it reminds me of one of my old apartments there...maybe that is why I am so drawn to it... Anyway, it was produced by someone named Ian Jones. He seems pretty cool. You probably have a great future ahead of you in producing Ian..whoever you are and where ever you are....good luck to you!!!!!! You are very creative...the world needs more talented people like you...thanks for sharing your gift!!!
I would like to get a copy....looks below on the blue word "viz." to see the trailer.

This quote is for you Ian. Don't worry about what the world wants from you, worry about what makes you come more alive. Because what the world really needs are people who are more alive. Your real job is to increase the color and zest of your life.
— Lawrence LeShan quoted in The Seeker's Guide by Elizabeth Lesser


viz., a dry, deadpan comedy about the disillusionment, ennui and anomie of life and

identity in the (post-?)postmodern era, actively resists synopsis, but here goes:

Adam, Emma, Jack, Mike, and Renee share an apartment and generally live lives of

boredom punctuated by bits of absurdity. viz. presents moments from a 52-hour

period in all of their lives, in which each makes small steps towards a greater

consciousness of themselves and others, navigating a harsh maze of opinions,

philosophies and politics in an attempt to coexist as cohabitants. Tensions and

allegiances shift and dissolve as the five both erupt into hemorrhaging conversation

and suffer through long awkward silences (in nearly equal amounts). Together, they

tackle such esoteric, though nevertheless pertinent, philosophical problems such as

the morality of living in a repressive society, the problems inherent in language as a

system of ideologically-tainted representation, and whether or not to reheat quiche.

An exercise in gleefully inefficient storytelling, viz. ventures that no awkward moment

can be stretched too far, and that sometimes it is the most seemingly insignificant

details in life that carry the most weight.

Filmed August 10th - August 25th and October 8th - October 11th 2005

Still Frames from viz.

Behind-the-Scenes Photos

Director’s Notes

Trailers - Sincere . Ironic

Film and Video Projects Home

Even Odder Productions Home

Monday, January 29, 2007

When the student is ready, the teachers will appear

#17 is especially true for me.....whenever I am ready to grow to a new spot...the teachers always appear.

Dr. Wayne Dyer - Lessons I Learned
By Chris Knight

1. You get whatever you think about most. Whatever you think about expands… and therefore, we must be careful to not think about what we do not want.

2. You can never get enough of what you don't want. Why? Because we're thinking about what we don't want and we keep getting more of it. From an abundance and prosperity perspective, it can be costly (meaning you can lose great opportunities) to contemplate the conditions you do not want to produce for your life…for fear of getting more of what you don't want.

3. Think from the end. I'm a big believer in starting with the end outcome and working backwards to reach it. Dyer takes a more mental approach to it as he encourages you to contemplate yourself surrounded by the people, events, and things that represent your version of a "perfect life."

4. An attitude of gratitude will take you a long way. Rumi said, "Trade your knowledge for bewilderment." It is good to be in awe of all that you have attracted into your life and the more you are grateful for that - the more that will flow freely into your life.

5. Paraphrasing Dyer: There are no branches of any trees that think it is wise to fight with each other. In other words, there is no value in fighting with others as we are all from the same metaphorical human tree of life. There is an old zen saying that goes something like this: Whatever you are for, strengthens you and whatever you are against, weakens you.

6. It is only natural to have abundance and prosperity in your life. It is unnatural to resist the gifts you have been given in life to share with others. Therefore act confidently with a "knowing" that you already have all of the resources you need to succeed.

7. You must be independent of the opinion of others. No one can make you into what you are not. You are responsible to no one for your actions and thoughts except yourself. In addition, you are not in control of your reputation. All you can control is yourself and how you act on a day to day basis.

8. You alone choose your emotional state each day. No one can make you feel any different than you choose to feel on any day. Therefore take full responsibility for the emotional states that you choose to embrace each day.

9. You are not your body nor are you the possessions that you believe you have. You are timeless; perfect; …just the way you have forever been and will forever be. You are a spiritual being having a human experience. Live your truth.

10. Meditation can help you solve problems and achieve inner peace. While mental visualization of your intentions or goals are a good thing to do, think of "meditation" as quieting your mind to achieve a place of "no where" -- It's one of the best ways to center yourself.

11. Your EGO is often at odds with universal laws and principles. Best to identify when you are acting from ego vs. acting from your true authentic self. Your ego wants you to feel special and different than others but the reality is that we share more in common than we have differences. Focus on radical humility and respect for yourself and others in order to keep your ego at bay. You can only extend to another that which you are in truth.

12. You can only give others what you have inside of yourself. Therefore to give love away to others, you must cultivate love for yourself FIRST. Dyer uses the metaphor of squeezing an orange - asking you what comes out when you squeeze it. Most people answer, "orange juice" comes out. Why? Because that is what is inside. When humans are squeezed, what comes out of them is what they harbor inside of themselves. Harbor love, acceptance, joy, confidence, peace and harmony towards yourself so that you can radiate it towards others.

13. Your relationship with others does not really exist. You only have your perception of your relationship with others to act on. Therefore you must focus on making sure you perceive your relationship with others on the terms that you hope for the future of the relationship to exist. In other words, you must see harmony within yourself and then with the other person. You must always have within you what you wish to see or give another.

14. Our intentions create our reality. We each create our own personal realities by what we focus on and intend to happen for our experiences. Therefore we have an enormous responsibility to choose our intentions carefully.

15. Be attached to nothing but rather connected with what you want for your life. Attachment can cloud your ability to attract what you want. When you let go and surrender to your perfect self, you will attract what you desire.

16. There is never any scarcity of opportunity, but rather there is only scarcity of resolve to seize the opportunities that knock on our door every day. Scarcity does not exist unless we choose to embrace it…therefore, it is better to never embrace scarcity only embrace the possibility for abundance.

17. When the teacher is ready, the students will appear. When the student is ready, the teachers will appear. We can not learn the lessons we are here to learn if we are not open and receptive to learn. Do not resist the possibility to change, but rather expand and become more open.

18. No one was ever hurt by practicing random acts of kindness. The law of reciprocity always rewards kindness and even more-so when you are kind without any expectation of needing a return. There is no difference in the words "giving" and "receiving."

19. Judgment: One of our purposes in life is to find a way to free ourselves of our need to judge others in a negative light. This is the work of our ego and judging others prevents us from seeing the good in them. There is no value in judging others poorly. As we see others, we also see ourselves.

20. Dyer says, "It's Never Crowded Along the Extra Mile." That means that we must always give more than we expect to receive. In doing so, we join the small percentage of achievers that consistently go above and beyond the call of duty to serve others. The rewards are often disproportionate for those who go the extra mile vs. those who only do the minimum they need to get by. We give without expectations.

21. Trust in yourself and in doing so, you trust in the very wisdom that created you. It is impossible to become a no-limit person if you focus on limitations…therefore only focus on what you want to attract for your life. You already are complete, whole and perfect. Trust in the perfection of your life.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

The Dance

The Dance
by Oriah Mountain Dreamer

I have sent you my invitation,
the note inscribed on the palm of my hand by the fire of living.
Don't jump up and shout, "Yes, this is what I want! Let's do it!"
Just stand up quietly and dance with me.

Show me how you follow your deepest desires,
spiralling down into the ache within the ache.
And I will show you how I reach inward and open outward
to feel the kiss of the Mystery, sweet lips on my own, everyday.

Don't tell me you want to hold the whole world in your heart.
Show me how you turn away from making another wrong without abandoning yourself when you are hurt and afraid of being unloved.

Tell me a story of who you are,
And see who I am in the stories I am living.
And together we will remember that each of us always has a choice.

Don't tell me how wonderful things will be . . . some day.
Show me you can risk being completely at peace,
truly OK with the way things are right now in this moment,
and again in the next and the next and the next. . .

I have heard enough warrior stories of heroic daring.
Tell me how you crumble when you hit the wall,
the place you cannot go beyond by the strength of your own will.
What carries you to the other side of that wall,
to the fragile beauty of your own humanness?

And after we have shown each other how we have set and kept the clear, healthy boundaries that help us live side by side with each other, let us risk remembering that we never stop silently loving those we once loved out loud.

Take me to the places on the earth that teach you how to dance, the places where you can risk letting the world break your heart.
And I will take you to the places where the earth beneath my feet and the stars overhead make my heart whole again and again.

Show me how you take care of business
without letting business determine who you are.
When the children are fed but still the voices within and around us shout that soul's desires have too high a price,
let us remind each other that it is never about the money.

Show me how you offer to your people and the world
the stories and the songs you want our children's children to remember, and I will show you how I struggle
not to change the world, but to love it.

Sit beside me in long moments of shared solitude,
knowing both our absolute aloneness and our undeniable belonging. Dance with me in the silence and in the sound of small daily words, holding neither against me at the end of the day.

And when the sound of all the declarations of our sincerest
intentions has died away on the wind, dance with me in the infinite pause before the next great inhale of the breath that is breathing us all into being, not filling the emptiness from the outside or from within.

Don't say, "Yes!"
Just take my hand and dance with me.

Oriah Mountain Dreamer

By the author of the book THE INVITATION. Excerpted with permission from THE DANCE (to be published September 2001). Copyright (c) 2001 by Oriah Mountain Dreamer. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced in whole or in part without the permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc., 10 E. 53 St., New York NY 10022

Spiritual World of Children

The Secret Spiritual World of Children

by Etan Boritzer

Most of us understand that we cannot physically see beyond the visible part of the electromagnetic spectrum, for instance, to the edge of the infrared or the ultra violet. Accepting this, it might not be too much of a leap to realize that we may also be missing something – like being able to see or hear other beings that might actually be around us.

This is the basic premise that – if you accept it - will enable you to give Dr. Tobin Hart’s remarkable book, The Secret Spiritual World of Children, a credible read.

A Psychologist and Associate Professor of psychology at the State University of West Georgia, in Carrolton, GA, Hart started on the trail of collecting startling otherworldly anecdotes from children ten years ago when his then seven year-old daughter Haley, in a matter-of-fact bedtime conversation, revealed to him how she saw her “angel” and described their interactions. During his research he also collected accounts from adults who, for the first time, revealed their own similar but hidden childhood experiences.

“I have come to think of Haley’s angel as an aspect of her Higher Self, or higher intuition,” says Hart. “Socrates called his voice Daimon, Ralph Waldo Emerson called this the Oversoul, Meister Eckhart named it the Inner Man . I don’t think it matters whether this is thought of as guardian angel, a guide, her heart, or whatever. What is important is that she can find it on her own and that it serves as a wellspring for love and wisdom.”

In studying these stories, Hart observes that children seem to develop their own “spiritual style.” One child may be a “natural mystic” in his/her ability to access guides or guidance, while another child may be an “empath,” naturally open to others’ feelings. Or perhaps a child is a “natural philosopher” asking the Big Questions very early on. He suggests acknowledging the unique and inherent qualities each child has as they bring the mystical down to earth in our everyday lives.

This is quite a different approach than what passes for childrearing in many societies, especially in the West where much of the focus is on getting kids “to fit in.” Hart’s advice to parents is to give up imperial rule in favor of “holding and beholding.” That is, providing the usual safety and love children require while simultaneously appreciating their special abilities.

Obviously there is no way to qualify the personal experiences detailed in The Secret Spiritual World of Children, but the ring of truth in these narratives is discernable. And fascinating narratives they are, from children predicting auto accidents, or describing simple but powerful moments of ecstatic unity feelings, to a father relating how his five year-old boy fell three stories out of a window and miraculously survived without injury because, as the boy puts it after the fall, “The guys dressed in gold caught me.”

Fascinating as it all is, the reporting is not sensationalist. And there is an important message to be learned from this book. Adults have to learn to listen and accept these stories as important information about their children’s natural sensitivity. “Spiritual” experiences are not something that should be repressed, and to dismiss or denigrate these experiences can do real damage.

Children can come under intense pressures because of their sensitivity. For example, one little girl predicted that “a truck with a man who can’t speak English” would hit the car she was riding in with her mother. When the accident did occur as predicted, she went into hysteria in the hospital when she discovered the accident had been caused by an illegal alien. The poor little girl thought she was the one responsible for the accident.

For the most part, Hart believes the vast majority of the extraordinary experiences he details are powerful and positive for the child involved - even nurturing. But not all encounters with things unseen are pleasant, and sometimes children can be overwhelmed and confused by disturbing experiences. As adults, it is important we learn to guide our children and teach them to differentiate what feelings or sensations are their own, and what they might be picking up from somewhere else. This discernment helps the sensitive child navigate in every level of a multidimensional world

So, what is a parent to do to help their children balance heaven and earth? Hart provides some wise counsel that we should not make too much nor too little of a child who seems to be in touch with other realities. Parents should learn different ways to nurture their child’s creative inner flow while integrating it into the “normal” world. Most certainly they should not hush up the amazing experiences. Simultaneously, the child must also learn to take responsibility for her or his “talents” without being made to feel special or “better than” because of them.

There is a spiritual ebb and flow, an arc to these experiences developmentally. Once a child starts integrating into society, meeting kids who do not talk about or acknowledge spiritual experiences, the child may just turn off the flow. Today, at 16 years of age, Haley tells her Dad that she remembers when she talked to her spirit guides but that now “she just knows.” Another child states that she is “too busy” to be in contact with her guide.

Treated wisely, it appears there is a natural integration rather than dissipation of these modes of expression as children grow up. Suppressed, ignored or derided, the opposite seems to occur. For example, one woman, forced to repress her childhood experiences by her strictly religious family, suffered from depression as an adult. Faced suddenly with her repression as she watched her own daughter go through similar experiences, she recalled her own powers one day in a flood of ecstatic memories. Her life changed dramatically thereafter for the positive.

Reading Hart’s book, the message seems to be that if we accept our children’s spiritual lives during this time of social change, we can, perhaps, be reawakened as adults to our own innate spiritual heritage. In turn, we can then wisely shift education and child rearing practices to augment our understanding of who we are as spiritual beings for the betterment of all concerned.

Etan Boritzer is the best selling children’s book author of the “What Is?” series on inner values and character development in children.

Dr. Tobin Hart may be reached through the Spirit Institute,

ps Melanie Uttech took that picture of the kids at the Hessler Street Fair.
Isn't she an Awesome photographer???

Saturday, January 27, 2007


So much of what we do in life is insignificant.
So many things that we think are so important,
End up being meaningless when we step back and look.
So step forward and look into the microscope;
Examine your life and your intentions.

If you feel that things are out of sync
Then change them, change something.
Often, change is what we fear the most
When in reality, it is the best thing for us.

Don’t ask life to come to you,
Ask life to catch up with you.
Don’t wait for miracles,
Create and design your own.

Don’t hold out for other people’s approval,
March right past them.
Knowing that as long as you do what is right for you, for your heart,
No one else’s approval matters.

Don’t sit on the sidelines and be a spectator,
Get in the game and participate.
And if you lose, you will have learned something,
Even if it was at the expense of your pride.

Don’t allow anyone to judge you,
Harsher then you would judge yourself.
For negative criticism has a nasty way of
Picking at your soul and damaging your self-worth.

Don’t wait around for things to happen,
But don’t rush them either.
Push the world at a pace,
That makes you comfortable.

Remember the saying,
Sometimes when you hold out for everything,
You end up with nothing.
Don’t permit that to happen to you.

And most of all, remind yourself,
That this life was given to you on a blank piece of expensive canvas.
It is up to you to paint your picture,
As bright and as colorful as possible, or as muted and quiet as you desire.

Do with it what you want,
Compromise only when you feel necessary,
And be proud of what you have painted.
It will be your greatest legacy.

-Unknown author-

The Guest House

This lifts my spirits when I am down.
I love this interactive poem.
click on the guest house below
The Guest House

The Secret

A Secret Scrolls message from Rhonda Byrne,
Executive Producer of The Secret.

I am thrilled to announce that The Secret is being featured on
The Oprah Winfrey Show broadcasting across the United States this coming Thursday February 8th. This very special show dedicated entirely to The Secret will then reach the rest of the world over the coming weeks!

Appearing with Oprah are Michael Beckwith,
Jack Canfield, Lisa Nichols, James Ray and myself.

All of us at The Secret would like to express
our deep appreciation and gratitude to Oprah Winfrey and all of her staff for embracing and sharing The Secret in this special show that will touch millions of lives.

The Secret... bringing joy to the world

Rhonda Byrne and The Secret Scrolls Team.

View The Secret Movie | Visit The Secret (main site)
Link To Us | Recommend a Friend | The Secret Blog
The Secret DVD |

Check this out!!!!!
click on the secret below.
THe Secret

Oprah will be hosting James Ray on her show live on January 31st. James will be talking about his movie "The Secret" and discuss the topic of the Laws of Attraction on the show. It's presently scheduled live for January 31- but sometimes things change in the land of Oprah- so don't be crushed or surprised if things change by a day or two.

click below to see part of a movie

Thursday, January 25, 2007


Do you see anything ODD here???

that would be his link, click here on the word odd and see what you get:

Poem about Macy

Melanie Uttech took this picture at the Hessler Street Fair last was the last street fair there will ever be.

poem about macy macy (on the first day of school)
By Markk

i drop macy off on the first day of school.
she looks over where the tree used to be.
i’m still mad they cut down that tree, she says,
but she smiles again,
for it is the first day of school.

i hear the bright lines
of a grateful dead song:
“ah, child of countless trees,
ah, child of boundless seas.”

she dances down the driveway
& dances right back. asks me to
make her spaghetti (just butter,
no sauce). tells me there is a
spider in bathroom, begs me to
take it outside, not kill it. wonders
out loud if she would like it in
new york, tells me she’s mad that
mira gets to go to the movies & not her.

macy talks about skunks like
they are her pets. calls them
her “fellow friends.” sits for
an hour practicing a cello
in squeaks & melodious notes
without ever having a lesson.

macy –

asks me to help her find her shoes,
her ipod, her pencil case, loses
everything, cries, and finds it again.
cries when her guinea pig needs more food,
laughs like a maniac about a line
in some song. cries when she sees
a homeless man on cleveland’s
bleak streets, laughs again when
she sees the face of a tiny dog.

macy & cassie take pictures
of each other, backflips on the
lawn, making ridiculous faces,
hanging upside down from
the swing set. they sit in the
grass, planning to save all the
animals, & i’m certain they will.

it is the first day of school. macy races
up the sidewalk, always looks back &
waves a second time just to be sure.

macy calls me on my cell phone
as i sit in a hotel near chicago,
tells me i have to get carry out
for dinner, & eat it in the room,
because it makes her sad to think
of me in a restaurant eating alone.

macy says if she meets george bush
she will tell him a thing or two.

a family of five & macy is the conscience,
in many ways, she is older than anyone,
an indigo child in a world of dark shadows.

all five of us in the car heading off
somewhere. macy is barefoot, says
she doesn’t need to wear shoes.

but she wears her dance shoes
tight on her feet, dressed in taffeta
& lace, smiling as the song comes to
end, smiling with wide eyes. all of
the animals are there in front row,
& clap their paws with a beautiful thud.

first day of school & the world belongs to macy

Mira's Poem


Marko said to his kindergarten teacher last week, "When you make us be quiet, I am still talking in my head!!!"

Melanie Uttech took this picture!!!


The song is "Peace" and it's one of the most
intelligent and soulful anti-war songs I've
heard in a very long time.

It deserves a wide listening - and you can count
on it never being played on Clear Channel (the
monopoly that controls what popular music is
played on US radio.)

If you're a YouTube member, please give it a high
rating. That helps too.

And feel free to watch the video more than. Once.
I bet you'll want to...


- Brasscheck

Brasscheck TV
2380 California St.
San Francisco, CA 94115

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Sarah Tomm

Today, 1-24-2007, would have been Sarah Tomm's 13th birthday. The above picture is one that was taken at the Nurtury preschool where Mira and Sarah met. She was a beautiful girl....and a very old soul.
In honor of Sarah, I will post something from her aunt Melanie's blog spot....there is a beautiful writing about her. Melanie is one of my very dear friends.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Of Dragonflies, Butterflies and Angels: In honor of Sarah Tomm

Tal vez algun día pueda traducir lo que dije en el funeral de Sarah. Por el momento, no puedo.
These are the words that I spoke at Sarah's funeral. They represent both therapy and the most difficult words I've ever spoken. . .

I always felt a special connection to Sarah. We were kindred spirits in many ways. We shared a profound love for animals, insects, and the sacredness of all living creatures which, in my life, manifested itself through vegetarianism and in hers through her desire to one day become a veterinarian to care for the weak and wounded. I loved being outside with Sarah. On hikes she’d notice the smallest details, pointing out a dragonfly that fluttered on the edge of leaf, a lizard that blended in with its surroundings or a flower that she could easily identify and call by name after having been told just once what it was.

Sarah was always a unique and very special little girl. I remember there were times in my life when I used to wonder if she could talk to angels. She would sit quietly and seemingly enter another world. In one of her journal entries she wrote, “I see things that others don’t – I see love.” She had a serenity, a tranquility, a spirituality about her far beyond her 11 years. Though the little girl in her shone brightly at times, her mature strength of conviction was unparalleled among children (and even many adults). Sarah possessed an unusual combination of great inner strength and extreme sensitivity. Her sense of justice, of justness, her compassion and her ability to empathize were all highly developed characteristics rooted deep inside her.

For many different reasons, my husband and I chose not to have children. Even so, on more than one occasion I have said to my husband and my parents that if I could have been assured I would have had a daughter like Sarah, I would have tried to get pregnant. But that was too big of a risk. Sarahs don’t come along often in this life. After years of working with hundreds of children in different countries, of this I am sure.

And since you may be tempted to think these are all words from an aunt who sees her niece through rose-colored glasses, I’d like to present Sarah as seen through the eyes of her classmates, and in her own words from diaries and journals she’s written over the years.

Across the walls we have hung the beautiful notes sent to the family from Sarah’s friends and schoolmates. I went through the group of cards from her homeroom and selected comments that reflect personal views of Sarah. I would like to share some of them with you now:

Karlie: I remember when I had no one to play with at recess and Sarah saw me and she didn’t even know me, [and] she invited me to play tag with her. She was the kindest person I had ever known! Sarah was kind and respectful to everyone.

Suzzanne: She was a good friend that was always there when you needed her. She was the nicest person I knew and always thought of others. She was always smiling. . .

Mariah: Sarah was the nicest person that I knew. She always thought of others before herself. She was respectful as a student and a friend.

Hunter: I will never forget her big smile from the first day I walked through the door. . . Sarah was the most trustworthy and helpful friend. . . anyone could ever have. I will always have a picture of her beautiful smile and face in my heart.

Justin: She was always quiet and respectful to the teachers and to every student in the class. She was always smiling when you say hi or even looked at her. . . She was the nicest person I ever met.

Lindsay: She never said anything mean about anyone. Sarah was the nicest person I knew. . . . She was willing to be anyone’s friend.

Jake: We all miss her very, very much because she was a good friend to everyone.

Susan: She was always there when you needed her. She always thought of others. [Her] heart was always in the right place.

Allison: Sarah was the nicest person I ever knew. She was a good friend with a good heart.

Hailey: I remember when I saw her smiling through the bus window one day. Sarah was always smiling. It was nice how she could be everyone’s friend.

Krista: She could always cheer people up when they weren’t having a good day. She was always willing to be everyone’s friend.

And apparently she COULD be everyone’s friend. The other day we found a list she had written recently. It was titled, My Best Friends. She had 16 names listed! That’s a lot of best friends, a lot of love, from one young lady.

Sarah was not only part of the school team called the Champions, she was also a Champion in life.

I believe that if Sarah were here today, she would ask her classmates to remember all those things that were said about her and to keep the spirit of kindness and helping others to continue. She’d probably say, “It’s simple; be kind, be thoughtful of others, include those who may feel excluded, be a special friend to everyone and smile all the time and I will feel honored in school.” Another classmate wrote, “Sarah was always herself and never tried to be anyone else”, and so I would add, be genuine in all you do and true to yourself.

And one final reflection from the students comes from David who offers this piece of advice to us (the family) that we share with you. . . “If you want to talk to Sarah, pray and remember she lies in your heart.”

Over the years Sarah wrote in many diaries. We are fortunate to have a view of Sarah as she saw herself and are also able to get a glimpse into her innermost private thoughts I think she would be happy for us to share with you. Sarah was a songwriter and singer. An entry preceding one of the songs she composed in her journal is her own introduction to herself. She wrote, “Meet the singer who wrote the song. . . She is good, nice and kind.” Later she wrote, “I sing of good things not bad.”

Sarah also created a list of Rules to Live By. They are rules we all should follow. They include the following: love, care, be thankful, peace, be happy, faith, truth . . . be strong (and ever the naturalist, she included), don’t pollute. Then she wrote in big letters, SMILE, SMILE, SMILE. These were the values she held strong. They weren’t just words, they represented Sarah’s life.

Finally she offers us some wisdom when she writes, “I think sometimes the world should be more careful of their carelessness.” Sarah, I think so too.

I feel a profound sense of loss not just for myself, but for my family and for the world.
I ache for my sister and her husband who birthed her, nurtured her, and helped guide her into being that very special and loving person she was. I ache for Joshua and Hannah too, who must figure out how to go on without an integral part of their family unit. I ache for the grandparents who are suffering the deepest pain in their lives and wonder why they weren’t taken from this Earth first. I ache for Sarah’s classmates who have lost a close friend and wonder why, as we all do.

Life can be so cruel, so dark on some days and yet so beautiful and joyous on others. In these dark moments we can bring back Sarah’s enchanting smile, her sparkling eyes, and her illuminating personality and see sparks of her light shining through the darkness that for now seems to envelop us all. And we can remember Sarah’s great inner strength and try to emulate it now.

Many people believe (and I am among them) that we are here on Earth to learn life lessons. I also believe that some among us are here to teach them and that one of those teachers was Sarah. If this is so, I hope we were good students.

I’ll never know if Sarah really could talk to angels at those times I saw her alone yet seemingly accompanied in her own little world of peace. But I’m confident that today, for sure, she is talking to angels, for she is among them now.

Throughout Sarah’s life, we were often compared to each other --- my family would say she was a lot like me, to the extent that some would even inadvertently call her by my name. I always felt honored when I would hear those words; they filled me with delight. It may be normal to wonder what Sarah would have been like as an adult. As I reflect back on all of Sarah’s qualities and strengths, I ask myself not whether Sarah would have one day grown up to be like me (she wouldn’t have, she was too independent) but rather, I wonder whether or not one day I’ll grow up to be like her.

Sarah, thank you for blessing us with your life. I’ll miss you terribly, but I’ll see you in every dragonfly, every butterfly, and every creature you loved and adored in nature. You’ll forever live in all our hearts.

Paul Sherlock the great!!!!!! and Mark and Katie

above is a picture of (1.)Paul, (2.) Mark and Marko and (3.) my friend Katie and her kids (Jenny and Julia are amazing kids) and Katie's birthmom,Val(what a beautiful person) and Mark, the kids and I. ( don't worry this is all related somehow)

Below is a writing from my dear friend, Paul Sherlock and this is a picture of him...well it looks like him....and below that a writing from Markk and below that from my friend Katie...she's awesome too and has been my friend since 7th grade.

Subject: blessings1.24.07
by Paul

I would love your opinion on this. Anna is receiving her First Communion this spring. On Feb. 3rd she has to go before a priest and ask for forgiveness for her sins. I have a little debate going on with a friend of mine because of the prayer Anna has to say. I think it's negative and that children can not have sin. My friend disagrees. I also can't not say much since I dropped out of church for about 20 years. How exactly do you interpret this? This is the prayer:

My God I am sorry for my sins with all my heart. In choosing to do wrong and failing to do good, I have sinned against you whom I should love above all things.

I firmly intend with you help to do penance to sin no more and to avoid what ever leads me to sin.

Our Savior Jesus Christ suffered and died for us. In his name, my God have mercy.

I know I'm probably looking at this wrong and feel a little shy talking to my religious friends about it. But what the heck is your take in this?

My feelings about sin

The prayer that you cite although I understand its intent, I view as being heavy handed and in my opinion, of questionable suitability for 7 years olds to be reciting. My concern with the approach that is being used in this prayer is that children will become afraid of their relationship with God as opposed to embracing it. The words I especially struggle with are: choosing to do wrong and failing to good, I have sinned against you. In the literal sense we “sin” countless times on a daily basis. Anything that is less than perfection is a sin against God since God is perfect. But guess what? That is a product of being human. Perfection, no matter how good we try to live our lives will always elude us. That is not such a bad thing. To me that is not a sin. So when I look at the majority of people and the majority of the “sins” they commit, I have a hard time terming those various shortcomings as failures.

When we talk of sin we talk of wrongdoing. Religion has taught us that if we are unrepentant of such wrongs then the punishment is for us to spend eternity in hell. This is a very fear driven approach to teaching right from wrong.. Certainly there is a need to train people in the rights and wrongs that most of us embrace. There is also a need to establish punishment for wrongdoing. This allows for maintaining a continuity within our society and provides people with a great degree of security and freedoms. But when we look at wrongdoing on the scale as it relates to God, my own interpretation of how we interact with God is that our actions are simply either enabling us to move towards God or are causing us to move away from God. I do not feel that our relationship with God is one in which we are judged by our actions in this existence and then either deemed worthy enough to spend eternity with God, or so unworthy that we may not ever experience God’s Love again. In my opinion, that is too simplistic a definition of the relationship between us and God.

Besides if God is Unconditionally Loving then isn’t God able to forgive anything? Even a soul that fails to see the error of its ways?

In our walk with and towards God, there are very real consequences for us not doing what we understand to be the “right” thing to do. When we act in our self interest then we are doing nothing to move ourselves further along in our journey ( I think of the notion of “sin” as being more of an act of being self centered or selfishness). As long as we operate with our self interest in mind we will continue to remain stuck in terms of advancing along our path.

But in my view of things that just means we will take longer in arriving at our destiny, it doesn’t presume that we no longer have the opportunity to get there.

We are creations of Love. We come from Love. Our ultimate destiny is a return to Love. This sentiment of returning to Love applies to all of us even the most hardened of “sinners“, not just a select few. We will continue to “sin” along the way, but as we become more aware of this our true destiny the need to act in our self interest will begin to dissipate and our growth in God will excel.
Namaste, Paul

Re: blessings1.24.07 Oh my. This really irks me. I could go on and on. But I would say, letting my best side shine, that it is important to understand that the word that western civilization uses — sin — is a mistranslation from the original aramaic (the true language of christ) the meaning of which has been skewed in going through greek to get to english. The translation of the word if you go from aramaic to english is basically “the unripeness.” Now, instead of there being an implication of deliberate and malicious wrongdoing, we have the concept of a soul going through stages of development in passage to its highest evolution. If you take it in that sense, let the prayer of the girl’s first communion be, “let my soul evolve and grow to its highest potential in a journey of love.” That can only be a good thing, right?

feel free to feed this info to yr list.

Alphasalam (first peace)


Here are some words from my friend Kate (Katie as I know her)
I think we are closer than you think.

Damning people to hell is very Pre-Vatican II. The way it is explained at our church is that when we choose to commit sin, or put more simply, when we choose to commit a wrongdoing, then we separate ourselves from God, and that separation from God’s Love is a form or degree of personal hell, if you will, with complete separation from God – really, from Love - being the very worst kind of fate. Which I think is what you are saying, too.

You may be lumping “sin” below with what many come to understand as “Mortal Sin” - killing someone, committing adultery, etc., which of course is a more adult version of sin, as opposed to the venial sins, which are and can be committed by anyone with knowledge of what is right. (Not willing to share, not following parent’s direction, using hurtful words) In the legal system, to be legally culpable, someone has to have mens rea, the intention to do wrong, and kids under 7 are generally not considered capable of such. Which I think is why in the church, kids don’t go to confession and then to first communion until they are in second grade – at which time they are certainly capable of knowing right from wrong, even on the most simple scale.

The goal as a Catholic is to follow The Way: The Way of Living and Loving as Christ demonstrated for us, as articulated in the Sermon on the Mount, and in his table fellowship – sharing with those who don’t follow The Way (and those who do) in order to demonstrate, and have others – those who need it most - partake in, God’s Love.

Some Christians focus on the fact that Jesus died for us. My archdiocese focuses on the fact that Jesus came to be with us to show us how to live in God’s Love. The wording of the Confessional is heavily laden with words that trigger reactions in us as adults, catchphrases that others have twisted in meaning. The role of us as parents and as stewards of God’s Love is to make sure that that undesirable part of the legacy isn’t carried forward.

Does that help?

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Quote for today

Here's a quote I really like:

"If you're really listening, if you're awake to the poignant beauty of the
world, your heart breaks regularly. In fact, your heart is made to break;
its purpose is to burst open again and again so that it can hold ever-more
—Andrew Harvey, The Return of the Mother

Monday, January 22, 2007

School Blues

We have been lucky with the teachers Mira, Macy and Marko have had.
and I have no complaints about them....but no child left behind and memorizing useless information to spit back on a test isn't real education.
I am very grateful for the active minded, creative teachers we have encountered thus far!!!!!!!

Sometimes I get real tired of the education system. This guy seems to say it best:

"We need to stop producing a nation of stressed out students who learn how to
please the teacher instead of pleasing themselves. We need to produce adults who love learning, not adults who avoid all learning because it reminds them of the horrors of school. We need to stop thinking that all children need to learn the same stuff. We need to create adults who can think for themselves and are not convinced about how to understand complex situations in simplistic terms that can be rendered in a sound bite."

Just call school off. Turn them all into apartment houses.

-- Roger Shank

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Georgia Guidestones

Did you ever hear about the Georgia Guidestones? Very interesting. Here are the ten guidelines on the monument:

*Maintain humanity under 500,000,000 in perpetual balance with nature.

* Guide reproduction wisely - improving fitness and diversity.

* Unite humanity with a living new language.

* Rule passion - faith - tradition - and all things with tempered reason.

* Protect people and nations with fair laws and just courts.

* Avoid petty laws and useless officials.

* Balance personal rights with social duties.

* Prize truth - beauty - love - seeking harmony with the infinite.

* Be not a cancer on the earth - leave room for nature.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

James Twyman

I really like James Twyman. Check out his Emissary of Light web site. Their goal is simple – to help millions of people around the world enjoy the experience of deep inner peace, and to offer a variety of programs for extending that peace into our world.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Talking fish stuns New York

This will give you something to think about.

Some Hasidic Jews reportedly believe people can be reincarnated as fish A fish heading for slaughter in a New York market shouted warnings about the end of the world before it was killed, two fish cutters have claimed.

Zalmen Rosen, from the Skver sect of Hasidic Jews, says co-worker Luis Nivelo, a Christian, was about to kill a carp to be made into gefilte fish in the city's New Square Fish Market in January when it began shouting in Hebrew.

"It said 'Tzaruch shemirah' and 'Hasof bah'," Mr Rosen later told the New York Times newspaper.

"[It] essentially means [in Hebrew] that everyone needs to account for themselves because the end is nigh."

Mr Nivelo told the paper he was so shocked he fell into a stack of slimy packing crates, before running in panic to the shop entrance and grabbing Mr Rosen, shouting: "The fish is talking!"

The fish was eventually killed by Mr Nivelo and sold.

Many members of the city's Jewish community are now certain that God, troubled by the prospect of war in Iraq, has revealed Himself in fish form.