Monday, August 15, 2011

We went to Houston on Sunday for our granddaughter’s baptism. Avery Catherine Bench was born on June 8 and her paternal grandparents offered to host the baptism at their church. Her parents, Sara and Ryan, went down a few weeks ago and set everything up with the Minister, who is a very nice, friendly man named Steve. The 10:45 AM service on Sunday, August 14 was dedicated to Avery!

Ryan’s grandmother “Gigi” gave Avery a beautiful christening gown. It was white cotton batiste with gathered short sleeves and a beautiful collar and pin-tucking around the bottom. They are going to have her name embroidered on it, as well as the dates of her birth and baptism. Gigi also let Avery wear her tiny gold cross necklace for the day. Ryan’s mother had worn the cross on her baptism day, as well.

The service took place at St. Timothy Lutheran Church in Houston. The church is a contemporary design and featured a wonderful band and great music. (Music has always been my favorite part of worship . . . must have been a Gregorian Monk in a past life or something!) When it came time for the baptism, the two screens at the front of the auditorium read:

The Minister called for Sara and Ryan to approach the baptism font and Tyler (Ryan’s brother) and Meagan (our older daughter) accompanied them as Avery’s Godparents.

Avery was precious. She let the minister pour water on her head 3 times. After the 3rd time, Sara said she looked at her as if to say, “What are YOU going to DO Mom? This is enough!"

He dried her head with a towel and then put oil on her forehead. After he said a few words, he asked to take the baby from Sara. He walked up and down the aisle and let people look at her! I’ve never seen this done, but he and the congregation seemed to enjoy it and the baby was OK.

When they sat down, she squirmed a little and then began to cry.
Sara and Ryan left with her to go to the “Cry Room” and they
put a different outfit on her and she settled down.

Ryan’s grandmother bought Avery the most beautiful christening
gown. It was new and maybe a little scratchy. She felt better in
her pink and purple girly dress and bloomers. Sara’s dad bought
her some little pink shoes that were adorable. Gigi also let Avery
wear HER gold cross necklace. It was really pretty. I’m so glad
Ryan’s grandmother was able to come.

Our family enjoyed the honor of witnessing this blessed event!

Ryan’s parents treated everyone to a Mexican food lunch afterward.
Ryan's Mom, Paula, had a cake made in the shape of a Bible
with beautiful roses and Avery’s name and the date of
the baptism.

So, what are my thoughts on this special day? That life is holy and special and that we have a big responsibility to help Avery grow and learn about the Universe and her unique place in it.

Her tiny feet will grow and take her on many adventures. She is blessed to have so many people who love her and will be here to help her along her way.

She is growing up in an awesome time, with so many opportunities for learning and creating a truly wonderful life. I am honored to be a part of her life!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

The Real Horse Whisperer

My husband and I went to see "Buck," which is a wonderful independent film about the man who was the true spirit represented in the book and the movie "The Horse Whisperer." I love horses and my husband loves horses, so we were thrilled when we learned about this film. I wasn’t prepared for the roller coaster of emotions that I experienced!

Here’s what Buck’s website says about the film

This film, BUCK, was created to move people to make changes in how they deal with horses and life's challenges. Buck Brannaman is a true cowboy who has overcome tremendous personal odds. This film intends to inspire, motivate and teach through principles of respect, partnership and trust rather than anger, fear and intimidation.
BUCK, a richly textured and visually stunning film, follows Brannaman from his abusive childhood to his phenomenally successful approach to horses. A real-life “horse-whisperer”, he eschews the violence of his upbringing and teaches people to communicate with their horses through leadership and sensitivity, not punishment. A truly American story about an unsung hero, BUCK is about an ordinary man who has made an extraordinary life despite tremendous odds.

The film tells the story of Buck’s life in a very realistic, unvarnished way. He doesn’t whine about his childhood, nor does he make excuses for his father. He is a true example of turning our wounds into pure gold.

Here’s Buck’s own website:

If you are looking for a film that will uplift you and inspire you, go see “Buck.” It will be playing later in August at the Modern Art Museum in Fort Worth. Better yet, buy the DVD when it comes out and share this heartwarming story with your friends and family. And have plenty of tissues on hand!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

More Love . . .

I was holding my granddaughter Avery today, after giving her a bath and settling into the couch. As she lay there, snuggled in her little pink blanket, sleeping so peacefully, I thought of my own Grandmother.

We called her "Granny." For almost 10 years of my life, she lived 7 houses down the block. I spent a lot of time at her house, both playing in her yard, eating her food and helping her with chores. When I think of the concept of "unconditional love," her face comes into my mind. I can close my eyes and smell her talcum-powdered body or the Jergens lotion that she used several times a day on her hands.

Sometimes, my memory reminds me of the Juicy Fruit that she always had in her purse!

I don't recall ever hearing my Granny raise her voice or speak in any manner other than loving. She always wore an apron (except for church!) and always had a pie or fried chicken or biscuits ready at a moment's notice. (Biscuits and her gravy . . . mmmmmmm . . .)

As I sat there in my daughter's apartment, alone with Avery, the love I felt swept over me and I was taken back in time. I was sitting at my Granny's knee in her livingroom, and then outside on her back porch. Eating watermelon was one of her favorite activities and her back porch hosted many of these summertime treats.

At her knee, I would just drink in her love, her way of just "being." And this allowed me to just "be," also. I always felt like I was "off duty" at Granny's house, free to just "be" ME! Isn't that a wonderful gift to give to a child?

So, as I thought of my Granny, I thought of Avery and how very much I want to "be" that kind of unconditional love for her. How much I want to give her the gift of just "being" her.

Those are big shoes to fill, and I'm willing to go for it!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

My New Love Child . . . Avery

Or, maybe I could say, "Child of Love!"

My granddaughter was born yesterday. Her name is Avery Catherine Bench and she is precious, perfect and pure love! She can teach us so much about love and trust. She trusts that all of her needs will be met. When she is hungry, she cries or makes little sucking sounds or tries to eat her fist. She doesn’t say, “Oh, should I eat now?” or “I’m too fat,” or “I’m too skinny.”

Yes, she asks for food when she’s hungry and someone attends to it. When she’s wet, she cries or makes those little noises and kind of scrunches up her face. Then we know to help her, to take care of what she needs.

As I watched her, I thought of how much the Universe is like this; if we will allow good things to come to us. We create a desire, put emotion behind it and it manifests.

What gets in the way is our:
· shame
· limiting beliefs
· guilt
· lack of deservedness
· feeling that the world is a scarce or scary place

How pure and innocent she is. Just think, she has:

· No shame
· No limiting beliefs
· No guilt
· No lack of deservedness
· No feeling that the world is a scarce or scary place

In fact, she is PURE LOVE! She loves everyone, unconditionally and we love her, unconditionally, too. At this point, she hasn’t stayed out all night or skipped school or done any of the things that usually bother us parents. She is just this little bundle of joy and love and happiness.

I want to be like Avery: trusting and pure love. As it says in the Course in Miracles:

The awareness of love’s presence is our natural birthright.

Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all of the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.

Teach only love for that is what you are.

So, I want to recapture that state of Pure Love. Thank you, Avery, for teaching me about Love!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Return to Love

I am continually looking for ways to raise my vibration, to release limiting beliefs, to let go and just allow. (Aren’t we all?) I’ve studied Abraham, EFT, Theta Healing, hypnosis, Zensight Process, Z-Point Process, InnerSpeak, NLP, The One Command, 21st Century Energy Medicine and read hundreds of books and taken on-line courses, too. It is so interesting when I hear a truth and it really clicks.

Several years ago, I studied with a Reiki Master who was teaching people about manifesting in a beta group. He showed us a simple formula:V + E + R = M

Visualization + Emotion + Releasing = Manifesting.

He took us through all types of tools and techniques for releasing and ended with going back to LOVE. We watched videos of Lester Levenson, the creator of The Sedona Method, as he talked about Love and returning to unconditional love to manifest our dreams. He gave an example of a woman he had loved and lost and how he decided to focus in on her and remember the love they shared and just focus on LOVE:

“this thing called love is your basic nature. All the love in the universe is in your basic nature. You will discover that happiness—your happiness—equates to your capacity to love and conversely all your miseries equate to your need to be loved. Just love, love, love and you will be so happy and healthy and prosperous. Remember, you need to release your non-love feelings. Try it, you will like it.”

Lester's six steps
1) Want freedom more than anything else.
2) Decide you can do the method and be free.
3) See all your feelings as expressions of three basic wants: the want of approval, control, and survival. Release the want of approval, the want of control, and lastly the fear of death.
4) Release continuously.
5) If you are stuck, let go of wanting to change the stuckness.
6) Release more and more and become happier and lighter, until you move beyond happiness into imperturbability and freedom.

Lester was sent home to die at 42 and found the secret to life and lived to 84!

Now, I was exposed to this 2 or 3 years ago. Last year, I met my friend Tina Ferguson, who also talks (and lives) it’s all LOVE and you can return to Love and just step into that wonderful place of LOVE.

Then, I read The Shadow Effect and loved Marianne Williamson and her cool, loving way, so I found her book A Return to Love. What a wonderful book! So powerful, empowering and inspiring. Then, this week, I find Florence Shinn. Her book about The Game of Life has a similar theme and instructions: LOVE

Then, I was reading Why Good People Do Bad Things by Debbie Ford and she talks about one of her mentors, Emmet Fox. His short treatise on The Golden Key includes these great instructions about releasing your troubles by focusing on God (love).

I finally get it. LOVE.

And this helps me so much with the current rift in my family. Due to some things that happened last Fall, my middle sister and I aren’t speaking. This is very painful for me. I’ve done all I can by apologizing and extending my hand. Now, I give it to God and return to LOVE.

Seems like I learned that in Sunday School.

I guess I am just remembering this truth.

My sweet sister-in-law says:
“I am happy that we are a part of each others’ lives and what has happened in the past is in the past.”

Couldn’t say it better myself.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

My Granny Was Pure Love

As I read Marianne Williamson and work with local mentors, I keep hearing, “return to love.” I remember almost 2 years ago hearing Michael Beckwith of Agape in Los Angeles lead his group on a meditation for manifesting and he instructed us to go back to a place of unconditional love. Tap into that love, that wonderful place and, from that place, begin to dream and design your life.

Well, for me that is a time when my Granny lived 7 houses down the block and I spent a lot of time at her house. Many times, I would ride my skateboard down to her house, get a casserole or something and fly back home. I spent many Friday nights down there, too, hosting slumber parties for friends or the cousins.

My Granny was ALL LOVE. She exuded love, lived love and danced love. (Don’t know where that last bit came from, but I’m going with it!)

She was a farmer’s daughter, farmer’s wife and mother of 9 kids. When her first husband died of the swine flu in 1920, she packed her 3 kids up in a covered wagon and came back home to Texas from Colorado. Once back home, she moved onto her parents’ farm in West Texas and went to town and found her next husband, the man who would become MY grandfather. They had 6 more children together.

My Granny had a typical farmhouse and no toilet until I was a toddler. I remember going to the outhouse and the commotion when they decided to build the bathroom. It was an “add on” which also added a screened-in porch to the back side of the little white house. Here, me and my cousins would line up on pallets of warm and comfortable blankets for the family visits.

My Granny made me feel so special. She had a way of truly “being” with you. When I was in her presence, I was present. Do you know what that means? I can still close my eyes and smell the smoke house that was a portion of the barn/garage that was built to the side of her house. Later, when she moved to Lubbock to be near us and I was in her kitchen, I watched her bake biscuits, make that terrific gravy and fry chicken. (I can still remember seeing her ring the necks of chickens and visualize the poor, headless creatures running all over the yard at her farm!)

Yes, my Granny WAS pure LOVE.

One of my favorite summer activities was eating watermelon on her back porch at the house that was down the street from us. She had rusty old lawn chairs and an old bed spring that we all sat on. We would put the watermelon on a little table and get spoons and dig in. Some people liked to add salt, some did not. We all ate out of the same watermelon half!

When my husband bought a watermelon and cut it into slices and gave me my slice on a plate, it just wasn’t the same. Yes, I can imagine that there were germs and all kinds of stuff being swapped in our spit and such. But, in those days in the innocent ‘60’s, we didn’t have a phobia of germs, bacteria or viruses of any kind. No worries about eating after a loved one.

“Loved one.” I’ve said that word thousands of times and never stopped to think.

One that I love. That’s my Granny!

Thank you for teaching me about love!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

I Met My Granddaughter Yesterday . . .

Yesterday, I got to meet my granddaughter, Avery, and she isn’t even born yet! But I digress. Let me tell you about the day I learned that she was coming to come into the world: My daughter, Sara and her boyfriend, Ryan called and asked me to go to lunch, back in September.As soon as they sat down in the booth, Sara exclaimed, “Mom, we have some news. We’re expecting! You’re going to be a Grandmother!” I clapped and clapped and smiled and went, “Oh my goodness! How exciting!” And so, the adventure began. Over the next few months, we saw Sara’s little belly grow and began hearing the stories about the little angel inside. The baby was very active, almost from the beginning. Then, in January, we found out that the baby is a girl! Wow! A new baby and she’s a girl! Her name will beAvery Catherine Bench! Each month, Sara and Ryan were able to see her on sonograms and see her heart beating and her little fists and toes. Last weekend, Sara called and was upset about some thumping she was feeling. Hiccups, I told her. She is just having the hiccups! She wakes Sara up really early each day. Sara has turned into a morning person, after being a Night Owl for most of her life. Sara also eats everything in site and has to eat often. She says: the baby is hungry, a lot! Then, yesterday, I was invited to go for a 4D sonogram. This is kind of a new technology and my sister told me: It’s like pushing the oven light and looking in the window. You can see what’s cooking without opening the door. And she was so right! The Doctor used a sonogram wand and had a screen with two images. One was the fanshaped sonogram image, which is gray and black. The other one was a square-shaped peachy-golden colored window. At first, it looked like little bundles of stuff in different shapes. Then, as the Doctor waved the wand over and around, the bundles and blobs took shape and we began to see her face, hands and feet! Her head was so beautiful! Shaped like Sara’s and I could see Sara’s nose and cheeks. Later the Doctor said that she would most likely have Sara’s eye shape. She even opened her mouth once. She pulled her little hands up to her face and Ryan counted her fingers. All there! Then, she pulled up her feet and the Doctor was able to put the wand just right and clicked and got a picture of the feet. Yes, all ten toes, too! The Doctor took some measurements and when he added them all up announced that she weighs about 4 pounds. He estimates she will weigh 7 or 7.5 pounds at full term. Then, it was as if she said, “OK, folks, show’s over,” because she curled up and we couldn’t see her face. The Doctor tried moving the wand and pressing on Sara’s belly, but she was finished with the show for the day! Through it all, I was aware of what a mystery this all still is: the mystery of life and how it begins and forms and how one day very soon, she will pop out into the world. Yes, we know how it all happens, but isn't it all so magical! It is truly magical!

Monday, April 4, 2011

The Divine Feminine

On Saturday, I hosted author Julie Loar, who wrote a wonderful book called "Goddesses for Everyday: Exploring the Wisdom and Power of the Divine Feminine around the World. She presented a lovely workshop that chronicled the history, mythology and culture of women. We traced the footsteps through time, beginning with 70,000 years ago! Yikes! Did you know that the earliest representations of the human form are female? Julie did years of research and worked in a very intuitive style to create a calendar of 366 Goddesses from every culture, religion and myth. We went over some of the goddesses and did a meditation to meet one of our own! Then, we each shared the goddess who stands for her birthday. The wise women in attendance added so much to the workshop, sharing intimate musings and perspectives that were thought provoking and wonderful. Julie was so full of grace, elegance and charm. We want her to come back! About 8 of us took the discussion on to a quick dinner at La Madeleine and continued this special time. We met new friends and were reaquainted with old ones. I was particularly struck by the wide range of ages in the room. The oldest woman was 78 and the youngest I would guess was about 25. The rest of us filled in the range. It was amazing how similar our questions were and how similar our interests are. I have always loved being a woman. This group is just one reason why I feel this way.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Love Can Heal

“Know that truth, forgiveness, and love can heal the world. Imagine if all of us could be truthful with ourselves, start forgiving everyone, and start loving everyone. We would no longer be selfish, gossiping would be over, and we would no longer judge one another. The world would become a place where all of us live in love.”

I copied this quote from Facebook on Friday. I think it was from Don Miguel Ruiz. (Usually, I put the author of the quote and I missed it this time. My apologies to Don Miguel!)

When I opened my computer this morning to write a little about the Golden Globes, I saw it and it is a fitting opening to my blog for today. The quote talks about a place where LOVE reigns and where people forgive and live in truth.

Well, such was NOT the case last night at the Golden Globe Awards. Steve and I watched in horror as one after another of Ricky Gervais’ jokes sprayed the audience with a vile and mean-spirited type of humor. Last year, I remember laughing hysterically at some of his jokes, wincing at some and having a good time with the show. We LOVE movies and we see one movie a week, whether it’s at our local multi-plex or downtown Dallas at the Angelika or Magnolia. We REALLY love movies, mostly the independent films. Therefore, we enjoy the Golden Globes, because they tend to honor the small films that stand out in a world of 3D blockbusters and action films.

What I witnessed last night was totally over the line of good taste, decency and honor. Ricky blasted person after person, many times just before the person took the stage. Several times, I turned to Steve and asked, “Do you think that was scripted or was it an ad lib?”

Many comments were partially blanked out. The audio was just gone! Blank space where an expletive was said. When Ricky left the show at the half way mark and didn’t return for over an hour, we wondered if he had been fired. Some bloggers pointed out that many times, the host isn’t seen that much in the last half of the show. He did return and the tone seemed to have shifted a bit.

I guess he just seemed angry to me. Why else would someone IN the film and TV industry blast such mean-spirited and outright hostile comments at peers? He even made a very crude joke about the President of the HFPA.

In my family, teasing was not only tolerated, but often taken to a high form. I have been called many nicknames throughout my life, none of which are flattering or kind. When I questioned my Mom once, she just said they were “teasing.” And that it was “all in fun.”

One of the actors from The Social Club, Andrew Garfield said, 'He's been terribly nasty and horribly rude and I think he's genius.' Is this what our world has come to?

Robert Downy Jr. (one of my favorite actors) really summed it up ““Aside from the fact that it’s been hugely mean-spirited with mildly sinister undertones, I’d say the vibe of the show has been pretty good so far, wouldn’t you?”

I guess that brings me back to Love . . . I want to live in a world that knows that truth, forgiveness and love can heal the world.