Editors Note Following is a recent page from my spiritual notebook

By Julie Bell,2014-06-28 12:18
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Editors Note Following is a recent page from my spiritual notebook ...

    November-December 2007


    Stitch - by - Stitch W e - C r e a t e - O u r - L i- v-e -s

    Editor’s Note: Following is a recent page from my spiritual notebook.


    Sleep closes the door of waking reality and an ancient portal to another realm creaks open.

    Quietly I enter, a watcher in that mysterious place. It is night and a gentle fog hangs in a town‘s

    trees, cocooning its houses. Black- poled streetlights create glowing patches along the road and

    brighten earth-cloud tendrils clinging to their posts.

    No house lights show as Dream Walker makes her way slowly down the middle of a neigh-

    borhood street. She passes a mist-veiled street lamp and unhurriedly touches her loosely piled

    hair, securing pins holding it atop her head. Then one hand drops to rest on a small stand-up

    collar guarding her neck from the damp. Absently, her fingers follow small dark buttons to her

    waist, then her long-sleeved arms drop at the sides of her dark full length skirt.

    Curbs define the woman‘s path. Disturbing nothing above these edges, a breeze flows along

    the roadbed. Like dry leaves, large and small book pages swirl along the pavement. A few catch

    in the hem of the walker‘s dress. She stoops and plucks a page, then edges toward a streetlight

    and reads aloud a story about a dear deceased friend,

    I am holding a coffee-maker‟s metal guts to take to friends. Kathryn is tired and wants to go home, but I‟m taking Janice back now. “I‟ll get you in ten minutes,” I say.

    “Make that two!” Kathryn responds


    The walker stuffs the story in her side pocket and steps back into the stream of swirling

    papers. She passes a dark house and yard. Nearing another street lamp, she bends, plucks a

    random sheet and carries it close to the light. Unseen, I trail Dream Walker through the night

    listening to bits of stories. She vanishes like a ghost when I wake but I‘ve learned to capture her


    Before sleep I prepare to immediately note what Dream Walker read to me. I carry a spiral-

    bound notebook turned to a clean blue-lined page into the bathroom. Across the page top, I pen

    several diary lines -- the day‘s name, date and also details of the past waking hours so I can recall

    events, people and especially, emotions. Though some stories like that of Kathryn seem to be

    visits with missing friends, others are more immediate to my life. The notes help me understand

    that kind called, ―daily residue‖-- a type of dream that helps me process recent life events. Its images and stories might be ordinary, but they could also hold meaning. For example, one day I

    was slamming drawers and cupboards, miffed at JK, my husband of three years. That night when

    I followed Dream Walker, one bit she read held a lesson,

    I am furious with my husband for starting projects and not finishing them. I have to do the

    work myself. I stomp around. My little boy asks, “Are you mad at me?

    This story fragment humbled me. Set thirty years ago, it showed the incident with JK tapped

    into an old issue. The dream recalled angry behavior in my first marriage. In the scene were three

    areas of concern: being tired, angry acting out and hurting innocent others. When I read about

    doing the work myself, I recalled my first husband was often away. I had a job, too, but ended up

    doing what I thought was an unfair share of household work. Resentful and weary, I fumed.

     (Continued on the next page.)


    November-December 2007

    One old anger episode fit Dream Walker‘s story. My first husband, Jake, and I were standing

    face to face yelling in our upstairs hallway. I was determined to have the last word, shouting over

    his loud words. Just then, our three- year- old ran out from his nearby bed-room and hugged my

    legs crying, ―Mommy, Mommy!‖

    As he clung to me I stopped my verbal assault and stepped back from Jake who pushed past

    us. I picked up Brian and soothed, ―It‘s OK. We‘re all done shouting.‖ As I kissed his tears, I

    closed my eyes and silently vowed, No more arguing where children can hear.

     Dream Walker‘s page reminded me I can still be that angry girl who distanced her husband

    and scared her son. Luckily, over the years wise women friends have taught me to hold my

    tongue and take a walk when I‘m upset. It‘s good advice for the actual event, but I must also be

    proactive and not let myself get tired. Nowadays when my ―do‖ list is long, I must remind myself

    blaming JK does no good. Instead I want to ask myself, ―How important is it?‖ And, when I

    recall three- year- old- Brian‘s tears, I also realize even now I can be frightened by loud voices

    and sounds so I want to apologize to JK for my cupboard- slamming.

    When I consider how appropriate Dream Walker‘s stories can be, I know she observes my

    waking life. With loving concern she picks pages from the endless flow that swirls past her feet.

    Gently, she shows me truth but lets me decide how to act on it.




    - - - - A-R-O-U-N-D - - T-H-E - - F-R-A-M-E- - -

    - (Letters to the Editor)

Dear Frances,

     I found myself nodding in agreement as I read your October ‘07 letter. I am glad to

    know that you had the comfort and ―companionship‖ of your father as you drove on that

    rainy day. I know the feeling. I, too, have ―heard‖ my departed ones‘ statements of

    reassurance and encouragement at times of uncertainty.

    When I am not sure what to do in a given situation, I frequently close my eyes and

    ask ―What would my husband do?‖ Very often I can ‗hear‘ his reply and I feel my

    confidence return.

    God Bless you, My Friend,


     June Poucher (Oct.‟07) adds, “It makes me happy when I sense the nearness of my

    departed loved ones. It's a blessing to be „connected‟ and to know that they have only my

    best interest at heart.”


    (AROUND THE FRAME continues on the next page.)


    November-December 2007 Dear Frances

    I loved your ―road‖ story and how you meld metaphor with experience in ―Daddy‘s

    Advice‖, Oct. ‘07. I am about to embark on a road story of my own. I‘m counting down

    on final preparations to drive to Orlando, taking my teenage son to a Universal Studios

    birthday party.

    I consciously relax my jaw and ―invite‖ the experience. (Anyway, that‘s what I

    work toward.) Meanwhile I checked and filled engine fluids, cleaned windows, inflated

    tires and burned incense.

    I plan on returning while the stars are out. I would rather drive back after midnight

    than stay over and leave tomorrow.

    Yours on the journey,


     Liz (Oct.‟07) adds, “It was The Studio‟s “Halloween Fright Nights.” (Wow! Talk

    about over stimulation!) I wanted to drink, smoke cigars, shoot pool and grow a donkey

    tail. It was like Pinocchio‟s Pleasure Island. I didn‟t do the first three of those so

    hopefully no tail either.”



    Usually a procrastinator, I sat down and read Ninepatch this evening. Did I love your

    story, ―Daddy‘s Advice‖! His counsel was wonderful, ―Never get off the road...You'll

    drive out of it. It isn't raining everywhere.‖ Do you think he thought of the double


    I'm still a little in awe that your parents gave you so much responsibility as to drive

    so far at such a young age. To this day I've never made a solo long distance drive


    God bless you, Francesca,


    Elaine (Oct.‟07) adds, “I‟m in the middle of writing realistic expectations that I‟d

    like to experience after the ECT (Electro Convulsive Therapy). I just can‟t expect the

    world at my feet. This exercise, in an odd way, is actually depressing. I think, “What if

    nothing changes after the procedure? I‟ll still have the same problems. ” Then I answer

    myself, “I hope to be able to attack them with some energy and optimism. And, my

    personality will be the same.”

    Looking back I know I‟m someone who has learned to pull away from nearly

    everything. (It is truly a wonder that I‟ve been able to meet you at the beach when you‟re

    on vacation here.) Maybe I‟m just not afraid that you will judge


Dear Frances,

     Hello! It‘s me again. I thought it was a good thing that my daughter, Anita, was

    taken to the ―psych‖ hospital. I said to myself, ―A new start -- and a load off my

    shoulders!‖ (Continued on the next page.)


    November-December 2007

     She had not been able to take care of herself for quite a while. When my husband

    and I were separated she lived with me saying, ―You are my mom. You are supposed to

    take care of me!‖

    Once he and I got back together, she tried living alone. It just didn‘t work.

     However, the hospital intervention was not ―successful‖. Anita would not talk to the

    doctor or have a physical. She called everyone she knew at night, begging them to take

    her in. She would not agree to anything the staff suggested so they let her go. Her

     caseworker took her to a shelter.

    Eventually, Anita got someone to take her to her car, and took off. She stayed a

    couple of nights with a friend. Now she is at a women‘s shelter but still calls to beg for

    money and ask to move in here. My husband hangs up on her. But she drives over here

    when he‘s not around.

     Anita was one of the reasons my husband and I separated the last time. He is hard.

    When Anita was at the hospital, he wanted to change our phone number and get a

    restraining order on her -- his own daughter! (Is this a little overboard, or is it just me?)

    Actually, I remember when we were first married and I got pregnant for Anita. He

    was furious. He did not want any children. He wanted me to get rid of her then.

    Sometimes it seems nothing has changed.

    My family did not prepare me for caseworkers and life events like Anita‘s having. There didn‘t use to be any choice for ―needy‖ children. Parents or relatives just had to

    keep them and support them forever.

    In fact, my mother always told me it was my responsibility to take care of Anita.

    Mother is gone now or she would have been the first one to bail out Anita then shame the

    rest of us.

     Anita is well into her thirties. If she is smart enough to drive a car and keep it up, she

    should be able to learn to take care of herself. Why won‘t she grow up?

     I do believe God has a plan for Anita -- and for me. It will just take more time, more

    prayer, and more patience. I am waiting for a new life and some peace.

     May God bless you, take care and enjoy your life while you can.

     Love and Prayers,


     LindaSue (Oct.‟07) adds, “I have now read all the books listed for Beverly Lewis

    and Wanda Brunstetter. Next, I‟m trying something different, a „Lighthouse Mystery‟ by

    Colleen Coole, Without a Trace. ************************************************************************

Hi Frances!

    It's great not to have a scheduled life. I love having loose mornings and randomly

    unfolding evenings. I manage to plan a full calendar most of the time, so I appreciate

    these free days.

    Not everything is so great, though. My daughter, Case, is in jail, and I guess it's a

    good thing. I'm trying to distance myself from reality. I should say I'm trying to stay out

    of it emotionally. Not easy. Prayers, please! For her, her family, our family… It touches

    all of us with shame, guilt, anger.

    I'm trying to remember the ―Sick Man's Prayer‖: (Continued on the next page.)


    November-December 2007 God,

    This is a sick man. How can I be helpful to him? God save me from being angry. Thy will be


    A happy thing is our weather has been so nice lately!

    Thank you, God.

    Blessings always,


    Gail (Oct.‟07) adds, Thanks for asking about my ice-skating injured shoulder. It's as

    normal as it is going to be, I guess. When I swim in the pool, I certainly know it is not

    normal. Still, I must keep swimming and stretching or atrophy sets in.”


Dear Frances,

     I've been down sick again, and you won‘t believe the reason! A shaving nick turned

    into a pimple, and the pimple turned into a raging infection that spread from above the

    knee to the lower abdomen. About the time the chills and fever set in I gave up and went

    to Emergency, where I was put on hard-core antibiotics. Thank goodness they worked

    and the infection‘s almost completely gone.

    Now I‘m definitely considering a more ‗European‘ approach to personal grooming

    and wondering what the heck‘s up with me this year. Between this, and the loss of an

    ovary this spring, I'm certainly having the ‗roller coaster‘ year.

    Now I think of it, that‘s what my Chinese horoscope predicted!



    Lynn (Sept.‟07) adds, “A few months back I hooked up with a work friend who took me out to meet her horse. While visiting I discovered her horse had a lot of horsey-

    friends whose owners seldom visited. So, now I try to get out to that barn Wednesdays

    and one weekend day to clean, groom, train, ride or sometimes just love them up. I have

    to say those horses are eating up all my free time… five minutes just to rub one horse's

    ears and then an-other wants attention. They snuzzle in, just sucking it up, too! Minutes

    add up but it all seems so worthwhile.” ************************************************************************

Dear Friend Frances:

     I wanted to let you know that the surgery Bill had on his right eye went very well. I

    am relieved and although the prognosis is good, he is still early in the recovery. The

    surgeon had a look at that eye today (one week after the operation) and pronounced what

    he saw as ―excellent.‖ Still, Bill must wear a patch until he‘s given permission to do

    otherwise. His other eye is nearly blind now (for a different reason), so the prospect of

    having no vision in his right eye is terrifying for him.

    That all said, I am exhausted, more spiritually and emotionally than physically.

    (Continued on the next page.)


    November-December 2007

    I'm literally doing everything: laundry, cooking, dishwashing, yard chores, office work,

    and survey work that I don't normally do. (I'm even writing my own payroll checks!) I

    don't like all the extra work, but it needs to be done, so I am doing it.

    I don't know what I would do if this were a permanent situation, Frances. I wonder

    whether I would have the strength of character to continue doing it. I'm questioning that

    and I don't like the answers that I am getting. I do love Bill very much, yet that old song,

    ―Ruby, don't take your love to town,‖ has started drifting through my thoughts.

    I don't like care-taking for long periods of time. I think that the point will be moot

    and it won't be an issue, but when times like this appear in my life, I ask myself: who am

    I? I begin to doubt my ability to love and I doubt my ability to persevere and I doubt the

    goodness of my character. Perhaps that is just plain human stuff. But, it's ugly and I

    don't like looking at it, no ma'am, I do not.

     Be well and happy, may Spirit‘s grace shine on you.

    More later My Friend,



     Linda (Sept.07) says, “Doubts are ugly.” ************************************************************************

     James (Oct. ‟07) adds, “The minute you hear „news‟ it is already history.”

    - - - -F-A-B-R-I-C-S- - --

    (Our Experiences)


    My husband wanted another table for the house, one he could put in our ―plant‖

    room -- the room off the kitchen that was originally designed to be a formal dining

    room. During the winter he could use his laptop, look out of the window and be

    surrounded by our house plants. (I would enjoy it too, when he was at work.) He didn't

    want to spend more than a hundred dollars. We didn‘t have to look in very many stores to determine that he wanted too much for too little.

    One night as we solved the ―Jumble‖ newspaper puzzle together at dinner in our

    country kitchen, I casually began searching the classifieds for tables. I found a dining

    table and four chairs for a hundred twenty-five dollars, and called to get a better

    description. Before I even asked, the seller dropped the price to a hundred dollars. I

    hung up and discussed the idea further with my husband (See top next page.)


    November-December 2007

     then I phoned the table seller again and asked a few more questions be-fore we drove

    over to see it. My husband and I were thrilled. It was perfect.

    After we set up our new table, there was one more thing to do: find someone to buy

    CHAIRS - $40/set‖. the four chairs we didn‘t want. I made a sign that read, ―4

    The next morning I planted the notice in our lawn down by the mail box. Next, I

    hauled the chairs down to the foot of the driveway. At dusk I‘d not had a single offer. I

    began to wonder if my price was too high.

    The next day was Sunday and a lot of people would not be working and driving. I

    decided to try the same price again and repeated the previous day‘s drill. Meanwhile, I

    began figuring how to advertise on a local Internet seller. First I‘d need a photo.

    At about three o‘clock that afternoon I was ready to haul the chairs back into the

    house so my husband could take pictures of them. About then my first customer rang our

    doorbell. She didn‘t even bargain, just pulled two twenties out of her purse.

    Net price of table? Sixty dollars!

    Carol (Oct.‟07) adds, “My life is going very well, right now. I have some minor

    health issues (a cold and insomnia) that I am working on remedying/ accepting. I am




    I have a twenty-one year relationship with my spouse. I believe we would not still be

    together if it were not for my using a tool that has worked for us. I‘ll give you an example.

    A few weeks ago my husband was having a small crisis in his life and he was very upset.

    I did my best to stay out of -- but yet be sensitive to -- his need for space to work this out.

    A couple of days later I had some bad news and was feeling pretty down. With both of

    us hurting I guess we lost our perspective and a small disagreement escalated and he

    became angry and said some very nasty things to me. This is very unusual in our

    relationship so I was very upset.

    We stayed out of each other‘s way for a couple of hours and by that time I knew that I felt very hurt by his abusive words. So I told him ―I was already down and then you hit

    me below the belt and I feel really abused. I don‘t even want to be here.‖ I left it at that

    and went to bed praying for guidance.

    The next morning I knew I needed some space. I took some writing materials, I

    knew I had to make a list of gratitudes to help straighten out my attitude. I headed to a

    place I knew would be soothing, where I had some projects to attend to. I focused on the

    beauty of the place and the projects and tried to get some gratitude going. The only one I

    could come up with was that I was grateful for his commitment to me. After several

    hours, it was time to go home so I got in the car but still hadn‘t written many gratitudes.

    So I got out again, sat down and started writing.

    ―Dear ____,

    Thank you for

    -grilling chicken for guests

    -your gadgets

    -your commitment to me

    -putting up with me‖

    ( Palma‟s story continues on the next page.)


    November-December 2007 The list went on until I had filled the page. Now I was really ready to go back with an

    improved attitude. I put the note in a place where I knew he would find it ―in his Higher

    Power‘s time‖ and went about my business with a lightened heart. Nothing more was

    said about the altercation.

    A few days later as I was picking up my book from the table I noticed a note sticking

    out of it. It was a thank you note from my spouse! It said,

―Dear ______,

    Thank you for,

    -meat balls for the spaghetti

    -fixing my hat






    -before dinner serenade


    -especially forgiving


    -sunsets together

    Love, ____

     Palma (Aug.‟07) says, “I got a part- time cat. She is thirteen years old. My friend's

    father is in assisted living now and can't care for her cat that he had adopted. My friend

    will take care of Lola while I'm gone. I love having a cat -- she‟s a nice warm body that

    doesn't talk back or argue!”

    Happy Birthday to NINEPATCH’S BIRTHDAYS

    for NOVEMBER:

Joan H. 16

    Diana 17

    Don 26