“You can have the Metaverse, I’ll take the real thing”

This morning, I saw a commercial for an injury attorney law firm. They said they will handle all injuries caused in the Metaverse. I know it’s meant to be funny, but maybe it isn’t so …….

I watched another commercial of a father and daughter on a fishing trip. Only, it was a fishing trip in the Metaverse. They were going on and on about what a terrific time they were having.

Is it me? Am I just too old to get this…..Admittedly, I have never donned these virtual goggles before. But how in God’s name, can a fishing trip of my imagination compare to real time spent with my child…….

I have a nearly 200 year old farmhouse in Gettysburg. Farmhouses and fields are disappearing ……Farmers are growing old. Children do not want the hardship of farming when they have other lucrative ventures waiting in the city.

I am blessed to look out my window and see deer and fawns, an occasional fox and raccoon and tiny chipmunks scampering by.

One day, I fear children will don these goggles and imagine the song of birds, the buzzing of bees, the chatter of chipmunks and squirrels as they run across the lawn.

We are losing our trees to wildfires, losing our ice to climate change. Animals are coming into “human territory” (it was all theirs before)….and being killed for simply being, if fire and starvation doesn’t kill them first.

I see the world changing and not in a good way. Human interactions have suffered greatly due to the pandemic and technology has caused our childrens’ eyes to be cast down on electronic devices, rather than toward the eyes of friends.

Human emotions are being channeled into the Metaverse……in time, will this be the place our hearts dwell. I hope not.

Speaking of dwelling, all kinds of beings live at my farmhouse…….sometimes, inside it.

I heard noises inside my kitchen wall the other day. A couple of years ago, a family of skunks had decided to climb through a vent and make themselves comfortable close to our bedroom wall. At night, we heard the hungry cries of babies and the constant running in and out of a tired mother searching for food. We let them stay. When they were grown, they left.

Now, whoever this family is, they have found a place to grow inside the walls of my historic log cabin.

I hope they grow healthy and decide to leave the way they came in. That’s all I ask…..safe haven until they can leave.

I hope our world’s safe haven will not be only found one day out in the Metaverse……for that would be no world in which I would wish my descendants to inhabit.

Blessings in our actual Universe……not the Metaverse one.

Shirl

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“It’s a Hard Knock Life, Arthur”

For the past few nights, Arthur has been assaulted in his sleep. Things had been very peaceful, a cozy night’s rest for a little stuffed anteater.

But, alas, things have taken a turn for the worse. My two year old granddaughter has been having some disruptions in her sleep routine. Why? Tough to say. Sometimes the terrible twos take different forms. And it seems Arthur is getting the brunt of it.

It’s been several nights now; Arthur has been thrown out of the crib. The first two, his pants in disarray, one can only imagine what humiliation he has endured.

Last night was an improvement…….flung, fully dressed, face up…..wondering what his anteater body has done to deserve this. Looking forlornly to the “heavens”….(well, the ceiling of the bedroom)….pondering his sad dilemma…..from beloved to bedraggled.

When lights, music, and all such attempts at making a crib a soothing place fail, a little anteater must step in to take the brunt of anger and frustration in a world where there is so much to explore, whether 2 a.m. or 2 p.m.

Accompanying one little explorer on her journey can sometimes be a very hard knock life. Just ask one little furry anteater, though he might be catching some zzzzz’s right now. 🙂

Shirl

Arthur
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“Embracing the Wild”

When I purchased my Gettysburg farmhouse, it was dead of winter. But we had seen pictures of its beautiful gardens, lovingly tended by a noted herbalist. She mixed her own batch of compost, formulated her own plant food nourishment, and kept each weed at bay.
So intricate were her historical plantings that, written in the house closing, was permission for her to revisit in the spring and dig up all the toxic herbs she had planted.
The garden pictures looked so extraordinary; but extraordinary means time, devotion, and vigilance. The garden became more a point of stress…..I wanted to keep each plant as it was, each weed invisible, each bloom unblemished.
I was fearful at pulling the wrong thing, tearful at the loss of a sickly resident, and more intent at keeping “her” garden than enjoying my own.
Me, I am more of a wild child…..I think our gardens mirror our wishes……
The flowers mingle with the ivy now…..and the wildflowers and the dandelions.
It might not look as pristine to a passing eye; but it is a jumble of blooms and bugs and butterflies and birds……who have a varied assortment to flitter among in the garden patches.
We must make our gardens, our lives, our purpose……our own. We cannot tend what others choose. We must tend to our own; then, our gardens will be a place of bliss for what blooms there, not stress over what doesn’t

Please stop spraying your lawns….the butterflies and bees are dying.

Nature made dandelions and weeds for a reason……..they nourish the little ones who, in turn, nourish our bodies with food.

Nature isn’t pristine and perfect…..there are twigs and woodpiles for nests, wild plants that seed and offer food and shelter for eggs……..keep the perfect carpet for your living room………Let nature’s carpet bloom ❤

Embrace the wild just steps from your door,

Shirl

.

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Pawprints

This morning, I saw a pawprint in my pancake. Okay, you say…….It’s just a lighter area, not as tinged from the heat. I say it’s a pawprint.

I choose to look for the magic in the mundane. To me, why can’t a pawprint be a morning hello in my breakfast choice.

Why can’t an orb of dust (as some “experts” claim) be grandma passing through the parlor to say hello…….

Make life magical. Look for the pawprint, not the burnt spot. Look for the spirit, not the dust particle……After all, aren’t we all particles of dust anyway…….

Look at the little weeds poking through the cement ………..look for the little ants carrying heavy loads to home………look for the birds carrying bits of twig and twine for their nests.

Browse through the childrens’ book section. I find my best books there. And eat your pawprint pancake off a fairy plate. Life is too magical to miss a moment of it.

Blessings,

Shirl

Make life magical...look for the pawprint.
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For those who love Nantucket

My new book is available at Amazon……….

If you have visited this Island and fell in love…….or if you have only imagined her crashing waves against a solitary shoreline……..

Come take a journey with me………..to Nantucket.

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“I Believe I Met an Angel on Good Friday” (A True Story)

“A Good Friday Angel”

I was raised Roman Catholic.  My church is filled with Saints and Vatican rules.  For several years, I volunteered with very young children as a Catechist.  I like to hope I made a lasting impression on each life.  I would tell them of miraculous happenings in the world, documented by witnesses.  The mysterious miracles of the Saints, like Saint Anthony and Padre Pio.  I would delight them with tales of Saint Joseph of Copertino, the flying monk.   The Church has such unexplainable stories, they always fascinated me.    I left that formal church many years ago, but never left those Saints, those  stories or my faith. 

Now, my moments in Church are spent alone, usually on Feast or Saints’ Days, when the Church is still left unlocked.  I like to sit alone, not sit among rows of parishioners, where I never felt comfortable.  The only day I will go to Mass is on Saint Francis’ Day, the Blessing of the Animals.  I go to the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, in New York City.  If you are ever near during this October celebration, this is something you should witness at least once.

One Good Friday, about 20 years ago, I had a longing to go back to Church.  It was late afternoon, I knew the Church doors would be locked soon, so I hurried over to light a candle and say a prayer at the statue of Jesus and his grieving Mother.  The neighborhood Church, like most others nowadays, has electric candles for safety purposes.  But on Good Friday, a special altar of flame burning candles is set up.  I miss those candles from childhood, the wonder of lighting them.  You just don’t get the same impression from pressing an electric button.

I walked in the Church, it was deserted.  I walked in the vestibule, where the candles were lit and put my offering in the candle box.  I knelt at the candle altar, picked out an unlit one and reached for the long sticks to light it. 

For those of you unfamiliar, long sticks are stood in a container of sand, you pick one, light your candle, and safely put it back in the container. 

The stick container was empty.  I don’t smoke; I had no lighter or matches.  I searched and searched frantically for a way to light my candle, by this time, fearing the doom of eternity be on me if I couldn’t accomplish this feat.  I saw a container of tiny pencils next to the entry book.  I tried to light a pencil, thankfully, it didn’t work.  I might have had a real fire on my hands if it did. 

I sat there mournfully, alone, in this deserted Church, on a Good Friday, unable to light a candle to the Lord.

Suddenly, out of nowhere, a man appeared at the candles.  I am not the type of person who asks strangers in deserted places for any sort of help, but I heard myself saying, “Do you have a match?”  This man smiled, I don’t remember his face, but I remember his smile.  He handed me a matchbook.

Now, I have always had a problem lighting matches.  Fire is a karmic issue I carry from centuries past.  I opened the matchbook and there was only ONE match.  I always have such a difficult time lighting matches.  I knew this would be my only shot.  I struck it, and it lit.  I lit my candle, turned around to thank him and offer him his empty matchbook back, but he was gone.  I took a moment to ingest just what had happened.  I looked down at the matchbook in my hand.  On the cover was a yellow rose….you have read before of the importance of roses in my life.  My mother’s name, my name, my business name, so much of my present and past is entangled with roses.  There was a series of numbers on the matchbook…..the numbers of my birthdate. 

I kept that matchbook.  I think a Good Friday Angel gave it to me so I could light a candle to the Lord. 

This excerpt is taken from my book, “The Returning Ones, A Medium’s Memoirs”

Shirl

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“St. Joseph’s Day”

 

March 17th may be the sacred day for Irish to honor St. Patrick, but March 19th, for those of us of Italian descent, today is the day set aside to honor the man who raised Jesus as his son……St. Joseph. He is our earthly Holy Father; a man to be honored.
In large Italian neighborhoods, from New York to New Orleans…..the customs, the foods, the building of altars is done to honor and celebrate this day.  Delicious St. Joseph pastries beckon from Italian bakery shelves.
Seasoned bread crumbs, meant to look like sawdust, adorn the pasta as homage to this carpenter, chosen by God, to raise his son.
Homeowners selling their homes ask St. Joseph for intervention; you might have seen little statues targeted to those making real estate transactions. I have known several Realtors who will give a St. Joseph statue to clients…..to bury in their yards.
Some believe this custom began with German carpenters who placed a small statue of St. Joseph in the foundation of homes they built while reciting a prayer to the Saint.
Others believe the significance traces back to a place in Montreal…….a beautiful shrine to St. Joseph I have had the privilege to visit.
The story is that Brother Andre Bessette wanted to purchase some land for a shrine to the Saint, and began burying small medals of his image on property outside of Montreal in the late 1800’s when the owner refused to sell. In 1896, the owner relented, and the site of the beautiful St. Joseph’s Shrine was obtained. It is a magnificent place where the reverent climb, sometimes on their knees, daunting steps to pray to this Saint.
The legend has progressed to present day as homeowners bury statues of St. Joseph in their yards to facilitate the sale of homes. Upon sale of the house, the owners bring them to their new home out of respect, or give them to the new buyers to bless the home.
Others leave him buried; but some believe this will cause the home to change ownership soon again……and again……..if St. Joseph is not retrieved from the soil.
St. Joseph is given honor in the Catholic faith as the Saint of peaceful death. This holds unique significance to me……
Her final day on earth, my mother purchased a statue of St. Joseph, which we were going to pick up the following day. She never got to hold the statue; that evening, she passed away during sleep. Perhaps she got to meet St. Joseph upon entrance to a heavenly place…..I never picked up the Statue, never gazed upon his face, but I have envisioned him more times than if he had come to my home decades ago…..
There is Blessed St. Joseph’s bread at the altars of Roman Catholic Churches in Italian neighborhoods, and bakeries display many sweets especially for his day. Visit an Italian neighborhood, take home something wonderful to honor St. Joseph today.
And if you are selling your home, pick up a tiny statue, bury him in your yard….then lift him from the ground so owner and buyer can be at rest and peace.   I am preparing St. Joseph’s Pasta today, an Italian dish topped with bread crumbs.   The bread crumbs signify the sawdust at a carpenter’s bench.  For St. Joseph brings peace to those who honor him.
Yes March 19th, is a very special Father’s Day; and St. Joseph will always be a special Saint because he guided my mom to meet his Son.

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“Nine Years”

Today is my friend Janet’s (JBee’s) birthday.

It’s the ninth one she celebrates in a different realm; those who read my book about spirits know she crossed while I was overseas in Ireland. She came to visit me at the time of her crossing; it is a feeling I can never describe or forget.

I miss my friend. I miss all the conversations we would have had. Shortly before she crossed, I told her my daughter was expecting. I remember how happy she looked and how she hoped as much as I did that the pregnancy would be all right. It was. I wish I could have shared it with her. But perhaps she knew, just watching from a bit further away. Now, my grandson is eight years old.

I missed her during quarantine; She wrote like me. I can imagine her blogs about the experience. She would have been a thread of connection, dearly missed in my isolated world.

She loved John Denver, so did I. Her funeral keepsake made mention of this song……

So, today, “Fly Free, Dance with the West Wind” my friend…….with your dogs and your bees buzzing in the wind around you ❤

Never forgotten……………..Perhaps that hawk that flew just over my head the other day in my backyard was you……Stopping only for a moment in her flight of adventure….

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“May Ukraine Rise”

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“For Sidney Poitier, Today”

A blog I wrote some time ago, more pertinent than ever today.

I watched “A Raisin in the Sun” yesterday.   I don’t think anyone could watch that movie and not be riveted by the performances…..the actors were stellar.   Sidney Poitier, Ruby Dee, Claudia McNeil as the wise mother.  I thought to myself, who wouldn’t be affected by this; couldn’t this be used as a teaching tool to make students see a piece of life some may still associate as their own, or at least recognize it in our nation today.

School curriculums have changed in recent years.   The classics, the Dickens, the Brontes, the Robert Louis Stevensons…..fallen by the wayside.   Much as it stabs my heart to write these words…..I understand.   I understand how a kid in an inner city has nothing in common with Mr. Darcy’s English estate and lady friends.   Dickens writes of the impoverished, the struggles ……..but Victorian London might as well be the Lunar surface for some who care not to open a page and look inside that time in history.

But Sidney Poitier, lamenting over his shriveled dreams might sound closer to home than the moon.

Kids who hear their parents speak of the short end of the stick might identify and want to sit and listen……maybe, just maybe……..even read the original play.

Let kids watch Gregory Peck in “To Kill a Mockingbird”………… don’t ban these books from the shelves of school libraries, bring in the DVD’s to classrooms, put the pages to prominent library shelves.   Kids today want instant visual gratification, let that visual be riveting and they might just soak up more than you would imagine.

Today, our youth is not attending balls to find their own Mr. Darcy……they might be dodging bullets in a dance of survival on the streets.   Their fathers might be struggling to obtain their own seemingly unreachable dreams…….just to get a little bit ahead in this world.

If we want our youths to move ahead in this world, we have to keep their desire for learning nurtured.   Some schools now opt for students to choose their curriculum.   This is wrong.   Some schools keep teachers’ hands bound tightly to what is the accepted schedule each term.   This is wrong.   Entrust a teacher to determine what is best for his or her class;  yes there must be some boundaries to respect.   Most entered this field with dreams of their own……which are becoming more and more illusive in this troubled world.   I come from a long line of educators, teachers, principals, professors.   Many taught in the toughest inner city neighborhoods.   An uncle of mine became Godparent to one of his pupils,  the lines of color disintegrating.

This nation is disintegrating…….literally……………………

Parents are too busy working, grandparents live across the country…….who, then, is left to sculpt the minds of our children……..A sculptor works best when given the right tools, the perfect piece of marble, a place where his mind can imagine.   Give that to our teachers,  give them good classrooms, truthful textbooks; let them carve the path for every other profession in our world.

Peace,

Shirl

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