I know I have not written for months. But I am about to burst out of my “funk” because this is something I have to pass on. You may think I am a bit nuts by the time you finish reading this, but I had this profound experience, and I believe it delivered a message I am meant to share.  I made a new friend today, and talking to her helped me get interested in writing about it.

Shortly before I woke up on August 29th, I had a dream experience that touched my soul and is still touching it. In this dream I was standing looking up through the leaves of tree tops, and this bright light was shining down on me. Suddenly, I felt as if I was in direct communication with God, soaking up His bright light and love. I consequently had the thought, “What would happen if I just decided I can be happy?”  This was quickly followed by the thought, “What if I believed everything was going to be alright?” At that instant  I realized Creator/God was in charge and that I could relax. It was a moment of pure joy.

Now I know these messages are not new, and I have read them and heard them before. But they were never before communicated to me directly by God—-nor did they affect my behavior the way these dream messages did. It was as  if they were planted in my soul. I stopped worrying about floods, bombs, Korea, politics, ugly things written on Face Book, etc. I  have thoughts about these things of course, how could I not living in today’s world? But now I don’t ruminate on them. I remind myself I want to be happy, and I remember Julian of Norwich’s message that “All matter of things shall be well.” And,  then, I do relax. I can redirect my thoughts into a positive direction and surrender all worries to God.

Realistically speaking, what does that mean? Well, I’ve stopped fighting the new way doctors have told me I have to eat—–and I’m  eating “bad carbs” and keeping track of calories. That means I’ve surrendered a lot to God at this point, including over 7 pounds in less than a week. It means I am learning to remember to take my vitamins. It means when I’m at a traffic circle instead of cursing at people who don’t yield I remind myself if they want to ignore their yield signs….let them, what does it matter? I hear our president promising he has a big heart and he won’t let our “dreamers” down—-and then the next day he terminates the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. I have to let it go; I can’t change it. I have to pray for him anyway.

I am less anxious and depressed. And I am very grateful for that. I hope some of you reading this can experience the same thing.

childhood-home-burning-feb-4-2017 Photograph compliments of Janet Alan Goforth


First of all, this is an outpouring of a grieving soul. My writing is free association at this point, and it may not even be coherent. Do not expect correct grammar, transitions,  or even good writing. I am very emotional at the moment.

I cannot stop crying. The house I grew up in is burning down. No one was hurt. But, so many memories are going up in smoke. Watching for the school bus out the back bedroom window so we could throw our coats on and run up the driveway in time to be there when it pulled up. Being there with my father the last few days  he spent there and finally getting his permission to call the ambulance that took him away for the last time from the home he built and lived in……I watched him build that home from the bottom up. I was 4 going on 5—-that makes the house that is burning  or has burned by now survived almost 63 years of memories.

Christmases there…bringing in cedars to decorate, decorating the windows, playing the piano or the organ, sitting on that awful pea green circular sectional sofa. Mother’s drapes with geometric modern art bright orange and green shapes on them. Waxing the floors—wood and tile. Storing winter or summer clothes in the hallway closet depending on what season it was. Dogs, cats. Beloved pets. Working on homework, baking cookies, mother reading stories to me. Mother sewing our clothes, dressing us all up for Easter. Family cousins, grandparents visiting, holiday dinners, watermelons my father would bring home after work. My  father making pancakes on Sundays—–and, later, Sunday pancakes changed to Sunday biscuits. Our small bedroom us 3 girls shared. I got the top bunk.

Our first little black and white TV and watching “I’ve Got a Secret”—-the first TV show I ever watched. Later came Captain Kangaroo, Howdy Doody, Sky King, Roy Rogers, Mighty Mouse, Romper Room, Walt Disney on Sunday nights. My father making us shut off “our shows” so he could watch boxing when he got home from work. The party we had there when I was in high school—– I hosted it with three other girls as our “home economics” project. We were dancing in the front yard—doing the “Twist”. Hunting for Easter eggs, Becky shaking Christmas packages trying to guess what they were. Anita dressing her cat up in doll clothes—–that cat would always run from her. Bringing boyfriends home and other friends from college. Reading library books in the summer. Riding my green and white bicycle (“Thunderhead”) up the hill to visit Mary Jane or Ellen. Playing Monopoly or Canasta or Rook.

Watching home movies—-laughing at the dynamite explosions played backwards. “Camping” out in the family tent in the back yard. Going out in middle of night to watch falling stars—–remembering my grandmother told me a falling star was an angel carrying someone who died up to heaven. Hanging clothes out to dry in the back yard. Fishing in the ponds, riding horses, dodging walking sticks on the  mountain, pulling cat tails out of the lake, pulling thistles out of the field with my father. Having the “I Will Build Myself a Farm” counted cross-stitch my mother did and had framed sitting in my laundry room and not knowing where to put it.

Going home after “the divorce” never was the same.  Both of my parents had remarried,  and visits had to be split between two homes. But still, the good memories outweigh the bad, and now the house is no more. My parents are dead. Dear friends are dead. My retirement is not comprised of sitting on my deck gazing at the mountains in Colorado as I had planned.

The TV I am looking at as I type was my father ‘s —and it came from the house that is burning. That beautiful rock fireplace and “waterfall” my  father was so proud of having built—-all gone. That beautiful picture window gone. The trees we planted, the swings we swung on, the orchard, the roses, the other flowers, all gone.

I do not like having to learn the lesson of letting go, but that is what life is all about. Learning to surrender, to let go, to accept life on life’s terms realizing things and people are not fair. Enough time spent on the “pity pot.” Here is what I am grateful for: my four dogs with their unconditional love, my two sisters, my friends, my church, my faith, God’s eternal and unconditional love, my house, having enough money, health care, and food to live comfortably. Being sober and clean. My mind, my soul, my life. My memories…..and the gift of being able to make new ones. The lessons being “pounded home” to me this week have all been about letting go, connecting, working on community, and being grateful and compassionate. I just could have done without this latest lesson.




Now we come to the setting of the sun

This morning has been one of  “Facebook Connection with God.” Surprisingly, my Facebook experience this morning felt like getting hug after hug rather than being bombarded by negativity. The first, and perhaps biggest “hug”  I encountered was a post about the forgiveness ceremony at Standing Rock. This event is proof that after centuries of hurt by working together reconciliation and purposeful building of community can help us heal as a nation. It gives me hope that this united effort will continue to heal our nation and block negativity.

Another hug was a video of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra playing and children singing “Christmas Canon.”  This particular piece of music has always comforted my spirit,  and,  as I listened, I realized God was hugging me again.

A third hug was a posted contemplative prayer article that supported my efforts in practicing contemplative prayer. In a kind way the article reminded me how important it is for me to practice growing closer to God in purposeful moments when I quiet my mind and let Him fill the silence with His Love. If it had yelled “Practice, practice, practice!” at me I would not have bothered to read it

These past months have been full of nation-wide negativity and ugliness. On a personal level I fought a long battle with bronchitis and asthma, and I won. Truthfully, although all the medical intervention was integral in my recovery, so was the support and prayers of my friends. I could have easily ended up in the hospital as many of my friends have with this particular strain of bronchitis. Not doing so was a huge “hug from God.”

The biggest “hug” happened this past weekend. I began experiencing abdominal pain about 10 AM Saturday morning, and it seemed to worsen all day.  I tried to convince myself I was having a stomach ache as a result of the new antibiotic I was  taking. When I got home from a local craft show, I got out the antibiotic’s  pharmacy print out, and found, much to my dismay, that if your stomach hurt when taking this medication you needed to call your doctor. On a Saturday night, that meant calling my doctor’s “service.” The doctor I talked to was an angel from God. He helped me realize what I was describing was more than what is usually expected as a side effect of this medication, and when I explained my history of multiple partial bowel obstructions, he suggested I consider visiting an emergency room. He did a good job of breaking through my denial—- I drove myself to a local ER.

While there I got the usual IV, EKG, blood draws, and CAT scan. Based on what the CAT scan showed the ER doctor determined that my “dysfunctional colon” had started backing things up into my small intestine as it has many times before.  “Backing up” and the pain it causes are  generally the first symptoms associated with developing partial or total bowel obstruction. I was lucky—– the doctor decided he could treat me there in the ER with a humongous soap suds enema rather than having to send me by ambulance to Barnes Jewish in St. Louis. Now, in case something as old fashioned and “low tech” as an invasive enema sounds like torture to you rather than a positive outcome, I can tell you from personal experience an hour or so of intense discomfort is much more positive than having a NG  tube forced down your throat into your stomach, a catheter put in your bladder, and spending a week or so in the hospital with the threat of possible surgery hanging over you.

This positive ER experience outcome was intensified by the fact that the nurses who took care of me had been my students in the past, they both recognized me, and they both gave me excellent care. Sometimes it pays to have previously been a professor in a small town. By 4 AM I finally was able to go home and go to bed.

I’ve been able to rest a few days now, slowly building back to almost my normal activity level, and this morning when I was trolling Facebook to find a daily  bible verse and prayer for my church’s Face book page, I encountered the hugs spoken of earlier. Finding all those positive postings got  me to thinking about all the ways God has been kind to me these past few weeks and how grateful I am.

Thanks for letting my mind wander on about hugs.


I served my Thanksgiving company this dessert today, and they asked me if I had the recipe. I told them it was one I’d made up myself, and they asked me to write it down and put it on Pinterest.  To do that, I need to publish it on the Internet, so that is why this recipe is my blog entry for  today. Please keep in mind that although it is low carb, sugar free and also a  source for protein and calcium  its fat content is still relatively high. Hope everyone is having a wonderful, grateful, and fun-filled Thanksgiving.

Sugar Free Peanut Butter Chocolate Delight


1/2 c Cream cheese

1/4 c Plain Greek yogurt

1/8 c Hershey’s Kitchens Sugar Free Chocolate Chips

1/2 t Vanilla

1/2 C plus 2 T Splenda

1/4 C sugar free peanut butter (plain or crunchy)


  • Soften cream cheese in microwave until semi-soft yet not warm (about 20-30 seconds on high, depending on microwave)
  • Add yogurt and vanilla  to softened cream cheese; mix throughly
  • Add Splenda, mix vigorously until well blended
  • Blend in peanut butter
  • Add sugar free chocolate chips, mix until evenly distributed throughout mixture

Serve as is or chilled, depending on your preference



Now we come to the setting of the sun

If I have to hear the “Help, I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” commercial one more time I’ll scream. Only I can’t, my “scream machine” (throat, lungs, breathing) is on the blink, and it is all I can do to breathe in and out—–and sometimes that is a challenge. I remember when I used  to laugh at this commercial. However, I don’t find it amusing anymore as it is getting harder and harder for me “to get up.” Just bending over to feed the dogs is a challenge to my current malfunctioning breathing system.

But, ’tis the season to be grateful—–so let me get off the “pity pot” and just be grateful that I can breathe between coughing bouts and that my asthma wheezing is subsiding. And, having been ill for a week, I think I am most grateful for good old fashioned Amoxicillin with Kleenex running a close second. I am grateful my dogs no longer jump and run when I sneeze or cough. They have been desensitized.

I have found being this ill for a week has brought my emotions “to the top”—-I am easily irritated, I have no patience, and, at times, I find myself crying like a frustrated two year old. No longer is my attention fixated on the implications of our recently past election…..having to fight to breathe has a way of putting things into the proper perspective. I  have to focus on the present moment and what I can and cannot do. If I have to moan and groan to get more air in or out, it is OK in the moment. I have to admit that in the midst of coughing spasms when I am fighting to breathe and tears are rolling down my face I am intensely grateful I am not out in public. Ego and pride have not left me yet. However, it is time for me to put my self-focused attention aside.

To all of you out there who are engaged in Thanksgiving, I wish you good times, loving fellowship, and the ability to remember what you are grateful for in each moment and not just during grace before the big family meal. I shout out a loud “Thank you!” to Creator and ask him to keep those who:

  • are traveling
  • are standing vigil to protect sacred lands and water
  • are surrounded by pain, death, war
  • are in need of sanctuary;
  • are hungry
  • have no place to call home who are our peace officers
  • are in military service
  • serve as our health care givers
  • have lost loved ones
  • are and will be guiding our country

in His care not only on Thanksgiving Day but on all days.  May we all realize we are connected as one human family with all of Creation and Creator himself, and may this realization guide us in relating to each other with love and compassion. Amen.


Just feeling a bit strange.  My friend Sharen died on July 20, 2015. I still think about her almost every day. Some of you may have read the blogs I wrote while I was trying to survive her death, and you may remember that I explained she was my “go to” friend with almost anything at anytime and almost every day.

Today I got to “go to” her again. Face Book notified me that today was her birthday and provided me with a link for wishing her a happy birthday. I couldn’t help it. I went to her site (yes, it is still there) and wished her a happy birthday in heaven and told her I miss her. I couldn’t have done that this time last year without crying.  Now I am just tearing. I don’t know how Facebook accounts get discontinued following a death, but I wish they’d get a bit better at it.

Or, do I? Maybe it is important to continue remembering birthdays rather than focusing on death-days. There are no death-day wishes, parties, or cards. I know from experience that both birthdays and death-days of those we love are sometimes emotionally very difficult to get through even years after our loved ones have left us.

What I usually do in my blogs is find some spiritual tie into my topic, and I need to try to do that now. The death celebrations I am most familiar with are those that occur annually in my church focusing on the death and resurrection of Jesus. I have, over time, come to believe that God/Creator resides in all of us from the moment of our conception and will remain within and with our souls throughout eternity. I even believe our connection with Creator was a reality before we were born.

I also believe time is a concept invented by humankind and I should be able to  look beyond the concept of time and realize eternity is now and ever shall be in this present moment.  I believe my friend Sharen is connected to me through our common ties with Creator and that within the context of timeless eternity , perhaps, I am not terribly weird/crazy for wishing my friend happy birthday today.

In honor of her and her life, the photo I am posting with this is one of my favorites. It shows her, her little black dog, and my little white dog in my living room during one of the times she came to take care of me after I was discharged from Barnes-Jewish in St. Louis. Even in the “worst” of times we had some really wonderful and treasured times. Happy birthday, Sharen!


Today I am being a hermit watching the world through venetian blinds. It is a beautiful world out there, and it is a beautiful world in here because I am giving my body quiet time to heal. Two days ago I had real trouble breathing to the point that I remembered the last time I felt that way I ended up in the hospital. My asthma “puffer” didn’t seem to help much.  Finally at the end of the day in order to sleep I took one of my inhalation treatments hoping that would help. Thankfully, it did.

I woke up fighting to breathe and had to take another “treatment.” The breathing got easier but the congestion in my head and the evolution of a unilateral slightly sore throat into a bilateral major sore throat  kept reminding me I wasn’t well. I started coughing up green mucous, and I knew then I needed to stop and take care of myself. Yesterday afternoon I was lucky enough to have a friend come over who with great kindness repaired everything that had gone wrong with my house during the past year. That was a wonderful blessing. I also discovered that helping move a refrigerator away from the wall can strain my lower back—-something that, thankfully, is a new experience for me. Evidently you can hurt your back without bending over. I’ve been taught healthy body mechanics for lifting someone, but no one ever taught me the right way to pull something heavy away from the wall.

Today both the breathing and the sore throat are less bothersome. I think I am getting well. The back pain will go away too. I am being helped by the support  of my friends and prayers from my priest and my prayer partner. Although I sound like a hypochondriac, I am gleefully pursuing recovery from this bout of minor illness……and gaining on it. And the mantra of “drink lots of fluids and take it easy” along with prayers and faith will help get me  there. Thanks for letting me rant!