Tapestry of a Woman

“Quilt by Audrey Neu”
Photo Credit©Jane H. Johann
Palmyra, WI


dedicated to Audrey Neu


dream at dawn takes shape during the night

cascading into patterned diamonds of delight


colors and hues lend tone to the day

creating a fabric of generosity in her kindhearted ways


inspiration guiding the imagination–buttering her knife

village squares extending into a pattern of life


the triangle design –God, you and me–

woven in and out with the needle you see


taking the abstract into the concrete

concern for others is her mystique


offering furniture to the immigrants

opening her pocketbook and lending a hand


creating time to listen to those in need

community minded…the song in her deeds


sharing laughter inside out

colors of caring painted in cloth


nurtured by her love of God with little fear

onward she prods, strength layered through the years


joy and faithfulness are her threads

as she tends to the hostas in her garden bed


“Quilt by Audrey Neu”
Photo Credit©Jane H. Johann
Palmyra, WI 2016


The two quilts pictured above were sewn by Audrey. She has created over 100 quilts after  45 years of being a Principal and Teacher in the Catholic Schools in Milwaukee, WI. Each year she creates a quilt for the House of Peace in Milwaukee. Each quilt takes about 3 months to complete.

This poem is a small gift to Audrey for all the help and support she has given me through the years and mostly, for her friendship!  Her grandmotherly like kindnesses to my children and grandchildren were pure gift! Thank you, Audrey!

The Caterpillar said, “We can always begin again!”

“My Gentle Granddaughter Nadia with a Gentle Caterpillar at age 5”
©Jane H. Johann, Palmyra, WI 2014

The Caterpillar

I watched the caterpillar move confidently up the length of the stem, up and over and around and down again. She repeated her pattern from stem to stem. Suddenly, it found itself introverted –suspended upside down. As the blade of grass bent with the breeze, the caterpillar’s mind found itself in a spiral whirlwind, moving freshly into a new reality, a new awareness.

Yes, just like the caterpillar, we can never go back to where we once were. There is no back, only a forward movement. Each touch, each experience is similar in some way to what was previous but now with a different nuance, a different perspective. We are forever changed, evolving on the spiral staircase. Like the caterpillar, our life presents to us new opportunities with each step forward. Each encounter brings something new to us, offering us a new choice, a new beginning!

Ever ending is a new beginning…

How beautiful is that! We can always begin again!

Monarch Caterpillar ©Jane H. Johann
Palmyra, WI 2016


Important words to take into our hearts…

I, Chief Arvol Looking Horse, of the Lakota, Dakota, and Nakota Nations, ask you to understand an Indigenous perspective on what has happened in America, what we call “Turtle Island.” My words seek to unite the global community through a message from our sacred ceremonies to unite spiritually, each in our ways of beliefs in the Creator.

                                                                                                                                                                  We have been warned from ancient prophecies of these times we live in today, but have also been given a vital message about a solution to turn these terrible times.

To understand the depth of this message, you must recognize the importance of Sacred Sites and realize the interconnectedness of what is happening today, in the reflection of the continued massacres that are occurring on other lands and our own Americas.

I have been learning about these important issues since the age of 12 when I received the Sacred White Buffalo Calf Pipe Bundle and its teachings. Our people have strived to protect Sacred Sites from the beginning of time. These places have been violated for centuries and have brought us to the predicament that we are in at the global level.

Look around you. Our Mother Earth is very ill from these violations, and we are on the brink of destroying the possibility of a healthy and nurturing survival for generations to come, our children’s children.

Our ancestors have been trying to protect our Sacred Site called the Sacred Black Hills of South Dakota, “Heart of Everything That Is,” from continued violations. Our ancestors never saw a satellite view of this site, but now that those pictures are available, we see that it is in the shape of a heart and, when fast-forwarded, it looks like a heart pumping.

The Diné have been protecting Big Mountain, calling it the liver of the earth, and we are suffering and going to suffer more from the extraction of the coal there and the poisoning processes used in doing so.

The Aborigines have warned of the contaminating effects of global warming on the Coral Reefs, which they see as Mother Earth’s blood purifier.

The indigenous people of the rainforest say that the rainforests are the lungs of the planet and need protection.

The Gwich’in Nation in Alaska has had to face oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge coastal plain, also known to the Gwich’in as “Where life begins.”

The coastal plain is the birthplace of many life forms of the animal nations. The death of these animal nations will destroy indigenous nations in this territory.

As these destructive developments continue all over the world, we will witness much more extinct animal, plant, and human nations, because of humankind’s misuse of power and their lack of understanding of the “balance of life.”

The Indigenous people warn that these negative developments will cause havoc globally. There are many, many more original teachings and knowledge about Mother Earth’s Sacred Sites, her chakras, and connections to our spirit that will surely affect our future generations.

There needs to be a fast move toward other forms of energy that are safe for all Nations upon Mother Earth. We need to understand the types of minds that are continuing to destroy the spirit of our whole global community. Unless we do this, the powers of destruction will overwhelm us.

Our Ancestors foretold that water would someday be for sale. This Prophecy was hard to believe! The water was plentiful, pure,  full of energy, nutrition, and spirit. Today we have to buy clean water, and even then the nutritional minerals have been taken out; it’s just clear liquid. Someday water will be like gold, too expensive to afford.

Not everyone will have the right to drink safe water. We fail to appreciate and honor our Sacred Sites, ripping out the minerals and gifts that lay underneath them as if Mother Earth were simply a resource, instead of the source of life itself.

Attacking nations and using more resources to carry out destruction in the name of peace is not the answer! We need to understand how all these decisions affect the global nation; we will not be immune to its repercussions. Allowing continual contamination of our food and land is affecting the way we think.

A “disease of the mind” has set in world leaders and many members of our global community, with their belief that a solution of retaliation and destruction of peoples will bring peace.

In our Prophecies it is told that we are now at the crossroads: Either unites spiritually as a global nation or faced with chaos, disasters, diseases, and tears from our relatives’ eyes.

We are the only species that is destroying the source of life, meaning Mother Earth, in the name of power, mineral resources, and ownership of land. Using chemicals and methods of warfare that are doing irreversible damage, as Mother Earth is becoming tired and cannot sustain any more impacts of war.

I ask you to join me in this endeavor. Our vision is for the peoples of all continents, regardless of their beliefs in the Creator, to come together as one at their Sacred Sites to pray and meditate and commune with one another, thus promoting an energy shift to heal our Mother Earth and achieve a universal consciousness toward attaining Peace.

As each day passes, I ask all nations to begin a global effort and remember to give thanks for the pure food that has been gifted to us by our Mother Earth, so the nutritional energy of medicine can be guided to heal our minds and spirits.

This new millennium will usher in an age of harmony, or it will bring the end of life as we know it. Starvation, war, and toxic waste have been the hallmark of the vast myth of progress and development that ruled the last millennium.

To us, as caretakers of the heart of Mother Earth falls the responsibility of turning back the powers of destruction. You are the one who must decide.

You alone – and only you – can make this crucial choice, to walk in honor or to dishonor your relatives. On your decision depends the fate of the entire World.

Each of us is put here in this time and this place to personally decide the future of humankind.

Did you think the Creator would create unnecessary people in a time of such terrible danger?

Know that you are essential to this world. Understand both the blessing and the burden of that. You are desperately needed to save the soul of this world. Did you think you were put here for something less? In a Sacred Hoop of Life, there is no beginning and no ending.

 Chief Arvol Looking Horse is the author of White Buffalo Teachings. A tireless advocate of maintaining traditional spiritual practices, Chief Looking Horse is a member of Big Foot Riders, which memorializes the massacre of Big Foot’s band at Wounded Knee.

Love is Magic!

Looking for the good in each person and letting them know that you see that good is an uplifting thing that anyone can do for another person.

Sometimes one small word can help them see into their own soul.  You can be a LIGHT to them and bring them out of their darkness and enable the crystal within to shine.  I think it is possible to do so with even a complete stranger. As long as you speak the truth, you will help the other. I recall being with my sister and her husband in Missouri, and we made a stop at this antique store. The clerk had the most beautiful blue eyes! I hesitated and then said to him, “Your blue eyes are amazing!” I just thought they were beautiful. Then I left and returned to Wisconsin. I am not sure if it made him happy or not. I do realize he turned beet red. But I think he should have been happy that I noticed his eyes. He must have been around my young age of 60+.  I think I startled my sister! LOL I am just hoping that he saw his own beauty…and I wanted to share with him that I had!

Maybe that is what we all need to do in these dark times. We must stop focusing on the darkness and bring out the light in each other.

A year ago, a friend came into my life and sparked my imagination. To some, it may seem like a no-brainer or nothing significant. But for me, it reawakened my world of painting. I hadn’t painted in a very long time and my brother, Claude, and his wife, Kerri, came to help me with some much-needed home improvements to my floor.  Another improvement needed: painting.

My friend, Pat, saw the small powder room and suggested to change the walls from dull white to some color. I was very hesitant. I had this huge fear–as giant as the ascent of Mt. Everest! I was afraid to experiment. Then Pat spotted this candle-holder that my sister, Mary, had given me 20 years earlier. It was in different shades of blue, with s moon, sailboat, and stars carefully lasered out of the stone. Pat spoke, “Why don’t you paint that on the wall?”  Inwardly, I thought, “That is crazy! I can’t do that! Impossible! No way!” I probably said it aloud as well.

Being the ultra-stubborn person that I am, Pat had to repeat it several times over several days. Thank God she has persistence! Finally, one morning I got up at 5 and picked up a brush and a spray can of a beautiful blue paint, along with various shades of blue and white oil tubes. I went off to the powder room.   I became mesmerized in what I was doing and followed the form of the candleholder, more or less, and les voiles! The wall turned out great! I couldn’t believe it!

And this happened because a stranger came into my life to become my friend—and she saw something in me that I could not find in myself. Besides getting the bathroom painted, she gave me a renewed faith in my own innate ability. That was pure gift! 

A small thing to some; however, for me it encouraged me to do something with my creative energy instead of sitting in my depression.

Whenever I feel depressed, I have a place to sit and remember…and get inspired…I just go to the little room and ponder and then get off my derriere and do something with my life!  LOL

Candleholder ©Jane H. Johann
Palmyra, WI 2016

Powder Room Wall©Jane H. Johann
Palmyra, WI 2016

Powder Room Wall©Jane H. Johann
Palmyra, WI 2016

the child at sea

©Jane H. Johann
Lake Michigan No.2
Kenosha, WI
October, 2013


WHY do we destroy

the precious gifts we receive?

Children are not property

Children are gifts…don’t you see?

WHY do we destroy

the growing heart?

WHY don’t we give our children

a holy start?

For a brief time,

tenderly their precious lives are held in our hands

For a brief time

we breathe our words into  the tiny lambs

Then from us they take leave

Their delicate souls facing forward as they walk through life

Our words can build or destroy them–

Empower them to stand strong in the inevitable strife

How does a child turn from a loving being

to a person without control?

WHY do we cut the child apart

that was given to us whole?

Solomon’s tale rings true

in more ways than one

Turning one parent against the other

is always wrong and always done

Pure and innocent

quick-witted and giving

Snuffed out by an angry parent

is no way for living


…Mom Used to Say

©Jane H. Johann, Palmyra,1990
“Lara & Mom”

I was preparing breakfast this morning for the two of us who happen to be together for awhile–my youngest daughter and me.  The apartment is great for a married couple, but I am not too sure about a Mother and Daughter! (giggling) The bacon was frying, slowly sizzling, while I mixed the omelet. When I finished that, and the bacon was still frying, I washed some of the accumulated dishes. Then the flood of practicalities from my Mom came into my head, “Be sure to use a clean towel when you dry those dishes!” After all, with eleven children, my parents and Great Aunt Gerty many germs abounded!  I am sure we are all going to live to be a hundred years old and immune from nearly everything! (yes, I know, we have made ourselves too sterile to the point that we will die if we breathe!).

The thought of my Mother’s admonition and practicality for the day made me think, “How will our children hear our voices?”

Today, cell phone texting dominates family interactions, sad to say. Even when we go to a restaurant, TV’s surround the eating area at every angle, blaring away! Why? I thought going out to eat was a chance to speak and listen to each other.  When we are at home in our living rooms, the TV becomes the god, along with football. I would prefer not having a TV, or, at the very least, have it in another room–because it does not bring life to the living room!  Bring in laptops, I-pads, tablets, and computers to accompany our visits, and we no longer hear each other, let alone our parents.

All those little bits of wisdom–what is proper, what can be done, what should be done, how to behave, how to be kind–and, foremost, the personalities of our Moms, their caring voices, their worried thoughts, their encouragements–are embedded in our brains from the voice of our Moms.  And, I am happy I have them!  My Mom was in my life for 60 years–and now I am blessed to hear her voice in my thoughts.

Then my heart becomes sad…how will children remember what their Mom said or their Dad said?

How will they remember them?

Will their voices echo through the cell phone texts?