Imagine…our nation needs healing…and hope…

As an American, I hope our country welcomes all people! I hope all immigrants can feel welcomed! I hope we can appreciate the diversity of  Native Americans, Black Americans, Latinos, Caucasian, and every race!  We enrich each other beyond belief if we are only open and receptive.  I hope we can allow for the differences in our beliefs, and accept Muslims, Christians, New Age–whatever belief that helps the individual bring peace and harmony to him/herself and to others.  I hope we can accept and grow in our understanding of sexual orientation and be open to Homosexual relationships, just as we accept Heterosexual relationships. I hope we can grow in our respect of women.

I hope we can grow in respect of one another and become a nation of caring and concern for each other: for those less fortunate, for the sick, for the poor, for the homeless, and for the mentally ill.   We are so blessed to be alive and to have life. Our gratitude and respect for life must not just stay within ourselves, but it must extend out to others, so that it grows and nourishes others and ourselves. My heart can only hope and try to do my best for others.

I hope this is the American that the world will see.

 

 

Happy God

Who is this Happy God?

The God who sees all possibilities within you!

The God who loves you as you are!

The God who is there even when darkness is all around you

The God who has no memory but sees you as you are today!

The GOD who holds you in LOVE!

Photo Credit; Jane H Johann, Kiriko, Kenya, East Africa, Abedare Mountain Range, 1976

Photo Credit; Jane H Johann, Kiriko, Kenya, East Africa, Abedare Mountain Range, 1976

Dedicated to Sister Carmen Sammut, a dear friend, who reminded me of this GOD!

Carmen posed this question to me, “Do you think God has a memory?”

Part I: Tales of Bellingham, Washington

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During the past  six months, I had the opportunity on two separate occasions to travel to Bellingham, Washington, with my youngest daughter, Lara, who just returned from two years in Togo with the Peace Corps. She was offered employment there and so we went together to go apartment hunting, along with her Aunt Kathy. I returned at Christmas because this old mother did not want her to have a third Christmas in a row without family.

I love the Pacific Northwest! It is beautiful and the weather not as extreme as I am now experiencing in Wisconsin. The Cascade Mountains, Mt. Baker specifically, and the trees and plants are just a sight to behold! Beauty beyond description!

"Mt. Baker" Photo Credit: Jane H. Johann, c.October, 2015. Taken from "Artist's Point" on the slopes of the Cascade Mountain Range.

“Mt. Baker” Photo Credit: Jane H. Johann, c.October, 2015. Taken from “Artist’s Point” on the slopes of the Cascade Mountain Range.

The people are warm and friendly in Bellingham. The city has a small town atmosphere and I felt very comfortable ambling through the streets during the day, while Lara was at work. I think I averaged three to four miles a day, walking through the city and taking in so many different expressions of life. I was careful not to walk to far West!  A far cry from the quiet soybean and cornfields that surround me here in southeastern Wisconsin.

Lara’s apartment is just two blocks from the view of Bellingham Bay as seen in the enclosed photo in this writing piece. It is also only a half block from the several train tracks.

"Trains of Bellingham" Photo Credit: Jane H. Johann.c.2016, January.

“Trains of Bellingham” Photo Credit: Jane H. Johann.c.2016, January.

The first night, after my 26 hour journey (who knew it would take that long from Wisconsin~ another story!) to Bellingham, I fell asleep very quickly, only to be startled awake at 11 PM with a train running over me! Or, so I thought! Then there was another at midnight and so on, until 3 AM. It was an adjustment, but I did get there by the end of the month and quickly learned not to complain about the noise of the trains to Bellingham residents. They take pride in living close to the tracks and the trains hold a deep connection to them — I am not quite sure what that is yet–will let you all know once I figure it out. However, the trains are delightful to see and appreciate–especially the art work on the various freight cars.

 

 

"Art on the Rails" Bellingham, WA, USA. Photo Credit: . Jane H. Johann, Jan. 2016

“Art on the Rails” Bellingham, WA, USA. Photo Credit: . Jane H. Johann, Jan. 2016

 

 

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Everyday I found something new to appreciate in the city of Bellingham.

Sunday Morning Blessings to you All from the countryside of Palmyra, Wisconsin, USA

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the sun is beginning to rise in the East

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sharing its LIGHT for ALL to feast

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highlighting the wooden tapestry held in our sight

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giving wonder and glory to each piece of nature’s delight

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May this day bring peace and harmony to all people everywhere in our world. We are ONE.  Our diversity is our richness…may we honor this great gift in one another. May we find joy in all the colors of our humanity. May we live compassionately and with forgiveness towards one another. May we honor one another’s beliefs and together work for the common good for each and every one of us. May trust and respect grow among us and may we help each other when in need, always looking for the good, always lifting each other up towards the LIGHT.

Thank you to all of my WordPress writers and friends. Your presence in my life encourages me to go forward, despite my failings, and to seek another day! Sometimes I just want to give-up…and then I come back to this WordPress and I always find encouragement in your words and postings.  WORDS do give HOPE. Thank you for your gentle presence and quiet in my life! Blessings to you all, in all the corners of the WORLD!

 

Friends

WHO is it that does the simple things of everyday life

that become the HUGE things in your everyday strife?

WHO is it that takes the time to sit with you for lunch

when they might have to listen to boring words at brunch?

WHO is it that walks along to the mundane place of Home Depot

when you have to order a water heater for your old chateau?

WHO is it that tells you that you are sane

when all around you becomes a difficult refrain?

WHO  is that carries such honest charm

And willingly lends a restful arm?

WHO is it that listens so patiently to all you say

When you are ready to call it a day?

WHO is it that is so giving and true

why, of course, it is a FRIEND like YOU!

 

Black-eyed Susan Perennial Garden; Photo Credit: Jane H. Johann; August, 2015, Palmyra, WI.

Black-eyed Susan Perennial Garden; Photo Credit: Jane H. Johann; August, 2015, Palmyra, WI.

thank you, Friend…YOU know who you are!

 

 

 

 

Deepest Secret of Life

“The deepest secret is that life is not a process of discovery,

but a process of creation. You are not discovering yourself,

but creating yourself anew.

Seek, therefore, not to find out Who You Are,

seek to determine Who You Want to be.”

—  Neal Walsch

     Creation is an intricate part of who we are each day we are alive. Each moment brings to us another option of choice…to forge ahead and to choose LIFE.  There are days when our confidence gets shaken…we forget we are part of something greater than ourselves — we each need the other —  make no mistake of how one person can make all the difference! That person may be YOU!

   Some days are very difficult and the days seem weary and long.  I look at the clock and it reads 9:00 A.M. and I am thinking to myself, “It should be noon!” And I am praying for it to be noon, because the time is dragging and I cannot bear another moment of being alone in this empty house. I feel stuck in a rut. I do not know how to create…how to BE…how to BECOME.  I am thinking, “What purpose do I have?”  The “empty nest” syndrome has struck! I am seeking purpose and feel a need to reconnect to the Greater Good. I am lost in my aloneness and isolation.

  Then appears the call of LIFE…to continue to respond…to continue to say YES…to continue to create…to move forward…away from self towards others. I just visited  the beautiful blog  photos of Clanmother (http://celebrationart.blogspot.com/2015/09/240365-happiness.html)  and one of the quotes she used was from Anne Frank “Think of all the beauty still left around you and be happy.”

   Social isolation is horrible and it seems very difficult to bear in the countryside, surrounded by cornfields–regardless of the beauty of nature–the human voice gives the affirmation that you are there–that another recognizes your existence–that you matter.
    When I was 18, I went to work in the local nursing home and I remained working there for six years, during every weekend and holiday and summer vacation, as I studied my way through the university. I worked on the ward with people who suffered from dementia or mental illness.  I remember going into the nursing homes each morning, and looking at thirty or more sad faces, with no expression. Same routine everyday. Those who could, would march down the lifeless hall, that was painted gray, and enter the day room. They would each migrate towards a certain chair—each person had deemed their spot and though there was no direction given by anyone, inevitably they would sit themselves in the same chair.
      They always ate in silence. Whatever was on their tray, they ate. One day, as I was lifting the trays out of the huge stainless steel wheeled compartment, a food tray slipped from my hands! Bam! What a thunderous clatter! Food on the floor everywhere! It was the best thing that ever happened in that day room! Everyone began to laugh! Everyone! They were howling in laughter! I had never experienced any other emotion out of them in all the six years of working there, except doldrums and silence. I dare say, I should have dropped a tray once a day!
      There was one elderly lady, Myrtle, who independently had paired herself up with a younger patient, who could not speak, Joan. Joan was “adopted” by Myrtle as her daughter. She would help her with her food each morning and noon, and I presume the evening meal as well.  Throughout the day, they followed one another up and down the hall. Myrtle walking beside Joan and they would laugh and talk in a language all their own.  So even though Myrtle did not speak any English that I knew, she would understand our directives and also assist to help Joan.
       Myrtle must have been in her 50’s and Joan in her 30’s. They were the only two who had such a good relationship. I am sure Myrtle took Joan under her wing as her own daughter. They provided happiness for each other. They provided relationship. I was very shy when I began working there and did what I was told. But in my heart, I felt so torn that these people had no one. At Christmastime, I took my money, and I bought each patient a little gift and gave it to them. None of these people ever had visitors.  I am sure because of the mental illness stigma, they were abandoned. I heard this recently from somewhere, “Even crazy people like to be invited!” Then my mind flashed back to those days, and sometimes to my own existence, as crazy as I am, and how painful it is “to be left out” because I am different.  How empty and sad were the lives of these people, because they were “left out” of society. Their own families forgot them.  What is worse than to be forgotten?
         Back in those days, they did not do group recreation or have things for these people to do. Everyone just sat in the day room staring–that is, except for Myrtle and Joan. Then one day, Joan became sick. Myrtle came running for us, screaming, “Schma schma!” Her own language and we followed. Joan died. I think from pneumonia, but I do not really know. Dear Myrtle was so lost and her cries could be heard for days throughout the hall. Mrytle let out her emotions and her pain. I think that is truly lacking in our society. It was so devastating for her. Her tears were many. Neither of these people had ever had visitors in the six years that I was employed. Soon Myrtle had given up and was dying. Two beautiful people who loved each other, and could not survive without the other.
    I think that is how important each person is to the other in this life. We either choose to bring life to the other, or we let some materialistic obstacle or hidden reason, regret or grudge, arrogance or  social sophistication, or class distinction (and that does exist in every society), anger or resentment, unforgiving attitude  get in our  way and we lose sight of the bigger picture. We forget that diversity brings richness!  Relationship is a calling out of ourselves to go towards the other — to forget ourselves –to go forward and bring others into life–to co-create.

holy touch

'My Mom, Agnes Johann, holding her great granddaughter, Nadia Jane Krenn" Photo taken by Jane H. Johann c.2009

‘My Mom, Agnes Johann, holding her great granddaughter, Nadia Jane Krenn” Photo taken by Jane H. Johann c.2009

holy hands of a mother…

delicately, the tender hands hold the newborn child

carefully, the hands prepare nourishing meals for this new life

hands so deftly created and styled

holy hands of the artist…

the fingers and thumb raise the clay

the palm of the hand cushions the brush’s handle

the movement of the arm controlling the pen for the day

holy hands of need…

 

hands grasping…looking for the steady confidence of friend

hands outstretched, seeking help

hands vulnerable, courageously seeking a mend

 

holy hands of friendship…

hands palms open, hands open for receiving

hands holding on to one another

hand saying hello and releasing

holy hands of love

hands expressing gentle acceptance

hands healing without reluctance

hands of love, gracious presence

"A Great Grandmother's Kiss" December 26, 2008. Photo credit: c. Jane H. Johann. 2008

“A Great Grandmother’s Kiss” December 26, 2008. Photo credit: c. Jane H. Johann. 2008