By admin


Categories: celebrant musings

Fall Arrives

On Monday the air was different.  Did you feel it?  The oppressive heat had broken and fall arrived.  It’s still not that banner headline day when we can open up our houses and turn off the AC, but it’s coming!

This is the time of year in Phoenix when kids can once again play outside.  They need some unstructured outside play time as well as all the sports activities parents line up.  Digging in the dirt, swinging in the back yard, running with the dog, riding a bike—all of these develop every part of your child.

We know about the gross and fine motor practice, but have you thought about the awe and wonder practice?  Mother Nature has much to teach us in that department.  Today it rained sideways!  Did you see it?  I bet your kids did.  It hailed.  Did you taste it?  Maybe, if your kids were lucky, they did.  The lightning and thunder were better than a laser light show.  Wow!

In this photo taken in Sedona of our youngest grandchild, you can see a little boy, airborne, hurtling through space headed for a large pile of leaves.  He is Indiana Jones and Luke Skywalker and Batman combined into one.  With every fiber of his body he is immersed in the stupendous Gift of the Earth.  He is Master of his Universe.  He is King of the Leaves.  He is Superboy!

Give your children the chance to do the same.

Let’s head outdoors!




By admin


Categories: celebrant musings

Season Mix-Up

In Phoenix our seasons are 180 degrees off from most of the poetry and literature written to celebrate the seasons.  We’re more in sync with Australia than New York.

I’ve read poems about the wonderful, outdoor splendor of summer with its lazy days of fishing and lying in the grass.  Summer here is hell on earth.  No one ventures out except those heroes who refinish roofs and deliver the mail.

Winter is described as a time of cocooning and darkness and being inside.  Not here!  Winter is fabulous!  We play tag football on Christmas Day!

Spring is a time of rebirth and watching the first crocus poke through the snow.  Late winter here finds the desert in full bloom, but by mid-spring all has turned brown.  All bets are on for which day will finally reach 100 degrees and which date we will close up and turn on the AC.  This can happen as early as April.  We are so sad.

Fall is a time for gathering in the harvest in preparation for the long nights ahead.  Here we scream with joy the first morning when a cool breeze greets us as we leave hibernation and venture out.  The day you can finally turn off the AC and open the windows is a red letter day!

See what I mean?



By admin


Categories: celebrant musings

Our Grammy

Shortly after my mother-in-law died, I wrote an article for a local newspaper about her death and its meaning to me.  Here it is:

Our Grammy just died.

At the service her great-grandson crawled up and down the stairs, quietly finding a place to watch all the goings-on.  It reminded me of the circle of life in all of its manifestations.

We keep Grammy’s memory alive by telling stories.  A favorite is the one where she shot the head off of a rattlesnake who was coiled up just off their front porch when her son (my husband) was quite young.  The story ends that everyone was safe and protected.

Recently my husband reminded me of the real story, which is that the head-half of the rattlesnake still bit the dog, who became very sick, but survived.  Should we re-tell the story with this amendment?  I decided not.

Not all children’s stories have to have a good ending, but to fight the cynicism and negativity of our world, occasionally glossing a story’s end seems acceptable.  Our children live with CNN instant news of 50,000 dying in an earthquake, bombs blowing up children in Iraq, toddlers being abducted.

Our job as teachers, aunts, uncles, friends, parents and grandparents is to provide them a safe environment as free of fear as possible.  Yet we still have to be realistic about some of the dangers in our world.  Don’t talk with strangers, tell Mom or Dad if someone hurts you, only eat the wrapped Halloween candy, stay close to us at the park.

Finding the balance between protecting and scaring is difficult.

  • We can turn off the news, for one thing.  It has to be the scariest show on TV.
  • We can protect our children from hearing adult conversations.
  • We can enroll them in safe programs like Shadow Rock Preschool.
  • We can watch them vigilantly at home and away.
  • We can keep ourselves as centered and emotionally healthy as possible so that we don’t share or project our own fears.
  • We can let them know that they can talk with us about ANYTHING!

And finally, we can read books, tell stories and sing songs about love and Grammies who kept their children safe.



By admin


Categories: celebrant musings

Pure Love

My mom experienced healing as she was dying from cancer.

She turned into pure love, as evidenced by what she said and did in her last few days.  Her chicks (children and grandchildren) had come to visit one last time. 

Earlier, she’d divided her jewelry, gathered from round the world, amongst the seven women in her descendents and their wives.  She told her life’s story and described those she had known and loved.  She phoned the remaining older relatives, checking in one last time.  And on Friday she told my brother that everyone had “come home” except me.

I was there five weeks earlier, but that was too long ago, so I came that very Friday evening on a late flight.  She said, “Come here, my beautiful daughter, let me look at you,” when we arrived.  She held me at arm’s length and gazed into my eyes.  “I knew you’d come,” she said.

Mom then died on Tuesday around 2:30 in the afternoon.  On Sunday she told me she thought she’d die soon and then we had a wonderful conversation.  She told me how she thought I looked like her when I was born and that I was beautiful and that she knew I’d always love her.  We laughed about our camping trips and funny times we’d shared.  We spoke of how she’d moved far away from family and support when I was a baby and I asked if she was lonely.

“No, I had you and Dad and then Larry and then Mark,” as she wrapped her arms around herself.  “All I ever wanted.”

She told me I’d been a “good daughter”.  We spoke for about an hour with laughter and tears.  That was our last good talk.

The night before my sister-in-law asked Mom if she would forgive her for caregiving times when she might have been short-tempered,  “I will.  I will.  I will”, she said.  All was forgiven.  All was healed.

My niece crawled in bed with her and they cried and talked.  I was told they talked about love and life and sex and God and everything! Things have not always been easy between them.  Now everything had “come round right”.

Her grandson held her in his arms on Sunday and talked lovingly of her and his grampa, how much he’d loved him and how he thought they’d be together again.  He’d chosen a Glen Miller CD to play—one of Grampa’s favorites.  She told him how much Grampa loved him, how he was his “special” grandson.  Nick was filled with love.

Nick’s wife Daiana was there to touch and hold any time someone had to leave or take a break.  Mom told her to “take good care of Nick” and “thank you for being with me”.

Also on Sunday evening she told my brother Larry her last words to him, “Love is everything.  Love is easy.”  Larry should know.  He had lovingly cared for her for many years and especially during her year-long battle with ovarian cancer.

On Monday she said little.  But she threw her arms up in the air over and over, hugging invisible greeters.  We called our brother, Mark, and she lay seemingly unresponsive while we talked, but when he said he was sending her a hug, up went the arm for an air hug.

Her last 24 hours she did not speak.  She worked hard at the act of dying.  We held her hand, sang to her, stroked her hair, never left her alone from Sunday night until her death.  She was calm as she withdrew from the world as a healed symbol of pure love.

We are so lucky.

On our way to the memorial service, Mom’s cremains in the backseat of her Bluebird.