Fireside Chats and Kitchen Table Talks


Fireplace Photo (c) 2014 by Pat Ruppel

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Fireside Chat.”

The Daily Post has asked: “What person whom you don’t know very well in real life — it could be a blogger whose writing you enjoy, a friend you just recently made, etc. — would you like to have over for a long chat in which they tell you their life story?”

Best conversations come about in fireside chats or just sitting around the kitchen table. I think it’s when we learn the most from each other, when our hearts open to give our opinions and tell our stories.

How would it feel to clear our agendas for a day and sit down to talk with someone purely with the intention of listening and sharing what’s happening in our lives. Maybe, we need to hear about an experience or exchange different points of view on something.

Don’t you remember a late-night talk, when the moment was perfect, and you got the chance to tell someone your story. You felt comfortable revealing your truth, pouring out your heart because you were rewarded with a listening ear. Somehow, talking made all the difference, though very little was resolved.

What I take away from these types of talks is a feeling of connection. I’m plugged in again and no longer isolated. If I’m facing challenges, I’m comforted in hearing that someone else has been there and survived.

Years ago, I piloted a talking-stick workshop in a corporate environment. I wanted to get to know my fellow workers that I spent the majority of my day with and wondered if they ever thought about some of the things I thought about. I wanted the time I spent with them to have more value than just eye contact while passing in the hall. I knew I had a lot going on in my life but knew very little about them and wanted to learn what it took to be real.

So, beginning in 1999/2000, I started a 4-part workshop with a talking-sticking and a series of questions each having a theme. It went well for more than a year and I learned a lot about my co-workers and the process.

Given my 2015 statement to Invite the Miraculous, I’m challenging myself to take risks and try something new. I’ve been thinking about some things that have gone on in my life and, given the Daily Post’s prompt, I’m entertaining the idea of having a fireside/kitchen table chat (Google+) with you. What do you think — for an hour? There would be no right or wrong answers — just talking and sharing on how we feel and why on a given topic.

For me, the one thing I like to start with has been the topic of “Trust”. It’s how I started the workshops with the intention to establish a comfortable place to land with a couple of questions like:

  • We hear and use the word trust a lot. What does trust mean to you? 
  • How is it earned?

I experimented a little with Google+ chat today with hubby and clearly I have some learning to do. So, if any of you out there have some expertise on how to get started with this, I’m game in finding out how so I can learn what to do to get started.

If you’re interested in something like this, let me know how you feel about it, what day/times work for you (I’m at MST — Mountain Standard Time) in the contact form below. If not, that’s okay, too, I’d welcome your thoughts in the comments below.

This is all new to me and I’m winging it. So, let’s have some fun getting to know one another more by having a fireside chat.

See The Daily Post’s prompt at Fireside Chat

Flickering Awareness

Sun in clouds - Karen Davis Photo

Used with Permission — *Karen Davis Photo at Facebook’s “Open Door Dreaming”

My awareness flickers ― on and off. Have you ever had that happen to you? So many times I catch moments when I feel a special warmth and connection. I try hard to hold onto it but it fades, like how *Oriah describes so well in her poem below.

       Waking Up With The Beloved

As I pulled up out of sleep in the morning light,
I felt the Beloved sitting at the foot of my bed
beaming such love,
I felt every molecule of my being singing.
I struggled not to wake up,
afraid I would lose awareness of this Presence,
frightened that the way it filled my heart
with all I had ever ached for
would fade if I opened my eyes.
But a voice said: “It’s okay.
Open your eyes.
I am everywhere.
Your awareness flickers on and off,
like sunlight moving through clouds,
but I am here, always with you.”

~ Used with permission by Oriah (c) 2015

It’s in what she goes on to say I can picture that takes me back to the moment of my awareness ― it does flicker like sunlight in the clouds. I can feel it moving, as if it stops, then there’s a gentle flow, in and out. I feel the warmth and then a sudden coolness. It’s nice and peaceful and I want to remain there as long as my awareness allows.

But, it’s fickle and won’t be contained and I struggle with thinking that I must be doing something wrong. Then, as I read it again, I’m gently reminded not to admonish but only to know, “It’s okay . . . I am everywhere . . . I am here, always with you”.

Pat from the ol’ kitchen table

*inspired by famed poet, Oriah Mountain Dreamer for the “Invitation”, on her site at “The Green Bough” and by Karen Davis’ photo at Facebook’s “Open Door Dreaming”.

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Acknowledgements: "Wake Up With The Beloved" - Oriah more...

There Is Room At The Table For Everyone

Dandelions -- Courtesy of MSN Clipart

Dandelions by Recent Photos The Common Galleries World Map App Garden Camera Finder – Courtesy of MSN Clipart

It’s a new year and I’ve already made my 2015 statement ― “Invite the Miraculous” ― in my last post. Now, I’ve been trying to find the perfect theme on which to start.

I think I’ve got it from listening to these songs by *Carrie Newcomer. Her words and music speak to my heart in the vision I have this year, actually for a while now, on what I long to do ― gather and inspire. No gift is too small ― there is room at the table for everyone.

They talk of down-home things and take me to where life is simple ― toe tapping, innocent and pure. We all come from different walks of life with many situations. I feel them — a whole gamut of emotions where we love, cry and laugh — and hope to create a space at my table where we come together and take these journeys in a conversation of life.

It’s the human stories of love and pain. They matter and we have within the ability to make change and witness miracles.

I don’t know how it will happen nor do I have the training or piece of paper to give advice. I can only share what I’ve learned and witnessed and offer a safe place to exchange stories.  Sometimes, all it takes is a comforting word or a listening soul to point us in a new direction, give hope and get us back on track.

I never know how each day will unfold or what may come into my life. It may be that you’ll land here and we’ll engage and inspire each other. Maybe, you’ll have a new idea that will spark us to do something that’s never been done before. I hope so. We need to put our pieces together and add our voices to the world collectively for the greater good.

So, as you listen to these songs and their lyrics, I hope your heart will be touched by pure love as it was for me. I hope you’ll look for the light in the window and gather around my table in spirit to see what the future holds and where we’ll be placed to learn how to bring peace and share love.

Come, pull up a chair ― there’s room at my table for everyone. I’m putting it out in the universe. Together, we’ll find a way to talk and air our differences, share our stories and spread the love giving hope ― then, stand back and watch the miracles. If not now, then when.

Pat at the ol’ kitchen table

*For more information on Carrie Newcomer, you can listen to an unedited interview with her by Krista Tippett at “On Being”  or hear a mix on her new album.

Happy New Year And A Look Back

Happy New Year by Thanasis Anastasiou

Happy New Year by Thanasis Anastasiou

The New Year 2015 is upon us and, as 2014 pauses to say good-bye, I hope it was a good one for you as it was for me. I can’t say I’m one for making resolutions for the New Year or have accomplished all that I wanted in the past year. I’m having enough trouble learning how to be present with what’s now.

But, if I were to reflect, I would be happy with what I undertook and achieved. With this writing, I will have posted 40 stories for the year. I know it’s not a lot compared to most but with what I’ve shared in my life and what has inspired me, I hope it has mattered.

Here’s a little taste of 2014 and what I did around my kitchen table at “Plain Talk and Ordinary Wisdom”:

I don’t reblog much nor do my fellow bloggers reblog me, mainly because it’s harder to do as a self-hosted WordPress site. But, when I found an absolutely, good story from a fellow blogger on the first day of 2014 to start the year, I couldn’t resist. I had to reblog and share it with you. That was the case with Dr. Horty Rexach’s story I posted at “Reblog: At the end of the day . . . by Dr. Rex”.

Heal the World - Horty Rexach

Heal the World — Horty Rexach at

Then, a first for me came in being invited by Mary Lansing to take part in a “Writing Process Blog Hop”. I was a little nervous as I had never contributed to something like this before. I was honored to be considered to have value with what I could add in writing my piece along with so many accomplished writers.

Writing, Arts, Communications by MSN Clipart

Writing, Arts, Communications by MSN Clipart

After that, I had a couple of awards I was privileged to receive this year, my last before I made my site Award Free ― a humble thank you to Sherri Matthews at “A View from my Summer House” for the 7-In-One and Butterfly Light Awards.

Another stretch for me was in having the honor to be a guest on some of my fellow bloggers’ sites. It was fun to reach beyond my comfort zone and share some favorite stories with my readers’ followers.

I thank you Diana Jackson, Susan Cooper and John Cali for allowing me to share these stories:

Guest Post on Selections of Reflections
Guest Post on Finding Our Way Now
Guest Post 2 at Selections of Reflections
Guest Post — Sweet Days of Summer: #Story
Ghost Stories From an Old House: #Story
Guest Post: Boo! What Scares You? by Pat Ruppel
Little Things: #Story #Poem
Greatest Gift of All: #Story

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And finally, I challenged myself further in composing a couple more videos with an invitation to come along on my walk-abouts in “Pat’s Walkabouts: Pine Valley Ranch Park and The Pagoda” and  “Nearing The End of Summer ― A Kenosha Pass Walkabout”.

I didn’t know there could be so much into making a video and putting it to music. I learned even more than I set out to and hope to get better at bringing my world to you in the New Year. Who knows? Maybe, I will learn how to do podcasts in line with the virtual kitchen table talks idea I had.

And now, as I write this and remember recapping this last year, my heart turns to hubby on this our 48th anniversary — today! Thank you for being in my life and for always being there for me. I love you!

Happy Anniversary!

And, to all my readers and those who happen to land here and find me for the first time, thank you for a wonderful 2014. May this New Year find you blessed with many happy dreams coming true.

I’m taking *Karen Hutton’s lead in my 2015 statement of intent: “Invite the Miraculous”.

How about you?

Happy New Year!

*Karen Hutton is a gifted photographer among her many other talents. To me, what is unique and inspirational about her work is that she puts her voice to it.

Pat from the ol’ kitchen table

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