About Pat

Here is a place where you can come to get a lift for the day, perhaps, a little insight to carry you through onto the next adventure of your life. A place where I’ll share a story, perhaps a thought and some reflections and we’ll meet somewhere in the middle. I like to think of it as a gathering around the kitchen table late at night when everything is still and the world has quieted down to rest. Occupation: Writer, blogger, wife, mother, grandmother, sister, daughter and one learning and sharing stories in my life. Location: Bailey, CO Introduction: 2007 Plain Talk and Ordinary Wisdom came out of Wisdom for the Ages, which was born in the corporate world where I gave workshops and facilitated talking-stick discussion groups. When my employer closed their site in 2002 and relocated back East, I took it outside corporate giving presentations as a speaker at Kiwanis, Mile High Sales Professionals, CWEE (Center for Work, Education and Employment) and Business Honoring Spirituality meetings. I also led weekly discussion groups at Morningstar Assisted Living Center. I am passionate about creating a safe environment where people can put aside their differences, share their experiences and wisdom without being right or wrong and benefit from truly listening to one another. It all started with inspiration from a quote from Ram Dass in his book, "Still Here": ….”when there is true surrender and service between people, the roles of helper and helped and the boundaries between those in power and those who are powerless begin to dissolve.”

Hope and a Future

candles
Candle Photo from MSN Clipart

These are trying times and no matter how this pandemic is touching you, there are times when you may feel like you’ve lost all hope. I know I’m not saying anything you already don’t know and aren’t experiencing – life isn’t normal these days.

Whether, it’s keeping social distancing with a neighbor or not having a job to go back to. These are the highs and lows with many layers in between – a roller coaster ride, with no end in sight, rising from one level of worry about paying bills to another dip if your spouse or parent gets sick. Sounds pretty grim but please read on.

I came across a scripture in a sample of a daily devotional I received in the mail last year and it struck a chord. I was feeling low at the time and it touched me deeply and comforted me. It seemed to be exactly what I needed to hear at the time.

The same passage popped up again a couple of Sundays ago in an evening TV series finale showing of “God Friended Me”. I noticed the mention of the same scripture and remembered how it affected me when I first read it. When something shows up again like this, even after a year, it gets my attention, especially in times like these. It reads like this:

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

Hope comes in many forms and this one may not particularly fit for you. You may wonder where’s the comfort in prosperity if your family is hungry and you don’t know how you’ll get the next meal. Or, the one you loved has just died and you couldn’t be there to say goodbye. It hurts and we feel in harm’s way when we’re in depths of despair when these events happen to us.

But, even in those darkest times a glimmer of hope can happen. May be just how the light cast shadows through a window or a passing gesture of someone walking down the street. It’s what catches our attention, grabs our heart for just a moment and we notice long enough to feel that feeling of hope that goes beyond our situation.

“Four Candles”

What’s different these days is that circumstances are forcing us to refocus. We’ve been locked down and staying home – only now recently going back to work, wearing masks when we go out in public, sanitizing groceries and goods we bring home and washing our hands. Before, we never gave any of that a second thought. We’d meet up with friends at a game or a restaurant and now that’s been all closed down, even airports have looked like ghost towns.

We have to rethink how to work, shop, cook, travel, entertain ourselves and communicate with each other. We have so much time on our hands it all seems so different and, no doubt, foreign. But, when circumstances dictate new routines a new reality appears. You may now notice things that weren’t on your radar before.

It’s like someone who has visited a friend once a week for many years and that friend is going out of town for a few weeks and asks them to house sit. Even though they’ve been in their house for years on weekly visits, there are things they come across while house sitting they never noticed before – a crack in the ceiling or a painting in the hallway. So, when their friend returns and they come for a visit, they won’t see their home in the same way they saw it before.

Even though life is different these days, maybe having to change our routines and refocus is a good thing. We’ll realize we can be more creative and do the same job in a different way and have more time. Once we settle down and move off our old ruts and out of our comfort zones, we may realize it’s nice and less stressful. We find ourselves breathing again with a space for hope. Maybe, in terms of this pandemic, we’ll no longer view things in gloomy black and white but in rainbows.

The “Rainbow Song” – A celebration of Nelson Mandela. “He didn’t dream in black and white, he saw a rainbow”.

I’ve always found that no matter what I’ve had to go through in my life, and no matter how devastating it was, there was always extra grace to match the circumstance. I believe this grace is being matched all over the world in every circumstance that’s being experienced in these times. Hope is for everyone no matter your belief.

When the pandemic has calmed down and we’ve discovered how to treat this coronavirus, life will seem to begin to return but it may look a lot different than it did before. We will have learned and experienced a new reality and ways of living we may not want to give up to go back to the way it was. We will have learned to function in a new way and enjoy it. The old way may no longer work for us.

Old jobs won’t be there anymore to go back to but new jobs will have cropped up to replace them. In reinventing ourselves we’ll have realized we moved onto something more efficient and better. But, more importantly we’ve touched something within that’s more important and noticed things about ourselves and life we never had time to realize before. Life has more meaning and depth.

Dr. Maya Angelou: “Be a Rainbow in Someone Else’s Cloud”

Dr. Maya Angelou: “Be A Rainbow In Someone Else’s Cloud”

Life is a gift and no matter how bad the coronavirus is realized in your life, there will be something different come out of it you will notice. Let it happen for you and hope will be in the center of it among many other things. God bless you and be safe and well.

Pat from the ‘ol kitchen table

Baby Boom 2020

What’cha doin’ out there? In nine months or more, will we see another baby boom on the rise? Perhaps, the timing is not there yet, as we’re still right in the middle of a pandemic. But, in light of the serious conditions this virus is inflicting around the world, I’d like to think that, in the midst of it all, what we’re doing is making love rather than making war.

I’m a baby boomer and came into this world shortly after WWII. Culture and conditions were much different then than the times we’re experiencing now but there are similarities. So much so, that what’s happening may be history repeating itself, only it’s showing up in a new form that we may not even recognize. What’s interesting in these turbulent times is how will we respond and what it will look like at the other end. Will we rise to the challenge?

Shortly before I was born, men and women were separated from their homes and country to fight a war that similarly impacted the whole world. It was horrible for those left waiting, wondering whether they’d ever see their loved one again. The emotional pain watching daily for the mailman in hopes of a letter or listening for a knock at the door for a telegram delivery may have seemed unbearable at times. When the war was over and they came back, there was such a joy to have them home the result was a population explosion. Hopefully, this time what will come out of it will be a love boom, where we hunger once again for getting together realizing that, while technology is good, it just can’t compete with human touch and connection.

Today, our war is close, on our doorsteps, creeping in our homes and communities all over the globe. We’re shut in hoping to stop the virus spread and end the pandemic. Locked down in our homes with spouses, family, significant others, unable to move about freely to connect and get together. There’re just so many movies you can watch and video games to play. The magic of love isn’t quite the same when you’re living with each other 24/7 week after week and romance may not feel the same while experiencing everyday reality with children crying and bills to pay.

Just before WWII, my parents were coming out of a ten-year depression where they saw their parents struggling to find jobs, money scarce and food lines for those without any resources. It must have seemed like it would never end.

Today, when the pandemic hit, our economy was booming, unemployment was at a record low and everything seemingly appeared to be what we wanted and working so hard for. With today’s technology, we’re able to connect with people thousands of miles afar in ways like never before with a simple click. We have instant responses where we’re glued to our phones night and day, hardly without them. Where, when I was born and in my parents’ time they were glued to their radios.

It’s scary times now just like it was then. The future is uncertain and what we thought we had control over no longer seems to exist. What were historic events for them in a depression, world war and a baby boom stretched out over time and what we’re caught up in today is making history too. Only, what we’re experiencing has arrived as a double whammy at one time – a virus causing isolation and isolation creating strain being unable to work and bring in the paycheck to eat and pay the bills.

I wonder how my grandparents and parents processed what they were going through in their time. Maybe, they were more prepared for hard times since they had just come out of the depression and a world war. No doubt they felt like giving up and losing hope but had no choice but to carry on much like we do today.

“Circumstances do not make the man, they reveal him”James Allen

One thing I have come to count on is that every day we’ll see the sun rise and in the evening set, seasons will come and go and birds will fly. There is something bigger in control of this world and it’s still revealing its breathtaking beauty in countless ways that doesn’t depend on me to notice.

In listening to this song, I often feel myself wanting to fly with the bluebirds over the rainbow.

Maybe that’s what we’re doing in all of this. We’re in the midst of discovering that brave and startling truth, as Maya Angelou says in an excerpt from her poem, “A Brave and Startling Truth”:

“We, this people, on a small and lonely planet. Traveling through casual space. Past aloof stars, across the way of indifferent suns to a destination where all signs tell us it is possible and imperative that we discover a brave and startling truth.”

While you’re shut in and maybe looking for a couple of old movies you haven’t seen in awhile, here are a couple of my favorites we just recently watched. Be prepared to be inspired and feel a little sweet, simple love.

We’re all in this together. Let’s make it count with love, hope, giving and tender patience.

Pat from the ‘ol kitchen table

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Acknowledgements: "The call of destiny photo - Alberto more...

When We Come To It

I look around at what’s going on with this coronavirus and I wonder, “Will we come to it?” Is this the time when we will be brave enough to listen . . . to change course and accept a new normal and not go back to status quo?

We have such power to carve out mountain ranges, genetically modify our food and our bodies, rearrange rivers, go to the moon and outer space, blow up countries; and, yet, one small microscopic virus has silently and invisibly swept across our world causing countries to shut down, stock markets to plummet and people to die. Can we accept the challenge in what’s happening; that it can touch each of us and is no longer just happening to someone else?

I don’t think we’ve dealt with something like this before on a global scale; though, in the past, we’ve had plagues and pandemics far greater in number than this one. Have you ever thought about that? Why this one? Maybe, this is it.

Maybe this is the time when we come out of this on the other side and there will be countries, beliefs, families — people in general — coming together, settling differences and living in harmony. I felt it early on as a child in wanting peace in my home with my parents. Events happen, catastrophes occur and we always wait for the dust to settle so we can get back to our normal lives, instead of looking beyond and consider something different.

I suspect there’s been a lot of the same tug-and-pull down through the ages and, still wonder, if now we are able to come to it? Come to reconcile conflicts within ourselves, others, and face what’s there in our lives that have been trying to get our attention. Truly learn to be kind and live in peace with one another, particularly now, when we have the capability to seriously damage or destroy this world as we know it?

I believe this is a major crossroad in humanity where we have an opportunity to be quiet, listen and hear and, maybe, for the first time, get the message on what’s calling to show us how to do that: consider maybe we’re the problem and feel life and love we’ve been given. I think we’ll hear and answer the call this time. I’ve already seen so many stories with people reaching out to one another in innovative ways to connect on the internet and many others. It’s beginning.

Over the years, I’ve become more sensitive to life and death and can’t watch anything close to violent movies or shows or even play “bloody” video games with my grandsons. It stays with me. Even to the point where Hubby helps capture spiders and moths for me in the house and puts them outside. I know it sounds crazy, and maybe over the top, but I can’t help it. He has gotten used to my many quirks over the years and I feel if I smash a bug I can’t go back one minute before and put life in it and bring it back to the way it was crawling or flying. But, you know, we don’t have many bugs.

Or, I have a strong feeling when I smell fresh cut pine. It bothers me, even though we’ve chopped down our own Christmas trees for many years when the girls were young. I always sense a feeling they’re stuck planted right where they are with no ability to run. Can you imagine the feeling when the sound of a chain saw starts coming your way and you can’t move (aghh – one of those dreams waiting to happen). Then, there are the cattle trucks I pass on the highway and get emotional knowing their fate, even though I enjoy a good hamburger. It’s not perfect and I still have a lot in reconciling balance within my own life.

The world out there is much different than mine. Big entertainment is popular with killing and blowing things up. People seem to take pleasure in getting even and watching things die. We puff ourselves up and think we’re all so powerful in what we can destroy and conquer but can we put life in one flower or create the song of a bird. Maybe that’s what’s going on in this coronavirus is that it will show us what’s precious. After this, I don’t think we’ll be able to go back to the way it was. Too much will have changed and what was before will no longer serve us. Nature, sun and the moon, earth and many universes beyond will move on. Question is: Will we give up our power plays and petty differences to move on and be there with them?

I came across this poem the other day that spoke to the many things I’ve described above. It seemed to resonate in ways I’ve long felt but never until now seen words put to them so beautifully. It’s really powerful if you listen to Maya Angelou’s voice from the video while following along with her words in this poem. Maya Angelou reading her poem “A Brave and Startling Truth”.

A BRAVE AND STARTLING TRUTH

By Maya Angelou

We, this people, on a small and lonely planet

Traveling through casual space

Past aloof stars, across the way of indifferent suns

To a destination where all signs tell us

It is possible and imperative that we discover

A brave and startling truth

And when we come to it

To the day of peacemaking

When we release our fingers

From fists of hostility

And allow the pure air to cool our palms

When we come to it

When the curtain falls on the minstrel show of hate

And faces sooted with scorn are scrubbed clean

When battlefields and coliseum

No longer rake our unique and particular sons and daughters

Up with the bruised and bloody grass

To lie in identical plots in foreign lands


When the rapacious storming of the churches

The screaming racket in the temples have ceased

When the pennants are waving gaily

When the banners of the world tremble

Stoutly in the good, clean breeze


When we come to it

When we let the rifles fall from our shoulders

And children dress their dolls in flags of truce

When land mines of death have been removed

And the aged may walk into evenings of peace

When the religious ritual is not perfumed

By the incense of burning flesh

And childhood dreams are not kicked awake

By nightmares of abuse


When we come to it

Then we will confess that not the Pyramids

With their stones set in mysterious perfection

Not the Garden of Babylon

Hanging as eternal beauty

In our collective memory

Not the Grand Canyon

Kindled into delicious color

By Western sunsets

Nor the Danube, flowing its blue soul into Europe

Not the sacred peak of Mount Fuji

Stretching to the Rising Sun

Neither Father Amazon nor Mother Mississippi who, without favor,

Nurture all creatures in the depths and on the shores

These are not the only wonders of the world

When we come to it

We, this people, on this minuscule and kithless globe

Who reach daily for the bomb, the blade, the dagger

Yet who petition in the dark for tokens of peace

We, this people on this mote of matter

In whose mouths abide cankerous words

Which challenge our existence

Yet out of those same mouths

Can come songs of such exquisite sweetness

That the heart falters in its labor

And the body is quieted into awe

We, this people, on this small and drifting planet

Whose hands can strike with such abandon

That in a twinkling, life is sapped from the living

Yet those same hands can touch with such healing, irresistible tenderness

That the haughty neck is happy to bow

And the proud back is glad to bend

Out of such chaos, of such contradiction

We learn that we are neither devils nor divines

When we come to it

We, this people, on this wayward, floating body

Created on this earth, of this earth

Have the power to fashion for this earth

A climate where every man and every woman

Can live freely without sanctimonious piety and

without crippling fear

When we come to it

We must confess that we are the possible

We are the miraculous, the true wonder of this world

That is when, and only when We come to it.

Like Maya Angelou presents in her poem, I believe we’ll come to it. We’ll find a way. It may not be my way or your way . . . maybe, a third way, like William Ury talks about, the perfect blend of both ways plus a little more.

It will happen, if we allow it and do our part and when it does maybe we will see something miraculous. Another true wonder of the world – the human realizing they’re true potential.

Pat from the ‘ol kitchen table

2020 and Friendship Over the Pond

Wooden Bookshelves Photo by Buenosia Carol on Pexels.com at https://images.app.goo.gl/A8p6dC2bFu2yGP9P7

Hello and welcome to a new decade and a new look, a work in progress. Here we are nearly a quarter of the way into this New Year and I’m just making my first appearance. Actually, it’s taken a fellow blogger to draw me out of my seclusion with a happy request to be a guest on my site.

So, in my attempt to get up to speed with a new theme, I’m happy to be back to introduce you to my friend, Diana Jackson, from across the pond with her new book and written contribution for your reading enjoyment.

We first connected back in 2013 when I came across her series of posts she had written about Norman, 103 years old. I was intrigued and enjoyed the stories about this man and their endearing friendship. She even published his memoir , “The Life and Demise of Norman Campbell”.

Diana now lives in Fife, Scotland, and is the author of ‘mystery inspired by history books,’ a fantasy memoir and historical romantic fiction ~ the Riduna series ~ set in 19th and early 20th Century.

We have followed each other ever since and she is a talented and accomplished author with a number of published books, along with her latest, “Missing Past and Present”.

So, without further delay, here is Diana’s story for your reading pleasure.

~~~~~~~~~~

FRIENDSHIP OVER THE POND

By

Author Diana Jackson

ABOUT OUR FRIENDSHIP

Pat and I have followed each other’s blogs for several years now and it does not matter that we have never met and live worlds apart, Pat in the USA and I am in the UK, it is lovely how friendship bonds can grow through blogs, Twitter and Facebook.

It was her blog title which caught my eye first ‘Plain Talk and Ordinary Wisdom’ and her catch phrase, Kitchen Table Stories to Inspire and Warm your Heart. It was the domesticity and warmth which shone from her posts which grabbed me, as well as her honesty. What qualities and ideas do we both share?

  • We both like to write our own true stories but to share those of others too. Pat is much more proactive than I am about collecting or reposting other tales and memories. Mine are on https:/selectionsofreflections.wordpress.com which I must return to after all the excitement of my book launch on my other blog https://dianamj.wordpress.com/.
  • It is not that it has always been cosy for both of us. No, we have had our fair share of life’s issues to deal with, but I believe it is that we look upon the world in a similar way, trying to see the best in people and situations.
  • We are both moved by a sense of belonging and feel a longing to visit places of our past or family history.
  • We share a sense of family and we experience joy looking at old family photos.
  • I believe that we have a quiet faith which is important to us in everything we do.
  • Pat lives in the Colorado Rocky Mountains in Denver, an area in America I don’t know but it sounds beautiful. I now live in Scotland with only an hour’s drive to the Cairngorms.
  • Pat has family links with Scotland too and maybe one day we will meet either here in Fife or in America.

Why is a blog like Pat’s so important? I believe it is because it helps us all to focus on the positive and to look for the good in people. I nearly had a mis-type ‘the God’ in people, but maybe it is that too!

When I moved to Fife and took a break from my writing life, only just keeping social media going, we lost touch for a while. Pat too had a time when issues at home took over her life and she did not post blogs for a while. I found myself wondering how she and her family were, but I was so pleased to see her posts again and it is good to pick up from where we left off! We now email from time to time and see each other on Facebook ~ that wonderful way of linking people worlds apart.

ABOUT MY WRITING

The Healing Paths of Fife is my own story of how I survived redundancy and relocation three hundred miles from Bedfordshire to Scotland. We made our home in the fellowship of a wonderful community, surrounded by the Scottish countryside and the wee fishing villages of Fife. It tells how I gave up writing for a while to settle into this new life, but was finally stirred to take up the pen once more. The book is written in allegorical form with fantasy talks with folks in history as I walk the beautiful Fife coastal path including Robert Louis Stevenson and St Margaret. Quirky I know! It is currently for sale with all royalties benefiting Kirkcaldy Foodbank.

I can hardly believe though, that it is six years since my last novel Murder, Now and Then was published but the next in my Mystery Inspired by History series, MISSING Past and Present has just been released. Is it really over six years since we were first in contact Pat? I think it was when I was posting about Norman, a very special 103 year old friend, wasn’t it?

On Line Friendships

Neither miles nor continents,

Seas nor countries,

Cities nor villages,

Streets nor homes,

Can break a friendship bound by

Caring and sharing,

Joy and hope,

Good will and kindness,

Thoughtfulness

and above all

Gratitude.

By Diana Jackson

Thanks so much Pat!

I’ve just downloaded your book and look forward to it.

~~~~~~~~~~

I’m thankful to have such thoughtful and caring followers over the internet, like Diana, that have developed into friendships over the years. We are worlds apart; yet, our lives are connected in similar ways living and working through the same daily events . . . loving, laughing, listening and supporting one another.  

Thank you, Diana, you helped bring me back stirring the juices to reboot up my site and begin writing again.

Pat from the ‘ol kitchen table

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Acknowledgements: Self-photo, book image and written po more...

A Christmas for 2012

I’m reposting this from some 7 years ago now and the message still rings true on this eve of the Christ child’s birth. May you all have a blessed and loving Christmas.

The night is dark and there’s a silent hush. A candle shines calling out to the heavens from here on Earth.

The light flickers with diminished promises of Hope for mankind as it looks now to the stars this Christmas for the magic of love, peace and kindness for one and all.

It doesn’t understand the turmoil. There has been unrest, despair and hate in the past but this is different. “Where is mankind?” the candle asks, “Is he in trouble?

As it searches the depths of the oceans and mountain peaks, there are scars and pollution.

As it searches the sky, there is clutter of metal space stations and confusion of air waves.

As it searches the Holy Lands, there is the threat of war and nuclear holocaust.

As it searches the deserts, there are hideouts and weapons, casinos and golf courses.

As it looks to the children, they are in harm’s way.

I see signs of him everywhere of what he’s been doing but somehow feel he has forgotten and lost his way” says the candle.

Christmas Star

Christmas Star Photo from MSN Clipart

Suddenly, a star appears in the heavens shining bright as it did over 2000 years ago for the birth of Christ. It glows again with warmth and brilliance and seems to send a beam in the direction of the candle.

Be of comfort” it says to the candle “mankind is WAKING up! Its loving presence is not found on stages or in bright lights but can be found in the quiet corners of a small apartment, around a kitchen table or in prayerful, quiet places of slumber as it drifts off to sleep.

Don’t give up, even in the midst of chaos and unrest, there have been many acts of kindness appearing – now more than ever.”

Though small in comparison, the candle notices evidence of mankind reaching out to one another with help in time of need gaining momentum through love and comfort. It’s happening in our neighborhoods, homes, in our country and the world. The changes are beginning to appear.

Mankind is poised to realize and experience an AWAKENING like never before! It’s time and we’re ready for love instead of pain, joy instead of despair, comfort instead of rejection and prosperity instead of destruction.

I feel HOPE again this Christmas and the coming New Year for beloved family, friends, myself and everyone from the testimonies of love that have poured out this year for those who’ve experienced great loss from fires, hurricanes and precious loved ones in harm’s way from war and shootings.

May God bless all of you this Christmas and Hanukkah and rejoice in the New 2013 Year!  May you and all mankind experience the evidence of AWAKENING with renewed hope, love and peace!

Pat from the ‘ol kitchen table

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Acknowledgements: "The Four Candles" at https://www.you more...