The Wisdom of the Native Americans

Edited by Kent Nerburn This book is filled with quotes and speeches that give the reader an inside look at the wisdom, spirituality and culture of the Native American people. When the Europeans arrived, this continent was filled with various tribes of people whose customs, languages and housing were different. The different tribes governed themselves and lived according to different rules.?But, according to Nerburn, they all shared a common belief that the earth is a spiritual presence that "must be honored, not mastered." Nerburn's book looks at how the Native Americans approached life. Part 1 includes quotes compiled from various Native people that take a deeper look into the culture, customs and thoughts. Part 2 includes writings from Ohiyesa, who was born in the Redwood Falls, MN area in 1958. He was later given the name Charles Alexander Eastman, a Santee Sioux child of the woodlands and prairies who would go on to become the adviser to presidents and an honored member of the New England society. According to Nerburn, Ohiyesa spent his life trying to build bridges of understanding between the Native and non-native people. Part 3 includes speeches by Chief Red … [Read more...]

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Tales from the Wedding Altar

By Rev. James E. (Jimmy Mac) McNamara An easy read, "Tales form the Wedding Altar" takes the reader through various true stories from weddings Rev. Jimmy Mac has performed in Lass Vegas over the last four years. Some of the stories are heartwarming and some embarrassing, but the majority leave the reader chuckling. The stories are short, which makes the book easy to read in spurts. I kept it in my lunch box and read it during my breaks at work. It was a fun read.     … [Read more...]

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Creating a layered herb pot

I am truly a reduce, reuse, recycle person. When something is heading for the garbage, I often see ways to repurpose it. Like the 5-inch-tall cardboard tubes that hold labels we use at work. I was watching the 6-inch diameter tubes adding up in the recycle box and wham, I was struck with the idea of using them to create a layered herb pot.   For my idea, I needed four of the tubes, a pot ?with a minimum of 14 inches in diameter, potting mix and herbs. I filled the pot with the potting mix up to about 2 inches from the top and then set three tubes in place. I filled them with potting mix and added some more around the edges. Then I set the fourth tube on the top in the center where the other three met. I filled the last one with potting mix and then planted the herbs.     I planted parsley around the bottom of the tubes, and then put kale, swiss chard and thyme in the first layer of tubes. I topped off the pot by planting rosemary in the top tube. I also added a couple of nasturtium seeds between the parsley.   The concept is an easy one that can be adapted to different tube sizes. Using this idea to plant pansies or other flowers would … [Read more...]

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Enchantment in the hills

As I enter my columns into the computer I realize how much my writing has changed over the years. I really need to edit the columns I wrote in the early days.   Anyway, while writing during a lull at one of my recent book signings, I was struck with the idea of blogging about being still. We have a tendency to keep moving along with our busy lives, and rarely slowing down to breathe, to listen and to rejuvenate. No wonder we have so many physical and emotional health issues!   I ran across the following column, which I wrote in 1996. It is about summer camping, which I hope the weather will soon allow us to do, and the last paragraph was appropriate to my current thoughts. Slowing down long enough to nurture my soul with nature is something I really need to do.     Ah, summertime! A time for gathering up the family, the tents, the lantern, the coolers, and heading off to the great campgrounds up north. Oh, don't forget the dog!   Well, we found a campground down south that isn't booked up constantly and I couldn't figure out why. When I called the reservation number for the state campgrounds, I was actually trying to reserve a … [Read more...]

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Life is fragile

Life is truly amazing! We never know, from one minute to the next, what life holds. Every day is a blessing.   I am about half way through a book titled "Life with Grace" about a child's early years after a premature birth at only 24 weeks. The book, written by Jennifer Schwertfeger, Grace's mother, describes what the family went through, mostly from the eyes of Jennifer. She lays out the fears, the medical issues and the emotional trauma of nearly losing Grace many times. She talks about how those things affected her, the weight loss, the sleepless nights, etc., and how her family endured.   Jennifer wrote the book to help others who give birth prematurely. She outlines things her family learned throughout the process in hopes that her family's experience will help others.   Grace is now 9 years old, which is a miracle.   I found the book quite by accident while doing research about publishers and self publishers. There was an interview of Jennifer at Beaver's Pond website that struck a cord with me. Grace's birth story and the reason for writing the book are very much like my book about my mother, "No Time to Quit: Life in a Broken … [Read more...]

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Choice, the architect of our lives

Uploading the columns I have written over the years into the computer is an interesting adventure, both down memory lane and into my past thought processes. It's fascinating when I find ones that speak to me now. The following column was written in 2004. I firmly believe the concepts in this column. Though some of my priorities and choices change with the ebb and flow of life, like the choice to go to Nigeria last fall, I am grateful I live in a country where choice truly is the architect of our lives.   Choice, the architect of our lives   Have you ever thought about how each choice we make affects our lives and the lives of those who are around us? Sometimes, the simplest choices have a domino effect on the future. The choice can be as simple as hopping in a truck to go for a ride with some friends, or as the order of a group of people snowboarding down a hill.   My son, who was third in a group of four going down a mountain, was recently involved in a major snowboarding accident. Because he was third, the last person witnessed the accident and ended up staying with him until the ski patrol showed up.   One change in the order and it … [Read more...]

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Daring to Dream

I have been a journalist for many years, beginning my published career around 1990. Though I haven't written articles for publication the last year-and-one-half, journalism still runs in my blood and my thoughts. In the early 1990s, I wrote columns for the Winsted Journal, which I enjoyed tremendously. That was before blogging became a part of our culture. The following column is one I wrote in February of 1995 during a tough time in my life. There were struggles in my marriage, and I was about to sell my hobby farm. It is a column of gratitude and acknowledgement of the blessings in my life.   Daring to dream Do you remember what you wanted as a kid? I mean really wanted? The hopes and dreams that filled your heart and mind? Sometimes we have a tendency to get so wrapped up in our world that we forget what we really wanted. "This bill has to be paid, or this project needs to be finished." What happens to those hopes and dreams? Do they disappear because we "grow up" and realize how ridiculous they seem? Do they disappear because we decide it's time to live in reality? It's like Robin Williams in the movie "Peter Pan". He forgot what was important to him. … [Read more...]

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Interactive Writing Project

I have a new project for you. Everyone is invited to add a sentence to the story and we will see where the story leads. I'll start:   The hollyhocks shouted at me with their bright colors, "Come enjoy the peace."       … [Read more...]

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New Year resolutions started a month ago

"Happy New Year!" conjures up memories of bubbles floating to the top of non-alcoholic wine in colored stemware, party hats, and noisemakers ushering in the new year while watching the ball drop in Time Square from the comfort of our living room. New Year's Day is spent curled up on a couch with a notebook rewriting our lives with resolutions to become better people in the coming months.   For me, this year was very different. When my supervisor told me our shift was working on New Year's Day I realized there was no reason for me not to work. Celebrations to usher in the new year with goals and plans to move ahead seemed counter productive since I basically started that over a month ago.   The changes began in October when I got back from Nigeria. I had decided my work schedule needed to change, as well as my pay grade. Weekends off were a rarity in retail, and weekends were when my husband was home. For a few weeks I tried to accomplish those goals through changing positions within Home Depot, but nothing worked. Drastic measures were in order.   I put in an application for a job that would give me longer shifts, the ability to work fewer days in a … [Read more...]

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Exciting week

Have you ever had one of those weeks where you were so excited you were shaking inside? Tell me about it!   … [Read more...]

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