Monthly Archives: December 2011

I’ll Be Back

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Cover of "Many Lives, Many Masters: The T...

Cover via Amazon

I read a non-fiction book this past week by Brian L. Weiss, M.D. that started me to start thinking seriously about reincarnation.  The title of the book was, Many Lives, Many Masters.  The book tells the story of one of Dr. Weiss’s patients and how she was healed from many psychological problems by past life therapy.  It not only changed her life but also his. Up until this point in time I never thought it had any validity.  It was as if a door opened and let me step through into a world I didn’t think possible.

The definition of reincarnation from Wikipedia is:

The word “reincarnation” derives from Latin, literally meaning, “entering the flesh again”. The Greek equivalent metempsychosis (μετεμψύχωσις) roughly corresponds to the common English phrase “transmigration of the soul” and also usually connotes reincarnation after death,[7] as either human, animal, though emphasising the continuity of the soul, not the flesh. The term has been used by modern philosophers such as Kurt Gödel[8] and has entered the English language. Another Greek term sometimes used synonymously is palingenesis, “being born again”.[9]

There is no word corresponding exactly to the English terms “rebirth”, “metempsychosis”, “transmigration” or “reincarnation” in the traditional languages of Pāli and Sanskrit. The entire universal process that gives rise to the cycle of death and rebirth, governed by karma, is referred to as Samsara[10] while the state one is born into, the individual process of being born or coming into the world in any way, is referred to simply as “birth” (jāti). Devas (gods) may also die and live again.[11] Here the term “reincarnation” is not strictly applicable, yet Hindu gods are said to have reincarnated (see Avatar): Lord Vishnu is known for his ten incarnations, the Dashavatars. Celtic religion seems to have had reincarnating gods also. Many Christians regard Jesus as a divine incarnation. Some Christians and Muslims believe he and some prophets may incarnate again. Most Christians, however, believe that Jesus will come again in the Second Coming at the end of the world, although this is not a reincarnation. Some ghulat Shi’a Muslim sects also regard their founders as in some special sense divine incarnations (hulul).

Philosophical and religious beliefs regarding the existence or non-existence of an unchanging ‘self‘ have a direct bearing on how reincarnation is viewed within a given tradition. The Buddha lived at a time of great philosophical creativity in India when many conceptions of the nature of life and death were proposed. Some were materialist, holding that there was no existence and that the self is annihilated upon death. Others believed in a form of cyclic existence, where a being is born, lives, dies and then is re-born, but in the context of a type of determinism or fatalism in which karma played no role. Others were “eternalists”, postulating an eternally existent self or soul comparable to that in Judaic monotheism: the ātman survives death and reincarnates as another living being, based on its karmic inheritance. This is the idea that has become dominant (with certain modifications) in modern Hinduism.

The Buddhist concept of reincarnation differs from others in that there is no eternal “soul”, “spirit’ or self” but only a “stream of consciousness” that links life with life. The actual process of change from one life to the next is called punarbhava (Sanskrit) or punabbhava (Pāli), literally “becoming again”, or more briefly bhava, “becoming”, and some English-speaking Buddhists prefer the term “rebirth” or “re-becoming” to render this term as they take “reincarnation” to imply a fixed entity that is reborn.[12] Popular Jain cosmology and Buddhist cosmology as well as a number of schools of Hinduism posit rebirth in many worlds and in varied forms. In Buddhist tradition the process occurs across five or six realms of existence,[13] including the human, any kind of animal and several types of supernatural being. It is said in Tibetan Buddhism that it is very rare for a person to be reborn in the immediate next life as a human[14]

Gilgul, Gilgul neshamot or Gilgulei Ha Neshamot (Heb. גלגול הנשמות) refers to the concept of reincarnation in Kabbalistic Judaism, found in much Yiddish literature among Ashkenazi Jews. Gilgul means “cycle” and neshamot is “souls.” The equivalent Arabic term is tanasukh:[15] the belief is found among Shi’a ghulat Muslim sects.

The way I understand it, is we go through this life and die.  Our spirit goes to a different plane and if we still have lessons to learn we are reincarnated and sent back to the mortal life to do it all over again.   I wonder if this is the Catholic’s purgatory.  With each session Dr. Weiss had with Catherine he would ask her what she was supposed to have learned and she would tell him.

The Bible has passages that people use to say reincarnation is real and was accepted by the disciples of Jesus.  The first text concerns the identity of John the Baptist, supposed to be the reincarnation of the prophet Elijah. In Matthew 11,14 Jesus says: “And if you are willing to accept it, he (John the Baptist) is the Elijah who was to come.” In the same Gospel, while answering the apostles about the coming of Elijah, Jesus told them: “But I tell you, Elijah has already come, and they did not recognize him, but have done to him everything they wished. In the same way the Son of Man is going to suffer at their hands.” The commentary adds: “Then the disciples understood that he was talking to them about John the Baptist” (Matthew 17,12-13; see also Mark 9,12-13). (comparative religion.com)

How do you feel about reincarnation?  Have you had any experiences in your life that led you to believe you might have lived before?  It’s something to think about.  Take a look at the video’s from Prime Time.  Enjoy

Part 1                                                                    Part 2                                                              Part 3
http://youtu.be/_EWwzFwUOxA                 http://youtu.be/5965wcH2Kx0               http://youtu.be/fLOvbLMDzPo

 

How does the New Year strike you?

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New Year Bell's

Christmas is past and now everyone is gearing up for the next party or whatever their particular tradition is.  Do you ring the New Year out or ring it in.  At this point in my life I do neither.  My husband and I toast the New Year in on New Years Eve about 10:00 PM and go to bed.  We have a wild time celebrating (not).  After a goodnight’s sleep (hopefully), we pick our New Years Celebration up once again (sort of).  We have a special meal.  As I’m a southern girl, I must have my black-eyed peas for prosperity.  I’ve never missed my New Year’s meal.  I’ve had to adapt it a little.  My husband being from the northeast has to have pork and sauerkraut for his New Year meal.  We are a true blending of the North and the South cultures.

Julius Caesar made January 1st the New year and the celebrations began.  I think that was around 46 B.C.E.  There have been lots of traditions developed since that time.  What traditions have you developed?  Do you see the New Year in and the old one out? What about that midnight kiss?  Do you seal the old year out and the new one in by kissing a loved one or even a stranger standing close by? What about the New Year resolution?  I don’t make them anymore because I never kept them.  I was a complete failure……

Share with me and others your New Year customs.  Let’s see how much alike and different we are.

Christmas Eve

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Christmas gifts.

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Here it is, one more time, Christmas. Being Christmas Eve everyone is hurrying around trying to get the last-minute gifts and food items which were forgotten, Christmas dinner will go off just as it was planned.  All of us who celebrate Christmas have our traditions.  My family celebrates on Christmas Eve and Santa visits, leaving those wonderful presents for the excited children.  There are squeals and lots of laughter.  It is planned chaos from start to finish.  Paper and boxes are everywhere.  We do have family members who believe they need to say all the bows and printed boxes.  They think they will use them again but if they do I don’t recognize them.

Then we have the one family member that insists that all the paper be neatly folded before being placed in the trash bags.  That was how mama did it.  Since coming to the family he has learned how to loosen up a bit over the years.  His family’s tradition was to open up gifts on Christmas Eve and then place them around the tree for display until Christmas morning.  I never have been able to understand that particular concept.

What are your family traditions?  Do you know anyone’s tradition that doesn’t quite fit your ideas of Christmas?

I want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.  I pray your cup is overflowing with health, happiness, and prosperity.  Blessings to you and yours.

A Christmas Past

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I was sent the following Santa letter from a friend today.  It got me to thinking about  how different the Christmas wants of today are from what they were 100 years ago, or are they?

The letter was from a boy they think, written over 100 years ago and found on a fireplace shelf that somehow survived over the century.  What do kids ask for today? Dolls, clothes, electronics, candy, ect. ect.  This child asked for very similar items.  Not the electronics of course, since they weren’t available at the time.

In many ways I think the contrast between what the child wanted with what todays children want shows both how our world has changed and at the same time remained the same. The childs list was simple and didn’t sound like much, but I’m sure that childs wants would have cost quite a bit 100 years ago.

Please enjoy the letter and let me know your thoughts.

Dear Santa Letter sent 100 years ago found up chimney

MICHAEL O’REGAN and PAMELA DUNCAN

IT MAY have been slightly scorched over the years but a letter to Santa written 100 years ago, which was later discovered in a Dublin fireplace, has the magic of Christmas written all over it.

On Christmas Eve 1911, a brother and sister, who signed their names, “A or H Howard”, penned their personally designed letter to Santa with their requests for gifts and a good luck message at their home in Oaklands Terrace, Terenure (or Terurnure, as the children spelled it) in Dublin.

They placed it in the chimney of the fireplace in the front bedroom so that Santa would see it as he made his way into the Howard household in the early hours of the morning.

The letter was discovered by the house’s current occupant, John Byrne, when he was installing central heating in 1992.

Since then, he has retained it as a souvenir of another time and place but with the stamp of childhood innocence which still exists today.

The message to Santa was warm but explicit.

“I want a baby doll and a waterproof with a hood and a pair of gloves and a toffee apple and a gold penny and a silver sixpence and a long toffee.”

Ownership of the house changed over the decades, with the Byrne family moving there in 1961, but the letter survived.

“At that time, the fireplaces were made of brick with a shelf on either side,” said John Byrne who works in the building industry.

“The letter was found on one of the shelves.”

The letter remained remarkably intact given the passage of time and was only slightly burned from fires set in the house over the years.

As well as the requests for gifts from Santa the letter also contains drawings and a message of “Good Luck” to Santa from the children.

According to the 1911 census there were three children living at the address in the year in which the letter was written.

The youngest of them, Hannah, who was 10 at the time, and Fred (presumably short for Alfred) who was seven, fit in with the initials on the letter.

A third child, a 13-year-old called Lily, is also listed.

The Howard family were all born in England, including parents Fred Hamer Howard, an “under manager” in a plumber merchants, and his wife Mary Elizabeth. They listed their religion as Church of Ireland.

Daddy of the Heart

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There is a man who has been in my life for as long as I can remember. I’m now sixty-two years old and I can’t imagine him not in my world, even though I know the time is getting ever closer for him to leave the world and me.

Jim has been my father’s best friend since they were boys together in Oklahoma. They survived the hard times growing up, and survived World War II.  They have stuck together like glue.

How do you tell someone they mean more to you than you can really put into words?  There hasn’t been a time when I haven’t heard the words I love you coming out of his mouth. Growing up I always knew he was there, he was my rock, and it hasn’t changed.

I got the best of Jim.  I never lived with him, so I didn’t have the trials and tribulations of everyday life that his own son experienced.  When my life was a wreck he was there for support.  He held my hand while I went to sleep, or rubbed my neck when I had a headache.

To this day, love and encouragement is what I receive from Jim.  I have been so blessed to have another daddy who loves me unconditionally and never fails to show it.

I wish everyone could have a Daddy of the Heart as I did.  Jim is one of God’s blessings in my world that I’m ever grateful for.  Let me know if you have been blessed in your life by someone in your  world.

How’s Your Title Coming Along

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Cover of "On Writing:  A Memoir of the Cr...

Cover of On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

If you are like me, it may take some time to come up for the appropriate title for your work. It goes for anything that you want to place before the public.  I find I can think of titles, but something inside of me knows it doesn’t quite fit (I wonder if that’s my muse talking).

Sometimes the titles are correct from the start for me.  My book that was originally published in November of last year, had the title of “The Tower”.  When I did a revision of the book this year, I felt the title needed expanding.  I actually gave it a subtitle.  It is now”The Tower, A Jensen Mystery.”  The book I hope to publish this coming year is called “Dobyns Chronicles”.  I haven’t been able to come up with a new title, so it is the one that stuck (cover is designed).

If you have problems, I have found an article from Daily Writing Tips  which gives seven ways to help you find the correct title for your work.

1.  Think of adjectives, nouns and verbs which describe your work.  Write them down and then try pulling your title from them.  You can mix them around to see what works best.

2. Look for an important turning point in your novel or focus on the climax.  Describe the event on paper  Pick out the words or phrases which stand out to you.  See if something works for you for a title.

3.  Pick out novels or short stories that run in the same genre as your work.  Study the titles and how they relate to the story.  Then,  look at your project as a whole.  Think of the theme or overall message of your book.  Write down some words that go along with your theme and work them to see if you can find your title.

4.  Avoid the obvious “The” titles like “The Pink Slipper” or The Brown Dog“.  Look for a slight recurring themes or undercurrents in your novel and try naming your novel after those subtle nuances.

5.  Poets have a way of weaving words into a beautiful picture.  Read some famous poetry and write down words and phrases that stick out to you.  Song lyrics can have the same effect. You can find some powerful titles by mixing, matching and combining words from lyrics.

6.  Consult your thesaurus and look up synonyms for commonly occurring words in your novel.  Look up this synonyms in the dictionary to get a better understand of their meaning.  Use different words in context to find a combination that you like.

7.Type title generator into your search engine and see what pops up.  There are several websites that will either random titles .

I have also included a video on picking your title.  Enjoy……..

http://youtu.be/L0OJuB2yX50

Where’s The Line To See Jesus

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Stained glass at St John the Baptist's Anglica...

Image via Wikipedia

I know my blog is about writing  most of the time but since it is close to Christmas, I have the urge to talk about Jesus,since Christmas is his celebrated birthday.  I have a hard time accepting Christmas not being celebrated for what it was meant to be.  Now it is for many people, “What can I get, or how to make more money.  Our Christmas has become so commercial it has left out the central element, Jesus.

How do you view Christmas?  Is it what you think it should be?  I know everyone is not Christian in their faith, but even so-called Christians have lost sight of what the Holiday is about.  Watch this video, I think it sums it up very nicely.

http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=OExXItDyWEY&vq=medium

Imagine

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I can’t take credit for this piece.  It was written by a writing friend of mine who uses the name Jazz on Fanstory.  When I read it I knew I wanted to share it on my blog.  I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did and imagine how wonderful it would be.

Imagine a Christmas whereby no actual gifts are exchanged. But instead, gifts of the heart, gifts of service, gifts of love. Meaningful, everlasting gifts. And, they were given over a period of at least twelve days.
For instance, we offer our services to an older couple in the neighborhood. Everyone knows at least one couple, or a widow or widower. Make dinner every night for twelve days,do chores around their house, laundry, or take them to the stores, or just go for them. Pick up, and/or drop off, their Rx. Take them to a show or the movie. Seeing to it, in every way possible, that they know you love and care for them as a neighbor.
Or, volunteering our time to visiting hospitals and nursing homes. Sincerely showing up and just being a comfort to as many there as possible, especially those who have few, if any visitors.
Maybe writing cards and letters to family and friends, letting them all know that we are so grateful to be in their lives. Or maybe, to a friend or family member whom we haven’t spoken with, for whatever reason, in a long time.
Possibly, we know someone who is having a very hard time just buying groceries. Wouldn’t it be nice if, we made a special effort to seek out such a family, and picked up some extra canned goods and boxes of spaghetti, or bags of rice (so cheap and feeds a lot) while we are at the grocery store for ourselves. An extra loaf of bread and jar of peanut butter. Baby formula, diapers, something, anything useful, helpful.
Imagine, how much money we would save. No out of control credit card bills. Imagine, how much less stress we would experience. Imagine, how many real and lasting smiles we would be putting on so many people’s faces.
Still celebrating the Christmas season with dinner, friends, beautifully decorated Christmas trees, holly all around the house, a log in the fireplace, the aroma of hot turkey and pumpkin pie filling the air…and hot cinnamon cider brewing.
Still keeping the twinkling lights on the outside of our houses, on our windows and beautiful green wreaths and big red velvet bows adorning front doors.
Imagine, how many more people would be looking forward to Christmas. Imagine, that after the holidays are all but over, not one person has to work overtime, or get a second job to pay for the gifts already broken or lost, or too small, or just plain gone down in value, or (heaven forbid) were never appreciated in the first place.
We can do this, all of us who sincerely want to honor our King on His birthday. We who want nothing more than to show our love and let Him know that we are eternally grateful for His sacrifice, for His unconditional love and His saving grace. Not to mention everything in our lives.
Imagine, how we might feel if, when one of our own children’s birthday arrived, all our friends, relatives, and even our other children, celebrated his/her birthday by going into hock for everyone else…but the birthday child. It just doesn’t seem right. It’s not right. Imagine, the look on the face of the child whose birthday it was. What The Heck?
Okay, so God is not thinking that, not exactly, but He has to be wondering. Wondering why? How could we have gotten so far away from what Christmas really is? How could we have forgotten our first love?
And, let’s not fool ourselves, we have. And all the retail agents know we have. And, most of all, God knows we have. For sure, as that commercial once told us; we’ve come a long way, baby. A long way from where it all started with the wise men. They were our example. They can be our example once again. They really were wise. Very wise.
Imagine making a private vow to God, that we are going to remember why we celebrate Dec. 25th at all. Remind Him that we are grateful, more than grateful, for His precious gift of Jesus Christ to us; to the world. Promise Him that we will dedicate that day to His loving Son, in ways that will honor Him, glorify Him and make Him proud of us. Imagine, the smile on His face.
Imagine, celebrating Christmas as though it were the birth of Christ, and not our kids birthday…again. Unless it really is your child’s birthday. Imagine, teaching our children, that Dec. 25th really is the birth of our Lord, and they get excited about it as though it were their own., but expect no special treatment for themselves. Imagine, no child in the world feeling sad because they didn’t get all the toys on Christmas that they wanted, or that their friends received. Imagine, all kids going back to school after Christmas vacation and sharing all the things they did for others…even in the name of Jesus’ birthday. Imagine, our kids asking “what are we going to do for Jesus’ birthday this year, mom? Imagine, even buying or baking a beautiful birthday cake…maybe angel food, and getting up on Christmas morning, gathering the family around the table and actually singing, happy birthday Jesus.
Imagine, that after just a few Christmas’s celebrated as though it really was the birthday of Jesus Christ, we all would be in one accord, out of debt and actually looking forward to the next one, with real good tidings.
In this writing, I have considered the many people who celebrate Christmas, but who are not Christians. And, even if you do not believe Jesus to be sent from God, to be God in the flesh, it would not harm anything if you were to only remember it is historically accepted, that He did live, and that he surely was born on a certain day. He lived and walked this earth doing only good. He loved all the world. He still does. And, we were all on His mind when He died on the cross.
Joy to the world. And Christmas time depression, be all but wiped out. Imagine!
And, of course, doing all those special loving acts dedicated to Jesus and telling everyone so.
Thank you everyone for reading this fairly long post. I wish every one of you a very Merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year. I am so very sure of my New Year’s resolution, and for the first time ever, I will have so much fun keeping it.
And to God be all the glory.

Pets

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The Dogs of Babel

Image via Wikipedia

I received this from a friend of mine this morning and I had not read it before so I thought I would share it with my blog friends.  I’m a dog lover from start to finish but it has caused me to experience rolled eyes from some of my family and friends.  I have four dogs, Andy is a thirty-five# Cocker, Booker, four  pounds of pure energy, Eddy is 15 pounds of laid back love and then there is Angel who is a five-pound poodle princess and knows it.  They have trained me well. I sometimes feel as if I have a houseful of three-year olds.  I wouldn’t trade it for the world.  I receive much more from them than I can give.

How do you feel about your pets?  Does it bother you if someone won’t come to your house because you have dogs?  Let me know.  I’m interested to know your thoughts on the subject.

The following was found posted very low on a refrigerator door: Dear Dogs and Cats:  The dishes with the paw prints are yours and contain your food.  The other dishes are mine and contain my food.  Placing a paw print in the middle of my plate and food does not stake a claim for it becoming your food and dish, nor do I find that aesthetically pleasing in the slightest. The stairway was not designed by NASCAR and is not a racetrack.  Racing me to the bottom is not the object.  Tripping me doesn’t help because I fall faster than you can run. I cannot buy anything bigger than a king sized bed.  I am very sorry about this.  Do not think I will continue sleeping on the couch to ensure your comfort, however.  Dogs and cats can actually curl up in a ball when they sleep.  It is not necessary to sleep perpendicular to each other, stretched out to the fullest extent possible.  I also know that sticking tails straight out and having tongues hanging out on the other end to maximize space is nothing but sarcasm. For the last time, there is no secret exit from the bathroom! If, by some miracle, I beat you there and manage to get the door shut, it is not necessary to claw, whine, meow, try to turn the knob or get your paw under the edge in an attempt to open the door.  I must exit through the same door I entered.  Also, I have been using the bathroom for years – canine/feline attendance is not required. The proper order for kissing is:  Kiss me first, then go smell the other dog’s or cat’s butt.  I cannot stress this enough. Finally, in fairness, dear pets, I have posted the following message on the front door:

TO ALL NON-PET OWNERS WHO VISIT AND LIKE TO COMPLAIN ABOUT OUR PETS: (1)  They live here.  You don’t. 

(2)  If you don’t want their hair on your clothes, stay off the furniture.  That’s why they call it ‘fur’-niture. 

(3) I like my pets a lot better than I like most people. 

(4)  To you, they are animals..  To me, they are adopted sons/daughters who are short, hairy, walk on all fours and don’t speak clearly. Remember, dogs and cats are better than kids because they:

(1) eat less,

(2) don’t ask for money all the time,

(3) are easier to train,

(4) normally come when called,

(5) never ask to drive the car,

(6) don’t hang out with drug-using people;

(7) don’t smoke or drink,

(8) don’t want to wear your clothes,

(9) don’t have to buy the latest fashions,

(10) don’t need a gazillion dollars for college and

(11) if they get pregnant, you can sell their c