Wednesday, December 22, 2010


Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, Happy Kwanzaa and a Peaceful New Year to all who are reading this Blog--my Joyful Journey on paper!

This is a wonderful, albiet stressful time of the year for me. I enjoy the fun, family, presents and eating that goes along with the end of year celebrations. Yet, I find that my perfectionistic bend always leaves me just a bit "off". I want to have the perfect gift for everyone, including the little ones. I need about two more weeks to wrap, clean, shop and sit in front of the fire and journal. We spent almost a week in California visiting our son and his fiancee which was a joy! Coming home to reality, I remembered that it's not good to take vacation in December when you see the 25th looming up at you.

Christmas day this year involves a smaller group. The number went from 23-24 to about 7 for Christmas dinner. The Eve will have us with family that we haven't sat with for almost 2 decades! How wonderful is that! The next day we meet our future daughter-in-law's family for the first time and celebrate their engagement.

To start the holiday, I attended a melodic organ concert at my old High School that has closed. The beautiful chapel was filled with white haired nuns and their friends and family. I attended with two of my former classmates and a standard poodle that is being trained to be a guide dog! The concert ended with the "Hallelulia Chorus", which the three of us thoroughly enjoyed singing. Two of us had sung it for many years in Glee Club at same High School The third knew it from being in orchestra which played with our Glee Club. I came home with "For the Lord God Omni-po-tent Reign-eth!!" What Joy, what proclamation in that statement!

It is said that singing is praying twice. It is an exercise in letting go of ego, belting out a few lines that either are accurate or not. Who cares if a note is off? Who cares if you move from alto to soprano? I am sure that God who loves us to be happy feels that joy when we sing.

Sing in the car, sing in the shower, sing on your walks! Break out the guitars and dust off the piano or the keyboard. I'm loving you all!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Thank you!

Saying "Thank you" is hard for some. When I keep the door open at the Post office, I always expect a thanks! Driving the car and letting someone else go in front of me, I expect a wave of appreciation. In the grocery, I expect a "Thank you" from the checkout person.

Do I expect too much from humans? Am I overly fastidious about how I would like people to interact? Probably! It's hard for me not to take this stuff personally. I want to grab them and ask them "Under what rock did you just come from?" It is not for me to know what is going through their minds when they rush, rush, rush from one place to another. Did they just come from the hospital visiting a sick relative?
Did they have an argument with their kid/spouse/boss that made them want to scream? How many times did they take that aging parent to the doctor that week? What's really on their minds when the door goes slam in my face?

My friend, Delvis, just told a story recently about the incivility of someone she encountered on a "Black Friday" shopping excursion. She had her 80 something mother with her and was trying to hold the door opened at a department store for her. She's not too steady on her 80 something feet! A young-large-man blows by the two of them, in a large rush to get to the sales. Delvis, who just happens to be an accomplished attorney, gave him a piece of her mind. He cooly turned to her and said "You, too"! So much for offering advice to anyone boorish enough to not even defer to someone in their 80's! However, if you believe in the law of attraction, or Karma, the dude will have his day!

It takes so little to give a smile to someone who looks like they're having a bad day. It's not too much to offer gratitude for a job well done. A nice note or even sending flowers makes someone feel like they actually matter! A nod to the nice person who lets me in the line on the parkway acknowledges that we are all on this crazy planet together and why not be nice to each other!!!

We take each other for granted too often. Even at home, I forget to tell Bruce "Thank you" when he empties the dishwasher. He may not hear me, but I know I said it!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


We had Lily for over 11 years. Our daughter brought her home from the Animal Shelter where we found our last dog, Mickey. Mickey made it with us for 18 years. The last two was our "hospice" work, taking care of a very sick animal that had no quality of life. And it came full circle again with Lily.

She had been sick and we feared she had Cushing Disease. It was confirmed by the doctor and they prescribed medication for her. Well, the script was written vaguely: "Twice two times daily" which would mean four a day, correct? Well, after three days on this stuff, she couldn't walk. She was peeing all over the place and couldn't eat. Back to the doctor we go. They kept her for four days, correcting what the meds messed up in her already-fragile system. We had her home for a day and returned her for blood work. Still messed up! Now she was anemic!

While sitting at the Vets office, we met this nice lady with red eyes in the waiting room, Mrs. Angelo. She was euthanizing her little 13 year old dog that morning. We saw how sick her animal was and what her fate would be that morning. Consulting with the vet, we asked if there was any way Lily could have returned to a healthy lifestyle. He said the life expectancy of a lab mix was 9-12 years. At that point, we made the decision to send her to her heavenly rewards, the Rainbow Bridge, they call it.

It was no easy decision. We cried and cried, holding her beautiful lab head, murmuring to her how much we loved her and thanking her for her years with us. We called our daughter before the "act" and she couldn't be there. I was sad for that but if we had another moment, it wouldn't have happened! We watched her go and held her for a few minutes longer. She looked quite peaceful--the best we had seen her in a while.

I know she loved us as much as we loved her. She was a great, great dog. She loved to run in the park, go for car rides and just be by our sides. She used to sleep on a chair next to my bed and her face was the first I saw every morning and the last before I went to sleep.

The last night she was home, I slept downstairs with her. She couldn't make it up the stairs to our bedroom. I slept on the couch with her bed next to me. Neither one of us slept much. At one point, the cat, Marvin, must have seen me dosing off because he jumped on top of my leg and took a huge bite out of it, scaring the heck out of me! Marvin loved Lily even though she didn't want too much to do with him.

We will have a little memorial service for our Lilydog when the family is gathered at Christmas. Till then, I have her bed, her collar and a picture of her as a pup in our living room. We will never forget her and know her spirit is still there, looking for scraps on the floor, watching for the squirrels outside and waiting for one of us to say "Car, Lily?"

Friday, October 29, 2010


All Hallows Eve and Halloween was always a fun time for us kids. First of all, as Catholic School kids, we had the holy day off! We could cavort, eat ourselves into oblivion and have sleep overs for Halloween night without having the long arm of the law telling us "NO"!

We celebrated by having house parties after trick or treating in various neighborhoods. Dress up was normal for us - never a store-bought costume! "Beatnicks" were in-complete with guitars! My most vivid memory was a party at a friends house where her mom and older sisters came up with a "guess what it is" game. You would have a blindfold on and your hands were led to a plate full of "stuff". Peeled grapes were supposed to be eyeballs, something else was worms, etc. I was terrified! I mean, really scared, even though I could rationalize that there couldn't possible by someone's eyeball on a plate in the Ryan's basement, I got carried away in the fear.

I am happy to distribute candy to our little ones on Halloween. It's fun to see the kids each year in their costumes. It's a day where you can be free to express yourself in any way shape or form. To me, this year, I remember the loved ones that have passed this year, my friends Richie, Ollie and Fran. The souls that have separated from their bodies on this level.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Not much today

My Seminary classmate, Rev. Evelyn Digsby and I have a workshop coming up on November 6, 2010 entitled "Writing Down Your Soul", a different way of journaling with all your 5 senses. It is based on a book by Janet Connor, of the same name. We had a meeting to go over the format today and it looks really great! Great music, meditations, hand-outs and energy. Now all we need is the company. They will come.
This is the view they will see as they journal-our peaceful lake.....

Husband, Bruce's birthday was yesterday and we celebrated with a nice dinner out with two friends who are also clients. The restaurant was "The Lake House" in Bay Shore which is owned by our old neighbor, Matt Connors. His wife, Eileen, is the hostess. She is a perfect host who loves her job and people. The wait staff is great, too. We enjoyed the company and especially a fabulous gourmet meal.

Wedding tomorrow. Maybe the last outdoor one for the year. I love the bride and groom, who were recommended by my magazine editor, Susan Bela. They are so easy with each other and smile all the time! I know it will be a glorious sunny day on the Bay in West Sayville. Rehearsal was last night with both families gathering! I love this ministry!! Where else can you see so much love, share it and accept it for yourself? I know this is the beginning of a true partnership.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Diamonds on the Water

I was the officiant at a wedding on Sunday, October 10, 2010 at 10 am. Yes, 10-10-10 at 10am which only happens once in 1,000 years, they say!

It was being held at a community called Atlantique on Fire Island. My co-worker has a house there and is responsible for connecting me to this couple. I asked that I might stay overnight with her since the ferry schedule would prohibit me from being there for a 10 am start. We had a wonderful day walking to Ocean Beach, next door to Atlantique. The shops and restaurants are closing for the winter season and we got some nice gifts. I found a glass bottle that was perfect for the sand ceremony that the couple had planned for their wedding.

The morning of the wedding was a gift from God. It was clear, warm, sunny, without a cloud in the sky and very little wind. The groom and his brother set up a makeshift "altar" with a surfboard. The conch shells for the sand ceremony sat on the surfboard. All the guests started walking up the beach, some in shorts and jackets, the ladies in dresses, jeans or shorts. Shoes were optional. The bride was escorted down the boardwalk and down to meet her groom by a dear friend who also threw the reception.

The sea sparkled in the background as they married each other in the presence of their community. God was invited into the ceremony and He or She certainly was shining down on the day. I thoroughly enjoyed being their "Reverend"! I was treated to a weekend on the beach that I love, drinking in all the beauty around me. The deer, almost-empty beach and especially the gorgeous ocean. Each sparkle glistened on the water, like winks from my own personal Spirit! It makes me cry to think of the vastness of that water, and how the tides are so perfectly scheduled.

I took the ferry back to Bay Shore with the Best Man, the groom's brother. We enjoyed being outside on "the top" fo the boat. He grew up summering at the beach and lives in Nashville, so we enjoyed a last trip on the Bay after a beautiful day.

Blessings on you all today!

Monday, October 4, 2010

What Does Better Look Like?

I went to an event called "What Better Looks Like" on Sunday morning. It is a national group that started by a simple question from a child. When told "You have to grow up to make this world a better place", the child replied "What does Better look like?"

The group, The Amahoro Women, gathered together after attending a Women's Empowerment weekend at Omega in Rhinebeck, NY. They met a woman named Marie from Rwanda. She is one of the women in the book "Left to Tell", by Imaculee Ilibagiza. It tells a first hand account of the genocide in Rwanda. A group of 11 women were hidden away in a bathroom for months-fearing for their lives each day. Marie, who is "Sarah" in the book, goes back to her family every two years. This year, she will be joined by the Amahoro women who will visit hospitals and orphanages, bringing hope and healing to the women and children. They'll be visiting the Congo, also.

Please keep these women in your thoughts and prayers as they go forward and serve. They hope to have 10,000 women visit Rwanda. Will you be one of them? I'm planning on it.

Friday, October 1, 2010


Our son just got engaged to a wonderful woman. They both live in Southern California but were raised in the Northeast-she's from Massachusetts and he is from New York.

How they found each other on the West Coast is easy-friend of a friend! They have similar interests--working out, enhancing their business and personal lives and enjoying being outside!
I cried when I saw the proposal on You Tube and know that we are never too far away from each other, even though we're on opposite ends of the continent. With God's grace and the help of friends, family and maturity, they should be together for a long time!

It isn't supposed to be a mystery that we humans connect. We are attracted to each other, be it male-female, male-male, female-female. We enjoy socializing and sharing common interests. Some say that we find our "soul mates" that we were searching for through many lives. Maybe we were together with these souls in past lives? This time, we are going to get it right! If the relationship is honest, open, loving and equally shared, there is a recipe for success. We are not meant to be alone. We, as humans, need each other. (Cue in Barbra Streisand "People, people who need people are the luckiest.....") I know that I am a people person. I also love my alone time. Then I go back to my human connection and share what I found during my alone time!

I connect with you through my blog. I love my Face Book pals. Just a line or two and we're in sync. I can email my cousins, filling them in on the latest in the family. I can ooh and aah over new baby pictures. I can ask that they look into a new program I'm having and spread the word to their friends. It's networking with the click of a button.

No matter what - we are all connected. In so many ways and through so many venues. There is even the telephone!!!

Blessings on you as we move into Autumn--the orange month!!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Road Trip!!!

I took time last weekend to spend with an old friend. We took a road trip up to the Berkshires, in Massachusetts. She found a workshop back in May that she thought I would enjoy. The presenter didn't matter--I had heard about this place for years and wanted to see and experience it. Plus, I needed a "girls" weekend!

We left early on Friday to get a jump on the weekend traffic. Armed with water and snacks, we took off, hoping to get there early to explore. The plan didn't work! We were chatting--probably without taking a breath each--and missed the turn off for the the main highway. Here GPS was cranky that day and led us half way across the state of Connecticut. We found a Starbuck's and took a break. Almost 1 1/2 hr delayed, we made it up to our destination, just in time for dinner. We had caught up sufficiently on our lives and were excited about our weekend plans.

Time apart with good, dear girlfriends is a treat. We can be little girls, giggling and having the fun we crave. We can just BE! The connection with friends that are soul friends - our anam cara - isn't ever broken.

We enjoyed the workshop and met some new girlfriends. The trip home was half the time but we sufficiently met all our needs. We appreciate our families and love each one of them -- perhaps more after taking some necessary time out for ourselves.

Friday, September 3, 2010

New Beginnings

A hurricane called "Earl" is due this weekend in our area. The official end of summer, Labor Day weekend, and everyone is scurrying around de-summering their porches, patios and wondering what is going to happen.

The exact science of the weather-people always makes me scratch my head. The TV stations fly their top weather peole all down the East Coast -into the storm center for bigger effect - and then "pffft" --the storm becomes a rain shower of absolutly no consequence whatsoever. Flashlights and milk fly off shelves in the stores and panic has been put into place.

I actually would relish a little storm. As long as the house is warm and there are candles, bring it on! My computer has been charged, so contact with the outside world is possible. I've got a new novel on the shelf and some great meditation CD's(batteries). The possibilities are endless.
It offers me time to reflect on the start of a new season, adding to my Dream Board and looking at dates for some workshops and retreat days.

So far, Earl is looking more like a lamb than the lion they made him out to be. I'm sure God is laughing at us mortals who panic at a little wind. The force that is possible(and we've seen it) couldn't be measured by our "puny" instruments.

Enjoy the change--roll with it and have some fun!

Monday, August 30, 2010

End of Summer

This is the official ending of the Summer of 2010. However hot it was here in the Northeast, it was a lovely three glorious months!

It seems like the days are already growing shorter. It gets dark earlier-boo hoo! It is cool sleeping weather--yay! We see the fat red tomatoes bending the stalks over the stakes. The green ones will be moved in to the kitchen windowsill to redden a bit and then eaten in slices.
The school busses are around town. I see kids on skateboards whizzing around getting their last licks in of freedom. The school clothes are being chosen, even though shorts could still be worn for a few more weeks.

We kids went off to Parochial school all our scholastic years. The only year that I didn't wear a uniform was in first grade! My kids wore uniforms, also. It made it nice and easy for me(and them) in the mornings. There was that occasional "I don't have a shirt to wear" morning, but we were pretty flush in the shirt departments, just for those times.

So, off to school for the kids, teachers and bus drivers. The rest of us, it's hunkering down for the end of year push, planning for the winter activities, looking into a warm vacation spot, saying goodbye to the gorgeous beach and finding some good projects. My website is my procrastination project! I should be really working on it but I find it much more enjoyable to talk with all of you!

Adios, summer! I'll catch some more of you during September and October but it won't be ever like this again.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Marking the Dates

This weekend marks the 40th anniversary of our wedding. It's so ironic that I am performing weddings now, legally and joyfully. My husband, Bruce, is a great partner in life. He and I have known each other for 42 years. Our own wedding was a blur, we were so darn young. How does one know who you are, much less who you want to live with for the rest of your life at 22?

But, with God's gracious grace, we survived and thrive! We are blessed with great kids, family, grandchildren to spoil and be silly with, friends that we can call on at any time of the day or night. We rely on each other for strength and know that we also have our own backup--our higher power. If it were not for that Source, all the above would not be.

I am so honored when asked to perform a wedding. I would perform one a weekend! I love the people that I meet, love to hear their stories of how they met and what got them to this point in their journeys. They bless me by asking me to preside over one of the most important events of their lives. This date will be etched in their hearts forever!

As we mark this date, with a nice quiet dinner and beautiful cards to each other, I will reach back to that August day in 1970, and be grateful, very, grateful. I will remember the family who aren't with us anymore and thank them. We will drink a toast to longevity, loyalty and love.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


This month, we celebrated my Dad's 88th year of life. Today is the date, 49 years ago, President Barack Obama was born. So many years inbetween those two men! Such history has ocurred in the decades! Who would have ever expected, in the 1920's, that an African American, or any person besides a Caucasion white male would be eligible to run for the highest office in this country, and WIN! With Senator Hillary Clinton's addition to the ballot, we made additional history with the first woman to throw her hat into the mix!

We call my father's peers "The Greatest Generation". Surely, they earned that title. They scraped and saved, lived through a very, very severe Depression(not like the Rescession we are in now) where they had nothing to eat. They lived from meal to meal. They stood on long lines for jobs. Then, when Pearl Harbor was bombed, they ran to sign up to defend their country.
There is never a day when my father doesn't fly his flag. At his house on the beach, when he is home, it is up, flying proudly. He's instilled that in me. I fly my flag on national holidays, and sometimes on the weekends, when I am home. I sing the national anthem at baseball games, hand over my heart. Some things are imprinted in my brain forever!

I'm proud to be American, and love that my country is a symbol of freedom. I pray for those who are fighting to defend freedom around the globe and those who have sacrificed their lives for freedom of others. I wish we didn't have to be the first - always - to sign up for the job! I want each man and woman to return to us intact and appreciated.

Happy Birthday, dear dad and President Obama. May God bless you both.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


Some new awarenesses are cropping up----again! So, where do I go with all of this new info?
To the Source, first and then to one of my "God In Skin" friends.

I always get what I need when I come clean with some new tidbits that roll around in my brain. If I could see inside my head, I'd be aghast at all the clutter! So I need a periodic
interior washing. It's great to go on retreats, sitting on a beach or mountain reflecting
on the "stuff" in my head. I journal and talk, walk and pray. But, what happens when
the light is shone on some stuff and there's no beach or mountain to seek out? I can pick
up a phone and dial. I can pick up my cell and text. I can chat it away on Face Book. Or
just write down a few lines on an email and it gets it out. "Up and Out" is a mantra I often use.

We humans are blessed with brains that hold so much stuff! The music I carry around in my head, the conversations I had that stick(for no reason at all)in my head for centuries, books and movies, great memories and sad events that happen. All are part of the mosaic that is US!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Blew By You

While playing golf in Scotland a few years ago, we found the caddies to be rather cheeky.
They were stand up comedians that got paid for their expertise on the golf course as well as their stand up capabilities!

One set, at the famous Old Course at St. Andrew's, gave us the royal treatment. The course was tough! The caddies tougher! But they made it fun and put on the dog for us. The shots would be a little errant " a Linda Ronstadt -- Blew by you" they would call out! Or "a Barbra Streisand--ugly but still working" (sorry to the Barbra fans out there-not my material).
They could be blunt--"no, Ma'am you couldn't possibly hit into the group in front of you-don't flatter yourself".

The storm tht blew by us last night was a doozie. I am sure it could have been called a mini tornado. The umbrella in the patio table was picked up and tossed around like a twig. The torrential rains that came with the flash storm were like sheets of rivers. Trees were scattered around trees, exposing wires.

The weather this year has been so mecurial! It just gives us a wake up call and then says "bye, just wanted to make sure you were paying attention". What are we doing to our land that it gets so violent? The oil spill, Katrina, tornados, Haiti, the tsunami not so long ago--all of the earths howlings! Are we so asleep that Spirit is shaking us to wake up and pay attention?

I'm keeping one eye opened from now on!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

The day I'll remember forever

It's my daughter's 32nd birthday. Some things are easy to forget. I forget what I had for breakfast(or if I ate anything). I forget where I'm going when I'm driving in the car with some great music. I easily forget my husband's schedule!

But this was a great day-July 24, 1978. My brother took me to the doctor in his red pickup because my husband was at work. Then he had to take me right to the hospital! The poor guy wasn't even married at the time!

Father of baby-to-be did arrive and made it to see his beautiful baby daughter born! We did Lamaze--the rage in the 70's. God has a great way with childbirth. You only remember the wonder and the miracle about gestation and birth. How does it happen? How wonderful it is to see that little face after wondering for months "What will it be and what will it look like?" "Will it remember me?"

She is a mother now. A wonderful, caring, loving mother. Her little ones are her life. She is patient and teaches them everything. My little 4 year old granddaughter and I were talking in the car one day. I said that she had a wonderful vocabulary. She then said "humungous, I know humungous". I chuckled because that is one of the words my daughter uses.

Happy Birthday, dear daughter. My love for you is Humungous!!!!!!!!!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Being a minister

It took a while, but I think that I've been able to wrap my brain around the "minister" title.
A friend told me that we already are ministers, in serving others and being of help to the people we meet daily. I love people and all of God's creatures! It makes me happy to be in company with like-minded people and talk about spiritual things. We are evolving as a species, hopefully.
But with that comes great responsibility.

To take care of each other is our job! Didn't one of the masters say "Love others as you love yourself." In stepping into a minister's role, I am just following the steps that I have already taken so many times before.

I was a candy striper during my high school years. I delivered newspapers and mail to patients at the local hospital. Then I worked in the gift shop. In college, a friend and I worked after classes at the hospital next door to our school. She went on to leave to go to nursing school and teaches today at a State University. Being of service came from my family. My parents taught us that "idle hands" thing! Volunteerism was a must!

When I see the "Footprints" poem, and there is one set of footprints in the sand, I know that I made many of those steps myself--going forward--but there was also the one that took over when I was weary-- where I was carried.

Enjoy Your Journey!
Rev. Barbara