Archive for the ‘Good Reading’ Category

Part 1: I just finished reading “Middlesex” (Jeffrey Eugenides) a 2003 Pulitzer Prize winner for fiction. I have had this on my shelf for almost five years and just never got around to reading it. This book was wonderful! I enjoyed every minute of reading time I could squeeze out of my day. I won’t attempt a book review – well, because that sounds like too much work, and I’m sure if you google this book you could find hundreds to view.

Part 2: I am in need of a few book ideas. Is there a great book out there (fiction) that you just loved? Please leave a comment with the name and author (if you have it).



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A Great Gift

I just received a gift subscription to The Sun – a wonderful magazine: “Personal. Political. Provocative. Ad-free” It is comprised of short stories, poetry, photos, etc. no ads. If you’ve not seen this magazine I strongly recommend it – it is the only magazine where I have read every single word of every single publication, then pass the magazines on to friends who pass them on to their friends, and so on… thesunmagazine.org

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A friend asked me about my Thanksgiving Prayer – and asked if was of Native American descent. My name might suggest that I am, but my looks are decidedly Nordic. My name was made up almost 20 years ago and I had it legally changed back then.

Even though I am not Native American, I find Native American prayers and their reverence for the land very appealing and spiritual for me.

For Christmas six years ago, my chosen parents gave me a wonderful book of prayers of all different faith traditions called: “God Makes the Rivers to Flow”; Eknath Easwaran; Nilgiri Press; 1991. My favorite is a Native American Prayer. I have tried to find it printed out on the Internet to send to folks, but found only abbreviated versions. Below I have typed out the entire prayer as found in this book. As I assume it to be a very old prayer (some versions credit a translation in 1887 to Chief Yellow Lark), I figure it is safe to reprint it here.

Oh Great Spirit,
Whose voice I hear in the winds
and whose breath gives life to all the world,
hear me.
I am small and weak.
I need your strength and wisdom.
Let me walk in beauty
and let my eyes ever behold the red and purple sunset.
Make my hands respect the things you have made
and my ears sharp to hear your voice.
Make me wise, so that I may understand the things
you have taught my people.
Let me learn the lesson you have hidden
in every leaf and rock.
I seek strength not to be greater than my brother or sister
but to be able to fight my greatest enemy – myself.
Make me always ready
to come to you with clean hands and straight eyes
So when life fades as a fading sunset
my spirit may come to you without shame.

Great Spirit of love,
come to me with the power of the North.
Make me courageous when the cold winds of life
fall upon me.
Give me strength and endurance for everything
that is harsh,
everything that hurts,
everything that makes me squint.
Make me move through life ready to take what comes
from the North.

Spirit who comes out of the East,
come to me with the power of the rising sun.
Let there be light in my word.
Let there be light on the path that I walk.
Let me remember always that you give the gift of a
new day.
Never let me be burdened with sorrow by not
starting over.

Great Spirit of creation,
send me the warm and soothing winds
from the South.
Comfort me and caress me when I am tired and cold.
Enfold me as your gentle breezes enfold your leaves
on the trees.
And as you give to all the earth your warm,
moving wind,
Give to me so that I may grow close to you in warmth.
Great life-giving Spirit,
I face the West,
the direction of the sundown.
Let me remember every day that the moment will come
when my sun will go down.
Never let me forget that I must fade into you.
Give me a beautiful color.
Give me a great sky for setting,
and when it is time to meet you,
I come with glory.

And Giver of all life,
I pray to you from the earth,
help me to remember as I touch the earth
that I am little and need your pity.
Help me to be thankful for the gift of the earth
and never to walk hurtfully on the world.
Bless to love what comes from mother earth
and teach me how to love your gifts.

Great Spirit of the heavens,
lift me up to you
that my heart may worship you
and come to you in glory.
Hold in my memory that you are my Creator,
greater than I,
eager for my good life.
Let everything that is in the world
lift my mind,
and my heart,
and my life to you
so that we may come always to you
in truth and in heart.

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On Saturday I spent a wonderful day at the Ferguson Artisan Fair (a sub-event of the StreetFest). The space was located between a grouping of buildings, just off the main street of downtown Ferguson. The weather was wonderful! Unfortunately, the space was under the railroad tracks and down the street (the sidewalk was torn up) from the main activities, and business was… slow.

Most of those who looked through my booth were amazed at my art – even the other artists in the group. Most told me they had never before seen anything similar to the type of art I do. I’m sure there are others who do similar work – but I haven’t seen any like I do either. When I started I wasn’t copying what I had seen someone else do – I was just doing what I felt like doing – without expectation as to what it would look like.

Of course I got a few “I could do that” comments… I smile and tell them to try… I even tell them there are some instructions on how to get started on my website. I know that by the time they start purchasing the equipment and supplies, and experiencing the discomfort of being outside for any length of time with a chemical mask, or get adhesive on their hands, or realize just how long it takes to do what I do, or the artistic vision required, or their children get sick from the smell (tho I do make a note on my website that children and pregnant women should not be around this until it is dry), their attitude will change. But, I welcome them trying. It is, after all, another form of recycling.

In-between the few browsers, I had a lot of spare time. Fortunately I had brought along a book that had been recommended to me by several folks – “A Thousand Splendid Suns” by Khaled Hosseini.

“A Thousand Splendid Suns” is a powerful story of the lives of two women in Afghanistan over the past 30 years (give or take). Some parts were hard to read, other parts I found difficult to believe were happening in this day and age. A very engrossing book. A few folks saw me reading and asked if it would be difficult to understand the book if they were not familiar with all that has happened with the Taliban and the Afghanistan culture, and I told them the book was written very accessibly.

I got through roughly 75% of the book before the end of the day, and finished it the next morning.

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This weekend I did very little. The weather was hot and I stayed inside most of the time. I slept, watched tv, and read – all in front of my large fan. My a/c is working, I just choose to not use it if at all possible.

Nothing of interest to report, so I though I would tell you about a book I read recently worth sharing. I got the copy I read from the Public Library.

“A Language Older than Words” by Derrick Jensen is an interesting book about one person’s process of learning to listen to, and communicate with animals and trees.

I recommend this book to anyone who loves nature, cares for animals and/or feels a special connection with the earth. For those who fit into one of these categories, I think there is something wonderful to be gained from the author’s writings.

For those who may be more sensitive – like me – be prepared, the author does talk of violence and abuse… not only his own, but the terrible atrocities of peoples and governments past and present, and there are a few disturbing visions I now have engraved in my memory. Even with that said, I am glad I had the opportunity to experience this book.

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