instructions nov/dec 2009


Books, bookstores and libraries have always been magical to me.  The realization that a lifetime is not long enough to savor even the content of a modest library has elated and de-pressed me. A treasure trove of knowledge, mystery, pathos, and questioning is hidden between the covers of books and can be discovered by the act of opening and reading.

Recently I found a book, The Art of the Snowflake: A Photographic Album, by Kenneth Libbrecht.  His words triggered an intense positive emotional reaction since I share a lifelong love of snowflakes. In awe I looked at photos from his collection of snow crystals.

Nature’s creation of tiny white beauty surpasses in form and glory almost every creation of man. I spent a wonderful morning with the book and reflected on the pleasure snowflakes had brought in my own life.

        Being spellbound by newly falling snow is one of the great wonders of imagination. As a child, looking upward, watching and feeling the millions of icy bits fall to earth filled me with excitement. I recall the pleasure was more intense if snow fell during the evening and I stood watching under a street lamp.

Gazing up into the light, the snowflakes seemed to magically explode from an infinite blackness of the sky.

Those of us who have lived in the snow belt as children have snow memories.  Vividly, I remember stretching out our arms, spinning in circles, raising my head and letting the flakes land on my eye lashes, forehead, and cheeks while my tongue greedily reached out to taste the fairy-like dancing flakes.

Back then, the weightless-ness of a snowflake registered as a tiny spot of frost which rapidly turned to water as the warmth of my tongue or face created one of the miraculous transformations in nature. Some larger flakes landing on my coat-sleeves or the upturned turned palms of my gloved hands gave a hint of the intricate design nature had created. 

As a curious kid, l even tried to savor and prolong the pleasure of falling snow, by gently carrying snowflakes into my home. I hoped to get a closer look at the sparkling object with a magnifying glass or a microscope. However, the warmth of our inside hallway or kitchen rapidly melted the tiny sparkler. Whatever secrets in design or beauty the flakes expressed quickly changed into an insignificant speck of water.

This transformation is one of our earliest experiences of the ephemeral quality of life. Snowflakes are a wondrous example of “the hidden.” 

The richness of the human mind is greatly enhanced by the brain’s capacity to seek out that which cannot easily be seen. A child’s mind understands this drive.  One of a child’s earliest expression of this concept is the great pleasure a baby takes from the playing the games of “peek-a-boo” and later, hide-and-seek. The wonder of discovery is experienced both by attempting to hide and being found as well as by seeking and finding what was hidden.

From these early simple games children begin to learn that the world is made up of layers, levels, links and connections — all of which lead to further levels, links and connections.

The closest I can come to appreciating the infinite is by exploring and attempting to understand ever-emerging levels of connectedness. Snowflakes offer a window into the universe of “the hidden.” These simple crystals offer infinite variability within a finite but ephemeral object.

Kenneth Libbrecht’s book opens a magical space which he shares with all of us.

  Wallace (Mar. ’09) adds, “Exploring connectedness is the same concept whether one is developing an understanding of one’s self or a reality we perceive outside of ourselves — like the snowflake.”



This book subtitled, “Opening to the Divine Prayer” and penned by Rev. Eric

Butterworth who was senior minister of Unity Center of New York from 1961 to 2003. 

I’ve been using it in a book study. It discusses prayer as “Affirmative Prayer/ Spiritual Treatment.” There are several steps to this special kind of prayer:

Step 1 is recognition: Relax. Let Go and Let God

Step 2 is  identification/ unification: Meditation/Experience Oneness in the silence.

Step 3 is Declaration/ Affirmation:  I declare the truth about me. I realize and affirm that the  qualities and nature of Spirit are the qualities and nature of me.

Step 4 is Gratitude/ Acceptance: The Great Amen. I accept this truth as present here and now.  I express my gratitude for it.

Step 5 is Release: I release this idea into the Law of Mind, knowing it creates.  I give up the need to control it.  I let go and let God work.

Here’s how I use the process. My prayer is:

1.  I am aware there is one Power and Presence always in my life.

2.  I am one with Spirit seeing me in my perfect place at the perfect time.

3.  I am confident in my decision making skills as the qualities of Spirit are the qualities of me

4.  I believe this truth and express my gratitude.

5.  I release these thoughts into the universe knowing it is done.  I give up my need to control


The author also suggests saying this affirmation/prayer as often as possible: “I have faith in God as the source of all my good, and I bless all the many

channels through which it may come.”


            Dottie (Oct. ’08) adds, “I am closing on a house in Ft. Wayne, Indiana on Oct 30.  It has features I have dreamed about such as a window with a good view from the kitchen sink, a private back yard with mature trees and an area to plant flowers and vegetables. (I also like a kitchen table by a window and close to family.) My children asked if I want to have Thanksgiving dinner at my house   Sounds great to me. Thank you God.”




 Crazy for the Storm, a Memoir of Survival. by Norman Ollestad is a worthy book.  It focuses on two years of the author’s life from the age of eleven to thirteen. During that time in 1979 a small aircraft crashed in the mountains of California. He was the sole survivor. 

The tale is an odd combination of mundane, ordinary testimony combined with wonderful passages of insight about human nature being driven to its limits by circum-stances and choice.  Also, the author pays homage to his grandparents, parents and his son, giving an overview of four generations.

The epilogue is thorough and satisfying, giving more closure as the author revisits his rescuers and the site of the accident twenty-seven years later. There he ponders how to fine-tune raising his son based on what he has learned from his life experience. 

Clearly, he has done a lot of self-analysis.


Carol (Oct.’09) adds, “There are some great passages about downhill skiing and surfing techniques.”

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