LindaSue (See her letter in AROUND THE FRAME.) responded to our Self-Discovery game included in the December 2017 issue. She writes, “I played the “Blue Bird” 2017 Holiday Game. I saw a white bird! (A sign of peace.)

I see the bird’s colors different from the Japanese psychologists. I see the blue bird is a sign of happiness, the yellow bird as a sign of joy, the red bird as Jesus’s blood shed for our sins and the black bird as evil trying to take over.

Thus, I chose the white peace bird. Peace wins!

I did read over what the psychologists said about white:Those who said the bird turns white are cool and decisive under pressure. You don’t waste time on fretting and indecision, even when a crisis develops. If a situation gets too bad, you feel it’s better to cut your losses and look for another route to your goal rather than getting bogged down in needless grief. This proactive approach means that things seem to just naturally go your way.”

I do not agree with them at all. I do not think I am cool and decisive under pressure. And, I am very sure things don’t naturally go my way, either. It is true I don’t waste time fretting with indecision when things go wrong or a crisis develops. Instead, I pray and move on. I believe God has a plan!”

LindaSue’s white bird

LindaSue’s white bird


I remember my grandparents… ” This month, Frances, Editor writes, I remember my father’s mother, Elizabeth. She had a great influence on my childhood. Before I started school, and later Saturdays she “kept” me while Mother and Daddy worked.

Gramma Elizabeth loved me, but did not play with me. She cleaned, washed, cooked and sewed.

Gramma used a treadle sewing machine she ran with her feet. It whirred! The needle sped up and down while her feet pushed faster than my excited heat beat at the sound.

She washed in the low-ceilinged basement where she could not stand up straight. Bending over, she carried her laundry basket to the washing machine.

Left: Gramma Elizabeth about 1954

Left: Gramma Elizabeth about 1954

Sometimes Gramma washed her see-through curtains. She dried them on a stretcher–a large rectangular wood frame with nails around all the edges. She fastened a wet curtain over nails along the top and one end and then p-u-l-l-e-d the fabric hard to fasten on the opposite ends.

Though Gramma was busy all day, there were usually home-made sugar cookies in her cookie jar! The sweets were my reward for taking a good nap!”


When I am desperate

and need that God connection,

I close my eyes

and imagine myself surrounded by,

embraced by,

and in

sacred lake waters

of my youth.

Being gently caressed, held, supported,

loved and protected,

I still have freedom to move from place to place.

Looking around, I see I am in a significant part of the universe

enjoying a comforting medium

and developing skills

to move from place to place.

I rest, reflect

and sense God’s touching, supporting being.

I hear/feel,

I truly do love you.

You are NOT alone.

DAPepple (Jan. ‘18) adds, “When I feel overwhelmed, ill-at-ease, alone or unheard, sooner or later I become aware that my focus has been disconnected or diverted from the core of my faith. I know when it is sunny and smooth sailing, complacency and/or self-will tends to thrive. And when chaos confusion and consternation rise within, I am fraught with feelings of helpless, hopeless and alone-ness. Both scenarios warn me to strive for focus back to the core of my faith. There are several paths I have found helpful during those times. Prayer, music, communication with close friends, and dear memories of times at Lake Wawasee where God com-forted, mentored, affirmed, laughed and cried with me. I close my eyes, and once again I am at the lake, under His wings.”


There is no more holding back.

The Word

shines down upon you,

melts away the

cold, harsh resurrectories

you’d summoned,

shovels the hurt from your heart,

sets you

up in a smooth breeze of somersaults

and apparancies. This is not

the world

you had hoped to invent;

this is better. The word

shines out from within you,

vaporizes the stack

of cinderblocks you’d been

stubbing toes on,

the stacks which had cost you

the casting

of shadows, the gray shading

of breath, and the

mad, naked tantrums

of the impassable.

Freedom has finally become you.


you know what it is to let go.

Like slipping

out of a heavy shirt, the Word

renders you

weightless. Both a particle and a

wave, you

dance everywhere at once. There are

no more empty spaces –

nothing left to expect –

only Volume. . .

Brian Janisse (Jan. ‘18) adds, In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.’ This poem is a celebration of the Source, our true identity and inspiration.


And consider them
A special gift,
Like a Valentine,
From someone
You love–
Let them interrupt
Lunch-as special
As maple peanut
Butter stuffed in
Let the floral bedspread
Get wet…

And Your shoulder,
Whether the fabric

Be satin or cotton;
Let the day’s attempt
At rain give a wink
And a nod-
Because for every tear
That drops,
There is sunshine showing
Up to smile–Tears are fine
For a limited time,
But there is always
A sale going on in just

The right size to make
Happiness light up

Bluebird (Jan. ’18) adds, “Tears can be sad or happy; in this case, both. Tears don’t have to have a reason, but most often are related so sadness.  Passing through as a delicate rain, the sun comes out again.  I cry less than when I used to but I miss some of the old tears I shed.  I do believe there are many different shades of tears, and many shades of happiness.  We know the sun shines and that always makes us feel happy.  Wishing everyone a Happy Valentine’s Day.  You may contact me at gaylebluebird1943@gmail.com.”


Love is getting up at 4 AM

To calm the confusion.


Simon Stargazer III (Jan. ’18) explains, “?These lines are a short and concise representation of what we go through for the sake of the love for another.

In this instance, my wife, Pat, got up at 4 AM, transferred to her power chair and went to the bathroom. She transferred to the toilet. (This happens several times during the night and I usually wake up to be available to help.)

On top of this situation, Pat’s many medications some-times contribute to her varying degrees of confusion. When this happens, my assistance is also required. However, this time, I awakened out of a deep sleep and it turns out I was the one who was confused! I thought Pat needed help transferring, but by the time she got to the bath-room, she no longer needed to transfer. In the meantime, I continued trying to give her help which she no longer needed. This time she cleared up my confusion. In a few minutes we got her safely back to bed and to sleep. On the other hand, I was fully awake by then. I did some computer work and wrote these lines before getting into the day’s routine.”


This novel by Louise Erdrich is about a young woman who was adopted although she was born as a Native American.  But, there is much more to the story.  The world is changing.  Evolution has changed and appears to be going backward. 

The young woman is pregnant, but pregnancy is now complicated because the government–or whoever is now in charge–is locking pregnant women in a hospital or a jail to make sure that their babies are still human when they are born. 

Through all of this, people do not understand what is happening or who to trust. The Native American relatives are included in the tale, which adds to the interest of the story.  The most significant part for me was the anxiety which I felt, just like the anxiety that I feel in today’s society where we do not know what the future will bring and things too often seem to be going backwards. Erdrich describes this anxiety with much feeling and accuracy. 

The novel is a very interesting book and written by an excellent Native American author who has written many other books. 

Jane (Dec. ’17) says, “When I am not exercising, I am reading.  The one I finished today I want to share because it hit my feelings about the present so much.  It is not the type of book I usually read, but I am glad I did.”


Truth never changes.

James (Jan. ‘18) expands, “No matter what light you shine on reality, its truth never changes.”



Previously: Malaina told of a friend’s observation on cows and went on to recall the farmers in her family while growing up.

The back pasture where my grandparents lived was so huge that my sister and I spent many a day walking up and down the fence that formed the border line between two counties. (She and I thought it amusing that we could stand in one county while holding our arms and camera in another!)

Other days, my sister and I spent all day fishing at one of three ponds on the property. We cut our fishing poles from a stand of bamboo that had grown around–and choked off–and old outhouse.

After hunting for fishing string and a hook, we dug under old rotten logs for earthworms. Equipment complete, we headed down to the fishing pond. Usually we packed a couple of sandwiches and a bottle of water before we walked for almost an hour from one fishing pond to the others. We got to the ponds by following deep trails made by well-fed cows. These trails had been carved by sharp hooves. Since these trails were tromped over and over, they became mini-gullies after several years.

Heavy rains turned the deep grooves into small streams that pushed out sand, depositing it in delta-like mounds elsewhere. Snakes liked these washed out, places which provided fast access from one area to another.

It’s been a long time and I can’t recall the kind of fish we caught, maybe bream (pronounced like “brim”) or catfish. We often threw the fish back, but the catfish usually ended up on the supper table.

Malaina (Jan. ’18) adds, “The last time I saw that stand of bamboo, no one would guess there was a tiny building in the center.”


Using free association, I thumb through magazines with my scissors, and harvest words and phrases. Next, I sort them into topics.

  When I’ve accumulated “enough” words and phrases about a topic, I spread them out and begin gluing them onto a piece of paper, again using free association, but also an aesthetic design sense.

  Afterwards, I may write a free-verse poem based on my collage.


The photo above illustrates the cutting-out phase.

The photo above illustrates the cutting-out phase.


Carol (Jan. ’18) adds, “Next month I will share a word collage and a poem I wrote.”