Holiday GIFT for 2017 – a self-discovery game

And for you  faithful readers, attached is our Holiday GIFT for 2017!
 It’s another self-discovery game!  Don’t start shaking your head yet.  No drawing is required to play.  Simply give the situation presented a thought, make a choice and see what a Japanese psychologist team has to say about it.
Of course, My response is included and I always HOPE some of you who play the game, will also share your experience!
The game is below. Best wishes!

Dear Readers,

           Once again, the game below is from Kokology, The Game of Self-Discovery, the first book by Tadahiko Nagao and Isamu Saito.

 I chose one I hope you can (and will) draw. I love to see everyone’s different depictions and hope you will play along with me.

          This game is a little “magical.”  I hope you will let yourself be childish and imaginative. It is always my wish that you will get to know yourself better!

 Editor of Ninepatch


One day a blue bird suddenly flies through a window into your room and is trapped. Something about this lost bird attracts you, and you decide to keep it.  But to your surprise, the next day the bird had changed color from blue to yellow!  This very special bird changes color again overnight – on the morning of the third day it is bright red and on the fourth it turns completely black.  What color is the bird when you wake up the fifth day?

1. The bird doesn’t change color: it stays black.

2. The bird turns back to its original blue.

3. The bird turns white.

4. The bird turns golden colored. ‘

Draw whatever you see below before turning over the page for an explanation.

“The bird that flew into your room seemed like a symbol of good fortune, but suddenly it changed color, making you worry that happiness would not last. Your reaction to this situation shows how you respond to difficulties and uncertainty in real life.

1.       Those  who said the bird stays black have a pessimistic outlook.

Do you tend to believe that once a situation goes bad, it never really returns to normal? Maybe you need to try thinking ‘If this is as bad as it gets, it can’t get any worse.’  Remember, there’s no rain that doesn’t end and no night so dark that there’s no dawn the next day.

2.       Those who said the bird turns blue again are practical optimists.

       You believe that life is a mix of good and bad and that it doesn’t pay to fight against that reality.  You accept adversity calmly and let things run their course without undue stress or worry. This outlook lets you ride out the waves of adversity without being swept away.

3.       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.

4.       Those  who said the bird turns golden can be described as fearless.

      You don’t’ know the meaning of pressure. To you, every crisis is an opportunity. You might be compared with Napoleon who said, “… impossible: the word is not French.” But be careful not to let your boundless confidence get the best of you. It’s a very fine line between fearless and foolhardy.”




Dear Readers,

When I read this game, I had to imagine myself as a child to find an answer. “Gold” seemed what my child-self would choose.  However, when I read what theKokology authors had to say, I shook my head.  No way!  I am a scardy-cat!

As a kid I had a green parakeet named Pepper that sometimes few around the room, but as an adult I am frightened of a bird flying loose in the house –and manyother things!  Perhaps it all means as grew up and encountered more of the world, I learned fear, both rational and irrational.

I look forward to seeing your results and hope you will haul out your colored pencils or markers, too!


This month, our Ninepatch treasurer, Georgene (Sept. ‘17) comments on our question, “If you could wake up every morning and look out your bedroom window at the perfect view, what would that be?”

Georgene says, “If I could wake up every morning and look out my bedroom window to see 
any kind of nature vista, it would be so nice. Currently, we see our grapefruit tree, a little bit of green belt and back patios of other houses.

In the 80’s and 90’s I was a career gal making a good living and every house I purchased after the “starter” home, had some sort of a view. Though all the homes were modest in size a view was part of the deal.

The Colorado home had a view of foothills and Pikes Peak from the bedroom window. The view in Michigan offered green-belt, a bit of a pond and at night we were high enough to see the lights of homes interspersed on the rolling hills.

When we moved to California the cost of a modest home was 3 times what we paid in Michigan and a house with a view was out of the question. The wonderful weather, lack of insects, and ocean only 10 miles away are a lovely trade off, but, my husband and I often reminisce about when we used to wake up in the morning and part the bedroom curtains to a view that brought a feeling of joy.

Now, we just walk a little to a nearby hill that offers a great view of the long valley down to the ocean. As a bonus, a muster of peacocks live in the hill area and we mark the seasons by watching tail feathers grow to masterful size and beauty. Silly chicks with top knots follow their mothers back and forth across the road foraging for goodies until the male tail feathers can be found lying in the dirt here and there to be picked up by locals and others passing by.”


Kay (Nov. ‘17) also comments on “If you could wake up every morning and look out your bedroom window at the perfect view, what would that be?”

She says, “I would like to see a beautiful sunrise and also see something unexpected in the yard such as a beautiful bird or duck.

Recently I stayed at a house out of town–one my husband and I rented to stay together as a family for a November wedding. The house had a huge yard and a wraparound porch. It was in the country and so peaceful and quiet–no traffic..

“I looked out the window Sunday morning and saw a full grown turkey standing there grooming itself. The image was so, so perfect for November and such a nice greeting to the Sunday!”


If you could wake up every morning and look out your bedroom window at the perfect view, what would that be?”

will continue for January 2018. Joining it will be a new thought line to follow: “One of my favorite simple pleasures is….”



What we know crashes through us

like Lake Michigan

in September. I ride on

this knowing, flat

on my back, arms outstretched,

blue lapis on

my throat, on my forehead,

and there is a star directly above me

which is already dead,

which somebody has already named.

It is attached by a kite string

to my center, I can feel it

tugging when the wind blows.

Brian Janisse (Nov. 17) adds, “Lapis Lazuli is a beautiful stone whose color represents the throat and crown chakras (bodily energy centers), and is said to bring deep peace and inner self-knowledge. I had found such a stone, unaware of its spiritual properties, and felt compelled to meditate with it under the night sky.


A step in any direction

Is practice for getting

From where you are

To where you want to be. 

Simon Stargazer III (Nov. ‘17) adds,” I wrote this for a dear friend recovering from a stroke..   It’s now been several months since I stopped for a visit on my way home from Denver, He  has improved to point of being able to help his daughter program their laser to fill orders for his business. My friend tells me he is still in occupational and speech therapy, He’s make great headway. I am impressed and hopeful.”


And keep them!
I say more to myself
Than to you,
In the dark before
When I think best,
I unfold the papers,
Collections of notes.
A cup of coffee, 
By my side,
Gives me courage,
Especially if I think
What may not be true-
Time for brief meditations,
Thoughts of friends
Needing hope and needing
Friends to give it to
Recognizing my limitations,
I proceed,
In the wee hours
Of, morning,
I have words to connect
Me to paper, trying to
Meet my deadline during
First hours
Of daybreak!

Bluebird (Nov.’17) adds, “I can look at my day ahead from early morning lookouts and at least try to meet deadlines –even if it’s at the last minute! Please look at my Facebook page for early morning poems and keep writing your own, too.”


There are quite a few situations

I am powerless over.

(Yes, it’s true.)

However, I have been given life

and life energy with the free will

to determine how I spend/invest that energy moment-to-moment.

I can choose to wallow

in the mire of despair

in response to my shortcomings,

and all that I deem deplorable, or, practice active gratitude

for all the opportunities

in front of me.

I am empowered by my Creator with choices every breath and step I take.

Help me Lord serve You in kindness, mindfulness, gladness and grace.

I strive to honor my adopted


1. Do the next right thing no matter

how mundane or magnificent.

2. Don’t make matters worse.

3. Focus on, communicate with, and

seek to enhance connection

with God.

4. Repeat.

This seems doable.

DAPepple (Nov. ‘17) adds, “With all the world’s needs and demands, added to personal responsibilities, life can seem overwhelming. I awoke early on a Monday with a semblance of order appearing out of the chaos. “


Back in March ‘17, I wrote a piece about a chance meeting with Irish author, Maeve Binchy. It happened several years ago on a visit to Dublin to see my family.

Currently, I am reading that author’s biography, Maeve Binchy: The Biography written by Piers Dudgeon. “There are other biographies written of Maeve Binchy, but  Piers Dudgeon’s is a joy of a biography and a must for fans of the treasured Irish author.” ( I borrowed this last comment from HELLO magazine, the U.K version of PEOPLE magazine.)

The book is a sensitive celebration and shows the talent and humanity of this much loved author. 

The Irish Post says that Dudgeon ”…portrays Maeve Binchy as a lover of life in this warm and often humorous account of a woman who was determined to be herself.

I find much in the book that is familiar: the Dalkey area where Maeve lived, the nuns and the convent where she went to school, the escapades with her close friends, the hospital mentioned where I was treated in my twenties, with a fractured wrist, the Beach at Bundoran to where she escaped to get away from it all, and her dip in the sea, stark naked thinking she had the beach to herself. 

Her comments on religion, politics, and the accounts of her time in a kibbutz, her London jobs working for RTE, the Irish television company are all brought alive in this book. The reader will see much her real life episodes reflected in some of her books. 

I find it so interesting,

Bernadette (Mar. ‘17) adds, “I have been out of touch for a while. Busy these days due to medical and doctor appointments for my husband and me. “


Will Campbell wrote the book, Brother to a Dragonfly, as an autobiography.  He also describes his older brother and describes their growing up on a cotton farm in Mississippi.   Will became a Baptist minister, but he left pastoring the church after a few years.  He became active in the civil rights movement in the 50’s and 60’s.  He also describes the close relationship with his brother.

Recently, during this time of turmoil in our society, I have seen references to Will as we struggle with our feelings about what is happening today.  Will describes how he felt about segregation, and how his anti-segregation activities were not accepted and how they placed his family as well as himself in danger.  He came to believe that Christ had died for the bigots as well as the good people. 

The style of writing made me want to continue reading until the end.  This book can be meaningful to not only Christians but also many people. 

Jane (Nov. ‘17) adds, “Some of this book was hard to read because Will was able to show his commitment to God without sermonizing. It made me look at myself and how I regard “bad” people. 

The loyalty that Will and his brother had to each other even in extremely difficult situations was touching and also made me look at myself.


Divorce yourself from harm’s way.

James (Nov. ‘17) adds, “It’s best to make choices that keep you safe.”


A doctor once asked if being depressed wasn’t “self-indulgent.” I was offended by the suggestion but didn’t have the presence of mind to ask him exactly what he meant. I have thought about that over the years.

When I’m on “the slide” I experience a hint that this is learned behavior. Depression begets more of the malady. If I’m depressed and my son doesn’t call me on the weekend, I have a reason to feel even more down, neglected, lonely.

A positive behavior would be to get myself over to the big new mall and do some window shopping, people watching, and maybe buy an ice cream cone.

I once clipped and saved a bit of advice: “Get up, get dressed, get out, be with people.” I don’t think that is a cure, but I think it can put the brakes on the slide.

Elaine (Nov. ‘17) adds, “Last summer I took some of this advice. It really did help.”