Category Archives: Peaceful Reflections
As part of the human condition, we try to forge connections and patterns with the world around us. This may be due in part to our need to have a semblance of balance and order in our lives in what is often a chaotic and ever changing world. As we travel through life, our brains are assimilating information and creating connections between the external and internal worlds. Music, I believe, is the strongest example of these connections.
How often have you found yourself listening to the radio and a song begins to play and you have a strong, visceral emotional reaction to it, whether it be a lyric, melody or thumping bass line, something in that song reach into you and shakes you, hard.
Upon being confronted with this reaction, your mind begins to form connections and you may find that the song relates to some facet of your life, either a moment of sadness, a moment of joy, or even a good time in a dance club. Once that connection has been forged nothing can break it, and whenever you hear that song, you will smile knowingly and remember that moment of epiphany. Even more, that song may become your personal mantra, a source of strength; a part of the soundtrack of your life. The band that I have forged such a connection with is Snow Patrol.
Snow Patrol has been together for 17 years. I was fortunate enough to find them in 2005 when they played at the State Theatre in St. Petersburg, Florida. When the band stepped onto the stage and the guitarist hit the first chords I felt myself come alive as the vibrations went through my body. This was my first time hearing their music, but instantly, I felt that I had known their music forever and that we were very old and comfortable friends.
The very next day I tracked down their album Final Straw. I listened to the album continuously and I sang along trying to match harmonies and failing miserably. I forged connections with the songs and they altered my perspective on some of the events that were then occurring in my life.
Snow Patrol’s songs have masterful lyrics. You can listen to the songs over and over again, and while the lyrics may appear simple, if you listen to the tone of voice the lead singer Gary Lightbody uses and the open, poetic nature of the lines, you can infer a much deeper meaning from the song. Their lyrics are amazingly flexible, yet intimate; each person listening can take away an entirely different meaning. This lyrical ability is what, in my opinion, makes Snow Patrol so special. There are so many levels to their songs, some simple, others deeply complex, yet all true to life and comforting. They may sing about painful experiences, yet in each chord, each utterance, they offer hope and light.
At every juncture of my life Snow Patrol’s music has been relevant. When someone told me to “Open My Eyes” to the troubles of my three year relationship, their album Eyes Open played continuously. Upon opening my eyes I saw that the man who I thought I was going to spend the rest of my life with was, in fact, an alcoholic who was not only destroying himself, but me as well. Snow Patrol’s music gave me the courage to make the painful decision to end my relationship and move into my first apartment. Their soft lyrics calmed and embraced me as I cried and mourned the loss of my relationship.
Their steady bass line urged me down the path to truly discovering my inner strength and determination in learning who I really was. The “Lightening Strike” happened after I successfully conquered my inner demons and met my true self for the very first time. The song “Take Back the City” celebrated with me as I reached a pinnacle moment in my life when I discovered that I was a strong, amazing and fierce woman. Snow Patrol’s album A Hundred Million Suns echoed my shining happiness and joy in learning to truly accept and love myself.
Yet the happiness did not last as I began to “Run” after my father died in 2010. I grieved his passing for two long silent years when Snow Patrol’s songs were not played. During that time I experienced a darkness and depth of sadness that I never thought possible. Yet over time my pain eased and Snow Patrol’s music was there to welcome me back and reminded me that “This Isn’t Everything You Are.” Their album Fallen Empires gave me the reassurances that “Called Me Out of The Dark” as “Those Distant Bells” of life beckoned to me.
As my “Life-ning” began to happen I met my true love David. As we developed our relationship Snow Patrol’s song “Make This Go On Forever” was always on my mind. As the “Engines” of our love began to fire I sensed that my Dad had a hand in helping me to find David. Dad always said “You Could Be Happy” with the right person, and I am truly happy for the first time in my life. Snow Patrol’s music played when David and I decided to “Just Say Yes” to beginning a life together. We moved in together last year, and a day does not pass without my being thankful to my Dad and the powers above for helping me to find a man who is my lover, my partner, and my best friend to share my life and “Chocolate” with.
Snow Patrol’s music has always played at each “Finish Line” in my life. Their music has become an affirmation of my life, love and existence. As Snow Patrol’s music and talents have evolved, so have I.
Seven years after our original meeting, Snow Patrol returned to St. Petersburg, Florida and blazed onto the stage at Janus Landing on March 31, 2012. Their concert was a homecoming for me and a musical review of how I have grown and how far I have come. At the end of their amazing concert, I was hopeful for a brighter future.
Snow Patrol is an amazing band and I look forward to having their music as a part of my life for the next 7 years. It would be nice if they came back before that, but whenever they come back I will be there cheering them on again. This is why Snow Patrol means so much to me; their music is my touchstone, my anthem, my soundtrack.
I enter my magical meditation garden the same way I enter into self-hypnosis, starting with deep breathing and relaxation. I like to go there right before a nap or bedtime, often falling asleep in the midst of one of my visits there. Once inside, I walk down a long imaginary staircase—or if I am especially tired or if it’s a day when my back is giving me an argument – I use an escalator to transport me at least four flights down. That would be my conscious mind reminding me that I’m not as young as I once was.
When I feel I’ve reached my destination, I stop at a landing, which is a foyer of sorts with large sliding glass doors leading out to a beautiful countryside. There are times when the garden will not open to me and when that happens, I just try again another day.
My garden is an Eden-like area of grass, flowers, trees and a small stream. The sky is azure with puffy white clouds. A gentle breeze wafts about, the temperature just right. It’s quiet as I walk over to a large oak tree, sit down and lean against its smooth bark. Slowly animals appear and the air rings out with birdsong. A white snow owl perches on a branch above me. She’s lovely, but quite sarcastic. She has no patience for my complaints or excuses and accuses me of knowing the answers to my problems, but refusing to act on them. She seems to be a part of me-my subconscious, perhaps. A large blue-gray Alpha wolf comes up and nuzzles me, his deep blue eyes full of compassion, assuring me that I am loved. His mate, shy and cautious, stands behind him. The wolf offers me strength and courage. Sometimes, a roly-poly black bear cub tumbles out and plops on top of me, insisting on having some fun and cuddling. There is always a sweet doe next to me who does not judge me, but offers unconditional love. Rabbits, raccoons and a red fox often join the group, but usually only the owl, wolf and doe speak to me.
Song of the Whippoorwill inspired artist Lori Kennedy to sketch this beautiful drawing.
In late summer when we lost Noelle . . .
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Micki began writing after a personal tragedy, as a catharsis for her grief, leading to publication in Victimology: An International Magazine and a 25 year career in Journalism. She has freelanced, been staff writer for one major newspaper and written for two more. She has published short fiction, non-fiction, and slice of life stories in magazines and e-zines. Her first book was published in 2008; a funny family memoir, . . .AND THE WHIPPOORWILL SANG.
Inspiring Tales by Talented TALES2INSPIRE™ Authors
AS I AM – by Dr. Karen Pirnot
DON’T WORRY MOM – by Cecile Bell
It’s a DOG’S WORLD
BECOMING GRANDMOTHER – by Charlotte Snead
DRAGONFLIES AND THE GREAT BLUE HERON – by James Osborne
A FATHER’S DAY GIFT – by Jenna Ludwig
The FLOWERS – by Cheryl Stewart
GARDEN OF MIRACLES – by Heidi DuPree
The GIFT OF FAMILY – by Pat Surface
The HEART OF HOME IS HOT CHOCOLATE – by Mary Romero
A LEAP OF WORDS – by Cami Ann Hofstadter
A MAGICAL MEDITATION GARDEN – by Micki Peluso
MAINTENANCE FOR MY SOUL: The Man From Nowhere – by Cami Ann Hofstadter
MIRACLE – by Susan Haley
And the MUSIC PLAYS ON – by Charles Musgrave
NEW LIFE IN THE COUNTRY – by Luke Potter
NO SUCH WORD AS CAN’T – by Lois W. Stern
PAPPY AND THE BAND LEADER – by Rod DiGruttolo
The PLAIN MANILA GIFT – by Erica Kosal
A PROFILE OF COURAGE – by Tina Chippas
PROOF OF LIFE – by Melissa Delago
SMILE POWER – by Pauline Hager
WHAT IS LIFE? – by Melissa
UNLIKELY CONNECTIONS – by Anne Knorr
THE VOICE: A MEDICAL MIRACLE – by Stan Cupery M.D.
YOU NEVER KNOW! – by Jim Lawrence
Inspiring Tales Brought to you by Lois W. Stern
COOL, FRESH WATER
JEFF AND FREEDOM – A CIRCLE OF HEALING
OPOSSUM ON MY SHOULDER
Inspiring Tales – Authors Unknown
AM I A FIREMAN YET?
I am the author of two award winning books about different aspects of aesthetics (physical beauty): Sex, Lies and Cosmetic Surgery and Tick Tock, Stop the Clock ~ Getting Pretty on Your Lunch Hour. Beyond those topics, I love to read and write short stories to touch the soul – stories that I call “inner beauty tales”.
Suspecting that many writers might have one inspiring story to share, without having enough for an entire book, I set out to find out. And that’s how TALES2INSPIRE ™ began and developed as an “authors helping authors” project/contest. I am committed to providing each talented author with a platform for building their own fan base, and providing them with the opportunity to have their work published in a short story anthology.
If you think you might have an energy renewing, spirit uplifting story in your heart and head, please visit my website to
For Facebook fans, here is another way for us to connect. Visit my Facebook Page, a melding of inner beauty and physical beauty postings. And if you like what you see there, please let me know by clicking on the LIKE button at the top of the screen.
A LIVE INTERVIEW ON THE WRITER’S DREAM SHOW
A LONG ISLAND, NY CABLE TV NETWORK
Want to learn more about Tales2Inspire™?
You can meet me during a cable TV interview with Linda Maria Frank, host of The Writer’s Dream. This interview took place at one of the LTV studios situated several miles west of East Hampton, LI, NY., currently airs on three Long Island, NY cable TV networks, and soon will be expanding to other cable stations. Each segment is also posted on her Writer’s Dream YouTube Channel, Facebook and more.
Linda and I are working to make TV appearances on her show a long distance reality for Tales2Inspire™ Winners.
It was quite a day!
Being a guest on the Writer’s Dream was quite an adventure for me. I had a full day of interviews, with a morning session on my books about physical beauty (Sex, Lies and Cosmetic Surgery and Tick Tock, Stop the Clock ~ Getting Pretty on Your Lunch Hour). So if you want to learn some intimate, up-front-and-personal details about me, and the writing of those book, this is the show you don’t want to miss.
One Saturday afternoon shortly before Christmas, my husband and I returned from shopping to find a strange dog in our backyard garden. Our son, Jonathan, had been watching through the window and indicated the dog had not moved from that spot for some time. The dog had a collar, but we couldn’t get anywhere near him to read the tags. As soon as we approached, he yelped and shook in fear, and then ran away.
The garden may not have looked like much in the dead of winter, but it was no ordinary garden. The lost dog had found his way to what I considered sacred ground. Years earlier, building the garden had been a creative outlet when my ability to create another child seemed blocked. Working on the garden became a daily healing ritual, providing solace for my sorrow from years of infertility and early pregnancy losses. In those quiet moments when I laid the stone path and the soldier row of bricks that contained it, and planted the hollies that lined it – all seemed right with the world.
Several years later, the miracle I prayed for in the garden did come true when our family was completed with the birth of our son, Jacob. It made sense that the dog had felt safe in that sacred space. Unfortunately, he was too frightened of us to stay in the backyard sanctuary.
A few hours later, my husband, Robert, was out for a run in our community when he heard a woman calling, “Aussie! Aussie!” through her open car window as she drove slowly along the road.
THIS STORY CONTINUES IN THE TALES2INSPIRE™
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Heidi DuPree is a holistic nurse and a certified traditional naturopath passionate about restoring lost knowledge of energy medicine to the Western culture. She seeks to challenge our thinking about life, health, and the nature of miracles. Heidi is a contributing author to the 4th edition of Nurse Entrepreneurs: Tales of Nurses in Business and has just completed the manuscript for her first book The Other Medicine That Really Works. Her blog on transformational healing titled You, Me and My DuPree Knee was inspired by her recent knee replacement surgery. She lives in Ashburn, Virginia with her husband Robert, her youngest son Jacob, two dogs, and two cats. Visit her website.
Over the years, the true story of A Glass of Milk has been embellished to the point of being almost unrecognizable from its original. In fact, the tale as written below has actually been published in several collections of inspiring stories and self-help books in the urban story format you can read below.
One day, a poor boy who was selling goods from door to door to pay his way through school, found he had only one thin dime left, and he was hungry.
He decided he would ask for a meal at the next house. However, he lost his nerve when a lovely young woman opened the door. Instead of a meal he asked for a drink of water. She thought he looked hungry so brought him a large glass of milk.
He drank it slowly, and then asked, “How much do I owe you?”.”You don’t owe me anything,” she replied.”Mother has taught us never to accept pay for a kindness.” He said….. “Then I thank you from my heart.” As Howard Kelly left that house, he not only felt stronger physically, but his faith in God and man was strong also. He had been ready to give up and quit.
Years later that young woman became critically ill. The local doctors were baffled. They finally sent her to the big city, where they called in specialists to study her rare disease.
Dr. Howard Kelly was called in for the consultation. When he heard the name of the town she came from, a strange light filled his eyes.
Immediately he rose and went down the hall of the hospital to her room. Dressed in his doctor’s gown he went in to see her. He recognized her at once. He went back to the consultation room determined to do his best to save her life. From that day he gave special attention to the case.
After a long struggle, the battle was won. Dr. Kelly requested the business office to pass the final bill to him for approval. He looked at it, then wrote something on the edge and the bill
was sent to her room. She feared to open it, for she was sure it would take the rest of her life to pay for it all. Finally she looked, and something caught her attention on the side of the bill.
She read these words….. “Paid in full with one glass of milk”
Dr. Howard Kelly.
Tears of joy flooded her eyes as her happy heart prayed: “Thank You, God, that Your love has spread abroad through human hearts and hands.”
But the true story, taken from the notes of a diary Howard Kelly started at age 17 and apparently kept throughout his lifetime. These notes were supplemented by his biographer, Audrey Davis, who maintained a 20 year friendship with Dr. Kelly and inherited his notebooks and journals upon his death.
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Lois invites all interested in either cutting edge physical beauty news and tips, her energy renewing, spirit uplifting stories, or both to visit her Facebook Page. If you like what you see there, please click on the LIKE button at the top of the screen.
Some weeks ago I posted Pauline Hager’s ‘tale’ about the power of a smile. This posting is about the power of dance and how it brings joy to both participants and observers.
Although dance styles can be as varied as the people who perform them, the desire to dance seems to permeate all human societies across the globe.
And here is the special power of dance: It can rise above cultural, political, economic and religious differences to transmit happiness to those touched by it. It helps people from diverse backgrounds feel connected by the common bond of being members of the human race.
The video I’m about to share has a similar “feel good” feeling. Matt Harding put this video together while dancing in the streets of many different countries with the people who knew those streets best – those who lived there. Matt explains why he thinks travel is important. “It helps us learn what we’re capable of, that the path laid in front of us isn’t the only one we can choose, and that we don’t need to be so afraid of each other all the time.” It’s hard to watch his video without smiling, so do take a moment to make that click on the link below to watch it. Not only will it make you smile, but it will make those around you smile as well. Remember, happiness is contagious.
Beauty Without . . .
What’s Your Passion?
Won’t you take a stroll with me through my gardens?
I love my gardens. I really do. I plan my assorted flowerbeds with care. My goal is to have different flowers blossoming in rotation for six or seven months of the year. Careful planning pays off. I am rewarded with burst of harmonizing colors, fragrant aromas and spectacular blossoms from early Spring until mid Autumn.
By April Fools’ Day, I begin to see the fruits of my labors: white Snowdrops and pale yellow Daffodils, whose soft colors are a perfect compliment to the blue miniature Grape Hyacinths nestled beside them.
Next appear the yellow and white Daffodils and the buds of what open to multi-colored Tulips. There’s a short hiatus before my Iris clusters open, but worth the wait. Their vibrant colors cheer me as walk the path to my back yard.
I refill my recycled baskets each Spring, and in short order have overflowing bursts of pink and rose Impatiens hanging around the perimeter of my porch.
As summer progresses and a Clematis vine twines itself higher on the mailbox post, climbing roses and blue Hydrangea spread out aside the backyard deck and snowball Hydrangea begin to flop over a post and rail fence.
Azaleas, Mountain Laurel and Rhododendron each in turn do their floral dance.
The wooded, shady areas of my back yard also get their due with a variety of Hosta plants, fern and Coral Bell.
Continuing to the left is my rock garden. Last year it sported a beautiful fountain. But it met with a bit of a disaster this year. Somehow it got knocked over and cracked right through. Now its base has become of planter.
Talk about making lemonade from lemons!
But the best is yet to come. Back to the front yard– the Oriental Lilies whose flowing petals and sweet fragrance vie for first prize!
So you can see, I love my gardens. But sometimes my gardens don’t love me. Stay tuned. Next time, I’ll explain why.
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Get more info, ‘how to’s’ and ‘what if’s’ about Lois’ Tales2Inspire “Authors Helping Authors” project/contest. FREE – No submission fee.
Beauty Without . . .
What’s Your Passion?
Something simple as a smile can truly make your day. Sometimes, the recollection of one special smile can last a lifetime. I have never forgotten an incident that happened to me in Bulgaria many years ago. It was nothing earthshaking, simply a smile from an old woman. The rotund old woman, hunched over and dressed completely in black, sat on a lone chair against the wall, staring into space. Whatever her thoughts, it was obvious they were not pleasant. I was standing in a long line, waiting to use the public restroom in a small wooden building adjacent to a rustic-style restaurant. I had just finished lunch at this Eastern European restaurant, a few miles from the ancient village of Arbanas, Bulgaria. To pass the time waiting for our turn into the toilet room, we women chatted with each other about our trip. Occasionally I would glance over at the white-haired woman. She looked so forlorn. As women came out of the toilet room, they rushed by, completely ignoring her. No one was tipping her for keeping such a clean room. I’ll have to admit, I did the same.
As I returned to the waiting bus, I had second thoughts. Guilt gnawed at my conscience. The tour guide had informed us that many retired people must continue to work although they collect a small pension, but it is not enough to survive. Many resort to begging. Since there was plenty of time before boarding, I decided to return to the restroom. She was still there. I walked over to where she was sitting and stood in front of her. She looked up at me with a quizzical look in her sad eyes. Then she saw my outreached hand . . .
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Pauline Hager is the author of two books, Memoirs of an American Housewife in Japan and Giorgi’s Greek Tragedy. Pauline and her husband have traveled extensively in the states and overseas. She writes about her travels and submits them to a monthly e-newsletter FoxandQuill. In addition to planting and maintaining miniature plants in their garden railroad, Pauline loves to write, read books, travel, and walks two miles daily. A native of Massachusetts and a graduate of The University of South Carolina, Pauline is a long time resident of Southern California and writes from her home in La Jolla, California. Meet her on Facebook.
Plastic Surgery Is Not Just About Beauty
Last week I posted the story, A Smile Goes a Long Way, written by author Pauline Hager. This morning I came upon an article in the Business Mirror titled: Changing the World – One Smile at a Time. We are talking here about a wonderful organization named Operation Smile, which has succeeded through the volunteer work of plastic and reconstruction surgeons across the world.
Operation Smile started out as personal vision of Dr. Bill Magee and his wife, after seeing first hand the number of children with clefts in underdeveloped countries. In 1982, they set out to make a difference by bringing a team of plastic surgeons, anesthesiologists, pediatricians and dentists with them to the Philippines. Thirty years later, Operation Smile is still growing strong as the need to treat clefts increases each year. In 2011 alone, Operation Smile treated over 15,000 patients.
Beauty Without . . .
What’s Your Passion?