Archive | February 2013

Small town life on the world-wide web


online communityI have found myself a bit surprised over the years to realize that the world-wide web is both vast and daunting, as well as small and inviting. It has elements of a huge city and at the same time, characteristics of a small town.

The blossoming of all the social networking pages like Facebook and this blog has connected me to people in the virtual community that I would have zero chance to meet and mingle with in the physical community. Here I have readers from 113 countries to-date that read and communicate with me. I have friends who I’ve met from FB – some of the groups like “I Love My Margie Home” as well as private groups of people I know in Cincinnati. I have connected with long-lost relatives, reconnected with grade school and high school friends. I have celebrated faith and family, and giggled with moments of humor. Each of these types of venues and virtual connections actually fill a space in my heart.

I have found inspiration, compassion, prayer connections, encouragement, challenging and thoughtful conversation, played games and so much more. Do you feel the small town feel in your walk through the world wide web? Do you find yourself calling physical strangers your virtual friends?

I feel blessed today because of my connections. Be blessed too!

Spirituality moves me …


Today I had an interesting conversation with a work colleague/friend. It’s not the type of conversation I venture into very often because for some people it is controversial. But, since this is my blog and my thoughts, I figure I’m entitled to share them here if I so choose. So I do so with a caveat – if you disagree, I am completely fine with that and respect your point-of-view, and hope you do the same for me. Please refrain from any negative harassment as I won’t tolerate it on my page – either by readers or towards readers. It’s just my ethics.

religion-spirituality-christianity-scopo-ebook-98710433233_xlargeSo… the conversation was about spirituality vs. religion. Now to be fair let me say that I was raised Catholic – Catholic orphanage run by nuns, Catholic grade school and high school, also run by nuns. I even attended a Jesuit Catholic college. My world was singularly Catholic, which is not uncommon in Cincinnati as it is a predominantly German Catholic culture. That was, until I lived for 5 years in a small town that was decidedly NOT Catholic, by majority numbers anyway. I am proud of my upbringing and find solace in many parts of my religious upbringing, particularly the reverence I find present in the church during worship.

Nope, that’s not the controversial bit. What is … is that I find as I get older I become more spiritual and less religious. The more I know about the big churches (no, not just the Catholic church) the more it is blatantly apparent that the “rules” have really strayed quite a bit from the life of Christ and I find it difficult to look at them without seeing that. As I’ve grown older I’ve continued to seek God and to deepen my relationship with Him. That life of spirituality moves me and … it supersedes religion. This is a relationship that makes my soul sing. It is a place that recognizes God in people no matter what their religion or background. Funny things is, I learned so much of this from some nuns I met in my adulthood.

I still consider myself Catholic because I believe in the basic tenants of the faith. But I do not consider myself to be a blind follower of “the church”. Yikes that won’t sit well with many people I know and love. And I’m okay with that. Actually I believe when we die and transition to heaven there will be a lot of Catholic people (and others too) who will be shocked to look around and see who else is there. lol Sorry, I can’t help myself from laughing. I know that God is love and love is all encompassing. I know that the building you sit in to praise him is irrelevant to him. The labels we use for ourselves and others are meaningless in an eternal view. Jesus did not come here to start a religion. Wow – that’s quite a heady statement if you really, really, really examine it. And with all the human frailties and sins committed by people of every faith I cannot imagine a scenario in which God’s Heaven – His eternal domain, is not big enough and loving enough to include us all. We all sin differently but we all sin.

spirituality

I saw a bit of shock in my friend’s face when I stated this. And in that moment I knew, yet again, that spirituality is a topic that doesn’t get talked about enough. There should be no mystery about a relationship with God just because there are religions who profess to know all the answers and have the only path.

And so I sigh a heavy sigh. I pray unceasingly that Love overtake the world, no matter what the denomination.

Be loved and be blessed!

Invitation of the Soul – an original poem


INVITATION OF THE SOUL

With giddy anticipation building, I quietly prepare my journey.heart-and-soul-jan-camerone

Gathering all I need, I step into the space, sacred but not silent.

Simplicity itself creates an opening where laughter can coax up imagination.

Connections exploding like popcorn around the room from one heart to another.

Voices ebbing and flowing as energy swirls and twirls and dwindles into reflection.

Searching being half the fun and vision the remaining, I feel a  kiss of friendship.

Sharing, holding back, wiping a tear unidentified as joy or sorrow.

There in this space exists no pressure to perform.

No should, no ought, no obligation, only a calling forth of  the soul.

Song and silence both opening the heart for recognition.

In community lies safety to expose the soul to those longing to see it.

Wandering to and fro with laughter and dancing spontaneously bubbling forth.

I stand face to face and recognize a picture into my very essence, claiming it as my own.

At the closing moment, with reverence and honor I look into the eyes of others.

I see a bit of me, in divine glory, looking back.

So the angels dance, twirling the energy of the moment in glorifying release.

Whooooooshhhhhh.

Awaiting the final chime of bell to close the celebration.

With more love, more insight, and more of me, I retreat to solitary reflection.

Heart complete and full until the next time I am beckoned forth by an invitation of the soul.

~ Barbara Bernard Miller

Did you know that I love you?


Today seems to be such a “charged” day for people. Those who are in love, or are loved even have a difficult time deciding if it’s a love/hate relationship they have with Valentine’s Day. Is it just another Hallmark card day? Is it really about hearts, candy, jewelry and gifts? Or is it simply the celebration of St. Valentine himself? Does having a romantic love have to be the only way or reason to celebrate it? All the questions and comments I see make me wonder if people really know what love is anyway.

Love is a gift – not earned, not force-able, not ending. Here’s what the bible has to say:

Love is patient, love is kind.
It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
It is not rude, it is not self-seeking.
It is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth.
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails.
I Corinthians 13:4-8

I notice that the definition doesn’t have any “or” in it. That is the key I think. And none of that quote says anything about romance, sex, dating, marriage, etc. It’s all about love. Love of self – it still all fits. Love of neighbor – yep, it still fits. Love of family, friend, partner – you bet. Love of God – indeed!

love fractal heart

So today, while my life and my relationship status may be different than yours, I still find today a reminder of what is real love. There is no reason to force another to give it to me – I simply choose to give it to you!

So Happy Valentine’s Day! Happy I love you because I can day! Happy be the love in the world day! And be blessed!

 

The fine art of procrastination …


procrastinationWell we’re about 1 1/2 months into this new year and my theme of “discipline” has been a love/hate relationship. I am spreading the focus of discipline in a 360 degree fashion – body, mind, heart, spirit, finances, home, work, etc. I KNOW this is the right theme for my year. I know I need discipline on every front – this is an area that I need to work on. And I find myself resisting in some places that I want it the most. I wish I could understand that part of my psyche. If I want it … and I know I need it … and I see it – why do I procrastinate, avoid, do the opposite, and thumb my nose at it? It is a struggle that defines why this is the year of discipline for me. Perhaps the added focus will, over time, throughout the year, shift my behaviors a bit. It is my hope!  But hope is not enough. Hope won’t get me there. OY!!! Oh, and it’s not willpower, it’s something deeper. Any wisdom from my readers? I’d love to hear it.

declutterAnd in the meantime I will celebrate the areas where it is a love – I’m loving the decluttering. I acknowledge that it is a process and I have some “hot spots” as we all do that seem to collect clutter and piles throughout my house. But each and every time I conquer a hot spot I can feel in my body release some stress. I have always liked “stuff” but I’m starting to long for the empty spaces in my home. I’m actually day dreaming about cleaning a closet or about emptying the basement when my son gets married this summer and vacates the space. I’m starting with the obvious places though – the ones out front and center as those are the low hanging fruit that will inspire me to dig deeper.

Let us not grow weary in our pursuits – whatever your new year’s resolution, or theme, or focus was, I hope that your love/hate relationship is continuing to evolve and resolve.

Be blessed!

My queue is filling up …


week1Well I have sailed through my first week on the new job. Tomorrow I go back to train my replacement on part of my old job so I’m calling week 1 complete. :-)

computer-frustrationWhew! It’s been a whirlwind kind of week! I’ve had access issues and problems with every single system I need to use. Was it the gremlins activating Murphy’s law? Yep, that’s my theory and I’m sticking with it. I even had trouble with my new phone line – so if you called me, I really wasn’t avoiding you, I just didn’t know. Perhaps that was a blessing in disguise so no-one could hear me threatening the computer to “make my day” because of the crazy access issues.

I’ve learned a few things this week beyond the basics of my tasks and responsibilities. First, that folks in this area are very data focused and decidedly NOT relationship/people focused. When I suggested we “join-up” as an introduction of ourselves and backgrounds to several individuals as I met with them for the first time I received some blank stares, flat out “no”, a declaration that they didn’t need new friends, and even some ignoring that I had asked the question. Geez people, I didn’t ask you to go shopping, donate a kidney, or play truth or dare. A brief, corporate-worthy, dry bio review or howdy-do would have been an acceptable minimum. I got it, I got it – this place is “different”. Better luck next week Barb – maybe. Now I know why we need some HR career folks to bring a little bit of the human back to the Human Resources over here. Lucky for them, I’m resilient as well as friendly. :-) Now, to be fair, most people in this area are actually IT or F&A career coded, or used to be, so I’ll grant them a bit of grace and slack.

But, most surprising, and I don’t know why, is that my completely different HR experience has already come in handy. My new boss is grateful that I have an understanding of the Company at large, the business practices in other areas, as well as basic HR facilitation skills. She’s complimented me on bringing not only fresh eyes, but some HR structure to the team. Putting a smile on the boss’s face the first week is a very good thing.  I am grateful that my new boss sees the value I can bring from my experience.

people_queueLuckily, real life is usually way, way less scary than our imaginations lead us to believe. I came trough unscathed. I’m glad I came. I can see a place for  me to learn, grow, collaborate, and teach here. I can see the queue of people I am supposed to meet in my life here starting to grow. I am blessed!

Any new adventures in your world? Do tell …. and be blessed!

Comments for a Cause – Mesothelioma Research


It’s that time of the month again when I close out my Comments for a Cause for last month and declare my charity for this month.

Last month I did see a significant increase in comments, leading to me making a healthy donation to St. Joseph’s Orphanage in Cincinnati. It’s the orphanage where I was raised and I’m thrilled, throughout my life, to look for ways to give back to them.

This month, I hope to receive more, and more, and more comments to help me make a difference in the world. Remember – comments are free for you, and donating is fulfilling for me! Invite your family and friends to come, read, comment, joke, nudge, and simply smile in a comment in order for it to count.

heather-bio-photogrunge_tattoo_butterfly_6_1_mesothelioma_sticker-p217721819615573652en7l1_216FEBRUARY’S CAUSE: Mesothelioma Researach

In January I received a touching email from one of my dear readers, Heather Von St. James. She shared with me her story and a link to her blog. Heather is a self proclaimed “poster child for hope after mesothelioma” for those suffering from asbestos disease. Here’s the link to her blog:

Read more: http://www.mesothelioma.com/blog/authors/heather/fear.htm#ixzz2JficdJUf

You know, I never heard of mesothelioma except for an occasional legal commercial. I didn’t personally know anyone who was a sufferer, and like so many of us, the awareness went right past me. I regret that it happens when we are unaware. Now that I know one of my dear readers is affected, I won’t ignore it any more. Why don’t you take a moment to learn more as well by visiting Heather’s blog (above).

Here’s a bit of Heather’s story, in her own words:

“I am 44 and a mother to a quirky little 7 year old, Lily. She is my only child and I couldn’t imagine my world without her. When Lily was just 3 ½ months old, I was diagnosed with Mesothelioma; a rare type of cancer caused by asbestos exposure, which kills 90-95% of those who have it. After intense treatment and a long recovery, almost 7 years later I’m still here and cancer free! My journey through cancer was quite a terrifying one and I’d like to turn my struggles and obstacles into inspiration and hope for others. One of many things that came out of my battle with cancer is a holiday I created called Lungleavin Day. This is the anniversary of my surgery (Feb 2nd) in which my entire left lung was removed. Lungleavin Day is a celebration of life and facing your fears. Each year we celebrate with nearly 100 loved ones. The idea of this day is for everyone to fill a blank plate with their fears and smash it into a bonfire at my Lungleavin day party, symbolizing people throwing their fears to the fire. I also use Lungleavin day as a fundraiser for mesothelioma research.”

Thank you Heather for the courage to share your story! Thank you for turning your fears and suffering into hope for others! You inspired me. You touched my heart. And I wish to shine the light on your cause in return. I say, Happy Lungleavin Day to you as you celebrate tomorrow! I will celebrate in your honor as well!

Be healthy, be aware, be gracious, be hopeful … and be blessed!!!!!