Chief Tamanend

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I featured a post on the parishes of Louisiana shortly after we moved to Lousiana.   As mentioned in the post parishes are what most states term “counties”.  In researching I was particularly interested in the parish where we live, St. Tammany.  Since all of the parishes I have read about are named after bonafide Christian saints, recognized by the Roman Catholic Church, I questioned the name never having heard of a saint with that name.  What I found was very interesting.

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St. Tammany parish is named after Chief Tamanend.  He lived in what is now known as the Philadelphia area and was chief of the  Lenni-Lenape nation.  He and other leaders of this group met with other leaders of the new Pennsylvania colony in the early 1680’s.  William Penn and Chief Tamanend signed several agreements to protect both of their groups and insure peaceful coexistence. The chief is known for having said the settlers and his people would “live in peace as long as the waters run in the rivers and creeks and as long as the stars and moon endure.” These words can be found on the statue of Tamanend that still stands in Philadelphia.

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The chief became a folk legend after his death in 1701.  He became known as “King Tammany”, “Saint Tammany”, and the “Patron Saint of America”.  Tammany societies and festivals sprang up all over the area and spread throughout the land.  Today this man of peace continues to be celebrated.  I don’t think he ever traveled to the parish that bears his name, in fact, I am sure he didn’t.  But I like to think that our area bears the name of a man so important to the beginning of our nation’s history.  A man of peace and a place of peace….it just seems right.

The Thought That Counts

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One of my goals, as I return to blogging on a regular basis, is to share experiences I have survived and grown as a result of.  The question I have been asked repeatedly is…”How are you surviving what you are doing?”.  Many people have told me they couldn’ t possibly have been a caregiver for both a father and husband for three years.  My answer is that I can’t imagine having done anything else.  No, it wasn’t easy, but love sees us through the most challenging of times and this certainly has been one.

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Over the years various people have come into my life not only as friends but as teachers.  I am a very open minded person and have always worked and done my best to reach out and learn whatever I could from someone.  I believe the most important lesson anyone has ever taught me is the importance of positive thinking.  The fact that “Thoughts are Things” has been proven time and time again yet so many of us continue to allow our minds to wander aimlessly, captured by random thoughts, feelings, emotions….a sort of mental clutter that really has no place in our lives.  It is not who we really are.  I have spent hours in silence, turning my thoughts off and allowing a calm peace within me to fill the space in which random, mindless thoughts had been running wild.  And YES! you can control your thoughts.  Or you can be the victim of them.  Being able to work through the difficulties my family has faced has been a challenge for each of us in our own way.  My choice has been to realize the thoughts are not who I am and I have the power to release them and simply be the space through which they flow.

You may be scratching your head now and thinking I’m a bit off but this technique has served me well.  It is how I survived the loss and dealt with what each day brought into my experience.  I will never be the same person I was prior to 2015 when our lives were turned upside down.  I have learned to let go and, let me tell you, being a control freak most of my life made that quite a task for me!  The moment I realized I had absolutely no control over what was happening other than my response to it was a life changing event.  I had the choice to flow with what was happening or I could make myself miserable fighting against it.  And I also had let go and allow both my father and my husband to make their choices and to respect those choices.  Boundaries were created and we worked together to make life as pleasant as possible.

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Just as thoughts are things, we are our choices.  By practicing the exercise of quieting the mind and listening to the silence our choices will be made clear.  Answers flow in the softest voice, a whisper of knowing what the right choice is.  When I feel a sharp twinge in my solar plexus at the thought of something I now stop and listen.  That feeling is a warning!  It’s saying look at what’s happening here, don’t rush, don’t push, take your time.  The peace that comes from that is so calming and filled with love.  Practicing the same habit of stopping before speaking has also served me well.  To stop before reacting and look at whether our words are necessary or not is so powerful.  We become conscious of life rather than pawns or victims of it.  We begin to experience a flow in all areas of our lives and this flow opens our hearts to the pureness of love for ourselves and everyone we come into contact with.  I, personally, began to feel a connection with everyone  as our home filled with hospice workers, medical equipment, pharmacy delivery services and friends who stopped by to help.  I could sense the connection we all shared in the care giving.

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Life is about change.  I would not have chosen the sadness and loss but I had to accept it.  And I had to choose how I handled all that happened on a daily basis.  I am no saint, I have a temper and I get frustrated.  But by doing my best to control my reactions and let things be what they were I survived well over a year of very difficult challenges.  I have a sense of peace now that I have never experienced in my life.  I believe it stems from the fact that I truly and deeply loved for the first time.  I will never look at the people in my life the same after experiencing profound loss.  Each person has a uniqueness and a loving core, whether they have activated it or not, that I connect with.   A friend talked with me a few months back and spoke of what an honor it was to have the opportunity to care for my dad and for “Mr. T”.  She said that I was walking them home.  Tears flowed during that conversation but she was right.  The entire time created a depth of feeling in me that nothing can replace.  Life has a new perspective now.  I am thankful for each new day and I work to do my best no matter what I am faced with.  This is how I handled all that had to be done.  And this is why I now have a firm I CAN attitude.  Life is a gift and love is the power behind everything that is authentic, good and pure.  Many doors are opening for me now that I never could have imagined before 2015.  I’m working on my visioning book and creating what I want my future to be, knowing that I will have to go with the flow if the Universe has something else in mind.  Speaking of visioning books, that’s a whole blog post in itself!  Stick around and watch what happens.  I hope my experiences may benefit my readers as I work to be the change I would like to see in this world!

For Mr. T

It’s been months since I posted as The Permanent Tourist.  I haven’t communicated with readers for quite sometime because I’ve always based this blog on positive and happy subjects.  2018 has been a very rough year for my family.  First with the loss of my father on February 1 and then my precious husband, known as Mr. T to readers, on May 25th.  My mind has been in such a blur I could not have put words together to make even a short post.  And it was a very private time for my family. I felt like Tom took part of me with him but, slowly, I’m coming back to life.

We bought a lovely family home in Louisiana and spent as much quality time as we could together before hospice stepped in for both dad and Tom.  I cannot say enough about the amazing folks who work with Heart of Hospice.  They helped us with care and prepared us as best they could for the inevitable transitions of these two amazing men.  I can now say that I understand the term “Widow Brain”.  It’s an unbelievable fog that descends on the mind after great loss.  Putting one foot or one thought in front of the other seems an impossible task.  Losing my sweet husband and my father within months of each other is the most painful thing I have ever survived and, believe me, there have been days when I thought I wouldn’t.

Tom worked right along side me as I began this blog five years ago. He even came up with the name in his creative way. He had that side to him many didn’t know, but I did. He never ceased to inspire and support me.

These two men were my biggest fans.  Dad always encouraged me to write and keep this blog going as did Tom.  So here I go…..it’s time to get back into the blogging groove!  I may not produce daily posts but the ones I do share will be interesting and introduce you to this wonderful place we now call home.  Life must go on and joy must replace great sorrow.  Join me on all of the new adventures that are beginning to flow into my life now!  It’s a time to rediscover joy and happiness, to celebrate love and, hopefully, a local radio station that wants a great new show!

Let It Be!

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A new day is dawning.  A time to focus on shining your light for all to see.  If each of us let today be filled with love and understanding we can change this world….making it a better place.  Join me?  Wipe the canvas of your mind clean, take a deep breath and let’s do this!

Wednesday Word

There are many reasons why I chose SILENT for this Wednesday’s word.  One of the things I love about this word is that it has the same letters in it as the word LISTEN.  Since moving to Louisiana and bringing my parents along so that I can care for them has been more than a simple challenge, but an experience I would not have missed for the world.  I have always been very close to them, especially my father.  Dad will be 88 in May.  His body is showing the signs of years of wear and it is failing him in ways none of us could ever have expected or imagined.  Recently diagnosed with Lewy Body Dementia and the onset of Parkinson’s disease, each day is a challenge.  Along with the diagnosis comes the fact that macular degeneration has decreased his eyesight to 30% and his hearing to about the same percentage.  For a man of words this is all so very difficult.  We have learned the necessity of silence and patience as we deal with each day and what it brings, never knowing what it might be.  It is essential that we be silent when trying to converse with him and listen to what he has to say.  His words no longer come easily but they do come with a bit of effort.  One thing I so admire about my dad is that he insists we be open about what is going on and discuss it one on one as well as a family.  My love and respect for him have grown from this experience beyond measure.  It has also forced me to realize how important it is to be SILENT.  The ability to go within and take time to be still and listen is imperative to our well being.  If only for ten minutes each day…..find the time and claim it for yourself.

I wouldn’t change my situation for the world.  I consider it an honor to care for my parents and see to their needs as they did mine for so many years.  Our world is busy and rapidly changing.  I could question how such a terrible disease could strike a man but we, as humans, cannot know what causes such things.  Love is the order of the day and plenty of patience.  As we travel on this journey, knowing there will be no cure or recovery, I try to remember to take the time to be SILENT at different times throughout the day.  I find it helps me center myself, clear my mind and it enables me to carry on.  Wishing you all a very wonderful Wednesday in which you take that moment for yourself.

The Memorist

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I am an avid reader.  As a writer reading helps me to expand my own craft.  It stretches my mind and gives me ideas on how I can improve my writing.  I recently read M.J. Rose’s wonderful book “The Memorist”.  I could not put this book down.  Subsequently I’m searching for every book she has written and expect to devour them just as I did this tale of suspense and intrigue.  Those of you living on the Georgia coast may be quite familiar with the endorsement appearing on the cover from local author, Steve Berry.

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You’ll be taken down into the catacombs of Venice as this chilling tale mounts to its thrilling pinnacle.  I think I finished reading all 111 chapters in two afternoons, sitting on the edge of my chair!  This writer spins her words in a web that holds the reader captive.  She discusses the circle of life and time in a way that makes one question and wonder…..could it be true?

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If you do not like looking into the unseen and asking your own questions this book may not be for you.  But I found it enthralling.  The way Ms. Rose weaves the subject of reincarnation into the fiber of her story is outstanding.  I don’t presume to know the answers to what life is about but this book led me into a space of fascination I will never forget.  I cannot wait to begin the next work by this brilliant author!

Shoes-A-Palooza!

I heard about Claudia Lynch from a mutual friend shortly after moving to the New Orleans area.  I will never live down the fact that I am an avid collector of shoes.  I would be embarrassed to share with you the count or the number of boxes containing shoes that were involved in our move.  I love the color, the shape, the style, the smell of leather…..ok…..I’m a shoe fanatic!  So when I heard of this amazing woman who creates the most beautiful shoes on paper and then, wonder of all wonders, adds a clever mystery to each piece ala Sam Spade….well, I could not wait to meet Claudia!

Claudia comes from a background of theatrical costume design and bridal millinery.  Add to her list of experience graphic arts, fine arts and illustrations and you’ve got a woman who is so vibrant and lively you can’t help but be enchanted!  She first decided to try her hand at illustrating in 2001 when the idea of creating her clever “footwear” on paper inspired her.  But it didn’t stop there….oh no!  Frustrated by the fact that she wanted to see more on the page than just the shoe she decided to take a break, back off from her work and go for a bike ride.  As she rode she heard a story in her head, narrated by the famous literary mystery character, Sam Spade. Actually she heard a story for each of the three shoe illustrations that lay waiting for finishing touches.  A light went off in Claudia’s head and she had her latest successful and very artful invention.  A border and her signature were added to create her first three pieces.  So taken with her designs were the first to view her work all three finished pieces were featured in the Northern Ohio Illustrators Society show that year.  Now people collect these unique works of art, give them as gifts, buy Claudia’s books and her career continues to flourish.

As with most ultra creative people, Claudia doesn’t just stop with shoes!  I love these cabbage headbands she has created for the most perfect St. Patrick’s Day headdress.
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And then there are the one of a kind shoes she creates for the Krewe of Muses during Carnival Season.  If you are lucky enough to catch one of these hand designed beauties you’ve got something to cherish for years to come!

 

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Here is another Mardi Gras beauty.  The verse so carefully inscribed on the sole reads:  “A Muses Shoe Is A Work Of Art And A Labor Of Love.”.  Truer words were never spoken!

 

You can read more about Claudia on her website, visit her on-line store and marvel over all of her creations. http://www.shoestories.com/.  You might even want to treat yourself to her coloring book and use your imagination as you become the artist!  The darling headbands are available on her Etsy site here: https://www.etsy.com/listing/269284457/handmade-cabbage-headband-perfect-for-st?ref=listings_manager_grid.

I love surrounding myself with creative people.  The energy we are able to exchange and the ideas that flow always excite me and feed my soul.  I am thrilled to know Claudia Lynch and look forward to many good times as I continue to watch her life as an artist bloom and grow!  New Orleans is a great place to be!

 

The Thread Box

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“Begin to weave and God will provide the thread.”  This old German proverb stands alone on the page of a book recently sent to me by author, June Hall McCash, “The Thread Box”.

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“The Thread Box” is the latest of Ms. McCash’s wonderful books.  Unlike her other works of fiction and non-fiction that so many readers have enjoyed, this is a collection of poetry.  The lovely simplicity of the books’ cover with its vine of thread, seashells and flowers guides one inside the pages to discover that Ms. McCash can pen poetry in a way so few can.

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The book begins with a section on Jekyll Island, Georgia.  The author spent countless summers and holidays there writing about the island’s history and providing us with a peek into the bygone days of the Jekyll Island Club Hotel with its rich cast of characters and events.   The poetry you’ll find in this first section will have you feeling the squish of sand through your toes as you walk on the beach or gasp as you experience the color of wildflowers along the causeway leading onto the historic island.

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June Hall McCash is an award winning author of eleven books of fiction and nonfiction.  Her soon to be released work of young adult fiction, “The Boys of Shiloh”, is set in the Civil War and promises to be a great read, not just for middle schoolers, but for any age.  But I’m stuck on her poetry for the time being, devouring every line and letting my imagination see the images her words create.  I highly recommend “The Thread Box”, it takes you away from the cares of the day and paints pictures of the vast life and experience the author has enjoyed.  Just to whet your appetite a bit….here’s a short poem from the book entitled, “Winter Fragment”.

Winter Fragment

a dusting of snow on the roadway

like flour sifted on the castle floor

to catch a lover’s footprints

in the night

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June and Logan

Thank you June, for sharing your words, for showing us a bit of your soul and for creating this wonderful collection of poetry, “The Thread Box”.

 

 

Simply Amazing!

I’m sharing the video I had scheduled to play this past Sunday.  As luck would have it my site has been in transition and I could not access it to get my post ready.  But I think you’re in for a treat today.  I had no idea that Condoleeza Rice plays the piano.  When a friend shared this video on Facebook the other day I thought it was one of the most beautiful renditions of “Amazing Grace” that I have ever heard.  I had to do a post and let all of you hear it.  This song is good for any day, especially when one is up to their elbows in cleaning and packing!  I hope you all have a wonderful Tuesday and enjoy the music!  I’m living in a state of grace as more and more opportunities open up for me as we head for The Big Easy!

On Island Time…

Barbara Kraus

Barbara Kraus

Now that the lazy days of summer time are here I’m officially on island time!

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This is the time of year when life slows down a bit.  My flower gardens are thriving.  Our vegetable garden is beginning to bear fruit.

Tiffany Carroll Mosley

Tiffany Carroll Mosley

Late afternoons spent on the beach provide a peaceful time to relax and enjoy friends.

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You never know what you may see there….is that horses I see in the horizon?  Why yes, the tide was out and they were riding on the sand bar just off the coast!

Heart Full of Wisps

Heart Full of Wisps

Life is simpler in the summer.  Although I suffer through the heat and humidity there is a feeling this time of year that cannot be found during the hustle and bustle of the school year.

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It gives me time to breathe, to be grateful for this beautiful island I am so lucky to call my home and a time to regroup before another busy fall begins.

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Life on an island can only be explained in one way……perfection.

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