Saturday, November 21, 2015

"Healing the Earth Family"

My newly-created program entitled "Healing The Earth Family" is ready to be up and running.  It is a free program (I'll bring a tip jar to help defray expenses) and is sort of my "statement of hope" for our world.  The hour-long program will soothe, challenge, and inspire and is presented with narrative, video, and one of my songs.  It's geared to adult groups, clubs, and organizations.  I've created some very relevant print handouts and I have a display loaded with really nice pictures.  The uplifting song is at the end of the main video and the program has a particularly nice closing mode.   Those of you who know me will remember my injury several years ago in a church shooting.  It took me a long time to heal and I still have some of the physical residuals, which serve to remind me to be grateful for the gift of life.  Current happenings, world-wide, are unpleasant reminders of what happens to the human spirit when spiritual bankruptcy and the lust for power take hold of people.

I think you'll like this program.  If your group (small, medium or large) is in or near Knoxville and you'd like to view and hear "Healing The Earth Family", please contact me at

Saturday, September 26, 2015

One Important Way To Sustain Efforts Of Talented Musicians of Knoxville!

Most of us Knoxville musicians have found, over the years, that this area is challenging and competitive. The names of bands and soloists come, stay, and go after a while. The number of venues with live music declined when the economy sank several years ago. I can remember walking up to the doors of venues I played just weeks before, and finding the outer doors closed and locked with padlocked chains.  At that time, some music venues installed multiple television sets and became sports bars, others went with karaoke. Yet, some new venues opened and most thankfully, live musicians persist (new ones hit the scene and some of older ones are still around). The area also still has several music stores.  

Occasionally I make the rounds of the music stores and put up promo flyers for my adult piano lessons and my favorite professional recording studio. This morning I had time to go to two of those music outlets. One is Open Chord, where a lady behind the counter cheerfully handed me a spool of scotch tape so I could put my flyers in the front entry windows. I did suggest to her that for the open mic at which they have some resident instruments provided, it would be wonderful if they could also include a keyboard so that keyboardists like me wouldn't need to carry in a full keyboard, stand, and mic. OC is a very pleasant venue and all-around music-oriented center ... and I applaud their sincere efforts on behalf of musicians.

My gut feelings are what prompted me to write this post, because of a situation I found at Guitar Center today.  Now, for months -- maybe a year or so -- GC has removed all musicians' posting areas from the front of the store.  Granted, these needed occasional neatening up and culling (not a big deal).  Most posters were neat. The removal of these posting boards was, IMO, not the right thing to do to musicians, who are the very people that spend their money at the store.  To sort of throw us a crumb, GC set up a small bulletin board way, way in the very back of the store next to the two restrooms and the employees-only areas.  So in order to see a posting for musicians or musical services, a person visiting the store would need to use the restroom (and would probably need directions on how to find it).  I felt a sense of abandonment and that the arrangement was insulting to musicians … but I posted there anyway. Today I walked back to that restroom area to find that the musician's small bulletin board was covered up with boxes of inventory that could easily have been stacked elsewhere.  The only two visible postings were partially ripped down; probably the rest were behind the stacked boxes on the floor.  I tidied up the couple of things that were still readable … a bassist looking for a band or maybe it was the other way around … it was a neatly hand-printed posting, so I found a place where I could tack it up and did the same for a small notice put up by a guitar teacher. Then I shifted a portable inventory sign to the side of the stack so there would be a small space for the studio flyer I had brought to post. I left the store in dismay, wondering how a music store that used to have a stage and be very pro-musician could want to prevent musicians from posting their upcoming gigs, need for players, and other important services for musicians and aspiring musicians.

The loss of Broadway Sound has had far-reaching effects; for one thing, their huge, friendly musicians' board was a wonderful place to connect.  And their personnel were knowledgeable and helpful. Yes, we have Craig's List and places for paid notices but they can't take the place of a music posting on a friendly local bulletin board.

Life needs music and musicians.  Musicians need audiences, contacts, and music services which they can access via  BULLETIN BOARDS.  So my request to area music stores and outlets is to please happily provide this courtesy to the musicians who support your businesses and brighten up the world with their talents.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

My Very First Time ...

... to see a "shooting star" and falling meteor!  A couple of  weeks ago, I was alerted by my dear friend that the Perseids meteor showers were to peak that night starting around 11 p.m. "Look in the northeast sky", he added.  "OK!", I replied with my utmost semi-feigned gusto.  It wasn't that I didn't care to see the meteors.  I definitely did care, but had tried again and again over the years, even lying on my back on a blanket on the bumpy floors of back porches, with mosquito repellent sprayed all over me -- gazing heavenward, for hours, but did not see any shooting stars. The disappointment went way back to when I was a kid and the other kids (especially my two older cousins) would exclaim, "Look .. I just saw one". "Me too, right over there"  And maybe they did see them, at least sometimes -- when they claimed to.  I admitted that, no, I hadn't seen anything happening in the sky.  Many times after that when I was alone, I looked upward thinking maybe a meteor might just be chancing by and not be put off by my standing there with my neck in achey stiff mode.  But to no avail :)

So when my friend joyfully announced that "tonight is the night, starting around 11 p.m. in the northeast sky", I just couldn't drop the ball on his enthusiasm.  And so I mainly did it for him.  At 11 p.m. I went outside with my dog, Dixie Lee in tow (might as well take care of the dog-walk at the same time), and then she and I stood next to the fence so I could have something to lean on.  To the northeast there was a convenient gap in the trees, which was nice and made viewing much easier.  Soon Dixie started getting fidgety because we were standing still and she wanted to go sniff for rabbit trails; I held my ground and said "we are going to stay right here for five more minutes".  I could feel the tears stinging at the back of my eyes. Then somewhere between nine and twelve minutes after 11 o'clock I said "OK, I guess we might as well go in now".  And as I haltingly prepared to take my eyes off the sky, suddenly a magnificent object came bounding, bursting, hurtling out of the northeast sky, making a semi-arc and trail of magical light in sort of an east-to-north direction.  There is simply no way for me to articulate the feeling in my chest and gut -- those moments were so thrilling and amazing -- they brought laughter and tears of joy.  It felt like it was MY meteor with my name on it (excuse my ego, please), MY shooting star!  I mean I've waited all these 5411 years to experience it!   :)

Very memorable.  Aside from true love, there is absolutely nothing as wondrous and awesome as Nature and the Cosmos!   

End Of Summer Blues and Some Quirky Stuff ...

When I lived in New England (most of the first half of my life), summer arrived around June 1st; you could plant things a little before that but the risk for a late killing frost was real.  So by end of June people were enjoying their pools and starting to go to local beaches.  "Real summer", though, was July and August.  The first week of of August was very hot and humid and most people then did not have central air conditioning.  After the August heat wave, came those end of summer blues because the days were numbered and cold weather could blow in at any time after the arrival of September.  I remember one day during the first week of September when the kids all stood at the school bus stop wearing parkas.  That was a rare occurrence, but the icy wind and cold temps were very real that day.

For me, ever the herbalist and gardener, seeing my plants suffer and die with the cold was very sad.  Often I'd dig some of them up and bring them into the house, where, of course, they could not survive -- being outdoor plants.  I would go outside with blankets and towels and cover my marigolds and zinnias each evening until the mother of all frosts would come and get them even through the covers.

In earlier years (childhood) my end of summer blues were about having to return to school and lose my carefree nature hikes, wild berry picking, tree-climbing, and unlimited time with my piano, Estey.  Estey was a used upright that  my mother bought  for me when I was seven or eight years old. He was my most constant and faithful companion for years and years.  I still think of Estey.  Later on, he came to live in the finished basement of my first home during my first marriage.  When the time came for the marriage to end, I was unable to get Estey out through the doorway and basement hatchway (and was given an arbitrary 12 hours in which to do it). I didn't know who to call and then was told that Estey had been cut up ... and removed in that fashion. God bless you, Estey, wherever your splinters lie. And I apologize for getting off-topic -- mainly because I want to celebrate the beauty and joy that summer represents.   

Well anyway, I look at the sweet, innocent faces of my orangey-red zinnias that planted themselves this Spring from last years dropped zinnia plant seeds. The seeds managed to survive the harsh winter freezes.  How beautiful they are ... and trusting. They seem to say "don't worry, be happy"!.  I'll put up a picture of the first one that emerged during July which is kind of late for seeds to sprout.   And, yes, I will cover them if need be as the weeks march onward.

Earlier this summer, my friend gave me two Sorghum plants.  He had, at first, though he had a rogue corn plant growing in his yard but then the plant developed an oval-shaped large seed head at its top and then he found two more sorghums.  The birds love the seeds.  It turns out the sorghum is a valued plant in many parts of the world where food products are made from it   A couple of weeks after he gave me the sorghums which I planted in a pot placed on the east side of my house, I discovered what I thought was another full-grown sorghum under a tree on the west side of my house. Soon, though, it started growing a little tassel on top instead of a seed head and then I noticed a small but very real "ear" growing midway up the plant. Could this be a corn plant?  A week or so farther along and the "ear" seems semi-hollow, but most startling of all -- there are now bristly hairs growing outward on all the vertical stems, including the main stalk.  It looks spooky and humorous.  I took a picture and will put up the one that focuses on the hairs, as well as one that shows the whole plant earlier.

Yes, the end-of-summer-blues.  It seems so recent that I was scraping ice and snow off of the truck and driveway .. and picking up broken tree limbs. For me, time seems to be on fast-forward.  I try to remember that wise advice to "savor each moment".  I'll squeeze as much summer out of the weeks (and months) ahead.  Summer isn't over just because school starts. Especially here in the south, we can keep the spirit of summer going for quite a long time :)


Saturday, July 18, 2015

Attuned To The Voice Of Compassion ...

I'm going to type here a beautiful writing that I believe is medicine this world really needs.  It was written by Buddhist monk and teacher Thich Nhat Hahn.

"The wondrous voice, the voice of the one who attends to the cries of the world,

The noble voice, the voice of the rising tide surpassing all the sounds of the world,

Let our mind be attuned to that voice.

Put aside all doubt and meditate on the pure and holy nature of the regarder of the cries of the world ...

Because that is our reliance in situations of pain, distress, calamity, death.

Perfect in all merits, beholding all sentient beings with compassionate eyes,

Making the ocean of blessings limitless,

Before this one, we should incline."

"Whenever" and "Fantastik" ...

I've just put my two newest songs (one is two months old and the other is one month old) up on Reverbnation and they are also on the home page of my website at

I'm so enthused about these songs.  "Whenever" is a love song and it practically wrote itself one morning while I was sitting at the piano and hadn't started playing anything.  Line by line and chord by chord, the song and lyrics took form.  It is an inspired song and one I'm very proud to be the conduit for.  I'll look up my Reverbnation link and type it below.

The other song (which is the "elder" of the two) is called Fantastik.  It came into being via the medium-sized fan I run at night in my bedroom ... to keep the air moving and also to add some nice white noise.  (I also have a bedside machine that plays ocean waves and sea gulls).  Anyway, the whirring blades of the fan were, for almost two weeks, playing a three-note chord and various combinations of it, complete with a sometimes very noticeable tempo. I would drift off to sleep hearing it.  Soon, I was humming the tune. As the song took form, the lyrics ... if read out loud without music ... almost sounded like rap. But add the music and then the tempo, and it is a conversation between me and the fan, with the fan speaking the first block of lyric.  And so, I took a picture of the fan and want him to take a bow. This is a talented, reliable old fan, made of steel,  that came from Goodwill years ago.

This evening I made about a dozen copies of the the CD containing the two songs and designed a label for them.  Either of the links below should take you to the page.

Deny and Defy ...

That's what I did.

Some of my readers may recall that about a year ago, I wrote a blog post that (I thought) cleverly revealed that I had symptoms and test results indicating the probability of diabetes. The post was also, as I recall, a human interest item and it talked about the various types, ages, and circumstances of other people whose little dramas were observable to me that day. The post was up there for a while and then I went back in and edited it, changing the tone of it to something that danced around the topic like it was a "maybe, somewhat, someday possibility". I toned down the post considerably :) and, most importantly, it didn't scare me to read it after I'd changed it.  Mind over matter !

Also, at the time I was convinced, and I think correctly so, that all the day-in and day-out back-breaking, emotional, and mind-bending work I'd been doing over a period of months to get this house ready to be lived in while also clearing out the former residence (about which I felt very sentimental) ... had run my health way down.   And so I figured that taking better care of myself (emphasis on vitamins, gym, meditation) would enable me to spring back to my former vital self. Well, those items did help for sure and maybe could have been enough.  But -- during the past year or so there were two huge, no ... super huge situations that affected and exacerbated my weakened self.  Both were family-related. Jerry's hip and lymph edema (leg and foot) got much more severe and he now has very limited mobility. The other situation is associated with a family member who is dealing with severe and costly health, substance, and emotional problems and, who has, a number of times, returned to and then stormed out of my life. These took a toll but taught me to truly look at the process of understanding the "suchness" (a Buddhist term) meaning the true nature of a situation, thing, or person ... so if we truly understand the suchness of a particular person, it is easier for us to hold onto our inner peace.  I realize that some doors just need to close.

But now, I want to try and get to the reason I've entitled this post Deny and Defy.  A year ago, I really didn't want to  have diabetes  and so to deny its existence made me feel more comfortable.  The concept  goes back to the way I always dodge what I'll call "victimship".  I don't like to admit it when I'm injured or hurt.  As a child, I was a bit smaller and usually younger than my cousins and the neighborhood kids, so I got bullied quite a bit.  I would never cry.  My mother was like this, too.  One of her sayings was "keep a stiff upper lip" (don't let them see you cry) while she did her best to protect me.  She came from a large family  with several older siblings, so she had developed her set of skills to deal with things. When eight years ago I got injured in the church shooting, I drove myself home in trauma and major pain rather than getting into an ambulance.  I didn't want to be a victim, especially of that hate-filled bully man. Three months later, I went for a CT scan and, although the pellets are clearly there (passed into and across my forehead and settled in scar tissue in my right sinus cavity), my situation was viewed with a great deal of skepticism by many people and I was left to recover on my own until the reality of divine help and healing dramatically and clearly came to my aid (and remains with me).  

Well, fast-forward to current times ... during recent sustained stress, my left hip stopped responding to chiropractic care and got very painful.  Also a factor during the past year, I ate more deserts than ever before in my life (defy); yes, I was definitely proving the diabetes wasn't there.  But I got really sick.  So last week I dragged myself to the doctor where my tests revealed fully-developed diabetes and a thyroid deficiency (and a vitamin D deficiency). So I'm now on meds and extra vitamin D...and feeling a lot better.  I've researched the possibility of self-stem cell injections in my hip, which could enable it to build new, denser bone tissue but may not need that if my current improvement continues. The diabetes med has dramatically helped my hip pain as well as my general well-being.  So my hip is happy!  I really like having happy body parts :)

It seems like there ought to be a moral to this hodgepodge story. It probably would be "don't try to be superwoman" or "superman" and "don't keep a stiff upper lip". If a red flag is there, don't deny and definitely don't defy. When you're hurting or scared, tell someone whom you trust. Another line I'll add here just for the sake of levity and because I think it's one of those wonderful old show-biz lines is "always leave them laughing" :)  Well, OK, maybe not laughing, but definitely smiling!  Let's smile and be grateful for life  :)  

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Two Anniversaries Approach ...

The first of these anniversaries is Dixie Lee's upcoming 13th birthday -- a celebratory occasion -- which will be on August 1st if she is able to stay the course for the next four weeks.  For a dog her large size (Rhodesian Ridgeback), 13 is very old. She has been at varying degrees of deafness for the past couple of years (sometimes her hearing briefly seems to partially return); she has cataracts that are quite progressed; she has small bumpy growths on various body parts that her vet and I are reluctant to tamper with because giving her anesthesia at this stage of her life would be risky.  I know that sounds perversely comical as she could slip away at any moment during a nap. 

She sleeps a lot; she loves to eat; she has maintained the utmost ladylike hygiene.  Always an "aloof" dog (her breed description very accurately uses the word "aloof"), she has never been aggressive ... until now.  I think she has become fearful.  When people come to the house now, I need to put her in my/her bedroom where she remains quiet and content.

The other anniversary that I will privately observe, is the upcoming 7th anniversary of the church shooting at TVUUC.  At five years, the church (perhaps rightfully) decided that there would be no future observances.  For me, there is so much that permanently affected me -- emotionally of course. And physically -- the residuals are rather constant reminders.  Most importantly, spiritually ... in the months and years that followed the event, a part of me awakened and helps me live my life, has helped open the door for beauty and appreciation and gratitude.

So the day is one that is meaningful for me.  Last year on the sixth anniversary, I walked in my favorite local park where there are lots of trees. Trees, I find, are so able and willing to absorb human sorrows and to reflect human joys ... and to offer strengthening energies.  My walk was one of meditation and gratitude; then I visited with my dear friend and we talked of gentle and beautiful things and had tea.

Music, Of Course!

These days I'm putting the finishing touches and practice on my two very recently-composed songs.  One is the "fan" song I think I mentioned in an earlier post.  It's 99% ready now to record.  The second song I'm still finding just the right title for.  The song irresistibly flew into my head one morning two or three weeks ago when I sat down at the piano with absolutely nothing in mind. The lyrics, the melody, the chords, came almost effortlessly.  I'm mesmerized by it :)

It is a love song, but unlike any other love song I've written.  It takes me to a beautiful place and, to me, feels almost cosmic.  I'll be recording it, along with Fan-tas-tik,  next week!

HEY, HAY ...

I'm hearing from horse rescue organizations that hay prices are higher than ever and not just because of the drought.  I have a letter here in front of me that tells us that "the sky is the limit" on hay prices because China is buying up U.S. hay ... AND that China is shipping the hay back in their own ships, as they return (home) from delivering to the U.S. all the goods Americans are buying from China.  The letter also says that over the years, hay prices have gone up and down depending on weather, but the current situation is beyond "anything ever experienced".  Also, the letter mentions some dairies that are killing off their livestock and cashing it in because they can't afford to feed their cows anymore.  Of course, this leaves horse rescuing organizations and the horses already in their care in a precarious place -- that of no hay to eat because it is scarce and very, very expensive.

Someone, please tell me how this horrific trade situation (U.S. and China) has evolved to this extent.  Honestly, we in the U.S. (as a nation and as a people) have been kept so busy with a a glut of inane celebrity gossipy "news" -- while almost being pushed into taking divisive political sides regarding issues such as gun control, the ill-conceived crazy war on drugs, racism, police brutality, foreign terrorism, domestic terrorism, the struggle for gay rights, reproductive rights, government invasion of citizens' personal records, along with the myriad of issues that scream of inequities and wrongdoings and corruption connected with the wealth of our country being concentrated in the hands of a small, powerful percentage of our population ... that I guess I have answered my own question.  The country's vital import and export policies and what's actually going on, though very visible in stores and catalogs, just aren't able to compete in terms of newsworthiness.  Also and sadly, many of us have become conditioned to imported (even inferior) goods as the new normal way of life.  I hope someone in our government can and will take the personal risks necessary to initiate a policy that "encourages" U.S. corporations to bring manufacturing jobs back to the U.S. and put some controls on our exports (such as hay) as well.   Bottom Line:  Where I'm going with this is that a giant news item about hay isn't likely to make the scene, so it remains unspoken news.  But hey, hay is extremely important!

To anyone wanting to donate hay money to horse rescue organizations that have near-empty hay barns and hundreds of horses (who have been rescued from the most horrendous of conditions) to be fed,  you might want to contact Lifesavers Wild Horse Rescue at;, Lifesavers Wild Horse Rescue, 661-727-0049; or Southern Winds Equine Rescue at 316-830-0013;

Monday, May 11, 2015

Talking It Over ...

(I originally posted this in March of this year and then took it down after a few days, thinking that it was too self-revealing.  I kept the hard copy and decided I ought to re-post it, so here it is):

I'll share the following in the hopes that it might benefit a reader or two in the way it helps me. This is about feelings :)

When my feelings -- especially anxious feelings -- start grabbing a monopoly on my mindset and my thoughts, I like to get out of the house and on the road or to a park.  I also have a meditation room in my home that is very welcoming, where I like to spend some time each day.

While driving or at a relatively serene natural place (or even, at urgent times, in a shopping center parking lot), I make the effort to focus on the feeling that is bothering me and causing my discomfort.  As I write this, I recall that as a child, I was taught by example and by habit to repress my feelings. So in my past (when I was young), my strategy -- if it could be called that -- was to dodge, deny, or shift my feelings of discomfort so that they would seem to "go away". This resulted in what I remember as a never-ending drama that tended to put me in the role of emotional shape-shifter.  It really was an effort to modify or appease or justify or collude with whatever was causing the uncomfortable feeling.  And it caused me to suffer.

At some point in more recent times, it became clear to me, largely through the writings of my favorite author, Thich Nhat Hahn (to whom I was gently steered by my very close friend), that looking directly at a feeling is the best thing to do.  At first that seemed difficult and sometimes it still is. But, honestly, it is one of the best medicines I have found (the others being meditation, prayer, nature, and music).

When I chose the post title "Talking It Over", I meant talking it over with Self when each urgent or important feeling arises -- truly acknowledging the feeling.  As I need to actually hear my own voice speaking of my specific feelings, this conversation is best done aloud in a vehicle or within some other personal and private environment. Yes, I'm suggesting talking to oneself.  The conversation can go into detail or it can be simple like saying "This is a feeling of anxiety", "This is a feeling of fear", "This is a feeling of need", "This is a feeling of disappointment, "This is a feeling of resentment", "This is a feeling of anger" -- and that BIG one -- "This is a feeling of insecurity".  Once the statement is uttered, the feeling becomes easier to understand and handle.  It also, I believe, helps to bring angelic energy to my aid.

I try to remember to similarly also bring to the surface positive emotional feelings like "This is a feeling of wonder", "This is a feeling of joy", "This is a feeling of trust", "This is a feeling of achievement", "This is a feeling of love", "This is a feeling of peace", "This is a feeling of acceptance", "This is a feeling of comfort", "This is a feeling of gratitude".  The utterance of the words, I believe, reinforces angelic and positive energy.

Of course it's a very good thing to be able to be "talking it over" with a trusted friend or a professional listener.  Always, though, Self is there as a valued, accessible consultant.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Dancing With Life (Clara's Update) --

Hello Dear Readers,

Apologies for my posting lapse.  Someone recently told me that "blogs are dead" and the only thing that people read now is Face Book.  I hope that isn't true.

Blogs, to me, are original by their very nature and, as I'm an innovative and mostly autonomous person -- I do like to set my own parameters.  Anyway, I was kind of set-back at having been told that what I'm doing is pass`e and disdained.

Often readers send me e-mail comments, which I enjoy and appreciate getting.  Sometimes I gently urge them to also send comments via Google's comment options (which include an anonymous feature), so that others can read them.

Always, your interest is appreciated.  If you're an animal lover, please check out the animal ministry blog at Also, I've updated my own website at  My song player is now on the home page and has twenty songs on it.  I LOVE my most recently recorded original song "Dance With Me".  It's of course what I sing to my lover, but it's also what I sing to Life itself.  Life is a dance, folks -- it really and truly is.  Do we hold this partner stiffly and fearfully in our grasp? Or do we nestle in close, embrace it passionately and surrender to it?   Do we look off to the side, or do we gaze into the eyes -- of Life?  

Please let me know if you'd like a copy of "Dance With Me".  E-mail me at; call me at (865) 659-5383.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Animal Ministry Blog ...

Recently, I put together a fairly comprehensive list of organizations that rescue, protect, rehabilitate, and otherwise do very good things on behalf of our friends, the animals.  It is called Animal Ministry and/or Clara's Animal Ministry Resource.

The list is in random order and the blog itself contains wonderful pictures of animals very worthy of a look, along with my captions :)  This is a serious list and the intent of the blog is to provide information resources to people who are or would like to become advocates for animals and our environment.  I put it in blog format for several reasons:  1) I don't need to pay for domain name and space, 2) I'm familiar with blog format and design so I didn't need to learn anything new, and 3) people can send comments, stories, quotes, etc.

I hope you will check it out.  The link is

Saturday, February 7, 2015

C'mon Spring !

Spring is on the way ... the daylight hours are getting longer :)  Trees are going through their annual state of confusion which they show by alternating the swelling of their buds with their holding-back syndrome.  Melodies float through my mind more copiously than in winter.  A huge flock of robins landed in my yard day before yesterday (I think they fled New England's recent weather) and they were visibly and audibly happy that there is no snow on the ground here in Knoxville!  My daffodils are up about three inches.  The sun is at that cusp-of-spring angle :)  The moon was beautifully full recently in Leo (it's always full in the sign directly across from where the sun is located ... and the sun has been in Aquarius).   

Life blossoms and renews in Spring and, perhaps on that note, I've created a blog entitled Clara's Animal Ministry Resource; it is at  Hope my readers will visit CAMR; it has nice animal pictures, some lovely profound quotes, and information about stellar animal advocacy people.

Happy Pre-Spring !


Sunday, January 11, 2015

The Very Great Lakes --

Lake = Water =  Emotion (this equation/definition offered by me from a combined mystical, shamanic, spiritual, and psychological perspective).  I woke up this morning thinking about the Great Lakes -- Superior, Huron, Michigan, Ontario, and Erie, located along the border of the United States and Canada.  I hadn't thought much about them since I was in 4th or 5th grade geography class. But today I felt compelled to relearn about them and found, on a website by Live Science (, that they are the "largest body of fresh water on Earth" comprise (a tad more than) "1/5 of freshwater surface on the planet", contain "six quadrillion gallons of water" and cover "95,160 square miles".  Info in parentheses I added because the coverage is actually 21% according to Wikipedia (so the tad is a tiny tad).

A lake, then, would be the deepest end of the emotional pool.  I'm thinking that it would speak to several general and "great" categories (listed here in random order) in which we tend to store our strongest feelings, urges, memories, inclinations:  1) Profound Experiences, 2) Love and Caring, 3) Fields of Study and Knowledge,  4) The Life Cycle and Agelessness, 5) Wonderment.  I invite you to let me know of any other "lakes" that should be on this list.

My own most Profound Experiences include my prison concert which was a wonderful epiphany, the injury and trauma associated with the church shooting, the cell-by-cell ingress and walloping sensation of pure love, the amazing rescues of me by my guardian angel, my satisfying joy of saving lives of animals juxtaposed with the sorrow I carry for those I failed to help.  

The category of Love and Caring is in the deepest part of the lake and is perhaps at its very best when at unfathomable, immeasurable depths.

Regarding Fields of Study and Knowledge, my own pursuits and natural inclinations are
MUSIC -- the power of creating and expressing feelings via lyrics and intonations and rhythms (and so much more); the relationship between tones as they rub against each other, create effective spaces in-between, play games, harmonize, all those wonderful things; and the camaraderie when musicians play together.
SCIENCE -- How things work, Nature, the Cosmos, Health, Numbers, Intonations, Horticulture.
SPIRITUALITY -- Science and spirituality are totally compatible and cohesive.  Once we humans get past the confines of dogma and confining walls, we become receptors of peace, love, and blessings ... and then altruism "unselfish regard for or devotion to the welfare of others" (merriam-webster) can naturally occur.  

The Life Cycle -- Personal evolution, not  just academically; also spiritually and altruistically. Acceptance of the Cycle as a continuing, interconnected process.  The line "We are all (all beings) in the same cosmic canoe" is part of my e-mail signature.

Wonderment  (awe, admiration, respect) -- Where would we be without the thrill of wonderment?  I find it when walking among energies of trees (anywhere), in the forest and mountains, along the shore as the ocean's waves roar in and ebb out, looking up at the night sky.

And so, Great Lakes Superior, Huron, Michigan, Ontario, and Erie, thank you and I hope I haven't wandered too far from your majestic presence.  I don't know what made you cross the threshold into my waking mind this morning, but I'm glad you did :)

Thursday, January 1, 2015

2015 ... A New Year!

Happy New Year dear readers!

I hope the world does good things with the new year it has been handed.  That goes for me, too --  I hope I do good things with it :)

I don't make new year's resolutions, never have, but I set goals sort of as I go along and I try to meet them.  Sometimes I succeed :)  For me, the goals I set for myself usually are in one of two general categories ... personal or altruistic.

All my best wishes for our individual and mutual efforts toward health, well-being, empathy, compassion, and joy of spirit!  

Monday, December 22, 2014

"Happy Howlidays" ! news flash ...

Dear Readers:

Celebrate with the Lady Wolf (yours truly) about this wonderful news from Howling For Wolves, the hard-working organization in Minnesota.  Below is the article they published in its entirety.
The news relates to the wolves being re-listed on the Endangered Species List with the status as threatened. This means the wolf "hunts" are officially stopped; wolves are saved from the many barbaric kinds of destruction that were being inflicted upon them. Here is Howling for Wolves' announcement and news release. For more information, please go to their website at; their mailing address is: Howling For Wolves, P.O. Box 4099, Hopkins, MN 55343.

"Happy Howlidays -- Rejoice! May your hearts be filled with peace this holiday season knowing that together we made a difference for the Minnesota wolf, and potentially generations of wolves to come. Have a joyful holiday season in the company of your pack, wherever they may be. Gratefully, Howling For Wolves

A Season to Celebrate --

All wolf hunting has been stopped indefinitely – and you helped make it happen.We’re thrilled to announce that Minnesota wolves (and the entire Great Lakes Wolf population) are re-listed on the Endangered Species List with the status as "threatened".

Thank you to our volunteers and supporters for their tireless efforts over the past years to protect Minnesota’s wolves from senseless killing.

Thank you to the Humane Society of the United States, who filed and won the federal lawsuit when many thought it impossible.

And, most importantly, thank you to Honorable Judge Howell, who truly heard our howls, honored our efforts and gave our wolves the shelter of the Endangered Species Act.

Keep Howling with #LiveAndLetHowl --

Our work is not yet done. We need to promote compassion for and spread understanding of these misunderstood and magnificent animals. We need to keep howling.

Wolves are an infinite source of inspiration and each of us has our own reason for celebrating them – in this spirit we are proud to launch our #LiveAndLetHowl campaign.

Share your wolf-inspired words and art with the world – it can be as simple as a short video of your best howl, or it can be a poem, a drawing, a song, or other creation. Learn about the campaign and submit your work here. And don’t forget to post it on your favorite social media site with the #LiveAndLetHowl tag.

Get inspired: See what people just like you have already submitted here."

Yay !!!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

POW ! And make that a double.

My aging (who isn’t?) dog couldn’t get up off my bedroom floor at about 3 a.m. this morning. Her struggles and repeated thud noises woke me and I sprang out of bed to help her.  This has happened to her before and each time she gets understandably scared.  So do I.  She’s a big girl and I need to position myself just right over her and slide my arms under her pelvic area in order to raise her up and enable her rear section to regain control so she can stand and walk. We had accomplished this and I had crawled back between my satin sheets (the one luxury I give myself is satin).  I had just gotten myself cozy and then ...

POW!  There is more than one reason it is called a “Pow”er outage.  One terrific Pow explosion accompanying the huge brilliant orange visual lit up the fog and drizzle-filled sky at 3:14 a.m. in front of my house today.  It was the friendly transformer on the utility pole outside the front window of my bedroom.  It was too bleary and weary to be happening; yet, there it was, unspectacularly quiet now ... a deceased or deep coma transformer.  I dreaded the next part. I knew I had to call KUB’s emergency and outage phone line.  

Sure enough, the gregarious female robotic voice told me to punch in either my account # (all my paid utility bills are filed in the file cabinet and it is very, very dark to find them in my house at the moment) or the phone # associated with the account (OK, that is do-able so I did that).  She also mentioned that I could go online and view my options. !  Well, sure, I have no electricity so she thinks I should try to turn the computer on and access my Internet connection!   Finally, she gave me a phone option I can use if I have information that might help the repair crew.  So I punched in my phone number again so the repairman  could call me for this valuable information. The only hitch to that is that now my phone is showing it would like to be charged and I’m not sure he will be able to reach me if the phone doesn’t get plugged into some electricity to be charged soon.  When the repairman called, he listened to my description of the transformer’s demise and assured me he will send a crew out.  And he did ... I saw their truck slowly drive by and look up at the transformer and then drive away into the fog.  As the hours drifted by (the hours were drifting ... but I was feebly moving from the bed to the couch to the window, many times), and approached 7 a.m., I put together a plan: At 8 a.m. I would drive myself to my friend Dr. G’s office and ask him if he will let me charge my cell phone there, then I will carry my Tetley tea bag into a fast-food place and ask them to serve it to me in some nice hot water. Once I had that plan in my mind and set to work, I got dressed and walked toward the door.

Well, to my utter delight and relief, and with a sincerely spoken sentiment of gratitude to my Higher Power, I saw – coming down my little street -- a convoy of KUB vehicles.  First was the big POWerful looking one with a myriad of flashing orange lights and other stuff, then the one that has that lifting and contorting ladder that climbs way up, up, up!  The last vehicle was the "traffic control” truck that positions itself between the repair crews and cars that are passing by. Twice, during the repair scenario I walked out there to reassure myself that the crew was really there and to watch with fascination as a brave man went up in the bucket and was doing things to wet wires.  When he came down, another man told me the POWer should be back up in about ten minutes.  A while later, my appliances began their little noises to let me know they were beginning to feed on the electricity ... but all too quickly (maybe ten seconds) I heard another POW!  It was a transformer up the street on the other end of the utility line.  "Oh no!  I’m heading to Dr. G’s right now".

But ... on my way out the door (if this is a movie, add some symphonic music here), I saw the trucks returning to “my” transformer and so naturally I went out to see if mine was the offending one.  A couple of the crew members said that they are going over the work they did on the other end to see what they might have missed.  Sure enough, at around 8 a.m., I heard the welcomed beeps and hums of my heaters, furnace, internet modem, and all those awesome things we take for granted.  I felt ecstatic.  And dear Dr. G. didn’t need to charge my phone and I didn’t have to wave a tea bag at a fast-food place.  So ... it was time for me to eat, walk my dog, and slide back into my satin sheets ... and I did!

Accolades for the KUB crews!  While KUB needs to program its telephone robot with nicer procedural skills to help customers during outages, the wonderful, beautiful guys -- heroes who ride in with KUB's awesome repair vehicles -- cannot be praised enough.  These men even laugh and sing while they ride up into the air and re-wire (or whatever they were doing to) frazzled transformers.  More than that, they speak pleasantly with homeowners who, not at their best between 4 and 7 a.m., emerge from their front doors and meander across lawns in robes and floppy slippers to watch the repair – sort of  like cheerleaders who want their heroes to win the game with the clever and wily wires. 

Friday, November 14, 2014

Worth The Wait ...

... for me, and I hope for my friends, fans, and all like-minded souls: my video entitled “Love vs Warzilla”.  I think it’s an important message.  We filmed this (it’s a speech that is scripted and delivered by me) back in August.  Then a number of circumstances stalled it.  But now it’s up and running!  In it you will learn how it got its name ... and other bold things are touched on, as well.  It feels like it's a brave video and it certainly gives a great deal of transparency to my feelings.  If you watch it, please view it all the way to the end to hear my song "I Love All The Voices".  Also on YouTube are music videos for two of my other songs ... “Dance with Me” (a “large” equally romantic and ethereal song that alludes to Life being the ultimate dance partner)  and “That’s The Way You Make Me Feel” (a sensuous song with techy facets).  All  video production was done by Dr. Donovan Stewart, who is an exceptionally fine chiropractor and luthier.  My songs, including the song at the end of the speech (I Love All The Voices) , were recorded and mastered at Songwriters Studio here in Knoxville with phenomenally talented William (Sandy) Garrett at the helm. 

The Love vs Warzilla speech and song I Love All The Voices links are and

The other songs are:
Dance With Me 
That's The Way You Make Me Feel


The Pause That Refreshes ...

We’re having a “leaf storm”; it’s raining down a steady downpour of leaves ... mostly maple. They are swirling and twirling and even floating sideways on their way to the already blanketed ground.  Last night I brought in the last of my flowering plants and salvaged the remaining roses from three of my rose bushes, in anticipation of the impending freeze.  Here in Tennessee, we’re getting a sizable taste of a Canadian “arctic blast”.  I have the first crowd of guests at my bird feeder.

Heading toward the Thanksgiving holiday, there is so much in the natural world to observe and take in, so much more than the mundane activities and plans for how we will “spend” the holiday.  And more to the point, Thanksgiving Day ought to be a day that lives up to its name, even amid the store displays that seek to propel us right past Thanksgiving as if it’s a mere doorway or turnstile to the glitzy season beyond.  

Folks, let’s slow down the momentum.  Today is a fine day for watching leaves dance to the ground, for some “me time” reading or going for a walk, for meditation that gathers thoughts and feelings from all parts of my being and centers and quiets them in such a liberating way, for writing a blog post, for making pancakes with maple syrup, for hugging and petting a dog or cat, for playing piano and lifting up the voice in song, for re-constituting self. How about you? I invite you to take a day for yourself, doing things that give you pause and gentle inspiration and gratitude and joy.  

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Two And A Half Days Of Bliss ...

Picture escaping land-locked Knoxville and spending time with the exhilarating, exciting, mesmerizing and revitalizing ocean ... then add to that scene your best friend who also is exhilarating, exciting, mesmerizing and revitalizing :)  I'm describing Folly Beach and my best friend, William (Sandy).  So that's why I'm using the word "bliss" in this post's title.  We had a memorable and wonderful time and I've put up several Folly pictures (please scroll all the way down).  

We are pictured at Loggerheads Beach Grill, a great place to dine, hear awesome music, and enjoy the comfortable and friendly (even dog-friendly) atmosphere.  

Ralph (Sandy named him) is a friendly fellow (or maybe even a lady bird), and a member of one of the local and as yet unidentified bird species there. Very vocal and friendly, these birds seemed somewhat like crows, ravens, and starlings, and yet a breed apart. 

The picture of the sunset shows, in the lower left-hand corner, a surfer who was there the entire day.

It was very hard to leave that wonderful place (the Tides Hotel is very accommodating, comfortable, and nice and all rooms are oceanfront). Sweet memories, very sweet memories.  


Couchie --

I have to include a few words about my new couch!  To start with, I love it.  I found it in the clearance section at Brown Squirrel.  It called out to me from its position toward the back of the area where it was surrounded by other chairs and sofas.  I don't know quite how to sing the praises of a couch, except to say it's welcoming, very welcoming :)  It's a great place to visit in-between the harshness of newscasts about politicians, IS, and ebola.  Let's think of pleasant things whenever we can.

Get A Very Nice CD -- Help A Great Charity!

My legacy CD "Lifescape -- Dreams, Innovation, Feelings" is now available! Proceeds from CD sales will be donated to Sweet Relief, the wonderful charity that helps aging and ailing musicians in need.  Along with the CD (which has seventeen songs) I will also provide a copy of my very newest song "Dance With Me", while supplies last.  DWM flew into my head sort of as a caboose to "Lifescape"; I love the song and I think you will too.  Please contact me at for ordering info and remittance address.  $12 cash, check, or paypal.  

Attitude Of Gratitude ...

One day a couple of weeks ago, I did something I hadn't done in quite a while (and something I ought to do much more often).  I went to my favorite park and walked and recited aloud the things for which I am thankful.  I spoke the thoughts as they occurred to me -- a walking meditation.  And as I walked and talked, my words were heard only by the elements, the Great Energy, and myself. This particular park is where I've often sought comfort; the trees are willing to absorb my sadness and my concerns and eager to help me celebrate my joys.

I write of this so that it might be helpful and beneficial to others -- maybe to you. Walking among the trees, audibly speaking or whispering thanks, is an empowering and liberating thing to do :)

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

My Amazing Birthday Ride !

A couple of weeks ago, I realized I wanted to do something BIG to celebrate my (then) upcoming birthday. Something different and exciting, but not dangerous.  Something friendly and kind but not common. I had seen the large bus that is parked in the Bearden section of Kingston  Pike in Knoxville (TN). And I had noticed that, after a while, a second bus had joined the first one.  Both of them are wildly and beautifully painted all over with colorful designs and phrases promoting love and peace.  So yes, this would be the perfect plan ... an exciting birthday treat without my needing to parachute out of an airplane :)  I made the call, reserved one of the buses, and Dixie Lee and I boarded the bus at 2:30 yesterday (September 1st) in front of our house. Dixie Lee, herself, had celebrated her own birthday recently ... her 12th, so she is an aging doggie but nonetheless took everything in stride and enjoyed the adventure.  

Our driver, whose name is Carlene, is a wonderful lady and a very skilled bus driver. As we drove around, I felt good as I realized I was sort of giving a gift to the community as well as myself.  People beeped their horns, waved their hands, and smiled ... as the Big Love Bus, with its complete set of sound effects and music, wove its way from one end of town to another. Something so cheerful was and is so majorly needed. We made a few scheduled stops, first going through a church parking lot where the few people still inside had been alerted that we'd be driving through (we sounded the sirens, bells, and whistles for their amusement); then we headed "north" and stopped in front of my best friend's house ... he came strolling across his lawn, camera in hand, and took some great pictures of the bus and one of me on the bus stairway. I asked Carlene to "play the animal sounds" and there was a chorus of moos, roars, and all sorts of animal noise, which was tolerated cheerfully by my friend and his neighbors  :)  We needed to be on our way to our next stop, the home of one of my stellar piano students.  On our approach, the bus zoomed past her house because we didn't see the house number in time, so we had to drive around and around to find a road that would loop back and that was wide enough to accommodate a turning bus. Finally we did get on the correct road again and, as we approached the house this time, Carlene said excitedly, "Oh, you're gonna love this ... it's so CUTE"! From her vantage point in the driver's seat, she could see the people in the yard and when we got there, my student and her boyfriend and their three dogs were in the yard, each wearing a little party hat. One of the dogs had her hat partially removed and was busily trying to eat it.  It was a fun stop for all of us.

How awesome to be a kid again for the hours we were on the Big Love Bus! The Bus has its own website and I think you can read its telephone number in one of the pictures I will post.  For those near Knoxville, I wholeheartedly recommend you check out the Big Love Bus :)    


Sunday, June 15, 2014

Love & the Earth Family --

Well, if there is anything that can upstage Fear and its consequences, it would be Love.  And I'd like to tell you about the program I've recently created to promote love ... the altruistic kind (although I'm a fan of the personal format too).  

Love & the Earth Family is a free program for organizations, clubs, and groups.  It's designed for adults, but I also have a version for kids.  The presentation promotes kindness, respect, outreach, and love ... for ourselves and all creatures, all beings. Included are the speaker (that would be me), print handouts, a beautiful film, and inspiring music.  I'll be offering this locally and regionally (Knoxville, TN area).  Why am I doing this?  I think my answer to that would be that I'm doing it out of a sense of personal gratitude.  For more info, please contact me at