In my last blog, I talked about gifts we each have within. There is one gift that I know we can each bring forward and consciously practice giving until it becomes automatic. Giving will help us inspire others as we “be good to my neighbor.” But who is my neighbor? To give a gift may be simple to do, or it could be challenging. You, perhaps, may not realize how many times you have already left a fantastic mark on someone’s life that helped them in their future. Do you wonder how you might have taken action, said a word, or inspired someone to take action, gain faith and hope, and keep going?

Every day we are offered an opportunity to encourage others with a smile or a “Hello” to show them that someone noticed them. We do it or say greetings automatically and do not know how or even if our actions touched them. I know this has happened to me in my lifetime? I have gone through difficulties and then met someone that helped me keep going. Have you? It has happened in my life several times. I specifically remember a little girl that befriended me my first day at a new school, a person at a hospital that helped me keep going when I learned my first husband would die, plus other instances. Neither of us knew anyone at Mayo Clinic or locally. Her name was Dianne. I could go on and on about the people that helped us finish our house when we returned from the hospital. Life surprises us when we open to what is coming to us. Sometimes it might be in a phone call, a visit, or a stranger in the elevator that brings us a message and helps us through hard times. Just watch and listen.

I heard multiple times that “what I would give away would come back to me. So I held onto that belief when I was going through times in my life of “letting go.” I have watched this play out in so many ways. Here is a simple story and an example that inspired John and me in multiple ways.

John stood up in church and shared what happened when we went to lunch in Norman following church one Sunday. We had unexpectedly decided to pick up a person standing in the heat trying to hitchhike. We visited and asked if he was hungry. Yes. We looked at each other and decided to take him to our favorite restaurant for lunch. We told him that he could have whatever he wanted on the menu. A month or so later, we were dressed nicely and decided to drive to that same restaurant following church. We looked like we could pay for our lunch, but what happened next surprised us. When our check arrived after a great lunch plus coffee and dessert, we learned that it had been “taken care of.” After looking around and contemplating who might have paid for our lunch, we decided to leave. We had no idea. Before leaving, we figured out who did it.

We had noticed a young couple within earshot from us looking at us off and on during their meal. The young couple was still there when we got up to leave. As I passed the table where the young couple was sitting, I stopped and said, We had a very unusual happening at our table. May I ask you a question?” The young man replied, “Certainly.” I asked, “Were you the ones that paid for our meal today?” They looked at each other and then slowly shared that it was them. I thanked them and asked, “why?” We all four then got into a great discussion about giving. That discussion was inspiring for all four of us.

This discussion became part of the talk he gave the following Sunday. He told our story about the young couple purchasing our meal, confirming our belief that “what one gives, one receives.” We had paid for someone else’s meal, and then we did not know a young couple paid for ours. We learned that people hearing John’s talk began surprising people they knew or others they had never met by paying for their meals. We kept getting feedback about people going up to the counters here in Pauls Valley only to find out that someone had purchased their lunch or the table’s lunch for the next few months. So John sharing our story is one example of inspiring others by telling a story.

Inspiration for me lately has come from books. Being inside more so that covid remains outside, I read two books. These books have been inspirational and, unexpectedly, have multiple stories within. Both books provide life stories through an interview process, with the author answering questions. I received “The Book of Hope” by Jane Goodall, with Douglas Abrams and Gail Hudson as interviewers. It was given to me as a surprise gift by a cousin through Amazon. No note telling me who sent the book. We did not order it. I guessed right. A telephone call I made confirmed that it was a favorite cousin. When I called to ask if it was him, he said he thought of me as he read this book. Then when he saw one particular line, he knew that he had to get the book for me. (I felt like it was like a puzzle, and I had to read this book to see if I could figure out what the line was.)

The second book was a present from John. I mentioned that I had heard its name three times and wanted it. This book is “The Power of Myth” by Joseph Campbell, with Bill Moyer asking questions. I had read some of Joseph Campbell’s writings years ago and got excited about this book that I did not know existed. Now, remember, I just turned 80. Both authors wrote these books while in their 80’s! Their age inspired me to keep on, keeping on. Is it a coincidence I got two books by authors close to my age full of stories about their lives and how their present beliefs came about? Of course, I believe that there is no coincidence, and everything happens for a reason. Both books provide an excellent reading.

One story I found in Jane Goodall’s book is about a boy in Oklahoma. This story is a perfect example of a person making a statement to a boy that created change in his future. Here is the story: Chan Hellman grew up in poverty in rural Oklahoma. His father was a drug dealer and took Chan along with him. By the time Chan was in the seventh grade, his father was gone, and his mother was in and out of the hospital as she suffered from depression and stopped coming home. Chan was eating one meal a day, lunch at school, and was living alone. Feeling desperate, he got out his family/s gun and placed the barrel under his chin. Then he heard his science teacher, who was also his basketball coach’s words telling him, “You are going to be alright, Chan.” He thought about those words and that the man cared about him and believed in him. He put the gun away. Chan is now in his 50’s with a loving wife and family and a successful career. He is a hope researcher focusing on abused and neglected children. Words matter! Our words matter. That same hope in Chan is an example of a survival trait cultivated in all children. Hope can take root even in the worst of the worst situations. We all need to remember that. Jane shares hope and inspiration throughout her book, as does Joseph Campbell.

What else can we do to inspire others? First, take care of yourself so that you can help others. Make a telephone call to someone alone, do the simple things first and then add to this. Invite someone to go for ice cream. I know we feel limited by covid, but make some small goals and larger ones that will touch a life. Smile and feel the difference within. Inspire others to have hope with your smile. Open and share. These ideas are only a beginning, but what you are to do next will come to you.

LESSON: Use encouraging words. Be a good listener. Lift others. Sometimes they will fall, but they will learn as they gain the courage to pull themselves up again. Do not try to control them or change their beliefs to yours. Give and receive. Be aware of what is happening in your life. What you give may not come back immediately but will come back to you when you need it the most.

GIFT: While doing this, you will gain hope for yourself and hope for the world. You will become an “inspiration for others.” You will be happier.

Peace Within And Without

For years when doing seminars, I shared a story about the Sand Dollar with those in attendance. Today I want to share that simple story with you. Before bringing that story forth for you, I must explain why there has been such a long time since I did my blog on November 15th and then took a break.

What happened? First, we prepared for round number one of seeing multiple children. Round One, Savannahnnah, Shawn, and grandchildren, Stone (7) and Leaf(3). They were coming from Wyoming to have Thanksgiving with us, and they planned to stay in our art studio for three weeks before seeing the next grandparents. Our studio needed cleaning and preparation for a family of four to stay there. Chemical smells required in oil painting also had to be removed. With help, it all got done. This time together allowed us to know the grandchildren we had not seen for the past three years. They left and we had only one week until Christmas, to catch up on our own daily business and send out Christmas presents. Next, we left for Bonham, Texas, to have Christmas with John and Myrna and grandchildren John Pearce(16) and Daniel(13). We returned Christmas night after a great Christmas day. Every minute was filled with the Christmas spirit, good food, and fun. That takes us up to December 25th. Dawn and Zave and grandchildren Ari(22) and Evi(16) arrived from California two days later. They left after five days of discussions and fun on January 3rd.

These visits brought smiles and fun to our lives. Believe me when I say that we cherish every minute with our children and grandchildren. Boston was the only child we did not share Christmas with. I think he had enough of us, since he spent six months during covid with us and we talk to him regularly. He is the one that encouraged me to do this blog and can help any of you do the same. Since January 4th, we have had multiple doctor appointments. We also recovered from all of the visiting. And we know that we would not change anything about our Christmas and New Years’ events. We do both, at times, feel frustrated because we cannot do what we used to do, but we are so happy that we can still do all that we find ourselves doing.

Now I am back to my blog. This last year was an odd year due to covid ups and downs and ups again, and then suddenly Omicron made itself known. I know 2021 has been a challenging year for many. Let’s see what we can do about 2022 and return to my sand dollar story I want to share with you. Have you ever seen a sand dollar? I say God is everywhere and in every situation and item made, including us individually. If one ever doubts a God, look at a sand dollar. I had not thought about a sand dollar for a long time. Then last week, while sitting in the bathtub watching the water run, a thought came to me about finding my first sand dollar. I had learned about gifts within the sand dollar. Looking at the sand dollar, one sees five leaf-like images outside. I learned five tiny sculpted birds would drop out of the sand dollar when broken open. I found my first sand dollar while visiting children at Stinson Beach and was so happy to find my second one so that I could now break the second one open and see what people said was within the sand dollar. Yes, five bird-like sculptures dropped out one at a time when I broke my second sand dollar open. I looked at the five leaves on the outside and counted the five perfectly sculpted little birds that fell to the outside. My amazement felt at that moment is why I said to many others during my lifetime, “if you ever doubt God, study a sand dollar. It still amazes me.”

We all come from God or a Divine Source. Scripture In the Bible, Matthew 10:29 talks about the sparrow. It says that each of us is even more valued than the sparrow and that every hair is counted that is on our head. Look at the design on birds. Every feather is placed in such a way for perfect designs. We are each unique and also as carefully designed. These little bird-like sculptures are gifts within the sand dollar. Break open a sand dollar and see. Five small sculpture-like birds will fall out. I later learned that some people say “those birds in a sand dollar represent the white doves. The sand dollar is spiritual.

One never knows when they will have an “aha” moment. This “aha” moment came while sitting in the bathtub! While thinking about the sand dollar, I began asking questions myself questions. How is the sand dollar like me or others? We both have gifts within, right? Do I have another gift within that needs to come forth? What if we each set a goal to open and allow a gift within Self to come forward in this coming year? Do I have a gift that has not come forth yet that could help the year be better? Do other people have gifts within that are now ready to come forward? If many of us raised our awareness of what is around us at all times, could we bring more peace to this earth by opening a gift we have held within? First, the gift needs to be shared locally. It may be as simple as “be kind to my neighbor or be kind to the lady struggling with groceries at the grocery store, or the one you meet on the street or the cranky person next to you in line. Or it may be as simple as smiling at people as we walk down the street or saying something to a person you got on the elevator with or opening a door for someone. There may be a person with not enough change to pay for groceries or perhaps we can pay for a person that wants a cup of coffee behind us when we payout. Maybe go to Braum’s and buy a person behind you in line their ice cream or malt.

Another gift opportunity might even be more simple. We never know when a smile for a person struggling might brighten someone’s day. These simple gifts may require us to become conscious of our surroundings and be more aware of what is happening. It is fun to have a chance to do something anonymously for someone that you know needs a hand up. When we do something that touches a person’s life, it helps the receiving person smile and feels better inside. Perhaps hope is restored. Sometimes just a little hope and inspiration can create a small ripple of good to begin, but sometimes that just small gesture will bring a big change! Hope returns and stays! The person no longer feels invisible. Someone noticed. Life returns. Yes, someone saw me. Someone paid attention. The person feels like they can hold their head up and go further in life. It does not seem to be as much of a struggle during the next hour or the next day. When the other person receives this gift many times does something within the receiver of your gift that creates the desire to do something for someone else or pay your gift forward. When a person changes within, it will eventually affect the lives of 250 more people. Perhaps those 250 can help and 250 more will receive the result of your gift for one person.

As we open our gifts and use our gifts, peace comes within. We remove fears of being kind or being taken advantage of when perhaps someone else is not being kind. When we release a gift within ourselves, we are like the doves within the sand dollar. A smile lights up in another’s heart. The peace that comes over us when we do something good for someone else continually increases within ourselves. Our peace within can affect the peace in others. Peaceful energy as we step forward will be put on the paths beneath our feet. This conscious action bringing more peace to Self and others will then help those that might walk that same path we just made on this earth. Yes, peace within brings peace without just as the doves falling out of a sand dollar touch lives when they are released and people see them.

LESSON: There are opportunities every day to touch someone’s life. We must be the ones to raise our own awareness and “consciously” take steps to touch someone’s life each day.

GIFT: I know what I want to do this year. I have an increased desire to see what I can do in 2022 to touch lives in simple ways and maybe even some big ways. I will work on keeping “Peace Within and draw “Peace Without” as I do this.

GIFT: I am setting an intention to raise awareness of my surroundings and make attempts to bring light into another’s life each day.

GIFT: When I have consciously done these things in the past, giving these gifts becomes automatic and a part of me. We have been in the house so long these past two years, I have not been so aware and conscious. I hurry in and hurry out everywhere I go. I am learning that I can do these simple things and still be safe. I see how amazing some of my friends are that continually give gifts to others in spite of our covid problems. It makes me smile to watch them. They brighten my light within without even knowing it.

Fall Is Beautiful

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Driving down our streets in Pauls Valley today, November 16, 2021, I am overcome with awe as I look at the beautiful trees with such rich colors this Fall. In every season, the beauty of a tree tends to bring me joy, but especially in the Fall. Today seems especially good with the wind blowing the leaves. The leaves are falling like the snow that may soon be on its way. Each leaf is special as it lets go of the tree. I smile as I remember the many seminars I have done in the Fall here in Pauls Valley in my home or at St. Francis of the Woods or for associations that have invited me to speak on “The Power of Letting Go,” or “Goal Setting” for the upcoming year. All seminars included information about what happens when we gain the courage to “let go” of what we no longer want or need in our lives, what we want to make space for, plus more.

That empowering seminar helped me in my past when I presented it, reminding me to also “let go.” It brought many unusual responses from people. One attendee from Texas was a woman that I had never met. She telephoned me about two weeks later and stated that she had been a minister for years, but the Sunday after returning from my seminar, she knew what she wanted to do, and it was not to be a minister any longer. She thanked me for designing a seminar that gave her the courage to step away from her pulpit and spend more time with her own family. At another time, a person telephoned after attending a seminar. That woman stated “I always cleaned up the leaves almost as soon as they fell. Something has changed inside me. I now cherish those beautiful leaves that are falling. I want to leave them on the ground and see their beauty as I decide what to release…Do I have a belief that no longer works? Is there a group I joined in the past that does not coincide with my present passions and is taking up too much time or Is it no longer a priority? Do I need to need to begin with cleaning out my closet?”

While driving with the wonderful leaves dropping as I go, I continue in my thinking, I let my thoughts continue to flow. Some trees are losing many leaves already, yet the beauty of the tree is no less diminished. The structure of the tree with only half the leaves remaining, and even the structure of the tree with only a few leaves, remains majestic, strong, and beautiful in its own right. It, too, still holds me in awe, and the wind blows so strong.

This is the same with us as we get older. As the transient beauty of our own leaves diminishes one by one, at our core, I hope to retain my inner beauty and strength just like my beautiful trees that I watch and sometimes even hug!

LESSON: We are as beautiful and colorful as these Fall trees. We are free to allow ourselves to “let go.” It is phenomenal to allow the space to open so that something better can enter our lives.

GIFTS: When we let go, we open a space in our lives for what we want to enter.

We also learn to watch for signs to show us what we say “yes” to and “no” to for our lives.

We watch how easily the tree lets go of its leaves so that new growth can enter. We know that we can do the same as we open our hearts and minds to what we want and do not want in our future.

Our own beauty increases as we become more colorful each year.

Visiting friends that are growing older, just like me, I see their colorful lives in both their past and their present. I take the opportunity to listen to some of their amazing stories. I stop, sit down, and have a visit. Look inside everyone and “see” their beauty within and without. They remind me many times of a grand tree I have seen.


Almighty God,

I am humbly grateful

for the first bite of food I take today,

and even more so for the second.


A Miracle

What do we do when we have a miracle in our lives? We often tend to justify it away. I am not explaining this one away that took place on Sunday morning, October 31! That was one week and two days ago. It was when television announcers shared with us all weekend about hurricane three winds coming to Northern California. We have a son who lives in San Francisco and a daughter, a son-in-law, and two grandchildren who live at Stinson Beach, California, about forty-five minutes outside San Francisco.

Sunday afternoon, Dawn telephoned and was still amazed by what had happened. She and her eldest daughter Ari rose at 3:30 a.m. to take Ari’s friend to the airport. They began the drive “in har rain” down the mountain to the San Francisco Airport. Suddenly, an electrical pole slid off the hill, fell, and landed about three feet in front of Dawn’s car. Other electrical poles also began sliding off the mountain onto the road. Broken wire lines were hitting in multiple places on the outside of Dawn’s automobile. One broken wire was across the top of her car and then came down next to the passenger’s window. The wind made the broken wires blow around, and the wire on the passenger’s side kept hitting that window repeatedly.

Dawn said that the oddest thing happened as an unusual calm covered her through this entire situation. She kept telling Ari and her friend that they would get out be fine. It took a while, but she did get them out. I said, “How was this possible?” It sounded to me like God’s Grace was covering her the way she described the unusual calm. She said, “Mom, it was like being caught in a spider web with all of those lines hitting my car, laying on the car, and hitting the car as the lines surrounded us.” I replied, “Oh my gosh, how did you get out?” Dawn: “I am not quite sure, but I would go forward two inches and then back up two inches. I did that repeatedly, hoping I would not get on top of a live wire, and we eventually got out turned in such a way that I could get past the poles and get onto the highway. It took a while.”

As soon as we got onto the clear road, I told Ari to call the police. Ari did call and shared with them that poles were coming down. They told her to tell her Mom to pull over immediately because they wanted the location where the electrical poles were coming down. Initially, Dawn said, “No, I am not pulling over. More poles may be coming down.” They responded, “You have to. We need to know where these multiple poles are coming down off the mountain. We are now putting you directly through to the fire department so they can help.”

Dawn did pull over and stop so that they could quickly find her location. The fire department immediately closed the road until the rain stopped, and they could take care of the poles that came down and the broken wires. Dawn and Ari did get the friend to the airport. They took the only other road home that could get them to their house. They later learned their area had over 13 inches of rain in 24 hour period of time.

Dawn kept saying to me over and over, “Mom, we should have been dead. Instead, we are alive.” I agreed! Either she had an Angel on her shoulder, or God’s Grace took care of them.

LESSON: We all have miracles and see how Spirit works and justify things away. For instance, one might have a close call while driving a car or an accident, but no one was hurt. Or it might be as simple as this: I had a headache every day, sometimes worse than others. Then one time in Palm Springs, I dreamed about little people drilling out my right ear. When I woke up, a terrible headache was gone. It stayed gone. I woke up the next day and the next, and the headache did not return. I justified the miracle I had just had and went on with my busy life.

GIFT: After that dream about the little people, I began paying attention to small and large miracles in my life, synchronicities, and minor things. I kept adding to my gratitude list!

I am more grateful for the lives of all of my family members as well! I almost lost my son years ago to an accident. I now almost lost my daughter. I now remember to be thankful, and when I pray, I also add gratitudes!

Second Opinion, Second Chance

When my daughter Dawn was working and going to college, we had a fantastic day! Because her Dad died and did not get a second opinion when I suggested that he do so, I am careful and listen for guidance within from God/Spirit. During a situation Dawn had in her life in 1987, I had a gut level experience about her. Dawn was living and working part-time in Oklahoma City and also in Norman part-time. That was hard for her. With money short, we made a new plan that we both liked! She could move back to Norman, live with me to save money, finish school, and work more hours at Crispy’s Restaurant in Norman rather than splitting herself between two jobs. This plan was good. She could end the drive back and forth between Oklahoma City and Norman, and could drive to school in Edmond on days she had class.

However, one night before her move, she telephoned to tell me that her back had gone out and was awful. Now it was morning and her back was much worse. She could hardly get out of bed. Her Grandfather, my Dad, lived in Oklahoma City. He suggested a chiropractor that he knew. I had never been to a chiropractor, and she had not, either. Daddy said that this lady could help Dawn. He had already telephoned her to ask if Dawn could see her. Yes! Dawn and I agreed that this was a good suggestion. Even though it was difficult, Dawn thought that she could make it to her car and drive to her office for the appointment. What happened next?

With my office in my home in Norman, I was waiting anxiously for a telephone call from Dawn. My phone finally rang, , but the call was not from Dawn. It was from the Doctor!!!

I answered, “Good Morning! My name is Susanne. May I help you?

Doctor: Susanne, I have your daughter in my office,,, and she is in a bad situation. She is upset with what I told her. I thought that you needed to know what my suggestion is for Dawn. I told her that she needed to quit school and move home to live with you for the rest of this semester. She also needs to be utterly bedfast until she gets better. I knew Dawn was most likely about to panic with this doctor telling her these things. Dawn was close to acquiring her degree, and I could imagine how devastating this was to her. While this doctor was talking, I was formulating a plan in my head.

Me: Will you please put Dawn on the phone? I want to speak to her if I may?

She did hand the phone to Dawn, and when I got on, I said, “Dawn, do you think you can drive to Norman? Or do I have to come to get you? I want you to get another opinion from someone I have learned about from a friend.”

Dawn: “It will be hard, but I can try. Why?” Me: “I believe I can get the name of someone else that can give us a second opinion about your backs that we can go see. Come to my house,,, and we will go from here. Just tell her that you have to leave.” As soon as I hung up, I called my friend Mary Enterline, who had mentioned a doctor that was with with excellent in helping her with her knees. I thought that if he could be so miraculous with knees, perhaps he might be just as good with backs.

I got his name. He was a family doctor, a D.O. that had excellent reviews. I hate to say that I cannot remember his name. Telephoning his office, I explained the problem to the receptionist before asking if I could bring Dawn to their office. She agreed and suggested that we arrive as soon as possible and explained that we might have a long while before seeing the doctor, but her final statement was, “Yes, do bring her in.”

Dawn arrived home. We headed to his office. The kind receptionist told us to have a seat. It was evident that Dawn was in lots of pain. Patients filled the waiting room; however, it was not long before the nurse came to retrieve us. She guided us to the examination room, asked a few questions, and left to help other patients. It was not long before the Doctor entered to do the exam.

He introduced himself and said, “Dawn, can you lay down on this examination table on your stomach?” He began lightly feeling Dawn’s back. His thumb and hand made a gentle motion back and forth across her back, moving his hands carefully from side to side. Next, he requested: “Dawn, will you stand up?” Dawn: “I have had a hard time doing that! I have barely been able to stand or walk or straighten my leg.”

To my amazement, she seemed to be able to not only get off the examination table but to stand straight. Then the Doctor made another request: “Now, will you lift your left leg and raise it straight out to the side as high as you can?” Dawn did so, and she smiled as she said, “I cannot believe this. It did not hurt!” He replied, “Now do it with your right leg.” The result was the same. Dawn looked so relieved and happy. She asked,,, “How long do I have to wait to go back to work?” The Doctor asked, “Where are you working?” Dawn answered, “Crispy’s Restaurant. I wait tables.” He responded by saying, “I like that restaurant. Perhaps I will see you there.”

Dawn asked, “I need to let them know if I will be able to go back soon?” This surprising Doctor replied, “When is your next shift?” Dawn: “Today at 4 o’clock.”

The Doctor grinned and said, “Well, you had better hurry. You don’t have much time to get ready.” Dawn: “I am the one on my shift that has to carry heavy trays up and down the stairs. Can I do that?” Doctor: “Yes, that will be no problem.”

So, due to a second opinion, Dawn went from bedfast to working her shift at Crispy’s. She had about an hour and a half to eat, shower, and make it to work following a difficult evening, night, and a portion of this same day in excruciating pain. Her back did not go out again for many years following this visit. I had a problem, though, and tried to call him for an appointment for me. No one answered. I learned that he had retired. A few years later, I realized that he had died.

To this day, if I have a gut feeling that a second opinion might be a good choice for the situation, I do not hesitate to get one. It is vitally important. So many times, we are all hesitant. We are afraid that we will hurt someone’s feelings, or we might hurt the feelings of the doctor we are seeing, or it will take too long before we can have an appointment, etc. All I can say is “Take time to get a second opinion.”

LESSON: Get a second opinion if you have the thought cross your mind or if you have a feeling in your gut that you might need to acquire one.

GIFT: A second chance came with a second opinion. The end result brought fantastic results for Dawn. She was able to finish school, graduate, and move forward in life! She was not stuck in a bed for the semester! Hallelujah!

The University of Braum’s

John and I go to Braum’s regularly, except during covid! We are now back doing it again since we have had two vaccinations, one booster, and had covid. Why do we go to Braum’s? We have great discussions with no phones ringing. Sometimes John is the one giving me instruction, and sometimes I am the one giving him instruction. We even take a pad and pen just in case one of us has an “aha” moment! Discussions are on multiple topics, everything from the Bible to family situations to spiritual lessons to goals we each have set. As we watch and listen to others, we also learn. We decided our Braum’s should be called “The University of Braum’s.”

One might see diversity at our Braum’s. It is a great stopping point for a fast break when driving down the road. It is also easy to get to as one pulled off for a break. Pauls Valley Braum’s sits right off I-35 at Mile Marker 72. At times, one might think they are sitting in an international airport while having a good sandwich or ice cream. Have a seat and listen. At times, people come in off the highway speaking languages of the world.

One time I encountered a group of Muslims that stopped for a break. Both men and women were sitting in a long booth. The men were talking, and the women seemed silent. When I was getting water, one of the gentlemen was waiting for me to finish. I spoke, but he did not reply. Then I noticed how the men were talking, the only ones speaking at their table. The women seemed silent. Eventually, I excused myself from our table and headed to the bathroom. As I was washing my hands, the Muslim women entered. They were laughing. I spoke, they smiled, and two commented. I washed my hands longer than usual, listening to them having fun with each other. Then I watched when they returned to their table and sat with the men. They were again quiet. Was this out of respect, or was this a cultural teaching, or both?

Another time we went in, and Chinese people were speaking their language. The young girl behind the counter was having a slight problem understanding part of their order. I tried to help but to no avail. And then a Japanese family was there another time. They could speak their language as well as English. They asked us to help them with directions. John went to our car for a paper map and was able to help them. Then there were the ones we met while waiting in line from France.

There are also those behind the counter that bring diversity to this Braum’s. It makes me smile to write this because we have had so many different experiences right off Exit 72, where Highway 19 enters Pauls Valley. Behind the counter is a young man from India. Initially, he spoke with a broken accent. We eventually learned that his parents owned multiple hotels in our area and Dallas and other large cities. When his brother received his inheritance, he got a hotel and a significant amount of money. His Dad would not let him receive his legacy until he could speak fluent English well enough that people could easily understand him. His parents encouraged him to take the job offered to him at Braum’s. They felt it would be the perfect place for him to become proficient in the English language. It took him over a year to speak well enough that his Dad said he was almost ready to learn about the hotel business before receiving one. So we had the honor of learning about this attractive young man. We became friends. He shared that his parents wanted him to go to India with them to find a wife. They wanted to begin the process of an arranged marriage. He told us, “I am not ready yet. I do not want to get married until I am older.” His Mom was Christian, and his father was Hindu. This new information made for a fascinating discussion. His Mom believed in one God while the rest of his family believed in many gods.

Then there was a great young lady that was LGBTQ. She shared her life with us and her difficulties with a person in her family needing physical help. Thus, she had to put off her marriage and was helping a family member before she could reschedule her wedding. There was no one else that could do it. We also learned that she had taught herself how to write and speak Russian. These two young people who have now gone forward in life helped us see beyond the counter. Some behind the counter taking orders and making food are in recovery programs. They shared their history and years of sobriety with us because they were proud of their success, and John was the Judge that helped them when running Drug Court. Paying attention, we also realized how many disabled people come to Braum’s. They can get groceries there more easily there than at a grocery store. John and I have offered to help someone we noticed having difficulty getting their groceries from the door of Braum’s to an automobile.

Yes, we have a Braum”s that is amazing. It has been a significant part of our lives. Miracles happen there. As we look out the windows, we see where parents are exchanging children or where a grandparent is returning grandchildren to parents. Then when I had car fever and did not know what automobile I wanted, we sat watching out the window for what I might like. Once I saw an automobile that I liked. I stepped outside to look in its windows. With the car sitting in the same spot for a while, I thought a person might have parked it at Braum’s while taking a quick ride with a friend for some reason. When I was looking in the window, I noticed a group of people coming out of Braum”s. They were visiting on this lovely day outside, and I thought they might be saying their goodbyes to each other. Finally, the older man came over to me and said, “I hate to bother you, but we have to leave. Is there anything I can help you with?” Embarrassed, I said, “No, I just love your car and may want to get one of these.” We both laughed. He climbed in. I returned to John watching us and laughing inside.

Yes, we have a hub at our Braums of multiple kinds. See us in Pauls Valley sometime. Do not hesitate to give us a call, and we will meet you there.

Statements That Might Help With Change

The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new!

One reason people resist change is that they focus on what they have to give up, instead of what they have to gain.

Sometimes you have to forget what is gone, appreciate what still remains, and look forward to what is coming next.

Be the change you want to see or become.

And when I wanted to make a change and needed the courage to do it, I went back to the sign that I made and placed it on my desk. It read, “If there is no change, there is no change.”

Have a happy week. I hope to return next week with a short blog on “The University of Braum’s.

Living Life

Gratefulness fills my heart today with what comes from the invisible world as well as the visible world. I am even grateful for difficult times in life that have taught me so much. In the last few months, we have had two deaths in our family, a brother that lived here in Pauls Valley and a sister-in-law in Oklahoma City. Our sister-in-law that lives here needs our help. In addition to this, John and I are having multiple doctor’s appointments. Every day this week includes a doctor’s appointment for one of us, plus we have to take our sister-in-law to the city to see a doctor on Friday. In November, a family of four will be staying with us for three weeks!

Children and grandchildren will be with us through Thanksgiving. Next, comes Christmas and all four families are thinking about coming home? We did that a few years ago, and I am not sure either one of us got to talk to anyone. John and I were always working, preparing the next meal, getting everyone ready and in the cars to go somewhere, etc. We decided that they think we are still 40! Ha! With all of this, my first thought is, “How am I going to get a blog out every Monday?” I still have a list of more blogs that I hope to do. It generally takes me two days to do a good blog, one to write and the next to change and correct. I already skipped some weeks when the deaths took place. There was more work to be done following our brother’s death. He had too much. It makes us want to downsize as soon as possible. That work is continuing, and his wife also needs our help.

I want to continue my blog because I am surprised by the joy I get from stepping back into my situations through my blog. Plus, some of you have been fantastic readers. How do I know? Some encouraging comments have shown up. Any of you can leave a comment on Facebook where my blog shows up. I hope you will leave a comment because comments help me know who is reading my blog.

I intended this blog for grandchildren to read my when they were in their forties to learn more about me. Boston, a son, helped me get everything set up, including a webpage. Then a daughter called while we were working on it, and I told her. I shared what I was doing with only two friends who asked me how I was spending my time. However, some of you saw the blog and gave me feedback—this delightful surprise caused me to keep going. I got excited about just sharing it with everyone, hoping that it might help someone. For me, it was a way to touch lives in Covid. Now I want to continue. I am encouraged with every comment.

If possible, I want to write one inspiring paragraph that could help all of us, myself included! I may even be lucky enough to write a line worthy of putting on a refrigerator as a reminder. We will see. As we see four doctors this week, I am filling my life with gratitude, and I hope you do the same with whatever you do. I am grateful for everything, from the air we breathe to all within our earth and the answers we receive from above. Our adventure in life seems to surprise us sometimes, and all can change in a heartbeat. What if everything that is happening to us is happening “for us?”

I hope you feel the love I am sending to everyone that reads this. Have a great week, and do not hesitate to write a question if you have one or send me an idea you want me to cover. Once in a while, when there is time, I might take the opportunity to have fun and write one of my longer blogs. I plan to go back to my regular blog in January. By the way, last year, I wrote no goals for the first time since the 1980s. I am now making notes for what I hope to begin or ultimately achieve in 2022! Are you jotting down any ideas? Now is a perfect time as the leaves fall and the tree prepares for rebirthing! Have a happy week!

This Time Of The Year

The cooler air and the feel slight breeze this morning felt great. It brought memories of happenings in my life during the Fall of the year. Leaves are preparing to fall off the trees. Some will be bright colors. Perhaps those represent good closings that will come into my life through this transformational time. Some other leaves will be all brown or partly brown. Maybe those leaves represent a difficult closing in life during this time of the year. Still, green leaves also drop to the ground. Why are they green? Those leaves just might be the goals in life that will continue until next year? Once, when doing a seminar during this time of the year, I asked participants to go outside and find a leaf that represented them. When we begin relating ourselves to those things around us, we become more aware of our relationship to “all.” Try this. See how it represents you. After comparing yourself to a leaf, hug the tree and listen to your thoughts. How are you like that tree? Once I had a vivid dream and in looking at what my dream was about with a friend, she said, “Let’s look at every item in your dream and see how it relates to you.” We did just that. When it came to a simple part of the dream where I picked out a pen to use in writing a note, she said, “How do you think that other pen beside it felt when you picked the other pen? Have you ever felt this way?” Now every time I pick up a pen when it is sitting alongside others, I think about that interpretation of my dream we worked on.

This time of the year has also presented a time of many closings in my life. My husband died at age 39 in the Fall of 1979. This year my brother-in-law died, and my sister-in-law died. I left a position I liked the most in my life during the Fall of 1981. It was building a seven-county comprehensive mental health center and I left to marry a second husband. It was a “wrong choice” as a marriage, but a fantastic experience to teach me so many things! My divorce began in the Fall of 1985. After a two-day court trial in early 1986, I got out of the marriage. John and I dated for six years and then, in 1995, we married. I began closing down my Shaklee nutrition business and my apartment in the Fall of 1996.

During those years between the man that carried major lessons into my life and John, I began a practice of setting goals and writing affirmations every year. This beginning came during the time of Fall! I jotted down notes. Where are my priorities going to be for the upcoming year? What goals do I want to keep in my life next year? What do I want to release from my life? What causes me stress and am I ready to release that? Those are the questions I asked myself as I watched this transitional change in weather. I noted the physical part of my life, including not only my health but also my environment. Then I paid attention to my mental part of Self, my thinking process. Do I want to turn off the TV and focus more on my relationship to God/Spirit and then to family? Next was the Emotional Part of my Self. How are my relationships? What is my heart happy about? How can my heart open to my love for “all,” even those difficult to love. Are there energy-draining relationships that would be good to step back from? Then I move into the Spiritual part of Self, asking myself how I might keep that personal relationship open with all that is invisible? With situations I am struggling with, perhaps this is a good time to put my divine source, Jesus, in the center of my page and ask about each “What would Jesus do in this situation?”

Some very good things have also happened in my life during this time of the year. Due to an amazing dream right before I awakened this morning, I decided to do share with you a special event shown to me in this vivid dream. I stepped back into my Native American Vision Quest days and was outdoors explaining to a group how to prepare for (1) a vision quest and then (2) how to do a vision quest. To be exact, I was even sharing with those in attendance in the dream how to build a fire, how to lay the tobacco first depending on the reason for the quest or quests. I had been taught by a Lakota Medicine Man that would not call himself as such. Others would, but he would not. My dream was detailed.

Why did I have this dream? Fall is a good time for a Vision Quest! Perhaps I was being sent a gift of times past in my life. When the sun hit my face and awakened me, I wanted to stay in the dream. It felt like this dream was a great gift when the sun hit my face and I became completely awake. I got up with a sense of gratitude for all I learned during that twelve years in my life where signs appeared to show me that I was to look at the Native American path to finish my healing through Native American ceremonies. The doors were then thrown open for this to happen through John. I was actually standing on the steps of the house we live in when he told me that he had been to Sun Dance and he had been doing sweat lodges. Then he asked if I wanted to see if this path was for me. What I received has left me in awe ever since that time. We both immersed ourselves in Lakota spiritual experiences in Oklahoma and South Dakota. Other tribes in Oklahoma also shared their ceremonies in Oklahoma with us.

I did my vision quests in the Fall. I also supported others, including John, in theirs. I was receiving answers that I had waited long to receive, and I loved it. I have done four quests. John also did multiple quests. He even did one of his in New Mexico. Gary asked me to do my last one at Bear Butte, South Dakota. John, Savannah, and I went to South Dakota. Supporters even traveled that far to support. It was a great, great trip for all. Everyone got answers. When we did quests at home or somewhere else, we camped for four to eight days. Now that may not sound like fun to some of you. However, those that came, even ones that did not like to camp, were surprised at how much they received in their experience. Every person entering the land where a quest takes place learned to set ego aside as they stepped onto the land. They also learned to watch for their own answers, especially when a quest was taking place. After putting hundreds on the hills to do vision quests, I was told that it was time for me to start putting women on the hill. John also began to put men on the hill about that same time. We watched miracles take place.

Can you tell I pay attention to my dreams? I learned to follow my dreams shortly after my first husband Don died in 1979. So I look at “Did my dream relate to something I saw on television right before bed?” or “Is this a message for me?” I especially like those vivid dreams that do not relate to anything else. In looking at why I had this dream, I knew it was this Fall weather that carried me back to our experiences. I also knew that a discussion on our porch with good friends may have triggered this dream. We had a great conversation about “Killers of the Flower Moon.” It was John, myself, and three great women friends. John shared our experience when we were invited to the Gray Horse Ceremony by our friend Abe Conklin. They knew exactly the ceremony John was talking about due to how the ceremony was described in the book. They wanted to know more. John explained that Abe Conklin, an Osage Elder, had invited us to this annual Inlonshka dance. He asked us to call to confirm that we were coming. We did call Abe and Vicki to let them know that we would be there. When we arrived, we were invited to come to sit with the family. Later in the day, we were called to the center of the circle. Both of us walked to where Abe and a few others were standing. We suddenly realized that we were being brought to the center to be honored. A Pendleton blanket was wrapped around us that we were to take home following the ceremony. As part of the honor, we were allowed to remain in the center and were danced around the entire circle for all to see. Vicki helped me fix my Pendleton properly, We followed Abe and John around the entire circle. We felt ao humbled and so appreciative. Before this, Abe had taken John as a brother and me as a sister. Prior to that, Abe joined us weekly at my apartment in Norman where Gary taught the Lakota language to some of us. He also lead a blessing ceremony for our marriage in 1995.

LESSON: Pay attention to dreams. Write them down as soon as you can or they may leave and you will not remember. Evenually you will understand specific items in your dreams that are showing you something about your own life. You will understand as you watch what is unfolding in life when you have the dream. Dreams help you. Your dreams eventually will turn into prophesying dreams and that will help you in life. Look over your life. Perhaps make a timeline. Our divine source will be a partner that helps create an amazing life. I have had multiple lives in this lifetime, and I bet you also have had multiple lives. Just sit down, stare at a wall, and think about this.


My biggest gift was all of this continued to remind me of how amazing my life has been and how amazing the lives are for those reading this. We each have ups and downs, excitement and difficulties. It takes time to transform our lives into what we want when we have difficulties, but and it is worth it to do the work to get there.

A reminder to list my roles in life again and see how I want to prioritize them. What do I want to release? Also, what goal is important for next year? What do I want to draw to me?

Reminder to enjoy this beautiful weather and know it will change. Seasons change and life changes! And we can learn to have joy at the center of self through all seasons and as we move through all difficulties.